Two Treatises of Government by John Locke. - HTML preview

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Book II





Sect. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,

(<i>1</i>). That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or by

positive donation from God, any such authority over his children, or

dominion over the world, as is pretended: (<i>2</i>). That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right to it:

(<i>3</i>). That if his heirs had, there being no law of nature nor positive

law of God that determines which is the right heir in all cases that may

arise, the right of succession, and consequently of bearing rule, could

not have been certainly determined: (<i>4</i>). That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of which

is the eldest line of Adam's posterity, being so long since utterly

lost, that in the races of mankind and families of the world, there

remains not to one above another, the least pretence to be the eldest

house, and to have the right of inheritance: All these premises having, as I think, been clearly made out, it is

impossible that the rulers now on earth should make any benefit, or

derive any the least shadow of authority from that, which is held to be

the fountain of all power, Adam's private dominion and paternal

jurisdiction; so that he that will not give just occasion to think that

all government in the world is the product only of force and violence,

and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts, where

the strongest carries it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disorder

and mischief, tumult, sedition and rebellion, (things that the followers

of that hypothesis so loudly cry out against) must of necessity find out

another rise of government, another original of political power, and

another way of designing and knowing the persons that have it, than what

Sir Robert Filmer hath taught us.

Sect. 2. To this purpose, I think it may not be amiss, to set down what

I take to be political power; that the power of a MAGISTRATE over a

subject may be distinguished from that of a FATHER over his children, a

MASTER over his servant, a HUSBAND over his wife, and a LORD over his

slave. All which distinct powers happening sometimes together in the

same man, if he be considered under these different relations, it may

help us to distinguish these powers one from wealth, a father of a

family, and a captain of a galley.

Sect. 3. POLITICAL POWER, then, I take to be a RIGHT of making laws with

penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the

regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the

community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the

commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public




Sect. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it from its

original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and

that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose

of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds

of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will

of any other man.

A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is

reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more

evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously

born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same

faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without

subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all

should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another,

and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted

right to dominion and sovereignty.

Sect. 5. This equality of men by nature, the judicious Hooker looks upon

as so evident in itself, and beyond all question, that he makes it the

foundation of that obligation to mutual love amongst men, on which he

builds the duties they owe one another, and from whence he derives the

great maxims of justice and charity. His words are,


The like natural inducement hath brought men to know that it is no

less their duty, to love others than themselves; for seeing those

things which are equal, must needs all have one measure; if I

cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man's hands,

as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have

any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to

satisfy the like desire, which is undoubtedly in other men, being

of one and the same nature? To have any thing offered them

repugnant to this desire, must needs in all respects grieve them as

much as me; so that if I do harm, I must look to suffer, there

being no reason that others should shew greater measure of love to

me, than they have by me shewed unto them: my desire therefore to

be loved of my equals in nature as much as possible may be,

imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to them-ward fully the

like affection; from which relation of equality between ourselves

and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons

natural reason hath drawn, for direction of life, no man is

ignorant, Eccl. Pol. Lib. 1.


Sect. 6. But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of

licence: though man in that state have an uncontroulable liberty to

dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy

himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some

nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature

has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason,

which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that

being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his

life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship

of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one

sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his

business; they are his property, whose workmanship they are, made to

last during his, not one another's pleasure: and being furnished with

like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be

supposed any such subordination among us, that may authorize us to

destroy one another, as if we were made for one another's uses, as the

inferior ranks of creatures are for our's. Every one, as he is bound to

preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like

reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as

much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it

be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what

tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or

goods of another.

Sect. 7. And that all men may be restrained from invading others rights,

and from doing hurt to one another, and the law of nature be observed,

which willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution

of the law of nature is, in that state, put into every man's hands,

whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to

such a degree, as may hinder its violation: for the law of nature would,

as all other laws that concern men in this world 'be in vain, if there

were no body that in the state of nature had a power to execute that

law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders. And if

any one in the state of nature may punish another for any evil he has

done, every one may do so: for in that state of perfect equality, where

naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another,

what any may do in prosecution of that law, every one must needs have a

right to do.

