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chapter i: Of Human Actions in general, the Principles of ’em, and how to be accounted for, or imputed - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature 
The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, trans. Andrew Tooke, ed. Ian Hunter and David Saunders, with Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac, trans. David Saunders (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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Of Human Actions in general, the Principles of ’em, and how to be accounted for, or imputed
I.What Duty is.What we mean here by the Word Duty, is, That* Action of a Man, which is regularly order’d according to some prescrib’d Law, which he is oblig’d to obey. To the Understanding whereof it is necessary to premise somewhat, as well touching the Nature of a Human Action, as concerning Laws in general.
II.What a Human Action.By a Human Action we mean not every Motion that proceeds from the Faculties of a Man; but such only as have their Original and Direction from those Faculties which God Almighty has endow’d Mankind withal, distinct from Brutes; that is, such as are undertaken by the Light of the Understanding, and the Choice of the Will.
III.Human Capacity. Knowing and Chusing L. N. N. l. 1. c. 1. §2 c. 3. §1.For it is not only put in the Power of Man to know the various Things which appear in the World, to compare them one with another, and from thence to form to himself new Notions; but he is able to look forwards, and to consider what he is to do, and to carry himself to the Performance of it, and this to do after some certain Manner, and to some certain End; and then he can collect what will be the Consequence thereof. Beside, he can make a Judgment upon Things already done, whether they are done agreeably to their Rule. Not that all a Man’s Faculties do exert themselves continually, or after the same manner, but some of them are stir’d up in him by an internal Impulse; and when rais’d, are by the same regulated and guided. Neither beside has a Man the same Inclination to every Object; but some he Desires, and for others he has an Aversion: And often, though an Object of Action be before him, yet he suspends any Motion towards it; and when many Objects offer themselves, he chuses one and refuses the rest.
IV.Human Understanding. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3.As for that Faculty therefore of comprehending and judging of Things, which is called the Understanding; it must be taken for granted, first of all, * That every Man of a mature Age, and entire Sense, has so much Natural Light in him, as that, with necessary Care, and due Consideration, he may rightly comprehend, at least those general Precepts and Principles which are requisite in order to pass our Lives here honestly and quietly; and be able to judge that these are congruous to the Nature of Man. For if this, at least, be not admitted within the Bounds of the Forum Humanum, [or Civil Judicature] Men might pretend an invincible Ignorance for all their Miscarriages; * because no Man in foro humano can be condemn’d for having violated a Law which it was above his Capacity to comprehend.
V.What is meant by Conscience rightly inform’d, and what by Probable Conscience. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §5.The Understanding of Man, when it is rightly instructed concerning that which is to be done or omitted, and this so, as that he is able to give certain and undoubted Reasons for his Opinions, is wont to be call’d Conscience rightly inform’d: That is, govern’d by sure Principles, and settling its Resolutions conformably to the Laws. But when a Man has indeed entertain’d the true Opinion about what is to be done or not to be done, the Truth whereof yet he is not able to make good by Reasoning; but he either drew such his Notion from his Education, way of Living, Custom, or from the Authority of Persons wiser or better than himself; and no Reason appears to him that can persuade the contrary, this uses to be call’d Conscientia probabilis,Conscience grounded upon Probability. And by this the greatest part of Mankind are govern’d, it being the good Fortune of few to be able to enquire into, and to know, the Causes of Things.
VI.Conscience doubting. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §8.And yet it chances often, to some Men especially in singular Cases, that Arguments may be brought on both sides, and they not be Masters of sufficient Judgment to discern clearly which are the strongest and most weighty. And this is call’d a †Doubting Conscience. In which Case this is the Rule: As long as the Understanding is unsatisfied and in doubt, whether the thing to be done be good or evil, the doing of it is to be deferr’d. For to set about doing it before the Doubt is answer’d, implies a sinful Design, or at least a Neglect of the Law.
