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WILLIAM WOLLASTON The Religion of Nature delineated - Lewis Amherst Selby-Bigge, British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2 
British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, edited with an Introduction and analytical Index by L.A. Shelby-Bigge in two volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897). Vol. 2.
Part of: British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols.
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WILLIAM WOLLASTON The Religion of Nature delineated
[Privately printed, 1722. First published, 1724. Reprinted here from the eighth edition, 1759.]
Of Moral GoodandEvil.
1023The foundation of religion lies in that difference between the acts of men, which distinguishes them into good, evil, indifferent. For if there is such a difference, there must be religion; & contra. Upon this account it is that such a long and laborious inquiry hath been made after some general idea, or some rule, by comparing the foresaid acts with which it might appear, to which kind they respectively belong. And tho men have not yet agreed upon any one, yet one certainly there must be. That, which I am going to propose, has always seemed to me not only evidently true, but withal so obvious and plain, that perhaps for this very reason it hath not merited the notice of authors: and the use and application of it is so easy, that if things are but fairly permitted to speak for themselves their own natural language, they will, with a moderate attention, be found themselves to proclaim their own rectitude or obliquity; that is, whether they are disagreeable to it, or not. I shall endeavour by degrees to explain my meaning.
1024 I. That act, which may be denominated morally good or evil, must be the act of a being capable of distinguishing, choosing, and acting for himself: or more briefly, of an intelligent and free agent. Because in proper speaking no act at all can be ascribed to that, which is not included with these capacities. For that, which cannot distinguish, cannot choose: and that, which has not the opportunity, or liberty of choosing for itself, and acting accordingly, from an internal principle, acts, if it acts at all, under a necessity incumbent ab extra. But that, which acts thus, is in reality only an instrument in the hand of something which imposes the necessity; and cannot properly be said to act, but to be acted on. The act must be the act of an agent: therefore not of his instrument.
A being under the above-mentioned inabilities is, as to the morality of its acts, in the state of inert and passive matter, and can be but a machine: to which no language or philosophy ever ascribed ἤθη mores.
1025 II. Those propositions are true, which express things as they are: or, truth is the conformity of those words or signs, by which things are experts, to the things themselves. Define.
1026 III. A true proposition may be denied, or things may be denied to be what they are, by deeds, as well as by express words or another proposition. It is certain there is a meaning in many acts and gestures. Every body understands weeping, laughing, shrugs, frowns, &c., these are a sort of universal language.* * * * * * *
But these instances do not come up to my meaning. There are many acts of other kinds, such as constitute the character of a man's conduct in life, which have in nature, and would be taken by any indifferent judge to have a signification, and to imply some proposition, as plainly to be understood as if it was declared in words: and therefore if what such acts declare to be, is not, they must contradict truth, as much as any false proposition or assertion can.
1027 If a body of soldiers, seeing another body approach, should fire upon them, would not this action declare that they were enemies; and if they were not enemies, would not this military language declare what was false? No, perhaps it may be said; this can only be called a mistake, like that which happened to the Athenians in the attack of Epipolar, or to the Carthaginians in their last incampment against Agathocles in Africa. Suppose then, instead of this firing, some officer to have said they were enemies, when indeed they were friends: would not that sentence affirming them to be enemies be false, notwithstanding he who spoke it was mistaken? The truth or falsehood of this affirmation doth not depend upon the affirmer's knowledge or ignorance: because there is a certain sense affixt to the words, which must either agree or disagree to that, concerning which the affirmation is made. The thing is the very same still, if into the place of words be substituted actions. The salute here was in nature the salute of an enemy, but should have been the salute of a friend: therefore it implied a falsity. Any spectator would have understood this action as I do; for a declaration, that the other were enemies. Now what is to be understood, has a meaning: and what has a meaning, may be either true or false: which is as much as can be said of any verbal sentence.* * * * * * *
If A should enter into a compact with B, by which he promises and engages never to do some certain thing, and after this he does that thing: in this case must be granted, that his act interferes with his promise, and is contrary to it. Now it cannot interfere with his promise, but it must also interfere with the truth of that proposition, which says there was such a promise made, or that there is such a compact subsisting. If this proposition be true, A made such a certain agreement with B, it would be denied by this, A never made any agreement with B. Why? Because the truth of this latter is inconsistent with the agreement asserted in the former. The formality of the denial, or that, which makes it to be a denial, is this inconsistence. If then the behaviour of A be consistent with the agreement mentioned in the former proposition, that proposition is as much denied by A's behaviour, as it can be by the latter, or any other proposition. Or thus, If one proposition imports or contains that which is contrary to what is contained in another, it is said to contradict this other, and denies the existence of what is contained in it. Just so if one act imports that which is contrary to the import of another, it contradicts this other, and denies its existence. In a word, if A by his actions denies the managements, to which he hath subjected himself, his actions deny them; just as we say, Ptolemy by his writings denies the motion of the earth, or his writings deny it.* * * * * * *
1028 When a man lives, as if he had the estate which he has not, or was in other regards (all fairly cast up) what he is not, what judgment is to be passed upon him? Doth not his whole conduct breathe untruth? May we not say (if the propriety of language permits), that he lives a lye?
In common speech we say some actions are insignificant, which would not be sense, if there were not some that are significant, that have a tendency and meaning. And this is as much as can be said of articulate sounds, that they are either significant or insignificant.* * * * * * *
I lay this down then as a fundamental maxim, That whoever acts as if things were so, or not so, doth by his acts declare, that they are so, or not so; as plainly as he could by words, and with more reality. And if the things are otherwise, his acts contradict those propositions, which assert them to be as they are.
1029 IV. No act (whether word or deed) of any being, to whom moral good and evil are imputable, that interferes with any true proposition, or denies any thing to be as it is, can be right. For,
I. If that proposition, which is false, be wrong, that act which implies such a proposition, or is founded in it, cannot be right: because it is the very proposition itself in practice.
1030 2. Those propositions, which are true, and express things as they are, express the reason between the subject and the attribute as it is; that is, this is either affirmed or deemed of that according to the nature of that relation. And further, this relation (or, if you will, the nature of this relation) is determined and fixed by the natures of the things themselves. Therefore nothing can interfere with any proposition that is true, but it must likewise interfere with nature (the nature of the relation, and the natures of the things themselves too), and consequently be unnatural, or wrong in nature. So very much are those gentlemen mistaken, who by following nature mean only complying with their bodily inclinations, tho in opposition to truth, or at least without any regard to it. Truth is but a conformity to nature: and to follow nature cannot be to combat truth.
1031 3. If there is a supreme being, upon whom the existence of the world depends; and nothing can be m it but what He either causes, or permits to be; then to own things to be as they are is to own what He causes, or at least permits, to be thus caused or permitted: and this is to take things as He gives them, to go into His constitution of the world, and to submit to His will, revealed in the books of nature. To do this therefore must be agreeable to His will. And if so, the contrary must be disagreeable to it; and, since (as we shall find in due time) there is a perfect rectitude in His will, certainly wrong.* * * * * * *
1032 As the owning of things, in all our conduct, to be as they are, is direct obedience: so the contrary, not to own things to be or to have been that are or have been, or not to he what they are, is direct rebellion against Him, who is the Author of nature. For it is as much as to say, ‘God indeed causes such a thing to be, or at least permits it, and it is; or the relation, that lies between this and that, is of such a nature, that one may be affirmed of the other, &c. this is true: but yet to me it shall not be so: I will not inure it, or act as if it were so: the laws of nature are ill framed, nor will I mind them, or what follows from them: even existence shall be non-existence, when my pleasures require.’ Such an impious declaration as this attends every voluntary infraction of truth.
