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gross error, which no man who felt Phèdre and Athalie could heartily entertain. His excellent work on Grammar was perhaps the first example of philosophical grammar in the French language. A considerable space in his course is occupied by a treatise on Ethics, in which all the duties of life are deduced from the tendency of their observance to ensure the happiness of the agent as connected with that of his fellow men. I desire to be happy,” says Buffier ; "but I live in society with other men, who likewise desire to be happy. Let us try to discover the means by which I may increase my own happiness, while I augment, or at least do not diminish, that of others.”—“This is the foundation of all human wisdom; the source from which all virtues, purely natural, flow; the general principle of all morals, and of all human society.” This is that principle of utility, which, under different forms, has been considered as the basis of ethics by so many moralists; from Cicero, who represents it to be the first object of morality,“ ut eadem sit utilitas uniuscujusque et universorum,” to the poet who teaches us, that true self-love, and social, are the same. It ought to be added, that the writings of Buffier are remarkable for that perfect clearness of expression which, since Descartes and Pascal," has been so generally diffused among French writers, that it may now be regarded as one of the enviable peculiarities of their language.
We have already said, that we shall not be tempted, by this Discourse, into the extensive field of German speculation. Perhaps it would have been better if Mr. Stewart had preferred silence on this subject, to judgments formed with imperfect means of information. At all events, it would have been more conformable to those generous principles which usually influence his criticims, to have presumed favourably, or at least to have spoken cautiously, of philosophers whom he cannot hear in their own defence, than to have given full scope to the prepossessions of his school and his country, and to have lent some countenance to the prejudices of the vulgar against their opinions and their talents.
The metaphysical paroxysm of Germany has, however, disappeared. Kant and his successors, together with their opponents, have ceased to occupy that degree of public attention which it was not agreeable to the common course of human affairs that writers on such subjects should ever enjoy. Such vicissitudes, in former times, suggested the observation of Mr. Hume. “A pleasant comedy, which paints the manners of the age, and exposes a faithful picture of Nature, is a durable work, and is transmitted to the latest posterity. But a system, whether physical, or metaphysical, owes commonly its success to its novelty; and is no sooner canvassed with impartiality, than its weakness is discovered." Farther reflection, though it may not lead us altogether to dissent from this fine and striking remark, will warrant some hesitation in adopting the opinion, that philosophical systems are worthless. To the common observer, indeed, they seem to pass away, without leaving behind a trace of their transitory sway. But the succession of opinions and of schools constitutes the long education of the human understanding. Each system will, on due examination, be found to be best adapted to the condition of the minds of men at the period of its rise : and there is none which does not throw a stronger light on some particular part of the edifice of knowledge. Every one brings into view some truth overlooked, or slightly examined by others; and the most defective cures some distemper of the understanding, however it may produce or aggravate other intellectual maladies. The very prevalence of a set of opinions is a sufficient proof that, for the time, they are better fitted than any other to rouse, to strengthen, and to sharpen the faculties of mankind. In this great process, opposite errors gradually correct each other, and every side of every question is fully and minutely surveyed. The torrent soon subsides, and is dried up; but each, in its course, deposits some particles of genuine ore, and furnishes some facts and observations for that fabric of truth which slowly, but constantly, arises, even amidst the errors which seem to obstruct its progress.
* There are few passages more valuable to the student of philosophy, than the second and third articles of the First Part of “ Pascal's Thoughts ;" especially the Eight Rules for Definitions, Axions, and Definitions formed from the example of Geometricians, but in some degree applicable to all reasoning ; which seem to us admirable for their simplicity and perspicuity, and for a sort of homely usefulness, which is one of the rarest merits of a metaphysician.
+ A late publication at Paris seems strongly to indicate a disposition, among French philosophers, to consider Condillac's “ Account of the Origin of Knowledge” as incomplete and unsatisfactory. “Leçons de Philosophie. Par M. Laromiguière. Paris, 1820, edition 2de." We know this work hitherto only from some able criticisms on it in the “ Journal des Savans." From these we should conjecture, that the speculations of the author bore some resemblance to those of the late most ingenious Dr. Brown, which we should rejoice in an opportunity of examining with the atiention due 10 their great importance.
The attention of the Germans has recently been turned to other subjects, which naturally lead us to attend Mr. Stewart, for a moment, in his short observations on the philosophy of languages,— on the grand retrospect of Asiatie civilisation, and on the bright prospects of improvement in America ; subjects which he evidently considers as not unconnected with each other, and which he rightly deems not foreign to a “History of the Science of Human Nature.”