VII.Error, vincible and invincible. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §11.Men also oftentimes have wrong Apprehensions of the matter, and take that to be true which is false; and then they are said to be in an Error; and this is called Vincible Error, when a Man by applying due Attention and Diligence might have prevented his falling thereinto; and it’s said to be Invincible Error, when the Person, with the utmost Diligence and Care that is consistent with the common Rules of Life, could not have avoided it. But this sort of Error, at least, among those who give their Minds to improve the Light of Reason, and to lead their Lives regularly, happens not in the common Rules of living, but only in peculiar Matters. For the Precepts of the Law of Nature are plain; and that Legislator who makes positive Laws, both does and ought to take all possible Care, that they may be understood by those who are to give Obedience to them. So that this Sort of Error proceeds only from a supine Negligence. But in particular Affairs ’tis easie for some Error to be admitted, against the Will, and without any Fault of the Person, concerning the Object and other * Circumstances of the Action.
VIII.Of Ignorance, and the various Kinds of it. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §10.Where Knowledge simply is wanting as to the Thing performed or omitted, such Defect of Knowledge is call’d Ignorance.1
This Ignorance may be two Ways consider’d, either with respect to its Origin, or with respect to its Influence on the Action. With reference to this latter, Ignorance is of two Sorts, one being the Cause of the Thing ignorantly done, the other not; on which account the first of these is call’d Efficacious Ignorance, the other Concomitant.
EFFICACIOUS Ignorance is the Want of such Knowledge as, had it not been wanting, would have hindred the Action: Such was Abimelech’s Ignorance, Gen.xx. 4, 5. who, had he known Sarah to have been Abraham’s Wife, had never entertain’d any Thoughts of taking her to himself. Concomitant Ignorance is the Want of such Knowledge, as had it not been wanting, would not have hindred the Fact: As suppose a Man should kill his Enemy by a chance Blow, whom he would otherwise have kill’d, had he known him to have been in that particular Place.
Ignorance with respect to its Origin is either Voluntary or Involuntary. Voluntary Ignorance is either contracted by mere negligence, idleness and unattention; or else affected, that is, proceeding from a direct and formal Contempt of the means of informing our selves in what we were able, and what it was our Duty to come to the knowledge of. Involuntary Ignorance consists in the want of knowing such Things, as it was neither in our Power, nor a part of our Duty to come to the knowledge of. This likewise is of two Sorts: The former is, when in doing a Thing a Man is not able to overcome the Ignorance from which it proceeds, and yet is in Fault for falling into that Ignorance; which is the Case of Drunken Men. The latter is, when a Man is not only ignorant of such Things as could not be known before the Action, but is also * free from any Blame upon the account of his falling into that Ignorance, or his continuing in it.
IX.The Will, unforced and free. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4.The other Faculty, which does peculiarly distinguish Men from Brutes, is called the Will; by which, as with an internal Impulse, Man moves himself to Action, and chuses that which best pleases him; and rejects that which seems unfit for him. Man therefore has thus much from his Will: First, that he has a Power to act willingly, that is, he is not determin’d by any intrinsick Necessity to do this or that, but is himself the Author of his own Actions: Next, that he has a Power to act freely, that is, upon the Proposal of one Object, he may act or not act, and either entertain or reject; or if divers Objects are propos’d, he may chuse one and refuse the rest. Now whereas among human Actions some are undertaken for their own Sakes, others because they are subservient to the attaining of somewhat farther; that is, some are as the End, and others as Means: As for the End, the Will is thus far concern’d, That being once known, this first approves it, and then moves vigorously towards the achieving thereof, as it were, driving at it with more or less earnestness; and this End once obtain’d, it sits down quietly and enjoys its Acquist with Pleasure. For the Means, they are first to be approv’d, then such as are most fit for the Purpose are chosen, and at last are apply’d to Use.
