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upon what we consider improvements in the condition of society; the more especially, as some points, that appear to us worthy of praise, have been the subject of vulgar complaint. We hear, for instance, much pathetic lamentation on the decline of country hospitality, at a time when that "first cousin to a virtue" seems more deserving of commendation than at any period referred to by its detractors.

In what did the hospitality of the last century consist ? An interchange of dinner visits between country neighbours,—a journey some half a dozen miles over wretched roads, and a return home some eight hours afterwards, with the footman drunk, the coachman more drunk, and the master most drunk. Hospitality, in a word, was a profusion of port wine; and the host welcomed his friends by ruining their constitutions.

Houses, much less conveniently arranged than at present, were not often capable of affording accommodation, for days together, to visitors from a distance. Few, comparatively speaking, were the guests who found their way from the metropolis to these rustic receplacles of Silenus; and the strangers were then stared at for their novelty, or ridiculed for their refinement -oracles to the silly and bulls to the brutal. What an improvement in the present tone of country hospitality! Instead of solemn celebrations of inebriety-instead of jolting at one hour through the vilest of lanes, to reurn at another from the most senseless of revels,-improved roads facilitate the visiis of neighbours, improved houses accommodate a greater number of guests, and an improved hospitality gives to both a welcome reception, without endangering their health or making war on their reason. The visitors are more numerous ; the victims less. To give a dinner, or to receive a gentleman from London, are not the events in a squire's life that they were in the last century. At stated periods of the year the house is filled with persons who can be cultivated as well as manly; and improvements in opinions are thus circulated throughout the country, as well as improvements in gun-locks.

So far, indeed, from the tone of society in the country being, as formerly, considerably below that in the metropolis, it is now perhaps more graceful and courteous. The host, dissatisfied with his station in London, beholds his acres and his hall, rises into a great man in his province, and, content with the tokens of his own consequence, naturally grows complaisant to others. The petty vying and the paltry cringing are no longer necessarythe heartburn of fashion ceases—there is no compromise of comfort and nature for the attainment of wearisome and artificial objects; even the coldDess, the distraction, and the formality incident to London coteries, subside with the causes; and that tone of general equality which the most courtly circles can alone establish in a capital becomes the easy and natural characteristic of the manners in a country mansion.

Another main feature in the aspect of society is the improvement and multiplicity of Clubs. That the luxuries of these houses render husbands less domestic, and impart to sons notions disproportioned to their fortune, have been made very common and vulgar grounds of attack. With regard to the first we will own frankly that that mere animal habit which would confine men to the narrow circle of their firesides, and render it a misdemeanour to seek rational intercourse abroad, might, we think, be lessened, without operating in any way to the disadvantage of society. But, in fact, so rigid a domesticalness exists liule among the classes for which clubs are as yet chiefly instituted. We fear that at those witching hours of night, in which the gentleman is at his club, the lady and her daughter, so far fromi deploring his absence at home, are enjoying themselves at the ball or the soirée. The latter charge is equally ridiculous. That all men are not rich enough to enjoy a good house, airy rooms, new publications, the constant sociely of their acquaintances, and the decent pleasures of the table, is a grievance very much to be lamented; but that when men can obtain these advantages without being rich, there should be any harm in enjoying them, because they are not rich, or that they should be more discontented with a small room, because they have the power of quitting it for a large room whenever they please, are notions in metaphysics with which we cannot agree. Besides, while the principle of a club is economy, its temptations are not those of extravagance; while a young man is enabled by its organization to save half his income, he meets there little that could allure him to spend the other half. The more attached he becomes to the quiet and orderly habits of a club life, the less he will feel inclined towards the expenses of that dissipation to which the routine of a club life is so opposed. A third objection, sometimes urged against clubs, would be serious indeed, were it generally founded in truth, viz. the custom of gaming.

But gaming is not practised in the great majority of clubs, especially those lately established. In the few notorious for the support of that vice, the usual advantages of a club, viz. economy, the facility of intellectual conversation, etc. are not found; they are gaming-houses, in a word, with a more specious name ; and we willingly surrender them, without a word of defence, to the indignation of their iropugners.

