« VorigeDoorgaan »
those, the result of chance and passion, present themselves as not only conso• which the world had hitherto witness- latory to his mind, but as the neces.
ed. I was not occupied in limiting or sary complement of that intelligible I extending the franchise, I was enfran- whole he has become so anxious to
chising all mankind from the harass. conceive. Many a time will he smile
ing cares of existence : I was not can- at himself for thus occupying his ? vassing the Poor-Law Amendment Act, thoughts, and after spending his wea
I was banishing all poverty at once ry, pleasing, painful bours over his from the earth; free trade and the favourite subjects of meditation, he
corn-laws were questions looked on will be the first to give a bitter and ! with indifference by one who saw that satirical account of them to others.
the earth yielded her increase, and He will revenge himself abroad for I wished to know why the living, think- the thraldom he endures within. Per
ing beings on its surface, could not haps he most sincerely regrets the : divide its fruits amongst themselves time and feelings wasted thus fruit
in better manner than to create per- lessly; and, breaking loose from these petual discontent, giving superfluity ensnaring reveries, he resolves to live
to some, and want to others, and an. for the future, like the rest of the 1xiety to all. The destiny of the world world, for himself and his friends. He
lay on me like a care. It was mine to will start forthwith on some active and remodel the affairs of a planet of some- personal career. What's Hecuba to what too stubborn materials, alas ! for him? But before he starts on this new the plastic power of philosophy. Thus and quite practical career, this sound the truths that belong to eternity, the and profitable scheme of existence, he
fate that in some undefined futurity will cast one more glance over specui might be realized by mankind, were lations to be abandoned for ever, if it
the subjects of my ceaseless medita- be only to mark again their futility, tion, of my profound solicitude. I that he may go forth free of heart, and cannot tell you how miserable I was with full certainty that had he stayed in this task of reforming the world. amongst them he could have effected
6. These modes of thought-on the nothing more. He turns and takes his one hand this obstinate enquiry into parting survey; discarded reasonings, the incomprehensible, into mysteries hopes that had been mocked at a thouwhich lie without the circle of nature- sand times, visions that had been again this constant peering over the bound- and again dispelled, arise surroundary wall of our mundane habitation enthral him. He has looked back on into the eternal stillness beyond ; and, the city of vain thoughts, so busy and on the other, this painful search, al- so idle, and he stands motionless as most equally vain, after a given pos- the pillar of salt. He is rooted to the sible condition of human society which earth by those ceaseless and deceptive shall solve the problem that lies be- meditations, which present themselves tween man's existence and God's be- perpetually in new disguises, only to nevolence-have their use, I doubt betray him as perpetually to the old not, and a noble use ; but it is very disappointment and self-derision. easy to have more of them than enough. “ Such was more than once my own From such babits of thought, if once experience. I seemed separated from they have fastened on a man, he will the world of action by a magic circle with far more difficulty release himself which I could not overpass. Howthan even from the love of poetry or ever, though I could not break the poetic fame. He may learn to live circle, I, by dint of thinking, raised without the air of compliment, may myself higher in it. I attained a cerlearn to rejoice or to endure without tain calm position, whence I could at making the world at large the confi- all events survey the world with equadant of his, joys and his griefs-(that nimity. I by degrees inured myself world to which he can speak with so to the dubiety and indifference of phimuch more openness and freedom than losophy, and endeavoured to satisfy to any single one of its inhabitants, the propensity for something more and to which, if he cannot speak, he genial and distinct, by a very cordial seems condemned to utter silence)- sympathy with all good sentiments but he will hardly ever wean himself and good faiths as they exist in other from mysteries which have become I made it out to myself thus :: dear to him, and from schemes which all subjects of human reflection, whe
