Fichte (Adamson)/Chapter IV
CHAPTER IV. 
BERLIN AND THE WAR OF LIBERATION.
The expulsion from Jena, and the sudden termination of his public career as an academic teacher, exercised a powerful influence not only upon Fichte’s external fortunes, but upon the development of his philosophic system. The difficulties which had been raised regarding his utterances on the supreme philosophic doctrine, the being of God and the nature of His relation to the individual thinking subject, compelled his attention to that aspect of his system in which it was as yet imperfect or incomplete. From this time onwards the ‘Wissenschaftslehre,’ as it had been expounded in the works already before the world, began to be incorporated in a wider view of character prevailingly theological or even theosophical. The whole tone or manner of treatment was at the same time altered; and Fichte, who seemed ever to feel that it was next to impossible to present his system in such a form as to be free from all ambiguity or danger of misconception, entered upon a series of popular expositions of his philosophy, which later writers have had some difficulty in reconciling with the results of his earlier method. A more precise account of the relations between the earlier and later forms of his philosophic doctrines will be given when the whole system is reviewed; but it is important to note here, as in the case of the ‘Critique of Revelation,’ a turning-point in Fichte’s career.
At Jena Fichte found it impossible even to continue in residence: all prospect of literary activity there was excluded by the Rescript of the Saxon Electorate. Nor was it easy for him to find any refuge. The majority of the smaller states in the surrounding district had passively acquiesced in the Saxon mandate: even from the little princedom of Rudolstadt, where he had hoped to secure a quiet retreat, he was excluded by the jealous surveillance of his antagonists. The intense excitement which had been roused by the discussions preceding his dismissal from Jena had spread far and wide, and if we may judge from his own expressions, his personal safety, in many quarters, was more than problematical In this uncertainty a slight accident determined his conduct. The Prussian minister Dohm, passing through Weimar, spent a few days at Jena, and, as was natural, conversed with friends regarding Fichte’s case. The indignation he expressed at the treatment to which Fichte had been subjected was coupled with the significant remark that in Prussia no such calamities were to be dreaded by thinkers who could prove themselves good and worthy citizens. Fichte, acting upon the hint communicated to him, wrote to his friend, Friedrich Schlegel, then residing in Berlin, and was by him assured that if he could make his way to that city in such a fashion as not to attract undue attention, and could time his arrival so as to have his case brought speedily before the King of Prussia, no hindrance need be feared. Following this advice, Fichte, in the early days of July 1799, suddenly left Jena, under pretext of taking a journey for recovery of his health, and travelled to Berlin. A few police inquiries were easily satisfied, and when the matter was brought under the royal notice, it was disposed of in the briefest fashion, “If,” said the easy-tempered monarch, “Fichte is so peaceful a citizen, and so free from all dangerous associations as he is said to be, I willingly accord him a residence in my dominions.” As for his religious views, these were dismissed in a somewhat clumsy paraphrase of Tiberius’s pithy saying, “Deorum offensa diis curae.”
1.—Friends and literary activity at Berlin (1799-1806) 
Warmly received by Schlegel, and introduced by him to the circle of friends centring mainly round Schleiermacher, Fichte, with his accustomed impetuosity, at once began to form new and extensive plans for literary work. It appeared to him that his narrow means would prove more than sufficient if he and his family could unite with the Schlegels and with Schelling in forming a common domicile. Against the feasibility of this scheme there was doubtless to be placed the unpleasing relations of Friedrich Schlegel with Dorothea Veit, who had by this time separated from her husband and thrown in her lot with Schlegel, and it is evident from Fichte’s letters to his wife that he had much to do to reconcile her to the proposal. At the same time he contemplated the foundation, also in concert with the above-named friends, of a comprehensive literary journal, which should apply freely and boldly the principles of the new philosophy. There seemed to be need of some such organ, for the Jena ‘Allgemeine Literaturzeitung,’ formerly devoted to the Fichtean ideas, was beginning to waver in its allegiance, and Nicolai, in the ‘Neue Allgemeine Bibliothek,’ and in many a dreary satire, was prosecuting, after his antiquated fashion, his favourite warfare against every novelty in literature or philosophy. Fichte, however, had deceived himself regarding his relations to his new friends. There were elements present which rapidly led to discord and even to the bitterest animosity. The years from 1799 to 1806 are characterised by the gradual overshadowing of the Fichtean philosophy, and by the development of hitherto unsuspected differences of view in the circle over which that philosophy had been supreme. To understand fully the movements of this period—a period of painful interest to the historian of literature—it is necessary to note with some care what were the main currents of thought and the general conditions of life at Berlin. We shall find in their nature the key to much of Fichte’s later work.
Under Frederick the Great, Berlin had risen rapidly from a position of provincial obscurity to the rank of capital city in an important kingdom, and had gradually become the centre of the comparatively small intellectual life of Prussia. But the same events which had given it importance had contributed to its corruption. The manners of the Court in the time of Frederick, the open devotion of that monarch to the French “Illumination,” the severance which his strong government caused between the interests of the individual subject and the wider aims of political and civic life, had combined to give a quite peculiar character to the society of Berlin. It is scarcely possible to imagine a state of greater or more deeply seated social corruption than that presented by Berlin in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. The strong national feeling which had at least been fostered by the power of Frederick seemed to die out under the feeble and vacillating policy of his successor, and showed no signs of revival in any of the smaller states, where intense selfishness prevented any united action against a common enemy. The corroding influence of the narrow rationalism which had long been preached by Nicolai and his coadjutors Engel and Abbt, left nothing which could resist the impulse of the new romantic principle rapidly acquiring dominion over the younger and more impetuous spirits in Germany. Life, divested of all permanent or general interests, lends itself readily to the sway of mere imaginative passion; and in the gospel of Tieck and Fr. Schlegel, only that seemed good which commended itself to the sentimental longings of the individual, while social relations appeared as mere hindrances to the pure poetic development of human fantasy. As might be anticipated from the subjection of thought and action to mere sentimental imaginative longings, the influence of women began to be the most prominent feature in society. In Berlin, as in Weimar, the leaders and directors of the new romantic school were in truth the women who stood in such close and ambiguous relation to the better-known men of letters. Henrietta Herz, Dorothea Veit, and Karoline Schelling, were the most potent factors in the disturbed chaotic movements of the literature of the time; and the dismal quarrellings and bickerings of men like Schlegel, Schleiermacher, and Schelling, can only be understood when their relations to these leaders are taken into account.
