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Title: Elements of Morals - With Special Application of the Moral Law to the Duties - of the Individual and of Society and the State
Author: Janet, Paul, 1823-1899
Language: English
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  A. S. BARNES & CO.,

_Copyright, 1884, by A. S. Barnes & Co._


The _Eléments de Morale_, by M. Paul Janet, which we here present to the
educational world, translated from the latest edition, is, of all the
works of that distinguished moralist, the one best adapted to college and
school purposes. Its scholarly and methodical arrangement, its clear and
direct reasonings, its felicitous examples and illustrations, drawn with
rare impartiality from the best ancient and modern writers, make of this
study of Ethics, generally so unattractive to young students, one
singularly inviting. It is a system of morals, practical rather than
theoretical, setting forth man's duties and the application thereto of the
moral law. Starting with _Preliminary Notions_, M. Janet follows these up
with a general division of duties, establishes the general principles of
social and individual morality, and chapter by chapter moves from duties
to duties, developing each in all its ramifications with unerring
clearness, decision, and completeness. Never before, perhaps, was this
difficult subject brought to the comprehension of the student with more
convincing certainty, and, at the same time, with more vivid and
impressive illustrations.

The position of M. Paul Janet is that of the _religious_ moralist.

"He supplies," says a writer in the _British Quarterly Review_,[1] in a
notice of his _Theory of Morals_, "the very element to which Mr. Sully
gives so little place. He cannot conceive morals without religion. Stated
shortly, his position is, that moral good is founded upon a natural and
essential good, and that the domains of good and of duty are absolutely
equivalent. So far he would seem to follow Kant; but he differs from Kant
in denying that there are indefinite duties: every duty, he holds, is
definite as to its _form_; but it is either definite or indefinite as to
its application. As religion is simply belief in the Divine goodness,
morality must by necessity lead to religion, and is like a flowerless
plant if it fail to do so. He holds with Kant that _practical faith_ in
the existence of God is the postulate of the moral law. The two things
exist or fall together."

This, as to M. Janet's position as a moralist; as to his manner of
treating his subject, the writer adds:

"... it is beyond our power to set forth, with approach to success, the
admirable series of reasonings and illustrations by which his positions
are established and maintained."

M. Janet's signal merit is the clearness and decision which he gives to
the main points of his subject, keeping them ever distinctly in view, and
strengthening and supplementing them by substantial and conclusive facts,
drawn from the best sources, framing, so to say, his idea in time-honored
and irrefutable truths.

The law of duty thus made clear to the comprehension of the student,
cannot fail to fix his attention; and between fixing the attention and
striking root, the difference is not very great.

C. R. C.


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

     I.--Preliminary Notions                                           1

    II.--Division of Duties.--General Principles of Social
         Morality                                                     33

   III.--Duties of Justice.--Duties toward Human Life                 50

    IV.--Duties Concerning the Property of Others                     63

     V.--Duties toward the Liberty and toward the Honor of
         Others.--Justice, Distributive and Remunerative.--
         Equity                                                       93

    VI.--Duties of Charity and Self-Sacrifice                        111

   VII.--Duties toward the State                                     139

  VIII.--Professional Duties                                         157

    IX.--Duties of Nations among themselves.--International Law      182

     X.--Family Duties                                               190

    XI.--Duties toward One's Self.--Duties relative to the Body      223

   XII.--Duties relative to External Goods                           244

  XIII.--Duties relative to the Intellect                            260

   XIV.--Duties relative to the Will                                 281

    XV.--Religious Morality.--Religious Rights and Duties            299

   XVI.--Moral Medicine and Gymnastics                               315

         Appendix to Chapter VIII                                    341





    =Starting point of morals.=--Notions of common sense.

    =Object and divisions of morals.=--Practical morality and theoretical

    =Utility of morals.=--Morals are useful: 1, in protecting us against
    the sophisms which combat them; 2, in fixing principles in the mind;
    3, in teaching us to reflect upon the motives of our actions; 4, in
    preparing us for the difficulties which may arise in practice.

    =Short résumé of theoretical morality.=--Pleasure and the good.--The
    useful and the honest.--Duty.--Moral conscience and moral
    sentiment.--Liberty.--Merit and demerit.--Moral responsibility.--Moral

All sciences have for their starting-point certain elementary notions
which are furnished them by the common experience of mankind. There would
be no arithmetic if men had not, as their wants increased, begun by
counting and calculating, and if they had not already had some ideas of
numbers, unity, fractions, etc.; neither would there be any geometry if
they had not also had ideas of the round, the square, the straight line.
The same is true of morals. They presuppose a certain number of notions
existing among all men, at least to some degree. Good and evil, duty and
obligation, conscience, liberty and responsibility, virtue and vice,
merit and demerit, sanction, punishment and reward, are notions which the
philosopher has not invented, but which he has borrowed from common sense,
to return them again cleared and deepened.

Let us begin, then, by rapidly enumerating the elementary and common
notions, the analysis and elucidation of which is the object of moral
science, and explain the terms employed to express them.

=1. Starting point of morals: common notions.=--All men distinguish the
_good_ and the _bad_, _good_ actions and _bad_ actions. For instance, to
love one's parents, respect other people's property, to keep one's word,
etc., is right; to harm those who have done us no harm, to deceive and
lie, to be ungrateful towards our benefactors, and unfaithful to our
friends, etc., is wrong.

To do right is _obligatory_ on every one--that is, it _should_ be done;
wrong, on the contrary, _should_ be avoided. _Duty_ is that _law_ by which
we are held to do the right and avoid the wrong. It is also called the
_moral law_. This law, like all laws, _commands_, _forbids_, and

He who acts and is capable of doing the right and the wrong, and who
consequently is held to obey the moral law, is called a moral agent. In
order that an agent may be held to obey a law, he must _know it and
understand it_. In morals, as in legislation, _no one is supposed to be
ignorant of the law_. There is, then, in every man a certain knowledge of
the law, that is to say, a natural discernment of the right and the wrong.
This discernment is what is called conscience, or sometimes the _moral

Conscience is an act of the mind, a _judgment_. But it is not only the
mind that is made aware of the right and the wrong: it is the heart. Good
and evil, done either by others or by ourselves, awaken in us emotions,
affections of diverse nature. These emotions or affections are what
collectively constitute the _moral sentiment_.

It does not suffice that a man know and distinguish the good and the evil,
and experience for the one and for the other different sentiments; it is
also necessary, in order to be a _moral agent_, that he be capable of
_choosing_ between them; he cannot be commanded to do what he cannot do,
nor can he be forbidden to do what he cannot help doing. This power of
choosing is called _liberty_, or _free will_.

A free agent--one, namely, who can discern between the right and the
wrong--is said to be responsible for his actions; that is to say, he can
answer for them, give an account of them, suffer their consequences; he is
then their _real cause_. His actions may consequently be attributed to
him, put to his account; in other words _imputed_ to him. The agent is
responsible, the actions are _imputable_.

Human actions, we have said, are sometimes good, sometimes bad. These two
qualifications have degrees in proportion to the importance or the
difficulty of the action. It is thus we call an action _suitable_,
_estimable_, _beautiful_, _admirable_, _sublime_, etc. On the other hand,
a bad action is sometimes but a simple mistake, and sometimes a _crime_.
It is _culpable_, _base_, _abominable_, _execrable_, etc.

If we observe in an agent the _habit_ of good actions, a _constant
tendency_ to conform to the law of duty, this habit or constant tendency
is called _virtue_, and the contrary tendency is called _vice_.

Whilst man feels himself bound by his conscience to seek the _right_, he
is impelled by his nature to seek _pleasure_. When he enjoys pleasure
without any admixture of pain, he is _happy_; and the highest degree of
possible pleasure with the least degree of possible pain is _happiness_.
Now, experience shows that happiness is not always in harmony with virtue,
and that pleasure does not necessarily accompany right doing.

And yet we find such a separation unjust; and we believe in a natural and
legitimate connection between pleasure and right, pain and wrong.
Pleasure, considered as the consequence of well-doing, is called
_recompense_; and pain, considered as the legitimate consequence of evil,
is called _punishment_.

When a man has done well he thinks, and all other men think, that he has a
right to a recompense. When he has done ill they think the contrary, and
he himself thinks also that he must atone for his wrong-doing by a
chastisement. This principle, by virtue of which we declare a moral agent
deserving of happiness or unhappiness according to his good or bad
actions, is called the principle of merit and demerit.

The sum total of the rewards and punishments attached to the execution or
violation of a law is called sanction; the sanction of the moral law will
then be called _moral sanction_.

All law presupposes a legislator. The moral law will presuppose, then, a
_moral_ legislator, and morality consequently raises us to God. All human
or earthly sanction being shown by observation to be insufficient, the
moral law calls for a religious sanction. It is thus that morality
conducts us to the _immortality of the soul_.

If we go back upon the whole of the ideas we have just briefly expressed,
we shall see that at each of the steps we have taken there are always two
contraries opposed the one to the other: _good_ and _evil_, _command_ and
_prohibition_, _virtue_ and _vice_, _merit_ and _demerit_, _pleasure_ and
_pain_, _reward_ and _punishment_.

Human life presents itself, then, under two aspects. Man can choose
between the two. This power is liberty. This choice is difficult and
laborious; it exacts from us incessant efforts. It is for this reason that
life is said to be a _trial_, and is often represented as a _combat_. It
should therefore not be represented as a play, but rather as a manly and
valiant effort. Struggle is its condition, peace its prize.

Such are the fundamental ideas _morality_ has for its object, and of which
it seeks, at the same time, both the principles and the applications.

=2. What is morality? the object of morality.=--Morality may be considered
as a _science_ or as an _art_.

By science we understand a totality of truths connected with each other
concerning one and the same object. Science has for its object proper,

By art we understand a totality of rules or precepts for directing
activity towards a definite end; art has for its object proper, _action_.

Science is _theoretical_ or _speculative_; art is _practical_.

Morality is a science inasmuch as it seeks to know and demonstrate the
principles and conditions of morality; it is an art inasmuch as it shows
and prescribes to us its applications.

As science, morality may be defined: science of _good_ or science of

As art, morality may be defined: the art of right living or the art of
right acting.

=3. Division of morality.=--Morality is divided into two parts: in one it
studies principles, in the other, applications; in the one, _duty_; in the
other, _duties_.

Hence a _theoretical_ morality and a _practical_ morality. The first may
also be called _general_ morality, and the second _particular_ morality,
because the first has for its object the study of the common and general
character of all our duties, and the other especially that of the
particular duties, which vary according to objects and circumstances. It
is in the first that morality has especially the character of science, and
in the second, the character of art.

=4. Utility of morality.=--The utility of moral science has been disputed.
The ancients questioned whether virtue could be taught. It may also be
asked whether it should be taught. Morality, it is said, depends much more
upon the heart than upon the reasoning faculties. It is rather by
education, example, habit, religion, sentiment, than through theories,
that men become habituated to virtue. If this were so, moral science would
be of no use.

However, though it may be true that for happiness nothing can take the
place of practice, it does not follow that reflection and study may not
very efficaciously contribute toward it, and for the following reasons:

1. It often happens that evil has its origin in the sophisms of the mind,
sophisms ever at the service of the passions. It is therefore necessary to
ward off or prevent these sophisms by a thorough discussion of principles.

2. A careful study of the principles of morality causes them to penetrate
deeper into the soul and gives them there greater fixity.

3. Morality consists not only in the actions themselves, but especially in
the motives of our actions. An outward morality, wholly of habit and
imitation, is not yet the true morality. Morality must needs be
accompanied by conscience and reflection. So viewed, moral science is a
necessary element of a sound education, and the higher its principles the
more the conscience is raised and refined.

4. Life often presents moral problems for our solution. If the mind is not
prepared for them it will lack certainty of decision; what above all is to
be feared is that it will mostly prefer the easier and the more convenient
solution. It should be fortified in advance against its own weakness by
acquiring the habit of judging of general questions before events put it
to the proof.

Such is the utility of morality. It is of the same service to man as
geometry is to the workman; it does not take the place of tact and common
sense, but it guides and perfects them.

It is well understood, moreover, that such a study in nowise excludes, it
even exacts, the co-operation of all the practical means we have indicated
above, which constitute what is called _education_. Doctrinal teaching is
but the complement and confirmation of teaching by practice and by

=5. Short résumé of theoretical morality.=--_Theoretical_ morality should,
in fact, precede practical morality, and that is what usually takes place;
but as it presents more difficulties and less immediate applications than
practical morality, we shall defer the developments it may give rise to,
to a subsequent year.[2] The present will be a short résumé, purely
elementary, containing only preliminary and strictly necessary notions. It
will be an exposition of the common notions we have just enumerated above.

=6. Pleasure and the good.=--Morality being, as we have said, the science
of the _good_, the first question that presents itself is: What is _good_?

If we are to believe the first impulses of nature, which instinctively
urge us towards the agreeable and cause us to repel all that is painful,
the answer to the preceding question would not be difficult; we should
have but to reply: "Good is what makes us happy; good is _pleasure_."

One can, without doubt, affirm that morality teaches us to be happy, and
puts us on the way to true happiness. But it is not, as one might believe,
in obeying that blind law of nature which inclines us towards pleasure,
that we shall be truly happy. The road morality points out is less easy,
but surer.

Some very simple reflections will suffice to show us that it cannot be
said absolutely that pleasure is the _good_ and pain the _bad_. Experience
and reasoning easily demonstrate the falsity of this opinion.

1. Pleasure is not always a good, and in certain circumstances it may even
become a real evil; and, _vice versa_, pain is not always an evil, and it
may even become a great good. Thus we see, on the one hand, that the
pleasures of intemperance bring with them sickness, the loss of health and
reason, shortening of life. The pleasures of idleness bring poverty,
uselessness, the contempt of men. The pleasures of vengeance and of crime
carry with them chastisement, remorse, etc. Conversely, again, we see the
most painful troubles and trials bringing with them evident good. The
amputation of a limb saves our life; energetic and painstaking work brings
comfort, etc. In these different cases, if we consider their results, it
is pleasure that is an evil and pain a good.

2. It must be added that among the pleasures there are some that are low,
degrading, vulgar; for example, the pleasures of drunkenness; others,
again, that are noble and generous, as the heroism of the soldier. Among
the pleasures of man there are some he has in common with the beasts, and
others that are peculiar to him alone. Shall we put the one kind and the
other on the same level? Assuredly not.

3. There are pleasures very keen, which, however, are fleeting, and soon
pass away, as the pleasures of the passions; others which are durable and
continuous, as those of health, security, domestic comfort, and the
respect of mankind. Shall we sacrifice life-long pleasures to pleasures
that last but an hour?

4. Other pleasures are very great, but equally uncertain, and dependent on
chance; as, for instance, the pleasures of ambition or the pleasures of
the gaming-table; others, again, calmer and less intoxicating, but surer,
as the pleasures of the family circle.

Pleasures may then be compared in regard to _certainty_, _purity_,
_durability_, _intensity_, etc. Experience teaches that we should not seek
pleasures without distinction and choice; that we should use our reason
and compare them; that we should sacrifice an uncertain and fleeting
present to a durable future; prefer the simple and peaceful pleasures,
free from regrets, to the tumultuous and dangerous pleasures of the
passions, etc.; in a word, sacrifice the _agreeable_ to the _useful_.

=7. Utility and honesty.=--One should prefer, we have just seen, the
_useful_ to the _agreeable_; but the useful itself should not be
confounded with the real good--that is, with the _honest_.

Let us explain the differences between these two ideas.

1. There is no honesty or moral goodness without _disinterestedness_; and
he who never seeks anything but his own personal interest is branded by
all as a _selfish_ man.

2. Interest gives only advice; morality gives _commands_. A man is not
obliged to be skillful, but he is obliged to be _honest_.

3. Personal interest cannot be the foundation of any _universal_ and
_general_ law as applicable to others as to ourselves, for the happiness
of each depends on his own way of viewing things. Every man takes his
pleasure where he finds it, and understands his interest as he pleases;
but honesty or justice is the same for all men.

4. The honest is _clear_ and _self-evident_; the useful is _uncertain_.
Conscience tells every one what is right or wrong; but it requires a long
trained experience to calculate all the possible consequences of our
actions, and it would often be absolutely impossible for us to foresee
them. We cannot, therefore, always know what is useful to us; but we can
always know what is right.

5. It is never impossible to do right; but one cannot always carry out his
own wishes in order to be happy. The prisoner may always bravely bear his
prison, but he cannot always get out of it.

6. We judge ourselves according to the principles of action we recognize.
The man who _loses_ in gambling may _be troubled_ and regret his
imprudence; but he who is conscious of having cheated in gambling (though
he won thereby) must _despise_ himself if he judges himself from the
standpoint of moral law. This law must therefore be something else than
the principle of personal happiness. For, to be able to say to one's self,
"I am a _villain_, though I have filled my purse," requires another
principle than that by which one congratulates himself, saying, "I am a
prudent man, for I have filled my cash-box."

7. The idea of _punishment_ or chastisement could not be understood,
moreover, if the good only were the useful. A man is not punished for
having been _awkward_; he is punished for being culpable.

=8. The good or the honest.=--We have just seen that neither pleasure nor
usefulness is the legitimate and supreme object of human life. We are
certainly permitted to seek pleasure, since nature invites us to it; but
we should not make it the aim of life. We are also permitted, and even
sometimes commanded, to seek what is useful, since reason demands we see
to our self-preservation. But, above pleasure and utility, there is
another aim, a higher aim, the real object of human life. This higher and
final aim is what we call, according to circumstances, the _good_, the
_honest_, and the _just_.

Now, what is _honesty_?

We distinguish in man a double nature, _body_ and _soul_; and in the soul
itself two parts, one superior, one inferior; one more particularly
deserving of the name of soul, the other more carnal, more material, if
one may say so, which comes nearer the body. In one class we have
_intelligence_, _sentiments_, _will_; in the other, _senses_, _appetites_,
_passions_. Now, that which distinguishes man from the lower animal is the
power to rise above the senses, appetites, and passions, and to be capable
of thinking, loving, and willing.

Thus, moral good consists in preferring what there is best in us to what
there is least good; the goods of the soul to the goods of the body; the
dignity of human nature to the servitude of animal passions; the noble
affections of the heart to the inclinations of a vile selfishness.

In one word, moral good consists in man becoming truly man--that is to
say, "A free will, guided by the heart and enlightened by reason."

Moral good takes different names, according to the relations under which
we consider it. For instance, when we consider it as having for its
special object the individual man in relation with himself, good becomes
what is properly called the _honest_, and has for its prime object
personal dignity. In its relation with other men, good takes the name of
the _just_, and has for its special object the happiness of others. It
consists either in not doing to others what we should not wish they should
do to us, or in doing to others as we should ourselves wish to be done by.
Finally, in its relation to God, the good is called piety or saintliness,
and consists in rendering to the Father of men and of the universe what is
his due.

=9. Duty.=--Thus, the _honest_, the _just_, and the _pious_ are the
different names which moral good takes in its relations to ourselves, to
other men, or to God.

Moral good, under these different forms, presents itself always in the
same character, namely, imposing on us the obligation to do it as soon as
we recognize it, and that, too, without regard to consequences and
whatever be our inclinations to the contrary.

Thus, we should tell the truth even though it injures us; we should
respect the property of others, though it be necessary to our existence;
finally, we should even sacrifice, if necessary, our life for the family
and the country.

This law, which prescribes to us the doing right for its own sake, is what
is called _moral law_ or the _law of duty_. It is a sort of constraint,
but a _moral constraint_, and is distinguished from _physical_ constraint
by the fact that the latter is dictated by fate and is irresistible,
whilst the constraint of duty imposes itself upon our reason without
violating our liberty. This kind of necessity, which commands reason alone
without constraining the will, is moral _obligation_.

To say that the right is obligatory is to say, then, that we consider
ourselves held to do it, without being forced to do it. On the contrary,
if we were to do it by force it would cease to be the right. It must
therefore be done freely, and duty may thus be defined _an obligation
consented to_.

Duty presents itself in a two-fold character: it is _absolute_ and

1. It is absolute: that is to say, it imposes its commands
unconditionally, without taking account of our desires, our passions, our
interests. It is by this that the _commands_ of duty may be distinguished,
as we have already said, from the counsels of an interested prudence. The
rules or calculations of prudence are nothing but _means_ to reach a
certain end, which is the useful. The _law_ of duty, on the contrary, is
in itself its own _aim_. Here the law should be obeyed for its own sake,
and not for any other reason. Prudence says: "The end justifies the
means." Duty says: "Do as thou shouldst do, let come what will."

2. From this first character a second is deduced: duty being absolute, is
_universal_; that is to say, it can be applied to all men in the same
manner and under the same circumstances; whence it follows that each must
acknowledge that this law is imposed not only on himself, but on all other
men also.

To which correspond those two beautiful maxims of the Gospel: "Do to
others as thou wishest to be done by. Do not do to others what thou dost
not wish they should do to thee."

The law of duty is not only obligatory in itself, it is so also because it
is derived from God, who in his justice and goodness wishes we should
submit to it. God being himself the absolutely perfect being, and having
created us in his image, wishes, for this very reason, that we should make
every effort to imitate him as much as possible, and has thus imposed on
us the obligation of being virtuous. It is God we obey in obeying the law
of honesty and duty.

=10. Moral conscience.=--A law cannot be imposed on a free agent without
its being known to him; without its being present to his mind--that is to
say, without his accepting it as true, and recognizing the necessity of
its application in every particular case. This faculty of recognizing the
moral law, and applying it in all the circumstances that may present
themselves, is what is called _conscience_.

Conscience is then that act of the mind by which we apply to a particular
case, to an action _to be performed_ or already _performed_, the general
rules prescribed by moral law. It is both the power that commands and the
inward judge that condemns or absolves. On the one hand it _dictates_ what
should be done or avoided; on the other it _judges_ what has been done.
Hence it is the condition of the performance of all our duties.

Conscience being the practical judgment which in each particular case
decides the right and the wrong, one can ask of man only one thing:
namely, to act according to his conscience. At the moment of action there
is no other rule. But one must take great care lest by subtle doubts, he
obscures either within himself or in others the clear and distinct
decisions of conscience.

In fact, men often, to divert themselves from the right when they wish to
do certain bad actions, fight their own conscience with sophisms. Under
the influence of these sophisms, conscience becomes _erroneous_; that is
to say, it ends by taking good for evil and evil for good, and this is
even one of the punishments of those who follow the path of vice: they
become at last incapable of discerning between right and wrong. When it is
said of a man that _he has no conscience_, it is not meant that he is
really deprived of it (else he were not a man); but that he has fallen
into the habit of not consulting it or of holding its decisions in

By _ignorant conscience_ we mean that conscience which does wrong because
it has not yet learned to know what is right. Thus, a child tormenting
animals does not always do so out of bad motives: he does not know or does
not think that he hurts them. In fact, it is with good as it is with evil;
the child is already good or bad before it is able to discern between the
one or the other. This is what is called the state of _innocence_, which
in some respects is conscience asleep. But this state cannot last; the
child's conscience, and in general the conscience of all men, must be
enlightened. This is the progress of human reason which every day teaches
us better to know the difference between good and evil.

It sometimes happens that one is in some respects in doubt between two
indications of conscience; not, of course, between duty and passion, which
is the highest moral combat, but between two or more duties. This is what
is called a _doubting_ or _perplexed_ conscience. In such a case the
simplest rule to follow, when it is practicable, is the one expressed by
that celebrated maxim: _When in doubt, abstain_. In cases where it is
impossible to absolutely abstain, and where it becomes necessary not only
to act but to choose, the rule should always be to choose that part which
favors least our interests, for we may always suppose that that which
causes our conscience to doubt, is an interested, unobserved motive. If
there is no private interest in the matter either on the one side or the
other, there remains nothing better to do than to decide according to
circumstances. But it is very rare that conscience ever finds itself in
such an absolute state of doubt, and there are almost always more reasons
on the one side than on the other. The simplest and most general rule in
such a case is to chose what seems most probable.

=11. Moral Sentiment.=--At the same time, as the _mind_ distinguishes
between good and evil by a _judgment_ called conscience, the _heart_
experiences emotions or divers affections, which are embraced under the
common term _moral sentiment_. These are the pleasures or pains which
arise in our soul at the sight of good or evil, either in _ourselves_ or
in _others_.

In respect to our own actions this sentiment is modified according as the
action is to be performed, or is already performed. In the first instance
we experience, on the one hand, a certain attraction for the right (that
is when passion is not strong enough to stifle it), and on the other, a
repugnance or aversion for the wrong (more or less attenuated, according
to circumstances, by habit or the violence of the design). Usage has not
given any particular names to these two sentiments.

When, on the contrary, the action is performed, the pleasure which results
from it, if we have acted rightly, is called _moral satisfaction_; and if
we have acted wrong, _remorse_, or _repentance_.

Remorse is a burning pain; and, as the word indicates, the _bite_ that
tortures the heart after a culpable action. This pain may be found among
the very ones who have no regret for having done wrong, and who would do
it over again if they could. It has therefore no moral character
whatsoever, and must be considered as a sort of punishment attached to
crime by nature herself. "Malice," said Montaigne, "poisons itself with
its own venom. Vice leaves, like an ulcer in the flesh, a repentance in
the soul, which, ever scratching itself, draws ever fresh blood."

_Repentance_ is also, like remorse, a pain which comes from a bad action;
but there is coupled with it the regret of having done it, and the wish,
if not the firm resolution, never to do it again.

Repentance is a sadness of the soul; remorse is a torture and an anguish.
Repentance is almost a virtue; remorse is a punishment; but the one leads
to the other, and he who feels no remorse can feel no repentance.

_Moral satisfaction_, on the contrary, is a peace, a joy, a keen and
delicious emotion born from the feeling of having accomplished one's duty.
It is the only remuneration that never fails us.

Among the sentiments called forth by our own actions, there are two which
are the natural auxiliaries of the moral sentiment: they are the sentiment
of _honor_ and the sentiment of _shame_.

Honor is a principle which incites us to perform actions which raise us in
our own eyes, and to avoid such as would lower us.

Shame is the opposite of honor; it is what we feel when we have done
something that lowers us not only in the eyes of others, but in our own.
All remorse is more or less accompanied by shame; yet the shame is greater
for actions which indicate a certain baseness of soul. For instance, one
will feel more ashamed of having told a falsehood than for having struck a
person; for having cheated in gambling than for having fought a duel.

Honor and shame are therefore not always an exact measure of the moral
value of actions; for be they but brilliant, man will soon rid himself of
all shame; this happens, for instance, in cases of prodigality,
licentiousness, ambition. One does wrong, not without remorse, but with a
certain ostentation which stifles the feelings of shame.

Let us pass now to the sentiments which the actions of others excite in

Sympathy, antipathy, kindness, esteem, contempt, respect, enthusiasm,
indignation, these are the various terms by which we express the diverse
sentiments of the soul touching virtue and vice.

_Sympathy_ is a disposition to share the same impressions with other men;
to sympathize with their joy is to share that joy; to sympathize with
their grief is to share that grief. It may happen that one sympathizes
with the defects of others when they are the same as our own; but, as a
general thing, people sympathize above all with the good qualities, and
experience only antipathy for the bad. At the theatre, all the spectators,
good and bad, wish to see virtue rewarded and crime punished.

The contrary of sympathy is antipathy.

Kindness is the disposition to wish others well. _Esteem_ is a sort of
kindness mingled with judgment and reflection, which we feel for those who
have acted well, especially in cases of ordinary virtues; for before the
higher and more difficult virtues, esteem becomes _respect_; if it be
heroism, respect turns into _admiration_ and _enthusiasm_; admiration
being the feeling of surprise which great actions excite in us, and
enthusiasm that same feeling pushed to an extreme; carrying us away from
ourselves, as if a god were in us.[3] _Contempt_ is the feeling of
aversion we entertain towards him who does wrong; it implies particularly
a case of base and shameful actions. When these actions are only
condemnable without being odious, the sentiment is one of _blame_, which,
like esteem, is nearer being a judgment than a sentiment. When, finally,
it is a case of criminal and revolting actions, the feeling is one of
_horror_ or _execration_.

=12. Liberty.=--We have already said that man or the _moral agent_ is
_free_, when he is in a condition to choose between right and wrong, and
able to do either at his will.

Liberty always supposes one to be in possession of himself. Man is free
when he is awake, in a state of reason, and an adult. He is not free, or
very little so, when he is asleep, or delirious, or in his first

Liberty is certified to man.

1. By the inward sentiment which accompanies each of his acts; for
instance, at the moment of acting, I feel that I can will or not will to
do such or such an action; if I enter on it, I feel that I can discontinue
it as long as it is not fully executed; when it is completed, I am
convinced that I might have acted otherwise.

2. By the very fact of _moral law_ or _duty_; I _ought_, therefore I
_can_. No one is held to do the impossible. If, then, there is in me a law
that commands me to do good and avoid evil, it is because I can do either
as I wish.

3. By the _moral satisfaction_ which accompanies a good action; by the
remorse or repentance which follows a bad one. One does not rejoice over a
thing done against his will, and no one reproaches himself for an act
committed under compulsion. The first word of all those reproached for a
bad action is, that it was not done _on purpose, intentionally_. They
acknowledge thereby that we can only be reproached for an action done
wilfully; namely, freely.

4. By the rewards and punishments, and in general by the _moral
responsibility_ which is attached to all our actions when they have been
committed knowingly. We do not punish actions which are the result of
constraint or ignorance.

5. By the _exhortations_ or counsels we give to others. We do not exhort a
man to be warm or cold, not to suffer hunger or thirst, because it is
well known that this is not a thing dependent on his will. But we exhort
him to be honest, because we believe that he can be so if he wishes.

6. By _promises_: no one promises not to die, not to be sick, etc., but
one promises to be present at a certain meeting, to pay a certain sum of
money, on such a day, to such a man, because one feels he can do so unless
circumstances over which he has no control prevent.

_Prejudices against Liberty._--Although men, as we have seen, may have the
sense of liberty very strong, and may show it by their acts, by their
approbation or blame, etc., yet, on the other hand, they often yield to
the force of certain prejudices which seem to contradict the universal
belief we have just spoken of.

1. _Character._--The principal one of these prejudices is the often
expressed opinion that every man is impelled by his own _character_ to
perform the actions which accord with this character, and that there is no
help against this irresistible necessity of nature; this is often
expressed by the common axiom: "One cannot make himself over again." The
same has also been expressed by the poet Destouches in that celebrated

  Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.[4]

Nothing is less exact as a fact and more dangerous as a principle, than
this pretended immutability of human character, which, if true, would
render evil irremediable and incorrigible.

Experience teaches the contrary. No man is wholly deprived of good and bad
inclinations; he may develop the one or the other, as he chooses between

2. _Habits._--Habits in the long run become, it is true, irresistible. It
is a fact which has been often observed; but if, on the one hand, an
inveterate habit is irresistible, it is not so in the beginning, and man
is thus free to prevent the encroachments of bad habits. It is for this
reason that moralists warn us above all against the beginnings of habits.
"Beware especially of beginnings," says the _Imitation_.

3. _Passions._--Passions have especially enjoyed the privilege of passing
for uncontrollable and irresistible. All great sinners find their excuse
in the fatal allurements of passions. "The spirit is willing, but the
flesh is weak," says the Gospel. The remarks we have just made touching
the habits, may be equally applied to the passions. It is rare that
passions manifest themselves all of a sudden, and with that excess of
violence which, breaking upon one unexpectedly and like a delirium,
assume, indeed, all the appearances of a fatality. But, as a general
thing, passions grow little by little. "Some smaller crimes always precede
the greater crimes." It is especially when the first attacks of a passion
begin to show themselves that it should be energetically fought down.

4. _Education and circumstances._--The education one has received, the
circumstances one finds himself in, may put a limit to his liberty; and
man is not wholly responsible for the impulses which he may owe to example
and the bad principles in which he may have been brought up. These may,
perhaps, be called _attenuating circumstances_; but they do not go so far
as wholly to suppress liberty and responsibility. In the appreciation of
_other people's acts_, we may allow the _attenuating circumstances_ as
large a margin as possible, but in the case of self-government, one should
make it as strict and narrow as possible. No one having, in fact, a
measure by which he may determine his moral strength in an absolute
manner, it is better to aim too high than too low. One should be guided by
the principle that nothing is impossible to him who has a strong will; for
"we can do a thing when we think we can." In conclusion, liberty means
nothing else but _moral strength_. Experience certifies that man can
become the master of the physical nature which he can subject to his
designs; he can gain the mastery over his own body, his passions, his
habits, his own disposition; in a word, he can be "master of himself." In
thus ascending, step by step, from exterior nature to the body, from the
body to the passions, from the passions to the habits and the character,
we arrive at the first motor of action which moves everything without
being moved: namely, liberty.

=13. Merit and demerit.=--We call in general _merit_ the quality by virtue
of which a moral agent renders himself worthy of a reward; and _demerit_
that by which he renders himself, so to say, worthy of punishment.

The merit of an action may be determined: 1, by the difficulty of the
action; 2, by the importance of the duty.

1. Why, for instance, is there in general very little merit in respecting
other people's property and abstaining from theft? Because education in
this respect has so fashioned us, that few men have any temptation to the
contrary; and, even were there such a temptation, we should be ashamed to
publicly claim any merit for having resisted it.

Why, on the other hand, is there great merit in sacrificing one's life to
the happiness of others? Because we are strongly attached to life, and
comparatively very little attached to men in general; to sacrifice what we
love most, to what we love but little, from a sense of duty, is evidently
very difficult; for this reason, we find in this action a very great

Suppose a man, who had enjoyed in all security of conscience and during a
long life, a large fortune which he believes his, and of which he has made
the noblest use, should learn all at once, and at the brink of old age,
that this fortune belongs to another. Suppose, to render the action still
more difficult to perform, that he alone knows the fact, and could
consequently in all security keep the fortune if he wishes; aggravate the
situation still more by supposing that this fortune belongs to heirs in
great poverty, and that in renouncing it the possessor would himself be
reduced to utter misery. Imagine, finally, all the circumstances which may
render a duty both the strictest and most difficult, and you will have an
action the merit of which will be very great.

2. It is not only the difficulty of an action that constitutes its merit,
but also the importance of the duty. Thus the merit of a difficulty
surmounted, has no more value in morality than it has in poetry, when it
stands alone. One may of course impose upon himself a sort of moral
gymnastics, and consequently very difficult tasks, though very useless in
the end; but these will be considered only in the light of discipline and
exercise, and not in that of duty; and this discipline would have to be
more or less connected with the life one may be called to lead. For
instance, suppose a missionary, called to brave during all his life all
kinds of climates and dangers, should exercise himself beforehand in
undertakings brave and bold, such undertakings would be both reasonable
and meritorious. But he who out of bravado, ostentation, and without any
worthy aim, should undertake the climbing to inaccessible mountain-tops,
the swimming across an arm of the sea, the fighting openly ferocious
animals, etc., he would accomplish actions which, it is true, would not be
without merit, since they are brave; but their merit would not be
equivalent to that we should attribute to other actions less difficult,
but more wise.

As to demerit, it is in proportion to the gravity of duties, and the
facility of accomplishing them. The more important a matter, and the
easier to fulfil, the more is one culpable in failing to fulfil it.

According to these principles, one may determine as follows the estimation
of moral actions:

Human actions, we have said, are divided into two classes: the good and
the bad. It is a question among the moralists to determine whether there
are any that are to be called _indifferent_.

Among the good actions, some are _beautiful_, _heroic_, _sublime_; others,
_proper_, _right_, and _honest_; among the bad, some are simply
_censurable_, others _shameful_, _criminal_, _hideous_; finally, among the
indifferent ones, some are agreeable and allowable, others necessary and

Let us give some examples by which the different characters of human
actions may be well understood.

A judge who administers justice without partiality, a merchant who sells
his merchandise for no more than it is worth, a debtor who regularly pays
his creditor, a soldier punctual at drill, obedient to discipline, and
faithful at his post in times of peace or war, a schoolboy doing regularly
the task assigned to him, all these persons perform actions good and
laudable, but they cannot be called extraordinary. They are approved of,
but not admired. To manage one's fortune economically, not to yield too
much to the pleasure of the senses, to tell no lies, to neither strike nor
wound others, are so many good, right, proper, and estimable actions; but
they cannot be called admirable actions.

Actions are beautiful in proportion to the difficulty of their
performance; when they are extremely difficult and perilous, then we call
them heroic and sublime; that is, provided they are good actions, for
heroism is unfortunately sometimes allied with wrong. He who, like
President de Harlay, can say to a very powerful usurper: "It is a sad
thing when the servant is allowed to dismiss the master;" he who can say,
like Viscount d'Orthez, who made opposition to Charles IX. after St.
Bartholomew, saying: "My soldiers are no executioners;" he who, like
Boissy d'Anglas, can firmly and resolutely uphold the rights of an
assembly in the face of a sanguinary, violent, and rebellious populace; he
who, like Morus or Dubourg, would rather die than sacrifice his trust; he
who, like Columbus, can venture upon an unknown ocean, and brave the
revolt of a rude and superstitious crew, to obey a generous conviction; he
who, like Alexander, confides in friendship enough to receive from the
hands of his physician a drink reputed poisoned; any man, in short, who
devotes himself for his fellow beings, who, in fire, in water, in the
depths of the earth, braves death to save life; who, in order to spread
the truth, to remain true and honest, to work in the interests of
religion, science, or humanity, will suffer hunger and thirst, poverty,
slavery, torture, or death, is a _hero_.

Epictetus was a slave. His master, for some negligence or other, caused
him to be beaten. "You will break my leg," said the sufferer; and the leg
broke, indeed, under the blows. "I told you you would break it," he
remarked quietly. This is a hero.

Joan of Arc, defeated by the English and made a prisoner, threatened with
the stake, said to her executioners: "I knew quite well that the English
would put me to death; but were there a hundred thousand of them, they
should not have this kingdom." This is a heroine.

Bad actions have their degrees likewise. But here we should call attention
to the fact that the worst are those that stand in opposition to the
simply good actions; on the contrary, an action which is not heroic is not
necessarily bad; and when it is bad it is not to be classed among the most
criminal. Some examples will again be necessary to understand these
various shades of meaning, which every one feels and recognizes in
practice, but which are very difficult to analyze theoretically.

To be respectful towards one's parents is a good and proper action, but
not a _heroic_ one. On the contrary, to strike them, insult them, kill
them, are abominable actions, and to be classed among the basest and most
hideous that can be committed. To love one's friends, to be as serviceable
to them as possible, shows a straightforward and well-endowed soul; but
there is nothing sublime in it. On the other hand, to betray friendship;
to slander those that love us; to lie in order to win their favor; to
inquire into their secrets for the purpose of using them against them, are
black, base, and shameful actions. There is scarcely any merit in not
taking what does not belong to us; theft, on the contrary, is the most
contemptible of things. Now, not to be able to bear with adversity, to
fear death, to shrink from braving the ice of the North Pole, to stay at
home when fire or flood threatens our neighbor, may be mean or weak, but
not criminal. Let us add, however, that there are cases where heroism
becomes obligatory, and where it is criminal not to be heroic. A
sea-captain, who has endangered his ship, and who, instead of saving it,
leaves his post; a general who, when the moment calls for it, refuses to
die at the head of his army, lack courage; the chief of a State who, in
times of revolt, or when the country is in peril, fears death; the
president of a convention who takes to flight before a rebellion; the
physician who runs away before an epidemic; the magistrate who is afraid
to be just; all these are truly culpable. Every condition of life has its
peculiar heroism, which at certain moments becomes a duty. Yet will it
always be true that the more easy an action is, the less excusable is its
neglect, and consequently the more odious is it to try to escape from it.

Besides the good or bad actions, there are others which appear to partake
of neither the one nor the other of these two characters, which are
neither good nor bad, and which for this reason are called indifferent.
For instance, to go and take a walk is an action which, considered by
itself, is neither good nor bad, although it may become the one or the
other according to circumstances. To be asleep, to be awake, to eat, to
take exercise, to talk with one's friends, to read an agreeable book, to
play on some instrument, are actions which certainly have nothing bad in
themselves, but which, nevertheless, could not be cited as examples of
good actions. One would not say, for instance, such a one is an honest man
because he plays the violin well; such a one is a scholar because he has a
good appetite; still less when actions absolutely necessary come into
question, as the act of breathing and sleeping. Actions, then, which are
inseparable from the necessities of our existence, have no moral
character; they are the same with us as with the animals and plants; they
are purely natural actions. There are others, again, that are not
necessary, but simply agreeable, which we perform because they suit our
tastes and fancies.

It is sufficient that they are not contrary to the right, that one cannot
call them bad; but it does not follow from this that they are good, and
such are what are called indifferent actions.

Such, at least, is the appearance of things; for, in a more elevated
sense, the moralists were right in saying that there is no action
absolutely indifferent, and that all actions are in some respect good or
bad, according to motive.

=14. Moral responsibility.=--Man being free, is for this reason
_responsible_ for his actions: they can be imputed to him. These two
expressions have about the same meaning, only the term responsibility
applies to the agent, and imputability to the actions.

The two fundamental conditions of moral responsibility are: 1, the
knowledge of good and evil; 2, the liberty of action. In proportion as
these two conditions vary, the responsibility will vary.

It follows from this, that idiocy, insanity, delirium in cases of
illness--destroying nearly always both conditions of
responsibility--namely, discernment and free agency, deprive thereby of
all moral character the actions committed in these different states. They
are not of a nature to be imputed to a moral agent. Yet are there certain
lunatics not wholly insane who may preserve in their lucid state a certain
portion of responsibility.

2. Drunkenness. May that be considered a cause of irresponsibility? No,
certainly not; for, on the one hand, one is responsible for the very act
of drunkenness; and, on the other, one knows that in putting himself in
such a condition he exposes himself to all its consequences, and accepts
them implicitly. For example, he who puts himself in a state of
drunkenness, consents beforehand to all the low, vulgar actions
inseparable from that state. As to the violent and dangerous actions which
may accidentally result from it, as blows and murders springing from
quarrels, one cannot, of course, impute them to the drunken man with the
same severity as to the sober man, for he certainly did not explicitly
chose them when he put himself into a state of drunkenness; but neither is
he wholly innocent of them, for he knew that they were some of the
possible consequences of that condition. As to him who puts himself
voluntarily into a state of drunkenness, with the express intention of
committing a crime and giving himself courage for the act, it is evident
that, so far from diminishing thereby his share of responsibility in the
action, he, on the contrary, increases it, since he makes violent efforts
to keep off all the scruples or hesitations which might keep him from
committing it.

3. "No one is held to do impossible things." According to this theory, it
is evident that one is not responsible for an action he has been
absolutely unable to accomplish; thus we cannot blame a paralytic, or a
child, or an invalid, for not taking up arms in defence of his country.
Yet we must not have voluntarily created the impossibility of acting, as
it often happened in Rome, where some, in order not to go to war, cut off
their thumbs. The same with a debtor who, by circumstances independent of
his will (fire, shipwreck, epidemics), is unable to acquit himself: he is
excusable; but if he placed himself in circumstances which he knew would
disable him, his inability is no longer an excuse.

4. Natural qualities or defects of mind and body cannot be imputed to any
one, either for good or for bad. Who would reproach a man for being born
blind, or because he became so in consequence of sickness or a blow? The
same with the defects of the mind: no one is responsible for having no
memory, or for not being bright. Yet as these defects may be corrected by
exercise, we are more or less responsible for making no efforts to remedy
them. As to the defects or deformities which result from our own fault,
as, for example, the consequences of our passions, it is evident that they
can justly be imputed to us. Natural qualities cannot be credited to any
one. Thus we should not honor people for their physical strength, health,
beauty, or even wit; and no one should boast of such advantages, or pride
himself on them. However, he who by a wise and laborious life has
succeeded in preserving or developing his physical strength, or who, by
the effort of his will, has cultivated and perfected his mind, deserves
praise; and it is thus that physical and moral advantages may become
indirectly legitimate matter for moral approbation.

5. The effects of extraneous causes and events, whatever they may be,
whether good or bad, can only be imputed to a man, as he could or should
have produced, prevented, or directed them, and has been careful or
negligent in doing so. Thus a farmer, according as he works the land
entrusted to him well or badly, is made responsible for a good or bad

6. A final question is that of the responsibility of a man for other
people's actions. Theoretically, no man certainly is responsible for any
but his own actions. But human actions are so interlinked with each other
that it is very rare that we have not some share, direct or indirect, in
the conduct of others. For instance, one is responsible in a certain
measure for the conduct of those under him; a father for his children, a
master for his servants, and, up to a certain point, an employer for his
workmen; 2, one is responsible in a measure for actions which he might
have prevented, when, either through negligence or laziness, he did not do
so; if you see a man about to kill himself, and make no effort to prevent
it, you are not innocent of his death, unless, of course, you did not
suspect what he was going to do; 3, you are responsible for other people's
actions when, either by your instigations, or even by a simple
approbation, you have co-operated towards them.

=15. Moral sanction.=--We call the _sanction_ of a law the body of
recompenses and punishments attached to the execution or violation of the
law. Civil laws, in general, make more use of punishments than rewards;
for punishments may appear means sufficient to have the law executed. In
education, on the contrary, the commands or laws laid down by a superior,
have as much need of rewards as punishments.

But what is to be understood by the terms _recompense_ and _punishment_?
The recompense of a good and virtuous action is the pleasure we derive
from it, and for the very reason that it is good and virtuous.

There are to be distinguished, however, two other kinds of rewards, which,
though they resemble recompense, are nevertheless very different from it
namely, _favor_ and _remuneration_.

Favor is a pleasure or an advantage bestowed on us, without our having
deserved or earned it; a pure expression of the good-will of others
towards us. It is thus that a king grants favors to his courtiers, that
those in power distribute favors. It is thus we speak of the favors of
fortune. Although theoretically there is no reason why we should
understand the word favor in a bad sense, yet has it by usage come to
signify not only an advantage undeserved, but unworthy; not only a
legitimate preference which has its reason in sympathy, but an arbitrary
choice more or less contrary to justice. However, although no such ugly
signification need be attached to it, a favor, as a gratuitous gift, must
always be distinguished from reward, which, on the contrary, implies a
_remuneration_; that is to say, a gift in return for something.

Yet not all remuneration is necessarily a reward; and here we must
establish another distinction between reward and remuneration. By
remuneration we mean the price we pay for a service rendered us, no matter
what motive may determine a person to render us this service; it is for
its utility we pay, and for nothing else. The reward, on the contrary,
implies the idea of a certain effort to do good. He who renders us a
service from affection and devotion, would refuse being _paid_ for it,
and, _vice versa_, he who sells us his work does not ask us for a
recompense, but for an equivalent of what he would have earned for himself
if he had applied his work to his own wants.

On the contrary, we call every pain or suffering inflicted on an agent for
committing a bad action, for no other reason than that it is bad,
chastisement or punishment.

Punishment stands against _damage_ or _wrong_; that is to say, against
undeserved harm. The _blows_ of fortune or of men are not always
punishments. One may be _struck_ without being punished.

Although we say in a general way that the ills that befall men are often
the chastisements of their faults, yet this should not be taken too
strictly, otherwise we should too easily transform the merely unfortunate
into criminals.

Although recompenses and punishments may be only secondary means by which
men may be led to do good and avoid evil, this should not be their
essential office nor their real idea.

It is not that the law _should be_ fulfilled that there are rewards and
punishments in morality; it is _because_ it has been fulfilled or
violated. Such is the true principle of reward. It comes from justice, not

For the same reason, chastisement, in its true sense, should not only be a
_menace_ insuring the execution of the law, but a _reparation_ or
_expiation_ for its violation. The order of things disturbed by a
rebellious will is again re-established by the suffering which is the
consequence of the fault committed. In one sense it may be said that
punishment is the _remedy_ for the fault. In fact, injustice and vice
being, as it were, the diseases of the soul, it is certain that suffering
is their remedy; but only on condition that this suffering be accepted by
way of chastisement. It is thus that grief has a purifying virtue, and
that instead of being considered an evil, it may be called a good.

Another confusion of ideas which should be equally avoided, and which is
very common among men, is that which consists in taking the reward itself
for a good, and the punishment for an evil.

It is thus that men are often more proud of the titles and honors they
have obtained, than of the real merit through which they have won them. It
is thus also that they fear the prison more than the crime, and shame more
than vice.

It is for this reason that the greatest courage is needed to bear
undeserved punishment.

We distinguish generally _four species_ of sanction:

1. _Natural_ sanction; 2, _legal_ sanction; 3, the sanction of _public
opinion_; 4, _inward_ sanction.

1. Natural sanction is that which rests on the natural consequences of our
actions. It is natural for sobriety to keep up and establish health, for
intemperance to be a cause of disease. It is natural for work to bring
with it ease of circumstances, for idleness to be a source of misery and
poverty. It is natural that probity should insure security, confidence,
and credit; that courage should put off the chances of death; that
patience should render life more bearable; that good-will should call
forth good-will; that wickedness should drive men from us; that perjury
should cause them to distrust us, etc. These facts have ever been verified
by experience. The honest is not always the useful; but it is often what
is most useful.

2. _Legal_ sanction is above all a _penal_ sanction. It is composed of the
chastisements which the law has established for the guilty. There are, in
general, few rewards established by the law, and they may be classed among
what is called the esteem of men.

3. Another kind of sanction consists in the _opinion_ other men entertain
in regard to our actions and character. We have seen that it is in the
nature of good actions to inspire esteem, in the nature of the bad to
inspire blame and contempt. The honest man generally enjoys public honor
and consideration. The dishonest man, even though the law does not reach
him, is branded with discredit, aversion, contempt, etc.

4. Finally, a more exact and certain sanction is that which results from
the very conscience and moral sentiment mentioned above.

=16. The superior sanction: the future life.=--These various sanctions
being insufficient to satisfy our want of justice, there is required still
another, namely, the _superior religious_ sanction.

It is a well-known fact that virtue is not a sufficient shield to protect
us against the blows of adversity, and that immorality does not
necessarily condemn one to misery and grief. It is evident that a man
corrupt and wicked may be born with all the advantages of genius, fortune,
health; and that an honest man may have inherited none of these.

There is in this neither injustice nor blind chance; but it proves that
the harmony between moral good and happiness is not of this world.

In regard to the pleasures and pains of conscience, it is also evident
that they are not sufficient. In fact, the pleasures of the senses may
divert and deaden the pangs of remorse; and it must also be said, though
it be still more sad, that it sometimes happens that a merciless
continuance of misfortune deadens in an honest soul the delight in virtue;
and the painful efforts which virtue costs may finally obliterate in a
man, tired of life, the calm and sweet enjoyment which it naturally brings
with it.

If such is the disproportion and disagreement between the inner pleasures
and pains, and the moral merit of him who experiences them, what shall we
say of that wholly outward sanction which consists in the rewards and
punishments distributed by the unequal justice of man? I do not speak of
legal pains alone; it is well known that they often fall upon the
innocent, and are spared to the guilty; that they are almost always
disproportioned: the law punishing the crime, without taking note of the
exact moral value of the action; but I speak also of the pains and rewards
of public opinion, esteem, and contempt. Are these always in an exact
proportion to merit?

From all these observations it results that the law of harmony between
good and happiness is not of this world; that there is always
disagreement, or at least disproportion, between moral merit and the
pleasures of the senses. Hence the necessity of a superior sanction, the
means and time of which are in the hand of God.

"The more I go within myself," says a philosopher,[5] "the more I consult
myself, the more I read these words written in my soul: _be just and thou
shalt be happy_. And yet it is not so, looking at the actual state of
things: the wicked prosper, and the just are oppressed. See, also, what
indignation arises in us when this expectation is frustrated! The
conscience murmurs and rebels against its author; it cries to him,
groaning: Thou hast deceived me! I have deceived thee, oh thou rash one?
Who has told thee so? Is thy soul annihilated? Hast thou ceased to exist?
Oh, Brutus! oh, my son, do not stain thy noble life by putting an end to
it; do not leave thy hopes and glory with thy body on the fields of
Philippi. Why sayest thou: Virtue is nothing when thou art now about
entering into the enjoyment of thine? Thou shalt die, thinkest thou; no,
thou shalt live, and it is then I shall keep what I have promised! One
would say, hearing the murmurings of impatient mortals, that God owes them
a reward before they have shown any merit, and that he is obliged to pay
their virtue in advance. Oh! let us first be good; we shall be happy
afterwards. Do not let us claim the prize before the victory, nor the
salary before the work. 'It is not in the lists,' says Plutarch, 'that the
victors in our sacred games are crowned; it is after they have run the




    =Division of duties.=--In theory there is but one duty, which is to do
    right; but this duty is subdivided according to the various relations
    of man. Hence three classes of duties: duties towards ourselves,
    towards others, towards God: _individual_, _social_, _religious_
    morality. We will begin with social morality, which requires the most

    =General principles of social duties:= to do good; not to do evil.

    =Different degrees of this double obligation:= 1, not to return evil
    for good (_ingratitude_); 2, not to do evil to those who have not done
    us any (_injustice and cruelty_); 3, not to return evil for evil
    (_revenge_); 4, to return good for good (_gratitude_); 5, to do good
    to those who have not done us any (_charity_); 6, to return good for
    evil (_clemency_, _generosity_).

    =Distinction between the various kinds of social duties:= 1, towards
    the _lives_ of other men; 2, towards their _property_; 3, towards
    their _family_; 4, towards their _honor_; 5, towards their _liberty_.

    =Distinction between the duties of justice and the duties of
    charity.=--Justice is absolute, without restriction, without exception.
    Charity, although as obligatory as justice, is more independent in its
    application. It chooses its time and place; its objects and means;
    _its beauty is in its liberty_.

We have seen that _practical_ morality or _private_ morality has for its
object to acquaint us with the _application_ of theoretical morality. It
bears not so much on _duty_ as on _duties_. The first question, then, that
presents itself to us is that of the _division of duties_.

=17. Division of duties.=--It has been reasonably asserted that there is in
reality but one duty, which is to do good under all circumstances, the
same as it has also been said that there is but one virtue: wisdom, or
obedience to the laws of reason. But as these two general divisions teach
us in reality nothing touching our various actions, which are very
numerous, it is useful and necessary to classify the principal
circumstances in which we have to act, in order to specify in a more
particular manner wherein the general principle which commands us to do
good may be applied in each case.

Human actions may then be divided, either in regard to the different
beings they have for their object, or in regard to the various faculties
to which they relate.

The ancients divided morality particularly in reference to the divers
human _faculties_, and in private morality they considered above all the

The moderns, on the other hand, have divided morality particularly in its
relations to the different _objects_ of our actions; and, in private
morality, they have considered, above all, the _duties_.

The ancients reduced all virtues to four principal ones: _prudence_,
_temperance_, _courage_, and _justice_. This division was transmitted to
us, and it is these four virtues which the catechism teaches under the
name of _cardinal_ virtues.

The moderns reduced duties to three classes: the duties towards
_ourselves_, towards _others_, and towards _God_. Some add a fourth class,
namely, duties towards _animals_.

That portion of morality which treats of the duties towards ourselves, is
called _individual_ morality; that which treats of the duties towards God,
is called _religious morality_; that which treats of the duties towards
other men, _social morality_. As to the duties towards animals, they are
of so secondary an order, that it is not worth while to classify them
apart; we shall include them in social morality.

Social morality is by far the most extended in precepts and applications,
the various relations of men with each other being extremely numerous. It
may be subdivided into three parts: 1, general duties of _social_ life, or
morality _properly called social_; 2, duties towards the State, or _civil_
morality; 3, duties towards the family, or _domestic_ morality.

We will begin with the study of social morality, social duties towards men
in general, and we will first establish their principles and different

Let us in a few pages rapidly take a summary review of the general
principles of _social_ morality.

=18. General principles of social duties: to do good, not to do evil.=--All
human actions, in regard to others, may be reduced to these two precepts:
1, to do good to men; 2, not to do them harm. To this all the virtues of
social morality may be reduced. But before exhibiting these virtues and
vices more in detail, let us explain what is understood by the expressions
_to do good_ and _to do evil_.

In the most general and apparent sense to do any one good would seem to be
_to give him pleasure_; to do him harm, would seem to be _to give him
pain_. Yet, is it always doing good to a person to procure him pleasure?
and is it always doing him harm, to cause him pain? For example, Kant[6]
says, "Shall we allow the idler soft cushions; the drunkard wines in
abundance; the rogue an agreeable face and manners, to deceive more
easily; the violent man audacity and a good fist?" Would it really be
doing good to these men to grant them the object of their desires, what
may satisfy their passions? On the other hand, the surgeon who amputates a
mortified limb, the dentist who pulls out a bad tooth, the teacher who
obliges you to learn, the father who corrects your faults or restrains
your passions, do they really do you harm because they give you pain? No,
certainly not. There are, then, cases where to do some one good is to
cause him pain, and to do him harm is to procure him pleasure.

One may reasonably reduce all principles of social morality to these two
maxims of the gospel: "Do not do to others what you do not wish them do
to you;"--"Do to others as you wish to be done by." These two maxims are
admirable, certainly; but they must be interpreted rightly. If, for
instance, we have done wrong, do we generally wish to be corrected and
punished? When we are yielding to a passion, do we wish to be repressed in
it, have it repelled? On the contrary, do we not rather wish to be allowed
to enjoy it, and have the free range of our vices? Is not this generally
what we all wish, when the voice of duty is mute and does not silence our
passionate feelings? If this is so, should we wish to do to others as we
wish in similar circumstances, namely, in the gratification of passions,
to be done by? Should we not rather do to them what we should not like
them do to us, that is, punish and correct them? It is evidently not in
that sense we are to understand the two evangelical maxims; for they would
be then no other than maxims of remissness and improper kindness; whilst
they, on the contrary, express most admirably a moral truth; only when
they speak of what we wish, they mean a _true_ and _good_ wish, not the
desires of passion; the same when we recommend men to do good, we mean
real good and not apparent good; as also in recommending to do no harm, we
mean real harm, not the illusory harm of the senses, imagination and

Thus, to well understand the duties we have to fulfil towards other men,
we must understand the distinction between _true good_ and _false good_.
False good is that which consists exclusively in pleasure, all abstraction
being made of usefulness or moral value; as, for example, the pleasures of
passions. True good is that which independently of pleasure recommends
itself either through usefulness or through moral value; as, for instance,
health or education. The real evils, of course, are those which injure
either the interests of others or their moral dignity, such as misery or
corruption. Apparent evils are those which cause us to suffer but a moment
and redeem themselves by subsequent advantages: as, for instance, remedies
or chastisements.

When we speak of good in regard to others, we should not fear to
understand by that their interest, as well as their moral welfare; for,
though we should not make our own interest the aim of our actions, it is
not so in our relation with others. The seeking of our own happiness has
no moral value; but the seeking of other people's happiness may have one,
provided, we repeat, that we do not deceive ourselves touching the real
sense of the word _happiness_, and that we do not understand by it a
deceitful and short-lived delight.

"To do to others _as we wish_ to be done by; not to do to them what we do
_not wish_ they should do us," should, therefore, be understood in the
sense of an _enlightened_ will, which wills for itself nothing but what is
truly conformable either to a proper interest or to virtue. Thus
understood (and it is their true sense[7]), these two maxims comprehend
perfectly the whole of social morality.

=19. Different degrees of this double obligation.=--The sense of these two
expressions, to do good and to do harm, being now well-defined, let us
examine the various cases which may present themselves, in rising, so to
say, from the lowest to the highest round of duty. Let us first suppose a
certain good or a certain evil, which will not vary in any of the
following cases: this is the scale one may observe starting from the least
virtue, to which corresponds evidently the greatest vice (by virtue of the
principle set forth above[8]), to rise to the highest virtue, to which the
least vice corresponds.

1. _Not to return evil for good._--This is, one may say (all things being
equal), the feeblest of the virtues, as to return evil for good
constitutes the greatest of wrongs. Say, for example, homicide: is it not
evident that the murder of a benefactor is the most abominable of all?
that to rob a benefactor is the most horrible of robberies? that the
slander of a benefactor is the most criminal of slanders? On the other
hand again, not to kill, not to steal, not to slander, not to deceive a
benefactor, is the minimum of moral virtue. To abstain from doing harm to
him who has done you good, is a wholly negative virtue, which is simply
the absence of a crime. We cannot call that gratitude, for gratitude is a
positive virtue, not a negative one; it is all in action, and not in
omission; but, before being grateful, the first condition at least, is to
be not ungrateful. We shall then say that the greatest of crimes is
_ingratitude._ It is by reason of this principle that the crimes towards
parents are the most odious of all; for we have no greater benefactors
than our parents, and without mentioning the crimes nature finds repugnant
enough, it is evident that the same kind of harm (wounds, blows, insults,
negligence, etc.) will always be more blamable when done to parents than
to any other benefactors, and to benefactors in general, than to any other

2. _Not to do harm to those who have not done us any._--The violation of
this maxim is the second degree of crime and of sin, somewhat less serious
than the preceding one, but still odious enough that to abstain from it
is, in many cases, a rather feeble virtue. Not to kill, not to steal, not
to deceive, not to expose one's self to the punishments of the law, are,
indeed, of a very feeble moral value; whilst their contraries constitute
the basest and most odious of actions.

The kind of vice which injures others without provocation is what is
called _injustice_, and when the pleasure of doing wrong is joined
thereto, it is called _cruelty_. Cruelty is an injustice which rejoices in
the harm done to others; injustice contents itself with taking advantage
of it. There is, therefore, a higher degree of evil in cruelty than in
injustice pure and simple.

The virtue opposed to injustice is _justice_, which has two degrees and
two forms: the one negative, which consists simply in abstaining from
doing _injury to any one_; the second positive, which consists in
_rendering to each his due_. This second form of justice is more difficult
than the first, for it is active. It is more difficult to restore to
others what we hold as our own, or to pay one's debts, than to abstain
from stealing; it is more difficult to speak well of one's rivals, than to
abstain from slandering them; it is more difficult to give up one's
position to another who deserves it, than to abstain from taking his; and
yet there are cases where justice requires one should act instead of
simply abstaining.

3. _Not to return evil for good._--Here we rise, in some respect, a degree
in the moral scale. The two inferior degrees, namely, ingratitude and
cruelty, have always and everywhere been considered as crimes. Nowhere has
it ever been considered allowable to do harm to those who have done us
good. But in nearly all societies, at a certain degree of civilization,
has it been considered allowable, and even praiseworthy, to return evil
for evil. "To do good to our friends, and harm to our enemies," is one of
the maxims the poets and sages of Greece oftenest repeat. Among the
Indians of America, glory consists in ornamenting one's dwelling with the
greatest possible number of scalps taken from conquered enemies. We know
about the Corsican _vendetta_. In one word, the passion of revenge (which
consists precisely in returning evil for evil) is one of the most natural
and the most profound in the human heart, and it demands a very advanced
moral education to comprehend that revenge is contrary to the laws of
morality. Now, as the beauty of virtue is in proportion to the difficulty
of the passions to be overcome, it is evident that the virtues contrary to
revenge, namely: _gentleness_, _clemency_, _pardon of injuries_, are
amongst the most beautiful and most sublime. Already among the ancients
had morality reached this maxim, that one should not do any harm, namely,
even to those who had done us some, as may be seen from the dialogue of
Plato, entitled the _Crito_. "_Socrates_: One should then commit no
injustice whatsoever?" "_Crito_: No, certainly not." "_Socrates_: Then
should one not be unjust even towards those who are unjust towards us."

4. Thus far we have only spoken of the virtues which express themselves
negatively, and which consist especially in doing no harm. Let us now
consider those which express themselves affirmatively, and which consist
in doing good. The first degree is to return _good for good_: which is
gratitude, the contrary of which, as we have seen, is ingratitude; but
there are two sorts of ingratitude, as there are two sorts of gratitude.
There is a negative ingratitude, as there is a positive ingratitude. The
positive ingratitude, which is, as we have seen, the most odious of all
crimes, consists in returning evil for good; negative ingratitude consists
simply in not returning good for good, namely, in forgetting a kindness.
It is not so reprehensible as the former, but it has still a certain
character of baseness. Gratitude is also twofold in its degrees and forms:
it is negative, inasmuch as it abstains from injuring a benefactor;[9] it
is positive, inasmuch as it returns good for good. In one sense, gratitude
is a part of justice, for it consists in returning to a benefactor what is
due him; but it is also a notable part, and one which deserves being
pointed out, for it seems that there is nothing easier than to return good
for good; and experience, on the contrary, teaches us that there is
nothing more rare. [This is certainly too strongly put.]

5. _To do good to those who have done us neither good nor harm._ This is
what is called charity, which is a degree above the preceding, for in the
preceding case we scarcely do more than give back what we have received;
in this case we put in something of our own. But to characterize this new
degree of virtue, it is necessary to well explain that the question
relates to a good _that is not due_. For justice, we have seen, does not
always mean to abstain from evil; it even does good sometimes. To restore
a trust to one not expecting it; to do good to him who deserves it; to
elect to a position one worthy of it; or, what is still more heroic, to
give one's own position up to him, this evidently is doing good to others,
and to those who have not done us any; but these are goods _due_, which
already belong in some respects to those upon whom we confer them. It is
not so with the goods which charity distributes. The gifts I make to the
poor, the consolations I give to the afflicted, the care I bestow upon the
sick, all of which take from my time, my interests, and my life which I
endanger to save a fellow-being, are also goods which are my own and not
his. I do not return to him what he would otherwise legitimately possess,
whether he knows it or not. I give him something of my own; it is a pure
_gift_. This gift is suggested to me by love, not by justice. The contrary
of charity or devotion to others is _selfishness_.

Finally, there is a last degree above all other preceding degrees, namely,
_to return good for evil_. This kind of virtue, the highest of all, has no
particular name in the language. Charity, in fact, consists in doing good
generally, and comprises the two degrees: to do good to the unfortunate,
and return good for evil. Clemency may consist in simply pardoning; it
does not necessarily go so far as to return good for evil.

Corneille might as well have called his tragedy of Cinna, the Clemency of
Augustus, even if Augustus had merely pardoned Cinna, and not added: "Let
us be friends!" Thus has this great and magnificent virtue no name, and as
science is powerless in creating words suitable for every-day language, it
must rest satisfied with periphrases. Nevertheless, this sublime virtue
finds nowhere a grander expression than in those maxims of the Gospel:
"You have been told that it was said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor and
hate thy enemy: But I say to you: Love your enemies; do good to those that
hate you, and pray for those that despitefully use you and persecute

=20. Different kinds of social duties.=--After the preceding division,
which answers to the different degrees of obligation which may exist among
men, there is another classification which rests on the various _species_
or _kinds_ of duties which we may have to perform towards our
fellow-beings. Let us first briefly state what will be developed at
greater length in the following chapters.

1. _Duties relating to the life of others._--According to the two maxims
cited above, these duties are of two kinds: 1, not to attempt the life of
others; 2, to make efforts to save the life of others. All attempt at the
life of others is called _homicide_. When accompanied by perfidy or
treason, it is _assassination_. The murder of parents by children is
called _parricide_; of children by parents (especially at the tenderest
age), _infanticide_; of brothers by brothers, _fratricide_. All these
crimes are most odious, and most repugnant to the human heart. Murder is
never permitted, even when the highest interest and the greatest good is
at stake. Thus did the ancients err in believing that the murder of a
tyrant, or _tyrannicide_, was not only legitimate, but also honorable and
beautiful. However, there is to be excepted the case of _legitimate
self-defense_; for we cannot be forbidden to defend ourselves against him
who wishes to deprive us of life. But the _duel_ should not be considered
an act of legitimate self-defense: that is evident in the case of the
aggressor; and, on the other side, there is only the defense that there
has been the consent to be put in peril. As to the question whether an
attack on honor is not equivalent to an attack on life, it cannot be said
that it is false in all cases; but the abuse of the thing is here so near
the principle, that it is wiser to condemn altogether a barbarous
practice, of which so deplorable an abuse has been made. Finally, homicide
in war, within the conditions authorized by international law, is
considered a case of legitimate self-defense.[10]

If murder is the most criminal of actions, and the most revolting to our
sensibilities, the action, on the contrary, which consists in _saving the
life_ of others is the most beautiful of all. "The good shepherd gives his
life for the sheep."

With the fundamental duty not to attempt the life of other men, is
connected, as corollary, the duty not to injure them bodily by blows or
wounds, or by dangerous violence done to their health, and, conversely, to
assist them in illness.

2. _Duties relating to property._--It is evident[11] that man cannot
preserve his life and render it happy and comfortable without a certain
number of material objects which are his. The legitimate possession of
these goods is what is called _property_.[12] The right of property rests
in one respect on social utility, and in the other on human labor. On the
one hand, society cannot subsist without a certain order that settles for
each what is _his own_; on the other, it is but right that each should be
the proprietor of what he has earned by his work; the right of possession
carries with it the right of economizing, and, consequently, the right of
forming a _capital_, and, moreover, the right of using this capital in
making it bear _interest_. Again, the right of preserving implies also the
right of _transmission_; hence the legitimacy of _inheritance_.

Property once founded upon law, it becomes our duty not to transgress the
law. The act of taking what belongs to another is called _theft_. Theft is
absolutely forbidden by the moral law, whatever name it may assume, or
under whatever prestige it may present itself. "Thou shalt not steal."
Theft does not consist merely in putting one's hand into a neighbor's
pocket; it includes all possible ways whereby the property of others may
be appropriated. For example, to _defraud_ in regard to the quality of the
thing sold; to practice illegal _stock-jobbing_; to convert to one's own
use a _deposit_ entrusted to one's care; to borrow without knowing
whether one can pay, and after having borrowed, to disown the debt, or
refuse to pay it; there are as many forms of theft as there are ways of
appropriating the property of others.

Regarding the property of others, the negative duty then consists in not
taking what belongs to others. The positive duty consists in assisting
others with one's own property, in relieving their misery. This is called
_benevolence_, which benevolence may be exercised in various ways, either
by _gift_, or by _loan_. It may also be exercised in _kind,_ that is in
giving to others the objects necessary to their maintenance or support, or
in money, that is, in furnishing them the means of procuring them; or in
_work_, which is the best of all gifts; for in thus relieving others we
procure them the means of helping themselves.

With the duty relating to the property of others, are connected as
corollaries, the duties relating to the observance of agreements or
contracts; the transmission of property in society being not always done
from hand to hand, but by means of promises and writings. To fail in
keeping one's promise, to pervert the sense of solemn contracts, is, on
the one side, to appropriate other people's property, and on the other, to
lie and deceive, and thus to fail in a double duty.

3. _Duties relating to the families of others._--We have seen above what
are the duties of man in his family; there remains to be said a few words
touching the duties towards the families of others. One may fail in these
duties either by violating the conjugal bond, which is _adultery_; or by
carrying off other people's children, which is _abduction_, or by
depraving them through bad advice or bad examples, which is _corruption_.

4. _Duties relating to the honor of others._--One may fail in these
duties, either by saying to a man (who does not deserve it), wounding and
rude things to his face, which are _insults_, or in speaking ill of
others; and here we distinguish two degrees: if what is said is true, it
is _backbiting_; if what is said is false and an invention, it is
_slander_. In general one must not too easily ascribe evil to other men;
this kind of defect is what is called _rash judgments_.

The _positive_ duty respecting other people's reputation is to be just
towards every one, even towards one's enemies; to speak well of them if
they deserve it, and even of those who speak ill of us. It is a duty to
entertain a kindly disposition towards men in general, provided this does
not go so far as to wink at wrong. In our relations with our neighbors,
usage of the world has, in order to avoid quarrels and insults, introduced
what is called _politeness_, which, for being a worldly virtue, is not the
less a necessary virtue in the order of society.

