The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Muller

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Part 1 of 2


German University finances. Strassburg Professorship declined. Schliemann. Lectures on Darwin's Philosophy of Language. Emerson. Veddahs. Cromer. Lecture in Westminster Abbey. Order pour le Merita. Member of Hungarian Academy. Prince and Princess of Roumania. Oriental Congress. Last volume of Rig-veda. American attack on Max Muller.

The New Year found Max Muller quietly at Oxford, working at the last volume of the Veda, and at his Lectures on Religion, given in 1870, but never published, and preparing a short course of lectures for the British Institution on Language as the barrier between man and beast, which he called 'On Darwin's Philosophy of Language.' This was Prince Leopold's first year at Oxford as an undergraduate. Max Muller saw him constantly, and ever afterwards recalled their intercourse with genuine interest and affection, and he always hoped that the Prince might do much for his country as an enlightened patron of literature and art.

The following letter to Dr. Althaus refers to the dedication to Max Muller of Bulwer's Coming Race. The work was published anonymously, and it was only in the obituary notice in the Times that the secret of its authorship was disclosed.

Oxford, January 1, 1873.

'Many thanks for Bulwer. Only think, I never knew him, never even saw him, and learnt first after his death, who had written The Coming Race. One ought not to be proud of anything, but I was very much delighted.'

To R. B. D. Morier, Esq.

Oxford, January 1, 1873.

'My dear old Fellow,—Best wishes for the New Year. I don't know whether you see many English papers; old Stockmar has been reviewed in most of them, and it is very interesting to see how Johannes Bos has looked at him from different points. There was one review in the Morning Post more or less official, or Palmerstonian. It might be a good subject for an article in the Augsburger, or some other Zeitung, to show how the book has been received and partly digested in England. I have had several private letters which show that the book has told in various ways. I hope you observed Gladstone's civilities in his last Glasgow speech (before he came to Strauss). Do you know of anybody who could write such an article? Young Stockmar is not the man to do it; he is evidently put out by the critics, as if it was worth while writing a book to which everybody is to say Amen. Ever yours.'

To Canon, now Dean, Farrar.

January 6, 1873.

'Allow me to thank you at once for the copy of your Lectures on the Families of Speech, and for your very kind dedication. You say much more than I deserve, and all I can do is to do my best to deserve some part of your good opinion, by what I still hope to do for the Science of Language. At present my hands and my thoughts are full of other work. I am writing lectures on the "Science of Religion," and to know what to say and what not to say in four introductory lectures is no easy matter. In fact, I should gladly retire from my task, if I could, for I hardly feel up to work, and I am not satisfied with what I have written. As soon as I see a little daylight, and find leisure for other work, I shall read your lectures, and after I have done so I hope to write to you again, or, still better, have a talk with you on points on which we differ, and on points on which we agree. In the meantime accept my hearty thanks.'

Mr. Gladstone had addressed some inquiries to Max Muller on the constitution of German Universities, to which the following letter gives an answer:—

Parks End, January 12, 1873.

'I have no book at hand where I could find the exact sum allowed to each University by Government, but such books exist, and I have asked George Bunsen at Berlin to send me something like a Blue Book on the subject. The Universities derive their whole income from Government. Even in cases where there are ancient foundations still preserved, the funds or the land must be administered under the cognizance of Government, generally by a Government Commissioner. The only other source of income consists in the fees paid by the students. These in the case of the principal Professors, who lecture on Anatomy, Church History, or such like indispensable subjects, are considerable. Savigny, being Professor of Law at Berlin, declined the Ministry of Justice, unless his income as Minister could be raised to what his income was as Professor. A class of 400 students would yield a Professor during the two semesters 1,600 louis d'or, and some of the Professors in my time used to give two courses of lectures in each semester. The highest salary now paid to a Professor is only 4,000 thalers, or £600, yet even that is more than the average income of a Professor at Oxford, with the exception of the Theological Chairs. Considering the general income of the country, the sum expended by Government on the Universities is high. The number of Universities is large, each independent Prince wished to have a University, and I believe they will be kept up even now, for they have proved useful centres of intellectual life in every part of Germany. The difficulty to which you allude of teachers examining their own pupils is little felt. The Professor, lecturing to a large class, does not know many of the students personally. The examination is always conducted by a Commission consisting of five or six Professors. Besides, the University degree does not confer any tangible rights. In order to become a lawyer, a clergyman, a physician, a schoolmaster, every candidate has to pass the Government Examination, and with these the Professors, qua Professors, have nothing to do. It was to me a matter of great interest to compare the working of a German University, such as Strassburg, with what I knew of Oxford. Each country, no doubt, fashions its own Universities, and makes them to supply the real wants of the people. Yet there is much to be learnt from a comparison of the two systems. I shall be very glad to undergo a cross-examination when you are in London again. I believe the time will come when something will have to be done, not only for Ireland, but for England too. Oxford wants new life. Both teaching and learning seem to me to be regarded as a burden, which ought not to be. I send you a few papers which may partly answer your purpose. In the little calendar you will find the statistics of the German Universities, as far as their teaching staff and the number of students are concerned. In the plan of the lectures you see what is done even by so small a University as Strassburg. You can see how almost every Professor has a laboratory, seminary, hospital, or institution, supported by assistants, where he works with his pupils apart from his lectures. These institutions are the real secret of the success achieved by the German Universities. In several cases the students who are admitted to them receive, while they are at work, an exhibition or fellowship. Anyhow, these institutions are the real workshop where the tradition is handed down from generation to generation. The Colleges with their fellowships might be made to answer some such purpose. There are many Professors in Germany who would have spoken like Dollinger on Materialism. What I like in the German Universities is the frankness with which everybody states the convictions at which he has arrived. Strauss's book has been very severely treated in Germany. Yet there is a crisis going on there as in England; something is dying, whether we like it or not. To my mind Mansel's Bampton Lectures and the reception they met with were a sign of the times. They seemed to me far more irreligious than Herbert Spencer. They left religion as a mere cry of despair. Frederick Maurice saw the tendency of that school of thought which erects an insurmountable barrier between the finite mind and the infinite, but he could not make himself understood. Mansel and Herbert Spencer seem to me at the present moment to rule at Oxford in the two opposite camps, and I do not wonder that they produce in each much the same results. I spent some interesting hours with Dollinger at Munich. He is a man of great courage in thought and word; but, though he is a strong and vigorous old man, he shrinks from action. He is Erasmus over again; a rougher nature will be wanted to do the rougher work.'

To His Mother.

Translation. Oxford, January 18, 1873.

'Stockmar is selling well. The Queen has thanked me in the kindest manner for the preface. Prince Christian wrote at the Queen's desire, and she expressed herself kindly about the book altogether. ... I had almost forgotten the Emperor (Napoleon). Let him rest in peace. One must not judge him, but few men have caused so much misery in the world as he. He was always liked in England, so his death has called out a good deal of sympathy. The last years of his life must have been a hard penance.'

To The Same.

Translation. February 16.

'The Strassburg uncertainty is over. I wrote them word that with all my private work I could only lecture one term in the year, and on account of the other Professors they could not arrange that. I am glad, for I had done my duty, and should have had to make a great pecuniary sacrifice, and it would have taken up too much of my time, and I could not with a good conscience have undertaken more than I offered. My chief thought has been about the children, and whether it would not be better for them to be brought up in Germany. That is often a weight on me, for the arrangements here are very imperfect. One can manage for the girls, but how it will be for Wilhelm, I do not yet see. But time will show. As yet he learns nothing, but is healthy and merry. G. is not very unhappy about Strassburg.'

To Dean Stanley.

Oxford, February 21, 1873.

'I now have lectures in London and Birmingham. As soon as these are over the printing of Volume VI [of the Rig-veda] will begin, and then I shall go on with the translation. I found my work so in arrears, that for the present, at least, I have given up a change to Strassburg. I am very sorry, for the life in Strassburg was like a mental sea-bath. I wrote last week to give it up.'

To His Mother.

Translation. Oxford, February 25.

'Yesterday I dined with Prince Leopold, and he said the Queen had charged him to tell me how pleased she was that I had decided to stay in England. I am writing to Strassburg to found a Stipendium in their University with the 2,000 thalers they paid me last year, for the study of the Veda. It will not hurt me, and I am glad not to take any money from them. The people in Strassburg and Berlin have been very friendly over the whole matter; even Bismarck expressed his sorrow at my decision.'

And thus the uncertainty about Strassburg which had hung over the family for above a year came to an end. The Prize founded by Max Muller, and which bears his name, is given every third year for the best dissertation on 'Vedic Literature,' and may be competed for not merely by present students at Strassburg, but by those who have already taken their degree, provided they studied for at least four terms at that University.

It was in this year that Max Muller made the acquaintance of Dr. Schliemann, the famous excavator, at first by correspondence only. From the first, Max Muller took a great interest in Dr. Schliemann's work; the disinterested character of the discoverer appealed to him, though he often found himself unable to follow Dr. Schliemann's deductions, and to the last he used smilingly to say, 'He destroyed Troy for the last time.' In 1875 Dr. Schliemann paid a visit to Oxford, and stayed with Max Muller, who for several years was instrumental in getting Schliemann's papers and articles inserted in the leading newspapers and periodicals. When Dr. Schliemann exhibited his Trojan treasures at the South Kensington Museum, Max Muller spent some time in London helping him to arrange the things—an arduous task, for, as is well known, though he had the scent of a truffle dog for hidden treasures, he had little or no correct archaeological knowledge, and Max Muller found the things from the four different strata which Schliemann considered he had discovered at Troy in wild confusion—though he maintained they were all carefully packed in different cases. One day when Max Muller was busy over a case of the lowest stratum, he found a piece of pottery from the highest. 'Que voulez-vous? [Google translate: What do you want?]' said Schliemann, 'it has tumbled down!' Not long after, in a box of the highest stratum appeared a piece of the rough pottery from the lowest, 'Que voulez-vous?' said the imperturbable Doctor, 'it has tumbled up!' The friends met again at Maloja in 1885, Dr. Schliemann had meantime finished his beautiful house in Athens, in which two bedrooms were called after Max Muller, and many were the pressing invitations to occupy them; but when Max Muller visited Athens in 1893, his kind friend had passed away. He gave Max Muller a good many things from Mycenae, which are now in the Ashmolean Museum, and also a tiny bit of gold from Agamemnon's grave. The correspondence is of too technical a character to be given here; interesting letters from Max Muller on Athene Glaucopis and Hera Boopis, on the Hindu Svastika, and on Jade tools are inserted in Schliemann's Troja. Dr, Schliemann also gave Max Muller the valuable Tanagra figures, which his friends will remember in the drawing-room at 7, Norham Gardens.

