صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


Russia, with the United States, would be very different, so far as India is concerned, from an alliance on the part of the same power with any of the great nations of Europe, not excepting France.

We all remember with what difficulty England, France, Turkey, and Sardinia, combined, were able to bring Russia to terms in the Crimea. Having once succeeded, the combined powers congratulated each other that it would be some time again before the common enemy could exercise any portant influence in the affairs of the world. This, indeed, was the universal opinion; but all were mistaken. It is now clearly proved that, at the very time Russia was engaged, single-handed, with all the powers mentioned, she was also engaged in the East, rapidly paving the way for the annexation of an extent of territory on the Amoor river, equal to the combined areas of France and Italy.

In inducing China to agree to a formal treaty, which has been duly ratified, for the annexation, not only of the whole of the left bank of the Amoor, but also an extensive region bounded by the Gulf of Tartary, by the Usuri, as far as the lakes of Khinka, and by another line between Napoleon's Bay and Khinkama region which embraces a large part of the maritime province of Manchouria-nearly the whole of the Pacific coast to the frontiers of Corea-Russia has shown more skill and adroitness in diplomacy than England, France, and the United States put together, since she succeeded, without the shedding of a drop of blood, in obtaining more important concessions than they, with all their threats and military demonstrations, had been able to obtain for years. Even when the demands of the Allied Powers were complied with by the Chinese Government, in the autumn of last year, the intelligence of the fact was first heard in England and France via St. Petersburg, having reached that capital from Peking in five weeks—the shortest period on record for the transmission of similar news from the heart of China. The treaty, which was ratified at St. Petersburg, on the first of January of the present year, is all that could have been desired even by Russia, since, after carefully defining the new boundaries of the two empires, it guarantees to Russian merchants, not only the right to travel in any part of China, for commercial purposes, but also to visit the capital or any other city in the empire, remaining there as long as they find it necessary to do so, the only restriction being, that

more than two hundred of them are not to meet in the same locality.

Thus, without eatering into any further details, we see that Russia is rapidly approaching India on every side. Her wars with Persia show that the Shah could not prevent her onward course, if he would. In Tartary her dominion extends almost to the frontiers of Afghanistan. What the feelings of the Afghans are towards England, were made sufficiently evident in 1841, when they rose en masse, butchered Sir Alexander Burnes, Sir William Macnaghten, and several other officers of distinction, finally forcing the British to evacuate Cabool, leaving Lady Sale and others as hostages in the hands of Akbar Khan. In short, the Afghans have to this day bid defiance to all the forces England could bring against them. Russia is well aware of this, and she is doing all in her

power, at the present moment, to gain the confidence of the brave and unconquerable Asiatic Swiss. And who forgets the heroic struggle made by the Sikhs for their independence from 1845 until 1849, during which period it took all the available forces of Great Britain to subdue them? Nor are they by any means contented with their condition at the present day; it may well be doubted whether they love England a whit more now than they did then, or rather whether they hate her rule a whit less. And be it remembered that their country, the Punjaub, is in the north-western extremity of India, bordering on Afghanistan, and separated from Tartary only by the Hindoo Coosh mountains. Thus virtually surrounded as British India is, on every side, save on the ocean, which is her own element, by the antagonistic, active influence of Russia, and confronted by the same power on this continent, while Napoleon III. may form an alliance with the Czar when such an event is least expected, if only to carry out the traditional policy of his uncle, it is easy to understand that England has enough to occupy her attention without attempting to force a power, that has an army of little less than 500,000 men already in the field, to open its own ports in order to enable the rebels, in arms against it, to sell her as much cotton as she wants. Independently of any. such dangers as those alluded to, it would ill become a nation, with far less pretensions to greatness or political wisdom than England, to engage, on such grounds, in a war which at best could hardly fail to prove

disastrous to herself.


ART. VII.-1. The Works of George Berkeley, D. D., late Bishop of

Cloyne, in Ireland ; to which are added an Account of his Life and several of his Letters. In two volumes, 4to. London:

1784. 2. The Works of George Berkeley, D. D., Bishop of Cloyne ; to

which are added an Account of his Life and several of his Letters to Thomas Prior, Esq., Dean Gervais, Mr. Pope, &c. London : Gregg. 1837.

