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fine to 2 d.per month. This too proves ineffedtual, and therefore it is ftill
for the. fame reafon doubled, till it come to i j. 5J. 10/. 100/. 1000/.
None of thefe penalties working, but yet by being conftantly levied, leav-
ing the delinquents no longer able to pay, imprifonment and other corporal
punifhments follow to inforce an obedience, till at laft this gradual increafe
of penalties and force, each degree whereof wrought on fome few, rifes to the
higheft feverities againft thofe who ftand out. For the magiftrate, who is ob-
liged to corredt this vice, as you call it, and to do what in him lies to cure this
j^wZf, which oppofes their falvation ; and who, if I miftake not, you tell

p. 8 us, is anfwerable for all that may follow from his negleSi, had no reafon to

raife the fine from id. to 2^. but becaufe the firft was ineffedtual : And if
that were a fufficient reafon for rarfing from the firft to the fecond degree,
why^s it not as fufficient to proceed from the fecond to the third, and io
gradually on ? I would fain have any one fliew me, where, and upon what
ground, fuch a gradual increafe of force can ftop, till it come to the utmoft
extremities. If therefore difTenting from the church of England, be a fault
to be punifhed by the magiftrate, 1 defire you to tell me, where he fhall hold
his hand ; to name the fort or degree of punifhment, beyond which he
ought not to go in the ufe of force, to Cure them of that fault, and bring
them to Conformity. Till you have done that, you might have fpared that

p J paragraph, where .you fay, PTith what ingenuity I draw you in to condemn

force in general, only becaufe you acknowledge the ill effeBs of profecutingmen
with fire and fword, etc. you may leave every man to judge. And I leave
whofn you will to judge, whether from your own principles it does not un-
avoidably follow, that if you condemn any penalties, you muft condemn
all, as I have fhewn ; if you willretain any, you muft retain all ; you muft
either take or leave all together. For, as I have faid, and you deny not,

L. II, p. 75" Where there is no fault, there no punifhment is moderate;" fo I add.
Where there is a fault to be corredted by the magiftrate's force, there no
degree of force, which is ineffedtual, and not fufficient to amend it, can be
immoderate ; efpecially if it be a fault of great moment in its confequences,
as certainly that muft be, which draws after it the lofs of mens eternal
happinefs.

You will, it is- likely, be ready to fay here again, for a good fubterfuge
is never to be forfaken, that you except the defperately perverfe and obfiinate.
I defire to know for what reafon you except them ? Js it becaufe they ceafe
to be faulty ? Next I afk you. Who are in your fenfe the defperately per-
verfe ajtd obfiinate f Thofe that is. or 5 j, or 5 /. or 100 /. or no fine will
work upon .'' Thofe who can bear lofs of eftate, but not lofs of liberty ?
pr lofs of liberty and eftate, but not corporal pains and torments? or all

this.



A THIRD LETTER FOR TOLERATION" 2og

this, but not lofs of life ? For. to thefe degrees' do men differently ftand
out. And fince there are men wrought on by the approaches of fire and
faggot, which other degrees of feverity could not prevail with, where will
you bound your defperately perverfe and objiinate f The king of France,
though you will allow him not to have truth of his fide, yet when he came
to dragooning, found few fo dejperately ferverfe and objiinate, as not to be
wrought on. And why fhould truth, which, in your opinion, wants force,
and nothing but force, to help it, not have the afliftance of thofe degrees
of force, when lefs will not do to make it prevail, which are able to bring
men over to falfe religions, which have no light ^nAJlrength of their own
to help them ? You will do well therefore to confider whether your name
of Jeverities, in oppofition to the moderate punijhments you fpeak of, has or
can do you any fervice ; whether the diftindlion between compelling and
coa^ive power he of any ufe or difference at all. For you deny the ma- P. 41
giftrate to have power to compel: And you contend for his ufe of his coaSiive
power y which will then be a good diflinftipn, when you can find a way to P. 27
ufe coaSliiie, or, which is the fame, compelling power without compulfion.
I defire you alfb to confider, if in matters of religion, punifhments are to
be imployed, becaufe they may be ufeful, whether you can flop at any de-
gree that is ineffedual to the end which you propofe, let that end be what
it will. If it be barely to gain a hearing, as in fbme places you feem to
fty, I think for that fmall punifhments will generally prevail, and you do
well to put that and moderate penalties together. If it be to make men con-
fider, as in other places you fpeak, you cannot tell when you have obtained
that end. But if your end be, which you feem mofl to infifl on, to make
men conjider as they ought, i. e. till they imbrace, there are many on whom
all your moderate penalties, all under thofe feverities you condemn, are too
weak to prevail. So that you mufl either confefs, not conjidering fo as to
imbrace the true religion, i. e. not conjidering as one ought, is no fault to be
punifhed by the coaSiive force of the magiflrate j or elfe you muft refume
thofe feverities which you have renounced:- Chufe.you whether of the two
you pleafe.

