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possible to answer for the conduct of the man, whose mind is under the combined influence of those powerful and subduing emotions, as it is “impossible to answer for the conduct of the man who is without a home.” This seems to be the only solution of the difficulty of supposing a naturally virtuous mind retaining to the last, the impressions and the forms, the inspirations and the emblems of virtue, yet yielding with a facile flexibility to the seductive allurements and temptations of vice. There is perhaps another circumstance to be considered in cases of this sort, because it tends in a considerable degree to account for, and at the same to excuse, at least to palliate the apparent inconsistency we liare been supposing. It is admitted on all hands, that the capacity for good or evil, for happiness or misery. is greater and more powerful in a mind of acute sensibility, than in one of a contrary temperament. The temperament of that mind whose powers are in the degree which constitutes genius, is one morbidly predisposed to intense emotion. Such a mind is possessed of an appetite for profound feeling, a yearning after those situations of the heart which involve directly and decisively its nearest and its dearest interests ; and which present the alternatives of life and death, as it were to its immediate option. The moral cravings of a mind of this cast must be satisfied : it feeds, no doubt, on bitter fruits, but these become in time to be its nutriment; as like the Pontic king, whose daily food consisted of poisonous herbs, a mind thus constituted will not only convert the most wholesome nourishment into actual poison, but will in time subsist upon it. This morbid temperament of mind, we say, is not easily administered to, while, at the same time, it is forever reaching after extremes in feeling and situations : and like a moral Procrustes it proceeds always to adjust these extremes by a forced action, whereby they are accommodated to its desires and suited to its dimensions. These extremes in feeling and situation. are not to be found in ordinary life; least of all are they the objects of desire to a mind that has been sobered down by habits of practical and virtuous exertion. The man of morbid temperament, therefore, must either feign or create them for himself. He does in fact both one and the other—as is implied first in the force of his passive impressions, and next. in the rejection as it were of those impressions, when they were attempted to be submitted in practice to the world. We say, he both feigns and creates these fatal extremes:-first, he feigns them, when previous to the confirmation of his passive impressions, these extremes may be said to figure in the imagination as mere fictions of feeling, but fictions at the same time, which, like those of imaginary history, acconmodate the shapes of things to the desires of the mind. And next, he creates them, when after the confirmation of his active
principles, having made an effort, of which he is seldom conscious, to put these principles into practice, but finding to his cost that their tendency is not practical, he sets about to retaliate the injustice which he conceives himself to have sustained in the rejection of those principles by the practical part of the world, the only portion of it to which they can prove offensive. We
say he creates these extremes when he sets about to retaliate the injustice he conceives himself to have suffered, because this retaliation can be effected only in one way; not in requiting the evil society has done him, with good to that society, but with evil to himself. This as we have said before, is no doubt a melancholy mode of retaliation ;* and “sweet revenge grows bitter" in the endl; but still it is sweet while obtaining, and even for some time after it is obtained, to the person who conceives himself injured, and who therefore seeks and desires it. Thus is the man of morbid constitution, abandoned to the swing of fiery instincts, that hurry him into excesses that seem to compensate by their intensity, for the want of that more rational, though somewhat dull and uniform enjoyment which would have resulted from the early and steady exercise of the active principles of our nature.
Although in a case of this kind, the party which suffers most is undoubtedly the individual, yet, as we have said before, society is also a sufferer in its moral interests, and to a greater degree perhaps than it is generally supposed to be. It may be objected to our theory, that it is too abstract; perhaps it is, we know not however whether it be wholy so. The chief admission we take for granted, that the constitution of certain minds is precisely such as we have been supposing, the main argument that ensues from this admission, as to the effects resulting from such a constitution of mind, and the process by which these effects are brought about, may have been carried too far--this however remains to be shown. It may be retorted upon us, if a man bring with him into society, fantastic and far-fetched notions upon points of vital interest to that society, if he presume to set up a standard of his own as the sole and alternate criterion of right and wrong, and the infallible test of the moral worth of those around him, is it either strange or unjust that socicty should reject such notions, and along with them the person himself whose conduct is perhaps but a bad illustration of a worse theory? This however would be to suppose what never has happened or can happen. No man was guilty of the preposterous error of believing himself capable of making a convert of society to his
* It is certainly retaliation upon society in the end, because society suffers !0 a certain degree from the vices of individuals.
own individual notions of any kind. On the contrary, what perhaps inspires his disgust and gives him offence is, the discov: ery that society is not only disposed and even prepared to make à convert of him even to “ the bitter letter," but that it is apt to resort to violent measures in the attempt, and redouble that violence where the attempt has failed. The language which society addresses to him is neither calculated to convince his reason nor to conciliate his pride: it is this, “ Your ways are bad, mend them, or you shall suffer for them." We endeavoured upon a former occasion.* to point out the difference between the imaginative and all other minds. We attempted to show that the tendencies of the poetical mind were less practical than those of any other. The poetical mind is of a temperament morbidly predisposed-a morbidly predisposed mind is one generally addicted to those extremes in feeling and situation which commonly result in that moral emasculation which incapacitates the individual for pursuing those practical ends, the proper efforts at attaining whichi, society presupposes in its very formation, and in the actual attainment of which its well being is involved. The individual thus incapacitated for the practical purposes of society, is scarce recognised as one of its members -he is in a great measure disconnected with the social contract : bis interests are of course, not involved in the general interests ; nor are they the interests of those immediately around him. He has therefore comparatively nothing at stake. What life-guards of conduct can such an individval possibly possess? And it is in a case of this kind, and in all similar cases, that the strength of passive impressions is so destructive of moral virtue. Passive impressions thus confirmed, incapacitate the individual for the practical ends of society, while society turns its back upon him for not pursuing those ends. The moment he is found holding himself aloof from society, society conceives a doubt of his character, and “ once to be in doubt. is once to be resolved, and in the proof," which society is very ingenious in furnishing—“no more but this,” be is banished by sentence of a moral ostracism. The man who has thus become a sentimental outlaw, who has been thus ejected beyond the pale of the moral and the social virtues, is “ let down the wind to prey at fortune ;" and if he becomes by consequence addicted to extremes and excesses of conduct, is it at all to be wondered at?
