If at first in the 18th century, and in the earlier 19th, the discoveries in this branch of medical knowledge had a certain isolation, due perhaps to the prepossessions of the school of Sydenham, they soon became the property of the physician, and were brought into co-ordination with the clinical phenomena of disease.
But besides this, as Leslie has pointed out, the influence of Montesquieu tended to counterbalance the theoretic prepossessions produced by the doctrine of the jus naturae.
It affords a curious example of the effect of doctrinal prepossessions in obscuring the results of historical inquiry.
Even in Italy, though his general course of action was warped by wrong prepossessions, he in many instances manifested exceptional practical sagacity in dealing with immediate difficulties and emergencies.
The British moralists who wrote with political prepossessions are interesting, not merely as contributors to speculation, but as exponents of spiritual tendencies which were expressed practically in the political agitations of their times.
He had "none of the hereditary prepossessions of the native Englishman."
No such prepossessions disturbed his vision when it was bent upon the rising problems of the time, or rested on the machinery of government and the kind of men who worked it and their ways of working.
Nevertheless there have been few moral philosophers who have, apart from the idiosyncrasies of their special prepossessions, set forth with clearer insight or with greater nobility of language the essential nature of the moral consciousness.