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Inquiry Concerning Political Justice by William Godwin 1793 INQUIRY CONCERNING POLITICAL JUSTICE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON MODERN MORALS AND HAPPINESS BOOK I: OF THE POWERS OF MAN CONSIDERED IN HIS SOCIAL CAPACITY CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The object proposed in the following work is an investigation concerning that form of public or political society, that system of intercourse and reciprocal action, extending beyond the bounds of a single family, which shall be found most to conduce to the general benefit. How may the peculiar and independent operation of each individual in the social state most effectually be preserved? How may the security each man ought to possess, as to his life, and the employment of his faculties according to the dictates of his own understanding, be most certainly defended from invasion? How may the indi...

BOOK III Principles of Government CHAPTER IV OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY Common deliberation the true foundation of government - proved from the equal claims of mankind - from the nature of our faculties from the object of government - from the effects of common deliberation. - Delegation vindicatcd. - Difference between the doctrine here maintained and that of a social contract. - Remark. HAVING rejected the hypotheses that have most generally been advanced as to the rational basis of a political authority, let us inquire whether we may not arrive at the same object by a simple investigation of the obvious reason of the case, without refinement of system or fiction of process. Government then being first supposed necessary for the welfare of mankind, the most important principle that can be imagined relative to its structure seems to be this; that, as government is a transaction in the nam...

THE SNAKE'S HEAD AND TAIL The Snake's Tail had a quarrel with the Snake's Head about who was to walk in front. The Head said: "You cannot walk in front, because you have no eyes and no ears." The Tail said: "Yes, but I have strength, I move you; if I want to, I can wind myself around a tree, and you cannot get off the spot." The Head said: "Let us separate!" And the Tail tore himself loose from the Head, and crept on; but the moment he got away from the Head, he fell into a hole and was lost. FINE THREAD A Man ordered some fine thread from a Spinner. The Spinner spun it for him, but the Man said that the thread was not good, and that he wanted the finest thread he could get. The Spinner said: "If this is not fine enough, take this!" and she pointed to an empty space. He said that he did not see any. The Spinner said: "You do not see it, because it is so fine. I do not see it mys...

WILLIAM GODWIN GODWIN'S OWN ACCOUNT OF CALEB WILLIAMS As written for insertion in the edition of FLEETWOOD when that novel was reprinted in Bentley's "Standard Novels' as No. XXII London, November 20, 1832 CALEB WILLIAMS has always been regarded by the public with an unusual degree of favor. The proprietor of "THE STANDARD NOVELS" has therefore imagined, that even an account of the concoction and mode of writing the work would be viewed with some interest. I had always felt in myself some vocation towards the composition of a narrative of fictitious adventure; and among the things of obscure note, which I have above referred to, were two or three pieces of this nature. It is not therefore extraordinary that some project of the sort should have suggested itself on the present occasion [after the publication of Political Justice] I formed a conception of a book of fictitious adv...


The spectacle presented at this moment by Europe is deplorable enough but withal particularly instructive. On the one hand, diplomatists and courtiers hurrying hither and thither with the increased activity which displays itself whenever the air of our old continent begins to smell of powder. Alliances are being made and unmade, with much chaffering over the amount of human cattle that shall form the price of the bargain. "So many million head on condition of your house supporting ours; so many acres to feed them, such and such seaports for the export of their wool." Each plotting to overreach his rivals in the market. That is what in political jargon is known as diplomacy. [NOTE. -- While it will be understood that the political situation ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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