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general change, so that an experienced confirm and combine with more or iese historian, studying some particular exactitude and force its three gen trapart of it, sees in advance and half pre- tive instincts ; and we should ur.der. dicts the character of the rest. There stand why it is endemic in India, amidst is nothing vague in this interdepen- imaginative, philosophic, eminently fa. dence. In the living body the regula- natic brains : why it blossomed forth tor is, first, its tendency to manifest a so strangely and grandly in the middle certain primary type; then its necessi- ages, amidst an oppressive organiza. t; for organs whereby to satisfy its tion, new tongues and literatures; why wants and to be in harmony with itself it was aroused in the sixteenth century in crder that it may live. In a civiliza- with a new character and heroic enthu tion, the regulator is the presence, in siasm, amid universal regeneration, and every great human creation, of a pro- during the awakening of the German ductive element, present also in other races; why it breaks out into eccentric surrounding creations,- to wit, some sects amid the coarse American de. faculty, aptitude disposition, effective mocracy, and under the bureaucratic and discernible, which, being possess Russian despotism; why, in short, it ed of its proper character, introduces it is spread, at the present day, over into all the operations in which it Europe in such different dimensions assists, and, according to its variations, and such various characteristics, accauses all the works in which it co cording to the differences of r2.ce and operates to vary also.
civilization. And so for evesy kind of
human production-for literature, muVII.
sic, the fine arts, philosophy, science,
the state, industries, and the rest. At this point we can obtain a glimpse Each of these has for its direct cause a of the principal features of human moral disposition, or a combination of transformations, and begin to search moral dispositions : the cause given, for the general laws which regulate, they appear; the cause withdrawn, not events only, but classes of events, they vanish : the weakness or inten not such and such religion or literature, sity of the cause measures their weakbut a group of literatures or religions. ness or intensity. They are bound up If, for instance, it were admitted that a with their causes, as a physical phenom. religion is a metaphysical poem, ac. enon with its condition, as the dew companied by belief; and remarking with the fall of the variable temperat the same time that there are certain ature, as dilatation with heat. There epochs, races, and circumstances in are similarly connected data in the which belief, the poetical and metaphys- moral as in the physical world, as ical faculty, show themselves with an rigorously bound together, and as unwonted vigor: if we consider that universally extended in the one as in Christianity and Buddhism were pro- the other. Whatever in the one duced at periods of high philosophical case produces, alters, or suppresses conceptions, and amid such miseries as the first term, produces, alters, or raised up the fanatics of the Cévennes; suppresses the second as if we recognize, on the other hand, that sary consequence. Whatever lowers ps imitive religions are born at the awak- the surrounding temperature, deposits ening of human reason, during the rich the dew. Whatever develops cre. 2st blossoming of human imagination, at dulity side by side with a poetical a ti.ne of the Fairest artlessness and the conception of the world, engendere greatest credulity; if we consider, also, religion. Thus phenomena have been that Mohammedanism appeared with produced; thus they will be produced the dawning of poetic prose, and the As soon as we know the sufficient conception of national unity, amongst a and necessary condition of one of people destitute of science, at a period these vast occurrences, our understandof sudden development of the intellect, ing grasps the future as well as the —we might then conclude that a reli- past. We can say with confidence ir. gion is born, declines, is reformed and what circumstances it will reappear transformed according as circumstances 'foretell without presumption many por
tions of its future history, and sketch | and his special structure with somno cautiously some features of its ulterior governing disposition and some domi. development.
nant feature, To explain each, it
would be necessary to write a chapter VIII.