1033 4. Things cannot be denied to be what they are, in any instance or manner whatsoever, without contradicting axioms and truths eternal. For such are these: every thing is what it is; that which is done, cannot be undone; and the like. And then if those truths be considered as having always subsisted in the Divine mind, to which they have always been true, and which differs not from the Deity himself, to do this is to act not only in opposition to His government or sovereignty, but to His nature also: which, if He be perfect, and there be nothing in Him but what is most right, must also upon this account be most wrong.
Pardon these inadequate ways of speaking of God. You will apprehend my meaning: which perhaps may be better represented thus. If there are such things as axioms, which are and always have been immutably true, and consequently have been always known to God to be so, the truth of them cannot be denied any way, either directly or indirectly, but the truth of the Divine knowledge must be denied too.
1034 5. Designedly to treat things as being what they are not is the greatest possible absurdity. It is to put bitter for sweet, darkness for light, crooked for straight, &c. It is to subvert all science, to renounce all sense of truth, and flatly to deny the existence of any thing. For nothing can be true, nothing does exist, if things are not what they are.
To talk to a post, or otherwise treat it as if it was a man, would surely be reckoned an absurdity, if not distraction. Why? because this is to treat it as being what it is not. And why should not the converse be reckoned as bad; that is, to treat a man as a post; as if he had no sense, and felt not injuries, which he doth feel; as if to him pain and sorrow were not pain; happiness not happiness. This is what the cruel and unjust often do.
Lastly, To deny things to be as they are is a transgression of the great law of our nature, the law of reason. For truth cannot be opposed, but reason must be violated. But of this more in the proper place.
Much might be added here concerning the amiable nature, and great force of truth. If I may judge by what I feel within myself, the least truth cannot be contradicted without much reluctance: even to see other men disregard it does something more than displease; it is shocking.
1035 V. What has been said of acts inconsistent with truth, may also be said of many omissions, or neglects to act: that is, by these also true propositions may be denied to be true; and then those omissions, by which this is done, must be wrong for the same reasons with those assigned under the former proposition.
Nothing can be asserted or denied by any act with regard to those things, to which it bears no relation: and here no truth can be affected. And when acts do bear such relations to other things, as to be declaratory of something concerning them, this commonly is visible; and it is not difficult to determine, whether truth suffers by them, or not. Some things cannot possibly be done, but truth must be directly and positively denied; and the thing will be dear. But the cases arising from omissions are not always so well determined, and plain: it is not always easy to know when or how far truth is violated by omitting. Here therefore more latitude must be allowed, and much must be left to every one's own judgment and ingenuity.
This may be said in general, that when any truth would be denied by acting, the omitting to act can deny no truth. For no truth can be contrary to truth. And there may be omissions in other cases, that are silent as to truth. But yet there are some neglects or refusals to act, which are manifestly inconsistent with it (or, with some true propositions).
We before supposed A to have engaged not to do some certain thing, &c. if now, on the other side, he should by some solemn promise, oath, or other act undertake to do some certain thing before such a time, and he voluntarily omits to do it, he would behave himself as if there had been no such promise or engagement; which is equal to denying there was any: and truth is as much contradicted in this as in the former instance.
1036 Again, there are some ends, which the nature of things and truth require us to aim at, and at which therefore if we do not aim, nature and truth are denied. If a man does not desire to prevent evils, and to be happy, he denies both his own nature and the nature and definition of happiness to be what they are. And then further, willingly to neglect the means, leading to any such end, is the same as not to propose that end, and must fall under the same censure. As retreating from any end commonly attends the not advancing towards it, and that may be considered as an act, many omissions of this kind may be turned over to the other side, and brought under the foregoing proposition.* * * * * * *
1037 There are omissions of other kinds, which will deserve to be annumerated to these by being either total, or notorious, or upon the score of some other circumstance. It is certain I should not deny the Phœnissæ of Euripides to be an excellent drama by not reading it: nor do I deny Chihil-menâr to be a rare piece of antiquity by not going to see it. But should I, having leisure, health, and proper opportunities, read nothing, nor make any inquiries in order to improve my mind, and attain such knowledge as may be useful to me, I should then deny my mind to be what it is and that knowledge to be what it is.* * * * * * *
If I give nothing to this or that poor body, to whom I am under no particular obligation, I do not by this deny them to be poor, any more than I should deny a man to have a squalid beard by not shaving him, to be nasty by not washing him, or to be lame by not taking him on my back.
Many things are here to be taken into consideration (according to the next proposition): perhaps I might intrench upon truth by doing this; and then I cannot by not doing it. But if I, being of ability to afford now and then something in charity to the poor, should yet never give them any thing at all, I should then certainly deny the condition of the poor to be what it is, and my own to be what it is: and thus truth would be injured. So, again,
If I should not say my prayers at such a certain hour, or in such a certain place and manner, this would not imply a denial of the existence of God, His providence, or my dependence upon Him: nay, there may be reasons perhaps against that particular time, place, manner. But if I should never pray to Him, or worship Him at all, such a total omission would be equivalent to this assertion, There is no God, who governs the world, to be adored: which, if there is such a being, must be contrary to truth.* * * * * * *
Should I, in the last place, find a man grievously hurt by some accident, fain down, alone, and without present help like to perish; or see his house on firè, no body being near to help, or call out: in this extremity if I do not give him my assistance immediately, I do not do it at all: and by this refusing to do it according to my ability, I deny his case to be what it is; human nature to be what it is; and even those desires and expectations, which I am conscious to myself I should have under the like misfortune, to be what they are.
1038 VI. In order to judge rightly what any thing is, it must be considered not only what it is in itself or in one respect, but also what it may be in any other respect, which is capable of being denied by facts or practice: and the whole description of the thing ought to be taken in.
If a man steals a horse, and rides away upon him, he may be said indeed by riding him to use him as a horse, but not as the horse of another man, who gave him no licence to do this. He does not therefore consider him as being what he is, unless he takes in the respect he bears to his true owner. But it is not necessary perhaps to consider what he is in respect to his color, shape or age: because the thief s riding away with him may neither affirm nor deny him to be of any particular color, &c. I say therefore, that those, and all those properties, respects, and circumstances, which may be contradicted by practice, are to be taken into consideration. For otherwise the thing to be considered is but imperfectly surveyd; and the whole compass of it being not taken in, it is taken not as being what it is, but as what it is in part only, and in other respects perhaps as being what it is not.
If a rich man being upon a journey, should be robbed and stript, it would be a second robbery and injustice committed upon him to take from him part of his then character, and to consider him only as a rich man. His character completed is a rich man robbed and abused, and indeed at that time a poor man and distrest, tho able to repay afterwards the assistance lent him.
Moreover a man in giving assistance of any kind to another should consider what his own circumstances are, as well as what the other's are. If they do not permit him to give it, he does not by his forbearance deny the other to want it: but if he should give it, and by that deny his own or his family's circumstances to be what they are, he would actually contradict truth. And since (as I have observed already) all truths are consistent, nor can any thing be true any further than it is compatible with other things that are true; when both parties are placed in a right light, and the case properly stated for a judgment, the latter may indeed be truly said to want assistance, but not the assistance of the former: any more than a man, who wants a guide, may be said to want a blind or a lame guide. By putting things thus may be truly known what the latter is with respect to the former.
1039 The case becomes more difficult, when a man (A) is under some promise or compact to assist another (B), and at the same time bound to consult his own happiness, provide for his family, &c. and he cannot do these, if he does that, effectually. For what must A do? Here are not indeed opposite truths, but there are truths on opposite sides. I answer: tho there cannot be two incompatible duties, or tho two inconsistent acts cannot be both A's duty at the same time (for then his duty would be an impossibility); yet an obligation, which I will call mixt, may arise out of those differing considerations. A should assist B; but so, as not to neglect himself and family, &c. and so to take care of himself and family, as not to forget the other ingagement, as well and honestly as he can. Here the importance of the truths on the one and the other side should be diligently compared: and there must in such cases be always some exception or limitation understood. It is not in man's power to promise absolutely. He can only promise as one, who may be disabled by the weight and incumbency of truths not then existing.
