Francis Hutcheson.

An essay on the nature and conduct of the passions and affections. With illustrations on the moral sense online

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5. Defires of Honour , and Averfion to
Shame f.

THE third Clafs of Tublick T>e fires
contains many very different forts of Af-
fections, all thofe which tend toward the
Happinefs of others, or the removal of
Mifery; fuch as thofe of Gratitude, Com-

* See Treat, i. f See Treat. 2. Stff. 5. Art 3 8,

B 4 fajjlon*

8 fhe Nature and Condtttt

5ed:. i .faffionj Natural Affettion, Friendjhip, or
the more extend ve calm ^l^ejire of the uni-
*verfal Good of all fenfitive Natures, which
our moral Senfe approves as the Perfection
of Virtue, even when it limits, and coun-
teracts the narrower Attachments of Love.

N o vv fmce we are capable of Reflection,
i'l Me mory, Obfervation, and Reafoning a-
bout the diftant Tendencies of Objects and
Actions, and not confined to things pre-
fent, there muft arife, in confequence of
our original 'Dejires, ' ' Jecondary f DeJlres
" of every thing imagined ulefui to gratify
" any of the primary Defires, with ftrength
" proportioned to the feveral original De-
ct fires, and the imagined Ufefulnefs, or
" Necetfity, of the advantageous Objecl;."
Hence it is that as Toon as we come to ap-
prehend the Ufe of IVealth or ^Power to
gratify any of our original Defires, we mud
alfo defire them. Hence arifes the lluiver-
fality of thefe Defires of Wealth and Power,
fince they are the Means of gratifying all
other Defires. " How fooliih then is the
Inference, Ibme would make, from the
univerfal Prevalence of thefe Defires, that
human Nature is wholly felfifli, or that
each one is only fludious of his own
Advantage ; fmce Wealth or Power are
as naturally fit to gratify our 'PMick
'Dejires, or to ferve virtuous Turfofes,
as the felfijb ones ? "


of the PASSIONS.

" How weak alfo are the Reafonings
" of fome reclufe Moralifts, who condemn
' ' in general all Purfuits of Wealth or Power,
' as below a perfectly virtuous Character :
" fince Wealth and Power are the moft ef-
" fedhial Means, arid the moft powerful
" Inftruments, even of the greateft Vir-
" tues, and moft generous Actions?"
The Purfuit of them is laudable, when the
Intention is virtuous ; and the negled: of
them, when honourable Opportunities of-
fer, ig really a Weaknefs. This juftifies the
Poet's Sentiments :

Hie onus lorret,

Ut parvis Animis & parvo Corpcre majus :
Hie fubit & perfert : aut virtus novien inane eft y
Aut Decus 6? Pretium refte petit experiem Fir.

Ho R. Epift. 17.

* ( FURTHER, the Laws or Cufloms of
" a Country, the Humour of our Company
" may have made ftrange Affectations of
<c Ideas, fo that fome Objects, which of
** themfelves are indifferent to any Senfe,
" by reafon of Ibme additional grateful
<c Idea, may become very defirable ; or by
" like Addition of an ungrateful Idea may
" raife the ftrongeft Averfion."- Thus
many a Trifle, when once it is made a
Badge of Honour, an Evidence of fome
generous ^Difpofition, a Monument of fome
great Attion, may be impatiently purfued,


i o fhe Nature and Con duff

Seel, i from our Defire of Honour. When any
ircumjlance, 'Drefs, State, 'Poftttre is
conftituted as a Mark of Infamy, it may
become in like manner the Object of A-
verfion, tho in it felf moft inofFenfive to
our Senfes. If a certain way of Living,
of receiving Company^ of /hewing Cottr-
te/y, is once received among thofe who
are honoured ; they who cannot jbear the
Expence of this may be made uneafy at
their Condition, tho much freer from Trou-
ble than that of higher Stations. Thus
1)refe, Retinue, Equipage, Furniture,
Behaviour ; and c Di e uerJions are made Mat-
ters of confiderable Importance by additio-
nal Ideas*. Nor is it in vain that the
wifeft and greateft Men regard thele things ;
for however it may concern them to break
fuch AfTociations in their own Minds, yet,
fince the bulk of Mankind will retain them,
they mud comply with their Sentiments
and Humours in things innocent, as they
expect the publick Efteem, which is gene-
rally necefTary to enable Men to ferve the

f SHOULD any one be furprized at this
-cDifpofo'ion in our Nature to afTociate any

