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AN ENQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN OF HONOUR AND The Usefulness of CHRISTIANITY IN WAR.
By the Author of the FABLE of the BEES. [Bernard Mandeville]
I take it for granted, that a Christian is not bound to believe any Thing to have been of Divine Institution, that has not been declared to be such in Holy Writ. Yet great Offence has been taken at an Essay, in the First Part of the Fable of the _Bees_, call’d An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue; notwithstanding the great Caution it is wrote with. Since then, it is thought Criminal to surmise, that even Heathen Virtue was of Human Invention, and the Reader, in the following Dialogues, will find me to persist in the Opinion, that it was; I beg his Patience to peruse what I have to say for my self on this Head, which is all I shall trouble him with here.
The Word Morality is either synonimous with Virtue, or signifies that Part of Philosophy, which treats of it, and teaches the Regulation of Manners; and by the Words Moral Virtue, I mean the same Thing which I believe Every body else does. I am likewise fully persuaded that to govern our selves according to the Dictates of Reason, is far better than to indulge the Passions without Stop or Controul, and consequently that Virtue is more beneficial than Vice, not only for the Peace and real Happiness of Society in general, but likewise for the Temporal Felicity of every individual Member of it, abstract from thee Consideration of a future State, I am moreover convinced, that all wise Men ever were and ever will be of this Opinion; and I shall never oppose Any body, who shall be pleased to call this an Eternal Truth.
Having allow’d and own’d thus much, I beg Leave to make a short Grammatical Reflection on the Sounds or Letters we make use of to express this rational Management of ourselves: For tho’ the Truth of its Excellency is Eternal, the Words _Moral Virtue_ themselves are not so, any more than Speech or Man himself. Permit me therefore to enquire which Way it is most probably, they must have come into the World.
The Word _Moral_, without Doubt, comes from _Mos_, and signifies every Thing that relates to Manners: The Word _Ethick_ is synonimous with _Moral_, and is derived from [Greek: ithik], which is exactly the same in _Greek_, that _Mos_ is in _Latin_. The _Greek_ for Virtu, is [Greek: arete], which is derived from [Greek: ares], the God of War and properly signifies Martial Virtue. The same Word in _Latin_, if we believe _Cicero_, comes from _Vir_; and the genuine Signification likewise of the Word _Virtus_ is Fortitude. It is hardly to be conceived, but that in the first Forming of all Societies, there must have been Struggles for Superiority; and therefore it is reasonable to imagine, that in all the Beginnings of Civil Government, and the Infancy of Nations, Strength and Courage must have been the most valuable Qualifications for some Time. This makes me think, that _Virtus_, in its first Acceptation, might, with great Justice and Propriety, be in _English_ render’d _Manliness_; which fully expresses the Original Meaning of it, and shews the Etymology equally with the _Latin_; and whoever is acquainted with that Language must know, that it was some ages before the _Romans_ used it in any other Sense. Nay, to this Day, the Word _Virtus_ by it self, in any of their Historians, has the same Signification, as if the Word _Bellica_ had been added. We have Reason to think, that, as First, Nothing was meant by _Virtus_, but Daring and Intrepidity, right or wrong; or else if could never have been made to signify Savageness, and brutish Courage; as _Tacitus_, in the Fourth Book of his History, makes use of it manifestly in that Sense. Even Wild Beasts, says he, if you keep them shut up, will lose their Fierceness. _Etiam sera animalia, si clausa teneas, virtutis obliviseuntur_.
What the Great Men of _Rome_ valued themselves upon was active and passive Bravery, Warlike Virtue, which is so strongly express’d in the Words of Livy: _Et facere & pati fortia Romanum est._ But besides the Consideration of the great Service, All Warriours received from this Virtue, there is a very good Reason in the Nature of the Thing it self, why it should be in far higher Esteem than any other. The Passion it has to struggle with, is the most violent and stubborn, and consequently the hardest to be conquer’d, the Fear of Death: The least Conflict with it is harsh Work, and a difficult Task; and it is in Regard to this, that _Cicero_, in his _Offices_, calls Modesty, Justice and Temperance, the softer and easier Virtues. _Qui virtutibus bis lenioribus erit ornatus, modestia, justitia temperantia,_ &c. Justice and Temperance require Professors as grave and solemnn, and demand as much Strictness and Observance as any other Virtues. Why _lenioribus_ then; but that they are more mild and gentle in the Restrain they lay upon our Inclinations, and that the Self-denial they require is more practicable and less mortifying than that of Virtue itself, as it is taken in it proper and genuine Sense? To be Just or Temperate, we have Temptations to encounter, and Difficulties to surmount, that are troublesome: But the Efforts we are oblig’d to make upon our selves to be truyly Valiant are infinitely greater; and, in order to it, we are overcome the First, the strongest and most lasting Passion, that has been implanted in us; for tho’ we may hate and have Aversion to many Things by Instinct, yet this is Nothing so generally terrible, and so generally dreadful to all Creatures, rational or not rational, as the Dissolution of their Being.
Upon due Consideration of what has been said, it will be easy to imagine how and why, soon after Fortitude had been honoured with the Name of Virtue, all the other Branches of Conquest over our selves were dignify’d with the same Title. We may see in it likewise the Reason of what I have always so strenuously insisted upon, _viz._ That no Practice, no Action or good Quality, how useful or beneficial soever they may be in them selves, can ever deserve the Name of Virtue, strictly speaking, where there is not a palpable Self-denial to be seen. In Tract of Time, the Sense of the Word _Virtus_ received still a grated Latitude; and it signify’d Worth, Strength, Authority, and Goodness of all Kinds: _Plautus_ makes use of it, for Assistance. _Virtute Deum_, by the Help of the Gods. By Degrees it was applied not only to Brutes, _Est in juveneis, est in equis patrum Virtus_, but likewise to Things inanimate and was made Use of to express the Power, and peculiar Qualities of Vegetables and Minerals of all Sorts, as it continues to be to this Day. The Virtue of the Loadstone, the Virtue of Opium, &c. It is highly probable, that the Word _Moral_, either in _Greek_ or _Latin_, never was thought of before the Signification of the Word _Virtue_ had been extended so far beyond its Original; and then in speaking of the Virtues of our Species, the Addition of that Epithet became necessary, to denote the Relation they had to our Manners, and distinguish them from the Properties and Efficacy of Plants, Stones, &c. which were likewise call’d _Virtues_.
If I am wrong, I shall be glad to see a better Account, how this Adjective and Substantive came to be join’d together. In the mean Time, I am very sure, that this is Nothing strain’d or forc’d in my Supposition. That the Words, in Tract of Time, are be come of greater Importance, I don’t deny. The Words _Clown_ and _Villain_ have opprobrious Meanings annex’d to them, that were never implied in _Colonus_ and _Villanus_, from which they were undoubtedly derived. _Moral_, for ought I know, may now signify _Virtue_, in the same Manner and for the same Reason, that _Panic_ signifies _Fear_.
That this Conjecture or Opinion of mine, should be detracting from the Dignity of _Moral Virtue_, or have a Tendency to bring it into Disrepute, I can not see. I have already own’d, that it ever was and ever will be preferable to Vice, in the Opinion of all wise Men. But to call Virtue it self Eternal, can not be done without a strangely Figurative Way of Speaking. There is no Doubt, but all Mathematical Truths are Eternal, yet they are taught; and some of them are very abstruse, and the Knowledge of them never was acquir’d without great Labour and Depth of Thought. _Euclid_ had his Merit; and it does not appear that the Doctrine of the _Fluxions_ was known before Sir _Isaac Newton_ discover’d that concise Way of Computation; and it is not impossible that there should be another Method, as yet unknown, still more compendious, that may not be found out these Thousand Years.
All Propositions, not confin’d to Time or Place, that are once true, must be always so; even in the silliest and most abject Things in the World; as for Example, It is wrong to under-roast Mutton for People who love to have their Meat well done. The Truth of this, which is the most trifling Thing I can readily think on, is as much Eternal, as that of the Sublimest Virtue. If you ask me, where this Truth was, before there was Mutton, or People to dress or eat it, I answer, in the same Place where Chastity was, before there were any Creatures that had an Appetite to procreate their Species. This puts me in mind of the inconsiderate Zeal of some Men, who even in Metaphysicks, know not how to think abstractly, and cannot forebear mixing their own Meanness and Imbecillities, with the Idea’s they form of the Supreme Being.
There is no Virtue that has a Name, but it curbs, regulates, or subdues some Passion that is peculiar to Humane Nature; and therefore to say, that God has all the Virtues in the highest Perfection, wants as much the Apology, that it is an Expression accommodated to vulgar Capacities, as that he has Hands and Feet, and is angry. For as God has not a Body, nor any Thing that is Corporeal belonging to his Essence, so he is entirely free from Passions and Fralities. With what Propriety then can we attribute any Thing to him that was invented, or at least signifies a Strength or Ability to conquer or govern Passions and Fralities? The Holiness of God, and all his Perfections, as well as the Beatitude he exists in, belong to his Nature; and there is no Virtue but what is acquired. It signifies Nothing to add, that God has those Virtues in the highest Perfection; let them be what they will, as to Perfection, they must still be Virtues; which, for the aforesaid Reasons, it is impertinent to ascribe to the Diety. Our Thoughts of God should be as worthy of him as we are able to frame them; and as they can not be adequate to his Greatness, so they oughts at least to be abstract from every Thing that does or can belong to silly, reptile Man: And it is sufficient, whenever we venture to speak of a Subject so immensly far beyond our Reach, to say, that there is a perfect and compleat Goodness in the Divine Nature, infinitely surpassing not only the highest Perfection, which the most virtuous Men can arrive at, but likewise every Thing that Mortals can conceive about it.
I recommend the fore-going Paragraph to the Consideration of the Advocates for the Eternity and Divine Original of Virtue; assuring them, that, if I am mistaken, it is not owing to any Perverseness of my Will, but Want of Understanding.
The Opinion, that there can be no Virtue without Self-denial, is more advantagious to Society than the contrary Doctrine, which is a vast Inlet to Hypocrisy, as I have shewn at large : Yet I am willing to allow, that Men may contract a Habit of Virtue, so as to practise it, without being sensible of Self-denial, and even that they may take Pleasure in Actions that would be impracticable to the Vicious: But then it is manifest, that this Habit is the Work of Art, Education and Custom; and it never was acquired, where the Conquest over the Passions had not be already made. There is no Virtuous Man of Forty Years, but he may remember the Conflict he had with some Appetites before he was Twenty. How natural seem all Civilities to be a Gentleman! Yet Time was, that he would not have made his Bow, if he had not been bid.
[Footnote 1: Fable of the _Bees_. p. ii. P. 106.]
Whoever has read the Second Part of the Fable of the _Bees_, will see, that in these Dialogues I make Use of the same Persons, who are the Interlocutors there, and whose Characters have been already draw in the Preface of that Book.
The CONTENTS OF THE FIRST DIALOGUE.
