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David J. (David Josiah) Brewer.

Crowned masterpieces of literature that have advanced civilization, as preserved and presented by the world's best essays, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 2) online

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LIBRARY
University of
California
Irvine




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

IRVINE

IN MEMORY OF



Maggie Wilson



<B75



y.it.



>s



(



A REUNION AT THE HOUSE OF ASP AS I A.

After tne Patnting by A. Grolleau.



'A'



UNIVERSITY EDITION



Crowneb /Hbaeterpiccee



OF



Xiteraturc



THAT HAVE ADVANCED CIVILIZATION



As Preserved and Presented fcy

From the Earliest Period
to the Present Time



DAVID J. BREWER

Editor

EDWARD A. ALLEN

WILLIAM SCHUYLER

Associate Editors



^



TEN VOLUMES

you n.



ST. rouis

irs;RJ>. F. KAISKR PUB. OO-

1808



mnircrsft^ E&ltton

SPECIAL TESTIMONLAJ- SET



Copytizbt, 1908

BY

FERD. P. KAISER PUB. CX>.
All rigJvU reserved.



THE ADVISORY COUNCIL



PROFESSOR KUNO FRANCKE, Ph. D.,

Department of German, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

HIRAM CORSON, A. M. LL. D.,

Department ot English Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y

WILLIAM DRAPER LEWIS, Ph. D..
Dean of the Department of Law,

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa

RICHARD GOTTHEIL, Ph. D.,

Professor of Oriental Languages,

Columbia University, in the City of New York.

MRS. LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON,

Author « Swallow Flights, » « Bed-Time Stories, » etc. Boston, Mas&

WILLIAM VINCENT BYARS,

Manager The Valley Press Bureau, SL Louis-

F. M. CRUNDEN. A. M.,

Librarian St. Louis Public Library; President (1890) Americai*
Library Association.

MAURICE FRANCIS EGAN, A. M., LL. D.,
Professor of English and Literature,

Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C

ALC^E FORTIER, Lit. D.,

Professor of Romance Languages, Tulane University, New Orleans, La,

SHELDON JACKSON, D. D., LL. D.,

Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C.

A. MARSHALL ELLIOTT, Ph. D.. LL. D.,
Professor of Romance Languages,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
WILLIAM P. TRENT, M. A..

Professor of English Literature,

Columbia University, in the Cit}' of New York. ,

CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY, Litt. D.,

Department of English, University of California, Berkeley, Cal.

RICHARD JONES, Ph. D.,

Department of English, vice Austin H. Merrill, deceased, Department
of Elocution, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

W. STUART SYMINGTON. Jr.. Ph. D.,

Professor of Romance Langfuages, Amherst Colibge, Amherst, Mass.



TABLE OF CONTENTS



VOLUME 11



The Marquis of Beccaria

The Prevention of Crime
Laws and Human Happiness
Against Capital Punishment

Beecher, Henry Ward
Dream-Culture

Bentham, Jeremy

Publicity the Sole Remedy for Misrule
Property and Poverty

Berkeley, George

Pleasures, Natural and Fantastical

Besant, Sir Walter

With the Wits of the 'Thirties
Montaigne's Method as an Essayist

BiRRELL, Augustine

On Doctor Brown's Dog-Story
Book-Buying

Blackie, John Stuart

The Love Songs of Scotland

Blackstone, Sir William



LIVED

I735-I793



PAGE
419



1813-1^87

I 748-1 832

1685-I753
1838-

1850-

1809-I895



I723-I780



The Professional Soldier in Free Countries



Blair, Hugh

The Poetry of the Hebrews
Taste and Genius



1718-1800



430



435



440



445



454



463



477



483



VI

tlVED PAGE

Blaserna, Pietro 1836-

Music, Ancient and Modem



BosANQUET, Bernard 1848-

The True Conception of Another World



491



Blind, Karl 1820- 498

Wodan and the Wandering Jew

Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus <^. 475-525 A. D. 504

What Is the Highest Happiness ?

Bohme, Jacob i 575-1624 508

Paradise
The Supersensual Life

Bolingbroke, Henry St, John, Viscount 1678-1751 513

On the Study of History-



Si?



Bourget, Paul 1852- 523

On the Death of Victor Hugo

Boyd, Andrew Kennedy Hutchinson 1825- 527

Getting On in the World

Boyle, Robert 1627-1691 535

On a Glow Worm in a Phial

The Possibility of the Resurrection

The Knowledge of Nature

Brillat-Savarin, Anthelme 1755-1826 540

Gastronomy and the Other Sciences
On Death

Brooke, Henry 1703-1783 548

What Is a Gentleman ?

