John Locke (1632–1704). Two Treatises on Government. 1821.Book I. Of Government
Chapter VIII. Of the Conveyance of Adams Sovereign Monarchical Power
§. 78. S
§. 79. By this notable way, our author may make Oliver as properly king, as any one else he could think of: and had he had the happiness to live under Massanello’s government, he could not by this his own rule have forborn to have done homage to him, with O king live for ever! since the manner of his government by supreme power, made him properly king, who was but the day before properly a fisherman. And if Don Quixote had taught his squire to govern with supreme authority, our author no doubt could have made a most loyal subject in Sancho Pancha’s island; and he must needs have deserved some preferment in such governments, since I think he is the first politician, who, pretending to settle government upon its true basis, and to establish the thrones of lawful princes, ever told the world, That he was “properly a king, whose manner of government was by supreme power, by what means soever he obtained it:” which in plain English is to say, that regal and supreme power is properly and truly his, who can by any means seize upon it; and if this be to be properly a king, I wonder how he came to think of, or where he will find, an usurper.
§. 80. This is so strange a doctrine, that the surprise of it hath made me pass by, without their due reflection, the contradictions he runs into, by making sometimes inheritance alone, sometimes only grant or inheritance, sometimes only inheritance or usurpation, sometimes all these three, and at last election, or any other means, added to them, the ways whereby Adam’s royal authority, that is, his right to supreme rule, could be conveyed down to future kings and governors, so as to give them a title to the obedience and subjection of the people. But these contradictions lie so open, that the very reading of our author’s own words will discover them to any ordinary understanding; and though what I have quoted out of him (with abundance more of the same strain and coherence, which might be found in him) might well excuse me from any farther trouble in this argument, yet having proposed to myself, to examine the main parts of his doctrine, I shall a little more particularly consider how inheritance, grant, usurpation or election, can any way make out government in the world upon his principles; or derive to any one a right of empire from this regal authority of Adam, had it been never so well proved, that he had been absolute monarch, and lord of the whole world.