John Morley.

Critical miscellanies online

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CRITICAL JMISCELLANIES.



CRITICAL



MISCELLANIES.



JOHN MORLEY.



LONDON :
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193 PICCADILLY.

{JU rights ?""'•»■-"''' ">



LONDON :

PRINTED BY VIRTUE AND CO.,

CITY ROAD.



miVEliSlTY OF ( AIJFORNI
SAJVTA JBAItBAIU



NOTE.

— — ♦ — ^

Of the pa^^ers contained in the present volume, that
on Some Greek Conceptions of Social Growth is now
published for the first time. The others have abeady
appeared in the Fortnightly Review. They have since
then undergone revision, and the essays on Yauvenargues,
Mr. Carlyle, and B}Ton, have been largely amplified.

J an Hi tr I/, 1871.



CONTENTS.



TA UTENAReUEH.

PAGK

The Influence of Pascal o

Vauvenargues holds the balance between liim and the votaries of

Perfectibility 5

Birth, education, and hard life of Vauvenargues ..... 5

Life in Paris, and friendship with Voltaire 10

His religious sentiment . . . . . .«. . . .12

His delicacy, reserve, and psychagogic quality 14

Certain inability to appreciate marked originality . . . . .15

Criticisms on Moliere, Eacine, and Corneille . . . . . .16

Comparison with English aphoristic writers and moralists . . . .18

Character the key to his theory of greatness . . . . . .21

His exaltation of spontaneous feeling, a protest against Eochefoucauld and

Pascal .22

His plea for a normal sense of human relation, the same .... 24
His doctrine of the Will connected with his doctrine of Character . . 25

Antipathy to ascetic restrictions 28

Two ways of examining character : that followed \y Vauvenargues . . 29

Examples of his style 32

The beauty of his nature to be road in his face ...... 33



CONBORGET.



Condorcet's peculiar position and characteristics
Birth, instruction, and early sensibility
Friendship with Voltaire, and with Turgot.
Compared with these two great men . . . .
Currents of French opinion and circumstance in 1774



37
39
43
46

48



viii CONTENTS.

PAGE

Condorcet's principles drawn from two sources 51

His -view of the two English Eevolutions 62

His life up to the convocation of the States-General 53

Energetic interest in the elections 56

Want of precision 59

His paiticipation in political activity down'to the end of 1792 ... 60

Chosen one of the secretaries of the Legislative Assembly .... 65

Elected to the Convention 67

Eesistance to the Jacobins, proscription, and death 71

Condorcet's tenacious interest in human welfare 75

Two currents of thought in France at the middle of the eighteenth

century .......... . . 79

Quesnay and the Physiocrats 79

Montesquieu 82

Turgot completed Montesquieu's historical conception .... 84

Kant's idea of a Universal or Cosmo-Political History .... 87

Condorcet fuses the conceptions of the two previous sets of thinkers . . 89

Account of his Tableau des Frogrex ........ 89

Omits to consider history of moral improvement 91

And misinterprets the religious element 92

His view of Mahometanism 97

Of Protestantism 97

And of philosophic propagandism 98

Various acute remarks in his sketch 99

His boimdless hopes for the future 101

Three directions which our anticipations may take : —

(1) International equality 102

(2) Internal equality 103

(3) Substantial perfecting of nature and society .... 105

Natural view of the formation of character 107

Central idea of all his aspirations ........ 109



JOSEPH BE JIAJSTRE.

The Catholic reaction in France at the beginning of the century
De Mai-stre the best type of the movement . . . . .

Birth, instruction, and early life .......

Invasion of Savoy, and De Maistre's flight . . . . .

At Lausanne, Venice, and Cagliari



113
117
118
122
124



CONTENTS. 1^

PAGK

Sent in 1802 as minister to St. Petersburg • 127

Hardships of his life there from 1802 to 1817 128

Circumstances of his return homo, and his death . . . • .136

De Maistre's view of the eighteenth century 137

And of the French Revolution 140

The great problem forced upon the Catholics by it 141

Popular evasion of the problem 142

De Maistre's way of dealing with the question of the divine method of

government ........... 144

Turns suddenly aside from the positive solution, towards which he had

partially approached . . . . . . ■ . • .147

Nature of divine responsibility for evil 150

Five remarkable points in De Maistre's theory 152

Fatal defect of his method 158

His ideas on Prayer 159

On Physical Science 161

Significance of such ideas in a mind like De Maistre's . . . .163

Two theories tenable by social thinkers after the Revolution . . . 164
De Maistre's appreciation of the beneficent work of the Papacy in the

past ... 168

Insists on the revival of the papal power as the essential condition of a

restored European order ......... 172

Views Christianity from the statesman's point of view .... 173

His consequent hatred of the purely speculative temper of the Greeks . 174

His object was social or political . . 17G

Hence his grounds for defending the doctrine of Infallibility . . . 177
The analogy which lay at the bottom of his Ultramontane doctrine . .178
His hostility to the authority of General Councils . . . . .181
Jlis view of the obligation of the Canons on the Pope .... 182

His appeal to European statesmen . . . . • . . .183

Comte and De Maistre 185

His strictures on Protestantism . . . . . . . . .18"

Futility of his aspirations . . . ' 189



CARLTLE.

Mr. Carlyle's influence, and degree of its dm-ability 195

His literary services ........... 198

No label useful in characterising him 200

The poetic and the scientific temperaments 202

b



CONTENTS.



Rousseau and Mr. Carlyle

The poetic method of handling social questions .
Impotent unrest, and his way of tx-eating it
Founded on the purest individualism
Mr. Carlyle's historic position in the European reaction

Coleridge

Byron



Mr. Carlyle's victory over Bj-ronism ....

Goethe

Mr. Carlyle's intensely practical turn, though veiled .

His identification of material with moral order .

And acceptance of the doctrine that the end justifies the means

Two sets of relations still regulated by pathological principle

Defect in Mr. Carlyle's discussion of them .

His reticences ........

Equally hostile to metaphysics and to the extreme pret(
physicist ........

Natural Supernaturalism, and the measure of its truth
Two qualities flowing from his peculiar fatalism : —

(1) Contempt for excess of moral nicety

(2) Defect of sympathy with masses of men
Perils in his constant sense of the nothingness of life
Hero-worship, and its inadequateness
Theories of the dissolution of the old European order
Mr. Carlyle's view of the French Eevolution
Of the Eeformation and Protestantism
Inability to understand the political point of view



ensions of the



PAGE

204
206
208
210
212
214
215
217
218
219
221
224
225
226
227

228
230

232
235
237
239

241
242
245
247



BTRON.

Byron's influence in Europe 251

In England 253

Criticism not concerned with Byron's private life . . . . .254

Function of synthetic criticism ......... 256

Byron has the political quality of Milton and Shakespeare . . . 258

Contrasted with Shelley in this respect 259

Peculiarity of the revolutionary view of nature ..... 263

Revolutionary sentimentalism ......... 265

And revolutionary commonplace in Byron 266

Byron's reasonableness 267



CONTENTS. XI

PAGE

Size and difficulties of his subject . . • ' • 268

His mastery of it 270

The reflection of Danton in Byron 272

The reactionary influence upon him 274

Origin of his apparent cynicism 27'i

His want of positive knowledge 27



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