The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 02, No. 08, June 1858

THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS CONTENTS American Tract Society, The Ann Potter’s Lesson Asirvadam the Brahmin Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, The Autocrat’s Landlady, A Visit to the Autocrat, The, gives a Breakfast to the Public Birds of the Garden and Orchard, The Birds of the Pasture and Forest, The Bulls
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American Tract Society, The
Ann Potter’s Lesson
Asirvadam the Brahmin
Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, The Autocrat’s Landlady, A Visit to the
Autocrat, The, gives a Breakfast to the Public

Birds of the Garden and Orchard, The
Birds of the Pasture and Forest, The Bulls and Bears
Bundle of Irish Pennants, A

Catacombs of Rome, The
Catacombs of Rome, Note to the
Colin Clout and the Faery Queen
Crawford and Sculpture

Denslow Palace, The
Dot and Line Alphabet, The

Evening with the Telegraph-Wires, An

Farming Life in New England
Faustus, Doctor, The German Popular Legend of

Gaucho, The
Great Event of the Century, The

Her Grace, the Drummer’s Daughter
Hour before Dawn, The

Ideal Tendency, The
Illinois in Spring-time

Jefferson, Thomas

Kinloch Estate, The

Language of the Sea, The
Leibnitz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Loo Loo

Mademoiselle’s Campaigns
Minister’s Wooing, The
Miss Wimple’s Hoop

New World, The, and the New Man

Old Well, The
Our Talks with Uncle John

Perilous Bivouac, A
Physical Courage
Pocket-Celebration of the Fourth, The President’s Prophecy of Peace, The
Prisoner of War, A

Railway-Engineering in the United States Rambles in Aquidneck
Romance of a Glove, The

Salons de Paris, Les
Sample of Consistency, A
Singing-Birds and their Songs, The
Songs of the Sea
Subjective of it, The

Three of Us

What are we going to make?
Whirligig of Time, The



All’s Well

Birth-Mark, The
“Bringing our Sheaves with us”

Cantatrice, La
Cup, The

Dead House, The
Discoverer of the North Cape, The

Evening Melody, An

Fifty and Fifteen

House that was just like its Neighbors, The

Jolly Mariner, The

Keats, the Poet

Last Look, The

Marais du Cygne, Le
My Children
Myrtle Flowers

Nature and the Philosopher

Skater, The
Spirits in Prison
Swan-Song of Parson Avery, The

Telegraph, The
To —–
Trustee’s Lament, The

“Washing of the Feet,” The, on Holy Thursday, in St. Peter’s What a Wretched Woman said to me
Work and Rest


American Cyclopedia, The New
Annual Obituary Notices, by N. Crosby Aquarium, The, by P. H. Gosse

Belle Brittan on a Tour
Bigelow, Jacob, Brief Expositions of Rational Medicine by Black’s Atlas of North America

Chapman’s American Drawing-Book
Church and Congregation, The, by C. A. Bartel Crosby’s Annual Obituary, for 1857
Curiosities of Literature, by Disraeli Cyclopedia of Drawing, The, by W. E. Worthen Cyclopaedia, The New American

Dana’s Household Book of Poetry
Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature, 768. Drawing-Book, The American, by J.G. Chapman Drawing, The Cyclopedia of

Ewbank, Thomas, Thoughts on Matter and Force by Exiles of Florida, The, by J. E. Giddings

Fitch, John, Westcott’s Life of

Giddings, Joshua R., The Exiles of Florida by Goadby, Henry, A Text-Book of Animal and Vegetable Physiology by Gray’s Botanical Series

Household Book of Poetry, by C. A. Dana

Inductive Sciences. History of the, by Whewell

Journey due North, A, by G. A. Sala

Kingsley, Charles, Sir Walter Raleigh and his Time, with other Papers by

Library of Old Authors
Life beneath the Waters

New Priest in Conception Bay, The

Pascal, Etudes sur, par M. Victor Cousin Pellico, Silvio, Lettres de
Physiology, Animal and Vegetable, by Henry Goadby Poe’s Poetical Works

Raleigh, Sir Walter, and his Time, with other Papers, by C. Kingsley Rational Medicine, Brief Expositions of, by Jacob Bigelow Robertson, Rev. F. W., Sermons by

Sea-Shore, Common Objects of the, by J. G. Wood Stephenson, George, Smiles’s Life of
Summer Time in the Country

Thoughts on Matter and Force, by Thomas Ewbank

Vocabularies, A Volume of, by T. Wright

Webster, John, Dramatic Works of
Whewell’s History of the Inductive Sciences Wright, Thomas, A Volume of Vocabularies by


VOL. II.–JUNE, 1858.–NO. VIII.


At 5 P.M., September 13th, 185–, I left Boston in the steamer for Bangor by the outside course. It was a warm and still night,–warmer, probably, on the water than on the land,–and the sea was as smooth as a small lake in summer, merely rippled. The passengers went singing on the deck, as in a parlor, till ten o’clock. We passed a vessel on her beam-ends on a rock just outside the islands, and some of us thought that she was the “rapt ship” which ran

“on her side so low
That she drank water, and her keel ploughed air,”

not considering that there was no wind, and that she was under bare poles. Now we have left the islands behind and are off Nahant. We behold those features which the discoverers saw, apparently unchanged. Now we see the Cape Ann lights, and now pass near a small village-like fleet of mackerel fishers at anchor, probably off Gloucester. They salute us with a shout from their low decks; but I understand their “Good evening”, to mean, “Don’t run against me, Sir.” From the wonders of the deep we go below to get deeper sleep. And then the absurdity of being waked up in the night by a man who wants the job of blacking your boots! It is more inevitable than seasickness, and may have something to do with it. It is like the ducking you get on crossing the line the first time. I trusted that these old customs were abolished. They might with the same propriety insist on blacking your face. I heard of one man who complained that somebody had stolen his boots in the night; and when he found them, he wanted to know what they had done to them,–they had spoiled them,– he never put that stuff on them; and the boot-black narrowly escaped paying damages.

Anxious to get out of the whale’s belly, I rose early, and joined some old salts, who were smoking by a dim light on a sheltered part of the deck. We were just getting into the river. They knew all about it, of course. I was proud to find that I had stood the voyage so well, and was not in the least digested. We brushed up and watched the first signs of dawn through an open port; but the day seemed to hang fire. We inquired the time; none of my companions had a chronometer. At length an African prince rushed by, observing, “Twelve o’clock, gentlemen!” and blew out the light. It was moon-rise. So I slunk down into the monster’s bowels again.

The first land we make is Manheigan Island, before dawn, and next St. George’s Islands, seeing two or three lights. Whitehead, with its bare rocks and funereal bell, is interesting. Next I remember that the Camden Hills attracted my eyes, and afterward the hills about Frankfort. We reached Bangor about noon.

When I arrived, my companion that was to be had gone up river, and engaged an Indian, Joe Aitteon, a son of the Governor, to go with us to Chesuncook Lake. Joe had conducted two white men a-moose-hunting in the same direction the year before. He arrived by cars at Bangor that evening, with his canoe and a companion, Sabattis Solomon, who was going to leave Bangor the following Monday with Joe’s father, by way of the Penobscot, and join Joe in moose-hunting at Chesuncook, when we had done with him. They took supper at my friend’s house and lodged in his barn, saying that they should fare worse than that in the woods. They only made Watch bark a little, when they came to the door in the night for water, for he does not like Indians.

The next morning Joe and his canoe were put on board the stage for Moosehead Lake, sixty and odd miles distant, an hour before we started in an open wagon. We carried hard bread, pork, smoked beef, tea, sugar, etc., seemingly enough for a regiment; the sight of which brought together reminded me by what ignoble means we had maintained our ground hitherto. We went by the Avenue Road, which is quite straight and very good, north-westward toward Moosehead Lake, through more than a dozen flourishing towns, with almost every one its academy,–not one of which, however, is on my General Atlas, published, alas! in 1824; so much are they before the age, or I behind it! The earth must have been considerably lighter to the shoulders of General Atlas then.

It rained all this day and till the middle of the next forenoon, concealing the landscape almost entirely; but we had hardly got out of the streets of Bangor before I began to be exhilarated by the sight of the wild fir and spruce tops, and those of other primitive evergreens, peering through the mist in the horizon. It was like the sight and odor of cake to a schoolboy. He who rides and keeps the beaten track studies the fences chiefly. Near Bangor, the fence-posts, on account of the frost’s heaving them in the clayey soil, were not planted in the ground, but were mortised into a transverse horizontal beam lying on the surface. Afterwards, the prevailing fences were log ones, with sometimes a Virginia fence, or else rails slanted over crossed stakes,–and these zigzagged or played leap-frog all the way to the lake, keeping just ahead of us. After getting out of the Penobscot Valley, the country was unexpectedly level, or consisted of very even and equal swells, for twenty or thirty miles, never rising above the general level, but affording, it is said, a very good prospect in clear weather, with frequent views of Katadin,– straight roads and long hills. The houses were far apart, commonly small and of one story, but framed. There was very little land under cultivation, yet the forest did not often border the road. The stumps were frequently as high as one’s head, showing the depth of the snows. The white hay-caps, drawn over small stacks of beans or corn in the fields, on account of the rain, were a novel sight to me. We saw large flocks of pigeons, and several times came within a rod or two of partridges in the road. My companion said, that, in one journey out of Bangor, he and his son had shot sixty partridges from his buggy. The mountain-ash was now very handsome, as also the wayfarer’s-tree or hobble-bush, with its ripe purple berries mixed with red. The Canada thistle, an introduced plant, was the prevailing weed all the way to the lake,–the road-side in many places, and fields not long cleared, being densely filled with it as with a crop, to the exclusion of everything else. There were also whole fields full of ferns, now rusty and withering, which in older countries are commonly confined to wet ground. There were very few flowers, even allowing for the lateness of the season. It chanced that I saw no asters in bloom along the road for fifty miles, though they were so abundant then in Massachusetts,–except in one place one or two of the aster acuminatus,–and no golden-rods till within twenty miles of Monson, where I saw a three-ribbed one. There were many late buttercups, however, and the two fire-weeds, erechthites and epilobium, commonly where there had been a burning, and at last the pearly everlasting. I noticed occasionally very long troughs which supplied the road with water, and my companion said that three dollars annually were granted by the State to one man in each school-district, who provided and maintained a suitable water-trough by the road-side, for the use of travellers,–a piece of intelligence as refreshing to me as the water itself. That legislature did not sit in vain. It was an Oriental act, which made me wish that I was still farther down East,–another Maine law, which I hope we may get in Massachusetts. That State is banishing bar-rooms from its highways, and conducting the mountain-springs thither.

The country was first decidedly mountainous in Garland, Sangerville, and onwards, twenty-five or thirty miles from Bangor. At Sangerville, where we stopped at mid-afternoon to warm and dry ourselves, the landlord told us that he had found a wilderness where we found him. At a fork in the road between Abbot and Monson, about twenty miles from Moosehead Lake, I saw a guide-post surmounted by a pair of moose-horns, spreading four or five feet, with the word “Monson” painted on one blade, and the name of some other town on the other. They are sometimes used for ornamental hat-trees, together with deers’ horns, in front entries; but, after the experience which I shall relate, I trust that I shall have a better excuse for killing a moose than that I may hang my hat on his horns. We reached Monson, fifty miles from Bangor, and thirteen from the lake, after dark.

