Page:Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1775).djvu/21
CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS.
war was transferred from individuals to nations.
Thus it was necessity that forced men to give up a part of their liberty; it is certain, then, that every individual would chuse to put into the public stock the smallest portion possible; as much only as was sufficient to engage others to defend it. The aggregate of these, the smallest portions possible, forms the right of punishing: all that extends beyond this is abuse, not justice.
Observe, that by justice I understand nothing more than that bond, which is necessary to keep the interest of individuals united; without which, men would return to their original state of barbarity. All punishments, which exceed the necessity of preserving this bond, are in their nature unjust. We should be cautious how we associate with the word justice, an idea of anything real, such as a physical power, or a being that actually exists. I do not, by any means, speak of the justice of God,