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proportion; it will also be admitted, actly such as we meet in unorganized that 8-2=6 is also an itlentical pro- matter, but chemistry is utterly incaportion, though not stated in such pable of reforming what she has deplain and obvious terms. Now, in the compounded, or even of accounting equation --2=6, the object is to find for the appearances and properties the value of x; by the terms, it is which these elements, as united by stated to be equal to 6, when 2 are the hand of nature, exhibit. The laws taken from it ; consequently, the of vegetable and animal life must question simply is,--what number is therefore be drawn from their own greater than 6 by 2; and whether we facts, though chemistry may assist us answer 6+2=8=r; or i=8=6+2, in explaining a few of the subordithe proportion is identical : the terms nate phenomena, or guide us in some may vary; in one case be more simple of our investigations. and familiar than in another ; the pro But though our explanation of the cess by which the identity is made phenomena of vegetable and animal manifest, may in one case be short and life cannot be much advanced, and plain, and in another long, laborious, may be retarded by chemistry, and in and complicated, but the result is the this respect our knowledge of them same. The equation 12=12 is in and of their causes must rest on their words, as well as in fact, so obviously own peculiar grounds; yet, on the identical, that no person, not with other hand, they present a path unstanding the terms, can hesitate about known in the study of unorganized it. The equation 8–6 X 4+4=12, matter, which, if pursued with attenis also identical, though, from the tion and with sufficient knowledge, terms not being identical, and a pro- will frequently lead to the truth. cess being required of subtracting, From what we do ourselves, and what adding, and multiplying, the identity we observe in others, we are convinis not so soon made out and perceived. ced that wherever there is a conforma

Algebraical analysis, then, conducts tion of parts, these parts must have us to truth, by enabling us to ascer- some function to perform; there must tain the value of an unknown quan- have been some end and use in view. tity, which, together with certain When we perceive the conformation known quantities, makes up a given of plants and animals, the association quantity; if none of the quantities of our ideas leads us to reason on this are known, the given quantity cannot principle; we conclude, without hesibe ascertained. Whereas in chemical tation, that every organ must have analysis, it is not necessary that any had its appropriate destination and of the component parts should be pre use; hence we endeavour to ascerviously known, in order to determine tain its use; and this advances our the constitution of a body.

knowledge in two modes; in the first The phenomena of organized mat- place directly, by bringing us acquaintter, whether vegetable or animal, musted with its use; and, secondly, indibe ascertained and accounted for, in the rectly, by leading us to examine into same manner as those of all other the construction of other orgáns, which branches of science, except mathema- may be either necessary towards the tics; by a careful and repeated atten- use we have ascertained, or which, from tion to them; by the abstraction of perceiving that use accomplished, we every circumstance that is adventi- infer must exist, in order to bring tious and incidental, as well as of those about a higher and more general end. which disturb or modify the more ge- The circumstances and conjectures neral and regular appearances and re- which led Harvey to the discovery of sults. Chemistry affords its aid ; but the circulation of the blood, as stated it is apt to lead astray, as, both in the by Mr Boyle, (Works, vol. IV. p. vegetable and animal world, there are 539,) are strongly and beautifully ilagents in existence which either pre- lustrative of the sources of truth, vent the laws of chemistry from exert which are open, in the study of organing their influence, or produce results ized matter, to those who proceed with for which these laws cannot account due knowledge and caution, on the idea Here there is a source of error; che- that every organ and system of organs mistry can decompose the vegetable must have not only their peculiar use, and animal frame into its component but co-operate, in all their objects, toparts; these are few and simple, ex- wards one great object--the preserva

tion and reproduction of the vegetable of circumstances and actions iu partiand animal in which they are found.* cular cases, that are totally at variance If we ascend from mere life to the with the general principles of human actions of living beings, we still find nature. The lessons of experience, the path to real and useful knowledge on the great concerns of human life, the same. At first sight it seems im- which we may draw from attending to possible to discover any common prin- the history of our own species, it is ciples among the almost infinite va well observed,“ require an uncommon riety of animated beings with which degree of acuteness and good sense to the world abounds; but we afterwards collect them, and a still more uncomperceive that in some respects they all mon degree of caution, to apply them agree; these points, of course, impress to practice ; not only because it is difus more strongly and deeply, as pre- ficult to find cases in which the comsenting themselves much more fre- binations of circumstances are exactly. quently, than the points in which they the same, but because the peculiarities differ; and on these the most general of individual character are infinite, principles, which in reality are only and the real springs of action in our the most general and simple parts, are fellow-creatures, are objects only of founded. Abstracting them, we trace vague and doubtful conjecture.” But another class of resemblances, which on the other hand, the application of do not extend to so many as the for- general principles, which, of course, mer; and this serves as the foundation are drawn from what is common to of another set of principles; these the human character in all times and principles, or general facts, to which places, must prove correct and useful, we thus reduce our knowledge, we when it is made to large masses, or to term the laws of nature, in all its de- the final and permanent result of a partments except mathematics. We steady and continued operation of cauthus proceed gradually,disengaging the ses:--and principles less general,drawn, points of resemblance, till at last our for instance, from a thorough knowfacts relate peculiarly and exclusively ledge of national character, and from to individuals.

the circumstances of all kinds, physiThe process, therefore, which we cal, political, moral, religious, &c. by pursue, in order to gain such a know, which itis surrounded and acted upon, ledge of man, is exactly that which must be instructive and useful, in the botanist or natural historian pur- enabling us to conjecture respecting sues in acquiring and arranging his the future events and condition of that knowledge of plants and animals. Our nation from which they are drawn, conclusions will be the more general, and the consequences that will result and the more certainly and uniformly to it, from any particular measure or applicable to future contingencies, in line of conduct. proportion as we extend our views We must, however, guard against from particulars to generals, and from the error of applying

principles or geindividuals to communities.

neral maxims to different combinaIn no part of our investigations and tions of circumstances from those on endeavours to gain knowledge, do we which they are founded ; if we apply find more difficulties and obstructions such as are drawn from any particular in our path, than in what relates to nation to mankind in general, we human character ; we are often apt, must be led to error ; because in this in the midst of our perplexities and case we apply principles that are drawn mistakes, to question whether the law from circumstances peculiar to that of nature, that like causes will always nation-to mankind at large; the geproduce like effects, and like effects neral principles really applicable to always flow from like causes, applies to whom, are, of course, drawn from cirit; or in other words, whether nature cumstances not national, but common is permanent and stable here, as in all to all mankind. And we shall also the other divisions of her empire. fall into error, if we apply the princiHence we are too apt to suppose or ad- ples drawn from our knowledge of mit the possibility or actual existence one nation, to the character and events

* See some excellent remarks on the doctrine of final causes, as it is improperly called, in Mr Stewart's Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. II. pp. 453 477, 4to edition ; and in the Preface to the Edition of Derham's Physico-Theology. published at Edinburgh in 1798.

of another; for that would, in fact, exist in different relations from those be expecting that the same events which they actually possess. Our should flow from a different combina- knowledge of these properties depends tion of causes.

entirely on the perinanency and stabiOn the other hand, we are perfectly lity of the order of nature, and on that safe and justified in applying those constitution of the human mind by principles which are common to hua which our ideas are associated ; the man nature, to any particular nation, permanency of the order of nature imor individual ; we are not quite so safe, plies that every preceding circumhowever, in applying the principles stance being the same, every following which national character supplies, to circumstance will be the same; and any one individual of that nation, that where any of the preceding cirthough, in proportion as we apply cumstances are different, some of the them to a greater number of indivifollowing circumstances will be differduals, so will be the probability that ent also; or, that a difference in the the application will be appropriate effect must have beeu preceded and and fitting,

occasioned by some difference in the If this sketch of the nature and cause. Our object in endeavouring to sources of human knowledge be cor attain physical, moral, and intellecrect, it may be divided into two grand tual, or political truth, must be to find branches; the first is conversant about out wliat previons circumstances bethose properties which are not only long peculiarly to each effect or result: common to all things, but which seem by associating these and these only in essential to matter, and without which our mind with the event or result, we we cannot even conceive matter to ex- gain that knowledge which will not ist: figure, extension, magnitude, and only enable us to account for what hapnumber, each of these properties of pens, but to predict what will happen, matter have certain relations, which and in many cases to produce what are as necessary and essential as the will benefit us, or to avert what would properties themselves; and to assert prove injurious. that they do not exist, or that they are To account for a thing, or to explain different from what they are found to how it happens, is in reality only to b?, is to maintain a contra.liction as apply a general truth to a particular real though not so manifest, as to as case; this general truth or fact may sert that matter coulil exist without again be explainel by one still more those properties, among which these simple and general, till at last we arrelations suosist. That branch of hu- rive at a fact which we cannot explain. man knowledge which is employed in As knowledge, however, increases, we investigating these relations, is mathe- shall be enabled to gostill farther back; matics; and as those properties of but probably we shall never be able to matter about which it is conversant are perceive as necessary a connexion beobvious and simple, neither obscured tween the plıysical properties of matnor acted upon by circumstances, no ter, as we do in its mathematical prodoubts or difficulties can arise from perties. We can conceive gravity not those sources which mainly create tending to the centre-we can conceive them in the other grand branch of hu- it causing bodies to fall at a greater or man knowledge. The process by which less rate than 16 1-12h feet in a sea mathematical proportion is proved, cond; but so long as gravity tends to may be long, prolix, and abstruse, re- the centre, it must follow the law of quiring close and continued attention, decreasing as the squares of the disand great skill and preparatory infor- tances increase. mation, but its result, if accurate, must Political Economy being conversant lead to a certain and necessary truth, about the conduct of mankind, and an identical proportion, the reverse of the circumstances that influence their which involves a real and absolute con condition, and tend to advance or retradiction.

