chapter
41 Pages

Commentaries on the Laws of England

WithRichard A. Epstein

The objects of the laws of England are so very numerous and extensive, that, in order to consider them with any tolerable case and perspicuity, it will be necessary to distribute them methodically; avoiding possible divisions too large and comprehensive on the one hand, and too trifling and minute on the other; both of which are equally productive of confusion. The rights of persons considered in their natural capacities are of two forts, absolute, and relative. Absolute, which are such as appertain and belong to particular men, merely as individuals or single persons: relative, which are incident to them as members of society, and standing in various relations to each other. Of great importance to the public is the preservation of this personal liberty: for if once it were left in the power of any, the highest, magistrate to imprison arbitrarily whomever he or his officers thought proper, there would soon be an end of all other rights and immunities.