Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

mind and of our senses, produced in We said further that it was a part intercourse with them. The ultimate- of common error to conceive of knowly abstracted relation, or combination ledge as something limited and alof relations, which gives, or is given ready completed in the world : and we in, the term of Science, is quickly ex believe that this error, improbable as pressed and learnt: but the multitude it must appear to every one who is enof forms from which the abstraction gaged in the real investigation of any is made, is without number : and the part of Science, and who sees with knowledge itself subsists not merely daily astonishment and perplexity how in this ultimate term, but in great part much of what he aims to find, still also in the power of the mind from it lies before him undiscovered, is yet a to return again upon the forms, repro- very prevalent one. It is the error of ducing them in itself.

beginners who inagine that in their ilWe observed that it was an error to lustrious leaders, the lights of Science, conceive of knowledge as a sort of de- Science itself has found its consummafinite possession to the mind, not as a tion. Only the Sage knows, that he POWER OF THOUGHT, necessarily in- also is a beginner. It is the error perdefinite:-and this perhaps is in some haps of all but reflecting minds, how degree illustrated by what we have well soever they may understand the since said. Did it consist merely in fallacy with respect to the subject of the perception of relations, and espe- their own efforts, with respect to that cially of those ultimately abstracted of other men's. Who but the scholar relations of which Science constructs is aware that the Greek tongue is not its severely defined propositions, we yet known to us? Who but the mamight conceive of it in one sense at thematician, of the darkness and ridleast, as a definite and fixed possession. dles, that lie about the very grounds Inasmuch as in that case, we could al- of his lucid, undeceiving, demonways with certainty recall our know- strated Science ? —Who but the Poet, ledge. For the strictly defined and how young, perbaps, the poetry of his abstract intellectual forms, once acqui- country yet is ?-We look beyond our red, are recalled readily and certainly. own minds. We see that we have not But our knowledge in two respects de- reached the term. We cannot look parts from this character. In the first beyond the minds of those who implace, as those original impressions measurably transcend us. We have have for the most part been accompa- found that within our own circle we nied more or less with affections of follow a receding circumference. We feeling in their first reception, and know not that it is the same with other what is intellectual in such impres- men. We have not the means to know sions is not perfectly recalled, unless it : and besides our judgment is dazthe feeling in some degree return with zled and overcome. The art in which them : but the power of reproducing, we have no skill appears to us all-acor recalling, feeling is necessarily a complished. The knowledge for which variable one. In the second place, as we have no measure, has to our eye almost every application of knowledge, reached its bounds. The works of which is one important part of its the human intellect bewilder, fatigue strength or power, requires invention, us, with their variety, their number, or a variation from its past forms, or their splendour; and our own admin those in which it hitherto subsists in ration, our own inability, become the mind, to take in the given case: grounds to us of believing in their but invention is a variable power. By perfection. a variable power must be understood We have already said something one which, under unfavourable cir- touching the supposition, that the cumstances, languishes, and is unable PARTICIPATION of every one in the to vield even its customary results, advancement and acquired lights of his but, under favourable circumstances,

time, stood in his actual POSSESSION is capable of rising to exertion, and of the attainments of his time: and vielding results, hitherto unexperien- would add a few words still. One ced. It must further be understood, way in which a man derives advanwhat is very important to be here re- tage from the improvement in the marked, as one capable, in the same midst of which he lives, is, of course, mind, out of means already possessed, in his own pursuit whatever that may of progressive indefinite improvement. be, which has received its own in

