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ingly to imitate those merits on which they professed idly though gratefully to lean. True and excellent Christians have believed in the doctrine of substitution ; but it is not that belief which has made them like their Master. They have declared that they were saved by the mysterious efficacy of his atoning blood; but they have felt that they were not saved, and could not be saved, till they had armed themselves with his mind.
ART. V. - The Light of Nature Pursued. By ABRAHAM
TUCKER, Esq. From the Second London edition, revised and corrected. Together with some Account of the Life of the Author, by Sir H. P. St. John MildMAY, Bart. M. P. In 4 volumes. 8vo. Cambridge. Hilliard and Brown. 1831.
We welcome the first American edition of this curious, entertaining, and, in many respects, valuable work. The author's acknowledged ability, the wide range given to his thoughts, the interesting and practical character of many of his topics, and the sprightliness and broad humor which pervade his speculations even on topics the driest and most abstruse, make it difficult to account for the fact, that he has not been more generally known and read. The first two volumes, in five parts, were published by himself in 1768, and not in 1765, as asserted in the memoir; and the third volume, in four parts, was published by his daughter, three years after his death, in 1777. The whole as bound
made seven octavo volumes, which were favorably noticed by the reviewers as they came out; but in other respects the work appears to have attracted but little attention.* The second edition, in eight volumes octavo, from
* The author of the Abridgment of Tucker says, that he was discouraged by his friends, neglected by the public, and ridiculed by the reviewers. It was not so. Both the Critical and the Monthly Review notice and recommend his works in terms of more than usual respect. The latter, especially, not only gives a careful and extended analysis of his writings, continued through eight or ten numbers, but takes frequent occasion to extol him as a writer and philosopher above, as we should say, rather than below his deserts. VOL. XI.- N. S. VOL. VI. NO. III.
which the present is taken, did not appear till 1805, and there has been no call, we believe, for another in England. · The Light of Nature, it has been justly said, would have found its way into more general circulation, if it had been less voluminous; and yet an excellent Abridgment of it, published in 1807, by the author of "An Essay on the Principles of Human Action,' does not appear to have met with a better reception. Tucker's name is not mentioned in Aikin's 'General Biographical Dictionary, nor is any notice taken of his writings in Mr. Stewart's Dissertation on the Progress of Metaphysical, Ethical, and Political Philosophy:
As if to make amends for such neglect, those who have spoken of Tucker at all, have commonly spoken of him in terms of extravagant eulogy. Dr. Paley says, in the Preface to his · Moral and Political Philosophy,' 'I have found in this writer more original thinking and observation upon the several subjects that he has taken in hand, than in any other, not to say in all others put together. The author of the Abridgment to which I have just referred, himself an able writer, also affirms, 'I do not know of any work in the shape of a philosophical treatise, that contains so much good sense so agreeably expressed. The character of the work is, in this respect, altogether singular. Amidst all the abstruseness of the most subtle disquisitions, it is as familiar as Montaigne, and as wild and entertaining as John Buncle.' Dr. Parr quotes · The Light of Nature more frequently than any other book in the Notes to his 'Spital Sermon,' and even goes so far in one instance as expressly to place the author of it at the very head of the great English moralists. He has also found, as is well known, an equally warm but more discriminating admirer in Sir James Mackintosh, one of whose letters on this subject has been preserved and published by Dr. Parr's biographer, which, as it relates to the history of the edition here followed, and contains moreover some valuable criticisms, we shall copy entire. • My Dear Sir,
Searle Street, 1st Dec. 1800. 'I thought it useless to answer your letter till I could answer your inquiries about Tucker, which I now do, by informing you that he was of Merton college, Oxford. Whether he took a degree there or not, I could not ascertain, but you will easily ascertain that point by inquiries at Oxford. The person whom I employed to make these inquiries was Malthus, the author of the “ Essay on the Principles of Population,” who lives in the neighbourhood of what was Mr. Tucker's seat. Sir H. St. John Mildmay, to whom Malthus applied for information, is the grandson of Tucker, and has an intention of publishing a complete edition of his grandfather's work, including some detached tracts, and an unpublished dissertation on the Logos. He is to send me a sketch of the life of Tucker written by his daughter, Miss Tucker. I am very willing to assist him in his edition, and I hope it is not too late to recover more particulars of the life of this great philosopher than are contained in his daughter's sketch, as some of his contemporaries are still alive. It seems to me, that an analysis of “ The Light of Nature” would be a useful part of such a republication. It is a work which needs to be analysed. It is never concise, and not always methodical. I should be under the necessity of charging Search with ungrateful plagiarism from Hartley. His chapter on “ Translated Passion” is a very mean attempt to hide his theft by a paltry change of expression. It will be painful to lay such an offence to the charge of a great and a good man; but the morality of literature requires that severe justice should be executed on such thefts, and especially on those men of genius who stoop to such petty larcenies.
