Narrative And Miscellaneous Papers, Vol. II.
Thomas De Quincey

Part 3 out of 4

deference to public opinion, becomes prudent and laudable in the
service of so great a cause. Nay, sometimes to make public profession
of self-distrust by assuming the coercion of public pledges, may become
an expression of frank courage, or even of noble principle, not fearing
the shame of confession when it can aid the powers of victorious
resistance. Yet still, so far as it is possible, every man sighs for a
still higher victory over himself: a victory not tainted by bribes, and
won from no impulses but those inspired by his own higher nature, and
his own mysterious force of will; powers that in no man were fully

This being so, it is well that from time to time every man should throw
out any hints that have occurred to his experience,--suggesting such as
may be new, renewing such as may be old, towards the encouragement or
the information of persons engaged in so great a struggle. My own
experience had never travelled in that course which could much instruct
me in the miseries from wine, or in the resources for struggling with
it. I had repeatedly been obliged indeed to lay it aside altogether;
but in this I never found room for more than seven or ten days'
struggle: excesses I had never practised in the use of wine; simply the
habit of using it, and the collateral habits formed by excessive use of
opium, had produced any difficulty at all in resigning it even on an
hour's notice. From opium I derive my right of offering hints at all
upon the subjects of abstinence in other forms. But the modes of
suffering from the evil, and the separate modes of suffering from the
effort of self-conquest, together with errors of judgment incident to
such states of transitional torment, are all nearly allied, practically
analogous as regards the remedies, even if characteristically
distinguished to the inner consciousness. I make no scruple, therefore,
of speaking as from a station of high experience and of most watchful
attention, which never remitted even under sufferings that were at
times absolutely frantic.

I. The first hint is one that has been often offered; viz., the
diminution of the particular liquor used, by the introduction into each
glass of some inert substance, ascertained in bulk, and equally
increasing in amount from day to day. But this plan has often been
intercepted by an accident: shot, or sometimes bullets, were the
substances nearest at hand; an objection arose from too scrupulous a
caution of chemistry as to the action upon lead of the vinous acid. Yet
all objection of this kind might be removed at once, by using beads in
a case where small decrements were wanted, and marbles, if it were
thought advisable to use larger. Once for all, however, in cases deeply
rooted, no advances ought ever to be made but by small stages: for the
effect, which is insensible at first, by the tenth, twelfth, or
fifteenth day, generally accumulates unendurably under any bolder
deductions. I must not stop to illustrate this point; but certain it
is, that by an error of this nature at the outset, most natural to
human impatience under exquisite suffering, too generally the trial is
abruptly brought to an end through the crisis of a passionate relapse.

II. Another object, and one to which the gladiator matched in single
duel with intemperance, must direct a religious vigilance, is the
_digestibility_ of his food: it must be digestible not only by its
original qualities, but also by its culinary preparation. In this last
point we are all of us Manichćans: all of us yield a cordial assent to
that Manichćan proverb, which refers the meats and the cooks of this
world to two opposite fountains of light and of darkness. Oromasdes it
is, or the good principle, that sends the food; Ahrimanes, or the evil
principle, that everywhere sends the cooks. Man has been repeatedly
described or even defined, as by differential privilege of his nature,
'A cooking animal.' Brutes, it is said, have faces,--man only has a
countenance; brutes are as well able to eat as man,--man only is able
to cook what he eats. Such are the romances of self-flattery. I, on the
contrary, maintain, that six thousand years have not availed, in this
point, to raise our race generally to the level of ingenious savages.
The natives of the Society and the Friendly Isles, or of New Zealand,
and other favored spots, had, and still have, an _art_ of cookery,
though very limited in its range: the French [Footnote: But judge not,
reader, of French skill by the attempts of fourth-rate artists; and
understand me to speak with respect of this skill, not as it is the
tool of luxury, but as it is the handmaid of health.] have an art, and
more extensive; but we English are about upon a level (as regards this
science) with the ape, to whom an instinct whispers that chestnuts may
be roasted; or with the aboriginal Chinese of Charles Lamb's story, to
whom the experience of many centuries had revealed thus much, viz.,
that a dish very much beyond the raw flesh of their ancestors, might be
had by burning down the family mansion, and thus roasting the pig-stye.
Rudest of barbarous devices is English cookery, and not much in advance
of this primitive Chinese step; a fact which it would not be worth
while to lament, were it not for the sake of the poor trembling
deserter from the banners of intoxication, who is thus, and by no other
cause, so often thrown back beneath the yoke which he had abjured. Past
counting are the victims of alcohol, that, having by vast efforts
emancipated themselves for a season, are violently forced into
relapsing by the nervous irritations of demoniac cookery. Unhappily for
_them_, the horrors of indigestion are relieved for the moment,
however ultimately strengthened, by strong liquors; the relief is
immediate, and cannot fail to be perceived; but the aggravation, being
removed to a distance, is not always referred to its proper cause. This
is the capital rock and stumbling-block in the path of him who is
hurrying back to the camps of temperance; and many a reader is likely
to misapprehend the case through the habit he has acquired of supposing
indigestion to lurk chiefly amongst _luxurious_ dishes. But, on
the contrary, it is amongst the plainest, simplest, and commonest
dishes that such misery lurks, in England. Let us glance at three
articles of diet, beyond all comparison of most ordinary occurrence,
viz., potatoes, bread, and butcher's meat. The art of preparing
potatoes for _human_ use is utterly unknown, except in certain
provinces of our empire, and amongst certain sections of the laboring
class. In our great cities,--London, Edinburgh, &c.--the sort of things
which you see offered at table under the name and reputation of
potatoes, are such that, if you could suppose the company to be
composed of Centaurs and Lapithć, or any other quarrelsome people, it
would become necessary for the police to interfere. The potato of
cities is a very dangerous missile; and, if thrown with an accurate aim
by an angry hand, will fracture any known skull. In volume and
consistency, it is very like a paving-stone; only that, I should say,
the paving-stone had the advantage in point of tenderness. And upon
this horrid basis, which youthful ostriches would repent of swallowing,
the trembling, palpitating invalid, fresh from the scourging of
alcohol, is requested to build the superstructure of his dinner. The
proverb says, that three flittings are as bad as a fire; and on that
model I conceive that three potatoes, as they are found at many British
dinner-tables, would be equal, in principle of ruin, to two glasses of
vitriol. The same savage ignorance appears, and only not so often, in
the bread of this island. Myriads of families eat it in that early
stage of sponge which bread assumes during the process of baking; but
less than sixty hours will not fit this dangerous article of human diet
to be eaten. And those who are acquainted with the works of Parmentier,
or other learned investigators of bread and of the baker's art, must be
aware that this quality of sponginess (though quite equal to the ruin
of the digestive organs) is but one in a legion of vices to which the
article is liable. A German of much research wrote a book on the
conceivable faults in a pair of shoes, which he found to be about six
hundred and sixty-six, many of them, as he observed, requiring a very
delicate process of study to find out; whereas the possible faults in
bread, which are not less in number, require no study at all for the
defection; they publish themselves through all varieties of misery. But
the perfection of barbarism, as regards our island cookery, is reserved
for animal food; and the two poles of Oromasdes and Ahrimanes are
nowhere so conspicuously exhibited. Our insular sheep, for instance,
are so far superior to any which the continent produces, that the
present Prussian minister at our court is in the habit of questioning a
man's right to talk of mutton as anything beyond a great idea, unless
he can prove a residence in Great Britain. One sole case he cites of a
dinner on the Elbe, when a particular leg of mutton really struck him
as rivalling any which he had known in England. The mystery seemed
inexplicable; but, upon inquiry, it turned out to be an importation
from Leith. Yet this incomparable article, to produce which the skill
of the feeder must co-operate with the peculiar bounty of nature, calls
forth the most dangerous refinements of barbarism in its cookery. A
Frenchman requires, as the primary qualification of flesh meat, that it
should be tender. We English universally, but especially the Scots,
treat that quality with indifference, or with bare toleration. What we
require is, that it should be fresh, that is, recently killed, (in
which state it cannot be digestible except by a crocodile;) and we
present it at table in a transition state of leather, demanding the
teeth of a tiger to rend it in pieces, and the stomach of a tiger to
digest it.

With these habits amongst our countrymen, exemplified daily in the
articles of widest use, it is evident that the sufferer from
intemperance has a harder quarantine, in this island, to support during
the effort of restoration, than he could have anywhere else in
Christendom. In Persia, and, perhaps, there only on this terraqueous
planet, matters might be even worse: for, whilst we English neglect the
machinery of digestion, as a matter entitled to little consideration,
the people of Teheran seem unaware that there _is_ any such
machinery. So, at least, one might presume, from cases on record, and
especially from the reckless folly, under severe illness, from
indigestion, of the three Persian princes, who visited this country, as
stated by their official _mehmander_, Mr. Fraser. With us, the
excess of ignorance, upon this subject, betrays itself oftenest in that
vain-glorious answer made by the people, who at any time are admonished
of the sufferings which they are preparing for themselves by these
outrages upon the most delicate of human organs. They, for _their_
parts, 'know not if they _have_ a stomach; they know not what it
is that dyspepsy means;' forgetting that, in thus vaunting their
_strength_ of stomach, they are, at the same time, proclaiming its
coarseness; and showing themselves unaware that precisely those, whom
such coarseness of organization reprieves from immediate and seasonable
reaction of suffering, are the favorite subjects of that heavier
reaction which takes the shape of _delirium tremens_, of palsy,
and of lunacy. It is but a fanciful advantage which _they_ enjoy,
for whom the immediate impunity avails only to hide the final horrors
which are gathering upon them from the gloomy rear. Better, by far,
that more of immediate discomfort had guaranteed to them less of
reversionary anguish. It may be safely asserted, that few, indeed, are
the suicides amongst us to which the miseries of indigestion have not
been a large concurring cause; and even where nothing so dreadful as
_that_ occurs, always these miseries are the chief hinderance of
the self-reforming drunkard, and the commonest cause of his relapse. It
is certain, also, that misanthropic gloom and bad temper besiege that
class, by preference, to whom peculiar coarseness or obtuse sensibility
of organization has denied the salutary warnings and early prelibations
of punishment which, happily for most men, besiege the more direct and
obvious frailties of the digestive apparatus.

