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hends a higher Rule of action than the mere tendency to produce pleasure; as Butler.
But though these two sources of morality are thus separate, they are not really independent; and it is, as I conceive, important to present them in a mode which shows their connexion and relation. This the language commonly current among men, and especially our own language, enables us to do, in the following manner:—
Man's external circumstances may be considered as leading to rules of human society, in virtue of which individual men have certain Rights: the conviction of man's internal nature is expressed by saying that he must do what is right. The two words, the substantive and the adjective, are closely connected, though they are very far from identical, or correlative, or coextensive. For man's Rights are considered as among the things which are right; though to give men their legal Rights is a small part only of moral rightness.
I conceive that the relation of the two sources of Morality is most truly presented by making the establishment of Rights among men the starting-point of Morality; and by proceeding, from these Rights, to the higher form of Morality which man's moral nature points to and requires: and this is, in fact, the historical course which man follows in his moral progress.
Hence, in the present work, Rights are, in the first place, established, by regarding the tendencies of human actions;—by considering the need of a certain measure of peace, comfort, order, tranquillity, and security, for any mode of life which can be social and human; and therefore, the necessity of controlling those impulses in man which tend to destroy this peace, comfort and order. (B. I. Chap, in.)
In order to determine, on this ground, what Rights must exist among men, it is therefore necessary to consider what are the principal impulses to human action; or, as we may term them, The Springs of Human Action. This is done in Chapter II. of the First Book.
The classification and arrangement of the Springs of Human Action have been treated of by various writers: and it may be a matter of interest to compare our classification and arrangement with those of previous moralists. This is now done in Chapter I. of the Supplement annexed to the present edition.
The doctrine, that man's moral nature is expressed by saying that we must do what is right, and that this rule assumes the existence of Rights, has been objected to, as reasoning in a circle. This objection is considered in Chap. II. of the Supplement.
Also several of the special Rules and Doctrines delivered in the work have been objected to on various grounds. Some of these objections are considered in Chap. II. of the Supplement.
I am very sincerely grateful to those writers who by their criticisms have enabled me to remedy any faults of expression, reasoning, or fact, which I may have committed. If these criticisms had been expressed with less acrimony, and if they had not sometimes consisted in quoting expressions without any regard to the context, they would have been, as seems to me, more suitable to the character of the subject; but the manner in which they have been delivered has not prevented my weighing them carefully. I have not thought it necessary to refer more particularly to the quarters from which they have been urged. For, as I have elsewhere said, in all subjects the more impersonal our controversies can be made, the better they will answer all good ends: and controversies on Morality are most likely in this way to be really moral.
I have, in Chapter III. of the Supplement, given a Review of Paley's Principles of Moral Philosophy, principally so far as its systematic character is concerned. So long as the work is employed as a part of University education (as it still is by the University of Cambridge), it cannot be improper to point out, temperately, its defects, both in Logic and in Principle.
I am aware that many persons will ask, what Principle we would substitute for Paley's, and will expect an answer as brief and pointed as Paley's admirers are ready to give. According to him, they will say, Virtue is the promotion of Human Happiness: what is it, according to you?
We might answer, with Bishop Butler, that according to us, Virtue is a course of action conformable to the whole Constitution of Human Nature. But this answer would probably require further developing, to be satisfactory. We may unfold it a little further, by saying that man, being a creature constituted of Desires, Affections, Reason, Conscience, the rule of his being is, to act conformably to the relations of these elements; so that Reason shall control Desire and Affections, and Conscience shall indefinitely exalt the views of Reason: or otherwise, thus; that man, (besides being an animal,) is an intellectual, social, moral, religious and spiritual creature; and must be governed by rules derived from these characters.
Such views are not new or unfamiliar. They are, for instance, the principles on which Grotius proceeds in his Treatise De Jure Belli et Pads, except that he dwells especially upon the attribute social; as, with his objects, it was natural that he should do.
The work of Grotius, to which I have just referred, shows how closely connected are the two subjects, Morality and International Law. From a conviction of this connexion I introduced into the Elements of Morality, a Treatise on International Law, which though brief, will be found, I trust, to include the main points of the subject. At the present moment, the Moralist has the unusual satisfaction of being able to note new steps made by great belligerent nations in the way of softening the Laws of War. I have not denied myself the pleasure of putting this result in a form suited to the mode of treatment employed in this book. This I have done in Chapter IV. of the Supplement.
In the text of this Fourth as in the Third Edition, I have seen no reason for making any but very slight changes. I am well aware how inadequately the work is fitted to the office of teaching Morality. Every moral Treatise must be inadequately fitted to that office, because Eule and Precept cannot raise men's hearts and minds so high as they ought to rise in the region of Morality. When the Moralist has used the strongest, the loftiest, the most searching and animating expressions which he can think of, to direct and urge men to moral excellence,—to a constant course of Love and Truth, of Justice and Wisdom;—in short, to a godlike being and a heavenly life;—he must still feel how feeble, scanty, and cold are the words which he has used. But the difficulty is still greater, for an author who attempts to construct a system, in times like these, when the bases of moral systems are matters of lively and vehement, and even (I fear I must say) of angry and virulent debate. For such a writer is compelled to avoid many of the forms of language in which he would