5. _Duties towards the liberty of others._--These are rather the duties of
the State than of the individual. They consist in respecting in others the
liberty of conscience, the liberty of labor, individual liberty, personal
responsibility, all of which are the _natural rights_ of man. However,
private individuals may themselves also fail in this kind of duties. The
violation of the liberty of conscience is called _intolerance_; it
consists either in employing force to constrain the consciences, or in
imputing bad morals or bad motives to those who do not think as we do. The
virtue opposed to intolerance is _tolerance_, a disposition of the soul
which consists, not in approving what we think false, but in respecting in
others what we wish they should respect in us, namely, conscience. One may
also violate individual liberty, the liberty of labor, in keeping one's
fellow-beings in _slavery_; but slavery is rather a social institution
than an individual act. However, there may be cases where one may seek to
injure other people's work, in restraining others by threats from work;
which, for example, takes sometimes place in workmen's strikes. There is
also a certain way of domineering over the freedom of others without
restraining it materially, which constitutes real _tyranny_; it is the
dominion which a strong will exercises over a feeble will, and of which it
too often is tempted to take advantage. On the contrary, it is a duty,
not only to respect the liberty of others, but also to encourage it, to
develop it, to enlighten it through education.

6. _Duties relating to friendship._--All the preceding duties are the same
towards all men. There are others which concern more particularly certain
men, those, for example, to whom we are attached either by congeniality of
disposition or uniformity of occupation, or a common education, etc.,
those, namely, whom we call _friends_. The duties relating to friendship
are: 1, to choose well one's friends; to choose the honest, and
enlightened, in order to find in their society encouragement to
right-doing. Nothing more dangerous than pleasure-friends or interested
friends, united by vices and passions, instead of being united by wisdom
and virtue; 2, the friends once chosen, the reciprocal duty is _fidelity_.
They should treat each other with perfect _equality_ and with
_confidence_. They owe each other _secrecy_ when they mutually entrust
their dearest interests; they owe each other _self-devotion_ when they
need each other's help. Finally, they owe to each other in a more strict
and rigorous a sense, all they generally owe to other men, for the faults
or crimes against humanity in general assume a still more odious character
when against friends.

=21. Professional duties and civic duties.=--Such are the general duties of
men in relation to each other, when simply viewed as men. But these duties
become diversified and specialized according as we view man either in the
light of the private functions he fills in society, which are his
_professional_ duties, or in the light of the particular society of which
he is a member, and which is called the _State_ or the country, and these
are the _civic_ duties. (See chapters xii. and xiii.)

=22. Distinction between the duties of justice and the duties of
charity.=--We have said above that all the social duties could be reduced
to these two maxims: "Do not do unto others what you do not wish they
should do to you. Do to others as you wish to be done by." These two
maxims correspond with what is called: 1, the duties of _justice_; 2, the
duties of _charity_.

The first consists in not doing wrong, or at least in repairing the wrong
already done. Charity consists in doing good, or at least in giving to
others what is not really their due. A celebrated writer[13] has made a
very subtle and forcible distinction between these two virtues:

"The respect for the rights of others is called justice. All violation of
any right whatsoever is an injustice. The greatest of injustices, since it
comprises all, is slavery. Slavery is the subjugation of all the faculties
of a man for the benefit of another. Moral personality should be respected
in you as well as in me, and for the same reason. In regard to myself it
has imposed a duty on me; in you it becomes the foundation of a right, and
imposes thereby, relatively to you, a new duty on me. I owe you the truth
as I owe it to myself, and it is my strict duty to respect the development
of your intelligence and not arrest its progress towards the truth. I must
also respect your liberty; perhaps even I owe it to you more than I do to
myself, for I have not always the right to prevent you from making a

"I must respect you in your affections, which are a part of yourself; and
of all the affections none are more holy than those of the family. To
violate the conjugal and paternal right is to violate what a person holds
most sacred.

"I owe respect to your body, inasmuch as belonging to you, it is the
instrument of your personality. I have neither the right to kill you nor
to wound you, unless in self-defense.

"I owe respect to your property, for it is the product of your labor; I
owe respect to your labor, which is your very liberty in action; and if
your property comes from inheritance, I owe respect to the free will which
has transmitted it to you.

"Justice, that is, the respect for the person in all that constitutes his
personality, is the first duty of man towards his fellow-man. Is this duty
the only one?

"When we have respected the person of others, when we have neither put a
restraint upon their liberty, nor smothered their intelligence, nor
maltreated their body, nor interfered with their family rights nor their
property, can we say that we have fulfilled towards them all moral duties?
A wretch is here suffering before us. Is our conscience satisfied if we
can assure ourselves that we have not contributed to his sufferings? No;
something tells us that it would be well if we should give him bread,
help, consolation; and yet this man in pain, who, perhaps, is going to
die, has not the least right to the least part of our fortune, were this
fortune ever so great; and if he were to use violence to take a farthing
from us, he would commit a crime. We shall meet here a new order of duties
which do not correspond to rights. Man, we have seen, may resort to force
to have his rights respected, but he cannot impose on another a sacrifice,
whatever that may be. Justice _respects_ or _restores_: charity _gives_.

"One cannot say that to be charitable is not obligatory; but this
obligation is by no means as precise and as inflexible as justice. Charity
implies sacrifice. Now, who will furnish the rule for sacrifice, the
formula for self-renunciation? For justice, the formula is clear: to
respect the rights of others. But charity knows neither rule nor limits.
It is above all obligation. Its beauty is precisely in its liberty."

It follows from these considerations that justice is absolute, without
restriction, without exception. Charity, whilst it is as obligatory as
justice, is more independent in its applications; it chooses its place and
its time, considers its objects and means. In a word, as Victor Cousin
says, "its beauty is in its liberty."

Let us not hesitate to borrow from the Apostle St. Paul his admirable
exaltation of charity:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal."

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and
all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove
mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."[14]

"And though I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my
body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity
vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up."

"Doth not behave itself unseemely; seeketh not her own; is not easily
provoked; thinketh no evil."

"Beareth all things; believeth all things; endureth all things."[15]




    =Division of the duties of justice.=--Four kinds of duties: 1, towards
    the life of others; 2, towards the liberty of others; 3, towards the
    honor of others; 4, towards the property of others.

    =Duties towards human life.=--Avoid homicide, acts of violence, and
    mutilation. Pascal and the _Provinciales_.

    =The right of self-defense.=--Right to oppose force to force. Limits of
    this right.

    =Problems.=--Four very grave problems are bound up in the question of
    self-defense: 1, the penalty of death; 2, political assassination; 3,
    the duel; 4, war.

    =The penalty of death.=--The penalty of death is the right of
    self-defense exercised by society: it is just so far as it is

    =Political assassination.=--Murder is always a crime, under whatever
    pretext it may conceal itself.

    =The duel.=--The duel is at the same time a _homicide_ and a _suicide_;
    it is falsely considered justice, since it appeals to chance and

    =War.=--War is the only mode of self-defense existing among nations; it
    is desirable for the sake of humanity that it may some day disappear;
    but humanity cannot now exact this sacrifice of the country.

=23. Division of social duties.=--According to the foregoing distinctions,
we will first divide duties into _duties of justice_ and _duties of

Let us begin by expounding the duties of justice.

These duties may be summed up in a general manner in _the respect for the
person of others_, and for all that is necessary for the preservation and
development of that person. Hence four kinds of duties:

    1. Towards the life of other men.

    2. Towards their liberty.

    3. Towards their honor.

    4. Towards their property.

Besides these duties, purely negative, which consist only in doing others
no harm, there are also the duties of justice, which may be called
_positive_; and which consist not only in not injuring others, but also in
granting each what he has a right to. This is called _distributive_ or
_remunerative_ justice, and is the duty of all those who have others under
them, and who are commissioned to distribute rewards, titles, or

=24. Duties towards the life of men.=--We have seen above that
self-preservation is the duty of every one, and that one should not
attempt one's own life, nor mutilate one's self, nor injure one's health.
Now, all these obligations which we have towards ourselves, we have
equally towards others; for that which each owes to himself, he owes it to
his quality, as _man_, to his quality as a free and reasonable being, a
_moral person_. It is, as Kant says, humanity itself that each one must
respect in his own person; and it is also humanity which each must respect
in others. We should not do to others what we do not wish that they should
do to us, or what we should not wish to do to ourselves. Now, no one
wishes others to attempt his life; no one should wish to attempt it
himself. For the same reason he should not wish to attempt the life of

These are such self-evident considerations that it is useless to insist on
them. Let us add that this duty rests, besides, on one of the most
powerful instincts of humanity, the instinct of sympathy for other men,
the horror of their sufferings, the horror of spilt blood. Those who are
wanting in this sentiment are like monsters in the midst of humanity.

One of the corollaries of this principle is to avoid the blows and wounds
which might, through imprudence and unexpectedly, cause death, and which,
besides, are in themselves to be condemned, inasmuch as they contribute,
if not towards destroying, at least towards mutilating, the person and
rendering it unfitted to fulfil its duties and functions. In a word, to
avoid scuffles, bodily quarrels, which are unworthy, moreover, from their
very brutality, of a reasonable being; all this is comprised in the duty
of avoiding homicide. All may be summed up in these words of the
Decalogue: "_Thou shalt not kill_."

Pascal, in his letter on homicide (xiv. _Provinciale_), expressed most
eloquently the duty concerning the respect for human life:

    "Everybody knows, my fathers, that individuals are never permitted to
    seek the death of any person, and that, even if a man should have
    ruined us, maimed us, burnt our houses, killed our parents, and was
    preparing to murder us, to rob us of our honor, that our seeking his
    death would not be listened to in a court of justice. So that it was
    necessary to establish public functionaries who seek it in the name of
    the king, or rather in the name of God. Suppose, then, these public
    functionaries should seek the death of him who has committed all these
    crimes, how would they proceed? Would they plunge the dagger in his
    breast at once? No; the life of man is too important; they would
    proceed with more consideration; the law has not left it subject to
    the decision of all sorts of people; but only to that of the judges,
    whose integrity and sufficiency have been ascertained. And think you
    that one alone is enough to condemn a man to death? No; there are at
    least seven required; and among these seven there must not be any one
    whom the criminal has in any way offended, for fear that his judgment
    be affected, or corrupted by anger. In short, they can judge him only
    upon the testimony of witnesses, and according to the other forms
    prescribed to them; in consequence of which they can conscientiously
    pronounce upon him only according to law, or judge worthy of death
    only those whom the law condemns."

After having thus expounded the innumerable precautions which society has
taken, out of respect for human life, touching the persons of criminals,
Pascal continues as follows:

    "Behold in what way, in the order of justice, the life of man is
    disposed of; let us see now how _you_ dispose of it.[16] In your new
    laws there is but one judge, and this judge is the offended party. He
    is at the same time judge, accuser, and executioner. He seeks himself
    the death of his enemy; he commands it, he executes him on the spot;
    and, without respect for either the body or soul of his brother, he
    kills and damns him for whom Christ died; and all this to avenge an
    affront, or slander, or an insulting word, or other similar offences
    for which a judge, although clothed with legal authority, would be
    considered a criminal if he should condemn to death those who had
    committed them, because the laws themselves are very far from
    condemning them."

Finally, gathering into one word all the evils which homicide comprises,
Pascal ends by saying "homicide is the only crime which at the same time
destroys the State, the Church, nature, and piety."

=25. The right of self-defense.=--None of the foregoing principles would
present the shadow of a difficulty to any except those who are nearer the
brute than man, if it were not for an apparent exception to the rule,
which is the _case of legitimate self-defense_. To understand properly the
solution of this question, it is necessary to examine carefully the nature
of the relations which bind men to each other.

Every man is a _moral person_; that is to say, a free being, and for that
very reason inviolable in his dignity and in his rights. He is, as Kant
says, an _end to himself_, and should not be treated as a _means_. The
things of nature are to us but means to satisfy our wants; we may
therefore mutilate and destroy them, not as our whims may dictate, but as
our wants require. Thus can we cut the finest trees of a forest to make
fire of, or for furniture. We even claim a similar right over animals,
although it may, perhaps, not be so evident. But we have no such right
over man. We can neither mutilate nor destroy him for our use.

And, in fact, to destroy or mutilate through sheer force a member of
humanity, is to apply to him the law of compulsion, which is the law of
physical nature, and which without reserve governs all physical
phenomena: it is to make of man _a thing of nature_, to see in him the
body only, and ignore the soul.

The consequence of such conduct is evident: it is that whosoever employs
against another the law of compulsion means thereby that he does not
recognize between himself and other men any other law but that. Treating
them as if they were purely physical agents, he gives us thereby to
understand that he recognizes himself, and expects to be treated, as such;
he means to take advantage of his strength as long as he is the strongest,
but gives us to understand thereby that he is satisfied to submit to
strength if he is the weaker.

It is here that the _right of self-defense_ comes in. He who is violently
attacked, has the right to oppose to violence just as much strength as
there is employed against him. Otherwise, in allowing himself to be
knocked down by strength, he would consent to the abasement, to the
suppression of his own personality; he would in some respect be the
accomplice of the violence he is made to suffer. Some Christian sects,
straining this point, go so far as to condemn absolutely the right of
self-defense; they do not see that this would infallibly bring with it the
triumph of brute force, and the suppression of all justice. Such sects
may, to a certain extent, manage to exist in civilized societies; but the
principle is self-destructive, since not to resist violence is in some
respect to be its accomplice.

Yet, whilst admitting the right of self-defense, it is necessary to
recognize its limits. "This agent," says M. Renouvier, "whom the right of
self-defense treats as a brute, this being is a man, nevertheless, or has
been one, or may become such. Hence the doctrine of conscience is to admit
this right only when necessary, and not beyond what is necessary." (_Moral
Science_, Ch. LVI.) This is, to begin with, a natural consequence of the
duties towards one's self, since it is already a surrender of one's
dignity to be obliged to act in the capacity of a physical agent, and
renounce one's character of a moral person; it is also a duty towards
humanity in general, which is represented by every man, even the most
violent and the most uncultivated.

=26. Problems.=--The right of legitimate self-defense gives rise to a
certain number of problems relative to the law of homicide. M. Jules
Simon[17] reduces them to five: homicide in case of self-defense, penalty
of death, political assassination, duel, and war. In the first case it is
implied in what precedes, that legitimate self-defense may go so far as to
deprive another man of life; but only in case of absolute necessity.

There remain the four other cases, which are not all of the same order.

=27. The penalty of death.=--The penalty of death in these days has been
very much contested, and several States have tried to abolish it.[18]

The following arguments are brought to bear against it:

1. _The inviolability of human life._--The State, it is said, should not
give the example of what it proscribes and punishes. Now, it punishes
homicide; then it should not itself commit homicide.

2. The possible _mistakes_, which in all other cases can be corrected, but
which in this case alone are irreparable.

3. _Experience_, which, it is said, tells against it in certain countries
by proving that the number of crimes has not been increased by the
suppression of the penalty of death.

4. Finally, the _refinement of manners_, which can no longer bear the idea
of capital punishment.

No one of these arguments is wholly decisive.

1. The inviolability of human life is not an absolute thing, at least not
for those who admit the right of legitimate self-defense. We shall examine
this presently.

2. Judiciary mistakes are very rare, and will become more and more so, as
justice becomes more respectful towards the rights of the accused, and
through greater publicity, by the intervention of a jury, etc.

3. Experience is not so much of a test as it is said to be, and is often
made on too small a scale. The attempts at abolition have not been very
numerous. In Tuscany murders have always been very rare on account of the
gentleness of manners. In Switzerland, on the contrary, crime is on the
increase, and certain cantons have asked for a return to the death
penalty. Besides, it is a very difficult experiment to make. How could a
society as complicated as ours dare to trust its security to so hazardous
an experiment?

4. The refinement of manners may gradually bring about, thanks to the
institution of the jury, the diminution, perhaps some day the suppression,
of the penalty of death, without its being necessary for the State to lay
aside this powerful means of defense and intimidation.

The penalty of death, in fact, can be considered legitimate only in the
light of the right of self-defense. If society needs this penalty to
protect the life of its members, it may be said that it is authorized to
use it, on the same ground as each individual to whom we have conceded the
right to repel force by force, and to deprive of his own life one who
should threaten to take _his_ life.

But, it will be objected, the right of self-defense, when ending in
homicide, is justifiable only at the moment of the attack, and to ward off
a sudden aggression itself threatening murder; but the deed once committed
and the criminal in the hands of the law, there is no reason to fear a new
aggression from him, and his chances of escape from justice through
evasion are too few to justify the violation of a duty so absolute as the
respect for human life.

It may be answered that society, by the death penalty, not only defends
itself against the criminal himself, but against all those who might be
inclined to imitate him. The penalty of death is above all a precautionary
means of defense, that is to say, a means of intimidation. The future
criminal is warned beforehand of the risks he runs; he accepts voluntarily
the punishment he will incur. If society should catch him in the
act--_flagrante delicto_--it would certainly, in order to prevent the
crime, since it is the representative of all individuals, have the same
rights as the individual of defending himself. But the difficulty of
seizing upon the criminal at the moment of commission, can it be
considered a circumstance in favor of the criminal, and does society lose
its right, because, through the skill and precautions of assassins, it can
but very rarely, and scarcely ever, catch them in the act?

The right of society to defend itself by the death penalty does not seem
to us, then, to admit any doubt. The whole question is to know whether
such a means of defense is really necessary and efficacious. It is, as we
have said, a question of experience which it is very difficult to settle,
for the reason that we dare not make the experiment. All that can be said
is that, as a principle, every man fears death; it is the greatest of
fears. There is, therefore, reason to believe that it is the most powerful
of the means of intimidation. Besides, it is known that professional
criminals estimate with great accuracy offenses and crimes proportionably
to their penalties. Thus, those who steal know that they expose themselves
to such or such punishment, but they go no farther in order not to incur a
more severe punishment; for these the penalty of death is certainly a
great item in their plans, and it would be dangerous to relieve them of
this menace.

We do not mean to say that in future society may not reach a state of
organization strong and enlightened enough to be able to do without such
means; but in the present state of things we should consider the attempt
to abolish them dangerous for society.

=28. Of political assassination.=--Concerning this pretended right, so
shockingly promulgated in these days by savage factions, we cannot do
better than quote the words of M. Jules Simon in his book on _Duty_:

    "Political assassination," he says, "is essentially worthy of
    condemnation from whichever side one looks at it. It has the same
    origin as the penalty of death, with this double difference that, in
    the application of the penalty of death, it is the State that
    pronounces the sentence conformably to the law, whilst in political
    assassination it is the same man who makes the law, pronounces the
    sentence, and executes it. Now, society, though badly constituted, and
    the law, though bad, are nevertheless a guaranty, whilst there is none
    at all against the caprice, passion or false judgment of a single
    individual. Besides, the legitimacy of the penalty of death is
    connected with the legitimacy of the power that pronounces it, and the
    uniformity of the law. Let some tyrannical authority cause a man to be
    shot at the corner of a street, without form of legal process, that
    cannot be called penalty of death; it is called murder; and even when
    the victim should have deserved his death, the government would not be
    the less criminal for having executed him without trial. If these
    principles are just, how can we admit the theory of political
    assassination, which allows the destiny of all to depend upon the
    conscience of a single individual. We reflect so little upon the
    rights of men that there are those who will condemn the death penalty
    and yet approve of political assassination. We judge so badly, that
    under the Restoration a monument was erected to Georges Cadoudal, and
    we hear every day the eulogy of Charlotte Corday. The guiltiness of
    the victim does not legitimate the act of the murderer. It is both
    unwise and criminal to furnish hatred with such excuses."

=29. The duel.=--Does the duel come under the head of legitimate
self-defense? No; whatever custom and prejudice may say in its favor.

1. We must first lay aside without discussion all duels bearing on
frivolous causes, and they are the largest in number.

2. In many other cases reparation may be obtained through the law, and
prejudice alone can prevent having recourse to it. If I am willing to have
recourse to law in a case of robbery, why should I not appeal to this same
law when my honor is attacked?

3. The duel is an absurd form of justice, because it puts the offender
and the one offended on the same level. It is not the guilty one that is
punished; it is the awkward one.

4. Social justice has degrees of penalty in proportion to the gravity of
the offense, and is applied only after a very severe examination. The aim
of the duel is to apply to very unequal offenses one and the same penalty,
death (Jules Simon, _Le Devoir_, IV.), or if there are any degrees, since
it does not always result in death, these degrees are the effect of
chance. Finally, if in a duel the parties agree to use skill enough to
hurt each other as little as possible, is it not as if they confessed to
the injustice and insanity of the proceeding?

5. The duel had its origin in superstition: in the _Combat of God_, in the
belief, namely, that God himself would arbitrate by means of the combat,
and give the victory to the innocent and strike the guilty.

6. The duel is a homicide or a suicide. It is, therefore, contrary to the
duty towards others and the duty towards ourselves. Finally, the duel is
contrary to the duty towards society, which forbids each to be his own

J. J. Rousseau, in the _Nouvelle Héloïse_, has written on the duel and
suicide (see further on, Chapter xi.) a letter often quoted, of which we
will briefly give the principal passages.

1. One must distinguish between real honor and apparent honor:

    What is there in common between the glory of killing a man and the
    testimony of a righteous soul? What hold can the vain opinion of
    others have upon true honor, the roots of which are in the depths of
    the heart? What! the lies of a slanderer can destroy real virtues? Do
    the insults of a drunkard prove that one deserves them? And can the
    honor of a sensible man be at the mercy of the first ruffian he meets?

2. The use of force cannot be a title to virtue:

    Will you tell me that one must show courage, and that courage suffices
    to efface the shame and reproach of all other vices? In this case a
    rogue would have but to fight a duel to cease to be a rogue; the words
    of a liar would become true if maintained at the point of a sword; and
    if you were charged with having killed a man, you would go and kill a
    second one to prove that the charge is not true. Thus, virtue, vice,
    honor, infamy, truth, falsehood, all derive their being from the event
    of a fight; a fencing-hall becomes the seat of all justice; might
    makes right.

3. Antiquity, so rich in heroes and great characters, knew nothing of the
duel. There may then exist societies civilized and refined where a man may
defend his honor without having to resort to the duel. This is a
remarkably striking argument:[19]

    Did ever the valiant men of antiquity think of avenging their personal
    insults by single combats? Did Cæsar send a challenge to Cato, or
    Pompey to Cæsar? "Other times, other manners," you'll say, I know, but
    true honor does not vary; it does not depend on times or places or
    prejudices; it can neither pass away nor be born again; it has its
    eternal source in the heart of the just man and in the unalterable
    rule of his duties. If the most enlightened, the bravest, the most
    virtuous nations of the earth knew nothing of the duel, I say that it
    is not an institution of honor, but rather a frightful and barbarous
    fashion worthy of its savage origin.

4. It is not true that a man of honor incurs contempt by refusing a duel:

    The righteous man whose whole life is pure, who never gave any sign of
    cowardice, will refuse to stain his hand by a homicide, and will be
    only the more honored for it. Always ready to serve his country, to
    protect the feeble, to fulfil the most dangerous duties, and defend in
    all just and honest encounters, and at the price of his blood, what he
    holds dear, he will reveal in all his transactions that resolute
    firmness which always accompanies true courage. In the security of his
    conscience he walks with head erect; he neither flies from nor seeks
    his enemy; one can easily see that he fears less to die than to do
    wrong, and that it is not danger he shuns, but crime.

=30. War.=--War is the most serious and the most solemn exception to the
law which forbids homicide. Not only does it permit homicide, but it
commands it. The means thereto are prepared in public; the art of
practicing them is a branch of education, and it is glorious to destroy as
many enemies as possible.

One cannot fail to see the sad side of war, and how contrary it is to the
ideal tendencies of modern society. It is still to be hoped that there
will come a time when nations will find a more rational and more humane
means of conciliating their differences. But there is no indication of
this good time as yet, nor even that it is near, and it is necessary to
guard against a false philanthropy, which would imperil the sacred rights
of patriotism.

The problem of war in itself belongs rather to the law of nations than to
morality properly so called. It will be in studying later the relations of
the nations between each other that we shall have to establish as a rule
that the right of self-defense exists for them as well as for the
individual. The only question in a moral point of view is to know whether
the individual, by the sole fact of the order of society, is released from
the duty imposed on him not to shed blood. Some religious sects in the
early times of Christianity, others in modern times in England and in
America (the Quakers), believe that the interdiction of homicide is an
absolute thing; they claim the right to be exempt from military duty. The
State, of course, never recognized the legitimacy of such a scruple, which
would prevent all social subordination and deprive the defense of the
country of all its strength. But neither does morality recognize such a
right. As a part of a society which is commissioned to defend us, and
which can do so only by using force, it is evident that each one should
share in the acts by which it undertakes to defend us. For how can
malefactors be prosecuted without employing force? The same may be asked
as to enemies from without. Now, as society defends every one equally, it
cannot make any exception in favor of such or such scruple. It can grant
exemptions, but cannot admit that each should exempt himself by the
scruples of his conscience.

Certainly it ought not to be maintained that any order given by society
releases the individual conscience from all consideration. But obedience
to the law is the foundation of social order, and co-operation in the
public defense is a duty of absolute necessity. Of course one assumes in
this view implicitly the legitimacy of war; but this question will be
treated later on by itself, and in accordance with the reasons belonging
to it.




    =Of property.=--Its fundamental principle; work sanctioned by law.
    Communistic Utopia.--Inequality of wealth: it is founded on nature,
    but should not be aggravated by the law.--Different forms of the
    rights of property: _loans_, _trusts_, _things lost_, _sales_,
    _property properly so called_.

    =Loan.=--Is it a duty to loan?--The _interest_ of money.--The question
    of usury.--Duties of _creditor_ and _debtor_.--_Failures_ and
    _bankruptcies_.--The commodate or things loaned for use.

    =Trust.=--Duties of the _depositary_ and the _deponent_.

    =Of the possession in good faith.=--_The thing lost._

    =Sales.=--Obligations of _seller_ and _buyer_.

    =Of property in general.=--Violation of property or _theft_.--The
    elements which constitute theft.--_Simple_ thefts and _qualified_
    thefts.--_Abuse of confidence_, _swindling_.--Restitution.

    =Promises and contracts.=--Differences between these two facts.--Strict
    obligation to keep one's promises: rare exceptions (practical
    impossibility, illicit promises, etc.)--Different _kinds_ of
    contracts.--_Conditions_ of the contract: consent, capacity of
    contracting parties, a real object, a licit cause.--Rules for the
    formation of contracts.--Rules for the interpretation of contracts.

The immediate consequence of the right of self-preservation which each
has, etc., implies the _right of property_.

=31. Property.=--What is property? What is its origin and principle? What
objections has it raised? What moral and social reasons justify it,
rendering its maintenance both sacred and necessary?

"Property," says the civil code, "is the right to enjoy and dispose of
things in the most absolute manner, provided no use is made of them
prohibited by the laws or the rules." (Art. 544.)

"The right of property," says the Constitution of '93, "is that which
belongs to every citizen: to enjoy, and dispose at will of his property,
his income, of the fruit of his labor and industry." (Art. 8.)

These are the judicial and political definitions of property.
Philosophically, it may be said, that it is the right each man has to make
something _his own_, that is to say, to attribute to himself the
_exclusive_ right to enjoy something outside of himself.

We must distinguish between _possession_ and _property_. Possession is
nothing else than _actual custody_: I may have in my hands an object that
is not mine, which has either been loaned to me, or which I may have
found; this does not make me its proprietor. Property is the right I have
to exclude all others from the use of a thing, even if I should not be in
actual possession of it.

=32. Origin and fundamental principle of property.=--The first property is
that of my own body, but thus far it is nothing else than what may be
called corporeal liberty. How do we go beyond that? How do we extend this
primitive right over things which are outside of ourselves?

Let us first remark that this right of appropriating external things rests
on necessity and on the laws of organized beings. It is evident, in fact,
that life cannot be preserved otherwise than by a perpetual exchange
between the parts of the living body and the particles of the surrounding
bodies. Nutrition is _assimilation_, and, consequently, _appropriation_.
It is, then, necessary that certain things of the external world should
become _mine_, otherwise life is impossible.

Property is then _necessary_; let us now see by what means it becomes

Property has been given several origins: _occupation_, _law_, _work_.
According to some, property has for its fundamental principle the _right
of the first occupant_. It is said that man has the right of appropriating
a thing not in possession of some one else; the same as at the theatre,
the spectator who comes first has the right to take the best place.
(Cicero.) So be it; but at the theatre I occupy only the place occupied by
my own body; I have not the right to appropriate the whole theatre, or
even the pit. It is the same with the right of the first occupant. I have
certainly a right to the place my own body would occupy, but no further:
for where would my right then stop?

    "Will the setting one's foot," says J. J. Rousseau, "on a piece of
    common ground be sufficient to declare one's self at once the master
    of it? When Nunez Balboa took on landing possession of the Southern
    Sea, and of the whole of Southern America in the name of the Crown of
    Castile, was that enough to exclude from it all the princes of the
    world? At that rate the Catholic king had but to take all at once
    possession in his study of the whole universe, relying upon
    subsequently striking off from his empire what before was in
    possession of the other princes." (Contrat social, liv. 1er, Ch. ix.)

=The law.=--If occupation of itself alone is insufficient in founding the
right of property, will it not become legitimate by adding to it
_convention_--that is to say, the _law_? Property, we have seen, is
necessary; but if every one is free to appropriate to himself what he
needs, it becomes anarchy; it is, as Hobbes said, "the war of all against
all." It is necessary that the law should fix the property of each in the
interest of all. Property, under this new hypothesis, would then mean the
part which public authority has fixed or recognized, whether we admit a
primitive division made by a magistrate, or a primitive occupation more or
less due to chance, but consecrated by law.

Certainly, the reason of social utility plays a great part in the
establishment and consecration of property; and it would be absurd not to
take this consideration into account. Certainly, even if property were
but a fact consecrated by time, by necessity, and by law, it would already
by that alone have a very great authority; but we believe that that is not
saying enough. Property is not only a _consecrated fact_, it is also a
_right_. It finds in the law its _guaranty_, but not its _foundation_.

The true principle of property is _work_; and property becomes blended
with liberty itself: "_liberty_ and _property_," say the English.

_Work._--If all the things man has need of were in unlimited number, and
if they could be acquired without effort, there would be no property.
This, for example, takes place in the case of the atmosphere, of which we
all have need, but which belongs to no one. But if the question is of
things that cannot be _acquired_ except by a certain effort (as in the
case of animals running wild), or even that can be _produced_ only by
human effort (as a harvest in a barren ground), these things belong by
right to him who conquers them or brings them about.

    "I take wild wheat into my hand, I sow it in soil I have dug, and I
    wait for the earth, aided by rain and sunshine, to do its work. Is the
    growing crop my property? Where would it be without me? I created it.
    Who can deny it?... This earth was worth nothing and produced nothing:
    I dug the soil; I brought from a distance friable and fertilizing
    earth; I enriched it with manure; it is now fertile for many years to
    come. This fertility is my work.... The earth belonged to no one; in
    fertilizing it, I made it mine. According to Locke, nine tenths at
    least of the produce of the soil should be attributed to human

It has been said that work is not a sufficient foundation to establish the
right of property; that occupation must be added thereto, for otherwise
work alone would make us the proprietors of what is already occupied by
others; the farmer would become the proprietor of the fields he cultivates
from the fact alone that he cultivates them. Occupation is therefore a
necessary element of property.

Certainly; but occupation itself has no value except as it already
represents labor, and inasmuch as it is labor. The fact of culling a
fruit, of seizing an animal, and even of setting foot upon a desert land,
is an exercise of my activity which is more or less easy or difficult to
accomplish, but which in reality is not the less the result of an effort.
It is, then, work itself which lays the foundation of occupation and
consecrates it. But when the thing once occupied has become the property
of a man by a first work, it can no longer without contradiction become
the property of another by a subsequent work. This work applied to the
property of others is not the less itself the foundation of property,
namely: the price received in exchange of work, which is called _salary_,
and which again by exchange can obtain for us the possession of things not

=33. Accumulation and transmission.=--The right of _appropriation_, founded
as we have just seen on work, carries with it as its consequence, the
right of _accumulation_ and that of _transmission_.

In fact, if I have acquired a thing, I can either enjoy it actually, or
reserve it to enjoy it later; and if I have more than my actual wants
require, I can lay aside what to-day is useless to me, but which will be
useful to me later. This is what is called _saving_; and the successive
additions to savings is called _accumulation_. This right cannot be denied
to man; for that would be ignoring in him one of his noblest faculties,
namely, the faculty of providing for the future. In suppressing this
right, the very source of all production, namely, work, would dry up; for
it is his thought of the future which, above all, induces man to work to
insure his security.

The right of _transmission_ is another consequence of property; for if I
have enjoyment myself, I ought to be able to transmit it to others;
finally, I can give up my property to obtain in its place the property of
others which might be more agreeable or more useful to me; hence the right
of _exchange_, which gives rise to what is called _purchase_ and _sale_.
Of all transmissions, the most natural is that which takes place between a
father and his children: this is what is called _inheritance_. If we were
to deprive the head of a family of the right of thinking of his children
in the accumulation of the fruits of his labors, we should destroy thereby
the most energetic instigation to work there is in the human heart.

=34. Individual property and the community.=--The adversaries of property
have often said that they did not attack property in itself, but only
_individual_ property. The soil which, if not the principle, is at least
the source of all riches, belongs, they say, not to the individual, but to
society; to the State, that is to say, to all, as common and undivided
property: each individual is but a consumer, and receives his share from
the State, which alone is the true proprietor. This is what is called the
community system, or _communism_, which takes two forms, according as it
admits the division to be made in a manner absolutely equal among the
co-members of the society, which is the _equality_ system (_système
égalitaire_); or by reason of _capacity_ and _works_. It is this form of
communism which the school of Saint-Simon maintains at this day.

We need not point out the practical impossibility of realizing such a
system. Let us confine ourselves to showing its essential vice. If
communism means absolute equality (and true communism does), it destroys
the main inducement to work: for man assured of his living by the State,
has nothing left to stimulate him to personal effort. Work, deprived of
the hope of a legitimate remuneration, would be reduced to a strict
minimum, and civilization, which lives by work, would rapidly go backward:
general wretchedness would be the necessary consequence of this state of
things; all would be equally poor and miserable; humanity would go back to
its primitive state, to get from which it struggled so hard, and from
which it emerged by means of work and property alone. Moreover, as it is
absolutely impossible to dispense with work, the State would be obliged
to enforce it upon those whom their interest did not spontaneously incline
to it; from being free, work would become servile, and the pensioners of
the State would in reality be but its slaves.

As to the inequality-communism (_communisme inégalitaire_) which
recommends a remuneration from the State, proportioned to merit and
products, that is to say, to _capacity_ and _works_, it certainly does not
so very seriously impair the principle of property and liberty; but, on
the one hand, it does not satisfy the instincts of equality,[21] which
have at all times inspired the communistic utopias; on the other, it
attacks the family instincts by suppressing inheritance; now, if man is
interested in his own fate, he interests himself still more, as he grows
old, in the fate of his children; in depriving him of the responsibility
for their destinies, you deprive him of the most energetic stimulus to
work; and the tendency would be, though in a lesser degree, to produce the
same evil of general impoverishment, as would communism properly so
called. But the principal vice of all communism, whether of equality or
inequality, is to substitute the State for the individual, to make of all
men functionaries, to commit to the State the destinies of all
individuals; in one word, to make of the State a providence.[22]

=35. Inequality of riches.=--Yet there will always arise in the mind a
grave problem: Why are goods created for all, distributed in so unequal
and capricious a manner? Why the rich and the poor? and if inequality must
exist, why is it not in proportion to inequality of merit and individual
work? Why are the idle and prodigal sometimes rich? Why are the poor
overwhelmed by both work and poverty?

There are two questions here: 1. Why is there any inequality at all? 2.
Why, supposing this inequality must exist, has it no connection with
merit or the work of the individual?

Regarding the first point, we cannot deny, unless we should wish to
suppress all human responsibility, all free and personal activity--in a
word, all liberty--we cannot deny, I say, that the inequality of merit and
of work does not authorize and justify a certain inequality in the
distribution of property.

But, it is said, this inequality is not always in proportion to the work.
It may be answered that as civic laws become more perfect (by the
abolition of monopoly, privileges, abuse of rights, such as the feudal
rights, etc.,) the distribution of riches will tend to become more and
more in proportion to individual merit and efforts. There remain but two
sources of inequality which do not proceed from personal work: 1,
accidents; 2, hereditary transmission. But in regard to accidents, there
is no way of absolutely suppressing the part chance plays in man's
destiny; it can only be corrected and diminished, and thereto tend the
institutions of life-assurances, savings-banks, banks of assistance, etc.,
which are means of equalization growing along with the general progress.
As to the inequality produced by inheritance, one of two things is to be
considered: either the heir keeps and increases by his own work what he
has acquired, and thus succeeds in deserving it; or, on the contrary, he
ceases to work and consumes without producing, and in this case he
destroys his privilege himself without the State's meddling with it.

Besides, the question is less concerning the _relative well-being_ of men
than their _absolute well-being_. What use would it be to men to be all
equal if they were all miserable? There is certainly more equality in a
republic of savages than in our European societies; but how many of our
poor Europeans are there who would exchange their condition for an
existence among savages? In reality, social progress, in continually
increasing general wealth, increases at the same time the well-being of
each, without increasing the sum of individual efforts. This
superaddition of well-being is in reality gratuitous, as Bastiat has
demonstrated. "Hence," as he says, "with a community increasing in
well-being,[23] as by property ever better guaranteed, we leave behind us
the community of misery from which we came."

    "Property," says Bastiat, "tends to transform onerous into gratuitous
    utility. It is that spur which obliges human intelligence to draw from
    the inertia of matter its latent natural forces. It struggles,
    certainly for its own benefit, against the obstacles which make
    utility onerous; and when the obstacle is overthrown, it is found that
    its disappearance benefits all. Then the indefatigable proprietor
    attacks new obstacles, and continually raising the human level, he
    more and more realizes community, and with it equality in the midst of
    the great human family."

=36. Duties concerning the property of others.=--After having established
the right of general property, we have to expound the duties relative to
the property of others.

The property of others may be injured in various ways, and in different
cases. These cases are: 1, _loans_; 2, _trusts_; 3, _things lost_; 4,
_sales_; 5, _property_ strictly _so-called_.

=37. Loans.--Debts.=--The inequality of riches is the cause that among men
some have need of what others possess, and yet cannot procure by
_purchase_, for want of means. In this case, the first turn to the second
to obtain the temporary enjoyment of the thing they stand in need of; this
is called _borrowing_; the reciprocal act, which consists in conceding for
a time the desired object, is called _loaning_. He who borrows, and who by
this very act engages himself to return the thing again, is called
_debtor_ (who owes), and he who loans is called _creditor_; he has a
credit on his debtor.

Several questions spring from this, some very simple, others very
delicate, and often debated.

=38. Rights and duties of the creditor.--Money interest.--Usury.=--And
first, is it a duty to loan to any that ask you? It is evident that if it
is a duty it can be only a duty of charity, or friendliness, but not of
strict justice. One is no more obliged to loan to all than to give to all.
The duty of loaning, like the duty of giving without discrimination, would
be tantamount to the negation of property; for he who would open his
money-chest to all unconditionally, however rich he might be, would in a
few days be absolutely despoiled. Besides, the same duty weighing equally
on those who have received, they in their turn would be obliged to pass
their goods over to others, and no one would ever be proprietor. In this
case, it would even be better to hand all property over to the State, that
it might establish a certain order and fixity in the repartition of it.

It is this doctrine which a Father of the Church, Clement of Alexandria,
has expressed in these terms in his treatise: _Can any rich man be saved?_

    "What division of property could there be among men if no one had
    anything? If we cannot fulfil the duties of charity without any money,
    and if at the same time we were commanded to reject riches, would
    there not be contradiction? Would it not be to say at the same time
    give and not give, feed and not feed, share and not share?"

It is therefore not a strict duty to loan to all; it is a form of
benevolence, and we must put off to another chapter (ch. vi.) the
conditions and the degrees of this duty.

But a question which necessarily presents itself here, is to know if, when
one loans, it is a duty to deprive one's self of all remuneration; or if
it is, on the contrary, permitted to exact a price over and beyond the sum
loaned. This is what is called money _interest_; and when this interest is
or appears excessive, it is called _usury_. This question, discussed
during the whole middle ages, was, before its true principles were
established, first resolved by practice and necessity.

It is to-day evident to all sensible minds, that capital, like work, has a
right to remuneration. Why? Because without the expectation of this
remuneration, the possessor of the capital would forthwith consume it
himself or allow it to waste away without use. This will be better
understood in considering the two principal forms of remuneration for
capital: _interest_ and _rent_. Interest and rent are both the product of
a capital loaned, but with this difference, that rent is the product of a
_fixed_ capital (house, field, workshop); while interest is the product of
a _circulating_ capital (money or paper).

The interest of capital represents two things: 1, the deprivation of him
who loans, and who might consume his capital; 2, the risk he incurs, for
capital is never loaned except to be invested, and consequently it may be
lost. These are the two fundamental reasons which establish the legitimacy
of interest, despite the prejudices which have long condemned it as
_usury_, and the utopias which would establish the _gratuity_ of

The principal reason against the legitimacy of interest is deduced from
the _sterility of money_. "Interest," says Aristotle, "is _money bred from
money_; and nothing is more contrary to nature." But, as Bentham remarks
(_Defense of Usury_, letter 10), "if it be true that a sum of money is of
itself incapable to breed, it is not the less true that with this same
borrowed sum, a man can buy a ram and a sheep, which, at the end of a
year, will have produced two or three lambs." In other terms, as Calvin
says, "it is not from the money itself that the benefit comes, it is from
the use that is made of it."

It has been said that he who _loans_ does not _deprive_ himself of his
money, since he can do without it. (Proudhon, _Letters to Bastiat_, 3d
letter.) But he does deprive himself of it, since he might have consumed
it himself. The proof that a loan is a privation, is the pain men have in
economizing and in investing their money. How many men are there who, in
possession of a sum of one hundred francs, would not rather spend it than
place it on interest?

As to what is called _gratuitous_ credit, it could be possible only by
being reciprocal. In fact, if I loan you my house, and you loan me in
return your land, supposing they are of equal value, it is evident that,
the one being worth as much as the other, and the two services equivalent,
we need not pay each other anything; for it would be only an exchange of
money. But nothing can be inferred from this, touching the most usual
case: namely, where the capital is loaned by the possessor to him who does
not possess; for then there is no reciprocity, consequently no gratuity.

As to the rate of interest it varies like all values according to the law
of supply and demand in the money market. (See the _Cours d'Economie
Politique_.) The greater the supply of capital the less dear it is. It is,
then, the increase of capital that is to diminish interest and bring about
a sort of relative gratuity. Every enterprise against capital will produce
a contrary result.

As to the rent of capital, it has generally raised fewer objections than
interest; for it is easier to understand that if I give myself the trouble
to build a house, it is that it will bring me in something; but it is, on
the whole, the same thing, with this difference, that circulating capital,
running more risks than fixed capital, seems to have a still better right
to remuneration.

The lender has then the right to exact a certain amount over and above the
sum loaned. Certainly, he cannot exact it, as it often occurs among
friends, and for very small sums. But as a principle, one is no more
obliged to lend gratuitously, than to give to others gratuitously what
they need.

In admitting that the interest of money is a legitimate thing, is one
obliged also to admit that the money-lender has a right to fix the rate of
interest as high as he wishes? Beyond a certain limit, will not the
interest become what we call _usury_?

To which may be replied:

    "1. If the one borrowing consents to pay the price, it is that this
    service done him does not appear to him too dear. One may borrow at 20
    and even 30 per cent., if one foresees a gain of 40. 2. Why not look
    at the thing from the lender's standpoint? If the return of the funds
    appears more or less doubtful, why should he not have the right to
    protect himself?" (_Dictionary of Politics_, by Maurice Block.)

These arguments prove, in fact, that it is impossible to determine
beforehand and absolutely the rate at which it may be permitted to lend,
and there are many cases where a very high interest may be legitimate: for
instance, in what is called _bottomry-loan_, which consists in advances
made to shipping merchants on their ships; the law here sanctions very
high interest, because of the exceptional risks this kind of enterprise

Does it, however, follow, as some economists seem to think, that there is
no occasion to speak of _usury_, properly so called, that the term
_usurer_ is an insult, invented by ignorance, which has no real basis?
This we cannot admit. Political economy and morality are two different

Even if one should admit that there is no reason for legally fixing the
rate of interest, because money is a merchandise like all others which
should be left to free circulation, to the free appreciation of the
parties, it would not follow that there could be no abuse made of the
required interest. Experience proves the contrary. It is not so much the
rate of the interest which constitutes the injustice thereof, as the
reasons and circumstances of the loan. If, taking advantage of the
passions of youth, one loans to a prodigal, knowing him unable to refuse
the conditions, because he only listens to pleasure; or if, seducing the
ignorant, one dazzles him with magnificent bargains; or, lastly, if
profiting by the common desire among peasants to enlarge their grounds, we
advance them money, knowing they cannot return it, and secure thereby the
property they think they are buying, in all such cases, or similar ones,
there is always _usury_, and morality must condemn such hateful

The hatefulness of usury is brought into strong relief in Molière's
celebrated scene in _The Miser_ (Act ii., Sc. i.):

    LA FLÈCHE: Suppose that the lender sees all the securities, and that
    the borrower be of age and of a family of large property, substantial,
    secure, clear and free from any incumbrances, there will then be drawn
    up a regular bond before a notary, as honest a man as may be found,
    who to this effect shall be chosen by the lender, to whom it is of
    particular importance that the bond be properly drawn up.

    CLEANTE: That's all right.

    LA FLÈCHE: The lender not to burden his conscience with any scruples,
    means to give his money at the low rate of denier eighteen[25] (5, 9
    per cent.) only.

    CLEANTE: Denier eighteen? Jolly! That's honest indeed! No fault to
    find there!

    LA FLÈCHE: No. But as the said lender has not with him the sum in
    question, and, to oblige the borrower, he will himself be obliged to
    borrow from another at the rate of denier five (20 per cent.), it will
    be but just that the abovesaid first borrower should pay that interest
    without prejudice to the other, for it is only to oblige him that the
    said lender resorts to this loan.

    CLEANTE: The devil! What a Jew! What an Arab is that! That would be at
    a greater rate than denier four (25 per cent.).

    LA FLÈCHE: That's so: it is just what I said.

    CLEANTE: Is there anything more?

    LA FLÈCHE: But just a small item. Of the fifteen thousand francs that
    are asked, the lender can give in cash only twelve thousand, and for
    the thousand crowns remaining, it will be necessary that the borrower
    take the clothes, stock, jewelry, etc., of which here is the list.

    CLEANTE: The plague on him!

The next scene shows with remarkable energy the _spendthrift_ and the
_usurer_ in conflict with each other.[26]

=39. Duties of the debtor.=--After the duties of the lender and the
creditor, let us point out those of the borrower or the debtor. The only
duty for him here is to return what he has borrowed: it is the duty of
_paying one's debts_.

For a long time, the duty of paying one's debts appeared to be one of
those vulgar and commonplace duties intended for the generality of men,
but from which the great lords freed themselves easily. The poor creditors
have been the laughing stock in comedies.[27] But it is not doubted
nowadays that to refuse to pay what one owes, is really taking from the
property of others, and appropriating what does not belong to us.

This duty, besides, is so simple and stringent that it is necessary only
to mention it without further development. The same principles apply to
the various ways in which one may make use of property, and particularly
to the three kinds indicated in the Civil Code--the _usufruct_, the
_usage_, and the _right of action_. The common obligation in these three
cases, mentioned by the Code, is to use the thing belonging to others as a
_prudent father_ would, which is to say, to use it as the proprietor
himself would use it, without injuring the object, and even improving it
as much as possible. It is especially in commerce that the act of paying
one's debts, is not only more obligatory morally, but socially more
necessary than anywhere else. The reason of it is that commerce is
impossible without credit. By exacting of every merchant the payment of
cash, the springs of exchange would dry up; besides, most of the time it
would be useless; for in commerce merchandise is constantly bought against
merchandise. It would be loss of time, loss of writing, limitation of the
market. In commerce one cannot say of him who owes that he is a borrower;
for the next day, according to the fluctuations of demand and supply, he
may be the lender. But it is just because credit is indispensable in
commerce, that the obligations of the debtors are in some respect more
stringent; for the greater the confidence, the more stringent the duty. So
that _commercial honor_ is like _military honor_--it does not admit of
breaking promises.

=40. Failures and bankruptcies.=--However strict one should be in commerce
in regard to keeping promises, there is nevertheless in the Code cause for
distinguishing two different cases of promise-breaking--failure and
bankruptcy; and in this second case, there is _simple_ bankruptcy and
_fraudulent_ bankruptcy.

Failure is purely and simply the suspension of payments resulting from
circumstances independent of the will of him who fails. Bankruptcy, on the
contrary, is suspension of payments resulting either from imprudence or
from mistakes of the bankrupt.

Simple bankruptcy occurs in the following cases: 1. If the personal
expenses of the merchant or the expenses of his house are judged
excessive; 2. If he has spent large sums of money in operations of pure
chance either in fictitious operations or extravagant purchases; 3. If
with the intention of putting off his failure, he has made purchases to
sell again below par; 4. If after cessation of payment, he has paid a
creditor to the prejudice of all others. (Code of Commerce.)

Bankruptcy is called _fraudulent_, when the bankrupt has abstracted his
books, misrepresented a portion of his assets, or declared himself debtor
for sums he does not owe.

It is useless to say that this third case is but another case of theft and
deserves the severest denunciation. Simple bankruptcy is already very
culpable; and failure itself should be regarded by all merchants as a very
great misfortune, which they must avoid at any cost.

=41. The commodate or gratuitous loan.=--The gratuitous loan or commodate
is a contract by which one of the parties gives to the other a thing to be
made use of, on the condition that it be returned after having served its
purpose. (Code Civ., Art. 1875.)

As a fundamental principle, the receiver must return to the lender the
very thing he has loaned him. But in case of loss or deterioration of the
thing loaned, resulting from the use made of it, on whom is to fall the

    "It cannot be presumed, says Kant (Doctrine of the Law, French
    translation, p. 146), that the lender should take upon himself all the
    chances of loss or deterioration of the thing loaned; for it stands
    to reason that the proprietor, besides granting to the borrower the
    use of the thing he loans him, would not agree to _insure_ him also
    against all risks. If, for instance, during a shower, I enter a house,
    where I borrow a cloak, and this cloak gets to be forever spoiled from
    coloring matters thrown upon me by mischance, from a window, or if it
    be stolen from me in a house where I laid it down, it would be
    considered generally absurd, to say that I had nothing else to do than
    to send back the cloak, such as it is, or report the theft that has
    taken place. The case would be very different if, after having asked
    permission to use a thing, I should insure myself against the loss in
    case it should suffer any damage at my hands, by begging not to be
    held responsible for it. No one would think this precaution
    superfluous and ridiculous, except perhaps the lender, supposing he
    was a rich and generous man; for it would then be almost an offense
    not to expect from his generosity the remission of my debt."

=42. The trust.=--_Trust_, in general, is an act by which one receives the
thing of another on condition to keep it and restore it in kind. (Code
Civ., Art. 1915.)

He who deposits is called deponent (or bailor in England); he who receives
the trust is called depositary (in England bailee).

The obligations of the depositary are morally the same as those found in
positive law. We have then nothing better to do here than to reproduce the
precepts of the Code on this matter.

1. The depositary, in keeping the thing deposited with him, must exercise
the same care as with the things belonging to himself (Art. 1927).

2. This obligation becomes still more stringent in the following cases:
(_a_), when the depositary offers himself to receive the thing in trust;
(_b_), when he stipulates for a compensation for the keeping of the thing
deposited; (_c_), when the trust is to the interest of the depositary;
(_d_), when it has been expressly agreed upon that the depositary be
answerable for all kinds of mistakes (Art. 1928).

3. The depositary cannot make use of the trust without the express or
presumed consent of the deponent (Art 1929).--For example, if a library
has been left in my trust, it may be presumed that the deponent would not
object to my using it; but if the trust consists in valuable jewelry, it
can be only by the express wish of the deponent that I could wear it. The
difference is simple and easily understood.

4. The depositary should not seek to know what the things deposited with
him are, if they have been left with him in a closed trunk or a sealed
envelope (Art. 1931).

5. The depositary must return the identical thing he has received. Thus
the trust consisting in specie, must be returned in the same specie.

The obligation to restore the thing deposited in kind, and such as it was
when delivered, is evident, and constitutes the very essence of the trust.

However, we should take into account the following circumstances:

1. The depositary is not held responsible in cases of insuperable
accidents (Art. 1929).

2. The depositary is only held to return the things deposited with him, in
the state wherein they are at the moment of restitution. Deteriorations,
through no fault of his, are at the expense of the deponent (Art. 1935).

Such are the obligations of the depositary; as to those of the deponent,
they resolve themselves into the following rule:

The deponent is held to reimburse the depositary for any expense he may
have incurred in the keeping of the trust, and to indemnify him for any
loss the trust may have occasioned him (Art. 1947).

=43. Possession in good faith.=--Possession in good faith is analogous to
trust. In fact, he who possesses in good faith a thing that is not his, is
in reality but a depositary, but he is so without knowing it. Hence
analogies and differences between these two cases, which it is well to
point out.

The following are some rules proposed on this subject by Grotius (De la
paix et de la guerre, B. 11, ch. xii., § 3); and Puffendorf (Droit de la
Nature et des Gens, B. iv., ch. xiii., § 12). But as these rules appeared
excessive to other jurisconsults, we give them here rather as _problems_
than _solutions_:

1. A possessor in good faith is not obliged to restore a thing which,
against his wish, has come to be destroyed or lost, for his good faith
stood to him in lieu of property.

2. A possessor in good faith is held to return not only the thing itself,
but also its fruits still existing in kind.

3. A possessor in good faith is held to return the thing itself, and the
value of the fruit thereof which he has consumed, if there is reason to
believe that he would have otherwise consumed as many similar ones.

4. A possessor in good faith is not held to return in kind the value of
the fruit he has neglected to gather or to grow.

5. If a possessor in good faith, having received the thing as a present,
should afterwards give it to another, he is not obliged to return it,
unless he would otherwise have given one of the same value.

6. If a possessor in good faith, having acquired a thing by an onerous
title, should afterwards dispose of it in some way or other, he need
return but the gain it procured him.

It is necessary to remark here that in this matter morality should be more
severe than the strict law; for if morality demands that a possessor be
above all mindful of the rights of others, the law should also consider
the rights of him who in good faith and ignorance enjoys what belongs to
others. Hence, an essential difference between this case and that of the

=44. Things lost.=--The question of things lost is related to that of
possession in good faith. If the thing lost should fall into my hands by a
regular acquisition, by purchase, contract, etc. (as, for instance, buying
a horse in the market), it is evident that this case comes under
possession in good faith, and that it is the business of the law to decide
between proprietor and possessor. But if I appropriate to myself the thing
lost, knowing it to be lost, and consequently not mine, there is fraud and
converting to my own use the property of others. Public opinion was for a
long time indulgent towards this kind of appropriation. It seemed that
luck gave a certain title to property. The difficulty, moreover, of
finding the true owner, seemed to give to him who had found the object a
certain right to it. But to-day society plays the part of intermediary,
and assumes the duty of restoring the thing lost to its owner. It is,
therefore, to the authorities the object must be returned.[28]

For a long time a misjudgment of the same kind allowed wreckers a
pretended right to the objects thrown on the strand by the tempest
following a wreck.

=45. Sale.=--Sale is a contract by which one of the parties engages to
deliver a thing, and the other to pay for it (Civ. Code, Art. 1982). There
are, then, two contracting parties--the _seller_ and the _buyer_. They are
subject to different obligations.

_Obligations of the seller._--The seller is held clearly to explain what
he engages to do. An obscure and ambiguous agreement is interpreted
against the seller (Civ. Code, Art. 1602). Such is the general and
fundamental obligation of a sale. It implies, moreover, two others, more
particular: 1, that of _delivering_; 2, that of _guaranteeing_ the thing

The first is very simple, and raises only questions of fact, as in regard
to delays, expenses of removal, etc.; it is the business of the law to
regulate these details.

The guaranty, in a moral point of view, is of greater importance. The two
essential principles in this matter are expressed by the Code in the
following terms:

1. The seller is held to his guaranty in proportion to the concealed
defects of the thing sold, rendering it improper for the use for which it
was destined, or so diminishing this use, that the buyer would not have
bought it, or would not have given so much for it, had he known of these

2. The seller is not held to the obvious defects which the buyer may have
been able to see himself.

It is to this question of guaranteeing the thing sold, that the
conscience-case mentioned by Cicero, in his treatise on _Duties_, is

    An honest man puts up for sale a house, for defects only known to him;
    this house is unhealthy and passes for healthy; it is not known that
    there is not a room in it where there are no serpents; the timber is
    bad and threatens ruin; but the master alone knows it. I ask if the
    seller who should not say anything about it to the buyers, and should
    get for it much more than he has a right to expect, would do a just or
    unjust thing. "Certainly he would do wrong," says Antipater; "is it
    not, in fact, leading a man into error knowingly?" Diogenes, on the
    contrary, replies: "Were you obliged to buy? You were not even invited
    to do so. This man put up for sale a house that no longer suited him,
    and you bought it because it suited you. If any one should advertise:
    _Fine country-house well built_, he is not charged with deceit, even
    though it was neither the one nor the other. And whilst one is not
    responsible for what he says, you would make one responsible for what
    he does not say! What would be more ridiculous than a seller who would
    make known the defects of the thing he puts up for sale? What more
    absurd than a public crier who, by order of his master, should cry:
    "Unhealthy house for sale!"

Despite Diogenes' railleries, Cicero decides in favor of Antipater and the
more rigorous solution. The truly honest man, he says, is he who conceals

If it is a fault not to reveal the defects of the thing sold, it is a
still graver one, and one which becomes a fraud, to ascribe to it
qualities or advantages it has not. Cicero cites on this subject a
charming and well-known anecdote.

    The Roman patrician, C. Canius, a man lacking neither in personal
    attractions nor learning, having gone to Syracuse, _not on business,
    but to do nothing_,[29] as he expressed it, said everywhere that he
    wished to buy a pleasure-house, to which he might invite his friends,
    and amuse himself with them away from intruders. Upon this report, a
    certain Pythius, a Syracuse banker, came to tell him that he had a
    pleasure-house which was not for sale, but which he offered him and
    begged him to use as his own, inviting him at the same time to supper
    for the next day. Canius having accepted, Pythius, who in his quality
    of banker had much influence among people of all professions,
    assembled some fishermen, requesting them to go fishing the next day
    in front of his pleasure-house, giving them his orders. Canius did not
    fail to present himself at the supper hour. He found prepared a
    splendid banquet, and a multitude of boats before the grounds of his
    host. Each of the fishermen brought the fish he had caught, and threw
    them at Pythius' feet. Canius wondered: "What means this, Pythius?
    How! so many fish here, and so many boats!" "Nothing to wonder at,"
    says Pythius; "all the fish of Syracuse come up here. It is here the
    fishermen come for water. They could not do without this house."
    Canius then becomes excited; he presses, solicits Pythius to sell him
    the house. Pythius first holds back, but at last gives in. The Roman
    patrician gives him all he asks for it, and buys it all furnished. The
    contract is drawn up, and the bargain concluded. The next day, Canius
    invites his friends, and comes himself early in the morning; but not a
    boat is in sight. He inquires of the first neighbor if it was a
    holiday with the fishermen, that he did not see any about. "Not that I
    know of," replied the neighbor; "but they never come this way, and I
    did not know, seeing them yesterday, what it all meant." Canius was no
    less indignant than surprised. But what remedy? Aquillius, my
    colleague and friend, had not yet established his formulas on
    fraudulent acts.[30]

=46. The price in selling.=--If we adhere to the principles of political
economy, the price in selling is entirely free: it depends exclusively
upon the agreement between the vender and the buyer, and as it is said, on
the relation between the supply and demand. Nothing more unjust than the
intervention of the law in commercial relations. If the buyer buys at such
or such a price, however high, it is that he still finds it to his
interest to buy even at that rate. If the vender sells at such or such a
price, however low, it is that he cannot get more, and that it suits him
rather to sell at that price than keep the thing.

It is then certain that the value of things being wholly relative, it is
impossible to determine in an absolute manner what may be called the just
price; for that depends on the frequency and rarity of the thing, on the
market, on the wishes of the buyer, and the thousand continually varying
circumstances. In short, the sale taking place when one wishing to sell
and one wishing to buy, meet each other, it seems that their accord is a
proof that the two interested parties have come to an understanding. There
would, according to that, never be any unjust sale or purchase. We must
consequently consider the definition of commerce given by the socialist,
Ch. Fourier: "Commerce is the art of buying for three cents what is worth
six, and selling for six what is worth three," not only as satirical and
hyperbolical, but also as unjust and anti-scientific; for we cannot say
whether a thing is in itself absolutely worth six cents or three cents.

Does it follow, however, that there can never be any injustice in sale or
purchase? If there is no _absolute_ price, there is a _medium_ price
resulting from the state of the market. Now, the buyer may not know this
medium price; and it is an injustice on the part of the seller to take
advantage of this ignorance to sell above that. The same in the case of
the vender's not knowing the price of the thing he has for sale, which the
buyer appropriates, paying for it below its real value.

Besides, whilst admitting that the prices are free, and that the law
cannot intervene between vender and buyer, it is, however, necessary to
admit that there is a certain _moderation_ beyond which injustice begins,
if not in a _legal_, at least in a _moral_ point of view. But it is for
particular circumstances to determine this limit; and there is no general
rule for it. It is a case where not strict justice, but _equity_ is just.

=47. Violation of the property of others.=--_Theft._--In general, every
kind of violation of property under one form or another, is called
_theft_, and this action is condemned by morality. It is expressed by that
ancient commandment: _Thou shalt not steal_.

The following are the various definitions of theft given by the jurists:
"By theft is meant every illegal usurpation of the property of
others."[31]--"By theft is meant every fraudulent carrying off for gain a
thing belonging to others."[32] Finally our Code declares that, "whosoever
has fraudulently carried off anything that does not belong to him, is
guilty of theft." (Penal Code, Art. 379.)

It takes, then, three elements to constitute theft: 1, _carrying off_; 2,
_fraud_; 3, _the thing of another_.

Two kinds of theft are distinguished: the _simple_ thefts and the
_qualified_ thefts.

The first are those in which are met the three preceding elements, but
without any further aggravating circumstance. The second (qualified
thefts) are those which to the three preceding elements add some
aggravating circumstances. These circumstances are: 1, the quality of the
agents (servants, inn-keepers, drivers or boatmen).

It is clear that this is an aggravating circumstance by reason of the
facility given by the more intimate relations in which they stand with the
injured persons, and the greater confidence these are obliged to grant

2. _Times_ and _places_.--For example, thefts committed by night are more
grave than those committed by day, because it is more difficult to
anticipate them, to catch their perpetrators, and because they place the
injured person in greater danger. The places that aggravate theft are: 1,
_the fields_; 2, _inhabited houses_; 3, _edifices_ consecrated to divine
worship; 4, _highways_, etc. It is easy to understand why these different
places aggravate the crime by rendering it more easy.

3. _Circumstances of execution_, as for example: 1, theft committed by
_several_ persons; 2, theft by _breaking open_; 3, theft with an _armed_
hand, etc.

In a word, theft becomes greater in proportion to the difficulty of
forestalling it, and its menacing character.

One particular form of theft is _swindling_. Swindling is a sort of theft,
since it is a fraudulent appropriation of the thing of another. But it is
characterized by the fact that it does not take place through violence,
but through cunning, and in deceiving the victim by fraudulent maneuvers;
for instance, in making him believe in the existence of false enterprises,
in an imaginary power or credit, in calling forth the hope and fear of a
chimerical event, etc.

_Embezzlement_ is a sort of swindling, with this difference, that "if the
criminal has betrayed the confidence which has been placed in him, he has
not solicited this confidence by criminal maneuvers." Among these may be
classed: 1, taking improper advantage of the wants of a minor; 2, misuse
of letters of confidence; 3, embezzlement of trusts; 4, the abstraction of
documents produced in court.

We have to point out still several other kinds of theft: for example,
theft at _gambling_ or _cheating_; theft of public moneys or peculation,

In one word, under whatever form it may be concealed, misappropriation of
another's goods is always a _theft_. In popular opinion it often seems, as
if theft really takes place only when the criminal takes violent
possession of another's property. Very often a few false appearances
suffice to conceal to the eyes of easy consciences the hatefulness and
shamefulness of fraudulent spoliations. One who would scruple to take a
piece of money from the purse of another, may have no scruple in deceiving
stockholders with fictitious advertisements, and appropriate capital by
fraudulent maneuvers. Theft thus committed on a large scale is still more
culpable, perhaps, than the act of him who, through want, ignorance,
hereditary vices, never knew of any other means of living than by theft.

=48. Restitution.=--He who has taken possession of anything that belongs to
another, or retains it for any cause, is held to restitution as a
reparation of his fault. This restitution must be made as soon as
possible; otherwise it is necessary to obtain an extension of time from
the injured person. If the thing has been lost, restitution should no less
be made under some form of _compensation_. Restitution is independent of
the penalty attached to the damage and fault.

=49. Promises and contracts.=--We have seen above that it is an absolute
obligation for man to use language only so as to express the truth. Hence
every word given becomes essentially obligatory. But it is as yet only a
duty of the man towards himself. We have to see wherein and how the word
given may become a duty towards others. This is the case with _promises_
and _contracts_.

_Promises._--A promise is the act whereby one gives his word to another
either to give him something or do something for him.

According to jurists, a promise is obligatory only when accepted by him to
whom it is made.

    _Pollicitation_ (promise) says Pothier,[33] produces no obligation
    properly so called, and he who has made such a promise may, as long as
    that promise has not been accepted by him to whom it was made, revoke
    it; for there can be no obligation without a right acquired by the
    person to whom it has been made and against the one under obligation.
    Now, as I cannot of my own free will, transfer to any one a right over
    my property, if his own will does not concur with mine in accepting
    it; so I cannot, by my promise, grant any one a right over my person,
    until that one's will concurs with mine in acquiring it by the
    acceptance of my promise.

It may be true that in strict law, and from the standpoint of positive
law, the promise may be obligatory only and capable of enforcement when it
has been accepted, and accepted in an obvious and open way; but in natural
law and in morality, the promise is obligatory in itself. Of course, it is
understood that the promise bears on something advantageous to him to whom
we make it; for if I promise some one a thrashing, it cannot be maintained
that I am obliged to give it to him; and if he to whom I make the promise
will not receive what I offer, I am by that very fact relieved from my
promise; for one cannot give anything to another against his will; I am
under no obligation to him who will not receive anything from me. But if
the promise bears on something advantageous to any one, I am obliged to
keep it without asking myself whether he to whom I made it, is disposed
to accept it; presuming still that he will accept it. It is therefore not
the explicit acceptance of a thing that renders the promise obligatory; it
is the explicit refusal which relieves one of the promise; and together
with that it would be necessary that the refusal be absolute and not
contingent; for even then the promise may remain obligatory, at least in
its general principles, while undergoing some modification in the

Is one obliged to keep his promise when the fulfillment of it is injurious
to those to whom it was made? "No," says Cicero; for example:

    Sol had promised Phaethon, his son, to fulfil all his wishes. Phaethon
    wished to get on the chariot of his father; he got his wish, but at
    the same instant he was struck with lightning. It would have been
    better for him had his father not kept his promise. May we not say the
    same of the one Theseus claimed of Neptune? This god having made him
    the promise to grant him three wishes, Theseus wished for the death of
    his son Hippolytus, whom he suspected of criminal love.[34] How bitter
    the tears he shed when his wish was accomplished! What shall we say of
    Agamemnon? He had made a vow to immolate the most beautiful object in
    his kingdom; this was Iphigenia; and he immolated her; this cruel
    action was worse than perjury.

The truth of this doctrine cannot be contested. However, it is necessary
to understand this exception in the strictest sense, and not to seek in
the pretended interest of the person one obliges, a pretext to change
one's mind. For example, if you have promised any one a post which he
accepts and desires, you cannot be allowed to relieve yourself of it, by
supposing that the post will in reality be a disadvantage to him, and that
you will give him a better one another time.

Some other exceptions are pointed out by the moralists and jurists; for

1. Necessity relieves of all promise. If, for example, I have promised to
go to a meeting and am kept in bed by a serious illness, it is impossible
for me to go, and hence I am relieved of my promise.

2. One is not obliged to perform illicit acts: "for," says Puffendorf, "it
would be a contradiction, to be held by civil or moral law, to perform
things which the civil or moral law interdicts. It is already doing wrong
to promise illicit things, and it is doing wrong twice to perform

3. One cannot promise what belongs to another: for I cannot promise what I
cannot dispose of.

=50. Contracts.=--A _contract_ is an agreement by which one or several
persons engage to do or not to do a certain thing for one or several
others. (Code Civ., Art. 1101.)

_Conditions of the contract_ (Art. 1108).--Four conditions are necessary
to constitute a valid and legitimate agreement:

    1. The _consent_ of the parties.

    2. The _capacity_ of the contractors.

    3. A sure _object_ as a basis for the contract.

    4. A licit _cause_ in the obligation.

(1.) The _consent_.--The consent is the voluntary acceptance of the
charges implied in the contract. It is _express_ or _implied_: express,
when it is made manifest by words, writing, or any other kind of
expressive signs. It is implied, when, without being expressed by outward
signs, it may be deduced, as a manifest consequence of the very nature of
the thing, and other circumstances.

All consent presupposes, 1, _the use of reason_: the insane cannot
contract any obligation; children neither;[36] 2, _necessary knowledge_.
Therefore all real consent excludes error, at least "when it falls on the
very substance of the thing which is its object."[37] It is, besides, for
the jurists to define with precision what is to be understood by error in
matter of contract; 3, the liberty of the contracting parties: whence it
follows that consent extorted by constraint and violence is not valid.

(2.) The _capacity to make a contract_ is deduced from the foregoing
principles. All those who are not supposed to be able to give an
intelligent and free consent, are incapable and cannot make contracts: for
instance, persons under age, persons interdicted, insane or idiots, etc.

(3.) The _matter of a contract_.--"All contract has for its object
something that a certain party engages to give, or do or not do." It is
evident that a contract without subject-matter and bearing on nothing, is
void, and does not exist.

(4.) The _cause_ of the contract must be real and legal. Contracts are
subject here to the same rules as are promises.

The preceding distinctions are all borrowed from the civil law; but they
express no less principles of justice and equity which may be resolved
into the following rules:

1. No one should take by surprise or extort a consent through artifice or

2. No one should make a contract with one whom he knows to be incapable of
understanding the value of the engagement he is called upon to make: for
example, with one under age, incapable before the law, but of whom it is
known that the parents will pay the debts; or with one feeble-minded,
though not yet an interdicted person, etc.

3. No one should contract a fictitious engagement bearing on matters
non-existing, or such as have only an imaginary or illegal cause.

_Interpretation of contracts._--Jurists give the following rules regarding
the interpretation of obscure clauses in contracts. The rules which are to
guide the judge in regard to the law are the same as those which are to
enlighten the consciences of the interested parties:

"1. One should, in agreements, find out the mutual intention of the
contracting parties, rather than stop at the literal sense of the words."
(Art. 1156.)

"2. When a clause is susceptible of a double meaning, one should
understand it in the sense in which it may have some effect, rather than
in the one in which it would not have any." (Art. 1157.)

"4. That which is ambiguous is to be interpreted by what is customary in
the country where the contract is made." (Art. 1159.)

"5. One should supply in a contract its customary clauses, though they be
not therein expressed." (Art. 1160.)

"6. All the clauses of agreements are to be interpreted by one another,
giving each the sense which results from the entire document." (Art.

"7. If doubtful, the agreement is to be interpreted against the
stipulator, and in favor of him who contracted the obligation." (Art.




    =Liberty in general.=--Natural rights.

    =Slavery.=--Arguments of J. J. Rousseau against slavery, servitude;
    oppression of work under divers forms.

    =The honor of others.=--_Backbiting_ and _slander_.

    =Rash judgments.=--Analysis of a treatise of Nicole.--_Envy_; _rancor_;

    =Justice, distributive and remunerative.=--To each according to his
    merits and his works. Equity.

After self-preservation, the most sacred prerogative of man is
_liberty_--that is to say, the right of using his faculties, both physical
and moral, without injury to others, at his own risks and perils, and on
his own responsibility.

