know it already, they are obliged as the natives, according to the laws, and must not pretend ignorance, .in fraud and cozenage.

2. But this also is to be understood of customs and tributes which are just. In which number, those which are of an iinmemorial time and long use, ever are to be presumed. Those which are newly imposed, may better be considered whether they be or no, because they want that approbation which is given to the old. But whatsoever are unjust, do not oblige to payment; and the merchant may use all just ways of escape, and concealment. He may not lie, nor forswear, nor deny them to be there when they are there, and he is asked ; but he

may hide them, or go into secret ways : and if he be discovered, he must suffer as they please, but his conscience is free.

3. He that pays not tribute, upon pretence that it is unjust, that is, it is imposed by an incompetent authority, or in an undue manner, or unjust measure,-must be sure that it is unjust, and not only think so. For if he be deceived, he does not err with a good conscience, unless he use all the diligence and ingenuous inquiries that he can.

His ignorance must not, and cannot innocently, prejudice the prince's rights. If therefore he inquire well and wisely, unless the injustice be very clear and certain, he will at most but doubt concerning it; and if he does, the surer way is to pay it : but if he does not doubt, but is fully persuaded of the injustice, if he thinks true, he is innocent; but if he thinks amiss, he is not only guilty of a culpable ignorance, but of a criminal injustice.

4. If the subject does doubt, the presumption is for the advantage of the prince, because he is the better person, and public, and he is rather to be secured than the private and the inferior. And therefore I wonder at those lawyers and divines that say otherwise, upon pretence that “in dubiis melior est conditio possidentis,” “the possessor is to be preferred in doubtful cases.” For supposing this, yet the prince is in the possession of law, and the subject in possession of fact: the prince is in possession of an actual right and law of demanding it, and therefore his condition is to be preferred. For in the practice of paying tribute, it is not sufficient cause of omitting to pay it, that the subject doubts whether

it be, or is not sure that it is, just. For unless he be sure it is unjust, it is sure that he is bound to pay. And therefore in this case, let no merchant trust his own judgment, but the sentence of a wise spiritual guide, or of counsel learned in the laws.

6. One thing only I advertise in order to practice: Let no man think that because some subjects farm the customs, and that the portion which is concealed, does not lessen the incomes of the prince, therefore it may be lawful to hide from them all which they can hide. For the farmer hath what he gets in the right of the prince, and in his own right he hath nothing from the subject, but from his supreme; who therefore is bound to defend that right, and to complain of that wrong; and the husbandmen in the gospel, who denied to pay to the stewards of the king the fruits of the vineyard, which, in their king's right, were demanded of them, were thrown into outer darkness.

6. But then, as St. John Baptist gave counsel, " the tribute-men and farmers must exact no more than is appointed them;" nor yet in cruel and vexatious manners, nor with the exactest and utmost measures, but with such moderation as may be far from rapine. "Tributorum et fisci nunquam mala causa nisi sub bono principe," was an old saying; “Whatsoever was demanded by the tribute-gatherers, it was all justice, whether it were right or wrong, unless the prince were gentle and good.” But the vulture-like greediness and unconscionable, unchristian, and avaricious proceedings, which are too frequent amongst such men, have made the name of exactors and publicans 9 so infinitely, so intolerably hateful.

Curandum in primis, ne magna injuria Gat
Portibus et miseris. Tollas licet omne, quod usquam est
Auri atque argenti; scutam gladiumque relinques

Et jacula et galeam: spoliatis arma supersunt'.
It is not good to provoke the valiant by making them poor

9 Quid est publicanas? Nonne capat rapinæ, et violentiæ ? Quid est publicanas? Prædo sine pudore, medius exterminii. Nonne immanior faribas publicanas? Fur namque vel metuens faratur, hic autem delinquit confidenter. For laqueos legit, timet, hic autem quicquid fecerit, legem putat. Lex furem deterret ab illicitis, hic ad iniquum malitiæ suæ compendium legem trahit. Quis eo iniquior qai verbis justitiæ justitiam damnat, et armis innocentiæ spoliat, vulverat, occidit innocentes ? lege utique legem pervertit, et dum arget ad legem, exlex est. Lauret. Episc. Mediol, in Homil.

Juvenal. viii. 121. Roperti. 2d ed. pag. 168.

and miserable ; for they that have not a cloak, may have a sword: and by how much you make them the less considerable in peace, they are the more dangerous in war. And therefore covetous princes are to themselves the greatest enemies, excepting only their more covetous exactors.




