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THE

BRITISH CONTROVERSIALIST,

AND

LITERARY MAGAZINE.

MAGNA EST VERITAS, KT PREVALEBIT..

LONDON:

HOULSTON AND WRIGHT,

65, PATERNOSTER ROW.

MDCCCLXVII,

LONDON:

PRINTED BY J, AND W. RIDER,

BARTHOLOXBW CLOSE,

This is an age of severe competition, a time in which it is extremely difficult to acquire and retain the attention and attachment of the public. In serial literature the energies of inventive thought have been specially occupied — some have said overtaxed — in providing agencies for the satisfaction and gratification of every intellectual requirement, emotional eraring, and æsthetic longing of the people. The periodical press has become an institution because it is, upon the whole, so effective, so many. toned, and so ably adapted to the wants and wishes of the multitudes of readers to whom it appeals. In fulfilment of its great purposes-the upstirring, the solacing, the delighting, the informing, or the reforming of its patrons—it despatches its ever-active volunteer legions, in detachments, great or small, as the case may be, into every city, town, villag., hamlet, hall, and cottage in the country,—an almost resistless array of agg: ssive missionary agents, holding office during the will and at the discretion of their subscribers. As one of those friendly visitors to many homes, welcomed by many hearts, the British Controversialist and Literary Magazine has held its place in the public favour so long that it has now entered upon the eighteenth year of its career of intellectual effort. This palpable and appreciable fact the conductors hope may be considered as proving that it has not only taken a definite place, but occupies a useful one among its compeers ; and that it has been fitted by its aim and object, as well as by the method of its management, to supply a want felt by a large section of the studious, thoughtful, and reflective minds of our times. That want we, in our “Introductory Address" to the readers of this Magazine, May, 1850, ventured to define as an “unsectarian medium for the free interchange of thought-the open discussion of truth.”

At that time we proposed to dedicate our efforts to the establishment and maintenance of " an arena into which men of all sects and parties may enter to state and support their views, so that the impartial spectator may see the strength or weakness of any proposition, and be led to receive that truth which, amidst the conflict of opinion, it is hoped may be evolved; “promising, on our part, to place the arguments on both sides of a question fairly before our readers, and then leave them to draw their own conclusions.” Such was the main aim of our adventure into intellectual life, and that humble though necessary role we believe we may honestly assert we have faithfully endeavoured to adhere to and to fulfil. We have not aspired to any “higher office than to hold the scales of justice with a steady hand, than to allow men whose opinions differ to place those opinions, and the reasons in support of them, in either scale, so that they, and others also, may have an opportunity of seeing which side preponderates." The result of this experiment in literature we anticipated would be the gradual awakening in our

readers of the sense of delight to be found in the thoughtful examination of all important questions, and the suggestion issuing thence of the need of self-culture, as a condition of the honest investigation of the topics presented to view in controversy. The annals of our success—which some day we may recount-would form no uninteresting chapter of though but a small episode in the history of the intellectual progress of our age. Encouraged by this success we have attempted to adapt our pages from time to time to the uses and requirements of the strivers after the attainment and entertain. ment of reasoned truth.

While every possible care has been taken to bring the most important and permanent subjects of thoughtful polemics before the minds of our readers, those matters of popular and pressing interest which occupy the serious consideration of thinking men have not been lost sight of in our more elaborate Debates ; and in the Topic a provision has been made for the discussion of those more immediate and passing subjects of thought to which the events of every day give rise. The present volume, as well as its predecessors, will show that no honest investigation of disputable topics need be feared while men seek out of the fulness of the heart to “speak every man the truth to his neighbour ;" for if we sincerely desire to convince another of the accuracy of our views, we must "speak the truth in love." To our controversial contributors we owe and give thanks for their intelligent courtesy.

We have so frequently of late reviewed the various departments of this serial, and pointed out their uses, that enlargement now would be apt to prove offensive. Our leaders on Philosophy, Literature, and Self-culture papers purposely less exhaustive than suggestive-are somewhat more varied, though not less able and interesting than usual, and are due to a pen long faithful to us, and valued by our readers. The Essayist and Toiling Upward hold on their course as usual; the Societies' Section has, we think, been im. prored; the Inquirer supplies useful and important information on required subjects; and the Literary Notes form" a brief abstract and chronicle" of the progress of letters. In the Eloquence of the Month we have had few specimens, for it is intended that those which are quoted in our pages should be worthy of preservation, not only in and for themselves, but in connection with the questions on which the speakers descant. The Poetic Critique fulfils its office in adjudication and advice. Our Collegiate Course, in its new form, and with its new objects, ought to be an aid to students of no slight value. Our “Analysis of the Controversy on Democracy” is an appropriate addition to the varied volume which we present to our readers, with the hope that it may be promotive of their intellectual and moral improvement, and be helpful in speeding the onward course of enlightened progress among men. May our companionship be, as in the past, so in the future,

"Too delicious to be riven, by absence, from the heart."

THE

BRITISH CONTROVERSIALIST.

Modern Logicians.

AUGUSTUS DE MORGAN, B.A., F.R.A.S. & C.P.S., &o.

"Since the days of Aristotle, logic has not required to retrace a single step, unless, indeed, we are disposed to reckon as retrogressions the brushing away of some superfluous subtleties from it, or the clearer determination of what had been propounded regarding it, but which, as mere improvements, conduce far more to the elegance than to the certainty of the science. It is, moreover, quite as remarkable that hitherto logic has not been able to take any definite step forwards, and that it consequently seems to have attained full development and completeness. For though some moderns have considered that they had extended its sphere by the introduction of psychological chapters on the faculties of the mind, such as imagination and wit; metaphysical disquisitions on the origin of knowledge, and the various degrees of which certitude is capable, in proportion to the differences in its objects (as idealism scepticism, &c.); or anthropological discussions on prejudices and their causes and cures,- yet such endeavours, on the part of their authors, only show their ignorance of the special nature of that science. We do not extend, but distort the sciences when we neglect their limits, and allow their boundaries to overlay or overlap each other. But logic is engirt by a boundary which admits of very distinct definition; it is a science which has for its object nothing else than the exposition and proof of the formal laws of all thinking (whether à priori or empirical, whatever origin or object it may have, and no matter what may be the difficulty, natural or artificial), recognized or met with in the human mind.

“ This early success of logic must be exclusively attributed to the limits within which its sphere is contained; inasmuch as it may:

let us rather say must, make abstraction of all the objects of cognition, 1867.

B

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