The first known anarchist essay, A Vindication of Natural Society, was written by Edmund Burke when he was a student. No one knows whether Burke was actually an anarchist when he wrote it. He, like many young students, may have been rebellious, perhaps enough to reach the anarchist beliefs espoused in his essay. Then again, he may have been exercising his argumentative powers by making a serious case opposite to what he believed. Or, he may have been attempting a satire, as he later claimed after his authorship become publicly known while he held a government position. The first hypothesis seems most likely, but we will never know for sure. At any rate, Burke gave a strong and eloquent case against the state, with arguments which are quite convincing to this day. His arguments were repeated in his lifetime by the liberal minarchist William Godwin, and modern arguments condemning the state are little more than repetitions of themes found in Vindication.
The full name of Burke's essay is "A Vindication of Natural Society or, A View of the Miseries and Evils Arising to Mankind from Every Species of Artifical Society." It was first published in 1756 under the name of Lord Bolingbrook, a recently deceased well-known (but controversial) author. He starts by making the distinction between what he calls "natural society" and "artificial society." By this he means voluntary society versus social organization which is imposed, decreed, and/or regimented by external force - in other words, statist society. "Natural" in this context means nothing more than voluntary. Burke is not making any claim about man's nature here, only that it is society "founded in natural Appetites and Instincts, and not in any positive Institution." Burke noted that mankind has "fallen" into artificial, or political society. Then he asks whether this has been beneficial to mankind or not.
Burke then goes into the history of the state, and analyses the results. He notes that statism became a virtual religion, and shows how it has caused more harm than good. Although it provided some relief from the biased judge problem in natural society, artificial society introduces severe problems that overwhelm any possible benefits.