I could here insert many instances of partial thinking, which occur in authors: but I shall choose only to set down one in the margin.
In short, when things are truly estimated, persons concerned, times, places, ends intended, and effects that naturally follow, must be added to them.
1040 VII. When any act would be wrong, the forbearing that act must be right: likewise when the omission of any thing would be wrong, the doing of it (i. e. not omitting it) must be right. Because contrariorum contraria est ratio.
1041 VIII. Moral good and evil are coincident with right and wrong. For that cannot be good, which is wrong; nor that evil, which is right.
1042 IX. Every act therefore of such a being, as is before described, and all those omissions which interfere with truth (i. e. deny any proposition to be true; which is true; or suppose any thing not to be what it is, in any regard) are morally evil, in some degree or other: the forbearing such acts, and the acting in opposition to such omissions are morally good: and when any thing may be either done, or not done, equally without the violation of truth, that thing is indifferent.
I would have it to be minded well, that when I speak of acts inconsistent with truth, I mean any truth; any true proposition whatsoever, whether containing matter of speculation, or plain fact. I would have every thing taken to be what in fact and truth it is.
1043 It may be of use also to remember, that I have added those words in some degree or other. For neither all evil, nor all good actions are equal. Those truths which they respect, tho they are equally true, may comprise matters of very different importance; or more truths may be violated one way than another: and then the crimes committed by the violation of them may be equally (one as well as the other) said to be crimes, but not equal crimes. If A steals a book from B which was pleasing and useful to him, it is true A is guilty of a crime in not treating the book as being what it is, the book of B, who is the proprietor of it, and one whose happiness partly depends upon it: but still if A should deprive B of a good estate, of which he was the true owner, he would be guilty of a much greater crime. For if we suppose the book to be worth to him one pound, and the estate 10000/., that truth, which is violated by depriving B of his book, is in effect violated 10000 times by robbing him of his estate. It is the same as to repeat the theft of one pound 10000 times over: and therefore if 10000 thefts (or crimes) are more, and all together greater than one, one equal to 10000 must be greater too: greater than that, which is but the 10000th part of it, sure. Then, tho the convenience and innocent pleasure, that B found in the use of the book, was a degree of happiness: yet the happiness accruing to him from the estate, by which he was supplied not only with necessaries, but also with many other comforts and harmless injoyments, vastly exceeded it. And therefore the truth violated in the former case was, B had a property in that, which gave him such a degree of happiness: that violated in the latter, B had a property in that, which gave him a happiness vastly superior to the other. The violation therefore in the latter case is upon this account a vastly greater violation than in the former. Lastly, the truths violated in the former case might end in B, those in the latter may perhaps be repeated in them of his family, who subsist also by the estate, and are to be provided for out of it. And these truths are very many in respect of every one of them, and all their descendents. Thus the degrees of evil or guilt are as the importance and number of truths violated. I shall only add, on the other side, that the value of good actions will rise at least in proportion to the degrees of evil in the omission of them: and that therefore they cannot be equal, any more than the opposite evil omissions.
1044 But let us return to that, which is our main subject, the distinction between moral good and evil. Some have been so wild as to deny there is any such thing: but from what has been said here, it is manifest, that there is as certainly moral good and evil as there is true and false; and that there is as natural and immutable a difference between those as between these, the difference at the bottom being indeed the same. Others acknowledge, that there is indeed moral good and evil; but they want some criterion, there is by the help of which they might know them asunder. And others there are, who pretend to have found that rule, by which our actions ought to be squared, and may be discriminated; or that ultimate end, to which they ought all to be referred: but what they have advanced is either false, or not sufficiently guarded, or not comprehensive enough, or not clear and firm, or (so far as it is just) reducible to my rule. For
1045 They, who reckon nothing to be good but what they call honestum, may denominate actions according as that is, or is not the cause or end of them: but then what is honestum? Something is still wanting to measure things by, and to separate the honesta from the inhonesta.
1046 They who place all in following nature, if they mean by that phrase acting according to the natures of things (that is, treating things as being what they in nature are, or according to truth) say what is right. But this does not seem to be their meaning. And if it is only that a man must follow his own nature, since his nature is not purely rational, but there is a part of him, which he has in common with brutes, they appoint him a guide which I fear will mislead him, this being commonly more likely to prevail, than the rational part. At best this talk is loose.
1047 They who make right reason to be the law, by which our acts are to be judged, and according to their conformity to this or deflexion from it call them lawful or unlawful, good or bad, say something more particular and precise. And indeed it is true, that whatever will bear to be tried by right reason, is right; and that which is condemned by it, wrong. And moreover, if by right reason is meant that which is found by the right use of our rational faculties, this is the same with truth: and what is said by them, will be comprehended in what I have said. But the manner in which they have delivered themselves, is not yet explicit enough. It leaves room for so many disputes and opposite right-reasons, that nothing can be settled, while every one pretends that his reason is right. And beside, what I have said, extends farther: for we are not only to respect those truths, which we discover by reasoning, but even such matters of fact, as are fairly discoverd to us by our senses. We ought to regard things as being what they are, which way soever we come to the knowledge of them.
1048 They, who contenting themselves with superficial and transient views, deduce the difference between good and evil from the common sense of mankind, and certain principles that are born with us, put the matter upon a very infirm foot. For it is much to be suspected there are no such innate maxims as they pretend, but that the impressions of education are mistaken for them: and beside that, the sentiments of mankind are not so uniform and constant, as that we may safely trust such an important distinction upon them.
1049 They, who own nothing to be good but pleasure, or what they call jucundum, nothing evil but pain, and distinguish things by their tendencies to this or that, do not agree in what this pleasure is to be placed, or by what methods and actings the most of it may be obtaind. These are left to be questions still. As men have different tastes, different degrees of sense and philosophy, the same thing cannot be pleasant to all: and if particular actions are to be proved by this test, the morality of them will be very uncertain; the same act may be of one nature to one man, and of another to another. Beside, unless there be some strong limitation added as a fence for virtue, men will be apt to sink into gross voluptuousness, as in fact the generality of Epicurus's herd have done (notwithstanding all his talk of temperance, virtue, tranquility of mind, &c.); and the bridle will be usurped by those appetites which it is a principal part of all religion, natural as well as any other, to curb and restrain. So these men say what is intelligible indeed: but what they say is false. For not all pleasures, but only such pleasure as is true, or happiness (of which afterwards), may be reckond among the fines, or ultima bonorum.
1050 He, who, having considered the two extremes in men's practice, in condemning both which the world generally agrees, places virtue in the middle, and seems to raise an idea of it from its situation at an equal distance from the opposite extremes, could only design to be understood of such virtues, as have extremes. It must be granted indeed, that whatever declines in any degree toward either extreme, must be so far wrong or evil; and therefore that, which equally (or nearly) divides the distance, and declines neither way, must be right: also, that his notion supplies us with a good direction for common use in many cases. But then there are several obligations, that can by no means be derived from it: scarce more than such, as respect the virtues couched under the word moderation. And even as to these, it is many times difficult to discern, which is the middle point. This the author himself was sensible of.
1051 And when his master Plato makes virtue to consist in such a likeness to God, as we are capable of (and God to be the great exemplar), he says what I shall not dispute. But since he tells us not how or by what means we may attain this likeness, we are little the wiser in point of practice: unless by it we understand the practice of truth, God being truth, and doing nothing contrary to it.
1052 Whether any of those other foundations, upon which morality has been built, will hold better than these mentiond, I much question. But if the formal ratio of moral good and evil be made to consist in a conformity of men's acts to the truth of the case or the contrary, as I have here explaind it, the distinction seems to be settled in a manner undeniable, intelligible, practicable. For as what is meant by a true proposition and matter of fact is perfectly understood by every body; so will it be easy for any one, so far as he knows any such propositions and facts, to compare not only words, but also actions with them. A very little skill and attention will serve to interpret even these, and discover whether they speak truth, or not.
