Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

It is also very usual to compare one man with another, and finding very few whom we can call wise or virtuous, we are apt to entertain a contemptible notion of our species in general. That we may be sensible of the fallacy of this way of reasoning, we may observe that the honourable appellations of wise and virtuous are not annexed to any particular degree of those qualities of wisdom and virtue, but arise altogether from the comparison we make between one man and another. When we find a man who arrives at such a pitch of wisdom as is very uncommon, we pronounce him a wise man. So that to say there are few wise men in the world is really to say nothing, since it is only by their scarcity that they merit that appellation. Were the lowest of our species as wise as Tully, or my Lord Bacon, we should still have reason to say that there are few wise men. For in that case we should exalt our notions of wisdom, and should not pay a singular honour to any one who was not singularly distinguished by his talents. In like manner, I have heard it observed by thoughtless people, that there are few women possessed of beauty, in comparison of those who want it; not considering that we bestow the epithet of beautiful only on such as possess a degree of beauty that is common to them with a few. The same degree of beauty in a woman is called deformity, which is treated as real beauty in one of our sex.

As it is usual in forming a notion of our species to compare it with the other species above or below it, or to compare the individuals of the species among themselves, so we often compare together the different motives or actuating principles of human nature in order to regulate our judgment concerning it. And, indeed, this is the only kind of comparison which is worth our attention, or decides anything in the present question. Were our selfish and vicious principles so much predominant above our social and virtuous, as is asserted by some philosophers, we ought undoubtedly to entertain a contemptible notion of human nature.

There is much of a dispute of words in all this controversy. When a man denies the sincerity of all public spirit or affection to a country and community, I am at a loss what to think of him. Perhaps he never felt this passion in so clear and distinct a manner as to remove all his doubts concerning its force and reality. But when he proceeds afterwards to reject all private friendship, if no interest or self-love intermixes itself, I am then confident that he abuses terms, and confounds the ideas of things, since it is impossible for anyone to be so selfish, or rather so stupid, as to make no difference between one man and another, and give no preference to qualities which engage his approbation and esteem. Is he also, say I, as insensible to anger as he pretends to be to friendship? And does injury and wrong no more affect him than kindness or benefits. Impossible: He does not know himself. He has forgot the movements of his mind, or rather he makes use of a different language from the rest of his countrymen, and calls not things by their proper names. What say you of natural affection ? (I subjoin) Is that also a species of self-love? Yes; all is self-love. Your children are loved only because they are yours; your friend for a like reason; and your country engages you only so far as it has a connection with yourself. Were the idea of self removed, nothing would affect you. You would be altogether inactive and insensible; or, if you ever gave yourself any movement, it would only be from vanity, and a desire of fame and reputation to this same self. I am willing, reply I, to receive your interpretation of human actions, provided you admit the facts. That species of self-love which displays itself in kindness to others, you must allow to have great influence, and even greater on many occasions, than that which remains in its original shape and form. For how few are there who,

having a family, children, and relations, do not spend more on the maintenance and education of these than on their own pleasures? This, indeed, you justly observe, may proceed from their self-love, since the prosperity of their family and friends is one, or the chief of their pleasures, as well as their chief honour. Be you also one of the selfish men, and you are sure of everyone's good opinion and good will; or not to shock your nice ears with these expressions, the self-love of everyone, and mine amongst the rest, will then incline us to serve you, and speak well of you.

In my opinion, there are two things which have led astray those philosophers who have insisted so much on the selfishness of man. In the first place they found that every act of virtue or friendship was attended with a secret pleasure, from whence they concluded that friendship and virtue could not be disinterested. But the fallacy of this is obvious. The virtuous sentiment or passion produces the pleasure, and does not arise from it. I feel a pleasure in doing good to my friend because I love him, but do not love him for the sake of that pleasure.