ther they be thoughts or things, may complacency. I could even quote be either regarded in the relation of those lines of the good old song :cause and effect, and placed accurately • My mind to me a kingdom is, in the chain of events, mental or phy- Such great delight I find therein." sical, which constitutes our world; or I used to boast that, while I could they may be contemplated for the sake analyse with the most severe anatomist of the varied feelings, as of admira- of thought, I could also re-combine, tion, love, or terror, which they excite nor had forgotten how to madire the in the heart of the human spectator. revived compound; and that the very The first of these is the scientific, the habit of penetrating into the secret second the poetic form of thought. operations of the mind, taught me to Whether our subjects be of the exter. enter with full and unembarrassed nal world, or belong to the world of sympathy into all its boldest flights, feeling and sentiment, there are but into all the daring dreams and faiths these two forms of reflection in which of humanity. I knew well what the they can be considered. Now, I was imagination was, and respected it; accustomed to congratulate myself on I knew well that middle region of the the just equality and strict impartiality air, neither earth nor heaven, where with which I cultivated both these the meteors form and play-meteors great sections of the intellectual cha- which are still to be admired, though racter. Thus, if philosophy swept neither credited nor feared. Sentimuch away and ade wide open spaces, ments the most dreamy, thoughts the I could pitch therein the tents of ima
most vagrant, feelings the wildest gination, and under new names let and most conflicting-I knew them the old revelry proceed. I am not all—could claim or dismiss them at sure that this account of matters was will. Whether it were that lucid not as near the truth as those which enthusiasm of a lettered imagination, are given by the thoughtful spirits of whereby we partake of the rapture of our age, who attempt to include all strong feelings, though our own lives which as men they are attached to are calm and serene; or whether it under the name of philosophy. It is were the solemn mood, speculative or the fashion, or at least it was when I religious, chanting hope or a dirge used to read on such subjects, to abuse over the human race-I could feel it the philosophy of the eighteenth cen- all, respect and participate. And thus tury for its narrowness, and tendency I walked along the level line of reason, to negation. Men found they could yet not above humanity. not embrace under it what they were " I hear men, I would exclaim, nevertheless determined not to resign; speak in censure or in fear of metaso they stretched the cords of philo. physical studies, or it may be in consophy. Whether they strengthened tempt. I know what they are worth, the stakes at the same time, I may be what they can and can not effect: I permitted to doubt. Remember that know the scanty list of truths they are philosophy has not grown more modest able to add to the stock of human in the nineteenth century, or more knowledge. But the result they leave willing to admit other and more sacred behind, wbether in the shape of acsources of knowledge than her own; tual truth or mental power, there is she has in truth grown more self-suffi- nothing that would induce me to forex cient, and thinks more depends on her go ; nor is there any other intellecarbitration than ever; and thus it is tual ware whatever for which I would that in her attempt to perform all exchange it. Others may have been functions she becomes fantastic and acquiring greater share of erudition, insincere. If the philosophy of the of knowledge valuable as merchandise, past century is justly described as learning of settled price and reputanarrow and limited, that of the pre- tion in the world ; but I feel that in sent supposing that depreciating epi- these philosophic exercises I have thets alone are to be applied to either) been growing in the mind itself, and will be designated as visionary and fitting myself by a far severer disci. hollow.
pline than they have undergone, to “ To return to myself-whatever appropriate of their stores whenever else I had attained, I had succeeded in and whatsoever I please. Let the scraping together, what is really a erudite and the scientific assume what most precious commodity, a little self- airs they will, I feel that I am their intellectual superior ; I am their law. you wished to go; but now that you ful critic; I have earned the power to have not even got a hobby to mount, overlook, and therefore the right to I cannot tell what is to become of you. pass judgment on these men. As to Have you really no better stuff to simple-minded people, if any such re- make a life of than this super-refinemain, who fraukly protest that for ment of philosophy? Do you expect themselves they would rather not be to remain there standing where we troubled by subtle devices of man's cannot soar,' merely looking on, just brain-that they would prefer to wrap thinking of us all, or rather viewing themselves in some coarser but more all things as they are reflected in a comfortable garment than can be sort of mirror which you have fixed woven of philosophy, with the aid of up for yourself on that serene altitude ? poetry to boot-in thoughts quite at God help thee! I say.'
