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was perfuaded that he was born to make profelytes. After having taught fome time in Greece, he went into that part of Italy, which is called Magna Grecia, becaufe of the colonies by which it was peopled. Crotona, Metapontum and Tarentum, were the places in which he chiefly refided. Here he did not hut himself up in the shade of his closet, but openly harangued in the cause of virtue, to reform the manners of the people. Crotona, a place noted for debauchery, very foon changed its appearance; a reformation took place, the women ftript themselves of their ornaments, and the marriage vow became inviolably facred. Several other towns of Italy likewife followed the inftructions of the philofopher, and were governed by his counfels. One of his maxims was, that there were but five things which ought to be combated; the difeafes of the body, the ignorance of the mind, the paffions of the heart, fedition in cities, and difcord in private families.
He lived in the fame fociety with his difciples, and made them fubmit to a kind of noviciate, for at leaft two years, and fome for five, during which time they were to learn in filence, without being entitled to enquire the reason of his doctrines, because he did not imagine they were capable of reafoning until they had imbibed good principles. He taught them to reafon by making them acquainted with geometry, without which they could not difcover a quack or impoftor. Whatever he faid, was received as an oracle. The mafter faid fo, was fufficient to ftop the mouths of his fcholars. Did he then order a blind fubmiffion, or did he difpel their doubts by perfuafion? The true philofopher can never think of tyrannizing over the human mind, and it is not probable that a geometrician would defire to be believed upon his word.
• His doctrine of the divinity was excellent. He taught the unity of God, the author of all things, an infinite almighty fpirit, incapable of fuffering, who is not an object of our fenfes, or perceivable but to the understanding. His defire was, that all our actions, and all our application, fhould be directed to make us refemble the Deity, by the acquifition of truth; adding, that to know the truth, it is neceffary to feek it with a pure heart, and keep the paffions in perfect fubjection. Perhaps it is without any foundation that the opinion of the Stoics has been afcribed to him; that God is the foul of the universe, from whence human fouls are derived as parts from their whole but at least he does not feem to have taken it in the fame fense with the materialists.
The metempfychofis was a fundamental part of his doctrine, in confequence of which, he forbad the killing and eating of animals. The rewarding the good, and punishing the wicked were connected with this idea, which was fpread over all Afia and Egypt. It mult be owned that this was an ufeful error for thofe people who had not the advantage of revelation to inform them of a future ftate.
• Some miracles and abfurd ftories have been handed down about Pythagoras, because he was looked upon as infpired. Impofitions equally improbable, have likewife been attributed to him; but the laws of his difciples, Zaleucus and Charondas, of which fome valuable fragments have been preferved by Diodorus, ferve as a proof of his profound wisdom, amidst the ignorance of idolatry, The first
of thefe was a lawgiver of the Sibarites, a people formerly noted for their effeminacy; the fecond, of the Locrians in Italy. The preamble to the laws of Zaleucus dwells upon the existence of the Deity, to whom every good which we enjoy ought to be afcribed, who difdains the facrifices of the wicked, and who fhould be honoured by purity of morals and the exercife of every virtue. A body of laws erected upon fuch a foundation, is the more to be refpected, as it infpires mankind with a love of thofe duties which it prescribes.
Thales, the chief of the Ionic fect, faid that water was the first principle of all things, and that God, a fpiritual fubftance, which he believed to be the foul of matter, had formed every thing out of water. Anaxagoras, about an age after Thales, taught that the formation of the univerfe ought to be afcribed to an infinitely powerful and wife being. He believed that matter was eternal, and his fucceffors adhered to that opinion. However, it was the greatest step that could be taken by a philofopher to exalt his knowledge to the belief of a Supreme Being, whofe wisdom had formed the world. Anaxagoras appeared impious in the eyes of the Athenians, because he faid that the fun was a flaming substance; for which he would have been put to death, if Pericles had not made him fly from that fuperftitious city. Such are the decifions of ignorance, animated by a blind zeal, which is a difgrace to that religion it pretends to fupport. Upon that Philofopher being afked whether he chofe to have his body, after his death, carried to Clazomene, the place of his nativity: To what purpose? replied he, the road to the other world is as fport from one place as another.
