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mind of Browne was fertile, and, according to the current use of the word, ingenious; his analogies are original, and sometimes brilliant; and as his learning is also in things out of the beaten path, this gives a peculiar and uncommon air to all his writings, and especially to the Religio Medici. He was, however, far removed from real philosophy, both by his turn of mind and by the nature of his erudition; he seldom reasons, his thoughts are desultory, sometimes he appears sceptical or paradoxical, but credulity and deference to authority prevail. He belonged to the class, numerous at that time in our church, who halted between Popery and Protestantism; and this gives him, on all such topics, an appearance of vacillation and irresoluteness which probably represents the real state of his mind. His paradoxes do not seem very original, nor does he arrive at them by any process of argument; they are more like traces of his reading casually suggesting themselves, and supported by his own ingenuity. His style is not flowing, but vigorous; his choice of words not elegant, and even approaching to barbarism as English phrase; yet there is an impressiveness, an air of reflection and sincerity in Browne's writings, which redeem many of their faults. His egotism is equal to that of Montaigne, but with this difference, that it is the egotism of a melancholy mind, which generally becomes unpleasing. This melancholy temperament is characteristic of Browne. "Let's talk of graves and worms and epitaphs" seems his motto. His best written work, the Hydriotaphia, is expressly an essay on sepulchral urns; but the same taste for the circumstances of mortality leavens also the Religio Medici.
37. The thoughts of Sir Walter Raleigh on moral prudence are few, but precious. And some of the bright sallies of Selden recorded in his Table Talk Table Talk. are of the same description, though the book is too miscellaneous to fall under any single head of classification. The editor of this very short and small volume, which gives, perhaps, a more exalted notion of Selden's natural talents than any of his learned writings, requests the reader to distinguish times, and "in his fancy to carry along with him the when and the why many of these things were spoken." This intimation accounts for the different spirit in which he may seem to combat the follies of the prelates
at one time, and of the presbyterians or fanatics at another. These sayings are not always, apparently, well reported; some seem to have been misunderstood, and in others the limiting clauses to have been forgotten. But on the whole they are full of vigour, raciness, and a kind of scorn of the half-learned, far less rude, but more cutting than that of Scaliger. It has been said that the Table Talk of Selden is worth all the Ana of the Continent. In this I should be disposed to concur; but they are not exactly works of the same class.
38. We must now descend much lower, and could find little worth remembering. Osborn's Advice to his Son. his Son may be reckoned among the moral and political writings of this period. It is not very far above mediocrity, and contains a good deal that is commonplace, yet with a considerable sprinkling of sound sense and observation. The style is rather apophthegmatic, though by no means more so than was then usual.
39. A few books, English as well as foreign, are purJohn Valen posely deferred for the present; I am rather apprehensive that I shall be found to have overlooked some not unworthy of notice. One written in Latin by a German writer has struck me as displaying a spirit which may claim for it a place among the livelier and lighter class, though with serious intent, of moral John Valentine Andrea was a man above his essays. age, and a singular contrast to the narrow and pedantic. herd of German scholars and theologians. He regarded all things around him with a sarcastic but benevolent philosophy, keen in exposing the errors of mankind, yet only for the sake of amending them. It has been supposed by many that he invented the existence of the famous Rosicrucian society, not so much, probably, for the sake of mystification, as to suggest an institution so praiseworthy and philanthropic as he delineated for the imitation of mankind. This, however, is still a debated problem in Germany. But among his numerous writings, that alone of which I know anything is entitled, in the original Latin, Mythologiæ Christianæ, sive Virtutum et Vitiorum Vita Humanæ Imaginum Libri Tres. (Strasburg, 1618.) Herder has translated a part of this book in the fifth
Brucker, iv. 735. Biogr. Univ., art. Andreæ, et alibi.
volume of his Zerstreute Blätter; and it is here that I have met with it. Andrea wrote, I believe, solely in Latin, and his works appear to be scarce, at least in England. These short apologues, which Herder has called Parables, are written with uncommon terseness of language, a happy and original vein of invention, and a philosophy looking down on common life without ostentation and without passion. He came, too, before Bacon, but he had learned to scorn the disputes of the schools, and had sought for truth with an entire love, even at the hands of Cardan and Campanella. I will give a specimen, in a note, of the peculiar manner of Andreæ, but my translation does not, perhaps, justice to that of Herder. The idea, it may be observed, is now become more trite.
SECT. II-ON POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Change in the Character of Political Writings — Bellenden and others—Patriarchal Theory refuted by Suarez - Althusius - Political Economy of Serra - Hobbes—und Analysis of his Political Treatises.