TI* J i f i <* 1-1 !*

Ideas together for the future, which once
prelented themfelves jointly, confidering
what great Evils, and how much Corruf*

* See i Treat* Sefl. i* Art. 7. and 2 Treat* Sefl. 6- Art. 3.


of the P A S S I O N S. if

tion of Affections is owing to it, it may Sett,
help to account for this Part of our Con-
ilitution, to confider " that all our Lan-
" & ua g e an d much of our Memory depends
" upon it : " So that were there no fuch
AJfociations made, we muft lofe the ufe of
Words^ and a great part of our Power of
recollecting fa/t Events ; befide many o-
ther valuable Towers and Arts which de-
pend upon them. Let it alfo be confidered
jhat it is much in our power by a vigorous
Attention either to prevent thefe Afocia-
tions, or by Abftraffion to (eparate Ideas
when it may be ufeful for us to do (b.

CONCERNING our Purfuit of Honour,
tis to be obferv'd, that " fince our Minds
are incapable of retaining a great Diver-
fity of Objecl:s, the Novelty -, or Singu-
larity of any ObjecSt is enough to raife a
particular Attention to it among many
of equal Merit : " And therefore were
Virtue univerfal among Men, yet, 'tis
probable, the Attention of Obfervers would
be turned chiefly toward thofe who diflin-'
guiihed themfelvesby fame Jingular Ability,
or by fbme Circumftance, which, however
trifling in its own Nature, yet had forne
honourable Ideas commonly joined to it,
fuch as Magnificence, Generofity, or the
like. We fhould perhaps, when we con-
fldered fedately the conimoa Virtues of o-


i ^ The Nature and Condutt

Se&. i . thers, equally love and efteem them * :
And yet probably our Attention would be
generally fixed to thofe who thus were di*
Jiingttifhed from the Multitude. Hence
our natural Love of Honour, raifes in us a
Defire of c Diftmffion, either by higher De-
grees of Virtue ; or, if we cannot eafily
or probably obtain it this way, we attempt
it in an eafier manner, by any Circumftance,
which, thro' a Confufan of Ideas t is re-
puted honourable.'

THIS Defire of *Diflinttion has great
Influence on the Pleafures and Pains of
Mankind, and makes them chufe things for
their very Rarity, 'Difficulty, or Expence ; .
by a confufed Imagination that they evi-
dence Generofity, Ability, or a fner Tafle
than ordinary ; nay, often the mereft Tri-
fles are by thefe means ardently purfued.
A Form of T)refs, a foreign T)ijh, a Ti-
tle, a "Place, a Jewel; an ufelefs f Pro-
blem, a Critic ifm on an obfolete IVord^ the
Origin of a ^Poetic Fable, the Situation of
a razed Town, may employ many an Hour
in tedious Labour :

Sic leve,Jic parvum eft, animum quodlaudh alarum
Submit aut reficit. H o R.

, ... .
See 2 Treat. Sett. 3. laft.Pajrag*


of the PASSIONS. ij


Art.\\\. THERE is another t)ivifion
our Defires taken from the Perfons for who
Advantage we purfue or fhun any Obje
" The Defires in which one intends or
" purfues what he apprehends advantageous
*' to himfelf, we may call SELFISH ; and
" thofe in which we purfue what we appre-
" hend advantageous to others, and do
" not apprehend advantageous to ourfefoes,
" or do not purfue with this view, we
'* may call Tublick or BENEVOLENT
" Defires." If there be a juft Foundation
for this Divifion, it is more extenfive than
the former Divifion, fmce each of the for-
mer Claffes may come under either Mem-
ber of this Divifion, according as we are
defiring any of the five forts of Pleafures
for our fe toes, or defiring them for others.
The former Divifion may therefore be con-
ceived as a Subdivifion of the latter.

