Part 5 out of 5
The blessing of the Lord will be on this deed, Mr. Marvyn. 'The steps of
a just man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.'"
At this moment, Candace reappeared at the door, her butterfly turban
somewhat deranged with the violence of her prostration, giving a
whimsical air to her portly person.
"I want ye all to know," she said, with a clearing-up snuff, "dat it's
my will an' pleasure to go right on doin' my work jes' de same; an',
Missis, please, I'll allers put three eggs in de crullers, now; an' I
won't turn de wash-basin down in de sink, but hang it jam-up on de
nail; an' I won't pick up chips in a milkpan, ef I'm in ever so big a
hurry;--I'll do eberyting jes' as ye tells me. Now you try me an' see ef
Candace here alluded to some of the little private wilfulnesses which
she had always obstinately cherished as reserved rights, in pursuing
domestic matters with her mistress.
"I intend," said Mr. Marvyn, "to make the same offer to your husband,
when he returns from work to-night."
"Laus, Mass'r,--why, Cato he'll do jes' as I do,--dere a'n't no kind o'
need o' askin' him. 'Course he will."
A smile passed round the circle, because between Candace and her husband
there existed one of those whimsical contrasts which one sometimes sees
in married life. Cato was a small-built, thin, softly-spoken negro,
addicted to a gentle chronic cough; and, though a faithful and skilful
servant, seemed, in relation to his better half, much like a hill of
potatoes under a spreading apple-tree. Candace held to him with a
vehement and patronizing fondness, so devoid of conjugal reverence as to
excite the comments of her friends.
"You must remember, Candace," said a good deacon to her one day, when
she was ordering him about at a catechizing, "you ought to give honor to
your husband; the wife is the weaker vessel."
"_I_ de weaker vessel?" said Candace, looking down from the tower of her
ample corpulence on the small, quiet man whom she had been fledging with
the ample folds of a worsted comforter, out of which his little head
and shining bead-eyes looked, much like a blackbird in a nest,--"_I_ de
weaker vessel? Umph!"
A whole-woman's-rights' convention could not have expressed more in a
day than was given in that single look and word. Candace considered
a husband as a thing to be taken care of,--a rather inconsequent and
somewhat troublesome species of pet, to be humored, nursed, fed,
clothed, and guided in the way that he was to go,--an animal that was
always losing off buttons, catching colds, wearing his best coat every
day, and getting on his Sunday hat in a surreptitious manner for
week-day occasions; but she often condescended to express it as her
opinion that he was a blessing, and that she didn't know what she should
do, if it wasn't for Cato. In fact, he seemed to supply her that which
we are told is the great want in woman's situation,--an object in
life. She sometimes was heard expressing herself very energetically in
disapprobation of the conduct of one of her sable friends, named Jinny
Stiles, who, after being presented with her own freedom, worked several
years to buy that of her husband, but became afterwards so disgusted
with her acquisition that she declared she would "neber buy anoder
"Now Jinny don't know what she's talkin' about," she would say. "S'pose
he does cough and keep her awake nights, and take a little too much
sometimes, a'n't he better'n no husband at all? A body wouldn't seem to
hab nuffin to lib for, ef dey hadn't an ole man to look arter. Men
is nate'lly foolish about some tings,--but dey's good deal better'n
And Candace, after this condescending remark, would lift off with one
hand a brass kettle in which poor Cato might have been drowned, and fly
across the kitchen with it as if it were a feather.
[To be continued.]
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
_The Works of Francis Bacon_, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, and
Lord High Chancellor of England. Collected and edited by James Spedding,
M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge; Robert Leslie Ellis, M.A.,
late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; and Douglas Denon Heath,
Barrister-at-Law, late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Vols.
I.-VI. London: Longman & Co. 1858.
"For my name and memory," said Bacon in his will, "I leave it to men's
charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and to the next ages."
Scarcely was he dead when the first portion of this legacy received some
part of its fulfilment in the touching and often quoted words of Ben
Jonson:--"My conceit of his person was never increased toward him by his
place or honors; but I have and do reverence him for the greatness that
was only proper to himself, in that he seemed to me ever, by his work,
one of the greatest men and most worthy of admiration that had been
in many ages. In his adversity, I ever prayed that God would give him
strength; for greatness he could not want. Neither could I condole in
a word or syllable for him, as knowing no accident could do harm to
virtue, but rather help to make it manifest." But it may fairly be
doubted whether "the next ages" have done fitly by his memory, spite of
the honor that has been indiscriminately lavished upon his name as a
philosopher, and the mass of praise, for the most part ignorant, beneath
which his works have been buried. The world of readers has been content
to take Bacon's greatness upon trust, or to form such imperfect idea of
it as was to be got from acquaintance with his "Essays," the only one
of his works which has ever attained popularity. Even more thorough
students have, for the most part, satisfied themselves with a general
view of Bacon's philosophy, dwelling on disconnected passages of ample
thought or aphoristic wisdom, and rarely attempting to gain an insight
into the real character of his system. Indeed, "the system of Lord
Bacon" became a sort of cabalistic phrase. It meant anything and
everything. It was like the English Constitution, venerable in authority
and prescription, interpreted in contradictory methods, and never
precisely defined. Few men undertook to study it with a zeal like that
of Homer and his friend Lord Webb Seymour, when, in days of enthusiasm,
they read and re-read the "De Augmentis" and the "Novum Organum," and
Homer planned to do what Dr. Whewell seems to suppose he has done, bring
Bacon up to the present time, by writing a work upon the basis of his,
which should furnish a complete review of modern knowledge. Still, it
has been part of an English birthright to hold Bacon as the restorer of
the sciences, the inventor or at least the re-inventor of the inductive
method, and the father of all discovery since his time. These notions
have been held firmly, while more special ones concerning his system and
himself have been, for the most part, vague or unformed.
In great part, this fact is the result of the condition in which Lord
Bacon left his works, the manner of their composition, and their
intrinsic defects. He did not publish them in any systematic order,
but printed one after another, as it was written, or as extraneous
circumstances might induce. Nor did he leave his system complete in any
one treatise. His mind discursive, his imagination easily fired, he
seized subject after subject and discussed each in a separate treatise,
all with more or less reference to a general plan, but not embodied in
any consecutive and harmonious development. The growth of his ideas, the
changes of his views, as his life advanced, are manifest in the want of
connection, as well as in the connection, of these various fragments.
