Moral & Political Philosophy

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Paley’s earliest manuscript draft of

the Moral and Political Philosophy

British Library Add Ms 12079

Observations and comments on this material are very welcome, and will be suitably acknowledged where incorporated.

Contact the editor: info@williampaley.com

Editor’s notes: Samuel Butler, Edmund Paley’s wife’s cousin, who is the donor, is under the impression that this manuscript is an enlargement of the original rough sketch, which is Add 12078. But this seems to me to be inaccurate, based on the differences in the two manuscripts.

Readers should be aware that Paley’s hand-writing is frequently very poor to illegible, and that uncertainties in the transcription will be noticeable in this first draft.

These parentheses <indicate superscript insertions>


Given to Samuel Butler by Revd Edmund Paley of Easingwold , Feby 5 1831


/2  {half page of text}


The Law of Honour being constituted by [men] occupied <chiefly> [veraint] & pleasures for their mutual conveniency of [such – it] will be found is as might be expected to {three lines}


Prodigality, <duelling> & revenge in the extreme


Ch 3 the civil law




1. Interpretation of Moral Philosophy

2. Use

3. Moral approbation

4. of Human Happiness

5. of Human virtue


The Law of Honour is a system of rules constructed by men in the <people of - ?> superior stations of life and calculated solely to [protecte] society and facilitate intercourse with one another – and for no other purpose.

[ four lines]


+ no breach of it to de <the> fraud <or delay> to tradesmen  cruelty to servants  uncharitableness to poor  vigour to tenants – neglect of worship – profaneness

[one line]


* fornication adultery duelling drunkenness prodigality


+ Bounty to poor – devotion – forgiveness of injuries – education of children – gratitude to benefactors


[*] – ning debts because a minor or 7 years elapsed – confirming {or confusing?} debtors – [par?]tially in elections


[ - -] in particular directions in every case must have been [    ] at large which only do so in some




{The use of bold text on this page indicates a darker ink, which it is evident was used when WP edited the outline}






<Morality> Moral Philosophy – morality <ethics> – casuistry – natural Law ethicsmean all the same thing, viz


That science which teaches men what they are obliged to do and whytheir duty and the reasons of it


The use of such a study depends upon this thatUseful <study> because without it the rules <of life by which we> that men are ordinarily governed <ourselves> by may <are apt> oftimes mislead em thru a defect either in the rule or in the application


These rules are either The Law of reputation <Honour> the civil law <Law of the Land> or <and> the scriptures



The Law of reputation The Law of Honour  | + prescribes duties only among equals

            or Honor                                                 | * favourable to the passions


The civil Law


+ omits many duties as not objects of compulsion but must be [volus?] to

* permitts many vices because it cannot define em nor consequently puni[sh]


x the scriptures compendious and therefore general consequently assisted [  ] study in the application



different quality of ink – less legible hand – not in sequence with recto pages, thus conclude that it is text to fill out the outline notes on the recto



approbation of virtue


Whether the approbation of virtue natural or trifling question because the term virtue includes within its <meaning> the Idea of approbation



Whether the approbation of any particular action or quality as gratitude fidelity  be natural a material question.


When we read or hear of a sons putting his <stately?> father to death at the very instant that father is giving him all he has we cannot help disapproving condemning feelings as indignation to the man and aversion


On the other hand when we hear an instance of generosity humany {sic} we cannot forbear approving it liking the man


question whether this is by any instinct <moral sense> as the sense are [enselled?] to one another or acquired


that is whether a savage [Peter?] wild boy would feel these sentiments upon hearing the stories


for the moral sense that we can have no interest in it to approve as the affair may be transacted in distant ages & countries nor can given any reason

that it is general universal



against the moral sense that it is not general <universal> in some countries they think it right to maintain in others to put to death their aged parents – in some to expose in others to support their children


That the general tho not universal approbation of particular actions may be explained even in cases where we have no interest without the supposition of a moral sense

1st because a great part of those who approve approve from precept authority and a habit of approving acquired from example in our infancy.

2nd because having observed experienced in some instance such an action to be beneficial to us or observed that it would be so as a sentiment of approbation rises up which sentiment afterwards accompanies the Idea or mention of the actions tho the private advantage which first existed be no more – the same happens in money





X {note refers to /5v} 1st a relative term

    2 that condition in which the amount of pleasure is greater than that of pain


<{/5v} X now he is happy – that would make me happy – the man is happy who has health and competency – that is a happy situation>


does not consist in the abundance of sensual pleasure because


* {note refers to /5v} 1st they only continue for a little at a time

   2 because by frequent repetition they lose their relish

<{/5v} * eating – drinking – musick – magnificent sights - sports>


does not consist in the absence of bodily pain labour molestation

X {note refers to /5v} because succeeded by dejection disquiet thoughts

<{/5v} X retiring from business – into convents>

<NB  the young pursue pleasure too much the old ease>


Does not consist in greatness

+ {note refers to /5v} 1st because the pleasure consists in a superiority only over those with whom we compare ourselves which may be possessed by * the meanest

2 because the pleasure with the comparison soon ceases and new competitions and comparisons arise.

