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quality enter for a share, this still affords us an argument to our present purpose. For what is it we call å man of birth, but one who is defcended from a long succession of rich and powerful anceftors,' and who acquires our efteem by his connection with perfons whom we esteem ? His ancestors, therefore, though dead, ate respected, in fome mealure, on account of their riches; and consequently without any kind of expectation.
But not to go so far as prisoners of war or the dead; to find instances of this disinterested regard for riches; we may only observe, with a little attention, those phænomena which occur in common life and converfation. A man who is hinself, we shall fuppose, of a competent fortune, and of no profeffion, being introduced to a company of strangers, naturally treats them with different degrees of refpect, as he is informed of their different fortunes and conditions ; though it is impossible that he can fo fuddenly propose, and perhaps he would not accept of; any pecuniary advantage from thein. A traveller is always admitted into company, and meets with civility, in proportion as his train and equipage speak him a man of great or moderate fortune. In short, the different ranks of men are, in a great meafure, regulated by riches; and that with regard to fuperiors as well as inferiors, strangers as well as acă quaintance.
What remains, therefore, but to conclude, that, as riches are desired for ourselves only as the means of gratifying our appetites, either at present or in fome iinaginary future period, they beget esteem in others merely froin their having that influence. This indeed is their very nature or essence: They have a direct reference to the commodities, conveniencies, and pleasures of life: The bill of a banker who is broke, cr gold in a desart island, would otherwise be full as valuable. When we approach a man who is, as we say, at his eafe, we are presented with the
pleasing ideas of plenty, satisfaction, cleanliness, warmth ; a cheerful house, elegant furniture, ready service, and whatever is desirable in meet, drink, or apparel. On the contrary, when a poor man ap. pears, the disagreeable images of want, penury, hard labour, dirty furniture, coarse or ragged cloaths, nauseous meat and diftateful liquor, immediately Itrike our fancy. What else do we niean by saying that one is rich, the other poor? And as regard or contempt is the natural consequence of those different situations in life, it is easily feen what additional light and evidence this throws on our preceding theory with regard to all moral distinctions *.
A man who has cured himself of all ridiculous prepossessions, and is fully, sincerely, and steadily convinced, from experience as well as philosophy, that the difference of fortune makes less difference in happiness than is vulgarly imagined; such a one does not measure out degrees of esteem according to the rent-rolls of his acquaintance. He may, indeed, externally pay a superior deference to the great lord above the vassal; because riches are the most convenient, being the most fixed and determinate, source of diftinction: But his internal sentiments are more regulated by the personal characters of men, than by the accidental and capricious favours of fortune.
In most countries of EUROPÉ, family, that is, hereditary riches, marked with titles and symbols from the sovereign, is the chief source of distinction. In ENGLAND, more regard is paid to present opulence and plenty. Each practice has its advantages and disadvantages. Where birth is respected, unactive, spiritless minds remain in haughty indolence, and dream of nothing but pedigrees and genealogies : The generous and ambitious seek honour and authotity and reputation and favour. Where riches are the chief idol, corruption, venality, rapine prevail : Arts, manufactures, commerce, agriculture flourish. VOL.II.
The See NOTE (II.)
The former prejudice, being favourable to military virtue, is more suited to monarchies. The latter, being the chief spur to industry, agrées better with a republican government. And we accordingly find, that each of these forms of government, by varying the utility of those customs, has commonly a propors tionable effect on the sentiments of mankind.
Of QUALITIES IMMEDIATELY AGREE ABLE TO
HOEVER has passed an evening with seri
ous melancholy people, and has observed how suddenly the conversation was animated, and what sprightliness diffused itself over the countenance, discourfe, and behaviour of every one, on the accession of a good-humoured, lively companion, such a one will easily allow, that CHEERFULNESS carries great merit with it, and naturally conciliate's the good-will of mankind. No quality, indeed, more readily communicates itself to all around; because no one has a greater propensity to display itself, in jovial talk and pleasant entertainment. The flame spreads through the whole circle; and the most sullen and morofe are often caught by it. That the melancholy hate the merry, even though Horace says it, I have some difficulty to allow; because I have always observed, that, where the jollity is moderate and decent, serious people are so much the more delighted, as it diffipates the glooin with which they are com3
monly opprefled; and gives them an unusual enjoyment.
From this influence of cheerfulness, both to communicate itself, and to engage approbation, we may perceive, that there is another set of mental qualities, which, without any utility or any tendency to farther good, either of the community or of the poffeffor, diffuse a satisfaction on the beholders, and procure friendfhip and regard. Their immediate fenfation, to the perfon possessed of them, is agreeable: Others enter into the same humour, and catch the sentiment, by a contagion or natural sympathy: And as wecannot forbear loving whatever pleaies, a kindly emotion arises towards the person who communicates fomuch satisfaction. He is a more animating spectacle : His presence diffuses over us more serene complacency and enjoyment: Our imagination, entering into his feelings and difposition, is affected in a niore agreeable manner, than if a melancholy, dejected, sullen, anxious temper were presented to us. Hence the affection and approbation, which attend the former: The averfion and disgust, with which we regard the latter*.
Few men would envy the character which CÆSAR gives of CASSIUS.
im. He loves no play,
That could be mov’d to smile at any thing.
writer • See NOTE (KK).
writer gives of the situation of his own mind in this particular. Virtue I love, says he, without austerity : Pleasure without effeminacy: And life without fearing its end*.
Who is not ftruck with any signal instance of GREATNESS of MIND or Dignity of Character; with elevation of sentiment, disdain of slavery, and with that noble pride and spirit, which arises from conscious virtue? The sublime, says LONGINUS, is often nothing but the echo or image of magnanimity; and where this quality appears in any one, even though a syllable be not uttered, it excites our applaufe and admiration; as may be observed of the famous silence of Ajax in the ODYSSEY, which expresses more noble disdain and resolute indignation, than any language can convey t.
Were I ALEXANDER, said PARMENIO, I would accept of these offers made by Darius.
So would I too, replied ALEXANDER, were I PARMENIO. This saying is admirable, says LONGINIUS, from a like principle 1:
Goi cries the same hero to his soldiers, when they refused to follow him to the Indies; go tell your countrymen, that you left ALEXANDER completing the conquest of the world. “ALEXANDER," said the Prince of CONDE', who always admired this passage, “aban“ doned by his foldiers, among Barbarians not yet
fully subdued, felt in himself such a dignity and
right of empire, that he could not believe it possi-