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Mr. Coleridge's means, been actually deprived of it, even for an hour. With regard to the first ground of accusation, it is doubtless to be regretted by every friend of the accused, that he should have adopted so important a portion of the words and thoughts of Schelling without himself making those distinct and accurate references, which he might have known would eventually be required as surely as he succeeded in his attempt to recommend the metaphysical doctrines contained in them to the attention of students in this country. Why did Mr. Coleridge act thus, subjecting himself, as he might well have anticipated, aware as he was of the hostile spirit against his person and principles, that existed in many quarters, to suspicion from the illiberal, and contumelious treatment at the hands of the hard and unscrupulous? Why he so acted those who best knew him can well understand, without seeing in his conduct evidence of unconscientiousness : they see the truth of the matter to be this, that to give those distinct and accurate references, for the neglect of which he is now so severely arraigned, would have caused him much trouble of a kind to him peculiarly irksome, and that he dispensed himself from it in the belief, that the general declaration which he had made upon the subject was sufficient both for Schelling and for himself. This will be the more intelligible when it is borne in mind, that, as all who knew his literary habits will believe, the passages from Schelling, which he wove into his work, were not transcribed for the occasion, but merely transferred from his note-book into the text, some of them, in all likelihood, not even from his note-book immediately, but from recollection of its contents. It is most probable that he mistook some of these translated passages for compositions of his own, and quite improbable, as all who know his careless ways will agree, that he should have noted down accurately the particular works and portions of works from which they came.
But even with the fullest conviction," says Archdeacon Hare, "that Coleridge can not have been guilty of intentional plagiarism, the reader will, probably, deem it strange, that he should have transferred half a dozen pages of Schelling into his volume without any reference to their source. And strange it undoubtedly is. The only way I can see of accounting for it is from his practice of keeping note-books or journals of his thoughts, filled with observations and brief dissertations on such matters as
happened to strike him, with a sprinkling now and then of extracts and abstracts from the books he was reading. If the name of the author from whom he took an extract was left out, he might easily, years after, forget whose property it was, especially when he had made it in some measure his own, by transfusing it into his own English. That this may happen I know from experience, having myself been lately puzzled by a passage which I had translated from Kant some years ago, and which cost me a good deal of search, before I ascertained that it was not my own."*
My Father says himself, in the ninth chapter of this work, “I have not indeed (eheu! res angusta domi!) been hitherto able to procure more than two of his books, viz. the first volume of his collected Tracts, and his System of Transcendental Idealism; to which, however, I must add a small pamphlet against Fichte, the spirit of which was to my feelings painfully incongruous with the principles, and which (with the usual allowance afforded to an antithesis) displayed the love of wisdom rather than the wisdom of love." From this pamphlet (entitled Darlegung, &c. Exposition of the true relation of the Philosophy of Nature to the improved doctrine of Fichte) he had just cited a striking passage, and it is represented as strangely disingenuous, that he should have given that extract merely as "observations from a contemporary writer of the continent,"† without specifying the particular work from which it was taken, or even the writer's name. So indeed it may appear on an examination undertaken ostensibly for the love of wisdom, but a still closer one, conducted in the wisdom of love, will convince any reader that there was as little of self-regard in this transaction as of accuracy. At that stage of his work, at which the citation is made, my Father had not yet introduced Schelling to his readers, readers unacquainted, as he doubtless imagined, with the German philosopher and his writings. He immediately proceeds, however, to give an account of the authors whom he successively studied, when he had "found no abiding place for his reason" in the "schools of Locke, Berkeley, Leibnitz, and Hartley ;" and then,
* From Mr. Hare's defence of Coleridge in the British Magazine of January, 1835, pp. 20, 21.
See p. 250. Of the use made by the writer in Bl. of this passage I shall have to speak again further on.
after doing honor to Kant and justice to Fichte, he speaks of Schelling by name, and mentions every work of his to which he ever owed any thing. The " Vorlesungen über die Methode des Academischen Studium," which, as well as the Darlegung, is mentioned as containing the word In-eins-bildung, the original, as is supposed, of his "esemplastic," he never possessed and probably never saw. In mentioning the pamphlet against Fichte, he, naturally enough, described its general character, and probably either forgot, while he was so doing, that from this same work his previous citation had been made, or felt that for readers to whom the very name of Schelling was new, such particularity as that of reciting its long title, and referring to it the passage he had brought forward, was superfluous.
Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur was one of the works of Schelling, which my Father had not in his possession, when he composed the Biographia Literaria, and it is remarked that he entitled it Schelling's Natur-Philosophie !-that he
sumed to contract the proper name of a book he had once read, from its fuller form in the title-page, to that abridged one, which it probably wore upon its back. No comment is made, indeed, upon this important fact, but that is supplied by the strain of the article.
