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conceded to him, not on account of his importance to the College, but of the propriety of the thing itself, which appears to me so clear, that I think it ought to be positively established by the committee, if he himself were silent on the subject.

I cannot but deeply lament the infatuation which divides men, who ought, by every consideration of interest and honour, to draw the ties of union more close: but, to speak the truth, habits of dissent on general principles are but too apt to extend their influence (unless much precaution is used) to private concerns; and theories of general forms of government to be extended, in their application, to private institutions, under circumstances 'essentially different. If we consider all institutions, and the rules that govern them, to have their true foundations in utility, and this utility to be determinable by experience, all these vain discussions, which arise from abstract truths, as they are called, would vanish before common sense. It is on these grounds that I give my opinion, that Dr. Barnes should have the general superintendence of the institution, and be himself peculiarly responsible for the whole.

No. 22.

Liverpool, Oct. 14. 1795.

MY DEAR SIR,

The Outlines of Dugald Stewart he was so good as to send me; and I entirely agree with you in the favourable opinion you pass on the pleasing, as well as the comprehensive, views they display of the philosophy of mind, and of the nature, condition, and prospects of man.

Taste, as well as habit, leads me indeed to approve of his system ; and while I cannot but feel the cogency of those arguments that support the doctrines of the materialists and necessarians, I cannot adopt their conclusions; and still less can I assent to their bold and peremptory applications of reason to a subject so difficult and so remote. Granting, however, the legitimacy of their conclusions concerning man, I perceive, or think I perceive, that their principles extend beyond human nature ; that they destroy free agency in the Author of nature; and, indeed, banish from creation the government of mind. It is true, many wise and good and pious men have adopted the doctrine of materialism, as to human nature, without assenting to the application of it to which I allude. But such men, I apprehend, were not originally educated in these doctrines; and they have adopted them, in all probability, after their religious habits were firmly rooted. When the experiment shall be completely made on young minds, I cannot believe that the result will be favourable to their firm reception of any principle of religion, natural or revealed.

Dr. Garnett, a few days ago, delivered us a lecture on the effects of the oxygenation of the blood. One of these effects he mentioned the red colour of the fluid to be. A part of the oxygen united itself with the iron of the blood, forming an oxyde of iron, and giving the bright red colour to the circulating mass. The iron, he observed, might enter the blood in various articles of our food; but it was not necessary that he should ascertain this, for iron was a product both of vegetation and animalisation. In proof of the latter part of this assertion, he mentioned a curious fact, the communication of which is the chief object of this detail.

If an egg be reduced to ashes previous to incubation, the magnet discovers no iron in those ashes. But if an egg be placed under a hen, or

in

any other state proper for hatching, and be reduced to ashes in the same manner, subsequent to the chick's being produced, iron in considerable quantity will be found in the ashes. This experiment he had himself made; the fact was communicated to him by a French gentleman.

I condole with

you most sincerely on the death of Dr. Kippis. I apprehend it was sudden. A letter from a friend in London, a few days before, mentioned his having seen him in good health, and in his usual spirits.

Mr. Roscoe, who has just been with me, tells me that he has put his last hand to the Life of Lorenzo, which will immediately appear before the public. You will, I think, find it amusing and interesting, in no common degree; and in all respects (that of the typography not excepted) it will surprise the world, as coming from the Liverpool press.

Here I must close my long letter.

I am, my dear Sir,
Your faithful and obliged friend,

JAMES CURRIE.

No. 23.

Liverpool, Jan. 4. 1797. MY DEAR SIR, The commencement of a new year, as it reminds us of the lapse of time and of the progress of life, has also a tendency to remind us of duties performed or neglected, and of those absent friends who have claims on our gratitude and regard. On such an occasion I naturally recall you to my mind, and feel that I am to blame in suffering your excellent letter to be still unacknowledged. I have also to acknowledge the report of the Stranger's Friends' Society, the success of which gives me great pleasure.

Amidst the gloom which in so peculiar a manner involves the moral and political horizon, I rejoice in the final establishment of your House of Recovery, which in its consequences will, I trust, prove a national benefit. Yet, when I consider by what irrefragable as well as by what important considerations it was supported, how vehemently it was opposed, and, if I'mistake not, how narrowly it escaped being overthrown, I confess to you my satisfaction is mingled with

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