Page images

After some general strictures upon the character and method of Locke's philosophy, M. Cousin advances to the analysis of individual ideas, and first of that of Space. Locke's definition of the idea of space, and his account of the mode in which it enters the mind, are clear and satisfactory. The existence of external matter, of something resisting and solid, is revealed to us by the sense of touch; and from the conception of solidity the mind ascends to that of the space occupied by the solid body. According, then, to Locke, the idea of solidity precedes that of space, in the order of their appearance in the mind; and is, moreover, the occasion or condition essential to the formation of this latter idea. In the doctrine of Kant, espoused by M. Cousin, space, on the contrary, is asserted to be not an empirical idea, which has been derived from external experience; but the condition of the possibility of all external appearances, and a necessary a priori intuition. But the doctrines of Locke and of Kant, though apparently so different, may be easily reconciled with one another, and are both essentially true. Locke is to be regarded as the historian of mental phenomena; he records their successive appearance and mental relations as respects exclusively the order of time; and it is doubtless true, chronologically, that the idea of space is unfolded after that of matter. But Kant describes the intellect in its adult condition, already furnished with ideas; and, neglecting the history of their genesis, contemplates their relations in the light simply of their logical filiation. It is obvious that in this aspect the idea of space may be said to be anterior to that of matter, for logically the existence of space is the essential condition of that of matter.

It is, then, sufficiently apparent that Locke and Kant, pursuing distinct paths of metaphysical enquiry, have contemplated the idea of space, each in the spirit and peculiar aspect of his own system; and that each has arrived at just, though partial conclusions. In M. Cousin's critical remarks there is much that is contradictory and inconsistent. He seems at first to have imbibed his metaphysical creed exclusively from the writings of Kant or his followers; and he affirms that the logical solution of the question of the origin of ideas destroys entirely the system of Locke. Yet, after this unqualified assertion, he proceeds to examine the relations of ideas in the order of time; and concludes by formally admitting the truth of Locke's derivation of the idea of space from that of solidity. But this concession is shortly after nullified by an endeavour to prove that Locke had confounded the idea of space with that of matter; or rather, that he had regarded the two ideas as identical. No charge could have been preferred more destitute of foundation, or even

[ocr errors]


of plausibility. Throughout the whole of the chapters on solidity and on space, Locke has preserved a steady and exact consistency; distinguishing with especial vigilance the ideas in question, which,' he says, there are some that would persuade us are 'the same.' Of numerous passages, in which this distinction is strongly stated, the following appear most unequivocal. Our 'idea of solidity is distinguished from pure space, which is capable ⚫ neither of resistance nor of motion.' Again,- For I appeal to every man's own thoughts, whether the idea of space be not as 'distinct from that of solidity as it is from the idea of scarlet 'colour.'' Space and solidity being as distinct ideas as thinking ' and extension, and as wholly separable in the mind one from


' another.'

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

After such clear indications of Locke's earnest design to distinguish the two ideas of space and solidity, it is natural to enquire upon what evidence M. Cousin has charged him with confounding them. A single passage has given origin to the critical strictures spread over the greater part of M. Cousin's seventeenth lecture; and of this passage, which is as follows, he has misconceived the true import. That our idea of place is nothing else but such a relative position of any thing as I ' have before mentioned, I think is plain, and will be easily ad'mitted, when we consider that we can have no idea of the place ' of the universe, though we can of all the parts of it; because, beyond that, we have not the idea of any fixed distinct particular beings, in reference to which we can imagine it to have any relation of distance. For to say that the world is somewhere, means no more than that it does exist.' Hence it follows, says M. Cousin, that Locke reduces the idea of space to that of body; ' and that space, in his system, can be nothing else than body ' itself,-body enlarged, indefinitely multiplied, the world, the ' universe; and not only the real, but the possible universe. For it ' is tantamount to affirming that the space of the universe is equi• valent, neither more nor less, to the universe itself; and as the 'idea of the universe is, after all, only the idea of body, the idea of space reduces itself to that of body. It seems very difficult to account for such a perversion of the obvious meaning of Locke. In order to derive, with any plausibility, such an inference from the words printed in italics, M. Cousin has been obliged to insulate them completely from the connected passages. It is obviously only by defining the place of a body to be the space occupied by the body, that Locke's negation of the universe being in a place, can be interpreted into the negation of space, or into its identification with matter. Now Locke, besides premising a clear definition of place, as consisting in a relation to two or more


external points, has especially guarded against M. Cousin's misconception of its proper force, in a passage immediately succeeding that already quoted. Though it be true that the word place has sometimes a more confused sense, and stands for that space ' which any body takes up, and so the universe is in a place.' With the acceptation, then, of the word place, which Locke has adopted, and which is strictly in accordance with its prevailing meaning, he is perfectly correct in affirming that place cannot be predicated of the universe; and M. Cousin's allegation, founded upon a sense which Locke expressly rejects as confused,' at once falls to the ground.

From the idea of space, M. Cousin proceeds to Locke's account of the genesis of the ideas of time, infinity, causation, &c. The line of argument pursued, and the nature of the objections preferred, are so analogous to those adopted in the former enquiry, that it is needless to reply to them in detail. These ideas all owe their parentage to the mind's operations upon data acquired from sense; space to extended solidity; time to the observed succession of mental changes; infinity to the ideal addition of finite quantities; causation to observed unvarying sequence. They are, therefore, correctly affirmed by Locke to issue from experience; but they are, with equal truth, regarded by Kant as logically anterior to experience, or as conditions essential to the possibility of experience.