Thus, when Fichte entered Berlin society, there appeared, as the two most important currents of thinking, the old rationalistic tendency, with at least a substratum of solid political feeling, represented by Nicolai, and the new romantic literature, of which the manifesto had just been made in Schlegel’s ‘Lucinde.’ At first, and naturally, he was attracted towards the party with whom for some time he had been in sympathy, and whose principles had at least a superficial resemblance to the main ideas of his philosophical system; but it was not long before the radical difference in their views made itself apparent. In the first glow of friendship he yielded ready assent to the plan suggested by F. Schlegel of taking up residence with him, and of calling to their community A. W. Schlegel and Schelling. But it soon became evident that such a plan was impracticable, partly because Fichte’s strong ethical personality was in itself repulsive to the Schlegels, partly becaiise of the open antipathy between Dorothea Veit and the wife of A. “W. Schlegel, the celebrated Karoline, married, after her divorce from Schlegel, to Schelling. The proposed journal for literary criticism proved equally impracticable. Schelling was now beginning to cast himself loose from the Fichtean philosophy, and projected a journal of his own. The Schlegels, who had quarrelled bitterly with the ‘Allgemeine Literaturzeitung,’ had already started the ‘Athenäum,’ and manifestly found themselves less and less in harmony with Fichte, whom they pronounced wanting in poetry and imagination. Schleiermacher, finally, who had for Fichte a deep dislike, partly from personal, partly from philosophical difference, reviewed the ‘Bestimmung des Menschen,’ which appeared towards the close of 1799, in a bitter and contemptuous manner. Gradually Fichte withdrew from the society into which he had at first been cast, and associated himself more closely with men like Bernhardi, the philologist; with Zeune, lecturer at one of the gymnasia in Berlin, a man excellently skilled in modern languages; with Hufeland, the Court physician, whom he had known at Jena; and with Fessler, the leader of the Freemason movement, which was then attracting attention in Germany. Nor was he without more powerful patrons. With Beyme, Struensee, and Von Altenstein he was on terms of friendship, and through the good offices of the first named he obtained full permission to exercise his activity as a lecturer in Berlin.
The development of his philosophic views during the same period made more clear and definite the fundamental differences which separated him from the Romantic school, and from their speculative ally Schelling. For although the stress laid in the early expositions of the ‘Wissenschaftslehre’ upon the “Ego” or self-consciousness as the ultimate reality in cognition and in action might appear to indicate an agreement between Fichte’s doctrines and those of his quondam associates, yet it must not be forgotten that for Fichte, as for Kant and for Hegel, the unity of thought was never the individual with his empirical personal aims. It is true that upon the relation between self-consciousness, which is the essence of the thinking subject, and the wider sphere of reality, little had been said in the ‘Wissenschaftslehre’ itself, but the problem was touched implicitly in the ‘Sittenlehre,’ and came to the foreground in the religious controversy preceding the expulsion from Jena. Fichte’s attention seems now to have been turned entirely upon those general elements in human thought and action hitherto allowed to remain in obscurity in his theory; and while in his popular and published writings he gave forth the results of his speculation in the form of more or less completed doctrines of morality, theoretical politics, history, and religion, the speculative method by which these were attained, and the connection of them with the earlier treatment of the ‘Wissenschaftslehre,’ were expounded in repeated courses of lectures. The notes of many of these lectures have been published by his son, and at least one completed exposition of the new mode of contemplating the problems of philosophy, never published, but dating from the period immediately after the flight to Berlin, has been included in the completed edition of his works. The inner connection of these writings with the prior stage of Fichte’s public philosophical activity will be discussed at a later point; meantime the external history of his labours must be noted.
The ‘Bestimmung des Menschen’ (‘Vocation of Man’), published in the early part of 1800, gave great offence to the Schlegels and to Schelling by the deeply religious tone which prevailed throughout the closing and crowning portion of it. Schleiermacher, as has just been said, wrote a bitterly sarcastic review, and could hardly find words strong enough to express his detestation of it. The truth is that Schleiermacher never advanced, philosophically, beyond Spinozism, the principles of which are only disguised under the mystically pious tone of feeling on which all his speculation rested. Now the very aim of the ‘Bestimmung des Menschen’ is to show that Spinoza’s position, that of pure naturalism, is transcended in ethical idealism; and that between the views of man as the mere product and flower of nature, and of nature as but a form in which infinite intelligence makes itself manifest in finite consciousness, the opposition is radical The same opposition, it is plain, must exist between idealism as conceived by Fichte and the Natur-philosophie to which Schelling was now advancing. For in the latter, while in words Reason is made the supreme unity out of which all flows, in reality Nature is regarded as an independent fact, endowed with formative powers, and giving rise to human consciousness as we know it. The ultimate Reason, as mere Neutrum or identity of Real and Ideal, can have specific character only when viewed in relation to the two elements which dissolve themselves into it. If, of these two elements, nature be conceived as the prius, and thought as but a higher form of natural forces, then, as Fichte would have said, the ultimate Being is not living thought, but dead nature. A further opposition between the two thinkers arose from the difference of their views regarding the mode of treating natural or empirical knowledge. From Kant, Fichte had learned the lesson which he never forgot, that a priori constructions of nature are philosophically worthless. To him, therefore, the exercises of Schelling’s “genial imagination,” by means of which nature was interpreted without experiment or observation, appeared to be absolute Mysticism, mere conceits of chance.
With these elements of speculative difference, personal harmony was not likely to continue. The correspondence between the two thinkers during the years 1800 to 1802—accompanied as it was by the publication of various writings, in which Schelling not only brought forward his new views, but called attention to their advance upon the Fichtean position—exhibits a gradual cooling of friendship, culminating in the sharpest accusations of mutual misunderstanding. Nor did the controversy end with the close of their correspondence. In the lectures of 1804, ‘On the Characteristics of the Present Age,’ Fichte, without naming Schelling, deduces or interprets philosophically Schwärmerei and Natur-philosophie as necessary phenomena of a corrupt and unthinking age; while Schelling not only criticised in an aggressively personal tone the Erlangen lectures, to be mentioned presently, ‘On the Vocation of the Scholar,’ but in 1806 summed up all his enmity against his former friend in the biting ‘Exposition of the True Relation between Natur-philosophie and the Amended Fichtean Theory.’ Fichte’s final word remained unpublished during his life, but it now appears in his Collected Works in the tract written in 1806, and entitled ‘Notice regarding the Idea of Wissenschaftslehre, and of its Fortunes up to the Present Time.’ Here, without any hesitation, he characterises Schelling as “one of the most muddled heads that the general muddle of the age has produced,” as “an utterly incompetent and bungling sophist,” and subjects two of his writings, the ‘Darstellung meines Systems’ and the ‘Philosophic und Religion,’ to the most unsparing criticism.
With Schleiermacher there had been no open breach of friendship. It is curious that Fichte does not appear to have read the hostile and continued criticism of his views which runs through the ‘Critique of the Theories of Morals.’ Had he done so, it would certainly not have passed without notice. But with another of his former allies he was presently compelled to break. Reinhold, who never seemed capable of maintaining a position in philosophy except by attaching himself to some more vigorous thinker, had suffered his grasp of Fichte to slacken, and had been drawn towards a new luminary, Bardili of Stuttgard, whose ‘Grundriss der ersten Logik’ had appeared in 1800. Of this work, recommended to him in the warmest manner by Reinhold, Fichte wrote a sharp review in the Erlangen ‘Literaturzeitung,’ the tone of which contrasted strongly with the eulogy pronounced by Reinhold in the Jena journal. A “Letter to Professor Fichte” in the first number of Reinhold’s ‘Beyträge’ (1801) was followed by Fichte’s “Reply,” a powerful piece of writing, valuable for the light it throws upon the ‘Wissenschaftslehre,’ but conclusive as regards the friendship between the correspondents.