At four o’clock the next morning, in the dark, and still in the rain, we pursued our journey. Close to the academy in this town they have erected a sort of gallows for the pupils to practise on. I thought that they might as well hang at once all who need to go through such exercises in so new a country, where there is nothing to hinder their living an outdoor life. Better omit Blair, and take the air. The country about the south end of the lake is quite mountainous, and the road began to feel the effects of it. There is one hill which, it is calculated, it takes twenty-five minutes to ascend. In many places the road was in that condition called _repaired_, having just been whittled into the required semi-cylindrical form with the shovel and scraper, with all the softest inequalities in the middle, like a hog’s back with the bristles up, and Jehu was expected to keep astride of the spine. As you looked off each side of the bare sphere into the horizon, the ditches were awful to behold,–a vast hollowness, like that between Saturn and his ring. At a tavern hereabouts the hostler greeted our horse as an old acquaintance, though he did not remember the driver. He said that he had taken care of that little mare for a short time, a year or two before, at the Mount Kineo House, and thought she was not in as good condition as then. Every man to his trade. I am not acquainted with a single horse in the world, not even the one that kicked me.

Already we had thought that we saw Moosehead Lake from a hill-top, where an extensive fog filled the distant lowlands, but we were mistaken. It was not till we were within a mile or two of its south end that we got our first view of it,–a suitably wild-looking sheet of water, sprinkled with small low islands, which were covered with shaggy spruce and other wild wood,–seen over the infant port of Greenville, with mountains on each side and far in the north, and a steamer’s smoke-pipe rising above a roof. A pair of moose-horns ornamented a corner of the public-house where we left our horse, and a few rods distant lay the small steamer Moosehead, Captain King. There was no village, and no summer road any farther in this direction,–but a winter road, that is, one passable only when deep snow covers its inequalities, from Greenville up the east side of the lake to Lily Bay, about twelve miles.

I was here first introduced to Joe. He had ridden all the way on the outside of the stage the day before, in the rain, giving way to ladies, and was well wetted. As it still rained, he asked if we were going to “put it through.” He was a good-looking Indian, twenty-four years old, apparently of unmixed blood, short and stout, with a broad face and reddish complexion, and eyes, methinks, narrower and more turned-up at the outer corners than ours, answering to the description of his race. Beside his under-clothing, he wore a red flannel shirt, woollen pants, and a black Kossuth hat, the ordinary dress of the lumberman, and, to a considerable extent, of the Penobscot Indian. When, afterward, he had occasion to take off his shoes and stockings, I was struck with the smallness of his feet. He had worked a good deal as a lumberman, and appeared to identify himself with that class. He was the only one of the party who possessed an India-rubber jacket. The top strip or edge of his canoe was worn nearly through by friction on the stage.

At eight o’clock, the steamer with her bell and whistle, scaring the moose, summoned us on board. She was a well-appointed little boat, commanded by a gentlemanly captain, with patent life-seats, and metallic life-boat, and dinner on board, if you wish. She is chiefly used by lumberers for the transportation of themselves, their boats, and supplies, but also by hunters and tourists. There was another steamer, named Amphitrite, laid up close by; but, apparently, her name was not more trite than her hull. There were also two or three large sail-boats in port. These beginnings of commerce on a lake in the wilderness are very interesting,–these larger white birds that come to keep company with the gulls. There were but few passengers, and not one female among them: a St. Francis Indian, with his canoe and moose-hides, two explorers for lumber, three men who landed at Sandbar Island, and a gentleman who lives on Deer Island, eleven miles up the lake, and owns also Sugar Island, between which and the former the steamer runs; these, I think, were all beside ourselves. In the saloon was some kind of musical instrument, cherubim or seraphim, to soothe the angry waves; and there, very properly, was tacked up the map of the public lands of Maine and Massachusetts, a copy of which I had in my pocket.

The heavy rain confining us to the saloon awhile, I discoursed with the proprietor of Sugar Island on the condition of the world in Old Testament times. But at length, leaving this subject as fresh as we found it, he told me that he had lived about this lake twenty or thirty years, and yet had not been to the head of it for twenty-one years. He faces the other way. The explorers had a fine new birch on board, larger than ours, in which they had come up the Piscataquis from Howland, and they had had several messes of trout already. They were going to the neighborhood of Eagle and Chamberlain Lakes, or the head-waters of the St. John, and offered to keep us company as far as we went. The lake to-day was rougher than I found the ocean, either going or returning, and Joe remarked that it would swamp his birch. Off Lily Bay it is a dozen miles wide, but it is much broken by islands. The scenery is not merely wild, but varied and interesting; mountains were seen, farther or nearer, on all sides but the north-west, their summits now lost in the clouds; but Mount Kineo is the principal feature of the lake, and more exclusively belongs to it. After leaving Greenville, at the foot, which is the nucleus of a town some eight or ten years old, you see but three or four houses for the whole length of the lake, or about forty miles, three of them the public-houses at which the steamer is advertised to stop, and the shore is an unbroken wilderness. The prevailing wood seemed to be spruce, fir, birch, and rock-maple. You could easily distinguish the hard wood from the soft, or “black growth,” as it is called, at a great distance,–the former being smooth, round-topped, and light green, with a bowery and cultivated look.

Mount Kineo, at which the boat touched, is a peninsula with a narrow neck, about midway the lake on the east side. The celebrated precipice is on the east or land side of this, and is so high and perpendicular that you can jump from the top many hundred feet into the water which makes up behind the point. A man on board told us that an anchor had been sunk ninety fathoms at its base before reaching bottom! Probably it will be discovered ere long that some Indian maiden jumped off it for love once, for true love never could have found a path more to its mind. We passed quite close to the rock here, since it is a very bold shore, and I observed marks of a rise of four or five feet on it. The St. Francis Indian expected to take in his boy here, but he was not at the landing. The father’s sharp eyes, however, detected a canoe with his boy in it far away under the mountain, though no one else could see it. “Where is the canoe?” asked the captain, “I don’t see it”; but he held on nevertheless, and by and by it hove in sight.

We reached the head of the lake about noon. The weather had in the mean while cleared up, though the mountains were still capped with clouds. Seen from this point, Mount Kineo, and two other allied mountains ranging with it north-easterly, presented a very strong family likeness, as if all cast in one mould. The steamer here approached a long pier projecting from the northern wilderness and built of some of its logs,–and whistled, where not a cabin nor a mortal was to be seen. The shore was quite low, with flat rocks on it, overhung with black ash, arbor-vitae, etc., which at first looked as if they did not care a whistle for us. There was not a single cabman to cry “Coach!” or inveigle us to the United States Hotel. At length a Mr. Hinckley, who has a camp at the other end of the “carry,” appeared with a truck drawn by an ox and a horse over a rude log-railway through the woods. The next thing was to get our canoe and effects over the carry from this lake, one of the heads of the Kennebec, into the Penobscot River. This railway from the lake to the river occupied the middle of a clearing two or three rods wide and perfectly straight through the forest. We walked across while our baggage was drawn behind. My companion went ahead to be ready for partridges, while I followed, looking at the plants.

This was an interesting botanical locality for one coming from the South to commence with; for many plants which are rather rare, and one or two which are not found at all, in the eastern part of Massachusetts, grew abundantly between the rails,–as Labrador tea, kalmia glauca, Canada blueberry, (which was still in fruit, and a second time in bloom,) Clintonia and Linnaea Borealis, which last a lumberer called _moxon_, creeping snowberry, painted trillium, large-flowered bell-wort, etc. I fancied that the aster radula, diplopappus umbellatus, solidago lanceolatus, red trumpetweed, and many others which were conspicuously in bloom on the shore of the lake and on the carry, had a peculiarly wild and primitive look there. The spruce and fir trees crowded to the track on each side to welcome us, the arbor-vitae with its changing leaves prompted us to make haste, and the sight of the canoe-birch gave us spirits to do so. Sometimes an evergreen just fallen lay across the track with its rich burden of cones, looking, still, fuller of life than our trees in the most favorable positions. You did not expect to find such _spruce_ trees in the wild woods, but they evidently attend to their toilets each morning even there. Through such a front-yard did we enter that wilderness.

There was a very slight rise above the lake,–the country appearing like, and perhaps being, partly a swamp,–and at length a gradual descent to the Penobscot, which I was surprised to find here a large stream, from twelve to fifteen rods wide, flowing from west to east, or at right angles with the lake, and not more than two and a half miles from it. The distance is nearly twice too great on the Map of the Public Lands, and on Colton’s Map of Maine, and Russell Stream is placed too far down. Jackson makes Moosehead Lake to be nine hundred and sixty feet above high water in Portland harbor. It is higher than Chesuncook, for the lumberers consider the Penobscot, where we struck it, twenty-five feet lower than Moosehead,–though eight miles above it is said to be the highest, so that the water can be made to flow either way, and the river falls a good deal between here and Chesuncook. The carry-man called this about one hundred and forty miles above Bangor by the river, or two hundred from the ocean, and fifty-five miles below Hilton’s on the Canada road, the first clearing above, which is four and a half miles from the source of the Penobscot.

At the north end of the carry, in the midst of a clearing of sixty acres or more, there was a log camp of the usual construction, with something more like a house adjoining, for the accommodation of the carryman’s family and passing lumberers. The bed of withered fir-twigs smelled very sweet, though really very dirty. There was also a store-house on the bank of the river, containing pork, flour, iron, bateaux, and birches, locked up.

We now proceeded to get our dinner, which always turned out to be tea, and to pitch canoes, for which purpose a large iron pot lay permanently on the bank. This we did in company with the explorers. Both Indians and whites use a mixture of rosin and grease for this purpose,–that is, for the pitching, not the dinner. Joe took a small brand from the fire and blew the heat and flame against the pitch on his birch, and so melted and spread it. Sometimes he put his mouth over the suspected spot and sucked, to see if it admitted air; and at one place, where we stopped, he set his canoe high on crossed stakes, and poured water into it. I narrowly watched his motions, and listened attentively to his observations, for we had employed an Indian mainly that I might have an opportunity to study his ways. I heard him swear once mildly, during this operation, about his knife being as dull as a hoe,–an accomplishment which he owed to his intercourse with the whites; and he remarked, “We ought to have some tea before we start; we shall be hungry before we kill that moose.”

At mid-afternoon we embarked on the Penobscot. Our birch was nineteen and a half feet long by two and a half at the widest part, and fourteen inches deep within, both ends alike, and painted green, which Joe thought affected the pitch and made it leak. This, I think, was a middling-sized one. That of the explorers was much larger, though probably not much longer. This carried us three with our baggage, weighing in all between five hundred and fifty and six hundred pounds. We had two heavy, though slender, rock-maple paddles, one of them of bird’s-eye maple. Joe placed birch bark on the bottom for us to sit on, and slanted cedar splints against the cross-bars to protect our backs, while he himself sat upon a cross-bar in the stern. The baggage occupied the middle or widest part of the canoe. We also paddled by turns in the bows, now sitting with our legs extended, now sitting upon our legs, and now rising upon our knees; but I found none of these positions endurable, and was reminded of the complaints of the old Jesuit missionaries of the torture they endured from long confinement in constrained positions in canoes, in their long voyages from Quebec to the Huron country; but afterwards I sat on the cross-bars, or stood up, and experienced no inconvenience.

