Vindicia Contra Tyronas
(A DEFENSE OF LIBERTY AGAINST TYRANTS)
THE THIRD QUESTION (Part 6): Whether it is lawful to resist a ruler who is oppressing or ruining the country, and how far such resistance may be extended; by whom, how, and by what right or law it is permitted.
Whether the king owns all property in the kingdom. (cont'd)
I would ask here, wherefore a man does swear, if it be not to declare that what he delivers he sincerely intends from his heart? Can anything be judged more near to the law of nature, than to observe that which we approve? Furthermore, what is the reason the king swears first, and at the instance, and required by the people, but to accept a condition either tacit or expressed? Wherefore is there a condition opposed to the contract, if it be not that in failing to perform the condition, the contract, according to law, remains void? And if for want of satisfying the condition by right, the contract is of no force, who shall dare to call that people perjured, which refuses to obey a king who makes no account of his promise, which he might and ought to have kept, and wilfully breaks those laws which he did swear to observe? On the contrary, may we not rather esteem such a king perfidious, perjured, and unworthy of his place? For if the law free the vassal from his lord, who dealt feloniously with him, although that to speak properly, the lord swears not fealty to his vassal, but he to him: if the law of the twelve tables cloth detest and hold in execration the protector who defrauds him that is under his tuition if the civil law permit an enfranchised servant to bring his action against his patron, for any grievous usage: if in such cases the same law delivers the slave from the power of his master, although the obligation be natural only, and not civil: is it not much more reasonable that the people be loosed from that oath of allegiance which they have taken, if the king (who may be not unfitly resembled by an attorney sworn to look to his client's cause) first break his oath solemnly taken? And what if all these ceremonies, solemn oaths, nay, sacramental promises, had never been taken? Does not nature herself sufficiently teach that kings were on this condition ordained by the people, that they should govern well; judges, that they should distribute justice uprightly; captains in the war, that they should lead their armies against their enemies? If, on the contrary, they themselves forage and spoil their subjects, and instead of governors become enemies, as they leave indeed the true and essential qualities of a king, so neither ought the people to acknowledge them for lawful princes. But what if a people (you will reply) subdued by force, be compelled by the king to take an oath of servitude? And what if a robber, pirate, or tyrant (I will answer) with whom no bond of human society can be effectual, holding his dagger to your throat, constrain you presently to become bound in a great sum of money? Is it not an unquestionable maxim in law, that a promise exacted by violence cannot bind, especially if anything be promised against common reason, or the law of nature? Is there anything more repugnant to nature and reason, than that a people should manacle and fetter themselves; and to be obliged by promise to the prince, with their own hands and weapons to be their own executioners? There is, therefore a mutual obligation between the king and the people, which, whether it be civil or natural only, whether tacit or expressed in words, it cannot by any means be annihilated, or by any law be abrogated, much less by force made void. And this obligation is of such power that the prince who wilfully violates it, is a tyrant. And the people who purposely break it, may be justly termed seditious.
Hitherto we have treated of a king. It now rests we do somewhat more fully describe a tyrant. We have shewed that he is a king who lawfully governs a kingdom, either derived to him by succession, or committed to him by election. It follows, therefore, that he is reputed a tyrant, which, as opposite to a king, either gains a kingdom by violence or indirect means, or being invested therewith by lawful election or succession, governs it not according to law and equity, or neglects those contracts and agreements, to the observation whereof he was strictly obliged at his reception. All which may very well occur in one and the same person. The first is commonly called a tyrant without title: the second a tyrant by practice. Now, it may well so come to pass, that he who possesses himself of a kingdom by force, to govern justly, and he on whom it descends by a lawful title, to rule unjustly. But for so much as a kingdom is rather a right than an inheritance, and an office than a possession, he seems rather worthy the name of a tyrant, who unworthily acquits himself of his charge, than he who entered into his place by a wrong door. In the same sense is the pope called an intruder who entered by indirect means into the papacy: and he an abuser who governs ill in it.
