Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary
By David Hume
DAVID HUME’S greatness was recognized in his own time, as it is today, but the writings that made Hume famous are not, by and large, the same ones that support his reputation now. Leaving aside his
Enquiries, which were widely read then as now, Hume is known today chiefly through his
Treatise of Human Nature and his
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The
Treatise was scarcely read at all during Hume’s lifetime, however, and the
Dialogues was not published until after his death. Conversely, most readers today pay little attention to Hume’s various books of essays and to his
History of England, but these are the works that were read avidly by his contemporaries. If one is to get a balanced view of Hume’s thought, it is necessary to study both groups of writings. If we should neglect the essays or the
History, then our view of Hume’s aims and achievements is likely to be as incomplete as that of his contemporaries who failed to read the
Treatise or the
Dialogues.… [From the Foreword by Eugene F. Miller]
Eugene F. Miller, ed.
First Pub. Date
Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc. Liberty Fund, Inc.
Publication date details: Part I: 1742. Part II ( Political Discourses): 1752. Combined: 1777. Includes Political Discourses (1752), "My Own Life," by David Hume, and a letter by Adam Smith.
Portions of this edited edition are under copyright. Picture of David Hume courtesy of The Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University.
- Foreword, by Eugene F. Miller
- Editors Note, by Eugene F. Miller
- Note to the Revised Edition
- My Own Life, by David Hume
- Letter from Adam Smith, L.L.D. to William Strahan, Esq.
- Part I, Essay I, OF THE DELICACY OF TASTE AND PASSION
- Part I, Essay II, OF THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS
- Part I, Essay III, THAT POLITICS MAY BE REDUCED TO A SCIENCE
- Part I, Essay IV, OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT
- Part I, Essay V, OF THE ORIGIN OF GOVERNMENT
- Part I, Essay VI, OF THE INDEPENDENCY OF PARLIAMENT
- Part I, Essay VII, WHETHER THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT INCLINES MORE TO ABSOLUTE MONARCHY, OR TO A REPUBLIC
- Part I, Essay VIII, OF PARTIES IN GENERAL
- Part I, Essay IX, OF THE PARTIES OF GREAT BRITAIN
- Part I, Essay X, OF SUPERSTITION AND ENTHUSIASM
- Part I, Essay XI, OF THE DIGNITY OR MEANNESS OF HUMAN NATURE
- Part I, Essay XII, OF CIVIL LIBERTY
- Part I, Essay XIII, OF ELOQUENCE
- Part I, Essay XIV, OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES
- Part I, Essay XV, THE EPICUREAN
- Part I, Essay XVI, THE STOIC
- Part I, Essay XVII, THE PLATONIST
- Part I, Essay XVIII, THE SCEPTIC
- Part I, Essay XIX, OF POLYGAMY AND DIVORCES
- Part I, Essay XX, OF SIMPLICITY AND REFINEMENT IN WRITING
- Part I, Essay XXI, OF NATIONAL CHARACTERS
- Part I, Essay XXII, OF TRAGEDY
- Part I, Essay XXIII, OF THE STANDARD OF TASTE
- Part II, Essay I, OF COMMERCE
- Part II, Essay II, OF REFINEMENT IN THE ARTS
- Part II, Essay III, OF MONEY
- Part II, Essay IV, OF INTEREST
- Part II, Essay V, OF THE BALANCE OF TRADE
- Part II, Essay VI, OF THE JEALOUSY OF TRADE
- Part II, Essay VII, OF THE BALANCE OF POWER
- Part II, Essay VIII, OF TAXES
- Part II, Essay IX, OF PUBLIC CREDIT
- Part II, Essay X, OF SOME REMARKABLE CUSTOMS
- Part II, Essay XI, OF THE POPULOUSNESS OF ANCIENT NATIONS
- Part II, Essay XII, OF THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT
- Part II, Essay XIII, OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE
- Part II, Essay XIV, OF THE COALITION OF PARTIES
- Part II, Essay XV, OF THE PROTESTANT SUCCESSION
- Part II, Essay XVI, IDEA OF A PERFECT COMMONWEALTH
- Part III, Essay I, OF ESSAY-WRITING
- Part III, Essay II, OF MORAL PREJUDICES
- Part III, Essay III, OF THE MIDDLE STATION OF LIFE
- Part III, Essay IV, OF IMPUDENCE AND MODESTY
- Part III, Essay V, OF LOVE AND MARRIAGE
- Part III, Essay VI, OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY
- Part III, Essay VII, OF AVARICE
- Part III, Essay VIII, A CHARACTER OF SIR ROBERT WALPOLE
- Part III, Essay IX, OF SUICIDE
- Part III, Essay X, OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL
- Variant Readings
HUME revised his essays continually throughout his lifetime, and there are many significant differences between earlier editions of the essays and the 1777 edition, which was corrected by Hume shortly before his death. The principal variations of earlier editions are recorded by T. H. Green and T. H. Grose in their edition of the
Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary (1874, and after). The variations printed below are taken from Green and Grose, New Edition (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1889). The reader should keep in mind that Green and Grose do not consider all relevant editions of the essays and that their listing of variants is deficient in other ways as well. Also, editions E, F, and G are not part of the genealogy of the
Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary. Superscript letters in the present text indicate where the variations occur. Green and Grose identify the editions of Hume’s essays by letter, as follows:
|A||Essays, Moral and Political. Edinburgh, 1741.|
|B||Essays, Moral and Political. Second edition, corrected, Edinburgh, 1742.|
|C||Essays, Moral and Political. Vol. 2. Edinburgh, 1742.|
|D||Essays, Moral and Political. Third edition, corrected with additions; London and Edinburgh, 1748.|
|E||Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding. London, 1748.|
|F||Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding. Second edition, with additions and corrections; London, 1751.|
|G||An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. London, 1751.|
|H||Political Discourses. Edinburgh, 1752.|
|I||Political Discourses. Second edition; Edinburgh, 1752.|
|K||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. London and Edinburgh, 1753-54. Four volumes.|
|L||Four Dissertations. London, 1757.|
|M||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. London and Edinburgh, 1758. One volume.|
|N||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. London and Edinburgh, 1760. Four volumes.|
|O||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. London and Edinburgh, 1764. Two volumes.|
|P||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. Edinburgh and London, 1768. Two volumes.|
|Q||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. London and Edinburgh, 1770. Four volumes.|
|R||Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. London and Edinburgh, 1777. Two volumes.|
VARIANT READINGS TO PART I
PART TITLE PAGE
a This Note was added in Ed. M, 1758.
I. OF THE DELICACY OF TASTE AND PASSION
a How far delicacy of taste, and that of passion, are connected together in the original frame of the mind, it is hard to determine. To me there appears a very considerable connexion between them. For we may observe that women, who have more delicate passions than men, have also a more delicate taste of the ornaments of life, of dress, equipage, and the ordinary decencies of behavior. Any excellency in these hits their taste much sooner than ours; and when you please their taste, you soon engage their affections.—Editions A to Q; the latter omits the last sentence.
II. OF THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS
a And whether the unlimited exercise of this liberty be advantageous or prejudicial to the public?—Editions A to P.
b I shall endeavor to explain myself.—Editions D to P.
c ‘Tis sufficiently known.—Editions A to P.
d Edition Q omits the concluding sentence. Editions A to P have in place of it the following:—
Since therefore that liberty is so essential to the support of our mixed government; this sufficiently decides the second question,
Whether such a liberty be advantageous or prejudicial; there being nothing of greater importance in every state than the preservation of the ancient government, especially if it be a free one. But I would fain go a step farther, and assert, that this liberty is attended with so few inconveniencies, that it may be claimed as the common right of mankind, and ought to be indulged them almost in every government: except the ecclesiastical, to which indeed it would prove fatal. We need not dread from this liberty any such ill consequences as followed from the harangues of the popular demagogues of ATHENS and tribunes of ROME. A man reads a book or pamphlet alone and coolly. There is none present from whom he can catch the passion by contagion. He is not hurried away by the force and energy of action. And should he be wrought up to ever so seditious a humour, there is no violent resolution presented to him, by which he can immediately vent his passion. The liberty of the press, therefore, however abused, can scarce ever excite popular tumults or rebellion. And as to those murmurs or secret discontents it may occasion, ’tis better they should get vent in words, that they may come to the knowledge of the magistrate before it be too late, in order to his providing a remedy against them. Mankind, it is true, have always a greater propension to believe what is said to the disadvantage of their governors, than the contrary; but this inclination is inseparable from them, whether they have liberty or not. A whisper may fly as quick, and be as pernicious as a pamphlet. Nay, it will be more pernicious, where men are not accustomed to think freely, or distinguish between truth and falshood.
It has also been found, as the experience of mankind increases, that the
people are no such dangerous monster as they have been represented, and that it is in every respect better to guide them, like rational creatures, than to lead or drive them, like brute beasts. Before the United Provinces set the example, toleration was deemed incompatible with good government; and it was thought impossible, that a number of religious sects could live together in harmony and peace, and have all of them an equal affection to their common country, and to each other. ENGLAND has set a like example of civil liberty; and though this liberty seems to occasion some small ferment at present, it has not as yet produced any pernicious effects; and it is to be hoped, that men, being every day more accustomed to the free discussion of public affairs, will improve in the judgment of them, and be with greater difficulty seduced by every idle rumour and popular clamour.
It is a very comfortable reflection to the lovers of liberty, that this peculiar privilege of BRITAIN is of a kind that cannot easily be wrested from us, but must last as long as our government remains, in any degree, free and independent. It is seldom, that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Slavery has so frightful an aspect to men accustomed to freedom, that it must steal upon them by degrees, and must disguise itself in a thousand shapes, in order to be received. But, if the liberty of the press ever be lost, it must be lost at once. The general laws against sedition and libelling are at present as strong as they possibly can be made. Nothing can impose a farther restraint, but either the clapping an IMPRIMATUR upon the press, or the giving to the court very large discretionary powers to punish whatever displeases them. But these concessions would be such a bare-faced violation of liberty, that they will probably be the last efforts of a despotic government. We may conclude, that the liberty of
Britain is gone for ever when these attempts shall succeed.
