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to prerail; and a
Overset, now upon
Dorrer in a single
confederacy of a Islase the people
; enmanageable de meat of all these peculiar renom is of no conse
any party, a e spirit which 2; the spirit of Ppression, and ererses all the Eure has erectal justice, and
we have all ations were se man, wo n from party En parallel. unt rights, epend, we = last ren to the
that they have all of them betrayed the public But unhappily for us, in proportion as we have cafety at all times, and have very frequently deviated from the plain rule of our nature, and with equal perfidy made a market of their own turned our reason against itself, in that proporcause, and their own associates. I could shew tion have we increased the follies and miseries how vehemently they have contended for names, of mankind. The more deeply we penetrate and how silently they have passed over things into the labyrinth of art, the further we find of the last importance. And I could demon- ourselves from those ends for which wc entered strate, that they have had the opportunity of it. This has happened in almost every species doing all this mischief, nay, that they them- of artificial society, and in all times. We selves had their origin and growth from that 'found, or we thought we found, an incor.vecomplex form of government, which we are nience in having every man the judge of his wisely taught to look upon as so great a bles- own cause. Therefore judges were set up, at sing. Revolve, my Lord, our history from the first with discretionary powers. But it was conquest. Wo scarco ever had a prince, who şoon found a miserable slavery to have our by fraud, or violence, had not made some in- lives and properlies precarious, and hanging fringement on the constitution. We scarce upon the arbitrary determination of any one ever had a parliament which know, when it man, or set of men. We flew to laws as a attempted to set limits to the royal authority, remedy for this evil. By these we persuaded how to set limits to its own. Evils we have ourselves we might know with some certainty had continually calling for reformation, and upon what ground we stood. But lo! differreformations more grievous than any evils. ences arose upon the sense and interpretation Our boasted liberty sometimes trodden down, of these laws. Thus wo were brought back to sometimes giddily set up, and ever precariously
our old incertitude. New laws were made to Auctuating and unsettled; it has only been kept expound the old; and new difficulties arose alive by the blasts of continual feuds, wars, and upon the new laws; as words multiplied, op conspiracies. In no country in Europe has the portunities of cavilling upon them multiplied scaffold so often blushed with the blood of its also. Then recourse was had to notes, comnobility. Confiscations, banishments, attain- ments, glosses, reports, responsa prudentum, ders, executions, make a large part of the learned readings: eagle stood against eagle: history of such of our families as are not utterly authority was set up against authority. Some extinguished by them. Formerly indeed things were allured by the modern, others reverenced had a more ferocious appearance than they the antient. The new were more enlightened, have at this day. In these early and unrefined the old were more venerable. Some adopted ages, the jarring parts of a certain chaotic the comment, others stuck to the text. The constitution supported their several pretensions confusion increased, the mist thickened, until it by the sword. Experience and policy have could be discovered no longer what was allowed since taught other methods.
or forbidden, what things were in property, and
what common. In this uncertainty, (uncertain At nunc res ngitur tenui pulmone rubetæ.
even to the professors, an Egyptian darkness But how far corruption, venality, the contempt to the rest of mankind,) the contending parties of honour, the oblivion of all duty to our coun- felt themselves more effectually ruined by the try, and the most abandoned public prostitution, delay than they could have been by the injustico are preferable to the more glaring and violent of any decision. Our inheritances are become cffects of faction, I will not presume to deter- a prize for disputation; and disputes and litimine. Sure I am that they are very great evils. gations are become an inheritance.
I have done with the forms of government. The professors of artificial law have always During the course of my enquiry you may have walked hand in hand with the professors of artiobserved a very material difference between ficial theology. As their end, in confounding my manner of reasoning and that which is in the reason of man, and abridging his natural use amongst the abettors of artificial society. freedom, is exactly the same, they have adjusted They form their plans upon what seems most the means to that end in a way entirely similar. eligible to their imaginations, for the ordering The divine thunders out his anathemas with of mankind. I discover the mistakes in those more noise and terrour against the breach of plans, from the real knovan consequences which one of his positive institutions, or the neglect have resulted from them. They have inlisted of some of his trivial forms, than against the reason to fight against itself, and employ its neglect or breach of those duties and commandwhole force to prove that it is an insufficient ments of natural religion, which by these forms guide to them in the conduct of their lives. and institutions he pretends to enforce. The
lawyer has his forms, and his positive institu- deep for me; I acknowledged it; but it was tions too, and he adheres to them with a vene- too deep even for yourselves: you have made ration altogether as religious. The worst cause the way so intricate, that you are yourselves cannot be so prejudicial to the litigant, as his lost in it; you err, and you punish me for your advocate's or attorney's ignorance or neglect of these forms. A law-suit is like an ill-managed The delay of the law is, your Lordship will dispute, in which the first object is soon out of tell
me, a trite topic, and which of its abuses sight, and the parties end upon a matter wholly have not been too severely felt not to be comforeign to that on which they began. In a law- plained of? A man's property is to serve for suit the question is, who has a right to a certain the purposes of his support ; and therefore ta house or farm? And this question is daily de- delay a determination concerning that, is the termined, not upon the evidence of the right, worst injustice, because it cuts off the very but upon the observance or neglect of some end and purpose for which I applied to the forms of words in use with the gentlemen of judicature for relief. Quite contrary in the the robe, about which there is even among case of a man's life ; there the determination themselves such a disagreement, that the most can hardly be too much protracted. Mistakes experienced veterans in the profession can in this case are as often fallen into as inany never be positively assured that they are not other, and if the judgment is sudden, the mismistaken.
takes are the most irretrievable of all others. Let us expostulate with these learned sages, of this the gentlemen of the robe are themthese priests of the sacred temple of justice. selves sensible, and they have brought it into Are we judges of our own property? By no a maxim. De morte liominis nulla est cunctatio means. You then, who are initiated into the longa. But what could have induced them to mysteries of the blindfold goddess, inform mo reverse the rules, and to contradict that reason whether I have a right to eat the bread I have which dictated them, I am ulterly unable to earned by the hazard of my life, or the sweat guess. A point concerning property, which of my brow? The grave doctor answers me ought, for the reasons I just mentioned, to be in the affirmative; the reverend serjeant replies most speedily decided, frequently exercises the in the negative; the learned barrister reasons wit of successions of lawyers, for many geneupon one side and upon the other, and concludes rationsMulta virům voluers durando sæcula nothing. What shall I do? An antagonist vincit. But the question concerning a man's starts up and presses me hard. I enter the life, that great question in which no delay ought field, and retain these three persons to defend to be counted tedious, is commonly determined my cause. My causo, which two farmers from in twenty-four hours at the utmost. It is not the plough could have decided in half an hour, to be wondered at, that injustice and absurdily takes the court twenty years. I am however should be inseparable companions. at the end of my labour, and have in reward Ask of politicians the end for which laws for all my toil and vexation, a jidgment in my were originally designed; and they will answer, favour. But hold—a sagacioris commander in that the laws were designed as a protection for the adversary's army, has found a flaw in the the poor and weak, against tho oppression of proceeding. My triumph is turned into mourn- the rich and powerful. But surely no pretence ing. I have used or, instead of and, or some can be so ridiculous; a man might as well tell mistake, small in appearance, but dreadful in me he has taken off my load, because he bas its consequences, and have the whole of my changed the burden. If the poor man is not success quashed in a writ of errour. I remove able to support his suit, according to the vexamy suit; I shift froin court to court; I Ay from tious and expensive manner established in equity to law, and from law to equity; equal civilized countries, has not the rich as great uncertainty attends me every where ; and a an advantage over him as the strong has over mistake in which I had no share, decides at the weak in a state of nature ? But we will once upon my liberty and property, sending not place the state of nature, which is the reign me from the court to a prison, and adjudging of God, in competition with political society, ' my family to beggary and famine. I am inna which is the absurd usurpation of man. In a cent, gentlemen, of the darkness and uncer- state of nature, it is true, that a man of superiour tainty of your science. I never darkened it force may beat or rob me; but then it is true, with absurd and contradictory notions, nor that I am at full liberty to defend myself, or confounded it with chicane and sophistry. You make reprisal by surprise, or by cunning, or have excluded me from any share in the con- by any other way in which I may be superior duct of my own cause; the science was too to him. But in political society, a rich man
tioned, to be
exercises the * many geneFando sacula ing a man's delay ought determined . It is not Jabsurdily
may rob me in another way. I cannot defend labours. In a state of artificial society, it is a myself ; for money is the only weapon with law as constant and as invariable, that those who which we are allowed to fight. And if I attempt labour most, enjoy the fewest things; and that to avenge myself, the whole force of that society those who labour not at all, have the greatest is ready to complete my ruin.
