|Darwin Home||William Paley|
THE father of Caius Toranius bad been proscribed by the triumvirate. Caius Toranius, coming over to the interests of that party, discovered to the officers, who were in pursuit of his father's life, the place where he concealed himself, and gave them withal a description, by which they might distinguish his person, when they found him. The old man, more anxious for the safety and fortunes of his son, than about the little that might remain of his own life, began immediately to inquire of the officers who seized him, whether his son was well, whether he had done his duty to the satisfaction of his generals. 'That son (replied one of the officers), so dear to thy affections, betrayed thee to us; by his information thou art apprehended, and diest'. The officer with this, struck a poniard to his heart, and the unhappy parent fell, not so much affected by his fate, as by the means to which he owed it.
Now the question is, whether, if this story were related to the wild boy caught some years ago in the woods of Hanover, or to a savage without experience, and without instruction, cut
off in his infancy from all intercourse with his species consequently, under no possible influence of example, authority, education, sympathy, or habit ; whether, I say, such a one would feel, upon the relation, any degree of that sentiment of disapprobation of Toranius's conduct which we feel, or not?
They who maintain the existence of a moral sense ; of innate maxims; of a natural conscience ; that the love of virtue and hatred of vice are instinctive ; or the perception of right and wrong intuitive (all which are only different ways of expressing the same opinion) ; affirm that lie would.
They who deny the existence of a moral sense, &c. affirm that he would not.
And upon this, issue is joined.
As the experiment has never been made, and, from the difficulty of procuring a subject, (not to mention the impossibility of proposing the question to him, if we had one,) is never likely to be made, what would be the event, can only be judged of from probable reasons.
They who contend for the affirmative, observe, that we approve examples of generosity, gratitude, fidelity, &-c. and condemn the contrary, instantly, without deliberation, without having any interest of our own concerned in them, oft-times without being conscious of, or able to give any reason for, our approbation that this approbation is uniform and universal, the same sorts of conduct being approved or disapproved in all ages and countries of the world :-circumstances, say they, which strongly indicate the operation of an instinct or moral sense.
On the other hand, answers have been given to most of these arguments, by the patrons of the opposite system : and,
First, as to the uniformity above
alleged, they controvert the fact. They remark, from authentic
accounts of historians and travelers, that there is scarcely
a single vice which, in some age or country of the world,
has not been countenanced by public opinion : that in one country,
it is esteemed an officer of piety in children to sustain
their aged parents ; in another, to despatch them out of the way:
that suicide, in one age of the world, has
been heroism, is in another felony : that theft, which is punished by most laws, by the laws of Sparta was not unfrequently rewarded : that the promiscuous commerce of the sexes, although condemned by the regulations and censure of all civilized na-tions
is practised by the savages of the tropical regions without reserve, compunction, or disgrace : that crimes, of which it is no longer permitted us even to speak, have had their advocates amongst the sages of very renown times : that, if an inhabitant of the polished nations of Europe be delighted with the appearance , whenever he meets with it, of happiness, tranquillity, and comfort a wild American is no less diverted with the witherings and contortions of a victim at the stake : that even amongst ourselves, and in the present improved state of moral knowIedge, we are far from a perfect consent in our opinions or feelings that you shall hear dueling alternately reprobated and applauded, according to the sex, age, or station, of the person you converse with : that the forgiveness of injuries and insults is accounted by one sort of people magnanimity, by another meaness : that in the above instances, and perhaps in most others, moral approbation follows the fashions and institutions of the country we live in ; which fashions, also, and institutions themselves have grown out of the exigencies, the climate, situation, or local circumstances of the country ; or have been set up by the authority of all arbitrary chieftain, or the unaccountable caprice of the multitude:--all which, they observe, looks very little like the steady hand and indelible characters of Nature. But,
Secondly, because, after these exceptions and abatements, it cannot be denied but that some sorts of actions command and receive the esteem of mankind more than others; and that the approbation of them is general, through not universal : as to this, they say, that the general approbation of virtue, even ill instances where we have no interest of our own to induce us to it, may be accounted for, without the assistance of a moral Sense; thus
'Having experienced, in some instance, a particular conduct to be beneficial to ourselves, or observed that it would be so, a sentiment of approbation rises up in our minds; which sentiment afterwards accompanies the idea or mention of the same conduct, although the private advantage which first excited it no longer exist.'
