페이지 이미지

but feeling the snow accumulate upon stick to the top in the snow, and lyme so as to hinder me from breathe ing down, and applying my teeth to ing, I imagined that a great avalanche its end, I called the men by their had descended from the top of Mont names, listening afterwards with proBlanc, and pushed the snow before it. found attention if I heard any noise. Every moment I expected to be crush- But all was in vain. The guides ed to pieces by this mass; in my de- forced us to depart from the place; scent I turned constantly round, and declared that our search was useless; employed all my strength to divide and refused even the money which we with my arms the snow in which I offered if they would remain. They was buried. At last I got out my carried away Messrs Dornford and head, and I saw a great part of the Henderson; and while I was yet slope in motion ; but as I happened sounding in the snow, which had pasto be near the edge of this moving sed the hollow to a great distance, portion, I used every exertion to get they had gone a considerable way, so upon the firm snow, and at last suc. that I had to descend alone with Cou. ceeded. It was then only I was a- tet, who had not even a stick ; but, abware of my danger, for I found I was sorbed in the horror of the event, I very near a chasm which terminated had become insensible to the senti the slope, and separated it from the ment of danger, and I cleared, withplatform. At the same instant I saw

out reflection, all the crevices. I restill nearer this abyss the head of Mr joined my two companions at the Henderson appear above the snow, Grand-Mulet only, * from whence we and I discovered at a greater distance departed for the glacier of Bossons, t Mr Dornford and three guides—but and at half-past eight P. M. we were the five others appeared not. Still I on our return to the Union Hotel at hoped to see them come out of the snow Chamouny without experiencing much when it stopped; but Mathieu Balmat fatigue. I was the more surprised at cried “ that all were lost in the this, as after the accident I had, for chasm.” I am unable to describe what upwards of an hour, made great exthen passed in my mind. I saw Mr ertions, at a height where the slightDornford throw himself on the snow est movement exhausted our strength. in despair; and Mr Henderson was in I shall add here a few words in exa state which alarmed me for the con- planation of our unhappy accident. It sequences. But judge of our satisfac- appears the upper bed of the snow on tion when we saw, some minutes af- the slope lay on another bed, the surter, one of the guides come out of the face of which was hardened and chasm; our hurrah redoubled at the smooth; and as our track along the appearance of the second; and we first bed had, in a manner, cut it now hoped that the other three might across, the part above us began to also appear,—but, alas ! we saw them slide over the other, forming, what no more.

they call in Oberland of Berne, SuogThe guides, fearing a second sliding gischnee, or Rutschlavine. At the of the snow, advised us to depart, but place where the first of our file walkthis was impossible. Mr Dornford ed, the slope was much steeper than declared, that he was ready to sacri- near me, as I had measured it some fice his life for the relief of these unfortunates ;-I held his hand

and partly buried in the snow, yet in mo * We found at this place two travellers, tion, we advanced, in spite of the MM. le Chev. Bourdet de la Nièvre, naguides, towards the unknown depth, turalist, and Castan, botanist and phar. filled with snow, at the place where maceutist at Geneva, who had also come we supposed they had fallen in. There to ascend to the top of Mont Blanc ; but we descended into the gulf, and I they abandoned this project on learning

our misfortune. sounded the snow everywhere with a stick, without meeting with any re

+ In crossing the glacier of Bossons we

found upon an islet of ice, surrounded sistance. On the supposition that

by vast chasms, a young chamois, which they might have fallen under some had died apparently through hunger. One hollow or projection of the rock, and of the high seracs, under the shade of of their being yet alive,-and as air which we had reposed in ascending, had much rarified docs not communicate fallen in the interval, and had covered with sound well, I plunged the longest its wreck the place where we had stopped

moments before the accident, and the least suspicion of any danger. At found it to be only 28o. Farther on, the moment the accident took place

, likewise, the mass of snow was thick- the brother of one of our chiefs marcher, especially in the upper part, fored first, and a man who made the the wind generally blows the loose journey for the twelfth time was the snow towards the top. On this ac second. count, the sliding naturally commenced at this place, and the snow descended straight towards the ra

* When M. de Saussure passed this vine, whilst around me it took an ob- place, he had the good fortune to find that

an avalanche had the preceding night carlique direction downwards. This

ried seems to be the cause why the three the loose snow.