Pythagoras says "that a worthy stranger is to be preferred before an unworthy citizen, yea, though he be a kinsman." Let it be lawful also for us to say, that a prince who gained his principality by indirect courses, provided he govern according to law, and administer justice equally, is much to be preferred before him, who carries himself tyrannously, although he were legally invested into his government with all the ceremonies and rites hereunto appertaining. For seeing that kings were instituted to feed, to judge, to cure the diseases of the people: Certainly I had rather that a thief should feed me, than a shepherd devour me: I had rather receive justice from a robber, than outrage from a judge: I had better be healed by an empiric, than poisoned by a doctor in physic. It were much more profitable for me to have my estate carefully managed by an intruding guardian, than to have it wasted and dissipated by one legally appointed.
And although it may be that ambition was his first solicitor to enter violently into the government, yet may it perhaps appear he affected it rather to give testimony of his equity and moderation in governing; witness Cyrus, Alexander, and the Romans, who ordinarily accorded to those people their subdued, permission to govern themselves according to their own laws, customs, and privileges, yea, sometimes incorporated them into the body of their own state: on the contrary, the tyrant by practice seems to extend the privilege of his legal succession, the better to execute violence and extortion, as may be seen in these days, not only by the examples of the Turks and Muscovites, but also in divers Christian princes. Therefore the act of one who at the first was ill, is in some reasonable time rectified by justice: whereas the other like an inveterate disease, the older it grows, the worse it affects the patient.
Now, if according to the saying of Saint Augustine, "those kingdoms where justice hath no place, are but a rhapsody of free-booters," they are in that, both the tyrant without title, and he by practice alike, for that they are both thieves, both robbers, and both unjust possessors, as he certainly is no less an unjust detainer who takes another man's goods against the owner's will, than he who employs it ill when it was taken before. But the fault is without comparison, much more greater of him who possesses an estate for to ruin it, than of the other who made himself master of it to preserve it.
Briefly, the tyrant by practice vainly colouring his unjust extortions with the justice of his title, is much more blameable than the tyrant without title, who recompenses the violence of his first intrusion in a continued course of a legal and upright government. But to proceed, there may be observed some difference amongst tyrants without title: for there are some who ambitiously invade their neighbour's countries to enlarge their Own, as Nimrod, Minus, and the Canaanites have done. Although such are termed kings by their own people, yet to those on whose confines they have encroached without any just right or occasion, they will be accounted tyrants. There be others, who having attained to the government of an elective kingdom, that endeavour by deceitful means, by corruption, by presents, and other bad practices, to make it become hereditary. For witness whereof, we need not make search into older times; these are worse than the former, for so much as secret fraud, as Cicero says, " is ever more odious than open force."
There be also others who are so horribly wicked, that they seek to enthral their own native country like the viperous brood which gnaws through the entrails of their mother: as be those generals of armies created by the people, who afterwards, by the means of those forces, make themselves masters of the stage, as Caesar at Rome under presence of the dictatorship, and divers princes of Italy. There be women also who intrude themselves into the government of those kingdoms which the laws only permit to the males, and make themselves queens and regents, as Athalia did in Judah, Semiramis in Assyria, Agrippina in the Roman empire in the reign of her son Nero, Mammea in the time of Alexander Severus, Semiamira in Heliogabalus's; and certain Bruniehildes in the kingdom of France, who so educated their sons (as the queens of the house of Medicis in these latter times) during their minority, that attaining to more maturity, their only care was to glut themselves in pleasures and delights, so that the whole management of affairs remained in the hands of their mothers, or of their minions, servants and officers. Those also are tyrants without title, who, taking advantage of the sloth, weakness, and dissolute courses of those princes who are otherwise lawfully instituted, and seeking to enwrap them in a sleepy dream of voluptuous idleness (as under the French kings, especially those of the Merovingian line, some of the mayors of the palace have been advanced to that dignity for such egregious services), transferring into their own command all the royal authority, and leaving the king only the bare name. All which tyrants are certainly of this condition, that if for the manner of their government they are not blameable. Yet for so much as they entered into that jurisdiction by tyrannous intrusion, they may justly be termed tyrants without title.
