صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

that is, it is "consistent with the will of God" The right of a prince over his people, of a hus. that children should reverence their parents ;—and band over his wile, of a master over his servant, the same of the rest.

is generally and naturally unalienable.

The distinction depends upon the mode of acquiring the right. Ifthe right originate from a con

tract, and be limited to the person, by the express CHAPTER X.

terms of the contract, or by the common interpreThe Division of Rights.

tation of such contracts (which is equivalent to

an express stipulation) or by a personal condition Rights, when applied to persons, are annexed to the right; then it is unalienable. In Natural or adventitious:

all other cases it is alienable. Alienable or unalienable :

The right to civil liberty is alienable; though Perfect or imperfect.

in the vehemence of men's zeal for it, and the I. Rights are natural or adventitious.

language of some political remonstrances, it has Natural rights are such as would belong to a often been pronounced to be an unalienable right. man, although there subsisted in the world no The true reason why mankind hold in detestation civil government whatever.

the memory of those who have sold their liberty Adventitious rights are such as would not. to a tyrant, is, that, together with their own, they

Natural rights are, a man's right to his life, sold commonly, or endangered, the liberty of others; limbs, and liberty; his right to the produce of his which certainly they had no right to dispose of. personal labour; to the use, in common with others, III. Rights are perfect or imperfect. of air, light, water. If a thousand different persons, Perfect rights may be asserted by force, or, what from a thousand different corners of the world, in civil society comes into the place of private force, were cast together upon a desert island, they would by course of law. from the first be every one entitled to these rights. Imperfect rights may not.

Adventitious rights are, the right of a king Examples of perfect rights.- A man's right to over his subjects; of a general over his soldiers; his life, person, house ; for, if these be attacked, of a judge over the life and liberty of a prisoner; he may repel the attack by instant violence, or a right to elect or appoint magistrates, to impose punish the aggressor by law: a man's right to his taxes, decide disputes, direct the descent or dispo- estate, furniture, clothes, money, and to all ordisition of property; a right, in a word, in any one nary articles of property; for, if they be injuriousman, or particular body of men, to make laws and ly taken from him, he may compel the author of regulations for the rest. For none of these rights the injury to make restitution or satisfaction. would exist in the newly inhabited island. Examples of imperfect rights.-In elections or

And here it will be asked, how adventitious appointments to offices, where the qualifications rights are created; or, which is the same thing, are prescribed, the best qualitied candidate has a how any new rights can accrue from the estab- right to success; yet, if he be rejected, he has no lishment of civil society; as rights of all kinds, we remedy. He can neither seize the office by force, remember, depend upon the will of God, and ci- nor obtain redress at law; his right therefore is vil society is but the ordinance and institution of imperfect. A poor neighbour has a right to reman? For the solution of this difficulty, we must lief'; yet, if it be refused him, he must not extort return to our first principles. God wills the hap-it. Å benefactor has a right to returns of grapiness of mankind; and the existence of civil so- titude from the person he has obliged; yet, if he ciety, as conducive to that happiness. Conse- meet with none, he must acquiesce. Children quently, many things, which are useful for the have a right to affection and education from their support of civil society in general, or for the con- parents; and parents, on their part, to duty and duct and conversation of particular societies al- reverence from their children; yet, if these rights ready established, are, for that reason, “ consistent be on either side withholden, there is no computwith the will of God,” or “right,” which, without sion by which they can be enforced. that reason, i. e. without the establishment of ci It may be at first view difficult to apprehend vil society, would not have been so.

how a person should have a right to a thing, and From whence also it appears, that adventitious yet have no right to use the means necessary to rights, though immediately derived from human obtain it. This difficulty, like most others in moappointment, are not, for that reason, less sacred rality, is resolvable into the necessity of general than natural rights, nor the obligation to respect rules. The reader recollects, that a person is said them less.cogent. They both ultimately rely to have a “right" to a thing, when it is consistent upon the same authority, the will of God. Such with the will of God" that he should possess it. So a man claims a right to a particular estate. He that the question is reduced to this: How it comesto can show, it is true, nothing for his right, but a pass that it should be consistent with the will of God rule of the civil community to which he belongs; that a person should possess a thing, and yet not be and this rule may be arbitrary, capricious, and consistent with the same will that he should use absurd. Notwithstanding all this, there would force to obtain it? The answer is, that by reason of be the same sin in dispossessing the man of his the indeterminateness either of the object, or of estate by craft or violence, as if it had been as the circumstances of the right, the permission of signed to him, like the partition of the country force in this case would, in ils consequence, lead amongst the twelve tribes, by the immediate desig- to the permission of force in other cases, where nation and appointment of Heaven.