The whole process and elaborate machinery of digestion are felt to be
mean and humiliating when viewed in relation to our mere animal
economy. But they rise into dignity, and assert their own supreme
importance, when they arc studied from another station, viz., in
relation to the intellect and temper; no man dares, _then_, to
despise them: it is then seen that these functions of the human system
form the essential basis upon which the strength and health of our
higher nature repose; and that upon these functions, chiefly, the
general happiness of life is dependent. All the rules of prudence, or
gifts of experience that life can accumulate, will never do as much for
human comfort and welfare as would be done by a stricter attention, and
a wiser science, directed to the digestive system; in this attention
lies the key to any perfect restoration for the victim of intemperance:
and, considering the peculiar hostility to the digestive health which
exists in the dietetic habits of our own country, it may be feared that
nowhere upon earth has the reclaimed martyr to intemperance so
difficult a combat to sustain; nowhere, therefore, is it so important
to direct the attention upon an _artificial_ culture of those
resources which naturally, and by the established habits of the land,
are surest to be neglected. The sheet anchor for the storm-beaten
sufferer, who is laboring to recover a haven of rest from the agonies
of intemperance, and who has had the fortitude to abjure the poison
which ruined, but which also, for brief intervals, offered him his only
consolation, lies, beyond all doubt, in a most anxious regard to
everything connected with this supreme function of our animal economy.
And, as few men that are not regularly trained to medical studies can
have the complex knowledge requisite for such a duty, some printed
guide should be sought of a regular professional order. Twenty years
ago, Dr. Wilson Philip published a valuable book of this class, which
united a wide range of practical directions as to the choice of diet,
and as to the qualities and tendencies of all esculent articles likely
to be found at British tables, with some ingenious speculations upon
the still mysterious theory of digestion. These were derived from
experiments made upon rabbits, and had originally been communicated by
him to the Royal Society of London, who judged them worthy of
publication in their Transactions. I notice them chiefly for the sake
of remarking, that the rationale of digestion, as here suggested,
explains the reason of a fact, which merely _as_ a fact, had not
been known until modern times, viz., the injuriousness to enfeebled
stomachs of all fluid. Fifty years ago--and still lingering
inveterately amongst nurses, and other ignorant persons--there
prevailed a notion that 'slops' must be the proper resource of the
valetudinarian; and the same erroneous notion appears in the common
expression of ignorant wonder at the sort of breakfasts usual amongst
women of rank in the times of Queen Elizabeth. 'What robust stomachs
they must have had, to support such solid meals!' As to the question of
fact, whether the stomachs were more or less robust in those days than
at the present, there is no need to offer an opinion. But the question
of principle concerned in scientific dietetics points in the very
opposite direction. By how much the organs of digestion are feebler, by
so much is it the more indispensable that solid food and animal food
should be adopted. A robust stomach may be equal to the trying task of
supporting a fluid, such as tea for breakfast; but for a feeble
stomach, and still more for a stomach _enfeebled_ by bad habits,
broiled beef, or something equally solid and animal, but not too much
subjected to the action of fire, is the only tolerable diet. This,
indeed, is the one capital rule for a sufferer from habitual
intoxication, who must inevitably labor under an impaired digestion;
that as little as possible he should use of any liquid diet, and as
little as possible of vegetable diet. Beef, and a little bread, (at the
least sixty hours old,) compose the privileged bill of fare for his
breakfast. But precisely it is, by the way, in relation to this
earliest meal, that human folly has in one or two instances shown
itself most ruinously inventive. The less variety there is at that
meal, the more is the danger from any single luxury; and there is one,
known by the name of 'muffins,' which has repeatedly manifested itself
to be a plain and direct bounty upon suicide. Darwin, in his
'Zoonomia,' reports a case where an officer, holding the rank of
lieutenant-colonel, could not tolerate a breakfast in which this odious
article was wanting; but, as a savage retribution invariably supervened
within an hour or two upon this act of insane sensuality, he came to a
resolution that life was intolerable _with_ muffins, but still
more intolerable _without_ muffins. He would stand the nuisance no
longer; but yet, being a just man, he would give nature one final
chance of reforming her dyspeptic atrocities. Muffins, therefore, being
laid at one angle of the breakfast-table, and loaded pistols at
another, with rigid equity the Colonel awaited the result. This was
naturally pretty much as usual: and then, the poor man, incapable of
retreating from his word of honor, committed suicide,--having
previously left a line for posterity to the effect (though I forget the
expression), 'That a muffinless world was no world for him: better no
life at all than a life dismantled of muffins.'--Dr. Darwin was a showy
philosopher, and fond of producing effect, so that some allowance must
be made in construing the affair. Strictly speaking, it is probable
that not the especial want of muffins, but the general torment of
indigestion, was the curse from which the unhappy sufferer sought
relief by suicide. And the Colonel was not the first by many a million,
that has fled from the very same form of wretchedness, or from its
effects upon the genial spirits, to the same gloomy refuge. It should
never be forgotten that, although some other more overt vexation is
generally assigned as the proximate cause of suicide, and often may be
so as regards the immediate occasion, too generally this vexation
borrowed its whole power to annoy, from the habitual atmosphere of
irritation in which the system had been kept by indigestion. So that
indirectly, and virtually, perhaps, all suicides may be traced to
mismanaged digestion. Meantime, in alluding at all to so dreadful a
subject as suicide, I do so only by way of giving deeper effect to the
opinion expressed above, upon the chief cause of relapse into habits of
intemperance amongst those who have once accomplished their
deliverance. Errors of digestion, either from impaired powers, or from
powers not so much enfeebled as deranged, is the one immeasurable
source both of disease and of secret wretchedness to the human race.
Life is laid waste by the eternal fretting of the vital forces,
emanating from this one cause. And it may well be conceived, that if
cases so endless, even of suicide, in every generation, are virtually
traceable to this main root, much more must it be able to shake and
undermine the yet palpitating frame of the poor fugitive from
intemperance; since indigestion in every mode and variety of its
changes irresistibly upholds the temptation to that form of excitement
which, though one foremost cause of indigestion, is yet unhappily its
sole immediate palliation.

III. Next, after the most vigorous attention, and a scientific
attention to the digestive system, in power of operation, stands
_exercise_. Here, however, most people have their own separate
habits, with respect to the time of exercise, the duration, and the
particular mode, on which a stranger cannot venture to intrude with his
advice. Some will not endure the steady patience required for walking
exercise; many benefit most by riding on horseback; and in days when
roads were more rugged, and the springs of carriages less improved, I
have known people who found most advantage in the vibrations
communicated to the frame by a heavy rumbling carriage. For myself,
under the ravages of opium, I have found walking the most beneficial
exercise; besides that, it requires no previous notice or preparation
of any kind; and this is a capital advantage in a state of drooping
energies, or of impatient and unresting agitation. I may mention, as
possibly an accident of my individual temperament, but possibly, also,
no accident at all, that the relief obtained by walking was always most
sensibly brought home to my consciousness, when some part of it (at
least a mile and a half) has been performed before breakfast. In this
there soon ceased to be any difficulty; for, whilst under the full
oppression of opium, it was impossible for me to rise at any hour that
could, by the most indulgent courtesy, be described as within the pale
of morning, no sooner had there been established any considerable
relief from this oppression, than the tendency was in the opposite
direction; the difficulty became continually greater of sleeping even
to a reasonable hour. Having once accomplished the feat of walking at
nine A. M., I backed, in a space of seven or eight months, to eight
o'clock, to seven, to six, five, four, three; until at this point a
metaphysical fear fell upon me that I was actually backing into
'yesterday,' and should soon have no sleep at all. Below three,
however, I did not descend; and, for a couple of years, three and a
half hours' sleep was all that I could obtain in the twenty-four hours.
From this no particular suffering arose, except the nervous impatience
of lying in bed for one moment after awaking. Consequently, the habit
of walking before breakfast became at length troublesome no longer as a
most odious duty, but, on the contrary, as a temptation that could
hardly be resisted on the wettest mornings. As to the quantity of the
exercise, I found that six miles a day formed the _minimum_ which
would support permanently a particular standard of animal spirits,
evidenced to myself by certain apparent symptoms. I averaged about nine
and a half miles a day; but ascended on particular days to fifteen or
sixteen, and more rarely to twenty-three or twenty-four; a quantity
which did not produce fatigue, on the contrary it spread a sense of
improvement through almost the whole week that followed; but usually,
in the night immediately succeeding to such an exertion, I lost much of
my sleep; a privation that, under the circumstances explained, deterred
me from trying the experiment too often. For one or two years, I
accomplished more than I have here claimed, viz., from six to seven
thousand miles in the twelve months. Let me add to this slight abstract
of my own experience, in a point where it is really difficult to offer
any useful advice, (the tastes and habits of men varying so much in
this chapter of exercise,) that one caution seems applicable to the
case of all persons suffering from nervous irritability, viz., that a
secluded space should be measured off accurately, in some private
grounds not liable to the interruption or notice of chance intruders;
for these annoyances are unendurable to the restless invalid; to be
questioned upon trivial things is death to him; and the perpetual
anticipation of such annoyances is little less distressing. Some plan
must also be adopted for registering the number of rounds performed. I
once walked for eighteen months in a circuit so confined that forty
revolutions were needed to complete a mile. These I counted, at one
time, by a rosary of beads; every tenth round being marked by drawing a
blue bead, the other nine by drawing white beads. But this plan, I
found in practice, more troublesome and inaccurate than that of using
ten detached counters, stones, or anything else that was large enough
and solid. These were applied to the separate bars of a garden chair;
the first bar indicating of itself the first decade, the second bar the
second decade, and so on. In fact, I used the chair in some measure as
a Roman abacus, but on a still simpler plan; and as the chair offered
sixteen bars, it followed, that on covering the last bar of the series
with the ten markers, I perceived without any trouble of calculation
the accomplishment of my fourth mile.

A necessity, more painful to me by far than that of taking continued
exercise, arose out of a cause which applies, perhaps, with the same
intensity only to opium cases, but must also apply in some degree to
all cases of debilitation from morbid stimulation of the nerves,
whether by means of wine, or opium, or distilled liquors. In travelling
on the outside of mails, during my youthful days, for I could not
endure the inside, occasionally, during the night-time, I suffered
naturally from cold: no cloaks, &c. were always sufficient to relieve
this; and I then made the discovery that opium, after an hour or so,
diffuses a warmth deeper and far more permanent than could be had from
any other known source. I mention this, to explain, in some measure,
the awful passion of cold which for some years haunted the inverse
process of laying aside the opium. It was a perfect frenzy of misery;
cold was a sensation which then first, as a mode of torment, seemed to
have been revealed. In the months of July and August, and not at all
the less during the very middle watch of the day, I sate in the closest
proximity to a blazing fire; cloaks, blankets, counterpanes,
hearthrugs, horse-cloths, were piled upon my shoulders, but with hardly
a glimmering of relief. At night, and after taking coffee, I felt a
little warmer, and could sometimes afford to smile at the resemblance
of my own case to that of Harry Gill. [Footnote: 'Harry Gill:'--Many
readers, in this generation, may not be aware of this ballad as one
amongst the early poems of Wordsworth. Thirty or forty years ago, it
was the object of some insipid ridicule, which ought, perhaps, in
another place, to be noticed. And, doubtless, this ridicule was
heightened by the false impression that the story had been some old
woman's superstitious fiction, meant to illustrate a supernatural
judgment on hard-heartedness. But the story was a physiologic fact;
and, originally, it had been brought forward in a philosophic work, by
Darwin, who had the reputation of an irreligious man, and even of an
infidel. A bold freethinker he certainly was: a Deist, and, by public
repute, something more.] But, secretly, I was struck with awe at the
revelation of powers so unsearchably new, lurking within old affections
so familiarly known as cold. Upon the analogy of this case, it might be
thought that nothing whatever had yet been truly and seriously felt by
man; nothing searched or probed by human sensibilities, to a depth
below the surface. If cold could give out mysteries of suffering so
novel, all things in the world might be yet unvisited by the truth of
human sensations. All experience, worthy of the name, was yet to begin.
Meantime, the external phenomenon, by which the cold expressed itself,
was a sense (but with little reality) of eternal freezing perspiration.
From this I was never free; and at length, from finding one general
ablution sufficient for one day, I was thrown upon the irritating
necessity of repeating it more frequently than would seem credible, if
stated. At this time, I used always hot water; and a thought occurred
to me very seriously that it would be best to live constantly, and,
perhaps, to sleep in a bath. What caused me to renounce this plan, was
an accident that compelled me for one day to use cold water. This,
first of all, communicated any lasting warmth; so that ever afterwards
I used none _but_ cold water. Now, to live in a _cold_ bath,
in our climate, and in my own state of preternatural sensibility to
cold, was not an idea to dally with. I wish to mention, however, for
the information of other sufferers in the same way, one change in the
mode of applying the water, which led to a considerable and a sudden
improvement in the condition of my feelings. I had endeavored to
procure a child's battledore, as an easy means (when clothed with
sponge) of reaching the interspace between the shoulders; which
interspace, by the way, is a sort of Bokhara, so provokingly situated,
that it will neither suffer itself to be reached from the north, in
which direction even the Czar, with his long arms, has only singed his
own fingers, and lost six thousand camels; nor at all better from the
south, upon which line of approach the greatest potentate in Southern
Asia, viz., No.--, in Leadenhall Street, has found it the best policy
to pocket the little Khan's murderous defiances and persevering
insults. There is no battledore long enough to reach him in either way.
In my own difficulty, I felt almost as perplexed as the Honorable East
India Company, when I found that no battledore was to be had; for no
town was near at hand. In default of a battledore, therefore, my
necessity threw my experiment upon a long hair-brush; and this,
eventually, proved of much greater service than any sponge or any
battledore; for, the friction of the brush caused an irritation on the
surface of the skin, which, more than anything else, has gradually
diminished the once continual misery of unrelenting frost; although
even yet it renews itself most distressingly at uncertain intervals.

IV. I counsel the patient not to make the mistake of supposing that his
amendment will necessarily proceed continuously, or by equal
increments; because this, which is a common notion, will certainly lead
to dangerous disappointments. How frequently I have heard people
encouraging a self-reformer by such language as this:--'When you have
got over the fourth day of abstinence, which suppose to be Sunday, then
Monday will find you a trifle better; Tuesday better still,--though
still it should be only by a trifle; and so on. You may, at least, rely
on never going back; you may assure yourself of having seen the worst;
and the positive improvements, if trifles separately, must soon gather
into a sensible magnitude.' This may be true in a case of short
standing: but, as a general rule, it is perilously delusive. On the
contrary, the line of progress, if exhibited in a geometrical
construction, would describe an ascending path upon the whole, but with
frequent retrocessions into descending curves, which, compared with the
point of ascent that had been previously gained and so vexatiously
interrupted, would sometimes seem deeper than the original point of
starting. This mortifying tendency I can report from experience many
times repeated with regard to opium; and so unaccountably, as regarded
all the previous grounds of expectation, that I am compelled to suppose
it a tendency inherent in the very nature of all self-restorations for
animal systems. They move perhaps necessarily _per saltum_, by,
intermitting spasms, and pulsations of unequal energy.

V. I counsel the patient frequently to call back before his thoughts--
when suffering sorrowful collapses, that seem unmerited by anything
done or neglected--that such, and far worse, perhaps, must have been
his experience, and with no reversion of hope behind, had he persisted
in his intemperate indulgencies; _these_ also suffer their own
collapses, and (so far as things not co-present can be compared) by
many degrees more shocking to the genial instincts.

VI. I exhort him to believe, that no movement on his own part, not the
smallest conceivable, towards the restoration of his healthy state, can
by possibility perish. Nothing in this direction is finally lost; but
often it disappears and hides itself; suddenly, however, to reappear,
and in unexpected strength, and much more hopefully; because such
minute elements of improvement, by reappearing at a remoter stage, show
themselves to have combined with other elements of the same kind: so
that equally by their gathering tendency and their duration through
intervals of apparent darkness, and below the current of what seemed
absolute interruption, they argue themselves to be settled in the
system. There is no good gift that does not come from God: almost his
greatest is health, with the peace which it inherits; and man must reap
_this_ on the same terms as he was told to reap God's earliest
gift, the fruits of the earth, viz.: 'in the sweat of his brow,'
through labor, often through sorrow, through disappointment, but still
through imperishable perseverance, and hoping under clouds, when all
hope seems darkened.

