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We must not, after all, be taken for enthusiasts in the enterprise of the author before us. Our readers should distinc:ly understand, that the object of the present volume, (and we are not confident of receiving another,) is,---not to do for all the sciences what Linnæus did for one, but to do for the sciences themselves what Linnæus did for the subjects of a particular science; or, in still more definite language, to do for the several departments of universal science what that philosopher did for the subjects of botanical science. Linnæus classified material objects; whereas the author under review has undertaken to classify the several systems of facts and principles and reasonings to which the examination of both material and immaterial objects has given rise. The subjects of their respective labours, therefore, are not a little different: and in order to determine the comparative merits of the two achievements, it is necessary to ascertain the peculiar circumstances which render any multitude of objects susceptible of arrangement into provinces, orders, or any other general divisions. It is requisite, in the first place, we apprehend, that there should be, in the whole body of particulars, some common quality which can make them susceptible of formation into one general subject, simplex et unum: and, in the second place, that the specific particulars which come into any one subordinate department, should have, besides the quality that is universal, some common property or circumstance which palpably distinguishes them from those that fall to any other subordinate department. - In the first of these requisites the undertakings of Linnæus and of our author appear to be equally philosophical; inasmuch as the investigation of the particular objects in the vegetable world is the general subject of botanical science; while the consideration of the particular departments of learning composes the general subject of universal science. Vegetation, in the former case, and learning or knowledge, in the latter, are those common properties respectively, which render the two classes of objects susceptible of arrangement into general heads. In the second requisite, however, we think botany has somewhat the advantage over catholepistemica. If, in any collection of material objects, there runs through a certain number some common attribute or quality, the circumstance of its being addressed directly to the senses renders it so distinct and obvious that we are never liable to mistake it for any other quality whatsoever. In the vegetable kingdom, for example, when we find that one race of plants have but a single stamen, another but two, a third but three, and so on, the foundations of different classes are as distinct as numbers can make them. All subjects purely intellectual, however, are too indefinite, or else too imperfectly understood, to admit of a precise classification. They have, it is true, certain general divisions which, in some parts, are sufficiently distinct: but, like the colours of the rainbow, they run into each other; while, unlike those colours, they are unsusceptible of prismatic separation. It is in conse. quence of the indistinctness of our perceptions, and other mental operations in relation to these things, that the philosophy of the human mind has not kept pace with the philosophy of matter;—and to the same cause we attribute the deplorable fact, that subjects, which are solely or partially intellectual, have never received so precise and definite a nomenclature, as those which are purely and absolutely material. Two out of the three provinces, according to Mr. Woodward's classification, the Hylennæcia and the Ennæcia, or the sciences founded upon matter in union with mind, and the sciences founded upon mind by itself, must necessarily partake of the general indistinctness which attends all intellectual phenomena. Though we must confess, therefore, that the science of botany is supe. rior to the system of universal science, in the definiteness and precision of the circumstances upon which its nomenclature is founded, we must not be considered as granting, on the other hand, that the catholepistemica ‘may not have subordinate divisions sufficiently distinct for all the purposes to which such a classification can be applied. The department of universal science founded on our perceptions of matter, for example, may be divided into the two classes which are conversant with our perceptions, first, of inanimate, and, secondly, of animate mat. ter; while these two classes, again, can each be subdivided into two sciences; the former of which are, the science of the earth, and the science of minerals; the latter, the science of plants and the science of animals. This classification is sufficiently definite; and yet we can hardly tell whether botany should be arranged under the class which embraces the science of inanimate, or under that which includes the science of animate matter. The point can be settled only by defining life, and ascertaining whether it be proper to predicate it of plants, and not of minerals.
There is another point of analogy between the enterprises of Linnæus and of our author which we ought to consider very briefly before we dismiss the subject. In entering upon a work like that of Mr. Woodward, the object and utility of a nomenclature should be held constantly and steadily in view. Besides the advantage of having a set of words formed out of a language equally intelligible to the learned of all nations and tongues; an advantage which is both obvious and important; the only great practical benefit that seems to be at all derivable from giv. ing new names to old objects, consists in the relief afforded to the mind by enabling it to grasp a multitude of particulars in a few general terms. When we have once accurately classified the subjects of any particular science, instead of overtasking the memory with the recollection of all the attributes belonging to every individual, we have only to remember those few common qualities which run through each particular class: and as the terms of all new nomenclatures are generally composed of words which stand for these common qualities, the memory is again assisted by the establishment of an associating principle between the several objects and their respective names. Were it not for some general exponents of this sort, we should get lost in the multitude of particulars with which almost every science is conversant. The memory, for example, would find itself absolutely inadequate to the retention of all the objects embraced by the term botany, were they not referable to a few general heads, by means of the common attributes which distinguish the several classes and orders: and even as it is at present, with all the advantages of perhaps the best classification that could be devised,—no person can become so great a proficient in the science as to dispense altogether with the employment of a reference book.
The great merit of the Linnæan classification is found in the precision and distinctness, and consequent ease, with which it enables us to comprehend an almost innumerable collection of objects in a comparatively small number of departments: and it must, indeed, be the chief object of all such undertakings to render the student capable of mastering a science which, on account of the multitude of particulars included in it, would otherwise be almost unattainable. If, for instance, there were but fifty plants in the world, a classification and nomenclature would be nearly superfluous; inasmuch as the human mind, limited as it is, can, without any very great straining, have a clear perception, and a distinct remembrance, of each individual object, where the whole number is so small. Yet it is not to be denied, that the classification of even fifty particulars into two or three general provinces would greatly relieve the mind in their perception and remembrance. The glory of a work, on the other hand, must be measured by the difficulty of achievement: and as there must be a great deal more difficulty in the classification of five thousand, than in that of fifty, objects, we cannot persuade ourselves that the author before us is entitled to any thing like so much praise as the father of botanical science. The former had, at the farthest, only about sixty-five particulars to classify; whereas the latter had to arrange into classes and orders more than sixty times that number. But to compensate, in some measure, for the advantage of superior difficulty, it must be considered, that while the common qualities which Linnæus made the foundations of his arrangement were obvious, definite, and sensible, those which our author had to search out were, in a great many instances, abstruse, indistinct, and equivocal. We are sure his classification has been the result of much labour; and though the undertaking was not urgently called for, and has been a great deal too hastily, and too clumsily prosecuted, we think the general adoption of his table, with some alterations, would well enough consummate and top off a system of universal science.
But, besides composing a set of terms for the several departments into which he has classified the sciences, the author before us has given entirely new names to the very sciences themselves. And we are pretty sure, that the substitution of this part of his system for the set of old names which the sciences now bear, would be another considerable improvement in our present nomenclature. What, for example, would be more desirable than to use the single terms stereosophia,'hydrosophia,' aerosophia,' photosophia,' • electrosophia, and · magnetosophia,' for the old circumlocutions of the doctrine of solids, the doctrine of fluids, the doctrine of light, the doctrine of electricity, and the doctrine of magnetism? If, in short, we could erase from our books the whole body of terms and phrases which at present designate the different branches of science, and insert in their places a complete set of new names, constructed on some general plan, like that proposed in the volume before us, there can be no doubt that the innovation would be an improvement. We confess, however, that we are not oversanguine as to the accomplishment of such a revolution. When men are obliged, at all adventures, to remember the specific term which designates each individual of any number of objects, perhaps no considerations of improvement could wean their tongues from the habit of articulating familiar names, and habituate it to the pronunciation of a new nomenclature. If the multitude of particulars is so great, that the mind finds itself incapable of retaining the specific names, we are driven by sheer necessity to adopt a system of comprehensive terms. This was, of course, one great cause of the comparative facility with which the new chymical nomenclature obtained in almost all modern languages; and the same circumstance would equally facilitate the adoption of a new arrangement and a new set of terms for many of the remaining sciences. As the number of the sciences themselves, however, is comparatively insignificant, the ease with which we retain
them in the memory, under their present appellation, must greatly retard the progress of a new nomenclature:--And notwithstanding the brevity and the euphony' of Mr. Woodward's classical terms, we are afraid that almost every people will still continue to call the sciences by their old home-made names. With all our good wishes on his side, therefore, we cannot flatter the author with the prospect of much success. We must not be set down with the absolute · desperati.' p. 238. We hope his system will be universally adopted, but we do not much expect it.
Upon the whole, we think this is a curious, and not uninteresting book. However much men may differ as to the utility of his labours, we are sure that nobody will deny Mr. Woodward the praise of originality. His friends can claim but a very small share of the approbation or dispraise which may attend his work; for though he seems to be very fond of asking advice, and of detailing it at full length, we seldom find him quitting his own proper opinion for that of any other person. He is one of those men who first make up their minds on a subject-and then seek the council of their acquaintances. We have no hopes, therefore, of convincing him that our own nomenclature is better than his;—nor do we much expect to see his succeeding volumes less overloaded than the present with useless information and uncouth phraseology. We have no objection, however, to employing a few hours of leisure in observing the movements of such a character; and whenever the supreme Court of Michigan territory is not in session, we hope Mr. Woodward will come again into the Atlantic borders, and enlighten us with another quarto. We dove to the bottom of our pool, to be sure, when this great volume first dropped amongst us:
Terruit urbem-terruit gentes; but its presence has now grown so familiar that we go all over it without the slightest apprehension of danger.
Art. II. A Sketch of the State of Medical Science in this Coun
try; with a brief Account of its Origin, Progress, and Pre
sent State on the other Contine's THE science of medicine rests upon an extensive basis. It
I derives from the mineral and the vegetable kingdoms the materials with which it operates, in curing diseases. The knowledge of the systems of animals, traced in their infinitely varying progression from the plant to man himself, still growing more complicated as we recede from the one and approach the other, develop in a vast number of natural experiments, made in the great laboratory of life, the relations of that curi