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for all appearances in the visible world, by fecond cau. ses, by the powers of matter, and mechanisin: and thus they might come insensibly to forget or neglect the great original cause of all. This kind of reasoning convinced the multitude, overawed the wiser few, and effectually put a stop to the progress of useful knowledge.
Such, in general, were the dispositions of mankind, when Sir Francis Bacon came into the World ; whom we will ‘not consider as the founder of a new fect, but as the great assertor of human liberty; as one who rescued reason and truth from the slavery, in which all sects alike had, till then, held them.
As a plaufible hypothefis, a shining theory, are more amufing to the imagination, and a shorter way to fame,, than the patient and humble method of experiment. ing, of pursuing nature thro' all her labyrinths by fact, and observation; a philosophy, built on this principle, could not, at first, make any fudden or general rovolution in the learned world, But its progress, like that of time, quiet, slow, and lure, has in the end been mighty and universal He was not however the first among the moderns, who ventured to diffent from Aris, totle. Rainus, Patricius, Bruno, Severinus, to name no more, had already attacked the authority of that ty. sant in learning, who had long reigned as absolutely over the opinions, as his restless pupil had of old affect: ed to do over the persons of men.
But these writers invented little that was valuable themselves, however, juftly they might reprehend many things in him. And as to the real improvements inade in some parts of na: tural knowledge, before our author appeared, by Gilbert, Harvey, Copernicus, Father Paul, and some few @thers, they are well known, and have been deserved ly celebrated. Yet there was still wanting one great, and comprehensive plan, that might embrace the al
most infinite varieties of science, and guide our enquiries aright in all. This Sir Francis Bacon first conceived, in its utmost extent, to his own lasting honour, and to the general utility of mankine. If we stand surprized at the happy imagination of such a Systein, our furprize redoubles upon us, when we reflect, that he invented and methodized this System, perfected lo much, and sketched out. so much more of it, amidst the drudgery of business, and the civil tumults of a Court. Nature seems to have intended him peculiarly for this province, by bestowing on him with a liberal hand all the qualities requisite: a fancy voluble and prompt to discover the fimilitudes of things; a judg. ment steady, and intent to note their subtlest differences; a love of meditation and enquiry; a patience in doubting; a slowness and diffidence in affirming; a facility of retracting; a judicious anxiety to plan and dispole. A mind of such a cast, that neither affected novelty, nor idolized antiquity, that was an enemy to all impofture, muft have had a certain congeniality and relation to truth. These characters, which with a no ble confidence he has applyed to himself, are obvious and eminent in his Instauration of the sciences : a-work, by him designed, not as a monument to his own fame, but a perpetual legacy to the common benefit of others.
Dr. Johnson. Sei ber ansehnlichen Zahl trefflicher Biographen, welche die englische Nation mehr, als irgend eine andre, aufzuweifen hat, war der ausgezeichnete Vorrang, den D. Johnson in diefer Sats tung von Schriftstellern bebauptet, gewiß kein leichter Ermerk. Schon durch mehrere frühere Versuche dieser Art, besonders aber durch seine Lebensbeschreibung des unglücklichen Dichters, Xis chard Savage, hatte er fich diesen Ruhm eigen gemacht; noch mehr aber ficherte er fich denfelben durch die Fritischen Biogras phieu, womit er die unter seiner Leitung veranstaltete Sammlung englischer Dichter, in sechzig Bånden, begleitete, die aber auch einzeln abgedruckt find. Die Stritik hat freilich an diesen Lebense beschreibungen großern Antheil, als die Geschichte; und was sie jedem Stenner und Liebhaber des feinern Geschmacks vorzüglich schabar macht, ist die Würdigung des dichterischen Verdienftes, die Ents wickelung der Schonheiten und axångel, und die fcharfe Prüfing einzelner Werke der berühmtesten brittischen Dichter, verbunden mit vielen scharfiinnigen allgemeiuern Bemerkungen und Biuken. Dazu kommt die sehr korrekte, oft nur au sorgfältig gerundete Schreibart, die sich dieser Schriftfteller nach klassischen Mustern gebildet hatte, und das durch finnreiche Fülle der Gedanken und des Ausdruds immer neu belebte Interesse dieser Biographien. Einige derfelben, wie die von Cowley, Dryden, miilcon, Pope, 4. A. sind sehr ausführlich); hier erlaubt mir der Raum nur die Mittheilung einer der fårzern. Unerwartet war übrigens der Kalts finn, womit man die oom Hrn. v. Blankenburg angefangne, rehr gute Ueberfeķung, wovon aber nur zwei Bånde geliefert find, in Deutschland aufnahm.
