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such varied manifoldness, hopes, and may be able, to reach a true conception of the Christian doctrine of Monotheism. God is not divided, but the universe is made one in him. He is present in all, but specially manifest in part. The doctrine of Trinity in Unity is rooted in the life of the Indo-European races. Will it ever be eradicated? Can it be more than corrected, and placed as a Christian doctrine upon its true philosophical basis?
The Semitic races, clinging exclusively to the strictest Monotheism, and shutting the door against science and civilization, seem destined to perish. The Indo-European, receiving from the Semitic the only element in which they were deficient — religious truth develop a modified Monotheism, and advance in civilization. The Indo-European is now the historic man, bridging the gulf that lies between the experience of the Past and the needs of the Present, and marching to the dominion of the world. In the progress of that march, what further union and change may be effected we cannot foresee. This we know, — the conquering race contains within itself the powers of invention, art, philosophy, and holds in trust for the world that most inestimable treasure of all, the doctrine of the one omnipotent, omnipresent, indwelling, providential Spirit, as declared by the Revealer; and, through all change and seeming disaster, humanity as a whole must move onward to freedom from error, ignorance, and superstition.
Art. III. – BUCKLE'S TREATMENT OF HISTORY.
History of Civilization in England. By Henry Thomas BUCKLE.
Vols. I. and II. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
LITERATURE has met with no light loss, though philosophy is less bereaved, in the death of Henry Thomas Buckle. A scholar in earnest, whose stores of information were wonderful in extent and wonderfully under command ; å vigorous writer, fluent, perspicuous, copious; a thoroughgoing liberal in poli
VOL. LXXIV. — 5TH S. VOL. XII. NO. I.
tics and theology, hating bigotry, cruelty, and strong governments, believing with ardent faith in political economy and the popular catchwords; an enthusiast in his patronage of to-day as against all past time, an enthusiast no less in behalf of outward and material progress; an admirable popularizer, easily putting into good, firm, every-day English the ideas of thinkers abler than himself; an admirable hoper, sanguine, sure, putting into his statements just that one-sidedness and extravagance which would at once render them piquant, and better assimilate them with popular modes of thought; courageous in thought, bold in utterance ; gifted with great self-assurance, and rich also in that easy, native, unembittered superciliousness, and that confident blindness to all ideas going beyond his depth, which make him seem always to be entire master of the situation; he had many qualifications for the making of books that should be in a very high degree attractive, and in no in. considerable degree instructive. On the other hand, he is limited strictly to the outsides of things, — has no inwardness, no intuition of interior principles; while discursive, with great surface-reach, he is astonishingly deficient in Aristotelian stable breadth and coherency of thought; keen and eager in immediate reasonings, he can deal only in the narrowest linear logic, and this lies in broken unrelated lines, so that the attempt to pursue his argument is like following a road which is now firmly beaten and now suddenly disappears, and when again found runs in another direction. He wants all that constitutes a great thinker, and he attempts what the greatest of thinkers might find too severe a task; yet his faults are so overlaid with merits, real or apparent, that only he who carries some large categories in his mind will discover them without assiduous study.
Such a man is sure to receive all the credit he deserves. Fiercely blamed he may be ; yet the chances are that the outcry against him will be raised on a ground of mere prejudice, and will therefore react with double force in his favor. Sufficiently credited and praised he is sure to be; the only danger is, that he may not be censured with fairness and discrimination. If, therefore, in the following paper, we dwell chiefly on the grave defects of his work, let the reason be understood. Let it be understood that we do not deny to him the possession of remarkable merits, and that we have no sympathy with those who clapped their hands over the news of his death, or raised them to heaven with thanks. We believe fully in his soundness as a man; we do not believe in the soundness of his thought. We admire his boldness, and wish his ability had been equal thereto. But because we admire so much in him and in his book, we are the more bound, and the more fitted, to point out that his thought iş false in its main lines; that his book is baseless, good in secondary and bad in primary respects. And because of this favorableness to him, we shall put forth our censure without euphemism, in words, if possible, as plain as his own. .
