Law and Order – Answering the Great Purposes of Civil Society

Called Unto Liberty, Abraham Williams, Boston 1762

A little common sense about why we need the police and the courts to give force to the laws – from a 1762 Election Sermon by Reverend Abraham Williams:

“The Application and Execution of Laws made for the public Good, is another great Trust in civil Society. The Peace and Welfare of the Community, the Security and Enjoyment of every Individual, much depend upon the Skill and Uprightness of those to whom it is committed. The End of their Institution, is to be a Terror to evil Doers, and a Praise to those that do well. Laws are published to be observed: The Fitness of them is the Reason and Ground of their Obligation:- The Security and Happiness of Society depend upon their Observation. As it is fit that Persons be appointed to execute these Laws, the Society must greatly suffer, and the Ends of it be frustrated, if they neglect their Business:- Communities may be ruined, if they pervert those Laws, design’d for general Security, to the Prejudice of it’s Members- But a faithful Execution of these Rules of Equity, and a due Punishment of Transgressors, will secure the innocent and honest; and answer the great Purposes of civil Society. They that execute equitable Laws, establish Peace and Righteousness, make others, and are themselves good Members of the Body, and express a proper Care for the other Members.”

So what have we then when we cancel police and or elect district attorneys who refuse to punish criminals? Do we not have the breakdown of civilization? Do we not have communities no longer fit to be called communities, laws no longer fit to be called laws, governments no longer fit to be called governments, places, mind you, where the innocent and honest may no longer enjoy the fruit of their labors and peace and security in their homes and businesses? Indeed, we do.

How could it be otherwise?

Yet another reason to return to rather than cancel our Founding generations culture and ideals.


Source: Quotation from An Election Sermon by Abraham Williams given at Boston in 1762, as found in Charles S. Hyneman, Donald S. Lutz. American Political Writing During the Founding Era: 1760-1805, vol. 1 [1983], p. 11-12.

Read the full text of Abraham Williams “An Election Sermon”


Called Unto Liberty is researched, compiled, and formatted for the Internet (with occasional commentary or explanatory notes) by Steve Farrell.