The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II, No. 8, June 1858
Author: Various
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[Footnote 13: KORTHOLT. Epistolae ad Diversos, Vol. I.]


The interest to us in this extraordinary man—who died at Hanover, 1716, in the midst of his labors and projects—turns mainly on his speculative philosophy. It was only as an incidental pursuit that he occupied himself with metaphysic; yet no philosopher since Aristotle— with whom, though claiming to be more Platonic than Aristotelian, he has much in common—has furnished more luminous hints to the elucidation of metaphysical problems. The problems he attempted were those which concern the most inscrutable, but, to the genuine metaphysician, most fascinating of all topics, the nature of substance, matter and spirit, absolute being,—in a word, Ontology. This department of metaphysic, the most interesting, and, agonistically [14], the most important branch of that study, has been deliberately, purposely, and, with one or two exceptions, uniformly avoided by the English metaphysicians so-called, with Locke at their head, and equally by their Scottish successors, until the recent "Institutes" of the witty Professor of St. Andrew's. Locke's "Essay concerning the Human Understanding," a century and a half ago, diverted the English mind from metaphysic proper into what is commonly called Psychology, but ought, of right, to be termed Nology, or "Philosophy of the Human Mind," as Dugald Stewart entitled his treatise. This is the study which has usually taken the place of metaphysic at Cambridge and other colleges,—the science that professes to show "how ideas enter the mind"; which, considering the rareness of the occurrence with the mass of mankind, we cannot regard as a very practical inquiry. We well remember our disappointment, when, at the usual stage in the college curriculum, we were promised "metaphysics" and were set to grind in Stewart's profitless mill, where so few problems of either practical or theoretical importance are brought to the hopper, and where, in fact, the object is rather to show how the upper mill-stone revolves upon the nether, (reflection upon sensation,) and how the grist is conveyed to the feeder, than to realize actual metaphysical flour.

[Footnote 14: That is, as a discipline of the faculties,—the chief benefit to be derived from any kind of metaphysical study.]

Locke's reason for repudiating ontology is the alleged impossibility of arriving at truth in that pursuit,—"of finding satisfaction in a quiet and sure possession of truths that most concern us, whilst we let loose our thoughts into the vast ocean of being." [15] Unfortunately, however, as Kant has shown, the results of nological inquiry are just as questionable as those of ontology, whilst the topics on which it is employed are of far inferior moment. If, as Locke intimates, we can know nothing of being without first analyzing the understanding, it is equally sure that we can know nothing of the understanding except in union with and in action on being. And excepting his own fundamental position concerning the sensuous origin of our ideas,—to which few, since Kant, will assent,— there is hardly a theorem, in all the writings of this school, of prime and vital significance. The school is tartly, but aptly, characterized by Professor Ferrier: "Would people inquire directly into the laws of thought and of knowledge by merely looking to knowledge or to thought itself, without attending to what is known or what is thought of? Psychology usually goes to work in this abstract fashion; but such a mode of procedure is hopeless,—as hopeless as the analogous instance by which the wits of old were wont to typify any particularly fruitless undertaking,—namely, the operation of milking a he-goat into a sieve. No milk comes, in the first place, and even that the sieve will not retain! There is a loss of nothing twice over. Like the man milking, the inquirer obtains no milk in the first place; and, in the second place, he loses it, like the man holding the sieve.... Our Scottish philosophy, in particular, has presented a spectacle of this description. Reid obtained no result, owing to the abstract nature of his inquiry, and the nothingness of his system has escaped through all the sieves of his successors." [16]

[Footnote 15: Essay, Book I. Chap. 1, Sect. 7.]

[Footnote 16: Institutes of Metaphysic, p. 301.]

Leibnitz's metaphysical speculations are scattered through a wide variety of writings, many of which are letters to his contemporaries. These Professor Erdmann has incorporated in his edition of the Philosophical Works. Beside these we may mention, as particularly deserving of notice, the "Meditationes de Cognitione, Veritate et Ideis", the "Systeme Nouveau de la Nature", "De Prim Philosophi Emendatione et de Notione Substanti", "Reflexions sur l'Essai de l'Entendement humain", "De Rerum Originatione Radicali", "De ipsa Natura", "Considerations sur la Doctrine d'un Esprit universel", "Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entendement humain", "Considerations sur le Principe de Vie". To these we must add the "Thodice" (though more theological than metaphysical) and the "Monadologie", the most compact philosophical treatise of modern time. It is worthy of note, that, writing in the desultory, fragmentary, and accidental way he did, he not only wrote with unexampled clearness on matters the most abstruse, but never, that we are aware, in all the variety of his communications, extending over so many years, contradicted himself. No philosopher is more intelligible, none more consequent.

In philosophy, Leibnitz was a Realist. We use that term in the modern, not in the scholastic sense. In the scholastic sense, as we have seen, he was not a Realist, but, from childhood up, a Nominalist. But the Realism of the schools has less affinity with the Realism than with the Idealism of the present day.

His opinions must be studied in connection with those of his contemporaries.

Des Cartes, Spinoza, Locke, and Leibnitz, the four most distinguished philosophers of the seventeenth century, represent four widely different and cardinal tendencies in philosophy: Dualism, Idealism, Sensualism, and Realism.

Des Cartes perceived the incompatibility of the two primary qualities of being, thought and extension, as attributes of one and the same (created) substance. He therefore postulated two (created) substances,—one characterized by thought without extension, the other by extension without thought. These two are so alien and so incongruous, that neither can influence the other, or determine the other, or any way relate with the other, except by direct mediation of Deity. (The doctrine of Occasional Causes.) This is Dualism,— that sharp and rigorous antithesis of mind and matter, which Des Cartes, if he did not originate it, was the first to develop into philosophic significance, and which ever since has been the prevailing ontology of the Western world. So deeply has the thought of that master mind inwrought itself into the very consciousness of humanity!

Spinoza saw, that, if God alone can bring mind and matter together and effect a relation between them, it follows that mind and matter, or their attributes, however contrary, do meet in Deity; and if so, what need of three distinct natures? What need of two substances beside God, as subjects of these attributes? Retain the middle term and drop the extremes and you have the Spinozan doctrine of one (uncreated) substance, combining the attributes of thought and extension. This is Pantheism, or objective idealism, as distinguished from the subjective idealism of Fichte. Strange, that the stigma of atheism should have been affixed to a system whose very starting-point is Deity and whose great characteristic is the ignoration of everything but Deity, insomuch that the pure and devout Novalis pronounced the author a God-drunken man, and Spinozism a surfeit of Deity. [17]

[Footnote 17: Let us not be misunderstood. Pantheism is not Theism, and the one substance of Spinoza is very unlike the one God of theology; but neither is the doctrine Atheism in any legitimate sense.]

Naturally enough, the charge of atheism comes from the unbelieving Bayle, whose omnivorous mind, like the anaconda, assisted its enormous deglutition with a poisonous saliva of its own, and whose negative temper makes the "Dictionnaire Historique" more Morgue than Valhalla.

Locke, who combined in a strange union strong religious faith with philosophic unbelief, turned aside, as we have seen, from the questions which had occupied his predecessors; knew little and cared less about substance and accident, matter and spirit; but set himself to investigate the nature of the organ itself by which truth is apprehended. In this investigation he began by emptying the mind of all native elements of knowledge. He repudiated any supposed dowry of original truths or innate or connate ideas, and endeavored to show how, by acting on the report of the senses and personal experience, the understanding arrives at all the ideas of which it is conscious. The mode of procedure in this case is empiricism; the result with Locke was sensualism,—more fully developed by Condillac, [18] in the next century. But the same method may lead, as in the case of Berkeley, to immaterialism, falsely called idealism. Or it may lead, as in the case of Helveticus, to materialism. Locke himself would probably have landed in materialism, had he followed freely the bent of his own thought, without the restraints of a cautious temper, and respect for the common and traditional opinion of his time. The "Essay" discovers an unmistakable leaning in that direction; as where the author supposes, "We shall never be able to know whether any mere material being thinks or no; it being impossible for us, by the contemplation of our own ideas, without revelation, to discover whether Omnipotency has not given to some systems of matter fitly disposed a power to perceive and think;... it being, in respect of our notions, not much more remote from our comprehension to conceive that God can, if he pleases, superadd to matter a faculty of thinking, than that he should superadd to it another substance with a faculty of thinking, since we know not wherein thinking consists, nor to what sort of substances the Almighty has been pleased to give that power, which cannot be in any created being but merely by the good pleasure and bounty of the Creator. For I see no contradiction in it, that the first thinking eternal Being should, if he pleased, give to certain systems of created, senseless matter, put together as he thinks fit, some degrees of sense, perception, and thought." With such notions of the nature of thought, as a kind of mechanical contrivance, that can be conferred outright by an arbitrary act of Deity, and attached to one nature as well as another, it is evident that Locke could have had no idea of spirit as conceived by metaphysicians,—or no belief in that idea, if conceived. And with such conceptions of Deity and Divine operations, as consisting in absolute power dissociated from absolute reason, one would not be surprised to find him asserting, that God, if he pleased, might make two and two to be one, instead of four,—that mathematical laws are arbitrary determinations of the Supreme Will,—that a thing is true only as God wills it to be so,—in fine, that there is no such thing as absolute truth. The resort to "Omnipotency" in such matters is more convenient than philosophical; it is a dodging of the question, instead of an attempt to solve it. Divine ordination—"[Greek: Doz d' etelevto Bonlae]"—is a maxim which settles all difficulties. But it also precludes all inquiry. Why speculate at all, with this universal solvent at hand?

