« AnteriorContinuar »
embodying the varied thoughts of many minds on matters of present, though not necessarily of passing interest.
In addition to the controversial sections of this Volume, there are others of varying yet standing interest, the contents of which consist of valuable philosophic and biographic essays, original poetry, educational advice, and literary intelligence,-the whole constituting a work diversified in its contents, yet harmonious in its character, and unique in its design.
For the constituent matter of this Volume, we are indebted to many known and unknown friends ; and gladly do we seize this opportunity of again gratefully recognizing their aid and services; at the same time, we would remind them that they have by their contributions not only lightened our labours, but assisted us in disseminating knowledge, and in promoting the cause of truth. Nor must our acknowledgments end here. To our readers generally, we are under obligation for the efforts which they have so constantly made to further the interests and extend the circulation of this Serial. Thus, though they may write no article nor give publicity to a single thought in our columns, each of our readers may assist us in our mission, and help us in our endeavour to enlighten and to bless.
Napoleon is said to have estimated the power of four journals at more than 100,000 bayonets. “Had he lived in our day, what estimate would he have put upon the power of the united press of this country P" If this be powerful now, what will it be in years to come? These questions force us to think, and also cause us to hope, because they refer to matters which are not only indications of progress, but unmistakeable prophecies of that surely coming time when right shall become might, and intelligence and moral power shall govern the world. For the development of that future we are willing still to labour, by improving all present opportunities, and by discharging " the duty which lies nearest to us,” in the firm belief that duty, earnestly performed, is never performed in vain.
Though we review the past with pleasure, in the firm belief that it has been fraught with no slight profit to our readers, we do not hesitate to admit that we have not yet satisfied ourselves with the results of our efforts, and that we hope, as the years roll on, to increase the value and utility of this Magazine as an organ of free thought, -in the highest sense in which it can be said to be free,-insubmission only to the laws of human thought, and those of their Great Ordainer.
No. I.-SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON. Logic is now almost universally regarded as the science of the necessary and formal laws of thinking. It is not only a criticism, but a canon. It presents to the mind not only a doctrine to be believed, but an organon to be used. It is at once a training and a restraining of the intellectual actions. As a science, it is analytical, and strives to discover and determine not only how the mind does think, but how it must think. As an art, it is dialectical and practical, governing the operations of the mind by those laws which a true analysis has yielded ; testing the reasonings of our own or other minds by reference to these laws; and detecting, by this process, falsities and fallacies in thought or speech. Logical requires to be strictly held separate and apart from psychological science; nor ought its teachings to be dependent upon, or alterable by, any change in metaphysical beliefs. To secure accuracy, determinateness, and distinctness of thinking, it indeed establishes a technic or art, but that merely as a convenience, not a necessity. Its true function is legislative-to show what should be, not to teach how that which should be can be brought to pass. No pure science has yet succeeded in segregating itself from the practical life of man; neither has Logic held itself aloof from human interests. In the earlier ages it was among the first to adapt itself to man's wants, and to labour for the ascertainment, by the investigation of truth. Zeno employed it as a controversial weapon ; Socrates used it as a discipline ; Aristotle imparted system to it as a science, and taught the facile management of it as an art. The after ages, enamoured of the singular unity, compactness, and utility of the Organon he gave them, that they could perceive no fault in it at all. Its seeming perfection caused it to be stereotyped among mankind, and, amid all the motion and commotion of centuries, it continued immovable and steadfast. Change upon change passed over all things, yet Logic braved the innate radicalism of man as a progressive being. Minute subtlety and dexterous acumen thirsting for change, and searching for some means of gratifying the
intense iconoclastism of an age in which thought threw off the swaddling bands of old creeds and old laws as effete and worthless, at length succeeded in seeing or fancying a flaw in the age-venerable organon which Greece had given to the Middle Ages. The laborious activity and engrossing power of St. Anselm, Abelard, Peter Lombard, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Raymond Lully, could not save it from the destructive energy of Ludovic Vires, Peter Ranus, John Concis, Thomas Campanella, and Luther. Then Bacon and Descartes arose, and Logic was swept into the engulphing whirl of change, from which no human effort or intent is exempt.
Every country began now to re-construct and re-organize a system of thought for itself: Logic was no longer the, or even a, universal science. France gave us " The Port Royal Art of Thinking;" Germany supplied Wolff, Lambert, and Kant; Flanders produced Wyttenbach ; Italy presented Vico and Genovesi; Spain claimed consideration for Verney; and England rejoiced in the plain good sense of John Locke's Essay. Revolution has not yet exhausted her efforts, nor has any Logic yet appeared which has succeeded in gaining the enthroned seat from which Aristotle has been cast, discrowned.
The object of the present series of papers is to take a survey of the lives and writings of the chief writers on Logic who, within the present century, have contributed, by their aid, to the re-establishment and restoration of the science and art of Reasoning, to supply concise but, it is hoped, intelligible summaries of the several systems they have, the grounds upon which they rest, and the results to which they tend. For the first place in this intended collection of memoirs we have chosen—we believe our readers will acknowledge with good reason—the Aristotle of Scotland, the late Sir William Hamilton, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the University of Edinburgh.
