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pleafing and painful fenfations; the former to the gratifications of thefe wants, the latter to the in apacity of gratifying them there we fhall behold man capable of receiving the impreffions of pleasure and pain, and born as it were with a love for the one, and hatred for the other. Such was man, when he came from the hand of nature.
In this ftate he had neither envy, pride, avarice, nor ambition; fenfible only of the pleafure and pain derived from, nature, he was ignorant of all thofe artificial pains and pleafures we procure from the above paffions. Such paflions are then not immediately given by nature; but their existence, which supposes that of fociety, alfo fuppofes that we have in us the latent feeds of thofe paffions. If, therefore, we receive at our birth only wants, in thofe wants, and in our firft defires, we must feek the origin of these artificial paffions, which can be nothing more than the unfolding of the faculty of fenfation.
Perhaps both in the moral and natural world, God origi nally implanted only one principle in all he created, and that what is, and what fhall be, is only the neceflary unfolding of this principle.
He faid to matter, I endow thee with power. Immediately the elements, fubject to the laws of motion, but wandering and confounded in the defarts of space, formed a thoufand monstrous affemblages, and produced a thousand different chaofes, till they at laft placed themfelves in that equilibrium and natural order, in which the univerfe is now fuppofed to be arranged,
He feems alfo to have faid to man, I endow thee with fenfibility, the blind inftrument of my will, that being inca pable of penetrating into the depth of my views, thou may'st accomplish all my defigns. I place thee under the guardianfhip of pleasure and pain: both fhall watch over thy thoughts and thy actions; they fhall beget thy paffions, excite thy friendship, thy tenderness, thine averfion, thy rage; they fhall kindle thy defires, thy fears, thy hopes; they fhall take off the veil of truth; they fhall plunge thee in error, and after having made thee conceive a thoufand abfurd and different fyftems of morality and government, fhall one day discover to thee the fimple principles, on the unfolding of which depends the order and happiness of the moral world.
Let us fuppofe, that heaven fuddenly animates feveral men, their firft employment will be to fatisfy their wants, and foon after they will endeavour, by their cries, to exprefs the
impreffions they receive from pleasure and pain. Thofe cries will conftitute their firft language, which, if we may judge from the poverty of the languages of the favages, must be very confined, and reducible to thefe firft founds. When mankind, by becoming more numerous, shall begin to spread < over the furface of earth; and like the waves of the ocean, which cover its diftant banks, and inftantly retire into its capacious bed, many generations fhall have appeared on the earth, and be fwallowed up in the gulph, wherein all things. are forgotten; when families fhall live nearer to each other; when the defire becomes common of poffeffing the fame things, as the fruit of a certain tree, or the favours of a par⚫ticular woman, it will excite quarrels and combats; and thefe beget anger and revenge. When, fated with blood, and weary of living in perpetual fear, mankind fhall confent to lofe a fmall part of that liberty they found fo prejudicial in a state of nature; they will enter into conventions with each other, and thefe conventions will be their first laws; when they have formed laws, they will entruft fome perfons with the care of fecing them put in execution, and those will be the firft magiftrates. Thefe rude magiftrates of a favage people will inhabit the forefts. After having in part deftroyed the animals, the people will no longer be able to live by hunting, and the fcarcity of provifions will teach them the art of breeding and tending their flocks, which will fupply their wants; and the nations that fubfifted by hunting, will become nations of fhepherds. After a certain number of ages, when thefe laft will be extremely multiplied, fo that the earth will not in the fame fpace yield nourishment for a greater number of inhabitants, without being cultivated by human labour, the nations of fhepherds will difappear, and give place to nations of hufbandmen. The calls of hunger in difcovering the art of agriculture, fhall foon learn them that of meafuring and dividing the lands. This being • done, every man's property must be fecured to him, and thence will arife a number of fciences and laws. Lands, from their different nature and cultivation, bearing different fruits, men will purchase what they want, by making exchanges with each other, and at length perceive the advantage of a general exchange, that will reprefent all commodities and for this purpose they will make ufc of fhells or metals. When focieties are arrived at this point of perfection, all equality between men will be defroyed: they will be diftinguifhed into fuperiors and inferiors: then the words GOOD and EVIL, formed to exprefs the natural fenfations of pleafure and pain we receive from external objects, • will
will generally extend to every thing that can procure, increafe, or diminish, either of thefe fenfations; fuch are riches and indigence: and then riches and honours, by the advantages annexed to them, will become the general object of the defires of mankind. Hence will arife, according to the different forms of government, criminal or virtuous paffions, fuch as envy, avarice, pride, and ambition, patriotifm, a love of glory, magnanimity, and even love, which being given by nature only as a want, will be confounded with vanity, and become an artificial paffion, that will, like the others, arife from the unfolding of the natural fenfibility.
However certain this conclufion may be, there are few men who can clearly perceive the ideas from which it refults. Befides, by owning that our paffions originally derive their fource from natural fenfibility, we may believe, that in the ftate in which polite nations are actually placed, these paffions ' exifted independently of the caufes that has produced them. I propofe then to follow the metamorphofis of the natural pleasures and pains, into the artificial pleasures and pains, and to fhew, that in the paffions, fuch as avarice, ambition, pride, and friendship, which feem least to belong to the pleafures of fenfe, we always either feek natural pleasure, or fhun natural pain.'
