remarkable ; and, at one time, produced so general an impression, as to alarm the followers of Aristotle for the tottering authority of their master. If we may credit Launoius, this great revolution was on the point of being actually accomplished, when Cardinal Bellarmine warned Pope Clement VIII. of the peculiar danger of showing any favor to a philosopher whose opinions approached so nearly as those of Plato to the truths revealed in the Gospel. In what manner Bellarmine connected his conclusions with his premises, we are not informed. To those who are uninitiated in the mysteries of the conclave, his inference would certainly appear much less logical than that of the old Roman Pagans, who petitioned the Senate to condemn the works of Cicero to the flames, as they predisposed the minds of those who read them for embracing the Christian faith.

By a small band of bolder innovators, belonging to this golden age of Italian literature, the Aristotelian doctrines were more directly and powerfully assailed. Laurentius Valla, Marius Nizolius, and Franciscus Patricius,* have all of them transmitted their names to posterity as philosophical reformers, and, in particular, as revolters against the authority of the Stagirite. Of the individuals just mentioned, Nizolius is the only one who seems entitled to maintain a permanent place in the annals of modern sci

His principal work, entitled Antibarbarus,t is not


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* His Discussiones Peripateticæ were printed at Venice in 1571. Another work, entitled Nova de Universis Philosophia, also printed at Venice, appeared in 1593. I have never happened to meet with either ; but from the account giver of the author by Thuanus, he does not seem to have attracted that notice from bis contemporaries, to which his learning and talents entitled him. (Thuan. Hist. Lib. cxix, xvii.) His Discussiones Peripateticæ are mentioned by Brucker in the following terms: Opus egregium, doctum, varium, luculentum, sed invidid odioque in Aristotelem plenum satis superque.(Hist. Phil. Tom. IV, p. 425.) The same very laborious and candid writer acknowledges the assistance he had derived from Patricius in his account of the Peripatetic philosophy.--"In quâ tractatione fatemur egregiam enitere Patricii doctrinam, ingenii elegantiam prorsus admirabilem, et, quod primo loco ponendum est, insolitam veteris philosophiæ cognitionem, cujus ope nos Peripateticæ disciplinæ historiw multoties lucem attulisse, grati suis locis professi sumus.” Ibid.

Antibarbarus, sive de Veris Principiis et Verd Ratione Philosophandi contra Pseudo-philosophos. Parmæ, 1553. “Les faux philosophes,” dit Fontenelle, “ étoient tous les scholastiques passés et présens ; et Nizolius s'élève avec la dernière hardiesse contre leurs idées monstrueuses et leur language barbare. La longue et constante admiration qu'on avoit eu pour Aristote, ne prouvoit, disoit-il, que la multitude des sots et la durée de la sottise.” The merits of this writer are much too lightly estimated by Brucker. See Hist. Phil. Tom. IV, Pars I. pp. 91, 92.

p. 426.

only a bold invective against the prevailing ignorance and barbarism of the schools, but contains so able an argument against the then fashionable doctrine of the Realists concerning general ideas, that Leibnitz thought it worth while, a century afterwards, to republish it, with the addition of a long and valuable preface written by himself.

At the same period with Franciscus Patricius, flourished another learned Italian, Albericus Gentilis, whose writings seem to have attracted more notice in England and Germany than in his own country. His attachment to the reformed faith having driven him from Italy, he sought an asylum at Oxford, where he published, in 1588, a book de Jure Belli; and where he appears to have read lectures on Natural Jurisprudence, under the sanction of the University. His name has already sunk into almost total oblivion; and I should certainly not havt mentioned it on the present occasion, were it not for his indisputable merits as the precursor of Grotius, in a department of study which, forty years afterwards, the celebrated treatise De Jure Belli et Pacis was to raise to so conspicuous a rank among the branches of academical education. The avowed aim of this new science, when combined with the anxiety of Gentilis to counteract the effect of Machiavel's Prince, by representing it as a warning to subjects rather than as a manual of instruction for their rulers, may be regarded as satisfactory evidence of the growing inflụence, even at that era, of better ethical principles than those commonly imputed to the Florentine Secretary.

The only other Italian of whom I shall take notice at present, is Campanella ;t a philosopher now remembered chiefly in consequence of his eccentric character and eventful life, but of whom Leibnitz has spoken in terms of such high admiration, as to place him in the same line with

* The claims of Albericus Gentilis to be regarded as the father of Natural Jurisprudence, are strongly asserted by his countryman Lampredi, in his very judicious and elegant work, entitled, Juris Publici Theoremata, published at Fisa in 1782. “ Hic primus jus aliquod Belli et esse et tradi posse excogitavit, et Belli et Pacis regulas explanavit primus, et fortasse in causâ fuit cur Grotius opus suum conscribere aggrederetur; dignus sane qui præ cæteris memoretur, Italia enim, in quâ ortus erat, et unde Juris Romani disciplinam hauserat, gloriam auxit, effecitque ut quæ fuerat bonarum artium omnium restitutrix et altrix, eadem esset et prima Jurisprudentiæ Naturalis magistra.”

† Born 1568, died 1639.


Bacon. After looking into several of his works with some attention, I must confess, I am at a loss to conceive upon what grounds the eulogy of Leibnitz proceeds; but as it is difficult to suppose, that the praise of this great man

, was in any instance, the result of mere caprice, I shall

it in the power of my readers to judge for themselves, by subjoining a faithful translation of his words. I do this the more willingly, as the passage itself (whatever may be thought of the critical judgments pronounced in it), contains some general remarks on intellectual character, which are in every respect worthy of the author.

“Some men, in conducting operations where attention to minutiæ is requisite, discover a mind vigorous, subtile, and versatile, and seem to be equal to any undertaking, how arduous soever. But when they are called upon to act on a gri iter scale, they hesitate and are lost in their own meditations; distrustful of their judgment, and conscious of their incompetency to the scene in which they are placed : men, in a word, possessed of a genius rather acute than comprehensive. A similar difference may be traced among authors. What can be more acute than Descartes in Physics, or than Hobbes in Morals! And yet, if the one be compared with Bacon, and the other with Campanella, the former writers seem to grovel upon the earth,—the latter to soar to the Heavens by the vastness of their conceptions, their plans, and their enterprises, and to aim at objects beyond the reach of the human powers. The former, accordingly, are best fitted for delivering the first elements of knowledge, the latter for establishing conclusions of important and general application.'

* Leibnit. Opera, vol vi. p. 303, ed. Dutens.--It is probable that, in the above passage, Leibnitz alluded more to the elevated tone of Campanella's reasoning on moral and political subjects, when contrasted with that of Hobbes, than to the intellectual superiority of the former writer above the latter. No philosopher, certainly, has spoken with more reverence than Campanella has done, on various occasions, of the dignity of human nature. A remarkable instance of this occurs in his eloquent comparison of the human hand with the organs of touch in other animals. (Vide Campan. Physiolog. cap. xx. Art. 2.) Of his Political Aphorisms (which form the third part of his treatise on Morals), a sufficient idea for our purpose is conveyed by the concluding corollary, Probitas custodit regem populosque; non autem indocta Machiavellistarum astutia.” On the other hand, Campanella's works abound with immoralities and extravagancies far exceeding those of Hobbes. In his idea of a perfect commonwealth (to which he gives the name of Civitas Solis), the impurity of his imagination and the unsoundness of his judgment are equally conspicuous. He recoinmends, under certain regulations, a community of women; and, in every thing connected with procreation, lays great stress on the opinions of astrologers.


The annals of France, during this period, present very scanty materials for the History of Philosophy.

The name of the Chancellor De l'Hôpital, however, must not be passed over in silence. As an author, he does not rank high ; nor does he seem to have at all valued himself on the careless effusions of his literary hours; but, as an upright and virtuous magistrate, he has left behind him a reputation unrivalled to this day. * His wise and indulgent principles on the subject of religious liberty, and the steadiness with which he adhered to them, under circumstances of extraordinary difficulty and danger, exhibit a splendid contrast to the cruel intolerance, which, a few years before, had disgraced the character of an illustrious Chancellor of England. The same philosophical and truly catholic spirit distinguished his friend, the President de Thou; and gives the principal charm to the justly admired preface prefixed to his history. In tracing the progress of the human mind during the sixteenth century, such insulated and anomalous examples of the triumph of reason over superstition and bigotry, deserve attention, not less than what is due in a history of the experimental arts, to Friar Bacon's early anticipation of gunpowder, and of the telescope.

