Page images

side. 'Better,', says the traditional maxim of English law, that nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should suffer'-and better, say we, that nine useless lives should be written than that one valuable one should be neglected. The chaff is easily winnowed from the wheat; and even in the memoirs of comparatively insignificant persons, some precious truth, some lesson of dearbought experience, may be found treasured up for 'a life beyond life.' In what may be termed professional biography, facts and principles not known to the general reader are often conveyed. In lives like those of Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr Wilberforce, Mr Francis Horner, and Jeremy Bentham, new light is thrown on the characters of public men, and on the motives and sources of public events. Statesmen, lawyers, and philosophers both act and are acted upon by the age in which they live, and, to be useful, their biography should be copious. In the life of Sir Humphry Davy by his brother, and of James Watt by M. Arago, we have many interest-period than ours; and, indeed, I cannot help likening ing facts connected with the progress of scientific discovery and improvement; and in the lives of Curran, Grattan, and Sir James Mackintosh (each in two volumes), by their sons, the public history of the country is illustrated. Sir John Barrow's lives of Howe and Anson are excellent specimens of naval biography; and we have also lengthy memoirs of Lord St Vincent, Lord Collingwood, Sir Thomas Munro, Sir John Moore, Sir David Baird, Lord Exmouth, Lord Keppel, &c. On the subject of biography in general, we quote with pleasure an observation of Mr Carlyle :

these blemishes. The fearless confidence with which all that he knew and believed is laid before the public, and Scott presented to the world exactly as he was in life-in his schemes of worldly ambition as in his vast literary undertakings-is greatly to be admired, and will in time gather its meed of praise. The book, in the main, exhibits a sound and healthy spirit, calculated to exercise a great influence on contemporary literature. As an example and guide in real life, in doing and in suffering, it is equally valuable. The more the details of Scott's personal history are revealed and studied, the more powerfully will that be found to inculcate the same great lessons with his works. Where else shall we be better taught how prosperity may be extended by beneficence, and adversity confronted by exertion? Where can we see the "follies of the wise" more strikingly rebuked, and a character more beautifully purified and exalted than in the passage through affliction to death? His character seems to belong to some elder and stronger it to the architectural fabrics of other ages which he most delighted in, where there is such a congregation of imagery and tracery, such endless indulgence of whim and fancy, the sublime blending here with the beautiful, and there contrasted with the grotesque-half perhaps seen in the clear daylight, and half by rays tinged with the blazoned forms of the past-that one may be apt to get bewildered among the variety of particular impressions, and not feel either the unity of the grand design, or the height and solidness of the structure, until the door has been closed on the labyrinth of aisles and shrines, and you survey it from a distance, but still within its shadow.'*

We have enumerated the most original biographical works of this period, but a complete list of all the memoirs, historical and literary, that have appeared, would fill pages. Two general biographical dictionaries have also been published, one in ten volumes quarto, published between the years 1799 and 1815 by Dr Aikin; and another in thirty-two volumes octavo, re-edited, with great additions, between 1812 and 1816 by Mr Alexander Chalmers. An excellent epitome was published in 1828, in two large volumes, by John Gorton. In Lardner's Cyclopædia, Murray's Family Library, and the publications of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful

'If an individual is really of consequence enough to have his life and character recorded for public remembrance, we have always been of opinion that the public ought to be made acquainted with all the inward springs and relations of his character. How did the world and man's life, from his particular position, represent themselves to his mind? How did co-existing circumstances modify him from without-how did he modify these from within? With what endeavours and what efficacy rule over them? with what resistance and what suffering sink under them? In one word, what and how produced was the effect of society on him? what and how produced was his effect on society? He who should answer these questions in regard to any individual, would, as we believe, furnish a model of perfection in bio-Knowledge, are some valuable short biographies by graphy. Few individuals, indeed, can deserve such a study; and many lives will be written, and, for the gratification of innocent curiosity, ought to be written, and read, and forgotten, which are not in this sense biographies.'