Therefore it was not fo much at random that I faid, " That thither at laft l_ jp .5
. perfecution mufl come." Indeed^froni what you had faid of falling under the " ' '
Jlroke of thefword, which was nothing to the purpofe', I added, " That if a, p. ix
" by that you meant any thihg to the bufinefs in hand, you feem to have
"a.referve for greater punifhments, when lefs are not fufiicient to bring
" men to be convinced." Which hath produced this warm reply of yours ;
And will you ever pretend to confcience or modejiy ajter this? For I befeech ^ %i
you. Sir, what words could I have ufed more exprefs or effetlual tojigmfy, that
tn my opinion no DiJJenters from the true religion ought to be punijhed with the
fword, but fuch as choofe rather to rebel againji the magi/irate, than to fubmit
to lejjer penalties ? (For how any Jfx)uld refufe to fubmit to thofe penalties, but
by rebelling againji the magijlrate, I fuppofe you will not undertake to tell me.)
'twas, for this very purpofe that I ufed thofe words to prevent -cavils, (as I

E e was



210 A THIRD LETTER FOR TOLERATION

was therifijimpk as to think t mgbt :J And I dare appeg}to any man of com-

mmfenp and common boneftyy tvbetber they are ct^abk of any other meaning.

Andpt the very thing which Ifo plainly difclaim in them, you pretend fwith-

outfo much as offering to Jhew bow) to collet from them. " Thlths^, you fiy, at

" laft, viz. to the taking away mens lives for the faving of their fouls, per-

' *• fecution muftcorhe: A&you fear, notwithftanding my talk of moderate

'* puniftiments, Imy feif intiinate in thofe words: And if I mean any thing

" in them to the bufinefs in hand, I feem to have a referve for greater pu-

" nifhments, when lefier are not fufficient to bring men to be convinced."

Sir, I JhauldexpeSi fairer dtaHng from one fff yoiw ¥^g^m or Mahometans.-

But IJhall only add, that I ■would never mjb that any man mho has undertaken

a bad caufe, Jbauld more plainly donfefs it than byfervi^ it, as here (and not

here only) you ferve yours. Good Sir, be not fo angry, left to obferving men

you increafe the fufpicion. One may, without forfeiture of modefy or con-

fcience, fear what mens principles threaten, though their words difclaim it.

Nonconformity to the national, when it is thettue religion, as in England,.

is 2^ fault, a vice, fay you, to be corredted by the coc^vije po^er of the ma~

gijirate. If fb, and force be the proper remedy, he mult increafe it, till

it be ftrong enough to work the cure j and muft not negle<!t his duty, for

fo you make it, when he has force enough in his hand to make this remedy

more powerful. For wherever force is proper to work on men, and bring

them to a compliance, its not producing that eflFeft can only be imputed to

its being too little : And if lb, whither at laft muft it come, but to the late

methods of procuring Conformity, and as his moft Chriftian Majelty called

it, of faving .of fouls, in France, or feverities like them, when more mo-

, derate ones cannot produce it ? For to continue inefficacious penalties, in-

fuificient upon trial to mafter the fault they are applied to, is unjuftifiable

cruelty ; and that which no body can have a right to ufe, it ferving only to

?. 44 difeafe and harm people, without amending them: For you tell us, they-

fliould h^fuchfenakies as Ihould make them unea^.

