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the progress, and weigh the nations in its scales by a standard which they all recognise.
Have we, then, come to the proper subject of which we were in pursuit, and is such a philosophical history identical with the philosophy of history itself? They have, indeed, I believe, much in common; but this latter is, if I mistake not, a yet maturer growth of civilisation. Let me endeavour to specify the distinction between them.
Into whatever alliance history may call philosophy, still, if it be true to its own nature, its basis must be narration. It has to set forth events, whether simple or complex, whether striking the imagination by sympathy, or exercising the rea
Take, for instance, the history of a particular nation for a given period of moderate length, say of fifty years. Immediately what a crowd of different subjects force themselves on the mind; war with its thousand incidents, diplomacy, politics, legislation, literature, social economy, religion. This is but a sample. All these require to be described. An accurate and vivid narrative of these must precede the philosophical part of history, the deduction of results, comparison, contrast, generalisation; nor will any amount of philosophic skill in the latter part make up for want of dramatic power in the former. Yet what a medley is here! What a multiplicity of details! Each one of these subjects, the active force of a nation, its politics, its legislation, its literature, its social economy, its state of religion, has its own growth and progress, its philosophical point of view, its manifold facts, and the laws which are their ultimate expression. How is it possible to have unity of conception in such a cluster of different subjects?
It is at this point that the philosophy of history comes upon the stage. Its special force lies in this very unity of conception.
It chooses one of these subjects; it traces such one, as it were, from the cradle, follows it through all the adventures of its course, its trials, conflicts, progressions, defeats, recoveries, completion, and success; draws, as it were, the biography of an idea-gives life and colouring to an abstractionsums up a chain of facts in their results. “The history of a nation,” says M. De Barante—himself so skilful in narration—“does not consist only in the chronicles of its wars and revolutions, in the living portrait of its illustrious men. So far is but the outward drama of history. There may
be desired the history of causes that do not appear visibly; certain minds may even prefer it to the history of effects which disclose themselves to the eye. All human things are subject to a progression, the law of which may be sought out in the midst of accidental and variable circumstances. There is an order of facts belonging to each kind of history. Historical interest will turn on the history of a religion, of a legislation, of a science, of an opinion, of an art, as well as on a history, the scenes of which are represented in fields of battle, in the public places of cities, or at the court of kings. Such histories,” he continues, "in which a philosophic genius follows across successive facts the development of an idea or the progress of a cause, have taken their place among the master works of the human mind. Their beauty mainly depends on unity of conception, on the author's power to distinguish and arrange facts according to his purpose, according to the object of his researches and his analysis."*
In such a work it would appear that history and philosophy have an equal share. It rests on a basis of facts; it results in a science, the which is to set forth the laws by which the political and social world is governed.
How can we attain to the knowledge of these laws? I know, I can even conceive, but one way — by a cautious and conscientious induction of facts, an induction which needs to be as patient, as rigorous, as scrupulous, as extensive, as little warped by preconceived fancies or extraneous theories, as the induction on which the physical sciences are built, and which has been the main instrument of their wonderful advance.
Let me quote here the words of one who has given us in his histories of civilisation in Europe and in France perhaps the most finished specimen
• M. de Barante, Histoire des Ducs de Bourgoyne, preface, pp. 9, 10, 11.
of the natural qualities required to produce a Philosophy of History. “What,"
“What,” says M. Guizot, “is the spirit which prevails at present in the intellectual order, in the research of truth, whatever be its object? A spirit of severity, prudence, and reserve, the scientific spirit, the philosophic method. This method carefully observes facts, and only allows itself to generalise slowly, progressively, in proportion as facts are known. This spirit has evidently prevailed for more than half a century” (we may now almost double that time) "in the sciences which are engaged on the material world ; it has produced their progress and their glory. Its tendency is at present to penetrate more and more into the sciences of the moral world, into politics, history, and philosophy. On all sides the scientific method extends itself and gains influence; on all sides is felt the necessity of taking facts for one's basis and rule; men are persuaded that they are the material of science; that no general idea can have any real value if it derive not its birth from facts, and be continually nourished by them as it grows to maturity. Facts are now, in the intellectual order, the power in credit.” And he adds words, which appear to me luminous with truth: “We are cast into a world which we have not created nor invented; we find it there; we look at it; we study it; need is that we must take it as a fact, for it subsists outside of us, independently of us. It is on facts that our
spirit exercises itself; it has but facts for materials; and when it discovers their general laws, those laws are themselves facts which it verifies."*
I accept these principles fully and unreservedly. I would apply to events of the moral order what a famous philosopher says of physics, that the doctrine of final causes, when actively introduced, spoils them. No doubt they have a final cause; no doubt, likewise, the whole course of events, as much in contingent as in material things, as much in the actions of free agents as in the unreasoning powers of nature, is foreordered and directed according to that end which is the first in the order of the divine counsels, as it is the last in execution. But it is not given to us, in this stage of our being, to jump at this hidden conclusion. The patient analysis of facts is our instrument of knowledge, in politics and history, as in the animal and vegetable world. I can therefore feel no jealousy of facts, no fear of them, in the intellectual order. A half knowledge, a meagre induction, a hasty generalisation—this indeed is to be feared as the parent of numberless errors; but there is nothing of which I am more intimately convinced than that the order of moral events, when fully disclosed, will be found to be governed by laws far transcending human wisdom to conceive, or the heart of man to admire. In the mean time, if we follow any other guide but facts, we are but
• Guizot, Civilisation en France, 1 re leçon.