=51. Liberty--Natural rights.=--The word liberty sums up all that is
understood by the _natural rights of man_, namely, the right to go and
come, or _individual liberty_; the right to use his physical faculties to
supply his wants, or _liberty of work_; the right to exercise his
intelligence and reason, or _liberty of thought_; the right to honor God
according to his lights, or _liberty of conscience_; the right to have a
family, a wife and children, or the _family right_, and finally the right
to keep what he has acquired, or the right of property.

=52. Slavery.=--The privation of all these rights, of all these liberties
in an individual, is called _slavery_. Slavery is the suppression of the
human personality. It consists in transforming man into a _thing_. It
takes away from him the right of property and makes of himself a property.
The slave is bought and sold as a thing. The fruits of his labor do not
belong to him; he cannot come and go at will; he can neither think nor
believe freely; in some countries he is interdicted the right of
instructing himself; he has no family, or has one temporarily only, since
his wife or children may be separately sold; and since the women belong to
their masters as their property, there is no bridle against the license of

Although slavery is at the present day well-nigh abolished in the world,
still as it is not yet wholly so, and as this abolition is quite recent,
and tends constantly to be renewed under one form or another, it is
important to sum up the principal reasons that show the immorality and
iniquity of this institution.

=53. Refutation of slavery--Opinion of J. J. Rousseau.=--J. J. Rousseau, in
his _Contrat Social_ (I., iv.), combated slavery with as much profundity
as eloquence. Let us sum up his arguments with a few citations:

1. Slavery cannot arise from a contract between the master and the slave;
for to consent to slavery is to renounce one's manhood, of which no one
can dispose at his will.

    To renounce one's liberty is to renounce one's manhood, and the rights
    of humanity, even one's duties. There is no reparation possible for
    him that renounces everything. Such a renunciation is incompatible
    with the nature of man, and is depriving his actions of all morality,
    and his will of all liberty.

2. Such a contract is contradictory, for the slave giving himself wholly
and without reserve, can receive nothing in return.

    It is a vain and contradictory agreement to stipulate an absolute
    authority on one side, and on the other unlimited obedience. Is it not
    clear that one can be under no obligation towards him of whom one has
    a right to demand everything? and does not this single condition,
    without equivalent, without exchange, carry with it the nullity of the
    act? For what right could my slave have against me, since all he has
    belongs to me, and that his right being my own, this my right against
    myself is a word without any sense.

3. Even if one had the right to sell one's self, one has not the right to
sell one's children. Slavery at least should not be hereditary.

    Admitting that one could alienate himself, he could not alienate his
    children; they are born men and free; their liberty is their own; no
    one has a right to dispose of it but themselves.

    Before they have reached the age of reason, their father may, in their
    name, stipulate conditions for their welfare, but not give them
    irrevocably and unconditionally over to another; for such a gift is
    contrary to the ends of nature, and passes the rights of paternity.

4. Slavery, furthermore, comes not from the right of killing in war; for
this right does not exist.

    The conqueror, according to Grotius, having the right to kill the
    conquered enemy, the latter may ransom his life at the expense of his
    liberty: an agreement all the more legitimate, as it turns to the
    profit of both.

    But it is clear that this pretended right to kill the conquered
    adversary does not result in any way from the state of war.... One has
    a right to kill the defenders of the enemy's State as long as they
    hold to their arms; but when they lay these down and surrender, and
    cease to be enemies, they become simply men again, and one has no
    longer a right on their life.

    If war does not give the conqueror the right of massacring the
    conquered, it does not give him the right of reducing them to
    slavery.... The right of making of the enemy a slave, does not then
    follow the right of killing him; it is then an iniquitous exchange to
    make him buy his life at the price of his liberty, over which one has
    no right whatsoever.

Montesquieu has also combated slavery; but he has done it under a form of
irony, which gives still greater force to his eloquence.

"If I had to defend the right we have had to make slaves of the negroes,
this is what I should say:

"The peoples of Europe having exterminated those of America, they were
obliged to reduce to slavery those of Africa in order to use them to clear
the lands.

"Sugar would be too dear if the plant that produces it were not cultivated
by slaves.

"The people in question are black from head to foot, and they have so flat
a nose that it is almost impossible to pity them.

"One cannot conceive that God, who is a being most wise, could have put a
soul, and above all a good soul, in so black a body.

"It is impossible for us to suppose that these people are men; because if
we supposed them to be men, one might begin to think we are not Christians

"Narrow minds exaggerate too much the injustice done to Africans. For if
it were as they say, would it not have come to the minds of the princes of
Europe, who make so many useless contracts among each other, to make a
general one in favor of mercy and of pity?"[38]

=54. Servitude--Restrictions of the liberty to work--Oppression of children
under age, etc.=--Absolute slavery existed in antiquity, and has
particularly reappeared since the discovery of America, owing to the
difference of the races: the black race being, seemingly, particularly
adapted to the cultivation of the torrid zones, and endowed with great
physical vitality, became the serving-race _par excellence_: it has even
been hunted down for purposes of procreation; hence that infamous traffic,
called slave trade, and which is to-day interdicted by all civilized

But there existed in the Middle Ages, and has subsisted even to these
days, in Russia, for example, a relative slavery, less rigorous and
odious, but which, though circumscribed within certain limits, was not the
less a grave outrage to liberty. The serf was allowed a family, and even a
certain amount of money; but the ground which he cultivated could never
belong to him; and above all he could not leave this ground, nor make of
his work and services the use he wished. It was certainly less of an
injustice than slavery; but it was still an injustice. However, this
injustice exists to-day no longer than as an historical memory. Morality
has no longer anything to do with it.

It is the same with the restrictions formerly imposed on the freedom of
work under the old administration (_ancien régime_), the organization of
_maîtrises_ and _jurandes_,[39] namely, and that of corporations; the work
was under regulations: each trade had its corporation, which no one could
enter or leave without permission. No one was allowed to encroach upon his
neighbor's trade; the barbers defended themselves against the wig-makers;
the bakers against the pastry-cooks; hence much that was wrong, and which
those who regret this administration have forgotten.

But here again, it is the object of history to inquire into the good or
the evil of these institutions; and these questions belong rather to
political economy than to morals.

It is not the same regarding the abuse made of the work of children and
minors, or the work of women. Severe laws have forbidden such; but it is
always to be feared that manners get the better of the laws. The work of
children and women being naturally cheaper than the work of men and
adults, one is tempted to make use of it; but the work of children is
improper because it is taking advantage of and using up beforehand a
constitution not yet established, and also because it is thus depriving
children of the means of being educated. As to girls and women, in abusing
their strength, one compromises their health, and contributes thereby to
the impoverishment of the race.

Among the violations the liberty of work may suffer, we must not forget
the threats and violences exercised by the workers themselves and
inflicted upon each other. It is not rare, in fact, in times of strikes,
to see the workmen who do not work try to impose, by main force, their
will on those that are at work. Such violences, which have their source in
false ideas of brotherhood (a mistaken _esprit de corps_), and in a false
sense of honor, constitute, nevertheless, even when free from the coarse
enmity of laziness and vice, waging war with work and honesty--a grave
violation of liberty; and it may be considered a sort of slavery and
servitude to suffer them.

It is the same with the attempts by which men try to forbid to women
factory work, under pretext that it brings the wages down.

This reason, in the first place, is a bad one, because the woman's
earnings come in the end all back to the family, increasing by that much
more the share of each. But by what right should work be prohibited to
woman more than to man? Certainly it would be desirable if the woman could
stay at home, and busy herself exclusively with the cares of the
household; but in the present state of things such an ideal is not
possible. It is then necessary that woman, who has, like man, her rights
as a moral personality, should be allowed by her every-day work to make a
living, under the protection of the laws, and at her own risks and perils.

=55. Moral oppression--Inward liberty and responsibility.=--The question is
not only one of corporal liberty, the liberty to work; the laws in a
certain measure provide for that, and one can appeal to their authority
for self-protection. But there may exist a sort of _moral bondage_, which
consists in the subordination of one will to another. It is here that the
respect we owe to others calls for a more delicate and a more strict sense
of justice: for this sort of slavery is not so obvious, and the love we
bear to others may be the very thing to lead us into error.

=56. Violation of the honor of others--Backbiting and slander.=--Among the
first rights of a man, there is one sometimes forgotten, although it is
one of the most essential, and this is his _right to honor_.

In our ignorance of most men's actions, and in all cases of the real
motives of these actions, it is a duty for us to respect in others what we
wish they should respect in us: namely, our honor and our respectability.
In fact, it is very difficult for men to form true judgments regarding
each other. For fear of committing an injustice, it is better not to judge
at all than to judge wrongly.

There are two ways of violating other people's honor: _backbiting_ and
_slander_. Backbiting consists in saying evil of others, either deservedly
or undeservedly; but when undeservedly, and especially when one knows it
to be so, backbiting becomes slander. Backbiting may arise from ill-will
or thoughtlessness, and slander is the work of baseness and perfidy.

Backbiting which consists in saying evil of others deservedly, is not in
itself an injustice: there is to be recognized the right and jurisdiction
of public opinion. The honest man should be held in greater esteem than
the rogue, even though the latter cannot be reached by the law.
Nevertheless, backbiting becomes an injustice through the abuse that is
made of it. It is not a question of severe judgments touching actions
deserving blame and contempt. It is a question of thoughtless and unkind
judgments, and which we are all too easily and readily inclined to
pronounce upon others, forgetting that we deserve ourselves as many and
severer ones. How shall we conciliate, however, the just severity which
vice deserves, with the spirit of kindness which charity and brotherly
love demand of us? On the one hand, an excess of kindness seems to weaken
the horror of evil, to put on the same level the honest man and the rogue;
on the other, the habit of speaking evil weakens the bonds of human
society, sets men against each other, and is always, in a certain measure,
a shortcoming of sincerity; for one hardly ever tells to people's faces
the evil one says of them in their absence. It is not easy to find the
just medium between these two extremes.

It may be laid down as a principle that, except the case where notorious
vices, contrary to honor, comes into question, it is better absolutely to
abstain from speaking evil of others. For, either the question is of
persons one does not know, or knows imperfectly, and then one is never
sure not to be mistaken; and most of the time one judges people on the
testimony of others only, or one speaks of persons whom one knows, and
with whom one stands in more or less friendly relations; and then
backbiting becomes a sort of treason. Even deserved blame should not be a
favorite subject of conversation: it is an unwholesome and ungenerous
pleasure to lay any stress upon the weakness of others. If, at least, one
accepted with it the right of others to judge us with the same severity,
such reciprocal liberty might prove of some utility; but the backbiter
nowise admits that he may be himself the subject of backbiting; and at the
very moment when he criticises others, he would himself be very much
offended if he learned that the same persons had, on their side, been
doing the same in regard to him.

As to slander, it is not necessary to say much on the subject to show to
what degree it is cowardly and criminal. What makes it, above all,
cowardly is that it is always very difficult to combat and refute slander.
Often, and for a long time, it is not known: at the moment when one hears
of it, it has taken roots which nothing can destroy. One does not know who
spread it, nor whom to answer. It is, besides, often impossible to prove a
negative thing: namely, that one has done no harm, that one has not
committed such and such an action, and said such or such a word. One
always confronts the well-accredited saying: "There is no smoke without

The wrong done by slander will be better understood by the description
Beaumarchais has given of it:

    "Slander, sir--you hardly know how great a thing you hold in
    contempt: I have seen the best of people crushed by it. Believe me,
    there is no flat malice, no hateful story, no absurd tale which a
    skillful mischief-maker cannot make the idlers of a large town
    believe.... At first, a slight report, just grazing the ground as a
    swallow does before the storm: murmuring _pianissimo_, and spinning
    away, it launches in its course the poisoned arrow. A certain ear is
    open to take it in, and it is deftly whispered _piano_, _piano_, to
    the next. The harm is done; it sprouts, crawls, makes its way; and
    _rinforzando_ from mouth to mouth, goes like wildfire; then all at
    once, you scarcely know how, you see the slander rise before you,
    whistling, blowing, growing while you look at it. It starts, takes its
    flight, whirls about, envelops, pulls, carries everything along with
    it, bursts and thunders, and becomes a general cry, a public
    _crescendo_, a universal chorus of hatred and proscription.[40]

=57. Rash judgments.=--We call rash judgments ill-natured remarks made
about others without sufficient knowledge of facts. It is through rash
judgments one becomes often the accomplice of slander, without knowing it
and without wishing it. Nicole, in his _Essais de Morale_, has thoroughly
treated the question of rash judgments. We have but to give here a short
_résumé_ of his Treatise on this subject.

1. Rash judgments are a usurpation of God's judgment.

    Rash judgments being always accompanied by ignorance and want of
    knowledge, are a manifest injustice and a presumptuous usurpation of
    God's authority.

2. This sin has degrees according to the _quality_ of its object, the
_causes_ from which it springs, and the _effects_ it produces.

    The _quality_ of the object increases it or diminishes it, because the
    more things are important the more is one obliged to be circumspect
    and reserved in the judgments one pronounces.[41]

The _causes_ may be very different:

    One falls into it sometimes simply from over-hastiness. Sometimes we
    are led into it through the presumptuous attachment we have for our
    sentiments. But the most ordinary source of this ignorance is the
    maliciousness which causes us to see stains and defects in persons
    which a single eye would never discover in them.... It causes us to
    feel strongly the least conjectures, and enlarges in our eyes the
    slightest appearances. We believe them guilty because we should be
    very glad if they were.

The _consequences_ of rash judgments are sometimes terrible and fatal.

    The divisions and hatreds which disturb human society and extinguish
    charity come generally only from a few indiscreet words that escape
    us. Moreover, we do not always confine ourselves to simple judgments.
    We pass from the thoughts of the mind to the promptings of the heart.
    We conceive aversion and contempt for those we have thoughtlessly
    condemned, and we inspire the same sentiments in others.

    Rash judgments are the source of what we call _prejudices_; or,
    rather, prejudices are but rash judgments fixed and permanent.... We
    portray human beings to ourselves from the inconsiderate remarks made
    about them before us, and we then adjust all their other actions to
    the ideas we have formed of them. It serves us as a key whereby to
    explain the conduct of these persons, and as a rule for our conduct
    towards them.

3. We are apt to delude ourselves as to the motives of the judgments we

    The manner in which we conceal from ourselves this defect is very
    delicate and very difficult to avoid. For it comes from the bad use we
    make of a maxim very true in itself when viewed generally, but which
    in private we imperceptibly pervert. This maxim is, that whilst it is
    forbidden to judge, it is not forbidden to see--that is to say, to
    give one's self up to convincing evidence. Thus, in making our
    judgments pass for views or evidences, we shield them from all that
    can be said against the rashness of our judgments.

    To enable us to distrust this pretended evidence, it would only be
    necessary to call our attention upon those whom we think guilty of
    rash judgments in regard to us. They think as we do, that the rashest
    of their judgments are from observation evidently true. Who, then,
    will assure us that it is different with us, and that we are the only
    ones free from this illusion?

4. It is maintained that one cannot help seeing the faults of others: so
be it; but one need not make it voluntarily an object.

    It may be said that we cannot help but see. But that is not true. It
    is rare that our mind is so violently struck that it cannot help
    deciding. It is generally obliged to make an effort to look at things,
    and it is this voluntary looking at the faults of others which
    Christian prudence should correct in the persons whose function it is
    not to correct them.

5. Besides, even if we knew the evil for certain, it is not for us to make
it known to others.

    Whatever evidence we may think we have of the faults of our neighbor,
    Christian prudence forbids us to make these known to others when it is
    not incumbent on us or useful so to do.... This exercise does not only
    serve in regulating our speech and forestalling the consequences of
    rash judgments, but it is also of infinite service in regulating the
    mind and correcting the rashness of judgment at its very source; for
    one hardly ever allows one's mind to judge the faults of others,
    except to speak about them, and if one did not speak of them, one
    would insensibly stop trying to judge them.

6. But as it is not always possible to avoid judging, it becomes necessary
to employ other remedies against the abuse of rash judgments.

    (_a._) "The remedy for malignity is to fill one's heart with charity;
    to think often about the virtues and good qualities of others.

    (_b._) "The remedy against haste is to accustom one's self to judge
    slowly and to take more time in looking at things.

    (_c._) "The remedy against the too strong attachment to our own
    sentiments is to continually remember the weakness of our minds and
    the frequent mistakes we, as well as others, make."

Nicole goes so far in proscribing rash judgments, that he even forbids
them regarding the dead (xxxv.), regarding ourselves (xxxvi.), even when
they have good rather than evil for their object (xxxvii.), even regarding
abstract maxims of morality (xli.); and he concludes by saying that the
only reasonable method is silence! We recognize here the rigorism of the
Jansenists.[42] It suffices to say that, as a general principle, one
should neither judge nor pronounce without investigation; but one must
allow a little more latitude and liberty than does Nicole; for if all men
agreed to keep silent, human society would be nothing but a semblance, a
word void of sense. How could men get to love each other if they did not
know each other? And how could they know each other if they did not talk
to each other? We must, therefore, adhere to certain general principles
without pretending to bring all words and thoughts under regulations.

=58. Of envy and delation.=--Among the vices which may lead to the greatest
injustices, and which already in themselves are odious as sentiments, the
most blameworthy and the vilest is the passion of _envy_. We call envious
him who suffers from the happiness of others, him who hates others because
of the advantages they possess and the superiority they enjoy. In the
first place, this sentiment is an injustice; for the happiness of one is
not the cause of another's misfortune; the health of one does not make the
other sick; Voltaire's wit is not the cause of the mediocrity of our own
talents; beautiful women are not answerable for the ugliness of other
women. Let the ill-favored one accuse nature or Providence, and there will
be some reason in it, though it is a bad feeling; for it is a want of
resignation to a wisdom the motives of which we cannot always divine; but
to accuse the favored of fortune, is a shocking baseness of the heart. It
is the hateful feature of a celebrated sect of these present days; they
desire not the happiness of all, but the misfortune of all. Unable to
procure the same advantages to all men, their ideal is general
destruction. Their utopia is just the reverse of all other utopias. These
believed they could secure to all the advantages reserved to a few. This
new utopia, persuaded of the impossibility of the thing, have overthrown
the problem and propose to reduce the more fortunate to the wretchedness
of the less happy; and as among the number of heads they hit there are
still some which retain a few advantages over the others, the work of
destruction will go on till they shall have reached the level of universal

But, without speaking of the social envy, which has had so large a share
in the revolutions of our time, what we ought above all to fight against
is the individual envy which each of us has so much trouble in defending
himself against in presence of the success of his neighbor. It is above
all dangerous when _disputed_ goods are in question--things all cannot
have at the same time--and which he who is in the enjoyment of them seems
thereby to rob the others of: as, for instance, a situation one obtains at
the expense of another, be it that he is more deserving of it, or more
favored by fortune. In the first case, one should be just enough to
recognize the rights of others to these things, and in the second,
generous enough to forgive them the favors of chance. It is wanting in
personal dignity to begrudge men their chances and good fortune; and even
were these chances undeserved, it is still lowering one's self to do them
the honor of envying them.

Envy comes close to another sentiment, less odious perhaps, and less
unjust, but which is, nevertheless, unworthy of a right-feeling man; this
is _resentment_, _rancor_, a _vindictive_ spirit. If we are commanded to
return good for good, we are, on the other hand, forbidden to return evil
for evil. For centuries it has been said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.
This is called retaliation (_lex talionis_). Christian morality has
reformed this law of barbarous times. "It is written: eye for eye, tooth
for tooth; but I say unto you: Love those who hate you; pray for those who
persecute you and speak evil of you." Without insisting here on the _love
for enemies_ (which is a duty of charity and not of justice), we will
simply say that the spirit of vengeance is even contrary to justice.
Nature, when we have been offended, calls forth in our hearts a
spontaneous emotion, which inspires in us an aversion for the cause of the
offense. This is a mere revolt of nature, innocent in itself, since it is
the principle of the right of self-defense. But we should not yield to
this thoughtless impulse; we should combat the desire to return evil for
evil; for otherwise we place ourselves on a level with him whom we hate.
And here again we should distinguish between _anger_ and _rancor_. Anger
is the immediate impression we receive from the wrong committed, and which
may induce us to return evil for evil on the spot; but _rancor_ is hatred
coldly kept up; it is the slow and calculated preparation for a revenge;
it is the _remembrance_ of wrong carefully nursed: and it is this which is
contrary to human dignity. Man should remember good, not evil: he who is
capable of hatred is worthy of hatred, and would seem to have beforehand
deserved the wrong he has been made to suffer. We do not go so far as to
say that wrong must be pardoned as wrong, for that would be siding with
injustice; but it should be pardoned to human nature, because it is weak,
and we are no less liable to sin than others.

From these feelings of hatred, envy, rancor, covetousness, springs
sometimes a vice which lowers the soul and corrupts it: this is
_delation_. To report to one the wrong done by another; to superiors the
wrongs done by our colleagues; to friends the evil said of them in their
absence; to inform the authorities of the presence and lodgings of an
outlaw, such are the faults designated by the term _delation_, and the
essential characteristics of which are, that they are committed without
the knowledge of the interested parties. It is evident, besides, that this
term can nowise be applied to functionaries commissioned to watch and
discover faults, or to those who complain of injustice done them, and
finally where great crimes committed against society are in question, to
those who, knowing the criminals, report them to the authorities.

=59. Distributive and remunerating justice--Equity.=--All the acts we have
thus far enumerated, and which consist in doing no wrong to others,
relate to what may be called _negative_ justice.[43]

There is another kind of justice, more positive, which consists, like
charity, in doing good to others, not in the sense of liberality and a
gift, but as a debt; only the question then is not a material debt, which
obliges to return a thing loaned, or intrusted, or the venal value of that
thing; but it is a moral debt in proportion to the merit and services it
relates to. This kind of justice, which distributes goods, advantages,
praises in proportion to certain efforts, capacities, virtues, is what is
called _distributive_ justice, and, inasmuch as it rewards services,

Distributive justice goes into effect every time when there is occasion to
classify men, to distribute among them offices, ranks, honors, degrees,
etc. It is that which especially administrators who distribute places,
have to exercise; also, examiners who give diplomas, learned societies who
grant prizes, or take in new members; finally, critical judges who
appreciate the merit of books, works of art, dramatic productions.

The administrators who have to fill posts, must above all consider the
interests of the situation which is to be filled. Favoritism should be
strictly excluded: the misuse of testimonials has been often pointed out;
it is the plague of our administrations. They have not always all the
influence attributed to them; but it is enough that it is thought they
have any, to give rise to bad habits and a very serious laxity of morals.
They make you believe that success does not wholly depend on conscientious
work, and that it requires, above all, the favor of the great
(protections). It is, therefore, the duty of administrators to consider
the merit of functionaries only, and not their patrons.

But even this rule is far from being sufficient: for personal merit is not
everything; is not the only element to be considered; age, length of
service, have also their value; for, in order that the State be well
served, it is necessary that those who work for it, should have faith in
the future; should know that their past services will be taken account of,
that as they grow older and their burdens heavier, the State will come to
their assistance in raising their functions. Thus must length of service
be combined with merit and be itself a part of the merit. In many
administrations, the division between these two elements is made by
granting vacant posts half to length of service, half to choice. But the
choice itself depends on various elements; for personal merit is itself
composed of many elements: for example, which should be considered the
higher, talent or work? A lively mind will accomplish more work in less
time; but it may be negligent, forgetful, disorderly: a substantial mind,
always ready, industrious, conscientious, offers better guarantees and
more security; yet in difficult transactions, talent offers more
resources. This shows how many practical difficulties have to be met in
the choice of men. It is for experience and conscience to decide in each
particular case. Morality can give no general rules, except negative
rules: to avoid _nepotism_, _simony_,[44] guard against the arbitrary,
against favor, testimonials, etc.

In examinations there are the same dangers to avoid: for here, also, it is
unfortunately too much a general belief that favoritism is the rule, and
that testimonials go for everything. The first duty is to set aside all
personal interest, worldly influence, pressure from without. But all does
not end here; for there remains to be seen what rule is to be followed in
the choice of candidates.

If the number of those who are to be elected is fixed beforehand, as in
contests, there is then already a great difficulty obviated: for there is
but to be determined the order of merit of the candidates. But in many
examinations the number is not fixed. It becomes then necessary to find a
just medium between excess of severity and excess of indulgence. This
medium is generally determined through the co-operation of different
minds, of which some are inclined to severity and others to indulgence.
But one must not trust to this co-operation of others to arrive at a
strict justice. It is clear that each, for his own part, must fix upon a
mean, and endeavor to adhere to it as strictly as possible. In cases where
there is occasion for classification, one must, above all, consider the
more substantial qualities, and not allow one's self to be too easily led
away by mere appearances and surface-talent.

Thus, facility of speech, which in itself is a merit, should not have any
advantage over sound learning, especially in regard to functions where
speech-making plays no part. Presence of mind, ready wit, are also
brilliant and precious qualities, but the absence of which does not always
denote ignorance and incapacity.

In learned or political societies, which are recruited among themselves,
the same principles of independence and impartiality should always
predominate, except in cases of difference in circumstances. Talent is
here the principal thing to go by, and which should prevail; length of
service counts for nothing except where the merit is equal. The interest
of science in learned societies, the interest of the State in political
societies, should be the prime considerations.

Literary or artistic criticism comes under the same rules, only it has not
for its object persons, but works. Here the danger to be feared is not
exactly favor, but good fellowship: one upholds the other, the praise is
mutual, and all severity is reserved for those who do not belong to the
society. But, whether good fellowship or favor, all privilege-preference
substituted for the esteem the thing should be held in for its own sake,
is contrary to justice. Criticism may, of course, be more or less
severe--more or less laudatory; there is as much impropriety in constant
blame as in constant praise; one must strike as near as possible a just
mean between the two, and this mean may not be the same with the different
critics; here comes in the part which individual temperament plays in the
matter. But whatever rule each may adopt for himself, they must all apply
it to the same end: there must be no undue respect for the person, and the
interest of art must be alone considered.




    A retrospect of what distinguishes justice and charity.

    =Duties of kindness.=--The lowest degree of charity is _kindness_: to
    wish others well leads to _doing_ them good.

    =Civility.=--_Personal civility_; civility of the mind; civility of the

    =Modesty.=--Modesty is as much a duty to others as to ourselves.

    =Peace among men.=--Analysis of Nicole's dissertation _on the means of
    preserving peace among men_.--Citations from Kant on _society

    =Duties of friendship.=--Citations from Aristotle and Kant.

    =Duties of benevolence.=--_Duties minima_: services which cost
    nothing.--Hospitality with the ancients.

    =Good deeds.=--Analysis of Seneca.

    =Duties of benefactors.=--1, The benefaction consists rather in the
    sentiment than in the thing given; 2, one should not trouble one's
    self if the benefaction results in ingratitude; 3, degrees in
    benefactions: the necessary, the useful, the agreeable; 4, the manner
    of giving is often better than the gift itself; 5, one should not
    reproach benefactions; 6, benefaction consists sometimes in refusing;
    7, benefaction should be disinterested.

    =Duties of the person under obligation:=--1, Not to be too greedy; 2, a
    kindness should be accepted cheerfully; 3, one should remember a

    =Kant's rules= regarding benevolence and gratitude.

    =Precautions required by benevolence:= Cicero's rules.

    =Self-sacrifice.=--Different forms of self-sacrifice: The life, the
    property, the morality of others, etc.; clemency; forgiveness of
    injuries; love of enemies.

We have said that charity consists, above all, in doing good to men,
whilst justice consists in doing them no wrong. It is true, there is a
_positive_ justice, as there is a _negative_ justice; and this positive
justice consists also in doing good to men, but it is a good which is
_due_ them, which belongs to them by right, and which is itself an
acknowledgment of that due and that right.

The good done to others in the exercise of the duties of charity is, on
the contrary, something we take from our own; it is a _gift_; whilst the
good done in the name of justice, is always a _debt_.

The lowest degree of the duty of charity consists in what are called
duties of _kindliness_.

=60. Duties of kindliness.=--The first step to arrive at _doing_ good to
men, is to _wish_ them well. _Kindliness_ is the road to _benevolence_.

Kindliness is that disposition which induces us to give others pleasure;
to rejoice over their good fortune, to make them happy themselves, if not
by our own kindnesses, if that is not in our power, at least by outward
demonstrations of sympathy and affection.

=61. Civility.=--The lowest degree of this virtue, consists in using gentle
and amiable manners in our intercourse with others, in not repelling them
by a gruff and unsociable disposition; in wounding no one's feelings by
the affectation of contempt and raillery, etc. This kind of
surface-virtue, which is confined to the outward, is what is called

Civility is the _ensemble_ of the forms usage has established to regulate
the habitual and daily relations of men with each other. It corresponds in
society to the ceremonial of diplomatic life. To avoid the clashes which
the rivalries of courts and powers would necessarily carry with them, a
code of agreements was established which fix with precision the relations
of the diplomatic agents. The same in social life. Civility is composed
not of absolute and wholly material rules, but of forms fixed in a general
way, yet more or less free in their application, and all the more pleasing
as they are the more free. These forms, often laughed at when regarded
superficially, have a serious value when we consider that they express the
general duty whereby peace is established and maintained among men. (See
Nicole, _Essais de morale_,[45] 1671.)

There is, then, in civility a principle which is _essential_ and a form
which is _arbitrary_. Usage has everywhere established the form of bowing,
for instance; everywhere there are conventional expressions wherewith to
greet people according to their age, their sex; but these outward
manifestations vary according to times and countries.

A distinction has been made between _personal_ civility and the civility
of the _mind_ and _heart_. Civility properly so called is that of the
outward manners; but it is worth very little if it is not sustained by the
delicacy which says nothing wounding and the true kindliness which seeks
to give pleasure: this is what is called civility of the mind and heart.

    "The most amiable natural gifts, and the talents made most supple by
    education, change into defects and vices if they are not inspired by a
    feeling of kindness. Suppleness, then, is nothing else than perfidy;
    delicacy nothing else but cunning; this civility lavished upon
    everybody is nothing else than duplicity.... It is not enough to be a
    man of the world; one must also be a man of heart.... True civility is
    that which has its source in justice, in the respect for humanity; it
    is a form of charity; it is the luxury of virtue."[46]

=62. Modesty.=--One of the most essential parts of kindness is _modesty_.
Modesty is certainly a duty we owe to ourselves; but it is also a duty we
owe to others. Nothing more fatiguing than people who bring everything
back to themselves, and can speak of nothing but themselves. It is not by
appearing satisfied with your own accomplishments, but in having others
satisfied with them, that you will please; and they will never find you
more charming than when, completely forgetting yourself, you will be only
occupied with them. To succeed in making them satisfied with themselves,
is the true means of having them satisfied with you.

Among remarkable instances of modesty often cited, are those of Turenne
and Catinat. The latter having sent in a report of the battle of
Marsaglia, had so totally forgotten to mention himself that some one
ingenuously asked: "Was the marshal present?"

=62= (_bis_). =Peace among men.=--"You have but a day to spend on earth,"
says Lamennais; "try to spend it in peace."[47]

Nicole has written an excellent treatise on _the means of preserving peace
among men_ (_Essais de morale_, 1671). Let us give a résumé of it.

Two causes, according to Nicole, produce disunion among men: "either _in
wounding_ their feelings we cause them to withdraw from us, or, in _being
wounded_ ourselves, we withdraw from them."

Consequently, "the only means of avoiding such divisions is not to wound
the feelings of others, and not to feel one's self wounded by them."

1. If we look into the causes which generally give offense, we shall see
that they may be reduced to two, which are: "to contradict people in their
opinions, and to oppose their passions."

    "1. _Opinions._--Men are naturally attached to their opinions, because
    they desire to rule over others: now we rule through the trust that is
    placed in us; it is a sort of empire to have one's opinions received
    by others.

    "For this reason, when one seeks to combat the opinions of a man, one
    does him in some sort injury. It cannot be done without giving him to
    understand that he is mistaken; and he does not take pleasure in being
    mistaken. He who contradicts another on some point, pretends to more
    knowledge than has he whom he wishes to persuade; he thus presents to
    him two disagreeable ideas at the same time: one, that he is deficient
    in knowledge, and the other that he who corrects him surpasses him in

One should, therefore, spare people in their opinions; but among these
opinions there are some which must be treated with more regard than

    "They are those advanced by no one particular person of the place
    where one may live, but which are established by universal
    approbation: in running against such opinions, one appears wishing to
    rise above all the rest."

Not that one should always scruple in conversation to show that one does
not approve some opinions: that would be destroying society, instead of
preserving it....

    "But it is a thing worth pointing out how one may express his
    sentiments so gently and agreeably that they give no offense.... For
    very often it is not so much our sentiments that shock others, as the
    proud, presumptuous, passionate, disdainful, insulting manner in which
    we express them."

There are, then, several mistakes to be avoided:

    (_a_) The first is _assumed superiority_, that is to say an imperious
    manner in the expression of one's sentiments, and which most persons
    resent, as much because it shows a proud and haughty soul, as because
    it indicates a domineering spirit tyrannizing over minds.

    (_b_) The second is the decided and dogmatic manner in which an
    opinion is given; as if it could not be reasonably contradicted.

    (_c_) _Vehemence_ does not belong to the mistakes we have just spoken
    of. It consists in conveying the impression that one is not only
    attached to one's sentiments from conviction, but also passionately,
    which furnishes many people a reason for suspecting the truth of those
    sentiments, thus inspiring in them a wholly contrary feeling.

    (_d_) The contempt and insults which enter into disputes, are so
    obviously shocking, that it is not necessary to warn against them; but
    it may be well to remark that there are certain rudenesses and
    incivilities nearly akin to contempt, although they spring from
    another source. Change of opinion is in itself such a hard thing, and
    so contrary to nature, that we must not add to it other difficulties.

    (_e_) Finally, _hardness_, which does not so much consist in the
    hardness of the terms employed as in the absence of certain softening
    words, also often shocks those thus addressed, because it implies a
    sort of indifference and contempt.

2. _Passions._--It is not enough to avoid contradicting people's opinions,
or to do so cautiously only; one must also spare their _inclinations_ and
their _passions_, because otherwise, it is impossible to avoid complaints,
murmurs, and quarrels.

These inclinations are of three kinds: which may be called _just_,
_indifferent_, and _unjust_.

    (_a_) One should never really satisfy the unjust ones; but it is not
    always necessary to oppose them; for it is wounding others to make
    one's self conspicuous without particular reason.... One must always
    make amends for good and evil ... especially when there are others who
    could do it with better results than we.

    Besides, "this same rule obliges us to choose the least offensive, the
    gentlest, the least irritating means."

    (_b_) I call indifferent passions those the objects of which are not
    bad in themselves, although they may be sought after with a vicious
    adhesion. Now, in this sort of things we are at greater liberty to
    yield to the inclinations of others: 1, because we are not their
    judges; 2, because we do not know whether these affections are not
    necessary to them (leading them away from still more dangerous
    objects); 3, because these sorts of affections must be destroyed with
    prudence and circumspection; 4, because there is reason to fear we
    might do them more harm in indirectly opposing their innocent
    passions, than we should do them good in warning them against them.

    (_c_) I call _just_ passions, those in which we are obliged to follow
    others by reason of some duty, although they might perhaps not be
    justified in requiring of us such deference.

The peace of society resting thus on reciprocal esteem and love, it is
just that men should wish to be esteemed and loved, and should demand
outward signs of esteem and love. Upon this rest the rules of civility
established among men, and of which we have spoken above.

II. It is not enough to avoid wounding men's feelings, one should,
moreover, not allow one's self to _feel wounded_ by them, when they
themselves fail to treat us as we ought to treat them.

    For it is impossible to practice inward peace, if we are so sensitive
    to all that may be done and said contrary to our inclinations and
    sentiments; and it is even difficult to prevent the inner
    dissatisfaction from showing itself outwardly, and inducing us to
    treat those who have shocked us in a manner calculated to shock them
    in their turn.

It is, then, necessary to avoid complaining of others, when one has been
offended by them. In fact:

    ... Let us complain of others as much as we please, we shall generally
    only embitter them the more, without correcting them. We shall be
    accounted sensitive, proud, haughty ... and if those we complain of
    have any sort of skill, they will give such an aspect to things that
    the blame will fall back upon us.

    We must then endeavor to establish our peace and quiet on our own
    reformation and on the moderation of our passions. We cannot dispose
    of the minds or the tongues of others ... we are enjoined to work on
    ourselves and to correct our own faults.

    There is nothing more useful than to suppress one's complaining and
    resentment. It is the surest way to appease differences at their birth
    and prevent their increase; it is a charity we practice towards
    ourselves by procuring to ourselves the good of patience ... it is a
    charity we do to others in bearing with their foibles, in sparing them
    the little shame they have deserved, and the new faults they might
    commit in justifying themselves.

    But it is not possible for us to observe outwardly such discretion, if
    we allow our resentment to work inwardly in all its force and
    violence. The outward complaints come from the inward, and it is very
    difficult to hold them back, if one's mind is full of them; they
    always escape and break through some opening or other.... We must,
    therefore, also quench the complaints which the soul engenders.

Among the subjects of complaint which other men give us, and which should
be treated with contempt, Nicole points out particularly:

    "False judgments, slander, rudeness, negligence, reserve, or want of
    confidence, ingratitude, disagreeable tempers, etc."

Let us merely repeat what he says of the unfavorable judgments of others
regarding us:

    "There is a ridiculous oddity in this spite which we feel when we hear
    of the unfavorable judgments and remarks made about us; for one must
    have very little knowledge of the world to suppose it generally
    possible that they would not be made. Princes are talked against in
    their ante-chambers; their servants mimic them. There is nothing so
    common as to speak of the defects of one's friends and pride one's
    self in pointing them frankly out to others. There are even occasions
    when this may be done innocently.... It is, therefore, ridiculous to
    expect being spared ... for there is no time when we may not be
    generally sure either that people talk or have talked about us
    otherwise than we should wish.... We show annoyance at these judgments
    when they are expressly reported to us ... yet the report itself adds
    next to nothing to the matter, for before it was made we ought to have
    been almost sure that we and our faults were unpleasantly commented
    on.... If this resentment were just, one would then have to be always
    angry, or never so, because it is unjust. But to keep very quiet, as
    we do, though we should know that there are people laughing at us, and
    to be disturbed and upset when we are told what we already knew, is a
    ridiculous foible."

=63. Social virtues--Kant's advice.=--Kant has also treated the duties of
kindness towards men, under the title of _Social Virtues_.[48]

    "It is a duty to one's self as well as to others to carry the commerce
    of life to the highest degree of moral perfection; not to _isolate_
    one's self; not only to have the happiness of the world in view
    ideally, but to cultivate the means which indirectly lead to it;
    urbanity in social relations, gentleness, reciprocal love and respect,
    affability and propriety, thus adding the graces to virtue, for this
    also is a duty of virtue.

    "These, it is true, are but external and accessory works, presenting a
    fine appearance of virtue, which, however, deceives no one, because
    every one knows how much to think of it. It is but a sort of small
    coin; but the effort we are obliged to make to bring this appearance
    as near to the truth as possible, helps the sentiment of virtue
    greatly along. An easy access, an amiable mode of speech, politeness,
    hospitality, that gentleness in controversy which keeps off all
    quarrel--all these forms of sociability are external obligations which
    put also the others under obligation, and which favor the sentiment of
    virtue in rendering it at least amiable.

    "Here arises the question to know whether one can keep up friendly
    relations with the vicious.[49] One cannot avoid meeting them; for one
    would have to quit the world, and we are not ourselves competent
    judges in respect to them. But when vice becomes a scandal--that is to
    say, a public example of contempt of the strict laws of duty, thus
    carrying with it opprobrium--then one should stop all relations one
    may have had heretofore with the guilty person; for the continuation
    of this relation would deprive virtue of honor, and make of it a
    merchandise for the use of whoever were rich enough to corrupt
    parasites through the pleasures of good living."

=64. Duties of friendship.=--Besides the general duties of every kind which
link us with all men, for the only reason that they are men, there are
particular duties imposed on us toward those of our fellow-beings, to whom
we are united by the bonds of friendship.

The duties of friendship have been admirably known and described by the
ancients. We could not, therefore, treat this subject better here than by
briefly recalling some few passages from Aristotle or Cicero.

According to Aristotle, there are three kinds of friendship: the
friendship of _pleasure_, the friendship of _interest_, and the friendship
of _virtue_. The latter is the only true one.

    "There are three kinds of friendship.... The people who love each
    other from interested motives, for the use they are to each other,
    love each other, not for their own sakes, but only inasmuch as they
    get any good or profit from their mutual relations. It is the same
    with those who only love each other for pleasure's sake. When one
    loves from motives of pleasure only, one really seeks nothing else but
    this same pleasure. Such friendships are only indirect and accidental.
    They are very easily broken, because these pretended friends do not
    long remain the same.

    "Utility, interest, have nothing fixed; they vary from one moment to
    another. The motive which originated the friendship disappearing, the
    friendship disappears as rapidly with it.

    "The perfect friendship is that of virtuous people, and who resemble
    each other in their virtue; for these wish each other well, inasmuch
    as they are good; and I add that they are good in themselves. Those
    who wish their friends well from such a noble motive are the friends
    _par excellence_. Hence it is that the friendship of such generous
    hearts lasts as long as they remain good and virtuous themselves; now
    virtue is a substantial and durable thing. Each of the two friends is
    in the first place good in himself, and he is, moreover, good to all
    his friends, for good people are useful to each other, and also
    mutually agreeable to each other. Such a friendship unites, then, all
    the conditions. There is nothing more lovely. It is quite natural,
    however, that such friendships are very rare, because there are very
    few people of such a disposition. It requires, moreover, time and
    habit. The proverb is true which says that people can hardly know each
    other well, 'before having eaten together bushels of salt.' In the
    same way persons cannot be friends before having shown themselves
    worthy of affection, before reciprocal confidence is established."
    (Nicomachean Ethics, liv. viii., ch. vii.)

Friendship, according to Aristotle, consists in _loving_ rather than in
_being loved_.

    "Friendship, besides, consists much rather in loving than in being
    loved. The proof of it is the pleasure mothers experience in lavishing
    their love.... To love is, then, the great virtue of friends; it is
    thus that the most unequal of people may be friends; their mutual
    esteem renders them equals." (Ch. viii.)

Friendship gives rise to a number of delicate problems: they may be found
discussed in great detail in Cicero's _Treatise on Friendship_.

=65. Kant's precepts touching friendship.=--Among the moderns, Kant is the
only moral philosopher who has given friendship a place in practical
morality. He has found new and delicate traits to add to the rules of the
ancients. He insists above all on what he calls "the difficulties of
friendship," and above all on the difficulty of conciliating "love and

    "To look at the moral aspect of the thing," he says, "it is certainly
    a duty to call a friend's attention to the mistakes he may commit; for
    it is done for his good, and is consequently a duty of love. But the
    friend, thus admonished, sees in the thing but a lack of esteem he had
    not expected, and thinks he has lost something in your mind; or,
    seeing himself thus observed and criticised, may at least be in
    constant fear of losing your esteem. Besides, the fact alone of being
    observed and censured, will already appear to him an offensive thing
    in itself.

    "How much in adversity do we not wish for a friend, especially an
    effective friend, one finding in his own resources abundant means for
    helping us? Yet is it a very heavy burden to feel one's self
    responsible for the fortunes of another, and called to provide for his
    necessities.... Then if the one receives a kindness from the other,
    perhaps there may be yet reason to hope for perfect equality in love;
    but he could no longer expect perfect equality in respect; for being
    under obligation to one he cannot oblige in his turn, he feels himself
    manifestly one degree his inferior.... Friendship is something so
    tender that if one does not subject this reciprocal abandonment and
    interchange of thoughts to principles, to fixed rules, which prevent
    too great a familiarity and limit reciprocal love by the requirements
    of respect, it will see itself every instant threatened by some
    interruption.... In any case affection in friendship should not be a
    passion; for passion is blind in its choice, and evaporates with

=66. Duties of benevolence.--Duties minima.=--From _kindness_ we pass to
_benevolence_. The one resides in sentiment, the other in acts: the first
consists in _wishing_ well, the second in _doing_ good.

The least degree of _benevolence_ consists in rendering to others those
smaller services which cost us nothing, and which are helpful to them. It
is what Puffendorf calls the _duties minima_ of benevolence.[51]

Cicero, in his _Treatise on duties_ (I., xvi.), gives several examples of
this kind:

    "To show the way to him who asks for it; to forbid no one the use of
    running water; to give fire to him who has need of it; to give advice
    in good faith to him who is in doubt."

Plutarch, in the same sense, says that the Romans never extinguished their
lamps after their meals, and always left something on the table to
accustom the servants of the house to the duties of humanity. By the law
of Moses, the owner of a field was obliged always to leave some corner
uncut and not glean the ears that had escaped the reapers. Finally, a
Greek poet, Phocylides, expressed in the following lines this minimum of
benevolence which every one can exercise:

    "Give shelter to those who have none; lead the blind; be merciful to
    those who have suffered shipwreck; extend a helping hand to the
    fallen; assist those that have no one to help them out of danger."

Among these primitive duties, which cost him that fulfills them but
little, the ancients put in the first rank _hospitality_. It is in fact a
virtue of primitive times which exists especially among barbarous and
savage peoples. In the poems of Homer we see to what degree the guest was
held sacred; it is still so among the Arabs and the Indians of America.
This virtue, on the contrary, seems to have disappeared with civilization.
The reason of it is that among barbarous populations, where security is
feeble, it was the point of honor which guaranteed the security of
strangers. But as civilization becomes more complicated, as traveling
increases, and security becomes greater, mercenary hospitality takes the
place of free and private hospitality. Nevertheless, there can always
remain some occasion for this primitive virtue in places isolated and
separated from the great centres: this, for example, can still be seen in
our days in the great wastes of America and Australia.

=67. Benefactions--Duties of the benefactor.=--The foregoing actions,
however praiseworthy they may be, are too simple and too easy to be
presented as real acts of benevolence. This term is reserved for the more
difficult actions, which may cost us some real sacrifices more or less
great, and which, moreover, are important services. These are what are
called benefactions.

Seneca, in his _Treatise on benefactions_, has fixed the principles of

1. Benefaction consists especially in the feeling which accompanies it,
rather than in the thing given.

    "What is a benefaction?" he asks; "it is an act of benevolence which
    procures joy to him who is the object of it and to him who exercises
    it: it is a voluntary and spontaneous act. It is then not at the thing
    done and given that we must look, but at the intention, because the
    benefaction does not consist in the gift or in the action, but in the
    disposition of him who gives. The proof of this difference is that the
    benefaction is always a good, whilst the thing done or given is
    neither a good nor an evil. The benefaction is then not the money that
    is counted out to you, the present that is made you; no more than the
    worship of the gods consists in its fattest victims, but in the
    uprightness and piety of their worshipers.

    "One prefers a hand that opens easily to one that gives largely. He
    has done little for me, but he could not do any more. That other has
    given much, but he hesitated, he delayed, he groaned in giving, he
    gave with ostentation; he proclaimed his good deed; he did not care to
    please him whom he obliged: it is not to me he gave, it is to his
    vanity." (I., vi.)

2. One should do good without caring about ingrates.

    "What is after all the wrong the ingrate does you? You have lost your
    good deed. But there remains to you the most precious part of it: the
    merit of having done it. There are services one should learn how to
    render without hope of returns, to people one may presume will be
    ungrateful, and whom one even knows to have been so. If, for example,
    I can save from a great peril the children of one who has been
    ungrateful to me, I shall not hesitate to do so." (I., x.)

3. There must be degrees in benefactions, and, having to choose, one must
first give the _necessary_, then the _useful_, then the _agreeable_.

    "The necessary," says Seneca, "is divided into three classes: the
    first comprises the things without which one cannot live (for example,
    to rescue a man from the sword of the enemy, from the rage of tyrants,
    from proscription, etc.); the second, those without which one should
    not live (such as liberty, honor, virtue); finally (3d class), our
    children, our wives, our household gods are objects dearer to us than
    life.--After the necessary comes the useful; it may be subdivided into
    a great number of species; it comprises money, honors, and above all
    the progress in the science of virtue.--Finally come the agreeable
    things which are innumerable.... Let us seek things which please
    because they are to the purpose; that are not common; that recall the
    donor; let us above all beware of useless presents." (I., xi.)

4. The manner of granting a benefit is more important than the benefit

    "The simplest rule to follow is to give as we should ourselves wish to
    be given to.

    "One must above all give heartily, without hesitation ... after a
    refusal nothing so hard as irresolution.... The most agreeable
    kindnesses are those one does not expect, which flow naturally; which
    anticipate their need. It is better to anticipate the request. To
    forestall this trouble is doubling the good deed.

    "There are people who spoil their greatest kindnesses by their
    silence, their slowness to speak which comes from constraint and
    moodiness; they promise with the same air with which they would
    refuse.... Their knit brows, their harangues, their disdain make one
    regret having obtained the promised thing.

    "Nothing more disagreeable than to be a long time in suspense. There
    are persons who prefer giving up hope to languishing in
    expectation.... Promptness then enhances the good deed, and tardiness
    diminishes it." (II., ii-vi.)

5. One must not reproach good deeds.

    "One of the first and most indispensable laws, is not to reproach or
    even recall to the mind of recipients one's kindnesses. The tacit
    agreement between the giver and the receiver is, that the one should
    immediately forget what he has given, and that the other should never
    forget what he has received. The frequent mention of kindnesses is a
    crushing weight to the soul."

6. Benevolence consists sometimes in refusing.

    "If the thing asked for is prejudicial to him who asks for it, then
    benevolence consists no longer in giving, but in refusing. We should
    have more regard to the interests of the petitioner than to his
    wishes. As we refuse patients cold water, arms to angry persons, so
    should we also refuse a kindness to the most pressing requests, if
    that kindness is injurious to the interested person.... One should no
    less consider the end than the principle of kindnesses."

7. Benevolence must be disinterested.

    "It is shameful to do good for any other motive than doing good. If
    one gave only in the hope of restitution, one would choose the richest
    in preference to the most worthy.... The least benevolent men would be
    those who had the best means for being benevolent: the rich, the
    great, the king, etc. ... As an insult is a thing one should for
    itself avoid, so benevolence is desirable for its own sake (xv.)....
    There is no benevolence where there is expectation of profit. I shall
    give so much; I shall receive so much: this is called a bargain."

We will put aside the other questions, more curious than useful, raised by
Seneca (as, for example, whether one should give to the wicked; whether
one may be his own benefactor; whether one may allow himself to be
outdone by good deeds, etc.), and consider now the duties of the one under

=68. Duties of the person under obligation.=--_Gratitude._--After having
expounded the duties of the benefactor, we have to ask ourselves what are
those of the person under obligation. The principle of all is _gratitude_;
that only comes after the kindness; but there are duties which precede the
good deed or accompany it. We shall again cite here Seneca as authority.
After having set forth the principles which should actuate the giver, he
also sets forth those the receiver should be guided by.

1. The first principle is that we should not be too greedy and receive
from any one, but only from those to whom we should like to give

    "It is a painful thing to be under obligations to people against one's
    will. Nothing sweeter, on the contrary, than to receive a kindness
    from a person one loves.... I must then choose the person of whom I
    consent to receive anything, and I should even be more particular in
    regard to kindness-creditors than to money-creditors; to the latter
    one need only return what he has received from them; this
    reimbursement done we have acquitted ourselves toward them; in the
    matter of kindnesses, on the contrary, one should pay more than what
    he has received."

2. A second rule is that from the moment one accepts a kindness, he must
accept it cheerfully.

    "When we have concluded to accept a kindness, let us do it
    cheerfully.... To accept a kindness with pleasure, is making the first
    payment of the interest (II., xxii.).--There are people who only
    consent to receive in secret; they wish neither witnesses to, nor
    confidants of, the obligations they are contracting. If the benefactor
    is bound to proclaim his kindness only inasmuch as its publicity will
    give pleasure to the person he obliges, the one receiving should, on
    the contrary, call together the crowd. One is at liberty not to accept
    what he blushes to receive (xxxiii.).... One of the lesser paradoxes
    of the stoics is, that in receiving a kindness cheerfully, one has
    already acquitted himself."

3. One must awaken the remembrance of a good deed: _to remember is already
to acquit one's self_ (xxiv.).

    "Which, according to you, is the most culpable, he who feels no
    gratitude for a kindness, or he who does not even keep it in mind?...
    It would seem that one thought very little about restitution when he
    has got so far as to forget the kindness.... To acquit one's self of a
    kindness, one needs means, some fortune; but the recollection of it is
    a gratitude which costs nothing. To withhold a payment which requires
    neither trouble nor riches, is inexcusable.... The objects memory is
    busy with never escape it; it only loses those it does not often
    revert to."

=69. Kant's rules touching benevolence and gratitude.=--To the maxims of
the ancients which we have just summed up, let us add a few principles
borrowed of a modern moralist, the philosopher Kant:

    _Benevolence._--Benevolence, when one is rich, and finds in his
    superfluity the means of making others happy, should never be
    considered by the benefactor even a meritorious duty. The satisfaction
    he procures to himself thereby, and which does not cost him any
    sacrifice, is a means of filling himself with moral sentiments.
    Therefore must he carefully avoid looking as if he thought he was
    obliging others; for otherwise his kindness would no longer be one;
    since he would seem wishing to put under obligation the person to whom
    he grants it. He should, on the contrary, show himself under
    obligation, or as honored by the acceptance of his kindness, and
    consequently fulfill this duty as he would pay a debt he had
    contracted; or, what is still better, practice benevolence wholly in
    secret. This virtue is still greater when the means for being
    benevolent are restricted: it is then he deserves to be considered as
    _very rich_ morally. (Kant, _Doctrine de la Vertu_, trad. Fr., p.

    _Gratitude._--Gratitude should be considered a _holy_ duty. We call,
    in fact, holy any moral object regarding which no act could entirely
    acquit one of the contracted obligation. Now there is no way of
    acquitting one's self of a benefit received, because he who receives
    it cannot refuse to him who grants it the merit and advantage of
    having been the first in showing his kindness.

    The least degree of gratitude is to render to the benefactor
    _equivalent services_. It is, also, never to look upon a kindness
    received as upon a burden one would be glad to be rid of (under
    pretext that it places the one under obligation in a position inferior
    to that of his benefactor, which is wounding to his pride). One must,
    on the contrary, accept it as a moral kindness, that is to say, as
    furnishing us an opportunity to practice a virtue. (Ibid., p. 130,

=70. Precautions which benevolence requires.=--Benevolence should not be
exercised without reserve and precaution. In abandoning one's self to it
imprudently, one may do more harm than good. Cicero on this subject
recommends three principal precautions:

"One must take care," he says:

"1. Lest, in wishing to do a person good, one does harm, either to him or
to others;

"2. In the second place, let not our benevolence exceed our means;

"3. Finally, let every one be treated according to his deserts."

    1. Those, in fact, whose benevolence injures him who is the object
    thereof, should be looked upon as flatterers, rather than generous
    men. Those who injure some, to be generous towards others (as, for
    example, to omit paying one's debts, in order to exercise charity),
    commit the same injustice as if they appropriated what belongs to
    others. Thus, when Sylla and Cæsar transferred to strangers the
    property of lawful owners, they were not generous; liberality may
    exist then where justice is absent.

    2. The second precaution is to exercise our benevolence according to
    our means. Those who wish to be more benevolent than they can afford,
    are in the first place unjust to their family; since the property, to
    the inheritance of which it has a right, goes thus over to strangers.
    Such generosity often leads, moreover, to the enriching of one's self
    at the expense of others, in order to provide for liberalities. One
    sees, thus, many people, more vain than generous, pass for being
    benevolent. It becomes then a borrowed virtue, which has more of
    vanity than liberality.

    3. The third rule is, whilst dispensing our liberalities, to
    proportion them to merit; to consider the morals of him who is their
    object, the attachment he shows us, the different relations he may
    have with us; lastly, the services he may have rendered us. It were
    desirable he had all these titles to our benevolence; but if he has
    them not all, the greatest and largest in numbers should weigh most in
    the scales.

=71. Self-devotion--Self-abnegation--Sacrifice.=--When charity reaches the
highest degree; when it requires we should give to others what we hold
most dear--as, for instance, life, fortune, etc.--it takes another name
and is called _devotion_, _self-abnegation_, _sacrifice_. These three
words, with various shadings, express the idea of a precious gift of which
one deprives himself to benefit others. One may devote one's self to
others in various ways, in choosing for one's object either the life, or
welfare, or liberty, or the morality and intelligence of others. Let us
examine these various forms of devotion.

=72. The nature of the benefit.--Diverse forms of self-devotion.--The life,
the welfare, the morality of others, etc.=--_Sacrificing one's life for
others._--Justice requires we should not attack the life of others;
charity requires more: it demands that we make every effort to save the
life of our fellow-beings, even sometimes at the cost of our own.

This duty, which is a duty of charity for men in general, is a duty of
justice for the physician and all those who have care of the sick. The
physician owes his devotion to the patient, as the soldier owes his to his
country. In both these cases _medical duty_, _military duty_, devotion is
a strict duty. It is at the same time a duty towards men and a duty
towards the profession. It is in both cases what may be called the _honor
of the flag_. Thus do we every year see a certain number of young hospital
physicians die, like soldiers on the field of honor.

The duty of attending the sick and being thereby exposed to contagion,
falls alike on all who have chosen this profession: sisters of charity,
the nurses, the male and female attendants in infirmaries. It is also a
duty in the family; the parents owe themselves to their children; the
servants themselves should assume in a certain measure the same
responsibility, although it is the duty of the masters to spare them as
much as possible. Moreover, it is known how common this devotion is,
especially with mothers, and how many of them die of the illness they have
contracted at the bedside of their children. In all these circumstances,
it is of course not forbidden to be cautious, and wisdom requires one
should not go beyond the strictly necessary; but the necessary is
obligatory; and on whom should it fall more naturally than on the parents?

Besides the illnesses which threaten the lives of men, there are dangers
more sudden, more violent, more terrible, which arise from the invasion of
the forces of nature: fire and water are the most terrible;
conflagrations, inundations, shipwrecks, catastrophes of all kinds imperil
the lives of men.

Here the question is no longer one of slow and leisurely attentions. To
save a life which a minute later will be extinguished, there is wanted a
sudden resolution, a well-tested courage, and the will to risk one's life
for that of another. In these terrible circumstances there are some men
who seem to be more naturally called than others to sacrifice themselves;
for example, firemen and sailors. It is certain that it is those who are
the more familiar with the element it is necessary to combat, that are
most called to do so, and for whom self-devotion becomes a greater duty.
But it is not always possible to have them immediately at hand; in a
sudden catastrophe, all must take their share of the peril; all must be
ready to give their life for others if they can do so with some utility.

_Devotion towards the wretched._--Next to health and life, what men most
esteem are material goods and that which is called fortune. Certainly, we
should not encourage this estimation men have for material goods; one
should as much as possible teach them to do without them; and the saying
that happiness resides rather in a small competence than in riches, is
most true. But it is not less true that the material things are absolutely
necessary to life, and that the absence of these things is in every
respect prejudicial to man, since health, life, and even the interests of
the soul and mind, depend on these material goods. How can we educate
ourselves without eating? How can we improve the heart and soul when want
impels us to all sorts of temptations? Finally, suffering itself, though
morality commands us to bear it with courage, is a legitimate object of
sympathy. From all these considerations arises, for those who possess
anything, the obligation to come to the assistance of those who have
nothing: this is what is called _gift_. This obligation can be satisfied
in many ways, but the mode should certainly consist with the dignity and
responsibility of those who are the object of the gift. Experience has
shown that an ill-understood charity encourages idleness and often rewards
and perpetuates vice. It is therefore work which should above all be
furnished to the poor: the loan should generally be preferred to the gift;
but finally, whatever precautions one may take, and whatever be the causes
of the misery, there comes always a moment when, in presence of hunger,
illness, supreme want, one must give; must deprive himself for others. As
to the particular rules which govern benevolence, we have given them above
in speaking of benefactions.

_Consolations, exhortations, instructions._ After the duties toward the
body come the duties toward the soul: and this distinction has place for
others as for ourselves. It is not enough to insure and save the lives of
men, and give them the daily bread; one must also nourish their souls,
their intelligences, their moral weaknesses, which also need sustenance.
Thence three different obligations: to _console_ the afflicted; to
_exhort_ the weak; to _instruct_ the ignorant. The consoling of the
afflicted is a virtue, which needs no rule, and does not admit of any. One
does not console by order, by processes, by principles. Here the heart is
better than strict laws. Listen to your heart; it will teach you how to be
merciful without being indiscreet; how to touch without wounding; how to
say enough without saying too much. In respect to poor people, one often
consoles them by relieving their misery, and the duty here blends with
benevolence. After the consolation come the _exhortations_. The duty here
becomes more and more delicate. It is no easy thing to advise men; we have
not even always a right to do so; for it is attributing to ourselves a
certain superiority over them. This duty of exhortation is therefore an
affectation of pride rather than an inspiration of fraternity. It is
especially with children, with young people, that good exhortations
properly made can be useful. In a few words, moderate and just, one may
often recall to them their duties of respect towards themselves, and of
economy, sobriety, devotion towards their relatives. Finally comes the
duty of _instruction_. Here it is not the office of all, but only of those
who are charged with this function. Yet may we contribute our share
towards the instruction of children either by money-contributions, or by
visiting the schools, or by encouragement-societies; in a word, by all
sorts of auxiliary means. Such are the principal duties in regard to

=73. Clemency.--Pardon of injuries.--Love of enemies.=--The foregoing
duties consist not only in returning good for evil, but also in doing good
to those who have not done us any. A superior degree of charity, which is
called _generosity_, consists in returning good for evil, in forgiving the
wicked,--not the wrong they have done to others, but the wrong they have
done to ourselves. This, in the case of sovereigns, is called _clemency_.
The saying of Louis XII. is well known, having pardoned the enemies he had
had before taking the crown: "The king," said he, "should forget the
injuries done to the duke of Orleans." The great Condé was moved to tears
over Corneille's celebrated lines in _Cinna_:

  "Let us be friends, Cinna; it is I who invite thee:
  I gave thee thy life as to my enemy,
  And despite the fury of thy cowardly designs,
  I still give it thee, as to my murderer."

The duty of returning good for evil goes even further than clemency and
the pardon of injuries: for this is nothing more than to abstain from
wronging one's enemies. But we should do more: we must be capable of doing
good to our enemies when they deserve it, or need it; and further still,
we should try to carry the virtue even so far as to interdict ourselves
any feeling of pride, which would naturally arise in a heart great enough
to avenge itself by benefits.

The philosopher Spinoza has admirably expressed this doctrine: "Hatred
must be overcome not by hatred, but by love and generosity."

=74. Duties of kindness towards animals.=--Among the moralists, there are
some who do not admit that we have any duties towards beings inferior to
man, namely, animals; others, on the contrary, do not admit any duties
towards any above man, consequently towards God; others, in fine, deny
that man has any towards himself. There are scarcely any duties, except
those towards our fellow-beings, that have not been questioned by one or
the other of the moralists: some connecting the latter with the duties
towards ourselves, or the duties towards God.

According to us, there are four classes of duties, and these four classes
are not reducible the one to the other.[52]

No one can deny from a practical point of view that there are duties
towards animals; for we know very well that it is not permitted to
maltreat them or cause them unnecessary pain; and every enlightened
conscience condemns cruelty to animals. Therefore can there be here
question only of a speculative scruple. It can be very well seen that
there is a duty here; but it is, they say, a duty towards ourselves; for
it is our duty not to be cruel, and cruelty toward animals accustoms us
too easily to cruelty toward men. But this is a very useless subtlety, and
too roundabout a way to express a very simple thing. We prefer simply
saying that kindness toward an animal is a duty toward that animal.

Besides, the reasons given against the duties toward animals, appear to us
more specious than substantial. It is said that animals, having neither
will nor intelligence, are not _persons_, but _things_; that,
consequently, they have no _rights_, and that we can have no duties toward
what has no rights.

These are inadmissible subtleties. One can, in law terms, divide all
objects of nature into persons and things; and animals, not being
persons, are things, in the sense that they can be _appropriated_. But,
strictly speaking, can a being endowed with sensibility be called a thing?
Is it true, moreover, that an animal has no intelligence, no will--that
consequently it has not any vestige of personality? Is it true again that
an animal has no kind of rights? This, in the first place, is to suppose
what is in question. And, moreover, does not conscience say to us that an
animal which has served us long years with affection has thereby acquired
a certain right to our gratitude? And, finally, is it really true that we
have only duties towards those that have duties towards us? That were a
very perilous maxim in social morality. We are told not to be cruel to
animals in order not to become cruel towards men. But if one were sure not
to become cruel towards men, would it follow therefrom that it is
permitted to be so towards animals? No, it will be said; but it is because
cruelty, though its object be only animals, is in itself a vice, base and
unworthy of man. One should not conclude from that, that cruelty is a
direct crime against them. But for the same reason it might be maintained
that we have no duties toward others, and only toward ourselves;
injustice, cruelty, are odious vices in themselves; goodness and justice,
noble qualities; we should shun the one and avoid the other out of respect
for ourselves, and regardless of the object of these vices and virtues.
If, despite these considerations, it is then thought better to make,
nevertheless, a distinction between the duties toward others and those
toward ourselves, there should for the same reason be made a distinct
class of the duties toward animals. Finally, if we owe nothing to animals,
it is not very clear why acts hypothetically indifferent should be treated
as cruelties; nor why such acts should be considered as lowering and
dishonoring the character.

On the whole, and to avoid all theoretical difficulties, it may be said
that we have duties, if not toward animals, at least _in regard_ to

Our duties in regard to animals, are they, however, of a kind to make us
doubt our right to destroy or reduce them to servitude?

The destruction of animals may have two causes; it may be for our defense,
it may be for our subsistence. As to the first there is no difficulty; the
right of legitimate self-defense authorizes us to destroy what would
otherwise destroy us. Between us and beasts injurious to man there is
evidently a state of natural war, and in that state the law is that might
makes right. This same law is the one which regulates the relations of the
animals between themselves: it is also their law in regard to us. The
lion, for instance, might not always be as tenderly inclined as the lion
of Androcles or the lion of Florence: it would not be well to trust it. We
need not, therefore, even theoretically, entertain any scruples concerning
the destruction of injurious animals.

Is it the same with the destruction of animals intended for our
nourishment? Is this destruction innocent, or must we, as did the
Pythagoreans or Brahmins of old (for superstitious reasons, however),
interdict all animal food?[53] This question has been so well solved by
general usage that it is scarcely necessary to raise it. It is not likely
men will ever think of giving up animal food, and no one regrets having
eaten of a good roast. Yet for those who like to find out the reason of
things, it is a problem to know whether we have the right to do what we do
without remorse and scruples; and whether a universal and apparently
indestructible practice is also a legitimate and innocent practice. Man,
according to us, in living on flesh, is justified by nature herself, who
made him a carnivorous creature. Every being is authorized to perform the
acts which result from its organization.[54] The human organization, as
the nature of the teeth and the whole digestive system indicate, is
prepared to nourish itself with flesh. In many countries even all other
nourishment is impossible; there are peoples whose very situation makes
them necessarily hunters, fishermen, or shepherds; it is only in some
countries highly favored, and, thanks to scientific cultivation, the
result of civilization, that vegetable food could be made abundant enough
to suffice, and hardly that for large masses of population; for we know
quite well what disasters follow upon a scarcity of crops. What would be
the result if the human race were deprived of half its means of
subsistence? Add to this that, whatever may have been said against it,
animal food mixed in a certain measure with vegetable food, is
indispensable to the health and vigor of the human race.

As to the servitude of animals and the labor we impose on them, its
justification lies first in the principle of legitimate self-defense, to
which we have just now alluded. Many of our domestic races would, in a
savage state, become veritable wild beasts. The wild hog is, they say, the
wild boar; the wild dog, the jackal; the wild cat belongs to the leopard
and tiger family. In reducing these sorts of animals to servitude, and in
making of them companions and help-mates in our work, we thereby deliver
ourselves from dangerous enemies. Domestication is better than
destruction. Add to this, that if we except the first animals which have
passed from the savage state to the domestic state (which, as to our
domestic races, is lost in the night of time and escapes all
responsibility), the present animals, born in servitude, know no other
state, do not suffer from a want of liberty, and find even, thanks to our
cares, a more certain subsistence than if they were free. They are, it is
true, sacrificed by us to our wants, but they would be so by other animals
in the savage state. Whether a sheep be eaten by men or wolves, it is not
to be more pitied for that, one way or the other.

The right of man over animals being set aside, there remains an essential
duty respecting them, namely: not to make them suffer without necessity.

Fontenelle relates that, having gone one day to see Malebranche,[55] at
the fathers of the _Oratoire_, a dog of the house, big with young, entered
the room and rolled about at the feet of the father. After having tried in
vain to drive it away, Malebranche gave the dog a kick which caused it to
utter a cry of pain and Fontenelle a cry of compassion: "Oh, pshaw!" said
father Malebranche, coolly, "do you not know that these things do not

How could this philosopher be sure that _these things_ did not feel? Is
not the animal organized in the same manner as man? Has he not the same
senses, the same nervous system? Does he not give the same signs of
impressions received? Why should not the cry of the animal express pain as
does the cry of a child? When man is not perverted by custom, cruelty, or
the spirit of system, he cannot see the sufferings of animals without
suffering himself, a manifest proof that there is something in common
between them and us, for sympathy is by reason of similitude.

Animals, then, suffer; this is undeniable; they have, like ourselves, a
physical sensibility; but they have also a certain moral sensibility; they
are capable of attachment, of gratitude, of fidelity; of love for their
little ones, of reciprocal affection. From this physical and moral analogy
between men and animals, there obviously results the obligation of
inflicting upon them no useless suffering. Madame Necker de Saussure[56]
relates the story of a child who, finding himself in a garden where a
tamed quail was freely running about beside the cage of a bird of prey,
yielded to the temptation of seizing the poor quail and giving it to the
bird to devour. The hero of this adventure relates himself the punishment
inflicted on him:

"At dinner--there was a great deal of company that day--the master of the
house began to relate the scene, coolly and without any remarks, simply
naming me. When he was through, there was a moment of general silence,
where every one looked at me with a kind of horror. I heard some words
exchanged among the guests, and without any one's directly speaking to me,
I could understand that everybody thought me a monster."

Connected with the cruelty toward animals are certain barbarous games
where animals are made to fight with each other for our pleasure. Such are
the bull-fights in Spain; the cock-fights in England; we do not go so far
as to rank the chase among inhuman games, because, on the one hand, it has
for its object to destroy the animals injurious to our forests and crops,
and to furnish us useful food; and on the other, it is an exercise
favorable to health, and exercises certain faculties of the soul; but the
chase must at least not be a massacre, and must have for its end utility.

Brutality toward the animals which render us the greatest services, and
which we see every day loaded beyond their strength, and beaten to bear up
under the load, is also an odious act, and doubly wrong, as it is both
contrary to humanity and contrary to our interests, since these animals,
overloaded and beaten, will not be long in succumbing to the violence of
their persecutors.

Nor can we consider as absolutely indifferent the act of killing or
selling (except in cases of extreme necessity) a domestic animal that has
served us a long time, and whose attachment we have experienced. "Among
the conquerors at the Olympic Games," the ancients tell us, "many share
the distinctions which they receive with the horses which have helped to
procure them; they provide for them a happy old age; they accord them an
honorable burial, and sometimes even raise a monument over their graves."

    "It is not reasonable," says Plutarch, "to use things which have life
    and feeling, as we would use a shoe or any other instrument, throwing
    it away when worn out and ruined by dint of service done; if it were
    for no other cause than to induce and stimulate us to constant
    compassion, we should accustom ourselves to gentleness and
    charitableness, even to performing the humblest offices of kindness;
    as for me, I should never have the heart to sell an ox who for a long
    time had ploughed my land, because, by reason of old age, he can no
    longer work."

