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Remarks on This Chapter - Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations 
A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Remarks on This Chapter
We shall have occasion afterwards to consider a little more fully with our Author, that natural equality of mankind upon which he founds our natural obligation to mutual love. Let me only observe here, that it is at least an improper way of speaking among moralists to say, “That all men are naturally equal in this respect, that antecedently to any deed or compact amongst them, no one hath power over another, but each is master of his own actions and abilities; and that none are subjected to others by nature.” For we ought, as in physicks, so in morals, to reason from the real state, frame, constitution, or circumstances of things. And with regard to mankind, abstractly from all consideration of inequality occasioned by civil society, this is the true state of the case: 1. “That men are born naturally and necessarily subject to the power and will of their parents; or dependent upon them for their sustenance and education. The author of nature hath thus subjected us. 2. Men are made to acquire prudence by experience and culture; and therefore naturally and necessarily those of less experience and less prudence, are subjected to those of greater experience and prudence. There is naturally this dependence among mankind. Nay, 3. which is more, the Author of nature (as Mr. Harrington says in his Oceana) hath diffused a natural aristocracy over mankind, or a natural inequality with respect to the goods of the mind. And superiority in parts will always produce authority, and create dependence, or hanging by the lips,1 as the same author calls it. Such superiority and inferiority always did universally prevail over the world; and the dependence or subjection which this superiority and inferiority in parts or virtues creates, is natural. 4. Industry, to which, as the same excellent author says, nature or God sells every thing, acquires property; and every consequence of property made by industry is natural, or the intention of nature. But superiority in property purchased by industry, will make dependence, hanging, as that author calls it, by the teeth. Here is therefore another dependence or subjection amongst mankind, which is the natural and necessary result of our being left by nature each to his own industry.” All these inequalities, or superiorities and dependencies, are natural to mankind, in consequence of our frame and condition of life. Now the only question with regard to these superiorities, and the right or power they give, must be either, 1. “Was it right, was it just and good to create mankind in such circumstances, that such inequalities must necessarily happen among them?” To which question, because it does not belong immediately to our present point, it is sufficient to answer, “That we cannot conceive mankind made for society, and the exercise of the social virtues without mutual dependence; and mutual dependence necessarily involves in its very idea inequalities, or superiorities and inferiorities: and that as we cannot conceive a better general law, than that the goods of the mind, as well as of the body, should be the purchase of application and industry; so the advantages arising from superiority in the goods of the mind, or from superiority in external purchases by ingenuity and industry, i.e. the authority the one gives, and the power the other gives, are natural and proper rewards of superior prudence, virtue and industry.” 2. Or the question must mean, “Does it appear from our constitution, to be the intention of our Author, that man should exercise his natural or acquired parts and goods for the benefit of his kind, in a benevolent manner, or contrariwise?” To which I answer, “That as it plainly appears from our constitution to be the intention of our Author, that we should exercise our natural abilities to the best purpose, for our own advancement in the goods of the mind and of the body; and that we should improve in both, and reap many advantages by improvement in both, the chief of which is superiority over those who have not made equal advances either in internal or external goods: so it as plainly appears from our constitution, to be the will and intention of our Author, that we should love one another, act benevolently towards one another, and never exercise our power to do hurt, but on the contrary, always exercise it or increase it, in order to do good.” If this appears to be the will of our Maker, from the consideration of our constitution and condition of life, then to act and behave so is right; and to act or behave otherwise is wrong, in every sense of these words, i.e. it is contrary to the end of our make; and consequently repugnant to the will and intention of our Maker. Now, that we are made for benevolence; and are under obligation by the will of our Maker, to promote the good of others to the utmost of our power, will be fully proved, if it can be made out, that we are under obligation by the will of our Maker, appearing from our make and constitution, to forgive injuries, to do good even to our enemies, and in one word, to overcome evil by good. If