« PreviousContinue »
Observations on Bibliography. THERE are two sorts of knowledge to be attained by him who aspires to the character of a true biblio. grapher'; one entirely consists in the outside and form of the book, and its value is known from its date, the form of the letters, or from the notes, and frequently from some typographical error; these are qualities which place it in the rank of rare or curious books, and fix its pecuniary value. The other branch of know. ledge consists in knowing what are the most proper books for instruction, where the subjects are most clearly presented and profoundly discussed; by the aid of what works it is possible to embrace the origin of a science, follow it in its developements, and attain the summit of perfection. It would, without doubt, be an immense advantage were these two branches of... knowledge always united; but experience shows us that they rarely are so, and that the first of the two has been much more cultivated than the second. We possess, on the subject of rare and curious books, an. tiquities, and literary jewels, (if the term may bet: allowed) much better instructions than we have rela. tive to books of real science. In searching for the 1 cause of this difference, it may perhaps be traced to the passion that rich and vain men have shown for pose aj sessing books without being capable of reading them, if for such men it has been found necessa ry to create a mi sort of library composed of objects, which, under the exterior form of books, are, in reality, only rarities, no objects of curiosity, which they read not, but some of times complacently regard, sometimes ostentatiously o display; and, as it is almost always those who poşsess the means of recompense that direct the labour of the 3 workman, one need not be surprised at finding him w more occupied in pointing out objects of rarity for the is rich man's acquirement, or praising those he alreadyurd possesses, than labouring to point out the merits of a works of studious men, from whom no recompense ju: can be expected.
Martin Mar-Prelate. MARTIN MAR-PRELATE was a nom de guerre for a set of “ intemperate puritans in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who circulated an immense number of libels; 'never, says d'Israeli, in his Calamities of Authors, • did sedition travel so fast, nor conceal itself so closely. The press, at which these books were printed, was first set up, near Kingston, in Surry, thence conveyed into Northamptonshire, thence 'to Norton, and afterwards to Coventry; thence into another part of Warwickshire, whence the letters were sent to another press at Manchester, where the snake was at length scotched by the Earl of Derby, hard at work on one of their most popular libels. For further particulars respecting Martin Mar-Prelate, Sir G. Paul's Life of Whitgift may be consulted with advantage.
Montague's (Edward Wortley) Junior, Reflections on the
Rise and Fall of the antient Republics, adapted to the present State of Great Britain.-2d edit. 8vo. 1760;
3d edit. 1778. This work was written by Foster, tutor to young Montague, who, after thrice running away, and being discovered by his father's valet crying founders about the streets of Deptford, was sent to the West Indies, whither Foster accompanied him. On their return to England, a good-natured stratagem was practised to obtain a temporary supply of money from old Montague, and at the same time to give him a favourable opinion of his son's attention to a particular species of erudition, this work was published with the name of Edward Wortley Montague, Junior, subjoined. Old Wortley seeing the book advertised, sent for his son, and gave him a bank note of 100l. value, promising him a similar present for every new edition the book should pass through. It was well received by the public: a second edition therefore occasioned a second supply,
(To be continued.)
irã TO THE CONDUCTORS OF THE ENQUIRER. Na GENTLEMEN, 996 If you think that the following curious circumstance There is worthy insertion in your miscellany, you will oblige
me by publishing it." " 'It is now some months since a quantity of old rope, **?'from Norway, was deposited in an old huilding ad?? joining a dwelling house in High Street, Boston. The
rope has been since taken away, and the old building
ON SOPHISMS. . . (Continued from p. 179.) Of bad Reasoning in civil Conversation and common
Discourse. HITHERTO we have shown examples of false argumentations in matters of science. But, because the principal use of reason does not consist in acquiring sciences that are of little use for the conduct of life, wherein it is of dangerous consequence to be deceived, it will be of much more advantage to consider, ge
nerally, that which seduces men into these false judg, ments which are made of all sorts of things, and blind
- men with prejudice in matters chiefly importing man.
- ners, and conducing to the government of civil life, and are the subjects of our common discourse. But, as this design would require a treatise by itself, which would comprehend almost all morality, we shall here
mark out only a part of the causes of those false judg. to ments that are so common among men,
We shall not spend time in distinguishing false
judgments from bad reasoning; as well because false e judgments are the sources of bad reasonings, which
they draw after them by a necessary consequence; as also because there is an implicit and latent ratiocination in that which to us appears a simple judgment, there being always something that serves as a motive and principle to that judgment. For example, when we say that a stick is crooked in the water, because it SO appears to us ; this judgment is grounded upon this general and false proposition, that what appears
crooked to our senses, is crooked indeed ; and so in. 6 cludes a reason which does not display itself. The ; causes of our errors, therefore, generally considered, may be referred to two heads; the one internal, which
is the irregularity of our will, that troubles and disjr orders our judgment; the other external, which con
sists in the objects of which we judge, and which delude our understanding by a false appearance. These causes are seldom separated ; nevertheless there are certain errors wherein the one discovers itself more plainly than the other; and therefore we shall treat of them apart. :
Of the Sophisms of Self-love, Interest, and Passion. . } $:1st. If we carefully examine why some men so obe
stinately dote upon one opinion rather than another, *7°*'; we shall find it to be not through any penetration it into the truth, or the force of arguments, but some är engagement of self-love, interest, or passion. This is
' 'the weight that draws down the balance, and deter.bt mines the most part of our doubts; this is that which
' gives the greatest shock to our judgments, and stops o the career of consultation. We judge of things, not 51114 as they are in themselves, but as they are in respect of deris: us, and truth and profit are to us the same thing.
We need no other proof of this than that we see every day, that things, in other places generally held vs for doubtful or false, are accounted altogether certain by all those of one nation, profession, or order. For, iť not being possible that what is true in Spain should be false in Turkey, nor the understandings of the Spaa niards and Turks such, that while both judge of things by the rules of reason, what generally appears true to the one, should generally appear false to the other, it is evident that this diversity of judgment can proceed from no other cause than that the one are pleased to ., hold for truth what is for their advantage; which . not being for the interest of the other, they have a contrary opinion of it.
Now what is there more unreasonable than to take our interest for a motive to believe a thing? All that ought to be done in such a case is but to consider the more attentively the reasons that may discover to us the truth of what we desire should be true. Nor is there any truth more plain than this, that that ought to be independent of our desires, which ought to guide our opinions. It would be absurd to say, I am of this country, therefore I must believe that such a saint first preached the gospel here. I am of such an order, therefore, I believe such an institution is wise and beneficial. These are no reasons. Of what order or country soever we may be, we are to believe only what is true, and which we would believe, to whatever coun. try, profession, or order, we might belong.
2d. But this delusion is more apparent when it happens from change of passions. For though all other things remain in the same condition, yet to them that are provoked with new passions, it seems that the new change that has happened in their desires, has altered the whole course of things which are any way related to them. As we find there are some persons that will not acknowledge any good quality, either natural, or acquired, in those against whom they have conceived an antipathy, or that in any thing thwarted their sentiments, their desires, or their interests. Presently such must be traduced for rash, haughty, ignorant, . perfidious, faithless, and void of all conscience. Their