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of pofterity, till time hath ffampt a kind of « facredness upon it, which it would now be a u literary impiety to blaspheme. There are « fome amongst those, whom their advocate « hath named, I cannot speak or think of but u with a reverence only short of idolatry. Not « this nation oniy but all Europe hath been en« lightened by their labours : The great princi« ple of nature, the very law, upon which the « whole fyftem of the universe moves and gra
vitates, hath been developed and demon« strated by the penetrating, I had almost said " the præternatural, powers of our immortal « Newton. The present race of philosophers e can only be considered as his disciples; but they
are difciples, who do honour to their master : * If the principle of gravitation be the grand « defideratum of philosophy, the discovery is « with him, the application, inferences and ad
vantages of that discovery are with those, < who fucceed him; and can we accuse the " prefent age of being idle or unable to avail " themfelves of the ground he gave them? Let * me remind you that our present folar system « is furnished with more planets than Newton “ knew; that our late observations - upon
the « tranfit of the planet Venus were decisive for « the proof and confirmation of his fyftem ; that
“ we have circumnavigated the globe again and
again; that we can boast the researches and “ discoveries of a Captain Cook, who, though 6 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
fheet of nakedness and error : It is with grau vitation therefore as with the loadstone; their
powers have been difcovered by our predeces« fors, but we have put them to their nobleft
“ 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 fe« lection more numerous, I doubt if he could « have made it stronger or more to the purpose " of his own assertions.
“ I have always regarded Bacon as the father « of philosophy in this country, yet it is no " breach of candor to observe that the darkness
of the age, which he enlightened, affords a fa« vourable contrast 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, intermediate writers have dis
« seminated his original matter through more “ pleasing vehicles, and we concur, whether « commendably or not, to put his volumes upon " the superannuated liit, allowing him however « an unalienable compensation upon our praise,
and reserving to ourselves a right of taking « him from the fielf, whenever we are disposed " to sink the merit of a more recent author by
a comparison with him. I will not therefore « disturb his venerable dust, but turn without « further delay to the author of the Essay upon « the Human Understanding.
« This Essay, which profeses to define every « thing, as it arises or passes in the mind, must « ultimately be compiled from observations of « it's author upon himself and within himself: « Before I compre 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 man" kind with what I perceive within my parti« cular 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 de“ finitions or ideas. I may have reason to la« ment the inaccuracy or the sluggishness of my
« own fenfes 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 metaphyfics, and, as it would be « an ill compliment to any one of our contem“ poraries 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 under« stood by so insignificant a man as inyself.
« Well, fir," cried the fullen gentleman with a sneer, " I think you have contrived to dispatch
our philosophers; you have now only a few
obscure poets to dismiss in like manner, and « you will have a clear field for yourself and
N° CXLVIII. ...
Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque sepultis,
(HORAT.) HE sarcastic speech of the old Snarler, with
which we concluded the last undeserved on the part of the person, to whom it VOL. V.
was applied, was very properly disregarded; and the clergyman proceeded as follows:-..
« The poets you have named will never be « mentioned by me but with a degree of enthu.
fiafm, which I Thould rather expect to be ac. “ cused of carrying to excess than of erring in “ the opposite extreme, had you not put me on “my guard against partiality by charging me « with it beforehand. I shall therefore, without “ further apology or preface begin with Shake“Spear, first named by you and first in fame as « well as time : It would be madnefs in me to
think of bringing any poet now living into “ competition with Shakespear; but I hope it 4. will not be thought madness, or any thing re« sembling it, to observe to you, that it is not « in the nature of things possible for any poet to « appear in an age so polished as this of our's, “ who can be brought into any critical compa“ rison with that extraordinary and eccentric
« For let us consider the two great striking “ features of his drama, sublimity and character, « Now fublimity involves fentiment and expref<fion; the first of these is in the soul of the
poet; it is that portion of inspiration, which we personify when we call it the Muse; fo