Not content with philosophical contention, Fichte turned upon the old opponent of all speculation, F. Nicolai, and annihilated him in the ‘Life and Singular Opinions of Nicolai.’ All Nicolai’s forms of criticism, his likes and dislikes, his laborious satire, are deduced with logical rigour from the first principle of his nature, that all human knowledge was summed up and comprehended in him, that what he did not understand was eo facto unintelligible and absurd, and that the mere expression of his adverse opinion was sufficient to put all opponents to rout. It is a bitter satire, not altogether undeserved, but doing less than justice to merits which Nicolai undoubtedly possessed.
The early years of residence at Berlin were unusually productive. In addition to lectures and to the writings already noted, we have during this period the work which in Fichte’s own opinion was the most careful and most maturely considered of all his productions, ‘The Exclusive Commercial State.’ This remarkable work is but little known, and yet it is by far the most complete exposition of theoretical socialism in modern literature. By an exclusive commercial state, Fichte understands a union of citizens under common laws, in which no international trade is permitted. Of the three books into which the work is divided, the first traces the principles of such a state; the second compares them with the actual phenomena presented by communities permitting international exchange; the third considers the steps by which a state as now organised may make itself exclusive. The fundamental political doctrines are deduced from a peculiar view regarding property. The right of property, Fichte thinks, does not extend over things, but only over modes of action. The state, therefore, has to assign to each of its members the sphere within which his free activity may be manifested. Hence it is requisite that the state should determine the distribution of the citizens into the three grand classes of producers of raw materials, manufacturers, and merchants; should regulate the scale of production and consumption; should fix the natural ratios of value in accordance with the principle that the intrinsic worth of a thing is the amount of its life-supporting property; and should issue a money of its own which could be contracted and expanded in amount so as to cause no detriment by fluctuations of prices. In the second book, where the actual economic conditions of communities are considered, the ruling ideas are those so commonly met with in socialist writings: that in trade left to its natural course one party benefits at the expense of another; that the use of money confers a new and baneful power on some classes of society; and that among interchanging countries, the poorer, to its certain loss and harm, will gradually be drained of its metallic wealth. In the third book, the way towards the exclusive state is shown to be the rejection of the use of metallic currency, and the adoption of a circulating medium which shall be valid only within the community itself. From this would naturally follow the restriction of the state to its own resources and the fostering of its own industries. Fichte has evidently no doubt regarding the power of the state to carry on these elaborate regulative functions: he never seems to have contemplated any possible disturbance of the balance between production and consumption, nor to have considered the natural influences which determine the course and forms of industry. The ‘Exclusive Commercial State’ is the best illustration of his total neglect of experience and want of power to bring his abstract notions into connection with concrete historical reality.
The lectures at Berlin continued to gain in popularity and in influence. The most eminent citizens and statesmen were to be found in attendance on them, and it was but natural that the idea should occur to reinstate Fichte in some position as academical lecturer. In 1804 he was invited by the Russian Government to the newly organised university at Charkow; in the same year he was offered a chair at the Bavarian university of Landshut. The first invitation he declined, because he felt that the foreign surroundings would diminish his influence and activity; the second he likewise refused, rather from dread of the strong ecclesiastical feeling in Bavaria than from disinclination to the university there. Towards the close of the same year, however, Beyme procured for him an offer, which he gladly accepted, of the Chair of Philosophy at Erlangen, under condition that he should be required to lecture during summer only, and might reside at Berlin during the winter months. In May 1805 he opened his course at Erlangen, was received with distinction by his colleagues, and here delivered to the whole body of students the lectures on the ‘Nature of the Scholar,’ which were published in the ensuing year. Almost simultaneously there appeared the lectures delivered at Berlin in the winter of 1804-5, ‘On the Characteristics of the Present Age,’ and those delivered in the winter of 1805-6, ‘The Way towards the Blessed Life, or Doctrine of Religion.’ The three sets of lectures form a completed whole: the first part, the ‘Characteristics,’ analysing the present state of culture and thought; the second, ‘The Nature of the Scholar,’ indicating the spirit in which the attempt to rise to a higher stage should be made; the third, sketching in bold outlines the completed reconciliation of life and thought in religion. In them the results of Fichte’s speculation are presented in popular form, and they are certainly incomparable specimens of the union of vigorous philosophical thought and masterly skill in exposition.
The fundamental idea of these works, expressed in various forms, has been made familiar to English readers through the teaching of England’s greatest modern moralist The guiding principle of all Carlyle’s ethical work is the principle of Fichte’s speculation, that the world of experience is but the appearance or vesture of the divine idea or life; that in this divine life lie the springs of true poetry, of true science, and of true religion; and that he only has true life whose spirit is interpenetrated with the realities transcending empirical facts, who is willing to resign his own personality in the service of humanity, and who strives incessantly to work out the ideal that gives nobility and grandeur to human effort. By slow degrees does humanity work out its aim, the perfect ordering of life according to Reason and with Freedom; and the period of construction, in which the general Reason moulds and fashions the thoughts and practical efforts of mankind, is preceded by the destructive period of individualist criticism. The characteristics of this destructive age, the principles of the Aufklärung, are drawn by Fichte with a master-hand, and in the state of German thought and society he had before him the realisation of his sketch. The present age appeared to him, in its lack of devotion to general interests, in its cold individualism, mechanical statecraft, and selfish morality, the condition of completed sinfulness. The call to the higher life, which he raised on philosophical grounds, was soon to become the passionate appeal of the patriot, who saw in the degradation of his country the effects of a false system of thought and ethical principle.
2.—Fall and regeneration of Prussia: the Berlin university 
The outbreak of the war between France and Prussia in 1806 had been preceded by events which showed all too clearly how deep was the disorder and corruption of the German national feeling. The selfish and vacillating policy of Prussia had rendered it possible for her to be the isolated object of Napoleon’s hostility. The shameful Rheinbund, completed in July 1806, had placed the princes of Southern and Western Germany under the headship of France, and had separated them from the German empire. Even the shadowy bond which seemed to unite the German States had been dissolved by the Austrian emperor’s renunciation of the Kaiserate, while the passive attitude of Prussia during the overthrow of Austria in 1805 had alienated the two great German Powers. The declaration of war with France was hailed with joy in Prussia as the one evidence yet remaining of life and independence in the state. The great triumphs of the Prussian army in the past inspired a feeling of confidence which unfortunately had no sound basis. The Berlin circles waited eagerly for the news of victories which they were prepared to celebrate, and the announcement of the terrible calamities of Jena and Auerstädt came like thunder from a clear sky. The Prussian power at a single stroke was shattered. The army was driven into fragments, fortress after fortress fell without resistance into the hands of the conqueror, and Berlin was left without defence. Fichte, with his friend Hufeland, fled beyond the Oder to follow the fortunes of the defeated king, and to await the development of the struggle in East Prussia, where Russian aid could be counted on. His wife remained to protect the family and goods of the united households.
