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much as the principles inherent in the political and social arrangements of a stationary state, retained their ascendency in Europe till towards the fourteenth century, might be treated in the same manner as is employed for that of the primitive ages and of the East, did it not appear, that, in the fixed and benumbed condition of the middle ages, there was a secret striving after progress, of which no trace is exhibited in the East. In both, the influence of the priesthood served to hold the state and the intelligence of the people in a condition of non-progression. On this general principle, the history of the eighteenth century demands a continual reference to those considerations and circumstances, peculiarly applicable to it, such, for instance, as the mutual relation existing between the internal culture and the external political changes of the people and kingdoms of Europe; otherwise, all notions of the relation of our times to antiquity and to the middle ages, must remain imperfect and distorted. His essential point our author keeps carefully in view, while he traces the course of the moral and literary history of Europe, during the period he has undertaken to treat of.
In the present work Schlosser confines himself to the literature and philosophy, (only incidentally introducing the political arrangements,) of the English, French, and Germans; but recommends, in order that we may fully comprehend these subjects from their origin, to fix our attention first exclusively upon Italy; because it was there that the German nations which had destroyed the Roman empire, first shook themselves free from their prejudices, and from the fetters of the hierarchy. It was their proximity to Rome that contributed in so great a measure, to open their eyes. Hence, a general change had been progressive in Italy since the twelfth century, and the movement continued till the middle of the sixteenth.
In reference to modern history,' he observes, 'we start from the principle, that the literature of Italy in the earlier parts of the middle ages contained in itself, mixed in chaotic confusion, all the different elements of modern culture and civilization and of modern politics. We there find the Byzantine garnish, together with the remains of classical antiquity, the new Eastern, or Arabic, along with the ancient Orientalism of the Old and the New Testament, that of the Fathers of the Church with Christianity in general; and still further the Northern, German, Celtic, and its various transformations in the poetry and the traditions of the old Gaulish dialects of the North and the South, of the Bretons and Normans, as well as of the Catalonians and the inhabitants of Provence. About the same time the chaos of these sometimes mutually attracting, and sometimes repelling materials began to resolve itself, and all assumed a
new modern form, resembling the classical, when the modern theories of administration, constitutions, government, police, and political economy were formed in Italy.'
After the time of Dante, when the Italian language was perfected, literature assumed a form regulated according to classical rules; and we find in the Italian cities in the fifteenth century, numerous court poets, rhetoricians, masters of the structure of language, and elegant Latinists, and academies serving as means to form the bases of permanent societies. It was at this time that the French monarchs endeavoured to force themselves among the Italian princes, and sought to give the same splendour to their city of Paris, which the arts and the study of classical literature had already conferred upon the Italian capitals. Henceforward the new Italian civilization was mainly indebted for its propagation and diffusion to the French.
In the second section of his Introduction, in which the literature of Europe till the end of the seventeenth century is cursorily treated, Schlosser adverts to the new Christian life and literature which were first formed among the Spaniards, and traces their influence upon the literature of France and England, as well as the course which Spanish civilization took in contradistinction to that of Italy. Speaking of the latter he remarks, that tactics, strategy, trade upon'a grand scale, banking, exchange and its laws, manufactures, industry in its great branches, political economy, police and political investigations, as the terminology employed in these subjects denote, all belong to the fifteenth century.' The freer tendency of this mental culture and civilization, in religious as well as in civil things, reached Germany at a somewhat later period, through France. At the end of the sixteenth century a rapid retrogradation took place, and at the beginning of the seventeenth, the Thirty Years War threw back German mental improvement and cultivation for at least a hundred years. Precisely at this time, when Germany was falling back into the condition of the middle ages, that literature was developed in France, which had been brought over the Alps by Francis the First, and which was adapted to the new form which had been given to the French state under Richelieu and Mazarin. It was the schools of the Reformed institutions, which, when they were driven out of France by Louis the Fourteenth, in 1681, brought the light of the new studies, but together with a purely French or monarchical court life, into Holland, Germany, and other districts of the north of Europe.
The entirely new literature which arose in France in the time of Louis the Fourteenth, found its way into the circles of the English aristocracy under Charles the Second, and in a short time became prevailing throughout Europe, and determined the
character of the former half of the eighteenth century. In his introductory chapter on the condition of literature in England and France at the end of the seventeenth century, our author well observes :
'The literature of the French, from the time of Richelieu, was in one point of view altogether national, full of pomp and splendour, of wit and declamation, full of wantonness and a practical understanding of life; with very few exceptions, heartless and without humour, but in the other point of view, borrowed from the ancients, and adapted by the learned men in France to the rules of the ancients, or more properly speaking, starting from this, it was improved and made. This new literature had reached its highest point of prosperity before the end of the seventeenth century, and school philosophy, couched in admirable language (Mallebranche, Pascal), eloquence, which was fitted to the national character, the regular drama, and a poetry modelled according to the strictest rules of art, had all reached that degree of perfection which it was possible for them to attain; whoever, in future, wished to gain splendid renown as a writer, must seek another path to reputation; and this introduced an entirely new literature and philosophy of life into France at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This new wisdom, this enlightenment and superiority to the prejudices of the people on the subject of church and state, had been earlier formed in Holland and England, and was so much the more eagerly received in France, in proportion as the fanaticism of the French ecclesiastics and of the parliaments bad embittered the minds of all intelligent men. *
We have elsewhere alluded to the origin and connexion of the struggle against church and state in the seventeenth century; and we shall here only add some remarks upon the changes in English literature since the times of Cromwell. The affectation of piety and of religious fanaticism, which reigned in England during the time of the republic, both in writings and in life, and which introduced a wholly absurd and ridiculous tone and language into conversation, begat a strong repugnance in the public mind to such hypocrisy, and awakened an inclination for natural freedom; this degenerated into extreme licentiousness in the time of Charles the Second. The tone and language of the Restoration were frivolous, because biblical forms of language, and real or pretended religiousness of life fell into utter contempt along with the republic and the republicans, among whom this manner prevailed. On his restoration, Charles the Second brought with him the morals and usages of the times of the Fronde, and the wanton tone of the memoirs and novels of the time immediately following, and these prevailed in England during the whole of his reign. The re-instating of the hierarchy in the old form, which immediately followed the restoration of the Stuarts, the continuance of those crying abuses connected with the hierarchy, and the maintenance of them under William the Third, even after the expulsion of James the Second, drew the attention of all thinking and able men
to the subject, and caused them to attack this wholly rigid ecclesi- . astical system, and along with it, incidentally, Christianity itself.' —vol. i. pp. 20—22.
In the course of the seventeenth century, Hobbes had brought forward his new system of moral and political philosophy, in support of the military dominion of absolute power. This writer paved the way for the bold scoffers at all spiritual and temporal dominion, and in some sort, gave countenance to the demands of a free people against the pretensions and claims of their rulers. With him may be joined Harrington and Algernon Sidney, as political writers, who surpassed the boldest French authors of the eighteenth century. About the same time that the French school of licentious literature was extending its discipleship in England, appeared the new philosophy of Locke, whose doctrine of experience and observation, of reflection and calculation, as the sources of knowledge, and the means of applying it, came at length to pervade the whole system of external life, the rapid development of which, and the multiplication of wants and conveniences, were thereby not a little promoted. The universities and their teachers, indeed, were bitterly opposed to Locke, with whose system the orthodoxy of traditionary faith could be ill made to agree. In the year 1703 there was a meeting of the heads of the university of Oxford to censure the Essay on the Human Understanding,' and to forbid the reading of it. Besides this, every one is aware of the fact alluded to by Pope in the 'Dunciad,' where he speaks of
'Each staunch polemic, stubborn as a rock,
There were others, however, about this time, such as Boyle and Le Clerc, who ventured to go still further than Locke in the paths of doubt and scepticism. Boyle brought together every thing which the ancients and moderns had said against the prevailing system, and essayed to prove that the superstitions and tendencies to belief in miracles in his time, were absurd remnants of barbarism. The doctrines which had been discovered and developed in England, were cautiously introduced by Boyle and Le Clerc among the Dutch and French, who at length received and universally disseminated them. In the earlier half of the seventeenth century, Lord Herbert of Cherbury had made a bold attach upon Christianity; and Shaftesbury directed his wit and satire against the hierarchy decrees of councils and confessions of faith of the clergy. As writers to be classed in the same category, and either coeval with, or
not long subsequent to Shaftesbury, we may mention Collins, Tindal, Chubb, Mandeville. and Morgan. Toland began his attack upon Christianity at a rather earlier period. His most celebrated work, Christianity not mysterious,' appeared in 1696, for which he was obliged to flee to Dublin, where he was almost as much persecuted as in England. Of the injury sometimes inflicted on the cause he wish to support, by noticing ill-founded and vulgar assaults, a striking instance is afforded in the case of Toland:
'Toland,' observes Schlosser, conducted himself very unskilfully; he was often vulgar, and gave way so completely to his humour and his momentary impulses, that his attack would have passed over altogether unheeded, if a number of other men, for the most part of good reputation, had not at the same time entered the lists against a theology and philosophy which had become antiquated, and which was nevertheless violently forced upon every man by wicked governments and heartless aristocracies, in order to hold the people in dependence by means of the hierarchies and sophists.
Huet, Mosheim, and other learned and pious men, by their defence of Christianity against his attacks, first directed the attention of all those to Toland, whom the spirit of the age excited against Christianity.'-vol. i. p. 24.
Our author bestows several sections of his first chapter on the English writers we have named, as well as on Bolingbroke, Arbuthnot, Pope, Swift, Addison, Steele, &c. That on Bolingbroke is an able and discriminating essay, so far at least as it professes to sum up his literary and philosophical character. We agree with Schlosser, that 'a solid work upon the life and writings of Bolingbroke, by an Englishman, is yet a great desideration.' The Memoirs by Cooke are altogether unsatisfactory even as regards his political life, and the theme is yet open to some writer of competent talents and impartiality.
Having treated of the literature and philosophy of England down to a certain period in the eighteenth century, our author devotes his second chapter to the literary cultivation and intellectual life of the French, or rather the mental culture and improvement of the higher classes of Europe, from 1715 till something beyond the half of the century. The first name selected for discussion, as belonging to this era, is that of Voltaire, who brought into literature the tone and mental energy of the highly eulogised and clever societies of the last days of Louis XIV. It is well known that Voltaire and his associates, in the early times of their career, played a double game, and our author fails not to notice it. There was an esotoric and an exoteric doctrine; each member of their society played two characters; the one within the circle, for his own pleasure; the other out