Изображения страниц

was twice governor of Syria ; for, as the leader of a military force such as he commanded for the subjugation of the Homonadenses, we may fairly presume that he had the administration of some province in the East ; and Mommsen contends that there was no province that he could possibly have held but that of Syria, and no other time at which he could have held it but A.u. 751, 752, several years, perhaps about ten, prior to the administration described by Josephus.

Assuming the year A.u. 752 to be that in which Christ was born, we shall find that it agrees with the date assigned by Orosius to that event, that it justifies the statement of St. Luke that the nativity took place in the governorship of Cyrenius, and that it harmonises with another synchronism of the evangelical narrative ; for the writer implies that it occurred fifteen years before the death of Augustus, and as Augustus died in 767, Jesus must have been born in 752. Hence we might conclude with Mommsen that St. Luke had direct access to some then existing source of historical information. On the other hand, we must not overlook the fact that a large residuum of difficulty still remains. If the birth of Jesus fell in the reign of Herod, as St. Luke almost implies and St. Matthew positively asserts, it could not have happened when Cyrenius was governor of Syria, for Herod died in March or April, A.u. 750. Moreover, as Mommsen remarks, if we admit the two governorships of Syria, it by no means follows that we admit the two assessments of Judæa, indispensable to the removal of all discrepancy from the narrative of St. Luke. Add that the real or alleged earlier administration is referred to a period prior to the death of Archelaus, prior therefore to the reduction of Judæa to a Roman province ; to a period consequently ip which it was not in accordance with Roman usage to institute such an assessment as the writer describes. Add, lastly, that the Census is represented in the context as the result of an imperial decree for universal taxation, and of such a decree history knows nothing. Had Augustus issued such a decree, is it likely that he would have omitted all mention of such a decisive illustration of his world-wide supremacy from the catalogue of splendid performances engraved on the brass before his mausoleum in Rome and on the marble of his temple at Ancyra?

Admitting, then, that the Tiburtine inscription has been correctly restored-admitting that Zumpt and Mommsen have probably succeeded in finding in Quirinus the missing governor, or one of the missing governors, whose omission had left a gap in this portion of the Roman annals—we think it still remains to be shown that the first administration of Cyrenius was that contemplated by St. Luke. Even if we put back the administration to the end of the year 750, instead of selecting the years 751 or 752 as the extended chronological determination, the birth of Christ would still fall after the death of Herod—a date which would be quite irreconcilable with the

narrative in St. Matthew, while the other discrepancies would be rather aggravated than alleviated.

But we must leave Cyrenius with his Syrian reminiscences, and Augustus with his stately memorials in Rome and at Ancyra, just where the Pagan past comes into juxtaposition with the young life that rose to renovate the world. Enthroned amid the fading splendours of the old and the growing sanctities of the new religion, Augustus appears as a visible god, a human deity, an incarnation of absolute power, of that imperialism, that Cæsarism, whose parody in our own day throws a darkening shadow over the majestic commonwealth of the Western world. Can there be a more dangerous political ideal than that which is embodied in the record of the mangod in the temple of Ancyra ? The imperial system was the euthanasia of the Roman dominion, not its living glorification. The ultimate suppression of all individual liberty and self-affirmation, of all social and political freedom and energy, was the inevitable consequence of the ubiquitous supervision exercised by the Father of the Country, the Preserver of Society, the vindicator and adopted son, the successor and nephew, of Cæsar.

