« ElőzőTovább »
ledge, without which all professional studies must sink into contempt.
The situation and circumstances of the city of Charleston are particularly favourable to such schools. This is a rapidly growing city, which, by the next census, will probably show a population of more than fifty thousand persons. It is easy of access, by rail-roads, from every portion of the Southern country. Its doors open immediately upon the Atlantic, the salubrious breezes from which keep it grateful and healthy. In respect to health, it is fully equal to any city in the United States. Its literary resources are, in like manner, second to none. Its libraries, public and private, are large and ample, and daily having increase. Its literary and professional men are numerous. Weekly re-unions afford the professional student opportunities for a grateful intercourse, at once refining to the manners and generally provocative to the intellect. In manners, in all social charms, in all that agreeably enlivens human associations, makes gentle the deportment, while elevating the aim, Charleston has long enjoyed a reputation which is entirely beyond dispute. Here, society is at once valuable and easy of access. The graces and the muses dwell in the same habitations, and the youthful student may pursue the arts and sciences with avidity, while insensibly acquiring the polish and amenity of a social condition, which is, confessedly, one of the most attractive in the confederacy. These are important advantages, which particularly commend the schools of this city to the favourable regards of the stranger.
Nor are the professional gentlemen, by whom these schools are established, wanting in their individual claims to the favour of the country. Messrs. Cain and Porcher have made themselves favourably known to the profession, by their able conduct of the Southern Medical Review ; Professor Myddleton Michel has, for some years, conducted, with singular success, a school of surgery and anatomy; Professor Hume holds a distinguished chair in the State Military Academy; the other professors of these two schools are locally well known, and greatly respected, at once for their professional endowments and their social position. The course of instruction pursued in these schools is of a strictly elementary and practical charac
It is designed as an initial study, to prepare the stu
dent for the better comprehension of the more elaborate course of the colleges. Anatomy, as a matter of course, is minutely taught. In the departments of practical medicine, surgery, obstetrics, therapeutics and physiology, the more prominent features of the subject are presented to the mind of the pupil, the better to enable him to grasp and to retain them. The time usually allotted for the curriculum of study being very limited, the object of the lectures, in these schools, is practical utility. Theoretical disquisitions, and discussions of controverted points—all discursive or digressive topics, which might tend to retard, to embarrass or confuse the student-are accordingly avoided ; the teacher confining his labours to the inculcation of those truths, only, which are conceived by the profession to be entirely established, and which occasion no dispute. This simplifies wonderfully the study, and offers nothing to the learner which does not actually contribute to his useful education.
Clinical instruction, in practical medicine, surgery and obstetrics, receives a large share of attention, and special care is taken to make the pupil familiar with the modes of interrogating the sick, as well as the methods of physical exploration-auscultation, percussion, etc.—after which he is required, under the supervision of the professor, to diagnosticate diseases, to point out their therapeutical indications, and the means by which these indications are to be fulfilled. Repetition being of the highest importance to the pupil, examination forms a prominent feature of the course, and is so thorough as to amount to a recapitulation of the subjects. Such is, briefly, the scheme of instruction, into the details of which we need go no farther. It is enough to add, that both schools are amply provided with all the necessary apparatus and appliances; the Medical College of South Carolina, and the chemical laboratory of the Military Academy, with all their mechanical and other agencies, being accessible to the students of the preparatory schools. These, we are pleased to add, have been ior some time in successful operation. It is not the least recommendation of this plan of summer education, that there are two schools—the student is thus enabled to choose between them, while the professors are kept diligent, and made themselves to improve, under the generous spur of emulation. NEW SERIES, VOL. VI.NO. 11.
ART. XI.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
Course of the History of Modern Philosophy. By M. VICTOR Cousin. Translated by O. W. WRIGHT. 2 vols. (8vo.) NewYork : D. Appleton & Co. 1852. These volumes present the convenience of embracing, in a single work, two distinct series of lectures, published at different times. We have thus a continuous course, comprising an Introduction to the History of Philosophy, by which we are led on, from the idea and character of philosophy, through its historical rise and development, down to the philosophy of the eighteenth century, which is the subject of the second series of lectures, and which embraces Cousin's celebrated examination of the philosophy of Locke. The translator, in a note at the end of vol. ii., says, “other portions of Cousin's works are ready for the press, the publication of which will depend upon the success of these volumes.” Very heartily do we wish that the fulfilment of this condition may speedily put us in possession of the reserved portions, for the circulation of Cousin's writings must exercise a beneficial influence upon the intellectual culture of all who become acquainted with them. To an unrivalled clearness of style, he unites an equally remarkable talent for exposition, so that his reader is not delayed by even real profundity of thought, so transparently and luminously are the conceptions presented. With most comprehensive views, entirely free from all sectarianism, he developes great general principles, the legacy of ages; and, while thus establishing, with profound erudition and wonderful critical sagacity, what are the permanent possessions of the intellect, won in the course of its strifes, and efforts, and progressive history, from the earliest recorded period to the present, he is inculcating no systematic dogmas of a school, but is really teaching, to use his own language,
" Philosophy itself; not attachment for such or such a system, however great it may be, admiration for such or such a man, whatever may have been his genius, but the philosophical spirit, superior to all systems and to all philosophers, that is, boundless love of truth, knowledge of all systems which pretend to possess it entire, and which, at least, possess something of it, and respect for all men who have sought it, and who are seeking it still, with talent and loyalty. The true muse of history is not hatred—it is love. The mission of true criticism is not only to point out the too real and too numerous extravagances of philosophical systems, but to pick out and disengage from the midst of these errors the truths which may and must be mingled with them, and thereby raise the human reason in its own eyes, absolve philosophy in the past, embolden it and illumine it in the future."
