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  • 1918
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A word in confirmation of Paley on the plan of the medico-clerical certificate. There would be doctors, and I fear clergymen too, who would get a name for giving these certificates easily: under their hand many a patient might be smothered by his attendants with or without his own consent. Many another wretch would consider, that if the learned and reverend gentlemen empowered to license his departure from life only felt what he had to endure, there would be no difficulty about the certificate: so he would depart on presumed leave. The whole effect would be to make men less tender of their own lives, and by consequence of those of others, to the vast unsettling of society.

3. An argument from general consequences, however, does not go down into the depths of things. There is always something morally crooked and inordinate in an action itself, the general consequences whereof are bad. It remains to point out the moral crookedness, inordination, and unreasonableness, that is intrinsic to the act of suicide, apart from its consequences. We find the inordination in this, that suicide is an act falling upon undue matter, being an act destructive of that which the agent has power over only to preserve. It is natural to every being, animate and inanimate, to the full extent of its entity and power, to maintain itself, and to resist destruction as long as it can. This is the struggle for existence, one of the primary laws of nature. Man has intelligence and power over himself, that he may conduct his own struggle well and wisely. He may struggle more or less, as he sees expedient, looking to higher goods even than self-preservation in this mortal life: but he may not take that power of managing himself, which nature invests him with for his preservation, and use it to his own destruction. Should he do so, he perverts the natural order of his own being, and thereby sins. (_Ethics_, c. vi., s. i., nn. 1-5, p. 109.)

4. It may be objected, that man is only bound to self-preservation so long as life is a blessing; that, when the scale of death far outweighs that of life in desirableness, it is cruelty to himself to preserve his life any longer, and a kindness to himself to destroy it; that in such a plight, accordingly, it is not unnatural for a man to put himself, not so much out of life as out of misery. To this argument it is sometimes answered that, whereas death is the greatest of evils, it is foolish and wicked to resort to dying as a refuge against any other calamity. But this answer proves too much. It would show that it is never lawful even to wish for death: whereas under many conditions, such as those now under consideration, death is a consummation devoutly to be wished, and may be most piously desired, as a gain and by comparison a good: as Ecclesiasticus says (xxx. 17): “Better is death than a bitter life, and everlasting rest than continual sickness.” The truth seems to be, that there are many things highly good and desirable in themselves, which become evil when compassed in a particular way. The death of a great tyrant or persecutor may be a blessing to the universe, but his death by the hand of an assassin is an intolerable evil. So is death, as the schoolmen say, _in facto esse_, and everlasting rest, better than a bitter life, but not death _in fieri_, when that means dying by your own hand. There the unnaturalness comes in and the irrationality. A mother, watching the death agony of her son, may piously wish it over: but it were an unmotherly act to lay her own hand on his mouth and smother him. To lay violent hands on oneself is abidingly cruel and unnatural, more so than if the suicide’s own mother slew him.

5. But though a man may not use actual violence against his own person, may he not perhaps cease to preserve himself, abstain from food, as the Roman noble did, in the tortures of the gout, and by abstaining end them? I answer, a man’s taking food periodically is as much part of his life as the coursing of the blood in his veins. It is doing himself no less violence to refuse food ready to hand, when he is starving, on purpose that he may starve, than to open a vein on purpose to bleed to death. This, when the food is readily accessible: the case is otherwise when it is not procurable except by extraordinary means.

6. Another consideration. To destroy a thing is the exclusive right of the owner and master of the same. If therefore man is his own master, in the sense that no one else can claim dominion over him, may he not accordingly destroy himself? The metaphysician will point out that _master_ denotes a relation, that every relation has two terms, that consequently a man cannot be his own master any more than he can be his own father; and that, not owning himself, he may not destroy himself. But, leaving this metaphysical argument for what it is worth, we observe that man has a Master, Owner, Proprietor, and Sovereign Lord, God Almighty. To take your own life is to usurp the dominion of God. It is wronging the Lord of life and death. But none is wronged against his will: God is willing that murderers should be hung, may He not also be willing that men in misery should hang themselves? To this query suffice it for the present to reply, that God governs us for our good; and that capital punishment makes for the good of the community, but never suicide. (c. viii., s. viii., n. 7, p. 349.)

7. It was the doctrine of Aristotle and the Greeks, that the citizen belongs to the State, and that therefore suicide was robbing the State and doing it a formal injury. But no modern State takes this view of its subjects. No modern mind would place suicide in the same category of crime with robbing the Exchequer.

8. The great deterrent against suicide, in cases where misery meets with recklessness, is the thought,

In that sleep of death what dreams may come!–

above all, the fear of being confronted with an angry God. Away from belief in God’s judgments and a future state, our arguments against suicide may be good logic, but they make poor rhetoric for those who need them most. Men are wonderfully imitative in killing themselves. Once the practice is come in vogue, it becomes a rage, an epidemic. Atheism and Materialism form the best _nidus_ for the contagion of suicide. It is a shrewd remark of Madame de Stael: “Though there are crimes of a darker hue than suicide, yet there is none other by which man seems so entirely to renounce the protection of God.”

_Readings_.–Ar., _Eth_., III., vii., 13; _ib_., V., xi., nn. 1-3; St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 64, art. 5; St. Aug., _De Civitate Dei_, i., cc. 26, 27; Paley, _Mor_. _Phil_., bk. iv., c. iii.

SECTION IV.–_Of Duelling_.

1. A duel may be defined: A meeting of two parties by private agreement to fight with weapons in themselves deadly. The meeting must be _by agreement_: a chance meeting of Montagues and Capulets, where the parties improvise a fight on the spot is not a duel. The agreement must be _private_; anything arranged by public authority, as the encounter of David with Goliath, that in the legend of the Horatii and Curiatii, or the _wager of battle_ in the Middle Ages is not a duel. It is enough that the weapons be _in themselves deadly_, as swords or pistols, though there be an express stipulation not to kill: but a pre-arranged encounter with fists, with foils with buttons on, or even perhaps with crab-sticks, is not a duel.

2. The hard case in duelling is the case of him who receives the challenge. Let us make the case as hard as possible. In a certain army, every challenge sent to an officer is reported to a Court of Honour. If the Court decide that it ought to be accepted, accept the officer must, or lose his commission and all hope of military distinction. In this army, say, there is an officer of high promise who is believed to object to duels on conscientious grounds. An enemy pretends to have been insulted, and challenges him, on purpose to see him refuse and have to go down into the ranks, his career spoilt. The Court of Honour rules that the duel must come off. Of this very case, Reiffenstuel, a canonist of repute, about the year 1700, writes:

“The answer is, … that they who in such cases are so necessitated and constrained to offer, or accept, a duel, as that unless they offered, or accepted it, they would be held cowardly, craven, mean, and unfit to bear office in the army, and consequently would be deprived of the office that they actually enjoy, and support themselves and their family by, or would for ever forfeit all hope of promotion, otherwise their due and desert,–these I say in such a case are free from all fault and penalty, whether they offer or accept a duel.” (In lib. v. decret., tit. 14, nn. 30, 31.)

The author protests in his Preface that he wishes his opinions “all and each to be subject to the judgment, censure, and correction of the Holy Catholic Church.” The opinion above quoted was condemned, word for word as it was uttered, by Pope Benedict XIV. in 1752.

Now for Reiffenstuel’s reason. “The reason,” he says, “is, because in such a case as is supposed the acceptance and offering of a duel is an absolutely necessary, and thereby a just and lawful, defence of your reputation, or goods of fortune, and, by equivalence, even of your life, against an unjust aggressor, who we suppose does you an injury, and thereby gives you no choice but to call him out, or calls you out, and accordingly assails you in words, &c. Hence, as for the needful defence of reputation, or of goods of fortune of great consequence, it is lawful, with the moderation of a blameless defence, to kill an unjust aggressor, so it will be also lawful to offer and accept a duel, and therein slay the other party.” Reiffenstuel here evidently supposes that killing done in self-defence is _direct_. Those who agree with him on that point, proceed to draw differences between self-defence and accepting a challenge. Of course the two are not the same. The true difficulty for them lies in making out how the reasons which justify self-defence in their view of it, do not also justify the acceptance of a duel: how, if I may make another man’s death a means to the preservation of my vital right, I may not as well make another man’s risk of death and my own, which is all that a duel amounts to, also a _means_, none other being at hand, to the preserving of my no less vital right. This grave objection does not touch us. We have denied that killing in self-defence is direct. On the lines of that denial we meet Reiffenstuel’s argument simply as follows.

3. In self-defence, the aggressor is slain _indirectly_. In a duel, not indeed the death itself, or mutual slaughter of the combatants, is _directly_ willed, but the risk of mutual slaughter is directly willed. But we may not directly will the risk of that which we may not directly do. And the combatants may not directly do themselves or one another to death. Therefore they may not directly risk each his own and his antagonist’s life. But this risk is of the essence of a duel. Therefore duelling is essentially unlawful.

4. Such is the clenched fist, so to speak, of our argument. Now to open it out, and prove in detail the several members. In self-defence, neither the death of the aggressor nor the risk of his death is directly willed, whereas the risk of death is directly willed in a duel, which difference entirely bars the argument from self-defence to duelling. For a duel is a means of recovering and preserving honour, which is effected by a display of fortitude, which again consists in exposing yourself to the risk of being killed, and, as part of the bargain, of killing the other man. The risk to life is of the essence of a duel: it only attains its end–of establishing a man’s character for courage–by being dangerous to life. Fortitude essentially consists in braving death. (_Ethics_, c. v., s. viii., n. 1, p. 94.) Deadly weapons, chosen because they are deadly and involve a risk of life in fighting with such arms, are the apt and express means for showing readiness to brave death. If the weapons were not deadly, there would be no point in the duel. As a matter of fact, where our definition of duel is verified, and weapons in themselves deadly are used, the encounter cannot be other than dangerous, especially between foes and where the blood is up. In the French army, where the regimental fencing-master stands by, sword in hand, ready to parry any too dangerous thrust, serious results still have occurred. If any man will have it that short smooth-bore pistols at forty paces in a fog are not to be counted dangerous weapons, all we can say is that MM. Gambetta and De Fourton, the one being nearly blind, and the other having lost an eye, did not fight a duel. In a duel then the danger of being killed and of killing is _directly_ willed; it is the precise _means chosen_ to the end in view.

5. We have proved already that it is not lawful directly to procure one’s own death, nor the death of another innocent man. If any one contends that his antagonist is not innocent, not even in a _political_ sense (c. ii., s. i., n. 2, p. 203), we must here assume against him, what we shall afterwards prove, that the guilty are not to be _directly_ put to death except by public authority. But what we may not directly bring about, we may not directly risk the occurrence of. As I may not throw myself down a cliff, so neither may I walk along the edge precisely for the chance of a fall. I may often walk there _with_ the chance of falling, but not _because_ of the chance. It will be said that the English love of fox-hunting and Alpine climbing is largely owing to the element of danger present in those amusements. But it is not the danger pure and simple, that is chosen for amusement: it is the prospect of overcoming danger by skill. The same may be said of Blondin on the tight-rope: it was his skill, not his mere risk, that was admired. There are some risks that no skill can obviate, as those of Alpine avalanches. We may face a mountain slope where avalanches occur, but we must not hang about there because of the avalanches, making our amusement or bravado of the chance of being killed. That would be willing the risk of death _directly_, as it is willed in duelling.

