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the union of the characteristic merits of both.
MR. COLERIDGE'S OBLIGATIONS TO SCHELLING, AND THE UNFAIR VIEW OF THE SUBJECT PRESENTED IN BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.
SOME years ago, when the late Editor of my Father's works was distantly contemplating a new edition of the Biographia Literaria, but had not yet begun to examine the text carefully with a view to this object, his attention was drawn to an article in Blackwood's Magazine of March, 1840, in which “the very large and unacknowledged appropriations it contains from the great German Philosopher Schelling," are pointed out; and by this paper I have been directed to those passages in the works of Schelling and of Maasz, to which references are given in the following pages, to most of them immediately, and to a few more through the strict investigation which it occasioned. Whether or no my Father's obligations to the great German Philosopher are virtually unacknowledged to the extent and with the unfairness which the writer of that article endeavors to prove, the reader of the present edition will be able to judge for himself; the facts of the case will be all before him, and from these, when the whole of them are fully and fairly considered, I feel assured that by readers in general,—and I have had some experience on this point already,—no such injurious inferences as are contained in that paper will ever be drawn. The author, it must be observed, before commencing his argument, thinks fit to disclaim the belief, that conscious intentional plagiarism is imputable to the object of his censure; nevertheless, throughout great part of it Mr. Coleridge is treated as an artful purloiner and selfish plunderer, who knowingly robs others to enrich himself, both the tone and the language of the article expressing this and no other meaning. Such aspersions will not rest, I think they never have
rested, upon Coleridge's name; the protest here entered is a duty to his memory from myself rather than a work necessary to his vindication, and the remarks that follow are made less with a view to influence the opinions of others than to record my own.
The charge brought against my Father by the author of the article appears to be this, that, having borrowed largely from Schelling, he has made no adequate acknowledgments of obligation to that philosopher, only such general admissions as are quite insufficient to cover the extent of his debt; that his anticipatory defence against a charge of "ungenerous concealment or intentional plagiarism" is no defence at all; and that his partic-ular references are too few and inaccurate to vindicate him from having dealt unfairly toward the author from whom he has taken so much. The plaintiff opens his case with giving as the whole of this defence of my Father's,—(that it is not the whole will appear in the sequel,)-certain parts of a passage upon Schelling that occurs in the ninth chapter of the Biographia Literaria; and although, in that passage, the author desires, that, "whatever in this or any future work of his resembles or coincides with the doctrines of his German predecessor, though contemporary, be wholly attributed to him," yet he insists that Coleridge has defrauded Schelling of his due, and seeks to support the impeachment on these two grounds, first, that very absence of distinct references to his books," which he himself plainly admits and particularly accounts for; or, in the accuser's own words, his omission of specific acknowledgments in the instances in which he was indebted to him; secondly, his having affirmed that he had in some sort anticipated the system which he proposed to teach.
Now it must be remarked, by way of preliminary, that no man can properly be said to defraud another, nor ought to be so spoken of, who has not a fraudulent intention: but it never yet has been proved, after all the pains that have been taken to this ef fect, that Mr. Coleridge intended to deprive Schelling of any part of the honor that rightfully belongs to him, or that he has, by
The passages borrowed by my Father from Schelling and Maasz are pointed out in this edition in notes at the foot of the pages where they occur. For the particulars and amount of the debt, therefore, readers are referred to the body of the work, chapters v. vii. viii. ix. xii.