Fulfilling this high destiny, and answering its severe conditions, Boswell's life of Johnson is undoubtedly the most valuable biography we possess. Moore's Byron, the life of Crabbe by his son, Lockhart's Burns, and the life of Bentham by Dr Bowring, are also cast in the same mould; but the work which approaches nearest to it is Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott, an elaborate biography, published in 1838, in seven large volumes. The near relationship of the author to his subject might have blinded his judgment, yet the life is written in a fair and manly spirit, without either suppressions or misstatements that could alter its essential features. Into the controversial points of the memoir we shall not enter: the author has certainly paid too little deference and regard to the feelings of several individuals; and in the whole of his conclusions with regard to the Messrs Ballantyne, and indeed on the whole question as to the parties chiefly blameable for Scott's ruin, we believe him to have been wrong; yet far more than enough remains to enable us to overlook

authors of established reputation. The Lives of the Scottish Poets have been published by Mr David Irving, and a Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen by Mr Robert Chambers, in four volumes octavo. A more extended and complete general biographical dictionary than any which has yet appeared is at present in the course of publication, under the auspices of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.


We have no profound original metaphysician in this period, but some rich and elegant commentators. PROFESSOR DUGALD STEWART expounded and Dr Reid: and by his essays and treatises, no less illustrated the views of his distinguished teacher than by his lectures, gave additional grace and popularity to the system. Mr Stewart was the son of Dr Matthew Stewart, professor of mathematics in the university of Edinburgh, and was born in the colAt the early lege buildings, November 22, 1753. age of nineteen he undertook to teach his father's mathematical classes, and in two years was appointed his assistant and successor. A more congenial open

* Lockhart's Life, vol. vii. p. 417.

ing occurred for him in 1780, when Dr Adam Fergusson retired from the moral philosophy chair. Stewart was appointed his successor, and continued to discharge the duties of the office till 1810, when Dr Thomas Brown was conjoined with him as colleague. The latter years of his life were spent in literary retirement at Kinneil House, on the banks of the Firth of Forth, about twenty miles from Edinburgh. His political friends, when in office in 1806, created for him the sinecure office of Gazette writer for Scotland, with a salary of £600 per annum. Mr Stewart died in Edinburgh on the 11th of June 1828. No lecturer was ever more popular than Dugald Stewart-his taste, dignity, and eloquence rendered him both fascinating and impressive. His writings are marked by the same characteristics, and can be read with pleasure even by those who have no great partiality for the metaphysical studies in which he excelled. They consist of Philosophy of the Human Mind, one volume of which was published in 1792, a second in 1813, and a third in 1827; also Philosophical Essays, 1810; a Dissertation on the Progress of Metaphysical and Ethical Philosophy, written in 1815 for the Encyclopædia; and a View of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, published only a few weeks before his death. Mr Stewart also published Outlines of Moral Philosophy, and wrote memoirs of Robertson the historian, and Dr Reid. 'All the years I remained about Edinburgh,' says Mr James Mill, himself an able metaphysician, I used, as often as I could, to steal into Mr Stewart's class to hear a lecture, which was always a high treat. I have heard Pitt and Fox deliver some of their most admired speeches, but I never heard anything nearly so eloquent as some of the lectures of Professor Stewart. The taste for the studies which have formed my favourite pursuits, and which will be so to the end of my life, I owe to him.'

on the Philosophy of the Human Mind are highly
popular, and form a class-book in the university.
In some of his views Dr Brown differed from Reid
and Stewart. His distinctions have been pronounced!
somewhat hypercritical; but Mackintosh considers
that he rendered a new and important service to
mental science by what he calls secondary laws of
suggestion or association- circumstances which
modify the action of the general law, and must be
distinctly considered, in order to explain its con-
nexion with the phenomena.'

[Desire of the Happiness of Others.]

[From Dr Brown's Lectures.]

It is this desire of the happiness of those whom we love, which gives to the emotion of love itself its principal delight, by affording to us constant means of gratification. He who truly wishes the happiness of any one, cannot be long without discovering some mode of contributing to it. Reason itself, with all its light, is not so rapid in discoveries of this sort as simple affection, which sees means of happiness, and of important happiness, where reason scarcely could think that any happiness was to be found, and has already by many kind offices produced the happiness of hours before reason could have suspected that means so slight could have given even a moment's pleasure. It is this, indeed, which contributes in no inconsiderable degree to the perpetuity of affection. Love, the mere feeling of tender admiration, would in many cases have soon lost its power over the fickle heart, and in many other cases would have had its power greatly lessened, if the desire of giving happiness, and the innumerable little courtesies and cares to which this desire gives birth, had not thus in a great measure diffused over a single passion the variety of many emotions. The love itself seems new at every moment, because there is every moment some new wish of love that admits of being gratified; or rather tions, new, in the tender wishes and cares with which it is at once, by the most delightful of all combina it occupies us, and familiar to us, and endeared the more by the remembrance of hours and years of wellknown happiness.

DR THOMAS BROWN (1778-1820), the successor of Stewart in the moral philosophy chair of Edinburgh, was son of the Rev. Samuel Brown, minister of Kirkmabreck, in Galloway. His taste for metaphysics was excited by the perusal of Professor Stewart's first volume, a copy of which had been lent to him by Dr Currie of Liverpool. He appeared The desire of the happiness of others, though a as an author before his twentieth year, his first work desire always attendant on love, does not, however, being a Review of Dr Darwin's Zoonomia. On the establishment of the Edinburgh Review, he became necessarily suppose the previous existence of some one of those emotions which may strictly be termed one of the philosophical contributors; and when love. This feeling is so far from arising necessarily a controversy arose in regard to Mr Leslie, who from regard for the sufferer, that it is impossible had, in his essay on heat, stated his approbation of for us not to feel it when the suffering is extreme, Hume's theory of causation, Brown warmly espoused and before our very eyes, though we may at the same the cause of the philosopher, and vindicated his opi-time have the utmost abhorrence of him who is nions in an Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect. At this time our author practised as a physician, but without any predilection for his profession. His appointment to the chair of moral philosophy seems to have fulfilled his destiny, and he continued to discharge its duties amidst universal approbation and respect till his death. Part of his leisure was devoted to the cultivation of a talent, or rather taste for poetry, which he early entertained; and he published The Paradise of Coquettes, 1814; The Wanderer of Norway, 1815; and The Bower of Spring, 1816. Though correct and elegant, with occasionally fine thoughts and images, the poetry of Dr Brown wants force and passion, and is now utterly forgotten. As a philosopher he was acute and searching, and a master of the power of analysis. His style wants the rich redundancy of that of Dugald Stewart, but is also enlivened with many eloquent passages, in which there is often a large infusion of the tenderest feeling. He quoted largely from the poets, especially Akenside; and was sometimes too flowery in his illustrations. His Lectures

agonizing in our sight, and whose very look, even in its agony, still seems to speak only that atrocious spirit which could again gladly perpetrate the very horrors for which public indignation as much as public justice had doomed it to its dreadful fate. It is sufficient that extreme anguish is before us; we wish it relief before we have paused to love, or without reflecting on our causes of hatred; the wish is the direct and instant emotion of our soul in these circumstances-an emotion which, in such peculiar circumstances, it is impossible for hatred to suppress, and which love may strengthen indeed, but is not necessary for producing. It is the same with our general desire of happiness to others. We desire, in a particular degree, the happiness of those whom we love, because we cannot think of them without tender admiration. But though we had known them for the first time simply as human beings, we should still have desired their happiness; that is to say, if no opposite interests had arisen, we should have wished them to be happy rather than to have any distress; yet there is nothing in this case which cor

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

revere, and whose kindness has been to us no small part of the happiness of our life.

Is it possible to perceive this general proportion of our desire of giving happiness, in its various degrees, to the means which we possess, in various circumstances of affording it, without admiration of an arrangement so simple in the principles from which it flows, and at the same time so effectual-an arrangement which exhibits proofs of goodness in our very wants, of wisdom in our very weaknesses, by the adaptation of these to each other, and by the ready resources which want and weakness find in these affections which everywhere surround them, like the presence and protection of God himself?

