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These two impressions made upon two different minds, at the beginning and end of his professional career, give a better idea than anything we could say, however elaborate, of the man and the professor. The utterance of such moral emotions, however eloquent, is not moral science. It is merely the lightning of the mind, playing among the branches of the science, which leaves its roots, its organic structure, and its vital principle, precisely where it found them.
We now take a reluctant leave of Lady Gordon's Memoir of her father. It is well-written,- uncommonly well-written for a first effort. Yet, in all the earlier portions of the work, there is a certain stiffness and conventionality of style, which is not pleasing. We do not feel that the eulogium of the American editor is fully deserved. We do not think it can be classed with the master-biographies of English literature. There is no feeling, especially in the earlier parts of the book, of any thorough mastery of the subject. The facts are presented in too bald a manner; and the arrangement is somewhat faulty. The same matter, better arranged and systematized, might have been easily compressed within two-thirds of the space, and, at the same time, have been presented in a form more easily retained in the memory. Besides occasional letters, which could not have been spared, the greater part of which are to his wife and daughters, and throw much light upon his domestic life and character, there are about 126 pages devoted exclusively to correspondence. Many of these letters are of an utterly trivial character, throwing no light upon characters or the times; others of much literary interest, are from his distinguished contemporaries, but perfectly irrelevant. After these comes the only genuine biography of the book. The delineation of his early life is full, accurate, and honest, but the breath of life has never been breathed into it. But when we come to the picture of the old man, with his majestic frame shattered and brought low, while his mind was yet bright and clear, even the old zest for boyish sports in full vigor, the old scorn of all that was unmanly and mean strong as in his youth, then we see the man, and we believe in him. Before he was only a myth. It is natural that his daughter, in these latter years of his life, when she was old
enough to know and appreciate him, should, into her picture of him, throw a life and a power which she could not give to her ideal of his youth and early manhood.
Mrs. Gordon is evidently a truthful writer. We have seldom seen such honesty of purpose in a biographer, and yet in spite of her steady resolve to tell only the truth, her filial love has made her take a view of her father, which is not perhaps the truest one.
It is almost impossible for the human mind entirely to dispossess itself of the idea that the object around which its dearest affections, most genuine admiration, and almost worship, cluster, is not, in some sense, the centre of the universe. That, of course, is a strong form of expression, and yet it symbolizes a truth. She can not see clearly that in some cases he was wrong. We believe she never excuses him for any thing she sees to be so, but not seeing things as they are, is a subtle form of untruthfulness; though, in this case, far from discreditable to her goodness of heart. We believe John Wilson was too noble a man to desire that his errors should be smoothed over, or apologised for. The truth, after all, is the best thing,— not only truth in speaking, but also truth in seeing. Biography ceases to be the most intolerable reading in the world only when the truth, from any cause, is spoken. Boswell, who, in his sheer opacity and conceit, has written a biography which has yet to be displaced from its seat of high honor in that class of literature, and Irving, who, with his artistic eye and profound study of the subject, forgot to be a partizan, are marked instances. Who has not had that unutterable horror forced upon him, a religious biography from which all that was not considered the right thing has been carefully expunged, and, with it, all the life of the man? Surely the life of a good man should be more interesting than that of a bad one; and it would be so, we believe, if the whole truth were only told. There is no pleasure in following the mystery of crime like the glow of delight, and the exaltation of the moral sense, which a grand sentiment, or a noble, pure, disinterested action, can inspire. There is something wonderfully self-asserting in truth, as well as a something wonderfully beautiful in the character which is, at all times, rendered perfectly transparent by its fearless presence. If our instincts
were only pure and uncallous, we should never hesitate, we believe, between the true and the false; the very atmosphere surrounding each being, in such case, amply sufficient to reveal its real nature. Hence the sublime beatitude, Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God'; having their eyes opened by the natural affinities, by the mutual sweet attractions, between truth and goodness. It was indeed the presence of truth, — not of perfect and full-orbed but only of fragmentary and refracted truth, - which gave so wonderful a charm to the manhood of John Wilson.
ART. V.-1. Lexicon Comparativum Linquavum Indogerma
nicarum. Von. L. Diefenbach, Frankfurt. 1846-51. 2. Garnett's Linguistic Essays. The Philological Essays of the
late Rev. Richard Garnett. Edited, with a Memoir, by his
Son. London: 1859. 3. Charakteristik der Hauptsächlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues.
Von H. Steinthal. Berlin: 1860. 4. Hebräisches und Chaldäisches Handwörterbuch über das alte
Testament. Von J. Fürst. Leipzig: 1852–60. 5. Deutsche Grammatik. Von. J. Grimm. Göttingen: 1822–40.
Of the works, whose titles we have placed at the head of this article, and which have been several years before the public, we do not purpose now to undertake any criticism ; we wish rather to offer to our readers certain reflections on the study of the Sanskrit language, which have been naturally suggested by their examination. Though it has now been eighty-four years since the foundation of the Asiatic Society at Calcutta, the Sanskrit has forced itself to a very small extent into the curricula of the universi
ties and colleges of the world. In England, where it was first made the subject of scientific investigation, the interest in it has always been largely commercial. The East India Company has established professorships in the colleges in which its cadets are trained for service abroad, and where they are expected to prepare themselves to hold communication with the natives, learned and unlearned, but where it is not regarded as of special importance that they should make themselves acquainted with the literature as such, or enter into the general questions of grammar which the Sanskrit suggests. Besides these, there is the Boden professorship at Oxford, where Mr. Monier Williams has labored faithfully, and has published a grammar. Professor Max Müller, a German by birth, and a scholar of acknowledged merit, has given to the world, besides a grammar, editions of the Hitopadesa and the Rig-Veda, but his lectures have for the most part had reference to the science of language, which supposes, but does not give, a knowledge of Sanskrit. In India, Messrs. Hall, Cowell, and others, have trodden worthily in the footsteps of their predecessors, Colebrooke, Carey, Wilkins, Forster, and Wilson.
In Germany, provision is made in nearly all the universities for the study of Sanskrit ; but the number of students is small, averaging in one prominent institution, per Semester, about twenty-five out of three thousand; and Doctorates, which include Sanskrit, are rare. At Paris, M. Oppert has earned a good reputation by his labors; but we are unable to say what opportunity he has had of giving instruction. So at St. Petersburg, where Boehtlingk has received hearty support from the Imperial Government, especially in bringing out the great dictionary which he has undertaken in conjunction with Roth and others. In America, there is one chair, (at Yale, filled ably by Mr. Whitney), and the attendance is small. In the entire South, there is not an institution that offers any opportunity for the acquisition of Sanskrit.
It is not difficult to discover the reason of this neglect. In any country and age old enough to have an intellectual history, two tendencies or systems of education will be found, the traditional and the practical; the one received from the past, the
other called forth by the needs of the present. And these two are one as to their origin, for the traditional of one period is the practical of the preceding. So with us. The study of the classics is an heirloom, made sacred by the lapse of time, certainly of the highest value, but retained and defended by many persons whose real ground for its maintenance is, that it comes to them from the fathers. Originally, it was purely practical. In the Middle Ages, Latin was a necessity, as being the repository of religious and secular learning. The fifteenth century introduced to Europe, with Greek, the finest poetry and best history and philosophy of the world. The prime consideration was, not that these languages afforded mental gymnasia, but that they furnished the only intellectual nourishment of the times. Men studied and read Greek and Latin as we read English and German; they were the vernacular of the learned world. It was a practical need which was felt, and not a scientific, philological, or educational enthusiasm. The study of the classics thus became necessarily the A B C of the schools, and firmly fixed in the routine of instruction. After the pressing need for material had passed away, it being supplied by modern writers, it was discovered that the study of the dead languages offered the best means for the development of the mind, and it was accordingly constituted the mental gymnasium. And very naturally, the study thus established, with all the machinery of the university system, there sprang up a race of scholars and professors in whom the simply scientific spirit showed itself. This, then, is the present status of classical study; a traditional reverence, and a simple, scientific interest, both coming directly from an original striving after a practical benefit.
In our own time, the same practicalness leads to somewhat different results. The public, which teachers are expected to reach, is of a different character. Petrarch and Boccaccio disentombed the monuments of Roman Literature for a select few; and it was as a rule to the limited number who intended to devote themselves to learning, that Leontius Pilatus and Johannes Argyropulas, and the colleagues, delivered their lectures ; though some, like Manuel Chrysoloras, may have gathered round them disciples of every rank and age. This was the case also with