III. THAT POLITICS MAY BE REDUCED TO A SCIENCE
a Editions A to P insert the following:—An equal difference of a contrary kind, may be found on comparing the reigns of ELIZABETH and JAMES, at least with regard to foreign affairs.
They omit the words “foreign as well as domestic” in the next sentence.
b Editions A to Q insert: And such, in a great measure, was that of ENGLAND, till the middle of the last century, notwithstanding the numerous panegyrics on ancient ENGLISH liberty. Editions A and B stop at the word
c Ed. A reads
Vespasian’s, and gives no reference.
d This sentence and the notes 1  and 2  were added in Edition K.
e This note was added in Edition K.
f This paragraph was added in Edition D.
g Editions D to N gave the date 1742.
h Elogiums: Editions A to D. The word is frequently so written in the Treatise.
i Editions D to P give in a note the well-known Character of Sir Robert Walpole. [See, under “Essays Withdrawn and Unpublished,” Essay VIII,
A Character of Sir Robert Walpole, note 1, for an explanation of the footnote to which Green and Grose here refer.]
IV. OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT
a Editions A to P insert as follows:—This passion we may denominate enthusiasm, or we may give it what appellation we please; but a politician, who should overlook its influence on human affairs, would prove himself but of a very limited understanding.
Editions A and B omit the remainder of the paragraph.
b Editions A to N add the following paragraph:—I shall conclude this subject with observing, that the present political controversy, with regard to instructions, is a very frivolous one, and can never be brought to any decision, as it is managed by both parties. The country-party pretend not, that a member is absolutely bound to follow instructions, as an ambassador or general is confined by his orders, and that his vote is not to be received in the house, but so far as it is conformable to them. The court-party again, pretend not, that the sentiments of the people ought to have no weight with every member; much less that he ought to despise the sentiments of those he represents, and with whom he is more particularly connected. And if their sentiments be of weight, why ought they not to express these sentiments? The question, then, is only concerning the degrees of weight, which ought to be plac’d on instructions. But such is the nature of language, that it is impossible for it to express distinctly these different degrees; and if men will carry on a controversy on this head, it may well happen, that they differ in their language, and yet agree in their sentiments; or differ in their sentiments, and yet agree in their language. Besides, how is it possible to find these degrees, considering the variety of affairs which come before the house, and the variety of places which members represent? Ought the instructions of TOTNESS to have the same weight as those of LONDON? or instructions, with regard to the
Convention, which respected foreign politics, to have the same weight as those with regard to the
excise, which respected only our domestic affairs?
VI. OF THE INDEPENDENCY OF PARLIAMENT
a In Editions A to N this Essay is introduced by the following examination of the spirit of parties.
I have frequently observed, in comparing the conduct of the
country parties, that the former are commonly less assuming and dogmatical in conversation, more apt to make concessions; and tho’ not, perhaps, more susceptible of conviction, yet more able to bear contradiction than the latter; who are apt to fly out upon any opposition, and to regard one as a mercenary designing fellow, if he argues with any coolness and impartiality, or makes any concessions to their adversaries. This is a fact, which, I believe, every one may have observed, who has been much in companies where political questions have been discussed; tho’, were one to ask the reason of this difference, every party would be apt to assign a different reason. Gentlemen in the
Opposition will ascribe it to the very nature of their party, which, being founded on public spirit, and a zeal for the constitution, cannot easily endure such doctrines, as are of pernicious consequence to liberty. The courtiers, on the other hand, will be apt to put us in mind of the clown mentioned by lord SHAFTSBURY. “A clown,” says that excellent author,
*57 “once took a fancy to hear the
Latin disputes of doctors at an university. He was asked what pleasure he could take in viewing such combatants, when he could never know so much, as which of the parties had the better.
For that matter, replied the clown,
I a’n’t such a fool neither, but I can see who’s the first that puts t’other into a passion. Nature herself dictated this lesson to the clown, that he who had the better of the argument would be easy and well-humoured: But he who was unable to support his cause by reason would naturally lose his temper and grow violent.”
To which of these reasons shall we adhere? To neither of them, in my opinion; unless we have a mind to enlist ourselves and become zealots in either party. I believe I can assign the reason of this different conduct of the two parties, without offending either. The country party are plainly most popular at present, and perhaps have been so in most administrations: So that, being accustomed to prevail in company, they cannot endure to hear their opinions controverted, but are as confident on the public favour, as if they were supported in all their sentiments by the most infallible demonstration. The courtiers, on the other hand, are commonly so run down by popular talkers, that if you speak to them with any moderation, or make them the smallest concessions, they think themselves extremely beholden to you, and are apt to return the favour by a like moderation and facility on their part. To be furious and passionate, they know, would only gain them the character of
shameless mercenaries; not that of
zealous patriots, which is the character that such a warm behaviour is apt to acquire to the other party.
In all controversies, we find, without regarding the truth or falshood on either side, that those who defend the established and popular opinions, are always the most dogmatical and imperious in their stile: while their adversaries affect almost extraordinary gentleness and moderation, in order to soften, as much as possible, any prejudices that may lye against them. Consider the behavior of our
free-thinkers of all denominations, whether they be such as decry all revelation, or only oppose the exorbitant power of the clergy;
Collins, Tindal, Foster, Hoadley. Compare their moderation and good manners with the furious zeal and scurrility of their adversaries, and you will be convinced of the truth of my observation. A like difference may be observed in the conduct of those French writers, who maintained the controversy with regard to ancient and modern learning.
Boileau, Monsieur and Madame
Dacier, l’Abbé de
Bos, who defended the party of the ancients, mixed their reasonings with satire and invective; while Fontenelle, la Motte, Charpentier, and even Perrault, never transgressed the bounds of moderation and good breeding; though provoked by the most injurious treatment of their adversaries.
I must, however, observe, that this Remark with regard to the seeming Moderation of the
Court Party, is entirely confin’d to Conversation, and to Gentlemen, who have been engag’d by Interest or Inclination in that Party. For as to the Court-Writers, being commonly hir’d Scriblers, they are altogether as scurrilous as the Mercenaries of the other Party; nor has the
Gazeteer any Advantage, in this Respect, above
Common Sense. A man of Education will, in any Party, discover himself to be such, by his Good-breeding and Decency; as a Scoundrel will always betray the opposite Qualities.
The false Accusers accus’d, &c. is very scurrillous, tho’ that Side of the Question, being least popular, shou’d be defended with most Moderation. When L—d
n take the Pen in Hand, tho’ they write with Warmth, they presume not upon their Popularity so far as to transgress the Bounds of Decency. [This paragraph is found only in Editions A and B.]
I am led into this train of reflection, by considering some papers wrote upon that grand topic of
court influence and parliamentary dependence, where, in my humble opinion, the country party, besides vehemence and satyre, shew too rigid an inflexibility, and too great a jealousy of making concessions to their adversaries. Their reasonings lose their force by being carried too far; and the popularity of their opinions has seduced them to neglect in some measure their justness and solidity. The following reason will, I hope, serve to justify me in this opinion.
b In the present depraved state of mankind. Editions A to D.
c The reference to Polybius was added in Edition K.
VII. WHETHER THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT INCLINES MORE TO ABSOLUTE MONARCHY, OR TO A REPUBLIC
a Editions A and B: to Three Thousand Talents a Year, about 400,000ℓ. Sterling.—Editions D to Q: only to about sixteen hundred thousand pounds in our money.
b Editions D to Q add: As interest in Rome was higher than with us, this might yield above 100,000ℓ. a year.
c Editions A to N have the note: On ne monte jamais si haut que quand on ne scait pas ou on va, said Cromwell to the President de Bellievre.—De Retz’s Memoirs.
d Editions A to D read: have entirely lost.
VIII. OF PARTIES IN GENERAL
a This paragraph was added in Edition B.
b The last sentence was added in Edition D.
c Editions A to P add the following: Besides, I do not find that the
whites in MOROCCO ever imposed on the
blacks any necessity of altering their complexion, or threatened them with inquisitions and penal laws in case of obstinacy: nor have the
blacks been more unreasonable in this particular. But is a man’s opinion, where he is able to form a real opinion, more at his disposal than his complexion? And can one be induced by force or fear to do more than paint and disguise in the one case as well as in the other?
Considerations sur le Grandeur et sur la Decadence de Romains. Edition K.
e Editions B and D read: “were very ancient.”
f Editions B and D read: “they quite” and omit the reference to “the emperor, Claudius.”
g Editions B and D omit the reference to Pliny.
h This note is not in A.
IX. OF THE PARTIES OF GREAT BRITAIN
a Editions A to P add the following note: These words have become of general use, and therefore I shall employ them, without intending to express by them an universal blame of the one party, or approbation of the other. The court-party may, no doubt, on some occasions consult best the interest of the country, and the country-party oppose it. In like manner, the ROMAN parties were denominated
Populares; and CICERO, like a true party man, defines the
Optimates to be such as, in all public conduct, regulated themselves by the sentiments of the best and worthiest of the ROMANS:
Pro Sextio, cap. 45. The term of
Country-party may afford a favourable definition or etymology of the same kind: But it would be folly to draw any argument from that head, and I have regard to it in employing these terms.
b Editions A to P add the following: I must be understood to mean this of persons who have motives for taking party on any side. For, to tell the truth, the greatest part are commonly men who associate themselves they know not why; from example, from passion, from idleness. But still it is requisite, that there be some source of division, either in principle or interest; otherwise such persons would not find parties, to which they could associate themselves.
c Editions B to P add the note: This proposition is true, notwithstanding, that in the early times of the ENGLISH government, the clergy were the great and principal opposers of the crown: But, at that time, their possessions were so immensely great, that they composed a considerable part of the proprietors of ENGLAND, and in many contests were direct rivals of the crown.
d This note was added in Edition K.
e This note was added in Edition K.
f For this paragraph Editions A to P substitute the following: The clergy had concurred [in a shameless manner: A to K] with the king’s arbitrary designs, according to their usual maxims in such cases: And, in return, were allowed to persecute their adversaries, whom they called heretics and schismatics. The established clergy were episcopal; the nonconformists presbyterian: So that all things concurred to throw the former, without reserve, into the king’s party; and the latter into that of the parliament. The
Cavaliers being the court-party, and the
Round-heads the country-party, the union was infallible between the former and the established prelacy, and between the latter and presbyterian non-conformists. This union is so natural, according to the general principles of politics, that it requires some very extraordinary situation of affairs to break it.
g Editions A to P add: The question is, perhaps, in itself, somewhat difficult; but has been rendered more so, by the prejudice and violence of party.
h Editions A to P add:
sufficient, according to a celebrated author, (Dissertation on Parties, Letter 2d.)
to shock the common sense of a HOTTENTOT
i Editions A to K read:
almost unbounded compliances. M to Q:
j Editions A to P add the following note: The author [celebrated writer: A, B, and D] above cited has asserted, that the REAL distinction betwixt WHIG and TORY was lost at the
revolution, and that ever since they have continued to be mere
personal parties, like the GUELFS and GIBBELINES, after the emperors had lost all authority in ITALY. Such an opinion, were it received, would turn our whole history into an ænigma; [and is, indeed, so contrary to the strongest Evidence, that a Man must have a great Opinion of his own Eloquence to attempt the proving of it.—A and B.]
I shall first mention, as a proof of a real distinction between these parties, what every one may have observed or heard concerning the conduct and conversation of all his friends and acquaintance on both sides. Have not the TORIES always borne an avowed affection to the family of STUART, and have not their adversaries always opposed with vigour the succession of that family?
The TORY principles are confessedly the most favourable to monarchy. Yet the Tories have almost always opposed the court these fifty years; nor were they cordial friends to King WILLIAM, even when employed by him. Their quarrel, therefore, cannot be supposed to have lain with the throne, but with the person who sat on it.
They concurred heartily with the court during the four last years of Queen ANNE. But is any one at a loss to find the reason?
The succession of the crown in the BRITISH government is a point of too great consequence to be absolutely indifferent to persons who concern themselves, in any degree, about the fortune of the public; much less can it be supposed that the TORY party, who never valued themselves upon moderation, could maintain a
stoical indifference in a point of such importance. Were they, therefore, zealous for the house of HANOVER? Or was there any thing that kept an opposite zeal from openly appearing, if it did not openly appear, but prudence, and a sense of decency? [This paragraph is not in A and B.]
‘Tis monstrous to see an established episcopal clergy in declared opposition to the court, and a non-conformist presbyterian clergy in conjunction with it. What could have produced such an unnatural conduct in both? Nothing, but that the former espoused monarchical principles too high for the present settlement, which is founded on principles of liberty: And the latter, being afraid of the prevalence of those high principles, adhered to that party from whom they had reason to expect liberty and toleration.
The different conduct of the two parties, with regard to foreign politics, is also a proof to the same purpose, HOLLAND has always been most favoured by one, and FRANCE by the other. In short, the proofs of this kind seem so palpable and evident, that ’tis almost needless to collect them.
k So the Essay concludes in Editions Q and R. In place of the last paragraph, the preceding Editions read as follows:
‘Tis however remarkable, that tho’ the principles of WHIG and TORY were both of them of a compound nature; yet the ingredients, which predominated in both, were not correspondent to each other. A TORY loved monarchy, and bore an affection to the family of STUART; but the latter affection was the predominant inclination of the party. A WHIG loved liberty, and was a friend to the settlement in the PROTESTANT line; but the love of liberty was professedly his predominant inclination. The TORIES have frequently acted as republicans, where either policy or revenge has engaged them to that conduct; and there was no one of that party, who, upon the supposition, that he was to be disappointed in his views with regard to the succession, would not have desired to impose the strictest limitations on the crown, and to bring our form of government as near republican as possible, in order to depress the family, which, according to his apprehension, succeeded without any just title. The WHIGS, ’tis true, have also taken steps dangerous to liberty, under colour of securing the succession and settlement of the crown, according to their views: But as the body of the party had no passion for that succession, otherwise than as the means of securing liberty, they have been betrayed into these steps by ignorance, or frailty, or the interests of their leaders. The succession of the crown was, therefore, the chief point with the TORIES; the security of our liberties with the WHIGS. [The remainder of this paragraph is not in A and B.] Nor is this seeming irregularity at all difficult to be accounted for, by our present theory.
country parties are the true parents of TORY and WHIG. But ’tis almost impossible, that the attachment of the
court party to monarchy should not degenerate into an attachment to the monarch; there being so close a connexion between them, and the latter being so much the more natural object. How easily does the worship of the divinity degenerate into a worship of the idol? The connexion is not so great between liberty, the divinity of the old
country party or WHIGS, and any monarch or royal family; nor is it so reasonable to suppose, that in that party, the worship can be so easily transferred from the one to the other. Tho’ even that would be no great miracle.
‘Tis difficult to penetrate into the thoughts and sentiments of any particular man; but ’tis almost impossible to distinguish those of a whole party, where it often happens, that no two persons agree precisely in the same maxims of conduct. Yet I will venture to affirm, that it was not so much PRINCIPLE, or an opinion of indefeasible right, which attached the TORIES to the ancient royal family, as AFFECTION, or a certain love and esteem for their persons. The same cause divided ENGLAND formerly between the houses of YORK and LANCASTER, and SCOTLAND between the families of BRUCE and BALIOL; in an age, when political disputes were but little in fashion, and when political
principles must of course have had but little influence on mankind. The doctrine of passive obedience is so absurd in itself, and so opposite to our liberties, that it seems to have been chiefly left to pulpit-declaimers, and to their deluded followers among the vulgar. Men of better sense were guided by
affection; and as to the leaders of this party, ’tis probable, that
interest was their chief motive, and that they acted more contrary to their private sentiments, than the leaders of the opposite party. [The remainder of this paragraph is not in A and B.] Tho’ ’tis almost impossible to maintain with zeal the right of any person or family, without acquiring a good-will to them, and changing the
affection; yet this is less natural to people of an elevated station and liberal education, who have had full opportunity of observing the weakness, folly, and arrogance of monarchs, and have found them to be nothing superior, if not rather inferior to the rest of mankind. The
interest, therefore, of being heads of a party does often, with such people, supply the place both of
Some, who will not venture to assert, that the
real difference between WHIG and TORY was lost at the
revolution, seem inclined to think, that the difference is now abolished, and that affairs are so far returned to their natural state, that there are at present no other parties amongst us but
country; that is, men, who by interest or principle, are attached either to monarchy or to liberty. It must, indeed, be confest, that the TORY party seem, of late, to have decayed much in their numbers; still more in their zeal; and I may venture to say, still more in their credit and authority. There are few men of knowledge or learning, at least, few philosophers, since Mr. LOCKE has wrote, who would not be ashamed to be thought of that party; and in almost all companies the name of OLD WHIG is mentioned as an uncontestable appellation of honour and dignity. Accordingly, the enemies of the ministry, as a reproach, call the courtiers the true TORIES; and as an honour, denominate the gentlemen in the
opposition the true WHIGS. [The last two sentences were omitted in P. A and B read
no man, omitting “at least … wrote.”] The TORIES have been so long obliged to talk in the republican stile, that they seem to have made converts of themselves by their hypocrisy, and to have embraced the sentiments, as well as language of their adversaries. There are, however, very considerable remains of that party in ENGLAND, with all their old prejudices; and a proof that
country are not our only parties, is, that almost all the dissenters side with the court, and the lower clergy, at least, of the church of ENGLAND, with the opposition. This may convince us, that some biass still hangs upon our constitution, some intrinsic weight, which turns it from its natural course, and causes a confusion in our parties. [This sentence does not occur in A.]
I shall conclude this subject with observing that we never had any TORIES in SCOTLAND, according to the proper signification of the word, and that the division of parties in this country was really into WHIGS and JACOBITES. A JACOBITE seems to be a TORY, who has no regard to the constitution, but is either a zealous partizan of absolute monarchy, or at least willing to sacrifice our liberties to the obtaining the succession in that family to which he is attached. The reason of the difference between ENGLAND and SCOTLAND, I take to be this: Political and religious divisions in the latter country, have been, since the
revolution, regularly correspondent to each other. The PRESBYTERIANS were all WHIGS without exception: Those who favoured
episcopacy, of the opposite party. And as the clergy of the latter sect were turned out of the churches at the
revolution, they had no motive for making any compliances with the government in their oaths, or their forms of prayers, but openly avowed the highest principles of their party; which is the cause why their followers have been more violent than their brethren of the TORY party in ENGLAND.
As violent Things have not commonly so long a Duration as moderate, we actually find, that the
Jacobite Party is almost entirely vanish’d from among us, and that the Distinction of
Country, which is but creeping in at LONDON, is the only one that is ever mention’d in this
kingdom. Beside the Violence and Openness of the JACOBITE party, another Reason has, perhaps, contributed to produce so sudden and so visible an Alteration in this part of BRITAIN. There are only two Ranks of Men among us; Gentlemen, who have some Fortune and Education, and the meanest slaving Poor; without any considerable Number of that middling Rank of Men, which abounds more in ENGLAND, both in Cities and in the Country, than in any other Part of the World. The slaving Poor are incapable of any Principles: Gentlemen may be converted to true Principles, by Time and Experience. The middling Rank of Men have Curiosity and Knowledge enough to form Principles, but not enough to form true ones, or correct any Prejudices that they may have imbib’d: And ’tis among the middling Rank, that TORY Principles do at present prevail most in ENGLAND. [This final paragraph appears only in A and B.]
l This note does not occur in any edition prior to M. The final sentence of the note is added in Q and R.
