Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION V: A further Confirmation that we have practical Dispositions to Virtue implanted in our Nature; with a further Explication ∥ 1 of our Instinct to Benevolence in its various Degrees ∥; with the additional Motives of Interest, viz. Honour, Shame - An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
SECTION V: A further Confirmation that we have practical Dispositions to Virtue implanted in our Nature; with a further Explication ∥ 1 of our Instinct to Benevolence in its various Degrees ∥; with the additional Motives of Interest, viz. Honour, Shame - Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue 
An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue in Two Treatises, ed. Wolfgang Leidhold (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
A further Confirmation that we have practical Dispositions to Virtue implanted in our Nature; with a further Explication ∥1of our Instinct to Benevolence in its various Degrees∥; with the additional Motives of Interest, viz. Honour, Shame and Pity.
Degrees of Benevolence.I. We have already endeavour’d to prove, “That there is ∥2 a∥ universal Determination to Benevolence in Mankind, even toward the most distant parts of the Species:” But we are not to imagine that ∥3 this Benevolence is equal, or in the same degree toward all.∥ There are ∥4 some∥ nearer and stronger ∥5 Degrees∥ of Benevolence, when the Objects stand in some nearer relations to our selves, which have obtain’d distinct Names; such as natural Affection, ∥6 and∥ Gratitude, ∥7aor when Benevolence is increas’d by greater ∥8bLove of ab∥ Esteem.
Natural Affection.One Species of natural Affection, viz. That in Parents towards ∥9 their∥ Children, has been consider’d already;* we ∥11 shall only observe further∥, That there is the same kind of Affection among collateral Relations, tho in a weaker degree; which is universally observable where no Opposition of Interest produces contrary Actions, or counterballances the Power of this natural Affection.
Not founded on Merit, or Acquaintance.12 We may also observe, that as to the Affection of Parents, it cannot be entirely founded on Merit ∥13 or∥ Acquaintance; not only because it is antecedent to all Acquaintance, which might occasion the ∥14 Love of∥ Esteem; but because it operates where Acquaintance would produce Hatred, even toward Children apprehended to be vitious. And this Affection is further confirm’d to be from Nature, because it is always observ’d to descend∥15 , and not ascend∥ from Children to Parents mutually. Nature, who seems sometimes frugal in her Operations, has strongly determin’d Parents to the Care of their Children, because they universally stand in absolute need of Support from them; but has left it∥16 ∥ to Reflection, and a Sense of Gratitude, to produce Returns of Love in Children, toward such tender kind Benefactors, who very seldom stand in such absolute need of Support from their Posterity, as their Chil-dren did from them. Now did Acquaintance, or Merit produce natural Affection, we surely should find it strongest in Children, on whom all the Obligations are laid by a thousand good Offices; which yet is quite contrary to Observation. Nay, this Principle seems not confin’d to Mankind, but extends to other Animals, where yet we scarcely ever suppose any Ideas of Merit; and is observ’d to continue in them no longer than the Necessitys of their Young require. Nor could it be of any service to the Young that it should, since when they are grown up, they can receive little Benefit from the Love of their Dams. But as it is otherwise with rational Agents, so their Affections are of longer continuance, even during their whole lives.
Gratitude.II. ∥17 But∥ nothing will give us a juster Idea of the wise Order in which human Nature is form’d for universal Love, and mutual good Offices, than considering that strong attraction of Benevolence, which we call Gratitude. Every one knows that Beneficence toward our selves makes a much deeper Impression upon us, and raises Gratitude, or a stronger Love toward the Benefactor, than equal Beneficence toward a third Person.* Now because of the ∥19 vast∥ Numbers of Mankind, their distant Habi-tations, and the Incapacity of any one to be remarkably useful to ∥20 vast∥ Multitudes; that our Benevolence might not be quite distracted with ∥21 a multiplicity∥ of Objects, whose equal Virtues would equally recommend them to our regard; or ∥22abecome useless, by being equally extended to Multitudes ∥23bat vast distancesb∥, whose Interest we could not understanda∥, nor be capable of promoting, having no Intercourse of Offices with them; Nature has ∥24amore powerfully determin’d us to admire, and love the moral Qualitys of others which affect our selves, and has given us more powerful Impressions of Good-will ∥25btowardb∥ those who are beneficent to our ∥26cselvesa∥. This we call Gratitude. And thus a Foundation is laidc∥ for joyful Associations in all kinds of Business, and virtuous Friendships.
