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irksome endeavour on the part of all to acquire this poweran endeavour which must surely though slowly succeed. Conversely, the prevalence of a somewhat undue desire for food, entailing as it does unpleasant results, brings about such attempts at abstemiousness as must, by constantly curbing it, finally reduce this desire to normal intensity.* And what 80 manifestly happens in these simple cases, will happen in those complex ones above exemplified, where the good and bad results are more nearly balanced. For although it may be impossible in such cases for the intellect to estimate the respective amounts of pleasure and pain consequent on each alternative, yet will experience enable the constitution itself to do this; and will further cause it instinctively to shun that course which produces on the whole most suffering, or, in other words-most sins against the necessities of existence, and to choose that which least sins against them. Turning to those actions which put us in direct relation to other men, it must similarly happen that such of them as give no necessary displeasure to any one, will be persevered in, and the faculties answering to them developed; while actions necessarily displeasing to others, must, by virtue of the disagreeable reactions which they entail, be, in the average of cases, subject to some repression—a repression which must ultimately tell upon the desires they spring from. And now observe that in the course of this process there must continually be produced a different effect upon conduct which is necessarily painful to others, from that produced upon conduct that is incidentally painful only. Conduct
Why the appetite for food should now be greater than is proper, seems at first difficult to understand. On calling to mind, however, the circumstances of the savage, we find an explanation in the fact, that the irregularity in his supplies of food necessitated an ability to eat largely when food was attainable, and necessitated, therefore, corresponding desire. Now that the supplies of food have become regular, and no contingent periods of long fasting have to be provided against, the desire is in excess and has to be abated.
which hurts necessary feelings in others will, as just explained, inevitably undergo restraint and consequent diminution. Conduct which hurts only their incidental feelings, as those of caste, or prejudice, will not inevitably do so; but if it springs from necessary feelings, will be continued at the expense of these incidental feelings, and to the final suppression of them. Thus, the existing confusion of necessary and conventional feelings, necessary and conventional circumstances, and feelings and circumstances that are partly necessary
and partly conventional, will eventually work itself clear.
If, then, the one thing needful to produce ultimate subordination to these secondary limits of right conduct is, that we should have the opportunity of coming in contact withi them—should be allowed freely to expand our natures in all directions, until the available space has been filled and the true bounds have made themselves felt--if a development of these secondary limits into practical codes of duty can only thus be accomplished; then does the supreme authority of our first law—the liberty of each limited alone by the like liberties of all—become still more manifest; seeing that that right to exercise the faculties which it asserts, must precede the unfolding of this supplementary morality.
Nevertheless, it must still be admitted that in cases where these secondary limitations to the exercise of faculties are undoubtedly transgressed, the full assertion of this law of equal freedom betrays us into an apparent dilemma. By drunkenness, or by brutality of manner, our own happiness, or the happiness of others, is diminished ; and that not in an incidental but in a necessary way. And if by affirming a man's liberty to do all that he wills so long as he respects the like liberty of every other, we imply that he is at liberty to get drunk or to behave brutally, then we fall into the inconsistency of affirming that he is at liberty to do something essentially destructive of happiness.
Of this difficulty nothing can be said, save that it seems
due to the impossibility of making the perfect law recognize an imperfect state. As matters stand, however, we must deal with it as best we may. There is clearly no alternative but to declare man's freedom to exercise his faculties. There is clearly no alternative but to declare the several limitations of that freedom needful for the achievement of greatest happiness. And there is clearly no alternative but to develop the first and chief of these limitations separately; seeing that a development of the others is at present impossible. Against thec onsequence of neglecting these secondary limitations, we must guard ourselves as well as we san: supplying the place of scientific deductions by such inferences as observation and experience enable us to make.
Finally, however, there is satisfaction in the thought, that no such imperfection as this can vitiate any 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 liberties of all, being the form which this first essential assumes when applied to many instead of one; it follows that this liberty of each, limited by the like liberties of all, is the rule in conformity with which society must be organized. Freedom being the pre-requisite to normal life in the individual, equal freedom becomes the pre-requisite 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.
SECONDARY DERIVATION OF A FIRST
This first and all-essential law, declaratory of the liberty of each limited only by the like liberties of all, is that fundamental truth of which the moral sense gives an intuition, and which the intellect has to develop into a scientific morality.
Quite independently of any such analytical examination 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 it 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 not in their faculties, but only in their claims to make the best use of their faculties), has not only been asserted by philanthropists like Granville Sharpe, but, as Sir Robert Filmer, a once-renowned champion of absolute monarchy, tells us, “Heyward, Blackwood, Barclay, and others that have bravely vindicated the rights of kings, ... with one consent admitted the natural liberty and equality of mankind.” 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.” Again, we find the declaration of American independence affirming that “all men have equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 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. It shows itself in such expressions as—“How would you
like it?” “I've as good a right as you,” &c. 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.
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 increasing frequency, in laws, books, agitations, revolutions, means nothing. If we analyze them, we shall find all beliefs to be in some way dependent on mental conformation-temporary ones upon temporary characteristics of our nature-permanent ones on 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 harmony with that chief pre-requisite 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