« ZurückWeiter »
by prescription by sinheritancel by contracija &0290 Can we think that nature, by andoriginal instinety instructs us in all these methods of acquisition as noitag)is boroke - These words; too, inheritance and contraetz-tstand for ideas infinitely complicated; and to define them exacile, a hundredívolumes ofdlaws, and a thousand volumes of commentators have inot been found sufficiéift.30 Does nature, whose instincts in men are all simple, embrace such complicated and artificial objects, rands éréate arabe tional creature, without trusting any thing to the opera tion of his reason ?- VOS - 92 shiib wall - But even though all this were admitted, it would not be satisfactory. Positive-laws can certainly transfer pros perty.eitis it by another original instinct that we recognise the authority of kings and senates, and mark all the boundaries of their jurisdiction ? Judges, too, even tho' their sentence belerroneous and illegal, must be allow. ed, for the sake of peace and order, to have decisive aux thority, and ultimately to determine ptoperty. Have we original, innate ideas of prætors and chancellors and ju ries? Who sees inot, that all these institutions arise merely from the necessities of huinan sociéty popriim iu Jo
All birds of the same species, in every age and country, build their nests alike : In this we see the force of instinct. Men, in different times and placés, frame their houses differently : Here we perceive the influence of Feason and custom." Alike inférence may be drawn from comparing the instinct of generation and the instiu tution tof property.c 4 11 viikk92ni 3JV 31940'q odensa - How igreatisoever isthe variety of Anunicipal laws, it must be confessed, that their chief outlines pretty regtie larly concur ş because ithe purposes to which they tenen are le porywhere exactlyi similarsıls Iholike manner, talt houses have a look and walls, windows-and-chimifeys; though diversified in their shape, figure, and materials, The purposes of the latter, directed to the conveniencies of human life, discover not more plainly their origin from reason and reflection, than do those of the former, which point all to a like end.
I need not mention the variations, which all the rules of property receive from the finer turns and connections of the imagination, and from the subtleties and abstractions of law-topics and reasonings. There is no possibility of reconciling this observation to the notion of original instincts.
What alone will beget a doubt concerning the theory, on which I insist, is the influence of education and acquired habits, by which we are so accustomed to blame injustice, that we are not, in every instance, conscious of any immediate reflection on the pernicious consequences of it. The views the most familiar to us are apt, for that very reason, to escape us; and what we · have very frequently performed from certain motives, we are apt likewise to continue mechanically, without recalling, on every occasion, the reflections which first determined us. The convenience, or rather necessity; which leads to justice, is so universal, and everywhere points so much to the same rules, that the habit takes place in all societies ; and it is not without some scrutiny, that we are able to ascertain its true origin. The matter, however, is not so obscure, but that, even in common life, we have, every moment, recourse to the principle of public utility, and ask, What must become of the world, if such practices prevail ? How could society subsist under such disorders? Were the distinction or separation of possessions entirely useless, can any one conceive that it ever should have obtained in society ?
Thus we seem, upon the whole, to have attained a
knowledge of the force of that principle here insisted on, and can determine what degree of esteem or moral approbation may result from reflections on public inte. rest and utility. The necessity of justice to the supa port of society is the SOLE foundation of that virtue and since no moral excellence is more highly esteemed, We may conclude, that this circumstance of usefulness has, in general, the strongest energy, and most entire command over our sentiments. It must, therefore, be the source of a considerable part of the merit ascribed to humanity, benevolence, friendship, public spirit, and other social virtues of that stamp; as it is the SOLE source of the moral approbation paid to fidelity, justice, veracity, integrity, and those other estimable and useful qualities and principles. It is entirely agreeable to the rules of philosophy, and even of common reason; where any principle has been found to have a great force and energy in one instance, to ascribe to it a like energy in all similar instances. This indeed is NEWDON's chief rule of philosophising*. , "
OF POLITICAL SOCIETY.
Had every man sufficient sagacity to perceive, at all times, the strong interest, which binds him to the observance of justice and equity, and strength of mind sufficient to persevere in a steady adherence to a general and distant interest, in opposition to the allurements of present pleasure and advantage; there had never, in that case, been any such thing as a government or political 'society ; but each man, following his natural liberty, had lived in entire peace and harmony with all others. What need of positive law, where natural justice is, of itself, a sufficient restraint? Why create magistrates, where there never arise any disorder or iniquity? Why abridge our native freedom, when, in every instance, the utmost exertion of it is found innocent and beneficial ? It is evident, that, if government were totally useless, it never could have place, and that the SOLE foundation of the duty of ALLEGIANCE is the advantage which it procures to society, by preserving peace and order among mankind.
When a number of political societies are erected, and maintain a great intercourse together, a new set of rules are immediately discovered to be useful in that particu. lar situation ; and accordingly take place under the title