tard their progress in civilization and The other grand branch of human wealth-requires for its legitimate and knowledge, though consisting of seve successful study, a careful attention to ral subordinate parts, all of which may those facts that are peculiar, accidenagain be divided into parts still more tal, or temporary, 50 as to separate subordinate, relates to properties of them from those which are more permatter or mind which do not seem es manent and general, before we draw sential-properties which we can con our general conclusions; and it also ceive either not to exist at all, or to requires great care in applying those VOL. XVII.

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general conclusions, so as to allow for which Political Economy rests, and the operation of particular causes. The the sources from which that evidence order of nature is as stable and per- ought to be drawn, next require our manent in what relates to man in all consideration; and we trust that the his relations and actions, as it is in contents of the present paper will not what relates to matter ; but it is much be deemed irrelevant or useless, if by more difficult to trace this order, and means of them we are the better able to separate what is universally true to define and explain the nature of the from what is only generally so, and evidence on which Political Economy what is more generally true from what must rest—to unfold the sources from is so in various diminishing degrees. which that evidence must be derived, Till this is done, our associations

must and thence to prove, that, containing be erroneous; in our belief and ex within itself principles drawn from pectation, things will be united as numerous and well-established facts, cause and effect, which are not united and which, therefore, while the order in nature; hence our belief will be of nature is stable and permanent, erroneous our expectations disap- must be guides for our conjectures, pointed-our predictions will prove expectations, advice, and conduct in false, and our conduct will be at va future, it deserves the name and rank riance with our substantial good. ot' a science.

The real nature of the evidence on

In treating the subject of this paper, we have purposely omitted all consideration of the influence of language on knowledge. We are by no means disposeil to regard it as an instrument of thought, except perhaps to the extent, in the instance, and in similar instances to that stated by Hobbes : (Treatise on Human Nature, ch. v. $ 4.:) nume. ral and universal arithmetic certainly could not be carried to any extent, even by a soli. tary individual, without some marks for number. The influence of language on the reception and communication of knowledge, is quite a distinct subject. We have already referred to Locke on the use and abuse of words. Voltaire, who sometimes condenses into a short and epigrammatic sentence much solid truth, more perhaps than he was himself aware of, remarks, in rather too sweeping and unqualified a manner, however“ l'Alphabet fut l'origine de toutes les connoissances de l'homme, et de toutes ses sottises.” We shall afterwards see grounds to assent to the latter part of this sentence, in reference to Political Economy.

The metaphysics of human knowledge, of which this paper treats, thongh necessarily in a very summary and imperfect manner, involve much that is extremely curious and instructive, but they are also beset with much obscurity and difficulty. D'Alem. bert well remarks, “ A proprement parler il n'y a point de science qui n'ai sa metaphysique, si on entend par ce mot les principes generaux sur lesquelles une science est appayee, et qui sont comme le germe des verites de detail qu'elle renferme et qu'elle expose ; principes d'on il faut partir pour decouvrir de nouvelles verites, ou auxquels il est necessaire de remonter pour mettre au creuset les verites qu'on croit decouvrir." (Elemens de Philosophie ; Eclaircissement 15 sur l'usage et sur l'abus de la Metaphy, sique en Geometrie, et en general dans les Sciences Mathematiques.) There are some very profound observations on the respective provinces of physics and metaphysics in the theory of motion, by Berkley, in his Tract de Motu, first published in 1721, and incorporated in a miscellany, containing several tracts on various subjects, by the Bishop of Cloyne, Dublin, 1752.

D'Alembert remarks, in the Eclaircissemerit already referred to, that the use and abuse of metaphysics is particularly perceptible in its application to the infinitesimal calculus. The real metaphysics of this highest branch of mathematies is still a desideratum, notwithstanding the tracts that were published in reply to Berkley's Analyst, particularly those by Dr Pemberton, and Mr Robins, and an anonymous one, en. titled An Introduction to the Doctrine of Fluxions,” London, 1736—the disquisitions of D'Alembert himself in the work referred to ; and the express treatise of Carnot on the subject, entitled " Reflexions sur la Metaphysique du Calcul Infinitesimal.”

