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perhaps, by which each man finds himself more convinced than by all others put together. I seem, for my own part, to see the benevolence of the Deity more clearly in the pleasures of very young children than in any thing in the world.
11 The pleasure of grown persons may be reckoned partly of their own procuring; especially if there has been any industry, or contrivance, or pursuit, to come at them; or if they are founded, like music, painting, &c. upon any qualification of their own acquiring.
12 But the pleasures of a healthy infant are so manifestly provided for it by another, and the benevolence of the provision is so unquestionable, that every child I see at its sport affords to my mind a kind of sensible evidence of the finger of God, and of the disposition which directs it.
13 But the example which strikes each man most strongly is, the true example for him; and hardly two minds hit upon the same;
which shows the abundance of such examples about us
14 We conclude, therefore, that God wills and wishes the happiness of his creatures. And this conclusion being once established, we are at liberty to go on with the rule built upon it, namely, “that the method of coming at the will of God, concerning any action by the light of nature, is to inquire into the tendency of that action to promote or diminish the general happiness.”
SECTION V. Promises; contracts of sale; concerning the lending of
money; of labor. 1 From whence the obligation to perform promises arises. They who argue from innate, moral principles, suppose a sense of the obligation of promises to be one of them; but, without assuming this, or any thing else, without proof, the obligation to perform promises may be deduced from the necessity of such a conduct to the well-being, or the existence indeed, of human society.
2 Men act from expectation. Expectation is, in most cases, determined by the assurances and engagements which we receive from others. If no dependence could be placed upon these assurances, it would be impossible to know what judgment to form of many future events, or how to regulate our conduct with respect to them.
3 Confidence, therefore, in promises, is essential to the intercourse of human life; because, without it, the greatest part of our conduct would proceed upon chance. But there could be no confidence in promises, if men were not obliged to perform them: the obligation, therefore, to perform promises, is essential to the same end and in the same degree.
4 The rule of justice which wants most to be inculcated in the making of bargains, is, that the seller is bound in conscience to disclose the faults of what he offers for sale.
5 To this of concealing the faults of what we want to put off, may be referred the practice of passing bad money. This practice we sometimes hear defended by a vulgar excuse, that we have taken the money for good, and therefore must get rid of it. Which excuse is much the same as if one, who had been robbed upon the highway, should allege he had a right to reimburse himself out of the pocket of the first traveller he met; the justice of which reasoning the traveller possibly may not comprehend.
6. Whoever borrows money is bound in conscience to repay it. This every man can see; but every man cannot see, or does not, however, reflect, that he is, in consequence, also bound to use the means necessary to enable himself to repay it. 7 “If he
when he has it, or has it to spare, he does all that an honest man can do,” and all he imagines that is required of him, whilst the previous measures which are necessary to furnish him with the money, he makes no part of his care, nor observes to be as much his duty as the other;
8 Such as selling a family seat, or a family. estate, contracting his plan of expense, laying down his equipage, reducing the number of his servants, or any of those humiliating sacrifices, which justice requires of a man in debt, the moment he perceives that he has no reasonable prospect of paying his debts without them.
9 An expectation which depends upon the continuance of his own life, will not satisfy an honest man if a better provision be in his power : for it is a breach of faith to subject a creditor, when we can help it, to the risk of our life, be the event what it will; that not being the security to which credit was given.
10 Service in this country (England) is, as it ought to be, voluntary, and by contract; and the master's authority extends no farther than the terms or equitable construction of the contract will justify.
11 A servant is not bound to obey the unlawful commands of his master; to minister, for instance, to his unlawful pleasures, or to assist him by unlawful practices in his
profession; as in smuggling or adulterating the articles in which he deals. For the servant is, bound by nothing but his own promise; and the obligation of a promise, extends not to things unlawful.
12 For the same reason, the master's authority is no justifi. cation of the servant in doing wrong; for the servant's own promise, upon which that authority is founded, would be none.
13 Clerks and apprentices ought to be employed entirely in the profession or trade which they are intended to learn. Instruction is their hire, and to deprive them of the opportunities of instruction, by taking up their time with occupations foreign to their business, is to defraud them of their wages.
14 A master of a family is culpable, if he permit any vices among his domestics, which he might restrain by due discipline and a proper interference. This results from the general obligation to prevent misery when in our power; and the assurance which we have, that vice and misery, at the long run, go together.