Remarks on the Analogy between Painting and Poetry: published in the National Intelligencer for October 1822.
+ Lord Bolingbroke is of opinion, that a man will profit by the experience he may acquire in the world, according to the temper and habit of mind which may have been previously unfolded and formed. “ Tire same experience," he observes, “ which secures the judgment of one man or excites him to yirtue, THE BEAUTY OF UTILITY
In speaking of that appearance of Beauty which Utility confers, Adam Smith makes too subtle and sophistical a distinction, we think, between the actual convenience wbich utility affords, and the fitness or aptness of the object itself which produces this convenience, between the end of utility and the means calculated to produce it. He contends that we are generally more pleased with the means than with the end ; and this he seems to regard as a discovery of his own, “ that the exact adjustment of the means for attaining any convenience," he observes, “is generally more regarded than the very convenience in the attainment of which their whole merit would seem to consist, has not, so far as I know, been taken notice of by any body."* This has not been taken notice of by any body, for the very reason perhaps which we have suggested, that the distinction is too subtle and sophistical, and in fact amounts to nothing in the end. There is an original beauty resulting from the perception of order and regularity, independent of their utility, and this pleasure is perfectly congenial with the desires of our moral and intellectual nature. When the beauty proceeding from the appearance of utility is united to this original beauty the effect of the whole is undoubtedly the greater. There is no beauty, or at least but little in mere conveniency apart from all perception of the harmony of order and regularity. There are many pieces of mechanism totally without utility which yet please and are accounted beautiful. +
shall lead another into error or plunge him into vice.” The truth of this re. mark has been illustrated, we fear by the moral failings of many virtuous minds; and is a circumstance to be accounted for only in the way in which we have attempted to explain it. The same writer remarks, that the chief advantage to be derived from the study of History is “ that it prepares us for experience and guides us in it." This observation however will by no means admit of an uni. versal application. Were it unexceptionably true, that this study, or any other, is capable of preparing us for an intercourse with the world, the very cases, we have been supposing would be the less pardonable and indeed could scarce possibly occur. History, which has been denominated or defined “ Philosophy teaching by example,” has certainly its uses ; but we fear, that the influence of its precepts and examples on the moral character will never be accounted in the number. The topic doubtless might afford many curious and perhaps useful speculations. Before however we could hope to establish the doctrine of the practical uses of History, we should have to encounter the Moral Philosophy of Adam Smith, particularly those parts of his Theory of Moral Sentiments which treat of the nature and origin of the Principle of Moral Approba. tion.
(1) Letters on the Study of History. Letter II. page 25. * Theo. of Mor. Sen. Part IV. Chap. 1.
† It will be kept in view, that Adam Smith is speaking of the beauty which utility affords. To ask us therefore, with an air of triumph, what it is that we ad. mire in a trinkel or a toy, which can have no possible utility, is to separate the means from the end. When these are united as they ought properly to be in every instance which we may adduce, in order to prove the greater importance of the one than the other-when the means are united to the end, and when this end is of dignity or consequence, then I apprehend, it will be difficult to determine whether we admire the means more than the end. in a toy or a trinket there is nothing to admire but the means; but then, it may be asked, is there not some end « hich these means were intended to attain? We should say no, were we strictly to answer the question. Is there an end beld in view on every moral action ? Are our every day and hourly actions agents in effect. ing some particular end, which may be said to be the final cause of those actions? You might with equal propriety speak of the end of the most trivial and every day action, as to speak of the utility or end of a toy or trinket. If then there be no utility or end in a toy or a trincket, the means alone are left for us to admire. Our words therefore do not militate against our own position, when we say that " many pieces of mechanism totally without utility, yet please and are accounted beautiful."
It is perfectly natural that we should admire the exquisite adjustment of means in the attainment of any end, apart from the end itself, but it does not follow therefore, that we have no regard to this end, or that there is no beauty resulting from the contemplation of it, distinct from our consideration of the means which produced it. In contemplating the Water-Works on the Schuylkill near the City of Philadelphia, we certainly admire the admirable adjustment of the means for promoting the end, viz. that of supplying the City with water. But does it follow that we have no regard to this end, or that we admire its utility less than the means made use of for promoting it? We should have admired the admirable utility of the invention, had the mechanical means been less exquisitely beautiful then they are. The utility of the invention is perhaps heightened in the imagination by virtue of the beauty of the means employed ; and this is perfectly natural. It does not follow however, that had the ingenuity of the invention been less we should not have admired its utility as much. Adam Smith says farther, that it is not the desire of utility, but of that beauty which the appearance of it affords, that induces a good government to project internal improvements, and to protect and encourage its commerce and agriculture. Indeed! this is too vague and fanciful a theory we apprehend, to be applied in matter of so much and so great a practical moment. A level turnpike road is undoubtedly a beautiful object; but do we admire its beauty beyond or even as much as its utility. Public spirit. according to this writer, resolves itself not into the desire of promoting the public good; but merely the appearance of it! And as a proof of this he adduces the instance of Peter the Great, who with all his public spirit, we are told was devoid of humanity! The ingenious writer wishes to establish a general rule, which in the first place