Imágenes de páginas
PDF

• theory are only two. First, that nobody ever yet knew any thing about these marvellous undulations of the brain, or is able even to prove their existence. Secondly, that all the undulations in the world can never produce an idea; a vibration having exactly as much connection with an intellectual phenomenon, as gravitation, cohesion, repulsion, or anything else imaginable. The history of the progress of materialism is curious. Hartley, who first introduced the theory of vibrations, saw plainly enough whither it led. But he was afraid of his own conclusions. After observing, that “ his theory must be allowed to overturn all the arguments which are usually brought for the immateriality of the soul, from the subtlety of the internal senses, and of the rational faculty;” he acknowledges candidly his own conviction, that “matter and motion, however subtilly divided or reasoned upon, yield nothing but matter and motion still ;” and therefore requests “that he may not be in any way interpreted, so as to oppose the immateriality of the soul”.” Dr. Priestley, Hartley's great apostle, appears, like his master, to have been a little timid. At one period of his life, he was the advocate of what he calls “the immateriality of matter, or rather, the mutual penetration of matter;” a doctrine which he expounds in an inimitably original and unintelligible passage, which is extracted from his “ History of Discoveries relating to Vision,” by Mr. Stewart. At another period of his life, he inclined to the materiality of mind. But the only opinion, in which he uniformly persewered, was, that “man does not consist of two principles, so essentially different from one another as matter and spirit; but that the whole man is of some uniform compositions.” At last came Dr. Darwin

* Hartley's Observations, pp. 511, 512. Ap. Stewart.

* Preface to Disquisitions, p. 7. Ap. Stewart.

(who never embarrassed himself with little difficulties), and declared, in the very outset of his work, that “the word idea, which has various meanings in metaphysical writers, may be defined to be a contraction, or motion, or configuration, of the fibres which constitute the immediate organ of sense.” So that, according to this writer, the idea which a man has of his father, is a contraction of one of his own fibres; atd that which he possesses of the universe, is a configuration of another. In an Addendum to the Zoonomia, the same learned author compares “the universal prepossession, that ideas are immaterial beings, to the stories of ghosts and apparitions, which have so long amused the credulous, without auy foundation in nature.” Mr. Horne Tooke's title to be considered as a materialist, is rather more questionable than that of Dr. Darwin, or any of his predecessors; but he is so loudly claimed by the followers of that sect, and his services are considered as so great, that it would be a sort of cruelty to attempt to rob them of an authority they prize so highly. His labours, in their cause, have been entirely philological; but they are not, on that account, valued the less by his metaphysical allies, and seem to be considered as a beautiful instance of the lights which sister sciences may throw upon one common truth. The leading principle of Mr. Tooke's work is, that the true meaning of words is to be sought in their roots, and that men talk at random, or, as he expresses it, “ gabble like things most brutish,” when they use terms in any other than that which may be shewn to be their proper historic sense. Now it so happens (and from the nature of things it could not happen otherwise), that the basis of a language is primcipally to be found in words expressing sensible objects; for these obviously were

the first, the most necessary, and

most intelligible-ideas; and when, afterwards, it. was requisite to speak

of any thing not subject to the observation of the senses, instead of a mere arbitrary sound, a metaphor was used; that is, something known was employed to explain something unknown, as the best approximation that could be made to it. Nothing can be more simple and natural than all this; but this matter of fact (though admitting of so easy an explanation) is considered by the materialists as a prodigious argument in favour of their theory. Language certainly carries us back, in the history of its etymology, to sensible objects; and it is thence inferred, quite “ de bonne foi,” and with all the tranquillity of a demonstrative truth, that every thing expressed by language must of course be a sensible object also. Mr. Tooke has

not always taken the trouble to

draw this conclusion; but it is pretty plainly intimated in his disquisitions, as well as evidently implied in the principle on which he reasons; and on one very important occasion it is distinctly expressed. Of the word right, he observes, that $t may be shewn to mean nothing but what is ordered; and of the words expressing the soul, in the Latin and Greek languages, he proves that they mean only wind or breath : leaving, in both these instances, the corollary to his readers. But on the word truth, he has the following remarkable paragraphs. “True, as we now write it, or trew, as it was formerly written, means simply and merely, that which is trowed. And instead of being a rare commodity upon earth, except only in words, there is nothing but truth in the world. “That every man, in his communication with others, should speak that which he troweth, is of so great importance to mankind, that it ought not to surprise us, if we find the most extravagant praises bestowed upon truth. But truth supposes mankind; for whom, and by whom alone, the word is formed, and to whom alone it is applicable. If no man, no truth. There is, Christ. Observ, No. 129.