[Footnote 18: Essai sur l'Origine du Connaissances humaines. Book IV. Chap. 3, Sect. 6.]

The "contradiction" which Locke could not see was clearly seen and keenly felt by Leibnitz. The arbitrary will of God, to him, was no solution. He believed in necessary truths independent of the Supreme Will; in other words, he believed that the Supreme Will is but the organ of the Supreme Reason: "Il ne faut point s'imaginer, que les vrits ternelles, tant dpendantes de Dieu, sont arbitrags et dpendent de sa volont." He felt, with Des Cartes, the incompatibility of thought with extension, considered as an immanent quality of substance, and he shared with Spinoza the unific propensity which distinguishes the higher order of philosophic minds. Dualism was an offence to him. On the other hand, he differed from Spinoza in his vivid sense of individuality, of personality. The pantheistic idea of a single, sole being, of which all other beings are mere modalities, was also and equally an offence to him. He saw well the illusoriness and unfruitfulness of such a universe as Spinoza dreamed. He saw it to be a vain imagination, a dream-world, "without form and void," nowhere blossoming into reality. The philosophy of Leibnitz is equally remote from that of Des Cartes on the one hand, and from that of Spinoza on the other. He diverges from the former on the question of substance, which Des Cartes conceived as consisting of two kinds, one active (thinking) and one passive (extended), but which Leibnitz conceives to be all and only active. He explodes Dualism, and resolves the antithesis of matter and spirit by positing extension as a continuous act instead of a passive mode, substance as an active force instead of an inert mass,—matter as substance appearing, communicating,—as the necessary band and relation of spirits among themselves. [19]

[Footnote 19: The following passages may serve as illustrations of these positions:—

"Materia habet de so actum entitativum."—De Princip. Indiv. Coroll. I.

"Dicam interim notionem virium seu virtutis, (quam Germani vocant Kraft, Galli, la force,) cui ego explicandae peculiarem Dynamices scientiam destinavi, plurimum lucis afferre ad veram notionem substantiae intelligendam."—De Primae Philosoph. Emendat, et de Notione Substantiae.

"Corpus ergo est agens extensum; dici poterit esse substantiam extensam, modo teneatur omnem substantiam agere, at omne agens substantiam appellari." "Patebit non tantum mentes, sed etiam substantiae omnes in loco, non nisi per operationem esse."— De Vera Method. Phil. et Theol.

"Extensionem concipere ut absolutum ex eo forte oritur quod spatium concipimus per modum substantiae"—Ad Des Bosses Ep. XXIX.

"Car l'tendue ne signifie qu'une rptition ou multiplicit continue de ce qui est rpandu."—Extrait d'une Lettre, etc.

"Et l'on peut dire que Ptunduc est en quelque faon l'espace comme la dure est au tems."—Exam. des Principes de Malebranche.

"La nature de la substance consistant mon avis dans cette tendance rgle de laquelle les phnomnes naissent par ordre."—Lettre M. Bayle.

"Car rien n'a mieux marqu la substance que la puissance d'agir."— Rponse aux Objections du P. Lami.

"S'il n'y avait que des esprits, ils seraient sans la liaison ncessaire, sans l'ordre des tems et des lieux."—Theod. Sect. 120.]

He parts company with Spinoza on the question of individuality. Substance is homogeneous; but substances, or beings, are infinite. Spinoza looked upon the universe and saw in it the undivided background on which the objects of human consciousness are painted as momentary pictures. Leibnitz looked and saw that background, like the background of one of Raphael's Madonnas, instinct with individual life, and swarming with intelligences which look out from every point of space. Leibnitz's universe is composed of Monads, that is, units, individual substances, or entities, having neither extension, parts, nor figure, and, of course, indivisible. These are "the veritable atoms of nature, the elements of things."

The Monad is unformed and imperishable; it has no natural end or beginning. It could begin to be only by creation; it can cease to be only by annihilation. It cannot be affected from without or changed in its interior by any other creature. Still, it must have qualities, without which it would not be an entity. And monads must differ one from another, or there would be no changes in our experience; since all that takes place in compound bodies is derived from the simples which compose them. Moreover, the monad, though uninfluenced from without, is changing continually; the change proceeds from an internal principle. Every monad is subject to a multitude of affections and relations, although without parts. This shifting state, which represents multitude in unity, is nothing else than what we call Perception, which must be carefully distinguished from Apperception, or consciousness. And the action of the internal principle which causes change in the monad, or a passing from one perception to another, is Appetition. The desire does not always attain to the perception to which it tends, but it always effects something, and causes a change of perceptions.

Leibnitz differs from Locke in maintaining that perception is inexplicable and inconceivable on mechanical principles. It is always the act of a simple substance, never of a compound. And "in simple substances there is nothing but perceptions and their changes." [20]

[Footnote 20: Menadol. 17.]

He differs from Locke, furthermore, on the question of the origin of ideas. This question, he says, "is not a preliminary one in philosophy, and one must have made great progress to be able to grapple successfully with it."—"Meanwhile, I think I may say, that our ideas, even those of sensible objects, viennent de ntre propre fond... I am by no means for the tabula rasa of Aristotle; on the contrary, there is to me something rational (quelque chose de solide) in what Plato called reminiscence. Nay, more than that, we have not only a reminiscence of all our past thoughts, but we have also a presentiment of all our thoughts." [21]

[Footnote 21: Reflexions sur l'Essai de l'Entendement humain.]

Mr. Lewes, in his "Biographical History of Philosophy," speaks of the essay from which these words are quoted, as written in "a somewhat supercilious tone." We are unable to detect any such feature in it. That trait was wholly foreign from Leibnitz's nature. "Car je suis des plus dociles," he says of himself, in this same essay. He was the most tolerant of philosophers. "Je ne mprise presque rien."—"Nemo est ingenio minus quam ego censorio."— "Mirum dictu: probo pleraque quae lego."—"Non admodum refutationes quaerere aut legere soleo."

To return to the monads. Each monad, according to Leibnitz, is, properly speaking, a soul, inasmuch as each is endowed with perception. But in order to distinguish those which have only perception from those which have also sentiment and memory, he will call the latter souls, the former monads or entelechies. [22]

[Footnote 22: Entelechy ([Greek: entelechia]) is an Aristotelian term, signifying activity, or more properly perhaps, self action. Leibnitz understands by it something complete in itself ([Greek: echon to enteles]). Mr. Butler, in his History of Ancient Philosophy, lately reprinted in this country, translates it "act." Function, we think would be a better rendering. (See W. Archer Butler's Lectures, Last Series, Lect. 2.) Aristotle uses the word as a definition of the soul. "The soul," he says, "is the first entelechy of an active body."]

The naked monad, he says, has perceptions without relief, or "enhanced flavor"; it is in a state of stupor. Death, he thinks, may produce this state for a time in animals. The monads completely fill the world; there is never and nowhere a void, and never complete inanimateness and inertness. The universe is a plenum of souls. Wherever we behold an organic whole, (unum per se,) there monads are grouped around a central monad to which they are subordinate, and which they are constrained to serve so long as that connection lasts. Masses of inorganic matter are aggregations of monads without a regent, or sentient soul (unum per accidens). There can be no monad without matter, that is, without society, and no soul without a body. Not only the human soul is indestructible and immortal, but also the animal soul. There is no generation out of nothing, and no absolute death. Birth is expansion, development, growth; and death is contraction, envelopment, decrease. The monads which are destined to become human souls have existed from the beginning in organic matter, but only as sentient or animal souls, without reason. They remain in this condition until the generation of the human beings to which they belong, and then develope themselves into rational souls. The different organs and members of the body are also relatively souls which collect around them a number of monads for a specific purpose, and so on ad infinitum. Matter is not only infinitely divisible, but infinitely divided. All matter (so called) is living and active. "Every particle of matter may be conceived as a garden of plants, or as a pond full of fishes. But each branch of each plant, each member of each animal, each drop of their humors, is in turn another such garden or pond." [23]

[Footnote 23: Monadol. 67.]

The connection between monads, consequently the connection between soul and body, is not composition, but an organic relation,—in some sort, a spontaneous relation. The soul forms its own body, and moulds it to its purpose. This hypothesis was afterward embraced and developed as a physiological principle by Stahl. As all the atoms in one body are organically related, so all the beings in the universe are organically related to each other and to the All. One creature, or one organ of a creature, being given, there is given with it the world's history from the beginning to the end. All bodies are strictly fluid; the universe is in flux.

The principle of continuity answers the same purpose in Leibnitz's system that the single substance does in Spinoza's. It vindicates the essential unity of all being. Yet the two conceptions are immeasurably different, and constitute an immeasurable difference between the two systems, considered in their practical and moral bearings, as well as their ontological aspects. Spinoza [24] starts with the idea of the Infinite, or the All-One, from which there is no logical deduction of the individual. And in Spinoza's system the individual does not exist except as a modality. But the existence of the individual is one of the primordial truths of the human mind, the foremost fact of consciousness. With this, therefore, Leibnitz begins, and arrives, by logical induction, to the Absolute and Supreme. Spinoza ends where he begins, in pantheism; the moral result of his system, Godward, is fatalism,—manward, indifferentism and negation of moral good and evil. Leibnitz ends in theism; the moral result of his system, Godward, is optimism,—manward, liberty, personal responsibility, moral obligation.

[Footnote 24: See Helferich's Spinoza, und Leibnitz, p. 76.]

