Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX III.—: To Part II., p. 452. - Lectures on Political Economy, vol. 2
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APPENDIX III.—: To Part II., p. 452. - Dugald Stewart, Lectures on Political Economy, vol. 2 
Lectures on Political Economy. Now first published. Vol. II. To which is Prefixed, Part Third of the Outlines of Moral Philosophy, edited by Sir William Hamilton (Edinburgh, Thomas Constable, 1856).
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To Part II., p. 452.
An earlier Conclusion of Politics Proper.
With these very slight remarks on the English Constitution, I shall for the present close our Political speculations, and at the same time conclude the academical business of this Session. A review of that plan of polity under which we ourselves have the happiness to live, seemed to me to form (more particularly in such times as the present) the most useful and practical termination I could give to the discussions in which we have so long been engaged in this place. As the leading object of these discussions has been to illustrate and enforce the great duties of life, so the duty of Patriotism, which, among those we owe to our fellow-creatures, certainly holds the most distinguished rank, is that which I was more particularly anxious at this moment to impress on your minds; by bestowing on those subjects which lead the thoughts to the obligations it imposes, all the occasional interest which may arise from the circumstance of our approaching separation. A sacred and uniform regard to this duty leads, in truth, more than any of our other social dispositions, to a conduct wise, manly, and beneficent; and so far from interfering with our more confined attachments, it presupposes and comprehends them all, or rather springs up from them, as from its proper root. “Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares; sed omnes omnium caritates Patria una complexa est: pro qua quis bonus dubitet mortem oppetere, si ei sit profuturus?”* It was with this view chiefly, that I have employed my last Lectures in illustrating the peculiar excellencies of the English Constitution; satisfied as I am that a faithful delineation of its fundamental principles affords the strongest motives that can be suggested for our exertions in transmitting it as far as lies in our power unimpaired to our posterity.
I once intended, before taking my leave, to have resumed a subject which I left unfinished, when it was formerly under our consideration; I mean a review of the principal causes which have hitherto retarded the progress of the Sciences. But this your time renders it impossible for me now to undertake; and, indeed, I flatter myself, that after the inquiries in which we have been so long engaged together, any additional illustrations of the object and spirit of the inductive philosophy would be, in a great measure, superfluous. It has certainly been my uniform aim to exemplify its rules to the utmost of my ability, founding my reasonings on facts alone; and checking myself whenever I was conscious of a disposition to depart from the genuine interpretation of nature. This inductive plan of philosophizing I was anxious to recommend, not only as the sole avenue which leads with certainty to the truth, but as the only effectual preservative against that miserable perversion of the understanding which blinds it to the perception of the wise and beneficent order of the universe. It is beautifully remarked by Dr. Ferguson, that “the foundations of religion are laid in the genuine lessons whether of physical or moral science; and are to be met with in the concluding observations of Newton’s Principia, no less than in the remains of Socrates, or of Epictetus, or of Marcus Aurelius. In the one it is the suggestion of final causes, or of an arrangement in the works of nature, for which mechanism alone will not account. In the other it is the result of minds devoted to the government of wisdom and the sentiments of benevolence, and who receive with some degree of a congenial spirit, the indications of supreme intelligence and goodness, as they are perceived to operate in the great system of the world.”†
It is in this manner that true philosophy furnishes the most effectual bulwark against Atheism; insensibly moulding our habits of thinking and of feeling in conformity to the systematical operations of infinite wisdom and goodness; while, on the other hand, just moral impressions concerning the order of the universe and the course of human affairs, afford the best and surest lights to guide our inquiries, if we should attempt to extend the bounds either of physical or of ethical knowledge.
It is not, however, to those alone who look forward to the pursuits of science that I have addressed myself in these Lectures. The greater part of you are probably destined for the active walks of business; and, under this impression, I have uniformly endeavoured, as far as I was able, to direct your attention to studies susceptible of a practical application to the great concerns of human life,—whether Providence may allot to you the obscure but important duties of a private station, or may be pleased to call you to the great and arduous scenes of public affairs. In either event, I shall follow you with my affectionate wishes through the various fortunes that may yet await you:—And, believe me, nothing will ever give me greater satisfaction than to hear, that you have carried into the different departments of life for which you may be destined, those steady principles of religion, of integrity, and of beneficence which can alone render you happy in yourselves, and blessings to mankind.—1804.
[* ] [Cicero, De Officiis, Lib. I. cap. xvii.]
[† ] [Principles of Moral and Political Science, Part I. chap. iii. sect. 13.]