صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

RIGHTS OF SELF-DEFENCE.

si If our

"*

a

such it would actually be, whatever were the provi

CHAPTER XVII. sion of the law-whether, for instance, confiscation of property, or indignity to the remains of the dead. One would make a family poor, and the other perhaps unhappy. It does not appear just or reasonable

These rights not absolute--Their limits--Personal attack

Preservation of property--Much resistance lawful-Effects that these should suffer for an offence which they of forbearance-Sharpe---Barclay--Ellwood. could not prevent, and by which they, above all

The right of defending ourselves against violence others, are already injured and distressed.

is easily deducible from the Law of Nature. There One thing appears to be clear, that it is vain for

is however little need to deduce it, because mankind a Legislature to attempt any interference of which

are at least sufficiently persuaded of its lawfulness. the people do not approve. This is evident from

- The great question, which the opinions and printhe experience in our own country, where coroner's

ciples that now influence the world makes it needful juries prefer perjuring themselves to pronouncing a

to discuss is, Whether the right of self-defence is verdict of felo de se, by which the remains would

absolute and unconditional- Whether every action be subjected to barbarous indignities. Coroners' inquests seem to proceed rather upon the pre-sup

whatever is lawful, provided it is necessary to the

preservation of life? They who maintain the affirmposition that he who destroys himself is insane, than

ative, maintain a great deal; for they maintain that upon the evidence which is brought before them;

whenever life is endangered, all rules of morality and thus, whilst the law is evaded, perjury it is to

are, as it respects the individual, suspended, annihi. be feared is very frequent. That the public mind

lated :

: every moral obligation is taken away by the disapproves the existing law is a good reason for

single fact that life is threatened. altering it: but it is not a good reason why coroners'

Yet the language that is ordinarily held upon the juries should violate their oaths, and give encourage

subject implies the supposition of all this. ment to the suicide by telling him, that disgrace will

lives are threatened with assassination or open viobe warded off from his memory and from his family lence from the hands of robbers or enemies, any by a generous verdict of insanity. It has been said

means of defence would be allowed, and laudable." that it is a common thing for a suicide's friends to

Again, “ There is one case in which all extremities fee the coroner in order to induce him to prevent a

are justifiable, namely, when our life is assaulted, and verdict of felo de se. If this be true, it is indeed it becomes necessary for our preservation to kill the time that the arm of the law should be vigorously

assailant.”+ extended. What punishment is due to the man who

The reader may the more willingly enquire wheaccepts a purse as a reward for inducing twelve

ther these propositions are true, because most of persons to commit perjury? It is probable too,

those who lay them down are at little pains to prove that half-a-dozen just verdicts, by which the law

their truth. Men are extremely willing to acquiesce was allowed to take its course, would occasion the

in it without proof, and writers and speakers think abolition of the disgusting statute;* for the public would not bear that it should be acted upon.

it unnecessary to adduce it. Thus perhaps it hapThe great object is to associate with the act of pens that fallacy is not detected because it is not

sought.-- If the reader should think that some of suicide ideas of guilt and horror in the public mind.

the instances wbich follow are remote from the This association would be likely to preclude, in indi

ordinary affairs of life, he is requested to remember viduals, that first complacent contemplation of the

that we are discussing the soundness of an alleged act which probably precedes, by a long interval, the

absolute sule. If it be found that there are or have act itself. The anxiety which the surviving friends

been cases in which it is not absolute--cases in which manifest for a verdict of “insanity,” is a proof how

all extremities are not lawful in defence of lifegreat is the power of imagination, and how much then the rule is not sound: then there are some they are in dread of public opinion. They are

limits to the Right of Self-Defence. anxious that the disgrace and reproach of conscious

If " any means of defence are laudable,” if “ all self-murder should not cling to their family. This

extremities are justifiable," then they are not conis precisely that anxiety of which the legislator

fined to acts of resistance to the assailing party. should avail himself, by enactments that would re

There may be other conditions upon which life may quire satisfactory proof of insanity, and which, in

be preserved than that of violence towards him. default of such proof, would leave to its full force