40. THE recluse philosopher, who, like Descartes in his country-house near Utrecht, investigates the properties of quantity, or the operations of the human mind, while nations are striving for conquest and factions for ascend
"The Pen and the Sword strove with each other for superiority, and the voices of the judges were divided. The men of learning talked much and persuaded many; the men of arms were fierce, and compelled many to join their side. Thus nothing could be determined; it followed that both were left to fight it out, and settle their dispute in single combat.
"On one side books rustled in the libraries, on the other arms rattled in the arsenals; men looked on in hope and fear, and waited the end.
"The Pen, consecrated to truth, was notorious for much falsehood; the Sword, a servant of God, was stained with innocent blood; both hoped for the aid of heaven, both found its wrath.
"The State, which had need of both, and disliked the manners of both, would put on the appearance of caring for the weal and woe of neither. The Pen was
weak, but quick, glib, well exercised, and very bold, when one provoked it. The Sword was stern, implacable, but less compact and subtle, so that on both sides the victory remained uncertain. At length, for the security of both, the common weal pronounced that both in turn should stand by her side and bear with each other. For that only is a happy country where the Pen and the Sword are faithful servants, not where either governs by its arbitrary will and passion."
If the touches in this little piece are not always clearly laid on, it may be ascribed as much, perhaps, to their having passed through two translations, as to the fault of the excellent writer. But in this early age we seldom find the entire neatness and felicity which later times attained.
ency, hears that tumultuous uproar but as the dash of the ocean waves at a distance, and it may even serve, like music that falls upon the poet's ear, to wake in him some new train of high thought, or at the least to confirm his love of the absolute and the eternal, by comparison with the imperfection and error that beset the world. Such is the serene temple of philosophy, which the Roman poet has contrasted with the storm and the battle, with the passions of the great and the many, the perpetual struggle of man against his fellows. But if he who might dwell on this vantage-ground descends into the plain, and takes so near a view of the world's strife that he sees it as a whole very imperfectly, while the parts to which he approaches are magnified beyond their proportion; if especially he mingles with the combat, and shares its hopes and its perils, though in many respects he may know more than those who keep aloof, he will lose something of that faculty of equal and comprehensive vision, in which the philosophical temper consists. Such has very frequently, or more or less, perhaps, in almost every instance, been the fate of the writer on general politics; if his pen has not been solely employed with a view to the questions that engage attention in his own age, it has generally been guided in a certain degree by regard to them.
41. In the sixteenth century, we have seen that notions of popular rights, and of the admissibility of sovereign power for misconduct, were alternately broached by the two great religious parties of Europe, according to the necessity in which they stood for such weapons against their adversaries. Passive obedience was preached as a duty by the victorious, rebellion was claimed as a right by the vanquished. The history of France and England, and partly of other countries, was the clue to these politics. But in the following period, a more tranquil state of public opinion, and a firmer hand upon the reins of power, put an end to such books as those of Languet, Buchanan, Rose, and Mariana. The last of these, by the vindication of tyrannicide, in his treatise De Rege, contributed to bring about a re-action in political literature. The Jesuits in France, whom Henry IV. was inclined to favour, publicly condemned the doctrine of
Abandonment of anti-monarchical
Mariana in 1606. A book by Becanus, and another by Suarez, justifying regicide, were condemned by the parliament of Paris, in 1612. The assassination, indeed, of Henry IV., committed by one, not perhaps, metaphysically speaking, sane, but whose aberration of intellect had evidently been either brought on or nourished by the pernicious theories of that school, created such an abhorrence of the doctrine, that neither the Jesuits nor others ventured afterwards to teach it. Those also who magnified, as far as circumstances would permit, the alleged supremacy of the see of Rome over temporal princes, were little inclined to set up, like Mariana, a popular sovereignty, a right of the multitude not emanating from the Church, and to which the Church itself might one day be under the necessity of submitting. This became, therefore, a period favourable to the theories of absolute power; not so much shown by means of their positive assertion through the press as by the silence of the press, comparatively speaking, on all political theories whatever.
42. The political writings of this part of the seventeenth century assumed in consequence more of an historical, or, as we might say, a statistical literature character. Learning was employed in systematical historical, analyses of ancient or modern forms of government, in dissertations explanatory of institutions, in copious and exact statements of the true, rather than arguments upon the right or the expedient. Some of the very numerous works of Herman Conringius, a professor at Helmstadt, seem to fall within this description. But none are better known than a collection, made by the Elzevirs, at different times near the middle of this century, containing accounts, chiefly published before, of the political constitutions of European commonwealths. This collection, which is in volumes of the smallest size, may be called for distinction the Elzevir Republics. It is very useful in respect of the knowledge of facts it imparts, but rarely contains any thing of a philosophical nature. Statistical descriptions of countries are much allied to these last; some indeed are included in the Elzevir series. They were as yet not frequent; but I might have mentioned, while upon the sixteenth century, one of the earliest, the Description of
Mezeray, Hist. de la Mère et du Fils.