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PRINCIPLES. By this term is understood truths or propositions so clear that they cannot be proved nor contradicted, unless by propositions which are still clearer. They are of two kinds, one when the principle is universal, and these are known as axioms or maxims; as, no one can transmit rights which he has not; the accessory follows the principal, &c. The other class are simply called first principles. These principles have known marks by which they may always be recognized. These are, 1. That they are so clear that they cannot be proved by anterior and more manifest truths. 2, That they are almost universally received. 3. That they are so strongly impressed on our minds that we conform ourselves to them, whatever may be our avowed opinions.
     2. First principles have their source in the sentiment of our own existence, and that which is in the nature of things. A principle of law is a rule or axiom which is founded in the nature of the subject, and it exists before it is expressed in the form of a rule. Domat, Lois Civiles, liv. prel. t. 1, s. 2 Toull. tit. prel. n. 17. The right to defend one's self, continues as long as an unjust attack, was a principle before it was ever decides by a court, so that a court does Dot establish but recognize principles of law.
     3. In physics, by principle is understood that which constitutes the essence of a body, or its constituent parts. 8 T. R. 107. See 2 H. Bl. 478. Taken in this sense, a principle cannot be patented; but when by the principle of a machine is meant the modus operandi, the peculiar device or manner of producing any given effect, the application of the principle may be patented. 1 Mason, 470; 1 Gallis, 478; Fessend. on Pat. 130; Phil. on Pat. 95, 101; Perpigna, Manuel des Inventeurs, &c., c. 2, s. 1.

References in classic literature ?
and pity from your heart those who have no such guardians to hedge them round with principles which may seem like prison walls to impatient youth, but which will prove sure foundations to build character upon in womanhood.
What is the principle of religious belief in them but a Loose-Fish?
Confucius said: "If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are subjects of shame.
The excellence of his understanding and his principles can be concealed only by that shyness which too often keeps him silent.
I believed he was naturally a man of better tendencies, higher principles, and purer tastes than such as circumstances had developed, education instilled, or destiny encouraged.
My heart invariably cleaved to the master's, in preference to Catherine's side: with reason I imagined, for he was kind, and trustful, and honourable; and she - she could not be called OPPOSITE, yet she seemed to allow herself such wide latitude, that I had little faith in her principles, and still less sympathy for her feelings.
Vanstone accepted them as proofs of the steady development of industrious principles in the writer.
Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do.
I warmed the ale and made the toast on the usual infallible principles.
Upon the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the dissolution of the ties of allegiance, the assumption of sovereign power, and the institution of civil government, are all acts of transcendent authority, which the people alone are competent to perform; and, accordingly, it is in the name and by the authority of the people, that two of these acts--the dissolution of allegiance, with the severance from the British Empire, and the declaration of the United Colonies, as free and independent States--were performed by that instrument.
in devoting my whole life to the culture of my reason, and in making the greatest progress I was able in the knowledge of truth, on the principles of the method which I had prescribed to myself.
From the disorders that disfigure the annals of those republics the advocates of despotism have drawn arguments, not only against the forms of republican government, but against the very principles of civil liberty.

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