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prise-should be contemptuous towards com- an intellectual nature seeking pasture and exmerce.
ercise for the intellect. I am far indeed from I may notice, in passing, a very curious desiring, by this comparison, to cast any disform of this narrowness. Trade is despised, paraging light on the young gentleman's but distinctions are established between one natural endowments, which appear to have trade and another. A man who sells wine is been valuable in their order and robust in considered more of a gentleman than a man their degree, nor do I question the wisdom of who sells figs and raisins; and I believe you his choice; all I mean to imply is, that will find, if you observe people carefully, that although he had chosen a fine large field for a woollen manufacturer is thought to be a simple energy, it was a poor and barren field shade less vulgar than a cotton manufacturer. for the intellect to pasture in. Consider for These distinctions are seldom based on rea-one moment the difference in this respect beson, for the work of commerce is generally tween the career which he had abandoned very much the same sort of work, mentally, and the trade he had embraced. As an whatever may be the materials it deals in. attaché he would have lived in capital cities, You may be heartily congratulated on the have had the best opportunities. for perfecting strength of mind, firmness of resolution, and himself in modern languages, and for meeting superiority to prejudice, which have led you the most varied and the most interesting to choose the business of a cotton-spinner. It society. In every day there would have been is an excellent business, and, in itself, every precious hours of leisure, to be employed in whit as honorable as dealing in corn and cat- the increase of his culture, If an intellectual tle, which our nobles do habitually without man, having to choose between diplomacy reproach. But now that I have disclaimed and cotton-spinning, preferred cotton-spinany participation in the stupid narrowness ning it would be from the desire for wealth, which despises trade in general, and the cot- or from the love of an English home. The ton-trade in particular, let me add a few life of a cotton manufacturer, who personally words upon the effects of the cotton business attends to his business with that close superon the mind.
vision which has generally conducted to There appeared in one of the newspapers a success, leaves scarcely any margin for intellittle time since a most interesting and evi- lectual pleasure or spare energy for intellectdently genuine letter from an Etonian, who ual work. After ten hours in the mill, had actually entered business in a cotton fac- it is difficult to sit down and study; and tory, and devoted himself to it so as to earn even if there were energy enough, the mind the confidence of his employers and a salary would not readily cast off the burden of great of 4001. a year as manager. He had waited practical anxieties and responsibilities so as some time uselessly for a diplomatic appoint- to attune itself to disinterested thinking. ment which did not arrive, and so, rather The leaders of industry often display mental than lose the best years of early manhood, as power of as high an order as that which is a more indolent fellow would have done very employed in the government of great empires; willingly, in pure idleness, he took the resolu- they show the highest administrative abilition of entering business, and carried out his ty, they have to deal continually with finandetermination with admirable persistence. cial questions which on their smaller scale reAt first nobody would believe that the “swell” quire as much forethought and acumen as could be serious; people thought that his idea those that concern the exchequer; but the of manufacturing was a mere freak, and ex- ability they need is always strictly practical, pected him to abandon it when he had to face and there is the widest difference between the the tedium of the daily work; but the swell practical and the intellectual minds. A conwas serious-went to the mill at six in the stant and close pressure of practical considmorning and stayed there till six at night, erations develops the sort of power which from Monday till Saturday inclusive. After deals effectually with the present and its needs a year of this, his new companions believed but atrophies the higher mind. The two in him.
minds which we call intelligence and intellect Now, all this is very admirable indeed as a resemble the feet and wings of birds. Eagles manifestation of energy, and that truest inde- and swallows walk badly or not at all, but pendence which looks to fortune as the re- they have a marvellous strength of flight; ward of its own manly effort, but it may be ostriches are great pedestrians, but they permitted to me to make a few observations know nothing of the regions of the air. on this young gentleman's resolve. What he The best that can be hoped for men immersed did seems to me rather the act of an energetic in the details of business is that they may be nature seeking an outlet for energy, than of|able, like partridges and pheasants, to take a short flight on an emergency, and rise, if
PART XII. only for a few minutes, above the level of the stubble and the copse.