"With these observations we must, for the present, take leave of this able and estimable writer; for whom, notwithstanding our dissent from some of his opinions, we entertain great and sincere admiration and respect.

ART. V.-Excursions in the North of Europe, through parts of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, in the years 1830 and 1833. By JOHN BARROW, junior. 8vo. London: 1834.


HIS is a very agreeable and instructive volume. It is the production, we believe, of a young man, the son of a distinguished traveller, who has long and meritoriously discharged the duties of an important official situation in the Capital; and contains the results of the writer's observations during two summer excursions in the North of Europe, in 1830 and 1833. It makes no pretensions to any information beyond what could be gathered by a quick-sighted and intelligent observer, in the course of a very

rapid tour; but we are bound in fairness to say, that the reader will find in it all that he could in reason expect, and that it would not be easy to point out a volume of travels, of the lighter sort, more likely to leave clear and definite recollections of the objects noticed, or more favourable impressions of the unaffected manner and compressed sense of the author.

In the first of the two excursions, Mr Barrow, after visiting St Petersburg and Moscow, returned to Stockholm, and thence to Copenhagen, which formed the last object of his tour. His accounts of these capitals, and of the intermediate towns and districts, and his remarks on the people among whom he travelled, are lively and judicious. If they do not surprise us by any thing very brilliant in description, or profound in observation, they never disgust us by affectation, or by any flimsy pretensions to depth or originality. We feel ourselves in the company of one who tells us easily, and agreeably, what he saw and thought of the various scenes and countries through which he passed; and who shows how well qualified he is to observe and recite, by the interest with which his narrative throughout impresses us. The political economist, the statist, and the naturalist, must go elsewhere for the more recondite information required by them; but Mr Barrow will not disappoint those who can content themselves with such instruction as is usually sought for by general readers in books of travels.

St Petersburg has so often been described, that we do not think it necessary to present our readers with our author's remarks either on the Admiralty, the Winter Palace, the Marble Palace, the Hermitage, or the colossal statue of Peter the Great. We may mention, however, that he thinks the latter, as a work of art, inferior to the statue of Charles at Charing Cross. At Kammennoy-Ostrof, an island about four miles from St Petersburg, which is a favourite resort in the evening, Mr Barrow had an opportunity of seeing the Emperor and Empress as they passed round in the line of carriages. The Emperor was on horse'back, attended by Prince Oscar of Sweden, and the Empress was in an open carriage. After riding about for a short time to 'show himself, the Emperor dismounted, and walked among the crowd, unattended by any one. He had thrown a cloak across 'his splendid uniform, and not a soul seemed to take the least ' notice of him, many, probably, not recognising him; and ' those who did, knowing that it was not his wish that they should pay any attention to him. We stood on a bridge close to him for ⚫ several minutes; he is a fine-looking man, about six feet high.' Mr Barrow's intercourse with the society of the Russian capital appears to have been confined to that which any traveller may

[ocr errors]

enjoy who has money in his pocket. He tells us that he had resolved to take no letters of introduction, because, though they might have procured a few dinners, they would have consumed perhaps as many days of his limited time. The following is a sketch of the company and entertainment that may be met with at the principal table d'hôte.

'Here in general between forty and fifty sat down every day to dinner. Many of these were officers fully accoutred in their regimentals, who added much to the effect of the dinner-table. The price of dinner was six paper rubles (or six francs) a-head, but this sum included a bottle of excellent claret. The dinner hour was half-past four to a moment, the master proclaiming the time from a clock at one end of the room, upon the striking of which every one took his seat. On the side-tables were placed different kinds of spirits, with bread, butter, caviare, and cheese. It appeared to be the general custom, for each person observed it, to take a glass of the liqueur and a mouthful of bread and cheese before they sat down to their meal; and, as example is catching, we thought it right to do the same. At table each dish was served up separately, beginning with soup, a plateful of which was brought to each person by one of the waiters; but all the other dishes were handed round by them, and every body helped himself to that which he fancied most. The Russians, like the French and Germans, partook of every dish. A large supply of ice was placed on the table, and the general mode of using it was to put a lump of it into a tumbler of wine.

When the dinner was ended, a glass of spirits was again served out to every one, as well as a cup of coffee, and a cigar, all of which were included in the six rubles.

Now commenced the smoking. Most of the assembly had long pipes, which were placed under the table between their legs; but some few were contented with their cigar. In less than five minutes, the room, as may be supposed, became one dense mass of smoke, and the fumes of the tobacco to one who, like myself, is not in the habit of smoking, were quite suffocating, and I always made my escape into the open air as soon as with decency I could. One particular smoker, with large mustaches, amused me exceedingly by a habit he had acquired of puffing a large volume of smoke through his nostrils, which occurred at such regular intervals, that at last I discovered that it came at every sixth puff. My utter inexperience in the art renders me incapable of conceiving what pleasurable sensation could be derived from this strange trick.

The best society at this season of the year, when all the nobility were at their châteaux in the country, at least the best accessible to humble travellers like us, was, no doubt, to be met with here. In appearance, those out of uniform bore such a resemblance to our own countrymen, that I was frequently mistaken in my conjectures. We found generally, that if they could not speak English, they all understood it pretty well, although I remember one gentleman, on our asking him the distance to some place, politely informed us that it was six rubles,--no doubt imagining that we were enquiring the price of the dinner.

« PreviousContinue »