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respects, and probably in many more, of which we have no particular notion, mankind is left by nature an unformed, unfinished creature; utterly deficient and unqualified, before the acquirement of knowledge, experience, and habits, for that mature state of life which was the end of his creation, considering him as only related to this world."*
It is very certain that according to the accounts of nurses, and those concerned in the management of children, an infant does not, as it is termed, "begin to take notice," until after the age of four or five weeks; and the first objects which he perceives are his own hands. From that period, provided the infant continue in health, the mental faculties of perceiving, thinking, reasoning, knowing, and every other faculty connected with the powers of reflexion, are uniformly progressive. The first of these faculties, viz. perception, upon which the other faculties depend, seems, therefore, to remain for a considerable time in a state of quiescence. This is an interesting circumstance, and appears to be, in some degree, connected with the philosophy of speech. The senses are the great originals of all our simple ideas of external objects; and by these the faculties of reflexion are influenced and exerted. By what means body and soul are united, and how, through the medium of the outward organs of sense, the mind receives its impressions, are questions too delicate and abstruse to be comprehended and answered by man. His nature, however prominent in ability, feels itself incompetent to the task; it hesitates, and presently shrinks beneath the inquiry: "better to bless the sun than reason how it shines." The material
* Bishop Butler's Analogy, part 1, chap. 5, sec. 3.
and immaterial parts of man, however, are admirably fitted to act occasionally in unison; and in various situations of his being, they are so constructed as to be very much influenced by each other. These are truths selfevident in nature, and they give to science and philosophy an antecedent proposition, by which one may be enabled to reason on the probable cause of the quiescent state of the mind of an infant; and from which the sound philologist may be enabled to draw a reasonable hypothesis concerning the original part of speech, and the philosophy of language. At this early period of their being, the difference between the state of man and that of the inferior creature, is very striking. The perceptive faculty of our species does not manifest itself near so soon as the perceptive faculty of other animals; but the developement of this one faculty in the infant, evinces to my mind, the boundaries of instinet, and reveals the first dawn of intellect and reason. The immediate and peculiar cares of the dam for her offspring are very soon dismissed, and are at an end. The young is soon enabled to protect and help himself; he feels no actual want, but that which is absolutely requisite for the duration or continuance of himself and species. It is true he sees surrounding objects and is pleased; he plays and frisks before them: but these are altogether distinct from his necessities; they are not in any degree essential to his real happiness. Take away the object of his play and gambol, is he irreconcilable? No:-however suddenly removed, he neither laments, bemoans, nor does he betray the least uneasiness of sensation. The perceptive faculty of the infant leads to a very different end: after a certain period, he begins to notice certain casual objects at their approach he feels delight; he soon se
lects a favourite one; he calls, Mamma! and points, and signifies by signs his wish to have it. Its removal creates uneasy feeling: he cries.
The developement of this faculty seems, to me, to be the very beginning of intellect and language. The casual object, which is here described as being presented to the eyes of the child, and exciting in him pleasurable feelings, was not (as the term "casual" implies) anticipated by any uneasiness of sensation, it was actually present, as it were, by accident, it instantly gave the pleasure, and its removal instantly caused a sensation of pain and the expression of it. As, therefore, the natures of the inferior animals are stationary, and the faculties of man progressive, it follows, that the signs of sensation in the one will be soon fixed and determined: and the instinctive voices and gestures of man will be modified by the progress which he makes in the right use of his reason and intellect. Thus the various bleating of the sheep is as conversably familiar to his kind, as the pur or the mew is to the species of the domestic cat; and these are fixed and unalterable in their qualities. But the laughing and crying of man, both as to their meaning and expression, undergo distinct modifications. At first, as in the infant, they are symbols of sympathy and social affection. In his early stages, the uneasy sensations of hunger or bodily pain, may excite the softer expression of weeping; but no sooner has he grown in years, than similar causes, even to torture, pain, and death, cease to draw a tear; and thus sighs and groans suppressed, indicate the triumph of spirit
In forming the conclusion, that the developement of the faculty of perception in a child, is the very beginning
of intellect and language, it seems requisite to bear in mind how far, in their early stages of being, the state of the human species and that of the brute creation are analogous and also to recollect, that instinctive signs bear no resemblance whatever to language: for the signs of language or parts of speech are conventional: they are agreed upon by the mutual and respective compact of individual nations throughout the world: the signs of instinct are not conventional, they are not agreed upon by compact, but are fixed and determined throughout the whole of every species according to the particular and uncontrollable laws. of nature: and are supposed to have been so ever since the beginning of the creation.
Comparison between the perceptive faculty, as observable in an infant or child, with the same faculty in the adult-example drawn from a view of objects at sea-elucidation of three elementary parts of speech-five parts of speech elucidated by four balls-conceptions of novelty as giving birth to the expression of ideas-their differencessubstantive the primitive part of speech-correspondence of the argument with that of Locke and the Bishop of Worcester respecting substance transpositive idiom of language affording an additional argument in favour of the hypothesis-the verb consequently not the primitive-the theory embracing such a doctrine proved to be false.
IT is perfectly consistent with just reasoning to compare the first operation of the perceptive faculty of a child, recognizing indistinctly the few or many objects around him, with the operation of the same faculty in a .man, viewing indistinctly a few or many objects at a distance. The results arising from every man's own individual experience will convince him, that his notions concerning objects which appear foreign to his senses, will be either restrained or enlarged in proportion to
their proximity or remoteness. This is peculiarly evidenced at sea by sailors on their first notice of an island, and their gradual approaches towards it. Or, perhaps, the analogy now proposed will appear stronger, were we to imagine a fleet or sail of ships, closely moving together, to be just observable to the naked eye of an individual on a desart island. The whole might seem as one only:-one object. Now let me put the question: At the instant of their observing the fleet or sail of ships, what would be the idea passing in the minds of the beholders, who are supposed to be ignorant as to the real state or quality of the object. What would be the thought or character imprinted on the mind of an individual person so situated? We are not long in determining that the meaning which we attach to the part of speech, object, or thing, would be fitly correspondent to the meaning of that outward sign, expression, or part of speech, which such an individual would use to communicate the purport of his conception of the fleet. We will next imagine this fleet, designated by the sign, object, or thing, to have approached sufficiently near to be discovered by the naked eye, as consisting of a number of separate objects or things; till at length they appear of different dimensions. The question again returns:— What would be the ideas passing in the mind of the beholder, and the outward signs of communication which he would use to correspond with his increased ideas? Would not the meaning of the signs correspond with the meaning which we attach to the qualities, or adjectives, or parts of speech, large and small? The affirmative being granted, we suppose him to join the signs large and small, to the former sign object, making toge ther object large or large object-object small or small ob