THE
PRINCIPLES
OF
NATURAL
LAW

By J. J. BURLAMAQUI,

[1748]

COUNSELLOR OF STATE, AND LATE PROFESSOR OF NATURAL AND CIVIL LAW AT GENEVA.

VOL. I.

TRANSLATED [IN 1752] INTO ENGLISH BY MR. NUGENT.
FIFTH EDITION, CORRECTED.

CAMBRIDGE,

PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS,
BY W. HILLIARD, AND SOLD AT HIS BOOKSTORE,
AND BY THE BOOKSELLERS IN BOSTON
.

1807.


CONTENTS.

PART I.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF RIGHT.

  Sect.   Page.
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. I. OF the nature of man considered with regard to right; of the understanding, and whatever is relative to this faculty.  
  1. Design of this work; what is meant by natural law. 1
  2. We must deduce the principles of this science from the nature and state of man. 3
  3. Definition of man; what his nature is. 3
  4. Different actions of man; which are the object of right? 3
  5. Principal faculties of the soul. 3
  6. The understanding; truth. 4
  7. Principle. The understanding is naturally right. 4
  8. In what manner perception, attention, and examen, are formed. 5
  9. Evidence; probability. 5
  10. Of the senses, the imagination, and memory. 6
  11. The perfection of the understanding consists in the knowledge of truth. Two obstacles to this perfection, ignorance and error. 6
  12. Different sorts of error. 1. Error of the law, and of the fact. 2. Voluntary and involuntary. 3. Essential and accidental. 7
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. II.   Continuation of the principles relative to the nature of man. Of will and liberty.  
  1. The will. What happiness and good consist in. 9
  2. Instincts, inclinations, passions. 10
  3. Liberty, in what it consists. 11
  4. Use of liberty in our judgment with respect to truth. 12
  5. Liberty has its exercise, even in regard to things, that are evident. Objection. Answer. 13
  6. Use of liberty with regard to good and evil. 14
  7. With regard to indifferent things. 15
  8. Why the exercise of liberty is restrained to non-evident truths, and particular goods. 15
  9. The proof of liberty drawn from our inward sense is superior to any other. 17
  10. How comes it that liberty has been contested. 18
  11. Actions are voluntary and involuntary; free, necessary, and constrained. 19
  12. Our faculties help one another reciprocally. 21
  13. Of reason and virtue. 21
  14. Causes of the diversity we observe in the conduct of men. 22
  15. Reason has it always in her power to remain mistress. 23
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. III.   That man, thus constituted, is a creature capable of moral direction, and accountable for his actions.  
  1. Man is capable of direction in regard to his conduct. 23
  2. He is accountable for his actions; they can be imputed to him. 24
  3. Principle of imputability. We must not confound it with imputation. 24
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. IV.   Further inquiry into what relates to human nature, by considering the different states of man.  
  1. Definition. Division. 24
  2. Primitive and original states. 24
    1. State of man with regard to God. 26
  3. 2. State of society. 26
  4. 3. State of solitude. 4. Peace, war. 27
  5. State of man with regard to the goods of the earth. 28
  6. Adventitious states. 1. Family. 2. Marriage. 28
  7. 3. Weakness of man at his birth. 4. Natural dependance of children on their parents. 29
  8. The state of property. 29
  9. Civil state of government. 29
  10. The civil state and property of goods give rise to several adventitious states. 30
  11. True idea of the natural state of man. 30
  12. Difference between original and adventitious states. 31
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. V.   That man ought to square his conduct by rule; the method of finding out this rule; and the foundation of the right in general.  
  1. Definition of a rule. 31
  2. It is not convenient, that man should live without a rule. 32
  3. A rule supposes an end, an aim. 32
  4. The ultimate end of man is happiness. 33
  5. It is the system of providence. 33
  6. The desire of happiness is essential to man, and inseparable from reason. 33
  7. Selflove is a principle, that has nothing vicious in itself. 34
  8. Man cannot attain to happiness but by the help of reason. 34
  9. Reason is therefore the primitive rule of man. 35
  10. What is right in general? 36
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. VI.   General rules of conduct prescribed by reason. Of the nature and first foundation of obligation.  
  1. Reason gives us several rules of conduct. 37
  2. First rule. To make a right distinction between good and evil. 37