VII. It is difficult, in selecting from many memoranda of warning and
encouragement, to know which to prefer when the space disposable is
limited. But it seems to me important not to omit this particular
caution: The patient will be naturally anxious, as he goes on,
frequently to test the amount of his advance, and its rate, if that
were possible. But this he will see no mode of doing, except through
tentative balancings of his feelings, and generally of the moral
atmosphere around him, as to pleasure and hope, against the
corresponding states, so far as he can recall them from his periods of
intemperance. But these comparisons, I warn him, are fallacious, when
made in this way; the two states are incommensurable on any plan of
_direct_ comparison. Some common measure must be found, and,
_out of himself_; some positive fact, that will not bend to his
own delusive feeling at the moment; as, for instance, in what degree he
finds tolerable what heretofore was _not_ so--the effort of writing
letters, or transacting business, or undertaking a journey, or
overtaking the arrears of labor, that had been once thrown off to a
distance. If in these things he finds himself improved, by tests that
cannot be disputed, he may safely disregard any sceptical whispers from
a wayward sensibility which cannot yet, perhaps, have recovered its
normal health, however much improved. His inner feelings may not yet
point steadily to the truth, though they may vibrate in that direction.
Besides, it is certain that sometimes very manifest advances, such as
any medical man would perceive at a glance, carry a man through stages
of agitation and discomfort. A far worse condition might happen to be
less agitated, and so far more bearable. Now, when a man is positively
suffering discomfort, when he is below the line of pleasurable feeling,
he is no proper judge of his own condition, which he neither will nor
can appreciate. Tooth-ache extorts more groans than dropsy.

VIII. Another important caution is, not to confound with the effects of
intemperance any other natural effects of debility from advanced years.
Many a man, having begun to be intemperate at thirty, enters at sixty
or upwards upon a career of self-restoration. And by self-restoration
he understands a renewal of that state in which he was when first
swerving from temperance. But that state, for his memory, is coincident
with his state of youth. The two states are coadunated. In his
recollections they are intertwisted too closely. But life, without any
intemperance at all, would soon have untwisted them. Charles Lamb, for
instance, at forty-five, and Coleridge at sixty, measured their several
conditions by such tests as the loss of all disposition to involuntary
murmuring of musical airs or fragments when rising from bed. Once they
had sung when rising in the morning light; now they sang no more. The
_vocal_ utterance of joy, for _them_, was silenced for ever.
But these are amongst the changes that life, stern power, inflicts at
any rate; these would have happened, and above all, to men worn by the
unequal irritations of too much thinking, and by those modes of care

That kill the bloom before its time,
And blanch without the owner's crime
The most resplendent hair,

not at all the less had the one drunk no brandy, nor the other any
laudanum. A man must submit to the conditions of humanity, and not
quarrel with a cure as incomplete, because in his climacteric year of
sixty-three, he cannot recover, entirely, the vivacities of thirty-
five. If, by dipping seven times in Jordan, he had cleansed his whole
leprosy of intemperance; if, by going down into Bethesda, he were able
to mount again upon the pinions of his youth,--even then he might
querulously say,--'But, after all these marvels in my favor, I suppose
that one of these fine mornings I, like other people, shall have to
bespeak a coffin.' Why, yes, undoubtedly he will, or somebody
_for_ him. But privileges so especial were not promised even by
the mysterious waters of Palestine. Die he must. And counsels tendered
to the intemperate do not hope to accomplish what might have been
beyond the baths of Jordan or Bethesda. They do enough, if, being
executed by efforts in the spirit of earnest sincerity, they make a
life of _growing_ misery moderately happy for the patient; and,
through that great change, perhaps, more than moderately useful for

IX. One final remark I will make:--pointed to the case, not of the yet
struggling patient, but of him who is fully re-established; and the
more so, because I (who am no hypocrite, but, rather, frank to an
infirmity) acknowledge, in myself, the trembling tendency at intervals,
which would, if permitted, sweep round into currents that might be hard
to overrule. After the absolute restoration to health, a man is very
apt to say,--'Now, then, how shall I use my health? To what delightful
purpose shall I apply it? Surely it is idle to carry a fine jewel in
one's watch-pocket, and never to astonish the weak minds of this world,
by wearing it and flashing it in their eyes.' 'But how?' retorts his
philosophic friend; 'my good fellow, are you not using it at this
moment? Breathing, for instance, talking to me, (though rather
absurdly,) and airing your legs at a glowing fire?' 'Why, yes,' the
other confesses, 'that is all true; but I am dull; and, if you will
pardon my rudeness, even in spite of your too philosophic presence. It
is painful to say so, but sincerely, if I had the power, at this
moment, to turn you, by magic, into a bottle of old port wine, so
corrupt is my nature, that really I fear lest the exchange might, for
the moment, strike me as agreeable.' Such a mood, I apprehend, is apt
to revolve upon many of us, at intervals, however firmly married to
temperance. And the propensity to it has a root in certain analogies
running through our nature. If the reader will permit me for a moment
the use of what, without such an apology, might seem pedantic, I would
call it the instinct of _focalizing_, which prompts such random
desires. Feeling is diffused over the whole surface of the body; but
light is focalized in the eye; sound in the ear. The organization of a
sense or a pleasure seems diluted and imperfect, unless it is gathered
by some machinery into one focus, or local centre. And thus it is that
a general state of pleasurable feeling sometimes seems too
superficially diffused, and one has a craving to intensify or brighten
it by concentration through some sufficient stimulant. I, for my part,
have tried every thing in this world except '_bang_,' which, I
believe, is obtained from hemp. There are other preparations of hemp
which have been found to give great relief from _ennui_; not
ropes, but something lately introduced, which acts upon the system as
the laughing gas (nitrous oxide) acts at times. One farmer in Mid-
Lothian was mentioned to me, eight months ago, as having taken it, and
ever since annoyed his neighbors by immoderate fits of laughter; so
that in January it was agreed to present him to the sheriff as a
nuisance. But, for some reason, the plan was laid aside; and now, eight
months later, I hear that the farmer is laughing more rapturously than
ever, continues in the happiest frame of mind, the kindest of
creatures, and the general torment of his neighborhood. Now, I confess
to having had a lurking interest in this extract of hemp, when first I
heard of it: and at intervals a desire will continue to make itself
felt for some deeper compression or centralization of the genial
feelings than ordinary life affords. But old things will not avail, and
new things I am now able to resist. Still, as the occasional craving
does really arise in most men, it is well to notice it; and chiefly for
the purpose of saying, that this dangerous feeling wears off by
degrees; and oftentimes for long periods it intermits so entirely as to
be even displaced by a profound disgust to all modes of artificial
stimulation. At those times I have remarked that the pleasurable
condition of health does _not_ seem weakened by its want of
centralization. It seems to form a thousand centres. This it is well to
know; because there are many who would resist effectually, if they were
aware of any natural change going on silently in favor of their own
efforts, such as would finally ratify the success. Towards such a
result they would gladly contribute by waiting and forbearing; whilst,
under despondency as to this result, they might more easily yield to
some chance temptation.

Finally, there is something to interest us in the _time_ at which
this temperance movement has begun to stir. Let me close with a slight
notice of what chiefly impresses myself in the relation between this
time and the other circumstances of the case. In reviewing history, we
may see something more than mere convenience in distributing it into
three chambers; ancient history, ending in the space between the
Western Empire falling and Mahomet arising; modern history, from that
time to this; and a new modern history arising at present, or from the
French Revolution. Two great races of men, our own in a two-headed
form--British and American, and secondly, the Russian, are those which,
like rising deluges, already reveal their mission to overflow the
earth. Both these races, partly through climate, or through derivation
of blood, and partly through the contagion of habits inevitable to
brothers of the same nation, are tainted carnally with the appetite for
brandy, for slings, for juleps. And no fire racing through the forests
of Nova Scotia for three hundred miles in the direction of some doomed
city, ever moved so fiercely as the infection of habits amongst the
dense and fiery populations of republican North America.

But it is remarkable, that the whole _ancient_ system of
civilization, all the miracles of Greece and Rome, Persia and Egypt,
moved by the machinery of races that were _not_ tainted with any
such popular _marasmus_. The taste was slightly sowed, as an
_artificial_ taste, amongst luxurious individuals, but never ran
through the laboring classes, through armies, through cities The blood
and the climate forbade it. In this earliest era of history, all the
great races, consequently all the great empires, threw themselves, by
accumulation, upon the genial climates of the south,--having, in fact,
the magnificent lake of the Mediterranean for their general centre of
evolutions. Round this lake, in a zone of varying depth, towered the
whole grandeurs of the Pagan earth. But, in such climates, man is
naturally temperate. He is so by physical coercion, and for the
necessities of rest and coolness. The Spaniard, the Moor, or the Arab,
has no merit in his temperance. The effort, for _him_, would be to
form the taste for alcohol. He has a vast foreground of disgust to
traverse before he can reach a taste so remote and alien. No need for
resistance in his will where nature resists on his behalf. Sherbet,
shaddocks, grapes, these were innocent applications to thirst. And the
great republic of antiquity said to her legionary sons:--'Soldier, if
you thirst, there is the river;--Nile, suppose, or Ebro. Better drink
there cannot be. Of this you may take "at discretion." Or, if you wait
till the _impedimenta_ come up, you may draw your ration of _Posca_'
What was _posca_? It was, in fact, acidulated water; three parts of
superfine water to one part of the very best vinegar. Nothing stronger
did Rome, that awful mother, allow to her dearest children, _i. e._,
her legions. Truest of blessings, that veiling itself in seeming
sternness, drove away the wicked phantoms that haunt the couches of yet
greater nations. 'The blessings of the evil genii,' says an Eastern
proverb, 'these are curses.' And the stern refusals of wisely loving
mothers,--these are the mightiest of gifts.

Now, on the other hand, our northern climates have universally the
taste, latent if not developed, for powerful liquors. And through their
blood, as also through the natural tendency of the imitative principle
amongst compatriots, from these high latitudes the greatest of our
modern nations propagate the contagion to their brothers, though
colonizing warm climates. And it is remarkable that our modern
preparations of liquors, even when harmless in their earliest stages,
are fitted, like stepping-stones, for making the transition to higher
stages that are _not_ harmless. The weakest preparations from
malt, lead, by graduated steps, to the strongest; until we arrive at
the intoxicating porter of London, which, under its local name (so
insidiously delusive) of '_beer_,' diffuses the most extensive

Under these marked circumstances of difference between the ruling races
of antiquity and of our modern times, it now happens that the greatest
era by far of human expansion is opening upon us. Two vast movements
are hurrying into action by velocities continually accelerated--the
great revolutionary movement from political causes concurring with the
great physical movement in locomotion and social intercourse, from the
gigantic (though still infant) powers of steam. No such Titan resources
for modifying each other were ever before dreamed of by nations: and
the next hundred years will have changed the face of the world. At the
opening of such a crisis, had no third movement arisen of resistance to
intemperate habits, there would have been ground for despondency as to
the amelioration of the human race. But, as the case stands, the new
principle of resistance nationally to bad habits, has arisen almost
concurrently with the new powers of national intercourse; and
henceforward by a change equally sudden and unlooked for, that new
machinery, which would else most surely have multiplied the ruins of
intoxication, has become the strongest agency for hastening its


Few people need to be told--that associations exist up and down
Christendom, having the ambitious object of abolishing war. Some go so
far as to believe that this evil of war, so ubiquitous, so ancient and
apparently so inalienable from man's position upon earth, is already
doomed; that not the private associations only, but the prevailing
voice of races the most highly civilized, may be looked on as tending
to confederation against it; that sentence of extermination has
virtually gone forth, and that all which remains is gradually to
execute that sentence. Conscientiously I find myself unable to join in
these views. The project seems to me the most romantic of all romances
in the course of publication. Consequently, when asked to become a
member in any such association, I have always thought it most
respectful, because most sincere, to decline. Yet, as it is painful to
refuse all marks of sympathy with persons whose motives one honors, I
design at my death to bequeath half-a-crown to the chief association
for extinguishing war; the said half-crown to be improved in all time
coming for the benefit of the association, under the trusteeship of
Europe, Asia, and America, but not of Africa. I really dare not trust
Africa with money, she is not able as yet to take care of herself. This
half-crown, a fund that will overshadow the earth before it comes to be
wanted under the provisions of my will, is to be improved at any
interest whatever--no matter what; for the vast period of the
accumulations will easily make good any tardiness of advance, long
before the time comes for its commencing payment; a point which will be
soon understood from the following explanation, by any gentleman that
hopes to draw upon it.

