The Fable of the Bees or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, by Bernard Mandeville

The First Dialogue Between Horatio, Cleomenes, and Fulvia.

C l e o m e n e s.

ALways in haste, Horatio?

Hor.

I must beg of you to excuse me, I am oblig’d to go.

Cleo.

Whether you have other Engagements than you used to have, or whether your Temper is chang’d, I can’t tell, but something has made an Alteration in you, of which I cannot comprehend the Cause. There is no Man in the World whose Friendship I value more than I do yours, or whose Company I like better, yet I can never have it. I profess I have thought sometimes, that you have avoided me on purpose.

Hor.

I am sorry, Cleomenes, I should have been wanting in Civility to you. I come every Week constantly to pay my Respects to you, and if ever I fail, I always send to enquire after your Health.

Cleo.

No Man out-does Horatio in Civility; but I thought something more was due to our Affections and long Acquaintance, besides Compliments and Ceremony: Of late I have never been to wait upon you, but you are gone abroad, or I find you engaged; and when I have the Honour to see you here, your Stay is only momentary. Pray pardon my Rudeness for once; What is it that hinders you now from keeping me Company for an Hour or two? My Cousin talks of going out, and I shall be all alone.

Hor.

I know better than to rob you of such an Opportunity for Speculation?

Cleo.

Speculation! on what, pray?

Hor.

That Vileness of our Species in the refin’d Way of thinking you have of late been so fond of, I call it the Scheme of Deformity, the Partizans of which study chiefly to make every thing in our Nature appear as ugly and contemptible as it is possible, and take uncommon Pains to perswade Men that they are Devils.

Cleo.

If that be all, I shall soon convince you.

Hor.

No Conviction to me, I beseech you: I am determin’d and fully persuaded, that there is Good in the World, as well as Evil; and that the Words, Honesty, Benevolence, and Humanity, and even Charity, are not empty Sounds only, but that there are such Things in spight of the Fable of the Bees; and I am resolved to believe, that, notwithstanding the Degeneracy of Mankind, and the Wickedness of the Age, there are Men now living, who are actually possess’d of those Virtues.

Cleo.

But you don’t know what I am going to say: I am —

Hor.

That may be. but I will not hear one Word; all you can say is lost upon me, and if you will not give me leave to speak out, I am gone this Moment. That cursed Book has bewitch’d you, and made you deny the Existence of those very Virtues that had gain’d you the Esteem of your Friends. You know this is not my usual Language; I hate to say harsh Things:But what Regard can or ought one to have for an Author that treats every Body de haut en bas, makes a Jest of Virtue and Honour, calls Alexander the Great a Madman,1 and spares Kings and Princes no more than any one would the most abject of the People? The Business of his Philosophy is just the Reverse to that of the Herald’s Office; for as there they are always contriving and finding out high and illustrious Pedigrees for low and obscure People, so your Author is ever searching after, and inventing mean contemptible Origins for worthy and honourable Actions. I am your very humble Servant.

Cleo.

Stay. I am of your Opinion; what I offered to convince you of was, how entirely I am recover’ d of the Folly which you have so justly expos’d: I have left that Error.

Hor.

Are you in earnest?

Cleo.

No Man more: There is no greater Stickler for the Social Virtues than my self, and I much question, whether there is any of Lord Shaftsbury’s2 Admirers that will go my Lengths!

Hor.

I shall be glad to see you go my Lengths first, and as many more as you please. You cannot conceive, Cleomenes, how it has griev’d me, when I have seen, how many Enemies you made yourself by that extravagant Way of arguing. If you are but serious, whence comes this Change?

Cleo.

In the first Place I grew weary of having every Body against me: and in the Second, there is more Room for Invention in the other System. Poets and Orators in the Social System have fine Opportunities of exerting themselves.

Hor.

I very much suspect the Recovery you boast of: Are you convinced, that the other System was false, which you might have easily learn’d from seeing every body against you?

Cleo.

False to be sure; but what you alledge is no Proof of it: for if the greatest Part of Mankind were not against that Scheme of Deformity, as you justly call it, Insincerity could not be so general, as the Scheme itself supposes it to be: But since my Eyes have been open’d I have found out that Truth and Probability are the silliest Things in the World; they are of no manner of use, especially among the People de bon gout.

Hor.

I thought what a Convert you was: but what new Madness has seiz’d you now?

Cleo.

No Madness at all: I say and will maintain it to the World, that Truth, in the Sublime, is very impertinent; and that in the Arts and Sciences, fit for Men of Taste to look into, a Master cannot commit a more unpardonable Fault, than sticking to, or being influenc’d by Truth, where it interferes with what is agreeable.

Hor.

Homely Truths indeed----

Cleo.

Look upon that Dutch Piece of the Nativity: what charming Colouring there is! what a fine Pencil, and how just are the Out-Lines for a Piece so curiously finish’d! But what a Fool the Fellow was to draw Hay and Straw and Cattle, and a Rack as well as a Manger: it is a Wonder he did not put the Bambino into the Manger.

Ful.

The Bambino? That is the Child, I suppose; why it should be in the Manger; should it not? Does not the History tell us, that the Child was laid in the Manger? I have no Skill in Painting, but I can see whether things are drawn to the Life or not; sure nothing can be more like the Head of an Ox than that there. A Picture then pleases me best when the Art in such a Manner deceives my Eye, that without making any Allowances, I can imagine I see the Things in reality which the Painter has endeavour’d to represent. I have always thought it an admirable Piece; sure nothing in the World can be more like Nature.

Cleo.

Like Nature! So much the worse: Indeed, Cousin, it is easily seen that you have no Skill in Painting. It is not Nature, but agreeable Nature, la belle Nature, that is to be represented; all Things that are abject, low, pitiful and mean, are carefully to be avoided, and kept out of Sight; because to Men of the true Taste they are as offensive as Things that are shocking, and really nasty.

Ful.

At that rate, the Virgin Mary’s Condition, and our Saviour’s Birth, are never to be painted.

Cleo.

That’s your Mistake; the Subject it self is noble: Let us go but in the next Room and I’ll shew you the Difference. — Look upon that Picture, which is the same History. There’s fine Architecture, there’s a Colonnade; Can any thing be thought of more Magnificent? How skilfully is that Ass removed, and how little you see of the Ox; pray mind the Obscurity they are both placed in: It hangs in a strong Light, or else one might look ten times upon the Picture without observing them: Behold these Pillars of the Corinthian Order, how lofty they are, and what an Effect they have, what a noble Space, what an Area here is! How nobly every thing concurs to express the majestick Grandeur of the Subject, and strikes the Soul with Awe and Admiration at the same time!

