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tellectaal wonders of the worlds — 8. 0.]



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964 BIOGBAPHIA LTTSRABIA.

had ever seen a angle page of the German Philosopher ; and I
might indeed affirm with truth, before the more important works
of Schelling had been written, or at least made public. Nor is
this coincidence at all to be wondered at. We had studied in
the same school ; been disciplined hy the same preparatory phi-
losophy, namely, the writings of Kant ; we had both equal obli-
gations to the polar logic and dynamic philosophy of Giordano
Bruno ; and Schelling has lately, and, as of recent acquisition,
avowed that same afiectionate reverence for the labors of Beh
men, and other mystics, which I had formed at a much earliei
period.* The coincidence of Schelling's system with certain gen-
eral ideas of Behmen, he declares to have been mere coinci-
dence ; while my obligations have been more direct. His needs
give to Behmen only ieelings of sympathy ; while I owe him a
debt of gratitude. God forbid ! that I should be suspected of a
wish to enter into a rivalry with Schelling for the honors so une-
quivocally his right, not only as a great and original genius, but
as the founder of the Philosophy of Nature, and as the most suc-
cessful improver of the Dynamicf System which, b^un by

* [ ArchdeaooQ EEare says in regard to this Btatement : " ScheUing^B pam
phlet" (in which this avowal is oootamed), "had appeared eleyea years be-
fore ; but, perhaps, it did not find its way to England till the peace ; and
Coleridge, having read it bat recently, inferred that it was a recent publi-
cation."— S. C]

f It would be an act of high and almost criminal injustice to pass over
m silence the name of Mr. Richard Saomarez,^ a gentleman equally well
known as a medical man and as a philanthropist, but who demands notice
on the present occasion as the author of " A new System of Physiology" in
two volumes octavo, published 1797; and in 1812 of "An Examination of
the natural and artificial Systems of Philosophy which now prevail" in on6
volume, entitled, '* The Principles of physiological and physical Science."

* [Ridiard Saumarex was a native of (l^uemsey, and became Surgeon to
the Magdalen Hospital, London. He published A Di9§erUUion on the Uni-
verse in general, and on the proeeseum of the ElemenU in partieuUar, Lond
1706, 8vo. — ^A new System of Physiology, comprehending the Iaws by
which animated beings in general, and the human species in particular, are
governed ^in their several states of health and diaease. Lend. 1798, 2 vols.
8vo. — Principles and Ends of Philosophy. 1811, 8vo.— ^l^inciples of Physi-
ological and Physical Science, comprehending the ends for which animated
beings were created. LondL 1812, 8vo. — Orations delivered before the
Medical Society of London. 1818, 8vo.-— Observations on Generation and
the Principles of Life. Med. and Phys. Joum. IL p. 242. 1799.— S. 0.]



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BIOGEAPHIA LITSBABU. 265

Bruno, was re-intrbduced (in a more philosophical form, and
ireed firom all its impurities and visionary accompaniments) by
Kant ; in whom it was the native and necessary growth of his
own system. Kant's followers, however, on whom (for the
greater part) their master's doak had fallen without, or with a
very scanty portion of, his spirit, had adopted his dynamic ideas,
only as a more refined species of mechanics. With exception of
one or two fundamental ideas, which can not he withheld from
Fichte, to Schelling we owe the completion, and the most impor-
tant victoriess^f this revolution in philosophy. To me it will be
happiness and honor enough, should I succeed in rendering the
system itself intelligible to my countrymen, and in the application
of it to the most awful of subjects for the most important of pur-
poses. Whether a work is the ofispring of a man's own spirit,

Hie latter work is not quite equal to the former in style or arrangement ;
and there is a greater necesaity of distingmahing the principleB of the au-
thor's pMloeophy from hia coi^jectures concerning c^or, the atmoepherio
matter, comets, <fec. which, whether just or erroneous, are by no means ne-
oes8ai*y eoDsequenoes of that philoeophy. Tet even in this department of
this volume, which I regard as comparatiTely the inferior work, the reason-
ings by which Hr. Saumarez invalidates the immanence of an infinite power
in any finite substance are the offspring of no common mind ; and the ex-
periment (^ the expansibility of the air is at least plausible and highly in-
genious. But the merit, which will secure both to the book and to the
writer a high and honorable name with posterity, consists in the masterly
force of reasoning, and the copiousness of induction, with which he haa as-
sailed, and (in my opinion) subverted the tyranny of the mechanic system
in physiology ; established not only the existence of final causes, but their
necessity and efficiency in every system that merits the name of philosoph-
ical; and, substituting life and progressive powec for the contradictory
inert foree^ has a right to be known and remembered as the first instaurator
of the dynamic philosophy in England. The author's views, as fiur as eon-
cems himself, are unborrowed and completely his own, as he neither pos-
sessed, nor do his writings discover, the least acquaintance with the works
of Kant, in which the germs of the philosophy exist ; and his volumes were
published many years before the full development of these germs by Scbel-
Ung. Mr. Saumarez's detection\>f the Braunonian system was no light or
ordinary service at the time ; and I scarcely remember in any work on any
subject a confutation so thoroughly satisfaotory. It is sufficient at this time
to have stated the fact ; as in the preface to the work, which I have already
announced on the Logos, I have exhibited in detail the merits of this writer,
and genuine philosopher, who needed only have taken his foundations
somewhat deeper and wider to have superseded a oonaiderable part of my
labors.