Socrates, the difciple of Anaxagoras, dedicated all his labours to serve the cause of virtue; he laughed at the vanity of the fophifts, and taught his pupils to think that the proper ftudy of man, was to know himself, that he might become better; he devoted his philofophy to the good of the public, from which it never fhould be feparated, and was made to drink the hemlock like an impious criminal, as a reward for his piety, and fervices to his country.
• Socrates committed nothing to writing; but Plato, his disciple, compofed many excellent pieces in an eloquent ftyle, upon the Deity, the foul, laws, and the duties of morality, though he introduced a number of extravagant ideas, from whence an infinity of chimeras were produced. He was governed by fancy, but a philofopher fhould hearken only to reafon. He created an intellectual world, in which genii, numbers, and fantastical relations, formed a perfect chaos. Pythagoras had employed numbers, probably as figns; but Plato employed them as reafons, and nature was forgot in all his fyftems: it could not be found either in his phyfics or metaphyfics, nor even in his morals, and flill lefs in his politics, the principles of which are impracticable: nevertheless, he is often fo admirable, that even his imperfections are enticing. I should like better to be deceived with Plato, faid Cicero, than to think right with the other philofophers (Tufcul. 1.) A ftrange maxim indeed, but ferves to fhew that the greatcft geniuses fometimes are dupes to prejudice.
Ariftotle, of Stagyra in Macedonia, the most celebrated of all the difciples of Plato, was of very different fentiments, and was the
founder of the fect of Paripatetics. When Alexander fet out on his expedition to Alia, Ariftotle went to teach at Athens, from whence he withdrew upon being accused of impiety by a priest of Ceres, though without any proof being offered; to prevent the Athenians, as he faid, from committing a fecond ffence against philofophy. His doctrine of the Deity is equivocal. Sometimes he would have it that the world is God; at other times that there is a God fuperior to the world. The obfcurity in which almost every subject he has handled is immerfed, has been greatly increased by the ignorance of modern peripatetics; but he has left fome very valuable monuments of his abilities upon politics, natural history, and the belles lettres, in which there is ample room to admire the extent of his knowledge, and the acuteness of his genius.
The academy, or fchool of Plato, grew very foon tired of that dogmatical philofophy, whofe opinions adopted at random, could not convince people who were capable of reasoning; they therefore followed the method of Socrates, who maintained nothing that was doubtful. Arce filas, who was founder of the middle academy, went from one extreme to another. He feemed to doubt of every thing; and fufpended his judgment upon all fubjects, as if there was no fuch thing as truth in the world. The new academy founded by Carneades, followed a fyftem, which in appearance was not fo extravagant, but in the end amounted to almoft the fame thing. He ac knowledged that there were truths, but fo obfcure, and confounded with fo many errors, that they could not be difcerned with any degree of certainty; and thus his followers were permitted to act from probabilities, provided they affirmed nothing pofitively. There was at least modesty in this philofophy. What a multitude of errors and contentions would have been prevented, if doubts had not been extended to those principles which have been best established by reason and fentiment!"
Our Author concludes what he fays upon this fubject with obferving, that the fpeculative philofophy of the Greeks has produced fcarcely any thing but errors and difputes; because, instead of having recourfe to experiment, they erected fyftems, and dreamed when they ought to have been employed in making obfervations; that a tafte for fophiftry and ill-founded fubtleties became common to all the different fects, and gave rife to thofe numerous follies and chimeras which have been handed down to the present times.
He introduces what he fays concerning the poetry of the Greeks with the following obfervations:
A delicate tale, a lively imagination, a fertility of genius, a rich harmonious language, eminent abilities excited by the moft ardent emulation, all together contributed to make the Greeks in point of learning, the matters and models of the whole world. Their incomparable language, univerfally flexible, and fit to embellish every fubject, had under the pen of Homer, united grace, ftrength, and majesty, and was worthy either to celebrate the praifes of Jupiter, or of Venus; which, if I am not mistaken, evidently proves, that there were good writers before the time of Homer, for languages
are formed but very flowly, and can be improved only by the labours of the learned.