X.The Will spontaneous chargeable with the Action. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §2.But as Man is accounted to be the Author of his own Actions, because they are voluntarily undertaken by himself: So this is chiefly to be observ’d concerning the Will, to wit, that its Spontaneity, or natural Freedom, is at least to be asserted in those Actions, concerning which a Man is wont to give an Account before any human Tribunal. For where an absolute Freedom of choice is wholly taken away, there not the Man who acts, but he that imposed upon him the Necessity of so doing, is to be reputed the Author of that Action, to which the other unwillingly ministred with his Strength and Limbs.
XI.The Will variously affected. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §4.Farthermore, though the Will do always desire Good in general, and has continually an aversion for Evil also in general; yet a great Variety of Desires and Actions may be found among Men. And this arises from hence, that all Things that are Good and Evil do not appear purely so to Man, but mixt together, the good with the bad, and the bad with the good; and because different Objects do particularly affect divers Parts, as it were, of a Man; for instance, some regard that good Opinion and Respect that a Man has for himself; some affect the outward Senses; and some that Love of himself, from which he desires his own Preservation. From whence it is, that those of the first Sort appear to him as reputable; of the second as pleasant; and of the last as profitable: And accordingly as each of these have made a powerful Impression upon a Man, it brings upon him a peculiar Propensity towards that way; whereto may be added the particular Inclinations and Aversions that are in most Men to some certain Things. From all which it comes to pass, that upon any Action several Sorts of Good and Evil offer themselves, which either are true or appear so; which some have more, some less Sagacity to distinguish with solidity of Judgment. So that ’tis no wonder that one Man should be carried eagerly on to that which another perfectly abhors.
XII.The Will byass’d by Natural Inclinations. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §5.But neither is the Will of Man always found to stand equally poised with regard to every Action, that so the Inclination thereof to this or that Side should come only from an Internal Impulse, after a due Consideration had of all its Circumstances; but it is very often pusht on one way rather than another by some outward Movements. For, that we may pass by that universal Propensity to Evil, which is in all Mortals (the Original and Nature of which belong to the Examination of another *Forum;) first, a peculiar Disposition of Nature puts a particular kind of byass upon the Will, by which some are strongly inclin’d to certain sorts of Actions; and this is not only to be found in single Men, but in whole Nations. This seems to proceed from the Temperature of the Air that surrounds us, and of the Soil; and from that Constitution of our Bodies which either was deriv’d to us in the Seed of our Parents, or was occasion’d in us by our Age, Diet, the want or enjoyment of Health, the Method of our Studies, or way of Living, and Causes of that sort; beside the various formations of the Organs, which the Mind makes use of in the Performance of its several Offices, and the like. And here, beside that a Man may with due Care very much alter the Temperament of his Body, and repress the Exorbitances of his natural Inclination, it is to be noted, that how much Power soever we attribute hereto, yet it is not to be understood to be of that Force as to hurry a Man into such a Violation of the Law of Nature, as shall render him obnoxious to the Civil Judicature, where evil Desires are not animadverted on, † provided they break not forth into external Actions. So that after all the Pains that can be taken to repel Nature, if it takes its full Swinge, yet it may so far be restrain’d as not to produce open Acts of Wickedness; and the Difficulty which happens in vanquishing these Propensities is abundantly recompens’d in the Glory of the Conquest. But if these Impulses are so strong upon the Mind, that they cannot be contain’d from breaking forth, yet there may be found a Way, as it were to draw them off, without Sin.
XIII.By Custom or Habitude. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §6.The frequent Repetition of Actions of the same kind does also incline the Will to do certain Things; and the Propensity which proceeds from hence is called Habit or Custom; for it is by this that any Thing is undertaken readily and willingly; so that the Object being presented, the Mind seems to be forced thitherward, or if it be absent, the same is earnestly desirous of it. Concerning which this is to be observ’d, That as there appears to be no Custom, but what a Man may, by applying a due Care, break and leave off; so neither can any so far put a force upon the Will, but that a Man may be able at any Time to restrain himself from any external Acts at least, to which by that he is urged. And because it was in the Persons own Power to have contracted this Habit or not, whatsoever easiness it brings to any Action, yet if that Action be good, it loses nothing of its Value therefore, as neither doth an evil Thing abate ought of its Pravity. But as a good Habit brings Praise to a Man, so an ill one shews his Shame.
