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purpose of securing more light and better ventilation. The door of the cell should be constructed so as to admit as much light as may be consistent with perfect security. The cell itself, it seems to us, should be larger than it is commonly made ; higher, wider, and longer, so as to admit of a little locomotion. As the labor of the prisoners will pay for houserent, we think they should be furnished with a comfortable tenement.
Finally, it is of extreme importance for the community to be aware, that either of these systems is liable to the most serious abuses. A large number of our fellow-men are, from the necessity of the case, placed under the absolute authority of the officers of the prison. These officers must have the power to punish ; they may punish hastily, violently, tyrannically, cruelly. Much public property is placed under their control ; it may be wasted, squandered, or purloined. Nor is it enough that there be appointed inspectors over a prison. The inspectors and immediate officers may accommodate each other at the expense of the public. All these evils must be guarded against with sleepless vigilance, or a prison will become a cage of unclean birds.
To avert these evils, a few very simple measures might be adopted. For instance, every case of punishment should be recorded, the amount noted, and the reason given. This should be reported to the inspectors, and the book in which punishments are registered should be open to all the legal visitors of the prison, and capable of being used in evidence in a court of justice. This alone would be a great restraint on ill temper and tyranny. Again, the warden should be selected with great care. He should have been accustomed to the government of men, and be a man of known and tried integrity and kindness. The inspectors should be men of the highest rank in the community ; if in official station, so much the better, so that collusion with the officers would be morally impossible. There should be no entertainments, or festivities, at the prison. And still, all this will fail, unless there be provided a faithful, discreet, benevolent, religious teacher, to instruct the convicts in their duty, to warn them of the consequences of their sin, and elevate their hopes to holiness and to heaven.
ART. II. — Critick of Pure Reason ; translated from the
Original of IMMANUEL Kant. London : William Pickering. 1838. Svo. pp. 655.
We cannot believe, that it is possible to translate the writings of Kant, in a way that will make them intelligible to the English reader, however conversant he may be with ordinary metaphysical speculations, and little apt to be discouraged by the first sight of abstruse doctrine and uncouth phraseology. A compend, or general exposition of his system, may be attempted with some chance of success; but a literal version would probably be ten times more enigmatical than the original. The fact is, that Kant needs to be translated before he can be understood by the vast majority of his own countrymen ; and though the eminent thinkers, who have stooped to this repulsive task in Germany, have succeeded in disentangling the main points of his system, and presenting to the popular view something like a connected whole, yet in the subsidiary portions, the filling up of the theory, a comparison of their respective works displays a mass of various and irreconcilable opinions. Kant aspired to invent a new science, and a new nomenclature for it, at the same time. Each is explicable only through the other; and the student is, consequently, presented at the outset with an alternative of difficulties. The system can be comprehended only by one who is acquainted with its technical vocabulary, and a knowledge of the terms employed can be derived only from a previous familiarity with the principal doctrines and divisions of the theory itself. The case, therefore, is very nearly as bad as that of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, — the unknown writing of an unknown tongue. Fichte seems to have had this fact in view, when he affirmed, that the works of his predecessor must be wholly unintelligible to those who did not know beforehand what they contained.
Other obstacles to the easy comprehension of Kantian metaphysics arise from defects of style, and the writer's inability, acknowledged by himself, to facilitate the study of his opinions by the clearness of their expression. The rambling and involved sentences, running on from page to page, and stuffed with repetitions and parenthetical matter, would frighten away any but the most determined student, at the very threshold of his endeavour. Kant was an acute logician, a systematic, profound, and original thinker; but his power of argument and conception wholly outran his command over the resources of language, and he was reduced to the use of words as symbols, in which his opinions were rather darkly implied, than openly enunciated. The very extent of his innovations in the vocabulary of science showed his inability to make a proper use of the ancient stores of his native tongue. The coining of new terms is the unfailing expedient of those, who cannot make a right application of old ones. The difficulties thus thrown in the student's way, are still further enhanced by the absolute dryness of the speculations, and the want of any relief from ingenious illustrations, or excursions into the flowery regions of eloquence and imagination. His genius never unbends. The flowers, with which other philosophers have strewed the path of their inquiries, were either beyond his reach, or he disdained to employ them ; and his writings accordingly appear an arid waste of abstract discussions, from which the taste instinctively recoils. Not one oasis blooms, not a single floweret springs, beside the path of the traveller, through this African desert of metaphysics. In this respect, how unlike the rich and fervid genius of Bacon, whose solemn and weighty teachings derive half their effect from the play of imagination, and brilliancy of wit, in which they are enveloped !
