« ForrigeFortsæt »
Observations on Buffier's Singular Wager.
lift up the hand, of course the cham- evidence for the cause upon which it pion of liberty raises it in triumph, was introduced, and even gives a preand gains the bet; but does he esta- sumptive testimony in favour of its adblish his theory? What proof does versary, but it seems to exhibit an erthis afford, that he is not necessitated | roneous view of the subject in dispute. to lift up his hand, in the manner and There are no Necessarians who will at the time in which he does it ? For contend with any man, that he may by doing it, he has gained a guinea not raise or fall his hand, just as often and saved a thousand ; both of which as his will shall direct, and he may he would have lost, if he had not ne have occasion so to do, provided he is it. And who can tell, that the person not infirm or paralytic; and, without who engaged with him in this mad en doubt, a much smaller sum than a terprise, was not under a similar neces- thousand guineas, would be considered sity. All he had to venture was a sin- by most men a sufficient inducement gle guinea, for which he had the to the will, to move the hand up and chance of gaining ONE THOUSAND. down, as often as any one chose to He might have reasoned, that the risk continue the offer. If, therefore, this was but small, it could not be of be the liberty and free-will, which is serious consequence if he lost; the ob- contended for, and which is, “ ject to be gained was valuable, and tain as that we possess an immaterial well deserving of some sacrifice ; the principle ;" then it will not be requichance, though not very promising, site, to “ fathom the bottom of their was still within the region of probabi- minds, who advocate the doctrine of lity; human life and health are but fixed fate ;” to obtain “
a latent conprecarious possessions; his antago- sciousness that man is thus free ;” nist may die within fifteen minutes, but, on the mere statement of this or by some fatal calamity be deprived being the question, a bold, candid, of the use of his hands, and thereby and unequivocal avowal will be unahis haughty spirit may be subdued and nimously made, that it is true, and taught, that he is not at his own dis- past dispute. Here, then, controversy posal, but under the control of One may cease ; both parties may shake who has previously determined every hands, and ever after live in peace; movement of his body, as well as the what one required, the other has freely extent of his power, and “the bounds given. Necessarian is a mere name of bis habitation.” Or he might argue, without a meaning, and denotes a near that surely this advocate of free-will, relation of the same family. will bethink himself before the wager But, it is vain to talk of peace, when is decided, how much more effectual there is no peace: it must not be conto his cause he might make it by los- cealed, that this is not the question. ing, than he can do if he gains. For, Every man may raise, or fall his hand, in the latter case, he would establish a whenever he chooses; but, will he principle of the Necessarians, that the choose to do either, without a reason or will is certainly determined by the great- motive. Necessarians say that he est motive ; but by losing, he will have will not, and upon this foundation their it in his power to say, that moral mo- whole system is established. Do any tives do not operate like physical object to either premises or conclucauses, for that he has put it to the sion? Here, then, they must join issue, test, and given a practical demonstra- and shew, 1st, That motive is not estion, that the smaller motive of losing sential to choice; or 2dly, That choosa thousand guineas has preponderated, ing according to motive, does not esta&c. All this is surely not impossible ; blish any sort of necessity in the matter and under such circumstances, it ap- of his elections. And when they have proaches to probability, that an enthu- done this, they will have accomplished siast or a bigot, might work himself up more than Philosopher or Divine has into such a state of infatuation, as ac- ever done before them. tually to accept the ridiculous chal- But in their treatment of the doclenge of Buffier ; and, if he should do trine of motives, let them be on espeso, how is it apparent, that he, as well cial guard, not to waste their time in as his competitor, is not equally under the silly inquiry, 6 how far moral mothe dominion of " fixed fate."
tives act like physical causes?” beBut, Sir, this Singular Wager," cause, such a position was not only appears totally deficient, as dreamt of, by any who did not wish to
calumniate a cause which they could oldest of which is in the reign of Ptonot otherwise disprove. This war of lemy the son of Lagus, in the year bewords, may be safely left to live and fore Christ 295, “ when the Moon," perish in the hands of Drs. Gregory says he, " just touched the northern and Crombie. The only influence of star in the forehead of the Scorpion ; motives which Necessarians contend and the last of them in the 13th year of for, is, that the strongest will always Philadelphus, when Venus hid the fordetermine the choice; or, in plainer mer star of the four in the left wing of terms,-that, in all voluntary actions, Virgo.” a man will uniformly do that, which, Aratus, much celebrated for a Greek upon the whole, is most agreeable to poem called the Phenomena, lived himself. It was the intention of the about 270 years before Christ; and writer, to have submitted a few re- near the same time lived Aristarchus marks, for the sake of inquiry, upon of Samos, who was a strenuous asthe very interesting discussion that ap- sertor of the Pythagorean system of peared in several of your Numbers, the world. Several astronomical works arising out of your review of Verax; are attributed to him, and he appears and which he is still inclined to fur- to have been a person of a more penenish, had he reason to think that his trating genius than all the ancient Ascommunication would be deemed ac- tronomers : a most striking instance ceptable.
of which, he has given in his method of I am, respectfully, yours, determining the distance of the Sun Stoke, Newington,
N. R. from the Earth, by means of the Moon's Aug. 20, 1819.
Eratosthenes, born in Cyrene, 271
years before Christ, was well acquaintHISTORY OF ASTRONOMY.
ed with the science of Astronomy ; [Continued from col. 505.)
but very little remains of his works AFTER the death of Alexander the now, besides his manner of determinGreat, his captains divided great part ing the measure of a great circle of the of the dominions which he had con- Earth, by the means of a gnomon. quered, amongst themselves. Egypt His reputation for learning was so was allotted to Ptolemy the son of great, that he was invited from Athens Lagus, who made the city of Alexan- to Alexandria by Ptolemy Euergetes, dria the capital of his kingdom, about and made by him keeper of the royal 305 years before Christ. His son and library at that place; and it was by successor Ptolemy Philadelphus, a his advice that the same Ptolemy set prince instructed in all the sciences, up those armillas, or circles of brass, and the patron of those who cultivated in the portico at Alexandria, with them, set up a famous school there, to which Hipparchus and Ptolemy afterwhich he invited learned men; and he wards so successfully observed the made such provision for them, as stir- heavenly bodies. red up an emulation, that lasted till Archimedes, flourished about 220 the time of the invasion by the Sara- years before Christ. The very name cens, in the year of Christ 650. It is of Archimedes conveys, to the mind from the time of these Ptolemies that of the mathematician, an idea of the we may date the beginning of true As- utmost extent of human invention. tronomy.
He was the first who assigned the The first who cultivated Astronomy true area of any curvilinear space at Alexandria, were Timocharis and whatsoever, which he did by demonArystillus, who began their observa- strating, with all the rigour of the antions on a new plan; by being more cient geometry, that the area of every exact in noting, and more particular in parabola is to that of its inscribed setting down, the several times when triangle as 4 to 3. Nor was his skill their observations were made. Pto- | in Astronomy inferior to what it was lemy, in his Almagest, assures us, that in geometry. Macrobius says, that Hipparchus made use of their obser- he “ determined the distance of the vations; by which he discovered that Moon from the Earth, of Mercury the Stars have a motion in longitude, from the Moon, of Venus from Merof nearly a degree in one hundred years. cury, of the Sun from Venus, of Mars He cites many of their observations, from the Sun, of Jupiter from Mars, particularly those of Timocharis, the and of Saturn from Jupiter; and the
On the Conduct of Bonaparte.
distance of the fixed Stars, from the changed their places, and had a slow orbit of Saturn."
motion of their own from west to We learn from Hipparchus, that east. he made astronomical observations; Geometry having by this time been and, in particular, that he observed greatly improved, and called to the the time of a solstice ; and it appears assistance of Astronomy, Hipparchus from a Latin epigram of the poet Clau- was enabled to attempt the determidian, that he invented a kind of pla- nation of the Sun's distance from the netarium, or orrery, to represent the Earth in a more correct manner than phenomena and motions of the pla- had hitherto been done ; and a noble netary system. When Syracuse was attempt it was ! But although it distaken by Marcellus, in the year before covers a vast comprehension of thought Christ 211, he gave particular orders in the contriver, it is found totally useto all his officers, to treat Archimedes less when applied to practice, because with respect and tenderness; but his it requires a much greater accuracy in kind intentions were frustrated by the the observations, than can be attained brutality of a soldier, who slew him, by the method which he proposes. because he was so intent upon the But the greatest work of this exproblem he was then investigating, as cellent Astronomer, is his catalogue not to answer the questions proposed of the fixed Stars, which he was first to him.
induced to begin, by the appearance Hipparchus seems to have been the of a new star. This catalogue, which first who applied himself to the culti- is happily preserved to us by Ptolemy, vation of every part of Astronomy. Pto- is the oldest we have, and contains lemy informs us, that Hipparchus had the longitudes and latitudes of 1022 such an accurate knowledge of the Stars, with their apparent magnitudes. planetary motions, as first to discover Besides the works above-mentioned, that their orbits are eccentric, and that he wrote a book concerning the interupon this hypothesis he wrote a book vals between eclipses, both solar and against Eudoxus and Calippus. He lunar; and, he is said to have calcugives us many of his observations, lated all that were to happen for 600 made between the years 160 and 125 years from his time. before Christ; and tells us, that by
[To be continued.] comparing a summer solstice observed by himself, with one observed by Aristarchus 145 years before, he On the Conduct of Bonaparte. determined the length of the year with great exactness, and wrote a treatise on the subject. From the same source of information we learn, that it was Hipparchus who first found out the an- The Baroness de Staël is one of the ticipation of the Moon's nodes, the most distinguished and interesting feeccentricity of her orbit, and that she males which ever adorned the history moved slower in her apogee, and of polite and elegant learning. As the faster in her perigee; that he collected daughter of Necker, who was, in the accounts of such ancient eclipses of early stages of the French revolution, the Sun and Moon as were observed one of the most popular men in Euby the Chaldeans; that he formed rope, her writings have been read with hypotheses, and constructed tables, of eagerness; and, in England, from their the motions of the Sun and Moon; native worth, admired and criticised and would have done the same for the to an extent not generally indulged, in other planets, if he could have found relation to publications of a foreign ancient observations sufficient for the origin. But her last, which is to be purpose ; but not finding such, he con- regretted as an unfinished work, “ Contented himself with collecting proper siderations on the principal Events of observations for that purpose, and in the French Revolution,” has attracted endeavouring to form theories of the so much attention, as to give force to five planets. Hipparchus, by com- what conjectural opinion had assumed paring his own observations of Spica as true, that the policy it suggests is Virginis, with those made by Timo- influencing the present measures of the charis, at Alexandria, 100 years before, Court of France, which may produce first of all found that the fixed Stars the most salutary effects on the future
TO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPERIAL
repose and happiness of a people who , for its doubts; and the real Christian bave but just escaped from the frenzy cannot hesitate to suspect the motives of an unequalled political convulsion. of avowed opinions, which are so hos
In these “ Considerations,” &c. we tile to its own character, and more meet with a just and finished character than fears that they are of that unrivalled phenomenon, who
-“ Of outward shew has contributed to awaken and arrest “ Elab rate ; of inward, less exact." the notice of nations, beyond the ex
J.C. perience of ages. The transit of his history, from a military cadet through “ BONAPARTE,” says Madame de Staël, the almost substraction of all other au- “ has often expressed his regret that thority on earth but his own, to the he did not reign in a country where desolate rock of St. Helena, is a sub- the monarch was also head of the ject which confounds all reasonings; church, as in England and Russia : and if, before the fact, it had been told but as he found the French clergy still as possible, would have consigned the devoted to the court of Rome, he visionary theorist to a suspicion of chose to negociate with it.
One day the integrity of his intellect. These he assured the prelates, that, in his “ Events,” surely, can have left no opinion, there was no religion but the doubt with the untainted inquirer-in Catholic, which was truly founded on the unfettered mind of him, who only ancient tradition; and, on this subject, seeks for conclusions from evidence he usually displayed to them some which cannot justly admit of dispute- erudition acquired the day before: that there is a moral Governor in hea- then, when he was with the philosoven, and that Divine Providence is not sophers, he said to Cabanis, Do you the dream of the fanatic, nor the impo- know what this Concordat is which I have sition of Christianity; but a rational just signed? It is the vaccination of rebelief, without which man can draw "ligion, and in fifty years there will be no truth from inference, and derive no
none in France. It was neither relicertainty from knowledge.
gion nor philosophy which he cared In this valuable issue of the press, | for, in the existence of a clergy enthere is one topic of much serious im- tirely submissive to his will ; but as he provement to the ministers of the Chris- had heard mention made of the allitian faiih, and a strong case made out ance between the altar and the throne, of the unnatural association of secular he began by raising up the altar. The influence acquired by religion, and celebration of the Concordat was, applied to political passions and inte- therefore, if we may use the expresrests. If there be any authority in the sion, a full-dressed rehearsal of his Supreme Author of our religion, and coronation. his instruction be of importance in the “ In the month of April, 1802, he affairs of his church, then, however ordered a grand ceremony at Notrethe principle of human polity is taught | Dame. He was present with regal in the general morals of the Christian pomp ; and named for orator at this system, no active nor personal agency, inauguration, - Whom? The Archin the name or through the influence of bishop of Aix,* the same who had dereligion can be exerted, in which re- livered the coronation sermon in the ligion is not implicated, without a vio- cathedral of Rheims, on the day when lation of that sentence of our Lord's, Louis XVI. was crowned. Two mo-a sentence which has been the glory tives determined him to this choice: of Christianity, My kingdom is not the ingenious hope, that the more he of this world.” No wonder, when men imitated the monarchy, the more he of holy professions become secular, suggested the idea of himself being that all the variety of criminal selfish- invested with it; and the perfidious ness, which unhappily appears in most design of so degrading the Archbishop of those who have actively united such of Aix, as to render him wholly deextremes as human and divine engage- pendent, and give the world the meaments, should be exhibited to the world sure of his own ascendancy. as a lesson of moral depravity which would sanctify contempt, and justify
* The strange mutability of opinion in this abhorrence; for in the union of such revered cleric of the church of France, is seen repulsive opposites, infidelity itself has in vol. üi. p. 273, &c. of these “ Consideraalmost, in this conduct, an apology tions."
On the Conduct of Bonaparte.
“ He has always wished, when the to direct religion to a political end; thing was possible, that a man of note, and nothing is less favourable to piety, in adhering to him, should do some than to employ it with any other views action blameable enough to ruin him in than those which belong to itself. The the esteem of every other party. To nobler its sentiments are in their own burn one's ship, was to make a sacri- nature, the more repugnance they infice of reputation to him : he wished to spire when hypocrisy and ambition convert men into a sort of coin, which take advantage of them. derives its value only from the impress After Bonaparte was Emperor, he of the master. Subsequent events appointed the same Archbishop of Aix, have proved, that this coin could re- of whom we have been speaking, to turn into circulation with a fresh the Archbishopric of Tours: the Archimage.
bishop in turn, in one of his pastoral “On the day of the Concordat, Bo- charges, exhorted the nation to acnaparte repaired to the church of knowledge Napoleon as legitimate soNotre-Dame in the old royal carriages, vereign of France. The minister who with the same coachmen, the same had the superintendence of religious footmen walking by the side of the affairs, while he was walking with a door; he had the whole etiquette of friend of mine, shewed him this charge, the court most minutely detailed to and said, “ See, he calls the Emperor him; and, though First Consul of a great, generous, illustrious; all that republic, applied to himself all this is very well: but legitimate, is the impomp of royalty. Nothing, I allow, portant word in the mouth of a priest.” ever excited in me so strong a feeling During twelve years from the date of of resentment. I had shut myself up the Concordat, the ecclesiastics of in my house, that I might not behold every rank have never let an opportuthe odious spectacle : but I heard the nity pass, of praising Bonaparte in discharge of cannon which were cele- their way; that is, by calling him the brating the servitude of the French envoy of God, the instrument of his people. For was there not something decrees, the representative of Provipeculiarly disgraceful in having over dence upon earth. The same priests turned the ancient regal institutions, have since, doubtless, preached ansurrounded at least with noble recol- other doctrine ; but how can it be lections, to take back the same institu- supposed that a clergy, always at tions, in the forms of upstarts, and the orders of the existing authority, with the chains of despotism? On whatever that may be, should bend that day we might have addressed to to the ascendency of religion over the the French the beautiful words of Mil-soul ? ton to his countrymen: We shall be- “ The Catechism which was received come the shame of free nations, and the in every church during the reign of plaything of those which are not free: Is Bonaparte, threatened with eternal this, strangers will say, the edifice of punishment whoever should not love Liberty which the English boasted of and defend the dynasty of Napoleon. building? They have done nothing, but • If you do not love Napoleon and his precisely what was requisite to render family,' said the Catechism, (which, them for ever ridiculous in the eyes of with this exception, was the Catechism Europe. The English, at least, have of Bossuet,) 'what will happen to you?' not fulfilled this prediction.
Answer, -Then we shall incur ever"In returning from Notre-Dame, lasting damnation.'(p) Wasit to be bethe First Consul said, in the midst of lieved, however, that Bonaparte would his generals, Is it not true, that to-day dispose of hell in the next world, beevery thing appeared restored to the an- cause he gave the idea of it in the cient order? Yes,” was the noble present? The truth is, that nations reply of one of them, “ except two have no sincere piety, (q), except in millions of Frenchmen, who have died countries where the doctrine of the for liberty, and who cannot be brought church is unconnected with political to life.” Millions more have perished dogmas; in countries where priests since; but, for despotism.-The French exercise no power over the state; in are bitterly accused of irreligion. One countries, in short, where a man may of the principal causes of this unhappy love God and Christianity with all his result is, that the various factions for soul, without losing, and, still more, twenty-five years have always wished without obtaining any worldly advan