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ART. V.-1. A Discourse of Natural Theology. By HENRY LORD BROUGHAM.
2. Observations on the Discourse of Natural Theology. By THOMAS WALLACE, LL.D.
3. Additional Observations on the Discourse, &c. By the same. 4. Natural Theology considered with Reference to Lord Brougham's Discourse. By THOMAS TURTON, D.D. 5. Metaphysic Rambles. By CHRISTIAN WARNER SEARCH (i. e. Cullen William Smith.) Stroll the Second, or Ramble on; Dialogue the Second, between Christian Warner Search and Peter Peer-a-deal.*
Another Stroll, being the Third, of W. C. S. and his alter-idem friend P. P. who is not clerk of this or any other parish.
8. Two Words on Lord Brougham's and Dr. Paley's Natural Theology. By A. C. JOBERT.
9. The Sanctuary of Thought; or Serious Thoughts generated by perusing Lord Brougham's Discourse of Natural Theology. (Anonymous.)
IN one of those fantastic exhibitions of personal vanity so congenial to the character of a restless politician, who lives but in the atmosphere of popular incense, but so alien to the calm dignity of a philosopher,† who would rather shun than seek" the sweet voices" of the many, the Ex-Chancellor let out the secret, too long and painfully confined to his own bosom, that the world did not know a thousandth part of what he had written. For thus conferring, like the Creator, his blessings upon man in secret, the noble Lord, or as he more modestly loves to call himself, the man of letters, doubtless hoped to "gain golden opinions from all sorts" of mechanics; perchance to have statues erected to him in his beloved Edinburgh, the self-styled Athens of the North, and inscribed as of old " To the Unknown God of all THE OLOGIES;" while his praises would be sung by the monks
By Peer-a-deal is intended Lord Brougham himself, as appears from Stroll the Second, p. 11; while the name of Search was adopted probably in allusion to a pamphlet written by John Search (i. e. Lord Brougham) and reviewed by his Lordship in the Edinburgh; a species of self-flagellation not uncommon amongst men of letters, who would rather give themselves a gentle tap than receive a hard blow from a brother of the craft.
+ Such a philosopher was Seneca, who said, "I never wished to please the many; since of what I know, nothing suits their taste; and of what does suit their taste I know nothing." Even Lord Brougham has probably said in his heart, what Horace did openly, of the mob"Bellua multorum es capitum; nam quid sequar, aut quem?"
of the order of Jeremy Bentham, and by the nuns of Ste. Martineau.
Lord Brougham has, however, on this occasion, as on many others, given himself too much credit for mystification, and the world too little for sagacity, if he "lays the flattering unction to his soul," that any who has seen one of his Lordship's acknowledged productions, can hesitate to affiliate a deserted foundling to its rightful parent, whether he appear as the Jupiter Tonans of the Times, or the Saturnine sage of the Edinburgh; or whether he is seen, "like angel visits, few and far between," as a leader in the columns of the Weekly Dispatch, or as the man-ofall-work in the pages of the Penny Magazine.
But were the fact as Lord Brougham states it, and he is indeed the author of a thousand things, to which he has not put his name, what a pity it is that he did not permit his Discourse on Natural Theology to appear like the rest, anonymously. For then no good-natured friend, the Dangle of the Westminster Review, would have told his Lordship what a sorry figure he cuts in the hands of the 'learned Doctor' from Dublin: while an admiring world would have seen the counterpart of the thousandand-one Arabian Nights' Entertainments-with this distinction, however, that whereas the unknown magician of the East had the talent to make his fictions assume the garb of facts, the unknown philosopher of the West had, with ingenuity scarcely less marvellous, made his facts assume the garb of fictions.
Of these fictions some relate to the works of his predecessors on the subject of theology, of which Lord Brougham seems to know very little; others to the science of metaphysics, of which he evidently knows still less; and the rest to his acquaintance with Greek authors in their original tongue,† of which it were a
* On this literary ubiquity of his Lordship some savage sarcasms appeared in the Morning Chronicle, where the public were first told officially, or as the Ex-Chancellor would say officiously, that, "provided that very eccentric personage could wound an old friend converted into a new and therefore bitter foe, he cared not whom he used as a stalking horse, or in what journal-quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily-he erected his masqued battery;" where his Lordship, like the rat-destroying Apollo of Homer, might sit shrouded in darkness, and scatter on the heads of an O'Connell-loving cabinet his quiver-full of arrows, steeped in the gall of an exiled Bolingbroke.
