“The word trespass, my dear sir,” replied Jack, “will admit of much argument, and I will divide it into three heads. It implies, according to the conventional meaning, coming without permission upon the land or property of another. Now, sir, the question may all be resolved in the following. Was not the world made for all? and has any one, or any portion of its inhabitants, an exclusive right to claim any part of it, as his property? If you please, I have laid down the proposition, and we will now argue the point.”

The gentleman who accosted Jack had heard of Mr. Easy, and his arguments; he was a humorist, and more inclined to laugh than to be angry; at the same time that he considered it necessary to show Jack that under existing circumstances they were not tenable.

“But, Mr. Easy, allowing the trespass on the property to be venial, surely you do not mean to say that you are justified in taking my fish; I bought the fish, and stocked the pond, and have fed them ever since. You cannot deny but that they are private property, and that to take them is a theft?”

“That will again admit of much ratiocination, my dear sir,” replied Jack; “but—I beg your pardon, I have a fish.” Jack pulled up a large carp, much to the indignation of the keepers and to the amusement of their master, unhooked it, placed it in his basket, renewed his bait with the greatest sang froid, and then throwing in his line, resumed his discourse. “As I was observing, my dear sir,” continued Jack, “that will admit of much ratiocination. All the creatures of the earth were given to man for his use—man means mankind—they were never intended to be made a monopoly of. Water is also the gift of heaven, and meant for the use of all. We now come to the question how far the fish are your property. If the fish only bred on purpose to please you, and make you a present of their stock, it might then require a different line of argument; but as in breeding they only acted in obedience to an instinct with which they are endowed on purpose that they may supply man, I submit to you that you cannot prove these fish to be yours more than mine. As for feeding with the idea that they were your own, that is not an unusual case in this world, even when a man is giving bread and butter to his children. Further—but I have another bite—I beg your pardon, my dear sir—Ah! he’s off again—”

“Then, Mr. Easy, you mean to say that the world and its contents are made for all.”

“Exactly, sir, that is my father’s opinion, who is a very great philosopher.”

“How then does your father account for some possessing property and others being without it?”

“Because those who are the strongest have deprived those who are weaker.”

“But would not that be always the case even if we were in that state of general inheritance which you have supposed. For instance, allowing two men to chase the same animal, and both to come up to it at the same time, would not the strongest bear it off?”

“I grant that, sir.”

“Well, then, where is your equality?”

“That does not disprove that men were not intended to be equal; it only proves that they are not so. Neither does it disprove that everything was not made for the benefit of all; it only proves that the strong will take advantage of the weak, which is very natural.”

“Oh! you grant that to be very natural.—Well, Mr. Easy, I am glad to perceive that we are of one mind, and I trust we shall continue so. You’ll observe that I and my keepers being three, we are the strong party in this instance, and admitting your argument, that the fish are as much yours as mine, still I take advantage of my strength to re-possess myself of them, which is, as you say, very natural.—James, take those fish.”

“If you please,” interrupted Jack, “we will argue that point—”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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