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The phrases in their context!


I have frequently observed, that those, who boast of the antiquity of their families, are glad when they can join this circumstance, that their ancestors for many generations have been uninterrupted proprietors of the same portion of land, and that their family has never changed its possessions, or been transplanted into any other county or province.
I have also observed, that it is an additional subject of vanity, when they can boast, that these possessions have been transmitted through a descent composed entirely of males, and that the honour, and fortune have never past through any female.
Let us endeavour to explain these phaenomena by the foregoing system.
It is evident, that when any one boasts of the antiquity of his family, the subjects of his vanity are not merely the extent of time and number of ancestors, but also their riches and credit, which are supposed to reflect a lustre on himself on account of his relation to them.
He first considers these objects; is affected by them in an agreeable manner; and then returning back to himself, through the relation of parent and child, is elevated with the passion of pride, by means of the double relation, of impressions and ideas.
Since therefore the passion depends on these relations, whatever strengthens any of the relations must also encrease the passion, and whatever weakens the relations must diminish the passion.
Now it is certain the identity of the possesion strengthens the relation of ideas arising from blood and kindred, and conveys the fancy with greater facility from one generation to another, from the remote ancestors to their posterity, who are both their heirs and their descendants.
By this facility the impression is transmitted more entire, and excites a greater degree of pride and vanity.
The case is the same with the transmission of the honours and fortune through a succession of males without their passing through any female.
It is a quality of human nature, which we shall consider [Part II. Sect, 2.] afterwards, that the imagination naturally turns to whatever is important and considerable; and where two objects are presented to it, a small and a great one, usually leaves the former, and dwells entirely upon the latter.
As in the society of marriage, the male sex has the advantage above the female, the husband first engages our attention; and whether we consider him directly, or reach him by passing through related objects, the thought both rests upon him with greater satisfaction, and arrives at him with greater facility than his consort.
It is easy to see, that this property must strengthen the child's relation to the father, and weaken that to the mother.
For as all relations are nothing hut a propensity to pass from one idea ma another, whatever strengthens the propensity strengthens the relation; and as we have a stronger propensity to pass from the idea of the children to that of the father, than from the same idea to that of the mother, we ought to regard the former relation as the closer and more considerable.
This is the reason why children commonly bear their father's name, and are esteemed to be of nobler or baser birth, according to his family.
And though the mother should be possest of a superior spirit and genius to the father, as often happens, the general rule prevails, notwithstanding the exceprion, according to the doctrine above-explained.
Nay even when a superiority of any kind is so great, or when any other reasons have such an effect, as to make the children rather represent: the mother's family than the father's, the general rule still retains such an efficacy that it weakens the relation, and makes a kind of break in the line of ancestors.
The imagination runs not along them with facility, nor is able to transfer the honour and credit of the ancestors to their posterity of the same name and family so readily, as when the transition is conformable to the general rules, and passes from father to son, or from brother to brother.
But the relation, which is esteemed the closest, and which of all others produces most commonly the passion of pride, is that of property.
This relation it will be impossible for me fully to explain before I come to treat of justice and the other moral virtues.
It is sufficient to observe on this occasion, that property may be defined, such a relation betwixt a person and an.