In the second place, it has always been found that the virtuous are far from being indifferent to praise, and therefore they have been represented as a set of vain-glorious men, who had nothing in view but the applauses of others. But this also is a fallacy. It is very unjust in the world, when they find any tincture of vanity in a laudable action, to depreciate it upon that account, or ascribe it entirely to that motive. The case is not the same with vanity as with other passions. Where avarice or revenge enters into any seemingly virtuous action it is difficult for us to determine how far it enters, and it is natural to suppose it the sole actuating principle. But vanity is so closely allied to virtue, and to love the fame of laudable actions approaches so near the love of laudable actions for their own sake, that these passions are more capable of mixture than any other kinds of affection, and it is almost impossible to have the latter without some degree of the former. Accordingly we find that this passion for glory is always warped and varied, according to the parti. cular taste or sentiment of the mind on which it falls. Nero had the same vanity in driving a chariot, that Trajan had in governing the empire with justice and ability. To love the glory of virtuous actions is a sure proof of the love of virtuous actions,

Henry Fielding was grandson to the second son of the first Earl of Denbigh. His father, Edmund Fielding, served under Marlborough, and obtained the rank of lieutenant-general when his son Henry was about twenty-three years old. Edmund Fielding married twice, and had by his first marriage, to the daughter of Sir Henry Gould, a judge of the King's Bench, six children. There were two boys, one of whom became a sailor and died young; the other, Henry, was the novelist ; and one of the four girls, Sarah, wrote also two good novels, “David Simple and “Ophelia.” Fielding was born on the 22nd of April

, 1707, at Sharpham Park, near Glastonbury, and, until he went to Eton, was trained at home under Mr. Oliver, the family chaplain. Sharpham Park, in Elizabeth's time the residence of Sir Edward Dyer, Philip Sidney's friend,' was built as a manor of the abbots of Glastonbury, and is now a farmhouse looking through its trees across the flat of meadow land, once marsh, to Glastonbury Tor,

1 See " Shorter English Poems," page 218, in this Library.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

crowned by its tower, and the hill on which Glaston- several pieces, each piece lives, and in a short time becomes as bury—the Avalon of Romance—was once lifted perfect an insect or vegetable as that of which it was originally above the waters of the Bristol Channel that came only a part. in with the tide where now there is a wide stretch Abstract of part of a letter from the Heer Rottenscratch in Germany, of marsh and meadow. From his home, parted

communicating observations on the CHRYSIPUS.

SIR-Some time since died here of old age, one Petrus Gualterus, only from Glastonbury by a walk of a mile or

a man well known in the learned world, and famous for nothing so less over the meadows, Fielding went to Eton, and

much as for an extraordinary collection which he had made of the from Eton to the University of Leyden. From Chrysipi, an animal or vegetable, of which I doubt not but there are Leyden he was sent into the world, for his father, still some to be found in England; however, if that should be diffi

cult, it may be easy to send some over to you, as they are at present who lived wastefully, had married again and had

very plentiful in these parts. I can answer for the truth of the facts a second family to care for. In February, 1728, contained in the paper I send you, as there is not one of them but when he was not quite twenty-one, Fielding began what I have seen repeated above twenty times; and I wish others his life as a writer, with a comedy. In 1735 he may be encouraged to try the experiments over again, and satisfy

themselves of the truth of their own eyes. The accounts of the married, and it was after his marriage that he set up Chrysipi, as well as the collection itself, were found in the cabinet of “the Great Mogul's Company of Comedians,” and the above-mentioned Petrus, for he could never be prevailed on to produced those dramatic satires upon polite and

communicate a sight of either while alive. political life that were repressed by the Licensing

I am, Sir, &c. Act of 1737. In 1739 and 1740 Fielding contributed some admirable papers to a series of essays

B published three times a week under the name of The Champion. In June, 1740, Fielding was called to the bar, and in July, 1741, his father died, aged sixty-five, the son's age being then five-and-thirty. Richardson's “ Pamela" had appeared at the close of 1740, and a playful sense of its weak point set

A Fielding writing “ Joseph Andrews,” his first novel, which was published in 1742. Fielding's larger

The FIGURE OF THE TERRESTRIAL CHRYSIPUS STICKING TO A FINGER. work as a novelist will be illustrated in another volume of this Library. From his “Miscellanies,” published in 1743, the next two pieces are taken.

Observations and Experiments upon the TERRESTRIAL CHRYThe first of them caricatures a really valuable

SIPUS, or Guinea, by Mynheer Petrus Gualterus. paper, entitled “ Memoirs on Fresh-water Polypes,"

Translated from the FRENCH by P. H. I. Z. C. G. S. by a learned naturalist, Abraham Trembley.

The animal in question is a terrestrial vegetable or insect

of which mention is made in the Philosophical Transactions PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS.

for several years, as may be seen in No. 000, Art. 0000, and

No. 00, Art. 002, and No.-, Art. 18.
FOR THE YEAR 1742–3.

This animal or vegetable is of a rotund, orbicular, or CONTENTS.-Several Papers relating to the Terrestrial Chry- round form, as represented in the figure annexed, in which

SIPUS, GOLDEN Foot, or GUINEA, an insect, or vegetable A denotes the ruffle; B, the hand; g, the thumb of that which has this surprising Property, that being cut into i hand; d, the finger; e, the part of that finger to which the

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

a

CHRYSIPUS sticks; f, f, f, f, four tubes, representing the Πέος

The mouth of the chrysipus is in this anterior middle, it opens into the stomach, which takes up the whole length of the body. The whole body forms but one pipe, a sort of gut, which can be opened but at one end, i.e., at letter C.

The size of the body of a chrysipus varies according to its different species.

I know two species only, differing in extent almost onehalf; which, for distinction sake, I call the whole Chrysipus and the hemi-Chrysipus. The latter of these is by no means 50 valuable as the former. The length of the lien differ likewise in proportion to the different size or extension of these two.

The Ten of those of a modern growth are so imperfect and invisible to the naked eye that it is much to be feared the species will soon be entirely lost among us; and, indeed, in England they are observed of late to be much rarer than formerly, especially in the country, where at present there are very few of them to be found; but at the same time it is remarked that in some places of the Continent, particularly in a certain part of Germany, they are much plentier, being found in great numbers where formerly there were scarce any to be met with.

I have not, after the minutest observation, been able to settle, with any degree of certainty, whether this be really an animal or a vegetable, or whether it be not strictly neither, or rather both. For as I have, by the help of my microscope, discovered some of its parts to resemble those of a lion, I have at other times taken notice of something not unlike the flower-de-luce, not to repeat those parts abovementioned which bear great analogy to the aldoia of the human body. On their extremities (if they are not very old) may be seen certain letters forming the names of several of our kings, whence I have been almost inclined to conclude that these are the flowers mentioned by Virgil, and which appear to have been so extremely scarce in his time :

Dic quibus in terris inscripti nomina regum

Nascuntur flores. Particularly as he adds,

Et Phyllida solus habeto. Of which we shall take notice hereafter when we come to speak of its properties. What hath principally dissuaded me from an opinion of its being an animal is, that I could never observe any symptoms of voluntary motion; but indeed the same may be said of an oyster, which I think is not yet settled by the learned to be absolutely a vegetable.

But though it hath not, or seems not to have, any progressive motion of its own, yet is it very easy to communicate a motion to it. Indeed, some persons have made them fly all over the town with great velocity.

What is said of the polypus in a late excellent paper communicated to the Royal Society, is likewise applicable to the chrysipus:-

“They make use of their progressive motion, when communicated to them, to place themselves conveniently, so as to catch their prey. They are voracious animals; their sien are so many snares which they set for numbers of small insects. As soon as any of them touches one of the Men it is caught."

But then it differs from the polypus in the consequence ; for, instead of making the insect its prey, it becomes itself a prey to it, and instead of conveying an insect twice as large as its own mouth into it, in imitation of the polypus, the poor chrysipus is itself conveyed into the loculus or pouch of an insect a thousand times as large as itself. Notwithstanding which this wretched animal (for so I think we may be allowed to call it) is so eager after its prey, that if the insect (which seldom happens) makes any resistance it summons other chrysipi to its aid, which in the end hardly ever fail of subduing it and getting into its pouch.

The learned Gualterus goes on in these words :-—"A chrysipus, by the simple contact of my own finger, has so closely attached itself to my hand, that, by the joint and indefatigable labour of several of my friends, it could by no means be severed, or made to quit its hold.”

Gualterus judiciously remarks: “I have," says he, “some of them that have greatly multiplied under my eyes, and of which I might almost say that they have produced young ones from all the exterior parts of their body.

“I have learned, by a continual attention to the two species of them, that all the individuals of these species produce young ones.

“I have for sixty years had under my eye thousands of them, and I have obserVED THEM CONSTANTLY, and with ATTENTION, so as to watch them night and day.

“I tried at first two of them, but these I found would not produce a complete chrysipus; at least I had reason to think the operation would be so slow that I must have waited some years for its completion. Upon this I tried a hundred of them together; by whose marvellous union (whether it be that they mix total, like those heavenly spirits mentioned by Milton, or by any other process not yet revealed to human wit) they were found in the year's end to produce, three, four, and sometimes five chrysipi. I have indeed often made them in that space produce ten or twenty; but this hath been by some held a dangerous experiment, not only to the parent chrysipi themselves, which have by these means been utterly lost and destroyed, but even to the philosopher who hath attempted it; for, as some curious persons have, by hermetic experiments, endangered the loss of their teeth, so we, by too intense application to this chrysipean philosophy, have been sometimes found to endanger our ears.” He then proceeds thus :

“ Another fact which I have observed has proved to me that they have the faculty of multiplying before they are severed from their parent. I have seen a chrysipus, still adhering, bring forth young ones; and those young ones themselves have also brought forth others.”

I now proceed to the singularities resulting from the operation I have tried upon them.

A chrysipus of the larger kind may be divided into oneand-twenty substances (whether animal or vegetable we determine not), every substance being at least as large as the original chrysipus. These may again be subdivided, each of them into twenty-four, and, what is very remarkable, every one of these parts is heavier and rather larger than the first chrysipus. The only difference in this change is that of the colour; for the first sort are yellow, the second white, and the third resemble the complexion and substance of many human faces.

These subdivided parts are by some observed to lose in a great degree their adherescent quality; notwithstanding which Gualterus writes that, from the minutest observations upon his own experience, they all adhered with equal tenacity to his own fingers.

The manner of dividing a chrysipus differs, however,

1 Eclogue ii. 106.

“Nay, tell me first in what new region springs
A flower that bears inscribed the name of kings."

Dryden's Translation. 2 And thou alone have Phyllis. (See “ Thirdly" on page 265.)

[ocr errors]

a

greatly from that of the polypus, for, whereas we are taught in that excellent treatise above mentioned, that

“If the body of a polypus is cut into two parts transversely, each of these parts becomes a complete polypus : on the very day of the operation, the first part or anterior end of the polypus, that is, the head, the mouth, and the arms —this part, I say, lengthens itself, it creeps and eats.

“ The second part, which has no head, gets one; a mouth forms itself at the anterior end, and shoots forth arms. This reproduction comes about more or less quickly, according as the weather is more or less warm.

In summer I have seen arms begin to sprout out twenty-four hours after the operation, and the new head perfected in every respect in a few days.

“Each of those parts thus becomes a perfect polypus, performs absolutely all its functions. It creeps, it eats, it grows, and it multiplies; and all that as much as a polypus which never had been cut.

“In whatever place the body of a polypus is cut, whether in the middle or more or less near the head or the posterior part, the experiment has always the same success.

“ If a polypus cut transversely at the same moment into three or four parts, they all equally become so many complete ones.

“ The animal is too small to be cut at the same time into a great number of parts; I therefore did it successively. I first cut a polypus into four parts and let them grow; next, I cut those quarters again; and at this rate I proceeded until I had made fifty out of one single one; and here I stopped, for there would have been no end of the experiment.

“I have now actually by me several parts of the same polypus cut into pieces above a year ago, since which time they have produced a great number of young ones.

“A polypus may also be cut in two lengthways. Beginning by the head, one first splits the said head and afterwards the stomach : the polypus being in the form of a pipe, each half of what is thus cut lengthways forms a half pipe, the anterior extremity of which is terminated by the half of the head, the half of the mouth, and part of the arms. It is not long before the two edges of those half pipes close after the operation; they generally begin at the posterior part, and close up by degrees to the anterior part. Then each half pipe becomes a whole one complete; a stomach is formed in which nothing is wanting, and out of each half mouth a whole one is formed also.

“I have seen all this done in less than an hour; and that the polypus produced from each of those halves at the end of that time did not differ from the whole ones, except that it had fewer arms; but in a few days more grew out.

“I have cut a polypus lengthways between seven and eight in the morning, and between two and three in the afternoon each of the parts has been able to eat a worm as long as itself.

“If a polypus is cut lengthways, beginning at the head, and the section is not carried quite through, the result is a polypus with two bodies, two heads, and one tail. Some of those bodies and heads may again be cut lengthways soon after. In this manner I have produced a polypus that had several bodies, as many heads, and one tail. I afterwards at once cut off the seven heads of this new hydra ; seven others grew again, and the heads that were cut off became each a complete polypus.

“I cut a polypus transversely into two parts; I put these two parts close to each other again, and they reunited where they had been cut. The polypus thus reunited ate the day after it had undergone this operation : it is since grown, and has multiplied.

“ I took the posterior part of one polypus and the anterior of another, and I have brought them to reunite in the

same manner as the foregoing. Next day the polypus that resulted ate: it has continued well these two months since the operation : it has grown and has put forth young ones from each of the parts of which it was formed. The two foregoing experiments do not always succeed; it often happens that the two parts will not join again.

In order to comprehend the experiment I am now going to speak of, one should recollect that the whole body of a polypus forms only one pipe, a sort of gut or pouch.

“I have been able to turn that pouch, that body of the polypus INSIDE OUTWARDS, AS ONE MAY TURN A STOCKING.

“ I have several by me that have remained turned in this manner; THEIR INSIDE IS BECOME THEIR OUTSIDE AND THEIR OUTSIDE THEIR INSIDE: they eat, they grow, and they mul. tiply as if they had never been turned.”

Now, in the division and subdivision of our chrysipus, we are forced to proceed in quite a different manner

ner-namely, by the metabolic or mutative, not by the schystic or divisive. Some have indeed attempted this latter method, but, like that great philosopher, the elder Pliny, they have perished in their disquisitions, as he did by suffocation. Indeed, there is a method called the kleptistic, which hath been preferred to the metabolic, but this is too dangerous; the ingenious Gualterus never carried it farther than the metabolic, contenting himself sometimes to divide the original chrysipus into twenty-two parts, and again to subdivide these into twenty-five; but this requires great art.

It can't be doubted but that Mr. Trembley will, in the work he is pleased to promise us, give some account of the longevity of the polypus. As to the age of the chrysipus, it differs extremely; some being of equal duration with the life of man, and some of scarce a moment's existence. The best method of preserving them is, I believe, in bags or chests in large numbers, for they seldom live long when they are alone. The great Gualterus says he thought he could never put enough of them together. If you carry them in your pocket singly or in pairs, as some do, they will last a very little while, and in some pockets not a day.

We are told of the polypus, " That they are to be looked for in such ditches whose water is stocked with small insects. Pieces of wood, leaves, aquatic plants, in short, everything is to be taken out of the water that is met with at the bottom or on the surface of the water, on the edges, and in the middle of the ditches; what is thus taken out must be put into a glass of clear water, and these insects, if there are any, will soon discover themselves, especially if the glass is let stand a little without moving it; for thus insects which contract themselves when they are first taken out, will again extend themselves when they are at rest, and become thereby so much the more remarkable."

The chrysipus is to be looked for in scrutoires and behind wainscots in old houses. In searching for them, particular regard is to be had to the persons who inhabit or have inhabited in the same houses, by observing which rule you may often prevent throwing away your labour. They love to be rather with old than young persons, and detest finery so much that they are seldom to be found in the pockets of laced clothes, and hardly ever in gilded palaces. They are sometimes very difficult to be met with, even though you know where they are, by reason of pieces of wood, iron, &c., which must be removed away before you can come at them. There are, however, several sure methods of procuring them, which are all ascertained in a treatise on that subject composed by Petrus Gualterus, which, now he is dead, will shortly see the light. I come now in the last place to speak of the virtues of the chrysipus : in these it exceeds not only the polypus, of which not one single virtue is recorded, but all an act of immodesty ; since I am convinced there are many persons in this kingdom who are persuaded of my fitness for what I have undertaken. But as talking of a man's self is generally suspected to arise from vanity, I shall, without any more excuse or preface, proceed to my Essay.

even

other animals and vegetables whatever. Indeed, I intend here only to set down some of its chief qualities; for to enumerate them all would require a large volume.

First, then, a single chrysipus stuck on to the finger will make a man talk for a full hour, nay, will make him say whatever the person who sticks it on desires : and again, if you desire silence, it will as effectually stop the most loquacious tongue. Sometimes, indeed, one or two, or twenty, are not sufficient; but if you apply the proper number they seldom or never fail of success. It will likewise make men blind or deaf as you think proper; and all this without doing the least injury to the several organs.

Secondly, it hath a most miraculous quality of turning black into white or white into black. Indeed, it hath the powers of the prismatic glass, and can, from any object, reflect what colour it pleases.

Thirdly, it is the strongest love-powder in the world, and hath such efficacy on the female sex that it hath often produced love in the finest women to the most worthless and ugly, old and decrepit, of our sex.

To give the strongest idea in one instance of the salubrious quality of the chrysipus : it is a medicine which the physicians are so fond of taking themselves, that few of them care to visit a patient without swallowing a dose of it.