The metaphysics of a more confined branch of Mathematics is still more obscure ; indeed it is entirely hidden, notwithstanding the endeavours of D'Alembert, Euler, Berou. ille, Maclaurin, Playfair, Buce, and a writer (Playfair ?) in the Edinburgh Review, July 1808, to bring it to light; we allude to the theory of imaginary or impossible quantities. Mr C. Butler, in his Reminiscences, well observes, " Perhaps the reasoning on impossible quantities, and exterminating them by algebraic operations, till the impossible symbols disappear, and an equation of real quantities is produced, is the highest and most delightful effort of the human understanding.” And yet the nature of this powerful instrument, and the principle and means by which it operates, so as to produce such important results, some of which cannot be attained by any other method, and few, if any, by a method so concise and of such easy application, baffle the most profound mathematicians.

NEW SERIES OF SAYINGS AND DOINGS.* We are by no means certain that we distinctly expressed hfs belief, that shall much entertain our readers in “ EVERY COMIC WRITER OF FICTION general by anything we have to say in DRAWS, AND MUST DRAW, LARGELY regard to these gay and lively volumes. FROM HIS OWN CIRCLE.” The quesThe world have decided (nem. con.) tion, then, is one merely as to degree. that they are Theodore Hook's, and Mr Hook may have drawn more largely nothing even suspected to be his can from his own circle than other writers run the smallest risk of being neglect of the same class ; he has at least ined. The former series formed the vented for himself no new species of lichief table-talk of London for consi- cence. The truth seems to be, that his derably more than nine days last sea- habits of life and course of destiny son, and has subsequently enjoyed no having thrown him almost exclusivetrivial share of popularity, even in the ly among persons possessed of some remotest of our provinces. The vo- notoriety, it is no wonder that his eslumes now before us are at least equal quisses should have been traced more to theu predecessors in merit of all immediately, and with far greater inkinds, with only the necessary and un- terest, to their originals, than those avoidable exception of novelty in style; perhaps quite as faithlessly faithful of and we have no sort of doubt they scribes moving in quieter circles of soare destined to have quite an equal ciety: measure of success.

Histales, then, came before the pubThe novelty of Theodore's style, as lic with two decided claims to popuapplied to this species of composition, larity. Their materials were drawn formed, without doubt, the principal in no trifling measure, and were supattraction of his first series, unless even posed to be entirely drawn, from what that must yield the pas to the universal he himself had actually witnessed suspicion which forth with got abroad, among some of the most-talked-about that the author had drawn his mate- circles of London life ; and they were rials, not from human nature in gene written in a style distinguished by seral, as studied in the comparative cha- veral most attractive qualities. There racters and actions of many indivi are plenty of people who can, even in duals, but from particular and precise these plotless days, invent far better bits of human nature, as embodied in plots for stories than Theodore Hook. the doings and sayings of particular There are plenty who can command individuals. This suspicion was, we passions and feelings higher, far highcannot doubt, in some degree just, iu er, in class, than those he wishes to regard to the Tale of Danvers, but we meddle with: There are several, cerare not aware that anything of the sort tainly, who can lead us to look much has been established, or even shewn deeper into character, and, indeed, to be probable, in regard to any others who have much wider and more phiof that series. As to the present sem losophical notions of what constitutes ries, we are certainly inclined to put character, than he appears to have. But entire faith in the prefatory denial of who is he that has touched with equal “Portrait-Painting.” We have no no skill the actual living, reigning follies tion that any one of these tales is of the existing society of England, or merely a caricature of the history of rather, say we, of London ? Who is he one particular individual. As little, that glances over the absurdities of the however, can we doubt that innume actual everyday surface-life of our own rable subordinate sketches after indi day with so sharp and quizzical a pen? vidual life will be forthwith recogni. And who, finally, contrives, by genezed; and so far all is well. Such was ral lightness of touch, facility of tranassuredly the practice of all the old sition, careless recklessness of allusion, novelists. Witness a tolerably com and perpetual interspersion of really petent judge, Sir Walter Scott, who, masterly paragraphs of humorous dein one of his excellent prefaces to scription, to make all the world forget Ballantyne's Novelist's Library, has the absurdities of plots, which are not

Sayings and Doings, or Sketches from Life ; a New Series. London: printed for Henry Colburn, New Burlington Street. 1825.

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