Some ruffians seize a man in the highway, and will the stigma and the pain, and excite a sense of horror

kill him unless he will conduct them to his neighof the act, and a perception of its wickedness in the bour's property and assist them in carrying it off

. public mind. The point for the exercise of legisla

May this man unite with them in the robbery in tive wisdom is, to devise such an ultimate procedure

order to save his life, or may he not? If he may, as shall call forth these feelings, but as shall not

what becomes of the law, Thou shalt pot steal! If become nugatory by being more dreadful than the

he may not, then not every means by which a man public will endure. What that procedure should be,

may preserve his life is “ laudable" I pretend not to describe; but it may be observed

" allowed." that the simple circumstance of pronouncing a public

We have found an exception to the rule. There

are twenty other wicked things which violent men Ferdict of conscious self-murder, would, amongst a

may make the sole condition of not taking our lives. people of good feelings, go far towards the produc

Do all wicked things become lawful because life is tion of the desired effect.-As the law now exists,

at stake? If they do, Morality is surely at an end : and as it is now violated, the tendency is exactly the

if they do not, such propositions as those of Grotius contrary of what it ought to be. By the almost

and Paley are untrue. universal custom which it generates, of declaring suicides to have been insane, it effectually diminishes

A pagan bas unalterably resolved to offer me up in

sacrifice on the morrow, unless I will acknowledge that pain to individuals, and that horror in the pub

the deity of his gods and worship them. I shall prelic, which the crime itself would naturally occasion.

sume that the Christian will regard these acts as

being, under every possible circumstance, unlawful. . This statute has been repealed; and the law now simply

The night offers me an opportunity of assassinating requires, when a verdict of felo de se is returned, that the body shall be interred privately, at night, and without the fue • Grotius: Rights o War and Peace. neral service. Ed.

- Paley : Mor. and Pol. Phil. p 3, b. iv. c. 1.

or

a

him. Now I am placed, so far as the argument is | conjecture in life in which the exercise of his bensconcerned, in precisely the same situation with re- volence may be suspended; none in which we are not spect to this man, as a traveller is with respect to a required to maintain and to practise it. Whether ruffian with a pistol. Life in both cases depends on Want implores our compassion, or Ingratitude rekilling the offender. Both are acts of self-defence. turns ills for our kindness; whether a fellow creaAm I at liberty to assassinate this man? The heart ture is drowning in a river or assailing us on the highof the Christian surely answers, No. Here then is a way; every where, and under all circumstances, the case in which I may not take a violent man's life in duty remains. order to save my own.

-We have said that the heart Is killing an assailant, then, within or without the of the Christian answers, No: and this we think is limits of this Benevolence !-As to the man, it is a just species of appeal. But if any one doubts evident that no good-will is exercised towards him whether the assassination would be unlawful, let him by shooting him through the head. Who indeed consider whether one of the Christian apostles would will dispute that, before we can thus destroy him, have committed it in such a case. Here, at any rate, benevolence towards him must be excluded from our the heart of every man answers, No. And mark the minds ? We not only exercise no benevolence our. reason-because every man perceives that the act selves, but preclude him from receiving it from any would have been palpably inconsistent with apostolic human heart; and, which is a serious item in the accharacter and conduct; or, which is the same thing, count, we cut him off from all possibility of reformawith a Christian character and conduct.

tion. To call sinners to repentance, was one of the Or put such a case in a somewhat different form. great characteristics of the mission of Christ. Does A furious Turk holds a scimitar over my head, and it appear consistent with this characteristic for one declares he will instantly dispatch me unless I abjure of His followers to take away from a sinner the Christianity and acknowledge the divine legation of power of repentance? Is it an act that accords, and “the Prophet.” Now there are two supposable

is congruous, with Christian love? ways in which I may save my life; one by contri