Max Muller's American friend Mr. Conway was at this time preparing an Anthology culled from the religious books of different sects and beliefs. Hence the following letter. In the sentiments of the latter part most people will agree.

To Moncure D. Conway, Esq.

Parks End, March 13, 1873.

'I can see no objection to your printing a number of verses from the Dhammapada, but as the book is not my own, 1 think it would be better if you communicated with the publisher, Mr. Trubner. As to lectures, I am at present so overworked that I ought not to make new engagements. I shall have to give three lectures at the Royal Institution, then at Birmingham, and I have my Oxford lectures going on at the same time, so that this is as much as I can safely do. Lastly, a Mythological Society sounds a somewhat ominous name; yet I quite agree with you that it might do good. However, what I should like to see would be a concentration of the different Societies, and the constitution of a London Academy, divided into Sections. So much work and money are now frittered away, and the Transactions and Journals of the numerous Societies have become mere burial-grounds; for who can even cut open their pages? I read with great interest the Index, where I occasionally see your name. Does that paper tell in America? and what is or are the really powerful organs of thought in the United States?'

The end of March the three lectures on Mr. Darwin's Philosophy of Language were given at the Royal Institution. They were printed in Frasers Magazine, and also a very few copies for presentation, but were never republished in a collected form.

The following letter alludes to the completion this spring of Mr. Bellows' excellent pocket French Dictionary, a copy of which Max Muller always took about with him, and he invariably recommended it as the best type of dictionary he knew in any language:—

To Mr. Bellows.

Parks End, April 2, 1873.

'My dear Friend,—Many thanks for your charming Dictionary, which I found here on my return from London. I am too busy just now to do more than admire it, and congratulate you on its successful termination. I know no other pocket Dictionary that could compete with it. Your discoveries at Gloucester are very curious [Roman wall in his own garden], and I hope I shall be able to inspect them some day or other. Just now I am lecturing in London on "Language as the Barrier between Man and Beast," and I have hardly any thought for anything else. In a few weeks I hope I shall be more free again.'

The next letter refers to an interesting article written by Dr. Althaus in one of the magazines on 'The Germans in England,' Max Muller's is the last name in the article.

To Dr. Althaus.

Translation. Oxford, April 13.

'My dear Doctor,—I do not know how to thank you. I have just read your essay, and indeed I feel it would be superhuman if, after reading what you say, I did not feel as in a sort of champagne mood. I, of course, know best how much too much you have said of me, but even reducing it by half, there remains so much appreciation which I highly value. I have spent many happy and beautiful years in England, and even the little disappointments do not disturb me, and they cannot blur memory's sunny pictures. The only things I long for are my old friends. One feels more and more alone and solitary, and that feeling draws me so often towards Germany with a great longing. I do not know whether you feel the same. When I was young I did not know what Heimweh meant; now it increases with every new year.'

It was after the lectures in London that Emerson, who was paying his third and last visit to England, came to Oxford with his daughter as Max Muller's honoured guest. Max was one of Emerson's ardent admirers, and had known and loved his writings from his earliest days in England. On the second day of Mr. Emerson's visit. Prince Leopold lunched at 'Parks End' to meet the old man. It was a brilliant May day, and the whole party sat out in the garden after luncheon, and the hours slipped past in pleasant converse, till Prince Leopold proposed an adjournment to his house, which was near at hand, for five o'clock tea, when he delighted Mr. Emerson by showing him many private photographs of the rooms at Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral. The next day, after attending Mr. Ruskin's lecture, the Max Mullers and Emersons visited him in his rooms at Corpus, where the scene recorded in Auld Lang Syne took place. Mr. Ruskin wrote afterwards to Max Muller to account for it, by saying, 'It chanced that both you and Mr. Emerson happened to say things from which I deeply and entirely dissented, and which reduced me at once to silence.'

To Charles Darwin, Esq.

Parks End, Oxford, June 29, 1873.

'Sir,—In taking the liberty of forwarding to you a copy of my Lectures, I feel certain that you will accept my remarks as what they were intended to be—an open statement of the difficulties which a student of language feels when called upon to explain the languages of man, such as he finds them, as the possible development of what has been called the language of animals. The interjectional and mimetic theories of the origin of language are no doubt very attractive and plausible, but if they were more than that, one at least of the great authorities in the science of language—Humboldt, Bopp, Grimm, Burnouf, Curtius, Schleicher, &c.—would have adopted them. However, it matters very little who is right and who is wrong; but it matters a great deal what is right and what is wrong, and as an honest, though it may be unsuccessful, attempt at finding out what is true with regard to the conditions under which human language is possible, I venture to send you my three Lectures, trusting that, though I differ from some of your conclusions, you will believe me to be one of your diligent readers and sincere admirers.'

That the Lectures did not alter Mr. Darwin's cordial appreciation of Max Muller is shown by the following charming letter, inserted by permission:—

Down, Beckenham, Kent, July 3, 1873.

'Dear Sir,—I am much obliged for your kind note and present of your Lectures. I am extremely glad to have received them from you, and I had intended ordering them. I feel quite sure from what I have read in your works that you would never say anything of an honest adversary to which he would have any just right to object; and as for myself, you have often spoken highly of me, perhaps more highly than I deserve.

'As far as language is concerned, I am not worthy to be your adversary, as I know extremely little about it, and that little learnt from very few books. I should have been glad to have avoided the whole subject, but was compelled to take it up as well as I could. He who is fully convinced, as I am, that man is descended from some lower animal, is almost forced to believe a priori that articulate language has been developed from inarticulate cries; and he is therefore hardly a fair judge of the arguments opposed to this belief.

'With cordial respect, I remain, dear Sir,

'Yours very faithfully,

'Charles Darwin.'

F. Max Muller, Aged 50. From a Medalliion by Bruce Foy

The Lectures were answered by Mr. Darwin's son, whose article was again replied to by Max Muller in the Contemporary Review, called, 'My reply to Mr. Darwin,' which in its turn provoked the violent attack by Professor Whitney on Max Muller described in the next chapter.

During this summer Max Muller sat to Mr. Bruce Joy for a medallion, and later on for a bust, in the habit brode [Google translate: He lives in Brode] of the French Institute, the clever artist being his guest whilst the work was carried out. Several pleasant and refreshing visits were paid to the Deanery, Westminster, which Lady Augusta Stanley made a second home to many of her husband's old Oxford friends. The Max Mullers also stayed at Sir William Siemens', for the Civil Engineers' soiree at the South Kensington Museum, an evening long remembered with pleasure, as spent almost entirely with Charles Kingsley looking at the Vernon collection of pictures, which at that time still hung there.

In July Max Muller went to Germany to bring his mother to England. She had been far from well for some months, and he found her at first unwilling to travel, and thus was kept longer in Germany than he expected.

To His Wife.

July, 1873.

'If we do a thing because we think it is our duty, we generally fail; that is the old law which makes slaves of us. The real spring of our life and our work in life must be love—true, deep love—not love of this or that person, or for this or that reason, but deep human love, devotion of soul to soul, love of God realized where alone it can be, in love of those whom He loves. Everything else is weak, and passes away; that love alone supports us, makes life tolerable, binds the present together with the past and future, and is, we may trust, imperishable.'

Whilst at Chemnitz with his mother, Max Muller wrote to tell Professor Benfey that his Index Verborum [Google translate: List of Words] of the Rig-veda was printed. He had prepared it himself before he brought out his first volume of the Rig-veda in 1849, and had lately employed a young German to arrange the Index for each one of the six volumes as a whole. It is still of great practical value, as, the references being to hymns and verses and lines, and not to pages, it can be used with any edition of the Rig-veda. He also mentions that a new edition of his Hitopadesa was called for, and of his Sanskrit Grammar in English, 'and yet,' he says, 'I have my hands already quite full.'

The Lectures on the Science of Religion, given in 1870, had been published just before Max Muller went to Germany, and were dedicated to Emerson, 'in memory of his visit to Oxford, and in acknowledgement of constant refreshment of head and heart derived from his writings during the last twenty-five years.'

The volume was favourably received, and called out less adverse criticism than it would have done three years before.

'Professor Max Muller,' says one reviewer, 'properly calls the lectures in this volume "An Introduction." They break ground in the little-trodden path of Comparative Theology. He tells us he is convinced that study here will ultimately produce as great a revolution in our ideas of man's past history, and in the relations and character of the various religions of mankind, as study of natural science has produced in our view of the Creation. Researches in the sphere of history, with the help of Comparative Mythology, prove that there are elements in human nature which must have been primal and original, which could never have been developed, which must have been implanted from the beginning—wherever we place that. That man, as a religious being, possesses such an element or disposition, we conceive Mr. Muller himself has gone far to prove. And the more we find, by comparison of the religions of the world, the distinctness and indestructibility, and yet the essential identity of this element under all varieties of forms of development, the more shall we be compelled to accept the fact of the Divine origin of mankind, and, even amid its worst corruptions, of the community of human nature with the Divine, of the finite with the Infinite.'

