Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

side. “Better,', says the traditional maxim of Eng. these blemishes. The fearless confidence with which lish law, that nine guilty men should escape than all that he knew and believed is laid before the that one innocent man should suffer'—and better, public, and Scott presented to the world exactly say we, that nine useless lives should be written as he was in life—in his schemes of worldly ambition than that one valuable one should be neglected. as in his vast literary undertakings—is greatly to be The chaff is easily winnowed from the wheat; and admired, and will in time gather its meed of praise. even in the memoirs of comparatively insignificant The book, in the main, exhibits a sound and healthy persons, some precious truth, some lesson of dear- spirit, calculated to exercise a great influence on conbought experience, may be found treasured up for temporary literature. As an example and guide in

a life beyond life.' In what may be termed profes- real life, in doing and in suffering, it is equally valusional biography, facts and principles not known to able. The more the details of Scott's personal histhe general reader are often conveyed. In lives like tory are revealed and studied, the more powerfully those of Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr Wilberforce, Mr will that be found to inculcate the same great lessons Francis Horner, and Jeremy Bentham, new light is with his works. Where else shall we be better taught thrown on the characters of public men, and on the how prosperity may be extended by beneficence, and motives and sources of public events. Statesmen, adversity confronted by exertion ? Where can we lawyers, and philosophers both act and are acted see the “ follies of the wise” more strikingly rebuked, upon by the age in which they live, and, to be and a character more beautifully purified and exalted useful, their biography should be copious. In the than in the passage through affliction to death? His life of Sir Humphry Davy by his brother, and of character seems to belong to some elder and stronger James Watt by M. Arago, we have many interest- period than ours; and, indeed, I cannot help likening ing facts connected with the progress of scientific it to the architectural fabrics of other ages which discovery and improvement; and in the lives of he most delighted in, where there is such a congreCurran, Grattan, and Sir James Mackintosh (each gation of imagery and tracery, such endless indulin two volumes), by their sons, the public history of gence of whim and fancy, the sublime blending here the country is illustrated. Sir John Barrow's lives with the beautiful, and there contrasted with the of Howe and Anson are excellent specimens of naval grotesque-half perhaps seen in the clear daylight, biography; and we have also lengthy memoirs and half by rays tinged with the blazoned forms of of Lord St Vincent, Lord Collingwood, Sir Thomas the past—that one may be apt to get bewildered Munro, Sir John Moore, Sir David Baird, Lord among the variety of particular impressions, and not Exmouth, Lord Keppel, &c. On the subject of bio- feel either the unity of the grand design, or the graphy in general, we quote with pleasure an obser- height and solidness of the structure, until the door vation of Mr Carlyle :

has been closed on the labyrinth of aisles and shrines, * If an individual is really of consequence enough and you survey it from a distance, but still within to have his life and character recorded for public its shadow.' remembrance, we have always been of opinion that We have enumerated the most original biograthe public ought to be made acquainted with all the phical works of this period, but a complete list of all inward springs and relations of his character. How the memoirs, historical and literary, that have apdid the world and man's life, from his particular peared, would fill pages. Two general biographical position, represent themselves to his mind? How dictionaries have also been published, one in ten did co-existing circumstances modify him from withi- volumes quarto, published between the years 1799 out-how did he modify these from within? With and 1815 by Dr Aikin; and another in thirty-two what endeavours and what efficacy rule over them? | volumes octavo, re-edited, with great additions, bewith what resistance and what suffering sink under tween 1812 and 1816 by Mr Alexander Chalmers. them? In one word, what and how produced was An excellent epitome was published in 1828, in two the effect of society on him ? what and how produced large volumes, by John Gorton. In Lardner's Cyclowas his effect on society? He who should answer pædia, Murray's Family Library, and the publicathese questions in regard to any individual, would, tions of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful as we believe, furnish a model of perfection in bio- Knowledge, are some valuable short biographies by graphy. Few individuals, indeed, can deserve such authors of established reputation. The Lives of the a study; and many lives will be written, and, for Scottish Poets have been published by Mr David the gratification of innocent curiosity, ought to be Irving, and a Biographical Dictionary of Eminent written, and read, and forgotten, which are not in Scotsmen by Mr Robert Chambers, in four volumes this sense biographies.'