Dr. Rawley, his chaplain, says,--and it is a marvellous illustration of
Bacon's diligence and desire for perfection,--"I myself have seen, at
the least, twelve copies of the 'Instauration,' revised year by year,
one after another, and every year altered and amended in the frame
Such, then, being the state of Bacon's works at his death, much was left
to the judgment of his editors, and, unfortunately, the labor of editing
his books has, up to the present time, fallen into hands wanting in
competence and discretion. It has consequently been a task of special
difficulty to get from the ill-arranged mass of Bacon's writings a
satisfactory view of the essential elements of his philosophy and a just
knowledge of his final opinions.
But the reproach of non-fulfilment of the trust committed to them will
rest upon "the next ages" no longer; for the edition which is now in
course of publication amply redeems the faults of those that have
preceded it, and is such a one as Bacon himself might have approved. In
the second book of the "Advancement of Learning," in recounting "the
works or acts of merit toward learning," he includes among them "new
editions of authors, with more correct impressions, more faithful
translations, more profitable glosses, more diligent annotations, and
the like." In each of these respects the edition before us deserves the
highest praise. The editors have engaged in their task as in a labor of
love. It is the result of many years of study, and it exhibits the fruit
of unwearied care, great learning, and excellent judgment. So far as
it has advanced, it does the highest honor to English scholarship, and
takes its place as one of the most remarkable editions in existence of
any author whose works stand in need of editorial care. The plan upon
which it is arranged is as follows. Bacon's works are divided into three
broad classes:--first, the Philosophical; secondly, the Professional;
thirdly, the Literary and Occasional. Each of these classes was
undertaken by a separate editor. Mr. Robert Leslie Ellis engaged upon
the Philosophical Works, and had advanced far in his task when he was
suddenly compelled to relinquish it some years since by illness which
completely disabled him for labor. What he had already accomplished is
so well done as to excite sincere regret that he was unable to carry his
work forward. But this regret is diminished by the ability with which
Mr. James Spedding, who had taken charge of the Literary and Occasional
Works, has supplied Mr. Ellis's place in the completion of the editing
of the Philosophical. The burden of the edition has fallen upon his
shoulders, and the chief credit for its excellence is due to him. Up to
the present time, the publication of the Philosophical Works is complete
in five volumes, and the first volume of the Literary Works has just
appeared. The separate treatises contained in the completed portion are
distributed into three parts,--"whereby," says Mr. Spedding, "all those
writings which were either published or intended for publication by
Bacon himself as parts of the Great Instauration are (for the first
time, I believe) exhibited separately, and distinguished as well from
the independent and collateral pieces which did not form part of the
main scheme, as from those which, though originally designed for it,
were afterwards superseded and abandoned." Each piece is accompanied
with a preface, both critical and historical, and with notes. It is
in these prefaces that a great part of the value of the new edition
consists; for they are in themselves treatises of elucidation and
illustration of Bacon's opinions, and of investigation concerning the
changes they underwent from time to time. They are written with great
clearness and ability, and, taken together, present such a view of
Bacon's philosophy as is to be found nowhere else, and amply answers the
requirements of students, however exacting.
Far too much credit has been attributed to Bacon, in popular estimation,
as the author of a system upon which the modern progress of science is
based.[A] Whatever his system may have been, it is certain that it has
had little direct influence upon the advance of knowledge. But, perhaps,
too little credit has been given to Bacon as a man whose breadth and
power of thought and amplitude of soul enabled a spirit that has at once
stimulated its progress and elevated its disciples. That Bacon believed
himself to have invented a system wholly new admits of no doubt; but it
is doubtful whether he ever definitely arranged this system in his own
mind. And it is a curious and interesting fact, and one illustrative, at
least, of the imperfection of Bacon's exposition of his own method, that
Mr. Ellis and Mr. Spedding, the two most conscientious investigators of
Bacon's thought, should have arrived at different conclusions in regard
to the distinctive peculiarities of the Baconian philosophy. Mr.
Spedding, in his very interesting preface to the "Parasceve," suggests,
since his own and Mr. Ellis's conclusions, though different, do not
appear irreconcilable, "whether there be not room for a third solution,
more complete than either, as including both." Both he and Mr. Ellis
set out from the position, that "the philosophy which Bacon meant to
announce was in some way essentially different, not only from any that
had been before, but from any that has been since,"--a position very
much opposed to the popular opinion. "The triumph of his [Bacon's]
principles of scientific investigation," said, not long since, a writer
in the "Quarterly Review," whose words may be taken as representative of
the common ideas on the matter, "has made it unnecessary to revert to
the reasoning by which they were established."[B] But the truth seems
to be, that the merits of Bacon belong, as Mr. Ellis well says, "to the
spirit rather than to the positive precepts of his philosophy." Nor does
it appear that Bacon himself, although he indulged the highest hopes and
felt the securest confidence in the results of his perfected system,
supposed that he had given to it that perfection which was required. In
the "De Augmentis Scientiarum," published in 1623, two years and a half
before his death, he says: "I am preparing and laboring with all my
might to make the mind of man, by help of art, a match for the nature
of things, (_ut mens per artem fiat rebus par_,) to discover an art of
Indication and Direction, whereby all other arts, with their axioms
and works, may be detected and brought to light. For I have, with good
reason, set this down as wanting." (Lib. v. c. 2.) Bacon regarded his
method, not only as one wholly new, but also of universal application,
and leading to absolute certainty. Doubt was to be excluded from its
results. By its means, all the knowledge of which men were capable was
to be attained surely and in a comparatively brief space of time. Such a
conviction, extravagant as it may seem, is expressed in many passages.
In the Preface to his "Parasceve," published in 1620, in the same volume
with the "Novum Organum," he says, that he is about to describe a
Natural and Experimental History, which, if it be once provided, (and
he assumes, that, "etiam vivis nobis," it may be provided,) "paucorum
annorum opus futuram esse inquitionem naturae et scientiarum omnium."
Again, in the Protemium of the "Novum Organum": "There was but one
course left, to commence a total reconstruction of sciences, arts, and
all human knowledge, raised upon the proper foundations." And in the
Dedication to the same work, he says, with characteristic confidence,
"Equidem Organum praebui,"--"I have provided the Instrument."
