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ter a sudden glory, arising from a sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly."* This account is, I acknowledge, incompatible with that given in the preceding pages, and, in my juilgment, results entirely from a view of the subject which is in some respect partial, and in some respect false. It is in some respect partial. When laughter is produced by ridicule, it is, doubtless, accompanied with some degree of contempt. Ridicule as hath been observed already, has a double operation : fir on the fancy, by presenting to it such a group as constit...cs a laughable object; secondly, on the passion mentioned, by exhibiting absurdity in human character, in principles, or in conduct and contempt alway implies a sense of superiority. No wonder, then, that one likes not to be ridiculed or laughed at. Now it is this union which is the great source of this author's error, and of his attributing to one of the associated principles, from an imperfect view of the subject, what is purely the effect of the other.
For, that the emotion called laughter doth not result from the contempt, but solely from the perception of oduity with which the passion is occasionally, not necessarily, combined, is manifest from the following considerations. First, con: tempt may be raised in a very high degree, both suddenly and unexpectedly, without producing the least tendency to laugh. of this instances have been given already from Bolingbroke and Swift, and innumerable others will occur to those who are conversant in the writings of those authors. Secondly, laughter may be, and is daily produced by the perception of incongruous association, when there is no contempt. And this shows that Hobbes's view of the matter is false as well as partial. “Men,” says he, “laugh at jests, the " 'where. of always consisteth in the elegant discovering anu conveying to our minds some absurdity of another."1 I maintain that men also laugh at jests, the wit whereof doth not consist in discovering any absurdity of another; for all jests do not come within his description. On a careful perusal of the foregoing sheets, the reader will find that there have been several instances of this kind produced already, in which it hath been observed that there is wit, but no ridicule. I shall bring but one other instance. Many have laughed at the queerness of the comparison in these lines,
• For rhyme the rudder is of verses,
With which, like ships, they steer their courses,”! who never dreamed that there was any person or party, practice or opinion, derided in them. But as people are often
very ingenious in their manner of defending a favourite hy. pothesis, if any admirer of the Hobbesian philosophy should pretend to discover some class of men whom the poet here meant to ridicule, he ought to consider, that if any one hath boen tickled with the passage to whom the same thought never occurred, that single instance would be sufficient to subvert the doctrine, as it would show that there may be laughter where there is no triumph or glorying over anybody, and, consequently, no conceit of one's own superiority. So that there may be, and often is, both contempt without laughter, and laughter without contempt.
Besides, where wit is really pointed, which constitutes ridicule, that it is not from what gives the conceit of our own eminence by comparison, but purely from the odd assemblage of ideas, that the laughter springs, is evident from this, that if you make but a trifling alteration on the expression, so as to destroy the wit (which often turns on a very little circumstance), without altering the real import of the sentence (a thing not only possible, but easy), you will produce the same opinion and the same contempt, and, consequently, will give the same subject of triumph, yet without the least tendency to laugh ; and conversely, in reading a well-written satire, a man may be much diverted by the wit, whose judgment is not convinced by the ridicule or insinuated argument, and whose former esteem of the object is not in the least impaired. Indeed, men's telling their own blunders, even blunders recently committed, and laughing at them, a thing not uncommon in very risible dispositions, is utterly inexplicable on Hobbes's system ; for, to consider the thing only with regard to the laugher himself, there is to him no subject of glorying that is not counterbalanced by an equal subject of humiliation (he being both the person laughing, and the person laughed at), and these two subjects must destroy one another. With regard to others, he appears solely under the notion of inferiority, as the person triumphed over. Indeed, as in ridicule, agreeably to the doctrine here propounded, there is always some degree, often but a very slight degree, of contempt; it is not every character, I acknowledge, that is fond of present. ing to others such subjects of mirth. Wherever one shows a proneness to it, it is demonstrable that on that person sociality and the love of laughter have much greater influence than vanity or self-conceit: since, for the sake of sharing with others in the joyous entertainment, he can submit to the mortifying circumstance of being the subject. This, however, is in effect no more than enjoying the sweet which predominates, notwithstanding a little of the bitter with which it is mingled. The laugh in this case is so far from being expressive of the passion, that it is produced in spite of the passion, which operates against it, and, if strong enough, would'effectually restrain it:
But it is impossible that there could be any enjoyment to him, on the other hypothesis, which makes the daughter merely the expression of a triumph,'occasioned by the sudden display of one's own comparative excellence, a triumph in which the person derided could not partake. In this case, on the contrary, he must undoubtedly sustain the part of the weeper (according to the account which the same author hath given of that opposite passion,* as he calls it), and "suddenly fall out with himself, on the sudden conception of defect.” To suppose that a person, in laughing, enjoys the contempt of himself as a matter of exultation over his own infirmity, is of a piece with Cowley's description of envy exaggerated to absurdity, wherein she is said
“To envy at the praise herself had won."} In the same way, a miser may be said to grudge the money that himself hath got, or a glutton the repasts : for the lust of praise as much terminates in self as avarice or gluttony. It is a strange sort of theory which makes the frustration of a passion, and the gratification, the same thing.
As to the remark that wit is not the only cause of this emotion, that men laugh at indecencies and mischances, nothing is more certain. A well-dressed man falling into the kennel, will raise, in the spectators, a peal of laughter. But this confirms, instead of weakening, the doctrine here laid down. The genuine object is always things grouped together in which there is some striking unsuitableness. The effect is much the same, whether the things themselves are presented to the senses by external accident, or the ideas of them are presented to the imagination by wit and humour ; though it is only with the latter that the subject of eloquence is concerned.
In regard to Hobbes's system, I shall only remark farther, that according to it, a very risible man, and a very self-conceited, supercilious man, should imply the same character, yet, in fact, perhaps no two characters more rarely meet in the same person. Pride, and contempt, its usual attendant, considered in themselves, are unpleasant passions, and tend to make men fastidious, always finding ground to be dissatisfied with their situation and their company. Accordingly, those who are most addicted to these passions, are not, generally, the happiest of mortals. It is only when the last of these hath gotten for an alloy a considerable share of sensibility in regard to wit and humour, which serves both to moderate and to sweeten the passion, that it can be termed in any degree sociable or agreeable. It hath been often rcmarked of very proud persons that they disdain to laugh, as thinking that it derogates from their dignity, and levels them Hobbes's Hum. Nat., ch. ix., $ 14.
+ Davideis, book i.
too much with the common herd. The merriest people, on the contrary, are the least suspected of being haughty and contemptuous people. The company of the former is generally as much courted as that of the latter is shunned. To refer ourselves to such universal ohservations is to appeal to the common sense of mankind. How admirably is the height of pride and arrogance touched in the character which Cæsar gives of Cassius?
“ He loves to plays
That could be moved to smile at anything."* I should not have been so particular in the refutation of the English philosopher's system in regard to laughter, had I not considered a careful discussion of this question as one of the best means of developing some of the radical principles of this inquiry.
OF THE RELATION WHICH ELOQUENCE BEARS TO LOGIC AND TO
GRAMMAR. In contemplating a human creature, the most natural di. vision of the subject is the common division into soul and body, or into the living principle of perception and of action, and that system of material organs by which the other receives information from without, and is enabled to exert its powers, both for its own benefit and for that of the species. Analogous to this there are two things in every discourse which principally claim our attention, the sense and the expression ; or, in other words, the thought, and the symbol by which it is communicated. These may be said to constitute the soul and the body of an oration, or, indeed, of whatever is signified to another by language. For as, in man, each of these constituent pa hath its distinctive attributes, and as the perfection of the latter consisteth in its fitness for serving the purposes of the former, so it is precisely with those two essential parts of every speech, the sense and the expression Now it is by the sense that rhetoric holds of logic, and by the expression that she holds of grammar.
The sole and ultimate end of logic is the eviction of truth; one important end of eloquence, though, as appears from the first chapter, neither the sole, nor always the ultimate, is the
* Shakspeare's Julius Cæsar.
conviction of the hearers. Pure logic regards only the subject, which is examined solely for the sake of information. Truth, as such, is the proper aim of the examiner. Eloquence not only considers the sub but also the speaker and the hearers, and both the subject and the speaker for the sake of the hearers, or, rather, for the sake of the effect intended to be produced in them. Now to convince the hearers is always either proposed by the orator as his end in addressing them, or supposed to accompany the accomplishment of his end. Of the five sorts of discourses above mentioned, there are only two wherein conviction is the avowed purpose. One is that addressed to the understanding, in which the speaker proposeth to prove some position disbelieved or doubted by the hearers; the other is that which is calculated to influence the will, and persuade to a certain conduct ; for it is by convincing the judgment that he proposeth to interest the passions and fix the resolution. As to the three other kinds of discourses enumerated, which address the understanding, the imagination, and the passions, conviction, though not the end, ought ever to accompany the accomplishment of the end. It is never formally proposed as an end where there are not supposed to be previous doubts or errors to conquer. But when due attention is not paid to it by a proper management of the subject, doubts, disbelief, and mistake will be raised by the discourse itself, where there were none before, and these will not fail to obstruct the speaker's end, whatever it be. In explanatory discourses, which are of all kinds the simplest, there is a certain precision of manner which ought to pervade the whole, and which, though not in the form of argument, is not the less satisfactory, since it carries internal evidence along with it. In harangues pathetic or panegyrical, in order that the hearers may be moved or pleased, it is of great consequence to impress them with the belief of the reality of the subject. Nay, even in those performances where truth, in regard to the individual facts related, is neither sought nor expected, as in some sorts of poetry and in romance, truth still is an object to the mind, the general truths regarding character, manners, and incidents. When these are preserved, the piece may justly be denominated true, considered as a picture of life, though false, considered as a narrative of particular events. And even these untrue events must be counterfeits of truth, and bear its image; for in cases wherein the proposed end can be rendered consistent with unbelief, it cannot be rendered compatible with incredibility. Thus, in order to satisfy the mind, in most cases, truth, and, in every case, what bears the semblance of truth, must be presented to it. This holds equally whatever be the declared aim of the speaker. I need scarcely add, that to prove a particular point is often occasionally necessary in every