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but by degrees it must multiply to too great a bulk to be so moveable or manageable; and then the master or head of it suffered little families to grow up under him, planting them here, and there within the extent of his possessions, and reaping from their labours a large and plentiful provision for his own domestics. In time, when the number of these families encreased, he would want inspectors or overseers of his servants in their several employments; and by degrees the graudeur and wealth of the master encreased, and the privileges of the servants grew with it. Ileads of families became kings, and their houses, together with the near habitations of their domestics, became cities; then their servants, in their several occupations and employments, became wealthy and considerable subjects; and the inspectors or overseers of them became ministers of state, and managers of the public affairs of kingdoms. If we consider the ancient tenures of land in many nations, we shall find abundant reason to suppose that the property of subjects in divers king. doms began from this origin. Kings, or planters of countries, employed their servants to fill the ground ;and in time both the masters and servants grow richi and encreased; the masters gave away their land to their servants, reserving only to themselves portions of the product, or some services from those who occupied them, Tlus servants became tenants, and tenants in time became owners, and owners held their lands under various tenures, daily emerging into more and more liberty; and in length of time getting quit of all the burden, and even almost of the very' marks of servitude, with which estates were at first encumbered. There may, I think, be
many reasons assigned, for thinking that the kingdom of Assyria, first founded by Ashur, the kingdom of the Medes, and particularly that of Persia, as well as other kingdoms, remarkably subject by their most ancient constitutions to despotic authority; were at first raised upon these foundations. And perhaps the kingdoms of the Philistines governed by Abimelech in Abraham's time was of the same sort ; for that king seems to have had the property of all the land of Philistia, when he gave Abraham leave to live where he would, for Abimelech's subjects seem every where to be called his servants ; and his fear and concern about Abraham, was not upon account of his people, but of himself, and of his son's son. In the days of Isaac, when he went into the land of the Philistines to sojourn, about a hundred years after the time when Abraham lived there; the Philistines scem from servants to have become subjects, in the way I have before mentioned, and accordingly Moses' style about them is altered. The persons who in Abraham's time were called Abimelech's servants, were in Isaac's time called Abimelech's people, or the men of Gerar," or the Philistines, or the herdsmen of Gerar. In Abraham's time the kingdom of Philistia was in its infancy ; in Isaac's days, the king and his servants with him were in a better condition.
Gen. xx. 15.
Ver. 8. & xxi. 25. i Ver. 23.
* Gen. xx. 8. & xxi. 25. Chap. xxvi. Ver. 11.
» Ver. 14. • I need not observe that Abimelech seems to be a pro Most of the kingdoms in and nearCanaan seem to have been originally so constituted, that the people in them had great liberty and power. One would almost think that the children of Heth had no king, when Abraham petitioned them for a burying-place ;P for he did not make his address to a particular person, but stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. And when Eplıron and he bargained, their agreement was ratified by a popular council.' If Heth was king of this country, his people had a great share in the administration. Thus it was at Shechem, wliere llamor was king; the prince determined nothing wherein the public was concerned, without communing with the men of his city about it." The kingdom of Egypt was not at first founded upon despotie authority ; where the king had his estates or patrimony, the priests had their lands, and the common people had their patrimony independent of both. Thus we read of the land of Rameses ; ' which was tho king's land, so called from a king of that name." The priests had their lands, which they did not sell to Joseph ;* and that the people had lands independent
m Ver 7.
per name for the kings of Philistia, as Pharaoh was for.. those of Egypt. And Phicol was so likewise for one cmployed in the post which the persons so named enjoyed. p Gen. xxiii.
4 Ver. 7.
r Ver. 10. 13. Chap xxxiv. 20, 24.
Gen xlvii. 11. 'Rameses was the eighteenth king of Lower Egypt, ac. cording to Sir J. Marsham, from Syncellus.
? Gea xlvii. 22, 26.
of the crown, is evident from the purchases which Joseph made. For we may conclude from these purchases, that Pharaoh had no power to raise taxes upon Iris subjects to encrease his own revenue, until he had bought the original right, which each private person and had in his possessions, for this Joseph did for him"; and when this was done, Joseph raised the crown a very ample revenue, by regranting all the lands, reserving a fifth part of the product to be paid to the king.? We may observe likewise that the people of Egypt well understood the distinction between subjects and servants; for when they came to sell their land, they offered to sell themselves too; and desired Joseph, saying, buy us and our land, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh.. Diodorus Siculus has given a full and true account of the ancient Egyptian constitution ;' where he says the land was divided into three parts. 1. One part was the priests', with which they provided all sacrifices, and maintained all the ministers of religion. 2. A second part was the king's, to support his court and family, and supply expences for wars, if they should happen ; and he remarks, that the king having so ample an estate, raised no taxes upon his subjects. 3. The remainder of the land was divided amongst the subjects, whom Diodorus calls soldiers, not making a distinction, because soldiers and subjects in most nations were the same ; and it was
z Ver. 24.
Gen. xlvii. ver. a Ver. 18.
Diodor. Sic. lib. 1. p. 66.
the ancient practice for all that held lands in a kingdom, to go to war when occasion required. He says, likewise, that there were three other orders of men in the kingdom, husbandmen, shepherds, and artificers; but these were not, strictly speaking, citizens of the kingdom, but servants or tenants, or workmen to those who were the owners of the lands and cattle. When Mizraim led his followers into Egypt, it is most probable that many considerable persons joined their families and went with him ; and these families being in, dependent, until they agreed upon a coalition for their common advantage, it is natural to think, that they agreed upon a plan which might gratify every family, and its descendants, with a suitable property, which they miglit improve as their own. Herodotus gives an account of the Egyptian polity ; ` where he says, that the Egyptians were divided into seven orders of men ; but he takes in the tillers of the ground or husbandmen, the artificers, and the shepherds, who were at first only servants employed by the masters of the families to whom they belonged, and not free subjects of the kingdom ; and adds an order of seamen,' which must be of later date. Herodotus' account might perhaps be true respecting their constitution, in times much later than those of which I am treating. There is one thing very remarkable in the first polity of kingdoms; namely, that the legislators paid a surprizing deference to the paternal authority, or jurisdiction which fathers were thought to have over their children ; and were