The increase of clubs we think favourable to the growth of public principle. By the habits of constant intercourse, truths circulate, and prejudices are frittered away. “ Nothing," observes that great writer,* in whom we scarcely know which to admire the most, the brilliant imagination, or the quiet rationality-"nothing more contributes to maintain our common sense than living in the universal way with multitudes of inen;" and, let us add, that it not only maintains our common sense, but diminishes the selfishness of our motives. In the close circle of private lise, public matters are rarely and coldly discussed. In public, they form the chief topic; and made interesting, first as the staple of conversation, they assume, at length, an interest and a fascination in themselves.

We cannot quit our subject without adverting to that tone of consideration and respect towards the great bulk of the people, which especially characterizes the present time and was almost a stranger to the past. Even in the ancient democracies, in which the flattery of the people was the science of power, even among the later Paladins of Chivalry,“ rough to the haughty, but gentle to the low”-mirrors not less of courtesy than valour -the tone alike of literature and philosophy breathes with a high contempt for the emotions and opinions of the vulgar. Among the Greeks—the crowd -the herd--the people—their fickleness--their violence-their ingratitude, furnished the favourite matter to scornful maxims and lordly apothegms. Taking their follies and their vices as the common subject for notice, where do we find their virtues panegyrized, or their character dispassionately examined? And in the models of chivalry, the “ doffing to the low" was but the insult of condescension; the bumble were not to be insulted, because they were not to be feared. But the instant the aspirer of plebeian birth

• Goethe.

altempted to rise against the decrees of fortune, the instant he affected honour or distinction, he was “ audacious varlet,” and “presuming caitiff.” The tender and accomplished author of the Arcadia, that noble work in which Chivalry appears in its most romantic and lovely shape, evidently esteems it the proof of a thoughtful and lofty mind, to disdain the multitude and rise beyond a regard for their opinion. Were it not something profane to accuse so glorious a benefactor as Shakspeare of any offence, it might, perhaps, be justly observed, that while his works abound with pithy sarcasms on the foibles of the common people, they have never brought into a strong light their nobler qualities; even the virtues accorded them are the mere virtues of servants, and rarely aspire beyond fidelity to a master in misfortune. While, in his mighty page, the just and impartial mirror has been held to almost every human secret of character among the higher and middle classes of life, how little have the motives and conduct of the great mass (beyond what are contemptible) been sisted and examined; how many opportunities of displaying their firmness, their fortitude, their resistance to oppression, of sympathizing with their misfortunes and their wrongs, have been passed over in silence, or devoted rather to satire than to praise! But not now, thank God, is it the mode, the cant, to affect a disdain of the vast majority of our fellow creatures,-an unthinking scorn for their opinions or pursuils : the philosophy of past times confused itself with indifference; the philosophy of the present rather seeks to be associated with philanthropy.

It may be worth while to some future inquirer to ascertain what share of the general disposition to which we refer may be attributed to writers now little remembered, and, in their own time, not unjustly condemned. It is the glorious doom of literature, that the evil perishes and the good remains. Even when the original author of some healthy and useful truth is forgotten, the truth survives, transplanted to works more calculated to purify it from error, and perpetuate it to our benefit. Nor can we tell how much we now ove of the tendency to enlighten and consult the people—how much of broad and rational opinion—to certain heated and vague enthusiasts of the last century. Time has consigned to oblivion the wild theories and the licentious morals that clouded, in their works, the temper towards benevolence and the desire of freedom. But time has ripened what was no less the characteristic of their writings—a disposition to unrobe the “ solemn plausibilities” that hid their interests from the people; to reduce to its just estimate the value of military glory; to direct analysis to the end and nature of governments, and to consider above the rest those classes of society hitherto the most contemned. Amidst the tumults and portents of the time, we hail this disposition as the best safeguard to one order, and the surest augury to the other; in proportion as it increases, society triumphs against whatever may oppose its welfare in prejudice or in custom; reform becomes at once tranquil and universal; the necessity of revolutions is superseded, and what once was enforced by violence, is effected by opinion.

Meanwhile, in whatsoever channels may be open to the honest ambition of literature, we trust that those who have the power to influence the bias of popular sentiment will inculcate what has too long been the subject of jest or incredulity, viz. the glory of promoting public interests; and the necessity, in order to bring virtue from the Hearth to the Forum, of calling

• In the Historical Plays.

forth from their present obscurity and neglect those rewards to exertion, which conser, if they be but rightly considered, a deeper respect than wealth, and an honour more lofty than titles. *

The following Essays, with many others of minor importance, were intended to form additions to those already selected on Miscellaneous Literature. I find however that I have already exceeded the space allotted to this valuable department. On the Literature of the Greeks and Romans, extracted from a brilliant review of Madame de Stael's work on the influence of Litera. iure, Vol. xxi. page 24, and well known to be the production of Mr. Jeffrey.--An excecdivg y interesting and learned Criticism on Madame de Stael's celebrated book on Germany, attributed in various publications lo Sir James Mackintosh. Vol. xxii. page 199.-A curious History of the Commentators on Dante, composed by Ugo Foscolo, a man of first-rate genius and extensive aequirements. Vol. xxix. page 453.--An admirable Contribution to an early number of the E. Review from one of its first and most eminent writers, the late Francis Horner, Esq. I allude to his clear and argumentative review of Dugald Stewart's Statement of Facts respecting the Ap. pointment of Mr. Leslie to the Situation of Mathematical Professor in the University of Edinburgh. Vol. vii. page 113. — A Sketch of the History of Roman Literature, written by Dr. Brown, lale Editor of the Caledonian Mercury, and the author of several excellent paners in the E. Review, Vol. xl. page 375; and an Essay on the Character and Authorship of the Epistola Obscurorum l'irorum. Vol. liii. page 180.

PART FIFTH.

METAPHYSICS AND MORAL SCIENCE.

EXPOSITION OF KANT'S PHILOSOPHY.

PaitosOPAY, + in relation to the process which it adopts, is considered by Kant as of three kinds. It is dogmatical, when it founds a system on principles assumed as certain ; sceptical, when it shows the insufficiency of those principles which the dogmatist has assumed; and critical, when, after adopting the objections of the sceptic, it does not rest satisfied with doubt, but proceeds to enquire, from what principle of our nature the illusions of the dogmatist have arisen, and, by a minute analysis of the cognitive powers of man, traces the whole system of his knowledge through all the modifications of its original elements by his independent and fundamental forms of thought. It is in this analysis, that the spirit of the critical philosophy is to be found; and, lill the process have become familiar, the whole system must appear peculiarly unintelligible : but, when the reduction of all our feelings to their objective and subjective elements is well understood, though we may still be perplexed by the cumbrous superfluity of nomenclature, we are able to discover, through the veil that is cast over us, those dim ideas which were present to the author's mind. According to Kant, then, it is necessary, in investigating the principles of knowledge, to pay regard to the two sets of laws, on which the nature of the object and of the subject depends. It is from their joint result, as directing the influence of the thing perceived, and as directing the susceptibilities of the percipient, that knowledge which is thus in every instance compound, arises; and this compound of objective and subjective elements might be modified equally, by the change of either sel of laws; as the impression of a seal may be varied alike, by a change of figure in the gem, or by a difference of resistance in the parts of the wax which are exposed to its pressure. The subjective elements are by Kant denominated forms; and each function of the mind has its peculiar forms, with which it invests its objects, uniling with them so intimately, as to render apparently one that feeling, which cannot exist but as combined of different elements. Nothing, therefore, is known to us as it is ; since we acquire the knowledge of an object only by the exertion of those laws which necessarily modify to us the real qualities of the object known. Philosophy therefore, in relation to its belief of external things, is empirical, when it believes them to exist exactly as they appear to us in each particular case; it is transcendent, when, using reason to correct the false representation of the senses, it believes that the objects of our senses exist in a manner really known to us, after this correction, though different from their immediate

• Vol. i. page 257. January, 1803.

+ The introductory observations to this Essay consist of a brief outline of the Life of Kant, with remarks on the manner in which his System of Philosophy has been expounded by M. Villers. See E. Review, Vol. i. pages 253_-256,

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VOL. III.

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