He that Ihould vex and pain a fore you had, with frequent dreffing it
with fome moderate, painful, but inefficacious plaifter, that promoted not.
the . cure, would juftly be thought, not only an ignorant, but a difhoneft
furgeon. If you are in the furgeon's hands, and his help is requilite, and
the cure that way to be wronghi, corrofives and fire are the moft merciful,
as well as only jufti'fiable way of cure, when the cafe needs them. And
therefore I hope I may ^ill pretend to modefy and confcience, though I Ihould
have thought you io rational a man, as to be led by your own principles ;
and &) honeft^ charitable, and zealous for the falvation of mens fouls, as
not to vex and difeafe them with inefficacious remedies to no purpple, and
let them mJfs of falvation, for want of more vigorous profecutions. For
if Conformity to the church of Englandhe necelTary to falvation, for elfe
what neceffity can you pretend of punilhing men at all to bring them to it ?
it is cruelty to their fouls, if you have authority for any fuch means, to ufe
forae, and act to ufe fufficient force to bring them to conf(»-m. And I dare



A THIRD LETTER FOR TOLERATION 211

fay you are fatisfied, that the French difcipUne of dragooning would have
made many in En^nd Conformifts, whom your lower penalties will not
prevail on to be &>.

But to inform you that my apprehenfions were not fo wholly out of the
way, I befeech you to read here what you have writ in tiiefe words ;
For how tof^dently Jbetxr you tell me here^ that it is more than I can fay for P. 34.
tny pc^tical punifliments, thU they were ever ufeful for the promoting true
rdigion ; lineal to aU vhfendng ferfms, Aether ^^hereoer true religion, or
found Chrifiianity has been nationally received ^nd eftablilhed By ■moderate fenal
laws, it has mt always Itift ground hy the relaxation of tbofe laws : Whether
feds and herefies, (even the wildeji and mofi ahfurd) and even Epicurifm and
Atheifhij have not continually thereupon fpread themfelves ; and whether the
veryfpirit -and life af Chrijiianity hasnotfenfily decayed, as well as the number
of found prof effors ^ it been daily leffened^on it : Not tofpeak of what at this
time our eyes cannot hut feet fir fear ■of giving >offence ', though I hope it wtll
he none to <eny that •have a juft: concern far truthand piety, to take notice of the
hooks and pamphlets which nowfy fo thick about this kingdom^ manifefiiy tend^
ing to the multiplying of feBs and jdmifisns, and even to the promoting of fcep-
ticifm in reUgion amsng^iis. Here you ibemoan the decaying ilate of reli-
gion amongft us at prefent, by reafon of taking off the penalties hova Pro- v
teftant -Diflenters : And I befeeoh you wlial penalties were they ? Sudi where-
by Kiany have been ruined in their &a"tunes i fiich whereby many have loft
their liberties, and fome their lives iti iprifons ; fuch as have fent ibme into ba-
nithment, ftripped of all they had. Thefe were xh^ penal laws hy which
the national religion was eftahliihed in England; and thefe you caU mode-^
rate : For you fay. Wherever true Teiigian or found C'hriflianity has been na^
lionally received and eflahlifoed hy moderate penaLlaws -, and I hope you do not
here exclude JE^g"/i««<;/ from having its ;religion fo efabUJhed by law, which
we^o often hear of; or if to&rve the prefent occafion, you fhould, would
you alfo deny, that in the following words you fpeak of the prefent re-
laxation in Emgland^ where after your appeal to all obferving people for the
difiijal confequences, which you iuppafe to iiave every where followed from
foch relaxations, you add thefe pathcticd words. Not to fpeak of what at
this time our eyes cannot but fee, for fear of giving evince : So heavy does the
.pr>e^nt relaxation fit on yourmdndj which fince it i« of penal laws you call
^moderate, I fhall fhew you what thqr are.