There is in Ceylon a granite _cippus_, or monumental pillar, of
immemorial antiquity; and to this pillar a remarkable legend is
attached. The pillar measures six feet by six, _i. e._ thirty-six
square feet, on the flat tablet of its horizontal surface; and in
height several _riyanas_, (which arc Ceylonese cubits of eighteen
inches each,) but of these cubits, there are either eight or twelve;
excuse me for having forgotten which. At first, perhaps, you will be
angry, viz., when you hear that this simple difference of four cubits,
or six feet, measures a difference for your expectations, whether you
count your expectations in kicks or halfpence, that absolutely strikes
horror into arithmetic. The singularity of the case is, that the very
solemnity of the legend and the wealth of the human race in time,
depend upon the cubical contents of the monument, so that a loss of one
granite chip is a loss of a frightful infinity; yet, again, for that
very reason, the loss of all _but_ a chip, leaves behind riches so
appallingly too rich, that everybody is careless about the four cubits.
Enough is as good as a feast. Two bottomless abysses take as much time
for the diver as ten; and five eternities are as frightful to look down
as four-and-twenty. In the Ceylon legend all turns upon the
inexhaustible series of ages which this pillar guarantees. But, as one
inexhaustible is quite enough for one race of men, and you are sure of
more by ineffable excess than you can use in any private consumption of
your own, you become generous; 'and between friends,' you say, in
accepting my apologies for the doubtful error as to the four cubits,
'what signifies an infinity more or less?'

For the Ceylonese legend is this, that once in every hundred years an
angel visits this granite pillar. He is dressed in a robe of white
muslin, muslin of that kind which the Romans called _aura textilis_--
woven, as might seem, from zephyrs or from pulses of the air, such in
its transparency, such in its gossamer lightness. Does the angel touch
the pillar with his foot? Oh no! Even _that_ would be something, but
even _that_ is not allowed. In his soundless flight across it, he
suffers the hem of his impalpable robe to sweep the surface as softly
as a moon-beam. So much and no more of pollution he endures from
contact with earthly objects. The lowest extremity of his dress,
but with the delicacy of light, grazes the granite surface. And
_that_ is all the attrition which the sacred granite receives in
the course of any one century, and this is all the progress which we,
the poor children of earth, in any one century make towards the
exhaustion of our earthly imprisonment. But, argues the subtle legend,
even _that_ attrition, when weighed in metaphysical scales, cannot
be denied its value; it has detached from the pillar an atom (no matter
that it is an invisible atom) of granite dust, the ratio of which atom
to a grain avoirdupois, if expressed as a fraction of unity, would by
its denominator stretch from the Accountant-General's office in London
to the Milky Way. Now the total mass of the granite represents, on this
scheme of payment, the total funded debt of man's race to Father Time
and earthly corruption; all this intolerable score, chalked up to our
debit, we by ourselves and our representatives have to rub off, before
the granite will be rubbed away by the muslin robe of the proud flying
angel, (who, if he were a good fellow, might just as well give a sly
kick with his heel to the granite,) before time will be at an end, and
the burden of flesh accomplished. But you hear it expressed in terms
that will astonish Baron Rothschild, what is the progress in
liquidation which we make for each particular century. A billion of
centuries pays off a quantity equal to a pinch of snuff. Despair seizes
a man in contemplating a single _coupon_, no bigger than a
visiting card, of such a stock as this; and behold we have to keep on
paying away until the total granite is reduced to a level with a grain
of mustard-seed. But when that is accomplished, thank heaven, our last
generation of descendants will be entitled to leave at Master Time's
door a visiting card, which the meagre shadow cannot refuse to take,
though he will sicken at seeing it; viz., a P. P. C. card, upon seeing
which, the old thief is bound to give receipt in full for all debts and
pretended arrears.

The reader perhaps knows of debts on both sides the Atlantic that have
no great prospect of being paid off sooner than this in Ceylon.

And naturally, to match this order of debts, moving off so slowly,
there are funds that accumulate as slowly. My own funded half-crown is
an illustration. The half-crown will travel in the inverse order of the
granite pillar. The pillar and the half-crown move upon opposite tacks;
and there _is_ a point of time (which it is for Algebra to investigate)
when they will cross each other in the exact moment of their several
bisections--my aspiring half-crown tending gradually towards
the fixed stars, so that perhaps it might be right to make the
man in the moon trustee for that part of the accumulations which rises
above the optics of sublunary bankers; whilst the Ceylon pillar is
constantly unweaving its own granite texture, and dwindling earthwards.
It is probable that each of the parties will have reached its
consummation about the same time. What is to be done with the mustard-
seed, Ceylon has forgotten to say. But what is to be done with the
half-crown and its surplus, nobody can doubt after reading my last will
and testament. After reciting a few inconsiderable legacies to the
three continents, and to the man in the moon, for any trouble they may
have had in managing the hyperbolical accumulations, I go on to
observe, that, when war is reported to have taken itself off for ever,
'and no mistake,' (because I foresee many false alarms of a perpetual
peace,) a variety of inconveniences will arise to all branches of the
United Service, including the Horse Marines. Clearly there can be no
more half-pay; and even more clearly, there is an end to full-pay.
Pensions are at an end for 'good service.' Allowances for wounds cannot
be thought of, when all wounds shall have ceased except those from
female eyes--for which the Horse Guards is too little advanced in
civilization to make any allowance at all. Bargains there will be no
more amongst auctions of old Government stores. Birmingham will be
ruined, or so much of it as depended on rifles. And the great Scotch
works on the river Carron will be hungering for beef, so far as Carron
depended for beef upon carronades. Other arrears of evil will stretch
after the extinction of war.

Now upon my half-crown fund (which will be equal to anything by the
time it is wanted) I charge once and for ever the general relief of all
these arrears--of the poverty, the loss, the bankruptcy, arising by
reason of this _quietus_ of final extinction applied to war. I
charge the fund with a perpetual allowance of half-pay to all the
armies of earth; or indeed, whilst my hand is in, I charge it with
_full_ pay. And I strictly enjoin upon my trustees and executors,
but especially upon the man in the moon, if his unsocial lip has left
him one spark of gentlemanly feeling, that he and they shall construe
all claims liberally; nay, with that riotous liberality which is safe
and becoming, when applied to a fund so inexhaustible. Yes, reader, my
fund will be inexhaustible, because the period of its growth will be
measured by the concurrent deposition of the Ceylon mustard-seed from
the everlasting pillar.

Yet why, or on what principle? It is because I see, or imagine that I
see, a twofold necessity for war--necessity in two different senses--
1st, a physical necessity arising out of man's nature when combined
with man's situation; a necessity under which war may be regarded, if
you please, as a nuisance, but as a nuisance inalienable from
circumstances essential to human frailty. 2dly, a moral necessity
connected with benefits of compensation, such as continually lurk in
evils acknowledged to be such--a necessity under which it becomes
lawful to say, that war _ought_ to exist as a balance to opposite
tendencies of a still more evil character. War is the mother of wrong
and spoliation: war is a scourge of God--granted; but, like other
scourges in the divine economy, war purifies and redeems itself in its
character of a counterforce to greater evils that could not otherwise
be intercepted or redressed. In two different meanings we say that a
thing is necessary; either in that case where it is inexorably forced
on by some sad overruling principle which it is vain to fight against,
though all good men mourn over its existence and view it as an
unconditional evil; or secondly, in that case, where an instrument of
sorrowful consequences to man is nevertheless invoked and postulated by
man's highest moral interests, is nevertheless clamorously indicated as
a blessing when looked at in relation to some antagonist cause of evil
for which it offers the one only remedy or principle of palliation. The
very evil and woe of man's condition upon earth may be oftentimes
detected in the necessity of looking to some other woe as the pledge of
its purification; so that what separately would have been hateful for
itself, passes mysteriously into an object of toleration, of hope, or
even of prayer, as a counter-venom to the taint of some more mortal
poison. Poverty, for instance, is in both senses necessary for man. It
is necessary in the same sense as thirst is necessary (_i. e._
inevitable) in a fever--necessary as one corollary amongst many others,
from the eternal hollowness of all human efforts for organizing any
perfect model of society--a corollary which, how gladly would all of us
unite to cancel, but which our hearts suggest, which Scripture solemnly
proclaims, to be ineradicable from the land. In this sense, poverty is
a necessity over which we _mourn_,--as one of the dark phases that
sadden the vision of human life. But far differently, and with a stern
gratitude, we recognize another mode of necessity for this gloomy
distinction--a call for poverty, when seen in relation to the manifold
agencies by which it developes human energies, in relation to the
trials by which it searches the power of patience and religion, in
relation to the struggles by which it evokes the nobilities of
fortitude; or again, amongst those who are not sharers in these trials
and struggles, but sympathizing spectators, in relation to the
stimulation by which it quickens wisdom that watches over the causes of
this evil, or by which it vivifies the spirit of love that labors for
its mitigation. War stands, or seems to stand, upon the same double
basis of necessity; a primary necessity that belongs to our human
degradations, a secondary one that towers by means of its moral
relations into the region of our impassioned exaltations. The two
propositions on which I take my stand are these. _First_, that
there are nowhere latent in society any powers by which it can
effectually operate on war for its extermination. The machinery is not
there. The game is not within the compass of the cards. _Secondly_,
that this defect of power is, though sincerely I grieve in avowing
such a sentiment, and perhaps (if an infirm reader had his eye
upon me) I might seem, in sympathy with his weakness, to blush
--not a curse, no not at all, but on the whole a blessing from
century to century, if it is an inconvenience from year to year. The
Abolition Committees, it is to be feared, will be very angry at both
propositions. Yet, Gentlemen, hear me--strike, but hear me. I believe
that's a sort of plagiarism from Themistocles. But never mind. I have
as good a right to the words, until translated back into Greek, as that
most classical of yellow admirals. '_Pereant qui ante nos nostra

The first proposition is, that war _cannot_ be abolished. The
second, and more offensive--that war ought not to be abolished. First,
therefore, concerning the first. One at a time. Sufficient for the page
is the evil thereof! How came it into any man's heart, first of all, to
conceive so audacious an idea as that of a conspiracy against war?
Whence could he draw any vapor of hope to sustain his preliminary
steps? And in framing his plot, which way did he set his face to look
out for accomplices? Revolving this question in times past, I came to
the conclusion--that, perhaps, this colossal project of a war against
war, had been first put in motion under a misconception (natural
enough, and countenanced by innumerable books) as to the true
historical origin of wars in many notorious instances. If these had
arisen on trivial impulses, a trivial resistance might have intercepted
them. If a man has once persuaded himself, that long, costly, and
bloody wars had arisen upon a point of ceremony, upon a personal pique,
upon a hasty word, upon some explosion of momentary caprice; it is a
natural inference, that strength of national will and public
combinations for resistance, supposing such forces to have been
trained, organized, and, from the circumstances of the particular
nation, to be permanently disposable for action, might prove
redundantly effective, when pointed against a few personal authors of
war, so presumably weak, and so flexible to any stern counter-volition
as those _must_ be supposed, whose wars argued so much of vicious
levity. The inference is unexceptionable: it is the premises that are
unsound. Anecdotes of war as having emanated from a lady's tea-table or
toilette, would authorize such inference as to the facilities of
controlling them. But the anecdotes themselves are false, or false
substantially. _All_ anecdotes, I fear, are false. I am sorry to
say so, but my duty to the reader extorts from me the disagreeable
confession, as upon a matter specially investigated by myself, that all
dealers in anecdotes are tainted with mendacity. Where is the
Scotchman, said Dr. Johnson, who does not prefer Scotland to truth?
but, however this may be, rarer than such a Scotchman, rarer than the
phoenix, is that virtuous man, a monster he is, nay, he is an
impossible man, who will consent to lose a prosperous anecdote on the
consideration that it happens to be a lie. All history, therefore,
being built partly, and some of it altogether, upon anecdotage, must be
a tissue of lies. Such, for the most part, is the history of Suetonius,
who may be esteemed the father of anecdotage; and being such, he (and
not Herodotus) should have been honored with the title, _Father of
Lies_. Such is the Augustan history, which is all that remains of
the Roman empire; such is the vast series of French memoirs, now
stretching through more than three entire centuries. Are these works,
then, to be held cheap, because their truths to their falsehoods are in
the ratio of one to five hundred? On the contrary, they are better, and
more to be esteemed on that account; because, _now_ they are
admirable reading on a winter's night; whereas, written on the
principle of sticking to the truth, they would have been as dull as
ditch water. Generally, therefore, the dealers in anecdotage are to be
viewed with admiration, as patriotic citizens, willing to sacrifice
their own characters, lest their countrymen should find themselves
short of amusement. I esteem them as equal to Codrus, Timoleon, William
Tell, or to Milton, as regards the liberty of unlicensed printing. And
I object to them only in the exceptional case of their being cited as
authorities for an inference, or as vouchers for a fact. Universally,
it may be received as a rule of unlimited application,--that when an
anecdote involves a stinging repartee, or collision of ideas,
fancifully and brilliantly related to each other by resemblance or
contrast, then you may challenge it as false to a certainty. One
illustration of which is--that pretty nearly every memorable
_propos_, or pointed repartee, or striking _mot_, circulating
at this moment in Paris or London, as the undoubted property of
Talleyrand, (that eminent knave,) was ascribed at Vienna, ninety years
ago, to the Prince de Ligne, and thirty years previously, to Voltaire,
and so on, regressively, to many other wits (knaves or not); until, at
length, if you persist in backing far enough, you find yourself amongst
Pagans, with the very same repartee, &c., doing duty in pretty good
Greek; [Footnote: This is _literally_ true, more frequently than
would be supposed. For instance, a jest often ascribed to Voltaire, and
of late pointedly reclaimed for him by Lord Brougham, as being one that
he (Lord B.) could swear to for _his_, so characteristic seemed
the impression of Voltaire's mind upon the _tournure_ of the
sarcasm, unhappily for this waste of sagacity, may be found recorded by
Fabricius in the _Bibliotheca Grćca_, as the jest of a Greek who
has been dead for about seventeen centuries. The man certainly
_did_ utter the jest; and 1750 years ago. But who it was that he
stole it from is another question. To all appearance, and according to
Lord Brougham's opinion, the party robbed must have been M. de
Voltaire. I notice the case, however, of the Greek thefts and frauds
committed upon so many of our excellent wits belonging to the 18th and
19th centuries, chiefly with a view to M. de Talleyrand--that rather
middling bishop, but very eminent knave. He also has been extensively
robbed by the Greeks of the 2d and 3d centuries. How else can you
account for so many of his sayings being found amongst _their_
pages? A thing you may ascertain in a moment, at any police office, by
having the Greeks searched: for surely you would never think of
searching a bishop. Most of the Talleyrand jewels will be found
concealed amongst the goods of these unprincipled Greeks. But one, and
the most famous in the whole jewel-case, sorry am I to confess, was
nearly stolen from the Bishop, not by any Greek, but by an English
writer, viz., Goldsmith, who must have been dying about the time that
his Excellency, the diplomatist, had the goodness to be born. That
famous _mot_ about language, as a gift made to man for the purpose
of _concealing_ his thoughts, is lurking in Goldsmith's Essays.
Think of _that!_ Already, in his innocent childhood, whilst the
Bishop was in petticoats, and almost before he had begun to curse and
to swear plainly in French, an Irish vagabond had attempted to swindle
him out of that famous witticism which has since been as good as a
life-annuity to the venerable knave's literary fame.] sometimes, for
instance in Hierocles, sometimes in Diogenes Lćrtius, in Plutarch, or
in Athenćus. Now the thing you know claimed by so many people, could
not belong to all of them: _all_ of them could not be the inventors.
Logic and common sense unite in showing us that it must have belonged
to the moderns, who had clearly been hustled and robbed by the
ancients, so much more likely to commit a robbery than Christians, they
being all Gentiles--Pagans--Heathen dogs. What do I infer from this?
Why, that upon _any_ solution of the case, hardly one worthy
saying can be mentioned, hardly one jest, pun, or sarcasm, which has
not been the occasion and subject of many falsehoods--as having been
_au-(and men)-daciously_ transferred from generation to generation,
sworn to in every age as this man's property, or that man's,
by people that must have known they were lying, until you retire
from the investigation with a conviction, that under any system of
chronology, the science of lying is the only one that has never
drooped. Date from _Anno Domini_, or from the Julian era, patronize
Olympiads, or patronize (as _I_ do, from misanthropy, because nobody
else _will_) the era of Nabonassar,--no matter, upon every road,
thicker than mile-stones, you see records of human mendacity, or (which
is much worse, in my opinion,) of human sympathy with other people's