RULE I. The supreme Power in every Republic is universal, absolute,

and unlimited. 1. That in every commonwealth there is a supreme power, is without all question: there is no government without superiority; and where there is a superior, there is a supreme; for he is so, that hath none above him. It matters not, whether this supreme power be subjected in one or many, whether it be párted or united: the consideration of these is material as to the goodness or badness of a government, but nothing to the power and absoluteness of it, nothing to the present rule. And therefore it is but a weak and useless distinction, when we speak of kings and princes (by them meaning the supreme power), to say that some are absolute, some are limited in their power: For it is true, that some princes are so; but then they are not the supreme power.

is a con. tradiction to say, that the supreme power is limited, or restrained; for that which restrains it, is superior to it, and therefore the other is not supreme. And therefore Albericus Gentilis said well, that he doubted concerning the kings of France and Spain, whether they were supreme princes, because in the affairs of religion they are subject to the pope.' He that hath the supreme power, is only under God; and to inquire concerning a king, whether he be tied to laws or conditions, is not properly an inquiry after his power, but after the exercise and dispensation of it. For though he may not always use it, yet the supreme power always is absolute

and unlimited, and can do what he please. The difference of a tyrant and a king or a gentle prince being only this, that a tyrant uses his absolute power unreasonably and unjustly and ordinarily ; but a king uses it not but in cases extraordinary, for just and good ends : and if the prince does not, some else must, who, in that case, is the supreme. Sometimes the consuls, sometimes the dictators, sometimes the senate, did do extraordinary acts of power ; but still they who did it, had the supreme power; and that is necessary, and inseparable from government, that, I mean, which is supreme : άκραν εξουσίαν, κυρίαν άρχήν, κύριον πολίτευμα, the Greeks call it; ‘majestatem,' the Latins : and be it in whom or in how many it happens, that power can do every thing of government, and disposes of all things in order to it, and is accountable to no man. For suppose a king that hath power of the militia, and his senate of making laws, and his people by their committees of raising money; this power of making war, and laws, and levies, is the supreme power, and is that which can do all things: and although one be accountable for money, and the other subject to laws, and two of them under the power of the sword, yet this is but the majesty or 'supremacy parted, and whether well or ill, I dispute not, yet when it is parted and when it is united, it is supreme, and it is all, That government which Aristotle calls λακωνική, δοκεί είναι βασιλεία των κατά νόμων, ουκ έστι δε κυρία πάντων, “seems (says he) to be a kingdom, but yet subject to laws, but is not the mistress of all;" and this is true in many European governments : but there is another government where the governor is távtwV kúpioc sic wv, “lord of all, and but one person;" that is the perfect monarchy; but yet that is no greater power than is in every kind of government: for be it where it will, somewhere or other, in all government, there must be a supreme power, and that power is absolute and unlimited. For suppose a king that could be questioned by his senate, deposed, judged, condemned, as Diodorus Siculus tells of the kings of Egypt; yet they that judge the king, cannot be judged themselves, if they have right to judge þim ; or at least they must stand at a judicatory, that cannot þe judged, and there is the supremacy placed. Now this þeing thus stated, the rule is clear, and the Jews expressed it

· Lib. 2.

by an odd device of theirs : for when their king died, they tied his thumb so in the palm of his hand, that the wrinkles of the fist should, in a manner that might be fancied, represent at which signifies 'almighty:' to denote that he was God's vicegerent, and under him had the whole power of government. He had in his right hand a power like the power of God; but the other hand was open and had let it go.

2. Now that this is true, is apparent by all the same reasons, by which the necessity of government is proved. It is necessary, that it should be so; for there are some states of things, for which nothing can provide but this absoluta potestas,''supreme and unlimited power;' as at Rome, when the Gauls had almost possessed themselves of all, and in many cases of their appointing dictators, and in sudden invasions, and in the inundation of tumults, and in all cases where laws are disabled to speak or act,—"ne respublica aliquid detrimenti patiatur,” that the public should by all means be preserved,' is the greatest necessity they can have, and that is the great end of power; and either the commonwealth is like a helpless orphan, exposed to chance and violence, and left without guards : or else she hath so much power as to use all means for her safety. If she have not a right to do all that she naturally can, and is naturally necessary, she is deficient in the great end of government:'and therefore it must be certain, she hath absolute power: now wherever this is subjected, there it is habitually, there it is always. I do not say it is always there, where it is sometimes actually administered; but there it is habitually from whence it is concredited actually, and put into delegation and ministry: and this is the power, that can do all things of government, and because it is supreme, and it is so always, it cannot be at any time less in judgment, because it is greater

that is, it is accountable to no man whatsoever it does.

in power;

Qui rex est, regem, Maxime, non habeatt.

3. This supreme power is commonly expressed by 'potestas regia,' or 'kingly power,' or power imperial ; though when the emperor was lord of the world, to be a king in most places went much less : but because most kings have

i Martial, ii. 18. Mattaire, pag. 37.

« VorigeDoorgaan »