Concerning tyrants by practice, it is not so easy to describe them as true kings. For reason rules the one, and selfwill the other: the first prescribes bounds to his affections, the second confines his desires within no limits. What is the proper rights of kings may be easily declared, but the outrageous insolences of tyrants cannot without much difficulty be expressed. And as a right angle is uniform, and like to itself one and the same, so an oblique diversifies itself into various and sundry species. In like manner is justice and equity simple, and may be deciphered in few words: but injustice and injury are divers, and for their sundry accidents not to be so easily defined; but that more will be omitted than expressed. Now, although there be certain rules by which these tyrants may be represented (though not absolutely to the life), yet, notwithstanding, there is not any more certain rude than by conferring and comparing a tyrant's fraudulent slights with a king's virtuous actions.
A tyrant lops off those ears which grow higher than the rest of the corn, especially where virtue makes them most conspicuously eminent; oppresses by calumnies and fraudulent practices the principal officers of the state; gives out reports of intended conspiracies against himself, that he might have some colourable pretext to cut them off; witness Tiberius, Maximinius, and others, who spared not their own kinsmen, cousins, and brothers. The king, on the contrary, does not only acknowledge his brothers to be as it were consorts unto him in the empire, but also holds in the place of brothers all the principal officers of the kingdom, and is not ashamed to confess that of them (in quality as deputed from the general estates) he holds the crown. The tyrant advances above and in opposition to the ancient and worthy nobility, mean and unworthy persons; to the end that these base fellows, being absolutely his creatures, might applaud and apply themselves to the fulfilling of all his loose and unruly desires. The king maintains every man in his rank, honours and respects the grandees as the kingdom's friends, desiring their good as well as his own. The tyrant hates and suspects discreet and wise men, and fears no opposition more than virtue, as being conscious of his own vicious courses, and esteeming his own security to consist principally in a general corruption of all estates, introduces multiplicity of taverns, gaming houses, masks, stage plays, brothel houses, and all other licentious superfluities that might effeminate and bastardise noble spirits, as Cyrus did, to weaken and subdue the Sardiens. The king on the contrary, allures from all places honest and able men and encourages them by pensions and honours; and for seminaries of virtue, erects schools and universities in all convenient places. A tyrant as much as in him lies, prohibits or avoids all public assemblies, fears parliaments, diets and meetings of the general estates, flies the light, affecting (like the bat) to converse only in darkness; yea he is jealous of the very gesture, countenance, and discourse of his subjects. The king, because he converses always as in the presence of men and angels, glories in the multitude and sufficiency of his counsellors, esteeming nothing well done which is ordered without their advice, and is so far from doubting or distasting the public meeting of the general estates, as he honours and respects those assemblies with much favour and affection.
A tyrant nourishes and feeds factions and dissensions amongst his subjects, ruins one by the help of another, that he may the easier vanquish the remainder, advantaging himself by this division, like those dishonest surgeons who lengthen out their cures. Briefly, after the manner of that abominable Vitellius, he is not ashamed to say that the carcass of a dead enemy, especially a subject's, yields a good savour. On the contrary, a good king endeavours always to keep peace amongst his subjects, as a father amongst his children, choke the seeds of troubles, and quickly heals the scar; the execution, even of justice upon rebels, drawing tears from his compassionate eyes; yea, those whom a good king maintains and defends against a foreign enemy, a tyrant (the enemy of nature) compels them to turn the points of their swords into their own proper entrails. A tyrant fills his garrisons with strange soldiers, builds citadels against his subjects, disarms the people, throws down their forts, makes himself formidable with guards of strangers, or men only fit for pillage and spoil, gives pensions out of the public treasury to spies and calumniating informers, dispersed through all cities and provinces. Contrariwise, a king reposes more his safety in the love of his subjects than in the strength of his fortresses against his enemies, taking no care to enroll soldiers, but accounts every subject as a man-at-arms to guard him, and builds forts to restrain the irruptions of foreign enemies, and not to constrain his subjects to obedience, in whose fidelity he puts his greatest confidence. Therefore, it is that tyrants, although they have such numberless guards about them to drive off throngs of people from approaching them, yet cannot all those numbers secure them from doubts, jealousies and distrusts, which continually afflict and terrify their timorous consciences: yea, in the midst of their greatest strength, the tyrannizer of tyrants, fear, makes prize of their souls, and there triumphs in their affliction.
