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t inquiries chiefly to a determination of the life and force which manifes themselves in the world, considering all beings and all phenomena as the effects of contraction and dilatation, as the various forms of one single element endowed naturally with the properties of life, and even of reason. On the other hand, Anaximander, Archelaüs, and, to a certain extent, Anaxagoras, adopting a kind of mechanical theory, endeavoured to explain all the phenomena in the universe, and the universe itself, by the reunion, separation, and various combinations of material elements, infinite in number, and set in motion either spontaneously or by the impulse of an external agent.

The Italic school, founded by Pythagoras, existed contemporaneously with the one we have just been describing ; its principles may be stated briefly as follows:-Numbers are the essence of things, and unity is the essence of numbers ; in other words, reason, as it manifests itself in nature through the laws of proportion and of harmony, is the real foundation of all things, and its seat is an indivisible principle closely connected with the universe, and forming an essential part of it. To this principle the Pythagoreans have given the name of the one per se, or the first one, because it is the infinite source of all beings, just as the monad, or second unity, is the source of numbers. It will be seen that, considered from this point of view, all the ideas of Pythagoras and his school assume a mathematical shape ; thus, whilst the monad is the source of what is finite and determinate, the intelligible form; matter receives the name of dyad, on account of its undetermined divisibility; thus, again, the general aspects under which the universe presents itself to us are ten in number, because the decad is the most perfect of all numbers; for the same reason, there must be ten celestial circles revolving round a common centre; the soul is an automotive number, virtue is harmony, etc., etc.; finally, in the system of Pythagoras, the principles of metaphysics and the rules of morality, as well as the laws and phenomena of nature, are assimilated to numbers, proportions, and geometrical figures. But, besides this essentially mathematical character, the Italic school had, through its organization and its ascetic practices, an appearance of mysticism which gave it the nature of a religious sect, and Pythagoras came to be regarded less as a teacher than as one of those inspired divines or theologians who were considered to occupy an intermediate place between gods and men.

We must now say a few words about the Eleatic philosophers, who devoted their attention to metaphysical principles, to the notions of being and substance. The founder of that school, Xenophanes of Colophon, and its most illustrious representatives, Parmenides and Zeno, were perfectly acquainted with the theories brought forward both by the Ionian and the Italian sages; and, whilst endeavouring to establish their own doctrines, they attacked those of their predecessors. Hence the introduction of dialectics as a necessary element in the study of philosophy ; and it is from this point of view that the Eleatic thinkers deserve our gratitude, rather than on account of the intrinsic merits of their prin. ciples, which form merely a system of Pantheism.

Passing over the atomistic philosophers and the sophists, we arrive at the reform, or rather revolution, introduced by Socrates, who, acting on

the principle that "the proper study of mankind is man,” led the way through paths which the greatest men of all ages have trodden since. The octavos we are now reviewing stop at this point in the history of Greek wisdom, and they give the writings only of the thinkers belonging to the pre-Socratic times. Empedocles, Archytas, Hierocles, the

seven sages” have supplied the materials for the first volume; all the resources of improved criticism being employed in illustrating these curious, and often deeply interesting, fragments. Amongst the authors whose remains are here preserved, Heraclitus must be looked upon as one of the most remarkable ; because he extended to a considerable degree the researches of the Ionian school, and especially made ethics one of the subjects of his investigations. The work of Heraclitus, entitled, “Of Nature," was written in prose, contrary to the custom of the ancient sages, and the obscurity of its style procured for its author the sobriquet of “the dark philosopher.” Diogenes Laertius informs us that it was divided into three parts, treating respectively of the physical universe, politics, and theology. Sextus Empiricus says distinctly that persons repeatedly asked whether Heraclitus was not a moralist quite as much as a natural philosopher.

Dr. Mullach has given in the second volume an interesting prefatory essay on the Sophists. Plato, he remarks, wrote at much length on Gorgias, Critias, Protagoras, and the other distinguished representatives of that school; and yet it may safely be asserted that no branch of Greek philosophy is at the present time still wrapped up in so much darkness ; for, whilst the favourite disciple of Socrates inveighs strongly against the erroneous views and dangerous doctrines held by men who regarded themselves as the most competent teachers of their day, in the description of their persons, and the appreciation of their theories, he employs a freedom of abuse which would be unwarrantable even on the part of a comic writer. Xenophon is not a much safer guide to a fair knowledge of the Sophists; and all later historians, up to the present time, have been satisfied with repeating the statements contained in the Platonic Dialogues and in the Memorabilia. Dr. Mullach examines the Sophists successively from the standpoint of eloquence, and from that of theology; he shows, in the first place, the important position occupied in the history of Greek civilization by the art of speaking, and he demonstrates that the vir...dicendi peritus was essentially the Athenian. The Sophists very justly claim the honour of having carried to its highest pitch the rhetorician's craft, both by their example, and by their teaching, and amongst them the chief rank must be assigned to Protagoras.

The question of theology and religion is a far more delicate one; we cannot much wonder at Xenophanes expressing his thorough contempt for deities whom the poets, such as Homer and Hesiod, represent as guilty of crimes which would be severely punished if committed by ordi. nary mortals.

“If lions or oxen," says he,“ could paint just as men do, they would, no doubt, portray their deities under the features of perfect lions and faultless oxen. Such has been the system adopted by men." Heraclitus contended that the whole universe is permeated by the deity; Democritus, on the contrary, maintained that the Homeric and Hesiodic gods were simply allegories: thus Jove meant the air; Pallas stood for wisdom, etc., etc. At the time of the Peloponnesian war there was scarcely a man of any pretensions to intellectual culture who did not repudiate the entire system of popular mythology, as a mere device of wise men, made with the view of keeping the wicked in check, and overawing by religion those whom no other argument could touch. The Sophists, says Dr. Mullach, were the first who expressly taught the doctrines of Atheism ; Protagoras, Prodicus, Critias being the most conspicuous amongst them: the last-named philosopher, in his tragedy of " Sisyphus," asserted that the prosperous state of the wicked and the unblushing success of crime proved beyond a doubt the non-existence of the Deity. If we compare Æschylus and Sophocles, on the one hand, with Euripides on the other, we shall see at once the difference which exists between poets whose writings were penned under the influence of a religious spirit, and one who aimed at being essentially and distinctly a philosopher. The same remark applies to the three historians, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon: the first was a religious writer; the second, & politician; the third, a moralist. Thus it was that the pernicious influence of the Sophists extended over the whole range of Greek literature. As our author observes, far from correcting the vices of men, they did their best to make every virtuous person ashamed of being better than those around him; whoever pretended to surpass his contemporaries in his knowledge of things human and Divine, was turned into ridicule. Aristophanes directed the withering shafts of his satire against the whole band of philosophers, whether naturalists or moralists ; and if Socrates himself became the victim of these attacks, it was not on account of his being the adversary of the Sophists, but because he stood out from the multitude as a philosopher. Not only does philosophy cut at the root of all religion, it also destroys good faith and justice, without which no state can possibly exist: thus thought Aristophanes, and from this idea we must estimate the character of his comedies. About the time of the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians had sunk to the lowest depth of corruption, precisely because they had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, and replaced it by the teaching of the Sophists ; rationalism had borne its fruits, and the severe demnation pronounced by Plato against the doctrines of Protagoras, Gorgias, and the other thinkers belonging to the same school, is amply justified.

The fragments of the works composed by the Sophists are few in number, and are duly inserted in Dr. Mullach's edition; the school of Pythagoras supplies a much larger series of interesting debris, and it is deeply to be regretted that even these should be of so disjointed a character. The bulk of these excerpts is taken from Stobæus, a Greek scholar of the fifth century, author of a Florilegium which is undoubtedly one of the most useful compilations ever made, giving us extracts from above five hundred Greek writers in every branch of literature, the greater part of whose works has perished. The Cynics come next; and the second volume ends with the remains of the Cyrenaic school of philosophers.

It is extremely curious to study this collection of ancient wisdom, and. to note the glimmerings of truth which light it up. The higher we go

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back in the history of the world, the clearer the notions we find about our relations with God, and about our position here below. Sophocles and Æschylus had an appreciation of the origin and fall of man, of sin and of retribution, much sounder and deeper than Euripides; Pythagoras was far wiser than Gorgias ; and Plato knew about the mysteries of Divine things considerably more than Aristotle; but, as we said at the beginning of this paper, the whole history of ancient philosophy is nothing else except a record of failures made in search of a solution to the great problems of life, and after examining and weighing the theories of the Ionian, Italian, Eleatic, Atomistic, Cynic, Cyrenaïc, and other philosophers, we might well wring our hands under the influence of despair, and exclaim, with Pilate, “ What is truth ?"