In the firfl: year of queen Elizabeth, there was a penalty of i j. a Sunday
and holiday laid upon every one, who came not to the common prayer then
eftabliftied. This penaly of i j. a time not prevailing, as was deiired, in
-the twenty third year of her reign was increafed to 20 /. a month, and im-
prifonment for non-payment within three months after judgment given. In
the twenty ninth year of Elizabeth, to draw this yet clofer, and make it
more forcible, it was raaaifted. That whoever upon one conviftion did not
continue to pay on the 20,/. :^ir month, without any other convidtion or
.proceedings againll him till he fubnaitted and conformed, ihould forfeit all
his :goods, and two thirds of his land for his life. But this being not yet

E e 2 thought



212 A THIRD LETTER FOR TOLERATION

thought fufficient, it was in the thirty fifth year of that queen compleated,
and the moderate Jienal lauvs, upon which our national religion was ejiaklijhed,
and whofe relaxation you cannot bear, but from thence date the decay of the
veryfpirit and life of Cbrijiianity, were brought to perfeiftion. tor then
going to conventicles, or a month's abfence from church, was to be punifh-
ed with imprifonment, till the .offender conformed; and if he conformed
not within three months, then he was to abjure the realm, and forfeit all
his goods and chattels for ever, and his lands and tenements during his life-:
And if he would not abjure, or abjuring, did not depart the realm within
a time prefixed, or returned again, he was to fuffer death as a felon. . And
thus your moderate . penal laws ftood for the ejiablijhed- religion, till their pe-
nalties were, in reipedof Proteftant DilTenters, lately taken off. And now
let the Feader judge whether your pretence to moderate punifliments, or my
fufpicion of what a man of your principles might have in {lore for Difien-
ters, have more of modejly or conffiience in it ; fince you openly declare your
regret for the taking away fuch an. eftablifhment, as by the gradual increafe
of penalties reached mens eftates, liberties and lives j and which you muft
be prefumed to allow and approve of, till you tell us plainly, where, ac-
cording to youE meafures, thofe penalties fhouldj or, according to your
principles, they could have flopped. ■

3*. II You tell us. That where this only true religion, ^iz. of the church of
England, is received, other religions ought to be difcouraged in fome meafure.
A pretty expreflaon for undoing, imprifonment, banifliment j for thofe have
been fome of the difcouragements given to Diflenters here in England. You
will again, no doubt, cry aloud, that you tell me you condemn thefe as much
as I do. If you heartily condemn them, I wonder you fliould fay fo little
to difcourage them j I woader you are fo filent in reprefenting to the ma-
giftrate the unlawfulnefs and. danger of ufing them, in a difcourfe where
you are treating of the magiftrate's power and duty in matters of religion ;
efpecially this being the fide on whieh^ as far as we may guefs by exper
rience, their prudence is apteft to err : But your modeftyj you know,
leaves all to the magiftrate's prudence and experience on that fide, though you
over and over again incourage them not to negledl their duty in the ufe of
force, to which you ijet no bounds.

f. 50 You tell us. Certainly no. man doubts but the prudence and experience of go*-
'vernors and law-givers inables them to ufe and apply it^ viz. your rulfe for the
meafure of punifhments, which I have ihe wed to be no rule at all i And to
■judge more exaSlly what penalties da agree witS it; and therefore yo\x mujl be
excufed if you do not take upon you to teach thern^ what it becomes you gather
to learn from them. If your modefty be fuch, and you then did what be^
came you, you could not but learn from your governors and law-givers, Tind
fo be fatisfied till within this year or tvvo, that thofe penalties which they
meafured out for the eftablifhment of true religion, though they reached
to mens eftates, liberties and lives, were fuch as were fit. But what yoa
have learned of your law-makers and ^qvernors fince the relaxation, or what

opinicra.



A THIRD LETTER FOR TOLERATION aij

opinion you have of their experience and prudence now, is not fo eafjr
to fay.

