Imagens das páginas

examples." We have read the whole commentary of St Thomas Aquinas, and we challenge Mr Coleridge to produce from it a single illustration, or expression of any kind, to be found in Hume's essay. The whole scope and end of Hume's essay is not only different from that of St Thomas Aquinas, but there is not, in the commentary of the "angelic doctor," one idea which in any way resembles, or can be made to resemble, the beautiful illustration of the prince of sceptics. Hume says, that instead of entering into a detail of instances, "which would lead into many useless subtleties, we shall consider some of the effects of this connexion upon the passions and the imagination, where we may open a field of speculation more entertaining, and perhaps more instructive, than the other." He then proceeds to show the operation of the principles of connexion among ideas in the composition of history, and of epic and tragic poetry. In this inquiry the whole essay consists, and there is not a single syllable in St Thomas Aquinas' commentary on such subjects.

Oriel College, Oxford.


"It was prettily devised of Msop— the Jly sat upon the axle-tree of' the chariot-wheel, and said, ' What a dust do I raise!' so there be some vain persons who, whatsoever goeth alone, or moocth upon greater means, if they have never so little hand in it, they think that it is they that carry it." So says Bacon, in one of those immortal essays which men should read in order to know themselves, before they think of writing books for the instruction of others. In glancing over the very pompous and imbecile essay which we have named at the head of this paper, we could not help recollecting these short and pithy words of the Prince of modern Philosophers, and saying to ourselves, "The axletree of Bacon's genius has at last found its fly." Lost amidst that

cloud which it would fain believe to be its own creation, the fluttering exulting insect does not indeed attract to itself the attention of ordinary passengers. It requires the organs of an entomologist to descry the tiny buzzer glittering in the dim light of an ephemeral existence, and clapping its gauzy winglets as if it had flown over the Atlantic. But it is the nature of those enthusiastic in pursuits such as ours, to find interest enough, and to spare, in matters derided as utterly insignificant by the uninitiated. We do not expect, indeed, that most of our readers will at all sympathise with us in the pleasure which we have had in pinning into our portfolio this new specimen of the humming tribe,—this stridiferous and blustering Lilliputian, —this champion and guardian of the fame of Bacon. They must, however, bear with our infirmity, ami task themselves to be listeners for a few moments while we comment, not perhaps without the self-importance of discoverers, on the shape and vocation of our new found fly.

Mr Macvey Napier, Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies of Edinburgh, has then, be it known to all those whom it may concern, filled fifty-four quarto pages of the Transactions of the former of these most illustrious associations, with an essay intended to enlighten the world at large in regard to two subjects, whereon the said Mr Macvey Napier very sagaciously supposes the said world to have great need of illumination. The first of these is the scope, and the second is the effect, of Lord Bacon's labours as a philosophical writer. Now we, innocent as we are of any connexion with the Royal, the Antiquarian, or even the Dilettanti Society of Edinburgh, were really so much in the dark before the publication of Mr Napier's very important essay, as not to know that any dispute had of late arisen among the members of those truly venerable and august institutions, touching either the nature or influence of the philosophy of Bacon. The dissertation of Mr Stewart, wherein the character of Bacon's works is described with so much philosophical eloquence, had indeed been attacked on some points by a writer in the Quarterly Review; but we, like the rest of the world, had no difficulty in perceiving that the assault of the critic had originated only in misconception, and we considered the whole matter as long since at an end. Mr Napier, however, is Editor of the Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and felt himself called upon to vindicate from stain, however slight, the character of a writer whose dissertation had been published under his auspices. Watching, with all the grave amplitude of his Editorial wing, over the Stewarts, the Playfairs, and other helpless creatures, who it seems put their trust under his shadow, the indignant Conductor sits like the rampant lion of his country's scutcheon, with a " nemo Hos impune lacesset" in his mouth. With the attitude and motto, however, the parallel must stop; our Encyclopaedia! lion is fangless and toothless; and those who look for his protection must be content to take the will for the deed.

The idea of Macvey Napier defending Dugald Stewart against the Quarterly Review, reminds us of a story to be found, we believe, in one of the popular sixpenny histories of British Admirals. During a great conflict between two French and English men-of-war, an unlucky shot came athwart the hen-coop of our vessel, and set at liberty such of its captives as it did not kill or maim. Among the first to escape was a little insignificant pullet, which immediately flew as high as its wings could carry it; and having taken its station exactly above the British Jack, there established itself as commander-in-chief on the occasion—repelling the French shots with a feeble scream, and backing the English broadsides with a crowing Io Triumphe at the very top of its treble.

The same ludicrous idea reminds us of what we have ourselves often witnessed, the absurdly important manner in which a little roessin-whelp discharges the duties of a watch-dog. The noble mastiff lurks couchant in his lair, ready to spring forth when there comes an occasion, but not fancying or fearing an enemy in every one whose footstep approaches his habitation. The Catulus is a more obstreperous, if not a more effective guardian. There it sits snuffing the wind for offence, and pursuing, with a yelp from the house-top, every traveller upon the highway. Such defenders are more trouble than benefit to those

who have a good house over their heads. Mr Stewart has such a covering. But a truce to similitudes. We leave them to old Timothy Tickler, who, we doubt not, will soon favour the world with "Letters to eminent Literary Characters, No W. —to Mr Macvey Napier."

As to the contents of Mr Napier's Essay, it is, in the first place, no easy matter to get at them. The fifty-four pages are like so many harlequins, for the motley patches and quotations with which they are covered; but notwithstanding this diversity of raiment, the said fifty-four pages co-operate, like so many brothers, in drawing the eyelids together. Candour, however, obliges us to confess, that their conjoined exertions have by no means a soothing influence; but, on the contrary, an irritating and teasing effect. If we had been merely doomed to hear them read aloud, it is possible that we might have enjoyed the same sweet and refreshing slumber, which is said to have visited the members of the Royal Society, upon the 16th February, anno domini 1818, when the whole composition was delivered, in due form, over a green table, by the monotonous lips of Mr Napier himself. Upon the whole, the 16th February is still remembered with pleasure at the Royal Society, as a day of respite from quartz, and mica-slate, and oyster-shells; but the case is very different with such readers as have had to go through the Essay by dint of spontaneous study, and who have sat down with an intention of ascertaining what the fifty-four harlequins would be at

To have done with metaphors, Mr Napier proposes to illustrate, first the scope, and then the influence, of Lord Bacon's philosophy. With regard to its scope, his remarks are in the last degree heavy, superfluous, and unprofitable; and it is with a miserable bad grace that he comes hobbling in the wake of such a writer as Mr Stewart. All that Mr Napier advances on this subject, has the same character of secondhand feebleness and tarnished repetition. It operates like an anticlimax, and has the absurd aspect of a smaller wedge put into the empty space which has already been opened by a larger one. Surely no person, endowed with any force of mind, could occupy such a situation without impatience and chagrin; at least, if he perceived in what circumstances he stood. To assist in diffusing truths not generally known, is an office which no one need disdain, although these truths may be the production of another's lucubrations; but to state in an inferior form what has been already well stated and understood, betrays a degree of humility for which a person will hardly obtain much approbation in this wicked world—except, perhaps, in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, or the Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. As to Mr Napier s illustrations of the influence of Lord Bacon's philosophy, they are certainly misnamed. They are not illustrations of the manner in which his writings operated in advancing the progress of science, but a mere mechanical collection of quotations, loosely strung together, and tending to shew, that Lord Bacon's writings were known and admired by the learned throughout Europe, more extensively, and at an earlier period, than is generally supposed. Perhaps Mr N. deserves some small credit for his industry in bringing them together from Brucker and the Dictionaries, for rather more instances are adduced, we believe, than those cited in Mr Stewart's dissertation. But it is rather too much to give this species of piddling the imposing title of illustrations of Lord Bacon's philosophy. The suffrages of the learned among Bacon's contemporaries, or the succeeding generation, are of little importance, when we know that all the most important discoveries in physics, in this country, have confessedly been made under the immediate influence of the Verulamian philosophy; and that the discoveries of foreigners, if not all made under the guidance of that system, were not accomplished by the light of any different and better system of logic, but by the unaided ingenuity and good fortune of the inventors themselves. The ponderous machinery, got up by Mr Napier, works very hard upon the fulcrum of the reader's patience, but answers hardly any purpose in the end. The incidental mentions of Bacon, which have been collected by him from foreign works, prove almost nothing, since the greater number of the writers he quotes were speculative men, and not experiment*

ers themselves, or concerned in particular discoveries or additions made to science.

In order to satisfy our readers that we have not been misrepresenting the merits of this illustrious F.R.S. E. we shall quote one of the most prominent, elaborate, and imposing of his paragraphs, which for crudeness, tameuess, obscurity, triteness, and all the other magnificencies of dulness, seems to us to be well nigh entitled to the reputation of an unique. The satisfied air with which he hugs himself upon his nothings, reminds us of that merciful arrangement of Providence, in virtue of which parents are commonly roost fond of the most rickety of their children—perpetually pluming themselves upon what procures for them, if they knew it, not the envy, but the pity, of their neighbours.

"It would require a complete analysis of the Novum Oreanvm to furnish an adequate idea of the value of Bacon's services in this important department of philosophy; but the fundamental rules of his method may be comprehended in a few sentences. They seem all to be founded upon the following principles: first, That it is the business of philosophy to discover the laws or causes that operate in Nature, in order thereby to explain appearance*, and produce new effects: next. That we are incapable of discovering these laws or causes in any other way than by attending to the circumstances in which they operate: and, lastly, That the mind is naturally disposed to run into general conclusions, and to form systems, before having made all the inquiries necessary to truth. In conformity with these principles, he shows, that all sound philosophy must proceed from facts; that the facts in every case must be carefully collected and compared; and that in all our reasonings about them, the natural tendency of the mind to generalise must be carefully repressed. The spurious method of induction is that which proceeds suddenly from particulars scantily collected or ill examined to the most general conclusions. The true method is that which lays a wide basis in observations and experiments, and which generalizes slowly; advancing gradually from particulars to generals, from what is less general to what is more general, till the inquiry ends in truths that appear to be universal."

It is pleasing, after speculating for a few moments on the pert and useless productions of a pretender, to turn to something like the sincerity of real study, and the simplicity of real wisdom. To an edition or the Essays published last year in Edinburgh,* there is prefixed a short life of Bacon, which, so modest in the manner in which it was announced, has not as yet, we believe, attracted any public attention.

We shall take the liberty to quote, from the anonymous and unobtrusive production, a few sentences, which we are quite sure will afford great pleasure to Mr Dugald Stewart, if indeed he has not already seen them. We trust they will be perused with not a little of what Homer calls "use- ful shame," by Mr Macvey Napier. Before parting, however, with our pompous essayist, we must express our wish, that he, and such as he, would in future confine their labours, or rather their pretensions, to " such things as are meet for them," and not insult the character of our country, by presuming to approach the to them forbidden ground of true scholarship and true philosophy. But now for our contrast.

"The sum of Lord Bacon's philosophy may be stated in a few propositions. He tells us,

*' I. That the ultimate aim of philosophical investigation is to bring the course of events, as much as possible, under our own control, in order that we may turn it to our own advantage.

"II. That, as each event depends upon a certain combination of circumstances which precede it, and constitute its cause, it is evident we shall be able to command the event, whenever we have it in our power to produce that combination of circumstances out of the means which nature has placed within our reach.

"III. That the means of producing many events which we little dream of, are actually placed within our reach; and that nothing prevents us from using those means, but our inability to select them from the crowd of other circumstances by which they are disguised and surrounded.

"IV. That therefore we should endeavour, by diligent observation, to find out what circumstances are essential, and what extraneous, to the production of each event; and its real cause being stripped free from all the perplexing concomitants which occur in nature, we shall perceive at once whether we can command the circumstances that compose it or not. This, in short, is to generalize; and having done so, we shall sometimes discover, that objects which of all others appeared the most useless, remote and inapplicable to our purpose, possess the

* Macredie, Skelly, and Muckersey, 1817. 8vo.

very properties we are in search of. Nature stands ready to minister to our designs, if we have only the sagacity to disentangle in operations from one another, to refer each event to its real source, and to trace the powers and qualities of objects into their most abstract form.

"In pursuing the dictates of this math philosophy, man is no longer impotent and ridiculous. He calmly vanquishes the barriers which oppose his wishes—he eludes the causes of pain—he widens the range of enjoyments, and, at the same time, feels the dignity of intellect, which, like a magician', talisman, has made all things bow beset his feet. Lord Verulam was the man wht first taught us to cultivate this magic with success. When we visit his monument, is should be with a sacred awe, which forbids us to remember his frailties. Envy lores to whisper, that he died in disgrace, but gratitude proclaims, that he still lives and flourishes in the advancement of science: and when we behold around us the giant powers of nature performing whatever task man chooses to assign them, we may say t& the departed philosopher, in the word* of Shakspeare, 'Oh, St Alban's, thou an mighty yet, thy spirit walks abroad!

"To this extraordinary individual we are indebted also for an attempt to reduce the chaos of literature into some degree d order; and to shew, that notwithstandis* the multiplicity and variety of books, there are only three different objects, to one <c other of which the contents of every boot must apply. According to Lord Baox, human knowledge is resolvable into history, philosophy, and poetry. By history, B meant a statement of particular erenu which have occurred in past time. By philosophy, is meant the knowledge of general facts, concerning the relation of one phenomenon to another. By poetry, is meant is assemblage of ideas brought together is the purpose of exciting emotion.