octavo. A more extended and complete general Fulfilling this high destiny, and answering its biographical dictionary than any which has yet severc conditions, Boswell's life of Johnson is un- appeared is at present in the course of publication, doubtedly the most valuable biography we possess. under the auspices of the Society for the Diffusion Moore's Byron, the life of Crabbe by his son, Lock- of Useful Knowledge. hart's Burns, and the life of Bentham by Dr Bowring, are also cast in the same mould; but the work which

METAPHYSICAL WRITERS. approaches nearest to it is Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott, an elaborate biography, published in

We have no profound original metaphysician in 1838, in seven large volumes. The near relationship this period, but some rich and elegant commentaof the author to his subject might have blinded his tors. PROFESSOR DUGALD STEWART expounded and judgment, yet the life is written in a fair and manly Dr Reid: and by his essays and treatises, no less

illustrated the views of his distinguished teacher spirit, without either suppressions or misstatements that could alter its essential features. Into the con

than by his lectures, gave additional grace and potroversial points of the memoir we shall not enter: pularity to the system. Mr Stewart was the son of the author has certainly paid too little deference and Dr Matthew

Stewart, professor of mathematics in the regard to the feelings of several individuals ; and university of Edinburgh, and was born in the colin the whole of his conclusions with regard to the lege buildings, November 22, 1753. At the early Messrs Ballantyne, and indeed on the whole ques- age of nineteen he undertook to teach his father's tion as to the parties chiefly blameable for Scott's mathematical classes, and in two years was appointed

A more congenial open. ruin, we believe him to have been wrong; yet far his assistant and successor. more than enough remains to enable us to overlook

* Lockhart's Life, vol, vii. p. 417.

ing occurred for him in 1780, when Dr Adam on the Philosophy of the Human Mind are highly Fergusson retired from the moral philosophy chair. popular, and form a class-book in the university, Stewart was appointed his successor, and continued in some of his views Dr Brown differed from Reid to discharge the duties of the office till 1810, when and Stewart. His distinctions have been pronounced Dr Thomas Brown was conjoined with him as col- somewhat hypercritical; but Mackintosh considers league. The latter years of his life were spent in that he rendered a new and important service to literary retirement at Kinneil House, on the banks mental science by what he calls • secondary laws of of the Firth of Forth, about twenty miles from Edin- suggestion or association - circumstances which burgh. His political friends, when in office in 1806, modify the action of the general law, and must be created for him the sinecure office of Gazette writer distinctly considered, in order to explain its confor Scotland, with a salary of £600 per annum. Mr nexion with the phenomena.' Stewart died in Edinburgh on the 11th of June 1828. No lecturer was ever more popular than Dugald

[Desire of the Happiness of others.] Stewart—his taste, dignity, and eloquence rendered

[From Dr Brown's Lectures] him both fascinating and impressive. His writings are marked by the same characteristics, and can be It is this desire of the happiness of those whom # read with pleasure even by those who have no great love, which gives to the emotion of love itself its partiality for the metaphysical studies in which he principal delight, by affording to us constant means excelled. They consist of Philosophy of the Human of gratification. He who truly wishes the happiness Mind, one volume of which was published in 1792, of any one, cannot be ng without discovering some a second in 1813, and a third in 1827 ; also Philoso- mode of contributing to it. Reason itself, with all phical Essays, 1810; a Dissertation on the Progress of its light, is not so rapid in discoveries of this sort as Metaphysical and Ethical Philosophy, written in 1815 simple affection, which sees means of happiness, and for the Encyclopædia ; and a View of the Active and of important bappiness, where reason scarcely could Moral Powers of Man, published only a few weeks think that any happiness was to be found, and has before his death. Mr Stewart also published Out already by many kind offices produced the happiness lines of Moral Philosophy, and wrote memoirs of of hours before reason could have suspected that Robertson the historian, and Dr Reid. * All the means so slight could have given even a moment's years I remained about Edinburgh,' says Mr James pleasure. It is this, indeed, which contributes in no Mill, himself an able metaphysician, I used, as

inconsiderable degree to the perpetuity of affection. often as I could, to steal into Mr Stewart's class to Love, the mere feeling of tender admiration, would hear a lecture, which was always a high treat. I in many cases bave soon lost its power orer the fickle bave heard Pitt and Fox deliver some of their most heart, and in many other cases would have had its admired speeches, but I never heard anything nearly power greatly lessened, if the desire of giving happi80 eloquent as some of the lectures of Professor ness, and the innumerable little courtesies and cares to Stewart. The taste for the studies which have which this desire gives birth, had not thus in a great formed my favourite pursuits, and which will be so

measure diffused over a single passion the variety of to the end of my life, I owe to him.'