SURROUNDINGS. Without, therefore, desiring to imply any prejudiced contempt for trade, I do desire to urge the consideration of its inevitable effects
LETTER I. upon the mind. For men of great practical intelligence and abundant energy, trade is all
TO A FRIEND WHO OFTEN CHANGED HIS PLACE sufficing, but it could never entirely satisfy
OF RESIDENCE. an intellectual nature. And although there is drudgery in every pursuit, for even litera- An unsettled class of English people-Effect of localities on
the mind-Reaction against surroundings-Landscapeture and painting are full of it, still there are
painting a consequence of it-Crushing effect of too certain kinds of drudgery which intellectual
much natural magnificence-The mind takes color from natures find to be harder to endure than its surroundings-Selection of a place of residence
Charles Dickens-Heinrich Heine-Dr. Arnold at Rugby-others. The drudgery which they bear least
His house in the lake district-Tycho Brahe-His estabeasily is an incessant attention to duties
lishment on the island of Hween-The young Humboldts which have no intellectual interest, and yet in the Castle of Tegel-Alexander Humboldt's appreciawhich cannot be properly performed mechani
tion of Paris–Dr. Johnson--Mr. Buckle--Cowper--Galileo. cally so as to leave the mind at liberty for its I FIND that there is a whole class of English own speculations. Deep thinkers are notori- subjects (you belong to that class) of whom it ously absent, for thought requires abstraction is utterly impossible to predict where they from what surrounds us, and it is hard for will be living in five years. Indeed, as you them to be denied the liberty of dreaming. are the worst of correspondents, I only An intellectual person might be happy as a learned your present address, by sheer accistone-breaker on the roadside, because the dent, from a perfect stranger, and he told work would leave his mind at liberty; but he me, of course, that you had plans for going would certainly be miserable as an engine- somewhere else, but where that might be he driver at a coal-pit shaft, where the abstrac- knew not. The civilized English nomad is tion of an instant would imperil the lives of usually, like yourself, a person of indepenothers.
dent means, rich enough to bear the expenses In a recent address delivered by Mr. Glad of frequent removals, but without the cares stone at Liverpool, he acknowledged the neg- of property. His money is safely invested in lect of culture which is one of the shortcom- the funds, or in railways; and so, wherever ings of our trading community, and held out the postman can bring his dividends, he can the hope (perhaps in some degree illusory) live in freedom from material cares. When that the same persons might become eminent his wife is as unsettled as himself, the pair in commerce and in learning. No doubt there seem to live in a balloon, or in a sort of have been instances of this; and when a Noah's ark, which goes whither the wind "concern” has been firmly established by the lists, and takes ground in the most unexenergy of a predecessor, the heir to it may be pected places. satisfied with a royal sort of supervision, Have you ever studied the effect of localileaving the drudgery of detail to his mana-ties on the mind-on your own mind? That gers, and so secure for himself that sufficient which we are is due in great part to the accileisure without which high culture is not pos- dent of our surroundings, which act upon us sible. But the founders of great commercial in one or two quite opposite ways. Either we fortunes have, I believe, in every instance feel in harmony with them, in which case thrown their whole energy into their trade, they produce a positive effect upon us, or else making wealth their aim, and leaving culture we are out of harmony, and then they drive to be added in another generation. The us into the strangest reactions. A great ugly founders of commercial families are in this English town, like Manchester, for instance, country usually men of great mother-wit and makes some men such thorough townsmen plenty of determination-but illiterate. that they cannot live without smoky chim
neys; or it fills the souls of others with such a passionate longing for beautiful scenery and rustic retirement, that they find it absolutely necessary to bury themselves from time to time in the recesses of picturesque mountains. The development of modern landscape-painting has not been due to habits of rural existence, but to the growth of very big and hideous modern cities, which made men long for sights and sounds have their influence on our shady forests, and pure streams, and magnif. temper and on our thoughts, and our inmost icent spectacles of sunset, and dawn, and being is not the same in one place as in anmoonlight. It is by this time a trite observa- other. We are like blank paper that takes a tion that people who have always lived in tint by reflection from what is nearest, and beautiful scenery do not, and cannot, appre- changes it as its surroundings change. In a ciate it; that too much natural magnificence dull