<and their engagement>

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Senior Member
Hi there,

"In this last age a generation of men has sprung up amongst us, that would flatter princes with an opinion, that they have a divine right to absolute power, let the laws by which they are constituted and are to govern, and the conditions under which they enter upon their authority, be what they will; and their engagements to observe them ever so well ratified, by solemn oaths and promises. To make way for this doctrine, they have denied mankind a right to natural freedom; whereby they have not only, as much as in them lies, exposed all subjects to the utmost misery of tyranny and oppression, but have also unsettled the titles, and shaken the thrones of princes: (for they too, by these men’s system, except only one, are all born slaves, and by divine right are subjects to Adam’s right heir; ) as if they had designed to make war upon all government, and subvert the very foundations of human society, to serve their present turn."

--- Two Treatises of Government 1689/1690

What is parallel with "their engagements" since we have an "and" here? the laws? So it is like, "let the laws....be what they will, and their engagements to observe them ever so well ratified...."



  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, the earlier clause contains 'let . . . be . . .', and these two need to be supplied for this parallel clause. And let their engagements . . . be ever so well ratified. 'Let' in both cases is more like "no matter" in today's language ("no matter how well ratified they are"). The semicolon between the two halves is misleading, compared to how we punctuate today; today we wouldn't separate a parallel like that with such a strong stop.
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