[Footnote A: The tendency of scientific thought had been, for a
considerable period before the time of Bacon, turned in the direction
which he, perhaps, did more than any other single investigator to
follow out and confirm. Leonardo da Vinci, the completest and most
comprehensive genius of Modern Italy, had anticipated, by more than a
century, several of the prominent features of the Baconian system. Too
little of Leonardo's scientific writings has been published to furnish
material for a satisfactory determination of their importance in
promoting the advance of knowledge,--but the coincidence of thought,
in some passages of his writings, with that in some of Bacon's weighty
sentences, is remarkable. "I shall treat of this subject," he says, in
a passage published by Venturi, "but I shall first set forth certain
experiments; it being my principle to cite experience first, and then to
demonstrate why bodies are constrained to act in such or such a manner.
This is the method to be observed in investigating phenomena of Nature.
It is true that Nature begins with the reason and ends with experience;
but no matter; the opposite way is to be taken. We must, as I have said,
begin with experience, and by means of this discover the reason."
Compare with this the two following passages from the "Novum
Organum,"--the first being taken from the Ninety-ninth Axiom of the
First Book. "Then only will there be good ground of hope for the further
advance of knowledge, when there shall be received and gathered together
into natural history a variety of experiments, which are of no use in
themselves, but to discover causes and axioms."--The next passage is
the Twenty-sixth Axiom of the same Book;--"The conclusions of human
reason, as ordinarily applied in matter of nature, I call, for the
sake of distinction, _Anticipations of Nature_ (as a thing rash or
premature). That reason which is elicited from facts by a just and
methodical process I call _Interpretation of Nature_."
The first and famous axiom of the "Novum Organum" contains the phrase
which Bacon constantly repeats,--"man being the interpreter of Nature."
Leonardo uses the same expression,--"li omini inventori e interpreti
tra la natura e gli omini." In another admirable passage of rebuke of
the boastful and empty followers of old teachers, Leonardo says: "Though
I might not cite authors as well as they, I shall cite a much greater
and worthier thing, in citing experience, the teacher of their teachers"
(_Maestra di loro maestri_). "And as for the overmuch credit," says
Bacon, "that hath been given unto authors in sciences, in making them
dictators that their words should stand, and not counsellors to give
advice, the damage is infinite that sciences have received thereby."
Similar parallelisms of thought are to be found in some of Galileo's
sentences, when brought into comparison with Lord Bacon.]
[Footnote B: Article on Whately's Edition of Bacon's Essays. September,
The cause of Bacon's error in this regard, an error in spite of which
his philosophical works still remain the crowded repositories of true
wisdom, seems to have arisen, in considerable part, from a defect of
imagination. Knowledge is to be viewed in two aspects: one, that of its
relation to the finite capacities of the human mind; the other, its
relation to the infinity of Nature, that is, to the infinity of the
subjects of knowledge. Bacon regarded it chiefly from the first point of
view,--and, so far as we are aware, there is nowhere in his works any
recognition of the fact, that each advance in knowledge only opens new
and previously unknown regions of what is yet to be known. He supposed
that by his process Nature could be simplified to her few primary
elements, and that from these all other knowledge was to be deduced.
But, although her laws and elementary forms may be few, their
mollifications, as affecting knowledge and consequently human power and
interests, are unlimited. Moreover, in supposing that the discovery of
Nature could be made certain, and that, by a proper collection of facts,
the intellects of men might be brought upon a level of capacity for
discovery,--that is, that the process of discovery could be reduced to
a simple process of correct reasoning upon established facts,--Bacon
omitted to take into account the essential part which the imagination
plays in all discovery.
No discovery, properly so called, is the pure result of observation and
induction. Maury takes the accumulated observations of fifty years,
deduces from them the existence of certain prevailing winds and
currents, and states the fact. It is not properly a discovery, although
a collection of similar facts may lead to the knowledge of a general
law. Newton sees an apple fall; his imagination, with one of the vastest
leaps that human imagination ever made, connects its fall with the
motion of the planets, and makes an immortal discovery. James Watt said,
"Nature has her blind side." True, but it is only the instinct of the
imagination that discovers where the blind side lies. The tops of
kettles had been dancing ever since kettles were first hung over fires,
but no one caught the blind side of the fact till a Scotch boy saw it as
he sat dreaming at his aunt's fireside.
But if Bacon's imagination was imperfect in some directions, it
possessed in others a vision of the largest scope. No man ever saw more
dearly or vindicated more nobly the dignity of knowledge, the capacity
of the human mind, and the glory of God in the works of His hand. The
impulse which he gave to thought is still gathering force, and many of
the recommendations earnestly pressed in his works upon the attention
of men are only now beginning to receive their recognition and
accomplishment. When he sent a copy of the "Novum Organum" to Sir Henry
Wotton, Wotton, in his letter of thanks, said, "Your Lordship hath done
a great and everlasting benefit to the children of Nature, and to Nature
herself in her utmost extent of latitude,"--and his eulogium had more
truth than is common in contemporary compliments.
Great as a student of physical nature, Bacon was a master in the
knowledge of human nature. Pope only chose the epithet which all the
world had applied, when he wrote of the
"Words that _wise_ Bacon or grave Raleigh spake."
And nowhere is his wisdom more apparent than in the book of his
"Essays." The sixth volume of the edition before us contains, beside
the "Essays," the "History of King Henry VII.," with other fragmentary
histories, and the "De Sapienda Veterum," with a translation, which,
like the translations of the principal philosophical works in previous
volumes, is executed with admirable spirit and appropriateness.
All these works give the same evidence of editorial ability and skill
as those in the division of Philosophy. Mr. Spedding's Preface to the
"Henry VII." is not only an interesting essay in itself, but an able and
satisfactory vindication of Bacon's general historic accuracy. Bacon's
view of the true office of history is very different from the theory
which has lately prevailed to a considerable extent, and it would be
well, perhaps, were its wisdom more considered. "It is the true office
of history," he says, (_Advancement of Learning_, Book II.,) "to
represent the events themselves, together with the counsels; and to
leave the observations and conclusions thereupon to the liberty and
faculty of every man's judgment." And to this he adds, with much pith,
in the "De Augmentis," II. 9,--"Licet enim Historia quaeque prudentior
politicis praeceptis et monitis veluti impregnata sit, tamen scriptor
ipse sibi obstetricari non debet." Bacon wrote history according to his
own rule, and proved its value by the practical exemplification which he
gave of it. There are few better pieces of historic narrative in English
than this "History of Henry VII."