So little is still known about the Veddahs, that the following letter to Mr. Hartshorne may be of interest:—

Oxford, July 27, 1873.

'Dear Sir,—I have just returned from Germany, and I am afraid that my answer to your letter of June 23 will hardly reach you in time, before you start again on a new visit to the Veddahs. So much has been said about their peculiarities in language, thought, and manners, that a really trustworthy account of them would certainly be most valuable. How difficult such an account is you must know best by this time. In looking at your list of Veddah words I was struck at once by their Pali, i.e. secondary Sanskrit character. The question therefore, arises, are those Pali or Sinhalese words later importations, or is it possible to distinguish between an earlier substratum of Veddah speech and these clearly Aryan words? Or, does the Veddah language take its place simply as a degraded Sinhalese dialect, and the Veddah people as a degraded Sinhalese race, instead of being, as generally supposed, a remnant of a primitive and savage race? This question can be solved scientifically by linguistic evidence only. But the solution is most difficult. We must know what corruptions are possible between Veddah and Sinhalese, between Sinhalese and Elu, between Elu and Pali, between Pali and Sanskrit. ... I have marked on your list of Veddah words many that are clearly of Sinhalese kinship, and these are words which constitute the most necessary portion of a language; for instance, iht pronouns, words for man, cow, flowers, to cook, to go, &c. &c. Here and there I see a trace of grammatical structure, and you may be certain that there is as much grammar in the Veddah language as in English. You may say, that would not be much, but it presupposes much. No doubt it would be difficult to get an idea of English grammar from a Welsh coal-miner, and your Veddahs have evidently sunk much lower; but with great perseverance something of the grammatical articulation of the language might still be discovered, and has to be discovered, before we can say anything about their origin. 1 never believe that the Veddah language has no word for two. There may be Veddahs who do not count, or who, as philosophers would say, form no syntheses, but that a language which has a word for I and thou, for eye and ear, should have no sign for the dual concept, I shall never believe. More difficult even than the grammar is the religion of a people like the Veddahs. One occasionally sees accounts in the papers of a witness being sworn in an English Court of Law, and if one took his answers about the Deity, about life and death, and right and wrong, as materials on which to build a theory of the Christian religion, one would still be better off, I suppose, than with the best of the Veddahs. And yet these people have a religion, if one only knows how to disinter it. To call "the propitiation of the spirits of deceased ancestors" the most original form of religion is utterly wrong. It takes thousands of years before we arrive at such ideas. The idea of an ancestor involves the idea of relationship; a belief in deceased, but not yet extinct, ancestors implies the germs of a belief in immortality. The idea of a spirit, or of spirits of deceased persons, belongs to the tertiary age of thought, and as to propitiation, that is a concept not yet 3,000 years old. The time has not come yet for a chronology of religious beliefs; what we want are accurate statements of all manifestations which imply a conception of anything beyond what is given to man by his sensuous experience. All this is a work of very great difficulty, and it is because people do not see the difficulty, that we get so much material which is amusing and may fill volumes about Prehistoric Culture, and yet leaves us exactly where we were before. It is difficult when we have to deal with one individual, to say what he is no more, and what he is not yet; to say the same of a family, a clan, a tribe, a people, is much more difficult. And yet this is what we want to know about the Veddahs, whom many people are so anxious to represent as monkeys and not yet men, but who may be monkeys and men no longer.

'Excuse haste, and believe me,

'Yours very truly,

'F. M. M.'

After Max Muller's return to England with his mother, the whole family went to Cromer, which proved a time of great interest to him, as bringing him into closer contact with many members of the Gurney and Buxton families, with some of whom he had been associated years before through the marriages of his friends Ernest and George von Bunsen. On his return home he devoted himself to work on the sixth and last volume of the Rig-veda. He had during this year published the text of the Rig-veda in two small octavo volumes, according to the Pada and Samhita systems.

But his mind was ere long turned to another subject. His friend Dean Stanley had asked him the year before to give the evening address in Westminster Abbey on Christian Missions. Max Muller had then declined, but the Dean again urged his request this year. It was a bold step on the Dean's part, who had, however, ascertained that it was perfectly legal. He took the opinion on this point of Lord Coleridge, the Lord Chief Justice of England, who replied, 'It is perfectly legal, but whether it is expedient!' 'I did not ask your opinion on that point,' rejoined the intrepid little Dean. It needed no small courage in Max Muller to accept; but having ascertained from the Dean that it was legal, he now no longer hesitated, feeling it would put him in a position to say things that had long weighed on him. Having once made up his mind, he was perfectly unmoved by the storm it raised, and set about preparing his discourse with his usual tranquil self-possession and power of detaching himself from public opinion.

To R. B. D. Morier, Esq.

November 3.

'My dear Morier,—We had our orgie at All Souls last night, and I thought of you when I was presiding as Sub-Warden (the Warden being ill), supported by two noble lords, Lord Devon and Lord Bathurst, and proposing the different healths of the evening. I also thought of Bellum's and all that. Don't you think it is time for me to leave, having reached this exalted pinnacle?'

On December 2 the Max Mullers went to the Deanery at Westminster, and the next day the Lay Sermon was delivered. Charles Kingsley, Theodore Walrond, and Sir Charles Trevelyan dined and attended the service. It was very nervous work, both for the lecturer and many of his hearers, but his voice was clear and carried far, and his earnest, reverent manner impressed the vast congregation from the first moment. To one who for long years had wished that he could have an opportunity of uttering the great truths which were the foundation of his own life, other than that afforded by the Royal Institution, it was a unique moment, and a glance at his quiet, self-possessed face, showed that he was equal to the great task, and stilled all feeling of anxiety.

The next day both the congratulations and vituperations began; the latter made little impression. On his way home Max Muller met Dr. Liddon, who wrung his hand, saying, 'I rejoice from my heart that you have been helping us.' The author of The Childhood of Religion wrote:—

'I must thank you for your noble words in the Abbey last week, to which it was my delight to listen. I am sure they will do great good in directing attention to the place each faith has had in the order of this divinely-governed world.'

To The Dean of Westminster.

Parks End, Oxford, December 11, 1873.

'My dear Stanley,—So the work is done. I hope it may produce some good effect! I may tell you now that I never felt so nervous in my life before, but I had perfect confidence in you, that you would not have asked me unless you felt it ought to be done, and could be done. All the people I see here seem to acquiesce, but of course I have no opportunity of hearing their real opinion. Ruskin was truly pleased, and I believe would like to lecture himself. I wish the University Sermons could be opened to laymen—there seems to be no reason why they should not. Are you aware that in the Greek Church it is by no means unusual for laymen to occupy the pulpit? I read your sermon to-day—I had hardly heard it in the Abbey, I felt so excited. I like it very much. Did you see the new ending to my lecture? I felt there was something wanting to make the ending less abrupt, and as I am not likely to have another opportunity soon, I thought I might as well say all I had to say. Ever yours.

'I am truly grateful now that you asked me, and glad that I did it.'

To Professor Klaus Groth.

Translation. Oxford, December 14, 1873.

' My dear Friend,—It is long since I wrote. You have no idea how m time goes, and the letters I like to write have to wait for those I must write. I have written to Prince Christian about the Platt- Deutsch Bible: the thing can be done, and I have told him not to consult any one further, but to leave the arrangements entirely to you. One could begin with the New Testament—wait how that succeeds, before the Old Testament is undertaken. Yes, how much has happened again this year, and how little really effected! All has gone well with us. I am often frightened at our happiness. Wife and children well, my mother on a visit to us for the last six months, also far stronger than one dare expect. I certainly was laid up in summer, but am now quite well. I have said farewell to Strassburg with a heavy heart, but I hope wisely. It was not quite what I expected. There was a want of go, of initiative. My idea was that the best powers of Germany would come to this new Byzantium of literature, the Crown Prince at their head, that the Alsatians might be forced to be proud of their country, and that a new mental capital would be founded in Strassburg, as a make-weight to the military metropolis; but the reality, pleasant as it was, was different. Fritz Kraus1 [A young Swiss, who made an excellent translation of Shakespeare's Sonnets into German. He was a great invalid, and died of decline in 1881] has thanked vie for a notice you wrote on his Southampton Sonnets. Greetings to all our Kiel friends. ... I hope your Christmas will be one of undisturbed happiness. Your boys must be growing fast. Shall we soon meet? It does not look like it.'

To W. Longman, Esq.

Oxford, December 15.

'"Why is there so much delay about bringing out the Sermons?" the Dean writes to me from Windsor; but it is not my fault. I ordered my part for press on Wednesday. I look forward to three months' imprisonment with great pleasure. What an amount of work I shall be able to get through, having no dinner-parties, calls, meetings, &c., to interrupt my work!'

Some of the papers had threatened Max Muller with imprisonment for brawling in church, and an Oxford tradesman who had heard of this ran out of his shop one day as he was passing, and, seizing his hand, said, 'Well, sir, when they send you to prison, count on a hot dinner from my table every week.'
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 2 of 2

To Herr George von Bunsen.

December 21.

'. . . The theological wasps buzz around my ears. It was an exertion indeed, but it was worth while — fiat experimentum in corpore vili [Google translate: let it be an experiment in the body cheap]. There is no going to prison just yet, however—Stanley had a legal opinion from the Lord Chief Justice before he undertook the matter.'

Perhaps the attack that amused Max Muller most was from Mr. Henry Reeve, the editor of the Edinburgh Review, who was presumably ignorant of Lord Coleridge's legal opinion, and wrote, 'By the law of England, as I read it, an unordained person who preaches or lectures in a church is guilty of a misdemeanour, punishable with three months' prison, and though Westminster Abbey is so peculiar that it is probable the law could not reach you, I shall always deeply regret that you were induced ... to appear there!'

To Herr George von Bunsen.

