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Title: Nineteenth Century Questions
Author: Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888
Language: English
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By James Freeman Clarke, D.D.


  TEN GREAT RELIGIONS. Part I. An Essay in Comparative Theology.
    New _Popular Edition_. Crown 8vo, gilt top, $2.00.

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  EVENTS AND EPOCHS IN RELIGIOUS HISTORY. With Maps and
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  THE IDEAS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. Translated into their Modern
    Equivalents. Crown 8vo, $1.50.

  SELF-CULTURE: Physical, Intellectual, Moral, and Spiritual. Crown
    8vo, $1.50.

  NINETEENTH CENTURY QUESTIONS. Crown 8vo, $1.50.

  EXOTICS. Poems translated from the French, German, and Italian,
    by J. F. C. and L. C. 18mo, $1.00.


    HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY,
    BOSTON AND NEW YORK.



    NINETEENTH CENTURY
    QUESTIONS

    BY
    JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE

    [Illustration]

    BOSTON AND NEW YORK
    HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
    The Riverside Press, Cambridge
    1897.



    COPYRIGHT, 1897, BY ELIOT C. CLARKE
    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



PREFATORY NOTE


Shortly before his death, Dr. Clarke selected the material for this
book, and partly prepared it for publication. He wished thus to
preserve some of his papers which had excited interest when printed in
periodicals or read as lectures.

author.



CONTENTS


                                                          PAGE
  LITERARY STUDIES.
    LYRIC AND DRAMATIC ELEMENTS IN LITERATURE AND  ART       3
    DUALISM IN NATIONAL LIFE                                28
    DID SHAKESPEARE WRITE BACON'S WORKS?                    38
    THE EVOLUTION OF A GREAT POEM: GRAY'S ELEGY             60

  RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL.
    AFFINITIES OF BUDDHISM AND CHRISTIANITY                 71
    WHY I AM NOT A FREE-RELIGIONIST                         90
    HAVE ANIMALS SOULS?                                    100
    APROPOS OF TYNDALL                                     128
    LAW AND DESIGN IN NATURE                               149

  HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL.
    THE TWO CARLYLES, OR CARLYLE PAST AND PRESENT          162
    BUCKLE AND HIS THEORY OF AVERAGES                      196
    VOLTAIRE                                               235
    RALPH WALDO EMERSON                                    270
    HARRIET MARTINEAU                                      284
    THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SLAVE POWER IN AMERICA        312



LITERARY STUDIES



LYRIC AND DRAMATIC ELEMENTS IN LITERATURE AND ART


The German philosophy has made a distinction between the Subjective
and the Objective, which has been found so convenient that it has been
already naturalized and is almost acclimated in our literature.

The distinction is this: in all thought there are two factors, the
thinker himself, and that about which he thinks. All thought, say our
friends the Germans, results from these two factors: the subject, or
the man thinking; and the object, what the man thinks about. All that
part of thought which comes from the man himself, the Ego, they call
subjective; all that part which comes from the outside world, the
non-Ego, they call objective.

I am about to apply this distinction to literature and art; but instead
of the terms Subjective and Objective, I shall use the words Lyric and
Dramatic.

For example, when a writer or an artist puts a great deal of himself
into his work, I call him a lyric writer or artist. Lyrical, in poetry,
is the term applied to that species of poetry which directly expresses
the individual emotions of the poet. On the other hand, I call an
artist or poet dramatic when his own personality disappears, and is
lost in that which he paints or describes. A lyric or subjective writer
gives us more of himself than of the outside world; a dramatic or
objective writer gives us more of the outside world than of himself.

Lyric poetry is that which is to be sung; the lyre accompanies song.
Now, song is mainly personal or subjective. It expresses the singer's
personal emotions, feelings, desires; and for these reasons I select
this phrase "lyric" to express all subjective or personal utterances in
art.

The drama, on the other hand, is a photograph of life; of live men
and women acting themselves out freely and individually. The dramatic
writer ought to disappear in his drama; if he does not do so he is not
a dramatic writer, but a lyrist in disguise.

The dramatic element is the power of losing one's self--opinions,
feeling, character--in that which is outside and foreign, and
reproducing it just as it is. In perfect dramatic expression the
personal equation is wholly eliminated. The writer disappears in his
characters; his own hopes and fears, emotions and convictions, do not
color his work.

But the lyric element works in the opposite way. In song, the singer
is prominent more than what he sings. He suffuses his subject with
his own thoughts and feelings. If he describes nature, he merely gives
us the feelings it awakens in his own mind. If he attempts to write a
play, we see the same actor thinly disguised reappearing in all the
parts.

Now, there is a curious fact connected with this subject. It is that
great lyric and dramatic authors or artists are apt to appear in duads
or pairs. Whenever we meet with a highly subjective writer, we are
apt to find him associated with another as eminently objective. This
happens so often that one might imagine that each type of thought
attracts its opposite and tends to draw it out and develop it. It may
be that genius, when it acts on disciples who are persons of talent,
draws out what is like itself, and makes imitators; when it acts on a
disciple who himself possesses genius, it draws out what is opposite
to itself and develops another original thinker. Genius, like love,
is attracted by its opposite, or counterpart. Love and genius seek to
form wholes; they look for what will complete and fulfill themselves.
When, therefore, a great genius has come, fully developed on one side,
he exercises an irresistible attraction on the next great genius,
in whom the opposite side is latent, and is an important factor in
his development. Thus, perhaps, we obtain the duads, whose curious
concurrence I will now illustrate by a few striking instances.

Beginning our survey with English literature, who are the first two
great poets whose names occur to us? Naturally, Chaucer and Spenser.
Now, Chaucer is eminently dramatic and objective in his genius; while
Spenser is distinctly a lyrical and subjective poet.

Chaucer tells stories; and story-telling is objective. One of the most
renowned collections of stories is the "Arabian Nights;" but who knows
anything about the authors of those entertaining tales? They are merely
pictures of Eastern life, reflected in the minds of some impersonal
authors, whose names even are unknown.

Homer is another great story-teller; and Homer is so objective, so
little of a personality, that some modern critics suppose there may
have been several Homers.

Chaucer is a story-teller also; and in his stories everything belonging
to his age appears, except Chaucer himself. His writings are full of
pictures of life, sketches of character; in one word, he is a dramatic
or objective writer. He paints things as they are,--gives us a panorama
of his period. Knights, squires, yeomen, priests, friars, pass before
us, as in Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott."

The mind of an objective story-teller, like Chaucer, is the faithful
mirror, which impartially reflects all that passes before it, but
cracks from side to side whenever he lets a personal feeling enter his
mind, for then the drama suddenly disappears and a lyric of personal
hope or fear, gladness or sadness, takes its place.

Spenser is eminently a lyric poet. His own genius suffuses his stories
with a summer glow of warm, tender, generous sentiment. In his
descriptions of nature he does not catalogue details, but suggests
impressions, which is the only way of truly describing nature. There
are some writers who can describe scenery, so that the reader feels as
if he had seen it himself. The secret of all such description is that
it does not count or measure, but suggests. It is not quantitative
but qualitative analysis. It does not apply a foot rule to nature,
but gives the impression made on the mind and heart by the scene. I
have never been at Frascati nor in Sicily, but I can hardly persuade
myself that I have not seen those places. I have distinct impressions
of both, simply from reading two of George Sand's stories. I have in
my mind a picture of Frascati, with deep ravines, filled with foliage;
with climbing, clustering, straggling vines and trees and bushes; with
overhanging crags, deep masses of shadow below, bright sunshine on
the stone pines above. So I have another picture of Sicilian scenery,
wide and open, with immense depths of blue sky, and long reaches of
landscape; ever-present Etna, soaring snow-clad into the still air; an
atmosphere of purity, filling the heart with calm content. It may be
that Catania and Frascati are not like this; but I feel as if I had
seen them, not as if I had heard them described.

It is thus that Spenser describes nature; by touching some chord of
fancy in the soul. Notice this picture of a boat on the sea:--

    "So forth they rowëd; and that Ferryman
    With his stiff oars did brush the sea so strong
    That the hoar waters from his frigate ran,
    And the light bubbles dancëd all along
    Whiles the salt brine out of the billows sprang;
    At last, far off, they many islands spy,
    On every side, floating the floods among."

You notice that you are in the boat yourself, and everything is told
as it appears to you there; you see the bending of the "stiff oars"
by your side, and the little bubbles dancing on the water, and the
islands, not as they _are_, rock-anchored, but as they _seem_ to you,
floating on the water. This is subjective description,--putting the
reader in the place, and letting him see it all from that point of
view. So Spenser speaks of the "oars sweeping the watery wilderness;"
and of the gusty winds "filling the sails with fear."

Perhaps the highest description ought to include both the lyric and
dramatic elements. Here is a specimen of sea description, by an almost
unknown American poet, Fenner, perfect in its way. The poem is called
"Gulf Weed:"--

    "A weary weed washed to and fro,
      Drearily drenched in the ocean brine;
    Soaring high, or sinking low,
      Lashed along without will of mine;
    Sport of the spoom of the surging sea,
      Flung on the foam afar and near;
    Mark my manifold mystery,
      Growth and grace in their place appear.

    "I bear round berries, gray and red,
      Rootless and rover though I be;
    My spangled leaves, when nicely spread,
      Arboresce as a trunkless tree;
    Corals curious coat me o'er
      White and hard in apt array;
    Mid the wild waves' rude uproar
      Gracefully grow I, night and day.

    "Hearts there are on the sounding shore,
      (Something whispers soft to me,)
    Restless and roaming for evermore,
      Like this weary weed of the sea;
    Bear they yet on each beating breast
      The eternal Type of the wondrous whole,
    Growth unfolding amidst unrest,
      Grace informing the silent soul."

All nature becomes alive in the Spenserian description. Take, for
example, the wonderful stanza which describes the music of the "Bower
of Bliss:"--

        "The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade
        Their notes unto the voice attemper'd sweet;
        Th' angelical, soft, trembling voices made
        To the instruments divine respondence meet;
        The silver-sounding instruments did meet
        With the bass murmur of the water's fall;
        The water's fall, with difference discreet,
        Now loud, now low, unto the winds did call;
    The gentle warbling winds low answerëd to all."

Consider the splendid portrait of Belphœbe:--

        "In her fair eyes two living lamps did flame,
        Kindled above at the Heavenly Maker's light;
        And darted fiery beams out of the same,
        So passing piercing, and so wondrous bright,
        They quite bereaved the rash beholder's sight;
        In them the blinded god his lustful fire
        To kindle oft essay'd but had no might,
        For with dread majesty and awful ire
    She broke his wanton darts and quenchëd base desire.

        "Her ivory forehead, full of bounty brave,
        Like a broad tablet did itself dispread,
        For love his lofty triumphs to engrave,
        And write the battles of his great godhead;
        All good and honor might therein be read,
        For there their dwelling was; and when she spake,
        Sweet words, like dropping honey she did shed;
        And, twixt the pearls and rubies softly brake
    A silver Sound, that heavenly music seemed to make."

If we examine this picture, we see that it is not a photograph, such as
the sun makes, but a lover's description of his mistress. He sees her,
not as she is, but as she is to _him_. He paints her out of his own
heart. In her eyes he sees, not only brilliancy and color, but heavenly
light; he reads in them an untouched purity of soul. Looking at her
forehead, he sees, not whiteness and roundness, but goodness and honor.

Shakespeare's lovers always describe their mistresses in this way,
out of their own soul and heart. It is his own feeling that the lover
gives, seeing perhaps "Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt."

After Chaucer and Spenser the next great English poets whose names
naturally occur to us are Shakespeare and Milton.

Now, Shakespeare was the most objective dramatic writer who ever lived;
while Milton was eminently and wholly a subjective and lyrical writer.

It is true that Shakespeare was so great that he is one of the very
few men of genius in whom appear both of these elements. In his plays
he is so objective that he is wholly lost in his characters, and
his personality absolutely disappears; in his sonnets he "unlocks
his heart" and is lyrical and subjective; he there gives us his
inmost self, and we seem to know him as we know a friend with whom
we have lived in intimate relations for years. Still, he will be
best remembered by his plays; and into them he put the grandeur and
universality of his genius; so we must necessarily consider him as the
greatest dramatic genius of all time. But he belonged to a group of
dramatic poets of whom he was the greatest: Ben Jonson, Beaumont and
Fletcher, Massinger, Ford, Webster,--any one of whom would make the
fortune of the stage to-day. It was a great age of dramatic literature,
and it came very naturally to meet a demand. The play then was what the
novel is to-day. As people to-day have no sooner read a new novel than
they want another, so, in Shakespeare's time, they had no sooner seen
a new play than they ran to see another. Hence the amazing fertility
of the dramatic writers. Thomas Heywood wrote the whole or a part
of two hundred and twenty plays. The manager of one of the theatres
bought a hundred and six new plays for his stage in six years; and in
the next five years a hundred and sixty. The price paid to an author
for a play would now be equal to about two or three hundred dollars.
The dramatic element, as is natural, abounds in these writings, though
in some of them the author's genius is plainly lyrical. Such, for
example, is Massinger's, who always reminds me of Schiller. Both wrote
plays, but in both writers the faculty of losing themselves in their
characters is wanting. The nobleness of Schiller appears in all his
works, and constitutes a large part of their charm. So in Massinger all
tends to generosity and elevation. His worst villains are ready to be
converted and turn saints at the least provocation. Their wickedness is
in a condition of unstable equilibrium; it topples over, and goodness
becomes supreme in a single moment. Massinger could not create really
wicked people; their wickedness is like a child's moment of passion
or willfulness, ending presently in a flood of tears, and a sweet
reconciliation with his patient mother. But how different was it with
Shakespeare! Consider his Iago. How deeply rooted was his villainy!
how it was a part of the very texture of his being! He had conformed to
it the whole philosophy of his life. His cynical notions appear in the
first scene. Iago _believes_ in meanness, selfishness, everything that
is base; to him all that seems good is either a pretense or a weakness.
The man who does not seek the gratification of his own desires is a
fool. There is to Iago nothing sweet, pure, fair, or true, in this
world or the next. He profanes everything he touches. He sneers at the
angelic innocence of Desdemona; he sneers at the generous, impulsive
soul of Othello. When some one speaks to him of virtue, he says
"Virtue? a fig! 'tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies
are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners." You can plant
nettles or lettuce as you please. That is to say, there is no reality
in goodness. The virtue of Desdemona will be gone to-morrow, if she
takes the whim. The Moor's faith in goodness is folly; it will cause
him to be led by the nose. There is no converting such a man as that;
or only when, by means of terrible disappointments and anguish, he is
brought to see the reality of human goodness and divine providence. And
that can hardly happen to him in this world.

Iago is a murderer of the soul, Macbeth a murderer of the body.
The wickedness of Macbeth is different from that of Iago; that of
Shylock and of Richard Third different again from either. Macbeth
is a half-brute, a man in a low state of development, with little
intellect and strong passions. Shylock is a highly intellectual man,
not a cynic like Iago, but embittered by ill-treatment, made venomous
by cruel wrong and perpetual contempt. Oppression has made this wise
man mad. Richard Third, originally bad, has been turned into a cruel
monster by the egotism born of power. He has the contempt for his race
that belongs to the aristocrat, who looks on men in humbler places
as animals of a lower order made for his use or amusement. Now, this
wonderful power of differentiating characters belongs to the essence
of the dramatic faculty. Each of these is developed from within, from
a personal centre, and is true to that. Every manifestation of this
central life is correlated to every other. If one of Shakespeare's
characters says but ten words in one scene, and then ten words more in
another, we recognize him as the same person. His speech bewrayeth him.
So it is in human life. Every man is fatally consistent with himself.
So, after we have seen a number of pictures by any one of the great
masters, we recognize him again, as soon as we enter a gallery. We know
him by a certain style. Inferior artists have a manner; great artists
have a style; manner is born of imitation; style of originality. So,
there is a special quality in every human being, if he will only allow
it to unfold. The dramatic faculty recognizes this. Its knowledge
of man is not a philosophy, nor a mere knowledge of human nature,
but a perception of individual character. It first integrates men as
human beings; then differentiates them as individuals. Play-writers,
novelists, and artists who do not possess this dramatic genius cannot
grow their characters from within, from a personal centre of life;
but build them up from without, according to a plan. In description
of nature, however, Shakespeare is, as he ought to be, subjective and
lyric; he touches nature with human feelings. Take his description of a
brook:--

    "The current that with gentle murmur glides
    Thou know'st, being stopp'd impatiently doth rage;
    But when his fair course is not hindered,
    He makes sweet music with the enamell'd stones,
    Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge
    He overtaketh in his pilgrimage,
    And so by many winding nooks he strays
    With willing sport to the wild ocean."

The brook is gentle; then it becomes angry; then it is pacified and
begins to sing; then it stops to kiss the sedge; then it is a pilgrim;
and it walks _willingly_ on to the ocean.

So in his sonnet:--

    "Full many a glorious morning have I seen
    Flatter the mountain top with sovereign eye;
    Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
    Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
    Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
    With ugly rack on his celestial face;
    And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
    Stealing unseen to west with his disgrace;
    Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
    With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
    But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
    The region cloud hath masked him from me now;
    Yet him, for this, my love no whit disdaineth,
    Suns of this world may stain, when heaven's sun staineth."

From Shakespeare, the marvel of dramatic genius, turn to Milton, and we
find the opposite tendency unfolded.

The "Paradise Lost" is indeed dramatic in form, with different
characters and dialogues, in hell, on earth, and in heaven. But in
essence it is undramatic. Milton is never for a moment lost in his
characters; his grand and noble soul is always appearing. Every one
speaks as Milton would have spoken had Milton been in the same place,
and looked at things from the same point of view. Sin and Satan, for
example, both talk like John Milton. Sin is very conscientious, and
before she will unlock the gate of hell she is obliged to argue herself
into a conviction that it is right to do so. Satan, she says, is her
father, and children ought to obey their parents; so, since he tells
her to unlock the gate, she ought to do so. Death reproaches Satan, in
good set terms, for his treason against the Almighty; and Satan, as we
all know, utters the noblest sentiments, and talks as Milton would have
talked, had Milton been in Satan's position.[1]

Coming down nearer to our own time, we find a duad of great English
poets, usually associated in our minds,--Byron and Scott.

Scott was almost the last of the dramatic poets of England, using the
word dramatic in its large sense. His plays never amounted to much; but
his stories in verse and in prose are essentially dramatic. In neither
does he reveal himself. In all his poetry you scarcely find a reference
to his personal feelings. In the L'Envoi to the "Lady of the Lake"
there is a brief allusion of this sort, touching because so unusual,
and almost the only one I now recall. Addressing the "Harp of the
North" he says:--

      "Much have I owed thy strains through life's long way,
         Through secret woes the world has never known,
      When on the weary night dawned wearier day,
         And bitterer was the grief devoured alone;
    That I o'erlive such woes, Enchantress! is thine own."

Scott, like Chaucer, brings before us a long succession of characters,
from many classes, countries, and times. Scotch barons and freebooters,
English kings, soldiers, gentlemen, crusaders, Alpine peasants,
mediæval counts, serfs, Jews, Saxons,--brave, cruel, generous,--all
sweep past us, in a long succession of pictures; but of Scott himself
nothing appears except the nobleness and purity of the tone which
pervades all. He is therefore eminently a dramatic or objective writer.

But Byron is the exact opposite. The mighty exuberance of his genius,
which captivated his age, and the echoes of which thrill down to
ours, in all its vast overflow of passion, imagination, wit,--ever
sounded but one strain,--himself. His own woes, his own wrongs are
the ever-recurring theme. Though he wrote many dramas, he was more
undramatic than Milton. Every character in every play is merely a
thinly disguised Byron. It was impossible for him to get away from
himself. If Tennyson's lovely line tells the truth when he says,--

    "Love took up the harp of life and smote on all its chords with
             might;
    Smote the chord of self, that, trembling, passed in music out of
             sight:"

then Byron never really loved; for in his poetry the chord of self
never passes out of sight.

In his plays the principal characters are Byron undiluted--as Manfred,
Sardanapalus, Cain, Werner, Arnold. All the secondary characters are
Byron more or less diluted,--Byron and water, may we say? Never, since
the world began, has there been a poet so steeped in egotism, so sick
of self-love as he; and the magnificence of his genius appears in the
unfailing interest which he can give to this monotonous theme.

But he was the example of a spirit with which the whole age was filled
to saturation. Almost all the nineteenth century poets of England are
subjective, giving us their own experience, sentiments, reflections,
philosophies. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, revolve in this
enchanted and enchanting circle. Keats and Coleridge seem capable of
something different. So, in the double star, made up of Wordsworth
and Coleridge, the first is absolutely personal and lyric, the second
sometimes objective and dramatic. And in that other double star of
Shelley and Keats the same difference may be noted.

A still more striking instance of the combination of these antagonisms
is to be found in our time, in Robert Browning and his wife. Mrs.
Browning is wholly lyric, like a bird which sings its own tender song
of love and hope and faith till "that wild music burdens every bough;"
and those "mournful hymns" hush the night to listening sympathy.

But in her husband we have a genuine renaissance of the old dramatic
power of the English bards. Robert Browning is _so_ dramatic that
he forgets himself and his readers too, in his characters and their
situations. To study the varieties of men and women is his joy; to
reproduce them unalloyed, his triumph.

One curious instance of this self-oblivious immersion in the creations
of his mind occurs to me. In one of his early poems called "In a
Gondola"--as it first appeared--two lovers are happily conversing,
until in a moment, we know not why, the tone becomes one of despair,
and they bid each other an eternal farewell. Why this change of tone
there is no explanation. In a later edition he condescends to inform
us, inserting a note to this effect: "He is surprised and stabbed."
This is the opposite extreme to Milton's angels carefully explaining to
each other that they possess a specific levity which enables them to
drop upward.

If we think of our own poets whose names are usually
connected,--Longfellow and Lowell, for instance,--we shall easily see
which is dramatic and which lyric. But the only man of truly dramatic
faculty whom we have possessed was one in whom the quality never fully
ripened,--I mean Edgar Allan Poe.

In foreign literature we may trace the same tendency of men of genius
to arrange themselves in couplets. Take, for instance, in Italy,
Dante and Petrarch; in France, Voltaire and Rousseau; in Germany,
Goethe and Schiller. Dante is dramatic, losing himself in his stern
subject, his dramatic characters; his awful pictures of gloomy destiny.
Petrarch is lyrical, personal, singing forever his own sad and sweet
fate. Again, Voltaire is essentially dramatic,--immersed in things,
absorbed in life, a man reveling in all human accident and adventure,
and aglow with faith in an earthly paradise. The sad Rousseau goes
apart, away from men; standing like Byron, among them, but not of them;
in a cloud of thoughts that are not their thoughts. And, once more,
though Goethe resembles Shakespeare in this, that some of his works
are subjective, and others objective,--though, in the greatness of his
mind he reconciles all the usual antagonisms of thought,--yet the fully
developed Goethe, like the fully developed Shakespeare, disappears
in his characters and theme. Life to him, in all its forms, was so
intensely interesting that his own individual and subjective sentiments
are left out of sight. But Schiller stands opposed to Goethe, as being
a dramatist devoid of dramatic genius, but full of personal power;
so grand in his nobleness of soul, so majestic in the aspirations of
his sentiment, so full of patriotic ardor and devotion to truth and
goodness, that he moves all hearts as he walks through his dramas,--the
great poet visible in every scene and every line. As his tried and
noble friend says of him in an equally undying strain:--

    "Burned in his cheek, with ever-deepening fire,
    The spirit's youth, which never passes by;
    The courage, which though worlds in hate conspire,
    Conquers at last their dull hostility;
    The lofty faith, which ever, mounting higher,
    Now presses on, now waiteth patiently;
    By which the good tends ever to its goal--
    By which day lights at last the generous soul."

Goethe's characters and stories covered the widest range: Faust, made
sick with too much thought, and seeking outward joy as a relief;
Werther, a self-absorbed sentimentalist; Tasso, an Italian man of
genius, a mixture of imagination, aspiration, sensitive self-distrust;
susceptible to opinion, sympathetic; Iphigenia, a picture of antique
calm, simplicity, purity, classic repose, like that of a statue;
Hermann and Dorothea, a sweet idyl of modern life, in a simple-minded
German village with an opinionated, honest landlord, a talkative
apothecary, a motherly landlady, a sensible and good pastor, and the
two young lovers.

This law of duality, or reaction of genius on genius, will also be
found to apply to artists, philosophers, historians, orators. These
also come in pairs, manifesting the same antagonistic qualities.

Some artists are lyric; putting their own souls into every face, every
figure, making even a landscape alive with their own mood; adding--

                                  "A gleam
    Of lustre known to neither sea nor land
    But borrowed from the poet-painter's dream."

In every landscape of Claude we find the soul of Claude; in every
rugged rock-defile of Salvator we read his mood. These artists are
lyric; but there are also great dramatic painters, who give you, not
themselves, but men and women; so real, so differentiated, characters
so full of the variety and antagonism of nature, that the whole life of
a period springs into being at their touch.

Take for instance two names, which always go together, standing side
by side at the summit of Italian art,--Michael Angelo and Raphael.
Though Raphael was a genius of boundless exuberance, and poured on the
wall and canvas a flood of forms, creating as nature creates, without
pause or self-repetition, yet there is a tone in all which irresistibly
speaks of the artist's own soul. He created a world of Raphaels. Grace,
sweetness, and tenderness went into all his work. Every line has the
same characteristic qualities.

Turn to the frescoes by Michael Angelo in the Sistine Chapel. As we
look up at those mighty forms--prophets, sibyls, seers, with multitudes
of subordinate figures--we gradually trace in each prophet, king, or
bard an individual character. Each one is himself. How fully each face
and attitude is differentiated by some inward life. How each--David,
Isaiah, Ezekiel, the Persian and the Libyan sibyl--stands out,
distinct, filled with a power or a tenderness all his own. Michael
Angelo himself is not there, except as a fountain of creative life,
from whose genius all these majestic persons come forth as living
realities.

Hanging on my walls are the well-known engravings of Guido's Aurora and
Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. One of these is purely lyrical; the
other as clearly dramatic.

The Aurora is so exquisitely lovely, the forms so full of grace, the
movement of all the figures so rapid yet so firm, that I can never pass
it without stopping to enjoy its charms. But variety is absent. The
hours are lovely sisters, as Ovid describes sisters:--

    "Facies non omnibus una,
    Nec diversa tamen, qualis decet esse sororum."

But when we turn to the Last Supper, we see the dramatic artist at his
best. The subject is such as almost to compel a monotonous treatment,
but there is a wonderful variety in the attitudes and grouping. Each
apostle shows by his attitude, gesture, expression, that he is affected
differently from all the others. Even the feet under the table speak.
Stand before the picture; put yourself into the attitude of each
apostle, and you will immediately understand his state of mind.[2]

The mediæval religious artists were subjective, sentimental, lyrical.
In a scene like the crucifixion, all the characters, whether apostles,
Roman soldiers, or Jewish Pharisees, hang their heads like bulrushes.

But see how Rubens, that great dramatic painter, represents the
scene. The Magdalen, wild with grief, with disheveled hair, has thrown
herself at the foot of the cross, clasping and kissing the feet of
Jesus. On the other faces are terror, dismay, doubt, unbelief, mockery,
curiosity, triumph, despair,--according to each person's character and
attitude toward the event. Meantime the Roman centurion, seated on his
splendid horse, is deliberately and carefully striking his spear into
the side of the sufferer. His face expresses only that he has a duty to
perform and means to fulfill it perfectly.

As Rubens is greatly dramatic, his pupil and follower, Vandyke, is a
great lyrical artist, whose noble aspiration and generous sentiment
shows itself in all his work.

The school of Venice, with Titian and Tintoretto at its head, is
grandly dramatic and objective. The school of Florence, with Guido and
Domenichino at its head, eminently lyrical and subjective.

If we had time, we might show that the two masters of Greek philosophy,
Plato and Aristotle, are, the one lyrical, and intensely subjective,
platonizing the universe; and the other as evidently objective,
immersed in the study of things; rejoicing in their variety, their
individuality, their persistence of type.

The two masters of Greek history, Herodotus and Thucydides, stand
opposed to each other in the same way. Herodotus is the story-teller,
the dramatic raconteur, whose charming tales are as entertaining as the
"Arabian Nights." Thucydides is the personal historian who puts himself
into his story, and determines its meaning and moral according to his
own theories and convictions.

We have another example in Livy and Tacitus.

The two great American orators most frequently mentioned together are
Webster and Clay. Though you would smile if I were to call either of
them a lyric or a dramatic speaker, yet the essential distinction we
have been considering may be clearly seen in them. Clay's inspiration
was personal, his influence, personal influence. His theme was nothing;
his treatment of it everything. But Webster rose or fell with the
magnitude and importance of the occasion and argument. When on the
wrong side, he failed, for his intellect would not work well except in
the service of reality and truth. But Clay was perhaps greatest when
arguing against all facts and all reason. Then he summoned all his
powers,--wit, illustration, analogy, syllogisms, appeals to feeling,
prejudice, and passion; and so swept along his confused and blinded
audience to his conclusions.

I think that subjective writers are loved more than dramatic. We admire
the one and we love the other. We admire Shakespeare and love Milton;
we admire Chaucer and love Spenser; we admire Dante and love Petrarch;
we admire Goethe and love Schiller; and if Byron had not been so
selfish a man, we should have loved him too. We admire Michael Angelo
and love Raphael; we admire Rubens and love Vandyke; we admire Robert
Browning and love Mrs. Browning. In short, we care more for the man who
gives us himself than for the man who gives us the whole outside world.

I have been able to give you only a few hints of this curious
distinction in art and literature. But if we carry it in our mind, we
shall find it a key by which many doors may be unlocked. It will enable
us to classify authors, and understand them better.



DUALISM IN NATIONAL LIFE


The science of comparative ethnology is one which has been greatly
developed during the last twenty-five years. The persistence of
race tendencies, as in the Semitic tribes, Jews and Arabs, or in
the Teutonic and Celtic branches of the great Aryan stock, has been
generally admitted. Though few would now say, with the ethnologist
Knox, "Race is everything," none would wholly dispense with this
factor, as Buckle did, in writing a history of civilization.

Racial varieties have existed from prehistoric times. Their origin is
lost in the remote past. As far as history goes back, we find them the
same that they are now. When and how the primitive stock differentiated
itself into the great varieties which we call Aryan, Semitic, and
Turanian, no one can tell. But there are well-established varieties of
which we can trace the rise and development; I mean national varieties.
The character of an Englishman or a Frenchman is as distinctly marked
as that of a Greek or Roman. There is a general resemblance among all
Englishmen; and the same kind of resemblance among all Frenchmen,
Spaniards, Swedes, Poles. But this crystallization into national types
of character has taken place in a comparatively short period. We look
back to a time when there were no Englishmen in Great Britain; but only
Danes, Saxons, Normans, and Celts; no Frenchmen in France; but Gauls,
Franks, and Romans. Gradually a distinct quality emerges, and we have
Frenchmen, Italians, Englishmen. The type, once arrived at, persists,
and becomes more marked. It is marked by personal looks and manners,
by a common temperament, a common style of thinking, feeling, acting;
the same kind of morals and manners. This type was formed by the action
and reaction of the divers races brought side by side--Normans and
Saxons mutually influencing each other in England, and being influenced
again by climate, conditions of life, forms of government, national
customs. So, at last, we have the well-developed national character,--a
mysterious but very certain element, from which no individual can
wholly escape. All drink of that one spirit.

Thus far I have been stating what we all know. But now I would call
your attention to a curious fact, which, so far as I am aware, has not
before been noticed. It is this,--that when two nations, during their
forming period, have been in relation to each other, there will be a
peculiar character developed in each. That is to say, they will differ
from each other according to certain well-defined lines, and these
differences will repeat themselves again and again in history, in
curious parallelisms, or dualisms.

To take the most familiar illustration of this: consider the national
qualities of the French and English. The English and French, during
several centuries, have been acting and reacting on each other, both
in war and peace. Now, what are the typical characteristics of these
two nations? Stated in a broad way they might be described something as
follows:--

The English mind is more practical than ideal; its movement is slow
but persistent; its progress is by gradual development; it excels in
the industrial arts; it reverences power; it loves liberty more than
equality, not objecting to an aristocracy. It tends to individualism.
Its conquests have been due to the power of order, and adherence to law.

The French mind is more ideal than practical; versatile, rather than
persistent; its movements rapid, its progress by crises and revolution,
rather than by development; it excels in whatever is tasteful and
artistic; it admires glory rather than power; loves equality more than
liberty; objects to an aristocracy, but is ready to yield individual
rights at the bidding of the community; renouncing individualism for
the sake of communism; and its successes have been due to enthusiasm
rather than to organization.

Next, look at the Greeks and Romans. These peoples were in intimate
relations during the forming period of national life; and we find in
them much the same contrasts of character that we do in the English and
the French. The Romans were deficient in imagination, rather prosaic,
fond of rule and fixed methods, conservative of ancient customs. The
Greeks were quick and versatile; artistic to a high degree; producing
masterpieces of architecture, painting, statuary, and creating every
form of literature; inventing the drama, the epic poem, oratory, odes,
history, philosophy. The Romans borrowed from them their art and their
literature, but were themselves the creators of law, the organizers of
force. The Greeks and Romans were the English and French of antiquity;
and you will notice that they occupy geographically the same relative
positions,--the Greeks and French on the east; the Romans and English
on the west.

But now observe another curious fact. The Roman Empire and the Greek
republics came to an end; and in Greece no important nationality took
the place of those wonderful commonwealths. But in Italy, by the union
of the old inhabitants with the Teutonic northern invaders, modern
Italy was slowly formed into a new national life. No longer deriving
any important influence from Greece (which had ceased to be a living
and independent force), Italy, during the Middle Ages, came into
relations with Spain and the Spaniards. In Spain, as in Italy, a new
national life was in process of formation by the union of the Gothic
tribes, the Mohammedan invaders, and the ancient inhabitants. The
Spaniards occupied Sicily in 1282, and Naples fell later into their
hands, about 1420, and in 1526 took possession of Milan. Thus Italy and
Spain were entangled in complex relations during their forming period.
What was the final result? Modern Italians became the very opposite of
the ancient Romans. The Spaniards on the west are now the Romans, and
the Italians, the Greeks. The Spaniards are slow, strong, conservative;
the Italians, quick-witted, full of feeling and sentiment, versatile.
The Spaniards trust to organization, the Italians to enthusiasm. The
Spaniards are practical, the Italians ideal. In fine, the Spaniards, on
the west, are like the English and the ancient Romans; the Italians,
on the east, like the French and the Greeks. The English pride, the
Roman pride, the Spanish pride, we have all heard of; but the French,
the Greeks, and the Italians are not so much inclined to pride and the
love of power, as to vanity and the love of fame. England, Rome, and
Spain, united by law and the love of organization, gradually became
solidified into empires; Greece, Italy, and France were always divided
into independent states, provinces, or republics.

Now, let us go east and consider two empires that have grown up, side
by side, with constant mutual relations: Japan and China. The people
of Japan, on the east, are described by all travelers in language
that might be applied to the ancient Greeks or the modern French. They
are said to be quick-witted, lively, volatile, ready of apprehension,
with a keen sense of honor, which prefers death to disgrace; eminently
a social and pleasure-seeking people, fond of feasts, dancing, music,
and frolics. Men and women are pleasing, polite, affable. On the
other hand, the Chinese are described as more given to reason than
to sentiment, prosaic, slow to acquire, but tenacious of all that is
gained, very conservative, great lovers of law and order; with little
taste for art, but much national pride. They are the English of Asia;
the Japanese, the French.

Go back to earlier times, when the two oldest branches of the great
Aryan stock diverged on the table-lands of central Asia; the Vedic
race descending into India, and the Zend people passing west, into
Persia. The same duplex development took place that we have seen
in other instances. The people on the Indus became what they still
are,--a people of sentiment and feeling. Like the French, they are
polite, and cultivate civility and courtesy. The same tendency to
local administration which we see in France is found in India; the
commune being, in both, the germ-cell of national life. The village
communities in India are little republics, almost independent of
anything outside. Dynasties change, new rulers and kings arrive;
Hindoo, Mohammedan, English; but the village community remains the
same. Like the Japanese, the French, the Italians, the inhabitants
of India are skillful manufacturers of ornamental articles. Their
religion tends to sentiment more than to morality,--to feeling, rather
than to action. This is the development which India took when these
races inhabited the Punjaub. But the ancient Persians were different.
Their religion included a morality which placed its essence in right
thinking and right action. A sentimental religion, like that of India
and of Italy, tends to the adoration of saints and holy images and to
multiplied ceremonies. A moral religion, like that of Persia, of Judea,
and of the Teutonic races, tends to the adoration and service of the
unseen. The Hindoos had innumerable gods, temples, idols. The Persians
worshiped the sacred fire, without temple, priest, altar, sacrifice,
or ritual. The ancient Persians, wholly unlike the modern Persians,
were a people of action, energy, enterprise. But when the old Persian
empire fell, the character of the people changed. Just as in Italy
the old Roman type disappeared, and was replaced by the opposite in
the modern Italian, so modern Persia has swung round to the opposite
pole of national character. The Persians and Turks, both professing
the Mohammedan religion, belong to different sects of that faith. The
Turks are proud, tenacious of old customs, grave in their demeanor,
generally just in their dealings, keeping their word. The Persians, as
they appear in the works of Malcolm and Monier, are changeable, kindly,
polite, given to ceremonies, fond of poetry, with taste for fine art
and decoration,--a mobile people. The Turk is silent, the Persian
talkative. The Turk is proud and cold, the Persian affable and full of
sentiment. In short, the Persian is the Frenchman, and the Turk the
Englishman. And here again, as in the other cases, the French type of
nationality unfolds itself on the east, and the English on the west.

These national doubles have not been exhausted. We have other instances
of twin nations, born of much the same confluence of race elements,
of whom, as of Esau and Jacob, it might be predicted to the mother
race, "Two nations shall be born of thee; two kinds of people shall go
forth from thee; and the one shall be stronger than the other." Thus
there are the twin races which inhabit Sweden and Norway; the Swedes,
on the east, are more intelligent, quick-witted, and versatile; the
Norwegians, on the west, slow, persistent, and disposed to foreign
conquest and adventure, as shown in the sea-kings, who discovered
Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland; and the modern emigrants who reap the
vast wheatfields of Minnesota. So, too, we might speak of the Poles and
Germans. The Polish nation, on the east, resembling the French; the
German, on the west, the English.

But time will not allow me to carry out these parallels into details.
The question is, are these mere coincidences, or do they belong to the
homologons of history, where the same law of progress repeats itself
under different conditions, as the skeleton of the mammal is found in
the whale. Such curious homologons we find in national events, and they
can hardly be explained as accidental coincidences. For instance, the
English and French revolutions proceeded by six identical steps. First,
an insurrection of the people. Secondly, the dethronement and execution
of the king. Thirdly, a military usurper. Fourthly, the old line
restored. Fifthly, after the death of the restored king, his brother
succeeds to the throne. Sixthly, a second revolution drives the brother
into exile, and a constitutional king of a collateral branch takes his
place.

But if these doubles which I have described come by some mysterious law
of polar force, as in the magnet, where the two kinds of electricity
are repelled to opposite poles, and yet attract each other, how
account for the regularity of the geographical position? Why is the
French, Greek, Hindoo, Persian, Italian, Polish, Swedish type always
at the east, and the English, Roman, Iranic, Ottoman, Spanish, German,
Norwegian type always at the west? Are nations, like tides, affected
by the diurnal revolution of the globe? This, I confess, I am unable
to explain; and I leave it to others to consider whether what I have
described is pure coincidence, or if it belongs in some way to the
philosophy of history and comes under universal law.



DID SHAKESPEARE WRITE BACON'S WORKS[3]


The greatest of English poets is Shakespeare. The greatest prose writer
in English literature is probably Bacon. Each of these writers, alone,
is a marvel of intellectual grandeur. It is hard to understand how
one man, in a few years, could have written all the masterpieces of
Shakespeare,--thirty-six dramas, each a work of genius such as the
world will never let die. It is a marvel that from one mind could
proceed the tender charm of such poems as "Romeo and Juliet," "As You
Like It," or "The Winter's Tale;" the wild romance of "The Tempest,"
or of "A Midsummer Night's Dream;" the awful tragedies of "Lear,"
"Macbeth," and "Othello;" the profound philosophy of "Hamlet;" the
perfect fun of "Twelfth Night," and "The Merry Wives of Windsor;" and
the reproductions of Roman and English history. It is another marvel
that a man like Bacon, immersed nearly all his life in business, a
successful lawyer, an ambitious statesman, a courtier cultivating the
society of the sovereign and the favorites of the sovereign, should
also be the founder of a new system of philosophy, which has been the
source of many inventions and new sciences down to the present day;
should have critically surveyed the whole domain of knowledge, and
become a master of English literary style. Each of these phenomena is
a marvel; but put them together, and assume that one man did it all,
and you have, not a marvel, but a miracle. Yet, this is the result
which the monistic tendency of modern thought has reached. Several
critics of our time have attempted to show that Bacon, besides writing
all the works usually attributed to him, was also the author of all of
Shakespeare's plays and poems.

This theory was first publicly maintained by Miss Delia Bacon in
1857. It had been, before, in 1856, asserted by an Englishman,
William Henry Smith, but only in a small volume printed for private
circulation. This book made a distinguished convert in the person of
Lord Palmerston, who openly declared his conviction that Bacon was the
author of Shakespeare's plays. Two papers by Appleton Morgan, written
in the same sense, appeared last year in "Appletons' Journal." But far
the most elaborate and masterly work in support of this attempt to
dethrone Shakespeare, and to give his seat on the summit of Parnassus
to Lord Bacon, is the book by Judge Holmes, published in 1866. He has
shown much ability, and brought forward every argument which has any
plausibility connected with it.

Judge Holmes was, of course, obliged to admit the extreme antecedent
improbability of his position. Certainly it is very difficult to
believe that the author of such immortal works should have been
willing, for any reason, permanently to conceal his authorship; or,
if he could hide that fact, should have been willing to give the
authorship to another; or, if willing, should have been able so
effectually to conceal the substitution as to blind the eyes of all
mankind down to the days of Miss Delia Bacon and Judge Holmes.

What, then, are the arguments used by Judge Holmes? The proofs he
adduces are mainly these: (1st) That there are many coincidences and
parallelisms of thought and expression between the works of Bacon and
Shakespeare; (2d) that there is an amount of knowledge and learning
in the plays, which Lord Bacon possessed, but which Shakespeare could
hardly have had. Besides these principal proofs, there are many other
reasons given which are of inferior weight,--a phrase in a letter of
Sir Tobie Matthew; another sentence of Bacon himself, which might be
possibly taken as an admission that he was the author of "Richard II.;"
the fact that some plays which Shakespeare certainly did not write were
first published with his name or his initials. But his chief argument
is that Shakespeare had neither the learning nor the time to write the
plays, both of which Lord Bacon possessed; and that there are curious
coincidences between the plays and the prose works.

These arguments have all been answered, and the world still believes in
Shakespeare as before. But I have thought it might be interesting to
show how easily another argument could be made of an exactly opposite
kind,--how easily all these proofs might be reversed. I am inclined
to think that if we are to believe that one man was the author both
of the plays and of the philosophy, it is much more probable that
Shakespeare wrote the works of Bacon than that Bacon wrote the works
of Shakespeare. For there is no evidence that Bacon was a poet as well
as a philosopher; but there is ample evidence that Shakespeare was a
philosopher as well as a poet. This, no doubt, assumes that Shakespeare
actually wrote the plays; but this we have a right to assume, in the
outset of the discussion, in order to stand on an equal ground with our
opponents.

The Bacon vs. Shakespeare argument runs thus: "Assuming that Lord
Bacon wrote the works commonly attributed to him, there is reason to
believe that he also wrote the plays and poems commonly attributed to
Shakespeare."

The counter argument would then be: "Assuming that Shakespeare wrote
the plays, and poems commonly attributed to him, there is reason to
believe that he also wrote the works commonly attributed to Bacon."

This is clearly the fair basis of the discussion. What is assumed on
the one side on behalf of Bacon we have a right to assume on the other
on behalf of Shakespeare. But before proceeding on this basis, I must
reply to the only argument of Judge Holmes which has much apparent
weight. He contends that it was impossible for Shakespeare, with the
opportunities he possessed, to acquire the knowledge which we find
in the plays. Genius, however great, cannot give the knowledge of
medical and legal terms, nor of the ancient languages. Now, it has
been shown that the plays afford evidence of a great knowledge of law
and medicine; and of works in Latin and Greek, French and Italian.
How could such information have been obtained by a boy who had no
advantages of study except at a country grammar school, which he
left at the age of fourteen, who went to London at twenty-three and
became an actor, and who spent most of his life as actor, theatrical
proprietor, and man of business?

This objection presents difficulties to us, and for our time, when
boys sometimes spend years in the study of Latin grammar. We cannot
understand the rapidity with which all sorts of knowledge were imbibed
in the period of the Renaissance. Then every one studied everything.
Then Greek and Latin books were read by prince and peasant, by queens
and generals. Then all sciences and arts were learned by men and women,
by young and old. Thus speaks Robert Burton--who was forty years old
when Shakespeare died: "What a world of books offers itself, in all
subjects, arts and sciences, to the sweet content and capacity of the
reader! In arithmetic, geometry, perspective, opticks, astronomy,
architecture, _sculptura_, _pictura_, of which so many and elaborate
treatises have lately been written; in mechanics and their mysteries,
military matters, navigation, riding of horses, fencing, swimming,
gardening, planting, great tomes of husbandry, cookery, faulconry,
hunting, fishing, fowling; with exquisite pictures of all sports and
games.... What vast tomes are extant in law, physic, and divinity,
for profit, pleasure, practice.... Some take an infinite delight to
study the very languages in which these books were written: Hebrew,
Greek, Syriac, Chaldee, Arabick, and the like." This was the fashion
of that day, to study all languages, all subjects, all authors. A mind
like that of Shakespeare could not have failed to share this universal
desire for knowledge. After leaving the grammar school, he had nine
years for such studies before he went to London. As soon as he began
to write plays, he had new motives for study; for the subjects of the
drama in vogue were often taken from classic story.

But Shakespeare had access to another source of knowledge besides
the study of books. When he reached London, five or six play-houses
were in full activity, and new plays were produced every year in
vast numbers. New plays were then in constant demand, just as the new
novel and new daily or weekly paper are called for now. The drama was
the periodical literature of the time. Dramatic authors wrote with
wonderful rapidity, borrowing their subjects from plays already on
the stage, and from classic or recent history. Marlowe, Greene, Lyly,
Peele, Kyd, Lodge, Nash, Chettle, Munday, Wilson, were all dramatic
writers before Shakespeare. Philip Henslowe, a manager or proprietor
of the theatres, bought two hundred and seventy plays in about ten
years. Thomas Heywood wrote a part or the whole of two hundred and
twenty plays during his dramatic career. Each acted play furnished
material for some other. They were the property of the play-houses, not
of the writers. One writer after another has accused Shakespeare of
indifference to his reputation, because he did not publish a complete
and revised edition of his works during his life. How could he do
this, since they did not belong to him, but to the theatre? Yet every
writer was at full liberty to make use of all he could remember of
other plays, as he saw them acted; and Shakespeare was not slow to use
this opportunity. No doubt he gained knowledge in this way, which he
afterward employed much better than did the authors from whom he took
it.

The first plays printed under Shakespeare's name did not appear
till he had been connected with the stage eleven years. This gives
time enough for him to have acquired all the knowledge to be found
in his books. That he had read Latin and Greek books we are told by
Ben Jonson; though that great scholar undervalued, as was natural,
Shakespeare's attainments in those languages.

But Ben Jonson himself furnishes the best reply to those who think
that Shakespeare could not have gained much knowledge of science
or literature because he did not go to Oxford or Cambridge. What
opportunities had Ben Jonson? A bricklayer by trade, called back
immediately from his studies to use the trowel; then running away and
enlisting as a common soldier; fighting in the Low Countries; coming
home at nineteen, and going on the stage; sent to prison for fighting
a duel--what opportunities for study had he? He was of a strong animal
nature, combative, in perpetual quarrels, fond of drink, in pecuniary
troubles, married at twenty, with a wife and children to support. Yet
Jonson was celebrated for his learning. He was master of Greek and
Latin literature. He took his characters from Athenæus, Libanius,
Philostratus. Somehow he had found time for all this study. "Greek
and Latin thought," says Taine, "were incorporated with his own, and
made a part of it. He knew alchemy, and was as familiar with alembics,
retorts, crucibles, etc., as if he had passed his life in seeking
the philosopher's stone. He seems to have had a specialty in every
branch of knowledge. He had all the methods of Latin art,--possessed
the brilliant conciseness of Seneca and Lucan." If Ben Jonson--a
bricklayer, a soldier, a fighter, a drinker--could yet find time to
acquire this vast knowledge, is there any reason why Shakespeare, with
much more leisure, might not have done the like? He did not possess as
much Greek and Latin lore as Ben Jonson, who, probably, had Shakespeare
in his mind when he wrote the following passage in his "Poetaster:"

    "His learning savors not the school-like gloss
    That most consists in echoing words and terms,
    And soonest wins a man an empty name;
    Nor any long or far-fetched circumstance
    Wrapt in the curious generalties of art--
    But a direct and analytic sum
    Of all the worth and first effects of art.
    And for his poesy, 'tis so rammed with life,
    That it shall gather strength of life with being,
    And live hereafter more admired than now."

The only other serious proof offered in support of the proposition
that Bacon wrote the immortal Shakespearean drama is that certain
coincidences of thought and language are found in the works of the two
writers. When we examine them, however, they seem very insignificant.
Take, as an example, two or three, on which Judge Holmes relies, and
which he thinks very striking.

Holmes says (page 48) that Bacon quotes Aristotle, who said that
"young men were no fit hearers of moral philosophy," and Shakespeare
says ("Troilus and Cressida"):--

    "Unlike young men whom Aristotle thought
    Unfit to hear moral philosophy."

But since Bacon's remark was published in 1605, and "Troilus and
Cressida" did not appear until 1609, Shakespeare might have seen it
there, and introduced it into his play from his recollection of the
passage in the "Advancement of Learning."

