« VorigeDoorgaan »
ledgment in the instances in which he the philosophy of nature.
To was indebted to him. That, in general Schelling we owe the completion, and the terms, is the charge. The defence is, most important victories of this revoluthat in this work there are certain tion in philosophy. To me it will be hapgeneral admissions in which he owns
piness and honour enough should I suchis obligations, and certain protesta
ceed in rendering the system itself intelli. tions, under which he strongly depre- gible to my countrymen, and in the appli.
cation of it to the most awful of subjects cates the charge of plagiarism even
for the most important of purposes. Whewhile he is in the very act of commit
ther a work is the offspring of a man's ting the offence. The question then
own spirit, and the product of original comes to be- What weight is to be
thinking, will be discovered by those who attached to these general admissions ?
are its sole legitimate judges, by better What are we to understand from them?
tests than the mere reference to dates. Do they speak out plainly, and lead us
For readers in general, let whatever shall to form an accurate notion of what
be found in this or any future work of Coleridge's dealings with Schelling mine that resembles or coincides with the really are ? Do they cover the whole doctrines of my German predecessor, extent of his obligation to him ?-or though contemporary, be wholly attributed do they not rather lead the reader to to him; provided that the absence of disrank him (from his own showing) al- tinct references to his books, which I could most pari passu with the German philo- not at all times make with truth, as desigsopherin the latter's own particularline nating citations or thoughts actually deof thought ?—To what extent do these rived from him, and which, I trust, would, protestations, or can any such protes
after this general acknowledgment, be su. tations entitle him, or any one, to ap
perfluous, be not charged on me as an unpropriate, without a specific acknow- generous concealment or intentional pla. ledgment, the property of another giarism.” man ? These questions can only be Such are the terms in which Cole. answered by attending to the terms in ridge, arming himself beforehand, anwhich his admissions and disclaimers ticipates and deprecates the charge of are couched. In the Biographia Lite- plagiarism, and justifies all the liberraria, p. 148, Coleridge writes thus. ties he may think proper to take with We give the whole of his defence :- the writings of Schelling. Our decided
" To Schelling's “NATUR-PHILOSO. opinion is, that his arms are very inef. PHIE,' (Schelling, we may remark, never
fectual, his panoply full of flaws, and published any work under this title,) and that the ground he takes up, though the SYSTEM DES TRANSCENDEN- specious enough, and an apparent TALEN IDEALISMUS, I first found a shelter, will be found to be altogether genial coincidence with much that I had untenable. toiled out for myself, and a powerful as. In the first place, we remark, that sistance in what I had yet to do. It would so long as human nature and the laws be a mere act of justice to myself were I of evidence remain what they are, to warn my future readers that an identity “an identity of thought and similarity of thought, or even similarity of phrase, of phrase," occurring in the case of will not at all times be a certain proof two authors, must be held as a very that the passage has been borrowed from
strong proof that one of them has borSchelling, or that the conceptions were rowed from the other. But in the originally learned from him. In this in
present case it is not similarity : it is stance, as in the Dramatic Lectures of Schle
absolute sameness of phrase that we gel, to which I have before alluded from the same motive of self-defence against Coleridge ; and this we maintain to
are prepared to bring forward against the charge of plagiarism, many of the
be in every instance a certain proof most striking resemblances, indeed all the main and fundamental ideas, were born
that the passages, about which the and matured in my mind before I had ever
question is, have been borrowed. If seen a single page of the German philoso
a man were to publish some verses
like Milton's Penseroso, the probabi. pher; and, I might indeed affirm with truth, before the more important works of lity, to say the least, would be, that Schelling had been written, or at least
he had borrowed a good deal from made public. . . . God forbid ! that I Milton; but if he were to publish as
l should be suspected of a wish to enter into his own some verses the same as the a rivalry with Schelling for the honours so Penseroso, we should at once prounequivocally his right, not only as a great nounce him, with complete certainty, and original genius, but as the founder of and in spite of all he might say to the
contrary, to be a downright plagiarist. is generously disposed to make over In the same way Coleridge, who has to his “ German predecessor, though dealt in this manner, and (a few ex- contemporary?” (He cannot even tremely insignificant variations and admit him to have been his predecessor, interpolations excepted) in no other without a qualification.) And further, manner, with the writings of the Ger- in the sentence where Coleridge writes man philosopher, must be held, not- _" Whether a work is the offspring of withstanding all his warnings and pro- a man's own spirit, and the product of testations, to have afforded us original thinking, will be discovered certain proof that the passages have by better tests than the mere reference been borrowed from Schelling, and the to dates ;” is not the impression conconceptions originally learned from veyed, and evidently meant to be con
and that he himself has been veyed, this, that though Coleridge did guilty of direct palpable plagiarism, not publish his ideas on the transcenand, we regret to say, of worse than dental philosophy until after Schelling, plagiarism, in thus giving the denial still, notwithstanding that, “ his work to a fact established by the clearest is the offspring of his own spirit, and and most irresistible evidence.