! hand, native and familiar, and such as “ Even you, when you uttered their social position has long since in these ill bodings, had little expectavested them with, I object not to their tions how soon they were to be justi. choice, would perhaps even commend fied, or by how slight and gentle a it. Let them walk in honest broad hand I was to be dashed from my elecloth, buttoned to the chin.' I wish vation. There came to visit us the them god.speed! Yet let them not in daughter of an old friend of the fa. return speak ill of that which they mily, a captain who had retired into have refused to know ; nor heap scan- Devonshire to make his half
t-pay ex. dal and abuse upon a refinement of tend over the expenses of the whole thought which has done them no harm, year. She was neither the most beau. which may have done them good they tiful, nor the most witty, nor the most know not of. Let them, however, accomplished of her sex ; but she was speak as they will, I shall not the less wonderfully pleasing, constantly cheercontinue to bear with them in that ful and amiable, with a genuine frank. spirit of indulgence and equanimity ness of manner quite delightful. I which becomes philosophy.
suppose that, in my conversation with “ At some such explosion as this it Juliana, which grew to be frequent was that you most irreverently burst enough, it was I who bore the chief into a fit of laughter. Then, suddenly part, yet it seemed to me that from checking your mirth, you very gravely her alone all the conversation really said, shaking that long head of thine, sprung. Had I been asked, I should « This won't do, Howard. This is have attributed all the merit, if merit worse than ever. When you were of any kind there was, all that was riding your hobby, though it were curious or refined in our dialogue, all ever so cursed a one-though it were its mirth, and pleasantry, and feeling, even of Pegasian breed—you made entirely to her.* some way, or at all events had a way “ The period of her visit flew like
* This description of his Juliana reminds us of a song we have somewhere met with, or which, at all events, our readers shall meet with here.
Lady, 'tis not in frowns to kill,
As poets flattering feign ;
Disdain can meet disdain.
A soft and studied mejn;
The empty heart is seen.
The very light of joy,
These win us, or destroy.
Of swain deject--for know,
You deal the mortal blow.
magic. She returned home. The railed, scoffed, jeered at myself, and day of her departure passed long and at every employment that had ever beavily. I smiled at myself, and an. engrossed me. I had found in philoticipated forgetfulness and tranquillity sophy no faith, in the world no path on the morrow. The morrow came, of duty, in my heart I had found af. and the day after, but they brought fections, and these were to be utterly neither forgetfulness nor tranquillity, crushed. I had somewhere read, I but many new trains of thought, sim- think in one of the novels of Goethe, ple enough, yet disquieting in the ex- of a melancholy man, who, finding his treme. If to love it is necessary to thoughts run much and incontrollably believe all beauty and all amiability upon self-destruction, procured a dag. centred in one woman, I was certainly ger, and whenever the black hour of not in that predicament. But the his melancholy recurred, the produccharming social intercourse which had tion of the keen and polished instru: been suddenly broken up, had made a ment, the handling it, and the conrevelation to me of what existed in my sciousness that if he pleased he might own heart, which it seemed impossi- -used to calm the fever of his heart, ble again to forget. I could not fol. A vague idea that either in this way low her. I could not marry. For the or another, I might find a remedy in first time in my life I knew that I was such an instrument, induced me to poor.
