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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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Table of Contents
In 1691, eighteen years after its original publication, Samuel Pufendorf’s De officio hominis et civis appeared in English translation in London, bearing the title The Whole Duty of Man, According to the Law of Nature. This translation, by Andrew Tooke (1673–1732), professor of geometry at Gresham College, passed largely unaltered through two subsequent editions, in 1698 and 1705, before significant revision and augmentation in the fourth edition of 1716. Unchanged, this text was then reissued as the fifth and final edition of 1735, which is here republished for the first time since.1 Five editions, spanning almost half a century, bear testimony to the English appetite for Pufendorf’s ideas.
There are important regards, however, in which The Whole Duty of Man differs from Pufendorf’s De officio.2 In the first place, Tooke’s translation is the product and instrument of a shift in political milieu—from German absolutism to English parliamentarianism—reflected in the translator’s avoidance of Pufendorf’s key political terms, in particular “state” (civitas) and “sovereignty” (summum imperium). Second, the anonymous editors of the 1716/35 edition intensified Tooke’s anglicization of Pufendorf through the inclusion of material—a series of important footnotes, revised translations of key passages—taken from the first edition of Jean Barbeyrac’s 1707 French translation of the De officio.3 Especially in his footnotes, Barbeyrac had moderated the secular and statist dimensions of Pufendorf’s thought in order to retain some continuity between civil duties and religious morality—enough at least to remind citizens of a law higher than the civil law and to remind the sovereign power of its responsibility to protect the natural rights of citizens. Those reminders, though suited to the “polite” post-Hobbesian world of early-eighteenth-century London, had not been at all germane to Pufendorf’s original intention and text.
In the 1735 edition of The Whole Duty of Man, Pufendorf’s thought has thus been successively reshaped in the course of its reception into a series of specific cultural and political milieux. To approach this text from the right angle we must follow a similar path. We thus begin with Pufendorf himself, and then discuss Barbeyrac’s engagement with Pufendorf, before entering the English world of Andrew Tooke and the anonymous editors who, in 1716, introduced the fruits of Barbeyrac’s engagement into Tooke’s translation.
The son of a Lutheran pastor, Samuel Pufendorf was born in the Saxon village of Dorfchemnitz in 1632, moving to the neighboring town of Flöha the following year.4 This was the middle of the Thirty Years’ War, whose horrors and fears Pufendorf experienced as a child, with killings in nearby villages and the family forced to flee its home briefly when he was seven. The Peace of Westphalia came about only in 1648, when Pufendorf was approaching maturity. The experience of religious civil war and the achievement of social peace remained a driving factor in Pufendorf’s lifelong concern with the governance of multiconfessional societies, and hence with the critical relation between state and church.5
Pufendorf began to acquire the intellectual and linguistic equipment with which he would address these issues as a scholarship boy at the Prince’s School (Fürstenschule) in Grimma (1645–50). The Saxon Prince’s Schools were Protestant grammar schools in which boys, destined to become clergy and officials, learned Latin and Greek, thereby gaining access to the classical texts so crucial to the development of early modern civil philosophy. Pufendorf continued his education at the universities of Leipzig and Jena (1650–58). At Leipzig his thoughts of a clerical career soon evaporated, the result of his exposure to Lutheran orthodoxy in its uncompromising Protestant-scholastic form. Fueled by hostility to the mixing of philosophy and theology in university metaphysics, he turned to law and politics at Jena, aided by the teachings of Erhard Weigel, through whom Pufendorf encountered the “moderns”—Descartes, Grotius, and Hobbes. When Pufendorf began to formulate his moral and political philosophy, it was Grotius and Hobbes who provided his initial orientation toward a postscholastic form of natural law.
After a brief period as house-tutor to the Swedish ambassador to Denmark (1658–59)—during which he was imprisoned as a result of the war between the Scandinavian neighbors—Pufendorf spent a short interlude in Holland before gaining appointment as professor of natural and international law at the University of Heidelberg (1661–68). From there he moved to a similar professorship at the University of Lund in Sweden, where he remained from 1668 to 1676. During this time, he wrote his monumental treatise on natural law—the De jure naturae et gentium, or Law of Nature and Nations (1672)—followed a year later by the abridgment that he made for university students, the De officio hominis et civis, which in 1691 English readers would come to know as The Whole Duty of Man. Pufendorf completed his career with posts as court historian at the Swedish (1677–88) and then the Brandenburg courts (1688–94). In those years, he wrote major works on the European state system, on the Swedish and Brandenburg crowns, and on the place of religion in civil life.
It is Pufendorf’s natural law works that concern us here. The object of natural law theory is a moral law that is natural in two senses—in being inscribed in man’s nature and in being accessible via natural reason as distinct from divine revelation.6 Furthermore, this moral law is regarded as the normative foundation and universal standard for “positive” law and politics. Building on the Aristotelian conception of man as a “rational and sociable being,” Thomas Aquinas (1224–74) had grounded natural law in a reason shared with God and permitting access to a domain of transcendent values derived from the need to complete or perfect man as a moral being. In subordinating “positive” civil laws to a transcendent moral order, Thomist natural law doctrine armed the Catholic Church against the civil state. In the hands of sixteenth-century scholastics such as Francisco Suárez (1548–1627), this weapon would be used to delegitimate Protestant rulers as heretics, thereby ensuring that their positive laws would not accord with the law of nature in this its scholastic mode.7
In the dark shadows of the religious wars, Protestant thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries sought a natural law that would defend the civil state against religious and moral delegitimation.8 Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) thus viewed the laws derived from sociability as social conventions rather than transcendent values, while the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) made social peace, not moral perfection, the goal of natural law, such that the sovereign state became the final arbiter of morality, not vice versa.9 Following Grotius and Hobbes, Pufendorf too viewed natural law as a set of rules for cultivating the sociability needed to preserve social peace.10 Though he differed from Hobbes by arguing that natural moral law exists in the state of nature—which Hobbes regarded as a state of moral anarchy—Pufendorf agreed with his English counterpart that only a civil government possessing supreme power could provide the security that was the goal of natural law.11 In his Law of Nature and Nations and his De officio (Whole Duty), Pufendorf thus furnished the sovereign state with its own secular legitimacy as an institution created by men to achieve social peace but possessing the absolute right to determine and enforce the measures best suited to this end.
Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744) was Pufendorf’s most important publicist and commentator. Born into a family of French Calvinists (Huguenots), he too had experienced the dangers of religious civil war, his family having been driven from Catholic France by the renewed religious persecution that followed Louis XIV’s revocation in 1685 of the Edict of Nantes, settling in Berlin in 1679 after some years of refuge mainly in Protestant Lausanne, Switzerland. Whereas the French state had solved the problem of governing a multiconfessional society by imposing religious conformity—in other words, by persecuting and expelling its Protestant population—the Calvinist rulers of Brandenburg-Prussia addressed this problem by permitting limited religious toleration. Berlin thus became a magnet for Protestant refugees, with the result that the exiled Huguenots formed a quarter of the city’s population at the beginning of the eighteenth century. As if echoing Pufendorf’s career, Barbeyrac turned from a clerical future to the study of natural law and moral philosophy. Appointed to a teaching position in Berlin’s French Collège, Barbeyrac commenced what would become his celebrated French translations and commentaries on Pufendorf, aiming to make the latter’s model of a deconfessionalized political order more widely available to a Francophone Huguenot diaspora still fearful for its survival.12 In this context, Barbeyrac translated the De jure in 170613 and the De officio in 1707,14 adding important notes—an apparatus that grew in subsequent editions into a running commentary—and later appending three of his own works to the De officio. These were his famous commentary on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s attack on Pufendorf, the Judgment of an Anonymous Writer, and his twin discourses on the relation of positive and natural law—the Discourse on What Is Permitted by the Laws and the Discourse on the Benefits Conferred by the Laws—composed while he was professor of law in the Academy of Lausanne (1711–17).15 In translating these into English for the first time, and appending them to Tooke’s translation, our aim is to provide Anglophone readers with a simulacrum of the most important of the early modern Pufendorf “reception texts.”
In fact Barbeyrac walks a fine line, defending Pufendorf’s model of a deconfessionalized and pacified legal-political order against its theological and metaphysical critics, yet resiling from the secular and statist dimensions of this model.16 Having suffered at first hand from a religiously unified state, Barbeyrac has little sympathy with a political metaphysics that justified such unity—even a metaphysics as esoteric as Leibniz’s Platonism. Counterattacking Leibniz’s political rationalism, Barbeyrac draws on his translator’s knowledge of the works to defend Pufendorf’s elevation of imposed law over transcendent reason and his insistence that the law apply only to man’s external conduct, leaving his inner morality free—thereby opening the space of religious toleration so crucial to the stateless Huguenots’ survival. On the other hand, given his commitment to the Reformed faith and his Huguenot fear of a religiously hostile absolute state, Barbeyrac grants individual conscience a far greater role in his construction of political authority than does Pufendorf. While claiming to make only minor rectifications to the De officio, Barbeyrac thus introduces major changes to Pufendorf’s foundation of natural law in the need for civil security. In treating natural law as an expression of the divine will to which individuals accede via conscience, Barbeyrac undermines Pufendorf’s argument that only the civil sovereign may give efficacious interpretation to natural law. He thus readmitted Lockean natural rights to a system from which they had been deliberately excluded.
Little is known about the circumstances of Andrew Tooke’s English translation of the De officio or of the anonymous editors of 1716/35, who borrowed footnotes from Barbeyrac’s first edition and used his translation to modify Tooke’s. The obscurity arises from the fact that, unlike other editions and translations of the De officio—for example, the edition prepared by Gershom Carmichael (1672–1729) for his students at Glasgow University17 —Tooke’s was not produced in the regulated world of academic publishing but in the altogether more freewheeling milieu of the London commercial book trade. The marks of that milieu are evident in Tooke’s title, which departs significantly from Pufendorf’s original in order to cash in on one of the most popular devotional manuals of the time, Richard Allestree’s The Whole Duty of Man, published in 1658 and rapidly acquiring best-seller status.18 Although exploiting Allestree’s success by borrowing his title, Tooke’s translation was nonetheless a riposte, confronting Allestree’s focus on the religious duties of a Christian subject with Pufendorf’s radical separation of the civil obligations of the citizen from the religious obligations of the Christian.19 We can surmise that Tooke’s 1691 translation of the De officio was undertaken for an audience of London Whigs—including broad-church Anglicans, moderate Puritans, and members of the Inns of Court—as a weapon against persisting high-church aspirations for an Anglican confessional state.20 The future preservation of parliamentary rule and a Protestant peace were not yet guaranteed, nor were the relations of church and state securely settled, so soon after the revolution of 1688–89.
This context also helps explain Tooke’s lexical choices for some of Pufendorf’s key terms. While civitas and summum imperium were capable of several translations in the seventeenth century, depending on the ideological commitments of particular authors, a recent translator shows that in Pufendorf’s case these are most accurately rendered as “state” and “sovereignty,” respectively.21 Indeed, it is central to Pufendorf’s argument that these terms refer to the notion of a supreme political authority irreducible either to those who occupy the office of sovereign or to those over whom such authority is exercised—characteristics definitive of the modern notion of state.22 Given that Hobbes had explicitly introduced both “commonwealth” and “state” as translations of civitas, it is significant that Tooke attempted to avoid both “state” and “sovereignty” as much as possible, preferring circumlocutions such as “community” and “society” for the former and “supreme authority” and “supreme governor” for the latter.23 With his references to the exercise of sovereignty by the state routinely rendered in terms of the exercise of authority in the community, Pufendorf’s absolutist statism thus undergoes a lexical and ideological softening, appearing in Tooke’s English in a form better fitting the Whig view of sovereignty as shared with Parliament and embedded in society.
In borrowing certain of Barbeyrac’s footnotes, and in altering Tooke’s translation at certain points, the anonymous editors of 1716/35 furthered this anglicizing tendency to see sovereignty as inherent in society. At key points, Barbeyrac’s notes qualify or reinterpret Pufendorf’s core doctrines, arguing that it is necessary to retain some sort of continuity between natural law and divine providence, that pragmatic deductions of the rules of social peace should be supplemented with Christian conscience, that obedience to civil law and the sovereign are not enough to satisfy the demands of morality, and that natural rights—including the right to punish a tyrannical sovereign—remain valid in the civil state. Perhaps in the England of 1716, with the memory of religious civil war fading, Pufendorf’s Hobbesian subordination of religious morality to the needs of civil order had begun to seem less necessary, allowing the editors to readmit conscience and morality, now that they had been rendered less dangerous for the Protestant state.
DUTY of MAN
According to the
By that famous Civilian
Professor of The Law of Nature and Nations, in the University of Heidelberg, and in the Caroline University, afterwards Counsellor and Historiographer to the King of Sweden, and to his Electoral Highness of Brandenburgh.
Now made ENGLISH.
The Fifth Edition with the Notes of Mr. Barbeyrac, and many other Additions and Amendments; And also an Index of the Matters.
By ANDREW TOOKE, M.A. late Professor of Geometry in Gresham-College.
Nunquam aliud Natura, aliud Sapientia dicit.1
Juv. Sat. XIV. 321.
Printed for R. Gosling, at the Mitre and Crown; J. Pemberton, at the Golden Buck; and B. Motte, at the Middle-Temple-Gate, Fleet-Street. 1735.
To his Honoured Friend
Mr. GEORGE WHITE,
LAW of NATURE,
Offered, Dedicated, Presented,
and most obliged Servant,
The Translator.[Back to Table of Contents]
to the reader
The Translator having observed, in most of the Disputes wherewith the present Age is disquieted, frequent Appeals made, and that very properly, from Laws and Ordinances of a meaner Rank to the everlasting Law of Nature, gave himself the Pains to turn over several Writers on that Subject. He chanced, he thinks with great Reason, to entertain an Opinion, that this Author was the clearest, the fullest, and the most unprejudiced of any he met with: And hereupon, that he might the better possess himself of his Reasonings, he attempted to render the Work into Mother-Tongue, after he had first endeavoured to set several better Hands upon the Undertaking, who all for one Reason or other declined the Toil. He thought when ’twas done, it might be as acceptable to one or other to read it, as it had been to himself to translate it.
Concerning the Author, ’tis enough to say, that he has surely had as great Regard paid him from Personages of the highest degree, as perhaps ever was given to the most learned of Men; having been invited from his Native Country, first by the Elector Palatine, to be Professor of the Law of Nature and Nations in the University of Heidelberg; then by the King of Sweden to honour his new rais’d Academy, by accepting the same Charge therein, and afterwards being admitted of the Council, and made Historiographer, both to the same King, and to his Electoral Highness of Brandenburgh, afterwards King of Prussia.
Concerning this his Work, it is indeed only as it were an Epitome of the Author’s large Volume of The Law of Nature and Nations: But as this Epitome was made and published by himself, the Reader cannot be under any doubt, but that he has here the Quintessence of what is there deliver’d; what is par’d off being mostly Cases in the Civil Law, Refutations of other Authors, and some Notions too fine and unnecessary for a Manual. How good an Opinion the learned World has of this his Performance, is very evident from the many Editions there have been of it, not only in the Original Latin, but in the Modern Languages, publish’d in Sweden, Holland, France, Germany, and England.1
Since 2 the first Publication hereof in 1673, at Lunden, the Author revis’d his larger Work, and put out a new Edition of it, with many Additions and great Improvements; and from thence this Work also has been amended and enlarged, by extracting these additional Chapters, and inserting them as compendiously as might be into their proper Places; which was first done in a German Translation,3and afterwards in a Latin Edition, published by the Professor of Giessen,4both in the Life-time of the Author, with his Knowledge, and by his Approbation; 5so that the Reader may be satisfied that these Additions, now first inserted into this Translation, are as genuine as the Rest of the Work; as he will find them as useful and necessary a Part, as any of the whole Book. Besides these, in this Impression, some other Additions and Alterations have been found necessary to be made: For whereas in some Places the Author’s Opinion was delivered in so brief or obscure a Manner, that his Meaning seemed difficult to be apprehended; again in other Places the Coherence and Connection of his Discourses did not sufficiently appear; to remedy the former of these Defects, all intricate Phrases and Expressions have been changed,6 and where even that was not sufficient to make the Author’s Mind plain and clear, it is explained and illustrated by adding proper Instances and Examples; 7 and then to repair the latter Defect, the Order of some of the Sections hath been changed, and proper and necessary Transitions to many of them have been added; 8 the taking which Liberty, ’tis to be hoped, will ever appear most justifiable, since thereby the Rules of Method are better observ’d, and the Sense of the Author rendered more perspicuous than in the former Editions of this Translation.
But farther, to make this Edition still more compleat and useful than the former, to each Section References are continually made to the large Work of The Law of Nature and Nations,9and, as often as could be, to The Rights of War and Peace;10that those who read this Epitome, and have a mind to see any Point therein more fully handled and illustrated, may be readily directed, where to have recourse to the Place where it is at large discoursed of, not only by this Author himself, but also by Grotius, an Author of equal Reputation for his judicious and learned Writings on Subjects of the same nature. Besides these References, as some of the Author’s Opinions, laid down in this Treatise, have been controverted by some Writers, and defended by the Author in some other of his Works, the Reader is directed to those Places in them where these Cavils and Exceptions are taken notice of, and satisfactorily answered.11 But then, when any Exceptions can justly be made, and there is good Reason for differing from the Author’s Opinion in any Point, the Reasons are given for so doing in some Notes at the Bottom of the Page; 12 which Notes, however, are neither many nor long, since it would be very absurd to run into Prolixity in Comments to a Work where Brevity is principally aim’d at; into which therefore nothing ought to be admitted, but what is essentially and absolutely necessary to the Subject treated of. And on this Account also it is, that whereas the same Matters have, in the former Editions, been found to occur in more than one Place, in this Edition such superfluous Repetitions have been par’d off, by putting together what has been said on the same Point in different Places, and comprehending the whole under one Head or Section.13 And lastly, that nothing might be wanting to render this in all Points perfect, a Compleat Index is added.[Back to Table of Contents]
the author’s preface
The Author’s Design.Had not the Custom which has so generally obtain’d among Learned Men, almost procured to it self the Force of a Law, it might seem altogether superfluous to premise a Word concerning the Reason of the * present Undertaking; the Thing it self plainly declaring my whole Design to be, the giving as short, and yet, if I mistake not, as plain and perspicuous a Compendium of the most material Articles of the Law of Nature, as was possible; and this, lest, if such as betake themselves to this Study should enter those vast Fields of Knowledge without having fully imbibed the Rudiments thereof, they should at first sight be terrified and confounded by the Copiousness and Difficulty of the Matters occurring therein. And, at the same time, it seems plainly a very expedient Work for the Publick, that the Minds, of Youth especially, should be early imbu’d with that Moral Learning, for which they will have such manifest Occasion, and so frequent Use, through the whole Course of their Lives.
And altho’ I have always looked upon it as a Work deserving no great Honour, † to Epitomize the larger Writings of others, and more especially one’s own; yet having thus done out of Submission to the commanding Authority of my Superiors, I hope no honest Man will blame me for having endeavoured hereby to improve the Understandings of Young Men more particularly; to whom so great Regard is to be had, that whatsoever Work is undertaken for their sakes, tho’ it may not be capable of great Acuteness or splendid Eloquence, yet it is not to be accounted unworthy of any Man’s Pains. Beside, that no Man, in his Wits, will deny, that these Principles thus laid down are more conducive to the understanding of all Laws in general, than any Elements of the Law Civil can be.
And this might have sufficed for the present; but I am minded by some, that it would not be improper to lay down some few Particulars, which will conduce much to a right Understanding of the Constitution of the Law of Nature, and for the better ascertaining its just Bounds and Limits. And this I have been the more ready to do, that I might on this occasion obviate the Pretences of some over-nice Gentlemen, who are apt to pass their squeamish Censures on this Sort of Learning, which in many Instances, is wholly separate from their Province.
Three Sciences by which Men come to a knowledge of their Duty.1Now ’tis very manifest, that Men derive the Knowledge of their Duty, and what is fit to be done, or to be avoided in this Life, as it were, from three Springs, or Fountain-Heads; to wit, From the Light of Nature; From the Laws and Constitutions of Countries; And from the special Revelation of Almighty God.
From the First of these proceed all those most common and ordinary Duties of a Man; more particularly those that constitute him a sociable Creature with the Rest of Mankind: From the Second are derived all the Duties of a Man, as he is a Member of any particular City or Common-wealth: 2 From the Third result all the Duties of a Christian Man.
And from hence proceed three distinct Sciences: The first of which is of the Law of Nature, common to all Nations; the second is of the Civil or Municipal Law peculiar to each Country, which is or may be as manifold and various as there are different States and Governments in the World; the third is Moral Divinity,3 as it is contra-distinct to that Part of Divinity, which is conversant in explaining the Articles of our Faith.
The difference between the Law of Nature, Civil Law and Moral Theology.Each of these Sciences hath a peculiar Way of proving their Maxims, according to their own Principles. The Law of Nature asserts, that this or that Thing ought to be done, because from right Reason it is concluded, that the same is necessary for the Preservation of Society amongst Men.
The fundamental Obligation we lie under to the Civil Law is, that the Legislative Power has enacted this or that Thing.4
The Obligation of Moral Divinity lies wholly in this; because God, in the Sacred Scripture, has so commanded.
The Maxims of these three Sciences in no wise opposite or contradictory to each other.Now, as the Civil Law presupposes the Law of Nature, as the more general Science; so if there be any thing contained in the Civil Law, wherein the Law of Nature is altogether silent, we must not therefore conclude, that the one is any ways repugnant to the other. In like manner, if in Moral Divinity some Things are delivered, as from Divine Revelation, which by our Reason we are not able to comprehend, and which on that Score are above the Reach of the Law of Nature; it would be very absurd from hence to set the one against the other, or to imagine that there is any real Inconsistency between these Sciences. On the other hand, in the Doctrine of the Law of Nature, if any things are to be presupposed, because so much may be inferred from Reason, they are not to be put in Opposition to those Things which the Holy Scripture on that Subject delivers with greater Clearness; but they are only to be taken in an abstracted Sense. Thus, for Example, from the Law of Nature, abstracted from the Account we receive thereof in Holy Writ, there may be formed an Idea of the Condition and State of the first Man, as he came into the World, only so far as is within the Comprehension of Human Reason. Now, * to set those Things in opposition to what is delivered in Sacred Writ concerning the same State, would be the greatest Folly and Madness in the World.
But as it is an easie Matter to reconcile the Civil Law with the Law of Nature; so it seems a little more difficult to set certain Bounds between the same Law of Nature and Moral Divinity, and to define in what Particulars chiefly they differ one from the other.
Upon this Subject I shall deliver my Opinion briefly, not with any Papal Authority, as if I was exempt from all Error by any peculiar Right or Priviledge, neither as one who pretends to any Enthusiastick Revelation; but only as being desirous to discharge that Province which I have undertaken, according to the best of my Ability. And, as I am willing to hear all Candid and Ingenuous Persons, who can inform me better; and am very ready to retract what I have said amiss; so I do not value those Pragmatical and Positive Censurers and Busie-bodies, who boldly concern themselves with Things which no ways belong to them: Of these Persons we have a very Ingenious Character given by Phaedrus:*They run about, says he, as mightily concerned; they are very busie even when they have nothing to do; they puff and blow without any occasion; they are uneasie to themselves, and troublesome to every body else.
The difference between the Law of Nature and Moral Theology.Now the Chief Distinction, whereby these Sciences are separated from one another, proceeds from the different Source or Spring whence each derives its Principles; and of which I have already discoursed. From whence it follows, if there be some things, which we are enjoined in Holy Writ either to do or forbear,1st. They differ in the Source from whence each derives its Principles. the Necessity whereof cannot be discover’d by Reason alone, they are to be looked upon as out of the Cognizance of the Law of Nature, and properly to appertain to Moral Divinity.
2d. Difference in the Manner whereby the Laws of them both are proposed.Moreover, in Divinity the Law is considered as it has the Divine Promise annexed to it, and with Relation to the Covenant between God and Man; from which Consideration the Law of Nature abstracts, because the other derives it self from a particular Revelation of God Almighty, and which Reason alone could not have found out.
3d. Difference in the End and Design of them both.But the greatest Difference between them is this; that the main End and Design of the Law of Nature is included within the Compass of † this Life only, and so thereby a Man is informed how he is to live in Society with the Rest of Mankind: But Moral Divinity instructs a Man how to live as a Christian; who is not only obliged to live honestly and virtuously in this World, but is besides in earnest Expectation of the Reward of his Piety after this Life; and therefore he has his Conversation in Heaven, but is here only as a Stranger and a Pilgrim. For although the Mind of Man does with very great Ardency pursue after Immortality, and is extremely averse to its own Destruction; and thence it was, that most of the Heathens had a strong Persuasion of the separate State of the Soul from the Body, and that then Good Men should be rewarded, and Evil Men punished; yet notwithstanding such a strong Assurance of the Certainty hereof, upon which the Mind of Man can firmly and entirely depend, is to be derived only from the Word of God. Hence it is that the Dictates of the Law of Nature are adapted only to Human Judicature, which does not extend it self beyond this Life; and it would be absurd in many respects to apply them to the Divine Forum, which concerns it self only about Theology.
4th Difference in respect to the Object of each of them.From whence that also follows, that, because Human Judicature regards only * the external Actions of Man, but can no ways reach the Inward Thoughts of the Mind, which do not discover themselves by any outward Signs or Effects; therefore the Law of Nature is for the most part exercised in forming the outward Actions of Men. But Moral Divinity does not content it self in regulating only the Exterior Actions; but is more peculiarly intent in forming the Mind, and its internal Motions, agreeable to the good Pleasure of the Divine Being; disallowing those very Actions, which outwardly look well enough, but proceed from an impure and corrupted Mind. And this seems to be the Reason why the Sacred Scripture doth not so frequently treat of those Actions, that are under certain Penalties by Human Laws, as it doth of those, which, as Seneca expresses it, * are out of the Reach of any such Constitutions. And this will manifestly appear to those, who shall carefully consider the Precepts and Virtues that are therein inculcated; altho’, as even those Christian Virtues do very much dispose the Minds of Men towards the maintaining of mutual Society; so likewise Moral Divinity does mightily promote the Practice of all the main Duties that are enjoyn’d us in our Civil Deportment: So that, † if you should observe any one behave himself like a restless and troublesome Member in the Common-wealth, you may fairly conclude, that the Christian Religion has made but a very slight Impression on that Person, and that it has taken no Root in his Heart.
And from these Particulars, I suppose, may be easily discovered; not only the certain Bounds and Limits which distinguish the Law of Nature, as we have defined it, from Moral Divinity; but it may likewise be concluded, that the Law of Nature is no way repugnant to the Maxims of sound Divinity; but is only to be abstracted from some particular Doctrines thereof,In regard to the Law of Nature we are to consider Man, in the depraved State he has been, since the first Transgression. which cannot be fathom’d by the Help of Reason alone. From whence also it necessarily follows, that in the Science of the Law of Nature, a Man should be now consider’d, as being deprav’d in his very Nature, and upon that Account, as a Creature, subject to many vile Inclinations: ‡ For although none can be so stupid as not to discover in himself many Evil and inordinate Affections, nevertheless, unless we were inform’d so much by Sacred Writ, it would not appear, that this Rebellion of the Will was occasioned by the first Man’s Transgression; and consequently, since the Law of Nature does not reach those Things which are above Reason, it would be very preposterous to derive it from the State of Man, as it was uncorrupt before the Fall; * especially since even the greatest Part of the Precepts of the Decalogue, as they are deliver’d in Negative Terms, do manifestly presuppose the deprav’d State of Man. Thus, for Example, in the First and Second Commandment, it seems to be supposed, that Mankind was naturally prone to the Belief of Polytheism and to Idolatry. For if you should consider Man in his Primitive State, wherein he had a clear and distinct Knowledge of the Deity, as it were by a peculiar Revelation; I do not see how it could ever enter into the Thoughts of such a one, to frame any Thing to himself to which he could pay Reverence, instead of, or together with, the true God; or to believe any Divinity to reside in that which his own Hands had form’d; therefore there was no Necessity of laying an Injunction upon him in Negative Terms, that he should not worship other Gods; but this Plain Affirmative Precept would have been sufficient; Thou shalt love, honour, and adore GOD, whom you know to have created both your self, and the whole Universe. And the same may be said of the Third Commandment: For why should it be forbidden, in a Negative Precept, to blaspheme God, to such a one who had at the same time a clear and perfect Understanding of his Bounty and Majesty; and who was actuated by no inordinate Affections, and whose Mind did chearfully acquiesce in that Condition, wherein he was placed by Almighty God? How could such a one be Guilty of so great Madness? But he needed only to have been admonish’d by this Affirmative Precept; That he should glorifie the Name of GOD. But it seems otherwise of the Fourth and Fifth Commandments; which, as they are Affirmative Precepts, neither do they necessarily presuppose the deprav’d State of Man, they may be admitted, Mankind being consider’d as under either Condition. But the thing is very manifest in relation to the other Commandments, which concern our Neighbour; for it would suffice plainly to have enjoyn’d Man, consider’d as he was first created by God, that he should love his Neighbour, whereto he was beforehand inclin’d by his own Nature. But how could the same Person be commanded, that he should not kill, when Death had not as yet fall’n on Mankind, which enter’d into the World upon the account of Sin? But now there is very great Need of such a Negative Command, when, instead of loving one another, there are stir’d up so great Feuds and Animosities among Men, that even a great Part of them is owing purely to Envy, or an inordinate Desire of invading what belongs to another; so that they make no scruple, not only of destroying those that are innocent, but even their Friends, and such as have done them signal Favours; and all this, forsooth, they are not asham’d to disguise under the specious Pretence of Religion and Conscience. In like manner, what Need was there expressly to forbid Adultery, among those married Persons, whose mutual Love was so ardent and sincere? Or, what Occasion was there to forbid Theft, when as yet Covetousness and Poverty were not known, nor did any Man think that properly his own, which might be useful or profitable to another? Or, to what purpose was it to forbid the bearing False Witness, when as yet there were not any to be found, who sought after Honour and Reputation to themselves, by Slandering and Aspersing others with false and groundless Calumnies? So that not unfitly, you may here apply the Saying of Tacitus,*Whilst no corrupt Desires deprav’d Mankind, the first Men liv’d without Sin and Wickedness, and therefore free from Restraint and Punishment; and whereas they coveted nothing but what was their due, they were barr’d from nothing by Fear.
Whether the Law of Nature would have been the same it is now, had Man continu’d in his State of Innocence.And these Things being rightly understood, may clear the way for removing this Doubt; * whether the Law was different, or the same, in the Primitive State of Nature, before the Fall? Where it may be briefly answer’d. That the most material Heads of the Law were the same in each State; but that many particular Precepts did vary, according to the Diversity of the Condition of Mankind; or rather, that the same Summary of the Law was explain’d by diverse, but not contrary Precepts; according to the different State of Man, by whom that Law was to be observ’d. Our Saviour reduced the Substance of the Law to two Heads: Love God, and Love thy Neighbour: To these the whole Law of Nature may be referr’d, as well in the Primitive, as in the Deprav’d State of Man; (unless that in the Primitive State there seems not any, or a very small Difference between the Law of Nature, and Moral Divinity.) For that Mutual Society, which we laid down as a Foundation to the Law of Nature, may very well be resolv’d into the Love of our Neighbour. But when † we descend to particular Precepts, there is indeed a very great Difference, both in relation to the Commands and Prohibitions.
And as to what concerns the Commands, there are many which have place in this State of Mankind, which seem not to have been necessary in the Primitive State: And that partly, because they presuppose such a Condition, as, ’tis not certain, could happen to that most happy State of Mankind; partly, because there can be no Notion of them, without admitting Misery and Death, which were unknown there: As for Instance, we are now enjoyn’d by the Precepts of the Law of Nature, not to deceive one another in Buying or Selling, not to make use of false Weights or Measures, to repay Money that is lent, at the appointed Time. But it is not yet evident, whether, if Mankind had continu’d without Sin, there would have been driven, any Trade and Commerce, as there is now in the World; or whether there would then have been any Occasion for the Use of Money. In like manner, if such Kind of Communities as are now adays, were not to be found in the State of Innocence, there would be then likewise no Occasion for those Laws which are presuppos’d as requisite for the well-ordering and Government of such Societies. We are also now commanded by the Law of Nature, To succour those that are in Want. To relieve those that are oppressed. To take care of Widows and Orphans. But it would be to no purpose to have inculcated these Precepts to those who were no ways subject to Misery, Poverty, and Death. The Law of Nature now enjoyns us, To forgive Injuries; and, To use our utmost Endeavours towards the promoting of Peace amongst all Mankind. Which would be unnecessary among those who never offended against the Laws of Mutual Society. And this too is very evident in the Prohibitory Precepts which relate to the Natural, not Positive, Law. For although every Command does virtually contain in it self a Prohibition of the opposite Vice; (as, for Instance, he that is commanded to love his Neighbour, is at the same time forbidden to do such Actions, as may any ways thwart or contradict his Duty of Love:) Yet it seems superfluous that these things should be ordain’d by express Commands, where there are no disorderly Inclinations to excite Men to the committing such Wrongs. For the Illustration of which, this may be taken notice of, that *Solon would by no Publick Law enact any Punishment for Parricides, because he thought that no Child could be guilty of so horrid an Impiety. In like manner we find an Account, in the † History of the West‐Indies, concerning the People of Nicaragua; that in their Laws no Punishment was appointed for those who should kill the Cacique, by which Name they call their Princes; because, say they, there can be no Subject, who would contrive or perpetrate so base an Action. I am afraid it may savour too much of Affectation to enlarge any farther in the Proof of what is in it self so clear and evident. Yet I shall add this one Example, fitted to the meanest Capacity. Suppose there are two Children, but of different Dispositions, committed to the Care of a certain Person: One of which is Modest and Bashful, taking great delight in his Studies; the other proves Unruly, and Surly; giving himself over more to loose Pleasures, than to Learning. Now the Duty of both these is the same, To follow their Studies; but the particular Precepts, proper to each, are different; for it is sufficient to advise the Former to what Kind of Studies he must apply himself, at what Time, and after what Manner they are to be follow’d: But as for the Other, he must be enjoyn’d under severe Penalties, not to Wander abroad, not to Game, not to sell his Books, not to get others to make his Exercises, not to play the good Fellow, not to run after Harlots. Now if any one should undertake, in a set Discourse, to declaim against these things to him of the contrary Temper, the Child might very well enjoyn him Silence, and bid him inculcate them to any Body else, rather than to him, who takes no Delight or Pleasure in such Practices. From whence I look upon it as manifest, that the Law of Nature would have a quite different Face, if we were to consider Man, as he was in his Primitive State of Innocence.
And now since the Bounds and Limits of this Science, whereby it is distinguish’d from Moral Divinity, are so clearly set down, it ought at least to have the same Priviledges with other Sciences, as the Civil Law, Physick, Natural Philosophy, and the Mathematicks; wherein if any Unskilful Person presume to meddle, assuming to himself the Quality of a Censor, without any Authority, he may fairly have that objected to him, which was formerly done by *Apelles to Megabyzus, who undertook to talk at random about the Art of Painting; Pray, said he, be silent, lest the Boys laugh at you, who pretend to talk of Matters you do not understand.
Now, upon the whole, I am content to submit to the Judgment of Discreet and Intelligent Persons; but as for Ignorant and Spiteful Detractors, ’tis better to leave ’em to themselves, to be punish’d by their own Folly and Malice; since according to the Ancient Proverb, The Ethiopian cannot change his Skin.[Back to Table of Contents]
Book I[Back to Table of Contents]
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.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Rule of Human Actions, or of Laws in general; and the different Qualifications of those Actions
I.The Necessity of a Rule.Because all Human Actions depending upon the Will, have their Estimate according to the concurrence thereof; but the Will of every Person not only differs in many respects from that of all others, but also alters and changes it self, becoming different in the same Person at one time from what it was before at another; therefore to preserve Decency and Order among Mankind,L. N. N. l. 2. c. 1. it was necessary there should be some Rule, by which they should be regulated. For otherwise, if, where there is so great a Liberty of the Will, and such Variety of Inclinations and Desires, any Man might do whatsoever he had a mind to, without any regard to some stated Rule, it could not but give occasion to vast Confusions among Mankind.
II.Law, defined. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §4.This Rule is call’d Law; which is, *A Decree by which the Superior obliges one that is subject to him, to accommodate his Actions to the Directions prescrib’d therein.2
III.Obligation. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §5.That this Definition may the better be understood, it must first be enquired, What is an Obligation; whence is its Original; who is capable of lying under an Obligation; and who it is that can impose it. By Obligation then is usually meant, A moral Bond, whereby we are ty’d down to do this or that, or to abstain from doing them.3 That is, hereby a kind of a Moral Bridle is put upon our Liberty; so that though the Will does actually drive another way, yet we find our selves hereby struck as it were with an internal Sense, that if our Action be not perform’d according to the prescript Rule, we cannot but confess we have not done right; and if any Mischief happen to us upon that Account, we may fairly charge our selves with the same; because it might have been avoided, if the Rule had been follow’d as it ought.
IV.Man capable of being obliged. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §6.And there are two Reasons why Man should be subject to an Obligation; one is, because he is endow’d with a Will, which may be divers ways directed, and so be conform’d to a Rule: the other, because Man is not exempt from the Power of a Superior. For where the Faculties of any Agent are by Nature form’d only for one Way of acting, there ’tis to no purpose to expect any thing to be done of choice: and to such a Creature ’tis in vain to prescribe any Rule; because ’tis uncapable of understanding the same, or conforming its Actions thereto. Again, if there be any one who has no Superior, then there is no Power that can of right impose a Necessity upon him; and if he perpetually observes a certain Rule in what he does, and constantly abstains from doing many things, he is not to be understood to act thus from any Obligation that lies upon him, but from his own good pleasure. It will follow then, for any one to be capable of lying under Obligation, it is necessary, that on the one hand he have a Superior, and on the other, that he be both capable of understanding the Rule prescrib’d him by his Superior, and also endu’d with a Will which may be directed several ways; and yet which (when the Law is promulged by his Superior) knows he cannot rightly depart therefrom. And with all these Faculties, ’tis plain, Mankind is furnish’d.
V.Who can oblige. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §9.An Obligation is superinduced upon the Will of Men properly by a Superior; that is, not only by such a one as being greater or stronger, can punish Gainsayers: but by him who has just Reasons to have a Power to restrain the Liberty of our Will at his own Pleasure.4 Now when any man has either of these, as soon as he has signify’d what he would have, it necessarily stirs up, in the Mind of the party concern’d, Fear mixt with Reverence; the first arises from the consideration of his Power, the5 other proceeds from those Reasons on which the Authority of our Superior is founded; by which we are convinced, that had we nothing to fear from him, yet we ought to conform our Actions to his Will. For he that can give me no other Reason for putting me under an Obligation against my Will, beside this, that he’s too strong for me, he truly may so terrifie me, that I may think it better to obey him for a while than suffer a greater Evil: but when this Fear is over, nothing any longer hinders, but that I may act after my own Choice and not his. On the contrary, he that has nothing but Arguments to prove that I should obey him, but wants Power to do me any Mischief, if I deny: I may with Impunity slight his Commands, except one more potent take upon him to make good his despis’d Authority. Now the Reasons upon which one Man may justly exact Subjection from another, are two: 6 First, if he have been to the other the Original of some extraordinary Good; and if it be plain, that he designs the others Welfare, and is able to provide better for him than ’tis possible for himself to do; and on the same Account does actually lay claim to the Government of him: Secondly, if any one does voluntarily surrender his Liberty to another, and subject himself to his Direction.
VI.The Legislator and the true meaning of the Law to be known. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §14.Farthermore, that a Law may exert its Force in the Minds of those to whom it is promulged, it is requir’d, that both the Legislator and the Law also be known. For no Man can pay Obedience, if he know not whom he is to obey, and what he is to perform. Now the Knowledge of the Legislator is very easy; because from the Light of Reason ’tis certain the same must be the Author of all the Laws of Nature, who was the Creator of the Universe: Nor can any Man in Civil Society be ignorant who it is that has Power over him.7 Then for the Laws of Nature, it shall be hereafter declar’d how we come to the Knowledge of them. And as to the Laws of a Man’s Country or City, the Subject has notice given of them by a Publication plainly and openly made. In which these two Things ought to be ascertain’d, that the Author of the Law is he, who hath the Supreme Authority in the Community; and that this or that is the true Meaning of the Law. The First of these is known, if he shall promulge the Law with his own Mouth, or deliver it under his own Hand; or else if the same be done by such as are delegated to that purpose by him, whose Authority there is no Reason to call in question, if it be manifest, that such their acting belongs to that Office they bear in the Publick, and that they are regularly placed in the Administration thereof; if these Laws are brought in use at judicial Proceedings, and if they contain nothing derogatory to the Sovereign’s Power. That the Latter, that is, the true Sense of the Law may be known, it is the Duty of those who promulge it, in so doing to use the greatest Perspicuity and Plainness; and if any thing obscure do occur therein, an Explanation is to be sought of the Legislator, or of those who are publickly constituted to give judgment according to the Laws.
VII.Two parts of a perfect Law. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §14.Of every perfect Law there are two Parts: One, [Precept] whereby it is directed what is to be done or omitted: the other, [the Sanction] wherein is declared what Punishment he shall incur, who neglects to do what is commanded, or attempts that which is prohibited. For as through the Pravity of Human Nature ever inclining to things forbidden, it is to no purpose to say, Do this, if no Punishment shall be undergone by him who disobeys; so it were absurd to say, You shall be punish’d, except some Cause preceeded, by which a Punishment was deserv’d. Thus then all the force of a Law consists in signifying what the Superior requires or forbids to be done, and what Punishment shall be inflicted upon the Violators. But the Power of obliging, that is, of imposing an intrinsick Necessity; and the Power of forcing, or, by the proposal of Punishments compelling the Observation of Laws, is properly in the Legislator, and in him to whom the Guardianship and Execution of the Laws is committed.
VIII.It ought to command things possible and beneficial.Whatsoever is enjoyn’d by any Law, ought not only to be in the Power of him to perform on whom the Injunction is laid, but it ought to contain somewhat advantagious either to him or others. For as it would be absurd and cruel to exact the doing of any thing from another, under a Penalty, which it is and always was beyond his Power to perform; so it would be silly and to no purpose to put a Restraint upon the natural Liberty of the Will of any man, if no one shall receive any Benefit therefrom.
IX.Power of Dispensing. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6 §17.But though a Law does strictly include all the Subjects of the Legislator who are concern’d in the Matter of the same, and whom the same Legislator at first intended not to be exempted: yet sometimes it happens that particular persons may be clear’d of any obligation to such Law: and this is call’d Dispensing. But as he only may dispense, in whose Power it is to make and abrogate the Law; * so great Care is to be taken, lest by too frequent Dispensations, and such as are granted without very weighty Reasons, the Authority of the Law be shaken, and occasion be given of Envy and Animosities among Subjects.
X.Equity. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 2. §21.Yet there is a great Difference between Equity and Dispensing: Equity being a Correction of that in which the Law, by reason of its General Comprehension, was deficient: or an apt Interpretation of the Law, by which it is demonstrated, that there may be some peculiar Case which is not compriz’d in the Universal Law, because if it were, some Absurdity would follow. For it being impossible that all Cases, by Reason of their infinite Variety, should be either foreseen or explicitly provided for; therefore the Judges, whose Office it is to apply the general Rules of the Laws to special Cases, ought to except such from the Influence of them, * as the Lawgiver himself would have excepted if he were present, or had foreseen such Cases.
XI.Actions allowable, good and bad. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 7. §1.Now the Actions of Men obtain certain Qualities and Denominations from their relation to and agreement with the Law of Morality. And all those Actions, concerning which the Law has determin’d nothing on either side, are call’d allowable, [indifferent] or permitted. Here we may observe, that in Civil Life, where it is impossible to come to perfect Exactness in all points, even † those things are said to be allowable, upon which the Law has not assign’d some Punishment, though they are in themselves repugnant to Natural Honesty. We call those Actions which are consonant to the Law good, and those that are contrary to it bad: But that any Action should be good, ’tis requisite, that it be exactly agreeable in every ‡ point to the Law; whereas it may be evil if it be deficient in one Point only.
