Hume's doctrine was that the circumstances vary, the amount of happiness does not; that the beggar cracking fleas in the sunshine under a hedge, and the duke rolling by in his chariot; the girl equipped for her first ball, and the orator returning triumphant from the debate, had different means, but the same quantity of pleasant excitement.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Works and Days," Society and Solitude (1870).
David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher whose extreme brand of skepticism had agitated Emerson since Emerson had first read Hume's work in his youth. This quotation refers to Hume's utilitarian philosophy of happiness.