Perhaps you will iay again, that you have in exprefs words declared againft
jir& and /word, lofs of efistCy maiming ^ith corporal funijhmentst Jiarving and
Mrmenting in noijhme prifons-, and one cannot either in madefty or eanfaence
difbeUeve you: Yet in the fame letter y.0U with fbrrow and regret fpeakof
the r€laxation of fuck penalties laid on Nonconformity, by which men have
loft dieir eftates, liberfaes, and lives too, in noifome prifons, and in this
too muft we not believe you ? I dare fay, there are very few who read that P. 34
paffage of yours, fo feelingly it is penned, who want madefty or cmfcimce to
heiieve you therein to be in earneft -, and the rather, becaufe what drops
from men by chance, when they are not upon their guard, is always thought
the besft interpretation of their thoughts.

Ytfu name /^ of eftafe, of lihtrty, and t^rmentingt which is corporal

■^usijhment, as if you were agaanft them : Certainly you know what you

meant by thefe words, when you tfeid, you condemned them j was it any

degree of lofsof Mer^y er lefiatt, any degree of corporal pun^meni that you

condemned, or only ,tbe utmoft, or ifome degree between thefe ? unkfs you

jatad then fome meaning, aodunlefs you pleafe to teH us, what that meaning

was; where it is, that in your opinien the magilfoate ought to ftop, who

can believe you are in ewneft? "This 1 think you may and ought to do

for our iafbrHiation in your fyftem* without Arty appreheofio*! that ;gov6r-

nors and kw-^ivers will deem themfelves ^much lau^at by you, -whixSi your

jW«^^ -makes you fo cautious of. Whilft yoa :Befiife to do -this, jsaid keep

your felf iioiigr -t}'-° ♦v^^r o f <3 f io « l cmte7"xxnivenient,^nandnolficieBt force aijii

penalties, -and ether tfijch-lUee uncertain and undetermined puniftM!aent«, 'I

thiiik a con&iencious andfober Di^nter might: expert fairer dealing froth

one of my P^gam or Mskmrnedam, asycai fikafe to call *hem, than

from one, who fo pr^etfeifes moderation, that ^what. degrees of force, what

kiadof ipuniftiments wiU fatisfy him, he either .knows not, or will not de-

'Chtfe. For your ttiaderate and .convenient -isEi&Y^ when you come to interpret

rthem, jfigriiify what tpuni&ments you rpleafe : For the .cure being to be

wrought by lOfce, that will fee conmement, which the Aubbornnefsof the evil

requires J N^nd that m&deratt, which is but>eBou^ to work the cure. And

■tl^sefore I fliall return your ?own complen$ent, ft^at J would never wijh that

jiny-man iioho has , -undertaken <a bad^cai^ .fiimdd\mor£ p^ialy ^canfefs it than by

fePmng it, as her^e fund wit here ^oa^J youfersieyaurs. i fliould "beg your

pardon for t-his fort of lan^age^ were it not your own. And what right

you have to it, •the^trill yourfhew in the ma»agement-cif>^ner«l anddoubt-

ful woFds and^expreffions, of uncertain and undetermined fignMcation, will,

I-id0ubt hot, abundantly convince the reader. An iaftance we have in the

.argurHttent'befoire u-s : Fori appeal to anyifober man, who ihall carefully read

what yeu write, where you pretaid to-telltbe marJdplamlyandSr^Bly 's&hat P, 49

^.punfh^ents ^TQ to "be ruled byyour fcheme, ^rahether after having ^weighed

all -you fay concerning that matter, he can tell, what a Nonconformift is to

expedtTrom you, or find any thing but fuch acutenefe and ftrength ^s lies

i {, E e 3 ia



«i4 A THIRD LETTER FOR TOLERATION

in the uncertainty and referve of your way of talking; which whether it
be any way futed to your modefiy and confcience, where you have undertaken
to tell us ijohat the punijhmekts are, whereby you would have men brot^ht
to imbrace the true religion-, I leave you to confider.
f. 34. If haviag faid. Wherever true religion or found 'Chri/iianity has been na^

