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former, and its objects must necessarily be classed with the thinkables. But this would reduce this famous system to the lame and impotent conclusion that our cognition of the unconditioned differs from that of the conditioned only in the fact that certain terms, which are assumed in the one case to be positive, are declared in the other to be negative. But this were a truism which few metaphysicians of any school would care to controvert, in view of the fact that the knowledge of contradictories is one, or of the other equally patent fact that the two notions are interchangeably positive and negative, since either indifferently may be defined to be the negation of the other. It is true it has been said once and again that no positive definition can be given of the unconditioned; yet Hamilton himself has defined the absolute, in positive terms, to be " that which is out of relation, etc., as finished, perfect, complete, total;" while the infinite in turn may be defined to be “that which is continuous," an idea which is no less clearly positive. There would seem to be, therefore, no room to entertain a doubt that in those passages in his writings in which our author affirms our notions of the unconditioned to imply or involve a negation of all thought, we have his true theory. At the same time it must be admitted that other passages, seemingly as explicit, can be found in which he uses the term negative thought, and still others in which he appears to use the phrases as interchangeable; but this assuredly they are not, and cannot be, since the first necessarily deals with the thinkable, while the second, if indeed it be other than a mere nescience, must, as he himself has affirmed time and again, deal with the unthinkable. If then his real position be, as in virtue of these considerations it must be assumed to be," that any attempt to think the unconditioned involves a negation of all thought, and not merely negative thought, the absurd conclusion is inevitable that he proposes to base a rational faith upon the negation of all thought. But this is manifestly impossible, since faith, whether rational or irrational, presupposes thought as a necessary condition precedent; and thought of an unthinkable object is impossible. Nor can such negations possess even a regulative value, such as Sir William Hamilton is disposed to accord to them, forasmuch as they are originated in direct violation of the express laws or conditions under which alone
thought itself is possible. They bear to it, therefore, a relation similar to that which the vagaries of a lunatic bear to the legitimate processes of the sober reason, and consequently can possess no subjective value, and, a fortiori, cannot be made a criterion of objective truth. Thought, thus lawlessly transcending its own limits, can be fitly compared only to Icarus soaring aloft on waxen wings, and its fate, like his, must be sudden destruction, and not the generation of a new class of notions, superior in dignity and importance to any which it could originate while acting in conformity with its own normal laws ! That no injustice is done our author in these strictures is evident from his own words: “The unconditionally unlimited, or the infinite, and the unconditionally limited, or absolute, cannot positively be construed to the mind; they are conceived only by a thinking away from, or abstraction of, the very conditions under which thought itself is realized.” And yet he mays, though, as we must think, with the grossest inconsistency: “Thus, by a wonderful revelation, we are, in the very consciousness of our inability to conceive aught above the relative and finite, inspired with a belief in the existence of something unconditioned beyond the sphere of all comprehensible reality.”
That is indeed a “wonderful revelation” which reveals the unthinkable to thought, in violation of “all the essential conditions under which alone it (that is, thought] can be realized;" but it would, I fear, be so utterly incomprehensible to man that it would better deserve the title of a nescience than of a revelation.
But perhaps the strangest fact in this strange category is, that although our author thus declares the absolute and infinite to be unthinkable, he nevertheless dogmatizes concerning them with a coolness worthy of Spinoza or Hegel ; thus he does not hesitate to declare, “that the subjection of deity to necessity is contradictory of the fundamental postulate of a divine nature,” inconsistently recognizing in practice what he explicitly denies in theory, namely, that we do possess some positive conceptions of the true character of the Divine Being, which we are authorized to use as a priori data in determining the truth or falsity of cognate metaphysical theories; or in other words, he assumes that we can decide authoritatively what is, and what is not, predicable of the unknown and the unknowable. But I submit that we can predicate nothing, good or bad, more or less, of that which is absolutely incogitable and inconceivable, since such a predication must of necessity be based not upon knowledge, but upon ignorance. Logically, therefore, Hamilton should either have abandoned his assumed limits of thought, or with M. Comte he should have exscinded all theology and metaphysics as incogitable and irrational. • These considerations finally suggest another nearly allied thought, namely, that our author has perhaps unintentionally shifted the controversy from the question of the possibility of a cognition of the unconditioned as a fact or real existence, to the entirely different ground of the possibility or impossibility of conceiving how it can so exist, problems which we need scarcely say are totally distinct, not only in themselves but in their relations. We know not now, and perhaps may never know, how the grass grows, how the sun shines, or how the fætus is formed in the womb of the parent animal; but we have no sort of difficulty in