Translation. Parks End, December 25, 1873.

'Many thanks for your letter, and for all the interesting enclosures from friends. I have been very busy lately. The English people have so much time for writing letters, and to explain oneself to three or four different parties is no easy matter. In spite of all, I am nevertheless glad to have followed Stanley's bidding. . . . Yes, indeed, I thought of your father when I stood in Westminster Abbey— how often the unlikely becomes reality! I send you my lecture, for first I had to omit some points when I delivered it, and secondly the Times omitted some things in reporting it.

'We have had such a happy Christmas; everything was perfect— three generations together—but such happiness fills one with anxiety.

'Alas, the lectures of Pauli1 [His friends wished him to give a course of historical lectures at Oxford.] have come to nothing; he was proposed primo loco, but it was impossible to get a majority in his favour. Then we succeeded in obtaining the votes for Goldwin Smith, who is now paying a visit to Oxford; he however, refused.

'Yes, indeed, the letter from Curtius is very depressing—for the future still more than for the present. And yet it seems unavoidable in Berlin! It is impossible to perform music in a large manufactory. Therefore, I dreamt a dream of Strassburg as a new capital for the new German spirit, but I soon became aware that the wings were wanting, and that they were satisfied with very little.

'Mommsen told me when I met him in Munich that he was ready to leave Berlin at any moment on his own account, and still more on that of his children. At Leipzig there is no Court and all that belongs to Court life; the merchant class in Leipzig is rich and they are patricians, the Professors are poor but highly esteemed: life there is very agreeable. I often feel drawn towards Leipzig—it might become a new Weimar, only grander and of greater national popularity.'

On the last day of the year Max Muller's old friend, Professor Gelzer, the author of several theological works in German, wrote to him from Basle:—


'My son gave me at Christmas the first part of your Introduction to the Science of Religion. I began to read it the next evening, and could not stop till I had finished the second half next morning. How I am longing for the continuation! No work for a long time has so electrified me, and edified my deepest soul. There are passages which flashed on me like lightning, for they found an echo of sympathetic agreement in my thoughts.'

The work of the year 1874 was devoted to the sixth and last volume of the Rig-veda. The preparations for the Congress of Orientalists held in London in September, and writing his opening address as President of the Aryan Section, occupied much of Max Muller's time. His mother returned to Germany in March, but throughout the year the Max Mullers had innumerable guests, among them the reigning Prince and Princess of Roumania.

To His Wife (staying near her old home).

January 8.

'Our own life is such perfect brightness that I cannot bear the slightest grumble about this or that not being exactly as one likes it. It seems to me so ungrateful to allow one moment to pass that is not full of joy and happiness, and devotion to Him who gives us all this richly to enjoy. The clouds will come, they must come, but they ought never to be of our own making.'

January 12, 1874.

'By a grave one learns what life really is—that it is not here but elsewhere; that this is the exile, and there is our home. As we grow older the train of life goes faster and faster, those with whom we travelled together step out from station to station, and our own station, too, will soon be reached.'

To Edward Tylor, Esq.

January 14.

'If you have read Whitney's book, would you not write a review of it for the Academy? I know Whitney is an opponent of mine, or, I should rather say, he hates me, but that does not matter, and if you think that on any point he is right and I am wrong, I shall not be angry if you say so.'

To His Wife.

April 13, 1874.

'The spirit of love and the spirit of truth are the two life-springs of our whole being, or, what is the same, of our whole religion, for whatever we are, or do, or feel, or think, is nothing without the keynote of religion. If we lose that bond which holds us and binds us to a higher world, our life becomes purposeless, joyless; if it holds us and supports us, life becomes perfect, all little cares vanish, and we feel we are working out a great purpose as well as we can, a purpose not our own, not selfish, not self-seeking, but in the truest sense of the word God-serving and God-seeking.

'I shall have more time for my children when the Veda is finished. I now always feel, and have felt for years, that every hour when I could work was due to the Veda, but I shall feel that no more.'

Max Muller had a great pleasure this spring in a visit to Oxford of his old friend Victor Carus, with his wife and daughters. He was on his way to Edinburgh, where he had undertaken a course of lectures.

To Professor Carus.

Translation. April 28.

']My dear Victor,—Here everything is light and sunny; you ought to have stayed quietly here. It was like old days to have you here. Life spins itself further and further, but the old threads run on through it. The death of Phillips1 [Professor of Geology. He died from falling downstairs at All Souls.] has shocked us all terribly. I was not there, and only heard of the accident the next morning; when I got there he was already dead. There was no suffering, but he died without regaining consciousness. I have just heard from Pauli from Gottingen—always the same. Hearty greetings from us to you all.'

A letter from his old friend and master, Professor Brockhaus, was a great pleasure to him this spring:—

Translation. May, 1874.

'I heard with great delight that you have been working very hard to finish your Rig-veda. It is just thirty years since you first announced your resolution to edit this gigantic work, and now the whole is finished before us. With what delight you must look on the past. You have achieved great things, and your services to this, the richest product of the Indian mind, will gain ever increasing recognition and admiration.'

It was in June of this year that Max Muller received a wholly unexpected honour, the Order pour le Merite, which may be called the Blue Ribbon of Literature. Soon after, when Max Muller was commanded to dine at Windsor, he wrote to Prince Leopold to ask if he might wear his Order, and the wire came back, 'Not may, but must.'

To His Mother.

Translation. June 7, 1874.

'Have you seen in the papers that they have made me a Knight of the Order pour le Merite? I cannot understand it. There are but twenty for all Germany. The Knights elect themselves, and the King has only to confirm their choice. Now the Berliners are by no means my best friends; on the contrary, I have had from time to time to disagree sharply with several of their celebrities, and I never once thought of their electing me. Well, it is no ordinary Order, and is the only one that a literary man may wear with pleasure, and so I am really pleased, though I should have been quite happy without any Order. I have not heard direct, only what is in the papers, so it may not be true after all. It is the one foreign Order I can wear at Court here without special leave.'

To Professor Carus (who was to receive an honorary D.C.L. degree at Commemoration).


'My dear Victor,—Come on Tuesday, that you may not be tired but have time to rest. We are counting on your coming to us. Won't you bring your wife or a daughter with you? Two rooms are ready—you know that, and we are rejoicing over this unexpected meeting. As to the Order pour le Merite, it passes my comprehension, I only know as yet what was in the papers. No one in Berlin has written about it. The Berliners do not love me inordinately, and the election is with the Knights. Well, I shall hear more—till then we must "bear the inevitable with resignation."

To Professor Lepsius.

Translation. Parks End, June 18.

'My dear and honourable Friend,—I have not yet got over my shock, but the astonishment gives way to mere joy and gratitude. Never for a moment did I think that this honour would be bestowed upon me after having been away so long from the Fatherland1 [Max Muller was elected one of the twenty German Knights, not as a foreign Knight.]; and I can never be grateful enough to those who have not forgotten me on this occasion. I feel again strongly how my heart is drawing me to Germany, and did I still possess such vitality as you do, I should return there to-morrow. Well my slavery is to stop this year; in September, I hope my last volume of the Rig-veda will be finished, and who knows what will happen then 1 I shake your hand most heartily to-day. Am I right to send my official thanks to Ranke? . . . What do you think of another trial for a common alphabet at the Congress? Our paths, as I told you before, do not lie far apart; in short, I am satisfied to express the fact of modification, you express the method of modification. My system is the more incomplete, by no means, however, excluding the more complete one. It only needs an understanding about the three degrees of modification; I am only afraid there will be no time for it.'

To The Crown Prince.

Parks End, Oxford, June 20, 1874.


'Your Imperial and Royal Highness,—I am almost afraid that I may appear obtrusive, when I venture to express to your Royal Highness my joy and gratitude at the distinction granted to me by His Majesty the Emperor. But the ardent desire will not give way to conventional constraint, and the reverence which I have had for your Royal Highness for so many years gives me confidence that your Royal Highness will not be offended even should I offend against etiquette.

'I really cannot imagine to whom I owe my gratitude for the great and unexpected honour. His Majesty the Emperor has given me repeated proofs of his gracious kindness, but this, it seems to me, I can only ascribe to the kind intercession of others. It suddenly occurred to me, that the thought of bestowing this distinction upon me might have received its first impulse from your Royal Highness, and, whether I be right or wrong, I could not rest till I had expressed how deeply grateful I feel for this great distinction, and how it inspires me to new life and work.

'I do indeed realize just now, how my heart clings with all its fibres to Germany. The work which brought me to England first of all, and which has kept me incessantly occupied here for twenty-five years, the publishing of the Veda, will be finished this summer, and I shall then feel a free man. If I could be of more use in Germany than here, I should like to return to Germany, though I have grown old. I was very happy at Strassburg; it was like an intellectual sea-bath. Only the task appointed me did not seem far-reaching enough. The Alsatians ought to have been made to feel proud of their new Strassburg in spite of themselves, and just one course of lectures did not suffice for that. I had hoped that, as in former times for Bonn, so now for Strassburg, Germany would send her best men, in order to create there a new spiritual Byzantium, a capital of German art, science, and learning. But this was not thought of. Of course I do not mean to assert that the slow and quiet development of circumstances is not perhaps the better one. I soon felt, however, that under these conditions the giving up of my work in England was hardly justified. But now, having finished the work which tied me to England, the old thoughts of home return, and especially the desire to be one of those who fight under the flag of your Royal Highness on the battle-field of the mind. There are sure to be such battles, in fact there are such now, and I am often astonished how little part the people take in the great religious and Church questions of the present time; how the Government seems left to bear all the responsibility, and this makes a healthy and powerful solution of the matter almost an impossibility. And though in England also, material interests absorb a great part of the moral strength, yet in struggles, such as have begun now in Germany, the heart of the whole nation would beat louder and stronger. What good would it do to Germany, to win the whole world and to lose herself, to lose that which has made her great, her earnestness of life, her joy in everything that is truly beautiful, her courage in the search for truth, her faith in something higher than this life? There is much to conquer still, though it may not be Alsace and Lorraine. Great success is exhausting for a while, but it seems time now to think of the future, which, though the past has been great, ought to be still greater.

