« PreviousContinue »
much that I had toiled out for myself, and a powerful assistance in what I had yet to do.
I have introduced this statement, as appropriate to the narrative nature of this sketch ; yet rather in reference to the work which I have announced in a preceding page, than to my present subject. It would be but a mere act of justice to myself, were I to warn my future readers, that an identity of thought, or even similarity of phrase will not be at all times a certain proof that the passage has been borrowed from Schelling, or that the conceptions were originally learnt from him. In this instance, as in the dramatic lectures of Schlegel to which I have before al. luded, from the same motive of self-defence against the charge of plagiarism, many of the most striking resemblances, indeed all the main and fundamental ideas, were born and matured in my mind before I had ever seen a single page of the German Philosopher; and I might indeed affirm with truth, before the more important works of Schelling had been written, or at least made public. Nor is this coincidence at all to be wondered at. We had studied in the same school ; been disciplined by the same preparatory philosophy, namely, the writings of Kant; we had both equal obligations to the polar logic and dynamic philosophy of Giordano Bruno; and Schelling has lately, and, as of recent acquisition, avowed that same affectionate reverence for the labors of Behmen, and other mystics, which I had formed at a much earlier period.” The coincidence of Schelling's system endeavoring to show the consistency of his philosophical views with a religious Theism: how far successfully or otherwise, I cannot say, but I believe, not so as to silence the great body of objectors.
Schelling's Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur (Natur-Philosophie) was first published at Leipzig in 1797 ; a second edition entirely recast, appeared at Landshut, in 1803. The System des Transscendentalem Idealismus was published at Tubingen in 1800. The early age at which Schelling put forth his profound speculations, displaying so deep an insight into former philosophies, and so much general knowledge, renders them one of the intellectual wonders of the world. S. C.]
27 [Archdeacon Hare says in regard to this statement; “Schelling's pamphlet” (in which this avowal is contained) “ had appeared eleven years before; but, perhaps, it did not find its way to England till the peace; and Coleridge, having read it but recently, inferred that it was a recent publication.” S. C.]
with certain general ideas of Behmen, he declares to have been mere coincidence; while my obligations have been more direct. He needs give to Behmen only feelings of sympathy; while I owe him a debt of gratitude. God forbid ! that I should be suspected of a wish to enter into a rivalry with Schelling for the | honors so unequivocally his right, not only as a great and ori
ginal genius, but as the founder of the Philosophy of Nature, and as the most successful improver of the Dynamic System,
18 It would be an act of high and almost criminal injustice to pass over in silence the name of Mr. Richard Saumarez,* a gentleman equally well known as a medical man and as a philanthropist, but who demands notice on the present occasion as the author of " A new System of Physiology” in two volumes octavo, published 1797; and in 1812 of “ An Examination of the natural and artificial Systems of Philosophy which now prevail,” in one volume octavo, entitled, “ The Principles of physiological and physical Science.” The latter work is not quite equal to the former in style or arrangement; and there is a greater necessity of distinguishing the principles of the author's philosophy from his conjectures concerning color, the atmospheric matter, comets, &c., which, whether just or erroneous, are by no means necessary consequences of that philosophy. Yet even in this department of this yolume, which I regard as comparatively the inferior work, the reasonings by which Mr. Saumarez invalidates the immanence of an infinite power in any finite substance are the offspring of no common mind; and the experiment on the expansibility of the air is at least plausible and highly ingenious. But the merit, which will secure both to the book and to the writer a high and honorable name with posterity, consists in the masterly force of reasoning, and the copiousness of induction, with which he has assailed, and (in my opinion) subverted the tyranny of the mechanic system in physiology ; established not only the existence of final causes, but their necessity and efficiency in every system that merits the name of philosophical ; and, substituting life and progressive power for the contradictory-inert force, has a right to be known and remembered as the first instaurator of the dynamic philosophy in England. The author's views, as far as concerns himself, are unbor.
(Richard Sauinarez was a native of Guernsey, and became Surgeon to the Magdalen Hospital, London. He published A Dissertation on the Universe in general, and on the procession of the Elements in particular, Lovd., 1796, 8v0.-A new System of Physiology, comprehending the Laws by which animated beings in general, and the human species in particular, are governed in their several states of health and disease. Lond., 1798, 2 vols. 8vo.- Principles and Ends of Philosophy. 1811, 8vo.-Principles of Physiological and Physical Science, comprehending the ends for which animated beings were created. Lond., 1812, 8v0.-Orations delivered before the Medical Society of London. 1813, 8vo.-Observations on Generation and the Principles of Life. Med. and Phys. Journ.; ii., p. 42 1799. S.C.