Special thanks are due to Mr. Spedding for having reprinted, in full,
the first three editions of the "Essays,"--the three that were published
by Bacon himself. The first appeared in 1597, and contained but ten
essays; the second in 1612, when Bacon was in the height of prosperity,
and contained thirty-eight; the third appeared in 1625, after his
downfall, less than a year before his death, and contained fifty-eight
essays. The three thus afford, as well by the successive additions of
new essays as by the alterations which are made in the earlier, a most
interesting exhibition of the direction of Bacon's thought at different
periods of his life, and the changes in his style. The comparison is one
of very great interest, but more space is required to develop it than
we have for the present at command. One fact only may be noted in
passing,--that the essay on Adversity, which contains that most
memorable and noble sentence, "Prosperity is the blessing of the Old
Testament, Adversity is the blessing of the New," is one of those
added in the last edition, after Bacon himself had experienced all the
bitterness of adversity.
Mr. Spedding proposes, in the forthcoming volumes of the Occasional
Works of Lord Bacon, to connect his speeches and letters with an
explanatory narrative,--thus presenting, he says, "a biography the most
copious, the most minute, and, by the very necessity of the case, the
fairest that I can produce." He promises "new matter which is neither
little nor unimportant; but," he adds, "more important than the new
matter is the new aspect which (if I may judge of other minds by my own)
will be imparted to the old matter by this manner of setting it forth."
We await this part of Mr. Spedding's work with especial interest, for
in it will unquestionably be afforded, for the first time, the means of
forming a correct judgment of Bacon's character, and just conclusions
concerning those public actions of his which have hitherto stood in
perplexing contradiction to his avowed principles, to the nobility of
his views, to his religious professions, to the reverential love with
which he was regarded by those who knew him best. It is not to be hoped
that his life can be redeemed from stain; but it may be hoped that a
true presentation of the grounds and bearings of his actions may relieve
him from the name of "meanest of mankind," and may show that his faults
were rather those of his time than of his nature. We shall keep our
readers informed of the progress of this invaluable edition, which
should lead to the more faithful and general study of the works of him
whom "all that were great and good loved and honored."
_A New History of the Conquest of Mexico._ In which Las Casas'
Denunciations of the Popular Historians of that War are fully
vindicated. By ROBERT ANDERSON WILSON, Counsellor at Law; Author of
"Mexico and its Religion," etc. Philadelphia: James Challen & Son.
Boston: Crosby, Nichols, & Co.
Before touching on the subject-matter of this book, we have something to
say respecting the spirit in which it appears to have been written, the
style of its execution, and the manner in which it has been introduced
to the world. As it is avowedly an attempt to refute the positions taken
up by Mr. Prescott in his "History of the Conquest of Mexico," and to
destroy the established reputation of that work, we are naturally led
into a comparison between the two writers, that extends beyond the
theories and ideas which they have respectively adopted and maintained.
We cannot but remember, (and such remembrances awaken now other feelings
besides mere respect and admiration,) that, when Prescott was entering
upon his literary career, he labored in silence and retirement; that,
in the prosecution of his researches, in the gradual formation of his
views, and in the preparation of his work, he spared no labor and made
no account of time; that, devoting himself to his chosen pursuit with
the ardor of a scholar and a searcher after truth, he felt a modest
self-reliance, and a just confidence in the utility of his labors,
without anticipating the reward of a wide-spread fame; that he was
prompt to acknowledge every service, or offer of service, which had been
made to him, and communicated to the public not only his information,
but the sources from which it had been derived; that, where he rejected
the conclusions of other writers, he treated those from whom he differed
with the utmost courtesy and candor; and that, when his task was
completed, he left it to the free judgment of the world, without
soliciting approbation or courting any man's applause.
This is not the course which Mr. Robert Anderson Wilson has thought fit
to take. An accidental visit to Mexico, for which he appears to
consider himself entitled to no slight commendation, led him into some
speculations on the origin and civilization of the Aztec race. Without
waiting to inform himself of the ideas entertained on these subjects
by other men, he hastened to put forth his own crude notions in a
work entitled "Mexico and its Religion," and twice reprinted by its
enterprising publishers, with titles varied to suit what was supposed to
be the popular taste. Still entertaining an aversion to laborious study,
(for which, indeed, his previous education, as well as precarious
health, appears to have disqualified him,) he announced his purpose
to write a History of the Conquest of Mexico "from the American
stand-point," and issued what he himself called "a clap-trap
advertisement," for the purpose of enlisting the sympathies of a class
in whom hatred of Romanism preponderates over knowledge and judgment. He
had made some progress in his "History," when he found that the ideas
which he had supposed to be original in his own brain were old and
trite. Being thus precluded from claiming for himself the merits of a
discoverer, he has shown an eagerness, every way praiseworthy, to place
the laurel on the brow to which he supposes it rightfully belongs.
Accordingly, he presents to the world, as his master and pioneer, that
renowned authority on the antiquities of New Spain, the Hon. Lewis Cass,
who, it appears, had published an essay on the subject in the "North
American Review." While his work was passing through the press, Mr.
Wilson wrote what he styles a "Chapter Preliminary," but what we suppose
would have been styled by persons who affect the native idiom when
writing their own language, a "Preliminary Chapter." This "Chapter
Preliminary" he printed and circulated, in advance of the publication
of his book; and though it contains not a single fact in support of
his theory, nor even any clear statement of the theory itself, he was
rewarded, as he expected, with _puffs preliminary_ from a portion of the
press, prompt to recognize the merit of a gentleman who had something
to sell, and consequently something to be advertised. The "advance
notices,"--so he calls them,--thus obtained, are made part of his book,
and may there be read alike by discerning and undiscerning readers. With
equal ingenuity he has prefixed to it a title-page, the grammar of which
is questionable and the punctuation vile, but in which he has contrived
to represent his opinions as identical with those of Las Casas, the
great historian of the Spanish Conquests in America, although, in truth,
this identity of opinion is purely imaginary, being founded on his mere
conjectures in regard to the contents of a work of Las Casas, which, as
he bitterly complains, has been withheld from the world. Then, with his
two supporters, Las Casas on the one side, and Lewis Casas--we beg his
pardon, we mean Lewis Cass-on the other, Mr. Wilson comes before the
public, making first a bow "preliminary" to "Colonel and Mrs. Powell,"
"my dear Uncle," and "my dear Aunt," in a Dedication that reminds us
of a certain form of invitations which our readers may sometimes have
received: "Miss Smith presents her compliments to Mr. Brown, and _I_
hope _you_ will do me the favor to take tea with me to-morrow evening."
But we have omitted to make mention of the letters "preliminary" which
he has printed with the "advance notices." He indulges in frequent
sneers at the "weight of authority" to which Mr. Prescott was accustomed
to attach some importance in the discussion of a doubtful point.