And this continuance of the passion, after the reason of it has ceased, is nothing more, say they, than what happens in other cases; especially in the love of money, which is in no person so
eager, as it is oftentimes found to be in a rich old miser, without family to provide for, or friend to oblige by it, and to whom, consequently, it is no longer (and he may be sensible of it too) of any real use or value; yet is this mail as much overjoyed with gain, and mortified by losses, as he was the first day he opened his shop, and when his very subsistence depended upon his success in. it.
By these means the custom of approving certain actions comenced: and when once such a custom hath got footing in the world, it is no difficult thing to explain how it is transmitted and continued; for then the greatest part of those who approve of virtue, approve of it from authority, by imitation, and from a habit of approving such and such actions, inculcated in early youth, and receiving, as men grow up, continual accessions of strength and vigour, from censure and encouragement, from the books they read, the conversations they hear, the current application of epithets, the general turn of language, and the various other causes by which it universally comes to pass, that a society of men, touched in the feeblest degree with the same passion, soon communicate to one another a great-degree of it. This is the case with most of us at present ; and is the cause, also, that process of association, described in the last paragraph but one, is little now either perceived or wanted.
Amongst the causes assigned for the continuance and diffusion of the same moral sentiments amongst mankind, we have mentioned imitation. The efficacy of this principle is most observable in children : indeed, if them be anything in them, which deserves the name of an instinct, it is their propensity to imitation. Now, there is nothing which children imitate or apply more readily than expressions of affection and aversion, of approbation, hatred, resentment, and the like; and when these passions and expressions are once connected, which they soon will be by the same association which unites words with
their ideas, the passion will follow the expression, and attach upon the object to which the child has been accustomed to apply the epithet. In a word, when almost everything else is learned by imitation, call we wonder to find the same cause concerned ill the generation of our moral sentiments ?
Another considerable objection to the system of moral instincts, is this, that there are no maxims in the science which can well be deemed innate, as none perhaps call be assigned, which are absolutely and universally true ; in other words, which do not bend to circumstances. Veracity, which seems, if any be, a natural duty, is excused in many cases towards all enemy, a thief, or a madman. The obligation of promises, which is a first principle in morality, depends upon the circumstances under which they were made: they may have been unlawful, or become so since, or inconsistent with former promises, or erroneous, or extorted; under all which cases, instances may be suggested, where the obligation to perform the promise would be very dubious; and so of most other general rules, when they conic to be actually applied.
An argument has been also proposed on the same side of the question, of this kind. Together with the instinct, there must have been implanted, it is said, a clear and precise idea of the object upon which it was to attach. The instinct and the idea of the object are inseparable even in imagination, and as necessarily accompany each other as any correlative ideas whatever: that is, in plainer terms, if we be prompted by nature to the approbation of particular action, we must have received also from nature a distinct conception of the action we are thus prompted to approve ; which we certainly have not received.
But as this argument bears alike against all instincts, and against their existence in brutes as well as in Man, it will hardly, I suppose, produce conviction, though it may be difficult to find all answer to it.
Upon the whole, it seems to me, either that there exist no such instincts as compose what is called the moral sense, or that they are not now to be distinguished from prejudices and habits; oil which account they cannot be depended upon ill moral reasoning: I mean that it is not a safe way of arguing, to assume certain principles as so many dictates, impulses, and instincts of nature, and then to draw conclusions from these principles, as to
the rectitude or wrongness of actions, independent of the tendency of such actions, or of any other consideration whatever.
Aristotle lays down, as a fundamental and self-evident maxim, that nature intended barbarians to be slaves; and proceeds to deduce from this maxim a train of conclusions, calculated to justify the policy which then prevailed. And I question whether the same maxim be not still self-evident to the company of merchants trading to the coast of Africa.
Nothing is so soon made as a maxim; and it appears from the example of Aristotle, that authority and convenience, education, prejudice, and general practice, have no small share in the making of them ; and that the laws of custom are very apt to be mistaken for the order of nature.
For which reason, I suspect, that a system of morality, built upon instincts, will only find out reasons and excuses for opinions and practices already established,-will seldom correct or reform either.
But further, suppose we admit the existence of these instincts what, it may be asked, is their authority ? No man, you say, can act in deliberate opposition to them, without a secret remorse of conscience. But this remorse may be borne with : and if the sinner chuse to bear with it, for the sake of the pleasure or the profit which he expects from his wickedness; or finds the pleasure of the Lain to exceed the remorse of conscience, of which he alone is the judge, and concerning which, when he feels them both together, lie can hardly be mistaken, the moral-instinct man, so far as I can understand, has nothing more to offer.
