Elisha Williams
(1744)

The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants:
A Seasonable Plea for the Liberty of Conscience, and the Right of Private Judgment, In Matters of Religion, Without any Control from Human Authority

This excerpt on the right of property is a link between the ideas of Locke and Adam Smith.
Reason teaches us that all Men are naturally equal in Respect of Jurisdicton or Dominion one over another... And Reason tells us, all are born thus naturally equal, i.e., with an equal right to their persons; so also with and equal right to their preservation; and therefore to such things as Nature affords for their subsistence... And every man having a property in his own person, the labor of his body and the work of his hands are properly his own, to which no one has a right but himself; it will therefore follow that when he removes any Thing out of the State that Nature has provided and left it in, he has mixed his labor with it and joined something to it that is his own, and thereby makes it his property... Thus every Man having a natural Right to (or being the Proprietor of) his own Person and his own actions and labor and to what he can honestly acquire by his labor, which we call Property; it certainly follows, that no Man can have a Right to the Person or Property of another: And if every man has the right to his Person and Property; he has also a Right to defend them, and a Right to all the necessary means of Defense, and so has a Right of punishing all Insults upon his Person and Property...


Popular Pages

More Info