The pretended paternal Right is divisible or indivisible: if divisible, 'tis extinguished; if indivisible, universal.
THIS paternal right to regality, if there be anything in it, is divisible or indivisible; if indivisible, as Adam hath but one heir, one man is rightly lord of the whole world, and neither Nimrod nor any of his successors could ever have been kings, nor the seventy two that went from Babylon: Noah survived him near two hundred years: Shem continued one hundred and fifty years longer. The dominion must have been in him, and by him transmitted to his posterity forever. Those that call themselves kings in all other nations, set themselves up against the law of God and nature: This is the man we are to seek out, that we may yield obedience to him. I know not where to find him; but he must be of the race of Abraham. Shem was preferred before his brethren: The inheritance that could not be divided must come to him, and from him to Isaac, who was the first of his descendants that outlived him. 'Tis pity that Jacob did not know this, and that the lord of all the earth, through ignorance of his title, should be forced to keep one of his subject's sheep for wages; and strange, that he who had wit enough to supplant his brother, did so little understand his own bargain, as not to know that he had bought the perpetual empire of the world. If in conscience he could not take such a price for a dish of pottage, it must remain in Esau: However our lord paramount must come from Isaac. If the deed of sale made by Esau be good, we must seek him amongst the Jews; if he could not so easily divest himself of his right, it must remain amongst his descendants, who are Turks. We need not scruple the reception of either, since the late Scots Act tells us, That kings derive their royal power from God alone; and no difference of religion, &c. can divert the right of succession. But I know not what we shall do, if we cannot find this man; for de non apparentibus & non existentibus eadem est ratio. The right must fall if there be none to inherit: If we do not know who he is that hath the right, we do not know who is near to him: All mankind must inherit the right, to which everyone hath an equal title; and that which is dominion, if in one, when 'tis equally divided among all men, is that universal liberty which I assert. Wherefore I leave it to the choice of such as have inherited our author's opinions, to produce this Jew or Turk that ought to be lord of the whole earth, or to prove a better title in some other person, and to persuade all the princes and nations of the world to submit: If this be not done, it must be confessed this paternal right is a mere whimsical fiction, and that no man by birth hath a right above another, or can have any, unless by the concession of those who are concerned.
If this right to an universal empire be divisible, Noah did actually divide it among his three sons: Seventy and two absolute monarchs did at once arise out of the multitude that had assembled at Babel: Noah, nor his sons, nor any of the holy seed, nor probably any elder than Nimrod having been there, many other monarchs must necessarily have arisen from them. Abraham, as our author says, was a king: Lot must have been so also; for they were equals: his sons Ammon and Moab had no dependence upon the descendants of Abraham. Ishmael and Esau set up for themselves, and great nations came of them: Abraham's sons by Keturah did so also; that is to say, every one as soon as he came to be of age to provide for himself, did so, without retaining any dependence upon the stock from whence he came: Those of that stock, or the head of it, pretended to no right over those who went from them. Nay, nearness in blood was so little regarded, that tho Lot was Abraham's brother's son, Eliezer his servant had been his heir, if he had died childless. The like continued amongst Jacob's sons; no jurisdiction was given to one above the rest: an equal division of land was made amongst them: Their judges and magistrates were of several tribes and families, without any other preference of one before another, than what did arise from the advantages God had given to any particular person. This I take to be a proof of the utmost extent and certainty, that the equality amongst mankind was then perfect: He therefore that will deny it to be so now, ought to prove that neither the prophets, patriarchs, or any other men did ever understand or regard the law delivered by God and nature to mankind; or that having been common and free at the first, and so continued for many hundreds of years after the Flood, it was afterwards abolished, and a new one introduced. He that asserts this must prove it; but till it does appear to us, when, where, how, and by whom this was done, we may safely believe there is no such thing; and that no man is or can be a lord amongst us, till we make him so; and that by nature we are all brethren.
Our author, by endeavouring farther to illustrate the patriarchical power, destroys it, and cannot deny to any man the right which he acknowledges to have been in Ishmael and Esau. But if every man hath a right of setting up for himself with his family, or before he has any, he cannot but have a right of joining with others if he pleases. As his joining or not joining with others, and the choice of those others depends upon his own will, he cannot but have a right of judging upon what conditions 'tis good for him to enter into such a society, as must necessarily hinder him from exercising the right which he has originally in himself. But as it cannot be imagined that men should generally put such fetters upon themselves, unless it were in expectation of a greater good that was thereby to accrue to them, no more can be required to prove that they do voluntarily enter into these societies, institute them for their own good, and prescribe such rules and forms to them as best please themselves, without giving account to any. But if every man be free, till he enter into such a society as he chuseth for his own good, and those societies may regulate themselves as they think fit; no more can be required to prove the natural equality in which all men are born, and continue, till they resign it as into a common stock, in such measure as they think fit for the constituting of societies for their own good, which I assert, and our author denies.