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dersfield.-A conversazione of Lancashire and gratifying ; so much so, that an honorary council Yorkshire members of this literary organisation had been formed, consisting of Sir E. B. Lytton, was held at Boothroyd's Temperance Hotel, St. Robert Chambers, Rev. Henry Christmas, M.A. George's-square, Huddersfield, on Tuesday even- (of the Church of England Quarterly), Martin ing, November 28. The Rev. John R. M'Dou. Farquhar Tupper, D.C.L., Mr. Cox (of the Atlas), gall, M.A., president for the year, and R. L. William Jerdan, Esq., Rev. George Gilfillan, &c., Gerrie, Esg., proprietor of the Oldham Chronicle, &c., who have kindly lent their names and influ. and late secretary, attended as a deputation from ence. The revision of the code of rules, plans for the central meeting of members held in London increase of members, the commeucement of a quarthe previous week, and reported favourably of the terly gazette devoted to the business of the society, endeavours which are now being made to bring and other propositions, engaged the attention of the objects and advantages of the association be the members present during the former part of fore the class of young men for whom it is more the evening, after which the meeting, by common especially designed, as well as the literary public consent, rosolved itself into a friendly conversain general. An appeal had also been made to the zione on literary matters in general, the session principal litterateurs of the present day for coun- lasting near upon eleven hours.-J. D. Sec. sel and assistance, and the result had been most
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LITERARY INTELLIGENCE. We have this month to record the death of John Madame Ida Pfeiffer having returned from her Gi Lo the son-in-law and biographer second voyage round the worlıl, after three and a of Sir Walter Scott, and for many years editor of half years' absence, we may look for a narrative the Quarterly Review. Without being a man of of her observations and adventures. The general genius, a great scholar, or politically or morally course of her voyages and travels will be seen in eminent, he had sufficient ability and accomplish the following list of places on her route:-The ment to ensure considerable distinction in his Cape of Good Hope, Singapore, Borneo, Java, own person, and his interesting connectious did Sumatra, Molucca Islands, Batavia, Califoruia
, the rest. He was the younger son of a Glasgow Lima, Peru, across the Andes to Quito, Guyaquil, clergyman, and was destined for the law, which, Panama, New Orleans, up the Mississippi, Chi. however, he disliked, and made literature his cago, Lakes of Canada, Quebec, and New York. profession. In his early days he wrote for Black. The narra ive of the adventurous traveller will be wood's Magazine, produced many works of in- expected with much interest. terest, and in 1825 he succeeded Giffard in the Mr. Barnum, the American speculator, has editorship of the Quarterly. He died at Abbots. written bis “Autobiography," and submitted it ford, November 25th, in the sixty-fifth year of his after the American fashion to the publishers for age. His body has been laid by the side of Sir the highest bidding. Fifteen bids are recorded, Walter Scott's, in Dryburgh Abbey.
the highest being 75,000 dollars, equal to £15,000. The death of the Rev. Dr. Kitto, the author of 66,000 copies of the work are said to have been many valuable works connected with biblical subscribed by the retail booksellers, before it was literature, is announced as having taken place put up to competition. Messrs. Sampson Low at Cnstadt, near Stuttgard, on the 25th of Nov. and Son have just brought out an English He is best known as the editor of the “ Pictorial edition, price halt-a-crown. Bible," and the “Journal of Sacred Literature." A Mr. Page, of Edinburgh, formerly in the
We have also to add to our literary obituary employ of the Messrs. Chambers, states his be: the death of Miss Ferrier, the Scottish novelist, lief that Mr. Robert Chambers is the author of author of“ Marriage," “ Inheritance," and “Des- the “ Vestiges of Creation." tiny."
BY SAMUEL NEIL,
THE IONIC SCHOOL—THE PHILOSOPHY OF NATURE.