Nevertheless, in his extreme eagerness to obtain for his own opinions
the sanction of an authoritative name, he publishes, as "Mr. Prescott's
estimate of his researches," a letter which he had received from that
gentleman, and, quite incapable of appreciating its quiet irony,
evidently supposes that the historian of the Conquest of Mexico was
prepared to retire from the field of his triumphs at the first blast of
his assailant's trumpet. Next comes a letter from a gentleman whom Mr.
Wilson calls "_Rousseau_ St. Hilaire, author of 'The History of Spain,'
&c., and Professor _of the_ Faculty of Letters in the University of
Paris." This, we suppose, is the same gentleman who is elsewhere
mentioned in the book as Rousseau _de_ St. Hilaire, and as _Rosseau_ St.
Hilaire. Now we might take issue with Mr. Wilson as to the existence of
his correspondent. It would be easy to prove that no person bearing the
name is connected with the University of Paris. Adopting the same line
of argument by which our author endeavors to convert the old Spanish
chronicler, Bernal Diaz, into a myth, we might contend that the
Sorbonne--the college to which M. St. Hilaire is represented as
belonging--has been almost as famous for its efforts to suppress
truth and the free utterance of opinion as the Spanish Inquisition
itself,--that it would not hesitate at any little invention or disguise
for the furtherance of its objects,--and hence, that the professor in
question is in all probability a "myth," a mere "Rousseau's Dream," or
rather, a "Wilson's Dream of Rousseau." But we disdain to have recourse
to such evasions. We admit that there is in the University of Paris
a professor "agrege a la faculte des lettres," who bears the name of
_Rosseeuw_ St. Hilaire; we admit Mr. Wilson's incapacity to decipher
foreign names or words, even when they stand before him in the clearest
print,--an incapacity of which his book affords numerous examples,--and
that this incapacity, and not any mental hallucination, has been the
cause of the blunder which we have corrected. But we must add that he
does evidently labor under an hallucination when he calls this letter
of M. St. Hilaire a "flattering notice." He has been misled by his
inability to comprehend the employment of courteous language between
persons who differ from each other in matters of opinion. With the
accustomed suavity of a Frenchman and a gentleman, M. St. Hilaire
declines entering into a discussion with Mr. Wilson, and leaves him to
"settle this difference with his learned fellow-citizen," Mr. Prescott,
mildly intimating at the same time that he will probably have "his hands
Something more remains to be said of the use which our author has made
of the learned professor of the Sorbonne. One page of his book Mr.
Wilson devotes to "Acknowledgments." These are few, but ponderous.
"Acknowledgments are made" to the Hon. Lewis Cass, for having
written--without any ulterior view, we imagine, to Mr. Wilson's
advantage--the before-mentioned article in the "North American Review";
to the late Mr. Gallatin, for the publication--also, we suspect, without
any foresight of the tremendous uses to which it was to be turned--of a
paper on the Mexican dialects; to "Aaron Erickson, Esq., of Rochester,
N.Y., for the advantages he has afforded us in the prosecution of our
arduous investigations"; to "Major Robert Wilson, now at Fort Riley,
Kanzas," for no particular reason expressed; and to "M. _Rousseau
de_ St. Hilaire, both for the flattering notice he has taken of our
preliminary work" (why not, "work preliminary?") "on Mexico, and for the
advantages derived from his writings." In regard to the "advantages"
here mentioned, we are going to relieve Mr. Wilson's mind. His
obligations to M. St. Hilaire are really far lighter than he supposes.
It is true that he has picked most of the little information he
possesses in regard to Spanish history out of the professor's work, and
has strewed his pages with copious extracts from this recondite source.
But, in making his acknowledgments, he might have gone still farther
back. M. St. Hilaire is a laborious and enthusiastic scholar.
He has found time, in the midst of his professional duties, to write
a really meritorious work on the history of Spain. But he had not the
time, perhaps not the opportunity, for making a thorough examination of
the original authorities. He was therefore obliged to take for his guide
a modern author, who had made this history the peculiar field of his
researches. The guide whom he selected, and he could have made no better
choice, was William Hickling Prescott. So necessary was it for his
purpose that the latter should precede him in a pathway so obscure,
that he postponed the composition of a portion of his work until the
publication of the first two volumes of the "History of Philip the
Second," then in preparation, should supply him with the requisite
light. His indebtedness to Mr. Prescott was frankly and fully
acknowledged both in public and in private. In letters which now lie
before us, he says, "I am working hard on 'Philip the Second,' and
blessing at the same time the learned pioneer who has traced for me so
easy a road through this confused and difficult period of history." "It
is a piece of good-fortune which I cannot too highly appreciate, that
your studies should have been directed to the most difficult portion of
Spanish history, from which you have thus removed for me all the thorns.
The conscientiousness and the thoroughness of your researches, the
perfect trustworthiness of your conclusions, and the lofty calmness of
your judgments, are the precious supports on which I lean; and I have
now, for the reign of Philip the Second, a guide whom I shall be ever
proud and happy to follow, _as I have before followed him through the
reigns of the Catholic Kings and the Conquests of Mexico and Peru_."
That these expressions are no exaggeration of the facts of the case
might be easily established by a comparison of the "Histoire d'Espagne"
with the writings of the American historian. The passages in the former
work cited by Mr. Wilson would form a portion of the proof; and thus, in
following M. St. Hilaire, he has in fact been indirectly and ignorantly
availing himself of labors which he affects to speak of with contempt.
But directly and knowingly, as we shall hereafter show, he has availed
himself of Mr. Prescott's labors to an extent which demanded the most
ample "acknowledgment." No such acknowledgment is made. But we beg to
ask Mr. Wilson whether there were not other reasons why he should have
spoken of this eminent writer, if not with deference, at least with
respect. He himself informs us that "the most kindly relations"
existed between them. If we are not misinformed, Mr. Wilson opened
the correspondence by modestly requesting the loan of Mr. Prescott's
collection of works relating to Mexican history, for the purpose of
enabling him to write a refutation of the latter's History of the
Conquest. That the replies which he received were courteous and kindly,
we need hardly say. He was informed, that, although the constant use
made of the collection by its possessor for the correction of his
own work must prevent a full compliance with this request, yet any
particular books which he might designate should be sent to him, and, if
he were disposed to make a visit to Boston, the fullest opportunities
should be granted him for the prosecution of his researches. This
invitation Mr. Wilson did not think fit to accept. Books which were got
in readiness for transmission to him he failed to send for. He had,
in the mean time, discovered that "the American stand-point" did not
require any examination of "authorities." We regret that it should also
have rendered superfluous an acquaintance with the customs of civilized
society. The tone in which he speaks of his distinguished predecessor
is sometimes amusing from the conceit which it displays, sometimes
disgusting from its impudence and coarseness. He concedes Mr. Prescott's
good faith in the use of his materials. It was only his ignorance and
want of the proper qualifications that prevented him from using them
aright. "His non-acquaintance with Indian character is much to be
regretted." Mr. Wilson himself enjoys, as he tells us, the inestimable
advantage of being the son of an adopted member of the Iroquois tribe.