the greater can be proved, the lesser involved in it, is certainly proved. And therefore, if it can be made appear, that by the law of nature, (in the sense we have defined these words) we are obliged to benevolence, even towards our enemies, all that our Author hath said about not injuring one by word or deed, or even by thought; and about the caution and tenderness that ought to be used in necessary self-defence, will be indisputable. Now, that it appears to be the will of our Author, from our make, that we should be benevolent even to the injurious and ungrateful, must be owned by any one who considers, that resentment in us is indignation against injustice or injury; is not, or cannot be otherwise excited in us; and therefore is not in the least a kin to malice; and that as resentment is natural to us, so likewise is compassion. For if both these passions be in us, and we have Reason to guide them, as we plainly have, it is clear, that they must be intended to operate conjointly in us, or to mix together in their operations. Now what is resentment against injury, allayed or tempered by compassion, under the direction of reason, but such resentment as the suppression of injustice requires, moderated by tenderness to the unjust person. And what is compassion, allayed, mixed or moderated by resentment against injustice, but such tenderness towards the injurious person himself, as the preservation of justice, and consequently of social commerce and public good, permits? This argument is fully illustrated in my Christian Philosophy, p. 395, &c. And therefore I shall not here insist any longer upon it. The same thing may be proved, and hath been fully proved by moralists from other considerations. But I choose to reason in this manner, that we may see how reasonings about duties may proceed in the same manner as physical reasonings about the uses of parts in any bodily frame, or the final cause of any particular bodily whole. For if it be good reasoning to say, any member in a certain bodily organization is intended for such an end in that composition, it must be equally good reasoning to say, a moral constitution, in which there is a social and benevolent principle, compassion, and many public affections, and no hatred or aversion or resentment, but against injustice, together with reason capable of discerning public good, and delighting in it, is intended by its Author for the exercises of social affections; for justice; nay, for benevolence, and for commiserating even the injurious, as far as public good admits that tenderness to take place.
Having mentioned the necessity of reasoning from the frame of mankind, and our condition, in order to infer the will of our Creator concerning our conduct, it may not be improper to add, that there is no difficulty in determining the will of our Creator, even with respect to our conduct towards inferior animals, if we state the case as it really is in fact, which is, “That such is the condition of mankind by the will of our Maker, that our happiness cannot at all be procured without employing certain inferior animals in labouring for us; nor even the happiness of the inferior animals themselves, in a great measure.” For that being the case, tho’ we can never have a right to employ inferior animals for our service by compact, they being incapable of it, yet we have a natural right to it, a right arising from the circumstances of things, as they are constituted by the Author of nature. But the right which arises from these circumstances, is not a right to torment them unnecessarily, because not only our happiness does not require that, but we really are framed by nature even to compassionate suffering brutes. But we shall have occasion afterwards to shew more fully, that a right may arise from the nature and circumstances of things, previous to compact or consent; or where there cannot be any compact or consent. Whoever would see the true meaning of the precept, to love our neighbours as ourselves, fully and clearly laid open, may consult Dr. Butler’s sermon already quoted upon the love of our neighbour. That the precept, Do as you would be done by, is not peculiar to Christianity, but is a precept of the law of nature, and was known and inculcated by Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, and almost all ancient moralists, Pufendorff hath shewn, and Mr. Barbeyrac in his history of the moral science, prefixed to his notes on Pufendorff ’s system: so likewise our Author in the following chapter.
Concerning our imperfect duties towards others.
The order and connexion.We think our obligation not to hurt any person, and the nature of injury have been sufficiently cleared and demonstrated. The next thing would be to explain with equal care our obligation to render to every one his own, and the nature of that duty (§175); were not the nature of our hypothetical duties such, that they could not be explained without having first considered the nature of our imperfect absolute duties. But this being the case, it is proper to begin with them; and this premonition is sufficient to skreen us against being charged with the crime reckoned so capital among the critics of this age (ne ὕστερον πρότερον) transgressing order designedly, and with evil intention.