_Readings_.–Paley, _Mor. Phil._, bk. iii., p. 2, c. ix.; St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 72, art. 3.



SECTION I.–_Of the Definition of a Lie_.

1. “Let none doubt,” says St. Augustine, “that he lies, who utters what is false for the purpose of deceiving. Wherefore the utterance of what is false with a will to deceive is unquestionably a lie.” The only question is, whether this definition does not contain more than is necessary to the thing defined. The objective falseness of what is said makes a _material_ falsehood: the will to utter what is false makes a _formal_ falsehood (_Ethics_, c. iii., s. ii., n. 7, p. 33): the will to create a false impression regards, not the falsehood itself, but the effect to follow from it. If a person says what is not true, but what he takes to be the truth, he tells indeed a material lie, but at the same time he puts forth no _human act_ (_Ethics_, c. i., n. 2, p. 1) of lying. If on the other hand he says what he believes to be false, though it turns out true, he tells a formal lie, though not a material one, and moreover, he does a _human act_ of lying. But _human acts_ are the subject-matter of morality. The moralist therefore is content to define the _formal lie_: the _material_ aspect of the lie is irrelevant to his enquiry. A formal lie is saying what one believes not to be true, or promising what one intends not to perform: briefly, it is _speaking against one’s mind_.

2. We shall show presently that to speak against one’s mind is intrinsically, necessarily, and always evil. But when a thing is thus evil in itself, there is no need to bring into the definition of the act, from a moral point of view, the intention with which it is done. There is no use in prying into ends, when the means taken is an unlawful means for any end. If a person blasphemes, we do not ask why he blasphemes: the intention is not part of the blasphemy: the utterance is a sin by itself. But if a person strikes, we ask why he strikes, to heal or to slay, in self-defence or in revenge. So, if speaking against one’s mind is a thing indifferent and colourless in point of morality, and all depends on the intention with which we do it, so that we may speak against our minds to put another off, but not to deceive him, then certainly the intention to deceive must be imported into the definition of lying. But if, as we shall prove presently, the act of so speaking is by no means indifferent and colourless, but is fraught with an inordinateness all its own, then the intention may be left out of the question, the act is to be characterised on its own merits, and _speech against one’s mind_ is the definition of a lie.

3. Then, some one will say, it would be a lie for a prisoner in solitary confinement to break the silence of his cell with the exclamation, _Queen Anne is not dead_. The answer is simple: it takes two to make a speech. A man does not properly speak to himself, nor quarrel with himself, nor deal justly by himself. Not that it would be a lie to deny the death of Queen Anne even in public: for speech is an outward affirmation, the appearance of a serious will to apply predicate to subject: but in this case there is no appearance of a serious will: on the contrary, from the manifest absurdity of the assertion, it is plain that you are joking and do not mean to affirm anything. This perhaps is as far as we can go in permission of what are called _lies in jest_.

_Readings_.–St Thos., 2a 2a, q. 110, art. 1.

SECTION II.–_Of the Evil of Lying_.

1. Human society cannot go on, if men are to be allowed indiscriminately to lie to one another. Thucydides (iii., 83) gives as the reason of the extravagant length to which faction ran in Greece in his time: “For there was no power to reconcile the parties, no plighted word reliable, no oath held in awe.” Even in trifles no one likes to be lied to, and we are not to do to our neighbour what we would not have done to ourselves. The laws of good fellowship require that we should “put away lying, and speak the truth every man with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians iv. 25.) This at least in ordinary circumstances. The same good fellowship requires that in ordinary circumstances we should respect the lives and property of our fellow-men.

2. But it is lawful to take life in pursuance of the just judgment of authority: it is lawful to seize upon property in self-preservation. These exceptions stand very harmoniously with the well-being of society, or rather are required by it, as we shall see later on. The law against lying, so far as it is founded on the general prejudice done to society by the shock of social confidence, and on the particular annoyance of the party lied to, may seem to admit of similar exceptions. Whoever has no reasonable objection to having life and property taken from him in certain contingencies, can he reasonably complain of any hurt or inconvenience that he may suffer from a lie being told him at times?

3. I put forward this difficulty, not as though it were without its answer in the principle of General Consequences: still it is a difficulty. Besides, if the whole harm of lying is in the unpleasant effect wrought upon the deceived hearer, and the scandal and bad consequences to society at large, it is a long way to go round to show that lying is impossible to God. He in whose dominion are all the rights and claims of man, is not to be restrained by the mere reluctance of His creatures to be deceived, or by the general bad effects of a lie upon the edifice of human credit. As Master He might impose this annoyance upon the individual, these bad consequences upon society: or by His Providence He might prevent their occurring, whenever He willed in His utterances to swerve from the truth. The only help for the argument for the Divine veracity on these grounds, is to urge with Plato that none of the motives which lead men to lie can ever find place in the mind of God: that a lie is a subterfuge, an economy, a device resorted to under stress of circumstances, such as can never serve the turn of the Supreme Being. But though God be inaccessible to human reasons for departing from the truth, may He not have higher reasons, mysterious, and unsearchable, for such a deviation? It is long arguing out this point. Better bring the discussion sharp round with the question: Is there not some element in the Divine Nature itself, which makes it impossible for God to speak false?

4. Undoubtedly there is such an element, deep down, even at the root of the sanctity of God. God is holy in that, being by essence the fulness of all being and all goodness, He is ever true to Himself in every act of His understanding, of His will, and of His power. By His understanding He abidingly covers, grasps, and comprehends His whole Being. With His will He loves Himself supremely. His power is exercised entirely for His glory–entirely, but not exclusively, for God’s last and best external glory is in the consummated happiness of His creatures. Whatever God makes, He makes in His own likeness, more or less so according to the degree of being which He imparts to the creature. And as whatever God does is like Him, and whatever God makes is like Him, so whatever God says is like Him: His spoken word answers to His inward word and thought. It holds of God as of every being who has a thought to think and a word to utter:

To thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.

5. God’s sanctity is in His being true to Himself. His veracity is part of His sanctity. He cannot in His speech, or revelation of Himself, contradict what He really has in His mind, without ceasing to be holy and being no longer God. But the sanctity of intellectual creatures must be, like their every other pure perfection, modelled on the corresponding perfection of their Maker. Holiness must mean truthfulness in man, for it means truthfulness in God. God’s words cannot be at variance with His thought, for God is essential holiness. Nor can man speak otherwise than as he thinks without marring the attribute of holiness in himself, that is, without doing wrong.

6. To speak against one’s mind is an act falling upon undue matter. Words are naturally signs of thoughts. Not that the words of any given language, as English or German, have any natural connection with the thoughts that they express; but it is natural to men, natural to every intellectual being, to have some mode of expressing his thoughts by outward signs; and once a sign is recognized as the sign of a certain thought, so long as the convention remains unrepealed, whoever uses that sign, not having in his mind at the time the thought which that sign signifies, but the contradictory to it, is doing violence to the natural bond between sign and thing signified, by putting forward the former where the latter is not behind it. And since the due and proper matter for the sign to be put upon is the presence in the mind of the thought signified, to make that sign where the opposite thought is present, is, as St. Thomas says, an act falling upon undue matter. The peculiar spiritual and moral inviolability of the connection between word and thought, appears from the consideration which we have urged of the archetype holiness of God. This then is the real, intrinsic, primary, and inseparable reason, why lying, or speech in contradiction with the thought of the speaker, is everywhere and always wrong.

7. Grotius (_De Jure Belli et Pacis_, I. iii., c. i., nn. 11, seq.) argues a lie to be wrong solely inasmuch as it is “in conflict with the existing and abiding right of the person spoken to.” If _right_ here means something binding in _commutative justice_ (_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 6, p. 106), we deny that any such right is violated by what is called a _simple_ lie, that is, an untruth not in the matter of religion, and not affecting the character, property, or personal well-being of our neighbour. For if a simple lie is a violation of commutative justice, it carries the obligation of restitution (_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 6, p. 107); that is, we are bound to tell the truth afterwards to the person that we have lied to, even in a matter of no practical consequence,–quite a new burden on the consciences of men. Again, if the bar to lying were the hearer’s right, whoever had dominion over another’s right might lie to him; the parent might lie to the child, the State to the citizen, and God to man, a doctrine which, away from its application to God, Grotius accepts. Lastly since _volenti non fit injuria_, the presumed willingness of the listener would license all manner of officious and jocose lies, as the authority of the speaker would sanction official fabrications. Thus, what with official, and what with officious speeches, it would be very hard to believe anybody.

8. By our rejection of Grotius’ theory we are enabled to answer Milton’s question: “If all killing be not murder, nor all taking from another, stealing why must all untruths be lies?” Because, we say, killing and taking away of goods deal with rights which are not absolute and unlimited, but become in certain situations void; whereas an untruth turns, not on another’s right, but on the exigency of the speaker’s own rational nature calling for the concord of the word signifying with the thought signified, and this exigency never varies. _Untruth_ and _falsehood_ are but polite names for a _lie_.

_Readings_.–St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 110, art. 3, in corp., ad. 4; _ib_., q. 109, art. 2, 3, in corp.; Ar., _Eth_., IV., vii.; Plato, _Rep_., 382, 389 B, C.

SECTION III.–_Of the keeping of Secrets without Lying_.

1. There are _natural_ secrets, secrets of _promise_, and secrets of _trust_. A _natural_ secret is all a man’s own private history, which he would not have made public, as also all that he discovers by his own observation of the similar private history of his neighbours. If a man finds out something about his neighbour, and, after he has found it out for himself, the neighbour gets him to promise not to publish it, that is a secret of _promise_. Lastly, if one man comes to another, as to a lawyer, or a surgeon, for professional advice, or simply to a friend for moral counsel, and in order thereto imparts to him some of his natural secrets, those secrets, as they are received and held by the person consulted, are called secrets of _trust_. This latter kind of secret is privileged above the other two. A natural secret, and also a secret of promise, must be delivered up on the demand of an authority competent to inquire in the department where the secret lies. But a secret of trust is to be given up to no inquirer, but to be kept against all who endeavour to come by it, except where the matter bodes mischief and wrong to a third party, or to the community, and where at the same time the owner of the secret cannot be persuaded to desist from the wrong. This proviso does not hold for the _seal of confession_, which is absolutely inviolable.

2. The main art of keeping a secret is, not to talk about it. If a man is asked an awkward question, and sees no alternative but to let out or lie, it is usually his own fault for having introduced the subject, or encouraged the questioner up to that point. A wise man lets drop in time topics which he is unwilling to have pressed. But there are unconscionable people who will not be put off, and who, either out of malice or out of stupidity, ply you with questions against all rules of good breeding. This direct assault may sometimes be retaliated, and a rude question met by a curt answer. But such a reply is not always prudent or charitable, and would not unfrequently convey the very information required. Silence would serve no better, for silence gives consent, and is eloquent at times. There is nothing left for it in such cases but to lock your secret up, as it were, in a separate compartment of your breast, and answer according to the remainder of your information, which is not secret, private, and confidential. This looks very much like lying, but it is not lying, it is speaking the truth under a _broad mental reservation_.

