What is love, or friendship? Is it something material ... a ball, an apple, a plaything ... which must be taken from one to be given to another? Is it capable of no extension, no communication? Lord Kaimes defines love to be a particularization of the general passion.
But this is the love of sensation, of sentiment ... the absurdest of absurd vanities: it is the love of pleasure, not the love of happiness. The one is a love which is selfcentered, selfinterested: It desires its own interest; it is the parent of jealousy. Its object is the plaything which it desires to monopolize.
Selfishness, monopoly, is its very soul, and to communicate to others part of this love were to destroy its essence, to annihilate this chain of straw.
But love, the love which we worship , ... virtue, heaven, disinterestedness ... in a word, Friendship ... which has as much to do with the senses as with yonder mountains; that which seeks the good of all ... the good of its object first, not because that object is a minister to its Pleasures, not merely because it even contributes to its happiness, but because it is really worthy, because it has powers, sensibilities, is capable of abstracting itself, and loving virtue's own loveliness ...
Desiring the happiness of others not from the obligation of fearing the happiness of others not from the obligation of fearing hell or desiring heaven: but for pure, simple, unsophisticated virtue. You will soon hear again. Adieu, my dearest friend. Continue to believe that when I am insensible to your excellence, I shall cease to exist.