The foundation and division of imperfect duties.The source of all these duties is love of humanity or beneficence (§84), by which we cheerfully render him whom we love, not merely what we owe him by strict and perfect right, but whatever we think may conduce to his happiness. But because humanity commands us to be as good to others as we can be without detriment to ourselves; and beneficence commands us to do good to others even with detriment to ourselves (§83); therefore our imperfect duties are of two kinds, and may be divided into those of humanity, or unhurt utility, and those of beneficence or generosity. Both are, for many reasons, or on the account of many wants, so necessary, that it is impossible for men to live agreeably or conveniently without them.
Axioms concerning them.Since there can be no other measure with respect to these duties but the love of ourselves, and therefore we are obliged to love others as ourselves, (§93); the consequence is, that whatever we would have others to do to us, we ought to do the same to them (§88); whence above, in premising a certain principle to which all our duties to others might be reduced, we laid down this rule, Man is obliged to love man no less than himself, and not to do to any other what he would think inexcusable if done to himself, (from which principle we have deduced our perfect duties); but, on the contrary, to do to others what he would desire others to do to him (§93). Now hence we shall see that all our imperfect duties may be clearly inferred.
Our obligation to the duties which may be done to others without detriment to ourselves.First of all, none would have those things denied to him by others which they can render to him without hurting themselves; wherefore every one is obliged liberally to render such good offices to another; and consequently it is justly reckoned most inhuman for one, when it is in his power, not to assist another by his prudence, his counsel and aid; or not to do all in his power to save his neighbour’s goods; not to direct a wanderer into the right road; to refuse running water to the thirsty; fire to the cold; shade to those who languish with excessive heat; or to exact any thing from another to his detriment, which can more easily, either without hurting ourselves or any other, be procured some other way. This kind of benignity is so small and trivial, that either by law or custom, the duties of this class have passed almost every where into duties of perfect obligation.*
It extends to those things with which we abound.It belongs to the same class of unhurt utility to communicate such things to others as we can, (such is our abundance), spare them without any loss or hurt to ourselves; and to dispense among others things which would otherwise be lost and perish with us; insomuch, that they are very inhuman who suffer things to corrupt and spoil, who destroy in the fire, throw into the sea, or bury under ground things on purpose that no other may be the better for them.*
What if our humanity would be hurtful to ourselves?But since we are bound to render such good offices to others from the love we are obliged to entertain towards others by the law of an infinitely good and merciful God (§215), and yet none is obliged to love another more than himself (§93); the consequence is, that we may deny these good offices to others, if we foresee the doing them may be detrimental to ourselves or our friends; which, since it may easily happen in a state of nature, where there is no common magistracy to protect and secure us, if we readily render these good offices even to our manifest enemies; there is therefore a plain reason why the good offices, even of harmless use, may be refused to an enemy in that state, as being ill disposed towards us; whereas in a civil state to deny them rashly to others under that pretext, would be very blameable.*
Humanity is due to enemies.Yea rather, since the love which is the source of all these duties, is due, not for the merits of others, but on account of the equality of nature (§88), it is very evident, that even to enemies those things in which we abound, and which we can give them without any hurt to ourselves, ought to be given. And this humanity is so much the more splendid and noble, the less hope there is of our ever returning into great friendship with the enemy to whom such services are rendered.*
The degrees of relation and affinity ought to be considered.But because this love of humanity, from which these duties flow as their fountain or source, ought to have prudence for its director, which is that faculty by which things conducive to our own happiness and that of others is discerned; hence it is conspicuous, that regard ought to be had not only to persons, but to the necessities they labour under; and therefore in like circumstances, if it be not in our power to satisfy all, greater humanity is due to a good man than to a scelerate; more is owing to a friend than to an enemy; more to a kinsman and relative than to a stranger; and more to him who is in greater, than to him who is in less indigence of our assistance; and therefore so far the illustrious Leibnitz defines very justly, justice to be the love of a wise man.*