there existed no right at all. The candidate above II. Rights are alienable or unalienable. described has, no doubt, a right to success; but Which terms explain themselves.

his right depends upon his qualifications, for inThe right we have to most of those things stance, upon his comparative virtue, learning, &c. which we call property, as houscs, lands, money, there must be some body therefore to compare &c. is alienable.

them. The existence, degree, and respective inn

[ocr errors]

These are,

portance, of these qualifications, are all indeter- | the original stock, as I may say, which they have minale : there must be somebody therefore to deter- since distributed among themselves. moine them. To allow the candidate to demand success by force, is to make him the judge of his own 1. A right to the fruits or vegetable produce of qualitications. You cannot do this, but you must the earth. make all other candidates the same; which would The insensible parts of the creation are incaopen a door to demands without number, reason, pable of injury; and it is nugatory to inquire inof right. In like manner, a poor man has a right to the right, where the use can lie attended with to relief from the rich; but the mode, season, and no injury. But it may be worth observing, for quantum of that relief, who shall contribute to it, the sake of an inference which will appear below, or how much, are not ascertained. Yet these points that, as God had created us with a want and demust be ascertained, before a claim to relief can be sire of food, and provided things suited by their prosecuted by force. For, to allow the poor to ascer nature to sustain and satisfy us, we may fairly pretain them for themselves, would be to expose pro sume, that he intended we should apply these perty to so many of these claims, that it would lose things to that purpose. its value, or rather its nature, that is, cease indeed 2. A right to the flesh of animals. to be property. The same observation holds of all This is a very different claim from the former. other cases of imperfect rights; not to mention, that Some excuse seems necessary for the pain and in the instances of gratitude, affection, reverence, loss which we occasion to brutes, by restraining and the like, force is excluded by the very idea of the them of their liberty, mutilating their bodies, and; duty, which must be voluntary, or cannot exist at all. at last, putting an end to their lives (which we sup

Wherever the right is imperfect, the correspond- pose to be the whole of their existence,) for our ing obligation is so too. I am obliged to prefer pleasure or conveniency. the best candidate, to relieve the poor, be grateful The reasons alleged in vindication of this practo my benefactors, take care of my children, and tice, are the following: that the several species of reverence my parents; but in all these cases, my brutes being created to prey upon one another, obligation, like their right, is imperfect.

affords a kind of analogy to prove that the human I call these obligations “imperfect” in conform species were intended to feed upon them; that, if ity to the established language of writers upon let alone, they would over-run the earth, and exthe subject. The term, however, seems ill chosen clude mankind from the occupation of it; that on this account, that it leads many to imagine, they are requited for what they suffer at our hands, that there is less guilt in the violation of an im- by our care and protection. perfect obligation, than of a perfect one: which is Upon which reasons I would observe, that the a groundless notion. For an obligation being per- analogy contended for is extremely lame; since fect or imperfect, determines only whether violence brutes have no power to support life by any other may or may not be employed to enforce it; and means, and since we have ; for the whole human determines nothing else. The degree of guilt species might subsist entirely upon fruit, pulse, incurred by violating the obligation, is a different herbs, and roots, as many tribes of Hindoos acthing, and is determined by circumstances alto- tually do. The two other reasons may be valid gether independent of this distinction. A man reasons, as far as they go; for, no doubt, if man who, by a partial, prejudiced, or corrupt vote, dis- had been supported entirely by vegetable food, a appoints a worthy candidate of a station in lite, great part of those animals which die to furnish upon which his hopes, possibly, or livelihood, de his table, would never have lived: but they by no pended, and who thereby grievously discourages means justify our right over the lives of brutes merit and emulation in others, commits, I am per- to the extent in which we exercise it. What suaded, a much greater crime, than if he filched danger is there, for instance, of fish interfering a book out of a library, or picked a pocket of a with us, in the occupation of their element ? or handkerchief; though in the one case he violates what do we contribute to their support or preseronly an imperfect right, in the other a perfect one. vation ?