_Honour is built upon a Passion in Human Nature, for which there is no Name_
_The Author’s Reasons for Coining the Word Self-liking_
_How the Passion of Self-liking is discovered in Infants_
_A Definition of Honour, and what it is in Substance_
_The Author’s Opinion illustrated by what we know of Dishonour or Shame_
_The different Symptoms of Pride and Shame in the Mechanism of Man_
_Are both the Result of the same Passion_
_The Word Honour, as it signifies a Principle of Courage and Virtue, is of Gothick Extraction_
_All Societies of Men are perpetually in Quest after Happiness_
_The true Reason, why no Nations can be govern’d without Religion, enquired into_
_Why no one Sort or Degree of Idolatry can be more or less absurd than another_
_For what Purpose all Religions may be equally serviceable_
_All Men are born with the Fear of an invisible Cause_
_The Usefulness of that Fear, as to Religion_
_The Impossibility of making_ Atheism _universally received_
_Religion no Invention of Politicians_
_The Benefit expected from the Notions of Honour_
_The Reasonableness of Mens Actions examined_
_How the Strictness of the Gospel came to be first disapproved of, and the Consequence_
_How Mens Actions may be inconsistent with their Belief_
_That many bad Christians were yet kept in Awe by the Fear of Shame, gave the first Handle to the Invention of Honour as a Principle_
_What it is we are afraid of in the Fear of Shame_
_Why the Principle of Honour has been of more Use to Society than that of Virtue_
_The Principle of Honour, clashing with Christianity_
_Reasons why the Church of_ Rome _endeavour’d to reconcile them_
_The real Design of_ Legends _and_ Romances
_The Stratagems of the Church of_ Rome _to enslave the Laity_
_What gave Rise to the Custom of Duelling_
The Contents of the Second Dialogue.
_Of the Principle of Honour in the fair Sex_
_The Motives of Women who turn Nuns, seldom Religious_
_Which is most serviceable to the Preservation of Chastity in Women, Religion, or Self-liking_
_How the Notions concerning the Principle of Honour came to be commonly received_
_The Qualifications thought Necessary in a Man of Honour_
_But Courage alone is sufficient to obtain the Title_
_When the Fashion of Duelling was at its greatest Height_
_Courts of Honour erected in_ France
_Laws of Honour made by them to prevent Duelling_
_Why those Laws were the Reverse of all others_
_The Laws of Honour introduced as speaking_
_The Effect such Laws must have on Human Nature_
_The Arguments a true Christian would make use of to dissuade Men from Duelling_
_The Reasons why Men are despised who take Affronts without resenting them_
_No Scarcity of Believers in Christ_
_The Principle of Honour contrary to Christianity_
_Why the Principle of Honour is of greater Efficacy upon many than Religion_
_How Men may adore themselves_
_Equivalents for Swearing_
_A ludicrous Proposal of_ Horatio _upon the Supposition, that Honor is an Idol_
_A Passage in the Fable of the Bees Defended_
_Satyr as little to be depended upon as Panegyrick_
_Whatever belongs to Honour or Shame, has its Foundation in the Passion of Self-liking_
_The Church of_ Rome’s _cunning in consulting and humouring Human Nature_
_Heraldry of great influence on the Passion of Self-liking_
_Of Canonizations of Saint, and the different Purposes they serve_
_The want of Foresight in the first Reformers_
_The worldly Wisdom of the Church of Rome_
_Hor. owning the Self-denial required in the Gospel in a literal Sense_
_The great Use she has made of it_
_The Analogy between the Popish Religion and a Manufacture_
_The Danger there is in explaining away the Self-denial of the Gospel_
_How the Self-denial of some may seem to be of use to others that practise none_
_Easy Casuists can only satisfy the_ Beau Monde
_Jesuits don’t, explain away Self-denial in General_
_What sort of Preachers will soonest gain Credit among the Multitude_
_Men may easily be taught to believe what is not Clashing with received Opinions_
_The force of Education as to Self-denial_
_The Advantage the Church of Rome has made from vulgar Nations_
_Divines, who appeal to Men’s Reason, ought to behave differently from those, who teach implicite Faith._
_Why the Luxury of a Popish Clergy gives less Offence to the Laity, than that of Protestants_
_What the Church of_ Rome _seems no to dispair of_
_The Politicks of_ Rome _more formidable than any other_
_What must always keep up the Popish Interest in_ Great-Britain
_The most probable Maxims to hinder the Growth as well as Irreligion and Impiety as of Popery and Superstition_
_When the literal Sense of Words is to be prefer’d to the figurative_
_What the Reformers might have foreseen_
_What has been and ever will be the Fate of all Sects_
The Contents of the Third Dialog
_The Beginning of all Earthly Things was mean_
_The Reason of the high Value Men have for things in which they have but the least Share_
_Whether the best Christians make the best Soldiers_
_Remarks on the Word_ Difference
_An excursion of_ Horatio
_Why Religious Wars are the most Cruel_
_The Pretensions of the Huguenot Army in_ France, _and that of the_ Roundheads _in England near the same_
_What was answered by their Adversaries_
_What would be the natural Consequeuce of such Differences_
_The Effect which such a Contrariety of Interests would always have on the sober Party_
_Superstition and Enthusiasm may make Men fight, but the Doctrine of Christ never can_
_What is required in a Soldier to be call’d virtuous and good_
_Instances where debauch’d Fellows and the greatest Rogues have fought well_
_What is connived at in Soldiers and what not_
_Divines in Armies seldom rigid Casuists_
_How Troops may aquire the Character of being good Christians_
_Why Divines are necessary in Armies_
_Why the worst Religion is more beneficial to Society than Atheism_
_Whether Preachers of the Gospel ever made Men Fight_
_The use that may be made of the Old Testament_
_An everlasting Maxim in Politicks_
_When the Gospel is preach’d to military Men, and when it is let aside_
_Whether_ Cromwel’s _Views in promoting an outward Shew of Piety were Religious or Political_
_The Foundation of the Quarrels that occasion’d the Civil War_
_How Men who are sincere in their Religion may be made to Act contrary to the Precept of it_
_When the Gospel ought no longer to be appeald to_
_A promise to prove what seems to be a Paradox_
_What all Priests have labour’d at in all Armies_
_The Sentiments that were instill’d into the Minds of the_ Roundheads
_The Use which it is probable, a crafty wicked General would make of a Conjucture, as here hinted at_
_How Men may be sincere and in many Respects morally good, and bad Christians_
_How an obsure Man might raise himself to the highest Post in an Army, and be thought a Saint tho’ he was an Atheist_
_How wicked men may be useful soldiers_
_How the most obdurate Wretch might receive benefit as a soldier from an outward Shew of Devotion in others_
_That Men may be sincere Believers and yet lead wicked Lives_
_Few Men are wicked from a desire to be so_
_How even bad Men may be chear’d up by Preaching_
_Hyopcrites to save an outward Appearance may be as useful as Men of Sincerity_
_There are two sorts of Hypocrites very different from one another_
The Contents of the Fourth Dialogue.
_An Objection of_ Horatio, _concerning Fast-Days_
_What War they would be useful in, if duely kept_
_How Christianity may be made serviceable to Anti-Christian Purposes_
_What is understood in_ England _by keeping a Fast-Day_
_The real Doctrine of Christ can give no Encouragement for Fighting_
_Instances, where Divines seem not to think themselves strictly tied to the Gospel_
_The Art of Preaching in Armies_
_The Use which Politicians may make of extraordinary Days of Devotion, abstract from all Thoughts of Religion_
_The miserable Nations, which many of the Vulgar have of Religion_
_How the Rememberance of a Fast-Day may affect a Wicked Soldier_
_The Power which Preaching may have upon ignorant Well-wishers to Religion_
_The Days of Supplication among the Ancients_
_A general Show of Religion cannot be procured at all Times_
_What Conjuncture it is only practicable in_
_A Character of_ Oliver Cromwell
_A Spirit of Gentility introduced among Military Men_
_An improvement in the Art of Flattery_
_A Demonstration that what made the Men fight well in the late Wars was not their Religion_
_Why no Armies could subsist without Religion_
_A Recapitulation of what has been advanced in this and the former Dialogue_
ERRATA Page 81. Line 6. _read_ Influence. P. 94. l. 12. r. _Proprators_. P. 174. l. 3. r. Rites.
The First Dialogue Between _Horatio_ and _Cleomenes_.
_Horatio_. I Wonder you never attempted to guess at the Origin of Honour, as you have done at that of Politeness, and your Friend in his Fable of the Bees has done at the Origin of Virtue.
Cleo. I have often thought of it, and am satisfied within my self, that my Conjecture about it is Just; but there are Three substantial Reasons, why I have hitherto kept it to my Self, and never yet mention’d to any One, what my Sentiments are concerning the Origin of that charming Sound.
Hor. Let me hear your Reasons however.
Cleo. The Word Honour, is used in such different Acceptations, is now a Verb, then a Noun, sometimes taken for the Reward of Virtue, sometimes for a Principle that leads to Virtue, and, at others again, signifies Virtue it self; that it would be a very hard Task to take in every Thing that belongs to it, and at the same Time avoid Confusion in Treating of it. This is my First Reason. The Second is: That to set forth and explain my Opinion on this Head to others with Perspicuity, would take up so much Time, that few People would have the Patience to hear it, or think it worth their while to bestow so much Attention, as it would require, on what the greatest Part of Mankind would think very trifling.
Hor. This Second whets my Curiosity: pray, what is your Third Reason?
Cleo. That the very Thing, to which, in my Opinion, Honour owes its Birth, is a Passion in our Nature, for which there is no Word coin’d yet, no Name that is commonly known and receiv’d in any Language.
Hor. That is very strange.
Cleo. Yet not less true. Do you remember what I said of Self-liking in our Third Conversation, when I spoke of the Origin of Politeness?
Hor. I do; but you know, I hate Affectation and Singularity of all sorts. Some Men are fond of uncouth Words of their own making, when there are other Words already known, that sound better, and would equally explain their Meaning: What you call’d then Self-liking at last prov’d to be Pride, you know.
Cleo. Self-liking I have call’d that great Value, which all Individuals set upon their own Persons; that high Esteem, which I take all Men to be born with for themselves. I have proved from what is constantly observ’d in Suicide, that there is such a Passion in Human Nature, and that it is plainly  distinct from Self-love. When this Self-liking is excessive, and so openly shewn as to give Offence to others, I know very well it is counted a Vice and call’d Pride: But when it is kept out of Sight, or is so well disguis’d as not to appear in its own Colours, it has no Name, tho’ Men act from that and no other Principle.
[Footnote 2: Fable of the Bees, part II. p. 141]
Hor. When what you call Self-liking, that just Esteem which Men have naturally for themselves, is moderate, and spurs them on to good Actions, it is very laudable, and is call’d the Love of Praise or a Desire of the Applause of others. Why can’t you take up with either of these Names?
Cleo. Because I would not confound the Effect with the Cause. That Men are desirous of Praise, and love to be applauded by others, is the Result, a palpable Consequence, of that Self-liking which reigns in Human Nature, and is felt in every one’s Breast before we have Time or Capacity to reflect and think of Any body else. What Moralists have taught us concerning the Passions, is very superficial and defective. Their great Aim was the Publick Peace, and the Welfare of the Civil Society; to make Men governable, and unite Multitudes in one common Interest.
Hor. And is it possible that Men can have a more noble Aim in Temporals?
