Page:Addresses to the German nation.djvu/138

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SEVENTH ADDRESS
A CLOSER STUDY OF THE ORIGINALITY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF A PEOPLE


88. In the preceding addresses we have indicated and proved from history the characteristics of the Germans as an original people, and as a people that has the right to call itself simply the people, in contrast to other branches that have been torn away from it; for, indeed, the word “deutsch” in its real signification denotes what we have just said. It will be in accordance with our purpose if we devote another hour to this subject and deal with a possible objection, viz., that if this is something peculiarly German one must confess that at the present time there is but little left that is German among the Germans themselves. As we are quite unable to deny that this appears to be so, but rather intend to acknowledge it and to take a complete view of it in its separate parts, we propose to give an explanation of it at the outset.

89. We have seen that the relationship in which the original people of the modern world stood to the progress of modern culture was as follows: the former received from the incomplete, and never more than superficial, efforts of foreign countries the first stimulus to more profound creative acts, which were to be developed from its own midst. As it undoubtedly takes time for the