THIS Divifion has been difputed fince
Epicurus ; who with his old Followers,
and fbme of late, who deteft other parts of
his Scheme, maintain, " that all our De-
fires are felfijh : or, that what every
one intends or defigns ultimately, in
each Adion, is the obtaining Pleafure
to himfelf, or the avoiding his own/r/-
uate Tain." *

* See Cicero de ft 'nib. ftf. i.

i IT

14 The Nature and Conduit

SecSt. i.

I T requires a good deal of Subtiky to
defend this Scheme, fb feemingly oppofite
to Natural Affection, Friendjhip, Love
of a Country r , or Community, which many
find very ftrong in their Breads. The De-
fenfes and Schemes commonly offered, can
fcarce free the Suftainers of this Caufe from
manifeft Abfurdity and Affectation. But
fome do * acknowledge a fublick Senfe in
many Inftances ; efpecially in natural Af-
fettion, and Compaj}ion\ by which ' the
" Obfervation of the Happinefs of .others
" is made the neceflary Occafion of Plea-
* c fure, and their Mifery the Occafion of
4C Pain to the Obferver ". That this Sym-
pathy with others is the Effecl: of the
Conftitution of our Nature, and not brought
upon our felves by any Choice, with view
to any /?/#/ Advantage, they muftown :
whatever Advantage there may be in Sym-
pathy with the Fortunate ', none can be
alledged in Sympathy with the 'Dtjlreffed :
And every one feels that this fublick Senfe
will not leave his Heart, upon a change of
the Fortunes of his Child or Friend ; nor
does it depend upon a Man's Choice, whe-
ther he will be afre&ed with their For-
tunes or not. But fuppofing this publick
Senfe, they infift, " That by means of it
' there is a Conjunction of Inter -eft : the

* See Mr. Clark of Hitll, his Remarks on Treat, a.

<< Hap-

of the P A S S I O N S. 15

" Happinefs of others becomes the Means Se<3:.
" of private Pleafure to the Obferver ; "
" and for this Reafon, or with a View to
" this private Pleafure, he defires the Hap-
" pinefs of another." Others deduce
our Defire of the Happinefs of others from
Self-love, in a lefs fpecious manner.

Ira fublick Senfe be acknowledged in
Men, by which the Happiuefs of one is
made to depend upon that of others, in-
dependently of his Choice, this is indeed
a ftrong Evidence of the Goodnefs of the
AUTHOR of our Nature. But whether this
Scheme does truly account for our Love
of others, or for generous Offices , may be
determined from the following Confidera-
tions ; which being matters of internal Con*
fcioufnefs^ every one can bed fatisfy him-
felf by Attention, concerning their Truth
and Certainty.

LET it be premifed, ihat'De/ire is ge-
nerally uneajy^ or attended with an uneafy
Senfation, which is fomething diftinft from
that uneafy Senfation arifmg from fome
Event or Objefl, the Prevention or Re-
moval of which Senfation we are intending
when the Object is apprehended as Evil ;
as this uneajy Senfation of Ttejire is ob-
vioufly different from the fleafant Senfa-
, expedted from the Object or Event


1 6 The Nature and Conduft

Sect, i. which we apprehend as Good. Then it is
' plain,

i. " THAT no Defire of any Event is
" excited by any view of removing the
" tmeajy Sen fat ion attending Ms ^Deflre
" itfelf". Senfations which are previous
to a Defire, or not connected with it,
may excite Defire of any Event, appre-
hended necefTary to procure or continue the
Senfation if it be pleafant, or to remove it
if it be uneafy : Bat the uneajy Senfation^
accompanying and connected with the 1)e-
Jire itfelf, cannot be a Motive to that
^Defire which it prefuppofes. The Senfa-
tion accompanying Defire is generally un-
eafy^ and confequently our Defire is never
railed with a view to obtain or continue
it ; nor is the Defire raifed with a view to
remove this uneafy Senfation, for the De-
fire is raifed previoufly to it. This holds
concerning all ^Dejlre publick or private.