[ocr errors]

responds with the tender esteem that is felt in love. There is the mere wish of happiness to them-a wish which itself, indeed, is usually denominated love, and which may without any inconvenience be so denominated in that general humanity which we call a love of mankind, but which we must always remember does not afford, on analysis, the same results as other affections of more cordial regard to which we give the same name. To love a friend is to wish his happiness indeed, but it is to have other emotions at the same instant, emotions without which this mere wish would be poor to constant friendship. To love the natives of Asia or Africa, of whose individual ,virtues or vices, talents or imbecility, wisdom or ignorance; we know nothing, is to wish their happiness; O humanity!' exclaims Philocles in the Travels but this wish is all which constitutes the faint and of Anacharsis, generous and sublime inclination, feeble love. It is a wish, however, which, unless announced in infancy by the transports of a simple when the heart is absolutely corrupted, renders it im- tenderness, in youth by the rashness of a blind but possible for man to be wholly indifferent to man; and happy confidence, in the whole progress of life by the this great object is that which nature had in view. facility with which the heart is ever ready to contract She has by a provident arrangement, which we cannot attachment! O cries of nature! which resound from but admire the more the more attentively we examine one extremity of the universe to the other, which it, accommodated our emotions to our means, making fill us with remorse when we oppress a single human our love most ardent where our wish of giving happi- being; with a pure delight when we have been able ness might be most effectual, and less gradually and to give one comfort! love, friendship, beneficence, less in proportion to our diminished means. From sources of a pleasure that is inexhaustible! Men the affection of the mother for her new-born infant, are unhappy only because they refuse to listen to which has been rendered the strongest of all affections, your voice; and, ye divine authors of so many blessbecause it was to arise in circumstances where affec-ings! what gratitude do those blessings demand! If tion would be most needed, to that general philan- | all which was given to man had been a mere instinct, thropy which extends itself to the remotest stranger that led beings, overwhelmed with wants and evils, on spots of the earth which we never are to visit, and which we as little think of ever visiting as of exploring any of the distant planets of our system, there is a scale of benevolent desire which corresponds with the necessities to be relieved, and our power of relieving them, or with the happiness to be afforded, and our power of affording happiness. How many opportunities have we of giving delight to those who live in our domestic circle, which would be lost before we could diffuse it to those who are distant from us!

Our love, therefore, our desire of giving happiness, our pleasure in having given it, are stronger within the limits of this sphere of daily and hourly intercourse than beyond it. Of those who are beyond this sphere, the individuals most familiar to us are those whose happiness we must always know better how to promote than the happiness of strangers, with whose particular habits ard inclinations we are little if at all acquainted. Our love, and the desire of general happiness which attends it, are therefore, by the concurrence of many constitutional tendencies of our nature in fostering the generous wish, stronger as felt for an intimate friend than for one who is scarcely known to us. If there be an exception to this gradual scale of importance according to intimacy, it must be in the case of one who is absolutely a stranger-a foreigner who comes among a people with whose general manners he is perhaps unacquainted, and who has no friend to whose attention he can lay claim from any prior intimacy. In this case, indeed, it is evident that our benevolence might be more usefully directed to one who is absolutely unknown, than to many who are better known by us, that live in our very neighbourhood, in the enjoyment of domestic loves and friendships of their own. Accordingly we find, that by a provision which might be termed singular, if we did not think of the universal bounty and wisdom of God-a modification of our general regard has been prepared in the sympathetic tendencies of our nature for this case also. There is a species of affection to which the stranger gives birth merely as being a stranger. He is received and sheltered by our hospitality almost with the zeal with which our friendship delights to receive one with whom we have live in cordial union, whose virtues we know and

to lend to each other a reciprocal support, this might have been sufficient to bring the miserable near to the miserable; but it is only a goodness, infinite as yours, which could have formed the design of assembling us together by the attraction of love, and of diffusing, through the great associations which cover the earth, that vital warmth which renders society eternal by rendering it delightful.'