away from the slope a great part of

I shall quote here part first individuals in the line * fell of g 1985 of the work of M. de Saussure, into the gulf, and were covered with where, speaking of this place, he says:snow so deeply that they could not “ The next day we traversed the second recover themselves; while the fifth platform, at the entrance of which we had and sixth, + who also had fallen in, passed the night ; from thence we ascendwere yet able, by their exertions, to ed to the third, which we also crossed, and rid themselves of the snow which sur

we were in half an hour at the bottom of rounded them. Coutet, on coming wards the east, the rock is reached which

the great slope, by which, inclining toout of the snow, had his face of a blue forms the left shoulder of the summit of colour, with all the symptoms of as

Mont Blanc. On commencing the ascent, I phyxia. Mathieu Balmat, a very

was already out of breath from the rarity strong man, and one of our chiefs, of the air ; however, by stopping at every who marched fourth, was the only thirty paces to respire for a moment, but one able to stop himself while the without sitting, I held out; and I arrived snow was in motion. Overturned, in forty minutes at the beginning of the and already drawn to a certain dis- avalanche which had fallen the preceding tance, he had the presence of mind tonight, and the noise made by which reachsink his large stick, as an anchor, into ed our tent. the firm snow. The two other guides in the hope that, after having rested our

“ There we stopped for some moments, were, like the three travellers, burieci in the snow and carried to the chasm, cross the avalanche pretty quickly, and

legs and our lungs, we should be able to without, however, falling into it.

at one breathing space; but this we found The guides estimated the surface of impossible; that species of fatigue which snow which was in motion at nearly results from the rarity of the air is abso100 toises in breadth, and 250 in ob- lutely insurmountable ; and when it is at lique height. The snow which slid its height, the most imminent danger could down had not recently fallen, for it not make me move a step farther. But I was of considerable firmness. Those encouraged my guides by saying to them of our guides who had the most ex

that it was the less dangerous, as all the perience among the snows, had not

loose snow which covered the top had been swept away.

** Beyond this avalanche the slope be. These were Pierre Balmat, brother of came steeper, and terminated on our left Mathieu, and eldest son of P. Balmat, one in a frightful precipice; and we had to of the old guides of M. de Saussure; Pierre cross a large cleft, the passage of which Carrier, a smith to trade, who had already was likewise interrupted by a rock of ice, been eleven times at Mont Blanc: and which stretched to the edge of the slope. Auguste Terraz. This last, and P. Bal. The first guides had cut steps in the hard mat, had never made the ascent of Mont snow with a hatchet ; but they had made · Blanc. These were the two guides who them rather at too great a distance ; and to refused to remain at the Grand-Mulet. reach the footsteps it was requisite to stride All the three carried provisions, instru. as far as we could, at the risk of missing ments, and other things, as well as the the steps and sliding irremediably down the pigeon and the living chicken. None of precipicc. Higher up the snow was softthem were married.

er, and the surface broke under our fect; + Joseph Marie Coutet, one of our two and above this we found loose flakes of principal guides, (his father had been also snow, to the depth of eight or nine inches, with M. de Saussure,) and Julien De which rested upon a second crust of hardvoaussou, he who had nearly poisoned ened snow. We walked thus up to the himself by the oil of vitriol.

middle of the leg, at the risk of sliding to # David Coutet, brother of Joseph the side of the precipice, our only security Marie, our chief, and David Foligue. from which accident was the superior crust,


When coming from the St Gervais perceives to be true when it examines side, and passing by the Needles and them. Of this sort are mathematical, the Dome du Gouté, the road of and, perhaps, some metaphysical and Chamouny must be taken before arriv- moral truths. We know that two and ing at the slope which betrayed us two are equal to four, &c. when we thought we were past all Consciousness is knowledge. We danger. One runs the risk then, whe- know that we exist, that we think, ther they come from one side or the feel, perceive, &c. other, after having, as I had clone, es Is the existence of the material caped the formidable stones of the world a known truth? We undoubtNeedle of Gouté, and crossed the gulfs edly perceive something which we of the glacier of Bossons, to be, near call matter. This we know. But do the summit, swallowed up by a soil we know that the material world exapparently firm, but which gives way ists independently of our perceiving all at once under the feet, a kind of it? Perhaps, in strict language, this danger against which it will be very is a truth which we can be said only difficult to find a preservative. to believe.

