197. At the end of the preceding address we said that there were in circulation among us a number of worthless thoughts and deceptive theories as to the affairs of peoples, and that this prevented the Germans from forming such a definite view of their present situation as would be in accordance with their own special characteristics. As these vain phantoms are being held up for public veneration with great zeal just at present, and as they might be embraced by many people now that so much else has begun to topple over, solely in order to fill up the places that have become vacant, it seems appropriate to our purpose to subject these phantoms to a more serious examination than their intrinsic importance would deserve.
198. To begin with and before all things: the first, original, and truly natural boundaries of States are beyond doubt their internal boundaries. Those who speak the same language are joined to each other by a multitude of invisible bonds by nature herself, long before any human art begins; they understand each other
- [Fichte’s manuscript of this address, after having received the imprimatur at the censor’s office in Berlin, was mislaid and lost. As Fichte had meanwhile burnt the loose sheets which he had used in preparing the address, he was compelled to rewrite it as best he could.]