Ful.

Pray Cousin, has good Sense ever any Share in the Judgment which your Men of true Taste form about Pictures?

Hor.

Madam!

Ful.

I beg pardon, Sir, if I have offended: but to me it seems strange to hear such Commendation given to a Painter, for turning the Stable of a Country Inn into a Palace of extraordinary Magnificence: This is a great deal worse than Swift’s Metamorphosis of Philemon and Baucis; for there some Shew of Resemblance is kept in the Changes.1

Hor.

In a Country Stable, Madam, there is nothing but Filth and Nastiness, or vile abject Things not fit to be seen, at least not capable of entertaining Persons of Quality.

Ful.

The Dutch Picture in the next Room has nothing that is offensive: but an Augean Stable, even before Hercules had clean’d it, would be less shocking to me than those fluted Pillars; for no body can please my Eye that affronts my Understanding: When I desire a Man to paint a considerable History, which every body knows to have been transacted at a Country Inn, does he not strangely impose upon me, because he understands Architecture, to draw me a Room that might have serv’d for a great Hall or Banquetting-house to any Roman Emperor? Besides that the poor and abject State in which our Saviour chose to appear at his coming into the World, is the most material Circumstance of the History: it contains an excellent Moral against vain Pomp, and is the strongest Persuasive to Humility, which in the Italian are more than lost.

Hor.

Indeed, Madam, Experience is against you; and it is certain, that even among the Vulgar the Representations of mean and abject Things, and such as they are familiar with, have not that Effect, and either breed Contempt, or are Insignificant: whereas vast Piles, stately Buildings, Roofs of uncommon Height, surprizing Ornaments, and all the Architecture of the grand Taste, are the fittest to raise Devotion and inspire Men with Veneration and a Religious Awe for the Places that have these Excellencies to boast of. Is there ever a Meeting-house or Barn to be compared to a fine Cathedral, for this purpose?

Ful.

I believe there is a Mechanical Way of raising Devotion in silly superstitious Creatures; but an attentive Contemplation on the Works of God, I am sure ——

Cleo.

Pray, Cousin, say no more in Defence of your low Taste: The Painter has nothing to do with the Truth of the History; his Business is to express the Dignity of the Subject, and in Compliment to his Judges, never to forget the Excellency of our Species: All his Art and good Sense must be employ’d in raising that to the highest pitch: Great Masters don’t paint for the common People, but for Persons of refin’d Understanding: What you complain of is the Effect of the good Manners and Complaisance of the Painter. When he had drawn the Infant and the Madona, he thought the least glimpse of the Ox and the Ass would be sufficient to acquaint you with the History: They who want more fescuing and a broader Explanation he don’t desire his Picture should ever be shewn to; for the rest, he entertains you with nothing but what is Noble and worthy your Attention: You see he is an Architect, and compleatly skill’d in Perspective, and he shews you how finely he can round a Pillar, and that both the Depth and the Height of Space a may be drawn on a Flat, with all the other Wonders he performs by his Skill in that inconceivable Mystery of Light and Shadows.

Ful.

Why then is it pretended that Painting is an Imitation of Nature?

Cleo.

At first setting out a Scholar is to copy things exactly as he sees them; but from a great Master, when he is left to his own Invention, it is expected he should take the Perfections of Nature, and not paint it as it is, but as we would wish it to be. Zeuxis, to draw a Goddess, took five beautiful Women, from which he cull’d what was most graceful in each.

Ful.

Still every Grace he painted was taken from Nature.

Cleo.

That’s true; but he left Nature her Rubbish, and imitated nothing but what was excellent, which made the Assemblage superior to any thing in Nature. Demetrius was tax’d for being too Natural; Dionysius was also blamed for drawing Men like us. Nearer our times, Michael Angelo was esteem’d too Natural, and Lysippus of old upbraided the common sort of Sculptors for making Men such as they were found in Nature.

Ful.

Are these things real?

Cleo.

You may read it your self in Graham’s Preface to The Art of Painting:1 the Book is above in the Library.

Hor.

These Things may seem strange to you, Madam, but they are of immense Use to the Publick: The higher we can carry the Excellency of our Species, the more those beautiful Images will fill noble Minds with worthy and suitable Ideas of their own Dignity, that will seldom fail of spurring them on to Virtue and Heroick Actions. There is a Grandeur to be express’d in Things that far surpasses the Beauties of simple Nature. You take Delight in Opera’s, Madam, I don’t question; you must have minded the noble Manner and Stateliness beyond Nature, which every thing there is executed with. What gentle Touches, what slight and yet majestick Motions are made use of to express the most boisterous Passions! As the Subject is always lofty, so no Posture is to be chosen but what is Serious and Significant as well as Comely and Agreeable; should the Actions there be represented as they are in common Life, they would ruin the Sublime, and at once rob you of all your Pleasure.

Ful.

I never expected any thing Natural at an Opera; but as Persons of Distinction resort thither, and every body comes dress’d, it is a sort of Employment, and I seldom miss a Night, because it is the Fashion to go: Besides, the Royal Family, and the Monarch himself, generally honouring them with their Presence, it is almost become a Duty to attend them, as much as it is to go to Court.1 What diverts me there is the Company, the Lights, the Musick, the Scenes, and other Decorations: but as I understand but very few Words of Italian, so what is most admired in the Recitativo2 is lost upon me, which makes the acting Part to me rather ridiculous than —

Hor. Ridiculous, Madam! for Heaven’s sake —

Ful.

I beg pardon, Sir, for the Expression. I never laught at an Opera in my Life; but I confess, as to the Entertainment it self, that a good Play is infinitely more diverting to me; and I prefer any thing that informs my Understanding beyond all the Recreations which either my Eyes or my Ears can be regal’d with.1

Hor.

I am sorry to hear a Lady of your good Sense make such a Choice. Have you no Taste for Musick, Madam?

Ful.

I named that as part of my Diversion.

Cleo.

My Cousin plays very well upon the Harpsicord herself.

Ful.

I love to hear good Musick; but it does not throw me into those Raptures, I hear others speak of.

Hor.

