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From Fraser's Magazine. crowds that have been listening to him in
the last years whilst he has been communiRECENT LECTURES AND WRITINGS OF
cating his thoughts to them. He has
caught, as it were, some clear eyes in the In the School of Arts at Newcastle-upon- companies before him which he had not Tyne there is a picture, painted by the late suspected were there, and speaks more as if David Scott, representing Ralph Waldo he felt that something can be practically Emerson in the attitude of lecturing. It accomplished in the present, and less as if was painted, I believe, when Emerson visit- he were depositing the ova of thoughts for ed that city nearly twenty years ago, and is another generation to quicken. In a word a very saccessful rendering of the peculiari. he has become more visibly in earnest, and ties of his look and manner, which are consequently more eloquent, whilst never physiognomically significant of his thought for a moment lowering his standard of and spirit. The slight depression at the thought. He may be regarded as the corners of the mouth, with a touch of stern- founder of the American Lyceum,' and in ness, the one arm extended from his side the last twenty years it has been a medium farther and farther as he becomes more ani- of perpetual communication between him mated by his theme, the two or three fin- and the people throughout the Northern gers of the other hand pressed to the palm States. Much of his English Traits, and as if holding tightly some reservation, all all of his Conduct of Life, has been given these, and other indefinable characteristics in the lyceums not only of the cultivated that are photographed on the mind of one Eastern States, but of the rough backwood who has attentively listened to Emerson, settlements in the West. In none of these are admirably reproduced in this picture regions have there been any complaints of by one of his admirers and friends. But not understanding him, such as were frethere are some traits of him which are but quent in Boston and in England when he faintly if at all suggested in the picture re- first appeared as a lecturer. This is not ferred to, that have been developed in the alone due to the greater degree in which years that have intervened, or which per- the people have approached his standard; haps could not have been even hinted on he also has doubtless been somewhat edu
In bis more recent life Emerson's cated by a greater familiarity with his American hearers have recognised a less countrymen. Nor have the great events literary style and tone, and a strong that have occurred in America in the latter er desire to have his views adopted. years passed over without leaving importHis paradoxes are stated with more deter- ant traces upon him. In his time he has mination. He oftener turns aside from the seen the people of America steadily advanconstructive and affirmative method natural cing the cause of justice, not only without to him to strike some false or sordid stand- great leaders but over the fallen forms of ard raised on his path; and one now some their strongest but faithless captains, and a times sees his lip quiver, bis eye flash, and confidence in them rarely expressed in his even a certain wrath expressed in the dila- earlier, is a main feature of his later works. tion of his nostril — where Winkelmann His catholic intelligence has assimilated the saw expressed the anger of Apollo of the genuine peculiarities of his country, and he Vatican toward the slain Python. An has found in it and its people a quarry from eminent lawyer of Boston, Rufus Choate, which he can derive the material for the in defending Slavery, once spoke of the statues and pillars he would raise. His Declaration of Independence, popularly method too has become somewhat more held to be inconsistent with that institution, practical ; and indeed it might be expected as a series of glittering generalities. In a that any philosophic mind would after a full lecture given afterward, Emerson quoted theoretical utterance gradually incline to some of the phrases as those declaring criticism and the application of abstract
all men are born equal, and are endowed principles to men and institutions. This has with inalienable rights' - and said, “These given his later style a more popular and, so have been called glittering, generalities : to speak, iconographic character; and it has they are blazing ubiquities. And as he also developed his humour — witty be alspoke bis whole frame trembled, and the in- ways was. I find in my note-book some tensity of bis voice kindled his audience sentences taken down, as nearly as possible far more than the mere words could have with exactness as to phraseology, from his done. The impression has been gaining recent and unpublished lectures, which may among his countrymen that Emerson has illustrate the criticisms I have been makbeen receiving something from the larger ling:
The finest inspiration of the poet is in the modes of transportation. Mistrusting the can most exact harmony with perfect laws. The ning of his small legs, he wishes to ride on the vine which intoxicates the world is the most necks and shoulders of all flesh. The small mathematical of plants.
enchanter nothing can withstand, — no seniorThe poetic insight is more general among ity of age, no gravity of character; uncles, the people than we imagine. They may not aunts, cousins, grandsires, grandames, — all like this or the other favourite of the critics ; fall an easy prey: he conforms to nobody, all but they like Æsop.
conform to him ; all caper and make mouths, There is no great man who has not left his and babble and chirrup to him. On the strong. testimony for liberty and justice.
est shoulders he rides, and pulls the hair of A right and true man would be felt to the laurelleil heads. centre of the solar system.