<{/5v} + no delight to a shepherd in his superiority over his dog – to the farmer in his over the shepherd – to the squire in his over the farmer – to the prince in his over the squire – to the senior wrangler in his over a senior optime – to a senior optime over a low great? – to a low great? over his bedmaker.  A delight to the shepherd in his superiority in wrestling over another <shepherd> to the farmer in horses over another <farmer> to the squire in wealth over his neighbour <squire> to the prince in the superiority of his strength over another prince.>

<* by a peasant of more strength a blacksmith of more skill a soldier of more courage a tradesman of more wealth – as much as by a prince of more power – a nobleman of more interest <or splendour> - a general of success>




X {note refers to /5v}in the exercise of the social affections

<{/5v} love of children relations bounty to poor friendship>

<hence the discontent and peevishness of monks> {lighter ink – added later than other /5v notes}



*in the hope and pursuit of some object

<{/6v} *fortune rank future happiness – for the want of it the weariness & misery of rich me – their engaging with so much eagerness in trifling pursuits elections gaming horseracing> {remainder of /6v is in the later ink and less legible hand}


in health of body


first consequence of this account that happiness is pretty equally distributed among the different conditions of life

2nd that vicious men have not the advantage over virtuous





The doing good to mankind in obedience o the will of god and for the sake of everlasting happiness.


*antiently divided into benevolence forti prudence fortitude & temperance  benevolence proposes good ends  prudence suggests the best means of pursuing em  fortitude enables us to encounter the difficulties and discouragements <dangers> that stand in the way and temperance repells and overcomes the passions that obstruct it


<{/7v} * benevolence prompts a man to support an injured individual  prudence suggests the proper means  fortitude enables him to go thro the danger of loss disgrace repulse temperance overcomes the love of money <ease> amusement which might divert him from it



more modern division into


duties towards god prayer thanksgiving worship reverence

towards ourselves chastity sobriety temperance care of health caution

towards other men justice charity industry <fidelity?> loyalty



Obs: 1st

X That men must ought it be governed by habit rather than reason in most of their actions

1st because in many cases there is no time to reason

2nd because he who reasons under the byass of a temptation is sure to err


<{/7v} X a sot – a knave – a miser – an humane man – a pious man – a slander?>



Hence arise 2 rules

+ 1st that many things are to be done for the sake only of the habit

2 that morality chiefly consists in watching habits suppressing bad and generating good ones.

<{/8v} + relieving beggars – attending stated seasons of public or private worship – abstaining from lying in indifferent matters>

{remainder of /8v is in fainter, later hand – but of interest is the heading “C. 4 The moral sense” 2/3 of the way down – which informs us that this poorer hand is a later draft of the text}



Obs: 2nd


That neither reason nor scripture have or cou[l]d ascertain the exact quantity of innocence or virtue necessary to salvation but that we may collect from both that there is no salvation,

1st to those who are conscious of no other rule to go by than convenience or passion

2to those who are content with a mere exemption from flagrant crimes without endeavouring to do any good

3 to those who indulge themselves habitually and without reluctac{sic – edge of the page} in any one crime


Obs: 3d

When one side doubtful the other clear always bound to take the safe side and course  Rom 14.



{/9v, 10r, 10v – all in the later hand/ ink}




{same hand as first draft – but less legible.  Different day?  Tired on the same day?}




{much firmer, clearer hand – near copperplate}




Consulting the happiness of our inferiors

1 by our  treatment of em

2 by bounty towards em


The true manner in which each man should consider and exercise his superiority


As a set of companions set out together upon a journey who found it the best for all sides that one upon the road should wait upon the rest another provide their necessaries a third carry their portmanteau a fourth take care of their horses a fifth bear their purse conduct and direct their progress but as they were equal and independent when they set out so they are to be all again upon a level at their journey’s end the regard and respect the same lenity <caution> and tenderness in using their service the same mildness and courtesy in delivering commands the same study to make their journey comfortable & agreeable which he whose lot it was to direct the others woud {sic} shew towards em ought we to shew to those placed under us or dependant upon us.