the product of original thinking ?" But that is not the most important Such, unquestionably, is the general feature of the defence to be attended impression conveyed by Coleridge's to. We ask, what is the general indefinite admissions. The question impression left on a reader's mind by between him and his reader then comes the passage quoted ? Is it not this: to be this: is this impression a true that Coleridge, having “borne the or a false one? Does Coleridge really burden and the heat of the day,” and. perform what he leads the reader to having made good his own indepen- believe he is performing—or does he dent advances in philosophy, had, in not ? For his exculpation must depend the person of Schelling, fallen in with very much upon an affirmative answer a fellow.labourer moving along the being returned to this question. Now same difficult path with himself, and we should say, that provided Coleat the most only with a step some- ridge has any where throughout his what firmer than his own ? Is it not book shown any indication of having this : that, having “ toiled out much brought the power of an independent for himself,” and “ many of the most mind to bear upon the difficult probstriking resemblances, indeed all the lems with which the German metamain and fundamental ideas, having physician is manfully grappling, probeen born and matured in his mind vided he has identified himself with before he had ever seen a single page the philosophy, by having reflected of the German philosopher," he was upon it the light of his own original prepared to pour from the lamp of an thinking—then the impression is a original though congenial thinker a true one. Even in that case we think flood of new light upon the dark doc. it would have been as well had he trines with which he so genially coin- acknowledged specifically the incided ? Is not this what we are rea- stances in which he makes use of sonably led by his language to expect? Schelling's identical words—but about Nay, is not this what a reader unac- that we should not have been at all quainted with foreign philosophy would particular and his not having done believe Coleridge, from his own state- so would not have been founded upon ment, to be actually performing in by us as a just ground of complaint. the case of the numerous passages Not only should we have found no throughout the Biographia Literaria, fault with him; but, knowing the very which open up glimpses into a philo- great value to be attached to a genuine sophy far profounder than the com- coincidence between two independent mon? Then, as to the exclamation, thinkers upon any great philosophical 66 God forbid! that I should be sus- question, we should have been ex. pected of a wish to enter into a rivalry ceedingly thankful to him for the pains with Schelling for the honours so un- he had taken in making Schelling's equivocally his right;" does it not se- system his own, and his own system cond this belief, and stand forth as a Schelling's; both of which things he sort of guarantee that these passages leads us to believe he does. are not literally Schelling's own, but But, alas! if this controversy can be that they are “genial coincidences' decided in Coleridge's favour, (as we on the part of Coleridge, which he think it can,) only provided it should
appear that he has contributed some- mind an impression that he is doing thing of his own to the stock he so one thing when he is doing quite anunscrupulously appropriates, we fear other thing ; in other words, conveys that he has not the smallest chance an impression altogether false, erro. of an acquittal. For it is not true that neous, and misleading. he has made even the smallest return. It must be remembered, that we Schelling might have been a beggar are at present speaking of Coleridge for any thing that he gives him out of only in reference to his connexion with his own pocket, in repayment of the the transcendental philosophy. He very large sums which he secretly draws lays a good deal of stress on his posfrom the bank of German transcen- session of the main and fundamental dentalism. Instead of having toiled ideas” of that system. We ourselves, out, as he
says, “ much for himself,” in our day, have had some small dealhe has left the whole of the toil to ings with “ main and fundamental Schelling: his own toil being merely ideas,” and we know this much about (without saying one articulate word them, that it is very easy for any man, about it) to render, page after page, or for every man, to have them. There into very tolerable English, some of is no difficulty in that. The difficulty the profound speculations of the Ger- lies in bringing them intelligibly, efman thinker. In every instance in fectively, and articulately out-in elawhich we meet with any remarks more borating them into clear and intellithan usually profound, bearing upon gible shapes; for this appears to be the higher metaphysics, it is Schel- the nature of fundamental ideas—the ling and not Coleridge that weare read. more you endeavour to extrude them, ing. Instead of having converged (as the stronger does their propensity behe leads us to suppose he has done) the come to run inwards, and to get out of rays of his own independent mind into sight. Now, it is precisely in the onecommon focus with the German, he counteraction of this tendency, and in leaves that philosopher shining on the power to force these