provement with others, and from them. spoken of appear to proceed generally Another is, though to what extent this upon one original error. It seems to may generally be of importance may have been overlooked by those who be questioned,-in some particular in- entertain them, that the mind itself stances it is of unlimited importance, which receives knowledge is no me-by acquaintance with particular chanical recipient, but a living printruths which have become commonly ciple and power, a sentient intelligence. diffused. Another, and this is always Its knowledge affects it with pleasure of consequence, is by a participation, and pain, partakes in its growth, unconscious and unsought, in the spi. changes as itself changes, is desired rit of the age. But what is now de- and rejected, is rapid and comprehenscribed, seems of this kind, benefit sive when it is eager and strong, slow enough. And no very urgent reason and partial, when it is averse and can be shewn, that a man, because faint. Were this duly conceived, it such and such branches of knowledge would be conceived also, that this mind have happened to be productive in his is not exactly, in all cases to be urged days, under the cultivation of others, and required to understand and to should, having no other inducement, know, that the spirit of thought must apply himself to be instructed in what awake in it, that whatever compulsion they have learnt.

of acting it may be necessary to subof misconceptions of the unity of ject it to, it demands to be left much knowledge we have already spoken. also, to its own movement and choice, It has, and this should have been said, that its intellectual attainments must in all probability, a profound unity, share the individuality of its characfrom oneness of design in the subject ter, that from all these causes, and for of our knowledge: which we presume utility, research, exact, and hence miunavoidably, however imperfectly it nute, and profound, though limited may be permitted us to trace it. We in its subjects, rather than multifasee it more and more, the more we rious acquisition, is to be wished :know. There appears to be a unity in that knowledge, of the first kind, is it, also, from oneness in the nature of possible nearly to every one ;-of the the intellect to which it is manifested. fast,-in most instances, is only a And there are obvious connexions, as usurpation of the name. we have said, between its different These several observations, not unparts, one assisting and throwing light connected, we hope, though, we are upon another.

But any argument much afraid, more irregular, and less drawn, or rather unargued impression supported and followed out than they resulting from such ideas of an inhe should have been, will perhaps have in Tent unity in knowledge, that there some measure explained to the reader fore its different parts should neces the objection we set out with making sarily subsist together in one inind, to the attempts to reduce knowledge seems altogether ungrounded and fal- into encyclopedic forms. The attempt lacious. We have thought we saw to exhibit all Science IN ONE BODY, reason to suppose, as we have already the attempt to exhibit all Science to explained, that such an impression ONE MIND, which are the two forms was derived, in some degree, from a of the attempt to encyclopedize knowconfused imagination of individuality ledge, include the fallacies of supposin that mind of the race, which is only ing—that knowledge or science is the ideal assemblage of its innumera- bounded and already completed, whereble individual minds.

as in truth it is boundless and must These various misconceptions, as we

remain for ever incomplete,-that it suppose them to be, would, if they may be effectually communicated, such could be admitted, be reasons for en as it now exists, 'in results, independdeavouring to inculcate, and crowd in, ently of the particulars from which much diversified knowledge, upon those results are drawn,-that it is a every individual mind. If the total sum, not a growing power,—that errors, and the contrary views we have to the mind—(this should have been endeavoured to state be just, there said before)—which receives its exuwill then be reason for a cautious and berant treasures, they are useful as very different proceeding in this re- absolute wealth, as an absolute light, spect. The erroneous views we have whereas they are useful in great part

ar

by the agency they exert upon itself, them by their original constitution ;by the forceful action they excite for to which should perhaps be added that and during the acquisition by the spi- such views and attempts, as far as they rit they may, but do not necessarily respect the single mind, are usually to introduce, or awaken when acquired, be considered as disregarding, also, —that the different parts of knowledge other necessary impediments under are capable of being imparted indiffer- which the human mind labours, the ently and alike to different minds, in- restraints of time, of strength, of inedependently of the different intellec- vitable avocation. tual determinations impressed upon

THE MOTHER'S LAMENT FOR HER SON.

For Music.

My child was beautiful and brave !

An opening flower of Spring
He moulders in a distant grave,

A cold, forgotten thing-
Forgotten ! ay, by all but me,
As e'en the best beloved must be

Farewell ! farewell, my dearest !

