of pure reason. All was sterling, all per- ! Yet in this purely intellectual picture there fectly plain; there was no point in the remains to be noted a discrepancy, a want diction, no illustration in the topics, no or- of keeping, something more than a shade. nament of fancy in the accompaniments. The commanding intellect, the close reasoner, The language was choice,-perfectly clear, who could overpower other men's underabundantly correct, quite concise, admira- standing by the superior force of his own, bly suited to the matter which the words was the slave of his own prejudices to such clothed and conveyed. In so far it was fe- an extent, that he could see only the perils licitous, no farther; nor did it ever leave of revolution in any reformation of our inbehind it any impression of the diction, but stitutions, and never conceived it possible only of the things said: the words were that the monarchy could be safe, or that forgotten, for they had never drawn off the anarchy could be warded off, unless all attention for a moment from the things; things were maintained upon the same footthose things were alone remembered. Noing on which they stood in early, unenspeaker was more easily listened to; none lightened, and inexperienced ages of the so difficult to answer. Once Mr. Fox, when world. The signal blunder, which Bacon be was hearing him with a view to making long ago exposed, of confounding the youth that attempt, was irritated in a way very un- with the age of the species, was nerer comwonted to his sweet temper by the conversa-mitted by any one more glaringly than by this tion of soine near him, even to the show of great reasoner. Ile it was who first emsome crossness, and (after an exclamation)ployed the well-known pbrase of the ** wissharply said, “Do you think it so very dom of our ancestors ;' and the menaced pleasant a thing to have to answer a speech innovation, to stop which he applied it, was like that?” The two remarkable occasions the proposal of Sir Samuel Romilly to take on which this great reasoner was observed the step of reform, almost imperceptibly to be most injured by a reply, were in that small, of subjecting men's real property to of Mr. Wilberforce quoting Clarendon's re- the payment of all their debts. marks on the conduct of the judges in the Historical Sketches of Statesmen, etc. Ship Money case, when Sir William Grant had undertaken to defend his friend Lord

Condition OF THE CHINESE. Melville ; and in that of Lord Lansdowne (then Lord Henry Petty), three years later, The universal respect in which learning when the legality of the famous Orders in is held, and the privileges allowed to it, Council was debated. Here, however, the have not, however, made the Chinese carry speech was made on the one day, and the far their cultivation of it. They afford, on answer, able and triumphant as it was, fol- the contrary, a singular instance of a nation lowed on the next.

early making some progress, and then stopIt may safely be said that a long time will ping short for ages ; of a people, all of whom apse before there shall arise such a light possess the instruinents of education, the to illuminate either the senate or the bench, ineans of acquiring knowledge,-a people as the eminent person whose rare excellence most of whom have actually acquired some we have just been pausing to contemplate. knowledge, and yet none of whom have That excellence was no doubt limited in its ever gone beyond the most elementary sphere: there was no imagination, no vehe- studies. This can only be ascribed to the mence, no declamation, no wit; but the absolute forn of their government, and the sphere was the highest, and in that highest manisest intention which the sovereigns sphere its place was losty. The understand. | have always had to limit the literary acquiing alone was addressed by the understand-sitions of their subjects. The advantages ing. The faculties that distinguish our of keeping quiet and indolent a people so nature were those over which the oratory of numerous as to be able to crush almost any Sir William Grant asserted its control. His ruler, and the means of tranquillity which bway over the rational and intellectual por elementary lessons like those of Confucius tion of mankind was that of a more power and his school bestowed, if they were ful reason, a more vigorous intellect, than thoroughly learnt, and became, as it were, theirs; a sway which no man had cause for mixed up with the nature of the people, being ashamed of admitting, because the could not escape the Chinese monarchs. victory was won by superior force of argu- They had a people to deal with whom they ment; a sway which the most dignified and found it easy to occupy with such pursuits, exalted genius might hold without stooping and with the innumerable customs and cerefrom its highest pinnacle, and which some monies which the sacred writings inculcate who might not deign to use inferior arts of together with far better things. The occupersuasion could find no objection whatever pation was more than harmless,-it was most to exercise.

| useful in extinguishing fierce and turbulent HENRY BROUGHAM.


