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certainty,” the boundaries between animals and vegetables. We trust, therefore, that our inquisitive catechumens will be impressed with a suitable measure of gratitude for the following attempt to settle that very important and fundamental doctrine of jurisprudence.
“ The criterions which have been supposed by different writers, to be peculiar to animal life, and to separate it clearly from vegetable life, are, 1. Locomotion ; 2. A stomach, intestines, and an alimentary canal ; 3. The yielding of animonia on analysis; 4. A limited intelligence, called perception; 5. Nourishment from organised matter alone; 6. Sensation; 7. Muscularity; 8. Voluntary motion. Each of these has been relied on as the sure criterion, and all have been denied by some one or other, to be certain tests. A volume would scarce suffice to unfold the arguments which have been adduced for and against these supposed attendants on animality. A word or two, however, is all that can be allowed us, who, it is to be feared, have already trespassed too long on what some may think appropriated grounds.
1. Locomotion has been denied to be the test, because there are plants which possess a locomotive faculty, whilst on the other hand, there are several instances in which it is denied to animals. Should the former fact, however, be questioned, it is quite certain that the latter is true, as we find is the case with corals, corallines, oysters, muscles, sponges,
&c. 2. The stomach, &c. have been denied to be this long sought for criterion, because the mere form of the instrument or organ of digestion is not sufficient to constitute an essential difference, particularly as vegetables possess a power and organs so similar in their operations, as to be scarcely distinguishable; and animals, on the other hand, are in several instances either wholly without these organs, or appear to be greatly if not wholly independent of their use.
'3. Ammonia on analysis has likewise been found to be a very unsatisfactory criterion, since it is now ascertained that most vegetables yield, upon destructive distillation, a small portion of ammonia.
“4. Perception, or limited intelligence. This, although it is found in all animals,” &c. pp. 22–23.
We are not without some apprehensions lest our readers may think that we have fastened upon a small part which is not in keeping with the rest of the work, for the purpose of exciting a prejudice against it. We trust, however, they know us to be incapable of such disingenuity at any time-more especially in relation to a gentleman for whom we profess, and towards whom we really do entertain an unfeigned and very high respect. The truth is, that two thirds at least of the volume before us is liable to a mixed charge of irrelevancy and triteness, and this we are ready to verify (if need be) by a scrupulous reference to chapter and verse.
Thus, the first and second chapters cover somewhat less than a hundred pages. The former treats of “the nature of man,” the latter “of man in a state of nature.” As far as utilitywe use the word in its most comprehensive acceptation—is concerned, it would puzzle Jeremy Bentham himself to settle their comparative pretensions. Of the former we have already furnished several specimens. If these have not satisfied our readers, we recommend to them the perusal of the whole chapter, but especially the discourse about articulate sounds and the surprising case of the dog that could pronounce every letter in the alphabet except three, as stated at p. 40. So those who doubt whether the intellectual capacity of man be greater than that of the brutes, will find it rigorously demonstrated at p. 38, and if any of our readers are unfortunate enough never to have regaled themselves with the famous logomachy about the freedom of the will in its thousand forms of essay or folio, he may promise himself a sufficient gratification of his curiosity by reading from p. 45 to p. 61. In treating of the state of nature, of course the question whether it be a state of war is revived, and that old sinner, Hobbes, reprobated with a suitable degree of pious fervour. Then “it is immaterial (as we heartily agree it is) whether the state of nature ever had an actual existence or not,” (p. 78) for, as it is quaintly remarked, (p. 84) “if this perfect state ever existed for a short time, it was broken by the very first pair of human entities," since even in paradise, the peace of a family could scarcely be preserved without certain “rules and regulations.” Nay, “Mr. Plowden," it seems, considers it as incontrovertible “that the only individual who can be said in any sense to have existed in a state of nature, was Adam before the formation of his wife.” He was afraid to venture any further, we opine, lest the falling out of the very first man with the very first woman, should appear to countenance in some degree the impious notions of Hobbes. It may not be amiss to remark, however, that Mr. Hoffman takes a distinction upon this subject which is well worthy of consideration, viz. “that Eve also was in that state during the instant of time before she was subjected to the authority and law of her husband." He even entertains serious doubts whether the marital rights attached at all before the expulsion from paradise, when this plague was probably for the first time inflicted upon the fair sinner by way of penalty for her presumptuvus curiosity. And at p. 93, we come finally to the conclusion that this same state of nature “had in one sense an existence for scarcely a moment; not longer than while the first pair of human beings were deliberating, if, indeed, they did deliberate, whether they should yield to the instinct within them and rush into the first embrace.” We shall not be expected to pursue the subject any further. Suffice it to add, that the account of what passed in that primordial state of society, is as precise and satisfactory as can be expected, considering how very scanty the materials are that remain for writing its history.