His accuser urges against him that he did not elaborate over again what he had borrowed and thus make it, in some sense, his own. It is not easy to see how that which is borrowed can ever, strictly speaking, become the property of the borrower, so as to cease to be that of the original possessor; the new form in which he invests it, or the fresh matter which he engrafts upon it, will be his, but the debt to him who has furnished the substance, in the one case, or the nucleus, in the other, is not cancelled because of these additions, and honesty as well as gratitude would equally require its acknowledgment, though the obligation will be less apparent to the general reader. And surely if there had been any design of appropriating in my Father's mind, he would have sought to make the borrowed passages appear his own, by change of expression at least. It has been well said of the genuine Plagiary that his
This is the plan which all crafty plagiarists adopt; this is the way in which numberless writers have dealt with my Father himself, the major part of them, however, not craftily or selfishly, but doubtless unawares to themselves; there being far less of conscious, far more of unconscious, plagiarism among authors than the world is apt to uppose. But Coleridge repeated the very words of Schelling, and in so doing made it an easy task for the German to reclaim his own, or for the dullest wight that could read his books to give it him back again. Must he not have been careless of the meum at least as much as of the tuum, when he took whole pages and paragraphs, unaltered in form, from a noted author-whose writings, though unknown in this country, when he first brought them forward, were too considerable in his own to be finally merged in those of any other man,at the same time that he was doing all that in him lay to lead Englishmen to the study of that author, and was referring readers to his works both generally, and in some instances, and those the most important, particularly? From his accuser's blustering conclusion-“ Plagiarism, like murder, will out!" it might be supposed that Mr. Coleridge had taken pains to prevent his "plagiarism" from coming out, that with the "stealthy pace" of the murderer he had "moved towards his design like a ghost." Verily, if no man ever tried to murder an author's good name with more of malice prepense than he to steal one, the literary world would be freer from felonious practices than it is at present.*
One of the largest extracts my Father accompanies with these words in a parenthesis (See Schell. Abhandl. zur Erlaüter, des Id. der Wissenschaftslehre).† "But from this reference," asks
"Of a truth," says Mr. Hare, "if he had been disposed to purloin, he never would have stolen half a dozen pages from the head and front of that very work of Schelling's which was the likeliest to fall into his reader's hands; and the first sentence of which one could not read without detecting the plagiarism. Would any man think of pilfering a column from the porch of St. Paul's? The high praise which Coleridge bestows on Schelling would naturally excite a wish in such of his readers as felt an interest in his philosophy, to know more of the great German. The first books of his they would take up would be his Natur-Philosophie, and his Transcendental Idealism; these are the works which Coleridge himself mentions; and the latter, from its subject, would attract them the most."-Brit. Mag. of 1835, p. 20. + See
the censor, "would not a reader naturally deduce the inference that C. was here referring to Schelling in support of his own views, and not literally translating and appropriating the German's?"
There are some who have eyes to see, and microscopically too, but only in certain directions. To those whose vision is more catholic I address the plain question, Did not my Father say fully enough to put every reader of a studious turn, every reader able to take up his philosophical views in earnest,-(and to whom else were these borrowed passages more than strange words, or Schelling's claims of the slightest consequence ?)-into the way of consulting their original source? The longer extracts are all either expressly acknowledged, as that from the Darlegung in chap. ix. and that beginning at p. 332; or taken from the Transcendental Idealism, which he speaks of more than once, or from the above-mentioned treatise, of which he gives the long title.
Most of these extracts the Writer in Blackwood refers, not to the treatise, which my Father did name, but to the collection at large-the Philosophische Schriften—which it so happened that he did not; and moreover he asserts, that it would be next to impossible for a reader to find the tract referred to by this same long title, for that it is "buried among a good many others in Schelling's Phil. Schrift." of which it occupies 137 pages out of 511 -as if it could not possibly enter his head or the head of any bookseller that he might employ, to look for it in the "volume of Schelling's collected Tracts" which my Father speaks of in chapter ix. If the works of Schelling were as good as dead and buried for all here, that was not through any fault of his; had he named every one of their titles at full length, and given an abstract of all they contained, the bill of fare, at that time, would have attracted no guests. Grill would be Grill, and have his unmetaphysic mind.
Fairly considered his conduct in this matter does but help to prove the truth of his assertion, that he "regarded Truth as a divine ventriloquist, not caring from whose mouth the sounds. afe supposed to proceed, if only the words are audible and intelligible."
The Writer in Blackwood, however, takes a very different view of it; he rather supposes the true interpretation of my Father's conduct to be that he would have nothing ascribed to Schelling,