  3. Second rule. True happiness cannot consist in things inconsistent with the nature and state of man. 39
  4. Third rule. To compare the present and future together. 39
    Fourth rule. 40
    Fifth rule. 40
  5. Sixth rule. To give the goods, that excel most, the preference. 40
  6. Seventh rule. In some cases possibility only, and for a much stronger reason probability, ought to determine us. 41
  7. Eighth rule. To have a relish for true goods. 42
  8. Our mind acquiesces naturally in those maxims, and they ought to influence our conduct. 42
  9. Of obligation generally considered. 43
  10. Obligation may be more or less strong. 44
  11. Dr. Clark's opinion on the nature and origin of obligation. 44
  12. Monsieur Barbeyrac's opinion concerning this subject. 45
  13. Two sorts of obligations, internal and external. 46
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. VII.   Of right considered as a faculty, and of the obligation thereto corresponding.  
  1. The word right is taken in several particular senses, which are all derived from the general notion. 47
  2. Definition of right considered as a faculty. 48
  3. We must take care to distinguish between a simple power and right. 48
  4. General foundation of the rights of man. 49
  5. Right produces obligation. 49
  6. Right and obligation are two relative terms. 50
  7. At what time man is susceptible of right and obligation. 50
  8. Several sorts of right and obligations. 51
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. VIII.   Of law in general.  
  1. As man by nature is a dependant being, the law ought to be the rule of his actions. 54
  2. Definition of law. 55
  3. Why law is defined a rule prescribed. 55
  4. What is understood by sovereign, sovereignty, and the right of commanding. 56
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. IX.   Of the foundation of sovereignty, or the right of commanding.  
  1. First remark. The question is in regard to a necessary sovereignty. 57
  2. Second remark. There is neither sovereignty nor necessary dependance between beings perfectly equal. 58
  3. Different opinions on the origin and foundation of sovereignty. 58
  4. Examen of those opinions. 1. The sole superiority of power is insufficient to found a right of commanding. 59
  5. 2. Nor the sole excellence or superiority of nature. 61
  6. 3. Nor the sole quality of Creator. 61
  7. True foundation of sovereignty; power, wisdom, and goodness, joined together. 63
  8. Explication of our opinion. 63
  9. We must not separate the qualities, which form the right of sovereignty. 65
  10. Definition of subjection. Foundation of dependance. 66
  11. The obligation produced by law is the most perfect, that can be imagined. 67
  12. Obligation is internal and external at the same time. 68
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. X.   Of the end of laws; of their character, differences, &c.  
  1. Of the end of laws, either in regard to the subject, or in respect to the sovereign. 69
  2. The end of laws is not to lay a restraint upon liberty, but to direct it in a proper manner. 70
  3. Examen of what Puffendorf says concerning this subject. 70
  4. Of the distinction of law into obligatory, and that of simple permission. 71
  5. The opinion of Grotius and Puffendorf upon this subject. 71
  6. The rights, which men enjoy in society, are founded on this permission. 72
  7. The matter of laws. 72
  8. Internal conditions of a law, that it be possible, useful, and just. 73
  9. External conditions of a law; that it be made known, and accompanied with a sanction. 73
  10. Whether the promise of recompense is equally capable, as the commination of punishment, to constitute the sanction of law. 75
  11. Who those are, whom the law obliges. Of dispensation. 75
  12. Of the duration of laws, and how they are established. 76
  13. How many sorts of laws. 77
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. XI.   Of the morality of human actions.  
  1. In what the morality of actions consists. 78
  2. Actions are, 1. either commanded, or forbidden, or permitted. 78
  3. Remarks on permitted actions. 79
  4. 2. Actions are good or just, bad or unjust, and indifferent. 79
  5. Conditions requisite to render an action morally good. 80
  6. Of the nature of bad or unjust actions. 81
  7. All just actions are equally just; but unjust actions are more or less unjust. 81
  8. Essential character of unjust actions. 82
  9. Of indifferent actions. 82
  10. Division of good and bad actions. 83
  11. Of justice and its different kinds. 83
  12. Of the relative estimations of moral actions. 84
  13. Morality is applicable to persons, as well as actions. 85

PART II

OF THE LAW OF NATURE.

