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trated in the events which have just been narrated. The existing coalition between the Erie Railway and the Tammany ring is a natural one, for the former needs votes, the latter money.
. This combination now controls the legislature and courts of New York; that it controls also the Executive of the State, as well as that of the city, was proved when Governor Hoffman recorded his reasons for signing the infamous Erie Directors' Bill. It is a new power, for which our language contains no name. We know what aristocracy, autocracy, democracy are ; but we have no word to express government by moneyed corporations. Yet the people already instinctively seek protection against it, and look for such protection, significantly enough, not to their own legislature, but to the single autocratic feature retained in our system of Government, the veto by the Executive.
Through this Governor Hoffman won and lost his reputation in New York, and it is to the possible use of this same power by President Grant, in Washington, that the people look for security from the misdeeds of their own representatives done under the influence of corporate wealth. The next step will be interesting. As the Erie ring represents the combination of the corporation and the hired proletariat of a great city, as Vanderbilt embodies the autocratic power of Cæsarism introduced into corporate life, and as neither alone can obtain complete control of the government of the State, it, perhaps, only remains for the coming man to carry the combination of elements one step in advance, and put Cæsarism at once in control of the corporation and of the proletariat, to bring our vaunted institutions within the rule of all historic precedent.
It is not pleasant to take such views of the future ; yet they are irresistibly suggested by the events which have been narrated. They seem to be in the nature of direct inferences. The only remedy lies in a renovated public opinion ; but no indication of that has as yet been elicited. People did indeed, at one time, watch these Erie developments with interest, but the feeling excited was rather one of amazement than of indignation. Even where a real indignation was excited, it led to no sign of any persistent effort at reform; it betrayed itself only in aimless denunciation or in sad forebodings. The danger, however, is day by day increasing,
and the period during which the work of regeneration should begin grows always shorter. It is true that evils ever work their own cure, but the cure for the evils of Roman civilization was worked out through ten centuries of barbarism. It re mains to be seen whether this people retains that moral vigor which can alone awaken a sleeping public opinion to healthy and persistent activity, or whether to us also will apply these words of the latest and best historian of the Roman republic: “ What Demosthenes said of his Athenians was justly applied to the Romans of this period; that people were very zealous for action so long as they stood round the platform and listened to proposals of reform ; but, when they went home, no one thought further of what he had heard in the market-place. However those reformers might stir the fire, it was to no purpose, for the inflammable material was wanting."*
CHARLES F. ADAMS, Jr.
· Art. III. – 1. Die Religion der Griechen. Von J. A. HARTUNG.
Erlangen. 1836. 8vo. 2. Prolegomena zu einer wissenschaftlichen Mythologie. Von
KARL OTTFRIED MÜLLER. Göttingen : Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht. 1825.
It has been common to regard the polytheism of the Greeks and Romans as an utterly false, corrupt, and corrupting system of belief'; their mythology as merely a series of graceful fables, springing from the fancy, or at best a mystic and symbolical presentation of great truths. Even those who, like the creators of the modern science of comparative mythology, rise to the conception of the fundamental unity of the religious idea, are in the habit of dwelling more upon the historical unity of origin than the essential unity of spirit. They trace with skill and insight the evidences of identity, but are apt to neglect what is individual and distinctive in religions.
* Mommsen, Vol. IV. p. 91, referring to the early Ciceronian period, B. C. 75.
Comparative mythology is therefore partial and incomplete, hardly less so than the older mythological systems. If these overlooked one important series of facts, it overlooks another, not less important. It is not necessary to pass in review the old, exploded systems,—the allegorical interpretation, by which the gods were transformed into mere personifications of qualities; Euhemerism, which regarded them as deified men ; and that form of symbolism which conceived a whole system of faith to have been invented by priests and rulers as an engine of government or an instrument of education. All these were given up long ago. A rational and scientific interpretation of mythology - at least on any considerable scale - was first
reached by the distinguished Karl Ottfried Müller, whose principles of investigation have served as the foundation of the most successful subsequent inquiries. This great scholar adopted in the main the principles of interpretation now generally accepted, which treat the myths as the expression of a religion of nature ; but he discovered the necessary limitations of these principles, and observed a moderation in applying them practically which his followers would often do well to copy. His special service to the science, however, lay in introducing into it the method of analysis, treating the myths as the results of a gradual growth and various origin, and resolving them into their simple original elements. This is the method that has led to the important discoveries made since his day. In applying this process in detail, he no doubt errs in insisting overmuch on the essential originality of the Greeks, and lays more weight upon the local origin of myths than would scholars of the present day, although in one remarkable passage he anticipates the general truths of comparative mythology. His mistakes are just in the opposite direction from those of his namesake, Max Müller, and his Prolegomena will serve very well to balance the extreme views of the latter.