The Infinite! the Limitless! that truly must be “the origin” of all—the alpha which forth-forms itself into the multiplicity of finite things around us. Could we but
comprehend that, all would be clear-Nature would no longer be mysterious— Man would no longer be an enigma to himself. The hypothesis, if it could be translated into theory, if it could be proven to agree with, and explain facts, would perfectly satisfy the canons of the reason, but unless we can perceive the processes and agencies by which the realms of reality and finitude are
“Won from the void and formless Infinite," and thus bring thought and being into coincidence and harmony, of what avail is the hypothesis to us? One step, it is true, we have advanced—we know the rigorous and inflexible necessities of thought which must be satisfied; but we also know that unless we can detect in our experience the somewhat that is, in itself, infinite and infinitely transformable, the hypothesis is invalid if not irrelevant. The random guess of empiricism will not now suffice. A prudently reasoned out answer to a prudently put interrogation can now alone bring forth conviction. Can this be done? We must search the records of Philosophy to learn. To do this effectively we must not only learn the cardinal maxim or maxims of the great thinkers of an age, we must endeavour to put ourselves in their place, and from the point of view occupied by the framers of any theory, strive to discern the premises from which these maxims seem to flow. Only thus can we understand the Philosophy of an age-only thus can we appreciate the wondrous thought-power manifested by the potentates of genius! We shall endeavour in the sequel to look from the central truth of the system of thought, of which Anaximenes was the expounder, to the circumference of fact from which it appears to have taken its origin. The attempt has, not yet been made; let us essay it.
BIOGRAPHIC SKETCH.-Anaximenes, the son of Eurystratus, was born at Miletus. The date of his birth, as we mentioned in the preceding paper, is uncertain, although, as we therein explained, it is probable that his life extended from about B.C. 570 to 478. The only historical event mentioned in connection with his life is the capture of Sardis—the chief city of Lydia, the kingdom of the wealthy Croesus. This city was, however, twice captured-once by the Persians, under Cyrus, about s.c. 546, and again by the Athenians and Ionians, who had rebelled against Darius, about B.C. 499. Both of these events are included in the date which we assign to Anaximenes, but when so many critical historians have differed regarding the particular capture alluded to by Apollodorus, as quoted by Diogenes Laertius (Book ii.) it may perhaps appear presumptuous in us to intimate our adherence to the notion that it is the latter, not the former, capture to which reference is made. Our reason for so thinking is very simple; had he“ died about the time of the taking of Sardis” by Cyrus, he would have died about forty-six years prior to the birth of his pupil Anaxagoras. Now, we have the most indubitable testimony, from the writings
of Cicero, Strabo, Clemens, Simplicius, Augustine, &c., that Anaximenes was the philoscphic tutor of Anaxagoras; there is, therefore, less improbability in believing that he lived about eighteen years after the event given as the mnemonicism of his death, than that he should have died forty-six years prior to the birth of his pupil. Of the events of his life nothing is known, except that he wrote in the pure unmixed Ionic dialect in a clear, argumentative style, and was an attractive teacher. The true philosopher, though he may rule after events, seldom mingles actively in the struggles of ordinary life, or breasts the tide of current circumstances. It is surely sufficient honour for one life-time to have called into lively exercise the grand imaginings of Anaxagoras of Clazomene, and the keenly logical intelligence of Diogenes of Apollonia! This honour belongs to Anaximenes. In physics, he continued the labours of his predecessors-asserted that the leavenly vault is a solid, in which the stars are fixed, and that it revolves round the earth supported by the air. He attempted to solve several meteorological phenomena, and is reputed to have improved the Gnomon of Anaximander. In cosmogonic metaphysics he attempted to combine the Material essence (water) of Thales with the hypothetic infinite of Anaximander.
