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should feel as little exultation in re- ment for virtue, and objections to flecting that I had become in my oui- vice; finally, to omit nothing (speak, set an humble imitator, and had la- ing with a reference to the individual boured fruitlessly to embellish a road powers of man) which can either which my predecessors have already promote our moral happiness here, covered with a profusion of beauties! or future welfare in a world to There is a pride in the mind of man come. which makes him ambitious of dis This I would wish to be the distin. tinction, and all distinction is founded guishing feature of my labours; and upon original excellence: whatever with it to mingle whatever can imcharge of imitation therefore may be prove the taste, enlarge the mind, urged against me in the progress of or contribute to the innocent amuseiny undertaking, I am at least resolved ment of my readers; whence what 10 make an auspicious commence- may be termed the decorative parts ment. But let it not therefore be of literature will appear in pleasing supposed that because I have dis- and varied succession, tbus alternately claimed all limitation, I have in fact iivistering to the highest and to the no detinite idea in my own mind of lowest of our intellectual pleasures. what I intend to do; I have traced The communication of knowledge an extensive outline, embracing many lias generally been attended with more subjects, at once interesting, curious, or less difficulty, not always from the and important; but the colouring, inaptitude of the recipient, but somethe lights and shades, the smaller mb- times from its injudicious administrajects, and the diversification of scenery, tion. It is delicately observed by remain to be filled up, as accident Pope, tbat may direct, curiosity exciie, or adven . Mon must be caught, as tho' you taught titious assistance may supply. No
them not; man can trace with decided accuracy, And things unknown, propos d as things the future operations of his own forgot" mind; they will often be irregular The fact is, pride, under some one where he expected correctness ; often or other of its various moditications, incongruous where he looked for con- attends us all through life; and the gruity and order ; sometimes dui, pride of knowledge is, perhaps of all when he iinagined to pour furth strains others, the most independent. It is of eloquence, or corruscations of wit; not that men are unwilling to learn, and at others, discursive and rambling, but that they are averse from being when he awaited concentration of regarded as learners, for it silently ideas, and propriety of language. To implies a superiority which most limit this faculty would be ridiculous minds revolt at. In our endeavours.. it possible; but its aerial combina- therefore, to facilitate the interchange tionis despise the imaginary shackles of ideas, it is of obvious importance of man, and proves the divinity of its that we should einploy those means origin, by its superiority over the which may be best calculated to proforms of matter and of lite.
duce the desired efiect. Under this While, therefore, I leave to the impression, I have adopted the form impulsions of chance, a great part of of an Essayist, that my lucubrations my future speculations, I have yet may neither ostend the learned, who imposed one rule upon myself, which might expect unity or design, nor though I state it, trust my readers alarm those who would treinble to sit would have given ine a generous cre- down to a laboured, connected, and dit for, had it been omitted: it is, to extensive Ethical production ; also make the improvement of life, and to administer to that class of readers, the diffusion of morality my first and who will thus be enabled to acquire a greatest object; to inculcate whatever store of ideas with little trouble, and can arm the mind against the passions, fit them to pass for men of thought or root out any unworthy sentiments amid the noisy conviviality of a club, which may prevail : to watch over the polite replies of an assembly, or the manners of my countrymen with the easy desultory conversation of a a rigid severity, whenever they tend tea table. towards degeneracy; to furnish argu Such are my views. If I hare pro
mised too much, it is from an ambi- on a commoner by the election of tion to please; and should I fail in constituents. performing what I have promised, it I propose to divide the considera. will be froin that want of ability for tion of this subject into three heads, which no labour can compensate. which may also adinit of subuivisions.
The primary distinctions are first, 25 On the LIBERTY of SPEECH, it respects the Speaker of the Coma The Lest way to maintain liberty of mons; secondly, as it affects the speech in Parliament, is to make rise Deliberations of the Menibers of that of it." Lord HAVERSHAM.