Another coincidence mentioned by Holmes is that both writers use the
word "thrust:" Bacon saying that a ship "thrust into Weymouth;" and
Shakespeare, that "Milan was thrust from Milan." He also thinks it
cannot be an accident that both frequently use the word "wilderness,"
though in very different ways. Both also compare Queen Elizabeth to a
"star." Bacon makes Atlantis an island in mid-ocean; and the island
of Prospero is also in mid-ocean. Both have a good deal to say about
"mirrors," and "props," and like phrases.

Such reasoning as this has very little weight. You cannot prove two
contemporaneous writings to have proceeded from one author by the same
words and phrases being found in both; for these are in the vocabulary
of the time, and are the common property of all who read and write.

My position is that if either of these writers wrote the works
attributed to the other, it is much more likely that Shakespeare wrote
the philosophical works of Bacon than that Bacon wrote the poetical
works of Shakespeare. Assuming then, as we have a right to do in this
argument, that Shakespeare wrote the plays, what reasons are there for
believing that he also wrote the philosophy?

First, this assumption will explain at once that hitherto insoluble
problem of the contradiction between Bacon's character and conduct and
his works. How could he have been, at the same time, what Pope calls
him,--

    "The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind"?

He was, in his philosophy, the leader of his age, the reformer of old
abuses, the friend of progress. In his conduct, he was, as Macaulay has
shown, "far behind his age,--far behind Sir Edward Coke; clinging to
exploded abuses, withstanding the progress of improvement, struggling
to push back the human mind." In his writings, he was calm, dignified,
noble. In his life, he was an office-seeker through long years,
seeking place by cringing subservience to men in power, made wretched
to the last degree when office was denied him, addressing servile
supplications to noblemen and to the sovereign. To gain and keep office
he would desert his friends, attack his benefactors, and make abject
apologies for any manly word he might have incautiously uttered. His
philosophy rose far above earth and time, and sailed supreme in the
air of universal reason. But "his desires were set on things below.
Wealth, precedence, titles, patronage, the mace, the seals, the
coronet, large houses, fair gardens, rich manors, massy services of
plate, gay hangings," were "objects for which he stooped to everything
and endured everything." These words of Macaulay have been thought too
severe. But we defy any admirer of Bacon to read his life, by Spedding,
without admitting their essential truth. How was it possible for a man
to spend half of his life in the meanest of pursuits, and the other
half in the noblest?

This difficulty is removed if we suppose that Bacon, the courtier and
lawyer, with his other ambitions, was desirous of the fame of a great
philosopher; and that he induced Shakespeare, then in the prime of his
powers, to help him write the prose essays and treatises which are his
chief works. He has himself admitted that he did actually ask the aid
of the dramatists of his time in writing his books. This remarkable
fact is stated by Bacon in a letter to Tobie Matthew, written in June,
1623, in which he says that he is devoting himself to making his
writings more perfect--instancing the "Essays" and the "Advancement of
Learning"--"by the help of some good pens, which forsake me not." One
of these pens was that of Ben Jonson, the other might easily have been
that of Shakespeare. Certainly there was no better pen in England at
that time than his.

When Shakespeare's plays were being produced, Lord Bacon was fully
occupied in his law practice, his parliamentary duties, and his
office-seeking. The largest part of the Shakespeare drama was put on
the stage, as modern research renders probable, in the ten or twelve
years beginning with 1590. In 1597 Shakespeare was rich enough to buy
the new place at Stratford-on-Avon, and was also lending money. In 1604
he was part owner of the Globe Theatre, so that the majority of the
plays which gained for him this fortune must have been produced before
that time. Now, these were just the busiest years of Bacon's life. In
1584 he was elected to Parliament. About the same time, he wrote his
famous letter to Queen Elizabeth. In 1585 he was already seeking office
from Walsingham and Burleigh. In 1586 he sat in Parliament for Taunton,
and was active in debate and on committees. He became a bencher in the
same year, and began to plead in the courts of Westminster. In 1589 he
became queen's counsel, and member of Parliament for Liverpool. After
this he continued active, both in Parliament and at the bar. He sought,
by the help of Essex, to become Attorney-General. From that period, as
crown lawyer, his whole time and thought were required to trace and
frustrate the conspiracies with which the kingdom was full. It was
evident that during these years he had no time to compose fifteen or
twenty of the greatest works in any literature.

But how was Shakespeare occupied when Bacon's philosophy appeared? The
"Advancement of Learning" was published in 1605, after most of the
plays had been written, as we learn from the fact of Shakespeare's
purchase of houses and lands. The "Novum Organum" was published in
1620, after Shakespeare's death. But it had been written years before;
revised, altered, and copied again and again--it is said twelve times.
Bacon had been engaged upon it during thirty years, and it was at last
published incomplete and in fragments. If Shakespeare assisted in the
composition of this work, his death in 1616 would account, at once, for
its being left unfinished. And Shakespeare would have had ample time to
furnish the ideas of the "Organum" in the last years of his life, when
he had left the theatre. In 1613 he bought a house in Black Friars,
where Ben Jonson also lived. Might not this have been that they might
more conveniently coöperate in assisting Bacon to write the "Novum
Organum"?

When we ask whether it would have been easier for the author of the
philosophy to have composed the drama, or the dramatic poet to have
written the philosophy, the answer will depend on which is the greater
work of the two. The greater includes the less, but the less cannot
include the greater. Now, the universal testimony of modern criticism
in England, Germany, and France declares that no larger, deeper, or
ampler intellect has ever appeared than that which produced the
Shakespeare drama. This "myriad-minded" poet was also philosopher,
man of the world, acquainted with practical affairs, one of those who
saw the present and foresaw the future. All the ideas of the Baconian
philosophy might easily have had their home in this vast intelligence.
Great as are the thoughts of the "Novum Organum," they are far inferior
to that world of thought which is in the drama. We can easily conceive
that Shakespeare, having produced in his prime the wonders and glories
of the plays, should in his after leisure have developed the leading
ideas of the Baconian philosophy. But it is difficult to imagine that
Bacon, while devoting his main strength to politics, to law, and to
philosophy, should as a mere pastime for his leisure, have produced in
his idle moments the greatest intellectual work ever done on earth.

If the greater includes the less, the mind of Shakespeare includes that
of Bacon, and not _vice versa_. This will appear more plainly if we
consider the quality of intellect displayed respectively in the dramas
and the philosophy. The one is synthetic, creative; the other analytic,
critical. The one puts together, the other takes apart and examines.
Now, the genius which can put together can also take apart; but it by
no means follows that the power of taking apart implies that of putting
together. A watch-maker, who can put a watch together, can easily take
it to pieces; but many a child who has taken his watch to pieces has
found it impossible to put it together again.

When we compare the Shakespeare plays and the Baconian philosophy, it
is curious to see how the one is throughout a display of the synthetic
intellect, and the other of the analytic. The plays are pure creation,
the production of living wholes. They people our thought with a race of
beings who are living persons, and not pale abstractions. These airy
nothings take flesh and form, and have a name and local habitation
forever on the earth. Hamlet, Desdemona, Othello, Miranda, are as
real people as Queen Elizabeth or Mary of Scotland. But when we turn
to the Baconian philosophy, this faculty is absent. We have entered
the laboratory of a great chemist, and are surrounded by retorts and
crucibles, tests and re-agents, where the work done is a careful
analysis of all existing things, to find what are their constituents
and their qualities. Poetry creates, philosophy takes to pieces and
examines.

It is, I think, a historic fact, that while those authors whose primary
quality is poetic genius have often been also, on a lower plane,
eminent as philosophers, there is, perhaps, not a single instance of
one whose primary distinction was philosophic analysis, who has also
been, on a lower plane, eminent as a poet. Milton, Petrarch, Goethe,
Lucretius, Voltaire, Coleridge, were primarily and eminently poets;
but all excelled, too, in a less degree, as logicians, metaphysicians,
men of science, and philosophers. But what instance have we of any man
like Bacon, chiefly eminent as lawyer, statesman, and philosopher,
who was also distinguished, though in a less degree, as a poet? Among
great lawyers, is there one eminent also as a dramatic or lyric author?
Cicero tried it, but his verses are only doggerel. In Lord Campbell's
list of the lord chancellors and chief justices of England no such
instance appears. If Bacon wrote the Shakespeare drama, he is the one
exception to an otherwise universal rule. But if Shakespeare coöperated
in the production of the Baconian philosophy, he belongs to a class of
poets who have done the same. Coleridge was one of the most imaginative
of poets. His "Christabel" and "Ancient Mariner" are pure creations.
But in later life he originated a new system of philosophy in England,
the influence of which has not ceased to be felt to our day. The
case would be exactly similar if we suppose that Shakespeare, having
ranged the realm of imaginative poetry in his youth, had in his later
days of leisure coöperated with Bacon and Ben Jonson in producing the
"Advancement of Learning" and the "Novum Organum." We can easily think
of them as meeting, sometimes at the house of Ben Jonson, sometimes
at that of Shakespeare in Black Friars, and sometimes guests at that
private house built by Lord Bacon for purposes of study, near his
splendid palace of Gorhambury. "A most ingeniously contrived house,"
says Basil Montagu, "where, in the society of his philosophical
friends, he devoted himself to study and meditation." Aubrey tells
us that he had the aid of Hobbes in writing down his thoughts. Lord
Bacon appears to have possessed the happy gift of using other men's
faculties in his service. Ben Jonson, who had been a thorough student
of chemistry, alchemy, and science in all the forms then known, aided
Bacon in his observations of nature. Hobbes aided him in giving
clearness to his thoughts and his language. And from Shakespeare he
may have derived the radical and central ideas of his philosophy. He
used the help of Dr. Playfer to translate his philosophy into Latin.
Tobie Matthew gives him the last argument of Galileo for the Copernican
system. He sends his works to others, begging them to correct the
thoughts and the style. It is evident, then, that he would have been
glad of the concurrence of Shakespeare, and that could easily be had,
through their common friend, Ben Jonson.

If Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare, it is difficult to give any
satisfactory reason for his concealment of that authorship. He had
much pride, not to say vanity, in being known as an author. He had his
name attached to all his other works, and sent them as presents to the
universities, and to individuals, with letters calling their attention
to these books. Would he have been willing permanently to conceal
the fact of his being the author of the best poetry of his time?
The reasons assigned by Judge Holmes for this are not satisfactory.
They are: his desire to rise in the profession of the law, the low
reputation of a play-writer, his wish to write more freely under an
incognito, and his wish to rest his reputation on his philosophical
works. But if he were reluctant to be regarded as the author of "Lear"
and "Hamlet," he was willing to be known as the writer of "Masques,"
and a play about "Arthur," exhibited by the students of Gray's Inn.
It is an error to say that the reputation of a play-writer was low.
Judge Holmes, himself, tells us that there was nothing remarkable in a
barrister of the inns of court writing for the stage. Ford and Beaumont
were both lawyers as well as eminent play-writers. Lord Backhurst,
Lord Brooke, Sir Henry Wotton, all wrote plays. And we find nothing in
the Shakespeare dramas which Bacon need have feared to say under his
own name. It would have been ruin to Sir Philip Francis to have avowed
himself the author of "Junius." But the Shakespeare plays satirized no
one, and made no enemies. If there were any reasons for concealment,
they certainly do not apply to the year 1623, when the first folio
appeared, which was after the death of Shakespeare and the fall of
Bacon. The acknowledgment of their authorship at that time could no
longer interfere with Bacon's rise. And it would be very little to the
credit of his intelligence to assume that he was not then aware of the
value of such works, or that he did not desire the reputation of being
their author. It would have been contrary to his very nature not to
have wished for the credit of that authorship.

On the other hand, there would be nothing surprising in the fact of
Shakespeare's laying no claim to credit for having assisted in the
composition of the "Advancement of Learning." Shakespeare was by nature
as reticent and modest as Bacon was egotistical and ostentatious. What
a veil is drawn over the poet's personality in his sonnets! We read in
them his inmost sentiments, but they tell us absolutely nothing of the
events of his life, or the facts of his position. And if, as we assume,
he was one among several who helped Lord Bacon, though he might have
done the most, there was no special reason why he should proclaim that
fact.

Gervinus has shown, in three striking pages, the fundamental harmony
between the ideas and mental tendencies of Shakespeare and Bacon. Their
philosophy of man and of life was the same. If, then, Bacon needed to
be helped in thinking out his system, there was no one alive who would
have given him such stimulus and encouragement as Shakespeare. This
also may explain his not mentioning the name of Shakespeare in his
works; for that might have called too much attention to the source from
which he received this important aid.

Nevertheless, I regard the monistic theory as in the last degree
improbable. We have two great authors, and not one only. But if we
are compelled to accept the view which ascribes a common source to
the Shakespeare drama and the Baconian philosophy, I think there are
good reasons for preferring Shakespeare to Bacon as the author of
both. When the plays appeared, Bacon was absorbed in pursuits and
ambitions foreign to such work; his accepted writings show no sign of
such creative power; he was the last man in the world not to take the
credit of such a success, and had no motive to conceal his authorship.
On the other hand, there was a period in Shakespeare's life when he had
abundant leisure to coöperate in the literary plans of Bacon; his ample
intellect was full of the ideas which took form in those works; and
he was just the person neither to claim nor to desire any credit for
lending such assistance.

There is, certainly, every reason to believe that, among his other
ambitions, Bacon desired that of striking out a new path of discovery,
and initiating a better method in the study of nature. But we know
that, in doing this, he sought aid in all quarters, and especially
among Shakespeare's friends and companions. It is highly probable,
therefore, that he became acquainted with the great dramatist, and that
Shakespeare knew of Bacon's designs and became interested in them. And
if so, who could offer better suggestions than he; and who would more
willingly accept them than the overworked statesman and lawyer, who
wished to be also a philosopher?

Finally, we may refer those who believe that the shape of the brow and
head indicates the quality of mental power to the portraits of the two
men. The head of Shakespeare, according to all the busts and pictures
which remain to us, belongs to the type which antiquity has transmitted
to us in the portraits of Homer and Plato. In this vast dome of thought
there was room for everything. The head of Bacon is also a grand one,
but less ample, less complete--less

    "Teres, totus atque rotundus."

These portraits therefore agree with all we know of the writings, in
showing us which, and which only, of the two minds was capable of
containing the other.



THE EVOLUTION OF A GREAT POEM[4]


There are at least three existing manuscripts of Grays "Elegy," in
the author's autograph. The earliest, containing the largest number
of variations and the most curious, is that now in the possession of
Sir William Fraser in London, and for which he paid the large sum
of £230, in 1875. By the kindness of Sir William Fraser, I examined
this manuscript at his rooms in London, in 1882. A facsimile copy of
this valuable autograph, photographed from the original in 1862, is
now before me. A second copy in the handwriting of Gray, called the
Pembroke manuscript, is in the library of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. A
facsimile of this autograph appears in Matthias's edition of Mason's
"Gray," published in 1814. A third copy, in the poet's handwriting,
copied by him for his friend, Dr. Wharton, is in the British Museum. I
examined this, also, in 1882, and had an accurate copy made for me by
one of the assistants in the museum. This was written after the other
two, as is evident from the fact that it approaches most nearly to the
form which the "Elegy" finally assumed when printed. There are only
nine or ten expressions in this manuscript which differ from the poem
as published by Gray. Most of these are unimportant. "_Or_" he changed,
in three places, into "and." "_And_ in our ashes" he changed into "Even
in our ashes," which was a clear improvement. It was not until after
this third copy was written that the improvement was made which changed

    "Forgive, ye Proud, the involuntary Fault,
    If Memory to These no Trophies raise,"

into

    "Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
    If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise."

Another important alteration of a single word was also made after this
third manuscript was written. This was the change, in the forty-fifth
stanza, of "Reins of Empire" into "Rod of Empire."

"The Elegy in a Country Churchyard" became at once one of the most
popular poems in the language, and has remained so to this time. It has
been equally a favorite with common readers, with literary men, and
with poets. Its place will always be in the highest rank of English
poetry. The fact, however, is--and it is a very curious fact--that this
first-class poem was the work of a third-class poet. For Thomas Gray
certainly does not stand in the first class with Shakespeare, Spenser,
and Milton. Nor can he fairly be put in the second class with Dryden,
Pope, Burns, Wordsworth, and Byron. He belongs to the third, with
Cowley, Cowper, Shelley, and Keats. There may be a doubt concerning
some of whom I have named, but there can be no doubt that Gray will
never stand higher than those who may be placed by critics in the third
class. Yet it is equally certain that he has produced a first-class
poem. How is this paradox to be explained?

What is the charm of Gray's "Elegy"? The thoughts are sufficiently
commonplace. That all men must die, that the most humble may have had
in them some power which, under other circumstances, might have made
them famous,--these are somewhat trite statements; but the fascination
of the verses consists in the tone, solemn but serene, which pervades
them; in the pictures of coming night, of breaking day, of cheerful
rural life, of happy homes; and lastly, in the perfect finish of the
verse and the curious felicity of the diction. In short, the poem is a
work of high art. It was not inspired, but it was carefully elaborated.
And this appears plainly when we compare it, as it stands in the Fraser
manuscript, with its final form.

This poem was a work of eight years. Its heading in the Fraser
manuscript is "Stanzas Wrote in a Country Churchyard." It was, however,
begun at Stoke in 1742, continued at Cambridge, and had its last
touches added at Stoke-Pogis, June 12, 1750. In a letter to Horace
Walpole of that date, Gray says, "Having put an end to a thing whose
beginning you saw long ago, I immediately send it to you."

The corrections made by Gray during this period were many, and were
probably all improvements. Many poets when they try to improve their
verses only injure them. But Gray's corrections were invariably for
the better. We may even say that, if it had been published as it was
first written, and as it now stands in the Fraser manuscript, it would
have ranked only with the best poetry of Shenstone or Cowper. Let me
indicate some of the most important changes.

In line seventeen, the fine epithet of "incense-breathing" was an
addition.

    "The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,"

for the Fraser manuscript reads--

    "Forever sleep. The breezy call of morn."

Nineteenth line, Fraser manuscript has--

    "Or chanticleer so shrill, or echoing horn,"

corrected to

    "The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn."

Twenty-fourth--"Coming kiss" was corrected to "envied kiss."

Forty-third--"Awake the silent dust" was corrected to "provoke the
silent dust."

Forty-seventh--The correction of "Reins of Empire" to "Rod of Empire"
first appears in the margin of the Pembroke manuscript.

Fifty-seventh--In the Fraser manuscript it reads--

    "Some village Cato, who with dauntless breast,
    Some mute, inglorious Tully here may rest;
    Some Cæsar," etc.

In the Pembroke manuscript, these classical personages have
disappeared, and the great improvement was made of substituting
Hampden, Milton, and Cromwell, and thus maintaining the English
coloring of the poem.

Fifty-first--This verse, beginning, "But Knowledge," etc., was placed,
in the Fraser manuscript, after the one beginning, "Some village Cato,"
but with a note in the margin to transfer it to where it now stands.
The third line of the stanza was first written, "Chill Penury had
damped." This was first corrected to "depressed," and afterward to
"repressed."

Fifty-fifth--"Their fate forbade," changed to "Their lot forbade."

Sixty-sixth--"Their struggling virtues" was improved to "Their growing
virtues."

Seventy-first--"Crown the shrine" was altered to "heap the shrine,"
and in the next line "Incense hallowed by the muse's flame" was wisely
changed to "Incense kindled by the muse's flame."

After the seventy-second line stand, in the Fraser manuscript, the
following stanzas, which Gray, with admirable taste, afterward omitted.
But, before he decided to leave them out altogether, he drew a black
line down the margin, indicating that he would transfer them to another
place. These stanzas were originally intended to close the poem.
Afterward the thought occurred to him of "the hoary-headed swain" and
the "Epitaph."

    "The thoughtless World to Majesty may bow,
      Exalt the Brave and idolize Success,
    But more to Innocence their safety owe
      Than Power and Genius e'er conspire to bless.

    "And thou, who, mindful of the unhonored Dead,
      Dost, in these Notes, their artless Tale relate,
    By Night and lonely Contemplation led
      To linger in the gloomy Walks of Fate;

    "Hark, how the sacred Calm that broods around
      Bids every fierce, tumultuous Passion cease,
    In still, small Accents whispering from the Ground
      A grateful Earnest of eternal Peace.

    "No more with Reason and thyself at Strife,
      Give anxious Cares and useless Wishes room;
    But through the cool, sequestered Vale of Life
      Pursue the silent Tenor of thy Doom."

After these stanzas, according to the Fraser manuscript, were to follow
these lines, which I do not remember to have seen elsewhere:--

    "If chance that e'er some pensive Spirit more,
      By sympathetic Musings here delayed,
    With vain though kind Enquiry shall explore
      Thy once-loved Haunt, thy long-neglected Shade,

    "Haply," etc.

But Gray soon dispensed with this feeble stanza, and made a new one by
changing it into the one beginning:--

    "For thee, who mindful."

The ninety-ninth and one hundredth lines stand in the Fraser
manuscript--

    "With hasty footsteps brush the dews away
    On the high brow of yonder hanging lawn."

The following stanza is noticeable for the inversions so frequent
in Gray, and which he had, perhaps, unconsciously adopted from his
familiarity with the classics. He afterward omitted it:--

    "Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
      While o'er the heath we hied, our labors done.
    Oft as the wood-lark piped her farewell song,
      With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun."

In the manuscript the word is spelled "whistful." In line 101, "hoary
beech" is corrected to "spreading beech," and afterward to "nodding
beech."

Line 113--"Dirges meet" was changed to "dirges dire;" and after 116
came the beautiful stanza, afterward omitted by Gray as being _de trop_
in this place:--

    "There, scattered oft, the earliest of the year,
      By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
    The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
      And little footsteps lightly print the ground."

Even in this verse there were two corrections. "Robin" was altered in
the Fraser manuscript into "redbreast," and "frequent violets" into
"showers of violets."

One of the most curious accidents to which this famous poem has been
subjected was an erroneous change made in the early editions, which has
been propagated almost to our time. In the stanza beginning--

    "The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of Power,"

Gray wrote

    "Awaits alike the inevitable Hour."

And so it stands in all three manuscripts, and in the printed edition
which he himself superintended. His meaning was, "The inevitable Hour
awaits everything. It stands there, waiting the boast of Heraldry,"
etc. But his editors, misled by his inverted style, supposed that it
was the gifts of Heraldry, Power, Beauty, etc., that were waiting, and
therefore corrected what they thought Gray's bad grammar, and printed
the word "await." But so they destroyed the meaning. These things were
not waiting at all for the dread hour; they were enjoying themselves,
careless of its approach. But "the hour" was waiting for them. Gray's
original reading has been restored in the last editions.

In tracing the development of this fine poem, we see it gradually
improving under his careful touch, till it becomes a work of high art.
In some poets--Wordsworth, for example--inspiration is at its maximum,
and art at its minimum. In Gray, I think, inspiration was at its
minimum, and art at its maximum.



RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL



AFFINITIES OF BUDDHISM AND CHRISTIANITY[5]


It has long been known that many analogies exist between Buddhism
and Christianity. The ceremonies, ritual, and rites of the Buddhists
strikingly resemble those of the Roman Catholic Church. The Buddhist
priests are monks. They take the same three vows of poverty, chastity,
and obedience which are binding on those of the Roman Church. They are
mendicants, like the mendicant orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic.
They are tonsured; use strings of beads, like the rosary, with which
to count their prayers; have incense and candles in their worship; use
fasts, processions, litanies, and holy water. They have something akin
to the adoration of saints; repeat prayers in an unknown tongue; have
a chanted psalmody with a double choir; and suspend the censer from
five chains. In China, some Buddhists worship the image of a virgin,
called the Queen of Heaven, having an infant in her arms, and holding a
cross. In Thibet the Grand Lamas wear a mitre, dalmatica, and cope, and
pronounce a benediction on the laity by extending the right hand over
their heads. The Dalai-Lama resembles the Pope, and is regarded as the
head of the Church. The worship of relics is very ancient among the
Buddhists, and so are pilgrimages to sacred places.

Besides these resemblances in outward ceremonies, more important ones
appear in the inner life and history of the two religions. Both belong
to those systems which derive their character from a human founder, and
not from a national tendency; to the class which contains the religions
of Moses, Zoroaster, Confucius, and Mohammed, and not to that in which
the Brahmanical, Egyptian, Scandinavian, Greek, and Roman religions
are found. Both Buddhism and Christianity are catholic, and not
ethnic; that is, not confined to a single race or nation, but by their
missionary spirit passing beyond these boundaries, and making converts
among many races. Christianity began among the Jews as a Semitic
religion, but, being rejected by the Jewish nation, established itself
among the Aryan races of Europe. In the same way Buddhism, beginning
among an Aryan people--the Hindoos--was expelled from Hindostan, and
established itself among the Mongol races of Eastern Asia. Besides its
resemblances to the Roman Catholic side of Christendom, Buddhism has
still closer analogies with the Protestant Church. Like Protestantism,
it is a reform, which rejects a hierarchal system and does away with
a priestly caste. Like Protestantism, it has emphasized the purely
humane side of life, and is a religion of humanity rather than of
piety. Both the Christian and Buddhist churches teach a divine
incarnation, and both worship a God-man.

Are these remarkable analogies only casual resemblances, or are they
real affinities? By affinity we here mean genetic relationship. Are
Buddhism and Christianity related as mother and child, one being
derived from the other; or are they related by both being derived from
some common ancestor? Is either derived from the other, as Christianity
from Judaism, or Protestantism from the Papal Church? That there can
be no such affinity as this seems evident from history. History shows
no trace of the contact which would be required for such influence.
If Christianity had taken its customs from Buddhism, or Buddhism from
Christianity, there must have been ample historic evidence of the fact.
But, instead of this, history shows that each has grown up by its own
natural development, and has unfolded its qualities separately and
alone. The law of evolution also teaches that such great systems do not
come from imitation, but as growths from a primal germ.

Nor does history give the least evidence of a common ancestry from
which both took their common traits. We know that Buddhism was derived
from Brahmanism, and that Christianity was derived from Judaism. Now,
Judaism and Brahmanism have few analogies; they could not, therefore,
have transmitted to their offspring what they did not themselves
possess. Brahmanism came from an Aryan stock, in Central Asia; Judaism
from a Semitic stem, thousands of miles to the west. If Buddhism and
Christianity came from a common source, that source must have antedated
both the Mosaic and Brahmanical systems. Even then it would be a case
of atavism in which the original type disappeared in the children, to
reappear in the later descendants.

Are, then, these striking resemblances, and others which are still to
be mentioned, only accidental analogies? This does not necessarily
follow; for there is a third alternative. They may be what are
called in science homologies; that is, the same law working out
similar results under the same conditions, though under different
circumstances. The whale lives under different circumstances from other
mammalia; but being a mammal, he has a like osseous structure. What
seems to be a fin, being dissected, turns out to be an arm, with hand
and fingers. There are like homologies in history. Take the instance of
the English and French revolutions. In each case the legitimate king
was tried, condemned, and executed. A republic followed. The republic
gave way before a strong-handed usurper. Then the original race of
kings was restored; but, having learned nothing and forgotten nothing,
they were displaced a second time, and a constitutional monarch placed
on the throne, who, though not the legitimate king, still belonged
to the same race. Here the same laws of human nature have worked out
similar results; for no one would suggest that France had copied its
revolutions from England. And, in religion, human nature reproduces
similar customs and ceremonies under like conditions. When, for
instance, you have a mechanical system of prayer, in which the number
of prayers is of chief importance, there must be some way of counting
them, and so the rosary has been invented independently in different
religions. We have no room to point out how this law has worked in
other instances; but it is enough to refer to the principle.

Besides these resemblances between Buddhism and Christianity, there are
also some equally remarkable differences, which should be noticed.

The first of these is the striking fact that Buddhism has been unable
to recognize the existence of the Infinite Being. It has been called
atheism by the majority of the best authorities. Even Arthur Lillie,
who defends this system from the charge of agnosticism, says:[6] "An
agnostic school of Buddhism without doubt exists. It professes plain
atheism, and holds that every mortal, when he escapes from re-births,
and the causation of Karma by the awakenment of the Bodhi or gnosis,
will be annihilated. This Buddhism, by Eugène Burnouf, Saint-Hilaire,
Max Müller, Csoma de Körös, and, I believe, almost every writer of
note, is pronounced the original Buddhism,--the Buddhism of the South."
Almost every writer of note, therefore, who has studied Buddhism in
the Pâli, Singhalese, Chinese, and other languages, and has had direct
access to its original sources, has pronounced it a system of atheism.
But this opinion is opposed to the fact that Buddhists have everywhere
worshiped unseen and superhuman powers, erected magnificent temples,
maintained an elaborate ritual, and adored Buddha as the supreme ruler
of the worlds. How shall we explain this paradox? All depends on the
definition we give to the word "atheism." If a system is atheistic
which sees only the temporal, and not the eternal; which knows no
God as the author, creator, and ruler of Nature; which ascribes the
origin of the universe to natural causes, to which only the finite is
knowable, and the infinite unknowable--then Buddhism is atheism. But,
in that case, much of the polytheism of the world must be regarded as
atheism; for polytheism has largely worshiped finite gods. The whole
race of Olympian deities were finite beings. Above them ruled the
everlasting necessity of things. But who calls the Greek worshipers
atheists? The Buddha, to most Buddhists, is a finite being, one who has
passed through numerous births, has reached Nirvana, and will one day
be superseded by another Buddha. Yet, for the time, he is the Supreme
Being, Ruler of all the Worlds. He is the object of worship, and
really divine, if in a subordinate sense.

I would not, therefore, call this religion atheism. No religion which
worships superhuman powers can justly be called atheistic on account of
its meagre metaphysics. How many Christians there are who do not fully
realize the infinite and eternal nature of the Deity! To many He is no
more than the Buddha is to his worshipers,--a supreme being, a mighty
ruler, governing all things by his will. How few see God everywhere
in nature, as Jesus saw Him, letting his sun shine on the evil and
good, and sending his rain on the just and unjust. How few see Him in
all of life, so that not a sparrow dies, or a single hair of the head
falls, without the Father. Most Christians recognize the Deity only as
occasionally interfering by special providences, particular judgments,
and the like.

But in Christianity this ignorance of the eternal nature of God is the
exception, while in Buddhism it is the rule. In the reaction against
Brahmanism, the Brahmanic faith in the infinite was lost. In the
fully developed system of the ancient Hindoo religion the infinite
overpowered the finite, the temporal world was regarded as an illusion,
and only the eternal was real. The reaction from this extreme was so
complete as to carry the Buddhists to the exact opposite. If to the
Brahman all the finite visible world was only _maya_--illusion, to the
Buddhists all the infinite unseen world was unknowable, and practically
nothing.

Perhaps the most original feature of Christianity is the fact
that it has combined in a living synthesis that which in other
systems was divided. Jesus regarded love to God and love to man as
identical,--positing a harmonious whole of time and eternity, piety
and humanity, faith and works,--and thus laid the foundation of a
larger system than either Brahmanism or Buddhism. He did not invent
piety, nor discover humanity. Long before he came the Brahmanic
literature had sounded the deepest depths of spiritual life, and the
Buddhist missionaries had preached universal benevolence to mankind.
But the angelic hymn which foretold the new religion as bringing at
once "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to
men" indicated the essence of the faith which was at the same time a
heavenly love and an earthly blessing. This difference of result in the
two systems came probably from the different methods of their authors.
With Jesus life was the source of knowledge; the life was the light of
men. With the Buddha, reflection, meditation, thought was the source
of knowledge. In this, however, he included intuition no less than
reflection. Sakya-muni understood perfectly that a mere intellectual
judgment possessed little motive power; therefore he was not satisfied
till he had obtained an intuitive perception of truth. That alone gave
at once rest and power. But as the pure intellect, even in its highest
act, is unable to grasp the infinite, the Buddha was an agnostic on
this side of his creed by the very success of his method. Who, by
searching, can find out God? The infinite can only be known by the
process of living experience. This was the method of Jesus, and has
been that of his religion. For what is faith but that receptive state
of mind which waits on the Lord to receive the illumination which it
cannot create by its own processes? However this may be, it is probable
that the fatal defect in Buddhism which has neutralized its generous
philanthropy and its noble humanities has been the absence of the
inspiration which comes from the belief in an eternal world. Man is
too great to be satisfied with time alone, or eternity alone; he needs
to live from and for both. Hence, Buddhism is an arrested religion,
while Christianity is progressive. Christianity has shown the capacity
of outgrowing its own defects and correcting its own mistakes. For
example, it has largely outgrown its habit of persecuting infidels and
heretics. No one is now put to death for heresy. It has also passed out
of the stage in which religion is considered to consist in leaving the
world and entering a monastery. The anchorites of the early centuries
are no longer to be found in Christendom. Even in Catholic countries
the purpose of monastic life is no longer to save the soul by ascetic
tortures, but to attain some practical end. The Protestant Reformation,
which broke the yoke of priestly power and set free the mind of
Europe, was a movement originating in Christianity itself, like other
developments of a similar kind. No such signs of progress exist in
the system of Buddhism. It has lost the missionary ardor of its early
years; it has ceased from creating a vast literature such as grew up in
its younger days; it no longer produces any wonders of architecture.
It even lags behind the active life of the countries where it has its
greatest power.

It is a curious analogy between the two systems that, while neither
the Christ nor the Buddha practiced or taught asceticism, their
followers soon made the essence of religion to consist in some form
of monastic life. Both Jesus and Sakya-muni went about doing good.
Both sent their followers into the world to preach a gospel. Jesus,
after thirty years of a retired life, came among men "eating and
drinking," and associating with "publicans and sinners." Sakya-muni,
after spending some years as an anchorite, deliberately renounced that
mode of religion as unsatisfactory, and associated with all men, as
Jesus afterward did. Within a few centuries after their death, their
followers relapsed into ascetic and monastic practices; but with this
difference, that while in Christendom there has always been both a
regular and a secular clergy, in the Buddhist countries the whole
priesthood live in monasteries. They have no parish priests, unless
as an exception. While in Christian countries the clergy has become
more and more a practical body, in sympathy with the common life, in
Buddhist lands they live apart and exercise little influence on the
civil condition of the people.

Nor must we pass by the important fact that the word Christendom
is synonymous with a progressive civilization, while Buddhism is
everywhere connected with one which is arrested and stationary. The
boundaries of the Christian religion are exactly coextensive with
the advance of science, art, literature; and with the continued
accumulation of knowledge, power, wealth, and the comforts of human
life. According to Kuenen,[7] one of the most recent students of these
questions, this difference is due to the principle of hope which exists
in Christianity, but is absent in Buddhism. The one has always believed
in a kingdom of God here and a blessed immortality hereafter. Buddhism
has not this hope; and this, says Kuenen, "is a blank which nothing can
fill." So large a thinker as Albert Réville has expressed his belief
that even the intolerance of Christianity indicated a passionate love
of truth which has created modern science. He says that "if Europe had
not passed through those ages of intolerance, it is doubtful whether
the science of our day would ever have arrived."[8] It is only within
the boundaries of nations professing the Christian faith that we must
go to-day to learn the latest discoveries in science, the best works
of art, the most flourishing literature. Only within the same circle
of Christian states is there a government by law, and not by will.
Only within these boundaries have the rights of the individual been
secured, while the power of the state has been increased. Government
by law, joined with personal freedom, is only to be found where the
faith exists which teaches that God not only supports the universal
order of natural things, but is also the friend of the individual soul;
and in just that circle of states in which the doctrine is taught that
there is no individual soul for God to love and no Divine presence in
the order of nature, human life has subsided into apathy, progress has
ceased, and it has been found impossible to construct national unity.
Saint-Hilaire affirms[9] that "in politics and legislation the dogma
of Buddhism has remained inferior even to that of Brahmanism," and
"has been able to do nothing to constitute states or to govern them by
equitable rules." These Buddhist nations are really six: Siam, Burma,
Nepaul, Thibet, Tartary, and Ceylon. The activity and social progress
in China and Japan are no exceptions to this rule; for in neither
country has Buddhism any appreciable influence on the character of the
people.

To those who deny that the theology of a people influences its
character, it may be instructive to see how exactly the good and evil
influences of Buddhism correspond to the positive and negative traits
of its doctrine. Its merits, says Saint-Hilaire, are its practical
character, its abnegation of vulgar gratifications, its benevolence,
mildness, sentiment of human equality, austerity of manners, dislike of
falsehood, and respect for the family. Its defects are want of social
power, egotistical aims, ignorance of the ideal good, of the sense of
human right and human freedom, skepticism, incurable despair, contempt
of life. All its human qualities correspond to its doctrinal teaching
from the beginning. It has always taught benevolence, patience,
self-denial, charity, and toleration. Its defects arise inevitably
from its negative aim,--to get rid of sorrow and evil by sinking into
apathy, instead of seeking for the triumph of good and the coming of a
reign of God here on the earth.

As regards the Buddha himself, modern students differ widely. Some, of
course, deny his very existence, and reduce him to a solar myth. M.
Emile Senart, as quoted by Oldenberg,[10] following the Lalita Vistara
as his authority, makes of him a solar hero, born of the morning cloud,
contending by the power of light with the demons of darkness, rising in
triumph to the zenith of heavenly glory, then passing into the night of
Nirvana and disappearing from the scene.

The difficulty about this solar myth theory is that it proves too
much; it is too powerful a solvent; it would dissolve all history. How
easy it would be, in a few centuries, to turn General Washington and
the American Revolution into a solar myth! Great Britain, a region of
clouds and rain, represents the Kingdom of Darkness; America, with more
sunshine, is the Day. Great Britain, as Darkness, wishes to devour the
Young Day, or dawn of light, which America is about to diffuse over the
earth. But Washington, the solar hero, arrives. He is from Virginia,
that is, born of a virgin. He was born in February, in the sign of
Aquarius and the Fishes,--plainly referring to the birth of the sun
from the ocean. As the sun surveys the earth, so Washington was said to
be a surveyor of many regions. The story of the fruitless attempts of
the Indians to shoot him at Braddock's defeat is evidently legendary;
and, in fact, this battle itself must be a myth, for how can we suppose
two English and French armies to have crossed the Atlantic, and then
gone into a wilderness west of the mountains, to fight a battle? So
easy is it to turn history into a solar myth.

The character of Sakya-muni must be learned from his religion and from
authentic tradition. In many respects his character and influence
resembled that of Jesus. He opposed priestly assumptions, taught the
equality and brotherhood of man, sent out disciples to teach his
doctrine, was a reformer who relied on the power of truth and love.
Many of his reported sayings resemble those of Jesus. He was opposed
by the Brahmans as Jesus by the Pharisees. He compared the Brahmans
who followed their traditions to a chain of blind men, who move on,
not seeing where they go.[11] Like Jesus, he taught that mercy was
better than sacrifices. Like Jesus, he taught orally, and left no
writing. Jesus did not teach in Hebrew, but in the Aramaic, which was
the popular dialect, and so the Buddha did not speak to the people in
Sanskrit, but in their own tongue, which was Pâli. Like Jesus, he seems
to have instructed his hearers by parables or stories. He was one of
the greatest reformers the world has ever seen; and his influence,
after that of the Christ, has probably exceeded that of any one who
ever lived.

But, beside such real resemblances between these two masters, we are
told of others still more striking, which would certainly be hard to
explain unless one of the systems had borrowed from the other. These
are said to be the preëxistence of Buddha in heaven; his birth of a
virgin; salutation by angels; presentation in the temple; baptism by
fire and water; dispute with the doctors; temptation in the wilderness;
transfiguration; descent into hell; ascension into heaven.[12] If
these legends could be traced back to the time before Christ, then it
might be argued that the Gospels have borrowed from Buddhism. Such,
however, is not the fact. These stories are taken from the Lalita
Vistara, which, according to Rhys Davids,[13] was probably composed
between six hundred and a thousand years after the time of Buddha, by
some Buddhist poet in Nepaul. Rhys Davids, one of our best authorities,
says of this poem: "As evidence of what early Buddhism actually was,
it is of about the same value as some mediæval poem would be of the
real facts of the gospel history."[13] M. Ernest de Bunsen, in his work
on the "Angel Messiah," has given a very exhaustive statement, says
Mr. Davids, of all the possible channels through which Christians can
be supposed to have borrowed from the Buddhists. But Mr. Davids's
conclusion is that he finds no evidence of any such communications of
ideas from the East to the West.[14] The difference between the wild
stories of the Lalita Vistara and the sober narratives of the Gospels
is quite apparent. Another writer, Professor Seydel,[15] thinks, after
a full and careful examination, that only five facts in the Gospels
may have been borrowed from Buddhism. These are: (1) The fast of Jesus
before his work; (2) The question in regard to the blind man--"Who did
sin, this man, or his parents"? (3) The preëxistence of Christ; (4) The
presentation in the Temple; (5) Nathanael sitting under a fig-tree,
compared with Buddha under a Bo-tree. But Kuenen has examined these
parallels, and considers them merely accidental coincidences. And, in
truth, it is very hard to conceive of one religion borrowing its facts
or legends from another, if that other stands in no historic relation
to it. That Buddhism should have taken much from Brahmanism is natural;
for Brahmanism was its mother. That Christianity should have borrowed
many of its methods from Judaism is equally natural; for Judaism was
its cradle. Modern travelers in Burma and Tartary have found that the
Buddhists hold a kind of camp-meeting in the open air, where they pray
and sing. Suppose that some critic, noticing this, should assert that,
when Wesley and his followers established similar customs, they must
have borrowed them from the Buddhists. The absurdity would be evident.
New religions grow, they are not imitations.

It has been thought, however, that Christianity was derived from the
Essenes, because of certain resemblances, and it is argued that the
Essenes must have obtained their monastic habits from the Therapeutæ
in Egypt, and that the Therapeutæ received them from the Buddhists,
because they could not have found them elsewhere. This theory, however,
has been dismissed from the scene by the young German scholar,[16]
who has proved that the essay on the Therapeutæ ascribed to Philo was
really written by a Christian anchorite in the third or fourth century.

The result, then, of our investigation, is this: There is no
probability that the analogies between Christianity and Buddhism have
been derived the one from the other. They have come from the common and
universal needs and nature of man, which repeat themselves again and
again in like positions and like circumstances. That Jesus and Buddha
should both have retired into the wilderness before undertaking their
great work is probable, for it has been the habit of other reformers
to let a period of meditation precede their coming before the world.
That both should have been tempted to renounce their enterprise is
also in accordance with human nature. That, in after times, the simple
narratives should be overlaid with additions, and a whole mass of
supernatural wonders added,--as we find in the Apocryphal Gospels and
the Lalita Vistara,--is also in accordance with the working of the
human mind.

Laying aside all such unsatisfactory resemblances, we must regard the
Buddha as having been one of the noblest of men, and one whom Jesus
would have readily welcomed as a fellow worker and a friend. He opposed
a dominant priesthood, maintained the equal religious rights of all
mankind, overthrew caste, encouraged woman to take her place as man's
equal, forbade all bloody sacrifices, and preached a religion of peace
and good will, seeking to triumph only in the fair conflict of reason
with reason. If he was defective in the loftiest instincts of the soul;
if he knew nothing of the infinite and eternal; if he saw nothing
permanent in the soul of man; if his highest purpose was negative,--to
escape from pain, sorrow, anxiety, toil,--let us still be grateful for
the influence which has done so much to tame the savage Mongols, and to
introduce hospitality and humanity into the homes of Lassa and Siam. If
Edwin Arnold, a poet, idealizes him too highly, it is the better fault,
and should be easily forgiven. Hero-worshipers are becoming scarce in
our time; let us make the most of those we have.



WHY I AM NOT A FREE-RELIGIONIST[17]


What is meant by "Free Religion"? I understand by it, individualism in
religion. It is the religious belief which has made itself independent
of historic and traditional influences, so far as it is in the power
of any one to attain such independence. In Christian lands it means a
religion which has cut loose from the Bible and the Christian Church,
and which is as ready to question the teaching of Jesus as that of
Socrates or Buddha. It is, what Emerson called himself, an endless
seeker, with no past behind it. It is entire trust in the private
reason as the sole authority in matters of religion.

Free Religion may be regarded as Protestantism carried to its ultimate
results. A Protestant _Christian_ accepts the leadership of Jesus, and
keeps himself in the Christian communion; but he uses his own private
judgment to discover what Jesus taught, and what Christianity really
is. The Free Religionist goes a step farther, and decides by his own
private judgment what is true and what false, no matter whether taught
by Jesus or not.

Free Religion, as thus understood, seems to me opposed to the law of
evolution, and incompatible with it. Evolution educes the present from
the past by a continuous process. Free Religion cuts itself loose
from the past, and makes every man the founder of his own religion.
According to the law of evolution, confirmed by history, every advance
in religion is the development from something going before. Jewish
monotheism grew out of polytheism; Christianity and Mohammedanism out
of Judaism; Buddhism out of Brahmanism; Protestant Christianity out of
the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus himself said, "Think not that I am
come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but
to fulfil." The higher religions are not made; they grow. Of each it
may be said, as of the poet: "Nascitur, non fit." Therefore, if there
is to arrive something higher than our existing Christianity, it must
not be a system which forsakes the Christian belief, but something
developed from it.

According to the principle of evolution, every growing and productive
religion obeys the laws of heredity and of variation. It has an
inherited common life, and a tendency to modification by individual
activity. Omit or depress either factor, and the religion loses its
power of growth. Without a common life, the principle of development
is arrested. He who leaves the great current which comes from the
past loses headway. This current, in the Christian communion, is the
inherited spirit of Jesus. It is his life, continued in his Church;
his central convictions of love to God and to man; of fatherhood
and brotherhood; of the power of truth to conquer error, of good to
overcome evil; of a Kingdom of Heaven to come to us here. It is the
faith of Jesus in things unseen; his hope of the triumph of right
over wrong; his love going down to the lowliest child of God. These
vital convictions in the soul of Jesus are communicated by contact
from generation to generation. They are propagated, as he suggested,
like leaven hidden in the dough. By a different figure, Plato, in
his dialogue of Ion, shows that inspiration is transmitted like the
magnetic influence, which causes iron rings to adhere and hang together
in a chain. Thoughts and opinions are communicated by argument,
reasoning, speech, and writing; but faith and inspiration by the
influence of life on life. The life of Jesus is thus continued in his
Church, and those who stand outside of it lose much of this transmitted
and sympathetic influence. Common life in a religious body furnishes
the motive force which carries it forward, while individual freedom
gives the power of improvement. The two principles of heredity and
variation must be united in order to combine union and freedom, and
to secure progress. Where freedom of thought ceases, religion becomes
rigid. It is incapable of development. Such, for instance, is the
condition of Buddhism, which, at first full of intellectual activity,
has now hardened into a monkish ritual.

Free Religion sacrifices the motive power derived from association
and religious sympathy for the sake of a larger intellectual freedom.
The result is individualism. It founds no churches, but spends much
force in criticising the Christian community, its belief, and its
methods. These are, no doubt, open to criticism, which would do good
if administered sympathetically and from within, but produce little
result when delivered in the spirit of antagonism. Imperfect as the
Christian Church is, it ought to be remembered that in it are to be
found the chief strength and help of the charities, philanthropies, and
moral reforms of our time. Every one who has at heart a movement for
the benefit of humanity appeals instinctively for aid to the Christian
churches. It is in these that such movements usually originate, and are
carried on. Even when, as in the antislavery movement, a part of the
churches refuse to sympathize with a new moral or social movement, the
reproaches made against them show that in the mind of the community
an interest in all humane endeavor is considered to be a part of
their work. The common life and convictions of these bodies enable
them to accomplish what individualism does not venture to undertake.
Individualism is incapable of organized and sustained work of this
sort, though it can, and often does, coöperate earnestly with it.

The teaching of Jesus is founded on the synthesis of Truth and Love.
Jesus declares himself to have been born "to bear witness to the
truth," and he also makes love, divine and human, the substance of his
gospel. The love element produces union, the truth element, freedom.
Union without freedom stiffens into a rigid conservatism. Freedom
without union breaks up into an intellectual atomism. The Christian
churches have gone into both extremes, but never permanently; for
Christianity, as long as it adheres to its founder and his ideas, has
the power of self-recovery. Its diseases are self-limited.

It has had many such periods, but has recovered from them. It passed
through an age in which it ran to ascetic self-denial, and made saints
of self-torturing anchorites. It afterward became a speculative system,
and tended to metaphysical creeds and doctrinal distinctions. It became
a persecuting church, burning heretics and Jews, and torturing infidels
as an act of faith. It was tormented by dark superstitions, believing
in witchcraft and magic. But it has left all these evils behind. No
one is now put to death for heresy or witchcraft. The monastic orders
in the Church are preachers and teachers, or given to charity. No
one could be burned to-day as a heretic. No one to-day believes in
witchcraft. The old creeds which once held the Church in irons are
now slowly disintegrating. But reform, as I have said, must come from
within, by the gradual elimination of those inherited beliefs which
interfere with the unity of the Church and the leadership of Christ
himself. The Platonic and Egyptian Trinity remaining as dogma, repeated
but not understood,--the Manichæan division of the human race into
children of God and children of the Devil,--the scholastic doctrine of
the Atonement, by which the blood of Jesus expiates human guilt,--are
being gradually explained in accordance with reason and the teaching of
Jesus.

Some beliefs, once thought to be of vital importance, are now seen by
many to be unessential, or are looked at in a different light. Instead
of making Jesus an exceptional person, we are coming to regard him as
a representative man, the realized ideal of what man was meant to be,
and will one day become. Instead of considering his sinlessness as
setting him apart from his race, we look on it as showing that sin is
not the natural, but unnatural, condition of mankind. His miracles are
regarded not as violations of the laws of nature, but anticipations of
laws which one day will be universally known, and which are boundless
as the universe. Nor will they in future be regarded as evidence of
the mission of Jesus, since he himself was grieved when they were
so looked upon, and he made his truth and his character the true
evidence that he came from God. The old distinction between "natural"
and "supernatural" will disappear when it is seen that Jesus had a
supernatural work and character, the same in kind as ours, though
higher in degree. The supreme gifts which make him the providential
leader of the race do not set him apart from his brethren if we see
that it is a law of humanity that gifts differ, and that men endowed
with superior powers become leaders in science, art, literature,
politics; as Jesus has become the chief great spiritual leader of
mankind.

