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in their day the leaders of literature; in every form of it they used to insinuate revolutionary ideas, but particularly in satire and philosophy. To this end they endeavored to make satire amusing and philosophy agreeable; and as they brought to their task wit, learning, eloquence, and every charm of brilliant style, they were successful, and Montesquieu was one of the most successful. In his “ Persian Letters," under the guise of an interesting fiction, he conceals the most unsparing ridicule of French society and of French institutions, religious and political. His “ Considerations upon Roman History” was ostensibly designed to point out the evils which proved fatal to the Roman state ; but virtually it was a grave and covert attack on the despotism of the French monarchy. But his most important work is “ The Spirit of Laws.” In this he undertakes to explain the origin and formation of states, the sources and reasons of their laws, and the nature of their ruling principles. The ruling principle in a republic, he maintains, is virtue; in a constitutional monarchy, honor; in a despotism, fear. His reading was wide and various, but it was desultory, and if he did not trust entirely to imagination for his facts, he is accused of trusting a good deal to it in the application of them. Critics say now of him, that he first made his theory, and then looked about for proofs. Yet Montesquieu stood high with the highest minds of his day; D'Alem bert almost exhausts the resources of eulogy in praising him ; but, in our time, Macaulay as strenuously taxes those of disparagement in dispraising him. He was, says this critic, “ specious, but shallow, - studious of effect, and indifferent to truth, - eager to build a system, but careless of collecting those materials out of which alone a sound and durable system can be built; he constructed theories as rapidly and as slightly as card-houses, - no sooner projected than completed, no sooner completed than blown away, no sooner blown away than forgotten.” Notwithstanding these scornful strictures, the writings of Montesquieu are still useful, both for study and for amusement.
We need merely name the venerable Guizot. We are all familiar with his fame and with his virtue. We have no occasion to enlarge on his massive learning, his extensive and ex
act research, his scholarly calmness and moderation, his tolerance and humanity of spirit, his grave and noble eloquence, all this is known by his numerous writings, but particularly by his “Discourses on the History of Civilization in Modern Europe,” which have been read as widely as the most popular novel, and which brought into such clear and open light for us all the successive social and spiritual phenomena of Western Christendom, with the agencies which they manifest and the tendencies which they indicate. Civilization, according to Guizot, does not consist in mere intellectual attainment, nor in mere physical well-being, nor even in social order added to both of these; but in all combined in a certain onward vitality, of which the result is the progress of society and the progress of the individual, each being reciprocally influential on the other. But this progress is here always limited, imperfect, and cannot be satisfactorily explained within the bounds of earth and time. Even within these bounds, the data for generalization are still few. Civilization, as he considers," is still in its infancy.” “How distant,” he says, “ is the human mind from the perfection to which it may attain, from the perfection for which it was created! How incapable are we of grasping the whole destiny of man! Let any one even descend into his own mind; let him picture there the highest point of perfection to which he can conceive, to which he can hope, that man, that society, may attain ; let him contrast this picture with the present state of the world ;
and he will feel assured that society and civilization are still in their childhood; that, however great the distance they have advanced, that which they have before them is incomparably, is infinitely greater.” Guizot treats his subject with as much force as knowledge, with as much caution as completeness. Balmes — a Spanish priest, earnestly eloquent, and largely learned — controverts, in a very able work, Guizot's ideas of European civilization; and those will read both writers who desire to know the philosophy of European civilization from the Romish point of view as well as from the Protestant.
The Political aspect of humanity prevails in the historical philosophy of Montesquieu, the Social aspect in that of Guizot; and now we come to that of Buckle, in which the Physical aspect prevails. Mr. Buckle intended, at first, to
write a history of civilization, which he was to illustrate from universal history. He decided, however, to write only the “ History of Civilization in England.” His principles are, in brief, - 1. Human history is governed by certain necessary laws. 2. One of these laws is, that man modifies nature, and that nature modifies man. 3. When nature overpowers man, it deadens his faculties, and impedes progress, or renders it impossible, while, when man overpowers nature, stimulus is gained for culture and advancement. The result of this struggle between man and nature determines the destiny of nations. 4. Another law is, that human actions accord with this result. 5. Statistics prove the regularity of human actions. 6. The historian must ascertain, in all given circumstances, whether mind, or nature, most influences humai tions; therefore the knowledge of physical science is essential to the writing of history. 7. Man, as to his average condition, is mainly influenced by climate, food, soil, and the general aspect of nature. 8. The moral sentiments and passions are ever the same. The results of intellect alone accumulate into knowledge, and progress is the result of knowledge. In every direction the critics impeach Mr. Buckle's philosophy. They discredit his data by impeaching his statements of facts, or his use of them; they discredit his logic by impeaching it in its evidence, method, and conclusions. “ What have statistics to do,” a critic asks, “ with the appearance of an Alexander the Great, a Mohammed, a Newton, or a Shakespeare ?” The individual counts for little in the theory of Mr. Buckle ; yet the critic objects that he attributes much power to ruling minds, such as those of Richelieu, of Descartes, of Louis XIV., and of George III.
