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ian has a superior claim to our approbation, on account of its supe. rior sanctions. On this ground rests its superiority over all human systems; and on this ground, morally and politically speaking, it recommends itself to you, my friends, who should all, for the sake of peace, for the sake of social harmony, in detestation of anarchy, and in imitation of the great examples of antiquity, constantly assert, at all ** times and in all places—a patribus acceptos Deos placet coli. Let this Ciceronian principle be your motto ; let it be your polar star as often , as you are engaged inter sylvas Academi quærere verum.' . ..
Without discussing the origin of the stoical system, or inquiring how far the powers of reason might exert themselves independently of revelation, and more especially with the assistance which they might have derived from it by means of tradition, we cannot forbear protesting against the unrestricted and unqualified conclusions suggested by the author in the paragraph last cited ; and which is more particularly deserving of notice, because it is more diffusely inculcated in another part of this discourse. We allow, with him, that the belief of a moral Providence, whencesoever it was derived, very generally prevailed. This belief originating, as some may say, in a false conception of the Divine Omnipotence, and fostered in after-ages by human policy, has spred itself with the spreading of civil society, and maintains, at this day, an undisputed empire over the mind.' Admitting this to be the case, that men entertain erroneous notions of the doctrine of Providence, or of the reasons on which the belief of it is founded, are we prohibited by a rational and laudable policy from a calm and sober discussion of the subject? Mr. Archard seems to intimate that a discussion, which extends itself to the lower orders of society, is dangerous and prejudicial. . • Of the various classes that compose a community, the far greater part, from their very situation and its attendant privations, are doomed to a state of ignorance or moral imbecility. These have no principles; they have only prejudices, which the wise will smile at, or lament, but which the statesman must always respect.'- It should seem, therefore, viewing man as he really is in society, that there is a certain link in the social chain, beyond which speculative science is not communicable, or cannot be communicated for any good purpose. Where speculative science ends, the empire of religious science begins., Truths or propositions of this latter kind are analogous with the grossness of vulgar intellect; they are palpable; they are, as it were, tangible, and find their way into the hearts and understandings of those poor individuals, who, involved in even more than Egyptian darkness, must either be coerced or allured to become good citizens, by the servile motives of future rewards and punishments. Hence it is, that reli. gious establishments are coeval with the formation of civil society, and that history has not yet exhibited to our view a people that had not a popular religion. Now to expose the unreasonableness of such
religions, when their effects are good; or to endeavour to weaken the popular confidence ; would be doing an irreparable injury to the state. and to those poor individuals :—to the individuals, by unhinging their confidence in that system, which alone can administer consolation to their unenlightened and desponding minds, and to the state, by raising and diffusing a spirit of wild and unprincipled independence."
To much the same purpose, are the sentiments which occur in the following paragraph:
When the emperor Theodosius proposed to the Roman senate the substitution of Christianity in the place of the religion of their fathers, the proposition was negatived, from the consideration, that Rome had flourished twelve hundred years under the protection of her gods, and had enjoyed, during that period, every kind of prosperity. An answer this, which could only have been suggested by the most refined policy, arising from enlarged views of human nature. For what is man but the creature of habit, or of early impressions ; and if the habits, which he has contracted, though originating in false, principles, have a tendency to meliorate the individual, and render him a good member of civil society, what legislator, or legislative body, can, without incurring the imputation of ignorance or impolicy, attempt to weaken or suspend the influence of those habits, by the introduction of a new order of things, which, at best, could only operate the same effects, but which, in its progress towards stability, might expose the state to all the horrors of intestine war. For these reasons Socrates was a Conformist, the Roman Senate were Conformnists, and the initiated of all countries and of all ages, have ever been and will be Conformists.'
The reader will indulge his own reflections on this kind of reasoning. To us it seems to be adapted to, obstruct every kind of inquiry and improvement ; and if mankind in former ages had been influenced by it, Christianity could never have been introduced into the world :-the reformation must have been stifled in its birth;--and the empire of ignorance and superstition must have been universal and perpetual. Wherever that accommodating spirit prevails, which the author seems to us to vindicate and recommend, integrity can resist no trial, and can have no sufficient encouragement and support. Those who have suffered, in any period of time, or in any nation of the world, on account of attachment to their principles, and who have been generally honoured both by contemporaries and posterity, have been chargeable with a degree of folly which would excite the sneer or the anathema of the initiated. Conformity to the religion of the state, whatsoever it be, and in whatever country our lot is cast, is our wisdom and duty; and we are allowed, nay we are required, to profess the national faith, whatever may be our private sentiments. If we belong to the author's class of initiated persons, we shall have no
scruples to perplex and distress our minds. We shall be prepared to make any submission, which convenience or interest may require; and by degrees our supple consciences will raise no obstacles in the way of our conformity to any religious system, however unscriptural or irrational."
In any state of society, it is the duty of the members of it to arlopt, for their motto and guide, a maxim of higher autho. rity than that of Cicero which the author recommends; we mean, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind; and no anarchy nor disorder can be apprehended from the uncontrol. led exercise of the understanding in the province of religion; nor even from those alterations and improvements in national creeds and forms, which the progress of inquiry and knowlege may demand.
ART. X. Flora Bedfordiensis; comprehending such Plants as grow
wild in the County of Bedford, arranged according to the System of Linnæus ; with occasional Remarks. By Charles Abbot, M. A. F.L.S. Vicar of Oakley Raynes in Bedfordshire. 8vo.