Does the consecration of Sunday confess the Our steamships like enormous shuttles are desecration of the entire week? Does the conweaving continents into the woof of Humanity. secration of the Church confess the profanation
If mere power of work or endurance were of the house? Let us read the incantation enough, how will a man compare with the backward. Let the man stand on his feet. mule?
Let religion cease to be occasional. And the Serena is asked by her teacher whether Fabi
pulses of thought that go to the borders of the us was victorious or defeated in a certain battle.
universe, let them proceed from the bosom of She replies that he was defeated. Fabius was the Household. victorious; but of what importance is his vic- I warn you that no dream of the future is so tory compared with Serena's feelings? Fabius, fair as the scenes and skies, weaving their unif he had a particle of the gentleman about him, heeded enchantment about you today, shall would consent to be defeated a hundred times
appear when you shall look back upon them. rather than have Serena's feelings hurt.
In the new rat-hole revelation, received by What complaint is this that we have not people fumbling about tables, it is to be obtime for this or that thing? When some one served that whatever spirit is called up Swedencomplained in the presence of an Indian that
borg always answers. All the milk comes from he had so little time, the Indian said, 'You that cow. have all there is.' Life is unnecessarily long. Minds are of two kinds — oviparous and vivi
What is a day? To a stone so much chem- parous. istry; to a wise man a day is a splendour of opportunity. Nothing is more painful than to see parent,
In a remarkably brilliant lecture on the
French, whose character he had the opporpreacher, teacher, each trying as swiftly as pos- tunity of studying in Paris, during the sible to inoculate the child with their own mediocrity. Get off that child, you vampyre; you
events of 1848, it was wonderful to observe are trying to make that man another you
how completely Emerson fell into the crisp, is enough!
clear, incisive style of the best French writTo hew and hack, slay and eat, - this is the ers on this particular occasion. There was sum of many an individual relation to Nature. in this lecture a sharp contrast drawn beHumboldt asked an Indian chief if he had tween the French and the English, - the known anything of a certain officer who had former he held to be more generally agreedied in the war of 1816. 'I ate a piece of him,'
able because their life could be drawn into was the reply.
Who knows not the beautiful group of babe something like harmony with aims not too and mother, sacred in nature, now sacred also high ; they had not the haunting, harrying in the religious associations of half the globe ? interior ideal of the Anglo-Saxon with its Welcome to the parents is the puny struggler, attendant diseases. This at least is the strong in his weakness, his little arms more impression left upon my mind by the lecirresistible than the soldier's, his lips touched ture. In it occurred some characteristic with persuasion which Chatham and Pericles stories and epigrammatic felicities. in manhood had not. The small despot asks so little that all nature and reason are on his
An Englishman and a Frenchman fought a side. His ignorance is more charming than all duel in the dark. The Englishman not wish; knowledge, and his little sins more bewitching ing to harm his antagonist crept around until than any virtue. All day, between his three or
he found the fireplace ; he fired his pistol op four sleeps, he coos like a pigeon-house, sput- the chimney and — brought down the Frenchters and spurns, and puts on his faces of impor-man.. The Frenchman invented the dicktance; and when he fusts, the little Pharisee cy: the Englishman added the shirt... The fails not to sound his trumpet before him. Out French would have things theatrical; God will of blocks, thread-spools, cards, and chequers, bave things real. ... The strength of the camel he will build his pyramid with the gravity of is said to reside in its many stomachs. In our Palladio. With an acoustic apparatus of whis-World-Behemoth each nation is a stomach, and tlo and rattle he explores the laws of sound. each holds an additional strength for man. A But chiefly, like his senior countrywion, the human society were impossible without the young American studies new and speedier French element, and it is not without a purpose
that Nature seems, wherever one goes, to insist | rot and are forgotten with their double tongue on Frenchmen.