tionally received and ejiahlijhed by moderate penal laws ; you fhall for your de*
fence of the eftablifhment of the religion in England by law, fay, which
is all is left you to fay, that though fuch fevere laws were madCi yet it was
only by the execution of moderate penal laws, that it was eftabliflied and
fupported : but that thofe fevere laws that touched mens eftates, liberties
and lives, were never put in execution. Why then do you fo ferioufly be-
moan the lofs of them? But I advife you not to make ufe of that plea»
for there are examples in the memory of hundreds now living, of every
one of thofe laws of queen Elizabeth being put in execution ; and pray re-
member, if by denying it you require this truth to be made good, iris
you that force the publifhing of a catalogue of men that have loft their
. eftates, liberties and lives in prifon,, which it would be more for the advan-
tage of the religion ejiablijhed by law, fliould be forgotten.

But to conclude this great accufation of youfs : If you' were not con-
fcious to your felf of feme tendency that way, why fuch an outcry ? Why
was modejiy 2iiiA confcience called in queftion'? Why- was it lefs fair dealing
than you could have expeBed from a Pagan or Mahometan, for me to- fay,
if in thofe words '* you meant any thing to the bufinefs in hand; you feemed
** to have a referve for greater punifhments ?" Your bufinefs there being to
prove, tbat there was a p®wervcffca^n th©^ii^glftra*c:^;crTifc foice. In taatters
of religion, what could be more befides the bufinefs in hand, than to tell us, as
you interpret your meaning here, that the magiftrate had a power to ufe force
againft thofe wJio; rebelled, for who ever denied that, whether Diffenters or
not Diflenters ? Where was it queftioned by the author or me, that whoever
rebelled, were to fall under -the firoak of the mag^rdte's fword? And there-
fore without breach oi modejiy -or confcience, I might fay, what I again' here
repeat, " That if in thofe words you meant any ^ing to- the bufinefe in
*• hand, you feemed to have a referve for greater puniihments."

One thing more give me leave to add in defence of my modefiy and con-
ftience, or rather to juftify my felf from having guefled fo wholly befide the
matter, if I fliould. have feid, which I did not, that I feared you had a re-
li.II,p»83 -ferve far greater punijhments.. For I having brought the inftances of Ana-r
nias and SappMra, to ftiew that the ApofHes wanted not power to punifli,
if they found it neceffary to ufe it; you' infer, that therefore /««^»i?^»^ ot^
3>, 38 befpmetimes necejjary. What punifliments I befeech you, for theirs- coft

them their livds ? , He that, as you do, concludes from thence, thztihere-
ioxe punijhments may befometimes necejfary, will hardly avoid, whatever he
fays, to conclude C2i^\xA punijhmentx'necejfary : And when they are necejfary,
it is you know the magiftrate's duty to ufe them. You fee how natural it is
for men to go whither their principles, lead them> though at firft. fight per-
haps, they thought it too far..

If



h THIRI> l^ETTER FOR TOLERATIOtq; ^i^ ;

If to avoid this, jjqu flaw fay fon ft^eant it of the puniihmetit of the In-
ceftuofis Corinthian, whom I alfq mentioned in the fame place ; I think, fup-
pofmg yeur fdf to lie under the imputation of a r^ferwe of greater punifli-
ments, you ought in prudence to have faid fo there. |S[ext yop know not
what punifhment it was the inceftuous Corinthian ui^derwent, but it being
^r tke defiru&kHof tkfi f»fi» it feems to be no very light one : And if you
will take your friend St. ^mJW^ word for it, as he in the very epiftle you
quote tells you, it waa a very feyfef? one, making as jaiueh difference between
it, ^tid the i€*f dtjes nuen ufually fuSer in prjfon, as there is between the
cruelty of the Devil and that Qf the ipoft barbarous jaylor : fo that if your
moderafe pumfhmHts will Bfsch to that laid ©rvthe ineeftuoiis Ccffiijthian for



Online LibraryJohn LockeLetters concerning toleration → online text (page 29 of 54)