Chapter 1: The Extensive Influence of the Beauty From Utility

1 Utility is one of the principal sources of beauty.

2 David Hume has recently answered most deeply, clearly, eloquently, and elegantly why utility pleases.

3But no one has noticed that this fitness should often be more valued than its intended purpose.

4 When a person finds the chairs all standing in the middle of his bedroom, he is angry with his servant.

5 In the same way, a watch that falls behind more than two minutes in a day, is despised by one curious in watches.

6How many people ruin themselves by spending money on trinkets of frivolous utility?

Jew's-box or Tefillin on the head
Jew's-box or Tefillin on the head

7 This influence on our conduct is not confined to such frivolous objects.

8 The poor man's son, whom heaven's anger has imbued with ambition, admires the condition of the rich.

9 In time of sickness or low spirits, this spiteful philosophy is familiar to every man.

The produce of the soil maintains at all times nearly that number of inhabitants which it is capable of maintaining. The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species. When Providence divided the earth among a few lordly masters, it neither forgot nor abandoned those who seemed to have been left out in the partition. These last too enjoy their share of all that it produces. In what constitutes the real happiness of human life, they are in no respect inferior to those who would seem so much above them. In ease of body and peace of mind, all the different ranks of life are nearly upon a level, and the beggar, who suns himself by the side of the highway, possesses that security which kings are fighting for.

10It is good that nature imposes on us in this way.

The proud and unfeeling landlord views his extensive fields, and without a thought for his brethren, he imagines to eat its whole harvest.

The produce of the soil always maintains nearly as many people as it can maintain.

When Providence divided the earth among a few lordly masters, it neither forgot nor abandoned those who were left out in the partition.

11 Those institutions which promote the public welfare are frequently recommended by:

When a patriot exerts to improve the public police, his conduct does not always arise from pure sympathy with the happiness of those who will benefit of it.


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Next: Chapter 2: Morality of Utility