Friday, May 14, 2010

William Livingston, Cato, February 4, 1778

I've uploaded the entire text from William Livingston's address as "Cato," February 4, 1778 which I quoted in my last post. If the text is too small, use the magnifying glass tool.

Pay close attention to the 3rd footnote. And that's because our next upload will be of a piece by Livingston dated February 18, 1778. Yet the footnote appears to inform that it was "inserted" by Mathew Carey under Livingston's name in 1788. The reason why the ten years make a difference is because, as we will see, the arguments there strikingly parallel Madison's in the Memorial and Remonstrance. If these were Livingston's words in 1778 we could reasonably concluded Madison lifted the ideas (that's how close they are). But if they were Carey's words in 1788, it's likely he lifted the ideas from Madison. Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance was written in 1785.

Livingston 1

Livingston 2

Update: In rereading the footnote, it seems that BOTH pieces were "inserted" by M. Carey in 1788. However, I can't tell (yet) who wrote the pieces (Livingston, under whose name they were given or Carey) and when they were written (1778 when dated or 1788 when published). The difference matters. Because as noted if they were written in 1778, they anticipate Madison's argument in the Memorial and Remonstrance, and some of Jefferson's Virginia arguments too. It's true that the "Whigs" -- Jefferson, Madison, and Livingston -- cribbed Locke. However, it wasn't just "Locke," but rather how Jefferson understood Locke, how Madison understood Locke, how Livingston understood Locke, etc.


King of Ireland said...

"However, it wasn't just "Locke," but rather how Jefferson understood Locke, how Madison understood Locke, how Livingston understood Locke, etc."

The 500 million dollar question. I think the one thing I think I will see as I read all the old writings about resistance theory is that things evolved with time. I think Babka alluded to this in one of his posts. I read a little of Hooker the other day and find his theology very sound so far. I wonder what Locke disagreed with?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Natural law theory as the foundation of our rights---Aquinas, Hooker, Locke, Jefferson and the D of I, seem to be taught in a public school system in New Jersey.

I am stunned.

If this and perhaps Washington's Farewell Address about the "felicity" of religion in and for the polity were the sum total of what is taught to our kids about religion and the Founding, I'd be cool with that.

King of Ireland said...

I saw that the other day too. We must have been doing the same google search. I am not sure if it is part of the standards or a creative teacher.

King of Ireland said...

From what I read here covenant theory and the right to depose a king were very much a part of the writings of Aquinas as well. I think we found our smoking gun. It is just a matter of the details to see where they differ. But the core foundation of covenant theory/social contract and rights based on imago dei seem to be a part all of there writings.

Jonathan Rowe said...

But King,

One BIG thing you miss is that there is a difference between "covenant" and "social contract." You can't just put a / between them and elide the difference.

Covenants were done with God as a party; most often the Triune God. "Social contract" is what ties John Locke with Hobbes and Rousseau. And the social contract is between "the people" and government, with God absent as a party.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I believe the logic goes that God gives sovereignty to the people [as opposed to the Divine Right of Kings]. The people entrust the king with sovereignity via a social contract. God is not directly involved.

Unknown said...

Tom gets it right and this is one of the biggest mistakes people make with the theology of all this(unless I am missing something and I might) when they miss the fact that the covanent was between King and People. I cannot find a copy of Vindicae in full on the net but I hear he explained this the best.

I was reading a series of lectures turned into a book in 1938 today about Medieval political thought call "The Contributions of Medieval Political Thought" if you google "hooker and Aquinas" it is about the fourth down. Anyway if he reads Aquinas right is sounds an awful lot like Locke. Some of the theology and philosophy is so complicated it does get confusing but I see some clear links.

Unknown said...

As far as Vindicae it was stated that the religious covenant was between King and God with the people as the witness. This was God job to curb the king is he fell down in this area. The right to rule was a covenant between King and People and the people gave him the right to rule of he did it in their best interests. When he usurped more power than they gave they were to depose him.

I have not studied it out in the Bible but at first glance it seems plausible to me.