The Discourse on Ethical Philosophy (already alluded to), by SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH, and his review of Madame de Staël's Germany in the Edinburgh Review, unfold some interesting speculations on moral science. He agrees with Butler, Stewart, and the most eminent preceding moralists, in admitting the supremacy of the moral sentiments; but he proceeds a step further in the analysis of them. He attempts to explain the origin and growth of the moral faculty, or principle, derived from Hartley's Theory of Association, and insists repeatedly on the value of utility, or beneficial tendency, as the great test or criterion of moral action. Some of the positions in Mackintosh's Discourse were combated with unnecessary and unphilosophical asperity by JAMES MILL, author of an able Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind, 1829, in an anonymous Fragment on Mackintosh. Mill was a bold and original thinker, but somewhat coarse and dogmatical. Among the recent works on mental philosophy may be mentioned Abercrombie's Inquiry into the Intellectual Powers, and his Philosophy of the Moral Feelings. A Treatise on the Formation and Publication of Opinions, by MR BAYLEY, follows out some of the views of Dr Brown in elegant and striking language. The Essay on the Nature and Principles of Taste, by the REV. ARCHIBALD ALISON, is an elegant metaphysical treatise, though the doctrine which it aims at establishing partakes of the character of a paradox, and has accordingly failed to enter into the stock of our established ideas. The theory of Alison is, that material objects appear beautiful or sublime in consequence of their association with our moral feelings-that it is as they are significant of mental qualities that they become entitled to these appellations. This theory was ably illustrated by Mr Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review,

in a paper which was afterwards expanded into an Essay on Beauty for the Encyclopædia Britannica. The book and the essay can now only be considered as remarkable examples of that misapplication of talent and labour which is incidental to the infancy of science-the time of its dreams.

The Scottish metaphysical school, of which Stewart, Brown, and Alison may be said to have been the last masters, will ever hold a high place in public estimation for the qualities which have been attributed to it; but it must be owned to have failed in producing any permanent impression on mankind: nor have we been brought by all its labours nearer to a just knowledge of mind as the subject of a science. The cause of this assuredly is, that none of these writers have investigated mind as a portion of nature, or in connexion with organization. Since the Scottish school began to pass out of immediate notice, this more philosophical mode of inquiry has been pursued by Dr Gall and his followers, with results which, though they have excited much prejudice, are nevertheless received by a considerable portion of the public. The leading doctrines of Gall are, that the brain is the organ of the mind, that various portions of the encephalon are the organs of various faculties of the mind, and that volume or size of the whole brain and its various parts is, other circumstances being equal, the measure of the powers of the mind and its various faculties in individuals. This system is founded upon observation-that is to say, it was found that large brains, unless when of inferior quality, or in an abnormal condition, were accompanied by superior intellect and force of character; also that, in a vast number of instances which were accurately noticed, a large development of a special part of the brain was accompanied by an unusual demonstration of a certain mental character, and never by the opposite. From these demonstrations the fundamental character of the various faculties was at length eliminated. Thus it happens that phrenology, as this system has been called, while looked on by many as a dream, is the only hypothesis of mind in which scientific processes of investigation have been followed, or for which a basis can be shown in nature. Among the British followers of Gall, the chief place is due to Mr George Combe of Edinburgh, author of a System of Phrenology, The Constitution of Man Considered in Relation to External Objects, &c.

Dr Thomas Brown, in like manner, speaks of latent propensities; that is to say, powers not in action. Vice already formed,' says he, is almost beyond our power: it is only in the state of latent propensity that we can with much reason expect to overcome it by the moral motives which we are capable of presenting:' and he alludes to the great extent of knowledge of human nature requisite to enable us to distinguish this propensity before it has expanded itself, and even before it is known to the very mind in which it exists, and to tame those passions which are never to rage.' In Crabbe's Tales of the Hall a character is thus described :

He seemed without a passion to proceed, Or one whose passions no correction need; Yet some believed those passions only slept, And were in bounds by early habit kept.' 'Nature,' says Lord Bacon, will be buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation; like as it was with Esop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her.' In short, it is plain that we may have the capability of feeling an emotion-as anger fear, or pity-and that yet this power may be inactive, insomuch that, at any particular time, these emotions may be totally absent from the mind; and it is no less plain, that we may have the capability of seeing, tasting, calculating, reasoning, and composing music, without actually performing these operations.