Brougham, Henry, Baron Brougham and Vaux 1778-1868 553

The Character of Danton

Brown, John 1810-1882 561

The Death of Thackeray
Mary Duff's Last Half-Crown
Rab and the Game Chicken



Vll

LIVED PAGE

Browne, Sir Thomas 1605-1682 574

Religio Medici

Browning, Robert 181 2-1889 646

Shelley's Spiritual Life

BRUNETifeRE, Ferdinand 1849- 651

The Essential Characteristic of French Literature

Bryant, William Cullen 1794-1878 659

A Day in Florence
Europe under the Bayonet
The Life of Women in Cuba

"Bryce, James

Democracy and Civic Duty

BtJCHNKR. LUDWIG

Woman's Brain and Rights

Buckle, Henry Thomas

Liberty a Supreme Good

Budgell, Eustace

The Love Affairs of Will Honeycomb
Love after Marriage
M. Rigadoon's Dancing School
Modesty and Assurance

Bunsen, Christian Karl Josias, Baron von 1791-1860 698

Luther at Worms

Burke, Edmund 1729-1797 705

The Principles of Good Taste

The Efficient Cause of the Sublime and Beautiful

BuRLAMAQUi, Jean Jacques 1694-1748 747

The Principles of Natural Right

Burleigh, William Cecil, Baron i 520-1 598 752

The Well Ordering of a Man's Life

Burritt, Elihu 1811-1879 757

A Point of Space
The Circulation of Matter
The, Force of Gravity in the Moral World



1838-


666


1824-


671


I82I-I862


677


I686-I737


685



• » •

Vlll



LIVED PAGE

Burroughs, John 1837- 763

The Art of Seeing Things

Burton, Sir Richard Francis i 821-1890 Tn

Romantic Love and Arab Poetry

Burton, Robert i 577-1640 784

The Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils
Of Discontents

Bury, Richard de i 281-1345 79^

The Mind in Books

Butler, Joseph 1692-1752 793

Does God Put Men to the Test?

Byron, George Noel Gordon, Lord i 788-1 824 800

Art and Nature

Caine, Hall 1853- 806

Aspects of Shakespeare's Art

Campbell, Thomas , 1777-1844 814

Chatterton's Life Tragedy

Carleton, William 1794-1869 821

A Glimpse of Irish Life



FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME II



PAGE

A Reunion at the House of Aspasia

(Photogravure) Frontispiece

Henry Ward Beecher (Portrait after His Statue,

Photogravure) 430

Napoleon Receiving the Portrait of His Son

(Photogravure) 553

Lord George Noel Gordon Byron (Portrait,

Photogravure) 800




THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA

(CESARE BONESANO MaRCHESE DI BECCARIA)

(1735-1793)

't is only necessary to read a few clauses of anything the
Marquis of Beccaria has written, to feel the commanding
power of his great intellect. The reader accustomed to
strive with other writers for the privilege of wresting their meaning
from their words is so strongly compelled by Beccaria, that, unless
he deliberately make up his mind to dissent at the beginning, he
will be forced from one irresistible conclusion to another. It is doubt-
ful if Italy since the time of Cicero, has produced Beccaria's equal as
a master of style and as a thinker in his own field of the philosophy
of human action. His eminence in Italian literature is incontestible.
He has a faculty of striking out his sentences, complete in thought
and ready for separate currency, as if they came from the stamp of
a mint, while at the same time each is a part of the sum of a
broader thought, and a link in the chain of its demonstration. *It is
better to prevent crimes than to punish them'*; . . . "The ma-
jority of laws are nothing but privileges, or a tribute paid by all
to the convenience of some few'*; . . . << Salutary is the fear of
the law, but fatal and fertile in crime is the fear of one man by an-
other '*; . . . "Would you prevent crimes — then see that enlight-
enment accompanies liberty >'; . . . "The evils that flow from
knowledge are in inverse ratio to its diffusion"; . . . "the great
clash [is] between the errors which are serviceable to a few men of
power and the truths which are serviceable to the weak and the
many" — in such sentences as these which crowd each other in his
pages, we must feel, even when we cannot comprehend, the secret
of the power which enabled him so to sway the mind of civilization
that within fifty years after the publication of his great work, " Dei
Delitti e Delle Pene* (On Crimes and Punishments), it had influenced
for the better the whole course of government in every Caucasian
nation of the world, justifying fully in results the calm confidence
with which Beccaria had written: "The voice of the philosopher is
feeble against the noise and cries of so many followers of blind cus-
tom, but the few wise men scattered over the earth will respond
Irom their inmost hearts.^



430 THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA

Beccaria's relations to Montesquieu are evident. He seems to have
regarded himself as Montesquieu's pupil, but his intellectual habits
are in all things those of the master, — the man of universal sym-
pathy using a strong intellect as a mode of expression for a soul
inspired by the sacred desire of decreasing the suffering of mankind.