It was dead water for a couple of miles. The river had been raised about two feet by the rain, and lumberers were hoping for a flood sufficient to bring down the logs that were left in the spring. Its banks were seven or eight feet high, and densely covered with white and black spruce,–which, I think, must be the commonest trees thereabouts,–fir, arbor-vitae, canoe, yellow, and black birch, rock, mountain, and a few red maples, beech, black and mountain ash, the large-toothed aspen, many civil-looking elms, now imbrowned, along the stream, and at first a few hemlocks also. We had not gone far before I was startled by seeing what I thought was an Indian encampment, covered with a red flag, on the bank, and exclaimed, “Camp!” to my comrades. I was slow to discover that it was a red maple changed by the frost. The immediate shores were also densely covered with the speckled alder, red osier, shrubby willows or sallows, and the like. There were a few yellow-lily-pads still left, half drowned, along the sides, and sometimes a white one. Many fresh tracks of moose were visible where the water was shallow, and on the shore, and the lily-stems were freshly bitten off by them.

After paddling about two miles, we parted company with the explorers, and turned up Lobster Stream, which comes in on the right, from the south-east. This was six or eight rods wide, and appeared to run nearly parallel with the Penobscot. Joe said that it was so called from small fresh-water lobsters found in it. It is the Matahumkeag of the maps. My companion wished to look for moose signs, and intended, if it proved worth the while, to camp up that way, since the Indian advised it. On account of the rise of the Penobscot, the water ran up this stream quite to the pond of the same name, one or two miles. The Spencer Mountains, east of the north end of Moosehead Lake, were now in plain sight in front of us. The kingfisher flew before us, the pigeon woodpecker was seen and heard, and nuthatches and chickadees close at hand. Joe said that they called the chickadee _kecunnilessu_ in his language. I will not vouch for the spelling of what possibly was never spelt before, but I pronounced after him till he said it would do. We passed close to a woodcock, which stood perfectly still on the shore, with feathers puffed up, as if sick. This, Joe said, they called _nipsquecohossus_. The kingfisher was _skuscumonsuck_; bear was _wassus_; Indian Devil, _lunxus_; the mountain-ash, _upahsis_. This was very abundant and beautiful. Moose-tracks were not so fresh along this stream, except in a small creek about a mite up it, where a large log had lodged in the spring, marked “W-cross-girdle-crow-foot.” We saw a pair of moose-horns on the shore, and I asked Joe if a moose had shed them; but he said there was a head attached to them, and I knew that they did not shed their heads more than once in their lives.

After ascending about a mile and a half, to within a short distance of Lobster Lake, we returned to the Penobscot Just below the mouth of the Lobster we found quick water, and the river expanded to twenty or thirty rods in width. The moose-tracks were quite numerous and fresh here. We noticed in a great many places narrow and well-trodden paths by which they had come down to the river, and where they had slid on the steep and clayey bank. Their tracks were either close to the edge of the stream, those of the calves distinguishable, from the others, or in shallow water; the holes made by their feet in the soft bottom being visible for a long time. They were particularly numerous where there was a small bay, or _pokelogan_, as it is called, bordered by a strip of meadow, or separated from the river by a low peninsula covered with coarse grass, wool-grass, etc., wherein they had waded back and forth and eaten the pads. We detected the remains of one in such a spot. At one place, where we landed to pick up a summer duck, which my companion had shot, Joe peeled a canoe-birch for bark for his hunting-horn. He then asked if we were not going to get the other duck, for his sharp eyes had seen another fall in the bushes a little farther along, and my companion obtained it. I now began to notice the bright red berries of the tree-cranberry, which grows eight or ten feet high, mingled with the alders and cornel along the shore. There was less hard wood than at first.

After proceeding a mile and three quarters below the mouth of the Lobster, we reached, about sundown, a small island at the head of what Joe called the Moosehorn Dead-water, (the Moosehorn, in which he was going to hunt that night, coming in about three miles below), and on the upper end of this we decided to camp. On a point at the lower end lay the carcass of a moose killed a month or more before. We concluded merely to prepare our camp, and leave our baggage here, that all might be ready when we returned from moose-hunting. Though I had not come a-hunting, and felt some compunctions about accompanying the hunters, I wished to see a moose near at hand, and was not sorry to learn how the Indian managed to kill one. I went as reporter or chaplain to the hunters,–and the chaplain has been known to carry a gun himself. After clearing a small space amid the dense spruce and fir trees, we covered the damp ground with a shingling of fir-twigs, and, while Joe was preparing his birch-horn and pitching his canoe,–for this had to be done whenever we stopped long enough to build a fire, and was the principal labor which he took upon himself at such times,–we collected fuel for the night, large wet and rotting logs, which had lodged at the head of the island, for our hatchet was too small for effective chopping; but we did not kindle a fire, lest the moose should smell it. Joe set up a couple of forked stakes, and prepared half a dozen poles, ready to cast one of our blankets over in case it rained in the night, which precaution, however, was omitted the next night. We also plucked the ducks which had been killed for breakfast.

While we were thus engaged in the twilight, we heard faintly, from far down the stream, what sounded like two strokes of a woodchopper’s axe, echoing dully through the grim solitude. We are wont to liken many sounds, heard at a distance in the forest, to the stroke of an axe because they resemble each other under those circumstances, and that is the one we commonly hear there. When we told Joe of this, he exclaimed, “By George, I’ll bet that was moose! They make a noise like that.” These sounds affected us strangely, and by their very resemblance to a familiar one, where they probably had so different an origin, enhanced the impression of solitude and wildness.

At starlight we dropped down the stream, which was a dead-water for three miles, or as far as the Moosehorn; Joe telling us that we must be very silent, and he himself making no noise with his paddle, while he urged the canoe along with effective impulses. It was a still night, and suitable for this purpose,–for if there is wind, the moose will smell you,–and Joe was very confident that he should get some. The harvest moon had just risen, and its level rays began to light up the forest on our right, while we glided downward in the shade on the same side, against the little breeze that was stirring. The lofty spiring tops of the spruce and fir were very black against the sky, and more distinct than by day, close bordering this broad avenue on each side; and the beauty of the scene, as the moon rose above the forest, it would not be easy to describe. A bat flew over our heads, and we heard a few faint notes of birds from time to time, perhaps the myrtle-bird for one, or the sudden plunge of a musquash, or saw one crossing the stream before us, or heard the sound of a rill emptying in, swollen by the recent rain. About a mile below the island, when the solitude seemed to be growing more complete every moment, we suddenly saw the light and heard the crackling of a fire on the bank, and discovered the camp of the two explorers; they standing before it in their red shirts, and talking aloud of the adventures and profits of the day. They were just then speaking of a bargain, in which, as I understood, somebody had cleared twenty-five dollars. We glided by without speaking, close under the bank, within a couple of rods of them; and Joe, taking his horn, imitated the call of the moose, till we suggested that they might fire on us. This was the last we saw of them, and we never knew whether they detected or suspected us.

I have often wished since that I was with them. They search for timber over a given section, climbing hills and often high trees to look off,–explore the streams by which it is to be driven, and the like,–spend five or six weeks in the woods, they two alone, a hundred miles or more from any town,–roaming about, and sleeping on the ground where night overtakes them,–depending chiefly on the provisions they carry with them, though they do not decline what game they come across,–and then in the fall they return and make report to their employers, determining the number of teams that will be required the following winter. Experienced men get three or four dollars a day for this work. It is a solitary and adventurous life, and comes nearest to that of the trapper of the West, perhaps. They work ever with a gun as well as an axe, let their beards grow, and live without neighbors, not on an open plain, but far within a wilderness.

This discovery accounted for the sounds which we had heard, and destroyed the prospect of seeing moose yet awhile. At length, when we had left the explorers far behind, Joe laid down his paddle, drew forth his birch horn,–a straight one, about fifteen inches long and three or four wide at the mouth, tied round with strips of the same bark,–and standing up, imitated the call of the moose,–_ugh-ugh-ugh_, or _oo-oo-oo-oo_, and then a prolonged _oo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o_, and listened attentively for several minutes. We asked him what kind of noise he expected to hear. He said, that, if a moose heard it, he guessed we should find out; we should hear him coming half a mile off; he would come close to, perhaps into, the water, and my companion must wait till he got fair sight, and then aim just behind the shoulder.

The moose venture out to the riverside to feed and drink at night. Earlier in the season the hunters do not use a horn to call them out, but steal upon them as they are feeding along the sides of the stream, and often the first notice they have of one is the sound of the water dropping from its muzzle. An Indian whom I heard imitate the voice of the moose, and also that of the caribou and the deer, using a much longer horn than Joe’s, told me that the first could be heard eight or ten miles, sometimes; it was a loud sort of bellowing sound, clearer and more sonorous than the lowing of cattle,–the caribou’s a sort of snort,–and the small deer’s like that of a lamb.

At length we turned up the Moosehorn, where the Indians at the carry had told us that they killed a moose the night before. This is a very meandering stream, only a rod or two in width, but comparatively deep, coming in on the right, fitly enough named Moosehorn, whether from its windings or its inhabitants. It was bordered here and there by narrow meadows between the stream and the endless forest, affording favorable places for the moose to feed, and to call them out on. We proceeded half a mile up this, as through a narrow winding canal, where the tall, dark spruce and firs and arbor-vitae towered on both sides in the moonlight, forming a perpendicular forest-edge of great height, like the spires of a Venice in the forest. In two places stood a small stack of hay on the bank, ready for the lumberer’s use in the winter, looking strange enough there. We thought of the day when this might be a brook winding through smooth-shaven meadows on some gentleman’s grounds; and seen by moonlight then, excepting the forest that now hems it in, how little changed it would appear!

Again and again Joe called the moose, placing the canoe close by some favorable point of meadow for them to come out on, but listened in vain to hear one come rushing through the woods, and concluded that they had been hunted too much thereabouts. We saw many times what to our imaginations looked like a gigantic moose, with his horns peering from out the forest-edge; but we saw the forest only, and not its inhabitants, that night. So at last we turned about. There was now a little fog on the water, though it was a fine, clear night above. There were very few sounds to break the stillness of the forest. Several times we heard the hooting of a great horned-owl, as at home, and told Joe that he would call out the moose for him, for he made a sound considerably like the horn,–but Joe answered, that the moose had heard that sound a thousand times, and knew better; and oftener still we were startled by the plunge of a musquash. Once, when Joe had called again, and we were listening for moose, we heard come faintly echoing, or creeping from far, through the moss-clad aisles, a dull, dry, rushing sound, with a solid core to it, yet as if half smothered under the grasp of the luxuriant and fungus-like forest, like the shutting of a door in some distant entry of the damp and shaggy wilderness. If we had not been there, no mortal had heard it. When we asked Joe in a whisper what it was, he answered,– “Tree fall.” There is something singularly grand and impressive in the sound of a tree falling in a perfectly calm night like this, as if the agencies which overthrow it did not need to be excited, but worked with a subtle, deliberate, and conscious force, like a boa-constrictor, and more effectively then than even in a windy day. If there is any such difference, perhaps it is because trees with the dews of the night on them are heavier than by day.