As positive precepts are often indeterminate in It seems to me, that it would be difficult to detheir extent, and as the indeterminateness of an ob- fend this right by any arguments which the ligation is that which makes it imperfect; it comes light and order of nature afford; and that we are to pass, that positive precepts commonly produce beholden for it to the permission recorded in Scripan imperfect obligation.

ture, Gen. ix. 1, 2, 3: “And God blessed Noah Negative precepts or prohibitions, being general- and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and ly precise, constitute accordingly perfect obliga- multiply, and replenish the earth: and the fear of tions.

you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every The fifth commandment is positive, and the beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, duty which results from it is imperfect.

and upon all that moveth upon the earth, and The sixth commandment is negative, and im- upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand poses a perfect obligation.

are they delivered; every moving thing shall be Religion and virtue find their principal exercise meat for you ; even as the green herb, have I among the imperfect obligations; the laws of ci- given you all things." To Adam and'his posvil society taking pretty good care of the rest. terity had been granted, at the creation, "every

green herb for meat," and nothing more. In the last clause of the passage now produced, the old

grant is recited, and extended to the flesh of aniCHAPTER XI.

mals; “even as the green herb, have I given you The General Rights of Mankind.

all things.” But this was not till after the flood;

the inhabitants of the antediluvian world had By the General rights of Mankind, I mean the therefore no such permission, that we know of. rights which belong to the species collectively; Whether they actually refrained from the flesh

[ocr errors]

of animals, is another question. Abel, we read, Supreme Proprietor. So far all is right: but you was a keeper of sheep; and for what purpose he cannot claim the whole tree, or the whole flock, kept them, except for food, is difficult to say, (un- and exclude me from any share of them, and less it were sacrifices :) might not, however, some plead this general intention for what you do. The of the stricter sects among the antediluvians be plea will not serve you; you must show something scrupulous as to this point? and might not Noah more. You must show, by probable arguments at and his family be of this description ? for it is not least, that it is God's intention, that these things probable that God would publish a permission, to should be parcelled out to individuals; and that authorise a practice, which had never been dis- the established distribution, under which you puted.

claini, should be upholden. Show me this, and I Wanton, and, what is worse, studied cruelty am satisfied. to brutes, is certainly wrong, as coining within one But until this be shown, the general intention, of these reasons.

which has been made appear, and which is all that does appear, must prevail; and, under that,

my title is as good as yours. Now there is no arFrom reason then, or revelation, or from both gument to induce such a presumption, but one; together, it appears to be God Almighty's inten- that the thing cannot be enjoyed at all, or enjoytion, that the productions of the earth, should be ed with the same, or with nearly the same advanapplied to the sustentation of human life. Con- tage, while it continues in common, as when apsequently all waste and misapplication of these pro- propriated. This is true, where there is not ductions, is contrary to the Divine intention and enough for all, or where the article in question will; and therefore wrong, for the same reason requires care or labour in the production or prethat any other crime is so. Such as, what is re- servation : but where no such reason obtains, and lated of William the Conqueror, the converting the thing is in its nature capable of being enjoyed of twenty manors into a forest for hunting; or, by as many as will, it seems an arbitrary usurpation which is not much better, suffering them to con- upon the rights of mankind, to confine the use of tinue in that state; or the letting of large tracts of it to any. land lie barren, because the owner cannot cultivate If a medicinal spring were discovered in a piece them, nor will part with them to those who can; of ground which was private property, copious or destroying, or suffering to perish, great part of enough for every purpose to which it could be apan article of human provision, in order to enhance plied, I would award a compensation to the owner the price of the remainder, (which is said to have of the field, and a liberal profit to the author of the been, till lately, the case with fish caught upon discovery, especially if he had bestowed pains or exthe English coast ;) or diminishing the breed of pense upon the search: but I question whether any animals, by a wanton, or improvident, consump- human laws would be justified, or would justify the tion of the young, as of the spawn of shell-tish, or owner, in prohibiting mankind from the use of the the fry of salmon, by the use of unlawful nets, or water, or setting such a price upon it as would almost at improper seasons: to this head may also be re- amount to a prohibition. ferred, what is the same evil in a smaller way, If there be fisheries, which are inexhaustible, the expending of human food on superfluous dogs as the cod-fishery upon the Banks of Newfoundor horses; and, lastly, the reducing of the quanti- land, and the herring-fishery in the British seas, ty, in order to alter the quality, and to alter it ge- are said to be; then all those conventions, by which nerally for the worse; as the distillation of spirits one or two nations claim to themselves, and guafrom bread-corn, the boiling down of solid meat ranty to each other, the exclusive enjoyment of for sauces, essences, &c.

