Want of compassion (however inaccurate observers have reported to the contrary) is not to be numbered among the general faults of mankind. The black ingredient which fouls our disposition is envy. Hence our eyes, it is to be feared, are seldom turned up to those who are manifestly greater, better, wiser, or happier than ourselves, without some degree of malignity, while we commonly look downward on the mean and miserable with sufficient benevolence and pity.
Compassion is an emotion of which we ought never to be ashamed. Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe. We should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in a selfish enjoyment; but we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human life, of the solitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.