Whether or no a despotical and masterly dominion of men
and things agree to the king because he is king.
I may here dispute whether the king be lord, having a masterly dominion
both over men and things. But I first discuss shortly his dominion over his
It is agreed on by divines that servitude is a penal fruit of sin, and
against nature. Institutt. de jure personarum, Sect. 1, and F. de statu
hominum. l. libertas; because all men are born by nature of equal
Assert. 1. — The king hath no proper, masterly, or lordly
dominion over his subjects; his dominion is rather fiduciary and ministerial,
1. Because royal empire is essentially to feed, rule, defend, and to
govern in peace and godliness, (1 Tim. 2:2,) as the father doth his children;
Psal. 78:71, “He brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his
inheritance;” Isa. 55:4, “I gave him for a leader and commander to
the people;” 2 Sam. 5:2, “Thou shalt feed my people Israel;” 2
Sam. 5:2; 1 Chron. 11:2; 1 Chron 17:6.) And so it is for the good of the
people, and to bring those over whom he is a feeder and ruler, to such a happy
end; and, as saith Althusius, (polit. c. 1, n. 13,) and Marius Salomonius, (de
princ. c. 2,) it is to take care of the good of those over whom the ruler is
set, and, conservare est, rem illæsam servare, to keep a thing
safe. But to be a master, and to have a masterly and lordly power over slaves
and servants, is to make use of servants for the owner's benefit, not for the
good of the slave, (l, w, de leg, l, Servus de servit. expert. Danoelig;
polit. l. 1, Tolossan. de Rep. l. 1, c. 1, n. 15, 16,) therefore are
servants bought and sold as goods, (jure belli. F. de statu hominum l. et
2. Not to be under governors and magistrates is a judgment of God, (Isa.
3:6, 7; 3:1; Hos. 3:4; Judg. 19:1, 2,) but not to be under a master as slaves
are, is a blessing, seeing freedom is a blessing of God, (John 8:33; Exod.
21:2, 26, 27; Deut. 15:12;) so he that killeth Goliath, (1 Sam. 17:25,) his
father's house shall be free in Israel. (Jer. 34:9; Acts 22:28; 1 Cor. 9:19;
Gal. r:26, 31.) Therefore the power of a king cannot be a lordly and masterly
power; for then to be under a kingly power should both be a blessing and a
curse, and just punishment of sin.
3. Subjects are called the servants of the king, (1 Sam. 15:2; 2 Chron.
13:7; 1 Kings 12:7; Exod. 10:1, 2; Exod. 9:20,) but they are not slaves,
because (Deut. 17:20) they are his brethren: “That the king's heart be not
lifted up against his brethren;” and his sons; (Isa. 49:23;) and the Lord
gave his people a king as a blessing, (1 Kings 10:9; Hos. 1:11; Isa. 1:26; Jer.
17:25,) and “brought them out of the house of bondage,” (Exod. 20:2,)
as out of a place of misery. And therefore to be the king's servants in the
place cited, is some other thing than to be the king's slaves.
4. The master might in some cases sell the servant for money, yea for
his own gain he might do it, (Nehem. 5:8; Eccles. 2:7; 1 Kings 2:32; Gen. 9:25;
Gen. 26:14; 2 Kings 4:1; Gen. 20:14, and might give away his servants; and the
servants were the proper goods and riches of the master; (Eccles. 2:7; Gen.
30:43; Gen. 20:14; Job 1:3, 15); but the king may not sell his kingdom or
subjects, or give them away for money, or any other way; for royalists grant
that king to be a tyrant, and worthy to be dethroned, who shall sell his
people; for the king may not dilapidate the rents of the crown and give them
away to the hurt and prejudice of his successors, (l. ult. Sect. sed nostr.
c. Comment. de lege, l. peto, 69, Sect. fratrem de lege, 2, l. 32, ultimo, D.
T.) and far less can he lawfully sell men, and give away a whole kingdom to
the hurt of his successors, for that were to make merchandise of the living
temples of the Holy Ghost; and Arnisæus, (de authorit. princip. c.
3, n. 7,) saith, servitude is præter naturam, beside nature; he
might have said, contrary to nature (l. 5, de stat. homin. Sect. 2,
Inst. de jur. perso. c. 3, et Novel. 89); but the subjection of
subjects is so consonant to nature, that it is seen in bees and cranes.
