or an account of the growth and decrease of different dynasties. On the other hand, the literature of a people, the bloom of the national mind, cannot be duly judged and estimated, without tracing its course as the product of the historical development of mankind generally, and in particular, of that of the nation to which it belongs. You will not then, I trust, charge me with any uncalled-for prolixity, if I endeavour, by some general preparatory remarks, to point out the relation of German literature to the development of the human mind, as represented in history; and how that memorable event, the Reformation, gave, as it were, a new direction to the cultivation of the German people.

This introduction will contain a sort of explanation of my historical and critical creed, and will furnish you with a key to those views, which will be laid before you in the course of my lectures, and which, without such previous explanation, might possibly appear paradoxical, and sometimes even unintelligible.

The thought of considering the history of mankind as the biography of an individual is not new; and Jean Paul Richter tells us, that the youth of a people is no metaphor, but a truth; a people only repeating, in larger proportions of time, and surrounding objects, the history of the individual. A modern German author, Adolph Müller, has expounded this view more fully; and thus, I have no reason to suppose that my opinions on the subject can be considered untenable, as I am only following

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in the path which this author has trod before me, and coinciding in general with his views.

The individual man belongs to his family as to his nearest sphere; the union of families belonging to one race, forms what is called a people; and the entire social union of nations, as represented by the consideration of the past, present and future, is comprehended under the denomination of mankind—as an organic whole ; and, like other organic products, subject to certain laws and influences of time. Thus, for instance, we see a forest, as a mass of single trees, subjected to the same changes and influences to which the single tree is exposed; and, as a grain of sand is a miniature representation of the earth, so man is the representative of mankind. The end of the existence of the individual man, is also the acknowledged aim of mankind generally—which is perfection, according to the model of the Eternal Spirit, who, hovering above the waters, called by love his creation into life. In order that mankind may reach this aim, we see, as history shows, that Providence takes upon itself the difficult charge of instructor. In one instance, we view it as the kind and careful parent, smiling above the cradled babe; in another, as the severe admonisher, enforcing obedience from the unyielding child; and, again, as the affectionate father receiving the lost son, and embracing him with redoubled love. The indestructible tendency to perfection in the human mind, even in the negligent, whether it express itself in piety, or in the never stifled voice of

conscience, is an evidence of our divine nature; and this tendency, acknowledged in the history of mankind, consecrates it as a noble and exalted science, for the truly philosophical inquirer.

“ But,” it may be asked, “ if mankind, under the guidance of Providence, contend for so high an object, why then do the separate peoples, which collectively constitute mankind, perish and disappear from the field of history, without having approached this lofty aim ?” This question may be very properly answered by another, namely—why are so many men found, heedless of the voice of conscience and forgetful of their high vocation, who, crippled in mind and body, meet an early death, without having attained the due degree of perfection ? Gentlemen, all are called, but not all follow the calling; yet as, notwithstanding the immorality of many individuals, a nation may aspire to perfection, so, despite of the depravity of many nations, mankind is still striving onward for the noble end proposed to it by Providence.

Peoples and states flourish and fade, spring up and vanish,—but mankind belongs to an eternal history, and its existence is undisturbed by the perishing of single members, from which succeeding ones arise. It has its great periods, when its spirit obtains, as it were, a new impulse in order to effect its regeneration. If even those infantine dreams (reminiscences from an antehistorical time), the mythology and tales of almost every people, possessing

a history and a literature, point to a first blessed awakening from the embracement of creation, reason itself must deduce the necessity of such an antehistorical life from the analogy of the individual human life. Only divine wisdom can spring forth in armour, and prepared-earthly cultivation must be cradled and nursed.

If we trace the history of mankind to its earliest dawn, where it disengages itself from mythology; if we inquire into the historical documents of each separate people, which by language and literature has transmitted its records to posterity, we find mythology and tales to be the dark commencement of all history, with which, indeed, they are so interwoven, that the criticism of modern commentators was requisite, in order properly to distinguish between mythology and actual history. Witness the Roman, Jewish, and Northern histories, where this process has been successfully pursued by such eminent scholars as Niebuhr, De Wette, Gesenius, and Geijer. With the tales or songs alluded to, the literature of a nation is every where closely connected, they are the dawn of the approaching day; for, before a nation has a history it possesses a poetry, and the first lispings of poetry are songs.

Considering, thus, the history of mankind as the biography of an individual, three great periods occur to us; namely, the early ages, including childhood and boyhood; the middle ages, comprising youth; and modern times, forming the perfect manhood.

But, in each of these several periods, we find nations which appear the particular representatives of its character; yet so that, in the history of such separate peoples, all the epochs of human life, down to extreme old age, are nevertheless distinctly traceable.

Now the east, as it seems to be the cradle of mankind, so also in its nations shows the marks of childhood; and, first, in the calm, contemplative Hindoos. For several thousand years this people has possessed a poetry, and considerable cultivation, but has remained, as it were, in a petrified childhood. A child loves most to play with flowers, and thus the poetry of the Hindoos is throughout the poetry of nature, the life of nature being the centre, to which all the thoughts of the Hindoos are turned. A perusal of the Sacontala will be sufficient to convince any one of the truth of this assertion. The images of the Hindoos are by no means devoid of grandeur; nay, they often border on the gigantic and astounding, but, still, they are the creations of an infantine fancy, unrestrained by the precepts of moderation and harmony. Thus we find them in their science, literature, and art. But what renders the Hindoo history so charming, is the calmness, peace, and truly childlike innocence, which overspreads the character of the people. This nation may be likened to a smiling babe, with arms extended towards its mother Nature, and finding no delight, save in its own fanciful dreams. If it be true, as it is probable, that the Egyptian and Greek wisdom flowed from Indian

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