3. _Mental reservation_ is an act of the mind, limiting the spoken phrase so that it may not bear the full sense which at first hearing it seems to bear. The reservation, or limitation of the spoken sense, is said to be _broad_ or _pure_, according as it is, or is not, indicated externally. A _pure mental reservation_, where the speaker uses words in a limited meaning, without giving any outward clue to the limitation, is in nothing different from a lie, and is wrong as a lie is always wrong. A good instance is Archbishop Cranmer’s oath of fealty to the Pope, he having previously protested–of course out of hearing of the Pope or the Pope’s representative–that he meant that oath in no way to preclude him from labouring at the reformation of the Church in England, that is, doing all the evil work which Henry VIII. had marked out for him in the teeth of the Roman Bishop. [Footnote 18] Even _broad mental reservation_ is permissible only as a last resource, when no other means are available for the preservation of some secret which one has a duty to others, or grave reason of one’s own, to keep.

[Footnote 18: Strype’s _Cranmer_, i., pp 27, 28; _ib_., ii., Appendices 5, 6; ed. Oxon., 1812.]

4. The point to make out is that no lie is told. To speak under a reservation is a lie, if it is speech against the mind of the speaker. But how can it be aught else than speech against the mind, when the heart thinks _yea_, and the tongue says _nay_? We answer that, in the case contemplated, the thought of the heart is, _secrets apart, nay_; and though the word on the lips is _nay_ simply, yet we must not take that word as the whole locution, but as a mere text, to which the situation of the speaker and the matter spoken of form a commentary, legible to any observant eye. The word is an _annotated text; nay_ in the body of the page, with _secrets apart_ inscribed in the margin. The adequate utterance is the whole page, text and gloss together; that speech answers to the thought in the speaker’s mind; therefore it is no lie.

5. The essential requisite is that the gloss, _secrets apart_, be not written in the speaker’s private mind, but be outwardly and publicly manifest in the matter spoken of, which must be one that clearly admits of secrets, and in the circumstances of the speaker, who is driven into a corner, and obliged to answer something, and yet cannot by any prudent man be expected to answer out of the fulness of all the knowledge that he may possibly possess.

6. Nor let it be said that all confidence in the replies given to our questions is hereby destroyed. For most questions are in matters that do not admit of a secret. There the qualification, _secrets apart_, which may be said to attach to all answers, has no value and meaning: it is mathematically equal to zero; and we may take the answer in full assurance just as it reaches our ear. Again, when a person volunteers a statement unasked, he cannot be supposed to be reserving secrets. But when delicate subjects are touched on, and inquiry is pushed to extremity by an unauthorized questioner, _secrets apart_ is the handwriting on the wall.

7. But why is not this qualification spoken out with the tongue? Sometimes it safely may be, and then it should be so added. But, as the addition is unusual, our taking the trouble to express it would often certify to the inquirer that his suspicions were correct, though we ought not to tell him so. Our aim then must be to give such an oral answer as we should return, were the suspicion quite unfounded. Our questioner, if he is a prudent man, will piece out our phrase with the addition, _secrets apart_; and he will understand that he can get nothing out of us either way, which is exactly what we wish him to understand. His unauthorized interrogatory has been met by speech that amounts to silence, arguing indeed our prudence, but leaving him as wise as before on the forbidden topic. If he is a thoughtless man, he is deceived, not by any intention or election of ours, but indirectly so far as we are concerned, an incidental deception which he has brought on himself.

8. This then is a convention that obtains, not of positive institution, but dictated by nature herself, that on a matter which admits of being secret, any answer elicited under stress of necessity must be so construed, as that any grave secret that may be touched, not being morally in the power of the respondent to reveal, shall be taken to remain reserved.

9. We may therefore sometimes avoid seeming to know what we know, or to be what we are. But we may never of our own proper motion step forward and court observation as being what we are not, or knowing what is against or beyond our knowledge. We may dissemble occasionally, but not simulate. The dissembler of a secret wishes for obscurity and silence: he wants to have the eyes of men turned away from him and their curiosity unroused. Whatever he says or does is to divest the idea of there being anything particularly interesting about him. But he who simulates–call him pretender, impostor, or quack–is nothing, if not taken notice of. The public gaze is his sunshine: obscurity gives him a deadly chill. His ambition is to appear out of the ordinary, being really quite within common lines: the dissembler is in some respect beyond the ordinary, but wishes not to show himself otherwise than as an ordinary mortal with ordinary knowledge. The pretender is on the offensive, challenging attention: the dissembler is on his defence against notice. “Simulation,” says Bolingbroke, “is a stiletto, not only an offensive but an unlawful weapon, and the use of it may be rarely, very rarely, excused, but never justified. Dissimulation is a shield, as secrecy is armour: and it is no more possible to preserve secrecy in the administration of public affairs without dissimulation than it is to succeed in it without secrecy.” (_Idea of a Patriot King_.)

_Readings_.–De Lugo, _De Just. et Jure_, 14, nn. 135, 141, 142; _The Month_ for March, 1883; Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, v., 26.



1. It is the difference between sensible apprehension and intellectual knowledge, that the former seizes upon a particular object and it only, as _this sweet_: the latter takes its object as the type of a class of similars, _this and the like of this, this sweet as one of the class of sweet things_. In like manner the love of passion, which is the love of sense, regards one sole object. Titius is in love with Bertha alone, not with woman in general. But an intellectual love is the love of a type of beauty or goodness, of _this_ object and of others as they approach in likeness to it. Whoever loves William from an intellectual appreciation of his patriotism, in loving him loves all patriots. Every animal loves itself with a brute, sensible love, not a love to find fault with, nor yet a noble and exalted sentiment–a love purely self-regarding, quite apart from the good that is in self, but embracing self simply as self, and self alone. This is the first love of self even in man. But over and above this animal and sensible love, which no man lacks, there is in all men worthy of the name a second self-regarding affection of an intellectual cast, whereby a man loves himself as discerning with the eye of his soul the excellence of his own nature–“how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.” Intellectual self-complacence overflows from self to similars. It is not self-love, it is love of the race, “the milk of human kindness,” philanthropy.

2. But man is a disappointing creature, after all a mere “quintessence of dust,” unless he can rise above himself by relation with some superhuman being, and make his final fortune in some better region than this world. Reason requires that we love ourselves, and love our fellow-men, for and in order to the development of the highest gifts and capacities that are in us. These are gifts and capacities divine, preparing us to find our everlasting happiness in God. (_Ethics_, c. ii., s. iv., n. 2, p. 22.) The love that we bear to ourselves and our neighbour, in view of our coming from God and going to God, is called the love of _charity_. Charity differs from philanthropy in looking beyond the present life, and above creatures. A materialist and atheist may possess philanthropy, but not charity.

3. Beside the twofold love, animal and intellectual, which we bear ourselves, we may also and should love ourselves with the love of charity, seeing God’s gifts in us, and desiring the perfection of those gifts in a happy eternity occupied with God. The charity which we should thus bear to ourselves is the model of that which we owe to our neighbour, whom we are to love _as ourselves_, not with the same intensity, but with the same quality of love, wishing him the good, human and divine, temporal and eternal, which we wish for ourselves, though not so earnestly as we wish it for ourselves. Our love for ourselves is stronger than for our neighbour: for, if love comes of likeness, much more does it come of identity. But by reason of the vast preponderance of the good that is rational and eternal over that which is material and temporal; and also by reason of the principle laid down by St. Thomas, that “as to the sharing together of (eternal) happiness, greater is the union of our neighbour’s soul with our soul than even of our own body with our soul” (2a 2a, q. 26, art. 5, ad 2),–we are bound to love our neighbour’s eternal good better than our own temporal good, and in certain special conjunctures to sacrifice the latter to the former. We have no duty and obligation of loving his temporal good above our own temporal good. But it is often matter of commendation and counsel to sacrifice our temporal interest to our neighbour’s. This sacrifice is no breach of the order of charity, beginning at home: since what is resigned of material and perishable profit is gained in moral perfection. Especially commendable is the surrender of private good for the good of the community. Charity, or philanthropy, taking this form, bears the name of patriotism and public spirit.

4. Charity, like material forces, acts in a certain inverse ratio to the distance of the object. Other considerations being equal, the nearer, the dearer. Nay, nearness and likeness to ourselves goes further than goodness in winning our love. This is natural, and charity presupposes nature, and follows its order. As we have more charity for ourselves than for others whom we acknowledge to be better men, so likewise for our kinsmen and intimate friends. We may put the matter thus. Charity consists in wishing and seeking to procure for a person the good that leads to God. One element is the intensity and eagerness of this wish and search; another is the greatness of the good wished. Now we wish those who are better than ourselves to be rewarded according to their deserts with a greater good than ourselves: but this wish is but lukewarm compared to the intensity of our desire that we and our friends with us may attain to all the good that we are capable of.

5. The Christian precept to love our enemies is merely the enforcement of a natural obligation. The obligation stands almost self-evident as soon as it is cleared of misunderstanding. The love of enemies is not based on the ground of their being hostile and annoying us. It would be highly unnatural to love them on that score. Nor are we in duty bound to show to one who hates us special offices of friendship, except we find him in extreme need, _e.g._, dying in a ditch, as the Good Samaritan found the Jew: otherwise it is enough that we be animated towards him with that common charity, which we bear to other men who are not further off from us than he is. If Lucius offend Titius, there being no other tie between them than the tie of friendship, Titius may, where the offence is very outrageous, henceforth treat Lucius as a stranger. The question of scandal has sometimes to be regarded, but that is an extrinsic circumstance to our present subject. Nor are we concerned to say what is the better thing for Titius to do, but to say all that he is bound to do. He is bound to render himself as void of wilful malice, and as full of ordinary courtesy and good feeling towards Lucius, as he is in the case of Sempronius, a man whom he never heard of till this day. But if there be some other antecedent tie between them besides the tie of friendship,–for instance, if Titius and Lucius are two monks of the same convent, two officers in the same regiment, two partners of one firm,–Titius is no longer justified in treating Lucius as a stranger. He must regard him with _ordinary_ charity; now ordinary charity between two brother-officers, or two fellow-monks, is not the same as between men who have no such tie one with another. This is why we laid it down that we must be animated towards him who has offended us “with that common charity, which we bear to other men _who are not further off_ from us than he is.”

6. This then being the exact obligation, the same is easily established. We must love our enemies, because the reasons given for loving all mankind (nn. 1, 2) are not vitiated by this or that man having treated us shamefully. The human nature in him still remains good actually, and still more, potentially; and if good and hopeful, to that extent also lovable. Nor is this lovableness a mere separable accident. Rather, it is the offensive behaviour of the man that is the separable accident. At that we may well be disgusted and abominate it. But the underlying substance remains good, not incurably tainted with that vicious accident. We must attend to the substance, which is, rather than to the accident, which _happens_, and may be abolished. Let us endeavour to abolish the accident, still so that we respect and regard the substance. Let us seek for redress under the guidance of prudence according to the circumstances of the case, but not for the ruin of our enemy. Let us not render evil for evil, but even in exacting a just satisfaction, make it of the nature of that compensatory evil, which is by consequence good. Let us _be angry_ with our enemy, but _sin not_ by hating him. (_Ethics_, c. iv., s. iv., n. 3.) We may seek satisfaction for any _wrong_ we have suffered: in grave cases we must have recourse to the State for that: but the _sin_, if any, of our adversary is not our concern to punish or to seek vengeance for. (_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., n. 4.)