these fisheries, are so many encroachments upon This seems to be the lesson which our Saviour, the general rights of mankind. after his manner, inculcates, when he bids his Upon the same principle may be determined a disciples “gather up the fragments that nothing question, which makes a great figure in books of be lost." And it opens indeed a new field of natural law, utrum mare sit liberum ? that is, as I duty. Schemes of wealth or profit, prompt the ac- understand it, whether the exclusive right of navitive part of mankind to cast about, how they may gating particular seas, or a control over the navigaconvert their property to the most advantage ; and tion of these seas, can be claimed, consistently their own advantage, and that of the public, com- with the law of nature, by any nation? What is monly concur. But it has not as yet entered into the necessary for each nation's safety, we allow: as minds of mankind to reflect that it is a duty, to add their own bays, creeks, and harbours, the sea conwhat we can to the common stock of provision, by tiguous to, that is within cannon shot, or three extracting out of our estates the most they will yield; leagues of their coast: and upon this principle of safeor that it is any sin to neglect this.

ty (if upon any principle,) must be defended the From the same intention of God Almighty, we claim of the Venetian State to the Adriatic, of Denalso deduce another conclusion, namely " that no mark to the Baltic Sea, and of Great Britain, to the thing ought to be made exclusive property, which seas which invest the island. But, when Spain can be conveniently enjoyed in common. asserts a right to the Pacific Ocean, or Portugal

It is the general intention of God Almighty, that to the Indian Seas, or when any nation extends the produce of the earth be applied to the use of its pretensions much beyond the limits of its own

This appears from the constitution of na- territories, they erect a claim which interferes with ture; or, if you will, from his express declaration; the benevolent designs of Providence, and which and this is all that appears at first. Under this no human authority can justify. general donatior., one man has the same right as 3. Another right, which may be called a geneanother. You pluck an apple from a tree, or ral right, as it is incidental to every man wło is in take a lamb from a flock, for your immediate use a situation to claim it, is the right of extreme neand nourishment, and I do the same; and we both cessity; by which is meant, a right to use or des. plead for what we do, the general intention of the truy another's property when it is necessary for

man.

[ocr errors]

GUIT own preservation to do so; as a right to take,

CHAPTER II. without or against the owner's leave, the first food, el thes, or shelter, we meet with, when we are in

The Use of the Institution of Property. danger of perishing through want of them; a right There must be some very important advantages to throw goods overboard to save the ship; or to to account for an institution, which, in the view of pull down a house, in order to stop the progress of it above given, is so paradoxical and unnatural. a fire; and a few other instances of the same kind.

The principal of these advantages are the folOf which right the foundation seems to be this: lowing: that when property was first instituted, the insti 1. It increases the produce of the earth. tation was not intended to operate to the destruc

The earth, in climates like ours, produces little tion of any; therefore when such consequences without cultivation : and none would be found wilwould follow, all regard to it is superseded. Or ling to cultivate the ground, if others were to be alrather, perhaps, these are the few cases, where the mitted to an equal share of the produce. The same particular consequence exceeds the general con- istrue of the care of flocks and herds of tame animals. sequence; where the remote mischief resulting

Crabs and acorns, red deer, rabbits, game, and from the violation of the general rule, is overba- fish, are all which we should have to subsist upon lanced by the immediate advantage.