'With the best wishes for the great future which awaits your Royal Highness, I remain, your Royal Highness' obedient servant.'

On July 1 the following entry stands in his wife's Diary: 'To-day M. finished the MS. of the Rig-veda' The printing had already begun, and was going on apace.

To His Mother.

Translation. August 2.

'To-day I have been made an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy. I don't know how it came about. I, of course, never stirred in the matter, and yet the German literary men are so angry about it. They cannot hide their displeasure, but it does not hurt. The nearer I come to the end of the Veda, the more I find there is to do, but it must be ready for the Oriental Congress in September.

'To-morrow is our wedding-day: how fast the time goes, and how much sunshine these fifteen years have brought us, even though the clouds have not been wholly wanting. God will help us further.'

To His Wife (who was at the death-bed of the mother-aunt).

August 19, 1874.

'The death of those we love is the last lesson we receive in life— the rest we must learn for ourselves. To me, the older I grow and the nearer I feel that to me too the end must be, the more perfect and beautiful all seems to be; one feels surrounded and supported everywhere by power, wisdom, and love, content to trust and wait, incapable of murmuring, very helpless, very weak, yet strong in that very helplessness, because it teaches us to trust to something not ourselves. Yet parting with those we love is hard—only I fear there is nothing else that would have kept our eyes open to what is beyond this life.'

To M. Renan.

August 19.

'My dear Friend and illustrious Colleague,—It is such a long time since I had the pleasure of hearing from you, that I cannot allow an opportunity to pass which may I hope bring us together again. You know that from the fourteenth to the twenty-first of September there will be a large gathering of Oriental scholars in London. I always understood that you would be here at the time, if not for the sake of the Congress, at least for a visit to England, which you had planned last year and postponed to this. Now I hope it may be so, and that we may meet not only in London, but also in Oxford. You know that a visit from you and Madame Renan is a very old promise, and both I and my wife have always looked forward to its fulfilment with great pleasure. We shall, of course, be in London during the actual week of the Congress, but afterwards we return to Oxford, and should be delighted to show you all that is interesting and beautiful both here and in the neighbourhood. Please let me hear what your plans are. If you could be persuaded to join the Congress we should of course consider it a great honour, and you would find among the multitude some scholars whom you would like to meet. My old teacher Brockhaus is coming, also Stenzler, Weber, Windisch, Schrader, Lepsius, Brugsch, and many more; even Pundits from India. Now please consider all this, and let me know your decision. I see that your great work on the Phoenician Expedition is finished, and I congratulate you with all my heart. I can share your feelings, for I have just ordered the last sheet of the Rig-veda for press. Twenty-five years of work, and I have now only to print the preface and various readings. The last sheets were printed from copies I had made at Paris, May, 1846, during the bright and happy days when Burnouf lectured at the College de France. My wife presents her kind regards to you and Madame Renan, and hopes I shall succeed in persuading you to come. With old and unchanged sentiments of sincere regard.'

In the beginning of September Max Muller had the honour of receiving the reigning Prince and Princess of Roumania under his roof. They wished to see Oxford, and their only free days coincided with some meeting that filled every hotel in Oxford. In a letter to his mother Max Muller speaks of the Princess as very clever, and of the Prince as a man of great courage and determination. 'They have both of them a strong feeling for the duties of their great station, and are full of plans for the good of the people committed to their care.' They met again in London, and a feeling of true esteem and friendship sprang up, which was a source of deep gratification to Max Muller to the last. Only a few days before his death he received the kindest message from the King of Roumania about a little service that he had been able to render to His Majesty.

The Oriental Congress which met in London towards the close of September was a time of great interest and pleasure to Max Muller, who afterwards welcomed to his house in Oxford many old friends—Professor Lepsius and his eldest son, Professor Noldeke, Dr. Stenzler, Dr. Spiegel, Dr. Gosche, M. Leon Feer, and various distinguished Orientals. The Max Mullers stayed during the Congress with the Kingsleys in their charming old house in the Cloisters at Westminster. Charles Kingsley was in bad health, not having really recovered from the severe illness he had had during his visit to America in the summer. His wife was then perfectly well.

Max Muller was President of the Aryan Section, and in opening the section delivered a striking address on the Importance of Oriental Studies. The Prince of Roumania came up from Hastings to attend it. At the conclusion of the address, Max Muller presented to the Congress the last sheet of the last volume of the Rig-veda, with the Commentary of Sayanacharya. His old teacher, Professor Brockhaus, was present to witness the completion of his pupil's great work. The address was published in Chips, Volume IV. An appreciative article on his work had lately appeared in one of the American papers.

'Professor F. Max Muller is just giving the last touches to his final volume of the Rig-veda. The work was begun twenty-five years ago, and was undertaken as a labour of love, for those who at that period were interested in Oriental or Sanskrit studies were few indeed; too few certainly for the German scholar to have anticipated any reward for his labour, except the gratitude of those few, and the consciousness of having given an important contribution to learning. But within that twenty-five years the interest in such studies has quadrupled at least, and thousands now wish to study the Rig-veda. I believe there has been some disposition among American students of Sanskrit to criticize Max Muller's work in a disparaging way, but the Hindoo scholars themselves declare that it is the best rendering of their ancient hymns which exists, and such is the growing opinion in England. And how much has he done beside? Those who have only read his Chips from a German Workshop, his Science of Religion, his Lectures on Language, know but the half of his labours, which really have embraced the preparation of a complete set of instrumentalities for the prosecution of Sanskrit studies. Everybody who is engaged in any work of that kind rushes to him, and none are turned empty away. At the same time he has mingled in every important discussion bearing on philology and mythology in both England and Germany, generally carrying the verdict for his point, but always knowing how to yield gracefully to argument, and, moreover, always prompt in recognizing discoveries made by others in directions where he himself had looked without making them. In short, Max Muller is among the most truthful and industrious workers of Europe just now, and he has built up a reputation which few possess.'

To His Mother.

Translation. October 9.

'We have lately been very much occupied, partly with the Oriental Congress, partly by visits to us and visits we have paid. Happily I had finished my Veda, and have only a little to do to the preface, index, &c., which must be finished this week, and then I shall not grudge myself a little freedom. We had Lepsius, father and son, on a visit. Then we went to stay with Mr. Grant Duff, formerly Under-Secretary for India, and with Sir John Lubbock, where we met Darwin, Tyndall, Spencer, and the two Lepsius'. Lectures will soon begin here, and though I have been here through the vacation and worked hard, it has suited me very well. Perhaps I shall take a holiday in winter, if I need it, and a visit to Rome has long been hoped for by us both. My principal work is finished, and I can at last give myself a treat.'

This visit was the only time Max Muller and Darwin met. The conversation turning on apes as the progenitors of man, Max Muller asserted that if speech were left out of consideration, there was a fatal flaw in the line of facts. 'You are a dangerous man,' said Darwin, laughingly.

It was in the November of this year that Bishop Colenso visited Oxford as the guest, first of Max Muller, and then of the Master of Balliol, and was forbidden to preach at Carfax, the City Church, by the Bishop of Oxford.

On November 27 Max Muller writes:—

To His Wife.

'I sent you a line this afternoon after I had seen Colenso. It seems an unwarrantable stretch of authority on the part of the Bishop, for there is no legal censure of any kind against Colenso, He has simply spoken out and said what every bishop knows or ought to know. I hear there is an attempt to prevent his preaching in Balliol, but in that they will hardly succeed.'

November 29.

'Colenso preached an excellent sermon in Balliol Chapel. He dwelt on the natural slowness of all progress in nature, as well as in the world of spirit; that we ought to learn to wait, and not expect to see the kingdom of God on earth, but only to work for it. The chapel was full—his two sons were there, and the whole scene was very touching. The time will come when they will thank Colenso for having shown that the Old Testament is a genuine old book, full of all the contradictions and impossibilities which we have "a right to expect in old books, but which we seldom see in books written on purpose. With those who hold that the Song of Solomon was miraculously inspired one cannot agree—it is with them as with those who defend the real material Presence, they have changed the highest truth into most dangerous falsehood. However, let them fight it out; they will never prevail.'

On the same day Max was able to write to his mother:—


'The last volume of the Veda is in the bookbinder's hands—a long piece of work finished. I often hardly believed that I should finish it, but now I feel I have a right to rejoice, and shall often think of it with real delight.'

Many kind congratulations came from old friends who had watched the progress of the work during many years.

The Master of Balliol wrote:—

'I heartily congratulate you on the completion of your great work. I only disagree with one thing in your preface, that you dare to speak of yourself as an old man. We are none of us old until we think that we are.'

To Professor Althaus.

Translation. December 3.

'Many thanks for your letter. Indeed, I had hardly thought it possible that I should be permitted to finish this work, and now that it is finished, something seems to be wanting every day. However, there is plenty of material left for work, and if my strength holds out, the good will to work is never wanting.'

In December Max Muller received the thanks of the Secretary of State for India in Council for the satisfactory manner in which he had carried out the important work entrusted to him. In his reply to Sir Lewis Malet, Max Muller expressed his pleasure that the work was done, and his gratitude to Her Majesty's Government for having enabled him to finish a task which he thought was worth a life, and for which he had received in France, Italy, and Germany the highest honours which a literary man can aspire to.

'The Rig-veda, though for the last 3,000 years it has formed the foundation of the religious life of India, had never before been rendered accessible to the people at large, and its publication will produce, nay, has already produced, in India an effect similar to that which the first printing of the Bible produced on the mind of Europe. Beyond the frontiers of India also, the first edition of the oldest book of the whole Aryan race has not been without its effect, and as long as men value the history of their language, mythology, and religion, I feel confident that this work will hold its place in the permanent library of mankind.'