1053 X. If there be moral good and evil, distinguished as before, there is religion; and such as may most properly be styled natural. By religion I mean nothing else but an obligation to do (under which word I comprehend acts both of body and mind. I say, to do) what ought not to be omitted, and to forbear what ought not to be done. So that there must be religion, if there are things, of which some ought not to be done, some not to be omitted. But that there are such, appears from what has been said concerning moral good and evil: because that, which to omit would be evil, and which therefore being done would be good or well done, ought certainly by the terms to be done; and so that, which being done would be evil, and implies such absurdities and rebellion against the supreme being, as are mentiond under proposition the IVth, ought most undoubtedly not to be done. And then since there is religion, which follows from the distinction between moral good and evil; since this distinction is founded in the respect, which men's acts bear to truth; and since no proposition can be true, which expresses things otherwise than as they are in nature: since things are so, there must be religion, which is founded in nature, and may upon that account be most properly and truly called the religion of nature or natural religion; the great law of which religion, the law of nature, or rather (as we shall afterwards find reason to call it) of the Author of nature is,
1054 XI. That every intelligent, active, and free being should so behave himself, as by no act to contradict truth; or, that he should treat every thing as being what it is.
Objections I am sensible may be made to almost any thing; but I believe none to what has been here advanced but such as may be answerd. For to consider a thing as being something else than what it is, or (which is the same) not to consider it as being what it is, is an absurdity indefensible. However, for a specimen, I will set down a few. Let us suppose some gentleman, who has not sufficiently considered these matters, amidst his freedoms, and in the gaiety of humor, to talk after some such manner as this. ‘If every thing must be treated as being what it is, what rare work will follow? For, I. to treat my enemy as such is to kill him, or revenge myself soundly upon him. 2. To use a creditor, who is a spendthrift, or one that knows not the use of money, or has no occasion for it, as such, is not to pay him. Nay further, 3. If I want money, don't I act according to truth, if I take it from some body else to supply my own wants? And more, do not I act contrary to truth, if I do not? 4. If one, who plainly appears to have a design of killing another, or doing him some great mischief, if he can find him, should ask me where he is, and I know where he is; may not I, to save life, say I do not know, tho that be false? 5. At this rate I may not, in a frolick, break a glass, or burn a book: because forsooth to use these things as being what they are, is to e out of the one, not to break it; and to read the other, not burn it. Lastly, how shall a man know what to re: ad t he can find out truth, may he not want the power of acting agreeably to it?’
1055 To the first objection it is easy to reply from what has been already said. For if the objector's enemy, whom we will call E, was nothing more than his enemy, there might be some force in the objection; but since he may be considerd as something else beside that, he must be used according to what he is in other respects, as well as in that from which he is denominated the objector's (or O's) enemy. For E in the first place is a man; and as such may claim the benefit For common humanity, whatever that is: and if O denies it to him, he wounds truth in a very sensible part. And then if O and E are fellow-citizens, living under the same government, and subject to laws, which axe so many common covenants, limiting the behaviour of one man to another, and by which E is exempt from all private violence in his body, estate, &c., O cannot treat E as being what he is, unless he treats him also as one, who by common consent is under such a protection. If he does otherwise, he denies the existence of the foresaid laws and public compacts: contrary to truth. And beside, O should act with respect to himself as being what he is; a man himself, in such or such circumstances, and one who has given up all right to private revenge (for that is the thing meant here). If truth therefore be observed, the result will be this. O must treat E as something compounded of a man, a fellow-citizen, and an enemy, all three: that is, he must only prosecute him in such a way, as is agreeable to the statutes and methods, which the society have obliged themselves to observe. And even as to legal prosecutions, there may be many things still to be considered. For E may shew himself an enemy to O in things, that fall under the cognizance of law, which yet may be of moment and importance to him, or not. If they are such things, as really affect the safety or happiness of O or his family, then he will find himself obliged, in duty and submission to truth, to take refuge in the laws; and to punish E, or obtain satisfaction, and at least security for the future, by the means there prescribed. Because if he does not, he denies the nature and sense of happiness to be what they are; the obligations, which perhaps we shall shew hereafter he is under to his family, to be what they are; a dangerous and wicked enemy to be dangerous and wicked; the end of laws, and society itself, to be the safety and good of its members, by preventing injuries, punishing offenders, &c. which it will appear to be, when that matter comes before us. But if the enmity of E rises not beyond trifling, or more tolerable instances, then O might act against truth, if he should be at more charge or hazard in prosecuting E than he can afford, or the thing lost or in danger is worth; should treat one that is an enemy in little things, or a little enemy, as a great one; or should deny to make some allowances, and forgive such peccadillo's, as the common frailty of human nature makes it necessary for us mutually to forgive, if we will live together. Lastly, in cases, of which the laws of the place take no notice, truth and nature would be sufficiently observed, if O should keep a vigilant eye upon the steps of his adversary, and take the most prudent measures, that are compatible with the character of a private person, either to asswage the malice of E, or prevent the effects of it; or perhaps, if he should only not e him as a friend. For thin if he should do, notwithstanding the rants of some men, he would cancel the natural differences of things, and confound truth with untruth.
1056 The debtor in the second objection, if he acts as he says there, does, in the first place, make himself the judge of his creditor, which s, he is not. For he lays him under a heavy sentence, an incapacity in effect of having any estate, or any more estate. In the next place, he arrogates to himself more than can be true: that he perfectly knows, not only what his creditor and his circumstances are, but also what they ever will be hereafter. He that is now weak, or extravagant, or very rich, may for ought he knows become otherwise. And, which is to be considered above all, he directly denies the money, which is the creditor's, to be the creditor's. For it is supposed to be owing or due to him (otherwise he is no creditor): and if it be due to him, he has a right to it: and if he has a right to it, of right it is his (or, it is his). But the debtor by detaining it uses it, as if it was his own, and therefore not the other's; contrary to truth. To pay a man what is due to him doth not deny, that he who pays may think him extravagant, &c. or any other truth; that act has no such signification. It only signifies, that he who pays thinks it due to the other, or that it is his: and this it naturally doth signify. For he might pay the creditor without having any other thought relating to him, but would not without this.
1057 Ans. to objection the 3d. Acting according to truth, as that phrase is used in the objection, is not the thing required by my rule; but, so to act that no truth may be denied by any act. Not taking from another man his money by violence is a forbearance, which does not signify, that I do not want money, or which denies any truth. But taking it denies that to be his, which (by the supposition) is his. The former is only as it were silence, which denies nothing: the latter a direct and loud assertion of a falsity; the former what can contradict no truth, because the latter does. If a man wants money through his own extravagance and vice, there can be no pretence for making another man to pay for his and or folly. We will suppose therefore the man, who wants money, to want it for necessaries, and to have incurred this want through some misfortune, which he could not prevent. In this case, which is put as strong as can be for the objector, there are ways of expressing this want, or acting according to it, without trespassing upon truth. The man may by honest labor and industry seek to supply his wants; or he may apply as a supplicant, not as an enemy or robber, to such as can afford to relieve him; or if his want is very pressing, to the first persons he meets, whom truth will oblige to assist him according to their abilities: or he may do any thing but violate truth; which is a privilege of a vast scope, and leaves him many resources. And such a behaviour as this is not only agreeable to his case, and expressive of it in a way that is natural; but he would deny it to be what it is, if he did not act thus. If there is no way in the world, by which he may help himself without the violation of truth (which can scarce be supposed. If there is no other way) he must e'en take it as his fate. Truth will be truth, and must retain its character and force, let his case be what it will. Many things might be added. The man, from whom this money is to be taken, will be proved sect. vi. to have a right to defend himself and his, and not suffer it to be taken from him; perhaps he may stand as much in need of it, as the other, &c.