Before the system of Kant can become generally known, or rightly appreciated, out of the small circle of scholars, who, in France and Germany, have resolutely grappled with its difficulties, the same service must be performed for him, which the generous and clear-headed Dumont afforded to his English contemporary, Bentham. It is not enough merely to translate ; the order of subjects must be changed, the course of argument and illustration arranged anew, and the whole work rewritten. The success of previous attempts at a close interpretation has not been such as to tempt further endeavour. The Latin version of Born, though executed under the eye of Kant himself, is not half so intelligible as the original. Indeed, the limited vocabulary of the Latin language formed an insuperable obstacle to the undertaking, though a vigorous attempt was made to conquer the difficulty by the introduction of barbarisms, that would have made “ Quinctilian stare and gasp.” Should another scholar meditate a version into one of the ancient languages, we recommend to him to try the Greek, feeling quite confident, that, in such a case, he will at least equal in perspicuity some of the renowned fathers of Grecian philosophy. Futile as was this attempt to give universal reputation to the writings of Kant by translating them into the Ianguage of the learned world, the few writers, who, in France and England, have endeavoured to make the same works known in their vernacular tongue, have met, if possible, with still less success. In the latter country, indeed, little has been tried, and nothing effected. Among the countrymen of Locke, Hume, and Reid, the taste for metaphysical speculations has gradually died out; while they could not foster a philosophy of native growth, there was little chance of obtaining favor for an importation from Germany. Willich, a respectable German scholar, published a volume, entitled “ Elements of the Critical Philosophy ” ; but it hardly deserved the name of an introduction to these elements. A few pages of the work on “Pure Reason” are literally translated, and an unsuccessful effort is made to explain a few of the most difficult terms in the Kantian vocabulary. Wirgman, in some essays published in the “ Encyclopædia Londinensis,” made greater pretensions, but supported them with far less ability. The introductory portion of the “Critique" is rendered into English with tolerable fidelity ; but the original matter in the " Essays ” only shows, that the writer was a weak and vain man, wholly unfitted for the task of comment and exposition. Before printing his work, he submitted it to Dugald Stewart, with the amiable intention of preventing that philosopher from wasting further labor on his inquiry into the faculties of the human mind, after he had been entirely forestalled by his German rival. When the Scottish sage returned the manuscript, with a coldly polite refusal of the proffered assistance, Wirgman, as if eager with Dogberry to write himself down an ass, had the folly to publish the correspondence. His lamentations upon such blind perversity on the part of Stewart and others make up the larger portion of the trash, with which he has enveloped his imperfect and jejune translation.
- They order these matters better in France.” Of all living writers, perhaps, Cousin is best qualified for the task of interpreting and making available to common minds the dark sayings of the philosopher of Königsberg. His thorough acquaintance with the subject, attested by a copious infusion of Kantianism into his own philosophical system, the candor, learning, and ability, with which he has reviewed the labors of others, — and the admirable clearness of his style, are qualities, that would insure him a great measure of success in the undertaking. He has long since promised to the world an exposition of Kant, and we would gladly see the pledge redeemned, though at the expense of sacrificing some of the fruits of his original speculations. The necessity for such a work is not removed by the labors of some of his countrymen, who have preceded him in the same field, though they have done much to elucidate the subject, and to give a new direction to their own philosophical inquiries. The publication of Villers is the most important, in which, giving up all attempts at a literal version, he goes over the ground in his own way with great distinctness, though he sometimes unwittingly engrafts his own opinions upon those which he seeks to interpret. In an admirable sketch, published in the Biographie Universelle, Stapfer has given a lucid and succinct account of the Kantian system, leaving nothing to be desired by those, who wish only for a general view of its scope and leading peculiarities.
Those, who think the difficulties of the German language are the only obstacle to the right comprehension of Kant, may satisfy themselves by examining the volume, of which the title stands at the head of our article. The great work, containing the whole system of the Critical Philosophy, is here faithfully translated, sentence for sentence, and, -as far as the different nature of the two languages would permit, — word for word. The writer of it has thus ably executed the only task that he proposed to himself. The violations of English idiom are frequent, it is true, but no more so than was absolutely necessary in order to preserve the strictness of the original plan. And, while the object was merely to translate, not to rewrite and interpret, we are not sure, but that the wisest course was to follow this method in all its severity. A freer version might give false notions of the original, while the only fault of the present volume must be, that, for the most part, it gives no notions at all. A false light is worse than utter darkness. A dreary task must the translator have had of it; though we would rather engage in an undertaking like his, than in that of the student, who, without further aid than this work affords, should attempt to