On the first of thesse subjects, the German scholars received their first impalse from Leibnitz, some of whose boldest speculations relate to the arrangement and analogies of languages, viewed in their connection with the early annals of our species. The celebrated Mr. W. Schlegel, who has presented Calderon and Shakspeare to his countrymen with an animated fidelity which has astonished the scholars of Spain and of England, and who has more recently seconded the exertions of M. Raynouard to recover the Grammar and History of that celebrated Romance dialect which is commonly called Provençal, has at last turned his philological powers to the elucidation of Sanscrit; and, with the aid of his brother, and of the very learned Mr. Bopp, has already thrown a stronger light on its resemblance, not only in words but in grammatical structure, to the ancient Persian, to Greek, and to Teutonic. He brings to his new study those rules and habits which three centuries of criticism on the ancient writers formed in Europe; and he proposes, in a series of editions of Sanscrit books, to appear as the first critic and commentator on the classics of ancient India.t
The same national talent for discovering the relations of languages would be conspicuous, if it were not lost in variety of excellence, in the works of M. Alexander de Humboldt; wbo, as he carried with him from Europe a larger stock of science, so he has brought back more splendid accessions to our knowledge than any other traveller; whose works may be considered as the best proof of the existence of a secret band which unites all the parts of knowledge, -of the unexpected light which physical and moral sciences
This part of knowledge is by no means to be confounded with the philosophy of language. The latter science considers only what is common to all languages. The former is conversant with the variety of classes into which human languages are to be divided according to their origin and structure, and exhibits the history of their various changes and mutual dependence. It is a science $0 new as to be set without a name.
+ See M. Schlegel's Journal, entitled Indische Bibliothek, Benn. 1820.
the most distant and dissimilar are found to reflect on each other, and of the power of a great master to raise the dignity of his scientific altainments, by employing them in the service of a general and comprehensive philosophy. We gather, from some scaltered intimations in the late volumes of his great work, that he still meditates a visit to the Central Mountains of Asia; a design which his examination of America originally inspired. In truth, these countries are connected in a philosophical imagination by the contrast of their institulions, as well as by the resemblance of some of the grand features of nature. This singular and mixed relation has more than once brought them together in the writings of Mr. Stewart, as it probably contributed to join them as objects of interest in the comprehensive mind of M. de Humboldt. They seem to form the extreme visible points of the past and future progress of human civilisation. The whole of ils course, as far as we can see, or even speciously conjecture, seems to be performed between the Ganges and the Mississippi. The times which passed before the social system of India, and even the origin of that system ilsels, are covered with impenetrable darkness. We dimly descry its ancient state, and we perceive nothing beyond it. It is still covered with the remains of the earliest laws and works of civilised men.
North America, on the other hand, presents to our observation the extraordinary spectacle of a commonwealth advancing with gigantic strides to imperial greatness with institutions of which some are hitherto untried among powerful states. By a singular fortune, it has happened, that the same European people have conquered the most ancient seats of civilisalion in the East, and founded this new order of society in the Western World. At the same moment we learn that the site of Meroë is ascertained, or the remains of Babylon surveyed, in one quarter of the globe; while in another, populous and flourishing republics spring up in the Wilderness, and industry subdues the Desert with a rapidity which exceeds the course of the most renowned warriors. In the dominions or among the descendants of the English nation, we discover the most venerable antiquity to which remembrance can stretch, and the utmost progress in the time to come, from which the most sanguine hopes of enthusiasm can anticipate improvement. This is a posi!ion of great dignity, in which perhaps no people was ever placed before. But there are many among us who seem disposed lo reject the better part of this high destiny. All who, from whatever motive, either of narrow faction or political jealousy, regard America with unfriendly eyes, are strangely forgetful of the honour which redounds to their country from that monument of the genius and courage of Englishmen. It was not thus that this great subject was viewed by the wisest men who have gone before us.
We view the establishment of the English colonies on principles of liberty,” says Mr. Burke,* “as that which is to render this kingdom venerable to future ages. In comparison of this, we regard all the victories and conquests of our warlike ancestors, or of our own times, as barbarous vulgar distinctions, in which many nations whom we look upon with little respect or value have equalled, if not far exceeded us. This is the peculiar and appropriated glory of England. Those who have and who hold to that foundation of common liberty, whether on this or on your side of the ocean, we consider as the true and the only true Englishmen. Those who depart from it, whether there or here, are attainted, corrupted in
Address to the British Colonists in North America, Burke, v. 147. ed. 4to.
blood, and wholly fallen from their original rank and value. They are the real rebels to the fair constitution and just supremacy of England." These words were intended to be addressed to the people of America in January, 1777, a period of civil war, by a zealous friend of the supremacy of England, after the declaration of American independence. The two English states on both sides of the Atlantic are now, indeed, liable to those vicissitudes of war and peace to which popular interests and passions expose all independent countries; but their friendly intercourse is perhaps still more endangered by popular animosities; and its continuance depends, in some measure, on their habitual temper and feelings towards each other.
The glory of England is the establishment of Liberly in a great empire. To her belong the great moral discoveries of Habeas Corpus and Trial by Jury, of a Popular Representation and a Free Press. These institutions she sent forth with her colonies into the Wilderness. By these institutions they have grown into a mighty nation. The more they multiply and spread, the more splendid will the name of that nation become, which has bestowed these inestimable blessings on the world. The laws of England, founded on principles of liberty, are still, in substance, the code of America. Our writers, our statutes, the most modern decisions of our Judges, are quoted in every court of justice from the St. Lawrence to Mississippi. English law, as well as English liberty, are the foundations on which the legislation of America is founded. The authority of our jurisprudence may survive the power of our government for as many ages as the laws of Rome commanded the reverence of Europe, after the subversion of her empire.
