Bunsen remained in England two years longer, full of literary work, delighted by the success of Prince Albert's Great Exhibition, entering heartily into all that interested and agitated English society, but nevertheless carrying in his breast a heavy heart. Prussia and Germany were not what he wished them to be. At last the complications that led to the Crimean War held out to his mind a last prospect of rescuing Prussia from her Russian thralldom. If Prussia could have been brought over to join England and France, the unity of Northern Germany might have been her reward, as the unity of Italy was the reward of Cavour's alliance with the Western Powers. Bunsen used all his influence to bring this about, but he used it in vain, and in April, 1854, he succumbed, and his resignation was accepted.
Now, at last, Bunsen was free. He writes to a son:—
"You know how I struggled, almost desperately, to retire from public employment in 1850. Now the cord is broken, and the bird is free. The Lord be praised!"
But sixty-two years of his life were gone. The foundations of literary work which he had laid as a young man were difficult to recover; and if anything was to be finished, it had to be finished in haste. Bunsen retired to Heidelberg, hoping there to realize the ideal of his life, and realizing it, too, in a certain degree,—i.e. as long as he was able to forget his sixty-two years, his shaken health, and his blasted hopes. His new edition of "Hippolytus," under the title of "Christianity and Mankind," had been finished in seven volumes before he left England. At Heidelberg his principal work was the new translation of the Bible, and his "Life of Christ," an enormous undertaking, enough to fill a man's life, yet with Bunsen by no means the only work to which he devoted his remaining powers. Egyptian studies continued to interest him while superintending the English translation of his "Egypt." His anger at the machinations of the Jesuits in Church and State would rouse him suddenly to address the German nation in his "Signs of the Times." And the prayer of his early youth, "to be allowed to recognize and trace the firm path of God through the stream of ages," was fulfilled in his last work, "God in History." There were many blessings in his life at Heidelberg, and no one could have acknowledged them more gratefully than Bunsen. "Yet," he writes,—
"I miss John Bull, the sea, 'The Times' in the morning, and, besides, some dozens of fellow-creatures. The learned class has greatly sunk in Germany, more than I supposed; all behindhand.... Nothing appears of any importance; the most wretched trifles are cried up."
Though he had bid adieu to politics, yet he could not keep entirely aloof. The Prince of Prussia and the noble Princess of Prussia consulted him frequently, and even from Berlin baits were held out from time to time to catch the escaped eagle. Indeed, once again was Bunsen enticed by the voice of the charmer, and a pressing invitation of the King brought him to Berlin to preside at the meeting of the Evangelical Alliance in September, 1857. His hopes revived once more, and his plans of a liberal policy in Church and State were once more pressed on the King,—in vain, as every one knew beforehand, except Bunsen alone, with his loving, trusting heart. However, Bunsen's hopes, too, were soon to be destroyed, and he parted from the King, the broken idol of all his youthful dreams,—not in anger, but in love, "as I wish and pray to depart from this earth, as on the calm, still evening of a long, beautiful summer's day." This was written on the 1st of October; on the 3d the King's mind gave way, though his bodily suffering lasted longer than that of Bunsen. Little more is to be said of the last years of Bunsen's life. The difficulty of breathing, from which he suffered, became often very distressing, and he was obliged to seek relief by travel in Switzerland, or by spending the winter at Cannes. He recovered from time to time, so as to be able to work hard at the "Biblework," and even to make short excursions to Paris or Berlin. In the last year of his life he executed the plan that had passed before his mind as the fairest dream of his youth: he took a house at Bonn, and he was not without hope that he might still, like Niebuhr, lecture in the university, and give to the young men the fruits of his studies and the advice founded on the experience of his life. This, however, was not to be, and all who watched him with loving eyes knew but too well that it could not be. The last chapter of his life is painful beyond expression as a chronicle of his bodily sufferings, but it is cheerful also beyond expression as the record of a triumph over death in hope, in faith,—nay, one might almost say, in sight,—such as has seldom been witnessed by human eyes. He died on the 28th of November, 1860, and was buried on the 1st of December in the same churchyard at Bonn where rests the body of his friend and teacher, Niebuhr.
Thoughts crowd in thick upon us when we gaze at that monument, and feel again the presence of that spirit as we so often felt it in the hours of sweet counsel. When we think of the literary works in which, later in life and almost in the presence of death, he hurriedly gathered up the results of his studies and meditations, we feel, as he felt himself when only twenty-two years of age, that "learning annihilates itself, and the most perfect is the first submerged, for the next age scales with ease the height which cost the preceding the full vigor of life." It has been so, and always will be so. Bunsen's work, particularly in Egyptian philology and in the philosophy of language, was to a great extent the work of a pioneer, and it will be easy for others to advance on the roads which he has opened, and to approach nearer to the goal which he has pointed out. Some of his works, however, will hold their place in the history of scholarship, and particularly of theological scholarship. The question of the genuineness of the original Epistles of Ignatius can hardly be opened again after Bunsen's treatise; and his discovery that the book on "All the Heresies," ascribed to Origen, could not be the work of that writer, and that most probably it was the work of Hippolytus, will always mark an epoch in the study of early Christian literature. Either of those works would have been enough to make the reputation of a German professor, or to found the fortune of an English bishop. Let it be remembered that they were the outcome of the leisure hours of a hard-worked Prussian diplomatist, who, during the London season, could get up at five in the morning, light his own fire, and thus secure four hours of undisturbed work before breakfast.
Another reason why some of Bunsen's works will prove more mortal than others is their comprehensive character. Bunsen never worked for work's sake, but always for some higher purpose. Special researches with him were a means, a ladder to be thrown away as soon as he had reached his point. The thought of exhibiting his ladders never entered his mind. Occasionally, however, Bunsen would take a jump, and being bent on general results, he would sometimes neglect the objections that were urged against him. It has been easy, even during his life-time, to point out weak points in his arguments, and scholars who have spent the whole of their lives on one Greek classic have found no difficulty in showing to the world that they know more of that particular author than Bunsen. But even those who fully appreciate the real importance of Bunsen's labors—labors that were more like a shower of rain fertilizing large acres than like the artificial irrigation which supports one greenhouse plant—will be first to mourn over the precious time that was lost to the world by Bunsen's official avocations. If he could do what he did in his few hours of rest, what would he have achieved if he had carried out the original plan of his life! It is almost incredible that a man with his clear perception of his calling in life, so fully expressed in his earliest letters, should have allowed himself to be drawn away by the siren voice of diplomatic life. His success, no doubt, was great at first, and the kindness shown him by men like Niebuhr, the King, and the Crown Prince of Prussia was enough to turn a head that sat on the strongest shoulders. It should be remembered, too, that in Germany the diplomatic service has always had far greater charms than in England, and that the higher members of that service enjoy often the same political influence as members of the Cabinet. If we read of the brilliant reception accorded to the young diplomatist during his first stay at Berlin, the favors showered upon him by the old King, the friendship offered him by the Crown Prince, his future King, the hopes of usefulness in his own heart, and the encouragement given him by all his friends, we shall be less surprised at his preferring, in the days of his youth, the brilliant career of a diplomatist to the obscure lot of a professor. And yet what would Bunsen have given later in life if he had remained true to his first love! Again and again his better self bursts forth in complaints about a wasted life, and again and again he is carried along against his will. During his first stay in England he writes (November 18, 1838):—
"I care no more about my external position than about the mountains in the moon; I know God's will will be done, in spite of them all, and to my greatest benefit. What that is He alone knows. Only one thing I think I see clearly. My whole life is without sense and lasting use, if I squander it in affairs of the day, brilliant and important as they may be."
The longer he remained in that enchanted garden, the more difficult it became to find a way out, even after he had discovered by sad experience how little he was fitted for court life or even for public life in Prussia. When he first appeared at the court of Berlin, he carried everything by storm; but that very triumph was never forgiven him, and his enemies were bent on "showing this young doctor his proper place." Bunsen had no idea how he was envied, for the lesson that success breeds envy is one that men of real modesty seldom learn until it is too late. And he was hated not only by chamberlains, but, as he discovered with deepest grief, even by those whom he considered his truest friends, who had been working in secret conclave to undermine his influence with his royal friend and master. Whenever he returned to Berlin, later in life, he could not breathe freely in the vitiated air of the court, and the wings of his soul hung down lamed, if not broken. Bunsen was not a courtier. Away from Berlin, among the ruins of Rome, and in the fresh air of English life, he could speak to kings and princes as few men have spoken to them, and pour out his inmost convictions before those whom he revered and loved. But at Berlin, though he might have learnt to bow and to smile and to use Byzantine phraseology, his voice faltered and was drowned by noisy declaimers; the diamond was buried in a heap of beads, and his rays could not shine forth where there was no heavenly sunlight to call them out.
