Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chap. 1. CHAPTER I: Further Remarks on the Author of the Treatises.— His Order and Design. — His Remarks on the Succession of Wit, and Progress of Letters, and Philosophy.— Of Words, Relations, Affections. — Country-Men and Country. — Old England - Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3
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Chap. 1. CHAPTER I: Further Remarks on the Author of the Treatises.— His Order and Design. — His Remarks on the Succession of Wit, and Progress of Letters, and Philosophy.— Of Words, Relations, Affections. — Country-Men and Country. — Old England - Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3 
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Douglas den Uyl (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
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Chap. 1.CHAPTER I
Further Remarks on the Author of the Treatises.—His Order and Design.—His Remarks on theSuccessionof Wit, and Progress of Letters, and Philosophy.—Of Words, Relations, Affections.—Country-Men and Country.—OldEngland.—Patriots of the Soil.—Virtuosi, and Philosophers.—ATaste.
HAVING already asserted my Privilege, as a Miscellaneous or Essay-Writer of the modern Establishment; to write on every Subject, and in every Method, as I fansy; to use Order, or lay it aside, as I think fit; and to treat of Order and Method in other Works, tho free perhaps and unconfin’d as to my own: I shall presume, in this place, to consider the present Method and Order of my Author’s Treatises, as in this joint-Edition they are rang’d.
Notwithstanding the high Airs of Scepticism which our Author assumes in his first Piece; I cannot, after all, but imagine that even there he proves himself, at the bottom, a realDogmatist, and shews plainly that he has his private Opinion, Belief, or Faith, as strong as any Devotee or Religionist of ’em all. Tho he affects perhaps to strike at other Hypotheses and Schemes; he has something of his own still in reserve, and holds a certain Plan or System peculiar to him-self, or such, at least, in which he has at present but few Companions or Followers.
On this account I look upon his Management to have been much after the rate of some ambitiousArchitect; who being call’d perhaps to prop a Roof, redress a leaning Wall, or add to some particular Apartment, is not contented with this small Specimen of his Mastership: but pretending to demonstrate the Un-serviceableness and Inconvenience of the old Fabrick, forms the Design of a new Building, and longs to shew his Skill in the principal Parts of Architecture and Mechanicks.
’Tis certain that in matters of Learning and Philosophy, the Practice of pulling down is far pleasanter, and affords more Entertainment, than that of building and setting up. Many have succeeded, to a miracle, in the first, who have miserably fail’d in the latter of these Attempts. We may find a thousand Engineers, who can sap, undermine, and blow up, with admirable Dexterity, for one single-one, who can build a Fort, or lay the Plat-form of a Citadel. And tho Compassion in real War may make the ruinous Practice less delightful, ’tis certain that in the literate warring-World, the springing of Mines, the blowing up of Towers, Bastions, and Ramparts of Philosophy, with Systems, Hypotheses, Opinions, and Doctrines into the Air, is a Spectacle of all other, the most naturally rejoicing.
Our Author, we suppose, might have done well to consider this. We have fairly conducted him thro’ his first and secondLetter, and have brought him, as we see here, into his third Piece. He has hitherto, methinks, kept up his sapping Method, and unravelling Humour, with tolerable good Grace. He has given only some few, and very slender * Hints of going further, or attempting to erect any Scheme or Model, which may discover his Pretence to a real Architect-Capacity. Even in this his Third Piece he carrys with him the same sceptical Mein: and what he offers by way of Project or Hypothesis, is very faint, hardly spoken aloud; but mutter’d to himself, in a kind of dubious Whisper, or feign’d Soliloquy. What he discovers of Form and Method, is indeed so accompany’d with the random Miscellaneous Air, that it may pass for Raillery, rather than good Earnest. ’Tis in his following * Treatise that he discovers himself openly, as a plain Dogmatist, a Formalist, and Man of Method; with his Hypotheses tack’d to him, and his Opinions so close-sticking, as wou’d force one to call to mind the Figure of some precise and strait-lac’d Professor in a University.
What may be justly pleaded in his behalf, when we come in company with him, to inquire into such solemn and profound Subjects, seems very doubtful. Mean while, as his Affairs stand hitherto in this his Treatise of Advice, I shall be contented to yoke with him, and proceed, in my miscellaneous Manner, to give my Advice also to Men of Note; whether they are Authors or Politicians, Virtuosi or Fine-Gentlemen; comprehending Him, the said Author, as one of the Number of the Advis’d, and My-self too (if occasion be) after his own example of Self-Admonition and private Address.
