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had increased prodigiously. It was well for the generally—we feel that we too should not leave little ship, which rode to three anchors, that the them disregarded, that we should bestow something holding-ground and our ground-lackle were more than the mere incidental notice on them, good, for, with all our precautions, and though which we have hitherto found occasion to indite. nothing was left to hold wind but the bare lower We are credibly informed that these essays find masts and hull, we were in momentary fear of many readers and admirers amongst the youth of going adrift. We could hardly hear the church our universities. Here is a more special “moving service performed, even on the lower deck, with cause" for our examination into this theme—the the hatches down, so loud was the roaring of the rationale” of what we may well call the Emergale.
We shall discuss a few of the leading About sunset, as usual, the wind gradually sank tenets of the En ersonian philosophy, as calmly to a hoarse murmur, and at midnight we had fine and dispassionately as we may; and, if we give weather once more, the stars shining as brilliantly offence to the idolaters of this “transatlantic star,'' as if within the tropics. Such sudden alterations we can only say that truth is too serious a matter form one of the marked peculiarities of the Falk- to be trifled with, and that we hold ourselves bound, lands.
in this instance, to speak out plainly. To plunge, The next morning, some time after the survey then, “ in medias res," ors had dep I was much surprised by observ
'Tis true, 't is pity ; pity 't is, 't is true! ing a large column of smoke rising several miles to the southward. This, naturally enough, caused But men in this age, ay, and women too, grow great excitement amongst us, as we knew our party weary of truth and reason ; sober sense offends, had gone in an opposite direction. So strange an and unity annoys them; they long for a concert incident, in an uninhabited island, brought to my of harmonious discords to wake them from their recollection Robinson Crusoe's discovery of the drowsy lethargy. To the mental palate, thus foot-print of a man on the desolate sea-shore. All diseased, novelty is the chief provocative. A new manner of conjectures were hazarded, and truly cook comes, and mingles poison with his sauces. some of them were wild enough. The next What then ? The flavor is pungent, and a mora) morning, as soon as I could spare them, I sent off evil may often be an intellectual pleasure. four steady fellows, well armed ; but nothing could Some reflection of this nature is needed to rethey discover save the remains of a fire, a few assure us, when we see men and women, whom singed feathers, and a very old-fashioned rusty we have believed sensible and amiable, bailing the hatchet without a handle. Imagining some ship-glare of such a treacherous marshlight as the Amerwrecked mariners might be near, we fired a blue ican paradox-master before us, as though it were light as soon as it was dark, and then a sky-rocket, the advent of a new and brilliant star. Mingled but without any result. Who could the adven- considerations oppress us in treating such a theme; turers have been ?
on the one hand, our knowledge of the great misTwo days more were sufficient to finish the chief wrought in so many cases by this mighty Choiseul Sound, and early on the following morn- phrasemonger would urge severest ridicule as the ing we sent both our boats sounding down towards first of duties ; on the other, there is really such the entrance. At two o'clock we followed them an amount of showy cleverness, of external brilin the vessel. About twelve miles from the mouth liancy, and, now and then, of even happy audacity, of the sound we perceived a splendid little harbor about this quasi-philosopher, that we feel we should on the northern shore, where we anchored for the not do him justice, nor have any chance of redueing night, intending to leave the next morning; but him to his rightful level in the estimation of his unsettled and tempestuous weather detained us sev-rapt admirers, did we not testify our sense of those eral days, which, though a grievous infliction to us merits which, in some degree, excuse their adoraat the time, was pleasant in its results, as we had tion, and which cannot fail to strike the most preja most gallant and satisfactory campaign in our udiced observer. Wild Sports in this part of the Falklands.