Having reached the camp, about ten o’clock, we kindled our fire and went to bed. Each of us had a blanket, in which he lay on the fir-twigs, with his extremities toward the fire, but nothing over his head. It was worth the while to lie down in a country where you could afford such great fires; that was one whole side, and the bright side, of our world. We had first rolled up a large log some eighteen inches through and ten feet long, for a back-log, to last all night, and then piled on the trees to the height of three or four feet, no matter how green or damp. In fact, we burned as much wood that night as would, with economy and an air-tight stove, last a poor family in one of our cities all winter. It was very agreeable, as well as independent, thus lying in the open air, and the fire kept our uncovered extremities warm enough. The Jesuit missionaries used to say, that, in their journeys with the Indians in Canada, they lay on a bed which had never been shaken up since the creation, unless by earthquakes. It is surprising with what impunity and comfort one who has always lain in a warm bed in a close apartment, and studiously avoided drafts of air, can lie down on the ground without a shelter, roll himself in a blanket, and sleep before a fire, in a frosty autumn night, just after a long rain-storm, and even come soon to enjoy and value the fresh air.

I lay awake awhile, watching the ascent of the sparks through the firs, and sometimes their descent in half-extinguished cinders on my blanket. They were as interesting as fireworks, going up in endless successive crowds, each after an explosion, in an eager serpentine course, some to five or six rods above the tree-tops before they went out. We do not suspect how much our chimneys have concealed; and now air-tight stoves have come to conceal all the rest. In the course of the night, I got up once or twice and put fresh logs on the fire, making my companions curl up their legs.

When we awoke in the morning, (Saturday, September 17,) there was considerable frost whitening the leaves. We heard the sound of the chickadee, and a few faintly lisping birds, and also of ducks in the water about the island. I took a botanical account of stock of our domains before the dew was off, and found that the ground-hemlock, or American yew, was the prevailing undershrub. We breakfasted on tea, hard bread, and ducks.

Before the fog had fairly cleared away, we paddled down the stream again, and were soon past the mouth of the Moosehorn. These twenty miles of the Penobscot, between Moosehead and Chesuncook Lakes, are comparatively smooth, and a great part dead-water; but from time to time it is shallow and rapid, with rocks or gravel-beds, where you can wade across. There is no expanse of water, and no break in the forest, and the meadow is a mere edging here and there. There are no hills near the river nor within sight, except one or two distant mountains seen in a few places. The banks are from six to ten feet high, but once or twice rise gently to higher ground. In many places the forest on the bank was but a thin strip, letting the light through from some alder-swamp or meadow behind. The conspicuous berry-bearing bushes and trees along the shore were the red osier, with its whitish fruit, hobble-bush, mountain-ash, tree-cranberry, choke-cherry, now ripe, alternate cornel, and naked viburnum. Following Joe’s example, I ate the fruit of the last, and also of the hobble-bush, but found them rather insipid and seedy. I looked very narrowly at the vegetation, as we glided along close to the shore, and frequently made Joe turn aside for me to pluck a plant, that I might see by comparison what was primitive about my native river. Horehound, horsemint, and the sensitive fern grew close to the edge, under the willows and alders, and wool-grass on the islands, as along the Assabet River in Concord. It was too late for flowers, except a few asters, golden-rods, etc. In several places we noticed the slight frame of a camp, such as we had prepared to set up, amid the forest by the river-side, where some lumberers or hunters had passed a night,–and sometimes steps cut in the muddy or clayey bank in front of it.

We stopped to fish for trout at the mouth of a small stream called Itagmuff, which came in from the west, about two miles below the Moosehorn. Here were the ruins of an old lumbering-camp, and a small space, which had formerly been cleared and burned over, was now densely overgrown with the red cherry and raspberries. While we were trying for trout, Joe, Indian-like, wandered off up the Ragmuff on his own errands, and when we were ready to start was far beyond call. So we were compelled to make a fire and get our dinner here, not to lose time. Some dark reddish birds, with grayer females, (perhaps purple finches,) and myrtle-birds in their summer dress, hopped within six or eight feet of us and our smoke. Perhaps they smelled the frying pork. The latter bird, or both, made the lisping notes which I had heard in the forest. They suggested that the few small birds found in the wilderness are on more familiar terms with the lumberman and hunter than those of the orchard and clearing with the farmer. I have since found the Canada jay, and partridges, both the black and the common, equally tame there, as if they had not yet learned to mistrust man entirely. The chickadee, which is at home alike in the primitive woods and in our wood-lots, still retains its confidence in the towns to a remarkable degree.

Joe at length returned, after an hour and a half, and said that he had been two miles up the stream exploring, and had seen a moose, but, not having the gun, he did not get him. We made no complaint, but concluded to look out for Joe the next time. However, this may have been a mere mistake, for we had no reason to complain of him afterwards. As we continued down the stream, I was surprised to hear him whistling “O Susanna,” and several other such airs, while his paddle urged us along. Once he said, “Yes, Sir-ee.” His common word was “Sartain.” He paddled, as usual, on one side only, giving the birch an impulse by using the side as a fulcrum.. I asked him how the ribs were fastened to the side rails. He answered, “I don’t know, I never noticed.” Talking with him about subsisting wholly on what the woods yielded, game, fish, berries, etc., I suggested that his ancestors did so; but he answered, that he had been brought up in such a way that he could not do it. “Yes,” said he, “that’s the way they got a living, like wild fellows, wild as bears. By George! I shan’t go into the woods without provision,–hard bread, pork, etc.” He had brought on a barrel of hard bread and stored it at the carry for his hunting. However, though he was a Governor’s son, he had not learned to read.

At one place below this, on the east side, where the bank was higher and drier than usual, rising gently from the shore to a slight elevation, some one had felled the trees over twenty or thirty acres, and left them drying in order to burn. This was the only preparation for a house between the Moosehead carry and Chesuncook, but there was no hut nor inhabitants there yet. The pioneer thus selects a site for his house, which will, perhaps, prove the germ of a town.

My eyes were all the while on the trees, distinguishing between the black and white spruce and the fir. You paddle along in a narrow canal through an endless forest, and the vision I have in my mind’s eye, still, is of the small dark and sharp tops of tall fir and spruce trees, and pagoda-like arbor-vitaes, crowded together on each side, with various hard woods intermixed. Some of the arbor-vitaes were at least sixty feet high. The hard woods, occasionally occurring exclusively, were less wild to my eye. I fancied them ornamental grounds, with farm-houses in the rear. The canoe and yellow birch, beech, maple, and elm are Saxon and Norman; but the spruce and fir, and pines generally, are Indian. The soft engravings which adorn the annuals give no idea of a stream in such a wilderness as this. The rough sketches in Jackson’s Reports on the Geology of Maine answer much better. At one place we saw a small grove of slender sapling white-pines, the only collection of pines that I saw on this voyage. Here and there, however, was a full-grown, tall, and slender, but defective one, what lumbermen call a _kouchus_ tree, which they ascertain with their axes, or by the knots. I did not learn whether this word was Indian or English. It reminded me of the Greek [Greek: kogchae], a conch or shell, and I amused myself with fancying that it might signify the dead sound which the trees yield when struck. All the rest of the pines had been driven off.

[To be continued.]

* * * * *


By day, at a high oak desk I stand,
And trace in a ledger line by line; But at five o’clock yon dial’s hand
Opens the cage wherein I pine;
And as faintly the stroke from the belfry peals Down through the thunder of hoofs and wheels, I wonder if ever a monarch feels
Such royal joy as mine!

Beatrice is dressed and her carriage waits; I know she has heard that signal-chime; And my strong heart leaps and palpitates, As lightly the winding stair I climb
To her fragrant room, where the winter’s gloom Is changed by the heliotrope’s perfume, And the curtained sunset’s crimson bloom, To love’s own summer prime.

She meets me there, so strangely fair That my soul aches with a happy pain;– A pressure, a touch of her true lips, such As a seraph might give and take again; A hurried whisper, “Adieu! adieu!
They wait for me while I stay for you!” And a parting smile of her blue eyes through The glimmering carriage-pane.

Then thoughts of the past come crowding fast On a blissful track of love and sighs;– Oh, well I toiled, and these poor hands soiled, That her song might bloom in Italian skies!– The pains and fears of those lonely years, The nights of longing and hope and tears,– Her heart’s sweet debt, and the long arrears Of love in those faithful eyes!

O night! be friendly to her and me!– To box and pit and gallery swarm
The expectant throngs;–I am there to see;– And now she is bending her radiant form To the clapping crowd;–I am thrilled and proud; My dim eyes look through a misty cloud, And my joy mounts up on the plaudits loud, Like a sea-bird on a storm!

She has waved her hand; the noisy rush Of applause sinks down; and silverly
Her voice glides forth on the quivering hush, Like the white-robed moon on a tremulous sea! And wherever her shining influence calls, I swing on the billow that swells and falls,– I know no more,–till the very walls
Seem shouting with jubilee!

Oh, little she cares for the fop who airs His glove and glass, or the gay array
Of fans and perfumes, of jewels and plumes, Where wealth and pleasure have met to pay Their nightly homage to her sweet song; But over the bravas clear and strong,
Over all the flaunting and fluttering throng, She smiles my soul away!

Why am I happy? why am proud?
Oh, can it be true she is all my own?– I make my way through the ignorant crowd; I know, I know where my love hath flown. Again we meet; I am here at her feet,
And with kindling kisses and promises sweet, Her glowing, victorious lips repeat
That they sing for me alone!


The philosophic import of this illustrious name, having suffered temporary eclipse from the Critical Philosophy, with its swift succession of transcendental dynasties,–the _Wissenschaftslehre_, the _Naturphilosophie_, and the _Encyclopaedie_,–has recently emerged into clear and respectful recognition, if not into broad and effulgent repute. In divers quarters, of late, the attention of the learned has reverted to the splendid optimist, whose adventurous intellect left nothing unexplored and almost nothing unexplained. Biographers and critics have discussed his theories,–some in the interest of philosophy, and some in the interest of religion,–some in the spirit of discipleship, and some in the spirit of opposition,– but all with consenting and admiring attestation of the vast erudition and intellectual prowess and unsurpassed capacity [1] of the man.

[Footnote 1: The author of a notice of Leibnitz, more clever than profound, in four numbers of the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1852, distinguishes between capacity and faculty. He gives his subject credit for the former, but denies his claim to the latter of these attributes. As if any manifestation of mind were more deserving of that title than the power of intellectual concentration, to which nothing that came within its focus was insoluble.]

A collection of all the works appertaining to Leibnitz, with all his own writings, would make a respectable library. We have no room for the titles of all, even of the more recent of these publications. We content ourselves with naming the Biography, by G. G. Guhrauer, the best that has yet appeared, called forth by the celebration, in 1846, of the ducentesimal birthday of Leibnitz,–the latest edition of his Philosophical Works, by Professor Erdmann of Halle–the publication of his Correspondence with Arnauld, by Herr Grotefend, and of that with the Landgrave Ernst von Hessen Rheinfels, by Chr. von Rommel,– of his Historical Works, by the librarian Pertz of Berlin,–of the Mathematical, by Gerhardt,–Ludwig Jeuerbach’s elaborate dissertation, “Darstellung, Entwickelung und Kritik der Leibnitzischen Philosophie,”– Zimmermann’s “Leibnitz u. Herbart’s Monadologie,”–Schelling’s “Leibnitz als Denker,”–Hartenstein’s “De Materiae apud Leibnit. Notione,”–and Adolph Helferich’s “Spinoza u. Leibnitz: oder Das Wesen des Idealismus u. des Realismus.” To these we must add, as one of the most valuable contributions to Leibnitian literature, M. Foucher de Careil’s recent publication of certain MSS. of Leibnitz, found in the library at Hanover, containing strictures on Spinoza, (which the editor takes the liberty to call “Refutation Inedite de Spinoza,”)–“Sentiment de Worcester et de Locke sur les Idees,”– “Correspondance avec Foucher, Bayle et Fontenelle,”–“Reflexions sur l’Art de connaitre les Homines,”–“Fragmens Divers,” etc. [2], accompanied by valuable introductory and critical essays.

