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others: The vicious excess of the former vistue,
Decency, or a proper regard to age, sex, character, and station in the world, may be ranked among the qualities, which are immediately agreeable to others, and which, by that means, acquire praise and approbation. “An effeminate behaviour in a man, a rough manner in a woman;
thefé aré ugly because unsuitable to each character, i and different froin the qualities which we expect in the sexes. It is as if a tragedy abounded in coinic beauties, or a comedy in tragic. The disproportions hurt the eye, and convey a disagreeable sentiment to the spectators, the source of blame and disapprobation. This is that indecorum, which is explained fo much at large by Cicero in his Offices.,
Among the other virtues, we inay also give Cleanliness a place; since it naturally renders us agreeable to others, and is no inconsiderable fource of love and affection. No one will deny, that a negligence in this particular is a fault:; and as faults · are nothing but smaller vices, and this fault can have no other origin than the uneasy sensation, which it excites in others; we may, in this instance, seemingly fo trivial, clearly discover the origin of moral distinctions, about which the learned have involved themselves in such mazes of perplexity and error.
But besides all the agreeable qualities, the origin of whose beauty, we can, in some degree, explain and account for, there still remains something mysterious and inexplicable, which conveys an immediate satisfaction to the spectator, but how, or why, or for what reason, he cannot pretend to determine. There is a manner, ' a grace, an ease, a genteelness, an l-know-not-what, which some men possess above others, which is very different from external beauty and comeliness, and which, however, catches our affection almost as suddenly and powerfully. And though this manner be chiefly talked of in the passion between the fexes, where the concealed magic is easily explained, yet surely much of it prevails in all our estimation of characters, and forins no inconsiderable part of perfonal merit. - This class of accomplishments, therefore, must be trusted entirely to the blind, but sure ter'timony of taste and sentiment; and must be consi
dered as a part of ethics, left by nature to baffle all the pride of philosophy, and make her sensible of her narrow boundaries and Nender acquisitions.
We approve of another, because of his wit, politeness, modesty, decency, or any agreeable. quality which he possesses ; although he be not of our acquaintance, nor has ever given us any entertainment, by means of these accomplishments. The idea, which we form of their effect on his acquaintance, has an agreeable influence on our imagination, and gives us the sentiment of approbation. This principle enters into all the judgments, which we form concerning manners and characters.
SE CTION IX.
PA RT J.
It may justly appear surprising, that any man, in so late an age, should find it requisite to prove, by elaborate reasoning, that Personal Merit consiits altogether in the poffefsion of mental qualities, useful or agreeable to the perfon bimself or to others. It might be expected, that this principle would have occurred even to the first rude, unpractised enquirers concerning morals, and been received from its own evidence, without any argument or disputation. Whatever is valuable in any kind, so naturally claffes itself under the division of ufeful or agreeable, the utile or the dulce, that it is not easy to imagine, why we should ever seek farther, or consider the question as a matter of nice research or enquiry. And as everything useful or agreeable must possess these qualities with regard either to the perfon bimself or to others, the compleat delineation or description of merit seems to be performed as naturally as a shadow is cast by the sun, or an image is reflected upon water. If the ground, on which the shadow is cast, be not broken and uneven; nor the surface, from which the image is reflected, disturbed and confused; a just figure is immediately presented, without any
qualities ng useful
art or attention. And it seems a reasonable presumption, that systems and hypotheses have perverted our natural understanding; when a theory, so simple and obvious, could so long have escaped the most elaborate examination.
But however the case may have fared with philofophy; in common life, these principles are still implicitly maintained, nor is any other topic of praise or blame ever recurred to, when we employ any panegyric or satire, any applause or censure of human action and behaviour. If we observe men, in every intercourse of business or pleasure, in every discourse and conversation; we shall find them no where, except in the schools, at any loss / upon this subject. What so natural, for instance, as the following dialogue ? You are very happy, we shall suppose one to say, addressing himself to another, that you have given your daughter to Cleanthes. He is a man of honour and humanity. Every one, who has any intercourse with him, is sure of fair and kind treatment *. I congratulate you too, says another on the promising expectations of this son in-law; whose assiduous application to the study of the laws, whose quick penetration and early knowledge both of men and business, prognosticate the greatest honours and advancementt. You surprize me, replies a third, when you talk of Cleanthes as a man of business and application, I met him lately in a circle of the gayeft company, and he was the very life and soul of our conversation : So much wit with good inanners ; so much gallantry without affectation ; so much in- , genious knowledge so genteelly delivered, I have never before observed in any one f. You would admire him still more, says a fourth, if you knew
* Qualities useful to others.