BUT FIRST as to our Author’s Dissertation in this †third Treatise, where his Reflections upon Authors in general, and the Rise and Progress of Arts, make the Inlet or Introduction to his Philosophy; we may observe, That it is not without some appearance of Reason that he has advanc’d this Method. It must be acknowledg’d, that tho, in the earliest times, there may have been divine Men of a transcending Genius, who have given Laws both in Religion and Government, to the great Advantage and Improvement of Mankind; yet Philosophy it-self, as a Science and known Profession worthy of that name, cannot with any probability be suppos’d to have risen (as our Author shews) till otherArts had been rais’d, and, in a certain proportion, advanc’d before it. As this was of the greatest Dignity and Weight, so it came last into Form. It was long clearing it-self from the affected Dress of Sophists, or Enthusiastick Air of Poets; and appear’d late in its genuine, simple, and just Beauty.
The Reader perhaps may justly excuse our Author for having * in this place so over-loaded his Margin with those weighty Authoritys and antient Citations, when he knows that there are many grave Professors in Humanity and Letters among the Moderns, who are puzzled in this Search, and write both repugnantly to one another, and to the plain and natural Evidence of the Case. The real Lineage and Successionof Wit, is indeed plainly founded in Nature: as our Author has endeavour’d to make appear both from History and Fact. The GreekNation, as it is Original to us, in respect to these polite Arts and Sciences, so it was in reality original to it-self. For whether the Egyptians, Phenicians, Thracians, or Barbarians of any kind, may have hit fortunately on this or that particular Invention, either in Agriculture, Building, Navigation, or Letters; which-ever may have introduc’d this Rite of Worship, this Title of a Deity, this or that Instrument of Musick, this or that Festival, Game, or Dance, (for on this matter there are high Debates among the Learned) ’tis evident, beyond a doubt, that the Arts and Sciences were form’d in Greece it-self. ’Twas there that Musick, Poetry, and the rest came to receive some kind of shape, and be distinguish’d into their several Orders and Degrees. Whatever flourish’d, or was rais’d to any degree of Correctness, or real Perfection in the kind, was by means of Greece alone, and in the hand of that sole polite, most civiliz’d, and accomplish’d Nation.
Nor can this appear strange, when we consider the fortunate Constitution of that People. For tho compos’d of different Nations, distinct in Laws and Governments, divided by Seas and Continents, dispers’d in distant Islands; yet being originally of the same Extract, united by one single Language, and animated by that social, publick and free Spirit, which notwithstanding the Animosity of their several warring States, induc’d them to erect such heroick Congresses and Powers as those which constituted the AmphictonianCouncils, the Olympick, Isthmian, and other Games; they cou’d not but naturally polish and refine each other. ’Twas thus they brought their beautiful and comprehensive Language to a just Standard, leaving only such Variety in the Dialects as render’d their Poetry, in particular, so much the more agreeable. The Standard was in the same proportion carry’d into other Arts. The Secretion was made. The several Species found, and set apart. The Performers and Masters in every kind, honour’d and admir’d. And, last of all, even Criticks themselves acknowledg’d and receiv’d as Masters over all the rest. From Musick, Poetry, Rhetorick, down to the simple Prose of History, thro’ all the plastick Arts of Sculpture, Statuary, Painting, Architecture, and the rest; every thing Muse-like, graceful and exquisite, was rewarded with the highest Honours, and carry’d on with the utmost Ardor and Emulation. Thus Greece, tho she exported Arts to other Nations, had properly for her own share no Import of the kind. The utmost which cou’d be nam’d, wou’d amount to no more than raw Materials, of a rude and barbarous form. And thus the Nation was evidently Original in Art; and with them every noble Study and Science was (as the great Master, so often cited by our Author, says of certain kinds of Poetry) *self-form’d, wrought out of Nature, and drawn from the necessary Operation and Course of things, working, as it were, of their own accord, and proper inclination. Now according to this natural Growth of Arts, peculiar to Greece, it wou’d necessarily happen; That at the beginning, when the Force of Language came to be first prov’d; when the admiring World made their first Judgment, and essay’d their Taste in the Elegancys of this sort; the Lofty, the Sublime, the Astonishing and Amazing wou’d be the most in fashion, and prefer’d. Metaphorical Speech, Multiplicity of Figures and high-sounding Words wou’d naturally prevail. Tho in the Common-wealth it-self, and in the Affairs of Government, Men were us’d originally to plain and direct Speech; yet when Speaking became an Art, and was taught by Sophists, and other pretended Masters, the high-poetick, and the figurative Way began to prevail, even at the Bar, and in the Publick Assemblys: Insomuch that the Grand-Master, in the * above-cited part of his Rhetoricks, where he extols the Tragick Poet Euripides, upbraids the Rhetoricians of his own Age, who retain’d that very bombastick Style, which even Poets, and those too of the tragick kind, had already thrown off, or at least considerably mitigated. But the Taste of Greece was now polishing. A better Judgment was soon form’d, when a Demosthenes was heard, and had found success. The People themselves (as our Author has shewn) came now to reform their Comedy, and familiar Manner, after Tragedy, and the higher Style, had been brought to its perfection under the last hand of an Euripides. And now in all the principal Works of Ingenuity and Art,Simplicity and Nature began chiefly to be sought: And this was the Taste which lasted thro’ so many Ages, till the Ruin of all things, under a Universal Monarchy.