James MACKINTOSH.' * It is much to be regretted that the professional engagements of this gentleman, and his call soon after to a high judicial station in the East, prevented him from assisting the editor of Tucker's works, as he had intended. The edition appeared in 1805, containing the suppressed chapter on the Logos, but none of the detached tracts, of which Sir James Mackintosh speaks. An account of the author's life is prefixed, but it is meagre and unsatisfactory, being taken almost exclusively from his daughter's sketch mentioned above, or rather, as it would seem, from a few biographical notes, or hints, found among her papers.
Mr. Tucker was born in London, September 2, 1705. His father, a wealthy merchant, dying soon afterwards, the care of his early education devolved on his maternal uncle, Sir Isaac Tillard. This gentleman's private worth, and the
* Parr's Works, vol. I. pp. 702, 703,
indefatigable pains which he took to imbue his nephew's opening mind with the principles of honor, benevolence, and liberality, were always remembered by the latter with extreme affection and gratitude. In matters of taste, and in the higher branches of learning, it does not appear that our author was much indebted to Sir Isaac's suggestions. When Tucker was called on, as a boy, to pay a periodical compliment to some distant relations, he was invariably referred by his guardian to St. Paul's Epistles, as the most complete model of epistolary correspondence. After having passed through the usual course of a liberal education, he went into chambers in the Inner Temple about the year 1724, where for some time he applied himself very assiduously to the study of the law, though not, as it would seem, with any expectation of ever being called to the bar. In 1727, he purchased Betchworth Castle, near Dorking, where he spent the remainder of his days in the pursuits and amusements proper to a rich country gentleman; peculiarly happy in his domestic connexions, and a bright example of the domestic virtues. The reference to his courtship in the chapter on “Satisfaction, and the account of his interview with his wife in The Vision,' are among the most beautiful and touching passages in his great work.
Mr. Tucker had no turn for politics, and refused, for this reason, to offer himself as a representative for his county, though often urged to do so, and never but once could be prevailed on to attend a county meeting. He took no active part in the proceedings on that occasion; but this did not prevent the whigs from introducing him into a ludicrous ballad, a circumstance which afforded him abundant matter for humorous animadversion ever afterward. “Whenever politics were the subject of conversation he seldom failed to advert to the ill success of his only essay in public life; and he was so much amused with the figure he made in verse, that he set the ballad to music.' Mr. Tucker was a Christian. Of his theological opinions we shall have occasion to speak more at length presently. Here it will be enough to say that, as an open asserter and advocate of esotericks and exotericks, he took care to make his exotericks accord with the established religion, and probably would have done so if, instead of being the church of England, it had been the church of Rome. It is amusing to observe,' says the author of the Abridgment repeatedly noticed before, with what gravity he sets himself to inveigh against freethinkers and freethinking; when he himself, as to his mode of reasoning, is one of the greatest of freethinkers. He seems to have been willing to keep the game entirely in his own hands; or else to have supposed that the liberal exercise of reason was only proper for gentlemen of independent fortune; and that none but those who were in the commission of the peace, should be allowed to censure vulgar errors.'
His wife died in 1754, an event which overwhelmed him in the deepest affliction ; and it was soon after this, and partly with a view to occupy and divert his mind, that he first turned his attention to the composition of the work before us.
In order to ascertain, as it would seem, what degree of attention and favor he was likely to receive from the public, he published in 1763 a small octavo volume, consisting, for the most part, of selections from what he had already written, under the title of Freewill, Foreknowledge, and Fate; a Fragment, by Edward Search. It is remarkable that Mr. Tucker never published any thing under his own name, owing partly perhaps, as his friends have said, to his indisposition to attract public notice as an author, but still more, as we suspect, to his unwillingness to incur an author's responsibility. His preference for the name of Search, under which the fragment above mentioned, and the first volumes of the entire work, were given to the world, grew out of the conceit, frequently adverted to in his writings, that all the philosophers who had ever appeared belonged either to the family of the Searches, or that of the Knowalls. The other printed works of Mr. Tucker, “The Country Gentleman's Advice to his Son on the Subject of Party Clubs, which appeared in 1755, “Man in quest of Himself, by Cuthbert Comment,' in reply to some strictures that appeared in the Monthly Review in 1763, and a short tract on · Vocal Sounds, written at a still later period, were ephemeral productions, which made no impression at the time, and have long since passed into oblivion.
We learn from Mr. Tucker's biographer that he was conscious of his want of skill as a writer, and endeavoured to supply his defects in this respect by employing himself for some time previous to his great undertaking in the study of the best Greek and Latin models, the most admired pas