X. OF SUPERSTITION AND ENTHUSIASM
a In Editions A and B, this and the three next paragraphs were written as follows:
My first Reflection is, that Religions, which partake of Enthusiasm are, on their first Rise, much more furious and violent than those which partake of Superstition; but in a little Time become much more gentle and moderate. The Violence of this Species of Religion, when excited by Novelty, and animated by Opposition, appears from numberless Instances; of the
Levellers and other Fanaticks in
England, and the
Scotland. As Enthusiasm is founded on strong Spirits and a presumptuous Boldness of Character, it naturally begets the most extreme Resolutions; especially after it rises to that Height as to inspire the deluded Fanaticks with the Opinion of Divine Illuminations, and with a Contempt of the common Rules of Reason, Morality and Prudence.
‘Tis thus Enthusiasm produces the most cruel Desolation in human Society: But its Fury is like that of Thunder and Tempest, which exhaust themselves in a little Time, and leave the Air more calm and serene than before. The Reason of this will appear evidently, by comparing Enthusiasm to Superstition, the other Species of false Religion; and tracing the natural Consequences of each. As Superstition is founded on Fear, Sorrow, and a Depression of Spirits, it represents the Person to himself in such despicable Colours, that he appears unworthy, in his own Eyes, of approaching the Divine Presence, and naturally has Recourse to any other Person, whose Sanctity of Life, or, perhaps, Impudence and Cunning, have made him be supposed to be more favoured by the Divinity. To him they entrust their Devotions: To his Care they recommend their Prayers, Petitions, and Sacrifices: And, by his Means, hope to render their Addresses acceptable to their incensed Deity. Hence the Origin of PRIESTS
*59 who may justly be regarded as one of the grossest Inventions of a timorous and abject Superstition, which, ever diffident of itself, dares not offer up its own Devotions, but ignorantly thinks to recommend itself to the Divinity, by the Mediation of his supposed Friends and Servants. As Superstition is a considerable Ingredient of almost all Religions, even the most fanatical; there being nothing but Philosophy able to conquer entirely these unaccountable Terrors; hence it proceeds, that in almost every Sect of Religion there are Priests to be found: But the stronger Mixture there is of Superstition, the higher is the Authority of the Priesthood. Modern Judaism and Popery, especially the latter, being the most barbarous and absurd Superstitions that have yet been known in the World, are the most enslav’d by their Priests. As the Church of ENGLAND may justly be said to retain a strong Mixture of Popish Superstition, it partakes also, in its original Constitution, of a Propensity to Priestly Power and Dominion; particularly in the Respect it exacts to the Priest. And though, according to the Sentiments of that Church, the Prayers of the Priest must be accompanied with those of the Laity; yet is he the mouth of the Congregation, his Person is sacred, and without his Presence few would think their public Devotions, or the Sacraments, and other Rites, acceptable to the Divinity.
On the other Hand, it may be observed, That all Enthusiasts have been free from the Yoke of Ecclesiastics, and have exprest a great Independence in their Devotion; with a contempt of Forms, Tradition and Authorities. The
Quakers are the most egregious, tho’, at the same Time, the most innocent, Enthusiasts that have been yet known; and are, perhaps, the only Sect, that have never admitted Priests among them. The
Independents, of all the ENGLISH Sectaries, approach nearest to the QUAKERS in Fanaticism, and in their Freedom from Priestly Bondage. The
Presbyterians follow after, at an equal Distance in both these Particulars. In short, this Observation is founded on the most certain Experience; and will also appear to be founded on Reason, if we consider, that as Enthusiasm arises from a presumptuous Pride and Confidence, it thinks itself sufficiently qualified to
approach the Divinity without any human Mediator. Its rapturous Devotions are so fervent, that it even imagines itself
approach him by the Way of Contemplation and inward Converse; which makes it neglect all those outward Ceremonies and Observances, to which the Assistance of the Priests appears so requisite in the Eyes of their superstitious Votaries. The Fanatick consecrates himself, and bestows on his own Person a sacred Character, much superior to what Forms and ceremonious Institutions can confer on any other.
‘Tis therefore an infallible Rule, That Superstition is favourable to Priestly Power, and Euthusiasm as much, or rather more, contrary to it than sound Reason and Philosophy. The Consequences are evident. When the first Fire of Enthusiasm is spent, Men naturally, in such fanatical Sects, sink into the greatest Remissness and Coolness in Sacred Matters; there being no Body of Men amongst them, endow’d with sufficient Authority, whose Interest is concerned, to support the religious Spirit. Superstition, on the contrary, steals in gradually and insensibly; renders Men tame and submissive; is acceptable to the Magistrate, and seems inoffensive to the People: Till at last the Priest, having firmly establish’d his Authority, becomes the Tyrant and Disturber of human Society, by his endless Contentions, Persecutions, and religious Wars. How smoothly did the
Romish Church advance in their Acquisition of Power? But into what dismal Convulsions did they throw all EUROPE, in order to maintain it? On the other Hand, our Sectaries, who were formerly such dangerous Bigots, are now become our greatest Free-thinkers; and the
Quakers are, perhaps, the only regular Body of
Deists in the Universe, except the
Literati or Disciples of
Confucius in China.
b The following note is appended in Editions D to N: By
Priests, I here mean only the pretenders to power and dominion, and to a superior sanctity of character, distinct from virtue and good morals. These are very different from
clergymen, who are set apart
by the laws, to the care of sacred matters, and to the conducting our public devotions with greater decency and order. There is no rank of men more to be respected than the latter.
c As one of the grossest inventions. D to N.
d Here D to P add: Modern Judaism and popery, (especially the latter) being the most unphilosophical and absurd superstitions which have yet been known in the world, are the most enslaved by their priests. As the church of ENGLAND may justly be said to retain some mixture of Popish supersitition, it partakes also, in its original constitution, of a propensity to priestly power and dominion; particularly in the respect it exacts to the sacerdotal character. And though, according to the sentiments of that Church, the prayers of the priest must be accompanied with those of the laity; yet is he the mouth of the congregation, his person is sacred, and without his presence few would think their public devotions, or the sacraments, and other rites, acceptable to the divinity.
e This note is not in D and K, which read in the text: and the quakers seem to approach nearly the only regular body of deists in the universe, the
literati, or the disciples of
XI. OF THE DIGNITY OR MEANNESS OF HUMAN NATURE
a All the Editions from A to P are headed: Of the Dignity of Human Nature.
b Editions A to P read: especially when attended with somewhat of the
c Editions A to P add the following: Women are generally much more flattered in their youth than men; which may proceed from this reason, among others, that their chief point of honour is considered as much more difficult than ours, and requires to be supported by all that decent pride, which can be instilled into them.
d Editions A to P add: As the latter is commonly the case, I have long since learnt to neglect such disputes as manifest abuses of leisure, the most valuable present that could be made to mortals.
e This paragraph does not occur in Editions A to D, which read instead of it: I may, perhaps, treat more fully of this Subject in some future Essay. In the mean Time, I shall observe, what has been prov’d beyond Question by several great Moralists of the present Age, that the social Passions are by far the most powerful of any, and that even all the other Passions receive from them their chief Force and Influence. Whoever desires to see this Question treated at large, with the greatest Force of Argument and Eloquence, may consult my Lord SHAFTSBURY’S Enquiry concerning Virtue.
XII. OF CIVIL LIBERTY
a Editions A to K have the title: Of Liberty and Despotism.
b This note was added in Ed. K.
c Editions A to D read: the Advantages and Disadvantages of each.
d N.B. This was published in 1742. So Edition P.
e Who … English; added in Edition K.
f Edition A added: and, by the
Roman Laws, answerable, upon their own Lives, for the Life of their Master.
g This sentence was added in Edition K.
h The cedilla is not found in B, or in some Editions of the
Political Discourses, where the word occurs.
Athenians, though a Republic, paid Twenty
per Cent. for Money, as we learn from Xenophon.—Edition A: and no note.
Athenians, though govern’d by a Republic, paid Twenty
per Cent. for those sums of Money, which any emergent Occasion made it necessary for them to borrow; as we learn from Xenophon.—Edition B: and no note.
The Athenians, though governed by a republic, paid near two hundred
per Cent. for those sums of money, which any emergent occasion made it necessary for them to borrow; as we learn from Xenophon.—Editions D to Q: and note.
XIII. OF ELOQUENCE
a Editions C to P add: that they may almost be esteemed of a different species.
b Editions C to P add: This single circumstance is sufficient to make us apprehend the wide difference between ancient and modern eloquence, and to let us see how much the latter is inferior to the former.
c This sentence was added in Edition P.
d The paragraph was added in Edition K.
e As my Lord Bolingbroke.—C and D.
f Platos and Virgils.—C and D. Plutarchs and Virgils.—K to P.
g C to P proceed: I have confest that there is something accidental in the origin and progress of the arts in any nation; and yet I cannot forbear thinking, that if the other learned and polite nations of EUROPE had possest the same advantages of a popular government, they would probably have carried eloquence to a greater height than it has yet reached in BRITAIN. The FRENCH sermons, especially those of FLECHIER and BOSSUET, are much superior to the ENGLISH in this particular; and in both these authors are found many strokes of the most sublime poetry. [C and D: and in
Flechier there are found many strokes of the most sublime poetry. His funeral sermon on the Marechal de Turenne is a good instance.] None but private causes, in that country, are ever debated before their parliaments or courts of judicature; but notwithstanding this disadvantage, there appears a spirit of eloquence in many of their lawyers, which, with proper cultivation and encouragement, might rise to the greatest height. The pleadings of PATRU are very elegant, and give us room to imagine what so fine a genius could have performed in questions concerning public liberty or slavery, peace or war, who exerts himself with such success in debates concerning the price of an old horse, or a gossiping story of a quarrel between an abbess and her nuns. For ’tis remarkable, that this polite writer, tho’ esteemed by all the men of wit in his time, was never employed in the most considerable causes of their courts of judicature, but lived and died in poverty: From an ancient prejudice industriously propagated by the dunces in all countries,
That a man of genius is unfit for business. The disorders produced by the factions against cardinal MAZARINE, made the parliament of PARIS enter into the discussion of public affairs, and during that short interval, there appeared many symptoms of the revival of ancient eloquence. The
avocat general TALON, in an oration, invoked on his knees, the spirit of St. LOUIS to look down with compassion on his divided and unhappy people, and to inspire them, from above, with the love of concord and unanimity.
