Sec 10-12: Allegiance, National Laws, Chastity

SEC. 10: THE OBJECTS OF ALLEGIANCE

 

  • Sometimes it may be justifiable in sound politics and morality, to resist supreme power.
    • But in the ordinarily, nothing can be more pernicious and criminal.
  • Such revolutions always cause:
    • convulsions
    • the subversion of all government
    • a universal anarchy and confusion among mankind.
  • Big and civilized societies cannot subsist without government.
    • Government is entirely useless without an exact obedience.
  • We should always weigh the advantages we reap from authority against the disadvantages.
    • Through this, we shall become more scrupulous of practicing the doctrine of resistance.
  • The common rule requires submission.
    • The exception can only happen in cases of grievous tyranny and oppression.

 

  • A blind submission is commonly due to magistracy.
    • Who should our lawful magistrates be?
    • To answer this, let us recollect what we have already established on the origin of government and political society.
  • Men experience the impossibility of preserving any order in society while everyone:
    • is his own master
    • violates the laws of society or
    • observes those laws according to his present interest or pleasure.
  • Men naturally invent government.
    • Government puts men out of their own power to transgress the laws of society, as far as possible.
  • Government, therefore, arises from the same voluntary conversation of men.
    • The same convention which establishes government will:
      • also determine the persons who are to govern
      • remove all doubt and ambiguity in this particular.
    • The voluntary consent of men must here have the greater efficacy.
  • The authority of the magistrate at first stands on the foundation of a promise of the subjects.
    • This promise binds themselves to obedience, as in every other contract or engagement.
  • Therefore, the same promise which binds them to obedience:
    • ties them down to a particular person
    • makes him the object of their allegiance.

 

  • But the case is entirely altered after:
    • government has been established on this footing for some time
    • the separate interest, which we have in submission, has produced a separate sentiment of morality.
  • A promise is no longer able to determine the particular magistrate.
    • Since it is no longer considered as the foundation of government.
  • We naturally suppose ourselves born to submission.
    • We imagine that such persons have a right to command, as we are bound to obey.
  • These notions of right and obligation are derived from nothing but the advantage we reap from government.
    • This gives us a repugnance to practise resistance ourselves.
    • This makes us displeased with any resistance in others.
  • The original sanction of government is interest.
    • But in this new state of affairs, it is remarkable that interest is not admitted to determine the persons we are to obey, as the original sanction did at first, when affairs were on the footing of a promise.
      • A promise fixes and determines the persons, without any uncertainty.
  • If men were to regulate their conduct by the view of a public or private interest, they would:
    • involve themselves in endless confusion
    • render all government ineffective.
  • Everyone’s private interest is different.
    • The public interest in itself is always one and the same.
    • But it becomes the source of great dissentions, because of the different opinions of persons.
  • Therefore, the same interest which causes us to submit to magistracy:
    • makes us renounce itself in the choice of our magistrates
    • binds us down to:
      • a form of government
      • particular persons
        • without allowing us to aspire to the perfection in either.
  • The case is here the same as in that law of nature on the stability of possession.
    • It is highly advantageous and even absolutely necessary to society for possession to be stable.
    • This leads us to the establishment of such a rule.
  • But if we follow the same advantage in assigning particular possessions to particular persons, we would perpetuate the confusion which that rule intends to prevent.
    • We must, therefore:
      • proceed by general rules
      • regulate ourselves by general interests in modifying the law of nature on the stability of possession.
  • We do not need to fear that our attachment to this law will reduce on account of the seeming frivolousness of those interests which determine it.
  • The impulse of the mind is derived from a very strong interest.
    • Those other more minute interests serve only to direct the motion, without:
      • adding anything to it, or
      • reducing from it.
    • It is the same case with government.
  • Nothing is more advantageous to society than a government.
    • This interest is sufficient to make us embrace it with ardour and alacrity.
    • Though we are obliged afterwards to:
      • regulate and direct our devotion to government by several considerations which are not of the same importance
      • choose our magistrates without having in view any particular advantage from the choice.