He demonstrates the being of God by the necessity of a sufficient reason to account for the series of things. Each finite thing requires an antecedent or contingent cause. But the supposition of an endless sequence of contingent causes, or finite things, is absurd; the series must have had a beginning, and that beginning cannot have been a contingent cause or finite thing. "The final reason of things must be found in a necessary substance in which the detail of changes exists eminently, (ne soit qu'minemment,) as in its source; and this is what we call God." [25]

[Footnote 25: Monadol. 38.]

The idea of God is of such a nature, that the being corresponding to it, if possible, must be actual. We have the idea; it involves no bounds, no negation, consequently no contradiction. It is the idea of a possible, therefore of an actual.

"God is the primitive Unity, or the simple original Substance of which all the creatures, or original monads, are the products, and are generated, so to speak, by continual fulgurations from moment to moment, bounded by the receptivity of the creature, of whose existence limitation is an essential condition." [26]

[Footnote 26: Ib. 47.]

The philosophic theologian and the Christianizing philosopher will rejoice to find in this proposition a point of reconciliation between the extramundane God of pure theism and the cardinal principle of Spinozism, the immanence of Deity in creation,—a principle as dear to the philosophic mind as that of the extramundane Divinity is to the theologian. The universe of Spinoza is a self-existent unit, divine in itself, but with no Divinity behind it. That of Leibnitz is an endless series of units from a self-existent and divine source. The one is an infinite deep, the other an everlasting flood.

The doctrine of the Prestablished Harmony, so intimately and universally associated with the name of Leibnitz, has found little favor with his critics, or even with his admirers. Feuerbach calls it his weak side, and thinks that Leibnitz's philosophy, else so profound, was here, as in other instances, overshadowed by the popular creed; that he accommodated himself to theology, as a highly cultivated and intelligent man, conscious of his superiority, accommodates himself to a lady in his conversation with her, translating his ideas into her language, and even paraphrasing them. From this view of Leibnitz, as implying insincerity, we utterly dissent. [27]

[Footnote 27: See, in connection with this point, two admirable essays by Lessing,—the one entitled Leibnitz on Eternal Punishment, the other Objections of Andreas Wissowatius to the Doctrine of the Trinity. Of the latter the real topic is Leibnitz's Defensio Trinitatis. The sharp-sighted Lessing, than whom no one has expressed a greater reverence for Leibnitz, emphatically asserts and vigorously defends the philosopher's orthodoxy.]

The author of the "Thodice" was not more interested in philosophy than he was in theology. His thoughts and his purpose did equal justice to both. The deepest wish of his heart was to reconcile them, not by formal treaty, but in loving and condign union. We do not, however, object to an esoteric and exoteric view of the doctrine in question; and we quite agree with Feuerbach that the phrase prtablie does not express a metaphysical determination. It is one thing to say, that God, by an arbitrary decree from everlasting, has so predisposed and predetermined every motion in the world of matter that each volition of a rational agent finds in the constant procession of physical forces a concurrent event by which it is executed, but which would have taken place without his volition, just as the mail-coach takes our letter, if we have one, but goes all the same, when we do not write,—this is the gross, exoteric view,—and a very different thing it is to say, that the monads composing the human system and the universe of things are so related, adjusted, accommodated to each other, and to the whole, each being a representative of all the rest and a mirror of the universe, that each feels all that passes in the rest, and all conspire in every act, [28] more or less effectively, in the ratio of their nearness to the prime agent. This is Leibnitz's idea of prestablished harmony, which, perhaps, would be better expressed by the term "necessary consent." "In the ideas of God, each monad has a right to demand that God, in regulating the rest from the commencement of things, shall have regard to it; for since a created monad can have no physical influence on the interior of another, it is only by this means that one can be dependent on another."—"The soul follows its own laws and the body follows its own, and they meet in virtue of the prestablished harmony which exists between all substances, as representatives of one and the same universe. Souls act according to the laws of final causes by appetitions, etc. Bodies act according to the laws of efficient causes or the laws of motion. And the two kingdoms, that of efficient causes and that of final causes, harmonize with each other." [29]

[Footnote 28: In this connection, Leibnitz quotes the remarkable saying of Hippocrates, [Greek: Sumpnoia panta]. The universe breathes together, conspires.—Monadal. 61.]

[Footnote 29: Monadol. 78, 79.]

The Prestablished Harmony, then, is to be regarded as the philosophic statement of a fact, and not as a theory concerning the cause of the fact. But, like all philosophic and adequate statements, it answers the purpose of a theory, and clears up many difficulties. It is the best solution we know of the old contradiction of free-will and fate,—individual liberty and a necessary world. This antithesis disappears in the light of the Leibnitian philosophy, which resolves freedom and necessity into different points of view and different stages of development. The principle of the Prestablished Harmony was designed by Leibnitz to meet the difficulty, started by Des Cartes, of explaining the conformity between the perceptions of the mind and the corresponding affections of the body, since mind and matter, in his view, could have no connection with, or influence on each other. The Cartesians explained this correspondence by the theory of occasional causes, that is, by the intervention of the Deity, who was supposed by his arbitrary will to have decreed a certain perception or sensation in the mind to go with a certain affection of the body, with which, however, it had no real connection. "Car il" (that is, M. Bayle) "est persuad avec les Cartsiens modernes, que les ides des qualits sensibles que Dieu donne, selon eux, l'me, l'occasion des mouvemens du corps, n'ont rien qui reprsente ces mouvemens, ou qui leur ressemble; de sorte qu'il toit purement arbitraire que Dieu nous donnt les ides de la chaleur, du froid, de la lumire et autres que nous exprimentons, ou qu'il nous en donnt de tout-autres cette mme occasion." [30]

[Footnote 30: Thodice. Partie II. 340.]

If the body was exposed to the flame, there was no more reason, according to this theory, why the soul should be conscious of pain than of pleasure, except that God had so ordained. Such a supposition was shocking to our philosopher, who could tolerate no arbitrariness in God and no gap or discrepancy in nature, and who, therefore, sought to explain, by the nature of the soul itself and its kindred monads, the correspondence for which so violent an hypothesis was embraced by the Cartesians.

We have left ourselves no room to speak as we would of Leibnitz as theosopher. It was in this character that he obtained, in the last century, his widest fame. The work by which he is most commonly known, by which alone he is known to many, is the "Thodice,"—an attempt to vindicate the goodness of God against the cavils of unbelievers. He was one of the first to apply to this end the cardinal principle of the Lutheran Reformation,—the liberty of reason. He was one of the first to treat unbelief, from the side of religion, as an error of judgment, not as rebellion against rightful authority. The latter was and is the Romanist view. The former is the Protestant theory, but was not then, and is not always now, the Protestant practice. Theology then was not concerned to vindicate the reason or the goodness of God. It gloried in his physical strength by which he would finally crush dissenters from orthodoxy. Leibnitz knew no authority independent of Reason, and no God but the Supreme Reason directing Almighty Good-will. The philosophic conclusion justly deducible from this view of God, let cavillers say what they will, is Optimism. Accordingly, Optimism, or the doctrine of the best possible world, is the theory of the "Thodice." Our limits will not permit us to analyze the argument of this remarkable work. Bunsen says, "It necessarily failed because it was a not quite honest compound of speculation and divinity." [31]

[Footnote 31: Outlines of the Philos. of Univ. Hist. Vol. I. Chap. 6.]

Few at the present day will pretend to be entirely satisfied with its reasoning, but all who are familiar with it know it to be a treasury of wise and profound thoughts and of noble sentiments and aspirations. Bonnet, the naturalist, called it his "Manual of Christian Philosophy"; and Fontenelle, in his eulogy, speaks enthusiastically of its luminous and sublime views, of its reasonings, in which the mind of the geometer is always apparent, of its perfect fairness toward those whom it controverts, and its rich store of anecdote and illustration. Even Stewart, who was not familiar with it, and who, as might be expected, strangely misconceives and misrepresents the author, is compelled to echo the general sentiment. He pronounces it a work in which are combined together in an extraordinary degree "the acuteness of the logician, the imagination of the poet, and the impenetrable yet sublime darkness of the metaphysical theologian." The Italics are ours. Our reason for doubting Stewart's familiarity with the "Thodice," and with Leibnitz in general, is derived in part from these phrases. We do not believe that any sincere student of Leibnitz has found him dark and impenetrable. Be it a merit or a fault, this predicate is inapplicable. Never was metaphysician more explicit and more intelligible. Had he been disposed to mysticize and to shroud himself in "impenetrable darkness," he would have found it difficult to indulge that propensity in French. Thanks to the strict rgime and happy limitations of that idiom, the French is not a language in which philosophy can hide itself. It is a tight-fitting coat, which shows the exact form, or want of form, of the thought it clothes, without pad or fold to simulate fulness or to veil defects. It was a Frenchman, we are aware, who discovered that "the use of language is to conceal thought"; but that use, so far as French is concerned, has been hitherto monopolized by diplomacy.

Another reason for questioning Stewart's familiarity with Leibnitz is his misconception of that author, which we choose to impute to ignorance rather than to wilfulness. This misconception is strikingly exemplified in a prominent point of Leibnitian philosophy. Stewart says: "The zeal of Leibnitz in propagating the dogma of Necessity is not easily reconcilable with the hostility which he uniformly displays against the congenial doctrine of Materialism." [32]

[Footnote 32: General View of the Prog. of Metaph. Eth. and Polit. Phil. Boston: 1822. p. 75.]

Now it happens that "the zeal of Leibnitz" was exerted in precisely the opposite direction. A considerable section of the "Thodice" (34-75) is occupied with the illustration and defence of the Freedom of the Will. It was a doctrine on which he laid great stress, and which forms an essential part of his system; [33] in proof of which, let one declaration stand for many: "Je suis d'opinion que notre volont n'est pas seulement exempte de la contrainte, mais encore de la ncessit." How far he succeeded in establishing that doctrine in accordance with the rest of his system is another question. That he believed it and taught it is a fact of which there can be no more doubt with those who have studied his writings, than there is that he wrote the works ascribed to him. But the freedom of will maintained by Leibnitz was not indeterminism. It was not the indifference of the tongue of the balance between equal weights, or that of the ass between equal bundles of hay. Such an equilibrium he declares impossible. "Cet quilibre en tout sens est impossible." Buridan's imaginary case of the ass is a fiction "qui ne sauroit avoir lieu dans l'univers." [34]

[Footnote 33: "Numquam Leibnitio in mentem venisse libertatem velle evertere, in qua defendenda quam maxime fuit occupatus, omnia scripta, precipue autem Theodica ejus, clamitant."—KORTHOLT, Vol. IV. p. 12.]

[Footnote 34: Leibnitz seems to have been of the same mind with Dante:—

"Intra duo cibi distanti e moventi D' un modo, prima si morria di fame Che liber' uomo l'un recasse a' denti." Parad, iv. 1.]

The will is always determined by motives, but not necessarily constrained by them. This is his doctrine, emphatically stated and zealously maintained. We doubt if any philosopher, equally profound and equally sincere, will ever find room in his conclusions for a greater measure of moral liberty than the "Thodice" has conceded to man. "In respect to this matter," says Arthur Schopenhauer, "the great thinkers of all times are agreed and decided, just as surely as the mass of mankind will never see and comprehend the great truth, that the practical operation of liberty is not to be sought in single acts, but in the being and nature of man." [35]

[Footnote 35: Ueber den Willen in der Natur. FRANKFURT A.M. 1854. p. 22.]

Leibnitz's construction of the idea of a possible liberty consistent with the prestablished order of the universe is substantially that of Schelling in his celebrated essay on this subject. We must not dwell upon it, but hasten to conclude our imperfect sketch.

The ground-idea of the "Thodice" is expressed in the phrase, "Best-possible world." Evil is a necessary condition of finite being, but the end of creation is the realization of the greatest possible perfection within the limits of the finite. The existing universe is one of innumerable possible universes, each of which, if actualized, would have had a different measure of good and evil. The present, rather than any other, was made actual, as presenting to Divine Intelligence the smallest measure of evil and the greatest amount of good. This idea is happily embodied in the closing apologue, designed to supplement one of Laurentius Valla, a writer of the fifteenth century. Theodorus, priest of Zeus at Dodona, demands why that god has permitted to Sextus the evil will which was destined to bring so much misery on himself and others. Zeus refers him to his daughter Athene. He goes to Athens, is commanded to lie down in the temple of Pallas, and is there visited with a dream. The vision takes him to the Palace of Destinies, which contains the plans of all possible worlds. He examines one plan after another; in each the same Sextus plays a different part and experiences a different fate. The plans improve as he advances, till at last he comes upon one whose superior excellence enchants him with delight. After revelling awhile in the contemplation of this perfect world, he is told that this is the actual world in which he lives. But in this the crime of Sextus is a necessary constituent; it could not be what it is as a whole, were it other than it is in its single parts.

Whatever may be thought of Leibnitz's success in demonstrating his favorite doctrine, the theory of Optimism commends itself to piety and reason as that view of human and divine things which most redounds to the glory of God and best expresses the hope of man,—as the noblest and therefore the truest theory of Divine rule and human destiny.

We recall at this moment but one English writer of supreme mark who has held and promulged, in its fullest extent, the theory of Optimism. That one is a poet. The "Essay on Man," with one or two exceptions, might almost pass for a paraphrase of the "Thodice"; and Pope, with characteristic vigor, has concentrated the meaning of that treatise in one word, which is none the less true, in the sense intended, because of its possible perversion,—"Whatever is, is right."

* * * * *




They had lived thus nearly a year, when, one day as they were riding on horseback, Alfred saw Mr. Grossman approaching. "Drop your veil," he said, quickly, to his companion; for he could not bear to have that Satyr even look upon his hidden flower. The cotton-broker noticed the action, but silently touched his hat, and passed with a significant smile on his uncomely countenance. A few days afterward, when Alfred had gone to his business in the city, Loo Loo strolled to her favorite recess on the hill-side, and, lounging on the rustic seat, began to read the second volume of "Thaddeus of Warsaw." She was so deeply interested in the adventures of the noble Pole, that she forgot herself and all her surroundings. Masses of glossy dark hair fell over the delicate hand that supported her head; her morning-gown, of pink French muslin, fell apart, and revealed a white embroidered skirt, from beneath which obtruded one small foot, in an open-work silk stocking; the slipper having fallen to the ground. Thus absorbed, she took no note of time, and might have remained until summoned to dinner, had not a slight rustling disturbed her. She looked up, and saw a coarse face peering at her between the pine boughs, with a most disgusting expression. She at once recognized the man they had met during their ride; and starting to her feet, she ran like a deer before the hunter. It was not till she came near the house, that she was aware of having left her slipper. A servant was sent for it, but returned, saying it was not to be found. She mourned over the loss, for the little pink kid slippers, embroidered with silver, were a birth-day present from Alfred. As soon as he returned, she told him the adventure, and went with him to search the arbor of pines. The incident troubled him greatly. "What a noxious serpent, to come crawling into our Eden!" he exclaimed. "Never come here alone again, dearest; and never go far from the house, unless Madame is with you."

Her circle of enjoyments was already small, excluded as she was from society by her anomalous position, and educated far above the caste in which the tyranny of law and custom so absurdly placed her. But it is one of the blessed laws of compensation, that the human soul cannot miss that to which it has never been accustomed. Madame's motherly care, and Alfred's unvarying tenderness, sufficed her cravings for affection; and for amusement, she took refuge in books, flowers, birds, and those changes of natural scenery for which her lover had such quickness of eye. It was a privation to give up her solitary rambles in the grounds, her inspection of birds' nests, and her readings in that pleasant alcove of pines. But she more than acquiesced in Alfred's prohibition. She said at once, that she would rather be a prisoner within the house all her days than ever see that odious face again.

Mr. Noble encountered the cotton-broker, in the way of business, a few days afterward; but his aversion to the unclean conversation of the man induced him to conceal his vexation under the veil of common courtesy. He knew what sort of remarks any remonstrance would elicit, and he shrank from subjecting Loo Loo's name to such pollution. For a short time, this prudent reserve shielded him from the attacks he dreaded. But Mr. Grossman soon began to throw out hints about the sly hypocrisy of Puritan Yankees, and other innuendoes obviously intended to annoy him. At last, one day, he drew the embroidered slipper from his pocket, and, with a rakish wink of his eye, said, "I reckon you have seen this before, Mr. Noble."

Alfred felt an impulse to seize him by the throat, and strangle him on the spot. But why should he make a scene with such a man, and thus drag Loo Loo's name into painful notoriety? The old rou was evidently trying to foment a quarrel with him. Thoroughly animal in every department of his nature, he was boastful of brute courage, and prided himself upon having killed several men in duels. Alfred conjectured his line of policy, and resolved to frustrate it. He therefore coolly replied, "I have seen such slippers; they are very pretty"; and turned away, as if the subject were indifferent to him.

"Coward!" muttered Grossman, as he left the counting-house. Mr. Noble did not hear him; and if he had, it would not have altered his course. He could see nothing enviable in the reputation of being ever ready for brawls, and a dead-shot in duels; and he knew that his life was too important to the friendless Loo Loo to be thus foolishly risked for the gratification of a villain. This incident renewed his old feelings of remorse for the false position in which he had placed the young orphan, who trusted him so entirely. To his generous nature, the wrong seemed all the greater because the object was so unconscious of it. "It is I who have subjected her to the insolence of this vile man," he said within himself. "But I will repair the wrong. Innocent, confiding soul that she is, I will protect her. The sanction of marriage shall shield her from such affronts."

Alas for poor human nature! He was sincere in these resolutions, but he was not quite strong enough to face the prejudices of the society in which he lived. Their sneers would have fallen harmless. They could not take from him a single thing he really valued. But he had not learned to understand that the dreaded power of public opinion is purely fabulous, when unsustained by the voice of conscience. So he fell into the old snare of moral compromise. He thought the best he could do, under the circumstances, was to hasten the period of his departure for the North, to marry Loo Loo in Philadelphia, and remove to some part of the country where her private history would remain unknown.

To make money for this purpose, he had more and more extended his speculations, and they had uniformly proved profitable. If Mr. Grossman's offensive conduct had not forced upon him a painful consciousness of his position with regard to the object of his devoted affection, he would have liked to remain in Mobile a few years longer, and accumulate more; but, as it was, he determined to remove as soon as he could arrange his affairs satisfactorily. He set about this in good earnest. But, alas! the great pecuniary crash of 1837 was at hand. By every mail came news of failures where he expected payments. The wealth, which seemed so certain a fact a few months before, where had it vanished? It had floated away, like a prismatic bubble on the breeze. He saw that his ruin was inevitable. All he owned in the world would not cancel his debts. And now he recalled the horrible recollection that Loo Loo was a part of his property. Much as he had blamed Mr. Duncan for negligence in not manumitting her mother, he had fallen into the same snare. In the fulness of his prosperity and happiness, he did not comprehend the risk he was running by delay. He rarely thought of the fact that she was legally his slave; and when it did occur to him, it was always accompanied with the recollection that the laws of Alabama did not allow him to emancipate her without sending her away from the State. But this never troubled him, because there was always present with him that vision of going to the North and making her his wife. So time slipped away, without his taking any precautions on the subject; and now it was too late. Immersed in debt as he was, the law did not allow him to dispose of anything without consent of creditors; and he owed ten thousand dollars to Mr. Grossman. Oh, agony! sharp agony!

