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on her embarkation, that her doom is sealed when she quits the Scottish Strand, but it is too late to hesitate. The Sheriff of Cumberland is her escort; ' a gentleman,' we are told, ' of the • House of Lowther,' which precious little bit of information will, we dare say, not be lost upon the noble family whose antiquity is thus so politely insinuated. After two years' residence with her royal mistress, Catherine, says the story, was dismissed, and became soon after her return, the Lady of Roland Avenel
Upon the whole, “ The Abbot” is not unworthy of its Author. With all its faults, it is such a tale as perhaps no contemporary writer could have framed; and it is saying much for the genius of a man, that it is only with his own productions that we think of comparing his least successful efforts. Even “ The Monas“ tery” is as superior to the common run of novels, as it is inferior to “ Guy Mannering," or " The Heart of Midlothian." Compared, indeed, with the works of Fielding and Smollett, they are slight and sketchy productions; nor will they endure a frequent perusal. But, in being free from the grossness and libertinism which pollute the works of those writers, as well as from the mawkish sentimentality of our modern novelists, they entitle their Author to an honourable distinction, and lead us to wish that he had aimed at something higher than the mercantile profits arising out of an ephemeral popularity.
Art. V. 1. Sketches of the Philosphy of Life. By Sir T. C. Morgan,
M.D. &c. &c. 8vo. London. 1819. 2. Sound Mind; or Contributions to the Natural History and Phy
siology of the Human Intellect. By John Haslam, M.D. &c. &c.
8vo. London. 1820. IT T cannot be necessary to apprize our readers of our decided
hostility to those modero systems of physiology which, assuming to have anatomy as their base, refuse to recognise any powers or principles in either physical or moral man, that do not result from organization. Against this organic doctrine of life, we believe, however, that the accusation of materialism has been somewhat vaguely and indiscriminately preferred : nay, many writers who have stood forward as declared foes to the principles in question, have, in the very terms of their opposition, proved themselves, to say the least, quite as much materialists, as those against whom they have argued. When, for example, Mr. Abernethy opposes to the inferences of Mr. Lawrence, the materia vitæ diffusee of Jolin Hunter, what does be more than give another support to the elephant, which itself must have something to rest upon? Indeed, whoever may have attempted, from Plato downwards, or whoever shall hereafter attempt, to
connect the world of spirit and matter by any cognizable bond of union, ever has stumbled, and ever will stumble in limine. The essence of all these speculations consists in a sort of subtilization of matter beyond the reach of our perceptive powers; they are therefore in reality and effect, systems of materialism.
The organists, indeed, for so the new sect has been termed, formally proclaim their dissent from the creed of the materialist. In the table of contents to one of the treatises which have issued from this school, we ineet with the following announcement : • Reasons for rejecting both a spiritual and material principle of life.' And on turning to the page we are referred to, we find the following statements. « That some subtile agent, analagous
in its properties to light, heat, and electricity, muy enter as a link into the chain of vital causation, is a proposition strictly possible, and is not perhaps altogether improbable. But till • the reality of such an agent be proved, its admission upon “hypothetical grounds is prohibited by that general canon of $ reasoning, Frustru fit per plura quod fieri potest per pau* ciora. Call then this philosophic scepticism, if you please'; but do not defeat your own purpose, when you are aiming at razing it from its foundation, by setting about the work with materials which are themselves manufactured from a petitio principi, and therefore necessarily ineffectual to the accoinplishment of their design.
We may, for the sake of rendering our sentiments on these disputes more clear and defined, range under two heads, those attempts to explain the inexplicable subject of vital causation to which we have alluded. One class of these attempts, is, as has been just intimated, grounded on the notion of etherealizing substance so to say, into the impalpable tenuity of spirit. The other class applies its machinery to the development of percipient causation, and thus falls into the futility of symbolic analogy, and talks with Plato of the oxmuce, or with Darwin, supposes ideas to be configurations of the sensual orgaus; thus, most obviously converting the instrument into the agent, and conceiving that we announce a cause by the introduction of a symbol. it must be admitted in behalf of the philosophy of organization, that so far from having any thing in cominon with the above vain and visionary schemes, it denounces their legitimacy, and ridicules their absurdity.
• We pause,' says Sir Charles Morgan, ' in our researches at the properties of contractility and sensibility; not however that it is necessary to consider these boundaries as strictly impassable. But in attempting to extend the limits of inquiry, the map must be traced after the discoveries of a Columbus; not covered with an imaginary Terra Australis, or fancied Atlantis; even though such territories should be vouched on the imposing authority of another Plato.' Vol. XIV. N. S.
To what, then, it will be asked, do we object, in these principles which have called forth the present inquiry? It is this, that they assume the establishment of a positive, when they have merely made out a negative. Our philosophers, when they confess their ignorance of the quo modo of vital causation, are right. But when they infer that intellect is the result of organization, because they have no conception of the manuer in which it is appendeci to the organic fabric, their conclusions are quite as gratuitous, and therefore as unphilosophical as any of the unstable systems by which they have been preceded. Their inferences, moreover, are as much at variance with moral, as they are with philosophical rectitude; for once admit the postulate that all motive and mental impulse originate from, and are totally subordinate to organic construction, and you open the floodgates to an overwbelming rush of immorality and vice.
But to be more explicit, our objections to the modern philosophy of life may be summed up under the following general beads. First, by referring every thing to organic necessity, it denies the freedom of choice. Secondly, it daringly presumes to arraign before the bar of man's defective and fallible judgement the designs of Omnipotence, or the wisdom of final causes. Thirdly, it contends for a sameness, except in degree, between the rationality of the brute and the intellect of Man. And lastly, it in
the improbability of an imperishable principle in man, because there is nothing in physiology that teaches the doctrine.
