thing, or difputing which of them cupancy, which might be contihad actually gained it. As human nued for months together without life also grew more and more re. any fenfible interruption, and at fined, abundance of conveniences length by usage ripen into an estawere devised to render it more ea. blised right; but principally befy, commodious, and agreeable; cause few of them could be fit for as, habitations for shelter and safe. use, till improved and meliorated ty, and raiment for warmth and by the bodily labour of the occu. decency. But no man would be pant : which bodily labour, bea at the trouble to provide either, so Itowed upon any subject which long as he had only an usufructus, before lay in common to all men, ary property in them, which was is universally allowed to give the to cease the instant that he quitted fairest and most reasonable title to possession ;-if, as soon as he walk- an exclusive property therein. ed out of his ceni, or pulled off The article of food was a more his garment, the next stranger who immediate call, and therefore a came by would have a right to in- more early consideration. Such habit the one, and to wear the as were not contented with the other. In the case of habitations spontaneous product of the earth, in particular, it was natural to ob- fought for a more folid refreshserve, that even the brule creation, ment in the Aesh of beasts, which to whom every thing else was in they obtained by hunting. But common, maintained a kind of the frequent disappointments, inpermanent property in their dwel. cident to that method of provision, lings, especially for the protection induced them to gather together of their young; that the birds of such animals as were of a more the air had neits, and the beaits of tame and fequacious nature; and the field had caverns, the invasion to establish a permanent property of which they esteemned a very fia- in their flocks and herds, in order grant injustice, and would sacri- to sustain themselves in a less prefice their lives to preserve them. carious manner, partly by the Hence a property was soon eita. milk of the dams, and partly by blished in every man's house and the flesh of the young. The fubhome-stall; which seent to have port of these their caitle made the been originally mere temporary article of water also a very imporhuts or moveable cabins, suited tant point. And therefore the to the design of Providence for book of Genesis (the most venemore speedily peopling the earth, rabie monument of antiquity, conand suited to che wandering lile fidered merely with a view to hifiof their owners, before any exten. tory) will furnish us with frequent five property in the soil or ground inftances of violent contentions was eitablished... And there can concerning wells; the exclusive be no doubt, but that moveables property of which appears to have of every kind became sooner ap- been established in the first digger propriated than the permanent sub- or occupant, even in such places Itanrial soil : partly because they where the ground and herbage re„were more susceptible of a long oca mained yet in common. Thus

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we find Abraham, who was but a quence was that a ftrife arose be. sojourner, afferting his right to a tween their servants; fo that it well in the country of Abimelech, was no longer practicable to dwell and exacting an oath for his secu. together. This contention Abratity, “because he had digged ham thus endeavoured to compose : " that well." And Ifaac, about o let there be no ftrife, I pray ninety years afterwards, re-claim- " thee, between thee and me. Is ed this his father's property ; and, "nor the whole land before thee? after much contention with the Separate thyself, I pray thee, Philistines, was suffered to enjoy « from me. If thou wilt take it in peace.

" the left hand, then I will go to All this while the soil and paf. " the right; or if thou depart 10 ture of the earth remained still in “ the right hand, then I will go common as before, and open to " to the left." This plainly imevery occupant : except perbaps plies an acknowledged right, in ei. in the neighbourhood of towns, ther, to occupy whatever ground where the necessity of a sole and he pleased, that was not pre-occuexclusive property in lands (for pied by other tribes. “And Lot the sake of agriculture) was ear- is lifted up his eyes, and beheld all lier felt, and therefore more rea- " the plain of Jordan, that it was dily complied with. Otherwise, “well watered every where, even when the multitude of men and as the garden of the Lord. cattle had consumed every conve. « Then Lot chose him all the nience on one spot of ground, it “plain of Jordan, and journey. was deemed a natural right to seize" ed eaft; and Abraham dwelt opon and occupy such other lands " in the land of Canaan." as would more easily supply their Upon the same principle was ncceflicies. This practice is still founded the right of migration, or retained among the wild and un. fending colonies to find out new cultivated nations that have never habitations, when the mother. teen formed into civil ftates, like country was overcharged with in. che Tartars and others in the east; habitants; which was practised where the clima'e itself, and the as well as by the Phenicians and boundless extent of their territory, Greeks, as the Germans, Scy. conspire toʻretain them ftill in the thians, and other northern peo. same favage state of vagrant liber. ple. And, so long as it was conty, which was universal in the fined to the stocking and cultiva. earlieft ages; and which Tacitus tion of desart uninhabited coun. informs us continued among the tries, it kept strictly within the Germans till the decline of the limits of the law of nature. But Roman empire. We have also a how far the seizing on countries al. ftriking example of the same kind ready peopled, and driving out of in the history of Abraham and his massacring the innocent and denephew Lot. When their joint fenceless natives, merely because substance became fo great, that they differed from their invaders pature and other conveniences in language, in religion, in cuf. Frew {carce, the natural conse. com, in government, or in co