King Frederick William IV. was no ordinary King: that one can see even from the scanty extracts from his letters given in "Bunsen's Memoirs." Nor was his love of Bunsen a mere passing whim. He loved the man, and those who knew the refreshing and satisfying influence of Bunsen's society will easily understand what the King meant when he said, "I am hungry and thirsty for Bunsen." But what constitution can resist the daily doses of hyperbolical flattery that are poured into the ears of royalty, and how can we wonder that at last a modest expression of genuine respect does sound like rudeness to royal ears, and to speak the truth becomes synonymous with insolence? In the trickeries and mimicries of court life Bunsen was no adept, and nothing was easier than to outbid him in the price that is paid for royal favors. But if much has thus been lost of a life far too precious to be squandered among royal servants and messengers, this prophet among the Sauls has taught the world some lessons which he could not have taught in the lecture-room of a German university. People who would scarcely have listened to the arguments of a German professor sat humbly at the feet of an ambassador and of a man of the world. That a professor should be learned, and that a bishop should be orthodox, was a matter of course; but that an ambassador should hold forth on hieroglyphics and the antiquity of man rather than on the chronique scandaleuse of Paris; that a Prussian statesman should spend his mornings on the Ignatian Epistles rather than in writing gossiping letters to ladies in waiting at Berlin and Potsdam; that this learned man "who ought to know," should profess the simple faith of a child and the boldest freedom of a philosopher, was enough to startle society, both high and low. How Bunsen inspired those who knew him with confidence, how he was consulted, and how he was loved, may be seen from some of the letters addressed to him, though few only of such letters have been published in his "Memoirs." That his influence was great in England we know from the concurrent testimony both of his enemies and his friends, and the seed that he has sown in the minds and hearts of men have borne fruit, and will still bear richer fruit, both in England and in Germany. Nor should it be forgotten how excellent a use he made of his personal influence in helping young men who wanted advice and encouragement. His sympathy, his condescension, his faith when brought in contact with men of promise, were extraordinary: they were not shaken, though they have been abused more than once. In all who loved Bunsen his spirit will live on, imperceptibly, it may be, to themselves, imperceptibly to the world, but not the less really. It is not the chief duty of friends to honor the departed by idle grief, but to remember their designs, and to carry out their mandates. (Tac. Ann. II. 71.)
LETTERS FROM BUNSEN TO MAX MUeLLER IN THE YEARS 1848 TO 1859.(98)
After hesitating for a long time, and after consulting both those who had a right to be consulted, and those whose independent judgment I could trust, I have at last decided on publishing the following letters of Baron Bunsen, as an appendix to my article on the Memoirs of his Life. They will, I believe, show to the world one side of his character which in the Memoirs could appear but incidentally,—his ardent love of the higher studies from which his official duties were constantly tearing him away, and his kindness, his sympathy, his condescension in his intercourse with younger scholars who were pursuing different branches of that work to which he himself would gladly have dedicated the whole energy of his mind. Bunsen was by nature a scholar, though not exactly what in England is meant by a German scholar. Scholarship with him was always a means, never in itself an object; and the study of the languages, the laws, the philosophies and religions of antiquity, was in his eyes but a necessary preparation before approaching the problem of all problems, Is there a Providence in the world, or is there not? "To trace the firm path of God through the stream of ages," this was the dream of his youth, and the toil of his old age; and during all his life, whether he was studying the laws of Rome or the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egypt, the hymns of the Veda or the Psalms of the Old Testament, he was always collecting materials for that great temple which in his mind towered high above all other temples, the temple of God in history. He was an architect, but he wanted builders; his plans were settled, but there was no time to carry them out. He therefore naturally looked out for younger men who were to take some share of his work. He encouraged them, he helped them, he left them no rest till the work which he wanted was done; and he thus exercised the most salutary influence on a number of young scholars, both in Rome, in London, and in Heidelberg.
When I first came to know Bunsen, he was fifty-six, I twenty-four years of age; he was Prussian ambassador, I was nobody. But from the very beginning of our intercourse, he was to me like a friend and fellow-student; and when standing by his side at the desk in his library, I never saw the ambassador, but only the hard-working scholar, ready to guide, willing to follow, but always pressing forward to a definite goal. He would patiently listen to every objection, and enter readily into the most complicated questions of minute critical scholarship; but he always wanted to see daylight; he could not bear mere groping for groping's sake. When he suspected any scholar of shallowness, pettiness, or professorial conceit, he would sometimes burst forth into rage, and use language the severity of which he was himself the first to regret. But he would never presume on his age, his position, or his authority. In that respect few men remained so young, remained so entirely themselves through life as Bunsen. It is one of the saddest experiences in life to see men lose themselves when they become ministers or judges or bishops or professors. Bunsen never became ambassador, he always remained Bunsen. It has been my good fortune in life to have known many men whom the world calls great,—philosophers, statesmen, scholars, artists, poets; but take it all in all, take the full humanity of the man, I have never seen, and I shall never see his like again.
The rule followed in editing these letters has been a very simple one. I have given them as they were, even though I felt that many could be of interest to scholars only or to Bunsen's personal friends; but I have left out whatever could be supposed to wound the feelings of any one. Unless this rule is most carefully observed, the publication of letters after the death of their writers seems to me simply dishonorable. When Bunsen speaks of public measures and public men, of parties in Church and State, whether in England or in Germany, there was no necessity for suppressing his remarks, for he had spoken his mind as freely on them elsewhere as in these letters. But any personal reflections written on the spur of the moment, in confidence or in jest, have been struck out, however strong the temptation sometimes of leaving them. Many expressions, too, of his kind feelings towards me have been omitted. If some have been left, I hope I may be forgiven for a pride not altogether illegitimate.
LONDON, Thursday, December 7, 1848, 9 o'clock.
MY DEAR M.,—I have this moment received your affectionate note of yesterday, and feel as if I must respond to it directly, as one would respond to a friend's shake of the hand. The information was quite new to me, and the success wholly unexpected. You have given a home to a friend who was homeless in the world; may you also have inspired him with that energy and stability, the want of which so evidently depresses him. The idea about Pauli is excellent, but he must decide quickly and send me word, that I may gain over William Hamilton, and his son (the President). The place is much sought after; Pauli would certainly be the man for it. He would not become a Philister here, as most do.
And now, my very dear M., I congratulate you on the courageous frame of mind which this event causes you to evince. It is exactly that which, as a friend, I wish for you for the whole of life, and which I perceived and loved in you from the very first moment. It delights me especially at this time, when your contemporaries are even more dark and confused than mine are sluggish and old-fashioned. The reality of life, as we enter the period of full manhood, destroys the first dream of youth; but with moral earnestness, and genuine faith in eternal providence, and in the sacredness of human destiny in that government of the world which exists for all human souls that honestly seek after good,—with these feelings, the dream of youth is more than realized.
You have undertaken a great work, and have been rescued from the whirlpool and landed on this peaceful island that you might carry it on undisturbed, which you could not have done in the Fatherland. This is the first consideration; but not less highly do I rate the circumstances which have kept you here, and have given you an opportunity of seeing English life in its real strength, with the consistency and stability, and with all the energy and simplicity, that are its distinguishing features. I have known what it is to receive this complement of German life in the years of my training and apprenticeship. When rightly estimated, this knowledge and love of the English element only strengthens the love of the German Fatherland, the home of genius and poetry.
I will only add that I am longing to see you amongst us: you must come to us before long. Meanwhile think of me with as much affection as I shall always think of you. Lepsius has sent me his splendid work "On the Foundations of Egyptian Chronology," with astounding investigations.
As to Germany, my greatest hopes are based on this,—that the King and Henry von Gagern have met and become real friends.
Sunday Morning, February 18, 1849.
My dear M.,—Having returned home last night, I should like to see you quietly to-day, before the turmoil begins again to-morrow. Can you and Mr. Trithen come to me to-day at five o'clock? I will ask Elze to dinner, but I should first like to read to you two my treatise "On the Classification of Languages," which is entirely rewritten, and has become my fifth book in nuce.
