forego that gratification on account of incidental in conveniences We should be

Forego that gratification on account of incidental in

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UTILITARIANISM. forego that gratification on account of incidental in conveniences. We should be glad to see just conduct enforced and injustice repressed, even in the minutest details, if we were not, with reason, afraid of trusting the magistrate with so unlimited an amount of power over individuals. When we think that a person is bound in justice to do a thing, it is an ordinary form of language to say, that he ought to be compelled to do it. We should be gratified to see the obligation enforced by anybody who had the power. If we see that its enforcement by law would be inexpedient, we lament the impossibility, we consider the impunity given to injustice as an evil, and strive to make amends for it by bringing a strong expression of our own and the public disapprobation to bear upon the offender. Thus the idea of legal constraint is still the generating idea of the notion of justice, though undergoing several transformations before that notion, as it exists in an advanced state of society, becomes complete. The above is, I think, a true account, as far as it goes, of the origin and progressive growth of the idea of justice. But we must observe, that it contains, as yet, nothing to distinguish that obligation from moral obligation in general. For the truth is, that the idea of penal sanction, which is the essence of law, enters not only into the conception of injustice, but into that of any kind of wrong. We do not call anything wrong, unless we mean to imply that a person ought to be punished in some way or other for doing it ; if not by law, by the opinion of his fellow creatures ; if not by opinion, by the reproaches of his own con science. This seems the real turning point of the dis tinction between morality and simple expediency. It
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HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. 73 is a part of the notion of Duty in every one of its forms, that a person may rightfully be compelled to fulfil it. Duty is a thing which may be exacted from a person, as one exacts a debt. Unless we think that it might be exacted from him, we do not call it his duty. Reasons of prudence, or the interest of other people, may militate against actually exacting it; but the person himself, it is clearly understood, would not be entitled to complain. There are other things, on the contrary, which we wish that people should do, which we like or admire them for doing, perhaps dis like or despise them for not doing, but yet admit that they are not bound to do ; it is not a case of moral obligation ; we do not blame them, that is, we do not think that they are proper objects of punishment. How we come by these ideas of deserving and not deserving punishment, will appear, perhaps, in the sequel ; but I think there is no doubt that this dis tinction lies at the bottom of the notions of right and wrong ; that we call any conduct wrong, or employ instead, some other term of dislike or dispa ragement, according as we think that the person ought, or ought not, to be punished for it ; and we say that it would be right to do so and so, or merely that it would be desirable or laudable,
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