 

  • I shall first notice the principle which gives authority to the most established governments: long possession in any one form of government, or succession of princes.
    • Almost all origins of every nation are founded on kings or forms of commonwealth founded on usurpation and rebellion.
      • Their titles were not at first worse than doubtful and uncertain.
    • Time alone gives solidity to their right.
      • It operates gradually on the minds of men.
      • It reconciles them to any authority and makes it seem just and reasonable.
  • Custom causes any sentiment to have a greater influence on us.
    • It turns our imagination more strongly to any object.
  • When we have been long accustomed to obey any set of men, we have a general tendency to suppose a moral obligation attending loyalty.
    • This tendency takes us easily this direction and chooses that set of men for its objects.
    • It is interest which gives the general instinct.
    • But it is custom which gives the particular direction.

 

  • The same length of time has a different influence on our sentiments of morality, according to its different influence on the mind.
  • We naturally judge of everything by comparison.
    • We embrace a long span of time in considering the fate of kingdoms and republics.
    • In this case, a small span does not have a like influence on our sentiments, as when we consider any other object.
  • One thinks he acquires a right to a horse or a suit of clothes, in a very short time.
    • But a century is insufficient to:
      • establish any new government, or
      • remove all scruples in the subjects’ minds on it.
  • A shorter period of time will give a prince a title to any additional power he may usurp, than will serve to fix his right if it were usurped.
  • The French kings did not have absolute power for above two reigns.
    • Yet nothing will appear more extravagant to the French than to talk of their liberties.
  • This phenomenon is accounted for by what I have said on accession.

 

  • When there is no form of government established by long possession, the present possession:
    • is sufficient to supply its place
    • may be regarded as the second source of all public authority.
  • Right to authority is nothing but the constant possession of authority.
    • It is maintained by the laws of society and the interests of mankind.
    • Nothing can be more natural than to join this constant possession to the present one, according to the above-mentioned principles.
  • If the same principles did not take place with regard to the property of private persons, it was because these principles were counter-balanced by very strong interests.
    • In such cases, interest prevent all restitution and authorized every violence.
  • The same motives may seem to have force with regard to public authority.
    • Yet they are opposed by a contrary interest which consists in:
      • the preservation of peace
      • the avoiding of all changes which are unavoidably attended with bloodshed and confusion in the public affairs, but may be easily produced in private affairs.

 

  • Anyone who finds the impossibility of accounting for the right of the present possessor by any system of ethics, would absolutely deny that right.
    • He would:
      • assert that it is not authorized by morality.
      • be justly thought to:
        • maintain a very extravagant paradox
        • shock mankind’s common sense and judgment.
  • No maxim is more conformable to prudence and morals, than to submit quietly to the government established in the country we happen to live, without inquiring too curiously into its origin and first establishment.
    • Few governments will be examined so rigorously.
  • How many kingdoms are there at present in the world?
    • How many more do we find in history, whose governors have no better foundation for their authority than that of present possession?
  • If we confine ourselves to the Roman and Greek empires, is it not evident that the long succession of emperors, from the dissolution of the Roman liberty to that empire’s extinction by the Turks, could not so much as pretend to any other title to the empire?
    • The election of the senate was a mere form.
    • It always followed the choice of the legions.
    • These were almost always divided in the different provinces.
      • Only the sword was able to terminate the difference.
    • Therefore, every emperor acquired and defended his right by the sword.
    • We must either say that:
      • for so many ages, the world had no government and owed allegiance to no one, or
      • in public affairs, the right of the stronger is legitimate and authorized by morality, when not opposed by any other title.

 

  • The right of conquest may be a third source of the title of sovereigns.
    • This right resembles very much the right of present possession.
    • But it has a superior force, being seconded by the notions of glory and honour, which attend conquerors, instead of hatred and detestation, which attend usurpers.
  • Men naturally favour those they love.
    • Men therefore are more apt to ascribe a right to successful violence, between one sovereign and another, than to the successful rebellion of a subject against his sovereign.

 

Footnote 23:

  • I do not assert that present possession or conquest are sufficient to give a title against long possession and positive laws.
  • I only assert that they:
    • have some force
    • will be able to call the balance when the titles are unequal
    • will even sometimes sanctify the weaker title.
  • What degree of force they have is difficult to determine.
  • I believe that they have great force in all disputes on the rights of princes.

 

  • The right of succession naturally prevails after the founding sovereign dies when long possession, present possession, nor conquest take place.
  • Men are commonly induced to:
    • place the son of their late monarch on the throne
    • suppose him to inherit his father’s authority.
  • Men are led to prefer the son of their late monarch to any other person because of:
    • the presumed consent of the father
    • the imitation of the succession to private families
    • the state’s interest in choosing the most powerful person with the most numerous followers.