Therefore a dominion is defined, a faculty of using of things to what uses you
will. Now a man hath not this way an absolute dominion over his beasts, to
dispose of them at his will; for a good man hath mercy on the life of his
beast, (Prov. 12:10,) nor hath he dominion over his goods to use them as he
will, because he may not use them to the dishonour of God; and so God and the
magistrate hath laid some bound on his dominion. And because the king being
made a king leaveth not off to be a reasonable creature, he must be under a
law, and so his will and lust cannot be the rule of his power and dominion, but
law and reason must regulate him. Now if God had given to the king a dominion
over men as reasonable creatures, his power and dominion which by royalists is
conceived to be above law, should be a rule to man as reasonable men, which
would make men under kings no better than brute beasts, for then should
subjects exercise acts of reason, not because good and honest, but because
their prince commandeth them so to do; and if this cannot be said, none can be
at the disposing of kings in politic acts liable to royal government, that way
that the slave is in his actions under the dominion of his master.
Obj. 1. — The Prelate objecteth out of Salato,
Arnisæus, and Hugo Grotius, (for in his book there is not one line which
is his own, except his railings;) All government and superiority in rulers is
not primely and only for the subjects' good; for some are by God and nature
appointed for the mutual and inseparable good of the superior and inferior, as
in the government of husband and wife, or father and son; and in herili
dominio, in the government of a lord and his servant,the good and benefit
of the servant is but secondary and consecutively intended, it is not the
principal end, but the external and adventitious, as the gain that cometh to a
physician is not the proper and internal end of his art, but followeth only
from his practice of medicine.
Ans. — 1. The Prelate's logic tendeth to this; some
government tendeth to the mutual good of the superior and inferior, but royal
government is some government, therefore, nothing followeth from a major
proposition, Ex particulari affirmante, in prima figura; or of two
particular propositions. 2. If it be thus formed, every marital government, and
every government of the lord and servant is for the mutual good of the superior
and inferior; but royal government is such, therefore the assumption is false,
and cannot be proved, as I shall anon clear.
Obj. 2. — Solomon disposed of Cabul and gave it to Hiram,
therefore a conquered kingdom is for the good of the conqueror especially.
Ans.— Solomon's special giving away some titles to the king
of Tyre, being a special act of a prophet as well as a king, cannot warrant the
king of England to sell England to a foreign prince, because William made
England his own by conquest, which also is a most false supposition; and this
he stole from Hugo Grotius, who condemneth selling of kingdoms.
Obj. 3. — A man may render himself totally under the power
of a master without any conditions; and why may not the body of a people do the
like? even to have peace and safety, surrender themselves fully to the power of
a king? A lord of great manors may admit no man to live in his lands but upon a
condition of a full surrender of him and his posterity to that lord. Tacitus
sheweth us it was so anciently amongst the Germans: those engaged in the
campaigns surrendered themselves fully to the Romans.
Ans.— What compelled people may do to redeem their lives,
with loss of liberty, is nothing to the point; such a violent conqueror who
will be a father and a husband to a people, against their will, is not their
lawful king; and that they may sell the liberty of their posterity, not yet
born, is utterly denied as unlawful; yea, a volentated father to me is a
father, and not a father, and the posterity may vindicate their own liberty
given away unjustly, before they were born, Qua omne regnum vi partum potest
Obj. 4. — But (saith Dr Ferne) these which are ours, and
given away to another, in which there redoundeth to God by donation a special
interest, as in things devoted to holy uses, though after they be abused, yet
we cannot recal them; therefore, if the people be once forced to give away
their liberty, they cannot recal it, far less if they willingly resign it to
Ans.— 1. This is not true, when the power is given for the
conservation of the kingdom, and is abused for the destruction thereof; for a
power to destruction was never given, nor can it, by rational nature, be given.
Mortifications given to religious uses by a positive law, may be recalled by a
more divine and stronger law of nature, such as this, — “I will have
mercy and not sacrifice.” Suppose David, of his own proper heritage, had
given the shew-bread to the priests; yet, when David and his men are famishing,
he may take it back from them against their will. Suppose Christ had bought the
ears of corn, and dedicated them to the altar, yet might he and his disciples
eat them in their hunger. The vessels of silver, dedicated to the church, may
be taken and bestowed on wounded soldiers. 2. A people free may not, and ought
not, totally surrender their liberty to a prince, confiding on his goodness.