XII.Justice of Persons. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 7. §6.As for Justice, it is sometimes the Attribute of Actions, sometimes of Persons. When it is attributed to Persons, ’tis usually defin’d to be, A constant and perpetual Desire of giving every one their own.8 For he is called a just Man, who is delighted in doing righteous Things, who studies Justice, and in all his Actions endeavours to do that which is right. On the other side, the unjust Man is he that neglects the giving every Man his own, or, if he does, ’tis not because ’tis due, but from expectation of Advantage to himself. So that a just Man may sometimes do unjust Things, and an unjust Man that which is just. But the Just does that which is right, because he is so commanded by the Law; and never commits any unjust Acts but only through Infirmity; whereas the wicked Man does a just Thing for fear of the Punishment which is the Sanction of the Command, but such unjust Acts as he commits proceed from the Naughtiness of his Heart.
XIII.Of Actions. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 7. §7.But the Justice of Actions not only consists in their due Conformity to Law, but it includes in it likewise a right Application of them to those Persons to whom the Action is perform’d: So that we apprehend that Action to be just, which, with full Design and Intention, is apply’d to the Person to whom it is due. Herein therefore, the Justice of Actions differs from their Goodness chiefly, that the latter simply denotes an Agreement with the Law; whereas Justice also includes the Regard they have to those *Persons upon whom they are exercised. Upon which Account Justice is call’d a Relative Virtue.
XIV.Division of Justice. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 7. §8.Men do not generally agree about the Division of Justice. The most receiv’d Distinction is, into Universal and Particular. The first is, when every Duty is practised and all right done to others, * even that which could not have been extorted by Force, or by the Rigor of Law. The latter is, when that Justice only is done a Man, which in his own right he could have demanded; and this is wont to be again divided into †Distributive and Commutative. The Distributive takes place in Contracts made between Partners in Fellowship, concerning fair Partition of Loss and Gain according to a rate. * The Commutative is mostly in Bargains made upon even hand about Things and Doings relating to Traffick and Dealing.
XV.Injustice what. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 7. §14.Knowing thus, what Justice is, ’tis easie to collect what is Injustice. Where it is to be observ’d, that such an unjust Action is call’d Wrong-doing, which is premeditately undertaken, and by which a Violence is done upon somewhat which of absolute Right was another Man’s due, or, which by like Right he one way or other stood possess’d of. And this Wrong may be done after a threefold Manner: 1. If that be deny’d to another which in his own right he might demand (not accounting that which from Courtesie or the like Virtue may be another’s due): Or, 2. If that be taken away from another, of which by the same right, then valid against the Invader, he was in full possession: Or, 3. If any Damage be done to another, which we had not Authority to do to him. Beside which, that a Man may be charged with Injustice, it is requisite that there be a naughty Mind and an evil Design in him that acts it. For if there be nothing of these in it, then ’tis only call’d Misfortune, or an Error; and that is so much slighter or more grievous, as the Sloth and Negligence which occasion’d it was greater or less.
XVI.Laws distinguisht. Natural and Positive L. N. N. l. 1. c. 6. §18.Laws, with respect to their Authors, are distinguished into Divine and Humane; that proceeds from God, and this from Men. But if Laws be considered, as they have a necessary and universal Congruity with Mankind, they are then distinguisht into Natural and Positive.*Natural Law is that which is so agreeable with the rational and sociable Nature of Man, that honest and peaceable Society could not be kept up amongst Mankind without it, Hence it is, that this may be sought out, and the knowledge of it acquired by the light of that Reason, which is born with every Man, and by a consideration of Human Nature in general. Positive Law is that which takes not its rise from the common condition of Human Nature, but only from the good pleasure of the Legislator: This likewise ought to have its Foundation in Reason, and its End ought to be some Advantage to those Men, or that Society, for which it is designed. Now the Law Divine, is either Natural or Positive; but all Human Laws, strictly taken, are Positive.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Law of Nature in general
I.Law Natural obvious. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 3.That Man, who has thoroughly examined the Nature and Disposition of Mankind, may plainly understand what the Law Natural is, the Necessity thereof, and which are the Precepts it proposes and enjoyns to Mankind. For, as it much conduces to him who would know exactly the Polity of any Community, that he first well understand the Condition thereof, and the Manners and Humours of the Members who constitute it: So to him who has well studied the common Nature and Condition of Man, it will be easie to discover those Laws which are necessary for the Safety and common Benefit of Mankind.
II.Self Preservation.This then Man has in common with all the Animals, who have a Sense of their own Beings; that he accounts nothing dearer than Himself; that he studies all manner of ways his own Preservation; and that he endeavours to procure to himself such things as seem good for him, and to avoid and keep off those that are mischievous. And this Desire of Self-Preservation regularly is so strong, that all our other Appetites and Passions give way to it. So that whensoever an Attempt is made upon the Life of any man, though he escape the danger threatned, yet he usually resents it so, as to retain a Hatred still, and a desire of Revenge on the Aggressor.
III.Society absolutely necessary. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 1. §8.But in one particular, Man seems to be set in a worse condition than that of Brutes, that hardly any other Animal comes into the world in so great weakness; so that ’twould be a kind of Miracle, if any man should arrive at a mature Age, without the aid of some body else. For even now, after so many helps found out for the Necessities of Human Life; yet a many Years careful Study is required before a Man shall be able of himself to get Food and Raiment.* Let us suppose a Man come to his full Strength without any oversight or instruction from other Men; suppose him to have no manner of Knowledge but what springs of it self from his own natural Wit; and thus to be placed in some Solitude, destitute of any Help or Society of all Mankind beside. Certainly a more miserable Creature cannot be imagined. He is no better than dumb, naked, and has nothing left him but Herbs and Roots to pluck, and the wild Fruits to gather; to quench his thirst at the next Spring, River, or Ditch; and to shelter himself from the Injuries of the Weather, by creeping into some Cave, or covering himself after any sort with Moss or Grass; to pass away his tedious life in Idleness; to start at every Noise, and be afraid at the sight of any other Animal; in a Word, at last to perish either by Hunger, or Cold, or some wild Beast. It must then follow, that whatsoever Advantages accompany Human Life, are all owing to that mutual Help Men afford one another. So that, next to Divine Providence, there is nothing in the world more beneficial to Mankind than Men themselves.
IV.Men to Men inclinable to do hurt. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 1. §6. l. 7. c. 1. §4.And yet, as useful as this Creature is, or may be, to others of its kind, it has many Faults, and is capable of being equally noxious; which renders mutual Society between Man and Man not a little dangerous, and makes great Caution necessary to be used therein, lest Mischief accrue from it instead of Good. In the first place, a stronger Proclivity to injure another is observ’d to be generally in Man, than in any of the Brutes; for they seldom grow outragious, but through Hunger or Lust, both which Appetites are satisfi’d without much Pains; and that done, they are not apt to grow furious, or to hurt their Fellow-Creatures, without some Provocation. Whereas Man is an Animal always prone to Lust, by which he is much more frequently instigated, than seems to be necessary to the Conservation of his Kind. His Stomach also is not only to be satisfied, but to be pleased; and it often desires more than Nature can well digest. As for Raiment, Nature has taken Care of the rest of the Creatures that they don’t want any: But Men require not only such as will answer their Necessity, but their Pride and Ostentation. Beside these, there are many Passions and Appetites unknown to the Brutes, which are yet to be found in Mankind; as, an unreasonable Desire of possessing much more than is necessary, an earnest pursuit after Glory and Pre-eminence; Envy, Emulation, and Outvyings of Wit. A Proof hereof is, that most of the Wars with which Mankind is harrass’d, are rais’d for Causes altogether unknown to the Brutes. Now all these are able to provoke Men to hurt one another, and they frequently do so. Hereto may be added the great Arrogance that is in many Men, and Desire of insulting over others, which cannot but exasperate even those who are naturally meek enough; and from a Care of preserving themselves and their Liberty, excite them to make Resistance. Sometimes also Want sets Men together by the Ears,9 or because that Store of Necessaries which they have at present seems not sufficient for their Needs or Appetites.
V.And very capable of it.Moreover, Men are more able to do one another Harm than Brutes are. For tho’ they don’t look formidable with Teeth, Claws, or Horns, as many of them do; yet the Activity of their Hands renders them very effectual Instruments of Mischief; and then the Quickness of their Wit gives them Craft, and a Capacity of attempting that by Treachery which cannot be done by open Force. So that ’tis very easie for one Man to bring upon another the greatest of all Natural Evils, to wit, Death itself.
VI.And likely so to do. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 1. §7.Beside all this, it is to be consider’d, that among Men there is a vast Diversity of Dispositions, which is not to be found among Brutes; for among Brutes, all of the same Kind have the like Inclinations, and are led by the same inward Motions and Appetites: Whereas among Men, there are so many Minds as there are Heads, and every one has his singular Opinion; nor are they all acted with simple and uniform Desires, but with such as are manifold and variously mixt together. Nay, one and the same Man shall be often seen to differ from himself, and to desire that at one Time which at another he extremely abhorred. Nor is the Variety less discernable, which is now to be found in the almost infinite Ways of living, of directing our Studies, or Course of Life, and our Methods of making use of our Wits. Now, that by Occasion hereof Men may not dash against one another, there is need of wise Limitations and careful Management.
VII.The Sum of the foregoing Paragraphs.So then Man is an Animal very desirous of his own Preservation; of himself liable to many Wants; unable to Support himself without the Help of other of his Kind; and yet wonderfully fit in Society to promote a common Good: But then he is malicious, insolent, and easily provok’d, and not less prone to do Mischief to his Fellow than he is capable of effecting it. Whence this must be inferr’d, that in order to his Preservation, ’tis absolutely necessary, that he be sociable,10 that is, that he join with those of his Kind, and that he so behave himself towards them, that they may have no justifiable Cause to do him Harm, but rather to promote and secure to him all his Interests.
VIII.Law Natural defin’d.The Rules then of this Fellowship, which are the Laws of Human Society, whereby Men are directed how to render themselves useful Members thereof, and without which it falls to pieces, are called the Laws of Nature.
IX.The Means design’d where the End is so. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 3. §15.From What has been said, it appears, that this is a11fundamental Law of Nature, That every man ought, as much as in him lies, to preserve and promote Society: That is, the Welfare of Mankind.* And since he that designs the End, cannot but be supposed to design those Means without which the End cannot be obtain’d, it follows that all such Actions as tend generally and are absolutely necessary to the Preservation of this Society, are commanded by the Law of Nature; as, on the contrary, those that disturb and dissolve it are forbidden by the same. All other Precepts are to be accounted only Subsumptions, or Consequences upon this Universal Law, the Evidence whereof is made out by that Natural Light which is engrafted in Mankind.
X.A God and Providence. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 3. §19.Now though these Rules do plainly contain in themselves that which is for the general Good; yet that the same may obtain the Force of Laws, it must necessarily be presuppos’d, that there is a God, who governs all Things by his Providence, and that He has enjoyn’d us Mortals, to observe these Dictates of our Reason as Laws, promulged by him to us by the powerful Mediation of that Light which is born with us. Otherwise we might perhaps pay some obedience to them in contemplation of their Utility, so as we observe the Directions of Physicians in regard to our Health, * but not as Laws, to the Constitution of which a Superior is necessary to be supposed, and that such a one as has actually undertaken the Government of the other.12
XI.God the Author of the Law of Nature. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 3. §20.But, that God is the Author of the Law of Nature, is thus demonstrated13 (considering Mankind only in its present State, without enquiring whether the first Condition of us Mortals was different from this, nor how the Change was wrought.) Whereas our Nature is so framed, that Mankind cannot be preserv’d without a sociable Life, and whereas it is plain that the Mind of Man is capable of all those Notions which are subservient to this purpose; and it is also manifest, that Men not only, like the other Creatures, owe their Original to God, but that He governs them, (let their Condition be as it will) by the Wisdom of his Providence. Hence it follows, that it must be supposed to be the Will of God, that Man should make use of those Faculties with which he is peculiarly endow’d beyond the Brutes, to the Preservation of his own Nature: and consequently, that the Life of Man should be different from the lawless Life of the Irrational Creatures. And since this cannot otherwise be atchiev’d, but by an Observance of the Law Natural, it must be understood, that there is from God an obligation laid upon Man to pay Obedience hereto, as a Means not invented by the Wit, or imposed by the Will of Men, nor capable of being changed by their Humours and Inclinations; but expressly ordain’d by God himself in order to the accomplishing this End. For he that obliges us to pursue such an End, must be thought to oblige us to make use of those Means which are necessary to the attainment thereof. And that the Social Life is positively enjoyn’d by God upon Men, this is a Proof, that in no other Animal is to be found any Sense of Religion or Fear of a Deity, which seems not so much as to fall within the Understanding of the ungovernable Brute; and yet it has the power to excite in the minds of Men, not altogether profligate, the tenderest Sense; by which they are convinced, that by sinning against this Law Natural, they offend him who is Lord of the Soul of Man, and who is to be fear’d, even where we are secure of any Punishment from our Fellow-Creatures.
XII.This Law how written in Man’s Heart.Though it be usually said, that we have the Knowledge of this Law from Nature it self, yet this is not so to be taken, as if there were implanted in the Minds of Men just new born, plain and distinct Notions concerning what is to be done or avoided. But Nature is said thus to teach us, * partly because the Knowledge of this Law may be attain’d by the help of the Light of Reason; and partly because the general and most useful Points thereof are so plain and clear, that they at first sight force the Assent, and get such root in the minds of Men, that nothing can eradicate them afterwards; let wicked Men take never so much pains to blunt the edge and stupifie themselves against the Stings of their Consciences. And in this Sense we find in Holy Scripture, that this Law is said to be written in the hearts of Men.Rom. ii. 15. So that having from our Childhood had a Sense hereof instill’d into us, together with other Learning in the usual Methods of Education, and yet not being able to remember the punctual time when first they took hold of our Understanding and possess’d our Minds; we can have no other opinion of our knowledge of this Law; but that it was connate to our Beings, or born together and at the same time with our selves. The Case being the same with every Man in learning his Mother Tongue.
XIII.Division of Natural Duties. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 3. §24.Those Duties, which from the Law of Nature are incumbent upon Man, seem most aptly to be divided according to the Objects about which they are conversant. With regard to which they are ranged under three principal Heads; the first of which gives us Directions how by the single Dictates of right Reason Man ought to behave himself towards God; the second contains our Duty towards our selves; and the third that towards other Men. But though those Precepts of the Law Natural, which have a relation to other Men, may primarily and directly be derived from that Sociality, which we have laid down as a Foundation; yet even the Duties also of Man towards God may be * indirectly deduc’d from thence, upon this Account, that the strongest Obligation to mutual Duties between Man and Man arises from Religion and a Fear of the Deity; so as that Man could not become a sociable Creature if he were not imbu’d with Religion; and because Reason alone can go no farther in Religion than as it is useful to promote the common Tranquillity and Sociality or reciprocal Union in this Life: For so far forth as Religion procures the Salvation of Souls, it proceeds from peculiar Divine Revelation. But the Duties a man owes to Himself arise jointly from Religion, and from the Necessity of Society. So that no Man is so Lord of himself, but that there are many things relating to himself, which are not to be disposed altogether according to his Will; partly because of the Obligation he lies under of being a religious Adorer of the Deity, and partly that he may keep himself an useful and beneficial Member of Society.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Duty of Man towards God, or, concerning Natural Religion
I.Natural Religion, its Parts.The Duty of Man towards God, so far as can be discover’d by Natural Reason, is comprehended in these two; that we have true Notions concerning him, or know him aright; and then that we conform all our Actions to his Will, or obey him as we ought. And hence Natural Religion consists of two sorts of Propositions, to wit, *Theoretical or Speculative, and Practical or Active.
II.That God is. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §3.Amongst those Notions that every Man ought to have of God, the first of all is, that he firmly believe his Existence, that is, that there is indeed some supreme and first Being, upon whom this Universe depends. And this has been most plainly demonstrated by learned and wise Men from the Subordination of Causes to one another, which must at last be found to have their Original in somewhat that was before them all; from the necessity of having a first Mover; from the Consideration of this great Machin, the World, and from the like Arguments.14 Which if any Man denies himself to be able to comprehend, he is not therefore to be excus’d for his Atheism. For all Mankind having been perpetually, as it were, possest of this Persuasion, that Man who undertakes to oppose it, ought not only solidly to confute all those Arguments that are brought to prove a God, but should advance Reasons for his own Assertion, which may be more plausible than those. And since by this Belief of the Deity the Weal of Mankind may be supposed to have been hitherto preserv’d, he ought to shew that Atheism would better answer that End than sober Religion and the Worship of God. Now seeing this can by no means be done, the Wickedness of those Men who attempt any way to eradicate this Persuasion out of the Minds of Men, is to be above all things abominated, and restrain’d by the severest Punishments.
III.God the Creator of the World. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 4. §4.The Second is, that God is the Creator of this Universe. For it being manifest from Reason, that none of these Things could exist of themselves, it is absolutely necessary that they should have some supreme Cause; which Cause is the very same that we call God,
And hence it follows, that those Men are cheated, who every now and then are putting upon us Nature, forsooth, as the original Cause of all Things and Effects. For, if by that Word they mean that Energy and Power of Acting which we find in every Thing, this is so far from being of any force to prove there is no God, that it proves him to be the Author of Nature it self. But if by Nature they would have us understand the Supreme Cause of all Things, this is only out of a profane Nicety to avoid the receiv’d and plain Appellation of God.
Those also are in a great Error, who believe that any thing can be God, which is the Object of our Senses, and particularly the Stars, among the rest. For the Substance of these argues them all to derive their Beings from somewhat else, and not to be the first Things in Nature.
Nor do they think less unworthily of God, who call him the *Soul of the World. For the Soul of the World, let them conceive of it as they please, must signifie a Part of the World; and how can a Part of a Thing be the Cause of it, that is, be something before it self? But if by the Soul of the World, they mean that first and invisible Being, from which all Things receive their Vigour, Life, and Motion, they only obtrude upon us an obscure and figurative Expression for one that is plain and obvious. From hence also it appears, that the World did not exist from all Eternity; this being contrary to the Nature of that which has a Cause. And he that asserts, that the World is Eternal, denies that it had any Cause of its being, and consequently denies God himself.
IV.God governs the World.The Third is, that Godgoverns the whole World, and particularly Mankind; which plainly appears from the admirable and constant Order which is to be seen in this Universe; and ’tis to the same moral Purpose whether a Man deny that Godis, or that he rules and regards the Affairs of Men; since either of them destroy all Manner of Religion. For let him be never so excellent in himself, ’tis in vain to fear or worship him, if he be altogether regardless of us, and neither will nor can do us either Good or Hurt.
V.God infinitely perfect.The Fourth is, that no Attribute can belong to God, which implies any manner of Imperfection. For it would be absurd, (He being the Cause and Source of all Things) for any Creature of his to think it self able to form a notion of any Perfection, of which he is not fully possest. Nay, His Perfection infinitely surmounting the Capacity of so mean a Creature, it is most reasonable to express the same in negative rather than in positive Terms. Hence nothing is to be attributed to God that is finite or determinate; because what is finite has always somewhat that is greater than it self: And whatsoever is determinate, or subject to Figure and Form, must suppose Bounds and Circumscription: Neither can He be said to be distinctly and fully comprehended or conceiv’d in our Imagination, or by any Faculty of our Souls; because whatsoever we can comprehend fully and distinctly in our Minds, must be Finite. And yet, when we pronounce God to be Infinite, we are not to think we have a full Notion of Him; for by the word Infinite we denote nothing in the Thing it self; but only declare the Impotence of our Understandings, and we do, as it were, say, that we are not able to comprehend the Greatness of his Essence. Hence also it is, that we cannot rightly say of God that he has any Parts, as neither that He is All any thing; for these are Attributes of things finite; nor that he is contain’d in any Place, for that denotes Limits and Bounds; nor that He moves or rests, for both those suppose Him to be in a place: So neither can any thing be properly attributed to God which intimates Grief, or any Passion, such as Anger, Repentance, Mercy. I say properly; because when the inspir’d Writers sometimes use such Expressions, speaking of the Almighty, they are not to be understood in a proper Sense, but as accommodating their Language to the common Apprehensions and Capacities of Men; so that we are not to understand hereby that God receives the same Impressions from external Objects that Man receives, but only by way of similitude, as to the Event or Effect; thus God is said to be angry with, and to be offended at Sinners, not that such Passions or Affections can possibly be in the Divine Nature, but because he will not suffer those who break his Laws to go unpunish’d. Nor may we say of Him ought that denotes the Want or Absence of any Good, as Appetite, Hope, Concupiscence, Desire of any thing; for these imply Indigence and consequently Imperfection; it not being supposable that one should desire, hope, or crave any thing of which he does not stand in some need. And so when Understanding, Will, Knowledge, and acts of the Senses, Seeing, Hearing, &c. are attributed to God, they are to be taken in a much more sublime Sense, than we conceive them in our selves. For the Will in us is a rational Desire; but Desire, as it is said afore, presupposes the Want or Absence of something that is agreeable and necessary. And Understanding and Sense imply some Operation upon the Faculties of Man, wrought by exterior Objects upon the Organs of his Body and the Powers of his Soul; which being Signs of a Power depending upon some other Thing, demonstrate it not to be most perfect.
God but One.Lastly, it is utterly repugnant to the Divine Perfection to say there are more Gods than one; for, beside that the admirable Harmony of the World argues it to have but one Governour, God would not be infinite, if there were more Gods of equal Power with himself, and not depending upon Him; for it involves a Contradiction to say, There are many Infinites. Upon the whole then, ’tis most agreeable to Reason, when we attempt to express the Attributes of God, either to make use of Words of a Negative signification, as Infinite, Incomprehensible, Immense, Eternal, i.e. which had no Beginning nor shall have End; or Superlative, as most Excellent, most Powerful, most Mighty, most Wise, &c. or Indefinite, as Good, Just, Creator, King, Lord, &c. and this in such a Sense as we would not think our selves to express What he is, but only in some sort to declare our Admiration of Him, and profess our Obedience to Him; which is a token of an humble Soul, and of a Mind paying all the Veneration it is capable of.15
VI.Internal Worship of God.The Propositions of Practical Natural Religion are partly such as concern the Internal, and partly the External Worship of God. The Internal Worship of God consists in honouring Him. Now Honour is a high Opinion of another’s Power conjoyn’d with Goodness: And the Mind of Man is obliged, from a Consideration of this his Power and Goodness, to fill it self with all that Reverence towards him, of which its Nature is susceptible. Hence it is, that it is our Duty to love him, as the Author and Bestower of all Manner of Good; to hope in him, as from whom only all our Happiness for the future does depend; to acquiesce in his Will, he doing all things for the best, and giving us what is most expedient for us; to fear him, as being most powerful, and the offending whom renders us liable to the greatest Evil; Lastly, in all things most humbly to obey him, as our Creator, our Lord, and our best and greatest Ruler.
VII.External Worship of God.The External Worship of God is chiefly shewn in these Instances:
VIII.Eternal Salvation not acquired by Natural Religion alone.16And yet, after all, it must be confest, that the Effects of this Natural Religion, nicely consider’d, and with regard to the present State of Mankind, are concluded within the Prospect of this Life; but that it is of no Avail towards procuring eternal Salvation.17 For Human Reason, left alone to it self, knows not that the Pravity, which is so discernable in our Faculties and Inclinations, proceeded from Man’s own Fault, and that, hereby he becomes obnoxious to the Wrath of God, and to eternal Damnation: So that with the Guidance of this only, we are altogether ignorant of the Necessity of a Saviour, and of his Office and Merit; as well as of the Promises made by God to Mankind, and of the several other Matters thereupon depending, by which alone, it is plain from the holy Scriptures, that everlasting Salvation is procured to mortal Men.
IX.Religion the firmest Bond of Society.It may be worth the while, yet a little more distinctly to consider the Benefits which through Religion accrue to Mankind; from whence it may appear, that *It is in truth the utmost and firmest Bond of Human Society.18 For in the Natural Liberty, if you take away the Fear of a Divine Power, any Man who shall have confidence in his own Strength, may do what Violences he pleases to others who are weaker than himself, and will account Honesty, Modesty, and Truth but as empty Words; nor will he be persuaded to do that which is right by any Arguments, but from a Sense of his own Inability to act the contrary. Moreover, lay aside Religion, and the Internal Bonds of Communities will be always slack and feeble; the Fear of a temporal Punishment, the Allegiance sworn to Superiours, and the Honour of observing the same, together with a grateful Consideration that by the Favour of the supreme Government they are defended from the Miseries attending a State of Nature; all these, I say, will be utterly insufficient to contain unruly Men within the Bounds of their Duty. For in this case that Saying would indeed have place, †He that values not Death, can never be compell’d; because to those who fear not God nothing can be more formidable than Death. He that can once bring himself to despise this, may attempt what he pleases upon those that are set over him; and to tempt him so to do, he can hardly want some Cause or Pretence; as, either to free himself of the Uneasiness he seems to lie under by being subject to another’s Command, or that himself may enjoy those Advantages which belong to him that possesses the Government; especially when he may easily persuade himself, that his Enterprise is just, either because He that at present sits at the Helm of Government is guilty of Mal-Administration, or that himself thinks he could manage it by many degrees to better purpose. An Occasion too cannot long be wanting for such Attempts, either from the Prince’s Want of Circumspection in the care of his Person, (and indeed in such a State of Things * who shall guard even the Guards themselves?) or from a powerful Conspiracy, or, in time of foreign War, from a Defection to the Enemy. Beside private Men would be very prone to wrong one another; for the Proceedings in human Courts of Judicature being govern’d by Proofs of Matter of Fact, all those Wickednesses and Villanies which could be secretly acted and without Witnesses, if any thing were to be gain’d by them, would be accounted Dexterities of Wit, in the practice of which a Man might enjoy some Self-satisfaction. Again, no Man would be found that would do Works of Charity or of Friendship, except with probable Expectation of Glory or Profit. From whence it would follow, that, supposing no Punishment from above, one Man not being able to place any solid Confidence in the Troth of another, they must every one always live anxiously in a mutual Fear and Jealousy, lest they be cheated or harm’d each by his Neighbour. The Governours also would have as little Inclination, as the Governed, to Actions that are brave and honourable; for those that govern not being obliged by any Tie of Conscience, would put all Offices, and even Justice itself to sale; and in every thing seek their own private Profit by the Oppression of their Subjects; from whom they being always fearful of a Rebellion, they must needs know, there can be no surer Means to preserve themselves, than by rendring them as heartless and as weak as possible. The Subjects also, on the other side, standing in fear of the Violences of their Rulers, would always be seeking Opportunities to rebel, tho’ at the same time they must be mutually distrustful and fearful of each other. The same would be the Case of married Persons; upon any slight Quarrel, they would be suspicious lest one should make away the other by Poison or some such clandestine Way; and the whole Family would be liable to the like Danger. For it being plain, that without Religion there could be no Conscience; it would not be easy to discover such secret Villanies; they being such as mostly are brought to light by the incessant pricking of the Conscience, and internal Horrors breaking forth into outward Indications. From all which it appears, how much it is the Interest of Mankind, that all Means be used to check the spreading of Atheism in the World; and with what vain Folly those Men are possess’d, who think to get the Reputation of being notable Politicians, by being seemingly inclin’d to Looseness and Irreligion.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Duty of a Man towards Himself 19
I.Man liable to Obligation to Himself.Although the Love of himself be so deeply fix’d in the Mind of Man, as to put him always under a Sollicitous Care of Himself, and upon Endeavours by all means to procure his own Advantage; so as, upon Consideration hereof, ’twould seem superfluous to find out Laws to oblige him to the same: * yet in other Respects it is necessary, that he be bound to the Observation of some certain Rules touching Himself.L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. For, not being born for himself alone, but being therefore furnish’d with so many excellent Endowments, that he may set forth his Creator’s Praise, and be rendred a fit Member of Human Society; it follows hence, that it is his Duty, to cultivate and improve those Gifts of his Creator which he finds in himself, that they may answer the End of their Donor; and to contribute all that lies in his Power to the Benefit of Human Society. Thus, though true it is, that the Ignorance of any Man is his own Shame and his own Loss; yet we accuse not the Master of Injustice, who chastises his Scholar for Negligence in not learning those Sciences of which he is capable.
II.The general Obligation that every one lies under to take care of his Soul.And since Man consists of two Parts, a Soul and a Body, whereof the first supplies the Part of a Director, the other that of an Instrument or subordinate Minister; so that our Actions are all performed by the Guidance of the Mind, and by the Ministration of the Body; we are hence obliged to take care of both, but especially the former.
The Care of the Soul consists, in general, in the right Formation of the Mind and Heart; that is, not only in framing to our selves true and just Opinions concerning all those Things to which our Duties bear any reference, and in making a true Judgment of, and setting a right Value upon, those Objects which commonly excite our Appetites; but also in regulating the Dispositions of our Minds; in reducing and conforming them to the Dictates of right Reason; in employing our Time and Pains in the Prosecution of honest Arts and Sciences; and, in one word, in getting our selves possest of all those Qualities which are necessary for us to lead an honest and a sociable Life.20
III.Particular Duties to which this Care of our Soul obliges us.Among all the Opinions then, which it highly concerns all Men firmly to settle in their Minds, the chief are those which relate to ALMIGHTY GOD, as the great Creator and Governour of the Universe, such as are represented in the foregoing Chapter. The full Persuasion of these great Truths being not only the principal Ground of the Whole Duty of Man to God,1. To settle in our selves right Opinions of Religion. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 4. §7. but the Foundation of all those Virtues which we are to exercise toward our Neighbour, and the true Source of all that Quiet of Conscience and Tranquillity of Mind, which is one of the greatest Blessings of Life. Since no sober and considering Man can deny these Truths, we must diligently avoid and utterly reject all those Opinions, which contain in them any thing contrariant to Principles so important. By which I mean not only Atheism and Epicurism, but all other Sentiments which are prejudicial to Human Society, or destructive of good Manners; such being incompatible with true Religion, and overturning the very Foundation of the Morality of Human Actions; of which kind there are many Instances.21
The first I shall mention is the Stoical Conceit of Fate or Destiny, and (which nearly resembles it) Judicial Astrology; by which it being supposed, that all things happen in the World by an internal and inevitable Necessity, Men must be looked upon as the simple Instruments only of their own Actions; for which, consequently, they are no more accountable upon this Presumption, than a Clock is answerable for the Motion of its Wheels.
Another Opinion there is very nearly allied to this, which supposes the unalterable Consequences of Causes, and of Effects; or the great Chain of Things, established by the Creator, to stand by such an Immoveable Decree, that even God has left Himself no Liberty of interposing in particular Cases.
Most pernicious likewise is that Conceit, which makes GOD allow a kind of Market of Sins, so as to suffer them to be bought off with Money, to be commuted for with Offerings, with the Observance of some vain Ceremonies, or the Utterance of some set Forms of Speech, without Amendment of Life, and an honest Endeavour to become Good Men. To this may be joyned, the sottish Imagination of such, who fancy that Almighty GOD is delighted with such Inventions of Men, such Institutions and Ways of Living, as are disagreeable to Human and Civil Society, as it is regulated by the Dictates of Reason and the Laws of Nature.
All superstitious Notions, such as debase and dishonour the Divine Nature and Worship, are carefully to be avoided, as contrary to true Religion.
The same thing must be said of the Notions of those Men, who imagin that the bare Exercise of Piety towards GOD in Acts of Devotion, as they are called, is sufficient, without any Regard had to Honesty of Life, or to those Duties which we are to practice towards our Neighbour. Nor is the Conceit of others less Impious, who fancy, that a Man may be able, not only to fulfil his own Duty towards GOD, but even exceed what is required of him, and thereby transfer some of his Merits on others; so that one Person’s Negligence in his Duty, may be supply’d from the Works of Supererogation, that is, the Over-righteousness of another. Of the same Stamp is that shameful Opinion of some others, that imagine, that the Wickedness of some Actions is overlooked and excused by GOD, on the Account of the Dexterity, the Humour, or the Gallantry of the Persons who do them; as if such Sins passed only as Jests and Trifles in the Cognisance of Heaven. No less wicked is it to believe, that those Prayers can please GOD, by which a Man desires, that others may suffer an undeserved Evil, for the occasioning or promoting an Advantage to himself; or to imagine, that Men may treat, in the worst manner they please, such as are of a different Persuasion from them in Religious Matters. Not to mention some other such like Opinions, which carry indeed the Pretence of Piety, but in reality tend to the Destruction of Religion and Morality.
IV.2. To arrive at a true Knowlege of our selves. The Duties that result from such a knowledge. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §5.When we have thus arm’d our Minds against all false Opinions of the Divine Nature and Worship, the main Concern behind is, for a Man accurately to examine his own Nature, and to study to know himself.22
From this Knowledge of himself, rightly pursued, a Man is brought acquainted with his own Original; he comes to know perfectly his Condition here, and the Part he is to bear in the World. Hereby he will perceive, that he does not exist of himself, but owes his Being and Life to a Principle infinitely superior to him; that he is endowed with Faculties far more noble than he sees enjoy’d by the Beasts about him; and farther, that he was not born by himself, nor purely for his own Service, but that he is a Part of Human kind. From thus knowing a Man’s self he must necessarily conclude, that he lives in Subjection to Almighty GOD, that he is obliged, according to the Measure of the Gifts he hath received from his Maker, to serve and honour Him; and moreover, to behave himself towards his Equals in such a manner, as becomes a Sociable Creature. And in as much as GOD hath bestowed on him the Light of Reason and Understanding, to guide him in the Course of his Life, it evidently follows, that he ought to make a right Use of it: And consequently not to act at random, without End or Design, but, whatever he undertakes, to propose thereby to himself some particular End, in its self both possible and lawful, and to direct his own Actions suitably to that End; as also to use such other Means as he shall find proper for the compassing it. Again, from hence it follows, that since Truth and Right are always uniform and without alteration, so a Man ought always to form the same Judgments of the same Things, and when he hath once judged truly, to be always constant in his Mind and Resolution. Farther it follows, that a Man’s Will and Appetite ought not to get the Superiority over his Judgment, but follow and obey it, never making resistance to its Decrees; or, which amounts to the same thing, Men ought to form no Judgments but upon mature Deliberation, nor ever to act against their Judgments so formed.
L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §7.Besides, by considering and knowing himself, a Man will rightly apprehend his own Strength and Power: He will find that it is of a finite nature, having certain Limits beyond which it can never extend it self; and therefore, that there are many Things in the World which he can no ways manage or compass, many that he can no ways hinder or resist, and other Things again not absolutely above Human Power, but which may be prevented and intercepted by the Interposition of other superior Powers. Again, another Sort of Things there are, which though we cannot compass by our bare Strength, yet we may, if it be assisted and supported by Dexterity and Address.
What seems to be most free from outward Restraint, and most within our own Power is our Will; especially so far as it is concerned in producing and exerting Actions suitable to our Species of Being, as we are reasonable Creatures. Hence it follows, that every Man ought to make it his main Care and Concern, rightly to employ all his Faculties and Abilities, in conformity to the Rules of right Reason. For this is the Standard by which we are to rate the Worth of every Person, and to measure his intrinsical Goodness and Excellency.
As to other Matters which lie without us, before he enters upon the Pursuit of them, A Man should diligently examine, Whether they do not surpass his Strength? Whether they tend to a lawful End? and, Whether they are worth the Labour which must be spent in obtaining them? When, upon mature Deliberation, he is resolved to engage in any such Affairs, a wise Man will indeed use his best Efforts to bring his Design about; but if he finds those Endeavours ineffectual, he will not strive against the Stream, and drive on his Designs with vain Hope, but quit his Pursuit without Grief or Anger at his Disappointment. From these Considerations this further Consequence may be drawn; That Man, as he is guided only by the Light of Reason, ought principally to aspire after that Happiness in this World, which arises from the prudent Government of his Faculties, and from those Assistances and Supports which the Divine Providence he knows will afford him in the universal Administration of things. Hence he will not leave things to meer Hazard and Chance, while there is room for Human Caution and Foresight. But then, since human Foresight is very weak in discovering future things, which are so far from being under our Guidance, that they frequently fall out beyond our Hopes and Expectations: Hence it is plain, that we ought neither too securely to trust to our present Condition, nor to spend too much Care and Anxiety on what is to come: and for the same reason, Insolence in Prosperity and Despair in Adversity are to be both avoided, as equally dangerous and equally absurd.
V.3. To regulate the measure of our Desires in proportion to the Just value of the things we desire. How we ought to seek for Honour or Esteem. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §9.Another necessary Improvement of our Mind and Understanding is, To be able to set a just Price on those Things which are the chief in moving our Appetites. For, from this Knowledge it is that the degree of Desire is to be determined, with which we may seek after them.
Among these, that which bears the greatest sway, and appears with most splendor, and which most forceably moves Elevated and Noble Souls, is the Opinion of Worth and Excellency; an Opinion from whence springs what we usually call Glory or Honour: In respect to which we are to form and temper our Minds in the following manner.
We must use our utmost Care and Endeavour to procure and preserve that kind of Esteem that is simply so called, that is, the Reputation of being Good and Honest Men; and if this Reputation be assaulted by the Lies and Calumnies of Wicked Men, we are to use all possible Pains to wipe them off; but if that be not in our Power, we are to comfort our selves with the Testimony of a good Conscience, and with the Assurance, that our Integrity is still known to GOD.
As for that Esteem, which is oft-times called Intensive, or Esteem of Distinction, but more commonly Honour or Glory, we are no otherwise to pursue it, than as it redounds from such worthy Actions as are conformable to Right Reason, and productive of the Good of Human Society; but even then good Heed is to be taken, that hereby our Mind do not swell with Arrogance and Vain-glory. If at any time we have no Opportunity, or want an Occasion of shewing our Worth, without being able to procure one, we must bear this ill Fortune with Patience, since there is nothing in it that can be charged upon our Default. To value our selves upon, and make our boasts of what is empty, vain, and trifling, is most impertinent and ridiculous; but it is abominably Wicked, as well as extremly Foolish, to aspire to Fame and to Honours by evil Arts, and by Deeds repugnant to Reason; and to desire Preheminence above others, only to be able to insult over them, and to make them obnoxious to our Pleasure.
VI.In what manner we may desire Riches.The Desire of outward Possessions, Riches, and Wealth, does also prevail greatly in the Minds of Men; and no wonder, since Men have not only need thereof for their own Support and Preservation in the World, but also often lie under an indispensible Duty to provide them for others. But then, because our Wants are not infinite, but lie in a very narrow Compass, and since Nature is not wanting in a plentiful Provision for the Necessities of her Sons; and lastly, since all that we can heap together must, at our Death, fall to others; we must moderate our Desire and our Pursuit of those Things, and govern our selves in the Use of them according to the just Occasions of Nature, and the modest Demands of Temperance and Sobriety. We must do no dishonest or base Thing for the procuring them; we must not increase them by sordid Avarice, nor squander them away by profuse Prodigality, nor in any ways make them subservient to vicious and dishonest Purposes. Farther, since Riches are of a very perishable Nature, and may be taken from us by many Accidents and Casualties, we must, with respect to ’em, put our Mind in so even a Temper, as not to lose it self if it should happen to lose them.
VII.In what manner we may desire Pleasures. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §11.The Desire of Pleasures does as strongly excite the Minds of Men as that of Honour or Riches: In reference to these we must observe, that there are Innocent Pleasures and Criminal Pleasures. The latter of which must be always avoided; but it is by no means a Fault to enjoy the former, provided it be done with moderation, and in conformity to the Rules of Temperance and Sobriety. As there is no Fault to avoid, as much as may be, unnecessary Grief and Pain, because they tend to the Destruction of the Body; so Reason, on the other side, is so far from forbidding us the Enjoyment of moderate Recreation and innocent Pleasure, that it directs us to entertain our Senses with such Objects as are, in this manner, agreeable and delightful to them, since hereby the Mind is unbent and refresh’d, and render’d more active and vigorous. But then, in the Enjoyment of these lawful and innocent Gratifications, great Care is to be taken, that we enjoy them to such a Degree only, that we be not thereby weakened and enervated; that neither the Vigour of the Body or Soul be thereby lessen’d; that they waste not nor consume our Wealth, when it might be better and more usefully laid out; and that they steal not our Time from better and more necessary Employments. Lastly, This must be an inviolable Rule, that no Pleasure must be purchased at so dear a Rate, as the Neglect or Transgression of our Duty; nor ought any to be receiv’d that brings after it Loss, Disgrace, Sorrow, or Repentance.
VIII.4. We ought to subject our Passions to the Government of our Reason. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §21.Lastly, The chief Care incumbent on us, in order to improve and well cultivate our Mind, is, to use the utmost Diligence, To gain the Mastery over our Passions; to maintain the Sovereignty of our Reason over the Motions and Affections of our Minds; the greatest Part of which, if they gain the Ascendant, and grow masterless, do not only impair the Health of the Body, and the Vigour of the Soul, but cast such a Cloud on the Judgment and Understanding, as to wrest them violently from the Ways of Reason, and of Duty. So that the natural Principle of Prudence and Probity amongst Men, may be justly said to be founded in calming and cooling the Passions. But let us briefly speak of them in particular.
JOY is in it self a Passion most agreeable to Nature; but strict Care is to be taken, that it break not out on improper Occasions, that it shew not itself in Matters vain or trifling, base or indecent.
SORROW, like a Canker, wastes both the Body and Soul: it is therefore as much as possible to be remov’d and expell’d, nor ever to be admitted, even moderately, unless when by the Ties of Humanity, we are obliged to express our Concern, or Pity at the Misfortunes, or at the Deaths of others; and as it is requisite to the great Duty of Repentance.
LOVE is a Passion of a benevolent and friendly Nature to Mankind; but yet it is to be so wisely managed and moderated, that it be not fix’d upon an unworthy Object; that we take not unlawful Ways to satisfy its Demands; that it keep within due Bounds, so as not to degenerate into Disease and Disquiet, if the beloved Object is not to be obtained.
HATRED is a Passion pernicious, as well to the Person who employs it, as to those against whom it is employ’d; it is therefore diligently to be quenched and stifled, lest it betray us to Injuries, and Breach of Duty against our Neighbours. And when any Persons do really deserve our Aversion, we must even then take care not, on their Account, to create Uneasiness and Disquiet to our selves.
ENVY is a most deform’d Monster, sometimes producing ill Effects in others, but always in the Envious Person, who, like Iron cankered with Rust, not only defiles, but destroys himself continually.
HOPE, although in it self a Passion mild, easy, and gentle, yet is it also to be brought under due Regulation. We must be careful not to direct it to Things vain or uncertain; nor, by placing it on Objects out of our Reach, and beyond our Power, make it tire it self to no purpose.
FEAR, as it is a dangerous Enemy to Men’s Minds, so is it a Passion altogether useless and unprofitable. It is indeed by some esteemed the Parent of good Caution, and consequently, the Occasion of Safety; but this good Caution may owe it self to a much better Principle, it may arise without the Assistance of Fear, from a wary Circumspection, and a Prudence alike untouched with Anxiety or with Consternation.
ANGER is the most violent, as well as the most destructive of all the Passions, and is therefore to be resisted with our utmost Strength and Endeavour. It is so far from exciting Men’s Valour, and confirming their Constancy in Dangers, as some alledge, that it has a quite contrary Effect; for it is a Degree of Madness, it renders Men blind and desperate, and runs them headlong into their own Ruin.
DESIRE OF REVENGE is nearly related to Anger; which, when it exceeds a Moderate Defence of our selves and Concerns, and a just Assertion of our Rights against the Invaders of them, turns, beyond Dispute, into a Vice.