I will at once tell you that I am convinced that the Lycians were the true Pelasgians, and I shall not give you any rest till you have discovered the Pelasgic language from the monuments existing here. It is a sure discovery. It must be an older form of Greek, much as the Oscan or the Carmen Saliare were of Latin, or even perhaps more so.
TOTTERIDGE PARK, Monday Morning, February 19, 1849.
I landed yesterday, and took refuge here till this afternoon; and my first employment is to thank you for your affectionate and faithful letter, and to tell you that I am not only to be here as hitherto, but that, with the permission of the King, I am to fill the post of confidential accredited minister of the Reichsverweser, formerly held by Baron Andrian. During my stay here, be it long or short, it will always be a pleasure and refreshment to me to see you as often as you can come to us. You know our way of living, which will remain the same, except now and then, when Palmerston may fix his conferences for a Sunday.
Pertz is quite ready to agree to the proposal of a regular completion of the Chambers collection: the best thing would be for you to offer to make the catalogue. He is waiting your proposal. The dark clouds of civil war are lowering over our dear and mighty Fatherland. Prussia will go on its own way quietly as a mediating power.
CARLTON TERRACE, April 22, 1849.
Yesterday evening, and night, and this morning early, I have been reading Froude's "Nemesis of Faith," and am so moved by it that I must write you a few lines. I cannot describe the power of attraction exercised upon me by this deeply searching, noble spirit: I feel the tragic nature of his position, and long have I foreseen that such tragical combinations await the souls of men in this island-world. Arnold and Carlyle, each in his own way, had seen this long before me. In the general world, no one can understand such a state of mind, except so far as to be enabled to misconstrue it.
In the shortcoming of the English mind in judging of this book, its great alienation from the philosophy of Art is revealed. This book is not comprehended as a work of Art, claiming as such due proportions and relative significance of parts; otherwise many individuals would at least have been moved to a more sparing judgment upon it, and in the first place they would take in the import of the title.
This book shows the fatal result of the renunciation of the Church system of belief. The subject of the tale simply experiences moral annihilation; but the object of his affection, whose mind he had been the means of unsettling in her faith, burst through the boundaries which humanity has placed, and the moral order of the world imposes: they perish both,—each at odds with self, with God, and with human society: only for him there yet remains room for further development. Then the curtain falls,—that is right, according to artistic rule of composition; true and necessary according to the views of those who hold the faith of the Church of England; and from a theological point of view, no other solution could be expected from the book than that which it has given.
But here the author has disclosed the inward disease, the fearful hollowness, the spiritual death, of the nation's philosophical and theological forms, with resistless eloquence; and like the Jews of old, they will exclaim, "That man is a criminal! stone him!"
I wish you could let him know how deeply I feel for him, without ever having seen him; and how I desire to admonish him to accept and endure this fatality, as, in the nature of things, he must surely have anticipated it; and as he has pointed out and defended the freedom of the spirit, so must he now (and I believe he will) show in himself, and make manifest to the world, the courage, active in deed, cheerful in power, of that free spirit.
It is presumptuous to intrude into the fate and mystery of life in the case of any man, and more especially of a man so remarkable; but the consciousness of community of spirits, of knowing, and endeavoring after what is morally good, and true, and perfect, and of the yearning after every real disciple of the inner religion of Christians, impels me to suggest to you to tell him from me, that I believe the spasm of his spiritual efforts would sooner be calmed, and the solution of the great problem would sooner be found, if he were to live for a time among us; I mean, if he resided for a time in one of the German universities. We Germans have been for seventy years working as thinkers, inquirers, poets, seers, also as men of action, to pull down the old and to erect the new Zion; each great man with us has contributed his materials towards the sanctuary, invisible, but firmly fixed in German hearts; the whole nation has neglected and sacrificed political, individual existence and common freedom—to pursue in faith the search after truth. From us something may be learnt, by every spirit of this age. He will experience how truly the divine Plato spoke, when he said, "Seven years of silent inquiry were needful for a man to learn the truth, but fourteen in order to learn how to make it known to his fellow-men."
Froude must know Schleiermacher's "Discourses on Religion," and perhaps also his "Dogmatics." In this series of developments this is perhaps, as far as the form is concerned, the most satisfactory work which immediately concerns religion and its reconciliation with philosophy on the basis of more liberal Christian investigation. But at all events we have not striven and suffered in vain: our philosophy, research, and poetry show this. But men, not books, are needed by such a mind, in order to become conscious of the truth, which (to quote Spinoza) "remoto errore nuda remanet." He has still much to learn, and he should learn it as a man from man. I should like to propose to him first to go to Bonn. He would there find that most deeply thoughtful and most original of speculative minds among our living theologians, the Hamann of this century, my dear friend R. Rothe; also a noble philosopher and teacher of ethics, Brandis; an honest master of exegesis, Bleek; and young minds would soon attach themselves to him. In Halle he would find Erdmann, almost the only distinguished speculative follower of Hegel, and Tholuck, who has advanced much farther in the philosophical treatment of Christianity than is generally thought. I will gladly give him introductions to all of these. They would all willingly admit him into their world of thought, and enter with sympathy into his. It would be sure to suit him.... The free atmosphere of thought would do him good, as formerly the atmosphere of free England was good for Germans still struggling for political liberty. He certainly needs physical change and invigorating. For this the lovely Rhine is decidedly to be recommended. With L100 he could live there as a prince. Why go off to Van Diemen's Land? I should always be glad to be of the least service to him, still more to make his personal acquaintance. And now, my dear M., you can, if you wish, read out to him what I have written, but do not give the letter out of your own hands.
9 CARLTON TERRACE, Monday, May 22, 1849.
I thank you for two letters. I cannot tell how the first delighted and rejoiced me. The state of things in England is really as you describe it. As to what concerns the second, you will by this time know that I have seen Froude twice. With M., too, personal acquaintance has been made, and the point as to money is touched on. I must see him again alone before I give my opinion. At all events, he is a man of genius, and Germany (especially Bonn) the country for him.
I can well imagine the terrible scenes your dear mother has witnessed in Dresden. However, I believe we have, in the very midst of the storm, reached the harbor. Even in Frankfort every one believes in the complete success of Prussia's negotiations with the four Courts. We shall have the whole constitution of the empire, and now with all necessary improvements. As to matters of form, they must be arranged as between equals. Gagern and his friends are ready for this. The constitution is to be declared at Berlin on the 25th. The disturbances will then be quieted as by magic. George is aux anges over this unexpected turn of affairs. At all events I hope soon to see you.
LONDON, Wednesday, July 14, 1849.
"Hurrah for Mueller!"—so writes George, and as an answer I send you his note from Frankfort. Hekscher's proposal is quite reasonable. I have since then broken off all negotiations with the Danes. You will soon read the documents in the newspapers.
If the proposal of the parliamentary committee on the directory of the Bund passes, which admits of little doubt, the question of to be or not to be must be immediately decided.
I do not intend going to Frankfort for this, so pray come here; I am alone here with Charles.
9 CARLTON TERRACE, Friday Morning.(99)
MY DEAR M.,—I did not thank you immediately for your delightful and instructive letter, because there were many points on which I wished to write fully. The last decisive crisis of the German-European business has at length arrived, and I have had the opportunity of doing my duty in the matter. But I have been doing nothing else since last Saturday, nothing Chinese even. I recommend the inclosed to you. The young man is a good and highly informed German bookseller. He has of course written just what I did not tell him, and omitted what he ought to have said, "that he had been here for five years with the first booksellers, and before that was trained under his father in Bonn; that he understands English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish." I have only heard what is good of him. How grateful I feel to you for having begun the Index of Egyptian words at once! We wanted one here for a special purpose, so our trouble has not been thrown away. I now perceive how impossible it is to understand the Egyptian language and history thoroughly without Chinese. In the chronology there is still much to be done.
We have as yet held our own in London and Warsaw as against Vienna. But in the Schleswig-Holstein question we have the whole world, and unfortunately our own peace of July 2d, against us. Radowitz has worked most devotedly and honestly. When shall we see you again?
PRUSSIAN LEGATION, May 15, 1850.
