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Fourier's system. There can be no doubt that a considerable part of human unhappiness is caused by the loves of men and women. This phase of unhappiness some theorists would avoid by lifelong celibacy. Fourier less austerely avoided it by introducing into his phalansteric system a decent variety of free love, whereby adult men and women should be permitted to live together as long as they found it mutually agreeable, and to separate without inconvenient formalities whenever mutually so inclined, thus perpetuating an ideal race in obedience to unimpeded affinities of nature. When the Brook Farmers arrived at this phase of Fourier's applied philosophy, they simply ignored it. Cynical contemporaries rather looked for a development of free love in a community whose principles so clearly involved this form of freedom as well as those which they openly advocated. Nothing of the kind appeared. However absurd, however eccentric and irritating, Brook Farm may have seemed to people of strong sense, it passed from beginning to end without scandal. People who were married lived there as respectable married people should; unmarried people lived there with all that unaffected purity of personal life which is so generally characteristic of the better classes throughout America. The same native trait which appears in the absence of lubricity from American writings appears again in the fact that at Brook Farm, freely given over to theoretical socialism and to the teachings of Fourier, men and women lived sweet, clean lives. You might have watched them throughout the seven years of their communal existence, you might have listened to every word which they uttered about the teachings of their revered French apostle; but unless you had turned to Fourier's own writings, you would never have found reason to suspect that among his teachings was the doctrine of free love.

Brook Farm inevitably went to pieces. Its members were not skilled enough in agriculture to make farming pay; they found manual labour too exhausting to permit much activity of mind in the considerable leisure which their system afforded them; they discovered no new truths; and incidentally they discerned with more and more certainty that when you get together even so small a company of human beings as are comprised in one of Fourier's phalanxes, you cannot avoid uncomfortable incompatibility of temper. In 1847 their new phalanstery, which had cost ten thousand dollars and had almost exhausted their funds, was burned down ; it was not insured, and before long the whole community had to

break up.

The “ Dial” had come to its innocent end three years before. Transcendentalism proved unable long to express itself in any coherent form. Yet many of those who were connected with it never relapsed into commonplace. Emerson's career we shall consider in a little detail, and Hawthorne's, too, when the time comes. Margaret Fuller hardly survived the period of which she was so conspicuous an ornament; when Brook Farm faded away, she was already in Italy. She had gone thither by way of New York, whither she had been invited by Mr. Horace Greeley's sympathy with all sorts of New England reform. Greeley also had something to do with the settlement in New York of two eminent Brook Farmers. One was Mr. George Ripley, perhaps the chief spirit of the community. He began life as a Unitarian minister, and with the possible exception of Theodore Parker was the most cultivated Boston divine of his day. He found even the Unitarian ministry too narrow in its orthodoxy. When Brook Farm proved impracticable, he became the literary critic of the New York “ Tribune,” with which he retained his connection to the end of a long and honourable life. His wife, who began in ardent sympathy with him, became a devout Roman Catholic. Mr. Ripley himself developed into a completely free-thinking and agreeably accomplished man of the world. Mr. Charles Dana, too, was for a while connected with the “ Tribune.” After a varied

. career, he finally became editor of the New York “Sun,” which in his day enjoyed the reputation of being at once the most unprincipled and the most readable newspaper in America. Mr. George William Curtis became associated with the periodicals published by the Harpers, maintaining more of the purely ideal quality of his early days. Mr. Dwight returned to Boston, where, as editor of the “ Journal of Music,” he did rather more than any one else to make the city what it is now acknowledged to be, - a vital centre of musical art. And so in various ways Brook Farm faded into a memory, but one which always remained dear to those who knew the dreamy old days as they Aitted through the sunshine. For though in one sense the movement came to nothing, it was an earnest, sincere, beautiful effort to make human life better by practising the principles of ideal truth. Brook Farm was typical of all Transcendentalism. It had a bright beginning, a rather bewildering adolescence, and a confused, misty end; but it left no one the worse for its influence.

This New England Transcendentalism developed most vigorously in those years when the intellectual life of New York was embodied in the Knickerbocker school of writers. By contrasting these two neighbouring phases of thought we can see how unalterably New England kept the trace of its Puritan origin, eagerly aspiring to knowledge of absolute truth. The literature of the Knickerbocker school was never more than a literature of pleasure. Even the lesser literature of Transcendentalism, not to speak of its permanent phases, constantly and earnestly aspired to be a literature of both knowledge and power, seeking in the eternities for new ranges of truth which should broaden, sweeten, strengthen, and purify mankind.

In brief, just as Unitarianism represents the temporary orthodoxy of renascent New England, Transcendentalism represents its vagrant spiritual philosophy. Mr. Cabot, in his


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biography of Emerson, calls the movement an outburst of Romanticism ; by “ Romanticism ” he means something very like what we have called the revolutionary spirit, - a phase of that world movement which had shown itself in Europe more than a generation before. On Continental Europe this had expressed itself in the excesses of the French Revolution. In England it had expressed itself in that outburst of romantic poetry which made the first third of the nineteenth century a distinct epoch in English letters. The human nature of New England meanwhile asserted its independence of tradition in the vagaries of an ideal philosophy, and in a fervid assertion of the right of individuals to seek truth each for himself. This enfranchised Yankee human nature may perhaps seem vague, untutored, far from wise ; but whatever its errors, and whatever the limits of its good sense, one fact about Transcendentalism must be evident

to those who are most sensible of its humourous aspect. Throughout it was aspiring ; and its aspiration had a touch of almost unearthly sweetness and purity.

The old dogmas of the Puritans had taught that uncontrolled human nature must instantly reveal itself as damnable. To any honest mind the human nature of nineteenth-century New England, in the first enfranchisement of Transcendentalism, must seem as far from damnable as if damnation had never darkened the dreams of humanity.




As time passes, it grows more and more clear that by far the most eminent figure among the Transcendentalists, if not indeed in all the literary history of America, was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Born at Boston in 1803, and descended from a long line of ministers, he was as truly a New England Brahmin as was Cotton Mather, a century and a half before. His father was minister of the First Church of Boston, already Unitarian, but still maintaining unbroken the organisation which had been founded by John Cotton at the settlement of the town. The elder Emerson died early. His sons were brought up in poverty ; but they belonged on both sides to that hereditary clerical class whose distinction was still independent of so material an accident as fortune. In 1821 Waldo Emerson graduated from Harvard College, where, as his “ Notes on Life and Letters in New England ” record, the teaching of Edward Everett was filling the air with renascent enthusiasm. After graduation Emerson supported himself for a few years by school-teaching, studying meanwhile his hereditary profession of divinity. In 1829 he was made colleague to the Reverend Henry Ware, Jr., pastor of the Second Church in Boston. This was the church which had remained for above sixty years in charge of the Mathers. His ministerial career, then, began in lineal succession to Cotton Mather's own.

Mr. Ware, infirm in health, soon resigned ; and before Emerson was thirty years old, he had become the regular minister of the Second Church.

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