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structives are sobriety itself. But it essential counterpart. Frenchmen, may be generally observed, that however, when they rejected ChristiaFrenchmen, when they are not in the nity, rejected at the same time all opposite extreme, mere selfish mate- fabled and philosophic prospects of an rialists, are almost always chasing a hereafter. The latter could not posphantom in the clouds. Politics, to sibly succeed to, though they might their mercurial and refining intellects, and did precede the former. In the becomes quite a metaphysical subject, tormenting state, then, that ensued of and so sublimated are their hopes and spiritual desires without spiritual obapprehensions of things to come, that jects, they shaped to their imaginathe horizon before them looks to us tions a certain transcendental condivery like the natural horizon :-a min. tion of society, which was and is to gling, to all appearance, of heaven them in place of a gospel and a worand earth. We cannot help attribut- ship. This fancied acme of civilisaing the peculiarity of mental character tion corresponds to the religious idea thus displayed to a strong native sen- of a millennium, and although the extiment of religion operating on infi pectation of its advent, through sucdelity. We will endeavour to explain cessive revolutions, is too remote and this thought more distinctly.
indistinct a sentiment to be broadly Every one must have noticed, that avowed, yet is it vaguely entertained, a certain class of French revolutionists and constitutes the secret fire actuanever appear anxious to realize any ting, and, seemingly to those who feel present good; their aim seems always it, sanctifying the grosser motives to be to reach some distant future, and which impel them for ever onwards. the intermediate stage between this We have no doubt but that Robe. present and future are contemplated spierre, Marat, and the whole array by them with impatience, as in no of abhorred monsters, who astonished measure satisfying their wants. A the world with their crimes in the first perfectly new organization of society Revolution, acted under the spur of is the goal of all their efforts, and till this illusion. They had, all of them, this is attained, they resolve them- it is highly probable, a distant vision selves into a state of permanent rebel- of pure and perfect glory before them, lion against every thing which has to realize which, even to far off genea show of stability. Now we are rations, no sacrifice was deemed too strongly persuaded that this strained great. We can conceive nothing projection of the mind into a state of which tends to confusion_to chaos we things which can have no proximate might almost say—so directly as this accomplishment, is a kind of substi- habit of pointing all those hopes and tute for religion. It is not the result aspirations, which belong properly to of a superabundance of activity and a future state, towards speculations as enterprise, for these qualities always to what mankind may attain to on the fasten upon objects which are near at earth. But when a future state is hand to be realized. But it arises rendered by incredulity a wide blank, from a craving necessity to fill up the there is nothing strange in men pracvoid which infidelity leaves in the tising this gross delusion on themheart. For, although unbelief may selves. Unbelievers of ardent and blot out a creed, it cannot blot out of imaginative temperaments are very human nature that property of which apt to fall into this fanatic trance. a creed of some kind or another is an Believers also in a superstitious creed
* It may be said, perhaps, that, in Germany, where infidelity does not prevail as characteristic of the nation, the mysticism we are commenting on is still more rife than it is in France. There is here, however, a distinction to be made. The German mysticism is evidently nothing more than a literary amusement of idle, imaginative men. It points not at any of the realities of society, but is completely confined to the region of fiction. Were the Germans called upon to act, it is probable they would do so in a sober and practical, though ardent, temper. But the mysticism of France has been shown most supereminently in action, and even in speculation it contemplates action. From its virulent intense earnestness, it is impossible for a moment to mistake its purpose. There is a difference between fireworks thrown up into the air to delight spectators, and brands put into the hands of incendiaries to set fire to houses This distinction separates the mystics of the two countries toto calo.
are naturally prone to mysticism. sumer ; when different countries, reciproYet we do not think the latter, when cally deriving their characters from each honestly devout, are possessed of the other, abandoning their national prejuspirit we have above described, except dices, and their ancient ideas of supreperhaps by infection from a surround macy and conquest, shall tend to unity ing society. M. de Chateaubriand, by what means can society be made to from whose book on English litera
retrograde towards principles effete and ture we are now about to present an
“ extract, quoted by M. de la Menais in
A future is before us-a future, support of his own views, is evidently
onthe powerful and free, in all the plenitude of one of the infected. As to the Abbé
evangelic equality-but it is yet distanthimself, we look upon him as a deci,
distant beyond the most extended visible
horizon. It can be reached only by indeded infidel, and would much rather
fatigable hope, incorruptible by adversity, associate his name with that of M.