Men are now searching the Scriptures, not under the bondage of an
infallible letter, but seeking for the central ideas of Jesus and
the spirit of his gospel. They begin to accept the maxim of Goethe:
"No matter how much the gospels contradict each other, provided the
Gospel does not contradict itself." The profound convictions of
Christ, which pervade all his teaching, give the clue by which to
explain the divergences in the narrative. We interpret the letter by
the light of the spirit. We see how Jesus emphasized the law of human
happiness,--that it comes from within, not from without; that the pure
in heart see God, and that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
We comprehend the stress he lays on the laws of progress,--that he who
humbleth himself shall be exalted. We recognize his profound conviction
that all God's children are dear to him, that his sun shines on the
evil and the good, and that he will seek the one lost sheep till he
find it. We see his trust in the coming of the Kingdom of God in this
world, the triumph of good over evil, and the approaching time when the
knowledge of God shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. And
we find his profound faith in the immortal life which abides in us, so
that whoever shares that faith with him can never die.

The more firmly these central ideas of Jesus are understood and held,
the less importance belongs to any criticism of the letter. This or
that saying, attributed to Jesus in the record, maybe subjected to
attack; but it is the main current of his teaching which has made him
the leader of civilized man for eighteen centuries. That majestic
stream will sweep on undisturbed, though there may be eddies here or
stagnant pools there, which induce hasty observers to suppose that it
has ceased to flow.

    "Rusticus expectat dum defluit amnis, at ille
    Volvitur et volvetur, in omne volubilis ævium."

I sometimes read attacks on special sayings of the record, which
argue, to the critic's mind, that Jesus was in error here, or mistaken
there. But I would recommend to such writers to ponder the suggestive
rule of Coleridge: "Until I can understand the ignorance of Plato, I
shall consider myself ignorant of his understanding;" or the remark of
Emerson to the youth who brought him a paper in which he thought he
had refuted Plato: "If you attack the king, be sure that you kill him."

When the Christian world really takes Jesus _himself_ as its leader,
instead of building its faith on opinions _about_ him, we may
anticipate the arrival of that union which he foresaw and foretold--"As
thou, father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one
in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." Then
Christians, ceasing from party strife and sectarian dissension,
will unite in one mighty effort to cure the evils of humanity and
redress its wrongs. Before a united Christendom, what miseries could
remain unrelieved? War, that criminal absurdity, that monstrous
anachronism, must at last be abolished. Pauperism, vice, and crime,
though continuing in sporadic forms, would cease to exist as a part of
the permanent institutions of civilization. A truly Catholic Church,
united under the Master, would lead all humanity up to a higher plane.
The immense forces developed by modern science, and the magnificent
discoveries in the realm of nature, helpless now to cure the wrongs
of suffering man, would become instruments of potent use under the
guidance of moral forces.

According to the law of evolution, this is what we have a right to
expect. If we follow the lines of historic development, not being led
into extreme individualism; if we maintain the continuity of human
progress, this vast result must finally arrive. For such reasons I
prefer to remain in the communion of the Christian body, doing what I
may to assist its upward movement. For such reasons I am not a Free
Religionist.



HAVE ANIMALS SOULS[18]


To answer this question, we must first inquire what we mean by a soul.
If we mean a human soul, it is certain that animals do not possess
it,--at least not in a fully developed condition. If we mean, "Do they
possess an immortal soul?" that is, perhaps, a question difficult to
answer either in the affirmative or the negative. But if we mean by
the soul an immaterial principle of life, which coördinates the bodily
organization to a unity; which is the ground of growth, activity,
perception, volition; which is intelligent, affectionate, and to a
certain extent free; then we must admit that animals have souls.

The same arguments which induce us to believe that there is a soul in
man apply to animals. The world has generally believed that in man,
beside the body, there is also soul. Why have people believed it? The
reason probably is, that, beside all that can be accounted for as the
result of the juxtaposition of material particles, there remains a very
important element unaccounted for. Mechanical and physical agency may
explain much, but the most essential characteristic of vital phenomena
they do not explain. They do not account for the unity in variety,
permanence in change, growth from within by continuous processes,
coming from the vital functions in an organized body. Every such
body has a unity peculiar to itself, which cannot be considered the
result of the collocation of material molecules. It is a unity which
controls these molecules, arranges and rearranges them, maintains a
steady activity, carries the body through the phenomena of growth, and
causes the various organs to coöperate for the purposes of the whole.
The vital power is not merely the result of material phenomena, but
it reacts on these as a cause. Add to this that strange phenomenon of
human consciousness, the sense of personality,--which is the clear
perception of selfhood as a distinct unchanging unit, residing in
a body all of whose parts are in perpetual flux,--and we see why
the opinion of a soul has arisen. It has been assumed by the common
sense of mankind that in every living body the cause of the mode of
existence of each part is contained in the whole. As soon as death
intervenes each part is left free to pass through changes peculiar
to itself alone. Life is a power which acts from the whole upon the
parts, causing them to resist chemical laws, which begin to act as soon
as life departs. The unity of a living body does not result from an
ingenious juxtaposition of parts, like that of a watch, for example.
For the unity of a living body implies that which is called "the vital
vortex," or perpetual exchange of particles.

A watch or clock is the nearest approach which has been made by man
to the creation of a living being. A watch, for instance, contains
the principle of its action in itself, and is not moved from without;
in that it resembles a living creature. We can easily conceive of a
watch which might be made to go seventy years, without being wound
up. It might need to be oiled occasionally, but not as often as an
animal needs to be fed. A watch is also like a living creature in
having a unity as a whole not belonging to the separate parts, and to
which all parts conspire,--namely, that of marking the progress of
time. Why, then, say that a man has a soul, and that a watch has not?
The difference is this. The higher principle of unity in the watch,
that is, its power of marking time, is wholly an effect, and never a
cause. It is purely and only the result of the arrangement of wheels
and springs; in other words, of material conditions. But in man, the
principle of unity is also a cause. Life reacts upon body. The laws of
matter are modified by the power of life, chemical action is suspended,
living muscles are able to endure without laceration the application of
forces which would destroy the dead fibre. So the thought, the love,
the will of a living creature react on the physical frame. A sight, a
sound, a few spoken words, a message seen in a letter, cause an immense
revulsion in the physical condition. Something is suddenly told us,
and we faint away, or even die, from the effect of the message. Here
mind acts upon matter, showing that in man mind is not merely a result,
but also a cause. Hence men have generally believed in the existence
of a soul in man. They have not been taught it by metaphysicians, it
is one of the spontaneous inductions of common sense from universal
experience.

But this argument applies equally to prove a soul in animals. The same
reaction of soul on body is constantly apparent. Every time that you
whistle to your dog, and he comes bounding toward you, his mind has
acted on his body. His will has obeyed his thought, his muscles have
obeyed his will. The cause of his motion was mental, not physical.
This is too evident to require any further illustration. Therefore,
regarding the soul as a principle of life, connected with the body
but not its result, or, in other words, as an immaterial principle of
activity, there is the same reason for believing in the soul of animals
that there is for believing in the soul of man.

But when we ask as to the nature of the animal soul, and how far it is
analogous to that of man, we meet with certain difficulties. Let us
see then how many of the human qualities of the soul are to be found
in animals, and so discover if there is any remainder not possessed by
them, peculiar to ourselves.

That the vital soul, or principle of life, belongs equally to plants,
animals, and men, is evident. This is so apparent as to be granted
even by Descartes, who regards animals as mere machines, or automata,
destitute of a thinking soul, but not of life or feeling. They are
automata, but living and feeling automata. Descartes denies them a
soul, because he defines the soul as the thinking and knowing power.
But Locke (with whom Leibnitz fully agreed on this point) ascribes to
animals thought as well as feeling, and makes their difference from man
to consist in their not possessing abstract ideas. We shall presently
see the truth of this most sagacious remark.

Plants, animals, and men are alike in possessing the vital principle,
which produces growth, which causes them to pass through regular
phases of development, which enables them to digest and assimilate
food taken from without, and which carries on a steady circulation
within. To this are added, in the animal, the function of voluntary
locomotion, perception through the senses of an outward world, the
power of feeling pleasure and pain, some wonderful instincts, and some
degree of reflective thought. Animals also possess memory, imagination,
playfulness, industry, the sense of shame, and many other very human
qualities.

Take, for example, Buffon's fine description of the dog ("Histoire du
Chien"):--

"By nature fiery, irritable, ferocious, and sanguinary, the dog in
his savage state is a terror to other animals. But domesticated he
becomes gentle, attached, and desirous to please. He hastens to lay
at the feet of his master his courage, his strength, and all his
abilities. He listens for his master's orders, inquires his will,
consults his opinion, begs his permission, understands the indications
of his wishes. Without possessing the power of human thought, he has
all the warmth of human sentiment. He has more than human fidelity,
he is constant in his attachments. He is made up of zeal, ardor, and
obedience. He remembers kindness longer than wrong. He endures bad
treatment and forgets it--disarming it by patience and submission."

No one who has ever had a dog for a friend will think this description
exaggerated. If any should so consider it, we will cite for their
benefit what Mr. Jesse, one of the latest students of the canine
race, asserts concerning it, in his "Researches into the History of
the British Dog" (London, 1866). He says that remarkable instances
of the following virtues, feelings, and powers of mind are well
authenticated:--

"The dog risks his life to give help; goes for assistance; saves
life from drowning, fire, other animals, and men; assists distress;
guards property; knows boundaries; resents injuries; repays benefits;
communicates ideas; combines with other dogs for several purposes;
understands language; knows when he is about to die; knows death in
a human being; devotes his whole life to the object of his love; dies
of grief and of joy; dies in his master's defense; commits suicide;
remains by the dead; solicits, and gives alarm; knows the characters
of men; recognizes a portrait, and men after long absence; is fond of
praise and sensible to ridicule; feels shame, and is sensible of a
fault; is playful; is incorruptible; finds his way back from distant
countries; is magnanimous to smaller animals; is jealous; has dreams;
and takes a last farewell when dying."

Much of this, it may be said, is instinctive. We must therefore
distinguish between Instinct and Intelligence; or, rather, between
instinctive intelligence and reflective intelligence. Many writers on
the subject of animals have not carefully distinguished these very
different activities of the soul. Even M. Leroy, one of the first in
modern times who brought careful observation to the study of the nature
of animals, has not always kept in view this distinction---as has been
noticed by a subsequent French writer of very considerable ability,
M. Flourens.[19] The following marks, according to M. Flourens,
distinguish instinct from intelligence:--

            INSTINCT            INTELLIGENCE

    Is spontaneous,        Is deliberate,
    " necessary,           " conditional,
    " invariable,          " modifiable,
    " innate,              comes from observation and experience,
    " fatal,               is free,
    " particular.          " general.

Thus the building faculty of the beaver is an instinct, for it acts
spontaneously, and always in the same way. It is not a general faculty
of building in all places and ways, but a special power of building
houses of sticks, mud, and other materials, with the entrance under
water and a dry place within. When beavers build on a running stream,
they begin by making a dam across it, which preserves them from losing
the water in a drought; but this also is a spontaneous and invariable
act. The old stories of their driving piles, using their tails for
trowels, and having well-planned houses with many chambers, have been
found to be fictitious. That the beaver builds by instinct, though
intelligence comes in to modify the instinct, appears from his wishing
to build his house or his dam when it is not needed. Mr. Broderip,
the English naturalist, had a pet beaver that manifested his building
instinct by dragging together warming-pans, sweeping-brushes, boots,
and sticks, which he would lay crosswise. He then would fill in his
wall with clothes, bits of coal, turf, laying it very even. Finally,
he made a nest for himself behind his wall with clothes, hay, and
cotton. As this creature had been brought from America very young, all
this procedure must have been instinctive. But his intelligence showed
itself in his adapting his mode of building to his new circumstances.
His instinct led him to build his wall, and to lay his sticks
crosswise, and to fill in with what he could find, according to the
universal and spontaneous procedure of all beavers. But his making use
of a chest of drawers for one side of his wall, and taking brushes and
boots instead of cutting down trees, were no doubt acts of intelligence.

A large part of the wonderful procedure of bees is purely instinctive.
Bees, from the beginning of the world, and in all countries of the
earth, have lived in similar communities; have had their queen, to
lay eggs for them: if their queen is lost, have developed a new one
in the same way, by altering the conditions of existence in one of
their larvæ; have constructed their hexagonal cells by the same
mathematical law, so as to secure the most strength with the least
outlay of material. All this is instinct--for it is spontaneous and not
deliberate; it is universal and constant. But when the bee deflects his
comb in order to avoid a stick thrust across the inside of the hive,
and begins the variation before he reaches the stick, this can only be
regarded as an act of intelligence.

Animals, then, have both instincts and intelligence; and so has man. A
large part of human life proceeds from tendencies as purely, if not as
vigorously, instinctive as those of animals. Man has social instincts,
which create human society. Children play from an instinct. The
maternal instinct in a human mother is, till modified by reflection, as
spontaneous, universal, and necessary as the same instinct in animals.
But in man the instincts are reduced to a minimum, and are soon
modified by observation, experience, and reflection. In animals they
are at their maximum, and are modified in a much less degree.

It is sometimes said that animals do not reason, but man does. But
animals are quite capable of at least two modes of reasoning, that of
comparison and that of inference. They compare two modes of action, or
two substances, and judge the one to be preferable to the other, and
accordingly select it. Sir Emerson Tennent tells us that elephants,
employed to build stone walls in Ceylon, will lay each stone in its
place, then stand off and look to see if it is plumb, and, if not, will
move it with their trunk, till it lies perfectly straight. This is a
pure act of reflective judgment. He narrates an adventure which befell
himself in Ceylon while riding on a narrow road through the forest. He
heard a rumbling sound approaching, and directly there came to meet him
an elephant, bearing on his tusks a large log of wood, which he had
been directed to carry to the place where it was needed. Sir Emerson
Tennent's horse, unused to these monsters, was alarmed, and refused to
go forward. The sagacious elephant, perceiving this, evidently decided
that he must himself go out of the way. But to do this, he was obliged
first to take the log from his tusks with his trunk, and lay it on the
ground, which he did, and then backed out of the road between the trees
till only his head was visible. But the horse was still too timid to go
by, whereupon the judicious pachyderm pushed himself farther back, till
all of his body, except the end of his trunk, had disappeared. Then Sir
Emerson succeeded in getting his horse by, but stopped to witness the
result. The elephant came out, took the log up again, laid it across
his tusks, and went on his way. This story, told by an unimpeachable
witness, shows several successive acts of reasoning. The log-bearer
inferred from the horse's terror that it would not pass; he again
inferred that in that case he must himself get out of the way; that, to
do this, he must lay down his log; that he must go farther back; and
accompanying this was his sense of duty, making him faithful to his
task; and, most of all, his consideration of what was due to this human
traveler, which kept him from driving the horse and man before him as
he went on.

There is another well-authenticated anecdote of an elephant; he was
following an ammunition wagon, and saw the man who was seated on it
fall off just before the wheel. The man would have been crushed had
not the animal instantly run forward, and, without an order, lifted
the wheel with his trunk, and held it suspended in the air, till the
wagon had passed over the man without hurting him. Here were combined
presence of mind, good will, knowledge of the danger to the man, and a
rapid calculation of how he could be saved.

Perhaps I may properly introduce here an account of the manifestations
of mind in the animals I have had the most opportunity of observing.
I have a horse, who was named Rubezahl, after the mountain spirit of
the Harz made famous in the stories of Musaeus. We have contracted his
name to Ruby for convenience. Now I have reason to believe that Ruby
can distinguish Sunday from other days. On Sunday I have been in the
habit of driving to Boston to church; but on other days, I drive to the
neighboring village, where are the post-office, shops of mechanics, and
other stores. To go to Boston, I usually turn to the right when I leave
my driveway; to go to the village, I turn to the left. Now, on Sunday,
if I leave the reins loose, so that the horse may do as he pleases, he
invariably turns to the right, and goes to Boston. On other days, he
as invariably turns to the left, and goes to the village. He does this
so constantly and regularly, that none of the family have any doubt
of the fact that he knows that it is Sunday; _how_ he knows it we are
unable to discover. I have left my house at the same hour on Sunday
and on Monday, in the same carriage, with the same number of persons
in it; and yet on Sunday he always turns to the right, and on Monday
to the left. He is fed at the same time on Sunday as on other days,
but the man comes back to harness him a little later on Sunday than at
other times, and that is possibly his method of knowing that it is the
day for going to Boston. But see how much of observation, memory, and
thought is implied in all this.

Again, Ruby has shown a very distinct feeling of the supernatural.
Driving one day up a hill near my house, we met a horse-car coming down
toward us, running without horses, simply by the force of gravity. My
horse became so frightened that he ran into the gutter, and nearly
overturned me; and I got him past with the greatest difficulty. Now
he had met the cars coming down that hill, drawn by horses, a hundred
times, and had never been alarmed. Moreover, only a day or two after,
in going up the same hill, we saw a car moving uphill, before us, where
the horses were entirely invisible, being concealed by the car itself,
which was between us and the horses. But this did not frighten Ruby
at all. He evidently said to himself, "The horses are there, though I
do not see them." But in the other case it seemed to him an effect
without a cause--something plainly supernatural. There was nothing
in the aspect of the car itself to alarm him; he had seen that often
enough. He was simply terrified by seeing it move without any adequate
cause--just as we should be, if we saw our chairs begin to walk about
the room.

Our Newfoundland dog's name is Donatello; which, again, is shortened
to Don in common parlance. He has all the affectionate and excellent
qualities of his race. He is the most good-natured creature I ever saw.
Nothing provokes him. Little dogs may yelp at him, the cat or kittens
may snarl and spit at him: he pays no attention to them. A little
dog climbs on his back, and lies down there; one of the cats will
lie between his legs. But at night, when he is on guard, no one can
approach the house unchallenged.

But his affection for the family is very great. To be allowed to come
into the house and lie down near us is his chief happiness. He was very
fond of my son E----, who played with him a good deal, and when the
young man went away, during the war, with a three months' regiment,
Don was much depressed by his absence. He walked down regularly to the
station, and stood there till a train of cars came in; and when his
friend did not arrive in it, he went back, with a melancholy air, to
the house. But at last the young man returned. It was in the evening,
and Don was lying on the piazza. As soon as he saw his friend, his
exultation knew no bounds. He leaped upon him, and ran round him,
barking and showing the wildest signs of delight. All at once he turned
and ran up into the garden, and came back bringing an apple, which he
laid down at the feet of his young master. It was the only thing he
could think of to do for him--and this sign of his affection was quite
pathetic.

The reason why Don thought of the apple was probably this: we had
taught him to go and get an apple for the horse, when so directed. We
would say, "Go, Don, get an apple for poor Ruby;" then he would run up
into the garden, and bring an apple, and hold it up to the horse; and
perhaps when the horse tried to take it he would pull it away. After
doing this a few times, he would finally lie down on his back under the
horse's nose, and allow the latter to take the apple from his mouth.
He would also kiss the horse, on being told to do so. When we said,
"Don, kiss poor Ruby," he leaped up and kissed the horse's nose. But he
afterwards hit upon a more convenient method of doing it. He got his
paw over the rein and pulled down the horse's head, so that he could
continue the osculatory process more at his ease, sitting comfortably
on the ground.

Animals know when they have done wrong; so far, at least, as that means
disobeying our will or command. The only great fault which Don ever
committed was stealing a piece of meat from our neighbor's kitchen. I
do not think he was punished or even scolded for it; for we did not
find it out till later, when it would have done no good to punish him.
But a week or two after that, the gentleman whose kitchen had been
robbed was standing on my lawn, talking with me, and he referred,
laughingly, to what Don had done. He did not even look at the dog, much
less change his tones to those of rebuke. But the moment Don heard his
name mentioned, he turned and walked away, and hid himself under the
low branches of a Norway spruce near by. He was evidently profoundly
ashamed of himself. Was this the result of conscience, or of the love
of approbation? In either case, it was very human.

That the love of approbation is common to many animals we all know.
Dogs and horses certainly can be influenced by praise and blame, as
easily as men. Many years ago we had occasion to draw a load of gravel,
and we put Ruby into a tip-cart to do the work. He was profoundly
depressed, and evidently felt it as a degradation. He hung his head,
and showed such marks of humiliation that we have never done it since.
But on the other hand, when he goes out, under the saddle, by the side
of a young horse, this veteran animal tries as hard to appear young
as any old bachelor of sixty years who is still ambitious of social
triumphs. He dances along, and goes sideways, and has all the airs and
graces of a young colt. All this, too, is very human.

At one time my dog was fond of going to the railway station to see
the people, and I always ordered him to go home, fearing he should
be hurt by the cars. He easily understood that if he went there, it
was contrary to my wishes. Nevertheless, he often went; and I do not
know but this fondness for forbidden fruit was rather human, too. So,
whenever he was near the station, if he saw me coming, he would look
the other way, and pretend not to know me. If he met me anywhere else,
he always bounded to meet me with great delight. But at the station
it was quite different. He would pay no attention to my whistle or my
call. He even pretended to be another dog, and would look me right in
the face without apparently recognizing me. He gave me the cut direct,
in the most impertinent manner; the reason evidently being that he knew
he was doing what was wrong, and did not like to be found out. Possibly
he may have relied a little on my near-sightedness, in this manœuvre.

That animals have acute observation, memory, imagination, the sense of
approbation, strong affections, and the power of reasoning is therefore
very evident. Lord Bacon also speaks of a dog's reverence for his
master as partaking of a religious element. "Mark," says he, "what
a generosity and courage a dog will put on, when he finds himself
maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God--which courage
he could not attain, without that confidence in a better nature than
his own." Who that has seen the mute admiration and trust in a dog's
eye, as he looks up at his master, but can see in it something of a
religious reverence, the germ and first principle of religion?

What, then, is the difference between the human soul and that of the
animal in its highest development?

That there is a very marked difference between man and the highest
animal is evident. The human being, weaker in proportion than all other
animals, has subjected them all to himself. He has subdued the earth by
his inventions. Physically too feeble to dig a hole in the ground like
a rabbit, or to fell a tree like a beaver; unable to live in the water
like a fish, or to move through the air like a bird; he yet, by his
inventive power and his machinery, can compel the forces of nature to
work for him. They are the true genii, slaves of his lamp. Air, fire,
water, electricity, and magnetism build his cities and his stately
ships, run his errands, carry him from land to land, and accept him as
their master.

Whence does man obtain this power? Some say it is _the human hand_
which has made man supreme. It is, no doubt, a wonderful machine; a
box of tools in itself. The size and strength of the thumb, and the
power of opposing it to the extremities of the fingers, distinguishes,
according to most anatomists, the human hand from that of the
quadrumanous animals. In those monkeys which are nearest to man, the
thumb is so short and weak, and the fingers so long and slender,
that their tips can scarcely be brought in opposition. Excellent for
climbing, they are not good for taking up small objects or supporting
large ones. But the hand of man could accomplish little without the
mind behind it. It was therefore a good remark of Galen, that "man is
not the wisest of animals because he has a hand; but God has given him
a hand because he is the wisest of animals."

The size of the human brain, relatively greater than that of almost any
other animal; man's structure, adapting him to stand erect; his ability
to exist in all climates; his power of subsisting on varied food: all
these facts of his physical nature are associated with his superior
mental power, but do not produce it. The question recurs, What enables
him to stand at the head of the animal creation?

Perhaps the chief apparent distinctions between man and other animals
are these:--

1. The lowest races of men use tools; other animals do not.

2. The lowest human beings possess a verbal language; other animals
have none.

3. Man has the capacity of self-culture, as an individual; other
animals have not.

4. Human beings, associated in society, are capable of progress in
civilization, by means of science, art, literature, and religion; other
animals are not.

5. Men have a capacity for religion; no animal, except man, has this.

The lowest races of men use tools, but no other animal does this. This
is so universally admitted by science that the presence of the rudest
tools of stone is considered a sufficient trace of the presence of man.
If stone hatchets or hammers or arrowheads are found in any stratum,
though no human bones are detected, anthropologists regard this as
a sufficient proof of the existence of human beings in the period
indicated by such a geologic formation. The only tools used by animals
in procuring food, in war, or in building their homes, are their
natural organs: their beaks, teeth, claws, etc. It may be added that
man alone wears clothes; other animals being sufficiently clothed by
nature. No animals make a fire, though they often suffer from cold; but
there is no race of men unacquainted with the use of fire.[20]

No animals possess a verbal language. Animals can remember some of the
words used by men, and associate with them their meaning. But this is
not the use of language. It is merely the memory of two associated
facts,--as when the animal recollects where he found food, and goes to
the same place to look for it again. Animals have different cries,
indicating different wants. They use one cry to call their mate,
another to terrify their prey. But this is not the use of verbal
language. Human language implies not merely an acquaintance with the
meaning of particular words, but the power of putting them together in
a sentence. Animals have no such language as this; for, if they had,
it would have been learned by men. Man has the power of learning any
verbal language. Adelung and Vater reckon over three thousand languages
spoken by men, and any man can learn any of them. The negroes speak
their own languages in their own countries; they speak Arabic in North
Africa; they learn to speak English, French, and Spanish in America,
and Oriental languages when they go to the East. If any animals had a
verbal language, with its vocabulary and grammar, men would long ago
have learned it, and would have been able to converse with them.

Again, no animal except man is capable of self-culture, as an
individual. Animals are trained by external influences; they do not
teach themselves. An old wolf is much more cunning than a young one,
but he has been made so by the force of circumstances. You can teach
your dog tricks, but no dog has ever taught himself any. Yet the lowest
savages teach themselves to make tools, to ornament their paddles
and clubs, and acquire certain arts by diligent effort. Birds will
sometimes practice the tunes which they hear played, till they have
learned them. They will also sometimes imitate each other's songs.
That is, they possess the power of vocal imitation. But to imitate
the sounds we hear is not self-culture. It is not developing a new
power, but it is exercising in a new way a natural gift. Yet we must
admit that in this habit of birds there is the rudiment, at least, of
self-education.

All races of men are capable of progress in civilization. Many,
indeed, remain in a savage state for thousands of years, and we cannot
positively prove that any particular race which has always been
uncivilized is capable of civilization. But we are led to believe
it from having known of so many tribes of men who have emerged from
apathy, ignorance, and barbarism into the light of science and art.
So it was with all the Teutonic races,--the Goths, Germans, Kelts,
Lombards, Scandinavians. So it was with the Arabs, who roamed for
thousands of years over the deserts, a race of ignorant robbers, and
then, filled with the great inspiration of Islam, flamed up into a
brilliant coruscation of science, literature, art, military success,
and profound learning. What great civilizations have grown up in
China, India, Persia, Assyria, Babylon, Phœnicia, Egypt, Greece,
Rome, Carthage, Etruria! But no such progress has ever appeared among
the animals. As their parents were, five thousand years ago, so,
essentially, are they now.

Nor are animals religious, in the sense of worshiping unseen powers
higher than themselves. My horse showed a sense of the supernatural,
but this is not worship.

These are some of the most marked points of difference between man and
all other animals. Now these can all be accounted for by the hypothesis
in which Locke and Leibnitz both agreed; namely, that while animals are
capable of reasoning about facts, they are incapable of abstract ideas.
Or, we may say with Coleridge, that while animals, in common with man,
possess the faculty of understanding, they do not possess that of
reason. Coleridge seems to have intended by this exactly what Locke
and Leibnitz meant by their statement. When my dog Don heard the word
"apple," he thought of the particular concrete apple under the tree;
and not of apples in general, and their relation to pears, peaches,
etc. Don understood me when I told him to go and get an apple, and
obeyed; but he would not have understood me if I had remarked to him
that apples were better than pears, more wholesome than peaches, not so
handsome as grapes. I should then have gone into the region of abstract
and general ideas.

Now it is precisely the possession of this power of abstract thought
which will explain the superiority of man to all other animals. It
explains the use of tools; for a tool is an instrument prepared, not
for one special purpose, but to be used generally, in certain ways.
A baboon, like a man, might pick up a particular stone with which to
crack a particular nut; but the ape does not make and keep a stone
hammer, to be used on many similar occasions. A box of tools contains a
collection of saws, planes, draw-knives, etc., not made to use on one
occasion merely, but made for sawing, cutting, and planing purposes
generally.

Still more evident is it that the power of abstraction is necessary
for verbal language. We do not here use the common term "articulate
speech," for we can conceive of animals articulating their vocal
sounds. But "a word" is an abstraction. The notion is lifted out of the
concrete particular fact, and deposited in the abstract general term.
All words, except proper names, are abstract; and to possess and use a
verbal language is impossible, without the possession of this mental
faculty.

In regard to self-culture, it is clear that for any steady progress
one must keep before his mind an abstract idea of what he wishes to
do. This enables him to rise above impulse, passion, instinct, habit,
circumstance. By the steady contemplation of the proposed aim, one can
arrange circumstances, restrain impulse, direct one's activity, and
become really free.

In like manner, races become developed in civilization by the impact
of abstract ideas. Sometimes it is by coming in contact with other
civilized nations, which gives them an ideal superior to anything
before known. Sometimes the motive power of their progress is the
reception of truths of science, art, literature, or religion.

It is not necessary to show that without abstract, universal, and
necessary ideas no religion is possible; for religion, being the
worship of unseen powers, conceived as existing, as active, as
spiritual, necessarily implies these ideas in the mind of the worshiper.

We find, then, in the soul of animals all active, affectionate,
and intelligent capacities, as in that of man. The only difference
is that man is capable of abstract ideas, which give him a larger
liberty of action, which enable him to adopt an aim and pursue it,
and which change his affections from an instinctive attachment into a
principle of generous love. Add, then, to the animal soul the capacity
for abstract ideas, and it would rise at once to the level of man.
Meantime, in a large part of their nature, they have the same faculties
with ourselves. They share our emotions, and we theirs. They are made
"a little lower" than man, and if we are souls, so surely are they.

Are they immortal? To discuss this question would require more space
than we can here give to it. For my own part, I fully believe in the
continued existence of all souls, at the same time assuming their
continued advance. The law of life is progress; and one of the best
features in the somewhat unspiritual theory of Darwin is its profound
faith in perpetual improvement. This theory is the most startling
optimism that has ever been taught, for it makes perpetual progress to
be the law of the whole universe.

Many of the arguments for the immortality of man cannot indeed be
used for our dumb relations, the animals. We cannot argue from their
universal faith in a future life; nor contend that they need an
immortality on moral grounds, to recompense their good conduct and
punish their wickedness. We might indeed adduce a reason implied in
our Saviour's parable, and believe that the poor creatures who have
received their evil things in this life will be comforted in another.
Moreover, we might find in many animals qualities fitting them for a
higher state. There are animals, as we have seen, who show a fidelity,
courage, generosity, often superior to what we see in man. The dogs
who have loved their master more than food, and starved to death on
his grave, are surely well fitted for a higher existence. Jesse tells
a story of a cat which was being stoned by cruel boys. Men went by,
and did not interfere; but a dog, that saw it, did. He drove away the
boys, and then took the cat to his kennel, licked her all over with his
tongue, and his conduct interested people, who brought her milk. The
canine nurse took care of her till she was well, and the cat and dog
remained fast friends ever after. Such an action in a man would have
been called heroic; and we think such a dog would not be out of place
in heaven.

Yet it is not so much on particular cases of animal superiority that
we rely, but on the difficulty of conceiving, in any sense, of the
destruction of life. The principle of life, whether we call it soul
or body, matter or spirit, escapes all observation of the senses. All
that we know of it by observation is that, beside the particles of
matter which compose an organized body, there is something else, not
cognizable by the senses, which attracts and dismisses them, modifies
and coördinates them. The unity of the body is not to be found in
its sensible phenomena, but in something which escapes the senses.
Into the vortex of that life material molecules are being continually
absorbed, and from it they are perpetually discharged. If death means
the dissolution of the body, we die many times in the course of our
earthly career, for every body is said by human anatomists to be
changed in all its particles once in seven years. What then remains,
if all the particles go? The principle of organization remains, and
this invisible, persistent principle constitutes the identity of every
organized body. If I say that I have the _same_ body when I am fifty
which I had at twenty, it is because I mean by "body" that which
continues unaltered amid the fast-flying particles of matter. This life
principle makes and remakes the material frame; that body does not
make it. When what we call death intervenes, all that we can assert
is that the life principle has done wholly and at once what it has
always been doing gradually and in part. What happens to the material
particles, we see: they become detached from the organizing principle,
and relapse into simply mechanical and chemical conditions. What has
happened to that organizing principle we neither see nor know; and we
have absolutely no reason at all for saying that it has ceased to exist.

This is as true of plants and of animals as of men; and there is no
reason for supposing that when these die their principle of life
is ended. It probably has reached a crisis, which consists in the
putting on of new forms and ascending into a higher order of organized
existence.



APROPOS OF TYNDALL[21]


We have all read in our "Vicar of Wakefield" the famous speech made
by the venerable and learned Ephraim Jenkinson to good Dr. Primrose:
"The cosmogony, or creation of the world, has puzzled philosophers in
all ages. Sanchoniathon, Manetho, Berosus, and Ocellus Lucanus have
all attempted it in vain," etc. But we hardly expected to have this
question of cosmogony reopened by an eminent scientist in an address
to the British Association. What "Sanchoniathon, Manetho, Berosus, and
Ocellus Lucanus have all attempted in vain" Professor Tyndall has not
only discussed before a body of men learned in the physical sciences,
but has done it in such a manner as to rouse two continents to a new
interest in the question. One party has immediately accused him of
irreligion and infidelity, while another has declared his statements
innocent if not virtuous. But the question which has been least debated
is, What has the professor really said? or, Has he said anything?

The celebrated sentence which has occasioned this excitement is as
follows:--

"Abandoning all disguise, the confession that I feel bound to make
before you is, that I prolong the vision backward across the boundary
of the experimental evidence, and discern in that matter which we in
our ignorance, and notwithstanding our professed reverence for its
Creator, have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency
of every form and quality of life."

Does he, then, declare himself a materialist? A materialist is one
who asserts everything which exists to be matter, or an affection of
matter. What, then, is matter, and how is that to be defined? The
common definition of matter is, that which is perceived by the senses,
or the substance underlying sensible phenomena. By means of the senses
we perceive such qualities or phenomena as resistance, form, color,
perfume, sound. Whenever we observe these phenomena, whenever we see,
hear, taste, touch, or smell, we attribute the affections thus excited
to an external substance, which we call _matter_. But we are aware of
other phenomena which are _not_ perceived by the senses,--- such as
thought, love, and will. We are as certain of their existence as we
are of sensible phenomena. I am as sure of the reality of love as I am
of the whiteness of chalk. By a law of our mind, whenever we perceive
sensible phenomena, we necessarily attribute them to a substance
outside of ourselves, which we call matter. And by another law, or the
same law, whenever we perceive the phenomena of consciousness, we
necessarily attribute them to a substance which we call soul, mind, or
spirit. All that we know of matter, and all that we know of soul, is
their phenomena, and as these are entirely different, we are obliged
to assume that matter and mind are different. None of the qualities or
attributes of matter belong to mind, none of those of mind to matter.

Does Tyndall deny this distinction? Apparently not. He not only makes
Bishop Butler declare, with unanswerable power, that materialism can
never show any connection between molecular processes and the phenomena
of consciousness, but he distinctly iterates this in his own person
at the end of the address; asserting that there is no fusion possible
between the two classes of facts, those of sensation and those of
consciousness. Professor Tyndall, then, in the famous sentence above
quoted, does not declare himself a materialist in the only sense
in which the term has hitherto been used. He does not pretend that
sensation, thought, emotion, and will are reducible, in the last
analysis, to solidity, extension, divisibility, etc.; he positively and
absolutely denies this.

When Tyndall, therefore, asserts that he discerns in matter the
promise and potency of every form and quality of life, he uses the
word "matter" in a new sense. He does not mean by it the underlying
subject of sensible phenomena. It is not the matter which we see,
hear, touch, taste, and smell. What is it then? It is something beyond
the limits of observation and experiment; for he says that in order to
discover it we must "prolong the vision backward across the boundary
of the experimental evidence." In short, it is something which we know
nothing about. It is a conjecture, an opinion, a theoretical matter. In
another place he calls this imaginary substance "a cosmical life." This
something, which shall be the common basis of the phenomena of sense
and soul, not only is not known, but apparently is not knowable. For he
assures us that the very attempt to understand this cosmical life which
makes the connection between physical and mental phenomena, is "to soar
in a vacuum," or "to try to lift one's self by his own waistband."

Of course, then, the contents of the famous sentence are not _science_.
It is not the great scientist, the profound observer of nature, the
distinguished experimentalist, who speaks to us in that sentence, but
one who is theorizing, as we all have a right to theorize. We also,
if we choose, may imagine some "cosmical life" behind both matter and
soul, as the common origin of both, and call this life _spirit_. We
shall then be thinking of exactly the same substance that Tyndall is
thinking of, only we give it another name. He has merely given another
name to the great Being behind all the phenomena of body and soul, out
of which or whom all proceed. But to give another name to a fact is
not to tell us anything more about it. All meaning having evaporated
from the word "matter," the sentence loses its whole significance, and
it appears that the alarming declaration asserts nothing at all! In
"abandoning all disguise" Tyndall has run little risk, for our analysis
shows that he has not asserted anything except, perhaps, this, that
there is, in his judgment, some unknown common basis in which matter
and mind both inhere. This assertion is not alarming nor dangerous, for
it is only what has always been believed.

As there is no materialism, in any known sense of that term, in the
doctrine of this address, so likewise there is no atheism. In fact, in
this same sentence Tyndall speaks of the "creator" of what he likes
to call "matter" or "cosmical life." He objects strongly to a creator
who works mechanically, and he seems to reprove Darwin for admitting
an original or primordial form, created at first by the Deity. "The
anthropomorphism, which it seemed the object of Mr. Darwin to set
aside, is as firmly associated with the creation of a few forms as with
the creation of a multitude." In another passage he says: "Is there not
a temptation to close to some extent with Lucretius, when he affirms
that nature is seen to do all things spontaneously of herself without
the meddling of the gods?". But this last sentence shows a singular
vacillation in so clear a thinker as Tyndall. How can one close "to
some extent" with such a statement as that of Lucretius? Either the
gods meddle, or they do not meddle. They can hardly be considered as
meddling "to some extent." In still another passage he contrasts the
doctrine of evolution with the usual doctrine of creation, rejecting
the last in favor of the other, because creation makes of God "an
artificer, fashioned after the human model, and acting by broken
efforts, as man is seen to act."

All these expressions are somewhat vague, implying, as it seems, a
certain obscurity in Tyndall's own thought. But it is not atheism.
His "cosmical life" probably is exactly what Cudworth means by
"plastic life." It is well known that Cudworth, whose great work
is a confutation of all atheism, himself admits what he calls "a
plastic nature" in the universe as a subordinate instrument of divine
Providence. Just as Tyndall objects to regarding the Deity as "an
artificer," Cudworth objects to the "mechanic theists," who make the
Deity act directly upon matter from without, by separate efforts,
instead of pouring a creative and arranging life into nature. We can
easily see that Cudworth, like Tyndall, would object to Darwin's one or
two "primordial germs." His "plastic nature" is working everywhere and
always, though under a divine guidance. It is "a life," and therefore
incorporeal. It is an unconscious life, which acts, not knowingly,
but fatally. Man, according to Cudworth, partakes of this life from
the life of the universe, just as he partakes of heat and cold from
the heat and cold of the universe. Thus Cudworth, believing in some
such "cosmical life" as Tyndall imagines, conceives it as being itself
the organ and instrument of the Deity. Tyndall, therefore, though
less clear in his statements than Cudworth, is not logically involved
in atheism by those statements, unless we implicate in the same
condemnation the writer whose vast work constitutes the fullest arsenal
of weapons against all the forms of atheism.

Unfortunately, however, Tyndall does not come to any clearness on
this point, which in one possessing such a lucidity of intellect must
be occasioned by his leaving his own domain of science and venturing
into this metaphysical world, with which he is not so familiar.
His acquaintance with the history of these studies seems not to be
extensive. For example, he attributes to Herbert Spencer, as if he were
the discoverer, what both Hobbes and Descartes had already stated,
that there is no necessary resemblance between our sensations and the
external objects from which they are derived. In regard to a belief in
God, he tells us that in his weaker moments he loses it, or that it
becomes clouded and dim, but that when he is at his best he accepts it
most fully. This belief, therefore, is not with Tyndall a matter of
conviction, founded on reason, but a question of moods. No wonder,
then, that he relegates religion to the region of sentiment, and
declares that it has nothing to do with knowledge. It must not touch
any question of cosmogony, or, if it does, must "submit to the control
of science" in that field. But what has science to do with cosmogony?
Science rests on observation of facts; but our professor tells us
that he obtains his great cosmological idea of "a cosmical life" by
prolonging his vision backward "across the boundary of the experimental
evidence." Such science as this, which is based on no experience, and
is incapable of verification, has hardly the right to warn religious
belief away from any field.

Tyndall seems a little astray in making creation and evolution
contradictory and incompatible. Evolution, he tells us, is the
manifestation of a power wholly inscrutable to the intellect of man. We
know that God is,--that is, we know it in our better moods,--but _what_
God is, we cannot ever know. At all events we must not consider him as
a Creator. "Two courses," says Tyndall, "and only two, are possible.
Either let us open our doors freely to the conception of creative acts,
or, abandoning them, let us radically change our notions of matter."
His objections to the idea of a Creator appear to be (1) that it is
"derived, not from the study of Nature, but from the observation of
men;" and (2) that it represents the Deity "as an artificer, fashioned
after a human model, and acting by broken efforts as man is seen to
act."

Are these objections sound? When we study man, are we not then also
studying Nature? Is not man himself the highest manifestation of
Nature? If so, and if we see the quality of any power best in its
highest and fullest operations, we can study the nature of God best
by looking into our own. We should, in fact, know very little of
Nature if we did not look within as well as without. Tyndall justly
demands unlimited freedom of investigation in the pursuit of science.
But whence came this very idea of freedom except from the human mind?
Nothing in the external world is free; all is fatal. Such ideas as
cause, force, substance, law, unity, ideality, are not observed in
the outward world--they are given by the activity of the mind itself.
Subtract these from our thought, and we should know very little of
Nature or its origin.

No doubt the idea of a Creator, and of one perfect in wisdom, power,
and goodness, is derived by man from his own mind. But it is not
necessary that such a Creator should be an "artificer," or proceed by
"broken efforts." He may act by evolution, or processes of development.
He may create perpetually, by a life flowing from himself into all
things. He may create the universe anew at every moment--not as a
man lights a torch with a match and then goes away, but as the sun
creates his image in the water by a perpetual process. Thus God may be
regarded as _creating_ each animal and each plant, while he maintains
the mysterious force of development by which it grows from its egg or
its seed. The essential idea of creation is an infinite cause, acting
according to a perfect intelligence, for a perfect good. There is
nothing, necessarily, of an artificer or of broken efforts in this. It
is the very idea of divine creation given in the New Testament. "From
whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things." "In him, we live,
and move, and have our being." The theist may well accept the view
given by Goethe, in his little poem, "Gott, Gemüth, und Welt."

    "What kind of God would He be who only pushes the universe from
             without?
    Who lets the All of Things run round and round on his finger?
    It becomes him far better to move the universe from within,
    To take Nature up into Himself, to let Himself down into Nature,
    So that whatever lives, and moves, and has its being in Him
    Never loses His power, never misses His spirit."

Such a conception of God, as a perpetual Creator, is essential to the
intellectual rest of the human mind, and it is painful to see the
irresolution of Professor Tyndall in regard to it. "Clear and confident
as Jove" in the domain which is his own, where his masterly powers of
observation, discrimination, and judgment leave him without a peer, he
seems shorn of his strength on entering this field of metaphysics.
He has warned theology not to trespass on the grounds of science; or,
if she enters them, to submit to science as her superior. Theology
has been in the habit of treating science in the same supercilious
way; telling her that she was an intruder if she ventured to discuss
questions of psychology or religion. This is equally unwise on either
part. Theologians should be glad when men of science become seriously
interested in these great questions of the Whence and the Whither. The
address of Professor Tyndall is excellent in its intention as well as
in its candid and manly treatment of the subject. Its indecision and
indistinctness are probably due to his having accepted too implicitly
the guidance of Spencer, thus assuming that religious truth is
unknowable, that creation is impossible, and that only phenomena can
become objects of knowledge. "Insoluble mystery" is therefore his final
answer to the questions he has himself raised.

Goethe is wiser when he follows the Apostle Paul, and regards the
Deity as "the fullness which filleth all in all." There is no unity
to thought, and no hope for scientific progress, more than for moral
culture, unless we see intelligence at the centre, intelligence on the
circumference of being. To place an impenetrable darkness instead of
an unclouded light on the throne of the universe, is to throw a shadow
over the Creation.

We say that there is no unity in thought without this conviction. The
only real unity we know in the world is our own. All we see around
us, including our own body, is divisible, subject to alteration and
change. Only the ego, or soul, is conscious of a perfect unity in a
perpetual identity. Unless we can attribute to the source of all being
a similar personal unity, there can be no coherence to science, but it
must forever remain fragmentary and divided. This is what we mean by
asserting the personality of Deity. This idea reaches what Lord Bacon
calls "the vertical point of natural philosophy" or "the summary law of
Nature," and constitutes, as he declares, "the union of all things in a
perpetual and uniform law."

And unless we can recognize in the ultimate fountain of being an
intelligent purpose, the meaning of the universe departs. Without
intelligence in the cause there is none in the effect. Then the world
has no meaning, life no aim. The universe comes out of darkness, and is
plunging into darkness again.

Take away from the domain of knowledge the idea of a creating and
presiding intelligence, and there remains no motive for science itself.
Professor Tyndall is sagacious enough to see and candid enough to admit
that "without moral force to whip it into action the achievements of
the intellect would be poor indeed," and that "science itself not
unfrequently derives motive power from ultra-scientific sources." Faith
in God, as an intelligent creator and ruler of the world, has awakened
enthusiasm for scientific investigation among both the Aryan and the
Semitic races.

The purest and highest form of monotheism is that of Christianity; and
in Christendom has science made its largest progress. Not by martyrs
for science, but by martyrs for religion, has the human mind been
emancipated. Mr. Tyndall says of scientific freedom, "We fought and won
our battle even in the middle ages." But the heroes of intellectual
liberty have been the heroes of faith. Hundreds of thousands have died
for a religious creed; but how many have died for a scientific theory?
Luther went to Worms, and maintained his opinions there in defiance
of the anathemas of the church and the ban of the empire, but Galileo
denied his most cherished convictions on his knees. Galileo was as
noble a character as Luther; but science does not create the texture
of soul which makes so many martyrs in all the religious sects of
Christendom. Let the doctrine of cosmical force supplant our faith in
the Almighty, and in a few hundred years science would probably fade
out of the world from pure inanition. The world would probably not care
enough for _anything_ to care for science. The light of eternity must
fall on this our human and earthly life, to arouse the soul to a living
and permanent interest even in things seen and temporal.

Professor Tyndall says: "Whether the views of Lucretius, Darwin, and
Spencer are right or wrong, we claim the freedom to discuss them. The
ground which they cover is scientific ground."

It is not only a right, but a duty to examine these theories, since
they are held seriously and urged earnestly by able men. But we must
doubt whether they ought to claim the authority of science. They are
proposed by scientific men, and they refer to scientific subjects. But
these theories, in their present development, belong to metaphysics
rather than to science. Science consists, first, of observation of
facts; secondly, of laws inferred from those facts; and thirdly, of
a verification of those laws by new observation and experiment. That
which cannot be verified is no part of science; astronomy is a science,
since every eclipse and occultation verifies its laws; geology is a
science, since every new observation of the strata and their contents
accords with the established part of the system; chemistry is a
science for the same reason. But Darwin's theory of the transformation
of species by natural selection is as yet unverified. "There is no
evidence of a direct descent of earlier from later species in the
geological succession of animals." So says Agassiz, and on this point
his testimony can hardly be impeached. Professor W. Thompson, another
good geological authority, says: "In successive geological formations,
although new species are constantly appearing, and there is abundant
evidence of progressive change, no single case has yet been observed
of one species passing through a series of inappreciable modifications
into another." Neither has any such change taken place within historic
times, for the animals and plants found in the tombs of Egypt are
"identical, in all respects," says M. Quatrefages, "with those now
existing." He adds the opinion, after a very careful and candid
examination of the hypothesis of Darwin, that "the theory and the
facts do not agree." Not being verified, then, this theory is not yet
science, but an unverified mental hypothesis, that is, metaphysics.

It is important that this should be distinctly said, for when men
eminent in science propound new theories, these theories themselves are
apt to be regarded as science, and those who oppose them are accused
of being opposed to science. This is the tendency which Professor
Tyndall has so justly described in this very address: "When the human
mind has achieved greatness and given evidence of power in any domain,
there is a tendency to credit it with similar power in any other
domain." Because Tyndall is great in experimental science, many are
apt to accept his cosmological conclusions. Because he is a great
observer in natural history, his metaphysical theories are supposed
to be supported by observation, and to rest on experience. Professor
Tyndall's own address terminates, not in science, but nescience. It
treats of a realm of atoms and molecules whose existence science has
never demonstrated, and attributes to them potencies which science has
never verified. It is a system, not made necessary by the stringent
constraint of facts, but avowedly constructed in order to avoid the
belief in an intelligent Creator, and a universe marked by the presence
of design. His theory, he admits, no less than that of Darwin, was not
constructed in the pure interests of truth for its own sake. There was
another purpose in both,--to get rid of a theology of final causes, of
a theology which conceives of God as a human artificer. He wished to
exclude religion from the field of cosmogony, and forbid it to intrude
on the region of knowledge. Theologians have often been reproached
for studying "with a purpose," but it seems that this is a frailty
belonging not to theologians only, but to all human beings who care a
good deal for what they believe.

Professor Tyndall accepts religious faith as an important element of
human nature, but considers it as confined to the sentiments, and
as not based in knowledge. He doubtless comes to this conclusion
from following too implicitly the traditions of modern English
psychology. These assume that knowledge comes only from without,
through the senses, and never from within, through intuition. This
prepossession, singularly English and insular, is thus stated by John
Stuart Mill in his article on Coleridge. "Sensation, and the mind's
consciousness of its own acts, are not only the exclusive sources,
but the sole materials of our knowledge. There is no knowledge _a
priori_; no truths cognizable by the mind's inward light, and grounded
on intuitive evidence." These views have been developed in England by
the two Mills, Herbert Spencer, Bain, and others, who have made great
efforts to show how sensations may be transformed into thoughts; how
association of ideas may have developed instincts; how hereditary
impressions, repeated for a million years, may at last have taken on
the aspect of necessary truths. In short, they have laid out great
labor and ingenuity in proving that a sensation may, very gradually, be
transformed into a thought.

But all this labor is probably a waste of time and of intellectual
power. The attempt at turning sensation into thought only results in
turning thought into sensation. It is an error that we only know what
we perceive through the senses, or transform by the action of the
mind. It is not true that we only know that of which we can form a
sensible image. We know the existence of the soul as certainly as that
of the body. We know the infinite and the eternal as well as we know
the finite and temporal. We know substance, cause, immortal beauty,
absolute truth, as surely as the flitting phenomena which pass within
the sphere of sensational experience. These convictions belong, not to
the sphere of sentiment and emotion, but to that of knowledge. It is
because they show us realities and not imaginations, that they nerve
the soul to such vast efforts in the sphere of morals, literature, and
religion.

The arguments against the independent existence of the soul which
Tyndall puts into the mouth of his Lucretian disciple are not difficult
to answer. "You can form no picture of the soul," he says. No; and
neither can we form a mental picture of love or hate, of right and
wrong, or even of bodily pain and pleasure. "If localized in the body,
the soul must have form." Must a pain, localized in the finger, have
form? "When a leg is amputated, in which part does the soul reside?"
We answer, that the soul resides in the body, with reduced power. Its
instrument is less perfect than before--like a telescope which has
lost a lens. "If consciousness is an essential attribute of the soul,
where is the soul when consciousness ceases by the depression of the
brain?" Is there any difficulty, we reply, in supposing that the soul
may pass sometimes into a state of torpor, when its instrument is
injured? A soul may sleep, and so be unconscious, without being dead.
"The diseased brain may produce immorality: can the reason control it?
If not, what is the use of the reason?" To this we answer that the
soul may lose its power with a diseased body; but when furnished with
another and better body, it will regain it. "If you regard the body
only as an instrument, you will neglect to take care of it." Does the
astronomer neglect to take care of his telescope?

These answers to the Lucretian may be far from complete; but they are
at least as good as the objections. The soul, no doubt, depends on the
body, and cannot do its work well when the body is out of order; but
does that prove it to be the _result_ of the body? If so, the same
argument would prove the carpenter to be the result of his box of
tools, and the organist to be the result of his organ. The organist
draws sweet music from his instrument. But as his organ grows old,
or is injured by the weather, or the pipes crack, and the pedals get
out of order, the music becomes more and more imperfect. At last the
instrument is wholly ruined, and the music wholly ceases. Is, then,
the organist dead, or was he only the result of the organ? "Without
phosphorus, no thought," say the materialists. True. So, "without the
organ, no music." Just as in addition to the musical instrument we need
a performer, so in addition to the brain we need a soul.

There are two worlds of knowledge,--the outward world, which is
perceived through the senses, and which belongs to physical science,
and the inward world, perceived by the nobler reason, and from which
a celestial light streams in, irradiating the mind through all its
powers. Religion and science are not opposed, though different; their
spheres are different, though not to be divided. Each is supreme in
its own region, but each needs the help of the other in order to do
its own work well. Professor Tyndall claims freedom of discussion and
inquiry for himself and his scientific brethren, and says he will
oppose to the death any limitation of this liberty. He need not be
anxious on this point. Religious faith has already fought this battle,
and won for science as well as for itself perfect liberty of thought.
The Protestant churches may say, "With a great sum obtained we this
freedom." By the lives of its confessors and the blood of its martyrs
has it secured for all men to-day equal rights of thought and speech.
What neither Copernicus, Kepler, nor Galileo could do was accomplished
by the courage of Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and Oliver
Cromwell.

And now the freedom they obtained by such sacrifices we inherit and
enjoy: "We are free-born." We may be thankful that in most countries
to-day no repression nor dictation prevents any man from expressing
his inmost thought. We are glad that the most rabid unbelief and
extreme denial can be spoken calmly in the open day. This is one great
discovery of modern times, that errors lose half their influence when
openly uttered. We owe this discovery to the Reformation. The reformers
made possible a toleration much larger than their own; unwittingly,
while seeking freedom for their own thoughts, they won the same
freedom for others, who went farther than they. They builded better
than they knew.

       *       *       *       *       *

Professor Tyndall's address is tranquil yet earnest, modest, and manly.
But its best result is, that it shows us the impotence of the method
of sensation to explain the mystery of the universe. It has shown us
clearly the limitations of "the understanding judging by sense"--shown
that it sees our world clearly, but is blind to the other. It can tell
every blade of grass, and name every mineral; but it stands helpless
and hopeless before the problem of being. Science and religion may each
say with the apostle, "We know in part and prophesy in part." Together
and united, they may one day see and know the whole.



LAW AND DESIGN IN NATURE[22]


In the paper which opens this discussion on "Law and Design in Nature,"
Professor Newcomb announces in a single sentence a proposition, the
truth or falsehood of which, he tells us, is "the sole question
presented for discussion in the present series of papers."

But, as soon as we examine this proposition, we find that it contains
not one sole question, but three. The three are independent of each
other, and do not necessarily stand or fall together. They are these:--

1. "The whole course of Nature, considered as a succession of
phenomena, is conditioned solely by antecedent causes."

2. In the action of these causes, "no regard to consequences is
traceable."

3. And no regard to consequences is "necessary to foresee the
phenomena."

Of these three propositions I admit the truth of the first; deny
the truth of the second; and, for want of space, and because of its
relative unimportance, leave the third unexamined.

The first proposition is so evidently true, and so universally
admitted, that it was hardly worth positing for discussion. It is
merely affirming that every natural phenomenon implies a cause. The
word "antecedent" is ambiguous, but, if it intends logical and not
chronological antecedence, it is unobjectionable. So understood, we are
merely asked if we can accept the law of universal causation; which
I suppose we shall all readily do, since this law is the basis of
theology no less than of science. Without it, we could not prove the
existence of the first cause. Professor Newcomb has divided us into two
conflicting schools, one of theology and the other of science. Taking
my place in the school of theology, I think I may safely assert for
my brethren that on this point there is no conflict, but that we all
admit the truth of the law of universal causation. It will be noticed
that Professor Newcomb has carefully worded his statement, so as not to
confine us to physical causes, nor even to exclude supernatural causes
from without, working into the nexus of natural laws. He does not
say "antecedent physical causes," nor does he say "causes which have
existed from the beginning."

Admitting thus the truth of the first proposition, I must resolutely
deny that of the second; since, by accepting it, I should surrender
the very cause I wish to defend, namely, that we can perceive design
in Nature. Final causes are those which "regard consequences." The
principle of finality is defined by M. Janet (in his recent exhaustive
work, "Les Causes finales") as "the present determined by the future."
One example of the way in which we can trace in Nature "a regard to
consequences" is so excellently stated by this eminent philosopher
that we will introduce it here: "Consider what is implied in the egg
of a bird. In the mystery and night of incubation there comes, by the
combination of an incredible number of causes, a living machine within
the egg. It is absolutely separated from the external world, but every
part is related to some future use. The outward physical world which
the creature is to inhabit is wholly divided by impenetrable veils from
this internal laboratory; but a preëstablished harmony exists between
them. Without, there is light; within, an optical machine adapted to
it. Without, there is sound; within, an acoustic apparatus. Without,
are vegetables and animals; within, organs for their reception and
assimilation. Without, is air; within, lungs with which to breathe it.
Without, is oxygen; within, blood to be oxygenized. Without, is earth;
within, feet are being made to walk on it. Without, is the atmosphere;
within, are wings with which to fly through it. Now imagine a blind
and idiotic workman, alone in a cellar, who simply by moving his limbs
to and fro should be found to have forged a key capable of opening
the most complex lock. If we exclude design, this is what Nature is
supposed to be doing."

That design exists in Nature, and that earthly phenomena actually
depend on final causes as well as on efficient causes, appears from
the industry of man. Man is certainly a part of Nature, and those who
accept evolution must regard him as the highest development resulting
from natural processes. Now, all over the earth, from morning till
evening, men are acting for ends. "Regard to consequences is traceable"
in all their conduct. They are moved by hope and expectation. They
devise plans, and act for a purpose. From the savage hammering his
flint arrowheads, up to a Shakespeare composing "Hamlet," a Columbus
seeking a new way to Asia, or a Paul converting Europe to a Syrian
religion, human industry is a constant proof that a large part of
the course of Nature on this earth is the result of design. And, as
man develops into higher stages, this principle of design rises also
from the simple to the complex, taking ever larger forms. A ship, for
instance, shows throughout the adaptation of means to ends, by which
complex adaptations produce a unity of result.

And that there is no conflict between the action of physical causes
and final causes is demonstrated by the works of man, since they all
result from the harmonious action of both. In studying human works we
ask two questions,--"How?" and "Why?" We ask, "What is it for?" and
"How is it done?" The two lines of inquiry run parallel, and without
conflict. So, in studying the works of Nature, to seek for design does
not obstruct the investigation of causes, and may often aid it. Thus
Harvey is said to have been led to the discovery of the circulation of
the blood by seeking for the use of the valves of the veins and heart.

The human mind is so constituted that, whenever it sees an event,
it is obliged to infer a cause. So, whenever it sees adaptation, it
infers design. It is not necessary to know the end proposed, or who
were the agents. Adaptation itself, implying the use of means, leads us
irresistibly to infer intention. We do not know who built Stonehenge,
or some of the pyramids, or what they were built for; but no one doubts
that they were the result of design. This inference is strengthened
if we see combination toward an end, and preparation made beforehand
for a result which comes afterward. From preparation, combination, and
adaptation, we are led to believe in the presence of human design even
where we did not before know of the presence of human beings. A few
rudely shaped stones, found in a stratum belonging to the Quaternary
period, in which man had before not been believed to exist, changed
that opinion. Those chipped flints showed adaptation; from adaptation
design was inferred; and design implied the presence of man.

Now, we find in Nature, especially in the organization and
instincts of animals, myriads of similar instances of preparation,
combination, and adaptation. Two explanations only of this occurred
to antiquity,--design and chance. Socrates, Plato, and others, were
led by such facts to infer the creation of the world by an intelligent
author--"ille opifex rerum." Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius,
ascribed it to the fortuitous concourse of atoms. But modern science
has expelled chance from the universe, and substituted law. Laplace,
observing forty-three instances in the solar system of planets and
their satellites revolving on their axes or moving in their orbits,
from west to east, declared that this could not be a mere coincidence.
Chance, therefore, being set aside, the question takes another form:
"Did the cosmos that we see come by design or by law?"

But does this really change the question? Granting, for example, the
truth of the theory of the development of all forms of life, under the
operation of law, from a primal cell, we must then ask, "Did these
_laws_ come by chance or by design?" It is not possible to evade that
issue. If the universe resulted from non-intelligent forces, those
forces themselves must have existed as the result of chance or of
intelligence. If you put out the eyes, you leave blindness; if you
strike intelligence out of the creative mystery, you leave blind
forces, the result of accident. Whatever is not from intelligence is
from accident. To substitute law for chance is merely removing the
difficulty a little further back; it does not solve it.

To eliminate interventions from the universe is not to remove design.
The most profound theists have denied such interruptions of the course
of Nature. Leibnitz is an illustrious example of this. Janet declares
him to have been the true author of the theory of evolution, by his
"Law of Continuity," of "Insensible Perceptions," and of "Infinitely
Small Increments." Yet he also fully believed in final causes.
Descartes, who objected to some teleological statements, believed that
the Creator imposed laws on chaos by which the world emerged into a
cosmos. We know that existing animals are evolved by a continuous
process from eggs, and existing vegetables by a like process from
seeds. No one ever supposed that there was less of design on this
account in their creation. So, if all existing things came at first by
a like process from a single germ, it would not argue less, but far
more, of design in the universe.

The theory of "natural selection" does not enable us to dispense with
final causes. This theory requires the existence of forces working
according to the law of heredity and the law of variation, together
with a suitable environment. But whence came this arrangement, by
which a law of heredity was combined with a law of variation, and
both made to act in a suitable environment? Here we find again the
three marks of a designing intelligence: preparation, combination,
adaptation. That intelligence which combines and adapts means to ends
is merely remanded to the initial step of the process, instead of being
allowed to act continuously along the whole line of evolution. Even
though you can explain by the action of mechanical forces the whole
development of the solar system and its contents from a nebula, you
have only accumulated all the action of a creative intelligence in the
nebula itself. Because I can explain the mechanical process by which a
watch keeps time, I have not excluded the necessity of a watchmaker.
Because, walking through my neighbor's grounds, I come upon a water-ram
pumping up water by a purely mechanical process, I do not argue that
this mechanism makes the assumption of an inventor superfluous. In
human industry we perceive a power capable of using the blind forces
of Nature for an intelligent end; which prepares beforehand for the
intended result; which combines various conditions suited to produce
it, and so creates order, system, use. But we observe in Nature exactly
similar examples of order, method, and system, resulting from a vast
number of combinations, correlations, and adaptations of natural
forces. Man himself is such a result. He is an animal capable of
activity, happiness, progress. But innumerable causes are combined and
harmonized in his physical frame, each necessary to this end. As the
human intelligence is the only power we know capable of accomplishing
such results, analogy leads us to assume that a similar intelligence
presides over the like combinations of means to ends in Nature. If any
one questions the value of this argument from analogy, let him remember
how entirely we rely upon it in all the business of life. We _know_
only the motives which govern our own actions; but we infer by analogy
that others act from similar motives. Knowing that we ourselves combine
means designed to effect ends, when we see others adapting means to
ends, we assume that they act also with design. Hence we have a right
to extend the argument further and higher.

The result of what I have said is this: The phenomena of the universe
cannot be satisfactorily explained except by the study both of
efficient causes and of final causes. Routine scientists, confining
themselves to the one, and routine theologians, confining themselves
to the other, may suppose them to be in conflict. But men of larger
insight, like Leibnitz, Newton, Descartes, and Bacon, easily see the
harmony between them. Like Hegel they say: "Nature is no less artful
than powerful; it attains its end while it allows all things to act
according to their constitution;" or they declare with Bacon that "the
highest link of Nature's chain is fastened to the foot of Jupiter's
chair." But the belief in final causes does not imply belief in
supernatural intervention, nor of any disturbance in the continuity of
natural processes. It means that Nature is pervaded by an intelligent
presence; that mind is above and around matter; that mechanical laws
are themselves a manifestation of some providing wisdom, and that when
we say Nature we also say God.[23]



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL



THE TWO CARLYLES, OR CARLYLE PAST AND PRESENT[24]


In Thomas Carlyle's earlier days, when he followed a better inspiration
than his present,--when his writings were steeped, not in cynicism, but
in the pure human love of his fellow beings,--in the days when he did
not worship Force, but Truth and Goodness,--in those days, it was the
fashion of critics to pass the most sweeping censures on his writings
as "affected," "unintelligible," "extravagant." But he worked his way
on, in spite of that superficial criticism,--he won for himself an
audience; he gained renown; he became authentic. _Now_, the same class
of critics admire and praise whatever he writes. For the rule with
most critics is that of the bully in school and college,--to tyrannize
over the new boys, to abuse the strangers, but to treat with respect
whoever has bravely fought his way into a recognized position. Carlyle
has fought his way into the position of a great literary chief,--so
now he may be ever so careless, ever so willful, and he will be spoken
of in high terms by all monthlies and quarterlies. When he deserved
admiration, he was treated with cool contempt; now that he deserves
the sharpest criticism, not only for his false moral position, but
for his gross literary sins, the critics treat him with deference and
respect.

But let us say beforehand that we can never write of Thomas Carlyle
with bitterness. We have received too much good from him in past
days. He is our "Lost Leader," but we have loved and honored him as
few men were ever loved and honored. It is therefore with tenderness,
and not any cold, indifferent criticism, that we find fault with him
now. We shall always be grateful to the real Carlyle, the old Carlyle
of "Sartor Resartus," of the "French Revolution," of the "Life of
Schiller," of "Heroes and Hero-Worship," and of that long and noble
series of articles in the Edinburgh, Foreign Review, Westminster, and
Frazer, each of which illuminated some theme, and threw the glory of
genius over whatever his mind touched or his pencil drew.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carlyle's "Frederick the Great"[25] seems to us a badly written book.
Let us consider the volume containing the fifteenth, sixteenth, and
seventeenth chapters. Nothing in these chapters is brought out clearly.
When we have finished the book, the mind is filled with a confusion of
vague images. We know that Mr. Carlyle is not bound to "provide us
with brains" as well as with a history, but neither was he so bound in
other days. Yet no such confusion was left after reading the "French
Revolution." How brilliantly distinct was every leading event, every
influential person, every pathetic or poetic episode, in that charmed
narrative! Who can forget Carlyle's account of the "Menads," the
King's "Flight to Varennes," the Constitutions that "would not march,"
the "September Massacres," "Charlotte Corday,"--every chief tragic
movement, every grotesque episode, moving forward, distinct and clear,
to the final issue, "a whiff of grapeshot"? Is there anything like that
in this confused "Frederick"?

Compare, for example, the chapters on Voltaire in the present volume
with the article on Voltaire published in 1829.

The sixteenth book is devoted to the ten years of peace which followed
the second Silesian war. These were from 1746 to 1756. The book
contains fifteen chapters. Carlyle begins, in chapter i., by lamenting
that there is very little to be known or said about these ten years.
"Nothing visible in them of main significance but a crash of authors'
quarrels, and the crowning visit of Voltaire." Yet one would think
that matter enough might be found in describing the immense activity
of Friedrich, of which Macaulay says, "His exertions were such as were
hardly to be expected from a human body or a human mind." During these
years Frederick brought a seventh part of his people into the army,
and organized and drilled it under his own personal inspection, till
it became the finest in Europe. He compiled a code of laws, in which
he, among the first, abolished torture. He made constant journeys
through his dominions, examining the condition of manufactures,
arts, commerce, and agriculture. He introduced the strictest economy
into the expenditures of the state. He indulged himself, indeed,
in various architectural extravagances at Berlin and Potsdam,--but
otherwise saved every florin for his army. He wrote "Memoirs of the
House of Brandenburg," and an epic poem on the "Art of War." But our
author disdains to give us an account of these things. They are not
picturesque, they can be told in only general terms, and Carlyle
will tell us only what an eyewitness could see or a listener hear.
Accordingly, instead of giving us an account of these great labors of
his hero, he inserts (chapter ii.) "a peep at Voltaire and his divine
Emilie," "a visit to Frederick by Marshal Saxe;" (chapter iii.) a long
account of Candidate Linsenbarth's visit to the king; "Sir Jonas Hanway
stalks across the scene;" the lawsuit of Voltaire about the Jew Hirsch;
"a demon news-writer gives an idea of Friedrich;" the quarrel of
Voltaire and Maupertuis; "Friedrich is visible in Holland to the naked
eye for some minutes."

This is very unsatisfactory. Reports of eyewitnesses are, no doubt,
picturesque and valuable; but so only on condition of being properly
arranged, and tending, in their use, toward some positive result. Then
the tone of banter, of irony, almost of persiflage, is discouraging. If
the whole story of Friedrich is so unintelligible, uninteresting, or
incommunicable, why take the trouble to write it? The _poco-curante_
air with which he narrates, as though it were of no great consequence
whether he told his story or not, contrasts wonderfully with his early
earnestness. Carlyle writes this history like a man thoroughly _blasé_.
Impossible for him to take any interest in it himself,--how, then, does
he expect to interest us? Has he not himself told us, in his former
writings, that the man who proposes to teach others anything must be
good enough to believe it first himself?

Here is the problem we have to solve. How came this change from the
Carlyle of the Past to the Carlyle of the Present,--from Carlyle the
universal believer to Carlyle the universal skeptic,--from him to whom
the world was full of wonder and beauty, to him who can see in it
nothing but Force on the one side and Shams on the other? What changed
that tender, loving, brave soul into this hard cynic? And how was it,
as Faith and Love faded out of him, that the life passed from his
thought, the glory from his pen, and the page, once alive with flashing
ideas, turned into this confused heap of rubbish, in which silver
spoons, old shoes, gold sovereigns, and copper pennies are pitched out
promiscuously, for the patient reader to sift and pick over as he can?
In reading the Carlyle of thirty years ago, we were like California
miners,--come upon a rich _placer_, never before opened, where we could
all become rich in a day. Now the reader of Carlyle is a _chiffonier_,
raking in a heap of street dust for whatever precious matters may turn
up.

To investigate this question is our purpose now,--and in doing so we
will consider, in succession, these two Carlyles.

I. It was about the year 1830 that readers of books in this vicinity
became aware of a new power coming up in the literary republic.
Opinions concerning him varied widely. To some he seemed a Jack Cade,
leader of rebels, foe to good taste and all sound opinions. Especially
did his admiration for Goethe and for German literature seem to many
preposterous and extravagant. It was said of these, that "the force
of folly could no further go,"--that they "constituted a burlesque
too extravagant to be amusing." The tone of Carlyle was said to be of
"unbounded assumption;" his language to be "obscure and barbarous;" his
ideas composed of "extravagant paradoxes, familiar truths or familiar
falsehoods;" "wildest extravagance and merest silliness."

But to others, and especially to the younger men, this new writer
came, opening up unknown worlds of beauty and wonder. A strange
influence, unlike any other, attracted us to his writing. Before we
knew his name, we knew _him_. We could recognize an article by our new
author as soon as we opened the pages of the Foreign Review, Edinburgh,
or Westminster, and read a few paragraphs. But it was not the style,
though marked by a singular freedom and originality--not the tone of
kindly humor, the good-natured irony, the happy illustrations brought
from afar,--not the amount of literary knowledge, the familiarity with
German, French, Italian, Spanish literature,--not any or all of these
which so bewitched us. We knew a young man who used to walk from a
neighboring town to Boston every week, in order to read over again two
articles by Carlyle in two numbers of the Foreign Review lying on a
table in the reading-room of the Athenæum. This was his food, in the
strength of which he could go a week, till hunger drove him back to
get another meal at the same table. We knew other young men and young
women who taught themselves German in order to read for themselves
the authors made so luminous by this writer. Those were counted
fortunate who possessed the works of our author, as yet unpublished
in America,--his "Life of Schiller," his "German Romance," his Review
articles. What, then, was the charm,--whence the fascination?

To explain this we must describe a little the state of literature and
opinion in this vicinity at the time when Carlyle's writings first made
their appearance.

Unitarianism and Orthodoxy had fought their battle, and were resting
on their arms. Each had intrenched itself in certain positions, each
had won to its side most of those who legitimately belonged to it.
Controversy had done all it could, and had come to an end. Among the
Unitarians, the so-called "practical preaching" was in vogue; that is,
ethical and moral essays, pointing out the goodness of being good,
and the excellence of what was called "moral virtue." There was, no
doubt, a body of original thinkers and writers,--better thinkers and
writers, it may be, than we have now,--who were preparing the way for
another advance. Channing had already unfolded his doctrine of man,
of which the central idea is, that human nature is not to be moulded
by religion, but to be developed by it. Walker, Greenwood, Ware, and
their brave associates, were conducting this journal with unsurpassed
ability. But something more was needed. The general character of
preaching was not of a vitalizing sort. It was much like what Carlyle
says of preaching in England at the same period: "The most enthusiastic
Evangelicals do not preach a Gospel, but keep describing how it should
and might be preached; to awaken the sacred fire of faith is not their
endeavor; but at most, to describe how faith shows and acts, and
scientifically to distinguish true faith from false." It is "not the
Love of God which is taught, but the love of the Love of God."

According to this, God was outside of the world, at a distance from
his children, and obliged to communicate with them in this indirect
way, by breaking through the walls of natural law with an occasional
miracle. There was no door by which he could enter into the sheepfold
to his sheep. Miracles were represented, even by Dr. Channing, as
abnormal, as "violations of the laws of nature;" something, therefore,
unnatural and monstrous, and not to be believed except on the best
evidence. God could not be supposed to break through the walls of this
house of nature, except in order to speak to his children on some
great occasions. That he had done it, in the case of Christianity,
could be proved by the eleven volumes of Dr. Lardner, which showed the
Four Gospels to have been written by the companions of Christ, and not
otherwise.

The whole of this theory rested, it will be observed, on a sensuous
system of mental philosophy. "All knowledge comes through the senses,"
was its foundation. Revelation, like every other form of knowledge,
must come through the senses. A miracle, which appeals to the sight,
touch, hearing, is the only possible proof of a divine act. For,
in the last analysis, all our theology rests on our philosophy.
Theology, being belief, must proceed according to those laws of belief,
whatever they are, which we accept and hold. The man who thinks that
all knowledge comes through the senses must receive his theological
knowledge also that way, and no other. This was the general opinion
thirty or forty years ago; hence this theory of Christianity, which
supposes that God is obliged to break his own laws in order to
communicate it.

But the result of this belief was harmful. It tended to make
our religion formal, our worship a mere ceremony; it made real
communication with God impossible; it turned prayer into a
self-magnetizing operation; it left us virtually "without God and hope
in the world." Thanks to Him who never leaves himself without a witness
in the human heart, this theory was often nullified in practice by the
irrepressible instincts which it denied, by the spiritual intuitions
which it ridiculed. Even Professor Norton, its chief champion, had
a heart steeped in the sweetest piety. Denying, intellectually, all
intuitions of God, Duty, and Immortality, his beautiful and tender
hymns show the highest spiritual insight. Still it cannot be denied
that this theory tended to dry up the fountains of religious faith
in the human heart, and to leave us in a merely mechanical and
unspiritualized world.

Now the first voice which came to break this enchantment was, to many,
the voice of Thomas Carlyle. It needed for this end, it always needs, a
man who could come face to face with Truth. Every great idol-breaker,
every man who has delivered the world from the yoke of Forms, has been
one who was able to see the substance of things, who was gifted with
the insight of realities. Forms of worship, forms of belief, at first
the channels of life, through which the Living Spirit flowed into human
hearts, at last became petrified, incrusted, choked. A few drops of the
vital current still ooze slowly through them, and our parched lips,
sucking these few drops, cling all the more closely to the form as it
becomes less and less a vehicle of life. The poorest word, old and
trite, is precious when there is no open vision. We do well continually
to resort to the half-dead form, "till the day dawn, and the day-star
arise in our hearts."

But at last there comes a man capable of dispensing with the form,--a
man endowed with a high degree of the intuitive faculty,--a born seer,
a prophet, seeing the great realities of the universe with open vision.
The work of such a man is to break up the old formulas and introduce
new light and life. This work was done for the Orthodox thirty years
ago by the writings of Coleridge; for the Unitarians in this vicinity,
by the writings of Thomas Carlyle.

This was the secret of the enthusiasm felt for Carlyle, in those
days, by so many of the younger men and women. He taught us to look at
realities instead of names, at substance instead of surface,--to see
God in the world, in nature, in life, in providence, in man,--to see
divine truth and beauty and wonder everywhere around. He taught that
the only organ necessary by which to see the divine in all things was
sincerity, or inward truth. And so he enabled us to escape from the
form into the spirit, he helped us to rise to that plane of freedom
from which we could see the divine in the human, the infinite in the
finite, God in man, heaven on earth, immortality beginning here,
eternity pervading time. This made for us a new heaven and a new earth,
a new religion and a new life. Faith was once more possible, a faith
not bought by the renunciation of mature reason or the beauty and glory
of the present hour.

But all this was taught us by our new prophet, not by the intellect
merely, but by the spirit in which he spoke. He did not seem to be
giving us a new creed, so much as inspiring us with a new life. That
which came from his experience went into ours. Therefore it might
have been difficult, in those days, for any of his disciples to state
what it was that they had learned from him. They had not learned his
doctrine,--they had absorbed it. Hence, very naturally, came the
imitations of Carlyle, which so disgusted the members of the old
school. Hence the absurd Carlylish writing, the feeble imitations by
honest, but weak disciples of the great master. It was a pity, but not
unnatural, and it soon passed by.

As Carlyle thus did his work, not so much by direct teaching as by an
influence hidden in all that he said, it did not much matter on what
subject he wrote,--the influence was there still. But his articles
on Goethe were the most attractive, because he asserted that in this
patriarch of German literature he had found one who saw in all things
their real essence, one whose majestic and trained intelligence could
interpret to us in all parts of nature and life the inmost quality, the
_terza essenza_, as the Italian Platonists called it, which made each
itself. Goethe was announced as the prophet of Realism. He, it should
seem, had perfectly escaped from words into things. He saw the world,
not through dogmas, traditions, formulas, but as it was in itself. To
him

          "the world's unwithered countenance
    Was fresh as on creation's day."

Consider the immense charm of such hopes as these! No wonder that the
critics complained that the disciples of Carlyle were "insensible
to ridicule." What did they care for the laughter, which seemed to
them, in their enthusiasm, like "the crackling of thorns under the
pot." Ridicule, in fact, never touches the sincere enthusiast. It is
a good and useful weapon against affectation, but it falls, shivered
to pieces, from the magic breastplate of truth. No sincere person,
at work in a cause which he knows to be important, ever minds being
laughed at.

But besides his admirable discussions of Goethe, Carlyle's "Life of
Schiller" opened the portals of German literature, and made an epoch in
biography and criticism. It was a new thing to read a biography written
with such enthusiasm,--to find a critic who could really write with
reverence and tender love of the poet whom he criticised. Instead of
taking his seat on the judicial bench, and calling his author up before
him to be judged as a culprit, Carlyle walks with Schiller through the
circles of his poems and plays, as Dante goes with Virgil through the
Inferno and Paradiso. He accepts the great poet as his teacher and
master,[26] a thing unknown before in all criticism. It was supposed
that a biographer would become a mere Boswell if he looked up to his
hero, instead of looking down on him. It was not understood that it was
that "angel of the world," Reverence, which had exalted even a poor,
mean, vain fool, like Boswell, and enabled him to write one of the best
books ever written. It was not his reverence for Johnson which made
Boswell a fool,--his reverence for Johnson made him, a fool, capable of
writing one of the best books of modern times.

This capacity of reverence in Carlyle--this power of perceiving a
divine, infinite quality in human souls--tinges all his biographical
writing with a deep religious tone. He wrote of Goethe, Schiller,
Richter, Burns, Novalis, even Voltaire, with reverence. He could
see their defects easily enough, he could playfully expose their
weaknesses; but beneath all was the sacred undertone of reverence for
the divine element in each,--for that which God had made and meant them
to be, and which they had realized more or less imperfectly in the
struggle of life. The difference between the reverence of a Carlyle
and that of a Boswell is, that one is blind and the other intelligent.
The one worships his hero down to his shoes and stockings, the other
distinguishes the divine idea from its weak embodiment.

Two articles from this happy period--that on the "Signs of the Times"
and that called "Characteristics"--indicate some of Carlyle's leading
ideas concerning right thinking and right living. In the first, he
declares the present to be an age of mechanism,--not heroic, devout,
or philosophic. All things are done by machinery. "Men have no faith
in individual endeavor or natural force." "Metaphysics has become
material." Government is a machine. All this he thinks evil. The
living force is in the individual soul,--not mechanic, but dynamic.
Religion is a calculation of expediency, not an impulse of worship; no
thousand-voiced psalm from the heart of man to his invisible Father,
the Fountain of all goodness, beauty, and truth, but a contrivance by
which a small quantum of earthly enjoyment may be exchanged for a much
larger quantum of celestial enjoyment. "Virtue is pleasure, is profit."
"In all senses we worship and follow after power, which may be called a
physical pursuit." (Ah, Carlyle of the Present! does not that wand of
thine old true self touch thee?) "No man now loves truth, as truth must
be loved, with an infinite love; but only with a finite love, and, as
it were, _par amours_."

In the other article, "Characteristics," printed two years later, in
1831, he unfolds the doctrine of "Unconsciousness" as the sign of
health in soul as well as body. He finds society sick everywhere; he
finds its religion, literature, science, all diseased, yet he ends
the article, as the other was ended, in hope of a change to something
better.

These two articles may be considered as an introduction to his next
great work, "Sartor Resartus," or the "Clothes-Philosophy." Here, in a
vein of irony and genial humor, he unfolds his doctrine of substance
and form. The object of all thought and all experience is to look
through the clothes to the living beneath them. According to his book,
all human institutions are the clothing of society; language is the
garment of thought, the heavens and earth the time-vesture of the
Eternal. So, too, are religious creeds and ceremonies the clothing
of religion; so are all symbols the vesture of some idea; so are
the crown and sceptre the vesture of government. This book is the
autobiography of a seeker for truth. In it he is led from the shows of
things to their innermost substance, and as in all his other writings,
he teaches here also that sincerity, truthfulness, is the organ by
which we are led to the solid rock of reality, which underlies all
shows and shams.

II. We now come to treat of Carlyle in his present aspect,--a much
less agreeable task. We leave Carlyle the generous and gentle, for
Carlyle the hard cynic. We leave him, the friend of man, lover of
his race, for another Carlyle, advocate of negro slavery, worshiper
of mere force, sneering at philanthropy, and admiring only tyrants,
despots, and slaveholders. The change, and the steps which led to it,
chronologically and logically, it is our business to scrutinize,--not a
grateful occupation indeed, but possibly instructive and useful.

Thomas Carlyle, after spending his previous life in Scotland, and from
1827 to 1834 in his solitude at Craigenputtoch, removed to London
in the latter year, when thirty-eight years old. Since then he has
permanently resided in London, in a house situated on one of the quiet
streets running at right angles with the Thames. He came to London
almost an unknown man; he has there become a great name and power
in literature. He has had for friends such men as John Stuart Mill,
Sterling, Maurice, Leigh Hunt, Browning, Thackeray, and Emerson. His
"French Revolution" was published in 1837; "Sartor Resartus" (published
in Frazer in 1833, and in Boston in a volume in 1836) was put forth
collectively in 1838; and in the same year his "Miscellanies" (also
collected and issued in Boston in 1838) were published in London, in
four volumes. "Chartism" was issued in 1839. He gave four courses
of Lectures in Willis's rooms "to a select but crowded audience,"
in 1837, 1838, 1839, and 1840. Only the last of these--"Heroes and
Hero-Worship"--was published. "Past and Present" followed in 1843,
"Oliver Cromwell" in 1845. In 1850 he printed "Latter-Day Pamphlets,"
and subsequently his "Life of Sterling" (1851), and the four volumes,
now issued, of "Frederick the Great."

The first evidence of an altered tendency is perhaps to be traced in
the "French Revolution." It is a noble and glorious book; but, as one
of his friendly critics has said, "its philosophy is contemptuous and
mocking, and it depicts the varied and gigantic characters which stalk
across the scene, not so much as responsible and living mortals, as
the mere mechanical implements of some tremendous and irresistible
destiny." In "Heroes and Hero-Worship" the habit has grown of revering
mere will, rather than calm intellectual and moral power. The same
thing is shown in "Past and Present," in "Cromwell," and in "Latter-Day
Pamphlets," which the critic quoted above says is "only remarkable as
a violent imitation of himself, and not of his better self." For the
works of this later period, indeed, the best motto would be that verse
from Daniel: "He shall exalt himself, and magnify himself, and speak
marvelous things; neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, but
in his stead shall he honor the God of Forces, a god whom his fathers
knew not."

Probably this apostasy from his better faith had begun, before this,
to show itself in conversation. At least Margaret Fuller, in a letter
dated 1846, finds herself in his presence admiring his brilliancy, but
"disclaiming and rejecting almost everything he said." "For a couple of
hours," says she, "he was talking about poetry, and the whole harangue
was one eloquent proclamation of the defects in his own mind." "All
Carlyle's talk, another evening," says she, "was a defence of mere
force,--success the test of right; if people would not behave well, put
collars round their necks; find a hero, and let them be his slaves."
"Mazzini was there, and, after some vain attempts to remonstrate,
became very sad. Mrs. Carlyle said to me, 'These are but opinions to
Carlyle; but to Mazzini, who has given his all, and helped bring his
friends to the scaffold, in pursuit of such subjects, it is a matter of
life and death.'"

As this mood of Mr. Carlyle comes out so strongly in the "Latter-Day
Pamphlets," it is perhaps best to dwell on them at greater leisure.

The first is "The Present Time." In this he describes Democracy as
inevitable, but as utterly evil; calls for a government; finds most
European governments, that of England included, to be shams and
falsities,--no-government, or drifting, to be a yet greater evil. The
object, he states, is to find the noblest and best men to govern.
Democracy fails to do this; for universal balloting is not adequate to
the task. Democracy answered in the old republics, when the mass were
slaves, but will not answer now. The United States are no proof of its
success, for (1st) anarchy is avoided merely by the quantity of cheap
land, and (2d) the United States have produced no spiritual results,
but only material. Democracy in America is no-government, and "its only
feat is to have produced eighteen millions of the greatest _bores_ ever
seen in the world." Mr. Carlyle's plan, therefore, is to find, somehow,
the _best man_ for a ruler, to make him a despot, to make the mass of
the English and Irish slaves, to beat them if they will not work, to
shoot them if they still refuse. The only method of finding this best
man, which he suggests, is to _call for him_. Accordingly, Mr. Thomas
Carlyle _calls_, saying, "Best man, come forward, and govern."

The sum, therefore, of his recipe for the diseases of the times is
SLAVERY.

The second pamphlet is called "Model Prisons," and the main object of
this is to ridicule all attempts at helping men by philanthropy or
humanity. The talk of "Fraternity" is nonsense, and must be drummed
out of the world. Beginning with model prisons, he finds them much
too good for the "scoundrels" who are shut up there. He would have
them whipped and hung (seventy thousand in a year, we suppose, as in
bluff King Harry's time, with no great benefit therefrom). "Revenge,"
he says, "is a right feeling against bad men,--only the excess of it
wrong." The proper thing to say to a bad man is, "Caitiff, I hate
thee." "A collar round the neck, and a cart-whip over the back," is
what he thinks would be more just to criminals than a model prison. The
whole effort of humanity should be to help the industrious and virtuous
poor; the criminals should be swept out of the way, whipt, enslaved,
or hung. As for human brotherhood, he does not admit brotherhood
with "scoundrels." Particularly disgusting to him is it to hear this
philanthropy to bad men called Christianity. Christianity, he thinks,
does not tell us to love the bad, but to hate them as God hates them.
According, probably, to his private expurgated version of the Gospel,
"that ye may be the children of your Father in heaven, whose sun rises
only on the good, and whose rain falls only on the just."

"Downing Street" and "New Downing Street" are fiery tirades against
the governing classes in England. Mr. Carlyle says (according to his
inevitable refrain), that England does not want a reformed Parliament,
a body of talkers, but a reformed Downing Street, a body of workers.
He describes the utter imbecility of the English government, and calls
loudly for some able man to take its place. Two passages are worth
quoting; the first as to England's aspect in her foreign relations,
which is quite as true for 1864 as for 1854.

"How it stands with the Foreign Office, again, one still less knows.
Seizures of Sapienza, and the like sudden appearances of Britain in
the character of Hercules-Harlequin, waving, with big bully-voice,
her sword of sharpness over field-mice, and in the air making horrid
circles (horrid Catherine-wheels and death-disks of metallic terror
from said huge sword) to see how they will like it. Hercules-Harlequin,
the Attorney Triumphant, the World's Busybody!"

Or see the following description of the sort of rulers who prevail in
England, no less than in America:--

"If our government is to be a No-Government, what is the matter who
administers it? Fling an orange-skin into St. James Street, let the man
it hits be your man. He, if you bend him a little to it, and tie the
due official bladders to his ankles, will do as well as another this
sublime problem of balancing himself upon the vortexes, with the long
loaded pole in his hand, and will, with straddling, painful gestures,
float hither and thither, walking the waters in that singular manner
for a little while, till he also capsize, and be left floating feet
uppermost,--after which you choose another."

Concerning which we may say, that if this is the result of monarchy and
aristocracy in England, we can stick a little longer to our democracy
in America. Mr. Carlyle says that the object of all these methods is to
find the ablest man for a ruler. He thinks our republican method very
insufficient and absurd,--much preferring the English system,--and then
tells us that this is the outcome of the latter; that you might as well
select your ruler by throwing an orange-skin into the street as by the
method followed in England.

Despotism, tempered by assassination, seems to be Carlyle's notion of a
good government.

The pamphlet "Stump-Orator" is simply a bitter denunciation of all
talking, speech-making, and writing, as the curse of the time, and ends
with the proposition to cut out the tongues of one whole generation, as
an act of mercy to them and a blessing to the human race.

Thus this collection of "Latter-Day Pamphlets" consists of the
bitterest cynicism. Carlyle sits in it, as in a tub, snarling at
freedom, yelping at philanthropy, growling at the English government,
snapping at all men who speak or write, and ending with one long howl
over the universal falsity and hollowness of mankind in general.

After which he proceeds to his final apotheosis of despotism pure and
simple, in this "Life of Frederick the Great." Of this it is not
necessary to say more than that Frederick, being an absolute despot,
but a very able one, having plunged Europe into war in order to steal
Silesia, is everywhere admired, justified, or excused by Carlyle, who
reserves his rebukes and contempt for those who find fault with all
this.

That, with these opinions, Carlyle should have taken sides with the
slaveholders' conspiracy against the Union is not surprising. His
sympathies were with them; first, as slaveholders, secondly, as
aristocrats. He hates us because we are democrats, and he loves them
because they are despots and tyrants. Long before the outbreak of the
rebellion, he had ridiculed emancipation, and denounced as folly and
evil the noblest deed of England,--the emancipation of her West India
slaves. In scornful, bitter satire, he denounced England for keeping
the fast which God had chosen, in undoing the heavy burdens, letting
the oppressed go free, and breaking every yoke. He ridiculed the black
man, and described the poor patient African as "Quashee, steeped to
the eyes in pumpkin." In the hateful service of oppression he had
already done his best to uphold slavery and discourage freedom. And
while he fully believed in enslaving the laboring population, black or
white, and driving it to work by the cart-whip, he as fully abhorred
republicanism everywhere, and most of all in the United States.
He had exhausted the resources of language in vilifying American
institutions. It was a matter of course, therefore, that at the
outbreak of this civil war all his sympathies should be with those who
whip women and sell babies.

How is it that this great change should have taken place? Men
change,--but not often in this way. The ardent reformer often hardens
into the stiff conservative. The radical in religion is very likely to
join the Catholic Church. If a Catholic changes his religion, he goes
over to atheism. To swing from one extreme to another, is a common
experience. But it is a new thing to see calmness in youth, violence in
age,--to find the young man wise and all-sided, the old man bigoted and
narrow.

We think the explanation to be this.

Thomas Carlyle from the beginning has not shown the least appreciation
of the essential thing in Christianity. Brought up in Scotland,
inheriting from Calvinism a sense of truth, a love of justice, and a
reverence for the Jewish Bible, he has never passed out of Judaism
into Christianity. To him, Oliver Cromwell is the best type of true
religion; inflexible justice the best attribute of God or man. He is
a worshiper of Jehovah, not of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus
Christ. He sees in God truth and justice; he does not see in him
love. He is himself a prophet after the type of Elijah and John the
Baptist. He is the voice crying in the wilderness; and we may say of
him, therefore, as was said of his prototype, "He was a burning and a
shining light, and ye were willing, for a season, to rejoice in his
light,"--but not always,--not now.

Carlyle does not, indeed, claim to be a Jew, or to reject Christ. On
the contrary, he speaks of him with very sincere respect. He seems,
however, to know nothing of him but what he has read in Goethe about
the "worship of sorrow." The Gospel appears to him to be, essentially,
a worship of sorrow. That Christ "came to save sinners,"--of that
Carlyle has not the faintest idea. To him the notion of "saving
sinners" is only "rose-water philanthropy." He does not wish them
saved, he wishes them damned,--swept into hell as soon as convenient.

But, as everything which is real has two sides, that of _truth_ and
that of _love_,--it usually happens that he who only sees _one_ side at
last ceases even to see that. All goodness, to Carlyle, is truth,--in
man it is sincerity, or love of reality, sight of the actual facts,--in
God it is justice, divine adherence to law, infinite guidance of the
world and of every human soul according to a strict and inevitable
rule of righteousness. At first this seems to be a providence,--and
Carlyle has everywhere, in the earlier epoch, shown full confidence in
Providence. But believe only in justice and truth,--omit the doctrine
of forgiveness, redemption, salvation,--and faith in Providence
becomes sooner or later a despairing fatalism. The dark problem of evil
remains insoluble without the doctrine of redemption.

So it was that Carlyle, seeing at first the chief duty of man to be
the worship of reality, the love of truth, next made that virtue to
consist in sincerity, or being in earnest. Truth was being true to
one's self. In this lay the essence of heroism. So that Burns, being
sincere and earnest, was a hero,--Odin was a hero,--Mohammed was a
hero,--Cromwell was a hero,--Mirabeau and Danton were heroes,--and
Frederick the Great was a hero. That which was first the love of truth,
and caused him to reverence the calm intellectual force of Schiller and
Goethe, soon became earnestness and sincerity, and then became power.
For the proof of earnestness is power. So from power, by eliminating
all love, all tenderness, as being only rose-water philanthropy, he at
last became a worshiper of mere will, of force in its grossest form.
So he illustrates those lines of Shakespeare in which this process is
so well described. In "Troilus and Cressida" Ulysses is insisting on
the importance of keeping everything in its place, and giving to the
best things and persons their due priority. Otherwise, mere force will
govern all things.

    "Strength would be lord of imbecility,"--

as Carlyle indeed openly declares that it ought to be,--

    "And the rude son should strike his father dead,"

which Carlyle does not quite approve of in the case of Dr. Francia. But
why not, if he maintains that strength is the measure of justice?

    "Force should be right; or, rather, right and wrong
    (Between whose endless jar justice resides)
    Should lose their names and so should justice, too.
    _Then everything includes itself in power,
    Power into will, will into appetite;
    And appetite, an universal wolf,
    So doubly seconded with will and power,
    Must make perforce an universal prey,
    And, last, eat up himself._"

Just so, in the progress of Carlyle's literary career, first, force
became right,--then, everything included itself in power,--next, power
was lost in will, and will in mere caprice or appetite. From his
admiration for Goethe, as the type of intellectual power, he passed to
the praise of Cromwell as the exponent of will, and then to that of
Frederick, whose appetite for plunder and territory was seconded by
an iron will and the highest power of intellect; but whose ambition
devoured himself, his country, and its prosperity, in the mad pursuit
of victory and conquest.

The explanation, therefore, of our author's lapse, is simply this, that
he worshiped truth divorced from love, and so ceased to worship truth,
and fell into the idolatry of mere will. Truth without love is not
truth, but hard, willful opinion, just as love without truth is not
love, but weak good-nature and soft concession.

Carlyle has no idea of that sublime feature of Christianity, which
shows to us God caring more for the one sinner who repents than the
ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance. To him one just
person deserves more care than ninety-nine sinners. Yet it is strange
that he did not learn from his master, Goethe, this essential trait
of the Gospel. For Goethe, in a work translated by Carlyle himself,
distinguishes between the three religions thus. The ethnic or Gentile
religions, he says, reverence _what is above us_,--the religion of the
philosopher reverences _what is on our own level_,--but Christianity
reverences _what is beneath us_. "This is the last step," says Goethe,
"which mankind were destined to attain,--to recognize humility
and poverty, mockery and despite, disgrace and wretchedness, as
divine,--nay, _even on sin and crime to look not as hindrances, but to
honor and love them as furtherances of what is holy_."

On sin and crime, as we have seen, Carlyle looks with no such
tenderness. But if he does not care for the words of Christ, teaching
us that we must forgive if we hope to be forgiven, if he does not care
for the words of his master, Goethe, he might at least remember his own
exposition of this doctrine in an early work, where he shows that the
poor left to perish by disease infect a whole community, and declares
that the safety of all is involved in the safety of the humblest.

In 1840, when he wrote "Chartism," Carlyle seems to have known better
than he did in 1855, when he wrote these "Latter-Day Pamphlets." _Then_
he said:--

"To believe practically that the poor and luckless are here only as a
nuisance to be abraded and abated, and in some permissible manner made
away, and swept out of sight, is not an amiable faith."

Of Ireland, too, he said:--

"We English pay, even now, the bitter smart of long centuries of
injustice to Ireland." "It is the feeling of _injustice_ that is
insupportable to all men. The brutalest black African feels it, and
cannot bear that he should be used unjustly. No man can bear it, or
ought to bear it."

This seems like the "rose-water philanthropy" which he subsequently so
much disliked. In this book also he speaks of a "seven years' Silesian
robber-war,"--we trust not intending to call his beloved Frederick a
robber! And again he proposes, as one of the best things to be done
in England, to have all the people taught by government to read and
write,--the same thing which this American democracy, in which he could
see not one good thing, has so long been doing. That was the plan by
which England was to be saved,--a plan first suggested in England in
1840,--adopted and acted on in America for two hundred years.

But just as love separated from truth becomes cruelty, so _truth_
by itself--truth _not_ tempered and fulfilled by love--runs sooner
or later into falsehood. _Truth_, after a while, becomes dogmatism,
overbearing assertion, willful refusal to see and hear other than one's
own belief; that is to say, it becomes falsehood. Such has been the
case with our author. On all the subjects to which he has committed
himself he closes his eyes, and refuses to see the other side. Like his
own symbol, the mighty Bull, he makes his charge _with his eyes shut_.

Determined, for example, to rehabilitate such men as Mirabeau,
Cromwell, Frederick, and Frederick's father, he does thorough work, and
defends or excuses all their enormities, palliating whenever he cannot
justify.