  Sect.   Page.
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. I. IN what the law of nature consists, and that there is such a thing. First considerations drawn from the existence of God and his authority over us.  
  1. Subject of this second part. 87
  2. Whether there are any natural laws. 88
  3. Of the existence of God. 88
  4. First proof. The necessity of a self existent and intelligent being. 88
  5. We must not seek for this being in this material world. 89
  6. Second proof. The necessity of a first mover. 90
  7. Third proof. The structure, order, and beauty of the universe. 91
  8. The world is not the effect of chance. 92
  9. It is not eternal. 92
  10. God has a right to prescribe laws to man. 93
  11. This is a consequence of his power, wisdom, and goodness. 93
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. II. That God, inconsequence of his authority over us, has actually thought proper to prescribe to us laws or rules of conduct.  
  1. God exercises his authority over us, by prescribing laws to us. 95
  2. First proof drawn from the very relations, of which we have been speaking. 96
  3. Second proof drawn from the end, which God proposed to himself with respect to man, and from the necessity of moral laws, to accomplish this end. 96
  4. Confirmation of the preceding proofs. 97
  5. Third proof, drawn from the goodness of God. 98
  6. Fourth proof, drawn from the principles of conduct, which we actually find within ourselves. 100
  7. These principles are obligatory of themselves. 100
  8. They are obligatory by the divine will, and thus become real laws. 100
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. III.   Of the means, by which we discern what is just and unjust, or what is dictated by natural law; namely, 1. moral instinct, and 2. reason.  
  1. First means of discerning moral good and evil, namely, instinct or inward sense. 101
  2. Examples. 102
  3. Whence these sensations proceed. 102
  4. Of what use they are to us. 103
  5. Objection; these sensations are not found in all men. Answer;  
    1. We find some traces of them among the most savage people. 103
  6. 2. We must distinguish between the natural state of man, and that of his depravation. 104
  7. 3. If there be any monsters in the moral order, they are very rare, and no consequence can be drawn from them. 104
  8. Second means of discerning moral good and evil; which is reason. 105
  9. First advantage of reason in respect to instinct; it serves to verify it. 105
  10. Second advantage; it unfolds the principles, and thence infers proper consequences. 106
  11. Third advantage; reason is an universal means, and applicable to all cases. 106
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. IV.   Of the principles, whence reason may deduce the law of nature.  
  1. From whence are we to deduce the principles of the law of nature? 107
  2. Preliminary remarks. What we understand by principles of natural law. 107
  3. Character of these principles. 108
  4. Whether we ought to reduce the whole to one single principle. 109
  5. Man cannot attain to the knowledge of natural laws, but by examining his nature, constitution, and state. 109
  6. Three states of man. 110
  7. Religion; principle of the natural laws, that have God for their object. 110
  8. Consequences of this principle. 111
  9. Self-love; the principle of those natural laws, which concern ourselves. 112
  10. Natural laws derived from this principle. 113
  11. Man is made for society. 114
  12. 1. Society is absolutely necessary for man. 114
  13. 2. Man by his constitution is very fit for society. 116
  14. 3. Our natural inclinations prompt us to look out for society. 116
  15. Sociability. Principles of natural laws relative to other men. 117
  16. Natural laws, which flow from sociability. 117
    1. The public good ought always to be the supreme rule. 117
    2. The spirit of sociability ought to be universal. 117
    3. To observe a natural equality. 117
    4. To preserve a benevolence even towards our enemies. Self-defence is permitted, revenge is not. 119
  17. Particular consequences. 119
  18. These three principles have all the requisite characters. 121
  19. Remarks on Puffendorf's system. 121
  20. The critics have carried their censures too far against him in this respect. 121
  21 Of the connexion between our natural duties. 122
  22. Of the opposition, that sometimes happens between these very duties. 123
  23. Natural law obligatory, and natural law of simple permission. General principle of the law of permission. 124
  24. Two species of natural law; one primitive, the other secondary. 125
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. V.   That natural laws have been sufficiently notified; of their proper characteristics, the obligation they produce, &c.  
  1. God has sufficiently notified the laws of nature to man. 126
  2. Men may assist one another in this respect. 126
