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upon a question of such vast importance.5* "You have but to look in the man's face, Sir," returned the Magistrate, "to fee whether he is the identical person, by whom you have been robbed; and I do not see, what any philosopher has to fay concerning it." It would ill become me to instruct your worship upon this point," resumed Mr. Puzzledorf, "but his being identically the fame, is in my opinion, altogether impossible. Nor is my opinion singular; happily, it is supported by the most respectable authorities. Locke, indeed, makes identity to consist in consciousness, but consciousness exists in succession, it cannot be the same in any two moments. His Hypothesis, therefore, is not tenable; in fact, Watts, Collins, Clarke, Butler,. Berkely, Price, Priestley, all have, in some degree differed from it." "Pray Sir, were these gentlemen Justices of the King's Bench?" interrupted the Magistrate; "if they were not, I must take the liberty of telling you, Sir, they were very impertinent to intersere in such questions! I am not to be taught the business of a Justice of Peace, by any of them.— And again ask you, whether, that man, who calls himself Tobias, alias Timothy Trundle, be the, very identical, person, by whom you were robbed on the18th instant, on his Majesty's highway }n "I must again repeat it," returned the Philosopher, "the thing is impossible; it is proved beyond a doubt, that there is no such quality as permanent identity, appertaining to any thing whatever :—and that no one can any more remain one and the fame person for two moments together, than that two successive moments can be one, and the fame moment. And if you will give me the honour of stating my arguments upon the subject, which I shall do in a manner truly philosophical, I make no doubt of convincing you, of the truth of my system. It is, indeed, a system so clear, so plain, so unanswerable, that nothing but the most wilful blindness and obstinacy, can resist its truth. "That I deny,"- said Mr. Axiom, interrupting his friend. "I agree with you, that consciousness, being frequently interrupted, is not strictly continuous, and, therefore, the continuity of consciousness cannot constitute identity: I also allow, that wherever there is a chemical combination, there is a corresponding change of properties, and that the majority of the particles of which the man is composed, are necessarily in succession changed.— But, I assert, and will undertake to prove, that there exists certain stamina which are never carried off. Where this stamina is situated, will, I know, admit of dispute. In the heart, say some; in the brain, say others: for my part, I think it is most probable, that it is placed in that part of the brain which approaches the nearest possible to the very top of the nose, which situation, is, undoubtedly, the most convenient for receiving the notices sent to it from the organs of sight, hearing, smelling, &c. and which may be more incontestibly proved, from the following arguments: first" "Fire, and
fury!" exclaimed the magistrate, "this is more than human patience can bear! But do not think, gentlemen, that I am to be made a fool of in this way; I shall let you know that it is no such easy matter to make a fool of me! And was it not for the fake of my worthy friend, Sir Caprice Ardent, I should let you know the consequences of insulting one of his Majesty's justices of the peace, in the exercise of his duty. A vile misdemeanour! a high breach of decorum! and not to be suffered to pass with impunity. Once for all, I desire you, Sir ^to Axiom) to examine the countenance of the culprit, and, without loss of time, to declare— whether he be actually the person guilty of the alledged crime?"
"As for crime," replied Mr. Axiom, "I absolutely deny the existence of crime in any case whatever. What is by the vulgar erroneously called so, is, ui the enlightened eye of philosophy, nothing more than an error in judgment. And, indeed, according to my friend Doctor Sceptic (Tim Trundle's former master) we have no right to predicate this much. —For what is right ? what is wrong ? what is vice? what is virtue? but terms merely relative, and which are to be applied by the standard of a man's own reason. Is, for instance, the reason of Mr. Timothy Trundle, leads him to revolt at the unjust distribution of property, and to think it virtue, to give his feeble aid towards redressing that enormous abuse, who shall dare to call it wrong?" "I can tell you, Sir," cried the Justice, "that the law—will think it right, that Mr. Timothy Trundle, should be hanged for so doing.—Nor, would it be any loss to the world, if all the promulgators of such doctrines, the aiders and abettors of such acts of atrocity, shared the same fate!" "That Sir," returned Axiom, with great calmness, "I conceive to be an error of judgment, on the part of your worship."—" You, however, declare, that this is the person by whom you were robbed?" said the Justice. "Yes," replied Axiom, " I have no scruples on the subject of his personal identity; identity . being, as I said before"—" O say no more upon the subject, but let the cleric read your affidavit and have done with it," cried the magistrate. The clerk proceeded, and the solemn appeal to the Deity—an appeal which so nearly concern-' ed the life of a fellow-creature, was made—by the extraordinary, and, to me, incomprehensible ceremony of killing a little dirty-looking book!
The prisoner, who had hitherto maintained a strict silence, now addressed himself to Mr. Axiom, to whom, it seems, he was well known, having long been servant to his particular friend. He began in a fallen tone, as follows:
"I did not think as how it would have been your honour, that would have had the heart to turn so against me at last. Many a time and oft, have I heard you, and my master, Doctor Sceptic, fay, that all mankind were equal, and that the poor had as good a right to property as the rich. You said, moreover, that they were all fools, that would not make the most they could of this world, seeing as how there was no other; for that religion was all a hum, and the Parson a rogue, who did not himself believe a word of k.—Nay, the very last day that