gray room, how gray and dull it looks! positively crushes the activity of the intellect, but it will be bathed in rose or amber if the and that its best effect is simply that of re- hangings are crimson or yellow. There are freshment for people who have not access to natures that go to the streams of life in great it every day. It happens too, in a converse cities as the heart goes to the water-brooks; way, that rustics and mountaineers have the there are other natures that need the solitude strongest appreciation of the advantages of of primæval forests and the silence of the great cities, and thrive in them often more Alps. The most popular of English novelists happily than citizens who are born in the sometimes went to write in the tranquillity of brick streets. Those who have great facilities beautiful scenery, taking his manuscript to for changing their place of residence ought the shore of some azure lake in Switzerland, always to bear in mind that every locality is in sight of the eternal snow; but all that like a dyer's vat, and that the residents take beauty and peace, all that sweetness of pure its color, or some other color, from it just as air and color, were not seductive enough to the clothes do that the dyer steeps in stain. overcome for many days the deep longing for If you look back upon your past life, you will the London streets. His genius needed the assuredly admit that every place has colored streets, as a bee needs the summer flowers, your mental habits; and that although other and languished when long separated from tints from other places have supervened, so them. Others have needed the wild heather, that it may be difficult to say precisely what or the murmur of the ocean, or the sound of remains of the place you lived in many years autumn winds that strip great forest-trees. ago, still something does remain, like the Who does not deeply pity poor Heine in his effect of the first painting on a picture, which last sad years, when he lay fixed on his couch tells on the whole work permanently, though of pain in that narrow Parisian lodging, and it may have been covered over and over again compared it to the sounding grave of Merlin by what painters call scumblings and glaz- the enchanter, “which is situated in the wood ings.
of Brozeliande, in Brittany, under lofty oaks The selection of a place of residence, even whose tops taper, like emerald flames, towthough we only intend to pass a few short ards heaven. O brother Merlin," he exyears in it, is from the intellectual point of claims, and with what touching pathos! "O view a matter so important that one can brother Merlin, I envy thee those trees, with hardly exaggerate its consequences. We see their fresh breezes, for never a green leaf rusthis quite plainly in the case of authors, tles about this mattress-grave of mine in whose minds are more visible to us than the Paris, where from morning till night I hear minds of other men, and therefore more easily nothing but the rattle of wheels, the clatter and conveniently studied. We need no biog- of hammers, street-brawls, and the jingling rapher to inform us that Dickens was a Lon- of pianofortes!” doner, that Browning had lived in Italy, that In the biography of Dr. Arnold, his longing Ruskin had passed many seasons in Switzer- for natural beauty recurs as one of the peculland and Venice. Suppose for one moment iarities of his constitution. He did not need that these three authors had been born in Ire- very grand scenery, though he enjoyed it land, and had never quitted it, is it not cer- deeply, but some wild natural loveliness was tain that their production would have been such a necessity for him that he pined for it different? Let us carry our supposition far- unhappily in its absence. Rugby could offer ther still, and conceive, if we can, the differ- him scarcely anything of this. “We have no ence to their literary performance if they had hills," he lamented, “no plains-not a single been born, not in Ireland, but in Iceland, and wood, and but one single copse; no heath, no lived there all their lives! Is it not highly down, no rock, no river, no clear streamprobable that in this case their production scarcely any flowers, for the lias is particuwould have been so starved and impoverished larly poor in them-nothing but one endless from insufficiency of material and of sugges monotony of enclosed fields and hedgerow tion, that they would have uttered nothing trees. This is to me a daily privation; it robs but some simple expression of sentiment and me of what is naturally my anti-attrition; and imagination, some homely song or tale? All) as I grow older I begin to feel it. ... The positive dulness of the country about Rugby | high-walled park. The land was fertile and makes it to me a mere working-place: I can- rich in game, so that the scientific Robinson not expatiate there even in my walks.” Crusoe lived in material abundance; and as
