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which they dare not explore. Such bugbears, too, are the cause of that latent feeling of insecurity and doubt which many young Christians are acquainted with by bitter experience. The mind that our Creator has given to us, and so wonderfully constituted, must be satisfied. It must know the grounds of its belief, or scepticism will intrude in spite of every effort. The goodness of him who has implanted in our minds desires only that they may meet with proper objects to satisfy them, is the rock on which the Christian takes his stand, and in full reliance on this foundation, he does not fear to encounter the blasts of unbelief.
The speculation of Mr. Hume, on which I would offer a few remarks, is that on the source of human knowledge. You are, doubtless, acquainted with the theory of Bishop Berkeley, put forward by him for the purpose of overturning the pretensions of the Materialists. It is— that matter does not really exist, or that at least we are unable to demonstrate such existence. That we are in possession of perceptions of things, which perceptions may be phenomena of mind, and cannot, at all events, be proved to rest on a substratum independent of mind. That so far from mind being dependent on matter, matter itself, with its endless variety of variations and modes, is but a phenomenon of mind. That in fact there is no external world existing per se, perception, being the only realities. It will be perceived that this theory, while it confounded those logical heads that had arrived at the sage conclusion, that mind was but a peculiar mode or state of matter, at the same time led the way to a species of scepticism exactly the reverse. It was not in itself a sceptical theory, inasmuch as the perceptions of Berkley will be found on examination to be nothing less than matter under another name. Dr. Brown, indeed, considers that this theory rather materialises intellect, than intellectualises matter. It is not, at all events, a complete and consistent scepticism, This remained for Hume to bring about, and he accordingly contends, that we are unable to prove, not merely the existence of matter, but also of mind. Ideas, he says, are the only certainties, these being the immediate subjects of consciousness.
Dr. Reid thinks a sufficient reply to Mr. Hume may be furnished from the now generally admitted fact, that ideas are not abstractexistences, but mere states of mind, and that accordingly not ideas, but matter itself, is the immediate subject of consciousness. It is, however, alleged that this view of the question does not alter the force of Mr. Hume's reasoning. For, admitting that ideas are states of mind, we can in such case be certain of nothing but that we are in possession of such states. Thus it is impossible to know the existence of an external world. By extending Mr. Hume's argument a little further, I apprehend, we shall be furnished with a solution to this, paradox. We may inquire of him, upon what grounds he is a believer in his own consciousness, a fact which no sceptic has yet called into question, because to do so would in effect be irresistibly to prove it. Consciousness is a state of mind, and we believe it on that account ; the existence of matter per se, is assured to us upon the same ground, and we believe that also. We may call upon the sceptic to prove that his ideas regarding the non-existence of a material world have any reality in fact, just as readily as he challenges us to shew that our impressions are a proof
of the existence of matter. Does he involve us in a logical dilemma, we clearly are enabled to retort his argument. He may tell us that we cannot be certain of an independent world, but we may also call upon him to show why we should reject it. We cannot logically prove it, but can he logically disprove it? To what result, then, are we reduced? What, after all, does this vaunted discovery amount to? Absolutely nothing; The logic that can disprove can also prove ; that is to say, we can as much prove as disprove. In either case we can do nothing. And because we cannot prove the matter, are we to doubt? To doubt implies knowledge, and we really are quite as much justified in believing as doubting. But we do believe, and cannot help believing, and this Mr. Hume himself acknowledges. Our constitution requires it. We might as well dispute our consciousness, and if to be consistent we did dispute this, we might, then, as reasonably question the propriety of this disputation. So that, after all, things are left in their old position.
And who ever affirmed that logic is the ground on which the existence of matter is to be received ? The sceptic here seems to act a Fery artful part. He first assumes that upon a certain ground we believe a certain truth, and then labours to show that this is no warrant for it. Instead of acting the part of a true philosopher, and inquiring why we receive and acquiesce in this truth, he pronounces a Teason which he afterwards shows to be a fallacious one. He is like the unbeliever in Christianity who, admitting, as he must, the existence of such a faith, says you are not authorised in accepting it, because certain reasons which à priori, he pronounces necessary, he does not find complied with. Nature will not be tampered with by logic. She will not be bound down by the formulas of man's reasoning faculty. He may, with the followers of Aristotle, prove that there can be only seven planets, but for all that, more than seven planets will, on investigation, be discovered. He may demonstrate, by strict mathematical reasoning, that a certain mile of ground will take an eternity to walk Ofer, inasmuch as it occupies an infinite number of portions of space, each of which requires a portion of time, so that an eternity is necessary for the purpose. All this he may strictly prove, but shall we accept his proof as constituting a fact? Shall we not rather view such reasoning as an amusing puzzle, and accept it only in this light. With pour permission, sir, and if agreeable to your readers, I shall, in your next number, inquire into the true source of human knowledge. With respect, I remain, yours very truly,
[Remarks upon the foregoing letter are invited.-Ed. St.]