What can we call this which he says[27] concerning the execution of
Lieutenant Katte, by order of old King Friedrich Wilhelm? Tired of
the tyranny of his father, tired of being kicked and caned, the young
prince tried to escape. He was caught and held as a deserter from the
army, and his father tried to run him through the body. Lieutenant
Katte, who had aided him in getting away, having been kicked and caned,
was sent to a court-martial to be tried. The court-martial found him
guilty not of deserting, but of intending to desert, and sentenced
him to two years' imprisonment. Whereupon the king went into a rage,
declared that Katte had committed high treason, and ordered him to be
executed. Whereupon Carlyle thus writes:--

"'Never was such a transaction before or since in modern history,'
cries the angry reader; 'cruel, like the grinding of human hearts under
millstones; like----' Or, indeed, like the doings of the gods, which
are cruel, but not that alone."

In other words, Carlyle cannot make up his mind frankly to condemn
this atrocious murder, and call it by its right name. He must needs
try to sophisticate us by talking about "the doings of the gods."
Because Divine Providence takes men out of the world in various ways,
it is therefore allowable to a king, provided he be a hero grim enough
and "earnest" enough, to kick men, cane them, and run them through
the body when he pleases; and, after having sent a man to be tried by
court-martial, if the court acquits him, to order him to be executed by
his own despotic will. A truth-telling Carlyle ought to have said, "I
admit this is murder; but I like the old fellow, and so I will call it
right." A Carlyle grown sophistical mumbles something about its being
like "the doings of the gods," and leaves off with that small attempt
at humbug. Be brave, my men, and defend my Lord Jeffreys next for
bullying juries into hanging prisoners. Was not Jeffreys "grim" too?
In fact, are not most murderers "grim"?

We have had occasion formerly, in this journal, to examine the writings
of another very positive and clear-headed thinker,--Mr. Henry James.
Mr. James is, in his philosophy, the very antithesis of Carlyle.
With equal fervor of thought, with a like vehemence of style, with a
somewhat similar contempt for his opponents, Mr. James takes exactly
the opposite view of religion and duty. As Carlyle preaches the law,
and the law alone, maintaining justice as the sole Divine attribute, so
Mr. James preaches the Gospel only, denying totally that to the Divine
Mind any distinction exists between saint and sinner, unless that the
sinner is somewhat more of a favorite than the saint. We did not, do
not, agree with Mr. James in his anti-nomianism; as between him and
Carlyle, we think his doctrine far the truer and nobler. He stands on
a higher plane, and sees much the farther. A course of reading in Mr.
James's books might, we think, help our English cynic not a little.

God is the perfect harmony of justice and love. His justice is warmed
through and through with love, his love is sanctified and made strong
by justice. And so, in Christ, perfect justice was fulfilled in perfect
love. But in him first was fully revealed, in this world, the Divine
fatherly tenderness to the lost, to the sinner, to those lowest down
and farthest away. In him was taught that our own redemption from
evil does not lie in despising and hating men worse than ourselves,
but in saving them. The hard Pharisaic justice of Carlyle may call
this "rose-water philanthropy," but till he accepts it from his heart,
and repents of his contempt for his fallen fellowmen, till he learns
to love "scoundrels," there is no hope for him. He lived once in the
heaven of reverence, faith, and love; he has gone from it into the hell
of Pharisaic scorn and contempt. Till he comes back out of that, there
is no hope for him.

But such a noble nature cannot be thus lost. He will one day, let us
trust, worship the divine love which he now abhors. Cromwell asked, on
his death-bed, "if those once in a state of grace could fall," and,
being assured not, said, "I am safe then, for I am sure I was once in a
state of grace." There is a truth in this doctrine of the perseverance
of saints. Some truths once fully seen, even though afterward rejected
by the mind and will, stick like a barbed arrow in the conscience,
tormenting the soul till they are again accepted and obeyed. Such a
truth Carlyle once saw, in the great doctrine of reverence for the
fallen and the sinful. He will see it again, if not in this world, then
in some other world.

The first Carlyle was an enthusiast, the last Carlyle is a cynic. From
enthusiasm to cynicism, from the spirit of reverence to the spirit
of contempt, the way seems long, but the condition of arriving is
simple. Discard LOVE, and the whole road is passed over. Divorce love
from truth, and truth ceases to be open and receptive,--ceases to be a
positive function, turns into acrid criticism, bitter disdain, cruel
and hollow laughter, empty of all inward peace. Such is the road which
Carlyle has passed over, from his earnest, hopeful youth to his bitter
old age.

Carlyle fulfilled for many, during these years, the noble work of a
mediator. By reverence and love he saw what was divine in nature, in
man, and in life. By the profound sincerity of his heart, his worship
of reality, his hatred of falsehood, he escaped from the commonplaces
of literature to a better land of insight and knowledge. So he was
enabled to lead many others out of their entanglements, into his own
luminous insight. It was a great and blessed work. Would that it had
been sufficient for him!



BUCKLE AND HIS THEORY OF AVERAGES[28]


We welcomed kindly the first installment of Mr. Buckle's work,[29]
giving a cursory account of it, and hinting, rather than urging,
the objections which readily suggested themselves against theories
concerning Man, History, Civilization, and Human Progress. But now
it seems a proper time to discuss with a little more deliberation
the themes opened before us by this intrepid writer,--this latest
champion of that theory of the mind which in the last century was
called Materialism and Necessity, and which in the present has been
re-baptized as Positivism.

The doctrines of which Mr. Buckle is the ardent advocate seem to us,
the more thoroughly we consider them, to be essentially theoretical,
superficial, and narrow. They are destitute of any broad basis of
reality. In their application by Mr. Buckle, they fail to solve
the historic problems upon which he tries their power. With a show
of science, they are unscientific, being a mere collection of
unverified hypotheses. And if Mr. Buckle should succeed in introducing
his principles and methods into the study of history, it would
be equivalent to putting backward for about a century this whole
department of thought.

Yet, while we state this as our opinion, and one which we shall
presently endeavor to substantiate by ample proof, we do not deny to
Mr. Buckle's volumes the interest arising from vigorous and independent
thinking, faithful study of details, and a strong, believing purpose.
They are interesting and valuable contributions to our literature.
But this is not on account of their purpose, but in spite of it;
notwithstanding their doctrines, not because of them. The interest
of these books, as of all good history, derives itself from their
picturesque reproduction of life. Whatever of value belongs to Mr.
Buckle's work is the same as that of the writings of Macaulay, Motley,
and Carlyle. Whoever has the power of plunging like a diver into the
spirit of another period, sympathizing with its tone, imbuing himself
with its instincts, sharing its loves and hates, its faith and its
skepticism, will write its history so as to interest us. For whoever
will really show to us the breathing essence of any age, any state of
society, or any course of human events, cannot fail of exciting that
element of the soul which causes man everywhere to rejoice in meeting
with man. He who will write the history of Arabians, Kelts, or Chinese,
of the Middle Ages, the Norman Sea-kings, or the Roman Plebs, so
that we can see ourselves beneath these diverse surroundings of race,
country, and period, and see that these also are really MEN,--this
writer instantly awakens our interest, whether he call himself poet,
novelist, or historian. In all cases, the secret of success is to write
so as to enable the reader to identify himself with the characters
of another age. Great authors enable us to look at actions, not
from without, but from within. When we read the historic plays of
Shakespeare, or the historic novels of Scott, we are charmed by finding
that kings and queens are, after all, our poor human fellow-creatures,
sharing all our old, familiar struggles, pains, and joys. When we read
that great historic masterpiece, the "French Revolution" of Carlyle,
the magic touch of the artist introduces us into the heart of every
character in the motley, shifting scene. We are the poor king escaping
to Varennes under the dewy night and solemn stars. We are tumultuous
Mirabeau, with his demonic but generous soul. We are devoted Charlotte
Corday; we are the Gironde; we the poor prisoners of Terror, waiting in
our prison for the slow morning to bring the inevitable doom. This is
the one indispensable faculty for the historian; and this faculty Mr.
Buckle so far possesses as to make his page a living one. It is true
that his sympathy is intellectual rather than imaginative. It is not of
the high order of Shakespeare, nor even of that of Carlyle. But, so
far as it goes, it is a true faculty, and makes a true historian.

Yet we cannot but notice how the effectual working of this historic
organ is interfered with by the dogmatic purpose of Mr. Buckle; and,
on the other hand, how his theoretic aim is disturbed by the interest
of his narrative. His history is always meant to be an argument. His
narrations of events are never for their own sake, but always to
prove some thesis. There is, therefore, no consecutive narrative, no
progress of events, no sustained interest. These volumes are episodes,
put together we cannot well say how, or why. In the seventh chapter
of the first volume we have a graphic description of the Court life
in England in the days of Charles II., James II., William, and the
Georges, in connection with the condition of the Church and clergy.
From this we are taken, in the next chapter, to France, and to similar
relations between Henry IV., Louis XIII., Richelieu, and the French
Catholics and Protestants. We then are brought back to England, to
consider the protective system there; and once more we return to
France, to investigate its operation in that country. Afterward we have
an essay on "The State of Historical Literature in France from the
End of the Sixteenth to the End of the Eighteenth Century," followed
by another essay on the "Proximate Causes of the French Revolution."
Many very well finished biographic portraits are given us in these
chapters. There are excellent sketches of Burke, Voltaire, Richelieu,
Bossuet, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Bichat, in the first volume; and of
Adam Smith, Reid, Black, Leslie, Hutton, Cullen, Hunter, in the second.
These numerous biographic sketches, which are often accompanied with
good literary notices of the writings of these authors, are very ably
written; but it is curious to remember, while reading them, that Mr.
Buckle thinks that, as history advances, it has less and less to do
with biography.

There is an incurable defect in the method of this work. On the one
hand, the dogmatic purpose is constantly breaking into the interest
of the narration; on the other, the interest of the narration is
continually enticing the writer from his argument into endless episodes
and details of biography. The argument is deprived of its force by the
story; the story is interrupted continually on account of the argument.
Mr. Buckle has mistaken the philosophy of history for history itself.
A history of civilization is not a piece of metaphysical argument, but
a consecutive account of the social progress either of an age or of a
nation. This irreconcilable conflict of purpose, while it leaves to the
parts of the work their value, destroys its worth as a whole.

Mr. Buckle might probably inquire whether we would eliminate wholly
from history all philosophic aim, all teleologic purpose. He objects,
and very properly, to degrading history into mere annals, without any
instructive purpose. We agree with him. We do not admire the style
of history which feels neither passion nor sympathy, which narrates
crimes without indignation, and which has no aim in its narration
except to entertain a passing hour. But it is one thing deliberately
to announce a thesis and bring detached passages of history to prove
it, and another to write a history which, by its incidents, spirit,
and characters shall convey impulse and instruction. The historian
may dwell upon the events which illustrate his convictions, and may
develop the argument during the progress of his moving panorama; but
the history itself, as it moves, should impress the lesson. The history
of Mr. Motley, for example, illustrates and impresses the evils of
bigotry, superstition, and persecution on the life of nations, quite as
powerfully as does that of Mr. Buckle; but Mr. Motley never suspends
his narrative in order to prove to us logically that persecution is an
evil.

Mr. Buckle, in his style of writing, belongs to a modern class of
authors whom we may call the bullying school. It is true that he is far
less extravagant than some of them, and indeed is not deeply tinged
with their peculiar manner. The first great master of this class of
writers is Thomas Carlyle; but their peculiarity has been carried to
its greatest extent by Ruskin. Its characteristic feature is treating
with supreme contempt, as though they were hopeless imbeciles, all who
venture to question the _dicta_ of the writer. This superb arrogance
makes these writers rather popular with the English, who, as a nation,
like equally well to bully and to be bullied.

Buckle professes to have at last found the only true key to history,
and to have discovered some of its important laws, especially those
which regard the progress of civilization.

I. _His View of Freedom._--Mr. Buckle's fundamental position is, that
the actions of men are governed by fixed laws, and that, when these
laws are discovered, history will become a science, like geometry,
geology, or astronomy. The chief obstacle hitherto to its becoming a
science has been the belief that the actions of men were determined,
not by fixed laws, but by free will (which he considers equivalent
to chance), or by supernatural interference or providence (which he
regards as equivalent to fate). "We shall thus be led," he says (Vol.
I. p. 6, Am. ed.), "to one vast question, which, indeed, lies at the
root of the whole subject, and is simply this: Are the actions of men,
and therefore of societies, governed by fixed laws, or are they the
result either of chance or of supernatural interference?" Identifying
freedom with chance, Mr. Buckle denies that there is such a thing, and
maintains that every human action is determined by some antecedent,
inward or outward, and that not one is determined by the free choice
of the man himself. His principal argument against free will is the law
of averages, which we will therefore proceed to consider in its bearing
on this point.

Statistics, carefully collected during many years and within different
countries, show a regularity of return in certain vices and crimes,
which indicates the presence of law. Thus, about the same number of
murders are committed every year in certain countries and large cities,
and even the instruments by which they are committed are employed in
the same proportion. Suicide also follows some regular law. "In a
given state of society, a certain number of persons must put an end to
their own life." In London, about two hundred and forty persons kill
themselves every year,--in years of panic and disaster a few more, in
prosperous years not quite so many. Other actions of men are determined
in the same way,--not by personal volition, but by some controlling
circumstance. "It is now known that the number of marriages in England
bears a fixed and definite relation to the price of corn." "Aberrations
of memory are marked by this general character of necessary and
invariable order." The same average number of persons forget every
year to direct the letters dropped into the post-offices of London and
Paris. Facts of this kind "force us to the conclusion," says Buckle,
"that the offenses of men are the result, not so much of the vices of
the individual offender, as of the state of society into which he is
thrown."

The argument then is: If man's moral actions are under law, they are
not free, for freedom is the absence of law. The argument of Mr. Buckle
is conclusive, provided freedom does necessarily imply the absence of
law. But such, we think, is not the fact.

The actions of man do not proceed solely from the impact of external
circumstances; for then he would be no better than a ball struck with a
bat. Nor do they proceed solely from the impulses of his animal nature;
for then he would be only a superior kind of machine, moved by springs
and wheels. But in addition to external and internal impulse there is
also in man the power of personal effort, activity, will,--to which we
give the name of Free Choice, or Freedom. This modifies and determines
a part of his actions,--while a second part come from the influence
of circumstance, and a third from organic instincts and habitual
tendencies.

Now, it is quite certain that no man has freedom of will enough to
cause _his whole_ nexus of activity to proceed from it. For if a man
could cause _all_ his actions to proceed by a mere choice or effort,
he could turn himself at will into another man. In other words, there
could be no such thing as permanent moral character. No one could be
described; for while we were describing him, he might choose to be
different, and so would become somebody else. It is evident, therefore,
that some part of every man's life must lie outside of the domain of
freedom.

In what, then, does the essence of freedom consist? If it be not the
freedom to do whatever we choose, what is it? Plainly, if we analyze
our own experience, we shall find that it is simply what its scholastic
name implies, freedom of choice, or _liber arbitrio_. It is not, in the
last analysis, freedom to act, but it is freedom to choose.

But freedom to choose what? Can we choose anything? Certainly not. Our
freedom of choice is limited by our knowledge. We cannot choose that
which we do not know. We must choose something within the range of our
experience. And our freedom of choice consists in the alternative of
making this choice or omitting to make it,--exerting ourselves or not
exerting ourselves. Consciousness testifies universally to this extent
of freedom. We know by our consciousness that we can exert ourselves or
not exert ourselves at any moment,--exert ourselves to act or not exert
ourselves to act, to speak or not to speak. This power of making or not
making an effort is freedom in its simplest and lowest form.

In this lowest form, it is apparent that human freedom is inadequate to
give any permanent character to human actions. They will be directed by
the laws of organization and circumstance. Freedom in this sense may
be compared to the power which a man has of rowing a boat in the midst
of a fog. He may exert himself to row, he may row at any moment forward
or backward, to the right or to the left. He has this freedom,--but it
does not enable him to go in any special direction. Not being able to
direct his boat to any fixed aim, it is certain that it will be drifted
by the currents or blown by the winds. Freedom in this form is only
willfulness, because devoid of an inward law.

But let the will direct itself by a fixed law, and it at once becomes
true freedom, and begins to impress itself upon actions, modifying the
results of organization and circumstance. Not even in this case can
it destroy those results; it only modifies them. It enters as a third
factor with those other two to produce the product. The total character
of a man's actions will be represented by a formula, thus: John's
Organization × John's Circumstances × John's Freedom = John's Character.

Apply this to the state of society where the law of averages has been
discovered. In such a society there are always to be found three
classes of persons. In the first class, freedom is either dormant or
is mere willfulness. The law of mind is subject therefore in these to
the law of the members. The will is an enslaved will, and its influence
on action is a nullity, not needing to be taken into the account. From
this class come the largest proportion of the crimes and vices, regular
in number because resulting from constant conditions of society. Of
these persons we can predict with certainty that, under certain strong
temptations to evil, they will inevitably yield.

But in another class of persons the will has learned to direct itself
by a moral law toward a fixed aim. The man in the boat is now steering
by a compass, and ceases to be the sport of current and gale. The will
reacts upon organization, and directs circumstance. The man has learned
how to master his own nature, and how to arrange external conditions.
We can predict with certainty that under no possible influences will
this class yield to some forms of evil.

There is also in each community a third class, who are struggling, but
not emancipated. They are partly free, but not wholly so. From this
class come the slight variations of the average, now a little better,
now a little worse.

Applying this view of the freedom of the will to history, we see that
the problem is far more complicated than Mr. Buckle admits. Man's
freedom, with him, is an element not to be taken into consideration,
because it does not exist. But the truth is, that human freedom is
not only a factor, but a variable factor, the value of which changes
with every variety of human condition. In the savage condition it
obeys organization and circumstances, and has little effect on social
condition. But as civilization advances, the power of freedom to
react on organization and circumstance increases, varying however
again, according to the force and inspiration of the ideas by which it
is guided. And of all these ideas, precisely those which Mr. Buckle
underrates, namely, moral and religious ideas, are those which most
completely emancipate the will from circumstances, and vitalize it with
an all-conquering force.

To see this, take two extreme cases,--that of an African Hottentot, and
that of Joan of Arc. Free will in the African is powerless; he remains
the helpless child of his situation. But the Maid of Arc, though
utterly destitute of Mr. Buckle's "Intellectual Truths" (being unable
to read or write, and having received no instruction save religious
ideas), and wanting in the "Skepticism" which he thinks so essential to
all historic progress, yet develops a power of will which reacts upon
circumstances so as to turn into another channel the current of French
history. All bonds of situation and circumstance are swept asunder
by the power of a will set free by mighty religious convictions.
The element of freedom, therefore, is one not to be neglected by an
historian, except to his own loss.

The law of averages applies only to undeveloped men, or to the
undeveloped sides of human nature, where the element of freedom has not
come in play. When the human race shall have made such progress that it
shall contain a city inhabited by a million persons all equal to the
Apostle Paul and the Apostle John in spiritual development, it will
not be found that a certain regular number kill their wives every year,
or that from two hundred and thirteen to two hundred and forty annually
commit suicide. Nor will this escape from the averages be owing to an
increased acquaintance with physical laws so much as to a higher moral
development. We shall return to this point, however, when we examine
more fully Buckle's doctrine in regard to the small influence of
religion on civilization.

II. _Mr. Buckle's View of Organization._--Mr. Buckle sets aside
entirely the whole great fact of organization, upon which the science
of ethnology is based. Perhaps the narrowness of his mind shows more
conspicuously in this than elsewhere. He attributes no influence to
race in civilization. While so many eminent writers at the present
day say, with Mr. Knox, that "Race is everything," Mr. Buckle quietly
rejoins that Race is nothing. "Original distinctions of race," he
says, "are altogether hypothetical." "We have no decisive ground for
saying that the moral and intellectual faculties in man are likely to
be greater in an infant born in the most civilized part of Europe,
than in one born in the wildest region of a barbarous country." (Vol.
I. p. 127, Am. ed.) "We often hear of hereditary talents, hereditary
vices, and hereditary virtues; but whoever will critically examine
the evidence will find that we have no proof of their existence." He
doubts the existence of hereditary insanity, or a hereditary tendency
to suicide, or even to disease. (Vol. I. p. 128, note.) He does not
believe in any progress of natural capacity in man, but only of
opportunity, "that is, an improvement in the circumstances under which
that capacity after birth comes into play." "Here then is the gist of
the whole matter. The progress is one, not of internal power, but of
external advantage." He goes on to say, in so many words, that the only
difference between a barbarian child and a civilized child is in the
pressure of surrounding circumstances. In support of these opinions he
quotes Locke and Turgot.

It is difficult to understand how an intelligent and well-informed man,
an immense reader and active thinker, can have lived in the midst of
the nineteenth century and retain these views. For students at every
extreme of thought have equally recognized the force of organization,
the constancy of race, the permanent varieties existing in the human
family, the steady ruling of the laws of descent. If there is any one
part of the science of anthropology in which the nineteenth century has
reversed the judgment of the eighteenth,--and that equally among men of
science, poets, materialists, idealists, anatomists, philologists,--it
is just here. To find so intelligent a man reproducing the last century
in the midst of the present is a little extraordinary.

Perhaps there could not be found four great thinkers more different in
their tendencies of thought and range of study than Goethe, Spurzheim,
Dr. Prichard, and Max Müller; yet these four, each by his own method of
observation, have shown with conclusive force the law of variety and
of permanence in organization. Goethe asserts that every individual
man carries from his birth to his grave an unalterable speciality of
being,--that he is, down to the smallest fibre of his character, one
and the same man; and that the whole mighty power of circumstance,
modifying everything, cannot abolish anything,--that organization and
circumstance hold on together with an equally permanent influence in
every human life. Gall and Spurzheim teach that every fibre of the
brain has its original quality and force, and that such qualities
and forces are transmitted by obscure but certain laws of descent.
Prichard, with immense learning, describes race after race, giving
the types of each human family in its physiology. And, finally, the
great science of comparative philology, worked out by such thinkers
and students as Bopp, Latham, Humboldt, Bunsen, Max Müller, and a
host of others, has proved the permanence of human varieties by ample
glossological evidence. Thus the modern science of ethnology has
arisen, on the basis of physiology, philology, and ethology, and is
perhaps the chief discovery of the age. Yet Mr. Buckle quietly ignores
the whole of it, and continues, with Locke, to regard every human mind
as a piece of white paper, to be written on by external events,--a
piece of soft putty, to be moulded by circumstances.

The facts on which the science of ethnology rests are so numerous and
so striking, that the only difficulty in selecting an illustration
is from the quantity and richness of material. But we may take two
instances,--that of the Teutons and Kelts, to show the permanence
of differences under the same circumstances, and that of the Jews,
the Arabs, and the Gypsies, to show the continuity of identity under
different circumstances. For if it can be made evident that different
races of men preserve different characters, though living for long
periods under similar circumstances, and that the same race preserves
the same character, though living for long periods under different
circumstances, the proof is conclusive that character is _not_ derived
from circumstances only. We shall not indeed go to the extreme of
such ethnologists as Knox, Nott, or Gliddon, and say that "Race is
everything, and circumstances nothing," but we shall see that Mr.
Buckle is mistaken in saying that "Circumstances are everything, and
race nothing."

The differences of character between the German and Keltic varieties
of the human race are marked, but not extreme. They both belong to
the same great Indo-European or Aryan family. They both originated
in Asia, and the German emigration seems to have followed immediately
after that of the Kelts. Yet when described by Cæsar, Tacitus, and
Strabo, they differed from each other exactly as they differ now. They
have lived for some two thousand years in the same climate, under
similar political and social institutions, and yet they have preserved
their original diversity.

According to the description of Cæsar[30] and Tacitus[31] the German
tribes differed essentially from the Gauls or Kelts in the following
particulars. The Germans loved freedom, and were all free. The Kelts
did not care for freedom. The meanest German was free. But all the
inferior people among the Kelts were virtually slaves. The Germans had
no priests, and did not care for sacrifices. The Kelts had a powerful
priesthood and imposing religious rites. The Germans were remarkable
for their blue eyes, light hair, and large limbs. The Kelts were
dark-complexioned. The Gauls were more quick, but less persevering,
than the Germans. Ready to attack, they were soon discouraged.
Tacitus, describing the Germans, says: "They are a pure, unmixed, and
independent race; there is a family likeness through the nation, the
same form and features, stern blue eyes, ruddy hair; a strong sense
of honor; reverence for women; religious, but without a ritual;
superstitiously believing in supernatural signs and portents, but
not in a priesthood; not living in cities, but in scattered homes;
respecting marriage; the children brought up in the dirt, among the
cattle; hospitable, frank, and generous; fond of drinking beer, and
eating preparations of milk."

The German and Keltic races, thus distinguished in the days of Cæsar,
are equally distinct to-day. Catholicism, the religion of a priesthood,
a ritual, and authority, prevails among the Kelts; Protestantism among
the Germans. Ireland, being mainly Keltic, is Catholic, though a part
of a Protestant nation. France, being mainly Keltic, is also Catholic,
in spite of all its illumination, its science, and its knowledge of
"intellectual laws." But as France contains a large infusion of German
(Frankish) blood, it is the most Protestant of Catholic nations; while
Scotland, containing the largest infusion of Keltic blood, is the
most priest-ridden of Protestant nations. This last fact, which Mr.
Buckle asserts, and spends half a volume in trying to account for,
is explained at once by ethnology. Wherever the Germans go to-day,
they remain the same people they were in the days of Tacitus; they
carry the same blue eyes and light hair, the same love of freedom and
hatred of slavery, the same tendencies to individualism in thought
and life, the same tendency to superstitious belief in supernatural
events, even when without belief in any religion or church; and even
the same love for beer, and "lac concretum," now called "schmeercase"
in our Western settlements. The Kelt, also, everywhere continues the
same. He loves equality more than freedom. He is a democrat, but not
an abolitionist. Very social, clannish, with more wit than logic, very
sensitive to praise, brave, but not determined, needing a leader, he
carries the spirit of the Catholic Church into Protestantism, and the
spirit of despotism into free institutions. And that physical, no less
than mental qualities, continue under all climates and institutions is
illustrated by the blue eyes and light hair which the traveller meets
among the Genoese and Florentines, reminding him of their Lombard
ancestors; while their superior tendencies to freedom in church and
state suggest the same origin.

Nineteen hundred years have passed since Julius Cæsar pointed out
these diversities of character then existing between the Germans and
Kelts. Since then they have passed from barbarism to civilization.
Instead of living in forests, as hunters and herdsmen, they have built
cities, engaged in commerce, manufactures, and agriculture. They have
been converted to Christianity, have conquered the Roman empire,
engaged in crusades, fought in a hundred different wars, developed
literatures, arts, and sciences, changed and changed again their forms
of government, have been organized by Feudalism, by Despotism, by
Democracy, have gone through the Protestant reformation, have emigrated
to all countries and climates; and yet, at the end of this long period,
the German everywhere remains a German, and the Kelt a Kelt. The
descriptions of Tacitus and Cæsar still describe them accurately. And
yet Mr. Buckle undertakes to write a history of civilization without
taking the element of race into account.

Perhaps, however, the power of this element of race is illustrated
still more strikingly in the case of the wandering and dispersed
families, who, having ceased to be a nation, continue in their
dispersions to manifest the permanent type of their original and
ineffaceable organization. Wherever the Jew goes, he remains a Jew.
In all climates, under all governments, speaking all languages, his
physical and mental features continue the same. This amazing fact
has been held by many theologians to be a standing miracle of Divine
Providence. But Providence works by law, and through second causes, and
uses in this instance the laws of a specially stubborn organization
and the force of a tenacious and persistent blood to accomplish its
ends. The same kind of blood in the kindred Semitic family of Arabs
produces a like result, though to a less striking degree. The Bedouins
wander for thousands of miles away from their peninsula, but always
continue Arabs in appearance and character. The light, sinewy body and
brilliant dark eye, the abstemious habit and roaming tendency, mark the
Arab in Hindostan or Barbary. It is a thousand years since these nomad
tribes left their native home, but they continue the same people on the
Persian Gulf or amid the deserts of Sahara.

The case of the Gypsies, however, may be still more striking, because
these seem, in their wanderings over the earth, to have gradually
divested themselves of every other common attribute except that of
race. Unlike the Jews and Arabs, they not only adopt the language, but
also the religion, of the country where they happen to be. Yet they
always remain unfused and unassimilated.

The Gypsies first appeared in Europe in 1417, in Moldavia, and thence
spread into Transylvania and Hungary.[32] They afterward passed into
all the countries of Europe, where their number, at the present time,
is supposed to reach 700,000 or 800,000. Everywhere they adopt the
common form of worship, but are without any real faith. Partially
civilized in some countries, they always retain their own language
beside that of the people among whom they live. This language, being
evidently derived from the Sanskrit, settles the question of their
origin. It is common to all their branches through the world; as
are also the sweet voice of their maidens, and their habits of
horse-dealing, fortune-telling, and petty larceny. Without the bond
of religion, history, government, literature, or mutual knowledge and
intercourse, they still remain one and the same people in all their
dispersions. What gives this unity and permanence, if not race? Yet
race, to Mr. Buckle, means nothing.

III. _Mr. Buckle's Theory concerning Skepticism._--One of the laws of
history which Mr. Buckle considers himself to have established, if not
discovered, is that a spirit of skepticism precedes necessarily the
progress of knowledge, and therefore of civilization. By skepticism he
means a doubt of the truth of received opinions. He asserts that "a
spirit of doubt" is the necessary antecedent to "the love of inquiry."
(Vol. I. p. 242, Am. ed.) "Doubt must intervene before investigation
can begin. Here, then, we have the act of doubting as the originator,
or at all events the necessary antecedent, of all progress."

If this were so, progress would be impossible. For the great groundwork
of knowledge for each generation must be laid in the minds of children;
and children learn, not by doubting, but by believing. Children
are actuated at the same time by an insatiable curiosity and an
unquestioning faith. They ask the reason of everything, and they accept
every reason which is given them. If they stopped to question and to
doubt, they would learn very little. But by not doubting at all, while
they are made to believe some errors, they acquire an immense amount of
information. Kind Mother Nature understands the process of learning and
the principle of progress much better than Mr. Buckle, and fortunately
supplies every new generation of children with an ardent desire for
knowledge, and a disposition to believe everything they hear.

Perhaps, however, Mr. Buckle refers to men rather than children. He
may not insist on children's stopping to question everything they hear
before they believe. But in men perhaps this spirit is essential to
progress. What great skeptics, then, have been also great discoverers?
Which was the greatest discoverer, Leibnitz or Bayle, Sir Isaac Newton
or Voltaire? A faith amounting nearly to credulity is almost essential
to discovery,--a faith which foresees what it cannot prove, which
follows suggestions and hints, and so traces the faintest impressions
left by the flying footsteps of truth. The attitude of the intellect in
all discovery is not that of doubt, but of faith. The discoverer always
appears to critical and skeptical men as a visionary.

"To skepticism," says Mr. Buckle, "we owe the spirit of inquiry,
which, during the last two centuries, has gradually encroached on
every possible subject, and reformed every department of practical
and speculative knowledge." But this is plainly what logicians call
a ὕστερον πρότερον {hysteron proteron}, or what common people call
"putting the cart before the horse." It is not skepticism which
produces the spirit of inquiry, but the spirit of inquiry which
produces skepticism. It was not a doubt concerning the Mosaic cosmogony
which led to the study of geology; the study of geology led to the
doubt of the cosmogony. Skepticism concerning the authority of the
Church did not lead to the discovery of the Copernican system; the
discovery of the Copernican system led to doubts concerning the
authority of the Church which denied it. People do not begin by
doubting, but by seeking. The love of knowledge leads them to inquire,
and inquiry shows to them new truths. The new truths, being found to be
opposed to received opinions, cause a doubt concerning those opinions
to arise in the mind. Skepticism, therefore, may easily follow, but
does not precede inquiry.

Skepticism, being a negative principle, is necessarily unproductive
and barren. To have no strong belief, no fixed opinion, no vital
conviction for or against anything,--this is surely not a state of
intellect favorable to any great creation or discovery. Goethe, who was
certainly no bigot, says, in a volume of his posthumous works, that
skepticism is only an inverted superstition, and that this skepticism
is one of the chief evils of the present age. "It is worse," he adds,
"than superstition, for superstition is the inheritance of energetic,
heroic, progressive natures; skepticism belongs to weak, contracted,
shrinking men, who venture not out of themselves." Lord Bacon says
("Advancement of Learning," Book II.) that doubts have their advantages
in learning, of which he mentions two, but says that "both these
commodities do scarcely countervail an inconvenience which will intrude
itself, if it be not debarred; which is, that when a doubt is once
received, men labor rather how to keep it a doubt than how to solve
it." It will be seen, therefore, that Lord Bacon gives to skepticism
scarcely more encouragement than is given it by Goethe.

Mr. Buckle says (Vol. I. p. 250) that "Skepticism, which in physics
must always be the beginning of science, in religion must always be
the beginning of toleration." We have seen that in physics skepticism
is rather the end of science than its beginning, and the same is true
of toleration. Skepticism does not necessarily produce toleration. The
Roman augurs, who laughed in each other's faces, were quite ready to
assist at the spectacle of Christians thrown to the lions. Skeptics,
not having any inward conviction as a support, rest on established
opinions, and are angry at seeing them disturbed. A strong belief is
sufficient for itself, but a half-belief wishes to put down all doubts
by force. This is well expressed by Thomas Burnet (Epistola 2, De Arch.
Phil.): "Non potui non in illam semper propendere opinionem, Neminem
irasci in veritate defendenda, qui eandem plene possidet, viditque
in claro lumine. Evidens enim, et indubitata ratio, sibi sufficit
et acquiescit: aliisque a scopo oberrantibus, non tam succenset,
quam miseretur. Sed cum argumentorum adversantium aculeos sentimus,
et quodammodo periclitari causam nostram, tum demum æstuamus, et
effervescimus."

The least firm believers have often been the most violent persecutors.
Nero persecuted the Christians; Marcus Antoninus persecuted them;
but neither Nero nor Antoninus had any religious reason for this
persecution. Antoninus, the best head of his time, was a sufficient
skeptic to suit Mr. Buckle, as regards all points of the established
religion, but his skepticism did not prevent him from being a
persecutor. Unbelieving Popes, like Alexander VI. and Leo X., have
persecuted. True toleration is not born of unbelief, as Mr. Buckle
supposes, but of a deeper faith. Religious liberty has not been given
to the world by skeptics, but by such men as Milton, Baxter, Jeremy
Taylor, and Roger Williams.

So far from general skepticism being the antecedent condition of
intellectual progress and discovery, it is a sign of approaching
intellectual stagnation and decay. A great religious movement usually
precedes and prepares the way for a great mental development. Thus the
religious activity born of Protestantism showed its results in England
in the age of Elizabeth, and in a general outbreak of intellectual
activity over all Europe. On the other hand, the skepticism of the
eighteenth century was accompanied by comparative stagnation of thought
throughout Christendom.

IV. _Mr. Buckle's View of the small Influence of Religion on
Civilization._--Mr. Buckle thinks it is erroneous to suppose that
religion is one of the prime movers of human affairs. (Vol. I. p. 183.)
Religion, according to him, has little to do with human progress.
In this opinion, he differs from nearly all other great historians
and philosophical thinkers. In modern times, Hegel, Niebuhr, Guizot,
Arnold, and Macaulay, among others, have discussed the part taken by
religious ideas in the development of man, laying the greatest stress
on this element. But Mr. Buckle denies that religion is one of the
prime movers in human affairs. The Crusades have been thought to have
exercised some influence on European civilization. But religion was
certainly the prime mover of the Crusades. Mohammedanism exercised
some influence on the development of European life. But Mohammedanism
was an embodiment of religious ideas. The Protestant Reformation
shook every institution, every nation, every part of social life, in
Christendom, and Europe rocked to its foundations under the influence
of this great movement. But religion was the prime mover of it all.
The English Revolution turned on religious ideas. The rise of the
Dutch Republic was determined by them. In one form they colonized South
America and Mexico; in another form, they planted New England. Such
great constructive minds as those of Alfred and Charlemagne have been
benevolently inspired by rational religion; such dark, destructive
natures as those of Philip II. of Spain, Catharine de Medicis of
France, and Mary Tudor of England have been malevolently inspired by
fanatical religion.

On what grounds, then, does Mr. Buckle dispute the influence of
religion? On two grounds mainly. First, he tells us that moral ideas
are not susceptible of progress, and therefore cannot have exercised
any perceptible influence on the progress of civilization. For that
which does not change, he argues, cannot influence that which changes.
That which has been known for thousands of years cannot be the cause
of an event which took place for the first time only yesterday. "Since
civilization is the product of moral and intellectual agencies,"
says Mr. Buckle, "and since that product is constantly changing, it
cannot be regulated by the stationary agent; because when surrounding
circumstances are unchanged, a stationary agent can produce only a
stationary effect." On this principle, gravitation could not be the
cause of the appearance of Donati's comet in the neighborhood of the
sun. For gravitation is a stationary and uniform agent; it cannot
therefore produce an accelerated motion. Mr. Buckle will answer, that
though the law of gravitation is one and the same in all ages, and
uniform in its action, the result of its action may be different at
different times, according to the position in the universe of the
object acted upon. True; and in like manner we may say, that, though
religious ideas are immutable, the result of their action on the
human mind may be different, according to the position of that mind
in relation to them. The doctrine of one God, the Maker and Lord of
all things, was not a new one, or one newly discovered in the seventh
century. Yet when applied by Mohammed to the Arabian mind, it was like
a spark coming in contact with gunpowder. Those wandering sons of the
desert, unknown before in the affairs of the world, and a negative
quantity in human history, sprang up a terrible power, capable of
overrunning and conquering half the earth. Religion awakened them;
religion organized them; religion directed them. The fact that an idea
is an old one is no proof, therefore, that it may not suddenly begin to
act with awful efficiency on civilization and the destiny of man.

The other reason given by Mr. Buckle why religious ideas have little
influence in history is, that the religion of a nation is symptomatic
of its mental and moral state. Men take the religious ideas which
suit them. A religion not suited to a people cannot be accepted by
it; or, if accepted, has no influence on it. This thought, argued at
considerable length by Mr. Buckle, is so perfectly true as to be a
truism. The religion of a people is no doubt an effect. But may it
not also be a cause? It, no doubt, cannot be received by a people
not prepared for it. But does it therefore exercise no influence on
a people which it finds prepared? Fire cannot explode an unexplosive
material, nor inflame one not inflammable. But does it follow that it
effects nothing when brought into contact with one which is inflammable
or explosive? A burning coal laid on a rock or put into the water
produces no effect. But does this prove that the explosion of gunpowder
is in no manner due to the contact of fire?

"The religion of mankind," says Mr. Buckle, "is the effect of their
improvement, and not the cause of it." His proof is that missions and
missionaries among the heathen produce only a superficial change among
barbarous and unenlightened tribes. Knowledge, he says, must prepare
the way for it. There must, no doubt, be some kind of preparation for
Christianity. But does it follow that Christianity, when its way is
prepared, is _only_ an effect? Why may it not be also a cause? Judaism
prepared the way for Christianity. But did not Christianity produce
some effect on Judaism? The Arab mind was prepared for Mohammedanism.
But did not Mohammedanism produce some effect on the Arab mind? Europe
was prepared by various influences for Protestantism. But did not
Protestantism produce some effects on Europe?

It might, with equal truth, and perhaps with greater truth, be asserted
that intellectual ideas are the result of previous training, and that
they are therefore an effect, and by no means a cause. The intellectual
truths accepted by any period depend certainly on the advanced
condition of human culture. You cannot teach logarithms to Hottentots,
trigonometry to Digger Indians, or the differential calculus to the
Feejee Islanders. Hence, according to our author's logic, those very
intellectual ideas which he thinks the only great movers in human
affairs are really no movers at all, but only symptoms of the actual
intellectual condition of a nation.

But it is a curious fact, that, while Mr. Buckle considers religious
ideas of so little importance in the history of civilization, he
nevertheless devotes a large part of both his volumes to proving
the great evil done to civilization by erroneous forms of religious
opinion. Nearly the whole of his second volume is in fact given to
showing the harm done in Spain and Scotland by false systems of
religious thought. Why spend page after page in showing the evil
influence of false religion on society, if religion, whether true or
false, has scarcely any influence at all? Why search through all
the records of religious fanaticism and superstition, to bring up to
the day the ghosts of dead beliefs, if these beliefs are, after all,
powerless either for good or evil?

       *       *       *       *       *

The second volume, the recent publication of which has suggested this
second review of Mr. Buckle's work, contains much of interest and
value, but suffers from the imperfect method of which we complained at
the beginning of this article. It is chiefly devoted to a description
of the evils resulting from priestcraft in the two countries of Spain
and Scotland. It contains six chapters. The first is on the History of
the Spanish Intellect from the fifth to the middle of the nineteenth
century. The other five chapters relate to Scotland.

In the chapter on Spain Buckle attempts to show how loyalty and
superstition began in this nation, and what has been the result. Of
course, according to his theory, he is obliged to trace their origin to
external circumstances, and he finds the cause of the superstition in
the climate, which produced drought and famine, and in the earthquakes
which alarmed the people. And here Mr. Buckle, following the philosophy
of Lucretius, confounds religion and fear, and puts the occasion for
the cause. But, beside earthquakes, the Arian heresy helped to create
this superstition, by identifying the wars for national independence
with those for religion, and so giving a great ascendency to the
priests. Hence the Church in Spain early acquired great power, and,
naturally allying itself with the government, gave rise to the
sentiment of loyalty, which was increased by the Moorish invasion and
the long wars which followed. Loyalty and superstition thus became so
deeply rooted in the Spanish mind, that they could not be eradicated
by the efforts of the government. Nothing but knowledge can cure this
blind and servile loyalty and this abject superstition, and while Spain
continues sunk in ignorance it must always remain superstitious and
submissive.

Some difficulties, however, suggest themselves in the way of this very
simple explanation. If superstitious loyalty to Church and king comes
from earthquakes, why are not the earthquake regions of the West Indies
and of South America more loyal, instead of being in a state of chronic
revolution? And how came Scotland to be so diseased with loyalty and
superstition, when she is so free from earthquakes? And if knowledge is
such a certain cure for superstition, why was not Spain cured by the
flood of light which she, alone of all European countries, enjoyed in
the Middle Ages? Spain was for a long time the source of science and
art to all Europe, whose Christian sons resorted to her universities
and libraries for instruction. There was taught to English, French,
and German students the philosophy of Aristotle, the Græco-Arabic
literature, mathematics, and natural history. The numerals, gunpowder,
paper, and other inventions of the Arabs, passed into Europe from
Spain. She possessed, therefore, that knowledge of physical laws which
Mr. Buckle declares to be the only cure for superstition. Yet she was
not cured. The nation which, according to his theory, ought to have
been soonest delivered from superstition, according to his statements
has retained its yoke longer than any other.

From Spain Mr. Buckle passes to Scotland, where he finds a still more
complicated problem. Superstition and loyalty ought to go together, he
thinks,--and usually do; but in Scotland they are divorced. The Scotch
have always been superstitious, but disloyal. To the explanation of
this fact Mr. Buckle bends his energies of thought, and of course is
able to find a theory to account for it. This theory we shall not stop
to detail; it is too complex, and at the same time too superficial,
to dwell upon. Its chief point is that the Protestant noblemen and
Protestant clergy quarreled about the wealth of the Catholic Church,
and so there was in Scotland a complete rupture between the two classes
elsewhere in alliance. Thus "the clergy, finding themselves despised
by the governing class, united themselves heartily with the people,
and advocated democratic principles." Such is the explanation given
to the course of history in a great nation. A quarrel between its
noblemen and its ministers (who are of course represented as mercenary
self-seekers) determines its permanent character!

Mr. Buckle, to whom the love of plunder appears as the cause of what
other men regard as loyalty or religion, explains by the same fact the
loyalty of the Highlanders to King Charles. They thought that, if he
conquered, he would allow them to plunder the Lowlanders once more.
This is Buckle's explanation. An ethnologist would have remembered the
fact that the Gaels are pure-blooded Kelts, and that the Kelts _pur
sang_ are everywhere distinguished for loyalty to their chiefs.

Mr. Buckle encounters another difficulty in Scottish history in this,
that though a new and splendid literature arose in Scotland at the
beginning of the eighteenth century, it was unable to diminish national
superstition. It was thoroughly skeptical, and yet did not produce the
appropriate effect of skepticism. So that at this point one of Mr.
Buckle's four great laws of history seems to break down. For a moment
he appears discouraged, and laments, with real pathos, the limitations
of the human intellect. But in the next chapter he addresses himself
again to the solution of his two-fold problem, viz.: "1st, that the
same people should be liberal in their politics and illiberal in their
religion; and, 2d, that their free and skeptical literature in the
eighteenth century should have been unable to lessen their religious
illiberality."

In approaching this part of his task, in the fifth chapter, our
author gives a very elaborate and highly colored picture of the
religion of Scotland. It is _too_ well done. Like some of Macaulay's
descriptions, it is so very striking as to impress us almost inevitably
as a caricature. Every statement in which the horrors and cruelties
of Calvinism are described is indeed reinforced by ample citations
or plentiful references in the footnotes. But some of these seem
capable of a different inference from that drawn in the text. For
instance, he charges the Scottish clergy with teaching, that, though
the arrangements originally made by the Deity to punish his creatures
were ample, "they were insufficient; and hell, not being big enough
to contain the countless victims incessantly poured into it, had in
these latter days been enlarged. There was now sufficient room." He
supports the charge by this reference to Abernethy,--"Hell has enlarged
itself,"--apparently not being aware that Abernethy was merely quoting
from Isaiah. He says that to write poetry was considered by the Scotch
clergy to be a grievous offence, and worthy of special condemnation.
He supports his statement by this reference: "A mastership in a
grammar school was offered in 1767 to John Wilson, the author of
'Clyde'" (a poet, by the by, not found among the twenty John Wilsons
commemorated by Watt). "But, says his biographer, the magistrates and
ministers of Greenock thought fit, before they would admit Mr. Wilson
to the superintendence of the grammar school, to stipulate that he
should abandon 'the profane and unprofitable art of poem-making.'"
This fact, however, by no means proves that poetry was considered,
theologically, a sin, for perhaps it was regarded practically as only a
disqualification. It is to be feared that many of our school committees
now--country shopkeepers, perhaps, or city aldermen--would, apart from
Calvinism, think that a poet must be necessarily a dreamer and an
unpractical man.

A few exaggerations of this kind there may be. But, on the whole, the
account seems to be correctly given; and it is one which will do good.

In the remaining portion of the second volume Mr. Buckle gives a very
vigorous description of the intellectual progress of the Scotch during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His account of Adam Smith
as a writer is peculiarly brilliant. His views of Hume and Reid are
ably drawn. Thence he proceeds to discuss the discoveries of Black
and Leslie in natural philosophy, of Smith and Hutton in geology,
of Cavendish in chemistry, of Cullen and Hunter in physiology and
pathology. These discussions are interesting, and show a great range of
knowledge and power of study in the writer. Yet they are episodes, and
have little bearing on the main course of his thought.

We have thus given a cursory survey of these volumes. We do not think
Buckle's philosophy sound, his method good, or his doctrines tenable.
Yet we cannot but sympathize with one who has devoted his strength and
youth with such untiring industry to such a great enterprise. And we
must needs be touched with the plaintive confession which breaks from
his wearied mind and exhausted hope in the last volume, when he accepts
the defeat of his early endeavor, and submits to the disappointment of
his youthful hope. We should be glad to quote the entire passage,[33]
because it is the best in the book, and because he expresses in it, in
the most condensed form, his ideas and purposes as an historic writer.
But our limited space allows us only to commend it to the special
attention of the reader.



VOLTAIRE[34]


Mr. Parton has given us in these volumes[35] another of his interesting
and instructive biographies. Not as interesting, indeed, as some
others,--for example, as his life of Andrew Jackson; nor as instructive
as his lives of Franklin and of Jefferson. The nature of the case made
this impossible. The story of Jackson had never been told till Mr.
Parton undertook it. It was a history of frontier life, of strange
adventures, of desperate courage, of a force of character which
conquered all obstacles and achieved extraordinary results; a story

    "Of moving accidents by flood and field,
    Of hair-breadth 'scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
    Of being taken by the insolent foe."

No such interest attaches to the "Life of Voltaire." His most serious
adventure was being shut up in the Bastille for a pasquinade, and
being set free again on his solemn protestation, true or false,
that he never wrote it. It is an old story, told a thousand times,
with all its gloss, if it ever had any, quite worn off. The "Life
of Franklin," which, on the whole, we think the best of Parton's
biographies, was full of interest and instruction of another kind.
It was the life of a builder,--of one who gave his great powers to
construction, to building up new institutions and new sciences, to the
discovery of knowledge and the creation of national life. Voltaire was
a diffuser of knowledge already found, but he had not the patience
nor the devotion of a discoverer. His gift was not to construct good
institutions, but to destroy bad ones,--a work the interest of which is
necessarily ephemeral. No wonder, therefore, that Mr. Parton, with all
his practiced skill as a biographer, has not been able to give to the
story of Voltaire the thrilling interest which he imparted to that of
Franklin and of Jackson.

We gladly take the present opportunity to add our recognition of Mr.
Parton's services to those which have come to him from other quarters.
A writer of unequal merit, and one whose judgment is often biased by
his prejudices, he nevertheless has done much to show how biography
should be written. Of all forms of human writing there is none which
ought to be at once so instructive and so interesting as this, but in
the large majority of instances it is the most vapid and empty. The
good biographies, in all languages, are so few that they can almost be
counted on the fingers; but these are among the most precious books in
the literature of mankind. The story of Ruth, the Odyssey of Homer,
Plutarch's lives, the Memorabilia of Xenophon, the life of Agricola,
the Confessions of Augustine, among the ancients; and, in modern times,
Boswell's "Johnson," the autobiographies of Alfieri, Benvenuto Cellini,
Franklin, Goethe, Voltaire's "Charles XII.," and Southey's "Life of
Wesley" are specimens of what may be accomplished in this direction. It
has been thought that any man can write a biography, but it requires
genius to understand genius. How much intelligence is necessary to
collect with discrimination the significant facts of a human life; to
penetrate to the law of which they are the expression; to give the
picturesque proportions to every part, to arrange the foreground, the
middle distance, and the background of the panorama; to bring out
in proper light and shadow the features and deeds of the hero! Few
biographers take this trouble. They content themselves with collecting
the letters written by and to their subject; sweeping together the
facts of his life, important or otherwise; arranging them in some kind
of chronological order; and then having this printed and bound up in
one or two heavy volumes.

To all this many writers of biography add another fault, which is
almost a fatal one. They treat their subject _de haut en bas_,
preferring to look down upon him rather than to look up to him. They
occupy themselves in criticising his faults and pointing out his
deficiencies, till they forget to mention what he has accomplished to
make him worthy of having his life written at all. We lately saw a
life of Pope treated in this style. One unacquainted with Pope, after
reading it, would say, "If he was such a contemptible fellow, and his
writings so insignificant, why should we have to read his biography?"
Thomas Carlyle has the great merit of leading the way in the opposite
direction, and of thus initiating a new style of biography. The old
method was for the writer to regard himself as a judge on the bench,
and the subject of his biography as a prisoner at the bar. Carlyle,
in his "Life of Schiller," showed himself a loving disciple, sitting
at the feet of his master. We recollect that when this work first
appeared there were only a few copies known to be in this country.
One was in the possession of an eminent professor in Harvard College,
of whom the present writer borrowed it. On returning it, he was asked
what he thought of it, and replied that he considered it written with
much enthusiasm. "Yes," responded the professor, "I myself thought it
rather extravagant." Enthusiasm in a biographer was then considered
to be the same as extravagance. But this hero-worship, which is the
charm in Plutarch, Xenophon, and Boswell, inspired a like interest in
Carlyle's portraits of Schiller, Goethe, Richter, Burns, and the actors
in the French Revolution. So true is his own warning: "Friend, if you
wish me to take an interest in what you say, be so kind as to take some
interest in it yourself"--a golden maxim, to be kept in mind by all
historians, writers of travels, biographers, preachers, and teachers.
A social success may sometimes be accomplished by assuming the _blasé_
air of the Roman emperor who said, "Omnia fui, nihil expedit;" but this
tone is ruinous for one who wishes the ear of the public.

Since the days of Carlyle, others have written in the same spirit,
allowing themselves to take more or less interest in the man whose life
they were relating. So Macaulay, in his sketches of Clive, Hastings,
Chatham, Pym, and Hampden; so Lewes, in his "Life of Goethe;" and so
Parton, in his various biographies.

In some respects Mr. Parton's biography reminds us of Macaulay's
History. Both have been credited with the same qualities, both charged
with the same defects. Both are indefatigable in collecting material
from all quarters,--from other histories and biographies, memoirs,
letters, newspapers, broadsides, and personal communications gathered
in many out-of-the-way localities. Both have the power of discarding
insignificant details and retaining what is suggestive and picturesque.
Both, therefore, have the same supreme merit of being interesting.
Both have strong prejudices, take sides earnestly, forget that they
are narrators, and begin to plead as attorneys and advocates. Both
have been accused, rightly or wrongly, of grave inaccuracies. But their
defects will not prevent them from holding their place as teachers of
the English-speaking public. English and American readers will long
continue to think of Marlborough as Macaulay represents him; of Jackson
and Jefferson as Parton describes them. Such Rembrandt-like portraits
fix the attention by their strange chiaro-oscuro. They may not be like
nature, but they take the place of nature. The most remarkable instance
of this kind is the representation of Tiberius by Tacitus, which has
caused mankind, until very recently, to consider Tiberius a monster
of licentiousness and cruelty, in spite of the almost self-evident
absurdity and self-contradiction of this assumption.[36] Limners with
such a terrible power of portraiture should be very careful how they
use it, and not abuse the faculty in the interest of their prejudices.

If Mr. Parton resembles Macaulay in some respects, in one point, at
least, he is like Carlyle: that is, that his last hero is the least
interesting. From Schiller and Goethe to Frederic the Great was a fall;
and so from Franklin to Voltaire. Carlyle tells us what a weary task
he had with his Prussian king, and we think that Mr. Parton's labors
over the patriarch of the eighteenth-century literature must have been
equally distressing. At a distance, Voltaire is a striking phenomenon:
the most brilliant wit of almost any period; the most prolific
writer; a successful dramatist, historian, biographer, story-teller,
controversialist, lyrical poet, student of science. "Truly, a universal
genius, a mighty power!" we say. But look more closely, and this genius
turns into talent; this encyclopædic knowledge becomes only superficial
half knowledge; this royalty is a sham royalty; it does not lead the
world, but follows it. The work into which Voltaire put his heart was
destruction--the destruction of falsehoods, bigotries, cruelties, and
shams. It was an important duty, and some one had to do it. But it was
temporary, and one of which the interest is soon over. If Luther and
the other reformers had aimed at only destroying the Church of Rome,
their influence would have speedily ceased. But they rebuilt, as they
destroyed; the sword in one hand, and the trowel in the other. They
destroyed in order to build; they took away the outgrown house, to put
another in its place. Voltaire did not go so far as that; he wanted no
new church in the place of the old one.

Voltaire and Rousseau are often spoken of as though they were
fellow-workers, and are associated in many minds as sharing the same
convictions. Nothing can be more untrue. They were radically opposite
in the very structure of their minds, and their followers and admirers
are equally different. If all men can be divided into Platonists
and Aristotelians, they may be in like manner classified as those
who prefer Voltaire to Rousseau, and _vice versa_. Both were indeed
theists, and both opposed to the popular religion of their time. Both
were brilliant writers, masters of the French language, listened to
by the people, and with a vast popularity. Both were more or less
persecuted for their religious heresies. So far they resemble each
other. But these are only external resemblances; radically and inwardly
they were polar opposites. What attracted one repelled the other.
Voltaire was a man of the world, fond of society and social pleasures;
the child of his time, popular, a universal favorite. Rousseau shrank
from society, hated its fashions, did not enjoy its pleasures, and
belonged to another epoch than the eighteenth century. Rousseau
believed in human nature, and thought that if we could return to our
natural condition the miseries of life would cease. Voltaire despised
human nature; he forever repeated that the majority of men were knaves
and fools. Rousseau distrusted education and culture as they are
commonly understood; but to Voltaire's mind they were the only matters
of any value,--all that made life worth living. Rousseau was more like
Pascal than like Voltaire; far below Pascal, no doubt, in fixed moral
principles and ascetic virtue. Yet he resembled him in his devotion
to ideas, his enthusiasm for some better day to come. Both were out of
place in their own time; both were prophets crying in the wilderness.
Put Voltaire between Pascal and Rousseau, and it would be something
like the tableau of Goethe between Basedow and Lavater.

    "Prophete rechts, Propliete links,
    Das Weltkind in der Mitte."

The difference between Voltaire and Rousseau was really that between a
man of talent and a man of genius. Voltaire, brilliant, adroit, full of
resource, quick as a flash, versatile, with immense powers of working,
with a life full of literary successes, has not left behind him a
single masterpiece. He comes in everywhere second best. As a tragedian
he is inferior to Racine; as a wit and comic writer far below Molière;
and he is quite surpassed as a historian and biographer by many modern
French authors. No germinating ideas are to be found in his writings,
no seed corn for future harvests. He thought himself a philosopher,
and was so regarded by others; but neither had his philosophy any
roots to it. A sufficient proof of this is the fact that he shared the
superficial optimism of the English deists, as expressed by Bolingbroke
and Pope, until the Lisbon earthquake, by destroying thirty thousand
people, changed his whole mental attitude. Till then he could say with
Pope, "Whatever is, is right." After that, most things which are,
appeared to him fatally and hopelessly wrong. That thirty thousand
persons should perish in a few minutes, in great suffering, he thought
inconsistent with the goodness of God. But take the whole world over,
thirty thousand people are continually perishing, in the course of a
few hours or days. What difference does it make, in a philosophical
point of view, if they die all at once in a particular place, or at
longer intervals in many places? Voltaire asks, "What crime had those
infants committed who lie crushed on their mother's breasts?" What
crime, we reply, have the infants committed who have been dying by
millions, in suffering, since the world began? "Was Lisbon," he asks,
"more wicked than Paris?" But had Voltaire never noticed before that
wicked people often live on in health and pleasure, while the good
suffer and die? Voltaire did not see, what it requires very little
philosophy to discover, that a Lisbon earthquake really presents no
more difficulty to the reason than the suffering and death of a single
child.

Another fact which shows the shallow nature of Voltaire's way of
thinking is his expectation of destroying Christianity by a combined
attack upon it of all the wits and philosophers. Mr. Parton tells us
that "l'Infâme," which Voltaire expected to crush, "was not religion,
nor the Christian religion, nor the Roman Catholic Church. It was,"
he says, "_religion claiming supernatural authority, and enforcing
that claim by pains and penalties_." No doubt it was the spirit
of intolerance and persecution which excited his indignation. But
the object of that indignation was not the abstraction which Mr.
Parton presents to us. It was something far more concrete. There is
no doubt that Voltaire confounded Christianity with the churches
about him, and these with their abuses; and thus his object was to
sweep away all positive religious institutions, and to leave in
their place a philosophic deism. Else what meaning in his famous
boast that "it required twelve men to found a belief, which it would
need only one man to destroy"? What meaning, otherwise, in his
astonishment that Locke, "having in one book so profoundly traced
the development of the understanding, could so degrade his own
understanding in another"?--referring, as Mr. Morley believes, to
Locke's "Reasonableness of Christianity." Voltaire saw around him
Christianity represented by cruel bigots, ecclesiastics living in
indolent luxury, narrow-minded and hard-hearted priests. That was all
the Christianity he saw with his sharp perceptive faculty; and he
had no power of penetrating into the deeper life of the soul which
these corruptions misrepresented. We do not blame him for this; he
was made so; but it was a fatal defect in a reformer. The first work
of a reformer is to discover the truth and the good latent amid the
abuses he wishes to reform, and for the sake of which men endure the
evil. A Buddhist proverb says, "The human mind is like a leech: it
never lets go with its tail till it has taken hold somewhere else with
its head." Distinguish the good in a system from the evil; show how
the good can be preserved, though the evil is abandoned, and then you
may hope to effect a truly radical reform. Radicalism means going to
the roots of anything. Voltaire was incapable of becoming a radical
reformer of the Christian Church, because he had in himself no faculty
by which he could appreciate the central forces of Christianity. Mr.
Morley says that Voltaire "has said no word, nor even shown an indirect
appreciation of any word said by another, which stirs and expands that
indefinite exaltation known as the love of God," "or of the larger word
holiness." "Through the affronts which his reason received from certain
pretensions, both in the writers and in some of those whose actions
they commemorated, this sublime trait in the Bible, in both portions
of it, was unhappily lost to Voltaire. He had no ear for the finer
vibrations of the spiritual voice." And so also speaks Carlyle: "It is
a much more serious ground of offense that he intermeddled in religion
without being himself, in any measure, religious; that he entered the
temple and continued there with a levity which, in any temple where
men worship, can beseem no brother man; that, in a word, he ardently,
and with long-continued effort, warred against Christianity, without
understanding beyond the mere superficies of what Christianity was."
In fact, in the organization of Voltaire, the organ of reverence, "the
crown of the whole moral nature," seems to have been at its minimum. A
sense of justice there was; an ardent sympathy with the oppressed, a
generous hatred of the oppressor, a ready devotion of time, thought,
wealth, to the relief of the down-trodden victim. Therefore, with
such qualities, Voltaire, by the additional help of his indefatigable
energy, often succeeded in plucking the prey from the jaws of the lion.
He was able to defeat the combined powers of Church and State in his
advocacy of some individual sufferer, in his battle against some single
wrong. But his long war against the Catholic Church in France left it
just where it was when that war began. Its power to-day in France is
greater than it was then, because it is a purer and better institution
than it was then. That Sphinx still sits by the roadside propounding
its riddle. Voltaire was not the Œdipus who could solve it, and so the
life of that mystery remains untouched until now.

The Henriade has often been considered the great epic poem of France.
This merely means that France has never produced a great epic poem. The
Henriade is artificial, prosaic, and has no particle of the glow, the
fire, the prolonged enthusiasm, which alone can give an epic poem to
mankind. In this sentence all competent critics are agreed.

Voltaire was busy with literature during his whole life. He not
only wrote continually himself, but he was a critic of the writings
of others. His mind was essentially critical,--formed to analyze,
discriminate sharply, compare, and judge by some universal standard
of taste. Here, if anywhere, he ought to be at his best; here, if in
any department, he should stand at the head of the world's board of
literary censors. But here, again, he is not even second-rate; here,
more than elsewhere, he shows how superficial are his judgments. He
tests every writer by the French standard in the eighteenth century.
Every word which Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, have said of other
writers is full of value and interest to-day. But who would go to
Voltaire for light on any book or author? We have an instinctive but
certain conviction that all his views are limited by his immediate
environment, perverted by his personal prejudices. Thus, he prefers
Ariosto to the Odyssey, and Tasso's Jerusalem to the Iliad.[37] His
inability to comprehend the greatness of Shakespeare is well known.
He is filled with indignation because a French critic had called
Shakespeare "the god of the stage." "The blood boils in my old veins,"
says he; "and what is frightful to think of, it was I myself who first
showed to Frenchmen the few pearls to be found in the dunghill."[38]
Chesterfield's Letters to his Son he considers "the best book upon
education ever written."[39] This is the book in which a father teaches
his son the art of polite falsehood, of which Dr. Johnson says that "it
shows how grace can be united with wickedness,"--the book whose author
is called by De Vere the philosopher of flattery and dissimulation. He
admitted that there were some good things in Milton, but speaks of his
conceptions as "odd and extravagant."[40] He thought Condorcet much
superior to Pascal. The verses of Helvetius he believed better than
any but those of Racine. The era was what Villemain calls "the golden
age of mediocre writers;" and Voltaire habitually praised them all.
But these writers mostly belonged to a mutual admiration society. The
anatomist Tissot, in one of his physiological works, says that the
genius of Diderot came to show to mankind how every variety of talent
could be brought to perfection in one man. Diderot, in his turn, went
into frantic delight over the novels of Richardson. "Since I have read
these works," he says, "I make them my touchstone; those who do not
admire them are self-condemned. O my friends, what majestic dramas
are these three, Clarissa, Sir Charles Grandison, and Pamela!" Such
was the eighteenth century; and Voltaire belonged to it with all the
intensity of his ardent nature. He may be said never to have seen or
foreseen anything better. Living on the very verge of a great social
revolution, he does not appear to have suspected what its nature would
be, even if he suspected its approach. The cruelties of the Church
exasperated him, but the political condition of society, the misery of
the peasants, the luxury of the nobles, the despotism of the king, left
him unmoved. He was singularly deficient in any conception of the value
of political liberty or of free institutions. If he had lived to see
the coming of the Revolution, it would have utterly astounded him. His
sympathies were with an enlightened aristocracy, not with the people.
In this, too, he was the man of his time, and belonged to the middle of
his century, not the end of it. He saw and lamented the evils of bad
government. He pointed out the miseries produced by war. He abhorred
and denounced the military spirit. He called on the clergy, in the
name of their religion, to join him in his righteous appeals against
this great curse of mankind. "Where," he asks, "in the five or six
thousand sermons of Massillon, are there two in which anything is said
against the scourge of war?" He rebukes the philosophers and moralists,
also, for their delinquency in this matter, and replies forcibly to
Montesquieu's argument that self-defense sometimes makes it necessary
to begin the attack on a neighboring nation. But he does not go back
to trace the evil to its root in the absence of self-government. In
a letter to the King of Prussia he says, "When I asked you to become
the deliverer of Greece, I did not mean to have you restore the
democracy. I do not love the rule of the rabble" (_gouvernement de la
canaille_). Again, writing to the same, in January, 1757, he says,
"Your majesty will confer a great benefit by destroying this infamous
superstition [Christianity]; I do not say among the _canaille_, who
do not deserve to be enlightened, and who ought to be kept down under
all yokes, but among honest people, people who think. Give white bread
to the children, but only black bread to the dogs." In 1762, writing
to the Marquis d'Argens, he says, "The Turks say that their Koran has
sometimes the face of an angel, sometimes the face of a beast. This
description suits our time. There are a few philosophers,--they have
the face of an angel; all else much resembles that of a beast." Again,
he says to Helvetius, "Consider no man your neighbor but the man who
thinks; look on all other men as wolves, foxes, and deer." "We shall
soon see," he writes to D'Alembert, "new heavens and a new earth,--I
mean for honest people; for as to the _canaille_, the stupidest heaven
and earth is all they are fit for." The real government of nations,
according to him, should be administered by absolute kings, in the
interest of freethinkers.

It is true that after Rousseau had published his trumpet-call in
behalf of democratic rights, Voltaire began to waver. It has been
remarked that "at the very time when he expressed an increasing
ill-will against the person of the author of 'Emile,' he was
irresistibly attracted to the principal doctrines of Rousseau. He
entered, as if in spite of himself, into paths toward which his feet
were never before directed. As if to revenge himself for coming under
this salutary influence, he pursued Rousseau with blind anger."[41] He
harshly attacked the Social Contract, but accepted the sovereignty of
the people; saying that "civil government is the will of all, executed
by a single one, or by several, in virtue of the laws which all have
enacted." He, however, speedily restricted this democratic principle
by confining the right of making laws to the owners of real estate.
He declares that those who have neither house nor land ought not to
have any voice in the matter. He now began (in 1764) to look forward
to the end of monarchies, and to expect a revolution. Nevertheless,
he plainly declares, "The pretended equality of man is a pernicious
chimera. If there were not thirty laborers to one master, the earth
would not be cultivated." But in practical and humane reforms Voltaire
took the lead, and did good work. He opposed examination by torture,
the punishment of death for theft, the confiscation of the property of
the condemned, the penalties against heretics; secret trials; praised
trial by jury, civil marriage, right of divorce, and reforms in the
direction of hygiene and education.

And, above all, whatever fault may be found with Voltaire, let us never
cease to appreciate his generous efforts in behalf of the unfortunate
victims of the atrocious bigotry which then prevailed in France. It
is not necessary to dwell here on the cases of Calas, the Sirvens, La
Barre, and the Count de Lally. They are fully told by Mr. Parton, and
to his account we refer our readers. In 1762 the Protestant pastor
Rochette was hanged, by order of the Parliament of Toulouse, for
having exercised his ministry in Languedoc. At the same time three
young gentlemen, Protestants, were beheaded, for having taken arms to
defend themselves from being slaughtered by the Catholics. In 1762, the
Protestant merchant Calas, an aged and worthy citizen of Toulouse, was
tortured and broken on the wheel, on a wholly unsupported charge of
having killed his son to keep him from turning Catholic. A Protestant
girl named Sirven was, about the same time, taken from her parents,
and shut up in a convent, to compel her to change her religion. She
escaped, and perished by accident during her flight. The parents were
accused of having killed her to keep her from becoming a Catholic. They
escaped, but the wife died of exposure and want. In 1766 a crucifix
was injured by some wanton persons. The Bishop of Amiens called out
for vengeance. Two young officers, eighteen years old, were accused.
One escaped; the other, La Barre, was condemned to have his tongue
cut out, his right hand cut off, and to be burned alive. The sentence
was commuted to death by decapitation. Voltaire, seventy years old,
devoted himself with masterly ability and untiring energy to save
these victims; and when he failed in that, to show the falsehood of
the charges, and to obtain a revision of the judgments. He used all
means: personal appeals to men in power and to female favorites,
eloquence, wit, pathos in every form of writing. He called on all his
friends to aid him. He poured a flood of light into these dark places
of iniquity. His generous labors were crowned with success. He procured
a reversal of these iniquitous decisions; in some cases a restoration
of the confiscated property, and a public recognition of the innocence
of those condemned. Without knowing it, he was acting as a disciple of
Jesus. Perhaps he may have met in the other world with the great leader
of humanity, whom he never understood below, and been surprised to hear
him say, "Inasmuch as thou hast done it to the least of my little ones,
thou hast done it unto me."

Carlyle tells us that the chief quality of Voltaire was _adroitness_.
He denies that he was really a great man, and says that in one
essential mark of greatness he was wholly wanting, that is,
earnestness. He adds that Voltaire was by birth a mocker; that this
was the irresistible bias of his disposition; that the first question
with him was always not what is true but what is false, not what is to
be loved but what is to be contemned. He was shallow without heroism,
full of pettiness, full of vanity; "not a great man, but only a great
_persifleur_."

But certainly some other qualities than these were essential to
produce the immense influence which he exerted in his own time, and
since. Beside the extreme adroitness of which Carlyle speaks, he
had as exhaustless an energy as was ever granted to any of the sons
of men. He was never happy except when he was at work. He worked at
home, he worked when visiting, he worked in his carriage, he worked at
hotels. Amid annoyances and disturbances which would have paralyzed
the thought and pen of others, Voltaire labored on. Upon his sick bed,
in extreme debility and in old age, that untiring pen was ever in
motion, and whatever came from it interested all mankind. Besides the
innumerable books, tracts, and treatises which fill the volumes of his
collected works, there are said to be in existence fourteen thousand
of his letters, half of which have never been printed. But this was
only a part of the outcome of his terrible vitality. He was also an
enterprising and energetic man of business. He speculated in the funds,
lent money on interest, fitted out ships, bought and sold real estate,
solicited and obtained pensions. In this way he changed his patrimony
of about two hundred thousand francs to an annual income of the same
amount,--equal to at least one hundred thousand dollars a year at the
present time. He was determined to be rich, and he became so; not
because he loved money for itself, nor because he was covetous. He gave
money freely; he used it in large ways. He sought wealth as a means of
self-defense,--to protect himself against the persecution which his
attacks on the Church might bring upon him. He also had, like a great
writer of the present century, Walter Scott, the desire of being a
large landed proprietor and lord of a manor; and, like Scott, he became
one, reigning at Ferney as Scott ruled at Abbotsford.

In defending himself against his persecutors he used other means
not so legitimate. One of his methods was systematic falsehood. He
first concealed, and then denied, the authorship of any works which
would expose him to danger. He took the tone of injured innocence.
For example, he had worked with delight, during twenty years, on his
wretched "Pucelle." To write new lines in it, or a new canto, was his
refreshment; to read them to his friends gave him the most intense
satisfaction. But when the poem found its way into print, with what
an outcry he denies the authorship, almost before he is charged with
it. He assumes the air of calumniated virtue. The charge, he declares,
is one of the infamous inventions of his enemies. He writes to the
"Journal Encyclopédique," "The crowning point of their devilish
manœuvres is the edition of a poem called 'La Pucelle d'Orléans.'
The editor has the face to attribute this work to the author of the
'Henriade,' the 'Zaïre,' the 'Mérope,' the 'Alzire,' the 'Siècle de
Louis XIV.' He dares to ascribe to this author the flattest, meanest,
and most gross work which can come from the press. My pen refuses to
copy the tissue of silly and abominable obscenities of this work of
darkness." When the "Dictionnaire Philosophique" began to appear, he
wrote to D'Alembert, "As soon as any danger arises, I beg you will let
me know, that I may disavow the work in all the public papers with
my usual candor and innocence." Mr. Parton tells us that he had _a
hundred and eight_ pseudonyms. He signed his pamphlets A Benedictine,
The Archbishop of Canterbury, A Quaker, Rev. Josias Roussette, the Abbé
Lilladet, the Abbé Bigorre, the Pastor Bourn. He was also ready to tell
a downright lie when it suited his convenience.

When "Candide" was printed, in 1758, he wrote, as Mr. Parton tells
us, to a friendly pastor in Geneva, "I have at length read 'Candide.'
People must have lost their senses to attribute to me that pack of
nonsense. I have, thank God, better occupation. This optimism [of
Pangloss] obviously destroys the foundation of our holy religion." Our
holy religion!

An excuse may be found for these falsehoods. A writer, it may be said,
has a right to his incognito; if so, he has a right to protect it by
denying the authorship of a book when charged with it. This is doubtful
morality, but Voltaire went far beyond this. He volunteered his
denials. He asserted in every way, with the most solemn asseverations,
that he was not the author of a book which he had written with delight.
But this was not the worst. He not only told these author's lies,
but he was a deliberate hypocrite, professing faith in Christianity,
receiving its sacraments, asking spiritual help from the Pope,
and begging for relics from the Vatican, at the very time that he
was hoping by strenuous efforts to destroy both Catholicism and
Christianity.

When he was endeavoring to be admitted to a place in the French
Academy, he wrote thus to the Bishop of Mirepoix:[42] "Thanks to
Heaven, my religion teaches me to know how to suffer. The God who
founded it, as soon as he deigned to become man, was of all men the
most persecuted. After such an example, it is almost a crime to
complain.... I can say, before God who hears me, that I am a good
citizen and a true Catholic.... I have written many pages sanctified by
religion." In this Mr. Parton admits that he went too far.

When at Colmar, as a measure of self-protection, he resolved to
commune at Easter. Mr. Parton says that Voltaire had pensions and
rents to the amount of sixty thousand livres annually, of which the
king could deprive him by a stroke of the pen. So he determined to
prove himself a good Catholic by taking the sacraments. As a necessary
preliminary, he confessed to a Capuchin monk. He wrote to D'Argens
just before, "If I had a hundred thousand men, I know what I should
do; but as I have them not, I shall commune at Easter!" But, writing
to Rousseau, he thinks it shameful in Galileo to retract his opinions.
Mr. Parton too, who is disposed to excuse some of these hypocrisies
in Voltaire, is scandalized because the pastors of Geneva denied the
charges of heresy brought against them by Voltaire; saying that "we
live, as they lived, in an atmosphere of insincerity." In the midst
of all this, Voltaire took credit to himself for his frank avowals of
the truth: "I am not wrong to dare to utter what worthy men think. For
forty years I have braved the base empire of the despots of the mind."
Mr. Parton elsewhere seems to think it would have been impossible for
Voltaire to versify the Psalms; as it was "asked him to give the lie
publicly to his whole career." But if communing at Easter did not do
this, how could a versification of a few psalms accomplish it? Parton
quotes Condorcet as saying that Voltaire could not become a hypocrite,
even to be a cardinal. Could any one do a more hypocritical action
than to partake the sacraments of a Church which he despised in order
to escape the danger of persecution?

When building his house at Ferney, the neighboring Catholic curés
interfered with him. They prohibited the laborers from working for him.
To meet this difficulty he determined to obtain the protection of the
Pope himself. So he wrote to the Pope, asking for a relic to put in the
church he had built, and received in return a piece of the hair-shirt
of St. Francis. He went to mass frequently. Meantime, in his letters
to his brother freethinkers, he added his usual postscript, "Ecrasez
l'Infâme;" begging their aid in crushing Catholicism and Christianity.
Yet it does not seem that he considered himself a hypocrite in thus
conforming outwardly to a religion which he hated. He thinks that
others who do so are hypocrites, but not that he is one. In 1764 he
writes to Madame du Deffand, "The worst is that we are surrounded by
hypocrites, who worry us to make us think what they themselves do
not think at all." So singular are the self-deceptions of the human
mind. He writes to Frederic ridiculing the sacrament of extreme
unction, and then solemnly partakes of the eucharist. Certainly he
did not belong to the noble army of martyrs. He expected to overturn
a great religious system, not by the power of faith, but by ingenious
pamphlets, brilliant sarcasms, adroit deceptions. In thus thinking he
was eminently superficial.

His theory on this subject is given in an article in the "Dictionnaire
Philosophique," quoted by Mr. Parton: "Distinguish honest people who
think, from the populace who were not made to think. If usage obliges
you to perform a ridiculous ceremony for the sake of the canaille, and
on the road you meet some people of understanding, notify them by a
sign of the head, or a look, that you think as they do.... If imbeciles
still wish to eat acorns, let them have acorns."

Mr. Parton describes in full (vol. ii. p. 410) the ceremony of the
eucharist of which Voltaire partook in his own church at Ferney. It was
Easter Sunday, and Voltaire mounted the pulpit and preached a sermon
against theft. Hearing of this, the bishop was scandalized, and forbade
all the curates of the diocese from confessing, absolving, or giving
the sacrament to Voltaire. Upon this Voltaire writes and signs a formal
demand on the curate of Ferney to allow him to confess and commune
in the Catholic Church, in which he was born, has lived, and wishes
to die; offering to make all necessary declarations, all requisite
protestations, in public or private, submitting himself absolutely
to all the rules of the Church, for the edification of Catholics and
Protestants. All this was a mere piece of mystification and fun. He
pretended to be too sick to go to the church, and made a Capuchin come
and administer the eucharist to him in bed; Voltaire saying, "Having
my God in my mouth, I declare that I forgive all my enemies." No
wonder that with all his marvelous ability and his long war upon the
Catholic Church he was unable to make any lasting impression upon it.
Talent is not enough to make revolutions of opinion. No serious faith
was ever destroyed by a jest.

If we return to Rousseau, and compare his influence with that of
Voltaire, we shall find that it went far deeper. Voltaire was a man of
immense talent. Talent originates nothing, but formulates into masterly
expression what has come to it from the age in which it lives. Not
a new idea can be found, we believe, in all Voltaire's innumerable
writings. But genius has a vision of ideal truth. It is a prophet of
the future. Rousseau, with his many faults, weaknesses, follies, was
a man of genius. He was probably the most eloquent writer of French
prose who has ever appeared. He was a man possessed by his ideas. He
had none of the adroitness, wit, ingenuity, of Voltaire. Instead of
amassing an enormous fortune, he supported himself by copying music.
Instead of being surrounded by admirers and flatterers, he led a
solitary life, alone with his ideas. Instead of denying the authorship
of his works, and so giving an excuse to the authorities to leave him
quiet, he put his name to his writings. He worked for his bread with
his hands, and in his "Emile" he recommended that all boys should be
taught some manual craft. Voltaire ridiculed the _gentleman carpenter_
of Rousseau; but before that generation passed away, many a French
nobleman had reason to lament that he had not been taught to use the
saw and the plane.

If Voltaire belonged to the eighteenth century, and brought to a
brilliant focus its scattered rays, Rousseau belonged more to the
nineteenth. Amidst the _persiflage_, the mockery, the light and easy
philosophy, of his day, he stood, "among them, but not of them, in a
crowd of thoughts which were not their thoughts." This is the true
explanation of his weakness and strength, and of the intense dislike
felt for him by Voltaire and the school of Voltaire. They belonged to
their time, Rousseau to a coming time.

The eighteenth century, especially in France, was one in which nature
was at its minimum and art at its maximum. All was art. But art
separated from nature becomes artificial, not to say artful. Decorum
was the law in morals; the _bienséances_ and _convenances_ ruled in
society. The stage was bound by conventional rules. Poetry walked
in silk attire, and made its toilette with the elaborate dignity of
the _levée_ of the Grand Monarque. Against all this Rousseau led the
reaction--the reaction inevitable as destiny. As art had been pushed
to an extreme, so now naturalism was carried to the opposite extreme.
Rousseau was the apostle of nature in all things. Children were to be
educated by the methods of nature, not according to the routine of old
custom. Governments were to go back to their origin in human nature;
society was to be reorganized on first principles. This voice crying in
the wilderness was like the trumpet of doom to the age, announcing the
age to come. It laid the axe at the root of the tree. Its outcome was
the French Revolution, that rushing, mighty flood, which carried away
the throne, the aristocracy, the manners, laws, and prejudices of the
past.

In his first great work, the work which startled Europe, Rousseau
recalled man to himself. He said, "The true philosophy is to commune
with one's self,"--the greatest saying, thinks Henri Martin, that had
been pronounced in that century. Rousseau condemned luxury, and uttered
a prophetic cry of woe over the tangled perplexities of the time.
"There is no longer a remedy, _unless through some great revolution,
almost as much to be feared as the evil it would cure,--which it is
blamable to desire, impossible to foresee_."

"_Man is naturally good_," says Rousseau. Before the frightful words
"mine" and "thine" were invented, how could there have been, he asks,
any vices or crimes? He denounced all slavery, all inequality, all
forms of oppression. His writings were full of exaggeration, but,
says the French historian, "no sooner had he opened his lips than he
restored earnestness to the world." The same writer, after speaking
of the faults of the "Nouvelle Héloïse," adds that nevertheless "a
multitude of the letters of his 'Julie' are masterpieces of eloquence,
passion, and profundity; and the last portions are signalized by a
moral purity, a wisdom of views, and a religious elevation altogether
new in the France of the eighteenth century." Concerning "Emile," he
says, "It is the profoundest study of human nature in our language; it
was an ark of safety, launched by Providence on the waves of skepticism
and materialism. If Rousseau had been stricken out of the eighteenth
century, whither, we seriously ask, would the human mind have
drifted?"[43]

The "Social Contract" appeared in 1762. In this work Rousseau swept
away by his powerful eloquence the arguments which placed sovereignty
elsewhere than in the hands of the people. This fundamental idea was
the seed corn which broke from the earth in the first Revolution, and
bears its ripe fruit in republican France to-day. D'Alembert, who
disliked Rousseau, said of "Emile" that "it placed him at the head of
all writers." The "Social Contract," illogical and unsound in many
things, yet tore down the whole framework of despotism. Van Laun, a
more recent historian, tells us that Rousseau was a man of the people,
who knew all their wants; that every vice he attacked was one that they
saw really present in their midst; that he "opened the flood-gates of
suppressed desires, which gushed forth, overwhelming a whole artificial
world." Villemain writes that the words of Rousseau, "descending like
a flame of fire, moved the souls of his contemporaries;" and that "his
books glow with an eloquence which can never pass away." Morley, to
whom Rousseau is essentially antipathic, says of the "Social Contract"
that its first words, "Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains,"
thrilled two continents,--that it was the gospel of the Jacobins; and
the action of the convention in 1794 can be explained only by the
influence of Rousseau. He taught France to believe in a government of
the people, by the people, and for the people. Locke had already taught
this doctrine in England, where it produced no such violent outbreak,
because it encountered no such glaring abuses.

Such is the striking contrast between these two greatest writers in
modern French literature. It is singular to observe their instinctive
antagonism in every point of belief and character. The merits of one
are precisely opposite to those of the other: their faults are equally
opposed.

The events of Voltaire's life have been so often told that Mr. Parton
has not been able to add much to our knowledge of his biography. He
was born in 1694 and died in 1778, at the age of eighty-four, though
at his birth he was so feeble that those who believe that the world's
progress depends on the survival of the fittest would have thought
him not fit to be brought up. This was also the case with Goethe and
Walter Scott. His father was a notary, and the name Arouet had that
of Voltaire added to it, it being a name in his mother's family. This
affix was adopted by the lad when in the Bastille, at the age of
twenty-four. As a duck takes to water, so Voltaire took to his pen. In
his twelfth year he wrote verses addressed to the Dauphin, which so
pleased the famous Ninon de l'Enclos, then in her ninetieth year, that
she left the boy a legacy of two thousand francs. He went to a Jesuits'
school, and always retained a certain liking for the Jesuits. His
father wished to make him a notary, but he would "pen a stanza when he
should engross;" and the usual struggles between the paternal purpose
and the filial instinct ended, as usual, in the triumph of the latter.
He led a wild career for a time, in the society of dissipated abbès,
debauched noblemen, and women to whom pleasure was the only object.
Suspected of having written a lampoon on the death of Louis XIV., he
was sent to the Bastille, and came forth not only with a new name,
but with literature as his aim for the rest of his life. His first
play appeared on the stage in 1718, and from that time he continued to
write till his death. He traveled from the _château_ of one nobleman
to another, pouring out his satires and sarcasms through the press;
threatened by the angry rulers and priests who governed France, but
always escaping by some adroit manœuvre. In England he became a deist
and a mathematician. His views of Christ and Christianity were summed
up in a quatrain which may be thus translated. Speaking of Jesus, he
says,--

    "His actions are holy, his ethics divine;
    Into hearts which are wounded he pours oil and wine.
    And if, through imposture, those truths are received,
    It still is a blessing to be thus deceived."

He lived many years at Cirey with the Marchioness of Châtelet; the
marquis, her husband, accepting the curious relation without any
objection. Then followed the still stranger episode of his residence
with Frederic the Great, their love quarrels and reconciliations. After
this friendship came to an end, Voltaire went to live near Geneva in
Switzerland, but soon bought another estate just out of Switzerland,
in France, and a third a short distance away, in the territory of
another power. Thus, if threatened in one state, he could easily pass
into another. Here he lived and worked till the close of his life,
an untiring writer. He was a man of infinite wit, kind-hearted, with
little malignity of any sort, wishing in the main to do good. His
violent attacks upon Christianity may be explained by the fact of the
corruptions of the Church which were around him. The Church of France
in that day, in its higher circles, was a persecuting Church, yet
without faith: greedy for wealth, living in luxury, careless of the
poor, and well deserving the attacks of Voltaire. That he could not
look deeper and see the need of religious institutions of a better sort
was his misfortune.

This work is a storehouse of facts for the history of Voltaire and his
time. We do not think it will materially alter the judgment pronounced
on him by such critics as Carlyle, Morley, and the majority of French
writers in our day. Voltaire was a shining light in his age, but that
age has gone by, and can never return.



RALPH WALDO EMERSON[44]

MATT. vi. 23.--_If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of
light._


It is natural and fit that many pulpits to-day should take for their
theme the character and influence of the great thinker and poet who has
just left us; for every such soul is a new revelation of God's truth
and love. Each opens the gateway between our lower world of earthly
care and earthly pleasure into a higher heavenly world of spirit. Such
men lift our lives to a higher plane, and convince us that we, also,
belong to God, to eternity, to heaven. And few, in our day, have been
such mediators of heavenly things to mankind as Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Last Sunday afternoon, when the town of Concord was mourning through
all its streets for the loss of its beloved and revered citizen; when
the humblest cottage had on its door the badge of sorrow; when great
numbers came from abroad to testify their affection and respect, that
which impressed me the most was the inevitable response of the human
heart to whatever is true and good. Cynics may tell us that men are
duped by charlatans, led by selfish demagogues, incapable of knowing
honor and truth when set before them; that they always stone their
prophets and crucify their saviors; that they have eyes, and do not
see; ears, and never hear. This is all true for a time; but inevitably,
by a law as sure as that which governs the movements of the planets,
the souls of men turn at last toward what is true, generous, and noble.
The prophets and teachers of the race may be stoned by one generation,
but their monuments are raised by the next. They are misunderstood and
misrepresented to-day, but to-morrow they become the accredited leaders
of their time. Jesus, who knew well that he would be rejected and
murdered by a people blind and deaf to his truth, also knew that this
truth would sooner or later break down all opposition, and make him
master and king of the world. "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men
unto me."

Last Sunday afternoon, as the grateful procession followed their
teacher to his grave in the Concord cemetery, the harshness of our
spring seemed to relent, and Nature became tender toward him who had
loved her so well. I thought of his words, "The visible heavens and
earth sympathized with Jesus." The town where "the embattled farmers
stood;" where the musket was discharged which opened the War of the
Revolution--the gun of which Lafayette said, "It was the alarm-gun of
the world;" the town of Hawthorne's "Old Manse," and of his grave, now
that Emerson also sleeps in its quiet valley, has received an added
glory. It has become one of the "Meccas of the mind."

Let me describe the mental and spiritual condition of New England
when Emerson appeared. Calvinism, with its rigorous dogmatism, was
slowly dying, and had been succeeded by a calm and somewhat formal
rationalism. Locke was still the master in the realm of thought;
Addison and Blair in literary expression. In poetry, the school of Pope
was engaged in conflict with that of Byron and his contemporaries.
Wordsworth had led the way to a deeper view of nature; but Wordsworth
could scarcely be called a popular writer. In theology a certain
literalism prevailed, and the doctrines of Christianity were inferred
from counting and weighing texts on either side. Not the higher reason,
with its intuition of eternal ideas, but the analytic understanding,
with its logical methods, was considered to be the ruler in the world
of thought. There was more of culture than of intellectual life, more
of good habits than of moral enthusiasm. Religion had become very
much of an external institution. Christianity consisted in holding
rational or orthodox opinions, going regularly to church, and listening
every Sunday to a certain number of prayers, hymns, and sermons.
These sermons, with some striking exceptions, were rather tame and
mechanical. In Boston, it is true, Buckminster had appeared,--that soul
of flame which soon wore to decay its weak body. The consummate orator
Edward Everett had followed him in Brattle Square pulpit. Above all,
Channing had looked, with a new spiritual insight, into the truths of
religion and morality. But still the mechanical treatment prevailed in
a majority of the churches of New England, and was considered, on the
whole, to be the wisest and safest method. There was an unwritten creed
of morals, literature, and social thought to which all were expected
to conform. There was little originality and much repetition. On all
subjects there were certain formulas which it was considered proper
to repeat. "Thou art a blessed fellow," says one of Shakespeare's
characters, "to think as other people think. Not a man's thought in the
world keeps the roadway better than thine." The thought of New England
kept the roadway. Of course, at all times a large part of the belief
of the community is derived from memory, custom, and imitation; but
in those days, if I remember them aright, it was regarded as a kind
of duty to think as every one else thought; a sort of delinquency, or
weakness, to differ from the majority.

If the movements of thought are now much more independent and
spontaneous; if to-day traditions have lost their despotic power; if
even those who hold an orthodox creed are able to treat it as a dead
letter, respectable for its past uses, but by no means binding on us
now, this is largely owing to the manly position taken by Emerson. And
yet, let it be observed, this influence was not exercised by attacking
old opinions, by argument, by denial, by criticism. Theodore Parker
did all this, but his influence on thought has been far less than that
of Emerson. Parker was a hero who snuffed the battle afar off, and
flung himself, sword in hand, into the thick of the conflict. But,
much as we love and reverence his honesty, his immense activity, his
devotion to truth and right, we must admit to-day, standing by these
two friendly graves, that the power of Emerson to soften the rigidity
of time-hardened belief was far the greater. It is the old fable of
the storm and sun. The violent attacks of the tempest only made the
traveler cling more closely to his cloak; the genial heat of the sun
compelled him to throw it aside. In all Emerson's writings there is
scarcely any argument. He attacks no man's belief; he simply states
his own. His method is always positive, constructive. He opens the
windows and lets in more light. He is no man's opponent; the enemy
of no one. He states what he sees, and that which he does not see he
passes by. He was often attacked, but never replied. His answer was
to go forward, and say something else. He did not care for what he
called the "bugbear consistency." If to-day he said what seemed like
Pantheism, and to-morrow he saw some truth which seemed to reveal a
divine personality, a supreme will, he uttered the last, as he had
declared the first, always faithful to the light within. He left it to
the spirit of truth to reconcile such apparent contradictions. He was
like his own humble-bee--

    "Seeing only what is fair,
      Sipping only what is sweet;
    Thou dost mock at fate and care,
      Leave the chaff and take the wheat."

By this method of positive statement he not only saved the time usually
wasted in argument, attack, reply, rejoinder, but he gave us the
substance of Truth, instead of its form. Logic and metaphysic reveal
no truths; they merely arrange in order what the higher faculties of
the mind have made known. Hence the speedy oblivion which descends on
polemics of all sorts. The great theological debaters, where are they?
The books of Horsley and McGee are buried in the same grave with those
of Belsham and Priestley, their old opponents. The bitter attacks on
Christianity by Voltaire and Paine are inurned in the same dark and
forgotten vaults with the equally bitter defenses of Christianity by
its numerous champions. Argument may often be necessary, but no truth
is slain by argument; no error can be kept alive by it. Emerson is an
eminent example of a man who never replied to attacks, but went on
his way, and saw at last all opposition hushed, all hostility at an
end. He devoted his powers to giving to his readers his insights,
knowing that these alone feed the soul. Thus men came to him to be
fed. His sheep heard his voice. Those who felt themselves better
for his instruction followed him. He collected around him thus an
ever-increasing band of disciples, until in England, in Germany, in all
lands where men read and think, he is looked up to as a master. Many of
these disciples were persons of rare gifts and powers, like Margaret
Fuller, Theodore Parker, George Ripley, Hawthorne. Many others were
unknown to fame, yet deeply sensible of the blessings they had received
from their prophet and seer of the nineteenth century. For this was his
office. He was a man who saw. He had the vision and the faculty divine.
He sat near the fountain-head, and tasted the waters of Helicon in
their source.

His first little book, a duodecimo of less than a hundred pages, called
"Nature," published in 1836, indicates all these qualities. It begins
thus:--

"Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It
writes biographies, histories, criticisms. The foregoing generations
beheld God and Nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should
not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not
we have a poetry and philosophy of insight, and not of tradition, and
a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?... The
sun shines to-day also.... Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask
which are unanswerable."

This was his first doctrine, that of self-reliance. He taught that
God had given to every man the power to see with his own eyes, think
with his own mind, believe what seemed to him true, plant himself on
his instincts, and, as he says, "call a pop-gun a pop-gun, though
the ancient and honorable of the earth declare it to be the crack of
doom." This was manly and wholesome doctrine. It might, no doubt, be
abused, and lead some persons to think they were men of original genius
when they were only eccentric. It may have led others to attack all
institutions and traditions, as though, if a thing were old, it was
necessarily false. But Emerson himself was the best antidote to such
extravagance. To a youth who brought to him a manuscript confuting
Plato he replied, "When you attack the king you ought to be sure to
kill him." But his protest against the prevailing conventionalism was
healthy, and his call on all "to be themselves" was inspiring.

The same doctrine is taught in the introductory remarks of the editors
of the "Dial." They say they have obeyed with joy the strong current of
thought which has led many sincere persons to reprobate that rigor of
conventions which is turning them to stone, which renounces hope and
only looks backward, which suspects improvement, and holds nothing so
much in horror as the dreams of youth. This work, the "Dial," made a
great impression, out of all proportion to its small circulation. By
the elders it was cordially declared to be unintelligible mysticism,
and so, no doubt, much of it was. Those inside, its own friends, often
made as much fun of it as those outside. Yet it opened the door for
many new and noble thoughts, and was a wild bugle-note, a reveillé,
calling on all generous hearts to look toward the coming day.

Here is an extract from one of Emerson's letters from Europe as early
as March, 1833. It is dated Naples:--

"And what if it be Naples! It is only the same world of cakes and ale,
of man, and truth, and folly. I will not be imposed upon by a name.
It is so easy to be overawed by names that it is hard to keep one's
judgment upright, and be pleased only after your own way. Baiæ and
Pausilippo sound so big that we are ready to surrender at discretion,
and not stickle for our private opinion against what seems the human
race. But here's for the plain old Adam, the simple, genuine self
against the whole world."

Again he says: "Nothing so fatal to genius as genius. Mr. Taylor,
author of 'Van Artevelde,' is a man of great intellect, but by study of
Shakespeare is forced to reproduce Shakespeare."

Thus the first great lesson taught by Mr. Emerson was "self-reliance."
And the second was like it, though apparently opposed to it,
"God-reliance." Not really opposed to it, for it meant this: God is
near to your mind and heart, as he was to the mind and heart of the
prophets and inspired men of the past. God is ready to inspire you also
if you will trust in him. In the little book called "Nature" he says:--

"The highest is present to the soul of man; the dread universal
essence, which is not wisdom, or love, or power, or beauty, but all
in one, and each entirely, is that for which all things exist, and
by which they are. Believe that throughout nature spirit is present;
that it is one, that it does not act upon us from without, but through
ourselves.... As a plant on the earth, so man rests on the bosom
of God, nourished by unfailing fountains, and drawing at his need
inexhaustible power."

And so in his poem called "The Problem" he teaches that all religions
are from God; that all the prophets and sibyls and lofty souls that
have sung psalms, written scripture, and built the temples and
cathedrals of men, were inspired by a spirit above their own. He puts
aside the shallow explanation that any of the great religions ever came
from priestcraft:--

    "Out from the heart of Nature rolled
    The burdens of the Bible old;
    The litanies of nations came,
    Like the volcano's tongue of flame,
    Up from the burning core below,
    The canticles of love and woe.

    "The word unto the prophet spoken
    Was writ on tables yet unbroken;
    The word by seers or sibyls told,
    In groves of oak or fanes of gold,
    Still floats upon the moving wind,
    Still whispers to the willing mind.
    One accent of the Holy Ghost
    The heedless world hath never lost."

In all that Emerson says of nature he is equally devout. He sees God
in it all. It is to him full of a divine charm. "In the woods," he
says, "is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God a decorum
and sanctity reigns, and we return to reason and faith." "The currents
of the Universal Being circulate through me. I am part and particle of
God." For saying such things as these he was accused of Pantheism. And
he was a Pantheist; yet only as Paul was a Pantheist when he said, "In
Him we live and move and have our being;" "From whom and through whom
are all things;" "The fullness of him who filleth all in all." Emerson
was, in his view of nature, at one with Wordsworth, who said:--

          "The clouds were touched,
    And in their silent faces he could read
    Unutterable love. Sensation, soul, and form
    All melted into him; they swallowed up
    His animal being; in them did he live,
    And by them did he live; they were his life.
          In such high hour
    Of visitation from the living God,
    Thought was not; in enjoyment it expired."

Emerson has thus been to our day the prophet of God in the soul, in
nature, in life. He has stood for spirit against matter. Darwin, his
great peer, the serene master in the school of science, was like him
in this,--that he also said what he saw and no more. He also taught
what God showed to him in the outward world of sense, as Emerson what
God showed in the inward world of spirit. Amid the stormy disputes of
their time, each of these men went his own way, his eye single and his
whole body full of light. The work of Darwin was the easier, for he
floated with the current of the time, which sets at present so strongly
toward the study of things seen and temporal. But the work of Emerson
was more noble, for he stands for things unseen and eternal,--for a
larger religion, a higher faith, a nobler worship. This strong and
tender soul has done its work and gone on its way. But he will always
fill a niche of the universal Church as a New England prophet. He had
the purity of the New England air in his moral nature, a touch of the
shrewd Yankee wit in his speech, and the long inheritance of ancestral
faith incarnate and consolidated in blood and brain. But to this were
added qualities which were derived from some far-off realm of human
life: an Oriental cast of thought, a touch of mediæval mysticism, and
a vocabulary brought from books unknown to our New England literature.
No commonplaces of language are to be found in his writings, and though
he read the older writers, he does not imitate them. He, also, like
his humble-bee, has gathered contributions from remotest fields, and
enriched our language with a new and picturesque speech all his own.

Let us, then, be grateful for this best of God's gifts,--another soul
sent to us filled with divine light. Thus we learn anew how full are
nature and life of God:--

    "Ever fresh the broad creation,
    A divine improvisation;
    From the heart of God proceeds
    A single will, a million deeds."

One word concerning Mr. Emerson's relation to Christ and to
Christianity. The distinction which he made between Jesus and other
teachers was, no doubt, one of degree and not one of kind. He put no
great gulf of supernatural powers, origin, or office between Christ
and the ethnic prophets. But his reverence for Jesus was profound and
tender. Nor did he object to the word "Christian" or to the Christian
Church. In recent years, at least, he not unfrequently attended the
services of the Unitarian Church in his town, and I have met him at
Unitarian conventions, a benign and revered presence.

In the cemetery at Bonn, on the Rhine, is the tomb of Niebuhr, the
historian, a man of somewhat like type, as I judge, to our Emerson. At
least, some texts on his monument would be admirably appropriate for
any stone which may be placed over the remains of the American prophet
and poet in the sweet valley of tombs in Concord.

One of these texts was from Sirach xlvii. 14, 17:

    "How wise wast thou in thy youth, and as a flood filled with
             understanding!
    Thy soul covered the whole earth, and thou filledst it with dark
             parables.
    Thy name went far unto the islands, and for thy peace thou wast
             beloved.
    The countries marvelled at thee for thy songs and proverbs and
             parables and interpretations."

And equally appropriate would be this Horatian line, also on Niebuhr's
monument:--

    "Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus tam cari capitis."

From a lifelong friend of Emerson I have just received a letter
containing these words, which, better than most descriptions, give the
character of his soul:--

"And so the white wings have spread, and the great soul has left us.

    ''Tis death is dead; not he.'

He had no vanity, no selfishness; no greed, no hate; none of the
weights that drag on common mortals. His life was an illumination; a
large, fair light; the Pharos of New England, as in other days our dear
brother called him. And this light shone further and wider the longer
it burned."



HARRIET MARTINEAU[45]


The whole work[46] is very interesting. How could it be otherwise, in
giving the history of so remarkable a life? The amount of literary work
which Miss Martineau performed is amazing. She began to write for the
press when she was nineteen, and continued until she could no longer
hold her pen. The pen was her sword, which she wielded with a warrior's
joy, in the conflict of truth with error, of right with wrong. She
wrote many books; but her articles in reviews and newspapers were
innumerable. We find no attempt in either part of this biography to
give a complete list of her writings. Perhaps it would be impossible.
She never seems to have thought of keeping such a record herself, any
more than a hero records the number of the blows he strikes, in battle.
No sooner had she dismissed one task than another came; and sometimes
several were going on together. Like other voluminous writers, she
enjoyed the exercise of her productive powers; and, as she somewhere
tells us, her happiest hours were those in which she was seated at her
desk with her pen.

Her principal works cover a large range of thought and study. One of
her first books, "The Traditions of Palestine," she continued to regard
long after with more affection than any other of her writings, except
"Eastern Life." But her authorship began when she was nineteen, in an
article contributed to a Unitarian monthly. Afterwards she obtained
three separate prizes offered by the Central Unitarian Association
for three essays on different topics. About the same time she wrote
"Five Years of Youth," a tale which she never looked at afterward. But
her first great step in authorship, and that which at once made her a
power in politics and in literature, was taken when she commenced her
series of tales on "Political Economy." She began, however, to write
these stories, not knowing that she was treating questions of Political
Economy, "the very name of which," she says, "was then either unknown
to me, or conveyed no meaning." She was then about twenty-five years
old. She had the usual difficulties with various publishers which
unknown authors are sure to experience, and these tales, which became
so popular, were rejected by one firm after another. One of them was
refused by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, as being
too dull. The president of that Society, Lord Brougham, afterward
vented his rage on the sub-committee which rejected the offered story,
and so had permitted their Society, "instituted for that very purpose,
to be driven out of the field by a little deaf woman at Norwich."
At last a publisher was found who agreed to take the books on very
unsatisfactory terms. As soon as the first number appeared, the success
of the series was established. A second edition of five thousand copies
was immediately called for,--the entire periodical press came out in
favor of the tales,--and from that hour Miss Martineau had only to
choose what to write, sure that it would at once find a publisher.

She was at this time thirty years old. She was already deaf, her health
poor; but she then began a career of intellectual labor seldom equaled
by the strongest man through the longest life. She began to write every
morning after breakfast; and, unless when traveling, seldom passed a
morning during the rest of her life without writing,--working from
eight o'clock until two. Her method was, after selecting her subject,
to procure all the standard works upon it, and study them. She then
proceeded to make the plan of her work, and to draw the outline of her
story. If the scene was laid abroad, she procured books of travels and
topography. Then she drew up the contents of each chapter in detail,
and, after this preliminary labor, the story was written easily and
with joy.

Of these stories she wrote thirty-four in two years and a half. She
was then thirty-two. She received £2,000 for the whole series,--a
sufficiently small compensation,--but she established her position
and her fame. Her principal books published afterward were her two
works on America, the novels "Deerbrook" and "The Hour and the Man;"
nine volumes of tales on the Forest and Game Laws; four stories in the
"Playfellow;" "Life in the Sick-Room;" "Letters on Mesmerism;" "Eastern
Life, Past and Present;" "History of England during the Thirty Years'
Peace;" "Letters on the Laws of Man's Social Nature and Development;"
"Translation and Condensation of Comte's Positive Philosophy;" besides
many smaller works, making fifty-two titles in Allibone. In addition
to this, she wrote many articles in reviews and magazines; and Mrs.
Chapman mentions that she sent to a single London journal, the "Daily
News," sixteen hundred articles, at the rate sometimes of six a week.
Surely Harriet Martineau was one who worked faithfully while her day
endured.

But, if we would do her justice, we must consider also the motive and
spirit in which she worked. Each thing she did had for its purpose
nothing merely personal, but some good to mankind. Though there was
nothing in her character of the sentimentalism of philanthropy, she was
filled with the spirit of philanthropy. A born reformer, she inherited
from her Huguenot and her Unitarian ancestors the love of truth and the
hatred of error, with the courage which was ready to avow her opinions,
however unpopular. Thus, her work was warfare, and every article or
book which she printed was a blow delivered against some flagrant
wrong, or what she believed such,--in defense of some struggling truth,
or something supposed to be truth. She might be mistaken; but her
purposes through life were, in the main, noble, generous, and good.

And there can be no question of her ability, moral and intellectual.
No commonplace mind could have overcome such obstacles and achieved
such results. Apparently she had no very high opinion of her own
intellectual powers. She denies that she possesses genius; but
she asserts her own power. She criticises "Deerbrook" with some
severity. And, in fact, Harriet Martineau's mind is analytic rather
than creative; it is strong rather than subtle; and, if it possesses
imagination, it is of rather a prosaic kind. Her intellect is of
a curiously masculine order; no other female writer was ever less
feminine. With all her broad humanity she has little sympathy for
individuals. A large majority of those whom she mentions in her memoirs
she treats with a certain contempt.

Her early life seems to have been very sad. We are again and again
told how she was misunderstood and maltreated in her own home. Her
health was bad until she was thirty; partly owing, as she supposed, to
ill-treatment. She needed affection, and was treated with sternness.
Justice she did not receive, nor kindness, and her heart was soured
and her temper spoiled, so she tells us, by this mismanagement. As she
does not specify, or give us the details of this ill-treatment, the
story is useless as a warning; and we hardly see the reason for thus
publishing the wrongs of her childhood. As children may be sometimes
unjust to parents, no less than parents to children, the facts and the
moral are both left uncertain. And, on the whole, her chief reason for
telling the story appears to be the mental necessity she was under of
judging and sentencing those from whom she supposes herself to have
received ill-treatment in any part of her life.

This is indeed the most painful feature of the work before us. Knowing
the essentially generous and just spirit of Harriet Martineau, it is
strange to see how carefully she has loaded this piece of artillery
with explosive and lacerating missiles, to be discharged after her
death among those with whom she had mingled in social intercourse or
literary labors. Some against whom she launches her sarcasms are still
living; some are dead, but have left friends behind, to be wounded
by her caustic judgments. Is it that her deficiency in a woman's
sensibility, or the absence of a poetic imagination, prevented her from
realizing the suffering she would inflict? Or is it the habit of mind
from which those are apt to suffer who devote themselves to the reform
of abuses? As each kind of manual occupation exposes the workman to
some special disease,--as those who dig canals suffer from malaria,
and file-grinders from maladies of the lungs,--so it seems that each
moral occupation has its appropriate moral danger. Clergymen are apt
to be dogmatic or sectarian; lawyers become sharp and sophistical;
musicians and artists are irritable; and the danger of a reformer is of
becoming a censorious critic of those who cannot accept his methods, or
who will not join his party. That Harriet Martineau did not escape this
risk will presently appear.

While writing her politico-economical stories she moved to London,
and there exchanged the quiet seclusion of her Norwich life for
social triumphs of the first order, and intercourse with every kind
of celebrity. All had read her books, from Victoria, who was then a
little girl perusing them with her governess, to foreign kings and
savants of the highest distinction. So this young author--for she was
only thirty--was received at once into the most brilliant circles of
London society. But it does not appear that she lost a single particle
of her dignity or self-possession. Among the great she neither asserted
herself too much nor showed too much deference. Vanity was not her
foible; and her head was too solidly set upon her shoulders to be
turned by such successes. She enjoyed the society of these people of
superior refinement, rank, and culture, but did not come to depend upon
it; and in all this Harriet Martineau sinned not in her spirit.

But why, in writing about these people long afterward, should she have
thought it necessary to produce such sharp and absolute sentences on
each and all? Into this judgment-hall of Osiris-Martineau, every one
whom she has ever known is called up to receive his final doom. The
poor Unitarian ministers, who had taught the child as they best could,
are dismissed with contemptuous severity. This religious instruction
had certainly done her some good. Religion, she admits, was her best
resource till she wrought her way to something better. Ann Turner,
daughter of the Unitarian minister, gave her piety a practical turn,
and when afraid of every one she saw, she was not at all afraid of God;
and, on the whole, she says religion was a great comfort and pleasure
to her. Nevertheless, she is astonished that Unitarians should believe
that they are giving their children a Christian education. She accuses
these teachers of her childhood of altering the Scripture to suit their
own notions; being apparently ignorant that most of the interpolations
or mistranslations of which they complained have since been conceded
as such by the best Orthodox critics. But she does not hesitate to
give her opinion of all her old acquaintances in the frankest manner,
and for the most part it is unfavorable. Mrs. Opie and Mrs. John
Taylor are among the "mere pedants." William Taylor, from want of
truth and conviction, talked blasphemy. She speaks with contempt of a
physician who politely urged her to come and dine with him, because
he had neglected her until she became famous. Lord Brougham was
"vain and selfish, low in morals, and unrestrained in temper." Lord
Campbell was "flattering to an insulting degree;" Archbishop Whately,
"odd and overbearing," "sometimes rude and tiresome," and "singularly
overrated;" Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, "timid," "sensitive,"
"heedless," "without courage or dignity." Macaulay "talked nonsense"
about the copyright bill, and "set at naught every principle of
justice in regard to authors' earnings." Macaulay's opposition to that
bill was based on such grounds of perfect justice that he defeated
it single-handed. But Harriet Martineau decided then and there that
Macaulay was a failure, and that "he wanted heart," and that he "never
has achieved any complete success." The poet Campbell had "a morbid
craving for praise." As to women, Lady Morgan, Lady Davy, Mrs. Jameson,
Mrs. Austin, "may make women blush and men be insolent" with their
"gross and palpable vanities." Landseer was a toady to great people.
Morpeth had "evident weaknesses." Sir Charles Bell showed his ignorance
by relying on the argument for Design. The resources of Eastlake were
very _bornés_. John Sterling "rudely ignored me." Lady Mary Shepherd
was "a pedant." Coleridge, she asserts, will only be remembered as a
warning; though twenty years ago she, Miss Martineau, "regarded him
as a poet." Godwin was "timid." Basil Montagu was "cowardly;" and Lord
Monteagle "agreeable enough to those who were not particular about
sincerity." Urquhart had "insane egotism and ferocious discontent." The
Howitts made "an unintelligible claim to my friendship," their "tempers
are turbulent and unreasonable." It may be some explanation of this
unintelligible claim that it was heard through her trumpet. Fredrika
Bremer is accused of habits of "flattery" and "a want of common sense."
Miss Mitford is praised, but then accused of a "habit of flattery,"
and blamed for her "disparagement of others." And it is Miss Martineau
who brings this charge! She also tells us that Miss Bremer "proposes
to reform the world by a floating religiosity," whatever that may be.
But perhaps her severest sentence is pronounced on the Kembles, who
are accused of "incurable vulgarity" and "unreality." In this case,
as in others, Miss Martineau pronounces this public censure on those
whom she had learned to know in the intimacy of private friendship and
personal confidence. She thus violates the rules rather ostentatiously
laid down in her Introduction. For she claims there that she practices
self-denial in interdicting the publication of her letters,[47] and
gives her reasons thus: "Epistolary conversation is written speech;
and the _onus_ rests with those who publish it to show why the laws of
honor, which are uncontested in regard to conversation, may be violated
when the conversation is written instead of spoken." Most of her sharp
judgments above quoted are pronounced on those whom she learned to
know in the private intercourse of society. Sometimes she recites the
substance of what she heard (or supposed that she heard; for she used
an ear-tube when she first went to live in London). Thus she tells
about a conversation with Wordsworth, and reports his complaints of
Jeffrey and other reviewers, and quotes him as saying about one of his
own poems, that it was "a chain of very _valooable_ thoughts." "You
see, it does not best fulfill the conditions of poetry; but it is"
(solemnly) "a chain of extremely valooable thoughts." She then proceeds
to pronounce her sentence on Wordsworth as she did on Coleridge. She
felt at once, she says, in Wordsworth's works, "the absence of sound,
accurate, weighty thought, and of genuine poetic inspiration." She
also informs us that "the very basis of philosophy is absent in him,"
and that it is only necessary "to open Shelley, Tennyson, or even poor
Keats ... to feel that, with all their truth and all their charm, few
of Wordsworth's pieces are poems." "_Even poor Keats!_" This is her
_de haut en bas_ style of criticism on Wordsworth, one of whose poems
is generally accepted as the finest written in the English language
during the last hundred years. And this is her way of respecting "the
code of honor" in regard to private conversation!

In 1834, at the age of thirty-two, Harriet Martineau sailed for the
United States, where she remained two years. She went for rest; but
the quantity of work done in those two years would have been enough
to fill five or six years of any common life. At this point she began
a new career; forming new ties, engaging in new duties, studying new
problems, and beginning a new activity in another sphere of labor. The
same great qualities which she had hitherto displayed showed themselves
here again; accompanied with their corresponding defects. Her wonderful
power of study enabled her to enter into the very midst of the
phenomena of American life; her noble generosity induced her to throw
herself heart, hand, and mind into the greatest struggle then waging
on the face of the earth. The antislavery question, which the great
majority of people of culture despised or disliked, took possession
of her soul. She became one of the party of Abolitionists, of which
Mr. Garrison was the chief, and lived to see that party triumph in the
downfall of slavery. She took her share of the hatred or the scorn
heaped on that fiery body of zealous propagandists, and was counted
worthy of belonging to what she herself called "the Martyr Age of the
United States."

Fortunately for herself, before she visited Boston, and became
acquainted with the Abolitionists, she went to Washington, and traveled
somewhat extensively in the Southern States. At Washington she saw many
eminent Southern senators, who cordially invited her to visit them at
their homes. In South Carolina she was welcomed or introduced by Mr.
Calhoun, Governor Hayne, and Colonel Preston. Judge Porter took charge
of her in Louisiana. In Kentucky she was the guest of Mrs. Irwin, Henry
Clay's daughter and neighbor. Without fully accepting Mrs. Chapman's
somewhat sweeping assertion that there was no eminent statesman, man
of science, politician, partisan, philanthropist, jurist, professor,
merchant, divine, nor distinguished woman, in the whole land, who did
not pay her homage, there is no doubt that she received the respect
and good-will of many such. She was deeply impressed, she says, on
arriving in the United States, with a society basking in one bright
sunshine of good-will. She thought the New Englanders, perhaps, the
best people in the world. Many well-known names appear in these pages,
as soon becoming intimate acquaintances or friends; among these were
Judge Story, John G. Palfrey, Stephen C. Phillips, the Gilmans of South
Carolina, Mr. and Mrs. Furness of Philadelphia, and in Massachusetts
the Sedgwicks, the Follens, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Gray Loring, Mr. and
Mrs. Charles G. Loring, Dr. Channing, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ware, Dr.
Flint of Salem, and Ephraim Peabody.

When Miss Martineau had identified herself with Mr. Garrison and his
friends by taking part in their meetings, those who had merely sought
her on account of her position and reputation naturally fell away. But
it may be doubted whether she was in such danger of being mobbed or
murdered as she and her editor suppose. She seems to think that Mr.
Henry Ware did a very brave deed in driving to Mr. Francis Jackson's
house to take her home from an antislavery meeting. She speaks of
the reign of terror which existed in Boston at that time. No doubt
she, and other Abolitionists, had their share of abuse; but it is not
probable that any persons were, as she thought, plotting against her
life. She and her friends were deterred from taking a proposed journey
to Cincinnati and Louisville by being informed that it was intended
to mob her in the first city and to hang her in the second. Now, the
writer of this article was at that time residing in Louisville, and
though antislavery discussions and antislavery lectures had taken
place there about that period, and though antislavery articles not
unfrequently appeared in the city journals, no objection or opposition
was made to all this by anybody in that place. In fact, it was easier
at that time to speak against slavery in Louisville than in Boston. The
leading people in Kentucky of all parties were then openly opposed
to slavery, and declared their hope and purpose of making Kentucky a
free State. A year later, Dr. Channing published his work on slavery,
which was denounced for its abolitionism by the "Boston Statesman," and
sharply criticised in a pamphlet by the Massachusetts attorney-general.
But copious extracts from this work, especially of the parts which
exposed the sophisms of the defenders of slavery, were published in
a Louisville magazine, and not the least objection was made to it in
that city. At a later period it might have been different, though an
antislavery paper was published in Louisville as late as 1845, one of
the editors being a native Kentuckian.

After her return from the United States she published her two works,
"Society in America," and "Retrospect of Western Travel;" and then
wrote her first novel, "Deerbrook." The books on America were perhaps
the best then written by any foreigner except De Tocqueville. They
were generous, honest, kind, and utterly frank,--they were full of
capital descriptions of American scenery. She spoke the truth to us,
and she spoke it in love. The chief fault in these works was her tone
of dogmatism, and her _ex cathedrâ_ judgments; which, as we have before
hinted, are among the defects of her qualities.

In 1838, when thirty-six years old, she was taken with serious illness,
which confined her to her room for six years. She attributes this
illness to her anxiety about her aged aunt and mother. Her mother,
she tells us, was irritable on account of Miss Martineau's fame and
position in society; in short, she was jealous of her daughter's
success. Miss Martineau was obliged to sit up late after midnight to
mend her own clothes, as she was not allowed to have a maid or to hire
a working-woman, even at her own expense. How she could have been
prevented is difficult to see, especially as she was the money-making
member of the family. It seems hardly worth while to give us this
glimpse into domestic difficulties. But, no doubt, she is quite correct
in adding, as another reason for her illness, the toils which were
breaking her down. The strongest men could hardly bear such a strain on
the nervous system without giving way.

And here comes in the important episode of Mr. Atkinson, mesmerism,
and the New Philosophy. She believes that she was cured of a disease,
pronounced incurable by the regular physicians, by mesmerism. By this
she means the influence exerted upon her by certain manipulations
from another person. And as long as we are confessedly so ignorant
of nervous diseases, there seems no reason to question the facts to
which Miss Martineau testifies. She was, there is little doubt, cured
by these manipulations; what the power was which wrought through them
remains to be ascertained.

In regard to Mr. Atkinson and his philosophy, accepted by her with
such satisfaction, and which henceforth became the master-light of
all her seeing, our allotted space will allow us only to speak very
briefly. The results of this new mental departure could not but disturb
and afflict many of her friends, to whom faith in God, Christ, and
immortality was still dear. To Miss Martineau herself, however, her
disbelief in these seemed a happy emancipation. She carried into the
assertion of her new and unpopular ideas the same honesty and courage
she had always shown, and also the same superb dogmatism and contempt
for those who differed from her. Apparently it was always to her an
absolute impossibility to imagine herself wrong when she had once
come to a conclusion. In theory she might conceive it possible to be
mistaken, but practically she felt herself infallible. The following
examples will show how she speaks, throughout her biography, of those
who held the opinions she had rejected.

Miss Martineau, being a Necessarian, says, "All the best minds I know
are Necessarians; all, indeed, who are qualified to discuss the subject
at all." "The very smallest amount of science is enough to enable any
rational being to see that the constitution and action of will are
determined by the influences beyond the control of the possessor of
the faculty." She adds, that for more than thirty years she has seen
how awful "are the evils which arise from that monstrous remnant of
old superstition,--the supposition of a self-determining power, etc."
Now, among those she had intimately known were Dr. Channing and James
Martineau, neither of them believing in the doctrine of Necessity.

Speaking of Christianity, after she had rejected it, she calls it
"a monstrous superstition." Elsewhere she speaks of "the Christian
superstition of the contemptible nature of the body;" says that
"Christians deprave their moral sense;" talks of "the selfish
complacencies of religion," and of "the atmosphere of selfishness which
is the very life of Christian doctrine and of every other theological
scheme;" speaks of "the Christian mythology as a superstition which
fails to make happy, fails to make good, fails to make wise, and
has become as great an obstacle in the way of progress as the prior
mythologies it took the place of." "For three centuries it has been
undermined, and its overthrow completely decided." Thus easily does she
settle the question of Christianity.

Miss Martineau ceased to believe in immortality; and immediately all
believers in immortality became, to her mind, selfish or stupid, or
both. "I neither wish to live longer here," she says, "nor to find
life again elsewhere. It seems to me simply absurd to expect it, and
a mere act of restricted human imagination and morality to conceive
of it." There is "a total absence of evidence for a renewed life."
"I myself utterly disbelieve in a future life." She would submit,
though reluctantly, to live again, if compelled to. "If I find myself
conscious after the lapse of life, it will be all right, of course;
but, as I said, the supposition appears to me absurd."

Under the instructions of Mr. Atkinson, Miss Martineau ceased to
believe in a personal God, or any God but an unknown First Cause,
identical with the Universe. The argument for Design, on which Mr. John
Stuart Mill, for instance, lays such stress, seemed to her "puerile
and unphilosophical." The God of Christians she calls an "invisible
idol." He "who does justice to his own faculties" must give up "the
personality of the First Cause." She considered the religion in her
"Life in the Sick-Room" to have been "insincere;" which we, who know
the perfect honesty of Harriet Martineau, must take the liberty to
deny. Though declaring herself to be no Atheist, because she believes
in an unknown and unknowable First Cause, she regards philosophical
Atheists as the best people she had ever known, and was delighted in
finding herself unacquainted with God, and so at peace.

It is curious to read these "Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and
Development," of which Harriet Martineau and Mr. Atkinson are the joint
authors. The simple joy with which they declare themselves the proud
discoverers of this happy land of the unknowable is almost touching.
All that we know, say they, is matter or its manifestation. "Mind
is the product of the brain," and "the brain is not, as even some
phrenologists have asserted, the instrument of the mind." The brain
is the source of consciousness, will, reason. Man is "a creature of
necessity." "It seems certain that mind, or the conditions essential
to mind, is evolved from gray vesicular matter." "Nothing in nature
indicates a future life." "Knowledge recognizes that nothing can be
free, or by chance; no, not even God,--God is the substance of Law."
Whereupon Miss Martineau inquires whether Mr. Atkinson, in speaking of
God, did not merely use another name for Law. "We know nothing beyond
law, do we?" asks this meek disciple, seeking for information. Mr.
Atkinson replies that we must assume some fundamental principle "as a
thing essential, though unknown; and it is this which I wrongly enough
perhaps termed God." But if it is wrong to call this principle God,
and if they know nothing else behind phenomena, why do they complain
so bitterly at being charged with Atheism? And directly Mr. Atkinson
asserts that "Philosophy finds no God in nature; no personal being or
creator, nor sees the want of any." "A Creator after the likeness of
man" he affirms to be "an impossibility." For, though he professes to
know _nothing_ about God, he somehow contrives to know that God is
_not_ what others believe him to be. Eternal sleep after death he
professes to be the only hope of a wise man. The idea of free-will
is so absurd that it "would make a Democritus fall on his back and
roar with laughter." "Christianity is neither reasonable nor moral."
Miss Martineau responds that "deep and sweet" is her repose in the
conviction that "there is no theory of God, of an author of Nature,
of an origin of the Universe, which is not utterly repugnant to my
faculties; which is not (to my feelings) so irreverent as to make me
blush, so misleading as to make me mourn." And thus do the apostle and
the disciple go on, triumphantly proclaiming their own limitations to
the end of the volume.

And yet the effect of this book is by no means wholly disagreeable. To
be sure, in their constant assertions of the "impossibility" of any
belief but their own being true, their honest narrowness may often be
a little amusing. They seem like two eyeless fish in the recesses of
the darkness of the Mammoth Cave talking to each other of the absurdity
of believing in any sun or upper world. But they are so honest, so
sincere, so much in love with Truth, and so free from any self-seeking,
that we find it easy to sympathize with their naïve sense of discovery,
as they go sounding on their dim and perilous way. Only we cannot
but think what a disappointment it must be to Harriet Martineau to
find herself alive again in the other world. In her case, as Mr.
Wentworth Higginson acutely remarks, we are deprived of the pleasure
of sympathizing with her gladness at discovering her mistake, since
another life will be to her a disagreeable as well as an unforeseen
event.

Nor is it extraordinary, to those who trace Harriet Martineau's
intellectual history, that she should have fallen into these melancholy
conclusions. In her childhood and youth, most of the Unitarians of
England, followers of Priestley, adopted his philosophy of materialism
and necessity. Priestley did not believe in a soul, but trusted for
a future life to the resurrection of the body. He was also a firm
believer in philosophical necessity. An active and logical mind like
Miss Martineau's, destitute of the keenness and profundity which
belonged to that of her brother James, might very naturally arrive at
a disbelief in anything but matter and its phenomena. From ignorance
of these facts, Mrs. Chapman expresses surprise that the inconsistency
of Harriet Martineau's belief in necessity, with other parts of
her Unitarianism, "should not have struck herself, her judges, or
the denomination at large." It _would_ have been inconsistent with
American Unitarianism, but it was not foreign from the views of English
Unitarians at that time.

The publication of these "Letters" naturally caused pain to religious
people, and especially to those of them who had known and honored Miss
Martineau for her many past services in the cause of human freedom and
progress. Many of these were Unitarians and Unitarian ministers, who
had been long proud of her as a member of their denomination and one of
their most valued co-workers. It seemed necessary for them to declare
their dissent from her new views, and this dissent was expressed in an
article in the "Prospective Review," written by her own brother, James
Martineau. Mrs. Chapman now makes known, what has hitherto been only
a matter of conjecture, that this review gave such serious offense
to Miss Martineau that she from that time refused to recognize her
brother or to have any further communication with him. Mrs. Chapman,
who seldom or never finds her heroine in the wrong, justifies and
approves her conduct also here, quoting a passage from the review in
support of Miss Martineau's conduct in treating her brother as one of
"the defamers of old times whom she must never again meet." In this
passage Mr. Martineau only expresses his profound grief that his sister
should sit at the feet of such a master as Mr. Atkinson, and lay down
at his bidding her early faith in moral obligation, in the living God,
in the immortal sanctities. He calls this "an inversion of the natural
order of nobleness," implying that Mr. Atkinson ought to have sat at
her feet instead; and, turning to the review itself, we find this the
only passage in which a single word is said which could be regarded as
a censure on Miss Martineau. But Mr. Atkinson is indeed handled with
some severity. His language is criticised, and his logic is proved
fallacious. Much the largest part of the review is, however, devoted to
a refutation of his philosophy and doctrines. Now, as so large a part
of the "Letters" is pervaded with denunciations of the bigotry which
will not hear the other side of a question, and filled with admiration
of those who prefer truth to the ties of kindred, friendship, and old
association, we should have thought that Miss Martineau would rejoice
in having a brother who could say, "Amica Harriet, sed magis amica
veritas." Not at all. It was evident that he had said nothing about
herself at which she could take offense; but in speaking against
her new philosophy and her new philosopher he had committed the
unpardonable sin. And Mrs. Chapman allows herself to regard it as a
natural inference that this honest and manly review resulted from
"masculine terror, fraternal jealousy of superiority, with a sectarian
and provincial impulse to pull down and crush a world-wide celebrity."
She considers it "incomprehensible in an advocate of free thought" that
he should express his thoughts freely in opposition to a book which
argued against all possible knowledge of God and against all faith in
a future life. It is, however, only just to Miss Martineau to say that
she herself has brought no such charges against her brother, but left
the matter in silence. We cannot but think that it would have been
better for Miss Martineau's reputation if her biographer had followed
her example.

But, though we must object to Mrs. Chapman's views on this point, and
on some others, we must add that her part of the second volume is
prepared with much ability, and is evidently the result of diligent
and loyal friendship. Miss Martineau could not have selected a more
faithful friend to whom to confide the history of her life. On two
subjects, however, we are obliged to dissent from her statements.
One is in regard to Dr. Channing, whom she, for some unknown reason,
systematically disparages. He was a good man, Mrs. Chapman admits,
"but not in any sense a great one. With benevolent intentions, he
could not greatly help the nineteenth century, for he knew very little
about it, or, indeed, of any other. He had neither insight, courage,
nor firmness. In his own Church had sprung up a vigorous opposition to
slavery, which he innocently, in so far as ignorantly, used the little
strength he had to stay." Certainly it is not necessary to defend the
memory of Dr. Channing against such a supercilious judgment as this.
But we might well ask why, if he is not a great man, and did not help
the nineteenth century, his works should continue to be circulated all
over Europe? Why should such men in France as Laboulaye and Rémusat
occupy themselves in translating and diffusing them? Why should
Bunsen class him among the five prophets of the Divine Consciousness
in Human History,--speaking of "his fearless speech," his "unfailing
good sense," and "his grandeur of soul, which makes him a prophet
of the Christianity of the Future"? Bunsen calls him a Greek in his
manly nature, a Roman in his civic qualities, and an apostle in his
Christianity. And was that man deficient in courage or firmness who
never faltered in the support of any opinions, however unpopular,
whether it was to defend Unitarianism in its weak beginnings, to appear
in Faneuil Hall as the leader against the defenders of the Alton mob,
to head the petition for the pardon of Abner Kneeland, and to lay on
the altar of antislavery the fame acquired by past labors? Is he to be
accused of repressing the antislavery movement in his own church, when
there is on record the letter in which he advocated giving the use of
the church building to the society represented by Mrs. Chapman herself;
and when the men of influence in his society refused it? Nor, in those
days of their unpopularity, did Mrs. Chapman and her friends count
Dr. Channing's aid so insignificant. In her article on "The Martyr
Age," Miss Martineau describes the profound impression caused by Dr.
Channing's sudden appearance in the State House to give his countenance
and aid to Garrison and the Abolitionists, in what, she says, was a
matter to them of life and death. And she adds, "He was thenceforth
considered by the world an accession to their principles, though not to
their organized body."

Nor do we quite understand Mrs. Chapman's giving to Miss Martineau
the credit of being the cause of the petition for the pardon of Abner
Kneeland; as his conviction, and the consequent petition, did not take
place until she had been nearly two years out of the country. And why
does Mrs. Chapman select for special contempt, as unfaithful to their
duty to mankind, the Unitarian ministers? Why does she speak of "the
cowardly ranks of American Unitarians" with such peculiar emphasis? It
is not our business here to defend this denomination; but we cannot
but recall the "Protest against American Slavery" prepared and signed
in 1845 by one hundred and seventy-three Unitarian ministers, out of
a body containing not more than two hundred and fifty in all. And it
was this body which furnished to the cause some of its most honored
members. Of those who have belonged to the Unitarian body, we now
recall the names of such persons as Samuel J. May, Samuel May, Josiah
Quincy, John Quincy Adams, John Pierpont, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Gray
Loring, John G. Palfrey, John P. Hale, Dr. and Mrs. Follen, Theodore
Parker, John Parkman, John T. Sargent, James Russell Lowell, Wm. H.
Furness, Charles Sumner, Caleb Stetson, John A. Andrew, Lydia Maria
Child, Dr. S. G. Howe, Horace Mann, T. W. Higginson. So much for the
"cowardly ranks of American Unitarians."

The last years of Miss Martineau were happy and peaceful. She had a
pleasant home at Ambleside, on Lake Windermere. She had many friends,
was conscious of having done a good work, and if she had no hopes in
the hereafter, neither had she any fears concerning it. She was a
strong, upright, true-hearted woman; one of those who have helped to
vindicate "the right of women to learn the alphabet."



THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SLAVE POWER IN AMERICA[48]


On the first day of January, 1832, when the American Antislavery
Society was formed in the office of Samuel E. Sewall in Boston, the
abolition of slavery through any such agency seemed impossible. Almost
all the great interests of the country were combined to defend and
sustain the system. The capital invested in slaves amounted to at
least one thousand millions of dollars. This vast pecuniary interest
was rapidly increasing by the growing demand for the cotton crop
of the Southern States--a demand which continually overlapped the
supply. The whole political power of the thirteen slave States was in
the hands of the slaveholders. No white man in the South, unless he
was a slaveholder, was ever elected to Congress, or to any important
political position at home. The two great parties, Whig and Democrat,
were pledged to the support of slavery in all its constitutional
rights, and vied with each other in giving to these the largest
interpretation. By a constitutional provision, which could not be
altered, the slave States had in Congress, in 1840, twenty-five more
Representatives in proportion to their number of voters than the free
States. By the cohesion of this great political and pecuniary interest
the slaveholders, though comparatively few in number, were able to
govern the nation. The Presidents, both houses of Congress, the Supreme
Court of the United States, the two great political parties, the press
of the country, the mercantile interest, and that mysterious force
which we call society, were virtually in the hands of the slaveholders.
Whenever their privileges were attacked, all these powers rallied to
their defense. Public opinion, in the highest circles of society and in
the lowest, was perfectly agreed on this one question. The saloons of
the Fifth Avenue and the mob of the Five Points were equally loyal to
the sacred cause of slavery. Thus all the great powers which control
free states were combined for its defense; and the attempt to assail
this institution might justly be regarded as madness. In fact, all
danger seemed so remote, that even so late as 1840 it was common for
slaveholders to admit that property in man was an absurdity and an
injustice. The system itself was so secure, that they could afford to
concede its principle to their opponents. Just as men formerly fought
duels as a matter of course, while frankly admitting that it was wrong
to do so,--just as at the present time we concede that war is absurd
and unchristian, but yet go to war continually, because we know no
other way of settling international disputes,--so the slaveholders used
to say, "Slavery is wrong; we know that: but how is it to be abolished?
What can we do about it?"

Such was the state of things in the United States less than half a
century ago. On one side was an enormous pecuniary interest, vast
political power, the weight of the press, an almost unanimous public
opinion, the necessities of commerce, the authority of fashion, the
teachings of nearly every denomination in the Christian church, and the
moral obligations attributed to the sacred covenants of the fathers of
the Republic. On the other side there were only a few voices crying in
the wilderness, "It is unjust to claim property in man." The object of
the work before us is to show how, after the slave power had reached
this summit of influence, it lost it all in a single generation; how,
less by the zeal of its opponents than by the madness of its defenders,
this enormous fabric of oppression was undermined and overthrown; and
how, in a few years, the insignificant handful of antislavery people
brought to their side the great majority of the nation.

Certainly a work which should do justice to such a history would be
one of the most interesting books ever written. For in this series of
events everything was involved which touches most nearly the mind, the
conscience, the imagination, and the heart of man. How many radical
problems in statesmanship, in political economy, in ethics, in
philosophy, in theology, in history, in science, came up for discussion
during this long controversy! What pathetic stories of suffering, what
separation of families, what tales of torture, what cruelty grown into
a custom, what awful depths of misery, came continually to light, as
though the judgment-day were beginning to dawn on the dark places of
the earth! What romances of adventure, what stories of courage and
endurance, of ingenuity in contrivance, of determination of soul, were
listened to by breathless audiences as related by the humble lips
of the fugitives from bondage! How trite and meagre became all the
commonplaces of oratory before the flaming eloquence of these terrible
facts! How tame grew all the conventional rhetoric of pulpit and
platform, by the side of speech vitalized by the immediate presence of
this majestic argument! The book which should reproduce the antislavery
history of those thirty years would possess an unimagined charm.

We cannot say that Mr. Wilson's volumes do all this, nor had we any
right to expect it. He proposes to himself nothing of the sort. What
he gives us is, however, of very great value. It is a very carefully
collected, clearly arranged, and accurate account of the rise and
progress, decline and catastrophe, of slavery in the United States.
Mr. Wilson does not attempt to be philosophical like Bancroft and
Draper; nor are his pages as picturesque as are those of Motley and
Carlyle. He tells us a plain unvarnished tale, the interest of which
is to be found in the statement of the facts exactly as they occurred.
Considering that it is a story of events all of which he saw and a
large part of which he was, there is a singular absence of prejudice.
He is no man's enemy. He has passed through the fire, and there is no
smell of smoke on his garments. An intelligent indignation against
the crimes committed in defense of the system he describes pervades
his narrative. His impartiality is not indifference, but an absence
of personal rancor. Individuals and their conduct are criticised only
so far as is necessary to make clear the course of events and the
condition of public feeling. The defenders of slavery at the North and
South are regarded not as bad men, but as the outcome of a bad system.

Mr. Wilson's book is a treasury of facts, and will never be superseded
so far as this peculiar value is concerned. In this respect it somewhat
resembles Hildreth's "History of the United States." Taking little
space for speculation, comment, or picturesque coloring, there is all
the more room left for the steady flow of the narrative.

With a few unimportant omissions, the two volumes now published
contain a full history of slavery and antislavery from the Ordinance
of 1787 and the compromises of the Constitution down to the election
of Lincoln and the outbreak of the civil war. As a work of reference
they are invaluble, for each event in the long struggle for freedom
is distinctly and accurately told, while the calm story advances
through its various stages. Instead of following this narrative in
detail, which our space will not allow, we prefer to call our readers'
attention to some of the more striking incidents of this great
revolution.

Our fathers, when they founded the nation, had little thought that
slavery was ever to attain such vast extension. They supposed that it
would gradually die out from the South, as it had disappeared from
the North. Yet the whole danger to their work lay here. Slavery, if
anything, was the wedge which was to split the Union asunder. When the
Constitution was formed, in 1787, the slaveholders, by dint of great
effort, succeeded in getting the little end of the wedge inserted.
It was very narrow, a mere sharp line, and it went in only a very
little way; so it seemed to be nothing at all. The slaveholders
at that time did not contend that slavery was right or good. They
admitted that it was a political evil. They confessed, many of them,
that it was a moral evil. All the great Southern revolutionary bodies
had accustomed themselves to believe in the rights of man, in the
principles of humanity, in the blessings of liberty; and they could
not _defend_ slavery. Mason of Virginia, in the debates in the Federal
Convention, denounced slavery and the slave-trade. "The evil of
slavery," said he, "affects the whole Union. Slavery discourages arts
and manufactures. The poor despise labor when done by slaves. They
prevent the immigration of whites, who really enrich a country. They
produce the most pernicious effects on the manners. Every master of
slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on a
country." Williamson of North Carolina declared himself in principle
and practice opposed to slavery. Madison "thought it wrong to admit
in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in man."
But the extreme Southern States, South Carolina and Georgia, insisted
on the right of importing slaves, at least for a little while; and so
they were allowed to import them for twenty years. They also insisted
on having their slaves represented by themselves in Congress, and so
they were allowed to count three fifths of the slaves in determining
the ratio. This seemed a small thing, but it was the entering of the
wedge. It was tolerating the principle of slavery; not admitting it,
but tolerating it. At the same time that this Convention was forming,
the Federal Constitution Congress was prohibiting slavery in all the
territory northwest of the Ohio. This prohibition of slavery was
adopted by the unanimous votes of the eight States present, including
Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Two years later it was recognized
and confirmed by the first Congress under the Constitution. Jefferson,
a commissioner to revise the statute law of Virginia, prepared a
bill for gradual emancipation in that State. In 1790 a petition was
presented to Congress, signed by Benjamin Franklin, the last public act
of his life, declaring equal liberty to be the birthright of all, and
asking Congress to "devise means for restoring liberty to the slaves,
and so removing this inconsistency from the character of the American
people." In 1804 the people of Virginia petitioned Congress to have
the Ordinance of 1787 suspended, that they might hold slaves; but a
committee of Congress, of which John Randolph of Virginia was chairman,
reported that it would be "highly dangerous and inexpedient to impair a
provision wisely calculated to promote the happiness and prosperity of
the Northwest Territory."

But in 1820 the first heavy blow came on the wedge to drive it into the
log. The Union is a tough log, and the wedge could be driven a good way
in without splitting it; but the first blow which drove it in was the
adopting the Missouri Compromise, allowing slavery to come North and
take possession of Missouri.

The thirty years of prosperity which had followed the adoption of the
Constitution had changed the feelings of men both North and South. The
ideas of the Revolution had receded into the background; the thirst
for wealth and power had taken their place. So the Southern States,
which had cordially agreed thirty years before to prohibit the
extension of slavery, and had readily admitted it to be a political
evil, now demanded as a right the privilege of carrying slaves into
Missouri. They threatened to dissolve the Union, talked of a fire only
to be extinguished by seas of blood, and proposed to hang a member
from New Hampshire who spoke of liberty. Some of the Northern men
were not frightened by these threats, and valued them at their real
worth. But we know that the result was a compromise. Slavery was to
take possession of Missouri, on condition that no other State as far
north as Missouri should be slave-holding. Slavery was to be excluded
from the rest of the territory forever. This bargain was applauded and
justified by Southern politicians and newspapers as a great triumph
on their part; and it was. That fatal compromise was a surrender of
principle for the sake of peace, bartering conscience for quiet; and we
were soon to reap the bitter fruits.

Face to face, in deadly opposition, each determined on the total
destruction of his antagonist, stood this Goliath of the slave power
and the little David of antislavery, at the beginning of the ten years
which extended from 1830 to 1840. The giant was ultimately to fall
from the wounds of his minute opponent, but not during this decade or
the next. For many years each of the parties was growing stronger,
and the fight was growing fiercer. Organization on the one side was
continually becoming more powerful; enthusiasm on the other continually
built up a more determined opinion. The slave power won repeated
victories; but every victory increased the number and ardor of its
opponents.

The first attempt to destroy antislavery principles was by means of
mobs. Mobs seldom take place in a community unless where the upper
stratum of society and the lower are in sympathetic opposition to
some struggling minority. Then the lower class takes its convictions
from the higher, and regards itself as the hand executing what the
head thinks ought to be done. Respectability denounces the victim,
and the rabble hastens to take vengeance on him. Even a mob cannot
act efficiently unless inspired by ideas; and these it must receive
from some higher source. So it was when Priestley was mobbed at
Birmingham; so it was when Wesley and his friends were mobbed in
all parts of England. So it was also in America when the office of
the "Philanthropist" was destroyed in Cincinnati; when halls and
churches were burned in Philadelphia; when Miss Crandall was mobbed in
Connecticut; when Lovejoy was killed at Alton. Antislavery meetings
were so often invaded by rioters, that on one occasion Stephen S.
Foster is reported to have declared that the speakers were not doing
their duty, because the people listened so quietly. "If we were doing
our duty," said he, "they would be throwing brick-bats at us."

These demonstrations only roused and intensified the ardor of the
Abolitionists, while bringing to their side those who loved fair play,
and those in whom the element of battle was strong. Mobs also were an
excellent advertisement for the Antislavery Society; and this is what
every new cause needs most for its extension. Every time that one of
their meetings was violently broken up, every time that any outrage
or injury was offered to the Abolitionists, all the newspapers in the
land gave them a gratuitous advertisement by conspicuous notices of the
event. So the public mind was directed to the question, and curiosity
was excited. The antislavery conventions were more crowded from day to
day, their journals were more in demand, and their plans and opinions
became the subject of conversation everywhere.

And certainly there could be no more interesting place to visit than
one of these meetings of the Antislavery Society. With untiring
assiduity the Abolitionists brought to their platform everything which
could excite and impress their audience. Their orators were of every
kind,--rough men and shrill-voiced women, polished speakers from the
universities, stammering fugitives from slavery, philosophers and
fanatics, atheists and Christian ministers, wise men who had been made
mad by oppression, and babes in intellect to whom God had revealed
some of the noblest truths. They murdered the King's English, they
uttered glaring fallacies, the blows aimed at evildoers often glanced
aside and hit good men. Invective was, perhaps, the too frequent
staple of their argument, and any difference of opinion would be apt
to turn their weapons against each other. This church-militant often
became a church-termagant. Yet, after all such abatement for errors of
judgment or bad taste, their meetings were a splendid arena on which
was fought one of the greatest battles for mankind. The eloquence
we heard there was not of the schools, and had nothing artificial
about it. It followed the rule of Demosthenes, and was all directed
to action. Every word was a blow. There was no respect for dignities
or authorities. The Constitution of the United States, the object of
such unfeigned idolatry to the average American, was denounced as
"a covenant with hell." The great men of the nation, Webster, Clay,
Jackson, were usually selected as the objects of the severest censure.
The rule was to strike at the heads which rose above the crowd, as
deserving the sternest condemnation. Presidents and governors, heads of
universities, eminent divines, great churches and denominations, were
convicted as traitors to the right, or held up to unsparing ridicule.
No conventional proprieties were regarded in the terrible earnestness
of this enraged speech. It was like the lava pouring from the depths
of the earth, and melting the very rocks which opposed its resistless
course.

Of course this fierce attack roused as fierce a defense. One extreme
generated the other. The cry for "immediate abolition" was answered by
labored defenses of slavery itself. Formerly its advocates only excused
it as a necessary evil; now they began to defend it as a positive good.
Then was seen the lamentable sight of Christian ministers and respected
divines hurrying to the support of the "sum of all villanies." The
Episcopal bishop of a New England State defended with ardor the system
of slavery as an institution supported by the Bible and commanded by
God himself. The president of a New England college declared slavery to
be a positive institution of revealed religion, and not inconsistent
with the law of love. The minister of a Boston church, going to the
South for his health, amused his leisure by writing a book on slavery,
in which it is made to appear as a rose-colored and delightful
institution, and its opposers are severely censured. One of the most
learned professors in a Massachusetts theological school composed a
treatise to refute the heresy of the higher law, and to maintain the
duty of returning fugitive slaves to bondage. Under such guidance it
was natural that the churches should generally stand aloof from the
Abolitionists and condemn their course. It was equally natural that
the Abolitionists should then denounce the churches as the bulwark of
slavery. Nevertheless, from the Christian body came most of those who
devoted their lives to the extirpation of this great evil and iniquity.
And Mr. Garrison, at least, always maintained that his converts were
most likely to be made among those whose consciences had been educated
by the Church and the Bible.

From public meetings in the North, the conflict of ideas next extended
itself to the floor of Congress, where it continued to rage during
nearly thirty years, until "the war of tongue and pen" changed to
that of charging squadrons, the storm of shot and the roll of cannon.
The question found its way into the debates of Congress in the form
of petitions for the abolition of slavery and the slave-trade in the
District of Columbia. If the slaveholders had allowed these petitions
to be received and referred, taking no notice of them, it seems
probable that no important results would have followed. But, blinded by
rage and fear, they opposed their reception, thus denying a privilege
belonging to all mankind,--that of asking the government to redress
their grievances. Then came to the front a man already eminent by his
descent, his great attainments, his long public service, his great
position, and his commanding ability. John Quincy Adams, after having
been President of the United States, accepted a seat in the House of
Representatives, and was one of the most laborious and useful of
its members. He was not then an Abolitionist, nor in favor even of
abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. But he believed that
the people had the right to petition the government for anything they
desired, and that their respectful petitions should be respectfully
received. Sixty-five years old in 1832, when he began this conflict,
his warfare with the slave power ended only when, struck with death
while in his seat, he saw the last of earth and was content. With what
energy, what dauntless courage, what untiring industry, what matchless
powers of argument, what inexhaustible resources of knowledge, he
pursued his object, the future historian of the struggle who can fully
paint what Mr. Wilson is only able to indicate, will take pleasure in
describing. One scene will remain forever memorable as one of the most
striking triumphs of human oratory; and this we must describe a little
more fully.

February 6, 1837, being the day for presenting petitions, Mr. Adams had
already presented several petitions for the abolition of slavery in the
District of Columbia (a measure to which he was himself then opposed),
when he proceeded to state[49] that he had in his possession a paper
upon which he wished the decision of the Speaker. The paper, he said,
came from twenty persons declaring themselves to be slaves. He wished
to know whether the Speaker would consider this paper as coming under
the rule of the House.[50] The Chair said he would take the advice of
the House on that question. And thereupon began a storm of indignation
which raged around Mr. Adams during four days.[51] Considering that
the House had ordered, less than three weeks before, that all papers
relating _in any way_ to slavery should be laid on the table without
any action being taken on them, this four days' discussion about such
a paper, ending in the passing of several resolutions, was rather an
amusing illustration of the irrepressible character of the antislavery
movement. The Southern members seemed at first astonished at what they
hastily assumed to be an attempt of Mr. Adams to introduce a petition
from slaves. One moved that it be not received. Another, indignant
at such a tame way of meeting the question, declared that any one
attempting to introduce such a petition should be immediately punished;
and if that was not done at once, all the members from the slave States
should leave the House. Loud cries arose, "Expel him! expel him!"
Mr. Alfred declared that the petition ought to be burned. Mr. Waddy
Thompson of South Carolina, who soon received a castigation which he
little anticipated, moved that John Quincy Adams, having committed a
gross disrespect to the House in attempting to introduce a petition
from slaves, ought to be instantly brought to the bar of the House
to receive the severe censure of the Speaker. Similar resolutions
were offered by Mr. Haynes and Mr. Lewis, all assuming that Mr. Adams
had attempted to introduce this petition. He at last took the floor,
and said that he thought the time of the House was being consumed
needlessly, since all these resolutions were founded on an error. He
had _not_ attempted to present the petition,--he had only asked the
Speaker a question in regard to it. He also advised the member from
Alabama to amend his resolution, which stated the petition to be for
the abolition of slavery in the District, whereas it was the very
reverse of that. It was a petition for something which would be very
objectionable to himself, though it might be the very thing for which
the gentleman from Alabama was contending. Then Mr. Adams sat down,
leaving his opponents more angry than ever, but somewhat confused in
their minds. They could not very well censure him for doing what he
had not done, but they wished very much to censure him. So Mr. Waddy
Thompson modified his resolution, making it state that Mr. Adams, "by
creating the impression, and leaving the House under the impression,
that the petition was for the abolition of slavery," had trifled with
the House, and should receive its censure. After a multitude of other
speeches from the enraged Southern chivalry, the debate of the first
day came to an end.