and whose wings wax strong and widen Lerminier, or any other of the fevered
under all the eclipses of disappointment." visionists who abound in France, than with that of the celebrated man we We believe this passage fully justi. have just named, and whom we are fies the observations which precede it. grieved to find in such company. The The views it holds forth are wide and extract is as follows:
vague to the utmost. A subversion · “ Society, such as it is at present, will of society from all its foundations is cease to exist. In proportion as instruc- prophesied, and the passions which tion descends to the inferior classes, the are to bring this about are described secret ulcer, which has corroded social as holy impulses towards a state of order from the beginning of the world, evangelic equality. A revolution, toand which is the cause of all popular dis- tal and complete, of social order, as it quietudes and agitations, will be discover- has existed from the beginning of the ed. The exaggerated inequality of con- world--the consummation probably of ditions and fortunes which prevails might
several successive revolutions --is forewell be maintained, whilst, on the one
seen. The poor are no longer to enside, it was hidden by ignorance, and, on dure the existence of the rich, wages the other, by a factitious civil organiza
are to be abolished as slavery, and all tion ; but, as far as this inequality is gene
nations abandoning national enmities, rally perceived, it will receive its mortal
are to have but one character and one wound.
common interest. Perfectly under“Re-establish, if you can, the aristocratic fictions of past times; try to per
standing each other, they are again suade the poor man who knows how to
to build up a tower which is to reach read the poor man to whom knowledge to the sky. An infidel design this is daily communicated by the press, from was at first, and the same it is now. city to city, and from village to village- Mean time troubles and convulsions try to persuade such an one, so instruct in procinct and in seed, are seen and ed, having the same enlightenment and hailed with " indefatigable hope." intelligence as yourself, that he should But the grand result is distant, “ far submit to every privation, whilst his neigh- distant beyond the most extended bour possesses, without labour, a thousand visible horizon." times more than the superfluities of life, It would be idle to expose in detail and your attempt will be vain. Demand the fanaticism, absurdity, and iniquity not of the multitude efforts above nature. of this visionary prospect. We should
“ The material developement of society have hoped of M. de Chateaubriand will hasten the developement of intellect. that he would have been the foremost When the powers of steam shall be put to lift up the warning voice, to set up perfectly into operation ; when, combined
a beacon to his contemporaries and with the telegraph and railroads, it shall,
to posterity, that the rocks and quickso to speak, annihilate distance, it will not
sands before them might be seen, and only be objects of traffic, which will travel with the speed of light from one end of
of avoided by every strenuous effort of the globe to the other, but ideas also.
virtue and of courage ; but instead of When fiscal and commercial barriers be
this he cheers them on their desperate tween different states shall be abolished,
course. He tells them they are in as they are now between the different pro the strong stream of fate that will vinces of the same state; when wages,
carry them, whether they will or not, which are only a prolonged slavery, shall they know not whither, and that they be scored out by means of an equality need not care, but only hope mightily, established between the producer and con- and entertain themselves with visions
of glory, whilst all is going to wreck which leads to the temple, when the door about them. Let us now see what through which human nature would force M. de La Menais says.
him to enter, is shut against him-(N.B.
This door is revolution). He will over“ In certain former epochs," he begins, throw the temple itself if there be no other “ a common opinion, growing gradually, means of cutting out his passage, for he and at last spreading universally, has pre- must advance even over ruins; and there vailed, neither the origin nor the progress is nothing sacred enough to be spared in of which could be distinctly traced. An these moments of enthusiasm, of inefinstinct of an indispensable reformation, fable possession, in which a mysterious of a change in preparation, of a develope- voice from the depths of futurity calls to ment, of a revolution, has manifested him to press on. The more sacred the itself at such seasons in a thousand ways; obstacle he encounters is, the more enso that everyone has been in a state of raged and indignant he becomes. He expectation, and when the sun rose it has turns with fury upon every hinderance. Its been a question whether he would give his sacredness only inereases his exasperation light to the same state of things in the from the contrasts in which it stands to evening he had risen on in the morning. the Divine power within him, by which he Such a feeling as this is the especial warn feels himself impelled and ruled," &c. ing which God gives to those to whom he has confided the government either of
Whilst translating the above pasthings divine or of things human, and all sage, we have heard of another atthe evils which desolate the world, all the tempt made on the life of the King of disorders which mark periods of transi. the French. A crime like this aption, are caused principally by the obsti pears to us indeed only the natural nate resistance opposed to the law of consequence of such sentiments as we progress which should govern the human have just transcribed, and which Monrace.
