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that which has fallen under my re- ly sure that this observation is altoview."
gether correct. It may be perfectly It will probably be in the recollec- true, as Mr S. asserts, that not a tion of most, if not all, of our readers, single passage occurs in Mr Locke's that, in Part First of this Prelimi- Essay, savouring of the Anatominary Discourse, Mr Stewart had cal Theatre, or of the Chemical Labrought down his review of the va boratory;" and Mr S. may, if he rious contributions made, by pre- pleases, regard this as a proof of Mr ceding philosophers, to the Induc- Locke's superiority to men of undertive Philosophy of the Human Mind, standings less comprehensive, and less as far as the period when Leibnitz cultivated by a liberal education ; appeared on the horizon as a star of but still we cannot help thinking the first magnitude; remarking, with that Mr Locke had never been very his usual acuteness and accuracy of zealous in his attachment to medical discrimination, that “ Leibnitz the pursuits, and that he had never acJurist belongs to one century, and quired that professional enthusiasm Leibnitz the Philosopher to another." peculiar to those who are conversant This being the point to which Mr with only one subject, which is theoriStewart had conducted the inquiry, gin of all pedantry. Hartley, Darwin, Part Second, which embraces the and Cabanis, are remarkable instances “ Progress of Metaphysics during of that pre-disposition, which exists in the eighteenth century,” naturally nearly all medical men, to extend the commences with an “ Historical and principles, and even the details and Critical Review of the Philosophical technicalities, of their own precarious Works of Locke and Leibnitz." science, to almost every other; and of
John Locke, whose Essay on that incapacity which seems somehow Human Understanding forms a new to be generated by anatomical deand brilliant era in the History of monstrations and physiological rePhilosophy, was born at Wrington searches, of conceiving thought atin Somersetshire, in 1632. His fa- tached to any thing but a material ther had been a captain in the Par- and organised substance. The writliament's army during the civil wars; ings of physiologists might also be “a circumstance,” says Mrs., "which referred to, in illustration of oar reit may be presumed, from the son's mark: for it would be difficult, if political opinions, would not be re not impossible, to point out one, garded by him as a stain on the me from Haller to Richerand and Abermory of his parent.” In the early nethy, who has not either directly part of his life, Mr Locke applied espoused, or tacitly and virtually inhimself'indefatigably to the study of clined to, the most unqualified mamedicine, an art, indeed, which he terialism. No man is better aware never exercised as a regular calling, than Mr S. that the same charge has but in which, if we may credit the been frequently, and probably not incidental testimony of Sydenham, altogether unjustly, brought even he had made no inconsiderable pro- against Mr Locke. If, therefore, we ficiency. This early dedication of were to draw any inference from a his mind to subjects of medical in- large induction of facts, it would quiry, Mr S. regards as an admirable certainly be, in opposition to the opitraining for those studies connected nion expressed by Mr S. on this ocwith Mental Philosophy, on which casion, that the study of medicine is he was afterwards destined to shed by no means "happily calculated to such a strong and powerful light: prepare the mind” for the prosecu" the complicated, and fugitive, and tion of speculations connected with often equivocal phenomena of disease the Philosophy of the Human Mind. requiring in the observer a far greater We are not sure that even the late portion of discriminating sagacity Dr Thomas Brown, certainly one than those of Physics, strictly so of the most acute Metaphysicians called ; resembling, in this respect, of his time, was altogether delivered much more nearly, the phenomena from the bias of his medical educaabout which Metaphysics, Ethics, tion; as an example of which we and Politics, are conversant." Plau- would crave permission to refer to his sible as it seems, we are not perfect- very singular observations on what
he has been pleased to denominate our own abilities, and see what ob“ Muscular Feelings." (Physiology jects our understandings were, of the Mind, p. 48-49. Edin. 1820.) were not, fitted to deal with. This
But to return from this digression: I proposed to the company, who all In 1666, Mr Locke, then in his readily assented, and thereupon it was thirty-fifth year, formed a very inti- agreed that this should be our first mate acquaintance with the celebra- inquiry. Some hasty and undigestted Lord Shaftesbury: This event ed thoughts, on a subject I had never led to a total revolution in the line before considered, which I set down, of his studies, and in the habits of against our next meeting, gave the his life. His place of residence was first entrance into this discourse, forthwith transferred from the acade, which having been thus begun by mic shades of the university to the chance, was continued by entreaty; bustle and excitement of the metro- written by incoherent parcels; and, polis; and, for the first time, he be- after long intervals of neglect, resugan to turn his thoughts to political