A good king, in the greatest concourse of people, is freest from doubts or fears, nor troubled with solicitous distrusts in his solitary retirements: all places are equally secure unto him, his own conscience being his best guard. If a tyrant wants civil broils to exercise his cruel disposition in, he makes wars abroad; erects idle and needless trophies to continually employ his tributaries, that they might not have leisure to think on other things, as Pharaoh did the Jews, and Policrates the Samians; therefore he always prepares for, or threatens war, or, at least, seems so to do, and so still rather draws mischief on, than puts it further off. A king never makes war, but compelled unto it, and for the preservation of the public, he never desires to purchase advantage by treason; he never enters into any war that exposes the commonwealth to more danger than it affords probable hope of commodity.
A tyrant leaves no design unattempted by which he may fleece his subjects of their substance, and turn it to his proper benefit, that being continually troubled in gaining means to live, they may have no leisure, no hope, how to regain their liberty. On the contrary, the king knows that every good subject's purse will be ready to supply the commonwealth occasion, and therefore believes he is possessed of no small treasure, whilst through his good government his subjects flow in all abundance.
A tyrant extorts unjustly from many to cast prodigally upon two or three minions, and those unworthy; he imposes on all, and exacts from all, to furnish their superfluous and riotous expenses: he builds his own, and followers' fortunes on the ruins of the public: he draws out the people's blood by the veins of their means, and gives it presently to carouse to his court-leeches. But a king cuts off from his ordinary expenses to ease the people's necessities, neglects his private state, and furnishes with all magnificence the public occasions; briefly is prodigal of his own blood, to defend and maintain the people committed to his care.
If a tyrant, as heretofore Tiberius, Nero, Commodus and others, did suffer his subjects to have some breathing time from unreasonable exactions, and like sponges to gather some moisture' it is but to squeeze them out afterwards to his own use: on the contrary, if a king do sometimes open a vein, and draw some blood, it is for the people's good, and not to be expended at his own pleasure in any dissolute courses. And therefore, as the Holy Scripture compares the one to a shepherd, so does it also resemble the other to a roaring lion, to whom, notwithstanding, the fox is oftentimes coupled. For a tyrant, as says Cicero, "is culpable in effect of the greatest injustice that may be imagined, and yet he carries it so cunningly, that when he most deceives, it is then that he makes greatest appearance to deal sincerely." And therefore does he artificially counterfeit religion and devotion, wherein saith Aristotle, "he expresses one of the most absolute subtleties that tyrants can possibly practice: he does so compose his countenance to piety, by that means to terrify the people from conspiring against him; who they may well imagine to be especially favoured of God, expressing in all appearance so reverently to serve Him." He feigns also to be exceedingly affected to the public good; not so much for the love of it, as for fear of his own safety.
Furthermore, he desires much to be esteemed just and loyal in some affairs, purposely to deceive and betray more easily in matters of greater consequence: much like those thieves who maintain themselves by thefts and robberies, yet cannot long subsist in their trade without exercising some parcel of justice in their proceedings. He also counterfeits the merciful, but it is in pardoning of such malefactors, in punishing whereof he might more truly gain the reputation of a pitiful prince.
To speak in a word, that which the true king is, the tyrant would seem to be, and knowing that men are wonderfully attracted with, and enamoured of virtue, he endeavours with much subtlety to make his vices appear yet masked with some shadow of virtue: but let him counterfeit never so cunningly, still the fox will be known by his tail: and although he fawn and flatter like a spaniel, yet his snarling and grinning will ever betray his currish kind.
