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even to Quixotisms and oddities of extreme youth at the time of his kindness--give such a warm back- entering the University would seem ground to his philosophy as a sign that his great powers had other great thinker within our re- been early developed, and it is collection can equal. A man who is apparent that his vivacious temready, at an age when men are sup- perament, and the ferment of uniposed to consider their own com- versal rebellion against recognised fort, to sacrifice himself in one of views and modes of thought so the least comfortable of missions, common to young men of genius, a man moved in later years to pause soon drove him into utterance. in bis philosophy in order to promul- His first publications were upon gate tar-water-grand specific for all mathematical subjects, and one of the physical ills of humanity-one them, at least, was written before who feared neither poverty nor ne- he was twenty. At twenty-three glect nor derision for what seemed he was admitted Fellow of his Col. to him at the moment the best he lege, and two years after published could do for his fellow-créatures, his Theory of Vision,' a work is such a man as is rarely met with which we cannot here discuss, but in the sphere of philosophy. No which Mr. Lewes tells us, in his mental system has called forth 'History of Philosophy,' made “ an such contemptuous criticism, rude epoch in science.” 'Up to this molaughter, and foolish condemnation ment no light except the feeblest -none has been denounced as so twinkle of history falls upon the visionary and unreal; yet Berkeley young man. How he lived, or is the one philosopher of modern what were his surroundings, are times who brings the race within matters entirely invisible to us. the warmest circle of human sym- “He was much addicted to readpathies, and casts a certain interesting " the "airy visions of romances," and glow of light from his own na- his biographer tells us, not without ture upon metaphysics themselves. an insinuation that these studies

He was born in the county of helped " to give birth to his disKilkenny, in March 1684, of one belief of the existence of matter." of those families of English colon- The connection is one which we ists who have so curiously affected fear it would be difficult to trace, the history and character of Ire- though the suggestion is delicious. land. He himself was of the second The romances with which Berkeley generation after the immigration of amused his eager and manifold inthe household, and presents him, telligence must have been those self to us with so many of the best splendid fictions of the school of features of the traditional Irishman the Grand Cyrus,' which little that it is difficult to refrain from Lady Mary Pierrepoint a few years identifying him with that busy, before was reading in her nureloquent, restless Celtic .genius sery. But the young philosopher, which common opinion has given it is evident, did not confine himto the country of his birth. There self to fiction. Diegust at the are no details but the driest of his books' of metaphysics then receivyouth. He was educated, in the ed in the University, and that first place, at, Kilkenny School, inquisitive attention to the operthen faught by a Dr. Hinton, and ations of the mind which about at fifteen was admitted a pensioner this time was excited by the writof Trinity College, Dublin.' Wealth ings of Mr. Locke and Father there seems to have been none to Malebranche," concurred with his make his family conspicuous; and novel-reading to incline him totheir descent from the Berkeleys wards a new system of thought. of Stratton was apparently illegiti- And it is evident that there were mate, and did not count. His in Berkeley other elements at work, differing from the ordinary motives and looks like a kind of natural of the philosopher. Though there is punishment for this beautiful and no want of candour in his reasoning, touching disingenuousness, that nor any disingenuous attempt at Berkeley's idealism holds the place the probation of any system dis- of a stepping-stone to the unmititinct from that of metaphysics, gated scepticism of Hume. The there is a foregone conclusion es- strain was too great for the comsentially unphilosophical in his mon mind, and produced a reaction; mind from the outset. It is “in and the assumption by the idealist opposition to sceptics and athe- of all power and perception to the ists"—it is “to promote" not only intellect alone, provoked an exami"useful knowledge," but "re- nation of that intellect on the part ligion,” that he gives forth his of the sceptic such as nothing philosophy to the world. This human can bear. But, we repeat, motive gives warmth and force to there is no disingenuousness in his words, and heightens every Berkeley's reasonings. They are energy of thought within him ; but even pronounced to be (philosophiit is not the passionless search for cally) irrefutable—a fact which is truth, whatsoever that truth might no demonstration whatever, either happen to be, which is the ideal of their truth or of the cessation of temper of philosophy. One can other attempts equally irrefutable imagive the young man's nature (philosophically) to prove them at rising into a glow of pious enthu- once futile and foolish. So charmsiasm-high indignation with the ing is divine philosophy! frivolous doubting world around But the impression we derive of him-a passion of lofty eagerness Berkeley as a man, in the first outto change the spirit and atmo- burst of his powers, is by just so sphere which fills his country and much the more attractive and lovable debases his age. Under all the as this secret meaning within him measured composure of his demon- is unphilosophical. Such an ardent, strations, this light of meaning impassioned, generous young soul, glows subdued, like the sunshine as those which, some forty years ago, through the golden-tinted marble facing the infidel world with all the which serves for windows, as many fervour of youthful opposition made of our readers will remember, on beautiful by piety, began that peacethat Florentine hill where San ful revolution in France, which has, Miniato watches the dead. He is alas! developed into Ultramontanbetrayed not by any act or even ism, and many things less lofty and word, but by the intense still light lovely than Montalembert and Laof purpose and meaning in all bis cordaire'; such a young knight of speculations.

Each step he takes Christianity as about the same peconducts him not into new and un- riod the English Church gave birth discovered lands, where each inch to, among the earlier followers of of space may, for ought he knows, Newman--to develop (again alas !) contain a discovery, but, with á into Oratorists and Ritualists—was steady regularity and stateliness, the Irish youth, fallen upon evil to one great point at which he has days for religion, surrounded by aimed from the beginning. He has scepticism and that brutal freethinkcovered over

the cross on his ing which belonged to the eighteenth buckler, and fights for the moment century, reading Locke and Malein armour which bears no cognis- branche and the Grand Cyrus' in ance; but yet he is as truly, ac- his rooms at Trinity, and feeling cording to his perceptions, the his heart burn within him. Such å champion of religion, as if he wore one, throbbing all over with spirit the outward appearance of a Cru- and soul and genius-half scornful sader. It is curious enough, of, half indifferent to, the body which was, as he felt to his finger dient of kicking a stone, and Reid's points, but the docile servant of his similar argument about breaking growing, swelling, creating mind his head against a post or stepping such a one to acknowledge that into a dirty kennel, are simple sillisense was all, or almost all, that nesses, strange though it may be to man had to guide him! The fash- give such a name to the sayings of ion of the age did not run in the two such authorities.

They sugway of great missionary exertions gest a confusion of the two worlds, in our sense of the word; and Ber- quite excusable in the vulgar, but keley had actually embarked in the unpardonable in the learned, Outtortuous ways of metaphysics. It side everything is real to us. In our is not difficult to imagine with practical concerns we do not pause what a silent ardour, with what to discuss what images are imprinted light in his young eyes, he turned on the eye, or what sounds on the to elaborate his own system of tympanum. We hear and we see, thought. Philosophy is always free which is quite enough for us. to do what youth is always inclined Neither do we pause to consider how to; and that is, to spurn all previous it is that an impression of somefoundations, and begin from the be- thing snowy white or blazing crimginning for its own hand. Thus son is conveyed to us when we look the field was open for the Idealist; at a rose; the rose does not seem, no tradition of his science bound but is, red or white. It is rich him to respect the theories which with perfume; it has thorns that had preceded his. An iconoclast is prick and moss that clothes it. We nothing to a philosopher. Berke- walk on solid soil without for an ley put his foot upon Locke with instant contradicting reason by the out a moment's hesitation, and supposition that the foot which strode on to the often-coatested and strikes that steady surface, and the never-conquered field.

earth that receives it, are but phanIt was in the year 1710, when he tasms of our senses. The most prowas a young man of six-and-twenty, found and the most ideal of philoFellow of Trinity College, Dublin, sophers walks abroad like other working with his pupils in the ob- men, and accepts the ordinary acscurity of an island much more dis- cidents of nature with that unhesitant in all practical ways from Eng- tating natural conviction which he land than it is pow, that the · Prin- 'can no more contest than he can+ ciples of Human Knowledge' were doubt he ever so much-doubt his published. He does not seem in own existence. The stone and the all his subsequent life to have gone post are as indubitable to him as to beyond or much developed this ourselves. Few philosophers have early work. But in order to enable lived so healthful and full a matethe ordinary reader, who is not a rial life as the man who denied the philosopher, to follow the true sense existence of matter ; but then he of his argument, it must be permit- never denied its existence in the ted to us to pause once more and outer sphere of fact and everyday make clear the difference between reality, “ That what I see, hear, the world of actual life and the and feel doth existmi.e., is perworld of philosophy. If the argu- ceived by me--I no more doubt ments belonging to the one are than I do of my own being,” says received as applying to the other, Berkeley. “I do not argue against they are simple absurdities, such as the existence of any one thing that no man other than a food or mad- we can apprehend either by sensaman could hold or dwell upon. tion or reflection. That the things Dr. Johnson's " peremptory refu. I see with my eyes and touch with tation," as Mr. Lewes called it, of my hands do exist, really exist, Berkeley's theory by the easy expe- I make not the least question.


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Out of doors, in common daylight, which has occupied for ages the common air, in the life which he closest thoughts of the greatest enjoyed fully, with all his young thinkers. The carpenter who made faculties strung to its pleasures and this bit of oak or mahogany into its wonders, Berkeley was as other shape, no doubt, with open mouth men. A keen observation of every- and eyes, and with inextinguishable thing going on around him is ap- laughter, would tell the philosopher parent in his letters. The “horrible all about it; but the philosopher, rocks" of the Alpine passes make for his part, knows nothing about his heart melt within him; the it. He cannot tell how that dead miseries he sees in France as he thing can be. He looks at it on passes through it "spoil his mirth.” every side, and can make nothing Wherever he goes it is with open of it. Is it the shadow of some eyes, full of vivacity, and human mysterious unknown thing which kindness. This is the world we exists unseen, unfathomable, in the live in, the world familiar and wide wastes of earth ? or is it only homely, whose facts are incontest- so far as it impresses its likeness able, whose delights console, whose upon a seeing eye that it exists at horrors appal us. In respect to its all? This is the question he makes stones and its posts, its roses and to the blank silence, which gives its landscapes, Berkeley is at one him no reply. The conclusion come with all mankind.

