Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chap. 2. CHAPTER II: Passage from Terra Incognita to the visible World. — Mistress-ship of Nature. — Animal-Confederacy, Degrees, Subordination. — Master-Animal Man. Privilege of his Birth. — Serious Countenance of the Author. - Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3
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Chap. 2. CHAPTER II: Passage from Terra Incognita to the visible World. — Mistress-ship of Nature. — Animal-Confederacy, Degrees, Subordination. — Master-Animal Man. Privilege of his Birth. — Serious Countenance of the Author. - 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. 2.CHAPTER II
Passage from Terra Incognita to the visible World.—Mistress-ship ofNature.—Animal-Confederacy, Degrees, Subordination.—Master-Animal Man. Privilege of his Birth.—Serious Countenance of the Author.
AS heavily as it went with us, in the deep philosophical part of our preceding Chapter; and as necessarily engag’d as we still are to prosecute the same serious Inquiry, and Search, into those dark Sources; ’tis hop’d, That our remaining Philosophy may flow in a more easy Vein; and the second Running be found somewhat clearer than the first. However it be; we may, at least, congratulate with our-selves for having thus briefly pass’d over that Metaphysical part, to which we have paid sufficient deference. Nor shall we scruple to declare our Opinion, “That it is, in a manner, necessary for one who wou’d usefully philosophize, to have a Knowledg in this part of Philosophy, sufficient to satisfy him that there is no Knowledg or Wisdom to be learnt from it.” For of this Truth nothing besides Experience and Study will be able fully to convince him.
When we are even past these empty Regions and Shadows of Philosophy; ’twill still perhaps appear an uncomfortable kind of travelling thro’ those other invisible Ideal Worlds: such as the Study of Morals, we see, engages us to visit. Men must acquire a very peculiar and strong Habit of turning their Eye inwards, in order to explore the interior Regions and Recesses of the Mind, the hollow Caverns of deep Thought, the private Seats of Fancy, and the Wastes and Wildernesses, as well as the more fruitful and cultivated Tracts of this obscure Climate.
But what can one do? Or how dispense with these darker Disquisitions and Moon-light Voyages, when we have to deal with a sort of Moon-blindWits, who tho very acute and able in their kind, may be said to renounce Day-light, and extinguish, in a manner, the bright visible outward World, by allowing us to know nothing beside what we can prove, by strict and formal Demonstration?
’Tis therefore to satisfy such rigid Inquirers as these, that we have been necessitated to proceed by the inward way; and that in our preceding Chapter we have built only on such foundations as are taken from our very Perceptions, Fancys, Appearances, Affections, and Opinions themselves, without regard to any thing of an exteriorWorld, and even on the supposition that there is no such World in being.
Such has been our late dry Task. No wonder if it carrys, indeed, a meagre and raw Appearance. It may be look’d on, in Philosophy, as worse than a mere EgyptianImposition. For to make Brick without Straw or Stubble, is perhaps an easier labour, than to prove Morals without a World, and establish a Conduct of Life without the Supposition of any thing living or extant besides our immediate Fancy, and Worldof Imagination.
But having finished this mysterious Work, we come now to open Day, and Sunshine: And, as a Poet perhaps might express himself, we are now ready to quit
We are, henceforward, to trust our Eyes, and take for real the whole Creation, andthe fair Forms which lie before us. We are to believe the Anatomy of our own Body, and in proportionable Order, the Shapes, Forms, Habits, and Constitutions of other Animal-Races. Without demurring on the profound modern Hypothesis of animal Insensibility, we are to believe firmly and resolutely, “That other Creatures have their Sense and Feeling, their mere Passions and Affections, as well as our-selves.” And in this manner we proceed accordingly, on our Author’s Scheme, “To inquire what is truly natural to each Creature: And Whether that which is natural to each, and is its Perfection, be not withal its Happiness, or Good.”
