Moral Philosophy
Joseph Rickaby, S. J.

Part 4 out of 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

"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

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

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

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.

_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

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,


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