procure one, and I had deposited it " And now there rushed upon me in my writing-desk. As I chafed myat once, as if up to that moment I had self with bitter and miserable talk, I been stone blind, the vision of the real suddenly snatched it from its hidingworld. I saw it as it stood in relation place, and dashed the blade against to me. I stood face to face with it. my heart. It would have been driven O God! how I felt the utter loneli- to the hilt, but that you rushed forness of that moment! I had spent my ward and struck it from my hand. days in weaving a miserable screen. Can either of us ever forget that mowork between me and the sole happi- ment when we both looked upon the ness of life. I had forfeited, I had dagger as it lay upon the floor? thrown away, I had lost for ever, that • Doggedly, sullenly, but without a only boon which seemed to justify the relapse, I have since laboured at the providence of God in the creation of profession in which you find me. You this world. You, my friend, came may perceive that my labours have not upon me in the height of this despair. been without their recompense. But You found me sitting alone in my this is not half my reward. Severe study. You remember the scene that and steady occupation has brought followed. I cannot recur to it. I have with it an equanimity of mind which felt a pleasure in recalling the past I need not tell you is more precious wanderings of my spirit ; but those than wealth.-My friend, the wine moments of passion I cannot dwell stays with you." upon.
You know how bitterly I
We some few years ago laid before sion. This case is recorded in the our readers certain papers entitled third volume of Mr Browning's Hisos the State of Protestantism in France.” tory of the Huguenots, a work containWe are happy now to be able to sub- ing much valuable information, no. stitute for the word "state" the word where else to be met with in so com “progress.” In order to justify, how. pendious a form. It is as follows:ever, the assertion implied by this A little more than a year ago, two change of phrase, we shall not enter individuals by name Doine and Leinto many small details. These, when mair, were charged at Montargis with
separately dwelt upon, appear so having held a religious meeting con[ humble and insignificant, that they sisting of more than twenty persons.
fail to convey an adequate impression The authorities of that town insisted of the effect which their frequent oc- that this act was contrary to the law, currence, which their multiplicity, and the accused were condemned to really produce. We shall therefore several months' imprisonment. They proceed differently. Instead of enu. appealed, however, against this sentence merating, in the first instance, detach to the Cour Royal of Orleans, which ed facts, we shall point out some joint reversed the judgment and pronounced results of these facts, which will a verdict of acquittal. Against this prove, in a most unequivocal manner, acquittal another appeal was made, at their importance; and afterwards, if the instigation of the Ministre des our limits permit, we shall mention a Cultes, to the Court of Cassation, when few of those minute interesting par- on special grounds the latter sentence ticulars to which we deem it judicious was confirmed, whilst the legal view to give a prominent place.
of the case taken by the Montargis The first result, the massive conse- tribunal was declared to be the right quence, of the progression of the Re
This view is, that French reformed creed in France, to which we ligionists disconnected with the state, refer is, the hostility it has provoked or not having the permission of the from the French Government and civil authorities, have no right to ascivil authorities. This has been semble more than twenty persons, and manifested in legal proceedings the that they violate positive laws in so most oppressive against the French doing. Protestants. We shall commence by The laws to which allusion is here stating one most grave case of this made, are the articles 291 and 294 of sort of oppression. We shall make the penal code of France, and also an no apology for the length of our re- enactment of a late date against asmarks upon it. Whatever relates to sociations. The articles of the penal Protestantism, has not a foreign but a code pronounce all assemblies amounthome interest for Englishmen. Wé ing to more than twenty persons, shall therefore treat our subject with which are held without the authorizaas much emphasis and earnestness, as tion of the Government, or of a chief if the events we have to dwell upon magistrate, to be illegal. The law had happened amongst ourselves. By against associations is identical with so doing we feel assured we shall not these articles, only it gives wider weary our readers, but on the contrary powers. engage their most lively sympathies, Against these two laws the French and best incite them to come to the Protestants invoke in their defence, help of their own cause the cause of primarily, the fifth article of the Charte the Reformation among the French: of 1830, which runs thus :-Every i. e. the cause of the Reformation individual is free to profess his religion throughout Europe. In commenting with equal liberty, and will obtain for on the case to which we have just his worship an equal protection.” This alluded, we shall be obliged, to avoid article is to them their edict of Nantes obscurity, briefly to recapitulate in of the nineteenth century. They inother words a statement and an argu- sist that, being of a posterior date to ment which we have more amply those of the penal code juşt mentioned, dealt with on a former similar occa- the more recent enactment must, from