(1.) Because libety is a condition of nature that all men are born with, and
they are not to give it away — no, not to a king, except in part and for
the better, that they may have peace and justice for it, which is better for
them, hic et nunc. (2.) If a people, trusting in the goodness of their
prince, enslave themselves to him, and he shall after turn tyrant, a rash and
temerarious surrender obligeth not, Et ignorantia facit factum quasi
involuntarium. Ignorance maketh the fact some way involuntary; for if the
people had believed that a meek king would have turned a roaring lion, they
should not have resigned their liberty into his hand; and, therefore, the
surrender was tacitly conditional to the king as meek, or whom they believed to
be meek, and not to a tyrannous lord; and, therefore, when the contract is made
for the utility of the one party, the law saith, their place is for after wits,
that men may change their mind and resume their liberty, though, if they had
given away their liberty for money, they cannot recal it; and if violence made
the surrender of liberty, here is slavery; and slaves taken in war, so soon as
they can escape and return to their own, they are free. (D. Sect. item. ea
justit. de rerum divin. l. nihil. F. de capt. l. 3.) So the learned Ferdin.
Vasquez (illust. l. 2, c. 82, n. 15.) saith, “The bird that was taken, and
hath escaped is free.” Nature in a forced people, so soon as they can
escape from a violent conqueror, maketh them a free people; and si solo
tempore (saith Ferd. Vasquez, l. 2, c. 82, n. 6,) justificatur
subjectio, solo tempore facilius justificabitur liberatio.
Assert. 2. — All the goods of the subjects belongeth not to
the king. I presuppose that the division of goods doth not necessarily flow
from the law of nature, for God made man, beore the fall, lord of the creatures
indefinitely; but what goods be Peter's, and not Paul's, we know not. But
supposing man's sin, thought the light of the sun and air be common to all, and
religious places be proper to none, yet it is morally impossible that there
should not be a distinction of meum et tuum, mine and thine; and the
decalogue forbidding theft, and coveting the wife of another man, (yet is she
the wife of Peter, not of Thomas, by free election, not by an act of nature's
law,) doth evidence to us, that the division of things is so far forth (men now
being in the state of sin) of the law of nature, that it hath evident ground in
the law of nations; and thus far natural, that the heat that I have from my own
coat and cloak, and the nourishment from my own meat, are physically
incommunicable to any. But I hasten to prove
the proposition: — If, 1. I have leave to permit that, in time of
necessity, all things are common by God's law— a man travelling might eat
grapes in his neighbour's vineyard, though he was not licensed to carry any
way. I doubt if David, wanting money, was necessitated to pay money for the
shew-bread, or for Goliath's sword, supposing these to be the very goods of
private men, and ordinarily to be bought and sold. Nature's law in extremity,
for self-preservation, hath rather a prerogative royal above all laws of
nations and all civil laws, than any mortal king; and, therefore, by the civil
law, all are the king's, in case of extreme necessity. In this meaning, any one
man is obliged to give all he hath for the good of the commonwealth, and so far
the good of the king, in as far as he is head and father of the
commonwealth. 2. All things are the king's
in regard of his public power to defend all men and their goods from unjust
violence. 3. All are the king's, in regard of his act of conservation of goods,
for the use of the just owner. 4. All are the king's in regard of a legal
limitation, in case of a damage offered to the commonwealth. Justice requireth
confiscation of goods for a fault; but confiscated goods are to help the
interested commonwealth, and the king, not as a man (to bestow them on his
children) but as a king. To this we may refer these called bona caduca et
inventa, things lost by shipwreck or any other providence, Ulpian, tit.
19, t. c. de bonis vacantibus. C. de Thesauro.
Arg. 1. — And the reasons why private men are just lotds and
proprietors of their own goods, are, — 1. Because, by order of nature,
division of goods cometh nearer to nature's law and necessity than any king or
magistrate in the world; and because it is agreeable to nature that every man
be warmed by his own fleece— nourished by his own meat, therefore, to
conserve every man's goods to the just owner, and to preserve a community from
the violence of rapine and theft, a magistrate and king was devised. So it is
clear, men are just owners of their own goods, by all good order, both of
nature and time, before there be any such thing as a king or magistrate. Now,
if it be good that every man enjoy his own goods, as just proprietor thereof,
for his own use, before there be a king, who can be proprietor of his goods?
And a king being given of God for a blessing, not for any man's hurt and loww,
the king cometh in to preserve a man's goods, but not to be lord and owner
thereof himself, nor to take from any man God's right to his own goods.