XIV.By Passion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §7.It is also of great Consideration, whether the Mind be in a quiet and placid State, or whether it be affected with those peculiar Motions we call the Passions. Of these it is to be known, that how violent soever they are, a Man with the right Use of his Reason may yet conquer them, or at least contain them so far within Bounds, as to hinder them from producing those Actions they prompt Men to do. * But whereas of the Passions some are rais’d from the Appearance of Good, and others of Evil; and do urge either to the procuring of somewhat that is acceptable, or to the avoiding of what is mischievous, it is agreeable to Human Nature, that these should meet among Men more favour and pardon, than those; and that according to such degrees as the Mischief that excited them was more hurtful and intolerable. For to want a Good not altogether necessary to the Preservation of Nature is accounted more easie, than to endure an Evil which tends to Nature’s Destruction.
XV.By intoxication. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §8.Farthermore, as there are * certain Maladies, which take away all Use of the Reason either perpetually or for a time: So ’tis customary in many Countries, for Men on purpose to procure to themselves a certain kind of Disease which goes off in a short time, but which very much confounds the Reasoning Faculty. By this we mean Drunkenness; proceeding from certain kinds of Drink, and Fumes, which hurry and disturb the Blood and Spirits, thereby rendring Men very prone to Lust, Anger, Rashness and immoderate Mirth; so that many by Drunkenness are set as it were beside themselves, and seem to have put on another Nature, than that which they were of, when sober. But as this does not always take away the whole Use of Reason; so, as far as the Person does willingly put himself in this State, it is apt to procure an Abhorrence rather than a favourable Interpretation of what is done by its Impulse.
XVI.Actions Involuntary, mixt. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §11.Now of Human Actions, as those are call’d Voluntary, which proceed from, and are directed by the Will; so if any thing be done wittingly, altogether against the Will, these are call’d Involuntary, taking the Word in the narrowest sense; for taking it in the largest, it comprehends even those which are done through Ignorance. But Involuntary in this place is to signifie the same as forc’d; that is, when by an external Power which is stronger, a Man is compell’d to use his Members in any Action, to which he yet signifies his Dissent and Aversion by Signs, and particularly by counterstriving with his Body. Less properly those Actions are also called Involuntary, which by the Imposition of a great Necessity are chosen to be done, as the lesser Evil; and for the Acting whereof the Person had the greatest Abomination, had he not been set under such Necessity. These Actions therefore are call’d Mixt. With Voluntary Actions they have this in common, that in the present State of Things the Will chuses them as the lesser Evil. With the Involuntary they are after a sort the same, as to the Effect, because they render the Agent either not at all, or not so heinously blameable, as if they had been done spontaneously.
XVII.Voluntary Actions imputable. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §5.Those Human Actions then which proceed from, and are directed by the Understanding and the Will, have particularly this natural Propriety, * that they may be imputed to the Doer; that is, that a Man may justly be said to be the Author of them, and be oblig’d to render an Account of such his Doing; and the Consequences thereof, whether good or bad, are chargeable upon him. For there can be no truer Reason why any Action should be imputable to a Man, than that he did it either mediately or immediately knowingly and willingly; or that it was in his Power to have done the same or to have let it alone. Hence it obtains as the prime Axiom in Matters of Morality which are liable to the Human Forum: That every Man is accountable for all such Actions, the Performance or Omission of which were in his own Choice. Or, which is tantamount, That every Action that lies within a Man’s Power to perform or omit, is chargeable upon him who might or might not have done it. So on the contrary, no Man can be reputed the Author of that Action, which neither in it self nor in its cause, was in his Power.