For if he allege that these instincts are so many indications of the will of God, and consequently presages of what we are to look for hereafter; this, I answer, is to resort to a rule and a motive ulterior to the instincts themselves, and at which rule and motive we shall by-and-by arrive by a surer road :-I say surer, so long as there remains a controversy whether there be any instinctive maxims at all ; or any difficulty in ascertaining what maxims are instinctive.
The celebrated question therefore becomes in our system a question of pure curiosity ; and as such, we dismiss it to the determination of those who are more inquisitive, than we are concerned to be, about the natural history and constitution of the human species.
VIRTUE is 'the doing good to mankind, in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness.'
According to which definition, 'the good of mankind' is the subject; the 'will of God,' the rule; 'and everlasting happiness,' the motive, of human virtue.
Virtue has been divided by some moralists into benevolence, prudence, fortitude, and temperance. Benevolence proposes good ends ; prudence suggests the best means of attaining them; forti-tude enables us to encounter the difficulties, danger, and discou-ragements, which stand in our way in the pursuit of these ends; temperance repels and overcomes the passions that obstruct it. Benevolence, for instance, prompts us to undertake the cause of an
oppressed orphan; prudence suggests the best means of going about it; fortitude enables us to confront the danger, and bear up against the loss, disgrace, or repulse, that may attend our undertaking; and temperance keeps under the love of money, of case, or amusement, which might divert us from it.
Virtue is distinguished by others into two branches only prudence and benevolence : prudence, attentive to our own interest; benevolence, to that of our fellow-creatures : both directed to the same end, the increase of happiness in nature ; and taking equal concern in the future as in the present.
The four CARDINAL virtues are, prudence, fortittude, temperance, and justice.
But the division of virtue, to which we are in modern times most accustomed, is into duties :
Towards God; as piety, reverence,
resignation, gratitude, &c.
Towards other men (or relative duties) ; as justice, charity, fidelity, loyalty, &c.
Towards ourselves ; as chastity, sobriety, temperance, preservation of life, care of health, &c.
More of these distinctions have been proposed, which it is not worth while to set down.
I shall proceed to state a few observations, which relate to the general regulation of human conduct, unconnected indeed with each other, but very worthy of attention, and which fall as properly under the title of this chapter as of any future one.
I. Mankind act more from habit than reflection.
It is on few only and great occasions that men deliberate at all ; on fewer still, that they institute anything like a regular inquiry into the moral rectitude or depravity of what they are about to do; or wait for the result of it. We are for the most part determined at once; and by an impulse, which is the effect and energy of pre-established habits. And this constitution seems well adapted to the exigencies of human life, and to the imbecility of our moral principle. In the current occasions and rapid opportunities of life, there is oftentimes little leisure for reflection; and were there more, a man, who has to reason about his duty, when the temptation to transgress it is upon him, is almost sure to reason himself into an error.
If we are in so great a degree passive under our habits, Where, it is asked, is the exercise of virtue, the guilt of vice, or any use of moral and religious knowledge ? I answer, In the forming and contracting of these habits.
And hence results a rule of life of considerable importance, viz. that many things are to be done and abstained from, solely for the sake of habit. We wiII explain ourselves by ail example or two:--A beggar, with the appearance of extreme distress, asks our charity. If we come to argue the matter, whether the distress be real, whether it be not brought upon himself, whether it be of public advantage to admit such application, whether it be not to encourage idleness and vagrancy, whether it may not invite impostors to our doors, whether the money call be well spared, or might not be better applied; when these considerations are put together, it may appear very doubtful, whether we ought or ought not to give anything. But when we reflect, that the misery before our eyes excites our pity, whether lye will or not; that it is of the utmost consequence to us to cultivate this tenderness of mind; that it is a quality, cherished by indulgence, and soon stifled by opposition ; When this, I say, is considered, a wise mail will do that for his own sake, which lie would have hesitated to do for the petitioner's ; lie will give way to his compassion, rather than offer violence to a habit of so much general use.
A mail of confirmed good habits will act in the same manner without any consideration at all.
This may serve for one instance ; another
is the following:--A mail has been brought up from his infancy
with a dread of lying. An occasion presents itself where, at the
expense of a little vivacity, he may divert his company, set off
his own wit with advantage, attract the notice and engage the
partiality of all about him. This is not a small temptation.