In saying that comparative mythology is partial and incomplete, I mean merely that it has its own scope and its own limitations, and that, in the hands of its lesser and too enthusiastic votaries, it is sometimes in danger of overstepping its natural limits. Comparative philology, too, is necessarily partial and incomplete when applied to the grammar of any one language ; it treats of its general and fundamental nature, but not of its individual character. Thus, Professor Max Müller teaches us wherein the mythology of the Greeks is identical with that of the cognate races ; and if he attempted to do more
; than this, he would cease to teach comparative mythology. But when the primitive religion of the Aryan race shall have been thoroughly explored, then will come the time for a truly scientific treatment of Greek mythology by itself, taking the truths of general mythology as a basis, but not forgetting that the Greeks themselves were a great creative force, and that nine tenths of their mythology is purely their own. Even now it would be possible to come much nearer such a treatment than Mr. Cox has done in his excellent little treatise, and my aim in the present article is to call attention to certain points of view which he has overlooked, especially in regard to the connection of the Greek mythology with the Greek religion.
The original and individual side of the Grecian belief is not, however, the only nor the most important feature in their religion which needs to be insisted upon. We are accustomed to look to the Hebrew theology as the sole foundation of our Christian monotheism, and do not at once perceive that it lacked an important element which is found in Christianity — whether inherited from the classic civilizations, or traceable to the IndoEuropean origin of Christian nations, we will not undertake to say.
From whichever source derived, it appears at any rate to be a common feature of the Indo-European theology, and to form a strong contrast between this and the Semitic. I refer to the idea of the immanence of the Deity in nature. When we compare the Greek and Hebrew systems with each other, and call the one polytheistic, the other monotheistic, we are guilty of an injustice. The Jews did not, any more than the Greeks, comprehend at first the idea of one sole and all-powerful God. The plurality of the godhead in the earliest Hebrew records is a familiar fact; and the progress from this to the pure monotheism of the later prophets is very gradual. And even when the Jews had advanced to the conception of Jehovah, it was still for a long time not as the one omnipotent ruler of the earth, but as the special god of the Hebrew people. Other nations had their gods, and real gods, but Jehovah was the strongest of
all. He was their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. It would have been rank blasphemy to have spoken of him as the god of Pharoah and Nebuchadnezzar as well. From this idea of a national god, more powerful than the gods of other nations, a loftier religious sense easily developed the idea of one only God, creator and governor of the universe; and in the sacred hymns and the prophecies of this period we have the sublimest utterances of all time in the devout recognition of the Supreme Being.
The polytheism of the Greeks was different in its nature from that of the Hebrews. Of course neither could be wholly devoid of the distinctive characteristics of the other, for these grew out of the very nature of man. Among the Greeks there exist here and there traces of the worship of national or tribal divinities; and the Hebrews were not wholly without a sense of the divine spirit dwelling in nature. All distinctions of race consist rather in the predominance of certain qualities than in the exclusion of others. Each set of dogmas then was developed from an independent, equally vital truth. The Jew derived his from the unity and supremacy of the godhead, one and supreme within its special sphere - the national life. The Greek, on the other hand, started from the immanence of. the divine power, inhabiting, inspiring, and vivifying every living thing, nay, every inanimate object, and every action of life. His faith was a sort of pantheism, - a belief not in one God pervading all nature and identified with nature, but in millions of gods, – a god for every object, for every act. Thus pure fetich-worship was not unknown among them. Apollo was worshipped under the form of a pointed pillar, the Paphian Venus under that of a conical stone; the Omphalos at Delphi and the sacred olive-tree on the Acropolis were fetiches; the eagle of Zeus; the serpent of Asclepios, the ivy of Dionysus, were conceived of as in a peculiar sense the residence of the spirits of these gods. And although the Greeks and Romans outgrew fetichism, they never outgrew this, its fundamental principle; to them, nature was always alive, and if alive, then animated by divine spirits. Thus Jupiter means “heavenfather,” the god or spirit who inhabited the heavens; while Demeter is “ earth-mother."