If the Reader shou’d peradventure be led by his Curiosity to seek some kind of Comparison between this antient Growth of Taste, and that which we have experienc’d in modern days, and within our own Nation; he may look back to the Speeches of our Ancestors in Parliament. He will find ’em generally speaking, to have been very short and plain, but coarse, and what we properly call home-spun; till Learning came in vogue, and Science was known amongst us. When our Princes and Senators became Scholars, they spoke scholastically. And the pedantick Style was prevalent, from the first Dawn of Letters, about the Age of the Reformation, till long afterwards. Witness the best written Discourses, the admir’d Speeches, Orations, or Sermons, thro’ several Reigns, down to these latter, which we compute within the present Age. ’Twill undoubtedly be found, That till very late days, the Fashion of speaking, and the Turn of Wit, was after the figurative and florid Manner. Nothing was so acceptable as the high-sounding Phrase, the far-fetch’d Comparison, the capricious Point, and Play of Words; and nothing so despicable as what was merely of the plain or natural kind. So that it must either be confess’d, that in respect of the preceding Age, we are fallen very low in Taste; or that, if we are in reality improv’d, the natural and simple Manner which conceals and coversArt, is the most truly artful, and of the genteelest, truest, and best-study’d Taste: as has * above been treated more at large.
NOW, THEREFORE, as to our Author’s Philosophy it-self, as it lies conceal’d in †this Treatise, but more profess’d and formal in his ‡next; we shall proceed gradually according to his own Method: since it becomes not one who has undertaken the part of his airy Assistant and humorous Paraphrast, to enter suddenly, without good preparation, into his dry Reasonings and moral Researches about the social Passions and natural Affections, of which he is such a punctilious Examiner.
Of all human Affections, the noblest and most becoming human Nature, is that of Loveto one’s Country. This, perhaps, will easily be allow’d by all Men, who have really a Country, and are of the number of those who may be call’d **a People, as enjoying the Happiness of a real Constitution and Polity, by which they are free and independent. There are few such Country-men or Free-men so degenerate, as directly to discountenance or condemn this Passion of Love to their Community and national Brotherhood. The indirect Manner of opposing this Principle, is the most usual. We hear it commonly, as a Complaint, “That there is little of this Love extant in the World.” From whence ’tis hastily concluded, “That there is little or nothing of friendly or social Affection inherent in our Nature, or proper to our Species.” ’Tis however apparent, That there is scarce a Creature of human Kind, who is not possess’d at least with some inferior degree or meaner sort of this natural Affection to a Country.
* Our own country charms and draws us with a certain sweetness.
