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tions. Upon the most superficial examination, however, this rule will appear to be in the highest degree loose and inaccurate, and to admit of ten thousand exceptions. If your benefactor attended you in your sickness, ought you to attend him in his? or can you fulfil the obligation of gratitude, by making a return of a different kind? If you ought to attend him, how long ought you to attend him? The same time which he attended you, or longer, and how much longer? If your friend lent you money in your distress, ought you to lend him money in his? How much ought you to lend him? When ought you to lend him? Now, or to-morrow, or next month? And for how long a time? It is evident, that no general rule can be laid down, by which a precise answer can, in all cases, be given to any of these questions. The difference between his character and yours, between his circumstances and yours, may be such, that you may be perfectly grateful, and justly refuse to lend him a half-penny: and, on the contrary, you may be willing to lend, or even to give him ten times the sum which he lent you, and yet justly be accused of the blackest ingratitude, and of not having fulfilled the hundredth part of the obligation you lie under. As the duties of gratitude, however, are perhaps the most sacred of all those which the beneficent virtues prescribe to us, so the general rules which determine them are, as I said before, the most accurate. Those which ascertain the actions required by friendship, humanity, hospitality, generosity, are still more vague and indeterminate.
There is, however, one virtue of which the general rules determine with the greatest exactness every external action which it requires. This virtue is justice. The rules of justice are accurate in the highest degree, and admit of no exceptions or modifications, but such as may be ascertained
as accurately as the rules themselves, and which generally, indeed, flow from the very same principles with them. If I owe a man ten pounds, justice requires that I should precisely pay him ten pounds, either at the time agreed upon, or when he demands it. What I ought to perform, how much I ought to perform, when and where I ought to perform it, the whole nature and circumstances of the action prescribed, are all of them precisely fixed and determined. Though it may be awkward and pedantic, therefore, to affect too strict an adherence to the common rules of prudence or generosity, there is no pedantry in sticking fast by the rules of justice. On the contrary, the most sacred regard is due to them; and the actions which this virtue requires are never so properly performed, as when the chief motive for performing them is a reverential and religious regard to those general rules which require them. In the practice of the other virtues, our conduct should rather be directed by a certain idea of propriety, by a certain taste for a particular tenor of conduct, than by any regard to a precise maxim or rule; and we should consider the end and foundation of the rule, more than the rule itself. But it is otherwise with regard to justice: the man who in that refines the least, and adheres with the most obstinate steadfastness to the general rules themselves, is the most commendable, and the most to be depended upon. Though the end of the rules of justice be, to hinder us from hurting our neighbour, it may frequently be a crime to violate them, though we could pretend with some pretext of reason, that this particular violation could do no hurt. A man often becomes a villain the moment he begins, even in his own heart, to chicane in this manner. The moment he thinks of departing from the most staunch and positive adherence to what those inviolable precepts pre
scribe to him, he is no longer to be trusted, and no man can say what degree of guilt he may not arrive at. The thief imagines he does no evil, when he steals from the rich, what he supposes they may easily want, and what possibly they may never even know has been stolen from them. . . . . When once we begin to give way to such refinements, there is no enormity so gross of which we may not be capable.-The Theory of the Moral Sentiments.
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
THE biography of Sir Joshua Reynolds is contained almost entirely in the history of his paintings, like that of many other great artists. He was the son of a Devonshire clergyman, and was born at Plympton, in Devonshire in 1723; he shewed from his earliest years a strong inclination to express his ideas in lines and colours, and his father moderately and sensibly encouraged him. It is told of him that at eight years of age he had mastered the rules contained in the 'Jesuits' Perspective.' The perusal of Richardson's Treatise on Painting decided the youthful artist to devote his life to the pursuit which had thus early fascinated him. At seventeen, he became the pupil of Hudson, a portrait painter of deserved local reputation, who seems to have contributed in some degree to his pupil's sense of English character and power over likeness. Reynold's successes began early, and were scarcely interrupted throughout life. His first patrons were Lords Mount Edgecumbe and Keppel, the latter of whom he accompanied, in 1749, on a long yachting tour to the Mediterranean, during which he had the opportunity of spending some time at Rome, and of visiting all the other great Italian cities famous for former schools of art. He returned to London in 1752, and soon rose to the head of his profession; his portraits were compared to those of Vandyke. His claims as against the great Fleming rest chiefly on his painting of women and children. In rapid insight into character, in the faculty of seizing passing expressions, in subtle sympathy, and above all in purity and evenness of mind, he stands by the side of Velasquez, whom of all men, next to Michael Angelo, he most
He acknowledged Titian as his master in colour. The incidents of Reynolds' life are but few. The life of an artist is like that of a scholar, a life of labour and study and less interrupted by common events than that of most men. For forty years he had a glorious career of well earned and well rewarded fame-fame such as few can hope to attain, and from which none can wish to detract. On the institution of the Royal Academy, its first Presidentship was conferred upon him, and at the same time he was knighted. He delivered his Discourses to the Academy during the two next years, and contributed largely to its exhibitions for twenty years. Sir Joshua never returned to Italy, but he went to Holland and the Netherlands several times, visiting the great art collections in those countries, and studying the schools of painting of which they had been the seat. In 1789 his sight began to fail him, and in a few months he had to renounce painting. He lived for three years longer, dying in 1792 in full possession of his mental powers. His body lay in state at Somerset House, and was then buried in St. Paul's.
Reynolds' Discourses on Painting are, with small exception, the only compositions from his pen which we have. They are fair examples of the 'plain style of English,' as Swift defined it, since they are distinguished for the simple use of 'proper words in proper places;' but he had not sufficient power of analysis to lay down broad theoretical principles. He found British art utterly degraded he knew that there was a great style, having seen the works of Raffaelle and Michael Angelo, and he thought it possible that their style might be separated from their personal qualities, so that ordinary men might become great by following them. He felt he had himself, in a sense, done so, and the grave humility of his character made him habitually look on himself as a rather ordinary man of faculty, whom average men might imitate with success. His own technical triumphs depended on the most delicate and watchful study of nature in its most attractive form, for he painted, as he said, the beauties of two generations, and lived in continual attention to the faintest varieties of feature and most refined shades of colour.