ideas outalone, and illuminating, as he best wards, that philosophical genius dismay, his own dark discussions. Not plays itself. Indeed, it is the ability to one ray of light, we maintain, is any do this which constitutes philosopbiwhere thrown by him upon Schelling's cal genius. The mere fact of the system; and further than this, we ideas being in you is nothing-how are maintain that not only is it an in« they to be got out of you in the right correct statement that “ many of the shape, is the question. It is the demost striking resemblances, and all livery and not the conception that is the main and fundamental ideas, were the poser. Wasps and even dungmatured in his mind before he had ever flies, we suppose, are able to collect seen a single page of the German philo- the juice of flowers, and this juice may sopher”—not only is this an incorrect be called their “ fundamental ideas. statement; but there is not the small- So far they are on an equal footing est evidence in this, or any other of with the bee; that is, they possess the his works, betokening any “coinci- raw material ” just as much as he dence” whatever between him and does. But the bee alone is a genius Schelling—there is no proof to be among flies, because he alone can put met with, that he ever travelled so out his ideas in the shape of honey, much as one step in the same line and thereby make the breakfast-table of thought with him, except--mark glad. When, therefore, Mr Coleridge you, reader-except in the case of tells us, that, before Schelling's time, those passages which are faithful and he was in possession “ of all the main (with the omission of a few very
and fundamental ideas" of the tranunimportant interpolations) verbatim scendental philosophy, we replytranslations from that author. There- very likely—that, in one sense, is fore our verdict must be, that Cole- just what you, or we, or any weaver ridge, in the passages in which he in the suburbs might be in possesdeprecates the charge of plagiarism, sion of; but show us your honey, and defends his dealings with Schel- for that alone will convince us that ling, does not speak out plainly-does you are the philosophic genius you not, in reality, give the German phi- wish us to believe you to be. To this losopher his due-does not act fairly Mr Coleridge, instead of producing towards his reader, but conveys to his any stores of his own, makes answer
by presenting us with some combs This is certainly the ground upon purloined from the hive of a foreign which the reader is led to believe that worker, calling them by the alluring he refrains from giving his references. title of “genial coincidences.”
He is not able to bring himself to We perceive that Mr Gilman, in admit that all the profounder philosothe one only sentence in which he at phical observations contained in his tempts to defend Coleridge, has, like work are entirely the German's, but ourselves, though for a very different wishes to have it understood that they purpose, brought forward the bee as are all his own “genial coincidences an illustration of the case. He thus with Schelling. Genial coincidences, writes, (Life of Coleridge, p. 245--the forsooth! where every one word of italics are his own)—“ With regard the one author tallies with every one to the charge made by Mr De Quincy word of the other ! Credat Judeus of Coleridge's so borrowing the pro- Apella : non ego.
We have already perty of other writers as to be guilty said, and are prepared to show, that of petty larceny ;' with equal justice Coleridge contributes nothing to the might we accuse the bee, which flies expansion or explanation of Schelfrom flower to flower in quest of food, ling's system ; therefore the sentence and which, by means of the instinct we are writing about must be brought bestowed upon it by the all-wise to stand thus : “ For readers in genCreator, extracts its nourishment from eral, let nothing that shall be found the field and the garden, but digests in this or any other work of mine be and elaborates it by its own native attributed to Schelling, provided no powers.' Now this is precisely what fault be found with me should I ever we are complaining Coleridge does be discovered to have cabbaged from not do. Unlike the bee, he steals his his works ad libitum.” The logic of honey ready made. A friendly na- that “ provided” baflles us entirely. turalist suggests, that bees will steal But even admitting that there are reready-made honey too, when they can semblances to Schelling to be found get at it, and that, therefore, the pa- in his works, what right could he have rallel is not exact. But we reply to lay down such an arrangement as that, even then, they make a point this, that he would make all these over of elaborating it over again within to Schelling in the event of their betheir own internals before they pub- ing found to resemble him ; provided lish it to their neighbours in the hive. he, in the mean time, might pay himBut with regard to the transcendental self secretly what he pleased for them philosophy, Coleridge has done no. out of the funds of that philosopher, thing of his sort-he has digested and provided no one would blame him nothing by his own native powers. should his doings ever be brought to The pots all stand in his Biographia light? The logical propriety of the exactly as Schelling elaborated and “provided” escapes us in this case made them up.
also. How could he tell how little his There only remains one other point resemblances might be worth, and how to be got over : it is contained in the great might be the value of his purlast sentence of the defence, where loinings from Schelling? How is Coleridge strongly deprecates the any security that this bargain is a charge of plagiarism, and endeavours fair one to be established ? To cut to establish a sort of compact, by the question short, then, we do not which he is to be entitled, without think that any man is entitled to acknowledgment, to make what use enter such a protestation as this, he pleases of the works of Schelling. or that it can be listened to for a moTo save space, we beg to refer our ment as a defence, in the event of readers to the sentence already print- his being convicted of extensive plaed. But even here he artfully leads us giarism. It appears to us to be much away from the idea that he has trans- worse than no defence at all; for this ferred into his work, almost word for is the manner in which it is evidently word, many, nay any, of the pages
of calculated and designed to cut. So the German philosopher. Why could long as these plagiarisms are undehe not make his references to Schelling tected, this manner of wording the with truth, except on the ground that protest will ensure to the author (as it was not true that these citations, &c., it did to Coleridge during the whole were actually derived from Schelling of his life) the credit of being original,
and when they are detected, (if thatever passages ; and still less will they alhappens,) it will give him the benefit low us to enter into any explanation of his protestation as a defence: in touching the transcendental philosoother words, if the plagiarisms are not phy in general; but we can at least detected, Schelling's passages remain state the exact pages of Coleridge in Coleridge's, and if they are detected, which the plagiarisms occur, and the the latter calculates upon getting out corresponding pages of Schelling from of the scrape by pleading that he had, which they are taken. And we pledge in a manner, admitted them. Ay! ay! ourselves to do this with the most scruthe manner of the admission is pre- pulous accuracy; for not our own crecisely the question ; how does he ad. dit merely, but the general character mit them? We think we have already of this Magazine, will be, to a cermade clear what we now repeat, that tain extent, perilled upon our faiththe manner of his admission of them fulness. is such as naturally to lead every rea- The first instance in which we deder who trusts to his work, and looks tect Coleridge translating closely from no farther, to believe that nothing can Schelling occurs in p. 130, beginning be further from his practice and from at the words “ how being”--the last his intention than plagiarism, in the clause is interpolated, we think not way and to the extent which we are very wisely. This and the next sennow about to point out.
tence are to be found in Schelling's Let us here make a passing remark Transcendental Idealism, upon what Coleridge says in reference The next two sentences (Biog. Lit. to his “ coincidences" with Schlegel. p. 131) are to be found (slightly alHe tells us (see quotation) that, as in tered from the original) in Transc. reference to Schlegel, his views upon Id. p. 112. Then Coleridge interdramatic art, so in reference to Schel. poses a short sentence of his own ; ling, his views on transcendental meta- after which we come to the words, physics, were matured before he knew 66 Matter has no inward. We remove any thing about either author. On the one surface but to meet with another.” subject of his resemblances to Schle- This occurs in two places in Schelgel, we are not prepared to speak on ling's works; vide Phil. Schrift.tp. 240, our own authority. But as he himself and Ideen, I Introduction, p. 22. On here perils the fact of priority to turning over to p. 133, Biog. Lit., we and independence of Schlegel upon find that nearly the whole of the first the truth of what he says respecting paragraph is taken from the Transc. his priority to and independence of Id. p. 113, though here the translaSchelling, placing both instances upon tion is not so close as usual. But the exactly the same footing, we are en- passage is remarkable, as containing titled to say, that as in the case of a stroke which we daresay many adSchelling we know him to be a con- mirers have considered peculiarly summate plagiarist, and original in Coleridgian. Taking out of Schel. nothing ; so in the case of Schlegel, we ling's mouth the words in which he is think it more than probable that he describing the futility of materialism, has borrowed ready-made from that as an explanation of the phenomena author every thing in which he “ ge- of thought, Coleridge says, " When nially coincides" with him.
we expected to find a body, behold, We now proceed to particularize we had nothing but its ghost !--the Coleridge's plagiarisms, in the order apparition of a defunct substance !” in which they occur in the first vo.. Now this illustration, and every thing lume of the Biog. Lit., for to it our connected with it, belongs exclusively accusation is confined. Of course, our to Schelling. “To explain thinking," limits will not permit us to make al- says he,“ as a material phenomenon, most any extracts illustrative of our is only possible by making a ghost of charge; they will permit us to offer matter.” Transc. Id. p. 113. little or no criticism on the merits After turning over a few leaves, either of the borrowed or the original we come to the only passage in the
System des Transcendentalen Idealismus, Tubingen : 1800. † Philosophische Schriften. (First volume-all ever published.) Landshut: 1809. | Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur. (Second ed.) Landshut : 1803,