True it is, that when a man throws forth thoughts
at random, as Emerson does, without the smallest From the English Review,
regard to self-consistency or reality, he cannot fail, Essays. By R. W. Emerson. Nature, an Essay, here and there, to light on a quarter, or a half Orations, fc., $c.
truth, or perhaps even on a whole one. Let a man The reputation enjoyed by that “transatlantic possessed of a competent knowledge of counterthinker," whose name we have set forth in the point sit many hours at a piano, forcing the chords heading to these remarks, suggests matter for grave into endless combinations, now and then a happy reflection. When we find an essayist of this de- musical idea can scarcely fail to flit across the air; scription, who seems to be “ a setter forth of new small praise to the strummer! The man of higher gods,” belauded alike by tory and radical organs, taste and nobler imagination would far rather abide by “ Blackwood" and " the Westminster," by the under the imputation of barrenness, than afflict his friends of order and disorder—when we find his own soul and senses by the production of the false, works reproduced in every possible form, and at the common, and the vile. There is a certain order the most tempting prices, proving the wide circu- of wealth that is near akin to poverty. Jation they must enjoy amongst the English public What shall we think of his philosophy, who can
seriously tell us, “ With consistency a great soul slave ; and Emerson the embodiment of self-glorihas simply nothing to do?" Order is divine fication. The one commands us to kneel in the disorder is a blot, an error, an absurdity. How, dust before force, whether displayed for good or then, shall we esteem his wisdom, who boasts, “1 evil, as being in its essence divine ; the other forunsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred ; bids us to set the most glorious actions, the most none are profane ; I simply experiment, an endless mighty works, above, or even on an equality with, seeker, with no past at my back ?" Unconnect- our own private notions of them. Which of these edly does this writer jerk forth his sayings ; here creeds is more mischievous, it were difficult to is a perception, there a second, there a third ; make say—the cant of either is disagreeable; but we the most of them! only ask not for sequence or should say that that of the idol-worshipper was the completeness! And yet a myriad waves apart more odious, that of the self-idolater the more will make but one wide and desolate swamp; blend absurd. When the man, whom we know to place half of these in one, and a broad lake spreads no faith in the bare existence of his God, echoes forth, to mirror the azure skies, and refresh the with rapturous and servile adulation the scriptural eye with beauty.
phrases of the Puritanic world, because emblematic Nevertheless, despite this vagueness and seem to him of a real trust of some kind, which he ing boundlessness of thought, we soon learn that is unable to share, we cannot but feel disgust; but the philosophy of Mr. Emerson (if we may so call we laugh outright at the comic self-sufficiency of it) is restricted within a system's narrow limits, that teacher who cries with a sober face and earas well as that of his neighbors ; there is no logic nest voice, “ If I see a trait, my children will see in his form of utterance, certainly, but by and by it after me, and, in course of time, all mankindwe begin to perceive that he is trading on a small for my perception of it is as much a fact as the stock of positive ideas, though he casts them into sun." so many incongruous shapes, and is at so little But should we not, perhaps, go more steadily 10 pains to reconcile one with the other. We find work, and say a few words-a very few, on each that this essayist has a science, a morality, a re- of the first twelve essays in the volume before us, ligion of his own, and that, with all his preten- leaving “ Nature," and " Addresses,” and “Orasions to indefinite catholicity, he tests all things tions,” for some future occasion, or rather alto(as from the infirmity of man's nature he must gether on one side? For, in truth, owing to the needs do) by this special standard.
small number (already hinted at) of Mr. EmerThe one cardinal error of Emerson is to take son's real notions, (we will not say ideas,) the the unit for the mass, the individual for the uni- careful consideration of a single page, taken at versal, the ego for Deity. With all his contempt random from his writings, would almost exhaust for those more sensible thinkers than himself, who the theme. But let us proceed in order due. have assented to a revealed scheme as truth abso- First, then, our author discourses on “ History," lute, and hold all other truths in subordination to in which discourse his aim is to set forth his one that master-principle, he yet constantly, nay, con- great principle, that each man must assume his tinuously, assumes that human nature and the superiority to present, past, and future, subject world are what he sees them to be, and can be these to his own nature, and receive or reject them nothing beyond this. He confounds relative with without the slightest regard for authority, or apparabsolute existence. He seems to fancy the stars ently any external testimony whatever. And here are not, until we behold them. Because to us, and let us remark, how very acceptable such teaching for us, individually, things only are as we receive must have been, must still be, to weak, silly, halfthem, he conceives that fact and truth are dependent formed youths, and all other inferior natures, which upon our perceptions. He regards man as a con- have too much vanity to know true, honest pride, stantly inspired “revealer of the absolute ;' we and would gladly think their own small “self” use, in a degree, his own cant, to render ourselves the epitome, nay, the circle, of the universe. Mr. acceptable to any of his deluded admirers, who may Emerson says it is so.
Hear him! (let us pass possibly be found amongst the readers of this ar- over the blasphemy of his motto !)
" There is ticle. He fancies that what he calls “the over- one mind common to all individual men." How soul,” or universal reason, is potentially common satisfactory! Nay, more : “ He that is once adto all, but actually possessed only by those who mitted to the right of reason is made a freeman are inspired; and these he regards as the infallible of the whole estate." Is this not sufficiently exteachers of humanity.
plicit? Know, then, “ What Plato has thought, Nevertheless, let it not be supposed that the he may think ; what a saint has felt he may feel ; errors of Emerson are those of Carlyle ; that the what at any time has befallen any man, he can former is only an imitator and disciple of the lat- understand. Who hath access to this universal ter. Emerson, though less brilliant, and perhaps mind is a party to all that is or can be done ; for less genial, certainly endowed with less descriptive this is the only and sovereign agent.” Very inor dramatic power, is the better thinker of the twain; telligible, and very reasonable, no doubt ; and, though here, if ever, is the place to say “bad is above all, conducive to modesty. But this is only the best!" Carlyle, however, inculcates the word " the starting;” our American warms with his ship of genius ; Emerson denounces all adoration theme : "A man,” that is, each man, save that of self. Carlyle is by nature a mental whole encyclopædia of facts." What a pleasing
" is the
conviction ! Youth behind the counter, rejoice : 1 study you with reverence, and young ladies dote for thou art All, and the All is in thee. Thou upon you—poor innocents! Finally, “ History hast been wont to consider thyself a learner : know shall walk incarnate in every wise and just man ;" that the teachers of all ages shall come and bow in every self-trusting philosopher, in every Emerdown themselves before thee! “ The moon" son, in fine, or Emersonian! And, when we have is in “the turnip" at last. How intoxicating once ascertained this fact, why not shut up our must be this draught of self-delusive nectar to the books, and begin to live history ourselves? After imagination of many an honest boy!
all, we are we, and all is in us. There is no Mr. Emerson simply puts out of question the resisting such arguments. We cannot wonder great facts, that human perceptions of the Infinite that simple souls should be fascinated and over. must be finite at best, and that two of the greatest, powered. But we would say to all that have thus and highest, and deepest sources of our conviction been led astray, (and would that our voice could are authority and reverence. Nine tenths of our reach them!) return to the paths of reason, and material knowledge even we must take on trust : bathe your spirits in light ; learn to revere ! learn we cannot prove all things for ourselves. How, to learn! Believe us, you shall not be “the less" then, should we be entitled to conclude that our for it. individual perceptions of moral and religious truth Let us move onward. The essay on “ Selfmust be higher, and clearer, and more worthy than Reliance” meets us next, and this is bolder still. those of genius and of holiness? True it is, that “ To believe your own thoughts, to believe that what to us, finally, our own sense of things must be the is true for you in your private heart is true for all nearest and most important, though it follows not, men—that is Genius.” And happily this genius, as Mr. Emerson assumes, that things are, because we find, may be the lot of all, at least of every we think we see them. But, then, how is this Emersonian ; the fact is strongly urged upon them sense formed which is to be our ultimate guide? throughout these essays. “ Speak your latent conThe stanchest stickler for private judgment cannot viction, and it shall be the universal sense !" But reasonably affirm, that this should not be modified it will not do for us to be forever quoting these by those external aids which are here so uncere- eternal strummings upon one false note. Our moniously rejected, or rather seemingly forgotten. readers must already see that there is a unity of Truth, Mr. Emerson, is not dependent upon per- some kind in Mr. Emerson's multiplicities and ception. The great is great, the beautiful is contradictions. beautiful, whether you or we see it or not. We But a very little more need be cited here : the may exclude the glorious sunshine, by absolutely precious fruits of this doctrine concerning individclosing our eyes to its beams · but we cannot force nal infallibility must be seen 10 be estimated. the daylight to fade because we blind ourselves. Further on, then, we read : " No law can be
“Why should we make account of time, or of sacred to me but that of my own nature : good or magnitude, or of form the soul knows them bad are but names, very readily transferable to not!" Really! but the soul does know them; and that or this; the only right is what is after my if yours is ignorant, good " essayist,” confined to constitution, the only wrong what is against it.” the contemplation of your own ego, be assured that A convenient doctrine, verily! We are ready to you are nothing but an isolated straw, driven to give Mr. Emerson credit for the best possible inand fro by the breeze, without any fixed place in tenlions ; but perhaps his admirers will be disposed the wide world of spirits ! History is, indeed, only to admit that such teaching is not quite safe. of interest in as far as it speaks to the soul ; but, We find it difficult to say, how infinitely petty if it does not speak to it, it follows not that his- this self-idolatry appears to us, as manifested in its tory is barren, but more probably, that the soul is fear of all influences from without. Let us be ourshallow, and “ dead in life.”
