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energies of the human spirit, its modes of activity, the intellectual products of that activity, dependent upon other conditions than those of sensation; or, for aught we know, on no conditions external to itself at all, though not, of course, independent of experience in that more comprehensive sense, (as including the mind's conscious activity,) in which we think Locke's language shows that he used the term. But God has not in fact done so: at present, as men in this world are constituted, no matter what other creatures may be in other worlds, or what we may be hereafter, some contact with the external world must be effected, some avenue to sense must be opened, before the mind awakens to any activity at all—before thought germinates-before what is potential and virtual becomes actual. The analogy of the grain of wheat germinating only after its being dropped into the soil, represents the dependence of the human mind for its development on a free exposure to the conditions of its activity. But that which makes the plant different from other plants, that which gives it a distinct development, must be sought in the internal structure and properties of the seed itself; true though it be, that those properties would never have been developed at all, except by this exposure to certain conditions of development, arbitrary, if you please to think so, but still in fact invariably supposed. These conditions are susceptible of an infinite variety of modifications, according to the character of the faculty or faculties they are to awaken; but still, of some kind and to some extent, they are by our present constitution indispensable.
There being, then, an intelligible sense in which it is true that for the actual manifestation of any of the activities of the mind we are dependent on experience,
as an indispensable condition, it is possible to understand the language of Locke, like the correspondent language of Aristotle, without attributing to him the doctrine of the sensational school, or anything which fairly implies it. On the other hand, we repeat, it is not possible to give any interpretation of those numberless passages in which he so distinctly affirms his belief that there are two different fountains of our ideas sensation and reflection, on the hypothesis that he really resolves them into one. If A. and B. be two propositions, whereof A. is susceptible of two interpretations, one of which is contradictory to B., while B. admits of but one, what propriety can there be, or rather what injustice must there not be, in assuming that an author means that one of the two senses of A. which is contradictory to B., and which in fact, by the very assertion of B., he has virtually disclaimed ?
It seems to us strange, after the criticism of Dugald Stewart (and the citations by which he had confirmed it) in his admirable Dissertation on the Progress of Metaphysical Science,' that it should be necessary to resume the question. Yet so it is; for charges substantially identical with those of Stillingfleet and Shaftesbury are still urged in other forms; it is still asserted, and has been very recently, that Locke has virtually resolved all our knowledge into one source - that of sensible experience. It cannot, indeed, be justly said that M. Cousin affirms this; for he fairly admits that Locke does concede two distinct sources of knowledge; yet he often speaks just as though he had forgotten the concession. He affirms that the whole tendency of Locke's philosophy is sensational, and expresses no surprise at the extravagances to which the sensationalists of France pushed it; rather
he regards him as their veritable patron, and their systems not as corruptions of Locke's system, but a justifiable extension of it; in fact, he thinks that Locke, if consistent, ought to have carried it to similar conclusions, and that he refrained, only because he did not see the legitimate termination of his own speculations. He says, 'Locke is the father of the whole sensualistic school of the eighteenth century. He is incontestably, in time as well as in genius, the first metaphysician of this school.'* And at the close of the preceding lecture, he declares that Locke is the earliest of the sensualistic metaphysicians of the eighteenth century. He it is who produced all the others, and who furnished for his successors the very subjects with which they were occupied. 'It is true' (Lecture xvii.), Locke 'has not confounded sensation and the faculties of the soul; he very explicitly distinguishes them: but he makes our faculties play a secondary and insignificant part, and he concentrates their action upon sensible data; hence to confound them with sensibility was but a step; and in his philosophy was already deposited the yet feeble germ of the future theory of "transformed sensations," of sensation as the sole principle of all the operations of the soul. It was Locke who, without knowing it and without willing it, opened the road to that exclusive doctrine, by adding to sensation only faculties whose whole office is to act upon it, without any proper and original power.'
The predisposition to find every where the germs the yet future sensational schools in Locke as their fountain head, often leads M. Cousin, as we cannot but think, into extreme injustice to our great country
man. This we are far from attributing to any unworthy spirit of depreciation, for M. Cousin often gives frank expression to his admiration of Locke's sagacity and genius. As little can we impute it to ignorance, for he has evidently studied the great work of Locke diligently, and cites him profusely; we can attribute it only to what is but too apt to adhere to every critic and historian of philosophy — the spirit of system. Having laid it down that the roots of the sensational schools were to be found in Locke's writings, M. Cousin unconsciously perverts or exaggerates whatsoever seems to favour that hypothesis. The apparent ambiguities of Locke, the laxity of his style and phraseology, are freely submitted to the most extreme pressure; no adequate attempt (the only fair course of criticism in such cases) is made to collate apparent inconsistencies and take the mean of the expressions thus examined; without any such preliminary trouble, all seeming inconsistencies, now and then simply two different solutions of the same question, are at once set down as contradictions-of which Locke is represented as perpetually guilty. Nor is this all; in apparently discrepant passages, the obscure is taken as of equal value with the plain, instead of allowing the latter to explain or limit the former; and lastly, in not a few instances Locke's meaning is strangely misconceived into exactly the opposite of what he has both meant and said in the clearest possible manner. Of all this we shall presently have occasion to give some instances.*
* We wish M. Cousin, in a new edition of his Lectures, would ponder the judgment of Sir W. Hamilton. In his language,— the italics are his own 'Locke is of all philosophers the most figurative, ambiguous, vacillating, various, and even contradictory The opinions of such a writer are not, therefore, to be
Such sentences as these are of too frequent occur'I have told you, I shall very often repeat it, nothing is so inconsistent as Locke in his "Essay;" contradictions exist not only from book to book, but in the same book from chapter to chapter, and almost from paragraph to paragraph!' This of course must be received cum grano- or rather with many grains; for if it were true that such a mind as Locke's could not help thus reeling in one drunken fit through two octavo volumes; or that such a mind as Cousin's could not but fancy that he was thus drunk though he was not, people will be inclined to say: 'Let us fly for ever from this hideous Circean shore of metaphysics, where the greatest and the clearest minds either cannot understand themselves, or cannot express themselves so as to be understood by others, or, lastly, can neither understand themselves nor be understood by others.'
M. Cousin himself, in frankly admitting that Locke clearly admits two sources of our knowledge, and not one only, and that there is a sense in which Locke's statement, that all our knowledge is ultimately derived from experience, is true, had it in his power to resolve a vast number of those seeming inconsistencies and ambiguities on which he lays such stress, without charging him with perpetual confusion and contradiction. M. Cousin himself clearly apprehends and most beautifully illustrates the necessity of admitting two elements, both requisite to be insisted on, and each complementary to the other, in the attempt to give a complete account of the contents of the human intellect, assumed from isolated and casual expressions, which themselves require to be interpreted on the general analogy of his system.' Discussion, &c. p. 76.) M. Cousin's 'Lectures on Locke' are well worth a careful revision.