Nay, "his ancestors, for several generations, dwelt near the Indian
agency at Cherry Valley, on Wilson's Patent, _though in Cooperstown
village was he born_." We perceive the author's fondness for the
inverted style in composition,--acquired, perhaps, in the course of his
long study of Aboriginal oratory. Even without such proofs, and without
his own assertion of the fact, it would not have been difficult, we
think, to conjecture his familiarity with the forms of speech common
among barbarous nations.
But it is not merely through "his non-acquaintance with Indian
character" that Mr. Prescott was at fault. He was also, it appears, in a
hopeless state of ignorance in regard to the political institutions of
Spain. He knew nothing of the Spanish censorship, and its restrictions
upon the freedom of the press. "He showed his faith," writes Mr. Wilson,
"by the expenditure of a fortune at the commencement of his enterprise,
in the purchase of books and MSS. relating to 'America of the
Spaniards.'" This last phrase is marked as quoted, but we believe it to
be the author's own. "These were the materials out of which he framed
his _two_ histories of the _two_ aboriginal empires, Mexico and Peru. At
the time these works were written _he could not have had the remotest
idea of the circumstances under which his Spanish authorities had been
produced_, or of the external pressure that gave them their peculiar
form and character. _He could hardly understand_ that peculiar
organization of Spanish society through which one set of opinions might
be uniformly expressed in public, while the intellectual classes in
secret entertain entirely opposite ones. He acted throughout in the most
perfect good faith; and if, on a subsequent scrutiny, his authorities
have proved to be the fabulous creations of Spanish-Arabian fancy, he
is not in fault." (p. 104.)--We, also, desire to deal in "perfect good
faith" with our readers, who will naturally inquire what new light has
been thrown on the "peculiar organization of Spanish society," and on
the conditions which limit the expression of opinions in Spain, since
Mr. Prescott made those subjects his especial study. We have looked
carefully through Mr. Wilson's book in the hope of being enabled to
answer this inquiry; but we have found nothing but partial and incorrect
statements of facts with which the public is already familiar,--nothing
that had escaped the notice of Prescott himself,--nothing that Mr.
Ticknor, in his "History of Spanish Literature," had omitted to state,
and that had not been fully discussed between these two distinguished
men during an intercourse that had originated not only in the warmest
personal friendship, but in the similarity of their studies and
pursuits. On this, as on every other topic of which he treats, Mr.
Wilson is reckless and arrogant in assertion; but on this, as on every
other topic, he makes no show of proofs.
His compliment to Prescott's "good faith" seems, after all, to have
been premature. In other parts of his book we find remarks that seem in
conflict with this admission. He makes several severe strictures on Mr.
Prescott's omission to give due credit to General Cass for his valuable
contribution to Aztec history. "Mr. Prescott nowhere refers to the
subject, as we think he ought to have done." (p. 30.) "The ink was
hardly dry on the leaves of the North American Quarterly which contained
the exposure of these fictions, when another contributor to the same
periodical, Mr. Prescott, began his history, founded on authors already
_denounced as fabulous by so high an authority as the Hon. Lewis Cass_!"
Think of the unparalleled audacity of the author of the "History of
Ferdinand and Isabella" in actually exercising his own judgment with
regard to the credibility of the Spanish chroniclers, after so high an
authority had pronounced against them! However, we are not yet prepared
to abandon our own belief in Mr. Prescott's "good faith." We really
believe that he was guilty of no intentional disrespect towards the Hon.
Lewis Cass. It is possible that he may never have seen the article in
question. Contributors to periodicals are sometimes sadly neglectful of
the most brilliant performances of their _confreres_. We doubt whether
the "Autocrat" has ever read with proper attention any of our own
modest, but not, we hope, inelegant effusions.
Mr. Wilson is not without a suspicion that the world may be slow to
surrender its confidence in the veracity and accuracy of a writer
whose works have already stood the test of many a severe and critical
examination. When this idea breaks upon his mind, he manages to lash
himself into a state of considerable excitement. He foresees the
difficulty of convincing "those who take an array of great names for
the foundation of their belief, and those who judge a work only by the
elegance with which its periods are strung together. And, besides these
two,"--meaning, we presume, not two men, but two classes of men,--"we
have to encounter also the opposition of _savans_--men who live and
judge the outside world through the medium of books alone. These hold as
of no account, all but Greece and Rome," [the proof-reader is requested
not to disturb Mr. Wilson's punctuation,] "and receive no idea of
antiquity that does not come through them. For any, then, too wise to
learn or too thoughtless to inquire, this chapter is not designed....
Many there are," [how many, we wonder,] "who have dealt in Spanish
romances, supposing them to be history; and these are slow to abandon
their delusions. At enormous expense they have gathered volumes of
authorities; will they readily admit them to be cheats and counterfeits?
They grudge the time too they have spent in their perusal; and are loth,
as well they may be, to lose it. But individual loss and injury _is_"
[the proof-reader will please not to interfere with Mr. Wilson's
grammar] "perhaps inevitable in the search after truth. Men cannot
be held down to the theories of barbarism. These must give way to
knowledge, _or the intelligent, as in Roman Catholic countries, be
driven to infidelity."_ [The printer may venture to italicize the
closing prediction, as we wish to bring it under the particular notice
of school-committees and superintendents of education, who will see
the fearful responsibility they incur by placing copies of Prescott's
Histories, bound in sheep, in their school-libraries.]
