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complaisance intérieure, qu'il trouvoit dans sa propre pénétration, et l'espéce d'adoucissement aux misères de la vie, qui résulioit pour lui de la délicatesse de sa sensibilité et de l'é oquence de ses plaintes. Il se méla gaiement aux plaisirs du soir, tout réjoui de trouver son cæur soulagé.'
The press has been carelessly corrected ; many superfluous capital letters having been retained. The plates are not excellent.
Art. VII. A Treatise on the sublime Science of Heliography, satis
factorily demonstrating our great Orb of Light, the Sun, to be absolutely no other than a Body of Ice! Overturning all the re. ceived Systems of the Universe hitherto extant; proving the celebrated and indefatigable Sir Isaac Newton, in his Theory of the Solar System, to be as far distant from the Truth, as any of the Heathen Authors of Greece or Rome. By Charles Palmer, Gent. 8vo. pp. 42. 35. Ginger, &c. L ORD Bacon, in his Novum Organum, mentions how liable
to error the popular opinion is in matters of philosophy. Many opinions have been formed concerning the Sun, which philosophers have sometimes ridiculed, and sometimes seri. busly refuted. To shew the absurdity and ignorance of past ages, they quote the Poet asserting that the Sun might be heard to ziss as he descended into the western ocean; and poor Anaxagora condemned to death by the people for asserting that the Sun wis bigger than the Peloponnesus. The people, however, are now more enlightened and tolerant; they even suffer to live quietly a philosopher *, who has attempted to prove that the Sun is not a luminous and igneous but an opaque body :-but what will they say to the present author, who out-Herod's Herod; and resolving not to be outgone in paradox by any of the philosophers, not only denies that the Sun is a body of fire, but asserts it to be a body of ice !!! Nihil tam absurdum excogitari potest, quod dictum non sit ab aliquo philosophorum.
Well ! if philosophy reasons the Sun out of the universe, we hope that we shall nevertheless receive our usual remittances of light and heat.
Mr. Palmer excludes from the common number of the ele. ments, one; because, says he, Nature is in all her ways triune ;-the Sun, according to him, cannot be the cause of light, for Moses relates that there was light in the first moment of creation, whereas the Sun was not made till the fourth day :the Sun is called the organic rotatory of the Deity,'' the speculum of ethereal delegation, and is a medium to reduce the rays of light to an acceptation of the optic perception of men and animals in this transitory world.' According to our author, the Apostle made a truly philosophical allusion, when he said, “Now we see through a glass darkly." What led to the important discovery of the Sun being ice is thus related :
* Dr. Herschell.
• The first thought I had of the Sun bring a body of ice was from experiments in natural philosophy with a convex glass, commonly called a burning glass; I prepared tobacco as combustible matter, then the glass receiving the rays of the Sun, collected the heat of the floating atoms of the radius and refracted that heat to the focus, where by the friction of those rays they set the combustible matter on fire; or in other words on atomatical agitation, for friction always produces fire.
• If a lump of ice could be placed so as to receive the rays of light from the sun, it would act the very same as the glass.
• If we admit that the Sun could be removed, and a terrestrial body of ice placed in its stead, it would produce the same effect.
• The Sun is a crystalline body receiving the radiance of God, and operates on this earth in a similar manner as the light of the Sun does when applied to a convex mirror, or glass, reflecting the heat of the Earth to itself, which we feel more especially when under the influence of its focus, increasing in proportion the more or less it is situated from the horizon.-The summer more intense—the winter less 10.-Its effect will be described in the following section.'
Mr. P. very candidly allows Sir Isaac Newton to have been a great man: but he was engaged, he says, 'very deeply and assiduously in a bad cause’!!!
ART. VIII. Observations on the Zoonomia of Erasmus Darwin, M. D.
By Thomas Brown, Esy. (Edinburgh.) 8vo. Pp. 560. Ss.
Boards. Johnson, Sci 1798. IN N the present state of medical knowlege, it could not be ex
pected that the daring efforts of the author of Zoonomią, in attempting to reduce to a permanent arrangement the immense chäotic mass of physiological and pathological facts, should be marked with no controversy, and disputed by no rival. We are, therefore, less surprised that a book, which professed to change the opinions of the medical world on so many important subjects, should be opposed, than to find that Mr. Brown is the first formidable antagonist whom the novelty of Dr. Darwin's theories has provoked. He has en. tered on this investigation, however, with all the respect due to the great taients and extensive knowlege of the author whom he criticises; and whatever may have been our partiality to the beautiful fabric which he attempts to overthrow, we must 13
consider him as a champion worthy of being admitted to the encounter.
For the investigation of the Zoonomía, a degree of metaphysical knowlege is requisite, which is not often possessed by medical men, and in which the present author displays un. common proficiency. If he be inferior to Dr. Darwin in bril. liancy of imagination, or in elegance of expression, he exhibits much logical acuteness and general information; and though an unsparing, he appears to be always an honourable and candid antagonist. The metaphysical part of the Zoonomia forms, indeed, the principal object of his attack; he confines himself to an examination of the first volume ; and we should suspect, from various passages, that he has studied medicine only as a branch of general science.
We shall extract, from the preface, his observations on the nature of system ; they will arrest the attention of every intelligent reader:
« To philosophize is nothing more, than to register the appear. ances of nature, and to mark those, which each is accustomed to succeed ; and, though we have words, which seem to express causation, we shall find, if we examine the ideas signified, that they merely state the existence of a change. We say, that a body is moved, by impulse, by gravity, by chemical affinity; but we only state the fact of motion, in different circumstances. While we confine ourselves to the order of succession of observed changes, no evil can result from systems; but, if, between observed changes, we suppose another, we do not render the production of the last change more explicable : we only add to it another inexplicable change. When Newton applied to planetary motion the principle, by which bodies fall to the ground, he did not form an hypothesis ; because he did not attempt to explain the cause of the motion, in either case. He merely stated a known fact, and placed out of view the hypotheses, that had obscured it. body falls to the ground: to this we give the name of gravitation, The curvilinear direction of the planets shews them to be acted upon, by different forces, by one of which alone, they would fall to the sun. This effect being, in no respect, different from the fall of bodies, on our earth, the same is given to it. In this, there is no hypothesis. We do not consider the fall of bodies, on the earth, as the cause, by which planets are retained, in their orbits : 'we are merely led by the one, to observe the other, and register them, as similar appearances.'
It is, however, impossible, without altering the whole structure of language, to carry on the affairs of life, or even to write a philosophical book, without employing the hypothesis of the connection between cause and effect. The author himself, in the course of his work, is compelled, on many occasions, to use those terms according to their common acceptation.
Mr. B.'s application of the principles of Berkeley and Hume, to the doctrines of the Zoonomia, gives him a great advantage over Dr. Darwin ; who had, perhaps, conceded in appearance what a rigorous adhesion to his system must take away in effect. We allude to his distinction between spirit and matter, which stands at the head of his book, but is never brought into action in the subsequent part of his theory. On this subject, Mr. Brown has made some important remarks, which our readers will be pleased to see.
• The systems of materialism chiefly owe their rise to the groundless belief, that we are acquainted with the nature of causation. In the external world, we merely know a change of position. Oxygene, hydrogene, and caloric exist : they change their place: water exists. When
one of the ingredients of a compound substance is added to the others, we term it the cause of the compound; because, when it is added, the compound exists. Thus, evaporation, we say, is caused by heat ; because, when a certain quantity of the matter of heat is added to water, vapour exists. In like manner, when one of the ingredients is withdrawn, we consider this privation, as the cause of the remaining compound. Thus, we say : rain is occasioned by cold. Whenever, therefore, we observe addition, or subtraction, we think, that we have discovered a cause; and, to observe addition, or subtraction, it is necessary, that we know, not merely a single change, but a series of changes. Thus, were it possible for us, to see oxygene, and hydrogene, alone, and water instantly formed, without knowing the existence of caloric, the change would appear inexplicable; but the mystery would vanish, if the addition of caloric, the intervening change, were pointed out. As the material phenomena attract our chief attention, and as, in them, we are able to trace a series of additions, or subtractions, which we are erroneously accus. tomed to consider, as a series of causes, we endeavour, in every change, to find something intervening. But, in perception, there is no addition, nor subtraction : light is not to be found in the sensation of vision, nor air in the sensation of sound: nothing intervenes. But causation means the intervention of something; and, therefore, as nature does not present a series of changes, we invent one. A subtile fluid is best adapted to quick changes; and we accordingly resolve perception, into vibrations, or vibratiuncles, or direct motion.
• Had we been accustomed, to consider phenomena, as a series of changes, rather than of effects, it is probable, that no system of mate. rialism would have been formed. We should then have known, that all changes are equally inexplicable, and that the philosopher, who traces a series, where we supposed a single change, only adds to the multitude of facts, of which human ability will never be able, to discover the connection. The * mentalist allows, that he is ignorant of
• * Terms, merely negative, as that of immaterialist, are often convenient in philosophy, being a shorter mode of expressing those, who, though of different opinions, in other respects, agree, in denying a Rev. JUXE, 1799.
the mode, in which the sensation of vision is induced ; but the ra. tional materialist must, in like manner, allow, that he is ignorant of the mode, in which the first vibration of the vital fluid is excited by the action of light. What, then, have we gained from the labour, and ingenuity, he has employed, in constructing his hypothesis, and adapting it to all the phenomena of life? We think, that we have gained much. The phenomena of life are not, indeed, rendered explicable : the number of inexplicable changes is, on the contrary, increased. But, though the real mystery be the same, the apparent mystery is less, by being divided. It is in physics, as in moral sentiment. We think less of the crimes of Domitian; because there were a Nero, and a Caligula. For a solitary sufferer in an earthquake, our pity is strongly roused: but a whole city is laid waste by it ; and, because innumerable tears are shed, our own do not fall. In like manner, in materialism, if there were only a single affection of the percipient fluid, we should feel ourselves, as ignorant of causation, as the mentalist. But there is a series of affections. The fluid vibrates, from side to side, or its particles move, in a straight line ; and we think, that we know more, because there is more, of which we are ignorant.
• That there exists a sentient principle, the materialist, and the mentalist agree : that our ideas, emotions, desires, are modes of this sentient principle, they also agree. In what, then, do they differ? Simply in this. The mentalist acknowleges, that he is ignorant of the nature of that, which causes his ideas, and that, hence, the proposition, which states the sentient principle to be the same, in nature, as that, which causes its changes, is to him unintelligible. The materialist, on the contrary, maintains, that he is conscious, not merely of ideas, but of the nature of that, which causes his ideas; in other words, that the sentient principle, affected, in a certain maner, is not still the sentient principle. If this do not imply a contradiction, it will, at least, be difficult, to state the mode, in which the knowleçe of the nature of the cause of our ideas is acquired. All, that we can infer from them, is the existence of something, by which they are excited; but, that the sensation of sound resembles a vibration, or that any other of our sensations resembles that, which produces it, we have only the unsatisfactory evidence of conjecture. To the unknown cause of our sensations, whatever be its nature, we give the name of matter ; and, though, in common language, we find it convenient, for the purposes of life, to speak of our sensations themselves, as existing externally, we must allow, that the matter, particular proposition. On this account, however, they sometimes lead to confusion; as the frequent use of the generic name prevents a specific one, from being adopted. Thus, the schools of Berkeley and Reid, agree, in denying the materiality of the sentient principle, but are not distinguished, by specific names. I use the termi mentalist, to devote those, who believe the existence of a sentient principle, or mind, and of matter, or an external cause of certain changes of mind, but to which mind bears no other relation, than that of mutual sus. Cobiity of affectin'