By return of post thanks and greetings to my dear M. Your proposal as to Schuetz is excellent. Let me know if I am to write to Humboldt. I draw a totally different lesson from your news of the loss of the Veda MS. Wait till a good copy arrives, and in the mean time pursue your philological studies in some other direction, and get on with your Introduction. You can work more in one day in Europe than in a week in India, unless you wish to kill yourself, which I could not allow. So come with bag and baggage here, to 9 Carlton Terrace, to one who longs to see you.
F. must have gone mad, or have been far more so politically than I imagined. The "Leader," edited by him and N., is (as Mills says) red and raw! and, in addition, badly written. It is a pity for prophets and poets to meddle with realities, instead of devoting themselves to futurity and poetry. George is happy in the intellectual wealth of Paris life, and quite perplexed at the perverseness and follies of the political cliques. He promises to write about the acquaintance of Lamenais and George Sand. I am well, but fully use the right of a convalescent, and hardly go anywhere.
Friend Stockmar sends a report from Erfurt, where the Parliament meets on the 26th to receive the oaths of the Directory and the Ministers of the Union. Usedom, Pertz, and Co. are quite mad in their enthusiasm for the Black and White, as I have openly written to them.
CARLTON TERRACE, July 10, 1850.
Mr. Eastwick, the translator of Bopp's Grammar, tells me that he and Murray wish for an article on this work in the "Quarterly Review" for January, 1851; so it must be sent in in November. Wilson refuses, as he is too busy. I believe you could best write such a review, of about sixteen pages (L16). If you agree to this, write a line to me or direct to Eastwick, who would then get a letter from Lockhart with the commission for you. God help Schleswig-Holstein!
LONDON, October 10, 1850.
You have given me the greatest pleasure, my dear M., by your beautiful present. Already, last night, I read the new "Greek Songs," and others that were new to me, with the greatest delight. We have, at all events, derived one benefit from the great storm,—that the fetters have been taken off the press. It is a very charming edition, and a beautiful memorial.
As to F——, it seems to me contra rei naturam to arrange anything with the "Quarterly Review." The channel for such things is now really the "Edinburgh;" in the "Quarterly" everything not English must be run down, at all events in appearance, if it is to be appreciated. And now "Modern German Poetry and F——," and Liberal politics! I cannot understand how F—— could think of such a thing. I will willingly take charge of it for the "Edinburgh Review." The editor is my political, theological, personal friend, and sympathizes with me in such things as I consider F——'s beautiful review will be. I have for years wished for such a one; epic-lyric poetry has made much greater advances since Goethe's time than people in Germany (with the one exception of Platen) seem to perceive. It seems to me, though, that one should begin with the flowers of the Romantic school of poetry, with Schenkendorf and Koerner,—that is, with the whole romantic German national epoch, which found Goethe already a retired philosopher. The whole development, from that time till now, appears to me as one intimately united whole, even including the present day. Even 1848 to 1850 have furnished their contribution (Arndt's two inspired songs, for instance); and in 1843-44, Geibel shines as a star of the first magnitude. Heine is difficult to treat. In fact, I do not think that F—— has read enough of these poets. He spoke to me lately of an historical work that he had in view, and which he wished to talk over with me; he meant to come up to me from the country, but has not yet appeared. He is always welcome, for he is decidedly a man of genius, and I would willingly help him.
Now to something different. My Chinese work is tolerably far advanced. I have arranged the 214 keys alphabetically, and have examined about 100 of them historically—that is, I have separated the oldest (entirely hieroglyphic and ideographic) signs, and as far as possible fixed the relationship of identical or similarly sounding roots. Then I laid aside the work, and first began a complete list of all those pronominal, adverbial, and particle stems, arranged first alphabetically and then according to matter, in which I found the recognizable corpses of the oldest Chinese words. The result repays me even far more than I expected. I hope to have finished both works before Christmas; and at last, too, the alphabetical examination of the 450 words (of which about 150 are hidden in the 214 keys; the 64 others are similarly sounding roots). Naturally all this is only in reference to ancient Chinese, which is at least as different (grammatically) from modern Chinese as Egyptian is from Coptic.
At the same time, I am reading the translation of the three "Kings," and transliterate some passages. And now I must ask you to examine the inclosed system of transliteration. I have devised it according to my best powers after yours and Lepsius' system. Secondly, I want you to tell me whether I ought to buy the Leipzig translation of Eichhoff's "Parallele des Langues Sanscrites." My own copy of the French edition has disappeared. Pauli works at an Index of the Egyptian hieroglyphics and words, which I can send you by and by.
"The days and times are hard," says an old song.
TOTTERIDGE PARK, Tuesday Morning, October 16, 1850.
MY DEAR FRIEND,—So it seems that I am really not to see you this time. I am truly sorry, and count all the more on your calling on your return, if I am still in England. I should like to have thanked you at once for your affectionate letter for my birthday. But you know, if you altogether trust me, that a lifelong love for you lies deep in my heart.
I had expected more from the great programme of New Oxford. It is not, however, much more unsatisfactory than the article on Plato, the writer of which now avows himself. It is only possible to excuse the milk-and-watery treatment of the subject through the general mental cowardice and ignorance in intellectual matters which is so predominant in this country. I find a comfort in the hope that this article is the prologue to able exegetical works, combined with a concrete statement of the absurdity, the untruth, and untenableness of the present English conception of inspiration. Do not call me to account too sharply for this hope, or it is likely to evaporate simply in pious wishes. Moral earnestness is the only thing that pleases me in this matter; the important thing now is to prove it, in opposition to invincible prejudices. Your plan of publishing your Introduction after you have talked it over with Lassen and Burnouf, and drawn in fresh breath, and just in January too, pleases me very much. If I may, all in the dark, give you some good advice, try to make yourself clear on two points. First, as to the proper limits of language for the investigation of past and prehistoric times. As yet, no one has known how to handle these gigantic materials; what Jacob Grimm has lately attempted with them is child's play. It is no longer of any use, as a Titan in intention, but confused as to aim, and uncertain in method,—it is no longer of any use to put down dazzling examples which demonstrate nothing, or at most only that something ought to be there to be demonstrated. What you have told me entitles one to the highest hopes; and these will be realized, if you in the French, not the Teutonic manner, arrive at full understanding of what is at present a mere instinctive intuition, and thus arrive at the right method. You can do it. Only I have some anxiety as to the second point, the historical proofs of the beginnings of nations. That is the weak side, first of all etymologists and word-masters, and then especially of all "Indologues," and of the whole Indian past itself. There is an enormous difference between what can have been, nay, according to certain abstract theoretic views must have been, and what has been. That, however, is the distinctive problem for historical investigation. And here, above all, much depends on philological knowledge and sagacity; but still more on that historical tact which understands how inferences should be drawn. This demands much acquaintance with what is real, and with purely historical material; much practice, and, as regards character, much self-denial. In this judicium subactum of the historian lies the difference between Niebuhr and O. Mueller. To satisfy these demands, it is only necessary, with your gifts and your character, that you should wish to do so earnestly, and perseveringly wish it. Of course you will not separate the inquiry as to the oldest seat of the Sanskrit language from the surrounding problems. I am perhaps too strongly prejudiced against the idea that the family of which we are speaking must have wandered from the banks of the Upper Indus towards Bactria, and from thence founded Media and Persia. But I have for the present good grounds for this, and views which have long been tested by me. I can well imagine a migration of this family to and fro from the northern to the southern slopes of the Hindu-Kush and back again; in Egypt one sees most plainly how the Semitic, or the family which inclines towards Semitism, migrated frequently from the Mediterranean and the Euphrates to the Red Sea and back again. But this alters nothing in the theory, on the one hand, that it is one and the same family historically, and, on the other hand, that it is not originally African, but Asiatic. You will certainly not adopt Niebuhr's autochthonic theory, where such facts lie before you. But enough. Only receive these remarks as a proof of my lively interest in your researches, and in yourself; and may Minerva be your guide. I rejoice in the prize you have gained at the French Academy in Paris, both for you and the Fatherland.
The King has subscribed for twenty copies of your Veda, and you have received 500 thalers of it beforehand. The rest you will receive, according to the agreement then made, and which was communicated to you, as certainly after the revolution and constitution as before. I cannot have said a word with any other meaning. I may have recommended you not to demand future prepayment: there might have been difficulties. Examine, then, the communication made to you, take twenty copies of your first volume in your pocket, or rather in the ship, and hand them in, writing in any case to Humboldt, and beside him to the minister concerned, therefore to the Minister of Public Instruction. As to what concerns the King personally, ask Humboldt what you have to do. The thing itself is as clear and settled a matter of business as anything can well be; on this very account I have completely forgotten the particulars.