Other reflections


That our obligation and dependence on them is greater than theirs on us

That it is their industry which furnishes our table dress appearance and amusement


<{11v} NB the principle subject of virtue and religion as prudence will teach and govern our behaviour to superiors politeness and custom to equals>





<{12v} 1 Obligation to it

Manner of bestowing it



Obligation to it

1 natural principle of compassion

2 because the exclusive right and claim of property ceases as against distress


Injoined in scripture Mat. 25.35_ 6.13 Acts 10. 1-2,4  1 Tim 6.17 James 2. 15-16  1John 3. 17-18

Surest test of religion


Measure of Bounty


2 ways of bestowing it


1 by stated and considerable sums to private persons or families which are preferable

            1 because more likely to be properly applied

            2 because prevents a great part of the misery the danger and dread of want


2 subscription to public charities

            1 because your money goes further in attaining the end of the charity

            2 because they afford assistance which private bounty cannot

            3 because they best discover and select the proper objects



That their character and disposition equally deserves and is alike affected by kindness as ours

Eph 6.9



forbidden        wantonly or unnecessarily to impose labours or confinement upon em

                        to insult or afflict by scornful language or oprobrious {sic} terms

                        to deny innocent amusements or relaxation

                        causeless anger or <habitual> peevishness or groundless suspicion

                        All pain which does not promote your service or the ends of punishment



3 all relief to beggars

            1 because some might otherwise perish

            2 because it improves the principle and keeps up the habit



+ Private when beyond your fortune or station public when consistent with em

<{14v} Scripture universally condemns the motive of ostentation and all publishing of charity which springs from that motive>


Keeping down the price of coals or provision

Encouraging family institutions by building cottages dividing farms

Encouraging Industry and furnishing employment by introducing Manufacturers cultivating Land

By the humane execution of the poor Laws and superintendence of Parish officers


What is not charity


Giving liquor or entertainments for popularity

Rewarding or treating or maintaining the companions of your diversions  hunters shooters fishers




3 Excuses

That they have nothing to spare ie. no money that they have no use don’t know what to do with.


To retrench their expences – even to labour that they may have to distribute Eph. 4.28


That they have a Family and that charity begins at home


That Charity does not consist in giving money but in benevolence Philanthropy love to all mankind a good heart – James 2. 15-16


That they take care of their own poor and other ought to do the same or that they employ poor persons


To any story of distress that habit & custom make em not mind it


That these people will never thank you or think of you for it.

            1 false

            2 nor do you do it for the sake of their thanks


To beggars


That you are so liable to be treated


I a reasonable enquiry or probability the motive and merit the same better be oft deceived than one real object be rejected

The distress generally real



That they should apply to their Parish

            1 not always possible

            2 Parish relief not always sufficient


That it encourages Idleness

            1 true only of injudicious and indiscriminate bounty


That one knows real objects enow not to bestow it upon people one knows nothing of


That there are other charities which are better or stand in more need


Pride or delicacy prevents their knowing the distress of others




18r-22r {later drafting}






1 obligation

2 construction

3 sorts

4 in what cases they do not bind>


1 Obligation to perform contracts and                                                | Promises

2 Construction in which they are to be performed the same as         |


3 sorts two contracts of exchange and contracts of labour



*1 In contracts of Exchange or bargains are either barter or bargain

<{22v} *wheat for wool, house for cow – the first practice of all ancient nations in the time of Homer>

* This difference in Barter the equivalent depends on the particular exigence of each in bargain the equivalent ie the price on the general want and scarcity of the thing sold

In both obliged to give a true description of the commodity and consequently the reveal its faults except in cases where *silence implies faults, in which case the purchaser is allowed in the price a compensation for the hazard he runs, obliged because the motive and effect the same as of an absolute falsehood.


<{22v} * a man has much corn and no sheep gives a {2?} bushel for a sheep one who has little corn and many sheep give ½ bushel  not so now in bargains>

<{22v} auctions – refusing to warrant when asked>


*Clear instances where the custom has not prejudiced us

No excuse that you have been cheated no more than it would be to not {tort?} because sold before

<{22v} a man lets himself to do a particular piece of work  some secret infirmity renders him less fit for it or worth his wages  the keeping? Of [lead?] money set aside in Law for concealment  tho no warranty>




Market price a fair price because proportioned to the use and scarcity. Hence no scruple about taking it, hence also those expressions unreasonable price &c do not  imply injustice in the seller


*How a fraud to demand more than a market price because everyone by exposing to sale tacitly engages to sell at the market price

<{23v} *You complain a Taylor or Mercer has cheated because he has made you pay7 such a price. If a man disclaims this promise no injustice – as such a horse &c is of particular value to me and I wont part with it under such a price, a house or estate>


*How contracts are governed by custom not that custom can change the nature of justice but because when you engage in a contract you are supposed to do it on customary conditions.

