« ПредишнаНапред »
of this noble Earl; and I really believe, from all the information public or private which I have been able to obtain of his Lordship's character and conduct, that he was a man by no means deficient either in understanding or in probity.
The character of Lord Somers is drawn with that happy delicacy, to use Mr. Walpole’s words upon
another occasion, which finishes while it only seems to sketch..
Of the Earl of Orford, the famous Sir Robert Walpole, Mr. Walpole affirms, that fixteen unfortunate and inglorious years since his removal, have written the eulogium. It is but justice, however, to the memory of Mr. Pelham, to say, that the years succeeding the peace of Aix la Chapelle, to the end of the life of that honest and able Minister, were neither unfortunate nor inglorious.
Mr. Walpole, in his great zeal to invalidate the title of Lady Jane Grey, which was certainly one of the weakest that ever insulted the understanding of any nation, appears to me to adopt a very dangerous maxim in politics, viz. That the power given by Parliament to King Henry VIII. to regulate the succession, not being founded on national expediency, could be of no force.- Who is the proper judge of national expediency in this case; the Legislature, or a private individual?
Upon Mr. Walpole's account of the celebrated Lord Falkland, there is much scope for animadversion. A writer who could characterize this
gallant, patriotic and virtuous nobleman, as a “ weak but well-meaning man, who got knocked
on the head early in the civil war, because it 6 boded ill,” must surely have taken some pains to repress the emotions of fympathetic and gene rous sensibility. That Lord Falkland was not a weak man, whatever Mr. Walpole may imagine, is sufficiently evident, as well from the various productions of his pen, as from the high reputation he acquired with his co-temporaries, for understand. ing as well as integrity. It is easily conceivable that Lord Falkland, though he had acted with Hampden and the Patriots, might believe it to be his duty to join the royal party, after the great facrifices the King had made; and though the danger to be apprehended from the success of the King's arms, and the undoubted right of Parliament to judge whether the concessions made by the Crown, were sufficient to secure the Constitution from future attacks, should, I think, have inclined him to adopt a different line of conduct, it is absurd to represent his erroneous choice as a proof of a defect of understanding. Upon that great occafion, men of equal abilities, knowledge, and integrity, would, doubtless, as in every other situation of importance and difficulty, see things in very different points of view. His indulgence of melancholy, and his disregard of life, in the critical and dangerous state of public affairs, after the commencement of the war, may indeed be justly confidered as extremely culpable: but such faults are too
rare, and proceed from motives too generous and noble, to make it necessary to treat them with such contemptuous and sarcastic levity.
I know not whether any apology be neceffary to Mr. Walpole, for the freedom of animadversion which I have indulged in these remarks-If I may presume to judge of his feelings in this instance by my own, he will not deem it any just ground of offence that writings, which by the very
act of publication are submitted to the public censure, should be considered as the proper subject of free criticism. That reserve and ceremony with which it is usual to oppose each other's sentiments in conversation would, in a more public discussion, appear tedious and trifling formality; and the laws of propriety and decorum are not violated in one case, by a deviation from those maxims which were established for the regulation of our conduct in another.
JUSTLY celebrated Christian Divine and
Philosopher has excited the attention of the learned world in general, and the astonishment and indignation of a great part of it, by the publication of a treatise written in defence of the system of Materialism; in which he attempts to prove, contrary to the opinions which has been almost universally prevalent in the Christian Church for a long succession of ages, that man does not consist of two substances essentially different from each other; but that the conscious principle, or what we generally term the Soul, is merely a property resulting from such an organical structure as that of the brain. It follows, as an immediate and necessary consequence, from this hypothesis, that the idea of the natural immortality of the Soul is wholly fallacious, as the properties of thought and sensation must of course be extinguished at the disa solution of that system of organized matter to which they appertain. This opinion has long been considered as a tenet peculiar to infidelity; and
Materialism has been held in almost as much ab. horrence by the generality of Christians, as Atheism itself. The arguments of so able a writer as Dr. Priestley must, however, be entitled to a deliberate and impartial examination; and when we know that so learned a divine, and so acute a metaphysician, does not deem the system of Materialism inconsistent with the belief and profession of Chriftianity, it should incline us to abate somewhat of our prejudice against this obnoxious opinion, and to exercise that candour in investigating the subject, which we should perhaps be apt to discard as too nearly allied to criminal indifference for religion, when controverting the supposed heresies of Spinoza, Hobbes, or Collins.
In this Effay I propose to exhibit a general view, both of the popular and unpopular hypothefis relative to this subject, and of the arguments by which they are severally supported, and to offer a few remarks upon each. And, First, the Immaterialists urge, as a proof equally clear, concise, and conclusive, as a proof nothing short of de. monstration of the essential difference between matter and spirit, that the principle of perception, or consciousness, being in its own nature a simple, unextended, and indivisible power, must inhere in a simple, unextended, and indivisible substance; whereas, the properties of folidity and extension are absolutely essential to matter, which is therefore necessarily a difcerpible sub