By this Constitution also the Benefactor is more encourag’d in his Beneficence, and better secur’d of an increase of Happiness by grateful Returns,* than if his Virtue were only to be honour’d by the colder general Sentiments of Persons unconcern’d, who could not know his Necessitys, nor how to be profitable to him; especially, when they would all be equally determin’d to love innumerable Multitudes, whose equal Virtues would have the same Pretensions to their Love∥28a, were there not an increase of Love, according as the Object is more nearly attach’d to us, or our Friends, by ∥29bgoodb∥ Offices which affect our selves, or thema∥.
∥30 This∥ universal Benevolence toward all Men, we may compare to that Principle of Gravitation, which perhaps extends to all Bodys in the Universe; but∥31 , like the Love of Benevolence,∥ increases as the Distance is diminish’d, and is strongest when Bodys come to touch each other. Now this increase ∥32 of Attraction∥ upon nearer Approach, is as necessary ∥33 to the Frame of the Universe,∥ as that there should be any Attraction at all. For a general Attraction, equal in all Distances, would by the Contrariety of such multitudes of equal Forces, put an end to all Regularity of Motion, and perhaps stop it ∥34 altogether.∥
∥35 This increase of Love toward the Benevolent,∥ according to their nearer Approaches to our selves by their Benefits, is observable in the high degree of Love, which Heroes and Law-givers universally obtain in their own Countrys, above what they find abroad, even among those who are not insensible of their Virtues; and in all the strong Ties of Friendship, Acquaintance, Neighbourhood, Partnership; which are exceedingly necessary to the Order ∥36 and Happiness∥ of human Society.
Love of Honour.III. From considering that ∥37 strong Determination in our Nature to∥ Gratitude, and Love toward our Benefactors, which was already shewn to be disinterested;* we are easily led to consider another Determination of our Minds, equally natural with the former, which is to ∥38 delight∥ in the good Opinion and Love of others, even when we expect no other Advantage from them, except what flows from this Constitution, whereby Honour is made an immediate Good. This Desire of Honour I would call Ambition, had not Custom join’d some evil Ideas to that Word, making it denote such a violent desire of Honour, and of Power also, as will make us stop at no base Means to obtain them. On the other hand, we are by Nature subjected to a grievous Sensation of Misery, from the unfavourable Opinions of others concerning us, even when we dread no other Evil from them. This we call Shame; which in the same manner ∥39 is constituted an immediate Evil, as we said Honour was an immediate Good.∥
Now were there no moral Sense, or had we no other Idea of Actions but as advantageous or hurtful, I see no reason why we should be delighted with Honour, or sub-jected to the uneasiness of Shame; or how it could ever happen, that a Man, who is secure from Punishment for any Action, should ever be uneasy at its being known to all the World. The World may have ∥40 the worse Opinion of him for it; but what subjects my Ease to the Opinion of the World? Why, perhaps, we∥ shall not be so much trusted henceforward in Business, and so suffer Loss. If this be the only reason of Shame, and it has no immediate Evil, or Pain in it, distinct from Fear of Loss; then wherever we expose our selves to Loss, we should be asham’d, and endeavour to conceal the Action: and yet it is quite otherwise.
A Merchant, for instance, ∥41 lest it should impair his Credit∥, conceals a Shipwrack, or a very bad Market, which he has sent his Goods to. But is this the same with the Passion of Shame? Has he that Anguish, that Dejection of Mind, and Self-condemnation, which one shall have whose Treachery is detected? Nay, how will Men sometimes glory in their Losses, when in a Cause imagin’d morally good, tho they really weaken their Credit in the Merchant’s Sense; that is, the Opinion of their Wealth, or fitness for Business? Was any Man ever asham’d of impoverishing himself to serve his Country, or his Friend?
The Foundation of Morals not the Opinions of our Country.IV. The Opinions of our Country are by some made the first Standard of Virtue. They alledge, “That by comparing Actions to them, we first distinguish between moral Good, and Evil: And then, say they, Ambition, or the Love of Honour, is our chief Motive.” But what is Honour? It is not ∥42 the being∥ universally known, no matter how. A covetous Man is not honour’d by being universally known as covetous; nor a weak, selfish, or luxurious Man, when he is known to be so: Much less can a treacherous, cruel, or ungrateful Man, be said to be honour’d for his being known as such. A Posture-master, a Fire-eater, or Practiser of Leger-de-main, is not honour’d for these publick Shews, unless we consider him as a Person capable of giving the Pleasures of Admiration and Surprize to Multitudes. Honour then is the Opinion of others concerning our morally good Actions, or Abilitys presum’d to be apply’d that way; for Abilitys constantly apply’d to other Purposes, procure the greatest Infamy. Now, it is certain, that Ambition∥43 , or Love of Honour is really selfish∥; but then ∥44 this∥ Determination to love Honour, presupposes a Sense of moral Virtue, both in the Persons who confer the Honour, and in him who pursues it.