SECTION VI. Lies; revenge; duelling; slander. 1 A lie is a breach of promise ; for whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another, tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows that the truth is expected.
2 Or the obligation of veracity may be made out from the direct ill consequences of lying to social happiness. Which consequences consist, either in some specific injury to particular individuals, or in the destruction of that confidence, which is essential to the intercourse of human life: for which latter reason, a lie may be pernicious in its general tendency, and therefore criminal, though it produce no particular or visible mischief to any one.
3 All pain occasioned to another in consequence of an offence, or injury received from him, farther than what is calculated to procure reparation, or promote the just ends of punishment, is so much revenge. It is highly probable, from the light of nature, that a passion, which seeks its gratification immediately and expressly in giving pain, is disagreeable to the benevolent will and counsels of the Creator.
4 The feuds and animosities in families and between neighbors, which disturb the intercourse of human life, and collectively compose half the misery of it, have their foundation in the want of a forgiving temper; and can never cease, but by the exercise of this virtue, on one side or both.
5 Duelling, as a punishment, is absurd, because it is an equal chance, whether the punishment fall upon the offender or the person offended. Nor is it much better as a reparations it being difficult to explain in what the satisfaction consists, or how it tends to undo the injury, or to afford a compensation for the damage already sustained.
6 For the army, where the point of honor is cultivated with exquisite attention and refinement, I would establish a court of honor, with a power of awarding those submissions and acknowledgments, which it is generally the purpose of a challenge to obtain; and it might grow into fashion, with persons of rank of all professions, to refer their quarrels to the same tribunal.
7 Malicious slander, is the relating of either truth or falsehood for the purpose of creating misery. I acknowledge that the truth or falsehood of what is related varies the degree of
guilt considerably: and that slander, in the ordinary accepta• tion of the term, signifies the circulation of mischievous false
hood ; but truth may be made instrumental to the success of malicious designs as well as falsehood; and if the end be bad, the means cannot be innocent. Information communicated for the real purpose of warning or cautioning, is not slander.
SECTION VII. Of the duty of parents. Education. 1 Education, in the most extensive sense of the word, may comprehend every preparation that is made in our youth for the sequel of our lives; and in this sense I use it.
2 Some such preparation is necessary for children of all conditions, because, without it, they must be miserable, and probably will be vicious, when they grow up, either from want of means of subsistence, or from want of rational and inoffensive occupation. In civilized life, every thing is effected by art and skill.
3 Whence a person who is provided with neither (and neither can be acquired without exercise and instructions) will be useless; and he that is useless, will generally be at the same time mischievous to the community. So that to send an uneducated child into the world is injurious to the rest of mankind.
4 In the inferior classes of community, this principle condemns the neglect of parents, who do not inure their chil. dren by times to labor and restraint, by providing them with apprenticeships, services, or other regular employment,
but who suffer them to waste their youth in idleness and va. grancy, or to betake themselves to some lazy, trifling, and precarious calling ; for the consequence of having thus tasted the sweets of natural liberty, at an age when their passion and relish for it are at the highest, is, that they become incapable for the remainder of their lives of continued industry, or of persevering attention to any thing; spend their time in a miserable struggle between the importunity of want, and the irksomeness of regular application; and are prepared to embrace every expedient, which presents a hope of supplying their necessities without confining them to the plow, the loom, the shop, or the counting house.
5 A man of fortune who permits his son to consume the season of education, in hunting, shooting, or in frequenting horse races, assemblies, or other unedifying, if not vicious diversions, defrauds the community of a benefactor, and bequeaths them a nuisance.
6 The health and virtue of a child's future life are considerations so superior to all others, that whatever is likely to have the smallest influence upon these, deserves the parent's first attention. In respect of health, agriculture, and all active, rural, and out-of-door employments, are to be preferred to manufactures and sedentary occupations.
7 In respect of virtue, a course of dealings in which the advantage is mutual, in which the profit on one side is connected with the benefit of the other (which is the case in trade, and all serviceable art or labor,) is more favorable to the moral character, than callings in which one man's gain is another's loss, in which, what you acquire, is acquired without equivalent, and parted with in distress. For security, manual arts exceed merchandise, and such as supply the wants of mankind are better than those which minister to their pleasure.