To Max Muller's surprise and gratification, he received about three months later a letter from Sir Lewis Malet, informing him ' that the Secretary of State for India in Council has sanctioned a grant of money to you, as a special recognition of your services in connexion with the editing and printing of the Rig-veda, in addition to the sum received by you as an honorarium, according to the original agreement.'

Few but Sanskrit scholars will have read the preface to this sixth and last volume of Max Muller's great work, and some passages are therefore given from it:—

'When I had written the last line of the Rig-veda and Sayana's Commentary, and put down my pen, I felt as if I had parted with an old, old friend. For thirty years scarcely a day has passed on which my thoughts have not dwelt on this work, and for many a day, and many a night too, the old poets of the Veda, and still more their orthodox and painstaking expositor, have been my never-failing companions. I am happy, no doubt, that the work is done, and after having seen so many called away in the midst of their labours, I feel deeply grateful that I have been spared to finish the work of my life. But habits established for so long a time are not broken without a wrench, and even now I begin to miss my daily task; I begin to long for some difficult and corrupt passages to grapple with, for some abrupt quotation, or for some obscure allusion to Panini to trace back to its original source.

'It was in 1845, when attending the lectures of Eugene Burnouf, that my thoughts became fixed on an edition of the Rig-veda and its voluminous Commentary. I still see the eager faces of a number of young scholars sitting round the table when Burnouf was lecturing with a vivacity, a keenness, a flow of knowledge, which I have never seen surpassed. ... I was the youngest of them all, and, though I had published a translation of the Hitopadesa, my ideas of Sanskrit literature did not reach much beyond the Epic Poems and the Upanishads. Nothing, I thought, could in beauty of thought or expression exceed the Upanishads; I had translated some of them for Schelling. Well do I remember my surprise when I heard Burnouf speak of them as works of small importance, compared with the older portions of the Veda. Burnouf was lecturing then on the first book of the Rig-veda. He possessed a complete copy of Sayana's Commentary. After a time Burnouf lent me some of his MSS. and encouraged me to copy them. It was hard work at first . . . and, but for his frank acknowledgement that he too could not always make out Sayana, I should never have had the courage to persevere. . . . But I worked on till a portion of the work was finished, and after obtaining the patronage of the old East India Company, I was able to publish the first volume in 1849.

'We are now in 1874. Twenty-five years are certainly a long time, and when I saw how some of my friends clamoured at the delay ... I began to fear I might really be to blame. I therefore made out an account of my stewardship, and the result was as follows: I found that since 1849 there were three years in which I was prevented going on with my work—one year when I was out of health, another when I had to wait for the renewal of the grant, on the extinction of the East India Company, and a third when waiting for a MS. from India, which promised to be if not the original, yet much more ancient than any I had used. During the last twenty-five years I have done other work also. ... I have not thought that a man ought to live by Sanskrit alone. But after deducting the three years when I could not print, I found to my own surprise that I had published in my two editions of the Rig-veda, the large one with, and the small one without Sayana's Commentary, what amounted to an annual volume of nearly 600 pages octavo, during twenty-five consecutive years. If my friends will also take into account that in that time I published two editions of my History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, two editions of my Sanskrit Grammar, the Pratisakhya, text, translation and notes, and the first volume of my translation of the Rig-veda, I think they will admit that I have not been altogether faithless to my first love.'

If we add to this the Lectures on the Science of Language, and innumerable lectures and essays on language, mythology, and religion republished in the Chips, the total record of work done is not a light one for a man not yet fifty-one!

Max Muller concludes his preface by a few lines in self-defence, which will find an echo in the hearts of most authors:

'I know I have sometimes been blamed for not replying to my critics, but such blame was most unjust. The fact is that I could not possibly do it. When books are reviewed as they now are, not only in England, but in every country in Europe, nay, even in America and India, what are we to do? Many of these reviews never reach me at all, but even if I attempted to read and notice those only which I happen to see, I should have had no time left for anything else. It was not want of respect that made me silent, but simply want of time. I venture to avail myself of this opportunity to explain another apparent neglect on my part, for which I know I have been blamed, if not in public, at least in private. During the last ten years, the number of books sent me from all parts of the world has become so great that I had to give up the attempt to acknowledge them all. When I was a young man it was generally understood that no acknowledgement was expected when a book was sent without a letter; to that rule I have conformed both as a sender and receiver of presentation copies. It is generally said that Humboldt acknowledged all books and answered all letters. . . . Humboldt died before the Penny Post attained its full development I feel sure that my friends will forgive me if I do not always write, by return of post, that I am looking forward with the greatest pleasure to reading their books. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than reading books written by men with whom I am personally acquainted, but if a friend sends me a book on Comparative Mythology while I am in the midst of work on Sanskrit accentuation, I must put his work aside for a time, and cannot express an opinion till I find leisure to read it carefully. Soyez raisonnables. [Google translate: Be reasonable]'

Here it is necessary to revert to an extraordinary statement published soon after Max Muller's death in the New York Nation, and repeated in other journals. The Nation says: 'What Max Muller constantly proclaimed to be his own great work, the edition of the Rig-veda, was in reality not his at all. ... A German scholar did the work, and Muller appropriated the credit for it. But even in this case, though the judgement be true, it is harsh. The German scholar was paid for his labour, and did the best he could to circumvent Muller in getting out his editio prima [Google translate: first edition]. The incident is not altogether creditable to either party.' To those who have read thus far in the Life of Max Muller, it will seem almost impossible that a respectable paper could publish so false a statement. Burnouf, Brockhaus, Cowell, and many other Nestors of Sanskrit scholarship watched from 1846 with deep interest the progress of the work, and knew from seeing it how Max Muller had spent years in copying and collating MSS. of the Rig-veda, and searching out obscure references in Sayana's Commentary. The German scholar alluded to is Dr. Aufrecht, for many years Professor of Sanskrit in Edinburgh, and then in Bonn. The passage in the Nation is as insulting to him as to Max Muller. Dr. Aufrecht would be the first to acknowledge that the first volume of the Rig-veda (the most difficult of all, says Mr. Macdonell, the present excellent Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford) had been published three years before he and Max Muller ever met, and that when he arrived in England to work under Max Muller the second volume was already nearly finished. In the prefaces to the second, third, and fourth volumes Max Muller fully acknowledges his indebtedness to Dr. Aufrecht. For the last two volumes he had the assistance of other younger scholars, and in the prefaces to these volumes he mentions this, and in Volume VI gives the names of Dr. Eggeling, now Professor of Sanskrit at Edinburgh, and Dr. Thibaut, Professor of Sanskrit at Benares, as his helpers. Dr. Kielhorn, Professor of Sanskrit at Gottingen, writes: 'While I was in Oxford (from 1862-65) ... I have often seen Max Muller at work on the Rig-veda, and had occasion to consult the index to the text, which he had compiled many years before.' Dr. Eggeling writes: 'From what I saw personally of Max Mailer's mode of working, I may say that I always admired the extremely careful and scholarly way in which he dealt with his manuscript materials in constituting his final text.' M. Barthe, writing in April, 1874, says: 'M. Max Muller is, and must always remain, the first editor of the Rig-veda. He was the one man in Europe who had courage enough to enter on this path. It was he who took up the work as it fell from the failing hands of Rosen, and who, extending the design of Rosen, conceived it as worthy to be the principal work of his own life.' Professor Macdonell, after a careful examination, calculates that, if Professor Aufrecht had worked absolutely alone at Volumes III and IV, and the end of Volume II, collecting and collating all MSS., &c., he would have done but little over one-third of the work, of which all is ascribed to him in the article imposed (no doubt) on the Nation. Had there been any truth in the accusation its discovery would not have been left to an anonymous accuser in America, nor its exposure reserved until after Max Muller's death.

A great anxiety fell on the Max Mullers towards the close of the year. Mrs. Kingsley became alarmingly ill, and no hope was given that her life would be spared. Max Muller wrote to his mother:—

December 12.

'I meant to write to you to-morrow (Sunday), but a sad duty calls us away. Mrs. Kingsley is very ill, the doctors have given her up, and as she wishes to see G. once again, we shall start very early to-morrow morning for Eversley, and return in the evening. It is a heart disease which has come on suddenly. She herself considers her state as hopeless, so do her husband and children, yet they write with a quiet resignation that astonishes one. There has never been a happier family life, and this sudden end is terrible. It will be a trying day, and I could not let G. go alone. We have not been there together since we spent the first week of our honeymoon there.'

To The Same.

December 27.

'We went to Eversley. Mrs. Kingsley spoke quietly to G. about everything, and asked me to play something. Her husband and children were so quiet and self-possessed. I have never seen anything like it. She is a little better, but she might die at any moment. They have had such a happy life together, and it was heart-breaking to see it all.'

As they left Charles Kingsley said to them, 'When I am left alone you will come to me.' His wife lived on, but in little more than a month the Max Mullers returned to Eversley for his funeral.
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 1 of 2


Death of Charles Kingsley. Visit to Italy. Windsor. Last visit of mother. Chips, Volume IV. The Mumbles. Manchester. Plans for return to Germany. Maximilian Order. Oxford Girls' High School.

From the moment that he had written the last line of the last volume of the Rig-veda, Max Muller's thoughts again turned longingly to his own country: though he fully realized how hard it would be to break the ties of twenty-seven years that bound him to Oxford, and he also found it very difficult to decide whether England or Germany would offer the best opening for his son, who was then only eight years old. Yet on account of his education it was necessary to come soon to a decision. As he said in one of his letters at this time, he ' waited for some intimation.'

To Professor Tiele of Leyden.

Translation. January 3, 1875.

