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ledge, has, in all ages, been reckoned the most dignified and happy of human occupations; and the name of Philosopher, or Lover of Wisdom, is given to those who lead such a life. But it is by no means ́ necessary that a man should do nothing else than study known truths, and explore new, in order to earn this high title. Some of the greatest philosophers in all ages have been engaged in the pursuits of active life; and an assiduous devotion of the bulk of our time to the work which our condition requires, is an important duty, and indicates the possession of practical wisdom. This, however, does by no means hinder us from applying the rest of our time, beside what nature requires for meals and rest, to the study of science; and he who, in whatever station his lot may be cast, works his day's work, and improves his mind in the evening, as well as he who, placed above such necessity, prefers the refined and elevating pleasures of knowledge to the low gratification of the senses, richly deserves the name of a True Philosopher.
"One of the most gratifying treats which science affords us is the knowledge of the extraordinary powers with which the human mind is endowed. No man, until he lias studied philosophy, can have a just idea of the great things for which Providence has fitted his understanding, the extraordinary disproportion which there is between his natural strength and the powers of his mind, and the force which he derives from those powers. When we survey the marvellous truths of Astronomy, we are first of all lost in the feeling of immense space, and of the comparative insignificance of this globe and its inhabitants. But there soon arises a sense of gratification and of new wonder at perceiving how so insignificant a creature has been able to reach such a knowledge of the unbounded system of the universe-to penetrate, as it were, through all space, and become familiar with the laws of nature at distances so enormous as baffle our imagination-to be able to say, not merely that the Sun las 329,630 times the quantity of matter which our globe has, Jupiter 308, and Saturn 934 times; but that a pound of lead weighs at the Sun 22 lbs. 15 ozs. 16 dwts. 9 grs. and of a grain; at Jupiter 2 lbs. 1 oz. 19 dwts. 1 gr. 24; and at Saturn 1 lb. 3 ozs. 8 dwts. 20 grs. r part of a grain; and what is far more wonderful, to discover the laws by which the whole of this vast system is held together and maintained through countless ages in perfect security and order. It is surely no mean reward of our labour to become acquainted with the prodigious genius of those who have almost exalted the nature of man above its destined sphere; and, admitted to a fellowship with those loftier minds, to know how it comes to pass that by universal consent they hold a station apart, rising over all the Great Teachers of mankind, and spoken of reverently, as if NEWTON and LAPLACE were not the names of mortal men."
The treatises which have followed this introductory discourse, are upon Hydrostatics, Hydraulics, Pneumatics, and Heat, and the series is regularly continued. It is difficult to praise too highly the admirable union of plain and pure English diction, with profound scientific views, which distinguishes these works.
One or two errors, which had crept into the early numbers, have since been rectified in new editions; and we learn that the circulation has already reached ten thousand, and is rapidly increasing. The Society have announced, that as soon as a few more treatises upon Natural Philosophy are published, a few upon general subjects will be introduced, and then a series on the different branches of Mathematics. We cannot help wishing that the desire for these works may be gratified, by publishing the Mathematical treatises, which are understood to be nearly ready, out of their turn, while the historical series is going on, in order that a preparation may be made for completing the series of Physical treatises, by pursuing the more abstract and mathematical parts of these sciences. When this great work is completed, if finished as it has been begun, it will undoubtedly form by far the most important of the contributions from men of science and letters to the instruction and improvement of mankind,
It is quite impossible to contemplate the efforts thus making for the improvement of mankind, without feeling the mind ele vated with an extraordinary hope, and even a lively faith, in the success of so grand a work. The Society, which has nobly undertaken to provide the means of self-instruction for all classes, has adopted the true method of remedying the prevailing ignorance. It has set before the world the advantages and pleasures of science, and it has taken upon itself to enable all men, with a little patience and attention, to learn every branch of useful knowledge. To the common people, including inferior tradesmen and artisans, this gift is invaluable; there is no class of them, from the mechanist down to the day-labourer in husbandry, who may not both improve their understanding and better their hearts, and also mend their circumstances, by studying some branch or other of Natural Philosophy. Can any one doubt that a knowledge of Chemistry is practically useful and immediately profitable to the bleacher, the dyer, the painter, the glassmaker, the brewer? or that those who work in the line of engineers will gain by knowing the nature of the mechanical powers? or that bankers and canal men must be the better at their craft for knowing hydraulics? But the peasant has to deal with plants, and with cattle, and with manure,-surely he will be the better at his craft for knowing something of vegetation, of zoology, and of mineralogy. These works of the Society are most important to these classes; because, especially in villages and hamlets, and farm houses, they cannot have the aid of teachers, and must, if they learn at all, rely on their own reading for instruction. The Society has, first, brought science down to the
level of the most ordinary capacity, and enabled the reader, how ignorant soever, to master it by merely attending to what he reads. If any of its treatises should still be found not adapted to teach the peasant, hands far inferior to those which prepared them, may make their contents still more simple and familiar.
But there is another class, far higher in society, though, generally speaking, not more versed in scientific matters, who must soon feel the desire of repairing the defects of education, and, though late, of becoming acquainted with the laws and structure of the universe they live in. Philosophy has only of late years made its way into the higher orders of the community; and now, that its lessons are so much better relished, and the learning of them is so much more in vogue than it used to be twenty or thirty years ago, persons of a certain station and age, how desirous soever of understanding them, are unwilling to go to school again, and are prevented from attempting to teach themselves, by the want of books, so planned and so written, as to make what they contain intelligible to ignorant readers, who have not the aid of a tutor in their studies. This defect is now in the course of being supplied by the Society; and any one who regrets having neglected science in early youth, when few patricians thought of pursuing it, will now be able to taste its gratifications. He may take up any of the treatises that strikes his fancy he will find it easy to learn the branch of science handled in it. He will then learn his own force of acquirement, and be desirous of exerting it in gaining some other branch.
After thus mastering all the departments, as far as a popular knowledge goes, he will probably have found that his taste and capacity lead him to one division by preference; to this he will addict himself peculiarly, and, no longer satisfied with a general and somewhat superficial knowledge of it, he will again study these works, and be led from them to deeper and more detailed treatises. His time being his own, he may even discover new truths, or new applications of the truths thus learned; and for one devoted to science, that we now have, we may live to see, hundreds, who, despising the frivolous amusements, or less innocent occupations of their station, shall deem it their highest joy and chiefest good to shed a light upon the dark places of philosophy, and live after death in the reverence and gratitude of posterity -for one now capable of relishing the PRINCIPIA and the ME-, CHANIQUE CELESTE, we may have hundreds who shall deem their education as accomplished gentlemen imperfect, until they can follow and enjoy the most sublime of all the efforts of human genius.
ART. XI. The New Antijacobin Review.-Nos. I. and II. 8vo. London. 1827.
WE E ought to apologize to our readers for prefixing to this
article the name of such a publication. The two numbers which lie on our table contain nothing which could be endured, even at a dinner of the Pitt Club, unless, as the newspapers express it, the hilarity had been continued to a very late hour. We have met, we confess, with nobody who has ever seen them; and, should our account excite any curiosity respecting them, we fear that an application to the booksellers will already be too late. Some tidings of them may perhaps be obtained from the trunk-makers. In order to console our readers, however, under this disappointment, we will venture to assure them, that the only subject on which the reasonings of these Antijacobin Reviewers throw any light, is one in which we take very little interest-the state of their own understandings; and that the only feeling which their pathetic appeals have excited in us, is that of deep regret for our four shillings, which are gone and will return no more.
It is not a very cleanly, or a very agreeable task, to rake up from the kennels of oblivion the remains of drowned abortions, which have never opened their eyes on the day, or even been heard to whimper, but have been at once transferred from the filth in which they were littered, to the filth with which they are to rot. But unhappily we have no choice. Bad as this work is, it is quite as good as any which has appeared against the present administration. We have looked everywhere, without being able to find any antagonist who can possibly be as much ashamed of defeat as we shall be of victory.
The manner in which the influence of the press has, at this crisis, been exercised, is, indeed, very remarkable. All the talent has been on one side. With an unanimity which, as Lord Londonderry wisely supposes, can be ascribed only to a dexterous use of the secret-service money, the able and respectable journals of the metropolis have all supported the new government. It has been attacked, on the other hand, by writers who make every cause which they espouse despicable or odious,-by one paper which owes all its notoriety to its reports of the slang uttered by drunken lads who are brought to Bow Street for breaking windows-by another, which barely contrives to subsist on intelligence from butlers, and advertisements from perfumers. With these are joined all the scribblers who rest their claim to orthodoxy and loyalty on the perfection to which they have carried the arts of ribaldry and slander. What part these gentle
men would take in the present contest, seemed at first doubtful. We feared, for a moment, that their servility might overpower their malignity, and that they would be even more inclined to flatter the powerful than to calumniate the innocent. It turns out that we were mistaken; and we are most thankful for it. They have been kind enough to spare us the discredit of their alliance. We know not how we should have borne to be of the same party with them. It is bad enough, God knows, to be of the same species.
The writers of the book before us, who are also, we believe, the great majority of its readers, can scarcely be said to belong to this class. They rather resemble those snakes with which Indian jugglers perform so many curious tricks: The bags of venom are left, but the teeth are extracted. That they might omit nothing tending to make them ridiculous, they have adopted a title on which no judicious writer would have ventured; and challenged comparison with one of the most ingenious and amusing volumes in our language. Whether they have assumed this name on the principle which influenced Mr Shandy in christening his children, or from a whim similar to that which induced the proprietors of the most frightful Hottentot that ever lived, to give her the name of Venus, we shall not pretend to decide; but we would seriously advise them to consider, whether it is for their interest, that people should be reminded of the celebrated imitations of Darwin and Kotzebue, while they are reading such parodies on the Bible as the following:-" In those days, a strange "person shall appear in the land, and he shall cry to the people, Behold, I am possessed by the Demon of Ultra-Liberalism; I "have received the gift of incoherence; I am a political philo❝sopher, and a professor of paradoxes.'
We would also, with great respect, ask the gentleman who has lampooned Mr Canning in such Drydenian couplets as this"When he said if they would but let him in, He would never try to turn them out again,'
whether his performance gains much by being compared with New Morality? and, indeed, whether such satire as this is likely to make anybody laugh but himself, or to make anybody wince but his publisher?
But we must take leave of the New Antijacobin Review; and we do so, hoping that we have secured the gratitude of its conductors. We once heard a schoolboy relate, with evident satisfaction and pride, that he had been horsewhipped by a Duke: we trust that our present condescension will be as highly appreeiated.
But it is not for the purpose of making a scarecrow of a ridi