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stances with which that science is conversant; | have been but a remote and casual auxiliary but over other substances which stand in some to him whose genius afterwards found the relation to them; and to which, accordingly, means of employing those phenomena to that science is capable of being applied. It guide him through the trackless waters of is over the earth and the ocean that we have the ocean.-) -Epxeriment, therefore, necessariextended our dominion by means of our know- ly implies power; and, by suggesting analoledge of the stars. Now, applying this case gous experiments, leads naturally to the into that of the philosophy of Mind, and as- terminable expansion of inquiry and of knowsuming, as we seem here entitled to assume, ledge:-but observation, for the most part, that it has invested us with no new power centres in itself, and tends rather to gratify over mind itself,-what, we would ask, are and allay our curiosity, than to rouse or inthe other objects over which our power is in- flame it. creased by means of our knowledge of mind? Is there any other substance to which that knowledge can possibly be applied? Is there any thing else that we either know better, or can dispose of more effectually in consequence of our observations on our own intellectual constitution? It is evident, we humbly conceive, that these questions must be answered in the negative. The most precise knowledge which the metaphysician can acquire by reflecting on the subjects of his consciousness, can give him no new power over the mind in which he discovers those subjects; and it is almost a self-evident proposition, that the most accurate knowledge of the subjects of consciousness can give him no power over any thing but mind.
There is one other little point connected with this argument, which we wish to settle with Mr. Stewart. In speaking of the useful applications that may be ultimately made of the knowledge derived from observation, we had said, that for the power or the benefit so obtained, mankind were indebted-not to the observer, but to him who suggested the application. Mr. Stewart admits the truth of this-but adds, that the case is exactly the same with the knowledge derived from experiment-and that the mere empiric is on footing with the mere observer. Now, we do not think the cases exactly the same;-and it is in their difference that we conceive the great disadvantage of observation to consist. Whoever makes an experiment, must have the power at least to repeat that experiment --and, in almost every case, to repeat it with some variation of circumstances. Here, therefore, is one power necessarily ascertained and established, and an invitation held out to increase that power, by tracing it through all the stages and degrees of its existence: while he who merely observes a phenomenon over which he has no control, neither exercises any power, nor holds out the prospect of acquiring any power, either over the subject of his observation, or over any other substance. He who first ascertained, by experiment, the expansive force of steam, and its destruction by cold-or the identity of lightning and electricity, and the consequent use of the conducting rod, plainly bestowed, in that instant, a great power upon mankind, of which it was next to impossible that some important application should not be speedily made. But he who first observed the periodical immersions and emersions of the satellites of Jupiter, certainly neither acquired nor bestowed any power in the first instance; and seems to
After having thus attemped to prove that experiment has no prerogative above mere observation, Mr. Stewart thinks it worth while to recur again to the assertion, that the philosophy of mind does admit of experiments; and, after remarking, rather rashly, that "the whole of a philosopher's life, if he spends it to any purpose, is one continued series of experiments on his own faculties and powers," he goes on to state, that
hardly any experiment can be imagined, which has not already been tried by the hand of Nature; displaying, in the infinite varieties of human genius and pursuits, the astonishingly diversified effects, resulting from the possible combinations, of those elementary faculties and principles, of which every man is conscious in himself. Savage society, and all the different modes of civilization; the different callings and professions of individuals, whether liberal or mechanical; the prejudiced clown ;-the factitious man of fashion ;-the varying phases of character from infancy to old age;the prodigies effected by human art in all the merce, religion:-but above all, the records of objects around us;-laws,-government,-comthought, preserved in those volumes which fill our libraries; what are they but experiments, by which Nature illustrates, for our instruction, on her own grand scale, the varied range of man's intellectual faculties, and the omnipotence of education in fashioning his mind?"-Prel. Diss. pp. xlv, xlvi.