’Tis a wretched Aspect of Humanity which we figure to our-selves, when we wou’d endeavour to resolve the very Essence and Foundation of this generous Passion into a Relation to mere Clay and Dust, exclusively of any thing sensible, intelligent, or moral. ’Tis, I must own, on certain †Relations, or respective Proportions, that all natural Affection does in some measure depend. And in this View it cannot, I confess, be deny’d, that we have each of us a certain Relation to the mere Earth it-self, the very Mould or Surface of that Planet, in which, with other Animals of various sorts, We (poor Reptiles!) were also bred and nourish’d. But had it happen’d to one of us British-Men to have been born at Sea, cou’d we not therefore properly be call’d British-Men? Cou’d we be allow’d Country-Men of no sort, as having no distinct relation to any certain Soil or Region; no original Neighbourhood but with the watry Inhabitants and Sea-Monsters? Surely, if we were born of lawful Parents, lawfully employ’d, and under the Protection of Law; wherever they might be then detain’d, to whatever Colonys sent, or whither-soever driven by any Accident, or in Expeditions or Adventures in the Publick Service, or that of Mankind, we shou’d still find we had a Home, and Country, ready to lay claim to us. We shou’d be oblig’d still to consider our-selves as Fellow-Citizens, and might be allow’d to love our Country or Nation as honestly and heartily as the most inland Inhabitant or Native of the Soil. Our political and social Capacity wou’d undoubtedly come in view, and be acknowledg’d full as natural and essential in our Species, as the parental and filial kind, which gives rise to what we peculiarly call natural Affection. Or supposing that both our Birth and Parents had been unknown, and that in this respect we were in a manner younger Brothers in Society to the rest of Mankind; yet from our Nurture and Education we shou’d surely espouse some Country or other; and joyfully embracing the Protection of a Magistracy, shou’d of necessity and by force of Nature join our-selves to the general Society of Mankind, and those in particular, with whom we had enter’d into a nearer Communication of Benefits, and closer Sympathy of Affections. It may therefore be esteem’d no better than a mean Subterfuge of narrow Minds, to assign this natural Passion for Society and a Country, to such a Relation as that of a mere Fungus or common Excrescence, to its Parent-Mould, or nursing Dung-hill.
The Relation of Country-man, if it be allow’d any thing at all, must imply something moral and social. The Notion it-self pre-supposes a naturally civil and political State of Mankind, and has reference to that particular part of Society, to which we owe our chief Advantages as Men, and rational Creatures, such as are *naturally and necessarily united for each other’s Happiness and Support, and for the highest of all Happiness and Enjoyments; “The Intercourse of Minds, the free Use of our Reason, and the Exercise of mutual Love and Friendship.”
An ingenious Physician among the Moderns, having in view the natural Dependency of the vegetable and animal Kinds on their common Mother-Earth, and observing that both the one and the other draw from her their continual Sustenance, (some rooted and fix’d down to their first abodes, others unconfin’d, and wandring from place to place to suck their Nourishment): He accordingly, as I remember, styles this latter animal-Race, her releas’d Sons; Filios Terrae emancipatos. Now if this be our only way of reckoning for Mankind, we may call our-selves indeed, The Sons ofEarth,at large; but not of any particularSoil, or District. The Division of Climates and Regions is fantastick and artificial: much more the Limits of particular Countrys, Citys or Provinces. Our Natale Solum, or Mother-Earth, must by this account be the realGlobe it-self which bears us, and in respect of which we must allow the common Animals, and even the Plants of all degrees, to claim an equal Brotherhood with us, under this common Parent.
According to this Calculation we must of necessity carry our Relation as far as to the whole material World or Universe; where alone it can prove compleat. But for the particular District or Tract of Earth, which in a vulgar sense we call ourCountry, however bounded or geographically divided, we can never, at this rate, frame any accountable Relation to it, nor consequently assign any natural or proper Affection towards it.
If unhappily a Man had been born either at an Inn, or in some dirty Village; he wou’d hardly, I think, circumscribe himself so narrowly as to accept a Denomination or Character from those nearest Appendices, or local Circumstances of his Nativity. So far shou’d one be from making the Hamlet or Parish to be characteristical in the Case, that hardly wou’d the Shire it-self, or County, however rich or flourishing, be taken into the honorary Term or Appellation of one’sCountry. “What, then, shall we presume to call ourCountry? Is it England it-self?” “But what of Scotland? Is it therefore Britain?” “But what of the other Islands, the Northern Orcades, and the Southern Jersey and Guernsey? What of the Plantations, and poor Ireland?”—Behold, here, a very dubious Circumscription!
But what, after all, if there be a Conquest or Captivity in the case? a Migration? a national Secession, or Abandonment of our native Seats for some other Soil or Climate? This has happen’d, we know, to our Forefathers. And as great and powerful a People as we have been of late, and have ever shewn our-selves under the influence of free Councils, and a tolerable Ministry; shou’d we relapse again into slavish Principles, or be administer’d long under such Heads as having no Thought of Liberty for themselves, can have much less for Europe or their Neighbours; we may at last feel a War at home, become the Seat of it, and in the end a Conquest. We might then gladly embrace the hard Condition of our Predecessors, and exchange our beloved native Soil for that of some remote and uninhabited part of the World. Now shou’d this possibly be our Fate; shou’d some considerable Colony or Body be form’d afterwards out of our Remains, or meet, as it were by Miracle, in some distant Climate; wou’d there be, for the future, no English-man remaining? No common Bond of Alliance and Friendship, by which we cou’d still call Country-men, as before? How came we, I pray, by our antient name of English-men? Did it not travel with us over Land and Sea? Did we not, indeed, bring it with us heretofore from as far as the remoter Parts of Germany to this Island?
I MUST confess, I have been apt sometimes to be very angry with our Language, for having deny’d us the use of the word Patria, and afforded us no other name to express our native Community, than that of Country; which already bore * two different Significations, abstracted from Mankind or Society. Reigning words are many times of such force, as to influence us considerably in our Apprehension of things. Whether it be from any such Cause as this, I know not: but certain it is, that in the Idea of a CivilState or Nation, we English-men are apt to mix somewhat more than ordinary gross and earthy. No People who ow’d so much to a Constitution, and so little to a Soil or Climate, were ever known so indifferent towards one, and so passionately fond of the other. One wou’d imagine from the common Discourse of our Country-men, that the finest Lands near the Euphrates, the Babylonian or PersianParadises, the rich Plains of Egypt, the GrecianTempe, the RomanCampania, Lombardy, Provence, the SpanishAndalusia, or the most delicious Tracts in the Eastern or WesternIndies, were contemptible Countrys in respect of Old England.
Now by the good leave of these worthy Patriots of the Soil, I must take the liberty to say, I think Old England to have been in every respect a very indifferent Country: and that LateEngland, of an Age or two old, even since Queen Bess’s days, is indeed very much mended for the better. We were, in the beginning of her Grandfather’s Reign, under a sort of Polish Nobility; and had no other Libertys, than what were in common to us with the then fashionable Monarchys and Gothick Lordships of Europe. For Religion, indeed, we were highly fam’d, above all Nations; by being the most subject to our Ecclesiasticks at home, and the best Tributarys and Servants to the Holy See abroad.
I must go further yet, and own, that I think LateEngland, since the Revolution, to be better still than OldEngland, by many degrees; and that, in the main, we make somewhat a better Figure in Europe, than we did a few Reigns before. But however our People may of late have flourish’d, our Name, or Credit have risen; our Trade, and Navigation, our Manufactures, or our Husbandry been improv’d; ’tis certain that our Region, Climate, and Soil, is, in its own nature, still one and the same. And to whatever Politeness we may suppose our-selves already arriv’d; we must confess, that we are the latest barbarous, the last civiliz’d or polish’d People of Europe. We must allow that our first Conquest by the Romans brought us out of a State hardly equal to the Indian Tribes; and that our last Conquest by the Normans brought us only into the capacity of receiving Arts and civil Accomplishments from abroad. They came to us by degrees, from remote distances, at second or third hand; from other Courts, States, Academys, and foreign Nurserys of Wit and Manners.
Notwithstanding this, we have as over-weaning an Opinion of our-selves, as if we had a claim to be Original and Earth-born. As oft as we have chang’d Masters, and mix’d Races with our several successive Conquerors, we still pretend to be as legitimate and genuine Possessors of our Soil, as the antient Athenians accounted themselves to have been of theirs. ’Tis remarkable however in that truly antient, wise, and witty People, That as fine Territorys and noble Countrys as they possess’d, as indisputable Masters and Superiors as they were in all Science, Wit, Politeness, and Manners; they were yet so far from a conceited, selfish, and ridiculous Contempt of others, that they were even, in a contrary Extreme, “Admirers of whatever was in the least degree ingenious or curious in foreign Nations.” Their Great Men were constant Travellers. Their Legislators and Philosophers made their Voyages into Egypt, pass’d into Chaldea, and Persia; and fail’d not to visit most of the dispers’d Grecian Governments and Colonys thro’ the Islands of the AEgean, in Italy, and on the Coasts of Asia and Africa. ’Twas mention’d as a Prodigy, in the case of a great Philosopher, tho known to have been always poor; “That he shou’d never have travel’d, nor had ever gone out of Athens for his Improvement.” How modest a Reflection in those who were themselvesAthenians!
For our part, we neither care that *Foreigners shou’d travel to us, nor any of ours shou’d travel into foreign Countrys. Our best Policy and Breeding is, it seems, “To look abroad as little as possible; contract our Views within the narrowest Compass; and despise all Knowledg, Learning, or Manners, which are not of a Home Growth.” For hardly will the Antients themselves be regarded by those, who have so resolute a Contempt of what the politest Moderns of any Nation, besides their own, may have advanc’d in the way of Literature, Politeness, or Philosophy.
