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than power. Nor could Whitgift in the church, with a capacity to rule second only to that of his imperial mistress, and armed with the terror of Ecclesiastical law and the inquisitorial tyranny of the court of the High Commission, keep down this confessed devotion to trutlı, as higher and loftier than mitred authority. In vain did Charles order to the Tower the leaders of the opposition. The spirit of British Freedom muttered back its smothered indignation, which anon burst forth in the fierce war-cry of open defiance. In vain have the jail, the fine and the pillory been employed to punish what have been deemed excesses in the use of this freedom ;-many of which should rather have been pardoned to the spirit of liberty.
Nor have the English people been mistaken in this high regard to principles, and this determined assertion of freedom in making them known, as itself the condition of future prosperity. All that is fair and beauteous in the aspect of merry England ;-all that is substantial in the triumphs of her enterprise, is bascd upon this, as its hidden but not unreal foundation. All that is more fair and more substantial in the present beauty and prosperity of the daughter land, and that is bright with future promise, is owing to this element of the English character, as it has here made itself more distinctly felt through its more untrammelled freedom, and has erected its splendid structures, in a field unencumbered with the massive ruins of other days.
The influence of this feature of the English mind, thus asserting to itself a being and a field of action,—thus developed in the history of the English race, and matured and perfected in their institutions, -as it has given a character to English literature, is most obvious. Not only has it imparted to every species of writing this peculiar English cast, but it has given birth to hundreds of volumes of a controversial and philosophic character, which stand as noble trophies, erected, as trophies were of old, of the tough and splendid armory which bold knights have employed in the stern and manly strife for truth. To this strife the Eng. lish mind has ever been girt with a devoted energy; and its collected results are a species of literature unlike that of every other people. Why need I name in proof and illustration, those ten thousand controversial tracts, political, SECOND SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. II.
theological and moral, which could foat in no other air but the free air of England, and which, borne upon its breezes, have rung in the hearing of every fireside circle, and given a new topic of conversation to every ale-house? Why should I speak of the majestic and philosophic eloquence of a Hooker, or the honest ardor and the fervid indignation of a Milton, both mail-clad champions in no fancy tilt, or ladies' tournament; but in the real strife,-victory or defeat. English eloquence has also battled in these stern contests, and has received from them its splendid and unrivalled glories. It is because it has contended for principle, that it has gained its manly tone, its onward directness, its condensed and fiery logic. Hence is it so contrasted with the wordy vastness of the French declaimers, and the passionate fury of their best debaters. In the Parliament it has given us the earnest humanity of Fox, the resistless energy of Chatham, and the far-reaching and majestic philosophy of Burke. In the pulpit, it has left as its memorials the silvery beauty of Bates ; the witty pungency of South ; the solid and instructive reasoning of Barrow; the searching directness and the apostolic fervor of Richard Baxter.
English History is also eminently philosophical. · Conversant as it is with scenes in which principles occupy a place so prominent, and written by those who breathed the air of England, it could not well avoid placing upon its pages the lessons of instructive wisdom. We may not overlook tbe familiar and popular philosophizing of the British Es. sayists, who have been influenced by the common characteristic of their nation, and in turn have helped to give it strength.
In Mental and Moral Science, we are told that our literature is sadly deficient,—that England has produced no one worthy to be called a metaphysician,-that though her praise is well deserved for applying principles to practical life as well as to politics and morals, she must take an inferior rank in the sciences of Being and of Mind. That there is occasion for this observation, is doubtless true ; that it is a true observation, I altogether deny. The French and German philosophers employ a dialect that is more strictly technical, and assume an air more purely scientific. English writers, as they investigate with a more direct reference to
practical results, wear a more familiar garb, and write in a homelier style, but with no less real science.*
One writer there is, whom England may boast as her own; who is more than an Aristotle or a Plato, for he is both in one, as he unites the divine inspiration of the one with the rigid science of the other. Lord Bacon may justly be placed at the head of all science, and pronounced the sublimest wonder in philosophy, whom the world has yet beheld. He it is, who from the loftiest point of observation, did, as with an eagle's penetrating eye, look over the field of universal science, and pierce to the secret of its hidden mysteries ; and who, in his noble ideal, has told us what science must become to attain perfection ; with prophetic forecast, striking out the outlines which in part have since been filled, and in part remain vacant still. His thoughts are very oracles ; his words are the crystal shrines, which distort not the living being which they embody, but which yet, as the diamond, refract the richest and most varied hues from his sparkling fancy and his high imagination. He is the pure ideal of the English scientific mind, and the fauitless model of what the English philosopher should aim to become.
* It is hardly becoming, perhaps, to venture an opinion, upon a point so much in dispute as the rival claims of English and Continental Philosophy, where there is little opportunity to support that opinion by extended reasoning. It is, however, a fact beyond all question, that English philosophers have uniformly made the beginning, or given the impulse, which has resulted in the real or fancied improvements in mental science, of which the French and Germans make their boast. It might also be easily demonstrated, that there is little in which they glory as peculiar to themselves, which may not be found scattered, here and there, wrought or unwrought, in the workshops or the rich quarries of English science. It may also be added, that besides those who have won golden prizes for the truth as well as the ability of their investigations, those who have followed a fanciful or false philosophy, have proved themselves to have been by nature most richly gifted as metaphysical philosophers. Such were Hobbes, Berkely, Hume and Brown; men whose writings, if a man study not, or studying does not admire, he proves himself to · possess but small pretensions to the name of a philosopher.
The Englishman is not a philosopher merely, he is also a man, a genuine mail, and the intenseness of his humanity has made itself felt in the wide circle of his literature. He is proverbially fond of his home, and around his home are centered his strongest attachments. His paternal oaks and acres, his library, his horses and his dogs are his most valued possessions. He guards with a religious strictness the sanctuary of domestic peace, and the purity of the marriage relation. He counts their audacious violator as the enemy of man, and when he fights for his fireside, he displays an energy that is truly terrific. In domestic life, he studies true comfort, and collects about himself the most abundant sources of quiet happiness. Neatness and convenience are the essential requisites in every apartment,- the simplicity of a just taste invests every arrangement, with a dignified lightness and a sober grace. In intercourse with his fellow men, he dislikes that excess of politeness of which his natural enemy is so fond, because he hates hypocrisy. He shrinks with disgust from that unrestrained display of real feeling, which is natural to his less sensitive brother on the Rhine. And yet, though sometimes reserved, he is the truest gentleman. With his apparent coolness and dignity, he is actuated by the moving impulses of the strongest and the most earnest feeling. His attachments, though slow to begin, are ever enduring. His love, though averse to display, burns with an intense and glowing ardor. His reverence for God, for the king and the law, is honest and hearty. His respect for the great and the good he will lose with his life. When these feelings kindle into passion, then is aroused a hatred that is most cordial, a contempt that is most bitter, and an honest indignation, which shakes him to the centre—and all these, with an intenseness, that leaves room for no other thought than the object of his passion, no other feeling than the passion which absorbs his energies. True, he lets off no rockets and displays none of the fire-works of feeling --no ;- his passion is too deep for that. To this earnestness of character, there is added the liveliest sensie bility to wit, and a genuine vein of humor. He relishes, of all things, a capital joke; the broad humor of the farce and the comic incident which sets the circle into a roar of Jaughter, he enjoys with a heartiness, which it does one good to witness. But he is far from being pleased when the
joke turns upon himself. Of all men is he the most sensitive to ridicule. He will go to the fire of martyrdom, with greater serenity, than he will face the deserved ridicule and laughter of his fellow nien.
Endowed with these varied and apparently opposite characteristics, the English mind is prepared to excel in every department of poetry and fiction. Whatsoever demands vigorous and lofty imagination, fervid feeling, highwrought passion, condensed and controlled by a severe and delicate taste, whatsoever also calls for broad and resist. less humor or flashing wit, we should know beforehand would be best achieved by the English character, as concentrated and made doubly powerful by wonder-working genius.
That all this has been achieved by English genius, is mat. ter of history. The trophies of her achievements glitter, as they hang along the cloistered recesses, the high-arched halls and the solemn temples, which constitute her spacious dwelling place. Why need I name her pre-eminence in the drama, which is unchallenged by the world? There is the splendid circle that adorned the age and reign of the maiden queen, whose names may be matched with the greatest of the ancient drama, and with them would stand unsurpassed in the world, were there not one greater. than all. The rolls of dramatic genius display but one Shakspeare, rightly styled the myriad-minded, the man who had ten thousand minds in one. Now is he the thoughtful, the high-ininded Hamlet, who while he spurns all baseness as pollution, and is nerved with a noble daring to crush it, is yet o'erburdened by his excess of thought, and fails to be equal to the high demands of times so out of joint. Anon he is the fiery Lady Macbeth, not bloody by nature, nor dead to the relentings of her noble self, but hurried on, by the hot impulses of an eager ambition, to the perpetration of that which o'erwhelmed her house in gloomy horror. Then again he dances around the witching caldron of those hags from hell, with shrivelled arms and bony fingers. Anon he floats over our heads, piping to us the wild music of the unseen Ariel ; and then moves in the merry measures in which fantastic fairies sport. And yet Shakspeare himself, with his amazing resources, and the transmuting magic of his genius, would not have been what he was, with any