selves ! Let us live for whim, if we are only we ! It were endless to comment on all the self-con- Let us not be swayed by fact or truth! Let us tradictions of this writer ; but it is amusing to find isolate our souls at any risk ; and, then, we must one who refers all things back to the individual be original, and, being infallible, must grow divine. ego, assuming that the human mind could not de- And are there thousands of good people who have vise the form of a cherub, nor of a scroll to abut swallowed all this? Why do not they remember, a tower, until it had seen some cloud or snowdrift, that while they love God and man aright, nothing suggestive of these forms. The combinations of can deprive them of their individuality? Influenced the imagination are endless ; they may, they will, they must indeed be, whether they like it or no, by find their counterparts in nature ; but they need a thousand foreign causes. They cannot grow up not be stolen from it, though little minds will al-“ all alone,” and have a world to themselves! It is ways conceive them so to be.
very hard, certainly ; but God will guide us and The atheism of the writer peeps out pretty control us; and even our fellow-creatures will sway broadly, where he commends the “Prometheus us and form us, and in no slight degree govern us, Bound,” as emblematic of man's natural oppo- however stern may be our resolve of independence. sition to pure Theism, “his self-defence against “Be a non-conformist !" cries Mr. Emerson : “so this untruth,'
," "a discontent with the believed fact, can you alone be great !” Alas! we may protest that a God exists." Very pretty, Mr. Emerson ; on one or two special points ; but, if we mean to very pretty, indeed ; and well-meaning young men live with our fellow-men, we must conform in all
important particulars, or we shall find ourselves | tempests must assault in vain, lofty as the highest outlaws indeed.
aspirations of the soul, yet broad and plain as truth. After a strong fling on the part of our philosophic Unless we chose to believe our Lord and his aposfriend at conformity and consistency,” which tles (may we dare to write the word ?) impostors, he dooms as “ridiculous," and of which he de- and the whole sacred volume one comprehensive voutly hopes to have heard the last, we have much falsehood, (and how, feeling its holiness, its submore repetition, and then some inflated pantheism limity, knowing the glorious self-sacrifice of its or atheism-we prefer the plainer phrase. Much originators, can we attain to this Voltairean audacis prated respecting “ Instinct" and "Intuition,” ity ?) what must remain for us? Nothing but to on which it would be a pity to waste time and love, tremble, and adore ! good paper. All things are to be wrought, not for We will not waste words on Mr. Emerson's the sake of good, absolute good, but to please the most monstrous hypothesis, that "the Everlasting
ego. We will not waste more words on this Son” proclaimed only the Godhead of all humanfolly. Then prayers are denounced ; all prayers, ity when he announced his own. He must be a at least, save action; they are“ a disease of will." narrow-minded fanatic indeed to his own vain and Man himself is God, or at least the purest embodi- silly creed, who can persist in such an error as this ment of the “over-soul." Prayer, therefore, is But Mr. Emerson's self-sufficiency never deserts
meanness," nay, absurdity. “ It supposes dual-him. "Men's creeds,” he says, “ are a disease ism and not unity in nature and consciousness." of the intellect.” He has said it! We had better That is, it supposes man and God to be iwo, let the subject rest, or this profound teacher will whereas they are only one. “ Sancta simplicitas !” | annihilate our simple faith. in people, who would stare at you grievously af- And now the “ teacher” digresses, and descends fronted, and would even have a right to be so, if a little to anathematize “travelling.” It is, he you called them no Christians, and yet who admire informs us, a fool's paradise.” “I seek the Vatthis blasphemous rubbish. Ah, poor Emerson !ican ;'' “I affect to be intoxicated,” &c., “but I can you believe this sad twaddle ? or do you not am not intoxicated.” We can well believe it. But happily vindicate here that character for incon- are we really compelled to accept your standard, sistency of which you are so roud ? Have you friend, because " a fact perceived by you becomes really never had occasion to pray for a child, or of necessity one for all ages?" If so, we wish you wife, or for yourself? If not, how very great, or would cultivate more pleasant perceptions, and, on (in strictest confidence) how very small, your soul mature reflection, consent to think better even of must be ! Are you really fearful, in your vanity, travelling. to acknowledge the Almighty providence above We have some more rather clever though parayou, of which you are the unwilling servant, nay, doxical talk respecting society's never advancing, the slave ? For
but we cannot pause to examine it; it is one of Blindly the wicked work the will of Heaven!
those few approaches to a half truth which this
writer sometimes stumbles on, perhaps against his Not that we would believe you wicked ; far from will. it! we think a human being could scarcely write Next, he treats of “Compensation ;' his reprowith such weak audacity who realized his own the bation of a certain clergyman and his congregation ories. You must be better than you imagine for. is highly comic. The doctrine complained of is,
The life of man is a life of grace ; grace created, the belief of mankind that another world is needed redeemed, sustains him. Didst thou make thyself, to set right the inequalities of this. Of course, or thy world? Are not the evidences of infinite there is compensation even here; in a certain sense, design around thee? Tell us not of an antiquated and in a degree, the good may be said to be the argument, when we utter the revelation of the happy, and the evil the unhappy on our earth ; but human heart. Individuality is essential to every there is such a thing as callous triumphant sensuparticle, to every form, in creation ; a thing that is ality, or as virtuous woe. Good hearts do break not individual is nothing. We may cheat ourselves sometimes ; bad hearts do rejoice, after their kind, with words, if we think fit; but a God who could up to the very hour of their departure. Who has
at love, who did not guide, who would not keep not seen instances in his own individual experience ? us, if we sought him, who did not, in fine, hear We will not follow Mr. Emerson's " arguments” prayer, were no God at all, were nothing better on this head. We advance to another theme. When than a nonentity. Either nature is divine and self- he tells us, then, the true doctrine of Omnipresence created, or there is One Supreme who permeates is, that God reäppears with all his parts in every the visible universe, but to whom that universe is moss and cobweb, we can only repeat our former but as a viewless speck in a boundless ocean of query, Can the man, who gives utterance to such glory. And to this All-Infinite nothing can be wholesale rubbish, place any confidence in it himgreat, nothing small; he hears, he loves the hum- self? We trow not. blest child of clay. But since, in truth, the human In this essay there are, however, some striking intellect might sink in the contemplation of this ideas, some few happy images, some self-evident, amazing mystery, God has become visible in man, indeed, and very harmless truths, which are, incarnate in the Lord Christ Jesus. This revela- nevertheless, utterances of the honest human untion stands on a pinnacle, which all storms and derstanding. The whole is one of those “ talkifi
cations" which make us hope that the man is better ( are not quite sure where he ultimately settles. than his “ philosophy."