spirits; and the lessons taught were those now deemed most refined, made a considerof absolute submission to the magistrates, able progress in knowledge, and still more though seasoned with so much other doctrine in the arts, have stopped short as it were on as prevented them from wearing the appear the threshold, and never attempted the rank ance of a mere design to secure subordina of a learned or even a very polished nation. tion. Beyond the learning of those books, Acquainted with paper-inaking for above therefore, the government had no desire seventeen centuries, with printing for more that Chinese education should be carried. than nine, they have hardly produced a book Accordingly, true orthodoxy is closely con- which could fix the attention of a European fined to the books of Confucius and Mencius, reader in the present day; and yet learning and one or two commentators on them; and is the passport to political honours, and even the government discountenances by every to power among them; and books are so means the acquisition of any other learning. highly valued that it is part of their religious This is the main cause of the stationary observances never to suffer the treading on, or knowledge of the Chinese ; and one of the irreverent treatment of, a scrap of printed most powerful means used by the govern or written paper how worthless socver. ment to keep it thus stationary is the pre Possessed of the mariner's compass twelve venting of almost all intercourse with foreign hundred years before it was known in Eunations.

rope, they have scarcely ever put it to the The amount of the learning contained in use which it really can best serve, but creep those writings is very moderate. Many of along their coasts, from headland to headthe maxims are admirable; some indeed land, like the most ignorant of the South closely reseinbling those of our own religion. Sea Islanders, and rather employ it on shore, Thus Confucius distinctly enjoins the duty where other marks might better serve to of doing unto others as we would be done to guide them. With a kind of glass, or someby them; nor can anything be more urgent thing as near good glass as possible, for than his injunction to watch the secret ages, they never have yet succeeded in thoughts of the heart as the fountains of making that most useful and beautiful proevil. It is also an adinirable precept of his duct of the arts in its transparent state and to judge ourselves with the severity we plastic fabric. Capable of copying the works apply to others; and to judge others as we of the pencil with a minuteness which seems do ourselves. But there are wicked doc- preternatural, both as to colour and form, trines mixed with this pure wisdom, as when they are wholly without invention, and, left men are commanded not to live under the to themselves, can make nothing like an imisame sky with a father's assassin, and be- tation of nature. Nor in the severer scisides, the merit of all moral maxims is much ences have they made any progress beyond more in the acting upon them than the laying the very first elements, although they have

hem down. Wisdom is, properly speaking, known one or two of the fundamental truths the doing what wise sayings recommend ; | in geometry for hundreds of years, by inducand he has made but a small progress in tion rather than demonstration, and could philosophy—even in the philosophy of calculate eclipses of the heavenly bodies morals—who has only stored his memory long before any other nation had emerged with all the proverbs of Franklin and all from barbarism. It is equally certain, howthe morals of Æsop. There are few men ever, that the amount of knowledge which 80 ignorant as not to know the substance of they have so long attained, the repute in these aphorisms, though they may never which they have been taught to hold the have seen them put in terse language, or quiet and sedulous pursuit of it, and the deillustrated by apt comparisons. The diffi- votion of their attention to it within certain culty really lies in acting up to them. limits, joined to the being debarred from all Therefore the learning to which the Chinese foreign intercourse, have produced all the efalmost entirely devote themselves is of a fect that could be desired by their rulers : it very trifling nature at best. Some of it in-has so far reclaimed them from the turbudeed is positively useless. The Li-ki, or lent state of uncivilized tribes as to make book of rites and customs, contains three them easily ruled, by keeping them quiet, thousand of these, all of which are to be sedentary, inactire, even pusillanimous, withlearnt and to be scrupulously observed ; and out unfolding their faculties or increasing there is a council of state with the exclusive their knowledge in any degree likely to enoffice of seeing that this observance is com. | danger the security of a system founded plete,-a manifest contrivance of the gov- mainly upon the permanent position of all ernment to occupy the people with frivolous and each of its parts. and barmless studies.

Political Philosophy, Vol. i. Ch. vi., GovIt thus happens that the Chinese, after ernment of China. having, long before any other of the nations

[ocr errors][merged small]

SIR HUMPHRY DAVY, ure and selfish gratifications, to forget our baronet, born at Penzance, Cornwall, 1778, in

body and sensible organs, to associate our 1803 became a Fellow, in 1806 Secretary, and

pleasures with mind, to fix our affections in 1820 President, of the Royal Society; died

| upon the great ideal generalization of intelat Geneva, 1829. He was the author of

ligence in the One Supreme Being: and more than fifty Treatises and Lectures ex

that we are capable of forming to ourselres plaining his brilliant chemical discoveries,

an imperfect idea of the eternal mind is,

I think, a strong presumption of our own etc., of Six Discourses delivered before the Royal Society at their Anniversary Meetings,

immortality, and of the distinct relation Lond., 1827, 4to, and of the following among

which our finite knowledge bears to eternal

wisdomn.... other works: Salmonia, or, Days of Fly-fishing, with Soine Account of the Habits of