many emotions. The love itself seems new at every Dr Thomas Brown (1778–1820), the successor

moment, because there is every moment some new of Stewart in the moral philosophy chair of Edin- wish of love that admits of being gratified; or rather burgh, was son of the Rev. Samuel Brown, minister it is at once, by the most delightful of all combina

tions, new, in the tender wishes and cares with which of Kirkmabreck, in Galloway. His taste for meta- it occupies us, and familiar to us, and endeared the physics was excited by the perusal of Professor

more by the remembrance of hours and years of wellStewart's first volume, a copy of which had been

known happiness. lent to him by Dr Currie of Liverpool. He appeared an author before his twentieth year, his first work desire always attendant on love, does not, however

,

The desire of the happiness of others, though a being a Review of Dr Darwin's Zoonomia, On the necessarily suppose the previous existence of some establishment of the Edinburgh Review, he became one of the philosophical contributors; and when love. This feeling is so far from arising necessarily

one of those emotions which may strictly be termed a controversy arose in regard to Mr Leslie, who from regard for the sufferer, that it is impossible had, in his essay on heat, stated his approbation of for us not to feel it when the suffering is extreme, Hume's theory of causation, Brown warmly espoused and before our very eyes, though we may at the same the cause of the philosopher, and vindicated his opi- time have the utmost abhorrence of him who is nions in an Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and agonizing in our sight, and whose very look, eren Effect. At this time our author practised as a physi- in its agony, still seems to speak only that atrocian, but without any predilection for his profes- cious spirit which could again gladly perpetrate the sion. His appointment to the chair of moral philo- very horrors for which public indignation as much as sophy seems to have fulfilled his destiny, and he public justice had doomed it to its dreadful fate. It continued to discharge its duties amidst universal is sufficient that extreme anguish before us; we approbation and respect till his death. Part of his wish it relief before we have paused to love, or with leisure was devoted to the cultivation of a talent, or out reflecting on our causes of hatred; the wish is rather taste for poetry, which he early entertained the direct and instant emotion of our soul in these and he published The Paradise of Coquettes, 1814; The circumstances-an emotion which, in such peculiar Wanderer of Norway, 1815; and The Bower of Spring, circumstances, it is impossible for hatred to suppress, 1816. Though correct and elegant, with occasion- and which love may strengthen indeed, but is not ally fine thoughts and images, the poetry of Dr necessary for producing. It is the same with our Brown wants force and passion, and is now utterly general desire of happiness to others. We desire, in forgotten. As a philosopher he was acute and a particular degree, the happiness of those whom we searching, and a master of the power of analysis. love, because we cannot think of them without tenHis style wants the rich redundancy of that of der admiration. But though we had known them Dugald Stewart, but is also enlivened with many for the first time simply as human beings, we should eloquent passages, in which there is often a large still have desired their happiness; that is to say, if infusion of the tenderest feeling. He quoted largely no opposite interests had arisen, we should have from the poets, especially Akenside ; and was some- wished them to be happy rather than to have any distimes too flowery in his illustrations. His Lectures | tress; yet there is nothing in this case which cor

[ocr errors]

