Harriet Martineau's Autobiography

Harriet Martineau's Autobiography

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Harriet Martineau's Autobiography by Harriet Martineau

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1877

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Harriet Martineau's Autobiography

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Book Excerpt

vors, when we are abundantly exhorted, in the case of every other, to do our own testamentary duty ourselves,--betimes, carefully and conscientiously?

Then comes the profit argument,--the plea of how much the world would have lost without the publication of the letters of A. B. and C. This is true, in a way. The question is whether the world has not lost more by the injury to epistolary freedom than it has gained by reading the letters of nonconsenting letter-writers. There will always be plenty of consenting and willing letter-writers: let society have their letters. But there should be no others,--at least till privacy is altogether abolished as an unsocial privilege. This grossly utilitarian view does not yet prevail; and I do not think it ever will. Meantime, I claim the sanction of every principle of integrity, and every feeling of honor and delicacy, on behalf of my practice. I claim, over and above these, the sanction of the law.--Law reflects the principles of morals; and in this case the mirro

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