Mr. Buckle, critics allege, overlooks the profoundest movements of society and their agents in the ancient and modern world, while he not only misrepresents, but also misunderstands, both the men and institutions of the Middle Age. In answer to the credulity and ignorance attributed to the “Middle Age,” one critic retorts : “A generation that has seen the extravagances of Mesmerism, of table-turning, and of spirit-rapping, with the still more revolting phenomena of Mormonism, might abstain from adopting an insolent tone toward its predecessors, and from forming an arrogant estimate of itself.” Another critic denies the value which Mr. Buckle attributes to the influence of intellect, and regards it as a fundamental error that he has not made more account of passion, moral sentiment, and faith. But, in spite of all these objections, - most of them sound and unanswerable, – Mr. Buckle has come into the field of history with a large and weighty influence on numerous classes of intelligent and thoughtful readers.
These several theories, diverse as they are, have one motive in common, - they all seek for a law in history. The Theists find that law in faith, the Idealists find it in thought, and the Realists find it in facts. But why should these be disconnected? The true philosophy of history embraces them all, harmonizes them all, and to all, as so united, gives a living soul. Such a philosophy must bring into accordant unity fact, thought, and faith. Such a philosophy must note events,
a must by thought trace their order and relation, and must by faith discern in all the intelligence of God's spirit, and the benign wisdom of God's providence. And let it not be considered that studying history in this large way is to no purpose. It is to the best purpose. It is one of the greatest mental utilities. We need not go over traditional truisms on the uses of history. History gives the data for all the science of humanity, and it contains the inspiration of all its greater poetry. This is sufficiently understood. But the advantage to be gained from the effort to conceive an idea of history as a whole is not so well understood. The conception of an idea of history has, for instance, an intellectual advantage. It accustoms the mind to expansive habits of reflection, and thereby trains it to an ample thoughtfulness. It accustoms it to ideas of great measures of duration, of space, and the mind is accordingly enlarged. It tends to train the mind to habits of order and arrangement. It enables the mind to bring all that it learns of humanity, whether by record or observation, into connection with a central principle. This result alone is one of vast utility. History, entirely, in its exactness of detail and in its completeness of comprehension, no human intellect could grasp; but when the mind has once a conception of history as a totality, it has a living organism with which it can vitally incorporate every fragment of knowledge it can gather
man's experience and destiny in time.
ART. VIII. – 1. Voyage au Pays des Mormons. Relation Géographie — Histoire Naturelle — Histoire — Théologie
Mæurs et Coutumes. Par JULES REMY. Paris : E. Dentu.
1860. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. lxxxviii., 432, 544. 2. The City of the Saints, and across the Rocky Mountains to
California. By RICHARD F. BURTON. London: Longman,
Green, Longman, and Roberts. 1861. 8vo. pp. x., 707. 3. Journal of Discourses. By BRIGHAM YOUNG, President of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, his Two Counsellors, the Twelve Apostles, and others. Reported by G. D. WATT, and humbly dedicated to the Latter-Day Saints in all the World. Liverpool and London. 1854 56. 3 vols. 8vo. pp. 376, 376, 375.
3 4. Catechism for Children. Exhibiting the Prominent Doc
trines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. By ELDER JOHN JAQUES. Tenth Thousand. Liverpool and London. 1855. 16mo. pp. 84.
In the more intricate embarrassment of the question of Slavery, which now so oppresses the mind of the American nation, the question of Mormonism, which had begun to be troublesome, has been thrust into the background. Every one is asking, “ What shall we do with four millions of negroes?” and, in despair before this huge practical problem, few notice the dilemma into which the Latter-Day Saints are likely to bring us. Yet, very soon, if we may trust the recent reports from Utah, the high court of the land will be called to say what they will do with the harems and the hierarchy of the followers of the American prophet. Already the New Jerusalem is knocking at the door, and claims the right allowed to all who have established their power on the public soil. With numbers sufficient, the Territory asks to be confirmed as a State, and to add its brace of delegates to those who sit in the Senate-house of equals. On what pretext the claim will be denied, it is not easy to see. Slave States have been admitted, and why should not a State be welcomed which can bring another of the “patriarchal institutions”? The religion as a vow cannot be urged as an objection, since this is no