responds with the tender esteem that is felt in love. revere, and whose kindness has been to us no small There is the mere wish of happiness to them a wish part of the happiness of our life. which itself, indeed, is usually denominated love, and Is it possible to perceive this general proportion of which may without any inconvenience be so deno- our desire of giving happiness, in its various degrees, minated in that general humanity which we call a to the means which we possess, in various circumlove of mankind, but which we must always remem- stances of affording it, without admiration of an ber does not afford, on analysis, the same results as arrangernent so simple in the principles from which other affections of more cordial regard to which we it flows, and at the same time so effectual-an argive the same name. To love a friend is to wish his rangement which exhibits proofs of goodness in our happiness indeed, but it is to have other emotions at very wants, of wisdom in our very weaknesses, by the the same instant, emotions without which this mere adaptation of these to each other, and by the ready wish would be poor to constant friendship. To love resources which want and weakness find in these the natives of Asia or Africa, of whose individual affections which everywhere surround them, like the ,virtues or vices, talents or imbecility, wisdom or igno- presence and protection of God himself? rance; we know nothing, is to wish their happiness; O humanity!' exclaims Philocles in the Travels but this wish is all which constitutes the faint and of Anacharsis, generous and sublime inclination, feeble love. It is a wish, however, which, unless announced in infancy by the transports of a simple when the heart is absolutely corrupted, renders it im tenderness, in youth by the rashness of a blind but possible for man to be wholly indifferent to man; and happy confidence, in the whole progress of life by the this great object is that which nature had in view. facility with which the heart is ever ready to contract She has by a provident arrangement, which we cannot attachment! O cries of nature! which resound from but admire the more the more attentively we examine one extremity of the universe to the other, which it, accommodated our emotions to our means, making fill us with remorse when we oppress a single human our love most ardent where our wish of giving happi- being ; with a pure delight when we have been able ness might be most effectual, and less gradually and to give one comfort! love, friendship, beneficence, less in proportion to our diminished means. From sources of a pleasure that is inexhaustible! Men the affection of the mother for her new-born infant, are unhappy only because they refuse to listen to which has been rendered the strongest of all affections, your voice; and, ye divine authors of so many blessbecause it was to arise in circumstances where affec- ings! what gratitude do those blessings demand! If tion would be most needed, to that general philan- all which was given to man had been a mere instinct, thropy which extends itself to the remotest stranger that led beings, overwhelmed with wants and evils, on spots of the earth which we never are to visit, and to lend to each other a reciprocal support, this might which we as little think of ever visiting as of exploring hare been sufficient to bring the miserable near to any of the distant planets of our system, there is a the miserable ; but it is only a goodness, infinite as scale of benevolent desire which corresponds with the yours, which could have formed the design of as. necessities to be reliered, and our power of relieving sembling us together by the attraction of love, and of them, or with the happiness to be afforded, and our diffusing, through the great associations which cover power of affording happiness. How many opportu- the earth, that vital warmth which renders society nities have we of giving delight to those who live in eternal by rendering it delightful.' our domestic circle, which would be lost before we could diffuse it to those who are distant from us!

The Discourse on Ethical Philosophy (already Our love, therefore, our desire of giving happiness, alluded to), by Sir James MackintOSH, and his reour pleasure in having given it, are stronger within view of Madame de Staël's Germany in the Edinthe limits of this sphere of daily and hourly inter- burgh Review, unfold some interesting speculations course than beyond it. Of those who are beyond this on moral science. He agrees with Butler, Stewart, sphere, the individuals most familiar to us are those and the most eminent preceding moralists, in admitwhose happiness we must always know better how to ting the supremacy of the moral sentiments ; but he promote than the happiness of strangers, with whose proceeds a step further in the analysis of them. He particular habits and inclinations we are little if at attempts to explain the origin and growth of the all acquainted. Our love, and the desire of general moral føculty, or principle, derived from Hartley's happiness which attends it, are therefore, by the con- Theory of Association, and insists repeatedly on the currence of many constitutional tendencies of our value of utility, or beneficial tendency, as the great nature in fostering the generous wish, stronger as felt test or criterion of moral action. Some of the posifor an intimate friend than for one who is scarcely tions in Mackintosh's Discourse were combated with known to us. If there be an exception to this gradual unnecessary and unphilosophical asperity by JAMES scale of importance according to intimacy, it must Mill, author of an able Analysis of the Phenomena of be in the case of one who is absolutely a strangera the Human Mind, 1829, in an anonymous Fragment foreigner who comes among a people with whose on Mackintosh. Mill was a bold and original thinker, general manners he is perhaps unacquainted, and but somewhat coarse and dogmatical. Among the who has no friend to whose attention he can lay claim recent works on mental philosophy may be menfrom any prior intimacy. In this case, indeed, it is tioned Abercrombie's Inquiry into the Intellectual Powers, evident that our benevolence might be more usefully and his Philosophy of the Moral Feelings. A Treatise directed to one who is absolutely unknown, than to on the Formation and Publication of Opinions, by MR many who are better known by us, that live in our BAYLEY, follows out some of the views of Dr Brown very neighbourhood, in the enjoyment of domestic in elegant and striking language. The Essny on the loves and friendships of their own. Accordingly we Nature and Principles of Taste, by the Rev. ARCHIBALD find, that by a provision which might be termed sin- Alison, is an elegant metaphysical treatise, though gular, if we did not think of the universal bounty and the doctrine which it aims at establishing partakes wisdom of God-a modification of our general regard of the character of a paradox, and has accordingly has been prepared in the sympathetic tendencies of failed to enter into the stock of our established ideas. our nature for this case also. There is a species of The theory of Alison is, that material objects appear affection to which the stranger gives birth merely as beautiful or sublime in consequence of their associabeing a stranger. He is received and sheltered by tion with our moral feelings—that it is as they are our hospitality almost with the zeal with which our significant of mental qualities that they become enfriendship delights to receive one with whom we have titled to these appellations. This theory was ably lived in cordial union, whose virtues we know and ) illustrated by Mr Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review,

