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tion of ninety-three thousand years that he has given to vital nature, and which he has deduced from the law or progress of refrigeration alone.
The seventh and last epocha is the creation of man, whose origin our Author places among earthquakes, volcanos, inun-, dations,-amidit storms, tempests, and the rage and conflict of the elements : and then represents him as arising to civilization by flow degrees, and at length becoming a social, polithed, and learned being-Where? In the northern regions of Asia. But all this fabric of science flipped through his fingers, the Lord knows how !-It was dashed into pieces--the Lord knows where --and the Asiatics, getting several scraps of it-these scraps were bandied about, one way or another, till they got into our Europe, where the best use and improvement has been 'made of them. The original people who erected this fabric of science, perished with it :- but as we have no records that intimate the existence of such a people, it is not very surprising that we Ihould not know how they came to be annihilated.-M. DE BUFFON, however, talks of this people as if he had lived among them, and followed their progress from their origin to their 'extinction. If the reader has a mind to know the particulars of this people, as they exist in the heads of M. Buffon and M. Bailli, he must consult the work before us, and the Letters of M. Bailli, of which we gave an account not long after they appeared. As for us, we are weary of conjectures, and shall therefore take leave of this volume and its epochas with plea. sure, notwithstanding the beauty of the Author's style, which is always enchanting, even where it betrays marks of negligence, In the volume before us there is one circumstance that must tire, if not disgust the most indulgent reader, and that is, the accumulated repetitions of the same facts, reasonings, proofs, and explications, which meet us full in the face where we least expected them, and of which we never get quit till we arrive at the end of the book.
The additions and corrections, which conclude this volume, contain a considerable number of facts and observations, geographical and physical, designed to illustrate several passages in the epochas of nature, and in the preceding volumes. Some of them are instructive, and others are curious and entertaining.
II. Nouveaux Elemins de la Science de l'Homme, i, e. A New Elementary Treatise concerning the Science or Knowledge of Man. By M. BARTHEZ, Chancellor of the University of Medicine at Montpellier. Vol. I. 1778. By a mistake this work came late to our hands : but both its subject, and the merit of its author, claim our notice. Its subject is the vital principle in the human franie, which is, no doubt, in an intimate union with both intelligence and organization, but whose nature and Rev. May, 1780.
origin about Dd 2
origin form one of the most intricate questions in the sphere of metaphysics. Our Author paffes in review, the opinions of ancient and modern philosophers on this nice question. The first he mentions is the hypothesis of the Atomical philosophers, with Democritus and Epicurus at their head; who confidered the human soul, as composed of two parts, the one rational, which resided in the brealt, the other irrational, which was diffused through the whole corporeal frame; both of which parts they resolved into one, Next comes Gassendi, who seemed to adopo the system of the Atomists, but modified it to his fancy, by sup. posing, that the irrational part comprehended the vegetative and fenfitive principles. The latter of these, being corporeal, he considered as derived from our parents, and as the bond of union between the rational part and the body, while he looked upon the rational part as immaterial, created by the Deity, and by him united to the bodily frame. This hypothesis is revived by M. de Buffon, in his discourse on the nature of animals. Among the philosophers, who acknowledged the existence of immaterial substances, two sects only, according to our Author, adhered to the division of human nature into soul and body, without having recourse to a third principle ; so that this third principle was admitted by a great number of philosophical and medical fects before Van Helmont, who is inaccurately supposed by many to be its author.
The Aristotelians and Cartesians are the two feets mentioned by our Author, as confining their division of human nature to two substances, foul and body. The hypothesis of the former, selating to the soul and the living being, being full of obscurity, therefore, our Author endeavours to unfold and illustrate it; in which attempt, we thall not follow him, because, after all his explications, we come to this conclusion, that the doctrine of the stagyrite may be profound, but certainly is far from being Juminous. We do not think, indeed, that any author, known to us, has given a better expofition of the doctrine of Aristotle, on this dark subject, than Mr. BARTHEZ: but, after all, when we read that the soul is “ the first entelechie of the natural and organised body,--that it has life virtually, or in pole,-that it is in the body (actually living) what form is in any body what. ever,—that it is not a being separate from the living body', -that it has sensitive, nutritive, generative faculties, and a paflive in. telligence,--that it constitutes animal life,-and renders the body capable of receiving that active intelligence, by the union of which, with the sitelechie, the man becomes susceptible of reasoning and passions ;-when we read all this, notwithftand. ing our real and high regard for Aristotle, we have enough of the business. Hermolaus Barbarus, as we have read somewhere, was fo puzzled with the entelechie, that he consulted the Devil about the explication of it; but we know not the answer that was given by the infernal Oracle.
Among the Cartesians, who adinitted but two substances in nature (viz. matter and spirit), the Animifts identified the principle of life with the thinking substance, to which latter they
atiributed all animal motion voluntary and involuntary; while the mechanical Cartefians derived all the animal functions, excepting those which were evidently voluntary, froin a series of necessary motions, which succeed each other in the organs of the body from the first dawn of life. This resembles the preestablished barmony of Leibnitz.
Our Author seems inclined towards the opinion of those; who look upon the vital principle, as distinct, both from the mechanism of the body, and the qualities and nature of the mind. He does not, however, follow all the reveries of Van Helmont, but walks much more soberly in this metaphysical wild. He thinks, the vital principle cannot be considered as a faculty of the mind, because, while the former produces all those motions that are necessary to animal life, the mind has not that consciousness of these motions, that is inseparable from its own operations. If it be objected, that this consciousness may be suspended by habit; he acknowledges the fact ; but observes, that it may be restored whenever we please by a reflex act of the will.–A mufician, who, through habit, plays a tune upon the harpfichord, without any conscious perception of the motions that produce each note, can, when he pleases, repeat thefe motions, and render them present to the mind by an act of reflexion; whereas the mind cannot obtain a reflex perception of the yital motions by repeating them, nor by any effort of reflexion or will. He thinks it, therefore, most probable, that the vital principle produces, alone, by its immediate action, all the motions of the corporeal organs, whether it be with the concurrence of the mind, as in the voluntary, or without its concurrence, as in the movements of the heart and arteries, and other involuntary motions, as also in those which we perform mechanically through the effect of habit.