therefore, no such thing as eternal, immutable, everlasting truth; unless mankind, such as they be at present, be also eternal, immutable, and everlasting.”.” We cannot enter upon a formal refutation of this puerile theory. Mr. Stewart has examined and sifted it with great ability in the chapters which he has devoted to the consideration of Mr. Tooke's philological speculations; and nothing can be more masterly than his attack, or more complete than his triumph.Two things surely are most obvious;— that there is such a thing as speaking metaphorically; and, that the sense which belonged to a word five hundred years ago, may not be the sense which belongs to it at present. If Mr. Tooke's theory is correct, when we say that a lion is a humane animal, we mean that he is a man; a private gentleman is an idiot; an instant is a standing thing; a result is a jumping thing; to attend to a person is to walk up to him; to impress ideas upon the mind is to squeeze them in, and to erpress them is to squeeze them out again; when two men converse, they turn round together; when Mr. Tooke advanced his theory, he overthrew it ; when he supported it, he carried it on his shoulders; and when he inculcated it, he trod it under his feet. After having so long detained our readers with our own comments, it would be unpardonable not to present them with the following just, striking, and very eloquent observations, #. the pen of Mr. Stewart:

“The philological speculations to which the foregoing criticisms refer, have been prosecuted by various ingenious writers, who have not ventured (perhaps who have not meant) to draw from them any inferences in favour of muaterialism. But the obscure hints frequently thrown out, of the momentous conclusions to which Mr. Tooke's discoteries are to lead, and gratulations with which they were hailed by the author of Zoonomia, and by other physiologists of the same school, leave no doubt with respect to the ultimate

* Diversions of Purley, ap. Stewart, 167.

purpose to which they have been supposed to be subservient. In some instances, these writers express themselves, as if they conceived the philosophy of the human nind to be inaccessible to all who have not been initiated in their cabalistical mysteries, and sneer at the easy credulity of those who imagine that the substantive spirit means any thing else than breath; or the adjective right, any thing essentially different from a line forming the shortest distance between two points. The language of those metaphysicians who have recommended an abstraction from things external as a necessary preparation for studying our intellectual frame, has been censured as bordering upon enthusiasm, and as calculated to inspire a childish wonder at a department of knowledge, which, to the few who are let into the secret, presents nothing above the comprehension of the grammarian and the anatomist. For my own part, I have no scruple to avow, that the obvious tendency of these doctrines to degrade the nature and faculties of man in his own estimation, seems to me to afford, of itself, a very strong presumption against their truth. Cicero considered it as an objection of some weight to the sound. ness of an ethical system, that “it savoured of nothing grand or generous,' (nihil magnificum, nihil generosum sapit): nor was the objection so trifling as it may at first appear; for how is it possible to believe that the tonceptions of the multitude, concerning the duties of fife, are elevated by ignorance, or prejudice, to a pitch which it is the business of reason and philosophy to adjust to an humbler aim 2 From a feeling somewhat similar, I frankly acknowledge the partiality

I entertain towards every theory relating to the human mind, which aspires to ennoble its rank in the creation. I am partial to it. because, in the more sublime views which it opens of the universe, I recognize one of the most infallible characteristics by which the conclusions of inductive science are distinguished from the presumptuous fictions of human folly.

“When I study the intellectual powers of man in the writings of Hartley, of Priestley, of Darwin, or of Tooke, I feel as if I were examining the sorry mechanism that gives motion to a puppet. If, for a moment, I am carried along by their theories of huluan knowledge and of human hfe, I seem to myself to be admitted behind the curtain uf what l had once conceived to be a magnificent theatre; and while I survey the timsel frippery of the wardrobe, and the paltry decorations of the scenery, am mortified to discover the trick which had cheated my eye at a distance. This surely is not the characteristic of truth or of nature, the beauties of which invite our closest inspection; deriving new lustre from those microscopical researches which deform the most finished productions of art. If, in our physical inquiries concerning the material world, every step that has been hitherto gained, has at once exalted our conceptions of its immensity, and of its order, can we reasonably suppose that the genuine philosophy of the miud is to disclose to us a spectacle less pleasing, or less elevating, than fancy or vanity had disposed us to anticipate?”— pp. 185, 186,187.

(To be continued.)

[ocr errors]

* ..., LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE, - s &c. &c. - -o

GREAT BRITAIN.