Sect. 8. And thus, in the state of nature, one man comes by a power over

another; but yet no absolute or arbitrary power, to use a criminal, when

he has got him in his hands, according to the passionate heats, or

boundless extravagancy of his own will; but only to retribute to him, so

far as calm reason and conscience dictate, what is proportionate to his

transgression, which is so much as may serve for reparation and

restraint: for these two are the only reasons, why one man may lawfully

do harm to another, which is that we call punishment. In transgressing

the law of nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule

than that of reason and common equity, which is that measure God has set

to the actions of men, for their mutual security; and so he becomes

dangerous to mankind, the tye, which is to secure them from injury and

violence, being slighted and broken by him. Which being a trespass

against the whole species, and the peace and safety of it, provided for

by the law of nature, every man upon this score, by the right he hath to

preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is necessary,

destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any one,

who hath transgressed that law, as may make him repent the doing of it,

and thereby deter him, and by his example others, from doing the like

mischief. And in the case, and upon this ground, EVERY




Sect. 9. I doubt not but this will seem a very strange doctrine to some

men: but before they condemn it, I desire them to resolve me, by what

right any prince or state can put to death, or punish an alien, for any

crime he commits in their country. It is certain their laws, by virtue

of any sanction they receive from the promulgated will of the

legislative, reach not a stranger: they speak not to him, nor, if they

did, is he bound to hearken to them. The legislative authority, by which

they are in force over the subjects of that commonwealth, hath no power

over him. Those who have the supreme power of making laws in England,

France or Holland, are to an Indian, but like the rest of the world, men

without authority: and therefore, if by the law of nature every man hath

not a power to punish offences against it, as he soberly judges the case

to require, I see not how the magistrates of any community can punish an

alien of another country; since, in reference to him, they can have no

more power than what every man naturally may have over another.

Sect, 10. Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and

varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes

degenerate, and declares himself to quit the principles of human nature,

and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly injury done to some

person or other, and some other man receives damage by his

transgression: in which case he who hath received any damage, has,

besides the right of punishment common to him with other men, a

particular right to seek reparation from him that has done it: and any

other person, who finds it just, may also join with him that is injured,

and assist him in recovering from the offender so much as may make

satisfaction for the harm he has suffered.

Sect. 11. From these two distinct rights, the one of punishing the crime

for restraint, and preventing the like offence, which right of punishing

is in every body; the other of taking reparation, which belongs only to

the injured party, comes it to pass that the magistrate, who by being

magistrate hath the common right of punishing put into his hands, can

often, where the public good demands not the execution of the law, remit

the punishment of criminal offences by his own authority, but yet cannot

remit the satisfaction due to any private man for the damage he has

received. That, he who has suffered the damage has a right to demand in

his own name, and he alone can remit: the damnified person has this

power of appropriating to himself the goods or service of the offender,

by right of self-preservation, as every man has a power to punish the

crime, to prevent its being committed again, by the right he has of

preserving all mankind, and doing all reasonable things he can in order

to that end: and thus it is, that every man, in the state of nature, has

a power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like

injury, which no reparation can compensate, by the example of the

punishment that attends it from every body, and also to secure men from

the attempts of a criminal, who having renounced reason, the common rule

and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence and

slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind,

and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tyger, one of those wild

savage beasts, with whom men can have no society nor security: and upon

this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso sheddeth man's blood,

by man shall his blood be shed. And Cain was so fully convinced, that

every one had a right to destroy such a criminal, that after the murder

of his brother, he cries out, Every one that findeth me, shall slay me;

so plain was it writ in the hearts of all mankind.

