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nobility, who have risen, and exalted themselves by various merits, by great military services, which have extended the fame of this country from the rising to the setting sun.
We have persons exalted from the practice of the law, from the place in which they administered high though subordinate justice, to a seat here, to enlighten with their knowledge and to strengthen with their votes those principles which have distinguished the courts in which they have presided. My lords, you have here, also, the lights of our religion : you have the bishops of England. You have the representatives of that religion, which says that their God is love, that the very vital spirit of their institution is charity.
My lords, these are the securities which we have in all the constituent parts of this house. We know them, we reckon, we rest upon them, and commit safely the interests of India and of humanity into your hands. Therefore it is with confidence, that, ordered by the Commons,
I impeach Warren Hastings, Esq., of high crimes and misdemeanors.
I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has
I impeach him in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonored.
I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights, and liberties he has subverted; whose properties he has destroyed; whose country he has laid waste and desolate,
I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.
I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured, and oppressed in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation, and condition of life.
TERROR A SOURCE OF TAE SUBLIME.
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear; for, fear being an apprehension of pain or death, it operates in a manner that resembles actual pain. Whatever, therefore, is terrible with regard to sight, is sublime too, whether this cause of terror be endued with greatness of dimensions, or not; for it is impossible to look on any thing as trifling or contemptible that may be dangerous. There are many animals, who, though far from being large, are yet capable of raising ideas of the sublime, because they are considered as objects of terror; as serpents, and poisonous animals of almost all kinds. Even to things of great dimensions, if we annex any adventitious
idea of terror, they become, without comparison, greater. An even plain of a vast extent of land is certainly no mean idea : the prospect of such a plain may be as extensive as a prospect of the ocean; but can it ever fill the mind with any thing so great as the ocean itself? This is owing to several causes; but it is owing to none more than to this, – that the ocean is an object of no small terror.
SYMPATHY A SOURCE OF THE SUBLIVE. It is by the passion of sympathy that we enter into the concerns of others; that we are moved as they are moved, and are never suffered to be indifferent spectators of almost any thing which men can do or suffer. For sympathy must be considered as a sort of substitution, by which we are put into the place of another man, and affected in a good measure as he is affected : so that this passion may either partake of the nature of those which regard self-preservation, and, turning upon pain, may be a source of the sublime; or it may turn upon ideas of pleasure, and then whatever has been said of the social affertions, whether they regard society in general, or only some particular modes of it, may be applicable here.
It is by this principle chiefly that poetry, painting, and other affecting arts, transfuse their passions from one breast to another, and are often capable of grafting a delight on wretchedness, misery, and death itself.
It is a common observation, that objects which in the reality would shock, are, in tragical and such like representations, the source of a very high species of pleasure. This, taken as a fact, has been the cause of much reasoning. This satisfaction has been commonly attributed, first to the comfort we receive in considering that so melancholy a story is no more than a fiction, and next to the contemplation of our own freedom from the evils we see represented. I am afraid it is a practice much too common in inquiries of this nature to attribute the cause of feelings which merely arise from the mechanical structure of our bodies, or from the natural frame and constitution of our minds, to certain conclusions of the reasoning faculty on the objects presented to us; for I have some reason to apprehend that the influence of reason in producing our passions is nothing near so extensive as is commonly believed.
UNCERTAINTY A SOURCE OF THE SUBLIME. A Low, tremulous, intermitting sound is productive of the sublime. It is worth while to examine this a little. The fact itself. must be determined by every man's own experience and reflec
tion. I have always observed that night increases our terror more, perhaps, than any thing else. It is our nature, when we do not know what may happen to us, to fear the worst that can happen; and hence it is that uncertainty is so terrible, that we often seek to be rid of it at the hazard of a certain mischief. Now, some low, confused, uncertain sounds leave us in the same fearful anxiety concerning their causes, that no light, or an uncertain light, does concerning the objects that surround us :
“A faint shadow of uncertain light, Like as a lamp whose life doth fade away; Or as the moon, clothed with cloudy night,
Doth show to him who walks in fear and great affright.” But light now appearing, and now leaving us, and so off and on, is even more terrible than total darkness; and sorts of uncertain sounds are, when the necessary dispositions concur, more alarming than a total silence.
NATURAL objects affect us by the laws of that connection which Providence has established between certain motions and configurations of bodies and certain consequent feelings in our minds. Painting affects in the same manner, but with the superadded pleasure of imitation. Architecture affects by the laws of nature and the law of reason; from which latter result the rules of proportion, which make a work to be praised or censured, in the whole or in some part, when the end for which it was designed is or is not properly answered. But, as to words, they seem to me to affect us in a manner very different from that in which we are affected by natural objects, or by painting or architecture. Yet words have as considerable a share in exciting ideas of beauty and of the sublime as any of those, and sometimes a much greater than any of them : therefore an inquiry into the manner by which they excite such emotions is far from being unnecessary in a discourse of this kind.
