This chapter draws primarily on periodical literature to show the meanings
attached to philanthropy in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Philanthropy was a feeling of love for humanity that brought pleasure, even
rapture, to those who experienced it, all the more so as it was envisaged as
universal in extent, covering all humans in the globe. The word was not used
to describe what are often considered to be the hallmarks of
eighteenth-century philanthropy, the voluntary hospitals, the Marine Society
and other institutions. There was criticism, for example by Adam Smith, of
the claim that mere humans could love all other humans, even some
suggestions that misanthropy was more characteristic of humanity than
philanthropy. But in the vast majority of references philanthropy was a
sensation experienced in the body; it was not something that urged you to do
anything or to spend money.