to by the philosophy of Locke But lift the curtain which hangs was, that a vast phantom called over the door of the philosopher's Matter did exist in the world study, and it is a different world that houses and mountains, and which you enter. He sits there in even tables and chairs, were, in the silence, with his books round some shadowy way, because of this him, with his desk before him, a vast substantial soul, if such an exmusing and bewildered creature, pression may be used, which was and asks himself what is real, and behind them. As the soul lives, what is a vain show. In that silence according to the Christian faith, there is but one thing that makes because God lives, so things were, itself evident, so az no man can according to philosophy, because contradict it. He himself is that Matter was. What it was, how it is the point from which he starts. was, or wbat connection it had with It may not, perhaps, be capable of all these eccentric signs of its preelaborate demonstration, but yet it sence, nobody could tell any more is, even by a philosopher, indisput- than anybody, unassisted by the able. He is there, but what are light of revelation, can tell what these visions around him? All God is, or how He unites Himself that he can understand of the to His creatures. The other was an merest table or chair is, that it Earth-God, a kind of heavy inaniconveys a certain notion to his mate soul to the inanimate universe. mind. The tree that looks in at his It brooded upon the depths a visible window is, he knows, not green in darkness. It found an Avatar, like itself, but green by right of some the Hindoo Divinity, in every new property in his eyes that makes it development of solid shape and size.

His hand touches something Such was the idea current in the on which he leans --what is it? darkling world of philosophy. We But for the hand that touches, the repeat, all this had no more to do arm that leans on it, the thing with the ordinary globe than a would have of itself no conscious chemical knowledge of its constitubeing. What is it, then ? What ent parts has to do with the recan we ever know about it? Folly freshing influence of a draught of to laugh at to the echo outside, water. Outside, all was plain matbut within actually the subject ter of fact, indisputable reality, a

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world full of things and beings of And in doing this," he adds, with a many sorts and varieties ; inside, touch of humour, " there is no damage there were but, as it were, the sha- done to the rest of mankind, who, I dows glimmering confused upon a daresay, will never miss it. mirror-sometimes growing into So long as we attribute a real existence dark shapes, sometimes dispersing to unthinking things distinct from their into mere vapour. To bring the being perceived, it is not only impossible processes, the reasonings of one

for us to know with evidence the nature world into another, would be simply that it exists. Hence it is that we see

of any real unthinking being, but even absurdity. In the

one, liberal nature takes everything for granted; doubt of the existence of heaven and

philosophers distrust their senses, and in the other, nothing is believed, earth-of everything they see and feel, nothing allowed-everything put even of their own bodies. And after ali to severest examination. Without their labour and struggle of thought, fully acknowledging and perceiving they are forced to own we cannot atthis distinction, and that with å tain to any self-evident or demonstrative candour and clearness which is knowledge of the existence of sensible not displayed by either Johnson or things. But all this doubtfulness which Reid, we

can neither understand so bewilders and confounds the mind, Berkeley's system nor that of any

and makes philosophy ridiculous in the other great leader of (so-called) eyes of the world, vanishes if we annex thought.

a meaning to our words, and do not After this preface, we may ven- lute, external, exist, and suchlike, sig;

amuse ourselves with the terms absoture to give such an indication as nifying we know what. I can as well comes within the range of an ordi- doubt of my own being, as of the being nary observer of the views con- of those things which I actually perceive tained in the 'Principles of Human by sense-it being a manifest contradicKnowledge,' written when he was tion that any sensible object should be six-and-twenty, by the brilliant immediately perceived by sight or touch, young Irishman, which, Mr. Lewes and at the same time have no existence tells us, "made an epoch in meta- in nature, since the very existence of an physics.” These principles are: unthinking being consists in being per. That spirit, the unseen being of God ceived.” and of man, is the only real and knowable existence in the world:

This, then, is the much-talked

idealism of that the Earth-God—the inanimate of, much-laughed-at abstraction Matter, in which external

Berkeley. Like every other system things were supposed to live and of philosophy, it involves the dishave their being, as the soul lives ciple in thousand difficulties. and has its being in the life of God


that the furniture of a -isa

mere invention of human room, that the landscape seen from fancy: and that we can form no the window, exists only when the conception of the world around us

inhabitant of that room beholds except as perceived by us. Such

the one

or the other, conveys (or are the plain and simple foundations would convey, were we outside in of Berkeley's system, From this it the ordinary world) à manisest abwill be seen that much laughter was

surdity. But he is not without his expended by the


answer to all such objections. “The shafts of dull wit shot at the philo- table I write on I say exists—that sopher which fell en irely wide of is, I can see and feel it-and it I am their mark. In these clear and out of my study, I should say it simple principles there is nothing existed, meaning thereby that if I about the non-existence of stones or

were in my study I might perceive posts.

it, or that some other spirit actually

does perceive it. . . . But, say you, ** The only thing," he says, "whose there is nothing easier," he adds, existence I deny, is that which philoso- " than to imagine trees, for instance, phers call matter or corporeal substance. in a park, or books existing in a


age, and

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