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•which, must lend very precious aid to the progress of the human mind, and to the perfection of the sciences."*
"Doctor Hutton hasemployed himself in new researches on the origin of human knowledge, and the study of wisdom. He has endeavoured to open a midway path between the doctrines of Hume and Berkeley, in explaining how the ideas of the properties which we ascribe to bodies, are artificially formed in our minds, and how the activity of the mind excited by sensation, collects, with respect to the causes that have produced it, lights which sensation itself is incapable of furnishing.—The explanations which he has given, do not, in our opinion, afford a completely satisfactory result; but they serve at least, to facilitate the solution, of one of the most intricate problems, which has tried the sagacity of philosophers.f Although the Treatise on Population by Malthus, belongs, from its object, to political science, the development of this new and prolific principle, may be regarded as a precious acquisition for moral philosophy."
"If the Scottish school professes a doctrine nearly uniform, this circumstance does not spring from a sectarian spirit; the inculcation of this doctrine is unaccompanied, by any of those jggling pretensions, by any of those rites of initiation, which the authors of systems have but too often employed, for the purpose of retaining their proselytes, in a state of blind devotion. The love of truth is the bond of union between these writers; and they are unanimous, because a constant intercourse has enabled them to understand each other well.— There may appear to be something vague in the terms common sense, moral instinct, which they have employed to designate the faculty given to man, of perceiving intuitively primitive truths, and of discovering-the laws of morality by an innate feeling;—but in justice, this must be said,—that they have, both in the one and the other branch of philosophy,
* Nothing can be more just than this view of the merits of Duspld Stewart as a philosopher. We rejoice to find, that his last work, entitled "Philosophical Essays," has been reprinted in this country, and widely circulated. It should be in the library of every loser of moral truth and elegant literature .—Why are not his Biographical Sketches also re-published here! They have a peculiar character of excellence, and that of the highest order —We would, if it were in our power, familiarize our countrymen with such models of just thought and classical composition.
t The theory of Hutton is uncommonly ingenioua and imposing. It is ably and beautifully expounded in a memoir on the life of that philosopher, written by the celebrated professor l'layfair of Edinburgh, and inserted In the Transactions of the Philosophical Society of that capital.
wisely assigned limits, at which the analyses of the human mind should stop, and have restored to our reason, bewildered in the maze of speculation, thit fulcrum which she requires, to build up the edifice of human knowledge."
"In the same manner as Hartley had combated the principle of common sense,some English writers have likewise, within the few years past, attacked that of moral instinct, and by various arguments, have endeavoured to reinstate the ideas of Just and unjust,m the class of artificial or acquired notions. Thus Thomas Cogan in his Treatise on the Passions, in subjecting the affections of the human heart to the analysis of reason, and giving them a sort of classification or methodical nomenclature, allows them no other source than self-love, and the state of society.—Thus Priestley, when by denying free will, he destroyed the essential foundation of all morality, looked to revelation for that sanction and basis, which he would not admit to exist for it in nature.—So also W. Paley, in his work on morals and politics,—a work in other respects so eminently praise-worthy for the wisdom of its corollaries, and the purity of its spirit,—imagined that he could invest religious ideas with new force, and provide a more dignified origin for the laws of morality, by deriving the motives of duty, exclusively, from a system of eternal rewards and punishments; not remarking, that a doctrine like this, might yield some justification, or rather afford pretexts, to the errors of blind enthusiasm; and would take from religion, one of the most noble evidences in her favour,—that which results, from the agreement between her -precepts and natural morality.—Far be from us the thought, of denying the powerful aid, which the latter receives from religious opinions, and the character of elevation which is stamped upon it, by this alliance! When considered in a practical point of view, the work of Paley is, therefore, still extremely useful. We cannot, unfortunately, allege the same apology for that of Bentham, who in labouring to build upon morality the whole of civil legislation, has resuscitated the old opinion of the sophists, so eloquently refuted by the sages of antiquity, which makes the utile the origin of the honestum, or rather considers the last as wholly subordinate to the other; which establishes the interest of the individual as the rule of private, and the interest of the majority, as that of public morality:—a doctrine which must inevitably conduct to selfishness in the individual, and to a most pernicious Machiavelism in states,—which is fitted to lead astray both the legislator and the moralist."
"Constrained as we arc by the nature of our undertaking,
to point out the errors of some systems, along with their discoveries, we ought not to pass over in silence, the extravagancies into which Godwin has been betrayed, by the affectation of originality, or rather of singularity. Ambitious of being thought the Rousseau of England, he resembles his model, only in his intemperate hostility to social institutions. He has, indeed, pushed his invectiv es still further, and in his crude and short-sighted strictures, appears to have made it his study, to attack whatever is truly respectable, thus prostituting talents, not unworthy, in some instances, of a better cause. We should not omit to notice also, the paradoxes of lord Monboddo, who has elucidated by some useful remarks, the history of language, bik who has at the same time, disfigured
that of the human race, by the most absurd chimeras It
should be observed, that the opinion which we here express, belongs equally to the enlightened portion of the English, public."
"The progress which the physical sciences have made in England, has not been useless to philosophy. The theory of vision, which, as it is well known, is so largely indebted to Priestley, has been illustrated by some precious observations from Dalton, on the manner of seeing colours.—The theory of instinct has been improved by some new views, contained in the small treatise on the external senses, by Adam Smith, and in the Zoonomia of Darwin, whose bold and not unfrequently luminous conceptions, carry with them but too often, the stamp of arbitrary hypothesis."
"The theory of the beautiful, that brilliant part of moral philosophy, now so emulously cultivated in Germany, has recently been the subject of a new system in England. Burke has endeavoured, after the example of Hogarth, to determine and explain the ideas which we attach to sublimity and beauty, by restricting the first, to what is terrible in itself, or allied to terrible objects; the second, to what excites (to a very limited extent, however, and in a small degree) agreeable sensations and benevolent dispositions. He deduces the sublime and the beautiful from two principles, self-preservation and society, which, according to him, constitute the objects about which all our passions are conversant. Mr. Uvedale Price has attempted to supply what he thought deficient in this system, by introducing a third principle, to which he has given the name of the picturesque^ and which he makes to consist, in complication and diversity. This theory, the weakness of which not even the genius of Burke was adequate to disguise, has been attacked with success, in particular bv sir Joshua Reynolds; but
Vol. III. G
it has induced discussions highly useful to the philosophy of the fine arts, and its illustrious author, although pursuing a wrong track, has founded upon the knowledge of the human heart, and the laws of the imagination, those profound maxims which he reduced to practice, in so brilliant a manner, in the career of eloquence."
We cannot too often repeat this fundamental axiom, that philosophy 13 then most efficaciously fulfilling its true ends, when it is employed in the exposition of practical morality; a branch which, for a long time, and particularly among the oriental nations, was in some sort, the only philosophy.—Several English writers have cultivated it with an honourable zeal.— Of the number, we take pleasure in mentioning Aikin, Wilberforce, Gisborne, Miss Hannah Moore, M. Edgeworth, his daughter Miss Edgeworth, Morrice, who have collected and developed the precepts appropriate to every class of our actions, and to every condition of society; and applied the lessons of morality to the first of arts,—education.—Without doubt, we may be allowed to rank among the number of these estimable moralists, the illustrious Blair, the model and the gdide of the sacred orators of Great Britain;—Blair, that truly philosophical orator, who so happily united to a deep knowledge of the human heart, the talent of inspiring it with the love, and of animating it to the practice, of virtue."
"We ought to offer here this additional testimony, in favour of the writers of whom England can boast, particularly during this period;—that not only have they professed a sincere and enlightened respect for religious ideas, but many of them have made it the special object of their labours, to strengthen the august alliance between religion and philosophy; an alliance which yields fresh support to the one, and invests the other with all its dignity."
"Among the works to which this noble design has given birth, there are two which deserve to be placed in the first rank; that of Butler upon the Analog)' of Religion natural and revealed, and that of the respectable Paley upon Natural Theology.—Both the one and the other of these works, devoid as they are, of every kind of exaggeration, perfectly in unison with the present state of knowledge, and the dictates of sound reason; opening as they do, with new and more brilliant attractions, the most noble prospects to elevated minds,—both, we say, may be considered, in the age in which we live, as true blessings for humanity."
-Die Wahher-wandlschaflen ein Roman von Goethe. Tubingen, in der Cotlaischen Buchhandlung, 1809.
Elective Affinities; a Novel by Goethe.—Tubingen, 1809.
The German vernacular literature of the present day, offers several striking peculiarities, which render it worthy of engaging the attention of every general scholar. It may be said to date only from the last century, and the fathers of it, have not yet passed away, but enjoy the satisfaction, almost peculiar to themselves, of seeing the fabric which they have raised, vie in strength and beauty with those of neighbours so long pre-eminent in excellence. ,
This literature seems by some great effort to have attained, in a comparatively short space of time, a pitch to which that of France and England only rose by slow degrees. There is no style of writing in which they cannot produce an author of distinguished merit—To Milton the Germans can oppose their Klopstock; to ,Shakspeare their Schiller and Goethe.— However unsuited their climate to the perception and delineation of pastoral feeling, yet Gesner has been translated, and read in almost every language. However ill adapted their own language may appear to grace and elegance, yet Wieland has clothed in it appropriately, the effusions of a brilliant imagination. Their theatre produces a collection of plays, equal in volume to those of the French and English, and admirable in many points of view. In the minor walks of poesy, we find them succeeding in the delicate expression of feeling, and giving to the world several very popular styles of writing, which however faulty, have been very generally admired in their day, and continued to be so, as long as it was probable trifles would, which depend entirely on the wavering taste of the greatest class of readers. By the numerous fictions with which their presses teem, they have proved themselves to be singularly inventive; but above all, their minds seem to have been turned towards metaphysics; and throughout their views of it, they show themselves to be profound thinkers. At this moment, indeed, oie of their philosophers is about operating on the continent of Europe a great change, if not an entire revolution, in that science.
With all this merit, however, there reigns in their productions a certain tone which must at first be more or less disagreeable to a foreigner. We can only give an idea of the effect it has upon us, by compajing it with a very fine aqua-tinta