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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

He and Muggleton are the two witnesses


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A NEW THEORY OF TIDES.

A new theory of the tides: in which the errors of the usual theory are demonstrated; and proof shewn that the full moon is not the cause of a concomitant spring tide, but actually the cause of the neaps.... By Comm^r. Debenham,[806] R.N. London, 1846, 8vo.

The author replied to a criticism in the _Athenaeum_, and I remember how, in a very few words, he showed that he had read nothing on the subject. The reviewer spoke of the forces of the planets (i.e., the Sun and Moon) on the ocean, on which the author remarks, "But N.B. the Sun is no planet, Mr. Critic." Had he read any of the actual investigations on the usual theory, he would have known that to this day the sun and moon continue to be called _planets_--though the phrase is disappearing--in speaking of the tides; the sense, of course, being the old one, wandering bodies.

A large class of the paradoxers, when they meet with something which taken in their sense is absurd, do not take the trouble to find out the intended meaning, but walk off with the words laden with their own first construction. Such men are hardly fit to walk the streets without an interpreter. I was startled for a moment, at the time when a recent happy--and more recently happier--marriage occupied the public thoughts, by seeing in a haberdasher's window,

in staring large letters, an unpunctuated sentence which read itself to me as "Princess Alexandra! collar and cuff!" It immediately occurred to me that had I been any one of some scores of my paradoxers, I should, no doubt, have proceeded to raise the mob against the unscrupulous person who dared to hint to a young bride such maleficent--or at least immellificent--conduct towards her new lord. But, as it was, certain material contexts in the shop window suggested a less {394} savage explanation. A paradoxer should not stop at reading the advertisements of Newton or Laplace; he should learn to look at the stock of goods.

I think I must have an eye for double readings, when presented: though I never guess riddles. On the day on which I first walked into the _Panizzi_ reading room[807]--as it ought to be called--at the Museum, I began my circuit of the wall-shelves at the ladies' end: and perfectly coincided in the propriety of the Bibles and theological works being placed there. But the very first book I looked on the back of had, in flaming gold letters, the following inscription--"Blast the Antinomians!"[808] If a line had been drawn below the first word, Dr. Blast's history of the Antinomians would not have been so fearfully misinterpreted. It seems that neither the binder nor the arranger of the room had caught my reading. The book was removed before the catalogue of books of reference was printed.

AN ASTRONOMICAL PARADOXER.

Two systems of astronomy: first, the Newtonian system, showing the rise and progress thereof, with a short historical account; the general theory with a variety of remarks thereon: second, the system in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, showing the rise and progress from Enoch, the seventh from Adam, the prophets, Moses, and others, in the first Testament; our Lord Jesus Christ, and his apostles, in the new or second Testament; Reeve and Muggleton, in the third and last Testament; with a variety of remarks thereon. By Isaac Frost.[809] London, 1846, 4to.

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A very handsomely printed volume, with beautiful plates. Many readers who have heard of Muggletonians have never had any distinct idea of Lodowick Muggleton,[810] the inspired tailor, (1608-1698) who about 1650 received his commission from heaven, wrote a Testament, founded a sect, and descended to posterity. Of Reeve[811] less is usually said; according to Mr. Frost, he and Muggleton are the two "witnesses." I shall content myself with one specimen of Mr. Frost's science:


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