THIS Disposition of our Country-men, from whatever Causes it may possibly be deriv’d, is, I fear, a very prepossessing Circumstance against our Author; whose Design is to advance something new, or at least something different from what is commonly current in Philosophy and Morals. To support this Design of his, he seems intent chiefly on this single Point; “To discover, how we may, to best advantage, form within our-selves what in the polite World is call’d a Relish, or GoodTaste.”
He begins, it’s true, as near home as possible, and sends us to the narrowest of all Conversations, that of Soliloquy or Self-discourse. But this Correspondence, according to his Computation, is wholly impracticable, without a previous Commerce with the World: And the larger this Commerce is, the more practicable and improving the other, he thinks, is likely to prove. The Sources of this improving Art of Self-correspondence he derives from the highest Politeness and Elegance of antient Dialogue, and Debate, in matters of Wit, Knowledg, and Ingenuity. And nothing, according to our Author, can so well revive this self-corresponding Practice, as the same Search and Study of the highest Politeness in modern Conversation. For this, we must necessarily be at the pains of going further abroad than the Province we call Home. And, by this Account, it appears that our Author has little hopes of being either relish’d or comprehended by any other of his Country-men, than those who delight in the open and free Commerce of the World, and are rejoic’d to gather Views, and receive Light from every Quarter; in order to judg the best of what is perfect, and according to a just Standard, and true Taste in every kind.
It may be proper for us to remark in favour of our Author, that the sort of Ridicule or Raillery, which is apt to fall upon Philosophers, is of the same kind with that which falls commonly on the Virtuosi, or refin’d Wits of the Age. In this latter general Denomination we include the real fine Gentlemen, the Lovers of Art and Ingenuity; such as have seen the World, and inform’d themselves of the Manners and Customs of the several Nations of Europe, search’d into their Antiquitys, and Records; consider’d their Police, Laws, and Constitutions; observ’d the Situation, Strength, and Ornaments of their Citys, their principal Arts, Studys, and Amusements; their Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Musick, and their Taste in Poetry, Learning, Language, and Conversation.
Hitherto there can lie no Ridicule, nor the least Scope for Satirick Wit or Raillery. But when we push this Virtuoso-Character a little further, and lead our polish’d Gentleman into more nice Researches; when from the view of Mankind and their Affairs, our speculative Genius, and minute Examiner of Nature’s Works, proceeds with equal or perhaps superior Zeal in the Contemplation of the Insect-Life, the Conveniencys, Habitations and OEconomy of a Race of Shell-Fish; when he has erected a Cabinet in due form, and made it the real Pattern of his Mind, replete with the same Trash and Trumpery of correspondent empty Notions, and chimerical Conceits; he then indeed becomes the Subject of sufficient Raillery, and is made the Jest of common Conversations.
A worse thing than this happens commonly to these inferiorVirtuosi. In seeking so earnestly for Raritys, they fall in love with Rarityfor Rareness-sake. Now the greatest Raritys in the World are Monsters. So that the Study and Relish of these Gentlemen, thus assiduously imploy’d, becomes at last in reality monstrous: And their whole Delight is found to consist in selecting and contemplating whatever is most monstrous, disagreeing, out of the way, and to the least purpose of any thing in Nature.
In Philosophy, Matters answer exactly to this Virtuoso-Scheme. Let us suppose a Man, who having this Resolution merely, how to employ his Understanding to the best purpose, considers “Who or What he is; Whence he arose, or had his Being; to what End he was design’d; and to what Course of Action he is by his natural Frame and Constitution destin’d:” shou’d he descend on this account into himself, and examine his inward Powers and Facultys; or shou’d he ascend beyond his own immediate Species, City, or Community, to discover and recognize his higher Polity, or Community, (that common and universal-one, of which he is born a Member); nothing, surely, of this kind, cou’d reasonably draw upon him the least Contempt or Mockery. On the contrary, the finest Gentleman must after all be consider’d but as an Idiot, who talking much of the knowledg of the World and Mankind, has never so much as thought of the Study or Knowledg of himself, or of the Nature and Government of that real Publick and World, from whence he holds his Being.
* What are we and for what kind of life are we born?
