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pens that the surface belongs to one owner, and the soil to another; so that neither owner can stir a clod without the concurrence of his partner in the property. In many manors, the tenant is restrained from granting leases beyond a short term of years, which renders every plan of solid improvement impracticable. In these cases, the owner wants, what the first rule of rational policy requires, “sufficient power over the soil for its perfect cultivation.” This power ought to be extended to him by some easy and general law of enfranchisement, partition, and enclosure; which, though compulsory upon the lord, or the rest of the tenants, whilst it has in view the melioration of the soil, and tenders an equitable compensation for every right that it takes away, is neither more arbitrary, nor more dangerous to the stability of property, than that which is done in the construction of roads, bridges, embankments, navigable canals, and indeed in almost every public work, in which private owners of land are obliged to accept that price for their property which an indifferent jury may award. It may here, however, be proper to observe, that although the enclosure of wastes and pastures be generally beneficial to population, yet the enclosure of lands in tillage, in order to convert them into pastures, is as generally hurtful. But, secondly, Agriculture is discouraged by every constitution of landed property which lets in those, who have no concern in the improvement, to a participation of the profit. This objection is applicable to all such customs of manors as subject the proprietor, upon the death of the lord or tenant, or the alienation of the estate, to a fine apportioned to the improved value of the land. But of all institutions which are in this way adverse to cultivation and improvement, none is so noxious as that of tithes. A claimant here enters into the produce, who contributed no assistance whatever to the production. When years perhaps, of care and toil have matured an improvement; when the husbandman sees new crops ripening to his skill and industry; the moment he is ready to put his sickle to the grain, he finds himself compelled to divide his harvest with a stranger. Tithes are a tax not only upon industry, but upon that industry which feeds mankind; upon that species of exertion which it is the aim of all wise laws to cherish and promote; and to uphold and excite which, composes, as we have seen, the main benefit that the community receives from the whole system of trade, and the success of commerce. And, together with the more general inconveniency that attends the exaction of tithes, there is this additional evil, in the mode at least according to which they are collected at present, that they operate as a bounty upon pasturage. The burden of the tax falls with its chief, if not with its whole weight, upon tillage; that is to say, upon that precise mode of cultivation which, as hath been shown above, it is the business of the state to relieve and remunerate, in preference to every other. No measure of such extensive concern appears to me so practicable, nor any single alteration so beneficial, as the conversion of tithes into corn-rents. This commutation, I am convinced, might be so adjusted, as to secure the titheholder a complete and perpetual equivalent for his interest, and to leave to industry its full operation, and entire reward.
of war, AND of MILITARY ESTABLISHMENTS.
BECAUSE the Christian Scriptures describe wars as what they are—as crimes or judgments, some have been led to believe that it is unlawful for a Christian to bear arms. But it should be remembered, that it may be necessary for individuals to unite their force, and for this end to resign themselves to the direction of a common will; and yet it may be true, that that will is often actuated by criminal motives, and
often determined to destructive purposes. Hence, although the origin of wars be ascribed, in Scripture, to the operation of lawless and malignant passions”; and though war itself be enumerated among the sorest calamities with which a land can be visited, the profession of a soldier is no where forbidden or condemned. When the soldiers demanded of John the Baptist what they should do, he said unto them, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wagest.” In which answer we do not find that, in order to prepare themselves for the reception of the kingdom of God, it was required of soldiers to relinquish their profession, but only that they should be aware of the vices of which that profession was accused. The precept which follows, “Be content with your wages,” supposed them to continue in their situation. It was of a Roman centurion that Christ pronounced that memorable eulogy, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel].” The first Gentile converty who was received into the Christian church, and to whom the Gospel was imparted by the immediate and especial direction of Heaven, held the same station; and in the history of this transaction we discover not the smallest intimation, that Cornelius, upon becoming a Christian, quitted the service of the Roman legion; that his profession was objected to, or his continuance in it considered as in any wise inconsistent with his new character. In applying the principles of morality to the affairs of nations, the difficulty which meets us arises from hence, “that the particular consequence sometimes appears to exceed the value of the general rule.” In this circumstance is founded the only distinction that exists between the case of independent states, and of independent individuals. In the transactions of private persons, no advantage that results from the breach of a general law of justice can compensate to the public for the violation of the law; in the concerns of empire, this may sometimes be doubted. Thus, that the faith of promises ought to be maintained, as far as is lawful, and as far as was intended by the parties, whatever inconveniency either of them may suffer by his fidelity, in the intercourse of private life, is seldom disputed; because it is evident to almost every man who reflects upon the subject, that the common ha piness gains more by the preservation of the rule than it could do by the removal of the inconveniency. But when the adherence to a public treaty would enslave a whole people; would block up seas, rivers, or harbours; depopulate cities; condemn fertile regions to eternal desolation; cut off a country from its sources of provision, or deprive it of those commercial advantages to which its climate, produce, or situation, naturally entitle it: the magnitude of the particular evil induces us to call in question the obligation of the general rule. Moral philosophy furnishes no precise solution to these doubts. She cannot pronounce that any rule of morality is so rigid as to bend to no exceptions; nor, on the other hand, can she comprise these exceptions within any previous description. She confesses that the obligation of every law depends upon its ultimate utility; that this utility having a finite and determinate value, situations may be feigned, and consequently may possibly arise, in which the general tendency is outweighed by the enormity of the particular mischief: but she recalls at the same time to the consideration of the inquirer, the almost inestimable importance, as of other general rules of relative justice, so especially of national and personal fidelity; the unseen, if not unbounded, extent of the mischief which must follow from the want of it; the danger of leaving it to the sufferer to decide upon the comparison of particular and general consequences; and the still greater danger of such decisions being drawn into future precedents. If treaties, for instance, be no longer binding than whilst they are convenient, or until the inconveniency ascend to a certain point (which point must be fixed by the judgment, or rather by the feelings, of the complaining party); or if such an opinion, after being authorized by a few examples, come at length to prevail; one and almost the only method of averting or closing the calamities of war, of either preventing or putting a stop to the destruction of mankind, is lost to the world for ever. We do not say that no evil can exceed this, nor any possible advantage compensate it; but we say that a loss, which affects all, will scarcely be made up to the common stock of human happiness by any benefit that can be procured to a single nation, which, however respectable when compared with any other single nation, bears an inconsiderable proportion to the whole. These, however, are the principles upon which the calculation is to be formed. It is enough, in this place, to remark the cause which produces the hesitation that we sometimes feel, in applying rules of personal probity to the conduct of nations. As between individuals it is found impossible to ascertain every duty by an immediate reference to public utility, not only because such reference is oftentimes too remote for the direction of private consciences, but because a multitude of cases arise in which it is indifferent to the general interest by what rule men act, though it be absolutely necessary that they act by some constant and known rule or other; and as, for these reasons, certain positive constitutions are wont to be established in every society, which, when established, become as obligatory as the original principles of natural justice themselves; so, likewise, it is between independent communities. Together with those maxims of universal equity which are common to states and to individuals, and by which the rights and conduct of the one as well as the other ought to be adjusted, when they fall within the scope and application of such maxims; there exists also.
* James, iv. 1. f Luke, iii. 14. Luke, vii. 9. § Acts, x. 1.