1058 Ans. to obj. the 4th. It is certain, in the first place, that nothing may willingly be done, which in any manner promotes murder: whoever is accessary to that, offends against many truths of great weight. 2. You are not obliged to answer the furioso's question. Silence here would contradict no truth. 3. No one can tell, in strict speaking, where another is, if he is not within his view. Therefore you may truly deny, that you know where the man is. Lastly, if by not discovering him you should indanger your life (and this is the hardest circumstance, that can be taken into the objection), the case then would be the same, as if the inquirer should say, ‘If you do not murder such a one, I will murder you. ‘And then be sure you must not commit murder; but must defend yourself against this, as against other dangers, against Banditti, &c. as well as you can. Tho merely to deny truth by words (I mean, when they are not productive of facts to follow; as in judicial transactions, bearing witness, or passing sentence) is not equal to a denial by facts; tho an abuse of language is allowable in this case, if ever in any; tho all sins against truth are not equal, and certainly a little trespassing upon it in the present case, for the good of all parties, as little a one as any; and tho one might look on a man in such a fit of rage as mad, and therefore talk to him not as a man but a mad man: yet truth is sacred, and there are other ways of coming off with innocence, by giving timely notice to the man m danger, calling in assistance, or taking the advantage of some seasonable incident.
1059 The 5th objection seems to respect inanimate things, which if we must treat according to what they are, it is insinuated we shall become obnoxious to many trifling obligations; such as are there mentioned. To this I answer thus. If the glass be nothing else but an useful drinking-glass, and these words fully express what it is, to treat it accordingly is indeed to drink out of it, when there is occasion and it is truly useful, and to break it designedly _s to do what is wrong. For that is to handle it, as if it neither was useful to the objector himself, nor could be so to any one else; contrary to the description of it. But if there be any reason for breaking the glass, then something is wanting to declare fully what it is. As, if the glass be poisond: for then it becomes a poisond drinking-glass, and to break or destroy it is to use it according to this true description of it. Or if by breaking it any thing is to be obtained, which more than countervails the loss of it, it becomes a glass with that circumstance: and then for the objector to break it, if it be his own, is to use it according to what it is. And if it should become by some circumstance useless only, tho there should be no reason for breaking it, yet if there be none against it, the thing will be indifferent and matter of liberty. This answer, mulatis mutandis, may be adapted to other things of this kind; books, or any thing else. As the usefulness or excellence of some books renders them worthy of immortality, and of all our care to secure them to posterity; so some may be used more like what they are, by tearing or burning them, than by preserving or reading them: the number of which, large enough already, I wish you may not think to be increased by this, which I here send you.
1060 Here two things ought to be regarded. I. That tho to act against truth in any case is wrong, yet, the degrees of guilt varying with the importance of things, in some cases the importance one way or t'other may be so little as to render the crime evanescent or almost nothing. And, 2. that inanimate beings cannot be considered as capable of wrong treatment, if the respect they bear to living beings is separated from them. The drinking-glass before mentiond could not be considerd as such, or be what it now is, if there was no drinking animal to own and use it. Nothing can be of any importance to that thing itself, which is void of all life and perception. So that when we compute what such things are, we must take them as being what they are in reference to things that have life.
The last and most material objection, or question rather, shall be answerd by and by. In the mean time I shall only say, that if in any particular case truth is inaccessible, and after due inquiry it doth not appear what, or how things are, then this will be true, that the case or thing under consideration is doubtful: and to act agreeably unto this truth is to be not opinionative, nor obstinate, but modest, cautious, docile, and to endeavour to be on the safer side. Such behaviour shews the case to be as it is. And as to the want of power to act agreeably to truth, that cannot be known till trials are made: and if any one doth try, and do his endeavor, he may take to himself the satisfaction, which he will find in sect. IV.
1061That, which demands to be next considerd, is happiness; as being in itself most considerable; as abetting the cause of truth; and as being indeed so nearly allied to it, that they cannot well be parted. We cannot pay the respects due to one, unless we regard the other. Happiness must not be denied to be what it is: and it is by the practice of truth that we aim at that happiness, which is true.* * * * * * *
1062 II. Pain considered in itself is a real evil, pleasure a real good. I take this as a postulatum, that will without difficulty be granted. Therefore,* * * * * * *
1063 V. When pleasures and pains are equal, they mutually destroy each other: when the one exceeds, the excess gives the true quantity of pleasure or pain. For nine degrees of pleasure, less by nine degrees of pain, are equal to nothing: but nine degrees of one, less by three degrees of the other, give six of the former net and true.
1064 VI. As therefore there may be true pleasure and pain: so there may be some pleasures, which compared with what attends or follows them, not only may vanish into nothing, but may even degenerate into pain, and ought to be reckond as pains1 ; and v. v. some pains, that may be annumerated to pleasures. For the true quantity of pleasure differs not from that quantity of true pleasure; or it is so much of that kind of pleasure, which is true (clear of all discounts and future payments): nor can the true quantity of pain not be the same with that quantity of truth or mere pain.* * * * * * *
1065 VIII. That being may be said to be ultimately happy, in some degree or other, the sum total of whose pleasures exceeds the sum of all his pains: or, ultimate happiness is the sum of happiness, or true pleasure, at the foot of the account. And so on the other side, that being may be said to be ultimately unhappy, the sum of all whose pains exceeds that of all his pleasures.
1066 IX. To make itself happy is a duty, which every being, in proportion to its capacity, owes to itself; and that, which every intelligent being may be supposed to aim at, in general. For happiness is some quantity of true pleasure: and that pleasure, which I call true, may be considerd by itself, arid so will be justly desirable (according to prop. II, and III). On the contrary, unhappiness is certainly to be avoided: because being a quantity of mere pain, it may be considerd by itself, as a real, mere evil, &c. and because if I am obliged to pursue happiness, I am at the same time obliged to recede, as far as I can, from its contrary. All this is self-evident. And hence it follows, that,
1067 X. We cannot act with respect to either ourselves, or other men, as being what we and they are, unless both are considerd as beings susceptive of happiness and unhappiness, and naturally desirous of the one and averse to the other. Other animals may be considerd after the same manner in proportion to their several degrees of apprehension.
But that the nature of happiness, and the road to it, which is so very apt to be mistaken, may be better understood; and true pleasures more certainly distinguishd from false; the following propositions must still be added.
1068 XI. As the true and ultimate happiness of no being can be produced by any thing, that interferes with truth, and denies the natures of things: so neither can the practice of truth make any being ultimately unhappy. For that, which contradicts nature and truth, opposes the will of the Author of nature, and to suppose, that an inferior being may in opposition to His will break through the constitution of things, and by so doing make himself happy, is to suppose that being more potent than the Author of nature, and consequently more potent than the author of the nature and power of that very being himself, which is absurd. And as to the other part of the proposition, it is also absurd to think, that, by the constitution of nature and wall of its author, any being should be finally miserable only for conforming himself to truth, and owning things and the relations lying between them to be what they are. It is much the same as to say, God has made it natural to contradict nature; or unnatural, and therefore punishable, to act according to nature and reality. If such a blunder (excuse the boldness of the word) could be, it must come either thro a defect of power in Him to cause a better and more equitable scheme, or from some delight, which he finds in the misery of his dependents. The former cannot be ascribed to the First cause, who is the fountain of power: nor the latter to Him, who gives so many proofs of his goodness and beneficence. Many beings may be said to be happy; and there are none of us all, who have not many injoyments: whereas did he delight in the infelicity of those beings, which depend upon Him, it must be natural to Him to make them unhappy, and then not one of them would be otherwise in any respect. The world in that case instead of being such a beautiful, admirable system, in which there is only a mixture of evils, could have been only a scene of mere misery, horror, and torment.