7. The same reasoning holds good even of _public enemies_, tyrants, persecutors, anarchists, assassins. We must include them in our prayers, wish for their conversion, and, though their case appear hopeless, we must not damn them before their time. If we found one of them dying by accident of cold or asphyxia, we should be bound by a grave obligation to use all ordinary efforts to bring him round and recover him. Still we may use our best efforts to bring them to justice, even to capital punishment, according to the procedure of public law established in the country, and not otherwise. We may also with an _inefficacious_ desire, that is, a desire that finds no vent in action, desire their death under an alternative thus, that either living they may cease to do evil, or that God may call them away to where the wicked cease from troubling. But we must not desire, nor be glad of, their death by any unlawful means, for that were to sympathise with crime.

8. Real charity shows itself in action, succouring a neighbour in need, which is sometimes a counsel, sometimes a duty. It is an axiom, that _charity is not binding with grave inconvenience_. The gravity of the inconvenience in prospect must be measured against the urgency of the need to be relieved. A neighbour is technically said to be in _extreme need_, when he is in imminent peril of deadly evil to soul or body, and is unable to help himself. We are under severe obligation of charity to succour any whom we find in this plight.

9. By charity we give of our own to another: by justice we render to another that which is his. Charity neglected calls for no restitution, when the need that required it is past away: justice violated cries for restitution, for what we have taken away from our neighbour remains still his. The obligations of justice are negative, except for the fulfilment of contracts: obligations in charity are largely positive. (_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 7, p. 108.)

_Readings_.–_C. Gent._, III., 117; 2a 2a, q. 26, art. 4; _ib._, art. 7; _ib_., art. 8; 2a 2a, q. 25, art. 8; _ib._, art. 9; _ib._, art. 6; Ferrier, _Greek Philosophy_, Socrates, nn. 13, 26, 27, 29. (_Remains_, vol. i., pp. 227, seq.)



SECTION I.–_Of the definition and division of Rights_.

1. A _right_ is that in virtue of which a person calls anything his own. More elaborately, a right is a _moral power residing in a person, in virtue whereof he refers to himself as well his own actions as also other things, which stand referred to him in preference to other persons_. A right is a _moral power_, as distinguished from physical force or ability. It resides in a _person_, a being whom we call _autocentric_, as distinguished from a _thing_, which is _heterocentric_. (c. ii., s. i., n. 2, p. 203.) A person is his own, a thing is another’s. Every intellectual nature is a person except the Humanity of Christ, an exception which does not concern us here. To the Creator all created personalities are as things, but that again is not our concern in this place, where we treat of the relations between man and man. It will have to be noted hereafter with great emphasis, that the _individual_ man is a _person_, not a thing and chattel, in relation to the _State_, and consequently has rights against the State.

2. Every intellectual being has the attribute of _reflex consciousness_. It may turn its regard in upon itself, and call itself _me_, and its powers and activities _mine_. It certainly has the physical ability of acting for self, and using its powers consciously for its own ends. Does this physical ability represent also a _moral power_? Is the agent justified in exercising it? and are his fellows under a moral obligation of justice to leave him free to exercise it? (_Ethics_, c. vi., s. i., nn. 5, 6, p. 111.) We have seen that morality consists in acting up to one’s own intellectual or rational nature. Since then the calling oneself _me_, and one’s power _mine_, and the using those powers for purposes which one’s reason approves, is the distinguishing feature of an intellectual, or rational, and personal being, that being is morally warranted so to act. He calls himself his own, and his powers his own, and they are his own by the very fact of his calling them so by a natural act. And, as justice is to give to another his own, others are bound in justice to leave him free to dispose of himself and his powers, at least within certain limits. But this would be for man a barren freedom, were he not empowered to lay hold of and make his own some things, nay many things, outside of himself, for man is not self-sufficient, but has many natural necessities, and many psychical cravings to boot. Therefore man’s right of preference extends, not only to his own actions, but also to external things, which he may make his own to act upon.

3. Rights are either _connatural_ or _acquired_. Connatural rights spring from the very being of a man, as he is a person. Such are the rights to life, to honour, to personal liberty–that is, freedom to go where you will–to civil liberty–that is, not being a slave–also the rights to marry and to acquire property. Acquired rights spring from some deed of man, annexing something to his personality. Such are the rights to property, duly entered upon, to reputation, to the political franchise, and all rights that come by contract. Acquired rights may descend to heirs.

4. Rights again are _alienable_ and _inalienable_, which division does not coincide with the preceding. Those rights are inalienable, shorn of which a man cannot work out his last end. Some rights are thus permanently and universally inalienable, as the right to life: others are so occasionally and for particular persons.

5. The correlative of _right_ is _duty_: so that, wherever one man has a right, his neighbours have a duty in justice to leave him free to exercise the same. But the converse is not true, that wherever one man has a duty towards another, that other has a right to its performance, for there are duties of charity, which do not impart a corresponding right, but only a _claim_. _Duties_ that correspond to _rights_ are called by English moralists _perfect_ duties. _Duties_ answering to _claims_ only they call _imperfect_.

6. Of duties, some are _positive_, which bind _always, not for always_, as the duty of adoring God. We are always bound to adore, we are not bound to be always adoring. Other duties are negative, and bind _always, for always_, as the duties of sobriety and chastity. The former class of duties we may more easily be excused from, because they can be deferred, and it is at times morally impossible to take them up. But negative duty, as Mr. Gladstone has finely said, “rises with us in the morning, and goes to rest with us at night: it is the shadow that follows us wheresoever we go, and only leaves us when we leave the light of life.”

7. Only a _person_ has rights, as appears by the definition of a _right_. Again, only persons have duties, for they only have free will. No one has duties without rights, and no man has rights without duties. Infants and idiots, in whom the use of reason is impeded, having notwithstanding rights, are said to have duties also _radically_. Hence it is wrong to make an idiot commit what is in him a _material_ breach of some negative duty, as of temperance. Positive duties he is excused from.

8. Some have taught that all human rights are consequences of duties; a man having first a duty to perform, and then a right to the means necessary to its performance. But this doctrine appears more pious than probable. For, first, the type and example of sovereign right, God, has no duties. (_Ethics_, c. vi., s. ii., n. 4, p. 130.) Then again, a man may have a right conjoined with a duty–not of justice, of course, but of some other virtue, as of religion–not to use that right. But if rights were consequent upon duties, the right would cease in such a case; and to pretend to exercise it would be a sin against justice, which it is not.

SECTION II.–_Of the so-called Rights of Animals_.

1. Brute beasts, not having understanding and therefore not being persons, cannot have any rights. The conclusion is clear. They are not autocentric. They are of the number of _things_, which are another’s: they are chattels, or cattle. We have no duties to them,–not of justice, as is shown; not of religion, unless we are to worship them, like the Egyptians of old; not of fidelity, for they are incapable of accepting a promise. The only question can be of charity. Have we duties of charity to the lower animals? Charity is an extension of the love of ourselves to beings like ourselves, in view of our common nature and our common destiny to happiness in God. (c. iv., nn. 1, 2, p. 239.) It is not for the present treatise to prove, but to assume, that our nature is not common to brute beasts but immeasurably above theirs, higher indeed above them than we are below the angels. Man alone speaks, man alone hopes to contemplate for ever, if not–in the natural order–the Face of his Father in Heaven, at least the reflected brightness of that Divine Face. (_Ethics_, c. ii., s. iv., nn. 3, 4.) We have then no duties of charity, nor duties of any kind, to the lower animals, as neither to stocks and stones.

2. Still we have duties _about_ stones, not to fling them through our neighbour’s windows; and we have duties _about_ brute beasts. We must not harm them, when they are our neighbour’s property. We must not break out into paroxysms of rage and impatience in dealing with them. It is a miserable way of showing off human pre-eminence, to torture poor brutes in malevolent glee at their pain and helplessness. Such wanton cruelty is especially deplorable, because it disposes the perpetrators to be cruel also to men. As St. Thomas says (1a 2a, q. 102, art. 6, ad 8):

“Because the passion of pity arises from the afflictions of others, and it happens even to brute animals to feel pain, the affection of pity may arise in man even about the afflictions of animals. Obviously, whoever is practised in the affection of pity towards animals, is thereby more disposed to the affection of pity towards men: whence it is said in Proverbs xii. 10: ‘The just regardeth the lives of his beasts, but the bowels of the wicked are cruel.’ And therefore the Lord, seeing the Jewish people to be cruel, that He might reclaim them to pity, wished to train them to pity even towards brute beasts, forbidding certain things to be done to animals which seem to touch upon cruelty. And therefore He forbade them to seethe the kid in the mother’s milk (Deut. xiv. 21), or to muzzle the treading ox (Deut. xxv. 4), or to kill the old bird with the young.” (Deut. xxii. 6, 7.)

3. It is wanton cruelty to vex and annoy a brute beast _for sport_. This is unworthy of man, and disposes him to inhumanity towards his own species. Yet the converse is not to be relied on: there have been cruel men who have made pets of the brute creation. But there is no shadow of evil resting on the practice of causing pain to brutes _in sport_, where the pain is not the sport itself, but an incidental concomitant of it. Much more in all that conduces to the sustenance of man may we give pain to brutes, as also in the pursuit of science. Nor are we bound to any anxious care to make this pain as little as may be. Brutes are as _things_ in our regard: so far as they are useful to us, they exist for us, not for themselves; and we do right in using them unsparingly for our need and convenience, though not for our wantonness. If then any special case of pain to a brute creature be a fact of considerable value for observation in biological science or the medical art, no reasoned considerations of morality can stand in the way of man making the experiment, yet so that even in the quest of science he be mindful of mercy.

4. Altogether it will be found that a sedulous observance of the rights and claims of other men, a mastery over one’s own passions, and a reverence for the Creator, give the best assurance of a wise and humane treatment of the lower animals. But to preach kindness to brutes as a primary obligation, and capital point of amendment in the conversion of a sinner, is to treat the symptom and leave unchecked the inward malady.

_Reading_.–St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 25, art. 3.

SECTION III.–_Of the right to Honour and Reputation_.

1. _Honour_ is the attestation of another’s excellence. _Reputation_ is the opinion of many touching another’s life and conduct. Honour is paid to a man to his face, whereas his reputation is bruited behind his back. Honour is taken away by _insult_, reputation by _detraction_. If the detraction involve a falsehood, it is called _calumny_ or _slander_. The name _backbiting_, given to detraction, points to the absence of the person spoken of. But no one meets with an insult except where he is present, either in person or by his representative.

2. Both honour and reputation are goods that a man can call his own, and has a right to, but on different titles. Honour, some honour at least, appertains to a man simply for his being a man: reputation is won by deeds. Honour is primarily a connatural right: reputation is acquired. An entire stranger has no reputation, but a certain honour is his due to start with.

3. As there is a right to honour and a right to reputation, so insult and detraction are sins, not against charity, but against commutative justice, calling for restitution. (_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 6, p. 106.) We must tender an apology for an insult, and labour to restore the good name that our detracting tongue has taken away.

4. Calumny is a double sin, one sin against truth, and another sin, the heavier of the two, against justice. If the blackening tale be true, the first sin is absent, but the second is there. The truth of the story is no justification for our publishing it. Though it is wrong to lie, it is not always right to blurt out the truth, especially when we are not asked for it. There are unprofitable disclosures, unseasonable, harmful, and wrongful. But, it will be said, does not a man forego his right to reputation by doing the evil that belies his fair fame? No, his right remains, unless the evil that he does, either of its own proper working or by the scandal that it gives, be subversive of social order. If he has committed a crime against society, he is to be denounced to the authorities who have charge of society: they will judge him, and, finding him guilty, they will punish him and brand him with infamy. If, again, he does evil, though not immediately against society, yet in the face of society and before the sun; he shocks the public conscience and rends his own reputation. But the evil private and proper to himself that any man works in secret, is not society’s care, nor affects his social standing, nor brings any rightful diminution to his good name. If all our secret and personal offences are liable to be made public by any observer, which of us shall abide it? Our character is our public character; and that is not forfeit except for some manner of public sin.