A very serious question has been raised these latter times, namely, the
question of _vivisection_, and how far, in a scientific point of view, we
have a right to practice on living animals. The point is not to interdict
to science what is the indispensable condition of its progress and
propagation; but we should limit ourself to the strictly necessary, and
not with revolting prodigality multiply sacrifices that are not absolutely

One of the principal reasons for condemning cruelty toward animals, is
that through the instinct of imitation and sympathy men may get into the
habit of doing to others what they have seen practiced on animals. There
is a story of a child who caused his brother to suffer the same death he
had just seen inflicted on an animal.[57]

The men who are brutal toward animals are likewise so toward each other,
and treat with the same cruelty their wives and children.

It is by reason of these considerations of social utility and humanity
that the law in France decided to interfere to prevent and punish the bad
treatment inflicted upon animals;[58] and the consequences of this measure
have been most happy.




    =Three groups of societies among men:= _Humanity_, _the family_, _the
    country_, _or the State_.

    =Analysis of patriotism.=

    _Foundation of the State._--Law and rights. Public authority:
    distinction between society and the State. The three powers.
    Sovereignty. The right of punishment.

    =Duties toward the State:= 1. _Obedience to the laws._--The _Crito_ of
    Plato. Pretended exceptions to this principle. Criticising the laws is
    not disobedience.

    2. _Respect to magistrates._--The magistrates being the
    representatives of the laws, to respect them is to respect the law
    itself; to insult them is to insult the law.

    3. _The ballot._--Obligation to vote. The character of the ballot: 1,
    _disinterested_; 2, _free_; 3, _enlightened_.

    4. _Taxes._--Immorality of frauds against the State.

    5. _Military service._--Legal and moral obligation. Attempts to escape
    it: 1, by mutilations; 2, by simulated infirmities; 3, by desertion;
    want of discipline.

    6. _Educational obligation._

    =Civil courage.=--Noted example: Boissy d'Anglas.

=75. Three groups of societies.=--Cicero and Fénélon remark that there are
three sorts of societies among men: the first comprises the whole of
_humanity_; the last, which is the most circumscribed, is what is called
the _family_. But between the family and the human race in general, there
is an intermediate society, larger than the one and more circumscribed
than the other, and this is what is called the _country_.

=76. Patriotism.=--The sentiment which binds us to the country, and which,
articulated, becomes a _duty_, is what is called _patriotism_. We have
already given elsewhere,[59] an analysis of patriotism. Let us repeat what
we have said:

    Patriotism is one of our most complex sentiments: it is in fact
    composed of many distinct elements: it is, in the first place, the
    _love of the soil_ where we were born; and this soil is at first the
    narrow territory where our youth passed, and which we embraced entire
    with the eyes and recollections: it is the native village, the native
    city. But if this is the first sense of country, it falls far short of
    embracing the whole country. The love for the native church steeple is
    not patriotism: it is even its opposite often. The soil must extend,
    widen, and from the natal house, must gradually embrace, by successive
    additions, the village, the town, the county, the province, the whole
    country. But what is to determine the extent of this territory? Who is
    to decide that it shall go so far and no farther? There enter into it
    many elements: first, the inhabitants, the fellow-citizens,
    fellow-countrymen; a soil deserted would not be a country; to the love
    of the territory there must be added the love of those who inhabit it
    with us, or of our _fellow-countrymen_; to the nomadic people the
    country is only their tribe. Conversely, the citizens without the soil
    are not the country either, for exile in common is not the less exile.
    Finally, the union of soil and fellow-citizens may still not be the
    country, at least not all the country; a conquered nation may preserve
    its soil and its inhabitants, and have lost the country: as Poland,
    for instance. What, then, are the ties to determine the existence of a
    country? There are a large number of them, such as _the unity of
    language_, _the unity of laws_, _the unity of the flag_, _historic
    tradition_, and, finally, above all, the _unity of government_ and of
    an accepted government. A country exists only where there is an
    independent political state. This political unity does not suffice
    when the other ties are wanting; when it is a constraint, when peoples
    united under the same government have different manners, customs,
    traditions; conversely, unity of language and community of habits,
    will neither be sufficient when the political unity or a certain form
    of political unity is wanting. But what, before everything else,
    constitutes the country, is a common spirit, a common soul, in short,
    a common name, which fuses into one all these separate facts of which
    no single one is absolutely necessary, but of which each forms an
    additional element to the strength of the country. Finally, as a last
    condition, the association which is to become a country must not, as
    was the case with the Roman empire, extend over too much territory;
    for beyond certain limits, patriotism relaxes.

Nature has endowed us with this sentiment of patriotism. There is no one
that does not love his country better than other countries, that is not
flattered by national glory, that does not suffer from the humiliations
and miseries of his native country. But this sentiment is more or less
strong, according to temperaments. Often it is nothing more than a
sentiment, and does not express itself in actions. It is the reflective
faculties which make of patriotism a duty, which duty demands that
sentiment pass into action; demands of all the citizens the same acts,
whatever be the personal inclinations of each.

The duties imposed on each man in regard to the particular society of
which he is a member, are called _civil_ duties. He, himself, in regard to
this society, is what is called a _citizen_; finally, the society itself,
considered as one and the same person, of which the citizens are the
members, is what is called the _State_ or the _city_.

On the whole, there is no difference between _country_ and _State_.
Country is at the same time _Society_ and _soil_. It is called by that
name (State) when looked upon in the light of a family of which the
citizens are the children, and also when considered in its relations with
other nations and other societies. The State is that same society
considered interiorly and in itself, not as to its soil and territory, but
as to the members that compose it, and in as far as these members form one
and the same body and are governed by laws. The country is a more concrete
and more vivid expression, which appeals more to the feelings; the State
is a more abstract expression, which addresses itself to reason. Besides,
we shall understand better what is meant by the State, when we shall have
explained the nature of public authority and the laws.

=77. Foundation of the State--Rights.=--To understand the nature of the
State and what is called _authority_, _sovereignty_, _magistracy_, _law_,
one must begin with the notion of rights and of the different kinds of

Duty is the law which imposes on us obligations either toward ourselves or
toward others; it is a _moral necessity_ (p. 11). _Rights_ is the _power_
we have to exercise and develop our faculties conformably to our destiny,
provided we allow other men the same power: it is a _moral power_
(Leibnitz). Each man, by reason of his enjoying liberty and intelligence,
is a _person_, and should not be treated as a _thing_. "Man is a thing
sacred to man," said the ancients. He is inviolable in his personality and
in all that constitutes the development of his personality.

Thence follows an immediate consequence: it is, that every man being man
by the same title, no one can claim for himself a right which he is not
willing to recognize at the same time in another; hence the _equality of
rights_. Besides, the liberty of one cannot, without contradiction,
suppress the liberty of another, whence this other definition: Right is
the _accord of liberties_.

=78. The rights of man.=--What are the principal rights of man? They are:
the right of _self-preservation_; the right of going and coming, or
_individual liberty_; the _liberty of work_; the _right of property_; the
_liberty of thought_; the _liberty of conscience_; the _right of family_,

We have also seen that man (p. 52) has a final right which is the guaranty
and the sanction of all others; it is the right of preventing by force
every attempt at his rights; to _constrain_ others to respect his rights,
and lastly, to _punish_ every violation of his rights. This is what is
called the _right of self-defense_.

=79. Public authority.=--Man having, as we have just seen, the right of
self-defense by opposing force to any attack, possesses, when alone, and
far from all human help, this right in all its plenitude. But it is easy
to see the dangers and inexpediency of such a right in a society. Each
man, in fact, when he meets with opposition to his will and desires,
always thinks himself injured in his rights. If every one were free to
defend himself in all circumstances, the right of self-defense would keep
men constantly under arms; and society, without a regulating power to
check their doings, would soon, as the philosopher Hobbes expressed it, be
"_the war of all against all_." Hence the necessity of the State--that is
to say, of a _disinterested power_--taking in hand the defense of all, and
insuring the proper exercise of the right of self-defense by suppressing
its abuses. This is what is called _public authority_.

=80. Society and the State.=--We must distinguish between _society_ and the
_State_, or _natural_ society and _civil_ society.

Society is the union which exists between men, without distinction of
frontiers--without exterior restraint--and for the sole reason that they
are men. An Englishman and an Indian, as Locke says, meeting in the waste
forests of America (Robinson and Friday), are, from the fact alone of
their common nature, in a state of society.

The _civil society_ or _State_ is an assemblage of men subject to a common
_authority_, to common _laws_--that is to say, a society whose members may
be constrained by public force to respect their reciprocal rights.

=81. The three powers.=--There results from that, that two necessary
elements enter into the idea of the State: _laws_ and _force_. The laws
are the general rules which establish beforehand and fix after
deliberation, and abstractly, the rights of each; force is the physical
restraint the public power is armed with to have the laws executed. Hence
two _powers_ in the State, the _legislative_ power and the _executive_
power--one that makes the law; the other that executes it, and to which
may generally be added a third, namely, _judiciary_ power, which, on its
part, is empowered to apply and interpret the law.[60]

=82. Sovereignty.=--These three powers emanate from a common source which
is called _sovereign_. In all States, the sovereign is the authority which
is in possession of the three preceding powers and delegates them. In an
absolute monarchy, the sovereign is the monarch, who of himself exercises
the legislative and executive power, sometimes even the judicial power. In
a democracy, the sovereign is the universality of the citizens, or the
_people_, which delegates the three powers, and even in some cases
exercises them.

As to the basis of sovereignty, two systems face each other: the _divine
right_ and the _sovereignty of the people_. In the first, the authority
emanates from God, who transmits it to chosen families; in the second,
societies, like individuals, are free arbiters, and belong to themselves;
they are answerable for their destinies; and this can only be true of the
entire society; for why should certain classes rather than others have the
privilege to decide about the fate of each? The sovereignty of the people
is then nothing else than the right of each to participate in public
power, either of himself or through his representatives. This principle
tends more and more to predominate in civilized States.

=83. Political liberty.=--Political liberty means all the guaranties which
insure to every citizen the legitimate exercise of his natural rights;
political liberty is, then, the sanction of civil liberty.

The principal of these guaranties are: 1, the _right of suffrage_, which
insures to every one his share of sovereignty; 2, the _separation of
powers_, which puts into different hands the _executive_, _legislative_,
and _judicial_ powers; 3, the _liberty of the press_, which insures the
right of minorities, and allows them to employ argument to change or
modify the ideas and opinions of the majority.

=84. The right of punishment.=--The right of punishment in a State is
nothing else than the right of restraint, which, as we have already seen,
is inherent in the very idea of the State; for the State only exists to
insure to each the exercise of his rights, and it can only do so by
restraint and the use of force. How far can this right of force go? Can
it, for example, go so far as the taking of life even? This is a mooted
question between publicists, and upon which we have, moreover, already
expressed ourselves (p. 55 _et seq._).

After having in these summary views resolved the principle upon which the
State rests,[61] and the essential elements which enter into the idea, we
are better prepared to approach what constitutes the object proper of
civil morality, namely, the duties of citizens toward the country or the

=85. Civil duties.=--These duties are the following: _Obedience to the
laws_; _respect of magistrates_; _the ballot_; _military service_;
_educational obligations_.

=86. Obedience to the laws.=--The first of the civil duties, is _obedience
to the laws_. The reason is evident. The State rests on the law. It is the
law which substitutes, for the will of individuals, always more or less
carried away by passion or governed by self-interest, a general,
impartial, and disinterested rule. The law is the guaranty of all: it
opposes itself to force, or rather puts force in the service of justice,
instead of making of justice the slave of force. Pascal says: "Not being
able to make that which is just, strong, men have wished that what is
strong should be just." This is the jest of a misanthrope. Certainly the
laws are not always as just as they might be, despite the efforts made to
render them so: the reason of it is, the extreme complexity of interests
between which it is difficult to find a true balance and just equilibrium;
but such as they are, they are infinitely more just than the right of the
strongest, which would alone reign if there were no laws.

The empire of the laws is then that which secures _order_ in a society,
and consequently procures for each of its members security and peace, and
through these, the means of devoting himself to his work, whether
intellectual or material, and of reaping the fruits thereof.

At the same time that the law guarantees order within, it also insures the
independence of the nation from without. For a nation without laws, or
which no longer obeys its laws, falls into anarchy and becomes the prey of
the first conqueror who presents himself, as is shown by the history of

It is especially in democratic or republican states, that obedience to the
laws is necessary, as it is there the most difficult.

Montesquieu has shown with great sagacity the difficulty and thereby the
necessity of obedience to the laws in a democracy; in fact, what in other
governments is obtained by constraint, in a democracy depends only upon
the will of the citizens.

    "It is clear," says Montesquieu, "that in a monarchy, where he who
    causes the laws to be executed is above the laws, there is less virtue
    requisite than in a popular government, where he who causes the laws
    to be executed, feels that he is himself subject to them, and will
    have to bear the consequence of their violation.

    "It is further clear that a monarch who, through bad advice or
    negligence, ceases to have the laws executed, may easily repair the
    evil; he has but to change counselors or correct himself of his
    negligence. But when in a popular government, the laws have ceased to
    be executed, as this can only happen through the corruption of the
    republic, the State is already lost."

Montesquieu then describes, in the strongest and liveliest colors, a
republican state where the laws have ceased to be enforced.

    "They were free with the laws; they wish to be free without them. Each
    citizen is as a slave escaped from the house of his master. What
    before was called _maxim_, is now called _severity_; what was _rule_
    is now annoying _restraint_; what was _attention_, is now _fear_. The
    republic has become booty, and its strength is no longer anything more
    than the power of a few and the license of all."

In the republics of Athens and Rome, as long as they were prosperous and
great, the empire of the laws was admirable. Socrates, in his prison, gave
of this a sublime example. He was unjustly condemned by his
fellow-citizens to drink the hemlock, namely, to die by poison. Meanwhile,
his friends pressed him to resort to flight; and everything leads to the
belief that this would have been quite easy, as the judges themselves
almost wished to be relieved of the responsibility of his death. Yet
Socrates resisted, and refused to employ this means of safety. The
principal reason given by him was, that, having been condemned by the laws
of his country, he could save himself only by violating these laws.

This is what Plato has expressed in the dialogue entitled _Crito_. The
laws of the country are represented as addressing a speech to Socrates; it
is called the _Prosopopoeia[62] of Crito_:

    "Socrates," they will say to me, "was that our agreement, or was it
    not rather that thou shouldst submit to the judgments rendered by the
    republic?... What cause of complaint hast thou against us that thou
    shouldst try to destroy us? Dost thou not, in the first place, owe us
    thy life? Was it not under our auspices that thy father took to
    himself the companion that gave thee birth? If thou owest us thy birth
    and education, canst thou deny that thou art our child and servant?
    And if this be so, thinkest thou thy rights equal to ours; and that
    thou art permitted to make us suffer for what we make thee suffer?
    What! in the case of a father or a master, if thou hadst one, thou
    wouldst not have the right to do to him what he would do to thee; to
    speak to him insultingly if he insulted thee; to strike him, if he
    struck thee, nor anything like it; and thou shouldst hold such a right
    toward thy country! and if we had sentenced thee to death, thinking
    the sentence just, thou shouldst undertake to destroy us!... Does not
    thy wisdom teach thee that the country has a greater right to thy
    respect and homage, that it is more august and more wise before the
    gods and the sages, than father, mother, and all ancestors; that the
    country in its anger must be respected, that one must convince it of
    its error through persuasion, or obey its commands, suffer without
    murmuring whatever it orders to be suffered, even to be beaten and
    loaded with chains?... What else then dost thou do?" they would
    proceed to say, "than violate the treaty that binds thee to us, and
    trample under foot thy agreement?... In suffering thy sentence, thou
    diest an honorable victim of the iniquity, not of the laws, but of
    men; but if thou takest to flight, thou repellest unworthily injustice
    by injustice, evil by evil, and thou violatest the treaty whereby thou
    wert under obligation to us: thou imperilest those it was thy duty to
    protect, thou imperilest thyself, thy friends, thy country, and us. We
    shall be thy enemies all thy life; and when thou shalt descend to the
    dead, our sisters, the laws of Hades, knowing that thou hast tried thy
    best to destroy us here, will not receive thee very favorably."

_Pretended Exceptions._--The duty of obedience to the laws must then be
admitted as a principle; but is this duty absolute? is it not susceptible
of some exceptions? A learned theologian of the XVI. century, a Jesuit,
Suarez (_Traité des lois_, III., iv.), admits three exceptions to the
obedience due to the law: 1, if a law is unjust--for an unjust law is no
law--not only is one not obliged to accept, but even, when accepted, one
is not obliged to obey it; 2, if it is too hard; for then one may
reasonably presume that the law was not made by the prince with the
absolute intention that it should be obeyed, but rather as an experiment;
now, under this supposition one can always begin by not observing it;--3,
if, in fact, the majority of the people have ceased to observe it, even
though the first who had commenced should have sinned; the minority is not
obliged to observe what the majority has abandoned: for one cannot suppose
the prince to intend obliging such or such individuals to observe it, when
the community at large have ceased observing it.

These exceptions, proposed by Suarez, are inadmissible, at least the two
first. To authorize disobedience to unjust laws is introducing into
society an inward principle of destruction. All law is supposed to be
just, otherwise it is arbitrariness and not law. Every man finds always
the law that punishes him unjust. If there are unjust laws, which is
possible, we must ask their abrogation; and, in these our days, the
liberty of the press is ready to give satisfaction to the need of
criticism; but, in the meantime, we must obey. The second exception is not
tenable either. To say that it is permitted to disobey a law when it is
too hard, in supposing that the prince only made it for an experiment, is
to permit the eluding of all the laws: for every law is hard for somebody;
and there is, besides, no determining the hardness of laws. Such an
appreciation is, moreover, fictitious; a prince who makes a law is
supposed _a priori_ to wish it executed: to say that he only meant to try
us therewith is a wholly gratuitous invention. Certainly one may by such
conduct succeed in wearing a law out when the prince is feeble; but it is
not the less unjust, and no State could resist such a cause of
dissolution. As to the third exception, it can be admitted that there are
laws fallen into disuse, and which are no longer applied by any one
because they stand in contradiction to the manners, and are no longer of
any use; but, except in such case, it is nowise permitted to say that it
is sufficient for the majority to disobey to entitle the minority to do
the same. For instance, if it pleased the majority to engage in smuggling,
or to make false declarations in the matter of taxes, it would nowise
acquit the good citizens from continuing to fulfill their duty.

Now, if it is an absolute duty to obey a law, we must, at the same time,
admit as a corrective, the right of criticising the law. This right is the
right of the minority, and it is recognized to-day in all civilized
countries. A law may, in fact, be unjust or erroneous: it may have been
introduced by passion, by party-spirit; even without having been
originally unjust, it may have become so in time through change in
manners; it may also be the work of ignorance, prejudice, etc.; and
thereby hurtful. Hence the necessity of what is called the _liberty of the
press_, the inviolable guaranty of the minorities. But the right of
_criticising_ the law is not the right of _insulting_ it. Discussion is
not _insult_. Every law is entitled to respect because it is a law; it is
the expression of the public reason, the public will, of sovereignty. One
may try to _persuade_ the sovereign by reasoning, and induce him to change
the law; one should not inspire _contempt_ which leads unavoidably to

=87. Respect for magistrates.=--Another duty, which is the corollary to
obedience to the laws, is the _respect for the magistrate_. The
magistrate--that is, the functionary, whoever he be, in charge of the
execution of the laws--should be obeyed, not only because he represents
force, but also because he is the expression of the law. For this reason,
he should be for all an object of respect. The person is nothing; it is
the authority itself that is entitled to respect, and not such or such an
individual. Many ignorant persons are always disposed to regard the
functionary as a tyrant, and every act of authority, an act of oppression.
This is a puerile and lamentable prejudice. The greatest oppression is
always that of individual passions, and the most dangerous of despotisms
is anarchy: for then it is the right of the strongest which alone
predominates. Authority, whatever it be, makes the maintenance of order
its special interest, and order is the guaranty of every one. The
magistrate is, moreover, entitled to respect, as he represents the
country; if the country be a family, the authority of the magistrate
should be regarded the same as that of the head of the family, an
authority entitled to respect even in its errors.

=88. The ballot.=--Of all the special obligations which we have enumerated,
the most important to point out is that of the _ballot_, because it is
free and left entirely at the will of the citizens.

In regard to the other obligations, constraint may, up to a certain point,
supply the good will; he who does not pay his taxes from a sense of duty,
is obliged to pay them from necessity; but the ballot is free; one may
vote or not vote; one may vote for whom he pleases: there is no other
restraint than the sense of duty; for this reason, it is necessary to
insist on this kind of obligation.

1. It is a duty to vote. What in fact the law demands, in granting to the
citizens the right of suffrage, is that the will of the citizens be made
manifest, and that the decisions about to be taken, be those of the
majority. This principle of the right of the majorities has often been
questioned: for, it is said, why might not the majority be mistaken?
Certainly, but why might not the minority be also mistaken? The majority
is a rule which puts an end to disputes and forestalls the appeal to
force. The minorities certainly may have cause for complaint, for no rule
is absolutely perfect; but they have the chance of becoming majorities in
their turn. This is seen in all free States, where the majority is
constantly being modified with the time. If such is the principle of
elective governments (whatever be the measure or extension of the
electoral right), it can be seen of what importance it is that the true
majority show itself; and this can only take place through the greatest
possible number of voters. If, for example, half of the citizens abstain,
and that of the half that vote, one-half alone, plus one, constitute the
majority, it follows that it is a fourth of the citizens that make the
law; which would seem to be reversing the principle of majorities. This is
certainly not absolutely unjust, for it may be said that those who do not
vote admit implicitly the result obtained; but this negative compliance
has not the same value as a positive compliance.

To abstain from voting may have two causes: either indifference, or
ignorance of the questions propounded, and consequently the impossibility
of deciding one way or another. In the first case, especially is the
abstaining culpable. No citizen has the right to be indifferent to public
affairs. Skepticism in this matter is want of patriotism. In the second
case, the question is a more delicate one. How can I vote? it may be said.
I understand nothing about the question; I have no opinion; I have no
preference as to candidates. To combat this evil, it is, of course,
necessary that education gain a larger development, and that liberty enter
into customs and manners. There will be seen then a greater and greater
number of citizens understandingly interested in public affairs. But even
in the present state of things, a man may still fulfill his duty in
consulting enlightened men, in choosing some one in whom he may have
confidence; in short, in making every effort to gain information.

2. The vote should be _disinterested_. The question here is not only one
concerning the _venality_ of the vote, which is a shameful act,
punishable, moreover, by the laws; but it embraces disinterestedness in a
wider sense. One should in voting consider the interests of the country
alone, and in nowise, or at least, only secondarily, the interests of
localities, unless the question be precisely as to those latter interests,
when voting for municipal officers.

3. The vote should be _free_. The electors or representatives of an
assembly should obey their conscience alone: they should repel all
pressure, as well that from committees arrogating omnipotence, as from the
power itself.

4. In fine, the vote should be _enlightened_. Each voter should gather
information touching the matter in hand, the candidates, their morality,
their general fitness for their duty, their opinions. In order to vote
with knowledge of the facts, one must have some education. That, of
course, depends on our parents; but what depends on us, is to develop the
education already obtained; we must read the papers, but not one only, or
we may become the slaves of a watch word and of bigoted minds; we must
also gather information from men more enlightened, etc.

=89. Taxes.=--It is a duty to pay the taxes; for, without the contributions
of each citizen, the State would have no budget, and could not set the
offices it is commissioned with, to work.

How could justice be rendered, instruction be given, the territory be
defended, the roads kept up, without money? This money, besides, is voted
by the representatives of the country, elected for that purpose. But if
the State is not to tax the citizens without their consent and
supervision, they in their turn should not refuse it their money.
Certainly, this evil is not much to be feared, for in the absence of good
will, there is still the constraint which can be brought to bear upon
refractory citizens. Yet there are still means of defrauding the law. The
common people believe too readily that to deceive the State is not
deceiving; they do not scruple to make false declarations where
declarations are required, to pass prohibited goods over the frontier,
etc.; which are so many ways of refusing to pay the taxes.

=90. Military service=, as are the taxes, is obligatory by law, and
consequently does not depend on individual choice. But it is not enough to
do our duty because we are obliged to do it; we must also do it
conscientiously and heartily.

    "It is not enough to pay out of one's purse," says a moralist;[63]
    "one must also pay with one's person." Certainly, it is not for any
    one's pleasure that he leaves his parents and friends, his work and
    habits, to go to do military service in barracks, and, if needs be, to
    fight on the frontiers. But who will defend the country in case of
    attack if it be not its young and robust men? And must they not learn
    the use of arms in order to be efficient on the day when the country
    shall need them? This is why there are armies. Certainly, it would be
    a thousand times better if there were no need of this, if all nations
    were just enough never to make war with each other. But whilst this
    ideal is being realized, the least any one can do is to hold himself
    in readiness to defend his liberty, his honor.... Thanks to a good
    army, one not only can remain quiet at home, but the humblest citizen
    is respected wherever he goes, wherever his interests take him. In
    looking carefully at the matter it can be seen that even in respect to
    simple interests, the time spent in the service of the flag, is
    nothing in comparison with the advantages derived from it. Is it not
    because others have been there before us that we have been enabled to
    grow up peacefully and happy to the age of manhood? Is it not just
    that we should take their place and in our turn watch over the
    country? And when we return, others will take our place, and we, in
    our turn, shall be enabled to raise a family, attend to our business,
    and lead a quiet and contented life.

Let us add to these judicious remarks that military service is a school of
discipline, order, obedience, courage, patience, and as such, contributes
to strengthening the mind and body, to developing personality, to forming
good citizens.

The principal infractions of the duty of military service are: 1,
_mutilations_ by which some render themselves improper for service; 2,
_simulated infirmities_ by which one tries to escape from the obligation;
3, _desertion_ in times of war, and what is more criminal still, _passing
over to the enemy_; 4, _insubordination_ or disobedience to superiors.

This latter vice is the most important to point out, the others being more
or less rare; but insubordination is an evil most frequent in our armies,
and a most dangerous evil. Military operations have become so complicated
and difficult in these days, that nothing is possible without the
strictest obedience on the part of soldiers. In times when individual
valor was almost everything, insubordination might have presented fewer
inconveniences; but in these days, all is done through masses, and if the
men do not obey, the armies are necessarily beaten because they cannot
oppose an equal force to the enemy. Suppose the enemy to be 50,000 men
strong in a certain place, that you yourself belong to a body of 50,000,
and that you all together reach the same place at the same time as the
enemy: you are equal in numbers, one against one, and you have at least as
many chances as they; and if, besides, you have other qualities which they
have not, you will have more chances. But if in the corps you belong to,
there is no discipline, if every one disobeys--if, for example, when the
order for marching is given, each starts when he pleases, and marches but
as he pleases, you will arrive too late, and the enemy will have taken the
best positions; there is then one chance lost. If, moreover, through the
disorder in your ranks, you do not all arrive together, if there are but
25,000 men in a line, the others remaining behind, these 25,000 will be
overwhelmed. As for those who do not reach the spot, think you they will
escape the consequences of the battle? By no means; the disorder will not
save them; it will deliver them defenseless into the hands of the pursuing
enemy. Now, all disorder is followed by similar consequences. On the other
hand, the obedience of the soldier being sure, the army is as one man who
lends himself to all the plans, all the combinations; who takes advantage
of all the happy chances, who runs less dangers because the business
proceeds more rapidly, and that with less means one obtains more results.
Such are the reasons for the punctilious discipline required of soldiers.
We are treated as machines, you will say. Yes; if you resist: for then
constraint becomes indispensable; but if you understand the necessity of
the discipline, if you submit to it on your own accord, then are you no
longer machines: you are men. The only way of not being a machine is then
precisely to obey freely.

It has often been asked, in these days, whether the soldier is always
obliged to obey, even such orders as his conscience disapproves of. These
are dangerous questions to raise, and they tend to imperil discipline
without much profit to morality. No doubt if a soldier were ordered to
commit a crime--as, for example, to go and kill a defenseless man--he
would have the right to refuse doing it. At the time of the massacre of
St. Bartholomew, an order was sent to all the provinces to follow the
example of Paris. One of the governors, the Viscount Orthez, replied that
his soldiers did not do executioner's service; and this answer was admired
by all the world. But these are very rare cases; and it is dangerous for
such uncertain eventualities to inspire mistrust against order and
discipline, which are the certain guaranties of the defense and
independence of a country.

=91. Educational obligation.=--The duty to instruct children results from
the natural relations between parents and children. The obligation to
raise children implies, in fact, the obligation to instruct them. There is
no more education without instruction than instruction without education.
To-day educational obligation is inserted in the law, and has its sanction
therein. But parents owe it to themselves to obey the law without

=92. Civil courage.=--We have already spoken above of civil courage as
opposed to military courage. But here is the place to return to this
subject. Let us recall a fine page by J. Barni in his book on _Morality in

    The stoics defined courage admirably: _Virtue combating for equity_.
    Civil courage might be defined: virtue defending the liberty and
    rights of citizens against tyranny, whether this tyranny be that of
    the masses or a despot's. As much courage, and perhaps more, is
    demanded in the first case as in the second; it is less easy to resist
    a crowd than a single man, were there nothing more to be feared than
    _unpopularity_, one of the disadvantages hardest to brave. How much
    more difficult when it comes to risking a popularity already acquired?
    Yet must one, if necessary, be able to make the sacrifice. True civil
    courage shows itself the same in all cases. Thus, Socrates, this type
    of civil virtue, as he was of all other virtues, refused, at the peril
    of his life, to obey the iniquitous orders of the tyrant Critias; and
    he resisted with no less courage the people, who, contrary to justice
    and law, asked for the death of the generals who conquered at
    Arginusæ. Another name presents itself to the memory, namely, that of
    Boissy d'Anglas, immortalized for the heroism he showed as president
    of the National Convention, the 1st Prairial, year II. (20 May, 1795).
    Assailed by the clamors of the crowd which had invaded the Assembly,
    threatened by the guns which were pointed at him, he remains
    impassible; and without even appearing to be aware of the danger he is
    running, he reminds the crowd of the respect due to national
    representatives. They cry: "We do not want thy Assembly; the people is
    here; thou art the president of the people; sign, says one, the decree
    shall be good, or I kill thee!" He quietly replied: "Life to me is a
    trifle; you speak of committing a great crime; I am a representative
    of the people; I am president of the convention;" and he refused to
    sign. The head of a representative of the people who had just been
    massacred by the populace for having attempted to prevent the invasion
    of the Convention, is presented to him on the end of a pike; he
    salutes it and remains firm at his post. This is a great example of
    civil courage.




    =Professional duties:= founded on the division of social work.

    =The absence of a profession--Leisure.=--Is it a duty to have a
    profession? Rules for the choice of a profession.

    =Division of social professions.=--Plato's theory; the Saint Simonian
    theory; Fichte's theory. Résumé and synthesis of these theories.

    =Mechanic and industrial professions.=--Employers and
    employees.--Workmen and farmers.

    =Military duties.=

    =Public functions.=--Elective functions; the magistracy and the bar.

    =Science.=--Teaching.--Medicine.--The arts and letters.

=93. Division of social work.=--Independently of the general duties to
which man is held, as man or member of a particular group (family,
country), there are still others relating to the situation he holds in
society, to the part he plays therein, to his particular line of work.
Society is, in fact, a sort of great enterprise where all pursue a common
end, namely, the greatest happiness or the greatest morality of the human
species; but as this end is very complex, it is necessary that the parts
to be played toward reaching it be divided; and, as in industrial
pursuits, unity of purpose, rapidity of execution, perfection of work,
cannot be obtained except by _division of labor_, so is there also in
society a sort of _social division of labor_, which allots to each his
share of the common work. The special work each is appointed to
accomplish in society is what is called a profession, and the peculiar
duties of each profession are the _professional duties_.

=94. The absence of a profession--Leisure.=--The first question to be
considered is, whether a man should have a profession, or if, having
received from his family a sufficient fortune to live without doing
anything, he has a right to dispense with all profession and give himself
up to what is called _leisure_. Some schools have condemned _leisure_
absolutely, have denounced what they call _idlers_ as the enemies of
society. This is a rather delicate question, and concerning which one must
guard against arriving at a too absolute conclusion.

    And, in the first place, there cannot be question here of approving or
    permitting that sort of foolish and shameful leisure to which some
    young prodigals, without sense of dignity and morality, are given, who
    dissipate in disorder hereditary fortunes, or the wealth obtained by
    the indefatigable labor of their fathers. It is sometimes said that
    this does more good than harm, because fortunes pass thus from hand to
    hand, and each profits by it in his turn. But who does not know that
    to make a good use of a fortune is more profitable to society than
    dissipation? However that may be, nothing is more unworthy of youth
    than this nameless idleness, where all the strength of the body and
    soul, the energy of character, the life of the intelligence, all the
    gifts of nature are squandered. There have been sometimes seen
    superior souls who rose from such disorders victorious over
    themselves, and stronger for the combat of life. But how rare such
    examples! How often does it not, on the contrary, happen that the
    idleness of his youth determines the whole course of the man's life?

    Sometimes, it is true, one may choose a life of leisure designedly,
    not with an idea of dissipation, but, on the contrary, with that of
    being free to do great things. Certain independent minds believe that
    a profession deprives a person of his liberty, narrows him, fastens
    him down to mean and monotonous occupations, subjects him to
    conventional and narrow modes of thinking--in short, that a positive
    kind of work weakens and lowers the mind. There is some truth in these
    remarks. Everybody has observed how men of different professions
    differ in their mode of thinking. What more different than a
    physician, a man of letters, a soldier, a merchant? All these men
    thought about the same in their youth; they see each other twenty
    years later; each has undergone a peculiar bent; each has his
    particular physiognomy, costume, etc. Not only has the profession
    absorbed the man, but it has also deadened his individuality. One may
    conceive, then, how some ambitious minds may expect to escape the yoke
    and preserve their liberty in renouncing all professions. To be
    subject to no fixed and prescribed occupation, to depend upon no
    master, to nobly cultivate the mind in every direction, to make vast
    experiments, to be a stranger to nothing, bound to nothing, is not
    that, seemingly, the height of human happiness? Some men of genius
    have followed this system, and found no bad results from it. Descartes
    relates to us in his _Discours sur la Méthode_ (Part I.), that, during
    nine years of his life, he did nothing but "roll about the world,
    hither and thither, trying to be a spectator, rather than an actor, in
    the comedies played therein." He tells us further, that he employed
    his "youth in traveling, in visiting courts and armies, in associating
    with people of various humors and conditions, in gathering divers
    experiences, in testing himself in the encounters chance favored him
    with, etc." That this may be an admirable school, a marvelously
    instructive arena for well-endowed minds, no one will doubt; but what
    is possible and useful to a Descartes or a Pascal, will it suit the
    majority of men? Is it not to be feared that this wandering in every
    direction, this habit of having nowhere a foot-hold, may make the mind
    superficial and weaken its energy?

    He who renounces being an actor, to be only a spectator, as did
    Descartes, takes too easy a part; he frees himself from all
    responsibility: this may sharpen the mind, but there will always
    remain some radical deficiency. Force of character, however, and
    personal superiority may set at naught all these conclusions--sound as
    they in general are in theory.[64]

It may, therefore, be doubtful whether a life of leisure, with some
exceptions, be good for him who gives himself up to it; but what is not
legitimate, is the kind of jealousy and envy which those who work often
entertain against those who have nothing to do. There is a legitimate
leisure and nobly employed. For example, a legitimate leisure is that
which, obtained through hereditary fortune, is engaged in gratuitously
serving the country, in study, in the management of property, the
cultivation of land, in travels devoted to observation and the
amelioration of human things, in a noble intercourse with society. It is a
grievous error to wish to blot out of societies all existence that has not
gain for its end, and is not connected with daily wants. Property and
riches are true social functions, and among the most difficult of
functions. Those who know how to use them with profit, fill one of the
most useful parts in society, and cannot be said to be without a

=95. Of the choice of a profession.=--If it is necessary in society to have
a profession, it is important that it be well chosen. He who is not in his
right place, is wanting in some essential quality to fill the one he

    "If the abbé de Carignan had yielded to the wishes of Madame de
    Soissons, his mother, what glory would not the house of Savoy have
    been deprived of! The empire would have been deprived of one of its
    greatest captains, one of the bulwarks of Christianity. Prince Eugene
    was a very great man in the profession they wished to interdict him;
    what would he have been in the profession they wished him to embrace?
    M. de Retz insisted absolutely that his youngest son should be an
    ecclesiastic, despite the repugnance he manifested for this
    profession, despite the scandalous conduct he indulged in to escape
    from it. This duke [M. de Retz] gives to the church a sacrilegious
    priest, to Paris a sanguinary archbishop, to the kingdom a great
    rebel, and deprives his house of the last prop that could have
    sustained it."[65]

One should, therefore, study his vocation, not decide too quickly, get
information on the nature and duties of different professions; then
consult his taste, but without allowing himself to be carried away by
illusory, proud, inconsistent fancies; consult wise and enlightened
persons; finally, if necessary, make certain experiments, taking care,
however, to stop in time.

=96. Division of social professions.=--It would be impossible to make a
survey of all the professions society is composed of: it were an infinite
labor. We must, therefore, bring the professions down to a certain number
of types or classes, which allow the reducing of the rules of
_professional morality_ to a small number. Several philosophers have
busied themselves in dividing and classifying social occupations. We shall
recall only the principal ones of these divisions.

Plato has reduced the different social functions to four classes, namely:
1, _magistrates_; 2, _warriors_; 3, _farmers_; 4, _artisans_. The two
first classes are the governing classes; the two others are the classes
governed. The two first apply themselves to moral things: education,
science, the defense of the country; the others to material life. This
classification of Plato is somewhat too general for our modern societies,
which comprise more varied and numerous elements: these divisions,
nevertheless, are important, and should be taken account of in morals.

Since Plato, there is scarcely any but the socialist Saint-Simon who
attempted to classify the social careers. He reduces them to three groups:
_industrials_, _artists_, and _scientists_ (savants). The meaning of this
classification is this: the object of human labor, according to
Saint-Simon, is the cultivation of the globe--that is to say, the greatest
possible production; but this is the object of productive labor; it is
what is called _industry_. Now, the cultivation of nature requires a
knowledge of nature's laws, namely, _science_. Science and invention are,
then, the two great branches of social activity. According to Saint-Simon,
work--that is to say, industry--must take the place of war; science, that
of the laws. Hence no warriors, no magistrates; or, rather, the scientists
(savants) should be the true magistrates. Science and industry, however,
having only relation to material nature, Saint-Simon thought there was a
part to be given to the moral order, to the _beautiful_ or the _good_;
hence a third class, which he now calls _artists_, now _moralists_ and
_philosophers_, and to whom a sort of religious rôle is assigned. It will
be seen that this theory is absolutely artificial and utopian, that it has
relation to an imaginary system, and not to the order of things as it is:
it is an ingenious conception, but quite impracticable.

One of the greatest of modern moralists, the German philosopher Fichte,
assigned, in his _Practical Morality_, a part to the doctrine of
_professional_ duties; and he began by giving a theory of the professions
more complete and satisfactory than any of the preceding ones.

Fichte makes of the special professions two great divisions: 1, those
which have for their object the keeping up of material life; 2, those
which have for their object the keeping up of intellectual and moral life.
On the one side, _mechanical labor_; on the other, _intellectual_ and
_moral labor_.

The object of mechanical labor is _production_, _manufacture_, and
_exchange_ of produce; hence three functions: those of =producers=,
=manufacturers=, and =merchants=.

The moral and spiritual labor has also three objects: 1, the
administration of justice in the State; 2, the theoretic culture of
intelligence; 3, the moral culture of the will. Hence three classes: 1,
=public functions=; 2, =science and instruction=; 3, =the Church and the
clergy=. Lastly, there is in human nature a faculty which serves as a link
between the theoretical and the practical faculties: it is the _esthetic
sense_; the sense of the beautiful; hence a last class, that of =artists=.

This theory is more scientific than that of the Saint-Simonians, but it is
still somewhat defective; it is not clear, for example, in a moral point
of view, that there is a great difference of duties between the producers,
manufacturers, and merchants: they are economical rather than moral
distinctions. Plato's division is better, when he puts the farmers in
opposition to the artisans. It is certain that there are, especially in
these days, interesting moral questions, which differ according as the
workmen live in the city or in the country. We therefore prefer on this
point Plato's division; and we will treat, on the one side, _industry_ and
_commerce_, and on the other _agriculture_; and in each of these divisions
we will distinguish those who direct or remunerate the work, namely,
contractors, masters, proprietors, capitalists in some degree, and those
who work with their hands and receive wages.

In characterizing the second class of careers, those which have moral
interests for their object, we will again borrow of Plato one of the names
of his division, namely, _the defense of the State_. As to the
administration of justice in the State, it is divided, as we have already
said, into three powers: the _executive_, _legislative_, and _judicial_
powers. Hence three orders of functions: _administration_, _deputation_,
and the _magistracy_, with which latter is connected the _bar_.

As to science, it is either _speculative_ or _practical_.

In the first case, it only concerns the individual; we have spoken of it
under individual duties (ch. iv.). In the second case, it has for its
object _application_, and bears either on _things_ or on _men_.

Applied to things, science is associated with the industry we have already
spoken of. Applied to men, it is _medicine_, in respect to bodies;
_morality_ or _religion_, in respect to hearts and souls.

Lastly, along with the sciences which seek the true, there are the letters
and the arts which treat of and produce the beautiful. Hence a last class,
namely, _poets_, _writers_, _artists_.

Such is about the outline of what a system of social professions might be.
A treatise of professional morality which would be in harmony with this
outline, would be all one science, the elements of which scarcely exist,
being dispersed in a multitude of works, or rather in the practice and
interior life of each profession. We will content ourselves with a few
general indications.

=97. I. Mechanical and industrial professions.=--1. _Employers and
employees._--The professions which have for their object the material
cultivation of the globe, and particularly _industry_ and _commerce_, are
divided into two great classes: 1, on one side, those who, having capital,
_undertake_ and direct the works; 2, those who execute them with their
arms and receive _wages_. The first are the _employers_; the second the
_employees_. What are the respective duties of these two classes?

=98. Duties of employers.=--The duties of all those who, by virtue of their
capital legitimately acquired, or by virtue of their intelligence,
command, direct and pay for the work done by men, are the following:

1. They should raise the wages of the workmen as high as the state of the
market permits; and they should not wait to be compelled to it by strikes
or threats of strikes. Conversely, they should not, from weakness or want
of foresight, yield to every threat of the kind; for in raising the wages
unreasonably high, one may disable himself from entering into foreign
competition, or may cause the ruin of the humbler manufacturers who have
not sufficient capital.

2. Capitalists, employers and masters should obey strictly the laws
established for the protection of childhood. They should employ the work
of minors within proper limits, and according to the conditions fixed by
the law.

3. Their task is not done when they have secured to the workmen and their
children the share of work and wages which is their due, even when they
are content to claim nothing beyond justice. They have yet to fulfill
toward their subordinates the duties of protection and benevolence; they
must assist them, relieve them, be it in accidents happening to them in
the work they are engaged in, or in illness. They must spare them
suspensions of work as much as possible; in short, they must, through all
sorts of establishments--schools, mutual-help societies, workmen-cities
(_cités ouvrières_), etc.--encourage education, economy, property, yet
without forcing upon them anything that would diminish their own
responsibility or impair their personal dignity.

=99. Duties of workingmen.=--The duties of workingmen should correspond to
those of the employers.

1. The workingmen owe it to themselves not to cherish in their hearts
feelings of hatred, envy, covetousness, and revolt against the employers.
Division of work requires that in industrial matters some should direct
and others be directed. Material exploitation requires capital; and those
who bring this capital, the fruit of former work, are as necessary to the
workingmen to utilize their work as these are to the first in utilizing
their capital.

2. The workingmen owe their work to the establishment which pays them; it
is as much their interest as their duty. The result of _laziness_ and
_intemperance_ is _misery_. We cannot enough deplore the use of what is
called the _Mondays_--a day of rest over and beyond the legitimate and
necessary Sunday. It is certain that one day of rest in a week is
absolutely a necessity. No man can nor ought (except in circumstances
unavoidable) work without interruption the whole year through. But the
week's day of rest once secure, all that is over and above that, is taken
from what belongs to the family and the provisions against old age.

3. Supposing that, in consequence of the progress of industry, the number
of hours of rest could be increased--that, for example, the hours of the
day's work could be reduced--these hours of rest should then be devoted to
the family, to the cultivation of the mind, and not to the fatal pleasures
of intoxication.

The workingmen have certainly a right to ask, as far as they are worthy of
it, equality of consideration and influence in society; and all our modern
laws are so constituted as to insure them this equality. It rests with
them, therefore, to render themselves worthy of this new equality by their
morals and their education. To have their children educated; to educate
themselves; to occupy their leisure with family interests, in reading, in
innocent and elevating recreations (music, the theatre, gardening, if
possible), it is by all such pursuits that the workingmen will reduce or
entirely remove the inequality of manners and education which may still
exist between them and their superiors.

4. Workingmen cannot be blamed for seeking to defend their interests and
increase their comforts; in so doing they only do what all men should do.
They have also the right, in order to get satisfaction, to attach to their
work such conditions as they may reasonably desire: it is the _law of
demand_ and _supply_, common to all industries. In short, as an individual
refusal to work is a means absolutely inefficacious to bring about an
increase of wages, it must be admitted that the workingmen have a right to
act in concert and collectively to refuse to work, and, collectively, to
make their conditions; hence the right of strikes recognized to-day by the
law. But this right, granted to the principle of the liberty of work, must
not be turned against this principle. The workingmen who freely refuse to
work should not stand in the way of those who, finding their demands
ill-founded, persist in continuing to work under the existing conditions.
All violence, all threats to force into the strike him who is opposed
thereto, is an injustice and a tyranny. This violence is condemned by law;
but as it is easily disguised, it cannot always be reached; it is,
therefore, through the morals one must act upon it--through persuasion and
education. The workmen must gradually adopt the morals of liberty, must
respect each other. For the same reason they should respect women's work;
should not interdict to their wives and daughters the right of improving
their condition by work. Unquestionably it is much to be desired that
woman should become more and more centred in domestic duties, the care of
her household and family. This is her principal part in the social work.
But as long as the imperfect condition of the laboring classes does not
permit this state of things, it may be said that the workmen work against
themselves in trying to close the field of industry to women.

The tendency toward the equality of wages, as the ideal of the
remuneration of work, is also to be condemned. Nothing is more contrary to
the spirit of the times, which demands that every one be treated according
to his work. Capacity, painstaking, personal efforts, are elements that
demand to be proportionately remunerated. Let us add, that it is the duty
of head masters, in the case of a good will, succumbing to physical
inability, to conciliate benevolence and equity with justice; this,
however, is only an exceptional case. But, as a principle, each one should
be rewarded only for what he has done. Otherwise there would be an
inducement to indifference and idleness.

=100. Workmen and farmers.=--Having considered workmen in their relations
with their masters, let us consider them now on a line with farmers; for,
according as one lives in the city or in the country, there is a great
difference in manners, and consequently in duties. The workmen who live in
the city are for that very reason more apt to acquire new ideas and
general information; they have many more means of educating themselves;
the very pleasures of the city afford them opportunities to cultivate
their mind. Besides, living nearer to each other, they are more disposed
to consider their common interests and turn them to account. Hence
advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are, the superiority of
intellectual culture, the greater aptitude in conceiving general ideas, a
stronger interest in public affairs; in all these respects, city-life
presents advantages over country-life. But hence also arise great dangers.
The workingmen, quite ready to admit general ideas, but without sufficient
information and political experience to control them, abandon themselves
readily to utopian preachings and instigations to revolt. Further, very
much preoccupied with their common interests, they are too much disposed
to think only of their own class, and to form, as it were, a class apart
in society and in the nation. Hence for the workmen a double duty: 1, to
obtain enough information not to blindly follow all demagogues; 2, to
learn to consider their interests as connected with all those of the other
classes and professions.

Farmers are indebted to the country-life for certain advantages, which
carry with them, at the same time, certain disadvantages. The farmer is
generally more attached to social stability than the more or less shifting
inhabitants of the towns; he thinks much of property; he does not like to
change in his manners and ideas. He is thereby a powerful support to
conservatism and the spirit of tradition, without which society could not
live and last. He has, moreover, had till now the great merit of not
singling himself out, of not separating his interests from those of the
country in general. Thus, on these two points--opposition to utopias,
preservation of social unity--the countryman serves as a counterpoise to
all the opposite tendencies in the workmen. But these very qualities are,
perhaps, the result of certain defects: namely, the absence of information
and enlightenment. The countryman sees not very much beyond his
church-steeple; material life occupies and absorbs him wholly; individual
and personal interests are absolutely predominant in him. He is but little
disposed to give his children any education; and he is disposed to look
upon them as so many instruments of work less expensive than others. The
idea of a general country, general interests surpassing private interests,
is more or less wanting in him. What it is necessary to persuade the
countryman of, is the usefulness of education. He should be inspired with
a taste for liberty, which is a security to him and his family, as well as
to all the other classes of society. The workman in becoming better
informed, the farmer more informed, they will gradually blend with the
middle classes, and there will then be no longer those oppositions of
classes and interests so dangerous at the present day. (See Appendix.)

=101. II. Military duties.=--We have already considered military duties, as
the duty of citizens toward the State; we have now to consider here
military duties in themselves, as special duties, peculiar to a certain
class of citizens, to a certain social profession.

1. It is useless to say that the peculiar virtue and special duty of the
military class is _courage_. We have but to refer the reader to what will
be said further on (ch. xiv.) touching the virtue of courage, in regard to
the duties of man toward himself.

2. _Patriotism_ is a duty of all classes and all professions; but it is
particularly one with those who are commissioned to defend the country: it
is, therefore, the military virtue _par excellence_.

3. _Fidelity to the flag._--This duty is implied in the two preceding
ones. The duty of courage, in fact, implies that one should not flee
before the enemy: it is the crime of _desertion_; that one should not
pass over to the enemy: it is the crime of _defection_ or _treason_. This
latter crime has become very rare, and has even wholly disappeared in
modern France. Formerly there was seen a Condé, the great Condé fighting
against the French at the head of Spanish troops; and so great a fault
scarcely injured his reputation; in our days, a simple suspicion, and that
an unjust one, blackened the whole life of a Marshal of France.[66]

4. _Obedience and discipline._ (See above, _Duties toward the State_,
preceding chapter.)

=102. III. Public functions--Administration--Deputation--Magistracy--The
Bar.=--The public functions are the divers acts which compose the
government of a State. We even include the _elective_ functions
(deputation, general councils, town councils, etc.), because, whilst they
have their origin in election, they are, nevertheless, functions, the
purpose of which is the _common weal_, _public interests_. For the same
reason, though the bar is a free profession, it is so connected with
magistracy, it is so necessary a dependency of the judicial power, that it
is thereby itself a sort of public power.

=103. Functionaries.=--We call _functionaries_, more particularly, those
who take part in the administration of the country and the execution of
its laws. This admitted, the principal duties of functionaries are:

1. The _Knowledge of the laws_ they are commissioned to execute. Power is
only legitimate as far as it is guaranteed by _competency_. Ignorance in
public functions has for its results _injustice_, since arbitrariness
takes then the place of the law; administrative _disorder_, since the law
has precisely for its object to establish rules and maintain traditions;
_negligence_, since ignorant of the principles by which affairs ought to
be settled, conclusions are kept off as much as possible. But one must not
defer obtaining administrative information till called to take a share in
the administration. A general information should be acquired beforehand;
for, once engaged in administrative affairs, there is then no longer time
to acquire it.

_To go to work_ is, therefore, the first duty of those who would be
prepared for public functions; and this duty of work continues with the
functions; for after general information has been obtained, comes the
special and technical information, where there is always something new to

2. The second duty of functionaries of any degree, is _exactitude_ and
_assiduity_. The most brilliant qualities, and the largest and amplest
mind for public affairs, will render but inefficient service--at any rate,
a service very inferior to what could be expected of them, if these
qualities are counterbalanced and paralyzed by negligence, laziness,
disorder, inexactness. One must not forget that all negligence in public
affairs is a denial of justice to some one. An administrative decision,
whatever it be, has always for its result to satisfy the just, or to deny
the unjust, claims of some one. To retard a case through negligence, may
therefore deprive some one of what he has a right to. There are, of
course, necessary delays which arise from the complication of affairs, and
order itself requires that everything come in time; but delays occasioned
by our own fault are a wrong toward others.

3. _Integrity_ and _discretion_ are also among the most important duties
of functionaries. The first bears especially upon what concerns finances;
but there are everywhere more or less opportunities to fail in probity.
For example, there is nothing more shameful than to sell one's influence;
this is what is called _extortion_. An administrator given to extortion is
the shame and ruin of the State. As to discretion, it is again a duty
which depends on the nature of things. It is especially obligatory when
persons are in question, and still more so in certain careers--as, for
example, in _diplomacy_.

4. _Justice._--The strict duty of every administrator or functionary, is
to have no other rule than the _law_; to avoid _arbitrariness_ and
_favor_, to have no regard to persons. This duty, it must be said, whilst
it is the most necessary, is also the most difficult to exercise, and one
which requires most courage and will. Public opinion, unfortunately,
encourages in this respect, the weaknesses of officials; it is convinced,
and spreads everywhere this conviction, that all is due to _favoritism_,
that it is not the most deserving that succeed, but the best recommended.
Everybody complains of it, and everybody helps toward it. There is
unquestionably much exaggeration in these complaints. Favor is not
everything in this world. It is too much the interest of administrators
that they should have industrious and intelligent assistants, and that
they should employ every means to choose them well; and in public affairs,
the interests of the common weal always predominate in the end. It is,
nevertheless, an evil that so unfavorable a prejudice should exist; and it
is absolutely a duty with functionaries to uproot it, in showing it to be

=104. Elective functions--Deputation--Elective councils.=--There is a whole
class of functionaries, if it be permitted to say so, who owe their origin
to election, and who are the mandataries of the people, either in
municipal councils, or in general councils, or in the great elective
bodies of the State, the _Senate_ and _House of Representatives_. (See
_Civil instruction_.) The principle of the sovereignty of the people
requires that for all its interests, communal, departmental or national,
the country have a deliberative voice by means of its representatives. The
duties of these mandataries are generally the same in any degree of rank.

1. _Fidelity to the mandate._--The representative is the interpreter of
certain opinions, of certain tendencies, and although the majority which
have elected him comprise very diverse elements, there exists an average
of opinions, and it is this average which the deputy represents, or should
represent. He would, therefore, fail in his duty if, once elected, he
passed over to his opponents, or, if wishing to do so, he did not tender
his resignation. However, this fidelity to the mandate should not be
carried so far as to accept what is called the _imperative mandate_,
which is the negation of all liberty in the representative, and makes of
him a simple voting machine. The representative is a representative
precisely because he is empowered, on his own responsibility, to find the
best means to carry out the wishes of his constituents.

2. _Independence._--The deputy, senator, municipal, or departmental
officer should be independent both in regard to the authorities and in
regard to the electors. From the authorities he should receive no favors;
he should not sell his vote in any interest whatsoever; from the electors
he has to receive advice only, but no orders. Outside their office as
electors, the electors are nothing but simple individuals. As such they
may try to influence representatives, but they have otherwise no other
title before the representatives of the electoral corps. The
representative should, above all, avoid making himself the servant of the
electors, for the satisfaction of their private interests and passions. It
is often thought that independence only consists in resisting courts and
princes; there is no less independence, and sometimes even is there more
merit and courage required to resist the tyranny of the masses, and
especially that of popular leaders. The deputy should, we have said, be
faithful to his trust--that is to say, to the general line of politics
adopted by the political party to which he belongs; but within these
general limits it is for him to assume the responsibility, for it is for
this very reason that he is elected a representative. Let us, moreover,
add that fidelity to opinions should not degenerate into party spirit, and
that there is an interest which should supersede all others, namely, the
interest of the country.

3. The spirit of _conciliation_ and the spirit of _discipline_.--Political
liberty, more than any other political principle, requires the spirit of
concession. If each, indeed, fortifies himself in his own opinions,
without ever making a concession, all having the right to do the same, it
is evident that no common conclusion can be arrived at. The consequence of
the _liberum veto_,[67] pushed to excess, is paralysis of power or
anarchy. Nothing is done; and in politics, when nothing is done, all
becomes disorganized, dissolved. It is, therefore, necessary that whilst
preserving their independence, the representatives sent forth by the
electors should endeavor to render government possible; they should not
overstep the limits of their trust by confounding legislative power with
executive power; they should try to harmonize with the other bodies of the
State--in short, they ought each to sacrifice the necessary amount of
their individual opinion to bring about a common opinion. In a free
government it is no more a duty to belong to the _majority_ than to the
_opposition_, since the opposition may, in its turn, become majority; but
whether belonging to the one or to the other, the representative should
subordinate his particular views to the common interest; otherwise the
parties scatter, which, in the long run, can only be profitable to

=105. Judicial power.--The magistracy and the bar.=--The judicial power is
exercised by magistrates called _judges_: it is they who decide about
quarrels between individuals: this is what is called _civil justice_; they
also decide about the punishments inflicted on criminals who have made
attempts upon a life or property; and this is _penal justice_. The duties
of the magistrate are easily deduced from these obligations.

1. _Impartiality and neutrality._--The judge must necessarily remain
_neutral_ among all parties; he should have no regard to persons, should
render equal justice to the rich and to the poor, to the high and to the
low. _Equality before the law_, which is one of the principles of our
modern institutions, should not only be a principle in the abstract; it
should also be a practical principle, and be brought before the eyes of
the judges as one among the first of their obligations.

2. _Integrity and disinterestedness._--No less strict a duty for the
judges, and which it is scarcely necessary to point out, is integrity. The
magistrate should be free from all suspicion of venality. Under the old
_régime_, as may be seen in Racine's comedy of _The Pleaders_, the judges
were not always free from such suspicion. Of course, it is but a comedy;
but such a comedy could no longer be written nowadays; it would no longer
be understood; our morals are too much improved for that. The obligation
should, nevertheless, be pointed out.

3. Impartiality and integrity concern above all civil justice. The duty
which more especially concerns criminal justice, is _equity_; namely, a
moderate justice, intermediary between a dangerous lenity and an excessive
severity. In truth, in most cases, at least in the graver cases, the judge
has scarcely anything more to do than to apply the law. It is for the
jury, a sort of free and irresponsible magistracy, to decide upon the
culpability or innocence of the prisoners. It is for the jury to find a
just medium between harshness and lenity. But the juryman who, above all,
judges as a man, and often recoils from responsibility, should fear the
excess of lenity: the judge, on the contrary, accustomed to repression,
and above all preoccupied with the interests of society, should rather
defend himself against excess of rigor and severity.

4. _Knowledge._--What is for most men but a luxury, becomes in such or
such a profession a strict duty. _The knowledge of the laws_, for example,
is, for the magistrate, as the knowledge of the human body for the
physician, a strict obligation. He who wishes to enter the magistracy,
should therefore carry the study of the law as far as his youth permits
it; but he should not stop his studies the moment he has entered upon his
career. He has always something to learn; he should keep himself informed
of the progress jurisprudence is making. It is useless to say that,
independently of this general work, the special and thorough study of each
case brought before him is for the judge a duty still more strict.

Alongside of the magistracy, and co-operating with it, is placed the
_bar_, which is charged with the defense of private interests from a civil
or criminal point of view.

From a civil point of view, the trial is between two citizens, each
claiming his right in the case; they are what is called _pleaders_, and
the trial itself is called a _law-suit_. The pleaders, not knowing the
laws, need an intermediary to explain and defend their cause, bring it
clearly to the comprehension of the magistrates and enforce its reasons.
This is the part of the lawyers.

From a criminal point of view, the trial is not between two individuals;
but between society and the criminal. Society, to defend itself, employs
what is called a _public prosecutor_; the criminal needs a _counsel_. The
part of a counsel belongs again to the lawyers.

The duties of lawyers are varied according as the cases are civil or
criminal cases.

In civil law-suits, the absolute duty is the following: not to take up
_bad cases_. Only it is necessary to understand well this principle. It is
generally believed that a bad case is the losing one, and a good case the
winning one. Thus would there in every law-suit be a lawyer who failed in
his duty: the one, namely, who lost the case. This is a false idea, which
very unjustly throws in many minds discredit upon the profession of the

Certainly there are cases where the law is so clear, jurisprudence so
established, the morality so evident and imperious, that a suit having the
three against itself, may be called a bad case; and the lawyer who can
allow his client to believe the suit defensible, and who employs his skill
and eloquence in defending it, fails in his professional duty. But this is
not generally the case. In most cases, it is very difficult to tell
beforehand who is right, who wrong, and precisely because it is difficult,
are there judges whose proper function it is to decide. Now, in order that
the judge may decide, he must be acquainted with all the details of the
case; all possible reasons from both sides must be laid before him.
Everybody knows that one can never of one's own account find in favor of a
solution or conclusion, all the reasons which the interested party can;
now, it is just that these reasons be set forth: this is the business of
the lawyers. One must not forget that in every law-suit there is a pro and
a con. It is for this very reason there is a suit. The lawyers are
specially here to plead for the pro and con, each from his own standpoint.
One could very well understand, for example, that the court should have at
its disposal functionaries commissioned to prepare the cases and plead for
the contending parties: one would take up Peter's cause, the other,
Paul's; this is just the part of the lawyers, with this difference, that
the choice of the lawyer is left to the client, because it is but just
that a deputy be chosen by him he is supposed to represent.

In criminal cases there are equally very delicate questions. How can a
lawyer defend as innocent one who is guilty? Were it not an actual lie?
And yet society does not allow that any accused, whoever he be, be left
without counsel; and when none present themselves, it provides one,
charging him to save the life of the accused if he can. It is the interest
of society that no innocent person be condemned, and that even the guilty
should not be punished beyond what he deserves; in short, it takes care
that all the reasons that can be brought forth to attenuate the gravity of
an offense be well weighed, and even set forth in a manner to arouse pity
and sympathy. Such is the business of the lawyers.

It is evident that these considerations, which show the lawyer's
profession to be one so legitimate and exalted, should not be improperly
understood. These general rules must be interpreted with delicacy of
feeling and conscience.

=106. IV. Science--Teaching--Medicine--The letters and arts.=--Beside the
_social powers_ which _make_, _execute_ and _apply_ the laws, there is
_science_, which instructs men, enlightens them, directs their work, and
which even, setting utility aside, is yet in itself an object of
disinterested research. Side by side with the sciences are the letters
and arts, which pursue and express the _beautiful_, as science pursues the
_true_. Finally, to science and art are added _morality_ and _religion_,
whose object is the _good_. The moralists, it is true, do not constitute a
particular profession in society, or at least their part is blended with
teaching in general; religion has its interpreters, who find in their
dogmas and traditions the rules of their duties. It is not the business of
lay morality to teach these. Let us, therefore, content ourselves with a
few principles concerning the sciences and letters.

=107. Science--Duties of Scientists.=--Science may be cultivated in two
different ways and from two different standpoints: 1, for itself; 2, for
its social advantages--for the services it renders to men. There is but a
small number of men who have a natural taste for pure science, and the
leisure to give themselves up to the love of it; but those who choose such
a life contract thereby certain duties.

The first of all is the _love of truth_. The only object for the scientist
to pursue is truth. He must, therefore, lay aside all interests and
passions antagonistic to truth; and, above all, personal interest which
inclines one to prefer one theme to another, because of the advantages it
may bring; this is, however, so gross a motive, that it would not be
supposed to exist with a true scholar; yet are there other causes of error
no less dangerous--for example, the interest of a cause--of a conviction
which is dear to us; the interest of our self-love, which makes us persist
in error known to be such; the spirit of system, by which one shows his
peculiar forte, etc. All these passions should give way before the pure
love of truth.

=108. The communication of science--Teaching.=--The principal duty of those
who are possessed of science is to communicate it to other men. Certainly,
all men are not called to be scholars; but all should in some degree have
their intelligence cultivated by _instruction_. Hence the duty of teaching
imposed upon scholars; but this duty brings with it many others.

1. The masters who teach others should themselves first be educated.
Hence the duty of intellectual work, not merely to acquire knowledge,
without which one cannot be a teacher, but to preserve and increase it.
The teacher should, therefore, set an example to his pupil of assiduous
and continuous intellectual work.

2. The teacher should love his pupils--children, if he is called upon to
teach children; young men, if he is to address young men. The teacher
should not only think of the science he teaches, but of the fruits his
pupils are to reap from it; one can only be interested in what he loves. A
teacher indifferent toward the young, will never make the necessary effort
to lead and educate them.

3. The teacher, in teaching, should unite in a just measure _discipline_
and _liberty_. Instruction naturally presupposes one that knows and one
that does not know; and it is necessary that the one should direct the
other; hence the necessity of discipline. But the purpose of instruction
is to teach to do without the master--to be one's own master in thought
and conduct; hence the necessity of liberty. This liberty should grow
along with the instruction, and, of course, proportionately to age; but,
at any age, one should take advantage of the faculties of a child, and
make it as much as possible find out by itself what is within its reach.

4. The teacher should not separate _instruction_ from _education_. He
should not only communicate knowledge--he should above all form men,
characters, wills. Instruction is, besides, already in itself an
education. Can one instruct without accustoming young minds to work, to
obedience, to correct habits of thought; without putting into their hands
good books; without giving them good examples? It is most true that one
does not form men with pure and abstract science alone,--it is necessary
to add the letters, history, morality, religion. The teacher, besides,
should study the character of his pupils, should, through work and moral
and physical exercises, put down presumption, correct unmanliness, combat
selfishness, anticipate or restrain the passions.

=109. Applied science--Industry--Medicine.=--Science may find its
application in two ways, either to _things_, or to _men_. Applied to
things, it is called _industry_; applied to men, _medicine_. There are no
special duties concerning industrial pursuits. Engineers, private or in
the service of the State, employed in civil or military works, have no
other duties then the general duties of functionaries, military-men,
employees, etc. It is not the same with medicine. There are here
obligations of a special and graver nature.

=110. Duties of the physician--His knowledge.=--Knowledge is an obligation
in every profession; everywhere it is indispensable to know the thing one
is engaged in; but, in medicine, ignorance is of a much more serious
character: for it may end in _manslaughter_. How can any one attend the
sick if he knows nothing of the human body; if he is ignorant of the
symptoms of a disease? He has, it is true, the resource of doing nothing;
but might not this also be manslaughter? Does he not then take the place
of him who knows and might save the patient?

2. _Secrecy._--The physician is above all held to secrecy. He must not
make known the diseases which have been revealed to him. This is what is
called _medical secrecy_. This obligation may in certain cases give rise
to the most serious troubles of conscience; but, as a principle, it may be
said that secrecy is as absolute a duty for the physician as it is for the

3. _Courage._--The physician, we have seen, has his _point d'honneur_,
like the military-man; he often runs equally great dangers: he must, if
necessary, devote himself and risk his life. He requires also a great
moral courage, when he is brought before a serious illness where, at the
moment of a dangerous operation, when his hand must be as firm as his
mind, he needs all the self-possession he can command.

4. Duties toward the sick: _Kindness_ and _severity_.--The physician
should be firm in the treatment of his patients; he should insist that his
prescriptions be unconditionally followed, for his responsibility rests
on this: he should rather give up the case than consent to a dangerous
disobedience. At the same time he must encourage the patient, raise his
strength by inspiring him with confidence, which is half the cure. He must
also, without deceiving it, uphold the courage of the family. In some
cases it may be necessary to tell the patient the danger he is in.

=111. Writers and artists.=--The morality of writers and artists is, as in
all the preceding cases, determined by the object these persons devote
their lives to. The object of the writer and artist is the realization of
the _beautiful_, either in speech or writing (literature), or through
color and lines (painting, sculpture), or through sound (music). In all
these arts, the leading thought should be the interests of the art one is
cultivating. One should as much as possible beware turning it into a
trade--that is to say, into a mercenary art, having gain only for its
object. Certainly one must live, and it is rare that writers, poets,
artists, have at their command resources enough to do without the
pecuniary fruit of pen or hand; but the attainment of the beautiful should
be preferred to that of the useful: study, the imitation of the great
masters, contempt for fashion, striving after all that is delicate, noble,
pure, the avoiding of all that is low, frivolous, factitious: such are the
principles which should regulate the morality of artist and writer. It is
useless to add that they should seek their success in what elevates the
soul, and not in what corrupts and degrades it. Coarseness, brutality,
license, should be absolutely condemned. Better to devote one's self to a
useful and humble profession than employ one's talent in depraving morals,
and degrading souls.

The duties of the poet have been eloquently expressed by Boileau in his
_Art poétique_.

1. It is a duty to devote one's self to poetry and the fine arts only when
one has a decided vocation for them.

  "Be rather a mason, if that be your talent."

2. The poet should listen to good advice.

  "Make choice of a solid and wholesome censor."

3. The poet and artist should, in their verses and works, be the
interpreters of virtue.

  "Let your soul and your morals, depicted in your works,
  Never present of you but noble images."

  Love, then, virtue; nourish your soul therewith.

  "The verse always savors of the baseness of the heart."

4. They must avoid jealousies and rivalries.

  "Flee, above all, flee base jealousies."

5. They must prefer glory to gain.

  "Work for glory and let no sordid gain
  Ever be the object of a noble writer."




    =General principles of international law.=--They are the principles of
    the natural law applied to the relations nations sustain to each

    =Of war.=--War founded on the right of self-defense. The reasons for a
    just war.

    =Defensive and offensive wars.=--This division does not necessarily
    correspond to that of just or unjust wars.--Precautions and
    preparations.--Duties in times of war: to reconcile as much as
    possible the rights of humanity with those of patriotism.--Rights of
    war concerning the enemy's property.--Conquest.--Neutrality.

    =International treaties=: their character; their forms; their different
    species.--Essential conditions for public treaties: they are the same
    as for private contracts.

    =Observance of treaties.=--Obligatory character of treaties: testimony
    of Cardinal Richelieu.

The human race being divided into divers particular societies called
_States_ or _nations_, those different bodies stand toward each other as
individuals; they are subject to the primitive laws existing naturally
among all men, and they are obliged to practice certain duties toward each

=112. International law.=--General principles.--It is this body of laws
which is called _international law_, and which is nothing more than the
natural law itself, or the moral law applied to nations.

It is by virtue of this natural law that the nations ought to consider
each other equals, and independent of each other; that they should not
injure each other, and should make each other, on the contrary, reparation
for injury done. Hence the right of self-defense in case of attack, of
repelling and restraining by force whatever violence may threaten or
oppress them.

When nations practice toward each other the prescriptions of the natural
law, they are in a state of _peace_ with each other; when they are obliged
to resort to force to repel injustice, they are in a _state_ of _war_.

=113. War.=--It is evident that in all nations the ruler, whoever he be
(the people, nobles, or king), ought to have the right to carry on war;
for it is nothing else than the _right of self-defense_, and this right is
the same for the nation as for individuals. War is, then, legitimate in
principle; but in fact, it may be _just_ or _unjust_ according as it takes
place for good or bad reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all.

=114. Reasons of a just war.=--It is not easy to say in advance and in a
general manner, what may be the reasons of a just war; for they vary
according to circumstances; they may be all reduced to one fundamental
principle, namely, the defense of the national territory when threatened.
Moreover, a war may be undertaken not only in self-defense, but to protect
allies when they are unjustly attacked. As for the following reasons, more
or less frequently alleged as pretexts for war, good morality cannot
justify them:

1. Thus, the fear of the powerful neighbor, giving, for example, as a
pretext that he erects new citadels on his lands, organizes an army,
increases his troops, etc., is not a sufficiently just reason for war.

2. Utility does not give the same right as necessity: for example, arms
could not legitimately be resorted to in order to gain possession of a
place which might suit our convenience, and be proper to protect our

3. The same may be said of the desire to change dwelling-place, to leave
marshes, deserts, in order to settle in a more fertile country.

4. It is no less unjust to make attempt upon the rights and liberties of a
people under pretext that they are less intelligent or less civilized than
we are. The cause of civilization is, then, not a cause for just war so
long as we have not ourselves been attacked by barbarians.

