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. The necessity of a senate is not lessindicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield tothe impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factiousleaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. Examples on this subjectmight be cited without number; and from proceedings within the United States, aswell as from the history of other nations. But a position that will not becontradicted, need not be proved. All that need be remarked is, that a bodywhich is to correct this infirmity ought itself to be free from it, andconsequently ought to be less numerous. It ought, moreover, to possess greatfirmness, and consequently ought to hold its authority by a tenure ofconsiderable duration.
One of Hume's tasks in the is to describe, not prescribe,morality. The concepts of the passions, virtue, and sympathy are central toan understanding of his moral theory. According to Hume, the passions(emotions) are secondary impressions or impressions of reflection (Hume,188.8.131.52). These include calm passions such as beauty and deformity, directviolent passion such as grief and joy, and indirect violent passions such aslove and hatred. Other passions include generosity, hope, ambition, envy,fear, and despair (Hume, 184.108.40.206). Passions are caused, in part, by virtuesand vices, which produce moral pleasures and pains respectively (Hume,220.127.116.11). In Book 3 Hume explores natural virtues (essential to humannature) such as compassion and friendship, and artificial virtues (socialconventions) such as justice, promise-keeping, and allegiance (Hume,18.104.22.168). Hume's sympathy (rather like empathy) is the means ofcommunication through which we come to understand the sentiments (pains andpleasures) of others and from which we can determine vice and virtue (Hume,22.214.171.124).