5. Suppose a veteran, long retired, has made a name for military prowess by boasting of battles wherein he never came into danger, is the one old comrade who remembers him for a skulker and a runaway, justified in showing him up? No, for that reputation, however mendaciously got together, is still truly a good possession: it is not a fruit of injustice, therefore it is no matter of restitution: nor is it any instrument of injustice, which the holder is bound to drop: thus, as he is not bound to forego it, now that he has got it, so his neighbour may not rightfully take it from him.

_Reading_.–St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 73, art. 1.

SECTION IV.–_Of Contracts_.

1. A _contract_ is a bargain productive of an obligation of commutative justice in each of the contracting parties. A _bargain_ is a consent of two wills to the same object. Thus a promise, before it is accepted, is not a bargain. But even after acceptance a promise is not a contract, for the promiser may not choose to bind himself in justice, but only in good faith, while the promisee is under no obligation whatever.

2. There are such things as _implicit contracts_, attached to the bearing of certain offices, whereby a man becomes his brother’s keeper. The liability contracted is limited by the nature of the office: thus a physician is officially bound in justice as to his patient’s pulse, but not officially as to his purse. Where there is no explicit contract, the duties which the subjects of a person’s official care have towards him are not duties of commutative justice. Thus these _implicit contracts_ are not strictly contracts, as failing to carry a full reciprocity.

3. Contracts are either _consensual_ or _real_, according as they are either complete by the mere consent of the parties, or further require that something should change hands and pass from one to the other. What contracts are consensual, and what real, depends chiefly on positive law. No natural law can tell whether buying and selling, for instance, be a consensual or a real contract. The interest of this particular case is when the goods are lost in transmission: then whichever of the two parties at the time be determined to be the owner, apart from culpable negligence or contrary agreement of the sender, he bears the loss, on the principle, _res perit domino_.

4. Contracts are otherwise divided as _onerous_ and _gratuitous_. In an onerous contract either party renders some advantage in return for the advantage that he receives, as when Titius hires the horse of Caius. In a gratuitous contract all the advantage is on one side, as when Titius does not hire but borrows a horse. The Roman lawyers further distinguish contracts, somewhat humorously, into _contracts with names_ and _contracts without names_, or _nominate_ and _innominate_, as anatomists name a certain bone the _innominate bone_, and a certain artery the _innominate artery_. _Innominate contracts_ are reckoned four: _I give on the terms of your giving_, otherwise than as buying and selling,–to some forms of this there are English names, as _exchange_ and _barter_: _I do on the terms of your doing: I do on the terms of your giving: I give on the terms of your doing_.

_Readings_.–De Lugo, _De Just. et Jure_, 22, nn. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 16, 17. For buying and selling and the frauds incident thereto, Paley, _Moral Philosophy_, bk. iii., p. 1, c. vii.

SECTION V.–_Of Usury_.

1. We must distinguish _use value_ and _market value_. The use value of an article of property is the esteem which the owner has of it from every other point of view except as a thing to sell. Thus a man values his overcoat on a journey as a protection from cold and rain. A book is valued that was held in the dying hand of a parent. This is use value. The market value of an article is the estimate of society, fixing the rate of exchange between that and other articles, so much of one for so much of another, _e.g._, between mahogany and cedar wood, considered as things to sell.

2. Answering to this twofold value is a twofold exchange, _private exchange_, which regards use value; and _commercial exchange_, which is founded on market value. If I part with my watch to a sailor for carrying me across an arm of the sea where there is no public ferry, that is private exchange. If I pay the ordinary fare where there is a public ferry, that is commercial exchange.

3. Private exchange begins in the need of at least one of the contracting parties. It is an act of charity in the other party to accommodate him by offering the thing needed. If the offer is made otherwise than as a gift, and is accepted, he who avails himself of it is bound in justice to see that the afforder of the accommodation is compensated for the loss that he suffers in affording it. Thus far the recipient is bound in justice, and no further in that virtue. However wholesome or profitable the thing be to him that gets it, the supplier cannot charge for that but only for the loss that he himself suffers, or the gain that he foregoes, in handing the thing over, or the pains that he takes, or the hardship that he endures, or the risk that he runs, in rendering the service desired. If all the labour to be undergone, or damage incurred, or risk encountered, by the sailor who goes about by private bargain to be my ferryman, is fairly met by the remuneration of a thirty-shilling watch, he has no right to stipulate for any more, not though the passage that he gives me sets me on the way to a throne. The peculiar advantage that I have in prospect does not come out of him, but out of myself. He must not pretend to sell what is not his, what attaches, not to him, but to me. He can only sell his own loss, risk, pains and labour. At the same time, if I have any gentlemanly or generous feeling in me, I shall be forward to bestow extra remuneration on one who has rendered me so timely a service: but this is matter of my gratitude, not of his right and claim in justice. Gratitude must not be put into the bill. And this much of private exchange.

4. Commercial exchange is conducted according to market value. Apart from dire necessity–and one in dire necessity is not fit to enter into commercial exchanges–the rule is, that a seller may always ask the market value of his article, however much that may be above what the thing cost him, or the use value which it bears to him. Thus, if one finds in his garden a rare Roman coin–so far as his tastes go, a paltry bit of metal–he may sell it for whatever price numismatists will offer: whereas, if there were no market for coins, but only one individual who doted on such things, the finder could make no profit out of that individual, the coin having neither market value with the community, nor use value in the eyes of the finder.

5. As there is a twofold value, and a twofold exchange, so a twofold character is impressed on the great instrument of exchange, money. Money, in one character, is an instrument of private exchange: in its other character, to mercantile men more familiar, it is an instrument of commercial exchange. In the one, it represents use value to the particular owner, more or less to him than it would be to some other owner: in the other, it represents market value, the same to all at the same time.

6. Leo X. in the Fifth Council of Lateran, 1515, ruled that–“usury is properly interpreted to be the attempt to draw profit and increment, without labour, without cost, and without risk, out of the use of a thing that does not fructify.” In 1745 Benedict XIV. wrote in the same sense to the Bishops of Italy: “That kind of sin which is called usury, and which has its proper seat and place in the contract of _mutuum_, consists in turning that contract, which of its own nature requires the amount returned exactly to balance the amount received, into a ground for demanding a return in excess of the amount received.” _Mutuum_, be it observed, is a loan for a definite period, of some article, the use of which lies in its consumption, as matches, fuel, food, and, in one respect, money. We shall prove this to be properly a _gratuitous_ contract. (s. iv., n. 4, p. 254.)

7. Usury then is no mere taking of exorbitant interest. There is no question of more or less, but it is usury to take any interest at all upon the loan of a piece of property, which

(a) is of no use except to be used up, spent, consumed:

(b) is not wanted for the lender’s own consumption within the period of the loan:

(c) is lent upon security that obviates risk:

(d) is so lent that the lender foregoes no occasion of lawful gain by lending it.

8. When all these four conditions are fulfilled, and yet interest is exacted upon a loan, such interest is usurious and unjust. And why? Simply by reason of the principle that we laid down before, speaking of private exchange (n. 3), a principle that is thus stated by St. Thomas:

“If one party is much benefited by the commodity which he receives of the other, while the other, the seller, is not a loser by going without the article, no extra price must be put on. The reason is, because the benefit that accrues to one party is not from the seller, but from the condition of the buyer. Now no one ought to sell to another that which is not his, though he may sell the loss that he suffers. He, however, who is much benefited by the commodity he receives of another, may spontaneously bestow some extra recompense on the seller: that is the part of one who has the feelings of a gentleman.” (2a. 2a, q. 77, art. 1, in corp.)

9. St. Thomas speaks of sales, but the principle applies equally to loans. It is upon loans of money that interest is commonly taken, and of money-loans we speak. Clearly, according to the doctrine stated, the lender can claim the compensation of interest, if he has to pinch himself in order to lend, or lends at a notable risk. He is selling his own loss,–or risk, which is loss once removed. But supposing he has other monies in hand, and the security is good, and he has enough still left for all domestic needs, and for all luxuries that he cares to indulge in,–moreover he has nothing absolutely to do with his money, in the event of his not lending it, but to hoard it up in his strong box, and wait long months till he has occasion to use it: in that case, if he lends it he will be no worse off on the day that he gets it back, no worse off in the time while it is away, than if it had never left his coffers. Such is the contract of _mutuum_, shorn of all accidental attendant circumstances, a contract, which “of its own nature,” as Benedict XIV. says, that is, apart from circumstances, “requires the amount returned exactly to balance the amount received.” Not though the borrower has profited of the loan to gain kingdoms, is any further return in strict justice to be exacted of him on that precise account.

10. But now an altered case. Suppose land is purchaseable, and it is proposed to stock a farm with cattle, and rear them, and convey them to a large town where there is a brisk demand for meat–the supposition is not always verified, nor any supposition like it, but suppose it verified in some one case–then, though the lender has other monies in hand for the needs of his household, and the security is good, yet the money is not so lent as that he foregoes no occasion of lawful gain by lending it. He foregoes the purchase of land and farm stock, or at least delays it, and delay is loss where profit is perennial. On that score of gain forfeited he may exact interest on the money that he lends, which interest will be no usury. The title of interest here given is recognized by divines as _lucrum cessans_, “interruption of profit.” The interest is taken, so far as it goes upon a lawful title, not upon the fact of the borrower’s profit–that is irrelevant–but upon the profit that the lender might have made, had he kept the money in hand.

11. This latter case (n. 10) represents that putting of money out to interest, which is an essential feature of modern commerce. The former case (n. 9) is the aspect that money-lending commonly bore in the Middle Ages. In those days land was hard to buy, agriculture backward, roads bad, seas unnavigable, carrying-trade precarious, messages slow, raids and marauders frequent, population sparse, commerce confined to a few centres, mines unworked, manufactures mostly domestic, capital yet unformed. Men kept their money in their cellars, or deposited it for safety in religious houses: whence the stories of treasure-trove belonging to those days. They took out the coin as they wanted it to spend on housekeeping, or on war, or feasting. It was very hard, next to impossible, to lay out money so as to make more money by it. Money was in those days really barren–a resource for housekeeping, not for trade–a medium of private, not of commercial exchange–a representative of use value, not of market value. Apart from risk of non-repayment, to take interest for money that you had no use for but to hoard, was getting “a breed of barren metal:” it was taking up what you laid not down: it was making profit out of your neighbour’s need, or your neighbour’s gain, where there was no corresponding need unsatisfied, or gain forfeited, on your part: it was that “attempt to draw profit and increment, without labour, without cost, and without risk, out of the use of a thing that does not fructify,” which the Fifth Lateran Council defines to be usury.

12. In our time, thanks to steam and electricity, the increase of population, and continued peace, the whole world has become one trading community, representing now more, now less abundant opportunities for the investment of money, and the conversion of it into other lucrative commodities. Money consequently with us is not a mere medium of private exchange for the purposes of housekeeping: it is a medium of commercial exchange. It represents, not use value, but market value. To be a thousand pounds out of pocket for a year means an opportunity of gain irretrievably lost, gain that could have been made otherwise than by money-lending. Where this is so, and so far as it is so, the lender may without violation of justice point to _lucrum cessans_, gain lost, and arrange beforehand with the borrower for being reimbursed with interest.

