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Ancients ; Descriptions of Père la Chaise ; &c.
America. By Thaddeus Masox HARRIS, D. D.
Art. I. – 1. Introduction to the History of Philosophy.
By Victor CouSIN, Professor of Philosophy of the
Hilliard, Gray, Little, & Wilkins. 1832. 8vo. pp. 458. 2. Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature. Vols. 1.
and II. Containing Philosophical Miscellanies, translated from the French of Cousin, JOUFFROY, and B. CONSTANT. With Introductory and Critical Notices. By GEORGE RIPLEY. Boston: Hilliard, Gray, & Co.
1839. 12mo. pp. 383 and 376. 3. Elements of Psychology; included in a Critical Exam
ination of Locke's Essay on (the) Human Understanding, with Additional Pieces. By Victor Cousin, Peer of France, &c. &c. &c. Translated from the French, with an Introduction and Notes. By the Rev. C. S. HENRY, D. D. Second Edition, prepared for the Use of Col leges. New York : Gould & Newman. 1838. 12mo.
The writings of Cousin form the popular philosophy of the day. Their success in this country'is attested by the appearance of the three translations, of which the titles are given above, one of which has already passed to a second edition, and has been introduced as a text-book in some of our principal colleges. There must be some grounds for this popularity, apart from the bias inanisested by many people to VOL. LIII. NO. 112.
adopt as their favorite system of philosophy, the one which happens to be the last published. Such a bias operated to swell the favor with which the writings of the late Dr. Brown were at first received, and in its reaction to depress his reputation with quite as much injustice as it bad at first been elevated. We do not anticipate for Cousin such a rapid fall in public estimation, because his great learning and the merits of his style, to carry the comparison no further, give him a decided advantage over the Scotch professor ; and his lectures, moreover, are not a posthumous publication. His manner, after all, is not much to the taste of sober and accurate thinkers; but it has qualities which are sure to please the majority of readers. Evidently formed in the lecture room, it is sometimes eloquent, but more frequently declamatory. Profound subjects are treated without any affectation of profundity of manner, — the capital vice of the German melaphysicians; and the general lucidness of the views set forth is due partly to the clearness of the writer's mind, and partly to the superficial character of his inquiries. He never fatigues the reader with a long train of argument, either because he dislikes the subtilties of logic, or is incapable of that severe exertion of mind which is necessary in order to bridge over the vast interval, that often separates ultimate truths from primitive perceptions. His conclusions lie but a step from the premises, when they have any premises at all, and they are repeated with a frequency, that marks the habits of a lecturer to a mixed audience, while it spares any severe effort of memory to those, who have the good fortune of being able to study the matter in print. We find nothing like terseness of manner, or simplicity of statement ; and the rhetoric, though highly wrought, in our judgment at least, often appears cold and artificial, instead of being penetrated with real warmth of feeling. But there is great copiousness, and not unfrequently much dignity, of expression ; and the swell of diction often gives prominence and effect to the enunciation of simple and familiar truths. The fairness and candor, which, with one great exception, he displays in estimating the services of other metaphysicians, are quite as manifest as the complacency, with which he alludes to his own merits.
Apart from the excellences and defects of manner, the favor shown to the writings of Cousin is due to the skill with