Cleo. I don’t deny that; but as all their Labours were only tending to those Purposes, they neglected all the rest; and if they could but make Men useful to each other and easy to themselves, they had no Scruple about the Means they did it by, nor any Regard to Truth or the Reality of Things; as is evident from the gross Absurdities they have made Men swallow concerning their own Nature, in spight of what All felt within. In the Culture of Gardens, whatever comes up in the Paths is weeded out as offensive and flung upon the Dunghill; out among the Vegetables that are all thus promiscously thrown away for Weeds, there may be many curious Plants, on the Use and Beauty of which a Botanist would read long Lectures. The Moralists have endeavour’d to rout Vice, and clear the Heart of all hurtful Appetites and Inclinations: We are beholden to them for this in the same Manner as we are to Those who destroy Vermin, and clear the Countries of all noxious Creatures. But may not a Naturalist dissect Moles, try Experiments upon them, and enquire into the Nature of their Handicraft, without Offence to the Mole-catchers, whose Business it is only to kill them as fast as they can?
Hor. What Fault is it you find with the Moralists? I can’t see what you drive at.
Cleo. I would shew you, that the Want of Accuracy in them, when they have treated of Human Nature, makes it extremely difficult to speak intelligibly of the different Faculties of our intellectual Part. Some Things are very essential, and yet have no Name, as I have given an Instance in that Esteem which Men have naturally for themselves, abstract from Self-love, and which I have been forced to coin the Word Self-liking for: Others are miscall’d and said to be what they are not. So most of the Passions are counted to be Weaknesses, and commonly call’d Frailties; whereas they are the very Powers that govern the whole Machine; and, whether they are perceived or not, determine or rather create The Will that immediately precedes every deliberate Action.
Hor. I now understand perfectly well what you mean by Self-liking. You are of Opinion, that we are all born with a Passion manifestly distinct from Self-love; that, when it is moderate and well regulated, excites in us the Love of Praise, and a Desire to be applauded and thought well of by others, and stirs us up to good Actions: but that the same Passion, when it is excessive, or ill turn’d, whatever it excites in our Selves, gives Offence to others, renders us odious, and is call’d Pride. As there is no Word or Expression that comprehends all the different Effects of this same Cause, this Passion, you have made one, _viz_. Self-liking, by which you mean the Passion in general, the whole Extent of it, whether it produces laudable Actions, and gains us Applause, or such as we are blamed for and draw upon us the ill Will of others.
Cleo. You are extremely right; this was my Design in coining the Word Self-liking.
Hor. But you said, that Honour owes its Birth to this Passion; which I don’t understand, and wish you would explain to me.
Cleo. To comprehend this well, we ought to consider, that as all Human Creatures are born with this Passion, so the Operations of it are manifestly observed in Infants; as soon as they begin to be conscious and to reflect, often before they can speak or go.
Hor. As how?
Cleo. If they are praised, or commended, tho’ they don’t deserve it, and good Things are said of them, tho’ they are not true, we see, that Joy is raised in them, and they are pleased: On the Contrary, when they are reproved and blamed, tho’ they know themselves to be in Fault, and bad Things are said of them, tho’ Nothing but Truth, we see it excites Sorrow in them and often Anger. This Passion of Self-liking, then, manifesting it self so early in all Children that are not Idiots, it is inconceivable that Men should not be sensible, and plainly feel, that they have it long before they are grown up: And all Men feeling themselves to be affected with it, tho’ they know no Name for the Thing it self, it is impossible, that they should long converse together in Society without finding out, not only that others are influenced with it as well as themselves, but likewise which Way to please or displease one another on Account of this Passion.
Hor. But what is all this to Honour?
Cleo. I’ll shew you. When _A_ performs an Action which, in the Eyes of _B_, is laudable, _B_ wishes well to _A_; and, to shew him his Satisfaction, tells him, that such an Action is an Honour to Him, or that He ought to be Honoured for it: By saying this, _B_, who knows that all Men are affected with Self-liking, intends to acquaint _A_, that he thinks him in the Right to gratify and indulge himself in the Passion of Self-liking. In this Sense the Word Honour, whether it is used as a Noun or a Verb, is always a Compliment we make to Those who act, have, or are what we approve of; it is a Term of Art to express our Concurrence with others, our Agreement with them in their Sentiments concerning the Esteem and Value they have for themselves. From what I have said, it must follow, that the greater the Multitudes are that express this Concurrence, and the more expensive, the more operose, and the more humble the Demonstrations of it are, the more openly likewise they are made, the longer they last, and the higher the Quality is of Those who join and assist in this Concurrence, this Compliment; the greater, without all Dispute, is the Honour which is done to the Person in whose Favour these Marks of Esteem are displayed: So that the highest Honour which Men can give to Mortals, whilst alive, is in Substance no more, than the most likely and most effectual Means that Human Wit can invent to gratify, stir up, and encrease in Him, to whom that Honour is paid, the Passion of Self-liking.
Hor. I am afraid it is true.
Cleo. To render what I have advanced more conspicuous, we need only look into the Reverse of Honour, which is Dishonour or Shame, and we shall find, that this could have had no Existence any more than Honour, if there had not been such a Passion in our Nature as Self-liking. When we see Others commit such Actions, as are vile and odious in our Opinion, we say, that such Actions are a Shame to them, or that they ought to be ashamed of them. By this we shew, that we differ from them in their Sentiments concerning the Value which we know, that they, as well as all Mankind, have for their own Persons; and are endeavouring to make them have an ill Opinion of themselves, and raise in them that sincere Sorrow, which always attends Man’s reflecting on his own Unworthiness. I desire, you would mind, that the Actions which we thus condemn as vile and odious, need not to be so but in our own Opinion; for what I have said happens among the worst of Rogues, as well as among the better Sort of People. If one Villain should neglect picking a Pocket, when he might have done it with Ease, another of the same Gang, who was near him and saw this, would upbraid him with it in good Earnest, and tell him, that he ought to be ashamed of having slipt so fair an Opportunity. Sometimes Shame signifies the visible Disorders that are the Symptoms of this sorrowful Reflection on our own Unworthiness; at others, we give that Name to the Punishments that are inflicted to raise those Disorders; but the more you will examine into the Nature of either, the more you will see the Truth of what I have asserted on this Head; and all the Marks of Ignominy, that can be thought of; have a plain Tendency to mortify Pride; which, in other Words, is to disturb, take away and extirpate every Thought of Self-liking.
Hor. The Author of the Fable of the _Bees_, I think, pretends somewhere to set down the different Symptoms of Pride and Shame.
Cleo. I believe they are faithfully copied from Nature. —- Here is the Passage; pray read it.
Hor.  _When a Man is overwhelm’d with Shame, he observes a Sinking of the Spirits; the Heart feels cold and condensed, and the Blood flies from it to the Circumference of the Body; the Face glows; the Neck and part of the Breast partake of the Fire: He is heavy as Lead; the Head is hung down; and the Eyes through a Mist of Confusion are fix’d on the Ground: No Injuries can move him; he is weary of his Being, and heartily wishes he could make himself invisible: But when, gratifying his Vanity, he exults in his Pride, he discovers quite contrary Symptoms; his Spirits swell and fan the Arterial Blood; a more than ordinary Warmth strengthens and dilates the Hear; the Extremities are cool; he feels Light to himself, and imagines he could tread on Air; his Head is held up; his Eyes are roll’d about with Sprightliness; he rejoices at his Being, is prone to Anger, and would be glad that all the World could take Notice of him._
[Footnote 3: Fable of the Bees, Page 57.]
Cleo. That’s all.
Hor. But you see, he took Pride and Shame to be two distinct Passions; nay, in another Place he has call’d them so.
Cleo. He did; but it was an Errour, which I know he is willing to own.
Hor. what he is willing to own I don’t know; but I think he is in the Right in what he says of them in his Book. The Symptoms of Pride and Shame are so vastly different, that to me it is inconceivable, they should proceed from the fame Passion.
Cleo. Pray think again with Attention, and you’ll be of my Opinion. My Friend compares the Symptoms that are observed in Human Creatures when they exult in their Pride, with those of the Mortification they feel when they are overwhelm’d with Shame. The Symptoms, and if you will the Sensations, that are felt in the Two Cases, are, as you say, vastly different from one another; but no Man could be affected with either, if he had not such a Passion in his Nature, as I call Self-liking. Therefore they are different Affections of one and the same Passion, that are differently observed in us, according as we either enjoy Pleasure, or are aggriev’d on Account of that Passion; in the same Manner as the most happy and the most miserable Lovers are happy and miserable on the Score of the same Passion. Do but compare the Pleasure of a Man, who with an extraordinary Appetite is feasting on what is delicious to him, to the Torment of another, who is extremely hungry, and can get Nothing to eat. No Two Things in the World can be more different, than the Pleasure of the One is from the Torment of the other; yet Nothing is more evident, than that both are derived from and owing to the same craving principle in our nature, the Desire of Food; for when this is entirely lost, it is more vexatious to eat, than it is to let it alone, tho’ the whole Body languishes, and we are ready to expire for Want of Sustenance. Hitherto I have spoken of honour in its first literal Sense, in which it is a Technic Word in the Art of Civility, and signifies a Means which Men by Conversing together have found out to please and gratify one another on Account of a palpable Passion in our Nature, that has no Name, and which therefore I call Self-liking. In this Sense I believe the Word Honour, both as a Verb and a Noun, to be as Ancient as the oldest Language. But there is another Meaning besides, belonging to the same Sound; and Honour signifies likewise a principle of Courage, Virtue, and Fidelity, which some men are said to act from, and to be aw’d by, as others are by Religion. In this latter Sense, it is much more modern, and I don’t believe to be met with a Thousand Years ago in any Language.
Hor. How! Is it but within these Thousand Years that there have been men of Bravery and Virtue? Have not the _Greeks_ and _Romans_ had great Numbers of them? Were not the _Horatii_ and _Curiatii_ Men of Honour?
Cleo. They never were call’d so. All Ages and most Countries have produced Men of Virtue and Bravery; but this I do not enquire into now: What I assert to be modern is the Phrase, the Term of Art; it is that which the Ancients knew Nothing of; nor can you with Ten Words, in either _Greek_ or _Latin_, express the entire Idea which is annex’d to the Word Honour when it signifies a Principle. To be a Man of Honour, it is not sufficient, that he, who assumes that Title, is brave in War, and dares to fight against the Enemies of his Country; but he must likewise be ready to engage in private Quarrels, tho’ the Laws of God and his Country forbid it. He must bear no Affront without resenting it, nor refuse a Challenge, if it be sent to him in a proper Manner by a Man of Honour. I make no Doubt, but this Signification of the Word Honour is entirely Gothick, and sprung up in some of the most ignorant Ages of Christianity. It seems to have been Invention to influence Men, whom Religion had no Power over. All Human Creatures have a restless Desire of mending their Condition; and in all Civil Societies and Communions of Men there seems to be a Spirit at Work, that, in Spight of the continual Opposition it receives from Vice and Misfortunes, is always labouring for, and seeking after what can never be obtain’d whilst the World stands.
Hor. What is that pray?
Cleo. To make Men compleatly Happy upon Earth. Thus Men make Laws to obviate every Inconveniency they meet with; and as Times discover to them the Insufficiency of those Laws, they make others with an Intent to enforce, mend, explain or repeal the former; till the Body of Laws grows to such an enormous Bulk, that to understand it is a tedious prolix Study, and the Numbers that follow and belong to the Practise of it, come to be a Grievance almost as great as could be fear’d from Injustice and Oppression. Nothing is more necessary than that Property should be secured; and it is impossible but on many Occasions Men must trust one another in the Civil Society. Now Nothing has ever been thought to be more obligatory or a greater Tie upon Man than Religion.
Hor. This I have often wonder’d at: Considering the Absurdities on the Religion of the _Greeks_ and _Romans,_ the bad Examples and Immoralities of their Deities, the ridiculous Fables of a _Charon,_ a _Styx,_ a _Cerberus,_ &c, and the obscenity display’d in several of their Festivals, I cannot conceive how Men could expect, that such Religions should make Men Honest, or do any good to their Morals; and yet, which is amazing to me, most wise men in all Ages have agreed, that, without some Religion or other, it would be impossible to govern any considerable Nation. However, I believe it is Fact, that it never was done.
Cleo. That no large Society of Men can be well govern’d without Religion, and that there never was a Nation that had not some Worship, and did not believe in some Deity or other, is most certain: But what do you think is the Reason of that?
Hor. Because Multitudes must be aw’d by Something that is terrible, as Flames of Hell, and Fire everlasting; and it is evident, that if it was not for the Fear of an After-Reckoning, some Men would be so wicked, that there would be no living with them.
Cleo. Pray, how wicked would they be? What Crimes would they commit?
Hor. Robbing, Murdering, Ravishing.
Cleo. And are not often here, as well as in other Nations, People convicted of, and punished for those Crimes?
Hor. I am satisfied, the Vulgar could not be managed without Religion of some Sort or other; for the Fear of Futurity keeps Thousands in Awe, who, without that Reflection, would all be guilty of those Crimes which are now committed only by a Few.
Cleo. This is a Surmise without any Foundation. It has been said a Thousand Times by Divines of all Sects; but No body has ever shewn the least Probability of its being true; and daily Experience gives us all the Reason in the World to think the Contrary; for there are Thousands, who, throughout the Course of their Lives, seem not to have the least Regard to a future State, tho’ they are Believers, and yet these very People are very cautious of committing any Thing which the Law would punish. You’ll give me Leave to observe by the By, that to believe what you say, a Man must have a worse Opinion of his Species, than ever the Author of the _Fable of the Bees_ appears to have had yet.
Hor. Don’t mistake me: I am far from believing, that Men of Sense and Education are to be frighten’d with those Bugbears.
Cleo. And what I say, I don’t mean of Libertines or Deist; but Men, that to all outward Appearance are Believers, that go to Church, receive the Sacrament, and at the Approach of Death are observed to be really afraid of Hell. And yet of these, many are Drunkards, Whoremasters, Adulterers, and not a Few of them betray their Trust, rob their Country, defraud Widows and Orphans, and make wronging their Neighbours their daily Practice.
Hor. What Temporal Benefit can Religion be of to the Civil Society, if it don’t keep People in Awe?
Cleo. That’s another Question. We both agree, that no Nation or large Society can be well govern’d without Religion. I ask’d you the Reason of this: You tell me, because the Vulgar could not be kept in Awe without it. In Reply to this, I point at a Thousand Instances, where Religion is not of the Efficacy, and shew you withal that this End of keeping Men in Awe is much better obtain’d by the Laws and temporal Punishment; and that it is the Fear of them, which actually restrains great Numbers of wicked People; I might say All, without Exception, of whom there is any Hope or Possibility, that they can be curb’d at all, or restrain’d by any Thing whatever: For such Reprobates as can make a Jest of the Gallows, and are not afraid of Hanging, will laugh likewise at Hell and defy Damnation.
Hor. If the Reason I alledge is insufficient, pray give me a better.
Cleo. I’ll endeavour it. The First Business of all Governments, I mean the Task which all Rulers must begin with, is, to make Men tractable and obedient, which is not to be perform’d unless we can make them believe, that the Instructions and Commands we give them have a plain Tendency to the Good of every Individual, and that we say Nothing to them, but what we know to be true. To do this effectually, Human Nature ought to be humour’d as well as studied: Whoever therefore takes upon him to govern a Multitude, ought to inform himself of those Sentiments that are the natural Result of the Passions and Frailties which every Human Creature is born with.
Hor. I don’t understand what Sentiments you speak of.
Cleo. I’ll explain my self. All Men are born with Fear; and as they are likewise born with a Desire of Happiness and Self-Preservation, it is natural for them to avoid Pain and every Thing that makes them uneasy; and which, by a general Word, is call’d Evil. Fear being that Passion which inspires us with a strong Aversion to Evil, it is very natural to think that it will put us up on enquiring into the means to shun it. I have told you already, in our Fifth Conversation, how this Aversion to Evil, and Endeavour to shun it, this Principle of Fear, would always naturally dispose Human Creatures to suspect the Existence of an intelligent Cause that is invisible, whenever any Evil happen’d to them, which came they knew not whence, and of which the Author was not to be seen. If you remember what I said then, the Reasons why no Nations can be govern’d without Religion, will be obvious. Every Individual, whether he is a Savage, or is born in a Civil Society, is persuaded within, that there is such an invisible Cause; and should any Mortal contradict this, no Multitude would believe a Word of what he said. Whereas, on the other Hand, if a Ruler humours this Fear, and puts it out of all Doubt, that there is such an invisible Cause, he may say of it what he pleases; and no Multitude, that was never taught any Thing to the contrary, will ever dispute it with him. He may say, that it is a Crocodile or a Monkey, an Ox, or a Dog, an Onion, or a Wafer. And as to the Essence and the Qualities of the invisible Cause, he is at Liberty to call it very good or very bad. He many say of it, that it is an envious, malicious, and the most cruel Being that can be imagin’d; that it loves Blood and delights in Human Sacrifices: Or he may say that there are two invisible Causes; one the Author of Good, the other of Evil; or that there are Three; or that there is really but One, tho’ seemingly there are Three, or else that there are Fifty Thousand. The many Calamities we are liable to, from Thunder and Lightning, Hurricanes and Earthquakes, Plagues and Inundations, will always make ignorant and untaught Men more prone to believe, that the invisible Cause is a bad mischievous Being, than that it is a good benign one; as I shew’d you then in that Fifth Conversation.
Hor. On this Head I own I must give up Mankind, and cannot maintain the Excellency of Human Nature; for the absurdities in Idolatrous Worship, that have been and are still committed by some of our own Species, are such as no Creatures of any other could out-do them in.
Cleo. The Protestant and the Mahometan are the only National Religions now, that are free from Idolatry; and therefore the Absurdities in the Worship of all the Rest are pretty much alike; at least, the Difference in the Degrees of Mens Folly, as Idolaters, is very inconsiderable. For how unknown soever an invisible Cause, Power, or Being may be, that is incomprehensible, this is certain of it, that no clear intelligible Idea can be form’d of it; and that no Figure can describe it. All Attempts then, to represent the Deity, being equally vain and frivolous, no One Shape or Form can be imagin’d of it, that can justly be said to be more or less absurd than another. As to the temporal Benefit which Religion can be of to the Civil Society, or the Political View which Lawgivers and Governours may have in promoting it, the chief Use of it is in Promises of Allegiance and Loyalty, and all solemn Engagements and Asseverations, in which the invisible Power, that, in every Country, is the Object of the Publick Worship, is involved or appeal’d to. For these Purposes all Religions are equally serrviceable; and the worst is better than none: For without the belief of an invisible Cause, no Man’s Word is to be relied upon, no Vows or Protestations can be depended upon; but as soon as a Man believes, that there is a Power somewhere, that will certainly punish him, if he forswears himself; as soon, I say, as a Man believes this, we have Reason to trust to his Oath; at least, it is a better Test than any other Verbal Assurance. But what this same Person believes further, concerning the Nature and the Essence of that Power he swears by, the Worship it requires, or whether he conceives it in the singular or plural Number, may be very material to himself, but the Socicty has Nothing to do with it: Because it can make no Alteration in the Security which his Swearing gives us. I don’t deny the Usefulness which even the worst Religion that can be, may be of to Politicians and the Civil Society: But what I insist upon, is, that the temporal Benefit of it, or the Contrivance of Oaths and Swearing, could never have enter’d into the the Heads of Politician, if the Fear of an invisible Cause had not pre-existed and been supposed to be universal, any more than they would have contrived matrimony, if the Desire of Procreation had not been planted in Human Nature and visible in both Sexes. Passions don’t affect us, but when they are provoked: The Fear of Death is a Reality in our Nature: But the greatest Cowards may, and often do, live Forty Years and longer, without being disturb’d by it. The Fear of an invisible Cause is as real in our Nature, as the Fear of Death; either of them may be conquer’d perhaps; but so may Lust; and Experience teaches us, that how violent soever the Desire of Propagating our Species may be whilst we are young, it goes off, and is often entirely lost in old Age. When I hear a Man say, that he never felt any Fear of an invisible Cause, that was not owing to Education, I believe him as much as I do a young married Woman in Health and Vigour, who tells me, that she never felt any Love to a Man, that did not proceed from a Sense of her Duty.
Hor. Does this Fear, this Acknowledgment of an invisible Cause, dispose or excite men any more to the true Religion, than it does to the grossest and most abominable Idolatry?
Cleo. I don’t say it does. But there is no Passion in Human Nature so beneficial, that, according as it is managed, may not do Mischief as well as good. What do you think of Love? If this Fear had not been common to the whole Species, none could have been influenc’d by it; the Consequence of which must have been, that Men would have rejected the true Religion as well as the false. There is Nothing that Men may differ in, in which they will ever be all of the same Opinion: And abstruse Truths do often seem to be less probable than well dress’d Fables, when they are skilfully accommodated to our Understanding, and agreeable to our own Way of thinking. That there is but one God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, that is an all-wise and perfectly good Being, without any Mixture of Evil, would have been a most rational Opinion, tho’ it had not been reveal’d. But Reasoning and Metaphysicks must have been carried on to a great Height of Perfection, before this Truth could be penetrated into by the Light of Nature. _Plutarch_, who was a Man of great Learning, and has in many Things display’d good Sense and Capacity, thought it impossible, that one Being should have been the Cause of the Whole, and was therefore of Opinion, that there must have been Two Principles; the one to produce all the Good; and the other all the Evil that is in the World. And Some of the greatest men have been of this Opinion, both before and since the Promulgation of the Gospel. But whatever Philosophers and men of Letters may have advanced, there never was an Age or a Country where the Vulgar would ever come into an Opinion that contradicted that Fear, which all men are born with, of an invisible Cause, that meddles and interferes in Human Affairs; and there is a greater Possibility, that the most Senseless Enthusiast should make a knowing and polite Nation believe the most incredible Falsities, or that the most odious Tyrant should persuade them to the grossest Idolatry, than that the most artful Politician, or the most popular Prince, should make Atheism to be universally received among the Vulgar of any considerable State or Kingdom, tho’ there were no Temples or Priests to be seen. From all which I would shew, that, on the one Hand, you can make no Multitudes believe contrary to what they feel, or what contradicts a Passion inherent in their Nature, and that, on the other, if you humour that Passion, and allow it to be just, you may regulate it as you please. How unanimous soever, therefore, all Rulers and Magistrates have seem’d to be in promoting some Religion or other, the Principle of it was not of their Invention. They found it in Man; and the Fear of an invisible Cause being universal, if Governours had said nothing of it, every Man in his own Breast would have found Fault with them, and had a Superstition of his own to himself. It has often been seen, that the most subtle Unbelievers among Politicians have been forced, for their own Quiet, to counterfeit their Attachment to religion, when they would a Thousand Times rather have done without it.
