« הקודםהמשך »
mains of the crocodile and the bones of the elephant have been discovered in high northern latitudes, so that we may reasonably infer that the axis of the globe has been so much inclined to the ecliptic, that the part of it, which we inhabit, may have once (or oftener) been divided by the equator. Every part of the earth may have, and probably has, at one time or other, been the residence of every species of animal, from the northern bear to the Arabian camel. But supposing Mr. Turton's argument available, so far as regards other animals, it is of little weight as regards man,
for as a species he is indigenous to every soil and climate.
The continual revolutions of the matter of the globe, the composition and decomposition of animal, vegetable, and mineral substances, seem to me perfectly compatible with the notion of the eternity of man, and succession itself depends on such incessant and endless mutations. The heaviest objection to the eternity of man appears to be founded on the small progress he has made in science and intelligence in an eternal lapse of ages, but he himself seems equally as subject to revolutions in those matters as the planet on which he lives does in others. Progression and retrogression, I am sorry to observe from the slender portion of history we have on record, mark his path; barbarism and civilization alternately affict and cheer ihe different regions of the earth; witness India, Persia, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
When I first turned my attention to subjects such as those on which I am now writing, I now and then contemplated the possisibility and the probability of one of those regularly irregular moving masses of matter, called comets, crossing the plane of the earth's orbit, as we were gliding by by, and treating us with another “ Noah's flood" or perhaps driving us completely out of our present comfortable and convenient track, in either of which cases, I saw nothing but careless ruin for us all, with the exception of some miraculously favoured few. This is according to the calculation of, I think “ wicked Will Whiston," who could digest the tale of a universal deluge, but could not stultify himself sufficiently to believe in the doctrine of the “glorious trinity.” Since then I have met with Sir Richard Phillips's new theory, which seems much superior in reasonableness to the Newtonian. All general changes according to the former hypothesis are gradual and regular.
I might make some objections to the word “identities” as nothing is strictly identical for two instants together, but I do not wish to quibble about a word. I will, therefore, suppose that Mr. Turton, in applying the word to man, intends it to signify the same being which is personified under a particular form and possessed of certain qualities peculiar to itself; so that Thomas Turton is the name given to a particular identity, and which has been for a number of years considered as the same being; or that cer.
tain identity which is now signified by the same name. This I conceive is what is popularly understood by the term identity, and the sense in which Mr. Turton uses it, though philosophically speaking there is no such thing, for any two successive periods, I shall therefore use the word in its popular sense, and shall have an opportunity of shewing how loosely even Mr. Turton can rea
He says, “ matter I take to be very different from its identities; the former apparently eternal, the latter created in time; every thing that ceases to give evidence of its once beginning, though we may not be capable of demonstrating its creation. There are identities which we observe to commence and to cease, but we never saw or heard of matter either commencing or ceasing to be under any circumstances, and this alone establishes ą difference in their manner of existence.” Further,
“ viewing matter as the eternal cause, and every identity one of its effects, may we not imagine every animal, vegetable, and mineral in existence extinct, and the elements of matter remaining. Here is the misfortune of using a phrase which has scarcely any, if any, meaning. What are the elements of matter but parts of matter, and if parts, identities? If it were laid down that dia, monds, or cabbages, or oysters were the elements of matter, then I certainly could imagine' every anímal, vegetable, and mineral extinct, except diamonds, cabbages or oysters; but I can forın no idea of matter exclusive of its identities. : Mr. Turton, I suppose, will not deny that the whole of matter consists of parts, and I do not know how it is possible to conceive parts of matter but as identities, grains of sand, stones, trees, animals, or whatever he likes. They will have extension, solidity and figure, and do not these qualities enter into the composition of every identity, and can any thing which comprises these be void of identity ? Can matter exist independent of its parts or identities? If it can, 1 shall be glad to learn how, for I am unable to form an idea. If it require more than one element to make up the whole of matter, as Mr. Turton, by using the plural number, appears to think, must not every element be distinct from the other elements, and if distinct, do not shape and size belong to it, and if so, is it not a perfect identity ? I think that Mr. Turton will not for the sake of getting rid of the identity of the elements of matter, (which he admits are eternal) deny them dimension and figure, and if he do not, what are become of his assertions that identities are not eternal? If then some identities were eternally co-existent with the whole of matter, or rather were the parts of which the whole of matter was composed, might not mankind as a species be one of the parts or identities ? I think Mr. Turton will find it difficult to prove it impossible, for all things are equally possible before experience, and it is as possible for man to be one of the identities which has existed from eternity in successiou, as any
other identity. He is incessantly changing and is never the same for two moments together.
I am, Sir, yours respectfully,
STATE OF THE COUNTRY.
This is a newspaper subject; a parliamentary subject; and if the journals of parliament were consulted as an authority, it would be found, that the bad state of the country has been coeval with the parliament.
There is something singular in the state of the country at this moment, or we should not have had a parliament called in November. Our rulers have more things at work on their hands than they call rule. Some causes will pursue their effects in spite of them. They are disconcerted, bafted and find no remedies but in the means which they hate. They are driven to measures which they fear, and to the adoption of the principles of those reformers whom they both fear and detest. They are altogether driven out of their element by their own measures.