number of enjoyments. A constitution of things A good parson once said, that where mystery this, strange and ridiculous beyond expression. begins, religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly We scarce believe a thing when we are told it, at least of human laws, that where mystery which we actually see before our eyes every begins, justice ends? It is hard to say, whether day without being in the least surprised. I the doctors of law or divinity have inade the suppose that there are in Great Britain upwards greater advances in the lucrative business of of an hundred thousand people employed in lead, mystery. The lawyers, as well as the theologi- tin, iron, copper, and coal mines; these unhappy ans, have erected another reason besides natu- wretches scarce ever see the light of the sun ral reason; and the result has been, another they are buried in the bowels of the earth justice besides natural justice. They have so there they work at a severe and dismal task, bewildered the world and themselves in un- without the least prospect of being delivered ineaning forms and ceremonies, and so per- from it; they subsist upon the coarsest and plexed the plainest matters with metaphysical worst sort of fare ; they have their health jargon, that it carries the highest danger to a miserably impaired, and their lives cut short, man out of that profession, to make the least by being perpetually confined in the close vastep without their advice and assistance. Thus pour of these malignant minerals. An hundred by confining to themselves the knowledge of the thousand more at least are tortured without foundation of all men's lives and properties, they remission by the suffocating smoke, intense have reduced all mankind into the nost abject fires, and constant drudgery necessary in refin. and servile dependence. We are tenants at the ing and managing the products of those mines. will of these gentlemen for every thing; and a If any man informed us that two hundred thoumetaphysical quibble is to decide whether tho sand innocent persons were condemned to so greatest villain breathing shall meet his deserts, intolerable slavery, how should we pity the or escape with impunity, or whether the best unhappy sufferers, and how great would be our man in the society shall not be reduced to the just indignation against those who inflicted so lowest and most despicable condition it affords. cruel and ignominious a punishment! This is In a word, my Lord, the injustice, delay, pueri- an instance, I could not wish a stronger, of the lity, false refinement, and affected mystery of the numberless things wbich we pass by in their law are such, that many who live under it come common dress, yet which shock us when they to admire and envy the expedition, simplicity, are nakedly represented. But this number, and equality of arbitrary judgments. I need considerable as it is, and the slavery, with all insist the less on this article to your Lordship, its baseness and horrour, which we have at as you have frequently lamented the miseries home, is nothing to what the rest of the world derived to us from artificial law, and your can- affords of the same nature. Millions daily dour is the more to be admired and applauded bathed in the poisonous damps and destructive in this, as your Lordship's noble house has effluvia of lead, silver, copper, and arsenic. derived its wealth and its honour from that
To say nothing of those other employments, profession.
those stations of wretchedness and contempt, Before we finish our examination of artificial in which civil society has placed the numerous society, I shall lead your Lordship into a closer enfans perdus of her army.
any rational consideration of the relations which it gives man submit to one of the most tolerable of these birth to, and the benefits, if such they are, which drudgeries, for all the artificial enjoyments result from these relations. The most obvious which policy has made to result from them? division of society is into rich and poor; and By no incans. And yet need I suggest to your it is no less obvious, that the number of the Lordship, that those who find the means, and former bear a great disproportion to those of those who arrive at the end, are not at all tho the latter. The whole business of the
same persons. On considering the strange and to administor to the idleness, foly, and luxury unaccountable fancies and contrivances of artiof the rich; and that of the rich, in return, ficial reason, I have somewhere called this is to find the best methods of confirming tho earth the Bedlam of our system. Looking now slavery and increasing the burdens of the poor. upon the effects of some of those fancies, may In a state of nature, it is an invariable law, that • we not with equal reason call it likewise the -a man's acquisitions are in proportion to his Newgate and the Bridewell of the universe?