At Stargard, where Fichte first halted, he found to his amusement a full-grown university in which his name and fame were absolutely unknown, and where it was necessary for him to inform his brother professors of the subject which he professed. At Königsberg, where he took up residence from November 1806 till June 1807, he was received with more intelligent appreciation, was nominated temporary professor, and delivered lectures, both publicly and in private, on the ‘Wissenschaftslehre.’ Here, too, he worked diligently at the study of modern languages, which he had begun under Delbrück, and above all, at Pestalozzi’s educational schemes, in which he seemed to find the seeds for the regeneration of public feeling in Germany. The fall of Danzig and the battle of Friedland drove him from Königsberg a few days before the conclusion of the melancholy Peace of Tilsit. After a stormy sea-voyage he reached Copenhagen, where he was greeted with warm affection by his former scholar Oersted, now a brilliant and successful professor at the Danish university. Not till August 1807 did he return to Berlin.
The calamities of Prussia had drawn the attention of all her greatest thinkers to the causes of such an unexpected collapse. With the instinctive feeling of a great nation still full of vital power, it was seen that regeneration was as possible as it was necessary, but that such regeneration must spring from a united and purified national spirit. The old mechanism which, when animated by a Frederick II., had been powerful and fit for great ends, must be set aside. The antiquated laws that separated the people into distinct and hostile classes, and substituted class interests for public sympathy, must be amended. The army, which had become an imperium in imperio, so hateful that even the defeat of the nation could not repress joy at the overthrow of the Junkerthum, must be made truly to represent the national will and force. Above all, what lay as positive principle at the root of all efforts towards amendment, the national education must again become a training through which the spiritual powers of the individual might be strengthened, and the feeling of corporate unity reinstated. Chaotic enough were some of the efforts to realise these obscurely felt longings, and one must smile at the good old Jahn’s endeavour to regenerate the nation by converting it into one gigantic Turnverein (gymnastic association); but nevertheless Prussia possessed a noble band of clear-sighted and strong-hearted sons, who severally took up and developed the ideas which converged towards one end, the reformation of the national mind. Stein and Hardenberg bent all their energies to the destruction of the old land laws which still held a large portion of the people in the state of villeinage, to the restriction of class-privileges, and to the institution of a system of local government which might knit together the several members of the state. Scharnhorst undertook the reformation of the military order, and laid the foundations of the system which has made the German army the most powerful engine of war the world has ever seen. To Fichte fell the task of endeavouring by his eloquence to turn the attention of the nation to the need for a new spiritual education. Already had he felt that in this way only could he discharge his heartfelt duty to the state. On the outbreak of the war in 1806, he had proposed to Beyme that he should be permitted to accompany the army as lay-preacher, and had received from the king thanks for an offer which was not accepted. The call to action was even stronger now than formerly, and at all hazards it was obeyed. On successive Sunday evenings, from 13th December 1807 to 20th March 1808, he delivered in the great hall of the Academy of Sciences, before a crowded audience, his famous “Addresses to the German Nation.” The French were still in occupation of Berlin: well-known spies frequented the lecture-hall, and fears were openly expressed for the safety of the speaker. But to a speculative treatment of patriotism the French naturally attached but small weight; the ‘Moniteur’ intimated that a famous philosopher, named Fichte, was delivering a course of lectures on reforms in education; no steps were taken against him either at the time or at a later date, when men such as Schleiermacher and Wolf were cautioned by the French commandant, Davoust. One need not wonder at such indifference, for, in truth, to many of his own countrymen Fichte’s words were of as little weight as to the foreigner. Contemporary records preserve a quite surprising silence regarding the ‘Reden.’
The ‘Addresses’ link themselves naturally to the ‘Characteristics of the Present Age.’ In the latter, Fichte had depicted the times as the “age of completed sinfulness,” and had referred them to the third great epoch in the history of humanity, the period when Reason is beginning to free itself from instinct and authority. By the force of events this age had been brought, for Germany at least, to a violent close. Individualism, with its selfish morality and statecraft, had been shattered by a blow dealt from without. The new epoch, that of the conscious recognition of Reason, had been inaugurated, and it remained to be seen how far Germany was fit to enter on its noble inheritance, and by what method it should be brought to take possession. There are thus in the ‘Addresses’ two leading trains of thought—a survey of those elements in the German spirit out of which the new state may be constructed, and an exposition of the mode by which they are to be utilised.
Moral regeneration of a nation, the education of the individual to the great general interests, is only possible when there is a free and living national spirit, capable of uniting the several members in the service of a common end. The German spirit is free and living, for the German people is pure and unmixed, and its history is the development of a single stock. The wonderful plasticity of the German language, which renders it capable of expressing in vivid and pictorial fashion the profoundest thought, is in itself a sufficient proof that the German people has the stamp of originality. The languages of the Germanic and the Neo-Latin races, as compared with the pure German tongue, are lifeless and mechanical. No people which had not a free and original national feeling could have taken up and worked out to a glorious termination the great idea of the Reformation. No people save the German has proved its capacity for the deepest philosophical speculation. In its language, in its religious depth, and in its philosophical power, Germany amply proves itself a free and living people. For Fichte, indeed, as Kuno Fischer well says, Germany is the Ego among all nations.
There lie, then, in the German spirit the possibilities of a noble ethical life for the individual, of a pure and rational state, of a religion which shall penetrate the life of humanity. How shall these possibilities be realised? Not otherwise than by a new system of national education, a system which shall have as its aim the perfection of the moral nature of the individual, and which shall at every step draw closer the links that bind the individual to the community. The groundwork of such a new education had already been laid by a deep-thinking German, by Pestalozzi; and the salvation of the people is to be looked for in the universal adoption and earnest realisation of what is true and original in his methods.
Fichte proceeds, then, to develop at some length his scheme of national education in its several stages of infant training, of school and university discipline. Like Pestalozzi, he lays stress on the necessity of beginning with real intuition and not with words or symbols; but he subjects to acute criticism Pestalozzi’s method, and substitutes for it a threefold training in accurate discrimination of the elements of sense experience—i.e., feelings—of the intuitions of external realities, and of bodily movements. So soon as this preparatory discipline has been completed, it is needful that children should be removed from the many home influences that corrupt education, and reduce the efforts of instructors to nullity. Education is a national affair, and must be conducted by the nation at the general expense. The state must support a body of teachers; and a common education, embracing along with the culture of the intellect an adequate technical training, must be provided for all. By this means, and by it only, the common ethical feeling, the sense of national unity, can be fostered and made productive. Germany must become an “exclusive educational state,” and patriotic feeling become the mainspring of action. A united Germany would be the best safeguard against the evils of the artificial “balance of power” policy, which for long had been the bane of the German States. It might resist the evil pressure of international commerce, which makes the poorer country a natural prey for the more wealthy. Above all things, the unique richness and depth of the German character are a sufficient demonstration of the folly of these dreams of universal monarchy, which can be realised only at the cost of national individuality.
