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A man may
others shall be first discussed, taking them in order according to the extent of their influence. And for the fake of perspicuity, I shall first present them in a general view, and then proceed to particulars. Of our duties to others, one there is so extenfive, as to have for its object all the innocent part of mankind. It is the duty that prohibits us to hurt others : than which no law is more clearly dictated by the moral sense; nor is the transgression of any other law, more deeply stamped with the character of wrong.
be hurt externally in his goods, in his perfon, in his relations, 'and in his reputation. Hence the laws, Do not steal ; Defraud not others; Do not kill nor wound; Be not guilty of defamation. A man maỹ be hurt internally, by an action that occasions to him distress of mind, or by being impressed with false notions of men and things. Therefore conseience dictates, that we ought not to treat men disrespectfully; that we ought not causelessly to alienate their affections from others; and, in general, that we ought to forbear whatever may tend to break their peace of
mind, or tend to unqualify them for being good men and good citizens.
The duties mentioned are duties of restraint. Our active duties regard particular persons ; such as our relations, our friends, our benefactors, our masters, our servants. It is our duty to honour and obey our parents; and to establish our children in the world, with all advantages internal and external: we ought to be faithful to our friends, grateful to our benefactors, fubmissive to our masters, kind to our servants; and to aid and comfort every one of these persons when in distress. To be obliged to do good to others beyond these bounds, muft depend on positive engagement; for, as will appear afterward, universal benevolence is not a duty. : This general sketch will prepare us for particulars. The duty of restraint comes first in view, that which bars us from harming the innocent; and to it corresponds a right in the innocent to be safe from harm. This is the great law preparatory to fociety ; because without it, fociety could never have existed. Here the moral sense is inflexible : it dictates, that we ought to submit to any distress, even
death itself, rather than procure our own safety by laying violent hands upon an innocent person. And we are under the fame restraint with respect to the property of another ; for robbery and theft are never upon any prętext indulged. It is indeed true, that in extreme hunger I may lawfully take food where it can be found; and may freely lay hold of my neighbour's horse, to carry me from an enemy who threatens death. But it is his duty as a fellow-creature to aslist me in distress; and when there is no time for delay, I may lawfully use what he ought to offer were he present, and what I may prefume he would offer. For the same reason, if in a storm my ship be driven among the anchor-ropes of another ship, I may lawfully cut the ropes in order to get free. But in every case of this kind, it' would be a wrong in me to use my neighbour's property, without resolving to pay the value. If
If my neighbour be bound to aid me in distress, conscience binds me to make
* This doctrine is obviously founded on justice ; and yet, in the Roman law, there are two passages
The prohibition of hurting others internally, is perhaps not essential to the formation of societies, because the tranfgression of that law doth not much alarm plain people: but where manners and refined sentiments prevail, the mind is suf
which deny any recompence in fuch cases.
" Item “ Labeo fcribit, fi cum vi ventorum navis impulsa « effet in funes anchorarum alterius, et nautæ fu"nes præcidiffent ; fi nullo alio
si nullo alio modo, nifi præcisis “ funibus, explicare se potuit, nullam actionem “ dandam ;" l. 29. 9 3. ad leg. Aquil. “ Quod di• citur damnum injuria datum Aquilia perfequi, fic “ erit accipiendum, ut videatur damnum injuria da
tum quod cum damno injuriam attulerit ; nisi
magna vi cogente, fuerit factum. Ut Cellus “ fcribit circa eum, qui incendii arcendi grati. os vicinas ædes intercidit : et five pervenit ignis, “ five antea extinctus est, existimat legis Aqui“ liæ actionem ceffare.” l. 49. § 1. eod. -- [In Englishe thus : “ In the opinion of Labeo, if a ship 6 is driven by the violence of a tempest among the " anchor-ropes of another ship, and the failors cut “ the ropes, having no other means of getting free, “ there is no action competent. The Aquilian “ law must be understood to apply only to such da.
mage as carries the idea of an injury along with " it, unless such injury has not been wilfully done, 66 but from necesiity. Thus Celsus puts the case of “ a person who, to stop the progress of a fire, pulls “ down his neighbour's house; and whether the VOL. IV.
ceptible of more grievous wounds than the body; and therefore, without that law, a polished society could have no long endurance.
By adultery, mischief is done both external and internal. Each fex is so constituted, as to require strict fidelity and attachment in a mațe. The breach of these duties is the greatest external harm that can befal them: it harms them also internally, by breaking their
of mind. It has indeed been urged, that no harm will ensue, if the adultery be kept secret; and consequently, that there can be no crime where the fact is kept secret.
os fire had reached that house which is pulled down,
or was extinguished before it got to it, in neither " cafe, he thinks, will an action be competent from " the Aquilian law.”] -- These opinions are undoubtedly erroneous. And it is not difficult to say what has occasioned the error: the cases mentioned are treated as belonging to the lex Aquilia ; which being confined to the reparation of wrongs, lays it justly down for a rule, That no action for reparation can lie, where there is no culpa. But had Labeo and Celsus adverted, that these cases belong to a different head, viz. the duty of recompence, where one fuffers lofs by benefiting another, they themselves would have had no difficulty of sustaining a claim for making up that loss.