VOL. m M



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266 BIOGRAPHIC LTTKRARIA.

and the product of original thinking, will he difloovered by those
who are its sole legitimate judges, by better tests than the mere
reference to dates. For readers in general, let whatever shall be
found in this or any future work of mine, that vesembles, or coin-
cides with, the doctrines of my German predecessor, though con-
temporary, be whoUy attributed to him : providedi that the ab-
sence of distinct references to his books, which I could not at all
times make with truth as designating citations or thoughts actu-
ally derived from him ; and which, I trust, would, after this gen-
eral acknowledgment, be superfluous ; be not chi^|^ on me as
an ungenerous concealment or intentional plagiarism. I have not
indeed {ekeu ! res angusta domi /) been hitherto able to procure
more than two of his bookS) viz. the 1st volume of his collected
Tracts,* and his System of Transcendental Idealism ; to which,
however, I must add a small pamphlet against Fichte,t the spirit
of which was to my feelings painfully incongruous with the prin-
ciples, and which (with the usual allowance afibrded to an an-
tithesis) displayed* the love of wisdom rather than the wisdom of
love. I regard truth as a divine ventriloquist : I care not from
whose mouth the sounds are supposed to proceed, if only the
words are audible and intelligible. " Albeit, I must confess to be
half in doubt, whether I should bring it forth or no, it being so
contrary to the eye of the world, and the world so potent iu most
men's hearts, that I shall endanger either not to be regarded or
not to be understood."}

And to conclude the subject of citation, with a cluster of cita-
tions, which as taken from books, not in common use, may con*

* [F. W. J. SohelUng'B Philotophitehe Schriflen, Brster Band. (First
volume.) Landshnt, 1809.^-S. 0.]

f [This is the Darlegung referred to in a prerious note. The mutusl
oensures of Fiohte and Schelling, and their quarrels about Nature and
the nature of Nature, are harsh breaks in the bri^t current of their
writings.

There ie to my mind a great metaphysic^ Bublimity in the first part of
Fichte's Beitimmung det Mentchefit especially the passage beginning In
jedem Momente ihrer Dauer ist Naiwr ein xu9ammmhangende8 Oawte^ and
the preceding paragraphs, from the words Dm Princip der TkaUghetty p. 11.
Very imaginative is the grand glimpse these passages give of the intercon- ,
nected movements of the universe, presenting to the mind universality in
unity, and a seeming infinitude of the finite.— 3. C]

X [Ifilton's Reason of Ohurch Qovernment urged against Prelaty. Dook
il chap, i — S. C]



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BIOGRAFHJA LITXRABIA. %(ff

tribute to the reader's aniu$emeiit, as a voluntary before a ser-
mon : — " JDolet ndhi quidem ddiciis literarum inesca&s subito
Jam hondfies adeo esse, preesertim qui Christianos se proJUentur,
et Ugere nisi quod ad delectationemybct^, sustineant nihil : tmde
et disciplina severiores et phUosophia ipsa Jam fere prorsus
etiam a doctis neghguntur. Quod quidem propositum studi-
orum, nisi mature corrigitur, tarn magnum rebus incommoduan
dabit, quam dedit barbaries dim. Pertinax res barbaries est,
fateor : sed minus potest tamen, quam iUq moUities et persuasa
prudentia literarum, si ratione care^, saptentice virtutisque specie
mortales misere circumducens, Swxedet igitur, ut arbitror,
haud iia multo post, pro rusticana seculi nostri ruditate capta-
trix ilia communi-loquentia robur animi virilis omne, omnem
virttUem masculam, projiigatwra, nisi cavetur^*

A too prophetic remark, which has been in fulfihoaent from the
year 1680, to the present, 1815. By persuasa prudentia, Gry-
nsBus means self-complacent common sense as opposed to science
and philosophic reason.