Nothing certainly can elevate the Mind beyond a fine Consort: It seems to disengage the Soul from the Body, and lift it up to Heaven. It is in this Situation, that we are most capable of receiving extraordinary Impressions: When the Instruments cease, our Temper is subdued, and beautiful Action joyns with the skilful Voice in setting before us in a transcendent Light, the Heroick Labours we are come to admire, and which the Word 13Opera imports. The powerful Harmony between the engaging Sounds and speaking Gestures invades the Heart, and forcibly inspires us with those noble Sentiments, which to entertain the most expressive Words can only attempt to persuade us. Few Comedies are tollerable, and in the best of them, if the Levity of the Expressions does not corrupt, the Meanness of the Subject must debase the Manners; at least to Persons of Quality. In Tragedies the Style is more sublime, and the Subjects generally great; but all violent Passions, and even the Representations of them, ruffle and discompose the Mind: Besides, when Men endeavour to express Things strongly, and they are acted to the Life, it often happens that the Images do Mischief, because they are too moving, and that the Action is faulty for being too natural; and Experience teaches us, that in unguarded Minds, by those Pathetick Performances, Flames are often rais’d that are prejudicial to Virtue. The Play-houses themselves are far from being inviting, much less the Companies, at least the greatest part of them that frequent them, some of which are almost of the lowest Rank of all. The Disgusts that Persons of the least Elegance receive from these People are many; besides the ill Scents and unseemly Sights one meets with of careless Rakes and impudent Wenches, that, having paid their Mony, reckon themselves to be all upon the Level with every Body there; the Oaths, Scurrilities and vile Jests one is often obliged to hear, without resenting them; and the odd mixture of high and low that are all partaking of the same Diversion, without Regard to Dress or Quality, are all very offensive; and it cannot but be very disagreeable to polite People to be in the same Crowd with a Variety of Persons, some of them below Mediocrity, that pay no Deference to one another. At the Opera every thing charms and concurs to make Happiness compleat. The Sweetness of Voice in the first place, and the solemn Composure of the Action, serve to mitigate and allay every Passion; it is the Gentleness of them, and the calm Serenity of the Mind, that make us amiable, and bring us the nearest to the Perfection of Angels; whereas the Violence of the Passions, in which the Corruption of the Heart chiefly consists, dethrones our Reason, and renders us most like unto Savages. It is incredible, how prone we are to Imitation, and how strangely, unknown to ourselves, we are shaped and fashioned after the Models and Examples that are often set before us. No Anger nor Jealousy are ever to be seen at an Opera that distort the Features, no Flames that are noxious, nor is any Love represented in them, that is not pure and next to Zeraphick; and it is impossible for the Remembrance to carry any thing away from them, that can sully the Imagination. Secondly, The Company is of another sort: the Place it self is a Security to Peace, as well as every ones Honour, and it is impossible to name another, where blooming Innocence and irresistible Beauty stand in so little need of Guardians. Here we are sure never to meet with Petulancy or ill Manners, and to be free from immodest Ribaldry, Libertine Wit, and detestable Satyr. If you will mind, on the one hand, the Richness and Splendour of Dress, and the Quality of the Persons that appear in them, the Variety of Colours, and the Lustre of the Fair in a spacious Theatre, well illuminated and adorn’d; and on the a other, the grave Deportment of the Assembly, and the Consciousness, that appears in every Countenance, of the Respect they owe to each other, you will be forced to confess, that upon Earth there can not be a Pastime more agreeable: Believe me, Madam, there is no Place, where both Sexes have such Opportunities of imbibing exalted Sentiments, and raising themselves above the Vulgar, as they have at the Opera; and there is no other sort of Diversion or Assembly from the frequenting of which young Persons of Quality can have equal Hopes of forming their Manners, and contracting a strong and lasting Habit of Virtue.

Ful.

You have said more in Commendation of Operas, Horatio, than I ever heard or thought of before; and I think every Body who loves that Diversion is highly obliged to you. The grand Gout, I believe, is a great help in Panegyrick, especially, where it is an Incivility strictly to examine and over-curiously to look into Matters.

Cleo.

What say you now Fulvia of Nature and good Sense, are they not quite beat out o’ Doors?

Ful.

I have heard nothing yet, to make me out of Conceit with good Sense; tho’ what you insinuated of Nature, as if it was not to be imitated in Painting, is an Opinion, I must confess, which hitherto I more admire at, than I can approve of it.

Hor.

I would never recommend any thing, Madam, that is repugnant to good Sense: but Cleomenes must have some Design in over-acting the Part he pretends to have chosen. What he said about Painting is very true, whether he spoke it in Jest or in Earnest; but he talks so diametrically opposite to the Opinion which he is known every where to defend of late, that I don’t know what to make of him.

Ful.

I am convinced of the Narrowness of my own Understanding, and am going to visit some Persons, with whom I shall be more upon the Level.

Hor.

You’ll give me Leave to wait upon you to your Coach, Madam. —————— Pray, Cleomenes, what is it you have got in your Head?

Cleo.

Nothing at all: I told you before, that I was so entirely recover’d from my Folly, that few People went my Lengths. What Jealousy you entertain of me I don’t know; but I find my self much improv’d in the Social System. Formerly I thought, that Chief Ministers, and all those at the Helm of Affairs, acted from Principles of Avarice and Ambition; that in all the Pains they took, and even in the Slaveries they underwent for the Publick Good, they had their private Ends, and that they were supported in the Fatigue by secret Enjoyments they were unwilling to own. It is not a Month ago, that I imagin’d that the inward Care and real Sollicitude of all great Men Center’d within themselves; and that to enrich themselves, acquire Titles of Honour, and raise their Families on the one hand, and to have Opportunities on the other of displaying a judicious Fancy in all the Elegant Comforts of Life, and establishing, without the least Trouble of Self-denial, the Reputation of being wise, humane and munificent, were the Things, which, besides the Satisfaction there is in Superiority and the Pleasure of governing, all Candidates to high Offices and great Posts proposed to themselves, from the Places they sued for; I was so narrow-minded that I could not conceive how a Man would ever voluntarily submit to be a Slave but to serve himself. But I have abandon’d that ill-natur’d way of judging: I plainly perceive the Publick Good, in all the Designs of Politicians, the social Virtues shine in every Action, and I find that the national Interest a is the Compass that all Statesmen steer by.

Hor.

That’s more than I can prove; but certainly there have been such Men, there have been Patriots, that without selfish Views have taken incredible Pains for their Country’s Welfare: Nay, there are Men now that would do the same, if they were employ’d; and we have had Princes that have neglected their Ease and Pleasure, and sacrificed their Quiet, to promote the Prosperity and encrease the Wealth and Honour of the Kingdom, and had nothing so much at Heart as the Happiness of their Subjects.

Cleo.

No Disaffection, I beg of you. The Difference between past and present Times, and Persons in and out of Places, is perhaps clearer to you than it is to me; but it is many Years ago, you know, that it has been agreed between us never to enter into Party Disputes: What I desire your Attention to is my Reformation, which you seem to doubt of, and the great Change that is wrought in me. The Religion of most Kings and other high Potentates, I formerly had but a slender Opinion of, but now I measure their Piety by what they say of it themselves to their Subjects.