6s. 6d. Boards. Robinsons. 1798. Wowever it may be doubted whether partial Flore, conn taining an account of those plants only which grow in a narrow district, can be attended with much general utility, we believe that there are very few botanists who will not allow that the natural history of this country is deeply indebted to the truly valuable Flora Cantabrigiensis, published by the learned but unfortunate Mr. Relhan; and if we turn our eyes for a moment to the books on this subject which hold the highest rank on the Continent, we shall find few more esteemed than those of which the limits are bounded by a circle almost as contracted as that now before us. Bedfordshire, though one of the smallest among the English couuties, contains a wonderful diversity of soil, and necessarily an almost equal diversity of plants; the number described by Mr. Abbot being 1225, whereas the Flora Cantabrigiensis, including its three supplements, comprises only 1211; a difference which, though in itself trilling, may be considered as very great, when we reflect that no part of this kingdom has been so thoroughly examined as the latter, and that, Mr. Abbot has taken ground little trodden by botanic feet, where he has been almost entirely obliged to rely " $20 marte.” The Flora Bedfordiensis, as it is observed in the preface, is not intended to be a copy of either Dr. Sibthorpe's or Mr. Relhan's work, but to hold an intermediate place: nothing but the specific descriptions being given to the plants, except where the author has himself ob
served any thing remarkable. Though these observations do not occur sufficiently often, they are for the most part very neat; and we were much pleased to find them most frequent in the class Cryptogamia: particularly in the genus Agaricus, where some little note is subjoined to almost every species ; which cannot but tend to throw 'considerable light on a subject that, till within a very few years, has been considered as a disgrace to science,-a mere
- " Pondus iners, congestaque eodem
Non bene junclarum discordia semina rerum.” Ovid. Metam. Mr. Abbot has followed the example set by some authors in the Linnæan Transactions, of occasionally adopting our own language for natural history; as a motive for which, he alleges his desire to render his work intelligible to his fair countrywomen. We join with him most sincerely in a wish to promote, among the ladies of Britain, a taste for the beauties of natural history; by devoting their leisure to which, they would be prompted to exercise their neglected talents, and to abstract their minds from those frivolous amusements, which their imperfect education often enables to take a fast hold of them. Perhaps, however, there is not so much difference in the diffi. culty of learning the two tongues ; for stigma, whether used as a Latin or English word, is equally incomprehensible to an unlettered ear; and ovåte appears to us nearly as difficult to be understood as ovation.
The preface is written in a pleasant style ; and we were extremely gratified to find that, while the author acknowleges his obligations to those friends who have assisted him, he does not forget to introduce a most affectionate remembrance of his wife: to the truth of which we can add our testimony, as we have seen a few specimens expanded by Mrs. Abbot, and can safely say that we have seldom known their rivals in beauty, never their superiors.
The work is neatly printed, and is ornamented with six plates; which do not seem to us well chosen, as four of them have already appeared in Mr. Sowerby's English Botany and English Fungi, two books with which few British botanists are unacquainted. The plants figured are, Alchemilla vulgaris, Canvalla. ria majalis, Viola palustris, Hydnum imbricatum, Peziza cornucopioides, and Lycoperdon carpobolus: but, though these are for the most part rarely found wild in our island, surely it is unpardonable to figure plants so common in every garden. It would have been better to have given plates either of those which the author first discovered ; or, at all events, of some which have not yet been published in this country.
Mr. Mr. Abbot has in very few instances differed from Dr. Withering ; we mean with regard to nomenclature: for he has not followed the Botanical Arrangements in turning the Linnaan system topsy turvy.-On the authority of Hoffman, aided by his own observation, he has made the beautiful variety of
Anagallis Arvensis, a species under the name of A. Carulea ; and he follows Mr. Relhan in describing Heracleum Angustifolium as distinct from H. Sphondylium ; in which latter point we suspect that he is in an error; as we are acquainted with a very accurate botanist, who pointed out to Mr. Relhan, near Cambridge, the leaves of both plants on one stem,
We do not remember that Mr. Abbot was ever before known to the world as an author : but we have very frequently seen his name as one of the most liberal contributors to Mr. Sowerby's two publications before mentioned ; and he therefore is not a stranger to English naturalists. The present work does him considerable credit ; and we do not hesitate in pronouncing it a valuable addition to the Botany of Great Britain. Tuanr.
tArt Art. XI. Sermons, preached to Parochial Congregations, by the late
Rev. Richard Southgate, M. A. many Years Čurate of St. Giles's in the Fields, and sometime Rector of Warsop, Nottinghamshire: with a Biographical Preface by George Gaskin, D. D. Rector of St. Benet Grace-Church, London; and of Stoke. Newington, Middlesex. 8vo. 2 Vols. 125. Boards. Leigh and Sotheby.
1798. The author of these discourses appeared, for the greater
1 part of his life, in the humble station of a curate : but, in so populous a parish as that of St. Giles, he could not long remain in obscurity. Indeed, according to the short memorial annexed to these volumes, his vigilance in attending to the duties of his office, his learning and ingenuity, his diffidence and humility, could not fail of recommending him to regard, and of rendering him in some degree conspicuous. His behaviour was not that which is termed merely decent ; it was such as displayed a heart under the powerful influence of religious and virtuous principles. His income was but slender during the former years of his life:-yet he was able to indulge a taste for books, medals, and coins; and for fossils, shells, and other natural curiosities. The manifestation of this taste gained the notice of the Directors of the British Museum; and in November 1784, on the death of Dr. Gifford, he was appointed assistant librarian, r an office (says Dr. Gaskin) for which he was eminently qualified.' About this time also he became a fellow of the Antiquarian and Linnæan Societies, 15.