sieur de la Menais and a whole host of “ Now at this actual time we are living
popular authors are in the habit of scatin one of those epochs in which all things
tering, as it were, from a tripod of tend to renovation, and are passing from
inspiration among the French multione state to another. Of this no one can
tude. No one can read the extracts, entertain a doubt. Never did there exist
short as they are, which we have so lively a presentiment, so universal a
given from the volume before us, of conviction of a coming change as at present. Some fear, and others hope, ac
one of the most eloquent writers of cording as they look forward or look back
France, without perceiving that their urd, and see life or death. But I repeat direct aim is to rouse up into fury all it, all believe in a radical alteration of the the troubled mind of the nation. The world, in a total revolution which is ready passionate restlessness of the worst to break forth. This then will be accom- part of society is every where repreplished. It is vain to attempt to arrest sented as a divine impulse towards a the flight of destiny, to remount the stream great social regeneration. It is no of time, or to build with stability on the matter of wonder, therefore, that deschaos of actual society. This is impossi- perate men should lay hold of this ble. There is in the womb of events a doctrine as exactly suiting their consovereign, fatal, irrevocable necessity su- dition, and as imparting to such a perior to all opposing power. What are crime as the assassination of a King, those petty arms stretched out to drive
a kind of sinister glory, which their back the human race, and what can they
misery and their overheated intellects do ? An irresistible force urges the people onwards. However they may be op
strongly tempt them to appropriate to
themselves. Such an act is considerposed, they will advance as they should
ed by the fanatic theorists, whose advance. None can stop them in their
works incite to its commission, as course on the high-road of centuries, for this is the career, in which, from one
nothing more than a flash of lightning
from the thunder-cloud. generation to another, man, in continual
It only progress, prepares himself for eternity.”
confirms them in their views and hopes
of approaching revolutions, and far Alluding then to the restraints from checking their speculations, is which men find in religion, M. de la regarded as a direct corroboration of Menais thus expresses himself :
their truth, and encourages them to " There is then a struggle, a terrible recommence their declamations with struggle. Man flies from God, if I may increasing confidence and animation. venture so to speak, that he may not cease We believe we have now given our to be man. He turns away from the road readers specimens enough of Monsieur de la Menais's volume, and we else. But as soon as some subject assure them that we could furnish which includes the assertion of a first parallel passages from numerous mo- principle, or which opens a prospect dern works of great popularity, which of extensive change, is started, then is are issuing daily from the French there an animation, an eagerness, and press. Indeed the extreme exultation a state of tip-toe expectation excited, of mind which prevails in France con- which agitates the whole nation. Nostitutes the principal and perhaps the thing can show more strikingly than sole danger to which that country is this that the hearts and thoughts exposed. Happily we know little of of the people are at some distant this kind of intellectual fever, and goal. They are not set upon any therefore may find it difficult, at the thing positively existing. Owing to first glance, to appreciate the full ex- this loose roving state of their potent of its dangerousness. With us, litical affections, their most precious for instance, every political agitation liberties, actually had in possession, has some distinct cause, some definite are, in the midst of violent contenobject of a positive practical nature by tions for the abstract doctrines of which it is for the time bounded ; and republican freedom, ravished from we confess we think there is compara- them or abridged. Thus the liberty tively little to be feared, whilst the of the press has been lately restrained, passions of the people are roused only and the institution of the jury corruptby subjects closely connected with ed; and we can tell our readers, that their material interests. The appeals it is in contemplation, during the prewhich are constantly making, in such sent session of the Chambers, to recases, to practice and experience, vive an old law of Napoleon's, by soon temper an exaggerated vio- which any individual may be banished, lence, and produce an inevitable either from Paris or the French terri. sobering reaction ; and even in the tory, on a mere suspicion that he envery tempest of excitement thus oc- tertains dangerous political principles casioned, there exists a species of or projects—and this tyrannic meamoderation, inasmuch as the end sure will, we have no doubt, be carin view is specific and limited. But ried, as others have been, almost within France the disquietude and ferment out opposition. Why? Because the of the public mind is not created by real substantial details which constiany precise cause, but arises from a tute civil liberty, are not, for their own tormenting vague sentiment that things sakes, loved in France. Theories and are not as they ought to be, not in this speculations occupy, in the minds of or that particular, but generally and Frenchmen, that place which the solid universally. Owing to some pecu- institutions