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It is as singular, as it is unaccountable, that some of the illuminating philosophers of the present day should, even under the British conftitution, claim and insist upon the actual exercise of these natural Rights of Man, when it is notorious, even to demonstration, Tlie exerciss that the exercise of them would be essentially rights importa destructive of all political and civil liberty, of fuciciy. could they be really brought into action. For it is self-evident, that the perfect equalia zation of mankind, such as is attributable to this imaginary and merely speculative state of natural freedom, would prevent every individual from acquiring an exclusive right or property in any portion of this terraqueous globe, or in any other particle of matter, beyond that of his own corporeal frame. Liberty presupposes the possibility of acquiring and reaping the adyantages of property ; a right of receiving and giving aid and protection; and a power of bettering one's own condition, and providing for one's family: it presupposes virtue, in holding out its rewards ; and the rewards of virtue neceffarily induce distinction and preference of the virtuous over others, which are essentially contradictory to perfect equalization. The extent of this proposition, men are all born equally free, must include each individual human being, or ic
fays nothing; but it admits of no other, than that original sense of equality inherent in the metaphysical effence of man, which is not applicable to the physical existence of social man, since it is essentially incompatible with the existence of society, which denoininates man social. In this sense, Mr. Payne says truly, * “ Every history of the creation, and every traditionary account, whether from the lettered or unlettered world, however they may vary in their opinion or belief of certain particulars, all agree in establishing one point
- the unity of man; by which I mean, that man is all of one degree, and consequently, that all men are born equal, and with equal natural rights, in the same manner as if pofterity had been continued by creation instead of generation, the latter being only the mode, by which the former is carried forward; and consequently, every child born into the world must be considered as deriving its existence from God. The world is as new to him, as it was to the first man, that existed, and his natural right in it is of the same kind.”
The admission of these principles into the state of civil society would prevent the very posibility of those social virtues, out of which
* Payne's Rights of Man, p. 46.
arises the moral and political harmony of the
ples of govern-
* I have been informed by several German misioners, who had spent many years in the inland parts of California
, that, contrary to their own opinions and expectations
, and contrary to the generally received notion, that every man has fome idea of a deity, they could not dif
that our practical ideas of the civilized state of society will be generally drawn from the
practical knowledge, we have of different An Englishman focieties. Under this influence, an Englishconceives no liberty where man will conceive no liberty, where there is fliere is no law, no property, nó no law, no property, no religion. The prereligion,
servation of these constitutes the sum total of those rights and liberties, for which he will even facrifice his life. Upon what ground then, hall an Englishman, even in theory, admit principles into civil government, which would justify the peasant in seizing the lands of his lord, the servant in demanding the property of his master, the labourer that of his employer, the robber in purloining his neighbour's purse, the adulterer in defiling the wife of another, the outlawed in reviling, contemning, and violating the laws of the
community. Mischiefs ari.
The greatest mischiefs arise from the mise fing from the misunderstand understanding and misapplication of terms. plication of ge- Millions of lives have been facrificed in difneral propoficious.
putes and controversies upon the tenor and tendency of words. General abstract propoGitions are supereminently liable to this fatal evil, as I hall hereafter have occasion to
cover the moft remote or faint trace of any public or private cult or worship amongst the natives of this extensive country.
naftoral and na.
fhew, in many calamitous instances of our own country. The use of words and terms can only be, to convey to others the real meaning and purport of what we think ourselves. Thus if I happen, by an unufual and awkward combination of words and phrases, to express my meaning and sentiments upon a subject to a third person, provided I am really understood, and my sentiments are admitted, I do not see upon what other ground, than that of grammar or syntax, a dispute can be instituted. And in the subject under our The present present consideration, if any other terms had from the words, been used to express the natural Rights of tre, bring misMan, or the state of nature, the whole animo- milappien. sity of the adverse disputants would have subsided, under the conviction that neither differed in opinion substantially from the other. I have read over most of the late publications upon the subject; and I do not find one of any note or consequence, that does not in fact and substance admit this state of nature, to which they annex or attribute these indefeasible Rights of Man, to be a mere imaginary state of speculation. Much ill blood would have been avoided, much labour and pain have been spared, and many lives have been preserved, if any other, than