previous next
[101] abuse of language to say, in any ordinary case, that it was the right of the criminal to be hung! because for no reason that we can imagine does it confer any benefit or privilege upon the criminal. To be acquired rights, therefore, they must not only be of the nature of the good — that is, actual benefits — but this good must result from the performance of duty, and not from the non-performance of duty, as in the example given.

The definition corresponds with the language of common sense. All men, in speaking of cases which are supposed to involve the question of rights, employ the term in this sense. You say, of a farmer in a given case, that he had no right to an abundant harvest: why? because he neglected his farm: his lands were not properly prepared, and the growing crop was left open to depredations from stock: that is, he neglected his duty; he had no right to the benefit of an abundant harvest. And again, you say to a neighbor, You should have paid a certain sum of money to A., in a given case. He had a right to the money, because he complied with the conditions on which the money was to be paid. He did his duty, and therefore had a right to the money. Thus, the neglect of duty negatives right in the one case, and the performance affirms it in the other, according to the common usage of language.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: