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merits, there is no occasion for dwelling on the subject of his discoveries.
Chapter IX. includes an account of Bayle. The author hesitates whether to class this famous man with the sceptics or the atheists; and he seems to think Pyrrhonism too ill calculated for a permanent state of mind, to be really the perpetual dectrine of any philosopher. We entertain a different opinion. The habit of impartial examination is intimately connected with that of close reasoning, and will very frequently terminate in a balanced, hesitating, partial conviction, totally distinct from mathematical certainty. This habit, when extended to metaphysical investigation, commonly brings the mind into an unsettled state, for which no prescription of the dogmatizing sects is a complete remedy; and even when a specific system obtains a preference of probability, it is often received with some lingerings of doubt, and with some alternations of persuasion. We believe it more common for the apparent dogmatist to entertain some silent doubts, than for the professed doubter to entertain a decided opinion. We incline, therefore, to rank Bayle among those to whom the pleasure of arguing well amply replaced the satisfaction of being possessed of the supposed truth: that he considered absolute truth as an unattainable if not as an unreal point, to which those advance nearest who excel others in the dialectic art; and that the paradoxical contrariety of his positions is to be attributed much to the vanity of display, but more to a curiosity floundering in uncertainty, than to a cowardice or a benevolence disguising its atheism. To the young and the active, who seek in philosophy a rule for conduct, indecision may be painful : but to the professed inquirer it is often valuable for its own sake. How should he not dislike that stabile conviction, which terminates the sweet toil of investigation and the habitual luxury of pursuit! The perfection of scepticism seems to consist in ascribing a like probability to the alternate hallucinations of intellect, in viewing with equal eye the rival dogmatisms of the materialist and idealist, of the theist and the polytheist, of the atheist and supernaturalist, and in assigning to each of their several arguments its precise relative weight, without being once attracted towards any of the rival parties; preserving, like Mohammed's coffin, the centrality of perpetual suspense. To this state of mind Bayle approached as near as is compatible with the prejudices of human nature.
The tenth chapter analyzes the philosophy of Leibnitz. This quick genius, this man of universal knowlege, is deservedly celebrated for his just mathematical discoveries; for his fortunate conjectures in natural philosophy, among which
may especially be placed his Proto-goca, or theory of the earth; for his writings on jurisprudence, and his observations on history and antiquities; and for his theological knowlege :—but the merit of his metaphysical mysticism is very questionable. His monads, or atoms essentially percipient, introduced a new idea into philosophy :-but his best possible world, in contradistinction to the only possible world of the fatalists: his preestablished harmony, by means of which monads and atoms, spirit and matter, were supposed able to act on each other; and his notion that there can be existence without extension; rather puzzle than explain. It is, however, much to be wished that Hissman, or some other able German, would superintend a complete edition of the works of Leibnitz; which are too much scattered to be wholly accessible to foreigners. The great obligations of Leibnitz and Clarke to the Platonists are not suffi tiently disclosed.
Derham is more a priest of optimism than a philosopher: he rather applies in detail the extant than invents a new system of argument, Nieuwentydt followed in a similar walk.
Christian Wolf is applauded, in the twelfth chapter, with that partiality of zeal which was to be expected from the patriotism of the author. A bigotry to the notions of Leibnitz, a rage for classification, and a preference of the dry mathematical method, distinguish his writings. He has much contributed to keep alive a scholastic taste in philosophy, and a disposition to be satisfied with terms of art instead of distinct ideas. The summary of the things about which Wolf talks, and of his manner of talking about a thing, is well given.
The concluding chapter is consecrated to the immaterial pantheism of Berkeley. Our author notices the quackery with which the Bishop recommends his opinions as an antidote to scepticism and atheism. To atheism, it is allowed, they must be hostile but they have eventually favoured scepticism beyond all other opinions, by shewing in how apparently demonstrative a manner a theory may be stated, which the experience of every minute seems employed in refuting. He is one of the most original and most subtle philosophers of any age or country Professor T.'s analysis of these arguments is tainted with the pedantic dialect of the school of Kant, but is well made.
In the last half century (concludes M. TIEDEMANN) speculative philosophy has made a greater progress than had before happened since the blooming age of Greece. It has acquired more interior order, a connection more systematic, and subdivisions more distinct. Its radical principles are better understood, and brought more into
*Versuch über Leibnitzen's Leben.
the foreground: discussion is no longer thrown away on separable and insignificant branches. The leading words or ideas are become more definite and clear, and resemble less those letters of the algebraist which stand for unknown quantities yet to be ascertained :—but notwithstanding these recent improvements, it must be acknowleged that none of the great metaphysical sects have yet been silenced; that no principles have been discovered which, like those of the mathematicians, obtain by universal consent even a preference of probability; that sceptics, materialists, idealists, and supernaturalists, still subsist, and respectively patronize indecision, atheism, theism, and revelation. Perhaps we are to account for this phænomenon by the characteristic differences of individuals. The calm, the temperate, the equitable man naturally inclines to weigh, to consider, to balance, to hesitate, to doubt. Those who by a culture of the senses attain to a vivid and distinct charactery of imagination, and who always think in metaphors, as naturally become materialists. The mathematician, the abstract thinker, who is conversant only with powers and essential properties willingly relinquishes the hypothesis of a substratum, and admits idealism while the ardent, zealous, and exalted enthusiast aspires to superhuman excellence, and clings to the prospects of theosophism.'