med again, as my humour or occasubjects. From London, too, he sions permitted ; and at last, in a remade occasional excursions to various tirement, where an attendance on my parts of France, Germany, and Hol- health gave me leisure, it was brought land, for which last country, he al- into that order thou now seest it." ways, like another great man, Des “ This discontinued way of writing," cartes, expressed a decided prefer- as Mr Locke himself 'describes it, ence; charmed, no doubt, with the would seem to account in a satisfacsight of the happiness and prosperity tory manner for many of the pecuof the Dutch, then enjoying the liarities of the Essay on Human Unblessings of civil and religious liberty, derstanding, one of which is, that to which his own countrymen were, “it is the fourth and last book alone at that time, unhappily strangers. which bears directly on the author's
The plan of the Essay on Human principal object;" and that, in this Understanding is said to have been book, there are few, if any, references formed as early as the year 1670, to the preceding parts of the Essay. although it was not carried into com The author himself, indeed, informs plete execution till the year 1687, us, that “when he first put pen to when he availed himself of the lei- paper, he thought all he should have sure which his exile in Holland af- to say on this matter would have forded to complete his long meditated been contained in one sheet of paper; design." Soon after the revolution, but the farther he went, the larger however, he returned to England, and prospect he had ; new discoveries led published the first edition of his work him still on; and so it grew insenin 1690. The detached and carptim- sibly to the bulk it now appears in.” sort of manner (if we may be per- From all which, we should be led to mitted to say so) in which this won- conclude, that, in the order of compoderful performance was composed, sition, the last book was first written, is stated in the Prefatory Epistle to and that the other parts of the Esa the Reader, and is too singular a say were gradually developed in the fact in literary history to be here author's mind while occupied with omitted. “Were it fit to trouble the original subject of inquiry. It thee with the history of this Essay, may likewise be observed here, that I should tell thee, that five or six the inquiries contained in the first friends meeting at my chamber, and and second books are more of a schodiscoursing on a subject very remotelastic and abstract nature than those from this, found themselves quickly which we meet with in the sequel of at a stand by the difficultier that rose the work ; and that the third book, on every side. After we had a while “ by far the most important of the puzzled ourselves, without coming whole, where the nature, the use, any nearer a resolution of those and the abuse language are so doubts which perplexed us, it came clearly and happily illustrated, seems, into my thoughts that we took a from Locke's own account, to have wrong course; and that, before we been a sort of after-thought: and the set ourselves upon inquiries of that two excellent chapters on the Assonature, it was necessary to examine ciation of Ideas, and on Enthusiasm,
(the former of which has contributed ance,“ had neither followers nor as much as any thing else in Locke's admirers, nor hardly a single apwritings, to the subsequent progress prover.” Now the Bishop of Glouof Metaphysical Philosophy), were cester is contradicted, almost in exprinted, for the first time, in the press terms, by Lord Shaftesbury, fourth edition of the Essay.
who had no affection for Locke, To the manner in which the Essay but, on the contrary, whose ill-naon Human Understanding has been ture towards the gentlest, most placshewn to have been composed, and able, and most generous of human to the consequent immethodical and beings, does no sort of credit to his arbitrary disposition of the materials, memory, otherwise overloaded with are undoubtedly to be ascribed those much well-merited opprobrium: “I frequent unqualified propositions and am not sorry,” says the author of the apparent anomalies and contradic- Characteristics to one of his correstions which obtrude themselves on pondents, “ that I lent you Locke's the attention of the diligent student, Essay, a book that may as well quaand which have been eagerly pounced lify men for business and the world, upon by the numerous adversaries as for the sciences and a university. and opponents of Mr Locke, in order No one has done more towards the to secure the weight of his authority recalling of philosophy from barbarito give currency to doctrines which ty into use and practice of the world, he had never dreamed of as deducible and into the company of the better from his own opinions, and which he and polite sort, who might well be would have been the first man to dis- ashamed of it in its other dress. No avow and condemn. In many cases, one has opened a better and clearer however, a little more patience, and way to reasoning." In addition to a grain of honesty, might have satis- the obvious inference to be derived fied these individuals that the incon- from this passage it may be mengruities upon which they were so tioned, that no less than four editions prone to expatiate, would, in a great of the work were printed in ten years, majority of instances, have either and three others in four more, an inentirely vanished, or, at least, been cidental proof of which is, that the greatly modified and extenuated, had author refers to the sixth edition in the one part of Mr Locke's performance Epistle to the Reader prefixed to all been made the interpreter of the the subsequent impressions. Before rest. Yet it must be confessed, that the year 1748, no less than thirteen these exponential and qualifying editions had been given to the pubclauses and limitations are frequent- lic. Is it possible that the Commenly to be found at great distances from tator of the Dunciad could have been the doctrines which they respective- ignorant of these conclusive facts, ly modify, and that they are to be when he asserted, that," at the time discovered only by those who seek Mr Locke first published his Essay, the truth in the love of it, and whose he had neither followers nor adgreat object is, not to accummulate mirers, and hardly a single approver?" materials for controversy, but to ac Unless in the instance of the publiquire, or disseminate, useful know- cations of Mr Stewart himself, such ledge. In judging of an author like a rapid succession of editions is quite Mr Locke,“ the captiousness of ver- unexampled in the History of Metabal criticism” ought to yield to the physics ; and it ought not to be forexercise of a better principle, prompt- gotten, in stating this resemblance, ing us to seek for opportunities of what advantages and accomplishpraise rather than of censure, and to ments, in point of skill, taste, and be more desirous to collate question- tact in composition, and what varied able passages and reconcile apparent and almost infinite richness and inconsistencies, than to exaggerate splendor of illustration combine to partial defects and to generalize in render the Philosophical Works of cidental errors.
the author before us, not merely the With that bearish dogmatism in most popular of any that have ever grained in his nature, Warburton issued from the press, but even to asserts, that the Essay on Human raise them to the rank of classical Understanding, on its first appear- models in the particular science
the author has no successfully culti- with a conspicuous place in the Dunrated. “To a person,” says M. S., ciad. In a letter to Horace Walpole, “ who reads with attention and can Voltaire claims the merit of having dour the work in question, it is much been the first who made known to more easy to enter into the prejudices his countrymen Mr Locke's performwhich at first opposed themselves to ance, of which he speaks in terms of its complete success, than to conceive such unqualified and extravagant how it should so soon have acquired commendation, as to justify the susits just celebrity. Something, I sus- picion that he was but slenderly, if pect, must be ascribed to the politi- at all, acquainted with the book which cal importance which Mr Locke had he appears so eager to eulogize.previously acquired as the champion“ Locke seul a développé L'Intendeof religious toleration; as the greatment Humain, dans un livre où il n'y apostle of the revolution; and as the que des vérités ; et ci qui rend l'ouyintrepid opposer of a tyranny which rage parfait, toutes ces vérités sont had recently been overthrown." claires." The striking coincidence
Mr Locke's Essay was no less suc between many of the doctrines of cessful on the Continent than in his Locke and Gassendi could hardly own country. The eagerness with have been overlooked by the admiwhich every thing proceeding from rers and followers of the latter; esthe pen of the author of the Letters on pecially if we consider that the transToleration may be supposed to have lation of Coste, above alluded to, been read by those numerous and must have rendered the opinions of enlightened individuals who had been the English metaphysician easily acexpatriated by the Revocation of the cessible to his countrymen, and that, Edict of Nantz, conjoined with the at this time, the Essay on Human circumstance of Coste's excellent Understanding was well known on French Translation having appeared other parts of the Continent. much about the same time, may be thing is certain,” however, (we emsupposed to have greatly contributed ploy the words of our author) “tliat, to render the work popular. It is, long before the middle of the last however, curious to remark, that, al- century, the Essay on Human Unthough Locke was personally and . derstanding was not only read by extensively known in Holland, the the learned, but had made its way Work does not appear to have been into the circles of fashion at Paris. much read in that country beyond In what manner this is to be acthe immediate circle of the author's counted for, it is not easy to say ; friends; which may be accounted but the fact will not be disputed by for by the great favour with which those who are at all acquainted with the Cartesian Philosophy had just the History of French Literature.” begun to be regarded in the Nether To enter at large into the particulands, where it had at first met with lar doctrines on the subject of the such resolute opposition. In Ger- Origin of our Ideas, either promulmany the case was nearly similar. gated by Locke himself, or ascribed At this time, Leibnitz (who had con to him by such of his disciples as tracted some unaccountable jealousy Condillac, Diderot, and Horne Tooke, towards Mr Locke) had reached the is obviously incompatible