Cornhill Magazine,  6 (1862), 804–11.

Reflections on My Daughter's Marriage

[Frederick Greenwood]


Essay, Autobiography


Metaphysics, Methodology, Psychology

    A lonely father of the bride reflects on the question 'what are realities? When my son-in-law took Margaret home, no doubt he fancied he had got a reality; but I believe her existence to him, as a fact, altogether depends upon the existence of the Idea of her in his mind. That is what the metaphysicians would say. The young man feels that he possesses her, because he hears her say now and then, "Dear Jack, I am yours", and because he sees her every day sitting at his fireside. But eyes and ears are mere mechanical apparatus; the impression they convey is the thing: and if the impression remains, it matters little whether it was made an hour or a year ago, I suppose. [...] Now my mind is possessed with a hundred such conceptions, as vivid as if they were only an hour old, but mellower, deeper: conceptions of Margaret mine. And so I hope I have satisfied myself on philosophical principles that I have not really lost my daughter at all'. Upon these principles, moreover, the 'baby-daughter' that Margaret once was still 'remains mine'. (807) She 'lies in my arms (why not? sense is only the vehicle of sensation)' (808).

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