Hor.

That’s very kindly done.

Cleo.

By thinking meanly of things, I once had strange blundering Notions concerning Foreign Wars: I thought that many of them arose from trifling Causes, magnify’d by Politicians for their own Ends; that the most ruinous Misunderstandings between States and Kingdoms might spring from the hidden Malice, Folly, or Caprice of one Man; that many of them had been owing to the private Quarrels, Piques, Resentments, and the Haughtiness of the chief Ministers of the respective Nations, that were the Sufferers; and that what is call’d Personal Hatred between Princes seldom was more at first, than either an open or secret Animosity which the two great Favorites of those Courts had against one another: But now I have learn’d to derive those things from higher Causes. I am reconciled likewise to the Luxury of the Voluptuous, which I used to be offended at, because now I am convinced that the Money of most rich Men is laid out with the social Design of promoting Arts and Sciences, and that in the most expensive Undertakings their principal Aim is the Employment of the Poor.

Hor.

These are Lengths indeed.

Cleo.

I have a strong Aversion to Satyr, and detest it every whit as much as you do: The most instructive Writings to understand the World, and penetrate into the Heart of Man, I take to be Addresses, Epitaphs, Dedications, and above all the Preambles to Patents, of which I am making a large Collection.

Hor.

A very useful Undertaking!

Cleo.

But to remove all your Doubts of my Conversion, I’ll shew you some easy Rules I have laid down for young Beginners.

Hor.

What to do?

Cleo.

To judge of Mens Actions by the lovely System of Lord Shaftsbury, in a Manner diametrically opposite to that of the Fable of the Bees.

Hor.

I don’t understand you.

Cleo.

You will presently. I have call’d them Rules, but they are rather Examples from which the Rules are to be gather’d: As for instance, If we see an industrious poor Woman, who has pinch’d her Belly, and gone in Rags for a considerable time to save forty Shillings, part with her Money to put out her Son at six Years of Age to a Chimney-sweeper; to judge of her charitably according to the System of the Social Virtues we must imagine, That tho’ she never paid for the sweeping of a Chimney in her Life, she knows by Experience that for want of this necessary Cleanliness the Broth has been often spoyl’d, and many a Chimney has been set o’ Fire, and therefore to do good in her Generation, as far as she is able, she gives up her All, both Offspring and Estate, to assist in preventing the several Mischiefs that are often occasion’d by great Quantities of Soot disregarded; and, free from Selfishness, sacrifices her only Son to the most wretched Employment for the Publick Welfare.

Hor.

You don’t vy I see with Lord Shaftsbury, for Loftiness of Subjects.

Cleo.

When in a Starry Night with Amazement we behold the Glory of the Firmament, nothing is more obvious than that the whole, the beautiful All, must be the Workmanship of one great Architect of Power and Wisdom stupendious; and it is as evident, that every thing in the Universe is a constituent Part of one entire Fabrick.1

Hor.

Would you make a Jest of this too?

Cleo.

Far from it: they are awful Truths, of which I am as much convinced as I am of my own Existence; but I was going to name the Consequences, which Lord Shaftsbury draws from them, in order to demonstrate to you, that I am a Convert and a punctuala Observer of his Lordship’s Instructions, and that in my Judgment on the poor Woman’s Conduct, there is nothing that is not entirely agreeable to the generous way of thinking set forth and recommended in the Characteristicks.1

Hor.

Is it possible a Man should read such a Book, and make no better use of it! I desire you would name the Consequences you speak of.

Cleo.

As that Infinity of luminous Bodies, however different in Magnitude, Velocity, and the Figures they describe in their Courses, concur all of them to make up the Universe, so this little Spot we inhabit is likewise a Compound of Air, Water, Fire, Minerals, Vegetables and living Creatures, which, tho’ vastly differing from one another in their Nature, do altogether make up the Body of this terraqueous Globe.

Hor.

This is very right, and in the same manner as our whole Species is composed of many Nations of different Religions, Forms of Government, Interests and Manners that divide and share the Earth between them, so the civil Society in every Nation consists in great Multitudes of both Sexes, that widely differing from each other in Age, Constitution, Strength, Temper, Wisdom and Possessions, all help to make up one Body Politick.

Cleo.

The same exactly which I would have said: Now, pray Sir, is not the great End of Men’s forming themselves into such Societies, mutual Happiness; I mean, do not all individual Persons, from being thus combined, propose to themselves a more comfortable Condition of Life, than human Creatures, if they were to live like other wild Animals, without Tie or Dependance, could enjoy in a free and savage State?

Hor.

This certainly is not only the End, but the End which is every where attain’d to by Government and Society, in some Degree or other.

Cleo.

Hence it must follow that it is always wrong for Men to pursue Gain or Pleasure, by Means that are visibly detrimental to the civil Society, and that Creatures, who can do this, must be narrow-soul’d, short-sighted, selfish People; whereas wise Men never look upon themselves as individual Persons, without considering the Whole, of which they are but trifling Parts in respect to Bulk, and are incapable of receiving any Satisfaction from Things that interfere with the Publick Welfare. This being undeniably true, ought not all private Advantage to give way to this general Interest; and ought it not to be every one’s Endeavour, to encrease this common Stock of Happiness; and, in order to it, do what he can to render himself a serviceable and useful Member of that whole Body which he belongs to?

Hor.

What of all this?

Cleo.

Has not my poor Woman, in what I have related of her, acted in Conformity to this Social System?

Hor.

Can any one in his Senses imagine, that an indigent thoughtless Wretch, without Sense or Education, should ever act from such generous Principles?

Cleo.

Poor I told you the Woman was, and I won’t insist upon her Education; but as for her being thoughtless and void of Sense, you’ll give me leave to say, that it is an Aspersion, for which you have no manner of Foundation; and from the Account I have given of her, nothing can be gather’d but that she was a considerate, virtuous, wise Woman, in Poverty.

Hor.

I suppose you would persuade me, that you are in Earnest.

Cleo.

I am much more so than you imagine: and say once more, that in the Example I have given, I have trod exactly in my Lord Shaftsbury’s Steps, and closely follow’d the Social System. If I have committed any Error, shew it me.

Hor.

Did that Author ever meddle with any thing so low and pitiful?

Cleo.

