Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/59

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47
THE IMPORTATION OF GERMAN

at least in a biographical dictionary, gives no traces of any such result. Willich had himself attended Kant's lectures, and soon afterwards published a book or two intended to indoctrinate Britons. What became of him I do not know, but one hopes that he had not to support himself by teaching Kant.[1]

The history of the actual introduction of German philosophy lies beyond me; but a few external facts may illustrate the difficulty of that performance before we look at the purely literary movement. In those days philosophy in Great Britain was pretty well confined to the Scottish professors. The rising genius of the period was Thomas Brown, six years younger than Scott, but a singularly precocious youth. At the early age of four, so his biographer declares 'on most satisfactory evidence,' he was found comparing the Gospel narratives to test their consistency. At twelve or thirteen he was publishing a poem in a magazine; at sixteen arguing a psychological

  1. Mr. Herzfeld informs me that Willich was physician to the Saxon Ambassador, Count Brühl, who passed more than 30 years in England. The Count's daughter, Dorothy, married Hugh Scott of Harden, and it was probably through her influence that Willich went to Edinburgh. He wrote a life of Kotzebue, published as an Appendix to Miss Plumptre's translation of Lover's Vows; and a translation of Hufeland's Makrobiotik.