But an argument has been attempted here. That ving to stab the Turk, and one “by denying Christ we may " kill the assailant is evident in a state of before men.” You say I am not at liberty to deny nature, unless it can be shown that we are bound to Christ, but I am at liberty to stab the man. Why prefer the aggressor's life to our own; that is to say, am I not at liberty to deny Him? Because Christi. to love our enemy better than ourselves, which can anity forbids it. Then we require you to show that never be a debt of justice, nor any where appears to Christianity does not forbid you to take his life. be a duty of charity.”* The answer is this: That Our religion pronounces both actions to be wrong. although we may not be required to love our enemy You say that, under these circumstances, the killing better than ourselves, we are required to love him as is right. Where is your proof? What is the ground ourselves; and therefore, in the supposed case, it of your distinction !-But, whether it can be adduced would still be a question equally balanced which life or not, our immediate argument is established— That ought to be sacrificed; for it is quite clear that, if we there are some things which it is not lawful to do in

kill the assailant, we love him less than ourselves, order to preserve our lives. This conclusion has in

which does seem to militate against a duty of charity. deed been practically acted upon. A company of But the truth is that he who, from motives of obeinquisitors and their agents are about to conduct a dience to the will of God, spares the aggressor's good man to the stake. If he could by any means life even to the endangering his own, does exercise destroy these men, he might save his life. It is a

love both to the aggressor and to himself, perfectly: question therefore of self defence. Supposiag these to the aggressor, because by sparing his life we give means to be within his power-supposing he could him the opportunity of repentance and amendment: contrive a mine, and by suddenly firing it, blow his to himself, because every act of obedience to God is persecutors into the air-would it be lawful and perfect benevolence towards ourselves; it is consultChristian thus to act ? No. The common judgments ing and promoting our most valuable interests; it is of mankind respecting the right temper and conduct propitiating the favour of him who is emphatically of the martyr, pronounce it to be wrong. It is pro- a rich rewarder.”—So that the question remains nounced to be wrong by the language and example as before, not whether we should love our enemy of the first teachers of Christianity. The conclusion better than ourselves, but whether Christian printherefore again is, that all extremities are not allow.

ciples are acted upon in destroying him; and if they able in order to preserve life;—that there is a limit

are not, whether we should prefer Christianity to to the right of self-defence.

ourselves; whether we should be willing to lose our It would be to no purpose to say that in some of life for Christ's sake and the gospel's. the instances which have been proposed, reliyious Perhaps it will be said that we should exercise beduties interfere with and limit the rights of self

nevolence to the public as well as to the offender, defence. This is a common fallacy. Religious duties and that we may exercise more benevolence to them and moral duties are identical in point of obligation, by killing than by sparing him. But very few per: for they are imposed by one authority. Religious sons, when they kill a man who attacks them, kill duties are not obligatory for any other reason than him out of benevolence to the public. That is not that which attaches to moral duties also; namely, the the motive which influences their conduct, or which Will of God. He who violates the Moral Law is as

they at all take into the account. Besides, it is by truly unfaithful in his allegiance to God, as he who

no means certain that the public would lose any denies Christ before men.

by the forbearance. To be sure, a man can do no So that we come at last to one single and simple ques- more mischief after he is killed; but then it is to be tion, whether taking the life of a person who threatens remembered, that robbers are more desperate and ours, is or is not compatible with the Moral Law.

more murderous from the apprehension of swords We refer for an answer to the broad principles of and pistols than they would be without it. Men are Christian piety

and Christian benevolence; that piety desperate in proportion to their apprehensions of which reposes habitual confidence in the Divine Pro- danger. The plunderer who feels a confidence that vidence, and an habitual preference of futurity to the his own life will not be taken, may conduct his plunpresent time ; and that benevolence which not only der with comparative gentleness; whilst he who loves our neighbours as ourselves, but feels that the Samaritan or the enemy is a neighbour. There is no • Paley : Mor. and l’ol. Phil. p. 3, b. 4, c. I.