In the press:-A Collection of curious and interesting Letters, translated from the Originals in the Bodleian Library, with illustra. tions;–A Reformed Communion Office for the Administration of the Lord's Supper, by , the Rev. Mr.Anstis of Bridport;-TheTravels of Professor Lichtenstein in Southern Africa, translated by Miss A. Plumpire;—and A volume of Sermons, by Dr. Watts, never before

published, edited by Dr. Pye Smith. Preparing for publication:—A Second Wolume of Mr. Ivimey's History of English Baptists;-A Metrical History of England, by the Rev. T. B. Dibdin;- First Part of

Studies of History, being an abridged History of Greece, by the Rev. T. Morell;-A Guide to the Reading of the Holy Scriptures, translated from the Latin of Professor Franck, with a Life of the Author; by Mr. W. Jaques of Chelsea.

Dr. Thomas Clark, of Denmark Street, has represented an injection of a decoction of ipecacuanha as a certain cure for dysentery, and he cites so many proofs that it clearly deserves a fair trial in every case of this diseases At the York assizes, a cause came on to recover of the defendant, the Hon, and Rev. Mr. Cathcart, sundry penalties for non-residence. The jury found a verdict against him for 661 l. 14s. v.Accrin a Tron.

The following is the substance of the Report of the National Vaccine Establishment, which was laid on the table of the House of Commons at the close of the last session.

During the year 1811, the surgeons appointed by their authority to the nine stations in London, vaccinated 3,148 persons, and distributed 23,794 charges of vaccine lymph to the public. Since the commencement of this establishment, not a single instance of small pox, after vaccination, has occurred to any of their surgeons. In consequence of an order from the Admiralty, vaccination has beeu practised in the navy to a great extent; and though not universally adopted, the mortality frem the small pox, among seamen, is already greatly diminished. In the army, the practice of vaccination has been long established, and its effects have been decidedly beneficial. A disorder formerly so fatal to the troops, is uow considered as nearly extinguished in the army. Vaccination is almost every where gaining ground, throughout the British dominions; and it is found that the number of deaths from the small pox is uniformly decreasing, in proportion as vaccination becomes more general, and the inoculation of the small pox declines. The disappearance of the small pox from the island of Ceylon, was noticed in the Report of last year; and in consequence of vaccination, this disease has in no instance lately occurred in the island of Anglesey, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the town of Petworth, or in the adjoining district. Previous to the discovery of vaccination, the average number of deaths by small pox, within the bills of mortality, was 2000 annually; whereas in the last year ouly 751 persons have died of that disease, although the increase of population within the last ten years has been 133,139. The reports from Dublin and from Scotland surnish evidence of the general and rapid increase of vaccination, and give the most satisfactory proofs of the success and efficacy of the practice.

In the cases which have come to the knowledge of the Board, the small pox after vaccination, with a very few exceptions, has been a mild disease; and out of the many hundred thousand persons vaccinated, not a single well-authenticated instance has been communicated of the occurrence of a fatal small pox after vaccination. The Report adverts to the mischiefs which are daily arising

from the diffusien of the fatal contagion of small pox in the community, in consequence of variolous inoculation, among the lower classes of the people, which constantly keeps up the contagion, and where it saves a single life, exposes numbers to a most dangerous disease. It is greatly to be wished that this evil could be checked, by such measures as Government in its wisdom might judge proper to frame, in order to prevent the spreading of the small pox, and thus keeping up a continual source of infection in the heart of the uetropolis. The constant renewal of the contagion of small pox in this capital, is strikingly contrasted with the advantages enjoyed by several of the other capitals of Europe, in consequence of the universal adoption of vaccination by medical practitioners, seconded by the authority of government. The cities of Vienna and Milan, in which the mortality from small pox was formerly more considerable in proportion to their population than in London, have been for some time freed altogether from this destructive pest; the first for five, and the latter for eight years, according to the statement of Drs. De Carrio and Sacco; and in the city of Geneva, the small pox has been nearly extirpated. In Switzerland in general, but more particularly in Geneva, the extension of the blessings connected with vaccination, has in a great degree depended on the warm and active co-operation of the clergy, who were assiduous in recommending the practice to their parishioners from the pulpit, as well as promoting it by every other exertion in their power.

Menior city.