45 And let it be observ’d, that if we knew an Agent had no other Motive of Action ∥46 than∥ Ambition, we should apprehend no Virtue even in his most useful Actions, since they flow’d not from any Love to others, or Desire ∥47 of∥ their Happiness. When Honour is thus constituted by Nature pleasant to us, it may be an additional Motive to Virtue, as we said above,∥48* ∥ the Pleasure arising from Reflection on our Benevolence was: but the Person whom we imagine perfectly virtuous, acts immediately from the Love of others; however these refin’d Interests may be joint Motives to him to set about such a Course of Actions, or to cultivate every kind Inclination, and to despise every contrary Interest, as giving a smaller Happiness than Reflection on his own Virtue, and Consciousness of the Esteem of others.
Shame is in the same manner constituted an immediate Evil, and influences us the same way to abstain from moral Evil; not that any Action or Omission would appear virtuous, where the sole Motive was Fear of Shame.
Opinions flow from the Moral Sense.V. But to enquire further, how far the Opinions of our Company can raise a Sense of moral Good or Evil. If any Opinion be universal in any Country, Men of little Reflection will probably embrace it. If an Action be believ’d to be advantageous to the Agent, we may be led to believe so too, and then Self-Love may make us undertake it; or may, the same way, make us shun an Action reputed pernicious to the Agent. If an Action pass for advantageous to the Publick, we may believe so too; and what next? If we have no disinterested Benevolence, what shall move us to undertake it? “Why, we love Honour; and to obtain this Pleasure, we will undertake the Action from Self-Interest.” Now, is Honour only the Opinion of our Country that an Action is advantageous to the Publick? No: we see no Honour paid to the useful Treachery of an Enemy whom we have brib’d to our Side, to casual undesign’d Services, or to the most useful Effects of Compulsion on Cowards; and yet we see Honour paid to unsuccessful Attempts to serve the Publick from sincere Love to it. Honour then presupposes a Sense of something amiable besides Advantage, ∥49 viz.∥ a Sense of Excellence in a publick Spirit; and therefore the first Sense of moral Good must be antecedent to Honour, for Honour is founded upon it.50 The Company we keep may lead us, without examining, to believe that certain Actions tend to the publick Good; but that our Company honours such Actions, and loves the Agent, must flow from a Sense of some Excellence in this Love of the Publick, and serving its Interests.
“We therefore, say they again, pretend to love the Publick, altho we only desire the Pleasure of Honour; and we will applaud all who seem to act in that manner, either that we may reap Advantage from their Actions, or that others may believe we really love the Publick.” But shall any Man ever ∥51 really love the Publick, or study the Good of others in his heart, if Self-love be∥ the only spring of his Actions? No: that is impossible. Or, shall we ever really ∥52 love∥ Men who appear to love the Publick, without a moral Sense? ∥53 No: we could form no Idea of such a Temper; and as for these Pretenders to publick Love, we should hate∥ them as Hypocrites, and our Rivals in Fame. Now this is all which could be effected by the Opinions of our Country, even supposing they had a moral Sense, provided we had none our selves: They never could make us admire Virtue, or virtuous Characters in others; but could only give us Opinions of Advantage, or Disadvantage in Actions, according as they tended ∥54 procure to∥ us the Pleasures of Honour, or the Pain of Shame.
But if we suppose that Men have, by Nature, a moral Sense of Goodness in Actions, and that they are capable of disinterested Love; all is easy. The Opinions of our Company may make us rashly conclude, that certain Actions tend to the universal Detriment, and are morally Evil, when perhaps they are not so; and then our Sense may determine us to have an Aversion to them, and their Authors; or we may, the same way, be led into implicit Prejudices in favour of Actions as good; and then our desire of Honour may co-operate with Benevolence, to move us to such Actions: but had we no Sense of moral Qualitys in Actions, ∥55 nor any∥ Conceptions of them, ∥56 except∥ as advantageous or hurtful, we never could have honour’d or lov’d Agents for publick Love, or had any regard to their Actions, further than they affected our selves in particular. We might have form’d the metaphysical Idea of publick Good, but we had never desir’d it,57 further than it tended to our own private Interest, without a Principle of Benevolence; nor admir’d and lov’d those who ∥58 were∥ studious of it, without a moral Sense. So far is Virtue from being (in the Language of a late*i Author) the Offspring of Flattery, begot upon Pride; that Pride, in the bad meaning of that Word, is the spurious Brood of Ignorance by our moral Sense, and Flattery only an Engine, which the Cunning may use to turn this moral Sense in others, to the Purposes of Self-love in the Flatterer.
