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dences of the Right, but upon the Observance or Neglect of some Forms of Words in use with the Gentlemen of the Robe, about which there is even amongst themselves such a Disagreement, that the most experienced Veterans in the Profession can never be positively assured that they are not mistaken.
Let us expostulate with these learned Sages, these Priests of the sacred Temple of Justice. Are we Judges of our own Property? By no means. You then, who are initiated into the Mysteries of the blindfold Goddess, inform me whether I have a Right to eat the Bread I have earned by the Hazard of my Life, or the Sweat of my Brow? The grave Doctor answers me in the Affirmative: The reverend Serjeant replies in the Negative: The learned Barrister reasons upon one fide and upon the other, and concludes nothing. What shall I do? An Antagonist starts up and presses me hard. I enter the Field, and retain these three Persons to defend my Cause. My Cause, which two Farmers from the Plough could have decided in half an Hour, takes the Court twenty Years. I am, however, at the end of my Labour, and have in Reward for all my Toil and Vexation, a Judgment in my Favour. But hold — a sagacious Commander, in the Adversary's Army has found a Flaw in the Proceeding. My Triumph is turned into Mourning. I have used or, instead of and, or some Mistake, small in Appearance, but dreadful in its Consequences, and have the whole of my Success quashed in a writ of Error. I remove my Suit; I shift from Court to Court; I fly from
- Equity Equity to Law, and from Law to Equity; equal Uncertainty attends me every where: And a Mistake in which I had no Share, decides at once upon my Liberty and Property, sending me from the Court to the Prison, and adjudging my Family to Beggary and Famine. I am innocent, Gentlemen, of the Darkness and Uncertainty of your Science. I never darkened it with absurd and contradictory Notions, nor confounded it with Chicane and Sophistry. You have excluded me from any Share in the Conduct of my own Cause; the Science was too deep for me; I acknowledged it; but it was too deep even for yourselves: You have made the way so intricate, that you are yourselves lost in it: You err, and you puni/h me for your Errors.
The Delay of the Law is, your Lordship will tell me, a trite Topic, and which of its Abuses have not been too severely felt not to be often complainedof? A Man's Property is to serve for the Purposes of his Support; and therefore to delay a Determination concerning that, is the worst Injustice, because it cuts off the very End and Purpose for which I applied to* the Judicature for Relief. Quite contrary in-Cafe of a Man's Life, there the Determination can hardly be too much protracted. Mistakes in this Case are as often fallen into as in any other; and if the Judgment is sudden, the Mistakes are the most irretrievable of all others. Of this the Gentlemen of the Robe are themselves sensible, and they have brought it into a Maxim: De morte hominis nulla est cunfiatio langa. But what could have induced them
to to reverse the Rules, and to contradict that Reason which dictated them, I am utterly unable to guess. A Point concerning Property, which ought, for the Reasons I just mentioned, to be most speedily decided, frequently excercises the Wit of Successions of Lawyers, for many Generations. Multa vir&m volvens durando sacula vincit. But the Question concerning a Man's Life, that great Question in which no Delay ought to be counted tedious, is commonly determined in twenty-four Hours at the utmost. It is not to be wondered at, that Injustice and Absurdity should be inseparable Companions.
Ask of Politicians the End for which Laws were originally designed ; and they will answer, that the Laws were designed as a Protection for the Poor and Weak, against the Oppression of the Rich and Powerful. But surely no Pretence can be so ridiculous; a Man might as well tell me he has taken off my Load, because he has changed the Burthen. If the poor Man is not able to support his Suit, according to the vexatious and expensive Manner established in civilized Countries, has not the Rich as great an Advantage over him as the Strong has over the Weak in a State of Nature? But we will not place the State of Nature, which is the Reign of God, in Competition with Political Society, which is the absurd Usurpation of Man. In a State of Nature, it is true, that a Man of superior Force may beat or rob me; but then it is true, that I am at full Liberty to defend mself, or make Reprisal by Surprize or byCunning, or by any other way in which I may bo
superior superior to him. But in Political Society, a' rich Man may rob me in another way. I cannot defend myself; for Money is the only Weapoa with which We are allowed to fight. And if I attempt to avenge myself, the whole Force of that Society is ready to comple/e my Ruin.
A good Parson once said, that where Mystery begins, Religion ends. Cannot I fay, as truly at least* of human Laws, that where Mystery begins, Justice ends? It is hard to fay, whether the Doctors of Law pr Divinity have made the greater Advances in the lucrative Business of Mystery. The Lawyers, Es. well as the Theologians, have erected another Reason besides Natural Reason; and the Result has been, another Justice besides-Natural Justice. They have so bewildered the World and themselves in un-i meaning Forms and Ceremonies, and so perplexed the plainest Matters with metaphysical Jargon, that it carries the highest Danger to a Man out of that Profession, to make the least Step without their Advice and Assistance. Thus, by confining to themselves the Knowledge of the Foundation of all Men's Lives and Properties, they have reduced all Mankind into the most abject and servile Dependence. We are Tenants at the Will of these Gentlemen for every thing; and a metaphysical Quibble is to decide whether the greatest Villain breathing shall meet his Deserts, or escape with Impunity, or whether the best Man in the Society shall not be reduced to the lowest and most despicable Condition it affords. Jn a word, my Lord, the Injustice, Delay, Puerility,
Vol. II. F false false Refinement, and affected Mystery of the Law are such, that many, who live under it, come to admire and envy the Expedition, Simplicity, and Equality of arbitrary Judgments. I need insist the left on this Article to your Lordship, as you have frequently lamented the Miseries derived to us from Artificial Law, and your Candor is the more to be admired and applauded in this, as your Lordship's noble House has derived its Wealth and its Honours from that Profession.
Before we finish our Examination of Artificial Society, I shall lead your Lordship into a closer Consideration of the Relations which it gives Birth to, and the Benefits, if such they are, which result from these Relations. The most obvious Division of Society is into Rich and Poor; and it is no less obvious, that the Number of the former bear a great Disproportion to those of the latter. The whole Business of the Poor is to administer to the Idleness, Folly, and Luxury of the Rich; and that of the Rich, in Return, is to find the best Methods of confirming the Slavery and increasing the Burthens of the Poor. In a State of Nature, it is an invariable Law, that a Man's Acquisitions are in Proportion to his Labours. In a State of Artificial Society, it is a Law as constant and as invariable, that those who labour most, enjoy the fewest Things; and that those who labour not at all, have the greatest Number of Enjoyments. A Constitution of Things this, strange and ridiculous beyond Expression. We scarce believe