The Elements of Moral Science (1835, 1856 ed.)

Francis Wayland


Of Justice

Justice, when used in a judicial sense, signifies that temper of mind which disposes a man to administer rewards and punishments according to the character and actions of the object. It is also used to designate the act by which this administration is effected. Thus, we speak of a judge, who administers justice. In the present case, however, it is used in a more extensive signification. It is here intended to designate that temper of mind which disposes us to leave every other being in the unmolested enjoyment of those means of happiness bestowed upon him by his Creator. It is, also, frequently used for the exhibition of this conduct in outward act. Thus, when a man manifests a proper respect for the rights of others, we say, he acts justly; when he, in any manner, violates these rights, we say, he acts unjustly. The most important means of happiness which God has placed in the power of the individual, are, first, HIS OWN PERSON; second, PROPERTY; third, CHARACTER; fourth, REPUTATION.