This digression, now, on anecdotes,[Footnote: The word 'Anecdotes,'
first, I believe, came into currency about the middle of the 6th
century, from the use made of it by Procopius. _Literally_ it
indicated nothing that could interest either public malice or public
favor; it promised only _unpublished_ notices of the Emperor
Justinian, his wife Theodora, Narses, Belisarius, &c. But _why_
had they been unpublished? Simply because scandalous and defamatory:
and hence, from the interest which invested the case of an imperial
court so remarkable, this oblique, secondary and purely accidental
modification of the word came to influence its _general_ acceptation.
Simply to have been previously unpublished, no longer raised any
statement into an anecdote: it now received a new integration
it must be some fresh publication of _personal_ memorabilia; and
these having reference to _human_ creatures, must always be
presumed to involve more evil than good--much defamation
true or false--much doubtful insinuation--much suggestion of things
worse than could be openly affirmed. So arose the word: but the
_thing_ arose with Suetonius, that dear, excellent and hard-
working 'father of lies.'] is what the learned call an _excursus_,
and, I am afraid, too long by half; not strictly in proportion. But
don't mind _that_. I'll make it all right by being too short upon
something else, at the next opportunity; and then nobody can complain.
Meantime, I argue, that as all brilliant or epigrammatic anecdotes are
probably false, (a thing that hereafter I shall have much pleasure in
making out to the angry reader's satisfaction,) but to a dead certainty
those anecdotes, in particular, which bear marks in their construction
that a rhetorical effect of art had been contemplated by the narrator,
--we may take for granted, that the current stories ascribing modern
wars (French and English) to accidents the most inconsiderable, are
false even in a literal sense; but at all events they are so when
valued philosophically, and brought out into their circumstantial
relations. For instance, we have a French anecdote, from the latter
part of the seventeenth century, which ascribes one bloody war to the
accident of a little 'miff,' arising between the king and his minister
upon some such trifle as the situation of a palace window. Again, from
the early part of the eighteenth century, we have an English anecdote,
ascribing consequences no less bloody to a sudden feud between two
ladies, and that feud, (if I remember,) tracing itself up to a pair of
gloves; so that, in effect, the war and the gloves form the two poles
of the transaction. Harlequin throws a pair of Limerick gloves into a
corn-mill; and the spectator is astonished to see the gloves
immediately issuing from the hopper, well ground into seven armies of
one hundred thousand men each, and with parks of artillery to
correspond. In these two anecdotes, we recognize at once the able and
industrious artist arranging his materials with a pious regard to
theatrical effect. This man knows how to group his figures; well he
understands where to plant his masses of light and shade; and what
impertinence it would be in us spectators, the reader suppose and
myself, to go behind the scenes for critical inquiry into daylight
realities. All reasonable men see that, the less of such realities our
artist had to work with, the more was his merit. I am one of those that
detest all insidious attempts to rob men situated as this artist of
their fair fame, by going about and whispering that perhaps the thing
is true. Far from it! I sympathize with the poor trembling artist, and
agree most cordially that the whole story is a lie; and he may rely
upon my support at all times to the extent of denying that any vestige
of truth probably lay at the foundations of his ingenious apologue. And
what I say of the English fable, I am willing to say of the French one.
Both, I dare say, were the rankest fictions. But next, what, after all,
if they were _not?_ For, in the rear of all discussion upon anecdotes,
considered simply as true or _not_ true, comes finally a _valuation_
of those anecdotes in their moral relation, and as to the inferences
which they will sustain. The story, for example, of the French
minister Louvois, and the adroitness with which he fastened upon
great foreign potentates, in the shape of war, that irritability
of temper in his royal master which threatened to consume himself; the
diplomatic address with which he transmuted suddenly a task so delicate
as that of skirmishing daily in a Council Chamber with his own
sovereign, into that far jollier mode of disputation where one replies
to all objections of the very keenest logician, either with round shot
or with grape; here is an anecdote, which (for my own part) I am
inclined to view as pure gasconade. But suppose the story true, still
it may happen that a better valuation of it may disturb the whole
edifice of logical inferences by which it seemed to favor the
speculations of the war abolitionists. Let us see. What _was_ the
logic through which such a tale as this could lend any countenance to
the schemes of these abolitionists? That logic travelled in the
following channel. Such a tale, or the English tale of the gloves,
being supposed true, it would seem to follow, that war and the purposes
of war were phenomena of chance growth, not attached to any instinct so
ancient, and apparently so grooved into the dark necessities of our
nature, as we had all taken for granted. Usually, we rank war with
hunger, with cold, with sorrow, with death, afflictions of our human
state that spring up as inevitably without separate culture and in
defiance of all hostile culture, as verdure, as weeds, and as flowers
that overspread in spring time a fertile soil without needing to be
sown or watered--awful is the necessity, as it seems, of all such
afflictions. Yet, again, if (as these anecdote simply) war could by
possibility depend frequently on accidents of personal temperament,
irritability in a sensual king, wounded sensibilities of pride between
two sensitive ladies, there in a moment shone forth a light of hope
upon the crusade against war.

If _personal_ accidents could, to any serious extent, be amongst
the causes of war, then it would become a hopeful duty to combine
personal influences that should take an opposite direction. If casual
causes could be supposed chiefly to have promoted war, how easy for a
nation to arrange permanent and determinate causes against it! The
logic of these anecdotes seemed to argue that the whole fountains of
war were left to the government of chance and the windiest of levities;
that war was not in reality roused into activity by the evil that
resides in the human will, but on the contrary, by the simple defect of
any will energetic enough or steady enough to merit that name.
Multitudes of evils exist in our social system, simply because no
steadiness of attention, nor action of combined will, has been
converged upon them. War, by the silent evidence of these anecdotes,
seemed to lie amongst that class of evils. A new era might be expected
to commence in new views upon war; and the evil would be half conquered
from the moment that it should be traced to a trivial or a personal

All this was plausible, but false. The anecdotes, and all similar
anecdotes, might be true, but were delusive. The logical vice in them
was--that they substituted an occasion for a cause. The king's ill
temper for instance, acting through the levity and impatience of the
minister, might be the _causa occasionalis_ of the war, but not
its true _causa efficiens_. What _was?_ Where do the true permanent
causes of war, as distinguished from its proximate excitements,
find their lodgment and abiding ground? They lie in the system
of national competitions; in the common political system to which
all individual nations are unavoidably parties; in the system of
public forces distributed amongst a number of adjacent nations, with no
internal principle for adjusting the equilibrium of these forces, and
no supreme _Areopagus_, or court of appeal, for deciding disputes.
Here lies the _matrix_ of war, because an eternal _matrix_ of
disputes lies in a system of interests that are continually the same,
and therefore the parents of rivalships too close, that are continually
different, and so far the parents of alienation too wide. All war is an
instinctive _nisus_ for redressing the errors of equilibrium in
the relative position of nations amongst nations. Every nation's duty,
first, midst, and last, is to itself. No nation can be safe from
continual (because insensible) losses of ground, but by continual
jealousies, watchings, and ambitious strivings to mend its own
position. Civilities and high-bred courtesies pass and ought to pass
between nations; that is the graceful drapery which shrouds their
natural, fierce, and tiger-like relations to each other. But the
glaring eyes, which express this deep and inalienable ferocity, look
out at intervals from below these gorgeous draperies; and sad it is to
think that at intervals the acts and the temper suitable to those
glaring eyes _must_ come forward. Mr. Carter was on terms of the
most exquisite dissimulation with his lions and tigers; but, as often
as he trusted his person amongst them, if, in the midst of infinite
politeness exchanged on all sides, he saw a certain portentous
expression of mutiny kindling in the eyeball of any discontented tiger,
all was lost, unless he came down instantly upon that tiger's skull
with a blow from an iron bar, that suggested something like apoplexy.
On such terms do nations meet in diplomacy; high consideration for each
other does not conceal the basis of enmity on which they rest; not an
enmity that belongs to their feelings, but to the necessities of their
position. Every nation in negotiating has its right hand upon the hilt
of its sword, and at intervals playfully unsheaths a little of its
gleaming blade. As things stand at present, war and peace are bound
together like the vicissitudes of day and night, of Castor and Pollux.
It matters little which bucket of the two is going up at the moment,
which going down. Both are steadfastly tied by a system of alternations
to a revolving wheel; and a new war as certainly becomes due during the
evolutions of a tedious peace, as a new peace may be relied on during
the throes of a bloody war, to tranquillize its wounds. Consequently,
when the arrogant Louvois carried a war to the credit of his own little
account on the national leger of France, this coxcomb well knew that a
war was at any rate due about that time. Really, says he, I must find
out some little war to exhaust the _surplus_ irritability of this
person, or he'll be the death of me. But irritable or not irritable,
with a puppy for his minister or not, the French king would naturally
have been carried headlong into war by the mere system of Europe,
within a very few months. So much had the causes of complaint
reciprocally accumulated. The account must be cleansed, the court roll
of grievances must be purged. With respect to the two English ladies
again, it is still more evident that they could not have _caused_
a war by pulling caps with each other, since the grounds of every war,
what had caused it, and prolonged it, was sure to be angrily reviewed
by Parliament at each annual exposition of the Finance Minister's
Budget. These ladies, and the French coxcomb, could at the utmost have
claimed a distinction--such as that which belonged to a particular
Turkish gunner, the captain of a gun at Navarino, viz., that he, by
firing the first shot without orders, did (as a matter of fact) let
loose and unmuzzle the whole of that dreadful iron hurricane from four
nations which instantly followed, but which (be it known to the gunner)
could not have been delayed for fifty minutes longer, whether he had
fired the unauthorized gun or not.

But now, let me speak to the second proposition of my two-headed
thesis, viz., that war _ought_ not to be abolished, if such an
abolition were even possible. _Prima facie_, it seems a dreadful
doctrine to claim a place for war as amongst the evils that are
salutary to man; but conscientiously I hold it to be such. I hold with
Wordsworth, but for reasons which may or may not be the same, since he
has not stated _his_--

'That God's most dreaded instrument,
In working out a pure intent,
Is man--array'd for mutual slaughter:
Yea, Carnage is his daughter.'

I am obliged to hold, that supposing so romantic a condition realized
as the cessation of war, this change, unless other evils were
previously abolished, or neutralized in a way still more romantic to
suppose, would not be for the welfare of human nature, but would tend
to its rapid degradation.

One, in fact, of the earliest aspects under which this moral necessity
for war forces itself upon our notice, is its physical necessity. I
mean to say that one of the earliest reasons why war _ought_ to
exist, is because under any mode of suppressing war, virtually it
_will_ exist. Banish war as now administered, and it will revolve
upon us in a worse shape, that is, in a shape of predatory and ruffian
war, more and more licentious, as it enjoys no privilege or sufferance,
by the supposition, under the national laws. Will the causes of war die
away because war is forbidden? Certainly not; and the only result of
the prohibition would be to throw back the exercise of war from
national into private and mercenary hands; and _that_ is precisely
the retrograde or inverse course of civilization; for, in the natural
order of civilization, war passes from the hands of knights, barons,
insulated cities, into those of the universal community. If, again, it
is attempted to put down this lawless _guerilla_ state by national
forces, then the result will be to have established an interminable
warfare of a mixed character, private and public, civil and foreign,
infesting the frontiers of all states like a fever, and in substitution
for the occasional and intermitting wars of high national police,
administered with the dignified responsibility that belongs to supreme
rank, with the humanity that belongs to conscious power, and with the
diminishing havoc that belongs to increasing skill in the arts of
destruction. Even as to this last feature in warfare, which in the war
of brigands and _condottieri_ would for many reasons instantly
decay, no reader can fail to be aware of the marvels effected by the
forces of inventive science that run along side by side with the
advances of civilization; look back even to the grandest period of the
humane Roman warfare, listen to the noblest and most merciful of all
Roman captains, saying on the day of Pharsalia, (and saying of
necessity,) 'Strike at their faces, cavalry,'--yes, absolutely
directing his own troopers to plough up with their sabres the blooming
faces of the young Roman nobility; and then pass to a modern field of
battle, where all is finished by musquetry and artillery amidst clouds
of smoke, no soldier recognizing his own desolations, or the ghastly
ruin of his own right arm, so that war, by losing all its brutality, is
losing half of its demoralization.

War, so far from ending, because war was forbidden and nationally
renounced, on the contrary would transmigrate into a more fearful
shape. As things are at present, (and, observe, they are always growing
better,) what numbers of noble-minded men, in the persons of our
officers (yes, and often of non-commissioned officers,) do we British,
for example, disperse over battle-fields, that could not dishonor their
glorious uniform by any countenance to an act of cruelty! They are eyes
delegated from the charities of our domestic life, to overlook and curb
the license of war. I remember, in Xenophon, some passage where he
describes a class of Persian gentlemen, who were called the
_ophthalmoi_, or _eyes_ of the king; but for a very different
purpose. These British officers may be called the _opthalmoi_, or
eyes of our Sovereign Lady, that into every corner of the battle carry
their scrutiny, lest any cruelty should be committed on the helpless,
or any advantage taken of a dying enemy. But mark, such officers would
be rare in the irregular troops succeeding to the official armies. And
through this channel, amongst others, war, when cried down by act of
Parliament, and precisely _because_ it was cried down, would
become more perilously effective for the degradation of human nature.
Being itself dishonored, war would become the more effective as an
instrument for the dishonoring of its agents. However, at length, we
will suppose the impossible problem solved--war, we will assume, is at
last put down.

At length there is no more war. Though by the way, let me whisper in
your ear, (supposing you to be a Christian,) this would be a
prelibation drawn prematurely from the cup of millennial happiness;
and, strictly speaking, there is no great homage to religion, even thus
far--in figuring _that_ to be the purchase of man for himself, and
through his own efforts, which is viewed by Scripture as a glory
removed to the infinite and starry distance of a millennium, and as the
_teleutaion epigeinaema_, the last crowning attainment of
Christian truth, no longer _militant_ on earth. Christianity it
is, but Christianity when _triumphant_, and no longer in conflict
with adverse, or thwarting, or limiting influences, which only can be
equal to a revolution so mighty. But all this, for the sake of pursuing
the assumption, let us agree to waive. In reality, there are two
separate stations taken up by the war denouncers. One class hold, that
an influence derived from political economy is quite equal to the
flying leap by which man is to clear this unfathomable gulph of war,
and to land his race for ever on the opposite shore of a self-
sustaining peace. Simply, the contemplation of national debts, (as a
burthen which never would have existed without war,) and a computation
of the waste, havoc, unproductive labor, &c., attached to any single
campaign--these, they imagine, might suffice, _per se_, for the
extinction of war. But the other class cannot go along with a
speculation so infirm. Reasons there are, in the opposite scale,
tempting man into war,--which are far mightier than any motives
addressed to his self-interest. Even straining her energies to the
utmost, they regard all policy of the _purse_ as adequate: anything
short of religion, they are satisfied, must be incommensurate to a
result so vast.

I myself certainly agree with this last class; but upon this arises a
delusion, which I shall have some trouble in making the reader
understand: and of this I am confident-that a majority, perhaps, in
every given amount of readers, will share in the delusion; will part
from me in the persuasion that the error I attempt to expose is no
error at all, but that it is myself who am in the wrong. The delusion
which I challenge as such, respects the very meaning and value of a
sacrifice made to Christianity. What is it? what do we properly mean,
by a concession or a sacrifice made to a spiritual power, such as
Christianity? If a king and his people, impressed by the unchristian
character of war, were to say, in some solemn act--'We, the parties
undersigned, for the reasons stated in the body of this document,
proclaim to all nations, that from and after Midsummer eve of the year
1850, this being the eve of St. John the Baptist, (who was the herald
of Christ,) we will no more prosecute any interest of ours, unless the
one sole interest of national defence, by means of war,--and this
sacrifice we make as a concession and act of homage to Christianity,--
would _that_ vow, I ask, sincerely offered, and steadily observed,
really be a sacrifice made to Christianity? Not at all. A sacrifice,
that was truly such, to a spiritual religion, must be a sacrifice not
verbally (though sincerely) dedicating itself to the religion, but a
sacrifice wrought and accomplished by that religion, through and by its
own spirit. Midsummer eve of 1850 could clearly make no spiritual
change in the king or his people--such they would be on the morning
after St. John's day, as on the morning before it--_i. e._, filled
with all elements (though possibly undeveloped) of strife, feud,
pernicious ambition,

The delusion, therefore, which I charge upon this religious class of
war denouncers is, that whilst they see and recognize this infinite
imperfection of any influence which Christianity yet exercises upon the
world, they nevertheless rely upon that acknowledged shadow for the
accomplishment of what would, in such circumstances, be a real miracle;
they rely upon that shadow, as truly and entirely as if it were already
that substance which, in a vast revolution of ages, it will finally
become. And they rely upon this mockery in _two_ senses; first,
for the _endurance_ of the frail human resolution that would thaw
in an hour before a great outrage, or provocation suited to the nobler
infirmities of man. Secondly, which is the point I mainly aim at,
assuming, for a moment, that the resolution _could_ endure,
amongst all mankind, we are all equally convinced, that an evil so vast
is not likely to be checked or controlled, except by some very
extraordinary power. Well, where _is_ it? Show me that power. I
know of none but Christianity. _There_, undoubtedly, is hope. But,
in order that the hope may become rational, the power must become
practical. And practical it is not in the extent required, until this
Christianity, from being dimly appreciated by a section [Footnote
_What_ section, if you please? I, for my part, do not agree with
those that geographically degrade Christianity as occupying but a
trifle on the area of our earth. Mark this; all Eastern populations
have dwindled upon better acquaintance. Persia that _ought_ to
have, at least, two hundred and fifty millions of people, and
_would_ have them under English government, and once was supposed
to have at least one hundred millions, how many millions has she?
_Eight!_ This was ascertained by Napoleon's emissary in 1808,
General Gardanne. Afghanistan has very little more, though some falsely
count fourteen millions. There go two vast chambers of Mahometanism;
not twenty millions between them. Hindostan may _really_ have one
hundred and twenty millions claimed for her. As to the Burman Empire,
I, nor anybody else knows the truth. But, as to China, I have never for
a moment been moved by those ridiculous estimates of the flowery
people, which our simple countrymen copy. Instead of three hundred and
fifty millions, a third of the human race upon the most exaggerated
estimate, read eighty or one hundred millions at most. Africa, as it
regards religion, counts for a cipher. Europe, America, and the half of
Asia, as to space, are Christian. Consequently, the total _facit_,
as regards Christianity, is not what many amiable infidels make it to
be. My dears, your wish was father to that thought.] of this world,
shall have been the law that overrides the whole. That consummation is
not immeasurably distant. Even now, from considerations connected with
China, with New Zealand, Borneo, Australia, we may say, that already
the fields are white for harvest. But alas! the interval is brief
between Christianity small, and Christianity great, as regards space or
terraqueous importance, compared with that interval which separates
Christianity formally professed, from Christianity thankfully
acknowledged by universal man in beauty and power.

Here, therefore, is one spoke in the wheel for so vast a change as war
dethroned, viz., that you see no cause, though you should travel round
the whole horizon, adequate to so prodigious an effect. What could do
it? Why, Christianity could do it. Aye, true; but man disarms
Christianity. And no mock Christianity, no lip homage to Christianity,
will answer.

But is war, then, to go on for ever? Are we never to improve? Are
nations to conduct their intercourse eternally under the secret
understanding that an unchristian solution of all irreconcileable feuds
stands in the rear as the ultimate appeal? I answer that war, going on
even for ever, may still be for ever amending its modes and its results
upon human happiness; secondly, that we not only are under no fatal
arrest in our process of improvement, but that, as regards war, history
shows how steadily we _have_ been improving; and, thirdly, that
although war may be irreversible as the last resource, this last
resource may constantly be retiring further into the rear. Let us speak
to this last point. War is the last resource only, because other and
more intellectual resources for solving disputes are not available. And
_why_ are they not? Simply, because the knowledge, and the logic,
which ultimately will govern the case, and the very circumstances of
the case itself in its details, as the basis on which this knowledge
and logic are to operate, happen not to have been sufficiently
developed. A code of law is not a spasmodic effort of gigantic talent
in any one man or any one generation; it is a slow growth of accidents
and occasions expanding with civilization; dependent upon time as a
multiform element in its development; and presupposing often a
concurrent growth of _analogous_ cases towards the completion of
its system. For instance, the law which regulates the rights of
shipping, seafaring men, and maritime commerce--how slow was its
development! Before such works as the _Consolato del Mare_ had
been matured, how wide must have been the experience, and how slow its
accumulation! During that long period of infancy for law, how many must
have been the openings for ignorant and unintentional injustice! How
differently, again, will the several parties to any transaction
construe the rights of the case! Discussion, without rules for guiding
it, will but embitter the dispute. And in the absence of all guidance
from the intellect, gradually weaving a _common_ standard of
international appeal, it is clear that nations _must_ fight, and
_ought_ to fight. Not being convinced, it is base to pretend that
you _are_ convinced; and failing to be convinced by your neighbor's
arguments, you confess yourself a poltroon (and moreover you
_invite_ injuries from every neighbor) if you pocket your wrongs.
The only course in such a case is to thump your neighbor, and to thump
him soundly for the present. This treatment is very serviceable to your
neighbor's optics; he sees things in a new light after a sufficient
course of so distressing a regimen. But mark, even in this case, war
has no tendency to propagate war, but tends to the very opposite
result. To thump is as costly, and in other ways as painful, as to
_be_ thumped. The evil to both sides arises in an undeveloped
state of law. If rights were defined by a well considered code growing
out of long experience, each party sees that this scourge of war would
continually tend to limit itself. Consequently the very necessity of
war becomes the strongest invitation to that system of judicial logic
which forms its sole limitation. But all war whatsoever stands in these
circumstances. It follows that all war whatever, unless on the brutal
principle of a Spartan warfare, that made war its own sufficient object
and self-justification, operates as a perpetual bounty offered to men
upon the investigation and final adjudication of those disputed cases
through which war prospers. Hence it is, viz., because the true
boundaries of reciprocal rights are for ever ascertaining themselves
more clearly, that war is growing less frequent. The fields open to
injustice (which originally from pure ignorance are so vast)
continually (through deeper and more expansive surveys by man's
intellect--searching--reflecting--comparing) are narrowing themselves;
narrowing themselves in this sense, that all nations under a common
centre of religious civilization, as Christendom suppose, or Islamism,
would not fight--no, and would not (by the national sense of wrong and
right) be permitted to fight--in a cause _confessedly_ condemned
by equity as now developed. The causes of war that still remain, are
causes on which international law is silent--that large arrear of cases
as yet unsettled; or else they are cases in which though law speaks
with an authentic voice, it speaks in vain, because the circumstances
are doubtful; so that, if the law is fixed as a lamp nailed to a wall,
yet the _incidence_ of the law on the particular circumstances,
becomes as doubtful as the light of the lamp upon objects that are
capriciously moving. We see all this illustrated in a class of cases
that powerfully illustrate the good and the bad in war, the why and the
wherefore, as likewise the why _not_, and therefore I presume the
wherefore _not_; and this class of cases belongs to the _lex
vicinitatis_. In the Roman law this section makes a great figure.
And speaking accurately, it makes a greater in our own. But the reason
why this _law of neighborhood_ seems to fill so much smaller a
section in ours, is because in English law, being _positively_ a
longer section, _negatively_ to the whole compass of our law, it
is less. The Roman law would have paved a road to the moon. And what is
_that_ expressed in time? Let us see: a railway train, worked at
the speed of the Great Western Express, accomplishes easily a thousand
miles in twenty-four hours; consequently in two hundred and forty days
or eight months it would run into the moon with its buffers, and break
up the quarters of that Robinson Crusoe who (and without any Friday) is
the only policeman that parades that little pensive appendage or tender
to our fuming engine of an earth. But the English law--oh frightful
reader, don't even think of such a question as its relation in space
and time to the Roman law. That it would stretch to the fixed stars is
plain, but to which of them,--don't now, dear persecuting reader,
unsettle our brains by asking. Enough it is that both in Roman and
English law the rights of neighborhood are past measuring. Has a man a
right to play the German flute, where the partitions are slender, all
day long in the house adjoining to yours? Or, supposing a beneficent
jury (beneficent to _him_) finds this to be no legal nuisance, has
he a right to play it ill? Or, because juries, when tipsy, will wink at
anything, does the privilege extend to the jew's-harp? to the poker and
tongs? to the marrowbones and cleavers? Or, without ranging through the
whole of the _Spectator's_ culinary music, will the bagpipes be
found within benefit of jury law? _War to the knife_ I say, before
we'll submit to _that_. And if the law won't protect us against
it, then we'll turn rebels.

Now this law of neighborhood, this _lex vicinitatis_, amongst the
Romans, righted itself and settled itself, as amongst ourselves it
continues to do, by means of actions or legal suits. If a man poisons
us with smoke, we compel him by an action to eat his own smoke, or (if
he chooses) to make his chimneys eat it. Here you see is a transmuted
war; in a barbarous state, fire and sword would have avenged this
invasion of smoke; but amongst civilized men, paper bullets in the form
of _Qui tam_ and _Scire facias_, beat off the enemy. And on the same
principle, exactly as the law of international rights clears up its
dark places, war gradually narrows its grounds, and the _jus gentium_
defines itself through national attorneys, _i. e._, diplomatists.

For instance, now I have myself seen a case where a man cultivating a
flower-garden, and distressed for some deliverance from his rubbish of
dead leaves, litter, straw, stones, took the desperate resolution of
projecting the whole upon his neighbor's flower-garden. I, a chance
spectator of the outrage, knew too much of this world to lodge any
protest against it, on the principle of mere abstract justice; so it
would have passed unnoticed, but for the accident that his injured
neighbor unexpectedly raised up his head above the dividing wall, and
reproached the aggressor with his unprincipled conduct. This aggressor,
adding evil to evil, suggested as the natural remedy for his own wrong,
that the sufferer should pass the nuisance onwards to the garden next
beyond him; from which it might be posted forward on the same
principle. The aggrieved man, however, preferred passing it back,
without any discount to the original proprietor. Here now, is a ripe
case, a _causa teterrima_, for war between the parties, and for a
national war had the parties been nations. In fact, the very same
injury, in a more aggravated shape, is perpetrated from time to time by
Jersey upon ourselves, and would, upon a larger scale, right itself by
war. Convicts are costly to maintain; and Jersey, whose national
revenue is limited, being too well aware of this, does us the favor to
land upon the coasts of Hampshire, Dorset, &c., all the criminals whom
she cannot summarily send back to self-support, at each jail-delivery.
'What are we to do in England?' is the natural question propounded by
the injured scoundrels, when taking leave of their Jersey escort.
'Anything you please,' is the answer: 'rise if you can, to be dukes:
only never come back hither; since, dukes or _no_ dukes, to the
rest of Christendom, to _us_ of the Channel Islands you will
always be transported felons.' There is therefore a good right of
action, _i.e._, a good ground of war, against Jersey, on the part
of Great Britain, since, besides the atrocious injury inflicted, this
unprincipled little island has the audacity to regard our England, (all
Europe looking on,) as existing only for the purposes of a sewer or
cess-pool to receive _her_ impurities. Some time back I remember a
Scottish newspaper holding up the case as a newly discovered horror in
the social system. But, in a quiet way Jersey has always been engaged
in this branch of exportation, and rarely fails to 'run' a cargo of
rogues upon our shore, once or so in the season. What amuses one
besides, in this Scottish denunciation of the villany, is, that
Scotland [Footnote: To banish them 'forth of the kingdom,' was the
_euphuismus_; but the reality understood was--to carry the knaves,
like foxes in a bag, to the English soil, and there unbag them for
English use.] of old, pursued the very same mode of jail-delivery as to
knaves that were not thought ripe enough for hanging: she carted them
to the English border, unchained them, and hurried them adrift into the
wilderness, saying--Now, boys, shift for yourselves, and henceforth
plunder none but Englishmen.

What I deduce from all this is, that as the feuds arising between
individuals under the relation of neighbors, are so far from tending to
a hostile result, that, on the contrary, as coming under a rule of law
already ascertained, or furnishing the basis for a new rule, they
gradually tighten the cords which exclude all opening for quarrel; not
otherwise is the result, and therefore the usefulness, of war amongst
nations. All the causes of war, the occasions upon which it is likely
to arise, the true and the ostensible motives, are gradually evolved,
are examined, searched, valued, by publicists; and by such means, in
the further progress of men, a comprehensive law of nations will
finally be accumulated, not such as now passes for international law,
(a worthless code that _has_ no weight in the practice of nations,
nor deserves any,) but one which will exhaust the great body of cases
under which wars have arisen under the Christian era, and gradually
collect a public opinion of Christendom upon the nature of each
particular case. The causes that _have_ existed for war are the
causes that _will_ exist; or, at least, they are the same under
modifications that will simply vary the rule, as our law cases in the
courts are every day circumstantiating the particular statute
concerned. At this stage of advance, and when a true European opinion
has been created, a '_sensus communis_,' or community of feeling
on the main classifications of wars, it will become possible to erect a
real Areopagus, or central congress for all Christendom, not with any
commission to suppress wars,--a policy which would neutralize itself by
reacting as a fresh cause of war, since high-spirited nations would arm
for the purpose of resisting such decrees; but with the purpose and the
effect of oftentimes healing local or momentary animosities, and also
by publishing the opinion of Europe, assembled in council, with the
effect of taking away the shadow of dishonor from the act of retiring
from war. Not to mention that the mere delay, involved in the waiting
for the solemn opinion of congress, would always be friendly to pacific
councils. But _would_ the belligerents wait? That concession might
be secured by general exchange of treaties, in the same way that the
cooperation of so many nations has been secured to the suppression of
the trade in slaves. And one thing is clear, that when all the causes
of war, involving _manifest_ injustice, are banished by the force
of European opinion, focally converged upon the subject, the range of
war will be prodigiously circumscribed. The costliness of war, which,
for various reasons has been continually increasing since the feudal
period, will operate as another limitation upon its field, concurring
powerfully with the public declaration from a council of collective

There is, besides, a distinct and separate cause of war, more fatal to
the possibilities of peace in Europe than open injustice; and this
cause being certainly in the hands of nations to deal with as they
please, there is a tolerable certainty that a congress _sincerely_
pacific would cut it up by the roots. It is a cause noticed by Kant in
his Essay on Perpetual Peace, and with great sagacity, though otherwise
that little work is not free from visionary self-delusions: and this
cause lies in the diplomacy of Europe. Treaties of peace are so
constructed, as almost always to sow the seeds of future wars. This
seems to the inexperienced reader a matter of carelessness or laxity in
the choice of expression; and sometimes it may have been so; but more
often it has been done under the secret dictation of powerful courts--
making peaces only as truces, anxious only for time to nurse their
energies, and to keep open some plausible call for war. This is not
only amongst the most extensive causes of war, but the very worst:
because it gives a colorable air of justice, and almost of necessity to
a war, which is, in fact, the most outrageously unjust, as being
derived from a pretext silently prepared in former years, with mere
subtlety of malice: it is a war growing out of occasions, forged
beforehand, lest no occasions should spontaneously arise. Now, this
cause of war could and would be healed by a congress, and through an
easy reform in European diplomacy.[Footnote: One great _nidus_ of
this insidious preparation for war under the very masque of peace,
which Kant, from brevity, has failed to particularize, lies in the
neglecting to make any provision for cases that are likely enough to
arise. A, B, C, D, are all equally possible, but the treaty provides a
specific course of action only for A, suppose. Then upon B or C
arising, the high contracting parties, though desperately and equally
pacific, find themselves committed to war actually by a treaty of
lasting peace. Their pacific majesties sigh, and say--Alas! that it
should be so, but really fight we must, for what says the treaty?]

It is the strongest confirmation of the power inherent in growing
civilization, to amend war, and to narrow the field of war, if we look
back for the records of the changes in this direction which have
already arisen in generations before our own.

The most careless reviewer of history can hardly fail to read a rude
outline of progress made by men in the rights, and consequently in the
duties of war through the last twenty-five centuries. It is a happy
circumstance for man--that oftentimes he is led by pure selfishness
into reforms, the very same as high principle would have prompted; and
in the next stage of his advance, when once habituated to an improved
code of usages, he begins to find a gratification to his sensibilities,
(partly luxurious sensibilities, but partly moral,) in what originally
had been a mere movement of self-interest. Then comes a third stage, in
which having thoroughly reconciled himself to a better order of things,
and made it even necessary to his own comfort, at length he begins in
his reflecting moments to perceive a moral beauty and a fitness in
arrangements that had emanated from accidents of convenience, so that
finally he generates a sublime pleasure of conscientiousness out of
that which originally commenced in the meanest forms of mercenary
convenience. A Roman lady of rank, out of mere voluptuous regard to her
own comfort, revolted from the harsh clamors of eternal chastisements
inflicted on her numerous slaves; she forbade them; the grateful slaves
showed their love for her; gradually and unintentionally she trained
her feelings, when thus liberated from a continual temptation to the
sympathies with cruelty, into a demand for gentler and purer
excitement. Her purpose had been one of luxury; but, by the benignity
of nature still watching for ennobling opportunities, the actual result
was a development given to the higher capacities of her heart. In the
same way, when the brutal right (and in many circumstances the brutal
duty) of inflicting death upon prisoners taken in battle, had exchanged
itself for the profits of ransom or slavery, this relaxation of
ferocity (though commencing in selfishness) gradually exalted itself
into a habit of mildness, and some dim perception of a sanctity in
human life. The very vice of avarice ministered to the purification of
barbarism; and the very evil of slavery in its earliest form was
applied to the mitigation of another evil--war conducted in the spirit
of piratical outrage. The commercial instincts of men having worked one
set of changes in war, a second set of changes was prompted by
instincts derived from the arts of ornament and pomp. Splendor of arms,
of banners, of equipages, of ceremonies, and the elaborate forms of
intercourse with enemies through conferences, armistices, treaties of
peace, &c., having tamed the savagery of war into connection with modes
of intellectual grandeur, and with the endless restraints of
superstition or scrupulous religion,--a permanent light of civilization
began to steal over the bloody shambles of buccaneering warfare. Other
modes of harmonizing influences arose more directly from the bosom of
war itself. Gradually the mere practice of war, and the culture of war
though merely viewed as a rude trade of bloodshed, ripened into an
intellectual art. Were it merely with a view to more effectual carnage,
this art (however simple and gross at first) opened at length into wide
scientific arts, into strategies, into tactics, into castrametation,
into poliorcetics, and all the processes through which the first rude
efforts of martial cunning finally connect themselves with the
exquisite resources of science. War, being a game in which each side
forces the other into the instant adoption of all improvements through
the mere necessities of self-preservation, became continually more

It is interesting to observe the steps by which, were it only through
impulses of self-conservation, and when searching with a view to more
effectual destructiveness, war did and must refine itself from a horrid
trade of butchery into a magnificent and enlightened science. Starting
from no higher impulse or question than how to cut throats most
rapidly, most safely, and on the largest scale, it has issued even at
our own stage of advance into a science, magnificent, oftentimes
ennobling, and cleansed from all horrors except those which (not being
within man's power utterly to divorce from it) no longer stand out as
reproaches to his humanity.

Meantime a more circumstantial review of war, in relation to its
motives and the causes assigned for its justification, would expose a
series of changes greater perhaps than the reader is aware of. Such a
review, which would too much lengthen a single paper, may or may not
form the subject of a second. And I will content myself with saying, as
a closing remark, that this review will detect a principle of steady
advance in the purification and elevation of war--such as must offer
hope to those who believe in the possibility of its absolute
extermination, and must offer consolation to those who (like myself)
deny it.


I take it for granted that every person of education will acknowledge
some interest in the personal history of Immanuel Kant. A great man,
though in an unpopular path, must always be an object of liberal
curiosity. To suppose a reader thoroughly indifferent to Kant, is to
suppose him thoroughly unintellectual; and, therefore, though in
reality he should happen _not_ to regard him with interest, it is
one of the fictions of courtesy to presume that he does. On this
principle I make no apology to the reader for detaining him upon a
short sketch of Kant's life and domestic habits, drawn from the
authentic records of his friends and pupils. It is true, that, without
any illiberality on the part of the public in this country, the
_works_ of Kant are not regarded with the same interest which has
gathered about his _name_; and this may be attributed to three
causes--first, to the language in which they are written; secondly, to
the supposed obscurity of the philosophy which they teach, whether
intrinsic or due to Kant's particular mode of expounding it; thirdly,
to the unpopularity of all speculative philosophy, no matter how
treated, in a country where the structure and tendency of society
impress upon the whole activities of the nation a direction exclusively
practical. But, whatever may be the immediate fortunes of his writings,
no man of enlightened curiosity will regard the author himself without
something of a profounder interest. Measured by one test of power,
viz., by the number of books written directly for or against himself,
to say nothing of those which he has indirectly modified, there is no
philosophic writer whatsoever, if we except Aristotle, who can pretend
to approach Kant in the extent of the influence which he has exercised
over the minds of men. Such being his claims upon our notice, I repeat
that it is no more than a reasonable act of respect to the reader--to
presume in him so much interest about Kant as will justify a sketch of
his life.

Immanuel Kant, [Footnote: By the paternal side, the family of Kant was
of Scotch derivation; and hence it is that the name was written by Kant
the father--_Cant_, that being a Scotch name, and still to be found
in Scotland. But Immanuel, though he always cherished his Scotch
descent, substituted a _K_ for a _C_, in order to adapt it better
to the analogies of the German language.] the second of six
children, was born at Königsberg, in Prussia, a city at that time
containing about fifty thousand inhabitants, on the 22d of April, 1724.
His parents were people of humble rank, and not rich even for their own
station, but able (with some assistance from a near relative, and a
trifle in addition from a gentleman, who esteemed them for their piety
and domestic virtues,) to give their son Immanuel a liberal education.
He was sent when a child to a charity school; and, in the year 1732,
removed to the Royal (or Frederician) Academy. Here he studied the
Greek and Latin classics, and formed an intimacy with one of his
schoolfellows, David Ruhnken, (afterwards so well known to scholars
under his Latin name of Ruhn-kenius,) which lasted until the death of
the latter. In 1737, Kant lost his mother, a woman of excellent
character, and of accomplishments and knowledge beyond her rank, who
contributed to the future eminence of her illustrious son by the
direction which she gave to his youthful thoughts, and by the elevated
morals to which she trained him. Kant never spoke of her to the end of
his life without the utmost tenderness, and acknowledgment of his great
obligations to her maternal care. In 1740, at Michćlmas, he entered the
University of Königsberg. In 1746, when about twenty-two years old, he
printed his first work, upon a question partly mathematical and partly
philosophic, viz., the valuation of living forces. The question had
been first moved by Leibnitz, in opposition to the Cartesians, and was
here finally settled, after having occupied most of the great
mathematicians of Europe for more than half a century. It was dedicated
to the King of Prussia, but never reached him--having, in fact, never
been published. [Footnote: To this circumstance we must attribute its
being so little known amongst the philosophers and mathematicians of
foreign countries, and also the fact that D'Alembert, whose philosophy
was miserably below his mathematics, many years afterwards still
continued to represent the dispute as a verbal one.] From this time
until 1770, he supported himself as a private tutor in different
families, or by giving private lectures in Königsberg, especially to
military men on the art of fortification. In 1770, he was appointed to
the Chair of Mathematics, which he exchanged soon after for that of
Logic and Metaphysics. On this occasion, he delivered an inaugural
disputation--[_De Mundi Sensibilis atque Intelligibilis Forma et
Principiis_]--which is remarkable for containing the first germs of
the Transcendental Philosophy. In 1781, he published his great work,
the _Critik der Reinen Vernunft,_ or _Investigation of the Pure
Reason_. On February 12, 1804, he died.

These are the great epochs of Kant's life. But his was a life
remarkable not so much for its incidents, as for the purity and
philosophic dignity of its daily tenor; and of this the best impression
will be obtained from Wasianski's account of his last years, checked
and supported by the collateral testimonies of Jachmann, Rink,
Borowski, and other biographers. We see him here struggling with the
misery of decaying faculties, and with the pain, depression, and
agitation of two different complaints, one affecting his stomach, and
the other his head; over all which the benignity and nobility of his
mind are seen victoriously eminent to the last. The principal defect of
this and all other memoirs of Kant is, that they report too little of
his conversation and opinions. And perhaps the reader will be disposed
to complain, that some of the notices are too minute and
circumstantial, so as to be at one time undignified, and at another
unfeeling. As to the first objection, it may be answered, that
biographical gossip of this sort, and ungentlemanly scrutiny into a
man's private life, though not what a man of honor would choose to
write, may be read without blame; and, where a great man is the
subject, sometimes with advantage. With respect to the other objection,
I know not how to excuse Mr. Wasianski for kneeling at the bed-side of
his dying friend, to record, with the accuracy of a short-hand
reporter, the last flutter of his pulse and the struggles of expiring
nature, except by supposing that the idea of Kant, as a person
belonging to all ages, in his mind transcended and extinguished the
ordinary restraints of human sensibility, and that, under this
impression, he gave _that_ to his sense of a public duty which, it
may be hoped, he would willingly have declined on the impulse of his
private affections.

_The following paper on The Last Days of Kant, is gathered from the
German of Wasianski, Jachmann, Borowski, and others._

My knowledge of Professor Kant began long before the period to which
this little memorial of him chiefly refers. In the year 1773, or 1774,
I cannot exactly remember which, I attended his lectures. Afterwards, I
acted as his amanuensis; and in that office was naturally brought into
a closer connection with him than any other of his pupils; so that,
without any request on my part, he granted me a general privilege of
free admission to his class-room. In 1780 I took orders, and withdrew
myself from all connection with the university. I still continued,
however, to reside in Königsberg; but wholly forgotten, or wholly
unnoticed at least, by Kant. Ten years afterwards, (that is to say, in
1790,) I met him by accident at a party given on occasion of the
marriage of one of the professors. At table, Kant distributed his
conversation and attentions pretty generally; but after the
entertainment, when the company broke up into parties, he came and
seated himself very obligingly by my side. I was at that time a
florist--an amateur, I mean, from the passion I had for flowers; upon
learning which, he talked of my favorite pursuit, and with very
extensive information. In the course of our conversation, I was
surprised to find that he was perfectly acquainted with all the
circumstances of my situation. He reminded me of our previous
connection; expressed his satisfaction at finding that I was happy; and
was so good as to desire that, if my engagements allowed me, I would
now and then come and dine with him. Soon after this, he rose to take
his leave; and, as our road lay the same way, he proposed to me that I
should accompany him home. I did so, and received an invitation for the
next week, with a general invitation for every week after, and
permission to name my own day. At first I was unable to explain the
distinction with which Kant had treated me; and I conjectured that some
obliging friend had spoken of me in his hearing, somewhat more
advantageously than I could pretend to deserve; but more intimate
experience has convinced me that he was in the habit of making
continual inquiries after the welfare of his former pupils, and was
heartily rejoiced to hear of their prosperity. So that it appeared I
was wrong in thinking he had forgotten me.

This revival of my intimacy with Professor Kant, coincided pretty
nearly, in point of time, with a complete change in his domestic
arrangements. Up to this period it had been his custom to eat at a
_table d'hôte_. But he now began to keep house himself, and every
day invited two friends to dine with him, and upon any little festival
from five to eight; for he was a punctual observer of Lord
Chesterfield's rule--that his dinner party, himself included, should
not fall below the number of the Graces--nor exceed that of the Muses.
In the whole economy of his household arrangements, and especially of
his dinner parties, there was something peculiar and amusingly opposed
to the usual conventional restraints of society; not, however, that
there was any neglect of decorum, such as sometimes occurs in houses
where there are no ladies to impress a better tone upon the manners.
The invariable routine was this: The moment that dinner was ready,
Lampe, the professor's old footman, stepped into the study with a
certain measured air, and announced it. This summons was obeyed at the
pace of double quick time--Kant talking all the way to the eating-room
about the state of the weather [Footnote: His reason for which was,
that he considered the weather one of the principal forces which act
upon the health; and his own frame was exquisitely sensible to all
atmospheric influences.]--a subject which he usually pursued during the
earlier part of the dinner. Graver themes, such as the political events
of the day, were never introduced before dinner, or at all in his
study. The moment that Kant had taken his seat, and unfolded his
napkin, he opened the business of dinner with a particular formula--
'_Now, then, gentlemen!_' and the tone and air with which he
uttered these words, proclaimed, in a way which nobody could mistake,
relaxation from the toils of the morning, and determinate abandonment
of himself to social enjoyment. The table was hospitably spread; three
dishes, wine, &c., with a small second course, composed the dinner.
Every person helped himself; and all delays of ceremony were so
disagreeable to Kant, that he seldom failed to express his displeasure
with anything of that sort, though not angrily. He was displeased also
if people ate little; and treated it as affectation. The first man to
help himself was in his eyes the politest guest; for so much the sooner
came his own turn. For this hatred of delay, Kant had a special excuse,
having always worked hard from an early hour in the morning, and eaten
nothing until dinner. Hence it was, that in the latter period of his
life, though less perhaps from actual hunger than from some uneasy
sensation of habit or periodical irritation of stomach, he could hardly
wait with patience for the arrival of the last person invited.

There was no friend of Kant's but considered the day on which he was to
dine with him as a day of pleasure. Without giving himself the air of
an instructor, Kant really was so in the very highest degree. The whole
entertainment was seasoned with the overflow of his enlightened mind,
poured out naturally and unaffectedly upon every topic, as the chances
of conversation suggested it; and the time flew rapidly away, from one
o'clock to four, five, or even later, profitably and delightfully. Kant
tolerated no _calms_, which was the name he gave to the momentary
pauses in conversation, or periods when its animation languished. Some
means or other he always devised for restoring its tone of interest, in
which he was much assisted by the tact with which he drew from every
guest his peculiar tastes, or the particular direction of his pursuits;
and on these, be they what they might, he was never unprepared to speak
with knowledge, and the interest of an original observer. The local
affairs of Königsberg must have been interesting indeed, before they
could be allowed to occupy the attention at _his_ table. And, what
may seem still more singular, it was rarely or never that he directed
the conversation to any branch of the philosophy founded by himself.
Indeed he was perfectly free from the fault which besets so many
_savans_ and _literati_, of intolerance towards those whose
pursuits had disqualified them for any particular sympathy with his
own. His style of conversation was popular in the highest degree, and
unscholastic; so much so, that any stranger who should have studied his
works, and been unacquainted with his person, would have found it
difficult to believe, that in this delightful companion he saw the
profound author of the Transcendental Philosophy.

The subjects of conversation at Kant's table were drawn chiefly from
natural philosophy, chemistry, meteorology, natural history, and above
all, from politics. The news of the day, as reported in the public
journals, was discussed with a peculiar vigilance of examination. With
regard to any narrative that wanted dates of time and place, however
otherwise plausible, he was uniformly an inexorable sceptic, and held
it unworthy of repetition. So keen was his penetration into the
interior of political events, and the secret policy under which they
moved, that he talked rather with the authority of a diplomatic person
who had access to cabinet intelligence, than as a simple spectator of
the great scenes which were unfolding in Europe. At the time of the
French Revolution, he threw out many conjectures, and what were then
accounted paradoxical anticipations, especially in regard to military
operations, which were as punctually fulfilled as his own memorable
conjecture in regard to the hiatus in the planetary system between Mars
and Jupiter,[Footnote: To which the author should have added--and in
regard to the hiatus between the planetary and cometary systems, which
was pointed out by Kant several years before his conjecture was
established by the good telescope of Dr. Herschel. Vesta and Juno,
further confirmations of Kant's conjecture, were discovered in June
1804, when Wasianski wrote.] the entire confirmation of which he lived
to witness on the discovery of Ceres by Piazzi, in Palermo, and of
Pallas, by Dr. Olbers, at Bremen. These two discoveries, by the way,
impressed him much; and they furnished a topic on which he always
talked with pleasure; though, according to his usual modesty, he never
said a word of his own sagacity in having upon _ŕ priori_ grounds
shown the probability of such discoveries many years before.

It was not only in the character of a companion that Kant shone, but
also as a most courteous and liberal host, who had no greater pleasure
than in seeing his guests happy and jovial, and rising with exhilarated
spirits from the mixed pleasures--intellectual and liberally sensual--
of his Platonic banquets. Chiefly, perhaps, with a view to the
sustaining of this tone of genial hilarity, he showed himself somewhat
of an artist in the composition of his dinner parties. Two rules there
were which he obviously observed, and I may say invariably: the first
was, that the company should be miscellaneous; this for the sake of


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