 

Footnote 24:

  • To prevent mistakes, this case of succession is not the same with that of hereditary monarchies, where custom has fixed the right of succession.
  • These depend on the principle of long possession above explained.

 

  • These reasons have some weight.
    • To one who considers this impartially, it will appear that there concur some principles of the imagination, along with those views of interest.
  • The royal authority seems connected with the young prince even in his father’s lifetime, by the natural transition of the thought; and still more after his death.
    • So that nothing is more natural than to complete this union by a new relation.
    • By putting him actually in possession of what seems so naturally to belong to him.

 

  • To confirm this, we may weigh the following curious phenomena.
    • In elective monarchies, the right of succession has no place by the laws and settled custom.
    • Yet its influence is so natural.
      • It is impossible to:
        • entirely exclude it from the imagination
        • render the subjects indifferent to the son of their deceased monarch.
    • Hence in some elective monarchies, the choice commonly falls on one of the royal family.
      • In some governments they are all excluded.
  • Those contrary phenomena proceed from the same principle.
    • Where the royal family is excluded, a refinement in politics:
      • makes people sensible of their propensity to choose a sovereign in that family
      • gives them a jealousy of their liberty, lest their new monarch, aided by this propensity:
        • establish his family
        • destroy the freedom of future elections.

 

  • The history of Artaxerxes and the younger Cyrus offer some reflections on this.
    • Cyrus pretended a right to the throne above his elder brother, because he was born after his father’s accession.
    • I do not pretend that this reason was valid.
    • I only infer from it, that he would never have made use of such a pretext, were it not for the qualities of the imagination above-mentioned.
      • We are naturally inclined by those qualities to unite by a new relation whatever objects we find already united.
    • Artaxerxes had an advantage above his brother, as being the eldest son and the first in succession.
      • But Cyrus was more closely related to the royal authority, as being begot after his father was invested with it.

 

  • Should convenience be the source of all the right of succession?
  • Should men gladly take advantage of any rule which lets them:
    • fix the successor of their late sovereign
    • prevent that anarchy and confusion, which attends all new elections?
  • I readily allow that this motive may contribute something to the effect.
    • But I assert at the same time, that without another principle, it is impossible such a motive should take place.
  • A nation’s interest requires that the succession to the crown be fixed one way or other.
    • but it is the same thing to its interest in what way it be fixed:
    • So that if the relation of blood had not an effect independent of public interest, it would never have been regarded, without a positive law.
    • It would have been impossible that so many positive laws of different nations could ever have concurred precisely in the same views and intentions.

 

  • This leads us to the fifth source of authority: positive laws.
    • When the legislature establishes a certain form of government and succession of princes, at first sight this must resolve into some of the preceding titles of authority.
  • The legislative power, whence the positive law is derived, must either be established by original contract, long possession, present possession, conquest, or succession.
    • Consequently, the positive law must derive its force from some of those principles.
  • Though a positive law can only derive its force from these principles, it acquires not all the force of the principle from whence it is derived, but loses considerably in the transition; as it is natural to imagine.
    • For instance; a government is established for many centuries on a certain system of laws, forms, and methods of succession.
    • The legislative power, established by this long succession, suddenly:
      • changes the whole system of government
      • introduces a new constitution in its stead.
  • I believe few people will think themselves bound to comply with this alteration, unless it had an evident tendency to the public good.
    • But men think themselves still at liberty to return to the ancient government.
    • Hence the notion of fundamental laws which are supposed to be unalterable by the sovereign’s will.
    • The Salic law in France is of this nature.
  • How far these fundamental laws extend is not determined in any government.
    • It is not possible that it ever should.
  • There is such an indefensible gradation from the most material laws to the most trivial.
    • From the most ancient laws to the most modem, it will be impossible to:
      • set bounds to the legislative power
      • determine how far it may innovate in the principles of government.
    • That is the work more of imagination and passion than of reason.