[Footnote 2: A second collection, by the same hand, appeared in 1857, with the title, _Nouvelles Lettres et Opuscules Inedits de Leibnitz_. Precedes d’une Introduction. Par A. Foucher de Careil. Paris. 1857.]

M. de Careil complains that France has done so little for the memory of a man “qui lui a fait l’honneur d’ecrire les deux tiers de ses oeuvres en Francais.” England does not owe him the same obligations, and England has done far less than France,–in fact, nothing to illustrate the memory of Leibnitz; not so much as an English translation of his works, or an English edition of them, in these two centuries. Nor have M. de Careil’s countrymen in times past shared all his enthusiasm for the genial Saxon. The barren Psychology of Locke obtained a currency in France, in the last century, which the friendly Realism of his great contemporary could never boast. Raspe, the first who edited the “Nouveaux Essais,” takes to himself no small credit for liberality in so doing, and hopes, by rendering equal justice to Leibnitz and to Locke, to conciliate those “who, with the former, think that their wisdom is the sure measure of omnipotence,” [3] and those who “believe, with the latter, that the human mind is to the rays of the primal Truth what a night-bird is to the sun.” [4]

[Footnote 3:
“Stimai gia che ‘I mio saper misura Certa fosse e infallibile di quanto
Puo far l’alto Fattor della natura.” Tasso, _Gerus_, xiv. 45.]

[Footnote 4:
“Augel notturno al sole
E nostra mente a’ rai del primo Vero.” _Ib_. 46.]

Voltaire pronounced him “le savant le plus universel de l’Europe,” but characterized his metaphysical labors with the somewhat equivocal compliment of “metaphysicien assez delie pour vouloir reconcilier la theologie avec la metaphysique.” [5]

[Footnote 5: “On sait que Voltaire n’aimait pas Leibnitz. J’imagine que c’est le chretien qu’il detestait en lui.” –Ch. Waddington.]

Germany, with all her wealth of erudite celebrities, has produced no other who fulfils so completely the type of the _Gelehrte_,–a type which differs from that of the _savant_ and from that of the scholar, but includes them both. Feuerbach calls him “the personified thirst for Knowledge”; Frederic the Great pronounced him an “Academy of Sciences”; and Fontenelle said of him, that “he saw the end of things, or that they had no end.” It was an age of intellectual adventure into which Leibnitz was born,–fit sequel and heir to the age of maritime adventure which preceded it. We please ourselves with fancied analogies between the two epochs and the nature of their discoveries. In the latter movement, as in the former, Italy took the lead. The martyr Giordano Bruno was the brave Columbus of modern thought,–the first who broke loose from the trammels of mediaeval ecclesiastical tradition, and reported a new world beyond the watery waste of scholasticism. Campanella may represent the Vespucci of the new enterprise; Lord Bacon its Sebastian Cabot,–the “Novum Organum” being the Newfoundland of modern experimental science. Des Cartes was the Cortes, or shall we rather say the Ponce de Leon, of scientific discovery, who, failing to find what he sought,–the Principle of Life, (the Fountain of Eternal Youth,)–yet found enough to render his name immortal and to make mankind his debtor. Spinoza is the spiritual Magalhaens, who, emerging from the straits of Judaism, beheld

“Another ocean’s breast immense, unknown.”

Of modern thinkers he was

“—-the first
That ever burst
Into that silent sea.”

He discovered the Pacific of philosophy,–that theory of the sole Divine Substance, the All-One, which Goethe in early life found so pacifying to his troubled spirit, and which, vague and barren as it proves on nearer acquaintance, induces at first, above all other systems, a sense of repose in illimitable vastness and immutable necessity.

But the Vasco de Gama of his day was Leibnitz. His triumphant optimism rounded the Cape of theological Good Hope. He gave the chief impulse to modern intellectual commerce. Full freighted, as he was, with Western thought, he revived the forgotten interest in the Old and Eastern World, and brought the ends of the earth together. Circumnavigator of the realms of mind, wherever he touched, he appeared as discoverer, as conqueror, as lawgiver. In mathematics, he discovered or invented the Differential Calculus,–the logic of transcendental analysis, the infallible method of astronomy, without which it could never have compassed the large conclusions of the “Mecanique Celeste.” In his “Protogaea,” published in 1693, he laid the foundation of the science of Geology. From his observations, as Superintendent of the Hartz Mines, and those which he made in his subsequent travels through Austria and Italy,–from an examination of the layers, in different localities, of the earth’s crust, he deduced the first theory, in the geological sense, which has ever been propounded, of the earth’s formation. Orthodox Lutheran as he was, he braved the theological prejudices which then, even more than now, affronted scientific inquiry in that direction. “First among men,” says Flourens, “he demonstrated the two agencies which successively have formed and reformed the globe,–fire and water.” In the region of metaphysical inquiry, he propounded a new and original theory of Substance, and gave to philosophy the Monad, the Law of Continuity, the Preestablished Harmony, and the Best Possible World.

Born at Leipzig, in 1646,–left fatherless at the age of six years,– by the care of a pious mother and competent guardians, young Leibnitz enjoyed such means of education as Germany afforded at that time, but declares himself, for the most part, self-taught [6].

[Footnote 6: “Duo, ihi profuere mirifice, (quae tamen alioqui ambigna, et pluribus noxia esse solent,) primum quod fere essem [Greek: autodidaktos], alterum quod quaererem nova in unaquaque scientia.” –LEIBNIT. _Opera Philosoph_. Erdmann. p. 162.]

So genius must always be, for want of any external stimulus equal to its own impulse. No normal training could keep pace with his abnormal growth. No school discipline could supply the fuel necessary to feed the consuming fire of that ravenous intellect. Grammars, manuals, compends,–all the apparatus of the classes,– were only oil to its flame. The Master of the Nicolai-Schule in Leipzig, his first instructor, was a steady practitioner of the Martinet order. The pupils were ranged in classes corresponding to their civil ages,–their studies graduated according to the baptismal register. It was not a question of faculty or proficiency, how a lad should be classed and what he should read, but of calendar years. As if a shoemaker should fit his last to the age instead of the foot. Such an age, such a study. Gottfried is a genius, and Hans is a dunce; but Gottfried and Hans were both born in 1646; consequently, now, in 1654, they are both equally fit for the Smaller Catechism. Leibnitz was ready for Latin long before the time allotted to that study in the Nicolai-Schule, but the system was inexorable. All access to books cut off by rigorous proscription. But the thirst for knowledge is not easily stifled, and genius, like love, “will find out his way.”

He chanced, in a corner of the house, to light on an odd volume of Livy, left there by some student boarder. What could Livy do for a child of eight years, with no previous knowledge of Latin, and no lexicon to interpret between them? For most children, nothing. Not one in a thousand would have dreamed of seriously grappling with such a mystery. But the brave Patavinian took pity on our little one and yielded something to childish importunity. The quaint old copy was garnished, according to a fashion of the time, with rude wood-cuts, having explanatory legends underneath. The young philologer tugged at these until he had mastered one or two words. Then the book was thrown by in despair as impracticable to further investigation. Then, after one or two weeks had elapsed, for want of other employment, it was taken up again, and a little more progress made. And so by degrees, in the course of a year, a considerable knowledge of Latin had been achieved. But when, in the Nicolai order, the time for this study arrived, so far from being pleased to find his instructions anticipated, or welcoming such promise of future greatness,–so far from rejoicing in his pupil’s proficiency, the pedagogue chafed at the insult offered to his system by this empiric antepast. He was like one who suddenly discovers that he is telling an old story where he thought to surprise with a novelty; or like one who undertakes to fill a lamp, which, being (unknown to him) already full, runs over, and his oil is spilled. It was “oleum perdidit” in another sense than the scholastic one. Complaint was made to the guardians of the orphan Gottfried of these illicit visits to the tree of knowledge. Severe prohibitory measures were recommended, which, however, judicious counsel from another quarter happily averted.

At the age of eleven, Leibnitz records, that he made, on one occasion, three hundred Latin verses without elision between breakfast and dinner. A hundred hexameters, or fifty distichs, in a day, is generally considered a fair _pensum_ for a boy of sixteen at a German gymnasium.

At the age of seventeen, he produced, as an academic exercise, on taking the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy, his celebrated treatise on the Principle of Individuality, “De Principle Individui,” the most extraordinary performance ever achieved by a youth of that age,– remarkable for its erudition, especially its intimate knowledge of the writings of the Schoolmen, and equally remarkable for its vigorous grasp of thought and its subtile analysis. In this essay Leibnitz discovered the bent of his mind and prefigured his future philosophy, in the choice of his theme, and in his vivid appreciation and strenuous positing of the individual as the fundamental principle of ontology. He takes Nominalistic ground in relation to the old controversy of Nominalist and Realist, siding with Abelard and Roscellin and Occam, and against St. Thomas and Duns Scotus. The principle of individuation, he maintains, is the entire entity of the individual, and not mere limitation of the universal, whether by “Existence” or by “_Haecceity_.” [7] John and Thomas are individuals by virtue of their integral humanity, and not by fractional limitation of humanity. Dobbin is an actual positive horse (_Entitas tota_). Not a negation, by limitation, of universal equiety (_Negatio_). Not an individuation, by actual existence, of a non-existent but essential and universal horse (_Existentia_). Nor yet a horse only by limitation of kind,–a horse minus Dick and Bessie and the brown mare, etc. (_Haecceitas_). But an individual horse, simply by virtue of his equine nature. Only so far as he is an actual complete horse, is he an individual at all. (_Per quod quid est, per id unum numero est_.) His individuality is nothing superadded to his equiety. (_Unum supra ens nihil addit reale_.) Neither is it anything subtracted therefrom. (_Negatio non potest producere accidentia individualia_.) In fine, there is and can be no horse but actual individual horses. (_Essentia et existentia non possunt separari_.)

[Footnote 7: “Aut enim principium individuationis ponitur _entitas tota_, (1) aut non tota. Non totam aut negatio exprimit, (2) aut aliquid positivum. Positivum aut pars physica est, essentiam terminaus, _existentia_, (3) aut metaphysica, speciem terminans, _haec ceitas_. (4)… Pono igitur: omne individuum sua tota entitate individuatur.”
–_De Princ. Indiv_. 3 et 4.]