But we interrupt the flow of our author's bile by these irrelevant
remarks. Let him have a full hearing: "Before closing this chapter, the
status of our literature suggests an apology is necessary, for having
opened it in conformity with the, now neglected, rules of history--that
we should try and snatch something from the wreck of antiquity." [We
cheerfully offer a reward of one copy of the present number of the
"Atlantic" to any person who will parse the last sentence, explain the
punctuation of it, and interpret its meaning.] "In other countries, the
standard of history has been steadily rising for centuries; but with
us, it has been so lowered, as to sink every other qualification in the
single one of turning faultless periods; and a gentleman possessing
this, has been adjudged fully capable of purging the annals of Spain and
her quondam colonies, from the mass of modern fable and forgery which
now disfigure them. Incapable of submitting Cortez' statement to
the test, he assumes it to be true, even in those parts where it is
impossible. Unable to detect the counterfeit in Diaz--he pronounces him
the 'child of nature,' but does not on the testimony of this natural
child reject the still more monstrous falsifier, _Gomora_; but adopts
them both, according to the custom of novelists; and not the slightest
objection is raised. Then descending lower and still lower; disregarding
alike the warning of Lord Bacon 'a credulous man is a deceiver,' and
of Tacitus _fingunt simul creduntque_--he rakes up even a devotee,
Boturini, and makes him also an historic authority, without overtaxing
public credulity; though this wretch, as we have seen, out-Munchausens
Pietro himself, and as he may have surpassed every other man in Spain in
drawing the long bow, was justly selected for historiographer, at a time
when death was the penalty for possessing a book not licensed by the
Inquisition. Thus are discarded and disgusting impostures brought up
from the literary cesspools of Spain to form for us the history of
events that, transpired on this continent hardly more than three hundred
years ago!" (pp. 263, 264.) Instead of noticing the blunders and
absurdities with which this paragraph is filled, we shall simply call
attention to the remarkable good taste displayed in its allusions to
a person with whom the writer, as he boasts, had maintained "the most
kindly relations," from whom, as we have seen, he had received friendly
offers of aid, and to whom, but a short time before the occurrence of
that event which has so lately thrown the whole nation into mourning, he
had been indebted, by his own admission, for the warmest encouragement
in the prosecution of his inquiries.
But, though Prescott is the principal object of Mr. Wilson's assaults,
he does not fall, for he has not stood, alone. With the single exception
of the Hon. Lewis Cass, every modern writer who has investigated the
history and former condition of Spanish America, either with the help of
books or of personal observation of the present state of that part
of our continent, shares the same fate. Robertson, Dupaix, Stephens,
Humboldt, are all objects of Mr. Wilson's vituperation or contempt. To
say that Alexander von Humboldt is probably the most learned man in
Europe, and that Robert A. Wilson is undoubtedly one of the most
ignorant men in America, would give but a slight notion of the
contrast between them. Humboldt is not merely a man of science and a
philosopher,--titles which the adopted Iroquois regards with natural
scorn,--he has been also a great traveller, and knows almost every
part of Spanish America from personal examination. Yet his claims to be
considered as an authority on questions which no other living man is
so competent to decide are disposed of by his shallow and conceited
opponent in a single brief paragraph, which ends with a statement that
"the only defect in his work is, that he started from false premises,
_and of course his conclusions amount to nothing_."
Robertson, however, is the especial butt of Mr. Wilson's unwieldy
sarcasms. Robertson, he tells us, was the "principal of the University
High School of Edinburgh,"--an institution of which we do not
remember ever to have heard before. He is especially indignant that
"Robertson--_a Presbyterian minister!_" (the Italics and note of
admiration are Mr. Wilson's own) should have dared even to attempt to
write a history of America. As Roman Catholics are also forbidden to
venture on this ground, we should be glad to know the particular sect or
sects to whose use it is to be appropriated. A principal cause of our
author's spite against Dr. Robertson appears to have been a statement
made by the latter, that the Iroquois are cannibals. This allegation
evidently touches a sensitive point. It is indignantly denied by the
adopted member of the tribe. The Iroquois, he says, like other Indians,
never eat human flesh, unless driven to it by hunger. He turns the
tables (on which this ill-omened repast is spread) against the worthy
Doctor. He charges him (falsely, however) with having represented
Charles the Fifth as "a pattern of abstinence," when he was in fact one
of the greatest of royal _gourmands_. On this point he is willing for
once to accept even the authority of Mr. Prescott, who, he says, has
upset Robertson's reputation as an historian by means of "the _Samanca_
Mr. Wilson so often returns to these "Samanca" papers, and appears to
labor under so many delusions in regard to them, that, hopeless as the
attempt may seem, we cannot help trying to let a little daylight into
his mind. "Mr. Prescott," he writes, "having obtained copies of the most
important _Simanca_" [the reader must not be surprised at these little
variations of orthography] "papers of Ximenes' collection, supposes them
a new discovery, of great value. _Doubtless they are;_" [then there
could be no great harm in supposing it;] "his agents did not fail to
represent them to him in the most exalted terms, to enhance the value of
their services according to the Spanish custom." Now we can assure Mr.
Wilson that Mr. Prescott had not in his possession a copy of a single
document placed in the Archives of Simancas (for so an excusable
partiality for custom, and not any want of respect for our author,
obliges us to spell this name) by Cardinal Ximenes. He will also, we
trust, be glad to learn, that, for the documents relating to the Emperor
Charles the Fifth which Mr. Prescott did receive from Simancas, he paid
not a _real_ beyond the established charge of the official copyists,--a
charge which is the same in all cases, whatever may be the value of
the originals,--the task of examining the collection and selecting the
letters suitable for the purpose having been a labor of love on the part
of the distinguished scholar by whom it was undertaken.
Mr. Wilson is animated by a fervent hatred against Cardinal Ximenes,--or
"Jimines," as he sometimes calls him. He terms him "a monster," and "a
wretch," and is especially indignant at his having "founded the Samanca
collection of papers." "Any one," he adds, "who will carefully examine
them will see that hardly a single paper has been put into this
collection that does not, in some way, reflect glory on the church, or
show the royal approval of the Inquisition." We cannot undertake to say
what discoveries might be made by a person who should carefully examine
the collection of papers at Simancas. A scholar on whom the antediluvian
length of life necessary for such a labor had been bestowed might also
be endowed with commensurate powers of intellect that might lead to the
most astonishing results. Our own knowledge of the collection is limited
to a very small portion of its contents,--a mere drop in the enormous
bucket. We have been under the impression that explorers who had spent
long periods of time in the examination,--Lembke or Gachard, for
example,--had sunk their shafts but a little way into that great mine.
At all events, we feel particularly certain that Mr. Wilson never in his
life saw a single manuscript, or a single copy of a manuscript, from the
Archives of Simancas.
"The monk Strada," our author goes on to inform us, "must have consulted
them" [the "Samanca papers"] "in the composition of his history of the
Low Country Wars, though he does not call the papers by that name."
