propensities, and passions, as thereby to prevent them from operating as a bar to the free exercise of their intellectual and moral powers in pursuit of the essential
good; and, 2.
The security which it offers to every man, in the exercise of the higher powers of his nature, that he may do it without restraint from the passions of men; or, in other words, to guarantee to every man the free exercise of his essential power to do good.
That both the object of government, and the means which it employs, are correctly stated, will not be disputed.
All men concur in these views.
They underlie all our opinions and reasonings on the subject of civil government.
But in assenting to this much, (and how can it be avoided?) may we not stand committed to much more than many theoretical politicians are aware?
Let us trace the logical inferences which arise from the principles discussed.
I. Man, we find, is endowed with a self-acting power of will, which is called mental liberty, and hence he is accountable.
For although it is admitted that there cannot be a volition without a motive, yet it is an idea inseparable from our notions of mental liberty, that there cannot be any thing in these motives necessitating the volition; for in that case it would not be free.
But he is free to adopt either the right or the wrong motive