'Dear Friend,—I should have liked to write to you ere this to thank you for your kind letter and for the essays on the science of language, but my hands were so full that I put off everything which was not absolutely necessary. Shortly after receiving your essay, I got another from Darwin fils [Google translate: son], inspired, however, by Darwin pere [Google translate: father], which had to be answered by return. It had to be written and printed in a week, an excuse for the many printer's mistakes. I sent you a copy to-day, in which I refer to your essay. It was an opportunity of bringing to light the affair of Whitney & Co., though I detest this sort of thing. I had never before seen the Whitney lectures, and I must confess my astonishment that such a work has been pushed into the foreground by personal efforts. The man takes my lectures, lectures on them and out of them, and then publishes them, and to prove his own originality kicks me. Voila tout [Google translate: That is all!]! I do not find one single thought in the whole book which is original. Well, I am little disturbed or troubled by this sort of thing, and without Mr. George Darwin's attack, I should have taken no notice of the book at all. I read the other day that Schiller, when he published the Horen, ordered and paid for twelve reviews in the Jena Journal fur Litteratur. Can such things happen still?

'The serious evil of the tendency of Philosophy and Religion in the present day is that it so neglects the historical side. All feeling for the past is gone, and we have to lend our ear to things which Plato would not have ventured to make his adversaries utter. The more rude, the more original, is everybody's view now. And nothing can be done; we have to work for the few, not for the many; in the end we work best for ourselves alone, leaving the success to circumstances. If we only succeed in finding sufficient competent judges who take an interest in our doings and strivings, we can rest satisfied. I feel convinced that we shall live to see a change and a return to thoroughness in work. I long for Italy, which I have never really seen. My mother is still living at Chemnitz: she did not like England, her lively spirit missed the social intercourse. I hope I may see her this summer.'

To Charles Darwin, Esq.

Taplow, January 7.

'I hope in the course of the year to be able to place my whole argument before you. Even if I cannot hope to convince you, I trust at least to be able to show you that there are difficulties connected with the origin of language which deserve careful consideration, which possibly to me may seem greater than to you, but which, I feel sure, you would be the last person to wish to ignore. I can assure you I feel, as strongly as any mere layman in natural history can feel it, the impulsive force of your arguments. If I hesitate in following you in your explanation of the last animal metamorphosis, it is not because I am afraid, but simply because I see certain elements in human nature which would remain unexplained. To ordinary observers these elements may seem infinitesimally small and hardly worth a thought; but you know how the infinitesimally small is, after all, what is really important in evolution. You know better than anybody how infinitely great is the difference between man and animal: what I want to know is the first small and hardly perceptible cause of that difference, and I believe I find it in language and what is implied by language.'

During the winter of 1874-5, Prince Leopold had a severe attack of typhoid fever, which called forth the following letter:—

To Robert Collins, Esq.

Parks End, January 22, 1875.

'Many a time have I taken the pen to write to you, and always put it down again, fearing that I was only taking up your time, every minute of which must now be so precious. Yet I hope it is not very selfish if I ask you to tell the Prince how deeply I feel for him in his heavy trials, and how I hope and trust that he may soon recover his health. I know how you must be suffering, seeing the Prince suffer so much, he who with his brightness and kindness towards everybody might have enjoyed life so much, and been a source of joy to all around him. I know your strong feelings for the Prince, and I can fully understand them. It was often difficult to remember that he was a young Prince, when one wished to show him how much one appreciated his fine qualities, his power of endurance, his frankness, his uprightness, his sympathy with all that was noble and good, how one really admired him and loved him. Discouraging as the accounts are, it is always right to hope, and I hope most earnestly that our worst fears may not come true.

'I was with the Kingsleys a few weeks ago to say good-bye. I am afraid, while I am writing, he has left us, and she will follow soon. That bright Vicarage of Eversley, where I spent my honeymoon and which I had not seen since, looked very sad when I saw it last, yet what a blessing to be called away together.'

The sad anticipations expressed in the end of this letter to Mr. Collins proved but too true with regard to Charles Kingsley, and the Max Mullers were among the crowd of mourners who attended his funeral. Max Muller has described that solemn and striking scene in his preface to the new edition of Charles Kingsley's Roman and Teuton.

To His Mother. Translation. January 29, 1875.

'Yesterday I was at Eversley for Kingsley's funeral. It was a very trying day. G. stayed there to help her aunt and the two daughters. Kingsley's was a loving, noble nature, and the feeling for him is very strong. The Queen wrote Mrs. Kingsley a very beautiful autograph letter; the Prince of Wales was represented by an equerry. Stanley read the service. The poor wife never saw her husband again. She is herself very ill of heart disease, and may die at any moment! The composure of the wife and daughters astonishes one: I am only afraid the worst is to come. He is a great loss to me; he has always been a very true friend, and, long as I have known him, we never had a misunderstanding.'

To His Wife (at Eversley).

Oxford, January 30.

'All one's thoughts dwell on that grave at Eversley, and on the desolate house near it. If we miss him, how must they feel without his inspiriting presence, his constant care and love for all around him! One never thought of anything but life when one saw him and talked to him, for even in his illness there was no diminution in his vigorous activity. It is strange how little we all think of death as the condition of all the happiness which we here enjoy. If we would but learn to value each hour of life, to enjoy it fully, to use it fully, never to spoil a minute by selfishness, then death would never come too soon; it is the wasted hours which are like death in life, and which make life really so short. He was always himself, his very best self. I never heard him say an unkind word, though I have seen him provoked and worried. It is not too late even now to learn from him, to try to be more humble, more forbearing, more courteous, or, what is at the root of all, more loving, for that seemed to me the real secret of his noble life. And how he conquered! Those who would not be present at his marriage were proud to be at his funeral.'

The death of Charles Kingsley left a gap to Max Muller and his wife which was never filled up. The mutual affection had been strong and deep, and though their busy lives kept them from meeting often, the feeling of warm affection never lessened. Max Muller at this time was so entirely overdone and overworked that his doctor ordered complete change, and he resolved to go to Rome, which had been his dream from boyhood.

To The Duke of Argyll.

Oxford, January 29, 1875.

'I should have answered your Grace's letter before, but my thoughts have been of late absorbed by Kingsley's illness and death. I went to his funeral yesterday: it was beautiful—just as he would have wished it. All classes were represented—he knew no classes, and was loved by all. There were his parishioners young and old, soldiers, gipsies, huntsmen and the hounds, officers, deans, bishops, the representative of the Prince of Wales, and many of his old friends. His face in death was sublime: I never saw such a change; all the struggle and worry of his face were gone, and there one saw the perfect, massive features as nature had intended them. There is another light gone out—life darker and poorer—and if one looks round, one sees no one to take his place.

'I am glad to hear that you are preparing for another battle. The question of development must be argued out. I only wish it could be argued without those constant appeals ad populum [Google translate: to the people]. I confess I am by no means clear in my own mind. There seem to be development and degradation running side by side wherever we touch the history of the world, and what seems improvement from one point of view seems degradation from another. Thus polytheism is an improvement on monotheism, or, as I call it, Henotheism, as long as monotheism represents only a belief in one god, not in the One God. The belief in one god which has not yet passed through the negation of other gods, is as it were a belief in one accidental god, and compared with it, polytheism, or a belief in many single gods, is richer, fuller, more perfect, as enabling man to feel a Divine presence in more and more manifestations, and at last, everywhere. From that last stage the transition into real monotheism is natural, almost inevitable. Now in one sense, Henotheism may seem more perfect than polytheism, for it does not purposely exclude monotheism—monotheism is contained in it, but the One God is not conceived distinctly, till the idea of one god has passed through two negations.

'I look upon primeval revelation as a figment of scholastic theologians, which falls to pieces as soon as we try to grasp and define it. The first suspicion of a something beyond what we see, was the first revelation, and that revelation is continued to the present day, and, we trust, growing more perfect. What I meant by saying that 3,000 years before Agamemnon our forefathers worshipped a Heavenly Father, was this. The name Dyaus pita, [x], Jupiter, [x], occurs in four of the Aryan languages. Therefore it must have existed before Sanskrit was Sanskrit and Greek Greek. The oldest literary Sanskrit carries us back to 1,500 B.C., and it is then so different from Greek that no Greek would have recognized any similarity between his language and that of the Veda. I do not think 2,000 or 3,000 years too much to explain that differentiation; the changes are far greater than those which have taken place in 3,000 years between Vedic Sanskrit and Bengali. However, I generally abstain from expressing linguistic time in definite figures, and I cannot recollect the passage where I said 3,000 before Agamemnon.

'I should not say that the worship of Dyaus pita excluded polytheism —the very idea of father led to that of a mother, and so we find in the Veda, Prithivi Mata, Earth, the Mother, and Agni, fire, the brother of man.

'I know of no religious expression among the Aryans older than Dyaus pita.'

To The Same.

Oxford, February 4, 1875.

'The earliest known religious form of the Aryan race is, as nearly as possible, a pure monotheism—yes, that is perfectly true. But it was an undoubting monotheism, in one sense perhaps the happiest monotheism—yet not safe against doubts and negation. Doubt and negation followed, it may be by necessity, and the unconscious, defenceless monotheism gave way to polytheism. That religious form, however, contained within itself the germs of future growth, and by a new negation the polytheistic form gave way again to conscious, determined monotheism. Now, in one sense, the first childlike monotheism may seem more perfect than the second, and polytheism may be treated as a mere degradation. But from another and, it seems to me, a more historical point of view, polytheism makes an advance on unconscious monotheism, because through it alone does man reach the higher monotheism which definitely excludes a return to polytheism.

'Before the earliest expression given by the Aryan nation to their belief in a Heaven-Father, there is no doubt an endless vista of earlier stages. Such words as Dyaus pita are like tertiary and metamorphic rocks—we can read in them a long history; but, however far back we may follow the history of linguistic and mental growth among the Aryan nations, nowhere is there any trace, as far as I can see, of what is vaguely called fetichism. It may have been there, but as yet there is no trace of it.