lour; lour; how far fuch a conduct was been the enobling of the human confonant to nature, to reason, or species, by giving it opportunities to christianity, deserved well to of improving its rational faculties, be considered by those, who have as well as of exerting its natural. rendered their

names immortal by Neceflity begat property ; and, in thus civilizing mankind,

order to insure that property, reAs the world by degrees grew course was had to civil society, more populous, it daily became which brought along with it a more difficult to find out new fpots long train of inseparable concomito inhabit, without encroaching tants; states, government, laws, upon former occupants; and, by punishments, and the public exerconstantly occupying the fame in- cife of religious duties. Thus dividual' spot, the fruits of the connected together, it was found earth were consumed, and its spon- that a part only of society was fuftaneous produce destroyed, with- ficient to provide, by their manu. out any provision for a future sup- al labour, for the necessary fubliftply or succession. It therefore be. ence of all; and leisure was given came necessary to pursue some re- to others to cultivate the human gular method of providing a con. mind, to invent useful arrs, and Itant subfiftence; and this necessi. to lay the foundations of science. ty produced, or at least promoted The only question remaining is, and encouraged, the art of agri. how this property became actual. culture. And the art of agricul. ly vested; or what it is that gave ture, by a regular connexion and a man an exclusive right to retain consequence, introduced and efta- in a permanent manner that speciblished the idea of a more perma. fic land, which before belonged nent property in the soil, than had generally to every body, but parhitherto' been received and a. ticularly to nobody. And, as we dopted. It was clear that the before observed that occupancy earth would not produce her fruits gave the right to the temporary in fufficient quantities without use of the soil, so it is agreed upon the affiftance of village ; but who all hands that occapancy, gave alwould be at the pains of tilling it, fo the original right to the perma. if another mighi watch an oppor- nent property in the substance of tunity to seize upon and enjoy the the earth itself; which excludes product of his industry, art, and every one else but the owner from labour? had not therefore a fepa. the use of it. There is indeed rate property in lands, as well as fome difference among the writers moveables, been vested in some on natural law, concerning the individuals, the world must have reason why occupancy should con. continued a forest, and men have vey this right, and invest one with been mere animals of prey ; which, this absolute property : Grotius according to some philosophers, and Puffendorff inlifting, that this is the genuine ftate of nature. right of occupancy is founded up. Whereas now (fo graciously has on a tacit and implied afsent of Providence interwoven our duty all mankind, that the first occus and our happiness together) the pant fhould become the owner ; refult of this very neceflity has and Barbeyrac, Titius, Mr. Locke,

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and others, holding, that there is it by accident, it cannot be col. no such implied affent, neither is lected from thence, that he de. it necessary that there should be; figned to quit the poffeffion; and for that the very act of occupancy, therefore in such case the property alone, being a degree of bodily still remains in the loser, who may labour, is, from a principle of na. claim it again of the finder. And tural justice, without any consent this, we may remember, is the or compact, sufficient of itself to doctrine of the laws of England, gain a title. A dispute that favours with relation to treasure trove. too much of nice and scholastic re- But this method, of one man's finement ! However, both sides abandoning his property, and a. agree in this, that occupancy is nother's seizing the vacant poffefthe thing by which the title was fion, however well founded in in fact originally gained ; every theory, could not long, sublift in man seizing to his own continued fact. It was calculated merely use such spots of ground as he for the rudiments of civil society, found most agreeable to his own and necessarily ceased among the convenience, provided he found complicated interefts and artificial them. unoccupied by anyone refinements of polite and estaelse.