Hor. It is not in the Power then, you think, of Politicians, to contradict the Passions, or deny the Existence of them, but that, when once they have allow’d them to be just and natural, they may guide Men in the Indulgence of them, as they please.
Cleo. I do so; and the Truth of this is evident likewise in another Passion, (_viz_) that of Love, which I hinted at before; and Marriage was not invented to make Men procreate; they had that Desire before; but it was instituted to regulate a strong Passion, and prevent the innumerable Mischiefs that would ensue, if Men and Women should converse together promiscuosly, and love and leave one another as Caprice and their unruly Fancy led them. Thus we see, that every Legislator has regulated Matrimony in that Way, which, to the best of his Skill, he imagin’d would be the most proper to promote the Peace Felicity in general of Those he govern’d: And how great an Imposter soever _Mahomet_ was, I can never believe, that he would have allow’d his _Mussulmen_ Three or Four Wives a piece, if he had thought it better, than one; Man should be contented with and confin’d to One Woman; I mean better upon the Whole, more beneficial to the Civil Society, as well in Consideration of the Climate he lived in–, as the Nature and the Temperament of those _Arabians_ he gave his Laws to.
Hor. But what is all this to the Origin of Honour? What Reason have you to think it to be of Gothick Extraction?
Cleo. My Conjecture concerning Honour, as it signifies a Principle from which Men act, is, that it is an Invention of Politicians, to keep Men close to their Promises and Engagements, when all other Ties prov’d ineffectual; and the Christian Religion itself was often found insufficient for that Purpose.
Hor. But the Belief of an over-ruling Power, that will certainly punish Perjury and Injustice, being common to all Religions, what pre-eminence has the Christian over the Rest, as to the Civil Society in Temporals?
Cleo. It shews and insists upon the Necessity of that Belief more amply and more emphatically than any other. Besides, the Strictness of its Morality, and the exemplary Lives of Those who preach’d it, gain’d vast Credit to the mysterious Part of it; and there never had been a Doctrine or Philosophy from which it was so likely to expect, that it would produce Honesty, mutual Love and Faithfulness in the Discharge of all Duties and Engagements as the Christian Religion. The wisest Moralists, before that Time, has laid the greatest Stress on the Reasonableness of their precepts; and appeal’d to Human Understanding for the Truth of their Opinions. But the Gospel, soaring beyond the Reach of Reason, teaches us many Things, which no Mortal could ever have known, unless they had been reveal’d to him; and several that must always remain incomprehensible to finite Capacities; and this is the Reason, that the Gospel presses and enjoins Nothing with more Earnestness than Faith and Believing.
Hor. But would Men be more sway’d by Things they believed only, than they would be by those they understood?
Cleo. All Human Creatures are sway’d and wholly govern’d by their Passions, whatever fine Notions we may flatter our Selves with; even those who act suitably to their Knowledge, and strictly follow the Dictates of their Reason, are not less compell’d so to do by some Passion or other, that sets them to Work, than others, who bid Defiance and act contrary to Both, and whom we call Slaves to their Passions. To love Virtue for the Beauty of it, and curb one’s Appetites because it is most reasonable so to do, are very good Things in Theory; but whoever understands our Nature, and consults the Practice of Human Creatures, would sooner expect from them, that they should abstain from Vice, for Fear of Punishment, and do good, in Hopes of being rewarded for it.
Hor. Would you prefer that Goodness, built upon Selfishness and Mercenary Principles, to that which proceeds from a Rectitude of Thinking, and a real Love of Virtue and Reasonableness of Mens Actions?
Cleo. We can give no better Proof of our Reasonableness, than by judging rightly. When a Man wavers in his Choice, between present Enjoyments of Ease and Pleasure, and the Discharge of Duties that are troublesome, he weighs what Damage or benefit will accrue to him upon the Whole, as well from the Neglect as the Observence of the Duties that are prescrib’d to him; and the greater the Punishment is he fears from the Neglect, and the more transcendent the Reward is which he hopes for from the Observance, the more reasonably he acts, when he sides with his Duty. To bear with Inconveniencies, Pain and Sorrow, in Hopes of being eternally Happy, and refuse the Enjoyments of Pleasure, for Fear of being Miserable for ever, are more justifiable to Reason, and more consonant to good Sense, than it is to do it for Nothing.
Hor. But our Divines will tell you, that this Slavish Fear is unacceptable, and that the Love of God ought to be the Motive of good Actions.
Cleo. I have Nothing against the refin’d Notions of the Love of God, but this is not what I would now speak of. My Design was only to prove, that the more firmly Men believe Rewards and Punishments from an invisible Cause, and the more this Belief always influences them in all their Actions, the closer they’ll keep to Justice and all Promises and Engagements. It is this that was always most wanted in the Civil Society; and, before the Coming of _Christ_, Nothing had appear’d upon Earth, from which this grand _Desideratum_, this Blessing, might so reasonably be expected as it might from his Doctrine. In the Beginning of Christianity, and whilst the Gospel was explain’d without any Regard to Wordly Views, to be a Soldier was thought inconsistent with the Profession of a Christian; but this Strictness of the Gospel-Principles began to be disapproved of in the Second Century. The Divines of those Days were most of them become arrant Priests, and saw plainly, that a Religion, which would not allow its Votaries to assist at Courts or Armies, and comply with the vain World, could never be made National; consequently, the Clergy of it could never acquire any considerable Power upon Earth. In Spirituals they were the Successors of the Apostles, but in Temporals they wanted to succeed the Pagan Priests, whose Possessions they look’d upon with wishful Eyes; and Worldly Strength and Authority being absolutely necessary to establish Dominion, it was agreed, that Christians might be Soldiers, and in a just War fight with the Enemies of their Country. But Experience soon taught them, that those Christians, whose Consciences would suffer them to be Soldiers, and to act contrary to the Doctrine of Peace, were not more strict Observers of other Duties; that Pride, Avarice and Revenge ranged among them as they did among the Heathens, and that many of them were guilty of Drunkenness and Incontinence, Fraud and Injustice, at the same Time that they pretended to great Zeal, and were great Sticklers for their Religion. This made it evident, that there could be no Religion so strict, no System of Morality so refin’d, nor Theory so well meaning, but some People might pretend to profess and follow it, and yet be loose Livers, and wicked in their Practice.
Hor. Those who profess to be of a Theory, which they contradict by their Practice, are, without Doubt, hypocrites.
Cleo. I have more Charity than to think so. There are real Believers that lead Wicked Lives; and Many stick not at Crimes, which they never would have dared to commit, if the Terrors of the Divine Justice, and the Flames of Hell, had struck their Imagination, and been before them in the same Manner as they really believe they shall be; or if at that Time their Fears had made the same Impression upon them, which they do at others, when the Evil dreaded seems to be near. Things at a Distance, tho’ we are sure that they are to come, make little Impression upon us in Comparison with those that are present and immediately before us. This is evident in the Affair of Death: There is No Body who does not believe, that he must die, Mr. _Asgil_ perhaps excepted; yet it hardly ever employs People’s Thoughts, even of Those who are most terribly afraid of it whilst they are in perfect Health, and have every Thing they like. Man is never better pleas’d than when he is employ’d in procuring Ease and Pleasure, in thinking on his own Worth, and mending his Condition upon Earth. Whether This is laid on the Devil or our Attachment to the World, it is plain to me, that it flows from Man’s Nature, always to mind to Flatter, Love, and take Delight in himself; and that he cares as little as possible ever to be interupted in this grand Employment. As every organ, and every part of Man, seems to be made and wisely contriv’d for the Functions of this Life only, so his Nature prompts him, not to have any Sollicitude for Things beyond this World. The Care of Self-Preservation we are born with, does not extend it self beyond this Life; therefore every Creature dreads Death as the Dissolution of its Being, the Term not to be exceeded, the End of All. How various and unreasonable soever our Wishes may be, and how enormous the Multiplicity of our Desires, they terminate in Life, and all the Objects of them are on this Side the Grave.
Hor. Has not a Man Desires beyond the Grave, who buys an Estate, not to be enjoy’d but by his Heirs, and enters into Agreements that shall be binding for a Thousand Years.
Cleo. All the Pleasure and Satisfaction that can arise from the Reflection on our Heirs, is enjoy’d in this Life: And the Benefits and Advantages we wish to our Posterity are of the same Nature with those which we would wish to our Selves if we were to live; and what we take Care of is, that they shall be Rich, keep their Possessions, and that their Estates, Authority and Prerogatives shall never diminish, but rather encrease. We look upon Posterity as the Effect of which we are the Cause, and we reckon our Selves as it were to continue in them.
Hor. But the Ambitious that are in Pursuit of Glory, and sacrifise their Lives to Fame and a lasting Reputation, sure they have Wishes beyond the Grave.
Cleo. Tho’ a Man should stretch and carry his Ambition to the End of the World, and desire not to be forgot as long as that stood, yet the Pleasure that arises from the Reflection on what shall be said of him Thousands and Thousand of Years after, can only be enjoy’d in this Life. If a vain Coxcomb, whose Memory shall die with him, can be but firmly persuaded, that he shall leave an eternal Name, the Reflection may give him as much Pleasure as the greatest Hero can receive from reflecting on what shall really render him immortal. A Man, who is not regenerated, can have no Notion of another World, or future happiness; therefore his Longing after it cannot be very strong. Nothing can affect us forcibly but what strikes the Senses, or such Things which we are conscious of within. By the Light of Nature only, we are capable of demonstrating to our Selves the necessity of a First Cause, a Supreme Being; but the Existence of a Deity cannot be render’d more manifest to our Reason, than his Essence is unknown and incomprehensible to our Understanding.
Hor. I don’t see what you drive at.
Cleo. I am endeavouring to account for the small Effect and little Force, which Religion, and the Belief of future Punishments, may be of to mere Man, unassisted with the Divine Grace. The Practice of nominal Christians is perpetually clashing with the Theory they profess. Innumerable Sins are committed in private, which the Presence of a Child, or the most insignificant Person, might have hinder’d, by Men who believe God to be omniscient, and never question’d his Ubiquity.
Hor. But pray, come to the Point, the Origin of Honour.
Cleo. If we consider, that men are always endeavouring to mend their Condition and render Society more happy as to this World we may easily conceive, when it was evident that Nothing could be a Check upon Man that was absent, or at least appear’d not to be present, how Moralists and Politicians came to look for Something in Man himself, to keep him in Awe. The more they examin’d into Human Nature, the more they must have been convinced, that Man is so Selfish a Creature, that, whilst he is at Liberty, the greatest Part of his Time will always be bestow’d upon himself; and that whatever Fear or Revenerence he might have for an invisible Cause, that Thought was often jostled out by others, more nearly relating to himself. It is obvious likewise, that he neither loves nor esteems any Thing so well as he does his own Individual; and that here is Nothing, which he has so constantly before his Eyes, as his own dear Self. It is highly probable, that skilful Rulers, having made these observations for some Time, would be tempted to try if Man could not be made an Object of Reverence to himself.