<{23v} *Buy goods ship lost or damaged, put goods on board hurt in the passage>


*Quaere whether admissible to the advantage of any circumstance you are privy to

<{23v} * Corn where the seller knows such a quantity is coming in Wine when he knows of a good vintage – Tea when he knows of a supply>


Forstalling ingrossing witholding combining criminal when likely to distress the public



Quaere  If the thing sold come to loss or harm in the sellers possession who to bear it?

*If engaged to be delivered on such a time then the seller

<{24v} a quantity of hay China cloth cattle to be delivered to you>

*If suffered to continue with the seller for the convenience of the buyer then the Buyer

<{24v} A Horse I desire you’ll keep it till I send>



Quaere whether lawful to give less than the value on account of the distress of the seller

If you inform him that more may be had elsewhere you may



Contracts of Hazard

*Not to have any advantage which the other does not know of

<{24v} Contracts of Hazard

1 Gaming

2 Insurance

Hence not to sit down at cards with a stranger of less skill – nor Tennis {apparently WP means Tennis} – to adhere to the rules of the game. If by accident you know the cards to tell – not to propose wagers above the chance. In a Horse race to receive no private Information from Jockies – stock Jobbing – no private Intelligence – wagers – no secret assurance.  Insurances no Intelligence but what you disclose to the other>


No contract of Gaming debt above 10£ recoverable by Law if won at one time may be recovered back by the loser  treble the sum to be forfeited by the winner





<{25v} Loans

1 Of money

2 of Inconsumable property ie which may be returned numerically the same>


Of money Interest lawful because you lend what is of use to the borrower and woud have been so to you

Forbidden to the Jews for political reasons to preserve the dispersion of property for the same purpose

Year of Jubilee marrying with the tribe Deut 25.19-20

Forbidden only towards one another therefore not immoral or of universal obligation

Compound Interest just the forbidden


*Obliged to pay and therefore to every means necessary for that end

<{25v} *frugality – retrenching expenses – selling estate – not to subject a creditor to the contingency of your life>

*Quaere money how to be paid in another country

<{25v} *100 guineas in England how to be paid in the Indies  In silver because he woud have had so much silver if had not lent it you

because he coud not be aware {unaware?} of an extraordinary change>


Quaere money altered in value how to be paid?

If by debasing other money – so many pieces sufficient

no objection that they wont purchase so much no more than that they wont purchase so much corn

If by an act of the state then sufficient because they woud have undergone the same in his own land

Treatment of debtors

*Imprisonment allowed by the Laws not to be exercised except for the detection or punishment of fraud

<{*a man gets money lent never intending to pay ie running off with it – knowing he never will be able to pay – wilfully spending it- concealing his effects or refusing to surrender em}>



Law of [England?]

formerly forbad Usury – now allowed at 5 p Cent <*above void & forfeit 3 [U?]> - debts not recoverable unless demanded within 7 years nor from Minors – but obliged in conscience to pay em


<{*noma Law before Justinian allowed 12p C.  Justinian reduced it to 4}>



[no asterisk here – suggesting that this is text that stands alone]


The crime of counterfeiting it great as it generally stops with the lower order of people who are more less able to distinguish it or get it off


punished by Law with Death

as also the mere having of the instruments in possession


To pass or put off bad money a fraud

No excuse that you received it fairly

punished by Law with imprisonment



2 Loan of Inconsumable property


*If damaged by the use of by accident in the use for which it was lent the lender to bear the loss


<{*a coach wear tear and sullying – a Book – a Harpsichord.  If in going the proposed journey a horse falls, dies – a gun bursts in the common use – a Boot is broke}>



+If damaged by the fault of the borrower or by accident in some use for which it was not lent the borrower to bear the loss

{later addition} because in one case the lender foresees and therefore consents to run the hazard and loss in the other not


<{+ a coach by the carelessness of your servant is hurt – House set on fire – a Horse to ride out is hurt by hunting by drawing}>


If the loan becomes worth more or less than the rent contracted for the lender.  *If by ordinary accident the borrower hirer if by+ extraordinary the owner to have the gain or loss


<{* Bad crop of an orchard}

{+ a shop by moving a street building a Bridge – an Estate by navigation or by flood & distemper worse or war}>



Contracts of labour

1 servants

2 commissions

3 offices

4 partnership



Contracts of labour



Treatment and work to be governed by custom because where the contract involves so many particulars the parties subject themselves to the custom


*Where hired for a particular purpose to be employed about no other


<{*apprentice besides that instruction is his wage}>



+Not bound to execute unlawful commands


<{+ Pimp – absenting from church}>



*when unable to work contract void


<{*sick or lame – not unjust but uncharitable – especially if destitute}>



No beating except boys

<an injury to servants to hinder their advancement in order to retain em <longer> in our service

recommending servants>


*Answerable for crimes of servants


<{*swearing - drinking - mentioned as a virtue in Abraham in Genesis and the centurion in Acts that their Household also feared God