5. Nor is it just to conquer a people under pretext that our conquest may
be to its advantage, bring it riches, or liberty, or morality, etc.

=115. Defensive and offensive wars.=--We distinguish two kinds of war,
_defensive_ and _offensive_. The first consists in defending the national
territory, the second, in attacking the enemy's territory.

It would be a mistake to confound defensive and offensive wars with just
and unjust wars, and to believe that only the defensive wars are just, and
all offensive ones unjust. This distinction has nothing to do with the
causes of the war, but concerns the manner of engaging in it; sometimes
one's interest lies in allowing one's self to be attacked, sometimes in
attacking. He who has done us injustice may very well wait for us to come
to him, instead of carrying arms to us; this does not prove him to be in
the right. He who, on the contrary, takes up arms to obtain reparation for
an injustice or an insult, does not prove thereby that he is in the wrong.

=116. Precautions and preparations.=--Even in the case of just causes,
there are certain precautions and preparations necessary in order that the
war be called a just one.

1. The subject must be of great consequence. It is criminal, for a
frivolous cause, to expose men to all the evils that accompany a war, even
the most fortunate.

2. There must be some probability of success: for it would be criminally
rash to expose one's self foolhardily to certain destruction and, to avoid
a lesser evil, throw one's self into a greater.

3. If we had no gentler means at our disposal.

There are two ways of settling a dispute between nations, without recourse
to arms: 1, an _amicable conference_ between the parties; 2, the
intervention of a disinterested third party, or _arbitrament_. A third
means, much rarer and now abandoned, is that of _casting lots_. When all
the means of settling the difficulty amicably have been exhausted, there
remains, before taking up arms, a final obligation, namely, to declare to
the enemy the resolution of employing the last means: this is what is
called a _declaration of war_.

=117. Duties in times of war.=--War having become a sad and unavoidable
necessity between nations, and the use of force determined on, it behooves
as much as possible to restrict it in its effects, and to reconcile the
rights of humanity with those of justice. Hence, certain rules established
by jurisconsults who have treated these matters, and notably Grotius, the
founder of international law.

The fundamental principle of the right of war is the following: All that
has a morally necessary connection with the purpose of the war is allowed,
but nothing more. In fact, it would be wholly useless to have the right to
do a thing, if, to accomplish it, one could not employ the necessary means
thereto; but, on the other hand, it would not be just if, under the
pretext of only defending one's rights, one should believe that everything
is permitted, and should resort to the last extremities.

From this general principle are deduced the following consequences, which
are only its applications:

1. It is certain that it is lawful to kill the enemy's soldiers, and, in
fact, the purpose of the war being to constrain the enemy to recognize the
justice of our cause, it would be vain to take up arms if one could not
use them. It is then one of the cases where manslaughter may be considered
innocent, and justified by the right of personal self-defense. (See above,
Ch. iii., p. 50.)

2. However, the right of death upon the enemy has its limits. As a
principle, it only extends to those who carry arms, and not to private
individuals who do not defend themselves, arms in hand. Such can only
accidentally become the victims of the war: for instance, it is
impossible in a battle to protect the inhabitants of a disputed village
against the balls of either party; but we should not knowingly strike dead
those who do not defend themselves.

3. Strangers should be allowed to quit a country exposed to war; and if
obliged to stay, they should be no further exposed than to share its
inevitable perils with the other citizens.

4. Prisoners of war should be neither killed nor reduced to slavery, but
simply prevented from doing mischief.

As to the means employed to deprive an enemy of his life, humanity, with
just reason, interdicts the use of certain cowardly and perfidious means;
as, for instance, poisoned bullets, or too cruel means of destruction, or
lastly, assassination.

Thus, it would be odious to send traitors secretly charged to kill the
hostile general. There is, besides, no example of such attempts in modern
wars, and the human conscience would unanimously reprove them.

Thus much concerning the rights war gives over the lives of enemies. Let
us consider now the duties regarding property.

1. War gives the right to destroy the property of the enemy; it is what is
called the _right of ravage_. But ravage should not be pursued for its own
sake, but only to weaken the enemy. Thus we should as much as possible
spare public monuments, works of art, etc.

2. It is a right of war to acquire and appropriate things belonging to the
enemy until agreement as to the moneys due, including the expenses of the

3. It is by virtue of these principles that, in case of naval encounters,
it is justifiable to take possession of the enemy's vessels, and not only
of men-of-war, but of merchant-men and the goods they carry.

4. This right upon the enemy's property is only the sovereign's; he alone
has a right to appropriate, in the name of the State, the property of the
invaded territory, by way of restitution or guaranty; but war does not
confer upon single individuals the right of taking possession of people's
property and appropriating it: this is simply pillage.

=118. Conquest.=--We call _right of conquest_ the right which belongs to a
State to bring under its sovereignty the whole or part of another State,
by virtue of the right of war. Conquest, it will be seen, is but the right
of the strongest. It is contrary to the principle of modern political
societies, which requires that the State rest on the free contract of
citizens, and that a people should only be subject to laws consented to.

It is not easy to have an official authentication of this consent; but it
is certain that there are annexations that are voluntary, and others that
are not. The latter, it must be hoped, will become less and less frequent
as the idea of justice among nations develops.

=119. Neutrality.=--We call _neutrality_ the situation of States which, in
a case of war, side with neither the one nor the other of the
belligerents, but remain at peace with the two parties. They are,
therefore, obliged to practice toward them the laws of natural right
impartially: if, for example, they render to one a service of humanity,
they must not refuse the same service to the other. They must not furnish
means of hostility to either the one or the other, or they must furnish
them to both. They must lend their good offices for a settlement if they
have any chance of being listened to.

These rules are very simple; but, practically, the situation of neutrals
is a very delicate one, and gives rise to numerous difficulties, for the
solution of which, resort must be had to the special treatises on the law
of nations.

=120. International treaties: their characters: their forms.=--We have seen
that nations have among each other, the same as individuals, obligations
and rights which they derive from the natural law. But there are other
obligations and other rights which are no longer based on nature, but on
_special contracts_ or _usages_. The international law which bears on
usages is called _customary right_; that which comes from compacts, is
called _conventional right_. The compacts between States are called

Treaties are _equal_ or _unequal_, according as they promise equal or
unequal things; _personal_ or _real_, according as they relate only to
certain persons, and during their lives, or as they are independent of
persons and last as long as the State itself; _pure_ and _simple_ or
_conditional_; in the first case the stipulations are absolute; in the
second they depend on certain conditions.

There are different species of treaties according to their different
objects: treaties of _alliance_; treaties of _boundaries_; treaties of
_cession_; treaties of _navigation_ and _commerce_; treaties of
_neutrality_; treaties of _peace_.

=121. Essential conditions of public treaties.=--As a principle, the rules
which govern international compacts are (with the exception of a few
differences) the same as those which govern private compacts. There are
three fundamental conditions: 1, the consent; 2, a licit cause; 3, the
capacity of the contracting parties. (See above, 92.)

The _consent_ should be: 1, declared; 2, free; 3, mutual.

The licit causes are those which are physically possible or morally
legitimate; the illicit causes are those which are contrary to morality,
as, for example, would be the establishment of slavery.

The capacity of making a compact belongs to the sovereign of the State
alone; but it is necessary that this sovereign be really invested with the
power. A sovereign stripped of his sovereignty has no power to make
compacts, although he might have all the most legitimate rights; and, on
the other hand, a usurping power can legitimately make compacts. The
reason of this is, that foreign nations are not capable to decide what
with another people constitutes the legitimacy or non-legitimacy of power:
there is for them, therefore, only the power _de facto_. Yet this is but
the general rule. There may be cases where a foreign government may refuse
to recognize a usurper's power.

=122. Observance of treaties.=--The obligation to observe treaties is based
on the natural law. Whether compacts take place between States or
individuals, it matters little. The States, in respect to each other, are
like private individuals. Certain publicists, particularly Machiavelli,
have maintained that the obligation to observe treaties only lasts as long
as these accord with our interests. As much as to say that one should not
make any compacts. Besides, Machiavelli's opinion is in such disrepute
that it is almost useless to discuss it. We will content ourselves with
setting against it the following beautiful thought of a great politician:

    Kings should be very careful in making treaties, but when once made,
    they must observe them religiously. I know very well that many
    politicians teach the contrary; but without stopping to consider what
    Christianity has to say regarding these maxims, I maintain that, since
    the loss of honor is greater than that of life, a great prince should
    rather risk his person, and even the loss of his State, than break his
    word, which he cannot break without losing his reputation,
    consequently, his greatest strength as a sovereign. (Cardinal de
    Richelieu, _Testament politique_, 2{e} partie, ch. vi.)




    =The family.=--Origin and history of the family.--The family
    originating in the necessity of the perpetuation of the species, has
    gradually gained in morality until it has reached the present state,
    namely, _monogamy_, or marriage between one man and one woman: a
    progress so far as the dignity of woman and the equality of the sexes
    are concerned.

    =Duties of marriage.=--The duties of marriage begin before marriage: to
    be prudent in the choice of a partner; to prefer the moral interests
    to the material interests.

    Mutual duties of the married couple: fidelity founded: 1, on a free
    promise; 2, on the very idea of marriage.

    Duties peculiar to the husband: protection of the family, work, etc.
    Celibacy and its duties.

    =Duties of parents toward children.=--Of the rights of parents.--Basis
    and limits of the paternal authority.--Instituted in the interest of
    the children, it is limited by that very interest.

    Parents have not, therefore, 1, the right of life and death; 2, the
    right to strike and maltreat; 3, the right to sell; 4, the right to

    Duties of parents.--General duty of affection without privileges or
    preferences.--Duty of maintenance and education.--Decrease of parental
    responsibility in proportion to the age of the children.--Three
    periods in paternal authority.

    =Duties of children respecting their parents and respecting each
    other.=--Filial duty.--Fraternal duty.

    =Duties of masters towards their servants.=

=123. The family.=--It is a law among all living beings to perpetuate their
species. This law is among animals subject to no moral law. Yet are there
certain species where between the male and female a kind of society is
established; and with nearly all animals the attachment of the mother to
her young, shows itself by most striking and touching proofs. But this
maternal interest does not usually last beyond the time necessary to bring
up the little ones and enable them to provide for themselves. Beyond this
time, the offspring separate and disperse. They live their own life; the
mother knows them no longer. As to the father, he has scarcely ever known
them. Such are the domestic ties among animals: and, rude as they may be,
one cannot help already recognizing and admiring in them the anticipated
image of the family.

The family in the human species has the same origin and the same end as in
the animal species, namely, the perpetuation of the species; but in the
former it is exalted and ennobled by additional sentiments: it is
consecrated and sanctioned by laws of duty and right to which animals are
absolutely incapable of rising.

If we consider the history of the human race, we see the family rise
progressively from a certain primitive state, which is not very far from
the animal promiscuity, to the condition in which we see it to-day in most
civilized countries. Among savage nations, marriages have little stability
and duration: they are as easily broken as formed. Female dignity and
modesty are scarcely known among them: woman is more a slave than a
companion, and the freedom of morals has scarcely any limits. Yet is there
no society where marriages are not subject to some sacred or civil
formalities, which shows that savages, ignorant as we may suppose them to
be, have a presentiment of duties which, under favorable circumstances,
tend to purify and elevate the relations of the sexes. Later, in other
societies, marriages take a more regular form and a more fixed character;
yet, admitting polygamy, more or less, as among the ancients. In short,
many circumstances have presided over the legal relations of the two
sexes, before, through the natural progress of morals and Christian
influence, monogamy became the almost universal law of the family in
civilized countries.

It has been seen, then, that as the moral sentiment became more refined,
the family, as it exists to-day, became more closely related to the State;
and it will always be safer, in order to establish the legitimacy of such
an institution and secure for it due respect, to depend more on sentiment
than on reasoning.

Besides, the family is a natural result of the necessary relations which
exist between mother, father, and child.

It is the birth of the children which is the end and _raison d'être_ of
the family.

This fact, let it be well noted, already determines between mother and
child a relation of some duration. The child is altogether unable to live
and develop alone. The mother owes it its nourishment; and nature, having
herself prepared for the child in the breast of the mother the sources of
its subsistence truly indicated thereby that they should be bound to each
other by a positive and inevitable tie. It is true the same tie exists
also among the families of the animals and their young (at least with
mammalia); and we have seen that there exist among them some germs of
family. But let us not forget that it takes only a little time for the
young of the animal species to reach that degree of strength which enables
it to leave its mother without danger. With the human species, on the
contrary, it takes a considerable time. Before the first or second year
the child is unable to walk; when it walks, it is still unable to walk
alone, to find its food, to develop in any way. Imagine a child two,
three, five years old, abandoned to himself in a desert island: he would
die of hunger. Besides, instinct is much less strong in man than in
animals, and much less certain; when an adult, man follows his own reason;
in childhood he needs the reason of others. What shall I say of his moral
education and intellectual development? The child needs a teacher as well
as a nurse. We see that the relations between mother and child must
naturally be prolonged far beyond those between animals. The first natural
and necessary relations will finally create between these two beings
habits of such a character that they will never more separate, even when
they can do without each other. At least, this separation will not take
place before man is completely man; and although son and daughter may
separate from the family to become in their turn heads of families, there
will always exist between parents and children certain ties, certain
relations, all the closer, as they each follow the laws of nature. In
short, children can never be seen, as is the case in the animal species,
becoming complete strangers to their father and mother.

I have first considered the tie between the mother and the child, because
it is the most evident and the most necessary. But this relation is not
the only one. The child, we have said, needs protection for a long time:
does the mother's protection suffice? To judge from the way woman is
constituted, one can see that she needs protection herself. Her weakness
and her sex expose her to attacks; she is then but an insufficient
protection to the feeble creature she is united to by so many ties.
Therefore must the family have a protector; and who should be the natural
protector of the child, if not the father? of the wife, if not the
husband? The necessity of protection renders, then, man indispensable to
the family. We may add to this, the necessity of subsistence. Undoubtedly
the mother gives the child its first nourishment; but later on, the common
means of subsistence must come from work. Now, without denying that woman
is called to work the same as man, and whilst admitting that in the simple
and natural state she is very much stronger than in the civilized state,
it must, nevertheless, be admitted that woman, in general, is less fitted
for work than man; that with more trouble, she produces less, and that a
large portion of her life is necessarily taken up with her peculiar cares.
Without the work of the head of the family, the common subsistence would,
therefore, be imperiled.

If we now consider the education of the children, it is beyond doubt that
the maternal education is insufficient. The mother represents in the
family, love, solicitude, serviceableness. In a solid education,
authority should be added to these. It may be noticed that in children
brought up by one of the parents only, there is in general something
incomplete. Those who have had the father only, lack something in
tenderness and delicacy of feeling which the graces of maternity
insensibly communicate to the child; those who have had the mother only,
are lacking in discipline and solidity of character: they are capricious
and of a more passionate willfulness. Nature, then, appeals to the joint
efforts of both father and mother in the education of the child. Let us
add now that this close tie, which on one side attaches the child to the
mother and on the other to the father, should also attach parents to each
other, far beyond the first and transitory tie which first joined them.
United in a common undertaking, namely, to support and educate the being
they have brought into the world--it is impossible that they should not
continue to be more and more closely united.

=124. Family duties.=--This is the natural history of the family. It was
probably in a similar manner, with many vicissitudes, that it gradually
formed and then became transformed. Let us now see how out of this
association, founded by instincts, interests, and circumstances, the
principle of duty makes a sacred and indissoluble institution.

There can be distinguished in the family four kinds of relations, whence
spring four classes of duties:

    1. The relations between the husband and wife.

    2. The relations of parents to children.

    3. The relations of children to parents.

    4. The relations of children to each other.

Whence conjugal duty, paternal or maternal duty, filial duty, and
fraternal duty.

To these four relations, there may be added a fifth: that of the head of a
family to his servants.

=125. Duties of marriage.=--The duties of marriage begin before marriage:
they begin with the mutual choice of the man and the woman. For the woman,
it usually happens, at least in our society [in France], that the choice
is determined by the parents. The responsibility, then, falls upon them.
Now, this choice should not be made lightly and foolishly. It should be
determined by a serious and noble conception of the duties and end of

"Marriage," our Code admirably says, "is an association between man and
woman, to share the pleasures and bear in common the trials of life."[68]

Marriage is, therefore, a compact entirely moral: it is not only a union
of bodies or fortunes, it is a union of souls. Life in common and
indissoluble, with all its possible accidents, is too heavy a burden to be
left to chance. A man should think not only of his own happiness, but also
of that of the woman whom he associates with his destiny; if he does not
consider himself strong enough to fulfill toward her all the duties which
such a connection imposes on him, he should not unite her to himself by
indissoluble vows; if he does not think that he can love and respect her
all through life, let him spare himself and her a life-long misery. We may
see by this how important in conjugal union are a harmony of character, a
just and mutual esteem, and an enlightened affection. To marry rashly and
too hastily, and thus to risk future happiness, is already failing in a
first duty. One should, therefore, not rely too implicitly upon
indifferent or interested go-betweens.

It is said, indeed, that there is no way of knowing with certainty the
character and sincerity of men. Many a one who in society appears amiable
and estimable, is perhaps, in private life, selfish and tyrannical; women,
it is said, moreover, are particularly skilled, even when young, in
assuming qualities which they do not possess, and in disguising their
faults; that if one were constantly scrutinizing and distrusting, marriage
would be impossible; for the most sagacious are deceived in them, etc.,
etc. All this, to a certain extent, is true; and there could be nothing
done without some sort of confidence; but this confidence, when it is the
result of precaution and prudence, is much less often deceived than
satirists would have it. Besides, if there be room for deception, even
after a reasonably long intimacy, the chances are at least better than
they would be if the parties were to rush headlong into a future
absolutely unknown to them.

Another grave error is that of seeing in marriage nothing but a union of
fortunes and names.

It is bringing what in reality is the noblest and most delicate of
contracts, down to a simple commercial act. Certainly one should not
propose to the inexperience of young people the union of two poverties, as
an ideal: it is well known that poverty is much harder to bear when one
has to share it with a wife and children, than alone. But whilst in
certain classes of society marriage could scarcely be possible otherwise
(workingmen having no capital to back their marriage contracts), the
classes that have some competency should not make property the first
consideration; character, mind, and merit should by far outweigh it.

We distinguish generally two kinds of marriages: the reason-marriages
(_mariages de raison_) and the inclination marriages; and much has been
said for and against both. These are questions which will never be solved,
because experience shows that they are mostly dependent on circumstances.
It may be said that, as a principle, the true marriage is the marriage
based on inclination enlightened by reason. What experience and wisdom
condemn, are the foolish inclinations--those, for example, that take no
account of age, education, social surroundings, necessities of life. These
sorts of passion scarcely ever stand the test of time and circumstances,
and are generally followed by a painful reaction. "There is," says La
Bruyère, "hardly any other reason for loving no longer, than to have loved
too much." But inclination is not always unreasonable; and when it can be
reconciled with the counsels of wisdom, which is no rare thing, it is
better than cold reason, and answers better to the purpose of marriage: it
is a surer guaranty of its dignity and happiness.

A wise moralist, Mr. Adolphe Garnier, makes a very reasonable reply to
those who pretend that inclination disappears very fast in marriage: "We
reply," he says, "that inclination will at least have formed a true
marriage whilst it lasted. It will leave for all the rest of life a
remembrance of the first years, which shall have been purified, ennobled,
sanctified by this heart-affection. This remembrance will sweeten more
than one bitter moment, will prevent more than one anguish. Duty will be
sustained by a remembrance of past happiness."[69]

The marriage once made, we have to consider, one after the other, the
duties of the husband and those of the wife. There are some they have in
common, and others which belong to the particular part each plays in the

The duty which the husband and wife have in common, is fidelity. This duty
is based on the very nature of marriage, as also upon a mutual promise.

Let us begin by this latter consideration. Marriage, such as it is
instituted in civilized or Christian countries, is monogamy, or marriage
of one man with one woman (except in cases of decease). Such is the state
one binds one's self to in entering the marriage relation: one accepts
thereby the obligation of an inviolable fidelity. If then a promise is
sacred in respect to material goods, how much more sacred is the promise
between hearts, and this mutual gift of soul to soul, which constitutes
the dignity of marriage! Conjugal fidelity is, then, a duty of honor, a
veritable debt.

But fidelity is not only the obligatory result of a promise, of a given
word; it is also the result of the very idea of marriage, and marriage in
its turn results from the nature of things.

Marriage was instituted to save the dignity of woman. Experience, in fact,
teaches us that wherever polygamy exists, woman is not far from being
man's slave. Man, dividing his affections between several women, cannot
love each one with that refinement and constancy which render her his
equal. How could there exist between a master and several slaves vying for
his looks and caprices, that intimacy, that mutual sharing of good and
evil wherein the moral beauty of marriage consists? It is quite evident
that equality between man and woman cannot exist where the latter is
obliged to share with others the common good of conjugal affection.

Hence the institution of marriage which was established in the interest of
the woman, and which is the protection of the weaker party. It evidently
follows that, on her side, she is held to the same fidelity which she has
a right to demand. Conjugal infidelity, on whichever side it occurs, is
then a disguised polygamy, and, moreover, an irregular and capricious
polygamy, very inferior to the legal; for this recognizes at least certain
rules, and establishes with precision the condition of the several wives.
But adultery destroys all regular and fixed relations between the married
couple; it introduces into marriage the open or clandestine usurpation of
sworn rights; it tends to re-establish the primitive and savage state,
where the coming together of the sexes depended on chance and caprice.

Fidelity is for the married couple a common and reciprocal duty. Each,
besides, has peculiar duties. We shall lay particular stress on those of
the husband. The first of all, which carries with it all others, is

"Man, being the head of the family, is its natural protector. He holds his
authority from the laws and from usage. Moreover, it results from the very
nature of things: for between two persons, even perfectly united, it is
difficult, it is impossible, to meet with a constant uniformity of views,
sentiments, and wishes. There must be, then, a determining voice; one of
the two persons sharing in common domestic authority, must have the
privilege of superior authority. Now, what are the titles to this superior
authority? These titles are strength and reason. Evidently, power in the
family belongs by right to him who is strong enough to defend it and
reasonable enough to exercise it.

But this authority would only be an insupportable privilege if man
pretended to exercise it without doing any thing, without returning to the
family in the form of security what it pays him in respect and obedience.
_Work_ is the first duty of man as head of the family. This is true of all
classes of society, as well of those who live upon their income, as of
those who live by their work. For the first have to make themselves worthy
of the fortune they have received by noble occupations, or, at least, by
preserving it and making it bear fruit through a wise management: and the
second have, I do not say, a fortune to acquire, which is an aim rarely
attained, but they have a far more pressing object before them, namely,
the livelihood of those who live under their protection."[70]

No one has better depicted, and in a more delicate and sensible manner,
the common duties of husbands and wives than Xenophon, who in this
particular is a worthy pupil of Socrates, the one of all the ancient sages
who best understood the duties of the family. Socrates relates in the
following terms the conversation of Ischomachus and his wife,--a young
married pair,--in which the husband instructs his wife in domestic duties.

"When she had become more familiar with me, and a closer connection had
emboldened her to speak freely, I put to her something like the following
questions: 'Tell me, my wife, dost thou begin to understand why I have
chosen thee, and why thy parents have given thee to me?... If the gods
give us children, we must consult with each other and do our best in
bringing them up: for it will be a happiness for both of us to find in
them the protectors and support of our old age. But from this day on, all
that is in this house is ours in common; what is mine is thine, and thou
hast thyself already put in common all that thou hast brought. We have
but to count which has brought most; but we must well remember one thing,
and that is, that it will be the one of us two who will best manage the
common property that shall have brought the most valuable share of

"To this, my wife replied: 'In what can I assist thee? What am I able to
do? All depends on thee. My mother told me that my task was to conduct
myself well.'--'Yes, by Jupiter!' I replied, 'and my father also told me
the same thing; but it is the duty of a well-behaving couple so to behave
that they may be as prosperous as possible, that by honest and just means
they may add new goods to those they have. The gods, forsooth, did well
when they coupled man with woman for the greatest utility of mankind. The
interest of the family and house demands work without and within. Now the
gods, from the first, adapted the nature of woman for the cares and the
works of the interior, and that of man for the cares and the works of the
exterior. Cold, heat, travels, war, man is so constituted as to be able to
bear all; on the other hand, the gods have given to woman the inclination
and mission to nurse her offspring; it is also she who is in charge of the
provisions, whilst man's care is to ward off all that could injure the

"'As neither is by nature perfect in all points, they necessarily need
each other; and their union is all the more useful, as what the one lacks
may be supplied by the other. Therefore, O wife, it behooves us, when
instructed regarding the functions the gods have assigned to each of us,
to endeavor to acquit ourselves the best we can of those that are
incumbent on both.

"'There is, however,' I said, 'one function of thine which will please
thee least, and that is, that if any one of thy slaves should sicken,
thou, by the cares due to all, shouldst watch over his or her recovery.'
'By Jupiter,' said my wife, 'nothing will please me more, since,
recovering by my care, they will be grateful to me and show me still more
affection than in the past.' This answer delighted me," continued
Ischomachus, "and I said to her: 'Thou shalt have other cares more
agreeable, namely, when of an unskilled slave thou shalt make a good
spinner; when of an ignorant steward or stewardess, thou shalt make a
capable, devoted, intelligent servant. But the sweetest charm shall be,
when, more perfect than I, thou shalt have made me thy servant; when,
instead of fearing old age, lest it deprive thee of thy influence in thy
household, thou shalt have gained the assurance that in growing old thou
becomest for me a still better companion, for thy children a still better
housekeeper, for thy household a still more honored mistress. For beauty
and goodness do not depend on youth: they increase through life in the
eyes of men, by means of virtues.'"[71]

We shall say a few words, without laying greater stress than necessary,
about a question often debated, namely, that of the dissolution of
marriage or divorce. We may observe, on this subject, with an excellent
moralist,[72] whom we have already cited, that as marriage becomes purer,
its dissolution will become more and more difficult. In former days, the
first aspect of the conjugal relation showed the husband to be the master
of the woman; he bought her and sent her again away as he would a
slave--he had the right of repudiation. Later on, he could no longer send
her away from him without asking the law to pronounce a divorce; but he
was at first alone in claiming this right. Next, woman obtained the same
right in her turn. At last divorce was suppressed, at least in some
States, and particularly in our country;[73] and we think, with the
moralist quoted above, that this is the true road to progress.

An English moralist[74] has justly said: "If love is a passion which a
trifle may start and a trifle kill, friendship is a calm affection
cemented by reason and habit. It becomes stronger by rule, and it is
never so strong as when two persons unite in the pursuit of a common
interest. How many slight annoyances will they not endeavor to overlook,
out of prudence, if they are obliged to live with each other, and which,
with the prospect of an easy separation, would be allowed to fester even
to aversion!" It is a duty for the individual conscience, even though
divorce should be legally permitted, to consider marriage absolutely
indissoluble, or at least make it a last resort; it is, above all, a
strict duty, in contracting a marriage, not to look to divorce as a hope
and end.

Some moralists have asked whether marriage was a duty. We do not hesitate
to answer in the negative;[75] that it is not a duty in the case of women
is evident, since it is their lot not to choose themselves, but to be
chosen; now it does not always depend on them to find some one to choose
them; and if it is not an obligation for one of the two sexes, it would be
strange if it were one for the other. Besides, the right of celibacy
cannot be denied to one who gives up family life to devote himself to
works of charity, as in the religious orders, and if this be a sufficient
reason, there are many more of the same kind which might sanction the same
conduct: as, for example, devotion to science or the country. If it be
objected that every one owes himself to the preservation of the race, and
that if no one married the race would perish, we can reply that there will
always be men ready enough to marry, so that no such consequences need be

But the liberty of celibacy can be granted by the moral law on two
conditions only: the first, that it be based on serious reasons and not
on selfishness; namely, that there be good reasons to believe that one
could render more service in that state than in an imprudently contracted
marriage. The second condition, that celibacy does not interfere with
purity of morals--the relations between the sexes being, in fact, only
proper and legitimate in marriage.

The relations between the sexes outside of marriage can only be adultery,
seduction, or licentiousness. In the first case, the woman is induced to
violate her duties, her vows, to give up all that alone can guarantee her
dignity. In the second, the honor and dignity of a whole life is
sacrificed to passion; in the third, you make yourself an accomplice to a
public and deliberate shame--a shame which would not exist except for just
such accomplices. At any rate, the dignity of the woman--that is to say,
of the weaker sex--is sacrificed to the passion of the stronger.

=126. Duties of parents toward their children.=--An English philosopher
said: "Such a one is the father of such a one; hence he is his master,"
and he claims that paternal authority was thus based on the authority of

This is a profound error. In the first place, no man can be absolutely the
master of another man, unless that other be a slave: there can only exist
relations of obedience or allegiance, required by social necessity, but
which do not permit any man to be in absolute dependence upon another. The
relation between father and child is, it is true, of a particular kind;
but it is not any more than the other the authority of a master over his
slave, or of a proprietor over his property.

Let us look into its origin, and we shall find, at the same time, the
extent and the limits of paternal authority.

To begin with, we will observe that, although usage has consecrated the
term paternal authority as meaning the authority exercised by parents over
children, this authority includes the rights of both; of the mother as
well as of the father: 1, in default of the father, in case of absence or
death, the mother has over the child exactly the same authority as the
father; 2, it is an absolute duty with parents to see that there be not,
in regard to their children, two separate authorities in the house, two
kinds of contradictory orders; in the eyes of the child there should be
but one and the same authority, exercised by two persons, but essentially
indivisible; 3, in cases of conflict, the will of the father should
prevail, unless the law interfere; but the father should use such a
privilege only as a last resort, and where it can be made evident that it
is in the interest of the child. Even then he should see that the
obedience to one of the parents be no disobedience to the other, for that
would be destroying at its root the very authority he makes use of.

Paternal authority is, then, the common authority of both parents over
their children; and it is only an exception to the rule when the authority
of one parent becomes detrimental to that of the other.

What is now the principle of this authority? A purely physical reason is
given for it; that the child, namely, is in some respect a part of the
parents. But this reason is not sufficient; for it would presuppose
paternal authority to last all through life under the same conditions and
same degree of force; whereas it continues ever diminishing as the child
becomes able to govern himself.

The true reason for paternal or maternal authority lies in the feebleness
of the child, in its physical, intellectual, and moral incapacity. The
child in coming into the world is utterly incapable of doing for itself.
Supposing even that it could satisfy its physical wants, experience shows
that it could not give itself an education, without which it cannot be
truly a man. This state of feebleness requires, then, indispensable
assistance, and an assistance of long duration. It needs a hand to support
and feed it, a heart to love it, an intelligence to enlighten it. To whom
belongs this _rôle_ of educator, protector, sustainer? "There have been
some who have wished to take the child from the family to give it to the
State; this is a great error; for the child should evidently belong to
those without whom he would have no existence. In the first place, it
were burdening society with a thing it is not responsible for; moreover,
it has no right upon the child, no particular tie existing between them;
finally, it offers no sufficient guaranty, and there can be at best
expected of it but a vague and general solicitude, if, indeed, the same is
not a partial one, and in favor of those from whom it may derive most
advantages; whilst parents should unquestionably have charge of the child,
since it is through them it exists; and having charge of it, gives them a
right to it: and how could they be responsible for this being they have
given life to, if they could not in some measure dispose of it? There are
three ties between the parents and the child: a physical bond, a
heart-bond, a reason-bond: no other authority rests on more natural
principles; none is more necessary, none is protected by greater

Not only would the State, in taking possession of the child, encumber
itself with functions for the performance of which it is unfitted, but it
would also violate the natural rights of the human heart. Parents are,
then, invested by nature herself, with the duty of supporting and
educating their children. But this duty calls for authority. How could a
father and mother direct the child in the path of right and justice; how
could they impart to it their wisdom and experience; how could they
prepare the way for its becoming in its turn a moral agent--one, namely,
that acts and governs himself of his own accord--if they are not at the
same time invested with the authority that commands obedience?

Paternal authority, as we see by this, has no other origin than the actual
interest of the child: the mission of the parents is to represent it; they
have in some respect the government of its life. The whole authority of
the father upon the child is, then, limited by the interests and the
rights of the child itself. Beyond what may be useful to its physical and
moral existence, the father can do nothing. Such are the extent and limits
of his authority.

From these principles we deduce:

1. That parents have now no right of life and death upon their children as
they have had under certain legislations.

2. That they have neither the right to strike them, maltreat them, wound
them--in short, treat them as they would animals or things; and although
usage appears to allow certain corporeal punishments, it will always be a
bad example and a bad habit to use blows as a means of education.

3. Parents have no right to traffic with the liberty of their sons, to
sell them as slaves as in ancient times, or to turn them into instruments
of gain, as in many families even to this day. Certainly one could not
wholly forbid a father to make a child work toward the support of the
family, but it must be done without losing sight of the child's strength,
and without sacrificing its intellectual and moral education.

4. Parents have no right to corrupt their children, by making them
accomplices in their own profligacy.

Grotius justly distinguishes three periods in paternal authority:[77] the
first, when the children have as yet no discernment, and are not capable
of acting with full knowledge; the second, when their judgment, being
already ripe, they are still members of the family and have no business of
their own; the last, when they have left their father's house, either to
become heads of families themselves, or to enter into another. In the
first of these conditions, the will of the parents is entirely substituted
for that of the children, and their authority, within the limits above
stated, is consequently absolute. In the third case, the son, having
reached his majority or maturity, has conquered for himself an independent
will; paternal authority must consequently change into moral influence,
which a grateful son will respect, but which is no longer, properly so
called, an authority. Finally, in the intermediate state, which is the
most difficult of all, the paternal will, whilst remaining preponderant,
yields more and more to the will of the children, thereby preparing it
toward becoming sufficient to itself.

Let us examine the duties of the parents at these different periods of
paternal authority.

There is, to begin with, a general duty, which overrules the whole life of
the parents as well as of the children, and which is independent of the
latter's age: it is the duty of love. Parents must love their children; it
is the foundation of all the rest. It may perhaps be objected that love is
a natural feeling and cannot be a duty; that the heart is not subject to
the will; that one may love or not love, according as one is by nature so
constituted; that duty therefore has nothing to do with it. It is also
said that paternal or maternal love is so natural a sentiment that it is
useless to make a duty of it.

These arguments do not appear to us decisive; and we have already answered
them. We cannot, of course, create within ourselves sentiments which do
not already exist. But we can cultivate or allow to die out sentiments
which do exist within us naturally. The degree of sensibility in each
individual depends, I admit, on his or her peculiar constitution of mind
and heart; but it depends on us to reach the highest degree of sensibility
we are capable of. For example, he who leaves his children or removes them
from him (unless it be for their good[78]) may be certain that the love he
bears them will insensibly die out. He, on the contrary, who takes the
trouble to busy himself with his children, to win their love by
intelligent and constant attentions, will necessarily feel his heart grow
softer by this intercourse, and his natural feelings will gain more and
more strength.

But if it is a duty to love one's children, it is also in consequence of
this duty that one should love them for themselves, and not for one's
self. It is not our happiness we should seek in our children, but theirs;
and for this reason does it sometimes become necessary to govern one's own
sensibility, and deny children pleasures detrimental to their best
interests. The excess of tenderness is often, as has been said, but a want
of tenderness; it is a sort of delicate selfishness, shrinking from the
pain the seeming suffering of the children might inflict, and not knowing
how to refuse them any thing for fear of displeasing them, prepares for
them in this manner cruel deceptions against the time when they will have
to face the sad realities of life.

A corollary of what precedes, is that the father should love all his
children equally, and guard against showing a preference. He should have
no favorites among them, still less victims. He should not, from feelings
of family pride, prefer the boys to the girls, or the oldest to the
youngest. He should not even yield to the natural predilection which
inclines us to give our preference to the most amiable, the most
intelligent, the most attractively endowed. It has often been observed
that mothers have a particular tenderness for the feeblest of their
children, or those that have given most trouble. If preference is at all
justifiable it is in this case.

After having established the general principle of the duties of the head
of a family, namely, love, and an equal love, for all his children, let us
consider the particular duties this general duty comprises. They bear upon
two principal points: the preservation and the education of the children.

We have seen that the fact of giving life to children, carries with it as
an inevitable consequence the duty of preserving it to them. The child not
being able to provide its own food, the parents must furnish it: this
results from the very nature of things.

Whence it follows, that a father must work to provide for his children:
this is so evident and necessary a duty that there is hardly any need of
dwelling on it.

But it is not only for the present that the head of the family ought to
provide; he should provide for the future also. He should, on the one
hand, foresee the case when, by some possible misfortune, he may be taken
from his children before they are grown; and on the other, prepare the way
to their providing for themselves. The first case shows us how economy and
prudence become thus a sacred duty for the head of a family. This also
explains how it may be a duty in contracting a marriage not to lose sight
of the question of property: not that this consideration should not give
way before others more important; but other things being equal, the best
marriage is that which, keeping in view the future interests of the
children, provides against the case when by some misfortune they may be
left orphans at an early age.

In supposing the most favorable cases, the father and mother may hope that
they will live long enough to see their children becoming in their turn
independent persons, able to provide for themselves. It is in view of
this, that parents should plan a profession or a career for their
children; in most cases, it is a necessity, it is expedient in all. But
the preparation for a career presupposes education; and here the material
interests and security of the children blend with their intellectual and
moral interests.

Everybody recognizes in the education of children two distinct things:
instruction and education properly so called: the first has for its object
the mind; and the second the character. These two things must not be
separated: for, without instruction, all education is powerless; and
without a moral education, instruction may be dangerous.

Parents should then--and it is a strict duty--give to their children the
instruction their resources and condition allow; but they are not
permitted to leave them in ignorance if they have the means to educate
them. Some narrow minds still believe that instruction is of no use to the
people, and is even a dangerous thing. This has been sufficiently refuted.
The greatest number of crimes and offenses are committed by the most
ignorant classes: the more they learn, the better will they understand the
duties of their condition and the dignity of human nature. It has been
justly said that little knowledge may be more dangerous than ignorance:
for this reason should men be raised above the dangerous point, and be put
in possession of as much knowledge as their condition warrants.

Instruction has two useful effects: first, it increases the resources of a
man, renders him better qualified for a greater variety of things; it is
then, as political economy styles it, a capital. Parents, in having their
children taught, give them thereby a far more substantial and productive
capital than what they could transmit to them by gift or legacy. In the
second place, instruction elevates man and ennobles his nature. If it is
reason that distinguishes man from the brute, knowledge enlarges and
heightens reason. Instruction thus works together with moral education and
forms one of its essential parts.

The head of a family who then, from personal interest, negligence,
ill-will, or, in fine, from ignorance, deprives his children of the
instruction which is their due, fails thereby in an essential duty.[79]

It must, moreover, be admitted, that instruction alone does not suffice;
science alone does not form character; persuasion, authority, example, the
moral action of every instant is necessary thereto. It is a great problem
to know how much of fear and gentleness, restraint and liberty should
enter in paternal education. All agree that a child should not be brought
up through fear alone, as the animals are. As Fénélon admirably puts it,
"Joy and confidence should be the natural state of mind of children;
otherwise their intelligence becomes obscured, their courage droops; if
they are lively, fear will irritate them; if soft, it will make them
stupid; fear is like the violent remedies employed in extreme illnesses:
they purge; but they injure the constitution and wear out its organs; a
soul led by fear is always the feebler for it."

On the other hand, everybody admits also that an excessive indulgence is
as dangerous as a despotic authority. Rousseau ingenuously remarks: "The
best means of making your child miserable is to accustom it to obtaining
all it wants; for its desires will incessantly grow with the facility with
which it can satisfy them; sooner or later the inability to content it,
will, despite yourself, oblige you to refuse, and this unexpected denial
will give it more pain than the deprivation of the thing itself. First it
will want the cane you have in your hand; then your watch; then the bird
in the air; the bright star in the sky; in short, all that it sees: and
unless you were a god, how could you satisfy it?" This remark of Rousseau
refers to the earliest childhood, but it can be applied to all ages.

It is evident that all the duties we have here mentioned relate
principally to the first of the three periods distinguished by Grotius. As
the children grow up, their own personal responsibility gradually takes
the place of the paternal responsibility, and there comes the time of the
third state above mentioned, when both father and mother no longer owe
their children any thing more than love or advice. Instead of being
answerable for their existence, it is rather the reverse. It is the
children's turn to become responsible for the happiness and safety of
their parents.

But, as we have said, the really difficult moment is that when the young
man, awakening to himself, becomes conscious of a will, and, without
experience and sense of proportion, wishes to exercise this will without
restraint. It is here especially that the paternal will must show itself
firm without despotism, and persuasive without flattery and weakness, and
where it becomes necessary that the paternal authority be firmly rooted in
the first age and upon solid foundations, so that the young man, even in
his fits of self-will, may submit to this authority with confidence and
respect. There is no particular formula which could set forth a rule of
conduct obligatory under all circumstances. Tact in this case is better
than rules.

=127. Duties of children.=--The German philosopher Fichte, in his book on
_Ethics_, has said some very good things touching the duties of children;
we will cite from it some of the pages devoted to this subject.[80]

"The right of parents to set limits to the liberty of their children
cannot be questioned. I should respect the liberty of another man, because
I regard him as a being morally educated, whose liberty is the necessary
means whereby he may reach the end reason points out to him. I cannot be
his judge, for he is my equal. But it is not the same in the case of my
child. I regard my child not as a moral creature already formed, but to be
formed; and it is precisely for this reason that it is my duty to educate
it. The same reason which commands me to respect the liberty of my equals,
commands me to limit that of my child.

"But I am to limit this liberty only in so far as the use the child may
make of it might be injurious to the very end of its education. Any other
repression is contrary to duty, for it is contrary to the end in view. It
is the very liberty of the child which must be instructed; and that this
instruction be possible, the child must be free. Parents should not,
therefore, through mere caprice, forbid children, with a view, as is said,
to break their will: it is only where the will would run counter to the
direct aims of their education that it should be broken. Here, however,
parents must be the sole judges; and are answerable to their conscience
alone." "The only duty of the child," says Fichte again, "is _obedience_:
this should be developed before any other moral sentiment; for it is the
root of all morality. Later on, when in the sphere left free by the
parents, morality has become possible, the duty of obedience is still the
greatest of all duties, the child should not wish to be free beyond the
limits fixed by the parents themselves."

Fichte explains next very ingeniously, how obedience is the only way by
which the child can _imitate_ the morality it cannot yet know: "The same
relation which binds the full-grown man to the moral law, and to its
author, God, binds the child to its parents. We should do all that duty
commands us to do, absolutely and without troubling ourselves about
consequences; but to be able to do this, we must suppose these
consequences to be in the hands of God, and intended for our good: the
same with the child in regard to parental commands. Christianity
represents God in the image of a father, and justly so. But we should not
simply be satisfied always and incessantly to speak of his goodness; we
should also think of our obligations toward him; of our obedience, and
that childlike trust free from all anxiety and uneasiness which we ought
to cultivate in regard to his will. To create a similar obedience is the
only means by which parents may implant the sentiment of morality in the
hearts of their children: it is, therefore, a real duty for parents to
exercise their children in a similar obedience. It is a very false notion,
which, like many others, we owe to the ruling _eudemonism_[81] of the day,
that wrong inclinations of the child can be thwarted by reasoning with it.
There is implied in this notion the absurdity of supposing the child to be
possessed of a greater share of reasoning power than ourselves: for even
adults are most of the time prompted in their acts by inclination, and not
by reason.[82]

"Another question presents itself now: How far, in its relation to its
parents, should the child's absolute obedience go? This question may have
two sides: the one as to the extent of this obedience, and the other as to
its limits; _how far_ it should go; or in regard to length of time, _how
long_ it shall last, and, if it is to cease at all, at what particular
time it is to stop?

In the first case, the question may be raised either from the child's or
from the parents' standpoint. On the part of the child it should never be
raised. The answer is this: The child should obey, and its obedience
consists in its not wishing to have any more liberty than its parents
permit it to have. Of the necessary limits of this obedience, the parents
can alone judge; the child cannot. The doctrine that the child should obey
in all reasonable cases, as we often hear it said, is a contradictory one.
He who only obeys in reasonable cases does not obey, for he becomes
himself then the judge of what is reasonable and what is not. If he does
any thing suitable because he judges it to be so, he acts according to his
own conviction, and not from obedience. Whether this obedience which they
exact be reasonable or not, it is for the parents to answer for it before
their own consciences; but they should not allow their children to sit in
judgment over them. But, it may be asked, suppose the parents command
their children to do an immoral thing? I answer: Either the immorality of
it is only discovered after a laborious investigation, or it is obvious.
In the first case, there can be no difficulty; for the obedient child does
not suspect his parents capable of commanding him to do any wrong. In the
second, the very basis of obedience--namely, the belief in the superior
morality of the parents--is destroyed; and then a prolonged obedience
would be contrary to duty. The same when the immorality or the shame of
the parents is self-evident in the children's eyes. Obedience then ceases
because education through the parents becomes impossible.

The second question is: How long does the duty of obedience last? The
answer to this is: Obedience, in the first place, is only exacted in view
of education; and education is a means to an end; that end being the
utilization of the child's powers for some reasonable purpose, under
whatever circumstances or through whatever mode. When that end has been
attained, the child cannot judge: it is for the parents to decide. Now two
cases are possible here:

One is where the father himself declares the end attained and leaves his
children free to act according to their own will and judgment.

The other is where a certain result is sufficient to declare the end
attained. The State is in this instance a competent outside judge. For
example, if the State entrusts an office to a son, it declares the
latter's education completed; the judgment of the State is the parents'
judicial bond: they must submit to it without appeal: it binds them also
morally, and they must submit to it from a sense of duty.

There is finally a third case: this is where parental education is no
longer possible, as, for example, on the marriage of the children. The
daughter then gives herself to her husband and becomes subject to his
will: she can therefore no longer depend upon her parents' will. The son
assumes the care of his wife, conformably to her wishes; he can therefore
no longer be guided by others' wishes, not even by those of his parents.

These three cases do not yet exhaust the question; for we may suppose a
fourth: the one where the children are not called to a function, by the
State; when they do not marry, and when the parents are nevertheless
unwilling to relax their authority, seemingly wishing to uphold the
obedience of early childhood. In this case, the parents evidently overstep
their rights; for it is obvious that at a given time man must belong to
himself. This time has been fixed by the State; which determines when one
attains to his majority. In granting to a son the free disposal of his
property, the liberty to make contracts, to traffic, the right of
suffrage, the right to marry, etc., the State puts an end to paternal
authority as an authority armed with restraint, yet certainly not as a
moral authority, for in this respect it is indelible. The son having
become a person, and being in his turn invested with moral responsibility,
may lay obedience aside, but he does not with this lay aside the respect,
gratitude, and affection he owes his parents.

Even after the emancipation of the children, there still exists between
them and their parents a moral tie.

Parents, especially if they have been, as we suppose, the educators of
their children, know their inner being, their disposition: they have seen
it develop under their eyes; they have formed it. They therefore know it
better than the children themselves can know it. They consequently
continue to be their best advisers. There is then left to parents a
special duty, namely, that of advising their children, and on the part of
the children a correlative duty, that of listening attentively to the
advice of their parents, and of considering it carefully. Thus do parents
retain their care and solicitude for their children, and the children the
duty of respect.

These duties of respect and gratitude toward parents have been admirably
expressed by the ancient writers.

    Plato, after speaking of the honor which should be given to the gods,
    says: "Next comes the honor of living parents, to whom, as is meet, we
    have to pay the first and greatest and oldest of all debts,
    considering that all which a man has belongs to those who gave him
    birth and brought him up, and that he must do all that he can to
    minister to them: first, in his property; secondly, in his person; and
    thirdly, in his soul; paying the debts due to them for the care and
    travail which they bestowed upon him of old, in the days of his
    infancy, and which he is now to pay back to them when they are old and
    in the extremity of their need. And all his life long he ought never
    to utter, or to have uttered, an unbecoming word to them; for all
    light and winged words he will have to give an account; Nemesis, the
    messenger of justice, is appointed to watch over them. And we ought to
    yield to our parents when they are angry, and let them satisfy their
    feelings in word or deed, considering that, when a father thinks that
    he has been wronged by his son, he may be expected to be very

Xenophon, likewise, relates to us an admirable exhortation of Socrates to
his oldest son Lamprocles, on filial piety. It is well known that the wife
of Socrates, Xantippe, was noted for her crabbed disposition, which often
sorely tried Socrates' patience. No doubt this was the case with the sons
also; but, less patient than their father, they yielded sometimes to their
anger. Socrates recalls Lamprocles to his duty as a son, enumerating to
him all that mothers have to endure for their children:

    "The woman receives and bears the burden, oppressing and endangering
    her life, and imparting a portion of the nutriment with which she is
    herself supported; and at length, after bearing it the full time, and
    bringing it forth with great pain, she suckles and cherishes it,
    though she has received no previous benefit from it, nor does the
    infant know by whom it is tended, nor is it able to signify what it
    wants, but she, conjecturing what will nourish and please it, tries to
    satisfy its calls, and feeds it for a long time, both night and day,
    submitting to the trouble, and not knowing what return she will
    receive for it. Nor does it satisfy the parents merely to feed their
    offspring, but as soon as the children appear capable of learning any
    thing, they teach them whatever they know that may be of use for their
    conduct in life; and whenever they consider another more capable of
    communicating than themselves, they send their sons to him at their
    own expense, and take care to adopt every course that their children
    may be as much improved as possible."

    Upon this the young man said: "But, even if she has done all this, no
    one, assuredly, could endure her ill-humor."

    "And do you reflect," returned Socrates, "how much grievous trouble
    you have given her by your peevishness, by voice and by action, in the
    day and in the night, and how much anxiety you have caused her when
    you were ill?... Or do you suppose your mother meditates evil toward
    you?" "No, indeed," said Lamprocles, "that I do not suppose." "Do you
    then say that this mother," rejoined Socrates, "who is so benevolent
    to you, who, when you are ill, takes care of you, to the utmost of her
    power, that you may recover your health, and who, besides, entreats
    the gods for many blessings on your head, is a harsh mother? Oh, my
    son, if you are wise, you will entreat the gods to pardon you if you
    have been wanting in respect toward your mother, lest, regarding you
    as an ungrateful person, they should be disinclined to do you good;
    and you will have regard, also, to the opinion of men, lest, observing
    you to be neglectful of your parents, they should all contemn you, and
    you should then be found destitute of friends; for if men surmise that
    you are ungrateful toward your parents, no one will believe that if he
    does you a kindness he will meet with gratitude in return."[84]

Although children, when of age, belong legally to themselves, there are
yet two serious circumstances, where they should exhaust all the forms of
respect and submission before they make a harsh use of the rights which
the law grants them: these are marriage, and the choice of a profession.
In the first case, both the law and morality require the consent of the
parents; and it is only as a last extremity, and after three respectful
appeals to them, that proceedings may go on. Here again, although the law
permits it, it may be said that, except in extreme and exceptional cases,
it is always better not to proceed, but wait till some change of
circumstances brings about a change in the mind of the parents. In fact,
the parents' resistance in these cases is generally in the interest of the
children; they wish to protect them against the impulses of their
passions. They have, besides, a sort of right to interdict the admission
into the family and the taking of its name to any one that might be
unworthy of these favors.

The obligation not to marry without the consent of the parents (except in
extreme cases) does not carry with it the obligation of marrying against
one's will in order to obey them. This would be the violation of a duty
toward others; you have no right to jeopardize the happiness of a third
party, that you might on your side practice the duty of obedience. To
marry with repugnance is contrary to duty, for it is entering into the
bonds of an unhappy union.

As to the choice of a profession, the obligation to conform to the desires
and the will of the parents is less strict than in marriage; and it is
obvious that the first, the stricter duty here, is to choose the
profession one is best fitted for. But as there is here also, on the side
of the children, much inexperience (as among the various professions there
are some very difficult, even dangerous ones, where success is often very
rare, and which for this reason are all the more tempting), it is clear
that in such a case it is the children's duty, except where there is an
irresistible proclivity, to allow themselves to be guided by a more
enlightened and more prudent experience. At any rate, the strict duty is
to confer with the parents, consult their superior wisdom, and delay as
much as possible a final resolve. These principles once set down, it is
certain that, on the other hand, one should not, to obey one's parents,
follow a profession one felt no capacity for whatsoever. There the duties
toward society and toward one's self take precedence of the family duties.

=128. Fraternal duties.=--Socrates, who has spoken so well of the duties of
husbands and wives and the duties of children, shall here again be our
guide as to the duties of brothers and sisters. Two brothers, Chæsephon
and Chæsecrates, did not live well together. Socrates tried to reconcile
them with each other by an exhortation, of which the following gives the
principal points:[85]

1. Brothers are better than riches; for they are things endowed with
reason, whilst wealth is but a senseless thing; brothers are a protection;
riches, on the contrary, need protection.

2. One had rather live with fellow-citizens than live alone; how much more
would one not rather live with brothers.

3. Is not the being born of the same parents, the having been brought up
together, very strong reasons to love one another? Even among brutes a
certain affection springs up between those that are raised together.

4. Even though our brothers be of dispositions difficult to live with, we
should make advances to bring them nearer to us.

5. It is for the youngest to make advances to the oldest.

A modern moralist, Silvio Pellico,[86] expresses most delicately the
duties of brothers and sisters in their intercourse with each other:

"To practice properly, in one's relations with men, the divine science of
charity, one must have learned it at home. What ineffable sweetness is
there in the thought: 'We are the children of the same mother!...' If you
wish to be a good brother, beware of selfishness. Let each of your
brothers, each of your sisters, see that their interests are as dear to
you as your own. If one of them commits a fault, be indulgent to it.
Rejoice over their virtues; imitate them."

"The familiarity of the fireside should never make you forget to be
courteous toward your brothers.

"Be still more courteous toward your sisters. Their sex is endowed with a
powerful attraction; it is a divine gift which they use to make the house
pleasant and cheerful. You will find in your sisters the delicious charm
of womanly virtues; and since nature has made them more feeble and
sensitive than you, be attentive to them in their troubles, console them,
and do not cause them any unnecessary pain.

"Those who contract the habit of being ill-natured and rude toward their
brothers and sisters, are rude and ill-natured toward everybody else. If
the home-intercourse is tender and true, man will experience in his other
social relations the same need of esteem and noble affections."

=129. Duties of masters toward their servants.=--One of the most important
functions of home administration, is the management of domestics. It
comprises two things: _choice_ and _direction_. It is well known how
important in a household the choice of servants is; as it is they who
attend to the marketing and pay the bills, so that the finances of the
house are, to some extent, in their hands.[87] But this is but one of the
lesser features of the influence of servants in a household; the most
serious one is their familiar intercourse with the children; and it is
there especially that it becomes necessary to make sure of their fidelity
and honesty. Yet to make a careful and successful choice is of no use, if
one is ignorant of the art of directing and governing, which consists in a
just medium between too much lenity and too much severity. The master of
the house should, of course, always have his eyes open, but he should also
know that no human being learns to do things well, if he is not allowed to
act with some sort of freedom.

_Surveillance_ and _confidence_ are the two principles of a wise domestic
government. Without the first, one is apt to be cheated; without the
second, one cheats one's self in depriving the servant of the most
energetic elements of human will, responsibility and honor.[88]

The master, again, should avoid being violent and brutal toward his
servants. He should require of them all that is just, yet without pushing
his requirements to the point of persecution. Many persons deprive
themselves of good servants, because they cannot patiently bear with the
inevitable defects inherent in human nature.

On the other hand, the servant owes his master: 1, an absolute honesty. As
it is the servants who do the marketing and pay the bills, they have the
funds of the family in their hands. The more one is obliged to trust them
the more are they bound to restrain themselves from the slightest act of
dishonesty. 2. They owe obedience and exactness in the duties pertaining
to their service. 3. They should, as much as possible, attach themselves
to the persons whose service they have entered; the longer they stay with
them, the more will they be considered as part of the family, and the
greater will be their right to the regard and affection due to age and

=130. Duties of children toward servants.=--It is not only the master and
mistress of the house that have duties to fulfill toward servants, but the
children also. The latter are, in general, too much disposed to treat
servants as instruments of their wishes and the playthings of their
caprices. Although slavery is no longer allowed, some children, if let
alone, would very soon re-establish it for their own benefit. To command,
insult, beat, are the not uncommon modes of procedure with children that
are left entirely free in their relations with inferiors. The latter, on
the other hand, do not hesitate to employ force, in the absence of the
masters, and pass readily from slavery to tyranny. All such conduct is
reprehensible. The servant should never be allowed to strike; but he
should himself not be struck or insulted. In childhood, it is for the
parents to oversee the relations between their servants and children.
Later it is for the children themselves, when they have reached the age of
reason, to know that they must not treat servants like brutes. The same
observations may be applied to workmen, in circumstances where workmen are
in some respect in the service of the family.

Although servants are no longer slaves, nor even serfs, one may still,
modifying its meaning, quote Seneca's admirable protestation against
slavery: "They are slaves! rather say they are men! They are slaves! Not
any more than thou! He whom thou callest a slave, was born of the same
seed as thyself; he enjoys the same sky, breathes the same air, lives and
dies the same as thou." Seneca closes this eloquent apostrophe with a
maxim recalling the Gospel: "Live with thy inferiors, as thou wouldst thy
superior should live with thee."

As to the duties of servants to their masters, they belong to the class of
professional duties which we shall take up further on (Chap. XIII.).




    =Have we duties toward ourselves?=--The person of a man should not only
    be sacred to others, it also should be so to himself.

    Even though man ceased to be in any relation with other men (as, for
    example, in a desert island), he would still have duties to perform.

    =The duty of self-preservation.--Suicide.=--Arguments of Rousseau for
    and against suicide.

    The different standpoints from which one may condemn suicide: 1,
    either as contrary to the duties toward men; 2, or to the duties
    toward God; 3, or, lastly, to the duties toward ourselves.

    Kant's fundamental argument against suicide:

    "Man cannot abdicate his personality as long as he has duties to
    perform, which is the same as to say, as long as he lives."

    Case of conscience.--Not to confound suicide with self-sacrifice.

    Of voluntary mutilations and of the duty to avoid injuring one's
    health. That this duty should be understood in a wide sense, and not
    as an encouragement to constant preoccupation about the condition of
    one's body.

    Of cleanliness.

    =Other duties concerning the body.--Temperance.=--Temperance
    recommended for two reasons: 1, as necessary to health, and
    consequently as a corollary to the duty of self-preservation; 2, as
    necessary to human dignity, which, through intemperance, falls below
    the brute.

    Of the moderate use of sensual pleasures. That we should elevate them
    by attaching to them ideas and sentiments.

    Other virtues: Decency, modesty, propriety, etc.

=131. Have we duties toward ourselves?=--This has been disputed, and it
seems rather strange that it should have been. No one, say the jurists,
binds himself to himself; no one does himself injustice, they say again.
In short, man belongs to himself: is not that the first of ownerships, and
the basis of all the others?

    "No," replies Victor Cousin, "from man's being free and belonging to
    himself, it is not to be concluded that he has all power over himself.
    From the fact alone that he is endowed with both liberty and
    intelligence, I, on the contrary, conclude that he cannot, without
    failing in his duty, degrade his liberty any more than he can degrade
    his intelligence. Liberty is not only sacred to others; it is so in

    "This obligation imposed on the moral personality to respect itself,
    it is not I who established it; I cannot, therefore, destroy it. Is
    the respect I have for myself founded on one of those arbitrary
    agreements which cease to be when the two parties freely renounce it?
    Are the two contracting parties here I and myself? No; there is one of
    the parties that is not I, namely, humanity itself, the moral
    personality, the human essence which does not belong to me, which is
    not my property, which I can no more degrade or wound in myself than I
    can in others. There is not even any agreement here or contract.

    "Finally, man would still have duties, even though he ceased to be in
    any relation with other men. As long as he has any intelligence and
    liberty left, the idea of right remains in him, and with that idea,
    duty. If he were all at once thrown upon a desert island, duty would
    still follow him there."[89]

Kant has likewise defended the existence of the duties of man toward

    "Supposing," he says, "that there were no duties of this kind, there
    would not be any duties then of any kind; for I can only think myself
    under obligations to others, so far as I am under obligations to
    myself.... Thus do people say, when the question is to save a man or
    his life: I owe this to myself; I owe it to myself to cultivate such
    dispositions of mind as make of me a fit member of society (_Doctrine
    de la vertu_, trad. franç. de Barni, p. 70)."

=132. Duties concerning the body.--Duty of self-preservation.=--The duties
toward one's self are generally divided into two classes: duties _toward
the body_, duties _toward the soul_. Kant justly criticised this
distinction, and asks how can there be any obligations toward the
body--that is to say, toward a mass of matter--which, apart from the soul,
is nothing better than any of the rough bodies which surround us. Kant
proposes to substitute for this distinction the following: duties of man
toward himself as an _animal_ (that is, united to animality by the
corporeal functions), and the duties of man toward himself as a _moral

Considered as an animal, man is united to a body, and this union of soul
and body is what is called life. Hence a first duty which may be
considered a fundamental duty, and the basis of all the others, namely,
the duty of self-preservation. It is, in fact, obvious that the
fulfillment of all our other duties rests on this prior one.

Before being a duty, self-preservation is for man an instinct, and even so
energetic and so universal an instinct that there would seem to be very
little need to transform it into duty: so much so is it an instinct that
man has rather to combat in himself the cowardly tendency which attaches
him to life, than that which induces him to seek death. Yet does it
happen, and unfortunately too often, that men, crazed by despair, come to
believe that they have a right to free themselves of life: this is what is
called suicide. It is, therefore, very important in morals to combat this
fatal idea, and to teach men that, even though life ceases to be a
pleasure, there is still a moral obligation which they cannot escape.

=133. Suicide.--J. J. Rousseau and Kant.=--The question of suicide was
treated with great ability by J. J. Rousseau in one of his most celebrated
works. He put into the mouth of two personages, on the one side, the
apology for, and on the other, the condemnation of suicide. We will not
cite here these two pieces, the eloquence of which is somewhat
declamatory, but we will give an abstract of the principal arguments
presented on each side in favor of its own position.

_Arguments in favor of suicide._--1. It is said that life is not our own
because it was given us.--Not so, for, just because it was given us, is it
our own. God has given us arms, and yet we allow them to be cut off when

2. Man, it is said, is a soldier on sentry on earth: he should not leave
his post without orders.--So be it; but misfortune is precisely that order
which informs me that I have nothing more to do here below.

3. Suicide, it is said again, is rebellion against Providence.--But how?
it is not to escape its laws one puts an end to one's life; it is to
execute them the better: in whatever place the soul may be, it will always
be under God's government.

4. "If thy slave attempted to kill himself," says Socrates to Cebes in the
_Phædo_, "wouldst thou not punish him for trying unjustly to deprive thee
of thy property?"--Good Socrates, what sayest thou? Does one no longer
belong to God when dead? Thou art quite wrong; thou shouldst have said:
"If thou puttest on thy slave a garment which is in his way in the service
he owes thee, wouldst thou punish him for laying this garment aside in
order the better to serve thee?"

5. It is said that life is never an evil.--Yet has nature implanted in us
so great a horror of death that life to certain beings must surely be an
evil, since they resolve to renounce it.

6. It is said that suicide is a cowardice.--How many cowards, then, among
the ancients! Arria, Eponina, Lucretia, Brutus, Cato! Certainly there is
courage in suffering the evils one cannot avoid; but it were insanity to
suffer voluntarily those from which one can free himself.

7. There are unquestionably duties that should attach us to life.--But he
who is a burden to every one, and of no use to himself, why should he not
have a right to quit a place where his complaints are importunate and his
sufferings useless?

8. Why should it be allowable to get cured of the gout and not of life? If
we consider the will of God, what evil is there for us to combat, that he
has not himself sent us? Are we not permitted, then, to change the nature
of any thing because all that is, is as he wished it?

9. "Thou shall not kill," says the Decalogue.--But if this commandment is
to be taken literally, one should kill neither criminals nor enemies.

Next comes the answer of my lord Edward, namely, J. J. Rousseau:

_Arguments against suicide._--1. If life has no moral end, one can
unquestionably free one's self from it when it is too painful: if it has
one, it is not permitted to set it arbitrary limits.

2. The wish to die does not constitute a right to die; otherwise, a
similar wish might justify all crimes.

3. Thou sayest: Life is an evil; but if thou hast the courage to bear it,
thou wilt some day say: Life is a good.

4. Physical pain may in extreme cases deprive one of the use of reason and
will; but moral pain should be borne bravely.

5. No man is wholly useless; he has always some duties to fulfill.

It has been justly observed, we think, that this second letter is feebler
than the first, and that Rousseau displayed more talent in justifying
suicide than in combating it; at any rate, the following peroration will
always be considered an admirable passage to quote:

"Listen to me, thou foolish youth: thou art dear to me, I pity thy errors.
If thou hast at the bottom of thy heart the least feeling of virtue left,
come to me, let me teach thee to love life. Every time thou shalt be
tempted to put an end to it, say to thyself: 'Let me do one more good deed
before I die!' Then go and seek some poverty to relieve, some misfortune
to console, some oppressed wretch to protect. If this contemplation does
not stop thee to-day, it will stop thee to-morrow, or the day after, or
perhaps for the rest of thy life. If it does not stop thee, go then and
die; for thou art not worthy to live."

Suicide may be considered from three different standpoints, which are all
three involved and blended in the preceding discussion:

1. Suicide is a transgression of our duty toward other men (inasmuch as,
however miserable, one can always render some service to others).

2. Suicide is contrary to our duties toward God (inasmuch as man abandons
thereby, without being relieved of it, the post intrusted to him in this

3. Finally--and this is for us here the essential point--suicide is a
violation of the duty of man toward himself; as, all other considerations
set aside, he is bound to self-preservation as a moral personality, and
has no right whatsoever upon himself.

_Kant's discussion._--Kant is, of all philosophers, the one who most
insisted on this latter view of the matter, and developed it with the
greatest force.

    "It seems absurd," he says, "that man could do himself injury."
    (_Volenti non fit injuria._[90]) Thus did the stoic regard it as a
    prerogative of the sage, to be able, quietly and of his own free will,
    to step out of this life as he would out of a room full of smoke. But
    this very courage, this strength of soul which enables us to brave
    death, revealing to us a something man prizes more than life, should
    have been to him [the stoic] all the greater incentive not to destroy
    in himself a being endowed with a faculty so great, so superior to all
    the most powerful of sensuous motives, and consequently not to deprive
    himself of life.

    Man cannot abdicate his personality as long as there are duties for
    him, consequently as long as he lives; and there is contradiction in
    granting him the right of freeing himself from all obligation--that is
    to say, acting as freely as if he had no need of any kind of
    permission. To annihilate in one's own person the subject of morality,
    is to extirpate from the world as much as possible the existence of
    morality itself; it is disposing of one's self as of an instrument,
    for a simply arbitrary end; it is lowering humanity in one's own

=134. Résumé of the discussion on suicide.=--From the above point of view
the sophisms of Saint-Preux in J. J. Rousseau are easily controverted. I
can cut my arm off, you say; why can I not destroy my body?--But in
destroying a withered or mortified arm, I nowise injure the human
personality, which remains within me entire; and, on the contrary, I
deliver the moral personality within me of a physical trouble which
deprives it of its liberty.

I can, you say, avoid pain: no one is obliged to bear a toothache, if he
can free himself from it.--Yes, unquestionably; but in finding a remedy
for physical pain, instead of wronging the moral personality of man, I
free it, on the contrary, of the evils which, in crushing it, tend to
debase it. Besides, there are, moreover, pains from which it is not right
to free one's self. For example, it is not right to leave the sickbed of
one dear to us because his pains are unbearable.

But life is full of misery, and, in certain cases, the evil is without any
compensation.--The question is not whether life is agreeable or painful:
it might be a question, if pleasure were the end of life; but if this end
is duty, there are no circumstances, however painful, which do not leave
room for the possibility of fulfilling a duty.

It is a sophism, they say, to call suicide a cowardice; for it requires a
great deal of courage to take one's life.--No one denies that there is a
certain amount of physical courage coupled with taking one's life; but
there is a still greater courage, a moral courage, in braving pain,
poverty, slavery. Suicide is therefore a relative cowardice. It matters
not, moreover, whether suicide be a brave or a cowardly act; what is
certain is, that man cannot destroy within himself the agent subject to
the law of duty without implicitly denying this law and all there is
within contained.

Finally, it will be said that the moral personality is distinct from the
body, and that in destroying the body, one does not injure the
personality. But we shall answer, that the only personality of which we
can dispose, and of which we have the care, is that which is actually
united to our physical body. It is that very personality that has duties
to perform; it is that which we cannot sacrifice to a state of things
absolutely unknown to us.

As to our duties toward others, there is no one that has absolutely no
service to render to his fellow-men; and each of us is always able to
render them the greatest of services, namely, to give them the example of
virtue, courage, gentleness, and patience. Finally, in respect to God, if
we look upon life as a trial, man has no right to free himself of this
trial before it is ended; if we look upon it as a punishment, we have no
right to cut short its duration as long as nature has not pronounced on
it. Can we not, then, it is asked, change any thing in the order of
things, since all is disposed by God?--Certainly we can; we can, as we see
fit, modify things, but not persons.

God, it is said again, has given us life: we can, then, do with it what we
like.--But life is not purely a gift, an absolute gift: it is bound up in
the moral personality which is not in our power, and which is not to be
considered a thing to traffic with, give away, or destroy.

To admit the legitimacy of suicide, is to admit that man belongs to
himself as a _thing_ belongs to its master; it is implicitly to admit the
right to traffic with one's own personality and, according to Kant's
energetic expression, "to treat one's self as a means and not as an end."

=135. Suicide from a sense of honor.=--All suicide, having for its motive
the escape from pain (exception being made, of course, of suicides caused
by insanity), should be condemned without qualification. But is it the
same with suicides instigated by a feeling of honor, either to avoid an
outrage one is threatened with, or to escape the shame of an outrage one
has suffered?

We should certainly not blame too severely acts that have their source in
purity and greatness of soul, and in such matters it is yet better to
forgive the excess, than accustom one's mind, by too cold reasoning, to
look upon dishonor with patience or complacency. After all, the love of
life speaks enough for itself without its being necessary to give it too
much encouragement. Nevertheless, to consider the matter closely, it is
certain that no one is responsible for acts he has not consented to; that,
consequently, an act imposed on us by force, cannot inflict real dishonor;
that ill-natured interpretations should have no weight with a strong mind,
and that conscience is the only judge.

"We should," says St. Augustin, speaking of Lucretia's suicide, "resist
the temptation of suicide when we have no crime to atone for.... Why
should a man who has done no harm to another, do some to himself? Is he
justified in killing an innocent man in his own person, to prevent the
real criminal from perpetrating his design, and would he criminally cut
short his own life for fear it be cut short by another?"[91]

With still greater reason will suicide be condemned in cases where shame,
if there is any, can make reparation. Let us, for example, suppose the
case of a merchant obliged to suspend payments. This suspension may be
caused by overwhelming circumstances, as, for example, unforeseen physical
catastrophes, or negligence, imprudence, or even dishonesty on the part of
the merchant. In the first case, the merchant is obviously innocent,[92]
and, as we have already remarked, it is an outward and not a real shame.
Instead of giving way before a misfortune, he should, on the contrary,
strive against it and find in himself the means to repair the damage. If,
on the contrary, it is through his own fault, through dissipation,
laziness, etc., that the trouble was brought about, he is all the more
obliged to make honorable amends, and by his courage and energy
rehabilitate himself. If, finally, the evil is still graver, if he failed
through lack of honor, he owes it to himself to expiate his fault, for in
trying by suicide to escape a merited shame, he only eschews a
well-deserved punishment.