*60 The members of the FRENCH academy have attempted to give us models of eloquence in their harangues at their admittance: But, having no subject to discourse upon, they have run altogether into a fulsome strain of panegyric and flattery, the most barren of all subjects. Their stile, however, is commonly, on these occasions, very elevated and sublime, and might reach the greatest heights, were it employed on a subject more favourable and engaging.
There are some circumstances, I confess, in the ENGLISH temper and genius, which are disadvantageous to the progress of eloquence, and render all attempts of that kind more dangerous and difficult among them than among any other nation. The ENGLISH are conspicuous for
good-sense, which makes them very jealous of any attempts to deceive them by the flowers of rhetoric and elocution. They are also peculiarly
modest; which makes them consider it as a piece of arrogance to offer any thing but reason to public assemblies, or attempt to guide them by passion or fancy. I may, perhaps, be allowed to add, that the people in general are not remarkable for delicacy of taste, or for sensibility to the charms of the muses. Their
musical parts, to use the expression of a noble author, are but indifferent. Hence their comic poets, to move them, must have recourse to obscenity; their tragic poets to blood and slaughter: And hence their orators, being deprived of any such resource, have abandoned altogether the hopes of moving them, and have confined themselves to plain argument and reasoning.
These circumstances, joined to particular accidents, may, perhaps, have retarded the growth of eloquence in this kingdom; but will not be able to prevent its success, if ever it appear amongst us: And one may safely pronounce, that this is a field, in which the most flourishing laurels may yet be gathered, if any youth of accomplished genius, thoroughly acquainted with all the polite arts, and not ignorant of public business, should appear in parliament, and accustom our ears to an eloquence more commanding and pathetic. And to confirm me in this opinion, there occur two considerations, the one derived from ancient, the other from modern times.
h The clause “with … precision” added in Edition K.
XIV. OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES
a Editions C to P add: I shall therefore proceed to deliver a few observations on this subject, which I submit to the censure and examination of the learned.
b Editions C to P add: According to the necessary progress of things, law must precede science. In republics law may precede science, and may arise from the very nature of the government. In monarchies it arises not from the nature of the government, and cannot precede science. An absolute prince, who is barbarous, renders all his ministers and magistrates as absolute as himself: And there needs no more to prevent, for ever, all industry, curiosity, and science.
c Editions C to K add the following:
Antigonus, being complimented by his flatterers, as a deity, and as the son of that glorious planet, which illuminates the universe,
Upon that head, says he,
you may consult the person that empties my close stool.
d Or … resemblance: omitted in C and D.
e Editions C to P: There is a very great connection among all the arts, which contribute to pleasure; and the same delicacy of taste, which enables us to make improvements in one, will not allow the others to remain altogether rude and barbarous.
f C to P insert: beautiful and cleanly.
g Editions C and D read: was an abandon’d and shameless Profligate.
h Editions C to P add the following: And ’tis remarkable, that CICERO, being a great sceptic in matters of religion, and unwilling to determine any thing on that head among the different sects of philosophy, introduces his friends disputing concerning the being and nature of the gods, while he is only a hearer; because, forsooth, it would have been an impropriety for so great a genius as himself, had he spoke, not to have said something decisive on the subject, and have carried every thing before him, as he always does on other occasions. There is also a spirit of dialogue observed in the eloquent books
de Oratore, and a tolerable equality maintained among the speakers: But then these speakers are the great men of the age preceding the author, and he recounts the conference as only from hearsay.
i This paragraph is not found in Editions C and D.
j Editions C to P insert: ‘Tis but an indifferent compliment, which HORACE pays to his friend GROSPHUS, in the ode addressed to him.
No one, says he,
is happy in every respect. And I may perhaps enjoy some advantages, which you are deprived of. You possess great riches: Your bellowing herds cover the SICILIAN
plains. Your chariot is drawn by the finest horses: And you are arrayed in the richest purple. But the indulgent fates, with a small inheritance, have given ME
a fine genius, and have endowed me with a contempt for the malignant judgments of the vulgar*61 PHÆDRUS says to his patron, EUTYCHUS,
If you intend to read my works, I shall be pleased: If not, I shall, at least, have the advantage of pleasing posterity.*62 I am apt to think that a modern poet would not have been guilty of such an impropriety as that which may be observed in VIRGIL’S address to AUGUSTUS, when, after a great deal of extravagant flattery, and after having deified the emperor, according to the custom of those times, he, at last, places this god on the same level with himself.
By your gracious nod, says he,
render my undertaking prosperous; and taking pity, together with me,
of the Swains ignorant of husbandry, bestow your favourable influence on this work.*63 Had men, in that age, been accustomed to observe such niceties, a writer so delicate as VIRGIL would certainly have given a different turn to this sentence. The court of AUGUSTUS, however polite, had not yet, it seems, worn off the manners of the republic.
k This sentence and the paragraph next following were added in Edition K.
l Editions C to P add the following quotation:
Tutti gli altri animai che sono in terra,
O che vivon quieti & stanno in pace;
O se vengon a rissa, & si fan guerra,
A la femina il maschio non la face.
L’orsa con l’orso al bosco sicura erra,
La Leonessa apprésso il Leon giace,
Con Lupo vive il Lupa sicura,
Nè la Giuvenca ha del Torel paura.
m Editions C to P read: In all vegetables ’tis observable, that the flower and the seed are always connected together; and in like manner, among every species, &c.
n C to O add: I must confess, That my own particular choice rather leads me to prefer the company of a few select companions, with whom I can, calmly and peaceably, enjoy the feast of reason, and try the justness of every reflection, whether gay or serious, that may occur to me. But as such a delightful society is not every day to be met with, I must think, that mixt companies, without the fair-sex, are the most insipid entertainment in the world, and destitute of gaiety and politeness, as much as of sense and reason. Nothing can keep them from excessive dulness but hard drinking; a remedy worse than the disease.
o Editions C to P insert the following: The point of
honour, or duelling, is a modern invention, as well as
gallantry; and by some esteemed equally useful for the refining of manners: But how it has contributed to that effect, I am at a loss to determine. Conversation, among the greatest rustics, is not commonly invested with such rudeness as can give occasion to duels, even according to the most refined laws of this fantastic honour; and as to the other small indecencies, which are the most offensive, because the most frequent, they can never be cured by the practice of duelling. But these notions are not only
useless: They are also
pernicious. By separating the man of honour from the man of virtue, the greatest profligates have got something to value themselves upon, and have been able to keep themselves in countenance, tho’ guilty of the most shameful and most dangerous vices. They are debauchees, spendthrifts, and never pay a farthing they owe: But they are men of honour; and therefore are to be received as gentlemen in all companies.
There are some of the parts of modern honour, which are the most essential parts of morality; such as fidelity, the observing promises, and telling truth. These points of honour Mr. ADDISON had in his eye when he made JUBA say,
honour as distinct from
XV. THE EPICUREAN
a Editions C to D: To the
Verve. K to P: To the
Oestrum or native enthusiasm.
b Edition C: after our tumultuous joys.
XVIII. THE SCEPTIC
a The remainder of this sentence does not occur in Editions C and D.
b This paragraph does not occur in Editions C and D.
c The two following paragraphs do not occur in Editions C and D.
d This sentence does not occur in Editions C and D.
e In place of this sentence Editions C and D read as follows: And ’tis observable, in this Kingdom, that long Peace, by producing Security, has much alter’d them in this Particular, and has quite remov’d our Officers from the generous Character of their Profession.
f Gaieté de CŒur: Edition C.
XIX. OF POLYGAMY AND DIVORCES
a Editions C to P add the following: Could the greatest legislator, in such circumstances, have contrived matters with greater wisdom?
b Editions C to P add the following: An honest TURK, who should come from his seraglio, where every one trembles before him, would be surprized to see SYLVIA in her drawing-room, adored by all the beaus and pretty fellows about town, and he would certainly take her for some mighty and despotic queen, surrounded by her guard of obsequious slaves and eunuchs.
c C to N add the following paragraph:
I would not willingly insist upon it as an advantage in our EUROPEAN customs, what was observed by MEHEMET EFFENDI the last TURKISH ambassador in FRANCE.
We TURKS, says he,
are great simpletons in comparison of the Christians. We are at the expense and trouble of keeping a seraglio, each in his own house: But you ease yourselves of this burden, and have your seraglio in your friends’ houses. The known virtue of our BRITISH ladies frees them sufficiently from this imputation: And the TURK himself, had he travelled among us, must have owned, that our free commerce with the fair sex, more than any other invention, embellishes, enlivens, and polishes society.
d This paragraph does not occur in Editions C to K.
e Editions C to P add the following: A SPANIARD is jealous of the very thoughts of those who approach his wife; and, if possible, will prevent his being dishonoured, even by the wantonness of imagination.
f Editions C to P add as follows: If a SPANISH lady must not be supposed to have legs, what must be supposed of a TURKISH lady? She must not be supposed to have a being at all. Accordingly, ’tis esteemed a piece of rudeness and indecency at CONSTANTINOPLE, ever to make mention of a man’s wives before him.
*64 In EUROPE, ’tis true, fine bred people make it also a rule never to talk of their wives. But the reason is not founded on our jealousy. I suppose it is because we should be apt, were it not for this rule, to become troublesome to company, by talking too much of them.
The author of the PERSIAN letters has given a different reason for this polite maxim.
Men, says he,
never care to mention their wives in company, lest they should talk of them before people, who are better acquainted with them than themselves.
g Editions C to P add as follows: Let us consider then, whether love or friendship should most predominate in marriage; and we shall soon determine whether liberty or constraint be most favourable to it. The happiest marriages, to be sure, are found where love, by long acquaintance, is consolidated into friendship. Whoever dreams of raptures and extasies beyond the honey-month, is a fool. Even romances themselves, with all their liberty of fiction, are obliged to drop their lovers the very day of their marriage, and find it easier to support the passion for a dozen years under coldness, disdain and difficulties, than a week under possession and security.
h In place of “The wife, not secure of her establishment, will still be driving some separate end or project,” Editions P to C read: “What Dr. PARNEL calls, The little pilf’ring temper of a wife, will be doubly ruinous.”
i Editions C and D omit the remainder of the paragraph.