13. The transition from mediaeval housekeeping, with its use values and private exchange, to the mercantile society of modern times, was not made in a day, nor went on everywhere at the same rate. It was a growth of ages. In great cities commerce rapidly ripened, and was well on towards maturity five centuries ago. Then the conditions that render interest lawful, and mark it off from usury, readily came to obtain. But those centres were isolated. Like the centres of ossification, which appear here and there in cartilage when it is being converted into bone, they were separated one from another by large tracts remaining in the primitive condition. Here you might have a great city, Hamburg or Genoa, an early type of commercial enterprise, and, fifty miles inland, society was in its infancy, and the great city was as part of another world. Hence the same transaction, as described by the letter of the law, might mean lawful interest in the city, and usury out in the country–the two were so disconnected. In such a situation the legislator has to choose between forbidding interest here and allowing usury there; between restraining speculation and licensing oppression. The mediaeval legislator chose the former alternative. Church and State together enacted a number of laws to restrain the taking of interest, laws that, like the clothes of infancy, are not to be scorned as absurd restrictions, merely because they are inapplicable now, and would not fit the modern growth of nations. At this day the State has repealed those laws, and the Church has officially signified that she no longer insists on them. Still she maintains dogmatically that there is such a sin as usury, and what it is, as defined in the Fifth Council of Lateran.

_Readings_.–St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 77, art. 1; Ar., _Pol_., I., ix.; St. Thos., 2a 2a, q. 77, art. 4; _The Month_ for September, 1886; _The Nineteenth Century _for September, 1877, pp. 181, seq.



SECTION I.–_Of the Institution of Marriage_.

1. Marriage is defined by the Canonists: _the union of male and female, involving their living together in undivided intercourse_. In the present order of Providence, the marriage contract between baptized persons is a sacrament, under the superintendence of the Church, the fertile theme of canonists and theologians. As philosophers, we deal with marriage as it would be, were there no sacraments, no Church, and no Incarnation, present or to come. This is marriage in the order of pure nature.

2. It is natural to all animals to propagate their kind, natural therefore also to man; and being natural, it is so far forth also a good thing, unless we are to say with the Manicheans, that the whole of corporeal nature is an evil creation. Nay, so urgent is the natural appetite here, that we must argue the existence, not of a mere permission, but of an exigency of nature, and consequent command of God (_Ethics_, c. vi., s. ii., nn. 11, 12, p. 122), for the propagation of the human species. Besides, there is in the individual the duty of self-preservation, therefore likewise in the race. Again, the old cannot subsist at all without the support of the young, nor lead a cheerful existence without their company. Imagine a world with no youth in it, a winter without a spring!

3. There is this difference between self-preservation and the preservation of the race, that if a man will not eat, none can eat for him; but if one man omit the propagation of his kind, another can take it up. There are many things necessary for the good of mankind, which are not to be done by every individual. Not all are to be soldiers, nor all builders, though houses are needful, and sometimes war. Nor is it desirable that the human race should be multiplied to its utmost capacity. It is enough here to mention without discussing the teaching of Malthus, how population presses on the means of subsistence, the latter increasing in an arithmetical, the former in a geometrical ratio. Without going the whole way with Malthus, modern economical writers are commonly a little Malthusian, and shrink from giving to all and each of their species the word to “increase and multiply.”

4. But, it will be said, sickly and consumptive subjects, and still more those who have any tendency to madness, may well be excused from having children; so too may they be excused whose poverty cannot keep a family; excused too is the inveterate drunkard, and all habitual criminals, by the principle of heredity, lest they transmit to posterity an evil bodily predisposition; but the healthy and the virtuous, men sound of mind and limb, of life unspotted, and in circumstances easy, the flower of the race,–none of these surely should omit to raise up others to wear his lineaments: we want such men multiplied. I answer, on natural grounds alone: You may counsel, but you cannot compel, either by positive law or ethical precept, any man or woman to seek to have children. You surely will not breed men by selection, like cattle, as Plato proposed. The union of the sexes, especially the married union, is an act to be of all others the most entirely free, spontaneous, uncommanded, and unconstrained. It should be a union of intense mutual love. But a man may not meet with any woman that he can love with passion; or, meeting such, he may not be able to win her. Nor, considering the indeterminateness of points of health, capacity, and character, could any certain list be drawn up of persons bound to have issue. Thus the utmost that can be argued is a counsel in this direction, a counsel that mankind ordinarily are ready enough to comply with. But if any one of seeming aptitude excuses himself on the score of finding no partner to his liking, or of a desire to travel, or of study, or still more, of devotion–and why should not a man, ever of natural piety, go out into solitude, like St. Antony, to hold communion with his Maker?–all these excuses must be taken. It is lawful then in the state of mere nature, upon any one of many sufficient grounds, to stand aside and relinquish to your neighbour the privilege and responsibility of giving increase to the human family.

5. But if it is no one individual’s duty to propagate his kind, how is it that we have laid down that there is such a duty? For the duty is incumbent upon them that alone can do it, and it can only be done by individuals. The answer rests on a distinction between _proximate_ and _remote_ duty. The propagation of the race is the remote duty of every individual, but at present the proximate, duty of none. A _remote_ duty is a duty not now pressing but which would have to be performed in a certain contingency, which contingency happening, the duty becomes _proximate_. If there appeared a danger of our race dying out, the survivors would be beholden, especially those in power, to take steps for its continuance. Rewards might then be held out, like the _jus trium liberorum_ instituted at Rome by Augustus; and if necessary, penalties inflicted on celibacy. In this one extreme case the matrimonial union might be made matter of legal constraint. But when will such constraint become necessary?

6. The continuance of the human race must be wrought out by man and woman standing in that abiding and exclusive relation to one another, which constitutes the state of marriage. Nature abhors promiscuity, or free love. It is the delight of writers who use, perhaps abuse, Darwin’s name, to picture primitive mankind as all living in this infrabestial state. But “the state supposed is suicidal, and instead of allowing the expansion of the human race, would have produced infertility, and probably disease, and at best only allowed the existing numbers to maintain, under the most favourable circumstances, a precarious existence. To suppose, therefore, that the whole human race for any considerable time were without regular marriage, is physiologically impossible. They could never have survived it.” (Devas, _Studies of Family Life_, S 101.)

7. Even if the alleged promiscuity ever did prevail–and it may have obtained to some extent in certain degraded portions of humanity–its prevalence was not its justification. The practice cannot have been befitting in any stage of the evolution of human society. As in all things we suppose our readers to have understanding, we leave it to them to think out this matter for themselves. Suffice it here to put forward two grand advantages gained and ends achieved, which are called by theologians “the goods of marriage.”

8. The first good of marriage is the _offspring_ that is born of it. Nature wills, not only the being, but the well-being of this offspring, and that both in the physical and in the moral order. Very important for the physical health of the child it is, that it be born of parents whose animal propensities are under some restraint; such restraint the bond of marriage implies. Then, in the moral order, the child requires to be educated with love, a love that shall be guided by wisdom, and supported by firmness. Love, wisdom, and firmness, they are the attributes of both parents; but love is especially looked for from the mother, wisdom and firmness from the father. And, what is important, both have an _interest_ in the child such as no other human being can take. We are speaking of the normal father or mother, not of many worthless parents that actually are; for, as Aristotle often lays it down, we must not judge of a thing from its bad specimens. No doubt, the State could establish public nurseries and infant schools, and provide a staff of nurses and governesses, more scientific educators than even the normal parent; but who, that has not been most unhappy in his origin, would wish his own infancy to have been reared in such a place? What certificated stranger can supply for a mother’s love?

9. The second good of marriage is the _mutual faith_ of the partners. Plato never made a greater mistake than when he wrote that “the female sex differs from the male in mankind only in this, that the one bears children, while the other begets them;” and consequently that “no occupation of social life belongs to a woman because she is a woman, or to a man because he is a man, but capacities are equally distributed in both sexes, and woman naturally bears her share in all occupations, and man his share, only that in all woman is weaker than man.” (_Republic_, 454 D; 455 D.) Over against this we must set Aristotle’s correction: “Cohabitation among human kind is not for the mere raising of children, but also for the purposes of a partnership in life: for from the first the offices of man and woman are distinct and different: thus they mutually supply for one another, putting their several advantages into the common stock.” (Ar., _Eth_., VIII., xii. 7.) Elsewhere he sets forth these several offices in detail: “The nature of both partners, man and woman, has been prearranged by a divine dispensation in view of their partnership: for they differ by not having their faculties available all to the same effect, but some even to opposite effects, though combining to a common end: for God made the one sex stronger and the other weaker, that the one for fear may be the more careful, and the other for courage the more capable of self-defence; and that the one may forage abroad, while the other keeps house: and for work the one is made competent for sedentary employments, but too delicate for an out-door life, while the other makes a poor figure at keeping still, but is vigorous and robust in movement; and touching children, the generation is special, but the improvement of the children is the joint labour of both parents, for it belongs to the one to nurture, to the other to chastise.” (Ar., _Econ_., i. 3.)

These passages are enough to suggest more than they actually contain, of two orders of qualities arranged antithetically one over against another in man and woman, so that the one existence becomes complementary to the other, and the two conjoined form one perfect human life. This life-communion, called by divines _fides_, or mutual faith, is then the second good fruit of marriage. Indeed it is the more characteristically human good, _offspring_ being rather related to the animal side of our nature. But as animal and rational elements make one human being, so do _offspring_ and _mutual faith_ constitute the adequate good of that human union of the sexes, which we call marriage.

10. Whatever good there is in marriage, connections formed by either party beyond the marriage-bed, are agents of confusion to the undoing of all that good and the practical dissolution of the marriage.

_Readings_.–_Contra Gentes_, iii., 122; _ib_., iii., 126; _ib_., iii., 136; Devas, _Studies of Family Life_, SS 90-101, where he disposes of the proof of primitive promiscuity, drawn from the fact that in early societies kinship is traced and property claimed only through the mother.

SECTION II.–_Of the Unity of Marriage_.

1. _Both man and woman are by nature incapable of a second marriage, while their former marriage endures_. No woman can have two husbands at the same time, which is _polyandry_; and no man can have two wives at the same time, which is _polygamy_. The second marriage attempted is not only _illicit_, but _invalid_: it is no contract, no marriage at all, and all cohabitation with the second partner is sheer adultery. This is a great deal more than saying that polyandry and polygamy are unlawful.

2. That is by nature no marriage, which is inconsistent with the natural ends of marriage, _offspring_ and _mutual faith_. But polyandry is thus inconsistent with the good of offspring, and polygamy with mutual faith. It is not meant that polyandry makes the birth of children impossible. But nature is solicitous, not for the mere birth, but for the rearing and good estate of the child born. Now a child born fatherless is in an ill plight for its future education. Posthumous children in lawful wedlock are born fatherless: that is a calamity: but what shall we think of an institution which makes that calamity to the child sure always to occur? Such an institution is polyandry. For in it no man can ever know his own child, except by likeness, and likeness in a baby face is largely as you choose to fancy it. Again, is the polyandrous wife to be, or not to be, the head of the family? If not, the family–for it ought to be one family, where there is one mother–will have as many heads as she has husbands, a pretty specimen of a house divided against itself. If she is to be the head, that is a perversion of the natural order of predominance between the sexes. In any case, polyandry is little better than promiscuity: it is fatal to the family and, fatal to the race; and children born of it are born out of marriage.