But has this vital principle, thus diftinguished from soul and body, a separate existence in itself? or does it only cxist by its union with the human body! Our Author inclines to the former, without affirming the latter to be impoffible. It is posible, says he, that by a general law, established by the Author of Nature, a principle endowed with sensitive and moving powers, may take place necessarily in that combination of matter, of which each animal body is formed, and be the immediate cause of that series of motions, that is necessary to the life of the animal through the whole of its duration : But it is also poffible, adds he, that the vital principle may have, in itself, an existence separate from that combination of matter in the animal body, to which it is joined by the power of the Deity. -Our Author alleges the following circumstances in favour of this latter opinion:
ist, The principle of life may be destroyed in animals with out any perceivable alteration in their organs ; as appears in the effects of certain poisons, which kill almost instantaneously, . without leaving any veftige of violence, or damage in any part of the body:--on the other hand, the vital principle ofren survives considerable damages, received by the most effential organs of the body, such as the heart and the brain.-This observation proves very little, in favour of the separate existence of the vital principle: it only proves, that it is independent on certain parts of the body, and the damages they may receive. We know no case that proves so well the opinion, which our Author seems to prefer, as that of the warrior in the Art of Sinking, who was cut in two perpendicularly, and the one half of whose body lay panting on the ground, while the other ran away.
2dly, In a violent state of danger or irritation, the vital principle excites in the body mechanical motions, which can only be accounted for by a particular instinct, as they are contrary to the motions which take place in the natural state of the body.
3dly, A sort of harmony pre-established between the vital principle and the body which it animates, makes this principle (in various kinds of animals) aim at, and attempt motions, relative to organs, which do not exist, or are imperfectly formed, when these motions are attempted. The efforts of the bird to Aly, and of the calf to butt, before the former is furnished with wings, or the latter with horns, are among the examples of this alleged by our Author. These, and the other instinctive propenfities, which lead each animal to seek and to chuse the objects that are peculiarly adapted to its subfistence and nourishment, cannot, as our Author thinks, be the mere effects of organisation ; ftill less are they the effects of reasoning and reflection; and therefore he is inclined to consider them as the action or impulsion of a vital principle, which is distinct both from soul and body.
Sensible, however, of the uncertainty that accompanies the conclufions drawn from these observations, in favour of his opinion, that the vital principle is a distinct substance, M. Barthez modestly acknowledges, that posibly it may be no more than an innate principle, which governs all the complicated motions of which the animal body is susceptible. The truth is, that the subject here discussed, is beyond the reach of our analytical powers : it is with the vital principle, as it is with the principle of intelligence; they both exist, but their manner of existence is unknown to us, and will continue a myftery, until we know not wben.
For M A Y, 1780.
POLITICA L. Art. 17. A Speech delivered at the Westminster Forum, on the 8th
of November, 1779. By Maynard Chamb. Walker, of the inner Temple, Esq. 8vo. Bowen. HIS Gentleman contends very potently (to use one of his fa.
vourite words) that an union of Great Britain with lieland, similar to that with Scotland, would be injurious to the dignity, and fatal to the freedom of our lifler island. He points out the diffesence of circumstances by which Scotland has been a gainer, and which would probably make Ireland a lofer, by such a measure. This he does with great skill of discriminacion; and if ever an union between Great Britain and the latter country shall be seriously agi. tated, this little performance comprizes the chief arguments on which the attention of the legislature must be turned. We cannot hou ever accede to Mr. W.'s ideas on the fubje&t of representation, as we apprehend them to be fundamentally erroneous. He thinks that Tre. land, to be free, mutt not only be duly but potently represented : that is, represented in such a manner as to be able to suject what the representatives of that kingdom, in their wisdom, thall think proper. Now, to fill op this model Gentleman's idea of an ade. quate, or as he calls it a potent representation, Ireland must send an equal number of representatives with Scotland and England. Nay, on the presumption that the British members will think wrong, and the Irish members think right, on every question concerning Ireland, the latter country, 10 secure her liberties, muft even have a calling voice in the senate. If this be our Hibernian orator's idea of an Union, where distinct interelts and distin& denominations are to be kept up, we with him joy of this political discovery, England will be as averse to such an Union, as Ireland will, probably, be to every other. But does not this Gentleman know, thac Scotland is bound by an Ad of our parliament in matters relating to Scotland, though every Scorch commoner and every Scotch peer should vote againit it? that the Church herself is legally bound by an Act which every Spiritual Lord may have protested against ? Yet was this ever made a subject of doubt or complaint? To suppose the contrary, is to suppose an Union which would be the most egregious solecism in politics.
One of Mr. Walker's arguments to prove that Ireland cannot be duly represented in case of an Union, is derived from the remoteness of the seat of government. The merchant, he thinks, will.nor leave his compting-house, nor the lawyer his practice, to attend a distant parliament; and confequently that in a parliament where there claffes of men are not present, Ireland will not be duly represented : that her trading intereits will be misunderstood, and her municipal rights misconttrued and perverted.
This argument is rather plausible than just. It is not often found that the most beneficial mercantile regulations originate from merchants, or the most wholsome and conftitutional laws from lawyers,