Est medius ordo, et velut equestris, ingeniorum quidem saga
cium, et commodorum rebus humanis, non tamen inprimam
magnitudinem patentium. Eorum hominum, ut sic dicam,
major anruma est, Sedulum esse, nihil temere loqui, assuescere
labori, et imagine prudentisD et modestis tegere angustiores
partes captus, dum exercitationem ac vsum,quoisti in civilibus
rdnis pcllent, pro natura et magnitudine ingenii jderique acci-
piunt.f

" As therefore physicians are many times forced to leave such
methods of curing as themselves know to be the fittest, and being
overruled by the patient's impatiency, are fain to try the best
they can : in like sort, considering how the case doth stand with

* [From ** Symon Grynsus's premonition to the candid reader, prefixed
to FieinnB^B translation of Plato, published at Leyden, 1667." See The
Friend, Essay iii IL p. S3, where also the same passage is quoted In
the original, as I learn from the Editor's note in that plaoe, ffulam stands
for delectaiionem, — S. C]

t [Barclay's Argents, lihi i Leyden, 1680, 12mo. pp. 68-4, with some
omissions. The original, after astuescere lab&ri, runs thus : et imagini 8a^
pieiUia parere, tegere angustiores partes ingenii. ffae neque summum luh
minem desiderant, et sola interdum sunt qua in laudatis Procmibus tuspieioM,
Ut vd abesse vitia pro vittute eit ; vel non invidiosuB prudentia riwui i%
Oeeanifamam se diffundat, dum exereitationem, <l&0.— S. 0.]



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268 BIOGRAPHIA UTBRABIA*

this present age, full of tongae and weak of brain, behold we
would {if our subject permitted it) yield to the stream thereof.
That way we would be contented to prove our thesis, which
being the worse in itself, is i|otwithstanding now by reason of
common imbecility the fitter and likelier to be brooked.'**

If this fear could be rationally entertained in the oontroTendal
age of Hooker, under the then robust discipline of the scholastic
logic, pardonably taay a writer of the present times anticipate a
scanty audience for abstrusest themes, and truths that can neither
be communicated nor received without efibrt of thought, as well
as patience of attention.

** Che s'io non erro al caloolar de' punti.
Tar ch' Attinina Stella a noi predominl^
El Somaro el Gafitron si sian oonginntL
n tempo d'Apuleio piu noa si nomini :
Ohe se allora un sol huom semfaraya nn Aaino^
Hille Aaini a' miei dl raasembran hwHninirt



NOTE TO CHAPTER IX.

In the preceding chapter Mr. 0. speaks of SShelling'B philosophy as if ii
had his entire approbation, and liad been adopted by him in its whole ez-
teijiL Yet it is certain that, soon after the composition of the B. L., he be-
came dissatisfied with the system, considered as a fuidamental and compre-
hensiye scheme, intended to exhibit the relations of God to the World and
Man. He objected to it as essentially'pantheistic, though the author has
positively disclaimed thisTcproach, and made great efforts to free his sys-
tem from the appearance of deserving it. To Mr. G. however, it appeared,
as originally set forth, to hibor under deep deficiencies— to be radically in-
consistent with a belief in God, as Himself Moral and hitelligent — as be-
yond and above the world — as the Supreme Mind to which the human mind
owes homage and fealty — ^inconsistent with any just view and deep sense of
the moral and spiritujd being of man. The imposing grandeur of this phi-
losophy, beheld from a distance, the narrowness into which it shrinks on a
nearer view, are thus set forth by Gousin in his clear trenchant style. " La
philosophic de Schelling se reoommande par Voriginalitd de son point de
Tue, la profondeur du travail, la consequence des parties, et llmmense por-
t6e des applications. Elle rallie i une seule id6e tons les dtres de la nature.

* [Slightly altered, with omissions, from Hooker's Eooles. Polity, K i. c.
»iii s. 2.— S. ]
1 8<Uir9 di Salvator Rota, [tonL L p. 34. Za ifuMca, Sat L L 10.— & a]



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BIOQBAPHIA LITSRABIA. S69

Pn* U elle 6oarte les berri^es qn'on ayoit donn^eB k la connaiawmee hu-
maine, Boutenant la possibility pour lliomme non plus seulement d'uoe rep-
r^sentatioii subjective, mais d'une oonnaissance objective et scientifique,
d'une science d^termin^e de Dieu et des choses diyines, k ce tire que Fesprit
humain et la substance de Tdtre sont primitiyement identiques. Cette phi-
lusopbie embraase le oerde entier des oonnaiseaDces sp^enlatives," Ac Tlien
he states the diffienlties whieh beset the scheme, and after suggesting sct-
eral root objeetioiis, he exclaims : " Quel horome enfin pent avoir la t£m6-
raire pretention de renfermer la nature de la Divinity dans Vidce de Tiden-
tite absolue V* He had previously observed, " La forme de ce sjstdme est
moins sdentifique en r6alit£ qu'en apparence. Son probl^me 6toit de d6-
duire, par une demonstration r6elle (par construction), le fini de Tinflni et
de Fabeolu, le particulier de runiverscL Or ee probleme n*est point rcsolu
et ne peut tHreT And he concludes — " En un mot, le syst^me tout cnticr
n'est) ft proprement parler, qu'nne po^sie del'esprit humain, s^duisante par
son apparente facility pour tout ezpliquer, et par sa manidre de construire
la nature."

I think, as far as I am able^ judge, that Mr. Coleridge's view of the sys-
tem, after long reflection upon it, coincided, as to its general character and re
suit, with that of Victor Cousin, deeply as he must have felt obliged to the
author for much that it contains. Daring the latter part of his life he was
ever applying his thoughts to the development of a philosophy whieh
should more satisfactorily perform what Schelling's splendid scheme of
madem Platonism had seemed to promise, a solution of tiie most important
problems, which are presented to human contemplation, or at least an an-
swer to them sufficient to set the human mind at rest. He sought to con-
struct a system really and rationally religious *, and since, in his philosophi-
cal inqairies, he " neither could nor dared throw off a strong and awful
prepossession in favor"^ of that great main outline of doctrine which came
to us from the first, in company with the highest and purest moral teach-
ings which the world has yet seen-; which was felt after, if not found, by
the best and greatest minds before the preaching of the Gospel ; which haa
been received in substance, with whatever variations of form and language,
by a large portion of the civilized world ever sioce, and had actually been
to himself the vehicle of all the light and life of the higher and deeper kind,
which had been vouchsafed to him in his earthly career ; — he therefore set
out with the desire to construct a philosophical system in which Christianity,
— based on the Tri-une being of Qod, and embracing a Primal Fall and
Universal Redemption, — Christianity ideal, spiritual, eternal, but likewise
and necessarily historical, — ^realiied and manifested in time, — should be
shown forth as accordant, or rather as one with ideas of reason, and the
demands of the spiritual and of the speculative mind, of the heart, con-
science, reason, should all be satisfied and reconciled in one bond of peace.
See what has been said of the labors of Mr. C.'s latter years in the Pre&ce.

, ^ This is said in regard to the Bible in the Confessions of an Inquiring
Spirit. Works, V. p. 679



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§70 BIOGRAFHIA LITBRABIA.

I am not awe, howeyer, that he, at aaj time, altered or set ande the
doctrine of SchelUng put forth in the present work on Nature and the
Mind of Man, with their mutual relations ; or indeed that he disoovered any
poeitiye error or incompatibility with higher truth in sudi parts of his sja-
tem as ^e adopted in the Biographia literaria, and which he belieyed him-
self in the nudn to have anticipated.^

* [It is difficult to reconcile the statement contained in this paragi'aph
with the preceding remark, that Coleridge finally regarded the system of
ScheUing as " essentially pantheistic." The doctrine of Schelling put forth
in the Biographia Literaria on the " mutual relations of Nature and the
Mind of Man" is, that there is aboriginally an identity of substance between
them, and that both are merely different modifications of one and the some
Essence or Being. According to this system— commonly called the System
of Identity — ^that which in one of its aspects is Nature, in the other aspect
is Spirit, and it is the peculiar power and prerogative of the philosophic, aa
distinguished from the spontaneous or common, consciousness^ to see this
identity, and thus to reduce back all the maifffoldness both in the spheres
of Nature and Spirit to the absolute and primary unity whence it all ema-
nated and which it all is — ^to the One Substance, in the phraseology of
Spinoza; to the Absolute Subject-Object, in the phraseology of Schelling;
to the Absolute Conception, in the phraseology of Hegei

Now we see not on what possible ground Schelling can be charged with
Panthebm, if not on that of this doctrine of the original Identity of sA-
ject and Object It certainly is the ground on which both his and Hegel's
systems are now generally regarded as pantheistic, and is the doctrine by
which the later German philosophy differs from the earlier toio genere.
Kant left the Subject and Object apart from each other, [contemplating
them back of consciousness t. e.,] and it is the standing objection of the sys-
tem of Identity to the Critical philosophy, that it does not reduce all things
to that unity which Reason and Science are constantly seeking for, while it
is the constant reply of the latter that there can be no reduction of all
things to the merely speculative and wholly abstract unity of a unit, for
the good reason that there t< no such unit In other words, the Dogmatism
of the pantheist affirming a single substance of which both God and the
World (so-called) are alike modifications, is met by the Dogmatism of the
theist affirming a supra-mundane and spiritual Being, who creates the world
out of nothing — thus affirming a primary and a secondary substance, the
latter tmmanent in the former it is true, but neither ^manent from it, nor
identical with it.

It may be said that the system of Identity admits distinction in the one
universal substance, and only denies division or literal duality. But a mere
distinction in one and the same Essence does not constitute another Being.
To illustrate by reference to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity — ^the dis-
tinctions that exist in the one single Essence of the Godhead do not consti-
tute three Beings. The distinctions are eonsubetaotia], and are in one sub-*
stance only. If therefore the distincticm between God and the World it



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BIOGRAFHIA LITEBARIA. 271

In the Table Talk he is reported to hare said, " The metaphysical dtsqui-
ntion at the end of the yolome of the Biographia Literaria is unform-
ed and immature ; — it contains the fragments of Uie truth, but it is not fully
thought out It is wonderful to myself to think how infinitely more pro-
found my yiews now are, and yet how much dearer they are withaL The
circle is completing; the idea la coming round to, and to be, the common
sense." VLp.620.

Some little insight into the progress of his reflections on philosophical
subjects, and on the treatment of those subjects by Schelling, will perhaps
be derived from his remarks on several tracts in that author's PhUotophUchs
Sckrifierij which I hare thought it flSst to place at the end of the Tolmne.
— S.O.]



not metaphysically real and grounded in a daa£ty of Essence— 4f the dis-
tinction is not aXXo km aX^ aad not merely oXXop xai (Moc — it is no suoh
distinction as Theism affirms, and Religion must affirm, between the Creator
and Creation. It would be impossible that the self-consciousness of Gk>d
and that of man should be totally diverse from each other (and they must
be in order to the existence of the relations and affections of Religion) if the
spiritual essence which underlies each, when traced to its lowest metaphysi-
<al ground, is one and identically the same. '

We are aware of the alleged difficulty of aocounUng for a knowledge of
the objective, on the hypothesis that there is no identity of substance be-
tween it and the subjective intelligence^ and of the couiidence with which it
is assumed that the mystery of knowing vanishes as soon as it is shown
that all consciousness is in reality self-consciousneBs. How the problem
will ultimately be solved, and how much Coleridge and Schelling have con-
tributed towards the true solution, remains to be seen. But it seems to na
very plain that neither of these minds ultimately rested in the doctrine of
Identity as the means of arriving at the true theory of perception. At any
rate, all such teaching of Coleridge as that the moral Reason is the highest
form of Reason, and that no merely speculative decisions can set aside those
of Conseienee, are in the very vein and spirit of the Critical philosophy,
and a protest against a theory which obliterates all the fixed lines and im-
mutable distinctions of Theism. Such tieaching could not have eome from
a mind included in the slowly-evolving and blindly-groping processes of the
philosophy of Identity. — Am, ^]



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CHAPTER X.

A CHAPTEK OP DIGBSSSIQir AND ANIMDOTES, AS AN INTERLUDE PRE-
CEDING THAT ON THE NATURE AND OENESES OP THE DEAGINATIOr
OR PLASTIC POWER— ON PEDANTRY AND PEDANTIC EXPRESSI0N3
— ^ADVICE TO TOUNO AUTHORS RESFECTINO PUBLICATION — ^VARIOUS
ANECDOTES OP THE AUTHOR's LITERARY LIFE, AND THE PROGRESS
OP HIS OPINIONS IN RELIGION AND POLITICS.

" EsEMPLASTic. The word is not in JohnBon, nor have I met
with it elsewhere." Neither have I ! I constructed it myself
from the Greek words, elg iw nldrrstr, to shape into one ;* he-
cause, having to convey a new sense, I thought that a new term
would hoth aid the recollection of my meaning, and prevent its
being confounded with the usual import of the word, imagination.
" But this is pedantry!" Not necessarily so, I hope. K I am
- not misinformed, pedantry consists in the use of words unsuitable
to the time, place, and company. The language of the market
would be in the schools as pedantic, though it might not be rep-
robated by that name, as the language of the schools in the mar-
ket. The mere man of the world, who insists that no other
terms but such as occur in common conversation should be em*
ployed in a scientific disquisition, and wiih no greater precision,
is as truly a pedant as the man of letters, who either over-rating
the acquirements of his auditors, or misled by his own fanliliarity
with technical or scholastic terms, converses at the wine-table



Online LibraryProfessor ShedThe complete works of samuel taylor coleridge. → online text (page 29 of 79)