Hor. You have only named Love and Esteem; they alone cannot produce Reverence by your own Maxim; how could they make a man afraid of himself?
Cleo. By improving upon his Dread of Shame; and this, I am persuaded, was the Case: For as soon as it was found out, that many vicious, quarrelsome, and undaunted Men, that fear’d neither God nor Devil, were yet often curb’d and visibly with-held by the Fear of Shame; and likewise that this Fear of Shame might be greatly encreas’d by an artful Education, and be made superiour even to that of Death, they had made a Discovery of a real Tie, that would serve many noble Purposes in the Society. This I take to have been the Origin of Honour, the Principle of which has its Foundation in Self-liking; and no Art could ever have fix’d or rais’d it in any Breast, if that Passion had not pre-existed and been predominant there.
Hor. But, how are you sure, that this was the Work of Moralists and Politicians, as you seem to insinuate?
Cleo. I give those Names promiscuously to All that, having studied Human Nature, have endeavour’d to civilize Men, and render them more and more tractable, either for the Ease of Governours and Magistrates, or else for the Temporal Happiness of Society in general. I think of all Inventions of this Sort, the same which told  you of Politeness, that they are the joint Labour of Many, Human Wisdom is the Child of Time. It was not the Contrivance of one Man, nor could it have been the Business of a few Years, to establish a Notion, by which a rational Creature is kept in Awe for Fear of it Self, and an Idol is set up, that shall be its own Worshiper.
[Footnote 4: Fable of the Bees, Part. II. page 132.]
Hor. But I deny, that in the Fear of Shame we are afraid of our Selves. What we fear, is the judgment of others, and the ill Opinion they will justly have of us.
Cleo. Examine this thoroughly, and you’ll find, that when we covet Glory, or dread Infamy, it is not the good or bad Opinion of others that affects us with Joy or Sorrow, Pleasure or Pain; but it is the Notion we form of that Opinion of theirs, and must proceed from the Regard and Value we have for it. If it was otherwise, the most Shameless Fellow would suffer as much in his Mind from publick Disgrace and Infamy, as a Man that values his Reputation. Therefore it is the Notion we have of Things, our own Thought and Something within our Selves, that creates the Fear of Shame: For if I have a Reason, why I forbear to do a Thing to Day, which it is impossible should be known before to Morrow, I must be with-held by Something that exists already; for Nothing can act upon me the Day before it has its Being.
Hor. The Upshot is I find, that Honour is of the same Origin with Virtue.
Cleo. But the Invention of Honour, as a Principle, is of a much later Date; and I look upon it as the greater Atchievement by far. It was an Improvement in the Art of Flattery, by which the Excellency of our Species is raised to such a Height, that it becomes the Object of our own Adoration, and Man is taught in good Earnest to worship himself.
Hor. But granting you, that both Virtue and Honour are of Human Contrivance, why do you look upon the Invention of the One to be a greater Atchievement than that of the other?
Cleo. Because the One is more skilfully adapted to our inward Make. Men are better paid for their Adherence to Honour, than they are for their Adherence to Virtue: The First requires less Self-denial; and the Rewards they receive for that Little are not imaginary but real and palpable. But Experience confirms what I say: The Invention of Honour has been far more beneficial to the Civil Society than that of Virtue, and much better answer’d the End for which they were invented. For ever since the Notion of Honour has been receiv’d among Christians, there have always been, in the same Number of People, Twenty Men of real Honour, to One of real Virtue. The Reason is obvious. The Persuasions to Virtue make no Allowances, nor have any Allurements that are clashing with the Principle of it; whereas the Men of Pleasure, the Passionate and the Malicious, may all in their Turns meet with Opportunities of indulging their darling Appetites without trespassing against the Principle of Honour. A virtuous Man thinks himself obliged to obey the Laws of his Country; but a Man of Honour acts from a Principle which he is bound to believe Superiour to all Laws. Do but consider the Instinct of Sovereignty that all Men are born with, and you’ll find, that in the closest Attachment to the Principle of Honour there are Enjoyments that are ravishing to Human Nature. A virtuous Man expects no Acknowledgments from others; and if they won’t believe him to be virtuous, his Business is not to force them to it; but a Man of Honour has the Liberty openly to proclaim himself to be such, and call to an Account Every body who dares to doubt of it: Nay, such is the inestimable Value he sets upon himself, that he often endeavours to punish with Death the most insignificant Trespass that’s committed against him, the least Word, Look, or Motion, if he can find but any far-fetch’d reason to suspect a Design in it to under-value him; and of this No body is allow’d to be a Judge but himself. The Enjoyments that arise from being virtuous are of that Nicety, that every ordinary Capacity cannot relish them: As, without Doubt, there is a noble Pleasure in forgiving of Injuries, to Speculative Men that have refin’d Notions of Virtue; but it is more Natural to resent them; and in revenging one’s self, there is a Pleasure which the meanest Understanding is capable of tasting. It is manifest then, that there are Allurements in the Principle of Honour, to draw in Men of the lowest Capacity, and even the vicious, which Virtue has not.
Hor. I can’t see, how a Man can be really virtuous, who is not likewise a Man of Honour. A Person may desire to be Honest, and have an Aversion to Injustice, but unless he has Courage, he will not always dare to be just, and may on many Occasions be afraid to do his Duty. There is no Dependance to be had on a Coward, who may be bully’d into vicious Actions, and every Moment be frighten’d from his Principle.
Cleo. It never was pretended, that a Man could be Virtuous and a Coward at the same Time, since Fortitude is the very First of the Four Cardinal Virtues. As much Courage and Intrepidity as you please; but a virtuous Man will never display his Valour with Ostentation, where the Laws of God and Men forbid him to make Use of it. What I would demonstrate, is, that there are many Allowances, gross Indulgences to Human Nature in the Principle of Honour, especially of modern Honour, that are always exclaim’d against by the Voice of Virtue, and diametrically opposite to the Doctrine of _Christ._
Hor. Yet the further we look back for these Seven or Eight Hundred years, the more we shall find Honour and Religion blended together.
Cleo. When Ignorance, for several Ages, had been successfully encouraged and was designedly introduced to make Way for Credulity, the Simplicity of the Gospel and the Doctrine of _Christ_ were turn’d into Gaudy Foppery and vile Superstition. It was then, that the Church of _Rome_ began openly to execute her deep-laid Plot for enslaving the Laity. Knowing, that no Power or Authority can be established or long maintain’d upon Earth without real Strength and Force of Arms, she very early coax’d the Soldiery, and made all Men of Valour her Tools by Three Maxims, that, if skilfully follow’d, will never fail of engaging Mankind in our Favour.
Hor. What are those, pray.
Cleo. Indulging Some in their Vices, Humouring Others in their Folly, and Flattering the Pride of All. The various Orders of Knighthood were so many Bulwarks to defend the Temporals of the Church, as well against the Encroachments of her Friends, as the Invasions of her Enemies. It was in the Institutions of these Orders, that Pains were taken by the grand Architects of the Church, to reconcile, in outward Shew, the Principle of Honour with that of the Christian Religion, and make Men stupidly believe, that the Height of Pride is not inconsistent with the greatest Humility. In these Solemnities the jugling Priests resolved to be kept out no where; had commonly the greatest Share; continually blending Rites seemingly Sacred with the Emblems of vain Glory, which made all of them an eternal Mixture of Pomp and Superstition.
Hor. I don’t believe, that ever Any body set those Things in such a Light besides your Self; but I see no Design, and the Priests gave themselves a great Deal of Trouble for Nothing.
Cleo. Yet it is certain, that, by this and other Arts, they made themselves sure of the most dangerous Men; for by this Means the boldest and even the most wicked became Bigots. The less Religion they had, the more they stood in Need of the Church; and the farther they went from God, the more closely they stuck to the Priests, whose Power over the Laity was then the most absolute and uncontroul’d when the Crimes of These were most flagrant and enormous.
Hor. I believe, that among the Men of Honour Many were tainted with Pride and Superstition at the same Time; but there were others in whom superlative Bravery was united with the strictest Virtue.
Cleo. All Ages have had Men of Courage, and all Ages have had Men of Virtue; but the Examples of Those you speak of, in whom superlative Bravery was united with the strictest Virtue, were always extremely scarce, and are rarely to be met with, but in Legends and Romances, the Writers of both which I take to have been the greatest Enemies to Truth and sober Sense the World ever produc’d. I don’t deny, that by perusing them Some might have fallen in Love with Courage and Heroism, others with Chastity and Temperance, but the Design of both was to serve the Church of _Rome_, and with wonderful Stories to gain the Attention of the Readers, whilst they taught Bigotry, and inured them to believe Impossibilities. But what I intended was to point at the People that had the greatest Hand in reconciling, to outward Appearance, the Principle of Honour with that of the Christian Religion, the Ages This was done in, and the Reasons for which it was attempted. For it is certain, that by the Maxims I named, the Church made her self sure of Those who were most to be fear’d. Do but cast your Eyes on the childish Farces, some Popes have made great Men the chief Actors in, and the apish Tricks they made them play, when they found them intoxicated with Pride, and that at the same Time they were Believers without Reserve. What Impertinence of tedious Ceremonies have they made the greatest Princes submit to, even such as were noted for being cholerick and impatient! What Absurdities in Dress have they made them swallow for Ornaments and Marks of Dignity! If in all these the Passion of Self-liking had not been highly gratify’d as well as play’d upon, Men of Sense could never have been fond of them, nor could they have been of that Duration; for many of them are still remaining even in Protestant Countries, where all the Frauds of Popery have been detected long ago; and such Veneration is paid to some of them, that it would hardly be safe to ridicule them. It is amazing to think, what immense Multitudes of Badges of Honour have been invented by Popery, that are all distinct from the Rest, and yet have Something or other to shew, that they have a Relation to Christianity. What a vast Variety of Shapes, not resembling the Original, has the poor Cross Cross been tortur’d into! How differently has it been placed and represented on the Garments of Men and Women, from Head to Foot! How inconsiderable are all other Frauds that Lay-Rogues now and then have been secretly guilty of, if you compare them to the bare-fac’d Cheats and impudent Forgeries, with which the Church of _Rome_ has constantly imposed upon Mankind in a triumphant Manner! What contemptible Baubles has that Holy Toy-shop put off in the Face of the Sun for the richest Merchandize! She has bribed the most Selfish and penetrating Statesmen, with empty Sounds, and Titles without Meaning. The most resolute Warriours She has forced to desist from their Purposes, and do her dirty Work against their own Interest. I shall say Nothing of the Holy War; how often the Church has kindled and renew’d it, or what a Handle She made of it to raise and establish her own Power, and to weaken and undermine that of the Temporal Princes in Christendom. The Authority of the Church has made the greatest Princes and most haughty Sovereigns fall prostrate before, and pay Adoration to the vilest Trumpery, and accept of, as Presents of inestimable Worth, despicable Trifles, that had no Value at all but what was set upon them by the Gigantick Impudence of the donors, and the childish Credulity of the Receivers. the Church misled the Vulgar, and then made Money of their Errors. There is not an Attribute of God, and hardly a Word in the Bible, to which she gave not some Turn or other, to serve her Worldly Interest. The Relief of Witch-craft was the Fore-runner of Exorcisms; and the Priests forged Apparitions to shew the Power they pretended to, of laying Spirits, and casting out Devils. To make accused Persons, sometimes by Ordeal, at others by single Combat, try the Justice of their Cause, were both Arrows out of her Quiver; and it is from the latter, that the Fashion of Duelling took its Rise. But those single Combats at first were only fought by Persons of great Quality, and on some considerable Quarrel, when they ask’d Leave of the Sovereign to decide the Difference between them by Feats of Arms; which being obtain’d, Judges of the Combat were appointed, and the Champions enter’d the List with great Pomp, and in a very solemn Manner. But as the Principle of Honour came to be very useful, the Notions of it, by Degrees, were industriously spread among the Multitude, till at last all Swords-men took it in their Heads, that they had a right to decide their own Quarrels, without asking any Body’s Leave. Two Hundred Years ago—-
Hor. Pardon my Rudeness, I cannot stay one Moment. An Affair of Importance requires my Presence. It is an Appointment which I had entirely forgot when I came hither. I am sure I have been staid for this Half Hour.