saying all that is sordid for the corruption of
Emerson has always been too steadfast and loyal to his own task to devote himself
When Theodore Parker died there
sprang to any particular reform or cause,' although up on the spot where he had so long and to him, with Wendell Phillips, it is to a nobly laboured something that seemed a legreat extent to be ascribed that all educa- gitimate sheaf from his sowing, a pulpit ted men in the United States gave their to which every man with ability and a conadhesion to the anti-slavery movement which viction was welcomed, whatever his creed. originated with earnest but ignorant men. To this pulpit the puritan faith that nothing
To the machinery of that movement in its is secular in any sense that defines it from earlier days the philosopher could and di: what is sacred, had survived in an ethical give freely of his money but not of his time. treatment of all living themes and interests; He had a great respect, almost a reverence, and so from Sunday to Sunday Emerson, for Theodore Parker, who, with all the Pbillips, and others, taught and applied the tastes of a scholar, threw his heart so fully lessons of religion and philosophy. This is, into the costly task of liberating the slave I believe, still the habit with the Parkerite which New England was reluctantly recog- Fraternity' of
oston, believed by many to nising as her own. None of the vast throng be the representative Church of New Engthat attended the obsequies of that repre- land. Emerson often preached there, and sentative New England preacher can ever with a warmth which had hardly been beforget the thrilling strain in which Emer-fore associated with him. I should son spoke extemporaneously of him. Stand- say that the most iinpressive utterance that ing in the ball where Parker had so long I ever heard from bim was a discourse deuttered his discourses, he said :
livered in that music hall about six years
ago. There was not one but many themes 'Tis plain to me that he has achieved an
and texts, but all related. He began by historic immortality here; that he has so woven
calling attention to the tendency to simplihimself in these few years into the history of
fication The inventor knows that a maBoston, that he can never be left out of your chine is new and improvable when it has a annals. It will not be in the acts of "City great many parts. The chemists already Councils; nor of obsequious Mayors ; nor in find the infinite variety of things contained the State House, the proclamations of Gov. in sixty-six elements, and physicists promise ernors with their failing virtue — failing them that this number shall be reduced to twenat critical moments, that the coming genera- ty, ten, five. Faraday declares his belief tions will study what really befell; but in the that all things will in the end be reduced to plain lessons of Theodore Parker in this Music Hall
, in Faneuil Hall, or in Legislative Com- one element with two polarities. Religious mittee-rooms, the true temper and authentic progress has similarly been in the direction record of these days will be read. The next of simplification. Every great religion has generation will care little for the chances of in its ultimate development told its whole election that govern governors now; it will secret, concentrated its force, in some simcare little for fine gentlemen who behaved shab- ple maxims. In our youth we talk of the bily, but it will read very intelligently in his various virtues, the many dangers and trials rough story, fortified with exact anecdotes, pre- of life ; as we get older we find ourselves çise with names and dates, what part was taken returning to the proverbs of the nursery. by each actor ; who threw himself into the cause In religion one old book serves many lands, of Humanity and who came to the rescue of civilization at a hard pinch, and who blocked its ages, and varieties of character; nay, one
Ah, my brave brother! it seems as if, or two golden rules out of the book are in a frivolous age, our loss were immense, and enough.
teachers and scriptures your place cannot be supplied. But you will al- are at last but various routes by which we rrady be consoled in the transfer of your genius, always come to the simple law of obedience knowing well that the nature of the world will to the light in the soul. Seek nothing affirm to all men, in all times that which for outside of thyself,' says one, · Believe nothtwenty-five years you valiantly spoke; that the ing against thy own spirit,' echoes another winds of Italy murmur the same truth over your part of the world. Jesus said, ' Be lowly ; grave, the winds of America over these be. reaved streets ; that the sea which bore your
hunger and thirst after justice; of your own moarners home affirms it, the stars in their minds judge what is right.' Swedenborg courses, the inspirations of youth ; whilst the teaches that Heaven and Hell are the loves polished and pleasant traitors to human rights of the soul. George Fox removes the with perverted learning and disgraced graves, bushel from the light within. The sub
stance of all morals is that a man should declared, the one element to which all vir. adhere to the path which the inner light tues are reducible. It was revealed unto has marked before him. The great waste me,' said the old Quaker, that what other in the world comes of the misapplication of men trample on must be thy food. It is energy. The great tragedies of the soul the spirit that accepts our trust, and is thus are strung on those threads not spun out of the creator of character and the guide to our own hearts.
One records of Michael power. In closing this discourse the speakAngelo that he found him working on his er read at length the story of the proposed statue with a lamp stuck in his cap, and it bumiliation, and the victory through humilmight almost symbolise the holier light of ity, of Fra Christophero, in Manzoni's Propatient devotion to his art. No matter messi Sposi. I regret that I cannot give a what
your work is, let it be yours; no mat- report verbatim of this extraordinary dister if you are tinker or preacher, blacksmith course, wbich produced an effect, on those or President, let what you are doing be or- who heard it, beyond any that I have ever ganic, let it be in your bones, and you open witnessed, many being moved at times to the door by which the affluence of Heaven tears. I went with pencil and paper, inand Earth shall stream into you. You shall tending to take down as much as I could,
1 have the hidden joy: and shall carry suc- but at the end of the hour occupied by it, cess with you. Look to yourself rather the paper remained blank, and the pencil than to materials: nothing is unmanageable had been forgotten. I can therefore only to a good hand; no place slippery to a good produce the record of my impressions of foot; all things are clear to a good head. it, as they were written down the same The sin of Dogmatism, of creeds and cate- day. chisms, is that they destroy mental charac- My conviction is, that to hear one of Emter. The youth says that he believes when erson's religious discourses, as delivered by he is only browbeaten; he say he thinks himself, would be more helpful to a young so and so, when that so and so are the denial minister than a theological course in any of any right to think. Simplicity and gran- university. Nothing can be more reverentdeur are thus lost; and with them the sen- ly thoughtful and grandly simple than his timent of obligation to a principle of life manner and tone. He quotes frequently and honour. In the legends of the Round from some Oriental Scripture, or great poTable it is told, that a witch wishing to et, and it is always done with the solemnity make her child supremely wise, prepared of an old Puritan taking his text. I recertain herbs and put them in a pot to boil, member well the lowering of his voice, as intending to bathe the child's eyes with the one might speak on his knees, as he recited decoction. She set a shepherd boy to the sublime paradoxes of Dante's Apostrostir the pot whilst she went away. Whilst phe to the Virgin : he stirred it a raven dropped a twig into the pot, which spattered three drops of the O Virgin Mother, daughter of thy son, liquid into the shepherd's eyes. Immedi- Created beings all in lowliness ately all the future became as if passing Surpassing, as in height thou art before his eyes; and seeing that when the Above them all.' witch returned she meant to kill him, he left the pot and fled to the woods. Now if It is impossible to estimate the influence three drops of that all-revealing decoction Emerson has bad in chastening the style of should suddenly get into the eyes of every writing and speaking in America. Were human being crowding along Broadway the Websters and Clays to return they some day, how many of them would still go would, I believe, find a generation yawning on with the affair they are pursuing under their finest rhetoric. The spreadon the street ? Probably they would near- eagle's wings are visibly drooping on the ly all come to a dead stand! But there stump and in Congress, and a calmer voice would, let us hope, be here and there a proceeds from the pulpit. The conditions happy child of the Most High, who had under which this change has been wrought taken hold of her or his life's thread by sa- have been furnished by the diffusion of edcred appointment. These would move on ucation through the free-school systems, but without even a pause : the unveiled future the most potent secondary cause has been would show the futility of many schemes, this Sower, who, with the beginning of the the idleness of many labours; but every generation now closing, went forth and genuine aim would only be exalted, and scattered through the land pearl seed where shown in their eternal and necessary rela- rhetorical glass beads had hitberto been tiuns. Finally, Humility was, the speaker admired. And in all this time, so healthy and impersonal had been his influence, Em- I would attack. With regard to the extreme erson has never had an eminent imitator. cases urged against the individual non-reHis method bas from the first been affirma- sistant, he says, • A wise man will never tive; and he has thus revolutionized the impawn his future being and action, and old habits of thought by building, without decide beforeband what he shall do in a the sound of a hammer, the nobler temple. given extreme event. Natúre and God An eminent Comtist has lately expressed will instruct him in that hour.' The fact the opinion that Europe is far more than that a band of people have made universal America emancipated from the creeds and peace an aim worthy of concert and prayer forms of the past : but where the leading is the signal fact. A thought raised the minds are devoting themselves to the crea- mighty war-establishments to keep the tion of the new instead of the destruction peace of the globe, and a higher thought of the old, their kingdom comes without shall melt them away. It is to be done by observation. I cannot agree with the critic a heroism greater than the heroisms of war; to whom I have referred, but find that by ' men who have, by their intellectual inmuch is still treated as religious radicalism sight, or else by their moral elevation, atin Europe, which in America has already tained such a perception of their own inbecome conservatism.
trinsic worth, that they do not think proIn one of his earlier works Emerson perty or their own body a sufficient good to speaks of people going to Europe to become be saved by such a dereliction of principle American. Perhaps he spoke from experi- as treating a man like a sheep. I quote ence in this. He has three times, I be- the concluding paragraphs of this lecture : lieve, travelled in Europe, and since his last return his faith in American tendencies If the universal cry for reform of so many has almost amounted to an enthusiasm. In inveterate abuses, with which society rings, his early lectures and addresses he speaks if the desire of a large class of young men for of the society around him as hopeless; the a faith and hope, intellectual and religious, such only things worth praising were the commu
as they have not yet found, be an omen to be nities of the Fourierites, the St. Simonians, and in 'action, on the unexplored riches of the
trusted; if the disposition to rely more, in study the Peace Societies, and the like, which human constitution, - if the search of the subwere springing up everywhere. He made lime laws of morals and the sources of hope addresses favourable to negro-emancipation, and trust in man, and not in books, – in the to the enfranchisement of women, against present and not in the past, — proceed; if the
and evidently regarded these as the rising generation can be provoked to think it uncombined elements of a new state which unworthy to nestle into every abomination of was to supersede American politics, which the past, and shall feel the generous darings of were hereditary, imported, transient. One austerity and virtue; then war has a short day,
and human blood will cease to flow. of the finest of his productions is one on war, which was published as one of Miss through what organs, this purpose of mercy and
It is of little conseqnence in what manner, Peabody's collection of Æsthetic Papers, of holiness is effected. The proposition of the which it may be well to give some account Congress of Nations is undoubtedly that at here. He sees that war has been historically which the present fabric of our society and the essential. • The microscope reveals minia- present course of events do point. But the ture butchery in atomies and infinitely small i mind, once prepared for the reign of principles, biters, that swim and fight in an illuminated i will easily find modes of expressing its will. drop of water; and the little globe is but a There is the highest fitness in the place and too faithful miniature of the large. This and time in which this enterprise begun. Not strife in the little and large worlds not in an antiquated appanage where no on
in an obscure corner, not in a feudal Europe, comes of the great and beneficent principle ward step can be taken without rebellion, is the - selp-help. In early days war forwarded seed of benevolence laid in the furrow, with the culture of man, as for example, the con- tears of hope; but in this brond America of quest of the East by Alexander. It also God and man, where the forest is only now educates the senses, calls into action the falling, or yet to fall, and the green earth open will
, and perfects the physical constitution. to the inundation emigrant men from all The sympathy with war is, however, a quarters of oppression and guilt; here, where juvenile and temporary state. Trade, Art, not a family, not a few men, but mankind, shall Learning, Religion, have shown War to be say what shall be ; here we ask, shall it be War,
or shall it be Peace ? fratricide. War and Peace have now been resolved into a mercury of the state of civi- With all the faith in America uttered in lization. A nation so developed as to be these words, there is an undertone of diswithout armaments were a nation that none trust in political and official America. But