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book on morality, That those who killed Julius Caesar are praiseworthy, because Julius had usurped the government of Rome as a tyrant. My third authority is from Boccacio, who, in his book De Casibus Virorum illustrium, lib. ii. cap. 15, contra filios tyrannorum, in speaking of the tyrant, says, “Shall I call him king shall I call him prince shall I preserve my allegiance to him : Oh no : he is an enemy to the public welfare. May I employ conspiracies and open force against him ' It is very proper and necessary so to do, —for there is not a more agreeable sacrifice than the blood of a tyrant, and it is insupportable to receive blame for having done good.’ . “I come now to my three authorities from the civilians. As I am no lawyer, it will suffice if I mention the judgments that have been given without producing them; for in my life I never studied the canon nor civil law more than two years, and twenty years have passed since that time, so that what little I may have learnt I have quite forgotten since the period of my studies. The first authority of the civil law is, That any one may put to death deserters from the laws of chivalry; and who can be a greater deserter from chivalry than he who deserts the person of his king, the fountain of chivalry, and without whom it cannot long exist Secondly, It is lawful for every one to kill thieves and robbers, who infest forests and rob on the highways, because they are particularly the enemies of the public weal, and consequently plotting to destroy all travellers: consequently, it is lawful to kill a tyrant, who is continually practising against his king, the sovereign lord, and against the public good. Thirdly, If it be lawful for any one by the civil and imperial law to put to death a thief found by night in a house, it is much more so to slay a tyrant, who day and night devises the death of his sovereign lord. This consequence clearly follows, and will be apparent to any man of sound understanding, if he consider it, and the antecedent texts from holy writ.
o Before I touch on the three examples from the holy Scriptures, I wish to reply to some objections that may be made to what I say, in arguing thus: All murder is forbidden by every law, divine, natural, moral, and civil. Whatever may be said to the contrary, I shall prove it from Scripture: “Non occides, in Ex. xx. is one of the divine commandments, which forbids any kind of murder. That it is forbidden by the natural law, I prove by this quotation,-' Natura enim inter homines quandam cognationem constituit qua hominem homini insidiari nefas est.' I prove it forbidden by the moral law, from “Quia per id: hoc non facias aliis quod tibi non vis fieri: alterum non lasdere; jus suum unicuique tribuere: hoc est morale, insuper et de naturalijure.' That the civil and imperial laws forbid murder, those laws shall prove, “Qui hominem occidit capite puniatur, non habita differentia sexus vel conditionis. Item omne bellum omnis usus armorum vitiosus praecipue prohibitus est: nam qui vitio praecipue bellum gerit, laesae majestatis reus est. Item regis proprium furta cohibere, adulteria punire, ipsos de terra perdere: qui enim talia sibi appropriat aut usurpat, principem injuriatur et ladit: quoniam ut dicit lex judiciorum vigor: juris et publica tutela in medio constituta est, nequis de aliquo quantumcunque sceleribus implicito assumere valeat ultionem.’
“To reply to the above arguments: It should be known that theologians and jurists use diversely this word homicidium ; but, notwithstanding, they agree in the same opinion respecting the thing. The theologians say, that to kill a man lawfully is not homicide; for the word homicidium carries with it ‘quod sit justum propter hoc dicunt quod Moyses, Phinees, et Mathathias non commiserunt homicidia, quia juste occiderunt;' but some jurists say, that killing of a man, just or unjust, is homicide,-while others deny it, saying there are two modes of homicide, legal and illegal; and for justifiable homicide no man ought to be punished. I answer, therefore, with the theologians, that the killing of a tyrant is not homicide, inasmuch as it is just and legal. . According to the general law, I confess it would be homicide; but if there be shown justifiable cause for it, no punishment, but remuneration, should follow.