and positive interests of the liarity in the character of Frenchmen, kingdom ought to fill. There is an they have ever had the habit of view. exaltation of mental temperament ing political matters in this wide man. which will not stoop to homely realiner. Even in the Chamber of Depu. ties, and of this M. de la Menais, and ties to this present day, all topics re- the mystic school, afford the most prolating to the material welfare of the minent examples; but in a diminished state, to the prosperity of separate degree, it is common to almost all the classes of men, are handed over to the liberal politicians of the French nabureaux or committees, and beyond tion; and whilst such men are unenthose petty circles attract no regard. gaged and uninterested in practical An Englishman sojourning in France, affairs ; till such affairs are rendered or attentive to the proceedings of its popular, disnested from the bureaux representative assembly, is struck with of the central government, and put astonishment to find that the great into the hands of the people, there can establishments, institutions, and inte be no safety or tranquillity for France. rests of the country, never strongly Whilst the intelligence of that counexcite the popular attention. Any try ranges wide, as it does now, it can new laws or regulations to which these only be compared to lightning. It may be subjected, are discussed with may coruscate awhile in the clouds, coldness and indifference, and are sup. but its great attraction will be towards posed more nearly to concern the the social edifice, which-unless such subaltern officers of the administra conductors as we have hinted at be tion, who have the chief direction of found it will smite and smite again such mechanical affairs, than any one into a heap of ruins.
We now proceed to consider the reasoning, therefore, proceeds upon act of our Intellective Faculty, in the observation of the natural facts. most distinguished and complex ope. Hence there is always in such inration which our mind performs, quiry a ground of uncertainty, benamely, in reasoning-a subject which cause the knowledge on which we may be viewed in much simplicity when reason is itself uncertain. There is relieved from that load of disquisition no way in which the human mind can which has been heaped upon it. absolutely assure itself, either that its
Reasoning may be considered as of observations are perfectly true, or two kinds, Demonstrative and Induc- that they have embraced the whole of tive, and we shall speak of both in the facts which may possibly affect order.
the conclusion. The deduction is Of Demonstrative Reasoning the uncertain, therefore, because the most remarkable and most perfect grounds of reasoning are independent example is that which is afforded by of the intellect which reasons. - In the science of mathematics. And it mathematical science, on the contrary, is in this science, therefore, that we the subjects of reasoning have no such mean to consider it.
independence. They exist not in The distinguishing character of nature. They subsist solely in the mathematical reasoning is its absolute intelligence which is to explore their certainty. This does not require to relations. For the mind itself creates be insisted on. Every one who has in this instance the subjects of its the slightest acquaintance with the speculation; and the grounds of reanature of mathematics is aware of this soning are therefore known entire, fact, and knows that every the least and with absolute certainty, to the instep in this kind of reasoning has a tellect that is to reason upon them. character that is wanting in the most They do not subsist in nature; for the overpowering and irresistible proba- first essential properties of these subbility in every other. In all other jects are directly at variance with the reasonings, all other proofs, however primary essential properties of mateconclusive they may be, however im- rial being. The mathematical point plicitly we may believe and act upon is without parts, but the ultimate atom them, still there is the possibility that of nature is, in respect to extension, we may be deceived. But in mathe- still infinitely divisible. The line is matical demonstration there is no such without breadth, but the finest line possibility. We know that we reason traced in matter has breadth that is aright. To question in the least de- still infinitely divisible. The nearest gree the conclusion amounts to the approach to the perfect evenness of dereliction of reason itself. Here the right line, to the uniform curvathen is, between the most convincing ture of the circle, must, we conceive, argument of any other kind and this still vary from the exact delineation, a wide and total separation.
in all material lines and curves, fram. This distinctive character of mathe- ed, as they are, by the apposition of matical demonstration rests on two particles, which have figure of their circumstances; the nature of the own. Or, if such figures can, or do original grounds upon which the exist in nature, they are to our mind whole reasoning of the science pro- the same as if they did not, since we ceeds, or the subjects of enquiry; and cannot ascertain their existence. For that of the successive steps of reason- we can know them only by our senses, ing.
and we know well, that though the In all other speculation the subject form should appear to be in most perof reasoning is something that is inde- fect coincidence with the mathematipendent of our intelligence, having cal description, there can nevertheless absolute existence in nature ; and our be no reliance on the testimony of our