« السابقةمتابعة »
admired and applauded in my zeal for those with whom I have lived and still live; all that has hitherto 'made my heart expand with pride and reverence for the age and nation I belong to, will be immolated to the manes of these departed worthies, whom though I revere, I cannot love and cherish with that sympathy of soul, which I feel towards you, my dear but degenerate contemporaries !
There was a young man, sitting at the elbow of the little crest-fallen fellow, with a round clerical curl, which tokened him to be a son of the church. 'Having filently awaited the full time for a rally, if any spirit of resurrection had been left in the fallen hero, and none such appearing, he addressed himself to the challenger with an air so modest, but withal so impressive, that it was impossible not to be prejudiced in his favour, before he opened his cause. .
“I cannot wonder,” said he, “ if the “ gentleman who has challenged us to pro“ duce a parallel to any one of the great
names he has enumerated, finds us un“ prepared with any living rival to those il“ lustrious characters : Their fame, though
“ the age in which they lived did not always
appreciate it as it ought, hath yet been
rising day by day in the esteem of posterity, "till time hath stampt a kind of sacredness
upon it, which it would now be a literary “ impiety to blafpheme. There are some
amongst those, whom their advocate hath “ named, I cannot speak or think of but “ with a reverence only short of idolatry. “ Not this nation only but all Europe hath “ been enlightened by their labours : The
great principle of nature, the very law
upon which the whole system of the uni“ verse moves and gravitates, hath been de“ veloped and demonstrated by the pene
trating, I had almost said the præterna“tural, powers of our immortal Newton. “ The present race of philosophers can only “ be considered as his disciples; but they “ are disciples who do honour to their ma“ ster : If the principle of gravitation be the
grand defideratum of philosophy, the dif
covery is with him, the application, in“ ferences and advantages of that discovery “ are with those who succeed him; and can
l “ we accuse the present age of being idle or “ unable to avail themselves of the ground
“ he gave them ? Let me remind you that “our prefent solar system is furnished with
more planets than Newton knew; that “ our late observations upon the transit of “ the planet Venus were decisive for the “proof and confirmation of his system : that “ we have circumnavigated the globe again “ and again; that we can boast the re“ searches and discoveries of a Captain “ Cook, who, though he did not invent the
compass, employed it as no man ever did, “ and left a map behind him, compared to “ which Sir Isaac Newton's was a sheet of « nakedness and error: It is with gravita« tion therefore as with the loadstone; their
powers have been discovered by our pre“ decessors, but we have put them to their « noblest uses.
“ The venerable names of Bacon and “ Locke were, if I mistake not, mentioned “ in the same class with Newton, and though " the learned gentleman could no doubt « have made his selection more numerous, I “ doubt if he could have made it stronger, " or more to the purpose of his own as« fertions. “ I have always regarded Bacon as the fa
“'ther of philosophy in this country, yet it “is no breach of candour to observe, that “ the darkness of the age, which he en
lightened, affords a favourable contraft to “ set off the splendor of his talents : But do
we, who applaud him, read him ? Yet if “ such is our veneration for times long since
gone by, why do we not ? The fact is, in« termediate writers have disseminated his
original matter through more pleafing “ vehicles, and we concur, whether com* mendably or not, to put his volumes upon “ the fuperannuated list, allowing him how
ever an unalienable compensation upon "our praise, and reserving to ourselves a
right of taking him froin the shelf, when“ ever we are disposed to sink the merit of a “ more recent author by a comparison with
him. I will not therefore disturb his ve“ nerable dust, but turn without further
delay to the author of the Essay upon the “ Human Understanding.
“ This Essay, which professes to define every thing, as it arises or passes in the “ mind, must ultimately be compiled from “ observations of it's author upon himself 5 and within himself: Before I compare VOL. III.
“ the merit of this work therefore with the “merit of any other man's work of our own “ immediate times, I must compare what it “ advances as general to mankind, with “ what I perceive within my particular self; “ and upon this reference, speaking only for “ an humble individual, I must own to my “ shame, that my understanding and the “author's do by no means coincide either in “ definitions or ideas. I may have reason “ to lament the inaccuracy or the sluggish“ness of my own senses and perceptions, but “ I cannot submit to any man's doctrine “ against their conviction : I will only say “ that Mr. Locke's metaphysics are not my “ metaphysics, and, as it would be an ill “ compliment to any one of our contempo“ raries to compare him with a writer, who “ to me is unintelligible, so will I hope it can “ never be considered as a reflection upon so
great a name as Mr. Locke's, not to be “ understood by so insignificant a man as “ myself.”
“ Well, sir,” cried the fullen gentleman with a sneer, “ I think you have con“ trived to dispatch our philosophers ; you