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with respect to his success in curing diseases, upon the ground of his theory. But his facts are few indeed. You have not read the book, and therefore I cannot speak to you intelligibly upon it. Parr is passionately fond of Dr. Brown's book, and was so of the man.* I collected here, by his request, 39 guineas and a half for his widow and
*[The book entitled Elementa Medicine, was first published at Edinburgh in 1780. 8vo., republished and enlarged, 1787. 2 vols. 8vo. 1794. Svo. translated by the Author 1788. 2 vols. 8vo. The Translation was revised and corrected by Dr. Beddoes, with a Biographical Preface, Lond. 1795. 2 vols. 8vo. Dr. William Cullen Brown published the Medical Works of Dr. John Brown, with a Biographical Account of the Author, Lond. 1804. 3 vols. 8vo. Dr. John Brown also wrote a work entitled Observations on the Principles of the Old System of Physic, exhibiting a Compound of the New Doctrine ; containing a New Account of the State of Medicine, from the present Times backward to the Restoration of the genuine Learning in the Western Parts of Europe. Edinb. 1787. 8vo. His system is thus concisely and satisfactorily explained in Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary: -“ His intention seems to have been to simplify medicine, and to render the knowledge of it easily attainable, without the labour of studying other authors. All general or universal diseases were therefore reduced by him to two great families or classes, the sthenic and the asthenic ; the former depending upon excess, the latter upon deficiency of exciting power. The former were to be removed by debilitating, the latter by stimulant medicines, of which the most valuable and powerful are wine, brandy, and opium. As asthenic diseases are more numerous, and occur much more frequently than those from an opposite cause, his opportunities of calling in the aid of these powerful stimuli were proportionately numerous. “Spasmodic and convulsive disorders, and even
family. I know not where Drake saw my case in it: I have read it through, and find nothing like it. I have Parr's print, and think it very like him. Twining is not quite satisfied with it, and thinks it wants spirit. I think there is sufficient expression, taking him in his calm moments.”
“You will, if you can, dispose of the inclosed copies of Charles Shillito's Poem. * I send you also Twining's book: it will be published, I imagine, in the course of this week. Do not shew it to any one till it is published.
hemorrhages, he says, “were found to proceed from debility; and wine and brandy, which had been thought hurtful in these diseases, he found the most powerful of all remedies in removing them.'" Dr. John Brown presented to Dr. Parr his Translation of the Elements of Medicine, and in the Bibl. Parr. 464, Dr. Parr says: “The Gift of the most extraordinary author.” Dr. J. B. had presented to Dr. Parr the Latin work at the time of its publication, with the following inscription: “Reverendo Viro, a Musis prae reliquis alto, et in intimo Pierii antri recessu nutrito, Samueli Parrio, captam literis consuetudinem, praesentia firmatam, et amicitia munitam, cupiens, eragitatae a Medicis doctrinae eremplum, JoANNEs BRUNo, male mactatus auctor.” A young medical student from Edinburgh was introduced to Buonaparte, who generally adapted his conversation to the pursuits of those, who frequented his court. After the ceremony of introduction, Buonaparte asked the youth some questions about the Brunonian system ; the youth, from ignorance or bashfulness, was silent; the Emperor, with great condescension and much address, at once relieved him from his embarassment by saying — ‘You are, I see, the follower of no system, but a student of nature.' E. H. B.]
* [The print in question is, I suppose the one taken from the portrait by Opie, which was painted for T. W. Coke, Esq. M. P., and enriches the noble collection at Holkham. E. H. B.]
“ The 47th 1 Euclid is indeed a beautiful proposition. Endeavour to carry it back in your mind, through all the propositions, upon which it depends, to its first principles.
“ You will burst into a laugh, when you come to Socrates's demonstration of the præ-existence of the human mind. The demonstration is short: -- All knowledge is reminiscence; but reminiscence supposes præ-existence; ergo' etc. Of Plato's famous doctrine of ideas, we shall have a little talk hereafter. Duncan is undoubtedly wrong: the first impressions, which the mind receives, are certainly from sensible objects.
“ Your remarks upon Berkeley's theory are quite as good as those of Beattie, Campbell, and many others, who have attempted to answer him; but they do not reach the point. Berkeley does not mean to prove that external objects have not absolute existence, but only that there is no proof that they have.f And upon the commonly received
*[See Dr. Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica. He was a Lieutenant in the Marines. E. H. B.]
+ [Johnson described Berkeley as “ a profound scholar, as well as a man of fine imagination,” Boswell's Life of Johnson 2, 131. — “Being in company with a gentleman, who thought fit to maintain Dr. Berkeley's ingenious philosophy, that nothing exists but as perceived by some mind, when the gentleman was going away, Johnson said to him, “Pray, Sir, do not • leave us; for we may perhaps forget to think of you, and then ‘you will cease to exist.'" 4, 27. “ After we came out of the church,” says Boswell 1, 437. “we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the notion, that the mind perceives and contemplates its own ideas only, I think his argument unanswerable. All its knowledge is upon thatsupposition limited to its own ideas, and cannot possibly go beyond them. But I am quite satisfied that this is a false notion; and that the mind perceives external objects directly, and without the interven
non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed that, though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity, with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, “I refute it thus.' This was a stout exemplification of the first truths of Père Bouffier, or the original principles of Reid and of Beattie; without admitting which, we can no more argue in metaphysicks, than we can argue in mathematicks without axioms. To me it is not conceivable how Berkeley can be answered by pure reasoning; but I know that the nice and difficult task was to have been undertaken by one of the most luminous minds of the present age, (Burke,) had not politicks ' turned him from calm philosophy aside.' What an admirable display of subtlety, united with brilliance, might his contending with Berkeley have afforded us! How must we, when we reflect on the loss of such an intellectual feast, regret that he should be characterised as the man,
· Who born for the universe narrow'd his mind,
“And to party gave up what was meant for mankind ? ' “ Dr. Johnson seems to have been imperfectly acquainted with Berkeley's doctrine," says the annotator K., “ as his experiment only proves that we have the sensation of solidity, which Berkeley did not deny. He admitted that we had sensations or ideas, that are usually called sensible qualities, one of which is solidity: he only denied the existence of matter, i.e. an inert,
tion of any ideas of its own. Try the experiment: look at an object. Do you not perceive it directly? Is anything besides the object itself present to your mind ? Shut your eyes — you lose the object itself; you no longer perceive it. But you retain the idea of it: the idea is then alone present to your mind. Are not these two cases totally different? Neither does Berkeley say that there is no cause of the mind's perceiving external objects, but only that this perception does not imply, does not prove their absolute existence. This he ilustrates by the case of dreams, in which the objects before the mind appear to have as real existence as in the case of waking perception. He does not mean, however, to prove anything by the example of dreams; but only to shew that things may appear as if they had real and absolute existence, when in fact they have not. He would therefore say the seeing a guinea, and being told the constituent properties of it, was the same thing, or that those two cases or effects were to be ascribed to the same cause. He would admit, nay he would contend, that there was some cause in the first instance, different from that in the last; but he would at the same time insist, that this cause was not necessarily the absolute existence of the guinea, and that you cannot prove it to be such. But enough of this. The question itself is perfectly frivolous; the relative existence of external objects being the only sort of
senseless substance, in which they are supposed to subsist. Johnson's exemplification concurs with the vulgar notion, that solidity is matter. But Johnson's reply to Soame Jenyns, sufficiently proves that he had a capacity for metaphysics, if he had turned his attention to the science. E. H. B.]