of psychological analysis, and barely
yet has such a method been rudely H.story now attempts, or rather is sketched. One man alone, Stendhal, very near attempting this method of with a peculiar bent of mind and a research. The question propounded strange education, has undertaken it, nowadays is of this kind Given a lit- and to this day the majority of readers erature, philosophy, society, art, group find his books paradoxical and ob. of arts, what is the moral condition scure: his talent and his ideas were which produced it? what the condi- premature ; his admirable divinations tions of race, epoch, circumstance, the were not understood, any more than his most fitted to produce this moral con- profound sayings thrown out cursorily, dition ? There is a distinct moral con- or the astonishing precision of his sys. dition for each of these formations, tem and of his logic. It was not per: and for each of their branches ; one ceived that, under the exterior of a for art in general, one for each kind of conversationalist and a man of the art-for architecture, painting, sculp- world, he explained the most compli. ture, music, poetry; each has its spe- cated of esoteric mechanismis ; that he cial germ in the wide field of human laid his finger on the mainsprings ; psychology; each has its law, and it is by that he introduced into the history of virtue of this law that we see it raised, the heart scientific processes, the art by chance, as it seems, wholly alone, of notation, decomposition, deduction ; amid the miscarriage of its neighbors, that he first marked the fundamenta: like painting in Flanders and Holland causes of nationality, cliinate, temperain the seventeenth century, poetry in ment; in short, that he treated sentiEngland in the sixteenth, music in ments as they should be treated,-in Germany in the eighteenth. At this the manner of the naturalist, and of the moment, and in these countries, the natural philosopher, who classifies and conditions have been fulfilled for one weighs forces. For this very reason art, not for others, and a single branch he was considered dry and eccentric: has budded in the general barrenness. he remained solitary, writing novels, History must search nowadays for voyages, notes, for which he sought these rules of human growth; with the and obtained a score of readers. And special psychology of each special for yet we find in his books at the present mation it must occupy itself; the fin- day essays the most suitable to open ished picture of these characteristic the path which I have endeavored to conditions it must now labor to com- describe. No one has better taught pose. No task is more delicate or us how to open our eyes and see, to more difficult ; Montesquieu tried it, see first the men that surround us and but in his time history was too new to the life that is present, then the ancient a imit of his success; they had not yet and authentic documents, to read be. even a fuspicion of the road necessary tween the black and white lines of the to be travelled, and hardly now do we | pages, to recognize beneath the old begin to catch sight of it. Just as in impression, under the scribbling of a its elements astronomy is a mechanical text, the precise sentiment, the move. and physiology a chemical problem, so ment of ideas, the state of mind in history in its elements is a psychological which they were written. In his wii. problem. There is a particular system tings, in Sainte-Beuve, in the Germani of inner impressions and operations critics, the reader will see all the which makes an artist, a believer, a wealth that may be drawn from a musician, a painter, a man in a no- literary work: when the work is rich, madic or social state ; and of each and people know how to interpret it, the birth and growth,' the energy, the we find there the psychology of a soul, Connection of ideas and emotions, are frequently of an age, now and then of caron.. onih has his moral historv la race. In this light a great poem. &
fine nove, the confessions of a supe-chology of a pecple: if I have chosen rior man, are more instructive than a this nation in particular, it is r.ot with heap of historians with their histor- out a reason. I had to find a people ies. I would give fifty volumes of with a grand and complete literature, charters and a hundred volumes of and this is rare: there are few nations plate papers for the memoirs of Cel who have, during their whole existence lini, the epistles of St. Paul, the Table really thought and written. Among talk of Luther, or the comedies of the ancients, the Latir. literature is Aristophanes. In this consists the worth nothing at the outset, then importance of literary works : they are it borrowed and became imitative. instructive because they are beautiful; Among the moderns, German literatheir utility grows with their perfection; ture does not exist for neariy two cenand if they furnish documents it is be- turies.