We object in the same way to the whole of the fifth lecture son civil government,” as dealing altogether in vague and inapplicable generalities. And so of other parts of the book. Thus in the eighth lecture “on the laws of nature applied to men as individuals whether in a state of nature or of society and government," Mr. Hoffman has given the greatest possible latitude to his own speculations, at the very moment that he cen
others for a similar excess. Thus he very justly remarks that it is surprising how Puffendorf “should have relapsed into all those extremely refined ethical disquisitions which confound the morals of the schoolmen with the positive, diplomatic and natural laws and institutions of nations,” notwithstanding the excellent model which Grotius had left to his successors in these studies. Yet he proceeds straightway to retail all the theoretical opinions--the idle and absurd imaginations—the delirantium somnia—which the “seething brains" of Rabbis and visionaries have conceived. For instance, “that curious topic of casuistical jurisprudents,"'* whether deity is subject to the laws of nature—a question not much more absurd, to be sure, nor more idle, than the analogous one among the civilians, whether the despotism of the Cæsars ought to do homage to the laws which it created and changed at will. So too that very philosophic notion of the Talmudists, that God delivered orally to Adam, and subsequently to Noah and his sons “the whole of the law of nature, embraced in seven short and energetic precepts, now of universal obligation”-a little code considered by them as the matrix of the entire body of natural and moral law. Thence we are transported from theory to theory, from fiction 10 fiction, until we find ourselves in the midst of “those shocking narratives of human depravity”-the fee-faw-fum of misunderstood or apocryphal history and of the horror-breathing figments of travellers—with which it is so easy to embellish a book of the “sketches of man.” How at Babylon every woman had to prostitute herself once in her life, which gives occasion to our author to say that Herodotus was the father of lies, and to quote Cicero to prove it, p. 338—how among the Sabæans a single
* This word, as Mr. Randolph expresses it, does not belong to the language that we speak.
wife served a whole family, as Diodorus Siculus testifiethhow Zoroaster allowed parents and children to intermarry, and none but the offspring of such a union could belong to the order of the Magi-how the Spartans cast their infant children into a “murder-bole" on Mount Taygetus—how incest was enjoined by Moses and Solon, which leads very naturally to the inquiry whether incest is malum prohibitum or malum in se, “a controversy not yet settled among casuists,” (p. 339) and into which Mr. Hoffman does not choose to enter minutely, although he pursues it through many pages—how “the accomplished Cato" lent his wife to Hortensius, as was the custom among the Romans, “in order to improve the breed”-how the Tartars according to Hakluyt, have a strange custom among them, “for that when any man's father deceaseth, he (the father?] assembleth all his kindred and they eat him," p. 343—how, according to Picart, the people of Java used to sell their old men to the Anthropophagi-how the cannibals of Ireland were accustomed to serve up as a rare delicacy (oh! most direful refinement of gastronomy !) the mammæ of women-how the Brazilians, with palates less exquisite, but equally perverted, fattened their prisoners to feast on them how the widows of African kings had to poison themselves on the demise of their lords-how the Mexicans adored an idol formed from every known seed, kneaded together with the blood of infants-and how there would be no end to this catalogue of ludicrous horrors, if the author did not stop short in mercy to his reader, who has already supped full of them. The remarks of Mr. Hoffman upon these monstrosities, are very judicious. They are somewhat in the spirit of Hume's Dialogue, in which Palamedes, one of the interlocutors, endeavours to reconcile many apparently irregular and anomalous usages and customs, to the great leading principles of reason and morality, and to shew that they furnish no inference whatever against the universality of what is called the law of nature, or the standard of right and wrong. A reader who has leisure to bestow upon such inquiries, cannot do better than refer to and meditate upon that most admirable essay of the first of British philosophers ; but what have such inquiries to do with the elements of jurisprudence, properly so called?
In a word, we do not recollect ever to have met with a more striking exemplification, than is furnished by this volume, of the remark that American writers and speakers begin always at the very beginning
-Primâque ab origine mundi
We grieve that Mr. Hoffman has given the sanction of his example to this crying sin against good taste and common sense, which is, indeed, becoming an intolerable public nuisance. Such total want of all unity of purpose-of all simplicity and directness in the conduct and execution of things that have some pretension to be considered as works of art—at least, of designit is, we verily believe, impossible to match in the productions of any other people under the sun. It is almost inconceivable in a nation, more remarkable, perhaps, than any other, for promptitude, sagacity and address in the management of affairs. That arch-puritan, Oliver Cromwell, would seem to be the type and model of the country. Call upon an American for action, and you are sure to find him ready, skilful, decided and efficient. The common instruments of his art are too clumsy-its processes too operose for his active genius, which is immediately laid under contribution for some labour-saving contrivance. Hence the patent-office--that great repository of Jonathan's practical cleverness—is already overcharged with its fruits. But call upon him for a specification of these very plans—for the rationale of his simplest operations, and you get out of him nothing but rigmarole or rhetoric. Fluit lutulentus—There is no end to his obscure and undistinguishing volubility. You are allowed no credit for any information on the subject of your inquiry. You must hear the whole story out, which is detailed, with dreadful circumstantiality, on the true epic plan of interpolating into the matter in hand, a retrospective narration beginning at the origin of things. This vicious and disgustful redundancy besets us every where. Our compositions—our speeches, are the very reverse of Attic. We stand in most distressing need of the lime labor.. Some of our recent state papers, which, to the scandal of the age, have been beld up as models in their way, are a disgrace upon the country by their fustian and wire-drawn prolixity. We have ourselves listened to the arguments of eminent counsel in the Supreme Court of the United States, who seemed to have forgotten entirely that the Judges of that high tribunal ought to be presumed to have read Blackstone's Commentaries at least once in their lives. Congressional harangues-but the very name of them is enough, and we gladly dismiss the topic to return to Mr. Hoffman's book.
We are aware that the example of Puffendorf and other writers of the same school, especially in Germany, may be relied on as warranting the form and scope of the work before us. To this plea, we in the first place demur generally; and, secondly, we reply, that, admitting it to have any validity at all, it is inap plicable to the facts of the principal case. To begin with the