We observe, in passing, that, in turning to Mr. Wright's translation, to quote the above passage, we find that, after the words,
boundless love of truth,” he has omitted the expression immediately following it in the original, viz: “Où qu'elle se rencontre.” We have not time to collate this translation with the original, so we must fain hope that it is generally faithful, and that the instance above is a mere accidental inadvertency. We hold that no translator, who professes to render an author, without any intimation of taking liberties with the text, is absolved from the obligation of strictly representing his author in toto, so far as difference of idiom will allow, without undertaking to correct what may seem to be mere verbosity or redundancy in the text. We want, in a professed translation, the very style and peculiarities and faults of the original, as faithfully reproduced as may be, so that we may judge the author, as far as possible, as if we read him in his own language.
We believe that Cousin has exerted a greater influence than is generally known, upon the most intelligent and best informed thinkers in England and America, and we could wish to see these volumes of Mr. Wright widely circulated in this country, if for no other reason, at least for the destructive and successful assault which they make upon sensationalism, and the persevering, masterly, irrefutable, analytic criticism with which they demolish the philosophy of Locke. Regarding, as we do, that philosophy as the foundation and bulwark of some of the most pernicious errors which have ever hampered the progress of science, perverted the grounds of morality, and corrupted the atmosphere of religion-regarding it, moreover, as a philosophy peculiarly calculated to take baneful root in the Anglo-Saxon mind-it is with no common interest that we would see these volumes candidly and thoughtfully perused by every intelligent young countryman of ours, who is not already acquainted with them. Cousin fully appreciates Locke's real genius and greatness; he candidly points out what undeniably worthy services Locke performed in the domain of psychology; he freely accords his tribute of admiration and praise to the great and original thinker, who was so much better than his erroneous principles ;-—but, at the same time, he draws forth into the clearest sunlight the fatal consequences involved in Locke's principles; he submits those principles themselves to the test of the most rigidly logical and penetrating criticism, and, in his celebrated (may we not justly call it immortal ?) and unrivalled specimen of lucid metaphysical critique, the sensationalistic, doctrines of the “Essay on the Human Understanding” crumble and dissolve, piece by piece, in the resistless menstruum of philosophical analysis. We do not forget the counter work against Locke's, by one of the greatest geniuses : we mean Leibnitz's “ Nouveau Essais sur L'Etendement Humain," in which,
through an equal number of books and chapters, he pursues the Englishman's " Essay," through all of its principles and reasonings; but the somewhat discursive style of Leibnitz's dialogue, and its different method, render it impossible to institute any comparison as to their respective merits, between that work and the criticism of Locke's “ Essay,” by Cousin. Leibnitz's work is a complete conversational review of the Essay,” by a writer who sees perfectly Locke's weak points and errors, and who also has a system of his own; Cousin's Lectures on " the Essay” are a more determined and searching examination of its principles, in a continuous logical critique.
Cousin's “History of Philosophy” is not a mere detail of the different systems which have successively appeared in the field of history, but it is really the philosophy of that history. With vast erudition, incorruptible fairness and justice, sympathy with all that is true and noble, a critical penetration, not to be deceived, and a wonderful and eloquent clearness of style, he fathoms the psychological origin of philosophical systems, and seizes, with astonishing sagacity, the internal nexus which contains the secret of their historical filiation. These qualifications—this labour-compel him to seize the truth—to become an "eclectic”—that is, not a syncretist, putting together dogmas gathered from varied systems, but a true philosopher, who traces the deviations, the aberrations, the defects, of the processes of the human mind, in the pursuit of truth, discovers their origin and causes, and lays hold of the great principles, which are universally true, and which, as an inextinguishable beacon, will guide the human intellect to farther conquests. Of Eclecticism, Cousin says, in his “ Avant-Propos” to a little volume published by him, with the title "Fragments de Philosophie Cartésienne,"
“L'éclectisme n'est point une sorte d'équilibre incertain entre tous les systèmes. S'il discerne du vrai et du bien jusque dans les systèmes les plus faux, de l'excès et de l'erreur, dans les systèmes les plus vrais ; s'il entreprend de se défendre lui-même de tout mouvement irréfléchi et extrême, ce n'est pas à dire qu'il se condamne à cette impartialité pusillanime qui assiste à la lutte des opinions sans y prendre part et pour ainsi dire du haut dùn nuage.”
Far from it; eclecticism seeks, in each system, what is true and false, and the reason thereof; it unites, to historical erudition, psychological and metaphysical criticism. From such a point of view, in such a spirit, is Cousin's work written ; and, to every unprejudiced and honest mind, it will itself furnish the best refutation to the dunces who, on one hand, have accused him of Pantheism, and to the blunderers who, on the other, have supposed that he was a mere patcher together of dogmas, picked out of different systems of philosophy.