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and compounded from them all, I proceed to observe, that, as the power of making laws constitutes the supreme authority, so wherever the supreme authority in any state resides, it is the right of that authority to make laws; that is, in the words of our definition, to prescribe the rule of civil action. And this may be discovered from the very end and institution of civil states. For a state is a collective body, composed of a multitude of individuals, united for their safety and convenience, and intending to act together as one man. If it therefore is to act as one man, it ought to act by one uniform will. But, inasmuch as political communities are made up of many natural persons, each of whom has his particular will and inclination, these several wills cannot by any natural union be joined together, or tempered and disposed into a lasting harmony, so as to constitute and produce that one uniform will of the whole. It can therefore be no otherwise produced than by a political union; by the consent of all persons to submit their own private wills to the will of one man, or of one or more assemblies of men, to whom the supreme authority is entrusted: and this will of that one man, or assemblage of men, is in different states, according to their different constitutions, understood to be law.

Thus far as to the right of the supreme power to make laws; but farther, it is its duty likewise. For since the respective members are bound to conform themselves [53] to the will of the state, it is expedient that they receive directions from the state declaratory of that its will. But, as it is impossible, in so great a multitude, to give injunctions to every particular man, relative to each particular action, it is therefore incumbent on the state to establish general rules, for the perpetual information and direction of all persons in all points, whether of positive or negative duty. And this, in order that every man may know what to look upon as his own, what as another's; what absolute and what relative duties are required at his hands; what is to be esteemed honest,


dishonest, or indifferent; what degree every man retains of his natural liberty; what he has given up as the price of the benefits of society; and after what manner each person is to moderate the use and exercise of those rights which the state assigns him, in order to promote and secure the public tranquillity.

From what has been advanced, the truth of the former branch of our definition, is (I trust) sufficiently evident; that « municipal law is a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the su"preme power in a state.I proceed now to the latter branch of it; that it is a rule so prescribed, “ commanding what is « right, and prohibiting what is wrong."

Now, in order to do this completely, it is first of all necessary that the boundaries of right and wrong be established and ascertained by law. And when this is once done, it will follow of course that it is likewise the business of the law, considered as a rule of civil conduct, to enforce these rights and to restrain or redress these wrongs. It remains, therefore, only to consider in what manner the law is said to ascertain the boundaries of right and wrong; and the methods which it takes to command the one and prohibit the other.

For this purpose every law may be said to consist of several parts: one, declaratory; whereby the rights to be observed,

and the wrongs to be eschewed, are clearly defined [54] and laid down : another, directory; whereby the sub

ject is instructed and enjoined to observe those rights, and to abstain from the commission of those wrongs: a third, remedial ; whereby a method is pointed out to recover a man's private rights, or redress his private wrongs: to which may be added a fourth, usually termed the sanction, or vindicatory branch of the law; whereby it is signified what evil or penalty shall be incurred by such as commit any public wrongs, and transgress or neglect their duty.

With regard to the first of these the declaratory part of the municipal law, this depends not so much upon the law

of revelation or of nature, as upon the wisdom and will of the legislator. This doctrine, which before was slightly touched, deserves a more particular explication. Those rights then which God and nature have established, and are therefore caled natural rights, such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture. Neither do divine or natural du. ties (such as, for instance, the worship of God, the maintenance of children, and the like) receive any stronger sanction from being, also declared to be duties by the law of the land. The case is the same as to crimes and misdemesnors, that are forbidden by the superior laws, and therefore styled mala in se, such as murder, theft, and perjury; which contract no additional turpitude from being declared unlawful by the inferior legislature. For that legislature in all these cases acts only, as was before observed, in subordination to the great lawgiver, transcribing and publishing his precepts. So that, upon the whole, the declaratory part of the municipal law has no force or operation at all, with regard to actions that are naturally and intrinsically right or wrong.

But, with regard to things in themselves indifferent, [55] the case is entirely altered. These become either right or wrong, just or unjust, duties or misdemesnors, according as the municipal legislator sees proper, for promoting the welfare of the society, and more effectually carrying on the pur. poses of civil life. Thus our own common law has declared, that the goods of the wife do instantly upon marriage become the property and right of the husband; and our statute law has declared all monopolies a public offence: yet that right, and this offence, have no foundation in nature; but are merely created by the law, for the purposes of civil society. And sometimes, where the thing itself has its rise from the law of nature, the particular circumstances and mode of doing it become right or wrong, as the laws of the land shall direct. Thus, for instance, in civil duties; obedience to superiors is the doctrine of revealed as well as natural religion : but who those superiors shall be, and in what circumstances, or to what degrees they shall be obeyed, it is the province of human laws to determine. And so, as to injuries or crimes, it must be left to our own legislature to decide, in what cases the seising another's cattle shall amount to a trespass or a theft; and where it shall be a justifiable action, as when a landlord takes them by way of distress for rent.

Thus much for the declaratory part of the municipal law : and the directory stands much upon the same footing ; for this virtually includes the former, the declaration being usually collected from the direction. The law that says, “ thou shalt not steal,” implies a declaration that stealing is a crime. And we have seen i that, in things naturally indifferent, the very essence of right and wrong depends upon the direction of the laws to do or to omit them. The remedial part of the law is so necessary a consequence

of the former two, that laws must be very vague and [56] imperfect without it. For in vain would rights be de

clared, in vain directed to be observed, if there were no method of recovering and asserting those rights, when wrong. fully withheld or invaded. This is what we mean properly, when we speak of the protection of the law. When, for instance, the declaratory part of the law has said, “ that the field « or inheritance, which belonged to Titius's father, is vested by « his death in Titius;" and the directory part has “ forbidden “ any one to enter on another's property, without the leave of “ the owner:" if Gaius after this will presume to take possession of the land, the remedial part of the law will then interpose its office; will make Gaius restore the possession to Titius, and also pay him damages for the invasion.

i See page 43.

With regard to the sanction of laws, or the evil that may attend the breach of public duties; it is observed, that human legislators have for the most part chosen to make the sanction of their laws rather vindicatory than remuneratory, or to consist rather in punishments, than in actual particular rewards. Because, in the first place, the quiet enjoyment and protection of all our civil rights and liberties, which are the sure and general consequence of obedience to the municipal law, are in themselves the best and most valuable of all rewards. Because also, were the exercise of every virtue to be enforced by the proposal of particular rewards, it were impossible for any state to furnish stock enough for so profuse a bounty. And farther, because the dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of goodk. For which reasons, though a prudent bestowing of rewards is sometimes of exquisite use, yet we find that those civil laws, which enforce and enjoin our duty, do seldom, if ever, propose any privilege or gift to such as obey the law; but do constantly come armed with a penalty denounced against transgressors, either expressly defining the nature and quantity of the punishment, or else leaving it to the discretion of the judges, and those who are entrusted with the care of putting the laws in execution.

Of all the parts of a law the most effectual is the [57] vindicatory. For it is but lost labour to say, “ do this, “ or avoid that,” unless we also declare, “this shall be the “ consequence of your non-compliance.” We must thercfore observe that the main strength and force of a law consists in the penalty annexed to it. Herein is to be found the principal obligation of human laws.

LEGISLATORS and their laws are said to compel and oblige; not that by any natural violence they so constrain a man, as to render it impossible for him to act otherwise than as they direct, which is the strict sense of obligation : but because, by declaring and exhibiting a penalty against offenders, they

I Locke, Hum. Und. b. 2. c. 21.

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