by Algernon Sidney
Manus haec inimica tyrannis
Einse petit placidam cum liberate
(This hand, enemy to tyrants,
By the sword seeks calm
peacefulness with liberty.)
[Foreword by Jon
[Larger Portrait of Algernon Sidney]
[Title Page of 1698 Edition]]
[Patriarcha, by Robert Filmer]
SECTION 2. The common
notions of Liberty are not from School Divines, but from Nature.
SECTION 3. Implicit
Faith belongs to Fools, and Truth is comprehended by examining
SECTION 4. The Rights of
particular Nations cannot subsist, if General Principles contrary to them are
received as true.
SECTION 5. To depend
upon the Will of a Man is Slavery.
SECTION 6. God leaves to
man the choice of Forms in Government; and those who constitute one Form, may
SECTION 7. Abraham and
the Patriarchs were not Kings.
SECTION 8. Nimrod was
the f irst King, during the life of Cush, Ham, Shem, and Noah.
SECTION 9. The Power of
a Father belongs only to a Father.
SECTION 10. Such as
enter into Society, must in some degree diminish their Liberty.
SECTION 11. No Man comes
to command many, unless by Consent or by Force.
SECTION 12. The
pretended paternal Right is divisible or indivisible: if divisible, 'tis
extinguished; if indivisible, universal.
SECTION 13. There was no
shadow of a paternal Kingdom amongst the Hebrews, nor precept for it.
SECTION 14. If the
paternal Right had included Dominion, and was to be transferred to a single
Heir, it must perish if he were not known; and could be applied to no other
SECTION 16. The Ancients
chose those to be Kings, who excelled in the Virtues that are most beneficial
to Civil Societies.
SECTION 17. God having
given the Government of the World to no one Man, nor declared how it should be
divided, left it to the Will of Man.
SECTION 18. If a right
of Dominion were esteemed Hereditary according to the Law of Nature, a
multitude of destructive and inextricable Controversies would thereupon
SECTION 19. Kings cannot
confer the Right of Father upon Princes, nor Princes upon Kings.
SECTION 20. All just
Magistratical Power is from the People.
SECTION 1. That 'tis
natural for Nations to govern, or to chuse Governors; and that Virtue only
gives a natural preference of one man above another, or reason why one should
be chosen rather than another.
SECTION 2. Every Man
that hath Children, hath the right of a Father, and is capable of preferment in
a Society composed of many.
SECTION 3. Government is
not instituted for the good of the Governor, but of the Governed; and Power is
not an Advantage, but a Burden.
SECTION 4. The Paternal
Right devolves to, and is inherited by all the Children.
SECTION 5. Freemen join
together, and frame greater or lesser Societies, and give such Forms to them as
best please themselves.
SECTION 6. They who have
a right of chusing a King, have the right of making a King.
SECTION 7. The Laws of
every Nation are the measure of Magistratical Power.
SECTION 8. There is no
natural propensity in Man or Beast to Monarchy.
SECTION 9. The
Government instituted by God over the Israelites was Aristocratical.
SECTION 10. Aristotle
was not simply for Monarchy, or against Popular Government, but approved or
disapproved of either according to circumstances.
SECTION 11. Liberty
produceth Virtue, Order and Stability: Slavery is accompanied with Vice,
Weakness and Misery.
SECTION 12. The Glory,
Virtue, and Power of the Romans, began and ended with their Liberty.
SECTION 13. There is no
disorder or prejudice in changing the name or number of Magistrates, whilst the
root and principle of their Power continues entire.
SECTION 14. No Sedition
was hurtful to Rome, til through their Prosperity some men gained a Power above
SECTION 15. The Empire
of Rome perpetually decay'd when it fell into the hands of one Man.
SECTION 16. The best
Governments of the World have been composed of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and
SECTION 17. Good
Governments admit of Changes in the Superstructures, whilst the Foundations
SECTION 18. Xenophon in
blaming the Disorders of Democracies, favours Aristocracies, not
SECTION 19. That
Corruption and Venality which is natural to Courts, is seldom found in Popular
SECTION 20. Man's
natural love to Liberty is temper'd by Reason which originally is his
SECTION 21. Mixed and
Popular Governments preserve Peace, and manage Wars better than Absolute
Commonwealths seek Peace or War, according to the Variety of their
SECTION 23. That is the
best Government, which best provides for War
SECTION 24. Popular
Governments are less subject to Civil Disorders than Monarchies; manage them
more ably, and more easily recover out of them.
SECTION 25. Courts are
more subject to Venality and Corruption than Popular Governments.
SECTION 26. Civil
Tumults and Wars are not the greatest Evils that befall Nations.
SECTION 27. The
Mischiefs and Cruelties proceeding from Tyranny are greater than any that can
come from Popular or mixed Governments.
SECTION 28. Men living
under Popular or Mix'd Governments, are more careful of the publick Good, than
in Absolute Monarchies.
SECTION 29. There is no
assurance that the Distempers of a State shall be cured by the Wisdom of a
SECTION 30. A Monarchy
cannot be well regulated, unless the Powers of the Monarch are limited by
SECTION 31. The
Liberties of Nations are from God and Nature, not from Kings.
SECTION 32. The
Contracts made between Magistrates, and the Nations that created them, were
real, solemn, and obligtory.