There can be nothing mean in noble Actions, whoever the Persons are that perform them: But if the Vulgar are to be all excluded from the Social Virtues, what Rule or instruction shall the labouring Poor, which are by far the greatest part of the Nation, have left them to walk by, when the Characteristicks have made a Jest of all reveal’d Religion, especially the Christian? But if you despise the Poor and Illiterate; I can in the same Method judge of Men in higher Stations. Let the Enemies to the Social System behold the venerable Counsellor, now grown eminent for his Wealth, that at his great Age continues sweltering at the Bar to plead the doubtful Cause, and regardless of his Dinner shortens his own Life in endeavouring to secure the Possessions of others. How conspicuous is the Benevolence of the Physician to his Kind, who, from Morning till Night visiting the Sick, keeps several Sets of Horses to be more serviceable to many, and still grudges himself the time for the necessary Functions of Life! In the same manner the indefatigable Clergyman, who with his Ministry supplies a very large Parish already, sollicites with Zeal to be as useful and beneficent to another, tho’ fifty of his Order yet unemploy’d offer their Service for the same Purpose.

Hor.

I perceive your Drift: From the strain’d Panegyricks you labour at, you would form Arguments ad absurdum: The Banter is ingenious enough, and at proper times might serve to raise a Laugh; but then you must own likewise, that those study’d Encomiums will not bear to be seriously examin’d into. When we consider that the great Business as well as perpetual Sollicitude of the Poor are to supply their immediate Wants, and keep themselves from starving, and that their Children are a Burden to them, which they groan under, and desire to be deliver’d from by all possible Means, that are not clashing with the low involuntary Affection which Nature forces them to have for their Offspring: When, I say, we consider this, the Virtues of your industrious Womana make no great Figure. The Publick Spirit likewise, and the generous Principles, your Sagacity has found out in the three Faculties, to which Men are brought up for a Livelihood, seem to be very far fetch’d. Fame, Wealth and Greatness every Body knows are the Things that all Lawyers and Physicians aim at, that are any ways considerable: That many of them entirely devote themselves to their Practice, with incredible Patience and Assiduity every Age can witness; but whatever Labour or Fatigue they submit to, the Motives of their Actions are as conspicuous as their Callings themselves.

Cleo.

Are they not beneficial to Mankind, and of Use to the Publick?

Hor.

I don’t deny that; we often receive inestimable Benefits from them, and the good ones in either Profession are not only useful, but very necessary to the Society: But tho’ there are several that sacrifice their whole Lives, and all the Comforts of them, to their Business, there is not one of them that would take a quarter of the Pains he now is at, if without taking any he could acquire the same Money, Reputation, and other Advantages that may accrue to him from the Esteem or Gratitude of those whom he has been serviceable to; and I don’t believe, there is an eminent Man among them that would not own this, if the Question was put to him. Therefore when Ambition and the Love of Money are the avow’d Principles Men act from, it is very silly to ascribe Virtues to them, which they themselves pretend to lay no manner of claim to. But your Encomium upon the Parson is the merriest Jest of all: I have heard many Excuses made, and some of them very frivolous, for the Covetousness of Priests; but what you have pick’d out in their Praise is more extraordinary than any Thing I ever met with; and the most partial Advocate and Admirer of the Clergy never yet discover’d before your self a great Virtue in their Hunting after Pluralities, when they were well provided for themselves, and many others for want of Employ were ready to starve.

Cleo.

But if there be any Reality in the Social System, it would be better for the Publick if Men in all Professions were to act from those generous Principles; and you’ll allow that the Society would be the Gainers, if the Generality in the three Faculties would mind others more and themselves less than they do now.

Hor.

I don’t know that; and considering what Slavery some Lawyers, as well as Physicians, undergo, I much question whether it would be possible for them to exert themselves in the same manner, tho’ they would, if the constant Baits and Refreshments of large Fees did not help to support Human Nature, by continually stimulating this darling Passion.

Cleo.

Indeed, Horatio, this is a stronger Argument against the Social System, and more injurious to it, than any thing that has been said by the Author whom you have exclaim’d against with so much Bitterness.

Hor.

I deny that: I don’t conclude from the Selfishness in some, that there is no Virtue in others.

Cleo.

Nor he neither, and you very much wrong him if you assert that he ever did.

Hor.

I refuse to commend what is not Praiseworthy; but as bad as Mankind are, Virtue has an Existence as well as Vice, tho’ it is more scarce.

Cleo.

What you said last no body ever contradicted; but I don’t know what you would be at: Does not the Lord Shaftsbury endeavour to do Good, and promote the Social Virtues, and am I not doing the very same? Suppose me to be in the wrong in the favourable Constructions I have made of Things, still it is to be wish’d for at least, that Men had a greater Regard to the Publick Welfare, less Fondness for their Private Interest, and more Charity for their Neighbours, than the generality of them have.

Hor.

To be wish’d for perhaps it may be, but what Probability is there that this ever will come to pass?

Cleo.

And unless that can come to pass, it is the idlest Thing in the World to discourse upon, and demonstrate the Excellency of Virtue; what signifies it to set forth the Beauty of it, unless it was possible that Men should fall in Love with it?

Hor.

If Virtue was never recommended, Men might grow worse than they are.

Cleo.

Then by the same Reason, if it was recommended more, Men might grow better than they are. But I see perfectly well the Reason of these Shifts and Evasions you make use of against your Opinion: You find your self under a Necessity of allowing my Pane-gyricks, as you call them, to be just; or finding the same Fault with most of my Lord Shaftsbury’s; and you would do neither if you could help it: From Mens preferring Company to Solitude, his Lordship pretends to prove the Love and Natural Affection we have for our own Species: If this was examin’d into with the same Strictness as you have done every Thing I have said in behalf of the three Faculties, I believe that the Solidity of the Consequences would be pretty equal in both. But I stick to my Text, and stand up for the Social Virtues: The noble Author of that System had a most charitable Opinion of his Species, and extoll’d the Dignity of it in an extraordinary manner, and why my Imitation of him should be call’d a Banter I see no Reason. He certainly wrote with a good Design, and endeavour’d to inspire his Readers with refin’d Notions, and a Publick Spirit abstract from Religion: The World enjoys the Fruits of his Labours, but the Advantage that is justly expected from his Writings can never be universally felt, before that Publick Spirit, which he recommended, comes down to the meanest Tradesmen, whom you would endeavour to exclude from the generous Sentiments and noble Principles that are already so visible in many. I am now thinking on two sorts of People that stand very much in need of, and yet hardly ever meet with, one another: This Misfortune must have caused such a Chasm in the Band of Society, that no Depth of Thought or Happiness of Contrivance could have fill’d up the Vacuity, if a most tender Regard for the Commonwealth, and the height of Benevolence did not influence and oblige others, mere strangers to those People, and commonly Men of small Education, to assist them with their good Offices, and stop up the Gap. Many ingenious Workmen in obscure Dwellings would be starv’d in spight of Industry, only for want of knowing where to sell the Product of their Labour, if there were not others to dispose of it for them: And again, the Rich and Extravagant are daily furnish’d with an infinite Variety of superfluous Knicknacks and elaborate Trifles, every one of them invented to gratify either a needless Curiosity, or else Wantonness and Folly; and which they would never have thought of, much less wanted, had they never seen or known where to buy them. What a Blessing then to the Publick is the Social Toyman, who lays out a considerable Estate to gratify the Desires of these two different Classes of People? He procures Food and Raiment for the deserving Poor, and searches with great Diligence after the most skillful Artificers, that no Man shall be able to produce better Workmanship than himself: with study’d Civilities and a serene Countenance he entertains the greatest Strangers; and, often speaking to them first, kindly offers to guess at their Wants: He confines not his Attendance to a few stated Hours, but waits their Leisure all Day long in an open Shop, where he bears the Summer’s Heat and Winter’s Cold with equal Chearfulness. What a beautiful Prospect is here of Natural Affection to our Kind! For if He acts from that Principle, who only furnishes us with Necessaries of Life, certainly He shews a more superlative Love and Indulgence to his Species, who will not suffer the most whimsical of it to be an Hour destitute of what he shall fancy, even Things the most unnecessary.