which, begun by Bruno, was re-introduced in a more philosophical form, and freed from all its impurities and visionary accompaniments) by Kant; in whom it was the native and necessary growth of his own system. Kant's followers, however, on whom (for the greater part) their master's cloak had fallen without, or with a very scanty portion of, his spirit, had adopted his dynamic ideas, only as a more refined species of mechanics. With exception of one or two fundamental ideas, which cannot be withheld from Fichte, to Schelling we owe the completion, and the most important victories, of this revolution in philosophy. To me it will be happiness and honor enough, should I succeed in rendering the system itself intelligible to my countrymen, and in the application of it to the most awful of subjects for the most important of purposes. Whether a work is the offspring of a man's own spirit, and the product of original thinking, will be discovered by those who are its sole legitimate judges, by better tests than the mere reference to dates. For readers in general, let whatever shall be found in this or any future work of mine, that resembles, or coincides with, the doctrines of my German predecessor, though contemporary, be wholly attributed to him : provided, that the absence of distinct references to his books, which I could not at all times make with truth as desig. nating citations or thoughts actually derived from him; and which, I trust, would, after this general acknowledgment, be superfluous; be not charged on me as an ungenerous conceal. ment or intentional plagiarism. I have not indeed (eheu! res angusta domi!) been hitherto able to procure more than two of
rowed and completely his own, as he neither possessed nor do his writings discover, the least acquaintance with the works of Kant, in which the germs of the philosophy exist; and his volumes were published many years before the full development of these gerins by Schelling. Mr. Saumarez's detection of the Braunonian system was no light or ordinary service at the time; and I scarcely remember in any work on any subject a confutation so thoroughly satisfactory. It is sufficient at this time to have stated the fact; as in the preface to the work, which I have already an. nounced on the Logos, I have exhibited in detail the merits of this writer, and genuine philosopher, who needed only have taken his foundations somewhat deeper and wider to have superseded a considerable part of my labors.
his books, viz. the 1st volume of his collected Tracts, and his System of Transcendental Idealism; to which, however, I must dit add a small pamphlet against Fichte," the spirit of which was to filla my feelings painfully incongruous with the principles, and which (with the usual allowance afforded to an antithesis) displayed A tos the love of wisdom rather than the wisdom of love. I regard de ves truth as a divine ventriloquist : I care not from whose mouth the sounds are supposed to proceed, if only the words are audible and intelligible. “ Albeit, I must confess to be half in doubt, whether I should bring it forth or no, it being so contrary to the eye of the world, and the world so potent in most men's hearts, that I shall endanger either not to be regarded or not to be un. derstood.'31
And to conclude the subject of citation, with a cluster of citations, which as taken from books not in common use, may Millen contribute to the reader's amusement, as a voluntary before a sermon :-“ Dolet mihi quidem deliciis literarum inescatos subito jam homines adeo esse, præsertim qui Christianos se profitentur, et legere nisi quod ad delectationem facit, sustineant nihil : unde they et disciplinæ severiores et philosophia ipsa jam fere prorsus this etiam a doctis negliguntur. Quod quidem propositum studi. orum, nisi mature corrigitur, tam magnum rebus incommodum dabit, quam dedit barbaries olim. Pertinax res barbaries est, fateor : sed minus potest tamen, quam illa mollities et persuasa prudentia literarum, si ratione caret, sapientiæ virtutisque specie
29 [F. W. J. Schelling's Philosophische Schriften, Erster Band. (First volume.) Landshut, 1809. S. C.]
30 ['This is the Darlegung referred to in a previous note. The mutual censures of Fichte and Schelling, and their quarrels about Nature and the nature of Nature, are harsh breaks in the bright current of their writings.
There is to my mind a great metaphysical sublimity in the first part of Fichte's Bestimmung des Menschen, especially the passage beginning in jedem Momente ihrer Dauer ist Natur ein zusammenhängendes Gauze, and the preceding paragraphs, from the words Das Princip der Thatigheit, p. 11. Very imaginative is the grand glimpse these passages give of the interconnected movements of the universe, presenting to the mind universality in unity, and a seeming infinitude of the finite. S. C.]
31 (Milton's Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Book ij., chav i. S. C.)
mortales misere circumducens. Succedet igitur, ut arbitror, haud ita multo post, pro rusticana seculi nostri ruditate capta. trix illa communi-loquentia robur animi virilis omne, omnem vir. tutem masculam, profligatura, nisi cavetur.
A too prophetic remark, which has been in fulfilment from the year 1680, to the present 1815. By persuasa prudentia, Grynæus means self-complacent common sense as opposed to science and philosophic reason.
Est medius ordo, et velut equestris, ingeniorum quidem sagacium, et commodorum rebus humanis, non tamen in primam magnitudinem patentium. Eorum hominum, ut sic dicam, major annona est. Sedulum esse, nihil temere loqui, assuescere labori, et imagine prudentia et modestia tegere angustiores partes captus, dum exercitationem ac usum, quo isti in civilibus rebus pollent, pro natura et magnitudine ingenii plerique accipiunt.***3
“As therefore physicians are many times forced to leave such methods of curing as themselves know to be the fittest, and being overruled by the patient's impatiency, are fain to try the best they can : in like sort, considering how the case doth stand with this present age, full of tongue and weak of brain, behold we would (if our subject permitted it) yield to the stream thereof. That way we would be contented to prove our thesis, which being the worse in itself, is notwithstanding now by reason of common imbecility the fitter and likelier to be brooked."'4
If this fear could be rationally entertained in the controver. sial age of Hooker, under the then robust discipline of the
32 [From "Symon Grynæus's premonition to the candid reader, prefixed to Ficinus's translation of Plato, published at Leyden, 1557.” See The Friend, Essay iii., vol. i., pp. 23-4, where also the same passage is quoted. In the original, as I learn from the Editor's note in that place, gulam stands for delectationem. S. C.)
13 [Barclay's Argenis, lib. i., Leyden, 1630, 12mo., pp. 63-4, with some omissions. The original, after assuescere labori, runs thus: et imagini Sapientiæ parere, tegere angustiores partes ingenii. Hæc neque summum hominem desiderant, et sola interdum sunt quæ in laudatis Proceribus suspicias. Ut vel abesse vitia pro virtute sit ; vel non invislivsus prudentiæ rivus in Oceani famam se diffundat, dum exercitationem, &c. S. C.]
34 (Slightly altered, with omissions, from Hooker's Eccles. Polity, b. i. c. viii., s. 2. S. C.]