That either the enemies of truth (wicked men) should be ultimately happy, or the religious observers of it (good men) ultimately unhappy, is such injustice, and an evil so great, that sure no Manichean will allow such a superiority of his evil principle over the good, as is requisite to produce and maintain it.
1069 XII. The genuine happiness of every being must be something, that is not incompatible with or destructive of its nature, or the superior or better part of it, if it be mixt. For instance, nothing can be the true happiness of a rational being, that is inconsistent with reason. For all pleasure, and therefore be sure all clear pleasure and true happiness must be something agreeable (pr. I.): and nothing can be agreeable to a reasoning nature, or (which is the same) to the reason of that nature, which is repugnant and disagreeable to reason. If any thing becomes agreeable to a rational being, which is not agreeable to reason, it is plain his reason is lost, his nature deprest, and that he now lifts himself among irrationals, at least as to that particular. If a being finds pleasure in any thing unreasonable, he has an unreasonable pleasure; but a rational nature can like nothing of that kind without a contradiction to itself. For to do this would be to act, as if it was the contrary to what it is. Lastly, if we find hereafter, that whatever interferes with reason, interferes with truth, and to contradict either of them is the same thing; then what has been said under the former proposition, does also confirm this: as what has been said in proof of this, does also confirm the former.
1070 XIII. Those pleasures are true, and to be reckond into our happiness, against which there lies no reason. For when there is no reason against any pleasure, there is always one for it, included in the term. So when there is no reason for undergoing pain (or venturing it), there is one against it.
Obs. There is therefore no necessity for men to torture their inventions in finding out arguments to justify themselves in the pursuits after worldly advantages and injoyments, provided that neither these injoyments, nor the means by which they are attaind, contain the violation of any truth, by being unjust, immoderate, or the like. For in this case there is no reason why we should not desire them, and a direct one, why we should; viz. because they are injoyments.
1071 XIV. To conclude this section, The way to happiness and the practice of truth incur the one into the other. For no being can be styled happy, that is not ultimately so: because if all his pains exceed all his pleasures, he is so far from being happy, that he is a being unhappy or miserable, in proportion to that excess. Now by prop. XI. nothing can produce the ultimate happiness of any being, which interferes with truth: and therefore whatever doth produce that, must be something which is consistent and coincident with this.
Two things then (but such as are met together, and embrace each other), which are to be religiously regarded in all our conduct, are truth (of which in the preceding sect.) and happiness (that is, such pleasures, as company, or follow the practice of truth, or are not inconsistent with it: of which I have been treating in this). And as that religion, which arises from the distinction between moral good and evil, was called natural, because grounded upon truth and the natures of things: so perhaps may that too, which proposes happiness for its end, in as much as it proceeds upon that difference, which there is between true pleasure and pain, which are physical (or natural) good and evil. And since both these unite so amicably, and are at last the same, here is one religion which may be called natural upon two accounts.* * * * * * *
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE OF SOME BRITISH WRITERS
Adams, William, D.D., 1706-1789, Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, 1775, and Archdeacon of Llandaff.
The Nature and Obligation of Virtue. A Sermon, &c., with an Appendix. Lond. 1754, 8vo.
(1) An Essay towards demonstrating the immateriality and free agency of the Soul (in answer to S. Strutt and Antony Collins). Lond. 1740, 8vo; 1760, 8vo. (Brit. Mus. 698, f. 6 (3))
(2) A vindication of mankind, or free-will asserted (in answer to Antony collins). 1717, 8vo. (Brit. Mus. 4371, df. 5 (2).)
(3) ‘Wisdom the first spring of action in the Deity.’ Lond. 1734, 8vo. (Brit. Mus. 4224, cc. 17.)
Balguy, John, M.A., 1686-1748, Vicar of Northallerton.
(1) A letter to a Deist concerning the beauty of Moral Virtue, &c. 1726.
(2) The foundation of Moral Goodness. 1728.
(3) The second part of the foundation of Moral Goodness. 1729.
(1) (2) (3) Tracts Moral and Theological. Lond 1734, 8vo
Bentham, Jeremy, 1748-1832.
(1) Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislations first printed, 1780; ed. I, 1789.
(2) Deontology, or the Science of Morality, ed. Bowring, 1834.
Berkeley, George, D D., 1684-1753, Bishop of Cloyne.
(1) A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Dublin, 1710, 8vo, part i. only; Lond. 1734, 8vo.
(2) Passive Obedience. Ed. 1 and 2, Lond, 1712, 8vo, ed. 3, 1713.
(3) Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher ed. 1 and 2, Dublin, 1732, 8vo, ed. 3, 1752.
Blackmore, Sir Richard, M.D., d. 1729.
(1) Essays on several subjects (including essays on False Virtue and on the Laws of Nature). Lond. 1716, 8vo; ed. 2, 1717.
(2) Natural Theology, or Moral duties considered apart from positive. Lond. 1729, 8vo.
Blount, Charles, 1654-1693.
Oracles of Reason. 1693; 1695.
(1) An Enquiry whether a general practice of Virtue tends … to the benefit or disadvantage of a people, &c. Lond. 1725, 8vo
(2) [Anon.] The true meaning of the Fable of the Bees (being a reply to the above). 1726, 8vo. (Brit. Mus. 1028, c. 6 (2).)
Bott, Thomas (Philanthropus), 1688-1754, Rector of Spixworth and Edgefield.
(1) Remarks upon Dr. Butler's sixth chapter of the Analogy … and also upon the Dissertation of the Nature of Virtue. Lond. 1737, 8vo.
(2) [Anon.] A defence of Mr. Wollaston's notion of Moral Good and Evil, in answer to a letter, &c. [by T.B.]. 1725, 4to. (Brit. Mus. 480, c. 21(2).)
Brown, John, M.A., 1715-1766, Vicar of St. Nicholas, Newcastle. Essays on the Characteristics. 1751, ed. 5, 1764.
Bryant, Jacob, M.A., 1715-1804, Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. An address to Dr. Priestley upon his doctrine of Philosophical Liberty Illustrated. Lond. 1780, 8vo. (See Priestley.)
Butler, Joseph, D.D, 1692-1752, Bishop of Durham.
(1) Fifteen Sermons, &c. Lond. 1726, 8vo; ed.2, 1729; ed. 3, 1736; ed. 4, 1749.
(2) Analogy of Religion, including Dissertation upon Virtue. Lond. 1736, 4to; Dublin, 1736, 8vo; ed 2, Lond. 1736, 8vo; ed. 7, Aberdeen, 1775.
Campbell, Archibald, D.D., 1691-1756, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at St. Andrews.
Ἀρετὴ Γογία, An Enquiry into the original of Moral Virtue, &c., first published as by A. Innes. 1728, 8vo. Republished as by Campbell, 1733.
Chubb, Thomas, 1679-1747.
(1) A Discourse concerning Reason, &c. Lond. 1731, 8vo.
(2) (2) The ground and foundation of Morality considered, wherein is shown that disinterested benevolence is a proper and worthy principle of action to intelligent beings (with Remarks on Dr. Rutherford's Essay on Morality). Lond. 1745, 8vo.
Clarke, John, M.A., 1687-1734, Master of the Grammar School at Hull and Gloucester.
(1) Examination of the notion of Moral Good and Evil advanced, &c., in ‘The Religion of Nature delineated.’ Lond. 1725, 8vo.
(2) The foundation of Morality in theory and practice considered in an examination of Dr. S. Clarke's opinion, &c., as also of … an ‘Inquiry into the original of our ideas of Beauty and Virtue? York, no date (?1730), 8vo.
(3) An examination of what has been aavancea relating to Moral Obligation in a late pamphlet entitled ‘A Defence of the Answer to the Remarks upon Dr. Clarke's exposition of the Church Catechism.’ (Bodlelan Library.) Lond. 1730.