A servant employed to drive a cart or coach drives over a person the master to make satisfaction for the injury}>



*The master in Law answerable for whatever his servant does by his command <or consent> expressly given or implied


x bound to stand by what a servant does in the ordinary course of his employment



<{*An Innkeepers servant robs a guest the Master bound to restitution <by the human Law to pay double> - a [?] – bad wine – a servant’s conduct in the usual course of busyness pay money to [Barbers?] servant – Steward lets a lease – Servant takes upon trust where he has been employed before to take upon trust – a Smiths servant lames horse}>




<undertaking another mans busyness>

*To execute the commission with the same diligence and fidelity that you woud have acted in your own busyness


<{ Employed to buy or sell a Horse, House or estate}>

<{*to use as much industry in looking out for a bargain and obtaining good terms as for yourself – Stewards – Attorney – Lawyer – Guardians – a deposit to preserve it preferable to anything of your own of less value}>



How far to exercise your own judgement


*If from a friend or equal to consider what you think advisable for him to do and what was he present he woud do himself


<{*Employed to buy stock finds it falling – an estate finds some flaw in the title}>



*If from a superior to consider only what his pleasure <command>


<{*An ambassador – sea officer - soldier}>



Entitled to charges whether the busyness succeeds or no

*Accidents that happen to the thing the owner if gratuitous because he only promises his best endeavour


<{*in carrying money lost <robbed> by a friend – by a carrier}>



accidents that happen to the agent the agent sustains


*because if unforeseen the own [sic] could not consent to defray em


<{*undertakes a journey is hurt in it}>


If foreseen the agent when he undertakes a hazardous employ undertakes also the hazard


<{*To fetch goods out of a house on fire}>


+deposit to






A double contract one with the electors one with the founder

*contract with the electors obliges to the discharge of every customary duty tho not required by the founder because they appointed you with that expectation


<{*a schoolmaster only required by the founder to teach to read but has usually taught writing}>


*contract with the founder obliges to every duty required by him tho not customary – because it was on these conditions that he gave the endowment


<{*a schoolmaster required to [teach] writing and En[g]lish has been used to teach only latin}>


The discharge of the elector releases from the first only


Quaere what duties offices may not be discharged by a deputy


[the following is 30r/ 29v notes throughout]

X not 1st where the custom does hinders

<{x schools – Proctors – Sea & Land officers – Tutors – Professors - Bishop}>

X not where a particular confidence is reposed in the person

<{x Judges – Ld Chancellor – Admiral – General -  Guardian}>

X not where the founder or appointer expressly requires personal duty

<{x curate- steward}>

X not where the duty cannot from its nature be so well performed by deputy

<{x deputy governor – deputy vice chancellor}>

X not where any inconvenience woud result from the general practice of deputy in such a case

<{x martial merit woud be discouraged if officers duty was done by deputy}>


[end page]




*some officers certainly may because clear of all these obstacles <objections>


Teller of the exchequer – Register of a diocese – Treasurer – most government places



Quaere whether church benefices may


The objection 1st that the duty cannot be so well done by an indigent curate who wants authority to influence and fortune to relieve <nor effective [affection?]> 2d that clerical merit is thereby discouraged as men of interest by that means obtain preferment which otherwise they woud not take and consequently woud fall to the share of industrious ministers


May then be permitted where a person puts it into the power of his deputy and provides such a one as will do every thing that he woud be obliged to do <*> - and is himself in the meantime in a clerical situation or employment more important to the publick



<{*officiating an another Parish – studying <or teaching> in the university – with a bishop}>



vile practice to take preferment and spend your time from it in amusement <to use the church as a genteel retreat for idleness or a more commodious annuity>


Law allows nonresidence – If not another living – chaplain actually employed  - at the university under 40 – otherwise forfeiture of £s per month



4 Partnership


Each to conduct the busyness with the same care and industry as if it was wholly his own


The gains to be divided in proportion to the stake or value of their labour if the stake be equal


If one contributes money and the other labour the money first to be repaid and the surplus to be divided in the proportion of the wages to the Interest of the money allowing such interest as a person woud lend money upon the same credit for



2 by Law partners answering for each others debts whether contracted in the busyness or no



Duties to ourself

1 Temperance

2 Rights of self defence

3 preservation of life





The effects it produces a mark set upon it by God as an intimation of his disapprobation


Criminal because pernicious in its consequences

1 By the sins it unavoidably or probably betrays us into

2 By disqualifying us from being useful not only forever but in time by a perpetual stupefaction

3 by the loss af[f]liction and disgrace it creates to our families and dependants

4 by shortening our lives


[There is later – darker – ink and decayed hand which adds to and edits this material, running extensively over three pages]


Occasioned first by habit continued to because generally returns at the season it is wont to be indulged in continued to relieve or remove that depression of spirits which drunkards feel in the intervals of sobriety


Caution not to depend on aversion or resolution but when you discover yourself in a situation which exposes you to this vice <or an inclination beginning> to tie yourself down to rule and quantity


Only to be broke thru by changing or taking advantage of some change in our outward customs & situation



How far being drunk is an excuse for what we do?