Moral Sense, not from Love of Honour.VI. To explain what has been said of the Power of Honour. Suppose a State or Prince, observing the Money which is drawn out of England by Italian Musicians, ∥59 should∥ decree Honours, Statues, Titles, for great Musicians: This would certainly excite all who had hopes of Success, to the Study of Musick; and ∥60 Men of a good Ear would approve of∥ the good Performers as useful Subjects, as well as very entertaining. But would this give all Men a good Ear, or make them delight in Harmony? Or could it ever make us really love a Musician, who study’d nothing but his own Gain, in the same manner we do a Patriot, or a generous Friend? I doubt not. And yet Friendship, without the Assistance of Statues, or Honours, can make Persons appear exceedingly amiable.
Let us take another Instance. Suppose Statues, and triumphal Arches were decreed, as well as a large Sum of Money, to the Discoverer of the Longitude, or any other useful Invention in Mathematicks: This would raise a universal Desire of such Knowledge from Self-Love; but would Men therefore love a Mathematician as they do a virtuous Man? Would a Mathema-tician love every Person who had attain’d Perfection in that Knowledge, wherever he observ’d it, altho he knew that it was not accompany’d with any Love to Mankind, or Study of their Good, but with Ill-nature, Pride, Covetousness? In short, let us honour other Qualitys by external Shew as much as we please, if we do not discern a benevolent Intention in the Application, or presume upon it; we may look upon these Qualitys as useful, enriching, or otherwise advantageous to any one who is possess’d of them; but they shall never meet with those endearing Sentiments of Esteem and Love, which our nature determines us to appropriate to Benevolence, or Virtue.
Love of Honour, and Aversion to Shame, may often move us to do Actions for which others profess to honour us, even tho we see no Good in them our selves: And Compliance with the Inclinations of others, as it evidences Humanity, may procure some Love to the Agent, from Spectators who see no moral Good in the Action it self. But without some Sense of Good in the Actions, Men shall never be fond of such Actions in Solitude, nor ever love any one for Perfection in them, or for practising them in Solitude; and much less shall they be dissatisfy’d with themselves when they act otherwise in Solitude. Now this is the case with us, as to Virtue; and therefore we must have, by Nature, a moral Sense of it antecedent to Honour.
This will shew us with what Judgment a late*ii Author compares the Original of our Ideas of Virtue, and Approbation of it, to the manner of regulating the Behaviour of aukard Children by Commendation. It shall appear ∥61 afterward∥,† that our Approbation of some Gestures, and what we call Decency in Motion, depends upon some moral Ideas in People of advanc’d Years. But before Children come to observe this Relation, it is only good Nature, an Inclination to please, and Love of Praise, which makes them endeavour to behave as they are desir’d; and not any Perception of Excellence in this Behaviour. ∥62 Hence∥ they are not sollicitous about Gestures when alone, unless with a View to please when they return to Company; ∥63 nor do they ever∥ love or approve others for ∥64 any∥ Perfection of this kind, but rather envy or hate them; till they either discern the Connexion between Gestures, and moral Qualitys; or reflect on the good Nature, which is evidenc’d by such a Compliance with the desire of the Company.
False Honour.VII. The considering Honour in the manner above explain’d, may shew us the reason, why Men are often asham’d for things which are not vitious, and honour’d for what is not virtuous. For, if any Action only appears vitious to any Persons or Company, altho it be not so, they will have a bad Idea of the Agent; and then he may be asham’d, or suffer Uneasiness in being thought morally Evil. ∥65 The∥ same way, those who look upon an Action as morally good, will honour the Agent, and he may be pleas’d with the Honour, altho he does not himself perceive any moral Good in what has procur’d it.