Sect. 12. By the same reason may a man in the state of nature punish the

lesser breaches of that law. It will perhaps be demanded, with death? I

answer, each transgression may be punished to that degree, and with so

much severity, as will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the

offender, give him cause to repent, and terrify others from doing the

like. Every offence, that can be committed in the state of nature, may

in the state of nature be also punished equally, and as far forth as it

may, in a commonwealth: for though it would be besides my present

purpose, to enter here into the particulars of the law of nature, or its

measures of punishment; yet, it is certain there is such a law, and that

too, as intelligible and plain to a rational creature, and a studier of

that law, as the positive laws of commonwealths; nay, possibly plainer;

as much as reason is easier to be understood, than the fancies and

intricate contrivances of men, following contrary and hidden interests

put into words; for so truly are a great part of the municipal laws of

countries, which are only so far right, as they are founded on the law

of nature, by which they are to be regulated and interpreted.

Sect. 13. To this strange doctrine, viz. That in the state of nature

every one has the executive power of the law of nature, I doubt not but

it will be objected, that it is unreasonable for men to be judges in

their own cases, that self-love will make men partial to themselves and

their friends: and on the other side, that ill nature, passion and

revenge will carry them too far in punishing others; and hence nothing

but confusion and disorder will follow, and that therefore God hath

certainly appointed government to restrain the partiality and violence

of men. I easily grant, that civil government is the proper remedy for

the inconveniencies of the state of nature, which must certainly be

great, where men may be judges in their own case, since it is easy to be

imagined, that he who was so unjust as to do his brother an injury, will

scarce be so just as to condemn himself for it: but I shall desire those

who make this objection, to remember, that absolute monarchs are but

men; and if government is to be the remedy of those evils, which

necessarily follow from men's being judges in their own cases, and the

state of nature is therefore not to be endured, I desire to know what

kind of government that is, and how much better it is than the state

of nature, where one man, commanding a multitude, has the liberty to be

judge in his own case, and may do to all his subjects whatever he

pleases, without the least liberty to any one to question or controul

those who execute his pleasure? and in whatsoever he doth, whether led

by reason, mistake or passion, must be submitted to?

much better it is

in the state of nature, wherein men are not bound to submit to the

unjust will of another: and if he that judges, judges amiss in his own,

or any other case, he is answerable for it to the rest of mankind.

Sect. 14. It is often asked as a mighty objection, where are, or ever

were there any men in such a state of nature? To which it may suffice as

an answer at present, that since all princes and rulers of independent

governments all through the world, are in a state of nature, it is plain

the world never was, nor ever will be, without numbers of men in that

state. I have named all governors of independent communities, whether

they are, or are not, in league with others: for it is not every compact

that puts an end to the state of nature between men, but only this one

of agreeing together mutually to enter into one community, and make one

body politic; other promises, and compacts, men may make one with

another, and yet still be in the state of nature. The promises and

bargains for truck, &c. between the two men in the desert island,

mentioned by Garcilasso de la Vega, in his history of Peru; or between a

Swiss and an Indian, in the woods of America, are binding to them,

though they are perfectly in a state of nature, in reference to one

another: for truth and keeping of faith belongs to men, as men, and not

as members of society.

Sect. 15. To those that say, there were never any men in the state of

nature, I will not only oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker,

Eccl. Pol. lib. i. sect. 10, where he says,


The laws which have been hitherto mentioned, i.e.

the laws of

nature, do bind men absolutely, even as they are men, although they

have never any settled fellowship, never any solemn agreement

amongst themselves what to do, or not to do: but forasmuch as we

are not by ourselves sufficient to furnish ourselves with competent

store of things, needful for such a life as our nature doth desire,

a life fit for the dignity of man; therefore to supply those

defects and imperfections which are in us, as living single and

solely by ourselves, we are naturally induced to seek communion and

fellowship with others: this was the cause of men's uniting

themselves at first in politic societies.