THERE is alfb a fleafant Senfation of
Joy , attending the Gratification of any
Defire, befide the Senfation received from
the Objeff itfelfw\\\c\\ wediredly intended.
" But Defire does never arife from a View
'* of obtaining that Senfation of Joy, con-
" neded with the Succefe or Gratifica-
* tion of Defire ; otherwife the ftrongeft
" Defires might arife toward any Trifle,
* or* an Event in all refpe&s indifferent:


of the PASSIONS. 17

" Since, if Defire arofe from this View^ Se<3:. i
" the flronger the Defire were, the higher
' would be the 'Pleafure of Gratification ;
" and therefore we might defire the turn-
" ing of a Straw as violently as we do
" Wealth or Tower." This Expectation
of the *Pleafore of gratified ''Dejire, would
equally excite us to defire the Mifery of
others as their Happinefs ; fmce the 'Plea-
fure of Gratification might be obtained
from both Events alike.

2. IT is certain that, " thatT>eJire of
" the Happinefs of others which we ac-
" count virtuous, is not direftly excited
" by profpe&s of oay fecit lar Advantage*
" frfM/tb, 'Power ; Pleafure of the ex-
" ternal Senfes, Reward from the T>eity^
*' or future Tleafares of Self-Approba-
" tion" To prove this let us confider,
'* That no Defire of any Event can arife
** immediately or diredbly from an Opinion
" in the Agent, that his having fuch a
" *DeJire will be the Means of private
" Good. " This Opinion would make us
wijh or dejlre to have that advantageous
*Defire or Affeflion ; and would incline us
to ufe any means in our power to raife that
AfTe&ion : but no Affection or Defire is
raifed in us, directly by our volition or de-
Jiring it. That alone which raifes in us
from Self-Love the Defire of any Event,
is an Opinion that that Event is the Means
C of

1 8 The Nature and Conduct

Sect i . of private Good. As foon as we form
this Opinion, a Defire of the Event im-
mediately arifes : But if having the T)ejire
or Affeflion be imagined the Means of
private Good, and not the Exiflence of the
Event defired, then from Self -Love we
mould only defire or wifti to have the
T)efire of that Event, and mould not de-
fire the Event itfelf, fince the Event is
not conceived as the Means of Good.

FOR inftance , fuppofe GOD revealed
to us that he would confer Happinefs on us,
if our Country 'were happy ; then from Selfr
Love we mould have immediately the fiib-
ordmate <\Defire of our Country's Happi-
uefs, as the Means of our own. But were
we aflured that, whether our Country were
happy or not, it mould not arTed: our fu-
ture Happinefs ; but that we mould be re-
warded, provided we defired the Happi-
nefs of our Country ; our Self- Love could
never make us now defire the Happinefs of
our Country, fince it is not now conceived
as the Means of our Happinefs, but is per-
fectly indifferent to it. The Means of our
Happinefs is the having a TDeJire of our
Country's Happinefs ; we mould therefore
from Self- Love only wijh to have this T)e-

'Ti s true indeed in fa&, that, becaufe
Benevolence is natural to us, a little At-

of the PASSIONS. i

tention to other Natures will raife* in usSeft.
good-will towards them, whenever by any
Opinions we are perfaaded that there is no
real Qppojltton of Interefl. But had we
no Affection diftin& from Self- Love, no-
thing could raife our ^Dejlre of the Happi-
nefs of others, but conceiving their Hap-
pinefs as the Means of ours. An Opinion
that our having kind Ajfeffions would be
the Means of our private Happinefs, would
only make us defire to have thofe Affec-
tions. Now that AfTe&ions do not arife
upon our wijbing to have them, or our
volition of raifing them ; as conceiving the
Affections themfelves to be the Means of
private Good ; is plain from this, that if
they did thus arife, then a Bribe might
raife any Defire toward any Event, or any
Affettton toward the mod improper Ob-
jed. We might be hired to love or hate
any fort of Perfbns, to be angry, jealous,
or compajjlonate^ as we can be engaged into
external Actions ; which we all fee to be
abfurd. Now thofe who alledg, that our
Benevolence may arife from prof peel: of
fecular Advantage, Honour, Self- Appro-
bation, or future Rewards, muft own ,
that thefe are either Motives only to exter-
nal Actions, or Confederations* mewing,
that having the ^Dejlre of the Happinefs
of others, would be the Means of private
Good ; while the Event fuppofed to be de-
fired, viz. the Happinefs of others, is not
C 2 fuppofed

10 The Nature and Condufl

Sedt. i.fuppofed the Means of any private Good.

^v^ But the belt Defenders of this part of the
Scheme of Epicurus, acknowledge that
* ' Defires are not railed by Volition?