rigo ety, na
Indeed the blindness of one part of mankind are they who know enough of them to know co-operating with the phrenzy and villany of the little value of the possessors of such things, the other, has been the real builder of this and of all that they possess; and happy they respectable fabric of political society: and as who have been snatched from that post of danthe blindness of mankind has caused their ger which they occupy, with the remains of slavery, in return their stato of slavery is made their virtue ; loss of honours, wealth, titles, a pretence for continuing them in a state of and even the loss of one's country, is nothing blindness; for the politician will tell you grave- in balance with so great an advantage. .y, that their life of servilude disqualifies the Let us now view the other species of the greater part of the race of man for a search rich, those who devote their time and fortunes of truth, and supplies them with no other than to idleness and pleasure. How much happier mean and insufficient ideas. This is but too are they? The pleasures which are agreeable true; and this is one of the reasons for which to nature are within the reach of all, and thereI blame such institutions.
fore can form no distinction in favour of the In a misery of this sort, admitting some few rich. The pleasures which art forces up are lenitives, and those too but a few, nine parts in seldom sincere, and never satisfying. What ten of the whole race of mankind drudge through is worse, this constant application to pleasure life. It may be urged perhaps, in palliation of takes away from the enjoyment, or rather this, that, at least, the rich few find a consider- turns it into the nature of a very burdensome able and real benefit from the wretchedness of and laborious business. It has consequences the many. But is this so in fact ? Let us much more fatal. It produces a weak valetuexamine the point with a little more attention. dinary state of body, attended by all those For this
purpose the rich in all societies may borrid disorders, and yet more horrid methods be thrown into two classes. The first is of of cure, which are the result of luxury on one those who are powerful as well us rich, and hand, and the weak and ridiculous efforts of conduct the operations of the vast political human art on the other. The pleasures of such machine. The other is of those who employmen are scarcely felt as pleasures ; at the same their riches wholly in the acquisition of plea- time that they bring on pains and diseases, sure. As to the first sort, their continual caro which are felt but too severely. The mind has and anxiety, their toilsome days, and sleepless its share of the misfortune ; it grows lazy and nights, are next to proverbial. These circum- enervate, unwilling and unable to search for stances are sufficient almost to level their con- truth, and utterly uncapable of knowing, mnch dition to that of the unhappy majority; but less of relishing real happiness. The poor by there are other circumstances which place them their excessive labour, and the rich by their in a far lower condition. Not only their un- enormous luxury, are set upon a level, and derstandings labour continually, which is the rendered equally ignorant of any knowledge severest labour, but their hearts are tom by which might conduce to their happiness. A the worst, most troublesome, and insatiable of dismal view of the interior of all civil society! all passions, by avarice, by ambition, by fear The lower part broken and ground down by and jealousy. No part of the mind has rest. the most cruel oppression; and the rich by Power gradually extirpates from the mind every their artificial method of lifo bringing worse humane and gentle virtue. Pity, benevolence, evils on themselves, than their tyranny could friendship are things almost unknown in high ssibly inflict on those below them. Very stations. Veræ amicitia rarissime inveniuntur different is the prospect of the natural state. in iis qui in honoribus rcque publica versantur, Here thero are no wants which nature gives,
And indeed, courts are the and in this stato men can be sensible of no schools where cruelty, pride, dissimulation and other wants, which are not to be supplied by a treachery are studied and taught in the most very moderate degree of labour; therefore vicious perfection. This is a point so clear there is no slavery. Neither is there any and acknowledged, that if-it did not make a luxury, because no single man can supply the necessary part of my subject, I should pass it materials of it. Life simple, and thereforo by entirely. And this has hindered me from it is happy. drawing at full length, and in the most striking I am conscious, my Lord, that your politician colours, this shocking picture of the degenc- will urge in his defence, that this unequal state racy and wretchedness of human nature, in that is highly useful. That without dooming some part which is vulgarly thought its happiest and part of mankind to extraordinary toil, the arts most amiable state. You know from what which cultivate life could not be exercised. originals J could copy such pictures. Happy But I demand of this politician, how such arts
came to be necessary? He answers, that civil educated under another form, than that this is society could not well exist without them. So of worse consequences to mankind. For the that these arts are ecessary to civil society, free governments, for the point of their
space, and civil society necessary again to these arts. and the moment of their duration, have felt Thus are we running in a circle, without more confusion, and committed moro, flagrant modesty, and without end, and making one tyranny, than the most persect despotic errour and extravagance an excuse for the governments which we have cver known. Turn other. My sentiments about these arts and your eye next to the labyrinth of the law, and their cause, I have often discoursed with my the iniquity conceived in its intricate recesscs. friends at large. Pope has expressed them in Consider the ravages committed in the bowels good verse, where he talks with so much force of all commonwealths by ambition, by avarice, of reason and elegance of language, in praise envy, fraud, open injustice, and pretended of the state of nature:
friendship; vices which could draw little sup Then was not pride, nor arts that pride to aid,
port from a state of nature, but which blossom Man walk'd with beast, joint-tenant of the and tourish in the rankness of political society. shade.
Revolve our whole discourse; add to it all On the whole, my Lord, if political society, those reflections which your own good underin whatever form, has still made the many the standing shall suggest, and make a strenuous property of the few; if it has introduced la- effort beyond the reach of vulgar philosophy, bours unnecessary, vices and diseases un- to confess that the cause of artificial society is known, and pleasures incompatible with nature; more defenceless even than that of artificial reif in all countries it abridges the lives of mil- ligion; that it is as derogatory from the honour lions, and renders those of millions more utter- of the Creator, as subversive of human reason, ly abject and miserable, shall we still worship and productive of infinitely more mischief to so destructive an idol, and daily sacrifice to it
the human race. our health, our liberty, and our peace? Or If pretended revelations have caused wars shall we pass by this monstrous heap of ab- where they were opposed, and slavery where surd notions, and abominable practices, think they were received, the pretended wise invening we have sufficiently discharged our duty in tions of politicians have done the same. But exposing the trifling cheats, and ridiculous the slavery has been inuch heavier, the wars juggles of a few mad, designing, or ambitious far more bloody, and both more universal by priests? Alas! my Lord, we labour under a many degrees. Shew me any mischief promortal consumption, whilst we are so anxious duced by the madness or wickedness of theoloabout the curo of a sore finger. For has not gians, and I will shew you an hundred, resultthis leviathan of civil power overflowed the ing from the ambition and villany of conquerors earth with a deluge of blood, as if he were and statesmen. Shew me an absurdity in remade to disport and play therein? We have ligion, and I will undertake to shew you an shewn, that political society, on a moderate hundred for one in political laws and institucalculation, has been the means of murdering tions. If you say, that natural religion is a several times the number of inhabitants now sufficient guide without the foreign aid of reupon the earth, during its short existence, notvelation, on what principle should political upwards of four thousand years in any accounts laws become necessary? Is not tho same reato be depended on. But we havo said nothing son available in theology and in politics? If of the other, and perhaps as bad consequence the laws of nature are the laws of God, is it of these
wars, which have spilled such seas of consistent with the divino wisdom to prescribe blood, and reduced so many millions to a mer- rules to us, and leave the enforcement of them ciless slavery. But these are only the cere- to the folly of human institutions? Will you monies performed in the porch of the political follow truth but to a certain point ? templz. Much more horrid ones are seen as We are indebted for all our iniseries to our you enter it. The several species of govern- distrust of that guide, which Providence ment vie with each other in the absurdity of thought sufficient for our condition, our own their constitutions, and the oppression which natural reason, which rejecting both in human they make their subjects endure. Take them and divine things, we have given our necks to under what form you please, they are in effect tho yoke of political and theological slavery. but a despotism, and they fall, both in effect and We have renounced the prerogative of man, appearance too, after a very short period, into and it is no wonder that we should be treated that cruel and detestable species of tyranny; like beasts. But our misery is much greater which I rather call it, because we have been than theirs, as the crime we commit in rejecte
ng, much poor by by their el, and
owledge S. A ciety! an by ch by yorsa could