 

  • People will soon learn to treat very lightly all disputes concerning the rights of princes if they consider:
    • the history of several nations
    • their revolutions, conquests, increase, and reduction
    • how their governments are established
    • the successive right transmitted from one person to another.
  • They will be convinced that the following virtues hold less reason than bigotry and superstition:
    • a strict adherence to any general rules
    • the rigid loyalty to important persons and families.
  • In this, the study of history confirms the reasonings of true philosophy.
    • It shows us the original qualities of human nature
    • It teaches us to regard the controversies in politics as:
      • incapable of any decision in most cases
      • entirely subordinate to the interests of peace and liberty.
  • Where the public good does not demand a change, the concurrence of the following titles forms the strongest title to sovereignty:
    • original contract
    • long possession
    • present possession
    • succession
    • positive laws.
      • This concurrence is justly regarded as sacred and inviolable.
  • But when these titles are mingled and opposed in different degrees, they often occasion perplexity.
    • They are less capable of solution from the arguments of lawyers and philosophers, than from the swords of the soldiery.
  • Who shall tell me whether Germanicus, or Drufus, should have succeeded Tiberius, had he died while they were both alive, without naming any of them for his successor?
    • Should the right of adoption be received as equivalent to that of blood in a nation, where it had the same effect in private families, and had already, in two instances, taken place in the public?
  • Should Germanicus be esteemed the eldest son because he was born before Drufus?
    • Or should he be the younger, because he was adopted after the birth of his brother?
  • Should the right of the elder be regarded in a nation, where the eldest brother had no advantage in the succession to private families?
  • Should the Roman empire at that time be esteemed hereditary, because of two examples?
  • Or should it, even so early, be regarded as belonging to the stronger, or the present possessor, as being founded on so recent an usurpation?
  • I am afraid we shall never be able to satisfy an impartial enquirer who:
    • adopts no party in political controversies
    • will be satisfied with nothing but sound reason and philosophy.

 

  • But here an English reader will be apt to enquire on that famous revolution which has:
    • had such a happy influence on our constitution
    • been attended with such mighty consequences.
  • In the case of enormous tyranny and oppression, it is lawful to take arms even against supreme power.
    • Government is a mere human invention for mutual advantage and security.
    • It no longer imposes any natural or moral obligation when once it ceases to have that tendency.
  • This general principle is authorized by:
    • common sense
    • the practice of all ages.
  • It is certainly impossible for the laws, or even for philosophy, to establish any particular rules to:
    • know when resistance is lawful.
    • decide all controversies which may arise on that subject.
  • This may not only happen with regard to supreme power.
    • But it is possible, even in some constitutions, where the legislative authority is not lodged in one person, that there may be a magistrate so eminent and powerful, as to oblige the laws to keep silence in this particular.
  • This silence would not be an effect only of their respect, but also of their prudence;
    • Since it is certain, that in the vast variety of circumstances, which occur in all governments, an exercise of power, in so great a magistrate, may at one time be beneficial to the public, which at another time would be pernicious and tyrannical.
  • But despite this silence of the laws in limited monarchies, the people still retain the right of resistance.
    • Since it is impossible to deprive them of it even in the most despotic governments.
  • The same necessity of self-preservation, and the same motive of public good, give them the same liberty in the one case as in the other.
    • In such mixed governments:
      • the cases where resistance is lawful, must occur much more often
      • greater indulgence is given to the subjects to defend themselves by force of arms, than in arbitrary governments.
  • Not only where the chief magistrate enters into measures, in themselves, extremely pernicious to the public
    • but even when he would encroach on the other parts of the constitution, and extend his power beyond the legal bounds, it is allowable to resist and dethrone him; though such resistance and violence may, in the general tenor of the laws, be deemed unlawful and rebellious.
  • For besides that, nothing is more essential to public interest than the preservation of public liberty.
    • If such a mixed government is once supposed to be established, every part or member of the constitution must have a right of:
      • self-defence
      • maintaining its ancient bounds against the enaoachment of every other authority.
  • As matter would have been created in vain, were it deprived of a power of resistance, without which no part of it could preserve a distinct existence
    • and the whole might be crowded up into a single point.
  • So it absurd to suppose in any government:
    • a right without a remedy, or
    • allow that the supreme power is shared with the people without allowing that it is lawful for them to defend their share against every invader.
  • Those who respect our free government but deny the right of resistance:
    • have renounced all pretensions to common sense
    • do not merit a serious answer.