Methinks 't had been a comfort now

To have caught his parting breath,
Had I been near, from his damp brow

To wipe the dews of death
With one long, lingering kiss, to close
His eyelids for the last repose-
Farewell ! farewell, my

dearest!

I little thought such wish to prove,

When cradled on my breast,
With all a mother's cautious love,

His sleeping lids I prest-
Alas! alas ! his dying head
Was pillow'd on a colder bed

Farewell ! farewell, my dearest !
They told me vict'ry's laurels wreathed

His youthful temples round;
That “ Vict'ry !" from his lips was breathed

The last exulting sound
Cold comfort to a mother's ear
Who long'd his living voice to hear !

Farewell! farewell, my dearest !
E'en so thy gallant father died,

When thou, poor orphan child'
A helpless prattler at my side,

Ny widow'd grief beguiled-
But now, bereaved of all in thee,
What earthly voice shall comfort me ? -

Farewell! farewell, my dearest!

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

THE POLITICAL ECONOMIST.

Essay II.-Part II. Does Political Economy, as taught in the works of the most celebrated authors on that subject, deserve the appellation of a Practical Science; or, do they not treat practicat questions in the same vague, un satisfactory, and contradictory manner, as they do its first principles and theoretical doctrines ?

Ita Philosophi, quia nihil munimenti habent, mutuis se vulneribus extinguant, et ipsa tota Philosophia suis se armis consumat ac finiat. At enim sola Physice labat ? Quid illa moralis ? Num aliqua firmitate subnixa est ? Videamus, an Philosophi in hac saltem parte consentiant, quæ ad vitæ statum pertinet.

LACTANTIUS, Epitome Divin. Institut. In the first part of this Essay we what is its nature, and wherein it conpassed in review the various and dis sists. cordant opinions entertained by the Some writers maintain, that money most celebrated writers on Political is a mere abstract idea—that, in fact, Economy, respecting some of its ele- having no positive and corporeal exmentary and most important doctrines. istence, it cannot be depreciated nor Our object, it will be recollected, was acted upon by any circumstances; and not to examine these opinions, and to that, therefore, though gold and silver determine their truth or unsoundness, coin, being in fact commodities, may except so far as this might be neces- alter in value, yet the real currency of sary, in order to prove our position, a country, being an ideal and abstract that a person, anxious to enter on the thing, cannot positively undergo any study of this science, would be stopt, alteration in value. This theory of even at the threshold of it, by vague money was entertained by several of and shifting meanings attached to those who wrote on the alleged deprewords,-by conflicting authority,—by ciation of the currency, at the comloose and inconclusive reasoning, -and mencement of this century, and who, by finding what was advanced, fre on it, rested their main argument to quently contradicted by facts and ex prove, that the currency of the counperience.

try neither was, in fact, nor could posThe first part of this Essay was con sibly be, depreciated. fined to the definition of the most com Other writers, and among them the mon terms employed in Political Eco- celebrated Montesquieu, do not go nomy, and to its theoretical doctrines: quite so far ; they maintain, however, in this second part, we shall extend that money is an ideal and arbitrary our examination to some of the most sign of value, which may exist under important and most frequently dis- the form of gold and silver coin, or cussed practical questions, on which, under any form that government if on any topic connected with this chooses to give it: that its value and science, it might have been expected utility, as a circulating medium, rest that Political Economists would have entirely on the will of government, and agreed.

not at all on the real and exchangeSome kind of circulating medium able value of the article of which it is has existed in almost all countries from constituted. On this theory, though the earliest ages; the facts relating to most probably without ever having it must therefore be numerous; and entertained it, all the governinents of the causes from which it derives its Europe acted, more or less, for a long value, its operation, and effects, and period. every other circumstance connected It did not give way till it was atwith, or relating to it, must have ex tacked, and its unsoundness as a theory, hibited themselves repeatedly, under as well as its mischievous tendency as every variety of appearance and modi. a practical guide, were exposed by fication. Do Political Economists give Locke in England, by Dutot in France, us any precise, full, and consistent in- and by several writers on this part of formation, either on the theory of mo Political Economy in Italy, among ney, or the practical questions regard- whom may be classed Beccaria. ing it?