The actions of a drunken man criminal in proportion to the probability of their happening


Hence many vices which are the general effects of drunkenness nearly as criminal as if committed when sober


Those also which a man knows beforehand drunkenness exposes him to



Forbidden in scripture Rom 13.3 Cor 6. 9-10 Eph 5.14 [1 Thes? ? . 7]


+Penalty by Law 5 or 6 hours in the stocks bound for the second offence to his good behaviour in £10 with 2 sureties

to be executed by a justice of the peace


<{+ by the Law of Pittacus he who committed a crime when drunk received a double punishment – In Sicily a person once drunk ever afterwards uncapable of giving evidence}>





The will of God that we shoud live otherwise he woud himself put a period to our lives

That we shoud preserve it from the love of life.

Obliged to certain duties and therefore obliged to preserve life

The means of performing these duties.

<cruelty to friends – mischief to society>

In scripture included under the general prohibition not to commit murder


Souls death


Life spoken of as an assigned race

<Contrary to that patience & resignation & perseverance enjoined in scripture>

Apostles wearied of life never thought of it even to avoid impending torture


A sin which cannot be repented of


If doubtful we are obliged to forebear



Excuses of suicide


A mans life is his own

An: so that others cannot take it from him not to do what he will with it.


A man cannot expect ever to do good

An: more than he knows bound at least to do his duty


A man owes no duties

Certainly to God and to others every good in his power


A man is free the from duties to god if he relinquishes the benefit that creates em

An: can never be free from gratitude for past benefits


To avoid an ignominious death

The ignominy the and example the only compensation you can make to society


I have no right over my own life another ie the magistrate cannot especially if he derives all his right over me from my consent [with?] express or implied

A right over the life of the subject given him by good for public uses none of which require that a man shoud take away his [?]



Punished by forfeiture of personal fortune and burial in the highway

Wrong custom in coroners and juries to find it Lunacy when there is no proof of madness and marks of deliberation



1 Violence

2 Resentment

3 Lawsuits




Self defence

Violence extreme lawful

1 when necessary for the preservation of life

<when life cannot be preserved otherwise as by flight>

whether the danger is from      + a voluntary

                                    or         x involuntary attack


<{+ Assassin murderer from revenge or for robbery}>

<{x Madman horse running over}>



Except the case of condemned malefactors


+ 2 against a robber when you cannot otherwise take him

because authorised by Law as a public execution


<{+ for the preservation of chastity – house breaker by night not by day so the Jewish Grecian and Roman law or the prevention of any capital crime – not robbers of orchards – pick pockets – hedgebreakers}>



*3 in the execution of the Law when obstructed


<{*suppressing riots – seizing offenders suppr preventing escape}>



Manslaughter  Homicide without malice express or implied

X voluntary upon a sudden heat


<{X In fight – instantly upon great provocation or indignity – pulling nose – spitting in the face – catching in the act of adultery}>



* Involuntary in consequence of an unlawful act not felonious


<{* playing at unlawful Games – files – throwing stones without intention to kill}>






1 In defence of a disputed and important right

2 For the prevention of future injury


Precept of scripture Mat <5>. 39,40-41  proverbial not to be accepted in a literal sense John <18>. 22-23 related to small injuries

Does not forbid all appeal to the Laws  Acts 16.37 – 22.25

Otherwise woud put the good in subjection to the bad


+Bound to consult the most pacific means that will answer the ends of justice


<{+ Reference in which the arbitrators can do what the Law cannot punish both when both are to blame – compromise by accepting a Gross & moderate compensation}>



not to prolong a suit against your own conviction by appeals


not to undertake delay or render more expensive than necessary a suit against a poor adversary with the hope of terrifying or wearing him out by the expence


not to engage in it with anger [much added – and then deleted – in later editing]


not to influence any evidence by authority or expectation


nor stifle any in your possession tho it make against you



Lawsuits not to be undertaken where the right is frivolous 1 Cor 6.5


Prosecutions not to be commenced when the injury is small no purpose of example answerd and whose forbearance is not likely to draw on repetition and where the expence woud inflict a publishment too severe for the offence.


Great public wrongs as robberies not to be connived at for fear of trouble expence cruelty or shame


Character of informer unreasonably odious


+where any public good is obtained by the prosecution of less offences

[either?] not to fear imputation of an informer

or to remove it by giving your share of the penalty


<{+Sabbath breakers smug[g]lers – neglect or damage of public roads – negligent drivers – nuisances – forestallers – ingrossers of farms}>



# x not to prosecute for the sake of the reward or revenge when the offence produces no public mischief or where it arises from ignorance or inconsideration


<{x clergyman for not reading Acts of Parliament – not having names on carts – Papist priests}>



The ends of punishment disabling amending the criminal deterring others by his example





Harm done to another in consequence of an offence or injury receivd justified by the Law of nature only as a <reparation or> punishment


Revenge the inflicting pain farther than the ends of <reparation or> punishment require


Not justified by the naturalness of the principle which prompts us to it as the same argument woud justify fornication adultery


Declarations of scripture


1 against acts of revenge Rom 12. 19,20,21  1 Thes 5.15 1 Pet 3.9  Prov 24.29

2 forgiveness of injuries required Mat 6.14, 15-18; 15.21  Col 3. [?] 8,13

3 against causeless anger James 1. 19-20  1 Cor 13. 4, 5  Eph 4. 26


allowed the inflicting any pain necessary or useful for disabling amending the criminal or for example to others


allowed due caution not to put yourself in the way of injury or invite the repetition of it



x allowed witholding civility when the same tends to the discouragement of the vice  1 Cor 6. 9 &c



<{x visiting of kept mistresses}>



allowed to prefer others in matters of mere favor.


allowed some degree of anger Mat 5.26


Forbidden to inflict pain to gratify revenge


+Forbidden to refuse to the person who has offended us any the most imperfect right

Ex 23.4   Rom 12.20


<{+ to relief – to success}>



Forbidden hastily to conceive or long retain sentiments of anger and hatred the mark of which is pain in reflecting upon the object


Forgiveness of injuries difficult and disinterested therefore the surest test of a religious principle




Forbidden by the Law of nature because not justifiable as a punishment

Distinguished from assassination as not proceeding from malice

Compared with murder for the purpose of robbery no excuse that you take and hazard your own life


Insults which draw on duels ought to be severely punished. Murder by Law in the parties and seconds.

Men who approve their courage in the duties of their station may safely decline duels




/43r  [there is a light coloured ink – somewhat later as an edit? But before the illegible later hand] [It is striking that this is written out in one run, in a good strong hand, without an outline – suggesting that this story had been on WP’s mind for some time]

<B[ook] 2>

Estate Property  <C 1>


If you saw a flock of pigeons in a corn <field> field instead of fee each picking where and what it liked taking so much <just as> and no more <as it wanted> than what it wanted if instead of this you saw em ninety nine of em gathering all they got into a heap taking nothing for themselves but a little chaff & refuse keeping and [increase?] this heap for one and that the weakest perhaps and worst <pigeon> of the whole flock sitting round and looking on all the winter while this one was eating and throwing it about and wasting it and if one <a pigeon> more hardy or hungry than the rest touchd a grain of it <the hoard> all the others instantly flew upon it and tore it to pieces – If you saw all this you woud see nothing more than what is every day practiced and established among men. Among men you see the ninety nine toiling and scraping together a heap of superfluities and niceties for one getting nothing for themselves all the while but a little of the coarsest of it <the provision they have been employed to collect> and this one too oftime the feeblest and work of the whole set a child a woman a madman or <a> fool and looking quietly on while they see the fruits of all their labours spent or spoild and if one of em takes or touches <a particle> the least of it the others join all against him and hang him for the theft.



1 The advantages of property

2 The History of it

3 upon what a mans exlusive right to any particular part of it is founded



1 The advantages of it

  1 Increasing the produce

  + Land produces little without cultivation.  None will cultivate if others are to be admitted to an equal right and share in the fruit. The same of the case of herds and flocks


<{+ Wild beasts crabs acorns fish wild fowl – among savages a hundred occupy and consume eat up a <greater> tract of ground than what in England is sufficient to maintain five thousand – in fertile climate practicable to subsist without property as Otaheite – otherwise not.  New Zealand – where tho it did in a little degree prevail the inhabitants for the want of it were oftimes driven to devour one another}>


x2 preserving that produce to maturity


<{x a cherry tree in a hedgerow – nuts – a common unstinted field – corn woud never ripen nor lambs or calves be sufferd to grow}>



3 preventing contest and strife

which must ensure where there is not enough for all and no rules to adjust the division


4 procuring better accommodation

1 in giving encouragement to art and labour by appropriating the property profit

2 in giving leisure to contrive or fabricate some particular branch whereas without property each man must be engaged in supplying his private necessities


Hence the poorest in a state of property are better of[f] than even any woud be in a state of community.


[NH note – what WP is doing is not to justify an unjust system. Instead, he is raising the bar, by pointing out what is the reason for a clearly unreasonable system of distribution and justice, and in so clarifying this, he is setting a standard of acceptable limits to the maintenance of this system.  Much of PMPP is predicated on what justification can there be for the persistence of a particular form of morals, economy and government, and to provide material on which to meditate whether there is genuine cause to overthrow the existing system.  His case is made on the basis of utility, and consequently, there is no single answer, but instead, there is a complex, interacting network of reasons for and against overthrowing the established and customary system.  Essentially, he establishes the principles of justice which the habits and positive laws of society are there to uphold.  If these habits and laws cease to uphold the just principles that they have been created to protect, their survival can not be guaranteed ethically or practically.  Thus, observing both the American and the French revolutions, he was supportive, until the principle which the French revolution took place to defend was further violated by the Terror.  His thinking was a further extension of the Lockean justification for 1688, but rejected contract theory, since it was unable to adequately uphold the stability of the established system of liberty. Instead, he upheld liberty through utility, as a variation on natural law theory]





2 The History of it


The first objects of property were the fruits a man plucked the wild animals he caught then the tents or houses he built the tools he used to catch or prepare his food afterwards weapons of war and offence X <{x many of em are said to gather their harvest and return the produce of their ma—s with foreigners into a common hoard or treasury for the whole tribe [use?]}>savages in America have many of em got no further than this + <{Abel Gen 4.2 a keeper of sheep – flocks herds and tents accounted the wealth of the Patriarchs – the property of the present Arabs} [there are other superscript notes to this note – and this note is itself later]> Flocks and herds of tame animals were soon made property and as the world was first peopled in the East where there was a greater scarcity of water than land well were probably next made property hence the frequent and serious mention of em in scripture contest about em Gen 21. 25 <2 ?? . 8> recorded of em that they dug a well <later editorial insertions here>  Land tho perhaps divided in some particular instances as by Jabel Gen 4. 20 was not in general made property till late that is till a country was became populous and agriculture <3 words> had long been practiced & improved


No tracts of property in Land in this country in Caesars account little of it in the history of the Patriarchs none of it observed among the American savages – Scythians are expressly said to have appropriated their cattle and houses but to have left the land common.

<later addition>


The Rule of division

Possession gave the right to moveable property in houses Lands &c were probably posterior to Government & Laws and therefore settle by em in most cases at the will and caprice of the sovereign

Quaere [Tacitus? / Jactinus/ Jackson? – there does seem to be a T in the word] account



3 Upon what our title <right> to any particular part of it is founded


In order to support this right we must show

That the first owner came lawfully by it

And that from his it has been lawfully transmitted to us


By what means coud the first owner come lawfully by it <so as> or set up a better right to it than other men <that is shoud belong to him rather than another> and justly take upon him too keep others from it.


Different accounts of it

One says


That mankind when they sufferd a man to occupy a piece of ground by a tacit consent relinquished their right to it and as it originally belongd to them and they <thus> gave up their right to him it thenceforeward became his own and theirs after him and no ther person afterwards had a right ought to molest him in it.


Objections to this account


That the consent of others cannot be inferred from their silence and acquiescence unless they both know and are at liberty to refuse


[one more line to type]





/ 57

The duties of parents in distributing their fortunes


Because a mans fortune is his own and he may dispose of it as he like not therefore to imagine he may innocently and conscientiously do what he pleases with it


In this disposition


1st to provide for the exigencies of their station

2nd to satisfy their reasonable expectations


These exigencies and expectations to be estimated by custom

This arises from the third rule of duty because without thus much they have not a reasonable provision for happiness.


/ 58

Hence when a provision is once made for the exigencies of the rest the eldest son to be preferred and son to daughters


Hence if one by his own fortune or industry stands in less need he may receive less than the rest



Disinheriting only lawful when the vices of the son makes it probable that he will misemploy a fortune – the same as if mad or idiotish


After the 1st rule is satisfied a difference or diminution may be made either to punish crimes or disobedience and contumacy in matters not otherwise criminal



Duty of parents and children in relation to marriage and choice of professions


Of parents to represent faithfully and without exaggeration the probable consequences of their children’s conduct


Of children to be satisfied from trial and time that compliance with their parents request <pleasure> is inconsistent with their own happiness


If the child refuses this may justly be punished for his rashness and contumacy by a diminution proportioned to the offence


If after this the child does not is justified in not conforming and the parent ought to acquiesce without prejudicing the interest of the child.