W. M. W. CALL.


This question will appear to most people simply absurd. Sir William Hamilton, they will say, identified himself, in the main, with Reid; and he, for his part, confessed his whole movement to have been but a reaction against Berkeley. Nay, for that matter, they may say further, if it is Hamilton's friends who ask us to believe that he who cried so vehemently in public for Reid and Realism, did, in secret, pray only for Berkeley and Idealism, then it has been reserved for these friends morally to inflict on Hamilton a greater injury than he has yet received intellectually, so to speak, from any foe.

foe. What has been called the contradiction of Hamilton, his assertion, that is, at once of knowledge and ignorance of things in themselves, — this it is, however, that has more than once probably induced apologists to refer to Berkeley. We find, for example, in a pamphlet, “Scottish Philosophy,” &c., published by Professor Ferrier in 1856, averments alluded to on the part of followers of Hamilton which seem suggested by some such considerations. Thus, at page 30, Professor Ferrier will be found maintaining that, though he admits Hamilton in other places to contend "for a knowledge of matter only in relation to ourselves,*

[ocr errors]

yet in his argument against the idealists he must be held to assert, in agreement with Reid, “that we have, as we believe we have, an

, immediate knowledge of the external reality”_"of course,” adds Ferrier, “a knowledge of it in its independency.” In this way this latter philosopher is seen to be aware of the contradiction named, and to have opposed to him views probably which tended to overlook it.

But it is in the article on “Mill's Hamilton," contained in the North British Review for last September, that we shall find the quite direct assertion of a virtual agreement between Hamilton and Berkeley. The writer of this article, as there is now no impropriety in saying, is Professor Fraser of Edinburgh ; and the assertion, therefore, comes to us with unusual authority—the authority due, namely, not only to the peculiarity of the place, but to the deepthinking candour of the man. Professor Fraser, however, asserts only rirtual agreement; he admits orert disagreement; and there is thus no pretence allowed for the imputation to Hamilton of—in the midst of his professed realism—a covert idealism. Nevertheless, in so far as Berkeleianism—whether virtual or open-has been at all affirmed of Hamilton, it will be interesting to discuss the general question, and, if possible, settle it.

Of the relation which both Reid and Stewart bore to Berkeley there is no call to speak; it is perfectly well known and universally recognised. Of Hamilton's relation to Reid and Stewart, again, we are hardly required to say more. We may remember only that of both he is the editor, interpreter, commentator, vindicator; and that it has been made matter of public reproach to him “that he did not build

up his own philosophical thoughts into a self-contained edifice, instead of piling such ponderous props about the turf-shieling of Dr. Reid and the elegant garden-house of Dugald Stewart." These props, indeed, may be differently spoken of yet, but there can be no doubt of their actual supply, and for the purpose indicated. In short, it is current knowledge that Hamilton asserted for Reid and Stewart the same doctrine of Natural Realism which he asserted for himself. Evidently then the question, Is the Natural Realism of Hamilton but the Dogmatic Idealism of Berkeley ? has not much anterior probability on the affirmative side.

Those, nevertheless, who are disposed to answer this question in the affirmative, have it in their power to point to two considerations. These concern Hamilton's own expressions; first, in regard to the doctrine of Berkeley, and, second, in regard to his own.

On the first head, we may refer to pages 816, 817 of Reid's works, where, in the text, Hamilton will be found to class Berkeley along with himself as a Presentationist or Intuitionist; while in a note he speaks thus :

"The general approximation of thorough-going realism and thorough-going idealism, here given, may at first sight be startling. On reflection, however, their radical affinity will prove well grounded. Both build upon the same fundamental fact—that the extended object immediately perceived is identical with the extended object actually existing; for the truth of this fact, both can appeal to the common sense of mankind; and to the common sense of mankind Berkeley did appeal not less confidently, and perhaps more logically, than Reid. Natural realism and absolute idealism are the only systems worthy of a philosopher; for, as they alone have any foundation in consciousness, so they alone have any consistency in themselves.”