Modern conscience refuses even to admire without reserve, the noblest and
most generous of suicides, those, namely, occasioned by the grief over a
great cause lost: I mean Cato's suicide. The capital error of this kind of
suicides (laying aside the reasons already pointed out), is to think that
a cause can be lost. On the one hand, there is never any reason strong
enough to persuade any one that what is lost to-day, is definitively lost;
and if each of those who belong to that cause should kill himself, he
would only contribute his share toward the loss of that cause. Besides,
even supposing a cause to be definitively and absolutely lost, the honor
of humanity requires none the less that the cause be faithfully and
inviolably represented to the end by its adherents: for if they do not
serve thereby their own cause, they serve at least that of loyalty,
fidelity, and honor, which is the highest of all. Certainly an act as
impressive as was Cato's, shows how far man can carry the devotion to a
creed, and such heroism elevates the soul: thus may we admire it as an
individual act, but not as an example to be followed. For, although it
presents itself to us under a heroic form, it is, after all, nothing but
an escape from responsibility.

=136. Suicide and sacrifice.=--One should not confound with suicide, the
voluntary death--that is to say, the death dared and even sought after for
the sake of humanity, the family, country, truth. For instance, Eustache
de Saint Pierre and his companions, Curtius, d'Assas, voluntarily sought
or accepted death when they could have avoided it. Are these suicides? If
we carried the matter as far as that, all devotion would have to be
suppressed altogether. For the height of devotion is to brave death; and
one would have to condemn even the man who exposes himself to a simple
peril, since he has no assurance that this peril may not lead him to
death. But it is evident that the suicide deserving condemnation is that
which has for its source either selfishness, or fear, or a false sense of
honor. To carry the subject further would be sacrificing other more
important duties, and giving to selfishness itself the appearance and
prestige of virtue.

=137. Mutilations and mortifications.--Care of one's health.=--One of the
obvious consequences of the duty of self-preservation, is to avoid
voluntary mutilations. For example, those who mutilate themselves to
escape military service, fail first in their duty to their country, and
next in their duty to themselves. For, the body being the instrument of
the soul, it is forbidden to destroy any part of it without necessity.
This is partial suicide.

Must we count among the number of voluntary mutilations, the religious
mortifications or macerations by which the devout manifest their piety? If
it can be proved that such practices are injurious to health, it is
certain that they should be condemned from a moral point of view. But if
they are nothing more than self-imposed privations of pleasure, no one can
disapprove of them. For man is always permitted to give up this or that
pleasure. Thus abstention from animal-flesh which the school of Pythagoras
taught its adepts, can not be considered contrary to the duty of
self-preservation, as long as it cannot be demonstrated that this diet is
unfavorable to health.

Besides, this duty not to injure one's health, must itself be understood
in a large and general sense. Otherwise, taken too strictly, it would
become a narrow and selfish preoccupation, unworthy of man. One should
select and regularly observe such diet as, from general or personal
experience, would seem most suitable to the preservation of health; but,
this principle once established, precautions too minute and circumspect
lower man in the estimation of others, and, if nothing more, give him a
tinge of the ridiculous, which he ought to avoid. One should therefore not
take as a model the Italian Cornaro, who had a pair of scales at his meals
to weigh his food and drink, although this method, it is said, prolonged
his life to a hundred years. The learned Kant himself, although he was
very high-minded, carried the rules he had laid down for his health to
extravagant minuteness. For example, in order to spare his chest, he had
made it a rule, never to breathe through his mouth when in the street,
and, to faithfully observe this rule, he always walked alone, so as not to
be obliged to speak. Care carried to such minute details falls into a sort
of littleness very unbecoming a being destined for higher thoughts than
mere physical self-preservation. One may say of such exaggerated prudence
what Rousseau, though most inappropriately, said of medicine: "It prevents
illness less than it inspires us with the fear of it; it does not so much
ward off death as it gives us beforehand a taste of it; it wears life out
instead of prolonging it; and even if it did prolong it, it would still be
to the prejudice of the race, since it takes us away from society by the
cares it lays upon us, and from our duties by the fear it inspires us

But, if too minute attention to health is not to be recommended, one
cannot be too observant, within a reasonable measure, of course, of the
obligation to follow a sensible and moderate diet, which is as favorable
to the mind as it is to the body. Hygiene, in this respect, forms no
inconsiderable part of morals.

To avoid sitting up late; to avoid too long or too rich repasts; to make
an even distribution of one's time; to get up early; to dress moderately
warm: are measures recommended by prudence; this, however, does not
exclude the liberty of doing away with these rules when more important
ones are necessary. The principle consists in not granting the body too
much, which is the best means of strengthening it.

The ancients attached a vast importance to the strength and beauty of the
body; and for this reason they encouraged gymnastics; these were an
essential part of their education. This taste for physical exercise seems
to be reviving at the present day; it enters more and more into our public
education, and its good results are already felt. Men should, as much as
possible, reserve some time and leisure for such exercises; for they not
only impart strength, health, and skill to the body, but they accustom the
soul to courage, preparing it by degrees to encounter more serious perils;
the same may be said of military exercises.

=138. Cleanliness.=--Among the virtues belonging to the duty of
self-preservation, there is one which a philosopher of the XVIII. century
considered the first and the mother of all the others, namely,
_cleanliness_. This is saying much; and it may be thought that Volney, in
his moral catechism, exaggerated somewhat this virtue. It is, however, one
of very great importance, for its opposite is especially repugnant.
Cleanliness, moreover, in addition to the part it plays, as we know, in
the preservation of health, is often indicative of other virtues of a
higher order. Cleanliness presupposes order, a certain delicacy of habits,
a certain dignity; it is really the first condition of civilization;
wherever we meet with it, it announces that higher wants than those of
mere animality have been or are soon to be felt; wherever it is wanting,
we may be certain that civilization is only apparent, and that it has yet
many deficiencies to supply.

=139. Other duties in regard to the body.--Temperance.=--We have just seen
that man has no right to destroy his body, or mutilate it, or, in short,
uselessly to reduce or enfeeble its power; in a word, he must not
voluntarily injure his physical functions: for, in impairing himself as a
physical being, he thereby injures his personality, which is the principle
of all morality. But there are two things to be distinguished in the
functions of the human body: on one side, their utility, and on the other,
the pleasure which attends their healthful exercise. The same function may
be exercised with more or less pleasure on the side of the senses. Hence a
moral problem: What is to be granted to the pleasures of the
senses?--Certainly for the proper exercise of their functions a certain
sensuous agreeableness is necessary; a good appetite, for instance, is a
pleasant seasoning which excites and facilitates digestion. Nevertheless,
we all know that there is not an exact and continued proportion between
the pleasure of the senses and physiological necessity; we know that
enjoyment may by far exceed necessity, and that health even often requires
a certain limitation in enjoyment.

We know, for example, that the pleasures of the palate may be far more
sought after and prolonged than is necessary for the gratification of the
appetite. Man needs very little to live on; but he can continue to tickle
his palate long after his hunger is satisfied. Thirst, in particular, has
given rise to a multitude of refinements invented by human industry, and
which are but very distantly related to the principle which has given them
birth. Wine and alcoholic drinks, which, used in moderation, may be useful
tonics, are stimulants demanding a constant renewal: the more they are
indulged in, the more they provoke and captivate the imagination.

From this disproportion and incongruity which exist between the pleasures
of the senses and the real wants of the body, arise vices, certain habits,
namely, which sacrifice want to pleasure, and the consequence of which is
the depravation and ruin of the natural functions. Pleasure, in fact, is,
in a certain measure, the auxiliary, and in some sort, the interpreter of
nature; but beyond a certain limit, it can only satiate itself at the
expense of the legitimate function, and by solidarity, at the expense of
all the others. Thus too much eating destroys the digestive functions;
stimulating drinks burn the stomach and seriously injure the nervous
system. The same, and with still graver consequences, attends upon the
pleasures attached to the function of reproduction.

    "Who would," says Bossuet, "dare think of other excesses which reveal
    themselves in a still more dangerous manner? Who, I say, would dare
    speak of them, or dare think of them, since they cannot be spoken of
    without shame nor thought of without peril, though it be but to
    condemn them? O God, once more, who would dare speak of this deep and
    shameful plague of nature, this concupiscence which binds the soul to
    the body with bonds so tender and so violent--bonds man can scarcely
    defend himself against, and which cause such frightful disorders
    among the human race! Woe to the earth! woe to the earth, from whose
    secret passions rise continually vapors so thick and black, concealing
    from us both sky and light, but of which we are reminded through the
    lightnings and thunder-bolts they send forth against the corruption of
    the human race!"[94]

The abuse of the pleasures of the senses is in general called
_intemperance_, and the proper use of these pleasures, _temperance_.
Gormandizing is the abuse of the pleasures of eating; intoxication or
drunkenness, the abuse of the pleasures of drinking; immodesty or lust,
the abuse of the pleasures attached to the reproduction of the species.
The opposites of these three vices are, to the first two, _sobriety_, to
the last, _chastity_.

The duty of temperance is enforced by two considerations: 1, intemperance
being, as experience shows, the ruination of health, is thereby contrary
to the duty of self-preservation; 2, intemperance destroying the
intellectual faculties, and making us unfit for any energetic and manly
action, is contrary to the duty imposed on us to respect our moral
faculties and protect against all injury within us the free personality
which constitutes the essence of humanity.

Kant does not admit that the first of these considerations--that, namely,
which is deduced from the interest of our health--has any validity in
morals: "Vice," he says, "should not be judged from the damage it does to
man, for to resist it would then be resisting it for reasons of comfort
and commodity, which could never be a principle to found a duty on, but
only a measure of prudence." This is true; but if we have in the foregoing
pages established that self-preservation is one of man's duties, that he
should not destroy his health or abridge his life, an evident corollary of
this principle is to avoid intemperance, because intemperance abridges
life. This consideration is then as legitimate from the standpoint of
morality as from that of interest.

The ancients have spoken admirably about temperance. Socrates in
particular, in Xenophon's _Memorabilia_, showed clearly that temperance
makes of man a free man, and intemperance, a brute and a slave.

    "Tell me, Eutydemus, thinkest thou not that liberty is a precious and
    honorable thing for an individual and for a State?--It is the most
    precious of all.--Thinkest thou him then who allows himself to be
    overruled by the pleasures of the body, and thereby disabled from
    doing good, a free man?--Not the least.--Perhaps callest thou liberty
    the power to do good, and servitude the being prevented from it by
    obstacles.--Precisely.--The intemperate then appear to thee as
    slaves?--Yes, by Jupiter, and rightly so.--What thinkest thou of
    masters who hinder the doing good, and oblige one to do wrong.--It is,
    by Jupiter, the worst possible kind.--And which is the worst of
    servitudes?--To my mind that which subjects us to the worst
    masters.--Then is intemperance the worst of servitudes?--So I think."

Plato, on his side, in a charming picture brings out with force the
insatiableness of sensual passions:

    "See," says Socrates, "if the temperate man and the disorderly man are
    not like two men having each a large number of casks: the casks of the
    one are in good condition and full, one with wine, another with honey,
    a third with milk, and others with other liquors; these liquors,
    moreover, are rare and hard to get; they cost infinite trouble to
    obtain; their owner having once filled his barrels, pours henceforth
    nothing more into them; he has no longer any anxiety concerning them,
    and is perfectly at ease. The other can, it is true, procure the same
    liquors, but only with difficulty; his casks, moreover, being leaky
    and rotten, he is obliged to fill them constantly, day and night, lest
    he be devoured by burning pains. This picture being an image of both
    lives, canst thou say that that of the libertine is happier than that
    of the temperate man?"

A second consideration which may be added to the preceding one is, that
the intemperate man, seeking pleasure, does not find it; pleasure
passionately pursued changes even into pain: "Intemperance," says
Montaigne, "is the pest of voluptuousness, whilst temperance is its
seasoning." This view of the matter is especially that in which the
epicurean moralists delight; they always, in morals, compare one pleasure
with another; but it also holds good for those who place duty above
pleasure, for it is likewise a duty to prefer a pure, simple, delicate
pleasure, to a violent, disorderly, or vulgar pleasure. From this
standpoint, we may say with Plato, in his Philebus, that the purest
pleasures are not the strongest, and even that the stronger and more
ardent a pleasure may be, the nearer it approaches a change into pain.
Now, all other duty set aside, one should principally seek the pleasures
which are not mixed with pain, because they are the most natural and the
most legitimate of all: thus is it that the pleasure we derive from a
satisfied appetite is a proper pleasure, however humble it be, whilst the
pleasure which carries with it satiety and disgust, indicates by that very
fact, that it is against nature, or at least goes beyond nature. Virtue
requires, then, that we prefer the first to the second.

=140. The pleasures of the senses.=--But provided one is content with
moderate pleasures, is it allowed to enjoy the pleasures of the senses, or
must we rather turn our mind, will, and soul, from them, and rest content
with the satisfied want? Montaigne, that naive child of nature, supports
the first proposition; Saint Augustine, the apostle of free grace,
advocates the second. "Nature," says Montaigne, "has maternally provided
that the actions she enjoins upon us for the satisfaction of our wants be
also pleasurable, and she invites us thereto not only through reason, but
also by the appetite: it is not right to corrupt her rules." Not only did
Montaigne authorize the pleasure of the senses, but he also favored one's
delighting in it:

    "It should be fitly studied, enjoyed, dwelt upon, to show ourselves
    worthily thankful to him who dispenses it.... To that degree, did I
    myself follow this precept that in order that the pleasure of sleeping
    should not stupidly escape me, I found it well in former days, to have
    myself disturbed in my sleep, that I might catch the feeling of it....
    Is there any gratification of the senses? I do not allow them to have
    it all to themselves; I associate my soul with it, not to lose itself
    in it, but to find itself in it.... It estimates, thereby, how much it
    owes God for putting the body at its own disposal, allowing it to
    enjoy in order and completeness the soft and agreeable functions
    whereby it pleased him to compensate us by his mercy for the pains his
    justice inflicts on us in its turn."

St. Augustine looks at the thing from an entirely different standpoint:

    "Thou hast taught me, O my God," he says, "to look upon food as upon a
    remedy. But when I pass from the suffering of hunger to the repose of
    satiety, even in this passage from the one to the other does
    concupiscence lay its snares for me; for this passage is a pleasure,
    and there is no other means to reach the end which by necessity we
    must reach. And although real hunger and thirst--eating and drinking
    be but a matter of health, yet does pleasure join itself thereto as a
    dangerous companion, and sometimes it even takes the lead and induces
    me to do from a sense of pleasure, what I only wish to do for my
    health. What is enough for health, is not enough for pleasure, and it
    is often difficult to decide whether it is the wants of the body that
    require to be met, or the deceiving voluptuousness of concupiscence
    which subjugates us. In this incertitude our miserable soul rejoices
    because she finds therein a defense and an excuse, and, not knowing
    what is sufficient for the maintenance of health, she places the
    interests of voluptuousness under the shadow of this pretext. Every
    day I endeavor to resist its temptations and invoke thy hand to save
    me, and I lay at thy feet my incertitudes, because, alas! my
    resolution is not yet strong enough."

It will be seen that the two moralists use both the same principle
(namely, the will of Providence) to arrive at entirely different
conclusions. According to one, pleasure was instituted by God only as a
means to arrive at the satisfaction of bodily wants. It is, then, this
satisfaction alone we should have in view. According to the other, God
allowing necessity to be accompanied by pleasure, invites us thereby to
enjoy pleasure. It seems to us that the two moralists fall here into an
excess: for, according to us, we should not too much distrust pleasure nor
delight in it too much: pleasure, not being an evil in itself, there is no
reason why we should reproach ourselves for enjoying it: for it is as
essential to the nature of our being as life itself. We may even say that
pleasure is already a superior degree of existence, and it is for this
reason that the animal is found to be superior to the plant. The scruples
of St. Augustine in regard to pleasure are, therefore, exaggerated. On the
other hand, I do not approve of Montaigne's refinement either; it is not
proper to bring the reflective faculties to bear upon sensual pleasures in
order to enhance them: to have one's self waked up in order to take
cognizance of the sweetness of sleep is an unjustifiable refinement of
sensuality unless one admits pleasure to be the end of life. In one word,
it is necessary here to avoid at the same time exaggerated _scruples_ and
_self-gratification_, as occupying the mind more than is necessary with
what has but a very inferior value.[95]

Providence, besides, has furnished us means to enhance the pleasures of
the senses by mingling with them the pleasures of the mind or heart.
"Banquets," says Kant, "have, besides the physical pleasure they procure
us, something that tends to a moral end, namely, to bring together a
certain number of people, and to maintain among them an extended
interchange of kindly feelings."

And this austere moralist does not hesitate to lay down certain rules
which should preside over refined festivities. We shall be pardoned if we
reproduce here some of his witty remarks on that subject. "The good
cheer," he says, "which best accords with humanity, is a good repast in
good company; a company which Chesterfield says should not fall below the
number of the Graces, nor exceed that of the Muses.... On the contrary,
large assemblages and festivities are altogether in bad taste.... To eat
alone is unwholesome for a philosophic scholar: it is no restoration, it
is rather exhaustion; it is a labor, and not a play revivifying thought.
The man who eats alone loses gradually his cheerfulness; he recovers it,
on the contrary, when the intermittent jests of a guest give him a new
subject of animation which, alone, he would not have been able to
discover." Kant further requires, "that the repast should end with
laughter, which, if it is loud and hearty, is a sort of compliment to
nature." Then, after having given rules for table-talk, he concludes by
saying: "However insignificant these laws of polite society may appear,
especially when compared to morality properly so called, they are,
nevertheless, a garment which becomes virtue, and which may be recommended
in all seriousness. In fact, thanks to these laws, sensual pleasures are
ennobled and increased by mixing with them intellectual pleasures. It is
the same with those other pleasures related to the purest and noblest
sentiments of the heart, and which, thanks to this alliance, may be
reconciled with perfect chastity.

=141. The exterior bearing.--Propriety.--Decorum.=--Temperance should not
be confined to the inner man; it should manifest itself outwardly through
acts, words, through proper bearing and attitudes: this is what is called
_decency_; the principal part of which is _modesty_.

    "We must not," says Cicero, "mind the cynics and certain stoics who
    turn us into ridicule and reproach us for being ashamed to speak of
    things that have nothing shameful in themselves. As for us, let us
    follow nature, and abstain from all that might wound the eyes or ears.
    Let our bearing, gait, our looks, gestures, be always true to
    decency.... There are two things to be avoided: soft and effeminate
    airs, and a boorish and uncouth appearance."[96]

The ancients justly attached great importance to the outward appearance
and countenance; they regarded it as the sign of the freeman.

    "There are," says Cicero, "two kinds of beauty: the one, grace; the
    other, dignity. Grace belongs to woman, dignity to man. We should,
    therefore, interdict ourselves all that could belie that dignity,
    either in dress, bearing, or gesture. There are movements among our
    wrestlers which are sometimes displeasing, and certain gestures of our
    comedians which are somewhat ridiculous; they would both recommend
    themselves to the public better by simplicity and decency. One should
    be neither uncouth nor over-refined; in regard to dress, the most
    modest is the best. Avoid, likewise, in your gait, either that
    excessive slowness (reminding one of the imposing gravity of sacred
    pomps), or too much haste, which is a sure sign of light-headedness
    and thoughtlessness."[97]

These counsels will not appear minute to those who know that the soul is
always ready to fall in with the body, and that the inner man sets himself
naturally to the outer man. Disorder in manners, dress, words, bring
insensibly with them disorder in thought, and the outward dignity is but
the reflection of the dignity of the soul.




    =The necessity of external goods.--Two sorts of duties.=--1. Those
    relative to _use_; 2. Those relative to _acquisition_.

    =Use of external goods.=--They are _means_ and not _ends_: _avarice_,
    _cupidity_, _prodigality_.

    It is not the degree of riches, it is the spirit in which we seek or
    possess them, which is the object of a moral rule.

    _Economy_, a mean between prodigality and avarice.

    Economy and saving are not only duties of _self-preservation_, but of

    Maxims of Franklin.--The prodigal and the miser, according to

    =Acquisition of external things.=--Universal law of work.--_Servile_
    and _free_ work.--Nobility of work.

    Work is a _pleasure_, a _necessity_, a _duty_.

=142. Necessity of external goods.=--External goods are as necessary to man
as is his body: for it is in the first place a fundamental law of beings
physically organized, that they only subsist by means of a continual
exchange of their component parts, with foreign substances. Life is a
circulation, a vortex: we lose and acquire; we return to nature what it
gave us, and we take from it back again in exchange what we need to repair
our losses. There follows from this that certain external things,
especially food, are indispensable to our existence, and that it is
absolutely necessary that we be in sure possession of them in order to be
ourselves sure of life.

Food is not the only need of man. Shelter and clothing, without being as
rigorously indispensable (especially in warm countries), are nevertheless
of great utility to maintain a certain equilibrium between the temperature
of our bodies and the external temperature; for it is well known that the
derangement of this equilibrium is one of the most ordinary causes of
illness. Nature not having clothed man as she has the other animals, he is
obliged to provide himself with clothes by his industry. As for
habitations, several animals know as well as man how to construct them:
for example, beavers and rabbits; and despite the indisputable superiority
of his art, this is yet, as we see for man, but the development of an
instinct which he shares with other creatures.

These various wants, then, which to be satisfied demand a certain number
of material objects, such as food, houses, clothing, etc., carry with them
others in their train: for example, the need of locomotion to procure what
is wanted: hence, carriages, boats, etc.;--the need of protecting one's
self against those who would take from us what we possess: hence, arms of
every kind;--the need of repose and order in the house: hence, furniture
of every sort;--in a higher degree again the need of pleasing the
imagination: hence, works of art, pictures, statuary;--the need of
information: hence, books, etc.

Finally, and independently of all these different things, there are yet
two which deserve to be specially noticed, because of their particular and
distinctive character. These are, first, land, which is the common and
inexhaustible source of all riches, the only thing that does not perish,
and which is always found again in the same quantity after as well as
before the enjoyment of it; land, which is as the substance, the very
basis of riches;[98] and the second, money (gold or silver, with their
representative, paper), which is of a nature to be exchanged against all
kind of merchandise, even land, and which, consequently, represents them
all. These two kinds of things, land and money, the one an essential, the
other a condensed image, of all wealth, are the two most natural objects
of man's desires, because, with the one or the other, he can procure all
the rest.

We have not to examine here how man succeeds in securing to himself the
exclusive enjoyment of these several goods: we shall treat the subject of
property further on, and shall explain in what, and why, it is inviolable.
Let it suffice to say here that these goods being bound up with the very
preservation of our existence, the desire and instinct which lead us to
appropriate them, have nothing blameworthy in themselves.

External goods being necessary to life, we have to consider how we should
use them when we possess them, and how acquire them when we do not possess

=143. Duties relating to the use of external
goods.--Cupidity.--Avarice.=--From the very fact that man is a part of
nature, it manifestly follows that he is allowed to make his profit of the
goods of nature and to turn them to his use. The only question is then to
know to what degree and in what spirit, he should love material goods, and
what use he is to make of them, not in regard to others, but in regard to

A first consideration is that material things or riches have no value in
themselves; they are only worth anything as they suit our wants. Gold and
silver, in particular, are only a value because they can be exchanged
against useful things, and these things, again, are only good because they
are useful. They are, to employ Kant's favorite formula, _means_, not
_ends_. Now we precisely overthrow this order when we take material things
as ends and not as means--that is to say, when we attribute to them an
_absolute_ instead of a _relative_ value. This happens when, for example,
we seek gain for gain's sake; when we accumulate riches for the sole
pleasure of accumulating them--a vice we call _cupidity_.

It is, again, what happens when we enjoy wealth for itself, without
wishing to turn it to use, and depriving ourselves of everything to enjoy
the thing itself, which has no other value except that of buying other
things; a vice we call _avarice_.

The character of these two vices (a character which is not only contrary
to prudence, but also to virtue) is to transform material things into
absolute ends. "Avarice," says Kant, very justly, "is not only economy
misunderstood, but a servile subjection to the goods of fortune; an
incapacity of exercising mastery over them.... It is not only opposed to
generosity, but to liberality of sentiments in general--that is to say, to
the principle of independence which recognizes nothing but the law, and
becomes thus a fraud which man commits against himself." Cupidity does
not, at first glance, appear to be of so shameful, and especially so
ridiculous a character as avarice; for avarice is a contradiction to one's
self (to die rather than lose that which can only serve to prevent us from
dying), and viewed in that light it becomes a comical oddity. But the love
of gain for gain's sake is, no less than avarice, a servile subjection to
the goods of fortune. To earn money is a necessity to which we must submit
(and of which we need not be ashamed, since it is nature herself that
requires it), but it is not, and should not be, an end to the soul. The
end of wealth (without failing in the duties we owe to ourselves) should
be to make sure of the means of self-preservation, self-cultivation,
education--yea, even recreation; for recreation is a thing much more
refined and noble than accumulation of wealth. In one word, according to
an old saying, one must possess riches and not be possessed by them.

Such is the _spirit_ in which man should seek or possess riches; and it is
for him a strict duty; but as to the degree and limits of possession, as
to the extent or quantity of riches, morality gives us neither rules nor
principles. There is no particular limit known beyond which a man in
making money would become immoral. There is no restriction to his becoming
a millionaire if he can. A morality that should teach to look upon the
rich as culpable, would be a very false one. The contempt for riches, such
as the ancient philosophers professed, is a very beautiful thing in
itself; but to make good use of wealth is also very praiseworthy. Wealth,
which in itself has no value, may have a very great one from the use made
of it. There is, therefore, no other rule to be observed here than the one
we have already pointed out, namely, that we should not love money for
itself, but acquire it or receive it as a means to be useful to ourselves
and to others. Let us add, however, that even with this motive, we should
not entertain too great a desire for gain;[99] for to take too much
pleasure in accumulating a fortune, even to make a good use of it, is
again another way to become its slave.

=144. Poverty.=--The duty of not allowing one's self to become morally a
slave to external goods, carries with it, as its corollary, the duty of
bearing poverty patiently if circumstances impose it on us. I do not mean
here the strength of soul with which we should bear adversity of any kind
(we shall speak of that further on), but the resignation with which we
should look upon the deprivation of certain things, which have no value in
themselves. The poor man should, of course, endeavor to improve his
condition by his work, and we are far from recommending to him a stupid
insensibility which would dry up the sources of all industry; but what we
should especially guard against is this uneasy discontent and powerless
desire which are also a kind of slavery. We should try to be satisfied
with our lot, as ancient wisdom has it, and if it requires a certain
amount of heroism to bear extreme misery, a limited share of wisdom will
be sufficient to enable one to accept patiently poverty and mediocrity.

=145. Prodigality.=--Maintaining, as we have done, that riches have no
value in themselves, except as means to satisfy our wants, do we mean
thereby that they are to be spent injudiciously?--and would not that
appear to be condemning saving and economy, virtues which not only
morality, but wisdom also, recommends? Shall we, in order to avoid
cupidity and avarice, run into dissipation and prodigality?

Let us first observe that prodigality, which is the opposite of avarice,
is not always the opposite of cupidity. The need of spending engenders
necessarily the need of obtaining and gaining as much money as possible;
and the prodigal, if he is not so in the beginning, very soon becomes
covetous, through the exhaustion of his resources. "Most prodigals," says
Aristotle, "become greedy and grasping, because they always wish to spend
at their will. Their own resources being soon exhausted, they must needs
procure others; and as they scarcely take thought about dignity and honor,
they appropriate without scruple, and as they can." We should, therefore,
not view prodigality as a noble independence in respect to riches. It is
so in the beginning, in fact, with young rich people; but they soon find
out the limits of their great fortunes, and then begins their slavery in
respect to those very goods they made at first so light of.

Prudence and our own interest teach us, of course, sufficiently that
prodigality is a stupid vice, and that it is absurd to sacrifice the wants
of to-morrow to the pleasures of to-day. Simple common-sense advises
economy and saving. But for this very reason may we ask, with Kant:
"whether they deserve the name of virtues; and whether prodigality even,
inasmuch as it tends to an unexpected indigence, should not be called an
imprudence rather than a vice?" We shall say in reply that self-interest
well understood becomes itself a duty when in opposition to passion. For
instance, if, on the one side, passion lures me on to procure to myself a
certain pleasure, and that, on the other, self-interest shows that this
pleasure imperils my health, it is certain that _duty_ in this
circumstance commands me to prefer my health to a momentary pleasure.[100]
Prudence, then, is but the exercise of a more general duty, which, if not
the basis, is at least the condition of all the others: the duty of

Economy and saving are not only a duty of self-preservation, but also a
duty of dignity: for experience teaches us that poverty and misery bring
us into the dependency of others and that want leads to beggary. He who
knows how to husband his means of existence, secures for himself in the
future not only his livelihood, but also independence; in depriving
himself of fleeting and commonplace pleasures, he buys what is far better,
namely, dignity.

    "Be economical," says Franklin, "and independence shall be thy shield
    and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright,
    nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches; nor pocket an
    abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with

It is from this point of view that the charming and witty, though
sometimes vulgar, precepts of poor Richard may be regarded as moral
maxims, and should have access to all minds:

"If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting."

"A fat kitchen makes a lean will."

"What maintains one vice would bring up two children."

"Many littles make a mickle."

"Fools make feasts and wise men eat them."

"It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance."

"Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets put out the kitchen fire."

"When the well is dry, they know the worth of water."

"Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with

What Franklin has depicted with greatest force and eloquence, is the
humiliation attached to debts, a sad consequence of the want of economy.
There is a kind of pride which is not that of Rome and Sparta, nor of the
courts and the great, but which has not the less its price.

    "He that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing. Alas! think well what you
    do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.
    If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your
    creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make
    poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your
    veracity, and sink into base, downright lying. _For lying rides upon
    Debt's back._ A free-born man ought not to be afraid to see or speak
    to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and
    virtue. _It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright._"

We should then avoid so to subject ourselves to material things as not to
dare make use of them, which is avarice; or to spend them foolishly and
thus render ourselves dependent upon men, which is prodigality. Economy
lies between the two, and it is one of the virtues upon which Aristotle
has most successfully established his theory of the golden mean. Kant,
however, does not agree with him on this point. "For," says he, "if
economy is a just medium between two extremes, then should we, in going
from one vice to the opposite vice, have to pass through virtue: the
latter then would be nothing more than a lesser vice." According to Kant,
it is not the _measure_ but the _principle_ which may serve to distinguish
a vice from a virtue: the one is distinguished from the other not
quantitatively, but specifically. The two vices, extremes themselves,
prodigality and avarice, namely, are opposed to each other, not only in
degree, but in kind. What is prodigality? "It is," says Kant, "to procure
means of livelihood with a view to the enjoyment only." What is avarice?
"To acquire and preserve these means in view of possession only,
interdicting one's self the enjoyment thereof." These two qualities, it is
seen, do not only differ from each other in the more or the less, but in
their very nature. There would remain next to ask, what is the quality of
economy, and that is just what Kant does not tell us. In default of it,
it might be formulated thus: "to acquire and preserve the means of
livelihood, not for the sake of possession or enjoyment, but for present
or future need." Only there remains still the difficulty of distinguishing
need from enjoyment. Where does legitimate need end? Where does barren
enjoyment begin? It is here that Aristotle's formula asserts itself, and
that we must finally come to recognize that the virtue of economy consists
in a certain medium between prodigality and avarice.

Yet whatever it be, we cannot better close this subject than by citing
Aristotle's admirable description of the prodigal and the miser: La
Bruyère shows no greater acuteness and force.

    "The prodigal is he who ruins himself on his own accord. The senseless
    squandering of his property is a sort of self-destruction, since one
    can only live on what one has. Prodigality is the excess of giving,
    and the want of receiving; but these two conditions cannot very long
    keep together; for it is not easy to give to every one, when one
    receives from no one. This vice, however, should not appear as
    blameworthy as that of avarice. Age, distress even, may easily enough
    correct the prodigal and bring him back to a just medium. Thus is the
    nature of the prodigal on the whole not a bad one; there is nothing
    vicious or low in this excessive tendency to give much and take
    nothing in return; it is only folly. It is true that prodigals become
    greedy and grasping. This is also why their gifts are not truly
    liberal ... why they enrich some people who should be left in poverty,
    and refuse doing anything for others far more deserving. They give
    with open hands to flatterers or people who procure them pleasures as
    unworthy as those of flattery.

    "Avarice is incurable.... Avarice is more natural to man than
    prodigality; for most of us prefer keeping what we have than giving it
    away.... It consists of two principal elements: defect of giving,
    excess of receiving.... Some show more excess of receiving, some more
    defect of giving. Thus do all those branded by the name shabby,
    stingy, mean, sin through a defect of giving; yet do they not covet,
    nor would they take what belongs to others.... Other misers, on the
    contrary, may be known by their grasping propensities, taking all they
    can get: for example, all those who engage in ignoble speculations ...
    usurers and all those who lend small sums at large interest. All these
    people take where they should not take, and more than they ought to
    take. Lust for the most shameful lucre seems to be the common vice of
    all degraded hearts: there is no infamy they are not willing to
    endure, if they can make it a profit."[102]

=146. Duties relating to the acquisition of external things.--Work.=--The
necessity of procuring the things needful to life imposes on us a
fundamental obligation, which continues even when the want is met: it is
the obligation of _work_.

Work springs from want; this is its first origin; but it survives want;
and its beauty and dignity consist in that, being at first born of a
natural necessity, it becomes the honor of man and the salvation of

In its most general sense, work means activity, and in that sense it may
be said that everything works in nature; everything is in motion;
everywhere we see effort, energy, unfolding of forces. Take but the
animals: the bird works to build its nest; the spider to weave its web;
the bee to make her honey; the beaver to construct its lodges; the dog to
catch the game; the cat to catch mice. We find among animals workmen of
all sorts: masons, architects, tailors, hunters, travelers; even
politicians and artists, as if they had been destined to set us examples
in all kinds of work and activity.

    "In the morning," says Marcus Aurelius, "when thou hast trouble in
    getting up, say to thyself: I awake to do the work of a man: why,
    then, should I grieve for having to do things for which I am born, for
    which I was sent into the world? Was I born to remain warmly in bed
    under my cover?--But it is so pleasant.--Wert thou born for pleasure,
    then? Was it not for action, for work? Seest thou not the plants, the
    sparrows, the ants, the spiders, the bees, filling each their
    functions, and contributing according to their capacity to the harmony
    of the world? And shouldst thou refuse to attend thy functions as man?
    Shouldst thou not follow the biddings of nature?"[103]

The ancients distinguished two kinds of work: noble and independent work,
namely, the arts, the sciences, war and politics; and servile or mercenary
work imposed by necessity. The latter they deemed below the dignity of
man; manual labor, properly so called, useful work, distinct from
gymnastics and military exercises, they considered as belonging
exclusively to slaves. It is to this Aristotle referred when he said:

    "There are men who have but just the necessary amount of reason to
    understand the reason of others: it is they whose only work is useful
    manual labor. It is obvious that such men cannot belong to themselves;
    they belong necessarily to others; they are slaves by nature."

Aristotle believed, moreover, that nature herself had made the distinction
between the freeman and the slave:

    "Nature," he said, "made the bodies of the freemen different from
    those of the slaves; she gave to the latter the necessary vigor for
    the heavy work of society, and made the former unable to bend their
    erect natures to such rude labors."[104]

It is not necessary to have lived to this present time to find these
errors refuted. Before Aristotle, Socrates had already understood the
dignity of labor, even of the productive labor insuring a livelihood; he
had seen that work in itself was not servile, as the following charming
account related by Xenophon, well proves:

"Socrates, observing, on one occasion, Aristarchus looking gloomily, 'You
seem,' said he, 'Aristarchus, to be taking something to heart; but you
ought to impart the cause of your uneasiness to your friends; for,
perhaps, we may by some means lighten it.'

"'I am indeed, Socrates,' replied Aristarchus, 'in great perplexity; for
since the city has been disturbed, and many of our people have fled to the
Piræus, my surviving sisters and nieces and cousins have gathered about me
in such numbers, that there are now in my house fourteen free-born
persons. At the same time, we receive no profit from our lands, for the
enemy are in possession of them; nor any rent from our houses, for but few
inhabitants are left in the city; no one will buy our furniture, nor is it
possible to borrow money from any quarter; a person, indeed, as it seems
to me, would sooner find money by seeking it on the road, than get it by
borrowing. It is a grievous thing to me, therefore, to leave my relations
to perish; and it is impossible for me to support such a number under such
circumstances.' Socrates, on hearing this, replied: 'Are you not aware
that Cyrebus, by making bread, maintains his whole household and lives
luxuriously; that Demea supports himself by making cloaks, Menon by making
woolen cloaks, and that most of the Megarians live by making mantles?'
'Certainly they do,' said Aristarchus; 'for they purchase barbarian slaves
and keep them, in order to force them to do what they please; but I have
with me free-born persons and relatives.' 'Then,' added Socrates, 'because
they are free and related to you, do you think that they ought to do
nothing else but eat and sleep? Do you find that idleness and carelessness
are serviceable to mankind, either for learning what it becomes them to
know, or for remembering what they have learned, or for maintaining the
health and strength of their bodies, and that industry and diligence are
of no service at all? And as to the arts which you say they know, did they
learn them as being useless to maintain life, and with the intention of
never practicing any of them, or, on the contrary, with a view to occupy
themselves about them, and to reap profit from them? In which condition
will men be more temperate, living in idleness or attending to useful
employments? In which condition will they be more honest, if they work, or
if they sit in idleness meditating how to procure necessaries?' 'By the
gods,' exclaimed Aristarchus, 'you seem to me to give such excellent
advice, Socrates, that though hitherto I did not like to borrow money,
knowing that, when I had spent what I got, I should have no means of
repaying it, I now think that I can endure to do so, in order to gain the
necessary means for commencing work.'

"The necessary means were accordingly provided; wool was bought; and the
women took their dinners as they continued at work, and supped when they
had finished their tasks; they became cheerful instead of gloomy in
countenance, and, instead of regarding each other with dislike, met the
looks of one another with pleasure; they loved Aristarchus as their
protector, and he loved them as being of use to him. At last he came to
Socrates, and told him with delight of the state of things in the house;
adding that, 'the women complained of him as being the only person in the
house that ate the bread of idleness.' 'And do you not tell them,' said
Socrates, 'the fable of the dog? For they say that when beasts had the
faculty of speech, the sheep said to her master: "You act strangely, in
granting nothing to us who supply you with wool, and lambs, and cheese,
except what we get from the ground; while to the dog, who brings you no
such profits, you give a share of the food which you take yourself."

"The dog hearing these remarks, said, 'And not indeed without reason: for
I am he that protects even yourselves, so that you are neither stolen by
men, nor carried off by wolves; while, if I were not to guard you, you
would be unable even to feed, for fear lest you should be destroyed.' In
consequence it is said that the sheep agreed that the dog should have
superior honor. You, accordingly, tell your relations that you are, in the
place of the dog, their guardian and protector, and that, by your means,
they work and live in security and pleasure, without suffering injury from
any one.'"[105]

If it is unjust to regard manual and productive work as servile, it is
equally unjust to regard them as alone entitled to the name of work.

    "There are," says a Chinese sage, "two kinds of work: some people work
    with their minds; some with their hands. Those who work with their
    minds govern men; those who work with their hands are governed by men.
    Those who are governed by men feed men; those who govern men are fed
    by men."[106]

The same author shows further how divers functions are necessarily divided
in society.

    "The holy man said to his brother: Go and comfort men; call them to
    thee; bring them back to virtue; correct them, help them; make them
    prosper. In thus busying themselves with the welfare of the people,
    could these holy men find leisure to engage in agriculture?"

We must, therefore, admit that all activity usefully employed is work, and
that all work, whether manual or intellectual, mercenary[107] or
gratuitous, is noble and legitimate.

Work being taken in its most general sense, may be set down as being a
_pleasure_, a _necessity_, a _duty_.

Kant, who, as we have seen, refuses to admit in morals any other principle
but that of duty, would probably disagree with us when we say that work is
a pleasure and a necessity. But if it be true, why should we not say so?
Is it necessary, in order that the duty of work be truly accomplished,
that it be both painful and useless? Wisdom nowise requires this.
Providence having attached to work, whilst making it the necessary
condition of our self-preservation, a certain pleasure, lightening thereby
our efforts, morality nowise forbids us to enjoy this pleasure and accept
this necessity.

It will be easily granted that work is a necessity; but it is more
difficult to obtain from men the admission that it is a pleasure. Man, if
he will not die of hunger, must work, unquestionably, they will say; but
that it is a pleasure is quite another thing.

If the pleasure of work is put to question, no one at least will maintain
that it is a pleasure not to work. For when does rest, leisure, recreation
give us most pleasure? Everybody knows, it is when we have worked. Recall
to mind any unusually heavy work, any hurried and necessary task, or even
our daily or weekly duty scrupulously fulfilled: what joy is it not when
the task is done to give ourselves a holiday!

Idleness brings with it satiety, weariness, disgust, disorder, the ruin
of the family, the destruction of health, and other evils still more
baleful. Work, on the contrary, makes repose enjoyable. Without the
fatigue of the day's work, no pleasure in sleep, and even no sleep at all.
A manifest proof that Providence did not intend us for repose, but for
action, for effort, for struggle, for energetic and constant work.

We should even go so far as to say that work is not only a stimulant, but
that it is in itself a pleasure and a joy.

There is, in the first place, the joy of self-love. We all experience joy
when we have accomplished something; when we have succeeded in a difficult
work, and the more difficult it was, the prouder we are of it. Besides,
the exercise which accompanies activity is in itself a great good. The
unfolding of strength, physical or moral, is the source of the truest
pleasures. Activity is life itself: to live, is to act. Work, again, gives
us the pleasure which accompanies any kind of struggle: in working we
struggle against the forces of nature, we subdue them, discipline them, we
teach them to obey us. Unquestionably the first efforts are painful: but
when once the first difficulties are overcome, work is so little a fatigue
that it becomes a pleasant necessity. One is even obliged to make an
effort to take rest. Yes, after having in childhood had trouble to get
accustomed to work, what in the long run becomes the most difficult, is
not to work. One is almost obliged to fight against himself, to force
himself to recreation and rest. Leisure in its turn becomes a duty to
which we almost submit against our will, and only because reason bids us
to submit to it; for we know that we must not abuse the strength
Providence has entrusted to us.

It is not necessary to dwell long on this point to fix in our memory that
work alone insures security and comfort. Certainly it does not always
secure them; this is unfortunately too true; but if we are not quite sure
that by working we can provide for wife and children, and secure a
legitimate rest for our old age, we may, on the other hand, be quite sure
that without work we shall bring upon ourselves and our family certain
misery. There have not yet been found any means whereby wealth may be
struck out of the earth without work. This wealth which dazzles our eyes;
these palaces, carriages, splendid dresses, this furniture, luxury, all
these riches and others more substantial: machinery, iron-works, land
produce, all this is accumulated work. Between the condition of savages
that wander about famished in the forests of America, and the condition of
our civilized societies, there is no other difference but work. Suppose (a
thing impossible) that in a society like this our own, all work should all
at once be stopped: distress and hunger would be the immediate and
inevitable consequence. Spain, on discovering the gold mines of America,
thought herself enriched forever; she ceased work; it was her ruin; for
from being Europe's sovereign mistress, as she then was, she fell to the
rank we see her occupy to-day. Laziness brings with it misery; misery
beggary, and beggary is not always satisfied with asking merely--it

Work is not only a pleasure or a necessity, it is also a duty; though
painful and joyless, work is, nevertheless, an obligation for man; it were
still an obligation for him if he could live without it. Work does not
only insure security: it secures dignity. Man was created to exercise the
faculties of his mind and body. He was created to act. I do not speak here
of what he owes to others, but of what he owes to himself. "The happy
man," says Aristotle, "is not the man asleep, but the man awake," and to
be awake is to work and act.




    =Duties relative to the investigation of truth.=--Of intellectual
    virtues: that there are such.

    Of the three forms of the intellect: _speculative_, _critical_,
    _practical_. Hence, three principal qualities: _knowledge_, _judgment_
    or _good sense_, _prudence_.

    Of _knowledge_.--Refutation of the objections to knowledge: Nicole,
    Malebranche and Rousseau.

    General duty to cultivate one's intellect: the impossibility of
    determining the full range of this duty.

    _Good sense or judgment._--Errors committed in ordinary life: sophisms
    of self-love, interest, and passion.--Other sophisms founded on false
    appearances.--Logical rules.

    Of prudence or practical wisdom.--Can it be called a virtue?
    Particular rules.

    =Duties relative to telling the truth.--Lying.=--Two kinds of lies:
    inward and outward lying.

    Inward lying.--Can one lie to himself? Examples.

    Of the lie properly so-called.--How and why it lowers the mind.

    _Of silence._--To distinguish between _dissimulation_ and

    Duty of silence: in what cases?

    Of the oath and of perjury.--Perjury is a double lie.

The different duties of man toward himself, considered as a moral being,
are naturally deduced from the divers faculties of which this moral being
is composed. Plato is the first, to our knowledge, who has employed this
mode of deduction.[108] It is after having distinguished three parts or
three faculties in the soul, that he attributes to each of them a virtue
proper, "virtue being," he says, "the quality by means of which one does a
thing well." It is thus that the virtue of wisdom corresponds to the
faculty of the understanding; the virtue of courage to the irascible or
courageous faculty, or to the heart; temperance, to that of desire or
appetite. To these three virtues, Plato adds another which is but the
harmony, the accord, the equilibrium between these, namely, justice.
Cicero afterwards took up this deduction from another standpoint.[109]

In applying this ancient method to the present divisions of psychology, we
shall admit, with Plato and Cicero, an order of virtues relative to the
mind, and which we will call _wisdom_; and another class of virtues
relating to the will, and which would correspond with _courage_ or
_strength_ of _mind_ (_virtus_, _magnitudo animi_). As to sensibility, if
we take into consideration the appetites and physical desires, the virtue
relating to them is _temperance_, of which we have already spoken. There
remain the emotions, the affections of the heart which relate more
particularly to the duties toward others. Yet they may, in a certain
respect, be also considered as duties toward one's self, although language
does not designate this kind of virtue by a particular name.[110]

=147. Duties relative to the investigation of truth.=--_Intellectual
virtues._--There are two classes of virtues which have been often
distinguished: the _strict_ duties and the _broad_ duties: the strict
duties to consist in not injuring one's faculties; the broad, to develop
and perfect them; it is not easy to apply this distinction here; and,
concerning intelligence, to separate self-preservation from
self-improvement. In such a case, not to gain is inevitably to lose; he
who does not cultivate his intellect, impairs it by that very fact.

One could not then, without pedantic investigation and subtlety, try to
distinguish here, in one and the same duty, two distinct duties: the one
prohibitive, the other imperative. They are both bound up in the general
duty to cultivate one's intellect. It is not so with the relations
existing between one's own intellect and the intellect of others; the
expression of a thought gives rise to a strict duty: not to lie; which is
the immediate consequence of the duty of the intellect toward itself, and
which consequently should, by way of corollary, also belong to the present

The first question which presents itself to us is to know whether we
should admit, with Aristotle, _intellectual_ virtues, properly so called,
distinct from the _moral_ virtues, the first having regard to the
intellect, the second to the passions. It would seem that the various
faculties pointed out by Aristotle under the name of intellectual virtues,
are rather qualities of the mind than virtues: art, science, prudence,
wisdom, intelligence[111] (not to mention the difficulty of determining
the various shades of meaning of these terms), are natural or acquired
aptitudes, but which do not appear to have any moral merit: a scholar, an
artist, a clever man, a man of good sense and good counsel are naturally
distinguished from virtuous men. It would seem then that the intellectual
virtues are opposed to the moral virtues, as the mind is to the heart:
now, for every one, it is the heart rather than the mind that is the seat
of virtue.

These difficulties are only apparent, and Aristotle himself gives us the
means of solving them:

    "In order to be truly virtuous," he says, "one should always act in a
    certain moral spirit: I mean that the choice of an action should be a
    free one, determined only by the nature of the acts one accomplishes.
    Now it is virtue that renders this choice laudable and good."[112]

It is not the natural faculties of the mind then, no more than those of
the heart and body, that deserve the name of virtues. It is those same
faculties, developed and cultivated by the will: on this condition alone
do they deserve esteem and respect. The intellect is in itself of a higher
order than the senses, the appetites, the passions: it is therefore
incumbent upon us to give it the largest share in our personal
development. "It is to that we are allied," says Pascal, "not to space and
time. Let our efforts then tend to think well; this is the principle of
morality." The intellect presents two particular forms: it is either
_contemplative_ or _active_, _theoretical_ or _practical_. The virtue of
the contemplative intellect is _knowledge_; that of the practical
intellect _prudence_. Finally a third virtue might be admitted: _judgment_
or _common sense_, which is a _critical_,[113] not a practical faculty,
and which partakes at the same time of both sides of the understanding.

These subtle distinctions of Aristotle have not lost their correctness and
application with time. One can, in fact, employ his mind in three ways:
either contemplate absolute truth by the means of science;--or judge of
events and men and foresee future things without contributing toward their
occurrence;--or again deliberate as to what is to be done or not to be
done to bring about actions useful to one's self and to others. Hence
three kinds of men: the _wise_, the _intelligent_, the _prudent_.

_Knowledge._--Taking up again, one after the other, these three qualities,
we ought to ask ourselves whether knowledge is a duty for man; if he is
held to develop his mind in a theoretical manner and without any practical
end. But before we examine whether it is a duty, let us first find out
whether it is lawful.

The scientific and speculative culture of the mind on the part of man, has
often been regarded as a proud or conceited refinement.

This opinion was expressed by some writers of the seventeenth century--for
instance, by Nicole, in the preface to the _Logique de Port Royal_:

    "These sciences," he says, "have not only back-corners and secret
    recesses of very little use, but they are all useless when viewed in
    themselves and for themselves. Men were not born to spend their time
    measuring lines, examining the relations of angles, studying the
    divers movements of matter: their mind is too vast, their life too
    short, their time too precious, to occupy themselves with such small

Malebranche expresses himself in about the same terms:

    "Men were not born to become astronomers or chemists, to spend their
    whole life hanging on a telescope or fastened to a furnace, for no
    better purpose than to draw afterwards from their laborious
    observations useless consequences. Granting some astronomer was the
    first in discovering lands, seas, and mountains in the moon; that he
    was the first to perceive spots moving upon the sun, and that he has
    calculated their movements exactly. Granting some chemists to have
    finally discovered the secret of fixing mercury or to make that
    alkahest by means of which Van Helmont boasted he could dissolve all
    matter: were they the wiser and happier for it?"

In expressing themselves so disdainfully concerning the sciences, Nicole
and Malebranche meant, in fact, only that one should not prefer
speculative knowledge to the science of man or to the science of God; and
it is most true that if we view the sciences from a standpoint of dignity,
we must admit that the moral sciences have greater excellence than the
physical sciences. But that which is equally true is, that we must not
measure the merit of the sciences by their material or even moral or
logical utility. Science is in itself, and without regard to any other end
but itself, worthy to be loved and studied. Intelligence, in fact, was
given to man that he might know the truth of things; investigation is its
natural food. Man, in raising himself to science, increases thereby the
excellence of his nature; he becomes a creature of a higher order; for in
the order of divine creatures, the most perfect are at the same time those
who know the most, and the highest degree of happiness promised to
religious faith, is to know truth face to face. It is therefore no
frivolous amusement to increase here below the sum of knowledge we are
capable of, though this knowledge be only that of the things of this
world, and not yet the higher and direct knowledge of God.

Without admitting that science is of itself a legitimate object of
research, it will be recognized that it is lawful to study it, either in
our own interest or for the love of others, or for the love of God. But
this is not enough: to see in science nothing but a means to be useful to
ourselves (as, for example, to make a living),[114] is a servile and
mercenary view, which does not deserve to be discussed. To maintain that
science should only be cultivated because of its utility to others, is the
same as to say that man has no duties toward himself, and that he is not
obliged, letting alone the interest of others, to respect or perfect his
own self: a thing we have already refuted. Finally, to say that science
should be cultivated as a gift from God, and for the love of God, may be
true; but this is not any more applicable to that occupation than to any
other; and the same may be said of any other kind of duty without
exception. Certainly, science should not make one proud; but pride is only
an adventitious and not a necessary consequence, which, in speaking of
cultivating science, should not be confounded with the fact itself.

Besides, when Malebranche says that the scientist is not any happier or
wiser for his science, he is mistaken: for the greatest happiness is
sometimes derived from science alone; and as to the wisdom of it, a taste
for elevated thought is already a guarantee against the allurements of the
passions; finally, whilst we cultivate science, we are safe from other
less innocent inclinations.

To the opinions of Nicole and Malebranche, let us oppose the testimony of
two men who possessed in the highest degree the respect and love of

    "It is unworthy of man," says Aristotle, "not to possess himself of
    all the science he can. If the poets are right, when they say that the
    Divinity is capable of jealousy, this jealousy would especially
    manifest itself in regard to philosophy, and then, all those who
    indulged in elevated thought would be unhappy. But it is not possible
    for the Divinity to be jealous, and the poets, as the proverb says, do
    not always tell the truth.

Let us now hear Descartes:

    "Although in judging myself I find that I am more disposed to incline
    toward the side of distrust than presumption, and that regarding with
    a philosopher's eye the diverse actions and enterprises of men, there
    be scarcely any that do not seem to me vain and useless, yet does the
    progress which I think I have already made in the search for truth
    give me extreme satisfaction, and inspire me with such hopes for the
    future that if, among the more material occupations of men, there are
    any substantially good and important, I dare believe that it is the
    one I have chosen."[115]

If, from a standpoint of somewhat mystical piety, some minds of the
seventeenth century regarded the sciences as useless, a paradoxical
stoicism accused them in the eighteenth to be a cause of corruption and
decay in society. Such is J. J. Rousseau's celebrated thesis in his first
speech at the Academy of Dijon.

This celebrated paradox, which has created so much excitement in the past
century, and which is even an historical event (for it was the first
attack against the society of the time), has since been so decried that it
is useless to dwell on it. Let us make a brief _résumé_ of J. J.
Rousseau's arguments:

1. Progress in letters and sciences serves for nothing else but to conceal
the vices and put hypocrisy in the place of an ill-bred rusticity.

2. All great nations ceased to be invincible as soon as the sciences
penetrated among them. Egypt, after the conquest of Cambyses; Greece,
after Pericles; Rome, after Augustus. If, on the contrary, we look for
examples of healthy, honest, vigorous nations, we find them among the
ancient Persians, Scythians, Spartans, the first Romans, the Swiss.

3. The sciences and arts are born of and nourish idleness. Their least
mischief is uselessness.[116]

4. The letters and arts engender luxury, and luxury is one of the powerful
instruments of corruption in morals: it destroys courage, lowers the
character, and, by another consequence, depraves and corrupts the taste

5. Another consequence: the culture of the mind engenders sophisms, false
systems, and dangerous doubts about religion and morality.

These various arguments, taking them up one after the other, may be
answered as follows:

1. It is nowise proved that in the age of ignorance vices were less
numerous and less deeply rooted than in the more enlightened age. Decency
is a good in itself, and is not always hypocrisy. Delicacy of mind robs at
least vice of its grossest features; it diminishes and allays violence,
which is a great source of crimes.

2. It is not true that military virtues (which, besides, are not the only
admirable virtues) are destroyed by the culture of the mind: modern
examples prove this sufficiently.

3. To say that the letters and sciences are born of and nourish idleness
is an abuse of words. Wherein is the man who works mentally more idle than
he who works with his hands?

4. The sciences and letters do not develop a taste for luxury: luxury
would develop without them, and would be all the more frivolous and
corrupting: they are concomitant, but not mutually related facts. Luxury,
besides, is not absolutely bad in itself: the taste for elegance is a
legitimate one. Is not nature herself adorned?

5. Science develops wrong opinions, false systems: so be it; but it also
corrects them, and we should look at both sides of a thing and see its
good parts as well as its bad. Otherwise it would be easy to prove that
everything is wrong.

Rousseau's paradox, however, is not altogether false, and there are,
unquestionably, many evils mixed up with the culture of the mind, but
these evils do not come from the mind's being cultivated, but from its
being badly cultivated; they do not come from people's seeking the true
and the beautiful, but, on the contrary, from their not seeking them
enough. The vanity derived from false science should not be imputed to
true science, but to ignorance. The moral enfeeblement, which is the
result of an over-refined culture of the mind, comes from our not
sufficiently cultivating the mind in every direction; for example, from
our neglecting the moral sciences for the industrial sciences, or the
nobler arts for the voluptuous arts. The remedy for the evils pointed out
by Rousseau is, therefore, not ignorance, but, on the contrary, a greater
abundance of light, and higher lights.

It is then for each of us a duty to instruct himself, but it is evident
that this duty must be regarded as a broad duty--that is to say, that its
application cannot be determined by precise formulas. No man is obliged by
the moral law to be what is called a scholar; no one is obliged to learn
astronomy or transcendental mathematics, still less metaphysics. But it
can be said that it is a duty for each of us: 1. To learn as well as
possible the principles of the art he will have to cultivate: for
instance, the magistrate the principles of jurisprudence; the physician
the principles of medicine; the artisan the principles of mechanics. In
this respect young students, we must confess, have far too easy a
conscience. They do not realize the responsibility they incur by their
negligence and laziness. 2. It is a duty for all men, according to the
means they can dispose of, to instruct themselves concerning their
duties. 3. It is also a duty for each to go, as far as he can, beyond the
strictly necessary in matters of education, and in proportion to the means
he has at his disposal. It is then a duty to neglect no occasion of
improving one's self.

=149. Good sense.=--Between science and prudence, between _theoretical_
intelligence and _practical_ intelligence, Aristotle places the _critical_
faculty--in other terms, judgment, good sense, discernment. This faculty
is distinguished from science in that it is only applied to things where
doubt and deliberation come in; it treats then of the same objects as
prudence; but it is distinguished from the latter in that prudence is
practical and prescribes what should be done or not be done; good sense,
on the contrary, is purely critical: it is limited to mere judging. It is,
then, in some respects disinterested and does not induce to action; it is
the art of appreciating things, men, and events. Good judgment may be
found among men lacking practical prudence: one sees often very well the
faults of others without seeing one's own; or, again, one may be aware of
one's own faults and not be able to correct them. However, it is not to be
denied that good sense or good judgment is a useful auxiliary to prudence;
it is already in itself an estimable quality, and is far from being as
well distributed among men as Descartes claims.[117] On the contrary,
according to Nicole:

    "Common sense is not so common a quality as one thinks.... Nothing is
    more rare than this exactness of judgment. Everywhere we meet false
    minds who have scarcely any discernment of what is true; who take
    everything the wrong way; who accept the worst kind of reasonings, and
    wish to make others accept them also; who allow themselves to be
    carried away by the least appearances of things; who are always
    excessive in their views and run into extremes; minds who either have
    no grasp to hold on to the truths they have acquired, because they
    have become attached to them through chance rather than solid
    knowledge; or who, on the contrary, persist in their ideas with such
    stubbornness that they listen to nothing that could undeceive them;
    who judge boldly of things neither they nor any one else, perhaps,
    ever understood; who make no difference between talking to the
    purpose and talking nonsense, and are guided in their judgment by mere
    trifles.... So that there are no absurdities, however incredible, that
    do not find approving adherents. Whoever intends duping people is sure
    to find people glad to be duped, and the most ridiculous nonsense is
    sure to find minds suited for it."

Here, the rules of morality are confounded with those of logic. It is the
latter that teaches us how to avoid error, if not in science (which is the
object of speculative logic), at least in life. The development of these
rules will be found in the _Recherche de la vérité_ of Malebranche. The
_Logique de Port Royal_ will furnish us a _résumé_ of them which will
suffice here:

=150. Illusions coming from ourselves.=--1. A first cause of illusion in
the judgments we pass upon things, is to take our interest for a motive of
belief: "I am of such or such a country, _ergo_, I must believe that such
or such a saint has preached the Gospel there; I belong to such or such a
class, _ergo_, I believe that such or such a privilege is a just one."

2. Our affections are another cause of illusion: "I love him, _ergo_, he
is the cleverest man in the world; I hate him, _ergo_, he is nobody." This
is what may be called the sophistry of the heart.

3. Illusions of self-love. There are some who decide about everything by
the general and very convenient principle, that they must be in the right.
They listen but little to the reasons of others; they wish to carry
everything before them by main authority, and treat all those who are not
of their opinion as indifferent thinkers. Some even, without suspecting
it, go so far as to say to themselves: "If it were so, I should not be the
clever man I am: or, I am a clever man; _ergo_, it is not so."

4. Reciprocal reproaches which people may make to each other with the same
right: for example, you are a caviler, you are selfish, blind, dishonest,
etc. Whence this equitable and judicious rule of Saint Augustine: "Let us
avoid in discussions mutual reproaching; reproaches which, though they
may not be true at that moment, may justly be made by both parties."

5. A spirit of contradiction and dispute, so admirably depicted by

    "We only learn to dispute that we may contradict, and every one
    contradicting and being contradicted, it falls out that the fruit of
    disputation is to lose and nullify the truth.... One flies to the
    east, the other to the west; they lose the principal, and wander in
    the crowd of incidents; after an hour of tempest, they know not what
    they seek; one is low, the other high, and a third wide; one catches
    at a word and a simile; another is no longer sensible of what is said
    in opposition to him, being entirely absorbed in his own notions,
    engaged in following his own course, and not thinking of answering
    you; another, finding himself weak, fears all, refuses all, and, at
    the very beginning, confounds the subjects, or, in the very height of
    the dispute, stops short, and grows silent; by a peevish ignorance
    affecting a proud contempt, or an unseasonable modest desire to shun

6. The contrary defect, namely, a sycophantic amiability, which approves
of everything and admires everything: example, the _Philinte_ of Molière.

Besides these different illusions which are due to ourselves and our own
weaknesses, there are others engendered from without, or at least from the
divers aspects under which things present themselves to us:

=151. Illusions arising from objects.=--1. The mixture of the true and the
false, of good and evil which we see in things, is cause that we often
confound them. Thus do the good qualities of the persons we esteem cause
us to approve their defects, and _vice versa_. Now, it is precisely in
this judicious separation of good from evil that a correct mind shows

2. Illusions arising from eloquence and flowery rhetoric.

3. Ill-natured interpretations of people's peculiar views founded on mere
appearances or hearsay; as, for example: such a one goes with doubtful
characters, _ergo_, he is a bad character himself; such another associates
with free-thinkers, _ergo_, he is a free-thinker likewise; a third
criticises the government, _ergo_, he is a rebel; he approves its acts,
_ergo_, he is a courtier, etc., etc.

4. False deductions drawn from a few accidental occurrences; as for
instance: medicine does not cure all diseases, hence it cures none; there
are frivolous women, hence all women are frivolous; there are hypocrites,
hence piety is nothing but hypocrisy.

5. Error of judging of bad or good advice from subsequent events. As for
example: Such or such an event followed upon such and such advice, hence
it was good--it was bad.

6. Sophistry of authority. It consists in accepting men's opinions on the
strength of certain qualities they may possess, although these qualities
may have nothing to do with the matter in hand. For instance, by reason of
their age, or piety, or, what is worse, of wealth and influence. Certainly
we do not exactly say in so many words: such a one has a hundred pounds
income, and must therefore be right; but there is nevertheless something
similar going on in our minds, which runs away with our judgment without
our being conscious of it.

In pointing out these various dangers upon which good judgment and upright
reasoning are often wrecked, we indicate sufficiently the rules which
ought to serve in the education of the mind: for it is enough to be warned
against such errors, and be endowed with a certain amount of correct
judgment, to recognize and avoid them.

=152. Prudence.=--From the faculty of judging and having an opinion about
things, let us pass on to the third quality of the mind, namely: prudence,
which consists, as Aristotle informs us, in deliberating well before doing
anything, and which is the art of well discerning our interest in the
things concerning us, and the interest of others in the things concerning

There are then two sorts of prudence: personal prudence, which is nothing
more than self-interest well understood, and civil or disinterested
prudence, which applies to the interests of others; thus, a prudent
general, a prudent notary, a prudent minister, are not only prudent in
their own interests, but for that of others. Prudence from this point of
view is then but a duty toward others. As to personal prudence, it may be
asked how far it is a question of morals, and whether it is not excluded
from them by the very principle of morals, which is duty. But we have
already solved that difficulty. Because prudence is not all virtue, it
does not follow that it is not _a_ virtue. Certainly, we are too naturally
inclined to seek our own interest, to make it necessary to set it down as
a duty. But in case of struggle between self-interest and passion,[118]
self-interest takes sometimes the character of duty. This is clear enough.
Interest, if properly understood, represents general interest; and
passion, private interest. To yield to passion, is to satisfy at a given
moment, and for a very short time, one of our desires only. Prudence, on
the contrary, pleads the cause of the general interest of the entire man,
and for all his life. Man may be represented (as Plato has represented
him) figuratively as a city, a republic, a world; it has been said that he
is a microcosm (little world). This little world represents in miniature
the harmony of the great world. The individual to whom the government of
this little world is intrusted, and who stands in regard to himself as
Providence stands in regard to the universe, should not favor a part of it
at the expense of the rest. Prudence is then the virtue by means of which
man governs the affairs of the little State of which he is the king.
Prudence, moreover, is nothing more than foresight--that is to say, the
faculty of foreseeing what is coming, of drawing from the past,
consequences for the future, and acting conformably to the lessons of
experience. Now, it is especially by this that man is distinguished from
the animal: it is by this that he is capable of progress. He owes it then
to himself to act according to the principles of reason, and not according
to brute instincts.

Another difficulty of greater import, is that prudence does not represent
a special virtue, but is nothing more than a common name given to several
particular virtues. Thus, prudence being defined "the discernment between
the useful and the hurtful," it may be said that discernment, in point of
sensual pleasures, will be called moderation or temperance; in point of
riches, economy; that true courage holding the mean between temerity and
cowardice, is necessarily accompanied by prudence; we have seen that
science itself must learn how to keep within bounds, and this also is a
sort of prudence. We shall find therefore that prudence has not, like
other virtues, a property of its own. It is in reality nothing more than a
mode common to all personal virtues, each presenting two standpoints to be
considered from: 1, from the standpoint of personal dignity, which is the
highest principle; 2, from the standpoint of a proper self-interest,
which, subordinate to the first, is a secondary and relative standpoint.

However, applied in individual cases, we will give here a few of the rules
concerning prudence in general:

1. It is not enough to attend to what good or evil the present moment may
present; we should also examine what the natural consequences of this good
or evil will be, so that, comparing the present with the future and
balancing the one with the other, we may see the result beforehand.

2. It is unreasonable to seek a good which will inevitably be followed by
a greater evil.

3. Nothing is more reasonable than to suffer an evil which is certain to
be followed by a greater good.

4. One should prefer a greater good to a lesser, and conversely so in the
case of evils.

5. It is not necessary to be fully certain in regard to great goods or
evils, and probability is sufficient to induce a reasonable person to
deprive himself of some lesser goods, or to suffer some slight evils, in
view of acquiring much greater goods, or avoiding worse evils.[119]

=154. Duties relative to telling the truth.--Veracity and falsehood.=--It
is in the nature of man to express his thoughts by signs of various kinds,
and oftenest by words. What is the law which is to regulate the relations
between words and thoughts? Are we to regard words as arbitrary means
serving indifferently to express any kind of thought, or as having no
other end than to express our own particular thought, the same, namely,
which comes to us at the moment of speaking? Common sense solves this
question by esteeming in the highest degree those who use speech only to
express their thought, and despising those who use it to deceive. This
sort of virtue is called _veracity_, and its opposite is _falsehood_.

Falsehood is generally regarded among men as only a violation of the duty
toward others. It is not from this standpoint we are going to consider it
here. Unquestionably, one should injure no one in any way, no more by a
falsehood than otherwise. But for a falsehood to be harmless, does it
follow that it is not bad? The scholastics distinguished two kinds of
falsehoods: the _malicious_ falsehood, with intent to deceive, and the
_verbal_ falsehood, which consists in mere words, and does not spring from
any wish to do harm (as, for example, the falsehood of the physician who
deceives his patient). But such distinctions should not be admitted.
Falsehood need not be malicious to be bad: it is bad of itself, whatever
be its consequences. There remains then to know what is to be done in
cases of conflict between our duties, and if moral law does not in certain
cases relent? Even though it did, it would not suffice to authorize the
distinction between two kinds of falsehoods. What precisely constitutes a
falsehood is to be verbal--that is to say, to employ speech to express the
contrary of truth. Whether malice enters into it or not, this is an
accident which has nothing to do with the essence of falsehood; it may
aggravate or attenuate it, certainly, but it does not constitute it.

To well understand the moral evil which resides in falsehood one must
take it at its source--that is to say, distinguish with Kant between
_inner_ and _outward_ falsehood: the first whereby one lies to himself,
namely, in lacking in sincerity in regard to himself; the second whereby
one lies to others.

The human mind is naturally constituted for knowing the truth: truth is
its object and its end. A mind that has not truth for its object is no
mind. Whosoever uses his mind to satisfy his inclinations undoubtedly
debases his mind, but he does not pervert it; but he who uses his mind to
make himself or others believe the contrary to the truth, perverts and
ruins his mind. He then perverts and destroys one of the most excellent
gifts of his nature, and fails thereby in one of the strictest and most
clearly defined duties.

It may be asked whether it is possible for man to really lie to himself,
and if it is not rather a contradiction in terms. One can, in fact,
understand how a man may be mistaken, but then he does not know that he is
mistaken; it is an error, but no lie; if, on the contrary, he knows that
he is mistaken, then for that very reason is he no longer mistaken; so
that it would seem that there can be no lying to one's self.

And yet popular psychology, the subtlest of all, because it is formed in
the presence of real facts, and under the true teachings of experience
(whilst scientific psychology is always more or less artificial), this
natural psychology, which sums up the experience of the whole of humanity,
has always affirmed that man could voluntarily deceive himself,
consequently lie to himself. The most ordinary case of inward falsehood is
when man employs sophisms--that is to say, seeks reasons wherewith to
smother the cry of his conscience; or when he tries to persuade himself
that he has no other motive in view than moral good, whilst, in fact, he
only acts from fear of punishment, or from any other interested motive.

    "To take, through love of self, an intention for a fact, because it
    has for its object a good end in itself, is again," says Kant, "a
    defect of another kind. It is a weakness similar to that of the lover
    who, desirous to see nothing but good qualities in the woman he
    loves,[120] shuts his eyes to the most obvious defects."

The inward lie is then an unpardonable weakness, if not a real baseness,
and we must conclude from this that it is the same with the outward
lie--the lie, namely, which expresses itself in words.

Here it may be objected that speech is not an integrant part of the mind,
that it is only an accident, that whatever use we may make of speech we do
not destroy thereby the principle of intelligence, for I may use my mind
to discover and possess myself of truth, even though I should not make
known the same to others, or make them believe otherwise than I think.
From this standpoint falsehood would still remain a sin as a violation of
the duty toward others, though not as a shortcoming in regard to one's

But this would be a very false analysis of the psychological fact called
communication of thought. Speech is never wholly independent of thought.
The very fact that I speak, implies that I think my speech: there is an
inner affirmation required. I cannot make sophisms to deceive men without
having first inwardly combined these sophisms through the faculty of
thinking which is in me. I think then of one thing and another at the same
time; I think at the same time of both the true and the false, and I am
conscious of this contradiction. I employ then knowingly my mind in
destroying itself, and I fall, consequently, into the vice pointed out

Kant gives another deduction than ours to prove that falsehood is a
violation of duty toward one's self. But his deduction is, perhaps, not
sufficiently severe:

    "A man who does not himself believe what he tells another, is of less
    worth than is a simple _thing_; for one may put the usefulness of a
    simple thing to some account, whilst the liar is not so much a real
    man as a deceiving appearance of a man.... Once the major principle of
    veracity shaken, dissimulation soon runs into all our relations with

This deduction is very ingenious; but it lacks strictness, inasmuch as it
is based on the use a man may be made of, which principle is contrary to
the general principle of Kant's morals, and also because it rests on the
standpoint of social interest, which lies outside the point in question.

=155. Discretion.=--It is evident that the duty not to lie, does not carry
with it, as its consequence, the duty of telling all. Silence must not be
confounded with dissimulation, and no one is obliged to tell all he has in
his mind; far from it; we are here before another duty toward ourselves,
which stands in some respect in opposition to the preceding one, namely,
_discretion_. The babbler who speaks at all times and under all
circumstances, and he who tells what he should not, must not be confounded
with the loyal and sincere man, who only tells what he thinks, but does
not necessarily tell all he thinks.