A COMIC NOVEL.
THE exuberant wit of this brilliant caricature will, doubtless, secure it many readers. It does not pretend to any acute delineation of in. dividual character, or any artistical construction of plot—which last indeed is more slight and commonplace than in any other novel of the day; but it contains so many exquisite satirical sketches of all the political and religious parties at present existing,—so many smart hits at Young England, Young Ireland, the Puseyites, the Exeter Hall party, and the German school of philosophers, as cannot fail to render it acceptable to each and all. The universality of the satire will indeed prove its chief attraction, since each party can see its opponent ridiculed, even while it winces under an equally well-directed lash. But whilst the author laughs most heartily at the more prominent follies of all parties, he treats of them in no captious or ill-natured vein. Of wit he has plenty; of spleen he has none; and whilst we admire the genuine humour of his pages, we are still more delighted with his good-natured forbearance. In this respect he differs from our other satirical writers, who, for the most part, dip their pens in gall, and he sets an example well worthy of imitation by those, who are but too apt to forget their species in their attacks upon a party, and, in their hatred of the partisan, deem it no injustice to malign the man. To give an outline of the very meagre plot would only weary our readers, wherefore we shall confine ourselves to such outline statements as may serve to render our extracts intelligible.
Mrs. Falcon, the most bustling and amusing personage in the book, is a lady of good family and bad morals. She contrives to support her husband and her numerous children by the exercise of her wits. She quarters them in the house of one friend, and provides a daily dinner for them at the expense of a thousand others. She frequently sends them on a visit to families where governesses and masters are in daily attendance, so that they may pick up a few lessons with the children of those to whom they are on a visit. It is with extreme difficulty that she herself is dislodged from the house in which she chooses to take up her quarters; and she is chiefly to be dreaded at the times when she presents Mr. Falcon with an additional child, as she not unfrequently wheedles her host into paying the expenses of the christening, and acting as godfather to the infant. Her ideas upon the subject of personal property are not so correct as to prevent her from appropri. ating to her own use any stray brooches, rings, necklaces, or articles of dress which may happen to fall in her way. She plumes herself upon her knowledge of French, but her mistakes in this language are as ludicrous as those of Mrs. Malaprop in English. Thus, she talks of going out to dinner, " enceinte" tells her daughter Lucy to keep her head tete montée" says that she knows a singer who is the finest "basso relievo" in London; and desires that her“ cul de sac" (i.e. sac de nuit) may be taken
• Chapman and Hall, London.
out of the carriage. Mr. Falcon is a thin, red-nosed, good-natured, jack of all trades, who filled every situation, peeped into all the books, studied all the grammars, shared all the foolish undertakings, and joined in all the mad schemes, of the last thirty years. He is, at present, secretary to the " Irish Protestant Branch Society, for the conversion of Polish Jews," in which situation he receives a good income for doing nothing, Some idea of his personal property may be gathered from the following conversation. A large party are talking of a trip up the Rhine :
* You will see Hatto's Tower. Hatto was the wicked bishop, who was eaten up by rats and mice, you know,' resumed Chatsworth.
** What did he do? cried Willy Falcon (the youngest boy), suspending operations on a plum cake, to which he had been paying his addresses most assiduously.
** He wouldn't pay his poor-rate.' **Mamma,' said Willy, will the rats eat papa ?' « No, my love ; I hope not. Why do you ask such a foolish question ?'
4. Because, ma', papa said the other day, that he had never paid a poorrate in his life.'"
Mr. Falcon can amuse children in a most ingenious manner, so that he materially assists his wife in her designs upon their parents. He makes a whole regiment of horse, officers, privates, and band, out of a old letter; fabricates a small imitation volcano in a geranium pot; and endangers the safety of the house with his artificial fireworks. One toy which he constructs for the children of Lady Pamela FitzFidget is peculiarly admired. It is an “ Irish national school, with the school-master mutilating the Bible with a pair of scissors, and the Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop Murray clapping him on the back for encouragement." He writes an account of his travels through Ireland, though he never once stirs from Dublin ; but he seriously offends the Young Ireland party (who despise O'Connell), by stating that the letters, “G.P.0.", on all the Irish milestones, mean “ God preserve O'Connell.” We need hardly say that these letters, with certain figures attached, only express the distance of the milestone from the General Post-office in Dublin. The keenness of the satire upon Irish travellers in general will be readily appreciated by those who are acquainted with their works. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Falcon are numerous ; but the younger ones are carefully quartered upon different friends, and only Lucy and Emily, the two eldest girls, are brought forward prominently. Lucy very much resembles her mother ; but Emily is a creature of such angelic sweetness, amiability, and enthusiasm, as to make us wonder continually that she should be the child of such unprincipled, mercenary, and matter-of-fact parents. She is the heroine of the book, and the hero is Tigernach Mac Morris, the representative of the Young Ireland, or extravagant Irish, party. The peculiar creed of this party is, that everything is Celtic-that is, Irish; and that Ireland can produce every necessary and every luxury from her own soil. Thus they argue that Stonehenge is Celtic-stolen from Ireland by English enchanters, many centuries ago; and they resolutely demand the restoration of it in the Hall of Clamour, upon the ground that it never can be restored, or, as one speaker observes,
because that which can be remedied is no grievance."
But let us hear them carrying out their principles in conversation amongst themselves :
“How Irish Homer is ! observed Mac Flecknol.
“The poems of Homer, as we now have them,' said Amyrald,' are feeble translations from the original Celtic, by some contemptible Hoole of Ephesus, or Trapp of Smyrna.'
• • Hurrah! roared Hurly O'Burly, critically.
“ . Fortunately, continued Amyrald, though the original is lost, or, I should rather say, missing, the translation has come down with the name of the great Celtic poet Homeros-O'Meara, or O'Mara, cockneyfied-if I may use that phrase-into Homeara, or Homer.'
“Where was he born, do you think ? inquired Moonshine.
“ Homer was a native of Galway, and the particular tract that produced him bears his name to this very day—Connemara, or Con O'Meara. His Christian name was Con; and the schoolmasters in the west to this day say to their scholars, Con your Homer,' in allusion to the fact which I mention, and which is quite notorious in Connaught.'
6. We see the origin of the name of Achilles at a glance,' said Mac Flecknol, • in that of the island of Achill, which was, no doubt, the hero's birthplace; and what is very curious, indeed, the police are called Myrmidons there, I am told, to this day
“Then, Ulick,' said O'Harper, is common in the west of Ireland (amongst the Burkes, for instance); and Ulick is obviously Ulysses.'
* Orion-O'Ryan,' said Moonshine.
"Swift,' said Mac Flecknol, "has noticed the identity of Ucalegon with O’Callaghan; and I myself knew a Mr. O'Callaghan, in Cork, who had his house burned.""
It may, perhaps, be necessary to inform our readers that Ucalegon is a character whose house is burned in the Eneid of Virgil.
This admirable sketch of the Young Ireland peculiarities is quite equalled by the satire which is levelled at Young England. A party are discussing politics over a dinner whereat a Mr. De Goslyn is present:
"We do not read,' said Charles Bompas,' of a young Israel in sacred history.'
". Perhaps that may be the true import of the phrase, Children of Israel, said Mr. De Goslyn, a lively young man, who having written much nonsense verse at Eton, and read much nonsense prose at Oxford, aspired, on the strength of his academic attainments, supported by the dazzling whiteness of his waistcoats, to represent the borough of High Cocking, on D'Israelitish, or Young England principles.''
Mrs. Falcon contrives, by professing an intimate acquaintance with the most influential voters in High Cocking, to wheedle Mr. De Goslyn into lending her his mother's carriage; but, as soon as she has obtained the loan, she discovers that her knowledge is of Cockermouth, and not of High Cocking. Let us listen to another section of the same party, whilst they discuss Mac Morris, who has been talking with them :
"This Mac Morris,' said St. Crispin, using the jargon of a modern school, which has not done much to improve our language,—this Mac Morris, in his own semi-articulate way, had a word to speak.'
"A strong son of nature he seems,' said Monk, adopting the same style ; there is hero-stuff in the deep big heart of him.'