“With regard to that part of the argument which says, “Quod hominem homini insidiari nefas est, et quae magis insidiatur homini,' &c. it alludes to a tyrant who is continually practising the death of his king and sovereign lord. ‘Et homo est nefas, et perditio, et iniquitas.” As for him who slays a man, by watching a proper opportunity for it, to save the life of his king, and preserve him from mortal peril, he does no “nefas," but acquits himself of his duty toward his sovereign lord. “Et homo est nefas, et perditio, et iniquitas;’ and therefore he who kills such a one, by watching a proper opportunity, does it to save the life of his king. In regard to that passage which says, “Non facias aliis, &c. alterum non lasdere,’ &c. I reply, that it makes against the tyrant, and in favour of him who slays him; for he (the tyrant) does against his king that which he would not have to be done against himself, “et ipsum regem injuriatur et laedit.' For which reason, he who has put to death such a person, according to his deserts, has done nothing contrary to the laws, but has preserved the meaning of them, namely, true equity and loyalty towards his king and sovereign lord. “To the other quotation from the laws that says, “Hominem occidere capitale esse, omnis usus armorum,’ &c. I answer, that there are no laws nor usages so very general but that there may be some exceptions made from them. I say, that the case of killing a tyrant is exempted, more especially when he is guilty of the crimes before mentioned. How can any greater cause of exemption be shown than that, when the murder is done through necessity, to save the king from being put to death 2 Even when conspiracies against his royal person have been so far carried by witchcraft and otherwise, that he is disabled from administering justice; and the tyrant being found deserving of that punishment, the king, from weakness of intellect, cannot, or will not, punish him, the killing of him, in such cases, is not against the law, properly speaking, for all laws have two meanings: the first is the textual signification, the other is the ‘quo animo,'—the person committing a crime has done it, and the law, as intended by those who made it, is to be explained according to the intent of its framers, and not always according to the literal sense. “Thus the philosopher brings forward the example of citizens who made a law for the defence of their city, that no one, under pain of death, should mount the ramparts, because their city was besieged ; and they were afraid, should strangers mount the walls with the inhabitants there might arise danger to them, from these strangers, at a proper opportunity, joining their enemies, or at least making them signs to show where they might the more easily attack the town. It happened, that this town was attacked at several places, when the strangers and pilgrims who were within it, observing the enemy were much superior to the inhabitants, armed themselves and mounted the walls at the weaker parts, when they repulsed the enemy, and saved the town. The philosopher then asks, Since these pilgrims have mounted the walls contrary to the express words of the law, they have infringed it, and should they not be punished 2 I say no; for although they have acted contrary to the literal text of the law, they have not disobeyed the spirit of it, which was the saving of the town, for had they not mounted the walls in its defence, it must have been taken. “As to the laws which declare, that none ought to administer justice but the prince, nor do any deeds of arms without his license, I maintain, that these laws were made for the preservation of the king's honour and person, and for the public good. Should there exist a tyrant of great power and authority, who is continually practising, by witchcraft and other means, the death of the king, and to deprive him of his kingdom, and should that king, from weakness of intellect or want of force, be unable to punish him, and should he permit him to go on in his wickedness, I should disregard, in this case, the law that forbids me to bear arms without the king's license, or to take the authority into my own hands in a general sense only. What have I to do with the literal sense of it? Am I to leave my king in such peril 2 By no means. I am bound to defend my king, and put to death the tyrant; for should I, by thus acting, do contrary to the text of the law, I follow the spirit of it, and the object it was directed to, namely, the preservation of the honour and life of my king; and I should think myself more deserving of praise than if I had suffered the tyrant to live on in his wickedness. I ought therefore to be rewarded, and not punished, for having done a meritorious deed, tending to a good purpose, for which