It is equally easy to distinguish activity from action and power. When power is exercised, the action dity. Two individuals may each be solving a promay be performed with very different degrees of rapi blem in arithmetic, but one may do so with far greater quickness than the other; in other words, his faculty of Number may be more easily brought into action. much power with little activity; while he who can He who solves abstruse problems slowly, manifests quickly solve easy problems, and them alone, has culates difficult problems with great speed, manifests much activity with little power. The man who cal in a high degree both power and activity of the faculty

of Number.

As commonly employed, the word power is synony ing mere capacity, whether much or little, to act; mous with strength, or much power, instead of denot while by activity is usually understood much quickness of action, and great proneness to act. As it is desirable, however, to avoid every chance of ambiguity, I shall employ the words power and activity in the sense first before explained; and to high degrees of power I shall apply the terms energy, intensity, acti-strength, or vigour; while to great activity I shall apply the terms vivacity, agility, rapidity, or quick- {} ness.

[Distinction between Power and Activity.] [From the System of Phrenology."] There is a great distinction between power and vity of mind; and it is important to keep this difference in view. Power, strictly speaking, is the capability of thinking, feeling, or perceiving, however small in amount that capability may be; and in this sense it is synonymous with faculty: action is the exercise of power; while activity denotes the quickness, great or small, with which the action is performed, and also the degree of proneness to act. The distinction between power, action, and activity of the mental faculties, is widely recognized by describers of human nature. Thus Cowper says of the more violent affective

faculties of man :

· His passions, like the watery stores that sleep Beneath the smiling surface of the deep, Wait but the lashes of a wintry storm,

To frown, and roar, and shake his feeble form.'-Hope.

Again :

'In every heart

Are sown the sparks that kindle fiery war;
Occasion needs but fan them, and they blaze.'

-The Task, B. 5.

In physics, strength is quite distinguishable from quickness. The balance-wheel of a watch moves with much rapidity, but so slight is its impetus, that a hair would suffice to stop it; the beam of a steam-engine progresses slowly and massively through space, but its energy is prodigiously great.

In muscular action these qualities are recognized with equal facility as different. The greyhound bounds over hill and dale with animated agility; but a slight obstacle would counterbalance his momentum, and arrest his progress. The elephant, on the other hand, rolls slowly and heavily along; but the impetus of his motion would sweep away an impediment suffi cient to resist fifty greyhounds at the summit of their speed.

In mental manifestations (considered apart from organization), the distinction between energy and vi vacity is equally palpable. On the stage Mrs Siddons and Mr John Kemble were remarkable for the solemn deliberation of their manner, both in declama.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tion and in action, and yet they were splendidly gifted with energy. They carried captive at once the sympathies and the understanding of the audience, and made every man feel his faculties expanding, and his whole mind becoming greater under the influence of their power. Other performers, again, are remarkable for agility of action and elocution, who, nevertheless, are felt to be feeble and ineffective in rousing an audience to emotion. Vivacity is their distinguishing attribute, with an absence of vigour. At the bar, in the pulpit, and in the senate, the same distinction prevails. Many members of the learned professions display great fluency of elocution and felicity of illustration, surprising us with the quickness of their parts, who, nevertheless, are felt to be neither impressive nor profound. They exhibit acuteness without depth, and ingenuity without comprehensiveness of understanding. This also proceeds from vivacity with little energy. There are other public speakers, again, who open heavily in debate their faculties acting slowly but deeply, like the first heave of a mountain-wave. Their words fall like minute-guns upon the ear, and to the superficial they appear about to terminate ere they have begun their efforts. But even their first accent is one of power; it rouses and arrests attention; their very pauses are expressive, and indicate gathering energy to be embodied in the sentence that is to come. When fairly animated, they are impetuous as the torrent, brilliant as the lightning's beam, and overwhelm and take possession of feebler minds, impressing them irresistibly with a feeling of gigan-acuteness, taste, and felicity of expression-to acquire tic power.