[ocr errors][merged small]

in a paper which was afterwards expanded into an Dr Thomas Brown, in like manner, speaks of latent Essay on Beauty for the Encyclopædia Britannica. propensities ; that is to say, powers not in actica. The book and the essay can now only be considered Vice already formed,' says he is almost beyond our as remarkable examples of that misapplication of power: it is only in the state of latent propensity talent and labour which is incidental to the infancy that we can with much reason expect to orereome it of science the time of its dreams.

by the moral motives which we are capable of presentThe Scottish metaphysical school, of which ing: and he alludes to the great extent of knowledge Stewart, Brown, and Alison may be said to have of human nature requisite to enable us to distinguish been the last masters, will ever hold a high place this propensity before it has expanded itself, anderen! in public estimation for the qualities which have before it is known to the very mind in which it exists, been attributed to it; but it must be owned to have and to tame those passions which are never to rage." failed in producing any permanent impression on In Crabbe's Tales of the Hall a character is thus de- ! mankind: nor have we been brought by all its scribed :labours nearer to a just knowledge of mind as the

• He seemed without a passion to proceed, subject of a science. The cause of this assuredly is,

Or one whose passions no correction need; that none of these writers have investigated mind as

Yet some believed those passions only slept, a portion of nature, or in connexion with organiza

And were in bounds by early habit kept.' tion. Since the Scottish school began to pass out of immediate notice, this more philosophical mode

Nature,' says Lord Bacon, will be buried a great of inquiry has been pursued by Dr Gall and his fol- time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation; lowers, with results which, though they have ex- like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat cited much prejudice, are nevertheless received by a to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end considerable portion of the public. The leading till a mouse ran before her. In short, it is plain that we doctrines of Gall are, that the brain is the organ of may have the capability of feeling an emotion—as anger the mind, that various portions of the encephalon fear, or pity-and that yet this power may be inactive

, are the organs of various faculties of the mind, and insomuch that, at any particular time, these emotions that volume or size of the whole brain and its various may be totally absent from the mind; and it is no parts is, other circumstances being equal, the mea- less plain, that we may have the capability of seeing, sure of the powers of the mind and its various facul- tasting, calculating, reasoning, and composing music, ties in individuals. This system is founded upon

without actually performing these operations. observation—that is to say, it was found that large

It is equally easy to distinguish activity from acbrains, unless when of inferior quality, or in an ab- tion and power. When power is exercised, the action intellect and force of character ; also that, in a vast blem in arithmetic, but one may do so with far greater normal condition, were accompanied by superior may be performed with very different degrees of rapi

dity. Two individuals may each be solving a pronumber of instances which were accurately noticed, a large development of a special part of the brain quickness than the other ; in other words, his faculty was accompanied by an unusual demonstration of a He who solves abstruse problems slowly, manifests

of Number may be more easily brought into action. certain mental character, and never by the opposite. much power with little activity; while he who can From these demonstrations the fundamental character of the various faculties was at length elimi. much activity with little power. The man who cal

quickly solve easy problems, and them alone, has nated. Thus it happens that phrenology, as this culates difficult problems with great speed, manifests system has been called, while looked on by many as in a high degree both power and

activity of the faculty a dream, is the only hypothesis of mind in which of Number. scientific processes of investigation have been followed, or for which a basis can be shown in nature. mous with strength, or much power, instead of denot

