Puslapio vaizdai

ference in language to suit either theory; for instead of saying desire of wealth, of power, of knowledge, &c. we should have merely to insert a word, and talk of desire of the pleasures of wealth, power, &c. Nay, even this difference could only be maintained at first, for having made the statement in the outset, it would become too tedious to repeat so many words on every occasion, and therefore an ellipse would be indispensable. Those readers, therefore, who think that pleasure is our only aim, may supply the ellipse for themselves.

This being understood, we now proceed to observe, that every good is valued by us on two distinct accounts; first, as it is in itself; secondly, as it leads to some other good. But there is one good in particular, for which all the eight above mentioned, or others, if there be such, may be highly prized, independently of the gratification which they offer from their own peculiar nature. They may all flatter our love of Superiority. This is the most general desire of human nature, for it is found in every walk of life, and mixes with every pursuit, gay as well as grave, trifling as well as important.' There is, perhaps, not a good we are capable of possessing which may not feed this universal passion. Taking in order the eight above stated, sense seems to afford the least grounds

1 In Madame de Sevigné's Letters, there is a story told of Louis the XIVth's head cook, which is a very curious instance of the force which this passion may acquire even in the most trivial pursuits. He prided himself so much on his skill in arranging a dinner, that he is said to have killed himself from vexation, because one day an expected dish of fish did not arrive in time!


for distinction; but yet there are persons who pride themselves on their superior powers of hearing and seeing, and above all, on a delicacy of taste, which can perceive sundry flavours in one dish, and accurately determine the quality of various wines, and the merits of different vintages. Among some savage nations, where the senses of hearing and seeing are greatly cultivated, I have no doubt that those who peculiarly excel in these faculties, look upon themselves with no slight complacency. Amusements are valued not only as such, but also because they can confer distinction; particularly those where skill may be shown, as chess, whist, tennis, rackets, cricket, shooting, coursing, and horse racing. People dislike very much to lose at chess, and even at certain games of cards, not merely because they lose their money, but because they feel humiliated. They have shown a want of skill, or at the least of good fortune, for even this may be made a ground of superiority. Not a few feel pride in being called lucky fellows. We delight in knowing that we possess the affections of others, but we glory in the thought that we can easily command them. Wealth is sought after as the source of numberless comforts, and also as conferring a well-marked distinction. Up to a certain point, desire of power is the same as the desire of absence of restraint, or of liberty, so dear to the human breast; but it may swell into an insatiable thirst of dominion over others, and dominion is superiority. While reputation is a passport to general favour, and is necessary for success in every pursuit, it also leads us to fame or glory, which raises us high in the world.

Knowledge is charming for its own sake, and also on account of the high consideration in which its votaries are held. Zealots have made even continued existence a ground of superiority, and in condemning to annihilation or torments all who differ from themselves, have felt their hearts swell with pride. To be one out of a few elect, and all others reprobate, is a thought as distressing to benevolence, as flattering to love of distinction. Spiritual pride is often the greatest among those who most preach humility, because the speculative doctrines they hold, falling in with natural bias, are too much for their practical precepts.

The social desires are of two different, nay, opposite sorts, the benevolent and the malevolent; of which the former are subdivided into general and particular, or such as we feel towards mankind at large, and those which are confined to certain individuals. The malevolent desires admit not of this subdivision, they being only particular; for though we were to believe some accounts of general misanthropy, such instances must be looked upon as mental diseases, no more belonging to the regular and healthy state of man than madness itself. We cannot hate those who have caused us no evil, intentional or unintentional, and the immense mass of mankind must be included under this head. Good-will towards others, however faint, is the ordinary condition of the mind; ill-will, but an exception. In one case, indeed, namely, national antipathy, ill-will may be felt by many towards many, on account of some national injury, real or supposed, but still the vast majority of the human race are re

garded with favour rather than the contrary. The hatred too in this case is rather for the abstract than the concrete, for the nation than the individuals who compose it, for when the inhabitants of the two countries meet, except in time of war, they perform to each other the usual duties of humanity. With respect to the benevolent affections, it is clear that the same sorts of good which we desire for ourselves, we may wish also for others. We like to see our fellow creatures in general, but especially our friends, partaking in moderation of the pleasures of sense, amused, loved by those around them, above poverty, free from undue restraint, held in good repute, wellinformed, and enjoying long life here with the hopes of happiness hereafter. To desire superiority for every one is, however, a contradiction; and though we like to see our friends superior to others, we can hardly wish them to surpass ourselves, especially in those points wherein we think to excel. In other points, we may tolerate, but cannot well rejoice in our friends' superiority over us. Therefore it is difficult for those who have exactly the same pursuit to be very sincere friends. To do away with rivalship a slight difference may be enough, but there must not be identity. Two professors, for instance, in the same university, but lecturing on different subjects, may be the best possible friends; and so may a barrister and a solicitor, a pleader and a conveyancer, but two barristers, or two physicians, practising in the same place, can hardly feel very warmly towards each other. They may indeed be good companions, for they have always subjects in common to

talk upon, but they can scarcely be real friends. Indeed, the quarrelsome temper of the medical faculty has long been quite notorious.

To each sort of good above enumerated, a similar desire must of course correspond; but there are six in particular which deserve to be called the master passions of human nature. These are, 1. Love; 2. Covetousness, terminating in avarice; 3. Desire of Liberty, or mere absence of restraint, leading on to desire of positive power or Ambition; 4. Desire of Reputation, tending to desire of fame or glory; 5. Desire of Knowledge or Curiosity; 6. Desire of Life here and of continued existence hereafter. On each of these in order I shall offer some remarks.

But the pleasures of the senses and amusements must first detain us for a moment. Having already touched upon these, I need not now say much, but shall confine myself to a few observations on the subject of excesses.

If we look abroad in the world, we shall find three sorts of persons particularly addicted to excesses; and they would not be so if they did not feel a want of them. These are,

First, those who lead a life of constant labour.
Secondly, those who do nothing.

2 It has not unfrequently been remarked, that great sticklers for liberty are sometimes very fond of domineering in their own sphere. In America, people may be heard advocating liberty and slavery in the same breath. This will not appear so strange, when we consider that desire of liberty being the desire that others should have no power over us, it easily passes into the wish that we should have positive power over them.

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