[We should hope not.] "The _Glanville_ papers are not alone his
authorities." With regard to the "Glanville papers," we cannot speak
positively, never having seen them, or even heard of them. If an
allusion is intended to the "State Papers of Cardinal _Granvelle_," we
admit that these were not Strada's _only_ authorities; in fact, they
were not his authorities at all; he never had the opportunity of
consulting them. "Robertson's convent life of Charles V.," Mr. Wilson
continues, "is almost literally taken from Strada." Now, if Strada
followed the "Samanca papers," and Robertson has followed Strada, how
is it that these same papers have been the groundwork for a complete
refutation of Robertson? Surely, when brought to light, they ought,
on the contrary, to have confirmed his statements. The truth is, that
Strada, who had access to no other manuscripts than those in possession
of the Farnese family, never saw the "Samanca papers"; and Robertson,
far from following Strada exclusively, relied much more on the authority
of Sandoval and other Spanish writers.
But our readers will naturally inquire what these matters have to do
with the Aztec civilization and the Conquest of Mexico. So far as we
know, nothing at all. We have merely followed our Iroquois foe, and
kept perseveringly upon his track in the jungle to which he has taken.
Whatever course he may take, we are determined to follow him. He shall
not elude us. Through all the windings of his eccentric route, through
pathless forests, across rugged sierras, along the sides of nameless
streams, we shall pursue his trail. On the summit of the great
_teocalli_ of Mexico, dedicated to the fearful deity, _Huitzilopotchli_,
he shall be offered up as a sacrifice, according to the awful customs
in which he affects to disbelieve. We are compelled, indeed, by want of
space, to grant him a respite for a month. Our present notice must be
regarded only as a parboiling "preliminary." At the end of that time,
with all due form and ceremony, we promise that the solemn rite shall be
Bunsen's _Gott in der Geschichte_. (God in History.) Zweite Theil.
(Second Part.) Leipzig. 1858.
There is, probably, no philosophical author at the present day in
Germany whose works are welcomed by so wide a circle of readers in
America as those of Chevalier Bunsen. Though often more theoretical than
exact in scholarship, and allowing his historical instincts to take the
place of scientific conclusions, he not unfrequently anticipates thus
the laborious efforts of scholars, while his peculiar _suggestiveness_
of thought and his scope of view interest extremely the common student,
and lend a charm to his works such as no other writer in the same
field possesses. He has the art of making other men work for him, and,
perhaps, has thus been tempted to write too much for his own fame.
The great service for which posterity will thank Chevalier Bunsen
is, that, in an age of bigotry and of skepticism, he has especially
represented the union of Philosophy and Christianity, and has shown that
the freest historical criticism and the most open recognition of the
moral principle through all faiths and races are harmonious with the
most devout belief in the divine manifestation of Christ. This book,
"God in History," is written from his most advanced and religious
stand-point, and seems to us the best fruit, thus far, of his studies.
It is compact, consistent, and not marred by his usual defect,--a
certain mysticism or indefiniteness of thought,--but is clear and
philosophical to the close. It is not to be looked upon as a complete
philosophical history, but rather as a suggestive and introductory
treatise on that grandest of all themes, the Progress of the Instinct of
God through Human History. His own definition of his subject is, that
it is a history of the "Consciousness of God in Mankind"; but, as he
unfolds his idea, it is evidently not always the consciousness, but the
unconscious instinct of God, whose progress he is describing.
The first part of the present volume--the Third Book--is occupied with a
brief, but exceedingly instructive investigation of the development of
this instinct in the Aryans of Persia and of India; and in this inquiry
the two prominent historical figures are Zoroaster and Buddha, or, as
our author might have named them, the Moses and the Luther of the
early Aryan religions,--the one the Lawgiver and the Founder of a pure
monotheism in the place of a slavish belief in elementary powers, and
the other the great Reformer of a corrupted faith in behalf of an
The illustrations which Bunsen gives of these two wonderful expressions
of the instinct of God in the remote past, the religions of Zoroaster
and Buddha, are exceedingly fresh and original. They are contained
mostly in sacrificial and festal hymns and songs which have not hitherto
been much known, even to scholars.
As an introduction to and historical preparation for these two great
forms of belief, he describes also the instinct of Deity as it had
developed itself among the Turanians, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.
The period embraced in the Third Book is about 2500 years, from the
supposed epoch of Zoroaster (3000 B.C.) to that of Buddha (541 B.C.).
The Fourth Book treats of the instinct of God among the Greeks and
Romans, "from the singer of the Iliad (900 B.C.) down to the Baruch of
the Roman world, the prophet of the downfall of the Aryan Ante-Christian
civilization,--Tacitus." This God-consciousness is found first in
the Grecian feeling of the Commonwealth,--the idea of a common good
surpassing a personal good; then in the conception of the Epic, which
assumes apolitical as well as a physical Kosmos, or order; then in the
grand moral ideas lying at the basis of the Mythology,--the myths, for
instance, of Prometheus, and the picture of Nemesis and the Fates. Next,
the deep sense of God speaks out in Grecian Tragedy and the great works
of Grecian Art; and in the highest degree, in the Philosophy which
culminated in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The Roman expression of these profound instincts is placed by Bunsen far
below the Grecian. It is manifested especially in their idea of Law, and
even in the doubts and despair of their leading thinkers in the time of
The closing portion of the volume terminates the history of the progress
of the idea of God before Christianity, among the Aryan races, by a
description of the religious instincts of the Teutonic tribes. In their
respect for woman and for marriage, in their political commonwealths,
in their worship of one God, and their belief in a moral Kosmos, Bunsen
beholds the expression of the Divine idea within them, preparing for the
more full development which is to come through the ideas and spirit
of Christianity. The book closes fitly with the grand prophecy of the
Voeluspa in the Scandinavian Edda.
We regret that want of space should prevent us from giving extracts from
this most eloquent and philosophic work. Its glory is, that, breaking
through the formulae of creeds and the external signs of religious
faith, it has the courage to listen to the voice of God all along the
devious course of human history,--hearing that mysterious tone, not
alone in the chants of the Hebrews or the confessions of the Christians,
but in every smallest utterance of _truth_, every syllable of unselfish
patriotism, every groan of offended conscience, every myth springing
from the moral sense, every song, every speech which would exalt the
True, the Beautiful, and the Good over the selfish and false and base.
In Bunsen's philosophy, these, even more than all outward confession and
ceremonial, are the true expression of the workings of the Divine Spirit
in Human History.
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