as a right
This is a distinction worth pondering. In general terms throughout the
novel we have been allowed to relax in the notion of sympathy as a
private, even domestic virtue, commensurate with compassion and affection.
Questions of justice have been largely raised within public arenas or as
involving the legal rights of individuals. Here, however, the larger
issues of late Enlightenment democratic enfranchisement merge with private
desire, as to an important degree they also do in the Constitution of the United States of
particularly as amended by the Bill
of Rights (1789), or the Declaration of Rights of the French
Constituent Assembly (1789) or that proposed by
Maximilien Robespierre (1793)
or, indeed, the radical Declaration of
Rights written by the young agitator Percy Bysshe Shelley for distribution
among the Irish in 1812.
Sympathy thus has a political component to it. In the Creature's
formulation God, or one who would assume the supreme powers of God,
implicitly has an obligation to foster the "pursuit of happiness" of a
creation or subject.