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Vox Populi, Vox Dei

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a Whig tract of 1709, titled after a Latin phrase meaning "the voice of the people is the voice of God". It was expanded in 1710 and later reprintings as The Judgment of whole Kingdoms and Nations: Concerning the Rights, Power, and Prerogative of Kings, and the Rights, Privileges, and Properties of the People. The author is unknown but was probably either Robert Ferguson or Thomas Harrison.[1][2] There is no evidence for persistent attribution to Daniel Defoe or John Somers as authors.

The most cited section of the revised (1710) version of the pamphlet read:

“There being no natural or divine Law for any Form of Government, or that one Person rather than another should have the sovereign Administration of Affairs, or have Power over many thousand different Families, who are by Nature all equal, being of the same Rank, promiscuously born to the same Advantages of Nature, and to the Use of the same common Faculties; therefore Mankind is at Liberty to choose what Form of Government they like best.”

The 1709 tract's use of the Latin phrase was consistent with earlier usage of vox populi, vox Dei in English political history since at least as early as 1327 when the Archbishop of Canterbury Walter Reynolds brought charges against King Edward II in a sermon "Vox populi, vox Dei".[3] From Reynolds onwards English political use of the phrase was favorable, not referencing an alternative context of the usage by Alcuin (c. 735 - 804) who in a letter advised the emperor Charlemagne to resist such a dangerous democratic idea on the grounds that "the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness".[4]

Vox Populi, Vox Dei : being true Maxims of Government was the next year, 1710, republished under the title of The Judgment of whole Kingdoms and Nations, with considerable alterations.[5] The 10th printing of the revised tract was in 1771.[6]

Discover more about Vox Populi, Vox Dei related topics

Whigs (British political party)

Whigs (British political party)

The Whigs were a political faction and then a political party in the Parliaments of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and the 1850s, the Whigs contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs merged into the new Liberal Party with the Peelites and Radicals in the 1850s, and other Whigs left the Liberal Party in 1886 to form the Liberal Unionist Party, which merged into the Liberals' rival, the modern day Conservative Party, in 1912.

Latin

Latin

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area around present-day Rome, but through the power of the Roman Republic it became the dominant language in the Italian region and subsequently throughout the Roman Empire. Even after the fall of Western Rome, Latin remained the common language of international communication, science, scholarship and academia in Europe until well into the 18th century, when other regional vernaculars supplanted it in common academic and political usage, and it eventually became a dead language in the modern linguistic definition.

Robert Ferguson (minister)

Robert Ferguson (minister)

Robert Ferguson was a Scottish presbyterian minister, conspirator and political pamphleteer, known as "the Plotter".

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe was an English writer, trader, journalist, pamphleteer and spy. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, which is claimed to be second only to the Bible in its number of translations. He has been seen as one of the earliest proponents of the English novel, and helped to popularise the form in Britain with others such as Aphra Behn and Samuel Richardson. Defoe wrote many political tracts, was often in trouble with the authorities, and spent a period in prison. Intellectuals and political leaders paid attention to his fresh ideas and sometimes consulted him.

Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury

The archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and a principal leader of the Church of England, the ceremonial head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Walter Reynolds

Walter Reynolds

Walter Reynolds was Bishop of Worcester and then Archbishop of Canterbury (1313–1327) as well as Lord High Treasurer and Lord Chancellor.

Alcuin

Alcuin

Alcuin of York – also called Ealhwine, Alhwin, or Alchoin – was scholar, clergyman, poet, and teacher from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the student of Archbishop Ecgbert at York. At the invitation of Charlemagne, he became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained a figure in the 780s and 790s. "The most learned man anywhere to be found", according to Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, he is considered among the most important intellectual architects of the Carolingian Renaissance. Among his pupils were many of the dominant intellectuals of the Carolingian era.

Charlemagne

Charlemagne

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, a member of the Carolingian dynasty, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and the first Emperor of the Romans from 800. Charlemagne succeeded in uniting the majority of western and central Europe and was the first recognized emperor to rule from western Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire around three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded was the Carolingian Empire. He was canonized by Antipope Paschal III—an act later treated as invalid—and he is now regarded by some as beatified in the Catholic Church.

Other works

The title Vox Populi, Vox Dei was also borrowed in a Jacobite pamphlet to argue against the Whigs in 1719, resulting in the hanging of the young printer John Matthews.[7][8]

Source: "Vox Populi, Vox Dei", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vox_Populi,_Vox_Dei.

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References
  1. ^ William Gibson. Enlightenment Prelate: Benjamin Hoadly, 1676-1761, 2004, p.90. "Hoadly's assize sermons had a strong influence, and provided the foundation for Whigs like Thomas Harrison, the probable author of the 1709 tract Vox Populi Vox Dei: or True Maxims of Government, which was reprinted eight times in the first .."
  2. ^ J. P. Kenyon. Revolution Principles: The Politics of Party 1689-1720, 1990, p.209. "The author of Vox Populi Vox Dei is unknown. Some nineteenth-century bibliographers gave the honour to Somers, others to Defoe, but neither attribution is very plausible. ...It was signed 'R. F.', and there seems no reason to challenge the accepted attribution to Robert Ferguson. But long before 1709 Ferguson had turned Jacobite, and it is unlikely that he turned back. As for Political Aphorisms, this was signed ...Thomas Harrison"
  3. ^ Philip Hamburger. Law and Judicial Duty, 2009, Page 74. "At the meeting of this high court early in 1327, Archbishop of Canterbury Walter Reynolds brought charges against the king, ... homage to the prince, and Archbishop Reynolds — the son of a baker — preached on the text Vox populi, vox Dei
  4. ^ David Lagomarsino, Charles T. Wood. The Trial of Charles I: A Documentary History, 2000. "As far back as 1327, in pronouncing the deposition of Edward II, the Archbishop of Canterbury Walter Reynolds had taken as his justifying text the old Carolingian adage Vox populi, vox Dei, “The voice of the people is the voice of God."
  5. ^ Whitmore and Fenn. An Alphabetical catalogue of an extensive collection of the extensive writings of Daniel Defoe, 1829, p.23. "Vox Populi, Vox Dei : being true Maxims of Government, proving — That all, Kings, Governours, and Forms of Government ..." was afterwards published under the title of " The Judgment of whole Kingdoms, .., with considerable alterations."
  6. ^ Caroline Winterer (2016). "Treasures from the Stanford University Libraries: The American Enlightenment". Spotlight at Stanford. Stanford University Libraries. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  7. ^ Netta Murray Goldsmith. Alexander Pope: the evolution of a poet, 2002, p.102. "Until the 1750s men were flogged and imprisoned if convicted of spreading propaganda in support of the Stuart cause, while in 1719, a young printer John Matthews, who published a Jacobite pamphlet, Vox Populi, Vox Dei, was hanged. In these circumstances Jacobites learned to write ... "
  8. ^ Kathleen Wilson. The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism, 1998, p.115. "The pamphlet Vox Populi, Vox Dei was perhaps the most notorious instance of this tactic, borrowing its title from a radical Whig tract of 1709 to argue that by the Whigs' own principles of. ."


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