XVIII.Conclusions from the Premisses.From these Premisses we shall deduce some particular Propositions, by which shall be ascertain’d, what every Man ought to be accountable for; or, in other Words, which are those Actions and Consequences of which any one is to be charged as Author.
The first Conclusion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §6.None of those Actions which are done by another Man, nor any Operation of whatsoever other things; neither any Accident, can be imputable to any Person, but so far forth as it was in his Power, or as he was oblig’d to guide such Action. For nothing is more common in the World, than to subject the Doings of one Man to the Manage and Direction of another. Here then, if any thing be perpetrated by one, which had not been done, if the other had performed his Duty and exerted his Power; this Action shall not only be chargeable upon him who immediately did the Fact, but upon the other also who neglected to make use of his Authority and Power. And yet this is to be understood with some restriction; so as that Possibility may be taken morally, and in a large Sense. For no Subjection can be so strict, as to extinguish all manner of Liberty in the Person subjected; but so, that ’twill be in his Power to resist and act quite contrary to the Direction of his Superior; neither will the State of Human Nature bear, that any one should be perpetually affix’d to the side of another, so as to observe all his Motions. Therefore when a Superiour has done every thing that was requir’d by the Rules of his Directorship, and yet somewhat is acted amiss, this shall be laid only to the charge of him that did it. Thus, whereas Man exercises Dominion over other Animals, what is done by them to the detriment of another, shall be charged upon the Owner, as supposing him to have been wanting of due Care and Circumspection. So also all those Mischiefs which are brought upon another, may be imputed to that Person, who when he could and ought, yet did not take out of the way the Cause and Occasion thereof. Accordingly it being in the Power of Men to promote or suspend the Operations of many Natural Agents, whatsoever Advantage or Damage is wrought by these, they shall be accountable for, by whose application or neglect the same was occasion’d. Beside, sometimes there are extraordinary Cases, when a Man shall be charged with such Events as are above human Direction, as when God shall do particular Works with regard to some single Person. [So the Pestilence in Israel may be charg’d upon David for numbring the People; 2 Sam. xxiv. or the three Year’s Drought to the Prayers of Elijah, 1 Kings xvii. and the like.] These and such Cases being excepted, no Man is responsible but for his own Actions.
XIX. The second Conclusion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §7.WHATSOEVER Qualifications a Man has or has not, which it is not in his Power to exert or not to exert, must not be imputed to him, unless so far as he is wanting in Industry to supply such Natural Defect, or does not rouse up his native Faculties. So, because no man can give himself an Acuteness of Judgment and Strength of Body; therefore no one is to be blam’d for Want of either, or commended for having them, except so far as he improv’d, or neglected the cultivating thereof. Thus Clownishness is not blameable in a Rustic, but in a Courtier or Citizen. And hence it is, that those Reproaches are to be judg’d extremely absurd, which are grounded upon Qualities, the Causes of which are not in our Power, as, Short Stature, a deform’d Countenance, and the like.
XX.The Third Conclusion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §10.Farther, We are not chargeable for those Things, which we do thro’ Invincible Ignorance. Because we have nothing but the Light of our Understanding to direct our Actions by; and in this case it is supposed that the Agent neither had, nor possibly could have, this Light for his Direction at that time, and that it was not his own Fault that made it not possible for him then to come at proper Knowledge. When we say not possible for him to know, we must be understood in a Moral not a Physical Sense; that is, it was not possible to come to this Knowledge by the usual and common Means, by using his best Care and Attention, and by giving such Diligence, Precaution, and Circumspection, as in all reason may be thought sufficient for the attaining such Knowledge.
XXI.The fourth Conclusion.Ignorance of a Man’s Duty, or of those Laws from whence his Duty arises, or Error about either of them, does not excuse from blame. For whosoever imposes Laws and Services, is wont and ought to take care that the Subject have notice thereof. And these Laws and Rules of Duty generally are and should be order’d to the Capacity of such Subject, if they are such as he is obliged to know and remember. Hence, he who is the Cause of the Ignorance shall be bound to answer for those Actions which are the Effects thereof.