blished governments. In these it Property, both in lands and was found, that what became inmoveables, being thus originally convenient or useless to one man, acquired by the first taker, which was highly convenient and useful taking amounts to a declaration to another; who was ready to that he intends to appropriate the give in exchange for it some equi. thing to his own use, it remains in valent, that was equally desirable him, by the principles of univer- to the former proprietor. Thus sal law, till such iime as he does mutual convenience introduced fome other act which hews an in- commercial traffic, and the reci. tention to abandon it; for then it procal transfer of property by fale, becomes, naturally speaking, pub. grant, or conveyance: which may lici juris once more, and is liable be considered either as a conti. to be again appropriated by the nuance of the origioal poffeffion next occupant. So if one is pos- which the first occupant had ; or sessed of a jewel, and cafts it into as an abandoning of the thing by the fea, or a public highway, this the present owner, and an imme. is such an express dereliction, that diate successive occupancy of the

property will be vested in the fame by the new proprietor. The first fortunate finder that will seize voluntary dereliction of the owner, it to his own use. But if he hides and delivering the posleifion to air privately in the earth, or other no: her individual, amount 10 a fecret place, and it is discovered, transfer of the property; the prothe finder acquires no property prietor declaring his intention no therein; for the owner hath not longer to occupy the thing himself, by this act declared any intention but that his own right of occu. to abandon it, but rather the con- pancy shall be vested in the new trary : and if he loses or drops acquirer. Or, taken in the other


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light, if I agree to part with an power of continuing his property acre of my land to Titius, the by disposing of his poffeffions by deed of conveyance is an evidence will: or, in case he neglects to of my having abandoned the pro- dispose of it, or is not permitted perty, and Titius, being the only to make any disposition at all, or first man acquainted with such the municipal law of the country my intention, immediately steps then steps in, and declares who in and seizes the vacant possession: shall be the successor, representhus the consent expressed by the tative, or heir of the deceased ; conveyance give's Titius a good that is, who alone shall have a right against me; and possession, right to enter upon this vacant occupancy,

confirms that possession, in order to avoid that right against all the world be. confusion, which its becoming fides.

again common „would occafion. The most universal and effectual And farther, in case no testament way

of abandoning property, is be permitted by the law, or none be by the death of the occupant : made, and no heir can be found so when, both the actual poffefsion qualified as the law requires, still, and intention of keeping poffession, to prevent the robuft title of occeasing, the property, which is cupancy from again taking place, founded upon such possession and the doctrine of escheats is adopted intention ought also to cease of in almost every couniry ; whereby course. For, naturally speaking, the sovereign of the state, and the instant a man ceases to be, he 'those who claim under his autho. ceases to have any dominion : else, rity, are the ultimate heirs, and if he had a right to dispose of his succeed to those inheritances, to acquisitions one moment beyond which no other title can be formed. his life, he would also have a right The right of inheritance, or to direct their disposal for a mil. descent to the children and relalion of ages after him ; which tions of the deceased, seems to would be highly absurd and incon. have been allowed much earlier venient. All property mut there. than the right of devising by terfore cease upon death, considering tament. We are apt to conceive men as absolute individuals, and at firft view that it has nature on unconnected with civil society: its fide; yet we often mistake for then, by the principles before for nature what we find establishestablished, the next immediate oc- ed by long and inveterate custom. cupant would acquire a right in all It is certainly a wise and effectual, that the deceased poffeífed. But as, but clearly a political establishunder civilized governments, which ment; since the permanent right are calculated for the peace of of property, vested in the ancestor mankind, such a constitution would himself, was no natural, but merebe productive of endless distur. ly a civil, right. It is true, that bances, the universal law of almost the transmission of one's poffefevery nation (which is a kind of fions to pofterity has an evident, secondary law of nature) has ei tendency to make a man a good ther given the dying person a citizen, and a useful member of

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