But I moreover affirm, that all men are naturally in that state, and

remain so, till by their own consents they make themselves members of

some politic society; and I doubt not in the sequel of this discourse,

to make it very clear.



Sect. 16. THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and

therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a

sedate settled design upon another man's life, puts him in a state of

war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has

exposed his life to the other's power to be taken away by him, or any

one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it

being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which

threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature,

man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be

preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may

destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his

being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because

such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no

other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as

beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure

to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.

Sect. 17. And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into

his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with

him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his

life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his

power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me

there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can

desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by

force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a

slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my

preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my

preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it;

so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into

a state of war with me. He that, in the state of nature, would take away

the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, must necessarily be

supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom

being the foundation of all the rest; as he that, in the state of

society, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society

or commonwealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them every

thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.

Sect. 18. This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in

the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther

than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away

his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he

has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it

will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my

liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing

else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put

himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that

hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war,

and is aggressor in it.

Sect. 19. And here we have the plain difference between the state of

nature and the state of war, which however some men have confounded, are

as far distant, as a state of peace, good will, mutual assistance and

preservation, and a state of enmity, malice, violence and mutual

destruction, are one from another. Men living together according to

reason, without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge

between them, is properly the state of nature. But force, or a declared

design of force, upon the person of another, where there is no common

superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is the state of war: and it

is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against

an aggressor, tho' he be in society and a fellow subject. Thus a thief,

whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for having stolen all that

I am worth, I may kill, when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or

coat; because the law, which was made for my preservation, where it

cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which, if lost,

is capable of no reparation, permits me my own defence, and the right of

war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the aggressor allows not

time to appeal to our common judge, nor the decision of the law, for

remedy in a case where the mischief may be irreparable.

Want of a common

judge with authority, puts all men in a state of nature: force without

right, upon a man's person, makes a state of war, both where there is,

and is not, a common judge.

Sect. 20. But when the actual force is over, the state of war ceases

between those that are in society, and are equally on both sides

subjected to the fair determination of the law; because then there lies

open the remedy of appeal for the past injury, and to prevent future

harm: but where no such appeal is, as in the state of nature, for want

of positive laws, and judges with authority to appeal to, the state of

war once begun, continues, with a right to the innocent party to destroy

the other whenever he can, until the aggressor offers peace, and desires

reconciliation on such terms as may repair any wrongs he has already

done, and secure the innocent for the future; nay, where an appeal to

the law, and constituted judges, lies open, but the remedy is denied by

a manifest perverting of justice, and a barefaced wresting of the laws

to protect or indemnify the violence or injuries of some men, or party

of men, there it is hard to imagine any thing but a state of war: for

wherever violence is used, and injury done, though by hands appointed to

administer justice, it is still violence and injury, however coloured

with the name, pretences, or forms of law, the end whereof being to

protect and redress the innocent, by an unbiassed application of it, to

all who are under it; wherever that is not bona fide done, war is made

upon the sufferers, who having no appeal on earth to right them, they

are left to the only remedy in such cases, an appeal to heaven.

Sect. 21. To avoid this state of war (wherein there is no appeal but to

heaven, and wherein every the least difference is apt to end, where

there is no authority to decide between the contenders) is one great

reason of men's putting themselves into society, and quitting the state

of nature: for where there is an authority, a power on earth, from which

relief can be had by appeal, there the continuance of the state of war

is excluded, and the controversy is decided by that power. Had there

been any such court, any superior jurisdiction on earth, to determine

the right between Jephtha and the Ammonites, they had never come to a

state of war: but we see he was forced to appeal to heaven. The Lord the

Judge (says he) be judge this day between the children of Israel and the

children of Ammon, Judg. xi. 27. and then prosecuting, and relying on

his appeal, he leads out his army to battle: and therefore in such

controversies, where the question is put, who shall be judge? It cannot

be meant, who shall decide the controversy; every one knows what Jephtha

here tells us, that the Lord the Judge shall judge.