XXII.The fifth Conclusion.He who, not by his own fault, wants an Opportunity of doing his Duty, shall not be accountable, because he has not done it. An Opportunity of doing our Duty comprehends these four requisite Conditions: 1. That an Object of Action be ready: 2. That a proper Place be had, where we may not be hindred by others, nor receive any Mischief: 3. That we have a fit Time, when Business of greater Necessity is not to be done, and which is equally seasonable for those Persons who are to concur with us in the Action: and 4. Lastly, That we have natural Force sufficient for the performancer. For since an Action cannot be atchiev’d without these, ’twould be absurd to blame a Man for not acting, when he had not an Opportunity so to do. Thus, a Physician cannot be accus’d of Sloth, when no body is sick to employ him. Thus, no Man can be liberal, who wants himself. Thus he cannot be reprov’d for burying his Talent who having taken a due care to set himself in an useful Station, has yet miss’d of it: tho’ it be said, *To whom much is given, from him much shall be requir’d.† Thus we cannot blow and suck all at once.
XXIII.The sixth Conclusion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §8.No Man is accountable for not doing that which exceeded his Power, and which he had not Strength sufficient to hinder or accomplish. Hence that Maxim, To Impossibilities there lies no Obligation. But this Exception must be added, Provided, that by the Person’s own Fault he has not impaired, or lost that Strength which was necessary to the Performance; for if so, he is to be treated after the same manner, as if he had all that Power which he might have had: Otherwise it would be easie to elude the Performance of any difficult Obligation, by weakening one’s self on purpose.
XXIV.The seventh Conclusion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §9.Neither can those things be imputable, which one acts or suffers by Compulsion. For it is supposed, that ’twas above his power to decline or avoid such doing or suffering. But we are said after a twofold manner to be compell’d; one way is, when another that’s stronger than us violently forces our Members to do or endure somewhat; the other, ‡ when one more powerful shall threaten some grievous Mischief (which he is immediately able to bring upon us) unless we will, as of our own accord, apply our selves to the doing of this, or abstain from doing that. For in these cases unless we are expressly obliged to take the Mischief to our selves which was to be done to another, he that sets us under this Necessity, is to be reputed the Author of the Fact; and the same is no more chargeable upon us, than a Murder is upon the Sword or Ax which was the Instrument.
XXV.The eighth Conclusion.The Actions of those who want the Use of their Reason are not imputable; because they cannot distinguish clearly what they do, and bring it to the Rule. Hitherto appertain the Actions of Children, before their reasoning Faculties begin to exert themselves. For though they are now and then chid or whipt for what they do; yet it is not from hence to be concluded, that their Actions are really Crimes, or that in strictness they deserve this punishment for them; which they receive not as from Justice, but in Prudence to prevent their growing troublesome to others, and lest they contract ill Habits in themselves when they are little, and so keep them when they are grown up. So also the Doings of Franticks, Crackbrains, and Dotards are not accounted Human Actions, nor imputable to those who contracted such incapacitating Disease, without any fault of their own.
XXVI.The ninth Conclusion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5 §11.Lastly, A Man is not chargeable with what he seems to do in his Dreams; unless by indulging himself in the Day-time with idle Thoughts, he has deeply impressed the Ideas of such Things in his Mind; (tho’ Matters of this Sort can rarely be within the Cognizance of the Human Forum.) For indeed the Fansie in Sleep is like a Boat adrift without a Guide; so that ’tis impossible for any Man to order what Ideas it shall form.