cognizing the reality of the facts themselves, nor in determining many of their essential relations. Again, to take a higher illustration, we cannot imagine or conceive how mind, an immaterial substance, can be united to, or act upon matter; or, to assume for the moment no higher ground than that of the materialist, we cannot conceive horo thought, feeling, and volition can be accidents of matter. These problems are, to us, no less inscrutable than the inquiry how God can be self-existent and infinite. Shall we, therefore, declare the facts themselves to be unthinkable? Yet this we must do by parity of reasoning, if on the principles of the philosophy of the conditioned we set aside the unconditioned as unthinkable. We find no more difficulty in comprehending the fact that time, space, and God do exist, and that they are severally infinite, than we do in comprehending the dual nature of man. Can the conclusion, therefore, be avoided, that if the one is unthinkable so also is the other? and that any system which exscinds the one must set aside the other? On the other hand, let that be conceded as a principle which as a fact cannot be denied, that we do cognize much which we are nevertheless unable to conceive, and the major part of these difficulties vanish. The absolute and infinite not now as contradictory abstractions, but as harmonious, co-ordinate, and inseparable attributes of the self-existing Jehovah, are firmly grasped by the mind as realities; and faith, based upon the clearest intuitions of the reason, reposes in the bosom of Him who dwelleth in immensity, and whose goings forth are from everlasting. It is doubtless true, as reason and revelation alike tell us," that we cannot know the Almighty to perfection," that we cannot solve all the mysteries that pertain to his ineffable nature; but it is no less true, that the purest and the highest reason unites with the most exalted faith in the declaration of the old Patriarch: “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Hence, Hamilton truly, but inconsistently, says: “The Divinity, in a certain sense, is revealed ; in a certain sense is concealed. He is at once known and unknown.” Science and philosophy are alike the handmaidens of religion, and each, in her own sphere, points to the Great First Cause of all things, in whose bosom alone the restless mind of man can find repose.
ART. VII.—THE FUTURE OF A COTTON STATE CON
FEDERACY. THE disintegration of this nation is by no means a settled fact; nor is it certain that it will become so, notwithstanding many of the States have "resumed their original sovereignty," on paper, and proclaimed their independence to the world. Patriotism is too prominent a trait in the American character to be smothered out entirely in any section of the Union, although it may, for a time, lie dormant; and there is yet sufficient latent reason among a portion of the people of all of the seceding states to undo the follies of ambitious politicians, who seek their own elevation at the expense of their country.
But our object is not to discuss this question, but to consider the future of a cotton state confederacy in its relations to the rest of the world in peace and war, should its independence be recognized, not only by the North, but by other nations; and in order to do this, it will be conceded that the South will be able successfully to secede; that it will take its place among nations, and be entitled to all the rights and liable to all the responsibilities of a sovereign community, without any opposition from the free states. We will go
further. We will admit the importance of the great Southern staple—cotton, and that for the present this new confederacy must be relied upon for by far the larger portion of the supply. But, notwithstanding all this, we shall demonstrate that there is not, in the cotton states, any of the elements of a permanent national prosperity; that in them stability and order cannot be maintained; that bankruptcy would soon prostrate both the government and the people; that there are within them that which must speedily secure their destruction; and that Africanization will be the final result.
The influence of slavery upon society is always accompanied by one distinctly marked peculiarity: it renders labor disgraceful, and is thereby productive of a variety of consequences upon industry, the distribution of wealth, etc., entirely unknown in free communities, but which are of the greatest importance, and which are now operating on a scale of such magnitude in the cotton states that they must be taken into consideration before any just estimate can be formed of the strength and stability of the proposed Southern cotton state confederacy.
Wealth can be acquired in two ways : by inheritance, or by labor, mental or physical, or by a combination of both. Exclusive mental labor being required in but few branches of business, it can with propriety be altogether omitted in the present discussion, so that our attention will be confined entirely to those occupations in which physical energy is, in a greater or less degree, requisite, as agriculture, the mechanic arts, commerce, etc. The wealthy in the slave states, as elsewhere, seldom engage in these pursuits personally, and depend altogether upon the labor of others, believing that if they direct it they are entitled to all its benefits; and as men are seldom capable of directing in any occupation unless they have first acted as subordinates, skill would be impossible. The poor man, conscious of his own inferior position, is much more punctilious than his wealthy neighbor. The money of the latter might possibly procure him respect, even though he should engage in manual labor; but the former has no such support, and he repels with indignation any offer of employment. There is here and there a man who has the moral courage to bear the scorn of even the slaves by applying himself to some calling; but such cases are so very exceptional that they do not affect