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finds some friends who take an interest in its wel. fare and diffusion. But for this cause, the system of association and vibrations would have fallen deadborn from the hands of Dr. Hartley, by the mere pressure of its own innate weakness and imperfection.

CHAPTER XX.

LORD KAMES,

ESSAY ON THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY AND

NATURAL RELIGION.

Henry Home, afterwards Lord Kames, was the son of Mr. George Home of Kames, in the county of Berwick, and was born in the year 1696. His early education was committed to a private tutor, till the time of his entering the college of Edinburgh.

He made choice of the law as a profession, and was called to the bar in 1724, The first thing which seems to have brought him into public notice, was the publication of “ Remarkable Decisions of the Court of Session from 1716 to 1728." In February 1752, Mr. Home was appointed one of the Judges of the Court of Session, and took the title of Lord Kames. His first literary work, apart from his profession, was his “ Essays

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on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion.In 1762, he published his “ Elements of Criticism," a standard work; and about ten years after, his Sketches of the History of Man,a work which added considerably to his literary reputation. After a laborious and useful life, he died in 1782, at the venerable age of 87.

Lord Kames prefaces his examination of the more abstract questions on Morals, by an essay on a subject which has long been considered by moral writers, as involving a view of human nature somewhat curious, if not paradoxical. The subject is the strong attachment all mankind have to objects of distress. This attachment is not limited to real objects, but is even felt towards fictitious ones. We feel great pleasure in poetry, painting, and dramatic representations, when they succeed in exciting in us a lively emotion of pain ; and accordingly we find it is one of the great principles which runs through all works of fiction, that our passions must be roused to a degree bordering on pain, in order to raise our interest in them to a suitable pitch, and to throw over them the charms of a suitable embellishment.

Some French philosophers have indulged in long and curious investigations on this principle of our nature. One of them thinks he has satisfactorily solved this moral problem, by maintaining that man being a creature made for exertion, wherever there is a want of something to excite his attention and move his passions, he falls into a state of langour and listlessness, which becomes in many cases tormenting, and altogether insupportable ; and in order to remove himself from this state, he flies as it were, by instinct, to such things or objects as are calculated to exercise and rouse his passions; and it is in this way that men become fond of scenes which produce pain and apprehension. They suffer more uneasiness by languor and ennui, than by seeing objects of distress, either real or fictitious.

Lord Kames differs, however, from the author of this theory; and considers this desire and interest we feel to mingle our sorrows with others, as arising from a strong principle of sympathy implanted in our nature by our bountiful Creator; in order to render assistance to others, and to bind and cement society itself together. “ When,” says our author,"

we examine those particular passions, which, though painful, not only in the first impression, but also in the gratification, if I may call it

so, are yet accompanied with no aversion ; we find they are all of the social kind, arising from that eminent principle of sympathy, which is the cement of society. The social passions are accompanied with appetite for indulgence, when they give us pain, not less than when they give us pleasure ; we submit willingly to such painful passions, and reckon it no hardship to suffer under them. In this constitution, we have the consciousness of regularity and order, and that it is right and meet we should suffer after this manner. Thus, the moral affections, even such of them as produce pain, both in the first feeling, and in the indulgence of the passion, are none of them attended with any degree of aversion, not even in reflecting upon the distress they often bring us under. And this observation tends to set the moral affections in a more distinguished point of view, in opposition to those that are either malevolent, or merely selfish.

Many and admirable are the springs of action in human nature, and not one more admirable than what is now unfolded. Compassion is a most valuable principle, which connects people in society by ties stronger than those of blood. Yet compassion is a painful emotion, and is often accompanied with pain in the indulgence. Were it accompanied with any

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