Moral Incapacity, matter of Shame.Again, we shall be asham’d of every Evidence of moral Incapacity, or Want of Ability; and with good ground, when this Want is occasion’d by our own Negligence. Nay further, if any Circumstance be look’d upon as indecent in any Country, offensive to others, ∥66 or∥ deform’d; we shall, out of our ∥67 Love to∥ the good Opinions of others, be asham’d to be found in such Circumstances, even when we are sensible that this Indecency or Offence is not founded on Nature, but is merely the Effect of Custom. Thus being observ’d in ∥68 those∥ Functions of Nature which are counted indecent and offensive, will make us uneasy, altho we are sensible that they really do not argue any Vice or Weakness. But on the contrary, since moral Abilitys of any kind, upon the general Presumption of a good Application,69 procure the Esteem of others, we shall value our selves upon them, or grow proud of them, and be asham’d of any Discovery of our want of such Abilitys. This is the reason that Wealth and Power, the great Engines of Virtue, when presum’d to be intended for benevolent Purposes, either toward our Friends or our Country, procure Honour from others, and are apt to beget Pride in the Possessor; which, as it is a general Passion which may be either good or evil, according as it is grounded, we may describe to be the Joy which arises from the real or imagin’d Possession of Honour, or Claim to it. ∥70 The∥ same are the Effects of Knowledge, Sagacity, Strength; and hence it is that Men are apt to boast of them.
But whenever it appears that Men have only their private Advantage in view, in the application of these Abilitys, or natural Advantages, the Honour ceases, and we study to conceal them, or at least are not fond of displaying them; and much more when there is any Suspicion of an ill-natur’d Application. Thus some Misers are asham’d of their Wealth, and study to conceal it; as the malicious or selfish do their Power: Nay, this is very often done where there is no positive evil Intention; because the diminishing their Abilitys, increases the moral Good of any little kind ∥71 Action∥, which they can find in their hearts to perform.
Selfishness shameful.In short, we always see Actions which flow from publick Love, accompany’d with generous Boldness and Openness; and not only malicious, but even selfish ones, the matter of Shame and Confusion; and that Men study to conceal them. The Love of private Pleasure is the ordinary occasion of Vice; and when Men have got any lively Notions of Virtue, they generally begin to be asham’d of every thing which betrays Selfishness, even in Instances where it is innocent. We are apt to imagine, that others observing us in such Pursuits, form mean Opinions of us, as too much set on private Pleasure; and hence we shall find such Enjoyments, in most polite Nations, conceal’d from those who do not partake with us. Such are venereal Pleasures between Persons marry’d, and even eating and drinking alone, any nicer sorts of Meats or Drinks; whereas a hospitable Table is rather matter of boasting; and so are all other kind, generous Offices between marry’d Persons, where there is no Suspicion of Self-love in the Agent; but he is imagin’d as acting from Love to his Associate. This, ∥72 I fancy, first introduc’d Ideas of Modesty in polite Nations, and Custom has strengthen’d them wonderfully∥; so that we are now asham’d of many things, upon some confus’d implicit Opinions of moral Evil, tho we know not upon what account.
Honour and Shame, often from some Associations of Ideas.Here too we may see the reason, why we are not asham’d of any of the Methods of Grandeur, or high-Living. There is such a Mixture of moral Ideas, of Benevolence, of Abilitys kindly employ’d; so many Dependants supported, so many Friends entertain’d, assisted, protected; such a Capacity imagin’d for great and amiable Actions, that we are never asham’d, but rather boast of such things: We never affect Obscurity or Concealment, but rather desire that our State and Magnificence should be known. Were it not for this Conjunction of moral Ideas, no Mortal could bear the Drudgery of State, or abstain from laughing at those who did. Could any Man be pleas’d with a Company of Statues surrounding his Table, so artfully contriv’d as to consume his various Courses, and inspir’d by some Servant, like so many Puppets, to give the usual trifling Returns in praise of their Fare? Or with so many Machines to perform the Cringes and Whispers of a Levee?
The Shame we suffer from the Meanness of Dress, Table, Equipage, is entirely owing to the same reason. This Meanness is often imagin’d to argue Avarice, Meanness of Spirit, want of Capacity, or Conduct in Life, of Industry, or moral Abilitys of one kind or other. To confirm this, let us observe that Men will glory in the Meanness of their Fare, when it was occasion’d by a good Action. How ∥73 many∥ would be asham’d to be surpriz’d at a Dinner of cold Meat, who will boast of their having fed upon Dogs and Horses at the Siege of Derry?iii And they will all tell you that they were not, nor are asham’d of it.