To this great work,—a work of the last importance, not for Germany alone, but for humanity at large,—all ranks and classes are summoned. On the present age rests the task of carrying forward the great spirit that has animated civilisation, and of vindicating the noble place that has been held by the German people in the world’s history.
“In these addresses” (thus proceeds the fine peroration of Fichte’s last lecture) “the memory of your forefathers speaks to you. Think that with my voice there are mingled the voices of your ancestors from the far-off ages of grey antiquity, of those who stemmed with their own bodies the tide of Roman domination over the world, who vindicated with their own blood the independence of those mountains, plains, and streams which under you have been suffered to fall a prey to the stranger. They call to you,—‘Take ye our place’—hand down our memory to future ages, honourable and spotless as it has come down to you, as you have gloried in it and in your descent from us. Hitherto our struggle has been deemed noble, great, and wise;—we have been looked upon as the consecrated and inspired ones of a Divine World-plan. Should our race perish with you, then will our honour be changed into dishonour, our wisdom into folly. For if Germany were ever to be subdued to the empire, then bad it been better to have fallen before the ancient Romans than before their modern descendants. We withstood those and triumphed; these have scattered you like chaff before them. But as matters now are with you, seek not to conquer with bodily weapons, but stand firm and erect before them in spiritual dignity. Yours is the greater destiny, to found an empire of mind and reason—to destroy the dominion of rude physical power as the ruler of the world. Do this, and ye shall be worthy of your descent from us.
“With these voices mingle the spirits of your later fathers—of those who fell in the second struggle for freedom of religion and of faith. ‘Save our honour too,’ they call. To us it had not become wholly clear what we fought for; besides our just determination to suffer no outward power to control us in matters of conscience, we were also impelled by a higher spirit, which never wholly unveiled itself to our view. To you this spirit is no longer veiled, if you have vision for the spiritual world;—it now regards you with high clear aspect. The confused and intricate mixture of sensuous and spiritual impulses shall no longer be permitted to govern the world. Mind alone, pure from all admixture of sense, shall assume the guidance of human affairs. In order that this spirit should have liberty to develop itself, and rise to independent existence, our blood was shed. It lies with you to give a meaning and a justification to the sacrifice, by establishing this spirit in its destined supremacy. Should this result not ensue, as the ultimate end of all the previous development of our nation, then were our struggles but a vain and forgotten farce, and the freedom of mind and conscience for which we fought an empty word, since neither mind nor conscience should any longer have a place among us.
“The races yet unborn plead with you. ‘Ye were proud of your forefathers,’ they cry, and proudly ranked yourselves in a noble line of men. See that with you the chain is not broken. Act so that we also may be proud of you; and through you, as through a spotless medium, claim our descent from the same glorious source. Be not you the cause of making us revile our ancestry, as low, barbarous, and slavish; of causing us to hide our origin, or to assume a foreign name and a foreign parentage, in order that we may not be, without further inquiry, cast aside and trodden under foot. According as the next generation which proceed from you shall be, so shall be your future fame; honourable, if this shall bear honourable witness to you; beyond measure ignominious, if ye have not an unblemished posterity to succeed you, and leave it to your conqueror to write your history. Never has a victor been known to have either the inclination or the means of passing a just judgment on the subdued. The more he degrades them, the better does he justify his own position. Who can know what great deeds, what excellent institutions, what noble manners of many nations of antiquity, may have passed away into oblivion, because their succeeding generations have been enslaved, and have left the conqueror in his own way, and without contradiction, to tell their story?
“Even the stranger in foreign lands pleads with you, in so far as he understands himself, and knows aright his own interest. Yes! there are in every nation minds who can never believe that the great promises to the human race of a kingdom of law, of reason, of truth, are vain and idle delusions, and who therefore cherish the conviction that the present iron age is but a step towards a better state. These, and with them all the after-ages of humanity, trust in you. Many of them trace their lineage from us; others have received from us religion and all other culture. Those plead with us, by the common soil of our Fatherland, the cradle of their infancy, which they have left to us free; these, by the culture which they have accepted from us as the pledge of a higher good,—to maintain, for their sakes, the proud position which has hitherto been ours, to guard with jealous watchfulness against even the possible disappearance, from the great confederation of a newly arisen humanity, of that member which is to them more important than all others; or that when they shall need our counsel, our example, our co-operation in the pursuit and attainment of the true end of this earthly life, they shall not look around for us in vain.
“All ages,—all the wise and good who have ever breathed the air of this world of ours,—all their thoughts and aspirations towards a higher good,—mingle with these voices and encompass you about and raise suppliant hands towards you;—Providence itself, if we may venture so to speak, and the Divine plan in the creation of a human race—which indeed exists only that it may be understood of men, and by men be wrought into reality—plead with you to save their honour and their existence. Whether those who have believed that humanity must ever advance in a course of ceaseless improvement, and that the great ideas of its order and worth were not empty dreams but the prophetic announcement and pledge of their future realisation;—whether those—or they who have slumbered on in the sluggish indolence of a mere vegetable or animal existence, and mocked every aspiration towards a higher world—have had the right,—this is the question upon which it has fallen to your lot to furnish a last and decisive answer. The ancient world, with all its nobility and greatness, has fallen—through its own unworthiness and through the might of your forefathers. If there has been truth in that which I have spoken to you in these ‘Addresses,’ then it is you to whom, out of all other modern nations, the germs of human perfection are especially committed, and on whom the foremost place in the onward advance towards their development is conferred. If you sink to nothing in this your peculiar office, then with you the hopes of Humanity for salvation out of all its evils are likewise overthrown. Hope not, console not yourselves with the vain delusion, that a second time, after the destruction of an ancient civilisation, a new culture will arise upon the ruins of the old from a half-barbaric people. In ancient times, such a people existed fully provided with all the requisites for their mission; they were well known to the cultivated nation, and were described in its literature; and that nation itself, had it been able to suppose the case of its own downfall, might have discovered the means of renovation in this people. To us also the whole surface of the earth is well known, and all the nations who dwell upon it. Do we know one, of all the ancestral tribe of modern Europe, of whom like hopes may be entertained? I think that every man who does not give himself up to visionary hopes and fancies, but desires only honest and searching inquiry, must answer this question—No! There is, then, no way of escape: if ye sink, Humanity sinks with you, without hope of future restoration.”