Our obligation to beneficence.That degree of love, which we called above love of beneficence (§214), is of a sublimer kind, because it excites us to exert ourselves to the utmost, and even with detriment to ourselves, to promote the good of others. Now, since what we would desire to be done to us by others we are obliged to do to them (§88), and many cases happen in which we ourselves would be very unhappy unless others should liberally bestow upon us what we want, and there is none who does not desire that others should so treat him; the consequence is, that we are obliged, in such cases, to supply others liberally with what they stand in need of, even with some detriment to ourselves.†
What is meant by beneficent, and what by officious.A benefit is a service rendered to one without hope of restitution or retribution; and therefore readiness to render such services we call beneficence; as readiness to do good offices, to lay on obligation of restoring or compensating by services to one’s self is called officiousness by Sidon. Apollin. 23. v. 478.1 But tho’ such services be not properly called benefits; yet they ought to be highly valued, and gratefully received, if they are greater than to admit of payment, or are rendered to us by one whom the nature of the good office did not oblige to do it.*
Beneficence ought to proceed from inclination to be useful to others.Since therefore beneficence is readiness to render such offices to others as we have reason to think will be serviceable to them (§222), every one must see that they have no title to the praise of beneficence, who, as the servant in Terence, Hecyr. 5. 4. v. 39. “do more good ignorantly and imprudently, than ever they did knowingly, and with design (§48),” or who do good with an intention to hurt; or who do good only, because they think the benefit will turn more to their own advantage than to that of the receiver. From all which it is manifest, that in judging of benefits the mind and intention of the benefactor are more to be considered than the act or effect itself.*
Benefits ought to be dispensed with prudence.Since benefits flow from love, which is always joined with prudence (§83), it is plain that whatever is not agreeable to reason is profusion, and any thing rather than liberality: nor are those offices deserving of the name of benefits, which proceed from ambition and vain-glory, more than from love, and are bestowed upon the more opulent, and not the indi-gent;† upon unworthy persons preferably to men of merit; or, in fine, which are done contrary to that natural order founded in natural kindred and relation, of which above (§220).
Benefits ought to be proportioned to the necessity and condition of persons.Besides, because benefits ought to be advantageous to persons (§222), it is evident from hence, that benefits ought to be suited to every one’s condition and necessities; and therefore that those are not benefits which do no good to a person; much less such as do him great hurt, or at least are attended with considerable inconvenience to him.*
The degrees of kindred and connexion are to be considered.Since that love of humanity and beneficence which binds to render good offices, extends even to enemies (§219), it is clear that those have a much better title to our love, who have done us all the kindnesses they had in their power; and that they are the worst of men, nay, more hard-hearted than the most savage brutes, who are not won to love by favours: they are so much the more unjust that it cannot be denied, that by accepting favours, we bind ourselves to mutual love (§221).
The obligation to gratitude.Love to benefactors is called a grateful mind or gratitude; wherefore, seeing one is obliged to love him from whom he hath received favours, the consequence is, that every one is obliged to shew gratude in every respect: yet this duty is imperfect, and therefore one cannot be compelled to perform it; an ungrateful person cannot be sued for his ingratitude in human courts, unless the laws of the state have expressly allowed such an action. Some such thing we have an example of in Xenophon’s institution of Cyrus, 1. 2. 7. p. 9. Edit. Oxon.* 2
The rules relating to it.Seeing gratitude is love to a benefactor (§227), it follows, that one is obliged to delight in the perfection and happiness of his benefactor; to commend and extol his beneficence by words, and to make suitable returns to his benefits; not always indeed the same, or equal, but to the utmost of his power; but if the ability be wanting, a grateful disposition is highly laudable.
The obligation to the other.In fine, since we are obliged, even to our own detriment, and without any hope of restitution or retribution, to do good to others (§221), the consequence is, that we ought much less to refuse favours to any one which he desires with the promise of restitution or retribution; and therefore every one is obliged to render to another what we called above officiousness (§222), provided this readiness to help others be not manifestly detrimental to ourselves (§93).