Silence is obviously a strict duty toward others, when the matter in
question has been confided to us under the seal of secrecy. But it may
also be said that it is a duty toward ourselves, and for the following

1. To use one's mind, as does the babbler, in giving utterance to barren
and frivolous thoughts, is degrading: not all that accidentally crosses
one's mind is worthy of being expressed; and it is simply heedlessness to
fix one's mind on fleeting things, and give them a certain fixity and
value through words; 2, there are, on the other hand, other thoughts, too
precious, too personal, too elevated, to be indiscreetly exposed to the
curiosity of fools or indifferent persons. Thus will it be heroic,
unquestionably, to confess one's faith before the executioner, if there is
need; but it is not necessary to proclaim it all round when there is no
occasion for it: I believe such and such a thing; I belong to such or such
a church; I hold such and such a doctrine; I belong to such or such a
party, unless, of course, there is an interest in spreading one's belief;
and even then it will be necessary to choose the right place and the right
moment. As to using discretion in regard to our sentiments, our moral
qualities, or our defects, it is in one instance a duty of modesty and in
another one of personal dignity.

=156. Perjury.=--If falsehood is in general an abasement of human dignity,
it is a still greater abasement when it is of the kind called _perjury_,
and a transgression which might be defined as a double falsehood.

Perjury is of two sorts: it either means swearing falsely or violating a
former oath. In order to understand the meaning of perjury, one must know
what constitutes an oath.

The oath is an affirmation where God is taken as a witness of the truth
one is supposed to utter. The oath consists, then, in some respect, in
invoking God in our favor, in making him speak in our name. We, so to say,
attest that God himself, who reads the heart, would, if he were called in
testimony, speak as we speak ourselves. The oath indicates that one
accepts in advance the chastisements God does not fail to inflict upon
those who invoke his name in vain.

It will be seen by this how perjury, namely, false swearing, may be called
a double lie. For perjury is a lie, first in affirming a thing that is
false, and second, in affirming that God would bear testimony if he were
present. Let us add that there is here a sort of sacrilege which consists
in our making God, in some respects, the accomplice of our lie.

It is true that men, in taking an oath, forget often its sacred and
religious character, and, consequently, there is not always a sacrilegious
intention in their false swearing. But it may still be said that perjury
is a double lie; for in every oath taken, even though stripped of all
religious character, there is always a double attestation: first we affirm
a thing, and next we affirm that our affirmation is true. It is thus that
in that form of speech long since worn out, which is called _word of
honor_, we give our word and engage our honor to attest that such or such
affirmation is true. To break this word is, then, to lie twice, for it is
affirming a false affirmation. It is for this reason that falsehood,
which is always culpable, must, in this case, be regarded as particularly

As to perjury, considered as a violation of a former oath, it belongs to
the class of promise or word-breaking, which is especially contrary to the
duty toward others. Yet, even in this kind of falsehood, there is also a
violation of personal duty; for he who breaks a promise (with or without
oath) would seem to indicate by it that he did not intend keeping his
promise, which is destructive to the very idea of a promise; it is then,
once more, using speech, not as a necessary symbol of thought, but simply
as a means of obtaining what we want, reserving to ourselves the liberty
to change our minds when the moment comes for fulfilling our promise. This
is abasing our intelligence, and making it serve as a means to satisfy our
wants, whilst it belongs to an order far superior to these very wants.




    =Duties relative to the will.--Strength of soul.=--All duty in general
    is relative to the will: for there is not any which does not require
    the control of the will over the inclinations.

    Virtue, especially when considered from the latter standpoint,--the
    control of the will over the inclinations,--is _strength of soul_, or

    Of courage and its different forms: _military courage_; _civic
    courage_; _patience_, _moderation_ in prosperity; _equanimity_, etc.

    Of anger and its different kinds.--Generous anger.

    Duty of _personal dignity_.--_Respect for one's self._ _True pride_
    and _false pride_.--Of a _just esteem of one's self_.--Of _modesty_.

    =Duties relative to sentiment.=--Have we any duties in regard to our
    sensibilities?--Kant's objection: no one can love at will. Reply.--To
    distinguish _sensibility_ from _sentimentality_.

=157. Duties relative to the will.--Strength of soul.=--One may justly ask
whether there are any duties relating particularly to the will: for it
would seem that all duties are generally duties of the will. There is no
one that does not require the control of the will over the inclinations;
and if we say that it is a duty to cultivate and exercise this control, is
it not as if we said that it is a duty to learn to do our duty? But why
could we not also suppose a third duty, commanding us to observe the
former, and so _ad infinitum_?

We may then say that the duty to exercise one's will and triumph over the
passions, is nothing more than duty _per se_, the duty _par excellence_,
of which all the other duties are but parts. This virtue, by which the
soul commands its passions and does not allow itself to be subjugated by
any of them, may be called courage or strength of soul. Courage thus
understood is not only a virtue; it is virtue itself.[121] In fact, what
is temperance, if it is not a certain kind of courage before the pleasures
of the senses? what economy, if not courage before the temptations of
fortune? what veracity, if not the courage to tell the truth under all
circumstances? what justice and benevolence, if not the courage to
sacrifice self-interest to the interest of others? We have already (page
87) made a similar observation in regard to prudence and wisdom, namely,
that virtue in general is both wisdom and courage: for it presupposes at
the same time strength and light. As strength, it is courage, energy,
greatness of soul; as light, it is prudence and wisdom. All special
virtues would, then, strictly speaking, be only factors, or component
parts, of those two.

=158. Courage.=--Yet if courage, in its most general sense, is virtue
itself, usage has given it a special meaning which defines it in a more
particular manner, and makes of it a certain distinct virtue, on the same
conditions as all the others. As of all the assaults which besiege us in
life, death appears to be the most terrible and generally the most
dreaded, it is not to be wondered then that this kind of energy which
consists in braving death and, consequently, all that may lead to it,
namely, peril, has been designated by a particular name. Courage,
therefore, is the sort of virtue which braves peril and even death. Then,
by extension, the same word was applied to every manifestation of strength
of soul before misfortune, misery, grief. A man can be brave in poverty,
in slavery, under humiliation even--that is, a humiliation which is due to
outward circumstances, and which he has not deserved.

This courageous virtue seems to have been the particular feature of the
ancients, and by dint of its excellence, still retains its hold on us,
dazzling our imagination, as a privileged prestige. Yet is it only an
illusion, and modern times are as rich in heroes as were ancient times:
only we pay less attention to it perhaps; but, whether it be real
superiority in this kind of virtue, or literary reminiscences and habits
of education, nothing will ever erase that lively picture of ancient
heroism so celebrated under the name of Plutarch's heroes, and which has
always captivated all great imaginations. Stoicism, that original
philosophy of the Greek and Roman world, is above all the philosophy of
courage. Its character proper is the strength to resist one's self, to
hold pain, death, all the accidents of humanity, in contempt. Its model is
Hercules, the god of strength; all the great men of antiquity, whether
consciously or not, were stoics: such were especially the ancient Roman
citizens; they were austere, inexorable; slaves to duty and discipline,
faithful to their oath, to their country;--Brutus, Regulus, Scævola,
Decius, and thousands more like them. When stoicism came in contact with
the last great Romans, it found material all ready for its doctrines; it
then became the philosophy of the last republicans, the last heroes of a
world which was fast disappearing.

The courage which most impresses men is _military courage_.

    "The most honorable deaths occur in war," says Aristotle, "for in war
    the danger is the greatest and most honorable. The public honors that
    are awarded in states and by monarchs attest this.

    "Properly, then, he who in the case of an honorable death, and under
    circumstances close at hand which cause death, is fearless, may be
    called courageous; and the dangers of war are, more than any others,
    of this description."[122]

In looking at it from this somewhat exclusive standpoint, Aristotle
refuses to call courageous those who brave sickness and poverty; "for it
is possible," he says, "for cowards, in the perils of war, to bear with
much firmness the losses of fortune;" nor does he allow to be called
courageous "him who firmly meets the strokes of the whip he is threatened

This is but a question of name and degree. Wherever there are any evils
to brave, the firmness which meets and bears these evils can be called
courage; on the other hand, the sense of the word can, if preferred, be
restricted to military perils; but what Aristotle has most justly defined,
and of which he makes a very subtle analysis, is the difference between
apparent and true courage. Thus the courage of constraint and
necessity--as, for instance, that of soldiers who would be mercilessly
killed, if they retreated before the enemy--is not true courage, for one
cannot be brave through fear. Nor should anger be confounded with courage:
this were but the courage of wild beasts obeying a blind impulse under the
sting of pain. At that rate, the donkeys even, when hungry, would be
brave. That which determines true courage is the sentiment of honor, not
passion. We should neither call brave him who is so only because he feels
himself the strongest, like the drunkard full of confidence in the
beginning, but who runs away when he does not succeed. For this reason is
there truer courage in preserving one's intrepidity and calm in sudden
dangers, than in dangers long anticipated.[123] Finally, ignorance cannot
be called courage either: to brave a danger one is ignorant of, is only to
be apparently brave.

Aristotle finds also in courage an excellent opportunity to apply his
celebrated theory of the golden mean. Courage is for him a medium between
temerity and cowardice. But it is not the too much or too little in danger
which determines what we ought to call courage. There are cases where one
may be obliged to brave the greatest possible danger without being for
that rash; other cases where, on the contrary, one has the right to avoid
the least possible peril without being for that a coward. The true
principle is that one should brave necessary perils, be they ever so
great; and likewise avoid useless perils, be they ever so slight. Yet, the
question of degree should not be wholly overlooked. There are some perils
which, without being necessary, it is useful to brave (were it but to
train one's self for greater ones). Such are, for example, the dangers
connected with bodily exercises. Peril and utility must, of course, be
compared with each other; for example, he who from considerations of
utility would wish to avoid all kinds of perils, will be wanting in
courage; and he who, on the contrary, would lightly brave an extreme
peril, will naturally deserve to be called rash. Thus must we first
consider the nature of the peril, and, secondly, the degree.

=159. Civic courage.=--Although military courage is the most brilliant and
popular form of courage, it may be asked whether there is not a higher and
nobler form still, namely, civic courage.

Cicero, who, to say the truth, was not sufficiently disinterested in the
matter, persists in showing that civic virtues are equal to military
virtues, and demand an equal amount of courage and energy.[124] A firm and
high-souled man, he says, has no trouble in difficult circumstances, to
preserve his presence of mind and the free use of his reason, to provide
in advance against events, and to be always ready for action when

This is a sort of courage more difficult perhaps than the one required in
a hand-to-hand struggle with the enemy. Civic life, besides, has itself
trials which often imperil one's existence.

Antiquity has left us innumerable and admirable examples of civic courage
against tyranny. Helvidius Priscus was thought to look with disapproval
upon Vespasian's administration. The latter sent him word to keep away
from the Senate: "It is in thy power," replied Helvidius, "to forbid my
belonging to the Senate, but as long as I belong to it, I shall attend
it."--"Go, then," said the emperor, "but hold thy tongue."--"If thou ask
me no questions I will make thee no answers."--"But I must ask thee
questions."--"And I must answer thee what I think just."--"If thou dost, I
shall have thee put to death."--"When have I said to thee that I was
immortal?" But nothing ever surpassed the intrepidity of Socrates, either
before the Thirty Tyrants who wished to interdict him free speech,[125] or
before the people's tribunals which condemned him to death:

    Plato in his _Apology_ makes him say: "If you were to tell me now,
    'Socrates, we will not listen to Anytus: we send thee back absolved on
    condition that thou ceasest philosophizing and givest up thy
    accustomed researches,' I should answer you without hesitation, 'O
    Athenians, I honor and love you, but I shall obey God before I obey

Then, after having been condemned to death, he closes with these admirable

    "I bear my accusers, and those who have condemned me, no resentment,
    although they did not seek my good, but rather to injure me. But I
    shall ask of them one favor: I beg you, when my children shall be
    grown up, to persecute them as I have myself persecuted you, if you
    see that they prefer riches to virtue.... If you grant us this favor,
    I and my children shall have but to praise your justice. But it is
    time we go each our way: I to die, you to live. Which of us has the
    better part, you or I? This is known to none but God."

=160. Patience.=--One of the most difficult forms of courage is that which
consists not only in braving or repelling a threatening danger (which
presupposes some effort and activity), but in bearing without anger,
without any sign of vain revolt, the ills and pains of life: this is
_patience_. There is a kind of patience which is but a part of our duty in
regard to others: one must learn to bear a great deal from others, they
having often a great deal to bear from us. But we speak here of that inner
patience which is our strength in grief; the patience of the invalid in
his daily sufferings; that of the poor man in his poverty; the patience,
in short, which all must exercise amidst the innumerable and inevitable
accidents of life. It is, above all, that sort of virtue which the Stoics
meant when they said with Epictetus: "You should not wish things to happen
as you want them; but you should wish them as they do happen." A maxim
which Descartes translated substantially, saying: "My maxim is rather to
try to overcome myself than fortune, and rather to change my own wishes
than to change the order of the world." Which he explained by saying:

    "If we regard the goods which lie outside of us as unattainable as
    those we are deprived of from our birth, we shall no more grieve at
    not possessing them, than we should in not possessing the empires of
    China or Mexico; and, making, as it is said, a virtue of necessity, we
    shall not any more desire to be healthy when ill, or to be free when
    in prison, than we desire now to have bodies of as incorruptible a
    stuff as diamonds, or to have wings to fly with like birds."[126]

It is this kind of courage which at every moment of life is most in
requisition, and which is the rarest; for there will be found plenty of
men capable of braving death when the occasion presents itself; but to
bear with resignation the inevitable and constantly renewed ills of human
life, is a virtue all the more rare as one is scarcely ever ashamed of its
opposite vice. One would blush to fear peril, one does not blush for
rebelling against destiny; one is willing to die if necessary, but not to
be thwarted. Yet will it be admitted that to succumb under the weight of
destiny, is a kind of cowardice. It is for this reason that it would be
justly said that suicide is also a cowardly act; for whilst it is true
that it demands a certain physical courage, it is also true that the moral
courage which bears the ills of life is of a still higher order.

    "You take a journey to Olympia," says Epictetus, "to behold the work
    of Phidias, and each of you thinks it a misfortune to die without a
    knowledge of such things; and will you have no inclination to see and
    understand those works, for which there is no need to take a journey;
    but which are ready and at hand, even to those who bestow no pains!
    Will you never perceive what you are, or for what you were born, or
    for what purpose you are admitted to behold this spectacle? But there
    are in life some things unpleasant and difficult. And are there none
    at Olympia? Are you not heated? Are you not crowded? Are you not
    without good conveniences for bathing? Are you not wet through, when
    it happens to rain? Do you not have uproar and noise, and other
    disagreeable circumstances? But, I suppose, by comparing all these
    with the merit of the spectacle, you support and endure them. Well,
    and have you not received faculties by which you may support every
    event? Have you not received greatness of soul? Have you not received
    a manly spirit? Have you not received patience? What signifies to me
    anything that happens, while my soul is above it? What shall
    disconcert or trouble or appear grievous to me? Shall I not use my
    powers to that purpose for which I received them; but lament and groan
    at every casualty?"[127]

But we should not confound true strength, true courage, true patience,
with false strength and ridiculous obstinacy.

    "An acquaintance of mine," says again Epictetus, "had, for no reason,
    determined to starve himself to death. I went the third day, and
    inquired what was the matter. He answered: 'I am determined.'--'Well;
    but what is your motive? For, if your determination be right, we will
    stay, and assist your departure; but if unreasonable, change it.'--'We
    ought to keep our determinations.'--'What do you mean, sir? Not all of
    them; but such as are right. Else, if you should fancy that it is
    night, if this be your principle, do not change, but persist and say,
    "We ought to keep to our determinations." 'What do you mean, sir? Not
    to all of them. Why do you not begin by first laying the foundation,
    inquiring whether your determination be a sound one, or not; and then
    build your firmness and constancy upon it. For, if you lay a rotten
    and crazy foundation, you must not build; since the greater and more
    weighty the superstructure, the sooner will it fall. Without any
    reason you are withdrawing from us, out of life, a friend, a
    companion, a fellow-citizen both of the greater and the lesser city;
    and while you are committing murder, and destroying an innocent
    person, you say, "We must keep to our determinations." Suppose, by any
    means, it should ever come into your head to kill me; must you keep to
    such a determination?'

    "With difficulty this person was, however, at last convinced; but
    there are some at present, whom there is no convincing ... a fool will
    neither bend nor break."[128]

=161. Moderation.=--The ancients always associated with patience in
adversity another kind of courage, no less rare and difficult, namely,
moderation in prosperity. It was for them, in some respects, one and the
same virtue, exercised in two opposite conditions, and this is what they
call _equanimity_.

"Now, during our prosperity," says Cicero, "and while things flow
agreeably to our desire, we ought, with great care, to avoid pride and
arrogance; for, as it discovers weakness not to bear adversity with
equanimity, so also with prosperity. That equanimity, in every condition
of life, is a noble attribute, and that uniform expression of countenance
which we find recorded of Socrates, and also of Caius Lælius. Panætius
tells us, his scholar and friend, Africanus, used to say that as horses,
grown unruly by being in frequent engagements, are delivered over to be
tamed by horse-breakers, thus men, who grow riotous and self-sufficient by
prosperity, ought, as it were, to be exercised in the traverse[129] of
reason and philosophy, that they may learn the inconstancy of human
affairs and the uncertainty of fortune.[130]

Nothing occurs more frequently among the ancient poets and moralists than
this idea of the vicissitude of human things. The metaphor of Fortune's
wheel, which sometimes lowers to the greatest depth those it raised
highest, is well known. We need scarcely dwell upon this commonplace
saying which has never, for an instant, ceased to be true; although the
more regular conditions of modern society have introduced more security
and uniformity in life, at least for those who live wisely and with
moderation. Yet is no one secure against the changes of fortune; there are
unexpected elevations as there are sudden falls; and firmness in either
bad or good fortune will always be necessary.

=162. Equality of temper; anger.=--To equality of temper or possession of
one's self, there is still another obligation attached: that of avoiding
anger, a passion which the ancients with reason considered the principle
of courage,[131] but which of itself is without any rules, and is more
proper to beasts than men. Aristotle has described the irascible
disposition with great accuracy. He justly distinguishes two kinds of
anger; one where a man is easily carried away, and as easily appeased
again, and the other where resentment is nursed and kept up for a long
time. The first is the irascible disposition; the second, the splenetic or
vindictive disposition.

    "Irascible men," says Aristotle, "are easily angered, with improper
    objects, on improper occasions, and too much; but their anger quickly
    ceases, and this is the best point in their character. And this is the
    case with them, because they do not restrain their anger, but
    retaliate openly and visibly, because of their impetuosity, and then
    they become calm.--But the bitter are difficult to be appeased, and
    retain their anger a long time, for they repress their rage; but there
    comes a cessation, when they have retaliated; for revenge makes their
    anger cease, because it produces pleasure instead of the previous
    pain. But if they do not get revenge, they feel a weight of
    disappointment: for, owing to its not showing itself, no one reasons
    with them; and there is need of time for a man to digest his anger
    within him. Persons of this character are very troublesome to
    themselves, and to their best friends."[132]

Seneca, in his treatise on _Anger_, has conclusively shown all the evils
this passion carries with it, and of which Horace justly said: "Anger is a
short madness."

Yet, if anger is an evil, apathy, absolute indifference, is far from being
a good. Whilst there is a brutal and beastly anger, there is also a noble,
a _generous anger_, namely, that which is at the service of noble
sentiments. Plato describes it in the following terms:

"When we are convinced that injustice has been done us, does it not plead
the cause of what appears to it to be just? Instead of allowing itself to
be overcome by hunger, by cold, by all sorts of ill-treatments, does it
not overcome them? It never ceases a moment to make generous efforts
toward obtaining satisfaction, and nothing but death depriving it of its
power, or reason persuading or silencing it, as the shepherd silences his
dog, can stop it."[133]

Aristotle also approves of this generous anger, and blames those with
souls too cold:

    "One can only call stupid those who cannot be aroused to anger about
    things where real anger ought to be felt.... He who does not then get
    angry appears insensible and ignorant of what just indignation means.
    One might even believe him, since he has no feeling of courage, unable
    to defend himself when necessary. But it is the cowardice of the
    slave's to accept an insult and to allow his kin to be attacked with

But that which is not easy, as Aristotle remarks, is to find an exact and
proper medium between apathy and violence:

"It is difficult to determine with accuracy the manner, the persons, the
occasions, and the length of time for which one ought to be angry, and at
what point one ceases to act rightly or wrongly. For he who transgresses
the limit a little is not blamed, whether it be on the side of excess or
deficiency: and we sometimes praise those who fall short, and call them
meek; and we call the irascible manly, as being able to govern ... the
decision must be left to particular cases, and to the moral sense."[135]

=163. Personal dignity.=--A generous anger, as has been seen, has its
principle in the sentiment of _personal dignity_, with which the _duty of
self-respect_ is connected.

Man's free will is what essentially constitutes the dignity of human
nature, the moral personality. Man's duty toward himself as a moral
personality is then dependent upon his will.

This duty of self-respect, of the moral personality, has been admirably
expressed by Kant, and we can do no better than transcribe here the

"Man, considered as an animal, is a being of but mediocre importance, and
is not worth any more than other animals. His utility and worth is that of
any marketable thing.--But, considered as a personality, he is priceless;
he is possessed of a _dignity_ which can claim the respect of all other
reasonable creatures, and which allows him to measure himself with each of
them, and consider himself their equal.

"But this respect, which he has a right to exact of every other man, he
should not despoil himself of. He can, and should, therefore, estimate
himself both in ratio to his greatness and littleness, according as he
considers himself a sensuous being (in his animal nature), or an
intelligent being (in his moral nature). But as he should not only
consider himself as a person in general, but also as an individual man,
his lesser worth as animal-man should not impair the consciousness he has
of his dignity as reasonable man, and he must hold on to the moral
estimate he makes of himself as such. In other words, he should not pursue
his aims in a lowly and servile manner, as if he solicited favors: this
would be abdicating his dignity; he should always uphold within himself
the consciousness of the nobility of his moral faculties, for it is this
estimate of one's self which constitutes the duty of man toward himself.

"The consciousness and conviction of our little moral worth, compared with
what the law requires of us, is moral humility. The contrary consciousness
and conviction, namely, the persuading ourselves, for want of this
comparison, that we are of very great worth, may be called the pride of
virtue.--To reject all claim to any moral worth whatsoever, in the hope of
acquiring thereby a hidden worth, is a false moral humility and an
abasement of the mind. To undervalue one's own moral worth for the purpose
of obtaining thereby the favor of another (through hypocrisy or flattery,
namely), is also a false humility, and, moreover, an abasement of one's
personality. True humility should of necessity be the result of an exact
and sincere comparison of one's self with the moral law (with its sanctity
and severity). This duty relative to the human dignity in our personality
may be more or less clearly stated in the following precepts: Be no man's
slave; let not your rights be trampled under foot; contract no debts for
which you cannot give full security; accept no gifts which you can do
without; be neither a parasite, nor a flatterer, nor a beggar; complaints
and lamentations, even a single cry wrung from us by bodily pain, are
things unworthy of us (still more unworthy if the pain is deserved).
Therefore is a criminal's death ennobled by the firmness with which he
meets it. Can he who makes himself a worm complain if he be crushed?"[136]

=164. True and false pride.=--We should, however, not confound a true and
noble _pride_, without which man is but a thing and a slave, with a
passion which looks like it, but which is but its phantom; I mean _false
pride_. True pride is the just feeling man has of his moral dignity, and
which interdicts him to humble the human personality in others, or to
allow it to be humbled in himself. False pride is the exaggerated feeling
we entertain in regard to our own advantages and superiority over other
men. True pride is related to what there is sacred and divine in us; false
pride, on the contrary, feeds and grows fat on the trifling and petty
concerns of our mere individuality. There is in man, the stoics said, an
inner god: the human essence, namely, of which the individual is but the
depository, and which he ought to keep sacred and holy as a divine host.
This respect for the human personality, religious morality calls holiness;
worldly morality calls it honor; it is one and the same principle under
different forms; it is the idea of something sacred in us which we must
neither stain nor debase. True pride rests then on what there is common
among all men, on what makes them equals. False pride, on the contrary,
regards chiefly our peculiarities, and what we call more especially our
own. True pride asks for nothing more than to be free from oppression;
false pride wants to oppress others. True pride is noble; false pride,
brutal and insolent. Of course it has its degrees according to the nature
of the advantages of which it boasts. The pride, for example, which
boasts of material advantages, is the grossest of all; pride of birth and
ancestry is more pardonable, but if he who is proud of them shows it too
much he becomes disgusting, and true pride will have a right to protect
itself against that kind of false pride. He, again, who is proud of his
intellectual advantages is less blameworthy than the former, for these
advantages belong, at least, to his personality; but as they are not due
to the man, and as, however great they may be, they have still their weak
sides, this also is an inexcusable pride. The pride which might appear to
be the most pardonable is the pride of virtue, if there were not in some
respects a sort of contradiction of terms in drawing advantage and honor
from a good the essentiality of which consists in self-forgetfulness and
the pure and simple observance of the law.

The diminutive of false pride is _vanity_. False pride looks to great
things, at least to such as appear great to men; vanity boasts of the
smallest. False pride is insulting; vanity wounding. The one is odious,
the other ridiculous. The lowest order of vanity is _foppishness_, or the
vanity of external advantages--the person, the toilet, superficial
accomplishments. This diminutive of false pride is one of the most
pitiable of passions, and should be combated by manly efforts.

=165. Modesty.=--The virtue opposed to false pride, and which, besides, is
nowise irreconcilable with true pride, is modesty, a correct feeling,
namely, of one's just worth. Morality does not forbid us a proper estimate
of our merits; these merits, besides, having but a relative value, and
representing but faintly the high ideal we should always keep before our
eyes. To fail to appreciate the advantages we owe to nature, is often
indicative only of laziness and apathy. He who depreciates himself is not
disposed to turn what there is in him to account. This self-depreciation,
in order to avoid the responsibility of using his faculties, is often but
a subterfuge and the sophistry of indolence. There is nothing contrary to
duty in the acknowledgment of our worth, so long as we do not boast of
it, but thank Providence for it, and put to use the gifts it has conferred
on us. If, on the contrary, the question is of virtues we have acquired by
our own efforts, the satisfaction we experience from it is but the just
recompense of these efforts; and such a feeling could not be condemned;
for such condemnation would be a virtual protest against the moral
conscience, which consists as much in the satisfaction we derive from good
actions as in the regrets which accompany the bad.

Unquestionably, "the left hand should not know what the right hand doeth;"
which means that we should not everywhere proclaim aloud our good actions,
and that we should as much as possible forget them. But this forgetting
should not go so far as indifference; for our morality depends upon our

But if it is lawful for man to rejoice over his natural or acquired gifts,
it is on the condition that he do not exaggerate their import: this is
easy enough if we compare ourselves to those who are still better gifted
than we are, or think of what we should and could do with greater efforts,
more courage, better will; or in recognizing the narrow scope, limits, and
defects of these gifts, or in keeping, above all, our eyes more open to
our faults than our good qualities. Beware of the beam of the Gospel.

Modesty should not only be external, but internal also; externally, it is
above all a duty we owe others, whom we should not humble by our superior
advantages; internally, it is a duty to ourselves, for we should not
deceive ourselves about our own worth. One is sometimes modest externally
without being so internally, and conversely. I may pretend before men to
have no great opinion of myself, whilst internally I am full of conceit:
this is sheer hypocrisy. I may, on the other hand, externally attribute to
myself advantages which my conscience altogether denies: this is bragging.
One should be modest both inwardly and outwardly, in words and actions.
But how, in what manner, and to what degree must we be modest? It is
impossible in matters so delicate to establish definite rules, and the
decision must be left to our own judgment.

There is another virtue to be distinguished from modesty, namely,
_humility_. Humility should not be an abasement; for it is never a virtue
in man to lower himself. But, even as dignity and true pride are virtues
which spring from a proper sense of human greatness, so humility is a
virtue which springs from a proper sense of human weakness. Remember that
thou art a man and do not degrade thyself: this is self-respect. Remember
that thou art but a man and do not allow thyself to indulge in vain pride;
this is humility. Modesty relates to the individual; humility to human
nature in general. As to that false humility which consists in lowering
one's self before men unnecessarily, and without any occasion for it (like
Tartufe, for example:

  "Yes, brother, I am a sinner and a wretch!"[137]),

it is but the falsehood of virtue, and should be rejected by all manly and
generous morality.

=166. Duties relative to sentiment.=--A last point which should not be
neglected is this: has man, as far as he is endowed with moral
sensibility--that is to say, as far as he is a susceptible being--capable
of love, enthusiasm, affection, any duties toward himself?

Kant maintains that love cannot be an object of duty; that no one is
obliged to love: that sentiment is phenomenal and belongs to the order of
nature, and can neither be produced nor prevented; that, consequently, it
has nothing to do with morals. The only love admitted by Kant in morals is
what he calls _practical_ love: namely, the love which consists in actions
and does others good, or any kind of sentiment accompanying benevolence,
provided it be a disinterested sentiment. "All other love," he says in his
odd and energetic language, "is _pathological_," that is, sickly.

Kant, no doubt, is right if he means that false sentimentality or feeble
softness,[138] which the poet Gilbert has so well described, and which the
enervating literature of the latter part of the eighteenth century made so
ridiculous. We should take care not to fall into an effeminate tenderness
or a silly philanthropy which sacrifices justice to a mawkish sensibility.
But all danger and defects set aside, there still remains the question
whether we owe anything to our own heart, and whether the only thing
directly commanded us, be action.

It is quite true that it is not an effect of our will if our heart is more
or less tender, more or less sympathetic. Nature has made some souls
gentle and amiable, others austere and cold, others again heroic and hard,
etc.; the moralists should not forget these differences, and the degree of
sensibility obligatory on all cannot be absolutely determined. But there
are two facts which certainly oblige us to put some restrictions upon
Kant's too harsh doctrine. The first is that moral emotion (affection,
enthusiasm for the beautiful, for our country) is never wholly absent in
any human soul; the second is that sensibility does not altogether lie
outside our will. We can smother our good feelings as we can smother our
evil passions; we can also cultivate them, develop them, encourage them;
give them a greater or less share in our lives, by placing ourselves in
circumstances which favor them. For example, say such or such a person is
but slightly endowed with sensibility or sympathy for the sufferings of
the wretched; yet is it impossible that he be entirely deprived of them:
let him overcome his repugnance and indifference; let him visit the poor,
put himself at the service of human misery; the dormant sympathy will
inevitably awaken in his heart. By this fact alone will he be enabled to
do good with more ease, and raise his soul to a higher degree of
perfection and beauty.

Not only should sentiment not be excluded from virtue, as Kant in his
excessive austerity demands, but it should be considered its ornament and
bloom. "The virtuous man," says Aristotle, "is he who takes pleasure in
doing virtuous acts." One should therefore endeavor to awaken in one's
self, if one has not yet experienced it, or develop, if one has already
experienced it, the noble pleasure which accompanies great sentiments. On
the other hand, and for the same reason that it is a duty for man to
develop within him, in the limits of the possible, the share of
sensibility he may have received from nature, it is also his duty not to
encourage this same disposition too much if he should be inclined this
way. For sensibility should only be an auxiliary and a stimulant to
virtue; it should never take its place: otherwise it will lead us astray.
An exaggerated sensibility often smothers the voice of justice, enervates
us, and deprives us of the robust courage we need in life. There is a
reasonable limit which tact and experience alone can teach us. Morality
can only give advice and directions. More precise rules are impossible,
and would be ridiculous. There is no moral thermometer to indicate the
degree of heart-heat each of us is allowed and is obliged to have. Let us
only say, that in so delicate a matter, it is better to have too much
sensibility than too little.




    Are there duties toward God?

    =Duties toward God.--Analysis of the religious sentiment.=--Two
    elements: 1, the sentiment of the infinite; 2, the need of hope and

    Can sentiment become a duty?

    =Indirect duties toward God.=--Piety united with all the acts of life:
    1, obedience; 2, resignation; 3, love of God united to that of man.

    =The idea of God in morals.=--God the surety of the moral law.

    =Religious society.=--Fénélon and Epictetus.

    =Religious rights.=--Liberty of conscience: liberty of opinion, liberty
    of worship, liberty of propagandism.

It is not our purpose to speak here of the different forms of religious
thought among men: this is the special domain of conscience; but among all
these forms, is there no common ground which may be said to belong to the
human soul, and which is found to be the same with the sages of pagan
antiquity and the modern philosophers, although they may not have adopted
any special form of worship? Yes. This common ground of all religion is
the idea of God.

=167. Are there any duties toward God?=--If, as we have seen in our first
book (Vol. I., last chapter), there is a God, that is to say, an author of
the physical and moral universe, and its preserver and protector and
father, it follows that man, as a part of this universe, and distinguished
from its other creatures by the fact that he knows himself to be a child
of God, is held to entertain toward this supreme father, sentiments of
gratitude and respect, and toward this supreme judge sentiments of fear
and hope, all of which gives rise to a whole class of duties.

Some doubts have been raised on this point by certain philosophers, and
the question has been asked whether man, so out of all proportion when
compared to God, could have any duties toward Him? It has been said,
moreover, that there could be no duty toward a being to whom we can do
neither good nor harm. God, the essence of all perfection and supreme
happiness, can have nothing added to nor taken from these by us. We are
therefore under no obligation to him whatsoever.

1. As for the absolute disproportion we imagine to exist between God and
man, this disproportion does not prevent my having an idea of God: why
should it prevent my loving him and putting myself in relation with him?
Fénélon justly said: "Nothing is so wonderful as the idea of God which I
carry within myself; it is the infinite contained within the finite. That
which is within me is infinitely beyond me. I do not understand how it
comes to be in my mind, and yet it is there, nevertheless. This indelible
and incomprehensible idea of the Divine Being is what, despite my
imperfection and weakness, makes me resemble him. As he infinitely knows
and loves himself, so do I, according to my power, know and love him. I
can love the infinite by no other means than by my finite knowledge, and
love it by no other than a love as finite as myself.... I wish my love
were as limitless as the perfection it loves. It is true, again, that this
knowledge and this love are not equally as perfect as their object, but
the man who knows and loves God according to his measure of knowledge and
love is incomparably more worthy of this perfect being than the man
without God in the world, caring neither to know nor to love him."[139]
Hence it can be concluded that the duties of man toward God are implied in
the knowledge he has of him.

2. As to the second difficulty, it consists in saying that God being
susceptible of neither benefits nor injuries, it is not quite clear what
acts we could perform in his behalf. But the question is precisely to know
whether we only owe duties to beings susceptible of benefits and injuries.
We have, for example, to perform duties of justice, love, respect toward
the dead, although we can do them neither good nor harm, since they are
dead; and although we have reason to think that the dead still exist under
another form, the duties we still owe them, are independent of this
consideration, and notwithstanding the doubt of the immortality of souls,
or their relations with the living, these duties still subsist: those
souls might be so happy, and in conditions so different from those of our
earthly life, that they might have become wholly indifferent to such, at
least to harm. A historian, for instance, would not be justified in
slandering his heroes under the pretext that, not believing in the
immortality of the soul, he knew he could do them no harm. Man, even in
this life, can, through patience and gentleness, so rise above all insults
as to become wholly insensible to them: which fact, however, does not
imply that the insults done him are innocent. The same man might be so
modest as to feel no need of any homage, which would make it no less a
duty of justice on the part of others to render him all the homage that is
due him. Wholly inward feelings, not evidenced by any outward act
whatsoever, cannot in reality do their object any good or harm; yet no one
will question their being duties. It may then be seen that duty is not
regulated by the good or evil which may outwardly be done, but by the
order of things which requires that every being be loved and respected
according to his merit. Now, from this standpoint, there can be no doubt
that God, who is supreme perfection and the principle of all order and
justice, is the legitimate object of the highest respect and the
profoundest love.

It may be said, perhaps, that these sentiments toward the Creator are
rather duties we owe ourselves than God, for it is for our own sakes that
we are bound to give to our sensibility and affection the highest object
they can have. Since the perfection and the dignity of the soul are
enhanced by religion, it is our duty to be religious.

Fénélon is quite right when he says that "the man who knows and loves God
is more _worthy_ of him than he who lives without him." Is it not the same
as to say that religion rendering man more like God, and bringing him
nearer to him, man owes it to himself to rise above himself through piety
and the love of God?

But it matters very little how we explain the nature of the duties toward
God, provided we recognize them. Whether they be considered a distinct
class, or whether we only see in them the highest degree of man's duties
toward himself; all this is but a useless speculation. We could say
conversely, and with equal justice, that our duties toward ourselves are
but a part of our duties toward God: for duty itself, in its highest
conception, being to reach after the highest possible perfection, we can
say, with Plato, that virtue is the imitation of God; that, consequently,
man owes it to himself to resemble God as much as possible, and that,
conversely, he owes God, as the type of supreme perfection, to draw ever
nearer to him through self-improvement. But how could he seek to draw
nearer to God's supreme perfection if he did not entertain for him the
feelings of love and respect, which constitute what we, in general, call
religious sentiment?

=168. Duties toward God.--Analysis of the religious sentiment.=--What is
called _duties toward God_ is nothing else than the different acts by
which we endeavor to bring about, cultivate, develop in us, or in others,
religious sentiment. When these acts are external, and take a certain
definite form, they constitute what is called _outward worship_, and are
consequent upon positive religions. When they are concentrated in the
soul, and confined to sentiments, they constitute what is called _inner
worship_. The virtue which corresponds to these inner acts and sentiments
is called _piety_.

The duties toward God being thus blended with religious sentiment we must,
in order to set them forth, first analyze this sentiment.

Religious sentiment is composed of two elements: one which may be called
_metaphysical_;[140] the other, _moral_. 1. Metaphysically, the love of
God is the sentiment of the infinite, the need of attaching ourselves to
the absolute, the eternal, the immutable, the true in itself--in one word,
to Being. The thinking man, and even the thoughtless man, looking at
himself, finds himself small, feeble, miserable. "Oh!" exclaims Bossuet,
"how much we are nothing!" "Man becomes vile to himself," says St.
Bernard. "Man feels that he is frail, that his life hangs but on a thread,
that he is constantly passing away. The goods of the world are perishable.
The fashion of this world passeth away. We neither know who we are, whence
we come, whither we are going, nor what sustains us during the short
period of our lives. We are suspended between heaven and earth: between
two infinities; we stand as on quicksands." All these strong expressions
of mystics and religious writers admirably express the need we stand in of
the absolute, the immutable, the perfect,--a need felt more particularly
by devout minds, but which all men, without exception, experience in some
degree or other, and which they endeavor to satisfy the best they can. All
our efforts to reach the absolute in science, in art, in politics even,
are but the forms in which this need of the absolute manifests itself. The
insatiable pursuit of the gratification of the passions even is, also,
under a vain appearance, the same need. It is this feeling of the eternal
and the infinite, which the greatest metaphysicians all regarded as the
ultimate foundation of morality. Plato, Plotinus, Malebranche, Spinoza,
all enjoin upon us to seek eternal, in preference to perishable, goods.
This sentiment, conscious of ever striving after the substance of good and
not its shadow, is the profoundest, nearest, and dearest element of
religious sentiment.

2. Thus much in regard to the metaphysical element of religion: next comes
the moral element. God does not only appear to the human soul as a being
infinite, inexhaustible, eternal. The soul wants him nearer, and in her
respectful boldness she calls him _Father_. Man is not only feeble and
imperfect; he is also a sinner and a sufferer; evil is his condition. The
frailty of our being and its narrow limits are already an evil; but these
are the least of evils; humanity suffers, furthermore, from a double evil
far more real and poignant: pain and sin. Against physical pain,
suffering, it has but the feeble resource of prudence; against moral evil
it has but one means of defense, very weak also--free-will. It would seem
that we are the masters of the universe; but experience shows, on the
contrary, that we are the feeblest among its creatures; often does the
will succumb; and Kant himself, despite his stoicism, asks whether indeed
a single act of virtue has ever been accomplished in the world. Life, on
the whole, notwithstanding its grand aspects and its few exquisite and
sublime joys, life is bad; all ends badly, and death, which puts an end to
all evils, is yet the greatest of evils. "The human soul," says Plato,
"like a bird, raises its eyes to heaven," and calls for a remedy, a help,
a deliverance. "Deliver us from evil," is the cry of every religion. God
is the liberator and comforter. We love what is good and we do what is
evil; we impatiently desire happiness, and meet with nothing but
wretchedness. Such is the contradiction Pascal points out with such
incisive eloquence. This contradiction must be removed. Hope and trust in
a supreme and benevolent Being must ransom us from pain and sin.

Many persons place the essence of religion in the belief in a future life,
or immortality of the soul. Who, without the hope of gaining paradise,
would think of God? But this is a contradiction in terms. Paradise, for
the true believer, is nothing; God, everything. If a future life is a
necessary consequence of the divine justice and bounty, we need not doubt
its existence; if not, we have nothing to ask; it does not concern us.
What especially concerns us is to know what we ought to do here below, and
to have the strength to do it with. "_Life is a meditation, not of death,
but of life_," said Spinoza. But in order to live, and live well, one must
believe in life, must believe in its healthy and holy significance,
believe that it is not mere play, a mere mystification, but that it was
given us by the principle of good for the success of good.

The essence of religion, then, is a belief in the goodness of God. A
German critic, Feuerbach, said with great effect, that religion consisted
in divinizing human attributes. Thus: God is good, means according to him:
goodness is divine. God is just, signifies: justice is divine. The
boldness of Christianity, its profound, pathetic beauty, its great moral
efficacy lie in the fact that it has divinized our miseries; and that,
instead of saying, pain is divine, death is divine, it has said: God has
suffered, God has died. In a word, according to the same author, God "is
the human heart divinized." Nothing could be more true and beautiful, only
in another sense than that in which the author takes it. If God himself
was not supreme goodness, the heart of man would then contain something
divine, and God would not himself be divine! The heart feels that it
exceeds all things, but, in order to believe in itself, it must know
itself coming from a higher and purer source than it is itself.

    "In thinking of such a being (God), man experiences a sentiment which
    is above all a religious sentiment. Every man, as we come into contact
    with him, awakens in us a feeling of some kind, according to the
    qualities we perceive in him, and should not He who possesses all
    perfections excite in us the strongest of feelings? If we think of the
    infinite essence of God, if we are thoroughly impressed by his
    omnipotence, if we remember that the moral law expresses his will, and
    that he has attached to the fulfillment and violation of this law,
    rewards and punishments which he distributes with inflexible justice,
    we must of necessity experience before such greatness emotions of
    respect and fear. If next we come to consider that this omnipotent
    being was pleased to create us, we, whom he had no need of, and that
    in creating us he heaped upon us benefits of all kinds, that he has
    given us this universe to enjoy its ever renewed beauties, that he has
    given us society that our life may become enlarged in that of our
    fellow-beings, that he has given us reason to think, a heart to love,
    liberty to act, that same respect and fear will receive additional
    strength from a still gentler sentiment, namely, that of love. Love,
    when directed toward feeble and circumscribed beings, inspires us with
    the desire to do them good: but, in itself, love does not especially
    consider the advantage of the person beloved: we love a thing, good or
    beautiful, simply because it is good or beautiful, and without thought
    of benefiting it; or benefiting ourselves. How much more so when this
    love is turned to God, as a pure homage to his perfections; when it is
    the natural outpouring of the soul toward a being infinitely adorable.

    "Adoration consists in respect and love. If man, however, sees in God
    the omnipotent master of heaven and earth only, the source of all
    justice and the avenger of all wrong, he will, in his weakness, be
    crushed by the overwhelming weight of God's greatness: he will be
    living a life of perpetual fear, from the uncertainty of the judgment
    of God; he will conceive for this world and life, always so full of
    misery, nothing but hatred. Read Pascal's _Thoughts_. Pascal, in his
    superb humility, forgets two things: the dignity of man and the
    goodness of God. If, on the other hand, man only sees in God a kind
    and indulgent Father, he will run into a chimerical mysticism. In
    substituting love for fear, there is danger of losing the awe which we
    should have for him. God is then no longer a master, scarcely a father
    even; for the idea of father carries with it, in a certain degree,
    that of a respectful fear: he is nothing more than a friend. True
    adoration does not sever love from respect: it is respect animated by

    "Adoration is a universal sentiment; it differs in degrees according
    to the differences in human nature; it takes the greatest variety of
    forms; it often does not even know itself; sometimes it betrays itself
    by a sudden exclamation, a cry from the heart over the grand scenes of
    nature and life; sometimes it rises silently in the deeply-moved and
    dumb-stricken soul; it may in its expression mistake its aim; but
    fundamentally it is always the same. It is a spontaneous and
    irresistible yearning of the soul, which reason must declare just and
    legitimate. What more just, in fact, than to fear the judgments of Him
    who is holiness itself, who knows our actions and our intentions, and
    who will judge them as it becomes supreme justice? What more just,
    also, than to love perfect goodness and the source of all love?
    Adoration is first a natural sentiment: reason makes of it a

These two sentiments, love and respect, may, inasmuch as they relate to
God--that is to say, to an infinite being--be resolved into one, which we
call _veneration_. Veneration is the respect mixed with love which we feel
for our aged parents, for some exalted virtue, for devotion to a suffering
country; but it is only through extension we so understand it: its true
object, its proper domain, is the divinity;[142] and if there are other
objects to _be revered_ and venerated, it is because we detect in them
something august and sacred.

It will, perhaps, be said that _sentiments_ cannot be erected into
_duties_: for how can I force myself to feel what I do not feel? Acts can
be commanded, but not sentiments.

This is true; but the acts, in the first place, are nothing without the
sentiments, and if piety is not already in the heart, the most pious works
will have no virtue. Moreover, if it be true that it is impossible to
generate, either in one's self or in others, sentiments, the germs of
which do not exist in human nature, it is not true that sentiments in
conformity with this nature, and which, whilst we believe them completely
absent, may only be dormant, could not be excited, awakened, cultivated,
and developed. Now, it is enough to think of divine greatness, to
experience a feeling of fear and respect; it is enough to think of divine
perfection, to love this perfection, and seek to come nearer to it. Duty
here consists, then, in thinking of God, in giving this great thought a
part of our life, in uniting it with all the acts of that life: these
sentiments will, then, be generated and will expand of themselves.

=169. Piety united with all the acts of life: indirect duties toward
God.=--We have just said that the idea of God can be united with all the
acts of life. Every action being the fulfillment of the will of
Providence, can be both moral and religious. _He who works, prays_, says
the proverb; a life which strives to preserve itself pure and virtuous, is
a continuous prayer. In this sense, all our duties are _indirect duties_
toward God.

1. _Obedience to God_, manifested by obedience to moral law. I can obey
the moral law in two ways: on the one hand, because it is a duty, whatever
besides may be the reason of this duty, and next because this duty is in
unison with universal order, which is the work of divine wisdom. To
fulfill one's duty is, then, to co-operate in some respect with God in the
achievement of this order. It is thus that in ancient religions,
agriculture was regarded a religious act, because man took therein the
part of the creator.

2. _Resignation to the will of Providence._--Patience is unquestionably a
duty in itself. There is a lack of dignity in rebelling against evils
which cannot be prevented; but this is as yet a wholly negative virtue. It
becomes a religious virtue if we regard the ills of life in the light of
trials, and as the condition of a higher good, and expect to voluntarily
submit to them as being in the plan of Providence. It is thus the
Pythagoreans forbade suicide, saying that it was leaving the post in which
God had placed us.

It would, moreover, be interpreting this duty of resignation very falsely
to think that it commands us to bear trouble and make no effort to escape
it. This were confounding Providence with fatalism. On the contrary, God,
having given us free will, not only permits us thereby, but even
positively enjoins upon us, to use it in bettering our condition.

3. _Love of God conjoined with the love of man._--There is no real love of
God without love of neighbor; it is a false piety which thinks itself
obliged to sacrifice the love of men to the love of God: thence come
_fanaticism_, _intolerance_, _persecution_. To believe these to be
religious virtues is _impious_. We cannot please God by acts of hatred and
cruelty. Thus is the love of God nothing without the love of men.

But it can also be said that the love of men is incomplete if it does not
get its sustenance from a higher source, which is the love of God. We can,
in fact, love men in two ways: first, because they are men, because they
are like us, because there is between them and us a natural bond of
sympathy. But we can also love them because they are, like ourselves,
members of the universe of which God is the sovereign ruler, members of a
family of which God is the father, because, like ourselves, they reflect
some of the attributes of supreme perfection, because they ought, like us,
to strive after all perfection. We can then love men religiously, love
them in God in some respect. Thus conversely to love men will be loving

=170. The idea of God in morals.=--We have, in a former course of lectures,
seen how the moral law is related to God: this law is certainly not
dependent on his will alone, but on his holiness and supreme perfection;
and it is still further related to him as to a supreme sanction. We have
to consider here only the _practical efficacy_ of the idea of God--that is
to say, the additional strength moral belief receives by a belief in
absolute justice and holiness. It is on this condition and from this
standpoint that Kant has called the existence of God the _postulate_[143]
of the moral law. The moral law, in fact, supposes the world able to
conform to this law; but how are we to believe in such a possibility if
this world were the effect of a blind and indifferent necessity? "Since it
is our duty," says Kant, "to work toward the realization of the supreme
good, it is not only a right, but a necessity flowing from this duty, to
suppose the possibility of this supreme good, which good is only possible
on the condition of God's existence"[144]....--"Suppose, for example," he
says elsewhere, "an honest man like Spinoza, firmly convinced that there
is no God and no future life. He will, without doubt, fulfill
disinterestedly the duty that holy law imposes on his activity; but his
efforts will be limited. If here and there he finds in nature accidental
co-operation, he can never expect of this co-operation to be in perfect
and constant accordance with the end he feels himself obliged to pursue.
Though honest, peaceful, benevolent himself, he will always be surrounded
by fraud, violence, envy; in vain do the good people he meets deserve to
be happy; nature has no regard for their goodness, and exposes them, like
all the rest of earth's animals, to disease and misery, to a premature
death, until one vast tomb--the gulf of blind matter from which they
issued--swallows them all up again. Thus would this righteous man be
obliged to give up as absolutely impossible the end which the law imposed
on him; or, if he wished to remain true to the inner voice of his moral
destiny, he will, from a practical point of view, be obliged to recognize
the existence of a moral cause in the world, namely, God." Thus, according
to Kant, is religion, namely, the belief in the existence of God,
required, not as a theoretical basis for morality, but as a practical
basis. "The righteous man can say: I _will_ that there be a God."[145]

It may be objected that moral law can dispense with outward success; that
it does not appear to be essential to the idea of that law; that the wise,
as far as their own happiness is concerned, need not consider it, can
ignore it. But what they are obliged to consider, and are not allowed to
ignore, is the happiness of others, and what is generally understood by
progress--the possible improvement of the race. If, as some pessimistic
and misanthropic philosophers seem to think, men will never be anything
more than monkeys or tigers given to the lowest and most ferocious
instincts, do you believe that any man, be he ever so well endowed
morally, ever so deeply convinced of the obligation of the law of duty,
could, if he believed such a thing, be able to continue doing his duty, a
duty followed by no appreciable or perceptible results? The first
condition for becoming or remaining virtuous, is to believe in virtue. But
to believe in virtue means to believe that virtue is a fact, that it
exists in the world, that it can do it good; in other words, it is to
believe that the human race was created for good; that nature is capable
of being transformed according to the law of good; it is, in short, to
believe that the universe obeys a principle of good, and not a principle
of evil--an Oromazes, not an Ahrimanes. As to believing in an indifferent
being, one that were neither good nor evil, we should not be any better
off; it would leave us just as uncertain in regard to the possible success
of our efforts, and just as doubtful about the worth of our moral beliefs.

In one word, and to conclude, if God were an illusion, why could not
virtue be an illusion also? In order that I may believe in the dignity and
excellence of my soul and that of other men, I must believe in a supreme
principle of dignity and excellence. Nothing comes from nothing. If there
is no being to love me and my fellow-men, why should I be held to love
them? If the world is not good, if it was not created for good, if good is
not its origin and end, what have I to do here in this world, and what
care I for that swarm of ants of which I am a part? Let them get along as
well as they can! Why should I take so much trouble to so little purpose?
Take any intelligent man, a friend of civil and political liberty, and
ready to suffer anything to procure these to his country, as long as he
believes the thing possible, both wisdom and virtue will command him to
devote himself wholly to it. But let experience prove to him that it is a
chimera, that his fellow-citizens are either too great cowards or too
vicious to be worthy and capable of the good he wishes to secure to them;
suppose he sees all around him nothing but cupidity, servility, unbridled
and abominable passions; suppose, finally, that he becomes convinced that
liberty among men, or at least among the people he lives with, is an
illusion, do you think he could, do you even think he should, continue
wasting his faculties in an impossible enterprise? Once more, I can forget
myself, and I ought; and I should leave to internal justice or divine
goodness the care to watch over my destinies; but that which I cannot
forget, that which cannot leave me indifferent, is the reign of justice
on earth. I must be able to say: _Let Thy kingdom come!_ How can I
co-operate with the Divine Idea if there is no God, who, in creating us
for the furthering of his kingdom, made it, at the same time, possible for
us? And how any I to believe that out of that great void whereto atheism
reduces us, there can come a reign of wills holy and just, bound to each
other by the laws of respect and love? Kant, the great stoic, without
borrowing from theology, has more strongly than any other, described the
necessity of this reign of law; but he fully understood that this abstract
and ideal order of things would remain but a pure conception, if there
were not conjoined with it what he justly calls "the practical, the moral
faith" in the existence of God.

=171. Religious rights.=--_Religious duties_ imply _religious rights_: for
if it is a duty to honor the Creator, it is also a right. Even those who
do not admit obligations toward God, ought to respect in those who do
admit them, their liberty to do so. The right of having a religion, and
practicing it, is what is called _liberty of conscience_.

"The first right I claim," says an eloquent writer, "is the right of
adopting a free belief touching the nature of God, my duties, my future;
it is a wholly interior right, which governs the relations of my will or
conscience alone. It is the liberty of conscience in its essence, its
first act, its indispensable basis. It is the _liberty to believe_, or
_faith_. Free in the innermost of my thought, shall I be confined to a
silent worship? Shall I not be allowed to express what I think? Faith is
communicative, and will make itself felt by others. I cannot control its
expressing itself without doing it violence, without offending God,
without rendering myself guilty of ingratitude. I cannot, moreover,
worship a God that is not my God. The freedom of belief, without the
freedom of prayer--that is to say, without free worship--is only a

"Now, is prayer sufficient? Does this solitary expression of my faith, my
love, my ignorance, suffice the wants of my heart and my duties toward
God? Yes, if man were made to live alone; but not if he has brethren. I
am a social being; I have duties toward society as well as toward God; my
creed commands me to teach as well as to pray. My voice must be heard, and
I must, following my destiny, and according to the measure of my powers,
carry along with me all those who are inclined to follow me. This is the
liberty of promulgating one's creed, or, in other words, the _liberty of

"Worship, then, means to believe, to pray, to teach. But, can I consider
myself a free believer, if praying in public be denied me; if by praying,
and teaching, and confessing my doctrine, I risk the loss of my rights as
man and citizen? There are other means for checking public worship and
apostleship than burning at the stake. It is obvious that, in order no
injustice be done to my particular creed, I should risk nothing by it;
that I be not deprived of any of my civil or political rights. All this is
included in the term _liberty_ of _conscience_: it is at the same time the
right to believe, the right to pray, and the right to exercise this triple
liberty without having to suffer any diminution in one's dignity as man
and citizen."[146]

=172. Religious society.=--Religious duties and rights give rise to what
may be called religious society. Fénélon has magnificently described the
ideal religious society where all would form but one family united by the
love of God and men.

    "Do we not see," he says, "that the external worship follows
    necessarily the internal worship of love? Give me a society of men
    who, while on earth, would look upon each other as members of one and
    the same family, whose Father is in heaven; give me men whose life was
    sunk in this love for their heavenly Father, men who loved their
    fellow-men and themselves only through love for Him; who were but one
    heart, one soul: will not in so godly a society the mouth always speak
    from the abundance of the heart? They will sing the praises of the
    Most High, the Most Good spontaneously; they will bless Him for all
    His bounties. They will not be content to love Him merely, they will
    proclaim this love to all the nations of the world; they will wish to
    correct and admonish their brethren when they see them tempted through
    pride and low passions to forsake the Well-Beloved. They will lament
    the least cooling of that love. They will cross the seas, go to the
    uttermost parts of the earth, to teach the benighted nations who have
    forgotten His greatness the knowledge and love of their common Father.
    What do you call external worship if this be not it? God then would be
    _all in all_; He would be the universal king, father, friend; He would
    be the living law of all hearts. Truly, if a mortal king or head of a
    family wins by his wisdom the esteem and confidence of his children,
    if we see them at all times pay him the honors due him, need we ask
    wherein consists his service, or whether any is due him? All that is
    done in his honor, in obedience to him, in recognition of his
    bounties, is a continuous worship, obvious to all eyes. What would it
    be then if men were possessed with the love of God! Their society
    would be in a state of continuous worship, like that described to us
    of the blessed in heaven."[147]

The great ancient moralist, Epictetus, has as superbly as Fénélon
expressed the same sentiments:

    "If we had any understanding," he says, "ought we not, both in public
    and in private, incessantly to sing and praise the Deity, and rehearse
    His benefits? Ought we not, whether we dig, or plough, or eat, to sing
    this hymn to God? Great is God, who has supplied us with these
    instruments to till the ground; great is God, who has given us hands
    and organs of digestion; who has given us to grow insensibly, to
    breathe in sleep. These things we ought forever to celebrate, and to
    make it the theme of the greatest and divinest hymn that He has given
    us the power to appreciate these gifts, and to use them well. But
    because the most of you are blind and insensible there must be some
    one to fill this station, and lead in behalf of all men the hymn to
    God; for what else can I do, a lame old man, but sing hymns to God?
    Were I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a
    swan, the part of a swan. But since I am a reasonable creature it is
    my duty to praise God. This is my business. I do it. Nor will I ever
    desert this post, so long as it is permitted me; and I call on you to
    join in the same song."[148]




    =Means and end.=--Moral science should not only point out the _end_; it
    should also indicate the _means_ of attaining that end.

    There is, as of the body, a culture of the soul: as, in medicine, we
    distinguish between _temperaments_, _diseases_ and their _treatments_,
    so do we distinguish in morals, _characters_, _passions_, and

    =Of character.=--Character as compared with temperament: four principal

    Character at different ages: childhood, youth, manhood, and old age.

    =Passions.=--Passions may in one respect be considered as _natural
    affections_; but in a moral point of view they should be considered as

    The law of passions considered from this last standpoint. Enumeration
    and analysis of these various passions.

    =Culture of the soul=, or =moral treatment=.--On the government of
    passions.--Bossuet's advice: not directly to combat the passions, but
    to turn them off into other channels.

    =Of the formation of character.=--Rules of Malebranche: 1, acts produce
    habits, and habits produce acts; 2, one can always act against a
    ruling habit.

    How is one habit to be substituted for another?--Aristotle's rule: To
    go from one extreme to the other.--Bacon's rules: 1, to proceed by
    degrees; 2, to choose for a new virtue two kinds of opportunities: the
    first when one is best disposed, the second when one is least so; 3,
    not to trust too much to one's conversion and distrust opportunities.

    Benjamin Franklin's Almanac.--Other practices.--Kant's moral

We have done with _practical_ morals, the morals, namely, which have for
their object the setting forth of man's duties and the principal
applications of the moral law. The second part of this course of study
shall be devoted to the _theory_ of morals, which has for its object the
elucidation of principles. But to pass from the one to the other, it
seemed to us proper, by way of conclusion, to introduce here an order of
researches which belongs to both practical and theoretical morals, the
study, namely, of the means man has at his disposal in his moral
self-perfection, either by curing himself of vice, or in advancing in
virtue: this is what we call _moral medicine and gymnastics_.

Bacon justly remarks that most moralists are like writing-masters who lay
fine copies before their pupils, but tell them nothing of the manner of
using the pen and tracing characters. Thus do the philosophers set before
us very fine and magnificent models, very faithful and noble pictures of
goodness and virtue, of duties, of happiness; but they teach us nothing
about the means of attaining to such perfection. They make us acquainted
with the _end_, and not with the _road_ that leads to it.[149]

Then, presenting us himself a sketch of that portion of morality which
does not confine itself to precepts only, but to instructions also, and
which he calls the _Georgics of the soul_ (science of the culture and the
soul), he tells us that it should be like medicine which considers first
the _constitution_ of the patient, then the _disease_, then the
_treatment_. The same in regard to the soul: there are moral temperaments
as there are physical temperaments: these are the _characters_; moral
diseases as there are physical diseases; these are the _passions_; and
finally there is a moral _treatment_ as there is a physical treatment, and
it is the treatment of morality to indicate this treatment. Now, one
cannot treat a disease without knowing it and without being acquainted
with the temperament and constitution of the patient. "A coat cannot be
fitted on a body without the tailor's taking first the measure of him for
whom he makes it." Hence, it follows that before deciding on a remedy,
one must acquaint himself with the characters and passions.

=173. Of character.=--The study of character is hardly susceptible of a
methodical classification. Passions, manners, habits are so complicated
and so intermixed in individuals that they afford scarcely a chance to
faithfully describe them, and this subject, though very fertile, is more
of the province of literature than of science. Theophrastus among the
ancients, and La Bruyère among the moderns, have excelled in this kind of
description; but it would be very difficult to analyze their works, as
they have nothing didactic: they are better suited for reading.
Theophrastus describes dissemblers, flatterers, intruders, rustics,
parasites, babblers, the superstitious, misers, the proud, slanderers,
etc. All these are unquestionably principal types of human character, but
they cannot be strictly brought down to a few elementary types. La Bruyère
is still further removed; he does not only treat character, but manners
also; he describes individuals rather than men in general, or it is always
in the individual that he sees the man. Hence the charm and piquancy of
his pictures; but moral science finds scarcely anything to borrow from

Kant tried to give a theory of character, and he started with the same
idea as Bacon, namely, the analogy between characters and temperaments;
thus did he confine himself to taking up again the old physiological
theory of temperaments and apply it to the moral man. He distinguishes two
kinds of temperaments: temperaments of _sentiment_, and temperaments of
_activity_; and in each of these two kinds, two degrees or two different
shades: exaltation or abatement. Hence, four different kinds of
temperaments: the sanguine and the melancholy (temperament of sentiment),
the choleric and phlegmatic (temperament of activity). Kant describes
these four temperaments or characters as follows:[150]

"The _sanguine_ disposition may be recognized by the following
indications: The sanguine man is free from care and of good hope; he
gives to things at one moment undue importance; at another, he can no
longer think of them. He is splendid in his promises, but does not keep
them, because he has not sufficiently reflected whether he will be able to
keep them or not. He is well enough disposed to help others, but is a poor
debtor and always asks for delays. He is good company, cheerful, lively,
takes things easily, and is everybody's friend. He is not usually a bad
person, but a confirmed sinner, hard to convert, and who, though he will
repent, will never allow this repentance to turn into grief: it is soon
again forgotten. He is easily tired by work; yet is he constantly
occupied, and that, for the reason that his work being but play, it proves
a change which suits him, as perseverance is not in his nature.

"The _melancholy_ man gives to everything concerning him a vast
importance; the least trifles give him anxiety, and his whole attention is
fixed upon the difficulties of things. Contrary to the sanguine, always
hopeful of success, but a superficial thinker, the melancholy is a
profound thinker. He is not hasty in his promises because he intends
keeping them, and he considers carefully whether he will be able to do so.
He distrusts and takes thought of things which the sanguine passes
carelessly by; he is no philanthropist, for the reason that he who denies
himself pleasure is rarely inclined to wish it to others.

"The _choleric_ man is easily excited and as easily appeased; he flares up
like a straw fire; but submission soon softens him down; he is then
irritable without hatred, and loves him who readily gives up to him, all
the more ardently. He is prompt in his actions, but his activity does not
last long; he is never idle, yet not industrious. His ruling passion is
honors; he likes to meddle with public affairs, to hear himself praised;
he is for show and ceremonial. He is fond of playing the part of a
protector and to appear generous; but not from a feeling of affection, but
of pride, for he loves himself much more than he loves others. He is
passionately given to money making; in society he is a ceremonious
courtier, stiff, and ill at ease, and ready to accept any flatterer to
serve him as a shield; in a word, the choleric temperament is the least
happy of all because it is the one that meets with most opposition.

"The _phlegmatic_ temper. Phlegm means absence of emotion. The phlegmatic
man to whom nature has given a certain quantum of reason, resembles the
man who acts on principle, although he owes this disposition to instinct
only. His happy temperament stands to him in lieu of wisdom, and often in
ordinary life he is called a philosopher. Sometimes even he is thought
cunning, because all abuse launched at him bounces back again, as a ball
from a sack of wool. He makes a pretty good husband, and, whilst
pretending to do every one's will, he governs both wife and servants as he
likes, for he knows how to bring their wishes in agreement with his own
indomitable but thoughtful will."

There are then, according to Kant, four essentially distinct characters:
the _sanguine_, playful, kindly, superficial; the _melancholy_, profound,
sad, egotistical; the _choleric_, ardent, passionate, ambitious, covetous;
the _phlegmatic_, cold, moderate, inflexible.

Kant denies that these four kinds of temperaments can combine with each
other; "there are but four in all," he says, "and each of them is complete
in itself." It seems to us, on the contrary, that experience shows that no
one of these characters exists separately in an absolute manner; there is
always to some degree a mixture, and different men are generally
distinguished by the leading feature in their character.

We must, however, make a distinction between _disposition_ and
_character_. To be of such or such a disposition is not always being a man
_of character_. The first of these two expressions signifies the various
aptitudes, inclinations, or habits which distinguish a man from others;
the second signifies that strength of will, that empire over himself which
enables a man to follow faithfully the line of conduct he has chosen, and
to bravely resist temptations. Character is not always virtue (for it may
be controlled by false and vicious principles), but it is its condition.

"That tendency of the will which acts according to fixed principles (and
does not move from this to that, like a fly) is something truly estimable,
and which deserves all the more admiration as it is extremely rare. The
question here is not of what nature makes of man, but of what man makes of
himself. Talent has a _venal value_ which allows making use of the man
therewith endowed; temperament has an affection-value which makes of him
an agreeable companion and pleasant talker; but character has a _value_
which places him above all these things."[151]

=174. Age.=--To this classification of characters according to
temperaments, may be added that founded on age. In fact, different ages
have, as it is well known, very different characteristics. Aristotle[152]
was the first to describe the differences in men's morals according to
their ages, and he has since been very often imitated.

"I. _The young._--The young are in their dispositions prone to desire, and
of a character to effect what they desire. And they desire with
earnestness, but speedily cease to desire; for their wishes are keen,
without being durable; just like the hunger and thirst of the sick. And
they are passionate and irritable, and of a temperament to follow the
impulse. And they cannot overcome their anger; for by reason of their
ambition, they do not endure a slight, but become indignant, and fancy
themselves injured; and they are ambitious indeed of honor, but more so of
victory; for youth is desirous of superiority, and victory is a sort of
superiority. And they are credulous, from their never having yet been much
imposed on. And they are sanguine in their expectations; for, like those
who are affected by wine, so the young are warmed by their nature; and at
the same time from their having never yet met with many repulses. Their
life too, for the most part, is one of hope; for hope is of that which is
yet to be, while memory is of that which is passed: but to the young, that
which is yet to be is long; but that which has passed is short. And they
are brave rather to an excess; for they are irritable and sanguine,
qualities, the one whereof cancels fear, and the other inspires courage;
for while no one who is affected by anger ever is afraid, the being in
hope of some good is a thing to give courage. And they are bashful; for
they do not as yet conceive the honorable to be anything distinct; and
they are high-minded; for they have not as yet been humbled by the course
of life, but are inexperienced in peremptory circumstances; again,
high-mindedness is the deeming one's self worthy of much; and this belongs
to persons of sanguine expectations. And they prefer succeeding in an
honorable sense rather than in points of expediency; for they live more in
conformity to moral feeling than to mere calculations; and calculation is
of the expedient, moral excellence, however, of that which is honorable.
Again, they are fond of friends and companions, by reason of their
delighting in social intercourse. And all their errors are on the side of
excess; for their friendships are in excess, their hatreds are in excess,
and they do everything else with the same degree of earnestness; they
think also that they know everything, and firmly asseverate that they do;
for this is the cause of their pushing everything to an excess. They are
likewise prone to pity; and they are also fond of mirth, on which account
they are also of a facetious turn."

"II. _The old._--Those who are advanced in life are of dispositions in
most points the very opposite of those of the young. Since by reason of
their having lived many years, and having been deceived in the greater
number of instances, and having come to the conclusion, too, that the
majority of human affairs are but worthless, they do not positively
asseverate anything, and err in everything more on the side of defect than
they ought. And they always '_suppose_' but never '_know_' certainly; and
questioning everything, they always subjoin a '_perhaps_,' or a
'_possibly_.' Moreover, they are apt to be suspicious from distrust, and
they are distrustful from their experience. And they are pusillanimous
from their having been humbled by the course of life; for they raise their
desires to nothing great or vast, but to things only which conduce to
support of life. And they are timid and apprehensive of everything; for
their disposition is the reverse of that of the young; for they have been
chilled by years; and yet they are attached to life, and particularly at
its closing day. [They are apt to despond.] And they live more in memory
than in hope; for the remnant of life is brief, and what has passed is
considerable. And their desires have, some, abandoned them, the others are
faint. They are neither facetious nor fond of mirth.

"III. _Mature age._--Those who are in their prime will, it is evident, be
in a mean in point of disposition between the young and the old,
subtracting the excesses of each: being neither rash in too great a
degree, nor too much given to fear, but keeping themselves right in
respect to both. And they are of a tempering coolness joined with spirit,
and are spirited not without temperate coolness. And thus, in a word,
whatever advantages youth and age have divided between them, the middle
age possesses both."

We must admit that Aristotle, who has so admirably depicted young and old
men, is weak on the subject of manhood. Boileau, translating Horace, makes
of it a far more clear and exact picture:

"Manhood, more ripe, puts on a wiser look, succeeds with those in power,
intrigues, and spares itself, thinks of holding its own against the blows
of fate, and far on in the now looks forth to the _to be_."

=175. Passions.=--Character, considered from a strictly philosophical
standpoint, is nothing more than the various combinations which the
passions, whether natural or acquired, which exist in man, form in each
individual, so that there is, in some respect, double reason for treating
these two subjects separately. But, in the first place, the divers
movements of the soul take, by usage, the name of passions, only when they
reach a certain degree of acuteness, and, as Bacon puts it, of disease. In
the second, passions are the elements which in divers quantities and
proportions compose what is termed character; it is from this double point
of view that we must speak of them separately.

If we consider the passions from a psychological[153] standpoint, we shall
find that they are nothing more than the natural inclinations of the human

We have to consider them here especially from a _pathological_ point of
view (if it may be permitted to say so), that is, as diseases of the human

The character of passions regarded as diseases, is the following:

1. They are _exclusive_. A man who has become enslaved by a passion, will
know nothing else, will listen to nothing else; he will sacrifice to that
passion not only his reason and his duty, but his other inclinations, and
even his other passions also. The passion of gambling or of drinking will
stifle all the rest, ambition, love, even the instinct of

2. Passion, as a disease, is in a _violent_ condition; it is impetuous,
disordered, very like insanity.

3. Although there may be fits of passion, sudden and fleeting, which rise
and fall again in the same instant, we generally give the name of passions
only to movements which have become _habitual_. Passions then are habits;
applied to things base, they become _vices_.

4. There is a diagnosis[154] of passions as there is of diseases. They
betray themselves outwardly by external signs which are their symptoms
(acts, gestures, physiognomy), and inwardly, by first indications or what
was formerly called _prodromes_, which are their forerunners (disturbance,
agitation, etc.).