With much, that is over-strained and fantastic, much that is indefinite and unpractical, the ‘Addresses’ yet spoke to Germans as they had not been spoken to since the time of Luther. The idea of the unity of the German people began in them to be detached from the old ideal of the Holy Empire, and to link itself on to the history of the race, and above all to the history of the strongest German State, to the history of Prussia. The most interesting facts in the troubled narrative of this troubled period are the rise and growth of the strong feeling of nationality, and the development of a more definite opposition between the older forms of German imperial union and the new conception of a national unity,—an opposition practically expressing itself in the antithesis between Austria with the Kaiserate and Prussia with the German Confederation. It is true that the smaller German States, especially those of the south and west, remained long unaffected by the new movement, and hence it becomes intelligible how the old history of internal dissension began to reappear in Germany so soon as the foreign yoke had been thrown off. Nevertheless it is to this time the historian must look for the first foreshadowings of the form of German unity which has slowly been wrought out in the later years of the present century.
Shortly after the delivery of the ‘Addresses,’ Fichte was struck down by the first illness wlr’ch had seriously affected him. Even his iron constitution had suffered from the fatigue of the months of exile from Berlin, from the anxiety and distress which continuously accompanied him. The public lectures on philosophy, for which he had prepared himself in the spring of 1808, were given up; and for some months he resided at Teplitz, where the warm baths restored, though not completely, his shattered health.
During this time an important step in the regeneration of Prussia had been under debate. When the Halle University had been closed after the defeat of Jena, the professors made proposals to the king that the seat of the university should be transferred to Berlin. This proposition was the occasion for the serious and mature consideration of the advisability of having in Berlin a national university. To Beyme, then Minister of Instruction, the commission was given to make the preliminary arrangements for such a step, and, on his invitation, Fichte sent in an elaborate and carefully constructed plan for the new institution. Although the university as it was eventually organised resembled in little or nothing Fichte’s ideal, the details of his scheme present some points of interest.
The true function of a university, according to the ‘Deduced Plan,’ has not been in general rightly apprehended. It is not the communication of knowledge by means of lectures, for, were this the aim, university work would be better performed by a large collection of books. The university is the crown or apex of the system of education, whereby the whole powers of the individual are to be trained to their highest form of exercise. A university is, in brief, a school for training in the art of using the understanding scientifically. All details of the organisation, as far as teaching is concerned, follow from this general principle. Thus the lecture method must be relinquished in favour of combined dialogue, examination, and practice in themes or theses. The scholars, who are destined to fulfil a high aim in the state, who are to represent culture and intelligence, must be carefully prepared in the preliminary school-education, must be isolated from all the details of life, and must have the means of support secured to them. The university will itself form a seminary or training-school for professors.
From this general conception Fichte proceeds to work out the details—first as regards the organisation of studies in a university, then as regards the distribution of scholars and teachers, their economy and relation to the state, and finally as regards the mode in which a university so constituted may actively influence the scientific world. In his treatment of the first subject, we have to note the occurrence of an error extremely frequent in the case of systematic theorists. Fichte thinks that in all branches of study the beginning should be found in a kind of encyclopaedic introduction; and that for all branches of study at a university, the common introduction is to be found in philosophy. Accordingly, the first year of study is arranged to be passed under the care of one professor of philosophy, who, without inculcating any system, shall train the students to reflection in the nature of the problems of thought and knowledge, shall indicate to them how the special sciences branch off from philosophy, and shall give literary and critical notices by way of introduction. When this first course is completed, the studies are then separated according to the broad divisions of philology, philosophy, history, and natural science. The old division of faculties in no way corresponds to the guiding principle of university training, that it shall deal with the scientific use of the understanding. Law, e.g., is on the one side professional merely; on the other, when it has a scientific aspect, it falls under history and philosophy. Medicine, in so far as scientific, rests upon, and should be included under, natural science. Theology, in like manner, must be distributed partly to philology, partly to philosophy, partly to history, of which last a most important chapter ought to be “the history of the development of religious notions among mankind.” In the case of each special line of study, the course begins with an encyclopaedic introduction, and passes on to the more definite and thorough work of detail
The students Fichte regards as divisible into two grand classes. Those who, by the exercises of their first course, have proved themselves fit to follow out the profession of the scholar, are the Regulars,—the very kernel of the university, for whom and by whom it peculiarly exists. They are to be distinguished not only by the economical arrangements for their maintenance, but even by a special academic garb. From their ranks are drawn the members of the professoriate; and Fichte, it may be remarked, is emphatically of opinion that such members should be young, and should not continue too long in office. All other students—those who use the university merely as an addition to their ordinary civic life—are called Associates, among whom some may be regarded as aspirants to the dignity of the Regulars, and are therefore called Novices.
Into the arrangements for the government of the university, for the payment of teachers and the support of scholars, Fichte enters at great length, but his treatment presents little or nothing of interest. One cannot avoid a feeling of surprise at the one-sided vision which could see no possible evil in the reinstatement of a cloister-life as the substitute for the freer academic air of a university. More attractive is his discussion of the methods whereby the scientific training-school is to influence the surrounding world. The organised force of the university is to manifest itself in the continuous production of three sets of records or Acta: first, a Journal of Scientific Art, in a peculiar sense the Acta literaria of the university, in which the produce of the university work, including the theses of the students, shall be incorporated; second, a periodical publication, containing on the one hand abstracts of the encyclopaedic surveys which form the propaedeutic to all scientific teaching, and on the other records of all additions to scientific knowledge made in the university; finally, a critical journal, which shall serve as a guide to all new scientific publications—a journal of the progress of literature.
Fichte’s scheme, discussed with the utmost care in Beyme’s house by a circle of men interested in the foundation of the new institution, appeared to contain too many novelties to permit of its acceptance. His old opponent, Schleiermacher, published in the following year (1808) his ‘Occasional Thoughts on Universities in a German sense,’ which was undoubtedly intended as a counterpoise to the ‘Deduced Plan;’ and the organisation finally adopted more nearly resembles Schleiermacher’s suggested modification of existing arrangements than Fichte’s thoroughly radical and comprehensive scheme. For some years the carrying out of the intention to found the new university was delayed. Stein, when in power, was unwilling to hurry matters, and had, for a time, some objections to Berlin as the seat of an academic institution. Not till 1809 was the affair handed over to W. von Humboldt, with instructions to have it carried out. Lectures were delivered in that year by Fichte, Schleiermacher, Savigny, Wolf, Klaproth, and others, which were in fact, though not in form, systematic university courses. The formal opening was made in the autumn of 1810, and Schmalz, formerly of Halle, was named first rector. An unusual number of the most eminent men in literature and science had been collected in Berlin during the preceding years, many of whom—e.g., F. A. Wolf and Buttmann—though not actually professors in the university, yet, as members of the Academy of Sciences, contributed by lectures and otherwise to the success of the new undertaking. Among the great names associated with the Berlin University in the early years of its existence, one notes Fichte, Schleiermacher, Savigny, I. Bekker, Aug. Böckh, Marheineke, Neander, Eichhorn, De Wette, Solger, Ideler, Klaproth, Rühs, Schmalz, and Rudolphi;—altogether a constellation of brilliant stars, shedding lustre on the youngest of the German academies.
In 1810 Fichte opened his course with the important lectures, first published in 1817, on the ‘Facts of Consciousness.’ The new mode of viewing the system of philosophy which is there presented was worked out in greater completeness, though not, one must confess, with greater clearness, in the lectures of 1812 on ‘Wissenschaftslehre,’ and on ‘Transcendental Logic,’ and in those of 1813 on ‘Wissenschaftslehre,’ on the ‘Theory of Law,’ on ‘Ethics,’ and on the ‘Facts of Consciousness.’ In these lectures one finds much difficulty in recognising the brilliant expositor of the earlier ‘Wissenschaftslehre.’ Fichte labours with harsh and forced metaphors to make clear his new conception of the whole intelligible world, of which knowledge is but an imperfect fragment; but over the entire exposition there hangs an air of obscurity and mysticism foreign to his original mode of thinking, and rendering comprehension of his meaning unusually hard. It is evident, indeed, from the continuous repetitions, from the over-anxiety to clear up fundamental points, that the system itself was not in all precision of outline before the mind of the author. The true cause of this obscurity we shall afterwards have to consider; but it must be said that, however important are these lectures in the development of Fichte’s own thought, they have had no significance in the history of speculation as a whole. His contributions to the progress of German philosophy must be looked for in the works published by him, and mainly in those of the Jena period.
As at Jena, so here at Berlin, we have to observe how difficult it was for Fichte’s impetuous temper to accept any situation save that of supreme ruler. His strong ideas on university organisation, in particular his desire by the most stringent penalties to suppress the corruptions of student life, led to constant and unseemly conflicts with his colleagues. At Michaelmas 1811 he had been elected rector of the university for the ensuing year, but after four months of office he resigned, finding it impossible to deal after his own fashion with university affairs, while hampered by the constant opposition of the senate. That the fault was altogether on the side of his colleagues cannot be admitted. Fichte’s natural impatience was probably aggravated by ill health, for he had never quite recovered from his one serious illness; and, if we may judge from a passage in one of Solger’s letters, his general demeanour was little calculated to produce harmony in an academic body. “Fichte,” writes Solger, “makes our very existence bitter by his mode of acting, not only by his paradoxical whims and real absurdities, but by his obstinacy and egotism. Continuously to overawe by declaring, ‘Not I as an individual say or desire this, but the Idea which speaks and acts through me,’ is certainly a fine mode of speech, in which I willingly recognise true and honest zeal. But when he proceeds in all matters, the greatest or the least, from the axiom that the Idea has selected but one organ—viz., Herr Fichte—himself it does appear to me that individuality becomes simple despotism. He has no measure in anything; for the smallest fault he treats the students as though they were imps of hell He pays no regard to the spirit of any law or regulation, but will have the very letter, of which his interpretation is often most ludicrous. The dementia which is mingled with his ingenium is really childlike. On the other hand, where one of his whims is in question, he will take the most astounding liberties with either letter or spirit of a law. Is he out-voted? he will not carry out the resolution of the senate, hunts up the most ridiculous reasons in order to find some formal error, and, if this be unsuccessful, appeals to the Government. Moreover, he has a band of students, his devoted scholars, who have been infected with his accursed desire to regenerate the world. These fellows make the most shameless representations to the senate, and Fichte transmits them directly to the department without communicating them to us as the real academic government, gives on his own authority an answer to the students, and justifies them against the senate.”
3.—War of liberation: death of Fichte. 
The close of the year 1812 was a notable epoch in European history. In December the fragments of Napoleon’s great army, broken and shattered in the Russian campaign, reached Wilna, and the scattered bands began to retrace their steps through German territory with a Russian army following close upon them. The magic influence of the great conqueror seemed to have received its death-blow, and throughout all Europe began a general stir and commotion. In Prussia more especially, weak and dispirited as she then appeared to be,—for her army was numerically small, her fortresses and chief towns still in the hands of the invader,—it was felt that the time at last had come for a decisive effort towards independence. An indescribable enthusiasm, hardly to be restrained from premature and fatal outbreak, agitated the whole people. The nation and the army, in the most eager excitement, waited with impatience for some movement on the part of their sovereign. The wisest and most prudent heads perceived how necessary it was for the future of Prussia and of Germany that their deliverance should not be left passively to the exertions of the Russian power. Only by vigorous and united action could Prussia hope to regain her position among the Powers of Europe. Events had been to a certain extent precipitated by the independent action of some of the leaders—e.g., by Yorck’s secession from the French army and conclusion of the famous Convention of Tauroggen; but it was needful that the work should be taken in hand by the nation itself, and that the king should be compelled to act with rapidity and vigour. The flight of the king in February to Breslau, where he was in comparative freedom from French control, was the first decisive step, for it thus became possible for him to assent openly to the alliance with Russia, already initiated independently of him by Yorck and Stein. On the 28th of the same month was concluded the Treaty of Kalisch, whereby the two Powers, Russia and Prussia, bound themselves to carry on in concert the war against their common enemy. On the 2d March the Russians crossed the Oder, and were followed, on the 10th, by the Prussian troops. On the 16th the formal declaration of war was made, and on the ensuing day the king issued his famous “Summons to my people.” The appeal was nobly responded to. From every quarter, from every rank of society, recruits and volunteers poured in. The universities were emptied of their students, even the gymnasia sent their Primaner to the front. Scharnhorst’s great war-mechanism began to appear in its true form, and those who from age or other cause were unable to serve in the ranks, enrolled themselves in the Landsturm, and prepared to play their part in the struggle for national independence.
To Fichte this wonderful upheaval of the Prussian people presented itself in its great historical aspects as the typical contest between the principles of reason and self-will, and as the means by which the long-desired unity of the German nation might be achieved. On the 19th February 1813, he closed his winter course of philosophical lectures with an eloquent address to the students, encouraging them in their heroic devotion, and emphasising the noble character of the work on which they were about to enter. In the summer of the same year he delivered to such audience as could be gathered in the auditorium of the university, the lectures “On the idea of a just war” (afterwards incorporated in the posthumous ‘Staats-lehre’), in which he characterised with force and eloquence the significance of a national war, and contrasted the idea for which the German people was about to .contend with the principles of their great foe. By this contest, it appeared to him, the unity of the German people might be attained sooner than had previously seemed possible. For, as he pointedly declares in the remarkable ‘Political Fragment from the year 1813,’ “a nation becomes a nation through war and through a common struggle. Who shares not in the present war can by no decree be incorporated in the German nation.” As was natural, his tendency to regard Prussia as the kernel and destined head of the united German people received fresh strength from the events of the time, for Prussia alone seemed to show the genuine enthusiasm of a nation straggling for its existence. In brief aphoristic fashion the ‘Political Fragment’ passes in review the claims of the several chief states, Prussia, Austria, and Saxony, to the headship of Germany, and the balance is inclined strongly towards Prussia.