[ocr errors]

In view of this evidence, then, it must be admitted, not only that Hamilton unites both doctrines under a common name, but that he asserts for both "a radical affinity.” “Both build,” he says, “ upon the same fundamental fact.” But it is to be said at once that things the most opposed have often common sides; and so here the marks that unite cannot be allowed to exclude the marks that divide. We shall not refuse the generic affinity, but neither must there be any dispute as regards the specific difference. And here, in these pages, this latter is quite as conspicuous as that former. Presentationism, that is, is 1, the genus; but the species are: A, Natural Realism; and B, Absolute Idealism. Further, A is Dualism, while B is Unitarianism. A, that is, in the interest of realism, abolishes a subjective object—that of the cosmothetic idealist; while B, in the interest of idealism, abolishes an objective object—that, namely, of common sense and the natural realist himself. Such are Hamilton's own definitions; and, even in the note, the very language that brings together in a radical affinity, separates, at the same time, in a polar difference.

The dualism of Hamilton, then, is not the unitarianism of Berkeley; and if they cohere here as both presentative, they sunder everywhere else as the one presentative and the other representative. Thus (Disc., p. 56) “all possible forms of the representative hypothesis are reduced “to three,” of which that of Berkeley is directly placed under the first. “The egoistical idealism of Fichte, resting on the third form of representationism, is less exposed to criticism than the theological idealism of Berkeley, which reposes on the first;" and (p. 60) the latter idealism is directly named a “lower potence” of representationism. Nor can the authority of the article on Perception be subordinated to that of the Dissertations to Reid; for, if published earlier, it was also re-issued later than these, and receives from them the support of many references. The lectures, likewise (as vol. i. p. 296), testify to the same doctrine; and in Reid's works themselves, despite the eulogium on the absolute idealism quoted above, we find, after a manner not unusual in Hamilton, this same idealism styled “a clumsy hypothesis,” and subordinated as


[ocr errors]

a "ruder form” to that “ finer form” of the common doctrine which we know so well under the name of cosmothetic idealism !1

To separate Berkeley, indeed, as a presentationist, from other idealists as representationists, is a distinction that, on the general question, is of no value. The distinction proper is between Idealism and Realism; and of these the latter, asserting itself to perceive not ideas within but things without, may be allowably named presentative; while the former, asserting itself to perceive not things without but ideas within, may equally allowably be named representative. The “ideal system of Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume” shall be representative, then ; while it is the natural realism of Reid, Stewart, and Hamilton that shall be presentative. And here we have the true distinction between Berkeley and Hamilton : the former holds himself to perceive an idea within; the latter, a thing without. But we are met now by the second consideration, which concerns Hamilton's own doctrine, and the expressions in which it is couched. These expressions are held as, in general, quite consistent with a Berkeleian gloss. And, indeed, on this head it is to be admitted that it is only a sense of his danger that will lead the Realist to take such precautions as shall defy the Berkeleian, so far as words go, to claim him for an Idealist. Berkeley “trusts his senses" quite as much as Reid. Berkeley “knows the things he feels and sees, and entertains no doubt of their existence;” and Reid, for his knowledge, can hardly say more. Nay, that very phrase, “those things we immediately perceive are the real things,” which has been used by Hamilton so emphatically for his Realism, has been used by Berkeley, before him, and no less emphatically, for his Idealism. As we have seen, indeed, common sense is not more the burthen of the appeal of Reid, than it is that of the appeal of Berkeley.

Nevertheless, it is only the appeal of Reid that is honest; while that of Berkeley is no better than a double-entendre, and not quite a creditable one either. For this, then, Reid had a perfect right (Works, pp. 283, 299) to censure Berkeley; and the same right (Disc., p. 196) has, very properly, been exercised by Hamilton himself. This double-entendre has come down to Berkeley's descendants, all the same; and, if they gain nothing by the use of it, as they certainly do not, they can at least please themselves by the impatienee of adversaries who, speaking in all good faith of the matter which Berkeley denies, feel it very unnecessary to be gravely twitted with the matter which Berkeley admits. Of this, however, there is nothing in Professor Fraser. Hamilton, then,—and the same thing may be said for Reid and

(1) Sec Reid's Works, pp. 128, 130, 416, notes.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »