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PRAISE to Ganesa!" How would the God, whose symbol is an Elephant's Head, have been astonished, could he have descended to have been a spectator of the scene I have just now witnessed ? Had he beheld, in what a ridiculous light he is represented by the Philosophers of Europe, who pretend to be his worshippers, I am afraid, he would have been more than half ashamed of his votaries. But, let me not anticipate. You must travel the whole journey: and, according to my plan of punctual and minute information, you must be told, that I left London the morning after that in which my last epistle was concluded. And travelling, af.
* The God of Wisdom, whose symbol is the Head of an Elephant. WQL. II. 14 *
English servant, sometimes the length of a whole evening. Making up my mind, therefore, to spend two or three hours, at this sorry village, I was not a little pleased, to hear, that I had the prospect of some company; and that two gentlemen from Sir Caprice Ardent's, were in the same house. They soon introduced themselves to my acquaintance; and it was not long before I discovered, that these were two of the Philosophers, mentioned to me by my friend Severan. They informed me, that they had been brought to the village on a disagreeable errand. They had, it seems, been stopped and robbed in their way from London to Ardent Hall. The robber was now in custody, but their evidence was necessary for his commitment to prison. On this account, they were desired to appear before a Magistrate; and as I rejoiced in every new scene, from which I can hope to acquire a new idea, I gladly accompanied them thither. Little did I know, what acquisitions were
to be made to my stock of knowledge : or, that in the simple business of recognizing the person of a robber, I was to be made acquainted with a complete system of Philosophy. Alas! ignorant that I was . I knew not that to involve the simplest question in perplexity, and to veil the plain dictates of common sense, in the thick mist of obscurity and doubt, is an easy matter with metaphysical Philosophers : We were shewn into the Hall of Justice, and found the Magistrate seated in his chair. This portly personage, who in figure very much resembled those images of the Mandarines of China, which are often to be seen both in Asia and Europe, with due solemnity of voice, addressing himself to the eldest of the two gentlemen, desired him to examine the features of the culprit, who now stood before him, and say, whether he was satisfied as to his identity. “Much may be said upon the subject of identity,” replied Mr. Puzzledorf; “ the greatest philosophers have differed in their opinions concerning it, and ill would it become me, to decide upon a question of such vast importance.” “You have but to look in the man's face, Sir,” returned the Magistrate, “to see whether he is the identical person by whom you have been robbed ; and I do not see, what any philosopher has to say concerning it.” “It would ill become me to instruct your worship upon this point,” resumed Mr. Puzzledorf, “but his being identically the same, 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, Berkley, 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 interfere 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 the 18th instant, on his Majesty's highway ?” “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 same person for two moments together, than that two successive moments can be one, and the same 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 willful blindness and obstimacy, can resist its truth.” “That I deny,” said Mr. Axiom,