The Philanthropist 

Aurelius, no doubt surrounded by multiple sovereign examples, states in book iii of his Meditations, that it is one of the "noblest functions of reason to know whether or not it is time to walk out of the world."  The anonymous author of the first substantive text in De Quincey's On Murder, Considered as One of the Fine Arts, invites us to interpret with him that the Emperor was referring to a knowledge of whether or not it was time for others to walk out of the world.  He then goes on to suggest that murder, committed under such circumstances, is a form of philanthropy.  
 

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