* Italian literature and Spanish cause they are monuments. The more literature end at the middle of the a book brings sentiments into light, the seventeenth century. Only ancient more it is a work of literature; for the Greece, modern France and E:rg.and, proper office of literature is to make offer a complete series of great signifisentiments visible. The more a book cant monuments. I have chosen Eng. represents important sentiments, the land, because being still living, and higher is its place in literature ; for it subject to direct examination, it may is by representing the mode of being be better studied than a destroyed if a whole nation and a whole age, civilization, of which we retain but the that a writer rallies round him the relics, and cause, being different sympathies of an entire age and an irom France, it has in the eyes of a entire nation. This is why, amid the Frenchman a more distinct character. writings which set before our eyes Besides, there is a peculiarity in this the sentiments of preceding genera: civilization, that apart from its spon tions, a literature, and notably a grand taneous development, it presents a literature, is incomparably the best. It forced deviation, it has suffered the resembles those admirable apparatus last and most effectual of all conquests, of extraordinary sensibility, by which and the three grounds whence it has physicians disentangle and measure the sprung, race, climate, the Norman inmost recondite and delicate changes of vasion, may be observed in its remains & body. Constitutions, religions, do with perfect exactness; so that we may not approach it in importance; the ar. examine in this history the two most ticles of a code of laws and of a creed powerful moving springs of human only show us the spirit roughly and transformation, natural bent and conwithout delicacy. If there are any straining force, we may examine them writings in which politics and dogma without uncertainty or gap, in a series are full of life, it is in the eloquent of authentic and unmutilated memo discourses of the pulpit and the trib rials. une, memoirs, unrestrained confes- I have endeavored to define these sions; and all this belongs to litera- primary springs, to exhibit their grad. ture : so that, in addition to itself, it rial effects, to explain how they have bas all the advantage of other works. ended by bringing to light great polit It is then chiefly by the study of litera- ical, religious, and literary works, and
les that one may construct a moral by developing the recondite mechanism tistory, and advance toward the knowl. whereby the Saxon barbarian has been edge of psychological laws, from which transformed into the Engiishman of events spring.
to-day. I intend to write the history of a lit
* From 15y to 19 erature, and to seek in it for the pay
HISTORY OF ENGLISH
tury: The sap of this humid country,
thick and potent, circulates in man as The Saxons.
in the plants; man's respiration, nutrition, sensations and habits affect also
his faculties and his frame. I.
The land produced after this fashion As you coast the North Sea from the has one enemy, to wit, the sea. HolScheldt to Jutland, you will mark in land maintains its existence only by the first place that the characteristic virtue of its dykes. In 1654 those in feature is the want of slope ; marsh, Jutland burst, and fifteen thousand of waste, shoal; the rivers hardly drag the inhabitants were swallowed up. themselves along, swollen and sluggish, One need only see the blast of the with long, black-looking waves; the North swirl down upon the low level Hooding stream oozes over the banks, of the soil, wan anu ominous: * the vast and appears further on in stagnant yellow sea dashes against the narrow pools. In Holland the soil is but a belt of flat coast which seems incapa, sediment of mud; here and there only ble of a moment's resistance; the wind does the earth cover it with a crust, howls and bellows; the sea-mews cry; shallow and brittle, the mere alluvium the poor little ships flee as fast as they of the river, which the river seems can, bending almost to the gunwale, ever about to destroy. Thick clouds and endeavor to find a refuge in the hover above, being fed by ceaseless mouth of the river, which seems as exhalations. They lazily turn their hostile as the sea.
A sad and pre. violet flanks, grow black, suddenly carious existence, as it were face to descend in heavy showers; the vapor, face with a beast of prey. The Fris like a furnace-smoke, crawls forever. ians, in their ancient laws, speak al. 17, the horizon Thus watered, plants ready of the league they have maile 12 altiply; in the angle between Jutland and the continent, in a fat muddy collection. Of the three Saxon islands Nort!
* See Ruysdaal's painting in Mr. Baring's suil, " the verdure is as fresh as that of Strandt, Busen, and Heligoland, North Strandı England."* Immense forests covered was inundated by the sea in 1300, 1483, 153a, the land even after the eleventh cen
1615, and almost destroyed in 1634. Busen is
a level plain, beaten by storms, which it has Malte-Brun, iv. 398. Not counting bays, been found necessary to surround by a dyke. gulfs, and canals, the sixteenth part of the Heligoland was laid waste by the sea in 800, country is covered by water. The dialect of
1300, 1500, 1649, the last time so violently that Jutland bears still a great resemblance to Eng- only a portion of it remained.-Turner, Hist. b.
of Angl. Saxons, : 852, i. 97.