"The monotonous character of the midland he was only about seven miles from Copenscenery of Warwickshire,” says Dr. Arnold's hagen, he could procure everything necessary biographer, “was to him, with his strong love to his convenience. He built a great house on of natural beauty and variety, absolutely re- the elevated land in the midst of the isle, pulsive; there was something almost touch- about three-quarters of a mile from the sea, a ing in the eagerness with which, amidst that palace of art and science, with statues and "endless succession of fields and hedgerows,'I paintings and all the apparatus which the inhe would make the most of any features of a genuity of that age could contrive for the adhigher order; in the pleasure with which he vancement of astronomical pursuits. Uniting would cherish the few places where the cur- the case of a rich nobleman's existence with rent of the Avon was perceptible, or where a every aid to science, including special erecglimpse of the horizon could be discerned; in tions for his instruments, and a printing estabthe humorous despair with which he would lishment that worked under his own immegaze on the dull expanse of fields eastward diate direction, he lived far enough from the from Rugby. It is no wonder we do not like capital to enjoy the most perfect tranquillity, looking that way, when one considers that yet near enough to escape the consequences there is nothing fine between us and the Ural of too absolute isolation. Aided in all he unmountains. Conceive what you look over, dertook by a staff of assistants that he himself for you just miss Sweden, and look over Hol- had trained, supported in his labor by the enland, the north of Germany, and the centre couragement of his sovereign, and especially of Russia.”*
by his own unflagging interest in scientific inThis dreadful midland monotony impelled vestigation, he led in that peaceful island the Dr. Arnold to seek refreshment and compen- ideal intellectual life. Of that mansion where sation in a holiday home in the Lake district, he labored, of the observatory where he and there he found all that his eyes longed watched the celestial phenomena, surrounded for, streams, hills, woods, and wild-flowers. but not disturbed by the waves of a shallow Nor had his belief in the value of these sweet sea, there remains at this day literally not one natural surroundings been illusory; such in- stone upon another; but many a less fortustincts are not given for our betrayal, and the nate laborer in the same field, harassed by soul of a wise man knows its own needs, both poverty, distracted by noise and interruption, before they are supplied, and after. West- has remembered with pardonable envy the moreland gave him all he had hoped from it, splendid peace of Uranienborg. and more. “Body and mind," he wrote, It was one of the many fortunate circum"alike seem to repose greedily in delicious stances in the position of the two Humboldts quiet, without dulness, which we enjoy in that they passed their youth in the quiet old Westmoreland.” And again: “At Allan castle of Tegel, separated from Berlin by a Bank, in the summer, I worked on the Roman pine-wood, and surrounded by walks and garhistory, and hope to do so again in the winter. dens. They too, like Tycho Brahe, enjoyed It is very inspiring to write with such a view that happy combination of tranquillity with before one's eyes as that from our drawing- the neighborhood of a capital city which is so room at Allan Bank, where the trees of the peculiarly favorable to culture. In later life, shrubbery gradually run up into the trees of when Alexander Humboldt had collected those the cliff, and the mountain-side, with its in- immense masses of material which were the finite variety of rocky peaks and points upon result of his travels in South America, he which the cattle expatiate, rises over the tops warmly appreciated the unequalled advanof the trees.”
tages of Paris. He knew how to extract from Of all happily-situated mental laborers the solitudes of primæval nature what he who have worked since the days of Horace, wanted for the enrichment of his mind; but surely Tycho Brahe was the happiest and he knew also how to avail himself of all the most to be envied. King Frederick of Den- assistance and opportunities which are only mark gave him a delightful island for his hab- to be had in great capitals. He was not atitation, large enough for him not to feel im-tracted to town-life, like Dr. Johnson and Mr. prisoned (the circumference being about five Buckle, to the exclusion of wild nature; but miles), yet little enough for him to feel as neither, on the other hand, had he that horsnugly at home there as Mr. Waterton in his ror of towns which was a morbid defect in * How purely this is the misery of a man of culture! A
Cowper, and which condemns those who peasant would not have gone so far.
suffer from it to rusticity. Even Galileo, who
thought the country especially favorable to ered them one by one. It may be doubted, speculative intellects, and the walls of cities however, whether he was more in danger an imprisonment for them, declared that the from the bombardment or from the intensity
best years of his life were those he had spent of his own mental concentration. He grew · in Padua.
thin and haggard, slept one hour in the twenty-four, and lived in a perilous condition of
nervous strain and excitement. Goethe at LETTER II.
the bombardment of Verdun, letting his mind
take its own course, found that it did not ocTO A FRIEND WHO MAINTAINED THAT SUR
cupy itself with tragedies, or with anything ROUNDINGS WERE A MATTER OF INDIFFER
suggested by what was passing in the conflict
around him, but by scientific considerations ENCE TO A THOROUGHLY OCCUPIED MIND.
about the phenomena of colors. He noticed, Archimedes at the siege of Syracuse-Geoffroy St. Hilaire in in a passing observation, the bad effect of war the besieged city of Alexandria-Goethe at the bombardunon the mind how it makes neonla destrict.
upon the mind, how it makes people destructment of Verdun--Lullo, the Oriental missionary-Giordano Bruno-Unacknowledged effect of surroundings-ive one day and creative the next, how it acEffect of Frankfort on Goethe--Great capitals--Goethe-customs them to phases intended to excite His garden-house--What he said about Béranger and Paris--Fortunate surroundings of Titian.
hope in desperate circumstances, thus pro
ducing a peculiar sort of hypocrisy different THEŘE are so many well-known instances of from the priestly and courtly kind. This is men who have been able to continue their in- | the extent of his interest in the war; but tellectual labors under the most unfavorable when he finds some soldiers fishing he is atconditions, that your argument might be pow-tracted to the spot and profoundly occupied erfully supported by an appeal to actual ex--not with the soldiers, but with the optical perience. There is Archimedes, of course, to phenomena on the water. He was never very begin with, who certainly seems to have ab- much moved by external events, nor did he stracted himself sufficiently from the tumult take that intense interest in the politics of the of a great siege to forget it altogether when day which we often find in people less studioccupied with his mathematical problems. ous of literature and science. Raimond Lullo, The prevalent stories of his death, though not the Oriental missionary, continued to write identical, point evidently to a habit of abstrac- many volumes in the midst of the most contion which had been remarked as a peculiar- tinual difficulties and dangers, preserving as ity by those about him, and it is probable much mental energy and clearness as if he enough that a great inventor in engineering had been safe and tranquil in a library. Giwould follow his usual speculations under cir- ordano Bruno worked constantly also in the cumstances which, though dangerous, had midst of political troubles and religious perselasted long enough to become habitual. Even cutions, and his biographer tells us that “ il modern warfare, which from the use of gun- desiderio vivissimo della scienza aveva ben powder is so much noisier than that which più efficacia sull' animo del Bruno, che non raged at Syracuse, does not hinder men from gli avvenimenti esterni." thinking and writing when they are used to These examples which have just occurred it. Geoffroy St. Hilaire never worked more to me, and many others that it would be easy steadily and regularly in his whole life than to collect, may be taken to prove at least so he did in the midst of the besieged city of much as this, that it is possible to be absorbed Alexandria. “Knowledge is so sweet," he in private studies when surrounded by the said long afterwards, in speaking of this ex- most disturbing influences; but even in thes perience, “that it never entered my thoughts cases it would be a mistake to conclude tha how a bombshell might in an instant have the surroundings had no effect whatever cast into the abyss both me and my docu- 'There can be no doubt that Geoffroy St. Hilair ments." By good luck two electric fish had was intensely excited by the siege of Alex been caught and given to him just then, so he andria, though he may not have attribute immediately began to make experiments, as his excitement to that cause. His mind wa if he had been in his own cabinet in Paris, occupied with the electrical fishes, but h and for three weeks he thought of nothing nervous system was wrought upon by th else, utterly forgetting the fierce warfare that siege, and kept in that state of tension whic filled the air with thunder and flame, and the at the same time enabled him to get throug streets with victims. He had sixty-four hy- a gigantic piece of intellectual labor and mad potheses to amuse him, and it was necessary him incapable of rest. Had this conditio to review his whole scientific acquirement been prolonged it must have terminat with reference to each of these as he consid- either in exhaustion or in madness. Men ha