 

  • My present purpose is not to show that:
    • these general principles are applicable to the recent revolution
    • all the rights and privileges which should be sacred to a free nation, were at that time threatened with the utmost danger.
  • I would rather:
    • leave this controversial subject
    • indulge in philosophical reflections which naturally arise from that important event.

 

  • First, should the lords and commons in our constitution, without any reason from public interest:
    • depose the king, or
    • after his death exclude the prince who should succeed by custom and law,
      • no one would:
        • esteem their proceedings legal, or
        • think themselves bound to comply with them.
  • But should the king justly forfeit his legal power by:
    • his unjust practices
    • his attempts for a tyrannical and despotic power,
      • then it becomes morally lawful and suitable:
        • to dethrone him.
        • for the remaining members of the constitution to acquire a right of:
          • excluding his next heir
          • choosing whom they please for his successor.
  • This is founded on a very singular quality of our thought and imagination.
  • When a king forfeits his authority, his heir should naturally remain in the same situation, as if the king were removed by death, unless he forfeits it by mixing himself in the tyranny.
    • This may seem reasonable.
    • But we can easily give a contrary opinion.
  • The king’s deposition in our government is an act beyond all common authority.
    • It is illegal to assume power for public good if ordinarily that power can belong to no member of the constitution.
  • When the public good is so great and evident as to justify the action, the commendable use of this licence causes us naturally to attribute to the parliament a right of using further licences.
    • The ancient bounds of the laws are transgressed with approbation.
      • We are not so strict in confining ourselves precisely within their limits.
  • The mind naturally runs with any train of action which it has begun.
    • We do not commonly make any scruple concerning our duty, after doing first action of any kind.
  • Thus at the revolution, no one who thought the deposition of the father justifiable, esteemed themselves to be confined to his infant son.
    • If:
      • that unhappy monarch died innocently at that time, and
      • his son had been sent overseas
        • a regency would have been appointed until he:
          • should come to age
          • could be restored to his dominions.
  • The imagination’s slightest properties have an effect on people’s judgments.
    • It shows the wisdom of the laws and of the parliament to:
      • take advantage of such properties
      • choose the magistrates in or out of a line, as the vulgar will most naturally attribute authority and right to them.

 

  • Secondly, the Prince of Orange’s accession to the throne might initially cause:
    • many disputes
    • his title being contested.
  • But it must have acquired a sufficient authority from the three princes who succeeded him.
  • This way of thinking is most usual.
    • But at first sight, it appears most unreasonable.
  • Princes often seem to acquire a right from their successors and ancestors.
    • A king, who was a usurper during his lifetime, will be regarded by posterity as a lawful prince because he had the good fortune to:
      • settle his family on the throne
      • entirely change the ancient form of government.
  • Julius Caesar is regarded as the first Roman emperor.
    • Sylla and Marius have the same title as Caesar.
      • But they are treated as tyrants and usurpers.
  • Time and custom give authority to:
    • all forms of government
    • all successions of princes.
  • That power was initially founded only on injustice and violence.
    • It becomes legal and obligatory in time.
  • The mind does not rest there.
    • Going back on its footsteps, it transfers to their predecessors and ancestors that right which it naturally ascribes to posterity.
    • The mind sees that right as being:
      • related together
      • united in the imagination.
  • The present king of France makes Hugh Capet a more lawful prince than Cromwell.
    • The established liberty of the Dutch is no inconsiderable apology for their obstinate resistance to Philip II.

SEC. 11: THE LAWS OF NATIONS

  • When civil government has been established over most of mankind, and different societies have been formed contiguous to each other, a new set of duties arises among the neighbouring states, suitable to the nature of their commerce with each other.
    • Political writers tell us that in every kind of intercourse, a body politic is as one person.
    • Different nations and private persons require mutual assistance.
    • At the same time, their selfishness and ambition are perpetual sources of war and discord.
  • In this case, nations resemble individuals.
    • Yet they are very different in other respects.
    • No wonder they:
      • regulate themselves by different maxims
      • give rise to a new set of rules, which we call the laws of nations.
  • Under this are:
    • the sacredness of the ambassadors
    • the declaration of war
    • the abstaining from poisoned arms with other duties of that kind.
  • These are created for the commerce between different societies.