Furthermore, as a well-ordered monarchy partakes of the principal commodities of all other governments, so, on the contrary, where tyranny prevails, there all the discommodities of confusion are frequent. A monarchy has in this conformity with an aristocracy, that the most able and discreet are called to consultations. Tyranny and oligarchy accord in this, that their councils are composed of the worst and most corrupted. And as in the council royal, there may in a sort seem many kings to have interests in the government, so, in the other, on the contrary, a multitude of tyrants always domineers. The monarchy borrows of the popular government the assemblies of the estates, whither are sent for deputies the most sufficient of cities and provinces, to deliberate on, and determine matters of state: the tyranny takes this of the ochlocracy, that if she be not able to hinder the convocation of the estates, yet will she endeavour by factious subtleties and pernicious practices, that the greatest enemies of order and reformation of the state be sent to those assemblies, the which we have known practiced in our times. In this manner assumes the tyrant the countenance of a king, and tyranny the semblance of a kingdom, and the continuance succeeds commonly according to the dexterity wherewith it is managed; yet, as Aristotle says, "we shall hardly read of any tyranny that has outlasted a hundred years ": briefly, the king principally regards the public utility, and a tyrant's chiefest care is for his private commodity. But, seeing the condition of men is such, that a king is with much difficulty to be found, that in all his actions he only agrees at the public good, and yet cannot long subsist without expression of some special care thereof, we will conclude that where the commonwealth's advantage is most preferred, there is both a lawful king and kingdom; and where particular designs and private ends prevail against the public profit, there questionless is a tyrant and tyranny.
Thus much concerning tyrants by practice, in the examining whereof we have not altogether fixed our discourse on the loose disorders of their wicked and licentious lives, which some say is the character of a bad man, but not always of a bad prince. If therefore, the reader be not satisfied with this description, besides the more exact representations of tyrants which he shall find in histories, he may in these our days behold an absolute model of many living and breathing tyrants whereof Aristotle in his time did much complain. Now, at the last we are come as it were by degrees to the chief and principal point of the question. We have seen how that kings have been chosen by God, either with relation to their families or their persons only, and after installed by the people. In like manner what is the duty of the king, and of the officers of the kingdom, how far the authority, power, and duty both of the one and the other extends, and what and how sacred are the covenants and contracts which are made at the inauguration of kings, and what conditions are intermixed, both tacit and expressed; finally, who is a tyrant without title, and who by practice, seeing it is a thing unquestionable that we are bound to obey a lawful king, which both to God and people carries himself according to those covenants whereunto he stands obliged, as it were to God Himself, seeing in a sort he represents his divine Majesty? It now follows that we treat, how, and by whom a tyrant may be lawfully resisted, and who are the persons who ought to be chiefly actors therein, and what course is to be held, that the action may be managed according to right and reason. We must first speak of him who is commonly called a tyrant without title. Let us suppose then that some Ninus, having neither received outrage nor offence, invades a people over whom he has no colour of pretension: that Caesar seeks to oppress his country, and the Roman commonwealth: that Popiclus endeavours by murders and treasons to make the elective kingdom of Polonia to become hereditary to him and his posterity: or some Bruniehilde draws to herself and her Protadius the absolute government of France, or Ebronius, taking advantage of Theoderick's weakness and idleness, gains the entire administration of the state, and oppresses the people, what shall be our lawful refuge herein?