To deny there is any thing properly natural, (after the Concessions already made) wou’d be undoubtedly very preposterous and absurd. Nature and the outward World being own’d existent, the rest must of necessity follow. The Anatomy of Bodys, the Order of the Spheres, the proper Mechanisms of a thousand kinds, and the infinite Ends and sutable Means establish’d in the general Constitution and Order of Things; all this being once admitted, and allow’d to pass as certain and unquestionable, ’tis as vain afterwards to except against the Phrase of natural and unnatural, and question the Propriety of this Speech apply’d to the particular Forms and Beings in the World, as it wou’d be to except against the common Appellations of Vigour and Decay in Plants, Health or Sickness in Bodys, Sobriety or Distraction in Minds, Prosperity or Degeneracy in any variable part of the known Creation.
We may, perhaps, for Humour sake, or after the known way of disputant Hostility, in the support of any odd Hypothesis, pretend to deny this natural and unnatural in Things. ’Tis evident, however, that tho our Humour or Taste be, by such Affectation, ever so much deprav’d; we cannot resist our natural *Anticipation in behalf ofNature; according to whose suppos’d Standard we perpetually approve and disapprove, and to whom in all natural Appearances, all moral Actions (whatever we contemplate, whatever we have in debate) we inevitably appeal, and pay our constant Homage, with the most apparent Zeal and Passion.
’Tis here, above all other places, that we say with strict Justice,
* You may turn out nature with a pitchfork, yet back she will keep coming.
The airy Gentlemen, who have never had it in their thoughts to studyNature in their own Species; but being taken with other Loves, have apply’d their Parts and Genius to the same Study in a Horse, a Dog, a Game-Cock, a Hawk, or any other † Animal of that degree; know very well, that to each Species there belongs a several Humour, Temper, and Turn of inward Disposition, as real and peculiar as the Figure and outward Shape, which is with so much Curiosity beheld and admir’d. If there be any thing ever so little amiss or wrong in the inward Frame, the Humour or Temper of the Creature, ’tis readily call’d vicious; and when more than ordinarily wrong, unnatural. The Humours of the Creatures, in order to their redress, are attentively observ’d; sometimes indulg’d and flatter’d; at other times controul’d and check’d with proper Severitys. In short, their Affections, Passions, Appetites, and Antipathys, are as duly regarded as those in Human Kind, under the strictest Discipline of Education. Such is theSenseof inward Proportion and Regularity of Affections, even in our Noble Youths them-selves; who in this respect are often known expert and able Masters of Education, tho not so susceptible of Discipline and Culture in their own case, after those early Indulgences to which their Greatness has intitled ’em.
As little favourable however as these sportly Gentlemen are presum’d to show themselves towards the Care or Culture of their own Species; as remote as their Contemplations are thought to lie from Nature and Philosophy; they confirm plainly and establish our philosophical Foundation of the natural Ranks, Orders, interior and exterior Proportions of the several distinct Species and Forms of Animal Beings. Ask one of these Gentlemen, unawares, when sollicitously careful and busy’d in the great Concerns of his Stable, or Kennel, “Whether his Hound or Greyhound-Bitch who eats her Puppys, is as natural as the other who nurses ’em?” and he will think you frantick. Ask him again, “Whether he thinks the unnatural Creature who acts thus, or the natural-one who does otherwise, is best in its kind, and enjoys it-self the most?” And he will be inclin’d to think still as strangely of you. Or if perhaps he esteems you worthy of better Information; he will tell you, “That his best-bred Creatures, and of the truest Race, are ever the noblest and most generous in their Natures: That it is this chiefly which makes the difference between the Horse of good Blood, and the errant Jade of a base Breed; between the Game-Cock, and the Dunghil-Craven; between the true Hawk, and the mere Kite or Buzzard; and between the right Mastiff, Hound, or Spaniel, and the very Mungrel.” He might, withal, tell you perhaps with a masterly Air in this Brute-Science, “That the timorous, poor-spirited, lazy and gluttonous of his Dogs, were those whom he either suspected to be of a spurious Race, or who had been by some accident spoil’d in their Nursing and Management: for that this was not natural to ’em. That in every Kind, they were still the miserablest Creatures who were thus spoil’d: And that having each of ’em their proper Chace or Business, if they lay resty and out of their Game, chamber’d, and idle, they were the same as if taken out of their Element. That the saddest Curs in the world, were those who took the Kitchin-Chimney and Dripping-pan for their Delight; and that the only happyDog (were one to be a DogOne’s-Self) was he, who in his proper Sport and Exercise, his natural Pursuit and Game, endur’d all Hardships, and had so much delight in Exercise and in the Field, as to forget Home and his Reward.”
