Imatges de pÓgina
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conceives no

that our practical ideas of the civilized state of society will be generally drawn from the

practical knowledge, we have of different An Englishman societies. Under this influence, an Englishliberty where man will conceive no liberty, where there is fliere is no law, no property, nó no law, no property, no religion. The prereligion,

servation of these constitutes the sum total of those rights and liberties, for which he will. even sacrifice his life. Upon what ground then, shall an Englishman, even in theory, admit principles into civil government, which would justify the peasant in seizing the lands of his lord, the servant in demanding the property of his master, the labourer that of his einployer, the robber in purloining his neighbour's purse, the adulterer in defiling the wife of another, the outlawed in reviling, contemning, and violating the laws of the community

The greatest mischiefs arise from the mise fing from the misunderstand understanding and misapplication of terms. plication of ge- Millions of lives have been facrificed in difneral propofi

putes and controversies upon the tenor and tendency of words. General abstract propoSitions are supereminently liable to this fatal evil, as I shall hereafter have occasion to

Mischiefs ari.

cious.

cover the moft remote or faint trace of any public or private cult or worship amongst the natives of this extensive country.

shew,

fhew, in many calamitous instances of our own country. The use of words and terms can only be, to convey to others the real meaning and purport of what we think ourselves. Thus if I happen, by an unufual and awkward combination of words and phrases, to express my meaning and sentiments upon a subject to a third person, provided I am really understood, and my sentiments are admitted, I do not see upon what other ground, than that of grammar or syntax, a dispute can be instituted. And in the subject under our The present present consideration, if any other terms had from the words, been used to express the natural Rights of twe, being milMan, or the state of nature, the whole animo- milappien. sity of the adverse disputants would have subsided, under the conviction that neither differed in opinion substantially from the other. I have read over most of the late publications upon the subject; and I do not find one of any note or consequence, that does not in fact and substance admit this state of nature, to which they annex or attribute these indefeasible Rights of Man, to be a mere imaginary state of speculation. Much ill blood would have been avoided, much labour and pain have been spared, and many lives have been preserved, if any other, than

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the epithet natural had been applied to these

rights, and this state. The bulk of The bulk of mankind are little able, and mankind think of no other less habituated, to analize the import and rights, than such as they can en- tendency of words and phrases; and few joy, which are foeral rights.

amongst them will separate the idea, which they conceive the word natural conveys, from the state of their physical existence. They will plainly argue, that such as God hath made them, such they are ; nor do they think of, nor demand any other rights, than fuch, as God hath given them for the purpose, for which in his goodness 'he created them. The practical doctrine from such argument will be, what I before quoted from Mr. Locke. « God having made man such a creature, that, in his own judgment, it was not good for him to be alone, put him under strong obligations of necessity, convenience, and inclination, to drive him into society, as well as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it.” Thus, perhaps, more properly, : though less technically speaking, we come to consider man in his real natural state, which is that of society. For Buchanan lays truly: *

• Buchanan of the due Privilege of the Scots Government, p. 198.

€ First

« First of all, then, we agree, that men by nature are made to live in society together, and for a communion of life.” * « Hitherto we have spoken only (and that but in part) of the natural Rights of Man. We have now to consider the civil Rights of Man, and to shew how the one originates out of the other. Man did not enter into society to become worfe, than he was before, nor to have less rights, than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights.” These will be the subject of the ensuing chapter.

Payne's Rights of Man, p. 48.

C H A P.

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Soof

OCIETY was the necessary consequence

of the experimental discovery of man's wants and insufficiency to supply them in the theoretical state of pure nature.

These wants were coeval with his physical existence; for, as Mr. Locke says, God so made man, as to put him under strong obligations of neceffty, convenience, and inclination, to drive him into fociety, as well as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it. And here, as

Mr. Payne allows, Our enquiries find a resting Origin of fun place, our reason finds a home. This insufficiciety.

ency of individuals fought a remedy in the affistance of others; mutual assistance brought on obligations, and obligations produced dependance. The diversity of age, strength, or talents, probably gave the first superiority over a promiscuous multitude (for parentage certainly gave the first superiority over individuals); this multiplied and varied, as the objects who possessed it; envy ever followed the poffeffor; and the consequences

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