Of course we are aware that Lord Brougham has in the Edinburgh Review given some clever specimens of his powers as a translator of Demosthenes-an author for whom the noble Lord has often expressed his partiality, and to whom he professes himself much indebted; although it were difficult to find in what the two speakers resemble each other, except in their powers of vituperation. But even a correct translation of an author so easy as the unimitated, because inimitable, Athenian, may be accomplished with a very moderate knowledge of
marvel indeed if he knew any thing at all, seeing that Greek is a language not to be acquired by the short cuts of the new school, and still less amidst the briefs of the law-courts by day, or the speeches in St. Stephen's Chapel by night.
Accusations of so grave a cast ought not to be rashly made, or supported by slender proofs; and we shall therefore, in what relates to the first and third counts of the indictment, call into court Dr. Turton, who has so nobly stepped forward to vindicate satisfactorily the opinions, character, and conduct of men, whom Lord Brougham has found it easier to disparage than refute; while from the testimony of Dr. Wallace, to which might be added that of Mr. Christian Warner Search, Mr. Gleig, the reputed author of the article in Fraser's Magazine, and the anonymous writer in the Quarterly Review No. CX., it will be shown that Lord Brougham's metaphysics are quite unintelligible-or, if intelligible, a mass of unfounded assumptions† and illogical proofs.
Before, however, we produce our witnesses to prove the utter unfitness of Lord Brougham to write upon subjects, where he draws upon his ingenuity for facts and his memory for inferences, we will say a word or two on the meaning of the word Metaphysics, and the things about which that science is conversant; and then state, what the Noble writer professes to be his views in a work where, to use the language of Dr. Turton, "it were as easy to hold quicksilver in one's hand, as to catch his Lordship's meaning;" which sometimes escapes us through the negligence of his language, but more frequently from blowing psychological bubbles, that glitter for a moment and then burst.
In the Introduction to his Philosophical and Literary Essays, Dr. Gregory repeats the old story, that still keeps its place in the Encyclopædias of the day, which feed upon each other “like pigs in Westphaly," that "the very name of metaphysics was
Greek, if a man possesses only what his Lordship does in great perfection, a copia and delectus verborum-and if he will not disdain to do, what Gibbon says he fears he did too often, turn his eyes to the Latin version instead of looking only at the original Greek.
*This is the nom de guerre assumed by the late Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland—a man who had all the cleverness but without the coarseness of Swift, and whose originality of ideas was presented in language at once quaint and lively, and drawn from the wells of learning that never run dry, because their waters are supplied from the ocean of mankind, and percolate through the veins of the human heart. Of Mr. Search's Metaphysical Rambles we saw only the first part, before this article was finished. Had we seen his Second and Third Rambles with his friend Mr. Peer-a-deal earlier, we should have given a great deal of their fun, and dealed out less of our own.
His Lordship says that our idea of motion comes from reason, not
Had his Lordship ever applied his hand to the fly-wheel of a
given originally by mere accident to certain lucubrations of Aristotle, composed and published after his books on Physics." Simplicius, however, who probably knew something of the history of Aristotelian philosophy, though not quite so much as the Scotch metaphysicians fancy they do of the science of mind, has told us, that 'whatever is conversant about the things completely abstracted from matter, and about the pure operation of mind, is called by the Peripatetics theology and the first philosophy, and what comes after, physics, as being ranked close to and beyond physics.' How necessary soever such an interpretation may be to those writers on metaphysics, who know nothing of Greek philosophy but through the representations of Bacon, deceived himself by the dancing lights' of the schoolmen, it is perfectly useless to others, accustomed to go to the fountain head by the old fashioned roads of a grammar and lexicon; for such could not be ignorant, that as μerà is applied to "what comes after, and is connected with what precedes," Meraquoikǹ, metaphysics, is the science that comes after and is connected with physics, vou; and thus in one Greek word we have the whole of the Locke theory; which is, after all, only the resuscitation of one ridiculed by Plato, just as the anti-Locke theory of Berkeley is only the re-appearance of that of Gorgias; who, as we learn from Isocrates, asserted that "nothing exists, but only seems to exist." So true is the remark of Hemsterhuist
steam-engine, whose piston was making some hundred strokes a second, he would have retracted his opinion pretty quickly. Even the idea of the motion of the heavenly bodies is obtained from the sense of seeing, as proved by observing with what rapidity the moon passes out of the field of view in a telescope.
