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to venture into the cavern.
The Stoic assures
them that such an accident is nothing but a mere ἀποπροηγμένον. The Baconian, who has no such fine word at his command, contents himself with devising a safety-lamp. They find a shipwrecked merchant wringing his hands cago has just gone down, and he is reduced in a moment from opulence to beggary. The Stoic exhorts him not to seek happiness in Aings which lie without himself, and repeats he whole chapter of Epictetus, pòs TOUS Thy ἀπορίαν δεδοικότας. The Baconian constructs a diving-bell, goes down in it, and returns with the most precious effects from the wreck. It would be easy to multiply illustrations of the difference between the philosophy of thorns and the philosophy of fruit, the philosophy of words and the philosophy of works."*
on the shore. His vessel with an inestimable
one knows what place it holds in Eng. lish philosophy: Hutcheson, Price Ferguson, Wollaston, Adam Smith, Bentham, Reid, and many others, have filled the last century with dissertations and discussions on the rule' of duty, and the faculty which discovers our duty; and Macaulay's Essays are a new example of this national and dom. inant inclination: his biographies are less portraits than judgments. What strictly is the degree of uprightness and dishonesty of the personage he deScribes, that is the important question for him; he makes all other questions It is not for me to discuss these refer to it; he applies himself throughopinions; it is for the reader to blame out only to justify, excuse, accuse, or or praise them, if he sees fit: I do not condemn. If he speaks of Lord Clive, wish to criticise doctrines, but to depict Addison, Milton, or any other man, he Warren Hastings, Sir William Temple, a man; and truly nothing could be devotes himself first of all to measure more striking than this absolute scorn for speculation, and this absolute love exactly the number and greatness of for the practical. Such a mind is entheir faults and virtues; he interrupts tirely suitable to the national genius: himself, in the midst of a narration, to in England a barometer is still called examine whether the action, which he a philosophical instrument; philosophy siders it as a legist and a moralist, acis relating, is just or unjust; he conis there a thing unknown. The Eng-cording to positive and natural law; lish have moralists, psychologists, but no metaphysicians: if there is one-lic opinion, the examples which surhe takes into account the state of pubHamilton, for instance-he is a skeptic rounded the accused, the principles he in metaphysics; he has only read the German philosophers to refute them; ceived; he bases his opinion on analo. professed, the education he has rehe regards speculative philosophy as an extravagance of visionaries, and is gies drawn from ordinary life, from the compelled to apologize to his readers history of all peoples, the laws of all for the strangeness of his subject, when countries; he brings forward so many he tries to make them understand proofs, such certain facts, such conclusomewhat of Hegel's conceptions. The sive reasonings, that the best advocate positive and practical English, excel- might find a model in him; and when lent politicians, administrators, fighters, at last he pronounces judgment, we and workers, are no more suited than think we are listening to the summing the ancient Romans for the abstrac-up of a judge. If he analyzes a literations of subtle dialectics and grand sys: stance-he empanels before the reader ture that of the Restoration, for intems; and Cicero, too, once excused it appear at the bar, and reads the ina sort of jury to judge it. He makes dictment; he then presents the plea of the defenders, who try to excuse its levities and indecencies: at last he begins to speak in his turn, and proves that the arguments set forth are not applicable to the case in question; that the accused writers have labored effect. ually and with premeditation, to corrupt morals; that they not only employed unbecoming words, but that they designedly, and with deliberate intent, repre sented unbecoming things; that they
himself, when he tried to expound to 'his audience of senators and public men, the deep and audacious deductions of the Stoics.
The only part of philosophy which pleases men of this kind is morality, because like them it is wholly practical, and only attends to actions. Nothing else was studied at Rome, and every * Macaulay's Works; Essay on Bacon, vi.
always took care to conceal the hate- | For lack of natural theol gy they have fulness of vice, to render virtue ridicu- a positive theology, and deniand from lous, to make adultery fashionable and the Bible the metaphysics not supplied a necessary exploit of a man of taste; by reason. Macaulay is a Protestant that this intention was all the more and though a very candid and liberal manifest from its being in the spirit of man, he at times retains the English the times, and that they were pander- prejudices against the Roman-Catholic ing to a crime of their age. If I dare religion.* Popery in England always employ, like Macaulay, religious com- passes for an impious idolatry and for parisons, I should say that his criticism a degrading servitude. After two rev was like the Last Judgment, in which olutions, Protestantism, allied to liberty the diversity of talents, characters, seemed to be the religion of liberty ranks, employments, will disappear be- and Roman-Catholicism, allied to des fore the consideration of virtue and potism, seemed the religion of despot. vice, and where there will be no more ism: the two doctrines have both asartists, but a judge of the righteous sumed the name of the cause which and the wicked. they supported. To the first has been transferred the love and veneration which were felt for the rights which it defended; on the second has been poured the scorn and hatred which were felt for the slavery which it would have introduced: political passions have inflamed religious beliefs; Protestantism has been confounded with the victorious fatherland, Roman-Catholicism with the conquered enemy: prejudices survive when the strife is ended, and to this day English Protestants do not feel for the doctrines of Roman-Catholics the same good-will or impartiality which French RomanCatholics feel for the doctrines of Prot estants.
