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bation ; a tendency, however faint, to the objects of the one, and a proportionable aversion to those of the other.'
Avarice, ambition, vanity, and all those pasions that are vulgarly comprehended under the denomination of self-love, are excluded from our author's theory concerning the origin of morals, not because they are too weak, but because they have not a proper direction for that purpose. "The notion of morals, says he, implies some sentiment, common to all mankind, which recommends the same object to general approbation, and makes every man, or most men, agree in the fame opinion or decision concerning it. It also implies some sentiment, so universal and comprehensive as to extend to all mankind, and render the actions and conduct, even of persons the most remote, an object of censure or applause, according as they agree or disagree with that rule of right which is established. Thele two requisite circumstances belong alone to the sentiment of humanity here insisted on. The other passions produce, in every breast, many strong sentiments of defire and averfion, affection and hatred, but these neither are felt so much in common, nor are so comprehensive, as to be the foundation of any general system and establifhed theory of blame or approbation. . When a man denominates another his
his rival, his antagonist, his adversary, he is understood to speak the language of self-love, and to express sentiments peculiar to himself, and arising from his particular circumstances and situation : but when he bestows on any man the epithets of vicious or odious, or depraved, he then fpeaks another language, and expresses sentiments, in which he expects all his audience are to concur with him. He must, here, therefore, depart from his private and particular fituation, and must choose a point of view, common to him with others he must move fome universal principle of the human frame, and touch a string, to which all mankind have an accord and symphony. If he means, therefore, to express, that this man possesses qualities, whose tendency is pernicious to society, he has chosen this common point in view, and has touched the principle of humanity, in which every man, in fome degree, concurs. While the human heart is compounded of the same elements as at present, it will never be altogether indifferent to the good of mankind, nor entirely unaffected with the tendencies of characters and manners. And tho’this affection of humanity may not generally be esteemed so
trong as, ambition or vanity, yet, being common to all men, it can alone be the foundation of morals, or of any
general system of conduct and behaviour. One man's ambition is not another man's ambition ; nor will the same event or object satisfy both : but the humanity of one man is the humanity of every one ; and the same object touches this passion in all human creatures.
• But the sentiments which arise from humanity, are not only the same in all human creatures, and produce the same approbation or censure; but they also comprehend all human creatures ; nor is there any one, whose conduct and character is not, by their means, an object, to every one, of censure or approbation. On the contrary those other passions, commonly denominated selfish, both produce different sentiments in each individual, according to his particular situation; and also contemplate the greatest part of mankind with the utmost indifference and uncon
Whoever has a high regard and esteem for me flatters my vanity; whoever expresses contempt mortifies and displeases me : but as my name is known but to a small part of mankind, there are few that come within the spere of this passion, or excite, on its account, either my affection or disgust
. But if you represent a tyrannical, infolent, or barbarous behaviour, in any country or in any age of the world; I foon carry my eye to the pernicious tendency of such a conduct, and feel the sentiment of repugnance and displeafure towards it. No character can be fo remote as to be, in this light, altogether indifferent to me. What is beneficial to fociety or to the person himself must still be preferred. And every quality or action, of every human being, must, by this means, be ranked under some class or denomination, expressive of general censure or applause.
• What more, therefore, can we ask to distinguish the sentiments, dependant on humanity, from those connected with any other passion, or to satisfy us why the former is the origin of morals, and not the latter? Whatever conduct gains my approbation, by touching my humanity, procures
also the applause of all mankind, by affecting the fame principle in them: but what serves my avarice or ambition pleases only these passions in me, and affects not the avarice, or ambition of the rest of mankind. No conduct, in any man, which has a beneficial tendency, but is agreeable to my humanity, however remote the person : but every man, so far removed as neither to cross nor ferve
my avarice and ambition, is altogether indifferent to those parfions. The distinction, therefore, betwixt these different
(pecies of sentiment being so strong and evident, language must loon be moulded upon it, and must invent a peculiar fet of terms to express those universal sentiments of censure or approbation, which arise from humanity or from views of general usefulness and its contrary, VIRTUE and vice become then known : morals are recognized : certain general ideas are framed of human conduct and behaviour : such measures are expected from men in such situations : this action is determined conformable to our abstract rule ; that other, contrary. And by such universal principles are the particular sentiments of self-love frequently controuled and limited.'
In the remaining part of this section the author briefly confiders our ebligation to virtue, and thews that every man, who has any regard to his own happiness and welfare, will beli find his account in the practice of every moral duty.