Our language is as much that of America as it is that of England. As America increases, the glory of the great writers of England increases with it. The admirers of Shakspeare and of Milton are multiplied. The fame of every future Englishman of genius is more widely spread. Is it unreasonable, then, to hope that these ties of birth, of liberty, of laws, of language, and of literature, may in time prevail over vulgar, ignoble, and ruinous prejudices? Their ancestors were as much the countrymen of Bacon and Newton, of Hampden and Sidney, as ours. They are entitled to their full share of that inheritance of glory which has descended from our common forefathers. Neither the liberty of England, nor her genius, nor the noble language which that genius has consecrated, is worthy of their disregard. All these honours are theirs if they choose lo preserve them. The history of England, till the adoption of counsels adverse to liberty, is their history. We may still preserve or revive kindred feelings. They may claim noble ancestors, and we may look forward to renowned descendants, -unless adverse prejudices should dispose them to reject those honours which they have lawfully inherited, and lead us to envy that greatness which has arisen from our institutions, and will perpetuate our fame.
Circumstances have compelled us to break off abruptly at this place. We shall pro
bably soon find a convenient opportunity of laying before our readers the observasions which have occurred to us on that pari of Mr. Stewari's Discourse which relates 10 the English and Scotch Philosophers of the eighteenth century, from Berkeley to Brown."
Though Sir James Mackintosh has not redeemed this pledge in the pages of the Edinburgh Review, he has employed a more fitting medium for laying before the public his opinions of the English and Scotch philosophers. I allude to his Dissertation prefixed 10 the Encyclopædia Brilannica, a production which cannot fail to give increased lustre and durability to his exalted and honourable reputation.
COUSIN'S COURSE OF PHILOSOPHY.
The delivery of these Lectures excited an unexampled sensation in Paris, Condemned to silence during the reign of Jesuit ascendancy, M. Cousin, aster eight years of honourable retirement, had again ascended the Chair of Philosophy; and the splendour with which he recommenced his academical career, more than justified the expectation which his recent reputation as a writer, and the memory of his earlier lectures, had inspired. Two thousand auditors listened, in admiration, to the eloquent exposition of doctrines unintelligible to the many; and the oral discussion of philosophy awakened in Paris and in France, an interest unexampled since the days of Abelard. The daily journals found it necessary to gratify, by their earlier analyses, the impatient curiosity of the public; and the lectures themselves, taken in shorthand, and corrected by the Professor, propagated weekly the influence of his instruction to the remotest provinces of the kingdom.
Nor are the pretensions of his doctrine disproportioned to the attention it has engaged. It professes nothing less than to be the complement and conciliation of all philosophical opinion; and its author claims the glory of placing the key-stone in the arch of science, by the discovery of elements hitherto unobserved among the phenomena of consciousness.
Before proceeding to consider the pretensions of M. Cousin to originality, and of his doctrine 10 truth, it is necessary to say a few words on the state and relations of philosophy in France.
After the philosophy of Descartes and Malebranche had sunk into oblivion, and from the time that Condillac, exaggerating the too partial principles of Locke, had analysed all knowledge into sensation, Sensualism, as a philosophical theory, became, in France, not only the dominant, but almost the one exclusive opinion. It was believed that reality and truth were limited to experience, and experience was limited to the sphere of sense; while the higher faculties of reflection and reason were thought adequately explained as perceptions, elaborated, purified, sublimated, and transformed. the mechanical relations of sense with its objects, it was attempted to explain the mysteries of intelligence; the philosophy of mind was soon viewed as a correlative to the philosophy of organisation. The moral nature of man was at last identified with his physical; mind was a reflex of maller,thought a secretion of the brain.
A philosophy so melancholy in its consequences, and founded on principles thus partial and exaggerated, could not be permanent : a reaction was inevitable. The recoil, which began about twenty years ago, has been gradually increasing; and now it is perhaps even to be apprehended, that its intensity may become excessive. As the poison was of foreign growth, so also has been the antidote. The doctrine of Condillac was a corruption of the doctrine of Locke; and, in returning to a better philosophy, the French are still obeying an impulsion communicated from withoui. This impulsion may be traced to two different sources, -10 the philosophy of Scotland, and to the philosophy of Germany.
In Scotland, a philosophy had sprung up, which, though professing, equally with the docirine of Condillac, to build only on experience, did not, like that doctrine, limit experience to the relations of sense and its objects.
* Cours de Philosophie. Par M. V. Cousin, Professeur de Philosophie à la Faculté de Lettres de Paris.-lutroduction à l'llistoire de la Philosophie. 8v0.--Vol. I. page 194. October, 1829.