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instruments may como, let us search it to the jarring interests may chance to prevail; and as bottom.
they prevail, the balance is overset, now upon First then, all men are agreed that this junc- one side, now upon the other. The governtion of regal, aristocratic, and popular power, ment is one day, arbitrary power in a single must form a very complex, nico, and intricate person ; another, a juggling confederacy of a machine, which being composed of such a few to cheat the prince and enslave the people ; variety of parts, with such opposite tendencies and the third, a frantic and unmanageable deand movements, it must be liable on every ac- mocracy. The great instrument of all these cident to be disordered. To speak without changes, and what infuses a peculiar venom metaphor, such a government must be liable to into all of them, is party. It is of no consefrequent cabals, tumults, and revolutions, from quence what the principles of any party, or its very constitution. These are undoubtedly what their pretensions are; the spirit which as ill effects as can happen in a society; for in actuates all parties is the same; the spirit of such a case, the closeness acquired by com- ambition, of self-interest, of oppression, and munity, instead of serving for mutual defence, treachery. This spirit entirely reverses all the serves only to increase the danger. Such a principles which a benevolent nature has erectsystem is like a city, where trades that require ed within us; all honesty, all equal justice, and constant fires are much exercised, where the even the ties of natural society, the natural houses are built of combustible materials, and affections. In a word, my Lord, we have all where they stand extremely close.
seen, and if any outward considerations were In the second place, the several constituent worthy the lasting concern of a wise man, we parts having their distinct rights, and these have some of us fell, such oppression from party many of them so necessary to be determined government as no other tyranny can parallel. with exactness, are yet so indeterminate in We behold daily the most important rights, their nature, that it becomes a new and con- rights upon which all the others depend, we stant source of debate and confusion. Hence behold these rights determined in the last reit is, that whilst the business of government sort, without the least attention even to the should be carrying on, the question is, who appearance or colour of justice; we behold has a right to exercise this or that function of this without emotion, because we have grown it, or what men have power to keep their up in the constant view of such practices; and offices in any function? Whilst this contest we are not surprised to hear a man requested continues, and whilst the balance in any sort to be a knave and a traitor, with as much incontinues, it has never any remission; all difference as if the most ordinary favour were manner of abuses and villanies in officers re- asked; and we hear this request refused, not main unpunished; the greatest frauds and robe because it is a most unjust and unreasonable beries in the public revenues are committed in desire, but that this worthy has already endefiance of justice; and abuses grow, by time gaged his injustice to another. These and and impunity, into customs ; until they pre- many more points I am far from spreading to scribe against the laws, and grow too inveterate their full extent. You are sensible that I do often to admit a cure, unless such as may be not put forth half my strength; and you cannot as bad as the disease.
be at a loss for the reason. A man is allowed Thirdly, the several parts of this species of sufficient freedom of thought, provided he knows government, though united, preserve the spirit how to choose his subject properly. You may which each form has separately. Kings are am- criticise freely upon the Chinese constitution, bitious; the nobility haughty; and the populace and observe with as much severity as you tumultuous and ungovernable. Each party, please upon the absurd tricks, or destructive however, in appearance peaceable, carries on bigotry of the bonzees. But the scene is a design upon the others; and it is owing to changed as you come homeward, and atheism this, that in all questions, whether concerning or treason may be the names given in Britain, foreign or domestic affairs, the whole generally to what would be reason and truth if asserted turns more upon some party-matter than upon of China. I submit to the condition, and the nature of the thing itself; whether such a though I have a notorious advantage before step will diminish or augment the power of the ine, I wave the pursuit. For else, my Lord, it crown, or how far the privileges of the subject is very obvious what a picture might be drawn are like to be extended or restricted by it. of the excesses of party even in our own nation. And these questions are constantly resolved, I could shew, that the same faction has in one without any consideration of the merits of the reign promoted popular seditions, and in the cause, merely as the parties who uphold these next been a patron of tyranny; I could shew, that they have all of them betrayed the public But unhappily for us, in proportion as we have safety 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 we 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 inconvecomplex 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. We scarce ever had a prince, who soon found a miserable slavery to have our by fraud, or violence, had not made some in- lives and properties precarious, and hanging fringement on the constitution. We scarce upon the arbitrary determination of any one ever had a parliament which knew, 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 bad 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 we were broughi back to sometimes giddily set up, and ever precariously our old incertitude. New laws were made to fluctuating 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, opconspiracies. 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 At nunc res agitur tenui pulmone rubetæ.
what common. In this uncertainty, (uncertain
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 injustice are preferable to the more glaring and violent of any decision. Our inheritances are become effects 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 known 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 insufficientments 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 errours. 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 to 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 many 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 genuemen 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 hominis 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 me reverse the rules, and to contradict that reason whether I have a right to eat the bread I have which dictated them, I am utterly 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 rations. Multa virûm volvens 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 held, and retain these three persons to defend to be counted tedious, is commonly determined my cause. My cause, 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 absurdity 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 judgment in my were originally designed ; and they will answer, favour. But hold—a sagacious 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 the 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 has 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 from court to court; I fly 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 inno- 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
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 made 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 meaning 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 most abject fires, and constant drudgery necessary in refinand 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 the 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 which 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 destructivo 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. Would 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 means. 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 the the latter. The whole business of the poor is
same persons. On considering the strange and to administer to the idleness, folly, 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 the 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 pronortion to his Newgate and the Bridewell of the universe?
Indeed the blindness of one part of mankind are they who know enough of them to know
fore can form no distinction in favour of the