[1 ] See Harrington, The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656), in The Political Works of James Harrington, 172–73: “Twenty men, if they be not all idiots—perhaps if they be—can never come together, but there will be such difference in them that about a third will be wiser, or at least less foolish, than all the rest. These upon acquaintance, though it be but small, will be discovered, and (as stags that have the largest heads) lead the herd; for while the six, discoursing and arguing one with another, show the eminence of their parts, the fourteen discover things that they had never thought on, or are cleared in divers truths which had formerly perplexed them; wherefore in matters of common concernment, difficulty or danger, they hang upon their lips as children upon their fathers, and the influence thus acquired by the six, the eminence of whose parts is found to be a stay and comfort to the fourteen, is auctoritas partum, the authority of the fathers.” Harrington distinguishes authority from power, which is based on material dependence (“hanging by the teeth”: see note 9, p. 202).
[* ] Thus, among the Athenians, it was reckoned a most attrocious crime not to direct one who wandered, into his right road. Hence that saying of Diphilus, “Don’t you know that it is amongst the most execrable things, not to shew one his way.” So by the Roman laws, one could by an action compel another, who was neither bound to him by any compact, nor by delinquency, to exhibit a thing. Latona in Ovid. Metamorp. 6. v. 349. appeals to custom,
Quid prohibetis aquas? usus communis aquorum est.
[[Ovid, Metamorphoses, bk. 6, l. 349: “Why do you deny me water? The enjoyment of water is a common right.” (trans. Miller)
And Seneca, Controv. 1. says, “It is barbarous not to stretch out our arms to one who is falling, this is the common right of mankind,” (commune jus) that is, a common right or duty by the consent of all nations. “Iniquum est conlapsis manum non porrigere: commune hoc ius generis humani est.” Seneca (the Elder), Controversiae 1.1.14, in Declamations.]]
[* ] This is also a very common sort of humanity, or another very low degree of it. As therefore, they are very cruel and inhuman, who refuse such good offices to others, so they are very unequal prizers of their actions, who expect very great thanks on account of any such good deeds. Terent. And. 2. 1. v. 31. says well, “It is not a mark of a liberal cast of mind, to desire thanks when one hath merited none.” [[Terence, The Woman of Andros, lines 330–31, in vol. 1 of Terence. But who thinks the Calabrian did any considerable favour to his guest? to which Horace alludes. Ep. 1. 7. v. 14.Non quo more piris vesci Calaber jubet hospes.Tu mefecisti locupletem. Vescere sodes.Jam satis est. At tu quantumvis toile. Benigne:Non invisa feres pueris munuscula parvis.Tam teneor dono, quam si dimittor onustus.Ut libet: haec porcis hodie comedenda relinques.Prodigus & stultus donat, quae spernit & odit.
Horace, Epistles 1.7.14–19, in Satires, Epistles, and Ars Poetica: “’Twas not in the way a Calabrian host invites you to eat his pears that you have made me rich. ‘Eat some, pray.’ ‘I’ve had enough.’ ‘Well, take all you please.’ ‘No thanks.’ ‘Your tiny tots will love the little gifts you take them.’ ‘I’m as much obliged for your offer as if you sent me away loaded down.’ ‘As you please; you’ll be leaving them for the swine to gobble up today.’ The foolish prodigal gives away what he despises and dislikes.”
He is inhuman who can deny such things to those who stand in need of them: and he is more than inhuman, who when he gives them, appears to himself so wonderfully beneficent, that he would have a person think himself under perpetual and unpayable obligation to him on that account.]]
[* ] Thus in war we deny our enemies the benefit of watering, and have even a right to corrupt provisions, that they may be of no advantage to our invaders. But all these things we have only a right to do as they are enemies. For otherwise, when they cannot hurt us, it is humanity that deserves praise to assist enemies, e.g. when they are in captivity or in sickness. And seeing in a civil state, an enemy cannot easily hurt us, whom at least the magistrate cannot reduce into order, he is most inhuman who refuses to an enemy, to a scelerate, the offices of innocent profit or unhurt utility, since he is an object of commiseration: “If not the manners, yet the man, or if not the man, at least humanity,” according to that excellent saying of Aristotle in Diogenes Laert. v. 21. For which reason, the inhumanity of the Athenians is scarcely excusable, “who had such an aversion to the accusers of Socrates, that they would neither lend them fire, nor so much as answer them when they spoke, nor bath in the same water which they had used, but would order their servant to pour it away as polluted and defiled, till impatient of such a miserable state of reproach, the wretches became their own executioners.” Plutarch. de invid. & odio. p. 538. [[Plutarch, De invidia et odio (“On Envy and Hate”), in Moralia: in Fifteen Volumes, vol. 7, p. 107.]]