This was the doctrine of the Nominalists, as it was of Aristotle before them. It was the doctrine of the Reformers, except, if we remember rightly, of Huss. The University of Leipzig was founded upon it. It is the current doctrine of the present day, and harmonizes well with the current Materialism. Not that Nominalism in itself, and as Leibnitz held it, is necessarily materialistic, but Realism is essentially antimaterialistic. The Realists held with Plato,–but not in his name, for they, too, claimed to be Aristotelian, and preeminently so,–that the ideal must precede the actual. So far they were right. This was their strong point. Their error lay in claiming for the ideal an objective reality, an independent being. Conceptualism was only another statement of Nominalism, or, at most, a question of the relation of language to thought. It cannot be regarded as a third issue in this controversy,– a controversy in which more time was consumed, says John of Salisbury, “than the Caesars required to make themselves masters of the world,” and in which the combatants, having spent at last their whole stock of dialectic ammunition, resorted to carnal weapons, passing suddenly, by a very illogical _metabasis_, from “universals” to particulars. Both parties appealed to Aristotle. By a singular fortune, a pagan philosopher, introduced into Western Europe by Mohammedans, became the supreme authority of the Christian world. Aristotle was the Scripture of the Middle Age. Luther found this authority in his way and disposed of it in short order, devoting Aristotle without ceremony to the Devil, as “a damned mischief-making heathen.” But Leibnitz, whose large discourse looked before as well as after, reinstated not only Aristotle, but Plato, and others of the Greek philosophers, in their former repute;–“Car ces anciens,” he said, “etaient plus solides qu’on ne croit.” He was the first to turn the tide of popular opinion in their favor.

Not without a struggle was he brought to side with the Nominalists. Musing, when a boy, in the Rosenthal, near Leipzig, he debated long with himself,–“Whether he would give up the Substantial Forms of the Schoolmen.” Strange matter for boyish deliberation! Yes, good youth, by all means, give them up! They have had their day. They served to amuse the imprisoned intellect of Christendom in times of ecclesiastical thraldom, when learning knew no other vocation. But the age into which you are born has its own problems, of nearer interest and more commanding import. The measuring-reed of science is to be laid to the heavens, the solar system is to be weighed in a balance; the age of logical quiddities has passed, the age of mathematical quantities has come. Give them up! You will soon have enough to do to take care of your own. What with Dynamics and Infinitesimals, Pasigraphy and Dyadik, Monads and Majesties, Concilium AEgyptiacum and Spanish Succession and Hanoverian cabals, there will be scant room in that busy brain for Substantial Forms. Let them sleep, dust to dust, with the tomes of Duns Scotus and the bones of Aquinas!

The “De Principio Individui” was the last treatise of any note in the sense and style of the old scholastic philosophy. It was also one of the last blows aimed at scholasticism, which, long undermined by the Saxon Reformation, received its _coup de grace_ a century later from the pen of an English wit. “Cornelius,” says the author of “Martinus Scriblerus,” told Martin that a shoulder of mutton was an individual; which Crambe denied, for he had seen it cut into commons. ‘That’s true,’ quoth the Tutor, ‘but you never saw it cut into shoulders of mutton.’ ‘If it could be,’ quoth Crambe, ‘it would be the loveliest individual of the University.’ When he was told that a _substance_ was that which is subject to _accidents_: ‘Then soldiers,’ quoth Crambe, ‘are the most substantial people in the world.’ Neither would he allow it to be a good definition of accident, that it could be present or absent without the destruction of the subject, since there are a great many accidents that destroy the subject, as burning does a house and death a man. But as to that, Cornelius informed him that there was a _natural_ death and a _logical_ death; and that though a man after his natural death was incapable of the least parish office, yet he might still keep his stall among the logical predicaments….

Crambe regretted extremely that _Substantial Forms_, a race of harmless beings which had lasted for many years and had afforded a comfortable subsistence to many poor philosophers, should now be hunted down like so many wolves, without the possibility of retreat. He considered that it had gone much harder with them than with the _Essences_, which had retired from the schools into the apothecaries’ shops, where some of them had been advanced into the degree of _Quintessences_. He thought there should be a retreat for poor _substantial forms_ amongst the gentlemen-ushers at court; and that there were, indeed, substantial forms, such as forms of prayer and forms of government, without which the things themselves could never long subsist….

Metaphysics were a large field in which to exercise the weapons which logic had put in their hands. Here Martin and Crambe used to engage like any prizefighters. And as prize-fighters will agree to lay aside a buckler, or some such defensive weapon, so Crambe would agree not to use _simpliciter_ and _secundum quid_, if Martin would part with _materialiter_ and _formaliter_. But it was found, that, without the defensive armor of these distinctions, the arguments cut so deep that they fetched blood at every stroke. Their theses were picked out of Suarez, Thomas Aquinas, and other learned writers on those subjects…. One, particularly, remains undecided to this day,– ‘An praeter _esse_ reale actualis essentiae sit alind _esse_ necessarium quo res actualiter existat?’ In English thus: ‘Whether, besides the real being of actual being, there be any other being necessary to cause a thing to be?’ [8]

[Footnote 8: Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus. Chap. VII.]

Arrived at maturity, Leibnitz rose at once to classic eminence. He became a conspicuous figure, he became a commanding power, not only in the intellectual world, of which he constituted himself the centre, but in part also of the civil. It lay in the nature of his genius to prove all things, and it lay in his temperament to seek _rapport_ with all sorts of men. He was infinitely related;–not an individual of note in his day but was linked with him by some common interest or some polemic grapple; not a _savant_ or statesman with whom Leibnitz did not spin, on one pretence or another, a thread of communication. Europe was reticulated with the meshes of his correspondence. “Never,” says Voltaire, “was intercourse among philosophers more universal; _Leibnitz servait a l’animer_.” He writes now to Spinoza at the Hague, to suggest new methods of manufacturing lenses,–now to Magliabecchi at Florence, urging, in elegant Latin verses, the publication of his bibliographical discoveries,–and now to Grimaldi, Jesuit missionary in China, to communicate his researches in Chinese philosophy. He hoped by means of the latter to operate on the Emperor Cham-Hi with the _Dyadik_; [9] and even suggested said _Dyadik_ as a key to the cipher of the book “Ye Kim,” supposed to contain the sacred mysteries of Fo. He addresses Louis XIV., now on the subject of a military expedition to Egypt, (a magnificent idea, which it needed a Napoleon to realize,) now on the best method of promoting and conserving scientific knowledge. He corresponds with the Landgrave of Hesse-Rheinfels, with Bossuet, and with Madame Brinon on the Union of the Catholic and Protestant Churches, and with Privy-Counsellor von Spanheim on the Union of the Lutheran and Reformed,–with Pere Des Bosses on Transubstantiation, and with Samuel Clarke on Time and Space,–with Remond de Montmort on Plato, and with Franke on Popular Education,– with the Queen of Prussia (his pupil) on Free-will and Predestination, and with the Electress Sophia, her mother, (in her eighty-fourth year,) on English Politics,–with the cabinet of Peter the Great on the Slavonic and Oriental Languages, and with that of the German Emperor on the claims of George Lewis to the honors of the Electorate,–and finally, with all the _savans_ of Europe on all possible scientific questions.

[Footnote 9: A species of binary arithmetic, invented by Leibnitz, in which the only figures employed are 0 and 1.–See KORTHOLT’S _G.C. Leibnitii Epistolae ad Divarsos_, Letter XVIII.]

[Transcriber’s note: without this notation and its underlying logic, the development of modern computers would have not been practical.]

Of this world-wide correspondence a portion related to the sore subject of his litigated claim to originality in the discovery of the Differential Calculus,–a matter in which Leibnitz felt himself grievously wronged, and complained with justice of the treatment he received at the hands of his contemporaries. The controversy between him and Newton, respecting this hateful topic, would never have originated with either of these illustrious men, had it depended on them alone to vindicate their respective claims. Officious and ill-advised friends of the English philosopher, partly from misguided zeal and partly from levelled malice, preferred on his behalf a charge of plagiarism against the German, which Newton was not likely to have urged for himself. “The new Calculus, which Europe lauds, is nothing less,” they suggested, “than your fluxionary method, which Mr. Leibnitz has pirated, anticipating its tardy publication by the genuine author. Why suffer your laurels to be wrested from you by a stranger?” Thereupon arose the notorious _Commercium Epistolicum_, in which Wallis, Fatio de Duillier, Collins, and Keill were perversely active. Melancholy monument of literary and national jealousy! Weary record of a vain strife! Ideas are no man’s property. As well pretend to ownership of light, or set up a claim to private estate in the Holy Ghost. The Spirit blows where it lists. Truth inspires whom it finds. He who knows best to conspire with it has it. Both philosophers swerved from their native simplicity and nobleness of soul. Both sinned and were sinned against. Leibnitz did unhandsome things, but he was sorely tried. His heart told him that the right of the quarrel was on his side, and the general stupidity would not see it. The general malice, rejoicing in aspersion of a noble name, would not see it. The Royal Society would not see it,–nor France, until long after Leibnitz’s death. Sir David Brewster’s account of the matter, according to the German authorities, Gerhardt, Guhrauer, and others, is one-sided, and sins by _suppressio veri_, ignoring important documents, particularly Leibnitz’s letter to Oldenburg, August 27, 1676. Gerhardt has published Leibnitz’s own history of the Calculus as a counter-statement. [10] But even from Brewster’s account, as we remember it, (we have it not by us at this writing.) there is no more reason to doubt that Leibnitz’s discovery was independent of Newton’s than that Newton’s was independent of Leibnitz’s. The two discoveries, in fact, are not identical; the end and application are the same, but origin and process differ, and the German method has long superseded the English. The question in debate has been settled by supreme authority. Leibnitz has been tried by his peers. Euler, Lagrange, Laplace, Poisson, and Biot have honorably acquitted him of plagiarism, and reinstated him in his rights as true discoverer of the Differential Calculus.

[Footnote 10: Historia et Oriffo Calculi Differenttalis, a G. G. LEIBNITIO conscripts.]

[Transcriber’s note: this controversy rages in academia to this day.]

The one distinguishing trait of Leibnitz’s genius, and the one predominant fact in his history, was what Feuerbach calls his [Greek: polupraguoshinae], which, being interpreted, means having a finger in every pie. We are used to consider him as a man of letters; but the greater part of his life was spent in labors of quite another kind. He was more actor than writer. He wrote only for occasions, at the instigation of others, or to meet some pressing demand of the time. Besides occupying himself with mechanical inventions, some of which (in particular, his improvement of Pascal’s Calculating Machine) were quite famous in their, day,–besides his project of a universal language, and his labors to bring about a union of the churches,– besides undertaking the revision of the laws of the German Empire, superintending the Hanoverian mines, experimenting in the culture of silk, directing the medical profession, laboring in the promotion of popular education, establishing academies of science, superintending royal libraries, ransacking the archives of Germany and Italy to find documents for his history of the House of Brunswick, a work of immense research [11],–besides these, and a multitude of similar and dissimilar avocations, he was deep in politics, German and European, and was occupied all his life long with political negotiations. He was a courtier, he was a _diplomat_, was consulted on all difficult matters of international policy, was employed at Hanover, at Berlin, at Vienna, in the public and secret service of ducal, royal, and imperial governments, and charged with all sorts of delicate and difficult commissions,–matters of finance, of pacification, of treaty and appeal. He was Europe’s factotum. A complete biography of the man would be an epitome of the history of his time. The number and variety of his public engagements were such as would have crazed any ordinary brain. And to these were added private studies not less multifarious. “I am distracted beyond all account,” he writes to Vincent Placcius. “I am making extracts from archives, inspecting ancient documents, hunting up unpublished manuscripts; all this to illustrate the history of Brunswick. Letters in great number I receive and write. Then I have so many discoveries in mathematics, so many speculations in philosophy, so many other literary observations, which I am desirous of preserving, that I am often at a loss what to take hold of first, and can fairly sympathize in that saying of Ovid, ‘I am straitened by my abundance.’ [12]”

[Footnote 11: _Annals Imperii Occidents Brunsvicensis_. Leibnitz succeeded in discovering at Modena the lost traces of that connection between the lines of Brunswick and Esto which had been surmised, but not proved.]