If experiment be rightly defined the intentional arrangement of substances in our power, for the purpose of observing the result, then these are not experiments; and neither imply, nor tend to bestow, that power which enters into the conception of all experiment. But the argument, in our apprehension, is chargeable with a still more radical fallacy. The philosophy of mind is distinctly defined, by Mr. Stewart himself, to be that which is employed "on phenomena of which we are conscious;" its peculiar object and aim is stated to be, "to ascertain the laws of our constitution, in so far as they can be ascertained, by attention to the subjects of our consciousness;" and, in a great variety of passages, it is explained, that the powers by which all this is to be effected, are, reflection upon our mental operations, and the faculty of calm and patient attention to the sensations of which we are conscious. But, if this be the proper province and object of the philosophy of mind, what benefit is the student to receive from observing the various effects of manners and situation, in imparting a peculiar colour or bias to the character of the savage and the citizen, "the prejudiced clown, and factitious man of fashion?" The observation of such varieties is, no doubt, a very
curious and a very interesting occupation;-sation, in respect both to the certainty and the but we humbly conceive it to form no part, or, extent of its application; at the same time at least, a very small and inconsiderable part, that we felt ourselves constrained to add, that, of the occupation of a student of philosophy. even as to this habit of the mind, Philosophy It is an occupation which can only be effec- could lay no claim to the honours of a distually pursued, in the world, by travelling, and covery; since the principle was undoubtedly intercourse with society; and, at all events, familiar to the feelings of all men, and was by vigilant observation of what is shown to acted upon, with unvarying sagacity, in almost us, by our senses, of the proceedings of our every case where it could be employed with fellow-men. The philosophy of mind, how- advantage; though by persons who had never ever, is to be cultivated in solitude and silence thought of embodying it in a maxim, or at-by calm reflection on our own mental ex- tending to it as a law of general application. periences, and patient attention to the sub- The whole scheme of education, it was objects of our own consciousness. But can we served, has been founded on this principle, ever be conscious of those varieties of temper in every age of the world. "The groom,” it and character that distinguish the different was added, "who never heard of ideas or asconditions of human life?-or, even independ-sociations, feeds the young war-horse to the ent of Mr. Stewart's definition-is it reconcila- sound of the trumpet; and the unphilosophible to common usage or general understand- cal artists who tame elephants, or train dan ing, to call our attention to such particulars cing dogs, proceed on the same obvious and the study of the philosophy of mind?-Is it familiar principle." not, on the contrary, universally understood to be the peculiar and limited province of that philosophy, to explain the nature and distinctions of those primary functions of the mind, which are possessed in common by men of all vocations and all conditions?-to treat, in short, of perception, and attention, and memory, and imagination, and volition, and judgment, and all the other powers or faculties into which our intellectual nature may be distinguished?-Is it not with these, that Hobbes, and Locke, and Berkeley, and Reid, and all the other philosophers who have reasoned or philosophised about mind, have been occupied ?-or, what share of Mr. Stewart's own invaluable publications is devoted to those slighter shades of individual character, to which alone his supposed experiments have any reference? The philosophy of the human mind, we conceive, is conversant only with what is common to all human beings and with those faculties of which every individual of the species is equally conscious: and though it may occasionally borrow illustrations, or even derive some reflected light from the contemplation of those slighter varieties that distinguish one individual from another, this evidently forms no part of the study of the subjects of our consciousness, and can never be permitted to rank as a legitimate part of that philosophy.
"This argument, I suspect, leads a little too far for the purpose of its author; inasmuch as it concludes still more forcibly (in consequence of the great familiarity of the subject) against Physics, strictly so called, than against the Science of Mind. The savage, who never heard of the accelerating force of gravity, yet knows how to add to the mo mentum of his missile weapons, by gaining an eminence; though a stranger to Newton's third law of motion, he applies it to its practical use, when he the shore: in the use of his sling, he illustrates, sets his canoe afloat, by pushing with a pole against with equal success, the doctrine of centrifugal forces, as he exemplifies (without any knowledge of the experiments of Robins) the principle of the rifle-barrel, in feathering his arrow. The same groom who, in feeding his young war-horse to the sound of the drum," has nothing to learn from ciation, might boast, with far greater reason, that, Locke or from Hume concerning the laws of assowithout having looked into Borelli, he can train that animal to his various paces; and that, when he exercises him with the longe, he exhibits an experimental illustration of the centrifugal force, and of the centre of gravity, which was known in the riding-school long before their theories were unfolded in the Principia of Newton. Even the operations of the animal which is the subject of his discipline, seem to involve an acquaintance with the same physical laws, when we attend to the mathe
This exhausts almost all that we have to say in defence of our supposed heresies as to the importance and practical value of the philosophy of mind, considered with refer-matical accuracy with which he adapts the obliquity ence to the primary and more elementary both cases (in that of the man as well as of the of his body to the rate of his circular speed. In faculties of man. With regard to the Asso- brute) this practical knowledge is obtruded on the ciating principle, we have still a word or two organs of external sense by the hand of Nature to add. In our original observations we ad- herself: But it is not on that account the less useful mitted, that this principle seemed to stand in to evolve the general theorems which are thus ema situation somewhat different from the sim-bodied with their particular applications; and to combine them in a systematical and scientific form, for our own instruction and that of others. Does it detract from the value of the theory of pneuma ties to remark, that the same effects of a vacuum, and of the elasticity and pressure of the air, which afford an explanation of its most curious pheno coeval with the first breath which we draw; and mena, are recognized in an instinctive process exemplified in the month of every babe and suck.