First, the law of nature teaches and commands us to maintain and defend our lives and liberties, without which life is scant worth the enjoying, against all injury and violence. Nature has imprinted this by instinct in dogs against wolves, in bulls against lions, betwixt pigeons and sparrowhawks, betwixt pullen and kites, and yet much more in man against man himself, if man become a beast: and therefore he who questions the lawfulness of defending oneself, does, as much as in him lies, question the law of nature. To this must be added the law of nations, which distinguishes possessions and dominions, fixes limits, and makes out confines, which every man is bound to defend against all invaders. And, therefore, it is no less lawful to resist Alexander the Great, if without any right or being justly provoked, he invades a country with a mighty navy, as well as Diomedes the pirate who scours the seas in a small vessel. For in this case Alexander's right is no more than Diomedes' but only he has more power to do wrong, and not so easily to be compelled to reason as the other. Briefly, one may as well Oppose Alexander in pillaging a country, as a thief in purloining a cloak; as well him when he seeks to batter down the walls of a city, as a robber who offers to break into a private house.
There is, besides this, the civil law, or municipal laws of several countries which governs the societies of men, by certain rules, some in one manner, some in another; some submit themselves to the government of one man, some to more; others are ruled by a whole commonalty, some absolutely exclude women from the royal throne, others admit them; these here choose their king descended of such a family, those there make election of whom they please, besides other customs practiced amongst several nations. If, therefore, any offer either by fraud or force to violate this law, we are all bound to resist him, because he wrongs that society to which we owe all that we have, and would ruin our country, to the preservation whereof all men by nature, by law and by solemn oath, are strictly obliged: insomuch that fear or negligence, or bad purposes, make us omit this duty, we may justly be accounted breakers of the laws, betrayers of our country, and contemners of religion. Now as the laws of nature, of nations, and the Civil commands us to take arms against such tyrants; so, is there not any manner of reason that should persuade us to the contrary; neither is there any oath, covenant, or obligation, public or private, of power justly to restrain us; therefore the meanest private man may resist and lawfully oppose such an intruding tyrant. The law Julia, which condemns to death those who raise rebellion against their country or prince, has here no place; for he is no prince, who, without any lawful title invades the commonwealth or confines of another; nor he a rebel, who by arms defends his country; but rather to this had relation the oath which all the youth of Athens were accustomed to take in the temple of Aglaura, "I will fight for religion, for the laws, for the altars, and for our possessions, either alone, or with others; and will do the utmost of my endeavour to leave to posterity our country, at the least, in as good estate as I found it." To
as little purpose can the laws made against seditious persons be alleged here; for he is seditious who undertakes to defend the people, in opposition of order and public discipline; but he is no raiser, but a suppressor of sedition, who restrains within the limits of reason the subverter of his country's welfare, and public discipline.
On the contrary, to this has proper relation the law of tyrannicide, which honours the living with great and memorable recompenses, and the dead with worthy epitaphs, and glorious statues, that have been their country's liberators from tyrants; as Harmodius and Aristogitor. at Athens, Brutus and Cassius in Rome, and Aratus of Sycione. To these by a public decree were erected statues, because they delivered their countries from the tyrannies of Pisistratus, of Caesar, and of Nicocles. The which was of such respect amongst the ancients, that Xerxes having made himself master of the city of Athens, caused to be transported into Persia the statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton; afterwards Seleucus caused them to be returned into their former place: and as in their passage they came by Rhodes, those famous citizens entertained them with public and stupendous solemnities, and during their abode there, they placed them in the choicest sacresties of their gods. But the law made against forsakers and traitors, takes absolutely hold on those who are negligent and careless to deliver their country oppressed with tyranny, and condemns them to the same punishment as those cowardly soldiers, who, when they should fight, either counterfeit sickness, or cast off their arms and run away. Every one, therefore, both in general and particular, ought to yield their best assistance unto this: as in a public fire, to bring both hooks, and buckets, and water; we must not ceremoniously expect that the captain of the watch be first called, nor till the governor of the town be come into the streets; but let every man draw water and climb to the house-top; it is necessary for all men that the fire be quenched. For if whilst the Gaules with much silence and vigilancy seek to scale and surprise the capital, the soldiers be drowsy with their former pains, the watch buried in sleep, the dogs fail to bark, then must the geese play the sentinels, and with their cackling noise, give an alarm. And the soldiers and watch shall be degraded, yea, and put to death. The geese for perpetual remembrance of this deliverance, shall be always fed in the capital, and much esteemed.
