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some disappointment, or mortification; but that cannot entitle him to throw all cares upon others, and bear no civil burden himself. Let him then, so long as he shuns all social duties, acknowledge himself to be on the same footing with those Scribes and Pharisees of whom it is said, They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on mens shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." Mat. xxiii. 4.
8. The man-hater labours under deception with regard to the valuable quality, or virtue, of Fortitude. Because he hazards language from which wise and good men abstain, he calls himself fearless and intrepid; other men are dastardly and afraid to speak the truth; he is determined that no man shall silence him. This kind of bravery is greatly to be suspected: there is ground for suspicion that the misanthrope has in his composition, amongst other base ingredients, that of cowardice. For it certainly requires some resolution, when men have nice moral feelings, to bear up against the mean oppressions and paltry faishoods, the petty knaveries and treacheries of ordinary life: many have, after some struggles, been overpowered by them; nay have been able to bear most other evils with greater steadiness; and have kept clear of settled and professed misanthropy, till they have been, by such perpetual gratings on their moral sense, quite worn down, and teazed out of all resistance: now to want resolution is cowardly; and it is more so to assume airs of fortitude after yielding to fear: when a person of this sort has once given up the world, though really from timidity and want of firmness, when he has shrunk into his retirement, and has become possessed of some safe retreat, he fails not to make himself compensation for what he has lost; he affects to triumph in his defeat; determined to take the coward's revenge, by talking, when the danger is past, with courage and magnanimity.
9. In the complaints and railings of the misanthrope it is generally implied, that he is particularly free from selfishness. Another fallacy. Let particular cases
be examined, and it is well if Self be not generally found at the bottom of such complaints. We are told by those who bring railing accusations, that the poor are oppressed, the orphan wronged; and lastly, that merit is not rewarded. When merit is not rewarded, it is a neglect much to be lamented; but has the complainant no merit of his own which has been too little noticed? Let him scrutinize his own mind; is he sure that he does not blame the treatment which others have met with, in order the more decently and forcibly to introduce his own wrongs? If upon examination we seldom find a man taking up misanthropy till he has had some disappointment, and seldom retaining it when his own affairs have taken a prosperous turn, though the world has all the while continued much the same, we shall allow that there is good ground for such an enquiry. We need not however scruple to attribute to selfishness one kind of railing against the world; and that is, when a man endeavours to talk himself into an aversion to that world in which he ought to live, and has in reality no other wish but to retire from his proper station, in order to give himself up to his favourite amusements; or to companions who flatter and indulge him.
10. The misanthrope not only thus deceives himself in regard to the worth of his virtues, but also in respect of the validity of his reasoning. Whosoever takes for granted the point in dispute, reasons fallaciously; if he is sincere to others, he at least misleads his own judgment. A person of the character in question takes for granted that his Ethics, his ideas of right and wrong, are the only just ones: nay that this is generally acknowledged. He allows nothing for difference of education, or custom; or situation; his censure is entirely founded on his own narrow conceptions. If he be engaged in any dispute, he is confident that all honest men, who have common sense, are on his side: (b.) when therefore men happen to differ from him, they are dishonest, or incorrigibly stupid. When he hates any men for not hating the species as he does, just at the moment of his provocation, he both takes for granted the errors of mankind, and the errors of those whom he hates, considered as judges of mankind. And supposing the objects of
his hatred to have really offended against the Laws of Virtue, he still reasons ill whilst he takes for granted, hat the same temptations which seduced them from their duty, would not have been equally powerful against himself. He often formis an illegitimate con.. clusion by taking for granted, that when men do not all the good which he prescribes for them, it is merely because they will not. Whereas the generality of men are inclined to do more good than circumstances (c.) permit not only their powers are more confined than suits their wishes, but they are very frequently checked by dread of abuses, and despair of success. Will not the misanthrope acknowledge, that he finds this to be the case? But it is to be feared, that he seldom examines carefully the motives of his own actions, though every man must deceive himself that does not. His feelings are burdensome and uneasy to him; he shrinks from the pain of probing them; he checks his consciousness; to avoid it he gives scope to his unnatural rancour, and tries to regard it as a natural indignation, the work of the creator; whilst all other men