This ordinary Connexion in our Imagination, between external Grandeur, Regularity in Dress, Equipage, Retinue, Badges of Honour, and some moral Abilitys greater than ordinary, is perhaps of more consequence in the World than some recluse Philosophers apprehend, who pique themselves upon despising these external Shews. This may possibly be a great, if not the only Cause of what some count miraculous, viz. That Civil Governors of no greater Capacity than their Neighbours, by some inexpressible Awe, and Authority, quell ∥74 the∥ Spirits of the Vulgar, and keep them in subjection by such small Guards, as might easily be conquer’d by those Associations ∥75 which might be rais’d among∥ the Disaffected, or Factious of any State; who are daring enough among their Equals, and shew a sufficient Contempt of Death for undertaking such an Enterprize.
∥76 Hence also we may∥ discover the reason, why the gratifying our superior Senses of Beauty and Harmony, or the Enjoyment of the ∥77 Pleasures∥ of Knowledge, never occasions any Shame or Confusion, tho our Enjoyment were known to all the World. The Objects which furnish this Pleasure, are of such a nature, as to afford the same Delights to multitudes; nor is there any thing in the Enjoyment of them by one, which excludes any Mortal from a like Enjoyment. So that altho we pursue these Enjoyments from Self-love, yet∥78 , since∥ our Enjoyment cannot be prejudicial to ∥79 others, no∥ Man is imagin’d any way inhumanly selfish, from the fullest Enjoyment of them which is possible. The same Regularity or Harmony which delights me, may at the same time delight multitudes; the same Theorem shall be equally fruitful of Pleasure, when it has entertain’d thousands. ∥80 Men therefore are not∥ asham’d of such Pursuits, since they ∥81 never, of themselves,∥ seduce us into any thing malicious, envious, or ill-natur’d; nor does any one apprehend another too selfish, from ∥82 his∥ pursuing Objects of unexhausted universal Pleasure.83
This View of Honour and Shame may also let us see the reason, why most Men are uneasy at being prais’d, when they themselves are present. Every one is delighted with the Esteem of others, and must enjoy great Pleasure when he hears himself commended; but we are unwilling others should observe our Enjoyment of this Pleasure, which is really selfish; or that they should imagine us fond of it, or influenc’d by hopes of it in our good Actions: and therefore we chuse Secrecy for the Enjoyment of it, as we do with respect to other Pleasures, in which others do not share with us.
Compassion a motive to Virtue.VIII. Let us next consider another Determination of our Mind, which strongly proves Benevolence to be natural to us, and that is Compassion; by which we are dispos’d to study the Interest of others, without any Views of private Advantage. This needs little Illustration. Every Mortal is made uneasy by any grievous Misery he sees another involv’d in, unless the Person be imagin’d ∥84 evil∥, in a moral Sense: Nay, it is almost impossible for us to be unmov’d, even in that Case. Advantage may make us do a cruel Action, or may overcome Pity; but it scarce ever extinguishes it. A sudden Passion of Hatred or Anger may represent a Person as absolutely evil, and so extinguish Pity; but when the Passion is over, it often returns. Another disinterested View may even in cold blood overcome Pity; such as Love to our Country, or Zeal for Religion. Persecution is generally occasion’d by Love of Virtue, and ∥85 a∥ Desire of the eternal Happiness of Mankind, altho our Folly makes us chuse absurd Means ∥86 to promote it∥; and is often accompany’d with Pity enough to make the Persecutor uneasy, in what, for prepollent Reasons, he chuses; unless his Opinion leads him to look upon the Heretick as absolutely and entirely evil.
We may here observe how wonderfully the Constitution of human Nature is adapted to move Compassion. Our ∥87 Misery or Distress immediately appears∥ in our Countenance, if we do not study to prevent it, and propagates some Pain to all Spectators; who from Observation, universally understand the meaning of those dismal Airs. We mechanically send forth Shrieks and Groans upon any surprizing Apprehension of Evil; so that no regard to Decency can sometimes restrain them∥88 . This is the Voice of Nature, understood by all Nations, by which∥ all who are present are rous’d to our Assistance, and sometimes our injurious Enemy is made to relent.
We observ’d above,* that we are not immediately excited by Compassion to desire the Removal of our own Pain: we think it just to be so affected upon the Occasion, and dislike those who are not so. But we are excited directly to desire the Relief of the Miserable; ∥90 without any imagination that this Relief is a private Good to our selves: And∥ if we see this impossible, we may by Reflection discern it to be vain for us to indulge our Compassion any further; and then ∥91 Self-love prompts us to∥ retire from the Object which occasions our Pain, and ∥92 to endeavour∥ to divert our Thoughts. But where there is no such Reflection, People are hurry’d by a natural, kind Instinct, to see Objects of Compassion, and expose themselves to this Pain when they can give no reason for it; as in the Instance of publick Executions.
This same Principle leads men to Tragedys; only we are to observe, that another strong reason of this, is the moral Beauty of the Characters and Actions which we love to behold. For I doubt, whether any Audience would be ∥93 pleas’d to∥ see fictitious Scenes of Misery, if they were kept strangers to the moral Qualitys of the Sufferers, or their Characters and Actions. As in such a case, there would be no Beauty to raise Desire of seeing such Representations, I fancy we would not expose our selves to Pain alone, from Misery which we knew to be fictitious.
It was the same Cause which crouded the Roman Theatres to see Gladiators. There the People had frequent Instances of great Courage, and Contempt of Death, two great moral Abilitys, if not Virtues. Hence Cicero looks upon them as great Instructions in Fortitude. The Antagonist Gladiator bore all the blame of the Cruelty committed, among People of little Reflection; and the courageous and artful one, really obtain’d a Reputation of Virtue, and Favour among the Spectators, and was vindicated by the Necessity of Self-defence. In the mean time they were inadvertent to this, that their crouding to such Sights, and favouring the Persons who presented them with such Spectacles of Courage, and with Opportunitys of following their natural Instinct to Compassion, was the true occasion of all the real Distress, or Assaults which they were sorry for.
What Sentiments can we imagine a Candidate would have rais’d of himself, had he presented his Countrymen only with Scenes of Misery; had he drain’d Hospitals and Infirmarys of all their pityable Inhabitants, or had he bound so many Slaves, and without94 any Resistance, butcher’d them with his own Hands? I should very much question the Success of his Election, (however Compassion95 might cause his Shews still to be frequented) if his Antagonist chose a Diversion apparently more virtuous, or with a Mixture of Scenes of Virtue.
Compassion natural.How independent this Disposition to Compassion is ∥96 on∥ Custom, Education, ∥97 or∥ Instruction, will appear from the Prevalence of it in Women and Children, who are less influenc’d by these. That Children ∥98 delight in some Actions which∥ are cruel and tormenting to Animals which they have in their Power, flows not from Malice, or want of Compassion, but from their Ignorance of those signs of Pain which many Creatures make; together with a Curiosity to see the various Contortions of their Bodys. For when they are more acquainted with these Creatures, or come by any means to know their Sufferings, their Compassion often becomes too strong for their Reason; as it generally does in beholding Executions, where as soon as they observe the evidences of Distress, or Pain in the Malefactor, they are apt to condemn this necessary Method of Self-defence in the ∥99 State.∥
[* ]See above, Sect. ii. Art. 6.
[* ]See Sect. iii. Art. 15. Par. 2.
[* ]Author of the Fable of the Bees, Pag. 37. 3d Ed.
[i. ]Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, ed. Kaye, vol. 1, p. 51.
[* ]See the Fable of the Bees, Page 38. 3d. Ed.
[ii. ]Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, ed. Kaye, vol. 1, p. 52.
[† ]See Sect. vi. Art. 4.
[iii. ]Overcrowded with some thirty thousand Protestant refugees, Londonderry (or Derry) withstood a siege by the dethroned King James II from April to July 1689.
[1.]D2, D3 (p. 218): of our Benevolent Instincts of various Kinds
[2.]D1 (p. 218): an
[3.]D2, D3 (p. 218): all benevolent Affections are of one Kind, or alike strong.
[4.]Omitted in C (p. 218), D (p. 218).
[5.]D2, D3 (p. 218): Kinds
[6.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 218).
[7.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 218).
[8.]Omitted in C (p. 218), D (p. 218).
[9.]Not in A (p. 195).
[10.]Not in A (p. 195).
[11.]A (p. 195): may only further observe
[12.]No new paragraph in A (p. 196).
[13.]C (p. 219), D (p. 219): and
[14.]Omitted in C (p. 219), D (p. 219).
[15.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 310]: more strongly and constantly than it ascends
[16.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 310]: more
[17.]A (p. 197): But there is
[18.]A (p. 197): Part 2
[19.]C (p. 220), D (p. 220): great
[20.]C (p. 220), D (p. 220): great
[21.]D1 (p. 220): Maultiplicity
[22.]A (p. 197): be made useless towards multitudes, whose Interests, at vast distances, we could not understand
[23.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 221).