SECTION 1. Kings not
being fathers of their People, nor excelling all others in Virtue, can have no
other just Power than what the Laws give; nor any title to the privileges of
the Lord's Anointed.
SECTION 2 . The Kings of
Israel and Judah were under a Law not safely to be transgress'd.
SECTION 3. Samuel did
not describe to the Israelites the glory of a free Monarchy; but the Evils the
People should suffer, that he might divert them from desiring a King.
SECTION 4. No People can
be obliged to suffer from their Kings what they have not a right to do.
SECTION 5. The Mischiefs
suffer'd from wicked Kings are such as render it both reasonable and just for
all Nations that have virtue and Power, to exert both in repelling
SECTION 6. 'Tis not good
for such Nations as will have Kings, to suffer them to be glorious, powerful,
or abounding in Riches.
SECTION 7. When the
Israelites asked for such a King as the Nations about them had, they asked for
a Tyrant tho they did not call him so.
SECTION 8. Under the
name of Tribute no more is understood than what the Law of each Nation gives to
the Supreme Magistrate for the defraying of publick Charges; to which the
customs of the Romans, or sufferings of the Jews have no relation.
SECTION 9. Our own Laws
confirm to us the enjoyment of our native Rights.
SECTION 10. The words of
St. Paul enjoining obedience to higher Powers, favour all sorts of Governments
no less than Monarchy.
SECTION 11. That which
is not just, is not Law; and that which is not Law ought not to be
SECTION 12. The Right
and Power of a Magistrate depends upon his Institution, not upon his
SECTION 13. Laws were
made to direct and instruct Magistrates, and if they will not be directed, to
SECTION 14. Laws are not
made by Kings, not because they are busied in greater matters than doing
Justice, but because Nations will be governed by Rule, and not
SECTION 15. A general
presumption that Kings will govern well, is not a sufficient security to the
SECTION 16. The
observation of the Laws of Nature is absurdly expected from Tyrants, who set
themselves up against all Laws: and be that subjects Kings to no other Law than
what is common to Tyrants destroys their being.
SECTION 17. Kings cannot
be the Interpreters of the Oaths they take.
SECTION 18. The next in
blood to deceased Kings cannot generally be said to be Kings till they are
SECTION 19. The greatest
Enemy of a just Magistrate is he who endeavours to invalidate the Contract
between him and the People, or to corrupt their Manners.
SECTION 20. Unjust
Commands are not to be obey'd, and no man is obliged to suffer for not obeying
such as are against Law.
SECTION 21. It cannot be
for the good of the People that the Magistrate have a power above the Law: And
he is not a Magistrate who has not his power by Law.
SECTION 22. The rigour
of the Law is to be temper'd by men of known integrity and judgment, and not by
the Prince, who may be ignorant or vicious.
SECTION 23. Aristotle
proves, that no man is to be entrusted with an absolute power, by showing that
no one knows how to execute it, but such a man as is not to be found.
SECTION 24. The power of
Augustus Caesar was not given, but usurped.
SECTION 25. The Regal
Power was not the first in this Nation; nor necessarily to be continued, tho it
had been the first.
SECTION 26. Tho the King
may be entrusted with the power of chusing Judges, yet that by which they act
is from the Law.
SECTION 27. Magna Charta
was not the Original, but a Declaration of the English Liberties. The King's
Power is not restrained, but created by that and other Laws: and the Nation
that made them can only correct the defects of them.
SECTION 28. The English
Nation has always been governed by itself or its Representatives.
SECTION 29. The King was
never Master of the Soil.
SECTION 30. Henry the
First was King of England by as good a Title as any of his Predecessors or
SECTION 31. Free Nations
have a right of meeting, when and where they please, unless they deprive
themselves of it.
SECTION 32. The powers
of Kings are so various according to the Constitutions of several States, that
no consequence can be drawn to the prejudice or advantage of any one, merely
from the name.
SECTION 33. The Liberty
of a People is the gift of God and Nature.
SECTION 34. No
Veneration paid, or Honor conferr'd upon a just and lawful Magistrate, can
diminish the Liberty of a Nation.
SECTION 35. The
Authority given by our Law to the Acts performed by a King de facto,
detract nothing from the people's right of creating whom they
SECTION 36. The general
revolt of a Nation cannot be called a Rebellion.
SECTION 37. The English
Government was not ill constituted, the defects more lately observed proceeding
from the change of manners, and corruption of the times.
SECTION 38. The Power of
calling and dissolving Parliaments is not simply in the King. The variety of
Customs in chusing Parliament men, and the Errors a people may commit, neither
prove that Kings are or ought to be Absolute.
SECTION 39. Those Kings
only are heads of the People, who are good, wise, and seek to advance no
Interest but that of the Publick.
SECTION 40. Good Laws
prescribe easy and safe Remedies against the Evils proceeding from the vices or
infirmities of the Magistrate; and when they fail, they must be
SECTION 41. The People
for whom and by whom the Magistrate is created, can only judge whether he
rightly perform his Office or not.
SECTION 42. The Person
that wears the Crown cannot determine the Affairs which the Law refers to the
Proclamations are not Laws.
SECTION 44. No People
that is not free can substitute Delegates.
SECTION 45. The
Legislative Power is always Arbitrary, and not to be trusted in the hands of
any who are not bound to obey the Laws they make.
SECTION 46. The coercive
power of the Law proceeds from the Authority of Parliament.
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