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PRI N C I P L E S
IN TWO BOOKS
BY GEORGE RAMSAY B.M.
AUTHOR OF AN ESSAY ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH ETC.
present Work seems to render a Preface unnecessary ; but there is one point to which I wish to allude. Should any one object to the number of poetical quotations which occur in some of these pages, particularly in the Section on Love, I would refer him to a passage in Sir James Mackintosh's Dissertation on the progress of Ethical Philosophy. I have only to add, that almost all the poetical quotations here found are short, and of the kind recommended by Sir James in the following words: “There are two very different sorts of
passages of poetry to be found in works on philosophy, which are as far asunder from each other in value as in matter. A philosopher will admit some of those wonderful lines or words which bring to light the infinite varieties of character, the furious bursts or wily workings of passion, the winding approaches of
temptation, the slippery path to depravity, the beauty of tenderness, the grandeur of what is awful and holy in man. In every such quotation, the moral philosopher, if he be successful, uses the best materials of his science, for what are they but the results of experiment and observation on the human heart, performed by artists of far other skill and power than his ? They are facts which could have only been ascertained by Homer, by Dante, by Shakspeare, by Cervantes, by Milton. Every year of admiration since the unknown period when the Iliad first gave delight, has extorted new proofs of the justness of the picture of human nature, from the responding hearts of the admirers. Every strong feeling which these masters have excited, is a successful repetition of their original experiment, and a continually growing evidence of the greatness of their discoveries. Quotations of this nature may be the most satisfactory, as well as the most delightful proofs of philosophical posi
* Dissertation ; Section VI. Article, Thomas Brown.