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Mr Hobbes in laying the foundation of his fyftem appears to have overlooked the original rights of the person: But if they had been stated to him, or if he had been asked, whether every perfon in his fuppofed ftate of nature had not a right to preserve himself? or whether any person had a right to destroy his innocent.neighbour? it is difficult to conceive, that a person, who acknowledges the obligation of one man to keep faith with another, fhould not acknowledge also his obligation to abstain from any harm to his perfon.




Of Rights Adventitious.

PART II. IN the term adventitious is implied a preceding period of exist


SECT.VI. ence, however short, in which the thing adventitious was yet future ; a time in which it began to be, and a subsequent period of its continuance.

In the first period of man's existence, he had his original rights; in a fecond period those rights may be modified by his own confent, or new rights accrue to him from some act of his own, or the voluntary deed of fome other perfon concerned.

Original rights are recognised upon being merely stated; adventitious rights require to be fupported by evidence, in which the manner of their acquisition is to be cited and confidered.

When a perfon lays claim to the exclufive ufe of any fubject, or requires the fervice and obedience of other men, he may be alked,


asked, whence his right is derived? or by what evidence he is en- PARTt. II. abled to support his claim? Such right, however fairly conftitu- CHAP. III. ted, is still matter of difcuffion, and the object of science, in every fuch difcuffion, is to afcertain by what means a fubject, not originally matter of right to any one, may become so to some one; or, in other words, if a claim fhould be laid to any fuch right, it is material to know by what evidence it may be evinced or fupported.

As rights perfonal, agreeably to the definition which hath been given of them, for the most part are original, or coeval with the existence of the perfon, fo the rights real, fuch as possession, property, or command, are, for the most part adventitious, and may begin to exist at any period fubfequent to the existence of the perfon and the thing to which they relate; and, as both the perfon and the thing might have continued to exist, without any apprehended relation of one to the other, we are in the following fections to enquire whence fuch relation may have arifen; how they are constituted, and how they are to be verified in any particular instance.




Of the different Sources of Adventitious Rights.

BEFORE we proceed to affirm whence an adventitious right may arife, it is proper to obferve negatively, that it cannot arise from any act of injustice or wrong; nor be conftituted where the thing is impoffible or not real.

Injustice or wrong has reference to a person injured or wronged, who may defend himself; and to a perfon committing an injury, or doing a wrong, who, inftead of reaping benefit from his wrong, exposes himself to fuffer whatever may be neceffary to repel his injurious attempt; or whatever may be neceffary to obtain reparation of the harm he may have done.

This negative propofition were too obvious to need being formally stated, if it were not neceffary to correct a common folecism in language, by which we are told of the right of conqueft, arifing from a fuccessful application of mere force, without re


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gard to the justice or injuftice of the cause in which that force was PART II. CHAP.III, employed. SECT VII

Where conqueft is matter of right, there must be supposed a previous title to the fubject conquered; and, if fuch title be verified, the conqueft amounts to no more than a juft poffeffion obtained by force.

To this negative proposition, that right cannot arise to an injurious perfon from the wrong he has committed; we may subjoin what is equally evident, that no title can arife to what is not poffible or not real.

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Where either the thing or the perfon has no existence, there cannot be any relation. Upon this ground, we shall have occafion to obferve, that although parties ftipulating what is impoffible may, by fuch proceeding, give rife to fome claim in the one against the other, yet that there cannot be any obligation to the performance of any fuch article, however directly stipulated.

In treating the history of adventitious rights, there are two questions which may be separately difcuffed. The first question relates to things which, prior to the origin of the right in queftion, had not become matter of right to any one*; and the object of fcience is to afcertain by what means a thing till then open to the first occupier, may have become a matter of exclufive right to fome particular perfon. The fecond question relates to the transfer or conveyance from one perfon to another of a right previously supposed to exift in the perfon by whom the conveyance is made.


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*Res nullius.


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