(4) [Anon.] A letter to Mr John Clarke … wherein is showed that he hath treated the learned Dr. Clarke very unfairly. Lond. 1727. (Brit. Mus. 698, e. 8 (5))
Clarke, Samuel, D.D., 1675-1729, Rector of St. James’, Westminster.
(1) Demonstration of the being and attributes of God, being the substance of eight sermons preached at St. Paul's in of God, 1704 at the Boyle Lectures. 1705; ed. 2, 1706.
(2) Discourse concerning the unchangeable obligations of Natural Religion, being eight sermons preached at St. Paul's in the year 1705 at the Boyle Lectures. 1706; ed. 4. 1716.
(5) A collection of papers which passed between Dr. Clarke and Mr. Leibnitz, &c. (including correspondence with R. Bulkley and remarks on A. Collins) 1717; in French, Amst. 1720.
(4) Works, with Life by Bp. Benj. Hoadley. 4 vols. fol., 1758.
Cockburn, Mrs. Catharine (née Trotter), 1679-1749.
(1) A Defence of the Essay of Human Understanding. 1702, 8vo.
(2) Remarks upon some writers … concerning the foundations of Moral Duty, 1743.
(3) Remarks upon … Dr. Rutherforth's essay … in vindication of the principles of Dr. Samuel Clarke (with preface by W. Warburton). Lond. 1747, 8vo.
(4) Collected Works (with Life). 2 vols. Lond 1751.
Collins, Antony, 1676-1729.
(1) A Philosophical Enquiry concerning human Liberty and Necessity. 1715; corrected 1717, 8vo; republished by J. Priestly, Birmingham, 1790, 8vo.
(2) A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity. 1729, 8vo. (See S. Clarke, Jackson, Anon.)
Cudworth, Ralph, D.D., 1617-1688.
(1) The True Intellectual system of the Universe. Lond. 1678, fol.
(2) A Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality. Lond. 1731, 8vo.
(3) A Treatise of Free-will; ed. J. Allen. 1838.
Cumberland, Richard, DD., 1632-1718, Bishop of Peterborough.
(1) De Legibus Naturae disquisitio philosophica. Lond. 1672, fol.; ed. 3, Lubeck, 1694.
(2) A Treatise of the Laws of Nature made English from the Latin by J. Maxwell (with introduction and appendices by the Translator). Load. 1727, 4to.
(3) Another translation with notes and appendix by J. Towers Dublin, 1750, 4to.
(Translated into French by Barbeyrac. Amst. 1744, 4to; Lieden, 1757, 4to.)
Dawes, Manasseh, d. 1829, of the Inner Temple, Barrister at Law.
Philosophical considerations on a Free Inquiry into the Merits of a controversy between Dr. Priestley and Dr. Price (with an Introductory Essay). Lond. 1780, 8vo
Dennis, John, M.A.
Vice and Luxury, or Remarks on … the ‘Fable of the Bees.’ Lond. 1724, 8vo.
[Edwards, Jonathan the elder, M.A., President of the College of New Jersey.
(1) A careful and strict enquiry into the notion of that freedom and will which is supposed to be essential to moral agency. Boston, N. E., 1754, 8vo; Lond. 1762, 8vo.
(2) Two Dissertations, (1) Concerning the end for which God created the world; (a) The Nature of True Virtue. Boston, Mass., 1765, 8vo; Edinb. 1788, 12mo.
(3) Remarks on the Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (by H. Home, Lord Kames), Ed. 3, Lond. 1768, 8vo.]
(1) The falsehood of Human Virtue. A Moral Essay done out of the French (‘La fausseté des Vertus humaines’). [Anon] Lond. 1691, 8vo.
(2) Discourses on the deceitfulness of Human Virtues; done out of French by W. Beauvoir. Lond. 1706, 8vo.]
Ferguson, Adam, LL.D., 1724-1816; Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh, 1764-1785.
(1) Institutes of Moral Philosophy. Edinb. 1772; ed. 2, 1773; ed. 3, enlarged, 1785. New ed., Basil, 1800, 8vo. German translation by Garve, Leipzig, 1772.
(2) Principles of Moral and Political Science. Edinb. 1792, 2 vols., 4to.
Fiddes, Richard, 1671-1725, Rector of Halsham.
A general treatise of Morality formed upon the principles of Natural Reason only. Lond. 1724, 8vo.
Fisher, Joseph, Vicar of Drax.
A Review of the Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity … wherein is clearly shown that man is endowed with a power of self-determination and free agency. Lond. 1779, 8vo.
Forster, Joseph, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Queens’ College, Cambridge.
Two Essays; the one on the Origin of Evil … the other on the Foundation of Morality. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1734, 8vo.
Gay, John, M.A., Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
(1) Dissertation concerning the Fundamental principle of Virtue on Morality (prefixed to Edmund Law's translation of Archbishop King's ‘Essay on the Origin of Evil’). 1731.
(2) Preface to Edmund Law's Enquiry into the Idea of Space, Time, &c. 1734.
Gisborne, Thomas, M.A., Curate of Barton-under-Needwood, Prebendary of Durham.
The Principles of Moral Philosophy … together with remarks on the principle assumed by Mr. Paley, &c. Lond. 1789, 8vo; also 1795, 1798.
Glover, Philip, of Wispington, Lincolnshire.
(1) A discourse concerning Virtue, &c. 1732, 8vo.
(2) Inquiry concerning Virtue, and Happiness, with preface by Charles Plumptre; written in 1728, published in 1751.
Harris, James, 1709-1780 (author of Hermes).
Three Treatises … the third concerning Happiness. Lond. 1744, 8vo; ed. 2, 1765; ed. 3, 1772; ed. 5, 1792.
Hartley, David, M.A., 1705-1757, Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.
(1) Enquiry into the origin of the human appetites and affections. Lincoln, 1747, 1758.
(2) Observations on Man. Loud. 1749, 8vo; ed. 2, 1791, 4to, with notes, &c 1801.
(See also Priestley.)
Hibernicusv.Hutcheson (art. 3).
Hobbes, Thomas, of Malmesbury, 1588-1679.
(1) Human Nature. Lond. 1650, 12mo; ed. 2, 1651.
(2) Leviathan, or the Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth. Lond. 1651, fol.
Home, Henry, v.Kames, Lord.
Hume, David, 1711-1776.
(1) A Treatise of Human Nature. Lond. 1739-1740, 3 vols, 8vo.
(2) Enquiries concerning Human Understanding and the Principles of Morals. 1748-1751, Loud., 8vo.
Hutcheson, Francis, LL.D., 1694-1746; Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow, 1729-1746.
(1) Inquiry into the original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. Lond. 1725, 8vo; ed. 2, 1726; ed. 3, 1729; ed. 5, 1753, translated into German, Frankfurt, 1762, 8vo.
(2) Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Illustrations upon the Moral Sense. 1728; ed. 3, 1742
(3) Reflections upon Laughter and Remarks on the Fable of the Bees in Hibernicus Letters, 1725-7; ed. 2, 1734; separately, 1750, 1758.
(4) Letters between the late Mr. G. Burnet and Mr. Hutchinson 1735 (formerly published in the ‘London Journal’).
(3) and (4) Letters concerning the Foundation of Virtue. Collected Edn. 1772
(5) Philosophiae Moralis Institutio, &c. 1742, 1755, 1787.
(6) Metaphysicae Synopsis, &c. 1742, 1772, Strasburg.
(7) De Naturali hominum socialitate. 1756.
(8) A System of Moral Philosophy, with Life by Leechman. 1755.
(9) A short Introduction to Moral Philosophy. 1747, 1764.
(10) Logic. 1764, 1772, Strasburg. See also Taylor, Philaretus
Hydaspes, v.Coventry, H.
Innes, Alexander, D.D., v. Campbell, A.
