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and evil: but Gay must be regarded as the predecessor of Paley. The course which I have pursued has led me to the writers by whom the scheme of morality which has been taught in this University for the last century was framed, and I shall at present go on to describe the further steps of the development and fixation of this system. I may afterwards, if the time allow, resume the consideration of the progress of moral speculation among other classes of English writers from the time of Warburton, downwards. The views of Hutcheson, Hume, Smith, and Hartley, were pursued into many interesting and instructive speculations by Reid, Stewart, and Brown, and Mackintosh himself. But our Cambridge moralists employed themselves rather in constructing a system of morals on the selfish principle, than in metaphysical analysis. For the latter task, an indifference or distaste seems to have grown up in England about the time of which I speak. There was no wish to move onwards. The Scotch school of metaphysicians engaged with great assiduity in the analysis of man's faculties and principles, and endeavoured to advance further and further in this wide speculation. But the English moralists shunned rather than sought such inquiries. Cambridge men had taken their stand upon Locke in metaphysics, as they had taken their stand upon Newton in mathematics. They were weary of constantly changing their ground, and seeking new modes of defence against the enemies of morality. I have already compared the attack of Hobbes and his followers upon the old defences of morality, to the assault of Rome by the Gauls. The readers of Livy will recollect that after that calamity the Romans deliberated whether they should migrate in a body to Veii; and that while they still doubted, a centurion who had marched his company into the forum gave the word, “Signifer, statue signum, hic manebimus optime.” The Senate forthwith exclaimed, “ that they accepted the omen.” In the same manner this University seemed to have accepted the omen of the Lockian system, and to have resolved to rest at the point which had been indicated by words caught from the lips of those eminent men whose names I have just uttered; and she long rejected as superfluous or perverse all attempts to lead her to move to any other position; to add to or alter the system which they had thus adopted. As, however, the metaphysical system of Locke did really require, to say the least, important corrections, and as the moral system which was deduced from his principles, at least as here interpreted, involved most serious defects, we may easily conceive that the resolution not to change, prevented us from sharing in the advances which these sciences made elsewhere; as a rigorous adherence to and exclusive admiration of Newton long prevented our sharing in the progress of mathematics which took place on the continent. I am far from thinking that the teaching of a university ought to be readily susceptible of change, and eager in the adoption of novelties. Such institutions have for their object, as I have already said, to combine permanence with progress. But perhaps this caution was not enough attended to in admitting the systems of Locke and his followers, and therefore ought not to be held of paramount weight as a reason for retaining them. If they were too hastily accepted and established here, they ought to be at least gradually removed and replaced, if not suddenly discarded. The morality of general consequences, in the naked and harsh form in which it has prevailed here, would, I do not doubt, have been modified and purified, as was done in other places, if it had not been for its singular felicity in finding an expounder, who at the same time systematized it, and set
* Livy, v. 55.
it forth in language of the most admirable clearness and poignancy. It will be understood that I speak of Paley; and having elsewhere in what I have said, sufficiently perhaps, stated my views of the defects of his principles, I have no desire to dwell upon the subject: but I shall make a few remarks tending to show that his work, like most others which have acquired a settled establishment and permanent authority, was rather a clear and systematic expression of opinions already current, than an original view, or even a set of original reasonings. Gay, of whom I have already spoken as the author of the Dissertation prefixed to the translation of Abp. King, was, I believe, John Gay who took the degree of B.A. at Sidney College in 1721, and was afterwards Fellow of the College. I will quote one or two passages of Gay, that you may see how near he comes to Paley in his leading views. He says: “Now it is evident from the Nature of God, viz. his being infinitely happy in himself from all eternity, and from his goodness manifested in his works, that he could have no other design in creating mankind than their happiness; and therefore he wills their happiness; therefore, the means of their happiness: therefore, that my behaviour, as far as it may be a means of the happiness of mankind, should be such. Here then we are got one step further, or to a new criterion: not to a new criterion of Virtue immediately, but to a criterion of the Will of God. For it is an answer to the enquiry, How shall I know what the Will of God in this particular is ? Thus the Will of God is the immediate criterion of Virtue, and the happiness of mankind the criterion of the Will of God; and therefore the happiness of mankind may be said to be the criterion of Virtue, but Once removed.” You may recollect Paley's expression, “there are many ends besides the far end.” So Gay, “As therefore happiness is the general end of all actions, so each particular action may be said to have its proper and peculiar end. Thus the end of a beau is to please by his dress; the end of study, knowledge. But neither pleasing by dress, nor knowledge, are ultimate ends; they still tend, or ought to tend, to something farther, as is evident from hence, viz. that a man may ask and expect a reason why either of them are pursued. Now to ask the reason of any action or pursuit, is only to enquire into the end of it: but to expect a reason, i.e. an end, to be assigned for an ultimate end, is absurd. To ask why I pursue happiness, will admit of no other answer than an explanation of the terms.” Gay's definition of Virtue is wider than Paley's: “Wirtue is the conformity to a rule of life, directing the actions of all rational creatures with respect to each other's happiness; to which conformity every one in all cases is obliged : and every one that does so conform, is, or ought to be approved of, esteemed, and loved for so doing.” The interval from 1731 and 1756, the date of the publications I have mentioned by Gay, Law, and Rutherforth, to the publication of Paley's Principles of Morality and Politics in 1785, is considerable ; but I am not aware of any events belonging to the intermediate time, and holding very important position in the history of moral studies in this place. In 1765 Paley had obtained one of the Bachelors' Essay Prizes, for a comparison between the Stoic and Epicurean philosophy. He had, as was natural with his habits of mind, taken the Epicurean side. This was not an effusion hastily and thoughtlessly flung from his pen, for it was accompanied with elaborate notes in English, and is still recollected for a genuine vivacity of thought and expression which gave a promise of his future style; as, for instance, when he called the Stoics “those Pharisees in philosophy;” which however he probably had from Taylor's Civil Law, where the comparison of the Stoics with the Pharisees is quoted from Josephus and from St Jerome (p. 67). During a portion of the subsequent period (from 1771), Paley himself lectured as Tutor of Christ's College”, of which he was a Fellow ; and the subjects of his lectures were Locke's Essay, Clarke On the Attributes, and Butler's Analogy. He also lectured on Moral Philosophy, and his views on this subject were, I presume, mainly coincident with those explained by Bishop Law in the notes to his translation of King's Origin of Evil, and with the opinions contained in the Preliminary Dissertation to that work, which was, as I have said, by Gay of Sidney. We also find Paley mentioning with great praise another work, The Light of Nature pursued, by Edward Search, Esq., really however written by Abraham Tucker, of Betchworth Castle, near Dorking. The first three volumes of his work were published in 1768; the four last after his death, which took place in 1774. This work cannot, I think, be looked upon as occupying any very important place in the progress of Moral Philosophy; but there is in it an original unsystematic freedom of thinking, and a temperate good sense and virtuous moral feeling, which are peculiarly English. There is, moreover, and this is the quality which has most struck the notice of its admirers, a fertility and brilliance of illustration which are almost unrivalled, and which make it a mine of thought for its speculative readers. This merit has so often been noticed, that it may, I think, be interesting to give an example of it. I take for this purpose his modification of an image of Plato's, which is, as Mackintosh says+, “ of charac