Hor.

You have made the most of it indeed, but are you not tired yet with these Fooleries your self?

Cleo.

What Fault do you find with these kind Constructions; do they detract from the Dignity of our Species?

Hor.

I admire your Invention, and thus much I will own, that by over-acting the Part in that extravagant Manner, you have set the Social System in a more disadvantageous Light than ever I had consider’d it before: But the best Things, you know, may be ridicul’d.

Cleo.

Whether I know that or not, Lord Shaftsbury has flatly denied it; and takes Joke and Banter to be the best and surest Touchstone to prove the Worth of Things:1 It is his Opinion, that no Ridicule can be fasten’d upon what is really great and good; his Lordship has made use of that Test to try the Scriptures and the Christian Religion by, and expos’d them because it seems they could not stand it.

Hor.

He has exposed Superstition and the miserable Notions the Vulgar were taught to have of God; but no Man ever had more Sublime Idea’s of the Supreme Being and the Universe than himself.

Cleo.

You are convinc’d, that what I charge him with is true.

Hor.

I don’t pretend to defend every Syllable that noble Lord has wrote. His Style is engaging, his Language polite, his Reasoning strong; many of his Thoughts are beautifully express’ d, and his Images, for the greatest Part, inimitably fine. I may be pleased with an Author, without obliging my self to answer every Cavil that shall be made against him. As to what you call your Imitation of him, I have no Taste in Burlesque: but the Laugh you would raise might be turn’d upon you with less Trouble than you seem to have taken. Pray when you consider the hard and dirty Labours that are perform’d to supply the Mob with the vast Quantities of strong Beer they swill, don’t you discover Social Virtue in a Drayman?

Cleo.

Yes, and in a Dray-horse too; at least as well as I can in some great Men, who yet would be very angry should we refuse to believe, that the most selfish Actions of theirs, if the Society receiv’d but the least Benefit from them, were chiefly owing to Principles of Virtue, and a generous Regard to the Publick. Do you believe that in the Choice of a Pope the greatest Dependance of the Cardinals, and what they principally rely upon, is the Influence of the Holy Ghost?

Hor.

No more than I do Transubstantiation.

Cleo.

But if you had been brought up a Roman Catholick, you would believe both.

Hor.

I don’t know that.

Cleo.

You would, if you was sincere in your Religion, as thousands of them are, that are no more destitute of Reason and good Sense than you or I.

Hor.

I have nothing to say as to that: there are many Things incomprehensible, that yet are certainly true: These are properly the Objects of Faith; and therefore when Matters are above my Capacity, and really surpass my Understanding, I am silent, and submit with great Humility: but I will swallow nothing which I plainly apprehend to be contrary to my Reason, and is directly clashing with my Senses.

Cleo.

If you believe a Providence, what Demonstration can you have, that God does not direct Men in an Affair of higher Importance to all Christendom than any other you can name?

Hor.

This is an ensnaring, and a very unfair Question. Providence superintends and governs every Thing without Exception. To defend my Negative and give a Reason for my Unbelief, it is sufficient, if I prove, that all the Instruments and the Means they make use of in those Elections are visibly human and mundane, and many of them unwarrantable and wicked.

Cleo.

Not all the Means; because every Day they have Prayers, and solemnly invoke the Divine Assistance.

Hor.

But what Stress they lay upon it may be easily gather’d from the rest of their Behaviour. The Court of Rome is without dispute the greatest Academy of refin’d Politicks, and the best School to learn the Art of Caballing: there ordinary Cunning and known Stratagems are counted Rusticity, and Designs are pursued through all the Mazes of human Subtlety. Genius there must give way to Finesse, as Strength does to Art in wrestling; and a certain Skill, some Men have in concealing their Capacities from others, is of far greater Use with them, than real Knowledge or the soundest Understanding. In the Sacred College, where every Thing is auro venale, Truth and Justice bear the lowest Price: Cardinal Palavicini1 and other Jesuits that have been the stanch Advocates of the Papal Authority, have own’d with Ostentation the Politia Religiosa della chiésa,2 and not hid from us the Virtues and Accomplishments, that were only valuable among the Purpurati,3 in whose Judgment Over-reaching at any rate is the highest Honour, and to be outwitted, tho’ by the basest Artifice, the greatest Shame. In Conclaves more especially nothing is carried on without Tricks and Intrigue, and in them the Heart of Man is so deep and so dark an Abyss that the finest Air of Dissimulation is sometimes found to have been insincere, and Men often deceive one another by counterfeiting Hypocrisy. And is it credible that Holiness, Religion, or the least Concern for Spirituals, should have any Share in the Plots, Machinations, Brigues 4 and Contrivances of a Society, of which each Member, besides the Gratification of his own Passions, has nothing at Heart but the Interest of his Party, right or wrong, and to distress every Faction that opposes it?

Cleo.

These Sentiments confirm to me, what I have often heard, that Renegades are the most cruel Enemies.

Hor.

Was ever I a Roman Catholick?

Cleo.

I mean from the Social System, of which you have been the most strenuous Asserter; and now no Man can judge of Actions more severely, and indeed less charitably, than yourself, especially of the poor Cardinals. I little thought, if once I quitted the Scheme of Deformity, to have found an Adversary in you; but we have both changed Sides, it seems.