And now, God bless you, my dear friend. Greet all friendly minds and souls, and first, "though I have not the pleasure of her acquaintance," your mother; and then Humboldt and Lepsius before any one else.
LONDON, November 4, 1850.
I must tell you by return of post that your letter has frightened me by what you tell me respecting your strong impulse to go to Benares or to Bonn. This is the very worst moment for Bonn, and the very best for your publication of the Introduction to the Vedas. The crisis in our country disturbs everything; it will soon be over, and, as I have good reason to believe, without dishonor or bloodshed. They would do everything to make your stay in Bonn pleasant, as soon as they have recovered breath. Still, you must print that English book in England; and I should add, before you settle across the Channel. Or do you only intend to pay Lassen a visit? You knew that some time ago Lassen longed to see you, more than any other man. It would be a good idea if you settle to make an excursion to Germany. You are one of those who always arrange things best personally. At all events, you must come to us the day after to-morrow, and stay till the 9th. We shall have a house full of visitors that day (evening), but till then be quite alone. On the 7th you will give your presence to George as a birthday gift, a proof of great affection. Of Froude I have heard and seen nothing.
Empson has been here twice, without leaving his address. I have advanced as far in the astronomy and chronology of the Chinese as I can without an astronomer. They have begun with the beginning of the Chaldeans. With the language, too, I have reached firm soil and ground, through the 120 words which become particles. More by word of mouth.
The struggle is over. Open conferences will be held at Vienna, where Prussia will represent and securely maintain the principle of free opinion.
The 8,000 Bavarians will return home again. The new constitution of the Bund will include all Austria (except Italy), and will have a diet which has no legislative power in internal German affairs. Will Radowitz stay? Send a line in answer.
LONDON, December 11, 1850.
In spite of the courier, who goes to-day, I must write a few words in answer to your friendly inquiries.
I am more and more convinced that you stake everything if you begin the important affair in Bonn without going there yourself; and on the other hand, that the business cannot fail if you go there; lastly, that you should go there at once, that Lassen and the government may not hit on something else. Once begun, the thing will, I hope, go exactly as you wish. But I should be very sorry if you were to leave Oxford before finishing the printing of the Introduction. That is your farewell to England, your greeting to the professoriate in Germany, both worthy and suited to you.
The Lectures at Oxford appear, by the side of this, as a secondary consideration. I cannot, however, restrain the wish that you should not refuse the thing. It is not expected that a deputy-professor should spend more time than is necessary on the charge committed to him. I should think you could arrange such a course very pleasantly, and feel certain of success, if you only bear in mind Lockhart's advice, to write as for ladies,—"Spartam quam nactus es orna," as Niebuhr always told me, and I have always found it a good maxim. I await the sending in of your article for the "Edinburgh," in order to make all preparations at once. I hope you will be back from Bonn by Christmas Eve, or else wait till after Christmas before you go.
As a friend of many years' standing, you will forgive me if I say that if the journey to Bonn is not financially convenient to you just now, I depend upon your thinking of me.
9 CARLTON TERRACE, January 2, 1851.
Most heartily do I wish you success and happiness in the new year. Stanley will have told you of our negotiations as to your beautiful article. He will have laid before you the sketch of a genuine English prologue and epilogue promised by him, and for which I gave him a few ideas. You can then choose between the "Quarterly" and "Edinburgh Review."
Pertz has authorized me to pay you L20 on the 1st of January, as you wished. So send your receipt, that I may at once send you the L20 (in four bank-notes), unless you will fetch them yourself. If you can be here on Monday, you are invited to dinner with Macaulay, Mahon, and General Radowitz, otherwise any other day.
P. S. (Wednesday). No, my dear M., I will not send your article, but take it myself. Let me have it soon.
LONDON, March 13, 1851.
It is such a delight to be able at last to write to you, to tell you that few events this year have given me such great pleasure as your noble success in Oxford. The English have shown how gladly they will listen to something good and new, if any one will lay it before them in their own halls and in their "gown." Morier has faithfully reported everything, and my whole family sympathize in your triumph, as if it concerned ourselves.
I have heard from Empson that he will let your article appear in the third quarter (1st July). All space for the 1st of April had been promised since December. He will have it printed very early, that we may have time to read it comfortably, and see if it really wants a "head and tail." He seems to think it is not wanted. So much the better, I answered him.
George writes diligently, De Nili fontibus, and revels in the scientific life of Bonn. He is coming at Easter for four weeks, and intends immediately after Whitsuntide to take his degree cum honore.
You have seen that Lachmann was obliged to have his foot amputated, as it was mortifying. The operation was very well performed; but the question is, whether the evil may not still spread. Haupt writes in great anxiety; he hurried off to his friend, to nurse him.
Theodore comes as early as the 7th of April, and goes to the University after Easter.
We have all had something of influenza, but not so that we were obliged to give up our Tuesday evenings, which are very well attended, as many as 300 people, who amuse themselves and us well. When are you coming to us?
I have come to the end of the third volume, in working over "Egypt," and have already besides a third of the fourth volume ready for press. By the 1st of May the fourth volume must be sent to Gotha.
CARLTON TERRACE, Tuesday Morning, May 13, 1851, 7 o'clock.
(Olymp. I. I. I.) according to new German Chronology. See tables for "Egypt."
I must at last take my early morning hour to write to you, instead of writing, or rather preparing, a chapter of my fifth volume. For I find the flood of business which begins with breakfast subsides now only after midnight, and I have many things I must say to you. First, my thanks and good wishes for the sketch of your lectures. You have rightly understood the importance of epic poetry in its historical bearing, and for _the _ first time_ connected it with the earliest times of the epic nations, namely, the primitive period of their community of language.
This has given me indescribable pleasure, and daily roused a longing to see you again very soon, and to read to you some chapters out of my fifth volume, the writing of which has continued to be an excessive delight to me. I have attempted the restoration of the times of the patriarchs, in the full belief in their real existence and in my own method, and have been surprised at the great results. After I had finished this section I felt inspirited to add the Introduction to the Preface, written at Easter, "The History and Method of the Philosophy of History," and then, as by a stroke of magic, I found myself again in the lost Paradise of the deepest philosophical and historical convictions of all my life, on the strength of which I consecrated my dim anticipations to definite vows in the holy vigils of 1810-13, and wrote them down in the last weeks of my German life (January, 1816) in Berlin in order to explain myself to Niebuhr. The little book which I then wrote comes back again, after the lapse of quite thirty-five years, into my thoughts. The journey to India has turned out a journey to Egypt, and the journey of life hastens towards its close. But though I, since 1816, never found the means and opportunity to fix my eyes on the first youthful ideal, after I had dedicated my life to investigate, to think, and to live for it; and though all the grand and elevated views had been hidden from me in the narrow valleys of life and of special research, except some blessed moments of intuition, I am now again raised by the flood of Egyptian research, after a quarter of a century, on to the heights of the same Ararat from whence, in the battle of life, I had to descend. I only wished to give an introductory survey of the manner of treating the world's history, and to my astonishment something else appears, to which I yield myself with fear as well as delight, with the old youthful ardor. I believe I owe something of my good fortune this time also to my enemies and enviers. For it is quite true, as the newspaper said, that my removal or recall was demanded from the King, not only by our Camarilla and its tool, the ministry, but by more than "flesh and blood," that high demoniacal power, which would willingly crush Prussia and Germany in its unholy embrace. It has come to an avowed struggle. As yet the King has held fast to me as king and friend. Such attacks always fill me with courageous indignation and indignant courage, and God has graciously filled my heart with this courage ever since I, on the day of the news of our complete defeat (November 10), determined to finish "Egypt." Never, since I projected the five books on Egypt, when besieged on the Capitol by the Pope and his followers, and abandoned by the ministry at Berlin, from January 6th till Easter Sunday, 1838,—never have I worked with such success. Even the Great Exhibition and the visit of the Prince and Princess of Prussia have not hindered me. Volume IV. was finished on Sunday evening, April 27; and Tuesday morning, the 29th, I wrote at Dover the first chapter of the "Traditions of Prehistoric Times," after Easter Sunday had presented me with the above-mentioned Preface. On the 27th of May all that is entailed by the Prince's visit ceases again on the beach at Dover, and on the 1st June I hope to be able to begin with the "Methodology." I have now arrived at Leibnitz in the historical survey, which is to close with Schelling and Hegel, Goethe and Schiller, and which began with Abraham. Don't be frightened, it will please you.
But now, if Oxford and the gods of the Veda allow it, you should come here. George will, before he returns to Bonn, sail up the waters of the Nile with me; he has written the first sketch of the dissertation, and can get through everything in Bonn in six weeks; I believe he returns at the end of the first week.
Think this over. I do so wish for him to see you before he leaves. Meanwhile I may tell you, sub rosa, that on Saturday morning he, with Colonel Fischer and the charming Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, will go to Oxford from Birmingham (12 o'clock), and, in strictest incognito, show the Benares of Europe to the future King of Prussia, who is enthusiastic about England. He will write to you beforehand; he is now asleep, resting himself, after running about all day yesterday with the Prince, and staying at a ball till morning.
But enough of the outpourings of my heart. I hasten to business.
First, Empson has sent me the proof-sheets of your article. I mean your article for the "Edinburgh Review." Early this morning I read it through at last, and joyfully and heartily utter my Macte virtute. You have worked up the article since I first read it in MS. far more than I expected; and certainly with good and practical results. Your examples, and particularly your notes, will help and please the English reader very much. The introduction is as excellent (ad hominem and yet dignified) as the end. Many thanks for it. God will bless it. To-night I shall read out the article to my wife, children, and Neukomm, as I long ago promised, and to-morrow I will send it to the printer (with a few corrected misprints), and will write to Empson "what I think about it." So far, so good.
Secondly, I find I cannot with honor shrink from some sort of comparison of my Egyptian forms and roots with the Semitic and Iranian forms and roots. The facts are so enormously great, that it does not in the least matter whether the proof can be thoroughly given in all its details. I have therefore in my need thought of Roediger, and have sent a letter to him, of which I inclose a copy. You will see from it that I hold fast to your friendly promise, to stand by me in the matter of Iran. What I said on the certainty and satisfactory completeness of the tools contained in my English edition, is, I am firmly convinced, not too strong. Still, I do not mean to say that a comparison with rich results might not be instituted between such Coptic roots (I do not admit it of the grammatical forms) as have not yet been rediscovered among the hieroglyphics and the ancient Asiatic: some of them may be found again in ancient Egyptian, almost unformed and not yet ground down; but that is mere pedantry in most cases. We have enough in what lies before us in the oldest form in attested documents, to show us the right formula for the equation.
And now for a few words about my family, which is so truly attached to you, and watches your success with real affection. But no, I have something else to say first on the Niebelungen. Your delightful letter awoke a thought which has often crossed my mind, namely, that it does not appear to me that the historical and early national element, which is but thinly veiled under the poetical matter, has ever been sufficiently searched out and distinguished. Grimm hates the historical elements which lie beyond his "Beginnings of Nations," and my late dear friend Lachmann occupied himself with them most unwillingly. When, in 1825, I wrote that little treatise in French for Chateaubriand, which he printed in his "Melanges," I went over what had been said on this point, as far as it concerned me, and I was surprised to see how little had been done in it. Since that time I have heard of no investigations of the kind. But who can now believe that the mention of Gunther and the Burgundians is the one isolated historical fact in the poem? Is it not evident, for instance, that the myth of the contemporaneousness of Attila and the great Theodoric of the Ostrogoths has its historical root in the fact that Theodoric, King of the Visigoths, fell in the great battle of Chalons, 451, fighting against Attila; but his son Thorismund, to revenge his father's death, defeated the barbarians in a last assault, and gained the victory, on which the Franks pursued the Huns even across the Rhine. From this arose the connection of Attila with Theodoric, the great King of the Ostrogoths, who lived forty years later, and was intimately connected with the royal family of the Visigoths, and with the kingdom of the Visigoths, but of course could never have had any dealings with Attila.
If one neglects such intimations, one arrives at last at the Goerres and Grimm clairvoyance, where not only everything is everything, but also everything again is nothing. Etzel, though, is not really Attila to Grimm, but the fairy nature of the legend allows of no certain conclusions. But I find that everywhere, where the tools are not wanting, the fermentation and decomposition process of the historical element can be proved; from which organically and by a process exactly analogous to that of the formation of languages in the first ages of the world, the epic legend arises, which the genius of the epic poet lays hold of when the time comes, with a consciousness of an historical destiny; as the tragic poet does in later times.
If you have time, follow up this idea. This is the weak side of your generation and guild. The whole national element has been kept too much in the background in the conceit and high-stiltedness, not to say woodenness, of our critical researches. Instead of saying with the humorists of the eighteenth century, "Since Herman's death nothing new has happened in Germany," one ought to say "since Siegfried's death." The genius of the nation which mourned over Herman's fall and murder was the same that in its sorrow gave shape to the legend of Sigurd. Must not the hearts of our ancestors, whose blood flows in our veins, have felt as we do in like circumstances? The princes and their relatives have betrayed and sold and murdered the true prince of the German people, even to this day. And yet were there now but a Siegfried-Herman! "Exsurget aliquando istis ex ossibus ultor."
I take this opportunity of calling your attention to a pamphlet by Bethman-Hollweg, which has just appeared, "The Ancient Germans before the Migration of Nations." I send it to you to-day, and you must bring it back when you come. Send me word by George when you can and will come.
The Exhibition is, and will continue to be, the poetical and historical event of the period. "Les Anglais ont fait de la poesie sans s'en douter," as that excellent Jourdain said of his prose. Come and see it and us as soon as you can.
Thursday, May 15, 1851, 7 A. M.
George, in the hurry of his journey, begs you, through me, to be so kind as to be at the Oxford station when the Birmingham train arrives, Saturday (the day after to-morrow) at 12 o'clock, and then kindly to help him in showing Oxford to the princeps juventutis. They leave again at 8 o'clock in the evening. The party will of course want some rooms in the best hotel, to rest themselves. So it might be well to bespeak some rooms for the travellers as a pied a terre. The party travel under the name of Colonel Fischer or George Bunsen.
I talked over the whole plan of the forms and roots with that good Steinschneider yesterday, and requested him to ask you further about it. He willingly undertook to do the work in the course of the summer. Thus we have certainly got one, perhaps two, for the Semitic work. I have given him a copy of my "Egypt." He seems to be getting tame.
LONDON, February 3, 1852.
I have exactly a quarter of an hour before I must make myself grand for the opening of Parliament, and I will spend it in chatting with you.
I will write to Pococke notwithstanding. I cannot help believing that the German method of etymology, as applied to history by Schlegel, Lassen, and Humboldt, and of which I have endeavored to sketch the outline, is the only safe one.
You have opened my eyes to the danger of their laying such dry and cheap ravings to our account, unless we, "as Germans," protest against it.
I am rejoiced at your delight with the "Church Poetry." But Pauli never sent you what I intended; I wanted to send you the first edition of my Hymn Book (no longer to be had at the booksellers'), because it has historical and biographical notices about the composers, and contains in the Preface and Introduction the first attempt to render the features of continuity and the epochs more conspicuous. (It is my only copy, so please for this reason take great care of it.) Also I wish to draw your attention to two translations from my collection. First by Miss Cox (daughter of the Bedell in Oxford), c. 1840, small 8vo. Second by Arnold (Rugby), not Dr. Arnold. This last I can send you. It contains one translation by the great Arnold, first part. You will observe, among other points, that the most animated hymns of praise and thanksgiving were composed amid the sufferings of the Thirty Years' War. My attention has been directed to Hillebrand's "History of German Literature," three volumes, as the best work, and to Vilmar's ditto, one volume, as the most popular. I myself only possess Gelzer's thoughtful "Lectures" (from Lessing to Goethe), a book which I prefer to Gervinus, as far as a just appreciation of the national character and sentiment is concerned. (With many extracts.) I rejoice at your cheerful spirit. But now be satisfied, and make more use of the Romance languages. Tutius ibis. You have already sufficient materials. We can and will benefit this hospitable land, even without their desiring it; but cautiously! You will laugh at this, and forgive me; but I know what I am about. Next Saturday Volume II., ready bound, will lie on my table. The plan of the doctrine of the Trinity, critical and reconstructive, is a bold undertaking: the restoration of the genuine substance of the Apostolical constitutions and canons (in the second half of Volume II.) will probably have at present more success. But Volume III., The Reconstruction and the Reform! "The two text-books of the Early Church, The Church and House-Book and The Law-Book," in biblical phraseology and orthography, chiefly derived from documents never yet made known, is my piece de resistance; the sauce for it, in the Introduction, contains three chapters (The Picture, The Mirror, The Practical Reconstruction) for each section (Baptism, School, Constitution, Worship, Life).
So far I had written everything in English, tant bien que mal, without hesitating a moment for thoughts or words. But here the Muse refused,—not a single idea would flow into my pen. After three days I discovered that the spirit would and could speak German. So I then hastily added the first half of the Introduction; and I hope that the first cast of the whole will be ready this week; and a week later Cottrell will have it for translation, whilst the text-book (about 140 pages) is being printed in slips. I am afraid the English edition will not appear before the end of March; of the second I have already received Volume II. I think you will approve of the offspring. May Apollo and the Muses enlighten people about Bernays. I might then hope that he would again come here to me in the summer.
George has not yet announced his dissertation as "sent in to the faculty:" till then he is wisely silent. He appears to me to be too much there in the fashion and in society. May the devil carry off all fashionable women!
John calls. God bless you.
Wednesday.—Vivat Mueller! I am just writing my congratulations to Bernays. Vivat Dean!
Pauli's book appears in English without his doing anything to it.
You may recommend in Oxford, even to the most refined ladies and most Christian evangelicals, "Spiritual Words" from Goethe, by Lancizolle, 120 pages, 12mo (3s. beautifully bound). That is a German Bible.
You know Wackernagel's "Anthology"? It is useful, but gives too much of second rate. I will make my daughters copy out Arndt's German song for his eighty-third birthday for you. Adieu.
Saturday, March 13, 1852.
What in all the world is this undertaking to which Vaux asks my aid, the new edition of Herbelot's "Bibliotheque Orientale"? It might be made a good work, although I hate the form, but everything depends on the management. It is otherwise a mere bookseller's speculation or Jesuit's trick. I have answered provisionally that in case biblical literature is to be taken up (which is highly necessary), Ewald, Freytag, Bernays, Roediger, Hengstenberg, and Bernstein should be summoned to help. I don't quite trust the thing; but if it is possible to introduce the people to good ideas, I am ready to aid.
When are you coming? I have sent the last MS. to-day to the press, or rather to the translator. I have only now reached the point on which I can really speak in a practical tone. Volume III. will contain 600 pages.
LONDON, November 13, 1852.
Though late, I send you my hearty greetings on your return to England. I heard from Wilson that you were well, and that you had left your mother well for the winter.
Hippolytus lies here ready for you, on purpose that you may fetch it. I hope you will do so on the 18th, for which you have already received the invitation. You will find Morier also here. Is not that furious and ridiculous article in the "Morning Chronicle" on the second volume (the first article, as yet without a continuation) by the same man (of Jesus College?) on whose article in the "Ecclesiastic" on Hippolytus' book I have thrown some degree of light? The leading thought is exactly the same in both; the account of Calixtus' knavery is interpolated (by Novatianus), says the writer in the "Chronicle." This is a proof that nothing can be said against my argument requiring a serious answer. Gladstone felt ashamed of the review. It has helped the book; but it would be read even without this and the recommendation of the "Guardian"—so Longman says. One circulating library here has taken twenty-five copies, and wants more. So the book cannot be ignored; and that is all I first of all wished for, aculeum reliqui. As the people of this country, with a few exceptions that one can count upon one's fingers, do not understand the book, not even the title, and have never had a conception of what it means, to reproduce the spirit of a century of which men as yet, with the exception of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen, know only the names and enigmas (of which latter Hippolytus was one), their fault-finding with the composition of the book does not affect me at all. In spite of the timidity of nearly all English theologians, inter muros academicos et extra, I have received very many hearty and manly letters from numerous and distinguished people. The King has, on my recommendation, sent Dr. Boetticher to spend two years here and in Paris in order to bring to light the Syriac treasures which have not been laid claim to by Cureton. I see that I have not been mistaken in him in spite of his sporadic many-sidedness. I am free from the 2d of December. There is a letter of mine just printing to Miss Winkworth, "On Niebuhr's Political Character," with extracts from letters.
PRUSSIAN LEGATION, Tuesday, November 30, 1852.
General von Scharnhorst, the worthy and highly educated son of his great father, intends going to Oxford the day after tomorrow, Thursday, by the morning express, perhaps to stay over the night. I will give him a line for you, begging you to set him a little on his way. As to the collections, geographical charts will be the most interesting to him; he himself possesses the largest known collection (40,000).
As soon as this infernal game is played out in Paris, I hope to have a little leisure again. I have written a warning to Bernays: he is very much out of spirits, and still far behindhand; says he only received the proper appointment (from Gaisford) in February, and without mention of any fixed time. He will write to you, and inclose what is done as a specimen. I am delighted to hear from Lassen that Aufrecht is coming to England. Tell him to call on me. Cura ut valeas. Rawlinson has been preferred to Luynes and Wilson by the Berlin Academy.
Wednesday, December 15, 1852.
Tell Aufrecht I will try and arrange the affair for him without his paying any duty; and so at all events there will be a reduction. I was excessively pleased with Aufrecht. Your parcels for Pertz will go safely and quickly if they are here on the 1st or 15th of the month.
P. S. Aufrecht must be courageous, and keep in good spirits. Haupt is called to Berlin, which rather surprises me. Read the "Journal des Debats," Sunday, December 12, on Hippolytus. Do you know Laboulaye?
PRUSSIAN LEGATION, February 19, 1853.
Please tell me at leisure how Amestris (Herod, ix. 109) is to be explained as the wife of Xerxes? I am convinced that Esther is hidden here, which name, according to the testimony of the Book of Esther, was her Persian name, as she was first called Myrtle, as her Jewish maiden name. Therefore Am must mean "queen," "mistress," "lady," or what you may discover. I find that the idea had occurred to one and the other even about 100 years ago; but was given up, partly on account of its "godlessness;" partly on account of the uncertainty whether Ahasuerus was really Xerxes, as Scaliger declared. The Suabian simpletons (for they are so in historical matters) are the only people who now doubt this, and that the book is historical,—a book with a history on which depends the only great Jewish feast established since the days of Moses (till the Purification of the Temple, after the fall of Epiphanes). So, my dear M., send it to me. There can have been at that same time, in Persia, but one woman so vindictive and clever as Esther is. The first volume of my Prophets (from Abraham to Goethe) is ready, with a popular explanation of the age of the so-called "Great Unknown" (Isaiah) of Daniel, and all the Psalms, etc. I write only German for this, but only for the English, and yet without any reserve.
The most remarkable of the thirteen articles which I have seen on Hippolytus, is by Taylor (a Unitarian in Manchester), in the "Prospective Review" (February). He confesses that I have made the principle of the Trinity, and the national blessing of the Episcopacy and the Liturgy, clear to him. I have never seen him, but he seems to me a deep thinker. I am again in correspondence with Bernays, who promises to work at Lucretius with all diligence. I think he has more leisure, and his health is better.
To-morrow the new African expedition sets sail,—Dr. Vogel, the botanical astronomer, and his army, two volunteers from the sappers and miners. I am fully occupied with this; and but for my curiosity about Esther, you would not have had a line from me before Monday.
PRUSSIAN LEGATION, Monday.
My best thanks. All hail to the "Great Esther." She was really called Myrtle, for Hadascha is in Hebrew the myrtle—a name analogous to Susannah (the lily). That Esther is ἁστῆρ has long been generally admitted, also that Xerxes is Ahasverus. The analogy of Achasverosh and Kshayarsha has also been proved. Finally, the chronology is equally decisive. The only thing still wanting is Amestris. What it is still important to know, is, whether Ama, "great," was a common designation of exalted personages, or specially of queens (in opposition to the Pallakai), or whether the name is to be considered as an adjective to star, magna Stella. The first interpretation would make the Jewish statement more clear. I think decidedly it is the most natural. It is conceivable that Uncle Otanes, like l'oncle de Madame l'Imperatrice, should have taken a distinguished name, just as the Hebrew myrtle had been changed into a Persian star. But there is not the least hurry about all this.
I rejoice extremely over your extemporary lectures. You are now on the open sea, and "will go on swimmingly." Always keep the young men well in mind, and arrange your lectures entirely for them. I should think that the history of Greek literature (with glances backwards and forwards) after O. Mueller's "History of Greek Literature," would be a fine subject. Mure's book gives many an impulse for further thought. In what concerns the Latin inscriptions, you must rely on Gruter's "Thesaurus," after him on Morelli; of the more recent, only on Borghese and Sarti, and on the little done by my dear Kellermann. There is nothing more rare than the power of copying accurately.
Be patient with ——, if he has an honest mind. I can fancy that such a mind, having been torn, wronged, and bothered, has become very cross-grained. Only patience and love can overcome this.
Overweg has fallen a victim to his noble zeal; he lies buried in the Lake of Tsad. Vogel is happily already on the way to Malta and Tripoli.
PRUSSIAN LEGATION, March 21, 1853.
Mrs. Malcolm and Longman are as delighted as I am that Dr. Thomson will have the great kindness to write a preface to the "Theologia Germanica," and to look through the last proof-sheets. Longman has informed me this morning that he makes over half the net profits to Mrs. Malcolm, and leaves to her the future arrangements with Dr. Thomson. Mrs. Malcolm wishes for nothing for herself, but will hand over the profits to some religious institution. Will you arrange the matter with Dr. Thomson? Longman wishes to begin on the 15th of May, or even earlier, if everything is ready for press. Of course Dr. Thomson knows the beautiful (though not exhaustive, for it is unfinished) treatment of the history of this school, in the last volume of Neander's "Church History," published after his death; in which that delightful little book by Dr. C. Schmidt, "Johannes Tauler" (Heidelberg, 1841), is made use of. You know that the author has proved that the famous story of the conversion of Tauler by a layman is real history. The man was called Nicholas of Basle, and was in secret one of the Waldenses, and was afterwards burnt as such in France. I can lend this little book to your excellent friend, as well as Martensen's "Master Eckhardt" (1842), and the authentic copy of the rediscovered South-German MS. of the "Theologia Germanica."
Master Eckhardt was the deepest thinker of his school. Does Dr. Thomson ever come to London? God bless you.
April 8, 1853.
——'s attempt on "St. Hippolytus" is a new proof that he no longer even understands Greek. The critical conjecture about the spuriousness of the tenth book is worthy of the champion of the false Ignatius as against Cureton. Many thanks for your news about Dr. Thomson, which I have imparted to Mrs. Malcolm.
LONDON, May 12, 1853.
I am going to-day to 77 Marina, St. Leonard's-on-Sea (near Hastings), till the 21st or 23d, and do not see why you cannot pay me a visit there. Our hosts, the Wagners, would be delighted to give you a room, and—the sea a bath.
I take refuge there in order to write a new half-volume for the so-called second edition of Hippolytus. The whole will, however, really be a new work in three separate works and six volumes.
I hear that —— has lost his father. In future, when you send such a shy Englishman to me, let me know beforehand that he comes to talk over something with me. I had the greatest wish, and leisure too, to do all he wanted, but discovered only after he was gone that he came to ask me something.
A young friend, Dr. Arnold's son, has translated Wiese's book on schools, and wishes to know whether the translation about which you have written to Wiese, has been or will be really printed; otherwise he will publish his. Or has any other already appeared? I have been turning tables with Brewster. It is purely mechanical, the involuntary motion of the muscles of the hand to right or left, just like the ring on a thread with which one can strike the hour. Every one is mad about it here. Che razza di gente.
Now comes an urgent private request. Bekker wishes to publish a grand work, through the Clarendon Press, in return for a proper honorarium,—a definitive edition of Homer, with every possible commentary that could be wished. This is a great work, worthy of the University and of Bekker. I should like to learn through you what would be the Dean's opinion, who is, I think, favorably inclined to Bekker. It appears to me to be especially needful to guard against the work appearing as a rechauffe of Wolf, a party-work, for which the sanction of the University is desired. The proposal is "To publish a definitive edition of Homer, with Scholia and Commentary, making it as complete and absolutum as is wished." Please take the first good opportunity. I wanted to speak to the excellent man myself when he was in London, but came too late. Hearty greetings to Aufrecht. Boetticher works famously.
ST. LEONARD'S, Saturday, May 22, 1853.
I think incessantly of you, though I cannot fancy that you are in any danger. I have written to my brotherly friend Philip Pusey to help you, if needful. If you wish for good advice about the different parties, combined with perfect acquaintance with the place and people, go to him. I know few men so able to give good advice. Besides, he is very much attached to you.
The inclosed has just reached me through George. I will write to Bekker according to your advice. That your intercourse with A. has become so delightful and comfortable fulfills a hope I have cherished ever since I first saw him. I think that you have given him, in all respects, a delightful position. The German cannot easily get over the idea that God's providence shows itself far less in the eternal government of the world, and in the care taken of every soul, than in an appointment to the civil service. There are few such places in England for men of genius. But he cannot fail with us in Germany, if he distinguishes himself in England; only he should in time undertake some important and great work.
The Cologne choir sing here from the 7th to the 21st of June. Eighty voices. It will be a great treat. Arrange so as to hear something of it. Carl is Secretary of Legation and Charge d'Affaires at Turin. George tills the ground, but not yet his own; but that will come some day, like the kingdom of heaven. Henry is preparing to collate the "Codex Claromontanus," and has already worked well on the imperfect text. Ernst arranges his garden and house, and has made a bowling-green for me. I am now translating my Hippolytus into historical language, in what I call a second edition. Write soon, as to how it is arranged about your professorship.
CARLTON TERRACE, Derby Day.
I received your letter here yesterday, from St. Leonard's, and wrote at once to Pusey. I think it will all go right. In your place, I would go at once to Pusey, after announcing myself the previous day.
Tell me why cannot you help that good A. to the L250 for the best treatise on the Sankhya philosophy? I believe he has the right stuff in him for opposing Pantheism, which is what is desired.
Now for a request. I am writing the second of my five works, which have been called into existence by Hippolytus.
Sketches on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind:—
A. On the Philosophy of Language. B. On the Philosophy of Religion.
A. is a reproduction and improved arrangement of the lecture in Oxford, which now lies buried in the "Transactions." In working over the historical part, I have put aside a chapter, "The Primitive Languages in India;" but find out, just as I intended to make you the heros eponymus, that you only dealt in your lecture with Bengali, the Sanskrit affinity of which requires to be demonstrated only to such wrong-headed men as the Buddhists are. Could you not write a little article on this for my book? The original language in India must have been Turanian, not Semitic; but we are bound in honor to prove it.
Monday, May 30.—My letter has been left unsent. I have just received yours. Let me repeat what I wrote and underlined on the first page. It is a great trial of patience, but be patient, that is, wise. One must never allow the toilsome labor of years of quiet reflection and of utmost exertion for the attainment of one's aim to be destroyed by an unpropitious event. It is most probable, and also the best for you, that the affair should not now be hurried through. Your claims are stronger every quarter, and will certainly become more so in the eyes of the English through good temper and patience under trying circumstances. I don't for a moment doubt that you will be elected. Germany would suit you now as little as it would me; and we both should not suit Germany. Spartam quam nactus es orna, your good genius cries to you. So patience, my dear friend, and with a good will.
Boetticher is on the eve of bringing to a successful issue his thesis, "That the triliteral roots have become biliteral, according to an organic law." He has advanced very much in critical research. I shall write a reductio ad absurdum review on the Rev. —— ——. It is really a book written invita Minerva.
Write soon again to me. With hearty sympathy and true friendship.
Can you do anything for the good man in Naumburg?
LONDON, July 1, 1853.
Good morning, my dear M. You were so good as to promise me a chapter for my "Sketch of the History of the Philosophy of Language;" namely, the results of the latest investigations concerning the unity and Turanian character of the non-Sanskrit languages of India. The printing of my three volumes goes on so fast that I am already revising the Celtic portion, of which Meyer is the Heros.
If, in your researches on the relationship of the Vedic language with Zend, you have hit on new formulas, please gather these results together into a separate chapter. Only one request,—without any delay, for the printing presses. I hope you are satisfied about your future in Oxford. Greet your friend and companion, whom we all liked very much. Again four new men from Dessau among the arrivals! One is a famous actor from Berlin, and has brought a letter from Lepsius. Lucien Bonaparte (brother of Canino) is now writing a book here, "Sur l'Origine des Langues." No war!
Monday, July 5, 1853.