 

  • These rules are super-added to the laws of nature.
    • the former do not entirely abolish the latter
    • one may safely affirm, that the three fundamental rules of justice, the stability of possession, its transference by consent, and the performance of promises, are duties of princes, as well as of subjects.
  • The same interest produces the same effect in both cases.
    • Where possession has no stability, there must be perpetual war.
    • Where property is not transferred by consent, there can be no commerce.
    • Where promises are not observed, there can be no leagues nor alliances.
  • Therefore, the advantages of peace, commerce, and mutual succour, make us extend the same notions of justice to different kingdoms, which take place among individuals.

 

Different Moral Systems Between Countries

  • There is a system of morals calculated for princes, much more free than the system of moral which should govern private persons.
    • This maxim is very current in the world.
    • Few few politicians are willing to avow this.
    • Though it has been authorized by the practice of all ages.
  • This is not to be understood of the lesser extent of public duties and obligations.
    • No one will be so extravagant as to assert that the most solemn treaties should have no force among princes.
  • Princes do actually form treaties among themselves.
    • They must propose some advantage from their execution.
    • The prospect of such future advantage must:
      • engage them to perform their part
      • establish that law of nature.
  • This political maxim means that the morality of princes has the same reach.
    • But it does not have the same force as the morality of private persons.
    • It may lawfully be transgressed from a more trivial motive.
  • However shocking such a proposition may appear to certain philosophers, it will be easy to defend it on those principles of the origin of justice and equity.

 

  • Men quickly restrain their actions and impose an obligation to observe the laws of justice when they have found that it is impossible to:
    • subsist without society
    • maintain society while they give free course to their appetites.
  • This obligation of interest does not rest here.
    • By the necessary course of the passions and sentiments, it creates the moral obligation of duty while we:
      • approve of actions that maintain the peace of society
      • disapprove of actions that disturb it.
  • The same natural obligation of interest:
    • takes place among independent kingdoms
    • gives rise to the same morality.
  • No one so corrupt morals will approve of a prince who voluntarily:
    • breaks his word, or
    • violates any treaty.
  • The intercourse of different states is advantageous and even necessary sometimes.
    • But it is nor so necessary nor advantageous as the intercourse among individuals.
    • Without this, it is impossible for human nature to ever subsist.
  • Since the natural obligation to justice among different states is not so strong as among individuals, the moral obligation arising from it must share its weakness.
    • We must give a greater indulgence to a prince or minister who deceives another, than to a private gentleman who breaks his word of honour.

 

  • What proportion these two species of morality bear to each other?
    • We can never answer this question.
    • It is impossible to reduce to numbers the proportion which we should fix between them.
  • This proportion finds itself without any art or study of men; as we may observe on many other occasions.
  • The practice of the world goes farther in teaching us the degrees of our duty, than the most subtile philosophy, which was ever yet invented.
    • This may serve as a convincing proof that everyone:
      • has an implicit notion of the foundation of those moral rules concerning natural and civil justice
      • is sensible that they arise merely from:
        • human conventions
        • the interest we have in preserving peace and order.
  • Otherwise, the reduction of the interest would never:
    • produce a relaxation of the morality.
    • reconcile us more easily to any transgression of justice among princes and republics, than in the private commerce of one subject with another.

SEC. 12: CHASTITY AND MODESTY

  • If any difficulty attend this system on the laws of nature and nations, it will be with regard to the universal approbation or blame which:
    • follows their observance or transgression
    • some may not think sufficiently explained from the society’s general interests.
  • To remove all scruples of this kind, I shall consider the duties of modesty and chastity in women.
    • I do not doubt but these virtues will be found to be still more conspicuous instances of the operation of those principles, which I have insisted on.

 

  • Some philosophers attack the female virtues with great vehemence.
    • They fancy they have succeeded in detecting popular errors, when they can show that nature has no foundation for all that exterior modesty required in women.
  • I will examine how such notions arise from:
    • education
    • the voluntary conventions of men
    • the interest of society.

 

  • The length and feebleness of human infancy creates a natural concern in men and women for their offspring.
    • There must be a union of male and female for educating the young.
    • This union must be of considerable duration.
  • To induce the men to impose on themselves this restraint and cheerfully undergo all its fatigues and expences, they must believe that:
    • the children are their own
    • their natural instinct is not directed to a wrong object, when they show love and tenderness.
  • Now if we examine the structure of the human body, we shall find, that This security is very difficult to be attained in men
  • since, in the copulation of the sexes, the principle of generation goes from the man to the woman
  • an error may easily take place on the side of the former, though it is utterly impossible with regard to the latter.
  • From this trivial and anatomical observation is derived that vast difference between the education and duties of the two sexes.