[24.]C (p. 221), D (p. 221): so well ordered it, that as our Attention is more raised by those good Offices which are done to our selves or our Friends, so they cause a stronger Sense of Approbation in us, and produce a stronger Benevolence toward (D1, p. 221: towards) the Authors of them
[25.]A (p. 198): towards
[26.]A (p. 198): selves; which we call Gratitude; and thus has laid a Foundation
[27.]A (p. 198): Part
[28.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 221).
[29.]Not in A (p. 198).
[30.]D2, D3 (p. 221): The
[31.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 222).
[32.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 222).
[33.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 222).
[34.]D2, D3 (p. 222): altogether. Beside this general Attraction, the Learned in these Subjects shew us a great many other Attractions among several Sorts of Bodys, answering to some particular Sorts of Passions, from some special Causes. And that Attraction or Force by which the Parts of each Body cohere, may represent the Self-Love of each Individual.
[35.]D2, D3 (p. 222): These different Sorts of Love to Persons
[36.]Not in A (p. 199).
[37.]D2, D3 (p. 222): natural
[38.]C (p. 223), D (p. 223): desire and delight
[39.]A (p. 200): as Honour, is constituted an immediate Evil.
[40.]C (pp. 223–24), D (pp. 223–24): an Opinion of him as pernicious to his Neighbours; but what subjects his Ease to this Opinion of the World? Why, perhaps, he
[41.]A (p. 201): from Interest
[42.]A (p. 201): to be
[43.]A (p. 202): is founded on Self-Love
[44.]A (p. 202): our
[45.]No new paragraph in A (p. 202).
[46.]A (p. 202): but
[47.]D (p. 225): to
[48.]Footnote not in A (p. 202).
[49.]Not in A (p. 204).
[50.]New footnote in C (p. 227), D (p. 227): *This should be considered by those who talk much of Praise, high Opinion, or Value, Esteem, Glory, as Things much desired; while yet they allow no moral Sense.
[51.]C (p. 228), D (p. 228): be heartily approved and admired, when we know that Self-Love is
[52.]C (p. 228), D (p. 228): admire
[53.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 310]: No; we should distrust all Pretenders to such a Temper, and hate
[54.]B [Errata, p. xxvi]: to procure
[55.]A (p. 205): form’d
[56.]A (p. 205): but
[57.]A (p. 206): any
[58.]D (p. 229): are
[59.]A (p. 206): did
[60.]C (p. 230), D (p. 230): all Men would look upon
[61.]C (p. 232), D (p. 232): hereafter
[62.]A (p. 209): And hence
[63.]A (p. 209): and they never
[64.]Not in A (p. 209).
[65.]A (p. 209): And the
[66.]A (p. 210): and
[67.]C (p. 233), D (p. 233): Desire of
[68.]A (p. 210): some of the
[69.]C (p. 233), D (p. 233) add: and of having been acquired by Virtue,
[70.]A (p. 211): And the
[71.]A (p. 211): Actions
[72.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 311]: strengthens the natural Modesty in civiliz’d Nations, as Habits and Education improve it
[73.]A (p. 213): many are there who
[74.]A (p. 214): the very
[75.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 311]: of
[76.]A (p. 214): We may also hence
[77.]D (p. 237): Pleasure
[78.]A (p. 214): as
[79.]A (p. 215): others, so no
[80.]A (p. 215): And therefore none are
[81.]A (p. 215): do not of themselves ever
[82.]Not in A (p. 215).
[83.]New footnote in C (p. 238), D (p. 238): *See another Reason of this, perhaps more probably true, in the Essay on the Passions, p. 6.
[84.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 311]: morally evil [an apparently incomplete correction]
[85.]Not in A (p. 216).
[86.]Not in A (p. 216).
[87.]A1 (p. 216): Misery and Distress immediately appear
[88.]A (p. 217): : Thus
[89.]Not in A (p. 217).
[90.]A (p. 217): and
[91.]A (p. 217): from Self-love we
[92.]A (p. 217): study
[93.]A (p. 218): pleas’d barely to
[94.]A (p. 219): meeting with
[95.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 311]: or Curiosity
[96.]A (p. 219): of all
[97.]Not in A (p. 219).
[98.]A (p. 219): do delight in some Actions which in fact
[99.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 308]: State. Some have alleged, That “however the Sight of another’s Misery some way or other gives us Pain, yet the very feeling of Compassion is also attended with Pleasure: This Pleasure is superior to the Pain of Sympathy, and hence we desire to raise Compassion in ourselves, and incline to indulge it.” Were this truly the Case, the Continuation of the Suffering would be the natural Desire of the Compassionate, in order to continue this State, not of pure Pleasure indeed, but of Pleasure superior to all Pains.