XX. OF SIMPLICITY AND REFINEMENT IN WRITING
a Editions C to K: Naivety, a word which I have borrow’d from the
French, and which is wanted in our language.
b The first clause of this sentence was added in Edition K.
XXI. OF NATIONAL CHARACTERS
a Editions D to P add: Instances of this nature are very frequent in the world.
b This paragraph was added in Edition K.
c This paragraph was added in Edition K.
d This paragraph is not in Edition D.
e This note is not in Edition D.
f This sentence was added in Edition Q.
g This note was added in Edition K.
h This sentence was added in Edition K.
i The following variant, which first appeared as a note in Edition K, is mistakenly included by Green and Grose as Hume’s final version of the note. The 1777 edition has instead a revised note, which is incorporated as footnote 10 in the text of the present edition:
I am apt to suspect the negroes, and in general all the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction betwixt these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are NEGROE slaves dispersed all over EUROPE, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; tho’ low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA indeed they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but ’tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.
j This sentence and the previous one were added in Edition K.
k This sentence was added in Edition K; and the next in Edition M.
l This sentence was added in Edition R.
VARIANT READINGS TO PART II
PART TITLE PAGE
a This Note was first given in Edition M.
I. OF COMMERCE
a On commerce, luxury, money, interest, &c. Editions H to M.
II. OF REFINEMENT IN THE ARTS
a In Editions H to M this Essay is headed: Of Luxury.
b The Grecian and Asiatic luxury: Editions H to K.
c Luxury or refinement on pleasure has, &c.: Editions H to M.
d The Gothic barons: Editions H to N.
e Prodigality is not to be confounded with a refinement in the arts. It even appears, that that vice is much less frequent in the cultivated ages. Industry and gain beget this frugality, among the lower and middle ranks of men; and in all the busy professions. Men of high rank, indeed, it may be pretended, are more allured by the pleasures, which become more frequent. But idleness is the great source of prodigality at all times; and there are pleasures and vanities in every age, which allure men equally when they are unacquainted with better enjoyments. Not to mention, that the high interest, payed in rude times, quickly consumes the fortunes of the landed gentry, and multiplies their necessities.—Edition P in the text.
III. OF MONEY
a Thrice: Editions H to P.
b This note was added in Ed. K.
c Editions H to P add: For to these only I all along address myself. ‘Tis enough that I submit to the ridicule sometimes, in this age, attached to the character of a philosopher, without adding to it that which belongs to a projector.
d This last sentence is entered, to be added, in the list of errata in H: it was incorporated in the text of I.
e Magazines and: first added in Edition Q.
f For seed and: first added in Edition R.
g Editions H and I read: Seven millions … a tenth part.
h Editions H to P read: The stated club at the inns.
IV. OF INTEREST
a Value, arising from the agreement and convention of men: Editions H to P.
b Editions H to N add: I have been informed by a very eminent lawyer, and a man of great knowledge and observation, that it appears from antient papers and records, that, about four centuries ago, money in SCOTLAND, and probably in other parts of EUROPE, was only at five
per cent. and afterwards rose to ten before the discovery of the WEST-INDIES. The fact is curious; but might easily be reconciled to the foregoing reasoning. Men, in that age, lived so much at home, and in so very simple and frugal a manner, that they had no occasion for money; and though the lenders were then few, the borrowers were still fewer. The high rate of interest among the early ROMANS is accounted for by historians from the frequent losses sustained by the inroads of the enemy.
V. OF THE BALANCE OF TRADE
a For this sentence Editions H to M read: I have been told, that many old acts of parliament show the same ignorance in the nature of Commerce. And to this day, in a neighbouring kingdom, &c.
Edition N reads: There are proofs in many old acts of the SCOTCH parliament of the same ignorance in the nature of commerce. And to this day, in France, &c.
b Editions H and I read: An author, who has more humour than knowledge, more taste than judgment, and more spleen, prejudice, and passion than any of these qualities.
c Editions H to N read: With which we are in this kingdom so much infatuated.
d This paragraph does not occur in Editions H to N.
e This paragraph does not occur in Editions H to N.
f Editions H to N resume: But as our darling projects of paper-credit are pernicious, being almost, &c.
g Editions H to P read: 1,700,000.
h Editions H to P read: A sum greater than that of Harry VII. (There were about eight ounces of silver in a pound
sterling in Harry VII.’s time.)
i This sentence is not in Editions H and I.
VII. OF THE BALANCE OF POWER
a Editions H and L add as a note: There have strong suspicions, of late, arisen among critics, and, in my opinion, not without reason, concerning the first ages of the ROMAN history; as if they were almost entirely fabulous, ’till after the sacking of the city by the GAULS; and were even doubtful for some time afterwards, ’till the GREEKS began to give attention to ROMAN affairs, and commit them to writing. This scepticism, however, seems to me, scarcely defensible in its full extent, with regard to the domestic history of ROME, which has some air of truth and probability, and cou’d scarce be the invention of an historian, who had so little morals or judgment as to indulge himself in fiction and romance. The revolutions seem so well proportion’d to their causes: The progress of the factions is so conformable to political experience: The manners and maxims of the age are so uniform and natural, that scarce any real history affords more just reflection and improvement. Is not MACHIAVEL’S comment on LIVY (a work surely of great judgment and genius) founded entirely on this period, which is represented as fabulous. I wou’d willingly, therefore, in my private sentiments, divide the matter with these critics; and allow, that the battles and victories and triumphs of those ages had been extremely falsify’d by family memoirs, as CICERO says they were: But as in the accounts of domestic factions, there were two opposite relations transmitted to posterity, this both serv’d as a check upon fiction, and enabled latter historians to gather some truth from comparison and reasoning. Half of the slaughter which LIVY commits on the ÆQUI and the VOLSCI, would depopulate FRANCE and GERMANY; and that historian, tho’ perhaps he may be justly charged as superficial, is at last shock’d himself with the incredibility of his narration. The same love of exaggeration seems to have magnify’d the numbers of the ROMANS in their armies, and
b Editions H to P proceed as follows: Europe has now, for above a century, remained on the defensive against the greatest force that ever, perhaps, was formed by the civil or political combination of mankind. And such is the influence of the maxim here treated of, that tho’ that ambitious nation, in the five last general wars, have been victorious in four,
*65 and unsuccessful only in one,
*66 they have not much enlarged their dominions, nor acquired a total ascendant over EUROPE. There remains rather room to hope, that, by maintaining the resistance for some time, the natural revolutions of human affairs, together with unforeseen events and accidents, may guard us against universal monarchy, and preserve the world from so great an evil.
In the three last of these general wars, BRITAIN has stood foremost in the glorious struggle; and she still maintains her station, as guardian of the general liberties of EUROPE, and patron of mankind.
c Editions H to O: Such as EUROPE is at present threatened with.
VIII. OF TAXES
a Editions H to P read: Among those whom in this country we call
ways and means men, and who are denominated
Financiers and Maltotiers in FRANCE.
b Editions H to P insert as follows: ‘Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better, than in years of great plenty, when they indulge themselves in idleness and riot. I have been told, by a considerable manufacturer, that in the year 1740, when bread and provisions of all kinds were very dear, his workmen not only made a shift to live, but paid debts, which they had contracted in former years, that were much more favourable and abundant.
This doctrine, therefore, with regard to taxes, may be admitted in some degree: But beware of the abuse. Exorbitant taxes, like extreme necessity, destroy industry, by producing despair; and even before they reach this pitch, they raise the wages of the labourer and manufacturer, and heighten the price of all commodities. An attentive disinterested legislature, will observe the point when the emolument ceases, and the prejudice begins: But as the contrary character is much more common, ’tis to be feared that taxes, all over EUROPE, are multiplying to such a degree, as will intirely crush all art and industry; tho’, perhaps, their first increase, together with other circumstances, might have contributed to the growth of these advantages.
c This clause was first added in Edition Q.
d Editions H to P omit the opening sentences as far as “foreign markets,” and read instead of them: There is a prevailing opinion, that all taxes, however levied, fall upon the land at last. Such an opinion may be useful in BRITAIN, by checking the landed gentlemen, in whose hands our legislature is chiefly lodged, and making them preserve great regard for trade and industry. But I must confess, that this principle, tho’ first advanced by a celebrated writer, has so little appearance of reason, that, were it not for his authority, it had never been received by any body.
e The concluding sentence is not in Editions H to O.—Ed. P. reads in its place: No labour in any commodities, that are exported, can be very considerably raised in the price, without losing the foreign market; and as some part of almost every manufactory is exported, this circumstance keeps the price of most species of labour nearly the same after the imposition of taxes. I may add, that it has this effect upon the whole: For were any kind of labour paid beyond its proportion, all hands would flock to it, and would soon sink it to a level with the rest.
IX. OF PUBLIC CREDIT
a Editions H to P add: Beyond the evidence of a hundred demonstrations.
b This paragraph was added in Ed. Q.
c Editions H to P add: And these puzzling arguments, (for they deserve not the name of specious) though they could not be the foundation of LORD ORFORD’S conduct, for he had more sense; served at least to keep his partizans in countenance, and perplex the understanding of the nation.
d Editions H to P add: There is a word, which is here in the mouth of every body, and which, I find, has also got abroad, and is much employed by foreign writers,
*68 in imitation of the ENGLISH; and this is, CIRCULATION. This word serves as an account of every thing; and though I confess, that I have sought for its meaning in the present subject, ever since I was a school-boy, I have never yet been able to discover it. What possible advantage is there which the nation can reap by the easy transference of stock from hand to hand? Or is there any parallel to be drawn from the circulation of other commodities, to that of chequer-notes and INDIA bonds? Where a manufacturer has a quick sale of his goods to the merchant, the merchant to the shopkeeper, the shopkeeper to his customers; this enlivens industry, and gives new encouragement to the first dealer or the manufacturer and all his tradesmen, and makes them produce more and better commodities of the same species. A stagnation is here pernicious, wherever it happens; because it operates backwards, and stops or benumbs the industrious hand in its production of what is useful to human life. But what production we owe to CHANGE-ALLEY, or even what consumption, except that of coffee, and pen, ink, and paper, I have not yet learned; nor can one forsee the loss or decay of any one beneficial commerce or commodity, though that place and all its inhabitants were for ever buried in the ocean.