This, of which we have spoken, is to be understood of a tyranny not yet firmly rooted, to wit, whilst a tyrant conspires, machinates, and lays his plots and practices. But if he be once so possessed of the state, and that the people, being subdued, promise and swear obedience; the commonwealth being oppressed, resign their authority into their hands; and that the kingdom in some formal manner consent to the changing of their laws; for so much certainty as then, he has gained a title which before he wanted and seems to be as well a legal as actual possessor thereof, although this yoke were laid on the people's neck by compulsion, yet must they quietly and peaceably rest in the will of the Almighty, who, at His pleasure transfers kingdoms from one nation to another; otherways there should be no kingdom, whose jurisdiction might not be disputed. And it may well chance, that he who before was a tyrant without title, having obtained the title of a king, may free himself from any tyrannous imputation, by governing those under him with equity and moderation. Therefore then, as the people of Jurie, under the authority of King Ezechias, did lawfully resist the invasion of Senacherib the Assyrian; so, on the contrary was Zedechias and all his subjects worthily punished, because that without any just occasion, after they had done homage and sworn fealty to Nebuchadnezar, they rose in rebellion against him. For, after promise of performance, it is too late to repent. And, as in battles every one ought to give testimony of his velour, but, being taken prisoner, must faithfully observe covenants, so it is requisite, that the people maintain their rights by all possible means; but, if it chance that they be brought into the subjection of another's will, they must then patiently support the dominion of the victor. So did Pompey, Cato, and Cicero and others, perform the parts of good patriots then when they took arms against Caesar, seeking to alter the government of the state; neither can those be justly excused, whose base fear hindered the happy success of Pompey and his partakers' noble designs. Augustus himself is said to have reproved one who railed on Cato, affirming that he carried himself worthily and exceedingly affected to the greatness of his country, in courageously opposing the alteration which his contraries sought to introduce in the government of the state, seeing all innovations of that nature are ever authors of much trouble and confusion.
Furthermore, no man can justly reprehend Brutus, Cassius, and the rest who killed Caesar before his tyrannical authority had taken any firm rooting. And so there were statues of brass erected in honour of them by public decree at Athens, and placed by those of Harmodius and Aristogiton, then when, after the despatching of Caesar, they retired from Rome, to avoid Marc Antonie and Augustus their revenge. But Cinna was certainly guilty of sedition, who, after a legal transferring of the people's power into the hands of Augustus, is said to have conspired against him. Likewise, when the Pepins sought to take the crown of France from the Merovingians; as also when those of the line of Capet endeavoured to supplant the Pepins, any might lawfully resist them without incurring the crime of sedition. But when, by public counsel and the authority of the estates, the kingdom was transferred from one family to another, it was then unlawful to oppose it. The same may be said, if a woman possess herself of the kingdom, which the Salic law absolutely prohibits, or if one seek to make a kingdom merely elective, hereditary to his offspring, while those laws stand in force, and are unrepealed by the authority of the general estates, who represent the body of the people. Neither is it necessary in this respect, to have regard whether faction is the greater, more powerful or more illustrious. Always those are the greater number who are led by passion, than those who are ruled by reason, and therefore tyranny has more servants than the commonwealth. But Rome is there, according to the saying of Pompey, where the senate is, and the senate is where there is obedience to the laws, love of liberty, and studious carefulness for the country's preservation. And therefore, though Brennus may seem to be master of Rome, yet, notwithstanding, is Rome at Veii with Camillus, who prepares to deliver Rome from bondage. It behoves, therefore, all true Romans to repair to Camillus, and assist his enterprise with the utmost of their power and endeavours. Although Themistocles, and all his able and worthiest companions leave Athens, and put to sea with a navy of two hundred galleys, notwithstanding, it cannot be said that any of these men are banished Athens, but rather, as Themistocles answered, "These two hundred galleys are more useful for us, than the greatest city of all Greece; for that they are armed, and prepared for the defence of those who endeavour to maintain and uphold the public state."
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