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morse, or self-blame, is an erroneous feeling. Such a result might well have made them pause, and
of the word, and seem exclusively referable to simple moral approbation, remains unexplained in this theory.
Nor is the account of that sentiment called remorse wholly satisfactory. Remorse is described as a mere sympathy with the opinions and feelings the world happens to entertain of the particular act producing remorse ; and detection is the main ingredient in the composition of remorse : Yet instances are not uncommon of guilty individuals seeking in voluntary confession, an alleviation of the feeling of remorse: that is, seeking a remedy in the very cause of the pain, and, what is more, finding it effectual. Every man of any sensibility has more or less experienced the want of owning himself in the wrong, when he alone could be the accuser. Remorse, like most of our sentiments, is a compound feeling, and the shame or terror of detection is admitted to enter into its composition ; but selfblame, or the consciousness that it was in our power to have acted otherwise than we have done, may still be considered as the sharpest and most salutary of its pangs. It surely is something more than the mere regret of natural mental deformity, and there must be some real difference between the maniac who kills, and the sane man who assassinates his brother.
This falls into the question of free-will and necessity, but far from deciding in favour of necessity. Adam Smith mentions expressly the freedom of action of men, (p. 283 ;) what that freedom is the author owns he does not understand, as the determining causes or motives of the actions of men are, by this theory as by most others, quite external and out of their controul, and therefore they are not free in the common acceptation of the word.
Notwithstanding the merit of this work, to which the author is not insensible, the impression of prolixity remains. The VOL. ).
suspect that there was a fallacy somewhere in the chain of arguments which proved so much. The deliberate character,—the sanity and rectitude of judgment of a people like this, neutralize dangerous opinions, and prevent their abuse. They are in no haste to decide,-hear both sides, -can follow the thread of a metaphysical dispute without going astray, or acting rashly upon mere speculative demonstration. It has been said of Voltaire, that « il n'avoit pas les reins assez fort, pour porter à terme une idee metaphysique.” Philosophical conceptions are not sube ject here to such untimely births; the fruit may be bad, but it is not for want of maturity. The French are, on the contrary, in too great haste to produce their own discoveries, or prone to exaggerate the exaggerations of others, in order to transform them into something of their own. Rousseau, Diderot, and Helvetius have all exage gerated Locke.“ Rien n'est plus voisin de l'ig. norance d'un principe que son excessive gene. ralisation.”*
reader needs not be told, that “ eating when we are hungry, is upon ordinary occasions perfectly right and proper, and cannot fail being approved of as such by every body-nothing, however, could be more absurd than to say it was virtuous.”— Such delineations of moral sentiments, and they are frequent, must appear more minute than necessary, and the same superabundance of overflowing ingenuity is not less observable in the Wealth of Nations. The author is quite aware that he may be mistaken, nor pretends to set his taste against such a reputation as that of Adam Smith, yet he believes the opinion he unwarily expressed, was not so entirely erroneous as to manner, as it has proved to be in regard to matter. Note to Second Edition.
I have already quoted, several times, a work the celebrated Professor Dugald Stewart has lately given to the public-in the form of Philosophical Essays. Without pretending to give a full account of it, I shall only say, that the metaphysics of Mr Stewart are those of common sense. f Second in skill to none of the other chemists of the human mind his country has produced, he does not carry the analysis of the mental substance farther than its refractory nature will admit; nor does he build up systems unsupported by experience. By this test, also, he tries those which have been reared already, and exposes the fallacy of several of them. Singularly happy in his quotations and illustrations, this writer knows how to throw on a subject naturally dry and unattractive, the charms peculiar to works of imagination. You think you are listening to the wisdom of the sage Nestor, to his copious, flowing, and persuasive eloquence, calming the violence of his companions, and bringing
* De Gerando, quoted by Professor Dugald Stewart.
+ I am aware that the common sense of mankind has been looked
upon as synonymous to the common prejudices of man. kind;-I mean here only that sense which is the immediate result of general experience and consciousness, the corrective of paradox.
them back from their wanderings and their er
“ When I study the intellectual powers of man,” says Mr Stewart, “ in the writings of Hartly, of Priestley, of Darwin, or of Tooke, I feel as if I were examining the sorry mechanism that gives motion to a puppet. If, for a moment, I am carried along, by their theories of human knowledge, and of human life, I seem to myself to be admitted behind the curtain of what I once conceived to be a magnificent theatre. And while I survey the tinsel frippery of the wardrobe, and the paltry decorations of the scenery, I am mortified to discover the trick which had cheated my eye at a distance. This surely is not the characteristic of truth or of nature, the beauties of which invite our closest inspection, deriving new lustre from those microscopical researches, which deform the most finished ductions of art. If, in our physical enquiries concerning the material world, every step that has been hitherto gained has at once exalted our conceptions of its immensity and of its order, can we reasonably suppose that the genuine philosophy of the mind is to disclose to us a spectacle less pleasing, or less elevating, than fancy or vanity had disposed us to anticipate ?"
END OF VOLUME FIRST.