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age fears that which is formidable, and fears nothing else. Temperance is a medium between the excessive pursuit and the entire renunciation of the pleasures of sense.
As men are more inclined to the excess than to the defect in this case, the former only is called intemperance; but the latter is also a vice, and may be called insensibility. In like manner, generosity is the mean between avarice and profusion ; modesty, between pride and diffidence; gentleness, between irascibility and softness ; magnificence, between ostentation and parsimony, etc. etc. In a word, every virtue consists in a mean between two vicious extremes. And a virtuous person is one who is in the habit of maintaining this due medium.
There are many, and those among the most important virtues, the exercise of which, at 6rst, is not attended with pleasure. Such are temperance, fortitude, prudence, patriotism, friendship, justice, which often require, at first, much self-denial, pains-taking and persevering effort. But by habit they all become sources of pleasure ; and the pleasure with which we practise them, is the very test and measure of our virtues.
The moral virtues, according to Aristotle, cannot subsist without some mixture of the intellectual; but the intellectual may subsist by themselves alone. Moreover, the moral virtues depend upon circunstances for their exercise. We may have the virtuous dispositions or habits, and yet not have the means wherewith, or the objects whereupon, to exercise them. But the intellectual virtues are independent of outward objects. They require only the contemplative mind, and they may be exerted under any circumstances. They afford pleasure in their very exercise, and are in themselves sufficient and complete. Accordingly, Aristotle agrees with Plato in finding the highest felicity of which man is susceptible in the exertion of his rational powers, and in the exercises of contemplative wisdom.
Aristotle's Ethics is chargeable with the same faults, which we have discovered in his other works—an excessive disposition to simplify and generalize—an excessive fondness for the
intellectual and the abstract. According to his own definition,
But it abounds in important thoughts, ingenious speculations, and able reasonings. The definition of virtue, as consisting in a mean between two extremes, and the test and measure of virtue as lying in the pleasure with which we practise it-both these, though hasty generalizations, which will not bear so universal an application, are certainly bappy thoughts, which are well worthy of our attentive consideration. And bis view of habit as constituting the character, becomes a truth of vast importance, if only extended so as to embrace, not merely the habitual conduct, but the habitual motives by which it is prompted. Aristotle's Ethics made a bad standard of theology for the doctors and divines of the middle ages.
. It would not make a good text-book of moral philosophy for the professors of our day. But no curious and reflecting mind
can read a page of it without finding ample stimulus and food for thought.
In close connection with his Ethics, Aristotle composed his treatise on
Politics. In bis view the community, or the state, is prior, in the intention of nature, to the individual, as every whole is prior in the intention of nature to its parts; and the individual can do more attain to the perfection of his nature, or answer the end of his existence without the state, than the hand or the foot can live and move and bave its being without the body. Man is born a gregarious, nay a political animal. He seeks political society instinctively, as flocks herd and bees work Logether under the guidance of instinct, and his nature de. mands association and law and government, as much more than theirs, as he is more highly endowed with the gift of comniunication and the capacity for social improvement. To suppose that he was not made for society, were to impeach nature (who never does any thing without an object) of folly, in endowing bin with speech. And to suppose that he was not made for political society, were to suppose that he was meant to be the worst of animals; for such man uncivilized and ungoverned always is, while man perfected by the offices of social and civil life, is by far the best. Thus government, as well as society, is the dictate of nature and the result of necessity.
Political society is defined to be a sort of community or partnership, existing for the benefit of the partners.
germ is to be found in the family. The family grows into a canion or clan. And the clan increases, till it becomes a nation. Hence the earliest form of government known in bistory, is the monarchical, which is a modification of the patriarchal.
Aristotle justifies slavery, as founded in nature and sustained by analogy. Some are born to command, others to obey ; some to think and others to labor; and as the soul is master of the body, so the intellectual and the wise should be mas
ters of the imbecile and the ignorant. And such subjection is for the good of the slave, just as it is for the good of the body to be subject to the soul. This principle, however, justifies slavery no further than it is for the mutual benefit of both parties, and only where the master is as fit to command, as the slave is to obey. Liberty is the right of the slave just so soon as he is worthy to obtain it and capable of enjoying it. And just so soon it is the duty and the interest of the state to see that he is emancipated.
The principle of this argument, Aristotle contends, will not justify the enslavement of women. For women, as a sex, nature bas made different from men rather than inferior to them ; and so fitted them to be their partners, but not adapted them to be their slaves. To enslave them is proof of barbarism. Barbarians reduce their women to the level of slaves, because they have not themselves risen to the rank of men.
A community of women and children, (which Plato so earnestly recommends in his Republic,) to say nothing of its tendency to licentiousness, incest, parricide, and every crime against nature, paralyzes exertion, precludes home education, and annibilates natural affection. If it checks self-interest, it does so only by the extinction of all interest; if it represses self-love, it does so only by smothering all love. of honey is dissipated and lost in a pail of water, so the sweet affection of love perishes by too extensive a diffusion.
Similar objections lie ayainst a community of goods (which is another of Plato's darling day-dreams). It cuts the sinews of industry and blinds the eye of vigilance. It multiplies occasions for dissension in the very effort to procure harmony. It destroys the pleasure of saying This is mine-a pleasure as natural as self-love, and as innocent. It precludes the privileye of giving to others. Destroy marriage, and what room will be left for the virtue of chastity ? Destroy property, and what roon will be left for the virtue of liberality? A false principle deceived Plato. He took for granted, that the union of his citizens could not be too intimate; whereas this union, if it could be carried beyond certain lim
As a drop its (as it cannot be), would destroy the commonwealth, and make the community a unity. Symphony is good, and metre is good; but symphony is destroyed when it is changed into sameness of tone, and metre is destroyed when it is changed into sameness of time. The greater the variety of tones, the richer the music, if the chords are preserved. So the greater the individuality of the citizens, the better the commonwealth, if harmony is maintained.
So of all forced schemes for equalizing property. Shares may be all equal ; and yet they will all be too small, if they foster sloth and luxury. Mediocrity ought to be the aim of legislation ; but this object will be better attained by moderating passion, than by levelling property.
This whole Book (the second Book in which Aristotle coniments with singular good sense on several model Republics, both real and ideal, particularly on the Republic of Plato) we would recommend to the attentive perusal of the Fourierists and other levellers of our day. It concludes with some very sensible remarks on innovation, which might be useful to all our people, and which we would gladly extract for the readers of the Repository ; but it would lead us too far from the main purpose of these Sketches.
To return now with our author to a more general view of the nature and end of government. As every partnership is sormed for the interest of all the partners, so the end of government is the good of all the citizens, including the rulers as citizens. Such a government is rightful and useful, whatever be its form. If adıninistered by one man, it is called a monarchy ; is by a few, an aristocracy ; if by the many, a republic. When the good of the rulers instead of the citiizens becomes the end, then a monarchy iz perverted into a tyranny, an aristocracy into an obligarchy, and a republic into a denocracy. For a democracy may be selfish and exclusive as well as an oligarchy or a tyranny itself. It may seek the good of a greater nuniber, and so be a less wrong; but if il seeks the good of a class and not of the community-of part and not of the whole-it is still oppressive and unjust.