Poetry has almost always been prior to every other kind of learning, which is undoubtedly owing to its being the produce of fentiment and fancy, two faculties of the mind always employed before reafon. Senfible minds are led by a kind of inftinct to fing their pleasures, their happinefs, the gods whom they adore, the heroes they admire, and the events they wish to have engraven upon their memories accordingly poetry has been cultivated in all favage nations. The warmth of the paffions has been of great use in promoting this delightful art, but the cause of humanity as often given a fubject for the fong of the poet. The intention of the Iliad of Homer, was to stifle that difcord which prevailed in the minds of the Greeks, and by exhibiting a view of the noble deeds of their ancettors, to infpire them with a paffion for performing heroic actions. If the milder virtues had been known at that time; it is probable they had likewise been celebrated by Homer.'
The fecond volume carries the Hiftory of the Romans down to the establishment of Mahometanism in the feventh century.To the first volume is annexed a Table of ancient Geography, and to the fecond a Chronological Table of fome of the principal Facts recorded in ancient History.
ART. VII. Confiderations on the prefent State of public Affairs, and the Means of raifing the neceffary Supplies. By William Pulteney, Efq; 8vo. 1s. Dodfley, &c. 1779.
THE fenfible and moderate Writer of thefe Confiderations, laid before the Public, last year, the fentiments he then entertained concerning our American affairs. As matters are now in a very different fituation, he thinks it his duty, in a crifis of fuch importance, and even danger, to contribute every thing in his. power to the public fervice, by giving his opinion upon a fubject, which, he fays, muft have exercifed the anxious thoughts of the ableft men in the kingdom.
Whatever may be thought of his plan for raifing the neceffary supplies, within the year; or whatever fentiments may be entertained in regard to what he advances concerning our unhappy conteft with America, every unprejudiced reader, we cannot but think, will be pleafed with the temper and spirit with which he writes. He delivers his opinion with a manly but decent freedom, like one who has nothing in view but the public good, and who means to ferve the intercfted views of no party whatsoever.
It were much to be wifhed, that gentlemen of leisure and ability, of large and comprehenfive views, would follow Mr. Pulteney's example, apply themfelves, with the utmost serioufnefs and attention to the confideration of public affairs, and publifh their fentiments, not with that bold, illiberal and decifive tone which marks the mere party-writer, but with that
decent, liberal, and candid fpirit which becomes the fincere lover of his country. For furely the prefent critical fituation of Britain calls loudly for the exertion of every virtue, and every useful talent, and renders unanimity, vigour, firmnefs, and wifdom in our public meafures, abfolutely neceflary to fave our country from those dangers which threaten it on every fide.
Mr. Pulteney fets out with telling us, that the great load of our public debt has always appeared to him a millstone, which, fooner or later, would endanger almoft the existence of this kingdom; that he thought fo at the last peace, and saw with indignation the alarming addition that was then made, to our ordinary expences, commonly called our peace establishment: that he has great reason to speak confidently, when he fays, that the enormous amount of our national debt, has been one of the chief causes of the American refiftance; and has, above all other things, encouraged France to engage in the present contest; that it has not only encouraged our enemies, and depreffed our own minds, but that the taxes upon many of the neceffaries of life, which it has occafioned, have cramped the industry of our people, and thereby diminished our power, as well as our importance.
He goes on to tell us, that as the congrefs is understood to have entered into a treaty, offenfive and defenfive, with our natural enemy, no option feems now to be left us, but either to proceed with the utmoft vigour, in profecuting the war, or to fubmit not only to the claim of American independance, but to fuch further conditions of peace, as France and the Congrefs may think proper to impofe: for it is not to be imagined, he fays, that France, if we were ready to yield, would demand nothing for herself; or that the Congrefs would, in such a cafe, either difunite themselves from France, or be contented with the fimple acknowledgement of independence:-Befides, it would be difhonourable, Mr. P. obferves, in the highest degree, on our parts, to defert, unconditionally, those friends in America, who, from a fenfe of duty and allegiance, have hitherto ftood firmly by us, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes.
In the prefent fituation of our affairs, those who are fufficiently detached from party-connections, and are influenced by no other motive, than that intereft, which all men have in the public profperity, are naturally led to confider, whether the object we are now contending for, by the war, deferves to be purfued; and if it does, whether or not it be attainable, and by what means?
The object now, I apprehend, is, to preferve fuch a connection with the Colonies in North America, as to unite the force of the. whole empire, in time of war, for the common fafety; fo that no one part may be thrown into the fcale of a foreign enemy, to the prejudice of the other part. • This