History, as defined with imposing precision by Mr Buckle, deals only with two classes of topics. It recounts, first, the ways in which man has been influenced by physical phenomena, by the outward world ; and, secondly, it shows the effect on such phenomena which the wit and toil of man have been able to produce. Whether, now, a narrower and more meagre definition of history has ever been made, one may question ; but there is hardly room for question, supposing such curiosity to have appeared, whether it proceeded from a man of such ability and of equal pretension to philosophical breadth. Man's effect on the material world, — think of this as the sum-total of his efficacy and activity! Why, if this were so, the influence and importance in history of Shakespeare would be incomparably less than that of any backwoodsman who has cleared the trees from a space of land ; than that of him who has drained a marsh or reclaimed a moor; or even than the influence of an ordinary farmer or gardener. Mr. Buckle's friends may, indeed, claim for him that he has been wholly, or largely, untrue to this definition in his subsequent work. This merit cannot be denied him ; but to have made, and published at the beginning of an elaborate work, a statement so feeble and foolish, argues an infirmity of intellect which his inconsistency, flagrant as it is, may in one aspect relieve, but in another confirms.
To the first part of his definition he more adheres, and proceeds, first, to set forth the influence upon man of his surroundings. Yet this topic is treated in a way singularly partial. Nothing is taken into view. but those influences which are negative, - which, in their strength, preclude civilization. The matters treated under this general head are Food, Soil, Climate, and those Aspects of Nature which, by creating the impression of danger, oppress the imagination. But the statement is summarily this: where soil is fertile, climate propitious, and therefore food very abundant, there the demand for industry becomes small, which causes an equal smallness in its remuneration. Wealth, therefore, says Mr. Buckle, accumulates in few hands; this causes knowledge and culture to do the same; and civilization, which under these bountiful skies had quickly started, has but fairly started when it is brought to a stand. To this add, that very powerful and impressive aspects of outward nature generate superstition ; superstition wars upon intellect; and here, also, civilization, to which a free action of reason is essential, fails to begin, or comes early to a pause. The outcome of all is simply, that only in Europe is a civilization possible ; and in arriving at this conclusion, Mr. Buckle reaps the fruit of this entire discussion. Whether under the term “ Europe” he intends to include all or any of America, we are unable to determine; but Asia and Africa are expressly set aside ; nor has our author any aim in treating of the influence upon man of physical phenomena other than the exclusion of these broad lands from the province of such a history as he writes. In a history of civilization, therefore, Mr. Buckle ignores the influences of outward nature; his argument is, that these are to be considered only in the history of uncivilized life. He draws the circle of civilization, and pushes all this outside it. Only where nature is a nullity can man be civilized, - this is the substance of his assertion. Accordingly, he has excluded from the history of civilization the first part of his definition of history in general, and left himself, according to the limits of his own statement, nothing else to treat of than the effect of man's activity upon physical phenomena ; and this he has already pronounced the less important of the two grand topics. But this portion of his definition, as was intimated above, is treated by himself as an impertinence, and may, therefore, be so passed by in this paper.
Quitting, therefore, wholly, as he himself quits, the ground which he has begun by laying out, we follow him as he professes to make the history of civilization a science. And here his all-including aim is to show, that in historical progress the understanding is the only agent, - that all the rest of man's spirit, imagination, the moral sense, and the like, is, like outward nature, a nullity. Understanding the sole civilizer, his book is chiefly a piece of polemics to this point. He does, indeed, begin his second volume with laying down four propositions to which he argues, but the foundation of them all is in this.
Such, then, is the scope of this work. He proves, by his own design, first, that civilization can exist only in Europe, and at its highest only in England; and, next, that it is the product, not of man's spirit as a whole, but only of a fragment, a particular faculty. That he still further narrows his ground, that he binds the understanding to a special mode of action, and stigmatizes as futile other modes of its natural activity, should be mentioned in a full account of his position, but must here be passed without further notice. Let us now proceed to scrutinize more closely his observations under the two principal heads.
It will not be denied that soil, climate, etc. do influence the accumulation and distribution of wealth, and that many of the results follow which our author alleges. Doubtless, also, great and capricious danger, with which men find themselves wholly unable to cope, does unman them, and foster superstitions that unman them more. It stimulates selfish fear to an inordinate extent; it drowns affection, and disintegrates society; it quenches industry, discourages precaution, and makes recklessness the companion of cowardice. Niebuhr had already made very impressive observations upon the destruction of social wealth wrought by pestilence, — observations more suggestive than those of a similar nature with which our author has followed him, simply because more sound and guarded. Niebuhr had reflected profoundly upon the conditions of generative force in society; he was no partisan, no adventurer; he was not hampered by a low and crude philosophism; and his observations have the weight which our au