"In contemplating this amngemeri!, however, we should attend to the distincticG between poetry, and the science of making poetry, which last, is nothing but a branch of philosophy: that is to say, the art, in t» far as it has been reduced into general principles, comes under the same head as any other science; and may be denominated the theory of producing emotion in the minus mind, by means of an artificial assemblage of ideas. Poetry bears the same relation: the art of poetry, as a machine bears to the science of mechanics.

"At the same time it may be remarked, that poets in general do not compose their pieces theoretically, and by means of eatenlations a piiori, but by an exercise of the principle of association, in summoning up ideas, and by observing what feeling is excited by those ideas in their own minds They adopt or reject, not for scientific reaMus, but according to a trial of- their properties made on the occasion, and with a view to the particular case in what they are to be unployed. Hence it may be said, that what is done in this art, is for the most part done empirically. When a poem is finished, it frequently happens that another

Serson is better able to explain how it prouces its effects, than the author himself. "No one of the fine arts has ever been so thoroughly digested into general principles, as to be entitled to the name of a science. At the same time it is obvious, that every effect which is produced in the fine arts, must depend upon some general fact, which, if known, would furnish, & priori, the reason for preferring one combination to another. Hence it may be said, that the sciences and the fine arts have no real difference in their own nature, but that the difference lies in the nature of the human mind, which is less able to ascertain a complete system of general facts in the arts than in the sciences.

"To reduce poetry into a science, it would be necessary first to have a list of those original ideas to which our different emotions respectively owe their birth, before any casual association has linked them to other ideas. Secondly, to have a statistical account of the associations of that portion of mankind for whom we write. And thirdly, as a certain physical affection of the bodily system is necessary for the continuance of every emotion, it would be necessary for us to understand how long the physical affection can be sustained without becoming morbid; as also, what emotions are best calculated to relieve each other's effects on the bodily system, since it is the body, not the mind, that requires change of feeling.

"Lord Bacon's Essays are by no means the least part of his philosophy. As they apply to the common affairs of life, and the common motives of human action, it would be ridiculous to expect in them the formality of science. Wisdom has never appeared in a garb so closely adapted to her person. Every subject is treated with a clear and luminous brevity, which places the propositions side by side, without any intermediate ornament A florid discourse may astonish us, but it is a simple one like this which enables us to arrive at conclusions. Perhaps in most of the essays of the present day, the leading propositions are too far separated from each other; and it would be well if the authors would remember, that to reason is to compare ideas.

"In the mind of Lord Bacon, the char acteristic of a powerful and searching intellect predominate almost to a preternatural degree. Perhaps it enfeebled the rest of his qualities, and gave rise to the errors of his life. Indeed we seldom find great strength of volition united to a fondness for contemplation for its own sake. Lord Bacon was contemplation personified. He lived only to observe, and was satisfied if he knew the

theory of the conduct of others, without seeking to distinguish himself by the firmness or prudence of his own. The bias of our characters is derived from the turn of our ambition, and Lord Bacon's ambition was purely intellectual."


[the following version, of a most amus. mg old French story, was executed by the late Mr Johnes of Hafod, the well known translator of Froissart, &c We are in debtcd for this, and several other pieces of the same description, to the gentleman to whom they were given some years ago by his friend Mr Johnes. The Minstrel of Bruges is composed in six parts. We shall insert the remaining parts in our next Number.]

Part First. A Youth of Carabray, setting out from that town on a party of pleasure, overtook a wretched looking set of travellers in a hollow way not far from Cambray, at the source of the Scheldt. This company consisted of an old man about seventy, a woman of fifty, tit young girl of eighteen, and two ragged boys of fifteen and sixteen years of age, who were amusing themselves with gathering nuts.

The old man had the black collar of his coat hung round with shells, and at his feet (for he was seated) lay his pilgrim's staff and a bagpipe. He was humming an air to the tune of the Dutchess Golande; the old woman was complaining of her misery; the young girl seemed lost in thought; and the boys were bawling loua enough to stun one,—while the Cam bresian observed, from a small eminence, this discordant group.

The woman spoke to her husband. —" How can you thus sing in our wretched situation ?"—" It is to drive away sorrow," replied he.—" Your songs have not that virtue. You must allow that you have made choice of a pretty trade."—" It is a gay one however. '—" To turn Minstrel, and run about the world like a vagabond."— "I have always loved geography and travels."—" I do not love them for my part; you only think of yourself; and what a fine education are you giving your children."—" Neither you nor myself have had a better; in truth, our children are grown up."—" Yes, but they have not a farthing."—" I

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