Thus the natural Habits and Affections of the inferior Creatures are known; and their unnatural and degenerate part discover’d. Depravity and Corruption is acknowledg’d as real in their Affections, as when any thing is mishapen, wrong, or monstrous in their outward Make. And notwithstanding much of this inward Depravity is discoverable in the Creatures tam’d by Man, and, for his Service or Pleasure merely, turn’d from their natural Course into a contrary Life and Habit; notwithstanding that, by this means, the Creatures who naturally herd with one another, lose their associating Humour, and they who naturally pair and are constant to each other, lose their kind of conjugal Alliance and Affection; yet when releas’d from human Servitude, and return’d again to their natural Wilds, and rural Liberty, they instantly resume their natural and regular Habits, such as are conducing to the Increase and Prosperity of their own Species.
Well it is perhaps for Mankind, that tho there are so many Animals who naturally herd for Company’s sake, and mutual Affection, there are so few who for Conveniency, and by Necessity are oblig’d to a strict Union, and kind of confederate State. The Creatures who, according to the OEconomy of their Kind, are oblig’d to make themselves Habitations of Defense against the Seasons and other Incidents; they who in some parts of the Year are depriv’d of all Subsistence, and are therefore necessitated to accumulate in another, and to provide withal for the Safety of their collected Stores, are by their Nature indeed as strictly join’d, and with as proper Affections towards their Publick and Community, as the looser Kind, of a more easy Subsistence and Support, are united in what relates merely to their Offspring, and the Propagation of their Species. Of these thorowly associating and confederate-Animals, there are none I have ever heard of, who in Bulk or Strength exceed theBeaver. The major part of these political Animals, and Creatures of a joint Stock, are as inconsiderable as the Race of Ants or Bees. But had Nature assign’d such an OEconomy as this to so puissant an Animal, for instance, as theElephant, and made him withal as prolifick as those smaller Creatures commonly are; it might have gone hard perhaps with Mankind: And a single Animal, who by his proper Might and Prowess has often decided the Fate of the greatest Battels which have been fought by Human Race, shou’d he have grown up into a Society, with a Genius for Architecture and Mechanicks proportionable to what we observe in those smaller Creatures; we shou’d, with all our invented Machines, have found it hard to dispute with him the Dominion of the Continent.
Were we in a disinterested View, or with somewhat less Selfishness than ordinary, to consider the OEconomys, Parts, Interests, Conditions, and Terms of Life, which Nature has distributed and assign’d to the several Species of Creatures round us, we shou’d not be apt to think our-selves so hardly dealt with. But Whether our Lot in this respect be just, or equal, is not the Question with us, at present. ’Tis enough that we know “There is certainly an Assignment and Distribution: That each OEconomy or Part so distributed, is in it-self uniform, fix’d, and invariable: and That if any thing in the Creature be accidentally impair’d; if any thing in the inward Form, the Disposition, Temper or Affections, be contrary or unsutable to the distinct OEconomy or Part, the Creature is wretched and unnatural.”
