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PART II. jects must have been coeval with the fubjects, and infeparable CHAP. III. from human nature alfo.


There cannot therefore have been a time in which man had yet to acquire his right of defence in respect to the particulars mentioned, nor a time in which it was not juft to respect the perfon of a man, as much or more than to refpect his poffeffion or his eftate.

In this view of the matter, justice cannot be faid to be an artificial virtue, any more than the perfon of a man to which it refers is artifical. And no time can be affigned for the commencement of a perfon's right to defend himself different from the time at which he began to exist. In every state of his existence, by whatever name we call it, whether the state of nature, the state of fociety or convention, as every one had a right to defend himself, fo in every one it would have been wrong to invade that right.

It is abfurd therefore to allege, that in any state of mankind all men had equal rights to all things, or that the right of any one to defend his own perfon took its rife from convention. It is indeed probable, that such a doctrine never would have been advanced, nor would justice in the most general and comprehenfive terms have been supposed to be an artificial or adventitious virtue; if reasoners had not overlooked the felf-evident rights of the perfon, and carried their view at once to matters of property in which the right is confeffedly artificial or adventitious.

With respect to fubjects of poffeffion or property, it is admitted, that until they were poffeffed by fome one, they were open


to any one, and became matter of just poffeffion to the firft oc- PART II. CHAP. III. cupier. SECT. IV.

To these only Mr Hobbes feems to have adverted, when he fays, that in the state of nature" all men had equal. rights to all "things;" and the meaning must be, that no one had any right to any thing until he had occupied it: That occupancy was equally open to all men ; but he ought to have subjoined, that after a fubject was fairly poffeffed, no one had a right to disturb the firft occupier in his use of the fubject.

The undeniable evidence of obvious and uncontrovertable truths makes it abfurd or impertinent to ftate them for information, or in the form of discovery; but to affume principles, or to adopt conclufions in direct contradiction to fuch obvious truths may indeed have the merit of novelty, or seem to proceed from profound obfervation, but is certainly in a much higher degree abfurd than the repetition of any truth, however obvious and previously known.

To guard against the first of thefe errors we may be obliged to incur the second, and attempt the enumeration of rights even under titles to which the attention of all mankind might be taken for granted, without any mention of them.

On this account, then, we begin with obferving, that the rights of men may be confidered, either in refpect to their fubject, or in respect to their origin.

Confidered in respect to their fubject, they are by lawyers fometimes termed perfonal and real



* See Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England.



Confidered in respect to their origin, they may be termed naSECT. IV. tural and artificial; or, in terms perhaps less apt to be mistaken,


original and adventitious.

Perfonal rights subsist in the perfon, and relate to the conftituents of his nature and frame. Such are the limbs and organs of the body, and the faculties of the mind, with the ufes of both, Such is life itself, freedom of innocent action, and enjoyment of what, without injury to another, is fairly occupied.

Perfons are diftingished in the terms of law under the names of perfons natural and perfons artificial. The individual is a perfon natural; corporations, ftates, or any plurality of men acting collectively, or under any common direction, are persons artificial.

In perfons of the latter defcription, political forms, and the constituent members of the body politic, analogous to the frame and organic parts of the natural body, may be confidered as matter of perfonal right to the community.

Rights real fubfift in things separate from the perfon, provided they may become fubjects of exclufive or incompatible use. Such is the right which a perfon obtains to the clothes with which he is covered, or to the ground or other fubject which he has fairly poffeffed.

Real rights, or the right to things, may be referred to three principal heads: Poffeffio, Property,-and Command.


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The right of poffeffion fubfifts only fo long as the thing is in actual use, and may therefore be tranfient or subject to intermiffion.

The right of property is exclufive, and continues even during the intermiffions of actual use ; it continues therefore until it has ceased with consent of the proprietor.

The right to command refpects the fervices or the obedience fuppofed due from one perfon to another.

Rights confidered in refpect to their fource, being original or adventitious, it is of moment with respect to the first to specify their subject; and with respect to the second, to ascertain the titles on which they are founded.








Of Rights Original.

THE fubjects of original right, being coeval with man, must

be limited to the conftituents of his nature, or the common appurtenances of his kind.

Original rights are therefore perfonal, and exprefs what every one from his birth is entitled to defend in himself, and what no one has a right to invade in another.

These rights may be modified by alienation or confent ; but, prior to convention of any fort, remain entire, and in one perfon exactly correspond to those of another.

The existence of every fuch right is self-evident: It may be overlooked from inadvertency or defign, but being once stated cannot be controverted,

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