[* ] We know this is inculcated upon Christians, Mat. v. 45. Luke vi. 35; and before their eyes the example of our heavenly Father is set, “Who maketh the sun to arise, and his rain to fall upon the just and the unjust.” But that right reason, from the consideration of the equality of human nature, may discover this truth, is plain from hence, that Socrates set himself expressly to refute this vulgar maxim, “That we are to do good to our friends, and hurt to our enemies.” So Themistius tells us, Orat. ad Valent. de bello victis. [[A speech addressed by Themistius to the emperor Valens (in Themistius, Orationes quae supersunt). And what could have been wrote by one unacquainted with the sacred books, more excellent than this passage of Hierocles on the golden verses of Pythagoras, p. 69. “Whence it is justly said, that a good man hates no person, but is all love and benignity. For he loves the good, and does not regard the evil as his enemies. If he seeks out for a virtuous man, in order to associate with him, and loves an honest man above all things, yet in his love and goodness he imitates God himself, who hates no person, tho’ he delights in the good, and embraces them with a peculiar affection.” Hierocles of Alexandria (fl. ad 430), author of Commentary on the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans.]]
[* ] Hence it is that Pythagoras has distinguished certain degrees of love in his golden verses, v. 4. &c. which are excellently interpreted by Hierocles, p. 46.Inde parentis honos sequitor: tum sanguinis ordo:Post alii sunto, virtus ut maxima, amici, &c.
[[Hierocles, interpreting Pythagoras, Elements of Ethics (Fragmenta philosophorum Graecorum 1.408): “Then the honour of the father follows, then the blood-line; after, let there be other friends, as their virtue is the greatest.”
[† ] We are said to give liberally, not what we lend, or give for hire, but what we bestow on others, without hope of restitution or retribution. If I give that I may receive, such an action is a kind of contract. But if I give without any desire of, or eye to retribution or restitution, this is bounty or liberality. Seneca of benefits, c. 14. says, “I will entirely pass those whose good services are mercenary, which, when one does, he does not consider to whom, but for how much he is to do them, and which therefore terminate wholly in self. If one sells me corn when I cannot live without buying, I do not owe my life to him, Because I bought it. I do not consider so much the necessity of the thing to my life, as the gratuity of the deed, and in such a case I would not have got, had I not bought; and the merchant did not think of the service it would do me, but of his own profit: what I buy I do not owe.” [[Seneca, “On Benefits,” 6. 14, in vol. 3 of Seneca, Moral Essays. But tho’ benefits ought not to be done with selfish views, yet none does good to another, without desiring to bind the person he obliges to him by mutual love; and therefore the receiver by receiving tacitely obliges himself to mutual love.]]
[1 ] Apollinaris Sidonius, Poems and Letters, vol. 1, p. 314.
[* ] This likewise is observed by Seneca, c. 15. “According to this way, one may say he owes nothing to his physician but his petty fee: nor to his preceptor, because he gave him money. But among us, both these are greatly reverenced and loved. To this it is answered, some things are of greater value than what is paid for them. Do you buy from your physician life and health, which are above all price; or from your instructor in useful arts and sciences, wisdom, and a well cultivated mind. Wherefore, to them is paid not the value of the thing, but of their labour and their attendance on us; they receive the reward, not of their merit, but of their profession.” Afterwards he gives another reason why we owe gratitude to those who render us such good offices, cap. 16. “What then? why do I still owe something to my physician and preceptor, after I have given them a fee; why have I not then fully acquitted my self? because from being my physician and preceptor, they become my friend: and they oblige us not by their art, which they sell, but by their generous and friendly disposition.” [[Seneca, “On Benefits,” 6. 15–16, in vol. 3 of Seneca, Moral Essays.]]
