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tinction of good and evil. We have mentioned thofe of confci- PART II. ence, of public repute, of religion, and compulsory law.
Such then we may conceive to be the practical obligations of men, and fuch to be the fanctions to which they either do, or ought to, recur in fettling the tenor of their affections and of their conduct *.
In the farther arrangement of our fubject, we may avail ourfelves of a divifion that naturally arifes from the confideration of thefe different fanctions, and may confider the requifitions of compulsory law; or rights to be fupported by force, apart from the maxims of beneficence and duty, which are urged by the other confiderations now mentioned. The firft will extend to every cafe in which force or compulfion may be properly employed. The fecond, to those cases in which the obligation of moral duty, however strong, cannot properly be enforced, and must be left to the free will of the agent.
The first may be termed jurisprudence; the fecond cafuiftry, or that part of moral science which relates to action and the characteristics of a happy life. And to these may be fubjoined, under the title of politics, the difcuffion of material questions, relating not merely to men as members of fociety, but to the fociety itself, in respect to its institutions and forms. And under one or other of thefe titles may be comprised all that yet remains to be done in obfervance of the method which has been propofed for this work. VOL. II. Z CHAP.
Juris precepta funt hæc: Honefte vivere, alterum non lædere, fuum cuique
Inft. Just. lib. i. par. 3.
IT is a well known fact, that mankind fometimes employ force to obtain the obfervance of moral laws, and that the right to compel the performance of a duty, though not universal in every case, is, at least, in some instances fully acknowledged.
We are now to investigate and to state the principle from which this right in any cafe can be derived.
It may be obferved, that in all the instances in which the right of one man to compel another is acknowledged, compulsion, either in its immediate operation, or in its final effect, is an act of defence.
The fovereign employs force to defend his country against foreign enemies, or to make reprifals for a wrong that is done to his fubjects. The magiftrate employs force to reprefs crimes; thecitizen to defend his dwelling or his perfon. And even in exacting the payment of a debt; or in requiring the performance of a contract, there is no more than an exaction of what is juftly due; or, as we shall have occafion to evince, no more than an act of defence on the part of the exactor, maintaining a right of which he is already in poffeffion.
The great principle of morality extends to beneficence, as well as innocence; but from this account of the circumftances in which compulfion is applicable, the principle of compulsory law is limited to the repulfion of wrongs, and to that part in the object of the moral precept above cited, which forbids one perfon to be the author of harm to another *.
In fearch of this or any other principle in nature, by whatever fteps we proceed, we must arrive at last at fomething that is felfevident. And fuch we may fay is the maxim, That every innocent person may defend himself; to which we may join what is equally evident, that every one having power, may employ it in defence of any other innocent perfon.
To the purpose of defence a fufficient measure of force is re
Alterum non lædere.
quired, and in many inftances is the only means that can be PART II. fuccessfully employed. A perfon difpofed to commit an injury CHAP. III. may not be perfuaded to defift from his purpose; nor can he be eluded perhaps by any artifice or stratagem; it remains therefore that a force fuperior to his may be the only means fufficient to reftrain him.
In every cafe of defence, force is employed to fecure the innocent, rather than to obtain, from those who would injure him, the discharge of a duty. And the fpecific end of compulfory law being to repel a wrong, the means are adequate and just.
But if any one, instead of disputing the legality of force in a cafe of defence, fhould contend, that it is not peculiar merely to fuch cafes, but may be employed, not only in defending a right, but in obtaining any other end beneficial to mankind; that as religion and virtue are confeffedly of the highest value, every effectual means, and force no less than any other, may be employed to obtain them, whether by propagating faith towards God or charity towards men.
These no doubt are bleffings, in obtaining of which no effectual means are to be spared; but if we wish to promote the cause of religion and virtue, means are to be employed which inform the mind, conciliate the affections, and gain the will. To these purpofes force is inadequate. Its effects, on the contrary, are to render the understanding lefs docile, and to alienate the mind. And it must be rejected as an inftrument of inftruction or moral improvement; because it would be irrational to employ means which have a tendency adverse to the purpose for which they are employed.
Nay, but force is competent to obtain, even from those against whom.