IX.How far the Study of Arts and Sciences is necessary. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 4. §13.In such Duties as we have reckoned up doth that Culture of the Mind chiefly consist, which all Men are indispensably obliged to look after: But there is still behind a more peculiar Culture and Improvement of the Mind, consisting in the various Knowledge of Things, and the Study of Arts and Sciences. This Knowledge, it is true, cannot be said to be absolutely necessary to the Discharge of our Duty in general, but yet must by all be allowed to be exceedingly useful to supply the Necessities and promote the Conveniencies of Human Life, and therefore by every one to be followed, according as his own Capacity and Occasion will permit.
No one disputes the Usefulness of those Arts, which supply the Necessities, or contribute to the Convenience of Human Life.
As to Sciences; some may be stiled Useful; others Curious, and others again Vain.
In the Number of useful Sciences, I reckon Logick, which teaches to reason justly, closely, and methodically; those Sciences which have any respect to Morality, Physick, and all such Parts of Mathematicks as lay the Foundation of those practical Arts, which serve to procure and augment the Necessaries or Conveniencies of Life.
By Curious, or Elegant Sciences, I understand such as are not indeed of so necessary Use, as to render the Life of Man less sociable, or less convenient upon the Want of them; but yet such as serve to gratify and please an innocent Curiosity, to polish and adorn our Wit, and to embellish and render our Understanding more compleat: Such Sciences are, Natural and Experimental Philosophy, the more fine and subtile Parts of Mathematicks, History, Criticism, Languages, Poetry, Oratory, and the like.
By Vain Sciences, I mean such as are made up of false and erroneous Notions, or are employ’d about frivolous, trifling, and unprofitable Speculations; such are the Amusements of old Philosophers, the Dreams of Astrologers, and the Subtilties of the School-men.
To employ Labour and Pains in these last Sort of Studies is highly unworthy of any Man, and an unpardonable Waste of his Time. But whosoever would not deserve to be accounted an useless Lump on Earth, a Trouble to himself and a Burthen to others, ought, as far as he has Means and Opportunity, to employ himself in some of the aforemention’d Arts and Sciences. Every one at least ought, in a proper Time, to take upon himself some honest and useful Employment, agreeable to his natural Inclinations, suitable to the Abilities of his Body and Mind, Extraction, and Wealth; or according as the just Authority of his Parents, the Commands of his Superiours, or the Occasion and Necessity of his own private Circumstances shall determine.23
X.Wherein consists the Care of the Body.Altho’ the Care of our Soul, which we have been explaining, is the most difficult, as well as the most necessary Part of our Charge in this Life, yet ought we by no means to neglect the Care of our Body; these two constituent Parts of us being so strictly united and ally’d to each other, that no Injury or Hurt can come to the one, but the other must likewise bear its Part in the Suffering.
We must therefore, as far as possible, continue and increase the natural Strength and Powers of our Bodies, by convenient Food and proper Exercise; not ruining them by any Intemperate Excess in Eating or Drinking, nor wasting and consuming them by unnecessary or immoderate Labours, or by any other Abuse or Misapplication of our Abilities. And upon this Account, Gluttony, Drunkenness, the immoderate Use of Women, and the like, are to be avoided: And besides, since unbridled and exorbitant Passions, not only give frequent Occasion to disturb Human Society, but are very hurtful even to the Person himself; we ought to take care with our utmost to quell them, and subject them to Reason. And because many Dangers may be escap’d, if we encounter ’em with Courage, we are to cast off all Effeminacy of the Mind, and to put on Resolution against all the terrible Appearances that any Event may set before us.
XI.Whether a Man has the Power of his own Life.And yet, because no Man could give himself Life, but it must be accounted as the bounteous Favour of God, it appears, that Man is by no means vested with such a Power over his own Life, as that he may put an End to it when he pleases; but he ought to tarry, till he is call’d off by Him who placed him in this Station. Indeed, since Men both can and ought to be serviceable to one another, and since there are some Sorts of Labour, or an Overstraining in any, which may so waste the Strength of a Man, that old Age and Death may come on much sooner than if he had led an easy and painless Life; there is no doubt but that a Man may, without any Contravention to this Law, chuse that Way of living which may with some probability make his Life the shorter, that so he may become more useful to Mankind. And whereas sometimes the Lives of many will be lost, except some Number of Men expose themselves to a Probability of losing their own on their behalf; in this Case the lawful Governour has Power to lay an Injunction on any private Man under the most grievous Penalties, not to decline by Flight such Danger of losing his Life. Nay farther, he may of his own Accord provoke such Danger, provided there are not Reasons more forcible for the contrary; and by thus Adventuring he has hopes to save the Lives of others, and those others are such as are worthy so dear a Purchase. For it would be silly for any Man to engage his Life together with another to no purpose; or for a Person of Value to die for the Preservation of a paltry Rascal. But for any other Cases, there seems nothing to be required by the Law of Nature, by which he should be persuaded to prefer another Man’s Life before his own, but that all things rightly compared, every Man is allowed to be most dear to himself. And indeed all those who voluntarily put an end to their own Lives, either as tir’d with the many Troubles which usually accompany this Mortal State; or from an Abhorrence of Indignities and Evils which yet would not render them scandalous to Human Society; or thro’ Fear, or Pains, or Torment, by enduring which with Fortitude, they might become useful Examples to others; or out of a vain Ostentation of their Fidelity and Bravery; All these, I say, are to be certainly reputed Sinners against the Law of Nature.
XII.Self-Defence moderated.But whereas it often happens that this Self-Preservation, which the tenderest Passion and exactest Reason thus recommends to Mankind, does seem to interfere with our Precepts concerning Society, then when our own Safety is brought into Jeopardy by another, so far that either we must perish, or submit to some very grievous Mischief, or else we must repel the Aggressor by force and by doing him Harm; Therefore we are now to deliver, With what Moderation the Defence of our selves is to be tempered. This Defence of our selves then will be such as is, either without any Harm to him from whom we apprehend the Mischief, by rendring any Invasion of us formidable to him and full of Danger; or else by hurting or destroying him. Of the former way, [whether (in private Men) by keeping off the Assailant, or by Flight, &c.] there can be no Doubt but that ’tis lawful and altogether blameless.
XIII.We may repel force by force, even so far as to kill an unjust Aggressor. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §2.But the latter may admit of Scruple, because Mankind may seem to have an equal Loss, if the Aggressor be killed, or if I lose my Life; and because one in the same Station with my self will be destroyed, with whom it was my Duty to have lived in Civil Society: Beside, that a forcible Defence may be the Occasion of greater Outrages, than if I should betake my self to flight, or patiently yield my Body to the Invader. But all these are by no means of such Weight as to render this Sort of Defence unlawful. For when I am dealing fairly and friendly with another, it is requisite that he shew himself ready to do the like, or else he is not a fit Subject of such good Offices from me. And because the End of the Law of Society is the Good of Mankind, therefore the Sense thereof is to be taken, so as effectually to preserve the Welfare of every Individual or particular Man. So that if another Man make an Attempt upon my Life, there is no Law that commands me to forgoe my own Safety, that so he may practise his Malice with Impunity: And he that in such case is hurt or slain, must impute his Mischief to his own Wickedness, which set me under a Necessity of doing what I did. Indeed otherwise, whatsoever Good we enjoy either from the Bounty of Nature, or the Help of our own Industry, had been granted to us in vain, if we were not at liberty to oppose the Violences of Ruffians, who would wrongfully ravish all from us; and honest Men would be but a ready Prey for Villains, if they were not allowed to make use of Force in defence of themselves against the others Insults. * Upon the whole then, it would tend to the Destruction of Mankind, if Self Defence even with Force were prohibited to us.
XIV.Extremities last to be used. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §3.Not however that hence it follows, that as soon as any Injury is threatned us, we may presently have recourse to Extremities; but we must first try the more harmless Remedies; for instance, we must endeavour to keep out the Invader by cutting off his Access to us; to withdraw into strong Places; and to admonish him to desist from his outragious Fury. And it is also the Duty of a prudent Man to put up a slight Wrong, if it may conveniently be done, and to remit somewhat of his Right, rather than, by an unseasonable Opposition of the Violence, to expose himself to a greater Danger; especially if that Thing or Concern of ours upon which the Attempt is made, be such as may easily be made amends for or repaired. † But in Cases where by these or the like means I cannot secure my self, in order to it I am at liberty to have recourse even to Extremities.
XV.Self-Defence how far justifiable in a supposed state of Natural Liberty.But that we may clearly judge, whether a Man contains himself within the Bounds of an unblameable Defence of himself, it is first to be examined, whether the Person be one who is in a State of Natural Liberty or subject to no Man, or one who is obnoxious24 to some Civil Power. In the first Case, if another shall offer Violence to me, and cannot be brought to change his malicious Mind and live quietly, I may repel him even by killing him. And this not only when he shall attempt upon my Life, but if he endeavour only to wound or hurt me, or but to take away from me my Goods, without meddling with my Body. For I have no Assurance but from these lesser Injuries he may proceed to greater; and he that has once professed himself my Enemy (which he doth whilst he injures me without Shew of Repentance) gives me, as far as ’tis in his Power to give, a full Liberty of proceeding against him, and resisting him in such manner as I shall find most necessary for my own Safety. And indeed the Sociality necessary to Human Life would become unpracticable, if a Man may not make use even of Extremities against him who shall irreclaimably persist in the Commission tho’ but of meaner Wrongs. For at that rate the most modest Persons would be the continual Laughing-stock of the vilest25 Rakehels.26
XVI.How the Right of Self-defence is limited in a State of Civil Society. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §4.But in Civil Society, those who are Subjects to the Civil Power, may then only use Violence in the Defence of themselves, when the Time and Place will not admit of any Application to the Magistrate for his Assistance in repelling such Injuries by which a Man’s Life may be hazarded, or some other most valuable Good which can never be repaired, may be manifestly endangered.
XVII.Of the Time when in a State of Nature Self defence may be allowable.As for the time when Men may put in practice their just Right of Self-defence, it may be learnt from the following Rules.
Altho’ every one, under that Independence in which all Men are supposed to be in a State of Nature, may and ought to presume, that all Men are inclined to perform towards him all those Duties which the Law of Nature directs, until he has evident Proof to the contrary: Nevertheless, since Men have natural Inclinations to that which is ill, no one ought to rely so securely on the Integrity of another, as to neglect taking all necessary Precautions to render himself secure, and placed, as far as may be, out of the Reach of other Men’s ill Designs. It is but common Prudence to stop up all Avenues against those from whom we apprehend Hostilities, to be provided with serviceable Arms, to raise Troops, to get Succour and Assistance, in case of need, by Alliances and Confederacies, to have a watchful Eye over the Actions and Behaviour of those whom we have reason to apprehend to be our Enemies; and, in a word, to use all other Precautions of this Nature, which appear necessary to prevent our being surprized or found unprovided. The Jealousy and Suspicion which we ought to have of each other, from our Knowledge of the Pravity of Human Nature, will justifie our acting thus far; but then it must stop here: it must not put us upon using Violence to our Neighbours, under pretence of disabling them from injuring us, and of preventing their making a mischievous Use of that superior Power we see them have; especially if we find that this Increase of Power in them, and their Superiority over us, was the Product of their innocent Industry, or the Gift of Providence, and not the Result of Injury and Oppression.
* Nay, if our Neighbour, whom we see powerful enough to hurt us, should shew an Inclination to use that Power mischievously, by actually injuring others, yet shall not this justifie our Assaulting him by way of prevention, till we have good Evidence, that he designs us also Mischief; unless we are under some prior Engagement or Alliance, to support the Persons we see thus injuriously attacked by a superior Power. In this Case we may with greater Vigour oppose the Invader, and take the Part of our injured Ally; since we have very good Reason to apprehend, that when by his superior Power he has oppressed him, he will apply the same Force against us; and that the first Conquest he makes is to be the Instrument of another that he intends.
But when we have evident Proof that another does actually intend, and has taken proper Measures to do us an Injury, altho’ he has not openly declared such his Intention; then we may fairly put our selves on our Defence, and anticipate the Aggressor before he compleats the Preparations he is making to do us the designed Mischief: Provided notwithstanding we have endeavoured, by friendly Advice, to move him to lay aside his ill Purposes so long, that there remains no Hopes of his being prevailed upon to do so by fair and gentle Means: In using which friendly Advice and gentle Means, care must be taken, that it be not done when it may prove a Prejudice and a Disadvantage to our own Affairs. He who first forms the Design to do an injurious Act, and first makes Preparation to bring it about, is to be accounted the Aggressor; altho’ it may perhaps so fall out, that the other using greater Diligence, may prevent him, and so commit the first open Acts of Hostility. It is not absolutely necessary to a justifiable Self-defence, that I receive the first Stroke, or that I only ward off and avoid the Blows that are aimed at me.27
But farther: In a State of Nature of which we are speaking, a Man has not only a Right to repel a present Danger with which he is menaced, but also, after having secured himself from the Mischief intended him, he may pursue his Success against the Aggressor, till he has made him give him satisfactory Security of his peaceable Behaviour for the time to come. Concerning which Caution and Security, the following Rule may be usefully observed: If a Man having injured me, shall presently after, repenting of what he had done, come voluntarily and ask my pardon, and offer Reparation of the Damage; I am then obliged to be reconciled to him, without requiring of him any farther Security than his Faith and Promise to live hereafter in Peace and Quietness with me. For when of his own accord any Person takes such measures, it is a satisfactory Evidence, that he has altered his Mind, and a sufficient Argument of his firm Resolution to offer me no Wrong for the future. But if a Man having injured me, never thinks of asking Pardon, or of shewing his Concern for the Injuries he has done me, till he is no longer in Condition to do them, and till his Strength fails him in prosecuting his Violences; such an one is not safely to be trusted on his bare Promises, his Word alone being not a sufficient Warrant of the Sincerity of his Protestations. In such Case, in order to our farther Security, we must either cut off from him all Power of doing Mischief, or else lay upon him some Obligation of greater Weight and Force than his meer Promise, sufficient to hinder him from appearing ever after formidable to us.
XVIII.When and how far a Man may defend himself with arm’d force in a State of Civil Society.But among Men who live in a Community,28 the Liberties for Self-defence ought not to be near so large. For here, tho’ I may know for certain, that another Man has armed himself in order to set upon me, or has openly threatned to do me a Mischief; this will by no Means bear me out in assaulting him; but he is to be informed against before the Civil Magistrate, who is to require Security for his good Behaviour. The Use of Extremities in repelling the Force being then only justifiable, when I am already set upon, and reduced to such Streights, that I have no Opportunity to require the Protection of the Magistrate, or the Help of my Neighbours; and even then I am not to make use of Violence, that by the Slaughter of my Adversary I may revenge the Injury, but only because without it my own Life cannot be out of Danger.
Of the Time when in a State of Civil Society Self-defence may be allowable.Now the Instant of Time, when any Man may with Impunity destroy another in his own Defence, is, when the Aggressor, being furnished with Weapons for the Purpose, and shewing plainly a Design upon my Life, is got into a Place where he is very capable of doing me a Mischief, allowing me some time, in which it may be necessary to prevent rather than be prevented; although in foro humano a little Exceeding be not much minded in regard of the great Disturbance such a Danger must be thought to raise in the Spirit of Man. And the Space of Time in which a Man may use Force in his own Defence, is so long as till the Assailant is either repulsed, or has with-drawn of his own accord, (whether in that Moment repenting of his wicked Design, or for that he sees he is like to miss of his Aim) so that for the present he cannot hurt us any more, and we have an Opportunity of retiring into a Place of Safety. * For as for Revenge of the Wrong done, and Caution for future Security, that belongs to the Care of the Civil Magistrate, and is to be done only by his Authority.
XIX.Whether a Man may use his Right of Self-defence against one that assaults him by mistake. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §5.Farthermore,29 both in a State of Nature, and in a Civil State, it is lawful for every Man to defend himself, if the Precautions before-mentioned be taken against him who attempts to take away his Life; whether it be designedly, and with a malicious Intention, or without any particular Design against the Party assaulted: As suppose a Mad-man, or a Lunatick, or one that mistakes me for some other Person who is his Enemy, should make an Attempt on my Life, I may justifiably use my Right of Self-Defence; for the Person from whom the Attempt comes, whereby my Life is hazarded, hath no Right to attack me, and I am by no means obliged to suffer Death unnecessarily; on which account it is altogether unreasonable that I should prefer his Safety to my own.
XX.How the most just Self-defence ought to be managed: and of Duels.Nevertheless though true it is, that we ought not to take away another Man’s Life, when it is possible for us after a more convenient way to avoid the Danger we are in; yet in consideration of that great Perturbation of Mind, which is wont to be occasion’d upon the Appearance of imminent Mischief, it is not usual to be over-rigorous in the Examination of these Matters; for it is not likely that a Man trembling under the Apprehension of Danger, should be able to find out so exactly all those Ways of escaping, which to one who sedately considers the Case may be plain enough. Hence, though it is Rashness for me to come out of a safe Hold to him who shall challenge me; yet, if another shall set upon me in an open Place, I am not streight obliged to betake my self to Flight, except there be at hand such a Place of Refuge as I may withdraw into without Peril: Neither am I always bound to retire; because then I turn my defenceless Back, and there may be hazard of falling; beside, that having once lost my Posture, I can hardly recover it again. But as the Plea of Self-defence is allow’d to that Person who shall thus encounter Danger, when he is going about his lawful Business, whereas if he had staid at Home he had been safe enough; so it is denied to him who being challenged to a Duel, shall by appearing set himself in that Condition, and except he kill his Adversary, himself must be slain. * For the Laws having forbidden his venturing into such Danger, any Excuse on account thereof is not to be regarded.
XXI.Defence of Members. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §10.What may be done for the Defence of Life may also for the Members; 30 so as that he shall be acquitted for an honest Man who shall kill a Ruffian, that perhaps had no farther Intention than to maim him, or give him some grievous Wound: For all Mankind does naturally abhor to be maimed or wounded; and the cutting off any, especially of the more noble Members, is often not of much less value than Life itself; beside, we are not sure beforehand, whether upon such wounding or maiming Death may not follow; and to endure this is a Sort of Patience that surpasses the ordinary Constancy of a Man, † to which no man is regularly obliged by the Laws, only to gratifie the outragious Humour of a Rogue.
XXII.Defence of Chastity. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §11.Moreover, what is lawfully to be done for Preservation of Life,‡ is adjudged to be so for Chastity: Since there cannot be a more horrid Abuse offered to an honest Woman, than to force her out of that which being kept undefiled is esteemed the greatest Glory of their Sex; and to put upon her a Necessity of raising an Offspring to her Enemy out of her own Blood.
XXIII.Defence of Goods or Estate. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 5. §16.As for Defence of Goods or Estate, this may, among those who are in a State of Natural Liberty, go as far as the Slaughter of the Invader, * provided what is in Controversie be not a Thing contemptible. For without Things necessary we cannot keep our selves alive; and he equally declares himself my Enemy, who wrongfully seizes my Estate, as he that attempts upon my Life. But in Communities, where what is ravished from us may, with the Assistance of the Civil Authority, be recovered, this is not regularly allowed; unless in such case when he that comes to take away what we have, cannot be brought to Justice: On which account it is, that we may lawfully kill Highwaymen and Night-robbers.
XXIV.Self Defence in him that first injur’d. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 6. §19.And thus much for Self-Defence in those who without Provocation are unjustly invaded by others: But for him who has first done an Injury to another, he can only then rightly defend himself with Force, and hurt the other again, when having repented of what he has done, he has offered Reparation of the Wrong and Security for the future; and yet he who was first injured, shall, out of ill Nature, refuse the same, and endeavour to revenge himself by Violence; [shewing hereby that he seeks not so much Reparation and Right to himself, as Mischief to the other.]
XXV.Self Preservation in Cases of Necessity. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 6.Lastly, Self-Preservation is of so much regard, that, if it cannot otherwise be had, in many Cases it exempts us from our Obedience to the standing Laws; and on this Score it is, that Necessity is said to have no Law. For seeing Man is naturally inspired with such an earnest Desire to preserve himself, it can hardly be presumed that there is any Obligation laid upon him, to which he is to sacrifice his own Safety. For tho’ not only God, but the Civil Magistrate, when the Necessity of Affairs requires it, may lay upon us so strict an Injunction, that we ought rather to die than vary a Little from it; yet the general Obligation of Laws is not held to be so rigorous. For the Legislators, or those who first introduced Rules for Mankind to act by, making it their Design to promote the Safety and common Good of Men, must regularly be supposed to have had before their Eyes the Condition of Human Nature, and to have considered how impossible it is for a Man not to shun and keep off all Things that tend to his own Destruction. Hence those Laws especially, called Positive, and all Human Institutions are judged to except Cases of Necessity; or, not to oblige, when the Observation of them must be accompanied with some Evil which is destructive to Human Nature, or not tolerable to the ordinary Constancy of Men; unless it be expressly so ordered, or the Nature of the Thing requires, that even that also must be undergone. Not that Necessity justifies the Breach of a Law and Commission of Sin; but it is presumed, from the favourable Intention of the Legislators, and the Consideration of Man’s Nature, that Cases of Necessity are not included in the general Words of a Law. This will be plain by an Instance or two.
XXVI.Cutting off Members. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 6. §3.I.Though otherwise Man have no such Power over his own Members, as that he may lose or maim any of them at his pleasure; yet he is justifiable in cutting off a gangren’d Limb, in order to save the whole Body; or to preserve those Parts which are sound; or lest the other Members be rendred useless by a dead and cumbersome Piece of Flesh.
XXVII.One lost to save many.II.If in a Shipwrack more Men leap into the Boat than it is capable of carrying, and no one has more Right than another to it; they may draw Lots who shall be cast overboard; and if any Man shall refuse to take his chance, he may be thrown over without any more ado, as one that seeks the Destruction of all.
XXVIII.One hastens the Death of another to save himself. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 6. §4.III.Iftwo happen into imminent Danger of their Lives, where both must perish; one may, as he sees good, hasten the Death of the other, that he may save himself. For instance, If I, who am a skilful Swimmer, should fall into some deep Water with another who could not swim at all, and he clings about me; I not being strong enough to carry him off and my self too, I may put him off with force, that I may not be drowned together with him; tho’ I might for a little while be able to keep him up. So in a Shipwrack, if I have got a Plank which will not hold two, and another shall endeavour to get upon it, which if he does, we are both like to be drowned, I may keep him off with what violence I please. And so if two be pursued by an Enemy meaning to kill them, one may, by shutting a Gate or drawing a Bridge after him, secure himself, and leave the other in great Probability of losing his Life, supposing it not to be possible to save both.
XXIX.Another destroyed or hurt to the same end.IV.Cases also of Necessity may happen, where one may indirectly put another in Danger of Death, or some great Mischief, when at the same time he means no harm to the Person; but only, for his own Preservation, he is forced upon some Action which probably may do the other a Damage; always supposing that he had rather have chosen any other Way, if he could have found it, and that he make that Damage as little as he can. Thus, if a stronger Man than I pursues me to take away my Life, and one meets me in a narrow Way thro’ which I must flee, if, upon my Request, he will not stand out of the Way, or he has not time or room so to do, I may throw him down and go over him, tho’ it be very likely that by the Fall he will be very much hurt; except he should be one who has such peculiar Relation to me, [suppose my Parent, King, &c.] that I ought for his Sake rather to surrender my self to the Danger. And if he who is in the Way cannot, upon my speaking to him, get out of the Way, suppose being lame or a Child, I shall be excused who try to leap over him, rather than to expose my self to my Enemy by delaying. But if any one shall, out of Wantonness or cross Humour, hinder me or deny to give me the Liberty of escaping, I may immediately by any Violence throw him down, or put him out of my Way. And those who in these Cases get any Harm, are to look upon it not as a Fault in the Person that did it, but as an unavoidable Misfortune.
XXX.Case of extreme Want. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 6. §5.V.If a Man, not through his own Fault, happen to be in extreme Want of Victuals and Cloaths necessary to preserve him from the Cold, and cannot procure them from those who are wealthy and have great Store, either by Intreaties, or by offering their Value, or by proposing to do Work equivalent; he may, without being chargeable with Theft or Rapine, furnish his Necessities out of their Abundance, either by force or secretly, especially if he do so with a Design to pay the Price, as soon as he shall have an Opportunity. For it is the Duty of the opulent Person to succour another who is in such a needy Condition. And tho’ regularly what depends upon Courtesie ought by no means to be extorted by Force, yet the Extreme Necessity alters the Case, and makes these Things as claimable, as if they were absolutely due by a formal Obligation. But it is first incumbent upon the Necessitous Person to try all Ways to supply his Wants with the Consent of the Owner, and he is to take care that the Owner be not thereby reduced to the same Extremity, nor in a little time like to be so; and that Restitution be made; * especially if the Estate of the other be such as that he cannot well bear the Loss.
XXXI.Destroying other Men’s Goods to save our own. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 6. §8.VI.Lastly, the Necessity of our own Affairs seems sometimes to justifie our destroying the Goods of other Men;1. Provided still, that we do not bring such Necessity upon our selves by our own Miscarriage:2. That there cannot be any better Way found: 3. That we cast not away that of our Neighbours which is of greater Value, in order to save our own which is of less:4. That we be ready to pay the Price, if the Goods would not otherwise have been destroyed, or to bear our share in the Damage done, if the Case were so that his must have perished together with ours, but now by the Loss of them ours are preserved. And this sort of Equity is generally found in the Law-Merchant.31 Thus in case of Fire, I may pull down or blow up my Neighbour’s House, but then those whose Houses are by this means saved, ought to make good the Damage proportionably.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Duty of one Man to another, and first of doing no Injury to any Man
I.Reciprocal Duties of two Sorts.We come now to those Duties which are to be practis’d by one Man towards another. Some of these proceed from that common Obligation which it hath pleas’d the Creator to lay upon all Men in general; others take their Original from some certain Human Institutions, or some peculiar,*adventitious or accidental State of Men. The first of these are always to be practis’d by every Man towards all Men; the latter obtain only among those who are in such peculiar Condition or State.32 Hence those may be called Absolute, and these Conditional Duties.
II.No wrong to be done. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 1.Among those Duties we account Absolute, or those of every Man towards every Man, this has the first Place, * that one do no Wrong to the other; and this is the amplest Duty of all, comprehending all Men as such; and it is at the same time the most easy, as consisting only in an Omission of acting, unless now and then when unreasonable Desires and Lusts are to be curb’d. It is also the most necessary, because without it Human Society cannot be preserv’d. For I can live quietly with him that does me no Good, or with whom I have no manner of Correspondence, provided he doth me no Harm. Nay this is all we desire from the greatest Part of Mankind; the doing mutually good Offices lying but among a few. But I can by no means live peaceably with him that wrongs me; Nature having instilled into every Man such a tender Love of himself and what is his own, that he cannot but by all possible means repel those Men who shall make any Attempt upon one or t’other.
III.So to do a Crime.By this Duty are fenced not only what we have by the Bounty of Nature; such as our Laws, Bodies, Limbs, Chastity, Liberty; but whatsoever by any Human Institution or Compact becomes our Property; so as by this it is forbidden to take away, spoil, damage, or withdraw, in whole or in part, from our Use, whatsoever by a lawful Title we are possess’d of. Whence all those Actions are hereby made Crimes, by which any Wrong is done to others, as Murther, Wounding, Striking, Rapine, Theft, Fraud, Violence, whether practis’d directly or indirectly, mediately or immediately, and the like.
IV.Reparation of Wrong a necessary Consequence from thence.Farther, hence it follows, That if any Harm or Damage be done to another, he who is truly chargeable as Author of the Wrong, ought, as far as in him lies, to make Reparation: For otherwise the Precept would be to no purpose, That no Man shall be hurt nor receive damage; if when he has actually sustain’d a Mischief, he must put it up quietly, and he who did the Injury shall enjoy securely the Fruit of his Violence without Reparation. And setting aside this Necessity of Restitution, the Pravity of Man’s Nature is such, that they would never forbear injuring one another, and it would be very hard for him who has suffered Wrong, to compose his Mind so as to live peaceably with the other, till Reparation were made.
V.Damage how to be accounted. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 1. §3.Tho’ the Word Damage may seem properly to belong to Loss in Goods, yet we take it here in the large Sense, that it may signifie all Manner of Harm, spoiling, diminishing, or taking away what is already ours, or intercepting that which by an absolute Right we ought to have, whether it be bestowed upon us by Nature, or given us by Man and Human Laws; or lastly, the Omission or Denial of paying what by a perfect Obligation is due to us. But if such Payment only be stopt, as was not due by any perfect Obligation, it is not looked upon as a Damage that ought to be made good: For it would be unmeet to account it a Wrong suffered if I receive not such Stipends; and unreasonable for me to demand as my Right, what I cannot expect from another but under the name of a Free Gift, and which I can by no means call my own, till after I have received it.
VI.Damage in expectations.Under the Head of Damage liable to Reparation, we must also comprise not only a Mischief, Loss or Interception of what is ours or due to us; but also such Profits as do naturally accrue from the Thing, or have already accrued, or may fairly be expected, if it was the Right of the Owner to receive them; allowing still the Expenses necessary for gathering in such Profits. Now the Value of Profits, thus in Expectation only, is to be high or low, according as they are certain or uncertain, and will be sooner or later received. And lastly, that also is to be called Damage, which upon a Hurt given, does of Natural Necessity follow thereon.
VII.Damage mediately or immediately done. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 1. §4.One Man may damnifie33 another not only immediately or by himself, but also by others: And it may happen that a Damage immediately done by one Man may be chargeable upon another, because he contributed somewhat to the Action, either by doing what he ought not, or not doing what he ought to have done. Sometimes among several Persons who concurred to the same Fact one is to be accounted the Principal, others but Accessories; sometimes they may all be equally Parties. Concerning whom it is to be observed, that they are so far obliged to repair the Wrong as they were indeed the Causes thereof, and by so much as they contributed to doing All or Part of the Damage. But where any one did not actually assist in the Trespass committed; nor was antecedently a Cause of its being done, nor had any Advantage by it; there, though upon Occasion of the Injury done, he may be blame worthy, yet he cannot be any ways obliged to Restitution: And of this Sort are such as rejoyce at their Neighbour’s Misfortunes, such as commend the Commission of Outrages, or are ready to excuse them, who wish or favour the Practice of them, or who flatter the Actors therein.
VIIIDamage done by many. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 1. §5.Where many have joined in an Action from whence Damage has come, he in the first place shall be chargeable with Reparation, by whose Command or powerful Influence the others were put upon the Action; and he who immediately perpetrates the Thing, to which he could not decline his helping Hand, shall be esteemed but only as the Instrument. He who without any constraint concerned himself in the Enterprize shall be chiefly liable, and then the rest who assisted in it. But this so, as that if Restitution be made by the former, then the latter are cleared, (which in Penal Cases is otherwise.) If many in Combination have committed an Injury, all are obliged for each one single, and each one single is obliged for all; so as that if all are seized, they must each pay their Shares to make good the Loss; and if all escape but one, he shall be obliged to pay for all; but where some amongst them are insolvent, those who are able must pay the Whole. If many, not in Combination, concur to the same Thing, and it can plainly be discerned how much each of them contributed to the doing of the Mischief; each shall only be accountable for so much as himself was the Cause of. But if one shall pay the whole, they are all discharged for the same.
IX.Damage by Negligence. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 1. §6.Not only he who out of an evil Design does wrong to another, is bound to Reparation of the Damage, but he who does so thro’ Negligence or Miscarriage, which he might easily have avoided. For it is no inconsiderable Part of social Duty,34 to manage our Conversation with such Caution and Prudence, that it does not become mischievous and intolerable to others; in order to which, Men under some Circumstances and Relations, are obliged to more exact and watchful diligence: The slightest Default in this point is sufficient to impose the Necessity of Reparation; unless the Fault lay rather more in him who was harmed, than in him who did it; or unless some great Perturbation of Mind, or some Circumstance in the Matter, would not allow the most deliberate Circumspection; * as, when a Soldier in the Heat of Battle in handling his Arms shall hurt his Comrade.
X. Damage by Chance.But he who by meer Chance, without any Fault of his own, shall do Harm to another, is not obliged to Reparation. Because nothing in this Case being done which can be chargeable upon him, † there is no Reason, why he who unwillingly did a Mischief should rather suffer, than he to whom it was done.
XI.Damage by a Vassal.It is also agreeable to Natural Equity, if my Vassal, though not by my Desire, do Wrong to another, that either I make it good, or surrender him to the Party injured. For ’tis true, this Vassal is naturally obliged to Reparation; but he not having wherewith, and his Body being the Property of his Patron, it is but just that such Patron either repair the Loss sustained, or deliver him up. Otherwise such a Bond-man would be at liberty to do what Mischief he listed, if Amends cannot be had from him, because he is the Owner of nothing, no not of the Body he bears; nor from his Patron. For, let him beat the Slave never so severely, or punish him with the closest imprisonment, that gives no Restitution to the Person wronged.
XII.Damage by Cattle.The same seems to be just in the Case of our Cattle or any living Creature we keep, that, when they against our Wills and by a Motion of their own, contrary to their Natures, do a Mischief to another, we either make Reparation, or give up the same. For if I am hurt by any Animal that lives in its Natural Liberty, I have a Right, by what means I can, to give my self Satisfaction by taking or by killing it; and this Right doubtless cannot be taken away by its being in the Possession of another. And whereas the Owner of this Animal makes some Gain by it, but I have suffered Loss by the same; and whereas the Reparation of Wrong is more to be favoured than procuring Gain; it appears that I may with reason demand Satisfaction from the Owner, or if the Animal be not worth so much, then that it at least be delivered to me on Account of the Damage sustained.
XIII.Recapitulation.Thus then, he who without any evil Intention does an Injury to another, ought of his own accord to offer Reparation, and to protest himself to have done it unwillingly, lest the injured Person take him for his Enemy, and endeavour to retaliate the Mischief. But he, who with a naughty design shall wrong his Neighbour, is not only bound to offer Reparation, but to declare his Repentance for the Fact and to beg Pardon. On the other side, the wronged Party having Satisfaction made him, is obliged, upon the Repentance of the other, and at his Request, to grant him Pardon. For he that will not be content when Reparation is made him, and a fit Submission offered, but still seeks to revenge himself by Force, does nothing else but gratifie his own ill Nature, and so disturbs the common Peace of Men without cause. And upon that account Revenge is by the Law of Nature condemned, as proposing no other End, than doing Mischief to those who have hurt us, and pleasing our selves in their Sufferings. Moreover, there is great Reason that Men should be the more apt to pardon each others Offences, upon a consideration how often themselves transgress the Laws of God, and have therefore daily so much need of begging Forgiveness of Him. [Not still but that the Publick may inflict a Punishment on the Aggressor, tho’ he have given satisfaction to the Private Man, if the Act was Criminal, and in its Nature Evil.][Back to Table of Contents]
The Natural Equality of Men to be acknowledged
I.Equality of Mankind.Man is a Creature not only most sollicitous for the Preservation of Himself; but has of Himself also so nice an Estimation and Value, that to diminish any thing thereof does frequently move in him as great Indignation, as if a Mischief were done to his Body or Estate. Nay, there seems to him to be somewhat of Dignity in the Appellation of Man: so that the last and most efficacious Argument to curb the Arrogance of insulting Men, is usually, I am not a Dog, but a Man as well as your self. Since then Human Nature is the same in us all, and since no Man will or can cheerfully join in Society with any, by whom he is not at least to be esteemed equally as a Man and as a Partaker of the same Common Nature: It follows that, among those Duties which Men owe to each other, this obtains the second Place,L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §1. That every Man esteem and treat another, as naturally equal to himself, or as one who is a Man as well as he.
II.Wherein this Equality consists. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §2.Now this Equality of Mankind does not alone consist in this, that Men of ripe Age have almost the same Strength, or if one be weaker, he may be able to kill the stronger, either by Treachery, or Dexterity, or by being better furnished with Weapons; but in this, that though Nature may have accomplished one Man beyond another with various Endowments of Body and Mind; yet nevertheless he is obliged to an Observation of the Precepts of the Law Natural towards the meaner Person, after the same manner as himself expects the same from others; and has not therefore any greater Liberty given him to insult upon his Fellows.35 As on the other side the Niggardliness of Nature or Fortune cannot of themselves set any Man so low, as that he shall be in worse Condition, as to the Enjoyment of Common Right,36 than others. But what one Man may rightfully demand or expect from another, the same is due to others also (Circumstances being alike) from him; and whatsoever one shall deem reasonable to be done by others, the like it is most just he practise himself: For the Obligation of maintaining Sociality among Mankind equally binds every Man; neither may one Man more than another violate the Law of Nature in any part. Not but that there are other popular Reasons which illustrate this Equality; to wit, that we are all descended of the same Stock; that we are all born, nourished, and die after the same Manner; and that God has not given any of us a certain Assurance that our happy Condition in the World shall not at one time or other be changed. Besides, the Precepts of the Christian Religion tell us that God favours not Man for his Nobility, Power, or Wealth, but for sincere Piety, which may as well be found in a mean and humble Man, as in those of high degree.
III.This Equality should make us benevolent, courteous and complaisant to each other. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §4.Now from this Equality it follows, That he who would use the Assistance of others in promoting his own Advantage, ought to be as free and ready to use his Power and Abilities for their Service, when they want his Help and Assistance on the like occasions. For he who requires that other Men should do him Kindnesses, and expects himself to be free from doing the like, must be of opinion that those other Men are below himself and not his Equals. Hence as those Persons are the best Members of a Community, who without any difficulty allow the same things to their Neighbour that themselves require of him; so those are altogether uncapable of Society, who setting a high Rate on themselves in regard to others, will take upon them to act any thing towards their Neighbour, and expect greater Deference and more Respect than the Rest of Mankind; in this insolent manner demanding a greater portion unto themselves in those things, to which all Men having a common Right, they can in reason claim no larger a Share than other Men: Whence this also is an universal Duty of the Law Natural, That no Man, who has not a peculiar Right, ought to arrogate more to himself, than he is ready to allow to his Fellows, but that he permit other Men to enjoy Equal Privileges with himself.
IV.It ought to make us observe exact Justice in distributing to each his own. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §5.The same Equality also shews what every Man’s behaviour ought to be, when his business is to distribute Justice 37 among others; to wit, that he treat them as Equals, and indulge not that, unless the Merits of the Cause require it, to one, which he denies to another. For if he do otherwise, he who is discountenanced is at the same time affronted and wronged, and loses somewhat of the Dignity which Nature bestowed upon him. Whence it follows, that Things which are in common, are of right to be divided by equal Parts among those who are equal: Where the Thing will not admit of Division, they who are equally concerned, are to use it indifferently; and, if the Quantity of the Thing will bear it, as much as each Party shall think fit: But if this cannot be allowed, then it is to be used after a stated manner, and proportionate to the Number of the Claimants; because ’tis not possible to find out any other Way of observing Equality. But if it be a Thing of that nature as not to be capable of being divided, nor of being possest in common, then it must be used by turns; and if this yet will not answer the point, and it is not possible the rest should be satisfied by an Equivalent, the best Way must be to determin Possession by Lot; for in such Cases no fitter Method can be thought on, to remove all Opinion of Partiality and Contempt of any Party, without debasing the Person whom Fortune does not favour.
V.This Equality a sufficient Remedy against Pride. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §6.The Consideration of this Natural Equality among Men, ought to take from us all Pride; a Vice that consists herein, When a Man, without any Reason, or, without sufficient Reason, prefers himself to others, behaving himself contemptuously and haughtily towards them, as being in his Esteem base Underlings, unworthy of his Consideration or Regard. We say, without any Reason. For where a Man is regularly possest of some Right, which gives him a Preference to other Men; he may lawfully make use of, and assert the same, so it be without vain Ostentation and the Contempt of others; as on the contrary every one is with good reason to yield that Respect and Honour which is due to another. But for the Rest, true Generosity has always for its Companion a decorous Humility, which arises from a Reflection on the Infirmity of our Nature, and the Faults, of which our selves either have been, or may hereafter be guilty, which are not less heinous than those which may be committed by other Men. The Inference we ought to make from hence is, that we do not over-value our selves with regard to others, considering that they equally with us are endowed with a free Use of their Understanding, which they are also capable of managing to as good Purpose; the regular Use whereof is that alone which a Man can call his own, and upon which the true Value of Himself depends. But for a Man, without any Reason, to set a high esteem upon himself, is a most ridiculous Vice; first, because ’tis in it self silly, for a Man to carry it high for nothing at all; and then, because I must suppose all other Men to be Coxcombs, if I expect from them a great Regard, when I deserve none.
The Violation of this Duty is yet carried farther, if a Man shew his Contempt of another by outward Signs, Actions, Words, Looks, or any other abusive way. And this Fault is therefore the more grievous, because it easily excites the Spirits of Men to Anger and Revenge: So that there are many who will rather venture their Lives upon the spot, much more will they break the Publick Peace, than put up an Affront of that nature; accounting that hereby their Honour is wounded, and a Slur is put upon their Reputation, in the untainted Preservation of which consists all their Self-satisfaction and Pleasure of Mind.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the mutual Duties of Humanity
I. Doing good to others. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 3.Among the Duties of one Man towards another, which must be practis’d for the sake of Common Society, we put in the third place this, That every Man ought to promote the Good of another, as far as conveniently he may. For all Mankind being by Nature made, as it were, akin to each other; such a Relation requires more than barely abstaining from offering Injury and doing Despight to others. It is not therefore sufficient that we neither hurt nor despise our Fellows, but we ought also to do such good Offices to others, or mutually to communicate the same, as that common brotherly Love may be kept up among Men. Now we become beneficial to our Neighbour, either indefinitely or definitely; and that either parting with something or nothing our selves.
II. Benefactors of the first Sort. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 3. §2.That Man indefinitely promotes the Good of others, who takes such necessary care of his Mind and Body, that he may be able to perform such Actions as may be profitable to his Neighbour; or who by the Acuteness of his Wit finds out something that may be of Advantage to Mankind. So that those are to be accounted guilty of a Breach of this Duty, who betaking themselves to no honest Calling spend their Lives in Sloth, as if their Souls were given them but to serve as Salt to keep their Bodies from stinking, or as if they were born but to make up a Number, and eat their Share: And such as, being content with the Estates their Ancestors have left ’em, think they may give themselves up to Idleness without blame, because they have whereon to live by the Industry of others: And those who alone enjoy what they have got, not bestowing any Part upon others: Finally, all those who, like Hogs, do Good to no one till they die; and all that Sort of Wretches who only serve to load the Earth with their useless Weight.
III. Such deserve Honour as make themselves useful to the Publick. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 3. §3.On the other side, to those who make it their Business to deserve well of Mankind, the Rest of the World owe thus much, that they don’t envy ’em, nor lay any Rubs in their way, while by their noble Actions they seek the Universal Good: And if there be no Possibility for themselves to imitate ’em, they at least ought to pay a Regard to their Memory and promote their Honour, which perhaps is all they shall get by their Labours.
IV. Good done to others without any charge or cost to the Benefactor.Now not to do readily all that Good to others which we can do without Detriment, Labour, or Trouble to our selves, is to be accounted detestable Villany and Inhumanity. The following are wont to be called Benefits which cost nothing, or which are of Advantage to the Receiver, without being a Charge to the Bestower. Such as, to allow the Use of the running Water; the letting another light his Fire by mine; the giving honest Advice to him that consults me; the friendly Directing a wandring Man to the right Way, and the like. So, if a Man have a mind to quit the Possession of a Thing, either because he has too much, or because the keeping of it becomes troublesome, why should he not rather leave it fit for Use to others, (provided they are not Enemies) than to mar or destroy it? Hence it is a Sin for us to spoil Victuals, because our Hunger is satisfied; or to stop up, or cover a Spring, because we have quenched our Thirst, or to destroy Buoys set up to discover Shelves and Sands, or *Mercuries in Roads, when our selves have made use of them. Under this Head may be comprehended also the little Alms bestow’d by the Wealthy upon those who are in Want; and that Kindness which we justly shew to Travellers, especially if under Necessities, † and the like.