rank it amongst the depraved and factitious propensities. (d.) He considers the pleadings of his passion as if they were the arguments of his reason; whereas every man who is not culpably negligent or disingenuous in forming his judgments, makes a wide difference between them. Every reasonable man suspects the former as he would the eloquence of an advocate, and relies on the latter as on the opinion of a judge. It is equally a defect of rea-' soning and of feeling to complain of evils, and express no gratitude for benefits; to blame bad actions, and yet never applaud those which are good and worthy. Can a man be said to take even a rational view of the various mixtures of good and evil in this world, who detests the bad with the utmost vehemence, and yet beholds the good without emotion; without any of those delicious raptures, with which the heart of the truly virtuous man is elevated and softened, on the sight of genuine greatness and generosity. Not to be too tedious, I will only farther ask, whether there can be a more fallacious Induction than that which is impli-. ed in hating the human species, for the faults of a few
individuals? Nay sometimes, it is to be feared, the whole species is hated for the faults of a single person. But could not the evils arising from the faults of one, or a few, be repaired without totally abandoning the world, and deserting its interests? If the misanthrope will make an induction, and draw a general conclusion from particular instances, let him open his eyes to the good which the generality of men are sincerely desirous of promoting; I will venture to say, that he would discover enough to make him, with no worse reasoning than he uses for the ground of his hatred, regard the human species as an object of universal love.
11. Our next business after exposing the Fallacies of Misanthropy, is to point out the mischiefs with which it is attended. Many indeed have already appeared, whilst we were speaking of hatred in general, and of the nature of misanthropy in particular, (Art. 31. part 1. Art. 3. part 2.) yet others may be worth mentioning.
Excessive blame of persons and actions, defeats itself; men see its injustice, and resist it, as they would oppression, cruelty, or ingratitude. And not only the mild and candid do this, but the vicious see the advantage which opens upon them: they venture to become professed advocates for vice; and they are much more specious, and powerful, and therefore much more dangerous, on account of the unreasonable severity of their adversaries.
12. Misanthropy has a pernicious influence on public or social happiness. It disqualifies men for the hurry and bustle of public life; for the unmeritted biame and opposition which all must expect to encounter, who exercise authority. It indisposes men to act with such as are apt to push themselves into power; that is, with the generality; and, what is the worst part of the matter, it disqualifies and indisposes those men who have the most moral feeling; who are the most likely to be above perversion and corruption; and to apply their influence, according to the true intent and meaning of the Trusts committed to them; without falshood, fraud, or any manner of deception, or duplicity. Nor must it be said, that the temper here described is not so much a
constant state of mind, as the temporary effect of occasional dejection; that would only lead us to observe, that the man who has a tendency to contract an aversion to his species, is more apt to fall into fits of dejection than others are. This is true. He sees, that whatever is accounted valuable becomes, by the eagerness with which it is snatched at, a matter of illiberal contention and skirmishing; or of artful trigue and plotting: this he feels to be beneath the dignity of Virtue. Or if he can prevail upon himself to go so far as to enter into competition, he feels his hopes of esteem and honour blasted by malicious slander. Conscious that he deserves something much more encouraging, he is dispirited, and retires to meditation and solitude: but this does not send him back to the world, though dissatisfaction on quitting it is one of his torments. This dissatisfaction conspiring with those feelings which occasioned his retirement, generates, by degrees the fixed temper of misanthropy; and then only one step remains; which is, to believe that hating the wicked race to which he belongs, is Virtue. Virtue has always been the object of his pursuit: so long as he thought virtue consisted in resisting with firmness all prevailing corruptions, he sustained the conflict; but when it appeared to him to be perfected by hatred of men; the case became desperate; all motives to make himself useful lost their power and energy. Thus misanthropy does harm to the public by depriving it of those services which would be the most beneficial; the consequence of which must be, opening the avenues to power for those who have little or no moral feeling; who consider public trusts only as instruments of their ambition and rapacity.
13. Misanthropy is hurtful to that private good which is independent of Government and authority. The way to promote private happiness is to explore all the sources from which it seems likely to spring; to make experiments, and correct and improve them from time to time. On disappointment and failure, to find those remedies which the Author of Nature has provided; and to combat our feelings by enlarged views of general good, as opposed to that good or evil which is