  3. The manner, in which the principles of the laws of nature have been established, is a fresh proof of the reality of those laws. 127
  4. Natural laws are the effect of the divine goodness. 127
  5. The laws of nature do not depend on arbitrary institution. 128
  6. Our opinion is not very wide from that of Grotius. 129
  7. The effect of the laws of nature is an obligation of conforming our conduct to them. 129
  8. Natural laws are obligatory in respect to all men. 130
  9. Grotius's opinion with regard to divine, positive, and universal law. 130
  10. Natural laws are immutable, and admit of no dispensation. 132
  11. Of the eternity of natural laws. 132
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. VI.   Of the laws of nations.  
  1. How civil societies are formed. 134
  2. The civil state does not destroy, but improve the state of nature. 134
  3. True ideas of civil society. 135
  4. States are considered under the notion of moral persons. 135
  5. What is the law of nations. 135
  6. Certainty of this law. 136
  7. General principle of the law of nations; what polity consists in. 136
  8. Inquiry into Grotius's opinion concerning the law of nations. 137
  9. Two sorts of law of nations; one of necessity and obligatory by itself; the other arbitrary and conventional. 138
  10. Use of the foregoing remarks. 139
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. VII.   Whether there is any morality of action, any obligation or duty, antecedent to the law of nature, and independent of the idea of a legislator.  
  1. Different opinions of ethic writers with respect to the first principle of morality. 140
  2. Principles relating to this question. 141
  3. Three rules of human actions. 1. Moral sense. 2. Reason. 3. The divine will. 142
  4. These three principles ought to be united. 143
  5. Of the primitive cause of obligation. 143
  6. All rules are of themselves obligatory. 143
  7. Obligation may be more or less strong. 144
  8. Reason alone is sufficient to impose some obligation on man. 145
  9. Objection. Nobody can oblige himself. 146
  10. Answer. 146
  11. A fresh objection. 147
  12. Duty may be taken in a loose or strict sense. 148
  13. Result of what has been hitherto said. 149
  14. This manner of establishing morality does not weaken the system of natural law. 150
  15. Grotius's opinion examined. 151
  16. In order to have a perfect system of morality, we should join it with religion. 151
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. VIII.   Consequences of the preceding chapter; reflections on the distinctions of justice, honesty, and utility.  
  1. There is a great deal of ambiguity and mistake concerning this subject. 152
  2. Of justice, honesty, utility, order, and fitness. 152
  3. Justice, honesty, and utility, are distinct things, and must not be confounded. 153
  4. But though they are distinct, yet they are naturally connected. 153
  5. Whether an action is just, because God commands it? 154
  6. In what the beauty of virtue and the perfection of man consist. 155
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. IX.   Of the application of natural laws to human actions; and first of conscience.  
  1. What is meant by applying the laws to human actions. 156
  2. What is conscience. 156
  3. Conscience supposes a knowledge of the law. 157
  4. First rule. 157
  5. Second and third rules. 158
  6. Antecedent and subsequent conscience. Fourth rule. 159
  7. Subsequent conscience is either quiet, or uneasy. 160
  8. Decisive and dubious conscience. Fifth, sixth, and seventh rules. 161
  9. Scrupulous conscience. Eighth rule. 162
  10. Right and erroneous conscience. Ninth rule. 162
  11. Demonstrative and probable conscience. Tenth rule. 163
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. X.   Of the writ and demerit of human actions; and of their imputation relative to the laws of nature.  
  1. Distinction of imputability and imputation. Of the nature of a moral cause. 165
  2. Of the imputation. It supposes a knowledge of the law, as well as of the fact. 165
  3. Examples. 166
  4. Principles. 1. We ought to infer actual imputation from imputability only. 167
  5. 2. Imputation supposes some connexion between the action and its consequences. 167
  6. 3. Foundation of merit and demerit. 168
  7. In what merit and demerit consist. 169
  8. 4. Merit and demerit have their degrees; and so has imputation. 169
  9. 5. Imputation is either simple or efficacious. 170
  10. 6. Effects of one and the other. 170
  11. 7. If all those, who are concerned, do not impute an action, it is supposed not to have been committed. 171
  12. 8. Difference between the imputation of good and bad actions. 171
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. XI.   Application of those principles to different species of actions, in order to judge in what manner they ought to be imputed.  
  1. What actions are actually imputed? 172
  2. Actions of such, as have not the use of reason. 172
  3. Of what is done in drunkenness. 172
    2. Of things impossible. Of the want of opportunity. 172
    3. Of natural qualities. 173
  4. Of events produced by external causes. 173
  5. Of what is done through ignorance or error. 173
  6. Of the effect of temperament, habits, or passions. 174
  7. Of forced actions. 174
  8. Forced actions are in themselves either good, bad, or indifferent. 175
  9. Why a bad action, though forced, may be imputed. 177
  10. Puffendorf's opinion. 178
  11. Of actions, in which more persons than one are concerned. 179
  12. Three sorts of moral causes; principal, subaltern, and collateral. 180
  13. Application of these distinctions. 183
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. XII.   Of the authority and sanction of natural laws; and 1. of the good and evil, that naturally and generally follow from virtue and vice.  
  1. What is meant by the authority of natural laws. 184
  2. The observance of natural laws forms the happiness of man and society. 185
  3. Explications on the state of the question. 185
  4. Proof of the abovementioned truth, by reason. 186
  5. Proofs by experience. 1. Virtue is of itself the principle of inward satisfaction; and vice a principle of disquiet and trouble. 186
  6. Of external goods and evils, which are the consequence of virtue and vice. 187
  7. These different effects of virtue and vice are still greater among those, who are invested with power and authority. 188
  8. Confirmation of this truth by the confession of all nations. 188
  9. Confirmation of the same truth by the absurdity of the contrary. 189
  10. Answer to some particular objections. 189
  11. The advantage always ranges itself on the side of virtue; and this is the first sanction of the laws of nature. 190
  12. General difficulty drawn from the exceptions, which render this first sanction insufficient. 190
    The goods and evils of nature and fortune are distributed unequally, and not according to each person's merit. 190
    The evils produced by injustice fall as well upon the innocent as the guilty. 192
    Sometimes even virtue itself is the cause of persecution. 192
  13. The means, which human prudence employs to remedy those disorders, are likewise insufficient. 192
  14. The difficulty proposed is of great consequence. 194
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. XIII.   Proof of the immortality of the soul. That there is a sanction properly so called in respect to natural laws.  
  1. State of the question. 194
  2. Divisions of opinions. How it is possible to know the will of God in respect to this point. 195
  3. Whether the soul is immortal? 195
  4. First proof. The nature of the soul seems intirely distinct from that of the body. 195
  5. Death does not therefore necessarily imply the annihilation of the soul. 196
  6. Objection. Answer. 197
  7. Confirmation of the preceding truth. Nothing in nature is annihilated. 197
  8. Second proof. The excellency of the soul. 198
  9. Confirmations. Our faculties are always susceptible of a greater degree of perfection. 198
  10. Objection. Answer. 199
  11. Third proof, drawn from our natural dispositions and desires. 199
  12. The sanction of natural laws will show itself in a future life. 201
  13. First proof, drawn from the nature of man considered on the moral side. 201
  14. Second proof, drawn from the perfections of God. 202
  15. The objection drawn from the present stage of things serves to prove the sentiment it opposes. 205
  16. The belief of a future state has been received by all nations. 205
HTML Version or Menu Text Version CHAP. XIV.   That the proofs we ham alleged have such a probability and fitness, at render them sufficient to fix our belief, and to determine our conduct.  
  1. The proofs we have given of the sanction of natural laws are sufficient. 206
  2. Objection. These proofs contain no more than a probability of fitness. General answer. 206
  3. What is meant by a probability of fitness. 207
  4. General foundation of this manner of reasoning. 207
  5. This kind of fitness is very strong in respect to natural law. 208
  6. This fitness has different degrees. Principles to judge of it. 208
  7. Application of these principles to our subject. 209
  8. Comparison of the two opposite systems. 209
  9. The system of the sanction of natural laws is far preferable to the opposite system. 210
  10. Objection. Answer. 211
  11. Of the influence, which those proofs ought to have over our conduct. 211
  12. It is a necessary consequence of our nature and state. 212
  13. Reason lays us under an obligation of so doing. 213
  14. It is a duty, which God himself imposes on us. 213
  15. Conclusion. 214
  16. That, which is already probable by reason only, is set in full evidence by revelation. 214

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