with the zenith of his literary and scientific limits to which, in this brief and reputation, and was looked up to (if therefore imperfect notice, we are we may employ the irreverent cx- necessarily confined: but we cannot, pressions of Baron Grimm) as the in- nevertheless, dismiss the subject withfallible Head of the Holy Philoso- out a word or two in reference to the phical Church in that country. It monstrous absurdities which have at was in Switzerland that Locke's real various times, and by different wrimerits were first discriminated and ters, been grafted on the Lockian appreciated, as the reader will find, Theory, and a few cursory remarks by consulting the Preface to the sen as to the special merits and defects sible performance of De Crousaz, of the classification in the Essay on whom Pope, in revenge for his acute Human Understanding. exposition of the slender metaphysics pression of Condillac, that “ of the Essay on Man, lias honoured ideas are nothing but transformed
sensations, and the more expanded elegant pages ; sufficient, indeed, to statement of Diderot, that « every convince the most determined folidea must necessarily, when brought lower of Diderot or Tooke, that their to its state of ultimate decomposic masters have totally mistaken, or, tion, resolve itself into a sensible re what is no less probable, misinterpresentation or picture;" (this is pre- preted the meaning of Mr Locke on cisely the pervading principle of the the subject of the Origin of our analytical investigations in the Di. Ideas. It cannot be supposed that versions of Purley;) and “since every we should stop here, to attempt to thing in our understanding has been refute the sceptical conclusions that introduced there by the channel of have been drawn, by various wrisensation, whatever proceeds out of ters, both in France and England, the understanding is either chimeri- from this mistaken view, or ercal, or must be able, in returning by roneous interpretation, of some unthe same road, to re-attach itself to its guarded passages in Mr Locke’s Essay. sensible archetype;" as well as the This, indeed, is the less necessary, as allegation of Condorcet, that“ Locke Reid, Beattie, and particularly Mr was the first who proved that all our Stewart, have already effected this ideas are compounded of sensations ;” desirable object in the ablest and must all be regardedas very erroneous, most satisfactory manner. Suffice it not to say dangerous, expositions of to observe, that, when Mr Locke reMr Locke's theory, which, moreover, solved the elements of all our knowis either grossly misrepresented, or ledge into ideas of sensation and retotally misunderstood by the writers flection, his theory is liable to be efabove alluded to, who seemn to have fectually assailed, not so much from taken certain dogmas for granted, as its crroneous, as from its defective, originated by Locke, without giving classification. There are ideas in the themselves the trouble to ascertain human mind which cannot, without their accuracy or inaccuracy by an 'the greatest violence to language, and inspection of his works. This will to the common sense of mankind, be set in the clearest light by the be arranged under either of the cafollowing passage : “ If it shall be tegories above named. The term demanded, When a man begins to Reflection, as employed by Mr have any ideas? I think the true Locke, is nearly, if not altogether, syanswer is, When he first has any nonymous with the term Conscioussensation. For since there appear
as applied by later philosonot to be any ideas in the mind, before the senses have conveyed any, I conceive that ideas in the under- Philosophers to signify that immediate
* “ Consciousness is a word used by standing are coeval with sensation. knowledge which we have of our present In time, however, the mind comes thoughts and purposes, and, in general, to reflect on its own operations, about of all the present operations of our minds. the ideas got by sensation, and there. Whence we may observe, that conscious. by stores itself with a new set of ness is only of things present. To apply ideas, which call Ideas of Reflec- consciousness to things past, which sometion. These are the impressions that times is donc in popular discourse, is to are made on our senses by outward confound consciousness with memory." objects, that are extrinsical to the (Essays on the Powers of the Humar mind; and its own operations pro- Mind, by T. Reid, D.D. F. R.S. E.ceeding from powers intrinsical, and Edin. 1808. p. 10. 8vo. edit.) Dr Thos. proper to itself, which, when reflected Brown, with his usual acuteness, discernon by itself, become also objects of its
ed the uselessness of this cumbrous phracontemplation, are, as I have said, seology, and has reduced the study of Me. The original of all our knowledge." taphysics to something more simple and ( Essay on Human Understanding,
accessible than heretofore. “ Conscious.
ness,” (says he, Physiology of the Mind, pp. 79-80. London, 1753.) Nu
p. 25. Edin. 1820.) “in its widest sense, merous passages of the same tenor
is truly nothing more than a general and import with the above might be
name, expressive of the whole variety of produced from the Essay, and, in our feelings. In this sense, to feel, is to be point of fact, Mr Stewart has inar conscious, and not to be conscious is not shalled a whole array of them in his to fcel.” To show the reader in what a