METAPHYSICS OF "6001) INTENTION."
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPECTATOR.
24th October 1S37.
S1R—Can any of your readers, who are well versed in the Spanish or Por- tuguese languages, inform me what is the literal meaning of the well.knowa and oft.repeated adage, that " Hell is paved with good intentions ;" an expres- sion, as we have rendered it, altogether equivocal?
By good intentions, are we to understand those resolutions of amendment which, while the ill consequences of our past errors and follies are still fresh in our minds, we are all of us ready enough to form, but which, whatever may be the cause, whether it arise from innate weakness of mind or front some one of the numerous motives which actuate human conduct: when fresh tempta- tions occur, we but too often have not the courage to adhere to ? Or does it refer exclusively to the conduct and actions cf those well-meaning individuals (a numerous class, be it observed,) who are governed in all they do by the best possible motives, and yet contrive, from sheer want of judgment, so to act as to defeat the very ends they have in view, doing oftentimes infinitely more harm with their confounded good intentions than those whose designs are openly and intentionally mischievous ?
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,