Contemporary with these great men was Bodin (or Bodinus)f an eminent French lawyer, who appears to have been one of the first that united a philosophical turn of thinking with an extensive knowledge of jurisprudence and of history. His learning is often ill digested, and his conclusions still oftener rash and unsound: yet it is but justice to him to acknowledge, that, in his views of the philosophy of law, he has approached very nearly to some leading ideas of Lord Bacon ; § while, in his refined combinations of historical facts, he has more than once struck

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* “ Magistrat au-dessus de tout éloge; et d'aprés lequel on a jugé tous ceux qui ont osé s'asseoir sur ce même tribunal sans avoir son courage ni ses lumières.” Hénault, Abrégé Chronologique.

7" One cannot help admiring,” says Dr. Jortin, “ the decent manner, in which the illustrious Thuanus hath spoken of Calvin : Acri vir ac vehementi ingenio, et ad. mirabili facundiâ præditus ; tum inter Protestantes magni nominis Theologus.” (Life of Erasmus, p. 555.) The same writer has remarked the great decency and moderation with which Thuanus speaks of Luther. Ibid. p. 113. | Born in 1530, died in 1596.

See, in particular, the preface to his book, entitled Methodus ad facilen Historiarum cognitionem. VOL. VI.



into a train of speculation, bearing a strong resemblance to that afterwards pursued by Montesquieu.* Of this resemblance, so remarkable an instance occurs in his chapter on the moral effects of Climate, and on the attention due to this circumstance by the legislator, that it has repeatedly subjected the author of the Spirit of Laws (but in my opinion without any good reason) to the imputation of plagiarism.t A resemblance to Montesquieu, still more honorable to Bodinus, may be traced in their common attachment to religious as well as to civil liberty. To have caught, in the sixteenth century, somewhat of the philosophical spirit of the eighteenth, reflects less credit on the force of his mind, than to have imbibed, in the midst of the theological controversies of his age, those lessons of mutual forbearance and charity, which a long and sad experience of the fatal effects of persecution has, to this day,

so imperfectly taught to the most enlightened nations of Europe.

As a specimen of the liberal and moderate views of this philosophical politician, I shall quote two short passages from his Treatise De la République, which seem to me objects of considerable curiosity, when contrasted with the general spirit of the age in which they were written.

The first relates to liberty of conscience, for which he was a strenuous and intrepid advocate, not only in his publications, but as a member of the Etats Généraux, assembled at Blois in 1576. “ The mightier that a man is,” says Bodin, “ the more justly and temperately he ought to behave himself towards all men, but especially towards his subjects. Wherefore the senate and people of Basil did

* See the work De la République, passim. In this treatise there are two chapters singularly curious, considering the time when they were written; the second and third chapters of the sixth book. The first is entitled Des Finances; the second, Le Moyen d'empêcher que les Monnoyes soyent alterées de Prix ou falsifiées. The reasonings of the Author on various points there treated of, will be apt to excite a smile among those who have studied the Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations ; but it reflects no small credit on a lawyer of the sixteenth century to have subjected such questions to philosophical examinaton, and to have fornied so just a conception, as Bodin appears evidently to have done, not only of the object, but of the importance of the modern science of political economy.

Thuanus speaks highly of Bodin's dissertations De Re Monetariá, which I have never seen. The same historian thus expressed himself with respect to the work De Republicâ : “ Opus in quo ut omni scientiarum genere non tincti sed imbuti ingenii fidem fecit, sic nonnullis, qui recte judicant, non omnino ab ostentationis innato genti vitio vacuum se probavit.” Hist. Lib. cxvii. 9.

| See Note D.

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