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who are crowned," they throw cotton seeds, and myrtle and orange-leaves, upon bride and bridegroom. And, as they pass the house of the bridegroom's mother, the bride dips the little finger of the right hand in a pot of virgin honey, and makes four crosses on the door with it, in token that her love is as holy and sweet and strong as this symbol of her faith. And then they present her with a pomegranate, which she throws down, scattering its ruby-colored fruit upon the floor, as a token of her desire that her house may be filled with as many goods as there are seeds thus scattered. And finally they enter the bride's house; and the bride and bridegroom, taking their seats side by side upon the couch at the end of the room, the young virgins gather around them, and sing songs in praise of the happy and honored pair. Has Theocritus described any thing more idyllic?
So, too, the old Cretan institutions sanctioned solemn friendships between male friends and also between female friends, and the Greek Church does the same to-day; the spiritual relationship thus established being held so sacred, that marriages cannot take place between those immediately connected with the contracting parties. And if the Cretan peasants still have their superstitions, they are quite harmless compared with many that desolate Italy and Spain and other Catholic countries. If they still cherish the memory of the Cretan labyrinth as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and naïvely believe that these seven wonders correspond to the seven sacraments of the Christian Church; or if they people the fountains with holy virgins, as their fathers did with the Naiads, it is surely a much less baneful fancy than the necromancy and kindred delusions that prevail in New England at this moment.
If any thing, however, were wanted to refute the charge of degeneracy so often brought against the modern Greeks, it would be the terrible earnestness with which the Cretans are now struggling to conquer their independence. We have already alluded in these pages to the Revolution of 1821, which resulted in the establishment of the present Hellenic kingdom, as well as to some of the political events which have
since occurred; and we have nothing now to add to what we have said as to the character and vitality of the Greek genius.*
The history of the present struggle may be embraced in a few words. It began in April of last year, when, unable to endure any longer the unheard-of tyranny of the Turks, the Cretans assembled, and addressed a memorial to the Sultan, imploring relief, and showing that for the two preceding years the taxes they had been forced to pay into the Ottoman treasury exceeded the revenues of the island. The Sultan replied after three months, by landing a body of thirty thousand Turkish-Egyptian troops. During July and August, there was no collision; but when, on the 31st of August, Mustapha Pacha landed on the island with instructions to refuse all concessions on the part of the Porte, the Christians collected their forces, and, taking a solemn oath to obtain their liberty and be united with Greece, or die in the attempt, went into the conflict with a calmness and intrepidity which challenges comparison with any thing recorded in the annals of man. And now for about five months and a half, up to the moment when we write these words, they have never quailed before the deadly task they have set themselves. They have seen their wives and children massacred, and their houses and fields burned and laid waste; and they have fought on, with God's voice only to cheer them.
The Minotaur was once a fabulous animal in Crete: he is fabulous no longer. Half bull, half man, he stalks to-day, raging with the fury of ten thousand fiends, over that doomed isle, trampling all things, man, woman, child, orchards, olive groves, meadows, under his brutal hoof. Once and again the tribute of the choicest youths and maidens of matchless beauty has been offered up to him, but only to whet his insatiable appetite and to fire his godless lust. It remains but for some brave Theseus to slay him. And let us hope that he will appear, on board an iron-clad, and with a Spencer rifle, for the beautiful Ariadne, the beaming, radiant goddess,
*See Christian Examiner for May, 1862, and July, 1864.
Aridela, as the Cretans called her, the white-winged genius of liberty, waits to give him the key to the labyrinth, and conduct him to the monster's lair; that so in the beast's blood the bond may be for ever severed which, binding Asia with Europe, leagues together in an infamous union the aspiring intellect and the purer hope of the West, with the filthy vices and the sodden despair of the East.
The long struggle by which the Turks conquered Crete from Venice cost them so many lives, that the island has been known among them ever since as the Mussulmans' grave. It will be so indeed, if, as all the signs indicate, the Cretans succeed; for Islam, once dead in Crete, will have received its death-blow in Europe. "The man who has not learned to die for liberty is unworthy the enjoyment of it," was the dominant idea of the ancient Doric race; and the Doric race colonized Crete.