The doctrine of the materialists was Fishes belonging to the Genus Salmo, Lond.,

always, even in my youth, a cold, heary, 1828,, 2d edit., 1829, 12mo, 3d edit.,

dull, and insupportable doctrine to me, and 1832, 12mo, 4th edit., with Additions by his

necessarily tending to atheism. When I had Brother, Dr. John Davy, 1851, fp. 8vo; Con

heard, with disgust, in the dissecting-rooms, solations in Travel, or, The Last Days of a

the plan of the physiologist, of the gradual Philosopher, Lond., 1830, 12mo, 5th edit.,

accretion of matter, and its becoming en1851, fp. 8vo. Collected Works, Edited,

dowed with irritability, ripening into sensiwith Life, by his Brother, John Davy, M.D.

bility, and acquiring such organs as were The Life appeared separately, Lond., 1836,

necessary by its own inherent forces, and at 2 vols. 8vo, and a Life by Dr. J. A. Paris,

| last issuing into intellectual existence, a Lond., 1831, 2 vols. 8vo.

walk into the green fields or woods, by the

banks of rivers, brought back my feelings "Mr. Davy, not yet thirty-two years of age, oc- from Nature to God. I saw in all the powers cupied, in the opinion of all that could judge of of matter the instruments of the Deity. The such labours, the first rank among the chemists of

sunbeams, the breath of the zephyr, awakenthis or of any other age; it remained for him, by

ing animation in forms prepared by divine direct service rendered to sociсty, to acquire a similar degree of reputation in the minds of the

intelligence to receive it, the insensate seed, general public."-Cuvier: Eloge of Sir II, Davy.

the slumbering eggs which were to be vivi

fied, appeared, like the new-born animal, Ox Tie CONSCIOUSNESS OF IMMORTALITY.

works of a divine mind; I saw love as the

creative principle in the material world, and If there be (which I think cannot be this love only as a divine attribute. Then doubted) a consciousness of good or evil iny own mind I felt connected with new senconstantly belonging to the sentient principlesations and indefinite hopes-a thirst for imin man, then rewards and punishments nat mortality ; the great names of other ages urally belong to acts of this consciousness, and of distant nations appeared to me to be to obedience or disobedience; and the inde still living around me, and even in the fanstructibility of the sentient being is neces cied movements of the heroic and the great sary to the decrees of eternal justice. On I saw, as it were, the decrees of the inyour view, even in this life, just punishments destructibility of mind. These feelings, for crimes would be almost impossible ; for though generally considered as poetical, yet, the materials of which human beings are I think, offer a sound philosophical argument composed change rapidly, and in a few years in favour of the inmortality of the soul. In probably not an atom of the primitive struc- all the habits and instincts of young animals, ture remains; yet even the materialist is their feelings and inorements, may be traced obliged, in old age, to do penance for the an intimate relation to their improved persins of his youth, and does not complain offect state ; their sports have always affinities the injustice of bis decrepit body, entirely to their modes of hunting or catching their changed and made stiff by time, and suffer food ; and young birds, even in the nests, ing for the intemperance of his youthful, sliow marks of fondness, which, when their flexible frame. On my idea, the conscience frames are developed, become signs of actions is the frame of the mind, fitted for its proba- necessary to the reproduction and preservation in mortality. And this is exact accord- tion of the species. The desire of glory, of ance with the foundations of our religion, honour, of immortal fame, and of constant the divine origin of which is marked no less knowledge, so usual in young persons of by its history than its harmony with the well-constituted minds, cannot, I think, be principles of our nature. Obedience to its other than symptoms of the infinite and precepts not only prepares for a better state progressive nature of the intellect,-bopes of existence in another world, but is likewise which, as they cannot be gratified here, becalculated to inake us happy here. We are long to a frame of mind suited to a nobler constantly taught to renounce sensual pleas- | state of existence.