[* ] To illustrate these conclusions by examples; none will say, that a person is benefited by one, who not knowing any thing of the matter, delivers him letters with agreeable news; or by one who praises him merely to get him out of his place, that he may be lord of the hall; or by one who planted trees for his own pleasure, when he enjoys the shade of them, without or contrary to his intention. To such cases belongs the elegant fable in Phaedrus, 1. 22. of the weasel, who being catched by a man, when it urged him to spare its life, because it had cleared his house from troublesome mice, had this answer:Faceres, si caussa mei:Gratum esset, & dedissem veniam supplici:Nunc quia laboras, ut fruaris reliquiis,Quae sint rosuri, simul & ipsos devores,Noli imputare vanum beneficium mihi.
[[Phaedrus, Fabulae 1.22 (“The Man and the Weasel”): “If you were doing this for my sake, it would be something to thank you for, and I should have granted you the pardon for which you ask. But as it is, since you do the job to profit by the scraps that the mice would have nibbled, as well as to feed on the mice themselves, don’t set me down as your debtor for imaginary services.”
For this fable, according to the interpretation of Phaedrus himself, ought to be applied to them who serve their own ends, and then make a vain boast to the unthinking of their merit.]]
[† ] For besides, that such benefits are snatched from the indigent, they are likewise not unfrequently baits to catch; and for that reason likewise they do not merit to be called benefits, Mat. v. 46, 47. Luke vi. 32. Besides, as to the more opulent, whatever benefit is rendered to them is neither grateful, nor has it the nature of a benefit. Thus we know Alexander the Great mocked at the pretended favour, when the Corinthians offered him the right of citizenship, tho’ they boasted of having never made the compliment to any but Hercules and Alexander. Seneca of benefits, 1. 13. But the memory of benefits formerly received from one yea: the customs of the state in which we live, and other reasons, may excuse such benefits: and therefore, at Rome none could blame this liberality of clients, because the right of patronage there established, required such liberality from the clients to their patrons, Dionys. Halic. 2. p. 84. Plutarch. Romul. p. 24. [[Dionysius Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities; Plutarch, “Romulus” in his Lives, vol. 1, 90–187 Polyb. Hist. 6. p. 459. Nor were the Persians blameable for bringing gifts to their king, since there was a law, “That every one should make presents to the king of Persia according to his ability.” Aelian. var. hist. 1. 31.]]
[* ] He is not beneficent who gives a hungry person a jewel, to a thirsty person a fine garment, to a sick person a feast. Bessus did not surely deserve to be called a benefactor, who put chains of gold upon Darius, Curt. l. 5. cap. 12. Finally, that Roman, who being saved from proscription was carried about for a shew in a ludicrous manner, had reason thus to reproach his benefactor, and to say, “He owed him no obligation for saving him, to make game and a show of him.” Seneca of benefits, 2. 11.
[* ] Ingratitude is commonly distinguished into simple, of which he is guilty who does not do good to his benefactor to his utmost power: and pregnant, of which he is guilty who injures his benefactor. The former, Pufendorff of the law of nature and nations, 3. 3. 17, says, a man cannot be sued for at the civil bar; but mixed ingratitude he thinks not unworthy of civil punishment. But if we may say the truth, in this case the ungrateful person is not animadverted upon as such, but as having done an injury; and he is liable to punishment who does an injury even to a person from whom he never received any favours. However, we readily grant, that an injury is much more attrocious, when it is joined with that basest of vices, ingratitude. And therefore they are justly reckoned more wicked who are injurious to parents, instructors, patrons, than those who only wrong strangers, to whom they are under no special ties.
[2 ] The edition used here presumably is Xenophon, De Cyri institutione libri octo, ed. Hutchinson.