Hor.

Much alike, I believe.

Cleo.

Nay, what could any body think to hear me making the kindest Interpretations of Things that can be imagin’d, and yourself doing quite the Reverse?

Hor.

What ignorant People, that knew neither of us, might have done, I don’t know: but it has been very manifest from our Discourse, that you have maintain’d your Cause by endeavouring to shew the Absurdity of the contrary Side, and that I have defended mine by letting you see, that we were not such Fools as you would represent us to be. I had taken a Resolution never to engage with you on this Topick, but you see I have broke it: I hate to be thought uncivil; it was mere Complaisance drew me in; tho’ I am not sorry that we talk’d of it so much as we did, because I found your Opinion less dangerous than I imagin’d: you have own’d the Existence of Virtue, and that there are Men who act from it as a Principle, both which I thought you denied: but I would not have you flatter yourself, that you deceiv’d me by hanging out false Colours.

Cleo.

I did not lay on the Disguise so thick, as not to have you see through it, nor would I ever have discours’d upon this Subject with any body, who could have been so easily imposed upon. I know you to be a Man of very good Sense and sound Judgment; and it is for that very Reason I so heartily wish, you would suffer me to explain my self, and demonstrate to you how small the Difference is between us, which you imagine to be so considerable: There is not a Man in the World, in whose Opinion I would less pass for an ill Man than in yours; but I am so scrupulously fearful of offending you, that I never dared to touch upon some Points, unless you had given me leave. Yield something to our Friendship, and condescend for once to read the Fable of the Bees for my Sake: It’s a handsome Volume: you love Books: I have one extremely well bound; do; let me, suffer me to make you a Present of it.

Hor.

I am no Bigot, Cleomenes; but I am a Man of Honour, and you know of strict Honour: I cannot endure to hear that ridicul’d, and the least Attempt of it chafes my Blood: Honour is the strongest and noblest Tye of Society by far, and therefore, believe me, can never be innocently sported with. It is a Thing so solid and awful, as well as serious, that it can at no Time become the Object of Mirth or Diversion; and it is impossible for any Pleasantry to be so ingenious, or any Jest so witty, that I could bear with it on that Head. Perhaps I am singular in this, and, if you will, in the wrong: be that as it will, all I can say is, Je n’entens pas Raillerie la dessus;1 and therefore no Fable of the Bees for me, if we are to remain Friends: I have heard enough of that.

Cleo.

Pray, Horatio, can there be Honour without Justice?

Hor.

No: Who affirms there can?

Cleo.

Have you not own’d, that you have thought worse of me, than now you find me to deserve? No Men, nor their Works, ought to be condemn’d upon Hearsays, and bare Surmises, much less upon the Accusations of their Enemies, without being examin’d into.

Hor.

There you are in the right: I heartily beg your Pardon, and to attone for the wrong I have done you, say what you please, I’ll hear it with Patience, be it never so shocking; but I beg of you be serious.

Cleo.

I have nothing to say to you, that is distastful, much less shocking: all I desire is to convince you, that I am neither so ill-natured nor uncharitable, in my Opinion of Mankind, as you take me to be; and that the Notions I entertain of the Worth of Things will not differ much from yours, when both come to be look’d into. Do but consider what we have been doing: I have endeavour’d to set every thing in the handsomest Light I could think of; you say, to ridicule the Social System; I own it; now reflect on your own Conduct, which has been to shew the Folly of my strain’d Panegyricks, and replace Things in that natural View, which all just, knowing Men would certainly behold them in. This is very well done: but it is contrary to the Scheme you pretended to maintain; and if you judge of all Actions in the same Manner, there’s an End of the Social System; or at least it will be evident, that it is a Theory never to be put into Practice. You argue for the Generality of Men, that they are possess’d of these Virtues, but when we come to Particulars you can find none; I have tried you every where: you are as little satisfied with Persons of the highest Rank, as you are with them of the lowest, and you count it ridiculous to think better of the midling People. Is this otherwise than standing up for the Goodness of a Design, at the same time you confess, that it never was, or ever can be executed? What sort of People are they, and where must we look for them, whom you will own to act from those Principles of Virtue?

Hor.

Are there not in all Countries Men of Birth and ample Fortune, that would not accept of Places, tho’ they were offer’d, that are generous and beneficent, and mind nothing but what is great and noble?

Cleo.

Yes: But examine their Conduct, look into their Lives, and scan their Actions with as little Indulgence as you did those of the Cardinals, or the Lawyers and Physicians, and then see what Figure their Virtues will make beyond those of the poor industrious Woman. There is, generally speaking, less Truth in Panegyricks than there is in Satyrs. When all our Senses are soothed, when we have no Distemper of Body or Mind to disturb us, and meet with nothing that is disagreeable, we are pleased with our Being: it is in this Situation, that we are most apt to mistake outward Appearances for Realities, and judge of Things more favourably than they deserve. Remember, Horatio, how feelingly you spoke half an Hour ago in Commendation of Opera’s: Your Soul seem’d to be lifted up whilst you was thinking on the many Charms you find in them. I have nothing to say against the Elegancy of the Diversion, or the Politeness of those that frequent them: but I am afraid you lost yourself in the Contemplation of the lovely Idea, when you asserted that they were the most proper Means to contract a strong and lasting Habit of Virtue: 1 do you think that among the same Number of People there is more real Virtue at an Opera, than there is at a Bear-garden?

Hor.

What a Comparison!

Cleo.

I am very serious.

Hor.

The Noise of Dogs and Bulls and Bears make a fine Harmony!

Cleo.

It is impossible you should mistake me, and you know very well, that it is not the different Pleasures of those two Places I would compare together. The Things you mention’d are the least to be complain’d of: The continual Sounds of Oaths and Imprecations, the frequent Repetitions of the Word Lie, and other more filthy Expressions, the Lowdness and Dissonance of many strain’d and untuneful Voices, are a perfect Torment to a delicate Ear. The Frowsiness of the Place, and the ill Scents of different kinds, are a perpetual Nuisance; but in all Mob Meetings---

Hor.

L’odorat souffre beaucoup.

Cleo.