There is all the difference in the world betwixt Next, “ Spiritual Laws” come on the tapis, and an alliance founded not only on mutual esteem, are discussed in the former strain ; we find less but also on mutual assurance of active and sincere and less of novel matter or treatment to record. regard, and a mere literary or æsthetic sympathy, Self-self-self—is the eternal cry, though it which seems to be what this author aims at as his finds utterance in many illustrations, some happy ideal of true friendship. These sympathies of and some unhappy. We do not altogether dislike taste or of imagination may be very pleasant things a bold passage towards the conclusion, and, by way in their way, and are so ; they are like some beauof fair play, we will quote it: “Let the great tiful forest-glade which we chance to encounter on soul, incarnated in some woman's form, poor, and our pilgrimage, where we rest for the noon-tide sad, and single, in some Doll or Jane, go out to hour, but whence we start again with only a moservice, and sweep chambers and scour floors, and mentary regret ; they make no deep impression on its effulgent daybeams cannot be muffled or hid ; the heart. Compared with the substance of true but to sweep and scour will instantly appear su- friendship, they are only shadows, however fresh preme and beautiful actions, the top and radiance and green, and “kindly." When sympathy unites of human life, and all people will get mops and men on higher themes than those commanding a brooms, until, lo, suddenly the great soul has en- mere literary interest, (such a theme, for instance, shrined itself in some other form, and done some as religion,) where both feel themselves working other deed, and that is now the flower and head for a great good, the benefit of their fellow-men, of all living nature.” There is truth in this, de- or the glory of God, this communion of thought spite the grotesque exaggeration ; how it agrees and feeling approaches the nature of true friendwith the remainder of Mr. Emerson's system rests ship, and, under favorable circumstances, may not with us to explain. It might have been easily ripen into that noble bond. But we must Carlyle's.
not allow ourselves to be longer detained by Mr. Now comes a paper on
Love,” which we Emerson's transcendental speculations. Some part rather like ; but after an eloquent passage about of what he says
Prudence" seems sufficiently lovers, which has some poetry in it, and much else prudent, as far as we can make out a definite inthat may, perhaps, by courtesy be counted “ very tention ; and, indeed, there are various happy pasclever,” and to which we are anxious, as opponents, sages in this little essay which might repay perusal. to give all due credit, the old troublesome notions Prudence, we may venture to remark, is little known show themselves, and suggestions are made that to Mr. Emerson, though he discourses so learnedly we should only love for the sake of what we get on the theme. Were he gifted with that prudence, for self ; that “ our affections are but tents of a of which modesty seems an essential element, he night," &c. But we will not pause for further would scarcely have perpetrated the majority of the cavils here, however just. We quote one pleas-essays before us, and we should therefore not have ing passage, which recalls, as we fancy, something had to hold him up as a sad warning against the either in Washington Irving, or in Bulwer's very error he condemns (Imprudence) — Eugene Aram," that book so striking and so
To point his moral, and adorn his tale. artistic, despite its partial immorality. rude village-boy teazes the girls about the school- |“ Heroism” is, of course, another variation of the house door ; but to-day he comes running into the old strain, " be thyself, and therefore all that is entry, and meets one fair child arranging her wonderful and perfect !" It is chiefly remarkable satchel ; he holds her books, to help her, and in- for its characteristic praises of “ Beaumont and stantly it seems to him as if she removed herself Fletcher,” whose flashy, noisy vanities, and pomfrom him infinitely, and was a sacred precinct. pous boastings, placed in the mouths of their conAmong the throng of girls he runs rudely enough, stanıly contemptible and wonderfully inconsistent but one alone distances him; and these two little heroes and heroines, have evidently far more atneighbors, that were so close just now, have learnt traction for Mr. Emerson's fancy than the calm, to respect each other's personality.” Oh! Mr. quiet greatness of Shakspeare's men and women, Emerson, if you would more frequently condescend who rarely deal in these grandiose protestationsto observe, and give up aspiring to teach! Be characters such as the calm pagan Brutus," assured, nobody listens to your philosophic twaddle, seduced to ill, indeed, but noble in his fall; or the nobody at least who has a mind, worthy of the cheerful Christian hero, Henry the Fifth," so name—an independent intellect, such as you ad- truly great in all things, and therefore not ashamed mire. But let us not be too crabbed over this of kneeling to his God, and ascribing all glory to paper.
Him only. The essay on “ Friendship" is far more objec- We have some pleasant glimpses of the nature tionable—inflated in language, and misty in senti- of “mob-sway” in this paper, calculated to inspire
We cannot exactly make out what Mr. us with no little gratitude that universal suffrage Emerson wants, whether his friends should be is not yet established among ourselves ; that the friends indeed, through weal and woe, or merely monster many are not supreme, that the sober midsympathizers ; for he states the case both ways, dle classes and "gallant” upper classes retain their backwards and forwards, twice or thrice, and wel due influence. Now follows an essay on “the