He lived according to a minutely elaborated, half-philosophical, half- practical system, like clock-work; not this alone, but also by the thermometer, barometer, aerometer, hydrometer, Hippocrates, Hufeland, Plato, Kant, Knigge, and Lord Chesterfield. But at times he had violent attacks of sudden passion, and gave the impression of being about to run with his head right through a wall.
But it is hardly necessary to enter a caveat against supposing that lucidity of expression is precisely proportional to clearness of thought. The philosophy of Kant did not admit of the simple language of Hume, and T.H. Green and Mr. Bradley are not to be blamed if they are more difficult to understand than Sir Leslie Stephen.
Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, one need not mention more, attempted to pass beyond the bounds of human experience and to formulate laws for the process; Schleiermacher, maintaining that Christian faith is a condition of devout feeling, a fact of inward experience, an object which may be observed and described, had an unbounded influence in America, and many are the ethical discourses I have listened to which owed more to Schleiermacher than to their authors.
By the light of reason alone, by the inspiration we gather from the grands esprits of the race, above all by the teaching of Immanuel Kant in his beautiful treatise on "Perpetual Peace," we intend to do what in us lies to put down this surviving, crowning infamy of war, the very thought of which brutalises the mind, outrages its humanitarian instincts, and degrades the ideals whereby we desire to live.
In Emile, he was incontestably inspired by the ideas of Locke on education in some degree, but in my opinion less than has been asserted. On nearly all sides it has been asserted that Rousseau exercised great influence over Kant. I know that Kant felt infinite admiration for Rousseau, but of the influence of Rousseau upon Kant I have never been able to discover a trace.
Hume argued correctly, as would now be generally admitted that this could not be done. Hence he inferred the far more doubtful proposition that nothing could be known a priori about the connexion of cause and effect. Kant, who had been educated in the rationalist tradition, was much perturbed by Hume's scepticism, and endeavoured to find an answer to it.
By force of arms, starvation and the power of lies, they hoped to force us back to unimportance, and now the issue is: Whether the categoric imperative of the East Prussian Kant, or the hypocrisy of British cant, shall gain the victory. "We are unalterably convinced that England is our mortal enemy, and that all endeavours to find a modus vivendi will be in vain.
I still continued, however, to reside in Koenigsberg; but wholly forgotten, or wholly unnoticed at least, by Kant. At table, Kant distributed his conversation and attentions pretty generally; but after the entertainment, when the company broke up into parties, he came and seated himself very obligingly by my side.
In Seventeen Hundred Ninety-four, Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin, inspired by Kant and Goethe, put forth his book, "Zoonomia," wherein he maintained the gradual growth and evolution of all organisms from minute, unseen germs. These views were put forth more as a poetic hypothesis than as a well-grounded scientific fact, so little attention was paid to Erasmus Darwin's books.
In France a translation of 'Werther' had attained great popularity; some of the plays of Schiller, the idylls of Gessner, and a few other German works were well known; but scarcely any Frenchman had a conception of the magnitude and importance of the intellectual activity which was growing up beyond the Rhine, or of the vast place which Goethe, Schiller, and Kant were destined to take in European thought.