pler phenomena of the mind-and that the
As this part of our speculations has incurred more of Mr. Stewart's disapprobation than any thing which we have hitherto attempted to defend, we think ourselves called upon to state the substance of his objections, in his own eloquent and impressive words. After quoting the sentence we have already transcribed, he proceeds:―
Now, without recurring to what we have is it to be believed, that there can be many already said as to the total absence of power occasions for its employment in the governin all cases of mere observation, we shall ment of the human mind, of which men merely request our readers to consider, what have never yet had the sense to bethink is the circumstance that bestows a value, an themselves? Or, can it be seriously mainimportance, or an utility, upon the discovery tained, that it is capable of applications as and statement of those general laws, which much more extensive and important than are admitted, in the passage now quoted, to those which have been vulgarly made in past have been previously exemplified in practice. ages, as are the uses of Newton's third law Is it any thing else, than their capacity of a of motion, compared with the operation of more extensive application?—the possibility the savage in pushing his canoe from the or facility of employing them to accomplish shore? If Mr. Stewart really entertained any many things to which they had not been pre- such opinion as this, it was incumbent upon viously thought applicable? If Newton's third him to have indicated, in a general way, the law of motion could never have been em- departments in which he conceived that these ployed for any other purpose than to set afloat great discoveries were to be made; and to the canoe of the savage-or if the discovery have pointed out some, at least, of the new of the pressure of the atmosphere had led to applications, on the assumption of which nothing more than an explanation of the alone he could justify so ambitious a paraloperation of sucking-would there have been lel. Instead of this, however, we do not any thing gained by stating that law, or that find that he has contemplated any other discovery, in general and abstract terms? spheres for the application of this principle, Would there have been any utility, any dignity than those which have been so long conceded or real advancement of knowledge, in the mere to it-the formation of taste, and the conduct technical arrangement of these limited and fa- of education: and, with regard to the last and miliar phenomena under a new classification? most important of these, he has himself reThere can be but one answer to these in- corded an admission, which to us, we will terrogatories. But we humbly conceive, that confess, appears a full justification of all that all the laws of mental operation which phi- we have now been advancing, and a suffilosophy may collect and digest, are exactly cient answer to the positions we have been
in this last predicament. They have no ap-endeavouring to combat. "In so far," Mr. plication to any other phenomena than the Stewart observes, "as education is effectual particular ones by which they are suggested and salutary, it is founded on those princiand which they were familiarly employed to ples of our nature which have forced themproduce. They are not capable of being ex- selves upon general observation, in consetended to any other cases; and all that is quence of the experience of ages." That gained by their digestion into a system, is a the principle of association is to be reckoned more precise and methodical enumeration of in the number of these, Mr. Stewart certainly truths that were always notorious. will not deny; and our proposition is, that all the principles of our nature which are capable of any useful application, have thus "forced themselves on general observation " many centuries ago, and can now receive little more than a technical nomenclature and description from the best efforts of philosophy.
From the experience and consciousness of all men, in all ages, we learn that, when two or more objects are frequently presented together, the mind passes spontaneously from one to the other, and invests both with something of the colouring which belongs to the most important. This is the law of association; which is known to every savage, and to every clown, in a thousand familiar instances and, with regard to its capacity of useful application, it seems to be admitted, that it has been known and acted upon by parents, pedagogues, priests, and legislators, in all ages of the world; and has even been employed, as an obvious and easy instrument, by such humble judges of intellectual resources, a's common horse-jockies and bear-dancers.
