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A crime againft any primary virtue is attended with fevere and never-failing punishment, more efficacious than any that

harm that ensues, however accidentally; and from the resemblance of pecuniary punishment to reparation, the rule was childishly extended to punishment. But this rule, fo little confiftent with moral principles, could not long fubfift after pecuniary compofitions gave place to corporal punishment; and accordingly, among civilized nations, the law of nature is restored, which prohibits punishment for any mischief that is not intentional. The English must be excepted, who, remarkably tenacious of their original laws and cuftoms, preferve in force, even as to capital punishment, the above-mentioned rule that obtained among barbarians, when pecuniary compofitions were in vigour. The following paffage is from Hales (Pleas of the Crown, chap. 39.).

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Regularly he that voluntarily and knowingly in"tends hurt to the perfon of a man, as for example "to beat him, tho' he intend not death, yet if "death enfues, it excufeth not from the guilt of "murder, or manflaughter at leaft, as the circum"ftances of the cafe happen." And Fofter, in his Crown-law, teaches the fame doctrine, never once fufpecting in it the leaft deviation from moral principles. A fhooteth at the poultry of B, and by "accident killeth a man: if his intention was to "fteal the poultry, which must be collected from "circumftances, it will be murder by reafon of "that felonious intent; but if it was done wanton"ly, and without that intention, it will be barely "manflaughter." (p. 259)

have been invented to enforcé municipal laws on the other hand, the preferving primary virtues inviolate, is attended with little merit. The secondary virtues are directly oppofite: the neglecting them is not, attended with any punishment; but the practice of them is attended with illuftrious rewards. Offices of undeserved kindnefs, returns of good for ill, generous toils and fufferings for our friends or for our country, are attended with confcioufnefs of felf-merit, and with universal praise and admiration; the highest rewards a generous mind is fufceptible of.

From what is faid, the following obfervation will occur: The pain of tranfgreffing justice, fidelity, or any duty, is much greater than the pleasure of performing; but the pain of neglecting a generous action, or any secondary virtue, is as nothing compared with the pleasure of performing. Among the vices oppofite to the primary virtues, the most striking moral deformity is found; among the secondary virtues, the most striking moral beauty.



Laws refpecting Reparation.

THE principle of reparation is made a branch of the moral fyftem for accomplishing two ends: which are, to reprefs wrongs that are not criminal, and to make up the lofs fuftained by wrongs of whatever kind. With respect to the former, reparation is a fpecies of punishment with refpect to the latter, it is an act of justice. These ends will be better understood, after ascertaining the nature and foundation of reparation; to which the following divifion of actions is neceffary. First, actions that we are bound to perform. Second, actions that we perform in profecution of a right or privilege. Third, indifferent actions, defcribed above. Actions of the first kind fubject not a man to reparation, whatever damage enfues; because it is his duty to perform them, and it would be inconfift

ent with morality that a man fhould be fubjected to reparation for doing his duty. The laws of reparation that concern actions of the fecond kind, are more complex. The focial state, highly beneficial by affording opportunity for mutual good offices, is attended with fome inconveniencies; as where a perfon happens to be in a fituation of neceffarily harming others by exercifing a right or privilege. If the forefight of harming another restrain me not from exercifing my right, the interest of that other is made fubfervient to mine: on the other hand, if fuch forefight reftrain me from exercifing my right, my intereft is made fubfervient to his. What doth the moral fenfe provide in that case? To preferve as far as poffible an equality among perfons born free and by nature equal in rank, the moral fenfe dictates a rule, no lefs beautiful than falutary; which is, That the exercising a right will not justify me for doing direct mischief; but will justify me, tho' I foresee that mifchief may poffibly happen. The firft branch of the rule refolves into a propofition established above, That no interest of mine, not even life itself, will authorise VOL. IV. I.


me to hurt an innocent perfon. The other branch is fupported by expediency: for if the bare poffibility of hurting others were fufficient to restrain a man from profecuting his rights and privileges; men would be too much cramped in action, or rather would be reduced to a state of abfolute inactivity. With refpect to the first branch, I am criminal, and liable even to punishment: with refpect to the other, I am not even culpable, nor bound to repair the mischief that happens to enfue. But this propofition admits a temperament, which is, that if any danger be foreseen, I am in fome degree culpable, if I be not at due pains to prevent it. For example, where in pulling down an old house I happen to wound one paffing accidentally, without calling aloud to beware.

With refpect to indifferent actions, the moral fenfe dictates, that we ought carefully to avoid doing mifchief, either direct or confequential. As we fuffer no lofs by forbearing actions that are done for paftime merely, fuch an action is culpable or faulty, if the confequent mischief was foreseen or might have been foreseen; and the actor of courfe is fubjected to reparation.

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