Puslapio vaizdai

every species of restraint and controul, and place your entire dependence upon thofe principles of virtue which you have previously and anxiously inculcated, and upon that fenfe of honour which is fo powerful in youthful minds; which is fo happily calculated to aid and ftrengthen virtue when it meets her, and which, as the poet ob. ferves, often "imitates her actions where fhe ist not." I own I place but little ftrefs upon those external accomplishments and graces of behaviour which fome fuppofe only to be acquired in foreign Courts. To me the moft pleafing manners are fuch as are truly English; and I have known many perfons, who have never feen Versailles or the Louvre, who poffefs an elegance and urbanity not to be exceeded by those who have been prefented at every Court in Europe. Foreign manners are by no means congenial to the tafte of the English; and when the behaviour of thofe who have been accuf tomed to good company is apparently changed, in confequence of their refidence abroad, it is generally changed for the worse. I speak not of those who are commonly called travelled coxcombs, and who are fo juftly the fubject of univerfal ridicule, but the behaviour of even men of fenfe and fashion, when they have in any degree contracted the air and manners of foreigners, is, generally fpeaking, fo far difpleafing. What may be thought grace at Paris, at London may appear grimace; and it must be confeffed that travellers

[ocr errors]


travellers of real knowledge and merit are fome times apt to affume an air of superiority and felf-importance, than which nothing can be more disgusting, or can tend more to excite the contempt of others, who have employed their time to, perhaps, at least equal advantage in their native country.

Upon the whole it appears to me, that a longer time spent at the Univerfity, with occafional excurfions to the Continent, would be far pre. ferable to the prevailing custom of wandering about Europe for two or three years fucceffively, till in many inftances an unaffected pleafing Englishman becomes metamorphofed into a conceited and aukward foreigner :-At least it would be happy for the Continent, and much for the credit of our own country, if a stop was put to that egrefs of riotous and diffipated English youth, which at present is fo juftly a fubject of complaint abroad; and who, to the evil difpofitions they carry out with them, add the follies and vices of every different clime and country which they vifit. When fuch men make it their boast that " Europe they faw," let them recollect that " Europe faw them too;" and they will have little reafon to indulge any emotions of vanity derived from this ima ginary fource of fuperiority.

[ocr errors]


Remarks on the XXI. Chapter of Locke's Effay on HUMAN UNDERSTANDING.


ERHAPS no writer can be named, of an cient or of modern times, to whom mankind are under more extensive obligation than Mr. Locke. By his Effay on Human Understanding, he has effected what may well be called a complete revolution of opinion in metaphyfics. Metaphyfics, which had so long and so justly lain under the reproach of bewildering the understanding in a maze of words deftitute of real meaning :-Metaphyfics, which had fo long difcourfed in an unintelligible jargon, became in the hands of Mr. Locke a most interesting and important branch of true philofophy. By his Treatifes on Government and Toleration, he fixed the civil and religious rights of mankind upon a firm and immoveable basis; and in his Theological Works he exhibited the reasonableness of Christianity, and the folidity of the evidence upon which our holy reli gion is founded, in a clear, perfpicuous, and convincing point of view. No one can hold the name and the memory of that great man in higher


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

veneration than myself; but at the fame time I would no more fubmit to take any opinion upon truft from Mr. Locke than from Spinoza or Hobbes; and whenever I difcern, or think I difcern, an error in the writings of a man of such distinguished eminence, I am the more defirous of its being properly animadverted upon and confuted, in order to prevent its acquiring a fanction from the reputation of its Author. This is the only apology I think neceffary for hazarding a few obfervations upon that celebrated chapter of Mr. Locke's Effay, which treats "Of Power," fo far as relates to his representation of the nature of the Human Will, and of the Liberty or Neceffity of Human Actions. The clearness and precifion of Mr. Locke's ideas, on thofe various fubjects which he has undertaken to difcufs, are, notwithstanding the frequent embarrassment of his style, so justly and univerfally acknowledged, that one cannot but be aftonished at the obfcurity and perplexity in which this interesting topic, under his management of it, feems involved; and it is impoffible to point out a more ftriking contrast than this chapter on Power, by Mr. Locke, forms to the "View of the doctrine of Philofophical Neceffity," by Dr. Hartley; which I regard as a masterpiece of compofition, and from which it is evident that the most profound reafonings never need to lofe fight of those indifpenfable requifites of good writing, conciseness, fimplicity, and perfpicuity. I cannot but fufpect that Mr. Locke entered upon the investigation of this celebrated question with reluctance,


reluctance, and that he deviated into obfcurity and inconfiftency in treating upon it, from an apprehenfion of incurring the odium of favouring the philofophical fyftem of Mr. Hobbes, who had fome years before very ably defended the hypothesis of Philofophical Neceffity in an exprefs treatise upon the subject, and who was perhaps himfelf indebted for his accurate knowledge of it to the writings of Spinoza. Now it is well known that Spinoza and Hobbes were reputed Atheists, and the doctrine of Neceffity was, at the time Mr. Locke wrote, almoft univerfally confounded with Fatalism, which was justly regarded as totally irreconcileable with the doctrine of a Divine Providence, and equally at variance with the natural and moral attributes of the Deity. However unworthy of a great Philofopher, I have little doubt but that Mr. Locke, in the investigation of this queftion, was confiderably influenced by the prevailing prejudice againft this tenet. I believe it biaffed his judgment, fo far as to prevent him from admitting the principle in its full extent, though he has admitted all the premises which are neceffary to arrive at the conclufion; and I fear it induced him to adopt the difingenuous artifice of using ambiguous language, in order to disguise the impreffion which it is evident the arguments of the Neceffitarians had really made upon his mind. In a word, he appears neither to have attained to clear ideas upon the fubject, nor to have expreffed the ideas he had with any degree of precision or perfpicuity. The free agency of man may be confidered

« AnkstesnisTęsti »