V. Good done to others with an Expence to the Benefactor. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 3. §15.But it is a higher Degree of Humanity, out of a singular Favour to do a good Turn freely, which costs either Charge or Pains, that so another may either have his Necessities relieved, or acquire some considerable Advantage. And these, by way of Excellence, are called Benefits, and are the fittest Matter for rendring Men Illustrious, if rightly tempered with Prudence and Magnanimity. The Dispensation of which, and the Manner, are to be regulated according to the Condition of the Giver and Receiver. Wherein Care is first of all to be taken; 1. That the Bounty we are about to exercise do not more Hurt than Good to the Person to whom we design a Kindness, and to others: Next, 2. That our Bounty be not greater than consists with our Ability: Then, 3. That the Worthiness of Men be regarded in our Distribution, and Preference given to the Well-deserving. We must therefore consider how far each stands in need of our Help, and observe the Degrees of Relation among Men; moreover, ’tis to be observ’d what every one wants most, and what they can or cannot compass with or without our Assistance.‡ The Manner also of exercising Acts of Kindness will render them more acceptable, if they be done chearfully, readily, and heartily.
VI. Gratitude. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 3. §6.And then he who receives a Benefit ought to have a grateful Mind, by which he is to make it manifest, that it was acceptable to him, and that for its sake he has a hearty Respect to the Donor, and that he wants nothing but an Opportunity or an Ability of making, if possible, a Requital of the full value or more. For it is not absolutely necessary that the Returns we make be exactly tantamount to the Courtesy we receive, but our Good-will and hearty Endeavour are in lieu to be accepted. Not but that sometimes he who pretends to have done me a Kindness, may, notwithstanding, have no Reason to say, he has obliged me thereby; as if a Man shall drag me out of the Water, into which he pushed me before; in such a Case I owe him no thanks.
VII. Thanks.Now by how much the more Benefits are apt to oblige and place Engagements on the Minds of Men, by so much ought the Party who is beholden to be the more eager to return his Thanks. If it be but because we ought not to suffer our Benefactor, who out of a good Opinion he had of us has done us a Kindness, to think worse of us; and because we should not receive any Favour, but with a Design to endeavour, that the Giver shall never have Cause to repent of what he has done for us. For, if for any particular Reason we are not willing to be beholden to such or such a Man, we may civilly avoid the Accepting of the Courtesy. And truly if no grateful Returns were to be made upon the Receipt of Benefits, it would be unreasonable for any Man to cast away what he has, and to do a good Turn where beforehand he is sure it will be slighted. By which means all Beneficence, Good-Will, and Brotherly-Love would be lost among Men; and there would be no such things as doing Kindnesses frankly, nor any Opportunities of procuring mutual Friendships, left in the World.
VIII. Ingratitude. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 3. §17.And though the ungrateful Man, cannot be precisely said to do a Wrong; yet the Charge of Ingratitude is look’d upon as more base, more odious, and detestable than that of Injustice; because ’tis judged a Sign of an abject and rascally Soul for a Man to shew himself unworthy of the good Opinion, which another had entertain’d of his Probity, and not to be mov’d to some Sense of Humanity by Benefits, which have a Power to tame even the Brutes. But, let Ingratitude be never so abominable, yet simply considered as it is a bare Forgetting of a Courtesy, and a Neglect of making a due Return upon occasion, Courts of Judicature take no cognizance of it; for it would lose the Name of Bounty, if it were redemandable by Law, as Money lent is; because then it would be a Credit. And whereas it is a high Instance of Generosity to be grateful, it would cease to be a generous Action, when so to do could not be avoided. Beside that it would take up the Business of all Courts, by reason of the great Difficulty in making an Estimate of all the Circumstances, which either would enhance or lessen the Benefit: And that it was to this End I bestow’d it, (to wit, that I did not therefore demand a Promise of Repayment,) that so the other might have an Occasion of shewing his Gratitude, not for Fear of Punishment, but out of Love to Honesty; and to manifest, that it was not in Hopes of Gain, but only out of mere Kindness that I was liberal of that, which I would not take care should be reimburs’d to me. But for him who improves his Ingratitude, and not only gives no thanks to, but injures his Benefactor; * this shall cause an Aggravation of his Punishment, because it plainly demonstrates the profligate Villany and Baseness of his Mind.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duty of Men in making Contracts
I.Contracts.From the Duties Absolute to those that are Conditional we must take our Passage, as it were, through the intermediate Contracts; 38 for, since all Duties, except those already mentioned, seem to presuppose some Covenant either expressed or implied; † we shall therefore in the next place treat of the Nature of Contracts, and what is to be observed by the Parties concerned therein.
II.The Necessity of ’em.Now it is plain that it was absolutely necessary for Men to enter into mutual Contracts. For though the Duties of Humanity diffuse themselves far and near thro’ all the Instances of the Life of Man; yet that alone is not Ground sufficient, whereon to fix all the Obligations which may be necessary to be made reciprocal between one and another. For all Men are not endowed with so much Good Nature as that they will do all good Offices to every Man out of meer Kindness, except they have some certain Expectation of receiving the like again: And very often it happens, that the Services we would have to be done to us by other Men are of that Sort, that we cannot with Modesty desire them. Frequently also, it may not become one of my Fortune, or in my Station, to be beholden to another for such a Thing. So that many times another cannot give, neither are we willing to accept, unless that other receive an Equivalent from us; and it happens not seldom, that my Neighbour knows not how he may be serviceable to my occasions. Therefore, that these mutual good Offices, which are the Product of Sociality, may be more freely and regularly exercised, it was necessary that Men should agree among themselves, concerning what was to be done on this side and on that, which no Man from the Law of Nature alone could have assured himself of. So that it was beforehand to be adjusted what, this Man doing so by his Neighbour, he was to expect in lieu of the same, and which he might lawfully demand. This is done by means of Promises and Contracts.
III.Veracity. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 4. §2.With respect to this general Duty it is an Obligation of the Law of Nature, that every Man keep his Word, or fulfil his Promises and make good his Contracts. For without this, a great Part of that Advantage, which naturally accrues to Mankind by a mutual Communication of good Offices and useful Things, would be lost. And were not an exact Observance of one’s Promise absolutely necessary, no Man could propose to himself any Certainty in whatever he design’d, where he must depend upon the Assistances of others. Besides that Breach of Faith is apt to give the justest Occasions to Quarrels and Wars. For if, according to my Agreement, I perform my Part, and the other falsifie his Word, whatsoever I have done or deposited in Expectation of his Performance, is lost. Nay, though I have done nothing as yet, yet it may be a Mischief for me by this Disappointment to have my Affairs and Purposes confounded, which I could have taken care of some other way, if this Man had not offered himself. And there is no reason I should become ridiculous, only for having trusted one whom I took to be an honest and a good Man.
IV.Distinction between what is due on Courtesy or Humanity, and what in particular Contract or Promise. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 4.But it is to be observed, that such Things as are due to me only of Courtesie, differ from those which I can claim on account of a Contract or Promise, in this respect chiefly: That, ’tis true, I may fairly desire the honest Performance of the first: But then, if the other shall neglect my Request, I can only charge him with Rudeness, Cruelty or hard dealing; but I cannot compel him to do me reason either by my own Power or by any superior Authority. Which I am at liberty to do in the latter Case, if that be not freely performed which ought to have been according to an absolute Promise or Covenant.* Hence we are said to have an imperfect Right to those things, but to these our Claim is perfect; as also that to the Performance of the first we lie under an imperfect, but to the other under a perfect Obligation.
V.Obligations different. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 5.Our Word may be given, either by a single Act, where one Party only is obliged; or by an Act reciprocal, where more than one are Parties. For sometimes one Man only binds himself to do somewhat; sometimes two or more mutually engage each other to the Performance of such and such things. The former whereof is called a Promise, the latter a Covenant or Contract.
VI.Promises imperfect. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 5. §6.Promises may be divided into imperfect and perfect. The former is, when we mean indeed to be obliged to make good our Word to him to whom we promise; but we intend not to give him a Power of requiring it, or of making use of force to compel us to it. As, if I say thus, I really design to do this or that for you, and I desire you’ll believe me. Here I seem more obliged by the Rules of Veracity than of Justice; and shall rather appear to have done the promised Service out of a Regard to Constancy and Discretion, than to Right. Of this Sort are the Assurances of great Men who are in favour, whereby they seriously, but not upon their Honours, promise their Recommendation or Intercession, their Preferring a Man, or giving him their Vote, which yet they intend shall not be demanded of them as Matters of Right, but desire they may be wholly attributed to their Courtesie and Veracity; that the Service they do may be so much the more acceptable, as it was uncapable of Compulsion.
VII.Promise perfect.But this is called a perfect Promise, when I not only oblige my self by my Word, but I give the other Party Authority to require at my hands the Performance of what I stipulated, as if ’twere a Debt.
VIII.No Obligation where the voluntary Consent of Parties is wanting. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6.Moreover, that Promises and Contracts may have a full Obligation upon us to give and to do somewhat, which before we were at liberty not to have done; or to omit that which we had a Power to do, ’tis especially requisite that they be made with our free Consent. For whereas the making good of any Promise or Contract may be accompanied with some Inconvenience, there can be no readier Argument why we should not complain, than we consented thereto of our own accord, which it was in our power not to have done.
IX.Consent express or tacit. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §16.And this *Consent is usually made known by outward Signs, as, by Speaking, Writing, a Nod, or the like; tho’ sometimes it may also be plainly intimated without any of them, according to the Nature of the thing and other Circumstances. So Silence in some Cases, and attended with some Circumstances, passes for a Sign expressing Consent. To this may be attributed those tacit Contracts, where we give not our formal Consent by the Signs generally made use of among Men; but the Nature of the Business, and other Circumstances make it fairly supposable. Thus frequently in the principal Contract, which is express, another is included which is tacit, the Nature of the Case so requiring: And it is usual, in most Covenants that are made, that some tacit Exceptions and imply’d Conditions must of necessity be understood.
X.Who capable of giving Consent. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §4.But to render a Man capable of giving a valid Consent, ’tis absolutely requisite, that he have so far the Use of his Reason, as fully to understand the Business that lies before him, and to know whether it be meet for him, and whether it lie in his Power to perform it; and having consider’d this, he must be capable of giving sufficient Indications of his Consent. Hence it follows, that the Contracts and Promises of Ideots and Madmen (except such whose Madness admits of lucid Intervals) are null and void: And the same must be said of those of Drunken Men,L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §4. if they are besotted to that degree as that their Reason is overwhelm’d and stupify’d. For it can never be accounted a real and deliberate Consent, if a Man, when his Brains are disorder’d and intoxicated, shall on a sudden and rashly make foolish Engagements, and give the usual Demonstrations of Consent, which at another time would have obliged him: and it would be a Piece of Impudence for any Man to exact the Performance of such a Promise, especially if it were of any considerable weight. But if one Man shall lay hold on the Opportunity of another’s being drunk, and craftily making an advantage of his Easiness of Temper under those Circumstances, shall procure any Promise from him, this Man is to be accounted guilty of a Cheat and Knavery: Not but that, if, after the Effects of his Drink are over, he shall confirm such Promise, he shall be obliged; and this not with regard to what he said when drunk, but to his Confirmation when sober.
XI.Consent in young Persons. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §5.As for Consent in young Persons, it is impossible for the Laws Natural to determine so nicely the exact Time how long Reason will be too weak in them to render ’em capable of making Engagements; because Maturity of Discretion appears earlier in some than in others; Judgment therefore must be made hereof by the daily Actions of the Person. Though this is taken care for in most Commonwealths, by Laws prescribing a certain Term of years to all in general; and in many Places it is become a commendable Custom to set these under the Guardianship of wiser Men, whose Authority must be had to any Contracts they make, till the other’s youthful Rashness be a little abated. For Persons of this Age, however perhaps they may well enough understand what they do, yet for the most part act with too much Vehemence and Rashness; are too free and easie in their Promises, eager and over confident in their Hopes, proud of being thought generous and liberal, ambitious and hasty in contracting Friendships, and not furnished with prudent Caution and necessary Diffidence. So that he can hardly pass for an honest Man, who makes any advantage of the Easiness of this Age, and would gain by the Losses of young people, who for want of Experience could not foresee, or place a true Estimate thereon.
XII.Mistake in Contracts. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §6.Another Thing which invalidates Consent, and by consequence the Promises and Pacts that are built upon it, is Errour or Mistake; thro’ which it comes to pass, that the Understanding is cheated in its Object, and the Will in its Choice and Approbation. Concerning Error, these three Rules are deligently to be observ’d. (I.) That when to my Promise, some Condition is supposed, without the Consideration whereof I should not have made such Promise; the same shall, without the other, have no Obligation upon me. For in this Case the Promiser does not engage absolutely, but upon a Condition, which not being made good, the Promise becomes null and void. (2.) *If I am drawn into a Bargain or Contract by a Mistake, which Mistake I find, before as we use to say Bulk is broke,39 or any thing done in order to the Consummation thereof, it is but Equity that I should be at liberty to retract; especially if upon the Contract making, I plainly signify’d for what Reason I agreed to it; more particularly, if the other Party suffers no Damage by my going off from my Bargain, or, if he does, that I am ready to make Reparation. But when, as was said afore, Bulk is broke, and the Mistake is not found till the Covenant is either wholly or in part already performed, the Party who is under an Errour cannot retract, any farther than the other shall of Courtesy release to him. (3.) When a Mistake shall happen concerning the Thing, which is the Subject of the Contract, such Contract is invalid, not for the sake of the Mistake, but because the Laws and Terms of the Agreement are not really fulfilled. For in Bargains of this nature, the Thing and all its Qualifications ought to be known, without which Knowledge a fair Agreement cannot be supposed to be made. So that he who is like to suffer Wrong by any Defect therein, either may throw up his Bargain, or force the other to make the Thing as it should be, or else to pay him the Value, if it happen’d through his Knavery or Negligence.
XIII.Guileful Contracts. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §8.But if a Man be drawn into a Promise or Bargain by the Craft and fraudulent Means of another; then the Matter is thus to be considered. (1.) If a third Man were guilty of the Cheat, and the Party with whom the Bargain is driven was not concerned in it, the Agreement will be valid: But we may demand of him who practis’d the Knavery, so much as we are Losers by being deceiv’d. (2.) He who knavishly procures me to promise or contract with him, shall not set me under any Obligation. (3.) If a Man will indeed come freely with a plain* Design to drive a Bargain, but in the very Action shall perceive a Trick put upon him; suppose in the Thing bargain’d for, its Qualities or Value; the Contract shall be so far naught, as to leave it in the Power of him who is deceiv’d, either to relinquish his Bargain, or to require Satisfaction for his Loss. (4.) If unfair Dealing chance to be us’d in some things not essential to the Business, and which were not expressly under regard, this weakens not the Agreement, if, for the rest, it be regularly made; tho’ perhaps one Party might have a Secret and sly Respect to some such thing, at the very time of driving the Bargain, and cunningly conceal’d such his View till the Contract were perfectly transacted.
XIV.Contracts suspicious. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §9.Whensoever Fear is to be consider’d in Promises or Bargains, it is two-fold, and may either be call’d a probable Suspicion lest we should be deceiv’d by another, and this because he is one who is very much addicted to unjust Practices, or has sufficiently intimated his fraudulent Design; or else a panic Terror of the Mind, arising from some grievous Mischief threatned, except we make such a Promise or Contract. Concerning the first Sort of Fear, (or Mistrust rather) these Things are to be observ’d. (1.) He who trusts the Engagements of one who is notoriously negligent of his Word and Troth, acts very imprudently; but, for that Reason only can have no Remedy, but shall be obliged. (2.) When a Bargain is fully made and compleated, and a Man hath no new Reasons to apprehend any knavish Designs from the other Party, it shall not be sufficient to invalidate the Agreement that the other was, on other Occasions before this Agreement, known to have been trickish and deceitful. For since our Knowledge of such his former Behaviour did not prevent our making the Agreement with him, it ought not to prevent our making it good to him. (3.) Where after the Bargain made, it appears plainly that the other Person intends to elude his Part of the Contract, as soon as I have perform’d mine; here I cannot be forced to comply first, till I am secure of a Performance on the other side.
XV.Contracts thro’ Fear. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 7. §11.As for the other Sort of Fear, these Rules are to be observ’d. (1.) If a Man has taken an Obligation upon him, thro’ Fear of Mischief threatned by a third Person, neither at the Instigation, nor with the Confederacy of the Party to whom the Engagement was made, he stands firmly bound to perform what he promis’d. For there appears no Fault in him to whom the Promise was made, which can render him uncapable of acquiring a Right to the Performance of it; on the contrary, he may justly challenge a Requital, in that he lent his Assistance to the other, in warding off the Danger he apprehended from the third Person. (2.) All such Covenants that are made out of Fear or Reverence of our lawful Superiours, or by the Awe we have for those to whom we are very much beholden, shall be firm and good. (3.) Those Bargains which are wrongfully and forcibly extorted from a Man by the Person to whom the Promise or Agreement is made, are invalid, For the Violence he unjustly uses to set me under that Fear, renders him uncapable of pretending to any Right against me on account of such Action of mine. And whereas in all other Cases, every Man is bound to Reparation of what Wrong he shall do to another: this * Restitution to which he is bound is understood as it were to take off any Obligation from such Promise, since if what was promised were paid, it ought to be immediately restored.
XVI.Consent mutual. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 6. §15.Moreover not only in Contracts, but in Promises the Consent ought to be reciprocal; that is, both the Promiser and he to whom the Promise is made must agree in the Thing. For if the latter shall not consent, or refuse to accept of what is offered, the thing promised remains still in the Power of the Promiser. For he that makes an offer of any thing, cannot be supposed to intend to force it upon one that is unwilling to receive it, nor yet to quit his own Title to it; therefore when the other denies Acceptance, he who proffered it loses nothing of his Claim thereto. If the Promise was occasion’d by a Request before made, the same shall be accounted to oblige so long, as till such Request be expressly revok’d; for in that case the thing will be understood to be accepted beforehand; provided yet that what is offer’d be proportion’d to what was desired. For if it be not, then an express Acceptance is requisite; because it may often do me no good to answer my Request by halves.
XVII.Impossible Engagements. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 7.As for the Matter of our Promises and Contracts, it is absolutely necessary, that what we promise, or make a Bargain for, be in our Power to make good, and that so to do be not prohibited by any Law; otherwise we engage our selves either foolishly or wickedly. Hence it follows that no Man is obliged to do Things impossible. But if it be a Thing which at the time of the Bargain making was possible, and yet afterwards by some Accident, without any Fault of the Contracter, became altogether impossible, the Contract shall be null, if there be nothing as yet done in it; but if one Party have perform’d somewhat towards it, what he has advanced is to be restor’d to him, or an Equivalent given; and if this cannot be done, by all means it is to be endeavour’d that he suffer no loss thereby. For in Contracts that is principally to be regarded which was expressly in the Bargain; if this cannot be obtain’d, it must suffice to give an Equivalent; but if neither can this be had, at least the utmost Care is to be taken that the Party undergo no Damage. But where any Man shall designedly, or by some very blameable Miscarriage, render himself uncapable of making good his Part of the Bargain, he is not only obliged to use his utmost Endeavour, but ought also to be punish’d, as it were, to make up the amends.
XVIII.Unlawful Engagements. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 7. §6, 7.It is also manifest, that we cannot set our selves under any Obligation to perform what is unlawful. For no Man can engage himself farther than he hath lawful Authority so to do. But that Legislator who prohibits any Action by a Law takes away all legal Power of undertaking it, and disables any Man from obliging himself to perform it. For it would imply a Contradiction, to suppose, that from a Duty enjoyn’d by the Laws should arise an Obligation to do that which the same Laws forbid to be done. So that he transgresses who promises to do what is unlawful, but he is doubly a Transgressor who performs it. Hence also it follows, that neither are those Promises to be kept, the Observation of which will be mischievous to him to whom they are made; because it is forbidden by the Law-Natural to do hurt to any Man, even though he do foolishly desire it. And if a Contract be made to do some filthy and base Thing, neither shall be obliged to fulfil it. If such filthy Thing be done by one Party pursuant to the Bargain, the other shall not be bound to give the Reward agreed for; * but if any thing be already given on that account, it cannot be demanded again.
XIX.Engagements concerning other men, L. N. N. l. 3. c. 7. §10.And then, it is plain, that such Engagements and Bargains as we shall make of what belongs to other Men are altogether insignificant, so far as they are not ours, but subject to the Will and Direction of others. But if I promise thus; I will use my Endeavour that such a Man (always supposing him to be one not absolutely under my Command) shall do so or no: Then I am obliged by all methods morally possible, (that is, so far as the other can fairly request of me, and as will consist with Civility) to take pains to move that Person to perform what is desired. Nay we cannot promise to a third Man Things in our own possession, or Actions to be done by our selves, to which another has acquir’d a Right, unless it be so order’d, as not to be in force till the time of that other’s Claim is expir’d. For he who by antecedent Pacts or Promises has already transferr’d his Right to another, has no more such Right left to pass over to a third Person: And all manner of Engagements and Bargains would be easily eluded, if a Man after having contracted with one, might be at liberty to enter a Treaty with another, wherein Disposals should be made contrary to the first Agreement, and with which it is impossible this should consist. Which gives foundation to that known Rule, First in Time, prior in Right.
XX.Conditions various L. N. N. l. 3. c. 8. §1.Beside all which it is to be chiefly observ’d concerning Promises, that they are wont to be made positively and absolutely; or conditionally, that is, when the Validity thereof lies upon some Event depending on Chance or the Will of Man.
Now Conditions are either possible or impossible; and the former are subdivided into Casual or fortuitous, which we cannot cause to be or not to be; or Arbitrary, or such as are in the Power of him to whom the Promise is made, that they are or are not comply’d with; or else Mixt, the fulfilling of which depends partly on the Will of the Person receiving the Promise, and partly on Chance.
Impossible Conditions are either such as are naturally or morally so, that is, some Matters by the Nature of Things cannot be done; others by the Direction of the Laws ought not to be done. Such Conditions then as these being annex’d, do, according to the plain and simple Construction of the Words, render the Promise Negative, and therefore null; tho’ it is true it may be so provided by Law, that if to Affairs of great Concernment any such impossible Conditions should be annex’d the Agreement may remain good, rejecting these Conditions as if they had never been made; that so Men may not have busied themselves about that which otherwise can signifie nothing.
XXI.Mediatory Contracts. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 9 §1.Lastly, we promise and contract, not only in our own Persons, but oftentimes by the Mediation of other Men, whom we constitute the Bearers and Interpreters of our Intentions; by whose Negociations, if they deal faithfully by us in following the Instructions we gave, we are firmly obliged to those Persons who transacted with them as our Deputies.
XXII.Conclusion.And thus we have done with the Absolute Duties of Man, by which, as it were, we naturally pass to the Conditional Duties of Men. And these do all presuppose some Human Institution, founded upon an Universal Agreement, and so introduced into the World, or else some peculiar State or Condition. And of this Sort of Institutions, there are three chiefly to be insisted on, to wit, Speech or Discourse, Property and the Value of Things, and the Government of Mankind. Of each of these, and of the Duties arising therefrom we shall next discourse.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duty of Men in Discourse
I.General Rule. To deceive no one by any means established to express our Thoughts.How useful and altogether necessary an Instrument of Human Society Discourse 40 is, there is no Man can be ignorant; since many have made that only an Argument to prove Man to be by Nature design’d for a Social Life. Now that a lawful and beneficial Use may be made hereof for the Good of the same Human Society, the Law of Nature has given Men this for a Duty, That no Man deceive another either by Discourse, or any other Signs which customarily are accepted to express our inward Meaning.
II.Uniform Signification of Words. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 1.But that the Nature of Discourse may be more throughly understood, it must first be known, that there is a two-fold Obligation respecting Discourse, whether exprest with the Voice, or written in Characters. The first is, that those who make use of the same Language, are obliged to apply such certain Words to such certain Things, according as Custom has made them to signify in each Language. For since neither any Words nor any particular Strokes form’d into Letters can naturally denote any certain Thing (otherwise all Languages and Characters for writing would be the same; and hence the Use of the Tongue would be to no purpose if every Man might call every Thing by what Name he pleas’d;) it is absolutely necessary among those who speak the same Language, that there be a tacit Agreement among them, that this certain Thing shall be so, or so call’d, and not otherwise. So that unless an uniform Application of Words be agreed upon, ’twill be impossible for one Man to gather the Meaning of another from his Talk. By virtue then of this tacit Compact, every Man is bound in his common Discourse to apply his Words to that Sense, which agrees with the receiv’d Signification thereof in that Language: From whence also it follows, that albeit a Man’s Sentiments may differ from what he expresses in Words, yet in the Affairs of Human Life he must be look’d upon as intending what he says, tho’, as was said, perhaps his inward Meaning be the clear contrary. For since we cannot be inform’d of another’s Mind otherwise than by outward Signs, all Use of Discourse would be to no purpose, if by mental Reservations, which any Man may form as he lists, it might be in his power to elude what he had declar’d by Signs usually accepted to that end.
III.Discourse to be plain. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 1. §6.The other Obligation which concerns Discourse, consists in this, that every Man ought by his Words so to express to another his Meaning, that he may be plainly understood. Not but that it is in a Man’s power to be silent, as well as to speak; and whereas no Man is bound to tell every one all that he bears in his Mind; it is necessary that there be some peculiar Obligation that shall engage him first to speak, and then so to speak as that another shall fully understand his Meaning. Such Obligation may arise from a particular Compact, or some common Precept of the Law Natural, or from the Nature of the present Affair, in which Speech is made use of: For oftentimes a Bargain is made expressly with a Man, that he shall disclose to me all that he knows in some Matter; as suppose I desired to be instructed in any Science: Frequently also I may be commanded by some Precept of the Law of Nature to communicate my Skill to another, that by this Means I may be helpful to him, or that I may save him from Mischief, or that I may not give him some Cause or Occasion of receiving a Harm: And lastly, the present Case may require me to declare my Opinion in a Matter wherein another is concerned; as it often happens in Contracts of the greatest Importance.
IV.Silence. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 1. §7.But because it cannot always happen, that upon any of these Heads I am obliged to signify my Thoughts upon any Matter, it is plain that I am not bound to disclose in Words any more than another has a Right either perfect or imperfect to require. So that I may, by holding my Tongue, lawfully conceal what he has no just Claim to the Knowledge of, or to the Discovery whereof I lie under no Obligation, however earnestly it be desir’d.
V.Counterfeit Discourse.Nay, since Speech was not only ordain’d for the Use of others, but our own Benefit also; therefore whensoever my private Interest is concern’d, and it occasions Damage to no Body else, I may so order my Words, that they may communicate a Sense different from that which I bear in my Mind.
VI.Figurative Speech.Lastly, because oftentimes those to whom we talk upon some Matters may be so disposed, that from a downright and plain Discourse they would perceive the true State of the Case, which ought rather to be conceal’d, because a full Knowledge would not procure the good End we drive at, but be a Detriment to ’em; we may in such Cases use a figurative or shadow’d way of Speech, which shall not directly represent our Meaning and plain Sense to the Hearers. For he who would and ought to benefit another, cannot be bound to attempt it after such a manner, as shall incapacitate him from obtaining his End.
VII.Verity. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 1. §8.From what has been said may be gather’d wherein that Verity consists, for their Regard to which good Men are so much celebrated; to wit, that our Words do fitly represent our Meaning to any other Person who ought to understand ’em, and which it is our Duty to express plainly to him, either by a perfect or imperfect Obligation; and this to the end either that he upon knowing our Minds may make to himself some Benefit thereby, or that he may avoid some undeserv’d Evil, which he would incur upon a wrong Understanding of the Case. Hence by the Bye it is manifest, that it is not always to be accounted Lying, when even for the nonce a Tale is told concerning any Thing in such a manner as does not exactly quadrate with the Thing it self, nor with our own Opinion of it; and consequently, that the Congruity of Words with Things, which constitutes the Logical Verity, is not in all Points the same with Moral Truth.
VIII.A Lye.On the contrary that is rightly call’d a Lye, when our Words bear a different Signification from that which we think in our Minds, whereas the Person to whom we direct our Discourse has a Right to understand the Thing as it really is, and we are under an Obligation of making our Meaning plain to him.
IX.Innocent Untruths. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 1. §11.From what is said it appears, * that those are by no Means chargeable with Lying, who entertain Children or the like with Fables and fictitious Discourses for their better Information, they being suppos’d uncapable of the naked Truth. As neither are those who make Use of a feign’d Story to some good End, which could not be attain’d by speaking the plain Truth; suppose, to protect an Innocent, to appease an angry Man, to comfort one who is in Sorrow, to encourage the Fearful, to persuade a nauseating Patient to take his Physick, to soften the Obstinate, or to divert the evil Intention of another, and the like; or, if the Secrets and Resolutions of a Community41 are to be kept from publick Knowledge, we may raise false Rumours in order to conceal ’em, and to mislead the importunate Curiosity of others; or, if we have an Enemy, whom by open Force we cannot Annoy, we may, by way of Stratagem, make Use of any lying Tales to do him Mischief.
X.Equivocation and mental Reservation. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 1. §14.On the other side, if any Man be bound in Duty to signifie plainly his true Meaning to another, he is not without Blame, if he discover only a part of the Truth, or amuse him with ambiguous Discourse, or use some mental Reservation not allow’d in the common Conversation of Men.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duty of those which take an Oath
I.An Oath. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2.All Men agree in the Opinion, That an Oath gives a great additional Confirmation to all our Assertions, and to those Actions which depend upon our Discourse. An Oath is, *A Religious Asseveration, by which we disavow the Divine Clemency, or imprecate to our selves the Wrath of God if we speak not the Truth. Now when an All-wise and an Almighty Witness and Guaranty is invok’d, it causes a strong Presumption of the Truth, because no Man can easily be thought so Wicked, as to dare rashly to call down upon himself the grievous Indignation of the Deity. Hence it is the Duty of those that take an Oath, To take the same with awful Reverence, and religiously to observe what they have sworn.
II.The End and Use.Now the End and Use of an Oath is chiefly this, To oblige Men the more firmly to speak the Truth, or to make good their Promises and Contracts out of an Awe of the Divine Being, who is infinitely Wise and Powerful; whose Vengeance they imprecate to themselves when they Swear, if they wittingly are guilty of Deceit; whereas otherwise the Fear of what Men can do may not be sufficient; because possibly they may have Hope to oppose or escape their Power, or to beguile their Understandings.
III.Swearing by what. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §3.Since GOD alone is of infinite Knowledge and of infinite Power, it is a manifest Absurdity to swear by any other Name but the Name of GOD only; that is, in such a Sense, as to invoke it for a Witness to our Speech, and for an Avenger of our Perjury: But if in the Form of Oaths any other Things, that we hold Dear, or have in Veneration or Esteem, be mention’d, it is not to be understood that such Things are invok’d as Witnesses to our Truth or Avengers of our Falsehood; but GOD only is herein invok’d, with a Desire, that if we swear falsely, he would be pleas’d to punish our Crime, in these Things especially for which we are most nearly and tenderly concern’d.
IV.Forms how to be accommodated. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §4.In Oaths the Form which is prescrib’d, (by which the Person swearing invokes GOD as a Witness and an Avenger) is to be accommodated to the Religion of the said Swearer; that is, to that Persuasion and Opinion of GOD which he is of. For ’tis to no Purpose to make a Man swear by a God, whom he does not believe, and consequently does not fear. But no Man supposes himself to take an Oath in any other Form, nor under any other Notion, than that which is consonant to the Precepts of his Religion, which, in his Opinion, is the true. Hence also it is, that he who swears by false Gods, which yet himself takes to be true ones, stands obliged, and if he falsifies is really guilty of Perjury; because whatever his peculiar Notions were, he certainly had some Sense of the Deity before his Eyes; and therefore by wilfully forswearing himself he violated, as far as he was able, that Awe and Reverence which he ow’d to Almighty GOD.
V.Deliberation necessary. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §5.That an Oath may be binding, ’tis necessary it be taken with deliberate Thoughts, and a real Design: Whence he shall not be obliged by an Oath who meerly recites it; or speaking in the first Person, dictates the concept formal Words thereof to another who is to say after him. But he who shall seriously behave himself as one that is about to swear solemnly, shall be obliged, whatsoever mental Reservations he all the while may harbour in his Mind. For otherwise all Oaths, nay, all Methods of mutual Obligation by the Intervention of the plainest Significations would be of no Use to human Life, if any Man by his tacit Intention could hinder such an Act from obtaining such an Effect as it was first instituted to produce.
VI.Oaths how obliging. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §6.We ought likewise carefully to observe, that Oaths do not of themselves produce a new and peculiar Obligation, but are only apply’d as an Accessional Strength, and an additional Bond to an Obligation, in its nature valid before. For whenever we swear, we always suppose some Matter, upon non-performance of which we thus imprecate the Vengeance of Heaven. But now this would be to no purpose, unless the Omission of the Thing suppos’d had been before unlawful, and consequently, unless we had before been obliged. Tho’ indeed it frequently happens, that we comprehend in one Speech, both the principal Obligation and the additional Bond of the Oath; as thus, As God help me, I’ll give you a hundred Pounds. Where the Oath is not superfluous, albeit ’tis added to a Promise that might have been valid of it self. Because tho’ every good Man believes a bare Promise to oblige, yet ’tis look’d upon to be the more firm when ’tis reinforced with an Imprecation of Vengeance from above upon a Failure. Hence it follows, that any Acts which were before attended with some inward Flaw, hindring any Obligation to arise from them, cannot be made obligatory by the Accession of an Oath; as neither can a subsequent Oath avoid a former legitimate Engagement, or annul that Right which another may claim thereby; thus a Man would swear in vain not to pay another Person what is justly due to him: Nor will an Oath be of any Validity, where it appears, that ’twas made by the Juror upon Supposition of a Thing to be done which was not really so; and that he would not have so sworn, had not he believ’d it to be done; especially if he were cajol’d into such his Error by the Craft of him to whom the Oath was made: * Neither shall he, who by setting me under panick Fear forces me to take an Oath, have any good Title to require my Performance. Farthermore, an Oath shall have no Obligation upon me to do any unlawful Act, or to omit the performing any Duty enjoyn’d by the Laws of God or Man. Lastly, an Oath cannot alter the Nature or Substance of the Contract or Promise to which it is annex’d: Hence it cannot oblige to Impossibilities. Again, a Conditional Promise, by the Addition of an Oath, is not changed into a Positive and Absolute Promise: In like manner, it is no less requisite to Promises confirm’d by Oaths, than to others which are not so confirm’d, that they be accepted by the other Party: So that he who obtains a Right by any Covenant, may equally release the Performance of it, whether it was sworn to or= not.
VII.Punishment. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §12.But the taking of an Oath has this Effect among Men, for the sake of that Invocation of God which is therein made use of, whose Wisdom no Man’s Cunning can elude, and who suffers not the Man that mocks Him to escape unpunish’d; that not only a heavier Punishment is assign’d to him who forswears himself, than to him who barely breaks his Word; but it puts them in mind to avoid all Deceit and Prevarication in the Matters which it is added to confirm.
VIII.Strict Interpretation. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §14.Not yet that all Oaths are to be consider’d in their greatest Latitude, but that sometimes they must be interpreted in the narrowest Sense, if so it be, that the Subject-matter seem to require it: For instance; if the Oath be made to promote some malicious Design against another, to execute something threatned, and not to perform somewhat promis’d. Neither does an Oath exclude tacit Conditions and Limitations, provided they are such as plainly result from the Nature of the Thing; as suppose, I have sworn to give another whatsoever he shall request, if he ask what it is wicked or absurd for me to grant, I am not at all obliged. For he who indefinitely promises any Thing to him that desires, before he knows what he is like to ask, presupposes the other will crave nothing but what is honest, and morally possible, not Things absurd or mischievous to himself or any Body else.
IX.Sense of an Oath. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 2. §15.This is also to be noted, that in Oaths the Sense of all the Words thereof is to be such as he shall acknowledge himself to take them in, who accepts the Oath, that is, to whom the other Party swears. For the Oath is to be look’d upon to be made for his sake, and not for the sake of the Juror. Whence it is his Part to dictate the Form of the Oath, and this to do in Words as plain as is possible, so that himself may signify in what Sense he conceives them; and the Person swearing may profess that he well understands his Meaning, and then those Words are distinctly to be express’d, that so no room may be left for Cavils or Shuffling.
X.Oaths divided.Oaths may most fitly be distinguish’d according to the Use they are apply’d to in Human Life. * Some are annex’d to Promises and Contracts, thereby to procure a strict and religious Observance of the same; others are apply’d to the Confirmation of any Man’s Assertion concerning a Matter of Fact not altogether evident, and where the Truth cannot by other Means be more conveniently search’d out; such are the Oaths administred to Witnesses, and those who are privy to another Man’s doings; sometimes also two Adversaries, or Litigants, may, with the Consent of the Judge, or the Concession of one Party, by taking such or such an Oath put an end to their Law-Suit.[Back to Table of Contents]
Duties to be observ’d in acquiring Possession of Things
I.Other Creatures useful to Man.Whereas such is the Condition of Man’s Body, that it cannot be supported and preserved from that which would destroy its Fabric, without the Assistance of Things without him; and whereas by making Use ofL. N. N. l. 4. c. 3. §2.other Creatures42 his Life may be render’d much more comfortable and easie; we may safely gather, that it is the Will of the supreme Moderator of the World, that he be allow’d to apply such other Creatures to his Service, and that he may even destroy many of them for his Occasions. * Neither doth this hold, as to Vegetables only, which have no Sense of the Loss of their Beings; but it reaches even the innocent Animals, which though they die with Pain, yet are kill’d and devour’d by Men for their Sustenance without Sin.
II.Possession introduced.Farther, all these outward Things are understood to have been left in the Beginning by God indifferent to the claim of all Men; that is, so that none of them were the Property of this Man rather than that. Not but that Men were at liberty to dispose Things so, as should seem requisite to the Condition of Mankind, and the Conservation of Peace, Tranquillity and good Order in the World. Hence it was, that at first, while the Human Race was but of a small Number,L. N. N. l. 4. c. 4. §5.† it was agreed, That whatever any one did first seize should be his, and not be taken from him by another; provided however, that he only possesses himself out of the common Store of what is sufficient for his private Service, but not so as to destroy the whole Fund, and so prevent a Stock for future Uses. But afterward, when Mankind was multiply’d, and they began to bestow Culture and Labour upon those Things which afforded them Food and Raiment; for the prevention of Quarrels; and for the sake of good Order, those Bodies or Things also, which produced such Necessaries, were divided among particular Men, and every one had his proper Share assign’d him, with this general Agreement, That whatsoever in this first Division of Things, was yet left unpossest, should for the future be the Property of the first Occupant.* And thus, God so willing, with the previous Consent, or at least by a tacit Compact of Man, Property, or the Right to Things, was introduced into the World.
III.Property what. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 4. §2.Now from Property flows a Right, whereby the Substance, as it were, of any Thing so belongs to One, that it cannot after the same manner wholly belong to Another. From whence it follows, that we may at our own Pleasure dispose of those Things which are our Property, and hinder all other People from the Use of them; unless by Agreement they have procur’d from us some special Right. Although in Communities it does not always happen that Properties are kept so unmix’d and absolute, but are sometimes circumscrib’d and limited by the Municipal Laws thereof, or by Orders and Agreements of Men among themselves.43 But when any certain Thing belongs jointly to more Persons than one after the same manner, then it is said to be common to those several Persons.
IV.All things not possessed.But as Things did not all at once become the Possessions of Men, but successively, and according as the State of Mankind seem’d to require; so it was not necessary neither that every Thing in the World should be claim’d by one Man or other,L. N. N. l. 4. c. 5. §2. but, the Peace of Mankind being preserv’d, some Things may, and some Things ought to continue, as at the Beginning, common to all. For there are Things which are, indeed, very advantagious to Man, but then since they are inexhaustible, so that every Man may have the Benefit of ’em, and yet no single Person can have the less Use of them, it would be foolish, and to no purpose, for any one to enclose or lay claim to ’em. Such are the Light of the Sun, the Air, the running Water, and the like: Among which also may be accounted the vast Ocean flowing between great Continents, for so much of it as is very far distant from the Shore. Because ’tis not only more than sufficient for the promiscuous Use of all Men, but ’tis morally impossible for any single Nation to guard it. * For where a Thing is of that Nature, that other Men cannot by any Means be hinder’d from the Use of it, it is not only in vain to divide or lay claim to it, but it is apt to give Occasion for insignificant Quarrels.
V.Property twofold. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 6.The Methods of acquiring Property are either Original or Derivative: The Original Ways of obtaining Property, are those by which the Property of Things was first introduced: The Derivative Ways are those, by which a Property already settled passeth from one Man to another. Again, the Original Way of acquiring Property is twofold; either, first, simple and absolute; as when we obtain Dominion and Property over the Body or Substance of the Thing: Or, secondly, primitive and respective; as when we add to a Thing already our own some farther Improvement and Increase.
VI.Premier SeisinAfter it had been covenanted among Mankind that Things should be appropriated to this or that Man, it was also agreed, That what Things soever had not fallen within that first Division, should thereafter become the Property of the first Occupant, that is, of him, * who before any other,L. N. N. l. 4. c. 6. §3, 4. should actually seize it with a Design of possessing the same. So that even at this time the Original Method of acquiring Property in many Things is only Premier Seisin, or the first Occupancy. After this manner Titles are made to desolate Regions, which no Man ever claim’d, which become his who first enters upon ’em with an Intention of making them his own, provided he cultivate them and assign Limits how far he propounds to occupy. But when any Number of Men jointly possess themselves of any Tract of Land, ’tis customary to assign to each Member of the Company a Share, and to account what is left undivided to belong to the Society in common.† By this first Occupancy also are gain’d all the wild Beasts, Birds, and Fishes living in the Sea, Rivers, or Lakes thereunto appertaining; as well as what by the Sea shall be thrown upon the Shore; except particular Laws inhibit the promiscuous Seizure of the same, or assign them to some certain Claimant. These, if we would make our own, we must actually seize ’em, and take ’em into our Possession. By this Occupancy also we may rightfully acquire Possession of Things whereof the Property which any other Person could have is extinct. As for instance, in Things which are cast away with Intention of the Owner not to have ’em any more, or in Things which at first we lost unwillingly, but in Time relinquish’d and forewent. ‡ To which may be added what the Lawyers call Treasure trove, or Money found, the Owner whereof is not known, which goes to the Finder, except by the special Laws of a Country it be otherwise provided.
VII.Accessional Improvements. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 7.Moreover, there are many Things capable of being possess’d which continue not always in the same State, but soon after several manners increase of themselves or inlarge their Substance; to others some external Additions are made; many bring forth Fruit, and not a few by Man’s Labour and Workmanship admit of Improvement. All these are comprised under the Head of Accessional Advantages, and may be divided into two Sorts; for some without the Help of a Man accrue from Nature alone; while others either wholly or in part are to be attributed to Human Industry.* Concerning both which this is to be the Rule, To him who is the Owner of the Thing, to the same belong the Improvements and Accessional Advantages; and he who has form’d any Matter of his own into such or such a Fashion, is Owner of that Form or Fashion.
VIII.Services.But Cases often happen, where, either by Contract, or some different Way, another Man may get a Right to receive a certain Profit out of Things that are ours, or to prohibit us the Using even of what is our own to every Purpose.L. N. N. l. 4. c. 8. These Rights are wont to be call’d Services, and they are of two Sorts, either Personal, where the Advantage from what belongs to another Man comes to the Person immediately; or Real, where such Benefit is receiv’d from that which is another’s by the Means or Mediation of that which is ours; among which are accounted the Right of receiving Profits, of making use of what is another’s, of living in such a Place, of commanding the Work of Servants. The Real Services are again subdivided into such as regard the City or the Country; the first Sort are the supporting my Neighbour’s House or Wall which cannot but bear upon mine, affording the Benefits of Lights, not stopping them up, allowing Prospects, carrying off the Rain-Water, and the like: The latter are Liberty of Passage for Men or Cattle, Leave to derive or draw Water, or to water Cattle, or to graze ’em for a time, &c. All which Services have been introduced for the Preservation of good Neighbourhood.
