William Hazlitt English essayist, critic, and biographer.
Not entirely satisfied with his Presbyterian faith, he became a Unitarian minister in England. In he became pastor at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, where in he married Grace Loftus, daughter of a recently deceased ironmonger. Of their many children, only three survived infancy. The first of these, John later known as a portrait painterwas born in at Marshfield in Gloucestershire, where the Reverend William Hazlitt had accepted a new pastorate after his marriage.
Inthe elder Hazlitt accepted yet another position and moved with his family to MaidstoneKent, where his first and only surviving daughter, Margaret usually known as "Peggy"was born that same year.
Inwhen he was two, his family began a nomadic lifestyle that was to last several years. From Maidstone his father took them to Bandon, County CorkIreland; and from Bandon in to the United Stateswhere the elder Hazlitt preached, lectured, and sought a ministerial call to a liberal congregation.
His efforts to obtain a post did not meet with success, although he did exert a certain influence on the founding of the first Unitarian church in Boston. Hazlitt would remember little of his years in America, save the taste of barberries.
Priestley, whom Hazlitt had read and who was also one of his teachers, was an impassioned commentator on political issues of the day. This, along with the turmoil in the wake of the French Revolution, sparked in Hazlitt and his classmates lively debates on these issues, as they saw their world being transformed around them.
While, out of respect for his father, Hazlitt never openly broke with his religion, he suffered a loss of faith, and left Hackney before completing his preparation for the ministry. He had read widely and formed habits of independent thought and respect for the truth that would remain with him for life.
And, though harsh experience and disillusionment later compelled him to qualify some of his early ideas about human naturehe was left with a hatred of tyranny and persecution that he retained to his dying days,  as expressed a quarter-century afterward in the retrospective summing up of his political stance in his collection of Political Essays: I cannot sit quietly down under the claims of barefaced power, and I have tried to expose the little arts of sophistry by which they are defended.
In Septemberhe had met William Godwin the reformist thinker whose recently published Political Justice had taken English intellectual circles by storm. His intense studies focused on man as a social and political animal, and, in particular, on the philosophy of mind, a discipline that would later be called psychology.
He also familiarized himself with the works of Edmund Burkewhose writing style impressed him enormously. In the meantime the scope of his reading had broadened and new circumstances had altered the course of his career.
Yet, to the end of his life, he would consider himself a philosopher. From Fawcett, in the words of biographer Ralph Wardle, he imbibed a love for "good fiction and impassioned writing", Fawcett being "a man of keen intelligence who did not scorn the products of the imagination or apologize for his tastes".
In large part, however, Hazlitt was then living a decidedly contemplative existence, one somewhat frustrated by his failure to express on paper the thoughts and feelings that were churning within him.
This encounter, a life-changing event, was subsequently to exercise a profound influence on his writing career that, in retrospect, Hazlitt regarded as greater than any other.An Essay on the Principles of Human Action: Being an Argument in Favour of the Natural Item PreviewPages: An Essay on the Principles of Human Action Being an Argument in Favour of the Natural Disinterestedness of the Human Mind by William Hazlitt.
An Essay on the Principles of Human Action. To Which Are Added, Some Remarks on the Systems of Hartley and Helvetius [by W. Hazlitt].
William Hazlitt - An Essay on the Principles of Human Action. To Which Are Added, Some Remarks on the Systems of Hartley and Helvetius [by W. Hazlitt].
Facs. Introduction: At present this is a Work In Progress: I am working from the scanned version of Google, which consists of photographs of pages in a pdf-format, not of editable text, and a textfile, apparently generated by a program form those photographs.
An Essay on the Principles of Human Action: Being an Argument in Favour of the Natural Disinterestedness of the Human Mind. To which are Added, Some Remarks on the Systems of Hartley and Helvetius. William Hazlitt (10 April – 18 September ) Godwin intervened to help him find a publisher, and the work, An Essay on the Principles of Human Action: Being an Argument in favour of the Natural Disinterestedness of the Human Mind, was printed in a limited edition of copies by Joseph Johnson on 19 July Born: 10 April , Maidstone, Kent, England.