That all mental sensations are obtained through bodily sense, is obvious to any one, who knows that the word think-en is derived from θίγγ-εν thing-en, 'to touch,' and that a thing is what we first touch and then think upon; and thus we can trace to its source the doctrine of Epicurus, who said "Nihil esse potest, nisi quod attigimus aut vidimus," or as he might have said, attigimus," only for vision is but the effect of certain particles of light-producing matter, touching the organ of sight. His Lordship, however, who is determined to see farther than his neighbours through a mill-stone, says that "though we cannot see light, we know of it only through the organs of vision;" but surely if we see it by the organs of vision, i. e. the eyes, retina, and optic nerves, which convey the sensations from the retina to the brain, we see it distinctly enough. Had his Lordship said that we do not see the particles of which light is composed, we could have understood his proposition, and would have agreed to it. But at present all we can see of his luminousness only enables us to say, that to such blind dolts as ourselves his Lordship's "wink is as good as a nod."
For Hemsterhuis, in his boundless reading, had doubtless met with the Latin version of Syrianus on Aristot. Metaphysic. xiii. quoted by
that in metaphysics the moderns have made no discoveries; and he might have added, could not make them: for the phenomena of mind were quite as obvious 2,000 years ago as they are now, or ever will be. So too thought Dr. Young, who, in his Lectures on Intellectual Philosophy, ridicules those inductive reasoners, who fancy that because many discoveries have been made in physics, many will be made in metaphysics also; but whoever, says he, "indulges in such speculations will be assuredly disappointed; for the subject of mind admits of no discoveries: its real powers are inherent in all, and may be equally known to all." With regard to the second point, a statement of his Lordship's professed object, we fear that we are doing a work of supererogation. For as the Discourse has already gone through four editions, and as each edition consists probably of 3,000 copies, and as each copy has been read probably by four persons, there will have been probably 4 x 3,000 x 4 = 48,000 persons who have lingered over a volume, where his Lordship's dreams are told with so much precision, and his sentiments conveyed with so little, as to make one believe that our metaphysician sleeps, as the hare is said to do, with his eyes open, and thinks, as the owl does, with his eyes shut.
But as some of our readers will be probably not amongst the happy 48,000, we will state that his Lordship professes" to prove by pure induction, derived partly from physical science through the evidence of our senses, and partly from psychological science through the testimony of our conciousness, the possible immortality of the soul almost as rigorously as if one were to rise
from the dead.""
Such an object is quite worthy of his Lordship's transcendental reveries. We ought rather to call them eclectic; for that is the word newly revived by Victor Cousin, from whom Lord Brougham has learnt that-the same analogy is apparent in the world of mind as of matter; that the study of conciousness* is psychology; that conciousness, written in a narrow focus, concentrates the knowledge of the universe and of God; that psychology is thus the abstract of all sciences, human and divine,
Taylor in his General Introduction to Plato, p. li. who says that Locke was merely the restorer of the doctrine of abstract ideas, previously promulgated, as Syrianus testifies, by Longinus.
By this faculty of the mind, says Lord Brougham, we recognise a distinction between mind and matter. But though his Lordship admits that consciousness as to perception of matter is often deceitful, he will insist upon it that its indications with respect to mind are never deceitful; upon which Dr. Wallace slily remarks, that such contradictory notions of consciousness can exist only in those who are swayed unconsciously by opinions they have learnt or formed upon not sufficient grounds.