IX.Derivative Property. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 9.Among the derivative Methods of acquiring Property, some are when by the Disposal of the Law Things are devolv’d from one upon another; others are when Possession is transferr’d by the former Owner; and this sometimes affecting the same in whole, and sometimes in part.
X.Inheritance to those who die intestate. L. N. N. l. 4 c. 11.The * Whole of an Estate by the Death of the former Owner generally passes by Succession to the next Heir of the Intestate. For it being repugnant to the common Inclinations of Men, and altogether disserviceable to the Peace of Mankind, that such Possessions should be accounted as foregone and relinquish’d, and as left to be a Prey to any who shall seize ’em, which such Owner had, while he liv’d, taken so much Care and Pains to get: Hence, by the Dictates of Reason it has obtain’d among all civiliz’d Nations, that if any Man dies, not having dispos’d of what he had, the same shall devolve to those, whom, according to the general Inclination of Mankind, he must be thought to have holden most dear to him. And these, regularly consider’d, are those who descend from us, as our Children, &c. after them those who are of the same Consanguinity, according as they are nearly ally’d. And tho’ there may be many, who either for having receiv’d Benefits, or from some particular Affection, have a greater Respect for Persons not at all by Blood related to them, than for the nearest Kin; yet for Peace sake it is necessary, without taking Notice of the peculiar Case of some Few, rather to follow the universal Propensity of Man, and to observe that Method of Succession which is most plain, and least obnoxious to Controversies; which would be very apt to arise, if the Benefactors and Friends of the deceased might be admitted to contest Succession with the next of Kin. So that if a Man has a mind to prefer those to whom he stands obliged by Kindnesses, or such as he has on any other account a Love for, he is to make such Disposals openly and expressly.
XI.Children Heirs. l. 4. c. 11. §3.Whence it follows, that the next Heirs to any Man are his Children, which are given by Nature to Parents to be carefully bred and educated, and for whom every Parent is supposed to wish a most plentiful Provision, and to design to leave whatsoever he shall die possess’d of. But by Children are chiefly understood such as are born in lawful Matrimony: For to these much Favour is due from Reason itself, from the Honour and Decency of the married Life, and from the Laws of all civiliz’d Countries, above the Illegitimate. All which Considerations obtain yet with these Exceptions, to wit, unless the Father has sufficient Reason not to acknowledge such a one for his Son, or disinherits him for some heinous Wickedness. In the same Case with Children are also to be consider’d Progeny of lower Degrees, as Grand-children, whom the Grand-father is bound to bring up, and who have Right to share his Inheritance together with the Uncles on both sides; and this, because there can be no Reason, that the Misery of losing their deceased Parent should be aggravated by being excluded from their Proportion of Inheritance in the Estate of their Grand-father. Upon failure of Heirs descendant, ’tis reasonable the Goods of Children revolve to their Parents; and that to those who are Fatherless, Motherless, and Childless their Brethren should succeed; and upon Default of these, the next of Kin to the deceas’d ought to inherit. Tho’ in order to prevent Contentions, to which on this score great Occasions are frequently given, and that this Matter may be settled for the publick Good, in most Communities the Order of Succession is found to be accurately stated; and such Directions of the Government it is most safe for every private Man to follow in this case, unless very weighty Causes force him to the contrary.
XII.Of Prescription.44 L. N. N. l. 4. c. 12.Another derivative Method of acquiring Property justifiable by Law, was by the *Romans call’d Usucaptio, by the Modern’s Prescription; by which he who by honest Means and a just Title hath gotten Possession of what was really another’s, and hath also held it for a considerable time, without being disturb’d or oppos’d, obtains the full Property of the Thing thus possess’d, so as to extinguish all the Right and legal Claim of the former Owner.
The Reasons on which this Right of Prescription is grounded, are, First, The former Proprietor having for so long time neglected claiming what was his, is judged voluntarily to have relinquish’d all Right and Title to it; it being reasonable to believe, that in a sufficient Space of time he could not want Opportunities, had he had Inclinations to put in his Claim: Secondly, The Preservation of the Peace of Society demands, that he who by honest Methods comes to the Possession of what he has, should not be perpetually liable to have taken from him, what became his Purchase by a fair and honest Title; especially it being much more grievous to the present Possessor to be turn’d out of a Possession honestly acquir’d, than to the former Owner not to be put into Possession of what he had long since lost the Hopes and Expectations of. The Rules of Natural Equity are sufficient to determine what time shall suffice to create Prescription in particular Cases: However, it is much better, for the Prevention of Strife and Controversies, that certain limited times, according to Reason and Convenience, should be stated and mark’d out by all Communities, whereby it may be determined what shall make a good Prescription.
XIII.Last Will. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 10.The Whole also of an Estate may, by an Act of the former Proprietor, upon his Death be pass’d away by his †Last Will and Testament; for this has been allow’d by most Nations, that for some kind of Ease to our Thoughts of Mortality, a Man yet alive may, if Death happen, transfer what he has of outward Goods to some Person that he loves best. Now whereas in the most ancient Times it seems to have been customary, that the dying Man upon the Approach of his End openly declar’d his Heirs, and with his own Hands deliver’d such or such Portions into the Hands of them who were to receive; yet afterwards, for good Reasons, another manner of Bequeathing was approved by many People; to wit, that a Man may at any time, when himself thinks good, make his own Will, and either declare it openly, or keep it close in Writing; which Will also he may at his Pleasure alter, and of which the Heirs he has named or written down cannot make any Use till the Testator be dead. Not but that such Last Wills, of how much Authority soever they are among Men, yet are to be order’d with Consideration of the Party’s various Relations to Men, and of the Good of the Community; the Neglect whereof has given Occasion for the Laws oftentimes to provide and give Rules for making them; from which prescribed Directions, if any Man depart, he has no Reason to complain, that Regard was not had to his Last Will.
XIV.Gift.While Men are yet living, Things are transferr’d by the Act of the first Proprietor, either Gratis or Freely; or else by the Mediation of some Contract. The former Way of Transferring is call’d Gift: And of the latter, which is Contracting, we shall speak hereafter.
XV.Forcible Possession.Sometimes also Things change their Owner without the Consent, and even against the Will of the same Owner; and this is mostly in Communities, by way of Fine, when sometimes all the Estate of a Convict, sometimes such a Portion only shall be forfeited, and the same shall be given either to a private Person who has suffer’d Wrong, or applied to the Uses of the Publick.L. N. N. l. 4. c. 6. §14 l. 2. c. 16. §13. So in War Goods are forcibly taken from the Possessor, who parts with them very unwillingly, by an Enemy who is too strong for him, and become the true Property of the Seizer; not but that the first Owner has still a Right with a greater Force, whenever he can, to recover them, so long as till by subsequent Treaties of Peace he does in effect renounce his Pretences thereto.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duties which naturally result from Man’s Property in Things
I.We must conscientiously abstain from invading our Neighbours Property. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13.Property in Things being established among Men, these Duties naturally arise. * EveryMan is obliged to suffer another, who is not a declared Enemy, quietly to enjoy whatsoever Things are his; and neither by Fraud or Violence to spoil, imbezzel, or convert them to his own Use. Whence it appears, That Theft, Rapine, removing of Boundaries, and the like Crimes, which tend to the Invading and Incroaching upon other Mens Properties, are forbidden.
II.Restitution to be made if we possess what belongs to another. L. N. N. l. 4. c 13. §2.When any Thing, that belongs to another, falls into our Hands, although it be fairly on our Part, that is, without Trick or Fraud of ours; yet if it belongs to another Person, and we have Possession of it, we are obliged to take care, as far as in us lies, to return it to its right Owner. By this is not to be understood, That when we have procur’d any Thing to our selves by fair and honest Means, and enjoy it by a rightful Title, we are to make groundless Doubts and Scruples about the Validity of our Right, and make Proclamation, as it were, That we are in Possession of such a Thing; that, if possibly it should belong to another Person, the Proprietor might come and demand it. It is enough that, if we come to the Knowledge that what we possess is another Person’s, we then give notice to the Proprietor, that it is in our Possession, and that we are ready to deliver it up to the right Owner. And in this Case, we are not bound to restore it, unless we are repay’d the necessary Charges we have been at in procuring, or preserving it; which we may justly demand to be reimbursed, or stop the Thing ’till Satisfaction be made. And the Duty of Restitution of which we are speaking, is so indispensably necessary, that it sets aside all private Ingagements or Contracts to the contrary, and takes away all Right that may seem to arise from any such private Obligations: As for Instance, Should a Thief trust and deposite with me, upon my Promise of Redelivery, somewhat that he has stollen, I being altogether ignorant of the Matter; if after this, the Right Owner appears, the same is to be restor’d to him, and not to the Thief.
III.Restitution Part consum’d. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §6.But if any Thing belonging to another, which yet we came by fairly and honestly, be wasted and consum’d, ’tis our Duty to restore only so much to the Owner as we have made Profit or Advantage to our selves from it. All that lies upon us to do herein, being to refund so much as we have gain’d thereby, that so we may not be the richer by another Man’s undeserved Loss.
IV.Conclusions. First. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §7.From these Premisses, we may deduce the following Conclusions: 1. A Presumptive Owner, (or one who without any Covin45 on his Part, becomes the Possessor of what belongs to another Man) is not obliged to make any Restitution, if the Thing perishes; because neither the Thing it self is in his Power, neither has he receiv’d any Gain or Advantage thereby.
V.Second. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §8.2. Such a Presumptive Owner is obliged to make Restitution, not only of the Thing it self, but also of the Fruits and Profits, which are in being at the Time. For to whomsoever the Thing really belongs, to the same likewise the Profits and Advantages thence arising do accrew. Nevertheless, it is lawful for the Possessor to deduct what Charges he has been at upon the Thing, or upon its Culture and Improvement, by means whereof it has produced those Fruits and Profits.
VI.Third. L. N. N. l. 4 c. 13. §9.3. A Presumptive Owner is obliged to make Restitution of the Thing, and of the Fruits and Profits of it that are consumed, if otherwise he would have consum’d as much of his own, and can recover the Value thereof from him of whom he received Possession. For otherwise he would inrich himself, whilst by spending what belongs to another, he spares his own.
VII.Fourth. L. N. N. l. 4. c 13. §10.4. A Presumptive Owner is not oblig’d to make good the Fruits and Profits which he might have made of the Thing in his Possession, but neglected so to do: Because he has not the Thing it self, nor any Thing in Lieu thereof, and he must be consider’d, to have done by it, as he would have done by that which was truly his own.
VIII.Fifth. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §11.5. If a Presumptive Owner makes a Present or Donation of any Thing belonging to another, which was given to himself, he is not bound to restore it; unless he had been obliged in Duty to have given the like Value. For in such a Case, he would be a Gainer, by saving what he must have given of his own.
IX.Sixth. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §12.6. If a Presumptive Owner makes over what he hath purchased of another Man, upon a valuable Consideration, he is not bound to make Restitution; unless so far as he has made any Advantage by it.
X.Seventh. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §13.7. A Presumptive Owner is obliged to restore that which belongs to another, tho’ he bought it upon a valuable Consideration; nor can he demand of the true Owner the Price he paid for it, but only of him from whom he had it; unless so far as the Charges which the Owner must necessarily have been at, in regaining the Possession of his Right; or that otherwise he did freely promise some Reward for the Recovery.
XI.Things found. L. N. N. l. 4. c. 13. §15.Whosoever happens to find any Thing belonging to another, which, ’tis probable, the right Owner lost against his Will, he cannot take it up with an Intention to detain it from him when he requires it. But if the Owner appear not, he may fairly keep it himself.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Price and Value of Things
I.Price. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §1.After Property was introduced into the World, all Things not being of the same Nature, nor affording the same Help to Human Necessities; and every Man not being sufficiently provided with such Things as were necessary for his Use and Service, it was early brought into Practice among Men to make mutual Exchanges of one Thing for another. But because it very often happened, that Things of a different Nature and Use were to be transferred; lest either Party should be a Loser by such Exchanging, it was necessary, by a common Agreement or Consent among themselves, to assign to Things a certain Quantity or Standard, by which those Things might be compar’d and reduced to a Balance between each other. The same also obtained as to Actions, which it was not thought good should be done gratis by one Man for another. And this Quantity or Standard is that which we call Price or Value.
II.Price twofold. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §3.This Price is divided into Common and Eminent; The First is in Things or Actions which come within the compass of ordinary Commerce, according as they afford either Usefulness or Delight to Mankind. But the other is in Money, as it virtually contains the Value of all Things and Works, and is understood to give them their common Estimate.
III.Common Value. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §4.The natural Ground of the Common Value,* is that †Fitness which any Thing or Action has for supplying, either mediately or immediately, the Necessities of Human Life, and rendring the same more easie or more comfortable. Hence it is we call those Things which are not of any Use to us, Things of no Value. There are nevertheless some Things most useful to Human Life, which are not understood to fall under any determinate Price or Value; either because they are or ought to be exempted from Dominion and Property, or because they are not capable of being exchanged, and therefore cannot be traded for; or else, because in Commerce they are not otherwise regarded than as Appendages to be supposed of course to belong to another Thing. Besides also, when the Law of God or Man places some Actions above the Reach of Commerce, or forbids that they should be done for a Reward, it is to be understood that the same Laws have set them without the Bounds of Price or Valuation. Thus the Upper Regions of the Air, the Sky, and the Heavenly Bodies, and even the vast Ocean are exempt from Human Property, so that no Rate or Value can be put upon them. So there is no Rate or Price to be set upon a Freeman, because Freemen come not within the Compass of Commerce. Thus, the Lying open to the Sun, a clear and wholesome Air, a pleasant Prospect to the Eye, the Winds, Shades, and the like, consider’d separately in themselves, bear no Price, because they cannot be enjoy’d and purchas’d separately from the Lands they belong to; but yet of what Moment they are in raising the Value of Lands and Tenements to be purchas’d, no Man is ignorant. So likewise ’tis unlawful to set any Rate or Price on Sacred Actions, to which any moral Effect is assign’d by Divine Institution; which Crime is call’d Simony. And it is great Wickedness in a Judge to expose Justice to Sale.
IV.Inhansing or Debasing a Price. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §6.Now there are various Reasons, why the Price of one and the same Thing should be increas’d or diminish’d, and why one Thing should be preferr’d before another, though it may seem to be of equal or greater Use to Human Life. For here the Necessity of the Thing, or its extraordinary Usefulness, is not always regarded; but, on the contrary, we see those Things are of the least Account or Value, without which Human Life is least able to subsist; and therefore, not without the singular Providence of Almighty God, Nature has been very bountiful in providing plentiful Store of those Things. But the Rarity or Scarceness of Things conduces chiefly to the inhansing their Value; which is the more look’d upon, when they are brought from remote Countries. And hence the wanton Luxury of Mankind has set extravagant Rates upon many Things which Human Life might very well be without; for Instance, upon Pearls and Jewels. But the Prices of Things, which are of daily Use, are then chiefly rais’d when the Scarcity is join’d with the Necessity or Want of them. The Prices of Artificial Things, besides their Scarceness, are for the most Part inhans’d by the ingenious Contrivance and Curiosity of Art, that is seen in them, and sometimes by the Fame and Renown of the Artificer, the Difficulty of the Work, the Want of Artists in that Way, and the like. The Prices of Works and Actions are rais’d by their Difficulty, Neatness, Usefulness, Necessity, by the Scarcity, Dignity, and Ingenuity of the Authors of them; and lastly, by the Esteem and Reputation which that Art has gotten in the World. The Contrary to these are wont to diminish the Price of Things. Sometimes again, there may be some certain Thing, which is not generally much esteem’d, but only by some particular Persons, out of a peculiar Inclination; for Example, because he, from whom we had it, is mightily belov’d by us, and that it was given as a Token of his particular Affection to us; or because we have been accustom’d thereto, or because it is a Remembrancer of some remarkable Accident, or because by the Help thereof, we have escap’d any extraordinary Danger, or because the Thing was made by Our selves. And this is called The Estimate of singular Affection.
V.Particular Prices Legal. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §8.But there are other Circumstances likewise to be consider’d in stating the Rates and Prices of particular Things. And among those indeed, who live in a Natural Independance on any other, the Prices of particular Things are determin’d no otherwise, than by the Will of the Persons contracting; since they are intirely at their own Liberty to make over or to purchase what they please, nor can they be controlled in their Dealings by any superior Authority. But in States and Governments the Prices of Things are determin’d two several Ways: The First is by an Order from the Magistrate, or some particular Law; the Second is by the common Estimate and Judgment of Men, or according as the Market goes, together with the Consent and Agreement of those who contract among themselves. The former of these by some is call’d the Legal, the other the Vulgar Price. Where the Legal Rate is fix’d for the sake of the Buyers, as it is for the most part, there it is not lawful for the Sellers to exact more; though they are not forbidden, if they will, to take less. So where the Rate of any Labour or Work is tax’d by the Publick Magistrate for the sake of those who have Occasion to hire, it is not lawful for the Workman to demand more, though he be not prohibited to take less.
VI.Vulgar Price. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §9.But the Vulgar Price, which is not fix’d by the Laws, admits of a certain Latitude, within the Compass whereof more or less may be, and often is, either taken or given, according to the Agreement of the Persons dealing; which yet for the most part, goes according to the Custom of the Market. Where commonly there is Regard had to the Trouble and Charges which the Tradesmen generally are at, in the bringing home and managing their Commodities, and also after what manner they are bought or sold, whether by Wholesale or Retail. Sometimes also on a sudden the Common Price is alter’d by reason of the Plenty or Scarcity of Buyers, Money, or the Commodity. For the Scarcity of Buyers and of Money, (which on any particular Account may happen) and the Plenty of the Commodity, may be a Means of diminishing the Price thereof. On the other hand, the Plenty of Buyers and of Money, and the Scarcity of the Commodity, inhanses the same. Thus as the Value of a Commodity is lessen’d, if it wants a Buyer, so the Price is augmented when the Possessor is solicited to sell what otherwise he would not have parted with. Lastly, it is likewise to be regarded, whether the Person offers ready Money, or desires Time for Payment; for Allowance of Time is Part of the Price.
VII.Price eminent. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §12.But after Mankind degenerated from their primitive Simplicity, and introduced into the World several kinds of Gaining, it was easily discern’d, that that Common and Vulgar Price was not sufficient for the dispatching the Business of Men, and for the carrying on of Commerce, which then daily increas’d. For at first all Kind of Trading consisted only in Exchanging and Bartering, and the Labours of others could no otherwise be valued than by Work for Work, or some Thing given in Hand for Recompence. But after Men began to desire so many several Things for Convenience or Pleasure, it was not easie for every one to become Master of That which another would be willing to take in Exchange, or which might be of equal Value to the Things he wanted from him. And in civiliz’d States or Societies, where the Inhabitants are distinguish’d into several Stations, there is an absolute Necessity there should be different Degrees and Sorts of Men, which, if that simple and plain Way of bartering of Things and Works had been still in Use, could not, or at least, not without great Difficulty, support themselves. Hence most Nations, which were pleased with a more sumptuous Way of Living, thought fit, by Publick Consent, to set an Eminent Price or Value upon some Certain Thing, whereby the Common and Vulgar Prices of other Things should be measured, and wherein the same should be virtually contain’d. So that by Means of this Thing, any one may purchase to himself whatsoever is to be sold, and easily manage and carry on any Kind of Traffick and Bargain.
VIII.Gold, Silver, &c. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §13.For this purpose, most Nations chose to make use of the nobler Kind of Metals, and such as were not very Common; because these being of a very compacted Substance, they cannot easily be worn out, and admit of being divided into many minute Parts; nor are they less proper to be kept and handled; and for the Rarity of ’em are equivalent to many other Things. Altho’ sometimes for Necessity, and by some Nations for Want of Metals, other Things have been made Use of instead of Money.
IX.Coin. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 1. §14.Moreover, in Communities, it is only in the Power of the Chief Magistrates46 to assign the Value of Money; and thence Publick Stamps are wont to be put upon them. Nevertheless, in the assigning thereof, respect is to be had to the Common Estimate of the Neighbouring Nations, or of those with whom we have any Traffick or Commerce. For otherwise, if the State should set too high a Value on their Money, or if they should not give it a just and true Alloy, all Commerce with Foreign Nations, which could not be carried on by Exchange or Barter alone, would be at a Stand. And for this very Reason, the Value of Money is not rashly to be alter’d, unless a very great Necessity of State require it. Tho’ as Gold and Silver grow more plentiful, the Value of Money, in Comparison to the Price of Land, and Things thereon depending, is wont, as it were insensibly and of its self, to grow lower.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of those Contracts in which the Value of Things is pre-supposed; and of the Duties thence arising
I.Pacts and Contracts. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 2. §1.A Pact or Agreement in general, is the Consent and Concurrence of Two or more in the same Resolution. But because oftentimes simple Agreements are contra-distinguish’d to Contracts, the Difference seems chiefly to consist herein, That by Contracts are understood such Bargains as are made concerning Things and Actions, which come within the compass of Commerce, and therefore suppose a Property and Price of Things. But such Covenants as are concluded upon, about other Matters, are called by the common Term of Pacts or Agreements.
* Although even to some of these is promiscuously given the Name of Pacts and Contracts.
II.General Division of Contracts. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 2. §8.Contracts may be divided into Gratuitous and Chargeable. The former Sort affords gratis some Advantage to one of the Parties contracting: the latter subjects each of the Parties contracting to some Charge, or lays upon them some Condition or Obligation equally burdensome to them both; in which Case, nothing is done or delivered by either Party, but with a Prospect of receiving an Equivalent.
III.L. N. N. l. 5. c. 4. §1.Of Gratuitous Contracts, there are three Sorts; a Commission, a Loan, and a Charge.
A Commission is, When any one takes upon himself gratis, and in mere good Will, to transact the Business of his Friend, who requests this Trouble of him on the Account of Friendship only. And this may be done two Ways; first, When the Method of transacting the Business is prescribed to the Person who is so kind as to undertake it; and, secondly, When it is wholly left to his Judgment and Discretion.
But as no one would commit the Management of his Affairs to any one but a Friend, and one of whose Honesty and Integrity he has a good Opinion; so he who undertakes this Trust, ought to be careful not to abuse this Confidence reposed in him; but to execute it with the greatest Care, and with the utmost Fidelity. But then, on the other hand, he who has given him this Commission, ought to prevent its being any Loss to him that executes it, by repaying him any Expences he is at in the Execution of it, and likewise by satisfying him for any Loss he may suffer in his own Affairs, while he spends his Pains and Time thus in Friendship to him.
IV.Of Loans. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 4. §6.When we give to another the free Use of what is ours, without any Consideration for the Use of it, this is called a Loan; and the Rules to be observed in this Case, are:
He that lends any Thing to another, lies under no other Obligation to the Person he lends it to, but this only; If the Borrower has been at any necessary Charge, more than what the ordinary Use of the Thing requires, in preserving it, then this extraordinary Expence ought to be made good to him by the Proprietor.
V.Deposit or Trust. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 4. §7.The Third and Last Sort of gratuitous Contracts, is a Charge, Trust, or Deposit: Which is, When we commit any Thing of our own, or which we have any manner of Title to, or Interest in, to the Trust and Care of another Person, to keep the same Gratis: And what the Person’s Duty is, to whom the Deposit is made, will easily be understood.
1. The Thing thus trusted in his Hands, must be carefully looked after, nor must any Use be made of it, without the Knowledge and Consent of the Proprietor, if it can in any ways receive Damage by such using it; as also if it be any Profit or Benefit to the Proprietor to have it kept concealed from any one’s Sight: And if the Person intrusted shall take the Liberty of using it, he ought to make good any Damage or Disadvantage that shall accrue from the Use of it to the Owner. Likewise, it is not just to untye, unseal, or otherwise open any Thing we are intrusted withal, that is sealed or ty’d up, or to take it out of any Box, Chest, or other Thing in which the Owner had inclosed and secured it, when he put it into our Hands.
2. We ought immediately to restore any Thing deposited with us, as soon as ever the Proprietor claims it; at least, unless the Redelivery of it, at such Time it is so claimed, should be a real Prejudice to the Claimant, or to some other Person. But to deny that we have it, when the Owner comes to reclaim what he trusted us with, is a most infamous Piece of Wickedness, and even more base than Theft it self: And it is yet a more detestable Crime, to withold or disown a miserable Deposit; that is, what is put into our Hands in the Time of any Misfortune, during the Danger of Fire, or in the Midst of Tumults and Confusions, or the like Calamities.
He who makes the Deposit on his Part, ought to re-imburse, to the Person with whom it is made, all the Charges that he has necessarily laid out upon the Thing deposited, while it continued in his Hands.
VI.Equality in all chargeable Contracts. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 3. §1.In all Contracts that are purely chargeable, and have nothing gainful in them, where the Law or the Market hath fix’d the Prices of Things, a just Equality is to be observed, that is, one Party ought to receive as much Benefit as the other; and if it happens, that one receives less than the other, he has a Right to demand the Rest, which if denyed him by the other Party, he is at Liberty to set aside the Contract.
Now to find out and adjust this Equality, it is necessary that the Parties contracting be each of them alike thoroughly acquainted with the Commodity about which they are treating, and with the several Qualities of it; and therefore whosoever is going, by way of Contract, to make over the Property of a Thing to another, is indispensably obliged to expose not only the good Qualities of it, but also, to the best of his Knowledge, the Faults and Defects of it; since otherwise no just Price or real Value of the Thing can be assign’d. But this is not to be extended to minute and circumstantial Matters, which affect not the Substance of the Thing; nor need the Faults already known to the Buyer, be mention’d to him; for if, knowing the Faults, he purchases the Thing, such Defects do not annull the Contract, which shall stand good, and the Buyer must be contented with the Inconvenience he has consented hereby to bring on himself.
VII.If an Inequality is discover’d after the Bargain is made, it must be redress’d. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 3. §9.The Equality we have been mentioning, is so absolutely necessary in all chargeable Contracts, that although in making such a Contract, all the Faults of the Thing contracted for, have been fairly expos’d, and nothing demanded more than was really believed to be the just Value of the Thing; yet if afterwards there appears to have been an Inequality, without any Fault of the Contractors, (as suppose some Defect or Blemish lay undiscover’d, or there was some Mistake in the Price) it ought to be corrected, and he that has too much, must make Amends to the Sufferer. In notorious Abuses of this Kind, the Laws of every Country have made Provision for Reparation; but in lesser Breaches of this Duty, they are silent, for the avoiding a Multitude of unnecessary Suits, supposing herein, that every Body will take Care, in his own Concerns, not to be impos’d upon.
VIII.Bartering L. N. N. l. 5. c. 5. §1.Now among chargeable Contracts, or Covenants which imply somewhat to be done or given on both Parts, the most ancient, and that whereby Trading and Commerce was carried on before the Invention of Money, was Permutation or Bartering, whereby, on each Side, something was given for some other Thing equivalent thereto. Altho’ at this Day, since the Invention of Money, that Sort of Exchange is chiefly practis’d among Merchants, whereby Things are not simply compar’d between themselves, but they are first reduced to Money, and afterwards deliver’d as so much Money. But reciprocal Donation is a different Sort of a Thing from the Contract of Barter; for in this there is no Necessity that an Equality should be observ’d.
IX.Buying and Selling. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 5. §2.Buying and Selling, is, When for Money the Property of any Thing is acquired, or else such a Right as is equivalent thereto; of which Kind this is the most plain and obvious; When the Buyer, after the Value is agreed upon, immediately pays down the Price, and the Seller thereupon delivers the Commodity. Yet oftentimes the Agreement is made so, that the Commodity shall be immediately delivered, and the Price thereof paid at a certain Time. And sometimes the Price is agreed upon, but the Delivery of the Thing or Commodity is to be within a certain Time limited. In which Case, it seems but Equity, that before the Time be elaps’d, the Seller should stand to the Hazard of it; but if, after the Time is elaps’d, the Buyer makes Delay, and neglects the taking it away, then, if the Commodity perishes, the Buyer shall stand wholly to the Loss thereof. Now to this of Buying and Selling, are wont to be added several other Kinds of Bargains: As that which is term’d Addictio in diem,47 whereby any Thing is sold with this Proviso, That it may be lawful for the Seller to accept of better Terms, offered by another within a certain Time. So also the Lex Commissoria,48 which is such a Condition in any Contract, as not being perform’d within a Time limited, the Bargain becomes void. So likewise any Kind of Recalling, or Privilege of Recanting a Bargain, which is to be either so understood, That if the Price be laid down within a certain Time limited, or at any Time whatever is offer’d, the Buyer shall be obliged to restore it again to the Seller; or else so, as if the Thing be offer’d again, the Seller is bound to return back again the Price thereof; or so as if the Buyer be willing to sell the same again, the first Seller should have the Refusal of it, before any other, which is likewise call’d Jus Protimeseos, or the Right of Pre-emption. It is also customary that the Seller should reserve to himself a certain Portion of the Lands which he sells, or some Use or Acknowledgement for the same.
There is another Way of Buying, which they call Per Aversionem,49 when several Things of different Prices are not valued singly, but at Hap-hazard, and, as it were, in the Lump.
In that Way of Sale, which is call’d an Auction, the Thing is adjudged to that Person who, among several Bidders, offers most.
Lastly, There is another Way of Buying, whereby not any certain Thing is bought, but only the probable Hopes and Expectation thereof which implies something of Chance; so as neither the Buyer, if his Expectation fails him, nor the Seller, though it much exceed, hath any Reason to complain.
X.Hiring and Letting. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 6. §1.Hiring and Letting, is, When the Use of a Thing, or any Labour is granted to another, upon a certain Consideration.
XI.Things lent. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 7.In a Contract of Things lent, Something is given to a certain Person upon this Condition, That he be obliged to restore the same Kind after a certain Time in the same Quantity and Quality. Now those Things which are usually lent, are called Fungibiles, that is, such Things as are capable of being repaid in Kind, though not in Specie; 50 because any Thing of that Kind may so perform the Part of another Thing, that he who receives any Thing of that Kind in the same Quantity and Quality, may be said to have receiv’d the same, which he gave. The same Things are likewise determined and specified by Number, Weight, and Measure, in which Respect also they are commonly called Quantities, as they are contra-distinct to Species. Now a Thing is lent either gratis, so as no more is to be received than was deliver’d; or else for some Profit or Advantage, which is call’d Usury; and which is no Ways repugnant to the Law of Nature, provided it be moderate, and proportionable to the Gain, which the other Person makes of the Money or the Thing lent; or to that Gain I my self might have made with the same Money; or to the Loss I suffer by the Want of the present Use of it; or, lastly, that it be not exacted of Poor Men, to whom a Thing lent, is sometimes as good as an Alms.
XII.Partnership. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 8.In a Contract of Partnership, Two or more join together their Money, Wares, or Works, with an Intention that every one should receive a proportionable Share of the Profit; and if there happens to be any Loss, that likewise must be born ratably51 by each Party. In which Kind of Society, as all Parties are obliged to Faithfulness and Industry; so no Party must break off the Partnership before the Time, or to the Detriment of his Partner. But when the Time of the Partnership is expired, after the Gain and Loss is allow’d, each Party is to receive what Stock he put in. But if one Person puts in Money or Goods, and the other contributes his Labour, we must consider, after what Manner such a Contribution was made. For when one Man’s Labour is only concern’d about the Managing and Disposing of the other Person’s Money or Goods, the Shares of the Gain are so to be determin’d, as the Profit of the Money or Commodity bears Proportion to the Value of the Labour; the Principal still remaining the Property of him only, who first contributed it. But when any Labour is bestow’d in the Improvement of any Commodity, which is put in by another, he is suppos’d to have such a Share in the Thing it self, as is proportionable to the Improvement it has received. Again, when Men ingage all that they have in any Joint-Stock, as each of the Partners must faithfully bring into the Account the Profits they have made; so also every one of them is to be maintain’d out of the Joint-Stock according to their Condition. But when the Partnership is broken off, the Division of the Goods is made ratably, according as each Party at first brought in; without any Regard had, by whose Goods any Gain or Loss happened to the Company, unless before-hand it was otherwise agreed.
XIII.Contracts upon Chance. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 9.There are likewise several Contracts which imply a Chance: Amongst which may be reckon’d *Wagers, when the Certainty of any Event, which is not yet known by either Party, is affirmed by one, and denied by the other, a Certain Value being laid on both Sides, it is adjudg’d to that Person, to whose Assertion the Event is found to agree. Hitherto may also be referr’d all Sorts of †Games, wherein we play for any Thing of Value. Among which, those have the least Chance which contain a Trial of Wit, Dexterity, Skill, or Strength. In some of these Skill and Chance have both a like Share. In others, Chance does chiefly determine the Matter. Altho’ it is the Part of the Civil Magistrate52 to consider how far such Kind of Contracts may be tolerated, as consistent with the publick or private Good: Among these we may reckon the various Sorts of Lotteries; as either when several Men, having paid for a Thing by Money laid down jointly, refer it to a Decision by Lot, which of them shall have the Whole; or when a Box or Pot of Lots is made Use of, into which a certain Number of Lots or Papers, both Blanks and Prizes are put, and for some set Price, Liberty is granted of drawing them out, so that the Person drawing, may receive the Prize mark’d upon the Lot. To these Contracts, the receiv’d Methods of ‡Insurance have some kind of Affinity, which are such Bargains whereby is undertaken the securing from, and making good any Damage, so that the Insurer, for a certain Sum of Money paid down, takes upon himself, and is obliged to satisfie for whatsoever Losses or Damages any Commodities may undergo in their Transportation to remote Countries; so that if it shall happen that they be lost, he is bound to pay the Owner the Value of them.
XIV.Sureties and Pledges. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 10. §8,9, &c.For the rendring of Contracts and Covenants more firm and secure, Sureties and Pledges are frequently made Use of. * A Surety is, when another Person, who is approv’d of by the Creditor, takes upon himself the Obligation of the principal Debtor; so that unless he makes Payment, the other must make it good; yet so, that the principal Debtor is obliged to repay him, and save him harmless. And altho’ the Surety cannot stand bound for a greater Sum than the principal Debtor, yet nothing hinders but that the Surety is more firmly ty’d than the other, because more is rely’d upon his Credit, than upon that of the principal Debtor. Yet in course, the principal Debtor is to be call’d upon before the Surety, unless he has wholly taken the Obligation upon himself; and such a Person in the Civil Law is commonly called Expromissor, or an Undertaker. Now if several Persons be Security for one, each of them is to be call’d upon for his Proportion only; unless by Accident, any one of them becomes insolvent, or is not to be found: For in such a Case, the others must be charged with his Share.
XV.Pledge or Mortgage. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 10. §13.’Tis likewise oftentimes customary for the Debtor to deliver, or make over to the Creditor for the securing his Debt, some certain Thing, which is call’d a Pledge or a Mortgage, until the Debt be paid. The Intent of which is, not only that the Debtor should be excited to make Payment out of a Desire of recovering what belongs to him; but also that the Creditor should have some Prospect how he may be satisfied. And upon this Account, Pledges ought regularly to be of equal, or greater Value than the Debt it self. Now the Things which may be offer’d as Pledges, are either Improveable, or not Improveable: As to the former Kind, there is commonly added a Covenant called Pactum αντιχρησεωσ,53 which impowers the Creditor to enjoy the Fruits and Profits of that Pledge, instead of Interest: Now as to the other Sort, the Lex Commissoria takes Place; which provides, That the Pledge shall be forfeited to the Creditor, if Payment be not made within a certain Time limited: And this is no ways unreasonable, when the Pledge is not of greater Value than the Debt, together with the Use for the intermediate Time, and provided the Overplus be restored to the Owner. But as the Creditor is obliged to restore the Pledge upon Payment of the Debt; so in the mean Time he ought to be as careful in the preserving thereof, as if it were really his own. And when there is no Pactum αντιχρησεωσ, and the Thing be of that Nature, as to receive any Damage by Use, or if it be any way for the Debtor’s Advantage, he ought not to make Use of it without his Consent. Now a Mortgage differs from a Pledge in this, That a Pledge consists in the Delivery of the Thing, but a Mortgage, though the Thing be not deliver’d, holds good by the bare Assignation of a Thing altogether immoveable, from which, Payment not being made, the Creditor may receive Satisfaction for his Debt.
And thus what the Duties of Persons contracting are, will plainly appear from the End and Nature of these Contracts.[Back to Table of Contents]
The several Methods by which the Obligations arising from Contracts are dissolved
I.Fulfilling or Payment. L. N. N. l. 5 c. 11.Among the several Ways of discharging Obligations arising from Contracts, and by which likewise the Duties and Offices which proceed from thence do utterly expire, the chiefest and most natural of all, is the Fulfilling or Payment of what was agreed upon. Where, although generally he that is the Debtor, is obliged to make the Payment; yet, if it be perform’d by any other in his Name who contracted the Obligation, the same is dissolv’d; since ’tis no ways material by what Person the Thing is perform’d. Yet with this Proviso, That he who pays for another, without any Intention of bestowing it upon him, may demand from the same again what he laid out upon his Account. Moreover, Payment must be made to that Person to whom it is due, or else to one whom he has appointed to receive the Debt in his Name. And lastly, That very Thing must be perform’d or paid which was agreed upon, not any Thing else instead thereof, intire and not mangled, nor in Parcels, nor by Piece-meal; and likewise at the Place and Time appointed: Altho’ frequently the Courtesie of the Creditor, or the Inability of the Debtor, may be the Occasion of prolonging the Time of Payment, or receiving a Debt by little Sums at once, or else of accepting of one Thing for another.
II.Compensation. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §5.Obligations are likewise taken away by *Compensation which is an Adjusting or Balancing the Credit and the Debt, one against the other; or when the Debtor is therefore discharged, because ’tis manifest that the Creditor himself stands indebted to him for something that is of the same Kind, and of the same Value. Especially since in those Things (called Res Fungibiles, that is) which admit of being repaid in Kind, tho’ not in Specie, an Equivalent is look’d upon to be the same Thing; and where the Debt is mutual, since I must presently return back as much as I have received, for the declining of unnecessary Payments, it seems to be the most convenient Way so to order the Matter, that each Party may keep what he has. Now it is evident, that those Things aforementioned, may very properly be brought to a Balance, of which the Time for Payment is either present, or past. But it is not so in other Things or Performances, which are of a different Nature; unless they are estimated on both Sides, and reduced to Money.
III.Release. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §7.An Obligation also ceases when the Thing is released and forgiven by him to whom it was due, and whose Interest it was that the Obligation should have been perform’d. And this is done either expressly, by some certain Tokens declaring his Consent; as by giving a Discharge, by giving up or cancelling the Bonds and Writings; or else tacitly, if he himself hinders, or is any ways the Occasion that what is owing to him cannot be paid.
IV.Breaking off mutually. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §8.Those Obligations are likewise sometimes dissolved, which imply some Performance on both Sides, by a mutual Breaking off before any Thing on either Side be done in the Contract; unless this be expressly forbidden by the Laws. But if any Thing is performed by one of the Parties, the Obligation in this Case cannot be cancelled, unless he who perform’d his Part, releases the other, or has Amends made him some other Way.
V.Falseness on one Side. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §9.Besides, an Obligation is not indeed properly dissolv’d, but rather broken off by the Falseness of either Party; for when the one does not perform what was agreed upon, neither is the other obliged to make good what he undertook upon a Prospect of the other’s performing. For as to the main Things which are to be performed in Contracts, the former are always included in the latter by way of Condition; as if it should be said, I will perform this, if you perform that first.
VI.Case altered. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §10.Obligations likewise cease when that State of Things upon which they chiefly depended, is either alter’d by the Party who was obliged to perform somewhat, or by him to whom, or for whose Sake it was to be done.
VII.Time. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §11.Sometimes also Time it self puts an End to some Obligations, whose Duration depends upon a certain precise Day; unless it be prolong’d by the express or tacit Consent of each Party. Yet there is a Necessity that the Power of exacting the Obligation within the Time limited, should stand good.
VIII.Assignment. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §13.Any one may make over by Assignment, his Debtor to his Creditor, provided he approves him, that he, instead of the other, may discharge the Debt. Where indeed there is required the Consent of the Creditor, but not of that third Person who is the Debtor, whom I may turn over without his Knowledge or Consent, to the other Person that is to accept him. For it is no great Matter to whom any Person makes Payment; but from whom the Debt is to be required, is very material.
IX.DEATH. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 11. §12.Lastly, By Death those Obligations expire, which were founded in the Person of the Deceas’d; for the Subject being gone, the Accidents must necessarily follow, and the Performance is hereby rendred impossible in Nature. Yet oftentimes the Obligation that lay on the Deceas’d, is continued to the Survivors; and this, either when the Survivor takes it upon him of his own Accord to preserve the Reputation of the Deceased, or for other Reasons; or when the Goods of the Deceased being made over to the Heir, the Incumbrance goes along with them.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of Meaning, or Interpretation
I.Rules for Interpretation necessary. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12.As in all Commands and Directions which Men receive from their Superiors, no other Obligation is derived on them from thence, but such as is conformable to the Will and Intention of the Superior; so likewise, when any Man of his own free Will, sets himself under any Obligation, he is bound only to that which himself intended, when he entered into that Obligation. But then, because one Man cannot make a Judgment of another Man’s Intention, but by such Signs and Actions as are apparent to the Senses; hence, therefore, every one, in foro humano,54 is adjudged, To be obliged to that Thing, which he may fairly be supposed to have suggested by a right Interpretation of the outward Signs made by him. Wherefore ’tis of great Use for the true Understanding both of Laws and Covenants, and for the better Discharging the Duties thence arising, that there should be laid down *Certain Rules for the true Interpretation of Words, especially they being the most common and ordinary Signs whereby we express our Mind and Intention.
II.Popular Terms. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §3.Concerning Common and Vulgar Terms, this is the Rule: Words are generally to be taken in their most proper and receiv’d Signification, which they have not so much from Analogy and Construction of Grammar, or Conformity of Derivation, as by Popular Use and Custom, which is the Sovereign Comptroller and Judge of Speech.
III.Terms of Art. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §4.Terms of Art are to be explain’d according to the Definitions of Persons knowing in each Art. But if those Terms are differently defin’d by several Persons, for the avoiding of Disputes, ’tis necessary that we express in Vulgar Terms, what we mean by such a Word.
IV.Conjectures. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §6.But for discovering the genuine Meaning of Words, ’tis sometimes necessary to make Use of Conjectures, if either the Words in themselves, or the Connexion of them, be ambiguous, and liable to a double Interpretation; or if some Parts of the Discourse seem to contradict the other, yet so as by a fair and true Explanation they may be reconcil’d. For where there is a plain and manifest Contrariety, the latter Contract55 vacates the former.
V.Taken from the Subject Matter. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §7.Now Conjectures of the Mind, and the right Meaning thereof in an ambiguous or intricate Expression, are chiefly to be taken from the Subject Matter, from the Effects and the Accidents or Circumstances. As to the Matter, this is the Rule: Words are generally to be understood according to the Subject Matter. For he that speaks is suppos’d to have always in View the Matter of which he discourses, and therefore agreeably thereunto, the Meaning of the Words is always to be applied.
VI.From the Consequences. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12.§8.As to the Effects and Consequences, this is the Rule: When Words taken in the literal and simple Sense, admit either of none, or else of some absurd Consequences, we must recede so far from the more receiv’d Meaning, as is necessary for the avoiding of a Nullity or Absurdity.
VII.From Circumstances. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §9.Farthermore, most probable Conjectures may be taken from the Circumstances; because of Consequence every one is presum’d to be consistent with himself. Now these Circumstances are to be consider’d either as to their Place, or only as to the Occasion of them. Concerning the former of these, this is the Rule: If the Sense in any Place of the Discourse be express’d plainly and clearly, the more obscure Phrases are to be interpreted by those plain and familiar ones. To this Rule there is another nearly related: In the Explaining of any Discourse the Antecedents and Consequents must be carefully heeded, to which those Things that are inserted between are presum’d to answer and agree. But concerning the latter, this is the Rule: The obscure Expressions of one and the same Man are to be interpreted by what he has deliver’d more clearly, though it was at another Time and Place; unless it manifestly appears that he has changed his Opinion.
VIII.The Reason of the Thing. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §10.It is likewise of very great Use for finding out the true Meaning, in Laws especially, to examine into the Reason of that Law, or those Causes and Considerations which induced the Legislator to the making thereof; and more particularly when it is evident, that that was the only Reason of the Law. Concerning which, this is the Rule: That Interpretation of the Law is to be followed, which agrees with the Reason of that Law; and the contrary is to be rejected, if it be altogether inconsistent with the same. So likewise when the sole and adequate Reason of the Law ceases, the Law it self ceases. But when there are several Reasons of the same Law, it does not follow, that if one of them ceases, the whole Law ceases too, when there are more Reasons remaining, which are sufficient for the keeping it still in Force. Sometimes also the Will of the Law-giver is sufficient, where the Reason of the Law is conceal’d.
IX.Words of various Signification. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §11.Moreover, it is to be observ’d, That many Words have various Significations, one Meaning being of great Latitude, and the other more strict and confin’d; and then the subject Matter is sometimes of a favourable Nature, sometimes invidious, sometimes between both or indifferent. Those are favourable where the Condition is equal on both Sides, where Regard is had to the publick Good, where Provision is made upon Transactions already ratified, and which tend to the promoting of Peace, and the like. The Invidious, or more distastful, is that which aggrieves one Party only, or one more than the other; that which implies a certain Penalty; that which makes any Transaction of none Effect, or alters what went before; that which promotes Wars and Troubles. That which is between both and Indifferent is, That indeed which makes some Change and Alteration in the former State of Things, but ’tis only for the sake of Peace. Concerning these, this is the Rule: That those Things which admit of a favourable Construction, are to be taken in the largest and most comprehensive Meaning; but those Things which are capable of an unpleasing Construction, in the most literal and strictest Sense of the Words.
X.Conjectures extended. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §11.There are likewise some Kind of Conjectures which are elsewhere to be fetch’d than from the Words, and which are the Occasion that the Interpretation of them is sometimes to be extended, and at other times to be confin’d: Although ’tis more easie to give Reasons why the Explanation thereof should be confin’d and limited, than extended. But the Law may be extended to a Case which is not express’d in the Law, if it be apparent, that the Reason which suits to this Case, was particularly regarded by the Law-giver amongst other Considerations, and that he did design to include the other Cases of the like Nature. The Law also ought to be extended to those Cases wherein the Subtlety of ill Men have found out Tricks in order to evade the Force of the Law.
XI.Conjectures limited. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §19.Now the Reason why some Expressions deliver’d in general Terms should be restrain’d, may happen either from the original Defect of the Will, or from the Repugnancy of some emergent Case to the Will and Intention. That any Person is to be presum’d not at first to have intended any such Thing, may be understood,
XII.Emergent Cases. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §21.Now that an emergent State of Things is repugnant to the Intention of the Person who made the Constitution, may be discover’d either from Natural Reason, or else from some declared Mark and Signification of his Meaning.
The first happens, when we must exclude Equity, if some certain Cases be not exempted from the universal Law. For Equity is the Correcting of what is defective in the Law by reason of its Universality.
And because all Cases could neither be foreseen, nor set down, because of the infinite Variety of them; therefore when general Words are apply’d to special Cases, those Cases are to be look’d upon as exempt, which the Law-giver himself would likewise have exempted, if he had been consulted upon such a Case.
But we must not have Recourse to Equity, unless there be very sufficient Grounds for it. The Chiefest of which, is, If it be evident, that the Law of Nature would be violated, if we followed too closely the Letter of that Law.
The next Ground of Exception is, That though it be not indeed unlawful to keep to the very Words of the Law; yet, if, upon an impartial Consideration, the Thing should seem too grievous and burdensome, either to Men in general, or to some certain Persons; or else, if the Design be not of that Value, as to be purchas’d at so dear a Rate.
XIII.Exception with Regard to Time. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 12. §23.Lastly, There are also some certain Signs of the Legislator’s Will, from whence it may be certainly collected, That a Case ought to be excepted from the general Expressions of the Law; as when the Words of the Legislator in another Place, though not directly opposite to the Law now supposed to be before us, (for that would be a Contradiction) yet, by some peculiar Incident, and unexpected Event of Things, happen to oppose it in the present Case; or, which amounts to the same Thing, When there are two different Laws, which don’t interfere, and which easily may and ought to be observ’d at different Times, but can’t both of them be satisfy’d, when by some Chance, they call for our Obedience at the same Instant: In this Case we must observe some certain Rules to know which Law or Pact ought to give Place to the other, where both cannot be fulfill’d.
Book II[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Natural State of Men
I.Condition of MAN. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 1. §6, &c.In the next Place, we are to inquire concerning those Duties which are incumbent upon a Man with Regard to that particular State wherein he finds himself ordained by Providence to live in the World. What we mean by such State, is in general, that Condition or Degree with all its Relatives, in which Men being placed, they are therefore supposed to be obliged to these or those Performances: And such State, whatever it be, has some peculiar Rights and Offices thereunto belonging.1
II.Twofold. Natural and Adventitious. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 3. §24.The State of Man then may be distinguish’d into either Natural or Adventitious. The natural State, by the Help of the Light of natural Reason alone, is to be considered as Threefold, Either as it regards God our Creator, or as it concerns every single Man as to Himself, or as it affects other Men; concerning all which we have spoken before.
III.Natural State Threefold. First.The Natural State of Man consider’d in the first mention’d Way, is that Condition wherein he is placed by the Creator pursuant to his Divine Will, that he should be the most excellent Animal in the whole Creation. From the Consideration of which State, it follows, That Man ought to acknowledge the Author of his Being, to pay Him Adoration, and to admire the Works of His Hands; and moreover, to lead his life after a different Manner from that of the Brutes. So that the contrary to this State is the Life and Condition of Brutes.
IV.Second. L. N. N. l. 2. c. 2. §2.In the second Way we may contemplate the Natural State of Man, by seriously forming in our Minds an Idea of what his Condition would be, if every one were left *alone to himself without any Help from other Men.2 And in this Sense, the Natural State is opposed to a Life cultivated by the Industry of Men.
V.Third.After the third Way we are to regard the Natural State of Man, according as Men are understood to stand in respect to one another, merely from that common Alliance which results from the Likeness of their Natures, before any mutual Agreement made, or other Deed of Man perform’d, by which one could become obnoxious3 to the Power of another. In which Sense, those are said to live reciprocally in a State of Nature, who acknowledge no common Superior, and of whom none can pretend Dominion over his Fellow, and who do not render themselves known to each other, either by the doing of good Turns or Injuries. And in this Sense it is, That a Natural State is distinguish’d from a Civil State, that is, The State of Man in a Community.4
VI.Consider’d again Two ways L. N. N. l. 2. c. 2.Moreover, the Property of this Natural State may be consider’d, either as it is represented to us notionally and by way of Fiction, or as it is really and indeed. The former is done, when we imagine a certain Multitude of Men at the Beginning to have started up into Beings all at once without any Dependence upon one another, as it is fabled of the Cadmean Harvest of Brethren;5 or else when we form a Supposition, that all the mutual Ties, by which Mankind are one way or other united together, were now dissolv’d; so that every Man might set up for himself apart from the Rest, and no one Man should have any other Relation to his Fellow, but the Likeness of their Natures. But the true State of Nature, or that which is really so, has this in it, that there is no Man who has not some peculiar Obligations to some other Men, though with all the rest he may have no farther Alliance than that they are Men, and of the same Kind; and, beside what arises from thence, he owes them no Service at all. Which at this Time is the Case of many Kingdoms and Communities, and of the Subjects of the same, with respect to the Subjects of the other;6 and the same was anciently the State of the Patriarchs, when they liv’d independently.
VII.Paternal Authority.It is then taken for manifest, that all Mankind never were universally and at once in the former Natural State; for those Children who were begotten and born of the Protoplasts, or first created Man and Woman, (from whom the whole Human Race derives its Original, as the Holy Scriptures tell us) were subject to the Paternal Authority. Not but that this Natural State arose afterwards among some People; for Men at first, in order to spread over this wide World, and that they might find for themselves and their Cattle more spacious Abodes, left the Families of their Fathers, and roaming into various Regions, almost every single Man became himself the Father of a Family of his own; and the Posterity of these again dispersing themselves, that peculiar Bond of Kindred, and the Natural Affections thence arising, by little and little were extinct, and no other Obligation remain’d, but that common one, which resulted from the Likeness of their Natures: ’Till afterwards, when Mankind was vastly multiplied, they having observ’d the many Inconveniences of that loose Way of living, the Inhabitants of Places near one another, by Degrees join’d in Communities,7 which at first were small, but grew soon greater, either by the voluntary or forced Conjunction of many which were lesser. And among these Communities, the State of Nature is still found, they being not otherwise obliged to each other, than by the common Tie of Humanity.
VIII.Natural Liberty.Now it is the chief Prerogative of those who are in the State of Nature, that they are subject and accountable to none but God only; in which respect also, this is call’d a State of Natural Liberty, by which is understood, that a Person so circumstanced without some antecedent human Act to the contrary, is to be accounted absolutely in his own Power and Disposition, and above the Controll of all mortal Authority. Therefore also any one Person is to be reputed equal to any other, to whom himself is not subject, neither is that other subject to him.
And farthermore, whereas Man is indued with the Light of Reason, by the Guidance whereof he may temper and regulate his Actions, it follows, That whosoever lives in a State of Natural Liberty, depends not on any other for the Direction of his Doings; but is vested with a Right to do, according to his own Judgment and Will, any Thing he shall think good, and which is consonant to sound Reason.
And whereas Man, from that universal Inclination which is implanted in all living Creatures, cannot but, in order to the Preservation of his Person and his Life, and to the keeping off whatsoever Mischiefs seem to threaten the Destruction thereof, take the utmost Care and Pains, and apply all necessary Means to that End; and yet whereas no Man in this Natural State has any superiour Person, to whom he may submit his Designs and Opinions, therefore every one in this State makes use of his own Judgment only, in determining concerning the Fitness of Means, whether they conduce to his Self Preservation or not. For though he may give ear to the Advice of another, yet it is in his Choice, whether he will approve or reject the same. But that this absolute Power of Governing himself be rightly managed, it is highly necessary, That all his Administrations be moderated by the Dictates of true Reason, and by the Rules of the Law of Nature.
IX.Its Inconveniences.And yet this Natural State, how alluring soever it appears to us with the Name of Liberty, and flattering us with being free from all manner of Subjection, was clogg’d, before Men join’d themselves under Governments,L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §3. with many Inconveniences; whether we suppose every single Man as in that Condition, or only consider the Case of the Patriarchs or Fathers of Families, while they liv’d independent. For if you form in your Mind the Idea of a Man, even at his full Growth of Strength and Understanding, but without all those Assistances and Advantages by which the Wit of Man has rendred Human Life much more orderly and more easie than at the Beginning; you shall have before you, a naked Creature no better than dumb, wanting all Things, satisfying his Hunger with Roots and Herbs, slaking his Thirst with any Water he can find, avoiding the Extremities of the Weather, by creeping into Caves, or the like, exposed an easie Prey to the ravenous Beasts, and trembling at the Sight of any of them.
’Tis true, the Way of Living among the Patriarchs, might be somewhat more comfortable, even while they contain’d their Families apart; but yet it could by no Means be compar’d with the Life of Men in a Community; not so much for the Need they might have of Things from abroad, which, if they restrain’d their Appetites, they might perhaps well enough bear withal; as because in that State they could have little Certainty of any continu’d Security.
And, that we may comprehend all in a few words, In a State of Nature, every Man must rely upon his own single Power; whereas in a Community, all are on his Side: There no Man can be sure of enjoying the Fruit of his Labour; here every one has it secur’d to him: There the Passions rule, and there is a continual Warfare, accompanied with Fears, Want, Sordidness, Solitude, Barbarity, Ignorance, and Brutishness; here Reason governs, and here is Tranquillity, Security, Wealth, Neatness, Society, Elegancy, Knowledge, and Humanity.
X.Uncertainty of the State of Nature.9Now though it was the Will of Nature itself,9 that there should be a Sort of Kindred amongst all Mankind, by Virtue of which they might be obliged at least not to hurt one another, but rather to assist and contribute to the Benefit of their Fellows; yet this Alliance is found to be but of little Force among those who live promiscuously in a State of Natural Liberty; so that any Man who is not under the same Laws and Possibilities of Coercion with our selves, or with whom we live loosely and free from any Obligation in the said State, is not indeed to be treated as an Enemy, but may be look’d upon as a Friend, not too freely to be trusted.L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §4. And the Reason hereof is, That Man not only is accomplish’d, with an Ability to do Mischief to his Like, but for many Causes has also a Will so to do: For some, the Pravity of their Natures, Ambition, or Covetousness, incite to make Insults upon other Men; others, though of a meek and modest Nature, are forced to use Violence either in defending themselves from imminent Outrages, or by way of Prevention.
Beside that, a Rivalship in the Desire of the same Thing in some; and in others, Competition for Priority in one Quality or other, shall set them at Variance. So that in this State, ’tis hardly possible but that there should be perpetual Jealousies, Mistrusts, Designs of undoing each other, Eagerness to prevent every one his Fellow, or Hopes of making Addition to his own Strength by the Ruin of others.
Therefore as it is the Duty of every honest Man to be content with his own, and not to give Provocation to his Neighbour, nor to covet that which is his; so also it behoves him who would be as wary as is needful, and who is willing to take Care of his own Good, so to take all Men for his Friends, as not to suppose yet but that the same may quickly become his Enemies; so to cultivate Peace with all Men, as to be provided though it be never so soon changed to Enmity. And for this Reason, happy is that Commonwealth, where in Times of Quietness, Consideration is had of Requisites for War.
XI. Most convenient Remedy in Controversies. L. N. N. l. 5. c. 13.Beside, in the Natural State, if any one either will not voluntarily make good what he has covenanted to do, or does another an Injury, or if upon any other Account some Dispute arise; there’s no Man has Authority to force the naughty Person to perform his Bargain, to cause him to repair the Wrong, or to determine the Controversy; as there is in Communities, where I may have recourse for Help to the Civil Magistrate.
And here, because Nature allows not that upon every Occasion we should betake our selves to violent Means, even though we are very well satisfy’d in our Consciences of the Justice of our Cause; therefore we are first to try, whether the Matter may not be composed after a milder Way, either by an amicable Reasoning of the Point in Question between the Parties themselves, or by a free and unconditional Compromise, * or Reference of the Debate to Arbitrators. And these Referees are to manage the Matter with an equal Regard to both Sides, and in giving their Award, they are to have an Eye only to the Merits of the Cause, setting aside all partial Animosity or Affection. For which Reason, it is not best to chuse any Man an Arbitrator in such a Cause wherein he shall have greater Hopes of Profit or particular Reputation, if one Party get the better, rather than the other; and consequently where it is his Interest that that Litigant, at what Rate soever, gain the Point. Hence also there ought not to be any underhand Bargain or Promise between the Umpire and either of the Parties, by which he may be obliged to give his Judgment on the behalf of the same.
Now in this Affair, if the Arbitrator cannot find out the Truth in Fact, neither from the Confessions of the Parties, nor from apparent Writings, nor any other manifest Arguments and Signs; he must then inform himself by the Testimonies of Witnesses; whom, though the Law of Nature obliges, especially being usually reinforced by the Religion of an Oath, to speak the Truth; yet it is most safe not to admit the Evidence of such as are so peculiarly affected to one Party, that their Consciences will be forced to struggle with the Passions either of Love, Hatred, Desire of Revenge, any violent Affection of the Mind, or else some strict Friendship or Dependance; all, or any of which every Man is not endued with Constancy enough to surmount.
Controversies also are frequently made an end of by the Interposition of the common Friends of each Party, which to do, is deservedly accounted among the best Actions of a good Man. For the rest, in the Natural State, when Performances are not made good by either Side of their own Accord, the other seeks his Due after what manner he likes best.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Duties of the Married State
I.Matrimony. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1.Among those States of Man which we have call’d Adventitious, or in which a Man is placed by some antecedent human Act, Matrimony obtains the first Place. * Which also is the chief Representation of the Social Life, and the Seed-Plot of Mankind.
II.Instituted by Nature.And, first, it is certain, That that ardent Propensity found to be in both Sexes to each other, was not implanted in them by the All-wise Creator, merely that they might receive the Satisfaction of a vain Pleasure; for had it been so, nothing could have been the Occasion of greater Brutishness and Confusion in the World; but that hereby Married Persons might take the greater Delight in each other’s Company; and that both might with the more Chearfulness apply themselves to the necessary Business of Propagation, and go through those Cares and Troubles which accompany the Breeding and Education of Children. Hence it follows, That all Use of the Parts destin’d by Nature for this Work, is contrary to the Law Natural, if it tends not to this End. On which Account also, are forbidden all Lusts for a different Species, or for the same Sex; all filthy Pollutions; and indeed, all Copulations out of the State of Matrimony, whether with the mutual Consent of both Parties, or against the Will of the Woman.
III.Obligation to Matrimony. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1. §3.The Obligation under which we lye to contract Matrimony, may be consider’d either with respect to Mankind in general, or to our particular Station and Relation in the World. The Strength of the former of these, consists in this, That the Propagation of Mankind, neither can nor ought to be kept up by promiscuous and uncertain Copulations, but is to be limited and circumscribed by the Laws of Wedlock, and only to be endeavour’d in a married State: For without this no Man can imagine any Decency or orderly Society among Men, nor any Observation of the Civil Rules of Life.
But Men singly consider’d, are obliged to enter the Matrimonial State, when a convenient Occasion offers it self; whereto also not only a mature Age, and an Ability for Generation‐Work10 is necessary, but there ought beside to be a Possibility of lighting on a Person of the like Condition, and a Capacity of maintaining a Wife, and the Posterity she shall bring forth; and that the Man may be such a one as is fit to become the Master of a Family.
Not still, but that any Man is excepted from this Duty, who betakes himself to a chaste Single Life, finding his Constitution accommodated thereto, and that he is capable in that, rather than in the Married State, to be useful to Mankind, or to the Commonwealth; especially also, if the Case be so, that there is no Fear of the Want of People.
IV.Matrimonial Contract. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1. §9.Between those who are about to take upon themselves the Married State, a Contract ought, and is wont to intervene, which, if it be Regular and Perfect, consists of these Heads:
First, Because the Man (to whom it is most agreeable to the Nature of both Sexes, that the Contract should owe its Original) intends hereby to get himself Children of his own, not spurious or supposititious; therefore the Woman ought to plight her Troth 11 to the Man, That she will permit the Use of her Body to no other Man but to him; the same, on the other Hand, being requir’d of the Husband.
And, Secondly, Since nothing can be more flatly contrary to a Social and Civil Life, than a vagabond, desultory, and changeable Way of Living, without any Home, or certain Seat of his Fortunes; and since the Education of that which is the Off‐spring of both, is most conveniently taken Care of by the joint Help of both Parents together: And whereas continual Cohabitation brings more of Pleasure and Comfort to a Couple who are well match’d, whereby also the Husband may have the greater Assurance of his Wife’s Chastity; therefore the Wife does moreover ingage her Faith to her Husband, That she will always cohabit with him, and join her self in the strictest Bond of Society, and become of the same Family with him. And this mutual Promise must be supposed to be made from the Husband to her of the like Cohabitation, the Nature of this State so requiring.
But because it is not only agreeable to the natural Condition of both Sexes, that the Case of the Husband should be the more Honourable of the two; but that he should also be the Head of the Family, of which himself is the Author; it follows, That the Wife ought to be subject to his Direction in Matters relating to their mutual State and to their Household. Hence it is the Prerogative of the Husband, to chuse his Habitation, and she may not against his Will, wander abroad, or lodge apart.
Yet it does not seem essentially necessary to Matrimony, that the Man should have Power of Life and Death, or of inflicting any grievous Punishment, as neither of disposing at his Pleasure of all the Estate or Goods of his Wife: But these Points may be settled between the Married Couple, by peculiar Agreements, or by the municipal Laws of the Place.
V.One Man and one Woman. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1. §19.Now tho’ ’tis manifestly repugnant to the Law of Nature, that one Woman should have more Men than one at once; yet it obtain’d among the Jews of old, and many other Nations, that one Man might have two or more Wives. Nevertheless, let us allow never so little Weight to Arguments brought from the primitive Institution of Marriage deliver’d in Holy Writ;* yet it will appear from right Reason, That ’tis much more decent and fit for one Man to be content with one Woman. Which has been approved by the Practice of all the Christians through the World, that we know of, for so many Ages.
VI.Contract perpetual. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1. §20, 21.Nor does the Nature of this strict Union tell us less plainly, That the Bond of Matrimony ought to be perpetual, and not to be unloosed, but by the Death of one Party; except the essential Articles of the principal Matrimonial Covenant be violated, either by Adultery, or a wicked and dishonest Desertion. But for ill Dispositions, which have not the same Effect with such lewd Desertion, it has obtained among Christians, that a Separation from Bed and Board shall be sufficient, without allowing any Ingagement in a new Wedlock. And one great Reason hereof, among others, is this, That too free a Liberty of Divorce might not give Incouragement to either Party to cherish a stubborn Temper; but rather, that the irremediable State of each, might persuade both to accommodate their Humours to one another, and to stir them both up to mutual Forbearance. For the rest, if any essential Article of the Matrimonial Contract be violated, the wronged Party only is discharged from the Obligation; the same still binding the other, so long as the former shall think good.
VII.Moral Impediments. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1. §27.Any Man may contract with any Woman, where the Law makes no special Prohibition, if their Age and Constitution of Body render them capable of Matrimony, except some Moral Impediment be in the Way: Presupposing, That he or she is under a Moral Impediment, who are already married to some other Person.
VIII.Kindred L. N. N. l. 6. c. 1. §28.And it is accounted a Moral Impediment of lawful Matrimony, if the Parties are too nearly allied by Blood or by Affinity. On which Score, even by the Law of Nature, those Marriages are accounted incestuous and wicked, which are contracted between any Persons related in the Ascending or Descending Line. And for those in the other transverse Order, as with the Aunt, either on the Father’s or Mother’s Side, the Sister, &c. As also those in Affinity, as, with the Mother-in-law, Step-Mother, Step-Daughter, &c. Not only the positive Divine Law, but that of most civiliz’d Nations, with whom also all Christians agree, does abominate. Nay, the Special Laws of many Countries forbid Marriage even in the more remote Degrees, that so they may keep Men from breaking in upon those which are more sacred, by setting the Barrier at a greater Distance.
IX.Ceremony.Now as the Laws are wont to assign to other Contracts and Bargains some Solemnities, which being wanting, the Act shall not be adjudged of Validity: So also it is in Matrimony, where the Laws require, for the sake of Decency and good Order, that such or such Ceremonies be performed. And these, though not injoined by the Law Natural, yet without the same, those who are Subjects of such a Community,12 shall not consummate a legal Matrimony; or at least, such Contract shall not be allowed by the Publick to be effectual.
X.Mutual Duties.It is the Duty of a Husband to love his Wife, to cherish, direct and protect her; and of the Wife to love and honour her Husband, to be assistant to him, not only in begetting and educating his Children, but to bear her Part in the Domestick Cares. On both sides, the Nature of so strict an Union requires, That the Married Couple be Partakers as well in the good as ill Fortune of either, and that one succour the other in all Cases of Distress; moreover, That they prudently accommodate their Humours to each other; in which Matter, it is the Wife’s Duty to submit.[Back to Table of Contents]
Duty of Parents and Children
I.Paternal Authority. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2.From Matrimony proceeds Posterity,13 which is subjected to the Paternal Power,* the most Ancient and the most Sacred Kind of Authority, whereby Children are obliged to reverence their Parents, to obey their Commands, and to acknowledge their Pre-eminence.
II. Its Foundation Twofold.The Authority of Parents over their Children, hath its chief Foundation on a Twofold Cause.
First, Because the Law of Nature it self, when Man was made a Sociable Creature, injoin’d to Parents the Care of their Children; and lest they should herein be negligent, Nature implanted in them a most tender Affection for their Issue. Now that this Care may be rightly managed, it is requisite that they have a Power of ordering the Actions of their Children for their Good; because these, as yet, understand not, for want of Discretion, how to govern themselves.
Next, This Authority is also grounded on the tacit Consent of their Offspring. For it may fairly be presum’d, that if an Infant, at the Time of its Birth, had the Use of its Reason, and saw that its Life could not be preserv’d without the Care of the Parents, to which must be join’d a Power over it self, it would readily consent to the same, and desire for it self a comfortable Education from them. And this Power is actually in the Parents, then when they breed and nurse up the Child, and form him as well as they can, that he may become a fit Member of Human Society.
III.Which Parent has greater Right. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §4.But whereas the Mother concurs no less than the Father to the Generation of Children, and so the Offspring is common to both, it may be inquir’d, Which hath the greatest Right thereto? Concerning which Point we are to distinguish: For if the Issue were begotten not in Matrimony, the same shall be rather the Mother’s, because here the Father cannot be known, except the Mother discover him. Among those also who live in a State of Natural Liberty, and above Laws, it may be agreed, that the Mother’s Claim shall be preferr’d to that of the Father. But in Communities,14 which have their Formation from Men, the Matrimonial Contract regularly commencing on the Man’s Side, and he becoming the Head of the Family, the Father’s Right shall take Place, so as though the Child is to pay the Mother all Reverence and Gratitude, yet is it not obliged to obey her, when she bids that to be done which is contrary to the just Commands of the Father. Yet upon the Father’s Decease, his Authority over his Child, especially if not of Age, seems to devolve upon the Mother, and if she marry again, it passes to the Step-Father, he being esteemed to succeed to the Trust and Care of a Natural Father. And he who shall allow liberal Education to an Orphan or a forsaken Child, shall have a Right to exact filial Obedience from the same.
IV.Paternal Authority distinguish’d. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §6.But that we may handle more accurately the Power of Parents over their Children, we must distinguish, first, between Patriarchs, or Chiefs of independent Families; and such as are Members of a Community; 15 and then betwixt the Power of a Father, as Father, and his Power as Head of his Family. And whereas it is injoyn’d by Nature to a Father as such, That he bring up his Children well, in order to render ’em fit Members of Human Society, so long as ’till they can take Care of themselves; hence he has so much Power given him over them, as is necessary for this End; which therefore by no means extends it self so as to give the Parents Liberty to destroy their unborn Offspring, or to cast away or kill it when it is born. For though it is true, the Issue is of the Substance of the Parents, yet it is placed in a Human State equal to themselves, and capable of receiving Injuries from them. Neither also does this Authority vest them with the Exercise of a Power of Life and Death, upon Occasion of any Fault, but only allows them to give moderate Chastisement; since the Age we speak of is too tender to admit of such heinous Crimes as are to be punished with Death. But if a Child shall stubbornly spurn at all Instruction, and become hopeless of Amendment, the Father may turn him out of his own House, and abdicate or renounce him.
V.Childhood. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §7.Moreover, This Power, thus nicely taken, may be considered according to the diverse Age of Children. For in their early Years, when their Reason is come to no Maturity, all their Actions are subject to the Direction of their Parents. During which Time, if any Estate fall to the young Person, it ought to be put into the Possession, and under the Administration of the Father, so that the Property be still reserved to the Child; tho’ it may be reasonable enough that the Profits arising therefrom should be the Father’s till the other arrive at Manhood. So also any Advantage or Profit that can be made by the Labour of a Son, ought to accrew to the Parent; since with the Latter lies all the Care of maintaining and of educating the Former.
VI.Manhood. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §11.When Children are come to Man’s Estate, when they are indued with a competent Share of Discretion, and yet continue themselves a Part of the Father’s Family, then the Power which the Father hath comes differently to be considered, either as he is a Father, or as Head of the Family. And since in the former Case he makes his End to be the Education and Government of his Children, it is plain, That when they are of ripe Years, they are to be obedient to the Authority of their Parents, as wiser than themselves. And whosoever expects to be maintain’d upon what his Father has, and afterwards to succeed to the Possession of the same, is obliged to accommodate himself to the Methods of his Paternal Household; the Management whereof ought to be in his Father’s Power.
VII.Patriarchs Power abridged. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §6.Patriarchs, or Heads of independent Families, before they join’d in Communities,16 acted in many Cases after the manner of Princes, in their Houses. So that their Progeny, who continued a Part of their Families, paid the highest Veneration to their Authority. But afterward, this Family-Royalty (as well as some other private Rights) was moderated for the Benefit and Order of Communities; and in some Places more, in others less of Power was left to Parents. Hence we see that, in some Governments, Fathers have in Criminal Cases a Power of Life and Death over their Children; but in most it is not allowed, either for fear Parents should abuse this Prerogative to the Detriment of the Publick, or to the unjust Oppression of those so subjected; or, lest thro’ the Tenderness of Paternal Affection, many Vices should pass unpunished, which might break forth one time or other into publick Mischiefs; or else, that Fathers might not be under a Necessity of pronouncing sad and ungrateful Sentences.
VIII.17 Marriage with Parents Consent. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §14.And as the Father ought not to turn his Child out of his Family, while he stands in Need of Education and Assistance from him, without the most weighty Reasons; so also ought not the Son or Daughter leave the Parent’s House without his Consent. Now whereas Children frequently leave their Father’s Family on Occasion of Matrimony; and since it much concerns Parents what Persons their Children are married to, and from whom they are to expect Grand-Children; hence it is a Part of filial Duty, herein to comply with the Will of the Parents, and not to marry without their Consent. But if any do actually contract Matrimony against their Liking, and consummate the same, such Marriage seems not to be void by the Law of Nature, especially if they intend to be no longer burthensome to their Parents, and that for the rest their Condition be not scandalous. So that if in any Country such Marriages are accounted null and void, it proceeds from the Municipal Laws of the Place.
IX.Piety ever due to Parents. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §12.But when a Son or Daughter have left their Father’s House, and either have set up a new Family of their own, or joined to another; the Paternal Authority indeed ceases, but Piety and Observance is for ever due, as being founded in the Merits of the Parents, whom Children can never or very seldom be supposed to requite. Now these Merits do not consist in this only, That a Parent is to his Child the Author of Life, without which no Good can be injoyed; but that they bestow also a chargeable and painful Education upon them, that so they may become useful Parts of Human Society; and very often lay up somewhat for them, in order to make their Lives more easie and comfortable.
X.Education intrusted. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 2. §6.And yet, though the Education of Children be a Duty laid upon Parents by Nature it self, it hinders not but that, either in Case of Necessity, or for the Benefit of the Children, the Care thereof may by them be intrusted with another; so still that the Parent reserve to himself the Oversight of the Person deputed. Hence it is, that a Father may not only commit his Son to the Tutorage of proper Teachers; but he may give him to another Man to adopt him, if he perceives it will be advantagious to him. And if he have no other Way to maintain him, rather than he should die for Want, he may hire him out for Wages, or sell him into some tolerable Servitude, reserving still a Liberty of redeeming him, as soon as either himself shall be able to be at the Charge, or any of his Kindred shall be willing to do it. But if any Parent shall inhumanly expose and forsake their Child, he who shall take it up and educate it, shall have the Fatherly Authority over it; so that the Foster Child shall be bound to pay filial Obedience to his Educator.
XI.Duty of Parents.The Duty of Parents consists chiefly in this, That they maintain their Children handsomly, and that they so form their Bodies and Minds by a skilful and wise Education, as that they may become fit and useful Members of Human and Civil Society, Men of Probity, Wisdom, and good Temper. So that they may apply themselves to some fit and honest Way of Living, by which they may, as their Genius and Opportunity shall offer, raise and increase their Fortunes.
XII.Duty of Children.On the other Hand, ’tis the Duty of Children to honour their Parents, that is, to give them Reverence, not only in outward Shew, but much more with a hearty Respect, as the Authors not only of their Lives, but of many other invaluable Benefits to ’em; to obey ’em; to be assistant to ’em to their utmost, especially if they are Aged, or in Want; not to undertake any Business of Moment, without paying a Deference to their Advice and Opinion; and, lastly, To bear with Patience their Moroseness, and any other their Infirmities, if any such be.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duties of Masters and Servants
I.Servile State how begun. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 3.After Mankind came to be multiplied and it was found how conveniently Domestic Affairs might be managed by the Service of other Men, * it early became a Practice to take Servants into a Family, to do the Offices belonging to the House. These at first probably offer’d themselves, driven thereto by Necessity, or a Consciousness of their own Want of Understanding; but upon being assur’d that they should constantly be supplied with Food and Necessaries, they devoted all their Services for ever to some Master: And then Wars raging up and down the World, * it grew a Custom with most Nations, that those Captives, to whom they granted their Lives, should be made Slaves ever after, together with the Posterity born of them; though in many Countries, no such Servitude is in Use; but all Domestic Offices are perform’d by mercenary Servants hired for a certain Time.
II.A Temporary Servant. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 3. §4.Now as there are several Degrees, as it were, of Servitude, so the Power of the Masters, and the Condition of the Servants do vary. To a Servant hired for a Time, the Duty of the Master is to pay him his Wages; the other making good on his Part the Work as agreed for: And because in this Contract the Condition of the Master is the better, therefore such Servant is also to pay Respect to his Master according to his Dignity; and if he have done his Business knavishly or negligently, he is liable to Punishment from him; provided it go not so far as any grievous Maiming of his Body, much less so far as Infliction of Death.
III.A Voluntary Perpetual Servant.But to such a Servant as voluntarily offers himself to perpetual Servitude, the Master is obliged to allow perpetual Maintenance, and all Necessaries for this Life; it being his Duty on the other hand to give his constant Labour in all Services whereto his Master shall command him, and whatsoever he shall gain thereby, he is to deliver to him. In thus doing, however, the Master is to have a Regard to the Strength and Dexterity of his Servant, not exacting rigorously of him what is above his Power to do. Now this Sort of Servant is not only subject to the Chastisement of his Master for his Negligence, but the same may correct his Manners, which ought to be accommodated to preserve Order and Decency in the Family: But he may not sell him against his Will; because he chose this for his Master of his own Accord, and not another; and it concerns him much with whom he serves. If he have been guilty of any heinous Crime against one not of the same Family, he is subject to the Civil Power, if he live in a Community; but if the Family be independent, he may be expell’d. But if the Crime be against the same Family, it being independent, the Head thereof may inflict even Capital Punishment.
IV.Captive Slaves L. N. N. l. 6. c. 3. §7Captives in War being made Slaves, are frequently treated with greater Severity, something of a hostile Rage remaining towards ’em, and for that they attempted the worst upon us and our Fortunes. But as soon as there intervenes a mutual Trust, in order to Cohabitation in the Family, between the Victor and the vanquish’d Person, all past Hostility is to be accounted as forgiven: And then the Master does Wrong even to a Servant thus acquir’d, if he allow him not Necessaries for Life, or exercise Cruelty to him without Cause, and much more if he take away his Life, when he has commited no Fault to deserve it.
V.AlienableIt is also the Practice to pass away our Property in such Slaves who are taken in War, or bought with our Money, to whom we please, after the same manner as we do our other Goods and Commodities; so that the Body of such Servant is holden to be a Chattel of his Master. And yet here Humanity bids us not to forget that this Servant is a Man, however, and therefore ought not to be treated as we do our Moveables, use ’em or abuse ’em, or destroy ’em as we list. And when we are minded to part with him, we ought not to deliver him into the Hands of such, as we know will abuse him inhumanly and undeservedly.
VI.Offspring of Slaves. L. N. N. l. 6. c. 3. §9.Lastly, ’Tis every where allow’d, That the Progeny of Parents who are Bondmen, are also in a servile State, and belong as Slaves to the Owner of their Mother. Which is justified by this Maxim, That whosoever is Proprietor of the Body, is also Proprietor of whatsoever is the Product thereof, and because such Issue had never been born, if the Master had executed the Rigor of War upon the Parent; and for that the Parent having nothing she can call her own, the Offspring cannot otherwise be brought up but at her Master’s Charge. Whereas, therefore, the Master afforded such Infant Nourishment, long before his Service could be of any Use to him; and whereas all the following Services of his Life could not much exceed the Value of his Maintenance, he is not to leave his Master’s Service without his Consent. But ’tis manifest, That since these Bondmen came into a State of Servitude not by any Fault of their own, there can be no Pretence that they should be otherwise dealt withal, than as if they were in the Condition of perpetual hired Servants.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Impulsive Cause of Constituting Communities18
I.This Inquiry necessary. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1.Altho’ there be hardly any Delight or Advantage, but what may be obtain’d from those Duties, of which we have already discours’d; it remains, nevertheless, that we inquire into the Reasons, why Men, not contenting themselves with those primitive and small Societies, have founded such as are more ample, call’d Communities.19 For from these Grounds and Foundations is to be deduced the Reason of those Duties, which merely relate to the Civil State of Mankind.
II.Difficulty herein. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §2.Here, therefore, it suffices not to say, That Man is by Nature inclin’d to Civil Society, so as he neither can nor will live without it.20 For since, indeed, it is evident, that Man is such a Kind of Creature, as has a most tender Affection for himself and his own Good; it is manifest, that when he so earnestly seeks after Civil Society, he respects some particular Advantage that will accrue to him thence. And altho’ without Society with his Fellow-Creatures, Man would be the most miserable of all Creatures; yet since the natural Desires and Necessities of Mankind might be abundantly satisfied by those primitive Kind of Societies, and by those Duties to which we are obliged, either by Humanity or Contracts; it cannot immediately be concluded from this natural Society between Man and Man, that his Nature and Temper does directly incline him to the forming of Civil Communities.
III.Twofold Inquiry. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §4.Which will more evidently appear, if we consider, What Condition Mankind is placed in by the Constitution of Civil Communities: What that Condition is, which Men enter into when they make themselves Members of a Civil State:21 What Qualities they are which properly intitle them to the Name of Political Creatures, and render them good Patriots or Subjects to the State.22 And, lastly, What there is in their Frame and Constitution, which seems, as we may say, to indispose them for living in a Civil Community.23
IV.Natural State.Whosoever becomes a Subject,24 immediately loses his Natural Liberty, and submits himself to some Authority, which is vested with the Power of Life and Death; and by the Commands of which, many Things must be done, which otherwise he would have been no ways willing to do, and many Things must be let alone, to which he had a strong Inclination: Besides, most of his Actions must terminate in the Publick Good, which in many Cases seems to clash with Private Men’s Advantage. But Man by his Natural Inclinations is carried to this, To be subject to no one, to do all Things as he lists, and in every thing to consult his single Advantage.
V.The Qualities of a good Member of the Community.But we call him a (Political Animal or) True Patriot, and Good Subject,25 who readily obeys the Commands of his Governours; who endeavours with his utmost to promote the Publick Good, and next to that, regards his Private Affairs; nay, more, who esteems nothing profitable to himself, unless the same be likewise profitable to the Community; lastly, who carries himself fairly towards his Fellow-Subjects. But there are few Men to be found, whose Tempers are naturally thus well inclin’d. The greater Part being restrain’d merely for fear of Punishment; and many continue all their Lifetime ill Subjects and unsociable Creatures.
VI.How Men naturally disturb and hinder the Benefits of Society. L. N. N. l. 1. c. 3. §4.Farthermore, there is no Creature whatsoever more fierce or untameable than Man, or which is prone to more Vices that are apt to disturb the Peace and Security of the Publick. For besides his inordinate Appetite to Eating, Drinking, and Venery, to which Brute Beasts are likewise subject, Mankind is inclin’d to many Vices, to which Brutes are altogether Strangers; as is the unsatiable Desire and Thirst after those Things which are altogether superfluous and unnecessary, and above all to that worst of Evils, Ambition; also a too lasting Resentment and Memory of Injuries, and a Desire of Revenge increasing more and more by Length of Time; besides an infinite Diversity of Inclinations and Affections, and a certain Stiffness and Obstinacy in every one to indulge his own particular Humour and Fancy. Moreover, Man takes so great Delight in exercising his Cruelty over his Fellow Creatures, that the greatest Part of the Evils and Mischiefs, to which Mankind is obnoxious,26 is wholly owing to the merciless Rage and Violence of Men to each other.
VII.Reason of Change. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §7.Therefore the genuine and principal Reason which induced Masters of Families to quit their own natural Liberty, and to form themselves into Communities,27 was, That they might provide for themselves a Security and Defence against the Evils and Mischiefs that are incident to Men from one another.28 For as, next under God, one Man is most capable of being helpful to another; so nothing is able to create Man more Distress, and work him more Mischief, than Man himself; and those Persons have entertain’d a right Conception of the Malice of Men, and the Remedy thereof, who have admitted this as a common Maxim and Proverb; That unless there were Courts of Judicature, one Man would devour another. But after that, by the Constituting of Communities, Men were reduced into such an Order and Method, that they might be safe and secure from mutual Wrongs and Injuries among themselves, it was by that means provided, that thereby they might the better enjoy those Advantages, which are to be reap’d and expected from one another; to wit, That they might from their Childhood be brought up and instructed in good Manners, and that they might invent and improve several Kinds of Arts and Sciences, whereby the Life of Man might be better provided and furnished with necessary Conveniences.
VIII.Farther Penalties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §8.And the Reason will be yet more cogent for the Constituting of Communities, if we consider, that other Means would not have been capable of curbing the Malice of Men. For although we are enjoyn’d by the Law of Nature not to do any Injury one to another; yet the Respect and Reverence to that Law is not of that Prevalence as to be a sufficient Security for Men to live altogether quietly and undisturbed in their Natural Liberty.
For although by Accident, there may be found some few Men of that moderate quiet Temper and Disposition, that they would do no Injury to others, tho’ they might escape unpunish’d; and there may be likewise some others, that in some measure bridle in their disorderly Affections thro’ fear of some Mischief that may ensue from thence; yet, on the contrary, there are a great Number of such, as have no Regard at all to Law or Justice, whenever they have any Prospect of Advantage, or any Hopes, by their own subtle Tricks and Contrivances, of being too hard for, and deluding the injur’d Party. And as it behoves every one, that would take care of his own Safety, to endeavour to secure himself against this Sort of Persons; so no better Care and Provision can be made, than by means of these Communities and Civil Societies. For altho’ some particular Persons may mutually agree together to assist each other; yet unless there be some Way found out, whereby their Opinions and Judgments may be united together, and their Wills may be more firmly bound to the Performance of what they have agreed upon, it will be in vain for any one to expect and rely upon any certain Succour and Assistance from them.
IX.Advantage of Penalties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 1. §11.Lastly, Altho’ the Law of Nature does sufficiently insinuate unto Men, that they who do any Violence or Injury to other Men, shall not escape unpunished; yet neither the Fear and Dread of a Divine Being, nor the Stings of Conscience are found to be of sufficient Efficacy to restrain the Malice and Violence of all Men.29 For very many Persons, thro’ the Prejudice of Custom and Education, are, as it were, altogether deaf to the Force and Power of Reason. Whence it comes to pass, that they are only intent upon such Things as are present, taking very little Notice of those Things which are future; and that they are affected only with those Things which make a present Impression upon their Senses. But since the Divine Vengeance is wont to proceed on but slowly; from whence many ill Men have taken Occasion to refer their Evils and Misfortunes to other Causes; especially since they very often see wicked Men enjoy a Plenty and Abundance of those Things wherein the vulgar Sort esteem their Happiness and Felicity to consist. Besides, the Checks of Conscience, which preceed any wicked Action, seem not to be of that Force and Efficacy, as that Punishment which follows the Commission of the Fact, when, that which is done, cannot possibly be undone. And therefore the most present and effectual Remedy, for the quelling and suppressing the evil Desires and Inclinations of Men, is to be provided by the Constituting of Civil Societies.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Internal Frame and Constitution of any State or Government
I.Conjunction necessary. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 2.The next Enquiry we are to make, is upon what Bottom Civil Societies have been erected, and wherein their Internal Constitution does consist. Where, in the first Place, this is manifest, That neither any Place, nor any Sort of Weapons, nor any Kind of brute Creatures can be capable of affording any sufficient and safe Guard or Defence against the Injuries to which all Men are liable, by reason of the Pravity of Mankind: From such Dangers, Men alone can afford an agreeable Remedy by joining their Forces together, by interweaving their Interests and Safety, and by forming a general Confederacy for their mutual Succour; that therefore this End might be obtain’d effectually, it was necessary that those who sought to bring it about, should be firmly joined together and associated into Communities.