And when he looks at the other side of the question, he sees no
mischief that call ensue from this liberty, no slander of any
man's reputation, no prejudice likely to arise to any man's interest.
Were there nothing further to be considered, it would be difficult
to show why a man under such circumstances might not indulge
his humour. But when he reflects that his scruples about lying
have hitherto preserved him free from this vice ; that occasions
like the present will return, where the inducement may be equally
strong, but the indulgence much less innocent; that his scruples will wear away by a few transgressions, and leave him subject to one of the meanest and most pernicious of all bad habits,- a habit of lying, whenever it will serve his turn : when all this, I say, is considered, a wise man will forego the present, or a much greater pleasure, rather than lay the the foundation of a cha-racter so vicious and contemptible.
From what has been said, may be expIained
also the nature of habitual virtue. By the definition of
virtue, placed at the beginning of this chapter, it appears, that
the good of mankind is the subject, the will of God the rule,
and everlasting happiness the motive and end, of all virtue. Yet,
in fact, a man shall perform many an act of virtue, without having
either the good of mankind, the will of God, or everlasting happiness
in his thought. How is this to be understood ? In the same manner
as that a man may be a very good servant, without being conscious,
at every turn, of a particular regard to his master's will, or
of an. express attention to his master's interest: indeed, your
best old servants are of this sort : but then he must have served
for a length of time under the actual direction of these motives,
to bring it to this ; in which service, his merit and virtue consist.
There are habits, not only of drinking, swearing, and lying, and of some other things, which are commonly acknowledged to be habits, and called so ; but of every modification of action, speech, and thought. Alan is a bundle of habits.
There are habits of industry, attention, vigilance, advertency of a prompt obedience to the judgment occurring or of yielding to the first impulse of passion ; of extending our views to the future, or of resting upon the present ; of apprehending, methodizing, reasoning ; of indolence and dilatoriness; of vanity, self-conceit, melancholy, partiality ; of fretfulness, suspicion, captiousness, censoriousness; of pride, ambition, covetousliess ; of over-reaching, intriguing, projecting : in a word, there is not a quality or function, either of body or mind, which does not feel the influence of this great law of animated nature.
II. The Christian religion hath not ascertained the precise quantity of virtue necessary to salvation.
This has been made an objection to Christianity ; but without reason. For as all revelation, however imparted originally, must
be transmitted by the ordinary vehicle of languaage, it behoves those who make the objection to show that any form of words could be devised, that might express this quantity ; or that it is possible to constitute a standard of moral attainments, accommodated to the almost inflnite diversity which subsists in the capacities and opportunities of different men.
It seems most agreeable to our conceptions of justice, and is consonant enough to the language of Scripture, to suppose, that there are prepared for its rewards and punishments, of all possible degrees, from the most exalted happiness down to extreme misery ; so that our labour is never in vain ; whatever advancement we make in virtue, we procure a proportionable accession of future happiness : as, on the other hand, every accumulation of vice is the 'treasuring tip so much wrath. against the day of wrath.' It has been said, that it can never be a just econonly of Providence, to admit one part of mankind into heaven, and condemn the other to hell ; since there must be very little to chuse, between the worst man who is received into heaven, and the best who is excluded. And how know we, it might be answered, but that there may be as little to chuse in the conditions ?
Without entering into a detail of Scripture morality, which would anticipate our subject, the following general positions may be advanced, I think, with safety.
I. That a state of happiness is not to be expected by those who are conscious of no moral or religious rule: I mean those who cannot with truth say, that they have been prompted to one action, or withholden from one gratification, by any regard to virtue or religion, either immediate or babitual.
There needs no other proof of this, than the consideration, that a brute would be as proper an object of reward as such a
SO then actions are to be estimated by their tendency. Whatever is expedient, is right. It is the utility of any moral rule alone, which constitutes the obligation of it.
But to all this there seems a plain objection, viz. that many actions are useful, which no man in his senses will allow to be right. There are occasions, in which the hand of the assassin would be very useful. The present possessor of some great estate employs his influence and fortune, to annoy, corrupt, or oppress, all about him. His estate would devolve, by his death, to a successor of an opposite character. It is useful, therefore, to dispatch such a one as soon as possible out of the way; as the neighbourhood will exchange thereby a pernicious tyrant for a wise and generous benefactor. It might be useful to rob a miser, and give the money to the poor: as the money, no doubt, would produce more happiness, by being laid out in food and clothing for half a dozen distressed families, than by continuing locked up in a miser's chest. It may be useful to get possession of a place, a piece of preferment, or of a scat in parliament, by bribery or false swearing : as by means of them we may serve the public more effectually than in our private station. What then shall we save? Must we admit these actions to be right, which would be to justify assassination, plunder, and perjury; or must we give up our principle, that the criterion of right is utility ?
