Nature of Government
Natural History, Natural Law, Government, Class, Radicalism, Design, Theology of Nature
Develops a comparison between the 'tyrants of the forest' (560) and the aristocracy. Asserts: 'Nature never made a slave. [...] What has never been made by nature, can have no natural existence. [...] The lion rules over the forest: and degrees of natural superiority are observed throughout various genera of creation. From this it is argued that similar degrees of inferiority exist amongst men' (559). Observes, however, that while lions may be kings of the forest, they are not 'kings over the lions' and they 'neither govern lions, nor plunder lions, nor eat up lions' (560). Argues that as 'Nature never made a slave' the obvious conclusion must be that 'one of the same species was never BORN to serve another. [...] This is the first link in the great chain of society' (560–61). Asserts that to argue otherwise would be to imply that 'the kings formed man' (561). Continues to argue against the divine right of kings and any supposedly natural need for their existence in society on the grounds that all men are born equal. Suggests that, while equality can be seen to exist in the 'savage state', usurpation accompanies the rise of civilization, usurpation having 'counteracted all the advancement of science, and combated the arts as its most deadly foes' (563). Argues that the members of the aristocracy are not created superior since, 'If heaven had intended to make hereditary kings or lords, it is probable from the amazing design evidenced in every particle of the creation, that kings and lords would have been as well adapted to their several situations, as spiders are to catch flies, even had they been designed to live by slaughter' (566–67). Discusses arguments against the divine right of kings. Considers that the 'CORRUPTING FACTION of BOROUGHMONGERS' has arisen in the place of an absolute monarch and powerful aristocracy to wrest power from the people. Concludes that 'having defeated the lion, and tied up the wolf, we are at last cheated by the monkey' (569–70).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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