II.Numbers Necessary. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §2.Nor is it less evident, that the Consent and Agreement of Two or Three particular Persons cannot afford this Security against the Violence of other Men: Because it may easily happen, that such a Number may conspire the Ruin of those few Persons, as may be able to assure themselves of a certain Victory over them; and ’tis very likely they would with the greater Boldness go about such an Enterprise, because of their certain Hopes of Success and Impunity. To this end therefore it is necessary, that a very considerable Number of Men should unite together, that so the Overplus of a few Men to the Enemies, may not be of any great Moment to determine the Victory to their Side.
III.Agreement to be perpetual. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §3.Among those many, which join together in order to this End, it is absolutely requisite that there be a perfect Consent and Agreement concerning the Use of such Means as are most conducive to the End aforesaid. For even a great Multitude of Men, if they do not agree among themselves, but are divided and separated in their Opinions, will be capable of effecting but very little; Or, although they may agree for a certain Time, by reason of some present Motion or Disposition of the Mind; yet as the Tempers and Inclinations of Men are very variable, they presently afterwards may divide into Parties. And although by Compact they engaged among themselves, that they would employ all their Force for the common Defence and Security; yet neither by this Means is there sufficient Provision made, that this Agreement of the Multitude shall be permanent and lasting: But something more than all this, is requisite, to wit, That they who have once entered into a mutual League and Defence for the Sake of the Publick Good, should be debarr’d from separating themselves afterwards, when their private Advantage may seem any ways to clash with the Publick Good.30
IV.Faults herein how remedied. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §5.But there are two Faults, which are chiefly incident to Human Nature, and which are the Occasion that many who are at their own Liberty, and independent one upon the other, cannot long hold together for the promoting of any Publick Design. The One is the Contrariety of Inclinations and Judgments in determining what is most conducive to such an End; to which in many there is join’d a Dulness of Apprehending which, of several Means propos’d, is more advantagious than the rest; and a certain Obstinacy in defending whatsoever Opinion we have embraced. The other is a certain Carelesness and Abhorrence of doing that freely, which seems to be convenient and requisite, whensoever there is no absolute Necessity, that compels them, whether they will or no, to the Performance of their Duty. The First of these Defects may be prevented by a lasting Uniting of all their Wills and Affections together. And the Latter may be remedied by the constituting of such a Power as may be able to inflict a present and sensible Penalty upon such as shall decline their Contributing to the Publick Safety.
V.Union of Wills.The Wills and Affections of a great Number of Men cannot be united by any better means, than when every one is willing to submit his Will to the Will of one particular Man, or one Assembly of Men; so that afterwards whatsoever he or they shall will or determine concerning any Matters or Things necessary for the Publick Safety, shall be esteemed as the Will of All and every particular Person.31
VI.And of Forces.Now such a Kind of Power, as may be formidable to All, can by no better means be constituted among a great Number of Men, than when All and every one shall oblige themselves, to make Use of their Strength after that Manner, as he shall command, to whom All Persons must submit and resign the Ordering and Direction of their united Forces: And when there is an Union made of their Wills and Forces, then this Multitude of Men may be said to be animated and incorporated into a firm and lasting Society.32
VII.Other Requisites. Two Covenants. The First. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §6.Moreover, that any Society may grow together after a regular Manner, there are required Two Covenants, and One Decree, or Constitution.33 For, first, Of all those many, who are supposed to be in a Natural Liberty, when they are joined together for the forming and constituting any Civil Society, every Person enters into Covenant with each other, That they are willing to come into one and the same lasting Alliance and Fellowship, and to carry on the Methods of their Safety and Security by a common Consultation and Management among themselves: In a Word, That they are willing to be made Fellow Members of the same Society.34 To which Covenant, it is requisite, that All and singular Persons do consent and agree, and he that does not give his Consent, remains excluded from such Society.35
VIII.Constitution.After this Covenant, it is necessary, that there should be a Constitution agreed on by a publick Decree, setting forth, what Form of Government is to be pitched upon. For ’till this be determined, nothing with any Certainty can be transacted, which may conduce to the publick Safety.
IX.The other covenant. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §8.After this Decree concerning the Form of Government, there is Occasion for another Covenant, when he or they are nominated and constituted upon whom the Government of this Rising Society is conferr’d; by which Covenant the Persons that are to govern, do oblige themselves to take Care of the Common Safety, and the other Members do in like manner oblige themselves to yield Obedience to them; whereby also all Persons do submit their Will to the Will and Pleasure of him or them, and they do at the same Time convey and make over to him or them the Power of making Use of, and applying their united Strength, as shall seem most convenient for the Publick Security. And when this Covenant is duly and rightly executed, thence, at last, arises a complete and regular Government.
X.A Community defined. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §13.A Civil Society and Government, thus constituted, is look’d upon as if it were but One Person, and is known and distinguished from every particular Man by one Common Name; and it has peculiar Rights and Privileges, which neither each One alone, nor Many, nor All together can claim to themselves, without him, who is the Supreme, or to whom the Administration of the Government is committed.36 Whence a Civil Society is defined to be, One Person morally incorporated, whose Will containing the Covenants of many united together, is looked upon and esteemed as the Will of All; so that he is in a Capacity of making Use of the Strength and Power of every particular Person for the Common Peace and Security.
XI.How subjected to One. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §14.Now the Will and Intention of any Constituted Government or Society exerts it self, as the Principle of Publick Actions, either by one particular Person, or by one Council or Assembly, according as the Power of Managing Affairs is conferr’d on him, or on such an Assembly. Where the Government of the State is in the Power of One Man, the said Society is supposed to will, whatsoever shall be the Will and Pleasure of that Man, allowing that he is in his perfect Senses; and it being about those Affairs which only relate to Government.37
XII.How to many. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §15.But when the Government of a State is conferr’d upon a Council, consisting of several Men, every one of them retaining his own Natural Free-Will, that regularly is esteemed to be the Will and Pleasure of the State, whereto the Major Part of the Persons, of whom the Council is composed, does give their Assent; unless it be expressly declared, how great a Part of the Council consenting is required to represent the Will of the Whole. But where two differing Opinions are equally balanced on both sides, there is nothing at all to be concluded upon, but the Affair still remains in its former State. When there are several differing Opinions, that shall prevail which has more Voices than any of the other differing Opinions, provided so many concur therein, as otherwise might have represented the Will and Pleasure of the Whole, according to the Publick Constitutions.
XIII.Various Forms of Government. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 2. §20.A State or Government being thus constituted, the Party on whom the Supreme Power is conferr’d, either as it is a single Person, or a Council consisting of select Persons, or of All in General, is called a Monarchy, an Aristocracy, or a Free State; the rest are looked upon as Subjects or Citizens, the Word being taken in the most comprehensive Sense: Although, in Strictness of Speech, some call only those Citizens, who first met and agreed together in the forming of the said Society, or else such who succeeded in their Place, to wit, House-holders or Masters of Families.
Moreover, Citizens are either Originally so; that is, such as are born in the Place, and upon that Account claim their Privileges: Or else Adscititious; that is, such as come from Foreign Parts.
Of the first Sort, are either those who at first were present and concerned in the forming the said Society, or their Descendants, whom we call Indigenae, or Natives.
Of the other Sort are those who come from Foreign Parts in order to settle themselves there. As for those who come thither only to make a short Stay, although they are for that Time subject to the Laws of the Place; nevertheless, they are not looked upon as Citizens, but are called Strangers or Sojourners.
XIV.Government from GOD. L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 3.Not that what we have delivered concerning the Original of Civil Societies, does any ways hinder, but that Civil Government may be truly said to be from GOD. For it being his Will, that the Practices of Men should be ordered according to the Law of Nature; and yet upon the Multiplication of Mankind, Human Life would have become so horrid and confused, that hardly any Room would have been left for the same to exert its Authority; and seeing the Exercise thereof would be much improved by the Institution of Civil Societies; therefore (since He who commands the End, must be supposed to command likewise the Means necessary to the said End) God also, by the Mediation of the Dictates of Reason, is to be understood antecedently to have willed, That Mankind, when they were multiplyed, should erect and constitute Civil Societies, which are, as it were, animated with a Supreme Authority. The Degrees whereof He expressly approves in Divine Writ, ratifying their Divine Institution by a peculiar Law, and declaring, That Himself takes them into his especial Care and Protection.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the several Parts of Government38
I.L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4.What are the Constituent Parts of Supreme Power, and by what Methods it exerts its Force in Civil Societies, may easily be gather’d from the Nature and End of the said Societies.
II.Will of the Supreme to be made known. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §2.In a Civil Society all Persons are supposed to have submitted their Will to the Will and Pleasure of the Governours, in such Affairs as concern the Safety of the Publick, being willing to do whatsoever they require. That this may be effected, it is necessary, that the Governors do signify to those who are to be governed, what their Will and Pleasure is concerning such Matters. And this they do, not only by their Commands, directed to particular Persons about particular Affairs; but also by certain general Rules, whence all Persons may, at all Times, have a clear and distinct Knowlege of what they are to do or omit. By which likewise it is commonly defined and determined what ought to be looked upon to be each Man’s Right and Property, and what does properly belong to another; * what is to be esteemed Lawful, and what Unlawful in any Publick Society; what Commendable, or what Base; what every Man may do by his own Natural Liberty, or how every one may dispose and order his own particular Rights towards the Advancement of the common Peace and Tranquillity: In fine, what, and after what manner, every one by Right may lay Claim to from another. For it conduces very much to the Peace and Prosperity of any Civil Society, that all these Things should be clearly and plainly laid down and determined.
III.Penalty. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §3.Moreover, this is the Chief End of Civil Societies, That Men, by a mutual Agreement and Assistance of one another, might be secured against the Injuries and Affronts, which may, and very often do, befall us by the Violence of other Men. Now that this End may the better be obtained by those Men, with whom we are link’d together in the same Society; it is not sufficient, that they should mutually agree among themselves not to injure one another: Nor is it enough, that the bare Will and Pleasure of the Supreme Magistrate should be made known to them; but ’tis likewise requisite, that there should be a certain Fear and Dread of Punishment, and a Power and Ability of inflicting the same. Which Punishment or Penalty, that it may be sufficient for this End, is to be so ordered, that there may plainly appear a greater Damage in violating the Laws, than in observing them; and that so the Sharpness and Severity of the Penalty, may outweigh the Pleasure and Advantage gotten, or expected by doing the Injury: Because it is impossible but that of two Evils Men should chuse the least. For although there are many Men who are not restrained from doing Injuries by any Prospect of Punishment hanging over their Heads; yet that is to be looked upon as a Case that rarely happens, and such as, considering the present Condition and Frailty of Mankind, cannot be wholly avoided.
IV.Controversies. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §4.Because also it very often happens, that many Controversies do arise about the right Application of the Laws to some particular Matters of Fact, and that many Things are to be nicely and carefully considered in order to determine whether such a Fact may be said to be against Law; therefore, in order to the Establishment of Peace and Quietness amongst the Subjects, it is the Part of the supreme Governour to take Cognizance of, and determine the Controversies arising between Subject and Subject, and carefully to examine the Actions of particular Persons, which are found to be contrary to Law, and to pronounce and execute such Sentence as shall be agreeable to the same Law.
V.Power of Peace and War. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §5.But that those, who by mutual Agreement have constituted a Civil Society, may be safe against the Insults of Strangers, the supreme Magistrate has Power to assemble, to unite into a Body, and to arm, or, instead of that, to list as many Mercenaries as may seem necessary, considering the uncertain Number and Strength of the Enemy, for the maintaining the publick Security; and it is likewise intirely left to the Discretion of the same Magistrate, to make Peace whenever he shall think convenient.
And since, both in Times of Peace and War, Alliances and Leagues with other Princes and States are of very great Use and Importance, that so the different Advantages of divers States and Governments may the better be communicated to each other, and the Enemy, by their joint Forces, may be repulsed with the greater Vigour, or be more easily brought to Terms. It is also absolutely in the Power of the supreme Magistrate to enter into such Leagues and Treaties as he shall think convenient to each Occasion; and to oblige all his Subjects to the Observation of them, and at once to derive and convey down to the whole Civil Society, all the Benefits and Advantages thence arising.
VI.Publick Officers. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §6.Seeing also the Affairs of any considerable State, as well in Time of War as Peace, cannot well be managed by one Person, without the Assistance of subordinate Ministers and Magistrates, it is requisite that able Men should be appointed by the supreme Magistrate, to decide and determine in his Room39 the Controversies arising between Subject and Subject; to inquire into the Councils of the Neighbouring Princes and States; to govern the Soldiery; to collect and distribute the publick Revenue: and, lastly, in every Place to take special Care of the Common Good. And from each of these Persons the supreme Magistrate may, and ought to exact the Performance of their Duty, and require an Account of their Behaviour in their respective Stations.
VII.Taxes. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §7.And because the Concerns of any Civil Society can, neither in Time of War nor Peace, be managed without Expences, the supreme Authority has Power to compel the Subjects to provide the same. Which is done several Ways; either when the Community appropriates a certain Portion of the Revenues of the Country they possess, for this Purpose; or when each Subject contributes something out of his own Estate, and, if Occasion requires, gives also his personal Help and Assistance; or when Customs are set upon Commodities imported and exported, (of which the first chiefly affects the Subjects, and the other Foreigners;) or, lastly, when some moderate Tax is laid on those Commodities which are spent.
VIII.Publick Doctrines. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 4. §8.To conclude: Since the Actions of each Person are governed by his own particular Opinion, and that most People are apt to pass such a Judgment upon Things as they have been accustomed unto, and as they commonly see other People judge; so that very few are capable of discerning what is just and honest; upon this Account therefore it is expedient for any Civil Society, that such Kind of Doctrines should be publickly taught, as are agreeable to the right End and Design of such Societies, and that the Minds of the Inhabitants should be seasoned betimes with these Principles. * It does therefore belong to the supreme Magistrate to constitute and appoint fitting Persons to inform and instruct them publickly in such Doctrines.
IX.All these Parts concentered.Now these several Parts of Government are naturally so connected, that to have a regular Form suitable to any civil Society, all these Parts thereof ought radically to center in One.40 For if any Part be wanting, the Government is defective, and uncapable of procuring its End. But if these several Parts be divided, so that some of them be radically here, and others there, hence of Necessity will follow an irregular and incoherent State of Things.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the several Forms of Government41
I.Diverse Forms. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5.The Supreme Power consider’d either as it resides in a Single Man, or in a Select Council or Assembly of Men, or of All in General, produces diverse Forms of Government.
II.Regular and Irregular.Now the Forms of Government are either Regular or Irregular. Of the first Sort are those where the supreme Power is so united in one particular Subject, that the same being firm and intire, it carries on, by one supreme Will, the whole Business of Government. Where this is not found, the Form of Government must of Necessity be Irregular.
III.Three Regular Forms. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §2.There are Three Regular Forms of Government:42 The First is, When the supreme Authority is in One Man; and that is call’d a Monarchy. The Second, When the same is lodged in a select Number of Men; and that is an Aristocracy. The Third, When it is in a Council or Assembly of Free-holders and Principal Citizens; and that is a Democracy. In the First, he who bears the supreme Rule, is stil’d, A Monarch; in the Second, the Nobles; and in the Third, The People.
IV.Forms compar’d. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §9.In all these Forms, the Power is indeed the same. But in one Respect Monarchy has a considerable Advantage above the rest; because in order to deliberate and determine, that is, actually to exercise the Government, there is no Necessity of appointing and fixing certain Times and Places; for he may deliberate and determine in any Place, and at any Time; so that a Monarch is always in a Readiness to perform the necessary Actions of Government. But that the Nobles and the People, who are not as one natural Person, may be able so to do, it is necessary that they meet at certain Times and Places, there to debate and resolve upon all publick Business. For the Will and Pleasure of a Council, or of the People, which results from the Majority of Votes concentring, can no otherwise be discover’d.
V.A distemper’d State L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §10.But, as it happens in other Matters, so in Governments also it falls out, That the same may be sometimes well, and at other times scurvily and foolishly managed. Whence it comes to pass, that some States are reputed Sound, and others Distemper’d. Yet we are not, on Account of these Imperfections, to multiply the several Species or Forms of Government, imagining that these several Defects make different Sorts of Governments; for these Vices or Defects, though different in themselves, do not, however, either change the Nature of the Authority it self, or the proper Subject in which it resides. Now these Defects or Vices in Government, do sometimes arise from the Persons who administer the Government; and sometimes they arise from the Badness of the Constitution it self. Whence the First are styl’d, Imperfections of the Men, and the Latter, Imperfections of the State.
VI.Monarchy L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §10.The Imperfections of the Men in a Monarchy are, when he who possesses the Throne, is not well skilled in the Arts of Ruling, and takes none, or but a very slight Care for the publick Good, prostituting the same to be torn in pieces and sacrificed to the Ambition or Avarice of evil Ministers; when the same Person becomes terrible by his Cruelty and Rage; when also he delights, without any real Necessity, to expose the Publick to Danger; when he squanders away, by his Luxury and profuse Extravagance, those Supplies which were given for the Support of the Publick; when he heaps up Treasure unreasonably extorted from his Subjects; when he is Insolent, Haughty, or Unjust; or guilty of any other scandalous Vice.
VII.Aristocracy.The Imperfections of the Men in an Aristocracy are, When by Bribery and base Tricks, Ill Men and Fools get into the Council, and Persons much more deserving than they, are excluded: When the Nobles are divided into several Factions: When they endeavour to make the common People their Slaves, and to convert the publick Stock to their private Advantage.
VIII.Men in a Democracy.The Imperfections of the Men in a Democracy are, when silly and troublesome Persons stickle for their Opinions with great Heat and Obstinacy; when those Excellencies,43 which are rather beneficial than hurtful to the Common-wealth, are depress’d and kept under; when, thro’ Inconstancy, Laws are rashly establish’d, and as rashly annull’d, and what but just now was very pleasing, is immediately, without any Reason, rejected; and when base Fellows are promoted in the Government.
IX.Men in any Government.The Imperfections of the Men, which may promiscuously happen in any Form of Government, are, When those who are intrusted with the publick Care, perform their Duty either amiss, or slightly; and when the Subjects, who ought to make Obedience their Glory, grow restiff and ungovernable.
X.Faults in a Constitution.But the Imperfections of any Constitution, are, When the Laws thereof are not accommodated to the Temper and Genius of the People or Country; or, When the Subjects make use of them for fomenting intestine Disturbances, or for giving unjust Provocations to their Neighbours; or, When the said Laws render the Subjects incapable of discharging those Duties that are necessary for the Preservation of the Publick; for Instance, When thro’ their Defect the People must of Necessity be dissolv’d in Sloth, or rendred unfit for the Injoyment of Peace and Plenty; or when the fundamental Constitutions are order’d after such a Manner, that the Affairs of the Publick cannot be dispatched but too slowly, and with Difficulty.
XI.How called. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §11.To these distemper’d Constitutions, Men have given certain Names; as a corrupt Monarchy, is call’d Tyranny; a corrupt Aristocracy, is styl’d An Oligarchy, or a Rump-Government; and a corrupt Popular State, is call’d An Anarchy, or a Rabble-Government. Altho’ it often happens, that many by these Nick-names do not so much express the Distemper of such a Government, as their own natural Aversion for the present Governours and Constitution.
For, oftentimes, he who is dissatisfied with his King, or a monarchical Government, is wont to call, even a Good and Lawful Prince, a Tyrant and Usurper, especially if he be strict in putting the Laws in Execution. So he who is vex’d because he is left out of the Senate, not thinking himself Inferiour to any of the other Counsellors, out of Contempt and Envy, he calls them, A Pack of assuming Fellows, who tho’ in no Respect they excell any of the Rest, yet domineer and lord it over their Equals, nay, over better Men than themselves.
Lastly, Those Men who are of a haughty Temper, and who hate a Popular Equality, seeing that all People in a Democracy, have an equal Right to give their Suffrages in Publick Affairs, tho’ in every Place the common People makes the greatest Number, they condemn that as an Ochlocracy, or Government by the Rabble, where there is no Preference given to Persons of Merit, as they, forsooth, esteem themselves to be.
XII.An Irregular State. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §12.An Irregular Constitution 44 is, Where that perfect Union is wanting, in which the very Essence of a Government45 consists: And that not through any Fault or Male-administration46 of the Government, but because this Form has been receiv’d as good and legitimate by publick Law or Custom. But since there may be infinite Varieties of Errors in this Case, it is impossible to lay down distinct and certain Species of Irregular Governments. But the Nature thereof may be easily understood by one or two Examples; for Instance, If in a State the Nobles and the People are each vested with a supreme and unaccountable Power; * Or if in any Nation the Nobles are grown so great, that they are no otherwise under the King, then as unequal Confederates.
XIII.Union of several Communities. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §17.We call those Unions, when several Constituted Societies by some special Tie are so conjoin’d, that their Force and Strength may be look’d upon in Effect as the united Force and Strength of one civil Society. Now these Unions may arise two several Ways; the one by a Common Sovereign, the Other by League or Confederacy.
XIV.Union by a common Sovereign.Such a Union happens, by means of a common Sovereign, when diverse separate Kingdoms, either by Agreement, or by Marriage, or hereditary Succession, or Victory, come to be subject to the same King; yet so that they do not close into one Realm, but each are still govern’d by the same common Sovereign, according to their own fundamental Laws.
XV.Union by Confederacy. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 5. §18.Another Sort of Union may happen, when several neighbouring States or Governments are so connected by a perpetual League and Confederacy, that they cannot exercise some Parts of the supreme Power, which chiefly concern their Defence and Security against Strangers, but by a general Consent of them All: Each Society, nevertheless, as to other Matters, reserving to it self its own peculiar Liberty and independency.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Qualifications of Civil Government47
I.Supreme Authority L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6.It is always one Prerogative of the Government by which any Community is directed, in every Form of Commonwealth whatsoever, to be invested with the supreme Authority:* Whereby it has the Regulating of all Things according to its own Judgment and Discretion, and acts without Dependence upon any other Person † as Superiour, that can pretend to annul or countermand its Orders.
II.Unaccountable. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6. §2.For the same Reason, a Government so constituted remains unaccountable to all the World; there being no Authority above it to punish it, or to examine whether its Proceedings are right or no.
III.Above the Laws. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6. §3.And a third Qualification of like Nature with the former, is, That inasmuch as all civil Laws, of human Authority, derive both their Beginning and their Continuance from the Favour of the Government; it is impossible they should directly oblige the very Power that makes them; because the same Power would in Consequence be superiour to it self. Yet it is a happy Prospect, and a singular Advantage to the Laws, when a Prince conforms himself, of his own Pleasure, as Occasion serves, to practise the same Things that he commands his Subjects.
IV.Obedience due to it. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 8.There is also a peculiar Veneration to be paid to the supreme Government under which we live; not only in obeying it in its just Commands, wherein it is a Crime to disobey, but in induring its Severities with the like Patience as the Rigour of some Parents is submitted to by dutiful Children. Wherefore, when a Prince proceeds to offer the most heinous Injuries imaginable to his People, let them rather undergo it, or every one seek his Safety by Flight, than draw their Swords upon the Father of their Country.
V.An absolute Monarchy. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6. §7.We find, in Monarchies and Aristocracies especially, that the Government is sometime Absolute and sometime Limited. An Absolute Monarch is one, who having no prescrib’d Form of Laws and Statutes perpetually to go by, in the Method of his Administration, proceeds intirely according to his own Will and Pleasure, as the Condition of Affairs and the publick Good in his Judgment seem to require.
VI.A limited Monarchy L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6. §9.But because a single Person may be subject to be mistaken in his Judgment, as well as to be seduced into evil Courses in the Injoyment of so vast a Liberty; it is thought convenient by some States, * to circumscribe the Exercise of this Power within the Limits of certain Laws, which are proposed to the Prince at his Succession to be the future Rule of his Government. And particularly when any extraordinary Concern arises, involving in it the Interest of the whole Kingdom, for which there can be no Provision extant in the Constitution foregoing; They then oblige him to ingage in nothing without the previous Advice and Consent of the People, or their Representatives in Parliament; the better to prevent the Danger of his swerving from the Interest of the Kingdom.48
VII.Right and Manner of holding. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6. §14.We see likewise a Difference in the Right and Manner of holding some Kingdoms, from what it is in others. For those Princes especially who have acquired Dominions by Conquest, and made a People their own by Force of Arms, can divide, alienate, and transfer their Regalities49 at Pleasure in the manner of a Patrimonial Estate. Others that are advanced by the Voice of the People, tho’ they live in full Possession of the Government during their Reigns, yet have no Pretensions to such a Power. But as they attain’d to the Succession, so they leave it to be determin’d, either by the ancient Custom, or the fundamental Laws of the Kingdom: * For which Reason they are compared by some to Usufructuaries, or Life-Renters.[Back to Table of Contents]
How Government, especially Monarchical, is acquired
I.Consent of the Subject free or forced. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7.Although the Consent of the Subject is a Thing to be required in Constituting of every lawful Government, yet it is not50 always obtain’d the same way. For as it is sometimes seen, that a Prince ascends the Throne with the voluntary Acclamations of the People; so sometimes he makes himself a King by his Army, and brings a People to consent by military Force.
II.Of Conquest. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §3.Which latter Method of acquiring a Government is called Conquest; it happening, as often as a victorious Prince, having Fortune on his Side and a just Cause, reduces a People by his Arms to such Extremities, as to compel them to receive him for their Sovereign. And the Reason of this Title is derived, not only from the Conqueror’s Clemency in saving the Lives of all those whom, in Strictness of War, he was at Liberty to destroy, and instead thereof laying only a lesser Inconvenience upon them; but likewise from hence, That, when a Prince will choose to go to War with one that he has injured, rather than he will condescend to satisfie him in a just and equal Manner; * He is to be presum’d to cast himself upon the Fortune of War, with this Intention, that he does beforehand tacitly consent to accept of any Conditions whatsoever shall befal him in the Event.
III.Election. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §6.As for the voluntary Consent of the People, a Government is acquired by it, when in an Election the People, either in order to their Settlement, or at any Time after, do nominate such a One, to bear that Office, as they believe is capable of it. Who, upon Presentation of their Pleasure to him, accepting it, and also receiving their Promises of Allegiance, thereby actually enters upon the Possession of the Government.
IV.An Interregnum. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §7.But betwixt this Election of a new Prince and the Death of the former, there uses in Monarchies that are already fix’d and settled, to intervene an Interregnum; which signifies an imperfect Kind of State, where the People keep together merely by Virtue of their Original Compact: Only that this is much strengthned by the common Name and Love of their Country, and the Settlement of most of their Fortunes there; whereby all good Men are obliged to preserve the Peace with one another, and study to restore their fallen Government again as soon as they can. Yet to prevent the Mischiefs which are apt to arise in an Interregnum, it is very convenient the Law should provide Administrators, to manage the publick Affairs during the Vacancy of the Crown.
V.Succession. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §11.Now though, as is said, in some Monarchies, as every King dies, they proceed again to a New Election: yet in others, the Crown is conferr’d upon Conditions to descend to certain Persons successively, (without any intervening Election) for all Time to come. The Right to which Succession may either be determined by the Order of the Prince, or the Order of the People.
VI.Devisable when L. N. N. l. 7. c. 6. §16.When Princes hold their Crowns in the Manner of a Patrimony, they have the Liberty of disposing of the Succession as themselves please. And their declared Order therein, especially if their Kingdoms are of their own Founding or Acquiring, shall carry the same Force with the last Testament of any private Man. They may divide, if they please, their Kingdom amongst all their Children, not so much as excepting the Daughters. * They may, if they think fit, make an Adoptive, or their Natural Son, their Heir, or one that is not in the least a-kin to them.
VII.Succession upon an Intestate.And when such an Absolute Monarch as this dies, without leaving Order for the Succession, it is to be presumed he did not thereby intend the Kingdom should expire with himself; but first, That it should devolve to his Children (before all others) because of the natural Affection of Parents to them: Then, That the same Monarchical Government should continue, which he recommended by his own Example. That the Kingdom be kept undivided, as one Realm; because any Division thereof must give Occasion to great Troubles, both among the Subjects and the Royal Family. That the Elder reign before the Younger, and the Male before the Female in the same Line: † And, lastly, That in Default of Issue, the Crown shall devolve upon the next in Blood.
VIII.Succession in the People. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §11.But in those Monarchies, whose Constitution, from the very Beginning, was founded upon the voluntary Choice of the People, there the Order of Succession must have an Original Dependance upon the Will of the same People. For if, together with the Crown, they did confer upon the Prince the Right of appointing his Successor; whosoever shall be nominated to the Succession by him, will have all the Right to injoy it. If they did not confer it upon the Prince, it is to be understood as reserved to themselves: Who, if they pleased, might make the Crown Hereditary to their Prince’s Family; either prescribing the Order of Succession to be like other ordinary Inheritances, so far as can consist with the Publick Good; or set the same under any peculiar necessary Limitations.
IX.Of Hereditary Kingdoms. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §12.When a People have barely conferr’d upon their King an Hereditary Right, without any thing farther express’d; tho’ ’tis true, it may seem to be intended, that the Crown shall pass to the Heirs in the same common Order of Descent as private Inheritances do; yet the Publick Good requires, That the Sense of such a Publick Act shall be taken under some Restrictions, notwithstanding their not being particularly express’d. As,
X.A Lineal Succession. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 7. §13.Now, because after a long Descent of Princes, there may easily arise Controversies almost inextricable, about the Person of the Royal Family, who approaches nearest in Kindred to the Prince deceased; therefore, for Prevention of such, in many Kingdoms they have introduced a Lineal Succession, of this Nature; That as every one descends from the Father of the Stem Royal,51 they compose, as it were, a perpendicular Line; from whence they succeed to the Crown, according to the Priority of that Line to others: And tho’, perhaps, the nearest of Kin to the Prince last deceased, may stand in a New Line, different from that of His; Yet there is no passing out of the Old Line thither, ’till Death has exhausted the same.
XI.By the Father’s side, or the Mother’s.The Series of Succession most regardable, are those Two, deduced from the several Families of the Father and the Mother; the Relation whereof is distinguish’d in the Civil Law by the Names of Cognation and Agnation. The First, called also the Castilian Law, does not exclude the Women, but only postpones them to Males in the same Line; for it recurs to them in the Case of the other’s Default. But by the Second, which is sometimes styl’d the French or Salick Law, both the Women and all their Issue, even Males, are excluded for ever.
XII.Differences about Succession how to be determined.When, in a Patrimonial Kingdom, there arises a Dispute concerning the Succession, the most adviseable Way to determine it, is, To put it to the Arbitration of some of the Royal Family; And where the Succession originally depended upon the Consent of the People, there their Declaration upon the Matter, will take away the Doubt.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duty of Supreme Governours
I.L. N. N. 1. 7. c. 9.If we consider what is the End and Nature of Communities, and what the Parts of Government, it will be easie from thence to pass a Judgment upon the Rules and Precepts, in the Observance of which, consists the Office of a Prince.52
II.Their proper Studies and Conversation. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §2.Before all Things, it is requisite, That he apply himself, with the utmost Diligence, to the Study of whatever may conduce to give him a perfect Comprehension of the Affairs belonging to a Person in his Station: because no Man can manage a Place to his Honour, which he does not rightly understand. He is therefore to be sequestred from those remote and foreign Studies, which make nothing to this Purpose: He must abridge himself in the Use of Pleasures and vain Pastimes, that would divert his Attention from this Mark and End.
And for his more familiar Friends, instead of Parasites and Triflers, or such as are accomplished in nothing but Vanities, (whose Company ought utterly to be rejected;) let him make Choice of Men of Probity and Sense, experienced in Business, and skilful in the Ways of the World; being assured, that ’till he does thoroughly understand, as well the Condition of his own State, as the Disposition of the People under him, he will never be able to apply the general Maxims of State Prudence, to the Cases that will occur in Government, in such a Manner as they ought. More especially, let him study to be excellent in Virtues, that are of the greatest Use and Lustre in the Exercise of his vast Charge;53 and so compose the Manners, and all the Actions of his Life, that they may be answerable to the Height of his Glory.
III.The Publick Good, the Supreme Law. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §3.The most General Rule to be observed by Governours, is this; The Good of the Publick is the Supreme Law of all.54 Because, in conferring the Government upon them, what is there else intended, but to secure the common End for which Societies were constituted in the Beginning? From whence they ought to conclude, That whatsoever is not expedient for the Publick to be done, ought not to be accounted expedient for themselves.
IV.Laws, Discipline, and Religion. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §5.And it being necessary, in order to preserve a People at Peace with one another, that the Wills and Affections of them should be disposed and regulated, according as it is most proper for the publick Good; there ought to be some suitable Laws for the Purpose prescribed by Princes, and also a publick Discipline established with so much Strictness, that so, Custom, as well as Fear of Punishment, may be able to keep Men close to the Practice of their several Duties. * To which End it is convenient to take Care, that the Christian Religion, after the most pure and most uncorrupt Way, be profess’d by the Subjects of every Realm or Community; and that no Tenets be publickly taught in the Schools, that are contrariant to the Designs of Government.
V.The Laws plain and few.It will conduce to the Advancement of the same End, that in the Affairs which are wont to be most frequently negociated between Subject and Subject, the Laws which are prescribed be clear and plain; and no more in Number than will promote the Good of the Republick and its Members. For, considering that Men use to deliberate upon the Things they ought, or ought not to do, more by the Strength of their Natural Reason, than their Understanding in the Laws; whenever the Laws do so abound in Number, as not easily to be retained in Memory; or are so particular in their Matter, as to prohibit Things which are not prohibited by the Light of Reason; it must certainly come to pass, That innocent Persons, who have not had the least ill Intention to transgress the Laws, will be many times unwittingly hamper’d by them, as by Snares, to their unreasonable Prejudice, against the very End of Societies and Government.
VI.And duly executed. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §6.Yet it is in vain for Princes to make Laws, and at the same time suffer the Violation of them to pass with Impunity. They must therefore cause them to be put in Execution, both for every honest Person to injoy his Rights without Vexation, Evasions, or Delays; and also for every Malefactor to receive the Punishment due to the Quality of his Crime, according to the Intention and Malice in the committing it. They are not to extend their Pardons to any without sufficient Reason. For it is an unjust Practice, which tends greatly to irritate the Minds of People against the Government, not to use Equality (all Circumstances considered) towards Persons that are Equal in their Deservings.
VII.Penalties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §7.And as nothing ought to be Enacted under a Penalty, without the Consideration of some Profit to the Common-wealth, so in the fixing of Penalties proportionably to that End, it is fitting to observe a Moderation; with Care, that the Damage thence arising to the Subject on the one Hand, exceed not the Advantage that redounds to the Common-wealth on the other. In fine, to render Penalties effectual in obtaining the End intended by them, it is clear they should still be magnified to such a Degree, as, by their Severity, to out-weigh the contrary Gain and Pleasure, that is possible to proceed from chusing the Crime.
VIII.Injuries. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §8.Moreover, inasmuch as the Design of People, in incorporating together in a Common-wealth, is their Security from Harms and Violence; it is the Duty of the supreme Magistrate to prohibit any Injury of one Subject to another so much the more severely, because, by their constant Cohabitation in the same Place, they have the fairer Opportunities to do them or to resent them: Remembring, that no Distinctions of Quality or Honour derive the least Pretence to the Greater to insult over the Less at their Pleasure. Neither has any Subject whatsoever the Liberty to seek his Satisfaction for the Injuries, he presumes are done him, in the Way of a private Revenge. For the Design of Government is destroyed by such a Proceeding as this.
IX.Ministers of State and Judges. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §9.And although there is no one Prince, how ingenious soever in Business, that is able in his own Person to manage all the Affairs of a Nation of any considerable Extent, but he must have Ministers to participate with him in his Cares and Counsels; Yet as these Ministers borrow their Authority, in every Thing they do, from Him; so the Praise or Dispraise of their Actions returns finally upon Him also. For which Reason, and because according to the Quality of Ministers, Business is done either well or ill, there lies an Obligation upon a Prince to advance honest and fit Persons to Offices of Trust in the Government, and upon Occasion to examine into the Proceedings of the same; and as he finds them deserving, to reward or punish them accordingly, for an Example to others to understand, that there is no less Fidelity and Diligence to be used in managing the publick Business, than one would practise in any private Affair that relates to himself. So when wicked People are incouraged to put their Inclinations in Practice, upon the Hopes of escaping very easily unpunish’d under Judges that are subject to Corruption; it is a Prince’s Duty to animadvert severely upon such Judges, as Favourers of Vice, against the Safety of the Subject, and Quiet of the Nation.55 And though the Dispatching of the ordinary Affairs may be committed to the Ministers Care; yet a Prince is never to refuse to lend his Ear with Patience, when his Subjects present him with their Complaints and Addresses.
X.Of Taxes and Duties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §10.For Taxes and the like Duties, to which Subjects are upon no other Account obliged, than as they are necessary to support the publick Charge in Peace and War; it deserves to be the Care of Princes not to extort more, than either the Necessities or signal Advantages of the Nation56 require; and so to alleviate and soften them in the Ways and Means of laying them upon the Subject, that every one may find their Weight as little offensive as it can possibly be; being charged upon Particulars in a fair and equitable Proportion, without favouring of one Person, to deceive or oppress another. And let not the Money that is so rais’d be consumed by Princes in Luxury and Vanities, or thrown away in Gifts and needless Ostentation; but laid out upon the Occasions of the Nation; always foreseeing, that their Expences be made to answer to their Revenue; and in case of any Failure in the latter, so to order Things, that by prudent Frugality and retrenching unnecessary Expences, the Publick may not suffer Damage for want of a sufficient Treasure.
XI.Interest of the Subject to be advanced by Princes. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §11.It is true, Princes have no Obligation upon them to find Maintenance for their Subjects, otherwise than Charity directs them to a particular Care of those, for whom it is impossible to subsist of themselves by Reason of some Calamity undeserved. Yet because the Money, that is necessary for the Conservation of the Publick, must be raised out of the Subjects Estates, in whose Wealth and Happiness the Strength of a Nation does consist; it therefore concerns Princes to use their best Endeavours, that the Fortunes of their Subjects improve and flourish; as particularly, by giving Orders, how the Products of the Earth and Water may be received in the most plentiful Measure; and that Men employ their Industry in improving such Matters as are of their own Growth, and never hire foreign Hands for those Works which they can conveniently perform themselves. That all Mechanick Arts and Merchandise, and in Maritime Places, Navigation be incouraged, as of great Consequence to the Commonwealth. That Idleness be banished from amongst them, and Frugality be restored by Sumptuary Laws, contrived on Purpose to avoid superfluous Expences; especially those, which occasion the transporting of Riches out of the Kingdom. Whereof, if the Prince is pleased to set an Example in his own Person, it is likely to prove of greater Force than all the Laws beside.
XII.Factions and Parties. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §12.Farther, Since the internal Health and Strength of a Nation proceeds in a particular Manner from the Unity that is among the People; 57 and according as this happens to be more and more perfect, the Power of the Government diffuses it self through the whole Body with so much the greater Efficacy: It is for this Reason incumbent upon Princes, to hinder, as well the Growth of publick Factions, as of private Associations of particular Persons by Agreements amongst themselves. As also to see, that neither all, nor any of the Subjects, place a greater Dependance, or rely more for Defence and Succour on any other Person, within or without the Realm, under any Pretence whatsoever, whether Sacred or Civil,58 than on their lawful Sovereign, in whom alone, before others, all their Expectations ought to be reposed.
XIII.Of War and Peace with foreign Nations. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 9. §13.Lastly, Since the Peace of Nations in reference to one another depends upon no very great Certainties; it ought to be the Endeavour of Princes to incourage Valour and Military Studies in their Subjects; having all things, as Fortifications, Arms, Men, and Money (which is the Sinews of Civil Affairs) ready prepared, in case of any Attack from abroad, to repel it: Though not voluntarily to begin one upon another Nation, even after sufficient Cause of War given, unless when invited by a very safe Opportunity, and that the Publick be in a good Condition conveniently to go thro’ with the Undertaking. For the same Reason it is proper to observe and search into the Counsels and Proceedings of Neighbours with all Exactness, and to enter with them into Leagues and Alliances as prudently, as so great a Concern requires.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Special Laws of a Community, relating to the Civil Government59
I.What they are. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 1. §1.IT Now remains, That we take a view of the respective Parts of Supreme Government, together with such Circumstances thereunto belonging, as we find are worthy to be observ’d. In the first Place, there are the Civil Laws, meaning the Acts and Constitutions of the highest Civil Authority for the Time being, ordained to direct the Subject in the Course of his Life, as to what Things he ought to do, and what to omit.
II.Why so called.These are called Civil, upon two Accounts especially: That is, Either in Regard to their Authority, or their Original.60 In the first Sense, all manner of Laws whatsoever, by the Force whereof Causes may be tried and decided in a Court of Civil Judicature, let their Original be what it will, may pass under that Denomination. In the other, we call only those Laws Civil, which derive their Original from the Will of the Supreme Civil Government, the Subjects whereof are all such Matters, concerning which neither the Laws of God or Nature have determined; yet a due Regulation and Settlement of them is found to be very conducive and advantagious to particular Commonwealths.
III.The Law of Nature to be reinforced by them. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 1. §2.As nothing therefore ought to be made the Subject of a Civil Law, but what relates to the Good of the Commonwealth that does ordain it; so it seeming in the highest Degree expedient towards the Regularity and Ease of living in a Community, That in particular the Law of Nature should be diligently observed by all People; it lies upon Supreme Governours to authenticate the said Law with the Force and Efficacy of a Civil Law.61 For since indeed the Wickedness of a great Part of Mankind is arrived to a Degree, which neither the apparent Excellency of the Law of Nature, nor the Fear of God Himself, is sufficient to restrain; the most effectual Method remaining, to preserve the Happiness of living in a Community, is, by the Authority of the Government to inforce the Natural by the Civil Laws, and supply the Disability of the one with the Power of the other.
IV.The Penal Sanction.Now the Force and Power, which is in Civil Laws, consists in this, That to the Mandatory Part of the Statute, concerning Things to be done or omitted, there is annexed a Penal Sanction, assigning the Punishment that is to be inflicted upon a Man by a Court of Justice for omitting what he ought to do, or doing what he ought to omit. Of which Kind of Sanctions, the Laws of Nature being of themselves destitute, the breaking of them does not fall under the Punishment of any Court in this World; but yet it is reserved for the Judgment of the Tribunal of GOD.
V.Of ActionsMore particularly, it is inconsistent with the Nature of living in a Community, for any one by his own Force to exact and extort what himself accounts to be his Due. So that here the Civil Laws come in, to the Assistance of the Natural. For they allow the Creditor the Benefit of an Action, whereby the Debt that is owing to him by Virtue of a Law of Nature, with the Help of the Magistrate, may be demanded and recover’d in a Court of Justice, according to the Course of the Laws of the Nation: Whereas without such Inforcement of the said Laws, you can force nothing from a Debtor against his Will; but must intirely depend upon his Conscience and Honour. The Civil Laws admit of Actions chiefly in the Case of those Obligations that are contracted betwixt Parties by an express Bond or Covenant. For as to other Affairs, where the Obligation arises from some indefinite Duty of the Law of Nature, the Civil Laws make them not subject to an Action at all; on purpose to give occasion to good Men to exercise their Virtue, to their more extraordinary Praise, when it is evident, they do that which is just and honest without Compulsion. Beside that, frequently, the Point in Question may not be of Consequence enough to trouble a Court about it.