end all laws were made. “St. Paul says, “Littera occidit, charitas autem aedificat ; which means, that to follow the literal sense of the holy Scriptures is death to the soul, but that we ought to obey the true meaning in all charity, that is to say, to mark and accomplish the end for which the divine laws were made. Spiritual edification is a goodly thing. Item, the laws divine, natural and human, give me authority for so doing, and by so doing I am a minister of the divine law; and it is plain, that the objections I have started, as probably to be made against what I have said, are not of any weight. “I come now to my three instances from the holy Scriptures, to confirm the truth of my third fact. In the first place, Moses, without any authority whatever, slew the Egyptian who tyrannised over the Israelites. At this period, Moses had no authority to judge the people of Israel, for this power was not given to him until forty years after the perpetration of this act. Moses, however, was much praised for having done it. ‘Ut patet auctoritate Exodiii. quia tanquam minister legis hoc facit. Ita in proposito in hoc faciendo ego ero minister legis.’ The second instance is that of Phineas, who, without any orders, slew the duke Zambry, as has been related. Phineas was not punished for this, but on the contrary praised, and greatly requited in affection, honour, and riches. In the affection that God showed him, greater than before. In honour, “Quia reputatum est ei adjustitiam,' &c. In riches, “Quia per hoc acquisivit actum sacerdotii sempiternum non tantum pro se, sed pro tota tribu sua.” The third instance is that of St. Michael the archangel, who, without waiting for any commands from God, or others, but solely from his natural love, killed the disloyal traitor to his God and Sovereign Lord, because Lucifer was conspiring to invade the sovereignty and honour of God. St. Michael was rewarded for his action in love, honour and wealth. In love, in that God had a stronger affection for him than any other, and confirmed him in his love and grace. In honour, “Quia fecit eum militia coelestis principem in aeternum.” That is to say, He made him the prince of his angelic chivalry for ever. In wealth, for he gave him riches and glory to his satisfaction Tantum quantum erat capax, de quibus loquitur, “O altitudo divitiarum sapientiae et scientiae Dei, quam incomprehensibilia sunt judicia ejus, et investigabiles via ejus.' Ad Rom. xi. “Thus my third fact has been proven by twelve reasons. The fourth is, That it is more meritorious, honourable and legal, that a tyrant should be slain by one of the king's relations than by a stranger no way connected with him by blood, by a duke than by a count, by a baron than by a simple knight, and by a knight than by a common subject. “I thus prove my proposition. He who is related to the king has an interest to guard his honour and life against every injurious attempt, and is bounden so to do more than any stranger; and, in like manner, descending from those of high rank to the common subject. Should he fail in this his duty, the more deserving is he of punishment; while, on the contrary, by performing it, he gains the greater honour and renown. “Item in hoc magis relucent amor et obedientia occisoris, vel occidere praecipientis ad principem et dominum suum quia est magis honorabile si fuerit praepotens dux vel comes. Item in hoc magis relucet potentia regis quod est honorabile et quanto occisor vel dictae occisionis praeceptor non fuerit vilior et potentior tanto magis,' &c. In regard to alliances, oaths, promises, and confederations, made between one knight and another, in whatever manner they be, should they be intended to the prejudice of the prince or his children, or the public welfare, no one is bound to keep them; for, in so doing, he would act contrary to the laws, moral, natural, and divine. I shall now prove the truth of this. Arguendo sic: Bonam acquitatem (dictamen rectae rationis) et legem divinam boni principes in persona publica servare, et utilitatem reipublicae debent praeferre, et praesupponere in omnibus talibus promissionibus, juramentis, et confederationibus: immo excipiuntur implicite secundum dictamen rectae rationis: bonam aquitatem et charitatis ordinem quia alias essetlicitum non obedire principi immo rebellare contra principes, quod est expresse contra sacram Scripturam, quae sic dicit: “Obedite principibus vestris, licet etiam discolis.' Et alibi: “Subjecti estote regi praecellenti, sive judicibus, tanquam ab eo missis ad vindictam malefactorum, laudem vero bonorum.' 