« AnkstesnisTęsti »
feeblest slave whom oppressicn chains down in ignorance and vice — done by the all-seeing Father of both president and slave, who loves both with equal love. The venerable man is gone home. He shall have his praise. But who shall speak it worthily ? Mean men and little, who shrank from him in life, who never shared what was manliest in the man, but mocked at his living nobleness, shall they come forward and with mealy mouths, to sing his requiem, forgetting that his eulogy is their own ban! Some will rejoice at his death; there is one man the less to fear, and they who trembled at his life may well be glad when the earth has covered up the son she bore. Strange men will meet with mutual solace at his tomb, wondering that their common foe is dead, and they are met! The Ilerods and Pilates of contending parties may be made friends above his grave, and clasping hands may fancy that their union is safer than before; but there will come a day after to-day! Let us leave him to his rest.
The slave has lost a champion who gained new ardor and new strength the longer he fought; America has lost a man who loved her with his heart; Religion has lost a supporter ; Freedom an unfailing friend, and Mankind a noble vindicator of our unalienable rights.
It is not long since he was here in our own streets ; three winter months have scantly flown : he set out for his toil -but went home to his rest. His labors are over. now threatens to assassinate ; none to expel; none even to censure. The theatrical thunder of Congress, noisy but harmless, has ended as it ought, in honest tears. South Carolina need ask no more a halter for that one Northern neck she could not bend nor break. The tears of his country are dropped upon his urn; the Muse of History shall write thereon,
; in letters not to be effaced, THE ONE GREAT MAN SINCE WASHINGTON, WHOM AMERICA HAD NO CAUSE TO FEAR.
To-day that venerable form lies in the Capitol, — the disenchanted dust. All is silent. But his undying soul, could we deem it still hovering o'er its native soil, bound to take leave yet lingering still, and loath to part, that would bid us love our country, love man, love Justice, Freedom, Right, and above all, love God. To-morrow that venerable dust starts once more to join the dear presence of father and mother, to mingle his ashes with their ashes, as their lives once mingled, and their souls again. Let his native state commu
nicate her last sad sacrament, and give him now - 'tis all she can
a little earth for charity. But what shall we say as the dust returns ?
“Where Slavery's minions cower
He bore their ban;
Stood up a man.
Came thick and black,
The phalanx back.
By foes o'ercome;-
We hail him home.
“ His life in labors spent,
Now rests for aye;
Pass not away." +
* Clarum et venerabile nomen. † The above lines are from the pen of the Rev. John Pierpont.
ART. VI. — SHORT REVIEWS AND NOTICES.
1.-1. Histoire de la philosophie Allemande depuis Kant jusqu'à
Hegel. Par J. WILLM, Inspecteur de l'Academie de Strasbourg. Tomes I., II., et III. Paris. Ladrange. 1846-7.
2. Essai sur l'histoire de la philosophie en France, au XVII e siècle. Par M. Ph. DAMIRON. Paris. Hachette. 1846. 2 vols.
3. Geschichte der Naturphilosophie von Baco von Verulam bis auf unsere Zeit. Von Dr. Julius SCHALLER. Tb. I. und II. Leipzig 1841-6.
We have brought together in this article three works of various character and aim; all coming, however, under the general head of “ History of Modern Philosophy," — not with the intention of detailed criticism of any of them at present, but merely to bring them to the notice of our readers, with such general description as may give a view of the design of each, with an approximate notion of its execution.
M. Willm, although his name and his residence in the debatable land of Alsace would seem to indicate German blood, is very clearly a Frenchman in mind and education. He shows, in an eminent degree, the merits, and to a certain extent the defects, that distinguish the French metaphysicians of the present day :— the entire perspicuity, the neatness and precision of language, the enlightened toleration, the faithfulness of research, and the facility with which abstruse topics are penetrated to a certain depth.
On the other hand, we meet here also with the national defects of proneness to superficial analogies and connections, neglecting unity of idea; and a habit of judging philosophical systems by a reference to public opinion and established notions, instead of a philosophical standard.
As to our author's point of view, we should call him an eclectic, whose prevailing feeling is that the true philosophy is something not impossible, but as yet far distant a structure that may once be completed, (though this rather as a hope than a belief, and with a tendency to prolong its genesis ad infinitum) — but for which as yet only materials have been furnished. " The various systems,”
are incomplete philosophies, which, even when true at bottom, are not so in the sense that they could be joined together into one; they are true only as so many homogeneous elements, which, when combined and united, form one organic whole. In this labor of fusion and reorganization, every thing personal, local, temporary, which has been mingled with the truth, must be separated from it. But this labor, which must be that of an absolute
criticism, producing the definitive philosophy, can be the work of time alone, and ages must pass before it is accomplished.”