Cleo. Pray, _Horatio_, make no Apologies. There is no Company I love better than I do yours when you are at Leisure; but—-
Hor. You don’t stir out I know; I shall be back again in Two Hours Time.
Cleo. And I shall be at Home for No body but your Self.
The Second Dialogue Between _Horatio_ and _Cleomenes_.
Horatio. I Believe I am within my Time.
Cleo. By above Ten Minutes.
Hor. When I came back in the Chair, I was thinking how artfully, all this Afternoon, you avoided saying any Thing of Honour, as it relates to the Fair Sex. Their Honour, you know, consists in their Chastity, which is a real Virtue in your own Sense, not to be practis’d without palpable Self-denial. To make a Vow of perpetual Virginity, and to be resolute enough, never to break it, is a Task not to be perform’d without the utmost Mortification to Flesh and Blood, especially in handsome clever Women that seem to be made for Love, as you and I have seen a great many in the Nunneries in _Flanders_. Self-liking or Pride have Nothing to do there; for the more powerfully that Passion operates in either Men or Women, the less Inclination they’ll shew to be mew’d up in a Cloyster, where they can have None but their own Sex to converse with.
Cleo. The Reason why I said Nothing of Honour as it relates to the fair Sex, was because we had spoke of it already in a former Conversation; by the same Token, that I told you then, that  _the Word Honour, I mean, the Sence of it, was very whimsical, and the Difference in the Signification so prodigious, according as the Attribute was either applied to a Man, or to a Woman, that neither shall forfeit their Honour, tho’ each should be guilty, and openly boast of what would be the other’s greatest Shame._
[Footnote 5: Fable of the Bees, part II. page 128.]
Hor. I remember it, and it is true. Gallantry with Women, is no Discredit to the Men, any more than Want of Courage is a Reproach to the Ladies. But do you think this is an Answer to what I said?
Cleo. It is an Answer to your Charge against me of making Use of an Artifice, which, I declare to you, never enter’d into my Head. That the Honour of Women in general, is allow’d to consist in their Chastity, is very true; the Words themselves have been made Use of as Synonimous even among the Ancients: But this, strictly speaking, ought only to be understood of Worldly Women, who act from Political Views, and at best from a Principle of Heathen Virtue. But the Women you speak of among the Christians, who, having vow’d a perpetual Virginity, debar themselves from sensual Pleasures, must be set on, and animated by a higher Principle than that of Honour. Those who can voluntarily make this Vow in good Humour and Prosperity, as well as Health and Vigour, and keep it with Strictness, tho’ it is in their Power to break it, have, I own with you, a Task to perform, than which Nothing can be more mortifying to Flesh and Blood. Self-liking or Pride, as you say, have Nothing to do there. But where are these Women to be found?
Hor. I told you; in the Religious Houses.
Cleo. I don’t believe there is one in a Thousand that answers the Character you gave of them. Most Nuns are made whilst they are very young, and under the Tuition of others; and oftner by Compulsion than their own Choice.
Hor. But there are Women grown, who take the Veil voluntarily, when they are at their own Disposal.
Cleo. Not many, who have not some substantial Reason or other for it, that has no Relation to Piety or Devotion; such as the Want of a Portion suitable to their Quality; Disappointments or other Misfortunes in the World. But to come to the Point. There are but two Things which, in Celibacy, can make Men or Women, in Youth and Health, strictly comply with the Rules of Chastity; and these are Religion, and the Fear of Shame. Good Christians, that are wholly sway’d by the Sense of a Religious Duty, must be supernaturally assisted, and are Proof against all Temptations. But These have always been very scarce, and there are no Numbers of them any where, that one can readily go to. It would perhaps be an odious Disquisition, whether, among all the young and middle-aged Women who lead a Monastick Life, and are secluded from the World, there are Any that have, abstract from all other Motives, Religion enough to secure them from the Frailty of the Flesh, if they had an Opportunity to gratify it to their Liking with Impunity. This is certain, that their Superiors, and Those under whose Care these Nuns are, seem not to entertain that Opinion of the Generality of them. They always keep them lock’d up and barr’d; suffer no Men to converse with them even in Publick, but where there are Grates between them, and not even then within Reach of one another: And tho’ hardly a Male Creature of any Kind is allow’d to come near them, yet they are ever suspicious of them, pry into their most Secret Thoughts, and keep constantly a watchful Eye over them.
Hor. Don’t you think this must be a great Mortification to young Women?
Cleo. Yes, a forc’d one; but there is no voluntary Self-denial, which was the Thing you spoke of. The Mortifitation which they feel is like that of Vagabonds in a Work-House: There is no Virtue in the Confinement of either. Both are dissatisfied, without Doubt, but it is because they are not employ’d to their Liking; and what they grieve at, is, that they can’t help themselves. But there are Thousands of vain Women, whom no Thoughts of Futurity ever made any Impression upon, that lead single Lives by Choice, and are at the same Time careful of their Honour to the greatest Nicety, in the Midst of Temptations, gay sprightly Women, of amorous Complexions, that can deny a passionate, deserving Lover, whose Person they approve of and admire, when they are alone with him in the dark; and all this from no better Principle than the Fear of Shame, which has its Foundation in Self-liking, and is so manifesty derived from that and no other Passion. You and I are acquainted with Women, that have refused Honourable Matches with the Men they loved, and with whom they might have been Happy, if they themselves had been less intoxicated with Vanity.
Hor. But when a Woman can marry, and be maintain’d suitably to her Quality, and she refuses a Man upon no other Score, than that his Fortune, or his Estate, are not equal to her unreasonable Desires, the Passion she acts from is Covetousness.
Cleo. Would you call a Woman covetous, who visibly takes Delight in Lavishness, and never shew’d any Value for Money when She had it: One that would not have a Shilling left at the Year’s End, tho’ she had Fifty Thousand Pounds coming in? All Women consult not what is befitting their Quality: What many of them want is to be maintain’d suitably to their Merit, their own Worth, which with great Sincerity they think inestimable and which consequently no Price can be equal to. The Motive therefore of these Women is no other, than what I have call’d it, their Vanity, the undoubted Offspring of Self-liking, a palpable Excess, an extravagant Degree of the Passion, that is able to stifle the loudest Calls of Nature, and with a high Hand triumphs over all other Appetites and Inclinations. What Sort of Education now do you think the fittest to furnish and fill young Ladies with this high Esteem for themselves and their Reputation, which, whilst it subsists and reigns in them, is an ever-watchful and incorruptible Guardian of their Honour? Would you mortify or flatter; lessen or increase in them the Passion of Self-liking, in order to preserve their Chastity? In short, which of the Two is it, you would stir up and cultivate in them if you could, Humility or Pride?
Hor. I should not try to make them Humble, I own: And now I remember, that in our Third Conversation, speaking of raising the Principle Honour in both Sexes, you gave some plausible Reasons why  Pride should be more encourag’d in Women than in Men. So much for the Ladies. I shall now be glad to hear what you have to add further concerning Honour, as it relates to Men only, and requires Courage. When I took the Freedom to interupt you, you was saying Something of Two Hundred Years ago.
[Footnote 6: Fable of the Bees part II. p. 126.]
Cleo. I was then going to put you in Mind, that Two Hundred Years ago and upward, as all Gentlemen were train’d up to Arms, the Notions of Honour were of great Use to them; and it was manifest, that never any Thing had been invented before, that was half so effectual to create artificial Courage among Military Men. For which Reason it was the Interest of all politicians, among the Clergy, as well as the Laity, to cultivate these Notions of Honour with the utmost Care, and leave no stone unturn’d to make Every body believe the Existence and Reality of such a Principle; not among Mechanicks, or any of the Vulgar, but in Persons of high Birth, Knights, and others of Heroick Spirit and exalted Nature. I can easily imagine, how, in a credulous, ignorant Age, this might be swallow’d and generally receiv’d for Truth; nor is it more difficult to conceive, how illiterate Men and rude Warriours, altogether unacquainted with Human Nature, should be so far imposed upon by such Assertions, as to be fully persuaded, that they were really posses’d of; and actually animated by such a Principle, constantly ascribing to the Force and Influence of it every Effort and Suggestion they felt from the Passion of Self-liking. The Idol it self was finely dress’d up, made a beautiful Figure, and the Worship of it seem’d to require Nothing, that was not highly commendable and most beneficial to Society. Those who pretended to pay their Adoration to it, and to be true Votaries of Honour, had a hard Task to perform. They were to be Brave and yet Courteous, Just, Loyal, and the Protectors of Innocence against Malice and Oppression. They were to be the profess’d Guardians of the Fair; and chaste, as well as profound Admirers of the Sex: But above all, they were to be Stanch to the Church, implicite Believers, zealous Champions of the Christian Faith, and implacable Enemies to all Infidels and Hereticks.
Hor. I believe, that between Two and Three Hundred Years ago, Bigotry was at the greatest Height.
Cleo. The Church of _Rome_ had, long before that Time, gain’d such an Ascendant over the Laity, that Men of the highest Quality stood in Awe of the least Parish-Priest. This made Superstition fashionable; and the most resolute Heroes were not ashamed to pay a blind Veneration to every Thing which the Clergy was pleased to call Sacred. Men had an entire Confidence in the Pope’s Power; his blessing of Swords, Armours, Colours and Standards; and No body doubted of the Influence, which Saints and Angels had upon Earth, the miraculous Virtue of Relicks, the Reality of Witches and Enchantments, the Black Art, or that Men might be made invulnerable.
Hor. But the Ignorance of those Days notwithstanding, you believe, that there were Men of that strict Honour, you have been speaking of.