L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §14.XXVII. Imputation of another’s Actions. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §14.But concerning the Imputation of another Man’s Actions, it is somewhat more distinctly to be observ’d, that sometimes it may so happen, that an Action ought not at all to be charged upon him that immediately did it, but upon another who made use of this only as an Instrument. But it is more frequent, that it should be imputed both to him who perpetrated the thing, and to the other, who by doing or omitting something, shew’d his concurrence to the Action. And this is chiefly done after a threefold manner; either, 1. As the other was the principal Cause of the Action, and this less principal. Or, 2. As they were both equally concern’d. Or, 3. As the other was less principal, and he that did the Act was principal. To the first Sort belong those who shall instigate another to any thing by their Authority; those who shall give their necessary Approbation, without which the other could not have acted; those who could and ought to have hindred it, but did not. To the second Class appertain, those who order such a thing to be done, or hire a Man to do it; those who assist; those who afford harbour and protection; those who had it in their Power, and whose Duty it was to have succour’d the wronged Person, but refus’d it. To the third Sort are refer’d such as are of *counsel to the Design; † those that encourage and commend the Fact before it be done; and such as incite Men to sinning by their Example, and the like.
[*] The ancient Stoicks call’d Actions by the Greek Word καθηκον, and by the Latin OFFICIUM, and in English we use the Word OFFICE in the same Sense, when we say, Friendly Offices, &c. but then the Definition hereof given by the Philosophers, is too loose and general, since thereby they understood nothing but an Action conformable to Reason. As may appear from a Passage of Cicero (de Fin. Bon. & Mal. L. 3. c. 17.) Quod autem ratione actum sit, id OFFICIUM appellamus. See also De Offic. l. 1. c. 3. & Diogenes Laertius Lib. VII. Sect. 107, 108. [This slightly modified version of Barbeyrac’s note I.1, p. 1 is intended to clarify Pufendorf’s conception of duty (officium), as action commanded by a superior, by contrasting it with the philosopher’s conception, as action in accordance with right reason.]
[*] This is evident from the Example of the Heathen, and the Holy Scriptures are express in this Point; for thus they say: For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law (Written or Revealed, as was that of Moses) do by NATURE the things contained in the Law, these having not the Law are a Law unto themselves: Which shew the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, their Conscience also bearing Witness, and their Thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another; (that is, when they do ill, they condemn themselves in their own Conscience, and on the contrary, when they do well, they have in themselves an inward Approbation and Satisfaction: From whence it plainly appears they have Ideas of Good and Evil.) Rom. ii. 14, 15. [In this note (IV.1, p. 3) Barbeyrac seeks to close the gap between Pufendorf’s conception of understanding (as the capacity to deduce the rules of civil tranquillity) and the Calvinist conception of conscience (as the individual’s inner access to moral laws inscribed in the heart by God).]
[*] L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §3. Apol. §21. Eris. Scand. p. 37.
[†] A scrupulous Conscience, proceeding mostly from Weakness and Superstition, is only to be help’d by better Information. Here our Author’s Definition of Conscience may be noted, that it is an Act of the Mind judging of what a Man has omitted or done, according to some Rule to which he was rightly oblig’d. Nay, in strict Sense, to act against Conscience is no other than wittingly and willingly to do Evil. [Added by the English editors, this note expounds Pufendorf’s conception of conscience rather than Barbeyrac’s. In treating conscience as judgment in accordance with an imposed rule—rather than as individual insight into God’s laws or intentions—Pufendorf was counteracting doctrines (some of them Calvinist) that placed conscience above civil duty.]
[*] Such Circumstances are the Manner, the Intention, the Instrument, the Quality of the Thing done, &c. Thus, for Example, A Man may happen to kill another without any Thought of doing so; he may mistake him for an Enemy, may give him Poison when he thinks what he gives him is wholsom Liquor. Tho’ we may believe Actions so circumstantiated to be innocent, yet no Man can innocently assert, that Murder or Poisoning are lawful. [Barbeyrac’s note VII.1, p. 6.]
This subsection is an example of the editors’ attempting to improve on Tooke’s version, using Barbeyrac as their model to change the order of exposition, and then adding their own biblical examples to clarify the different forms of morally significant ignorance. In general, Tooke’s original is clearer.