3. Against polygamy the case in natural law is not quite so strong as against polyandry. Still it is a strong case enough in the interest of the wife. The words spoken by the bride to the bridegroom in the marriage rite of ancient Rome, _Ubi tu Caius, ego Caia_, “Where you are master, I am mistress,” declare the relation of _mutual faith_ as it should be, namely, a relation of equality, with some advantage, preference, and pre-eminence allowed to the husband, yet not so great advantage as to leave _him_ free where _she_ is straitly bound, and reduce her to the servile level of one in a row of minions to his passion and sharers of his divided affections. Polygamy in all ages has meant the lowering of womankind:

He will hold thee–
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse

At its strongest, the love of man for woman, where polygamy obtains, is a flame of passion, that quickly spends itself on one object, and then passes to another; not a rational, enduring, human affection. It is also a fact, that the increase of the race is not greater in polygamy than in monogamy. Thus, as a practice that runs strongly counter to one of the great purposes of marriage, and is, to say the least, no help to the other, and carries with it the humiliation of the female sex, polygamy is justly argued to be abhorrent to nature.

4. It is beside the purpose of this work to enter into the questions of morality that arise out of Holy Scripture, considered as an inspired record of the actions of the Saints. But the polygamy of the patriarchs of old so readily occurs to mind, that it is worth while to mention four conceivable explanations, if only to indicate which is and which is not reconcilable with our philosophy. The first explanation would be, that polygamy is not against the natural law, but only against the positive divine law, which was derogated from in this instance. We have made it out to be against the natural law. The second explanation would be that God gave the patriarchs a dispensation, strictly so called, from this point of the natural law. We have maintained that God cannot, strictly speaking, dispense from one jot or tittle of natural law. (_Ethics_, c. viii., s. iii., nn. 1-3, p. 147.) [Footnote 19] A third explanation would be founded on the words of St. Paul to the Athenians (Acts xvii. 30), about “God overlooking the times of this ignorance.” This would suppose that mankind, beginning in monogamy, from passion and ignorance lapsed quickly into polygamy: that the patriarchs in good faith conformed to the practice of their time; and that God, in their case as with the rest of mankind, awaited His own destined hour for the light of better knowledge to break upon the earth. A fourth explanation would be this. God by His supreme dominion can dissolve any marriage. By the same dominative power He can infringe and partially make void any marriage contract without entirely undoing it. The marriage contract, existing in its fulness and integrity, is a bar to any second similar contract, as we have proved. But what, on this theory, the Lord God did with the marriages of the patriarchs was this: He partially unravelled and undid the contract, so as to leave room for a second contract, and a third, each having the bare essentials of a marriage, but none of them the full integrity.

[Footnote 19: _Dispensatio_ is the Latin for [Greek: oikonomia], and in this case means an “economy” of law, in the sense that God did not press the marriage law beyond the capacity of the subject (Matt. xix. 7,8). See my Newman Index, s.v. _Economy_. The schoolmen missed this meaning, and took _dispensatio_ in the canonical sense.]

But, for the author’s final view, see Appendix.

_Readings_.–_Contra Gent_., iii., 124; Suarez, _De Legibus_, II., xv., 28.

SECTION III.–_Of the Indissolubility of Marriage_.

1. This section is pointed not so much against a _separation_–which may take place by mutual consent, or without that, by grievous infidelity or cruelty of one party–as against a divorce _a vinculo_, which is a dissolution of a marriage in the lifetime of the parties, enabling each of them validly and lawfully to contract with some other. The unity of marriage is more essential than its indissolubility. Nature is more against polygamy than against divorce. Even Henry VIII. stuck at polygamy. In the present arrangement, a divorce _a vinculo_ is obtainable in three cases. First, when of two unbaptized persons, man and wife, the one is converted, and the unconverted party refuses to live peaceably in wedlock, the convert may marry again, and thereupon also the other party. So the Church understands St. Paul, I Cor. vii. 13, 15. Again, the Pope can grant a divorce _a vinculo_ in the marriage of baptized persons before cohabitation. Such a marriage in that stage is also dissolved by the profession of one of the parties in a religious order. Beyond these three cases, the Catholic Church allows neither the lawfulness nor the validity of any divorce _a vinculo_ by whomsoever given to whatsoever parties.

2. It is ours to investigate the lie of the law of nature, having due regard to the points marked, antecedently to our search, by the definition of infallible authority. Nothing can be done in the Church against the law of nature: since therefore divorce _a vinculo_ is sometimes recognized in the Church, it may be contended that marriage is not by nature absolutely indissoluble. On the other hand, it is a proposition censured by Pius IX. in the Syllabus, n. 67: “By the law of nature the bond of marriage is not indissoluble.” Thus it appears we must teach that marriage is naturally indissoluble, still not absolutely so, just as a safe is justly advertised as fire-proof, when it will resist any conflagration that is likely to occur, though it would be consumed in a blast-furnace or in a volcano. So marriage is indissoluble, if it holds good for all ordinary contingencies, for all difficulties that may be fairly reckoned with and regarded as not quite improbable, for every posture of affairs that the contracting parties before their union need at all consider. Or, if the three cases of divorce actually allowed are to be traced to the dominative power of God (_Ethics_, c. vii., n. 2, p. 129), we may teach that marriage is by nature absolutely indissoluble, and that divorce is as much against the law of nature as the killing of an innocent man, excepting in the case of God’s dominion being employed to quash the contract or the right to life. But against this latter view is to be set the consideration, that God is manifestly averse to using His dominative power to overturn natural ordinances. He does not hand the innocent over to death except in the due course of physical nature: why then should He ever put forth His power against the marriage-tie, unless it be that nature herself in certain cases postulates its severance? But if such is ever nature’s petition, the universal and unconditional permanence of the marriage-tie cannot be a requisition of nature, nor is divorce absolutely excluded by natural law.

3. Thomas Sanchez, than whom there is no greater authority on this subject, records his opinion that “a certain inseparability is of the nature of marriage,” but that “absolute indissolubility does not attach to marriage by the law of nature.” He adds: “if we consider marriage as it is an office of nature for the propagation of the race, it is hard to render a reason why for the wife’s barrenness the husband should not be allowed to put her away, or marry another.” (_De Matrimonio_, I. ii., d. 13, n. 7.) We proceed to prove that “a certain inseparability is of the nature of marriage,” so that marriage may truly be said to be indissoluble by the law of nature. Whether this natural indissolubility is absolute, and holds for every conceivable contingency, the student must judge by the proofs.

4. If a divorce _a vinculo_ were a visible object on the matrimonial horizon, the parties would be strongly encouraged thereby to form illicit connections, in the expectation of shortly having any one of them they chose ratified and sanctified by marriage. Marriage would be entered upon lightly, as a thing easily done and readily undone, a state of things not very far in advance of promiscuity. Between married persons little wounds would fester, trifling sores would be angered into ulcers: any petty strife might lead to a fresh contract, made in haste and repented of with speed: then fond, vain regrets for the former partnership. Affinity would be a loose bond of friendship between families; and after divorce it would turn to enmity. The fair but weaker sex would suffer the more by this as by all other matrimonial perversions: for the man has not so much difficulty in lighting upon another love, but the woman–she illustrates the Greek proverb of a fallen estate:

Mighty was Miletus in the bygone days of yore.

The divorced wife offers fewer attractions than the widow.

5. It is well to bear in mind that, at least by the positive ordinance of God in the present order of His Providence, the marriage of baptized persons, after cohabitation, is absolutely indissoluble; and no marriage can be dissolved except in the three cases specified. (n. 1.)

_Readings_.–Leo XIII., Encyclical on Christian Marriage, _Arcanum divina sapientia_; St. Thomas, _Contra Gent_., iii, 123.



SECTION I.–_Of Private Property_.

1. Property was called by the Romans _res familiaris_, the stuff and substance of the family. Property may be held by the individual for himself alone: but any large accumulation of it is commonly held by the head of a family, actual or potential, for the family; and he cherishes it for the sake of his family as much as, or even more than, for his own sake. This is to be borne in mind, for many errors in theory and in practice spring from a large proprietor figuring as an individual, and not as a sort of _corporation sole_ in his capacity of paterfamilias.

2. We have seen (c. v., s. i., n. 2, p. 245) how man acquires a right over external goods, as it were setting the seal of his own personality upon them. It appears upon further consideration, that this right must extend beyond the mere making things your own for immediate use and consumption; it must extend to the _storing_ of things for future and perennial use. Otherwise we have Communism. Communism allows men to hold property collectively in a common stock, and allows each member of the community to take for his peculiar own out of that stock whatever for the moment he needs; but it will not permit him to appropriate private means of subsistence against any notable time to come. Communism is very good in a family, which is an imperfect community, part of a higher community, the State. It is very good in a monastery, which is like a family: again, very good in the primitive Church at Jerusalem, which existed for the time on quasi-monastic lines: very good even in a perfect community, if such there be, of tropical savages, for whom nature supplies all things, bananas to eat and palm-leaves to wear, without any human labour of production; but very bad and quite unworkable everywhere else. St. Thomas, following Aristotle, puts it pithily and sufficiently: “Private property is necessary to human life for three reasons: first, because every one is more careful to look after what belongs to himself alone than after what is common to all or to many, since all men shun labour and leave to others what is matter of joint concern, as happens where there are too many servants: on another ground, because human affairs are more orderly handled, if on each individual there rests his own care of managing something, whereas there would be nothing but confusion, if every one without distinction were to have the disposal of any thing he chose to take in hand: thirdly, because by this means society is the rather kept at peace, every member being content with his own possession, whence we see that among those who hold any thing in common and undivided ownership strifes not unfrequently arise.” (2a 2a, q. 66, art. 2, in corp.)

3. If any revolutionist yet will have the hardihood to say with Proudhon, “Property is theft,” we shall ask him, “From whom?” He will answer of course, “From the community.” But that answer supposes the community to have flourished, a wealthy corporation, before private property began. Needless to say that history knows nothing of such a corporation. The saying, that _in the beginning all things were in common_, is not true in the sense that they were _positively_ in common, like the goods of a corporation, which are collective property: but simply that they were _negatively_ in common, that is, not property at all, neither of corporation nor of individual, but left in the middle open to all comers, for each to convert into property by his occupation, and by his labour to enhance and multiply. This must be modified by the observation, that the first occupants were frequently heads of families, or of small clans, and occupied and held for themselves and their people.

4. The saying, that _all things are in common by the law of nature_, must be received with still greater reserve. Really with as much truth it might be said that all men are unmarried, or unclad, or uneducated, by the law of nature. Nature unaided by human volition provides neither property, nor clothing, nor marriage, nor education, for man. But nature bids, urges and requires man to bestir his voluntary energies for the securing of all these things. The law of nature does not prescribe this or that particular distribution of goods, as neither does it join this man with that woman in marriage, nor insist on plaids rather than coats, nor set all boys to learn algebra, nor fix a ritual for divine worship; but it insists in the vague upon some worship, some education, some clothing, some marriage, and some distribution of goods, leaving the determination in each case to choice, custom, and positive law, human and divine.