Cleo. Men of Honour, I told you, were required and supposed to be possess’d of those Qualities; and I believe, that several endeavour’d to be, and some actually were such, as far as Human Frailty would let them; but I believe likewise, that there were others, who gain’d the Title, by their Undauntedness only, and had but a small Stock of any other Virtue besides; and that the Number of these was always far the greatest. Courage and Intrepidity always were, and ever will be the grand Characteristick of a Man of Honour: It is this Part of the Character only, which it is always in our Power to demonstrate. The best Friend a King has, may want an Opportunity to shew his Loyalty: So a Man may be just and chaste, and yet not be able to convince the World that he is so; but he may pick a Quarrel, and shew, that he dares to Fight when he pleases, especially if he converses with Men of the Sword. Where the Principle of Honour was in high Esteem, Vanity and Impatience must have always prompted the most proud and forward to seek after Opportunities of Signalizing themselves, in order to be stiled Men of Honour. This would naturally occasion Quarrelling and Fighting, as it did and had frequently done before the Time I speak of. As Duelling was made a Fashion, the Point of Honour became, of Course, a common Topick of Discourse among the best bred Men: By this Means the Rules for Quarrelling and Ponctilio in Behaviour, which at first were very uncertain and precarious, came to be better understood, and refin’d upon from Time to Time, till, in the Beginning of the last Century, the Sence of Honour was arrived to such a Degree of Nicety all over _Europe_, especially in _France_, that barely looking upon a Man was often taken for an Affront. The Custom of Duelling, by this, was become to universal in that Kingdom, that the Judges themselves thought it dishonourable to refuse a Challenge. _Henry_ IVth. seeing the best Blood of France so often sacrific’d to this Idol, endeavour’d to put a Stop to it, but was not able; and the several Edicts made in 1602 and 1609 were fruitless. The Resolutions of Parliament likewise, made in the Reign of _Lewis_ XIIIth. were as ineffectual: the First Check that was given to Duelling, was in the Minority of _Lewis_ XIVth, and from the Method by which it was prevented at last, it is evident, that Honour is an Idol, by Human Contrivance, rais’d on the Basis of Human Pride.
Hor. The Method by which a Stop was put to it, was strictly to punish and never to pardon Any that either sent or accepted of Challenges, whether they fought or not.
Cleo. This was not trusted to only. An Edict was publish’d in the Year 1651, by which Courts of Honour were erected throughout the Kingdom, with Gentlemen Commissioners in every Bailiwick, that were to have Advice of, and immediately to interpose in all Differences that might arise between Gentlemen. The Difficulty they labour’d under was, that they would abolish the Custom of Duelling without parting with the Notions of Honour; destroying of which must have been certain Ruin to a warlike Nation, that once had received them; and therefore they never design’d, that the Worship of the Idol should cease, but they only try’d, whether it was not to be satisfied with less valuable Victims, and other Sacrifices besides human Blood. In the Year 1653, _Lewis_ XIV. set forth another Declaration against Duels; in which having made some Additions to his former Edict, he commands the Marshals of _France_ to draw up a Regulation touching the Satisfactions and Reparations of Honour, which they should think necessary for the several Sorts of Offences. This Order was immediately obey’d, and nineteen Articles were drawn up and publish’d accordingly. In these, calling a Man Fool, Coward, or the Like, was punish’d with a Month’s Imprisonment; and after being released, the Offender was to declare to the Party so offended, that he had wrongfully and impertinently injur’d him by outragious Words, which he own’d to be false, and ask’d him to forgive. Giving one the Lie, or threatning to beat him, was two Month’s Imprisonment, and the Submission to be made afterwards yet more humble than the foregoing. For Blows, as striking with the Hand, and other Injuries of the same Nature, the Offender was to lye in Prison Six Months, unless, at the Request of the offended, half of that Time was chang’d into a pecuniary Mulct, that might not be under Fifteen Hundred Livres, to be paid before he was set at Liberty, for the Use of the Nearest Hospital to the Abode of the offended; after which, the Offender was to submit to the same Blows from the offended, and to declare by Word of Mouth, and in Writing, that he had struck him in a Brutish Manner, and beg’d him to pardon and forget that Offence.
Hor. What Mortal could submit to such Condescensions?
Cleo. For Caning, or Blows given with a Stick, the Punishment was still more severe; and the Offender was to beg pardon upon his Knees.
Hor. I should have no great Opinion of a Man’s Honour, who would not chuse to Die rather than comply with such Demands.
Cleo. Several thought as you do, and were hang’d for their Pains. But what Need a Man come to those Extremes, when he could have Satisfaction for any real Offence that might provoke him? For the Articles took Notice of, and made ample Provisions against all Manner of Injuries, from the most trifling Offences to the highest Outrages, and were very severe against all those that should refuse to submit to the Penalties imposed. The Marshals of _France_ remain’d the Supreme Judges in all these Matters; and under them acted the Governours and Lieutenants General of Provinces, in whose Absence the Gentlemen Commissioners in every Bailiwick, having Power to call the Officers of Justice to their Assistance, were to take all provisional Care imaginable; so that no Lawyers or Mechanicks had a Hand in composing any Differences concerning the Point of Honour.
Hor. All these Things, we’ll say, are wisely contriv’d; but in complaining first there is a meanness which a Man of Honour cannot stoop to.
Cleo. That the Instinct of Sovereignty will always bid Men revenge their own Wrongs, and do Justice to themselves, is certain. But I wanted, to shew you the Equivalent, that wise Men substituted in the Room of Dueling, and which Men of unqueston’d Honour took up with. The Scheme was contrived by Men of tried Valour, whose Example is always of great Weight: Besides, from the Nature of the Remedies that were applied to the Evil, it must always follow, that those who had given the greatest Proofs of their Courage, would be the most ready to subscribe to those Articles.
Hor. In our last Conversation but one you told me, that  all Laws pointed at, and tally’d with some Frailty or Passion in our Nature; pray, what is it that these Laws of Honour tally with?
[Footnote 7: Fable of the Bees, part II. page 318.]
Cleo. It is self-evident, that they point at Self-liking and the Instinct of Sovereignty. But what is singular in these Laws is, that in their Operation they are the reverse of all others.
Hor. I don’t understand you.
Cleo. All other Precepts and Commandments are visibly labouring to restrain the Passions, and cure the Imperfections of our Nature; but these Regulations of Honour are endeavouring to prevent Mischief, by soothing and flattering the Frailties they point at. In Offences against a Man’s Honour, Pardon is not ask’d of God or the King, but of him who receiv’d the Affront. It is he, therefore, whom all the Address and Homage are paid to: He is the Idol that is kneel’d to, and the only Sovereign that can forgive the Trespasses committed against himself. The Punishment of the first Aggressor, you see, is altogether a Compliment to the Person offended, whose Wrath the Law is so far from blaming, that it justifies it, and gives him an Opportunity of indulging it by the Indignity it puts upon the Offender. The real Mischief is not apprehended from the Offender, but the Person offended; and therefore it is him, whom the Law coaxes and wheedles into good Humour, by offering him a Reparation that shall be equally honourable with what he would chuse, tho’ less prejudicial to the Society. What the Law promises is a Tribute to the same Passion which he wants to gratify, a Sacrifice to the Idol which he himself adores. Should Any one personate these Laws, and, representing the Sentiments on those who made them, speak to a Man of Honour, who had receiv’d an Affront, an Officer of the Guards, we’ll say, who had been call’d Fool by his Equal, the Purport of the Discourse would be this: You are very much in the Right, Sir, to be highly incensed against the Man who dared to call you Fool, you that are a Man of Honour, to whom, as such, the whole World ought to pay the highest Esteem. You have not only an undoubted Right to do your Self justice, and revenge the Affront that has been given you; but there is likewise such a Necessity of your resenting it, that if you could tamely put up the Injury you have receiv’d, and neglect demanding Satisfaction, you would deserve to be branded with Ignominy, and all Men of Honour would justly refuse ever to converse with you for the future. But the Person, whom you have this Affair with, being likewise a Man of Honour, it is greatly to be fear’d, that upon your demanding Satisfaction of him, a Battle will ensue, which, between two Persons who value their Honours a Thousand Times more than their Lives, will probably be fatal to one, if not to both; you are therefore earnestly desired by the King himself, that for his Sake you would make some Alteration in the Manner of taking that Satisfaction which you ought to receive; and the Marshals of _France_ have not only given it under their Hands, that the Equivalents, which they have proposed for Fighting, will be as entire a Reparation to your Honour as can be obtain’d by Arms; but moreover they have promised and engaged their Honours, that in Cases of Affronts they will take up and content themselves with the same Equivalents, and on all Occasions submit to the same Regulations, which you are now desired to follow. And that it may appear, how highly reasonable this Request is; you are likewise desired to take the following Remonstrance into your Consideration: That the Valour and Steadiness of Men of Honour: are the grand Support of all States and Kingdoms, is a Truth not to be denied; and that not only the Peace and Tranquility, and all the Blessings we enjoy, but likewise the King’s Crown and Safety would be precarious without them, is as unquestionable. For this Reason all wise Princes, Magistrates and Governours, will ever take all imaginable Care, on the one Hand, to cultivate and encourage the most noble Principle of Honour, and, on the other, to encrease the Numbers of the worthy Posessors of it, by favouring and on all Occasions shewing them the most tender Affection, as well as highest Esteem. It is easy then to be imagin’d, that a Monarch, who loves his People, and has the Interest of his Nation at Heart, must be sensibly afflicted to see it become a common Practice for such valuable Men to destroy one another, and behold that Bravery and Spirit, which should only be made Use of against the Enemies of the Country, hourly employ’d and lavish’d away in private Quarrels, that can have no other Tendency that the weakening of the Kingdom, and which, if suffer’d to go on, must compleat its Ruin.
Hor. You make these Laws speak very notably.
Cleo. I have said Nothing but what is certainly imply’d in them. Every Man in _France_ knew, that the chief Motive of all those Edicts against Duelling, was the Loss of the brave Men that was sustain’d by that Custom. The Sinfulness of it was the least Consideration.
Hor. There, I believe, you wrong them, for I have seen some of these Edicts, where Duelling is call’d an Antichristian Practice, which God was highly offended at.
Cleo. In wording of the Edicts, indeed, some such Thing was put in for Form’s Sake; but the Regulations themselves, by which the Men of Honour were to walk, were openly Antichristian; and in some Cases, instead of Teaching Men to forgive those that had trespas’d against them, they obliged and forced the Offended to shew their Resentment, tho’ they would rather not, and desired to be excused.
Hor. Where the Affront was very heinous, I know what you say is true. But you set these Things in a strange Light. I can make the same Glosses upon our Laws, which oblige me to prosecute a Man that has robb’d me, if I can catch him, whether I will or not; and he shall be hang’d, tho’ I forgive him the Injury, and even would beg his Life.
Cleo. There is a vast Difference between the two Cases, a Robbery, and an Affront: No body hinders you from forgiving a Man that robb’d you; but notwithstanding your pardoning him, he is punish’d for acting against the Laws; therefore his Offence is against the King, who is the Guardian and Superintendant of them. And No body but the King can pardon the Trespasses that are committed against his Crown and Dignity. Whoever robs you, must be hang’d, because he robb’d, not because he robb’d YOU in particular: Tho’ you are bound to prosecute him for Robbing you, yet the Injury is reckon’d as done to the Publick; and you become a Criminal your Self, if you connive at his Escape, tho’ he restor’d to you what he had robb’d you of. But in the Case of an Affront the Injury is reckon’d to be done to him only who receiv’d it. His Anger, as I said before, is thought to be just, and his Resentment reasonable, till an ample Satisfaction be made him; therefore it is He who is to be appeas’d, and He only who is to be applied to. The Laws that were compiled by the Marshals of _France_, don’t pretend to mend the Heart, and lay no greater Restraint on the Spirit of Revenge, than Matrimony does on the Desire of Procreation; on the Contrary, they flatter the Frailty, and are administring to the Haughtiness of the offended: They are so far from denying him his Demands, or refusing to give him Satisfaction for the Affront, that they appoint it by Authority; in the ordering of which they make such