EXPOSITION.—That a philosophy may be acceptable to the human mind, it must unite the facts of reality by a conception which satisfies the reason and fulfils its laws. The facts of reality, i. e., phenomena, are, however not only multiplex, but ever changing. To seize, therefore, upon some element visible in phenomena, which has, or seems to have, the attribute which logical thought requires, in whatsoever may be adopted as the (apxn) original element of all things, appears to be the natural result of any process of thinking possible in this stage of speculation. That “ the Infinite is the origin of all things" may now be regarded as an axiom. To a pupil of Anaximander this would be the seed-thought from which his philosophy would spring. What, then, is the Infinite? Thales has given Water as the origin of all; but this notion Anaximander has confuted and shown to be inconsistent with the conditions of thought. But it is not only untenable from its non-fulfilment of these conditions, it is indefensible when opposed by fact. The infinite must be incapable of expansion or enlargement, but water is expansible by heat. And when heated, what does it become?-Air, vapour. Is there anything into which air itself can be rarefied? No. Air, then, is the infinite, the origin of all. The problem is solved. Anaximander's hypothesis is confirmed--the pupil and the master are at one-the ideal has been realized -thought has not retrogressed--the tenet of the master is adhered to, and yet, thought has advanced a step! Each separate phenomenon is but an emanation of the indwelling life which permeates the omnipresent and all-sustaining airthe soul of the universe and the life of man. Like a broad leaf upon the vast aërial expanse, the earth floats along, bearing the pavilioned sky high overhead, absorbing continual nutriment from the environing immensity on which reposes, and being continually decomposed into its original elements in never-ceasing succession. May we not, then,
truly say, that “ the original element of all things is air; for all is produced from it , and is resolvable into it again? and in the self-same way as our soul—which is air-sustains us, so too does æther and air uphold all things.”
• Upon the doctrines of Anaximenes, see chiefly Aristotle," De Cælo," ii. and iii.; “ Metaphysica," i., 3: Cicero's “ Acad. Quæst.," ii., chap. 37; and “ De Nat. Deorum," i., 10; “Stobæns Eclog." i. ; Plutarch's “ De Placit. Philòsophorum," i., 3, &c.
The air, while homogeneous, that is, before it is conditioned and condensed into derivative phenomena, is imperceptible. It evolves, manifests, and develops itself by assuming various degrees and quantities of cold, moisture, or motion, or any combination of these. The primordial element does not itself change, although its conditions and its manifestations do. It remains, as ever, the infinite. Nature is not, therefore, as with Thales, a Seed to be matured; it has and is a Life to be wrought out by unceasing modification. The analogy is higher, the idea more noble. The plant obeys law; life is self-legislative. As the soul is at once the lawgiver and the sustainer of life in man, so also is air the sustaining, all-ruling original of each and every phenomenon.
Expansion and condensation originate motion; motion is the productive cause of transformation. There is, therefore, a continuous evolution of the life principle, from the earliest faint condensation of the primitive tenuous æther to the resultant elements of fire, water, and earth, and even then yet upwards and onward till these combine and re-combine in innumerable varieties, and the world of phenomena emerges from the womb of the Infinite in beauty and glory. But just as the condensive agency has done its utmost expansion begins its operations, and hence originates the decomposition of bodies, the mournful though gorgeous phenomena of decay and death.
But how is all this proven? Ay! the query is pertinent. It seems strange-unless we remember the era of the thinker-that such an hypothesis should grow up and receive credence on such a basis of induction as this--When we breathe with the lips contracted, the air that escapes is cold; when with the lips expanded, the air that escapes is warm; rarefied air, therefore, becomes fire, condensed air, water, and from these, earths, &c., are produced. As the friction of an oar in water causes a sliining haze to ejaculate itself, so when clouds in motion become subject to friction, harsh thunder growls and vivid lightning glares. Thus we see each existence forth-form itself into another, and become capable of re-combination, while daily experience teaches us that all things either exhale or are dilated into vapour, and hence we cannot doubt that “Air is the origin of all,” the limitless, the infinite, from which all things are begotten, into which all things relapse.
The induction is radically false, and would now be regarded as childish and absurd; but we must remember that this is in the infancy of reasoning, and we must not expect too much from the earliest adventurers who strove to sound their “ dim and perilous way" along the deep, untravelled ocean of metaphysic thought.
REMARKS.—It is doubtlessly one of the marvels of genius, that with its far-darting mind it can protend itself on the gossamer wings of prerogative instances into new regions of thought, where “ the white light of inspiration” gives clearness to the vision and distinctness to the view; but it is equally true that
“Of its own beauty is the mind diseased,
And fevers into false creation": that the intellect, even out of “its own desiring phantasy,” has often moulded forth its thoughts and pencilled them out in all the charms of reality. We must not, therefore, . accept the grand and glowing thoughts which genius enthusiastically advocates; without examination or question. We must rather all the more keenly and acutely scan the heart-hoarded theories of the wise. Anaximenes, by a potent analogy, has elevated our view of the energy of Nature, and likened it to the highest condition of existence the