In our 21st volume, N. S. p. 599, we endeavoured to point out the important law of alternation, by which it appears most probable that the successive revolutions of human opinion are governed. It is not less true of individuals than of masses of men, that, in the state of youthful vigor, they are most willingly conversant with those ideas and opinions which lead to theism and immortalism, and the associated generosities of character: that, in the state of declining manhood, they willingly dwell on those observations and theories which favour atheism and mortalism, and an immoral selfishness of prudence; and that, in that calmer period of unprejudicial reflection, in which the aged man is withdrawn from the biassing competitions of interest and ambition, lamenting the consolations which he has slighted, and the debasing impunities which he has contracted, he takes refuge in the most credible form of supernaturalism, and, having tried all notions, decides for the religious. In this nation, we have now reached the second stage of the inevitable progress, and are lending but too willing an ear to the assertors of the boldest impiety, and the propagators of the most brutalizing immorality, who invite us to live the life without dignity, and to die the death without hope. As in the empires of Greece and Rome, as on the eve of the reformation, as of late in France, this atomic philosophy will again be found, in proportion to its spred, to facilitate the perpetration and approbation of enormities, and will
Doig's "Letters en the Savage State."
resolve the men and women of what once was a society into hordes of ruffians and adultresses.
These opinions, if maintained, seem well calculated to lead back gradually a civilized community to the primæval savagism: "for an aggregation of men not recognizing Deity, and believing their crimes to be for ever buried in the tomb, quickly becomes a troop of ferocious beasts." Meanwhile, these notions are rapidly dissolving the cohesion of our extant institutions: men will not grow wise by the experience of others, but will continue to pursue the violent and contemporary overthrow of all our establishments; and when instructed too late of the many evils which are incurred in states by infidelity, and its companion anarchy, they will look out among the remnants of a humanizing religion for some purer system of belief and ritual, which may calm the anger of Heaven, and recall Astræa to dwell among men. Then first will commence that long promised æra, in which all shall be educated to every virtue, and universal harmony shall prevail between the families of mankind; the promotion of which purer day is the truc object of all the inquiries of Speculative Philosophy.
Aar. XIV. Tragedie del Conte VITTORIO ALFIERI DA ASTI, &c. ¿. e. The Tragedies of Count V. ALFIERI DA ASTI. Five Vols. 8vo. Losanna. 1795.
THE HE author of these volumes is a native of Piedmont, of noble birth and pretensions; whom the love of freedom and of the Muses has induced to pass the greater part of his days within the confines of Tuscany. In the literary associations of Della Crusca and of Sienna, he has been eminently distinguished; and the exquisite refinement of his style, displayed in a series of tragedies which have employed the labor of fourteen years, has secured to him the highest honors of the modern Italian Parnassus. These dramas are all formed on the Greek model: the appellation of the Shakspeare of Italy, therefore, commonly bestowed by the politeness of his countrymen, can apply only to those occasional strains of sublimity in his works, which resemble the beauties of our immortal bard. The relative rank of Count ALFIERI, among the dramatists of Italy, is undoubtedly high: but his positive rank among European dramatists may yet remain equivocal.
In the last century, the Tragic Muse was scarcely recog
«Manual of the Theophilanthropists," p. 2. These people speak from observation and experience. Farther notice of this recent Pa risian work will be found in Art. XXI. of this Appendix.
nized in Italy. Apostolo Zeno first attempted to dignify the opera with gleanings from the best French tragedies: but his tedious declamations, and unimpassioned conceits, perpetually reminded the hearer that his obligation for amusement or interest was due to the music alone. From this charge, the opera was first rescued by the celebrated Metastasio.
Trissino's Sophonisba, a tragedy on the Greek model, preserved some reputation when those of Count ALFIERI were introduced on the theatre of Rome. It was scon felt that the force of his genius, although untutored in scenic effect, (the indispensable study of poets as well as of actors,) deserved the notice of his country. Mairet and Rotron had been the harbingers of Corneille, of Racine, and of Voltaire: it seemed as if the praise bestowed on Zeno and Metastasio had been intended to call forth an ALFIERI.
We will now offer some account of these tragedies as they occur in the several volumes.
VOL. I. contains Philip king of Spain; Polinices; and Antigone. The scene of the first mentioned is invariably placed in the palace of. Madrid, where Prince Carlos is secretly in love with his mother-in-law Isabella. The king, his father, has the precise traits exhibited in the masterly portrait drawn by Tacitus of the emperor Tiberius. The characters are all developed in the first act. Isabella is truly delicate and amiable: but the catastrophe, like that of our own Hamlet, is deficient in poetical justice-but it was difficult to be very successful in a theme which has been imperfectly managed by Otway, and diffusely protracted by Schiller.Polinices is formed on the Thebaid of Statius, and attempts a task which modern poets would find difficult to complete,-a tragedy without love.-In Antigone, the scene is still continued at Thebes, and is a sequel of the former; in which her hatred of Oreon on account of his usurpation and cruelty, and her love of Æmon, alternately predominating, are wrought to a high degree of dramatic effect.
VOL. II. Virginia, Agamemnon, Orestes, and Rosamond of Pavia.
Few subjects can be found more capable of tragical interest than that of Virginia. True Rem in virtue influences every character: but that of Icilius is a masterpiece of composition.Agamemnon and Orestes have been dramatized by poets of several nations. We do not discover any very novel sentiment arising from their known situations, nor that they have gained much from their Italian dress.-Rosamond of Pavia is a pure invention of our author, and is employed in this tragedy with other. memorable characters described by Macchiavelli. The ferocity