in many instances, cruel wrong
! The authors of these wrongs were usually the heads of government, who, in their circumstances, were beyond control.
did the wrong.
The ultimate results of their doings, by the lapse of time with its perpetual changes, upset all the existing relations of society, merged the descendants of the actors and sufferers in these wrongs into the mass of society, beyond the power of just discrimination, and introduced an altogether new state of things.
Under these circumstances, the original wrong was ultimately placed beyond all remedy.
The restoration of the lands to the original and lawful owners became an impossibility.
To attempt such a work could only be followed by the grossest injustice to all the parties concerned.
In this state of things, the question of title — Who shall own these lands?
becomes an original question.
And in this state of the case, the simple fact of present possession
--there being no one to claim antecedent possession — according to the fundamental belief of all mankind, confers moral title, and should therefore be made legal.
Hence the title is just, because the idea of the right
in itself — that which is good — now inheres in the man who holds property under such circumstances.
The argument authorizes this prescriptive principle in political science: That when the original