in this country, if we trusted to the spontaneous Restitution, however, is due, when in our power; productions of the soil: and it fares not much betbecause the laws of property are to be adhered to, ter with other countries. A nation of North so far as consists with safety; and because restitu- American savages, consisting of two or three huntion, which is one of those laws, supposes the dan- dred, will take up, and be half starved upon, a geo to be over. But what is to be restored ? Not the tract of land, which in Europe, and with European kull value of the property destroyed, but what it management, would be sufficient for the mainto was worth at the time of destroying it; which, nance of as many thousands. considering the danger it was in of perishing, might In some fertile soils, together with great abunbe very little.

dance of fish upon their coasts, and in regions, where clothes are unnecessary, a considerable degree of population may subsist without property

in land; which is the case in the islands of Otaheite; BOOK III.

but in less favoured situations, as in the country of New Zealand, though this sort of property ob

tain in a small degree, the inhabitants, for want RELATIVE DUTIES.

of a more secure and regular establishment of it, are driven oftentimes by the scarcity of provision to devour one another.

II. It preserves the produce of the earth to maPART I.

turity.

We may judge what would be the effects of a OF RELATIVE DUTIES WHICH ARE DETER community of right to the productions of the earth,

from the trifling specimens which we see of it at present. A cherry-tree in a hedge-row, nuts in a wood, the grass of an unstinted pasture, are sel

dom of much advantage to any body, because peoCHAPTER 1.

ple do not wait for the proper season of reaping Of Property.

them. Corn, if any were sown, would never ripen;

lambs and calves would never grow up to sheep If you should see a flock of pigeons in a field of and cows, because the first person that met them corn: and if (instead of each picking where and would reflect, that he had better take them as they what it liked, taking just as much as it wanted, are, than leave them for another. and no more) you should see ninety-nine of them III. It prevents contests. gathering all they got, into a heap; reserving War and waste, tumult and confusion, must be nothing for themselves, but the chaff and the refuse; unavoidable and eternal

, where there is not enough keeping this heap for one, and that the weakest, for all, and where there are no rules to adjust the perhaps worst, pigeon of the flock; sitting round, division. and looking on, all the winter, whilst this one was IV. It improves the conveniency of living. devouring, throwing about, and wasting it; and if a This it does two ways. It enables mankind to pigeon more hardy or hungry than the rest, touched divide themselves into distinct professions ; which a grain of the hoard, all the others flying upon it, is impossible, unless a man can exchange the proand tearing it to pieces; if you should see this, you ductions of his own art for what he wants from would see nothing more than what is every day others; and exchange implies property. Much practised and established among men. Among of the advantage of civilized over savage life, demen, you see the ninety-and-nine toiling and scrap- pends upon this. When a man is from necessity ing together a heap of superfluities for one (and his own tailor, tent-maker, carpenter, cook, hunts. this one too, oftentimes the feeblest and worst of man, and fisherman, it is not probable that he will the whole set, a child, a woman, a madman, or a be expert at any of his callings. Hence the rude foo!;) getting nothing for themselves all the while, habitations, furniture, clothing, and implements but a little of the coarsest of the provision, which of savages; and the tedious length of time which their own industry produces; looking quietly on, all their operations require. while they see the fruits of all their labour spent It likewise encourages those arts, by which the or spoiled, and if one of the number take or touch accommodations of human life are supplied, by a particle of the hoard, the others joining against appropriating to the artist the benefit of his dishim, and hanging him for the theft.

coveries and improvements; without which appro

MINATE.

priation, ingenuity will never be exerted with ef- , man's family continued in possession of a cave or fect.

whilst his flocks depastured upon a neighbouring Upon these several accounts we may venture, hill, no one attempted, or thought he had a right to with a few exceptions, to pronounce, that even disturb or drive them out: but when the manquitted the poorest and the worst provided, in countries his cave, or changed his pasture, the first who found where property and the consequences of property them unoccupied, entered upon them, by the same prevail, are in a better situation, with respect to title as his predecessors ; and made way in his turn food, raiment, houses, and what are called the ne- for any one that happened to succeed him. All more cessaries of life, than any are in places where most permanent property in land was probably postethings remain in common.

rior to civil government and to laws; and therefore The balance, therefore, upon the whole, must settled by these, or according to the will of the reignpreponderate in favour of property with a manifest ing chief. and great excess.