thing

knows that his life is in immediate jeopardy, stuns or enquiries is, that he who kills another, even upon the murders his victim lest he should be killed himself. plea of self-defence, does not do it in the predomiThe great evil which a family sustains by a robbery nance nor in the exercise of Christian dispositions ; is often not the loss, but the terror and the danger; and if this is true, is it not also true, that his life and these are the evils which, by the exercise of for- cannot be thus taken in conformity with the Chrisbearance, would be diminished. So that, if some bad tian law ! men are prevented from committing robberies by the But this is very far from concluding that no resistfear of death, the public gains in other ways by the ance may be made to aggression. We may make, forbearance: nor is it by any means certain that the and we ought to make, a great deal. It is the duty balance of advantages is in favour of the more violent of the civil magistrate to repress the violence of one course. The argument which we are opposing pro- man towards another, and by consequence it is the ceeds on the supposition that our own lives are endan- duty of the individual, when the civil power cannot gered. Now it is a fact that this very danger results, operate, to endeavour to repress it himself. I perin part, from the want of habits of forbearance. We ceive no reasonable exception to the rule--that publicly profess that we would kill an assailant; and whatever Christianity permits the magistrate to do the assailant, knowing this, prepares to kill us when in order to restrain violence, it permits the indivi. otherwise he would forbear.

dual, under such circumstances, to do also. I know And after all, if it were granted that a person is the consequences to which this rule leads in the case at liberty to take an assailant's life in order to pre- of the punishment of death, and of other questions. serve his own, how is he to know, in the majority of These questions will hereafter be discussed. In the instances, whether his own would be taken ? When mean time, it may be an act of candour to the reader a man breaks into a person's house, and this person, to acknowledge, that our chief motive for the disas soon as he comes up with the robber, takes out a cussions of the present chapter, has been to pioneer pistol and shoots him, we are not to be told that this the way for a satisfactory investigation of the Punman was killed “in defence of life.” Or go a step ishment of Death, and of other modes by which further, and a step further still, by which the inten- human life is taken away. tion of the robber to commit personal violence or Many kinds of resistance to aggression come inflict death is more and more probable :—you must strictly within the fulfilment of the law of benevoat last shoot him in uncertainty whether your life lence. He who, by securing, or temporarily diswas endangered or not. Besides, you can withdraw abling a man, prevents him from committing an act --you can fly. None but the predetermined mur- of great turpitude, is certainly his benefactor; and derer wishes to commit murder. But perhaps you if he be thus reserved for justice, the benevolence is exclaim_“Fly! Fly, and leave your property un- great both to him and to the public. It is an act of protected !" Yes-unless you mean to say that pre- much kindness to a bad man to secure him for the servation of property, as well as preservation of life, penalties of the law: or it would be such, if penal makes it lawful to kill an offender. This were to law were in the state in which it ought to be, and to adopt a new and a very different proposition; but a which it appears to be making some approaches. It proposition which I suspect cannot be separated in would then be very probable that the man would be practice from the former. He who affirms that he reformed: and this is the greatest benefit which can may kill another in order to preserve his life, and be conferred upon him and upon the community. that he may endanger his life in order to protect his The exercise of Christian forbearance towards property, does in reality affirm that he may kill an- violent men is not tantamount to an invitation of other in order to preserve his property. But such outrage. Cowardice is one thing ; this forbearance a proposition, in an unconditional form, no one surely is another. The man of true forbearance is of all will tolerate. The laws of the land do not admit it, men the least cowardly. It requires courage in a nor do they even admit the right of taking another's greater degree and of a higher order to practise it when life simply because he is attempting to take ours. life is threatened, than to draw a sword or fire a pistol. They require that we should be tender even of the No: It is the peculiar privilege of Christian virtue murderer's life, and that we should fly rather than to approve itself even to the bad. There is somedestroy it.*

thing in the nature of that calmness, and self-posWe say that the proposition that we may take life session, and forbearance, that religion effects, which in order to preserve our property is intolerable. To obtains, nay which almost commands regard and represerve how much ? five hundred pounds, or fifty, spect. How different the effect upon the violent or ten, or a shilling, or a sixpence? It has actually tenants of Newgate, the hardihood of a turnkey and been declared that the rights of self-defence “jus- the mild courage of an Elizabeth Fry! Experience, tify a man in taking all forcible methods which are incontestable experience, has proved, that the minds necessary, in order to procure the restitution of the of few men are so depraved or desperate as to prefreed m or the property of which he had been un. vent them from being influenced by real Christian justly deprived.”+ All forcible methods to obtain conduct. Let him therefore who advocates the takrestitution of property! No limit to the nature or ing the life of an agressor, first show that all other effects of the force ! No limit to the insignificance means of safety are vain ; let him show that bad of the amount of the property! Apply, then, the men, notwithstanding the exercise of true Christian rule

. A boy spatches a bunch of grapes from a forbearance, persist in their purposes of death :fruiterer's stall. The fruiterer runs after the thief, when he has done this he will have adduced an argubut finds that he is too light of foot to be overtaken. ment in favour of taking their lives which will not, Moreover, the boy eats as he runs. “ All forcible indeed, be conclusive, but which will approach methods," reasons the fruiterer, "are justifiable to nearer to conclusiveness than any that has yet been obtain restitution of property. "I may fire after the adduced. plunderer, and when he fails regain my grapes.” Of the consequences of forbearance, even in the All this is just and right, if Gisborne's proposition case of personal attack, there are some examples: is true. It is a dangerous thing to lay down maxims Archbishop Sharpe was assaulted by a footpad on

the highway, who presented a pistol and demanded The conclusion, then, to which we are led by these his money. The Archbishop spoke to the robber • Blackstone : Com. v. 4, c. 4.

in the language of a fellow man and of a Christian. + Gisborne : Moral Philosophy.

The man was really in distress, and the prelate gavo,

in morality.

him such money as he had, and promised that, if he whipt out my rapier and made a pass upon him. I would call at the palace, he would make up the could not have failed running him through up to amount to fifty pounds. This was the sum of which the hilt,” but the sudden appearance of the bright the robber had said he stood in the utmost need. The blade terrified the man so, that he stepped aside, man called and received the money. About a year avoided the thrust, and both he and the other fied. and a half afterwards, this man again came to the “ At that time,” proceeds Ellwood, “and for a good palace and brought back the same sum. He said while after, I had no regret upon my mind for what that his circumstances had become improved, and I had done.” This was whilst he was young, and that, through the “ astonishing goodness” of the | when the forbearing principles of Christianity had Archbishop, he had become “the most penitent, the little influence upon him. But afterwards, when most grateful, and happiest of his species.”—Let the this influence became powerful, “a sort of horror," reader consider how different the Archbishop's feel- he

says,

“ seized on me when I considered bow near ings were, from what they would have been if, by | I had been to the staining of my hands with human his hand, this man had been cut off. *

blood. And whensoever afterwards I went that Barclay, the Apologist, was attacked by a high- | way, and indeed as often since as the matter bas wayman. He substituted for the ordinary modes of come into my remembrance, my soul has blessed resistance, a calm expostulation. The felon dropped Him who preserved and withheld me from shedding his presented pistol, and offered no further violence. man's blood.”* A Leonard Fell was similarly attacked, and from That those over whom, as over Ellwood, the inhim the robber took both his money and his horse, fluence of Christianity is imperfect and weak, should and then threatened to blow out his brains. Fell think themselves at liberty upon such occasions to take solemnly spoke to the man on the wickedness of his the lives of their fellow-men, needs to be no subject life. The robber was astonished: he had expected, of wonder. Christianity, if we would rightly estimate perhaps, curses, or perhaps a dagger. He declared its obligations, must be felt in the heart. They in he would not keep either the horse or the money, whose hearts it is not felt, or felt but little, cannot and returned both. “ If thine enemy hunger, feed be expected perfectly to know what its obligations him ; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire I know not therefore that more appropriate upon his head.” |_ The tenor of the short narrative advice can be given to him who contends for the that follows is somewhat different. Ellwood, who lawfulness of taking another man's life in order to is known to the literary world as the suggester to save his own, than that he would first enquire wheMilton of Paradise Regained, was attending his ther the influence of religion is dominant in his father in his coach. Two men waylaid them in the mind. If it is not, let him suspend his decision until dark and stopped the carriage. Young Ellwood he has attained to the fulness of the stature of a got out, and on going up to the nearest, the ruffian Christian man. Then, as he will be of that number raised a heavy club, “when," says Ellwood, “I who do the Will of Heaven, he may hope to “ know

of this doctrine whether it be of God." See Lond. Chron. Aug. 12, 1785. See also life of Granville Sharpe, Esq., p. 13. "Select Anecdotes, &c." by John Barclay.