[blocks in formation]


Religion, whether natural or revealed, has 8vo, 1844, 8vo, new edition of Lectures, always the same beneficial influence on the 1846, 4 vols. 8vo. Sce Account of his Life mind. In youth, in health, and prosperity, and Writings, by Rev. D. Welsh, Edin., 18:25, it awakens feelings of gratitude and sub- 8vo. See also Selections from the Correlime love, and purifies at the same time that spondence of the Late Macvey Napier, Esq., it exalts: but it is in misfortune, in sickness, Edited by his Son, Macrey Napier, London, in age, that its effects are most truly and 1879, 8vo. Index, p. 545. beneficially felt: when submission in faith, “The prose of Dr. Brown is brilliant to excessi and humble trust in the Divine will, from it must not be denied that its beauty is sometimes luties become pleasures, underlying sources womanly; that it too often inelts down precision of consolation: then it creates powers which

into elegance; that it buries the main idea under were believed to be extinct, and gives a fresh

a load of illustration. ... It is darkened by ex

cessive brightness; it loses ease and liveliness by ess to the mind which was supposed to have

over-dress; and, in the midst of its luscious sweetpassed away for ever, but which is now ren

ness, we wish for the striking and homely illustraovated as an immortal hope. Then it is the tions of Tucker, and for the pithy and sinewy senso Pharos, guiding the wave-tost mariner to of Paley, either of whom, by a single short metahis home; as the calm and beautiful still phor from a familiar, perhaps a low, object, could basins or fiords, surrounded by tranquil

at one blow set the two worlds of Reason and groves and pastoral meadows to the Norwe

Fancy in movement."-SIR J. MACKINTOSH : Dis

sert, on Progress of Ethical Philosophy, prefired to gian pilot escaping from a heavy storm in

Encyc. Brit., and in his Miscell. Works, edit. 1851, the North Sea; or as the green and dewy 110." spot, gushing with fountains, to the ex “ The style is so captivating, the views so comhausted and thirsty traveller in the midst prehensive, the arguments so acute, the whole of the desert. Its influence outlives all thing so complete, that I was almost insensibly earthly enjoyments, and becomes stronger

borne along upon the stream of his reasoning and

I his eloquence. In the power of analysis he greatly as the organs decay and the frame dissolves.

transcends all philosophers of the Scottish school It appears as that evening star of light in

who preceded him."-MORELL: Hist. of Modern the horizon of life, which we are sure is to become in another season a morning star ; and it throws its radiance through the gloom

Desire OF THE IIAPPINESS OF OTHERS. and shadow of death.

It is this desire of the happiness of those Consolations in Travel ; or, The Last Days whom we love which gives to the emotion

of a Philosopher: The Proteus ; or, Im- of love itself its principal delight, by affordmortality; Fourth Dialogue.

ing to us constant means of its gratification. He who truly wishes the happiness of any one cannot be long without discovering some

mode of contributing to it. Reason itself, THOMAS BROWN, M.D.,

with all its light, is not so rapid in discoy. born at Kirkmabreck, near Dumfries, I eries of this sort as simple affection, which Scotland, 1778, graduated M.D. 1803, and sees means of happiness, and of important read lectures for Dugald Stewart in the happiness, where reason scarcely could think Moral Philosophy Class of the University of that any happiness was to be found, and had Edinburgh, 1808-9, and in 1810 became already by many kind offices produced the colleague to Stewart in the Chair of Moral happiness of hours before reason could have Philosophy, in which capacity he gained suspected that means so slight could have high distinction; died 1820. He was the given even a moment's pleasure. It is this, author of Observations on the Zoonomia of indeed, which contributes in no inconsiderErasmus Darwin, M.D., Edin., 1798, 8vo ; able degree to the perpetuity of affection. Ohservations on the Nature and Tendency | Love, the mere feeling of tender admiration, of Mr. Hume's Doctrine Concerning the Re- would in many cases have soon lost its power lation of Cause and Effect, Edin., 1804, 8vo, over the fickle heart, and in many other 2d edit., 1806, 8vo, 3d edit., Edin., 1818, 8vo, cases would have had its power greatly ley4th edit., Lond., 1835, 8vo; Poems, Edin., sened, if the desire of giving happiness, and 1804, 2 vols. 12.o ; A Criticisin on Charges the innumerable little courtesies and cares against Mr. Leslie, 1806, 8vo; The Paradise to which this desire gives birth, had not thus of Coquettes, Lond., 1814, crown 8vo; The in a great measure diffused over a single Bower of Spring, 1816; The War Fiend, passion the variety of many emotions. The 1816; The Wanderer in Norway, a Poem, love itself seems new at every moment, be1816, 8vo; Emily and other Poems, 2d edit., cause there is every moment some new wish 1818, 8vo; Agnes, a Poem, 1818, 8vo; Lec- of love that admits of being gratified ; or tures on the Philosophy of the Human rather it is at once, by the most delightful Mind, Edin., 1820, 4 vols. 8vo (posthumous), of all combinations, new, in the tender with a Memoir and Index by Welsh, 1828, wishes and cares with which it occupies us,