This Di- j. " T H E R E are in Men T)ejires of the

"def*'!t*j " H a Pt' tne f s f others, when they do not
" conceive this Happinefs as the Means
c ' of obtaining any fort of Happinefs to
" themfelves. " Self-Approbation, or Re-
wards from the Deity, might be the Ends,
for obtaining which we might poffibly de-
Jlre or 'will from Self-Love, to raife in our
felves kind Affections \ but we could not
from Self-Love defire the Happinefs of
others, but as conceiving it the Means of
our own. Now 'tis certain that fbmetimes
we may have &foJubordi**te c Dcfirtoft\te
Happinefs of others, conceived as the
Means of our own ; as fuppofe one had
laid a Wager upon the Happinefs of
a Perfon of fuch Veracity , that he
would own fmcerely whether he were
happy or not ; when Men are ^Partners
in Stock, and mare in Profit or Lofs ;
when one hopes to fucceed to, or fome
way tojbare tn the Profperity of another ;
or if the DEITY had given fuch Threat-
nings, as they tell us Telamou gave his
Sons when they went to War, that he
would reward or punifh one according as
others were happy or miferable : In iuch
caies one might have this jubordinate "De-

4 &*

of the PASSIONS. ii

fire of another's Happinefs from Self-Love. Se<5t. i
But as we are fure the DEITY has not given C/YV
fuch Coraminations, fo we often are con-
fcious of the 'Defire of the Happinefs of
others, without any Juch Conception of
it as the Means of our own; and are
fenfible that this fubordinate Tlejire is not
that virtuous AfTe&ion which we approve,
The virtuous Benevolence muft be an ul-
timate 'Defire, which would fubfift without
view to private Good. Such ultimate pub-
lick T>efires we often feel, without any
Jubordinate 'Dejire of the lame Event, as
the Means of private Good. The fubor-
dinate may fometimes, nay often does con-
cur with the ultimate ; and then indeed
the whole Moment of thefe confpiring De-
fires may be greater than that of either
alone : But t\\z fubordinate alone is not that
Affedion which we approve as virtuous.

Art. IV. THIS will clear our way
anfwer the chief Difficulty : " May n
" our Benevolence be at lead a 'Defire
' the Happinefs of others, as the Means f arei .f th9
* of obtaining the Tleafures of the public
' Senfc,from the Contemplation of their
" Happinefs ? " If it were fo, it is very
unaccountable that we fhould approve this
fubordinate Tiefire as virtuous, and yet
not approve the like Defire upon a JVa^er^
or other Confederations of Intereft. Both
Pefires proceed from Self-Love in the fame
C rna.u-

ii The Nature and

SecSt i . manner : In the latter cafe the Defires might
extended to multitudes, if any one
would wager fo capricioufly ; and, by in-
creafing the Sum wagered, the Motive of
Interejt might, with many Tempers, be
made ftronger than that from the Pieafures
of the publick Senfe.

DON'T we find that we often defire the
Happinefs of others without any fach fel-
fifh Intention ? How few have thought upon
this part of our Conflitution which we call
a Publick Senfe ? Were it our only View, in
Compaffion to free our (elves from the fain
of the publick Senfe; mould the DEITY
propofe it to our Choice, either to oblite-
rate all Ideas of the Perfon in Diftrefs, but
to continue him in Mifery, or on the other
hand to relieve him from it ; mould we not
upon this Scheme be perfectly indifferent,
and chufe the former as foon as the latter ?
Should the DEITY aflure us that we mould
be immediately annihilated, fo that we
mould be incapable of either Pleafure or
Pain, but that it ihould depend upon our
Choice at our very Exit, whether our Chil-
dren, our Friends, or our Country mould
be happy or miferable ; mould we not upon
this Scheme be intirely indifferent ? Or, if
we mould even defire thepleafant Thought
of their Happinefs, in our laft Moment,
would not this Defire be the fainteft ima-
ginable ?