5. All property that can ever be immediately serviceable for saving human life, is held under this burden, that a perishing fellow-creature, who cannot otherwise help himself in a case of _extreme need_ (c. iv., n. 8, p. 243), may make such use of the property of another as shall suffice to rescue him from perishing off-hand. If he draws largely on another for this purpose, he ought to make compensation afterwards, if he has the means. This has been taken for a piece of the primeval rock of Communism cropping up from underneath subsequent human formations,–quite a mistaken notion. There is no Communism whatever in the transaction. Up to the instant when the needy man seizes the article that he requires to save him from death, that article still belongs to the owner from whom he takes it, who is bound in charity to give it to the needy party, but not in justice. Extreme need does not confer ownership, nor dispossess any previous owner: but it confers the right of taking what is another’s as though it belonged to no one; and in the taking, the thing passes into the ownership of the new occupant, so that for the previous owner forcibly to resume it would be a violation of justice. English law does not recognise this right–properly enough, for with us it would be made a plea for much stealing–but refers the destitute to the parish. The law is considerately worked by the magistrates. A starving man, who took a loaf off a baker’s tray, has been known to be sentenced to a few hours’ imprisonment with two good meals.

6. As St. Paul says (2 Cor. xii. 14), “parents ought to lay up for their children,” that they in whom their own existence is continued, may not be left unprovided for at their decease. The amount laid up necessary for this purpose, ought not to be diverted from it. Thus much at least Natural Law can tell us of the right of inheritance. And concerning testamentary right these natural considerations are forthcoming, that it adds to the desirability of property, that it secures deference to the wealthy in their old age, and that the abolition of it might be frustrated by an apparatus of confidential _donationes inter vivos_, that is to say, making the property over in trust before death. Further enlargement of the natural basis of testamentary right may be effected by the judicious reader.

_Readings_.–Ar., _Pol_., II., v., nn. 1-16; De Lugo, _De just. et jure_, vi., nn. 2-6; _ib_., xxi,, nn. 143, 144; Locke, _Of Civil Government_, c.v.; _id_., _Of Government_, nn. 88, 89.

SECTION II.–_Of Private Capital_.

1. Reverting to a former section (c. v., s. v., nn. 1-5, p. 255) we lay down this distinction: Goods held for their _use value_ are _consumer’s wealth_: goods held for their _market value_ are _producer’s wealth_, otherwise called _capital_. Capital then is that wealth which a man holds for the purpose of gaining further wealth by means of commercial exchange. It is represented by the razors that are made, not to mow the manly beard, or youthful moustache, of the maker, but, as the Yorkshire vendor put it, “to sell.”

2. Those economists who would allow no private ownership of capital, but would have all capital to be State property, are called Socialists. They stand distinctly apart from the Communists, whom we have been labouring to refute in the last section. The Communist forbids all private property: the Socialist allows private property, but in the shape of _consumer’s wealth_ alone. The Communist ignores the necessity of labour: the Socialist schemes to make all men work. The Communist contemplates a hand-to-mouth dispensation of all things: the Socialist locks all things up, wages in private coffers, capital in government stores. The Communist is a madman: the speculations of the Socialist are sometimes deep.

3. To what are we to attribute the rise of Socialism, and its growth and propagation so fast and vigorous, that, its supporters say with some colour of evidence, it is a theory destined within a measurable space of time to pass into actual practice, whether men will or no? The cause is not far to seek. There has lighted a plague upon all civilized countries, an outbreak fearful and severe: only by the great blessing of Providence, joined to drastic remedial measures on our part, can we cope with the evil. The plague is a cancerous formation of luxury growing out of a root of pauperism. It is a disease old as the world, but the increase of commerce and intercommunication has occasioned its bursting upon our generation in a peculiarly virulent form. And what is more, ours being a talking age, the disease is made the staple of speeches infinite, and the masses are clamouring for a remedy. The remedy proposed is Socialism.

4. Socialism in its essence is an attempt to transfer to the State, governed by universal suffrage, the wealth, and with the wealth the social duties, of what have hitherto been the wealthy and governing classes. It is not enough for the multitude that they are getting the political power out of the hands of the landlord and the capitalist: they envy the one his broad acres, and the other his investments. All must be theirs, sovereignty and wealth alike. If wealth has its duties, the people collectively with cheerful acceptance will undertake those duties. “It shall be ours, not only to be king, but to be employer, patron, landlord, educator. We will assign to the workman his wages, just and ample and perennial: we will adjust production to demand: we will be the restorers of agriculture: we will monopolise the carrying-trade: we alone will sell whatever shall be sold: we will wash the workman in public baths: his taste shall be elevated by our statues and pictures, our theatres, our music-halls, and our churches; we will gratify his curiosity with our news-agencies, feed his thought with our popular philosophy, educate his children as our own in our primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, we will provide the long desiderated career open to talents. The stupid boy, though his father was our Prime Minister, shall be made a cabin-boy, or a scavenger’s assistant, an awful example to young gentlemen who fail to pass the Government examinations: while we will pick up, not the gutter child, for there shall be no more children in gutters, but the son of the woman at the mill, and testing him and assigning his career, first by school examinations, and then by his official performances, we will make him in time Poet Laureate or President of the Board of Trade, according to the bent of his genius.” The astonished workman turns round upon the exhibitors of this fairy vision: “And pray who are You?” “Oh, you, we, the people, all of us together. Come put your shoulder to the wheel, and up goes our enterprise. Or rather our first motion is downwards: down with landlords and cotton-lords and lords of parliament, down with contractors and stock-jobbers and all who live on the interest of their money, and then our honourable multitude will possess and administer and govern.”

5. If angels are to hold the collective ownership of capital and the government of men in the Socialist Commonwealth; or if every citizen, retaining in his private capacity all the follies and vices that human flesh is heir to, shall still be vested in angelic attributes, whenever he sits as legislator or judge, or acts on the executive of a Socialist commission,–then this new Commonwealth is likely to prove a blessed substitute for the rule of the higher classes, which in one way or another has hitherto obtained in civilized society. But till angelic attributes descend on earth, we shall not find a cure for the evils of cities and countries in simply doubling the functions of government, and placing all sovereign rights, and all the most important of proprietory rights and duties, in the hands of a numerical majority.

6. Capital, as we have seen, is a collection of market or exchange values in view of further exchange. If we call supply S and demand D, market value is a social estimate of the fraction D/S. Another definition has been given: Market value is a social estimate of the amount of socially useful labour which a given article contains. This second definition contains this much of truth in it, that directly as the demand for an article, and inversely as the supply of the same, is the amount of labour which men find it worth their while to spend upon that article for commercial purposes. Otherwise the definition is unsatisfactory and involved, and leads to endless discussion. Without entering into these discussions, we will remark an ambiguity in the term on which they all roll, the term _labour_, which ambiguity is at the bottom of three fourths of the sophistries of popular Socialism.

7. There were two pillars put at the entrance of Solomon’s temple, one on the right hand and the other on the left: that which was on the right hand he called, according to the Septuagint, _Direction_, [Greek: katorthosis], and that on the left hand, _Strength_, [Greek: ischus]. (2 Par. iii. 17.) Further we are told that Solomon set seventy thousand men to carry burdens on their shoulders, and eighty thousand to hew stones in the mountains, and three thousand six hundred to be overseers of the work of the people. (2 Par. ii. 18.) The history is manifest. Strength and Direction build the Temple: Strength, or Manual Labour, represented by the hodmen and quarrymen, and the rest of the “hands:” Direction, or Mental Labour, represented by the overseers. Yet not by them alone: surely we must count in as doers of mental labour the designer of the Temple, or at least of its decorations, that “most wise and skilful man, my father Hiram;” and still more King Solomon himself and David, the two royal minds that originated and perfected the idea; and David’s generals, Joab and Banaias, who secured the peace that was necessary as a condition of the building; and innumerable other men of place and power in the nation, but for whose thought and prudence the strength of the workman would have been thrown away like a river poured out in the Libyan desert. From this example, eked out with a little thought of his own, the reader may estimate the wisdom and credit of those who tell factory hands that it is their labour which produces all the wealth of their employer, and that, in the day when every man shall receive his due, the employer shall be made a workmen like themselves, and his wealth shall go to the increase of their common wages.

8. Certainly, it will be said, the employer should be paid for his mental labour, but why at so enormously higher a rate than the manual labourers? If we say, “because his labour is more valuable,” some Socialists would join issue on the score that labour is valuable according to the time that it takes, and the employer works shorter hours than his men. But this taking account of _quantity_ alone in labour is an ignoring of the distinction which we have drawn of two _qualities_ or _orders_ of labour, mental and manual; one more valuable than the other as being scarcer and in greater demand, so that a short time of one may be set against a long time of another, like a little gold against a heap of brass. Any man accustomed to both orders of labour must have observed, that while he can work with his hands at almost any time when he is well, the highest labour of his intellect can be done only at rare intervals, and that in one happy hour he will sometimes accomplish more than in a day. As the same man differs from himself at different times, so does one man from another in the average value of his mental efforts: this value is not measured by time.

9. Abandoning this untenable position, Socialists still ask: “But is the difference in the value of their labour quite so vast as is the interval between the profits of the employer and the pay of his poor drudges?” Honestly we cannot say that it is. We are fain to fall back upon the consideration, that the employer contributes, not only his brains to the work, but his capital. “Ah, that is just it,” is the Socialists’ quick reply: “We propose to relieve him of his capital, and remunerate his brainwork only: by that means we shall be able to pay sufficiently handsome wages for management, according to the ratio of mental and manual labour, and at the same time have a sufficiently large surplus over to raise the wages of his needy comrades, those seventy thousand hodmen and eighty thousand quarrymen.”

10. Two reasons may be given for turning away from this seductive proposal, and leaving capital (not _consumer’s wealth_ merely) in private hands,–and that not only in the hands of what we may call _mentally productive capitalists_, men who oversee their own enterprises and manage their own workmen, but even of _unproductive capitalists_, men who have shares in and reap profits out of a business which they never meddle with. The first reason is, because this position of the productive, and still more that of the unproductive capitalist, is a prize for past industry expended upon production. To understand this, we must recollect once more that men work, not as individuals, but as heads of families. Every working man, from the sailor to the shop-boy, covets for himself two things, pay and leisure. The same two things do mentally productive labourers covet. But they covet them, not for themselves alone, but for their families, and more even for their families than for themselves. They weary their brains, planning and managing, that in old age they may retire on a competence, and hand down that same competence, undiminished by their having lived on it, to their children. Thus the young man works and produces, that the old man, and the child to come, may have exemption from productive labour, an abiding exemption, which cannot be unless he is allowed to live on the interest of accumulated capital. These positions of affluence and rest–sinecures they are, so far as production is concerned–are the prizes awarded to the best productive labour. What they who do that labour aim at, is not wages but exemption from toil: their wish is not so much to be wealthy and have leisure themselves as to found a family in wealth and leisure,–the one possible foundation of such a family being a store of private capital. Socialists of course will offer nobler prizes for the best productive labour,–honour, and the satisfaction of having served the community, a satisfaction which they would have men trained from childhood to relish above all other joys. Unfortunately, this taste is yet unformed, and the stimulus of these nobler prizes is still unproved by experience. Meanwhile men do work hard, to the advantage of the community, for the ignobler prize of family affluence and ease. Socialists are going to take away the good boy’s cake and give him a sunflower.

11. The second reason for leaving capital in private, even unproductive hands, begins from the consideration, that the highest end of man on earth is not production, just as it is not consumption,