On the next day (February 7), in reply to a question, Mr. Adams stated
again that he had not attempted to present the petition, though his
own feelings would have led him to do so, but had kept it in his
possession, out of respect to the House. He had said nothing to lead
the House to infer that this petition was for the abolition of slavery.
He should consider before presenting a petition from slaves; though,
in his opinion, slaves had a right to petition, and the mere fact of
a petition being from slaves would not of itself prevent him from
presenting it. If the petition were a proper one, he should present
it. A petition was a prayer, a supplication to a superior being.
Slaves might pray to God; was this House so superior that it could not
condescend to hear a prayer from those to whom the Almighty listened?
He ended by saying that, in asking the question of the Speaker, he had
intended to show the greatest respect to the House, and had not the
least purpose of trifling with it.

These brief remarks of Mr. Adams made it necessary for the slaveholders
again to change their tactics. Mr. Dromgoole of Virginia now brought
forward his famous resolution, which Mr. Adams afterwards made so
ridiculous, accusing him of having "given color to an idea" that
slaves had a right to petition, and that he should be censured by
the Speaker for this act. Another member proposed, rather late in the
day, that a committee be appointed to inquire whether any attempt had
been made, or not, to offer a petition from slaves. Another offered a
series of resolutions, declaring that if any one "hereafter" should
offer petitions from slaves he ought to be regarded as an enemy of the
South, and of the Union; but that "as John Quincy Adams had stated
that he meant no disrespect to the House, that all proceedings as to
his conduct should now cease." And so, after many other speeches, the
second day's debate came to an end.

The next day was set apart to count the votes for President, and so
the debate was resumed February 9. It soon become more confused than
ever. Motions were made to lay the resolutions on the table; they were
withdrawn; they were renewed; they were voted down; and, finally, after
much discussion, and when at last the final question was about being
taken, Mr. Adams inquired whether he was to be allowed to be heard in
his own defense before being condemned. So he obtained the floor, and
immediately the whole aspect of the case was changed. During three days
he had been the prisoner at the bar; suddenly he became the judge on
the bench. Never, in the history of forensic eloquence, has a single
speech effected a greater change in the purpose of a deliberative
assembly. Often as the Horatian description has been quoted of the
just man, tenacious of his purpose, who fears not the rage of citizens
clamoring for what is wrong, it has never found a fitter application
than to the unshaken mind of John Quincy Adams, standing alone, in the
midst of his antagonists, like a solid monument which the idle storms
beat against in vain.

He began by saying that he had been waiting during these three days
for an answer to the question which he had put to the Speaker, and
which the Speaker had put to the House, but which the House had not
yet answered, namely, whether the paper he held in his hand came under
the rule of the House or not. They had discussed everything else, but
had not answered that question. They had wasted the time of the House
in considering how they could censure him for doing what he had not
done. All he wished to know was, whether a petition from slaves should
be received or not. He himself thought that it ought to be received;
but if the House decided otherwise, he should not present it. Only one
gentleman had undertaken to discuss that question, and his argument
was, that if slavery was abolished by Congress in any State, the
Constitution was violated; and, _therefore_, slaves ought not to be
allowed to petition for anything. He, Mr. Adams, was unable to see the
connection between the premises and the conclusion.

Hereupon poor Mr. French, the author of this argument, tried to
explain what he meant by it, but left his meaning as confused as before.

Then Mr. Adams added, that if you deprived any one in the community of
the right of petition, which was only the right of offering a prayer,
you would find it difficult to know where to stop; one gentleman had
objected to the reception of one petition, because offered by women of
a bad character. Mr. Patton of Virginia says he _knows_ that one of the
names is of a woman of a bad character. _How does he know it?_

Hereupon Mr. Patton explained that he did not himself know the woman,
but had been told that her character was not good.

So, said Mr. Adams, you first deny the right of petition to slaves,
then to free people of color, and then you inquire into the moral
character of a petitioner before you receive his petition. The next
step will be to inquire into the political belief of the petitioners
before you receive your petition. Mr. Robertson of Virginia had said
that no petitions ought to be received for an object which Congress
had no power to grant. Mr. Adams replied, with much acuteness, that
on most questions the right of granting the petition might be in
doubt: a majority must decide that point; it would therefore follow,
from Mr. Robertson's rule, that no one had a right to petition unless
he belonged to the predominant party. Mr. Adams then turned to Mr.
Dromgoole, who had charged him with the remarkable crime of "giving
color to an idea," and soon made that Representative of the Old
Dominion appear very ridiculous.

Mr. Adams then proceeded to rebuke, with dignity but severity, the
conduct of those who had proposed to censure him without any correct
knowledge of the facts of the case. His criticisms had the effect
of compelling these gentlemen to excuse themselves and to offer
various explanations of their mistakes. These assailants suddenly
found themselves in an attitude of self-defense. Mr. Adams graciously
accepted their explanations, advising them in future to be careful when
they undertook to offer resolutions of censure. He then informed Mr.
Waddy Thompson of South Carolina that he had one or two questions to
put to him. By this time it had become a pretty serious business to
receive the attentions of Mr. Adams; and Mr. Waddy Thompson immediately
rose to explain. But Mr. Adams asked him to wait until he had fully
stated the question which Mr. Thompson was to answer. This Southern
statesman had threatened the ex-President of the United States with an
indictment by the grand jury of the District for words spoken in debate
in the House of Representatives, and had added that, if the petition
was presented, Mr. Adams would be sent to the penitentiary. "Sir,"
said Mr. Adams, "the only answer I make to such a threat from that
gentleman is, to invite him, when he returns to his constituents, to
study a little the first principles of civil liberty." He then called
on the gentlemen from the slave States to say how many of them indorsed
that sentiment. "_I_ do not," said Mr. Underwood of Kentucky. "_I_ do
not," said Mr. Wise of Virginia. Mr. Thompson was compelled to attempt
another explanation, and said he meant that, in _South Carolina_, any
member of the legislature who should present a petition from slaves
could be indicted. "Then," replied Mr. Adams, and this produced a great
sensation, "if it is the law of South Carolina that members of her
Legislature may be indicted by juries for words spoken in debate, God
Almighty receive my thanks that I am not a citizen of South Carolina."

Mr. Adams ended his speech by declaring that the honor of the
House of Representatives was always regarded by him as a sacred
sentiment, and that he should feel a censure from that House as the
heaviest misfortune of a long life, checkered as it had been by many
vicissitudes.

When Mr. Adams began his defense, not only was a large majority of
the House opposed to his course, but they had brought themselves by
a series of violent harangues into a condition of bitter excitement
against him. When he ended, the effect of this extraordinary speech
was such, that all the resolutions were rejected, and out of the whole
House only twenty-two members could be found to pass a vote of even
indirect censure. The victory was won, and won by Mr. Adams almost
single-handed. We count Horatius Cocles a hero for holding the Roman
bridge against a host of enemies; but greater honors belong to him
who successfully defends against overwhelming numbers the ancient
safeguards of public liberty. For this reason we have repeated here at
such length the story of three days, which the people of the United
States ought always to remember. It took ten years to accomplish the
actual repeal of these gag-laws. But the main work was done when the
right of speech was obtained for the friends of freedom in Congress;
and John Quincy Adams was the great leader in this warfare. He was
joined on that arena by other noble champions,--Giddings, Mann,
Palfrey, John P. Hale, Chase, Seward, Slade of Vermont, Julian of
Indiana. Others no less devoted followed them, among whom came from
Massachusetts Charles Sumner and Henry Wilson, the author of the
present work. What he cannot properly say of himself should be said
for him. Though an accomplished and eager politician, Henry Wilson has
never sacrificed any great principle for the sake of political success.
His services to the antislavery cause have been invaluable, his labors
in that cause unremitting. Personal feelings and personal interests he
has been ready to sacrifice for the sake of the cause. Loyal to his
friends, he has not been bitter to his opponents; and if any man who
fought through that long struggle were to be its historian, no one will
deny the claims of Mr. Wilson to that honor.

Under the lead of John Quincy Adams, the power to discuss the whole
subject of slavery in the National Legislature was won, and never
again lost. This was the second triumph of the antislavery movement;
its first was the power won by Garrison and his friends of discussing
the subject before the people. The wolfish mob in the cities and in
Congress might continue to howl, but it had lost its claws and teeth.
But now came the first great triumph of the slave power, in the
annexation of Texas. This was a cruel blow to the friends of freedom.
It was more serious because the motive of annexation was openly
announced, and the issue distinctly presented in the Presidential
election. Mr. Upshur, Tyler's Secretary of State, in an official
dispatch, declared that the annexation of Texas was necessary to secure
the institution of slavery. The Democratic Convention which nominated
Mr. Polk for the Presidency deliberately made the annexation of Texas
the leading feature of its platform. Nor was the slave power in this
movement opposed merely by the antislavery feeling of the country.
Southern senators helped to defeat the measure when first presented in
the form of a treaty by Mr. Tyler's administration. Nearly the whole
Whig party was opposed to it. The candidate of the Whigs, Henry Clay,
had publicly declared that annexation would be a great evil to the
nation. Twenty members of Congress, with John Quincy Adams at their
head, had proclaimed in an address to their constituents that it would
be equivalent to a dissolution of the Union. Dr. Channing, in 1838, had
said that it would be better for the nation to perish than to commit
such an outrageous wrong. Edward Everett, in 1837, spoke of annexation
as "an enormous crime." Whig and Democratic legislatures had repeatedly
denounced it. In 1843, when the Democrats had a majority in the
Massachusetts legislature, they resolved that "under no circumstances
whatever" could the people of Massachusetts approve of annexation.
Martin Van Buren opposed it as unjust to Mexico. Senator Benton, though
previously in favor of the measure, in a speech in Missouri declared
that the object of those who were favoring the scheme was to dissolve
the Union, though he afterward came again to its support. And yet when
the Presidential campaign was in progress, a Democratic torchlight
procession miles long was seen marching through the streets of Boston,
and flaunting the lone star of Texas along its whole line. And when
Polk was elected, and the decision of the nation virtually given for
this scheme, it seemed almost hopeless to contend longer against such
a triumph of slavery. If the people of the North could submit to this
outrage, it appeared as if they could submit to anything.

Such, however, was not the case. On one side the slave power was
greatly strengthened by the admission of Texas to the Union as a slave
State; but, on the other hand, there came a large accession to the
antislavery body. And this continued to be the case during many years.
The slave power won a succession of political victories, each of which
was a moral victory to its opponents. Many who were not converted to
antislavery by the annexation of Texas in 1845 were brought over by
the defeat of the Wilmot Proviso and the passage of the Fugitive Slave
Law in 1850. Many who were not alarmed by these successes of slavery
were convinced of the danger when they beheld the actual working of
the Fugitive Slave Act. How many Boston gentlemen, before opposed to
the Abolitionists, were brought suddenly to their side when they saw
the Court House in chains, and were prevented by soldiers guarding
Anthony Burns from going to their banks or insurance offices in State
Street! All those bitter hours of defeat and disaster planted the seeds
of a greater harvest for freedom. Others who remained insensible to
the disgrace of the slave laws of 1850 were recruited to the ranks of
freedom by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in 1854. This last
act, Mr. Wilson justly says, did more than any other to arouse the
North, and convince it of the desperate encroachments of slavery. Men
who tamely acquiesced in _this_ great wrong were startled into moral
life by the murderous assault on Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks in
1856. Those who could submit to this were roused by the border ruffians
from Missouri who invaded Kansas, and made the proslavery Constitution
for that State. The Dred Scott decision in 1857, which declared slavery
to be no local institution, limited to a single part of the land, but
having a right to exist in the free States under the Constitution,
alarmed even those who had been insensible to the previous aggressions
of slavery. This series of political successes of the slave power was
appalling. Every principle of liberty, every restraint on despotism,
was overthrown in succession, until the whole power of the nation had
fallen into the hands of an oligarchy of between three and four hundred
thousand slaveholders. But every one of their political victories was a
moral defeat; every access to their strength as an organization added
an immense force to the public opinion opposed to them; and each of
their successes was responded to by some advance of the antislavery
movement. The annexation of Texas in 1845 was answered by the
appearance of John P. Hale, in 1847, in the United States Senate,--the
first man who was elected to that body on distinctly antislavery
grounds and independent of either of the great parties. The response
to the defeat of the Wilmot Proviso and passage of the Fugitive Slave
Law in 1850 was the election of Charles Sumner to the Senate in April,
1851, and the establishment of the underground railroad in all the
free States. When the South abrogated the Missouri Compromise, the
North replied by the initiation of the Republican party. The Kansas
outrages gave to freedom John Brown of Osawatomie. And the answer to
the Dred Scott decision was the nomination of Abraham Lincoln. Till
that moment the forces of freedom and slavery had stood opposed, like
two great armies, each receiving constant recruits and an acccession of
new power. On one side, hitherto, had been all the political triumphs,
and on the other all the moral. But with this first great political
success of their opponents the slave power became wholly demoralized,
gave up the conflict, threw away the results of all its former
victories, and abandoned the field to its enemies, plunging into the
dark abyss of secession and civil war.

And yet, what was the issue involved in that election? It was simply
whether slavery should or should not be extended into new Territories.
All that the Republican party demanded was that slavery should not be
extended. It did not dream of abolishing slavery in the slave States.
We remember how, long after the war began, we refused to do this. The
Southerners had every guaranty they could desire that they should not
be interfered with at home. If they had gracefully acquiesced in the
decision of the majority, their institution might have flourished for
another century. The Fugitive Slave Law would have been repealed; or,
at all events, trial by jury would have been given to the man claimed
as a fugitive. But no attempt would have been made by the Republican
party to interfere with slavery in the slave States, for that party did
not believe it had the right so to do.

But, in truth, the course of the Southern leaders illustrated in a
striking way the distinction between a politician and a statesman. They
were very acute politicians, trained in all the tactics of their art;
but they were poor statesmen, incapable of any large strategic plan
of action. As statesmen, they should have made arrangements for the
gradual abolition of slavery, as an institution incapable of sustaining
itself in civilized countries in the nineteenth century. Or, if they
wished to maintain it as long as possible, they ought to have seen
that this could only be accomplished by preserving the support of
the interests and the public opinion of the North. Alliance with the
Northern States was their only security; and, therefore, they ought to
have kept the Northern conscience on their side by a loyal adherence to
all compacts and covenants. Instead of this, they contrived to outrage,
one by one, every feeling of honor, every sentiment of duty, and every
vested right of the free States, until, at last, it became plain to all
that it was an "irrepressible conflict," and must be settled definitely
either for slavery or for freedom. When this point was reached by the
American people, they saw also that it could not be settled in favor
of slavery, for no concession would satisfy the slaveholders, and no
contract these might make could be depended on. The North gave them, in
1850, the Fugitive Slave Law for the sake of peace. Did it gain peace?
No. It relinquished, for the sake of peace, the Wilmot Proviso. Was the
South satisfied? No. In 1853 Mr. Douglas offered it the Nebraska Bill.
Was it contented? By no means. Mr. Pierce and Mr. Buchanan did their
best to give it Kansas. Did they content the South by their efforts?
No. Mr. Douglas, Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Buchanan were all set aside by
the South. The Lecompton Bill was not enough. The Dred Scott decision
was not enough. The slaveholders demanded that slavery should be
established by a positive act of Congress in all the Territories of the
Union. Even Judge Douglas shrank aghast from the enterprise of giving
them such a law as that; and so Judge Douglas was immediately thrown
aside. Thus, by the folly of the Southern leaders themselves, more than
by the efforts of their opponents, the majority was obtained by the
Republicans in the election of 1860.

But during this conflict came many very dark days for freedom. One
of these was after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850.
That law was one of a series of compromises, intended to make a final
settlement of the question and to silence all antislavery agitation.
Although defended by great lawyers, who thought it necessary to save
the Union, there is little doubt that it was as unconstitutional as
it was cruel. The Constitution declares that "no person shall be
deprived of his liberty without due process of law," and also that
"in suits at common law, when the value in controversy shall exceed
twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved." Anthony
Burns was in full possession of his liberty; he was a self-supporting,
tax-paying citizen of Massachusetts; and in ten days, by the action of
the Fugitive Slave Law, he was turned into a slave under the decision
of a United States commissioner, without seeing a judge or a jury.
The passage of this law, and its actual enforcement, caused great
excitement among the free colored people at the North, as well as among
the fugitives from slavery. No one was safe. It was evident that it was
meant to be enforced,--it was not meant to be idle thunder. But instead
of discouraging the friends of freedom, it roused them to greater
activity. More fugitives than ever came from the slave States, and the
underground railroad was in fuller activity than before. The methods
employed by fugitives to escape were very various and ingenious. One
man was brought away in a packing-box. Another clung to the lower side
of the guard of a steamer, washed by water at every roll of the vessel.
One well-known case was that of Ellen Crafts, who came from Georgia
disguised as a young Southern gentleman, attended by her husband as
body-servant. She rode in the cars, sitting near Southerners who knew
her, but did not recognize her in this costume, and at last arrived
safe in Philadelphia. In one instance a slave escaped from Kentucky,
with all his family, walking some distance on stilts, in order to leave
no scent for the pursuing blood-hounds. When these poor people reached
the North, and told their stories on the antislavery platform, they
excited great sympathy, which was not confined to professed antislavery
people. A United States commissioner, who might be called on to return
fugitives to bondage, frequently had them concealed in his own house,
by the action of his wife, whose generous heart never wearied in this
work, and who was the means of saving many from bondage. A Democratic
United States marshal, in Boston, whose duty it was to arrest fugitive
slaves, was in the habit of telling the slave-owner who called on him
for assistance that he "did not know anything about niggers, but he
would find out where the man was from those who did." Whereupon he
would go directly to Mr. Garrison's office and tell him he wanted to
arrest such or such a man, a fugitive from slavery. "But," said he,
"curiously enough, the next thing I heard would be, that the fellow was
in Canada." And when a colored man was actually sent back to slavery,
as in the case of Burns, the event excited so much sympathy with
the fugitive, and so much horror of the law, that its effects were
disastrous to the slave power. Thomas M. Simms was arrested in Boston
as a fugitive from slavery, April 3, 1851, and was sent to slavery by
the decision of George Ticknor Curtis, a United States commissioner.
The answer to this act, by Massachusetts, was the election of Charles
Sumner, twenty-one days after, to the United States Senate. Anthony
Burns was returned to slavery by order of Edward G. Loring, in May,
1854; and Massachusetts responded by removing him from his office as
Judge of Probate, and refusing his confirmation as a professor in
Harvard University.

The passage of what were called the compromise measures of 1850,
including the Fugitive Slave Law, had, it was fondly believed, put an
end to the whole antislavery agitation. The two great parties, Whig and
Democrat, had agreed that such should be the case. The great leaders,
Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, Cass and Buchanan, were active in
calling on the people to subdue their prejudices in favor of freedom.
Southern fire-eaters, like Toombs and Alexander Stephens, joined these
Union-savers, and became apostles of peace. Agitation was the only
evil, and agitation must now come to an end. Public meetings were held
in the large cities,--one in Castle Garden in New York, another in
Faneuil Hall in Boston. In these meetings the lion and the lamb lay
down together. Rufus Choate and Benjamin Hallet joined in demanding
that all antislavery agitation should now cease. The church was called
upon to assist in the work of Union-saving, and many leading divines
lent their aid in this attempt to silence those who desired that
the oppressed should go free, and who wished to break every yoke.
Many seemed to suppose that all antislavery agitation was definitely
suppressed. President Fillmore called the compromise measures "a final
adjustment." All the powers which control human opinion--the two great
political parties, the secular and the religious newspapers, the large
churches and popular divines, the merchants and lawyers--had agreed
that the antislavery agitation should now cease.[52]

But just at that moment, when the darkness was the deepest, and all
the great powers in the church and state had decreed that there should
be no more said concerning American slavery, the voice of a woman broke
the silence, and American slavery became the one subject of discussion
throughout the world. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was written by Mrs. Stowe
for the "National Era," Dr. Bailey's paper in Washington. It was
intended to be a short story, running through two or three numbers of
the journal, and she was to receive a hundred dollars for writing it.
But, as she wrote, the fire burned in her soul, a great inspiration
came over her, and, not knowing what she was about to do, she moved
the hearts of two continents to their very depths. After her story
had appeared in the newspaper, she offered it as a novel to several
publishers, who refused it. Accepted at last, it had a circulation
unprecedented in the annals of literature. In eight weeks its sale had
reached one hundred thousand copies in the United States, while in
England a million copies were sold within the year. On the European
Continent the sale was immense. A single publisher in Paris issued five
editions in a few weeks, and before the end of 1852 it was translated
into Italian, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Flemish, German, Polish,
and Magyar. To these were afterward added translations into Portuguese,
Welsh, Russian, Arabic, and many other languages. For a time, it
stopped the publication and sale of all other works; and within a
year or two from the day when the politicians had decided that no more
should be said concerning American slavery, it had become the subject
of conversation and discussion among millions.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published in 1852. Those were very dark hours
in the great struggle for freedom. Who that shared them can ever
forget the bitterness caused by the defection of Daniel Webster, and
his 7th of March speech in 1850; by the passage of the Fugitive Slave
Law, which made the whole area of the free States a hunting-ground for
the slaveholders; and by the rejection of the Wilmot Proviso, which
abandoned all the new territory to slavery? This was followed by the
election of Franklin Pierce as President in 1852, on a platform in
which the Democratic party pledged itself to resist all agitation of
the subject of slavery in Congress or outside of it. And in December,
1853, Stephen A. Douglas introduced his Nebraska Bill, which repealed
the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and opened all the territory
heretofore secured to freedom to slaveholders and their slaves. This
offer on the part of Mr. Douglas was a voluntary bid for the support
of the slaveholders in the next Presidential election. And in spite
of all protests from the North, all resistance by Democrats as well
as their opponents, all arguments and appeals, this solemn agreement
between the North and the South was violated, and every restriction on
slavery removed. Nebraska and Kansas were organized as Territories,
and the question of slavery left to local tribunals, or what was called
"squatter sovereignty."

The passage of this measure showed the vast political advance of the
slave power in the country, and how greatly it had corrupted the
political conscience of the nation. It also showed, to those who had
eyes, that slavery was the wedge which was to split the Union asunder.
But there were in the North many persons who still thought that danger
to the Union came rather from the _discussion_ of slavery than from
slavery itself. They supposed that if all opposition to slavery should
cease, then there would be no more danger. The Abolitionists were the
cause of all the peril; and the way to save the Union was to silence
the Abolitionists. That, however, had been tried ineffectually when
they were few and weak; and now it was too late, as these Union-savers
ought to have seen.

Mr. Douglas and his supporters defended their cause by maintaining
that the Missouri Compromise was not a contract, but a simple act of
legislation, and they tauntingly asked, "Why, since antislavery men had
always thought that Compromise a bad thing, should they now object to
its being repealed?" Even this sophism had its effect with some, who
did not notice that Douglas's resolutions only repealed that half of
the Compromise which was favorable to freedom, while letting the other
half remain. One part of the Act of 1820 was that Missouri should be
admitted as a slave State; the other part was that all the rest of the
Territory should be forever free. Only the last part was now repealed.
Missouri was left in the Union as a slave State.

The political advance now made by slavery will appear from the
following facts:--

In 1797 the slave power asked for only life; it did not wish to extend
itself; it united with the North in prohibiting its own extension into
the Northwest Territory.

In 1820 it did wish to extend itself; it refused to be shut out of
Missouri, but was willing that the rest of the Territory should be
always free.

In 1845 it insisted on extending itself by annexing Texas, but it
admitted that it had no right to go into any Territory as far north as
Missouri.

In 1850 it refused to be shut out of any of the new territory, and
resisted the Wilmot Proviso; but still confessed that it had no right
to go into Kansas or Nebraska.

Five years after, by the efforts of Stephen A. Douglas and Franklin
Pierce, it refused to be shut out of Kansas, and repealed the part of
the Missouri Compromise which excluded it from that region. But, in
order to accomplish this repeal, it took the plausible name of "popular
sovereignty," and claimed that the people should themselves decide
whether they would have a slave State or a free State.

One additional step came. The people decided or were about to decide
for freedom; and then the slave power set aside its own doctrine
of popular sovereignty and invaded the Territory with an army of
Missourians, chose a legislature for the people of Kansas composed of
Missourians, who passed laws establishing slavery and punishing with
fine and imprisonment any who should even speak against it.

The people of Kansas refused to obey these laws. They would have been
slaves already if they had obeyed them. Then their own governor,
appointed by our President, led an army of Missourians to destroy
their towns and plunder and murder their people. Nothing was left
them but to resist. They did resist manfully but prudently, and by a
remarkable combination of courage and caution the people of the little
Free-State town of Lawrence succeeded in saving themselves from this
danger without shedding a drop of blood. Men, women, and children were
animated by the same heroic spirit. The women worked by the side of the
men. The men were placed on the outposts as sentinels and ordered by
their general not to fire as long as they could possibly avoid it. And
these men stood on their posts, and allowed themselves to be shot at by
the invaders, and did not return the fire. One man received two bullets
through his hat, and was ready to fire if the enemy came nearer, but
neither fired nor quitted his post. The men were brave and obedient
to orders; the women were resolute, sagacious, and prudent. So they
escaped their first great danger.

But slavery does not give up its point so easily after one defeat.
Preparations were made along the Missouri frontier for another
invasion, conducted in a more military manner and by troops under
better discipline. The Free-State people of Kansas were to be
exterminated. From week to week they were expecting an attack, and had
to watch continually against it. After having worked all day the men
were obliged to do military duty and stand guard all night. Men who
lived four and five miles out from Lawrence got wood and water for
their wives in the morning, left them a revolver with which to defend
themselves, and went to Lawrence to do military duty, returning at
night again.

If we had a writer gifted with the genius of Macaulay to describe the
resistance of Kansas to the Federal authorities on one side and the
Missouri invaders on the other, it would show as heroic courage and
endurance as are related in the brilliant pages which tell of the
defense of Londonderry. The invaders were unscrupulous, knowing that
they had nothing to fear from the government at Washington. Senator
Atchison, formerly the presiding officer of the United States Senate,
openly advised the people of Missouri to go and vote in Kansas. General
Stringfellow told them to take their bowie-knives and exterminate
every scoundrel who was tainted with Free-soilism or Abolitionism.
The orders were obeyed. The first legislature was elected by armed
invaders from Missouri, and Buford with a regiment of Southern soldiers
entered the Territory in 1856, and surrounded Lawrence. These troops,
under Atchison, Buford, and Stringfellow, burned houses and hotels,
and stole much property. Osawatomie was sacked and burned, Leavenworth
invaded and plundered, and Free-State men were killed. A proslavery
constitution formed by Missouri slaveholders was forced through
Congress, but rejected by the people of Kansas, who at last gained
possession of their own State by indomitable courage and patience.
Four territorial governors, appointed by the President, selected from
the Democratic party and favorable to the extension of slavery, were
all converted to the cause of freedom by the sight of the outrages
committed by the Missouri invaders.

Amid this scene of tumult arose a warrior on the side of freedom
destined to take his place with William Wallace and William Tell among
the few names of patriots which are never forgotten. John Brown of
Osawatomie was one of those who, in these later days, have reproduced
for us the almost forgotten type of the Jewish hero and prophet. He was
a man who believed in a God of justice, who believed in fighting fire
with fire. He was one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah, an
austere man, a man absorbed in his ideas, fixed as fate in pursuing
them. Yet his heart was full of tenderness, he had no feeling of
revenge toward any, and he really lost his own life rather than risk
the lives of others. While in Kansas he become a leader of men, a
captain, equal to every exigency. The ruffians from Missouri found to
their surprise that, before they could conquer Kansas, they had some
real fighting to do, and must face Sharpe's rifles; and as soon as they
understood this, their zeal for their cause was very much abated. In
this struggle John Brown was being educated for the last scene of his
life, which has lifted up his name, and placed it in that body which
Daniel O'Connell used to call "The order of Liberators."[53]

Out of these persecutions of Free-State men in Kansas came the assault
on Charles Sumner, for words spoken in debate. Charles Sumner was
elected to the United States Senate in 1851. He found in Congress some
strong champions of freedom. John Quincy Adams was gone; but Seward
was there, and Chase, and John P. Hale, in the Senate; and Horace
Mann, Giddings, and other true men in the House. Henry Wilson himself,
always a loyal friend to Sumner, did not come till 1855. These men all
differed from one another, and each possessed special gifts for his
arduous work. They stood face to face with an imperious majority,
accustomed to rule. They had only imperfect support at home,--people
and press at the North had been demoralized by slavery. They must watch
their words, be careful of what they said, control their emotions,
maintain an equal temper. Something of the results of this discipline
we think we perceive in the calm tone of Mr. Wilson's volumes, and the
absence of passion in his narration. These men must give no occasion to
the enemy to blaspheme, but be careful of their lips and their lives.
Their gifts, we have said, were various. Seward was a politician,
trained in all the intricate ways of New York party struggles; but
he was also a thinker of no small power of penetration. He could see
principles, but was too much disposed to sacrifice or postpone them
to some supposed exigency of the hour. In his orations, when he spoke
for mankind, his views were large; but in his politics he sometimes
gave up to party his best-considered convictions. Thought and action,
he seemed to believe, belonged to two spheres; in his thought he was
often broader in his range than any other senator, but in action he was
frequently tempted to temporize. Mr. Chase was a man of a different
sort. He had no disposition to concede any of his views. A cautious
man, he moved slowly; but when he had taken his position, he was not
disposed to leave it. John P. Hale was admirable in reply. His retorts
were rapid and keen, and yet were uttered so good-naturedly, and
with so much wit, that it was difficult for his opponents to take
offense. But Charles Sumner was "the noblest Roman of them all." With
a more various culture, a higher tone of moral sentiment, he was also
a learned student and a man of implacable opinions. He never could
comprehend Mr. Seward's diplomacy, and probably Mr. Seward could never
understand Sumner's inability to compromise. He was deficient in
imagination and in tact; therefore he could not enter into the minds of
others, and imperfectly understood them. But the purity of his soul and
life, the childlike simplicity of his purposes, and the sweetness of
his disposition, were very charming to those who knew him well. Add to
this the resources of a mind stored with every kind of knowledge, and a
memory which never forgot anything, and his very presence in Washington
gave an added value to the place. He had seen men and cities, and was
intimate with European celebrities, but yet was an Israelite indeed
in whom was no guile. Fond of the good opinions of others, and well
pleased with their approbation, he never sacrificed a conviction to win
their praise or to avoid their censure. Certainly, he was one of the
purest men who ever took part in American politics.

It was such a man as this, so gifted and adorned, so spotless and
upright, who by the wise providence of God was permitted to be the
victim of a brutal assassin. It was this noble head, the instrument of
laborious thought for the public welfare, which was beaten and bruised
by the club of a ruffian, on May 22, 1856. Loud was the triumph through
the South, great the joy of the slave power. They had disabled, with
cruel blows, their chief enemy. Little did they foresee--bad men never
do foresee--that Charles Sumner was to return to his seat, and become a
great power in the land, long after their system had been crushed, and
their proud States trampled into ruin by the tread of Northern armies.
They did not foresee that he was to be the trusted counselor of Lincoln
during those years of war; and that, after they had been conquered, he
would become one of their best friends in their great calamity, and
repay their evil with good.

This murderous assault on Mr. Sumner cannot be considered as having
strengthened the political position of the slave power. It was a great
mistake in itself, and it was a greater mistake in being indorsed by
such multitudes in the slave States. In thus taking the responsibility
of the act, they fully admitted that brutality, violence, and cowardly
attempts at assassination are natural characteristics of slavery. A
thrill of horror went through the civilized world on this occasion. All
the free States felt themselves outraged. That an attempt should be
made to kill in his seat a Northern man, for words spoken in debate,
was a gross insult and wrong to the nation, and deepened everywhere the
detestation felt for the system.

But madness must have its perfect work. One more step remained to be
taken by the slave power, and that was to claim the right, under the
Constitution, and protected by the general government, to carry slaves
and slavery into all the Territories. It was not enough that they were
not prohibited by acts of Congress. They must not allow the people of
the Territories to decide for themselves whether slavery should exist
among them or not. It had a right to exist there, in spite of the
people. A single man from South Carolina, going with his slaves into
Nebraska, should have the power of making that a slave State, though
all the rest of its inhabitants wished it to be free. And if he were
troubled by his neighbors, he had a right to call on the military power
of the United States to protect him against them. Such was the doctrine
of the Dred Scott case, such the doctrine accepted by the majority
of the United States Senate under the lead of Jefferson Davis in the
spring of 1859. Such was the doctrine demanded by the Southern members
of the Democratic Convention in Charleston, S. C., in May, 1860,
and, failing to carry it, they broke up that convention. And it was
because they were defeated in this purpose of carrying slavery into the
Territories that they seceded from the Union, and formed the Southern
Confederacy.

They had gained a long succession of political triumphs, which we
have briefly traced in this article. They had annexed Texas, and
made another slave State of that Territory. They had established the
principle that slavery was not to be excluded by law from any of the
Territories of the nation. They had repealed the Missouri Compromise,
passed the Fugitive Slave Law, obtained the Dred Scott decision from
the Supreme Court. In all this they had been aided by the Democratic
party, and were sure of the continued help of that party. With these
allies, they were certain to govern the country for a long period of
years. The President, the Senate, the Supreme Court, were all on their
side. As regarded slavery in the States, there was nothing to threaten
its existence there. The Republicans proposed only to restrict it to
the region where it actually existed, but could not and would not
meddle with it therein. If the slave power had been satisfied with
this, it seems probable that it might have retained its ascendency in
the country for a long period. An immense region was still open to its
colonies. Cotton was still king, and the slaveholders possessed all
the available cotton-growing regions. They were wealthy, they were
powerful, they governed the nation. They threw all this power away by
seceding from the Union. Why did they do this?

The frequent answer to this question is contained in the proverb,
"Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." No doubt this act
was one of madness, and no doubt it was providential. But Providence
works not by direct interference, but by maintaining the laws of cause
and effect. Why did they become so mad? Why this supreme folly of
relinquishing actual enormous power, in order to set their lives and
fortunes on the hazard of a die?

It seems to be the doom of all vaulting ambition to overleap itself,
and to fall on the other side. When Macbeth had gained all his ends,
when he had become Thane of Cawdor and Glamis, and king, he had no
peace, because the succession had been promised to Banquo:--

    "Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
    And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
    Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,
    No son of mine succeeding. If't be so,
    For _Banquo's_ issue have I filed my mind,
    For _them_ the gracious Duncan have I murthered,
    Put rancors in the vessel of my peace.
    ... To make _them_ kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
    Rather than so, come fate into the list,
    And champion me to the utterance."

When Napoleon the First was master of nearly all Europe, he could not
be satisfied while England resisted his power, and Russia had not
submitted to it. So _he_ also said,--

    "Rather than so, come fate into the list,
    And champion me to the utterance."

He also threw away all his immense power because he could not arrest
his own course or limit his own demands on fate. Such ambitions cannot
stop, so long as there is anything unconquered or unpossessed. "All
this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at
the king's gate." The madness which seizes those greedy of power is
like the passion of the gamester, who is unable to limit his desire
of gain. By this law of insatiable ambition Providence equalizes
destinies, and power is prevented from being consolidated in a few
hands.

The motive which actuates these ambitions, and makes them think that
nothing is gained so long as anything remains to be gained, seems to
be a secret fear that they are in danger of losing all unless they can
obtain more.

This inward dread appears to have possessed the hearts of the Southern
slaveholders. Since slavery has been abolished, many of them admit that
they have more content in their present poverty than they formerly
had in their large possessions. They were then sensitive to every
suggestion which touched their institution. Hence their persecution
of Abolitionists, hence their cruelty to the slaves themselves,--for
cruelty is often the child of fear. Hence the atrocity of the slave
laws. Hence the desire to secure more and larger guaranties from the
United States for their institution. Every rumor in the air troubled
them. The fact that antislavery opinion existed at the North, that it
was continually increasing, that a great political party was growing
up which was opposed to their system, that such men as Garrison and
Wendell Phillips existed in Boston, that Seward and Sumner were in
the Senate,--all this was intolerable. The only way of accounting for
Southern irritability, for Southern aggressions, for its perpetual
demand for more power, is to be found in this latent terror. They
doubted whether the foundations of their whole system were not rotten;
they feared that it rested on falsehood and lies; they secretly felt
that it was contrary to the will of God; an instinct in their souls
told them that it was opposed to the spirit of the age and the laws of
progress; and this fear made them frantic.

When men's minds are in this state, they are like the glass toy called
a Rupert's bubble. A single scratch on the surface causes it to fly
in pieces. The scratch on the surface of the slave system which
caused it to rush into secession and civil war was the attempt of
John Brown on Harper's Ferry. It seemed a trifle, but it indicated a
great deal. It was the first drop of a coming storm. When one man was
able to lay down his life, in a conflict with their system, with such
courage and nobleness, in a cause not his own, a shudder ran through
the whole South. To what might this grow? And so they said, "Let us
cut ourselves wholly off from these dreadful fanaticisms, from these
terrible dangers. Let us make a community of our own, and shut out from
it entirely all antislavery opinion, and live only with those who think
as we do." And so came the end.

In reviewing Mr. Wilson's work, we have thus seen how it describes
the gradual and simultaneous growth in the United States of two
hostile powers,--one political, the other moral. The one continued to
accumulate the outward forces which belong to the organization; the
other, the inward forces which are associated with enthusiasm. The one
added continually to its external strength by the passage of new laws,
the addition of new territory, the more absolute control of parties,
government, courts, the press, and the street. The other increased its
power by accumulating an intenser conviction, a clearer knowledge, a
firmer faith, and a more devoted consecration to its cause. The weapons
of the one were force, adroitness, and worldly interest; those of the
other, faith in God, in man, and in truth.

Great truths draw to their side noble auxiliaries. So it was with the
antislavery movement. The heroism, the romance, the eloquence, the
best literature, the grandest forms of religion, the most generous
and purest characters,--all were brought to it by a sure affinity.
As Wordsworth said to Toussaint l'Ouverture, so it might be declared
here:--

        "Thou hast great allies;
    Thy friends are exaltations, agonies,
    And love, and man's unconquerable mind."

The best poets of America, Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell, were
in full sympathy with this cause, and their best poetry was their songs
for freedom. Shall we ever forget the caustic humor of "Hosea Biglow"
and "Birdofredum Sawin"? And how lofty a flight of inspiration did the
same bard take, when he chanted in verses nobler, as it seems to us,
than anything since Wordsworth's "Ode to Immortality," the Return of
the Heroes who had wrought salvation for the dear land "bright beyond
compare" among the nations! What heroism, what tenderness, what stern
rebuke, what noble satire, have attended every event in this long
struggle, from the lyre of Whittier! Nothing in Campbell excels the
ring of some of his trumpet-calls, nothing in Cowper the pathos of his
elegies over the martyrs of freedom. The best men and the best women
were always to be found at the meetings of the Antislavery Society.
There were to be seen such upright lawyers as Ellis Gray Loring and
Samuel E. Sewall and John A. Andrew, such eminent writers as Emerson,
such great preachers as Theodore Parker and Beecher, such editors as
Bryant and Greeley. To this cause did William Ellery Channing devote
his last years and best thoughts. If the churches as organizations
stood aloof, being only "timidly good," as organizations are apt
to be, the purest of their body were sure to be found in this great
company of latter-day saints.

Antislavery men had their faults. They were often unjust to their
opponents, though unintentionally so. They were sometimes narrow and
bitter; and with them, as with all very earnest people, any difference
of opinion as to methods seemed to involve moral obliquity. But they
were doing the great work of the age,--the most necessary work of
all,--and much might be pardoned to their passionate love of justice
and humanity. In their meetings could be heard many of the ablest
speakers of the time, and one, the best of all. He held the silver bow
of Apollo, and dreadful was its clangor when he launched its shafts
against spiritual wickedness in high places. Those deadly arrows were
sometimes misdirected, and occasionally they struck the good men who
were meaning to do their duty. Such errors, we suppose, are incident
to all who are speaking and acting in such terrible earnest; in the
great day of accounts many mistakes will have to be rectified. But
surely among the goodly company of apostles and prophets, and in the
noble army of martyrs there assembled, few will be found more free from
the sins of selfish interest and personal ambition than those who in
Congress, in the pulpit, on the platform, or with the pen, fought the
great battle of American freedom.

One great moral must be drawn from this story before we close. It
demonstrates, by a great historical proof, that no evil however
mighty, no abuse however deeply rooted, can resist the power of truth
faithfully uttered and steadily applied. If this great institution of
slavery, resting on such a foundation of enormous pecuniary interest,
buttressed by such powerful supports, fell in the life of a single
generation before the unaided power of truth, why should we ever
despair? Henceforth, whenever a mighty evil is to be assailed, or
a cruel despotism overthrown, men will look to this history of the
greatness and decadence of slavery; and, so encouraged, will believe
that God is on the side of justice, and that truth will always prevail
against error.

But to this we must add, that it is only where free institutions exist
that truth has full power in such a conflict. We need free speech,
a free press, free schools, and free churches, in order that truth
may have a free course. The great advantage of a republic like ours
is, that it gives to truth a fair chance in its conflict with error.
The Southern States would long ago have abolished slavery if it had
possessed such institutions. But, though republican in form, the
Southern States were in reality an oligarchy, in which five millions
of whites and three millions of slaves were governed by the absolute
and irresponsible power of less than half a million of slaveholders.
Freedom was permitted by them except when this institution was
concerned, then it was absolutely forbidden. No book written against
their peculiar institution could be printed on any Southern press or
sold in any Southern bookstore. No newspaper attacking slavery was
allowed to be circulated through Southern mails. No public meeting
could be held to discuss the right and wrong of slavery. No minister
could preach against the system. No man could express, even in
conversation, his hostility to it, without risk of personal injury.
An espionage as sharp, and an inquisition as relentless as those of
Venice or Spain, governed society, at least in the cotton and sugar
States of the Union. But at the North opinion was free, and therefore
slavery fell. Fisher Ames compressed in an epigram the evil and good of
republican institutions. "In a monarchy," said he, "we are in a ship,
very comfortable while things go well; but strike a rock, and we go to
the bottom. In a republic, we are on a raft; our feet are wet, and it
is not always agreeable, but we are safe." It is a lasting proof of the
conservative power of free institutions, that they were able to uproot
such a system as slavery by creating a moral force capable of putting
it down; that they could carry us through a civil war, still leaving
the press and speech free: that they stood the strain of a presidential
election without taking from the voters a single right; and so, at
last, conquered a rebellion on so vast a scale that every European
monarchy, with its immense standing army, would have been powerless in
its presence. Let those Americans who are disposed to disparage their
own institutions bear this history in mind. We have evils here, and
great ones; but they come at once to the surface, and therefore can be
met and overcome by the power of intelligent opinion. So it has always
been in the past; so it will be, God aiding us, in the future. We are
about to meet the Centennial Anniversary of our national life; and on
that day we can look back to our fathers, the founders of the Republic,
and say to them,--"You gave us the inestimable blessing of free
institutions; we have used those institutions to destroy the only great
evil which you transmitted to us untouched. We now can send down the
Republic to our children, pure from this stain, and capable of enduring
IN SECULA SECULORUM."


    The Riverside Press

    CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, U. S. A.
    ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY
    H. O. HOUGHTON AND CO.



FOOTNOTES:


[1] See the argument to prove that it would not be difficult to climb
to heaven.

[2] Simon Peter's attitude expresses astonishment and perplexity. He
holds out both hands, and seems to say, "It cannot be!"

In Thaddeus we see suspicion, doubt, distrust. "I always suspected him."

Matthew is speaking to Peter and Thomas, his hand held out toward
Jesus: "But I heard him say so."

Thomas: "What can it mean? What will be the end?"

James: (Hands spread wide apart in astonished perplexity:) "Is it
possible?"

Philip has laid both hands on his breast, and leaning toward Jesus
says, "Lord, is it I?"

At the other end, one is leaning forward, his hands resting on the
table, to catch the next words; one starting back, confused and
confounded.

[3] _The North American Review_, February, 1881.

[4] _The Independent_, 1882.

[5] _The North American Review_, May, 1883.

[6] _Buddha and Early Buddhism_. Trübner & Co., 1881.

[7] _Hibbert Lectures_, 1882, page 291.

[8] A. Réville: _Prolégomènes de l'Histoìre des Religions_.

[9] _Le Bouddha et sa Religion_, page 149, par J. Barthélemy
Saint-Hilaire, Paris.

[10] Senart: _Essai sur la Légende du Buddha_. Paris, 1875.

[11] Oldenberg: _Buddha, sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde_.
Berlin, 1881. This is one of the latest and best books on our subject.

[12] _Three Lectures on Buddhism_: "Romantic Legend of Buddha," by
Samuel Beal. London, 1875. Eitel.

[13] _Hibbert Lectures_: "Origin and Growth of Buddhism," by T. W. Rhys
Davids. 1881.

[14] _Ibid._, page 143.

[15] _Buddhistisch-Christliche Harmonie._

[16] P. E. Lucius: _Die Therapeuten und ihre Stellung_, &c. Strassburg,
1880.

[17] _The North American Review_, October, 1887.

[18] _The Atlantic Monthly_, October, 1874.

[19] _The Intelligence and Perfectibility of Animals_, by C. G. Leroy.
Translated into English in 1870. _De l'Instinct et l'Intelligence des
Animaux_, par P. Flourens. Paris, 1864.

[20] It is a mistake to say that the Tasmanians do not use fire.

[21] _The Galaxy_, December, 1874.

[22] Symposium in the _North American Review_, May, 1879.

[23] In this brief paper it is not possible even to allude to the
objections which have been brought against the doctrine of final
causes. For these objections, and the answers to them, I would refer
the reader to the work of Janet, before mentioned.

[24] _The Christian Examiner_, September, 1864.

[25] _History of Friedrich the Second, called Frederick the Great_, by
Thomas Carlyle. In four volumes. Harper and Brothers, 1864.

[26]

    "Tu se' lo mio maestro, e 'l mio autore,
    O degli altri poeti onore e lume."

[27] _Frederick the Great_, vol. ii. p. 223.

[28] _The Christian Examiner_, November, 1861.

[29] _History of Civilization in England._ By Henry Thomas Buckle.
Vols. I. and II. New York: D. Appleton and Company.

[30] _Comm._ VI. 11, _et seq._

[31] _Germania._

[32] George Borrow, _The Zincali_. See also an excellent article by A.
G. Paspati, translated from Modern Greek by Rev. C. Hamlin, D. D., in
_Journal of American Oriental Society_, 1861.

[33] See Vol. II. pp. 255-259, American edition.

[34] _The Atlantic Monthly_, August, 1881.

[35] _Life of Voltaire_, by James Parton. In two vols. Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1886.

[36] Voltaire himself, with his acute perception, seems to have been
one of the first to discover the absurdity of the representation of
Tiberius by Tacitus.

[37] _Essai sur les Mœurs_, ch. cxxi.

[38] Parton, ii. 549.

[39] _Ibid._, ii. 551.

[40] _Ibid._, i. 232.

[41] Martin's _History of France_.

[42] Parton, i. 461.

[43] Martin's _History of France_.

[44] A sermon preached May 7, 1882.

[45] _The North American Review_, May, 1877.

[46] _Harriet Martineau's Autobiography._ Edited by Maria Weston
Chapman. 2 vols.

[47] For some reason she afterward saw fit partially to abandon this
self-denial, and allowed Mrs. Chapman to print any letters written to
herself by Miss Martineau.

[48] "History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America," by
Henry Wilson, _North American Review_, January, 1875.

[49] _Congressional Globe_ for February 6, 1837.

[50] Rule adopted January 18, that all petitions relating to slavery be
laid on the table without any action being taken on them.

[51] February 6, 7, 9, 11.

[52] The writer of this article recalls a scene which occurred in
his presence in the United States Senate early in 1851. Mr. Clay was
speaking of the antislavery agitators and of the Free-Soil party, and
said, with much bitterness, "We have put them down,--down,--down, where
they will remain; down to a place so low, that they can never get up
again." John P. Hale, never at a loss for a reply, immediately arose
and said, "The Senator from Kentucky says that I and my friends have
been put down,--down,--down, where we shall have to stay. It may be
so. Indeed, if the Senator says so, I am afraid it _must_ be so. For,
if there is any good authority on this subject, any man who knows by
his own personal and constant experience what it is to be put down,
and to be kept down, it is the honorable Senator from Kentucky." Mr.
Clay's aspirations had been so often baffled, that this was a very keen
thrust. The writer spoke to Mr. Hale shortly after, and he said, "I do
not think Mr. Clay will forgive me that hit; but I could not help it.
They may have got us down, but they shall not trample upon us."

[53] O'Connell, in an album belonging to John Howard Payne, writes this
sentence after his name.



Transcriber's Notes:


Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Page 39: "Appeltons' Journal" was punctuated that way in the original
book and on the masthead of the Journal itself.

Page 46: "generalties" was spelled that way in the original book and in
some copies of "The Poestaster" itself.

Page 220: Greek transliteration in curly braces was added by
Transcriber.

Page 309: Opening quotation mark before "unfailing good sense" was
added by Transcriber.





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