VI.The Prosecution of them.And whereas the Law of Nature commands many Things at large, in an indefinite Manner, and leaves the Application of them to every one in his own Breast; the Civil Laws being careful of the Honour and Tranquillity of the Community, prescribe a certain Time, Manner, Place, Persons, and other Circumstances, for the due Prosecution of those Actions, with the Proposal of a Reward upon Occasion, to incourage People to enter upon them. And when any Thing is obscure in the Law of Nature, the Civil Laws explain it. Which Explication the Subjects are obliged to receive, and follow, although their own private Opinions do otherwise lead them to a contrary Sense.62
VII.Form.So that there being thus a Number of Actions, left by the Law of Nature to be consider’d according to the Will and Judgment of each Person, which nevertheless in a Common-wealth ought to be regularly stated for the greater Decency and Quiet of the same; it uses to be the Care of the Civil Laws to reduce all those Actions, with their respective Concerns, to a proper Form; as we see it is in Wills, Contracts, and divers other Cases: from whence it comes, that they limit us (as they do) in the Exercise of several Rights, to the Use whereof the Law of Nature left us much at Liberty.
VIII.The Obedience due to the Civil Laws.For so far as the Civil Laws do not openly contradict the Law of GOD, the Subjects stand obliged to obey them, not merely out of Fear of Punishment, but by an internal Obligation confirm’d by the Precepts of the Law of Nature it self. This being one of them, amongst others, That Subjects ought to obey their lawful Sovereigns.
IX.And to the particular Commands of the Sovereign, L. N. N. l. 8. c. 1. §6.Nay, it is their Duty to obey even the Personal Commands of their Sovereigns, no less than they do the Common Laws of the Kingdom. Only here they must observe, whether the Thing commanded is to be done by them as in their own Names, in the Quality of an Action belonging properly to Subjects to do; or whether it be barely to undertake the Execution of an Affair for the Sovereign, in Consequence of that Authority which he has to command it. * In the latter Case, the Necessity that is imposed upon the Subject excuses him from Sin, tho’ to command the Fact it self is a Sin in the Sovereign. But in the Other, for a Subject, as in his own Name, to do a Thing which is repugnant to the Laws of God and Nature, can never be Lawful. And this is the Reason, why, if a Subject takes up Arms in an unjust War, at the Command of his Sovereign, he sins not: Yet if he condemns the Innocent, or accuses and witnesses against them falsely upon the like Command, he sins. For as he serves in War, he serves in the Name of the Publick; but acting as a Judge, Witness, or Accuser, he does it in his Own.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Power of Life and Death
I.Twofold.The Civil Government, that is supreme in every State, has a Right over the Lives of its Subjects, either indirectly, when it exposes their Lives in Defence of the Publick; or directly, in the Punishment of Crimes.
II.Indirectly.For when the Force of Foreigners in an Invasion (which often happens) is to be repell’d by Force; or, That we cannot without the Use of Violence obtain our Rights of them; it is lawful for the Government, by its supreme Authority, to compel the Subjects to enter into its Service;L. N. N. l. 8. c. 2. not thereby purposely intending their Death, only their Lives are exposed to some Danger of it. On which Occasions, that they may be able to behave themselves with Skill and Bravery, it is fit they should be exercised and prepar’d for the Purpose. Now the Fear of Danger ought not to prevail with any Subject, to render himself uncapable of undergoing the Duties of a Soldier; much less ought it to tempt a Man that is actually in Arms, to desert the Station appointed him; who ought to fight it out to the last Drop of his Blood, unless he knows it to be the Will of his Commander, that he should rather preserve his Life than his Post; or if he be certain that the maintaining of such Post is not of so great Importance, as the Preservation of the Lives ingaged therein.
III.Directly. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §1.The Government claims a Power to take away the Lives of Subjects directly, upon the Occasion of any heinous Crimes committed by them; * whereon it passes Judgment of Death by way of Punishment: As likewise the Goods and Chattels of Criminals are subject to the Censure of the Law. So that here some general Things concerning the Nature of Punishments, come to be discours’d.
IV.Of Punishments L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §4.Punishment is an Evil that is suffered, in Retaliation for another that is done. Or, A certain grievous Pain or Pressure, imposed upon a Person by Authority, in the Manner of Force, with Regard to an Offence that has been committed by him. For although the doing of some Things may oftentimes be commanded in the Place of a Punishment, yet it is upon this Consideration, that the Things to be done are troublesome and laborious to the Doer, who will therefore find his Sufferings in the Performance of such Action. A Punishment also signifies its being inflicted against the Wills of People: For it would not otherwise obtain its End; which is, to deter them from Crimes by the Sense of its Severity:63 An Effect it never would produce, if it were only such, as an Offender is willing and pleas’d to undergo. As for other Sufferings, which happen to be undergone in Wars and Engagements; or which one bears innocently, being wrongfully and injuriously done him; the Former not being inflicted by Authority, and the Other not referring to an antecedent Crime, they do neither of them import the proper Sense and Meaning of a Punishment.
V.Inflicted by the Government. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §7.By our Natural Liberty, we enjoy the Privilege to have no other Superiour but G O D over us, * and only to be obnoxious64 to Punishments Divine. But since the Introduction of Government, it is allow’d to be a Branch of the Office of those in whose Hands the Government is intrusted, for the Good of all Communities; that upon the Representation of the unlawful Practices of Subjects before them, they should have Power effectually to coerce, [punish and restrain] the same, that People may live together in Safety.
VI.The Benefit of them.Neither does there seem to be any Thing of Inequality in this; that he who Evil does should Evil suffer. Yet in the Course of Human Punishments, we are not solely to regard the Quality of the Crime, but likewise to have an Eye upon the Benefit of the Punishment: By no means executing it on purpose to feed the Fancy of the Party injur’d, or to give him Pleasure in the Pains and Sufferings of his Adversary: Because such Kind of Pleasure is absolutely inhumane, as well as contrary to the Disposition of a good Fellow-Subject.
VII.The End of them. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §8.The Genuine End of Punishments in a State, is, The Prevention of Wrongs and Injuries; which then have their Effect, when he who does the Injury is amended, or for the future incapacitated to do more, or others taking Example from his Sufferings are deterr’d from like Practices; or, to express it another way, That which a Government designs in the Matter of Punishments, is the Good, either of the Offender, or the Party offended, or generally of All its Subjects.
VIII.Upon the Offender. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §9.First, We consider the Good of the Offender: In whose Mind the Smart of the Punishment serves to work an Alteration towards Amendment, and corrects the Desire of doing the same again. Divers Communities leave such Kind of Punishments as are qualified with this End, to be exercis’d by Masters over the Members of their own Families. But it never was thought good they should proceed so far as to Death, because, he that is dead is past Amendment.
IX.Upon the Party offended. L. N. N. l. 8 c. 3. §11.In the next Place, a Punishment intends the Good of the Party offended: securing him, that he suffer not the like Mischief for the future, either from the same or other Persons. He becomes secure from being again injured in like Manner by the same Person; first, By the Death of the Criminal; or, secondly, If he be allow’d Life, by depriving him of Power to hurt; as, by keeping him in Custody, taking his Arms, or other Instruments of Mischief, from him, securing him in some distant Place, and the like; or, thirdly, By obliging him to learn, at his own Peril, not to incur farther Guilt, or offend any more. But then to secure the Party offended from suffering the like Injury from other Hands, it is necessary that the Offender be punished in a most Open and Publick Manner, whereby the Criminal may become an Example to all others; and that his Punishment be accompanied with such Circumstances of Form and Pomp, as are apt to strike a Dread into as many as behold it.
XII.Nor minute Lapses.It would also be over severe in Laws, to punish the more minute Lapses which may daily happen in the Actions of Men; when, in the Condition of our Natures, the greatest Attention cannot prevent them.
XIII.And other Actions. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §14.There are many Instances of Actions more, of which the Publick Laws dissemble the taking of any Notice, for the sake of the Publick Peace. As sometimes, because a good Act shines with greater Glory, if it seems not to have been undertaken upon Fear of human Punishment; or, perhaps, it is not altogether worth the troubling of Judges and Courts about it; or, it is a Matter extraordinarily difficult to be decided; or it may be some old inveterate Evil, which cannot be removed, without causing a Convulsion in the State.
XIV.Nor the Vices of the Mind.In fine, it is absolutely necessary, That all those Disorders of the Mind should be exempted from Punishment, that are the Effects of the common Corruption of Mankind; such as Ambition, Avarice, Rudeness, Ingratitude, Hypocrisy, Envy, Pride, Anger, private Grudges, and the like. All these of Necessity, must be exempted from the Cognizance of Human Judicatures, so long as they break not out into publick Enormities; seeing they abound to that Degree, that if you should severely pursue them with Punishments, there would be no People left to be the Subjects of Government.
XV.Of Pardon. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §15.Farther, When there have been Crimes committed, which are punishable by the Civil Judicature, it is not always necessary to execute the Sentence of Justice upon them. For in some Cases a Pardon may possibly be extended to Criminals, with a great deal of Reason, (as it never ought to be granted without it;) and amongst other Reasons, these especially may be some: That the Ends, which are intended by Punishments, seem not so necessary to be attended to in the Case in Question: Where a Pardon may produce more Good than the Punishment, and the said Ends be more conveniently obtain’d another way: That the Prisoner can allege those excellent Merits of his own or of his Family towards the Common-wealth, which deserve a singular Reward: That he is famous for some remarkable rare Art or other; or, it is hoped, will wash away the Stain of his Crime by performing some Noble Exploit: That Ignorance had a great Share in the Case, tho’ not altogether such as to render the Criminal blameless: Or, That a particular Reason of the Law ceases in a Fact of the same Nature with his. For these Reasons, and oftentimes for the Number of the Offenders, being very great, Pardons must be granted, rather than the Community shall be exhausted by Punishments.
XVI.The greatness of a Crime L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §18.To take an Estimate of the Greatness of any Crime, there is to be consider’d, first, The Object against which it is commited; how Noble and Precious that is: Then, The Effects; what Damage, more or less it has done to the Common-wealth: And next, The Pravity of the Author’s Intention, which is to be collected by several Signs and Circumstances: As, Whether he might not easily have resisted the Occasions that did tempt him to it? and besides the common Reason, Whether there was not a peculiar one for his Forbearance? What Circumstances aggravate the Fact? or, Is he not of a Soul dispos’d to resist the Allurements of a Temptation? Inquiring yet farther, Whether he was not the Principal in the Commission? or, Was he seduced by the Example of others? Did he commit it once, or oftner, or after Admonition spent in vain upon him?
XVII.Measure and Kind of Punishment. L. N. N. l. 8 c. 3. §24.But for the precise Kind and Measure of Punishment, that is fit to be pronounced upon each Crime, it belongs to the Authority of the Government to determine it, with an intire Regard to the Good of the Common-wealth. Whence the same Punishment may, and oftentimes is, impos’d upon two unequal Crimes; understanding the Equality that is commanded to be regarded by Judges, to mean the particular Case of those Criminals, who being guilty of the same Kind of Fact, the one shall not be acquitted, and the other condemned without very sufficient Reason. And although Men ought to shew to one another all the Mercy and Tenderness that may be; yet the Good of the Nation,66 and the Security of its Subjects, require, upon Occasion, when either a Fact appears most pernicious to the Publick, or there is need of a sharp Medicine to obviate the growing Vices of the Age, that the Government should aggravate its Punishments: which deserve at all times to be carried high enough, to be sufficient to controll the Propensity of Men towards the Sins against which those Punishments are levell’d. And let the Government observe, That no greater Punishments be inflicted, than the Law assigns, unless the Fact be aggravated by very heinous Circumstances.
XVIII.The Person of the Offender. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §25.Moreover, Since the same Punishment, not affecting all Persons alike, meets with various Returns to the Design thereof, of restraining in them the Itch of Evil-doing, according to the Disposition of every one that incounters it; therefore both in the Designation of Punishments in general, and in the Application of them to Particulars, it is proper to consider the Person of the Offender, in Conjunction with as many Qualities as concur to augment or diminish the Sense of Punishment; as, Age, Sex, Condition, Riches, Strength, and the like.
XIX.Effects of one Man’s Crime upon another. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §33.Not but that it frequently happens,67 that the Crime of one shall occasion the Inconvenience of many others, even to the Intercepting of a future Blessing from them that they justly expected to receive. So when an Estate is confiscated for a Crime done by the Parents, the innocent Children are plunged into Beggary. And when a Prisoner upon Bail makes his Escape, the Bail is forced to answer the Condition of the Bond, not as a Delinquent, but because it was his voluntary Act to oblige himself to stand to such an Event.
XX.Crimes done by Communities. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 3. §28.From whence it follows, That as no Man in a Court of Civil Judicature, can properly be punish’d for another’s Crime; so in the Commission of a Crime by a Community,68 whoever does not consent to it, shall not be condemn’d for it; nor suffer the Loss of any Thing he does not hold in the Name and Service of the Community, farther than it is usual on these Occasions for the Innocent to feel the Smart of the Common Misfortune. When all those are dead, who did consent or assist towards the said Crime; then the Guilt thereof expires, and the Community returns to its pristine Innocency.[Back to Table of Contents]
I.Defined. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §1.Reputation in General, is that Value set upon Persons in the World, on some account or other, by which they are compar’d and equaliz’d, preferr’d or postpon’d69 to others.
II.Divided.It is divided into Simple, and Accumulative; and may be consider’d as to both, either in a People living at their Natural Liberty, or united together under a Government.
III.Simple Reputation in a State of Nature. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §2.Simple Reputation amongst a People in their Natural Liberty, consists chiefly in this, That by their Behaviour, they have the Honour to be esteem’d, and treated with, as Good Men, ready to comport themselves in Society with others, according to the Prescription of the Law of Nature.
IV.How preserved. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §3.The Praise whereof remains Entire, so long as no evil and enormous Fact is knowingly and wilfully done by them, with a wicked Purpose, to violate the Laws of Nature towards their Neighbour. Hence every one naturally is to pass for a Good Man, ’till the contrary is prov’d upon him.
V.Diminished, and repaired. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §4.The same is diminish’d by Transgression against the Law of Nature maliciously, in any heinous Matters; which serves also as a Caution for the future, to treat with him that does it, with greater Circumspection; though this Stain may be wash’d off, either by a voluntary Reparation of Damages, or the Testimonies of a serious Repentance.
VI.Lost, and recovered. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §5.But by a Course of Life directly tending to do Mischief, and the seeking of Advantages to themselves, by open and promiscuous Injuries towards others, the Reputation describ’d is totally destroyed. And till Men of this sort repent, and change their Ways, they may lawfully be used as Common Enemies, by every one, that is in any manner liable to come within the Reach of their Outrages: Since it is not impossible, even for those Men, to retrieve their Credit; if after they have repair’d all their Damages and obtain’d their Pardons, they renounce their vicious, and embrace for the time to come, an honest Course of living.
VII.Under Government. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §6.Simple Reputation, with regard to such as live under Civil Government, is that Sort of Esteem, by which a Man is looked on at the lowest, as a common but a sound Member of the State: Or when a Man hath not been declar’d a corrupt Member, according to the Laws and Customs of the State, but is supposed to be a good Subject, and is look’d upon accordingly, and valu’d for such.
VIII.Lost by an ill Condition of Life, L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §7.Here therefore the same perishes, either by Reason of the Course of a Man’s Life, or in Consequence of some Crime. The first is the Case of Slaves; whose Condition, tho’ naturally having no Turpitude in it, in many Communities places them, if possible, below Nothing. As likewise that of Panders, Whores, and such like, whose Lives are accompanied with Vice, at least the Scandal of it. For tho’, whilst the Community thinks fit publickly to tolerate them, they participate of the Benefit of the Common Protection; yet they ought however to be excluded the Society of Civil Persons. And we may conclude no less of others, who are employ’d in Works of Nastiness and Contempt, tho’ naturally not including any Vitiousness in them.
IX.And his Crimes.By Crimes Men utterly lose their Reputation, when the Laws set a Brand of Infamy upon them for the same; either by Death, and so their Memory is set under Disgrace for ever; or by Banishment out of the Community, or by Confinement, being consider’d as scandalous and corrupt Members.
X.Otherwise Indelible. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §9.Otherwise it is very clear, that the Natural Honour of no Man can be taken from him solely by the Will of the Government. For how can it be understood, that the Government should have a Power collated on it, which conduces in no Degree to the Benefit of the Common-wealth? So neither does it seem, as if a real Infamy can be contracted by executing the Commands of the Government, barely in the Quality of a Minister, or Officer.
XI.Accumulative Reputation. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §11.Accumulative Reputation we call that, by which Persons, reciprocally equal as to their Natural Dignity, come to be preferr’d to one another according to those Accomplishments, which use to move the Minds of People to pay them Honour: For Honour is properly, the Signification of our Judgment concerning the Excellency of another Person.
XII.Twofold.This Sort of Reputation may be consider’d, either as amongst those who continue in the Liberty of a State of Nature, or amongst the Members of the same Common-wealth. We will examine, what the Foundations of it are, and how they produce in People, both a Capacity to expect the being Honoured by others; and an actual Right, strictly so called, to demand it of them as their Due.
XIII.The Grounds of it. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §12.The Foundations of an Accumulative Reputation, are in General reckoned to be all Manner of Endowments, either really containing, or such as are supposed to contain, some great Excellency and Perfection, which has plainly a Tendency in its Effects to answer the Ends of the Laws of Nature or Societies. Such are Acuteness and Readiness of Wit, a Capacity to understand several Arts and Sciences, a sound Judgment in Business, a steddy Spirit, immoveable by outward Occurrences, and equally superiour to Flatteries and Terrours: Eloquence, Beauty, Riches; but, more especially the Performing of good and brave Actions.
XIV.The Distinction of a Capacity and a Right to it. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §14.All these Things together, produce a Capacity to receive Honour, not a Right. So that if any Person should decline the Payment of his Veneration to them, he may deserve to be taken Notice of for his Incivility, but not for an Injury. For a perfect Right to be honoured by others, that bear the Ensigns thereof, proceeds either from an Authority over them; or from some mutual Agreement; or from a Law that is made and approved by one Common Lord and Master.
XV.Amongst Princes and States. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §20.Amongst Princes and independent States, they usually alledge, for Honour and Precedence, the Antiquity of their Kingdoms and Families, the Extent and Richness of their Territories, their Power Abroad and at Home, and the Splendour of their Styles. Yet neither will all these Pretences beget a perfect Right in any Prince or State to have the Precedence of others, unless the same has been first obtained by Concession or Treaty.
XVI.Amongst Subjects. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 4. §24.Amongst Subjects, the Degree of Honour is determined by the Prince, who wisely therein regards the Excellency of each Person, and his Ability to advance the publick Good. And whatever Honour a Subject receives in this Nature, as he may justly claim it against his Fellow-Subject, so he ought no less to satisfie himself in the quiet Enjoyment of it.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of the Power of Governours over the Goods of their Subjects
I.Threefold. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 5. §1.As it wholly lies at the Pleasure of supreme Governours, to appoint with what Restriction they will allow their Subjects to have Power over the Goods which themselves derive upon them; so also over the Goods of the Subjects own acquiring by their proper Industry or otherwise, the said Governours claim a threefold Kind of Right, resulting from the Nature, and as being necessary to the End, of Communities.70
II.By Laws. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 5. §3.Their First, consists in this; That it belongs to them to prescribe Laws to the Subjects, about the Measure and Quality of their Possessions; and which way to transfer the same from Hand to Hand, with other Particulars of the like Nature; and how to apply them in the Use to the best Advantage of the whole Body.
III.By Taxes and Customs. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 5. §4.By the Second, they claim to appropriate to themselves, out of the Goods of the Subjects, a Portion by the Name of Tribute and Customs. And it is but reasonable, that since the Lives and Fortunes of all the Members are defended by the Community, the necessary Charges thereof should be defrayed by a general Contribution. For he must be very impudent indeed, who will enjoy the Protection and Priviledges of a Place, and yet contribute nothing in Goods or Service towards its Preservation. Only herein there will be great Occasion for Governours to accommodate themselves with Prudence to the querulous Temper of common People; and let them endeavour to levy the Money the most insensibly that they can: Observing first an Equality towards all, and then to lay the Taxes rather upon the smaller Commodities of various Kinds, than upon the Chief in a more uniform Way.
IV.By Seisure for publick Use extraordinary. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 5. §7.The Third, is a *Right of Extraordinary Dominion, consisting in this; That upon an urgent Necessity of State, the Goods of any Subject, of which the present Occasion has need, may be taken and applied to publick Uses, tho’ far exceeding the Proportion, that the Party is bound to contribute towards the Expences of the Common-wealth, For which Reason, as much (if it be possible) ought to be refunded to him again, either out of the publick Stock, or by the Contribution of the Rest of the Subjects.
V.Publick Revenues unalienable. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 5. §9.Beside these three Pretensions over the private, in divers Communities there are some particularly call’d, the publick Estate; which carry also the Name of the Kingdom’s, or the Prince’s Patrimony, according as they are distributed into the Treasury or the Privy Purse. The Latter serves for the Maintenance of the Prince and his Family; who has a Property in it during Life, and may dispose of the Profits thence arising at his Pleasure: But the Use of the Other is appropriated for the publick Occasions of the Kingdom; the Prince officiating therein as Administrator only, and standing obliged to apply all to the Purposes to which they are designed. And neither of the two Patrimonies can be alienated by the Prince without the People’s Consent.
VI.Neither Royal Power nor Allegiance, alienable. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 5. §10.Much less can a whole Kingdom (that is not held patrimonially) or any Part of it, be alienated without their Consent to it: And in the latter Case particularly the Consent of that Part that is to be alienated. As on the other Hand no Subject against the Will of his Community, can possibly disingage himself from the Bonds of his Duty and Allegiance to it; unless the Force of foreign Enemies reduces him to such a Condition, that he has no other Way to be safe.[Back to Table of Contents]
Of War and Peace
I.Necessity of War sometimes. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §2.Altho’ nothing is more agreeable to the Laws of Nature, than the mutual Peace of Men with one another, preserved by the voluntary Application of each Person to his Duty; living together in a State of Peace, being a peculiar Distinction of Men from Brutes; yet it is sometimes both Lawful and Necessary to go to War, when by means of another’s Injustice, we cannot, without the Use of Force, preserve what is our own, nor injoy those Rights which are properly ours. But here common Prudence and Humanity do admonish us * to forbear our Arms there, where the Prosecution of the Injuries we resent, is likely to return more Hurt upon us and ours, than it can do Good.
II.Just Causes of War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §4.The just Causes upon which a War may be undertaken, come all to these: The Preservation of our selves, and what we have, against an unjust Invasion; and this Sort of War is called *Defensive. The Maintenance and Recovery of our Rights from those that refuse to pay them: The Reparation of Injuries done to us, and Caution against them for the future. And this Sort of War is called Offensive.
III.Amicable Composition.Not that upon a Prince’s taking himself to be injur’d, he is presently to have Recourse to Arms, especially if any Thing about the Right or Fact in Controversie remains yet under Dispute. † But first let him try to compose the Matter in an amicable Way, by Treaties, by Appeal to Arbitrators, or by submitting the Matter in Question to the Decision of a Lot; ‡ and these Methods are the rather to be chosen by that Party who claims from another, because Possession, with any Shew of Right, is wont to meet with the most favourable Constructions.
IV.Unjust Causes of War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §5.The unjust Causes of War, are either those which openly to all the World are such; as, Ambition and Covetousness, and what may be reduced thereto: Or § those that admit of a faint and imperfect Colour to be pretended in their Excuse. Of this Kind there is Variety: As, The Fear of a Neighbour’s growing Wealth and Power; Conveniency of a Possession, to which yet no Right can be made out; Desire of a better Habitation; The Denial of common Favours; The Folly of the Possessor; The Desire of extinguishing another’s Title, lawfully acquired, because it may be prejudicial to us; ‖ and many more.
V.Of Deceit in War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6 §6.And tho’ the most proper Way of Acting in War, is by that of Force and Terrour, yet it is altogether as lawful to attack an Enemy by Stratagems and Wiles, provided that the Faith and Trust which you give him is inviolably observed. ¶ It is lawful to deceive him by Stories and feigned Narrations, not by Promises and Covenants.
VI.Violence: L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6 §7.But concerning the Violence which may be used against him, and what belongs to him; we must distinguish betwixt what it is possible for him to suffer without Injustice, and what we may easily inflict without the Breach of Humanity. Whoever declares himself my Enemy, as he makes Profession by that very Act of enterprizing upon me the greatest Mischiefs in the World; so at the same Time he fully indulges me the Leave to imploy the utmost of my Power, without Mercy, against himself. * Yet Humanity commands me, as far as the Fury of War will permit, that I do my Enemy no more Harm, than the Defence or Vindication of my Right requires, with Care to my Security for the Time to come.71
VII.Solemn and less solemn War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §9.We commonly divide War into Solemn and less Solemn. To a Solemn War it is required, That it be made on both Sides by the Authority of the Sovereign Governours; and preceeded by a publick Declaration. The other either is not publickly denounced, or, perhaps, is begun amongst private Persons. † To which latter Head belong also Civil Wars.
VIII.Power of making War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §10.As the Power of making War, in all Nations lies in the same Hands, that are intrusted with the Government; ‡ so it is a Matter above the Authority of a subordinate Magistrate to ingage in, without a Delegation from thence, tho’ he could suppose with Reason, that were they consulted upon the Matter, they would be pleased with it.
Indeed all Military Governours of fortified Places and Provinces, having Forces under them to command upon the Defence thereof, may understand it to be injoyn’d them by the very Design of their Imployments, to repel an Invader, from the Parts committed to their Trust, by all the Ways they can. But they are not rashly to carry the War into an Enemy’s Country.
IX.Wars occasioned by protecting of Refugees. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §12.In a State of Natural Liberty, a Person is assaulted by Force only for the Injuries that are done by himself. But in a Community, a War often happens upon the Governour or the whole Body, when neither of them has committed any Thing. To make this appear just, it is necessary, the Act of a Third Party must by some way or other pass upon them. Now Governours do partake of the Offences, not only of their proper Subjects, but of others that occasionally flee to them; if either the Offences are done by their Permission, or that they receive and protect the Offender. The Sufferance of an Offence becomes then blameable, when at the same Time that one knows of the doing it, he has a Power to hinder it. Things openly and frequently done by the Subjects, are supposed to be known to their Governours; in whom it is always presumed there is a Power also to prohibit, unless a manifest Proof appears of its Defect. Yet to make it an Occasion of War, to give Admittance and Protection to a Criminal, who flies to us for the Sake only of escaping his Punishment, is what must proceed rather by Virtue of a particular Agreement betwixt Allies and Neighbours, than from any common Obligation; unless the Fugitive, being in our Dominions, contrives Hostilities against the Common-wealth he deserts.
X.Reprisals. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §13.Another received Custom betwixt Nations, is, That the Goods and Estate of every Subject may be answerable to make good the Debts of that State of which they are originally Members; as also for all that Wrong which that State may offer to Foreigners, or that Justice it may refuse to shew them, insomuch, that the Foreign Nation, whose Subjects have been thus injur’d by this State, may retaliate the Wrong upon the Effects or Persons of such Subjects of this State, as may be found among them. And these Sorts of Executions are usually called Reprisals,* and commonly prove the Forerunners of War. Those States who are the Aggressors, and give just Cause for such Reprisals, ought to refund and make Reparation to their Subjects upon whom they have thus brought Loss and Damage, by making them liable to have such Reprisals made upon them.
XI.Of Wars in the Defence of others. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §14.A War may be made by a Person, not only for himself, but for another. In order to do this with Honesty, it is requisite, that He for whom the War is undertaken, shall have a just Cause; and his Friend, a probable Reason, why he will become an Enemy to that other for his sake. Amongst those, in whose Behalf it is not only lawful, but our Duty to make War, there is, in the first Place, our Natural Subjects, as well severally, as the universal Body of them; provided, that the War will not evidently involve the State in greater Mischiefs still. Next, there are the Allies, with whom we have engaged to associate our Arms by Treaty: Yet, therein not only giving the Precedence to our own Subjects, if they should chance to stand in need of Assistance at the same Juncture; but presupposing also, that the Allies have a just Cause, and begin the War with Prudence. * After our Allies, our Friends deserve to be assisted by us, even without our Obligation to do it by a special Promise. And where there is no other Reason, the common Relation alone of Men to Men, may be sufficient, when the Party imploring our Aid is unjustly oppressed, to engage our Endeavours, as far as with Convenience we are able, to promote his Defence.
XII.The Liberty of killing, &c. in War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §18.The Liberty that is in War, of killing, plundering, and laying all Things waste, extends it self to so very large a Compass, that tho’ a Man carries his Rage beyond the uttermost Bounds of Humanity, yet in the Opinion of Nations, he is not to be accounted infamous, or one that ought to be avoided by Persons of Worth. † Excepting, that amongst the more Civilized World, they look upon some particular Methods, of doing Hurt to Enemies, to be base; as poisoning Fountains, or corrupting of Soldiers or Subjects to kill their Masters, &c.
XIII.Of things taken in War. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §20.Moveable Things are understood to be Taken in War then, when they are carried out of the Reach of the Enemy who before possessed them. * And Things immoveable, when we have them within our Custody so, that we can beat the Enemy away from thence. Yet the Right of the former Possessor to retake the same, is never utterly extinguished, till he renounces all his Pretensions to them by a subsequent Agreement. For without this, it will be always lawful, by Force, to retrieve again what by Force is lost. The Soldiers fight by the Authority of the Publick; and whatever they obtain from the Enemy, they get it not for themselves, but properly for the Community they serve. Only it is customary in most Places, to leave to them by Connivance the Moveables, especially those of small Value, that they take, in the Place of a Reward, or perhaps instead of their Pay, and for an Incouragement to them to be free of their Blood. When Things immoveable that have been lost to, are retaken from the Enemy, they return into the Possession of the former Owners: † And Moveables ought to do the same; but that amongst most People they are delivered over and foregone as a Prey to the Army.
XIV.Conquest. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 6. §24.Empire72 also or Government comes to be acquired by War, not only over the particular or single Persons conquered, but intire States.‡ To render this lawful, and binding upon the Consciences of the Subjects, it is necessary, That on the one Side the Subjects swear Fidelity to the Conqueror; and on the other, that the Conqueror cast off the State and Disposition of an Enemy towards them.
XV.Truce L. N. N. l. 8. c. 7. §3.The Proceedings of War are suspended by a Truce; which is an Agreement (the State and Occasion of the War remaining still the same as before,) to abstain on both Sides from all Acts of Hostility for some Time appointed. When that is past, if there be no Peace concluded in the Interim, they resume their Hostilities again, without the Formality of a new Declaration.
XVI.Treaties of Truce.Now Truces are either such as they consent to during the Continuance of the Expedition, whilst both Sides keep their Forces on foot; or those, on which they quite disband their Forces, and lay aside all Military Preparations. The first are seldom taken but for a small Time. The others they may and usually do take for a Continuance so long, as to carry the Face of a Peace; and sometimes also the very Name, with the Addition of some Term of Years, only to distinguish it from a perfect Peace indeed, which regularly is Eternal, and extinguishes the Causes of the War for ever. * Those that they call tacit Truces, oblige to nothing. For as on both Sides they lie quiet for their Pleasure, so, whenever they think fit, they may break out into Acts of Hostility.
XVII.Treaties of Peace. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 8.But when a Peace is mutually ratified by each Sovereign Governour, upon Articles and Conditions agreed betwixt themselves, which they ingage to observe and put in Execution faithfully by a Time prescribed; then a War is perfectly ended. † In Confirmation whereof, it is usual, not only for both Parties to take their Oaths and interchange Hostages; but for some others oftentimes, especially amongst the Assistants at the Treaty, to undertake the Guaranty of the same, with Promises of Aid to him who ever is first injured by the other, in Contravention to the Articles of the Peace that is made.[Back to Table of Contents]
I.Alliances twofold. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §1.Alliances73 interchangeably passed betwixt Sovereign Governours, are of good Use both in Times of War and Peace. * They may be divided, in Respect of their Subject, either into such as reinforce the Duty already incumbent on us from the Law of Nature; or such as superadd something to the Precepts of the Law; at least, they determine their Obligation to such or such particular Actions, which before seemed indefinite.
II.Treaties of Peace. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §2.By the first Sort are meant Treaties of Peace, wherein nothing more is agreed upon than the simple Exercise of Humanity towards one another, or a Forbearance of Mischief and Violence. Or, perhaps, they may establish a general Sort of Friendship betwixt them, not mentioning Particulars; or fix the Rules of Hospitality and Commerce, according to the Directions of the Law of Nature.
III.Equal Leagues. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §3.The others of the latter Sort, are called Leagues, and are either Equal or Unequal. Equal Leagues are so far composed of the same Conditions on both Sides, that they not only promise what is Equal absolutely, or at least in Proportion to the Abilities of the Person; but they stipulate in such a Manner too, that neither Party is to the other obnoxious,74 or in a worse Condition.
IV.Unequal. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §4.Unequal Leagues are those, wherein Conditions are agreed upon that are unequal, and render one Side worse than the other. † This Inequality may be either on the Part of the Superiour, or else of the Inferiour Confederate. For if the Superiour Confederate ingages to send the other Succours, unconditionally, not accepting of any Terms from him, or ingages to send a greater Proportion of them than He, the Inequality lies upon the Superiour. But if the League requires of the inferiour Confederate the Performance of more Things towards the Superiour, than the Superiour performs towards him, the Inequality there no less evidently lies on the Side of the Inferiour.
V.Conditions put upon Inferiours. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §5.Amongst the Conditions required of an inferiour Ally, some contain a Diminution of his Sovereign Power, restraining him from the Exercise thereof in certain Cases without the Superiour’s Consent. Others impose no such Prejudice upon his Sovereignty, but oblige him to the Performance of those we call transitory Duties, which once done, are ended altogether. As, to discharge the Pay of the other’s Army; to restore the Expences of the War; to give a certain Sum of Money; to demolish his Fortifications, deliver Hostages, surrender his Ships, Arms, &c. And yet neither do some perpetual Duties diminish the Sovereignty of a Prince. As, to have the same Friends and Enemies with another, tho’ the other be not reciprocally ingaged to have the same with him: To be obliged to erect no Fortifications here, nor to sail there, &c. To be bound to pay some certain friendly Reverence to the other’s Majesty, and to conform with Modesty to his Pleasure.
VI.The Subject of Leagues.Both these Sorts of Leagues, as well Equal as the Unequal, are wont to be contracted upon various Reasons, whereof such especially produce Effects of the strongest and most binding Complexion, as tend to the Conjunction of many Nations in a League that is to last for ever. But the Common Subject of the Leagues most in Use, is, either the Preservation of Commerce, or the Furnishing of Succours in a War, Offensive or Defensive.
VII.Real and personal Leagues. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §6.There is another famous Division of Leagues into Real, and Personal. The Latter express such a near Regard to the Person of the Prince they are contracted with, that whenever he dies, they expire also. Real Leagues are those, which not being entred into in Consideration so much of any particular Prince or Governour, as of the Kingdom or Common-wealth, continue in full Force, even after the Death of the first Contracters of them.
VIII.Sponsions.75 L. N. N. l. 8. c. 9. §12.The next in Nature to Leagues, are the Agreements of a Publick Minister, made upon the Subject of the Affairs of the Prince his Master, without Orders for the same; which are usually called Overtures. The Conditions whereof impose no Obligation upon the Prince, till he shall please afterwards to ratifie them by his own Authority. And therefore, if, after the Minister has agreed upon the Compact absolutely, he cannot obtain his Prince’s Confirmation of it; it lies upon himself to consider, what Satisfaction he ought to render to those, who, depending upon his Credit, have been deceived by him with insignificant Ingagements.[Back to Table of Contents]
The Duty of Subjects
I.Twofold. L. N. N. l. 7. c. 8. §10.The Duty of Subjects is either General, arising from the Common Obligation which they owe to the Government as Subjects: Or Special, upon the Account of some particular Office and Imployment, that the Government imposes upon them.
II.General.Their General Duty respects the Demeanour of themselves severally, towards their Governours, the Common-wealth,76 and one another in particular.
III.Towards their Governours.To their Governours they owe Honour, Fidelity, and Obedience. Beside that, they ought to entertain good and honourable Thoughts of them and their Actions, and speak accordingly; to acquiesce with Patience and Content under the present State of Things, not suffering their Desires to wander after Innovations; not adhering to any Persons, or admiring and honouring them, more than they do the Magistrates that are set over them.
IV.The Common-wealth;In Reference to the Common-wealth, their Duty is, to prefer the Happiness and Safety of it to the dearest Things they have in the World: To offer their Lives, Estates and Fortunes with Chearfulness towards its Preservation, and to study to promote its Glory and Welfare by all the Powers of their Industry and Wit.
V.One another.Towards one another, their Behaviour ought to be friendly and peaceable, as serviceable, and as affable as they can make it; not to give Occasion of Trouble by Moroseness and Obstinacy, nor envying the Happiness of any, or interrupting their lawful and honest Injoyments.
VI.Their special Duties.And as for their peculiar Duties, as Officers, whether they influence the whole Body of the Nation, or are employed only about a certain Part of it, there is this one general Precept to be observed for all; That no Person affect or take upon him any Imployment, of which he knows himself, by the Sense of his Disabilities (whether Want of Strength, Skill, Courage, &c.) to be unworthy and uncapable.
VII.The Duty of Privy-Counsellors.Particularly, let those who assist at the Publick Counsels, turn their Eyes round upon all Parts of the Common-wealth; and whatever Things they discover to be of Use, thereupon ingenuously and faithfully, without Partiality or corrupt Intentions, lay open their Observations. Let them not take their own Wealth and Grandure, but always the publick Good, for the End of their Counsels; nor flatter their Princes in their Humours to please them only. Let them abstain from Factions and unlawful Meetings or Associations; dissemble not any thing that they ought to speak, nor betray what they ought to conceal. Let them approve themselves impenetrable to the Corruptions of Foreigners; and not postpone the publick Business to their private Concerns and Pleasures.
VIII.The Clergy.Let the Clergy, who are appointed publickly to administer in the Sacred Offices of Religion, perform their Work with Gravity and Attention; teaching the Worship of God, in Doctrines that are most true, and shewing themselves eminent Examples of what they preach to others; that the Dignity of their Function, and the Weight of their Doctrine, may suffer no Diminution by the Scandal of their ill led Lives.
IX.Publick Readers.Let such who are publickly imployed to instruct the Minds of the People in the Knowledge of Arts and Sciences, teach nothing that is false and pernicious; delivering their Truths so, that the Auditors may assent to them, not out of a Custom of hearing, but for the solid Reasons that attend them: And avoiding all Questions which incline to imbroil Civil Society; let them assure themselves, that whatever human Science or Knowledge returns no Good to us, either as Men or Subjects, the same deserves their Censure as impertinent Vanity.
X.Lawyers.Let those Magistrates, whose Office it is to distribute Justice, be easie of Access to all, and ready to protect the Common People against the Oppressions of the more mighty; administring Justice both to Rich and Poor, Inferiour and Superiour, with a perfect Equality. Let them not multiply Disputes unnecessarily; abstain from Corruption; be diligent in trying of Causes, and careful to lay aside all Affections that may obstruct Sincerity in Judgment; not fearing the Person of any Man while they are doing their Duty.
XI.Officers of the Army.Let the Officers of War diligently Exercise their Men on all Occasions, and harden them for the enduring the Fatigues of a Military Life, and inviolably preserve good Discipline among them. Let them not rashly expose them to the Danger of the Enemy, nor defraud them of any of their Pay or Provisions; but procure it for them with all the Readiness they are able, and keep them in the Love of their Country, without ever seducing them to serve against it.
XII.Soldiers.On the other Hand, let the Soldiers be content with their Pay, without plundering, or harrassing the Inhabitants. Let them perform their Duty couragiously and generously, in the Defence of their Country; neither running upon Danger with Rashness, nor avoiding it with Fear: Let ’em exercise their Courage upon the Enemy, not their Comrades: And maintain their several Posts like Men, preferring an Honourable Death before a Dishonourable Flight and Life.
XIII.Ambassadors and Envoys.Let the Ministers of the Common-wealth in foreign Parts, be cautious, and circumspect; quick to discern Solidities from Vanity, and Truths from Fables; in the highest Degree, Tenacious of Secrets, and obstinately averse to all Corruptions, out of their Care of the Good of the Common-wealth.
XIV.Officers of the publick Revenues.Let the Officers for Collecting and Disposing of the Publick Revenue have a Care of using needless Severities, and of increasing the Subjects Burthen for their own Gain, or through their troublesome and petulant Humours. Let them misapply nothing of the publick Stock; and satisfie the Persons who have Money to be paid out of it, without Delays unnecessary.
XV.The Continuance of the Duties aforesaid. L. N. N. l. 8. c. 11.All these Particular Duties of Subjects, continue during the Time of Employment: And when that ceases, the other expire also. But their General Duties are in Force, so long as ever Men continue to be Subjects; that is, ’till by either the express or tacit Consent of the Nation, they depart thence, to fix the Seat of their Fortunes elsewhere; that they are banished and deprived of the Rights of Subjects for their Crimes; or, being overcome in Battle, they are forced to yield to the Disposal of the Conqueror.
The END[Back to Table of Contents]
two discourses and a commentary by jean barbeyrac[Back to Table of Contents]
Note on the Translation
The eighteenth-century dissemination of Pufendorf’s Latin works owed not a little to the French translations, notes, and commentaries of Jean Barbeyrac. These had some impact, for instance, on the English editors of the 1716/35 edition of The Whole Duty of Man. Publicist and apologist that he was, Barbeyrac nonetheless had a mind of his own on certain key issues in the intellectual debate generated by postscholastic Protestant natural law. The three writings here, translated into English for the first time—the celebrated defense of Pufendorf against Leibniz in the Judgment of an Anonymous Writer, together with the Discourse on What Is Permitted by the Laws and the Discourse on the Benefits Conferred by the Laws—contribute both to Barbeyrac’s status as Pufendorf’s publicist and to his own standing as a natural law thinker. These three writings, which appeared as appendices in the fourth edition of Barbeyrac’s translation of the De officio, Les Devoirs de l’Homme et du Citoien, published in Amsterdam in 1718, are thus reunited in the present volume with Pufendorf’s text.
The reader will note that the Judgment of an Anonymous Writer constitutes a triangular exchange among Leibniz (the “Anonymous Writer”), Pufendorf (“our author”), and Barbeyrac (in his own first-person voice). In fact, Leibniz’s words have already been made available in English, in Patrick Riley’s 1972 translation from the original Latin.1 However, the continuous uninterrupted prose of that translation was not at all the form in which Barbeyrac’s readers encountered the exchange. As Barbeyrac informed them at the start of his translation of the German philosopher’s attack, he had broken Leibniz’s prose into twenty paragraphs, to each of which he then provided an appropriate response (some directly contradicting Leibniz, some conceding ground, some revising Pufendorf ). Whereas Barbeyrac indicated Leibniz’s words by use of quotation marks, we have thought it more convenient to print them in italics. Also, we have translated Leibniz’s critique as it was presented in Barbeyrac’s French, to capture the integrity of the latter’s triangulation of positions in this early modern debate on natural law.
The Discourse on What Is Permitted by the Laws and the Discourse on the Benefits Conferred by the Laws were originally delivered in French by Barbeyrac in his official capacity as Rector of the Lausanne Academy, in 1715 and 1716, respectively. Unusually for academic orations, each was published (and republished) in the year of its delivery before being included in the 1718 edition of Les Devoirs.2 It might seem to contradict the very point of his translation of the Latin of Pufendorf (and of Leibniz) into French for a spreading Protestant Francophone readership, but, as the reader will see below, Barbeyrac loaded the Discourses and the Judgment with Latin quotations, especially in the notes. His purpose was both practical and symbolic: to provide the Latin original as a means for readers to check the accuracy of his rendering (of both classical sources and of Leibniz), and to display the towering humanistic erudition of a natural law scholar whose library would grow to contain ten thousand volumes. In fact, for the most part, the Latin texts cited in Barbeyrac’s notes have their translation or paraphrase in the body of his text (which is here translated into English). However, in the fewer instances in which lengthy and interesting Latin notes do not have this English accompaniment, we have included an English translation.3[Back to Table of Contents]
The Judgment of an Anonymous Writer on the Original of This Abridgment