A more active part than by the lectures it was not permitted to him to take. Again, as in the war of 1806, he proposed to the Government that he should exercise his oratorical powers on the army directly, but again his request was declined. He remained in Berlin, practising the military exercises in the Landsturm, and resuming, in the winter of 1813, his ordinary courses of lectures at the university.
The current of the war, which at first threatened Berlin, had been diverted from the capital by the victories of Gross-Beeren and Dennewitz, but the numerous combats in the immediate vicinity of the city had left a sad legacy in hospitals overcrowded with sick and wounded. The civic authorities, unable with the means at their disposal to cope with the unusual burden imposed upon them, appealed for aid to the citizens, and especially solicited the assistance of women for the work of nursing. Among the first who offered their services was the wife of Fichte, and throughout the winter months of 1813 she laboured incessantly in the hospitals. On the 3d January of the following year she was struck down by a serious, apparently fatal, nervous fever. Her husband, then opening a new course of philosophical lectures, attended constantly on her during the day, and left her only in the evening for his class-room. The crisis had hardly been passed, and hope entertained of her recovery, when the same disease struck down his strong frame. For eleven days he lingered, with but few intervals of clear consciousness, his sleep becoming ever deeper, till on the night of the 27th January all sign of life gradually vanished. He was buried in the first churchyard before the Oranienburg gate in Berlin; at his side now lie the remains of Hegel and Solger. Five years later his wife was laid at his feet. On the tall obelisk which marks his grave is the inscription from the Book of Daniel: “The teachers shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars that shine for ever and ever.”
In person Fichte was short and strongly made; the head massive, with pronounced features, keen and piercing eyes, thick and dark hair. In all his movements, as in his actions, he was quick, impetuous, and strong. His life lies before us as the manifestation of a powerful and heroic spirit, marked by clearness of insight and resoluteness of conviction, and animated by the loftiest ethical feeling. His errors are truly the defects of these great qualities.
- The very essence of this mode of thought is expressed in the definition of the Romantic principle by F. Schlegel, in his ‘Gespräch über die Poesie’ (1800): “That is romantic which expresses matter of sentiment (feeling) in fantastic form i.e., in a form determined throughout by imagination only.” The most thorough treatments of the Romantic school are those of Hettner, ‘Die Romantische Schule’ (1850); Brandes, ‘Hauptströmungen der Literatur des 19ten Jahrhunderts,’ Bd. II. (1873); Haym, ‘Die Romantische Schule’ (1870).
- In the ‘Nachgelassene Werke,’ 3 vols., 1834.
- ‘Darstellung der Wissenschaftslehre’ (‘Werke,’ vol. ii. pp. 1-163).
- See generally for Fichte’s view regarding the Natur-philosophie of Schelling, the 8th lecture of the ‘Characteristics of the Present Age’ (‘Werke,’ vol. vii. pp. 111-127).
- ‘Werke,’ vol. viii. pp. 361-407.
- ‘Grundlinien einer Kritik der bisherigen Sittenlehre’ (1803).
- ‘Werke,’ vol. ii. pp. 504-534.
- ‘Nicolai’s Leben und sonderbare Meinungen,’ 1801.
- ‘Der geschlossene Handels-staat’ (1800): ‘Werke,’ vol. iii. pp. 386-513.
- ‘Werke,’ vol. vi. pp. 347-448. They have been translated by Dr W. Smith.
- The “Grundzüge,” in ‘Werke,’ vol. vii. pp. 1-256; the “Anweisung,” ‘Werke,’ vol. v. pp. 397-580. Both in English by Dr Smith.
- Mere references to Fichte are numerous enough in Carlyle (see, e.g., ‘On Heroes,’ Lect. vi., the essays on the ‘State of German Literature,’ and on ‘Novalis’), but the full significance of the relation between them can become clear only when one compares the thoughtful essay entitled ‘Characteristics,’ and the ‘Sartor Resartus,’ with Fichte’s popular works above named, specially the ‘Grundzüge d. gegen. Zeitalters.’
- An admirable picture of German politics at this period is given in the anonymous pamphlet, ‘Deutschland in seiner tiefen Erniedrigung,’ published in the summer of 1806, for the printing of which the unfortunate bookseller Palm, of Nürnberg, was shot by order of Napoleon. The more extensive historical works bearing on the period, especially the lives of Stein by Pertz and Seeley, give more copious information.
- It is quite beyond the scope of this sketch to give any more detailed notice of these great works. A very complete survey is contained in Häusser’s ‘Deutsche Geschichte vom Tode Friedrichs des Grossen,’ vol. iii. pp. 120-254. The land reforms are stated with precision in Mr Morier’s essay, ‘Systems of Land Tenure’ (Cobden Club), pp. 243-285.
- See J. Bona Meyer. ‘Ueber Fichte’s Reden’ (1862). The notes to this little pamphlet, which contains an excellent treatment of the ‘Addresses,’ give many interesting particulars regarding the circumstances under which they were delivered and the impression made by them. See also Seeley’s ‘Stein,’ vol. ii. pp. 27-42.
- It is interesting to note that Fichte thinks Germany the only nation that has shown itself fit to realise the ideal of a republican constitution (‘Werke,’ vol. vii. pp. 357).
- With Fichte’s idea of the necessity and value of training to some mechanical occupation, one may compare the fantastic paedagogium in ‘Wilhelm Meister’s Wanderjahre.’
- “Deducirter Plan einer zu Berlin zu errichtenden höheren Lehranstalt,” ‘Werke,’ vol. viii. pp. 95-204. With this should be compared his “Ideas on the Internal Organisation of the University of Erlangen,” ‘Nachgel. Werke,’ vol. iii. pp. 275-295.
- ‘Werke,’ vol. ii. pp. 541-691.
- ‘Nachgel. Werke,’ vol. ii. pp. 317-492; vol. i. pp. 103-400.
- Ibid., vol. i. pp. 1-102; vol. ii. pp. 493-652; vol. iii. pp. 1-118; vol. i. pp. 401-574.
- From Noack, ‘J. G. Fichte’s Leben,’ &c., pp. 541, 542.
- The troubled movements of this important time are narrated with great fulness and precision in Seeley’s ‘Life and Times of Stein,’ vol. iii. pp. 1-103.
- ‘Werke,’ vol. iv. pp. 603-610.
- Ibid., vol. iv. pp. 401-430.
- ‘Werke,’ vol. vii. p. 550.
- Fichte’s view on this interesting point is noted, but given somewhat too positively, in Von Treitschke’s historical eulogy of Prussia, ‘Deutsche Geschichte im 19ten Jahrhundert.’ See Bd. i. p. 436.