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prise-should be contemptuous towards com- Jan intellectual nature seeking pasture and ex
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-spin any participation in the stupid narrowness which despises trade in general, and the cotton-trade in particular, let me add a few words upon the effects of the cotton business on the mind.
ning it would be from the desire for wealth or from the love of an English home. Th life of a cotton manufacturer, who personally attends to his business with that close super vision which has generally conducted t success, leaves scarcely any margin for intel lectual pleasure or spare energy for intellect ual work. After ten hours in the mill it is difficult to sit down and study; an even if there were energy enough, the min would not readily cast off the burden of grea practical anxieties and responsibilities so a to attune itself to disinterested thinking The leaders of industry often display ments power of as high an order as that which: employed in the government of great empire: they show the highest administrative abil ty, they have to deal continually with finar cial questions which on their smaller scale r
There appeared in one of the newspapers a little time since a most interesting and evidently genuine letter from an Etonian, who had actually entered business in a cotton factory, and devoted himself to it so as to earn the confidence of his employers and a salary of 400l. a year as manager. He had waited some time uselessly for a diplomatic appointment which did not arrive, and so, rather than lose the best years of early manhood, as a more indolent fellow would have done very willingly, in pure idleness, he took the resolution of entering business, and carried out his determination with admirable persistence. At first nobody would believe that the "swell "quire as much forethought and acumen § could be serious; people thought that his idea of manufacturing was a mere freak, and expected him to abandon it when he had to face the tedium of the daily work; but the swell was serious-went to the mill at six in the morning and stayed there till six at night, from Monday till Saturday inclusive. After a year of this, his new companions believed in him.
Now, all this is very admirable indeed as a manifestation of energy, and that truest independence which looks to fortune as the reward of its own manly effort, but it may be permitted to me to make a few observations on this young gentleman's resolve. What he did seems to me rather the act of an energetic nature seeking an outlet for energy, than of
those that concern the exchequer; but th
short flight on an emergency, and rise, if only for a few minutes, above the level of the
stubble and the copse.
Without, therefore, desiring to imply any prejudiced contempt for trade, I do desire to urge the consideration of its inevitable effects upon the mind. For men of great practical
An unsettled class of English people-Effect of localities on the mind-Reaction against surroundings-Landscapepainting a consequence of it-Crushing effect of too much natural magnificence-The mind takes color from its surroundings-Selection of a place of residenceCharles Dickens-Heinrich Heine-Dr. Arnold at Rugby-His house in the lake district-Tycho Brahe-His establishment on the island of Hween-The young Humboldts in the Castle of Tegel-Alexander Humboldt's appreciation of Paris-Dr. Johnson-Mr. Buckle-Cowper-Galileo.
intelligence and abundant energy, trade is all-TO A FRIEND WHO OFTEN CHANGED HIS PLACE sufficing, but it could never entirely satisfy an intellectual nature. And although there is drudgery in every pursuit, for even literature and painting are full of it, still there are certain kinds of drudgery which intellectual natures find to be harder to endure than others. The drudgery which they bear least easily is an incessant attention to duties which have no intellectual interest, and yet which cannot be properly performed mechaniI FIND that there is a whole class of English cally so as to leave the mind at liberty for its 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 them to be denied the liberty of dreaming. An intellectual person might be happy as a stone-breaker on the roadside, because the work would leave his mind at liberty; but he would certainly be miserable as an enginedriver at a coal-pit shaft, where the abstraction of an instant would imperil the lives of others.
In a recent address delivered by Mr. Gladstone at Liverpool, he acknowledged the neglect of culture which is one of the shortcomings of our trading community, and held out the hope (perhaps in some degree illusory) that the same persons might become eminent in commerce and in learning. No doubt there have been instances of this; and when a "concern" has been firmly established by the energy of a predecessor, the heir to it may be satisfied with a royal sort of supervision, leaving the drudgery of detail to his managers, and so secure for himself that sufficient leisure without which high culture is not possible. But the founders of great commercial fortunes have, I believe, in every instance thrown their whole energy into their trade, making wealth their aim, and leaving culture to be added in another generation. founders of commercial families are in this country usually men of great mother-wit and plenty of determination-but illiterate.
will be living in five years. Indeed, as you
Have you ever studied the effect of localities on the mind-on your own mind? That which we are is due in great part to the accident of our surroundings, which act upon us in one or two quite opposite ways. Either we feel in harmony with them, in which case they produce a positive effect upon us, or else we are out of harmony, and then they drive The us into the strangest reactions. A great ugly English town, like Manchester, for instance, makes some men such thorough townsmen that they cannot live without smoky chimneys; 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 hide
ous modern cities, which made men long for
sights and sounds have their influence on our temper and on our thoughts, and our inmost being is not the same in one place as in another. We are like blank paper that takes a tint by reflection from what is nearest, and changes it as its surroundings change. In a dull gray room, how gray and dull it looks! but it will be bathed in rose or amber if the hangings are crimson or yellow. There are natures that go to the streams of life in great cities as the heart goes to the water-brooks; there are other natures that need the solitude of primæval forests and the silence of the Alps. The most popular of English novelists sometimes went to write in the tranquillity of beautiful scenery, taking his manuscript to the shore of some azure lake in Switzerland, in sight of the eternal snow; but all that beauty and peace, all that sweetness of pure air and color, were not seductive enough to overcome for many days the deep longing for the London streets. His genius needed the streets, as a bee needs the summer flowers, and languished when long separated from them. Others have needed the wild heather, or the murmur of the ocean, or the sound of autumn winds that strip great forest-trees. Who does not deeply pity poor Heine in his last sad years, when he lay fixed on his couch of pain in that narrow Parisian lodging, and compared it to the sounding grave of Merlin the enchanter, "which is situated in the wood of Brozeliande, in Brittany, under lofty oaks whose tops taper, like emerald flames, towards heaven. O brother Merlin," he exclaims, and with what touching pathos! "O brother Merlin, I envy thee those trees, with their fresh breezes, for never a green leaf rustles about this mattress-grave of mine in Paris, where from morning till night I hear nothing but the rattle of wheels, the clatter of hammers, street-brawls, and the jingling of pianofortes!"
