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meaning of them; and which are called intuitive truths, self-evident principles of reasoning, or, constitutional judgments. In every act of reasoning we infer some proposition from some other propositions, previously judged to be true; and hence there must have been some truth known before any could have been inferred. The truths known, not by inference, but by perception, apprehension and judgment, are those truths into which every chain of ratiocination may be resolved. On the evidence of external sense Mr. Cogan opposes the “Essay on truth;" which teaches, “that things are as our senses represent them." In opposition to this tenet our author humourously remarks,
"A dog, a monkey, and a child, view themselves in a mirror for the first time. The dog barks at another dog, so confident is he that his senses do not deceive him. The inonkey grins, chaiters, and paws at his comrade. The child goes behind the glass in search of a companion. None of them could be deceived, according to the Doctor's principles. They positively saw an object. Nor can the deception be discovered without the deductions of reason. The dog will perhaps bark till he is tired; the monkey will feel surprised that he cannot come into contact with a playmatc, who seems equally disposed to caress. The child will discover its error by not finding its associate behind the glass, and apply to his tutor to know the reason. The tutor explains the laws of optics; the effects of reflection from polished surfaces, &c. In this manner does the pupil arrive at a satisfactory ultimatum. His reason now convinces him that what he thought to be substance, a real substance, a real person, was a mere reflection of himself. He will be delighted with this addition to his knowledge, and leave the common sense of our philosopher to sit before the glass, in the person of the monkey or the dog, in perpetual ignorance.” p. 232.
This is amusing; but it is no refutation of the assertion which we make, and which we think comprises the substance of Dr. Beattie's representation on the subject; that certain judgments, from our mental constitution, universally follow our perceptions by the external organs of sense. By our eyes we perceive a temple before us; and we judge that the temple, or something that appears like one, really exists without us. Through the eyes of another person this same object may appear to be something else; and he will judge that the object which he perceives, whatever it may be, exists without him. We shall all judge too, that the object would not have been perceived had it not a real existence. The child, who sees his own image in the glass, judges that the object of perception has a real existence without him; and whatever may be his error in his opinion about the nature of that object, he is still correct in thinking that it has a real existence. It is really an image of himself composed by different rays of light which he perceives; and it as really exists as any image on the retina, or as a picture would which should have been painted on the back part of the mirror.
Let the body of any man be in a sound and healthy state, and he will have a constitutional judgment consequent on most perceptions which the mind has through it. Prick his foot, and he will judge that his perception and sensation come through that member of his body: pinch his nose, and he will judge, while all the perceptions and feelings which he has are in his mind, that he feels through the member affected; and hence it has become common to say, that the pain is in the part of the body, through which the percipient and sensitive part of our nature is exited to operation. Neither Bishop Berkley nor Mr. Hume could avoid judging on these subjects, in spite of all their theories to the contrary, as all other men have done. Put your finger into the eyes of a million of men in succession, and every one will have a judgment, that his eyes, and not his fingers, or toes, or ears, are the organs of the pain he experiences: and every one too will judge that a finger without him existed, and that it was thrust into his eyes.
We conclude, from our own experience, that every man has judgments consequent on his perceptions of external objects: and all these judgments which are common to mankind in general we call common sense. If Mr. Cogan chooses to discard it, he may if he can; and we shall not envy him either his intelligence or his happiness. Let it not be supposed, however, that our author discredits his senses; for he reasons from them to arrive at the same judgments which we deem constitutional; and in Speculation VI. attacks and routs Hume's mighty
army of impressions and lively ideas with ability and boldness. He well knew his enemy, and assailed him not only with close reasoning, but with his own test of truth, ridicule; so that were Hume living, he might laugh at bimself
, and thereby prove, to his own satisfaction, that bis philosophy is specious deception. “Our philosopher commences this section,” On Probability, says Cogan,
by asserting that there is no such thing as chance in the world; but as our ignorance of the real cause of any event has the same influence on the understanding, and begets a like species of belief or opinion, he amuses himself with the inquiry how chance would act supposing it existed. This reminds me of a sermon which I once heard on the day of Pentecost, in which the learned divine, after a very short vindication of the disciples from the suspicions entertained of their ebriety, because they spoke in strange tongues, amused himself and his audience, with speculating upon the kinds of wines, with which we might suppose the disciples to have been intoxicated, admitting the charges of intoxication to have been well founded.” p. 307. Our author was not quite so successful in another instance, as in this, in which he attempted to be witty. He would characterize Hume and says,
" He obviously delights to exert all the powers of his intellects, in order to discover the weakness of the intellectual faculties; and he conducts us through various propositions, which he professes to consider as truths, in order gradually and imperceptibly to undermine them. He takes the liberty of uniting two opposite systems in his current language,—that which he attempts to subvert, -and the one he wishes to establish; he talks of us, we, men, the experience of mankind, as if he were assured that other beings exist as well as himself; yet his grand attempt is to weaken all the arguments which support this belief
. He seems to acknowledge the doctrine of cause and effect, at the moment that he combats every principle most intimately connected with it. He frequently retires behind ambiguous phraseology, and undefined expressions; and not unfrequently claims a right to fix ideas to words totally different from the general acceptation. Hence it is as difficult to contend with such an adversary, as it is for regular troops to contend with the bush-fighters of America, who are at one moment in one position, and the next in another; whose professed discipline consists in concealing themselves behind Vol. I.