THE COMMON EFFECT OF POETRY, NOT BY RAISING IDEAS
OF THINGS. The common notion of the power of poetry and eloquence, as well as that of words in ordinary conversation, is, that they affect the mind by raising in it ideas of those things for which custom has appointed them to stand. To examine the truth of this notion, it may be requisite to observe, that words may be divided into three sorts. The first are such as represent many simple ideas, united by nature to form some one determinate composition; as man, horse, tree, castle, &c. These I call aggregate words. The second are those that stand for one simple idea of such compositions, and no more; as red, blue, round, square, and the like. These I call simple abstract words. The third are those which are formed by a union, an arbitrary union, of both the others, and of the various relations between them in greater or lesser degrees of complexity; as virtue, honor, persuasion, magistrate, and the like. These I call compound abstract words. Words, I am sensible, are capable of being classed into more curious distinctions: but these seem to be natural, and enough for our purpose; and they are disposed in that order in which they are commonly taught, and in which the mind gets the ideas for which they are substituted. I shall begin with the third sort of words,
compound abstracts, — such as virtue, honor, persuasion, docility.
Of these I am convinced, that, whatever power they may have on the passions, they do not derive it from any representation raised in the mind of the things for which they stand. As compositions, they are not real essences, and hardly cause, I think, any real ideas. Nobody, I believe, immediately on hearing the sounds virtue, liberty, or honor, conceives any precise notions of the particular modes of action and thinking, together with the mixed and simple ideas, and the several relations of them, for which these words are substituted: neither has he any general idea compounded of them ; for, if he had, then some of those particular ones, though indistinct perhaps, and confused, might come soon to be perceived. But this, I take it, is hardly ever the case: for put yourself upon analyzing one of these words, and you must reduce it from one set of general words to another, and then into the simple abstracts and aggregates, in a much longer series than may be at first imagined, before any real idea emerges to light, before you come to discover any thing like the first principles of such compositions; and, when you have made such a discovery of the original ideas, the effect of the composition is utterly lost. A train of thinking of this sort is much too long to be pursued in the ordinary ways of conversation ; nor is it at all necessary that it should. Such words are, in reality, but mere sounds; but they are sounds, which, being used on particular occasions, wherein we receive some good, or suffer some evil, or see others affected with good or evil, or which we hear applied to other interesting things or events, and being applied in such a variety of cases that we know readily by habit to what things they belong, they produce in the mind, whenever they are afterward mentioned, effects similar to those of their occasions, The sounds being often used without reference to any particular occasion, and carrying still their first impressions, they at last utterly lose their connection with the particular occasions that gave rise to them; yet the sound, without any annexed notion, continues to operate as before.
GENERAL WORDS BEFORE IDEAS.
MR. LOCKE has somewhere observed with his usual sagacity, that most general words, those belonging to virtue and vice, good and evil, especially, are taught before the particular modes of action to which they belong are presented to the mind, and with them the love of the one, and the abhorrence of the other; for the minds of children are so ductile, that a nurse, or any person about a child, by seeming pleased or displeased with any thing, or even any word, may give the dispositions of the child a similar turn. When, afterward, the several occurrences in life come to be applied to these words, and that which is pleasant often appears under the name of the evil, and what is disagreeable to nature is called good and virtuous, a strange confusion of ideas and affections arises in the minds of many, and an appearance of no small contradiction between their notions and their actions. There are many who love virtue, and who detest vice, — and this not from hypocrisy or affectation, -- who, notwithstanding, very frequently act ill and wickedly in particulars without the least remorse, because these particular occasions never come into view when the passions on the side of virtue were so warmly affected by certain words heated originally by the breath of others: and for this reason it is hard to repeat certain sets of words, though owned by themselves unoperative, without being in some degree affected, especially if a warm and affecting tone of voice accompanies them; as, suppose,
“Wise, valiant, generous, good, and great."
These words, by having no application, ought to be inoperative; but, when words commonly sacred to great occasions are used, we are affected by them even without the occasions. When words which have been generally so applied are put together without any rational view, or in such a manner that they do not rightly agree with each other, the style is called bombast: and it requires, in several cases, much good sense and experience to be guarded against the force of such language; for, when propriety is neglected, a greater number of these affecting words may be taken into the service, and a greater variety may be indulged in combining them.