Page images
PDF
EPUB

And for the similitude of the head and the body, it may very

well fall out, that the head will be forced to garl cut off some rotten member (as I have already said to keep the rest of the body in integrity; but what state the body can be in, if the head, for any infirmity that can fall to it, be cut off, I leave it to the reader's judgment.

So as (to conclude this part) if the children may upon any pretext that can be imagin d, lawfully rise up against their father, cut him off, and choose any other whom they please in his room; and if the body for the weal of it, may for any infirmity that can be in the head, strike it off, then I cannot deny that the people may rebel, contre ul, and displace, or cut off their king at their own pleasure, and upon respects moving them. And whether these similitudes represent better the office of a king, or the offices of masters, or deacons of crafts, or doctors in physic, (which jolly comparisons are used by such writers as maintain the contrary proposition) I leave it also to the reader's discretion.

As a sort of salvo for the unqualified despotisın of the preceding passage, his majesty presently adds:

Not that by all this former discourse of mine, and

1 to make, cause.

4. Basilicon Doron. This is said to have been the work by which James gained the most reputation. It is addressed to his son llenry, and contains instructions to him, relative to the subject of government; in the theory of which, his majesty appears not to have been ignorant.

5. The true La 'V of free Monarchies; or the reciprocal and mutual Duty betwist a free King, and his natural Subjects.

His majesty in his exordiun to this work, very properly makes the following frank acknowledgment.

I have chosen (says he) only to set down in this short treatise, the true grounds of the mutual duty and allegiance betwixt a free and absolute monarch and his people: not to trouble your patience with answering the contrary propositions, which some have not been ashamed to set down in writ, to the poisoning of infinite number of simple souls, and their own perpetual and well-deserved infamy; for by answering them, I could not have eschewed whiles to pick and bite well saltly their persons ; which would rather have bred contentiousness among the readers as they had liked or misliked) than sound instruction of the truth; which I protest to

him that is the searcher of all hearts, is the only mark that I shoot at herein.

The plan of the work he states thus :

First then, I will set down the true grounds whereupon I am to build, out of the Scriptures, since monarchy is the true pattern of the divinity, as I have already said. Next, from the fundamental laws of our own kingdom, which nearest must concern us. Thirdly, from the law of nature, by divers similitudes drawn out of the same: and will conclude syne' by answering the most weighty and appearing incoinmodities that can be objected.

'The following passage furnishes an amusing instance of James's despotical principles.

And now first for the father's part (whose natural love to his children I described in the first part of this my discourse, speaking of the duty that kings owe to their subjects,) consider, I pray you, what duty his children owe to him; and whether upon any pretext whatsoever, it will not be thought monstrous and unnatural to his sons to rise up

since, afterwards.

against him, to controul him at their appetite; and when they think good, to slay him, or to cut him off, and adopt to themselves any other they please, in his room: or can any pretence of wickedness, or rigour on his part, be a just excuse for his children to put band into him? And although we see by the course of nature, that love uscth to descend more than ascend, in case it were true, that the father hated and wronged the children never so much, will any man, endued with the least spunk of reason, think it lawful for them to meet him with the line? Yea, suppose the father were furiously following his sons with a drawn sword, is it lawful for them to turn and strike again, or make any resistance, but by flight? I think surely, if there were no more but the example of brute beasts and unreasonable creatures, it may serve well enough to qualify and prove this my argument. We read often the piety that the storks have to their old and decayed parents; and generally we know, that there are many sorts of beasts and fowls, that with violence and many bloody strokes will beat and banish their young ones from them, how soon they perceive them to be able to fend themselves; but we never read or heard of any resistance

on their part, except among the vipers; which proves such persons, as ought to be reasonable creatures, and yet unnaturally follow this example, to be endued with their viperous nature.

And for the similitude of the head and the body, it may very well fall out, that the head will be forced to garl cut off some rotten member (as I liave already said) to keep the rest of the body in integrity; but what state the body can be in, if the head, for any infirmity that can fall to it, be cut off, I leave it to the reader's judgment.

So as (to conclude this part) if the children may upon any pretext that can be imagin d, lawfully rise up against their father, cut him off, and choose any other whom they please in his room; and if the body for the weal of it, may for any infirmity that can be in the head, strike it off, then I cannot deny that the people may rebel, contri ul, and displace, or cut off their king at their own pleasure, and upon respects moving them. And whether these similitudes represent better the office of a king, or the offices of masters, or deacons of crafts, or doctois in physic, (which jolly comparisons are used by such writers as maintain the contrary proposition) I leave it also to the reader's discretion.

As a sort of salvo for the unqualified despotison of the preceding passage, his majesty presently adds :

Not that by all this former discourse of mine, and

i to make, cause.

« PreviousContinue »