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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1852, by

BENJ. J. WALLACE,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

ISAAC ASHMEAD, PRINTER.

THE

PRESBYTERIAN

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

JUNE, 1854.

No. IX.

ARTICLE I.

THE PROBLEM OF TIIE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY.

The subject of this Essay, the Problem of the Philosophy of human History, and the conditions of its right solution, cannot, perhaps, be more appropriately introduced, than by recalling one of the most significant legends of mediæval Europe, as illustrated in one of the most vivid creations of the modern school of German art. Kaulbach, in his picture of the Battle of the Huns, brings before our vision a wide plain, strewed with the corpses of Huns and Romans, who had fallen in a sanguinary contest, while the whole upper air is depicted as filled with living combatants, whose mysterious strife is lighted up only by the dim rays of the pale queen of night. The legend runs, that so fierce was the hostility of the Teutonic and the Latin races, that even the bands of death could not restrain their lust for strife. Even the perturbed spirits of the slain, after the sun had set, left their mangled bodies, to prolong the deadly struggle in the open sky above the ensanguined field of Mars. The perpetuity of the feud of these historic races, at this juncture of times, the angle of modern civilization, is bodied forth in the boldness of the legend. But it also seems to inti

VOL. III.—1

could not

e had set, Jeftin, the perturber

mate another fact; that battles fought in the material, are renewed in the spiritual sphere. They end not with the defeat or victory of the hour. They come up again with a wider scope, and under a clearer sky.

And thus may this Battle of the Huns be to us an apt image of what is perpetually recurring in respect to all the great battles in the annals of our contesting race. One of the objects of the historic page is to call up the spirits from the realm of the shadowy past, to make their conflicts live again in the minds of the present, that we may see in a rarer atmosphere the elements and the meaning of the struggles in which they ignorantly fought for us. Thus, though

All changes, nought is lost ; the forms are changed,
And that which has been is not what it was,
Yet that which has been, is.

The turmoil and dust of the conflict pass away; warring passions illustrate permanent principles; the successive contests of races tell us of the victories of truth, and the progress of righteousness. And so human history becomes, in the eloquent description of Cicero “ the test of time, the light of truth, the life of memory, the rule of life, the messenger of antiquity."

One of the peculiar characteristics of the speculations of the nineteenth century, as compared with those of the eighteenth, is seen in the attempts made to understand the present, and even to predict the future, by means of the past. The most remarkable revolution in the method of investigation is probably to be found in the sphere of historical research. To the vain imagination, nurtured by the popular philosophy of the last century, that we are to make all things new, has succeeded the conviction, so well expressed by the inscription on an ancient coin, that “time discovers the riches of antiquity." Even the sciolist has learned to say, with Sir Matthew Hale, “that truth is the daughter of time.” That contempt of history, which used to be esteemed the beginning of wisdom, is now seen to be the end of folly. Many a dream of the future has vanished like an unsubstantial pageant, while the forms of the past have come to assume an immortal honor. That superficial egotism which prated of the sovereignty of the individual,

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