ONE of the most distinguished and enduring names in modern history is that of George Berkeley, to whom a great contemporary poet * assigned "every virtue under heaven;" but of whom a modern bardt sneeringly says: 66 When Berkeley said there was no matter, it is no matter what he said." His fame as a philosopher has travelled into all lands and climes, and, as the great champion and representative of the Ideal System, his reputation is world-wide. His memory is, in a peculiar manner, linked with America by a benevolent, self-imposed mission, by his residence in the country, and by the famous poem in which he gives expression to such grand and glowing hopes of its future :

There shall be sung another golden age,

The rise of empire and of arts,
The good and great inspiring epic rage,

The wisest heads and noblest hearts.
Not snch as Europe breeds in her decay;

Such as she bred when fresh and young,
When heavenly flame did animate her clay,

By future poets shall be sung.
Westward the course of empire takes its way;

The four first acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day;

Time's noblest offspring is the last. How would the generous heart from which emanated these lines now grieve, if it were in the land of the living, over the fratricidal strife which threatens to falsify all its aspirations. But the end is not yet, and time will tell whether Berkeley was a true poet in the sense of the ancients (Vates)—a prophet as well as a weaver of verse.

The companions of Berkeley were princes, and his friends

[blocks in formation]


were the most distinguished English statesmen, philosophers, and literati of his day-Prior, Arbuthnot, Atterbury, Chesterfield, Johnson, Swift, Pope, Steele, Addison, and the rest of that brilliant circle of wits and scholars who reflected a lustre upon the age. Yet, never did any man more thoroughly despise the trappings and show of conventionalism, or the authority of great names. He esteemed human virtue for its own sake, and not for its surroundings. His modesty and simplicity of character were only equalled by his varied knowledge and gigantic intellect. In the words of Swift, who was not accustomed to praise men, he was “one of the first men in the kingdom for learning and virtue." He was a churchman, without blind zeal or narrow sectarian bigotry. He was not only a patriot, but a cosmopolitan in his expansive ideas, his charity continually enlarging, like the circles produced in the centre of a lake by the dropping of a stone-spreading wider and wider, till they reach the farthest shores. He was a philanthropist in the broadest acceptation of the term. His life was one labor of love to the human

He was a mathematician of a high order, but most celebrated as a metaphysician. His philosophical works have become part of that struggle of the human mind, extending over so many thousand years, to know itself, the objects of its operations, and its relation thereto—a struggle on which the mightiest intellects have entered, but which has hitherto resulted in failure. But, though the essence of mind and matter and the connection between them are still as impenetrable mysteries as they ever were, it does not follow that the investigations of the philosophers have been altogether in vain. If they have failed to establish their own theories, they have exploded the systems of their predecessors, and they have made most important discoveries in the laws of both Mind and Matter. Thus, Berkeley was more successful in demolishing the fabric of Materialism than in building an imperishable structure of Idealism; but the world is indebted to his keen and searching analysis for the discovery of those laws of human vision which are now incorporated with every system of optics, though, like the motion of the earth, steamships, and the electric telegraph, his theory was considered, at the time of its first promulgation, as a philosophical romance. But before proceeding to a review of his works, let us examine his life, and consider his character, which will be found both curious and instructive.

George Berkeley was born on the 12th day of March, 1684, not, as most of his biographers assert, at Kilcrin, near Thomastown, in the county of Kilkenny, Ireland, but at Dysart, about a mile below Thomastown, on the banks of “the gentlé Nore,” which flows through a valley of surpassing fertility and beauty. To the south of “Dysart Castle," a tall and graceful ruin, emblematic of a nation's decay, still stånd the remains of the Berkeley mansion in which the renowned Bishop of Cloyne first saw the light. The scene is one of the most secluded and lovely, in a country famous for the beauty and sublimity of its landscapes, and seems to be the fitting birth-place of a poet and philosopher, who knew how to appreciate the charms of nature, and whose amiable and retiring disposition withdrew him from the dust and din of the battle of life, and the glitter, glorious pomp and circumstance of the bustling, busy world. Kilkenny has given birth to many other illustrious names, among which we may mention Langrishe, Flood, Bushe, and Banim. He received the first part of his education at Kilkenny School, from which so many scholars of the first eminence, including Dean Swift, have come. In his fifteenth year he entered the University of Dublin, and in 1707 he obtained a fellowship. In the same year, he published an essay on mathematical science, written before he was twenty years of age, and which was probably the fruit of his studies for the fellowship. It was an attempt to demonstrate arithmetic without algebra or Euclid-an attempt which first unfolds a moral feature in his character that influenced all his future 'writings, and in a great degree regulated his whole conduct. This was a freedom from the influence thrown over the human mind by the settled conventions of opinion, and a consequent disposition to depart from the beaten track and pursue new courses, as reason or duty seemed to dictate--a temper, of which the results were extreme simplicity and singleness of character, and a remarkable boldness in the adventurous career of his philosophy. In two years after the publication of his first work, he to the public his Theory of Vision, the root of all his philosophical opinions, though some of those opinions cannot be logically deduced from it. The chief aim of the work was, to “distinguish the immediate and natural objects of sight from the seemingly instantaneous conclusions which experience and habit teach us to draw from them in our earliest


« السابقةمتابعة »