It is not necessary to do either.
The true answer is this ; that these actions, after all, are not useful, and for that reason, and that alone, are not right.
To see this point perfectly, it must be observed that the bad consequences of actions are twofold, particular and general.
The particular bad consequence of an action, is the mischief which that single action directly and immediately occasions.
The general bad consequence is, the violation of some necessary or useful general rule.
Thus, the particular bad consequence of the assassination above described, is the fright and pain which the deceased un-derwent; the loss he suffered of life, which is as valuable to a bad man, as to a good one, or more so; the prejudice and affliction, of which his death was the occasion, to his family, friends, and dependents.
The general bad consequence is the violation of this necessary general rule, that no man be put to death for his crimes but by public authority.
Although, therefore, such an action have no particular bad consequences, or greater particular good consequences, yet it is not useful, by reason of the general consequence, vvhich is of more importance, and which is evil. And the same of the other two instances, and of a million more which might be mentioned.
But as this solution supposes, that the moral government of the world must proceed by general rules, it remains that we show the necessity of this.
IF you should see a flock of pigeons in a field of corn; and if (instead of each picking where and what it liked, taking just as much as it wanted, and no more) you should see ninety-nine of them gathering all they got, into a heap; reserving nothing for themselves, but the chaff and the refuse; keeping this heap for one, and that the weakest, perhaps worst, pigeon of the flock; sitting round, and looking on, all the winter, whilst this one was devouring, throwing about, and wasting it; and if a pigeon more hardy or hung than the rest touched a grain of the hoard, all the others instantly flying upon it, and tearing it to pieces ; if you should see this, you would see nothing more than what is every day practised and established among men. Among men, you see the ninety-and-nine toiling and scraping together a heap of superfluities for one (and this one too, oftentimes the feeblest and worst of the whole set, a child, a woman, a madman, or a fool) ; getting nothing for themselves all the while, but a little of the coarsest of the provision, which their own industry produces; looking quietly on, while they see the fruits of all their labour spent or spoiled; and if one of the number take or touch a particle of the hoard, the others joining against him, and hanging him for the theft.
THERE must be some very important advantages to account for an institution, which, in the view of it above given, is so paradoxical and unnatural.
The principal of these advantages are the following:
I. It increases the produce of the earth.
The earth, in climates like ours, produces little without cultivation: and none would be found willing to cultivate the ground, if others were to be admitted to an equal share of the produce. The same is true of the care of flocks and herds of tame animals.
Crabs and acorns, red deer, rabbits, game and fish, are all which we. should have to subsist upon in this country, if we trusted to the spontaneous productions of the soil; and it fares not much better with other countries. A nation of North American savages, consisting of two or three hundred, will take up, and be half-starved upon, a tract of land, which in Europe, and with European management, would be sufficient for the maintenance of as many thousands.
In some fertile soils, together with great abundance of fish upon their coasts, and in regions where clothes are unnecessary, a considerable degree of population may subsist without property in land; which is the case in the Islands of Otaheite : but in less favoured situations, as in the country of New Zealand, though this sort of property obtain in a small degree, the inhabitants, for want of a more secure and regular establishment of it, are driven oftentimes by the scarcity of provision to devour one another.
II. It preserves the produce of the earth to maturity.
We may judge what would be the effects of a community of right to the production of the earth, from the trifling Specimens which we see of it at present. A cherry-tree in a hedge-row, nuts in a wood, the grass of an unstinted pasture, are seldom of much advantage to anybody, because people do not wait for the proper season of reaping them. Corn, if any were sown, would never ripen; lambs and calves would never grow up to sheep mud cows, because the first person that met them would reflect,
that he had better take them as they are, than leave them for another.
III. It prevents contests.
War and waste, tumult and confusion, must be unavoidable and eternal, where there is not enough for all, and where there are no rules to adjust the division.
