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lament over that perversion of sentiment which leads Mr . Hunter ' s admirers todeem it a necessary tribute to his fame to attack , with other weapons than t ^ qse of argument , every
one who is induced to maintain opinions or hypotheses contrary to those of their Blaster . " " Mr . Abernethy ' s additions , ( to Mr . Hunter ' s opinions , ) as far as we learn their nature from
this volume , are much more liable to animadversion than the tenets of his master ; yet he betrays extreme impatience ana irratibility because they liave been disputed , and even condescends
to repel the attack by an appeal to prejudices , and by something that , we are concerned to say , borders at least on abuse . " After noticing a want of charity towards Mr . Hunter's opponents , the Reviewer goes on * to
observe , " He speaks of them with a feeling of rancour that is seldom manifested in the writing's of modern physiologists . They are invidiously designated as ' a party , ' entitled * modern
sceptics , ' and tauntingly styled ' wr iters by profession ; ' their morals and good sense are questioned , and they are assimilated to a description of persons whom we are taught to avoid , as maintaining principles at once dangerous and absurd . "
Upon the merits of the controversy itself , I must still refrain from pronouncing any opinion , but should be glad to see the question discussed with temper and ability in your well-conducted work . Whatever be the
immediate cause of life , whether it be the result of organization , as Mr . Lawrence contends , or the consequence of an electric fluid , according to Mr . Abernethy , it is a fair topic for inquiry , without quarreling , and there can be no just reason why either party should set down the other for fools or knaves .
To consign our adversaries over to the prejudicesFof mankind , by calling them " professed sceptics , "— " persons in disguise , " —or " writers by profession , who have woixjs at will to make the worse appear the better argument , " is not
a very legitimate mode of treating a philosophical question . The inconvenience of appealing to the passions , particularly when excited by theological prejudices , has already been felt b y one medical professor , and may , in Ins turn , perchance , one day fall to the lot of the other .
As I would wish to regulate my own . conduct by tfce rules that I prescribe to others , 4 hope thajt in the foregoing observations I have npt indulged in any uncalled-for severity ,. To wound the feelings of any perspn unnecessarily , 13 far from mv intention ; , but when I take up a book and find the author
resorting $ 0 other means than argument to support his opinions , I cannot help thinking him an unworthy advocate - And J must add , that if the use of reproachful language , and of disingenuous arts in controversy , be not the ready way for a writer to ' * disgrace " himself , I do not know what is . With
these sentiments , unwilling to trespass farther upon your columns , I commit myself to the judgment of your readers . W . W .
Essex-House , Sir , January 17 , 1820 . HAVING in my , former letter [ XIV . [ 6572 only stated facts which I know to be incontrovertible , I shall now , in reply to my friend Dr . Carpenter , [ XIV . 744 , ] whose abilities ,
zeal and exertions in promoting the great cause of Christian truth I hold in the hi g hest estimation , only offer explanations where it appears to me that my expressions have been misunderstood , or my intentions misconceived ;
and I will do it with all possible brevity , even at the hazard of appearing abrupt . 1 . I trust that my friend does not mean to insinuate , b y the distinction which he makes in his eighth remark between the London and the Western Societies , that I have been guilty of the rudeness of animadverting upon the proceedings of a Society of which I am
not a member , and to . which I have never subscribed a shilling . I flatter myself that he knows me too well to suspect that I am capable of so flagrant a breach of propriety and decorum . My friend , I doubt not , well knovvs th ^ t I was , if I may presume to say it without being charged with
over-weenmg vanity , one of the first members ot the Western Unitarian Society , and a subscriber for life ; and it was under this character that I gave m opipiqn of their late proceedings , jynci knowing that the principle and object of the two Societies were originally the same , namely , to spread the doctrine of the simple humanity of Jesus Christ , I
Mr-. Be Is ham on Unitarian Society Preamble . 33
vol . xv . f
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1820, page 33, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2484/page/33/