« 上一页继续 »
of the agent ; and, consequently, no “ Thou shalt do no murder,” says the more guilt can attach to a man for law. But & man has the organ of performing vicious actions, than for “ Destructiveness :" what, then, bea contracting ophthalmia or cholera mor- comes of the command if this organ bus. On that supposition, the moral predominate? It must inevitably be sense is a mere bias, predisposition, or violated. But the same Being who feeling, as independent of reason or utters the command created the orrefleetion as the sensation of hunger gan; that is to say, God calls on a or of heat and cold. But we feel and human and responsible creature to do believe that there exists a difference that which it is physically impossible between human actions, one class of he should ever be able to perform! which we approve and another we But if it be alleged, in opposition to condemn. Whence does this differ. this tremendous conclusion, that there ence arise ? The organic formation is exists in the mind a controlling, reguindependent of the volition of the sen- lating, and balancing power, by which tient being. Is morality, then, wholly the tendency of a particular organ may independent of volition ? According be counteracted at the will of the sto this system, it must be. The de- gent, there is, in that case, an end to velopement of the particular organ is the system which Dr Spurzheim ad. no more an act of individual volition vocates, for we are merely conducted than it is an act of our will to be born; back to a tenet which, though income and where the organ is not developed, patible with his organic developethere can be no moral sense, no disé ments, has formed part of the receivcrimination of actions, no“ knowledge ed creed of mankind in all times and of good and evil." Will it still be nations. If, again, it be denied that maintained that a man is responsible one organ can exert any control over for his actions ? Is a man guilty of a another, the eye over the ear, or the crime in dying of inanition, when he organ of morality over that, for ex. lacks wherewithal to procure suste- ample, of “ Philoprogenitiveness ;":nance? Who ever thought of blaming what, let us inquire, is the meaning a man struck with palsy for not feel which the Phrenologist attaches to the ing pain from the sharp instrument term Guilt? A command supposes, that lacerated his insensible flesh ? a power, or capacity, ot' obedience, No more is he criminal for commit- Where is that power lodged ? Is there ting or omitting certain actions, for a special organ developed on purpose ? the avoiding or performance of which · How is that organ connected with Nature has accommodated him with others, and what is the particular link no organic developement. What, then, that binds them together? If there is morality? Dr Spurzheim tells us be no organ, there can be no such that those actions are good which God power ; if there be a power, there has commanded, and those are of an must, according to the principles of opposite character which he has for- Phrenology, be an organ: the Phrebidder. Mr John Horne Tooke came nologist cannot assume the existence to the very same conclusion from of any power till he has discovered its tracing the laws of Etymology! Let organ. "No more can he assume, with us assume that both are correct in this out proof, that one organ can influence definition of morality, (a point, be it re- or control another. What is the remembered, which we concede only for sult of all this ? It is this, that the the sake of argument,) then what sig- moral sentiments of men depend on nifies the command of Heaven to those the pre-existence of a particular orwho want the particular developement ganic configuration. If this be not which the command presupposes ? To Fatalism, we shall be happy to be fathose who have been so fortunate as voured with a new and more correct to be “constiluted" with the requisite definition of that term. organ, the command is unnecessary : But farther. In opposition to the to those who want that organ, the doctrine of Spurzheim, we hold that command is useless, senseless, in- all our moral determinations, so far sulting. On either view, it is diffi- from being the result of organization, cult to conceive of what possible use a are nothing more or less than the inpositive command, or, in other words, ferences deduced from a process of a direct revelation from heaven, can reasoning.
Sometimes that process is be to a human crcature so situated. rapid and almost intuitive ; at other
times it is the result of a more length- of wild delight, vociferating," I have ened train of induction. But the found it, I have found it !” Now, the highest truths in Geometry, elaborat pleasure which this beautiful discovery ed by the most intense and profound afforded the Patriarch of taciturn phicogitations, are no less firmly believed losophers, was surely very different than the most elementary propositions. from the truth discovered. So it is The infinite approximation of the hy in morals. The qualities of an action perbola to its assymptotes, or the de do not depend on human sentiment, scription of equal areas in equal times though they influence it.
Human by ihe radius vector of a planet re sentiments vary. Child-murder is do volving in an elliptical orbit, may be crime in China: prostitution is not rendered as palpable to the understand only tolerated, but applauded, in Otaing as the equality of the radii of a heite: in France and Italy people circle. It is just so in Morals. Some laugh at cicisbeism and adultery. But of the truchs lie on the surface, as it are infanticide, prostitution, and adulwere, and solicit the inspection of all tery, less criminal on that account? men, and impress themselves on the In whatever the essence of virtue may minds of all.' Others, again, are the consist, there can be no doubt that it result of lengthened processes of rea- implies more than a simple feeling, or, soning. In every action, or series of as Dr Darwin would say, " a result of actions, in which men engage, there sensible configuration." The feeling is a right and a wrong—there is a mo is a mere adjunct, exerting as little inral fitness and an unfitness there is, in fluence on the abstract morality of the short, always an alternative left open action, as the ecstasy of Pythagoras for the choice of the agent. But how on the truth of the proposition in eleare the right and the wrong to be disco mentary geometry, which he was so vered, but by abstracting, comparing, fortunate as to discover. The great weighing, and selecting-in a word, characteristic of virtue, indeed, has by reasoning? If morality consisted been long ago specified by Tully. merely in feeling, this could never be “ Etiamsi a nullo laudetur natura est the case, nor could our moral sense laudabile.” For more ample inforany more than our sense of vision be mation on this interesting subject, we affected by the dictates of the under beg leave to refer the reader to Dr standing. It is no objection to this Price's Review of the most important that we feel approbation and blame questions in Morals, a book which may according as our attention is directed fail indeed to produce conviction, but to virtuous or vicious conduct. Is it which yet remains unanswered. possible to apprehend what is right, A system of education which inwithout being conscious of this feel- volves the doctrine of Fatalism must, ing? The latter is, we conceive, a ne in our apprehension, be inconsistent cessary consequence of the former. with itself. It is true, that Dr S. Morality, as we have already said, admits the improveability of the modoes not consist in the feeling, ral, as well as the intellectual faculties; but the feeling is the natural, not to but the cultivation which he admits say necessary, consequence of the an as possible, is that which results from tecedent morality or immorality of a habit alone, in the same manner as particular action. It is impossible to the sight of an Indian is rendered know, a priori, that a good action more acute, and the sense of feeling in will afford pleasure : in the order of blind people more delicate, from the time, the action must have been first constant habit of attending to the disperformed; therefore it is impossible, tinct intimations of these respective that the character of goodness or vir senses. Upon this principle, theretue can consist in the feeling of ap- fore, education can do nothing in the probation, which is the consequence way of reclaiming those under an evil of the prior performance of a good influence; these must remain in a state action. To give an illustration; of hopeless exclusion and reprobation; when Pythagoras discovered that the susceptible of being usefully impressquare described on the hypothepuse sed by no ameliorating principle; and of a right-angled triangle was equal capable of being delivered from guilt to the sum of the squares described only by annihilation. Now, although on the sides containing the right angle, we believe with Dr S. that there is a he ran into the streets in an ecstasy great original difference (in degree)
between men, we cannot possibly ad- misconceived the drift of that system, mit that there is the same original di- which, we will candidly confess, apversity in the capacity of moral judg- pears to us, at present, so repulsive. ment. All men are nearly upon a Our readers will perceive, that we level in their primitive perceptions of have studiously avoided all reference right and wrong. Their understand- to the religious tendency of Cranioings may, indeed, be confined, and logy, a forbearance which we think their fancy obtuse and dull, but be- amply justified by the sincere relinevolent nature has provided, thai gious, and moral feeling, under the they shall be more on level in ap- full influence and ascendancy of which preciating the rule of conduct. For the book before us appears to have this, we apprehend, there is a very been composed. sufficient reason. It is not necessary
As a specimen of the author's style, that all men should be great philoso- we select the following observations phers or great poets; but it is neces- on the unprofitableness of commencsary that they should all, if possible, ing a course of polite education with be good men. Hence the equality in the study of the classics. moral perception for which we are contending. On any other supposi- “ The most tedious study for children, tion, it is impossible that punishment is certainly that of the dead languages. i could either be just in itself, or cor
am convinced, that thereby many children rective in its operation. It implies
are disgusted from learning things to which that men have erred knowingly, and had they been taught them in their own
they would have attended with pleasure, wilfully, with a full anticipation of language in a practical way. Many others all the consequences of their actions,
are drilled by indefatigable pains to become and an adequate power to eschew classical scholars, and nevertheless fail to them. It is chiefly on this principle, distinguish themselves. Some good Latin too, that, to use a strong word, we as- and Greek scholars, when they come to sert the omnipotence of education. practical business, are left behind by fel. Dr S. has admitted, that “
low students, who at school were underpeople, when tempted, easily yield." valued. The quantity of Latin words Hence it happens, that the greatest crammed into the heads of the students, violations of the laws are generally does not give them the primitive power of committed by persons of this class. reflection, nor does it serve to cultivate atAmongst the higher orders of every ed and yawning study, renders their con
tention. On the contrary, that constraincountry, we never almost find instan- ceptions slow and indolent. ces of robbery, burglary, swindling, *« The spirit of the ancient languages, forgery, pickpocketing, &c.; and to however, is declared to be superior to that what is this to be ascribed, but the in- of the modern. I allow this to be the fluence of education? Nature has crea- case, but I do not find that the English ted no aristocracy of virtue. Were style is improved by learning the Greek. we to illustrate still farther the ef. It is knowa, that literal translations are fects of self-denial and education, we
miserably bad, and yet young scholars are should quote the story of Socrates and taught to translate, word for word, faith
ful to their dictionaries. Hence those who the physiognomist, and refer to the
do not make a peculiar study of their own ancient Stoics, as a proof to what a
language will not improve in it by learnpiteh of moral grandeur human na
ing, in this manner, Greek and Latin. Iy tore may be raised, even when dis- it not, then, a pity to hear, what I have ciplined according to a system far short been told by the managers of one of the of perfection. Upon the Phrenological first institutions of Ireland, that it was easSystem of institution, no such a con- ier to find ten teachers for Latin and Greek summation, however devoutly to be than one for the English language, though wished, is practicable. According to they proposed double the salary to the latthe “ New Philosophy," that which
ter? Who can assure us that the Greek is good already may be made some
orators acquired their superiority by their what better, but that which is evil is acquaintance with foreign languages ? or irreclaimable, and to attempt its re
is it not obvious, on the other hand, that novation would argue both folly and they learned ideas and expressed them in
their mother tongue ? ignorance. This, we believe, is a fair " It is farther said, that it is interesting inference from what has been already to know Latin and Greck, in order to unstated; but it will certainly afford us derstand the etymology of modern lanreal pleasure, to find that we have guages. This is true ; but, with this view,
the English ought to study also the Ger- portance can no longer be attached to it. man, Dutch, French, and Danish, since If we are contented with extracts and transtheir language is composed of words bor- lations of modern works, why should we rowed from all these nations.
not be the same with respect to the an“ After all, I am persuaded that the ad. cient ? Moreover, the greater number of vantage does not repay the trouble of pro- professional men, who are much occupied secuting such studies, and that they occa- in practical life, have scarcely time to read sion an enormous waste of time and labour. what is written in their own language. I had rather learn ten ideas in a given Their knowledge of Latin and Greek, time, than ten different signs which ex- therefore, is quite useless to them and to the press one and the same idea. We should art." pp. 141-145. never sacrifice positive knowledge and reflection to the acquisition of a variety of
Long as this article has already besigns. We should begin to acquire no- come, we cannot allow this quotation cions and that language which is the inost to pass without a few words by way necessary for us to converse in. When I of answer. And, 1. The study of the was examined, in order w my becoming a learned languages is universally adlicentiate of the college of physicians of mitted to be an admirable mediuin London, it would have been more suitable for leading the youthful mind to the to have enquired whether I spoke the Eng; knowledge of the syntactical mechanlish language sufficiently, than whether I
ism and structure of our mother understood the Latin, the English being indispensable to the practice of medicine in tongue. 2. The minds of youth are and about London, because no physician chiefly devoted to this study, when examines his patients in Latin, any more
memory is the predominating faculty than a barrister defends his clients, or a
of the mind, which is thereby happily preacher exhorts his congregation, in that and effectually exercised, at the saine language.
time that the judgment, imagination, " It is said, that a man who knows La- and taste, are gradually expanded. tin, has received a liberal education ; yet 3. The analysis of words, and of it is a lamentable thing that we should pre- the laws of thought that regulate tend to judge of a person's useful attain their manifold changes, is an adments by his knowledge of ancient langu- mirable mental training preparaages. I wish that the medical profession tory to entering on the study of may be cultivated by men of superior talents, but I hope that a knowledge of La
the more abstruse departments of tin and Greek will not continue to be the human knowledge. 4. The taste is touchstone of deciding who is, or is not, refined while the understanding is fit for practising this difficult and import- ipproved : habits of attention and
Few surgeons and physicians, close observation are acquired ; and who are good classical scholars, will, from the treasures of antiquity, uncounterthat circumstance, eqnial John HUNTER feited and undisguised, are opened to in useful knowledge, and in improving the our curiosity and delight. 6. The healing art; and yet he was not prepared mind is not merely expanded by the by the study of ancient languages for the mental training and exercise, but enexcellence he attained.
“We seldom learn to speak Latin and larged also by contemplating the great Greek, or we soon lose the habit of doing patriotism, with which the classics a
and imperishable models of virtue and 80. Thus, we learn these languages in or
bound. der to understand the contents of ancient
6. Had the study of the books. This is well, but then we ought, learned languages been found a mere for the same reason, to study all modern waste of time and labour, it would languages; at least, to act fully up to this long ago have been abandoned for principle, medical men ought to take that something more profitable. And, 7. trouble, since, beyond doubt, all branches In England, where so much attention of natural history, anatomy, physiology, is paid to Greek and Roman learning, and pathology, are more advanced now other branches of education are so far than they were at the time of the Greeks from being neglected, that we are and Romans; and, of course, more knowledge is to be obtained on those subjects literature, and even in science, by no
convinced she is surpassed in general from publications in the modern languages of Europe, than in the languages of Greece
country in the world. In fact, the and Rome. Formerly, when scientific most profound mathematical and lebooks of all nations were published in La- gal learning have been frequently tin, a knowledge of it was necessary; but found united with the most 'distinsince the works of every nation appear in guished classical attainments.
Dr the mother tongue, the same degree of im- Barrow is an example of the former,
and the great Lord Mansfield of the and pervades all classes and descriplatter. Is it really certain, as Dr tions of society. Let us take a deSpurzheim assumes, that boys will sultory view of the effects arising from learn science more readily than pars- its ill-starred agency. ing, and show less reluctance to angles When, in time of war, a general is and alkalis than to longs and shorts ? to be appointed to the command of an We think not.
army, if the candidate's notions of poWe conclude with earnestly recom- litical wisdom chime not in strictest mending, both to the scholar and the unison with those of the party in general reader, this able and easily power, he has no chance of success, accessible work.
although, to the most consummate knowledge of military tactics, he uni
ted the intrepid perseverance of the THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE. first general of antiquity. “ If you don't find him black I'll eat him
If, either in war or peace, a ChanHe said then full before their sight
cellor of Exchequer is wanted, the Produced the beast, and lo! 'twas white !" qualifications for office are magnified,
or underrated, according to the prevaMR EDITOR,
lence in the cabinet of Whig or Tory We are eager to persuade ourselves principles; and if a man's knowledge of that we live in a free and enlightened all the intricacies of finance were drawn age, and are apt enough to bless our from demonstration, as palpable as the stars that we were born under a sys- simplest problem in Euclid, he must tem, the refinements of which, as we succumb to a weaker candidate, if suppose, may justly entitle us to ex- supported by the stronger party. ult over the delusions which misled The same all-trying question of Whig the judgments of our forefathers. or Tory, that leveller of all other preEvery period of the world has, no tensions, determines, alike, the elecdoubt, had its own peculiar notions of tion of every member in the cabinet, right and wrong; and by these no- and magistrate in the borough. tions, whether ill or well founded, If a professor is to be elected to a mankind have ruled both their actions university, or a teacher to an acadeand opinions. It has, however, been my, his political creed, not his scholeft to the present age to be visited lastic acquirements, must now become with a plague, which has strangely the passport to office. It is of no inaffected the understandings of men- portance, that the lessons to be taught and which has imparted its own tingę
lead not to the remotest glance at poto the native springs of mind,—and litics. It may, and it does sometimes this to an extent, perhaps, hitherto happen, that the humble candidate for unparalleled.
office has interfered so very little with What I allude to is Party SPIRIT, politics, that he has no distinct idea of whose essence we may conceive embo- the difference between Whig and Tory. died in a prowling Cerberus, having But did his humble ambition aspire three heads, Whic, Tory,and Demo- to no higher office than that of a ringCRAT, one or other of which barks and er of bells in St Giles's steeple, his sucbowls incessantly at every traveller cess will depend on his penchant for on his voyage to preferment. Like Whig or Jacobite airs, or upon the Satan of old, walking to and fro over political tenets of those who back his the earth, this Cerberus seems now pretensions. permitted to roam free and unre- But further, if even a newspaper is to strained over our island. Yet we be admitted into a family, the question would fain address to it the words of is not asked, with what ability is it Hamlet, “Rest, rest, perturbed spi- conducted? or, with what industry and rit.”
judgment does its Editor cull his seThe intrusions of party spirit are lections from all that is passing in the become almost universal, and its world ? No, the most important crihowlings are heard everywhere. In terion for its choice, or rejection, is, former times they were chiefly con- whether do its columns support the fined to the important movements Whigs or the Tories ? of the helm in state affairs; but One might, indeed, imagine, that now its influence extends throughout, our sacred religion would exempt its