There was a meeting of the creditors. Mr. Noble rendered an account of all his property, in which he was compelled to include Loo Loo; but for her he offered to give a note for fifteen hundred dollars, with good endorsement, payable with interest in a year. It was known that his attachment to the orphan he had educated amounted almost to infatuation; and his proverbial integrity inspired so much respect, that the creditors were disposed to grant him any indulgence not incompatible with their own interests. They agreed to accept the proffered note, all except Mr. Grossman. He insisted that the girl should be put up at auction. For her sake, the ruined merchant condescended to plead with him. He represented that the tie between them was very different from the merely convenient connections which were so common; that Loo Loo was really good and modest, and so sensitive by nature, that exposure to public sale would nearly kill her. The selfish creditor remained inexorable. The very fact that this delicate flower had been so carefully sheltered from the mud and dust of the wayside rendered her a more desirable prize. He coolly declared, that ever since he had seen her in the arbor, he had been determined to have her; and now that fortune had put the chance in his power, no money should induce him to relinquish it.

The sale was inevitable; and the only remaining hope was that some friend might be induced to buy her. There was a gentleman in the city whom I will call Frank Helper. He was a Kentuckian by birth, kind and open-hearted,—a slave-holder by habit, not by nature. Warm feelings of regard had long existed between him and Mr. Noble; and to him the broken merchant applied for advice in this torturing emergency. Though Mr. Helper was possessed of but moderate wealth, he had originally agreed to endorse his friend's note for fifteen hundred dollars; and he now promised to empower some one to expend three thousand dollars in the purchase of Loo Loo.

"It is not likely that we shall be obliged to pay so much," said he. "Bad debts are pouring in upon Grossman, and he hasn't a mint of money to spare just now, however big he may talk. We will begin with offering fifteen hundred dollars; and she will probably be bid off for two thousand."

"Bid off! O my God!" exclaimed the wretched man. He bowed his head upon his outstretched arms, and the table beneath him shook with his convulsive sobs. His friend was unprepared for such an overwhelming outburst of emotion. He did not understand, no one but Alfred himself could understand, the peculiarity of the ties that bound him to that dear orphan. Recovering from this unwonted mood, he inquired whether there was no possible way of avoiding a sale.

"I am sorry to say there is no way, my friend," replied Mr. Helper. "The laws invest this man with power over you; and there is nothing left for us but to undermine his projects. It is a hazardous business, as you well know. You must not appear in it; neither can I; for I am known to be your intimate friend. But trust the whole affair to me, and I think I can bring it to a successful issue."

The hardest thing of all was to apprise the poor girl of her situation. She had never thought of herself as a slave; and what a terrible awakening was this from her dream of happy security! Alfred deemed it most kind and wise to tell her of it himself; but he dreaded it worse than death. He expected she would swoon; he even feared it might kill her. But love made her stronger than he thought. When, after much cautious circumlocution, he arrived at the crisis of the story, she pressed her hand hard upon her forehead, and seemed stupefied. Then she threw herself into his arms, and they wept, wept, wept, till their heads seemed cracking with the agony.

"Oh, the avenging Nemesis!" exclaimed Alfred, at last. "I have deserved all this. It is all my own fault. I ought to have carried you away from these wicked laws. I ought to have married you. Truest, most affectionate of friends, how cruelly I have treated you! you, who put the welfare of your life so confidingly into my hands!"

She rose up from his bosom, and, looking him lovingly in the face, replied,—

"Never say that, dear Alfred! Never have such a thought again! You have been the best and kindest friend that woman ever had. If I forgot that I was a slave, is it strange that you should forget it? But, Alfred, I will never be the slave of any other man,— never! I will never be put on the auction-stand. I will die first."

"Nay, dearest, you must make no rash resolutions," he replied. "I have friends who promise to save you, and restore us to each other. The form of sale is unavoidable. So, for my sake, consent to the temporary humiliation. Will you, darling?"

He had never before seen such an expression in her face. Her eyes flashed, her nostrils dilated, and she drew her breath like one in the agonies of death. Then pressing his hand with a nervous grasp, she answered,—

"For your sake, dear Alfred, I will."

From that time, she maintained outward calmness, while in his presence; and her inward uneasiness was indicated only by a fondness more clinging than ever. Whenever she parted from him, she kept him lingering, and lingering, on the threshold. She followed him to the road; she kissed her hand to him till he was out of sight; and then her tears flowed unrestrained. Her mind was filled with the idea that she should be carried away from the home of her childhood, as she had been by the rough Mr. Jackson,—that she should become the slave of that bad man, and never, never see Alfred again. "But I can die," she often said to herself; and she revolved in her mind various means of suicide, in case the worst should happen.

Madame Labass did not desert her in her misfortunes. She held frequent consultations with Mr. Helper and his friends, and continually brought messages to keep up her spirits. A dozen times a day, she repeated,—

"Tout sera bien arrang. Soyez tranquille, ma chre! Soyez tranquille!"

At last the dreaded day arrived. Mr. Helper had persuaded Alfred to appear to yield to necessity, and keep completely out of sight. He consented, because Loo Loo had said she could not go through with the scene, if he were present; and, moreover, he was afraid to trust his own nerves and temper. They conveyed her to the auction-room, where she stood trembling among a group of slaves of all ages and all colors, from iron-black to the lightest brown. She wore her simplest dress, without ornament of any kind. When they placed her on the stand, she held her veil down, with a close, nervous grasp.

"Come, show us your face," said the auctioneer. "Folks don't like to buy a pig in a poke, you know."

Seeing that she stood perfectly still, with her head lowered upon her breast, he untied the bonnet, pulled it off rudely, and held up her face to public view. There was a murmur of applause.

"Show your teeth," said the auctioneer. But she only compressed her mouth more firmly. After trying in vain to coax her, he exclaimed,—

"Never mind, gentlemen. She's got a string of pearls inside them coral lips of hern. I can swear to that, for I've seen 'em. No use tryin' to trot her out. She's a leetle set up, ye see, with bein' made much of. Look at her, gentlemen! Who can blame her for bein' a bit proud? She's a fust-rate fancy-article. Who bids?"

Before he had time to repeat the question, Mr. Grossman said, in a loud voice, "Fifteen hundred dollars."

This was rather a damper upon Mr. Helper's agent, who bid sixteen hundred.

A voice from the crowd called out, "Eighteen hundred."

"Two thousand," shouted Mr. Grossman.

"Two thousand two hundred," said another voice.

"Two thousand five hundred," exclaimed Mr. Grossman.

"Two thousand eight hundred," said the incognito agent.

The prize was now completely given up to the two competitors; and the agent, excited by the contest, went beyond his orders, until he bid as high as four thousand two hundred dollars.

"Four thousand five hundred," screamed the cotton-broker.

There was no use in contending with him. He was evidently willing to stake all his fortune upon victory.

"Going! Going! Going!" repeated the auctioneer, slowly. There was a brief pause, during which every pulsation in Loo Loo's body seemed to stop. Then she heard the horrible words, "Gone, for four thousand five hundred dollars! Gone to Mr. Grossman!"

They led her to a bench at the other end of the room. She sat there, still as a marble statue, and almost as pale. The sudden cessation of excited hope had so stunned her, that she could not think. Everything seemed dark and reeling round her. In a few minutes, Mr. Grossman was at her side.

"Come, my beauty," said he. "The carriage is at the door. If you behave yourself, you shall be treated like a queen. Come, my love!"

He attempted to take her hand, but his touch roused her from her lethargy; and springing at him, like a wild-cat, she gave him a blow in the face that made him stagger,—so powerful was it, in the vehemence of her disgust and anger.

His coaxing tones changed instantly.

"We don't allow niggers to put on such airs," he said. "I'm your master. You've got to live with me; and you may as well make up your mind to it first as last."

He glowered at her savagely for a moment; and drawing from his pocket an embroidered slipper, he added,—

"Ever since I picked up this pretty thing, I've been determined to have you. I expected to be obliged to wait till Noble got tired of you, and wanted to take up with another wench; but I've had better luck than I expected."

At the sight of that gift of Alfred's in his hated hand, at the sound of those coarse words, so different from his respectful tenderness, her pride broke down, and tears welled forth. Looking up in his stern face, she said, in tones of the deepest pathos,—

"Oh, Sir, have pity on a poor, unfortunate girl! Don't persecute me!"

"Persecute you?" he replied. "No, indeed, my charmer! If you'll be kind to me, I'll treat you like a princess."

He tried to look loving, but the expression was utterly revolting. Twelve years of unbridled sensuality had rendered his countenance even more disgusting than it was when he shocked Alfred's youthful soul by his talk about "Duncan's handsome wench."

"Come, my beauty," he continued, persuasively, "I'm glad to see you in a better temper. Come with me, and behave yourself."

She curled her lip scornfully, and repeated,—

"I will never live with you! Never!"