“Where are we? Under what Roof? Or on board what Vessel? Whither bound? On what Business? Under whose Pilotship, Government, or Protection?” are Questions which every sensible Man wou’d naturally ask, if he were on a sudden transported into a new Scene of Life. ’Tis admirable, indeed, to consider, That a Man shou’d have been long come into a World, carry’d his Reason and Sense about with him, and yet have never seriously ask’d himself this single Question, “Wheream I? orWhat?” but, on the contrary, shou’d proceed regularly to every other Study and Inquiry, postponing this alone, as the least considerable; or leaving the Examination of it to others, commission’d, as he supposes, to understand and think for him, upon this Head. To be bubbled, or put upon by any sham-Advices in this Affair, is, it seems, of no consequence! We take care to examine accurately, by our own Judgment, the Affairs of other People, and the Concerns of the World which least belong to us: But what relates more immediately to our-selves, and is our chief Self-Interest, we charitably leave to others to examine for us, and readily take up with the first Comers; on whose Honesty and good Faith ’tis presum’d we may safely rely.
Here, methinks, the Ridicule turns more against the Philosophy-Haters than the Virtuosi or Philosophers. Whilst Philosophy is taken (as in its prime Sense it ought) for Mastership inLife and Manners, ’tis like to make no ill Figure in the World, whatever Impertinencys may reign, or however extravagant the Times may prove. But let us view Philosophy, like mere Virtuoso-ship, in its usual Career, and we shall find the Ridicule rising full as strongly against the Professors of the higher as the lower kind. Cockleshell abounds with each. Many things exterior, and without our-selves, of no relation to our real Interests or to those of Society and Mankind, are diligently investigated: Nature’s remotest Operations, deepest Mysterys, and most difficult Phaenomena discuss’d, and whimsically explain’d; Hypotheses and fantastick Systems erected; a Universe anatomiz’d; and by some * notable Scheme so solv’d and reduc’d, as to appear an easy Knack or Secret to those who have the Clew. Creation it-self can, upon occasion, be exhibited; Transmutations, Projections, and other PhilosophicalArcana, such as in the corporeal World can accomplish all things; whilst in the intellectual, a set Frame of metaphysical Phrases and Distinctions can serve to solve whatever Difficultys may be propounded either in Logicks, Ethicks, or any real Science, of whatever kind.
It appears from hence, that the Defects of Philosophy, and those of Virtuoso-ship are of the same nature. Nothing can be more dangerous than a wrong Choice, or Misapplication in these Affairs. But as ridiculous as these Studys are render’d by their sensless Managers; it appears, however, that each of ’em are, in their nature, essential to the Character of a Fine Gentleman and Man of Sense.
To philosophize, in a just Signification, is but to carry Good-breeding a step higher. For the Accomplishment of Breeding is, To learn whatever is decent in Company, or beautiful in Arts; and the Sum of Philosophy is, To learn what is just in Society, and beautiful in Nature, and the Order of the World.
’Tis not Wit merely, but a Temper which must form the Well-bred Man. In the same manner, ’tis not a Head merely, but a Heart and Resolution which must compleat the realPhilosopher. Both Characters aim at what is excellent, aspire to a just Taste, and carry in view the Model of what is beautiful and becoming. Accordingly, the respective Conduct and distinct Manners of each Party are regulated; The one according to the perfectest Ease, and good Entertainment of Company;the other according to the strictest Interest of Mankind and Society:The one according to a Man’s Rank and Quality in his private Nation; the other according to his Rank and Dignity in Nature.
Whether each of these Offices, of social Parts, are in themselves as convenient as becoming, is the great Question which must some-way be decided. The Well-bred Man has already decided this, in his own Case, and declar’d on the side of what is Handsom: For whatever he practises in this kind,* he accounts no more than what he owes purely to himself; without regard to any further Advantage. The Pretender toPhilosophy, who either knows not how to determine this Affair, or if he has determin’d, knows not how to pursue his Point, with Constancy, and Firmness, remains in respect of Philosophy, what a Clown or Coxcomb is in respect of Breeding and Behaviour. Thus, according to our Author, the Taste of Beauty, and the Relish of what is decent, just, and amiable, perfects the Character of the Gentleman, and the Philosopher. And the Study of such a Taste or Relish will, as we suppose, be ever the great Employment and Concern of him, who covets as well to be wise and good, as agreeable and polite.
* I care about and I ask what is true and fitting and I am completely occupied in this.
[* ]Viz. In the Letter of Enthusiasm, which makes Treatise I. See VOL. I. pag. 41, 43, 44, 49. at the end.—And 54. concerning the previous Knowledg.—So again, Treatise II. VOL. I. pag. 81, and 116.—And again, Treatise III. VOL. I. pag. 294, 295, 297. where the INQUIRY is propos’d, and the System and Genealogy of the Affections previously treated; with an Apology (pag. 312.) for the examining Practice, and seeming Pedantry of the Method.—And afterwards the Apology for Treatise IV. in Treatise V. VOL. II. pag. 263, 264. Concerning this Series and Dependency of these joint Treatises, see more particularly below, pag. 189, 190, 191, 284, &c.
[* ]Viz. Treatise V. The INQUIRY concerning Virtue, VOL. II.
[† ] VOL. I. pag. 236, 7, 8, 9, &c.
[* ]Viz. VOL. I. pag. 242, &c.
[* ] αὐτοσχεδιαστική [the art of improvisation]. VOL. I. pag. 244. ’Tis in this sense of the natural Production, and Self-Formation of the Arts, in this Free State of antient Greece, that the same great Master uses this Word a little before, in the same Chapter of his Poeticks, (viz. the 4th) speaking in general of the Poets: κατὰ μικρὸν προάγοντες, ἐγέννησαν τὴν ποίησιν, ἐκ τω̑ν αὐτοσχεδιασμάτων. [Advancing step by step they produced poetry out of their improvisations.—Arist. Poet. iv. 6.] And presently after, λέξεως δὲ λενομένης, αὐτὴ ἡ φύσις τὸ οἰκει̑ον μέτρον εὑ̑ρε. [When dialogue was introduced, Nature herself found out the appropriate metre.—Ib. iv. 14.]
[* ] VOL. I. pag. 245. in the Notes.
[* ] Page 21. and VOL. I. pag. 257, 258.
[† ] Viz. Soliloquy, or Advice to an Author: Treatise III. VOL. I.
[‡ ] Viz. INQUIRY, &c. Treatise IV. VOL. II.
[** ] A Multitude held together by Force, tho under one and the same Head, is not properly united: Nor does such a Body make a People. ’Tis the social Ligue, Confederacy, and mutual Consent, founded in some common Good or Interest, which joins the Members of a Community, and makes a People One. Absolute Power annuls the Publick: And where there is no Publick, or Constitution, there is in reality no Mother-Country, or Nation. See VOL. I. pag. 105, 6, 7.
[† ] τὰ καθήκοντα ται̑ς οχέσεσι παραμετρει̑ται. [The circumstances are measured according to their nature.]
[* ] VOL. I. p. 109, &c. and VOL. II. p. 310, &c.
[* ]Rus & Regio. In French Campagne & Païs.
[* ] An ill Token of our being thorowly civiliz’d: since in the Judgment of the Polite and Wise, this inhospitable Disposition was ever reckon’d among the principal Marks of Barbarism. So Strabo, from other preceding Authors, κοινὸν μὲν εἱ̑ναι τοι̑ς βαρβάροις πα̑σιν ἔθος τὴν ξενηλασίαν, L.xvii. p. 802. [The expulsion of foreigners is a common measure with all barbarians.]
The Ζεύς Ξένιος [Zeus, god of strangers] of the Antients was one of the solemn Characters of Divinity: the peculiar Attribute of the supreme DEITY, benign to Mankind, and recommending universal Love, mutual Kindness, and Benignity between the remotest and most unlike of human Race. Thus their Divine Poet in Harmony with their Sacred Oracles, which were known frequently to confirm this Doctrine.
[My guest, I may not slight a stranger, even if he were a meaner man than thou art; for from Zeus are all strangers.”—Homer, Odyssey, xiv, 56, 58.] Again,—
[And no other mortals hold intercourse with us. But this is some luckless man who has come hither in his wanderings, and we must tend him well, for from Zeus are all strangers.—Odyssey, vi. 205–208.] And again,—
[Rich he was, and beloved among men, for he lived by the roadside and entertained all.”—Homer, Iliad, vi. 14, 15.]
See also Odys. lib. iii. ver. 34, &c. and 67, &c. lib. iv. ver. 30, &c. and 60.
Such was antient Heathen CHARITY, and pious Duty towards the Whole of Mankind; both those of different Nations, and different Worships. See VOL. II. pag. 165, 166.
[* ]Quid sumus, & quidnam victuri gignimur?—— Pers. Sat. iii. ver. 67.
[* ] VOL. II. pag. 184, 185.
[* ] VOL. I. pag. 129, 130.