A K E N SI D E.
Mark Akenlide was born on the ninth of November, 1721, at Newcastle upon Tyne. His father Mark,' was a butcher of the Presbyterian sect; his mother's name was Mary Luinsden. He received the first part of his education at the grammar-school of Newcastle; and was afterwards instructed by Mr. Wilson, who kept a private academy. At the age of eighteen, he was sent
to Edinburgh, that he might qualify himself for the office of a diflenting minister, and received fome alfis. tance from the fund; which the Disfenters employ in educating young men of scanty fortune. But a 'wider view of the world opened other scenes, and prompted other hopes : he determined to studphyfic, and res paid that contribution, which being received for a dif serent purpose, he justly thought it dishonourable to retain. Whether, when he resolved, not to be a diflent: ing minifter, he ceased to be a Dissenter, I know not. He certainly retained an uneceflary and outrageous zeal for what he called and thought liberty; a zeal, which cometimes disguises from the world, and not rarely from the mind which it poffelses, an envious desire of plundering wealth or degrading greatness; and of which the immediate tendency is innovation and anarchy, an impetuous eagerness to subvert and confound, with very little care what shall be established. Akenlidę was. one of those poets who have felt very early the motions of genius, and one of those students, who have very early stored their memories with sentiments and images. Many of his performances were produced in his youth; and his greatest work, The pleasures of Imagination, appeared in 1744. I have heard Dodsly, by whom it was published, relate, that when the copy was offered him, the price demanded for it, which was an hundred and twenty pounds, being such as he was not inclined to give precipitately, he carried the work to Pope, who, having looked into it, advised him not to make a niggardly offer, for this was no, every day writer.
In 1741. he went to Leyden, in pursuit of medis cal knowledge; and three years afterwards (May 16, 1744., became doctor of physick, having, according to * 5
the custom of the Dutch Universities, published a the, fis or dissertation. The subject which hè choose was, the Original and Growth of the Human Foetus; in which he is said to have departed, with great judge, ment, from the opinion then established, and to have delivered that which has been since confirmed and received,
Akenside was a young man, warm with every notion, that by nature or accident had been connected with the found of liberty, and by an excentricity which such difpofitions do not easily avoid, a lover of contradiction, and no friend to any thing established. He adopted Shaftesbury's foolish allertion of the efficacy of ridicule for the discovery of truth. For this he was attacked by Warburton, and defended by Dyson: Warburton afterwards reprinted his remarks at the end of his dedication to the Freethinkers.
The result of all the arguments which have been produced in a long and eager discussion of this idle question, may be easily collected.
If ridicule be applied to any position as the test of truth, it will then become a question, whether such ridicule be just; and this can only be decided by the application of truth, as the test of ridicule
Two men, fearing, one a real, and the other & fancied danger, will be for a while equally exposed to, the inevitable consequences of cowardice, contemptuous censure, and ludicrous representation; and the true ftate of both cases must be known, before it can be decided whose terror is rational, and whole is ridiculous; who is to be pitied, and who to be despised,
In the revisal of his poem, which he died before he had finished, he omitted the lines which had given occafion to Warburton's objections.