5. Passion, like disease, has its history: it has its regular course, its
crisis, and termination. The _Imitation of Jesus Christ_ gives in a few
words the history of a passion: "In the beginning a simple _thought_
presents itself to the mind; this is followed by a vivid _fancy_; then
comes _delectation_, a bad _impulse_, and finally the _consent_. Thus does
the evil one gradually enter the soul."[155]

6. It is rare that a passion arises and develops without obstacles and
resistance. Hence that state we have called _fluctuation_ (Vol. I., p.
167), and which has so often been compared to the ebb and flow of the sea.

These general features of the passions being stated, let us make a brief
sketch of the principal passions.

It may be said that our passions pass through three distinct states; they
are at first natural and unavoidable affections of the mind:
_inclinations_, _tendencies_; they become next violent and unruly
movements: these are the passions properly so-called; they become habits
and embodied in the character, and take the name of _qualities_ and
_defects_, _virtues_ and _vices_. But it is to be noted that whilst we can
always distinguish these three states theoretically, language is, for the
most part, inadequate to express them; for men have designated these moral
states only according to the necessities of practice, and not according to
the rules of theory.

The three states which we have just pointed out, can be very clearly
distinguished in the first of the affections of human nature, namely, the
_instinct of self-preservation_. This instinct is at first a natural,
legitimate, necessary affection of the human heart; but by the force of
circumstances, the influence of age, disease, temperament, it develops out
of proportion into a state of passion, and becomes what we call _fear_; or
else it turns into a habit and becomes the vice we call _cowardice_.

Physical self-preservation is inseparable from two _appetites_ called
hunger and thirst. These two appetites, too much indulged in, become
passions, which themselves may become vices. But language fails here to
express their various shades: there is only one word to express the
passion or vice related to eating and drinking: it is on the one hand
_gluttony_, and on the other _drunkenness_;[156] both these vices, and in
general all undue surrender to sensual pleasures, is called

The source of all our personal inclinations is the love for ourselves or
_self-love_, a legitimate instinct when kept within bounds; but when
carried to excess, when exclusive and predominant, it becomes the vice we
call _selfishness_.

Self-esteem, developed into a passion, becomes, when it turns upon great
things, _false pride_; when upon small, _vanity_.

_The love of liberty_ degenerates into a _spirit of revolt_; the
legitimate love of power, into _ambition_; _the instinct of property_
becomes _greed_, _cupidity_, _passion for gain_, and tends to run into the
_passion for gambling_ or the desire to gain by means of chance. The
desire for gain engenders the _fear of loss_, and this latter passion
developing into a vice and mania, becomes _avarice_.

Human inclinations are divided into _benevolent_ and _malevolent_
inclinations. The first may develop into a passion, but not into a vice;
the second alone become vices.

There is not a single benevolent inclination which, carried too far and
beyond reason, may not become a more or less blameworthy passion. But, in
the first place, we have no terms in our language to express the
exaggerations of these kinds of passions,[157] and in the second, though
they be exaggerations, we shall never call the tenderer affections of the
human heart, however foolish they may be, vices, if they are sincere.

Yet, may some of these affections become vices when they unite with
personal passion. For example, good nature or the desire to please may
lead to _obsequious servility_, the desire to praise, to _flattery_, and
esteem, to _hypocrisy_. But these vices partake more of the nature of
self-love than of benevolent inclinations.

_Malevolent passions._--Malevolent inclinations give rise to the most
terrible passions. But are there, indeed, in man naturally malevolent
inclinations? Reid, the philosopher, disputes it and justly thinks, as we
do, that malevolent passions are but the abuse of certain personal
inclinations intended to serve as auxiliaries in the development of our
activity. There are two principal malevolent passions, _emulation_ and

Emulation is but a special desire for success and superiority. This
desire, induced by the thought that other men around us have attained to
such or such degree of public esteem or power, is not in itself a
malevolent inclination. We may wish to equal and surpass others without,
at the same time, wishing them any harm. We can experience pleasure in
excelling them, without exactly rejoicing in their defeat; we can bear
being excelled by them without begrudging them their success.

Emulation then is a personal but not a malevolent sentiment; it becomes
malevolent and vicious when our feelings toward others become inverted:
when, for example, we regret, not the check we have been made to suffer,
but the advantage our rivals have gained over us, and when we are unable
to bear the idea of the good fortune of others; or again when, conversely,
we experience more pleasure at their defeat than joy at our own victory.
This sentiment, thus perverted, becomes what is called _envy_: and envy is
generally the pain we feel at the good fortune of others; it is then a
sentiment implying the wish to see others unhappy; and is therefore an
actual vice, as low as it is odious.

_Envy_ which has some analogy with _jealousy_ must be distinguished from
the latter. Jealousy is a kind of envy which bears especially upon
affections it is not allowed to share; envy, upon material goods, or goods
in the abstract (fortune, honors, power). The envious man wants goods he
does not possess; the jealous man refuses to share those which he has.
Jealousy is then a sort of selfishness, not as base as envy, since higher
goods are in question, but which for its consequences is nevertheless one
of the most terrible of passions.

Anger is a natural passion, which seems to have been bestowed on us to
furnish us an arm against peril; it is an effort the soul makes to resist
an evil it stands in danger of. But this inclination is one of those which
cause us the quickest to lose our self-possession, and throws us into a
sort of momentary insanity. Yet, although it is a passion of which the
consequences may be fatal, it is not necessarily accompanied by hatred (as
may be seen by the soldier who will fight furiously and who, immediately
after the battle or during a truce, will shake hands with his enemy).
Anger then is an effort of nature in the act of self-defense; it is a
fever, and as such it is a fatal and culpable passion, but it is not a

Anger becomes _hatred_ when, thinking of the harm we have done or could do
to our enemy, we rejoice over the thought of this harm; it is called
_resentment_ or _rancor_ when it is the spiteful recollection of an injury
received; finally, it becomes the _passion of vengeance_ (the most
criminal of all) when it is the desire and hope to return evil for evil.
Pleasure at the misfortune of others, when it reaches a certain
refinement, even though free from hatred, becomes _cruelty_.

Hatred changes into _contempt_ when there is joined to it the idea of the
baseness and inferiority of the person who is hated. Contempt is a
legitimate sentiment when it has for its object base and culpable actions;
it is a bad and blameworthy passion when it bears upon a pretended
inferiority, either of birth, or fortune, or talent, and then belongs to
false pride. False pride, however, is not always accompanied by contempt.
We see men full of self-satisfaction, who yet know how to be polite and
courteous toward those they regard their inferiors; others, on the
contrary, who look down upon their inferiors and treat them like brutes.
Contempt, with such, is added to false pride. A gentler form of contempt
is _disdain_, a sort of delicate and covered contempt. Contempt when it
applies itself to set off, not the vices, but the peculiarities of men,
trying to make them appear ridiculous, becomes _raillery_ or _irony_.

Such are the principal affections of the soul viewed as diseases, that is
to say, inasmuch as they have need of remedies.

Let us now, to continue Bacon's comparison, pass to their _treatment_.

=176. Culture of the soul.=--After having studied characters and passions,
we have to ask ourselves by what means passions may be governed and
characters modified or corrected.

=177. Bossuet's rule.=--As to the first point, namely, the government of
the passions, Bossuet gives us in his _Connaissance de Dieu et de
soi-même_,[158] excellent practical advice: it is obviously based on his
study of consciences.

He justly observes that we cannot directly control our passions: "We
cannot," he says, "start or appease our anger as we can move an aim or
keep it still." But, on the other hand, the power we exercise over our
external members gives us also a very great one over our passions. It is,
of course, but an indirect power, but it is no less efficacious: "Thus can
I put away from me a disagreeable and irritating object, and when my anger
is excited, I can refuse it the arm it needs to satisfy itself."

To do this it is necessary to will it; but there is nothing so difficult
as to will when the soul is possessed by a passion. The question is then
to know how one may escape a ruling passion. To succeed in it one should
not attack it in front, but as much as possible turn the mind upon other
objects: it is with passion "as with a river which is more easily turned
off from its course than stopped short." A passion is often conquered by
means of another passion, "as in a State," says Bacon, "where a prince
restrains one faction by means of another." Bossuet says even that it may
be well, in order to avoid criminal passions, to abandon one's self to
innocent ones.[159] One should also be careful in the choice of the
persons he associates with: "for nothing more arouses the passions than
the talk and actions of passionate men; whilst a quiet mind, provided its
repose be not feelingless and insipid, seems, on the contrary, to
communicate to us its own peace. We need something lively that may accord
with our own feelings.

In a word, to conclude with Bossuet, "we should try to calm excited minds
by diverting them from the main object of their excitement; approach them
obliquely rather than directly in front; that is to say, that when a
passion is already excited, there is no time then to attack it by
reasoning, for one drives it all the stronger in. Where wise reflections
are of greatest effect is in the forestalling of passions. One should
therefore fill his mind with sensible thoughts, and accustom it early to
proper inclinations, so that there be no room for the objects of

=178. Improvement of character.=--Bossuet has just informed us how we are
to conduct ourselves in regard to the passions, as diseases of the soul.
Let us now see how character, namely, temperament, may be modified.

The character is a collection of habits, a great part of which belong,
unquestionably, to our natural inclinations, but which, nevertheless, are
also largely formed under the influence of education, circumstances,
indulgence of passions, etc. It is thus character, "this second nature,"
as it has often been called, gradually develops.

Character being, as we have seen above, a habit, and virtue, on the other
hand, being also a habit, the problem which presents itself to him who
wishes to improve his character and exchange his vices for virtues, is to
know how one habit may be substituted for another, and how even a painful
habit may be substituted for an agreeable habit, sometimes for a habit
which has lost its charm, but not yet its empire over one.

This problem may be found analyzed and most pathetically described in the
_Confessions_ of St. Augustine:

    "I was," he tells us, "like those who wish to get awake, but who,
    overcome by sleep, fall back into slumber. There is certainly no one
    who would wish to sleep always, and who would not rather, if he is
    healthy of mind, prefer the waking to the sleeping state; and yet
    there is nothing more difficult than to shake off the languor which
    weighs our limbs down; and often, though the hour for waking has come,
    we are against our will made captives by the sweetness of sleep.... I
    was held back by the frivolous pleasures and foolish vanities which I
    had found in the company of my former friends: they hung on the
    vestures of my flesh, whispering, 'Art thou going to abandon us?'...
    If, on the one hand, virtue attracted and persuaded me, pleasure on
    the other captivated and enslaved me.... I had no other answer for the
    former, than: 'Presently, presently, wait a little.' But this
    'presently' had no end and this 'wait a little' was indefinitely
    prolonged, Wretch that I am! who will deliver me from the body of this

At so painful a juncture, the Christian religion offers its children an
all-powerful and efficacious remedy: this is what it calls _grace_. But of
this means moral philosophy cannot dispose; all it can do is to find in
the study of human nature the exclusively natural means God has endowed it
with, to elevate man to virtue. Now, these means, limited though they be,
should not be considered inefficient, since for many centuries they
sufficed the greatest men and sages of antiquity.[161]

=179. Rules of Malebranche and Aristotle.=--We may take for a starting
point this maxim of Malebranche, which he borrowed from Aristotle: _Acts
produce habits, and habits produce acts_.[162] A habit, in fact, is
induced by a certain number of often repeated actions; and once generated,
it produces in its turn acts, so to say, spontaneous and without any
effort of the will. Thence spring vices and virtues; and the problem is to
know how the first may be corrected, and the second retained: for the
question is not only to pass from evil to good, but we should also take
care not to slide from good into evil.

If the first maxim of Malebranche were absolute, it would follow that the
soul could not change its habits, nor the bad man improve, nor the good
become corrupt; it would follow that hope would be interdicted to the one,
and that the other would have nothing more to fear; consequences which
experience shows to be entirely false. Some fanatical sects may have
believed that virtue or holiness once attained could never again be
lost,[163] and this belief served as a shield to the most shameful
disorders. Facts, on the contrary, teach us that there is no virtue so
infallible as to be secure against a fall, and no vice ever so deeply
rooted that may not be lessened or destroyed. In fact, and this is
Malebranche's second maxim: _One can always act against a ruling habit._
If one can act contrary to a positive habit, such acts often repeated may,
according to the first maxim, produce, by the effort of the will, a new
habit which will take the place of the preceding one. One can thus either
corrupt or correct one's self. Only, as the virtuous habits are the more
painful to acquire, and the vicious habits the more agreeable, it will
always be more easy to pass from good to evil than from evil to good.

How shall we proceed to substitute a good habit for a bad one? Aristotle
says that when we have a defect to get rid of, we should throw ourselves
into the opposite extreme, so that after having removed ourselves with all
our might from the dreaded fault we may in some respects, and through
natural elasticity, return to the just medium indicated by reason, just as
a bent wand straightens itself again when let go. This maxim may do in
certain cases and with certain characters, but it would have to be applied
cautiously. One may, under the influence of enthusiasm, throw himself into
a violent extreme, and remain there for some time; but at the moment of
reaction it is not impossible that, instead of stopping at the desired
medium, he may fall back into the first extreme again.

=180. Rules of Bacon and Leibnitz.=--Bacon,[164] who did not find
Aristotle's maxim sufficient, tries to complete it by a few additional

1. One should beware of beginning with too difficult tasks, and should
proportion them to his strength--in a word, _proceed by degrees_. For
example, he who wishes to correct himself of his laziness, should not at
once impose too great a work upon himself, but he should every day work a
little longer than the day before, until the habit is formed.

In order to render these exercises less painful, it is permitted to employ
some auxiliary means, like some one learning to swim will use bladders or
willow supports. After a little while the difficulties will be purposely
increased, like dancers who, to acquire agility, practice at first with
very heavy shoes.

"There is to be observed," adds Bacon, "that there are certain vices (and
drunkenness is one of them) where it is dangerous to proceed by degrees
only, and where it is better to cut short at once and in an absolute

2. The second maxim, where the question is of acquiring a new virtue, is
to choose for it two different opportunities: the first when one feels
best disposed toward the kind of actions he may have in view; the second,
when as ill disposed as possible, so as to take advantage of the first
opportunity to make considerable headway, and of the second, to exercise
the energy of the will. This second rule is an excellent one, and truly

3. A third rule is, when one has conquered, or thinks he has conquered,
his temperament, not to trust it too much. It were well to remember here
the old maxim: "_Drive away temperament_," etc., and remember Æsop's cat,
which, metamorphosed into a woman, behaved very well at table until it
espied a mouse.

Leibnitz also gives us some good advice as to practical prudence, to teach
us to triumph over ourselves, and expounds in his own way the same ideas
as Bossuet and Bacon:

"When a man is in a good state of mind he should lay down for himself laws
and rules for the future, and strictly adhere to them; he should,
according to the nature of the thing, either suddenly or gradually turn
his back upon all occasions liable to degrade him. A journey undertaken on
purpose by a lover will cure him of his love; a sudden retreat will
relieve us of bad company. Francis Borgia, general of the Jesuits, who was
finally canonized, being accustomed to drink freely whilst yet a man of
the world, when he began to withdraw from it gradually reduced his
allowance to the smallest amount by dropping every day a piece of wax into
the bowl he was in the habit of emptying. _To dangerous likings_ one must
oppose more innocent likings, such as agriculture, gardening, etc.; one
must shun idleness; make collections of natural history or art objects;
engage in scientific experiments and investigations; one must make himself
some indispensable occupation, or, in default of such, engage in useful or
agreeable conversation or reading. In a word, one should take advantage of
all good impulses toward forming strong resolutions, as if they were the
voice of God calling us.[165]

=181. Franklin's Almanac.=--To these maxims concerning the formation and
perfecting of character, may fittingly be added the moral method which
Benjamin Franklin adopted for his own improvement in virtue. He had made a
list of the qualities which he wished to acquire and develop within
himself, and had reduced them to thirteen principal ones. This
classification, which has no scientific value, appeared to him entirely
sufficient for the end he had in view. These thirteen virtues are the
following: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry,
sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquillity, chastity,

This catalogue, once drawn up, Franklin, reflecting that it would be
difficult to fight at the same time thirteen defects and keep his mind on
thirteen virtues, had an idea similar to that of Horatius in his combat
with the Curiatii: he resolved to fight his enemies one by one; he applied
to morality the well-known principle of politicians: "_Divide if thou wilt

"I made a little book," he says, "in which I allotted a page for each of
the virtues. I ruled each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns,
one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the
day. I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the
beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues; on
which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black
spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed
respecting that virtue upon that day.

"I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues
successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid even
the least offense against _temperance_; leaving the other virtues to their
ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus,
if in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of spots,
I supposed the habit of that virtue so much strengthened, and its opposite
weakened, that I might venture extending my attention to include the next,
and for the following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus
to the last, I could get through a course complete in thirteen weeks, and
four courses in a year. And, like him, who, having a garden to weed, does
not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his
reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and,
having accomplished the first, proceeds to a second; so I should have, I
hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress made in
virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots; till, in the
end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book,
after a thirteen weeks' daily examination."

=182. Maxim of Epictetus.=--The wise Epictetus gives us the same advice as
Franklin: "If you would not be of an angry temper," he says, "then do not
feed the habit. Be quiet at first, then count the days where you have not
been angry. You will say: 'I used to be angry every day; now every other
day; then every third or fourth day, and if you miss it so long as thirty
days, offer a sacrifice to God."[166] He said, moreover: "If you will
practice self-control, take, when it is warm and you are thirsty, a
mouthful of fresh water, and spit it out again, and tell no one."

=183. Individual character--Cicero's maxims.=--The philosophers whom we
have just cited give us rules to combat and correct our temperament when
it is vicious. Cicero, on the contrary, gives us others to maintain our
individual character and remain true to it; and these rules are no less
useful than the others. He justly observes that every man has his own
inclinations which constitute his individual and original character.
"Some," he says, "are more agile in the foot-race; others stronger at
wrestling; these are more noble, those more graceful; Scaurus and Drusus
were singularly grave; Lælius, very merry; Socrates was playful and
amusing in conversation. Some are simple-minded and frank, others, like
Hannibal and Fabius, more crafty. In short, there is an infinite variety
of manners and differences of character without their being for that

Now, this is a very sensible principle of Cicero, that we ought not to go
against the inclinations of our nature when they are not vicious:

  "_In constraining our talents
  We do nothing gracefully_,"

said the fabulist. "Let each of us then know his own disposition, and be
to himself a severe judge concerning his own defects and qualities. Let us
do as the players who do not always choose the finest parts, but those
best suited to their talent. Æsopus[168] did not often play the part of
Ajax." Cicero in this precept, "that every one should remain true to his
individual character," goes so far as to justify Cato's suicide, for the
reason that it accorded with his character. "Others," he says, "might be
guilty in committing suicide; but in the case of Cato, he was right; it
was a duty; Cato ought to have died."[169] This is carrying the rights and
duties of the individual character somewhat far; but it is certain that,
aside from the great general duties of humanity, which are the same for
all men, each individual man has a rôle to play on earth, and this rôle
is in part determined by our natural dispositions; now, we should yield to
these dispositions, when they are not vicious, and should develop them.

=184. Self-examination.=--Finally, what is especially important, considered
from a practical standpoint and in the light of moral discipline, is, that
each one should render himself an exact account of his own disposition,
his defects, oddities, vices, so that he be able to correct them. Such was
the practical sense of that celebrated maxim formerly inscribed over the
temple at Delphi: "Know thyself." This is Socrates' own interpretation of
it in his conversations with his disciples: "Tell me, Euthydemus, have you
ever gone to Delphi?"--"Yes, twice."--"And did you observe what is written
somewhere on the temple-wall: Know Thyself?"--"I did."--"Think you that to
know one's self it is enough to know one's own name? Is there nothing more
needed? And as those who buy horses do not think they know the animal they
wish to buy till they have examined it and discovered whether it is
obedient or restive, vigorous or weak, swift or slow, etc., must we not
likewise know ourselves to judge what we are really
worth?"--"Certainly."--"It is then obvious that this knowledge of himself
is to man a source of much good, whilst being in error about himself
exposes him to a thousand evils. Those who know themselves well, know what
is useful to them, discern what they can or cannot do; now, in doing what
they are capable of doing, they procure the necessaries of life and are
happy. Those who, on the contrary, do not know themselves, fail in all
their enterprises, and fall into contempt and dishonor."[170]

=185. Examination of the conscience.=--To know one's self well, it is
necessary to examine one's self. Hence a practice often recommended by
moralists, and particularly Christian moralists, known also by the
ancients, namely, the _examination of the conscience_.

There is a fine picture of it in Seneca's writings: "We should," says the
philosopher, "call, every day, our conscience to account. Thus did
Sextius; when his daily work was done, he questioned his soul: Of what
defect hast thou cured thyself to-day? What passion hast thou combated? In
what hast thou become better? What more beautiful than this habit of going
thus over the whole day!... I do the same, and being my own judge, I call
myself before my own tribunal. When the light has been carried away from
my room, I begin an inquest of the whole day; I examine all my actions and
words. I conceal nothing, allow myself nothing. And why should I hesitate
to look at any of my faults when I can say to myself: Take care not to do
so again: for to-day I forgive thee?"[171]

To designate all the practices which experience of life has suggested to
the moralists, to induce men to better, correct, perfect themselves in
right doing, would be an endless task. No better method in this respect
than to read the Christian moralists: Bossuet, Fénélon, Nicole,
Bourdaloue. The advice they give concerning the proper use of time,
opportunities, temptations, false shame, loose conversations,
perseverance, can be applied to morals as well as to religion. Reading,
meditation, proper company, good advice, selection of some great model to
follow, etc., are the principal means we should employ to perfect
ourselves in the right: "If we extirpated and uprooted, every year, a
single vice only, we should soon become perfect men."[172]

=186. Kant's Catechism.=--An excellent practice in moral education is what
Kant calls a moral catechism, in which the master, under the form of
questions and answers, sums up the principles of morality. The pupil
learns thereby to account for ideas of which he is but vaguely conscious,
and which he often confounds with principles of another order, with the
instinct of happiness, for example, or the consideration of

The following are some extracts from Kant's _Moral Catechism_.[173]

_Teacher._--What is thy greatest and even thy only wish on earth?

The pupil remains silent.[174]

_Teacher._--Is it not always to succeed in everything according to thy
wishes and will? How do we call such a state?

The pupil remains silent.

_Teacher._--We call it _happiness_ (namely, constant prosperity, a life
all satisfaction, and to be absolutely content with one's condition). Now,
if thou hadst in thy hands all possible earthly happiness, wouldst thou
keep it wholly to thyself, or share it with thy fellow-beings?

_Pupil._--I should share it with them; I should make others happy and
contented also.

_Teacher._--This already shows that thou hast a good _heart_. Let us see
now if thou hast also a good _judgment_. Wouldst thou give to the idler
soft cushions; to the drunkard wine in abundance, and all else that will
produce drunkenness; to the rogue agreeable manners and a fine presence,
that he might the more easily deceive; to the violent man, audacity and a
strong fist?

_Pupil._--Certainly not.

_Teacher._--Thou seest then that if thou heldst all happiness in thy
hands, thou wouldst not, without reflection, distribute it to each as he
desires; but thou wouldst ask thyself how far he is _worthy_ of it. Would
it not also occur to thee to ask thyself whether thou art thyself worthy
of happiness?


_Teacher._--Well, then, that which in thee inclines to happiness, is
called _inclination_; that which judges that the first condition to enjoy
happiness is to be worthy of it, is the _reason_; and the faculty thou
hast to overcome thy inclination by thy reason, is _liberty_. For example,
if thou couldst without injuring any one procure to thyself or to one of
thy friends a great advantage by means of an adroit falsehood, what says
thy reason?

_Pupil._--That I must not lie, whatever great advantage may result from it
to me or to my friend. Falsehood is _degrading_, and renders man
_unworthy_ of being happy. There is in this case absolute necessity
imposed on me by a command or prohibition of my reason, and which should
silence all my inclinations.

_Teacher._--What do we call this necessity of acting conformably to the
law of reason?

_Pupil._--We call it _duty_.

_Teacher._--Thus is the observance of our duty the general condition on
which we can alone be worthy of happiness. _To be worthy of happiness and
to do one's duty is one and the same thing._



A subject which has attracted much attention, and which is often referred
to in conversation, in books, in political assemblies, is the various
_classes_ of society; there are upper and lower classes, and between these
two, a middle class. We speak of laboring classes, poor classes, rich
classes. These are expressions which it were desirable should disappear.
They relate to ancient customs, ancient facts, and in the present state of
society correspond no longer to situations now all clearly defined. They
are vestiges which last long after the facts to which they corresponded
have disappeared, and which retained are often followed by grave
consequences. They give rise to misunderstanding, false ideas, sentiments
more or less blameworthy. I should like to show that in the present state
of society, there are no longer any classes, that there are only men,
individuals. The word _classes_, in a strict sense, can be applied only to
a state of society where social and natural advantages are conferred by
the law to certain men at the expense of others; where some can procure
these advantages whilst others never can; where the public burden weighs
on a certain class, on a certain number of men, whilst the others are
entirely free from it, and this, I repeat, by the sanction of law, and by
social organization.

This state of things has existed, with more or less differences and
notably great changes, in all past centuries. Its lowest degree is, for
example, that where it is impossible for certain men to procure to
themselves the goods desired by all, where they can never own any kind of
property, however small, where they are themselves considered property;
where, instead of being allowed to sell and buy, they are themselves sold
and bought, themselves reduced to an object of commerce. This state is
that called _slavery_.

Slavery, in its strict sense, is the state where man is the property of
other men, is a thing; where he is bought and sold, and where his work
does not belong to him, but to his master.

This state of things existed through all antiquity. Society, with the
ancients, was divided into two great _classes_ (the term is here perfectly
in its place), classes very unequal in numbers, where the more numerous
were the property of the least numerous. The citizens, as they were
called, or freemen, who constituted a part of the State, the Republic, had
no need of working to make a living, because they owned living instruments
of work--men.

This state of things, you well know, did not only exist in antiquity; it
was perpetuated till our days, and it is not very long since it still
existed in some of the greatest societies of the world. We may consider it
at present as wholly done away with.

A notch higher, we find the state called _serfdom_, where man is not
wholly interdicted to own property, and where he is allowed a family,
which fact constitutes the superiority of serfdom over slavery. It is
obvious that in a state of slavery, there can be no family: a man, the
property of another, liable to be bought and sold, can have no family.
Serfdom, which in the Middle Ages existed in all European societies, and
but recently was abolished in Russia, allowed the individual a family, and
in a certain measure even the right of property; but he was a part of the
land on which he was born, and, like that land, belonged to a master, a

The serf then was, as it is commonly called, attached to the _glebe_, to
the land, unable to leave it, unable to buy or sell except under extremely
restricted conditions, and thus a part of the soil on which he was born,
he belonged with that soil to his lord. This state of things was gradually
bettered. The serfs, little by little, acquired by their work a small
capital; they succeeded in buying their liberty from their lords. It is
this which gave rise to that ancient society, called _ancien régime_,
which preceded the French Revolution. But all men were not serfs; things
had not reached that point; serfdom had already been abolished by means of
certain contracts, certain sums of money which the workingmen paid as a
sign of their former thraldom. Yet was there still in force much that was
iniquitous, forming what is called an aristocratic society, where, for
example, some men had the exclusive right of holding and transmitting to
their children territorial property, which they were not allowed to put in
trade, the exclusive right of holding public functions, of having grades
in the army, the right of hunting and fishing, etc. And conversely, on the
other hand, whilst the minority enjoyed so exclusively all these
privileges, the costs of society rested on the greater number, and these
costs the serfs were obliged to pay. Hence a society in which there were
classes, since the law conferred social advantages on some in preference
to others, and heavy burdens resting on some without resting on others.

As it is not my purpose to write here the history of modern society, I
need not enter into all the details of these facts, which are, besides,
quite well known.

You all know that these great social injustices and iniquitous practices
disappeared at the time of the Revolution, and that the principal object
of the French Revolution of 1789 was precisely to suppress all these
privileges conceded to some, and these burdens unequally imposed on
others. From that moment, there was equality in law, that is to say, that
all men belonging to our present society are allowed to accumulate
property, exercise public functions, rise to higher grades--in a word, are
considered fit to obtain all the advantages which society has to offer,
and which nature allows them to desire and acquire.

Since 1789, society, as a matter of course, has continued to move in the
same grooves, and, thanks to work and competition, all that which still
existed by way of social inequalities has gradually disappeared; if, by
chance, there still remain in our laws such vestiges of former inequality,
they will in time, and with the help of all enlightened men, disappear;
for it is now a truth fully recognized that the good of humanity demands
that at least all legal inequalities should be done away with, and that
all men, without distinction, should be allowed to acquire any advantages
which their special faculties, and the conditions wherein they are placed,
enable them to acquire. I say, then, that this being the case, there is no
reason why, in the present state of society, men should any longer be
designated by classes. They are men, and men alone, and as such they
should be allowed to enjoy common advantages, to live by their
work--namely, to constitute themselves into families, to cultivate their
intelligence, to worship God according to their conscience--in a word, to
enjoy all the rights we call the rights of a man and citizen.

But when in a society all legal inequalities have been suppressed, does it
necessarily follow that an absolute equality will be the final result? No.
Society can only do away with inequalities of its own making; inequalities
which, from causes we have not time here to set forth, were added to the
already existing natural inequalities. For there are natural inequalities;
inequalities which may be called individual inequalities, there being no
two persons in the world exactly the same. From this fact alone--men being
in a thousand ways different from each other--it necessarily follows that
each man's condition is different from that of his fellow-men. Hence an
infinite multitude of inequalities which have always existed and always
will exist, because they result from the nature of things; and such
inequalities must be clearly distinguished from those dependent on the

What now are the principal causes of these inequalities, which I call
individual inequalities? They are of two kinds: the inherent faculties of
the individual, and the circumstances wherein he is placed.

The faculties of the individual are the work of nature: they spring from
his moral and physical organization; and, as I have said above, there
being no two men exactly alike, either physically or morally, it naturally
follows that there are differences, and these differences bring with them
inequalities. Let us, for instance, take the most important of all these
differences, namely, physical strength, health. Man is a living being, an
organized being, and his organization is subject to the most delicate,
most numerous, most complicated conditions. Hence many differences. Some
are born strong, robust, able to brave all kinds of temperatures, all
sorts of trials--trials of work, of outside events, sometimes the trials
of their own excesses even.

Others, on the contrary, are born with a feeble constitution; they are
weak, delicate, they cannot bear trials the same as the others.

This is a first difference, and this difference, you well know, may be
subdivided into a multitude of others; for there are no two individuals
equally healthy, equally strong. What will be the natural result? This,
for example: that where strength is required (and every one needs more or
less physical strength to accomplish certain heavy works), the strongest
will have the advantage over the others; and, after a certain time, of two
men who started at the same time, under the same conditions, with equal
moral advantages, one, owing to his physical strength, shall have
accomplished a great deal, and the other less; one shall have earned much,
the other little: their career is unequal.

But it is not always the greater physical strength and health which
determine in man his capacity for work; and it is a notable fact, and a
matter upon which it is well to insist, namely, that all differences are
compensated for, balance themselves, so to say; that such a one, for
example, who, in some respect and from a certain point of view, may be
inferior to another, may from another standpoint be superior to him;
which, again, is as much as to say that there are no classes in society;
for if the one who in one respect is inferior to his fellow-man, is in
another superior to him, they are equals.

In the class called the laboring class, for example, we see every day that
it is not always the strongest and the healthiest that produce the largest
amount of work; and love of work is a notable factor in this scale of
physical strength, making the balance pretty even. For some delicate men
are industrious, whilst others who are stronger are not; some have a
natural liking for their work, whilst others again have not. Hence a
difference in the character of their work, and, consequently, in the
remuneration of it.

A third difference is that of the _intelligence_. All men have received
from nature a special gift which distinguishes them from the animals, and
which we call intelligence; but they have not received it all to the same
degree. Not all men have the same intellectual faculties, and every one
knows how great an element of success intelligence is in all functions, in
all departments of human activity, even in those requiring above all
physical strength and the use of the hands. It is well known that even the
latter find in intelligence their best auxiliary; that it procures them an
invaluable advantage, even over those whose physical strength, facility,
ardor, tenacity in work, would seem to forestall all rivalry.

There is finally a fourth element which is also inherent in the individual
man, and which distinguishes one man from the other, and this is
_morality_. We all know that morality, independently of its own merit, its
incomparable, intrinsic merit, a merit which cannot be estimated by its
fruits, is of itself alone one of the greatest factors in bringing about
important results in practical life. We all know that even setting aside
the intrinsic worth of morality--honesty, virtue--the work resulting from
our physical efforts is greatly enhanced by this precious element. We all
know that economy, sobriety, a spirit of peace and concord, devotion to
the family--in short, all moral elements--give to him who exercises them a
vast superiority over his fellows who do not, despite his intellectual and
physical disadvantages.

When I say that morality is an element of inequality, I wish to be
understood rightly. There are, it is true, moral inequalities among men;
and from these moral inequalities spring others; but morality is not in
itself a principle of inequality, for what precisely constitutes morality,
is that all men can equally attain to it; that it wholly depends on the
individual man to attain to it or not. So that if, on this point, a man
finds himself inferior to another, he can blame no one for it but himself.

Here, then, is a point where the law is of no avail; where it is evident
that man is the master of his actions, and gains for himself what morality
he wishes; if, then, there results from this a certain inequality among
men, this inequality is to be attributed to the free-will of the
individual man, who did not profit by the admirable gift Providence has
endowed him with--namely, moral liberty--and by means of which he can
choose between the right and the wrong.

You see, then, that there are many causes differentiating men from each
other, and in such a manner that it is impossible to define them strictly.
We cannot say: there are on the one hand the strong, and on the other the
weak; on the one the intelligent, on the other the feeble-minded, because
all these elements so combine as to compensate for one another. Once
more, he who is least favored in one direction, may be better favored in
another; he who has an inferior share of intelligence and physical
strength, may be the first in will-power. We can thus always fill out
natural inequalities, and correct and overcome them by an effort of the

Still, however that may be, and despite all effort of individual
will-power and moral energy, there unquestionably result from these
individual differences a multitude of different conditions among men.
Besides, and independently of these purely inward causes due to both the
physical and moral constitution of the individual man, there are yet
outward causes of inequality. These are the circumstances, the conditions
wherein we are born and live.

We are all more or less dependent on the physical and social conditions
which surround us. It is quite certain that birth, for example, is a
circumstance wholly independent of the will of man. Some are born in the
most favorable, some in the least favorable social conditions--some rich,
some poor; facts which depend neither on their constitution nor on their
will. There are, moreover, still other outward circumstances. One may be
born in a rich, a civilized, an enlightened, a progressive country, or in
a poor, barbarous, benighted country. One may live in a place where there
is every means of education, of making a living, of improving one's self,
where there may be a thousand favorable openings for a man, and again, on
the contrary, in a place far away from all civilization, without
opportunities for work, without enlightenment, without means of
communication with other men. All such circumstances are independent of
the will of the individual man, and can only be corrected in time and
through the progress of civilization, which gradually equalizes all

There are yet, besides all this, what is generally called the happy and
unhappy chances of life. Everybody knows that human events do not always
run as one would wish them, that things turn out more or less fortunately,
as circumstances, and not men, order them. One may, for instance, get
sick, when he has most need of health; a wife loses her husband, the
support of her family, when she has most need of him; one may engage in an
enterprise apparently founded on the best conditions of success: this
enterprise fails on account of unexpected events, and without its being
any one's fault. In commerce, for instance, we see every day the most
unfortunate consequences of outward circumstances, against which one is
utterly helpless, because, in commerce especially, there is a large share
to be left to chance, to the unknown, which no one can calculate
beforehand. Now, all such unexpected events, as they are realized,
overthrow all our plans, and are cause that some attain to wealth, and
others fall into poverty. Farmers particularly know but too well how
dependent they are on outward circumstances. Cold, heat, rain, are for
them elements of fortune or misery, and they are elements over which they
have no control whatsoever.

Now these elements, working blindly, as it would seem, are the chief cause
of the great diversity of human conditions. Some, it is said, are lucky;
others are not; some meet with favorable circumstances, others with
contrary and fatal circumstances. Everything seems to co-operate toward
crushing some, whilst everything again favors the success of others. These
causes are innumerable, and could be multiplied _ad infinitum_; they
explain the infinite variety of human conditions, how there are none
exactly similar, and how there are consequently no two men exactly alike.

They are equals as men, in the sense that they have the same rights to
justice, to truth; the same rights of conscience; but they are not equals
as to their circumstances, which circumstances, as we have seen, vary in
every respect. But, it may be asked, why all these inequalities? Why are
some happy and others unhappy? Why some rich, fortunate, powerful,
intelligent, virtuous even? (for it would almost seem that up to a certain
point, virtue also depends on social position, since those who are born in
a more elevated condition have greater facilities to exercise virtue); why
are others, on the contrary, unfortunate, obliged to work so hard to
arrive at such poor results; to be scarcely able to make a living for
themselves or their family? Certainly these are indeed most grave and
serious questions. But, what I contend for is, that it is not to society
we should put these questions, but to Providence, who has made life what
it is. Society can do but one thing, namely, not to add to natural
inequalities, social ones. It can also, to a certain degree, lessen the
natural inequalities; but it is not wholly responsible for man's moral and
physical constitution; it is not wholly responsible for the course of
events in the world; so that if we would know why things are thus
fashioned, we must rise higher; we must not make our fellow-men or society
in general answerable for them. I only add that, as legal inequalities
disappear, so will the natural inequalities also vanish, and this is the
essential point. Natural inequalities cannot be wholly corrected, for the
reasons above stated; but as society, in doing away with legal
inequalities, strives to lessen the share of responsibility it has
heretofore had in these inequalities, the natural inequalities must
necessarily grow less, and for the simple reason that avenues being opened
to man to enjoy the fruit of his labor, and acquire the rights society
holds now out to him, he will be able to fill out these natural
inequalities. The inequality of intelligence was largely due to want of
culture. As soon as men shall be educated, enlightened, shall themselves
endeavor to learn, the differences in human intelligence will gradually
disappear; for it has been observed that as civilization progresses, the
number of great men diminishes, and what was formerly called genius, is
lost in the larger development of society. This may be only an illusion,
for genius never changes; only as the existing differences among men
become lessened, the inequalities which separated the great men from the
rest are less obvious.

Thus, the more you shall put into the hands of men, and if possible of all
men, means for educating themselves, the more you will find these
differences vanish; the more will they grow like each other, the more will
human intelligence become equalized.

On the other hand, as social and legal inequalities disappear, public
prosperity, public wealth, public comforts, will increase at the same
rate. As the physical strength of men develops, so will the means of
combating infirmities, diseases, all that weakened, enervated, depraved
the populations, develop also. As the moral differences diminish (not
indeed in the sense that every one will reach the same degree of
virtue--that is impossible), the rudeness, the brutality, certain odious
vices due to ignorance, to barbarous manners, to the insufficient means of
communication with each other, will gradually disappear; and thus, in
respect to civilization also, will men grow more like each other.

You see, then, that by culture, by the progress of civilization, all these
inequalities due to outward circumstances, may be combated. Society at the
present time, being more ingenious, more enlightened, more clever than in
past days, has at its command a multitude of means wherewith, if not to
destroy, at least to reduce the ill effects of outward chances. That, for
example, which we call _life-insurance_, is very effective indeed in
combating misfortune. By means of a small sacrifice, every man may in some
respect protect himself against chances which formerly reduced a large
part of the population to misery. It is the same with other similar
societies of mutual assistance and benefit; they will increase in
proportion to general progress, and will largely counteract the unhappy
results of such inequalities as may be combated by human industry.

I go still further; I maintain that the inequalities above noted not only
should not be imputed to society, but not even to Providence. They are
legitimate and useful; they are the necessary stimulant to work. It is
because of that very great variety of conditions that men make the proper
efforts to better them, and that by these efforts, by this common labor,
society progresses.

Why does every one work? Is it not that each sees above him a position he
covets, and which he seeks to secure? It is not the first of positions,
nor the highest, for man does not think of those too far above him, nor
should he; but the next best, such as others like him occupy, he can
attain. If he earns a little money only, he tries to earn more; if he is
only a workman, he may become a foreman; if only a foreman, a master; if
only a master, a capitalist. He who is but a third clerk will want to be
second clerk; he who is second will want to be first; and thus through the
whole series of degrees. Now, it is just the possibility of securing a
better situation than the one we are in that stimulates us to work and
make the necessary efforts. Suppose (a thing, of course, impossible) that
all men could be assured of a sufficient quantity of daily bread equally
distributed among them, human activity would at once come to a stop, human
work would cease; society would consequently become impoverished, and,
becoming impoverished, even the small portion each one is satisfied with
could no longer be possible, and they would have to fall back upon work
again. Work requires a stimulant, and it is the inequality of human
conditions which furnishes this stimulant.

Societies are like individuals. Every society has always before its eyes a
condition better than the one it is in, a state of greater material
prosperity, of greater intellectual development; and it is because we long
to reach that superior state that society strives after improvement. There
are, indeed, societies that are indifferent to this; that do not
experience such a want; but such peoples remain stagnant in their
barbarous ignorance; they never advance. It is the civilized nations who
are not satisfied with their condition, and where every one endeavors to
better his own. We should, therefore, look upon the inequalities which
favor individual development, which assist the progress of the race, which
excite every man to make an effort to better his condition, as truly

I have demonstrated how the great legal inequalities which, before the
French Revolution, authorized the division of society into classes, have
now disappeared, and that what remains, and must of necessity remain, are
the natural inequalities resting, on the one hand, on individual
faculties, and on the other, on the diversity and the inequality of the
conditions wherein we are placed. Let us now see whether in these
conditions there is something requiring society to be divided into
parts:--some people above, some below, some in the middle, and whether
each of these parts should be called a class. I look in vain for anything
whereon such distinctions could be based. Let us take the most natural
fact which could serve as a basis for such distinctions--namely, fortune,

It is said: there are the rich and the poor. But what more vague than such
terms? Where does poverty stop? Undoubtedly, there are wretched people in
all societies. There is no society wholly free of poor unfortunates, so
unfortunate as to require the assistance of others. It is what we call
beggary, and it exists in all societies. But this is not an element which
may be said to constitute a class. It is not any more correct to say the
class of beggars than the class of invalids. There are invalids in all
societies, and we are all subject to becoming invalids, but we cannot say
that there is a class of invalids. Those who are ill are to be pitied, but
they do not, I repeat, constitute a class, which would allow us to divide
society into two parts: a class of people that are well and people that
are sick. The same with beggary; it is an anomaly, an unfortunate
exception to the rule, and very sad for those who are its victims, but it
does not constitute a class. Yet it is not this we generally understand by
the poor and the rich classes. We understand by rich those who have a
certain appearance of well-being; and by poor those who work more or less
with their hands. Now, there is nothing more false than such a
distinction, for, among those called rich, there are many that are poor,
and wealth and poverty are not generally absolutely different. It depends
on the relations between the wants and the means of satisfying them.

How many among physicians, lawyers, artists, for example--among men who
belong to what we call the middle class--are, I ask, not only poor, but
wretched? How are we to know them? What is it marks in society the rich
and the poor? Here we have, for instance, country people, good folks, who
have never opened a book, who do not know A from B, and who are rich; and
again others of the middle class who are poor. The conditions in society
so intertwine that it is impossible to cut it in two and say: these are
the rich classes, these the poor. There is an infinite variety of degrees,
each having some sort of property, the one more, the other less. In such a
number of degrees it is impossible to distinguish precisely the beginning
or the end. We admit these individual inequalities, and as many different
conditions as there are individuals; but there are no classes, and no one
could tell their beginnings and ends. How could you determine the amount
of property requisite to belong to either of these categories--the rich or
the poor? Shall you say that the rich man is he who has any capital, and
the poor, he who has not any? There are many people with capital that are
poor, and many without who are very well off. These are but arbitrary

Upon what, then, shall we base class differences? On the professions? On
those who exercise public functions and those who do not? But this would,
in the first place, be a very unequal division; for the number of public
functionaries is very small in comparison with the immense mass of people
who have no public profession. And again, wherein is the public
functionary superior to this or that merchant, this or that big farmer,
this or that great builder or contractor? It is impossible to say; for in
the hierarchy of functionaries there is also a top, a middle, a bottom,
with an infinite variety of degrees in each.

Take the nobility. But who in these days troubles himself about
aristocratic names? They are, unquestionably, valuable _souvenirs_ for
those who can boast of them--of great historical names, for instance;
names which have played a part in history; they are grand recollections to
cherish and respect, but they give him who possesses them but very feeble
advantages. It is not very long since there might have been found some
legitimate ground for the class distinctions we are examining, namely, in
political rights, at a time when some few enjoyed political rights and a
great many had none; but this time has gone by, this inequality is also
wiped out; there are no more political classes than there are social

Shall we take material work--work of hand, as a class distinction among
men? We hear often the term _laboring classes_--men, namely, who live by
work of hand; but are not those who work with their brains, workers also?
There are a thousand kinds of work, and it is not absolutely necessary one
should work with his hands to be a worker. Besides, there are many people
working with their hands, who do not belong to what is usually understood
by the laboring class: the painters, sculptors, chemists, surgeons; all
these people work with their hands. You see, then, that, look at it as you
will, it will be very difficult to find distinctive signs whereby society
could be divided into classes.

There are groups of workers; groups formed by the variety of work which
has to be done. Everybody cannot do the same thing in society. Political
economy teaches a very true and necessary law, called division of labor.
In order that a certain piece of work be well done, its different parts
must be distributed among those who are capable of executing them; and the
more each one will exclusively attend to the portion allotted to him, the
better will the work be done.

It is the same with society. Society is a great work-shop, a vast factory,
where there are a great many different kinds of work to be done. Each must
do his share. Hence various groups of workers. Some cultivate the land,
because men must be fed; some engage in industrial pursuits, for men must
be clothed, must be housed against the inclemencies of the weather; then
there is justice to be rendered; there are some needed to protect the
laborers; men must also be educated and need educators. There are roads to
be made, railroads to be laid, laws to be enforced, and all this gives
rise to a multitude of functions, a large number of groups of workers,
each working in the line which has been determined, more or less, by
birth, circumstances, or natural ability. Shall we still say that each of
these groups forms a class? Shall it be the military class, because it is
composed of soldiers; the class of ecclesiastics, because composed of
priests; the teaching class, because composed of teachers? In no wise.
Then should we neither speak of the laboring classes--of the middle

There is, I repeat, but one society, and that society composed of an
infinite number of individuals; all differing from each other by reason of
their various natural endowments and the outward conditions in which they
are placed. They are subdivided into groups which more or less blend with
each other, are more or less dependent on each other.

There is, however, a sign whereby men may be distinguished from each
other, and that is education: difference in instruction and culture; and
this is in these days the only kind of difference that can still exist
among them.

How is this to be remedied? In two ways: in observing the duties of
society and the duties of individuals. Society at this present moment is
doing all in its power to bring education within the reach of all, and
according to the particular need of each. Of course all are not obliged to
learn the same things. Even among the most enlightened, there are some
who, relatively to others, are quite ignorant. So that there are degrees
here also. But still there is a certain common ground of customary,
useful, necessary knowledge, which brings all together:--the education
common to all, and which is as a bond between them. Society is doing its
best in extending this education, propagating it, developing it; and men
should do their best toward it. It depends, therefore, on the individual
man to do away with this last inequality. It behooves us, then, to
disseminate education and instruction, as far as it lies in our power; and
it behooves those who have not yet enjoyed it to make every effort to
improve themselves.

Finally, connected with education, there is a feature which also
establishes a certain difference between men: good manners; good habits;
good morals; all of which are distinguishing, differentiating, traits. On
whom is it incumbent to do away with such inequalities? On us all. Each of
us, in his own individual sphere of life, must break down the barrier that
separates him from the one above him; he must rise up to him, not so much
through morality, for morality is the same below as above, but through his
manners, his habits, his dignity, sobriety, politeness, he must win his

This is accomplished rather through education than instruction, for it is
education that makes men good-natured, so that it will be through
education that the last inequality between men will be effaced.

I say, then, that we should as much as possible work toward this end, and
above all avoid using expressions which tend to separate men from each
other. These expressions belong to a past age; they were perpetuated by
usage, and still uphold certain imaginary rights, and modes of
thinking--certain prejudices and sentiments which divide society into two
parts, and cause it to believe that it is so divided from necessity. In
indulging in such prejudices, what in fact is but an imaginary division
becomes a real one.

It is, therefore, this imaginary division of classes which must be done
away with; for it is from the imagination that all these feelings of
distrust, and jealousy, and ill-will generally spring; and they should be
combated resolutely, for they carry with them very lamentable
consequences. The remedy is where the evil is. These old prejudices
residing in the imagination, it is the imagination we should correct. We
must accustom ourselves to think differently; we must look upon ourselves
not as belonging to a particular class, but to one and the same society, a
society of men, men all equals and in different social conditions, all
entitled to the same rights.

It is, therefore, in reciprocal good feeling, in the heart of men rather
than in any legal reform, that the true safety of society resides. We must
give up those old notions which cause some to imagine that they are
oppressed, or threatened, or prevented to rise in the social scale, and
others, that they run the danger of being dispossessed of their
privileges. There is in such antagonism far greater danger than in the
actual evils both sides complain of.

To do away with it only requires reciprocal good-will, kindness, readiness
to understand each other. The reform which has taken place in our laws,
must take place in our minds also. Class feeling must be suppressed, and
there will then appear a truly human society, all being united by
brotherly love.


[1] No. CLIX.--July 1, 1884, pp. 246, 247.

[2] The fifth collegiate year will be devoted to theoretical morality.

[3] The word enthusiasm comes from a Greek word signifying, to be filled
with a god.

[4] Drive away nature, and it gallops back again. Lafontaine has said the
same thing: "Shut the door against its nose, and it will return by the

[5] J. J. Rousseau, _Emile_.

[6] Kant, _Doctrine de la vertu_. French translation of J. Barni, p. 171.

[7] Kant is wrong in rejecting these two maxims, interpreting them in the
sense we have just refuted.

[8] Chapter I., page 22.

[9] It would seem here that negative gratitude becomes confounded with
negative ingratitude; the one doing no harm, the other doing no good; it
would seem as one and the same condition, wherein neither harm nor good is
done; but the distinction exists nevertheless; for the question, on the
one hand, is to do no harm when tempted to do some, and on the other, not
to do any good when there is an occasion for it. For example, he who
despoils others, but abstains before his benefactor, experiences a certain
degree of gratitude, and he who does good to his friends and flatterers
around him, and does not do any to his benefactor, is already ungrateful.

[10] These questions will be examined more in detail in the next chapter.

[11] See chapter IV.

[12] Lawyers make a distinction between _possession_ and _property_. The
first consists simply in having the object in use; the second, in enjoying
its exclusive use, even if the object were not naturally in one's hands.

[13] Victor Cousin, _The True, the Beautiful, and the Good_ (lectures xxi.
and xxii.).

[14] Which is to say that the acts are nothing if the heart is absent.

[15] St. Paul, 1 Cor., xiii., 1-7.

[16] In the _Provinciales_ this apostrophe is addressed to the Jesuits,
whom Pascal accuses of loose maxims on the subject.

[17] _Le Devoir._ Part iv., Ch. iii.

[18] In Tuscany the penalty of death was abolished in the eighteenth
century by the Grand Duke Leopold. It was again established with the Grand
Duchy's annexation to the Kingdom of Italy. In Switzerland, after being
abolished by the Confederation, the penalty of death was finally left to
be determined by each particular canton.

[19] It answers the frequent assertion that the courtesy and regards which
men owe each other reciprocally, would soon disappear if they were not
protected by the resource of the duel.

[20] Jules Simon, _La Liberté_, ii. part, ch. iii.

[21] Thus we see Saint Simonian ideas completely disappear from the modern
socialistic sects which all tend to blend with the equality-communism pure
and simple.

[22] On the question of property, see Thiers, _La Propriété_ (1848) and
the _Harmonies économiques de Bastiat_, ch. viii.

[23] See in the _Harmonies économiques_ viii., that ingenious and
substantial theory which shows the growing progress of the community by
reason of property.

[24] See especially about the question of interest, the controversy
between Proudhon and Bastiat. (Works of Bastiat, vol. v., _Gratuity of

[25] Mode of reckoning in the time of Louis XIV.

[26] The scene between father and son in _The Miser_ (Sc. ii., Act iii.).

[27] See, in Molière's _Don Juan_, the charming scene between Don Juan and
Mr. Dimanche.

[28] "Things lost cannot give rise to an action for theft, when the
finder, after having looked for their proprietor in vain, and only
retained them when his researches proved fruitless, has ascertained that
the proprietor will not present himself. But if the thing has been taken
with the intention of appropriating it, if it has an owner, although
unknown, there is no doubt about the delinquency." (Faustin-Hélie, _Droit
pénal_, iv. edit., Leçon v., p. 66.)

[29] The play in Latin is on the words _otiandi_ and

[30] _De Officiis_, Book III., ch. xiv.

[31] Definition of the canon law.

[32] _Digest_, II., § 3, _De Furtis_.

[33] _Traité des obligations_, Part I., ch. i., § 2.

[34] See Racine's tragedy of Phèdre.

[35] Puffendorf, _Of the Duties of Man and the Citizen_, ii., c. ix., §

[36] In the United States children can, in the case of neglect by their
parents, make contracts which are obligatory for whatever is necessary for

[37] Our Code does not admit that a mistake touching the person, vitiates
the consent of the contractors, unless this consideration be the principal
cause of the agreement.

[38] _Esprit des Lois_, XV., iv. The stipulations which Montesquieu
demanded have been made, and have led to the suppression, or at least to a
great diminution, of the slave-trade.

[39] By _maîtrise_ was understood the rank or degree of master; and
_jurandes_ was the name of an annual office by means of which the affairs
of the corporation were administered: it also meant the assembly of
workmen, who had lent the customary oath.

[40] Beaumarchais, _Barbier de Seville_.

[41] Nicole does not give any examples; but it is evident, for instance,
that it is a graver fault to rashly incriminate the _integrity_ of a
functionary than his _incapacity_, the _chastity_ of a woman than her

[42] Nicole belonged to the sect of the Jansenists, celebrated for the
harshness and rigidity of their morality.

[43] It is also called _commutative_ justice, somewhat improperly, in
taking for its type the act of exchange, where one gives the equivalent of
what he receives; but this expression is only truly correct when it
touches upon property, and particularly upon sale, trust, loan. But the
term _commutative_ has no longer much meaning when applied to the respect
due to the life, the liberty, or the honor of others. Nevertheless, it is
necessary to be familiar with the expression, as it is usually opposed to
_distributive_ justice.

[44] _Nepotism_ is the custom of advancing to desirable posts the members
of one's family; _simony_ (which has especially to do with the Church)
consisted in the purchase of the ecclesiastical functions: the term may
also, by extension, be applied to lay functions.

[45] We give on the next page an analysis of this Essay.

[46] Jouffret, _De la politesse_ (_A Lecture at the distribution of prizes
at the Tournon Lyceum_, Tournon. 1880).

[47] Lamennais, _Paroles d'un Croyant_, xv.

[48] Kant, _Doctrine de la vertu_, trad. Barni, p. 160.

[49] It is the question debated between Alceste and Philinte in the first
scene of the _Misanthrope_.

[50] Kant, _Doc. de la vertu_, trad. de Barni, p. 155.

[51] See Puffendorf, _Droits de la nature et des gens_, III., ch. iii.

[52] See our _Morale_, liv. II., ch. v.

[53] Abstinence from the flesh of animals was based by Pythagoras, as it
was with the Brahmins, upon the doctrine of metempsychosis.

[54] The question is as to the acts themselves, and not their abuse.

[55] A philosopher of the school of Descartes, who, like his master,
taught that animals are machines.

[56] _Education progressive_, VI., iv.

[57] _Bulletin de la Société Protectrice des Animaux._ June, 1868.

[58] Law of the 2d July, 1850, called _Grammont Law_: "Shall be punishable
by a fine of from five to fifteen francs, or from one to five days'
imprisonment, any one who shall publicly and abusively have maltreated
domestic animals. In case of repetition of the offence, imprisonment."

A society--_Société Protectrice des Animaux_--has been formed to come in
aid to the law. The principal articles of its statutes are: "The aim of
the society is to ameliorate, by all the means in its power, and
conformably to the law of the 2d of July, 1850, the condition of animals.
The society awards recompenses to any propagating its work and inventing
proper means to the relief of animals; to the agents of the police,
pointed out by their chiefs as having enforced the laws and regulations
for the prevention of cruelty and ill-treatment towards animals;--to the
agents of agriculture, shepherds, farm-help, farmers, leaders of
cattle;--to coachmen, butcher-boys, smiths--in short, to any person who,
in some high degree, shall have given proof of good treatment, intelligent
and continued care and compassion toward animals." See in its _Bulletins_,
the useful results obtained by this interesting society.

[59] _Traité élémentaire de philosophie_, p. 262.

[60] Concerning these three powers, see Montesquieu, _Esprit des lois_,
I., xi.

[61] See on this subject the _Notions d'instruction civique_.

[62] Prosopopoeia in rhetoric is the form of expression which consists
in animating physical or abstract things, in lending them "a soul, a mind,
a visage" (Boileau), in making them speak or being spoken to as if they
were present and living. In _Crito_, the laws are personified, and it is
they that speak.

[63] _Droits et devoirs de l'homme_, Henri Marion, Paris, 1880, p. 67.

[64] The preceding quotation is from our _Philosophie du bonheur_.

[65] _Philosophie sociale_, Essai sur les devoirs de l'homme et du
citoyen, par l'abbé Durosoi (Paris, 1783).

[66] Marshal Marmont was accused of treason for having accepted the
capitulation of Essonne, which was perhaps imposed upon him by necessity.

[67] The _liberum veto_ in Poland was the right of each representative to
oppose the veto of the laws which were voted unanimously.

[68] Montaigne thus expressed himself in regard to marriage: "A good
marriage is a sweet society for life, full of constancy, troubles, and an
infinite number of useful and substantial services and mutual

[69] Ad. Garnier, _Morale sociale_ I., ii., p. 104.

[70] See our book, _La Famille_, 3d lecture. We take the liberty to refer
the reader to this book for the development of the subject.

[71] Xenophon.

[72] A. Garnier, _Morale sociale_.

[73] The law of divorce has since been passed again in France.--[Transl.]

[74] David Hume, _Essays_.

[75] A great German moralist, Fichte, denies, however, people having a
right to voluntarily and systematically renounce marriage: "An unmarried
person," he says, "is but half a person. A fixed resolution not to marry
is absolutely contrary to duty. Not to marry is, without its being one's
fault, a great misfortune; but not to marry through one's fault is a great
fault (_Durch seine Schuld, eine grosse Schuld_). It is not permitted to
sacrifice this end to other ends, even where the service of the Church, or
family or State duties, or, in fine, the repose of a contemplative life,
are concerned; for there is no higher end for man than to be a complete
man." There is much truth in these words of Fichte, yet may we be
permitted to think that his doctrine in this respect is pushed to excess,
as well as that which forbids second marriages.

[76] _La Famille._ 4th Lecture.

[77] _Du droit de la guerre et de la paix_, I., II. ch. v. § 2.

[78] And that may be questioned.

[79] This duty to-day is imposed by law: "Primary instruction is
obligatory for children of both sexes from six to thirteen years." (Law of
the 28th March, 1882, art. 4.)

[80] Fichte, _System der Sittenlehre_, Pt. III., ch. iii., § 29.

[81] _Doctrine of happiness._

[82] Fichte is right here when he speaks of the exaggeration of this
principle. But the principle itself is a true one, namely, that one should
accustom children to act according to their own reason: it is the only
means of teaching them liberty.

[83] The Dialogues of Plato. Laws. B. Jowett's Translation, B. IV., 238.

[84] Xenophon's _Memorabilia of Socrates_, translation by J. S. Watson, B.
II., Chap. 2.

[85] Xenophon's Memorabilia. Translation J. S. Watson.

[86] _Des Devoirs de l'homme_, ch. xii.

[87] A European custom.--_Transl._

[88] See our work on _La Famille_ (3d lecture).

[89] _Le Vrai, le Beau et le Bien._ Lect. xxi., ch. xxii.

[90] There is no injustice done to him who consents to it.

[91] St. Augustin, _Cité de Dieu_, I., xvii., trad. d'Em. Saisset.

[92] One will say, perhaps, that the merchant is never innocent, for he
should have foreseen the risks which threatened him, and provided against
them. But there is no commerce without risks. There is, then, a certain
amount of risks which it is allowed and even necessary to run, or else
suppress commerce altogether. For example, a merchant in times of peace
certainly knows that there may suddenly arise a cause of war, and he must
make provision against the eventuality; but if all his transactions were
influenced by that idea, commerce in times of peace would not differ from
commerce in times of war, and would consequently be null.

[93] Rousseau's _Emile_, I., i.

[94] Bossuet, _Traité de la concupiscence_, Ch. iv.

[95] We may apply here what La Bruyère said of clothes: "There is as much
weakness in avoiding fashion as affecting it. A philosopher allows his
tailor to dress him." In the same sense is there as much weakness in
rebelling against pleasure as in seeking it too artfully. The honest man
simply enjoys it without thinking of it. Between the rigorist and the
sensualist, the sensible man has his place.

[96] _Ciceron_, _Traité des devoirs_, I., xxxiv.

[97] Cicero, _Traité des devoirs_, ch. xxxvi.

[98] We nowise mean to uphold here the doctrine of the _physiocrats_ for
whom land was the only riches; we shall merely say that it is the basis of
all wealth.

[99] There is here, again, a broad duty, for how can we interdict to a
merchant the desire for gain without suppressing one of the incitements to
his activity and work? All that we can recommend to him is moderation, and
not to sacrifice to this incitement sentiments of a higher order.

[100] Kant himself recognizes that self-interest may become a duty when
combated by passion. "To secure one's own happiness," he says, "is at
least an indirect duty; for he who is dissatisfied with his condition may
easily, in the midst of the cares and wants which besiege him, yield to
the temptation of transgressing his duties.... Therefore, even though this
tendency in man to seek his happiness did not determine his will, even
though health were not, for him at least, a thing to be taken account of
in his calculations, there would still remain in this case, as in all
others, a law, the one, namely, which commands him to work for his
happiness, not from inclination, but from a sense of duty, and it is only
by this that his conduct may have a real moral value.

[101] Franklin, _Poor Richard's Almanac_.

[102] Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, iv., i.

[103] Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, v., i.

[104] Aristotle, Politics, i., ii.

[105] Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates, Bohn's translation, by Rev. J.
S. Watson, M.A., II., vii.

[106] Confucius and Mencius, Pauthier's translation, p. 303.

[107] The word mercenary has always had an unfavorable meaning attached to
it, a relic of ancient prejudice. In the proper sense, mercenary means
remunerative, and should have no condemnatory signification. Yet already
in antiquity the word _mercenary_ had a higher sense than the word
_servile_; for Cicero, wishing to say that one should treat one's slaves
well, said that they should be treated as mercenaries--that is to say, as
men remunerated but free.

[108] Plato, Republic, i., ii.

[109] See his _De Officiis_, i., iv.

[110] It might be called _sensibility_, in the sense this word had in the
XVIII. century. It is not enough to be human toward others, one owes some
feeling to one's self also.

[111] Nicomachean Ethics, VI., ii.

[112] Ibid., VI., xii.

[113] Nicomachean Ethics, VI., ii.

[114] We do not mean by this that science cannot be a means of livelihood:
nothing more legitimate, on the contrary. We only mean that it is not that

[115] See also the admirable passage of Augustin Thierry in the preface to
_Dix ans d'étude_.

[116] "Answer me, ye illustrious philosophers, ye through whom we know
what are the causes which attract bodies to a vacuum; what are in the
revolutions of the planets, the relations of the spaces they travel over
at equal periods ... how man sees everything in God; how the soul and the
body correspond to each other without inter-communication, like two
clocks.... Even though you had not taught us any of these things, should
we be less numerous, less flourishing, more depraved?" This passage
recalls vividly that of Malebranche quoted above. What, however, is most
curious about it is that Rousseau in his criticism appropriates
Malebranche's hypothesis.

[117] "Good sense is the best distributed thing in the world," says
Descartes at the beginning of his _Discours de la Méthode_.

[118] Unless, of course, passion itself implies a duty superior to
self-interest: which is not the case here.

[119] See Burlamaqui, _Droit naturel_, part I., ch. vi.

[120] See the celebrated lines in the _Misanthrope_, act ii., sc. v.

[121] _Virtus_ in Latin has both meanings.

[122] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by R. W. Browne, III., vi.

[123] This idea of Aristotle may be questioned; for, in a sudden peril,
one may be sustained by a natural impulse, and the feeling of
self-defense, whilst anticipated peril allows all the impressions of fear
to grow: it requires, therefore, a greater effort to overcome them.

[124] _De Officiis_, I., xxiii.

[125] See Xenophon's _Memorabilia of Socrates_, I., i.

[126] _Discours de la Méthode_, part III.

[127] The Works of Epictetus. T. W. Higginson's translation, ch. vi., p.

[128] The Works of Epictetus. T. W. Higginson's translation, ch. xv., page

[129] Latin, _gyrus_, the ring in which colts are driven round by

[130] Cicero, _De Officiis_, I., xxvi.

[131] Plato's _Republic_, I., iv.: A man deserves to be called courageous
when that part of his soul in which anger resides obeys the commands of

[132] Aristotle, _Nicomachean Ethics_, R. W. Browne's transl., IV., v.

[133] Plato's _Republic_, I., iv.

[134] Anger is still nobler when provoked by injustice done to others.

[135] Aristotle, _Nicomachean Ethics_, IV., v.

[136] Kant, _Doctrine de la Vertu_, _trad. franç._, p. 96.

[137] Molière's _Tartufe_.


  And shall I speak of Iris, loved and praised by all?
  Ah! what heart! ah! what heart! humanity itself!
  A wounded butterfly calls forth the truest tears!
  Ah, yes; but when to death poor Lally is condemned,
  And to the block is dragged, a spectacle to all,
  Iris will be the first to go to the dread feast,
  And buy herself the joy to see his dear head fall.
                                GILBERT, _le Dix-Huitième Siècle_.

[139] _Lettre sur la métaphysique_, lettre II., chap. ix.

[140] Metaphysics is the science which treats of what is beyond and above
nature. We call _metaphysical_ such attributes of God by which he
surpasses nature; as, for instance, infinitude, immensity; the moral
attributes, on the contrary, are those which have their analogies in the
human soul, such as kindness, wisdom, etc.

[141] V. Cousin, _Le Vrai, le Beau et le Bien_, xvi{e} _leçon_.

[142] See _Dictionnaire de l'Académie française_ (7{e} edition, 1878):
"_Veneration_, respect for holy things. It is also said of the respectful
esteem in which certain persons are held."

[143] A postulate is a truth which, although it cannot be rigorously
demonstrated should, nevertheless, by reason of the necessity of its
consequences, be practically admitted.

[144] Kant, _Critique de la raison pratique_, II., ii. Trad. de J. Barni,
p. 334.

[145] _Critique de la raison pratique_; trad. fr., p. 363.

[146] Jules Simon, _La Liberté de Conscience_, 4{e} leçon (Paris,
1857).--We have borrowed some few passages of another book of the same
author, _La Liberté_ (Vol. ii., 4{e}, part 1, ch. 1).

[147] Fénélon. _Lettres sur la métaphysique et la religion._ Letter II.,
ch. i.

[148] The works of Epictetus. T. W. Higginson's transl., I., xvi.

[149] _De Augmentis Scientiarum_, III., i. and iii.

[150] Kant, _Anthropologie_. Trad. franc. de Tissot, p. 27.

[151] Kant gives ingenious examples of these three degrees of action. See
his _Anthropologische charakteristik_.

[152] Aristotle's _Rhetoric_, book II., ch. xii., xiii., xiv., Bohn's

[153] Psychology is the science which treats of the faculties and
operations of the soul.

[154] Diagnosis in medicine is the art of determining a disease by means
of the symptoms or signs it presents.

[155] _Imitation of Jesus Christ_, I., xii.

[156] We should, however, make a distinction between the passion for wine
and drunkenness. One can have this passion without giving up to it.
Drunkenness is the habit of yielding to it.

[157] _Sentimentality_ is false sensibility, and not exaggerated
sensibility. _Softness_ is a vague expression. Patriotism may by
exaggeration become _fanaticism_; but this is equally true of other
sentiments--of the religious sentiment, for example.

[158] Chap. III., 19.

[159] Plato in the Phædo (trad. de Saisset, p. 31) seems to condemn the
idea of combating passion by passion: "To exchange one sensual pleasure
for another," he says, "one grief for another, one fear for another, and
to do like those who get small change for a piece of money, is not the
path which leads to virtue. Wisdom is the only true coin against which all
the others should be exchanged.... Without wisdom all other virtues are
but shadows of virtues, a virtue the slave of vice, wherein there is
nothing wholesome nor true. True virtue is free from all passion." Nothing
more true and more noble; but there is in this doctrine nothing contrary
to that of Bossuet. The question is not to exchange one passion for
another, for such an act is devoid of all moral character, but to exchange
passion against wisdom and virtue; and all we want to know is the means.
Now experience confirms what Bossuet has said, namely, that one cannot
immediately triumph over a passion, especially when at its zenith, and
that it is necessary to turn one's thoughts upon other objects and appeal
to more innocent passions or to passions, if not less ardent, at least
more noble, such as patriotism or the religious sentiment.

[160] _Confessions_, VIII., v.

[161] The virtues of the pagans have been often depreciated, and St.
Augustine himself, great an admirer as he was of antiquity, called them,
nevertheless, _splendid vices_ (_vitia splendida_). They are often
regarded as induced by pride rather than by a sincere love of virtue. We
should beware of such interpretations, for once on the road of moral
pessimism, there is no reason for stopping at anything. We may as well
maintain that there are a thousand forms of pride, and that self-love
often sets its glory in pretending to overcome itself. "We must therefore
not wonder to find it coupled with the greatest austerity, and, in order
to destroy itself, make us bravely a companion of it, for whilst it ruins
itself in one place, it starts up again in another." It may be seen by
this passage of La Rochefoucauld, that it is of no use to interpret the
pagan virtues in a bad sense, for the argument can be retorted. It is
better to regard virtue as sincere and true wherever we meet with it, so
long as there are no proofs to the contrary.

[162] _Traité de morale_, III., 2.

[163] The theory of _inadmissible sanctity_ consisted in maintaining that
man, having reached a state of sanctity, could never again, whatever he
might do, fall from it.

[164] _The Dignity of Sciences_, VII., iii.

[165] Essays on the Human Understanding, II., xxi.

[166] Epictetus, II., xxiii. (T. W. Higginson's transl.).

[167] _De Officiis_, I., xxx.

[168] The greatest tragic actor at Rome, and a contemporary of Roscius,
the greatest comic actor.--TRANSLATOR.

[169] _De Officiis_, I., xxxi.

[170] _Memorabilia of Socrates_, IV., iv.

[171] Seneca, on Anger, III., 38. To tell the truth, Seneca forgave
himself sometimes too easily perhaps, as, for example, on the day when he
defended the murder of Agrippina; we are often too much disposed to
imitate him.

[172] _Imitation of Jesus Christ_, I., xi.

[173] _Doctrine de la Vertu_, trad. fr. p. 170.

We give here this catechism as an example of what might be done in a
course of morals. The teacher can modify its form and developments as he
thinks best.

[174] We can see by this that Kant understood youth. In a Socratic
interrogation of this kind, the pupil, distrusting his powers, will always
begin by being silent. It is only when he perceives that he knows what was
asked him, that he ventures to answer, and answers well.

[175] We give this as a useful supplement to Chapter VIII. It is a lecture
formerly delivered on the _Union of Classes_ (1867, _Revue des cours
littéraires_, v., p. 42).... We beg to be pardoned for what negligences of
style may have crept into the improvisation.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Passages in bold are indicated by =bold=.

Superscripted characters are indicated by {superscript}.

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