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infectum, or damnum nondum factum, that is a damage justly apprehended but not actually done. Even before it is clearly known, whether the innovation be damageable or not, the judge is competent to issue a prohibition to innovate, until the point can be determined. This prompt interference is grounded on principles favourable to both parties. It is preventive of mischief difficult to be repaired, and of ill blood difficult to be softened. The rule of law, therefore, which comes before the evil, is amongst the very best parts of equity, and justifies the promptness of the remedy ; because as it is well observed, Res damni infecti celeritatem desiderat et periculosa est dilatio. This right of denunciation does not hold, when things continue, however inconveniently to the neighbourhood, according to the ancient mode. For there is a sort of presumption against novelty, drawn out of a deep consideration of human nature and human affairs; and the maxim of jurisprudence is well laid down, Vetust as pro lege semper habetur.
Such is the law of civil vicinity. Now where there is no constituted judge, as between independent states there is not, the vicinage itself is the natural judge. It is, preventively, the assertor of its own rights; or remedially, their avenger. Neighbours are presumed to take cognizance of each others acts. “Vicini, vicinorum facta presumuntur scire." This principle, which, like the rest, is as true of nations, as of individual inen, has bestowed on the grand vicinage of Europe, a duty to know, and a right to prevent, any capital innovation which may amount to the erection of a dangerous nuisance. Of the importance of that innovation, and the mischief of that nuisance, they are, to be sure, bound to judge not litigiously : but it is in their coinpetence to judge. They have uniformly acted on this right. What in civil society is a ground of action, in politic society is a ground of war. But the exercise of that competent jurisdiction is a matter of moral prudence. As suits in civil society, so war in the political must ever be a matter of great deliberation. It is not this or that particular proceeding, picked out here and there, as a subject of quarrel, that will do. There must be an aggregate of mischief. There must be marks of deliberation ; there must be traces of design ; there must be indications of malice; there must be tokens of ambition. There must be force in the body where they exist ; there must be energy in the mind. When all these circumstances combine, or the important parts of them, the duty of the vicinity calls for the exercise of its competence : and the rules of prudence do not restrain, but demand it.
Our neighbours are men ; and who will attempt to dictate the laws, under which it is allowable or forbidden to take a part in the concerns of men, whether they are considered individually or in a collective capacity, whenever charity to them, or a care of my own safety, calls forth my activity. Circumstances perpetually variable, directing a moral prudence and discretion, the general principles of which never vary, must alone prescribe a conduct fitting on such occasions. The latest casuists of public law are rather of a republican cast, and in my mind, by no means 80 averse as they ought to be to a right in the people (a word which ill defined is of the most dangerous use) to make changes at their pleasure in the fundamental laws of their country. These writers, however, when a country is divided, leave abundant liberty for a neighbour to support any of the parties according to his choice*. This interference must indeed always be a right, whilst the privilege of doing good to others, and of averting from them every sort of evil, is a right : circumstances may render that right a duty. It depends wholly on this, whether it be a bona fide charity to a party, and a prudent precaution with regard to yourself, or whether under the pretence of aiding one of the parties in a nation, you act in such a manner as to aggravate its calamities, and accomplish its final destruction. In truth it is not the interfering or keeping aloof, but iniquitous intermeddling, or treacherous inaction which is praised or blamed by the decision of an equitable judge.
The affair of the establishment of a government is a very difficult undertaking for foreign powers to act in as principals ; though as auxiliaries and mediators, it has been not at all unusual, and may be a measure full of policy and humanity, and true dignity.
The first thing we ought to do, supposing us not giving the law as conquerors, but acting as friendly powers applied to for counsel and assistance in the settlement of a distracted country, is well to consider the composition, nature, and temper of its objects, and particularly of those who actually do, or who ought to exercise power in that state.
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It will be a just and irresistible presumption against the fairness of the interposing power, that he takes with him no party or description of men in the divided state. It is not probable, that these parties should all, and all alike, be more adverse to the true interests of their country, and less capable of forming a judgment upon them, than those who are absolute strangers to their affairs, and to the character of the actors in them, and have but a remote, feeble, and secondary sympathy with their interest. Sometimes a calm and healing arbiter may be necessary; but, he is to compose differences, not to give laws. It is impossible that any one should not feel the full force of that presumption. Even people, whose politics for the supposed good of their own country lead them to take advantage of the dissensions of a neighbouring nation in order to ruin it, will not directly propose to exclude the natives, but they will take that mode of consulting and employing them which most nearly approaches to an exclusion.
It might well disgrace sovereigns to take part with a deposed tyrant. It would suppose in them a vicious sympathy. But not to make a common cause with a just prince, dethroned by traitors and rebels, who proscribe, plunder, confiscate, and in every way cruelly oppress their fellow-citizens, in my opinion is to forget what is due to the honour, and to the rights of all virtuous and legal government.
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Never shall I think any country in Europe to be secure, whilst there is established, in the very centre of it, a state(if so it may be called) founded on principles of anarchy, and which is, in reality, a college of armed fanatics, for the propagation of the principles of assassination, robbery, rebellion, fraud, faction, oppression, and impiety. Mahomet, hid as for a time he was, in the bottom of the sands of Arabia, had his spirit and character been discovered, would have been an object of precaution to provident minds. What if he had erected his fanatic standard for the destruction of the christian religion in luce Asia, in the midst of
the then noon-day splendour of the then civilized world? The princes of Europe, in the beginning of this century, did well not to suffer the monarchy of France to swallow up the others. They ought not now, in my opinion, to suffer all the monarchies and commonwealths to be swallowed up in the gulph of this polluted anarchy
INVESTIGATION. The characters of nature are legible, it is true; but they are not plain enough to enable those who run, to read them. We must make use of a cautious, I had almost said, a timorous method of proceeding. We must not attempt to fly, when we can scarcely pretend to creep. In considering any complex matter, we ought to examine every distinct ingredient in the composition, one by one; and reduce every thing to the utmost simplicity ; since the condition of our nature binds us to a strict law and very narrow limits, We ought afterwards to re-examine the principles by the effect of the composition, as well as the composition by that of the principles. We ought to compare our subject with things of a similar nature, and even with things of a contrary nature ; for discoveries may be and often are made by the contrast, which would escape us on the single view. The greater number of the comparisons we make, the more general and the inore certain our knowledge is like to prove, as built upon a more extensive and perfect induction.
If an enquiry thus carefully conducted, should fail at last of discovering the truth, it may answer an end perhaps as useful, in discovering to us the weakness of our own understanding. If it does not make us knowing, it may make us modest. If it does not preserve us from error, it may at least from the spirit of error ; and may make us cautious of pronouncing