House; and thirdly, as it refers to THIS HIS discussion embraces one of varions Public Associations. those points,
which must be To be Speaker of the Commons, confessed to be of the highest im- is to sustain an office of real dignity. portance to a civilised and free go- He ought to be a person of great exvernment, but on which opinions perience and ability in the concerns will necessarily vary, and the eluci- of parliament; of unsuspected intedation of which is atiended with many grity, of bigh public zeal, of firm difficulties. Liberty of speech, how- and even dispositions, of strict ima ever, being restricted to particular partiality, of conciliating manners, of situations, and to distinct associations à commanding address. He is the of men, is susceptible of some defi- representative of the representatives nition. Here, therefore, it essentially of the people ; be is the voice of the differs from another principle of our nation; and, as such, he is invested political constitution. Unlike that with a freedomn allotted to no other of debate, the freedom of the press subject. He may address to the seems limited only by the law of throne the sentiments of the country. libels, which unfortunately admits of He is empowered boldly to utter the so many evasions, and exceptions, as language of reprehension, as well as in many cases to allow no salutary of congratulation. and effectual prohibition.
He it is wbo can alone regulate Liberty of speech is among the the disputes of the senate, and from first requests made by the representa- whose decision there exists no aptives of this country to the king, on peal. the meeting of a new parliament. With all its privileges, there are
This petition, which is preferred by several limitations to the freedom of the Speaker, as the mouth of the senatorial oratory. No allusion can Commons, begş,-" That the Com- be made to the king personally: no mons may, during their sitting, have transaction ought to be attributed 10 free Access to his Majesty : that they a representative nominally ; may have Freedom of Speech in their should any irrelevant topics be needHouse, and may be Free from Ar- lessly introduced. Public affairs may Tests." These requests are so usually otherwise be fairly discussed, canconceded, that I know of no instance vassed, and exposed. in which either of them has expe Every man's dwelling being here rienced the least resistance on the deemed his castle, private opinion is · part of the crown. They comprise, unfettered and uninfluenced by poindeed, the compact between the litical restrictions. Each person may people and the monarch. They are think what he pleases, and, in gen the essential and legitimate conditions neral, speak what he thinks. This by which both these branches of our universal emancipation of mind, paconstitution co-operate for the wel- radoxical as the position may seem, fare of the whole.
contributes at once to the independBut this petition, it should be ob- ence of the individual and the secuserved, is on the belalf of the lower rity of the state. house of legislature only; the upper Unlimited expression of sentiinent, bouse consisting of peers of the realm, however, does not extend to subordi. who, in virtue of that dignity, are the nate meetings and popular societies. bereditary counsellors of the sove. Such confederacies have always been reign, and by birth entitled to those vigilantly scrutinised by the governfranchises, which must be conferred ing pouer, and bare, at various
esochas, been wisely, subjected to provement of morality or Psyco'ngie." those ordinances which the circum. It is most undoubtedly a thin; more stances of the times imperiously dic- curious than useful to know what tated.
modifications of our soul cannot asIt is not our reproach, that liberty pire to the rank of an idea without is undistinguishable from licentious, associating with other modifications, ness. Submission, with us, is doubt- the particular characters of which are less «
a proud submission," and one denominated signs. But to the mu“which "dignifies dependence;" but tual advancement of all sciences there still it is submission. Our very liber- remains one question, whose solution ties are a species of gratuitous con- is particularly interesting, and which cessions. An indescribable delicacy ought in consequence to engross the pervades and animates the whole of mind of the philosopher. It is the our body politic. What were once following: matters of supreme right have be Are there any means of correcting come matters of grace; and what thus such signs as are inappropriate, and became matters of grace, are now of rendering all sciences equally cabecome matters of right-acknow- pable of demonstration? ledged, yet unenforced.
Here is beyond dispute one of the We petition for liberty of speech, most important questions possible but we demand that our petition be to be offered to the meditation of the granted!
learned ; and he who shall resolve it Compared with these united king- in such a manner as to produce the doms, therefore, even as to the li- general suffrage of men of learning, berty of speech, there is no country may regard himself as highly meritin which authority and freedom are ing the universal esteem of manso admirably tempered. Our obe- kind.+ dience is our choice. We know and Whoever has read polemical writappreciate our common advantages; ings, and made any progress in the but we are deeply sensible, at the art of analising ideas, will not for a same time, of the conduct by which moment doubt, that “ in the scionly our privileges can be preserved, ences, which furnish eternal food for uninterrupted and unimpaired. We dispute, the difference of opinion appear to solicit favours which cannot does not necessarily proceed from the be denied; and by this system of inaccuracy of such signs as men are acting preserve that decorum without necessitated to adopt, in order to which polished communities lose all communicate their thoughts." This their dignity and much of their fe- question, however, being rendered licity.