[ocr errors][merged small]

and makes familiar to us, and endeared the man; and this great object is that which more by the remembrance of hours and nature had in view. She has by a provident years of well-known happiness.

arrangement, which we cannot but admire The desire of the happiness of others, the more the more attentively we examine though a desire always attendant on love, it, accom inodated our emotions to our ineans, does not, however, necessarily suppose the making our love most ardent where our previous existence of some one of those emo- | wish of giving happiness might be most tions which may strictly be termed love. effectual, and less gradually and less in proThis feeling is so far from arising neces- | portion to our diminished means. From the sarily from regard for the sufferer that it is affection of the mother for her new-born in. impossible for us not to feel it when the suf- fant which has been rendered the strongest fering is extreme, and before our very eyes, of all affections, because it was to arise though we may at the same time have the in circumstances where affection would be utinost abhorrence of him who is agonizing most needed, to that general philanthropy. in our sight, and whose very look, even in which extends itself to the remotest stranger its agony, still seems to speak only that on spots of the earth which we never are to atrocious spirit which could again gladly visit, and which we as little think of ever perpetrate the very horrors for which public visiting as of exploring any of the distant indignation as much as public justice had planets of our systein, there is a scale of doomed it to its dreadful fate. It is suffi- benevolent desire which corresponds with cient that extreme anguish is before us; we the necessities to be relieved, and our power wish it relief before we have paused to love, of relieving them, or with the happiness to or without reflecting on our causes of hatred; be afforded, and our power of affording hapthe wish is the direct and instant emotion piness. How many opportunities have we of our soul in these circumstances, -an emo- of giving delight to those who live in our tion which, in such peculiar circumstances, domestic circle which would be lost before it is impossible for hatred to suppress, and we could diffuse it to those who are distant which love may strengthen indeed, but is from us! Our love, therefore, our desire of not necessary for producing. It is the same giving happiness, our pleasure in having with our general desire of happiness to given it, are stronger within the limits of others. We desire, in a particular degree, this sphere of daily and hourly intercourse the happiness of those whom we love, be than beyond it. Of those who are beyond cause we cannot think of them without ten- this sphere, the individuals most familiar to der admiration. But though we had known us are those whose happiness we must althem for the first time simply as human ways know better how to promote than the beings, we should still have desired their happiness of strangers, with whose particuhappiness; that is to say, if no opposite in- lar habits and inclinations we are little if at terests had arisen, we should have wished all acquainted. Our love and the desire of them to be happy rather than to have any general happiness which attends it are theredistress; yet there is nothing in this case fore, by the concurrence of many constituwhich corresponds with the tender esteemtional tendencies of our nature in fostering that is felt in love. There is the mere wish the generous wish, stronger as felt for an of happiness to them, a wish which itself, intimate friend than for one who is scarcely indeed, is usually denominated love, and known to us. If there be an exception to which may without any inconvenience be this gradual scale of importance according 80 denominated in that general humanity to intimacy, it must be in the case of one which we call a love of mankind, but which who is absolutely a stranger,-a foreigner we must always remember does not afford who comes among a people with whose genon analysis the same results as other affec- eral manners he is perhaps unacquainted, tions of more cordial regard to which we and who has no friend to who e attention he give the same name. To love a friend is to can lay claim from any prior intimacy. In wish his happiness indeed, but it is to have this case, indeed, it is evident that our benevoother emotions at the same instant, emotions lence might be more usefully directed to one without which this mere wish would be poor who is absolutely unknown than to many to constant friendship. To love the natives who are better known by us, that live in our of Asia or Africa, of whose individual virtues very neighbourhood in the enjoyment of or vices, talents or imbecility, wisdom or ig. domestic loves and friendships of their own. norance, we know nothing, is to wish their Accordingly, we find that by a provision which happiness; but this wish is all which con- night be termed singular, if we did not think stitutes the faint and feeble love. It is a of the universal bounty and wisdom of God, a wish, however, which, unless when the modification of our general regard has been heart is absolutely corrupted, renders it im- prepared in the sympathetic tendencies of possible for man to be wholly indifferent to our nature for this case also. There is a

« ForrigeFortsett »