In France, criticism has a freer gait; it is less subservient to morality, and more akin to art. When we try to relate a life, or paint the character of a man, we more readily consider him as a simple subject of painting or science: we only think of displaying the various feelings of his heart, the connection of his ideas and the necessity of his actions; we do not judge hím, we only wish to represent him to the eyes, and make him intelligible to the reason. We are spectators, and nothing more. What matters it if Peter or Paul is a rascal? that is the business of his contemporaries: they suffered from his vices, and ought to think only of despising and condemning him. Now we are beyond his reach, and hatred has disappeared with danger. At this distance, and in the historic perspective, I see in him but a mental machine, provided with certain springs, animated by a primary impulse, affected by various circumstances. I calculate the play of his motives; I feel with him the impact of obstacles; I see beforehand the curve which his motion will trace out; I feel for him neither aversion "Charles himself, and his creature Land nor disgust; I have left these feelings while they abjured the innocent badges of on the threshold of history, and I taste Popery, retained all its worst vices,--a con the very deep and pure pleasure of see-plete subjection of reason to authority, a weak preference of form to substance, a childish pas ing a soul act after a definite law, in a sion for mummeries, an idolatrous veneration fixed groove, with all the variety of for the priestly character, and, above all, a human passions, with the succession merciless intolerance."-Macaulay, v. 24; Mi and constraint, which the inner structure of man imposes on the external development of his passions.
In a country where men are so much occupied by morality, and so little by philosophy, there is much religion.
But these English opinions are moderated in Macaulay by an ardent love for justice. He is a liberal in the largest and best sense of the word. He demands that all citizens should be equal before the law, that men of all sects should be declared capable to fill all public functions-that Roman Cath olics and Jews may, as well as Lutherans, Anglicans, and Calvinists, sit in Parliament. He refutes Mr. Gladstone
"It is difficult to relate without a pitying smile, that in the sacrifice of the mass, Loyola saw transubstantiation take place, and that, as he stood praying on the steps of the Church of St. Dominic, he saw the Trinity in Unity, and wept aloud with joy and wonder."-Macaulay vi. 468; Ranke, History of the Popes.
and the partisans of State religion with | and to decide for themselves, it adds to incomparable ardor and eloquence, their dignity and intelligence; because abundance of proof, and force of argument; he clearly proves that the State is only a secular association, that its end is wholly temporal, that its single object is to protect the life, liberty, and property of the ciizens; that in entrusting to it the defence of spiritual nterests, we overturn the order of things; and that to attribute to it a religious belief, is as though a man, walking with his feet, should also confide to nis feet the care of seeing and hearing. This question has often been discussed 'n France; it is so to this day; but no one has brought to it more common sense, more practical reasoning, more palpable arguments. Macaulay withdraws the discussion from the region of metaphysics; he leads it back to the earth; he brings it home to all minds; he takes his proofs and examples from the best known facts of ordinary life; he addresses the shopkeeper, the citizen, the artist, the scholar, every one; he connects the truth, which he asserts, with the familiar and intimate truths which no one can help admitting, and which are believed with all the force of experience and habit; he carries off and conquers cur belief by such solid reasons, that his adversaries will thank him for convincing them; and if by chance a few amongst us have need of a lesson on tolerance, they had better look for it in Macaulay's Essay on that subject.