1 Pet. ii. ut sup. allegatum est. Ex illo arguitur sic: Quandocumque occurrunt dual obligationes ad invicem contrariae major tenenda est, et minor dissolvenda quantum adhoc, sed in casu nostro concurrunt duae obligationes. Et cum obligatio ad principem sit major, et alia minor obligatio ad principem tenenda est, et alia non in tali casu. Item arguendo eandem quastionem, quandocunque aliquis facit quod est melius quamvis juravit se id non facturum, non est perjurium, sed perjurio contrarium: ut expresse ponit magister sententiarum ultima dicti tertii: sed in casu nostro melius est tyrannum in praefato casu occidere quamvis juravit se non occisurum quam presentem vivere ut tactum est superius: ergo occidere tyrannum in praefato casu quamvis juravit se non occisurum non perjurium facit, sed perjurio contrarium. Et consequenter Isidorus in libro de summobono sic dicit: ‘Id non est observandum sacramentum et juramentum quo malum incaute remittitur, sed in casu nostro male et incaute promittitur. Sed non tement promissiones jurata vel confoederationes contra principem, uxorem principis, liberos, vel reipublicas utilitatem.’ “Seventhly, If any of the above confederations and alliances should turn out to the prejudice of the person so engaging, of his wife or his children, he is not obliged to abide by them. ‘Patet hic veritas per rationes tactas prius et cum hoc probatur sic, quia observare in illo casu confoederationes contra legem charitatis qua quis magis sibi ipsi uxori propriae vel liberis quam posset obligari cuicunque alteri virtute talis promissionis et omnia praecepta et consimilia in ordine ad charitatem patent per apostolum sic dicentem. Finis praeceptilest charitas, quia in omnibus casibus et promissionibus intelligitur hoc, si in fide observaverit juxta illud frangenti fidem, &c. Item, subintelligitur si domino placuerit sed certum est quod non placeret Deo cum foret contra legem charitatis, ideo,' &c. “In regard to the seventh proposition, namely, that it is lawful and meritorious for any subject to put to death a traitor that is disloyal to his king, by waylaying him, and whether it be lawful for him to dissemble his purposes, I shall prove it first by the authority of that moral philosopher Boccacio, already quoted, in his second book De Casibus Virorum illustrium, who, in speaking of a tyrant, says, “Shall I honour him as prince 2 shall I preserve my faith to him as my lord? By no means: he is an enemy, and I may employ arms and spies against him.’ This act of courage is holy and necessary; for there cannot be a more agreeable sacrifice to God than the blood of a tyrant. I prove this from holy writ, in the instance of Jehu : ‘Occident te sacerdotes et cultores Baal, ut habetur secundo Reg. x., ubisic dicitur Jehu, “Acab parum coluit Baal, ego autem colam eum amplius.” Et paululum post: Porro Jehu licet insidiose ut disperdat cultores Baal, dicit, Sanctificate diem solennem Baal, &c. et laudatur de hoc. Item de Athalia regina vidente filium suum mortuum “surrexit, et interfecit omne semen regium, ut regnaret,' et Joyadas summus sacerdos insidiose fecit eam occidi. Et de hoc laudatur ut superius tactum est ad longum. Item, Judith occidit Holofernem per insidias. Et etiam de hoc laudatur pater familias quod adzizaniae eradicationem non voluit expectare tempus messis ne triticum simul cum zizaniis eradicaretur, &c. ‘Quod intelligitur in occision etyrannorum per insidias sed et bonam cautelam et debet expectari loci et temporis opportunitas et expleri ne boni eradicentur,’ &c. This is the proper death for tyrants: they ought to be slain by waylaying, or other means improper to be used toward good men; and for this reason, we are bound, in many instances, to preserve our faith to our capital enemy, but not to tyrants. As the reasons for this, urged by doctors, are common, and of some length, I shall pass them over.
“As To witchCRAFT.
“Eighthly, Any subject and vassal who shall imagine and practise against the health of his king and sovereign lord, to put him to death by a languishing disorder, through covetousness to gain his crown and kingdom, any one who shall cause to be consecrated, or, more properly speaking, to be directed against him swords, daggers, knives, golden rods or rings, dedicated, by means of necromancy, to the devils, or shall make invocations with characters, sorceries, charms, after having thrust sharp instruments into the bodies of dead men hung on a gibbet, and then into the mouths of such malefactors, leaving them there for the space of several days, to the horror of all who detest these abominable practices; and, beside these arts, shall wear near their bodies a piece of cloth, containing the powder of some of the bones of malefactors, sewed up, or tied, with the hair from the secret parts: I say, such as shall commit any crimes similar to the above, are not only guilty of human high treason, in the first degree, but are disloyal traitors to God their Creator, and to their king.
