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plying the place of scientific deductions from them, by such inferences as observation and experience enable us to make.
$ 8. Finally, however, there is satisfaction in the thought, that no such imperfection as this, can in the least vitiate
of the conclusions we are now about to draw. Liberty of action being the first essential to exercise of faculties, and therefore the first essential to happiness; and the liberty of each limited by the like liberty of all, being the form which this first essential assumes when applied to many instead of one (§ 3), it follows that this liberty of each, limited by the like liberty of all, is the rule in conformity with which society must be organized. Freedom being the prerequisite to normal life in the individ. ual, equal freedom becomes the prerequisite to normal life in society. And if this law of equal freedom is the primary law of right relationship between man and man, then no desire to get fulfilled a secondary law can warrant us in breaking it.
Now we shall find that in the unfolding of this primary limitation to the exercise of faculties into a series of tical regulations, it is impossible to recognize any secondary limitations without committing a breach of the primary one. For, in what must recognition of any secondary limitations consist? It must consist in the establishment in our social organization of certain further restrictions on the exercise of faculties besides those imposed by the law of equal freedom. And how are these further restrictions to be enforced ? Manifestly, by men. Now the men who enforce them must necessarily assume in so doing a greater amount of freedom than those on whom they are enforced;—that is to say, they must trausgress the primary law to prevent others transgressing secondary
LIMITATION TO TIIE EXERCISE OF THE FACULTIES.
Hence, in drawing from it deductions respecting the equitable constitution of society, we may safely assert in full this liberty of each limited alone by the like liberty of all—must so assert it. The neglect of other limitations will in no way affect the accuracy of our conclusions, so long as we confine ourselves to deducing from this fundamental law the just relationships of men to each other; whereas we cannot include these other limitations in our premises without vitiating those conclusions. We have no alternative therefore but, for the time being, to ignore such other limitations; leaving that partial interpretation of them which is at present possible to us, for subsequent statement.
SECONDARY DERIVATION OF A FIRST PRINCIPLE.
§ 1. Having inquired how the Divine Idea, greatest
1 happiness, is to be realized—having found that it is to be realized through the exercise of faculties—and having found that, to fulfil its end, such exercise of faculties must be confined within certain limits; let us now pursue the investigation a step further, and see whether there does rot exist in man himself an impulse to claim that exercise, and an impulse to respect those limits. Some such provisions are clearly needful for the completion of the creative scheme. It would be quite at variance with the gencral law of our structure, that there should be nothing to restrain us from the undue exercise of faculties, but ab. stract considerations like those set forth in the last chap. ter. As elsewhere pointed out (p. 30), man is ruled by quite other instrumentalities than intellectual ones. The regulation of his conduct is not left to the accident of a philosophical inquiry. We may, therefore, expect to find some special agent by which the distinction between right and wrong exercise of faculties is recognized and respond ed to.
§ 2. From what he has already gathered, the reader
. will of course infer that this agent is that Moral Sense, in whose existence we elsewhere saw good reason to believe. And possibly he will anticipate the further inference, that this first and all-essential law, declaratory of the liberty of each limited only by the like liberty of all, is that fundamental truth of which the moral sense is to give an intuition, and which the intellect is to develop into a scientific morality.
Of the correctness of this inference there are various proofs, upon an examination of which we must now enter. And first on the list stands the fact, that, out of some source or other in men's minds, there keep continually coming utterances more or less completely expressive of this truth. Quite independently of any such analytical examinations as that just concluded, men perpetually exhibit a tendency to assert the equality of human rights. In all ages, but more especially in later ones, has this tendency been visible. In our own history we may detect signs of its presence as early as the time of Edward I., in whose writs of summons it was said to be “a most equitable rule, that what concerns all should be approved of by all.” How our institutions have been influenced by it may be seen in the judicial principle that "all men are equal before the law.” The doctrine that “all men are naturally equal” (of course only in so far as their claims are concerned), has not only been asserted by philanthropists like Granville Sharpe, but as Sir Robert Filmer, a once renowned champion of absolute monarchy, tells us, "Hey. ward, Blackwood, Barclay, and others that have bravely
FAITII IN THE EQUALITY OF RIGHTS.
vindicated the rights of kings, * ** with one consent admitted the natural liberty and equality of mankind." Again, we find the declaration of American Independence affirming that "all men have equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and the similar assertion that “every man has an equal right with every other man to a voice in the making of the laws which all are required to obey," was the maxim of the Complete Suffrage movement. In his essay on Civil Government, Locke, too, expresses the opinion that there is “nothing more evident than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection.” And those who wish for more authorities who have expressed the same conviction, may add the names of Judge Blackstone and “the judicious Hooker."
The sayings and doings of daily life continually imply some intuitive belief of this kind. We take for granted its universality, when we appeal to men's sense of justice. In moments of irritation it shows itself in such expressions as—“How would you like it?” “What is that to you ?” “I've as good a right as you," &c. Our praises of liberty are pervaded by it; and it gives bitterness to the invectives with which we assail the oppressors of mankind. Nay, indeed, so spontaneous is this faith in the equality of human rights, that our very language embodies it. Equity and equal are from the same root; and equity literally means equalness.
It is manifest, moreover, that some such faith is continually increasing in strength. Rightly understood, the advance from a savage to a cultivated state is the advance of its dominion. It is by their greater harmony with it that the laws, opinions, and usages of a civilized society are chiefly distinguished from those of a barbarous one.
llow instrumental it has been in modifying the events of the past was elsewhere hinted (p. 35). If we call to mind the political agitations that have run a successful course within these few years, and consider likewise those that are going on around us, we shall find them nearly all strongly tinctured by it. Nor can we contemplate the late European revolutions, and read the preambles to the new constitutions that have sprung out of them, without perceiving that a conviction of the equality of human rights is now stronger and more general than ever.
Not without meaning is the continued life and growth of this conviction. He must indeed have a strange way of interpreting social phenomena, who can believe that the reappearance of it, with ever-increasing frequency, in laws, books, agitations, revolutions, means nothing. If we analyze them, we shall find all beliefs to be in some way dependent upon mental conformation-temporary ones upon temporary characteristics of our nature-permanent ones upon its permanent characteristics. And when we find that a belief like this in the equal freedom of all men, is not only permanent, but daily gaining ground, we have good reason to conclude that it corresponds to some essential element of our moral constitution: more especially since we find that its existence is in har. mony with that chief prerequisite to greatest happiness lately dwelt upon; and that its growth is in harmony with that law of adaptation by which this greatest happiness is being wrought out.
Such, at least, is the hypothesis here adopted. From the above accumulation of evidence it is inferred that there exists in man what may be termed an instinct of personal rights—a feeling that leads him to claim as great a share of natural privilege as is claimed by others—a feeling that leads him to repel any thing like an encroach. ment upon what he thinks his sphere of original freedom.