Inequality of property, in the degree in which it exists in most countries of Europe, abstractedly

CHAPTER IV. considered, is an evil : but it is an evil which flows from those rules concerning the acquisition and

· In whut the Right of Property is Founded. disposal of property, by which men are incited to We now speak of Property in Land: and there industry, and by which the object of their indus- is a difficulty in explaining the origin of this protry, is rendered secure and valuable. If there be perty, consistently with the law of nature ; for the any great inequality unconnected with this origin, land was once, no doubt, common; and the quesit ought to be corrected.

tion is, how any particular part of it could justly be taken out of the common, and so appropriated

to the first owner, as to give him a better right to CHAPTER III.

it than others; and, what is more, a right to exThe History of Property.

clude all others from it.

Moralists have given many different accounts The first objects of property were the fruits of this matter; which diversity alone, perhaps, is which a man gathered, and the wild animals he a proof that none of them are satisfactory. caught; next to these, the tents or houses which One tells us that mankind, when they suffered he built, the tools he made use of to catch or pre- a particular person to occupy a piece of ground, by pare his food; and afterwards weapons of war tacit consent relinquished their right to it; and as and offence. Many of the savage tribes in North the piece of ground, they say, belonged to manAmerica have advanced no further than this yet; kind collectively, and mankind thus gave up their for they are said to reap their harvest, and return right to the first peaceable occupier, it thenceforthe produce of their market with foreigners, into ward became his property, and no one afterwards the common hoard or treasury of the tribe. Flocks had a right to molest him in it. and herds of tame animals soon became property; The objection to this account is, that consent can Abel, the second from Adam, was a keeper of never be presumed from silence, where the person sheep; sheep and oxen, camels and asses, composed whose consent is required knows nothing about the wealth of the Jewish patriarchs, as they do the matter; which must have been the case with all still of the modern Arabs. As the world was first mankind, except the neighbourhood of the place peopled in the East, where there existed a great where the appropriation was made. And to suppose scarcity of water, wells probably were next made that the piece of ground previously belonged to the property; as we learn from the frequent and neighbourhood, and that they had a just power of serious mention of them in the Old Testament; conferring a right to it upon whom they pleased, is the contentions and treaties about them;* and from to suppose the question resolved, and a partition of its being recorded, among the most memorable land to have already taken place. achievements of very eminent men, that they dug, Another says, that each man's limbs and labour or discovered a well

. Land, which is now so im- are his own exclusively; that, by occupying a piece portant a part of property, which alone our laws of ground, a man inseparably mixes his labour call real property, and regard upon all occasions with it; by which means the piece of ground bewith such peculiar attention, was probably not comes thenceforward his own, as you cannot take made property in any country, till long after the it from him without depriving him at the same institution of many other species of property, that time of something which is indisputably his, is, till the country became populous, and tillage This is Mr. Locke's solution; and seems inbegan to be thought of. The first partition of an deed a fair reason, where the value of the labour estate which we read of, was that which took bears a considerable proportion to the value of the place between Abram and Lot, and was one of the thing; or where the thing derives its chief use simplest imaginable: "If thou wilt take the left and value from the labour. Thus game and fish, hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to though they be common whilst at large in the the right hand, then I will go to the left." There woods or water, instantly become the property of are no traces of property in land in Cæsar's ac- the person that catches them; because an animal, count of Britain ; little of it in the history of the when caught, is much more valuable than when Jewish patriarchs ; none of it found amongst the at liberty; and this increase of value, which is innations of North America ; the Scythians are ex- separable from, and makes a great part of, the pressly said to have appropriated their cattle and whole value, is strictly the property of the fowler houses, but to have left their land in common. or fisherman, being the produce of his personal

Property in immoveables continued at first no labour. For the same reason, wood or iron, longer than the occupation: that is, so long as a manufactured into utensils, becomes the property

of the manufacturer; because the value of the * Genesis xxi. 25; xxvi. 18.

workmanship far exceeds that of the materials

« السابقةمتابعة »