"We'll see about that, my wench," said he. "I may as well take you down a peg, first as last. If you'd rather be in the calaboose with niggers than to ride in a carriage with me, you may try it, and see how you like it. I reckon you'll be glad to come to my terms, before long."

He beckoned to two police-officers, and said, "Take this wench into custody, and keep her on bread and water, till I give further orders."

The jail to which Loo Loo was conveyed was a wretched place. The walls were dingy, the floor covered with puddles of tobacco-juice, the air almost suffocating with the smell of pent-up tobacco-smoke, unwashed negroes, and dirty garments. She had never seen any place so loathsome. Mr. Jackson's log-house was a palace in comparison. The prison was crowded with colored people of all complexions, and almost every form of human vice and misery was huddled together there with the poor victims of misfortune. Thieves, murderers, and shameless girls, decked out with tawdry bits of finery, were mixed up with modest-looking, heart-broken wives, and mothers mourning for the children that had been torn from their arms in the recent sale. Some were laughing, and singing lewd songs. Others sat still, with tears trickling down their sable cheeks. Here and there the fierce expression of some intelligent young man indicated a volcano of revenge seething within his soul. Some were stretched out drowsily upon the filthy floor, their natures apparently stupefied to the level of brutes. When Loo Loo was brought in, most of them were roused to look at her; and she heard them saying to each other, "By gum, dat ar an't no nigger!" "What fur dey fotch her here?" "She be white lady ob quality, she be."

The tenderly-nurtured daughter of the wealthy planter remained in this miserable place two days. The jailer, touched by her beauty and extreme dejection, offered her better food than had been prescribed in his orders. She thanked him, but said she could not eat. When he invited her to occupy, for the night, a small room apart from the herd of prisoners, she accepted the offer with gratitude. But she could not sleep, and she dared not undress. In the morning, the jailer, afraid of being detected in these acts of indulgence, told her, apologetically, that he was obliged to request her to return to the common apartment.

Having recovered somewhat from the stunning effects of the blow that had fallen on her, she began to take more notice of her companions. A gang of slaves, just sold, was in keeping there, till it suited the trader's convenience to take them to New Orleans; and the parting scenes she witnessed that day made an impression she never forgot. "Can it be," she said to herself, "that such things have been going on around me all these years, and I so unconscious of them? What should I now be, if Alfred had not taken compassion on me, and prevented my being sent to the New Orleans market, before I was ten years old?" She thought with a shudder of the auction-scene the day before, and began to be afraid that her friends could not save her from that vile man's power.

She was roused from her reverie by the entrance of a white gentleman, whom she had never seen before. He came to inspect the trader's gang of slaves, to see if any one among them would suit him for a house-servant; and before long, he agreed to purchase a bright-looking mulatto lad. He stopped before Loo Loo, and said, "Are you a good sempstress?"

"She's not for sale," answered the jailer. "She belongs to Mr. Grossman, who put her here for disobedience." The man smiled, as he spoke, and Loo Loo blushed crimson.

"Ho, ho," rejoined the stranger. "I'm sorry for that. I should like to buy her, if I could."

He sauntered round the room, and took from his pocket oranges and candy, which he distributed among the black picaninnies tumbling over each other on the dirty floor. Coming round again to the place where she sat, he put an orange on her lap, and said, in low tones, "When they are not looking at you, remove the peel"; and, touching his finger to his lip, significantly, he turned away to talk with the jailer.

As soon as he was gone, she asked permission to go, for a few minutes, to the room she had occupied during the night. There she examined the orange, and found that half of the skin had been removed unbroken, a thin paper inserted, and the peel replaced. On the scrap of paper was written: "When your master comes, appear to be submissive, and go with him. Plead weariness, and gain time. You will be rescued. Destroy this, and don't seem more cheerful than you have been." Under this was written, in Madame Labass's hand, "Soyez tranquille, ma chre."

Unaccustomed to act a part, she found it difficult to appear so sad as she had been before the reception of the note. But she did her best, and the jailer observed no change.

Late in the afternoon, Mr. Grossman made his appearance. "Well, my beauty," said he, "are you tired of the calaboose? Don't you think you should like my house rather better?"

She yawned listlessly, and, without looking up, answered, "I am very tired of staying here."

"I thought so," rejoined her master, with a chuckling laugh. "I reckoned I should bring you to terms. So you've made up your mind not to be cruel to a poor fellow so desperately in love with you,— haven't you?"

She made no answer, and he continued: "You're ready to go home with me,—are you?"

"Yes, Sir," she replied, faintly.

"Well, then, look up in my face, and let me have a peep at those devilish handsome eyes."

He chucked her under the chin, and raised her blushing face. She wanted to push him from her, he was so hateful; but she remembered the mysterious orange, and looked him in the eye, with passive obedience. Overjoyed at his success, he paid the jailer his fee, drew her arm within his, and hurried to the carriage.

How many humiliations were crowded into that short ride! How she shrank from the touch of his soft, swabby hand! How she loathed the gloating looks of the old Satyr! But she remembered the orange, and endured it all stoically.

Arrived at his stylish house, he escorted her to a large chamber elegantly furnished.

"I told you I would treat you like a princess," he said; "and I will keep my word."

He would have seated himself; but she prevented him, saying, "I have one favor to ask, and I shall be very grateful to you, if you will please to grant it."

"What is it, my charmer?" he inquired. "I will consent to anything reasonable."

She answered, "I could not get a wink of sleep in that filthy prison; and I am extremely tired. Please leave me till to-morrow."

"Ah, why did you compel me to send you to that abominable place? It grieved me to cast such a pearl among swine. Well, I want to convince you that I am a kind master; so I suppose I must consent. But you must reward me with a kiss before I go."

This was the hardest trial of all; but she recollected the danger of exciting his suspicions, and complied. He returned it with so much ardor, that she pushed him away impetuously; but softening her manner immediately, she said, in pleading tones, "I am exceedingly tired; indeed I am!"

He lingered, and seemed very reluctant to go; but when she again urged her request, he said, "Good night, my beauty! I will send up some refreshments for you, before you sleep."

He went away, and she had a very uncomfortable sensation when she heard him lock the door behind him. A prisoner, with such a jailer! With a quick movement of disgust, she rushed to the water-basin and washed her lips and her hands; but she felt that the stain was one no ablution could remove. The sense of degradation was so cruelly bitter, that it seemed to her as if she should die for very shame.

In a short time, an elderly mulatto woman, with a pleasant face, entered, bearing a tray of cakes, ices, and lemonade.

"I don't wish for anything to eat," said Loo Loo, despondingly.

"Oh, don't be givin' up, in dat ar way," said the mulatto, in kind, motherly tones. "De Lord ain't a-gwine to forsake ye. Ye may jus' breeve what Aunt Debby tells yer. I'se a poor ole nigger; but I hab 'sarved dat de darkest time is allers jus afore de light come. Eat some ob dese yer goodies. Ye oughter keep yoursef strong fur de sake ob yer friends."

Loo Loo looked at her earnestly, and repeated, "Friends? How do you know I have any friends?"

"Oh, I'se poor ole nigger," rejoined the mulatto. "I don't knows nottin'."

The captive looked wistfully after her, as she left the room. She felt disappointed; for something in the woman's ways and tones had excited a hope within her. Again the key turned on the outside; but it was not long before Debby reappeared with a bouquet.

"Massa sent young Missis dese yer fowers," she said.

"Put them down," rejoined Loo Loo, languidly.

"Whar shall I put 'em?" inquired the servant.

"Anywhere, out of my way," was the curt reply.

Debby cautioned her by a shake of her finger, and whispered, "Massa's out dar, waitin' fur de key. Dar's writin' on dem ar fowers." She lighted the lamps, and, after inquiring if anything else was wanted, she went out, saying, "Good night, missis. De Lord send ye pleasant dreams."

Again the key turned, and the sound of footsteps died away. Loo Loo eagerly untwisted the paper round the bouquet, and read these words: "Be ready for travelling. About midnight your door will be unlocked. Follow Aunt Debby with your shoes in your hand, and speak no word. Destroy this paper." To this Madame Labass had added, "Ne craigner rien, ma chre."

Loo Loo's heart palpitated violently, and the blood rushed to her cheeks. Weary as she was, she felt no inclination to sleep. As she sat there, longing for midnight, she had ample leisure to survey the apartment. It was, indeed, a bower fit for a princess. The chairs, tables, and French bedstead were all ornamented with roses and lilies gracefully intertwined on a delicate fawn-colored ground. The tent-like canopy, that partially veiled the couch, was formed of pink and white striped muslin, draped on either side in ample folds, and fastened with garlands of roses. The pillow-cases were embroidered, perfumed, and edged with frills quilled as neatly as the petals of a dahlia. In one corner stood a small table, decorated with a very elegant Parisian tea-service for two. Lamps of cut glass illumined the face of a large Pscyche mirror, and on the toilet before it a diamond necklace and ear-rings sparkled in their crimson velvet case. Loo Loo looked at them with a half-scornful smile, and repeated to herself:

"He bought me somewhat high; Since with me came a heart he couldn't buy."

She lowered the lamps to twilight softness, and tried to wait with patience. How long the hours seemed! Surely it must be past midnight. What if Aunt Debby had been detected in her plot? What if the master should come, in her stead? Full of that fear, she tried to open the windows, and found them fastened on the outside. Her heart sank within her; for she had resolved, in the last emergency, to leap out and be crushed on the pavement. Suspense became almost intolerable. She listened, and listened. There was no sound, except a loud snoring in the next apartment. Was it her tyrant, who was sleeping so near? She sat with her shoes in her hand, her eyes fastened on the door. At last it opened, and Debby's brown face peeped in. They passed out together,—the mulatto taking the precaution to lock the door and put the key in her pocket. Softly they went down stairs, through the kitchen, out into the adjoining alley. Two gentlemen with a carriage were in attendance. They sprang in, and were whirled away. After riding some miles, the carriage was stopped; one of the gentlemen alighted and handed the women out.

"My name is Dinsmore," he said. "I am uncle to your friend, Frank Helper. You are to pass for my daughter, and Debby is our servant."

"And Alfred,—Mr. Noble, I mean,—where is he?" asked Loo Loo.

"He will follow in good time. Ask no more questions now."

The carriage rolled away; and the party it had conveyed were soon on their way to the North by an express-train.

It would be impossible to describe the anxiety Alfred had endured from the time Loo Loo became the property of the cotton-broker until he heard of her escape. From motives of policy he was kept in ignorance of the persons employed, and of the measures they intended to take. In this state of suspense, his reason might have been endangered, had not Madame Labass brought cheering messages, from time to time, assuring him that all was carefully arranged, and success nearly certain.

When Mr. Grossman, late in the day, discovered that his prey had escaped, his rage knew no bounds. He offered one thousand dollars for her apprehension, and another thousand for the detection of any one who had aided her. He made successive attempts to obtain an indictment against Mr. Noble; but he was proved to have been distant from the scene of action, and there was no evidence that he had any connection with the mysterious affair. Failing in this, the exasperated cotton-broker swore that he would have his heart's blood, for he knew the sly, smooth-spoken Yankee was at the bottom of it. He challenged him; but Mr. Noble, notwithstanding the arguments of Frank Helper, refused, on the ground that he held New England opinions on the subject of duelling. The Kentuckian could not understand that it required a far higher kind of courage to refuse than it would have done to accept. The bully proclaimed him a coward, and shot at him in the street, but without inflicting a very serious wound. Thenceforth he went armed, and his friends kept him in sight. But he probably owed his life to the fact that Mr. Grossman was compelled to go to New Orleans suddenly, on urgent business. Before leaving, the latter sent messengers to Savannah, Charleston, Louisville, and elsewhere; exact descriptions of the fugitives were posted in all public places, and the offers of reward were doubled; but the activity thus excited proved all in vain. The runaways had travelled night and day, and were in Canada before their pursuers reached New York. A few lines from Mr. Dinsmore announced this to Frank Helper, in phraseology that could not be understood, in case the letter should be inspected at the post-office. He wrote: "I told you we intended to visit Montreal; and by the date of this you will see that I have carried my plan into execution. My daughter likes the place so much that I think I shall leave her here awhile in charge of our trusty servant, while I go home to look after my affairs."

After the excitement had somewhat subsided, Mr. Noble ascertained the process by which his friends had succeeded in effecting the rescue. Aunt Debby owed her master a grudge for having repeatedly sold her children; and just at that time a fresh wound was rankling in her heart, because her only son, a bright lad of eighteen, of whom Mr. Grossman was the reputed father, had been sold to a slave-trader, to help raise the large sum he had given for Loo Loo. Frank Helper's friends, having discovered this state of affairs, opened a negotiation with the mulatto woman, promising to send both her and her son into Canada, if she would assist them in their plans. Aunt Debby chuckled over the idea of her master's disappointment, and was eager to seize the opportunity of being reunited to her last remaining child. The lad was accordingly purchased by the gentleman who distributed oranges in the prison, and was sent to Canada, according to promise. Mr. Grossman was addicted to strong drink, and Aunt Debby had long been in the habit of preparing a potion for him before he retired to rest. "I mixed it powerful, dat ar night," said the laughing mulatto; "and I put in someting dat de gemmen guv to me. I reckon he waked up awful late." Mr. Dinsmore, a maternal uncle of Frank Helper's, had been visiting the South, and was then about to return to New York. When the story was told to him, he said nothing would please him more than to take the fugitives under his own protection.


Mr. Noble arranged the wreck of his affairs as speedily as possible, eager to be on the way to Montreal. The evening before he started, Frank Helper waited upon Mr. Grossman, and said: "That handsome slave you have been trying so hard to catch is doubtless beyond your reach, and will take good care not to come within your power. Under these circumstances, she is worth nothing to you; but for the sake of quieting the uneasiness of my friend Noble, I will give you eight hundred dollars to relinquish all claim to her."

The broker flew into a violent rage. "I'll see you both damned first," he replied. "I shall trip 'em up yet. I'll keep the sword hanging over their cursed heads as long as I live. I wouldn't mind spending ten thousand dollars to be revenged on that infernal Yankee."

Mr. Noble reached Montreal in safety, and found his Loo Loo well and cheerful. Words are inadequate to describe the emotions excited by reunion, after such dreadful perils and hairbreadth escapes. Their marriage was solemnized as soon as possible; but the wife being an article of property, according to American law, they did not venture to return to the States. Alfred obtained some writing to do for a commercial while Loo Loo instructed little girls in dancing and embroidery. Her character had strengthened under the severe ordeals through which she had passed. She began to question the rightfulness of living so indolently as she had done. Those painful scenes in the slave-prison made her reflect that sympathy with the actual miseries of life was better than weeping over romances. She was rising above the deleterious influences of her early education, and beginning to feel the dignity of usefulness. She said to her husband, "I shall not be sorry, if we are always poor. It is so pleasant to help you, who have done so much for me! And Alfred, dear, I want to give some of my earnings to Aunt Debby. The poor old soul is trying to lay up money to pay that friend of yours who bought her son and sent him to Canada. Surely, I, of all people in the world, ought to be willing to help slaves who have been less fortunate than I have. Sometimes, when I lie awake in the night, I have very solemn thoughts come over me. It was truly a wonderful Providence that twice saved me from the dreadful fate that awaited me. I can never be grateful enough to God for sending me such a blessed friend as my good Alfred."

They were living thus contented with their humble lot, when a letter from Frank Helper announced that the extensive house of Grossman & Co. had stopped payment. Their human chattels had been put up at auction, and among them was the title to our beautiful fugitive. The chance of capture was considered so hopeless, that, when Mr. Helper bid sixty-two dollars, no one bid over him; and she became his property, until there was time to transfer the legal claim to his friend.

Feeling that they could now be safe under their own vine and fig-tree, Alfred returned to the United States, where he became first a clerk, and afterward a prosperous merchant. His natural organization unfitted him for conflict, and though his peculiar experiences had imbued him with a thorough abhorrence of slavery, he stood aloof from the ever-increasing agitation on that subject; but every New Year's day, one of the Vigilance Committees for the relief of fugitive slaves received one hundred dollars "from an unknown friend." As his pecuniary means increased, he purchased several slaves, who had been in his employ at Mobile, and established them as servants in Northern hotels. Madame Labass was invited to spend the remainder of her days under his roof; but she came only in the summers, being unable to conquer her shivering dread of snow-storms.

Loo Loo's personal charms attracted attention wherever she made her appearance. At church, and other public places, people pointed her out to strangers, saying, "That is the wife of Mr. Alfred Noble. She was the orphan daughter of a rich planter at the South, and had a great inheritance left to her; but Mr. Noble lost it all in the financial crisis of 1837." Her real history remained a secret, locked within their own breasts. Of their three children, the youngest was named Loo Loo, and greatly resembled her beautiful mother. When she was six years old, her portrait was taken in a gypsy hat garlanded with red berries. She was dancing round a little white dog, and long streamers of ribbon were floating behind her. Her father had it framed in an arched environment of vine-work, and presented it to his wife on her thirtieth birth-day. Her eyes moistened as she gazed upon it; then kissing his hand, she looked up in the old way, and said, "I thank you, Sir, for buying me."


A friend, who happens to have an idea or two of his own, is constantly advising his acquaintances in no case to become parties to a regular correspondence. He is a great letter-writer himself, but never answers an epistle, unless it contain queries as to matters of fact, or be an invitation to a ball or a dinner,—unless, in a word, real, not what he considers conventional politeness requires; in which event, his reply is despatched at once. Under all other circumstances, he ignores the last missive from him or her to whom his envelope is addressed. He studiously frames his own communications in such wise, that they do not call for an answer. He will totally neglect an intimate friend for months, then let fly at him epistle after epistle, and then give no sign of life for a long while again. If asked to exchange letters once a week or once a fortnight, he solemnly inquires whether the wind goes by machinery, and is, after a given interval, invariably at such o'clock,—adding, that it is his aim, not to keep up, but to keep down, correspondence. If accused of "owing a letter," he repudiates the obligation, and affirms that he will go to jail sooner than pay it off. If taxed with heartlessness, he retorts by asking whether it can be the duty of a moral being to insult a man by writing to him when there is nothing to say.

That these notions, whether they did or did not originate in an unfortunate love-affair, which my friend is said to have gone through in his youth, contain grains of truth may be easily shown.

I drop a letter in the New York post-office to-day; my friend in Boston receives it to-morrow and pens a reply at once, which finds me in New York within twenty-four hours. He may have understood and really answered my epistle. But suppose him to have waited a week. New matters have, meantime, taken possession of both his mind and mine; the topics, which were fresh when I wrote, have lost their interest; the bridge between us is broken down. His reply is worth little more to me than water to flowers cut a month since, or seed to a canary that was interred with tears last Saturday.