As commonly employed, the word power is synony. Among the British followers of Gall, the

chief place ing mere capacity, whether much or little, to act; is due to Mr George Combe of Edinburgh, author of while by activity is usually understood much quick: a System of Phrenology, The Constitution of Man Con- ness of action, and great proneness to act. As it is sidered in Relation to External Objects, &c.

desirable, however, to avoid every chance of ambi

guity, I shall employ the words power and activity in [Distinction between Power and Activity.]

the sense first before explained ; and to high degrees (From the System of Phrenology.']

of power I shall apply the terms energy, intensity, There is a great distinction between power and acti- strength, or vigour; while to great activity I shall vity of mind; and it is important to keep this diffe- apply the terms vivacity, agility, rapidity, or quickrence in view. Power, strictly speaking, is the capabi-ness. lity of thinking, feeling, or perceiving, however small In physics, strength is quite distinguishable from in amount that capability may be ; and in this sense it quickness. The balance-wheel of a watch moves with is synonymous with faculty : action is the exercise of much rapidity, but so slight is its impetus, that a hair power; while activity denotes the quickness, great or would suffice to stop it; the beam of a steam-engine small, with which the action is performed, and also progresses slowly and massively through space, but its the degree of proneness to act. The distinction be- energy is prodigiously great. tween power, action, and activity of the mental facul- In muscular action these qualities are recognized ties, is widely recognized by describers of human na- with equal facility as different. The greyhound bounds ture. Thus Cowper says of the more violent affective over hill and dale with animated agility; but a slight faculties of man :

obstacle would counterbalance his moinentum, and

arrest his progress. The elephant, on the other hand, *His passions, like the watery stores that sleep

rolls slowly and heavily along; but the impetus of Beneath the smiling surface of the deep,

his motion would sweep away an impediment suffiWait but the lashes of a wintry storm,

cient to resist fifty greyhounds at the summit of their To frown, and roar, and shake his feeble form.'-Hope.

speed. Again :

In mental manifestations (considered apart from *In every heart

organization), the distinction between energy and viAre sown the sparks that kindle fiery war ;

vacity is equally palpable. On the stage Mrs SidOccasion needs but fan them, and they blaze.'

dons and Mr John Kemble were remarkable for the - The Task, B.5. solemn deliberation of their manner, both in declame.

[ocr errors]

come.

tic power:

tion and in action, and yet they were splendidly gifted more active than another, without reference to size, with energy. They carried captive at once the sym: just as the optic nerve is sometimes more irritable pathies and the understanding of the audience, and than the auditory; but this is by no means a common made every man feel his faculties expanding, and his occurrence. Exercise greatly increases activity as whole mind becoming greater under the influence of well as power, and hence arise the benefits of educatheir power. Other performers, again, are remarkable tion. Dr Spurzheim thinks that long fibres produce for agility of action and elocution, who, nevertheless, more activity, and thick fibres more intensity. are felt to be feeble and ineffective in rousing an audi- The doctrine, that size is a measure of power, is not ence to emotion. Vivacity is their distinguishing to be held as implying that much power is the only attribute, with an absence of vigour. At the bar, in or even the most valuable quality which a mind in the pulpit, and in the senate, the same distinction all circumstances can possess. To drag artillery over prevails. Many members of the learned professions a mountain, or a ponderous wagon through the streets display great fluency of elocution and felicity of illus- of London, we would prefer an elephant or a horse of tration, surprising us with the quickness of their parts, great size and muscular power ; while, for graceful who, nevertheless, are felt to be neither impressive motion, agility, and nimbleness, we would select an nor profound. They exhibit acuteness without depth, Arabian palfrey. In like manner, to lead men in and ingenuity without comprehensiveness of under- gigantic and difficult enterprises—to coinmand by standing. This also proceeds from vivacity with little native greatness, in perilous times, when law is energy. There are other public speakers, again, who trampled under foot—to call forth the energies of a open heavily in debate-their faculties acting slowly people, and direct them against a tyrant home, or but deeply, like the first heare of a mountain-wave. an alliance of tyrants abroad-to stamp the impress Their words fall like minute-guns upon the ear, and of a single mind upon a nationto infuse strength to the superficial they appear about to terminate ere into thoughts, and depth into feelings, which shall they have begun their efforts. But even their first ac- command the homage of enlightened men in every cent is one of power; it rouses and arrests attention; age-in short, to be a Bruce, Bonaparte, Luther, their very pauses are expressive, and indicate gather- Knox, Demosthenes, Shakspeare, Milton, or Cromwell ing energy to be embodied in the sentence that is to