Jackson, John, B.A., 1686-1763, Master of Wigston's Hospital and Prebendary of Wherwell.
A defence of Human Liberty, &c. (in answer to Antony Collins). Lond. 1730, 8v0.
Johnson, Thomas, M A, d. 1737, of Stadhampton, Fellow of Magdalene College, Thomas, Cambridge (editor of Puffendorff's De Officio, 1737).
An Essay on moral obligation with a view towards settling the controversy concerning moral and positive duties. Anon. Cambridge, 1731, 8vo.
Kames, Henry Home, Lord, 1696-1782.
Essays on the principles of Morality and Natural Religion. 1751, 8vo; ed 2, 1758; translated into German, Brunswick, 1768, 8vo. (See Edwards, J.)
King, William, D.D., 1650-1729, Archbishop of Dublin.
(1) De origine Mali. 1702-4.
(2) Ditto, translated by Edmund Law, with preliminary dissertation by John Gay. 1731, 4to; ed. 2, 1732; other editions, 1738, 1758, 1781.
Law, Edmund, 1703-1787, Bishop of Carlisle.
Essays prefixed to his translation of Archbishop King's De origine Mali’ 1731
Law, William, M. A, 1686-1761, Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Remarks on the Fable of the Bees. Lond. 1724, 8vo. Ed. 3, 1726. New Ed, with preface by Maunce, Cambr., 1844.
Locke, John, 1632-1704.
Essay concerning Human Understanding. 1690; ed. 2, 1694; ed. 3, 1695; ed. 4, 1700.
Lowde, James, Rector of Settington
(1). Discourse concerning the Nature of Man. Lond. 1694, 8vo (including an examination of Hobbes’ opinions).
(2) Moral Essays; wherein some of Mr. Lock's and Mons. Mal. branch's opinions are briefly examined. Lond. 1699, 12mo.
Lucas, Richard, D.D., 1648-1715, Prebendary of Westminster.
An Enquiry after Happiness. 1685, 8vo; ed. 3, 1697; ed. 4, 1704; ed. 8, 1754; ed 10, 1764.
Mandeville, Bernard, 1670-1733.
(1) The grumbling Hive, or Knaves turned honest, first printed 169-(?). ed. 1, 1705, 4to (Brit. Mus. 1621, h. 1 (142)).
(2) The Fable of the Bees, or Private vices publick benefits. Containing several discourses to demonstrate that human frailties. … may be turned to the advantage of the civil society 12mo, 1714.
(3) Ditto, second edition, with … additions. As also an Essay on Charity and Charity Schools; and A search into the Nature of Society. 8vo, 1723.
(4) Ditto, third edition … to which is added a vindication, &c. 8vo, 1724; ed. 5, 1728.
(5) A letter to Dion occasioned by his late book called ‘Alciphron,’ by the author of the Fable of the Bees. Lond. 1732, 8vo.
See also Anon., Bluett, Campbell, Dennis, Fiddes. Innes, Law, Thorold.
Maxwell, John, Prebendary of Connor.
Dissertation on the law of Nature, printed as an appendix to his translation of Cumberland's ‘De Legibus Naturae.’ 1727.
Morgan, Thomas, M.D., d. 1743.
Physico-Theology. Lond. 1741, 8vo.
Paley, William, D.D., 1743-1805, Archdeacon of Carlisle.
The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, ed. 1, 1785; ed. 2, 1786; ed. 5, 1788; ed. 7, 1790; ed. 8, 1791-4; ed. 12, 1799.
Price, Richard, D.D, F.R.S., 1723-1791.
(1) Review of the principal questions, &c, in Morals. Lond. 1758, 8vo; ed. 2, corrected, 1769; ed. 3, enlarged, 1787.
(2) A Free Discussion of the Doctrines of Materialism and Philosophical Necessity (in correspondence with Dr. Priestley). Lond. 1778-80.
Priestley, Joseph, LL.D., F R.S., 1733-1804.
(1) Hartley's Theory of the Human Mind on the Principle of Association of Ideas. Lond. 1775, 8vo; ed. 2, Lond. 1790, 8vo.
(2) Disquisitions relating to Matter and Spirit. Ed. 2, Brim. 1782.
(3) The Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity Illustrated. Lond. 1777, 8vo. Ed. 2, enlarged, Birm. 1782, 8vo.
(4) A Free Discussion of the Doctrines of Materialism and Philosophical Necessity in a correspondence between Dr. Price and Dr. Priestley (with an Introduction by Dr. Priestley and Letters to several writers). Lond. 1778.
(5) A Letter to Jacob Bryant, Esq., in defence of Philosophical Necessity. Lond. 1780, 8vo.
(6) An Examination of Dr. Reid's Enquiry into the Human Mind. Ed. 2, Lond. (See Bryant, J., Fisher, J., Price, R.)
Reid, Thomas, D.D., 1710-1796; Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow, 1764.
(1) An Essay on quantity on occasion of reading a treatise [by Hutcheson] in which … ratios are applied to virtue and ment Philosoph. Trans., 1748.
(2) An Enquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense. Edmb. 1764, 8vo; ed. 4, Lond. 1785; Works, Edmb. 1846-63, 8vo.
(3) Essays on the Active Powers of Man. Edmb. 1788, 4to
Rutherforth, Thomas, B.D., F R.S., 1712-1771, Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.
Essay on the Nature and Obligations of Virtue. Camb. 1744, 4to. See Warburton, Cockburn, Chubb.
Shaftesbuky, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of, 1671-1713.
(1) The Moralists, or the Philosophical Rhapsody. 1709.
(2) Enquiry concerning Virtue, in two discourses. 1699, 8vo.
(1) and (2) reprinted in Characteristicks, &c., vol. ii., Lond. 1711, 8vo; ed. 2, 1714; 3, 1723; ed. 4, 1727; ed. 5, 1732; ed. 6, 1737; translated into French 1745, 8vo; translated into German, Leipzig, 1768, 8vo
Smith, Adam, LL.D., F.R.S., 1723-1790, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow.
Theory of the Moral Sentiments. 1759; ed. 2, 1761; ed. 6, 1790.
Taylor, John, D.D. (Presbyterian Minister), of Norwich.
(1) Examination of the Scheme of Morality advanced by Dr. Hutcheson. 1759, 8vo.
(2) A Sketch of Moral Philosophy, or An essay to demonstrate the principles of Virtue and Religion upon a new, natural and easy plan. Loud. 1760, 8vo.
Thorold, Sir John, Bart.
A short examination of a book intituled ‘The Fable of the Bees’ 1726, 8vo.
Tucker, Abraham, 1705-1774.
Light of Nature. Lond. 1768-1777, 8vo; ed. 2, Loud. 1805, 8vo.
Free will, Free knowledge and Fate; a fragment. Lond. 1763, 8vo.
Turnbull, George, LL D.
The Principles of Moral Philosophy. Lond. 1740, 8vo.
Tyrrell, Sir James, 1642-1718.
A brief disquisition of the Law of Nature (with a confutation of Hobbes). Lond. 1692, 8vo; ed 2, 1701, 8vo.
Warburton, W., D.D., 1698-1779, Bishop of Gloucester.
Remarks upon the principles of … Dr. Rutherforth's Essay, &c. 1747, 8vo.
Wollaston, William, D.D., 1659-1724
The Religion of Nature delineated, privately printed, 1722; ed. 1, 1724, 4to; ed. 2, 172; ed. 5, 1731; ed. 7, 1738; ed. 8, 1759. Translated into French, La Haye, 1726; into German, Helmstat, 1728. (See Bott, T., Clarke, J.)
‘Nocet (fit noxa) empta dolore voluptas.’ ‘Pleasure, that is procured by pain, is so much real hurt.’ Hor. And, ‘multo corrupta dolore voluptas.’ ‘Pleasure vitiated by much pain.’ Ibid.