“No system of Logic deserving of notice ever appeared in Scotland; and for logical writers of any merit we must travel back for more than two centuries to three contemporary authors, whose abilities, like those, indeed, of almost all the more illustrious scholars of their nation, were developed under foreign influenceto Robert Balfour [author of Commentaries on the Logic, Physics, and Ethics of Aristotle'], Mark Duncan (M.D., and author of an * Institutio Logica '], and William Chalmers [author of Introductio Logica '], professors in the Universities of Bourdeaux, Saumur, and Anjou." This is the judgment deliberately, pronounced by Sir William Hamilton on the logical repute of his countrymen in the Edinburgh Review of April, 1833, and adhered to, in all but the statement of time, by re-publication in his “ Discussions on Philosophy” in 1852. The judgment then valid no longer holds force. Sir William himself has blotted out this reproach, and a system of logic noticeable on many grounds now owes its birth to Scotland. As the earliest original Scottish system-maker who can be written
in the annals of Caledonian philosophy, as the first man who supplied a marked deficiency in the intellectual history of his nation, if for nothing else, Sir William Hamilton deserves remembrance, and demands notice. This we proceed
to give. Sir William Hamilton, the son of Dr. William Hamilton, Pro. fessor-in succession to his father-of Anatomy and Botany in the University ef Glasgow, was born in the College Buildings--a set of residences erected, about 1727, for the professors in High Street, Glasgow, on 8th March, 1788. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of William Stirling, Esq., of Calder. He had a brother, named Thomas, who became a military gentleman. Dr. Thomas Hamilton, the grandfather of Sir William, was the colleague of Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, George Ross, Dr. Black, &c., and was along with Dr. William Cullen, the founder of the Glasgow Medical School. Dr. William Hamilton, his son, and the father of the subject of the present sketch, though he died at the early age of thirty-two, left behind him an almost unequalled reputation as a skilful expositor of medical science. By descent, Sir William Hamilton was connected with the ducal house of Hamilton, the Baronage of Belhaven,-one of whose members was “Single-speech Hamilton,”- -as well as that of Preston and Fingalton, of which he was the lineal representative. Dr. Thomas Reid was one of Dr. William Hamilton's neighbours during the early boyhood of Sir William ; but we opine, from an allusion in one of Reid's letters to David Sterne, that they did not live on terms of extraordinary intimacy. William was in his sixth year when Dr. Reid died ; and not long after that event his father's demise occurred. In consequence of this bereavement, he was, while yet very young, placed under the care of the Rev. John Sommers, D.D., minister of the parish of Mid-Calder, in the neighbourhood of his mother's estate.
In those days of scanty incomes, when the teinds in Scottish parishes were difficult to be got hold of, it was not unusual for the clergymen of rural places to eke out their stipend by taking boys into the manse as boarders, and devoting a portion of time to the superintendence of their studies. In this retired spot, within a dozen miles from Edinburgh, where memories of his mother's ancestry were rife; where the Almond flows, and the woods of Calder wave ; where Spottiswood was born, and where Knox first dispensed the Reformation Sacrament, the fatherless boy conned his lessons stndiously, yet found in the beautiful scenery of the neighbourhood, the balmy air of the country, and the free and frolicsome habits of rustic life, health and enjoyment. So rapid was the progress made under the care of Dr. Sommers, that he was thought qualified to attend the Latin and Greek classes in the university in which his ancestors had held professional offices. These classes were then taught, the former by Professor William Richardson, the latter by Professor Young. Richardson was the author of several poems, plays, criticisms on Shakespere, and other essays in literature, and editor of most of those splendid and accu
rate classics which were issued from the press of the Messrs. Foues. He was a tasteful and elegant, rather than a profound or original, writer. His professional duties were performed with honesty, and attended with advantage. Young was a man of substantial attain. ments, less celebrated than his predecessor, Moor, and less dashing and flasly than his successor, Sandford; he was an excellent disciplinarian and trainer, a man of cultured mind, mature judgment, and literary taste. From these men he got a fair junior class drilling ; but, on the supposition that he was too young to cope successfully and safely with the members of the senior classes, he was withdrawn, much to his own chagrin, from the collegiate life, and placed as a pupil in the school of Lr. Dean, at Bromley, in the neighbourhood of London, where he remained for two years, and then returned to the university, where, under the same professors, he pursued in the higher classes Humanity and Greck.
It was not, however, till he entered the logic class, conducted by the celebrated professor, George Jardine, that the whole powers of his mind were excited, and he began to feel the full interest and rapture of a congenial theme. Jardine was one of the ablest professors of logic that ever occupied the chair which Smith had filled, Hume and Burke had failed to get, and a Dr. Clow had managed to have and hold. Jardine did not teach logic, properly so called, but he knew how, with sound judgment, and a quiet but effective enthusiasm, to excite the reflective faculties of the young, and make them feel the pleasures of the exercise of thought. He opened his class by reading and commenting on Xenophon's " Memorabilia of Socrates ;” then he explained and illustrated the Aristotelic logic; and afterwards proceeded to describe and analyze the powers of the understanding. This he followed by detailed exemplifications of induction, by practical exercises in definition, division, classification, generalization, and in the use of all those resources of art by which the faculty of reason is developed, improved, and properly fitted for the acquisition of knowledge and the investigation of truth. A short course of rhetoric, as an auxiliary to logic, closed his annual “ Outlines of a Philosophical Education.” Under genial culture such as this, Hamilton's mind budded, opened, expanded, and blossomed into thought. His keen intellect enabled him to follow the dim forms of truths into their far inner retreats in the mind; and his active alacrity of thought quickly uncouched them from their close-lying lairs, and brought them forth, the captives of his research. The acute patience, the full vigour, the industrious inquisitiveness of his, received suitable exercise in this class, where originality got a fair chance, not only of manifestation, but of praise. The tuition which Jardine gave was invaluable—it stimulated, exerted, gratified, enlarged, improved, and elevated the mind in all its capacities, active and passive.
The honourable academic distinctions, which the logic class offered to the diligent and deserving, Hamilton gained easily, for he carried off all the bighest prizes in this department. How.he