[Footnote 12: “Quam mirifice sim distractus dici non potest. Varia ex archivis eruo, antiquas chartns inspicio, manuscripta inedita conquiro. Ex hic lucem dare conor Brunsvicensi historiae. Magno numero litteras et accipio et dimitto. Habeo vero tam multa nova in mathematicis, tot cogitationes in philosophicis, tot alias literarias observationes, quas vellem non perire, ut saepe inter agenda anceps haeream et prope illud Ovidianum sentiam: _Iniopem me copia facit_.”]

His diplomatic services are less known at present than his literary labors, but were not less esteemed in his own day. When Louis XIV., in 1688, declared war against the German Empire, on the pretence that the Emperor was meditating an invasion of France, Leibnitz drew up the imperial manifesto, which repelled the charge and triumphantly exposed the hollowness of Louis’s cause. Another document, prepared by him at the solicitation, it is supposed, of several of the courts of Europe, advocating the claims of Charles of Austria to the vacant throne of Spain, in opposition to the grandson of Louis, and setting forth the injurious consequences of the policy of the French monarch, was hailed by his contemporaries as a masterpiece of historical learning and political wisdom. By his powerful advocacy of the cause of the Elector of Brandenburg he may be said to have aided the birth of the kingdom of Prussia, whose existence dates with the commencement of the last century. In the service of that kingdom he wrote and published important state-papers; among them, one relating to a point of contested right to which recent events have given fresh significance: “Traite: Sommaire du Droit de Frederic I. Roi de Prusse a la Souverainete de Neufchatel et de Vallengin en Suisse.”

In Vienna, as at Berlin, the services of Leibnitz were subsidized by the State. By the Peace of Utrecht, the house of Habsburg had been defeated in its claims to the Spanish throne, and the foreign and internal affairs of the Austrian government were involved in many perplexities, which, it was hoped, the philosopher’s counsel might help to untangle. He was often present at the private meetings of the cabinet, and received from the Emperor the honorable distinction of Kaiserlicher Hofrath, in addition to that, which had previously been awarded to him, of Baron of the Empire. The highest post in the gift of government was open to him, on condition of renouncing his Protestant faith, which, notwithstanding his tolerant feeling toward the Roman Church, and the splendid compensations which awaited such a convertite, he could never be prevailed upon to do.

A natural, but very remarkable consequence of this manifold activity and lifelong absorption in public affairs was the failure of so great a thinker to produce a single systematic and elaborate work containing a complete and detailed exposition of his philosophical, and especially his ontological views. For such an exposition Leibnitz could find at no period of his life the requisite time and scope. In the vast multitude of his productions there is no complete philosophic work. The most arduous of his literary labors are historical compilations, made in the service of the State. Such were the “History of the House of Brunswick,” already mentioned, the “Accessiones Historiae,” the “Scriptores Rerum Brunsvicensium Illustrationi inservientes,” and the “Codex Juris Gentium Diplomaticus”;– works involving an incredible amount of labor and research, but adding little to his posthumous fame. His philosophical studies, after entering the Hanoverian service, which he did in his thirtieth year, were pursued, as he tells his correspondent Placcius, by stealth,–that is, at odd moments snatched from official duties and the cares of state. Accordingly, his metaphysical works have all a fragmentary character. Instead of systematic treatises, they are loose papers, contributions to journals and magazines, or sketches prepared for the use of friends. They are all occasional productions, elicited by some external cause, not prompted by inward necessity. The “Nouveaux Essais,” his most considerable work in that department, originated in comments on Locke, and was not published until after his death. The “Monadology” is a series of propositions drawn up for the use of Prince Eugene, and was never intended to be made public. And, probably, the “Theodicee” would never have seen the light except for his cultivated and loved pupil, the Queen of Prussia, for whose instruction it was designed.

It is a curious fact, and a good illustration of the state of letters in Germany at that time, that Leibnitz wrote so little– almost nothing of importance–in his native tongue. In Erdmann’s edition of his philosophical works there are only two short essays in German; the rest are all Latin or French. He had it in contemplation at one time to establish a philosophical journal in Berlin, but doubts, in his letter to M. La Croye on the subject, in what language it should be conducted: “Il y a quelque tems que j’ay pense a un journal de Savans qu’on pourroit publier a Berlin, mais je suis un peu en doute sur la langue … Mais soit qu’on prit le Latin ou le Francois,” [13] etc. It seems never to have occurred to him that such a journal might be published in German. That language was then, and for a long time after, regarded by educated Germans very much as the Russian is regarded at the present day, as the language of vulgar life, unsuited to learned or polite intercourse. Frederic the Great, a century later, thought as meanly of its adaptation to literary purposes as did the contemporaries of Leibnitz. When Gellert, at his request, repeated to him one of his fables, he expressed his surprise that anything so clever could be produced in German. It may be said in apology for this neglect of their native tongue, that the German scholars of that age would have had a very inadequate audience, had their communications been confined to that language. Leibnitz craved and deserved a wider sphere for his thoughts than the use of the German could give him. It ought, however, to be remembered to his credit, that, as language in general was one among the numberless topics he investigated, so the German in particular engaged at one time his special attention. It was made the subject of a disquisition, which suggested to the Berlin Academy, in the next century, the method adopted by that body for the culture and improvement of the national speech. In this writing, as in all his German compositions, he manifested a complete command of the language, and imparted to it a purity and elegance of diction very uncommon in his day. The German of Leibnitz is less antiquated at this moment than the English of his contemporary, Locke.

[Footnote 13: KORTHOLT. _Epistolae ad Diversos_, Vol. I.]


The interest to us in this extraordinary man–who died at Hanover, 1716, in the midst of his labors and projects–turns mainly on his speculative philosophy. It was only as an incidental pursuit that he occupied himself with metaphysic; yet no philosopher since Aristotle with whom, though claiming to be more Platonic than Aristotelian, he has much in common–has furnished more luminous hints to the elucidation of metaphysical problems. The problems he attempted were those which concern the most inscrutable, but, to the genuine metaphysician, most fascinating of all topics, the nature of substance, matter and spirit, absolute being,–in a word, _Ontology_. This department of metaphysic, the most interesting, and, _agonistically_ [14], the most important branch of that study, has been deliberately, purposely, and, with one or two exceptions, uniformly avoided by the English metaphysicians so-called, with Locke at their head, and equally by their Scottish successors, until the recent “Institutes” of the witty Professor of St. Andrew’s. Locke’s “Essay concerning the Human Understanding,” a century and a half ago, diverted the English mind from metaphysic proper into what is commonly called Psychology, but ought, of right, to be termed _Nooeiogy_, or “Philosophy of the Human Mind,” as Dugald Stewart entitled his treatise. This is the study which has usually taken the place of metaphysic at Cambridge and other colleges,–the science that professes to show “how ideas enter the mind”; which, considering the rareness of the occurrence with the mass of mankind, we cannot regard as a very practical inquiry. We well remember our disappointment, when, at the usual stage in the college curriculum, we were promised “metaphysics” and were set to grind in Stewart’s profitless mill, where so few problems of either practical or theoretical importance are brought to the hopper, and where, in fact, the object is rather to show how the upper mill-stone revolves upon the nether, (reflection upon sensation,) and how the grist is conveyed to the feeder, than to realize actual metaphysical flour.

[Footnote 14: That is, as a discipline of the faculties,–the chief benefit to be derived from any kind of metaphysical study.]

Locke’s reason for repudiating ontology is the alleged impossibility of arriving at truth in that pursuit,–“of finding satisfaction in a quiet and sure possession of truths that most concern us, whilst we let loose our thoughts into the vast ocean of being.” [15] Unfortunately, however, as Kant has shown, the results of nooelogical inquiry are just as questionable as those of ontology, whilst the topics on which it is employed are of far inferior moment. If, as Locke intimates, we can know nothing of being without first analyzing the understanding, it is equally sure that we can know nothing of the understanding except in union with and in action on being. And excepting his own fundamental position concerning the sensuous origin of our ideas,–to which few, since Kant, will assent,– there is hardly a theorem, in all the writings of this school, of prime and vital significance. The school is tartly, but aptly, characterized by Professor Ferrier: “Would people inquire directly into the laws of thought and of knowledge by merely looking to knowledge or to thought itself, without attending to what is known or what is thought of? Psychology usually goes to work in this abstract fashion; but such a mode of procedure is hopeless,–as hopeless as the analogous instance by which the wits of old were wont to typify any particularly fruitless undertaking,–namely, the operation of milking a he-goat into a sieve. No milk comes, in the first place, and even that the sieve will not retain! There is a loss of nothing twice over. Like the man milking, the inquirer obtains no milk in the first place; and, in the second place, he loses it, like the man holding the sieve…. Our Scottish philosophy, in particular, has presented a spectacle of this description. Reid obtained no result, owing to the abstract nature of his inquiry, and the nothingness of his system has escaped through all the sieves of his successors.” [16]

[Footnote 15: _Essay_, Book I. Chap. 1, Sect. 7.]

[Footnote 16: _Institutes of Metaphysic_, p. 301.]

Leibnitz’s metaphysical speculations are scattered through a wide variety of writings, many of which are letters to his contemporaries. These Professor Erdmann has incorporated in his edition of the Philosophical Works. Beside these we may mention, as particularly deserving of notice, the “Meditationes de Cognitione, Veritate et Ideis”, the “Systeme Nouveau de la Nature”, “De Primae Philosophiae Emendatione et de Notione Substantiae”, “Reflexions sur l’Essai de l’Entendement humain”, “De Rerum Originatione Radicali”, “De ipsa Natura”, “Considerations sur la Doctrine d’un Esprit universel”, “Nouveaux Essais sur l’Entendement humain”, “Considerations sur le Principe de Vie”. To these we must add the “Theodicee” (though more theological than metaphysical) and the “Monadologie”, the most compact philosophical treatise of modern time. It is worthy of note, that, writing in the desultory, fragmentary, and accidental way he did, he not only wrote with unexampled clearness on matters the most abstruse, but never, that we are aware, in all the variety of his communications, extending over so many years, contradicted himself. No philosopher is more intelligible, none more consequent.

In philosophy, Leibnitz was a _Realist_. We use that term in the modern, not in the scholastic sense. In the scholastic sense, as we have seen, he was not a Realist, but, from childhood up, a Nominalist. But the Realism of the schools has less affinity with the Realism than with the Idealism of the present day.

His opinions must be studied in connection with those of his contemporaries.

Des Cartes, Spinoza, Locke, and Leibnitz, the four most distinguished philosophers of the seventeenth century, represent four widely different and cardinal tendencies in philosophy: Dualism, Idealism, Sensualism, and Realism.