But though this term has never been explained by those who insist so much on the advantages that result from a circulation, there seems, however, to be some benefit of a similiar kind, arising from our incumbrances: As indeed, what human evil is there, which is not attended with some advantage? This we shall endeavour to explain, that we may estimate the weight which we ought to allow it.
e Editions H to O add as a note: On this head, I shall observe, without interrupting the thread of the argument, that the multiplicity of our public debts serves rather to sink the interest, and that the more the government borrows, the cheaper may they expect to borrow; contrary to first appearance, and contrary to common opinion. The profits of trade have an influence on interest. See Essay IV.
f The remainder of this paragraph was added in Ed. Q.
g Edition P adds: We may also remark, that this increase of prices, derived from paper-credit, has a more durable and a more dangerous influence than when it arises from a great increase of gold and silver: Where an accidental overflow of money raises the price of labor and commodities, the evil remedies itself in a little time: The money soon flows out into all the neighbouring nations: The prices fall to a level: And industry may be continued as before; a relief, which cannot be expected, where the circulating specie consists chiefly of paper, and has no intrinsic value.
h Editions H to N read: Are a check upon industry, heighten the price of labour, and are an oppr. &c.
i The six following paragraphs were added in Ed. O.
j Editions H to P add the note: In times of peace and security, when alone it is possible to pay debt, the monied interest are averse to receive partial payments, which they know not how to dispose of to advantage; and the landed interest are averse to continue the taxes requisite for that purpose. Why therefore should a minister persevere in a measure so disagreeable to all parties? For the sake, I suppose, of a posterity, which he will never see, or of a few reasonable reflecting people, whose united interest, perhaps, will not be able to secure him the smallest burrough in ENGLAND. ‘Tis not likely we shall ever find any minister so bad a politician. With regard to these narrow destructive maxims of politics, all ministers are expert enough.
k Editions H to P add: Some neighbouring states practise an easy expedient, by which they lighten their public debts. The French have a custom (as the Romans formerly had) of augmenting their money; and this the nation has been so much familiarised to, that it hurts not public credit, though it be really cutting off at once, by an edict, so much of their debts. The Dutch diminish the interest without the consent of their creditors, or, which is the same thing, they arbitrarily tax the funds, as well as other property. Could we practise either of these methods, we need never be oppressed by the national debt; and it is not impossible but one of these, or some other method, may, at all adventures, be tried, on the augmentation of our incumbrances and difficulties. But people in this country are so good reasoners upon whatever regards their interests, that such a practice will deceive nobody; and public credit will probably tumble at once, by so dangerous a trial.
l This paragraph appears in Editions H to P as a footnote.
m Editions H to P: or rather enemy (for we have but one to dread.)
X. OF SOME REMARKABLE CUSTOMS
a Editions H to P: Among the people, the most humane and the best natured.
XI. OF THE POPULOUSNESS OF ANCIENT NATIONS
a The following footnote appears in Editions H and I: An eminent clergyman in
Edinburgh, having wrote, some years ago, a discourse on the same question with this, of the populousness of antient nations, was pleas’d lately to communicate it to the author. It maintain’d the opposite side of the argument, to what is here insisted on, and contained much erudition and good reasoning. The author acknowledges to have borrow’d, with some variations, from that discourse, two computations, that with regard to the number of inhabitants in
Belgium, and that with regard to those in
Epirus. If this learned gentleman be prevail’d on to publish his dissertation, it will serve to give great light into the present question, the most curious and important of all questions of erudition.
In Editions K to P, the following note is substituted for the preceding: An ingenious writer has honoured this discourse with an answer, full of politeness, erudition, and good sense. So learned a refutation would have made the author suspect, that his reasonings were entirely overthrown, had he not used the precaution, from the beginning, to keep himself on the sceptical side; and having taken this advantage of the ground, he was enabled, tho’ with much inferior forces, to preserve himself from a total defeat. That Reverend gentleman will always find, where his antagonist is so entrenched, that it will be difficult to force him. VARRO, in such a situation, could defend himself against HANNIBAL, PHARNACES against CÆSAR. The author, however, very willingly acknowledges, that his antagonist has detected many mistakes both in his authorities and reasonings; and it was owing entirely to that gentleman’s indulgence, that many more errors were not remarked. In this edition, advantage has been taken of his learned animadversions, and the Essay has been rendered less imperfect than formerly.
b Editions H to W add: Were every one coupled as soon as he comes to the age of puberty. [W is an obvious misprint.]
c A country … to … pasturage, was added in Edition H, and In general … to … populous, in Edition Q.
d Editions H and I added the misquotation: Partem Italiæ ergastula a solitudine vindicant.
e The remainder of this note was added in Ed. R.
f The remainder of this paragraph was added in Edition M.
g And even manufactures executed; added in Edition Q.
h This paragraph was added in Edition K.
i This reference to TACITUS was added in Edition K.
j Of the most abject superstition: Editions H to P.
k Infinite: Editions H to P.
m Editions H to P add: ‘Tis true the same law seems to have continued till the time of JUSTINIAN. But abuses introduced by barbarism are not always corrected by civility.
n Editions H to P add: Where bigotted priests are the accusers, judges, and executioners.
o Editions H to Q add: This is a difficulty not cleared up, and even not observed by antiquarians and historians.
p The country in EUROPE in which I have observed the factions to be most violent, and party-hatred the strongest, is IRELAND. This goes so far as to cut off even the most common intercourse of civilities between the Protestants and Catholics. Their cruel insurrections and the severe revenges which they have taken of each other, are the causes of this mutual ill will, which is the chief source of the disorder, poverty, and depopulation of that country. The GREEK factions I imagine to have been inflamed still to a higher degree of rage; the revolutions being commonly more frequent, and the maxims of assassination much more avowed and acknowledged. Editions H to P.
q The remainder is not in Editions H to O. P has instead of it: His violent tyranny, therefore, is a stronger proof of the measures of the age.
r The remainder of this paragraph was added in Edition R.
s Not less, if not rather—added in Edition M.
t The last clause was added in Edition K.
u This note was added in Edition R.
v This sentence was added in Edition R.
w Editions H to M proceed as follows: The critical art may very justly be suspected of temerity, when it pretends to correct or dispute the plain testimony of ancient historians by any probable or analogical reasonings: Yet the licence of authors upon all subjects, particularly with regard to numbers, is so great, that we ought still to retain a kind of doubt or reserve, whenever the facts advanced depart in the least from the common bounds of nature and experience. I shall give an instance with regard to modern history. Sir William Temple tells us, in his memoirs, that having a free conversation with Charles the II., he took the opportunity of representing to that monarch the impossibility of introducing into this island the religion and government of France, chiefly on account of the great force requisite to subdue the spirit and liberty of so brave a people. “The Romans,” says he, “were forced to keep up twelve legions for that purpose” (a great absurdity),
*70 “and Cromwell left an army of near eighty thousand men.” Must not this last be regarded as unquestioned by future critics, when they find it asserted by a wise and learned minister of state cotemporary to the fact, and who addressed his discourse, upon an ungrateful subject, to a great monarch who was also cotemporary, and who himself broke those very forces about fourteen years before? Yet, by the most undoubted authority, we may insist, that Cromwell’s army, when he died, did not amount to half the number here mentioned.
x In digging of mines, and also kept up the number of slaves: Editions H and I. In digging of mines: K to Q.
y This sentence was added in Edition Q.
z DIOD. SIC. lib. 15 and 17: Editions H and I, and omit the rest of this note.
aa The remainder of the paragraph was added in Edition K.
bb Deducting some few garrisons: not in F and G.
cc This paragraph was added in Edition K.
dd Editions H and I add the following note, in place of the following paragraph: A late
French writer, in his
observations on the Greeks, has remark’d, that
Philip of Macedon, being declar’d captain-general of the GREEKS, wou’d have been back’d by the force of 230,000 of that nation in his intended expedition against
Persia. This number comprehends, I suppose, all the free citizens, throughout all the cities; but the authority, on which that compilation is founded, has, I own, escap’d either my memory or reading; and that writer, tho’ otherwise very ingenious, has given into a bad practice, of delivering a great deal of erudition, without one citation. But supposing, that that enumeration cou’d be justify’d by good authority from antiquity, we may establish the following computation. The free
Greeks of all ages and sexes were 920,000. The slaves, computing them by the number of
Athenian slaves as above, who seldom marry’d or had families, were double the male citizens of full age, viz. 460,000. And the whole inhabitants of antient
Greece about one million, three hundred and eighty thousand. No mighty number nor much exceeding what may be found at present in Scotland, a country of nearly the same extent, and which is very indifferently peopl’d.
ee This paragraph was added in Edition K.
ff The next two sentences are not in Editions H to K: and the latter was added in Edition R.
gg Editions H and I read as follows: The sum of fighting men in all the States of BELGIUM was above half a million; the whole inhabitants two millions. And BELGIUM being about the fourth of GAUL, that country might contain eight millions, which is scarce above the third of its present inhabitants.
hh “Near” was added in Edition R.
ii “who … Plebes” not in Editions H and I.
jj The remainder of the paragraph was added in Edition N.
kk Editions H and I add: A man of violent imagination, such as TERTULLIAN, augments everything equally; and for that reason his comparative judgments are the most to be depended on.