Still, however, there are advocates The first difficulty on the subject is for this theory of money, who mainto know what is meant by money,

tain that the value of it depends upon

government, or at least on public opi- turies, at which period the shillings nion; and that these can raise its ex and sixpences passed without difficul. changeable value as currency above ty or scruple for their nominal value, the exchangeable value which the ma though their real value was very much terials of which it is formed possess as depreciated by their lightness. commodities. This position is abso Here, then, on this point, we have lutely denied by others : and both par a fresh instance of contrariety of opi, ties, as is usual in all practical ques- nion among Political Economists; and tions on Political Economy, appeal to each party appealing to facts in supfacts and experience. “The money of port of his peculiar doctrine. There Lacedæmon," observes Say,“ is a proof must be some fundamental error someof the position, that public authority where in the discussion of the subject is incompetent of itself to give curren- of the theory of money; the two broad cy to its money. The laws of Lycur- and directly opposite positions, that gus directed the money to be made of public authority can give currency to iron, purposely to prevent its being its money,--and that it cannot, cannot easily hoarded or transferred in large each rest on facts: one or other must quantities; but they were imperative, be erroneous, or there must be some because they went to defeat these, the modifications in the positions themprincipal purposes of money. Yet no selves, and some peculiar and operalegislator was ever more rigidly obeyed tive circumstances connected with the than Lycurgus.” The very frequent facts, which ought to be taken into acand repeated attempts also made by count, but which are not. the most despotic sovereigns during But can a nation itself invest with those periods of history, and in those the character and uses of money any countries in which the subjects were article which does not possess real and most disposed to implicit obedience, exchangeable value as a commodity ? and when the uses of money were come This question seems to require an anparatively few, are appealed to in sup- swer in the affirmative, from the eviport of the position, that public autho- dence of the facts already stated ; for, rity is incompetent of itself to give by them, we perceive, that silver coin, currency to its money.

worn down twenty or thirty per cent Those who support the contrary in value, still retained all its powers doctrine, though they modify it in as currency in the interchange of some degree, and thus think they re- goods. This fact, however, is repremove the objections deduced from the sented as not bearing so directly and facts we have just stated, still uphold powerfully on the question, as to dein reality the doctrine that the value cide it in the affirmative. Those who of money does not depend exclusively embrace the opposite opinion, contend on the value of the commodity of that silver coin being only used as a which it is formed, but that it may be substitute for gold, where the payfixed at first, or raised above tbat value ments are small, its diminution of by the influence of government, or of weight, while its exchangeable power public opinion, or of both combined. remains the same, does not prove that They allege, that government can give custom or consent can invest money currency to articles, as money, above with more value than the markettheir real value, not from the exercise price of the article out of which it is of despotic authority, but from ano formed, will warrant and support. If, ther cause. The power of a govern- they add, gold coin, much worn, still ment to select arbitrarily the material were received for its original value, of its money, depends principally upon this would be a much more applicable the frequency and amount of its deals and decisive fact. But, they appeal to ings with individuals. On this prin- experience as witnessing, that whenciple, they account for the currency of ever and wherever gold coin has been inconvertible paper, and of what were much worn, it has ceased to retain its called tokens, that is, silver stampt by nominal value. To this, a rejoinder government, as of a value considera- is made, that as even gold coin is debly above the market value of the me- clared by law legally current, below tal of which it was formed. They its full weight, and as it has often, likewise appeal to the silver currency of and for a length of time, passed by this country at the end of the eighteenth common consent for its full value, aland beginning of the nineteenth cen- though weighing less than the law de

« AnteriorContinuar »