G. M.

GLANCE AT PUBLIC OCCURRENCES.

THE SUEZ CANAL PURCHASE.

taken as presaging some change of The purchase by the British Go- the traditional policy of England in vernment of the shares held by the relation to the Ottoman Porte. In Khedive in the Suez Canal has Russia it was denounced by the excited great and general surprise. semi-official press as the unfair Usually “coming events cast their trick of an aggressive ambition. In shadows before ;" but in this case Germany public opinion was conthere were no premonitory indica- siderably bewildered; but upon the tions of what is now an accom- whole there was satisfaction that plished fact. Neither English poli- the acquisition was made by a ticians nor European diplomatists friendly power, and not by France, appear to have anticipated the the“ natural enemy" of the Fatherunexpected coup. In this country land. And in France itself the news the surprise has been of the pleasing was very variously received. M. de kind. Indeed there was something Lesseps, the great engineer to whose like a hurried and simultaneous genius the Canal owes its existence, approval of the act, as if the national and who is Chairman of the Cominstinct had perceived at the first pany whose commercial property it sound of the news that the national is, was gratified and flattered at the interests would be promoted thereby. recognition thus given to the importThe unanimity was somewhat won. ance of his great work; and we derful, considering that in relation may be eure that the other French to the most popular policy of the shareholders were not displeased most patriotic government there that their property was suddenly are never wanting complainers, who enhanced in value. The prevailing if they have no valid objection to feeling in France, however, was urge, are sure to “hint a doubt and vexation. Many thought that their hesitate dislike.” Europe was still own Government was outwitted by more startled by the intelligence, the more vigilant Government of and nowhere was the shock felt with Great Britain ; others regarded the more disturbing force than in Con- transaction as a new evidence of stantinople. There it seemed to be the corrupting influence of English gold, and despised the poor Khedive all others in sacred story and in as the hungry Esad who sold his classic song! No wonder, then, if birthright for a mess of pottage to & people who are excitable and the British supplanter with his imaginative, should feel ruffled and debasing money-bags. That lowest disappointed that another nation, section of the French press, which with its prosaic but all-potentmoneythroughout all revolutions has never power, should buy up the product been cured of its Anglophobia, of French genius, and interfere wrote, of course, its bitterest sen- with the prospects of French ambitences about “perfidious Albion." tion. Many Frenchmen, moreover, have The action of the British Governa sort of vague notion that the ment in this transaction is variously Suez Canal, as the product of French interpreted, and the full explanaengineering skill, ought to belong tion of its motives will not be forthto France. Did not Robert Stephen coming until Parliament meets, & son, the most renowned in his day few weeks hence. Meanwhile conof English engineers, declare the siderable light is thrown upon the project impracticable ? and did not affair by the despatch of the SecreLord Palmerston, the British Prime tary of State for Foreign Affairs, Minister, sneer at the undertaking published by the French Governof M. de Lesseps as the dream of ment, and by the speech of Lord an enthusiast? Why then should Derby at Edinburgh. From these England come in and appropriate a deliverances of the noble Earl, work which belongs by the most who, from his office, has had most indefeasible of rights—the right of to do with the transaction which origination—to France ? We cannot has created so wide-spread a sensagreatly marvel if these should be tion, it appears that the British the sentiments and feelings of large Government did not intend thereby masses of people across the Channel. to reverse its former policy in There is certainly something in Eastern questions, nor to acquire these considerations to flatter the territorial rights in Egypt, nor to national vanity, and there is much interfere with the suzerainty of the in connection with this great French Sultan by establishing & British achievement to excite the imagina- protectorate over the Khedive. The tion. The very name of Egypt is solution, so far as it has been given, strangely suggestive, and awakeng or rather hinted at, is that by being memories the most venerable and a large shareholder in the Suez wonderful. When Napoleon 1. Canal, the English Government commanded at the battle of the will be in a position to have a voice Pyramids, he cried to his soldiers : in the management of what is now "Remember that from these sum. the high road to India. mits forty centuries contemplate wanted," said the noble earl, the your actions !” And as Frenchmen Minister for Foreign Affairs, "and now think of a victory far more im- we have obtained, additional seportant than that which Napoleon curity for that which is to us a won over the Mameluke cavalry— necessity,—& free and uninterthe victory of De Lesseps overrupted passage through Egypt to nature itself,—they may think of the India. We felt it to be essential union effected between the two seas that the great highway over which which have been celebrated above we have even now more than three

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