That man, in the first place, is pot impelled morally by mere organic impulse, may be considered as sufficiently substantiated by the very iniluence which the scepticism of the principles in question operates upon his feelings and volitions. Let us suppose the case of an individual after his conversion to those tenets which inculcate by specious innuendos our unaccountability to any thing beyond the clod of clay out of which we are formed. Is not, we would ask, such an individual a different character, both in act and resolve, from what he was prior to such a change in his opinions ? Here, our organists will tell us, that we are merely contending on the ground of consequences, and are therefore using a species of argumentation the legitimacy of which philosophy refuses to recognise. But we repeat, that the very consequences themselves in the present case palpably disprove the rectitude of the principles from which they proceed ; since, if a different course be pursued from the restricted one hitherto adopted from the persuasion that “to-morrow we die”—“ let
us therefore eat and drink,” is it not evident, that such course is determined not by the necessity of organization, but from the motives originating in the newly adapted creed? We would then repeat, that such speculations as deride exterior influence, and would laugh us to scorn when we talk of something from without
and independent on organization, not only have a mischievous tendency, (for that might possibly be consistent with their abstract truth,), but carry the materials of self refutation into the very ingredients of their first and fundamental positions.
Our Second reason for objecting to the philosophical principiu now under review, is, the-we were about to call it awful freedom with which they refer to final causes and providential design. Far is it from our wish to encourage that Deus intersit feeling whichi cannot treat of physical science, without mixing with its speculations matter that has more correct reference to moral science. But we are bold to say that it is not only highly indecorous, but absolutely unphilosophical to indicate defects in creation in the manner that we find done in one of the works which head this article. llere again, as in the case of organization, judgement is formed from ex parie evidence: a positive is assumed, when the just inference from the premises is merely a negative, and the speculatist proceeds upon the false supposition that our feeble and finite powers are equal to the scanning of infinite intelligence. Man is unquestionably gifted with perception equal to the discernment of vast designs on the part of the Great Ruler of the Universe; but when he imagines himself gifted with the faculty of detecting insufficiency in such designs, le calculates not only impiously, but absurdly, since the very apparent defect may have an object far beyond his ken and conception.
Did Sir C. Morgan recollect, while he was penning some of his shallow remarks on living organs and functions, the fable of the insect's criticism upon the work of Sir Christopher Wren?
The denial of an essential superiority in man over the inferior animals, is a third error of the ienets under notice. We may be told that discussions on this head are mere logomachies. But the dispute between kind and degree, ceases to be a war simply of words, when, on its determination is made to hinge the final destiny of man. If it must be so, let the word reason be employed to characterise those actions of the brute which imply contrivance, and denote recollection; but, wliy, as it has been oftentimes inquired, does not this reason lift the animal from its first level in the scale of creation, and cause a progressive iinprovement in the race to which he belongs?
Mr. Haslam well puts the difference between the human and the brute natures, in reference to this point, in the following terms.
• The gift of instinct even to animals does not exclude them from acquiring knowledge by experience ; for their minds are capable of improvement according to the extent of their capacities, and the intellectual organs with which they are furnished. The instinct which is allotted to them is á mental possession which they could not have acquired from the limited nature of their
faculties. All their instincts are processes of the purest reason, but they do not originate from themselves they are not as in man the elaboration of thought, the contrivance founded on the estimate of knowledge ;--but a boon-an endowments by which experience is anticipated and wisdom matured without its progress and accumulation.
• The early manifestation of instinctive wisdom is the best reply to those philosophers who have argued against its existence, for in a multitude of instances it is exhibited anterior to the possibility of experience. Man, althó' gifted with superior capacities, and susceptible of higher attachments, does not, from the paucity of his instincts, arrive during many years at the same maturity both of mind and body which most animals display within the space of a few weeks so necessary and important is the protracted period of infancy to the edifice and destination of the human mind.'
And so widely from the mark, may we add, do they'wander, who, aiming to establish the identity of reason and instinct, of the understanding of the man and that of the brute, argue for the same progress of instruction in the progeny of the monkey, as that by which the children of men are taught the distinction between good and evil, knowledge and ignorance.
In our notice of Dr. Borrow's recent work on Insanity, we slightly alluded to the dangerous as well as unphilosophical inferences relative to mental alienation, which are deduced from the assumed law respecting thé omnipotence of organization. Every sally of passion, and every irregularity of what is termed teinper, eveu when carried to any enormous and mischievous extreme, must, we remarked, be set down according to these tenets, as unfortunate, rather than criminal oocurrences; and that the greatest moral turpitude could be regarded only in the light of mental misconception and bodily ailment. But the authors upon the tenor and tendency of whose writings we are now commenting, save the objecter the pains of pointing out those destructive effects of their principles, by holdly stepping forward and avowing them themselves.
• Strength of temptation,' says Sir C. Morgan, is allowed in abatement of moral censure, in those cases in which the law, for the preservation of society, is obliged to strike; á mode of thinking which would not be justified if there really existed a power of resistance.'
In this passage there is an evident implication, nay, a positive avowal of the venomous and fatal doctrine, that whether any individual fall before, or rise from above, his natural inclinations 'tó à certain line of conduct, the victory and the defeat are both equally to be placed to the score of organic impatse; an implication and assumption which palpably make moral accountability to be a name without meaning.*. In this point of view, mad
We have, it will be perceived, in the present discussion, avoided any reference to the Christian doctrine of warfare between “ the old