IV. It improves the conveniency of living.
This it does two ways. It enables mankind to divide themselves into distinct professions; which is impossible, unless a man can exchange the productions of his own art for what he wants from others; and exchange implies property. Much of the advantage of civilized over savage life depends upon this. When a man is from necessity his own tailor., tent-maker, carpenter, cook, huntsman, and fisherman, it is not probable that he will be expert at any of his callings. Hence the rude habitations, furniture, clothing, and implements, of savages; and the tedious length of time which all their operations require.
It likewise encourages those arts, by which the accommodations of human life are supplied, by appropriating to the artist the benefit of his discoveries and improvements; without which appropriation, ingenuity will never be exerted with effect.
Upon these several accounts, we may venture, with a few exceptions, to pronounce, that even the poorest and the worst provided, in countries where property and the consequences of property prevail, are in a better situation, with respect to food, raiment, houses, and what are called the necessaries of life, than any are in places where most things remain in common.
The balance, therefore, upon the whole, must preponderate in favour of property with a manifest and great excess.
Inequality of property, in the degree in
which it exists in most countries of Europe, abstractedly considered,
is an evil: but it is an evil which flows from those rules concerning
the acquisition and disposal of property, by which men are incited
to industry, and by which the object of their industry is rendered
secure and valuable. If there be any great inequality unconnected
with this origin, it ought to be corrected.
THE seducer practises the same stratagems to draw a woman's person into his power, that a swindler does to get possession of your goods, or money; yet the law of honour, which abhors deceit,, applauds the address of a successful intrigue; so much is this capricious rule guided by names, and with such facility does it accommodate itself to the leasures and conveniency of higher life!
Seduction is seldom accomplished without fraud; and the fraud is by so much more criminal than other frauds, as the injury effected by it is greater, continues longer, and less admits reparation.
This injury is threefold: to the woman, to her family, and to the public.
1. The injury to the woman is made up of the pain she suffers from shame, or the loss she sustains in her reputation and prospects of marriage, and of the depravation of her moral principle.
I. This pain must be extreme, if we may judge of it from those barbarous endeavours to conceal their disgrace, to which women, under such circumstances, sometimes have recourse; comparing also this barbarity with their passionate fondness for their off- spring in other cases. Nothing but an agony of mind the most in- supportable can induce a woman to forget her nature, and the pity which even a stranger would show to a helpless and imploring infant. It is true, that all are not urged to this extremity; but if any are, it affords an indication of bow much all suffer from the same cause. What shall we say to the authors of such mischief ?
2. The loss which a woman sustains by the ruin of her reputation almost exceeds computation. Every person's happiness depends in part upon the respect and reception which they meet with in the world; and it is no inconsiderable mortification, even to the firmest tempers, to be rejected from the society of their equals, or received there with neglect and disdain. But this is not all, nor the worst. By a rule of life, which it is not easy to blame, and which it is impossible to alter, a woman loses with her chastity the chance of marrying at all, or in any manner equal to the hopes she had been accustomed to entertain. Now marriage, whatever it be to a man, is that from which every
woman expects her chief happiness. And this is still more true in low life, of which condition the women are who are most exposed to solicitations of this sort. Add to this, that where a woman's maintenance depends upon her character., (as it does, in a great measure, with those who are to support themselves by service,) little sometimes is left to the forsaken sufferer, but to starve for want of employment, or to have recourse to prostitution for food and raiment.
3. As a woman collects her virtue into this point, the loss of her chastity is generally the destruction of her moral principle; and this consequence is to be apprehended, whether the criminal intercourse be discovered or not.
II. The injury to the family may be understood, by the application of that infallible rule, 'of doing to others, what we would that others should do unto us.'-Let a father or a brother say, for what consideration they would suffer this injury to a daughter or a sister; and whether any, or even a total, loss of fortune, could create equal affliction and distress. And when they reflect upon this, let them distinguish, if they can, between a robbery, committed upon their property by fraud or forgery, and the ruin of their happiness by the treachery of a seducer.
III. The public at large lose the benefit
of the woman's service in her proper place and destination, as
a wife and parent. This, to the whole community, may be little;
but it is often more than all the good which the seducer does
to the community can recompense. Moreover, prostitution is supplied
by seduction ; and in proportion to the danger there is of the
woman's betaking herself, after her first sacrifice to a life
public lewdness, the seducer is answerable for the multiplied evils to which his crime gives birth.
Upon the whole, if we pursue the effects of seduction through the complicated misery which it occasions, and if it be right to estimate crimes by the mischief they knowingly produce, it will appear something more than mere invective to assert, that not one half of the crimes for which men suffer death by the laws of England are so flagitious as this.
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