The British Encyclopedia, Or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences; Comprising an Accurate and Popular View of the Present Improved State of Human Knowledge

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General Books, 2013 - 460
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1809 edition. Excerpt: ...and with great jII-tice, that Paley considers crimes as derivX ing their criminality, not so much from the consequences of the individual action, as from the consequences which would result from such actions becoming general. Thus the man, who by the forgery of a one pound note, may probably render no individual injury worth estimating in the punishment of afellow creature; and another, who by the forgery ol""a large bill, without direct intention, ruins an individual family, are both equally culpable in the eye of reason, and perhaps as far as punishment is beneficial to others, he who has forged the one pound note deserves greater severity of punislinient, because the means of con'mitting his depredation on society are much more practicable than in the other case. But in both it is not the individual injury Sustained that is to regulate the proportion of demerit, but the consequences which would follow the total destruction of com mercial intercourse and of mutual confideuce. 76. By the application of this important principle, much of that obscurity is dissipated, which seems to involve some questions on morals which are intimately connected with the well-being of society. ' Many of those violations of veracity, for instance, which even benevolence seems to authorise, will appear to be direct deviations from the soundest principles of morality, and'consequently to be unauthorised by benevolence, when viewed in their fair extent, however much the immediate consequences may scem to demand them.There is, however, one restriction to this rule which seems to be necessary in order to enable us fully to submit to its influence. It is whether the probability of our conduct being generally adopted, be suificient to counterbalance the...

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