• Ellwood's Life

are.

2

ESSAY III.*

POLITICAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS,

CHAPTER I.

from the law of nature and from Christianity, respecting political affairs, appear to be these :

1. Political Power is rightly possessed only when PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL TRUTH, AND OF POLITICAL

it is possessed by consent of the community;RECTITIUDE.

2. It is rightly exercised only when it subserves

the welfare of the community ;I.-" Political Power is rightly exercised only when it is possessed by consent of the community"-Governors officers of

3. And only when it subserves this purpose, by the Public Transfer of their rights by a whole people-The means which the Moral Law permits. people hold the sovereign power-Right of Governors-A

conciliating system. II.-" Political Power is rightly exercised only when it sub

serves the welfare of the community "-Interference with other nations-Present expedients for present occasions

I.--" POLITICAL POWER IS RIGHTLY

POSSESSED
Proper business of Governments.
III.---- Political Power is rightly exercised only when it sub- ONLY WHEN IT IS POSSESSED BY CONSENT OF THE

serves the welfare of the community by means which the Mo. COMMUNITY."
ral Law permits”—The Moral Law alike binding on nations
and individuals-Deviation from rectitude impolitic_" The
Holy Alliance"--Durable fame.

Perfect liberty is desirable if it were consistent

with the greatest degree of happiness. But it is The fundamental principles which are deducible not. Men find that, by giving up a part of their [* This Essay the author did not live to revise, a circumstance which will account for a want of complete connexion of the different parts of a subject which the reader will sometimes meet with. There occur also in this part of the manuscript Qumerous memoranda, which the author intended to make use of in a future revision These are to be distinguished from the Notes, as the former refer, not to any particular passage, but only to the subject of the chapter or section. They were hastily, as the thought occurred, written in the margin or on a blank'leaf of the manuscript, and they are here introduced at the bottom of the page, in those parts to which they appear to have the nearest reference.-ED.]

[ocr errors]

liberty, they are more happy than by retaining, or Grotius argues that sovereign power may be posattempting to retain, the whole. Government, what- sessed by governors, so that it shall not rightfully ever be its form, is the agent by which the inexpe- belong to the community. He says, “ From the dient portion of individual liberty is taken away. Jewish as well as the Roman law it appears, that any Men institute government for their own advantage, one might engage himself in private servitude to and because they find they are more happy with it whom he pleased. Now if an individual may do so, than without it. This is the sole reason, in prin- why may not a whole people, for the benefit of better ciple, how little soever it be adverted to in practice. government and more certain protection, completely Governors, therefore, are the officers of the public, transfer their sovereign rights to one or more perin the proper sense of the word: not the slaves of sons without reserving any portion to themselves ?” the public; for if they do not incline to conform to | I answer, No individual may do this : and, if he the public will, they are at liberty, like other officers, i might, it would not serve the doctrine in the case of to give up their office. They are servants, in the nations.- It never can be right for a man to resign same manner, and for the same purpose, as a solicitor the absolute direction of his conduct to another, beis the servant of his client, and the physician of his cause he must then do actions good or bad as that patient. These are employed by the patient or the other might command-he must lie, or rob, or asclient voluntarily for his own advantage, and for sassinate; and of this common sense would proDothing else. A nation, (not an individual, but a nounce the impropriety, if the Moral Law did not. nation,) is under no other obligation to obedience, | And if you say a man ought not so to resign himself than that which arises from the conviction that obe- to another, then I answer, he does not transfer sovedience is good for itself :--or rather, in more pro- i reign power but retains it himself-which, in truth, per language, a nation is under no obligation to obe- ends the argument. dience at all. Obedience is voluntary. If they do But if the doctrine were sound for the individual, not think it proper to obey—that is, if they are not it is unsound for a community. What is meant by satisfied with their officers—they are at liberty to the “transfer of their sovereign rights by a whole discontinue their obedience, and to appoint other people ?”. Is every man, woman, and child, in the officers instead.

country formally to sign the transfer ! If not, how That which is thus true as an universal propo- shall a whole people transfer it? At any rate, if sition, is asserted with respect to this country by the they did, their resignation could not bind their present king:*_“ The powers and prerogatives of children or successors. Besides, there is the same the crown are vested there as a trust for the benefit of objection to this transfer of the sovereign power on the people ; and they are sacred only as they are ne- the part of a nation on the part of an individual. cessary to the preservation of that poise and balance The thing is absurd in reason, and criminal in of the constitution which experience has proved to morals. be the best security of the liberty of the subject.”+ Grotius illustrates his argument by" that authority

It is incidental to the office of the First public to which a woman submits when she gives herself to servants, that they should exercise authority over her husband.” But she does not submit to sovereign those by whom they are selected; and hence, pro- authority. He says again, some powers are conbably, it has happened that the terms "public offi- ferred for the sake of the governor, as the right of

," "public servant,” have excited such strange a master over a slave." But such powers are never controversies in the world. Men have not main- | justly conferred. tained sufficient discrimination of ideas. Seeing that After all, these arguments do but establish, in governors are great and authoritative, a man ima- reality, the fundamental position. They assume that gines it cannot be proper to say they are servants. a people can resign the sovereign power; which is Seeing that it is necessary and right that individuals / the same thing as to acknowledge that ihey rightshould obey, he cannot entertain the notion that fully possess

it. Grotius himself says, “ A state is a they are the servants of those whom they govern. perfect body of free men, united together in order The truth is, that governors are not the servants of to enjoy common rights and advantages." + individuals but of the community. They are the It gives some anxiety to the mind of the writer, masters of individuals, the servants of the public; lest the reader should identity bis principles with and if this simple distinction had been sufficiently those of many who have asserted the “ sovereignty borne in mind, much perhaps of the vehement con- of the people.'

This doctrine has been insisted upon tention upon these matters had been avoided. by persons who have mingled with it, or deduced

But the idea of being a servant of the public, is from it, principles which the writer not merely requite consistent with the idea of exercising authorityjects, but abhors. A doctrine is not unsound be. over them. The common language of a patient is cause it has been abvocated or perverted by bad founded upon similar grounds. He sends for a phy- men; and it is neither rational nor honest to repro

; sician :—the physician comes at his desire--is paid bate a truth because it has been viciously associated. for his services and then the patient says, I am Gifford, in his life of Pitt, complains of Fox, who by ordered to adopt a regimen, I am ordered to Italy; “a strange perversion of terms, and a confusion of -and he obeys, not because he may not refuse to intellect that would have disgraced even a school. obey if he chooses, but because he confides in the boy, called his sovereign the servant of the people.” judgment of the physician, and thinks that it is more “ This,” says Gifford, “ was a servile imitation of the to his benefit to be guided by the physician's judg- French regicides, and a direct encouragement to all ment than by his own. But it will be said the physician the theoretical reveries of all the disaffected in cannot enforce his orders upon the patient against England.” This is the species of association which his will : neither I answer can the governor enforce I would deprecate: French regicides taught the his upon the public against theirs. No doubt Gover- doctrine, and disaffected theorists taught it. I am nors do sometimes so enforce them. What they do, sorry that a truth should be so connected; but however, and what they rightfully do, are separate it is not the less a truth. The “ confusion of inconsiderations, and our business is only with the tellect” of which Gifford speaks, probably subsisted latter.

more in the writer than in Fox-for reasons which

the reader has just seen, and because the biographer • George IV. Letter when Prince of Wales, to Wm. Pitt. Gifford's life

• Rights of War and Peace, b. 1. c. 3, 6, 8, of Pitt, vol. 2

+ Rights of War and Peaco.

[ocr errors]

cer,"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »