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UPON SOCIETY

And they glide back by night to their little cot,
O absent long, but by none forgot !"

OF THE EFFECTS OF KNOWLEDGE
The Boat with its snow-white sail is gone,
And the Creatures it brought to shore are
flown !

Towards the close of last century, it Still the crowd of water-lilies shake,

was thought by many philosophers, And a lorg bright line shines o'er the Lake, that the faults and vices of mankind But nought else tells that a bark was near ;

arose chiefly from intellectual darkWhile the wildered Shepherd seems to hear A wild hymn wandering through the wood, ness, and that if prejudice and misconTill it dies up the mountain solitude ;

ception were removed from the earth, And a dreamy thought, as the sounds depart, moral evil would speedily depart also. Of Edith and Nora comes o'er his heart. The French metaphysicians seemed to At Morning's first pure silent glow,

consider man as a being in whom reaA band of simple Shepherds go

son was the predominating faculty. To the Orphan's Cot, and they there behold They concluded, too hastily, that his The Dove so bright, with its plumes of gold, desires and inclinations resulted from And the radiant Lamb, that used to glide his opinions, and were posterior to So spirit-like by fair Edith's side.

the conclusions of his understanding. Fair Creatures ! that no more were seen Their attention had been so much die On the sunny thatch or the flowery green, rected towards the evils which spring Since the lovely Sisters had flown away, And left their Cottage to decay !

from prejudices of education, that they Back to this world returned again,

supposed the root and essence of the They seem in sadness and in pain, mischief lay in the prejudices themAnd coo and bleat is like the breath

selves, and did not advert to the fact, Of sorrow mourning over death.

that prejudices serve only as domicils Ló! smiling on their rushy bed,

for the elementary passions, which, alLie Edith and Nora embraced and dead! though they may change their abode A gentle frost has closed their eyes, and their apparel, never change their And hushed—just hushed—their balmy nature. Opinion can do no more than sighs.

transfer the operations of the passions Over their lips, yet rosy red,

from one object to another; and in A faint, pale, cold decay is shed ; A dimness hangs o'er their golden hair,

doing so, it may effect either good or That sadly tells no life is there ;

mischief, according to circumstances. There beats no heart, no current flows Vanity and ambition, for instance, In bosoms sunk in such repose ;

have always the same bent, namely, Limbs may not that chill quiet have, that of seeking after pre-eminence and Unless laid ready for the grave.

distinction; but what constitutes disSilence lies there from face to feet,

tinction depends, in a great measure, And the bed she loves best is a winding upon the opinions of society.. If vasheet.

lue is set upon useless objects, so Let the Coffin sink down soft and slowly,

much human energy is expended to no And calm be the burial of the holy ! One long look in that mournful cell.

purpose ; if value is set on pernicious Let the green turf heave and then, farewell! objects, so much ambition is turned to No need of tears ! in this church-yard shade

so much mischief; but if the palm is Oft had the happy orphans played

affixed to useful and noble objects, Above these quiet graves! and well they lie the nature of the ambitious man is After a calm bright life of purity,

improved in pursuing them, and soBeneath the flowers that once sprung to meet ciety profits by his activity. The motion of their now still feet !

For rendering service to society, vaThe mourners are leaving the buried clay, To the holy hush of the Sabbath day,

nity and ambition are much more to When a Lamb comes sadly bleating by,

be depended on than the feeling of And a Dove soft wavering through the sky, duty. They are personal sentiments, And both lie down without a sound,

and therefore much more active and In beauty on the funeral mound !

constant in their operation. But it is What may these lovely creatures be ? by the virtuous feelings of society at Two sisters who died in infancy, large that they are controled and guidAnd thus had those they loved attended, ed towards beneficial ends. It would And been by those they loved befriended ! Whate'er-fair Creatures ! might be their ciety, to reward nothing but service

be the interest even of a profligate sobirth Never more were they seen on earth ;

able and well directed ambition with But to young and old belief was given

admiration and consequence ; but here That with Edith and Nora they went to the natural feelings of mankind are Heaven.

N. found to work too powerfully against

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the calculations of their own interest. and making them acquainted with opMen every where confer their admira- portunities of action ; but if the sention upon those things in which they timents do not exist, its words are themselves wish to excel, and accord- idle, and are of no more use than the ingly a profligate society gives pre- compass is to the pilot when there is miums to so many spurious kinds of no wind to fill his sails. Forms of ambition, that little of the useful sort government are equally unproductive is produced. Thus no ambitious man in the species of their influence. A can ever be tempted to pursue a much free government only gives fair play more virtuous course than corresponds to the human character, and allows with the habits of thought prevalent national energies, talents, and virtues in the society where he lives. The to manifest themselves in their greatservices done to society, through mo- est strength and beauty. A bad gotives purely conscientious, must al. vernment stifles and oppresses the taways be a precarious and uncertain lents and energies of a nation, and exfund, from what we know of the ave- erts a destructive power ; but a good rage constitution of human nature; government exerts no creative power, and no nation can count upon great nor does more for mankind than is and meritorious exertions, until it has done for the different kinds of animals drawn into its service the personal by free air and exercise, which perfect passions, which constitute the main their natural qualities, but confer no spring of activity in the minds of man new ones. kind. A degenerate and vicious so To suppose that the intellectual calciety thus is constantly giving way to culation of utility can ever become the feelings which react perniciously up- regulating principle of human exison itself. It is insincere or divided in tence, is to suppose that the elements its approbation of what is good ; and of human nature exist in totally diftherefore it is not rewarded by the ferent proportions from the real ones. growth of what is good. The good Remote views of interest, however deeds which happen to be performed clear, give way to the personal feelings in such a society, by disinterested per- of the moment; and it is only by the sons, are like contributions casually continual activity of just sentiments firopt into an alms-box.

throughout society, that a nation The more we reflect upon the na can be sure of preserving itself from ture of man, the more we shall be con- political disasters. Vainly do knowvinced, that what decides his fate is ledge and foresight hope to regulate to be found chiefly within himself, the course of moral events, by invesand not in extrinsic circumstances. tigating into the sequence of causes

The philosophers of the last century and effects, if knowledge and foresight overlooked the meehanism which nac are unable, when the crisis arrives, to ture implants in nations and indivi- evoke those virtues and energies which duals, and sought for the cause of would be necessary to form part of the every thing from without. They at- chain upon which a fortunate result tributed an almost creative power to depends. In controling the moveknowledge and to institutions. But ments of the physical world, man finds there is reason to suspect, that the no scarcity of objects by which to act power exerted by mere intellect over upon their objects, and accomplish his human destiny is much less than desires ; but the causes which elethey were inclined to suppose. Man vate or degrade the moral nature of is of a nature which includes part of his species can only be grasped now the brute, and part of the percipient and then ; and even when he does not being; but the elements which decide appear “ to ride on the whirlwind and his destiny are his passions and his direct the storm,” it is scarcely by moral sentiments. All that know- means of his own power that he asledge can do is to remove errors and sumes such an office, but rather bemistakes. It operates as a guide in cause the whirlwind happens to stoop relation to the human character, but of its own accord, and take up the it has no productive power. It can- puny rider. When legislators succeed not create a single new moral impulse in establishing a good system of laws, or propension which does not already they have to thank the course of events exist within us. It is often of service for presenting them with what was in awakening the latent sentiments, most essential to their enterprize Vol. IV,

L

namely, a set of people sufficiently . well as the other, requires virtuous virtuous or sufficiently docile to con sentiments to support it ; and, if mocur in supporting their system. Any dern Europe is so fortunate as to obimprovements that are offered on the tain it, her children are not likely to moral nature of man, by means of in- aspire to any thing farther. Christistitutions, go on slowly, and lie at the anity has absorbed into itself all that mercy of so many collateral trains of towering and indefinite enthusiasm events, originating from unforeseen which of old exerted itself upon the sources, that they can hardly be said worldly affairs of Greece and Rome. to be under human control. The Human nature has now found a wider character of modern European nations outlet for its hopes. They no longer has been disciplined all along by the embody themselves in the same obfalling out of events, and not by any jects as before; and hence the modern legislating influence, except Christia- world presents fewer visible indicanity, which rather affects the private tions of the greatness of the human nature of individuals, than operates mind. The divine part of our nature directly upon the laws of their political has ceased to spend its force in creataggregation. The minds of European ing monuments of its own power, or nations have grown up and ripened, gilding the possessions of a transitory as they best could, under institutions existence. The whole aspect of life is not originally planned by reason, but changed; and what is greatest in the worked out of circumstances by the world is almost silent and invisible. blind contentions of the different mem- Even national power is less majestic bers of the body politic. Even Eng- and more vulgar than during the ages land herself has owed her advantages of antiquity, because it is imbued with to the propitious movements of her in a smaller proportion of those emanaborn energies, which have made room tions of the higher soul which confer for themselves. Bad fortune may have dignity on whatever they mingle with. had its share in retarding the progress But to withdraw human aspirations of the other nations, but there is rea- from the channel which they have son to believe that the moral elements now found, and turn enthusiasm again produced within them have been of adrift, to seek for the infiņite upon inferior quality. The common stock earth, would evidently be to make a of European reflection, and the wisdom preposterous exchange. The notion produced by experience, have now in- of the perfectibility of man sprung up spired the nations with a philosophi- as natural succedaneum, after men cal love of liberty; but all sentiments, had quarrelled with Christianity; and resulting from the exercise of the un the desire of such a succedaneum was derstanding, are weaker and less to be a favourable indication of the quantidepended upon than those which de- ty of sentiment which remained bevelope themselves spontaneously; and hind. But what need chiefly now be therefore, while the nations justly re dreaded is, that the human soul may joice in the advantages of knowledge become dwarfish, and remain contentas an antidote against despotism, they ed without great hopes or aims of any should remember that their endea- kind. vours after liberty will be successful In the history of every race of manchiefly in proportion as they are con- kind there seems to be always some nected with the demands of their sen era when their character unfolds its timents and passions. The love of li- greatest vigour, and teems with the berty breaks forth in its most beauti- most energetic sentiments. This era ful and dignified form, when the soul, does not coincide with the period of a having become pregnant with great as nation's highest civilization, nor yet pirations and lofty desires, finds it ne of its greatest knowledge. Yet in the cessary to have a theatre adapted to history of Greece these periods were the illimitability of their nature. But not far distant from each other. Has this is only the beautiful ideal of li- modern Europe already developed the berty. There is another species of the most energetic sentiments she will ever love of freedom, more homely in its give birth to, or is there something nature, and which is founded merely greater still to come? If greater things upon enlightened views concerning the are yet to come, it is to be suspected every-day rights and worldly interests that we must look for them from those of mankind. This kind of liberty, as European nations which have hitherto

slumbered most; for, among those existence. Literature presents nourwhich have shone already, we certain- ishment for every sentiment, good or ly do not find any symptoms which bad, and leaves men still to follow the denote increasing force and productive- bias of their own nature. Whether ness of sentiment. All national mani- the rapidity of the impressions it comfestations proceed radically from the municates, has a tendency to increase sentiments

which are at work in pri- or exhaust the energy of our moral vate life. But we hear universal com- nature, is a difficult question. Fineplaints, that private life is debased by ness of perception is augmented by it, selfishness and indifference. Pride has and the intellectual faculties, in gendiscovered the art of folding its arms eral, are brightened up; but the and sitting still, and irony against source of motion, in the moral world, others is substituted for exertions of consists of passions and sentiments, our own. When a sincere admiration and the destiny of nations depends ala of what is great pervades society, men together upon their activity in the foster and cherish all the noblest affairs of life. If reading communia movements of each others minds, but cates vigour to their internal spring, at present such admiration is scarce, and increases their impulsive power, not merely because of the existence of then every thing is to be expected superciliousness, but apparently from from the diffusion of knowledge ; but absolute barrenness of mind. For if reading enervates and renders them those things in which a person has not passive, there can be no doubt that himself any desire to excel, it is im- the splendour of human existence will possible that he can feel much earnest diminish in proportion. admiration; and although he may con The consideration of these things fer upon them the approbation of his would lead one also to inquire, what understanding, that approbation is too is the nature of that irony which exercold and ineffective to fan the ambi- cises so much sway over modern sotion either of public virtue or genius, ciety. It seems as if knowledge made which can only attain their full growth us acquainted with so many vast oba amidst a general blaze of sympathy and jects and conceptions, that most ins consentaneous passion diffused through- dividuals are overwhelmed with des ont society. To make great artists, a pondency, on account of their own whole nation must consist of enthusi- impotence and insignificance. A mixastic amateurs, and the case is the ture of listlessness and pride takes same with respect to public virtue as possession of them. Whatever a perwith respect to art.

son attempts can always be conIf we wish to trace the influence of trasted with something of the same knowledge upon society, we must look kind so huge, as to tarnish all his more to the habits of mind which its glory, and prevent him from feeldiffusion engenders in private life, than ing, during his exertions, any of to the light which it throws upon the those sentiments of triumph, exultaa defects of political institutions, and the tion, or sanguine hope, which are as improvements which it suggests to be necessary to great achievements as air made upon their structure. Reading is to combustion. Men's minds are has one important effect, which well most intimately linked to each other, deserves to be considered. It supplies and where sympathy and admiration us artificially with a far more rapid have ceased, action also becomes lanseries of impressions and causes of guid. Nil admirari is followed by nil feeling, than any human being could moliri, nil facere. Yet self-love is ever be subjected to by his own indi- never extinguished; and if we acvidual experience. In real life, objects complish nothing ourselves, and can approach and depart by degrees ; and therefore put in no claim for honour, suggestions follow each other at long we are, at the same time, obliged by intervals ; at least, such would be the our pride to find some plea for disa case before the invention of printing, daining others. The true disciple of and among men who ha few books. modern society has a separate bucket But reading now subjects the mind, of cold water ready for every different at once, to the action of a crowd of sort of pretension that can possibly thoughts, which of old could only make its appearance ; and he would hare been gathered slowly, and sepa- think himself a simpleton, if he were rately, during the course of a whole found, on any occasion, unprovided,

This seems to be the nature of irony, of the west ; and if the wind is both east which does not spring from the love and west on any day, it is then termed a of pleasantry, but from the demands variable wind ; and if the wind is in the of our self-love-a staunch principle,

north or south on any day, this also is that never losés sight of its objects

. termed variable, because it partakes of the

nature of both east and west. It is to be regretted that this dis

" At the end of a season, the number of heartening spirit exists in its greatest entire days east wind are first summed up, force among the highest and best in- after which the same of the west ; the sum formed classes of society, who, of of the variables is next found, and the procourse, feel no inclination to be put per proportion of these given to the entire out of countenance, by a greater ac- days east and west by the rule of three, thus, tivity and productiveness in any other taking an extreme case by way of example : class. They are, therefore, more apt The winter 1816-17 had 21 entire days of to load with ridicule, than to reward there were 24 days of variable. Now, in

east wind, and 123 entire days of west, and with sympathy, the aspirations of order to find the proportion of the variables fresher though less cultivated minds, which should go to the east and west wind, who, finding that they cannot move the entire days of each of these winds are under the auspices, and with the good added together, which make a sum total of wishes, of superior refinement, are na 144; then say, if 144 give 24 variables, turally induced to adhere, moredogged- what will 21, the number of entire days ly than ever, to the errors of their own east give; then multiplying 24 by 21, in vulgarity. A house divided against the usual manner, the product is 504, which itself cannot prosper. National great

being divided by 144, gives 3 as the pro• ness and splendour must depend upon entire days east wind, with a remainder ;

portion of the variables, going to the 21 á sympathy in pursuit of great objects this makes 24 days of east wind for the seabeing spread from the most enlighten- son ; the fraction, or remainder, going al. ed, free-leisured, and respected class- ways to the greatest sum of entire days es, through all the rest; so that the wind, whether of east or west.

The 21 remoral sentiments of the more me maining days of variable are then added to chanical orders may enjoy the advan- the 123 entire days west wind, which makes tage of being carried towards their

à sum total of 144 days west wind for the aim, in union with those of others, rule of three be sufficient for the general

season. Though the bare mention of the who have more time than opportunity reader, it has appeared proper to give the for developing the lights and higher process of finding the sum of wind in de elements of human nature.

tail. But, alas ! what can speculations “ The next phenomenon observed, demand. and complaints avail, if the human ing particular explanation, is the rain : spirit is undergoing the influence of Thus the time when it commences and ter vitiating causes? Who can retard the minates, with the intensity of the fall, is steps of destiny?

always stated ; if the fall in a day, that is, a day and a night, which is always signified in the weather, is under three hours, it is termed a short rain ; and if two or more such falls happen in a day, and toges

ther consist of more than three hours of ISLANDS, DISCOVERED BY LIEUT.

heavy rain, it is termed a moderate rain ; GEORGE MACKENZIE.

but less value is attached to rains which fall The System of the Weather, recent

at considerable intervals in the day, than ly published by Mr Mackenzie, is found- made on this seore is slight ; all above three

when in continuity, but the distinction ed upon a series of meteorological obser- hours are termed moderate rains, until it vations made by himself since the year continues seven or eight hours, when it is 1902. His observations were made termed a great rain, that is, if heavy, principally, but with great care, upon for sometimes it rains very slightly a whole the Wind and the Rain, and were re day, and yet comes under the denomination gistered upon the following principles: of short or moderate rain, according to the

“ If the wind is in the easterly points dur- intensity; and if there is any doubt to ing the whole of a natural day, it is termed which class a rain may belong, it is al. an entire day of east wind, and the same

ways stated as of the next lowest class ; thus,

if a rain is considered more than a modeThe work in which this system is de- rate, but rather less than a grcat rain, it is scribed is entitled " The System of the always classed as a moderate rain, and the Weather of the British Islands ; discovered same rule when it is doubtful whether it in 1816 and 1817, from a Journal «om should be short or moderate, it being in mencing November 1802.” Edinburgh, this case termed a short rain; and if it 1818. 4to.

should rain the whole day and night, it is

AN ACCOUNT OF THE SYSTEM OF

THE WEATHER OF THE BRITISH

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