Des Cartes perceived the incompatibility of the two primary qualities of being, thought and extension, as attributes of one and the same (created) substance. He therefore postulated two (created) substances,–one characterized by thought without extension, the other by extension without thought. These two are so alien and so incongruous, that neither can influence the other, or determine the other, or any way relate with the other, except by direct mediation of Deity. (The doctrine of Occasional Causes.) This is Dualism,– that sharp and rigorous antithesis of mind and matter, which Des Cartes, if he did not originate it, was the first to develop into philosophic significance, and which ever since has been the prevailing ontology of the Western world. So deeply has the thought of that master mind inwrought itself into the very consciousness of humanity!

Spinoza saw, that, if God alone can bring mind and matter together and effect a relation between them, it follows that mind and matter, or their attributes, however contrary, do meet in Deity; and if so, what need of three distinct natures? What need of two substances beside God, as subjects of these attributes? Retain the middle term and drop the extremes and you have the Spinozan doctrine of one (uncreated) substance, combining the attributes of thought and extension. This is Pantheism, or _objective_ idealism, as distinguished from the _subjective_ idealism of Fichte. Strange, that the stigma of atheism should have been affixed to a system whose very starting-point is Deity and whose great characteristic is the _ignoration_ of everything but Deity, insomuch that the pure and devout Novalis pronounced the author a God-drunken man, and Spinozism a surfeit of Deity. [17]

[Footnote 17: Let us not be misunderstood. Pantheism is not Theism, and the one substance of Spinoza is very unlike the one God of theology; but neither is the doctrine Atheism in any legitimate sense.] Naturally enough, the charge of atheism comes from the unbelieving Bayle, whose omnivorous mind, like the anaconda, assisted its enormous deglutition with a poisonous saliva of its own, and whose negative temper makes the “Dictionnaire Historique” more _Morgue_ than _Valhalla_.

Locke, who combined in a strange union strong religious faith with philosophic unbelief, turned aside, as we have seen, from the questions which had occupied his predecessors; knew little and cared less about substance and accident, matter and spirit; but set himself to investigate the nature of the organ itself by which truth is apprehended. In this investigation he began by emptying the mind of all native elements of knowledge. He repudiated any supposed dowry of original truths or innate or connate ideas, and endeavored to show how, by acting on the report of the senses and personal experience, the understanding arrives at all the ideas of which it is conscious. The mode of procedure in this case is empiricism; the result with Locke was sensualism,–more fully developed by Condillac, [18] in the next century. But the same method may lead, as in the case of Berkeley, to immaterialism, falsely called idealism. Or it may lead, as in the case of Helveticus, to materialism. Locke himself would probably have landed in materialism, had he followed freely the bent of his own thought, without the restraints of a cautious temper, and respect for the common and traditional opinion of his time. The “Essay” discovers an unmistakable leaning in that direction; as where the author supposes, “We shall never be able to know whether any mere material being thinks or no; it being impossible for us, by the contemplation of our own ideas, without revelation, to discover whether Omnipotency has not given to some systems of matter fitly disposed a power to perceive and think;… it being, in respect of our notions, not much more remote from our comprehension to conceive that God can, if he pleases, superadd to matter a faculty of thinking, than that he should superadd to it another substance with a faculty of thinking, since we know not wherein thinking consists, nor to what sort of substances the Almighty has been pleased to give that power, which cannot be in any created being but merely by the good pleasure and bounty of the Creator. For I see no contradiction in it, that the first thinking eternal Being should, if he pleased, give to certain systems of created, senseless matter, put together as he thinks fit, some degrees of sense, perception, and thought.” With such notions of the nature of thought, as a kind of mechanical contrivance, that can be conferred outright by an arbitrary act of Deity, and attached to one nature as well as another, it is evident that Locke could have had no idea of spirit as conceived by metaphysicians,–or no belief in that idea, if conceived. And with such conceptions of Deity and Divine operations, as consisting in absolute power dissociated from absolute reason, one would not be surprised to find him asserting, that God, if he pleased, might make two and two to be one, instead of four,–that mathematical laws are arbitrary determinations of the Supreme Will,–that a thing is true only as God wills it to be so,–in fine, that there is no such thing as absolute truth. The resort to “Omnipotency” in such matters is more convenient than philosophical; it is a dodging of the question, instead of an attempt to solve it. Divine ordination–“[Greek: Doz d’ etelevto Bonlae”]–is a maxim which settles all difficulties. But it also precludes all inquiry. Why speculate at all, with this universal solvent at hand?

[Footnote 18: _Essai sur l’Origine du Connaissances humaines_. Book IV. Chap. 3, Sect. 6.]

The “contradiction” which Locke could not see was clearly seen and keenly felt by Leibnitz. The arbitrary will of God, to him, was no solution. He believed in necessary truths independent of the Supreme Will; in other words, he believed that the Supreme Will is but the organ of the Supreme Reason: “Il ne faut point s’imaginer, que les verites eternelles, etant dependantes de Dieu, sont arbitrages et dependent de sa volonte.” He felt, with Des Cartes, the incompatibility of thought with extension, considered as an immanent quality of substance, and he shared with Spinoza the unific propensity which distinguishes the higher order of philosophic minds. Dualism was an offence to him. On the other hand, he differed from Spinoza in his vivid sense of individuality, of personality. The pantheistic idea of a single, sole being, of which all other beings are mere modalities, was also and equally an offence to him. He saw well the illusoriness and unfruitfulness of such a universe as Spinoza dreamed. He saw it to be a vain imagination, a dream-world, “without form and void,” nowhere blossoming into reality. The philosophy of Leibnitz is equally remote from that of Des Cartes on the one hand, and from that of Spinoza on the other. He diverges from the former on the question of substance, which Des Cartes conceived as consisting of two kinds, one active (thinking) and one passive (extended), but which Leibnitz conceives to be all and only active. He explodes Dualism, and resolves the antithesis of matter and spirit by positing extension as a continuous act instead of a passive mode, substance as an active force instead of an inert mass,-matter as substance appearing, communicating,–as the necessary band and relation of spirits among themselves. [19]

[Footnote 19: The following passages may serve as illustrations of these positions:–

“Materia habet de so actum entitativum.”–_De Princip. Indiv_. Coroll. I.

“Dicam interim notionem virium seu virtutis, (quam Germani vocant _Kraft_, Galli, _la force_,) cui ego explicandae peculiarem Dynamices scientiam destinavi, plurimum lucis afferre ad veram notionem substantiae intelligendam.”–_De Primae Philosoph. Emendat, et de Notione Substantiae_.

“Corpus ergo est agens extensum; dici poterit esse substantiam extensam, modo teneatur omnem substantiam _agere, at omne agens substantiam_ appellari.” “Patebit non tantum mentes, sed etiam substantiae omnes in loco, non nisi per _operationem_ esse.”– _De Vera Method. Phil. et Theol_.

“Extensionem concipere ut absolutum ex eo forte oritur quod spatium concipimus per modum substantiae”–_Ad Des Bosses Ep_. XXIX.

“Car l’etendue ne signifie qu’une repetition ou multiplicite continuee de ce qui est repandu.”–_Extrait d’une Lettre_, etc.

“Et l’on peut dire que Petunduc est en quelque facon a l’espace comme la duree est au tems.”–_Exam. des Principes de Malebranche_.

“La nature de la substance consistant a mon avis dans certe tendance reglee de laquelle les phenomenes naissent par ordre.”–_Lettre a M. Bayle_.

“Car rien n’a mieux marque la substance que la puissance d’agir.”– _Reponse aux Objections du P. Lami_.

“S’il n’y avait que des esprits, ils seraient sans la liaison necessaire, sans l’ordre des tems et des lieux.”–_Theod_. Sect. 120.]

He parts company with Spinoza on the question of individuality. Substance is homogeneous; but substances, or beings, are infinite. Spinoza looked upon the universe and saw in it the undivided background on which the objects of human consciousness are painted as momentary pictures. Leibnitz looked and saw that background, like the background of one of Raphael’s Madonnas, instinct with individual life, and swarming with intelligences which look out from every point of space, Leibnitz’s universe is composed of Monads, that is, units, individual substances, or entities, having neither extension, parts, nor figure, and, of course, indivisible. These are “the veritable atoms of nature, the elements of things.”

The Monad is unformed and imperishable; it has no natural end or beginning. It could begin to be only by creation; it can cease to be only by annihilation. It cannot be affected from without or changed in its interior by any other creature. Still, it must have qualities, without which it would not be an entity. And monads must differ one from another, or there would be no changes in our experience; since all that takes place in compound bodies is derived from the simples which compose them. Moreover, the monad, though uninfluenced from without, is changing continually; the change proceeds from an internal principle. Every monad is subject to a multitude of affections and relations, although without parts. This shifting state, which represents multitude in unity, is nothing else than what we call _Perception_, which must be carefully distinguished from _Apperception_, or consciousness. And the action of the internal principle which causes change in the monad, or a passing from one perception to another, is _Appetition_. The desire does not always attain to the perception to which it tends, but it always effects something, and causes a change of perceptions.

Leibnitz differs from Locke in maintaining that perception is inexplicable and inconceivable on mechanical principles. It is always the act of a simple substance, never of a compound. And “in simple substances there is nothing but perceptions and their changes.” [20]

[Footnote 20: _Menadol_. 17.]

He differs from Locke, furthermore, on the question of the origin of ideas. This question, he says, “is not a preliminary one in philosophy, and one must have made great progress to be able to grapple successfully with it.”–“Meanwhile, I think I may say, that our ideas, even those of sensible objects, _viennent de notre propre fond_… I am by no means for the _tabula rasa_ of Aristotle; on the contrary, there is to me something rational (_quelque chose de solide_) in what Plato called _reminiscence_. Nay, more than that, we have not only a reminiscence of all our past thoughts, but we have also a _presentiment_ of all our thoughts.” [21]

[Footnote 21: _Reflexions sur l’Essai de l’Entendement humain_.]

Mr. Lewes, in his “Biographical History of Philosophy,” speaks of the essay from which these words are quoted, as written in “a somewhat supercilious tone.” We are unable to detect any such feature in it. That trait was wholly foreign from Leibnitz’s nature. “Car je suis des plus dociles,” he says of himself, in this same essay. He was the most tolerant of philosophers. “Je ne meprise presque rien.”–“Nemo est ingenio minus quam ego censorio.”– “Mirum dictu: probo pleraque quae lego.”–“Non admodum refutationes quaerere aut legere soleo.”

To return to the monads. Each monad, according to Leibnitz, is, properly speaking, a soul, inasmuch as each is endowed with perception. But in order to distinguish those which have only perception from those which have also sentiment and memory, he will call the latter _souls_, the former _monads_ or _entelechies_. [22]

[Footnote 22: _Entelechy_ ([Greek: entelechia]) is an Aristotelian term, signifying activity, or more properly perhaps, self action. Leibnitz understands by it something complete in itself ([Greek: echon to enteles]). Mr. Butler, in his _History of Ancient Philosophy_, lately reprinted in this country, translates it “act.” _Function_, we think would be a better rendering. (See W. Archer Butler’s _Lectures_, Last Series, Lect. 2.) Aristotle uses the word as a definition of the soul. “The soul,” he says, “is the first entelechy of an active body.”]