The selection of a place of residence, even though we only intend to pass a few short years in it, is from the intellectual point of view a matter so important that one can hardly exaggerate its consequences. We see this quite plainly in the case of authors, whose minds are more visible to us than the| minds of other men, and therefore more easily and conveniently studied. We need no biographer to inform us that Dickens was a Londoner, 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 pos
itive 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,' 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, and there he found all that his eyes longed for, streams, hills, woods, and wild-flowers. Nor had his belief in the value of these sweet natural surroundings been illusory; such instincts are not given for our betrayal, and the soul of a wise man knows its own needs, both before they are supplied, and after. Westmoreland gave him all he had hoped from it, and more. "Body and mind," he wrote, "alike seem to repose greedily in delicious quiet, without dulness, which we enjoy in Westmoreland." And again: "At Allan Bank, in the summer, I worked on the Roman history, and hope to do so again in the winter. It is very inspiring to write with such a view before one's eyes as that from our drawingroom at Allan Bank, where the trees of the shrubbery gradually run up into the trees of the cliff, and the mountain-side, with its infinite variety of rocky peaks and points upon which the cattle expatiate, rises over the tops of the trees."
he labored, of the observatory where he watched the celestial phenomena, surrounded but not disturbed by the waves of a shallow sea, there remains at this day literally not one stone upon another; but many a less fortunate laborer in the same field, harassed by poverty, distracted by noise and interruption, has remembered with pardonable envy the splendid peace of Uranienborg.
It was one of the many fortunate circumstances in the position of the two Humboldts that they passed their youth in the quiet old castle of Tegel, separated from Berlin by a pine-wood, and surrounded by walks and gardens. They too, like Tycho Brahe, enjoyed that happy combination of tranquillity with the neighborhood of a capital city which is so peculiarly favorable to culture. In later life, when Alexander Humboldt had collected those immense masses of material which were the result of his travels in South America, he warmly appreciated the unequalled advantages 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 snugly at home there as Mr. Waterton in his How purely this is the misery of a man of culture: A
peasant would not have gone so far.
neither, on the other hand, had he that horror of towns which was a morbid defect in Cowper, and which condemns those who 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 best years of his life were those he had spent in Padua.
from the bombardment or from the intensity of his own mental concentration. He grew thin and haggard, slept one hour in the twenty-four, and lived in a perilous condition of nervous strain and excitement. Goethe at the bombardment of Verdun, letting his mind take its own course, found that it did not occupy itself with tragedies, or with anything suggested by what was passing in the conflict around him, but by scientific considerations 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 bombard
TO A FRIEND WHO MAINTAINED
THAT SURROUNDINGS WERE A MATTER OF INDIFFERENCE TO A THOROUGHLY OCCUPIED MIND.
ment of Verdun--Lullo, the Oriental missionary-Gior- upon the mind, how it makes people destructdano 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 hope in desperate circumstances, thus pro
Paris-Fortunate surroundings of Titian.
much mental energy and clearness as if he had been safe and tranquil in a library. Giordano Bruno worked constantly also in the midst of political troubles and religious persecutions, and his biographer tells us that "il desiderio vivissimo della scienza aveva ben più efficacia sull' animo del Bruno, che non gli avvenimenti esterni."
ducing a peculiar sort of hypocrisy different THERE 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 enough that a great inventor in engineering would follow his usual speculations under circumstances which, though dangerous, had lasted long enough to become habitual. Even modern warfare, which from the use of gunpowder is so much noisier than that which raged at Syracuse, does not hinder men from 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 these perience, "that it never entered my thoughts cases it would be a mistake to conclude that 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. Hilaire ments." By good luck two electric fish had was intensely excited by the siege of Alexbeen caught and given to him just then, so he andria, though he may not have attributed immediately began to make experiments, as his excitement to that cause. His mind was if he had been in his own cabinet in Paris, occupied with the electrical fishes, but his and for three weeks he thought of nothing nervous system was wrought upon by the else, utterly forgetting the fierce warfare that siege, and kept in that state of tension which filled the air with thunder and flame, and the at the same time enabled him to get through 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 condition to review his whole scientific acquirement been prolonged it must have terminated with reference to each of these as he consid- either in exhaustion or in madness. Men hav