in assuring internal peace and continu ous progress, it guarantees the land against bloody revolutions and silent de cay. All these advantages are perpetuai ly present to his eyes; and whoever attacks the liberty, which forms their foundation, becomes at once his enemy. Macaulay cannot look calmly on the oppression of man; every outrage on human will hurts him like a personal outrage. At every step bitter words escape him, and the stale adulation of courtiers, which he meets with, brings to his lips a sarcasm the more violent from being the more deserved. Pitt, he says, at college wrote Latin verses on the death of George I. In this piece "the Muses are earnestly entreated to weep over the urn of Cæsar: for Cæsar, says the poet, loved the muses; Cæsar, who could not read a line of Pope, and who loved nothing but punch and fat women. Else where, in the biography of Miss Burney, he relates how the the poor young lady, having become celebrated by her two first novels, received as a reward, and as a great favor, a place of keeper of the robes of Queen Charlotte; how, worn out with watching, sick, nearly dying, she asked as a favor the permissíon to depart; how "the sweet queen' was indignant at this impertinence, unable to understand that any one could refuse to die in and for her service, or that a woman of letters should prefer health, life, and glory, to the honor of folding her Majesty's dresses. But it is when Macaulay comes to the history of the Revolution that he hauls to justice and vengeance those men who violated the rights of the public, who hated and betrayed the national cause, who out. raged liberty. He does not speak as a historian, but as a contemporary; it seems as though his life and his honor were at stake, that he pleaded for himself, that he was a member of the Long Parliament, that he heard at the door the muskets and swords of the guards sent to arrest Pym and Hampden. M. Gaizot has related the same history; but we recognize in his book the calm judgment and impartial emotion of a
Tais love of justice becomes a passion when political liberty is at stake; this is the sensitive point; and when we touch it, we touch the writer to the quick. Macaulay loves it interestedly, because it is the only guarantee of the properties, happiness, and life of individuals; he loves it from pride, because it is the honor of man he loves it from patriotism, because it is a legacy left by preceding generations; because for two hundred years a succession of upright and great men have defended it against all attacks, and preserved it in all dangers; because it has made the power and glory of England; because in teaching the citizens to will Fitt, Earl of Chatham.
Macaulay, vi. 39; An Essay on William
their prince should again squire a supply and again repay it with a perjury? They were com pelled to choose whether they would trust a ty rant or conquer him. W think that they
aracter. And had
"The advocates of Charles, like the advo whelming evidence is produced, gen: ally de cates of other malefactors against whom over cline all controversy about the facts, a conten themselves with calling testimony to He had so many private virtues! Oliver Cromwell, his bitterest ener un them James the Second no private virt? Wa selves being judges, destitute of privs virtues i And what, after all, are the virtuescribed to Charles? A religious zeal, not more sacere tha that of his son, and fully as weak a ad narrow minded, and a few of the ordinary household decencies which half the tombstos in Eng land claim for those who lie beneat then. A good father! A good husband! Ample apologies indeed for fifteen years of versecution,
tyranny, and falsehood!
philosopher. He does not condemn the actions of Strafford or Charles; he explains them; he shows in Strafford the imperious character, the domineer-chose wisely and nobly. ing genius which feels itself born to command and to crush opposition, whom an invincible bent rouses against the law or the right which restrains him, who oppresses from a sort of inner craving, and who is made to govern as a sword is to strike. He shows in Charles the innate respect for royalty, the belief in divine right, the rooted conviction that every remonstrance or demand is an insult to his crown, an outrage on his rights, an impious and criminal sedition. Thenceforth we see in the strife of king and Parliament but the strife of two doctrines; we cease to take "We charge him with having broken his an interest in one or the other, to take an coronation oath; and we are told that he kept interest in both; we are spectators of a given up his people to the merciless infi tions his marriage vow! We accuse him of having drama; we are no longer judges at a of the most hot-headed and hard-hearted f pretrial. But it is a trial which Macaulay lates; and the defence is, that he took his little We censure conducts before us; he takes a side in son on his knee and kissed him! it; his account is the address of a pub-tion of Right, after having, for wood and valu him for having violated the articles of the Petilic prosecutor before the court, the able consideration, promised to observe them; most entrancing, the most acrimonious, and we are informed that he was accustomed to the best reasoned, that was ever writ- hear prayers at six o'clock in the morning! It is to such considerations as these, together ten. He approves of the condemna- with his Vandyke dress, his handsome face, tion of Strafford; he honors and ad- and his peaked beard, that he owes, we verily mires Cromwell; he exalts the charac- believe, most of his popularity with the present ter of the Puritans; he praises Hampgeneration. den to such a degree, that he calls him the equal of Washington; he has no words scornful and insulting enough for Laud; and what is more terrible, each of his judgments is justified by as many quotations, authorities, historic precedents, arguments, conclusive proofs, as the vast erudition of Hallam or the calm dialectics of Mackintosh could have assembled. Judge of this transport of passion and this withering logic by a single passage:
For more than ten years the people had een the rights which were theirs by a double claim, by immemorial inheritance and by recent purchase, infringed by the perfidious King who had recognized them. At length circumstances compelled Charles to summon another parlament: another chance was given to our fathers were they to throw it away as they had thrown away the former? Were they again to be cozened by le Roi le veut! Were they again to advance their money on pledges which had been forfeited over and over again? Were they to lay a second Petition of Right at the foot of the throne, to grant another lavish aid in exchange for another unmeaning ceremony, and then to take their departure, till, after ten years more of fraud and oppression,
"For ourselves, we own that we do not understand the common phrase, a good man, but a bad king. We can as easily conceive a good man and an unnatural father, or a good man mating the character of an individual, leave
and a treacherous friend. We cannot, in esti
out of our consideration his conduct in the most
important of all human relations; and if in that relation we find him to have been selfish, cruel, and deceitful, we shall take the liberty to call him a bad man, in spite of all his temperance at table, and all his regularity at chapel." *
This is for the father; now the son will receive something. The reader will perceive, by the furious invective what excessive rancor the government of the Stuarts left in the heart of a patriot, a Whig, a Protestant, and ar Englishman:
"Then came those days, never to be reca aỏ without a blush, the days of servitude without loyalty and sensuality without love, of dwarfish talents and gigantic vices, the paradise of cold hearts and narrow minds, the golden age of the coward, the bigot, and the slave. King cringed to his rival that he might trample on his people, sank into a viceroy of France, and pocketed, with complacent infamy, her de grading insults, and her more degrading gold
* Macaulay, v. 27; Milton.