 

  • If a philosopher to examined the matter a priori, he would reason that men are induced to labour to maintain and educate their children, by the persuasion that they are really their own.
    • Therefore, it is reasonable and even necessary to give them some security in this.
    • This security cannot consist entirely in the imposing of severe punishments on any transgressions of conjugal fidelity on the part of the wife.
    • Since these public punishments cannot be inflicted without legal proof, which it is difficult to meet with in this subject.
  • What restraint shall we impose on women to counter-balance their strong temptation to infidelity?
    • The only possible restraint is in the punishment of bad fame or reputation.
    • It is a punishment which has a mighty influence on the human mind.
    • At the same time, it is inflicted by the world upon surmises, conjectures, and proofs that would never be received in any court of judicature.
  • To impose a due restraint on women, we must:
    • attach a peculiar degree of shame to their infidelity above what arises merely from its injustice
    • bestow proportional praises on their chastity.

 

  • This is a very strong motive to fidelity.
    • But our philosopher would quickly discover that it would not alone be sufficient.
  • All humans, especially females, are apt to overlook remote motives in favour of any present temptation.
    • The temptation is here the strongest imaginable.
    • Its approaches are insensible and seducing.
  • A woman easily finds means of:
    • securing her reputation
    • preventing all the pernicious consequences of her pleasures.
  • Besides the infamy attending such licences, there should be some preceding backwardness or dread which may:
    • prevent their first approaches
    • give females a repugnance to all expressions, postures, and liberties that have an immediate relation to that enjoyment.

 

  • Such would be the reasonings of our speculative philosopher.
    • But if he did not have a perfect knowledge of human nature, he would:
      • regard them as mere chimerical speculations.
      • consider the infamy of infidelity and backwardness to all its approaches, as principles that were rather to be wished than hoped for in the world.
  • How can he persuade mankind that the transgressions of conjugal duty are more infamous than any other kind of injustice, when they are more excusable because of the greatness of the temptation?
    • What possibility of giving a backwardness to the approaches of a pleasure, to which nature has inspired so strong a propensity?
    • This propensity is absolutely necessary for supporting the species.

 

  • But speculative reasonings are often naturally formed by the world without reflection.
    • Difficulties, which seem unsurmountable in theory, are easily solved in practice.
  • Those interested in female fidelity naturally disapprove of their infidelity and all the approaches to it.
    • Those not interested are carried along with the stream.
    • Education takes possession of the ductile minds of the females in their infancy.
  • When a general rule of this kind is established, men are apt to extend it beyond those principles from which it first arose.
    • Thus bachelors, however debauched, cannot choose but be shocked with any instance of lewdness or impudence in women.
    • Though all these maxims have a plain reference to generation, yet women past child-bearing have no more privilege in this respect, than those who are in the flower of their youth and beauty.
  • Men have undoubtedly an implicit notion that all those ideas of modesty and decency have a regard to generation.
    • Since they do not impose the same laws with the same force on males, where that reason takes nor place.
  • The exception is there obvious and extensive.
    • It is founded on a remarkable difference which produces a clear separation and disjunction of ideas.
  • But the case is not the same with regard to the different ages of women.
    • For this reason, though men know, that these notions are founded on the public interest, yet the general rule carries us beyond the original principle, and makes us extend the notions of modesty over the whole sex, from their earliest infancy to their extremest old-age and infirmity.

 

  • Courage, which is the point of honour among men, derives its merit, in a great measure, from artifice, as well as the chastity of women;
  • though it has also some foundation in nature, as we shall see afterwards.

 

  • With regard to chastity and general notions of the world, males are obliged in nearly the same proportion as women, as the obligations of the law of nations do to those of the law of nature.
    • It is contrary to the society’s interest that men should have an entire liberty of indulging their appetites in venereal enjoyment.
  • But this interest is weaker than the case of the female sex.
    • The moral obligation arising from it, must be proportionably weaker.
    • To prove this, we only need to appeal the practice and sentiments of all nations and ages.

Words: 6094

 

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