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of thinking, and pursuits, will give good governments, so far as concerns their organic forms, to all. This done, it will not be difficult to secure their wise and faithful administration, to make them in fact as well as in name, agents for protecting each individual in the free and full enjoyment of his entire individuality.

We have in this paper endeavored to give a practical direction to our remarks. We have heretofore speculated not a little, and presented the subject of social reform on its ideal side, which was not amiss. For the ideal has its place, and an important one too, more important than our countrymen usually give it. But the practical has also its place; and when we come to the matter of acting, the question is never, what is in the number of future possibilities, but what is possible now, men and things being as they are, and what they are? We must come down from the ideal to answer this question, and forego our ecstasies. We must take sober views, and be after all somewhat moderate in our demands.

We have also given the direction we have to our remarks, with the hope of drawing attention more directly to the importance and precise nature of constitutional government. Our countrymen are all attached to constitutional government, and so far very well ; but they seem to us to be far from comprehending the real nature of constitutional government in general, and their own in particular. We would, if we could, provoke the discussion of constitutional questions. The popular text-books and interpretations of our existing constitutions are unworthy a people engrossed in political matters as we are. In this part of the country constitutional law is hardly recognised. We have been engaged in the discussion of merely local or temporary questions, or in attempting to define abstract democraсу. We complain not of this; but we think it is time to sink our political attorneyism, and even our political metaphysics, in wise, liberal, and philosophical statesmanship.

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In conclusion, we would say, that in appealing so directly as we do to government, and making it almost the sole agent through which we are to remedy social evils, we by no means forget religion, morality, or individual intelligence. No man can rate them higher than we do.

We hold them absolutely indispensable. But they must not be imprisoned in the bosom of the individual. They must be brought out of the interior of man, and made to disclose the true end of all social institutions, and to contribute to their adoption. We would always write as the Christian and the moralist, as well as the statesman. But we would use Christianity and morality in organizing the state and shaping its measures, not less than in our private exhortations to individuals. The end disclosed by true religion, the one enjoined by morality, and that sought by the state, are one and the same ; to wit, the freedom and progress in virtue and happiness of every individual. Unless the state maintain freedom for the individual, religion and morality can do little besides solace him in his sufferings, and strengthen him for his trials. This is no doubt a high office, and never to be thought lightly of; but the intelligence, purity, and loftiness of soul, religion and morality are fitted to quicken, should be directed to the establishment of such institutions, and the enactments of such laws, as shall always favor truth, justice, freedom, order, and well-being.


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Art. II. — Essays. By R. W. EMERSON. Boston :

James Munroe & Co. 1841. 16mo. pp. 303.

In this Journal for April last, we called attention to these Essays, and promised that we would take an early opportunity to speak of them more at large. The promise we then made, we proceed now to redeem. And yet we hardly know how to do it. The Essays are good and significant, but exceedingly troublesome to reviewers, for whose especial ease and convenience they seem by no means to have been written. They contain no doctrine or system of doctrines, logically drawn out, and presented to the understanding of the reader. They consist of detached observations, independent propositions, distinct, enigmatical, oracular sayings, each of which is to be taken by itself, and judged of by its own merits. Consequently, it is impossible to reduce their teachings to a few general propositions, and to sum up their worth in a single sentence.

To most persons, who read these Essays, they will seem to be wanting in unity and coherence. They will always strike as beautiful, often as just, and sometimes as profound; but the reader will be puzzled to round their teachings into a whole, or to discover their practical bearing on life or thought. Yet they have unity and coherence, but of the transcendental sort. The author seems to us to have taken, as far as possible, his stand in the Eternal, above time and space, and tried to present things as they appear from that point of vision, – not in their relation to each other as seen in the world of the senses, but in their relation to the spectator, who views them from above the world of the senses.

This fact should be borne in mind. Mr. Emerson, to speak scientifically, is no philosopher. He is a philosopher neither in the order of his mind, nor in his method of investigation. He explains nothing, accounts for nothing, solves no intellectual problem, and affords no practical instruction. He proposes nothing of all this, and, therefore, is not to be censured for not doing it. He is to be regarded as a Seer, who rises into the regions of the Transcendental, and reports what he sees, and in the order in which he sees it. His worth can be determined, that is, the accuracy of his reports can be properly judged of, by none except those who rise to the same regions, and behold the universe from the same point of view.

Writers like Mr. Emerson are seldom to be consulted for clear, logical, systematic expositions of any subject

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or doctrine, never for the purpose of taking them as teachers or guides in the formation of opinions; but for

; the suggestions, the incentives to thought they furnish, and the life they kindle up within us. They are thought by some to be writers without any practical value for mankind; but they have, in fact, a very high practical value; only not of the every day sort, only not that of dogmatic teachers or scientific expositors. They present new aspects of things, or at least old familiar objects in new dresses, the various subjects of thought and inquiry in new relations, break up old associations, and excite to greater and fresher mental activity. After having read them, we cannot say that we are wiser or more learned than we were before; we cannot say that we have become acquainted with any new facts in the history of man or of the universe, or that we have any new ideas in regard to the human soul or its Creator ; but we feel, that somehow or other new virtue has been imparted to us, that a change has come over us, and that we are no longer what we were, but greater and better.

These are not the only writers we need; but they have their place, and one of high trust, and of no slight influence. Their influence is not sudden, noisy, obvious to all senses, but slow, silent, subtle, permanent, entering into and becoming an integrant part of the life of the age, sometimes of the ages. They live and exert a power over the souls of men, long after their names are forgotten, and their works have ceased to be read. They are never in vogue with the multitude, but they are admired in select circles, who inhale their spirit, and breathe it into other and larger circles, who in their turn breathe it into the souls of all men. Though they may seem to have no practical aim, and no reference to every-day life, they have in the end a most important practical bearing, and exert a controlling influence over even the business concerns of the world. then, regard them as mere idle dreamers, as mere literary toys, with whose glitter we may amuse ourselves, but without significance for the world of reality. They appear always for good or evil, and their appearance usually marks an epoch.

Let no one,

Mr. Emerson's book is a sincere production. It could have been produced only in this community at the present moment, and only by a man who had been placed in the relations he has to society and the Church. Such a book could never have emanated from a man, who had not been bred a clergyman, nor from one, who, having been bred a clergyman, had not ceased to be one. We may also say, that it could have been produced by no man, who had not been bred in a creed, which he had found insufficient to meet the wants of his intellect and heart, and who had not, in some measure, deserted it, without having found another in all respects satisfactory. We may say again, he must have been bred a unitarian, and having found unitarianism defective in consequence of its materialism, have felt and yielded to the reaction of spiritualism, and yet not sufficiently to return to any of the standard forms of orthodoxy.

We would speak respectfully of unitarianism, as we would always of the dead. It had its mission, and it

, has, in the providence of God, done great good in our community. But unitarianism was not, strictly speaking, a religion, could not become a religion; and it is well known, that almost always persons brought up under its influence, desert it as soon as they become seriously impressed, and desirous of leading religious lives. Men never embraced unitarianism because they were pious, but because they would dispense with being pious. Unitarianism never spoke to the heart, to the soul; never waked any real enthusiasm, or called forth any religious energy of character. It is in its nature unspiritual, merely intellectual and material, a sort of baptized atheism. The same causes, at bottom, which produced deism and atheism in France, produced unitarianism in New England. If the American mind had been as consequent as the French, as bold to push a doctrine to its last results, and had the Church here been organized as it was in France, and been as oppressive, our unitarians would have been avowed deists or atheists. We can find no more to feed our piety in the

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