To conclude, facts like these I have related, to be admitted, require the most convincing proofs. I venture to say I am able to produce such proofs. In the meantime, I refer my curious reader to the treatise I have above mentioned, which is not yet published, and perhaps never may.

POSTSCRIPT.-Since I composed the above treatise I have been informed that these animals swarm in England all over the country, like the locusts, once in seven years; and, like them too, they generally cause much mischief and greatly ruin the country in which they have swarmed.

The next is also from Fielding's “Miscellanies,” published in 1743.

SECTION I.

Of the antiquity of Nothing. There is nothing falser than that old proverb which (like many other falsehoods) is in every one's mouth :

Ex nihilo nihil fit. Thus translated by Shakspeare, in Lear :

Nothing can come of nothing. Whereas, in fact, from Nothing proceeds everything. And this is a truth confessed by the philosophers of all sects : the only point in controversy between them being, whether Something made the world out of Nothing, or Nothing out of Something. A matter not much worth debating at present, since either will equally serve our turn. Indeed, the wits of all ages seem to have ranged themselves on each side of this question, as their genius tended more or less to the spiritual or material substance. For those of the more spiritual species have inclined to the former, and those whose genius hath partaken more of the chief properties of matter, such as solidity, thickness, &c., have embraced the latter.

But, whether Nothing was the artifex or materies only, it is plain in either case it will have a right to claim to itself the origination of all things.

And farther, the great antiquity of Nothing is apparent from its being so visible in the accounts we have of the beginning of every nation. This is very plainly to be discovered in the first pages, and sometimes books, of all general historians; and, indeed, the study of this important subject fills up the whole life of an antiquary, it being always at the bottom of his inquiry, and is commonly at last discovered by him with infinite labour and pains.

:

AN ESSAY ON NOTHING.

THE INTRODUCTION. It is surprising that, while such trilling matters employ the masterly pens of the present age, the great and noble subject of this essay should have passed totally neglected; and the rather, as it is a subject to which the genius of many of those writers who have unsuccessfully applied themselves to politics, religion, &c., is most peculiarly adapted.

Perhaps their unwillingness to handle what is of such importance may not improperly be ascribed to their modesty; though they may not be remarkably addicted to this vice on every occasion. Indeed I have heard it predicted of some, whose assurance in treating other subjects hath been sufficiently notable, that they have blushed at this. For such is the awe with which this Nothing inspires mankind, that I believe it is generally apprehended of many persons of very high character among us, that were title, power, or riches to allure them, they would stick at it.

But, whatever be the reason, certain it is, that, except a hardy wit 1 in the reign of Charles II., none ever hath dared to write on this subject : I mean openly and avowedly; for it must be confessed that most of our modern authors, however foreign the matter which they endeavour to treat may seem at their first setting out, they generally bring the work to this in the end.

I hope, however, this attempt will not be imputed to me as 1 John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. See “Shorter English Poems," pages 336, 337.

SECTION II.

Of the nature of Nothing. Another falsehood which we must detect in the pursuit of this essay is an assertion “ That no one can have an idea of Nothing: but men who thus confidently deny us this idea either grossly deceive themselves, or would impose a downright cheat on the world; for so far from having none, I believe there are few who have not many ideas of it; though perhaps they may mistake them for the idea of Something.

For instance, is there any one who hath not an idea of immaterial substance?Now what is immaterial substance more than Nothing? But here we are artfully deceived by the use of words : for, were we to ask another what idea he had of immaterial matter or unsubstantial substance, the absurdity of affirming it to be Something would shock him, and he would immediately reply it was Nothing.

Some persons perhaps will say, " Then we have no idea of it;” but, as I can support the contrary by such undoubted authority, I shall, instead of trying to confute such idle opinions, proceed to show, first, what Nothing is; secondly, I shall disclose the various kinds of Nothing; and, lastly, shall prove its great dignity, and that it is the end of everything,

As it is extremely hard to define Nothing in positire terms, I shall therefore do it in negative. Nothing then is not Something. And here I must object to a third error

1 The author would not be here understood to speak against the doctrine of immateriality, to which he is a hearty well-wisher; but to point at the stupidity of those who, instead of immaterial essence, which would convey a rational meaning, have substituted immaterial substance, which is a contradiction in terms. -Note by Fielding.

« ZurückWeiter »