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we are invariably to keep in view is, that we are absolutely prohibited to gratify, in a single instance, our own interests, paflions, or inclinations, whenever they are in the remotest degree repugnant to the general happiness; and, on the other hand, that it is incumbent upon us, by all possible means, to promote the general welfare, and even to facrifice ease, fame, fortune, and life itself, whenever they come in competition with those far superior considerations to which Virtue exacts an abfolute and unreserved submission. But the virtue which Mr. H. means to recommend, is of a very different complexion—it is, indeed, but another word for pleasure: for according to his principles of calculation, it is fufficient to strike a balance here, and to give the preference to that mode of conduct which fhall be productive of the greatest sum of happiness to each individual in this world; for he is equally ready with Macbeth “ to jump

the life to come.” He is, it must be owned, well enough inclined to persuade his readers, that the personal happiness of each individual coincides with the general happiness of mankind: but as this is a delicate point, he does not chuse to expatiate at large upon it; though a little to preserve appearances, as he cannot wholly avoid taking notice of the objection, he thinks it neceffary to give us a sort of answer, but one fo trifling, evalive, and unsatisfactory, as muft serve to corroborate and enforce this formidable objection, instead of tending in any degree to alleviate the weight of


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it. “ If,” says he, “ a sensible knave alledge, that

though, as a general rule, it must be acknowledged, that honesty is the best policy; yet it is

a rule liable to many exceptions; and he must “ be allowed to conduct himself with most wisdom, “ who observes the general rule, and takes ad“ vantage of all the exceptions. If a man thinks “ that this reasoning much requires an answer, it “ will be a little difficult to find any which will to “ him appear fatisfactory and convincing: if his “ heart rebel not against such pernicious maxims, " if he feels no reluctance to the thoughts of vil

lainy or baseness, he has indeed lost a consider. “ able motive to virtue, and we may expect that “ his practice will be answerable to his specula“ tions.” Now I acknowledge, without a blush, that I am one of those who think this reasoning very much requires an answer; and yet I hope my heart rebels against such pernicious maxims as strongly as Mr. Hume's: but surely the proper question in this case is, not in what manner the feelings of men educated in strict habits of Virtue would

prompt them to act ? but, whether the objection is really well founded, and what influence a system of morals liable to such an objection would produce upon the sum of human life and happinefs ? Mr. H. seems to admit the objection to be, strictly speaking, unanswerable; but endeavours to raise a feeble barrier in support of Virtue, by opposing to its attacks certain mental feelings and associations which are known to be accidental,

variable, variable, and factitious. c. Those who are desti. “ tute of these feelings,” says he, “ have un“ doubtedly lost a considerable motive to Virtue.” This is too true ;--but then, Sir, I maintain, that they stand the more in need of some other motive less flexible in its nature, and more general in its operation ;-but this the philosophy of Mr. Hume does not supply. Upon his principles, Virtue must depend upon Honour for her very existence. Honour is indeed “ a sacred tie, the noble mind's

distinguishing perfection!" but if we imagine that mankind will ever be greatly or generally influenced by a principle so refined and ideal, we indulge a groundless and romantic expectation. To banish the belief of a future state from a system of morality, would lead to consequences as dangerous and fatal as a total abolition of penal laws would produce in the framing, or new modelling, a plan of civil polity. And if a man presumed to hint his apprehensions, that the interests of Virtue might suffer in consequence of such general abolition or exclusion, would it be deemed very satisfactory for a moral philosopher, as he might please to stile himself, to stand up and say, That, in his opi

nion, the native charms of Virtue were such,

that she needed not the addition of legal fanc“ tions ;-that if any persons had been influenced

by those sanctions, they had, indeed, lost a con“ fiderable motive to Virtue, and we might expect 66 that their practice would correspond with their « fpeculations; but that men of ingenuous minds “ had an antipathy to vice too strong to be coun“ terbalanced by any views of temporal advantage; “ and if they were not responsible for their actions “ to God or man, yet peace of mind, consciousness “ of integrity, and a satisfactory review of their

66 had

own conduct, were circumstances very requisite “ to happiness, and would be cherished and culti“ vated by all who felt the importance of them*. Notwithstanding this fine harangue, I am inclined to think that the necessity of restoring these fanctions would soon become apparent, and even the philosopher himself be compelled to acknowledge the necessity in this, as in many other cases, of making “ the lofty head of Speculation bow to “ groveling Experience!”

The narrow limits of a slight Essay do not permit me to pursue this interesting investigation farther; but enough, I hope, has been said to establish, upon a solid foundation, the following conclusions :

First, As it is a truth which cannot, so it is a truth which needs not, to be concealed or palliated, that Virtue is not necessarily productive of, or connected with, temporal Happiness. “ Dies deficiet,says the Roman orator,“ s velim numerare quibus bonis malè evenerit :nec minus fi commemorem, quibus improbis " optimè.To maintain, with the learned Professor whom I have already quoted, that we are happy in exact proportion as we are virtuous, is, in other words, to assert, with the ancient Stoics, that Virtue * Vide Hume's Essays, vol, ii. p. 350.


is the only good, i. e. the sole source of our enjoyments ;-an opinion so contrary to fact and experience, that it is wonderful any man can seriously attempt to defend it. Are the pleasures we receive from the senses to be entirely left out of the account? Are the pleasures of imagination nothing? Or, do we derive no addition to our happiness from our literary and intellectual pursuits? If the moral sense is carefully cherished and cultivated, it is indeed the source of a very sublime and exalted fpecies of enjoyment. On some occasions, however, it is rather the source of pain than pleasure; and the more virtuous a man is, the larger sacrifices of private happiness he is disposed to make to the general good; so that it may well admit of a doubt, if he has no future reward in prospect, whether, upon the whole, his happiness would be promoted by an undeviating perseverance in a course of the most perfect Virtue to which a human being can attain. It should seem that Virtue of a lower standard, and mixed with a considerable portion of alloy, is better calculated for the purposes of this world merely. We see it passes every where current, and the acquisition of it is by no means difficult. To speak without a figure, I assert, that whatever we may suppose respecting a few sublimer fpirits, the bulk of mankind, I mean those who are destitute of the finer feelings of Virtue, would certainly, in many instances, add to their temporal happiness by deviating from the strict line of rectitude; and I affirm, that there is no motive of a moral na


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