-a large brain is indispensably requisite. But to When fairly animated, they are impetuous as display skill, enterprise, and fidelity in the various the torrent, brilliant as the lightning's beam, and professions of civil life-to cultivate with success the overwhelm and take possession of feebler minds, less arduous branches of philosophy — to excel in impressing them irresistibly with a feeling of gigan- acuteness, taste, and felicity of expression—to acquire

extensive erudition and refined manners-a brain of The distinction between vivacity and energy is well a moderate size is perhaps more suitable than one illustrated by Cowper in one of his letters. “The that is very large ; for wherever the energy is intense, mind and body,' says he, have in this respect a it is rare that delicacy, refinement, and taste are prestriking resemblance of each other. In childhood sent in an equal degree. Individuals possessing mothey are both nimble, but not strong; they can skip derate-sized brains easily find their proper sphere, and and frisk about with wonderful agility, but hard la- enjoy in it scope for all their energy. In ordinary bour spoils them both. In maturer years they become circumstances they distinguish themselves, but they less active but more vigorous, more capable of fixed sink when difficulties accumulate around them. Perapplication, and can make themselves sport with that sons with large brains, on the other hand, do not which a little earlier would have affected them with readily attain their appropriate place; common ocintolerable fatigue.' Dr Charlton also, in his Brief currences do not rouse or call them forth, and, while Discourse Concerning the Different Wits of Men, has unknown, they are not trusted with great undertakadmirably described two characters, in one of which ings. Often, therefore, such men pine and die in obstrength is displayed without vivacity, and in the scurity. When, however, they attain their proper other vivacity without strength; the latter he calls element, they are conscious of greatness, and glory in the man of nimble wit,' the former the man of 'slow the expansion of their powers. Their mental energies but sure wit. In this respect the French character rise in proportion to the obstacles to be surmounted, may be contrasted with the Scotch.

and blaze forth in all the magnificence of self-sustainAs a general rule, the largest organs in each head ing energetic genius, on occasions when feebler minds have naturally the greatest, and the smallest the would sink in despair. least, tendency to act, and to perform their functions with rapidity.

WRITERS IN DIVINITY. The temperaments also indicate the amount of this tendency. The nervous is the most vivacious, next Critical and biblical literature have made great the sanguine, then the bilious, while the lymphatic progress within the last half century, but the numis characterised by proneness to inaction.

ber of illustrious divines is not great. The early In a lymphatic brain, great size may be present fathers of the Protestant church had indeed done so and few manifestations occur through sluggishness; much in general theology and practical divinity, but if a strong external stimulus be presented, energy that comparatively little was left to their successors. often appears. If the brain be very small, no degree of etimulus, either external or internal, will cause great power to be manifested.

A certain combination of organs-namely, Com- The greatest divine of the period is DR WILLIAM bativeness, Destructiveness, Hope, Firmness, Acquisi- PALEY, a man of remarkable vigour and clearness of tiveness, and Love of Approbation, all large — is intellect, and originality of character. His acquirefavourable to general vivacity of mind ; and another ments as a scholar and churchman were grafted on combination -- namely, Combativeness, Destructive a homely, shrewd, and benevolent nature, which no

There was ness, Hope, Firmness, and Acquisitiveness, small or circumstances could materially alter. moderate, with Veneration and Benevolence large— no doubt or obscurity either about the man or his is frequently attended with sluggishness of the men- works: he stands out in bold relief among his brotal character; but the activity of the whole brain is ther divines, like a sturdy oak on a lawn or parterre constitutionally greater in some individuals than in -a little hard and cross-grained, but sound, fresh, others, as already explained. It may even happen and massive-dwarfing his neighbours with his that, in the same individual, one organ is naturally | weight and bulk, and intrinsic excellence.

651

DR PALEY.

« AnteriorContinuar »