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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

And on him has been conferred a pension of 300l


So

little did his writings show any knowledge of antiquity, that I strongly suspect, if required to name one of the monkish doctors, he would have answered--Aristotle. These schoolmen, and the "philosophical trinity of gravitating force, projectile force, and void space," were the bogies of his life.

I think he began to publish speculations in the _Monthly Magazine_ (of which he was editor) in July 1817: these he republished separately in 1818. In the Preface, perhaps judging the feelings of others by his own, he says that he "fully expects to be vilified, reviled, and anathematized, for many years to come." Poor man! he was let alone. He appeals with confidence to the "impartial decision of posterity"; but posterity does not appoint a hearing for one per cent. of the appeals which are made; and it is much to be feared that an article in such a work of reference as this will furnish nearly all her materials fifty years hence. The following, addressed to M. Arago,[561] in 1835, will give posterity as good a notion as she will probably need:

"Even the present year has afforded EVER-MEMORABLE examples, paralleled only by that of the Romish Conclave which persecuted Galileo. Policy has adopted that maxim of Machiavel which teaches that it is _more prudent_ to _reward_ {244} partisans than to _persecute_ opponents. Hence, a bigotted party had influence enough with the late short-lived administration [I think he is wrong

as to the administration] of Wellington, Peel, &c., to confer munificent royal pensions on three writers whose sole distinction was their advocacy of the Newtonian philosophy. A Cambridge professor last year published an elaborate volume in illustration of _Gravitation_, and on him has been conferred a pension of 300l. per annum. A lady has written a light popular view of the Newtonian Dogmas, and she has been complimented by a pension of 200l. per annum. And another writer, who has recently published a volume to prove that the only true philosophy is that of Moses, has been endowed with a pension of 200l. per annum. Neither of them were needy persons, and the political and ecclesiastical bearing of the whole was indicated by another pension of 300l. bestowed on a political writer, the advocate of all abuses and prejudices. Whether the conduct of the Romish Conclave was more base for visiting with legal penalties the promulgation of the doctrines that the Earth turns on its axis and revolves around the Sun; or that of the British Court, for its craft in conferring pensions on the opponents of the plain corollary, that all the motions of the Earth are 'part and parcel' of these great motions, and those again and all like them consecutive displays of still greater motions in equality of action and reaction, is A QUESTION which must be reserved for the casuists of other generations.... I cannot expect that on a sudden you and your friends will come to my conclusion, that the present philosophy of the Schools and Universities of Europe, based on faith in witchcraft, magic, &c., is a system of execrable nonsense, _by which quacks live on the faith of fools_; but I desire a free and fair examination of my Aphorisms, and if a few are admitted to be true, merely as courteous concessions to arithmetic, my purpose will be effected, for men will thus be led to think; and if they think, then the fabric {245} of false assumptions, and degrading superstitions will soon tumble in ruins."


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