The caresses of harlots, and the jests of buffoons, regulated the policy of the state. The government had just ability enough to deceive, and just religion enough to persecute. The principles of liberty were the scoff of every grinning courtier, and the Anathema Maranatha of every fawning dean. In every high place, worship was paid to Charles and James, Belial and Moloch; and England propitiated those obscene and cruel idols with the blood of her best and bravest children. Crime succeed
ed to crime, and disgrace to disgrace, till the race accursed of God and man was a second time driven forth, to wander on the face of the arth, and to be a by-word and a shaking of the head to the nations." *
This piece, with all the biblical metaphors, which has preserved something of the tone of Milton and the Puritan prophets, shows to what an issue the various tendencies of this great mind were turning-what was its bent-how the practical spirit, science and historic talent, the unvaried presence of moral and religious ideas, love of country and justice, concurred to make of Macaulay the historian of liberty.
In this his talent assisted him; for his opinions are akin to his talent.
ideas of every species; but is erudi tion is as well tempered as his philoso phy, and both constitute a coin worthy of circulatior amongst all thinking minds. We feel that he believes nothing without reason; that if we doubted one of the facts which he advances, of one of the views which he propounds. we should at once encounter a multitude of authentic documents and a serried phalanx of convincing arguments. In France and Germany we are too much accustomed to receive hypoth eses for historic laws, and doubtful anecdotes for attested events. We toc often see whole systems established, from day to day, according to the caprice of a writer; a sort of castles in the air, whose regular arrangement simulates the appearance of genuine edifices, and which vanish at a breath, when we come to touch them. We have all made theories, in a fireside discussion, in case of need, when for lack of argument we required some fictitious reasoning, like those Chinese generals who, to terrify their enemies, placed amongst their troops formidable monsters of painted cardboard. We What first strikes us in him is the have judged men at random, under the extreme solidity of his mind. He proves impression of the moment, on a deall that he says, with astonishing vigor tached action, an isolated document; and authority. We are almost certain and we have dressed them up with rever to go astray in following him. vices or virtues, folly or genius, withIf he cites a witness, he begins by out controlling by logic or criticism the measuring the veracity and intelligence hazardous decisions to which our preof the authors quoted, and by correct- cipitation had carried us. Thus we ing the errors they may have commit- feel a deep satisfaction and a sort of ted, through negligence or partiality. internal peace, on leaving so many If he pronounces a judgment, he relies doctrines of ephemeral bloom in our on the most certain facts, the clearest books or reviews, to follow the steady principles, the simplest and most logi- gait of a guide so clear sighted, recal deductions. If he develops an ar- fective, instructed, able to lead us gument, he never loses himself in a di- aright. We understand why the Enggression; he always has his goal be-lish accuse the French of being friv. fore his eyes; he advances towards it by the surest and straightest road. If he rises to general considerations he nounts step by step through all the grades of generalization, without omitting one; he feels his way every instant; he neither adds nor subtracts from facts; he desires at the cost of every precaution and research, to arrive at the precise truth. He knows an infinity of details of every kind; he owns a great number of philosophic
* Macaulay, v. 35; Milton.
olous, and the Germans of being chimerical, Macaulay brings to the moral sciences that spirit of circumspection, that desire for certainty, and that in stinct of truth, which make up the practical mind, and which from the time of Bacon have constituted the scientific merit and power of his nation. If art and beauty loose by this, truth and certainty are gained; ard no one, for instance, would blame our au thor for inserting the following dem ɔn stration in the life of Addison: