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whom it is employed, the external fruits of faith and charity! To this it may be answered, That if these fruits be required as a moral good in those who are made to yield them, the reality of any fuch good may be questioned; or rather it is evident, that a forced performance of supposed good works does not constitute any good in him who is compelled to perform them. Virtue cannot be forced. It is voluntary, or it does not exist. Faith is fincere ; or its profeffion is a mere hypocrify.
If the fruit of good works be required in one man for the benefit of another; it is evident that force cannot be justly employed for this purpose. Benefits extorted by force are robberies, not acts of beneficence.
We may conclude, therefore, that the ufe of force, which is admiffible in the cafe of defence, whether immediate or remote, is alfo limited to such cases; and that although men are bound, under every other fanction of duty, to avoid being authors of harm, yet, that they are, in this duty of abstaining from harm, peculiarly repreffible by force also: And from this we may fafely affume, that the right of defence is the specific principle of compulfory law.
In treating of this subject, accordingly, we are not so much to confider the obligation under which every perfon lies to be innocent, as to consider the right which every perfon has to defend himself, and his fellow creature, by every effectual means in his power.
This right amounts to a permiffion of whatever may be necessary to safety, but does not contain any positive injunction to do all that may be wanted for this purpose. A perfon attacked
in his perfon may kill the aggreffor; but is not required to do PART II. fo much.
In the application of our principle, therefore, we endeavour to point out how far the right of defence extends, but do not, in any case whatever, pretend to lay the perfon who defends himfelf or his neighbour, under any tie of neceffity to go to the utmost extent. The citizen, it is admitted, may kill the housebreaker who alarms his dwelling in the night, but is not required to proceed fo far: Nay, on the fuppofition that he may defend himself and his dwelling, without having recourfe to this extremity, he is by the law of nature actually restrained from it.
In conceiving a juft and compleat act of defence, we muft fuppofe fome thing that is to be defended or maintained; and specify the means that may be lawfully employed for this purpose.
That which a perfon may lawfully defend or maintain is termed his right. The circumftances under which a right is expofed or invaded may point out the means which are adequate and neceffary to its prefervation; and the fubject of jurisprudence or compulfory law, fo conceived, admits of being divided into two principal parts, of which one relates to the rights of men, the other to the means of defence.
Of the Term Right in its moft General Acceptation.
PART II. THIS term is fometimes an adjective, employed to distinguish
the quality of an action that is proper or morally good; and, in
In our present inquiry, the term right has a different meaning: It is a substantive, the name of a thing, or relation of a person to a thing, and not the mere quality of an action. It may be reckoned among the subjects which are not susceptible of a formal definition. But, we may recur to the cafes in which it is supposed to exist, and leave the mind to collect its meaning from a confideration of the point, to which it refers in all the cafes enumerated.
Thus, a perfon has a right to the ufe of his faculties and powers; he has a right to enjoy the light of the fun, and the air
of the atmosphere; he has a right to the use of his property, and PART II.
In this circumlocution, the names of perfon and thing imply, that a right is the appurtenance of a perfon, or of a being vested with choice and volition, and has reference to the will of such person respecting the object of his choice. This object may subsist in the person himself, in his lot or poffeffion, or in any constituent of his being or state whatever.
It is a part in the social nature of man, that rights are to different menmutually objects of confideration and acknowledgement.
The concern of a person in his own right, is implied in the principle of self-preservation; his concern in the rights of others is implied in the principle of fociety, or in the fympathy of man with his fellow creatures.
Wrong is the violation of right; and, the fame concern which interests the mind in the preservation of the one, is a cause of refentment on occafion of the other.
There may be a claim or pretenfion without a right; but a right, whatever be the subject to which it refers, is exclusive, and fufficient to fet afide every fuppofeable claim or pretenfion to the fame subject.
Although numbers at once may lay claim to a right, there can be no more than one to whom it is due; and the object of dif cuffion, under opposite claims, is to determine with whom the right shall be found to exist: So that, although the right of any two or more perfons may be questioned, or their pretenfions remain undecided, yet every question of right implies, that a just title, wherever it be found, is exclufive of every other claim or pretenfion whatever.
Although, therefore, in the loofe application of words, or in common language, we fometimes use the terms right, claim, or pretenfion promifcuously; yet, in propriety of expression, it is well known, that there may be a pretenfion or a claim where there is no right, and that a right may remain unclaimed and undecided.
From inattention to the propriety of language, or from a wish to make way for a favourite tenet, by the help of fome ambiguity, it has been faid, that in the state of nature, or prior to convention, all men had equal rights to all things; the meaning must be, that. prior to convention, no right was ascertained; and that as no perfon had any right, fo all men were equal in this respect. How far the position is true even in this sense we shall have occafion to confider.
In the mean time, we affume, that the right of one perfon precludes a fuppofeable right in any other person to the fame fubject: And so far it is proper that the term be understood, before we proceed to confider the different denominations under which rights may be known. As they differ in respect to the sub