[*] There is no other but this last sort of Ignorance that is really involuntary and invincible, and capable entirely to excuse Men in doing any prejudicial Acts; for it is Men’s own Faults that they fall into any of the forementioned sorts of Ignorance. [Barbeyrac’s note VIII.2, p. 8.]
[*] The Judgment of the Divines. [One of Tooke’s own (rare) marginal notes from the first edition of 1691.]
[†] Hugo Grotius de Jure Belli & Pacis. Lib. 11. c. 20. §18.
[*] Apolog. Sect. 22. in Eris. Scandic. p. 39.
[*] The Effect of these sort of Maladies, and of Drunkenness is not, to speak properly, a giving to the Will a bent and inclination to this or that thing, so much as an entire destroying the Principle of Human Actions; because Men under these Circumstances know not any thing of what they do. [Barbeyrac’s note XV.1, p. 14.]
[*] L. N. N. l. 1. c. 5. §3. Spicileg. Jur. Nat. §12. in Eris. Scandic. Page 343.
[*] The Words of our Blessed Saviour, Luc. xii. 48. [Barbeyrac’s note XXII.3, p. 22.]
[†] Our Author, who frequently makes use of Plautus, does without doubt in this place allude to the Mostellaria, Act. 3. Sc. 2 v. 104, 105.
[‡] The Author seems here to give too great an Allowance to this second sort of Compulsion. It must indeed be owned, that it greatly lessens the Offence, especially in Courts of Human Judicature; but then it frees us not from Imputation intirely in the Sight of God. The Example our Author gives of the Sword or Ax reaches not the Case, for they are Instruments meerly passive: But on the other hand, a Person who is no other ways forced but by the Menaces of some great Mischief, without any physical or irresistible Violence, acts with some degree of Willingness, and gives a sort of a Concurrence to an Action which he plainly knows to be ill, when he is thus constrained to do it. There is but one Case wherein, with a safe Conscience, we may obey the injurious Orders of a Superior, in order to avoid the Mischiefs he menaces us with in case of a Refusal; and that is, when the Person, on whom the Mischief is to fall by our Compliance with the injurious Orders of a Superior, does himself consent that we should avoid the Mischief threatned to us, by doing the Action commanded, altho’ it be injurious to him, and rather contents himself to suffer such Injury, than to expose us to the Violence of the Person menacing: But this also must be understood only of such Cases as the Person has it in his Power to give Consent, namely, when the Injury he consents to suffer is the Violation only of such a Right as is in the power of the suffering Person to quit; otherwise this Case holds not good; for should any one, for example, consent that I should act the Command of another to kill him, such consent would not acquit me of the Guilt of Murder, should I by the Menaces of any one be constrained to take away his Life. See L. N. N. lib. I. cap. V. §9. & lib. VIII. cap. I. §6. [This note (Barbeyrac’s XXIV.1, p. 23) continues his attempt to blur Pufendorf’s strict separation of the civil and religious judgment. By insisting against Pufendorf that someone who commits an evil act under coercive threats may still be blameworthy in the sight of God, Barbeyrac refuses to allow civil obligation to cancel out the individual’s conscience and moral responsibility.]
[*] That is, when, for example, a Man advises another to steal this or that thing, shewing him at the same time the properest Manner to take it without discovery, the favourablest Time of conveying himself into the House where it is, the Place where the thing is reposited, the best Way of getting off with it, and the like Particulars; but this is not meant of simply advising any one in general terms to steal for his Support rather than starve. L. N. N. lib. I. cap. V. §14. [Barbeyrac’s XXVII.1, p. 26.]
[†] That is, provided this Advice, these Encouragements and Commendations contribute to make him do the criminal Act; for in such case only the Imputation lies; otherwise the Person thus counselling and encouraging is only guilty of the ill Intention which he had. Lib. III. cap. I. §4. [Barbeyrac’s XXVII.2, p. 27.]