If this principle, then, was always known, and regularly employed wherever any advantage could be expected from its employment, what reason have we to imagine, that any substantial benefit is to be derived from its scientific investigation, or any important uses hereafter discovered for it, in consequence merely of investing it with a precise name, and stating, under one general theorem, the common law of its operation? If such persons as grooms and masters of menageries have been guided, by their low intellects and sordid motives, to its skilful application as a means of directing even the lower animals,
The sentiments to which we have ventured to give expression in these and our former hasty observations, were suggested to us, we will confess, in a great degree, by the striking contrast between the wonders which have been wrought by the cultivation of modern Physics, and the absolute nothingness of the effects that have hitherto been produced by the labours of the philosophers of mind. We have only to mention the names of Astronomy, Chemistry, Mechanics, Optics, and Navigation;-nay, we have only to look around us, in public or in private,-to cast a glance on the machines and manufactures, the ships, observatories, steam engines, and elaboratories, by which we are perpetually surrounded, or to turn our eyes on the most common
Upwards of thirty years have now elapsed since this was written; during which a taste for metaphysical inquiry has revived in France, and been greatly encouraged in Germany. Yet I am not aware to what useful applications of the science its votaries can yet point; or what practical improvement or increase of human power they can trace to its cultivation.
articles of our dress and furniture,-on the accomplished, by an instrument which has mirrors, engravings, books, fire-arms, watches, hitherto effected so little? It is in vain for barometers, thunder-rods and opera-glasses, Mr. Stewart to say, that the science is yet but that present themselves in our ordinary dwell in its infancy, and that it will bear its fruit in ings, to feel how vast a progress has been due season. The truth is, that it has, of nemade in exploring and subduing the physical cessity, been more constantly and diligently elements of nature, and how stupendous an cultivated than any other. It has always increase the power of man has received, by been the first object with men of talent and the experimental investigation of her laws. good affections, to influence and to form the Now is any thing in this astonishing survey minds of others, and to train their own to the more remarkable, than the feeling with which highest pitch of vigour and perfection: and it is always accompanied, that what we have accordingly, it is admitted by Mr. Stewart, hitherto done in any of these departments is that the most important principles of this phi but a small part of what we are yet destined losophy have been long ago "forced upon to accomplish; and that the inquiries which general observation" by the feelings and exhave led us so far, will infallibly carry us still perience of past ages. Independently, howfarther. When we ask, however, for the tro- ever, of this, the years that have passed since phies of the philosophy of mind, or inquire for Hobbes, and Locke, and Malebranche, and the vestiges of her progress in the more plastic Leibnitz drew the attention of Europe to this and susceptible elements of human genius study, and the very extraordinary genius and and character, we are answered only by in- talents of those who have since addicted themgenuous silence, or vague anticipations and selves to it, are far more than enough to have find nothing but a blank in the record of her brought it, if not to perfection, at least to such actual achievements. The knowledge and a degree of excellence, as no longer to leave the power of man over inanimate nature has it a matter of dispute, whether it was really been increased tenfold in the course of the destined to add to our knowledge and our last two centuries. The knowledge and the power, or to produce any sensible effects upon power of man over the mind of man remains the happiness and condition of mankind. almost exactly where it was at the first de- That society has made great advances in comvelopment of his faculties. The natural phi- fort and intelligence, during that period, is losophy of antiquity is mere childishness and indisputable; but we do not find that Mr. dotage, and their physical inquirers are mere Stewart himself imputes any great part of this pigmies and drivellers, compared with their improvement to our increased knowledge of successors in the present age; but their logi- our mental constitution; and indeed it is quite cians, and metaphysicians, and moralists, and, obvious, that it is an effect resulting from the what is of infinitely more consequence, the increase of political freedom-the influences practical maxims and the actual effects result- of reformed Christianity-the invention of ing from their philosophy of mind, are very printing-and that improvement and multiplinearly on a level with the philosophy of the cation of the mechanical arts, that have renpresent day. The end and aim of all that dered the body of the people far more busy, philosophy is to make education rational and wealthy, inventive and independent, than they effective, and to train men to such sagacity ever were in any former period of society. and force of judgment, as to induce them to cast off the bondage of prejudices, and to follow happiness and virtue with assured and steady steps. We do not know, however, what modern work contains juster, or more profound views on the subject of education, than may be collected from the writings of Xenophon and Quintilian, Polybius, Plutarch, and Cicero: and, as to that sagacity and just ness of thinking, which, after all, is the fruit by which this tree of knowledge must be ultimately known, we are not aware of many modern performances that exemplify it in a stronger degree, than many parts of the histories of Tacitus and Thucydides, or the Satires and Epistles of Horace. In the conduct of business and affairs, we shall find Pericles, and Cæsar, and Cicero, but little inferior to the philosophical politicians of the present day; and, for lofty and solid principles of practical ethics, we might safely match Epictetus and Antoninus (without mentioning Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch, Xenophon, or Polybius,) with most of our modern speculators.