There are two appendixes subjoined to the work; in the first of which the author examines how far either reason or sentiment enters into all moral determinations.
i The chief foundation, says he, of moral praise being supposed to lie in the usefulness of any quality or action ; it is evident that reason must enter for a considerable share in all determinations of this kind ; since nothing but that faculty can instruct us in the tendency of qualities and actions, and point out their beneficial consequences to society and to their poffeffors. In many cases this is an affair liable to great controversy ; doubts may arise, opposite interests occur; and a preference must be given to one side, from very nice views and a small over balance of utility. This is particularly remarkable in questions with regard to justice; as is, indeed natural to suppose from that species of utility which attends this virtue. Were every single instance of justice, like that of benevolence, beneficial and useful to fociety ; this would be a more simple state of the case, and seldom liable to great controversy. But as single instances of justice are often pernicious in their first and immediate tendency, and as the advantage to fociety results only from the observance of the general rule, and from the concurrence and combination of several persons in the same equitable conduct; the case here becomes more intricate and involved. The various circumstances of society; the various consequences of any practice; the various interests which may be proposed : thefe on many occasions are doubtful, and subject to great discussion and enquiry. The object of municipal is to fix all questions with regard to justice : the debates of civilians; the reflections of politicians ; the precedents of histories and publie records, are all directed to the fame purpose. And a very accurate reason or judgment is often requisite, to give true determination, amidit fuch intricate doubts arising from obscure or opposite utilities.
• But tho reason, when fully affifted and improved, be fufficient to instruct us in the pernicious or useful tendencies of qualities and actions ; it is not alone fufficient to produce any moral blame or approbation. Utility is only a tendency to a certain end ; and were the end totally indifferent to us, we should feel the same indifference towards the means. It is requisite a sentiriért should here display itself
, in order, to give a preference to the useful above the pernicious tendencies. This sentiment can be no other than a feeling for the happiness of mankind, and a resentment of their mifery; since these are the different ends which virtue and vice have a tendency to promote. Here therefore, reason instructs us in the several tendencies of actions, and humanity makes a distinction in favour of those, which are useful and beneficial.'
After this our author proceeds to Thew the absurdity of supposing reason to be the fole source of morals, an absurdity which he places in the clearest and strongest light, and concludes this his first appendix in the following manner. • Thus, says he, the distinct boundaries and offices of reason and taste are easily ascertained. The former conveys the knowledge of truth and fallhood : the latter gives the sentiment of beauty and deformity, vice and virtue. The one discovers objects, as they really stand in nature, without addition or diminution : the other has a productive faculty, and gilding or staining all natural objects with the colours borrowed from internal sentiment, raises in a manner a new creation. Reason, being cool and disengaged, is no motive to action, and directs only the impulse received from appetite or inclination, by fhewing us the means of obtaining happiness or avoiding misery : tafte, as it gives pleasure or pain, and thereby constitutes happinefs or misery, becomes a motive to action, and is the first spring or impulse to desire and volition. From circumstances and relations, known or supposed, the former leads us to the discovery of the concealed and unknown: after all circumstances and relations are laid before us, the latter makes us feel from the whole a new sentiment of blame or approbation. The standard of the one being founded on the nature of things, is eternal and inflexible, even by the will of the supreme
being : the standard of the other, arising from the internal frame and constitution of animals, is ultimately derived from that fupreme will, who bestowed on each being its peculiar nature, and arranged the several classes and orders of exie Itence.'
In the second appendix, our author gives a more particular explication of the origin and nature of justice; and marks fome differences betwixt it and the other virtues. He observes, that, the social virtues of humanity and benevolence, exert their influence immediately, by a direct tendency or instinct, which keeps.chiefly in view the fimple object that moves the affections, and comprehends not any scheme or system, nor the consequences resulting from the concurrence, imitation, or example of others; but that the case is different with the social virturs of justice and fidelity. • They' says he, are highly useful, or indeed absolutely necessary to the well-being of mankind; but the benefit refulting from them, is not the consequence of every individual single act; but arises from the whole scheme or fyftem, concurred in by the whole, or the greatest part of the society. General peace and order is the attendant of justice, or a general abstinence from the poffeffions of others; but a particular regard to the particular right of one individual citizen, may frequently, con. fidered in itself, be attended with pernicious consequences. The result of the several acts is here often directly oppo-fite to that of the whole system of actions ; and the former may be extremely hurtful, while the latter is, to the highest degree, advantageous. Riches inherited from a parent, are, in a bad man's hand, the instruments of mischief. The right of succeffion may, in one instance, be hurtful. Its benefit arises only from the observance of the general rule ; and it is fufficient, if compensation be thereby made, for all the ills and inconveniencies, which Aow from particular characters and situations,
The happiness and prosperity of mankind, arising from the social viitues of benevolence and its subdivisions, may be compared to a wall, built by many hands; which still rises by each stone that is put upon it : and receives proportionable increase to the diligence and care of each workman, The same happiness, raised by the social virtue of justice and its subdivisions, may be compared to the building of a vault, where each individual stone, would, of itfelf, fall to the ground ; nor does the whole fabric support