The social or natural Affections, which our Author considers as essential to the Health, Wholeness, or Integrity of the particular Creature, are such as contribute to the Welfare and Prosperity of that Whole or Species, to which he is by Nature join’d. All the Affections of this kind our Author comprehends in that single name of natural. But as the Design or End of Nature in each Animal-System, is exhibited chiefly in the Support and Propagation of the particular Species; it happens, of consequence, that those Affections of earliest Alliance and mutual Kindness between the Parent and the Offspring, are known more particularly by the name of *natural Affection. However, since it is evident that all Defect or Depravity of Affection, which counterworks or opposes the original Constitution and OEconomy of the Creature, is unnatural; it follows, “That in Creatures who by their particular OEconomy are fitted to the strictest Society and Rule of common Good, the most unnatural of all Affections are those which separate from this Community; and the mosttruly natural, generous and noble, are those which tend towards Publick Service, and the Interest of theSocietyat large.”
This is the main Problem which our Author in more philosophical Terms demonstrates, * in this Treatise, “That for a Creature whose natural End is Society, to operate as is by Nature appointed him towards the Good of such hisSociety,orWhole, is in reality to pursue his own natural and properGood.” And “That to operate contrary-wise, or by such Affections as sever from that common Good, or publick Interest, is, in reality, to work towards his own natural and properIll.” Now if Man, as has been prov’d, be justly rank’d in the number of those Creatures whose OEconomy is according to a joint-Stock and publick-Weal; if it be understood, withal, that the only State of his Affections which answers rightly to this publick-Weal, is the regular, orderly, or virtuous State; it necessarily follows, “That Virtue is his natural Good, and Vice his Misery and Ill.”
As for that further Consideration, “Whether Nature has orderly and justly distributed the several OEconomys or Parts; and Whether the Defects, Failures, or Calamitys of particular Systems are to the advantage of all in general, and contribute to the Perfection of the one common and universal System”; we must refer to our Author’s profounder Speculations in this his Inquiry, and in his following PhilosophickDialogue. But if what he advances in this respect be real, or at least the most probable by far of any Scheme or Representation which can be made of the Universal Nature and Cause of things; it will follow, “That since Man has been so constituted, by means of his rational Part, as to be conscious of this his more immediate Relation to the Universal System, and Principle of Order and Intelligence; he is not only by Nature sociable, within the Limits of his own Species, or Kind; but in a yet more generous and extensive manner. He is not only born toVirtue,Friendship, Honesty, and Faith; but to Religion,Piety, Adoration, and * a generous Surrender of his Mind to whatever happens from that SupremeCause, or Order of Things, which he acknowledges intirely just, and perfect.”
THESE ARE our Author’s formal and grave Sentiments; which if they were not truly his, and sincerely espous’d by him, as the real Result of his best Judgment and Understanding, he wou’d be guilty of a more than common degree of imposture. For, according to his own † Rule, an affected Gravity, and feign’d Seriousness carry’d on, thro’ any Subject, in such a manner as to leave no Insight into the Fiction or intended Raillery; is in truth no Raillery, or Wit, at all; but a gross, immoral, and illiberal way of Abuse, foreign to the Character of a good Writer, a Gentleman, or Man ofWorth.
But since we have thus acquitted our-selves of that serious Part, of which our Reader was before-hand well appriz’d; let him now expect us again in our original Miscellaneous Manner and Capacity. ’Tis here, as has been explain’d to him, that Raillery and Humour are permitted: and Flights, Sallys, and Excursions of every kind are found agreeable and requisite. Without this, there might be less Safety found, perhaps, in Thinking. Every light Reflection might run us up to the dangerous State of Meditation. And in reality, profound Thinking is many times the Cause of shallow Thought. To prevent this contemplative Habit and Character, of which we see so little good effect in the World, we have reason perhaps to be fond of the diverting Manner in Writing, and Discourse, especially if the Subject be of a solemn kind. There is more need, in this case, to interrupt the long-spun Thred of Reasoning, and bring into the Mind, by many different Glances and broken Views, what cannot so easily be introduc’d by one steddy Bent, or continu’d Stretch of Sight.