Where there is no

judge on earth, the appeal lies to God in heaven. That question then

cannot mean, who shall judge, whether another hath put himself in a

state of war with me, and whether I may, as Jephtha did, appeal to

heaven in it? of that I myself can only be judge in my own conscience,

as I will answer it, at the great day, to the supreme judge of all men.



Sect. 22. THE natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior

power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of

man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule.

The liberty of

man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power, but that

established, by consent, in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of

any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall

enact, according to the trust put in it. Freedom then is not what Sir

Robert Filmer tells us, Observations, A. 55. a liberty for every one to

do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not to be tied by any laws:

but freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live

by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative

power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things,

where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant,

uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man: as freedom of nature

is, to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.

Sect. 23. This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary

to, and closely joined with a man's preservation, that he cannot part

with it, but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a

man, not having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his

own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the

absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he

pleases. No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that

cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it.

Indeed, having by his fault forfeited his own life, by some act that

deserves death; he, to whom he has forfeited it, may (when he has him in

his power) delay to take it, and make use of him to his own service, and

he does him no injury by it: for, whenever he finds the hardship of his

slavery outweigh the value of his life, it is in his power, by resisting

the will of his master, to draw on himself the death he desires.

Sect. 24. This is the perfect condition of slavery, which is nothing

else, but the state of war continued, between a lawful conqueror and a

captive: for, if once compact enter between them, and make an agreement

for a limited power on the one side, and obedience on the other, the

state of war and slavery ceases, as long as the compact endures: for, as

has been said, no man can, by agreement, pass over to another that which

he hath not in himself, a power over his own life.

I confess, we find among the Jews, as well as other nations, that men

did sell themselves; but, it is plain, this was only to drudgery, not to

slavery: for, it is evident, the person sold was not under an absolute,

arbitrary, despotical power: for the master could not have power to kill

him, at any time, whom, at a certain time, he was obliged to let go free

out of his service; and the master of such a servant was so far from

having an arbitrary power over his life, that he could not, at pleasure,

so much as maim him, but the loss of an eye, or tooth, set him free,

Exod. xxi.



Sect. 25. Whether we consider natural reason, which tells us, that men,

being once born, have a right to their preservation, and consequently to

meat and drink, and such other things as nature affords for their

subsistence: or revelation, which gives us an account of those grants

God made of the world to Adam, and to Noah, and his sons, it is very

clear, that God, as king David says, Psal. cxv. 16. has given the earth

to the children of men; given it to mankind in common.

But this being

supposed, it seems to some a very great difficulty, how any one should

ever come to have a property in any thing: I will not content myself to

answer, that if it be difficult to make out property, upon a supposition

that God gave the world to Adam, and his posterity in common, it is

impossible that any man, but one universal monarch, should have any

property upon a supposition, that God gave the world to Adam, and his

heirs in succession, exclusive of all the rest of his posterity. But I

shall endeavour to shew, how men might come to have a property in

several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and that

without any express compact of all the commoners.

Sect. 26. God, who hath given the world to men in common, hath also

given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life, and

convenience. The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the

support and comfort of their being. And tho' all the fruits it naturally

produces, and beasts it feeds, belong to mankind in common, as they are

produced by the spontaneous hand of nature; and no body has originally a

private dominion, exclusive of the rest of mankind, in any of them, as

they are thus in their natural state: yet being given for the use of

men, there must of necessity be a means to appropriate them some way or

other, before they can be of any use, or at all beneficial to any

particular man. The fruit, or venison, which nourishes the wild Indian,

who knows no enclosure, and is still a tenant in common, must be his,

and so his, i.e. a part of him, that another can no longer have any

right to it, before it can do him any good for the support of his life.

Sect. 27. Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all

men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has

any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his

hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of

the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his

labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby

makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state

nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to

it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being

the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a

right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough,

and as good, left in common for others.

Sect. 28. He that is nourished by the acorns he picked up under an oak,

or the apples he gathered from the trees in the wood, has certainly

appropriated them to himself. No body can deny but the nourishment is

his. I ask then, when did they begin to be his? when he digested? or

when he eat? or when he boiled? or when he brought them home? or when he

picked them up? and it is plain, if the first gathering made them not

his, nothing else could. That labour put a distinction between them and

common: that added something to them more than nature, the common mother

of all, had done; and so they became his private right.

And will any one

say, he had no right to those acorns or apples, he thus appropriated,

because he had not the consent of all mankind to make them his? Was it a

robbery thus to assume to himself what belonged to all in common? If

such a consent as that was necessary, man had starved, notwithstanding

the plenty God had given him. We see in commons, which remain so by

compact, that it is the taking any part of what is common, and removing

it out of the state nature leaves it in, which begins the property;

without which the common is of no use. And the taking of this or that

part, does not depend on the express consent of all the commoners. Thus

the grass my horse has bit; the turfs my servant has cut; and the ore I

have digged in any place, where I have a right to them in common with

others, become my property, without the assignation or consent of any

body. The labour that was mine, removing them out of that common state

they were in, hath fixed my property in them.

Sect. 29. By making an explicit consent of every commoner, necessary to

any one's appropriating to himself any part of what is given in common,

children or servants could not cut the meat, which their father or

master had provided for them in common, without assigning to every one

his peculiar part. Though the water running in the fountain be every

one's, yet who can doubt, but that in the pitcher is his only who drew

it out? His labour hath taken it out of the hands of nature, where it

was common, and belonged equally to all her children, and hath thereby

appropriated it to himself.

Sect. 30. Thus this law of reason makes the deer that Indian's who hath

killed it; it is allowed to be his goods, who hath bestowed his labour

upon it, though before it was the common right of every one. And amongst

those who are counted the civilized part of mankind, who have made and

multiplied positive laws to determine property, this original law of

nature, for the beginning of property, in what was before common, still

takes place; and by virtue thereof, what fish any one catches in the

ocean, that great and still remaining common of mankind; or what

ambergrise any one takes up here, is by the labour that removes it out

of that common state nature left it in, made his property, who takes

that pains about it. And even amongst us, the hare that any one is

hunting, is thought his who pursues her during the chase: for being a

beast that is still looked upon as common, and no man's private

possession; whoever has employed so much labour about any of that kind,

as to find and pursue her, has thereby removed her from the state of

nature, wherein she was common, and hath begun a property.

Sect. 31. It will perhaps be objected to this, that if gathering the

acorns, or other fruits of the earth, &c. makes a right to them, then

any one may ingross as much as he will. To which I answer, Not so. The

same law of nature, that does by this means give us property, does also

bound that property too. God has given us all things richly, 1 Tim. vi.

12. is the voice of reason confirmed by inspiration. But how far has he

given it us? To enjoy. As much as any one can make use of to any

advantage of life before it spoils, so much he may by his Tabour fix a

property in: whatever is beyond this, is more than his share, and

belongs to others. Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy.

And thus, considering the plenty of natural provisions there was a long

time in the world, and the few spenders; and to how small a part of that

provision the industry of one man could extend itself, and ingross it to

the prejudice of others; especially keeping within the bounds, set by

reason, of what might serve for his use; there could be then little room

for quarrels or contentions about property so established.

Sect. 32. But the chief matter of property being now not the fruits of

the earth, and the beasts that subsist on it, but the earth itself; as

that which takes in and carries with it all the rest; I think it is

plain, that property in that too is acquired as the former. As much land

as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product

of, so much is his property. He by his labour does, as it were, inclose

it from the common. Nor will it invalidate his right, to say every body

else has an equal title to it; and therefore he cannot appropriate, he

cannot inclose, without the consent of all his fellow-commoners, all

mankind. God, when he gave the world in common to all mankind, commanded