XII. OF THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT
a An Elizabeth or a Henry the 4th of France: Editions D to P.
b Or … equality: added in Edition Q.
c This paragraph was added in Edition R.
d The two following paragraphs were added in Edition K.
e This paragraph and the next were added in Edition K.
f This paragraph was added in Edition R.
g The latter half of this sentence was added in Edition K.
h Edition D omits from this sentence down to “monarchies” on page 485: and substitutes as follows—The Discussion of these Matters would lead us entirely beyond the Compass of these Essays. ‘Tis sufficient for our present Purpose, if we have been able to determine, in general, the Foundation of that Allegiance, which is due to the established Government, in every Kingdom and Commonwealth. When there is no legal Prince, who has a Title to a Throne, I believe it may safely be determined to belong to the first Occupier. This was frequently the Case with the ROMAN Empire.
i Allows: Editions K to P.
j In Edition D the remainder of this paragraph is given in continuation of note 17.
k This sentence was added in Edition M.
l Here Editions K to P subjoin in a note what is now the concluding paragraph of the Essay.
m At this point Editions D to P stop. Editions K to P give the two next paragraphs as a note; they have already given the concluding one as a note on page 486, following “government.”
XIII. OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE
a Or a Caracalla: Edition D; or a Philip: Editions K to P.
XIV. OF THE COALITION OF PARTIES
a And practical: added in Edition R.
b Editions M to Q append the note: The author believes that he was the first writer who advanced that the family of TUDOR possessed in general more authority than their immediate predecessors: An opinion, which, he hopes, will be supported by history, but which he proposes with some diffidence. There are strong symptoms of arbitrary power in some former reigns, even after signing of the charters. The power of the crown in that age depended less on the constitution than on the capacity and vigour of the prince who wore it.
c GOTHIC: Editions M to Q.
XV. OF THE PROTESTANT SUCCESSION
a GOTHIC: Editions H to N.
b For this sentence and the next, Editions H to P read as follows; K to P, in a note: It appears from the speeches, and proclamations, and whole train of King JAMES I.’s actions, as well as his son’s, that they considered the ENGLISH government as a simple monarchy, and never imagined that any considerable part of their subjects entertained a contrary idea. This made them discover their pretensions, without preparing any force to support them; and even without reserve or disguise, which are always employed by those, who enter upon any new project, or endeavour to innovate in any government. King JAMES told his parliament plainly, when they meddled in state affairs,
Ne sutor ultra crepidam. He used also, at his table, in promiscuous companies, to advance his notions, in a manner still more undisguised: As we may learn from a story told in the life of Mr. WALLER, and which that poet used frequently to repeat. When Mr. WALLER was young, he had the curiosity to go to court; and he stood in the circle, and saw King JAMES dine, where, amongst other company, there sat at table two bishops. The King, openly and aloud, proposed this question,
Whether he might not take his subjects money, when he had occasion for it, without all this formality of parliament? The one bishop readily replied,
God forbid you should not: For you are the breath of our nostrils. The other bishop declined answering, and said he was not skilled in parliamentary cases: But upon the King’s urging him, and saying he would admit of no evasion, his lordship replied very pleasantly,
Why, then, I think your majesty may lawfully take my brother’s money: For he offers it. In Sir WALTER RALEIGH’S preface to the History of the World, there is this remarkable passage. PHILIP II.
by strong hand and main force, attempted to make himself not only an absolute monarch
over the Netherlands,
like unto the kings and sovereigns of England
to tread under his feet all their natural and fundamental laws, privileges, and antient rights. SPENSER, speaking of some grants of the ENGLISH kings to the IRISH corporations, says, “All which, tho’, at the time of their first grant, they were tolerable, and perhaps reasonable, yet now are most unreasonable and inconvenient. But all these will easily be cut off with the superior power of her majesty’s prerogative, against which her own grants are not to be pleaded or inforced.”
State of IRELAND, p. 1537. Edit. 1706.
As these were very common, if not, perhaps, the universal notions of the times, the two first princes of the house of STUART were the more excusable for their mistake. And RAPIN,
*72 suitable to his usual malignity and partiality, seems to treat them with too much severity, upon account of it.
c Blinded them: Editions H to N.
d For the remainder of this sentence, Editions H to P substitute: While we stand the bulwark against oppression, and the great antagonist of that power which threatens every people with conquest and subjection.
e Editions H to P add the note: Those who consider how universal this pernicious practice of lending has become all over EUROPE, may perhaps dispute this last opinion. But we lay under less necessity than other states.
f Editions H to P add the following paragraph: The advantages which result from a parliamentary title, preferably to an hereditary one, tho’ they are great, are too refined ever to enter into the conception of the vulgar. The bulk of mankind would never allow them to be sufficient for committing what would be regarded as an injustice to the prince. They must be supported by some gross, popular, and familar topics; and wise men, though convinced of their force, would reject them, in compliance with the weakness and prejudices of the people. An incroaching tyrant or deluded bigot alone, by his misconduct, is able to enrage the nation, and render practicable what was always perhaps desirable.
g Editions H to P insert the following paragraph: In the last war, it has been of service to us, by furnishing us with a considerable body of auxiliary troops, the bravest and most faithful in the world. The Elector of HANOVER is the only considerable prince in the empire, who has pursued no separate end, and has raised up no stale pretensions, during the late commotions of EUROPE; but has acted, all along, with the dignity of a King of BRITAIN. And ever since the accession of that family, it would be difficult to show any harm we have ever received from the electoral dominions, except that short disgust in 1718, with CHARLES XII., who, regulating himself by maxims very different from those of other princes; made a personal quarrel of every public injury.
h The virulent acrimony: Editions H to N.
i Editions H to P add: The conduct of the SAXON family, where the same person can be a Catholic King and Protestant Elector, is, perhaps, the first instance, in modern times, of so reasonable and prudent a behaviour. And the gradual progress of the Catholic superstition does, even there, prognosticate a speedy alteration: After which, ’tis justly to be apprehended, that persecutions will put a speedy period to the Protestant religion in the place of its nativity.
j Editions H to P add: For my part, I esteem liberty so invaluable a blessing in society, that whatever favours its progress and security, can scarce be too fondly cherished by every one who is a lover of human kind.
XVI. IDEA OF A PERFECT COMMONWEALTH
a Editions H to P begin as follows: Of all mankind there are none so pernicious as political projectors, if they have power; nor so ridiculous, if they want it: As on the other hand, a wise politician is the most beneficial character in nature, if accompanied with authority; and the most innocent, and not altogether useless, even if deprived of it.
b Editions H and I read: Let all the freeholders in the country parishes, and those who pay scot and lot in the town-parishes, &c. K to P, read: Let all the freeholders of ten pounds a year in the country, and all the householders worth 200 pounds in the town-parishes, &c.
c Editions H to B add: Good sense is one thing: But follies are numberless; and every man has a different one. The only way of making a people wise, is to keep them from uniting into large assemblies.
d Brigue: Editions H to P.
e By almost the whole body of the people: so Editions H to M end the paragraph.
f Formerly one of the wisest and most renowned governments in the world: Editions H to P.
g Of the republican parliament: Editions H to P.
h A hundred a year: Editions H and I.
i Whose behaviour,
in former parliaments, destroyed entirely the authority of that house: Editions H to P.
j Editions H to P add: It is evident, that this is a mortal distemper in the BRITISH government, of which it must at last inevitably perish. I must, however, confess, that SWEDEN seems, in some measure, to have remedied this inconvenience, and to have a militia, with its limited monarchy, as well as a standing army, which is less dangerous than the BRITISH.
VARIANT READINGS TO ESSAYS WITHDRAWN AND UNPUBLISHED
IV. OF IMPUDENCE AND MODESTY
a Editions A and B, 1741-2, insert the following paragraph: I was lately lamenting to a Friend of mine, who loves a Conceit, That popular Applause should be bestowed with so little Judgment, and that so many empty forward Coxcombs should rise up to a Figure in the World: Upon which he said there was nothing surprising in the Case.
Popular Fame, says he,
is nothing but Breath or Air; and Air very naturally presses into a Vacuum.
VI. OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY
a The reference to Lucretius was added in Edition K.
History of GREAT BRITAIN. And as he would not enslave himself to the systems of either party, neither would he fetter his judgment by his own preconceived opinions and principles; nor is he ashamed to acknowledge his mistakes. [This note does not occur in any edition prior to M.]
Priests I understand only the Pretenders to Power and Dominion, and to a superior Sanctity of Character, distinct from Virtue and good Morals. These are very different from
Clergymen, who are set apart [“by the Laws” added in Edition B] to the care of sacred Matters, and the conducting our public Devotions with greater Decency and Order. There is no Rank of Men more to be respected than the latter.
Abstulit clarum cita mors ACHILLEM,
Longa TITHONUM minuit senectus,
Et mihi forsan, tibi quod negarit,
Te greges centum, Siculæque circum
Mugiunt vaccæ: tibi tollit, hinni-
Tum apta quadrigis equa: te bis Afro
Vestiunt lanæ: mihi parva rura, &
Spiritum Graiæ tenuem Camœnæ
Parca non mendax dedit & malignum
Habebunt certe quo se oblectent posteri.
mecum miseratus agrestes
Ingredere, & votis jam nunc assuesce vocari.
One would not say to a prince or great man, “When you and I were in such a place, we saw such a thing happen.” But, “When you were in such a place, I attended you: And such a thing happened.”
Here I cannot forbear mentioning a piece of delicacy observed in FRANCE, which seems to me excessive and ridiculous. You must not say, “That is a very fine dog, Madam.” But, “Madam, that is a very fine dog.” They think it indecent that those words,
madam, should be coupled together in the sentence; though they have no reference to each other in the sense.
After all, I acknowledge, that this reasoning from single passages of ancient authors may seem fallacious; and that the foregoing arguments cannot have great force, but with those who are well acquainted with these writers, and know the truth of the general position. For instance, what absurdity would it be to assert, that VIRGIL understood not the force of the terms he employs, and could not chuse his epithets with propriety? Because in the following lines, addressed also to AUGUSTUS, he has failed in that particular, and has ascribed to the INDIANS a quality, which seems, in a manner, to turn his hero into ridicule.
——— Et te, maxime CÆSAR,
Qui nunc extremis ASIÆ jam victor in oris
Imbellem avertis ROMANIS arcibus Indum.