Imatges de pàgina

more: we attempt to recollect, and in that case investigate what passes in the mind; when the subject, or an associated one, fixes the attention; or, by leading the attention to kindred topics, we are soon brought to what we wish to recover. In proof of this, who are those who have bad memories? Men whose dull nerves are susceptible only of imperfect vibrations, or whose inattention never admits of active impressions. . Such is the outline of a doctrine which may be greatly expanded with numerous illustrations, but which cannot be rendered more clear. It may at some future period make a part of a liberal commentary on Dr. Hartley's work, long since in embryo, and which, but for the loss of a valuable associate, might have been before this time completed. The theory of dreaming, offered in different numbers of our journal, is a part of the same train.-But to return to our author, from whom we hope we have not largely wandered.

. The second section of this chapter is on succession and du. ration, in which the usual doctrines are well detailed; but we meet with nothing peculiarly interesting. We feel a little repugnance to some of the common doctrines, but are unable to bring them into a “tangible form' in a short compass.

Mr. Belsham seems to have given a correct and summary view of the controversy respecting the existence of space. We suspect that he is willing to argue it away. In this however we cannot agree with him, though we fear the controversy would be verbal only. The argument which we consider to be decisive is, that if, for instance, the Deity would create fifty millions of solar systems more, there must be space for them; since, if there were not, something must prevent; therefore something must be given to limit space-9.e.d.. .

The question of identity is discussed with peculiar accuracy and conciseness. Personal identity must exist, together with a consciousness of this identity, either permanent or reproduced. This must, according to Dr. Watts's system, depend on permanent stamina, a doctrine to which our author is apparently partial. We will not enter into another disquisition, but could render this opinion highly probable.

On the question, whether consciousness be ever interrupted, Mr. Belsham speaks his own opinion more plainly than in other places. He allows that the possibility of uninterrupted consciousness must be allowed, but that this will not prove it to be either true or probable. Our opinion must be clear, from what has preceded, that consciousness must exist, in different degrees, while the circulation is continued with any activity in the brain, whether we retain the recollection of it or not.

The chapter on the imagination is also excellent. The first section is on its phänomena, dreams, and reveries-a subject to which we need not return. The second section is on imperfections in the rational faculties ;' to which our former ideas will equally apply. The third is on the phænomena of brutes analogous to the human faculties, and the percipiency of vegetables.

Brutes have life, and many of the intellectual faculties; but whether their life and intellect are connected with an immaterial or an immortal principle, is not necessary for us to decide in this place, as it was not necessary to determine the former question with respect to man. It is obvious that they are not accountable creatures in a future state, because they are apparently incapable of forming abstract ideas. The percipiency of vegetables is an idle fancy. Dr. Darwin adopted it as susceptible of poetical ornament, and then was led to defend it as a philosophical truth;-but must we swear to the truth of a song?

The eighth chapter is on affections, natural and acquired, and treats of instinct, wit, habit, the origin and classification of affections. We cannot enlarge on any of these ; yet on the subject of instinct we could wish, did our limits allow, to offer a few remarks. We shall select a part of our author's observations, not only for their merit, but as a specimen of his general manner.

• The existence of this principle in brutes, and that in a very high degree, is allowed almost universally; and instinct is observed to lead them to those actions which are most necessary to their own preservation, and to the continuance of the species.

Dr. Darwin has endeavoured to prove that what is called instinct in brutes is the effect of imitation, instruction, and experience. His facts are curious, and his reasonings are ingenious and plausible. He has at least proved that instinct is not always uniform, and that it is modified by circumstances. He has also shown great sagacity in analysing the natural symbols of the affections—fear, grief, pleasure, and the like ; and without natural signs, as he observes after Dr. Reid, no artificial ones could be invented or understood. '

All actions to which animals are impelled by instinct are performed with so much readiness and assiduity, that it seems reasonable to believe they are attended with pleasure, though some of them are effected with great labour. Such is the instinct by which a bird builds its nest, and that by which the bee constructs the honeycomb.

Instinct, as far as it goes, excels reason ; but it is limited to few objects, and is incapable of much variety, or of considerable improvement. Hence it is that brutes do not profit, like rational be. ings, by the wisdom and experience of former generations.

To account for the instincts of brutes, Dr. Hartley conjectures that, from their bodily make, certain vibrations spring up in them at certain geasons of the year, and at certain ages, mixing themselves with their acquired ideas, so as may best direct them to provide for and to preserve themselves and their young. This he calls a kind of

natural inspiration, as proceeding from the same stated laws of matter and motion as the other phænomena of nature.

This is a gratuitous and unsatisfactory hypothesis ; and Dr. Hartley acknowledges the extreme difficulty of the subject. Could Dr. Darwin's theory be established, it would harmonise much more satisfactorily with that of the association of ideas, and with the hypothesis of vibrations.

• In addition to the facts mentioned by Dr. Darwin in the section above referred to, remarkable instances of the wonderful power of instinct may be seen in the references below; viz. in the bee *, the ant t, the wasp }, the beavers, and the termites ll.

• The natural appetites of the human species are generally regarded as instinctive, but perhaps improperly. The sensation of hunger is produced by a certain state of the stomach, and is no more innate than the sensation of colour or sound. The suction of an infant, when applied to the breast, is not the result of a previous knowledge of the action to be performed, which would imply an innate idea, but is excited automatically by the impressions made upon the ner. vous and muscular system, which is then extremely irritable. And by degrees aiastication and deglutition, which were originally automatic, become voluntary acts. The origin of the other desires, and actions, which are commonly thought instinctive, admits of a similar explanation..

. The uniformity and universality of these feelings is no proof that they are instinctive: similarity of natural constitution and of external circumstances sufficiently accounts for these facts.

• The error of those philosophers who trace all the affections of human nature, and the phænomena of mind, to instinctive principles, has been already stated and obviated.' P. 190.

This is a faithful detail of what has been done; but much more is required. Our own sentiments, as we have said, are not matured; and we would decline entering into the discussion, at least till many of the facts are better ascertained.

The ninth chapter is on the will; and the doctrines of liberty and necessity are admirably discussed. Mr. Belsham, with the ablest metaphysicians, ranges on the side of the necessitarians.

The tenth chapter is on power, the eleventh on immateriality and materialism, and the twelfth on the evidence of a future life. These disquisitions merit our highest commendations. Our own opinions are sufficiently obvious, and in general we agree with Mr. Belsham.

The elements of moral philosophy admit not of much discussion; they are, like the rest of the work, peculiarly clear and

1 * Nature Displayed, vol. i. p. 163–202.

+ Guardian, vol. fi. Nos. 156, 157.
· Nature Displayed, part i. p. 126-143.

- , part ii, p. 106-114.
• | Philosophical Transactions, vol, 71, p. 139–193.",

comprehensive. We need only, as a specimen of our author's opinions, transcribe his definition of the moral sense.

- The moral sense is that faculty, affection, or state of mind, which excites an instantaneous, disinterested approbation and love of what is considered as virtue, and disapprobation and abhorrence of what is considered as vice, when perceived in ourselves or others.' P. 384.

We need not add any general character of the work, or repeat our approbation of it. For ourselves, some apology is requisite-particularly for enlarging so far on an elementary book, and for the manner in which we have considered it. Though elementary, however, it contains much more than many professed treatises, and engages so deeply on different subjects, that it unavoidably drew us into some discussions which in prudence we might have avoided. We have indeed treated the subject rather as physiologists than metaphysicians; but, while metaphysics contain only the natural history of the human mind, and the mind and body are so inseparably united that we can merely trace the functions of the former through the medium of the latter, the mind can only be considered as a part of the corporeal system; and we think the failure of metaphysicians has chiefly arisen from their defective knowledge of physiology and pathology. We earnestly wish that the system of Dr. Hartley were resumed by some physician of ability; for we are convinced that it may be improved and illustrated by numerous facts, and by facts so important as to entitle it to more praise than it has even hitherto received from the first metaphysicians who have succeeded him.

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ART. IV.-De lInfluence attribuée aux Philosophes, aux Francs

Maçons, et aux Illuminés, sur la Révolution de France. Par

7. 7. Mounier. On the Influence attributed to Philosophers, Free-Masons, and to the

Illuminati, on the Revolution of France. By 7. J. Mounier. --Translated from the Manuscript, and corrected under the Inspection of the Author, by 7. Walker, A.M. 8vo. 5s.6d. sewed. Wallis. 1801.

THE reveries of a Robison and the impostures of a Barruel receive their death-blow in this publication. Flattering the prejudices of the thoughtless and the unprincipled, these two writers availed themselves of the moment when the horrors of the French revolution excited the utmost indignation against any one who could be supposed, either by his counsels or his actions, to have assisted in promoting its cause; and it was natural for those who were in possession of power or privileges to receive with complacency every such attempt to palliate the

THE rever death-blow, i et and the unpriwhen the horning

faults of different governments, and to throw the whole blame of the revolution on philosophers and men of letters. Absurd as is the idea, that literary and scientific men, continually disputing with each other on the subject of their respective opinions, should conspire together to overthrow all social order, all good government, and every trace of religion,or should have the power of committing such mischief if they could thus conspire,—no sooner was it advanced than it became accredited by all who were either unable or unwilling to refer the causes of the French/revolution to their genuine source: and the idle dreams and self-conceits of visionaries and fanatics, with whom Germany has at all times abounded, were adduced as convincing proofs that the French government was overthrown by the efforts of secret societies. Philosophy, freemasonry, and illuminism, were compelled to be the genuine parents of Jacobinism; and it was not considered, that, among the members of the famous Jacobin club, scarcely one was an illuminate, nor a tenth part free-masons, and few possessed, or even affected, the least pretensions to philosophy. Illuminism was never known in France; and it was extinguished in Germany before the French revolution ; and even in this latter country its influence was not a thousandth part so extensive as that of Mr. Wesley's methodist societies in England. Freemasonry and philosophy have been cultivated in France, not by the revolutionists, but by those who, in consequence of the revolution, have been compelled to emigrate to other countries.

Few persons are better qualified than the author of this work to appreciate the real causes which effected the overthrow of the French monarchy, nobility, and clergy. He was a principal character in the first national convention ; and if he took an active part with those who wished to see France in possession of a free constitution, he was not the less a determined. enemy to all who aimed at the destruction of her monarchy and the introduction of anarchical principles. When the irresolution of the cabinet had rendered every attempt to support the crown inefficient, and the power of the anarchists began to be paramount, the author retired to his own province, to prevent, as much as in him lay, the devastation of its fields, and the total destruction of the habitations of ease, luxury, and industry: and when faction had at length so reared its monster head, that a man of his independent and upright principles be. came necessarily an object of suspicion and a marked victim to lawless power, he retired from a nation unable to receive his services, or to afford him the security to which he was entia tled. From such a person, acquainted with the secret springs which influenced the conduct of the members of the first con. vention, who has beheld the operation of those measures which, during the American war, were sapping the foundation of the government of his own country; who was well versed in the

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