Arg. 2. — When God created man at the beginning, he made all
the creatures for man, and made them by the law of nature the proper possession
of man, but then there was not any king formally as king' for certainly Adam
was a father before he was a king, and no man being either born or created a
king over another man, no more than the first lion and the first eagle that God
created, were by the birthright and first start of creation, by nature the king
of all lions and all eagles to be after created, — no man can, by nature's
law, be the owner of all goods of particular men. And because the law of
nations, founded upon the law of nature hath brought in meum et tuum,
mine and thine, as proper to every particular man, and the introduction of
kings cannot overturn nature's foundation; neither civility nor grace
destroyeth but perfecteth nature; and if a man be not born a king, because he
is a man, he cannot be born the possessor of my goods.
Arg. 3. — What is a character and note of a tyrant, and an
oppressing king as a tyrant, is not the just due of a king as a king; but to
take the proper goods of subjects, and use them as his own, is a proper
character and note of a tyrant and oppressor; therefore the proposition is
evident: A king and a tyrant are, by way of contradiction, contrary one to
another. The assumption is proved thus:— Ezek. 45:9, 10, “Thus saith
the Lord, Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil,
and execute judgment and justice; take away your exactions from my people,
saith the Lord. Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just
bath.” If all be the king's, he is not capable of extortion and rapine.
God complaineth of the violence of kings, Micah 3:1, 3, “Is it not for you
to know judgment? who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skins
from off them; and they break their bones and chop them in pieces, as for the
pot, and as flesh within the chaldron.” (Isa 3:14; Zeph. 3:3.) Was it a
just fault that Hybreas objected to Antonius, exacting two tributes in one
year, that he said, “If thou must have two tributes in one year, then make
for us two summers and two harvests in one year?” This cannot be just. If
all be the king's, the king taketh but his own.
Arg. 4. — Subjects under a monarch could not give alms, nor
exercise works of charity; for charity must
be my own, Isa. 58:7, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry,”
&c.; Eccles. 11:1, “Cast thy bread upon the waters;” and the law
saith, “It is theft to give of another man's to the poor;” yea the
distinction of poor and rich should have no place under a monarchy, he only
should be rich.
Arg. 5. — When Paul commandeth us to pay tribute to princes
(Rom. 13:6) because they are the ministers of God, he layeth this ground, that
the king hath not all, but that the subjects are to give to him of their
Arg. 6. — It is the king's place, by justice, to preserve
every man in his own right and under his own fig-tree; therefore, it is not the
Arg. 7. — Even Pharaoh could not make all the victual of the
land his own, while he had bought it with money; and every thing is presumed to
be free (allodialis, free land,) except the king prove that it is bought
or purchased. L. actius, C. de servit, et aqua. et Joan. And. m. C. F. de
ind. et hosti. in C. minus de jur.
Arg. 8. — If the subjects had no propriety in their own
goods, but all were the prince's due, then the subject should not be able to
make any contract of buying and selling without the king, and every subject
were in the case of a slave. Now the law saith, (L. 2. F. de Noxali. act. l.
2. F. ad legem aquil.) When he maketh any covenant, he is not obliged
civilly to keep it, because the condition of a servant, he not being sui
juris, is compared to the state of a beast, though he be obliged by a
natural obligation, being a rational creature, in regard of the law of nature,
L. naturaliter, L. si id quod, L. interdum, F. de cond. indebit. cum
aliis. The subject could not, by Solomon, be forbidden to be surety for his
friend, as king Solomon doth counsel, (Prov. 6:1-3;) he could not be condemned
to bring on himself poverty by sluggishness, (as Prov. 6:6-10;) nor were he to
honour the Lord with his riches, (as Prov. 3:9;) nor to keep his covenant,
though to his loss, (Psal. 15:14;) nor could he be merciful and lend, (Psal.
37:26;) nor had he power to borrow; nor could he be guilty in not paying all
again. (Psal. 37:21.) For subjects, under a monarchy, can neither perform a
duty, nor fail in a duty, in the matter of goods. If all be the kings, what
power or dominion hath the subject in disposing of his prince's goods? See more
in Petr. Rebuffus, tract. congruæ portionis, n. 225, p. 109, 110. Sed
quoad dominium rerum, &c.
. Quod jure gentium
dicitur. F. de justitia et jure, l. ex hoc. — Quod partim jure civili.
Justi. de rerum divisio. sect. singulorum.
. L. item si verberatum.
F. de rei vindicat. Jas. plene. m. lib. Barbarius. F. de offici.
. Species enim furti est
de alieno largiri, et beneficii debitorein sibi acquirere, L. si pignore, sect.
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