We have already informed our readers that the valuable labours of Matthew Martin, Esq. in inquiring into the state of mendicity in the metropolis, with a view to its suppression, were some time since resumed. He has opened an office for this purpose, under the sanction and at the expense of Government, situated at No. 23, Artillery Place, Brewer's Green, Westminster. At this office, and also at Mr. Hatchard's, No. 190, Piccadilly, tickets may be had at the price of threepence each, one of which given to a beggar will ensure to him, when presented at the office, at least its value. The great advantage, however, arising from this plan, is not the small temporary relief thus afforded, but the opportunity that is gained of inquiring fully into the case of the beggar, with a view to ascertain its real nature, and to afford, if possible, permanent relief. For this last purpose * is a separate fund, raised by

4 I 2

[ocr errors]

Private subscription, and administered by a most respectable committee, by means of which inuch severe distress has been alleviated or removed. This has been done in the case of parochial poor, by procuring the aid of their parishes; and in the case of the nonparochial poor, by means of tickets for hospitals, and other public charities, medical assistance, occasional articles of clothing, employment, and sometimes pecuniary donations. The proportion of parochial and nonparochial applicants appear to be, in five hundred, three hundred and twenty of the former, and one hundred and eighty of the latter. It is impossible for any one to walk through the streets of this metropolis without meeting many objects to whom he would be glad to administer relief, if he could ascertain that his bounty would not be mischievous rather than useful. How is he to distinguish those who are proper objects of charity 2 The present plan frees him from this difficulty. A beggar cannot be in great want who will not, for the value of the ticket, take the trouble of calling at the office, and submitting to an investigation of his case with a view to further relies. But when a ticket is given,

care should be taken to explain to the beggar the use which he is to make of it. The efficacy of this plan, in procuring relief to real objects of commiseration, must depend, however, on the extent of the subscription fund ; and that, we are sorry to perceive, by a circular letter from Mr. Martín, is very low. Benevolent persons are therefore invited to contribute to it. It must be obvious, to those who are in the habit of giving casual relief, how much more good a guinea, or ten guineas, thus applied would effect, than if it were distributed at random in the streets. We cannot conceive a more unexceptionable mode of charity than this, nor one which is more likely to yield a large amount of good in proportion to the sum employed. Subscriptions are received at Drummond's, Charing Cross; Morland's, 56, Pall Mall; Bosanquett's, 73, Lombard Street; Hatchard's, 190, Piccadilly ; Mortlock's, 250, Oxford Street; and at the Mendicity Office, 23, Artillery Place, Brewer’s Green, Westminster; at which place, or at his house in Poet's Corner, Old Palace Yard, Westminster, information or suggestions may be addressed te M. Martin, Esq.

[ocr errors][merged small]

theology. A Sermon, dedicated to the Memory of the Right Hon. Spencer Perceval ; by John Batchelor. 8vo. 1s. The Obligations of Christians to attempt the Conversion of the Jews. 1s. 6d. Devout Meditations from the Christian Oratory, by J. Bennett; with Memoirs of the Author, by S. Painer. 12no. 5s. Prophecies of the Messiah, from the Beginning of Genesis to the End of the Psalins of David; by J. Robinson. 8vo. 12s. Observations on a Future State, and on the Supremie Felicity. 1s. 6d. Short Lectures for Sunday Schools; by a Lady. 1s. Å New Directory for Non-conformist Churches; containing free Remarks on their Mode of Public Worship, and a Plan for the Improvement of it. 8vo. 5s. The Book of Job, literally translated from the Original Hebrew, and restored to its natural Arrangement: with Notes, critical and illustrative; by John Mason Good, F. R. S. 8vo. 16s. Seriuous, attributed to Samuel Johnson, LL.D. and left for publication by John Tayfor, LL.D. late Prebendary of Westminster, &c. 9s. Liturgy; or a full Developement and Explanation of the Faith, Moral Doctrine, and

PUBLICATIONS.

Sacred Rites of the Catholic Church; by the
Rev. Peter Gandolphy. 5s. 6d.
The Case of the Heathen compared with
that of those who enjoy the Blessings of the
Gospel; by Joseph Holden Pott, A. M.
Archdeacon of St. Albans. 2s. 6d.
The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of
England, confirmed by Texts of the Holy
Scriptures. 1s. 6d. -
A Report of the Proceedings of the Asso-
ciation in Birmingham, for promoting the
Bible Society. 1s. 6d. -

Miscel LAN Eo Us. The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland deliueated. Part I. 10s. 6d.; large paper, 16s. Select Remains of the late E. White, of Chester; with Memoirs of his Life, by J. Fletcher, A.M.; and a Preface, by the Rev. W. B. Collyer, D.D. 5s. 6d. and 8s. Memoirs of the late Rev. T. Lindsey, M.A. including a brief Analysis of his Works; by the Rev. W. Belsham. 8vo. 14s. Life and Administration of Cardinal Wolsey; by I. Galt. 4to. 21.2s. ; or royal 4to. 31. 3s. Memoirs of the Margravine of Bareith, Sister of Frederic the §. Written by herself. 2 vols. 8vo. 1]. is. Campbell's Lives of the Admirals; by

« AnteriorContinuar »