Knowledge alone implies certainty, or that concerning which doubt would

be positively absurd. Whenever we MR EDITOR,

can attain this kind of evidence, thereI send you, in addition to my for- fore, we ought to look for it, but mer papers on the Eviilences of Religi- where it is not to be had, we must be ous Truth, a few short remarks which satisfied with belief or probability. have been long lying by me, on the

Knowledge and belief are commonProof of Miracles from Testimony. ly.confounded, though very different They will serve as a recapitulation of things. Whatever we really know, the principles which I have already en- certainly is; what we merely believe, deavoured to establish,-applied, too, may possibly not be. It is impossito a different question. It was, in- ble that two and two should not be deed, in the examination of Mr equal to four; it is possible that there Hume's Essay on Miracles, that they may never have been such a man as were first suggested to mé; and the Cæsar, or that the sun may not rise more I turn them in my mind, the to-morrow. more I am persuaded of their import

What is belief? From what princiance both in philosophy and religion. ple of our nature do we acquire a kind

of knowledgeat second-hand? Whence 1. Truths are either known, believe do we make positive assertions about ed, or probable.

things of which in fact we know noKnown truths are such as the mind thing ?

Belief is another word for faith, or, which thus sustained a great part of our fidence. It is in truth, then, a moral

what is the same thing, trust or conweight, and if it had broken we should in. fallibly have gone to the bottom. . But I sentinent, and refers in all cases to thought not of danger; my mind

some being in whom we trust or conmade up to go forwards as far as my

fide. strength permitted ; and I had no other Try by this rule belief in testimo. idea but that of stepping firmly and ad. ny. Can there be a doubt that there vancing.” Afterwards Š 1986, he con- is implanted in the human heart a tinues : “ At last, in a walk of two hours sentiment of trust or confidence in and a half, reckoning from the place where man? The smiles of an infant express we had slept, we attained the rock which it before he is able to understand a is called the left shoulder, or the second word that is said, and the belief stair of Mont Blanc. Theru opening my which he afterwards gives to every eyes on an immense horizon, altogether thing he is told, is only a particular new to me--nothing concealed from our direction of this principle. view, (for the summit was on our right,) the whole range of the Alps on the Italian

Belief concerning the operations of side, which I had never seen from such a nature must, in like manner, have a height; and there I had the satisfaction of secret reference to some being in whom being certain of attaining the summit, we have confidence. since the ascent which remained was neither Take the extreme case, that we have steep nor dangerous.”

no direct knowledge of the existence



U u

of matter as a thing independent of parts which do not seem fixed, it, our perceptions. What is our ground however, collects whether they are for believing that it is a separate ex- more fixed than others. Whatever istence ? Our perceptions and sensa seems to coincide with the plan of nations are regular, uniform, steady; ture better than something else, will not like dreams and reveries. This more probably happen than that other we perceive. Now, the perception of thing. The mind has no ground for regularity anıl order is a perception belief' or assurance here, but it has a that mind is operating, and conveys a ground for conjecture. direct knowledge to us that there is II. Mr Hume's argument against mind in nature. We, in fact, perceive miracles proceeds on the supposition, that there is some one without us, or- that all belief is the production solely dering and arranging : hence, we be- of experience. Now, as we have conlieve, or have confidence, that there stant experience that the laws of nais something without us ordered and ture are regularly observed, and by arranged. On the supposition, then, no means constant experience that that our perceptions do not convey to men speak truth, the rule of reason, us direct knowledge of the existence according to this philosopher, is alof matter as a distinct substance, it is ways, in the case of miracles, to reject a curious, yet apparently a just con the testimony, and to hold fast our clusion, that before we could believe belief of the unvaried regularity of a truth so necessary to our condition nature. here, we must actually have perceiv But belief cannot spring from exed or known the existence of mind or perience, any more than love or haDeity.

tred. It is another word for the sen. But, be this as it may, on what timent of trust or confidence, which, principle can our belief concerning when placed in Man, arises from an the future rest, except on such a pere instinctive perception that he posception? The laws of nature, the or- sesses a common nature with our. der established, are in truth a silent selves; and, when placed in Nature, language in which God speaks to man, arises from a similar perception that a language which the merest child there is Mind in the universe, and understands. It is" These things that we are dependent beings. I have established, these things will Belief in testimony amounts to this continue. The sun has risen to-day, — The thing told must be true, if the trust, believe that he will rise to-mor. person who tells it has veracity. If row.”