The Entertainment in general is abominable, and all the Senses suffer. I allow all this. The greasy Heads, some of them bloody, the jarring Looks, and threatning, wild, and horrid Aspects, that one meets with in those ever-restless Assemblies, must be very shocking to the Sight, and so indeed is every thing else that can be seen among a rude and ragged Multitude that are cover’d with Dirt, and have in none of their Pastimes one Action that is inoffensive: But after all, Vice and what is criminal are not to be confounded with Roughness and want of Manners, no more than Politeness and an artful Behaviour ought to be with Virtue or Religion. To tell a premeditated Falshood in order to do Mischief, is a greater Sin, than to give a Man the Lie, who speaks an Untruth; and it is possible, that a Person may suffer greater Damage and more Injury to his Ruin from Slander in the low Whisper of a secret Enemy, than he could have receiv’d from all the dreadful Swearing and Cursing the most noisy Antagonist could pelt him with. Incontinence, and Adultery it self, Persons of Quality are not more free from all over Christendom, than the meaner People: But if there are some Vices, which the Vulgar are more guilty of than the better sort, there are others the Reverse. Envy, Detraction, and the Spirit of Revenge, are more raging and mischievous in Courts than they are in Cottages. Excess of Vanity and hurtful Ambition are unknown among the Poor; they are seldom tainted with Avarice, with Irreligion never; and they have much less Opportunity of robbing the Publick than their Betters. There are few Persons of Distinction, whom you are not acquainted with: I desire, you would seriously reflect on the Lives of as many as you can think of, and next Opera Night on the Virtues of the Assembly.

Hor.

You make me laugh. There is a good deal in what you say; and I am persuaded, all is not Gold that glisters. Would you add any more?

Cleo.

Since you have given me Leave to talk, and you are such a patient Hearer, I would not slip the Opportunity of laying before you some things of high Concern, that perhaps you never consider’d in the Light, which you shall own yourself they ought to be seen in.

Hor.

I am sorry to leave you; but I have really Business that must be done to-night: It is about my Law-suit, and I have stay’d beyond my time already: But if you will come and eat a Bit of Mutton with me to-morrow, I’ll see no body but your self, and we’ll converse as long as you please.

Cleo.

With all my Heart. I’ll not fail to wait on you.

1 Fable i. 54–5.

2 See above, i. lxxii-lxxv and 336, n. 1.

1 In this poem, when the cottage of Philemon and Baucis is changed into a church,

The groaning-chair began to crawl,

Like an huge snail, half up the wall;

There stuck aloft in public view,

And with small change, a pulpit grew . . . .

A bedstead of the antique mode,

Compact of timber many a load,

Such as our ancestors did use,

Was metamorphos’d into pews;

Which still their ancient nature keep

By lodging folk disposed to sleep.

a Space] a Space 30

1 Richard Graham contributed not a preface, but a supplement, to Du Fresnoy’s Latin poem, which Dryden translated in 1695 under the title of The Art of Painting. The preface, called ‘A Parallel of Poetry and Painting’, was by Dryden. It is from this preface that Mandeville almost literally cited the material in Cleomenes’ preceding speech (see Dryden, Works, ed. Scott-Saintsbury, xvii. 293–4).

1 George II was a Händelian, and allowed the composer, then conducting a season at the King’s Theatre, a pension, as George I had done. In addition, Queen Caroline had long been Händel’s patroness, and he was the princesses’ music-master.

2 There were two kinds of recitativo in Mandeville’s day: the recitativo secco, which was accompanied by the harpsichord, and the more effective recitativo stromentato, accompanied by orchestra. Splendid contemporary examples of the latter are ‘Alma del gran Pompeo’, from Händel’s Giulio Cesare, and ‘Deeper and deeper still’, from his Jephthah.

1 In this satire on the conventions forbidding realism in the arts Mandeville may have been not only indirectly preparing the defence of his psychological and moral realism, but vindicating the realistic homeliness of his style, which had been attacked, e. g., by Dennis, who called it ‘barbarous’ (Vice and Luxury Public Mischiefs, p. xvii). Mandeville, who cited Dennis’s abuse (Letter to Dion, p. 46), was sensitive on this score (cf. above, i. 105, n. 1).

a the om. 29

a Intrest 29

1 A parody of the extremities of Shaftesbury’s rhetoric, which did not shrink from flights like ‘O mighty Nature! wise substitute of Providence! impowered creatress! Or thou impowering Deity, supreme creator! Thee I invoke, and thee alone adore. To thee this solitude, this place, these rural meditations are sacred; whilst thus inspired with harmony of thought, though unconfined by words, and in loose numbers, I sing of Nature’s order in created beings, and celebrate the beauties which resolve in thee, the source and principle of all beauty and perfection’ (Characteristics, ed. Robertson, 1900, ii. 98, in ‘The Moralists’). ‘The Moralists’ contains the most exaggerated examples of Shaftesbury’s rhetoric.

a punctual] very punctual 30

1 Shaftesbury’s philosophy need hardly have committed him to the contention that the old woman was conscious and careful of the social implications of her conduct. It committed him only to the position that unless thus conscious she was not virtuous. Shaftesbury held ‘that in a sensible creature that which is not done through any affection at all makes neither good nor ill in the nature of that creature, who then only is supposed good when the good or ill of the system to which he has relation is the immediate object of some passion or affection moving him’ (Characteristics, ed. Robertson, 1900, i. 247). And he continues, ‘And in this case alone it is we call any creature worthy or virtuous, when it can have the notion of a public interest, and can attain the speculation or science of what is morally good or ill, admirable or blamable, right or wrong. For though we may vulgarly call an ill horse vicious, yet we never say of a good one . . . that he is worthy or virtuous’ (i. 252).

Although Mandeville somewhat misunderstood Shaftesbury, he was, however, right in affirming the fundamental opposition between their thought; see above, i. lxxii-lxxv.

a Woman om. 30

1 See his Freedom of Wit and Humour (Characteristics, ed. Robertson, i. 43–99), where his thesis is, largely, ‘Grimace and tone are mighty helps to imposture . . . a subject which would not bear raillery was suspicious . . . (i. 52).

1 Compare Bayle, Miscellaneous Reflections (1708) i. 227: ‘ . . . the celebrated Cardinal Pallavicin has most learnedly and piously prov’d, the Catholick Church ought to be on the foot of Temporal Power . . . .’

In his Free Thoughts (1729), p. 147, Mandeville cited Pallavicini’s Istoria del Concilio di Trento. But this does not mean that Mandeville had read Pallavicini, for the reference is taken almost literally from the 1710 English translation of Bayle’s Dictionnaire, art. ‘Leo X’, n. A.

2 A chapter heading in Mandeville’s Free Thoughts reads Of the Politicks of the Church— the same thing.

3 Cardinals.

4 Factions.

1 Cf. Molière’s ‘Nous n’entendons point raillerie sur les matières de l’honneur . . .’ (George Dandin 1. iv).

1 See Fable ii. 40.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:00