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men who think that any thing can be done justly, which has a precedent in its favor.

Whence one of the wisest legislators said, “ That for the welfare of man, he must frequently be deceived ;” and another great politician says, Cum veritatem qua liberetur ignoret, expedit quod fallatur. Man should not ascertain the truth of the usurpation ; for it was introduced in ancient times, without good reason. But now it must always be held up as authentic and eternal; we must veil its origin, if we wish it to be perpetuated.

10. Set the greatest philosopher in the world upon a plank, even broader than the space he occupies in walking on plain ground, and if there is a precipice below him, though reason convices him of his safety, his imagination will prevail to alarm bim : the very thought of it would make some perspire and turn pale. Who does not know that there are persons so nervous, that the sight of a cat, or a rat, or the crushing of a bit of coal, will almost drive them out of their


11. Would you not say of that venerable magistrate, whose years command the respect of a whole people, that he is under the control of pure and dignified wisdom, and that he judges of things as they are, without being influenced by those adventitious circumstances which warp the imagination of the weak?

But see him enter the very court where he is to administer justice ; see him prepare to hear with a gravity the most exemplary; but if an advocate appears to whom nature has given a hoarse voice, or a dull expression of countenance,--if his barber bas but half shaved him, or an accidental splash of mud has fallen on him, I'll engage for the loss of the judge's self-possession. '12. The mind of the greatest man on earth, is not 80 independent of circumstances, as not to feel inconvenienced by the merest buzzing noise about him; it does not need the report on a cannon to disturb his thoughts. The creaking of a vane or pully is quite enough. Do not wonder that he reasons ill just now; a fly is buzzing by his ear; it is quite enough to un fit him for giving good counsel. If you wish him to see the rights of the case, drive away that insect, which suspends his reasoning powers, and frets that mighty mind which governs cities and kingdoms.

13. The is one of the principal sources of belief; not that it produces belief, but that things appear true or false to us aecording to the way they are looked at. The will, which inclines to one thing, more than another, turns away the mind from consid ering the qualities of that wbich it does not approve ; and thus the whole mind led by the will or inclination, limits its observation to what it approves, and thus forming its judgment on what it sees, it insensibly regulates its belief by the inclinations of the will, i. e. by its own preferences.

14. Disease is another source of error. It impairs the judgment and the senses: and if serious disorders do visibly produce this effect, doubtless minorailments do so in proportion.

Self-interest also is a surprising means of inducing a voluntary blindness. Affection or dislike will alter our notions of justice. For instance, when an advo. cate is well paid before hand, how much more just he thinks the cause which he has to plead. Yet owing to another strange peculiarity of the human mind, I have kņown men who, lest they should serve their own interest, have been cruelly unjust, through a con-trary bias : so that the sure way to lose a good cause, was to get it recommended to them by one of their near relations.

15. The imagination often magnifies the veriest trifle, by a false and romantic preference, till it fills the whole soul; or in its heedless presumption, bringe down the most elevated subjects to our own low standard.

16. Justice and truth are two points of such ex quisite delicacy, that our coarse and blunted instruments will not touch them accurately.

If they do tind out the point, so as to rest upon it, they bruise and id-


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jure it, and lean at last more on the error that surrounds it, than on the truth itself.

17. It is not only old and early impressions that deceive us: the charms of novelty have the same power. Hence arise all the differences among men, who reproach each other, either with following the false impressions of their infancy, or with hastily running after new ones.

Who keeps the golden mean? Let him stand forth and prove it. There is not a single principle, however simply natural, and existing from childhood, that may not be made to appear a false impression, conveyed by instruction or the they, you have believed from your infancy that a chest was empty when you saw that there was nothing in it, you have assumed that a vacuum is possible. But this is a strong delusion of your senses, confirmed by habit, which science must correct. Others on the contrary say, because you have been taught in the schools, that there is no vacuum in nature, your common sense, which previous to this delusive impression, saw the thing clearly enough, has been corrupted, and must be corrected by a recurrence to the dictates of nature. Now, which is the deceiver here, our senses or our education ?

18. All the occupations of men have respect to the obtaining of property; and yet the title by which they possess it, is at first only the whim of the original legislator: and after all, no power that they have, will insure possession. thousand accidents may rob them of it. It is the same with scientific attainment: Disease takes it away.

19. What are our natural principles, but the result of custom ? In children, they are those which have resulted from the custom of their parents, as the chace. in animals.

A different custom would give different natural principles. Experience proves this. And if there are some that custom cannot eradicate, there are some impressions arising from custom, that nature canoot do away. This depends on disposition.

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Parents fear the destruction of natural affection in their children. What! is this natural principle so liable to decay? Habit is a second naiure, which destroys the first. Why is not custoin nature ? pect that this nature itself, is but a first custom, as custom is a second nature.

20. If we were to dream every night the same thing, it would probably have as much effect upon us as the objects which we see daily ; and if an artisan were sure of dreaming every night for some hours continuance, that he was a king, I think he would be almost as happy as a king, who should dream every night for twelve hours successively, that he was artisan. If we should dream every night that we are pursued by enemies, and harrassed by distressing phantoms, and that we passed all our days in different occupations, as if we were travelling; we should suffer almost as much as if this were true, and we should dread to sleep just as much as we dread to awake, when we fear to enter really upon such afflictions. In fact these dreams would be almost as serious an evil, as the reality. But because these dreams are all dif ferent, what we see in them afflicts us much less than what we see when awake, on account of its continuity; :-a continuity however, not so equal and uniform that it undergoes no change, but less violently, as in a voy. age; and then we say, “ I seem to myself to dream;". or life is a dream a little less variable.

21. We suppose that all men conceive and feel in the same way,

the objects that are presented to them: but we suppose this very gratuitously, for 'we have no proof of it. I see plainly that the same word is used on the same occasion ; and that wherever two men see snow, for example, they express their notion of the same object by the same word, both saying that it is white; and from this agreement of the application of terms, we draw a strong conjecture in favor of a conformity of ideas; but this is not absolutely convincing, though there is good ground for the supposition,

22. When we see an effect regularly recurring, we

conclude that there is a natural necessity for it, as that the sun will rise to-morrow, &c. But in many things nature deceives us, and does not yield a perfect submission to its own laws.

23. Many things that are certain are contrdicted; many that are false pass without contradiction : contradiction is no proof of falsehood, nor universal assent, of truth.

24. The instructed mind discovers that as nature carries the imprint of its author stamped on all things, they all have a certain relation to his two-fold infinity. Thus we see that all the sciences are infinite in the extent to which their researches may be carried.Who doubts, for instance, that geometry involves in it an infinity of infinities of propositions ? It is intinite also in the multitude and the delicacy of its principles ; for who does not perceive that any which are proposed as the last, must rest upon themselves, which is absurd ; and that in fact they are sustained by others, which have others again for their basis, and must thus eternally exclude the idea of an ultimate proposition.

We see at a glance that arithmetic alone furnishes principles without number, and each science the same.

But if the infinitely small is much less discernible than the infinitely great, philosophers have much more readily pretended to have attained to it; and here all have stumbled. This erro has en rise to those terms so commonly in use, as “ the principles of things -the principles of of philosophy;" and other similar expressions, as conceited, in fact, though not quite so obtrusively so as that insufferably disgusting title, De omni scibili.*

Let us not seek then for assurance and stability. Our reason is perpetually deceived by the variableness of appearances, nothing can fix that which is finite, between the two infinites that enclose it, and fly from it; and when this is well understood, each man will, I

*The title of a thesis maintained at Rome by Jean Pic de la Miranadole, [The author was twenty four years old. A. E.]

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