we believe the man, we must believe It may appear very extraordinary that the thing happened. No matter that we should say, the existence of what it is; if a man could see it he mind, as the regulating principle can tell it. of the universe, is a truth which Belief in the regularity of Nature aevery child knows, and that all ration- mounts to this There is a plan esal belief respecting the operations of tablished; we trust it will continue. nature is, in fact, founded upon the But, suppose it should be changed in knowledge of this truth; but the as some respects, the author of the plan sertion is by no means extravagant. does not tell a lie; he never promised We do not suppose that a child has that it would, in every instance, be formed to itself the idea which we call invariable. A man sends me a penGod; neither has it formed to itself sion for twenty years I expećt it next the idea which we call a mind; yet it year; but, suppose it should not come, knows that its parents and the people the man has not therefore broke his about it have minds, so far as to trust word. Belief in testimony, even to and rely on them ; and in the same the extent of a miracle, and confidence manner. it perceives that there is mind in the continued regularity of Nature, in nature.

are, therefore, quite consistent. Belief being thus explained, we Take an example-Suppose a man shall easily understand what is meant who is my friend, a person of a seby probability, with respect to na- rious character, of whose judgment tural events. Concerning those parts and veracity I could have no doubt, of the plan of nature which seem comes and tells me that he saw a man fixed, the mind predicts with as raised from the dead, I should cer. surance or belief ;-concerning those tainly be much confounded ; I should

suppose, at first, that he was amusing be in his argument. It would make himself with me, or that he was un for his cause, that all the Metamorder a temporary derangement. But phoses of Ovid, and all the Arabian he perseveres in the assertion, his Tales, should be true. The first prinjudgment and veracity are evidently ciples of common sense, however, force the same as formerly, he dies attest- him to acknowledge, that there is ing the fact-Should I not believe the something fixed, settled, and estafact? Should I then believe it if I blished. This is, in fact, Deism ; had myself scen it?

but, in order to avoid that conclusion, This may be called direct testi- he supposes things more fixed than mony ; but, perhaps, most testimony even rational Deism will warrant. deserves only the appellation of pro- Displacing the Deity, by whom the bable. We cannot, in general, have two ends of the chain are held, he a very perfect conviction of the vera- supposes them linked together by the city of witnesses; yet this conviction indissoluble padlock of necessity. A we may often obtain in a great de- miracle, accordingly, appears to him, gree, even with respect to very old not inerely improbable, but absolutely stories. There is a simplicity and na- impossible. ture in some old books, which com A Deist, however, may admit, that ipand immediate assent.

it is not quite improbable a suspension But, where testiinony rests solely of natural laws may, on some occaon the ground of probability, such as sions, enter into the Divine councils; a number of witnesses attesting the 2nd, if it should be presumption a same fact, with, perhaps, collateral priori to say, that, in any given circircumstances supporting it, where we cumstances, there probably would be bave no opportunity of becoming ac a suspension of this kind ; yet if, on quainted with the veracity of any one probable testimony, we have been inof the witnesses, it may be doubted formed, that, in such and such cirhow far such testimony will prove a cumstances, miracles did take place, miracle, because the testimony in this we may, at the same time, perceive case is merely probable, or what in the probability of their happening in the course of Nature we should not such circumstances. expect would prove false ; while a mi Thus, considering Christianity mereracle is not only an improbable fact, ly as a scheme, it may seem a probaor something which we should not ble supplement to natural religion, look for in the course of Nature, but suited to the condition of man, and is totally contrary to the course of Na- such as might be looked for from the ture, or is an incredible fact.

goodness and wisdom of God.

We It is to this instance alone that Mr shall, therefore, be satisfied with less Hume’s dilemma will apply with any evidence of its truth, than if it had force.

a contrary character. We shall, at In opposition to this case, however, least, not close our eyes to that cloud there is a ground on which even weak of evidence by which it is supported. evidence, or very little stronger than

PAILOTHEUS. We require for common facts, will be sufficient to establish the truth of a iniracle, viz. the probability of the miracle.

Considered merely as a fact, a mi Be not surprised, Mr Editor, at the racle is the most improbable of all title I have given my paper, nor imafacts; considered as a miracle, it may gine for a moment that your correbe very probable. Here, indeed, we spondent is on any terms of undue famust take in the principles of natural miliarity with the Prince of Darkness. religion, which will surely be the more Assuredly I have never seen him pereasily admitted, if, as has been shown, Sonally, to my knowledge, though, in their truth is implied in all rational dark nights, and lonely glens, and belief concerning natural events. church-yards, I have anxiously been

One might wonder why an atheist on the look-out for bim. The anecshould object to miracles. The great- dotes, however, that I am going to reer irregularity there is in Nature, the late of him will show you that he has, more totally it should seem to want at sundry times, and in divers mana desigil, the greater reason would there wers, made himself known in a visible


« 이전계속 »