Correspondence is conversation carried on under certain peculiar conditions, but subject to the same rules as conversation by word of mouth, except so far forth as they may be modified by those necessary conditions. You do not take your partner's bright saying home with you and bring a repartee to the next ball, by which time she has forgotten what her bon mot was, and has another, every whit as good, upon her lips; you do not return a lead in whist at the next rubber; you do not postpone the laugh over the jokes of the dinner-table, as is fabulously narrated of Washington, until you have retired for the night. In social intercourse, minds must meet before one person can be brought to another's mood or both to a middle ground; it is the friction of contact, that creates conversation. A remark, not answered the instant after it has been made, is never answered. The bores and boors of society, not the gentlemen and ladies, ruminate upon what has been said, elaborate replies at leisure, and serve them up unseasonably.

For the purposes of correspondence, one may and must throw himself back into the immediate past and assume the mood that was his when he wrote and in which alone a reply can find him. But there is a limit to this power, which is soon reached. Not many letters will keep sweet more than two days. A little indulgence may, perhaps, be shown toward persons who are a week or a fortnight from us by the post, since otherwise we could never converse together. But even they should reply to only the weightier matters suggested, since what they say will probably be stale before it reaches the eyes for which it was written. For the like reasons, I hold a Californian or European correspondence to be an impossibility. As for him whose want of politeness fixes a gulf, a week broad, between himself and his correspondent, there is no excuse. As one reads a letter, an answer to whatever worth answering may be in it leaps to the lips; to give it utterance that moment is the only natural, courteous, and truthful course. Ten days hence, the reply, which now comes of its own accord, cannot be found; what might have been a source of pleasure to two persons will have become a piece of thankless drudgery. In vain the conscientious correspondent, at the appointed time, takes the letter which she would answer out of the compartment of her portfolio, whereon stationers, cunningly humoring a popular weakness, have gilded,—"UNANSWERED LETTERS." In vain she cons it with care, comments upon every observation in it, answers all its questions one by one, and propounds a series of her own, as a basis for the next epistle. Everything has been done decently and in order; but the laboriously-produced letter is a letter which killeth, and contains no infusion of the spirit that giveth life. This is not the writer's fault. It is and must be all but impossible, after a lapse of time, to reproduce the natural reply to a remark, or to concoct one that shall be vital and satisfactory to the other party.

Lovers, of all persons, it would seem, might with least danger postpone answering each other's missives, since their common topic of interest is always with them, and the billet-doux, after having been carried in the bosom a week, is as fresh as when taken from the post-office. What need for "sweet sixteen" to consume the very night of its reception in essaying a reply, which she might have written next week as well, since next week they two will stand in substantially the same relations to one another as now? "Sweet sixteen" smiles at such coldblooded logic. "To you others," thinks she to herself, "all sunsets may be alike; but in our horizon are constant changes, delicate tones of color, each

'Shade so finely touched love's sense must seize it.'

The mood into which Walter's note put me may never return again. Now it is correspondent to the mood in which he wrote; now or never must I reply. In this way alone can we keep up a correspondence between our natures."

But the stupid world will not accept, cannot even understand, these fine sayings. It looks at the question with very different eyes from those of lovers, boarding-school misses, and persons in the first moon of a first marriage. The peculiar relations between them may supply inspiration and vitality to such correspondence. But would Dean Swift have put the daily record of his life upon paper for another than Stella to peruse? Would Leander have swum the Hellespont for the sake of meeting any girl but Hero upon the distant shore? As it was, he was drowned for his pains. The rest of us cannot swim Hellesponts, keep diaries, nor correspond, as foolish young people have done and do. We have books to read, business to attend to, duties to perform, tastes to gratify, ambition to feed. Who could bear to have his correspondents always upon his hands? Who could endure such a tax upon his patience as they would become? Who would send for his letters? Who would not rather run away from the postmen, for fear of the next discharge?

In the analogy between conversation and correspondence may, perhaps, be found a key to the problem. Those of us who are not lovers, school-girls, or spinsters are not desirous of keeping up a colloquy, day in and day out. Nor are we in the habit of resuming a subject, in the next interview, at the precise point where we left it. A "regular" conversation, after the fashion of a regular correspondence, is, as between two individuals mutually unknown, or as among a number, invariably a failure. However recently persons may have parted company, at meeting they commence de novo; a new talk grows out of the circumstances and thoughts of the moment, which ends as naturally as it began, when the talkers get tired or are obliged to stop. Sometimes but one of two or three opens her lips, but conversation, nevertheless, goes on; since an open ear is the most pointed question, and sympathy is the same, whether or not put into words.

To conversation carried on at a distance of space and time, through the pen, not the lips, the simple and obvious principles upon which people act in the drawing-room or the fireside-circle are easily applied. Between those who really wish to talk together letters should fly as rapidly as the post can deliver them. If only one feels like writing, he should pour forth his heart to his friend, although that friend remain as silent as the grave. It would be as absurd to say that either party "owes the letter," as to charge him who had the penultimate word in a dialogue with the duty of making the first remark the next time he encounters her who had the last word. When the topic of immediate interest has been disposed of, a correspondence is over. It matters as little who contributed the larger proportion to it, as who contributes the most to a dialogue. When the end is reached, the story is done. It is for the party who is first in the mood of writing, after an interval of silence, to open a new correspondence, in which there shall be no reference to previous communications, and which may die with the first letter or be protracted for a week or a month.

Thus we are brought to a position not very far from that taken by my eccentric friend. General or regular correspondence is useless, baneful, and in most cases impossible; but special correspondence, born of the necessities of man as a social being, and circumscribed by them, may be from time to time possible. There can be no harm in an occasional exchange of bulletins of health and happiness, like the "good morning" and "how d'ye do" of the street and the parlor, or in making new-year's calls, as it were, annually upon one's distant friends. I know two ladies who have done this as respects each other for twenty years. But, as a rule, the shorter epistles of this description are, the better. Some simple formula, which might be printed for convenience's sake, would answer the purpose, and complete the analogy with the practice of paying three-minute visits of ceremony or of leaving a card at the door.

The employment of a printed formula in all cases, indeed, where one feels not impelled, but obliged to write, would save both time and temper. We lay down nine out of ten of our letters with feelings of disappointment. Were we to imitate the Scotch servant who returned hers to the postmaster, after a glance at the address had assured her of the writer's health, we should be quite as well off as we are now. My correspondent often begins with the remark, that he has nothing to communicate. Then why in the world did he write? Why has he covered four pages with specimens of poor chirography, which it cost him an hour to put upon paper, and us almost as much time to decipher? He sends me news which was in the papers a week ago; or speculations upon it, which professional journalists have already surfeited me with; or short treatises, after the fashion of Cicero's epistolary productions. He talks about the weather, past, present, and to come. He serves up, with piquant sauce, occurrences which he would not have thought worthy of mention at his own breakfast-table. He spins out his two or three facts or ideas into the finest and flimsiest gossamer; or tucks them into a postscript, which alone, with the formula, should have been forwarded. He writes in a large hand, and resorts to every kind of device to fill up his sheet, instead of taking the manly course of writing only so long as he had something to say, or, if nothing, of keeping silence. A kindly sentence or two may redeem the epistle from utter condemnation; for love, according to Solomon, makes a dinner of herbs palatable. But "LOVE," written beneath a formula, would have answered as well.

I should not dare to describe the productions of my female correspondents in detail. Suffice it to say, that most of them contain a smaller proportion of useless information, and a larger proportion of sentiment, vague aspiration, and would-be-picturesque description, than those of the men who pay postage on my behalf. They are longer, and sometimes crossed; it is therefore a greater task to read them.

My "fair readers"—as the snobs who write for magazines call women— have not, I trust, misapprehended my meaning and lost patience with me. I would not be understood as expressing a preference for one description of letters over another. Every person to his tastes and his talents. But a letter, which does not represent the writer's real mood, reflect what is uppermost in his or her mind, deal with things and thoughts rather than with words, and express, if not strengthen, the peculiar ties between the person writing and the person written to,—a letter which is not genuine,—is no letter, but a sham and a lie. A real letter, on the other hand, whatever its topic, cannot fail to be worth reading. Great thoughts, profound speculations, matters of experience, bits of observation, delicate fancies, romantic sentiments, humorous criticisms on people and things, funny stories, dreams of the future, memories of the past, pictures of the present, the merest gossip, the veriest trifling, everything, nothing, may form the theme, if naturally spoken of, not hunted up to fill out a page.

No reason for modifying my conclusions occurs to me. It may be said, that, after all, a poor letter is better than none, because advices from distant friends are always welcome. But would not a glance at the well-known handwriting supply this want as fully as the perusal of a lengthy epistle, written with the hand, but not with the heart? Does not our chagrin at finding so little of our friends in their letters more than counterbalance our gratification that they have been (presumably) kind and thoughtful enough to write? Would we not gladly give four of their ordinary letters for one of their best? But the instant they strike off the shackles of regular correspondence, and despatch letters only when they feel inclined, replies only while they are fresh, and formulas at other times, if need be, we have our wish; the miles between our friends and ourselves shorten, they are really with us now and then, and we take solid pleasure in chatting with them.

Am I told, that, until these ideas find general acceptance, it is dangerous to act upon them? that for an individual here and there to go out of the common course is only to make himself notorious, a stranger or a bore to his friends? Were such statements true, they would still be cowardly. We should be faithful to our convictions of what is due to truth and manhood and self-respect, be the consequences what they may. Because a few are so, the world moves. The general voice always comes in as a chorus to a few particular voices. As for friends who cannot appreciate independence of character or of conduct, the fewer one has of them, the better.

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