St. Evremond had expressed the same opinion long before Beattie.
'A tale of woods, rivers, meadows, fields, and gardens, makes but a very languishing impression upon us, unless their beauties be wholly new: but what concerns Humanity, its inclinations, tendernesses, and affections, finds something in the innermost recesses of our souls prepar'd to receive it: the same nature produces and receives 'em, and they are easily transfus'd from the actors to the spectators' (The Works of Monsieur St. Evremond, Made English. . . . The Second Edition, 1728, ii. 61).