LEO. beyond the possibility of doubt, by June 24, 1807.
the writings of our most celebrated
metaphysicians, and above all by On the Influence of Signs in the For- Condillac, we shall pass it over with
mation of Ideas; proposed as a out any further consideration : but prize question by the National In- again-Is it possible to carry the hustitute at Paris.
man language to that degree of acTHE question proposed by the curacy and precision, so that similar sciences of the National Institute, stances should always present the as a subject for the prize, namely, On the Influence of Signs in the for * This word is purely French. I mation of Ideas, has, as you well have retained it because I knew of no know, been the source of a multi- one word, in English, which was equiplicity of memoirs. But at a period valent to it. The French academy delike the present, nothing otherwise fine it “ A Treatise on the Soul, or the could be expected, when all minds Science of the Soul." are unanimously directed towards + On this subject I would refer my speculative sciences. Yet, notwith- reader to Locke, who has employed standing, I must confess, that I do not three whole chapters on the imperfecregard the solution of this question as tion and abuse of words. See Ess. in any degre every important to the im- Hum. Und. vol. 2.6. 3. chap. 9.
same sense to different persons em- one, and secondly, that it cannot le ploying them? I have ever consia the work of a philosophic mind. But dered the solution of this question as what are those words in a language essentially connected with that of the which neither can nor ought to bedetwo following:
fined. Their number is perhaps inti“ 1. Is it possible to enumerate all niely greater than would be inathe simple and indefinite ideas which gined. But the greatest difficulty in enter into the composition of a lan- deterinining this, consists in there beguage"
ing words regarded by certain authors 2 Were this enumeration made, as capable of definition, and rejected is it possible to assign the precisé by vibers as altogether impossibie; quantity of simple ideas of which each such are, for example, the words 'soul, word should be the collective siga?", space, curces,' &c.; but there are, ne
It is evident that, if these two could vertheless, a great number of words be affirmatively replied to, the first which, in the opinion of every one, would be speedily decided. In fact, resist all kind of dennition. These no one has ever contested the preci- are principally those words which insion and clearness of simple and in- dicate the general properties of bodies, definite ideas, such as are indicated as existence, thought, sensation, time, by the following words: red, llue, and many others. Hence, the first bitter, cold, hot, more, less, equal, object of the alithor of a dictionary of anterior, posterior, &c. It then a language, is to form, as far as he is they are able to explain all the tech- able, an exact list of those words which nical terms of sciences by ideas si- may be regarded as the philosophical milar to those which I have cited, no roots of a language. But in this list of one will presume to deny that they original and primitive words there are will quickly exhaust the most fecund two errors to be avoided: 1. If 100 source of those disputes and divisions brief he will often experience the inwhich agitate the learned world. - convenience of being necessitated to However, let us first see if it be pos- explain words which do not require sible to enumerate all the simple it; 2. If too prolix he may mistake for ideas which enter into the composi- twn ditterent words, what in fact ention of a language; and on this sub- close the same idea, &c.* ject I shall first present my reader with the sentiments of D'Alembert, * It may perhaps be acceptable 10 where the nature of the question is the reader to present him here with very justly estimated : it is extracted the opinions of two celebrated men, from the Encyclopædie article dic- who have briefly touched upon the timary.