more active than another, without reference to size, just as the optic nerve is sometimes more irritable than the auditory; but this is by no means a common Occurrence. Exercise greatly increases activity as well as power, and hence arise the benefits of education. Dr Spurzheim thinks that long fibres produce more activity, and thick fibres more intensity. The doctrine, that size is a measure of power, is not to be held as implying that much power is the only or even the most valuable quality which a mind in all circumstances can possess. To drag artillery over a mountain, or a ponderous wagon through the streets of London, we would prefer an elephant or a horse of great size and muscular power; while, for graceful motion, agility, and nimbleness, we would select an Arabian palfrey. In like manner, to lead men in gigantic and difficult enterprises-to command by native greatness, in perilous times, when law is trampled under foot-to call forth the energies of a people, and direct them against a tyrant at home, or an alliance of tyrants abroad-to stamp the impress of a single mind upon a nation-to infuse strength into thoughts, and depth into feelings, which shall command the homage of enlightened men in every age-in short, to be a Bruce, Bonaparte, Luther, Knox, Demosthenes, Shakspeare, Milton, or Cromwell -a large brain is indispensably requisite. But to display skill, enterprise, and fidelity in the various professions of civil life-to cultivate with success the less arduous branches of philosophy-to excel in extensive erudition and refined manners-a brain of The distinction between vivacity and energy is well a moderate size is perhaps more suitable than one illustrated by Cowper in one of his letters. The that is very large; for wherever the energy is intense, mind and body,' says he, have in this respect a it is rare that delicacy, refinement, and taste are prestriking resemblance of each other. In childhood sent in an equal degree. Individuals possessing mothey are both nimble, but not strong; they can skip derate-sized brains easily find their proper sphere, and and frisk about with wonderful agility, but hard la- enjoy in it scope for all their energy. In ordinary bour spoils them both. In maturer years they become circumstances they distinguish themselves, but they less active but more vigorous, more capable of fixed sink when difficulties accumulate around them. Perapplication, and can make themselves sport with that sons with large brains, on the other hand, do not which a little earlier would have affected them with readily attain their appropriate place; common ocintolerable fatigue.' Dr Charlton also, in his Briefcurrences do not rouse or call them forth, and, while Discourse Concerning the Different Wits of Men, has unknown, they are not trusted with great undertakadmirably described two characters, in one of which ings. Often, therefore, such men pine and die in obstrength is displayed without vivacity, and in the scurity. When, however, they attain their proper other vivacity without strength; the latter he calls element, they are conscious of greatness, and glory in the man of' nimble wit,' the former the man of 'slow the expansion of their powers. Their mental energies but sure wit.' In this respect the French character rise in proportion to the obstacles to be surmounted, may be contrasted with the Scotch. and blaze forth in all the magnificence of self-sustainAs a general rule, the largest organs in each heading energetic genius, on occasions when feebler minds have naturally the greatest, and the smallest the would sink in despair. least, tendency to act, and to perform their functions with rapidity.

The temperaments also indicate the amount of this tendency. The nervous is the most vivacious, next the sanguine, then the bilious, while the lymphatic is characterised by proneness to inaction.

In a lymphatic brain, great size may be present and few manifestations occur through sluggishness; but if a strong external stimulus be presented, energy often appears. If the brain be very small, no degree of stimulus, either external or internal, will cause great power to be manifested.

A certain combination of organs-namely, Combativeness, Destructiveness, Hope, Firmness, Acquisitiveness, and Love of Approbation, all large-is favourable to general vivacity of mind; and another combination- namely, Combativeness, Destructiveness, Hope, Firmness, and Acquisitiveness, small or moderate, with Veneration and Benevolence large is frequently attended with sluggishness of the mental character; but the activity of the whole brain is constitutionally greater in some individuals than in others, as already explained. It may even happen that, in the same individual, one organ is naturally


Critical and biblical literature have made great progress within the last half century, but the number of illustrious divines is not great. The early fathers of the Protestant church had indeed done so much in general theology and practical divinity, that comparatively little was left to their successors.


The greatest divine of the period is DR WILLIAM PALEY, a man of remarkable vigour and clearness of intellect, and originality of character. His acquirements as a scholar and churchman were grafted on a homely, shrewd, and benevolent nature, which no There was circumstances could materially alter. no doubt or obscurity either about the man or his works: he stands out in bold relief among his brother divines, like a sturdy oak on a lawn or parterre -a little hard and cross-grained, but sound, fresh, and massive-dwarfing his neighbours with his weight and bulk, and intrinsic excellence.

« PreviousContinue »