To us, therefore, it certainly does appear, that the lofty estimate which Mr. Stewart has again made of the practical importance of his favourite studies, is one of those splendid visions by which men of genius have been so often misled, in the enthusiastic pursuit of science and of virtue. That these studies are of a very dignified and interesting nature, we admit most cheerfully-that they exercise and delight the understanding, by reasonings and inquiries, at once subtle, cautious, and profound, and either gratify or exalt a keen and aspiring curiosity, must be acknowledged by all who have been initiated into their elements. Those who have had the good fortune to be so initiated by the writings of Mr. Stewart, will be delighted to add, that they are blended with so many lessons of gentle and of ennobling virtue-so many striking precepts and bright examples of liberality, high-mindedness, and pure taste-as to be calculated, in an eminent degree, to make men love goodness and aspire to elegance, and to improve at once the understanding, the imagination, and the heart. But this must be the limit of our praise.
Where, then, it may be asked, are the performances of this philosophy, which makes such large promises? or, what are the grounds upon which we should expect to see so much
The sequel of this article is not now re. printed, for the reasons already stated.
PROSE WORKS OF FICTION.
As I perceive I have, in some of the following papers, made a sort of apology for seeking to direct the attention of my readers to things so insignificant as Novels, it may be worth while to inform the present generation that, in my youth, writings of this sort were rated very low with us-scarcely allowed indeed to pass as part of a nation's permanent literature -and generally deemed altogether unworthy of any grave critical notice. Nor, in truthin spite of Cervantes and Le Sage-and Marivaux, Rousseau, and Voltaire abroad-and even our own Richardson and Fielding at home-would it have been easy to controvert that opinion, in our England, at the time: For certainly a greater mass of trash and rubbish never disgraced the press of any country, than the ordinary Novels that filled and supported our circulating libraries, down nearly to the time of Miss Edgeworth's first appearance. There had been, the Vicar of Wakefield, to be sure, before; and Miss Burney's Evelina and Cecilia -and Mackenzie's Man of Feeling, and some bolder and more varied fictions of the Misses Lee. But the staple of our Novel market was, beyond imagination, despicable: and had consequently sunk and degraded the whole department of literature, of which it had usurped the name.
All this, however, has since been signally, and happily, changed; and that rabble rout of abominations driven from our confines for ever. The Novels of Sir Walter Scott are, beyond all question, the most remarkable productions of the present age; and have made a sensa tion, and produced an effect, all over Europe, to which nothing parallel can be mentioned since the days of Rousseau and Voltaire; while, in our own country, they have attained a place, inferior only to that which must be filled for ever by the unapproachable glory of Shakespeare. With the help, no doubt, of their political revolutions, they have produced, in France, Victor Hugo, Balsac, Paul de Cocq, &c., the promessi sposi in Italy-and Cooper, at least, in America.—In England, also, they have had imitators enough; in the persons of Mr. James, Mr. Lover, and others. But the works most akin to them in excellence have rather, I think, been related as collaterals than as descendants. Miss Edgeworth, indeed, stands more in the line of their ancestry; and I take Miss Austen and Sir E. L. Bulwer to be as intrinsically original; as well as the great German writers, Goethe, Tiek, Jean Paul, Richter, &c. Among them, however, the honour of this branch of literature has at any rate been splendidly redeemed ;—and now bids fair to maintain its place, at the head of all that is graceful and instructive in the productions of modern genius.
Tales of Fashionable Life. By Miss EDGEWORTH, Author of "Practical Education," "Belinda," ," "Castle Rackrent," &c. 12mo. 3 vols. London: 1809.
If it were possible for reviewers to Envy the authors who are brought before them for judgment, we rather think we should be tempted to envy Miss Edgeworth ;-not, however, so much for her matchless powers of probable invention-her never-failing good sense and cheerfulness-nor her fine discrimination of characters-as for the delightful consciousness of having done more good than
any other writer, male or female, of her generation. Other arts and sciences have their use, no doubt; and, Heaven knows, they have their reward and their fame. But the great art is the art of living; and the chief science the science of being happy. Where there is an absolute deficiency of good sense, these cannot indeed be taught; and, with an extraordinary share of it, they may be acquired