above subject, namely, Burke and “In a dictionary of a language, says Johnson; and to begin with the forcur academic philosopher, there are mer, who, in his “ Essay on the subthree things to be principally consi- lime and Beautifu!," thus expresses dered: the signification of words, himself: their use, &c. The signification of “ When we define we
seem in words are established by accurate defi- danger of circumscribing nature withnitions the definitions ought to be in the bounds of our own notions, clear, precise, and as brief as possible which we often take up by hazard, or --but as the definition consists in embrace on trust, or form, out of a li. explaining one word by one or many mited and partial consideration of oibers, hence it ensues that there are the object before us, instead of exwords which ought never to bedefined; tending our ideas to take in all that for suppose it otherwise, all the defini- nature comprehends according to her tions would present only a corrupt as- manner of combining. We are limitsemblage in s bich one word would be ed in our enquiry, by the strict laws explained by another, which ought to which we have submitted at our setrather to serve as its own explanation. ting out. Hence it follows, that in the first ** Circa vilem pat ulumque moram place, a dictionary, in which every bimur orbei unde pudur proierre, wurd, without exce;tion, is refined, vetat aut operis lex. must necessarily be far from a good “ A detinition niay be very exact,
UNIVERSAL MAG. VOL. VIII. D
On this piece of D'Alembert's I might, according to the exigence of have some few observations to ofter. bis Jabour, contact or lengihen its I agree with him, that it is impossible dimensions ? The fact is, that to detine all the words in a language, D'Alembert had either not sufficiently and that a project thus conceived extended bis researches into this subwould argue but little philosophy in ject, or that the ideas which he conthe mind of its author; but with re- ceived of it were somewhat per. gard 10 the great quantity of inde. plexed and confused. There are not, bnite words, which he apparently at- as in grammar, any philosophical tributes to languages, I am not alto- roots, whose number can never be gether of his opinion. The reasons established but by conjectures more on which I ground my dissent will or less probable. A philosophical speedily be seen ; in the mean time, root is, as it were, a fact familiar to is it not surprising, that a mind só all those who know how to handle accurate should seemingly deliver up the instrument of analysis. 10 arbitrary rules the arrangement of might as well call a philosophical the proposed list of philosophical root a word whose signification can roots, imagining that a lexicographer resolve itself; if then I am able to
produce the number of simple ideas and yet go but a verv little way towards or perceptions of the mind, which informing us of the nature of the have concurred in its formation, the thing defined; but let the virtue of a word would sooner or later be erased definition be what it will in the order from this list of roots; as were I to of things, it seems iather to follow pretend to exclude a word actually than precede our enquiry, of which it indefinite, the defect of my definiought to be considered as the result." tions (which would merely be a re
Dr. Johnson, in his preface to his petition in different terms of the dictionary, has the following words:
word defined) would quickly be per" That part of my work on which I ceived, and the word, spite of aught expect malignity most to fasten is I could do, restored to that same list. the “ Erplanation," in which I can
Time, then, and the progress of uninot hope to satisfy those who are per- versal reason alone, can effect the haps not inclined to be pleased, since completion of an exact list of all the I have not always been able to satisfy philosophical roots of a language; myself. To interpret a language by and if I run the hazard of proposing itself is very difficult; many words one, it will be less as a model incannot be explained hy synonimes, capable of being either enlarged or because the idea signified by them contracted, than as an essay by which has no more than one appellation; I would excite the attention of the nor by paraphrase, because simple learned towards an object, which ideas cannot be described. When evidently influences the perfection the nature of things is unknown, or of human reason, and consequently the notion unsettled or indefinite, and the happiness of society. various in various minds, the words I divide all the simple ideas, or as by which such notions are conveyed, D'Alembert calls them, all the phior such things denoted, will be am losophical roots of a language into biguous and perplexed. And such is four kinds, positive, negative, absothe fate of hapless lexicography, that lute, and relative. not only darkness but light impedes Those ideas simply positive, and and distresses it: things may not only which are at the same time all of be too little, but too much known, to them absolute, or comprise the mobe happily illustrated. To explain difications of the soul, which are derequires the use of terms less abstruse nominated sensations, namely, cothan that which is to be explained, lours, smells, tastes, sounds, cold, and such terms cannot always be heat, also the ideas which we receive found; for as nothing can be proved from tangible bodies, as matter, rebut the supposing something intui- sistance, movement, and lastly, those tively knowii and evident without which we know by the force of some proni, so nothing can be defined but intuitive sense, such are the ideas of by the use of words too plain to admit strength, pain, and pleasure. I would a definition.'-TRANS.
wish to precede with some reflections