of the PASSIONS. *


'T i s true, our Tub lick Senfe might
as acute at our Exit as ever ; as a Man's
Tafte of Meat or Drink might be as lively
the inftant before his DifTblution as in any
part of his Life. But would any Man have
as ftrong ^Defires of the Means of obtain-
ing thefe Pleafures, only with a View to
himfelf, when he was to perifh the next
Moment ? Is it fuppofable that any T>ejlre
of the Means of private Tleafure can be
as ftrong when we only expect to enjoy it
a Minute, as when we expe6t the Conti-
nuance of it for many Years ? And yet,
'tis certain, any good Man would as ftrong-
ly defire at his Exit the Happinefs of other s^
as in any part of his Life. We do not there-
fore defire it as the Means of private

SHOULD any alledge, that this Defire of
the Happinefs of others, after our Exit, is
from fome confufed Affociation of Ideas ;
as a Mifer, who loves no body, might de-
fire an Increafe of Wealth at his Death ; or
as any one may have an Averfion to have
his Body difle&ed, or made a Prey to Dogs
after Death : let any honeft Heart try if
the deepeft Reflection will break this AJJb-
ciation (if there be any) which is fiippoled
to raife the Defire. The clofeft Reflection
would be found rather to ftrengthen it.
C 4 How

24 %%* Nature and Conduit

Sed. i. How would any Spectator like the Tem-
UXV^ per of one thus rendered indifferent to all
others at his own Exit, fo that he would
not even open his Mouth to procure Hap-
pinefs to Pofteriry ? Would we efteem it
refned Wi'fdom, or a 'Perfection of Mind,
and not rather the vileft Perverfenefs ? Tis
plain then we feel this ultimate 'Defire of
the Happinefs of others to be a moft natu*
ral InJtinEt, which we alfo expect in o-
thers, and not the Effect of any confufed

THE Occafion of the imagined Difficulty
in conceiving difinterefted 'Defires, has
probably been attempting to define this
fimple Idea, 'Defire. It is called an uneafy
Senfation in the ab fence of Good. Where-
as ^Defire is as diftincSt from any Senfation,
as the Will is from the 'Under jlanding or
Senfes. This every one muft acknowledge,
who fpeaks of dejirmg to remove IJneafi-
uefs or Tain.

W E may perhaps find, that our Defires are
fo far from tending always toward private
Good, that they are oftner employed about
the State of others. Nay further, we may
have a Propenfity toward an Event, which
we neither apprehend as the Means of pri-
vate Good, or pub lick. Thus an Epicurean
\v ho denies a future State ; or, one to


of the PASSIONS. 25

whom God revealed that he fhould be an- Se&. i
nihilated, might at his very Exit defire
future Fame, from which he expected no
Pleafure to himfelf, nor intended any to o-
thers. Such Defires indeed no felfijb Be-
ing, who had the modelling of his own
Nature, would chufe to implant in itfelf.
But fince we have not this power, we muft
be content to be thus " befooled into a
" publick Intereft againft our Will;" as
an ingenious Author exprefTes it.

THE Profped of any Intereft may be a
Motive to us, to defire whatever we appre-
hend as the Means of obtaining it. Parti-
cularly, *' if Rewards of any kind are pro-
" poled to thofe who have virtuous Affec-
" lions, this would raife in us the Defire
" of having thefe Affeftions, and would
" incline us to ufe all means to raife them
" in our felves ; particularly to turn our
" Attention to all thofe Qualities in the
*' DEITY, or our Fellows, which arena-
" turally apt to raife the virtuous AfTedi-
" ons. 5 ' Thus it is, that Intereft of any
kind may influence us indirectly to Virtue,
and Rewards particularly may over-ballance
all Motives to Vice.

THIS may let us fee, that " the Sancti-
" ons of Rewards and Tunijhments, as
'< propofed in the Gofpel, are not rendered

" ufelels

fhe Nature and Condutt

" ufelefs or unneceffary, by fuppofing the
" virtuous Affe&ion to be difinterefled ; "
fince fuch Motives of Interefl, propofed
and attended to, muft incline every Perfbn
to dejlre to have virtuous Affe&ions, and
to turn his Attention to every thing which
is naturally apt to raife them ; and muft
overbalance every other Motive of Inte-
reft, oppofite to thefe Affections, which
could incline Men to fiipprefs or counteract


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Online LibraryFrancis HutchesonAn essay on the nature and conduct of the passions and affections. With illustrations on the moral sense → online text (page 2 of 18)