“As idolaters, and false to the catholic faith, they are worthy of the double death, here and in the world to come, even when such sorceries and witchcraft shall fail of their intended effect on the king's person. Quia dicit dominus Bonaventura, lib. ii. d. 6. ‘Diabolus nunquam satisfacit voluntati talium, nisi antequam infidelitas idololatriae immisceatur, sicut enim ad divina miracula plurimum facit fides, &c. Et ideo experientia de effectu praedictarum superstitionum secuta in personam praefati regis probat clare ibi fuisse idololatriam et fidem perversam. Item diabolus nihil faceret ad voluntatem talium in tali casu nisi exhiberetur ei dominium quod multum affectat nec se exhibet ad tales invocationes ipsis invocantibus eum, nisi ipsum adorent et sacrificia et oblationes offerant, aut pacta cum ipsis daemonibus faciant.’ Item, doctor sanctus secunda secundae in xi. articulo secundo dicit ‘quod tales invocationes nunquam sortiuntur effectum nisi fuerit falsa corruptio fidei idololatria et pactio cum daemonibus.' Ejusdem opinionis videtur esse Alexander de Hallis, Ricardus de Media-villa et Astensis in summa. Et communiter omnes doctores qui de hac materia locuti sunt, et sicut falsarii monetae et pecuniarum regis, &c. “I thus perceive that all the doctors in theology agree in saying, that such sorceries, charms, and witchcraft, can only succeed by the work of the devil, or by his false means;– and that these sorceries, and such like superstitions, have not of themselves the power of hurting any one, but that the devils have the ability to injure any person so far only as shall be permitted them by God. The devils will not do anything for those that call on them, unless they perform three things, namely, pay them divine honour, which ought solely to be paid to God, by offering them homage and adoration, proving themselves false to the holy catholic faith, and the doing of which makes them guilty of the crime of high treason. “Primum Corollarium. Should it happen, that for the circumstances above stated, any of these invocators of the devil, idolaters, and traitors to the king, should be confined in prison, and that during the time that their process is carried to judgment, any accomplice of their crimes should deliver or cause them to be delivered from prison, he shall be punished just as these idolaters would have been. as guilty of the crime of high treason in the first and fourth degree. “Secundum Corollarium. If any subject who shall give, or promise to give, a large sum of money to another for poisoning the king his sovereign lord, and the bargain be proven and the poisons laid, although they may fail to produce their effects, through the interference of the providence of God or other means,—those who have committed this crime are guilty of being traitors and disloyal to their sovereign, and shall suffer the double death for high treason in the first degree. “Tertium Corollarium. Any subject who, by treachery and hypocrisy, shall during any mummeries, through malice aforethought, procure dresses for his king, and, having clothed him in such dresses, shall cause them to be set on fire, with the intent that the king his sovereign may be burnt in them, so that he may obtain his kingdom, commits high treason in the first degree, is a tyrant and disloyal to his king, and is deserving of the double death, even should his sovereign escape, for the noble and valiant persons who may have been burnt to death in exquisite pain through his means. “Quartum Corollarium est: When any subject and vassal to the king shall make alliances with those who are mortal enemies to his sovereign and kingdom, he cannot exculpate himself from being guilty of treason; more especially when he shall send advice to the men-at-arms of the enemy not to surrender any forts they may have gained in the kingdom, —for that when he shall be employed against them he will afford them succour. And beside, when he not only shall prevent the march of any armies against such enemies, but shall encourage them by secret and underhand means, he is a traitor to his king and country, and is deserving of the double death. “Quintum Corollarium est: If any subject or vassal shall, through deceit and false information, sow the seeds of dissension between the king and queen, by telling the latter that the king hates her so mortally he is determined on having her and her children put to death, and that she has no other remedy to prevent this but flying out of the kingdom with her children; advising her strongly at the same time to put this plan into execution, and offering to conduct her out of the realm to any castle she may please, adding with much subtlety, and by way of caution, that the queen must keep this advice very secret, lest she may be prevented from following it; and if, in order to accomplish this plan, he propose to the queen