ART. VI. - REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
WHEN, two or three years ago, Mr. Mill made his celebrated attack on the philosophy of Hamilton and its defenders, it was a matter of curious interest, apart from the points in controversy, to see how he would maintain himself in that comparatively unfamiliar field. The listener pricked up his ears, at hearing the logician, the political economist, the student of positive science, discourse so confidently of metaphysics as taught by Plato, Kant, or the more modern masters. The reader rubbed his eyes at statements respecting Hamilton's opinions and arguments, which seemed to show that we had all been under a delusion in giving him credit for any consistent method, or any genuine learning, or any intellectual discernment. We felt a certain painful and perplexed interest to know what could be said in vindication of so great a name. There was a deliberation, a confidence of conviction, a decision of utterance in Mr. Mill's assertions, which made it seem impossible that his charges could be groundless, while his great reputation as a thinker commanded much reliance,
THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY.
beforehand, on his judgment. At the same time, one felt that the attack was tentative, not decisive. It was playing at fence with buttoned foils, nay, with only an imaginary opponent. As if doubtful of his argument, Mr. Mill wished his adversary were still living, to strike back in his own defence. This conflict in the field of metaphysics was only an episode among more serious tasks, an occupation for the leisure hours of one whose real business is to instruct the practical mind of England. The challenge was thrown down, as it were, in the mere love of intellectual encounter. Only once the foil is exchanged for a rapier, and the contest becomes vindictively earnest, where he deals with a living antagonist, and bursts out in his famous protest, declaring he would "go to hell" rather than consent to certain inferences of a metaphysical theology. But, on the whole, the review is chiefly valuable as an able exposition of the psychological method which Mr. Mill adopts, as contrasted, point by point, with that of his opponent; and, to one whom his method does not wholly satisfy, there is little damage done to Mr. Mill's great reputation, if his attack is shown to have proceeded from lack of quite understanding the doctrine he controverts.
We have read with much interest the defence which Mr. Mansel has volunteered for the system so confidently challenged.* In explanation of his title, he begins by quoting Plato's statement of the problem of "the unconditioned;" that is, to ascend, by methods of reasoning, to an absolute First Principle, from which all actual existence may be derived by the process of deduction. The positivist denounces such a problem as both impossible and illegitimate. Sir William Hamilton affirms that its solution is impossible to the human reason, hence his "Philosophy of the Conditioned;" but that the existence of an absolute First Principle is a necessary postulate for our reason, and even more for our faith, since Christianity has rendered it impossible for a theist to think of the Absolute or the Infinite except as identified with God himself. He seeks "a sphere of belief beyond the limits of the sphere of thought." His position is, "that we must believe, as actual, much that we are unable (positively) to conceive as even possible."
The Philosophy of the Conditioned; comprising some Remarks on Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy, and on Mr. J. S. Mill's Examination of that Philosophy. By H. L. MANSEL. (Reprinted, with additions, from The Contemporary Review.) London: Alexander Strahan. pp. 184.
The language in which Hamilton vindicates his position, and particularly that in which he deals with his theories of Perception, Knowledge, and Belief, is often barbarous and harsh. Mr. Mill, generally affecting plain clear English speech, may be excused for a little impatience at the Hamiltonian nomenclature. But it would seem that he has not been as scrupulous to ascertain its meaning as he might. In one case, Mr. Mansel shows that he "actually mistakes the position which Hamilton is opposing for that which he is maintaining" (p. 108). In another case (p. 90), the entire argument is shown to turn on the assumption that "the Absolute" or "the Infinite" is used as a name of God, which is as far as possible from Hamilton's meaning; and again (p. 114), on what we might call an invincible ignorance, that, "what the mathematician calls infinite, the metaphysician calls indefinite." The "real battle-ground," the "diametrical antagonism," of the two systems, is shown (p. 58) to be the controversy between free-will and fatalism; and Mr. Mill is distinctly charged with belonging to "that school of materialism which Sir W. Hamilton denounces as virtual atheism" (p. 57). But Mr. Mansel does not rest his case on opprobrious names. "Mr. Mill," he asserts, "has, throughout his criticism, altogether missed the meaning of theories he is attempting to assail" (p. 63). And this charge is what he undertakes to sustain by abundant citation and argument.
It is very instructive, and to some of us a little consoling, to find men of such eminence still at fault as to the very meaning of the terms they employ in their wordy warfare. One cannot help suspecting that the real ground of argument lies back of the theories of the several schools, and that the antagonists differ quite as much in their motive as in their method. Hamilton seeks a religious foundation for his philosophy, at least one that will justify him in assuming certain maxims of faith- that is, of belief independent of the reason among the first principles of it. He will, apparently, have a method that shall leave unmolested the sectarian creed in which he has been bred. He is, covertly, a theologian, full as much as a philosopher: the theory he vindicates must be in harmony with pious feeling, no less than with the rational understanding; and apparently it can be made to justify a doctrinal system against which common sense and the moral nature enter, alike, a vehement protest. With Mr. Mill, philosophy is a matter of pure science, and the science he adopts is of another school. His style of thought and his