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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by
JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
31, Devonshire Street.
PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
But few words need be wasted in introducing to American readers a man so great and self-sufficing as Fichte was: so thoroughly able to speak for himself. Only a kindly sentence or two, to make us feel perfectly at home in his company, and to mark the particular coincidence of his genius with our present literary wants and prospects.
We shall welcome him because he was a man of action : and we need him because he was a man of thought. Nowhere can we find so grand a specimen of complete har. mony of speculation and practice, such a healthy, sinewy nature, constantly proving all his problems by the heroism of daily life. Goethe spent eighty years in self-culture : Schiller wore himself out with asking Pilate’s question, and his results were always æsthetic : Schelling rebuked Fichte for deserting the scholar's province, and carrying out speculation to its ultimates. But that very idea was the best in Fichte's possession — if it did not rather possess him namely, that the moral order of the Universe was the object of life. He stood ready to prove this by syllogism or by sacrifice: not only by an irreproachable character, but by deeds of great note in their time. And these were not forced upon him by circumstance or position, or merely assumed as stints, but they were elements of him and of his system : the necessary results of the man, as much as