Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 6, Section 2, Chapter 1: Friendship

Chapter 1b: Friendship and Kindness

18 Among well-disposed people, the necessity or convenience of mutual accommodation frequently produces a friendship like the friendship of those born to live in the same family.


19 Even the trifling circumstance of living in the same neighbourhood has some effect of the same kind.


20 The cause of the contagious effects of good and bad company is this natural disposition to accommodate and assimilate our own sentiments, principles, and feelings, to people we live and converse much with.

We frequently see the similarity of family characters transmitted through several successive generations.

21 But the most respectable of all the attachments to an individual by far is the attachment founded on the esteem and approbation of his good conduct and behaviour.


22 Our beneficence is most properly directed by nature towards the people whose beneficence we have already experienced.


23 The first persons recommended to our beneficence are those:

The second persons recommended to our benevolent attention and good offices are not our friends, but those who are distinguished by their extraordinary situation:

The distinction of ranks, the peace and order of society, are founded in a great measure on our respect for the rich and the powerful.


24 The combination of the causes of kindness, increases the kindness.


25 When those different beneficent affections happen to draw different ways, it is perhaps impossible to determine by any precise rules in:

These must be left to the decision of the man within the breast, the supposed impartial spectator, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct.

The Orphan of China is Voltaire's beautiful tragedy.

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Next: Chapter 2a: Beneficence