He does not belong to the class who consider the history of Philosophy as a random list of opinions, prevailing or obsolete, strung together by the casual succession of time, but regards the various philosophies as parts of one whole. “In this slow labor of the ages,” he says, “no workman is useless, and no work thrown away. Each system, however imperfect, if only it be genuine, suffices for the want of its age. In it the human mind pauses and establishes itself for a while ; then applies itself again to its work, and reconstructs its habitation more commodious, more certain, more vast, and more beautiful.”
This habitation, however, is to M. Willm a temple, built by 1 aggregation, and which is a shapeless mass until it is finished ; not a living body, which is complete at every stage of its growth, for that stage, and whose subsequent progress is but a development from within.
These defects or shortcomings, however, do not very materially interfere with the particular task he has taken in hand in this work - namely, to give a detailed analysis of the later German systems, without much comment of his own. We cannot, indeed, allow this to be strictly - History of Philosophy,” for we might go through it all without at the end coming any nearer to philosophy. There is, to be sure, something attractive at first sight in this cool, ủnprejudiced way, which merely states the doctrines in ques. tion, without mixing private opinions with them. But the main question after all is, Whether any particular doctrine is Philosophy or not, and what its relations are to Philosophy, - and this can be answered only by criticism. But we readily acknowledge it to be a labor highly important to the student of these systems, whether as an auxiliary or as a preparatory to the study of the works themselves.
The plan of the work is as follows: - After brief troduction, M. Willm gives a rapid, rather bibliographical review of German philosophy, from Leibnitz to Kant. The subsequent period, which forms the proper field of his undertaking, he divides into two periods : 1. Kant and Fichte, with the opposition, represented principally by Jacobi. 2. Schelling and Hegel, with the opposition, Herbart. The whole to be closed by an account of the present condition of philosophy in Germany.
Beginning with Kant, he gives a short sketch of his life, and then a careful analysis of all his writings, first theoretical and then practical, occupying in all about 575 octavo pages; in which, moreover, nothing is thrown away, and which comprises almost no criticism at all. These analyses are so full and minute as to amount almost to re-writing Kant, and writing him better. We consider this work of M. Willm's as the nearest approach to
a translation of Kant that we have seen.
It is of little use in general to translate literally German philosophy, particularly Kant; for the original is mastered with about the same labor as the translation. A more difficult and a much more useful task, is to re-arrange the original matter, amplify in some places, but more often condense, and reproduce it with a strict regard to the original peculiarities of phraseology and method, so far as these are essential, and so far as they can be strictly rendered without certainty of being misunderstood by the uninitiated. A very delicate task, and one which M. Willm seems to us to have very well accomplished.
His criticisms, which, as already remarked, are very few, have this merit, that they distinguish accurately between what is implied in the writings of a philosopher, and what is actually expressed; and thus prevents that confusion which we sometimes see in criticisms of a higher order, in which the connection of the same idea through a series of systems leads to inaccuracy in the precise relations of the systems among themselves.
On the other hand, the fancied impartiality which will not judge from any one system is deceitful, and has bad results. For every one has his system, and the only question is what it is. The attempt to criticize freely without system, is, in fact, either to cite Philosophy before the bar of Common-Sense, (which is a trial of the judiciary by the mob,) or to test it by an arbitrary standard of some other system, without explaining its relation and connection. Thus, for instance, M. Willm says that “ Kant's great defect, the source, at once, of all his errors and all his faults, was, that he had no proper psychological foundations for his philosophy;" and on the other hand, that “ his great merit is, that he established the fact of Freedom, and Morality as its law.” But Kant's first aim was to dispense with the “psychological foundations," or, in other words, the postulates, which were assumed by the dogmatic philosophy of his day. The other course, insisted on by M. Willm, supposes the result obtained ere the labor is undertaken. Evidently, if these “psychological foundations,” or primary fucts, as they have been called by others, are really prerequisite as the basis of Philosophy, they must themselves be unphilosophical. The only difference in this respect between these two methods, is this, — that the former starts knowingly and professedly with common-sense as the point of departure, or the germ which is to be developed into knowledge ; whereas the latter takes this same common-sense (sometimes under the high-sounding names of “ Intuition," “ Consciousness,” &c.) to be Philosophy itself, and thus, in fact, does not get started at all — never going beyond the point of departure.
Then, again, the merit of Kant, or any other philosopher, cannot consist in the mere establishment of a fact, however exalt