Our Author goes on to illuftrate this general rule, of our paffions having their rise from natural fenfibility, by accounting for feveral particular ones, which appear to be moft independent of this caufe; as avarice, ambition, pride, and friendship.
He accounts for that of avarice as follows:
Gold and filver may be confidered as objects agreeable to the eye but if we defired nothing more in their poffeffion, than the pleasures produced by the luftre and beauty of thefe metals, the avaricious man would reft fatisfied with being ⚫ allowed to contemplate freely, heaps of gold and filver in the public treasury. But as this view would be far from gratifying his paffion, it neceffarily follows, that the avaricious, of whatever clafs, either defires riches as the means of procuring pleasure, or as an exemption from the mi'feries with which poverty is attended.
This principle being established, I affert, that man being, by nature, fenfible of no other pleasures than those of the fenfes, thefe pleafures are confequently the only object of his defires. A fondness for luxury, magnificent equipages, expenfive entertainments, and fuperb furniture, is then an H 3 • artificial
artificial paffion, neceffarily produced by the natural wants either of love, or the pleafures of the table. Indeed, what real pleasure can this luxury and magnificence procure the avaricious voluptuary, if he does not confider them as the, means of pleafing women, and obtaining their favours, if they are the objects of his fondnefs; or of impofing on men, and forcing them, by the uncertain hope of a reward, to remove from him every pain, and to affemble around him 6 every pleasure ?
With thefe avaricious voluptuaries, who certainly do not properly deferve to be called covetous, avarice is the immediate effect of the fear of pain, and the love of pleature. But it may be afked, how can this love of pleafure, or this fear of pain, be excited in the really avaricious, thofe wretched mifers, who never part with their money to purchafe pleasure? If they pafs their lives in the want of common neceffaries, and exaggerate to themfelves and others the pleasures annexed to the poffeffion of gold, it is merely to divert their attention from a misfortune, which nobody can, or ought to pity.
However furprizing the contradiction may be, that is found between their conduct, and the motives from which they act, I fhall endeavour to difcover the caufe, which, leaving them the inceffant defire of pleasure, must always deprive them of its enjoyment.
In order to which, I fhall obferve first, that this kind of avarice derives its fource from an exceffive and ridiculous fear of the poffibility of indigence, and of the many evils with which it is accompanied. The avaricious are like thofe <afflicted with an hypocondriac melancholy, who live in perpetual agonies, fee themfelves furrounded with dangers, and are afraid of being crushed by every one that approaches
This fpecies of the avaricious we commonly find among those who were born in a state of indigence, and have themfelves experienced the long train of evils with which it is attended. Their folly is therefore, in this respect, more pardonable than in men born in a ftate of affluence, among whom there are feldom found any of the avaricious, except the proud or voluptuous.
To explain how, among the former, the fear of wanting neceffaries forces them to live in perpetual want, let us fuppofe any one of them, when finking under the weight of * poverty, forms a project for delivering himfelf from the pain
ful burthen. Hope immediately fteps in to his affiftance, and gives fresh vigor to his foul, which had been bowed down by indigence; revives his activity, and makes him fearch for protectors: fhe confines him to the antichambers of minifters, makes him cringe at the feet of the great, and de' vote himself to a very miferable life, till he has obtained a poft that will raise him above want. But when he is arrived at this defirable ftate, will pleasure be the only object of his 'purfuit? A man of this character, who is timid and diftruftful, will have a lively remembrance of the evils he has experienced, and the fame motives that prompted the defire of delivering himself from them, will determine him to refufe the indulgence of every gratification, till he has ac6 quired the habit of depriving himfelf of them. This man
being once raised above want, if he is thirty-five or forty years of age, if the love of pleafure has its edge every moment blunted, and is lefs fenfibly felt, what will he then do? "He will become more difficult in his pleafures; if he is fond ' of women, he will have the most beautiful; and those favours are purchased at the dearest rate: he will therefore accumulate new riches, to gratify his new appetites. Now, if in the time required for obtaining these acquifitions, diftruft and timidity, which increase with age, and may be 'confidered as the effects of the fenfibility of our weakness, 'fhew him that, in point of riches, he can never have enough;
and if his infatiable thirst after them is found to be equally 'balanced by his love of pleasure, he will then be drawn by
two different attractions. In order to obey both, this man, ' without renouncing pleasure, will prove to himself, that he ought at least to defer its enjoyment, till he has accumulated greater riches, when he may, without fear of futurity, employ himself entirely in the indulgence of prefent gratifications. If in the new interval neceffary to amals new wealth, 'age should fuddenly render him infenfible of pleasure, will ' he then change his manner of life? Will he renounce ha
bits, which the incapacity of acquiring new ones have ren'dered dear to him? No, he certainly will not; fatisfied in 'contemplating his riches, and with the poffibility of the plea fures they are capable of procuring, he will endeavour to efcape the pain of laffitude, by giving up himself entirely to his ordinary purfuits: he will become fo much the more ' avaricious in his old age, as the habit of accumulating wealth is no longer counterbalanced by the defire of enjoying it, which will be ftrengthened by the mechanical fear of want, 'wherewith old age is always accompanied.'