[* ] See what is said above on the word Sensus Communis, in that second Treatise, VOL. I. pag. 103, &c. and pag. 110, 138, 139, 140. And in the same VOL. p. 336, &c. and 352, 353, &c. And in VOL. II. p. 307, 411, 412, &c. concerning the natural Ideas, and the Pre-conceptions or Pre-sensations of this kind; the προλήψεις [anticipations], of which a learned Critick and Master in all Philosophy, modern and antient, takes notice, in his lately publish’d Volume of Socratick Dialogues; where he adds this Reflection, with respect to some Philosophical Notions much in vogue amongst us, of late, here in England.Obiter dumtaxat addemus, Socraticam, quam exposuimus, Doctrinam magno usui esse posse, si probè expendatur, dirimendae inter viros doctos controversiae, ante paucos annos, inBritanniapraesertim, exortae, de Ideis Innatis, quas dicerc possis ἐμφύτους ἐννοίας. Quamvis enim nullae sint, si adcuratè loquamur, notiones à natura animis nostris infixae; attamen nemo negárit ita esse facultates Animorum nostrorum naturâ adfectas, ut quàm primùm ratione uti incipimus, Verum à Falso, Malum à Bono aliquo modo distinguere incipiamus. Species Veritatis nobis semper placet; displicet contra Mendacii: Imo & HONESTUM INHONESTO praeferimus; ob Semina nobis indita, quae tum demum in lucem prodeunt, cum ratiocinari possumus, eoque uberiores fructus proferunt, quo melius ratiocinamur, adcuratioreque institutione adjuvamur. [Incidentally let us add, precisely speaking, that the Socratic teaching which we have presented can be of great use, if it should be rightly estimated, to the divisive controversies among learned men having arisen a few years ago chiefly in Britain about innate conceptions which you can call [innate ideas]. For although, if we should speak accurately, there may be no conceptions imprinted on our minds by nature, nevertheless no one would deny that the faculties of our minds have been shaped by nature so that as soon as we start to use reason we begin to distinguish in some fashion truth from falsity, evil from good. The appearance of truth is always pleasing to us; on the other hand that of mendacity is displeasing and certainly we prefer honor to disgrace on account of the seeds planted in us which eventually spring up into the light at a time when we are able to reason; and then when the richer fruits mature by which we reason better, we are guided for public duty and education.] AEsch. Dial. cum Silvis Philol. Jo. Cler. ann. 1711. pag. 176. They seem indeed to be but weak Philosophers, tho able Sophists, and artful Confounders of Words and Notions, who wou’d refute Nature and Common Sense. But NATURE will be able still to shift for her-self, and get the better of those Schemes, which need no other Force against them, than that of Horace’s single Verse:
[The wolf bites, the bull tosses you: how did they learn it, but by instinct?]
An ASS (as an English Author says) never butts with his Ears; tho a Creature born to an arm’d Forehead, exercises his butting Faculty long ere his Horns are come to him. And perhaps if the Philosopher wou’d accordingly examine himself, and consider his natural Passions, he wou’d find there were such belong’d to him as Nature had premeditated in his behalf, and for which she had furnish’d him with Ideas long before any particular Practice or Experience of his own. Nor wou’d he need be scandaliz’d with the Comparison of a Goat, or Boar, or other of Horace’s premeditating Animals, who have more natural Wit, it seems, than our Philosopher; if we may judg of him by his own Hypothesis, which denies the same implanted SENSE and natural Ideas to his own Kind.
[To-morrow a kid shall be sacrificed to you, a kid whose brow just sprouting with horns promises him a life of love and fighting.]
[The boar who practises his side-long slash.]
[† ] VOL. II. pag. 92, 93, &c. and 131, &c. and pag. 307, &c.
[* ] στοργή [love of parents and children]; for which we have no particular Name in our Language.
[* ]Viz. The INQUIRY concerning Virtue, VOL. II.
[* ] VOL. II. pag. 72, 73, &c.
[† ] VOL. I. pag. 63.