He was born at Milan in 1735, and educated in the Jesuit College
at Parma. His first work as an essayist was done on a small paper
called II Caffe, modeled on the Spectator, so that the style and mind
of Addison may fairly be assumed as greatly influential in deter-
mining his intellectual habits. His work on << Crimes and Punish-
ments,'^ published in 1764, passed through six editions at once and
was soon translated into the principal languages of Europe. One of
the most radical thinkers of modern times, Beccaria was nevertheless
so conservative in his attitude towards existing institutions, and so
distrustful of all revolutionary changes, that he was chosen to assist
in reforming the Italian Judicial Code, and appointed to a chair of
Public Law and Economy which had been founded expressly for him
in the Palatine College of Milan. He died in 1793.



THE PREVENTION OF CRIMES

IT IS better to prevent crimes than to punish them. This is
the chief aim of every good system of legislation, which is
the art of leading men to the greatest possible happiness or
to the least possible misery, according to calculation of all the
goods and evils of life. But the means hitherto employed for
this end are for the most part false and contrary to the end pro-
posed. It is impossible to reduce the turbulent activity of men
to a geometrical harmony without irregularity or confusion. As
the constant and most simple laws of nature do not prevent
aberrations in the movements of the planets, so, in the infinite
and contradictory attractions of pleasure and pain, disturbances
and disorder cannot be prevented by human laws. Yet this is
the chimera that narrow-minded men pursue, when they have
power in their hands. To prohibit a number of indifferent acts
is not to prevent the crimes that may arise from them, but it is
to create new ones from them; it is to give capricious defini-
tions of virtue and vice which are proclaimed as eternal and im-
mutable in their nature. To what should we be reduced if
everything had to be forbidden us which might tempt us to a
crime ? It would be necessary to deprive a man of the use



THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA 42 1

of his senses. For one motive that drives men to commit a real
crime, there are a thousand that drive them to the commission of
those indifferent acts which are called crimes by bad laws; and
if the likelihood of crimes is proportioned to the number of mo-
tives to commit them, an increase of the field of crimes is an
increase of the likelihood of their commission. The majority of
laws are nothing but privileges, or a tribute paid by all to the
convenience of some few.

Would you prevent crimes ? Then cause the laws to be clear
and simple; bring the whole force of a nation to bear on their
defense, and suffer no part of it to be busied in overthrowing
them. Make the laws to favor not so much classes of men as
men themselves. Cause men to fear the laws and the laws
alone. Salutary is the fear of the law, but fatal and fertile in
crime is the fear of one man by another. Men as slaves are
more sensual, more immoral, more cruel than free men; and,
while the latter give their minds to the sciences or to the inter-
ests of their country, setting great objects before themselves as
their model, the former, contented with the passing day, seek in
the excitement of libertinage a distraction from the nothingness
of their existence, and, accustomed to an uncertainty of result in
everything, they look upon the results of their crimes as uncer-
tain too, and so decide in favor of the passion that tempts them.
If uncertainty of the laws affects a nation, rendered indolent by
its climate, its indolence and stupidity is thereby maintained and
increased; if it affects a nation, which though fond of pleasure is
also full of energy, it wastes that energy in a number of petty
cabals and intrigues which spread distrust in every heart, and
make treachery and dissimulation the foundation of prudence.
If, again, it affects a courageous and brave nation, the uncer-
tainty is ultimately destroyed, after many oscillations from liberty
to servitude, and from servitude back again to liberty.

Would you prevent crimes ? Then see that enlightenment
accompanies liberty. The evils that flow from knowledge are in
inverse ratio to its diffusion; the benefits directly proportioned to
it. A bold impostor, who is never a commonplace man, is adored
by an ignorant people, but despised by an enlightened one.
Knowledge, by facilitating comparisons between objects and mul-
tiplying men's points of view, brings many different notions into
contrast, causing them to modify one another all the more easily
as the same views and the same diiiiculties are observed in



42 2 THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA

Others. In the face of a widely diffused national enlightenment,
the calumn'es of ignorance are silent, and authority, disarmed of
pretexts for its manifestation, trembles; while the rigorous force
of the laws remains unshaken, no one of education having any
dislike to the clear and useful public compacts which secure the
common safety, when he compares the trifling and useless liberty
sacrificed by himself with the sum total of all the liberties sacri-
ficed by others, who without the laws might have been hostile to
himself. Whoever has a sensitive soul, when he contemplates a
code of well-made laws, and finds that he has only lost the per-
nicious liberty of injuring others, will feel himself constrained to
bless the throne and the monarch that sits upon it.

It is not true that the sciences have always been injurious to
mankind; when they were so, it was an inevitable evil. The
multiplication of the human race over the face of the earth in-
troduced war, the ruder arts, and the first laws, mere temporary
agreements which perished with the necessity that gave rise to
them. This was mankind's primitive philosophy, the few ele-
ments of which were just, because the indolence and slight wis-
dom of their framers preserved them from error. But with the
multiplication of men there went ever a multiplication of their
wants. Stronger and more lasting impressions were, therefore,
needed, in order to turn them back from repeated lapses to that
primitive state of disunion which each return to it rendered worse.
Those primitive delusions, therefore, which peopled the earth
with false divinities and created an invisible universe that gov-
erned our own, conferred a great benefit — I mean a great politi-
cal benefit — upon humanity. Those men were benefactors of
their kind who dared to deceive them and drag them, docile and
ignorant, to worship at such altars. By presenting to them ob-
jects that lay beyond the scope of sense and fled from their grasp
the nearer they seemed to approach them, — never despised, be-
cause never well understood, — they concentrated their divided pas-
sions upon a single object of supreme interest to them. These
were the first steps of all the nations that formed themselves
out of savage tribes; this was the epoch when larger communi-
ties were formed, and such was their necessary and perhaps their
only bond. I say nothing of that chosen people of God, for
whom the most extraordinary miracles and the most signal favors
were a substitute for human policy. But as it is the quality of
error to fall into infinite subdivisions, so the sciences that grew



THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA 423

out of it made of mankind a blind fanatical multitude, which,
shut up within a close labyrinth, collides in such confusion, that
some sensitive and philosophical minds have regretted to this day
the ancient savage state. That is the first epoch in which the
sciences or rather scientific opinions are injurious.

The second epoch of history consists in the hard and terrible
transition from error to truth, from the darkness 0/ ignorance
to the light. The great clash between the errors which are
serviceable to a few men of power and the truths which are serv-
iceable to the weak and the many, and the contact and the fer-
mentation of the passions at such a period aroused, are a source
of infinite evils to unhappy humanity. Whoever ponders on the
different histories of the world, which after certain intervals of
time are so much alike in their principal episodes, will therein
frequently observe the sacrifice of a whole generation to the wel-
fare of succeeding ones, in the painful but necessary transitions
from the darkness of ignorance to the light of philosophy, and
from despotism to freedom, which result from the sacrifice. But
when truth, whose progress at first is slow and afterwards rapid
(after men's minds have calmed down and the fire is quenched
that purged a nation of the evils it suffered), sits as the compan-
ion of kings upon the throne, and is reverenced and worshiped
in the parliaments of free governments, who will ever dare assert
that the light which enlightens the people is more injurious than
darkness, and that acknowledging the true and simple relations
of things is pernicious to mankind ?

If blind ignorance is less pernicious than confused half-
knowledge, since the latter adds to the evils of igfnorance those
of error, which is unavoidable in a narrow view of the limits of
truth, the most precious gift that a sovereign can make to him-
self or to his people is an enlightened man as the trustee and
g-uardian of the sacred laws. Accustomed to see the truth and
not to fear it; independent for the most part of the demands of
reputation, which are never completely satisfied and put most
men's virtue to a trial; used to consider humanity from higher
points of view; such a man regards his own nation as a family
of men and of brothers, and the distance between the nobles and
the people seems to him so much the less as he has before his
mind the larger total of the whole human species. Philosophers
acquire wants and interests unknown to the generality of men, —
but thai one above all others, of not belying in public the pnn-



434 THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA

ciples they have taught in obscurity, — and they gain the habit of
loving the truth for its own sake. A selection of such men
makes the happiness of a people, but a happiness which is only
transitory, unless good laws so increase their number as to lessen
the probability, always considerable, of an unfortunate choice.

Another way of preventing crimes is to interest the magis.
trates who carry out the laws in seeking rather to preserve than
to corrupt them. The greater the number of men who compose
the magistracy, the less danger will there be of their exercising
any undue power over the laws; for venality is more difficult
among men who are under the close observation of one another;
and their inducement to increase their individual authority dimin-
ishes in proportion to the smallness of the share of it that can
fall to each of them, especially when they compare it with the
risk of the attempt. If the sovereign accustoms his subjects, by
formalities and pomp, by severe edicts, and by refusal to hear
the grievances, whether just or unjust, of the man who thinks
himself oppressed, to fear rather the magistrates than the laws,
it will be more to the profit of the magistrates than to the gain
of private and public security.

Another way to prevent crimes is to reward virtue. On this
head I notice a general silence in the laws of all nations to this
day. If prizes offered by academies to the discoverers of useful
truths have caused the multiplication of knowledge and of good
books, why should not virtuous actions also be multiplied, by
prizes distributed from the munificence of the sovereign ? The
money of honor ever remains unexhausted and fruitful in the
hands of the legislator who wisely distributes it.

Lastly, the surest but most difficult means of preventing
crimes is to improve education — a subject too vast for present
discussion, and lying beyond the limits of my treatise; a subject,
I will also say, too intimately connected with the nature of gov-
ernment for it ever to be aught but a barren field, only culti-
vated here and there by a few philosophers, down to the remot-
est ages of public prosperity. A great man, who enlightens the
humanity that persecutes him, has shown in detail the chief
educational maxims of real utility to mankind: namely, that it
consists less in a barren multiplicity of subjects than in their
choice selection; in substituting originals for copies in the moral
as in the physical phenomena presented by chance or intention
to the fresh minds of youth; in inclining them to virtue by the



THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA 435

easy path of feeling; and in deterring them from evil by the
sure path of necessity and disadvantage, not by the uncertain
method of command, which never obtains more than a simulated
and transitory obedience.

Complete. From « Crimes and Punishmenta.!*



LAWS AND HUMAN HAPPINESS

MEN for the most part leave the regulation of their chief con-
cerns to the prudence of the moment, or to the discretion
of those whose interest it is to oppose the wisest laws;
such laws, namely, as naturally help to difiEuse the benefits of
life, and check that tendency they have to accumulate in the
hands of a few, which ranges on one side the extreme of power
and happiness, and on the other all that is weak and wretched.
It is only, therefore, after having passed through a thousand er-
rors in matters that most nearly touch their lives and liberties,
only after weariness of evils that have been suffered to reach a
climax, that men are induced to seek a remedy for the abuses
which oppress them, and to recognize the clearest truths, which
precisely on account of their simplicity escape the notice of ordi-
nary minds, unaccustomed as they are to analyze things, and apt
to receive their impressions from tradition rather than from
inquiry.

We shall see, if we open histories, that laws, which are or
ought to be covenants between free men, have generally been
nothing but the instrument of the passions of some few men, or
the result of some accidental and temporary necessity. They
have never been dictated by an unimpassioned student of human
nature, able to concentrate the actions of a multitude of men to
a single point of view, and to consider them from that point
alone — the greatest happiness divided among the greatest num-
ber. Happy are those few nations which have not waited for the
slow movement of human combinations and changes to cause an
approach to better things, after intolerable evils, but have has-
tened the intermediate steps by good laws; and deserving is that
philosopher of the gratitude of mankind who had the courage,
from the obscurity of his despised study, to scatter abroad among
the people the first seeds, so long fruitless, of useful truths.



426 THE MARQUIS OF BECCARIA

The knowledge of the true relations between a sovereign and
his subjects and of those between those of different nations; the
re\ival of commerce by the light of philosophical truths, diffused
by printing; and the silent international contest of industry, the
most humane and the most worthy of rational men — these are
the fruits we owe to the enlightenment of this century. But
how few have examined and combated the cruelty of punish-
ments and the irregularities of criminal procedures, a part of
legislation so elementary and yet so neglected in almost the
whole of Europe; and how few have sought, by a return to first
principles, to dissipate the mistakes accumulated by many cen-
turies, or to mitigate, with at least that force which belongs
only to ascertained truths, the excessive caprice of ill-directed



Online LibraryDavid J. (David Josiah) BrewerCrowned masterpieces of literature that have advanced civilization, as preserved and presented by the world's best essays, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 39)