brambles and thorns, and other interposing bodies, that they may take aim in greater security, at forces which disdain to shelter themselves, and yet find it difficult to return the salute, in consequence of the obscure situation of the foe. To follow this philosopher through all the turns and windings is impracticable.” p. 247.
Our London metaphysician must have thought that bushes grew in a night on the slender fortifications of Plattsburg, and that none grew for a century in the woods which covered the approaching and the retreating British forces. He must have conceived, too, that the marshes around New Orleans are all covered with bushes, except in those places in which the American bullets mowed them away, to make a smooth encampment for his majesty's brave, but still sleeping, subjects. It must have been near Baltimore, we imagine also, that the English army disdained to 'shelter themselves in the bushes, because they preferred to crawl on their hands and knees into the cornfields! It is well for Mr. Cogan that he attacked the dead Hume, rather than one of our formidable bush-fighters; for now he has the honour of victory; but in the other case he might have been concealed under the brambles.
The last speculation is on the subject of Moral Obligation. He endeavours to evince that the source of moral obligation is utility. His reasonings we have not room to state; and if we had, we do not apprehend that our readers would be much the wiser for them. Of the second and last speculation we must say, “ They are no great things.” But the book taken as a whole is far more interesting and useful than Beattie's Essay on Truth, or any book which Dugald Stewart, Esquire, has ever presented to the world. Notwithstanding its errors, we should like to see it republished in America, for the benefit of the clergy; but apprehend we must despair of of it, because Cogan is not a professor of philosophy in Edinburgh, with L. L. D. and a long string of other letters, appended like a kite's tail to his humble M. D., and because our American booksellers decide for the community what they shall read.
Article VII.— The Inaugural Address of His Excellency William Findlay, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, delivered December 16th, 1817. Published by order of the House of Representatives, &c.
A Christian ought always to act in conformity to Christian principles. One of these which should never be forgotten, is, that the followers of Christ should acknowledge him in all their ways; another, that while they confess Christ before men themselves, they should not persecute, slander and injure those who, from any cause, do not. For a constitution or government to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, is one thing; and to establish a religious test, and prostitute the ordinances of our holy religion, quite another thing. Surely, any people, convened by representation, might state in the adoption of a form of government, what are the sentiments entertain. ed by themselves, concerning the supreme object of worship; without doing injury to those individuals, who should constitute a minority in the country, and who should dissent from the public opinion. Surely, our Presidents might have intimated their knowledge of the per. son and authority of the Son of God; and might have spoken respectfully, in some of their proclamations and messages to Congress, of Christianity, without picking the pocket of a Jew, or breaking the neck of a Socinian, or invading the conscience of any infidel. Yet in vain havé we examined the constitution of our country, the Declaration of Independence, and the public communications of our five Presidents, to find something like an intimation of their bowing to Immanuel, or of their knowing “God with us.”
Once, indeed, a lady in Boston showed us a letter from the hand of Washington, in which he used the words “ our Divine Redeemer;" and the same person informed us, that she was a member of the family in which this great map lodged, while in that town; and that from her own personal knowledge she could aver, that every morning the general called his own domestics into his chamber and attended on the duty of family-prayer with