The measures which they have used to counteract other measures have failed in their purpose upon a series of years and the detested thing, the thing that is good for the ruled, a moral power that is not to be finally resisted, presses upon them in the ratio of force with their late opposition to it. That opposition was violent; the recoil is violent. The present ministers must retire or seal their own condemnation in adopting the measures which they have resisted. Ruling a people among whom there is discussion is found to be a different thing from ruling a nation of slaves among whom there is no public discussion. The former are only to be well and constantly ruled by the utmost freedom and the constant adoption of the best measures that can be discovered; the latter can only be ruled by constant dread of coercion and punishment.
The corn laws are about to supersede the clamour of catholic emancipation and the conclusion must be that there be no corn laws, no laws about religion. Let the farmer grow his corn as cheap, and sell it as dear, as he can; let religion without laws do its worst against free discussion. The best general law will be found in the smallest number of laws upon particular subjects. Law for the gathering of a certain revenue and laws for the protection of property, liberty and life, form all the law that is necessary for the well being of a community. This country is kept in a state of wretchedness and disorder through an excess of legis. lation.
- Taxation and impediments to free trade and the advantages to be derived from industrious competition constitute the evils with which this country is inflicted. There are in reality more taxes Row than during the war, in consequence of the decreased meaos of meeting them. The revenue collected now as then is the whole that can be collected without a more rapid exhaustion of the sources of the revenue. The present state of taxation is an exbaustion of its souree, and hence the mass of misery which afflicts the country. Some must fall and the weakest fall first. Some have means enough to ward off the effect of taxation, to throw the burden on others; and this brings the evil with accumulated weight on those who have not the means to stand against it.
Taxation requires increased labour to meet it; but the taxation of this country dries up the supply of the con modities on which profitable labour can be effected. The revenue demands cash; and if cash cannot be easily procured by the capitalist, large op small, he must make a great sacrifice of stock in trade to procure the amount of cash required. Thus difficulty engenders difficulty and the first that is seriously felt can seldom be so warded off as to prevent the accumulation of injuries.' The country is clearly overtaxed and taxed to such an extent as to diminish the consumption of produce, which in itself constitutes an accumulation of difficulties and ruin, as to capital accumulated, to a large portion of the people.
In the Morning Chronicle of this day (Friday September 8) there is a statement, that since the parson's tithes have been der clared subject to the payment of poor-tates, in some places they have been swallowed up and the clergyman left comparatively a pauper. This is one way of annihilating the established' church; but not the best way. It would be better to make its property it me diately available to the reduction of taxation and the difficulties of the country, than to wait until pauperism swallows it up in the shape of poor rates, and all parties become so engulphed in the evil as to be unable to assist each other. A sort of beginning.de kovo must take place in this country; there is no apparent means of patching the present system for further wear. All parties be gin to see this, and this is the real cause of the extinction of party spirit. Were there are an easy income sure, that was worth battling ini party to acquire it; party spirit would still rage. It is the natural principle of mankind that it should be so. Those who think and act otherwise are but educated exceptions to the general rule.
There is a strong disposition in the country to petition against the whole tithe system and to call for its reduction. The very attempt would do good; for it would be one of the steps which would shake the fabric of the established church. There is an excellent article in the last Westminster Review on the subject
of church establishments, shewing their mischievousness and the vast importance of removing them. Wherever mystery is made profitable, it will produce a certain amount of evil in a country, an amount in ratio with its profits; and improvements in the condition of society can only be made in the simplifying and cheapening of its institutions. The ensuing winter will be made comparatively warm by the struggle between the conflicting interests of church, land, and manufactures. The state of the revenue cannot remain what it now is; if not legislatively reduced, it will reduce itself.
The population of the manufacturing districts is in a state of extreme wretchedness. They are pictures such as we have read of among the Chinese aud Hindoos, reduced to something below the savage state or state of nature; for they, of this country, cannot get the food of cattle without the accusation of stealiug it. The grass of the field is not theirs. Every bird has the right of commonage; but the human face divine is shrivelled from want and wretchedness.
The state of society in this country will no longer maintain the idle pomp of kings, priests, and aristocracy. The affairs of the nation must be conducted in a tradesman-like manner and competition be allowed its full sway, We see the superior difference, in the United States of America, of plain political government. Our pomp is a display of our weakness and our more plain and more wise competitors in commerce and navy will shine to our confusion by the simplicity and cheapness of their institutions.
Great changes are about to take place in this country. We have now no life and fortune men to preserve things as they are. These fellows have brought themselves into a merited state, and are become the greatest murmurers. They are all now running to me for the works of Thomas Paine, for Every Man's Book, and Every Woman's Book. These are the books for their improvement: and they are becoming my pupils.
About the state of the country, we shall hear much before the year be out, so that too much here will only make it the more painful. The evil, the master evil, is taxation, and there is no remedy but in a reduction of taxation, the remedy being in the ratio of the reduction. For this purpose, the church must yield its property; the sinecurist his sinecure, the pensioner his unmerited pension, and the placeman all but a fair remuneration for useful and necessary labour.