'Among the Jews, I doubt whether the Book of Job, as we have it, is older than the Pentateuch. The arguments on either side are very weak, however. It is possible that the Assyrian monuments may give us earlier phases of Semitic religious thought; but I think it is wise, for the present at least, to wait.

'In religion, as in language and other intellectual manifestations, what is really important is the germ, not the fruit. "A suspicion of something beyond what is seen," springing naturally from a healthy mind, would be far more important in the early ages of mankind than a ready-made catechism. Man has to gain not only his daily bread, but, what is far more important, his thoughts, his words, his faith, in the sweat of his brow. In that sense, I am a thorough Darwinian. Where I differ from Darwin is when he does not see that nothing can become actual but what was potential; that mere environment explains nothing, because what surrounds and determines is as much given as what is surrounded and determined; that both presuppose each other and are meant for each other. Now I take my stand against Darwin on language, because language is the necessary condition of every other mental activity, religion not excluded, and I am able to prove that this indispensable condition of all mental growth is entirely absent in animals. This is my palpable argument.

'There is, however, another argument, based on the nature of all known languages, viz. that they presuppose the faculty of numbering, an argument somewhat Pythagorean, but not therefore the less true.

'Even if it could be proved that man was the lineal descendant of an ape, that would not upset my argument. The ape who could become the ancestor of man, would be a totally different being from the ape that remained for ever the ancestor of apes. That ape would be simply an embryonic man, and we have no ground to be very proud of our own embryonic phases. Yet I quite agree that I see no evidence whatever to force us to admit as real and historical what Darwin has simply proved to be possible and convenient. That man, under all circumstances, was a special creation, we see with our eyes, for every day man is a special creation, different from all other creatures. I grant also that in one sense man may, from the first, have had an intuition or a recollection of the existence of his Maker— but potentia [Google translate: power] only—like every child that is born into this world, never actually, till that intuition could be expressed in words, and such words as maker or existence are very, very late. We ourselves are still satisfied with the word father, as applied to the Deity, yet almost everything that is implied by father must be taken out, before the word is fit to convey what we wish it to convey. We mean at least father, but we can say no more.

'I look upon the account of Creation as given in Genesis as simply historical, as showing the highest expression that could be given by the Jews at that early time to their conception of the beginning of the world. We have learnt, certainly since Kant, that the knowledge of beginnings is denied to us, that all we can do is to grope back a little way, and then to trust. 1 think I have a right to accept a special beginning of man, because I cannot account for what he is, if I look upon him as the product of anything else known to me. I require no more a leap for him than for any other creature; I accept him at what I find him from the first dawn of history to the present day. I have no feeling for or against Darwinism, and I always try in approaching these problems to care for nothing that I may care for in my heart. I am certain that we are led; I am certain we ought to follow; I am certain that, even if we go wrong, as long as we do it because we will not resist the power of facts and arguments, we are right. If Darwin's facts were irresistible, I should accept the ape-theory without a murmur, because I should feel that we were meant to accept it. But I feel with you that never was a theory of such importance put forward with a smaller array of powerful arguments than by Darwin. "What is, is best:" these were Kingsley's last words, used no doubt in a purely ethical sense, but applicable nevertheless to all pursuit of truth.'

To Professor Lepsius.

Translation. Parks End, February 13.

'. . . I think of going to Rome with my wife on February 23. The doctor prescribes warm air and rest, and so I intend to carry out a long-cherished wish and to convince myself that Rome really exists. I hope the Congress in London has made you feel none the worse; it was too delightful to meet again the dear old well-known faces. Here the whole thing has certainly made a good impression. You will have seen in the papers the death of Charles Kingsley— another cable snapped that tied me here. I was with him a short time before his death. "What is, is best," were his last words to me 1 And that is an English clergyman! Why have we, in spite of all the great learning, no such men in the Church in Germany?'

Before leaving home, Max Muller was much amused at being asked by Pelligrini to give him an interview, and allow his cartoon to appear in Vanity Fair. The day was fixed, and the artist arrived; the conversation during and after luncheon was most brilliant, Pelligrini apparently taking no notes, mental or otherwise, of his host. The next week the admirable cartoon appeared, far less of a caricature than many of his weekly victims, and Jehu Juniors notice was very amusing:—

'Never was there a man with so many learned titles or with so good a claim to them as Max Muller. He is a glorified Dryasdust of the most successful kind. He is the one man who knows everything about every language. He has written libraries, and in order to do so has achieved work which would do credit to Universities. Most of his books are of that high order which nobody will read and most people will never hear of; yet he is known to the many, and indeed is one of the few of those who have trodden the higher and more thorny paths of science whose names command respect even from the vulgar.'

The following letter is not only the first of a long correspondence with Dr. Legge, afterwards Professor of Chinese in Oxford, but contains the first reference to Max Muller's scheme of translations of the Sacred Books of the East, which was eventually carried out at the expense of the University of Oxford and the Indian Government.

To Rev. Dr. Legge.

Oxford, February 13, 1875.

'It would be the greatest pleasure to me to make your personal acquaintance. I have long wished for an opportunity of being introduced to you, and being able to tell you how much I admire your magnificent edition of the Chinese Classics.

'As to the soundness of your work, I have, of course, no right to express an opinion, but I knew when I heard my old friend Stanislas Julien speak of your work in the highest terms, that it must, indeed, be of the highest order to extort such praise from a man not very lavish of praise.

'All I can say for myself is that I wish we had such translations as yours of the other sacred writings of the world.

'I am trying very hard to get a number of scholars together for a translation of these works, but the task is no easy one.'

To His Mother.

Translation. February 14.

'So I am really going to Rome! In a week I shall give my last lecture, and then we shall start. Of course, till then I have a good deal to do, and I can hardly realize that at my age I shall really see Rome. We shall be away March and April, and, if all goes well, it will be a delightful journey, full of enjoyment. I really want a change, for I have worked very hard lately, and shall see how the dolce far niente [Google translate: sweet doing nothing] suits me. I have felt Kingsley's death deeply. He was such a strong man, so full of life, and so really attached to me; and even in his last days he said that we (that is, G. and I) were the dearest to him, after wife and children. So many feel the great loss he is.'

To The Same.

Translation. February 20.

'We want to see all quietly, and the best of everything; not all the galleries, just to say we have seen them. We already have invitations in Italy from cardinals and dukes down to Garibaldi, but shall not pay any visits of an evening, but rest quietly on the sofa and sleep. A couple of days at Albani and Frascati were better than statues in the Vatican. I am getting too old for that, but never for beautiful nature.

'I have not yet presented the Veda to the Queen, for she is still at Osborne. It must wait now till I return.'

Unfortunately Max Muller was really too much overworked when he left England to enjoy Italy as much as he expected. The journey out by Pisa, Siena, and Orvieto, was full of delight, in spite of the constant rain; but hardly had he reached Rome, than he fell ill and was in his room for several days. In spite of this, he managed to see a good deal; but at the cost of great fatigue.

To His Mother.

Translation. Naples, March 13.

'We arrived here yesterday. Rome was too much for me. I had no rest. The papers mentioned my name, and one visit followed another. Then the multitude of things new and old to be seen. I could get no sleep. At last the University wanted to give me a banquet, so I settled to come here first for a fortnight's rest, and return to Rome after Easter. We have already seen a great deal, and people were most kind, sending me cards to see things that are generally closed. In the Chambers I made acquaintance with Bonghi, the Minister of Public Instruction, and Sella, Minister of Finance. But I was longing for rest, for my journey was to be a refreshment; instead of that, it was a great effort. Here we are settled at the Hotel d'Angleterre, in the centre of the bay, with wonderful views over the sea. The camellias are in bloom in the open air, and the leaves are coming out on the trees. The oranges hang on the orange-trees wherever one looks; the weather is mild, not too warm, just what one wants for travelling. We have good accounts of the children, and all would be perfect if we had more rest. One forms exaggerated expectations of Rome, because one has read so much about it, and it is after all unique in its interest. St. Peter's, St. Paul's outside the walls, Sta. Maria Maggiore, impress one immensely; then the old town, with its columns and triumphal arches, just as it was 2,000 years ago. We left the environs till our return, as the season is rather late. We think of staying about here for a fortnight.'

To Professor Lepsius.

Translation. Naples, April 1.

' ... In spite of disagreeable interruptions through illness, we enjoy Italy to the full. For me it is all a new world; it comes just a little too late, it only remains pure enjoyment, which it is impossible to make use of for anything any more. That makes me think of something. The best collaborators for the translation of the Sacred Writings of Mankind, which I have in view, are Germans, so the translations would have to be translated into English. Would not such a work— German—be an undertaking worthy of the Leibniz-Academy? Do think it over: the funds would be of no great importance, and it would sell. The English translation might in that case follow the German original translation. The thought struck me the other day in Sorrento, when I was ill in bed. I should like to hear from you what you think of it; but, as I have already entered into communication with Longmans, I shall have to take a definitive step on my return home.'

On Max Muller's return to Rome, he seemed so much stronger that he fully hoped to be able to attend the banquet which the University wished to give in his honour. But it had to be given up, as he fell ill again. He received the greatest kindness in his illness, the Ministers Bonghi and Sella sitting with him constantly, and a German friend, Baron Hoffmann, owner of the lovely Villa Mattei, brought him fruit and flowers daily. As soon as possible he moved on to Perugia, and thence to Florence. In Florence another banquet was proposed, but gratefully declined. But the students would not be defrauded of seeing the great Acharya, and so he attended Count de Gubernatis' Sanskrit lecture, when he tells his mother, 'as I entered they all stood up and clapped till I felt quite confused.' One evening he was invited by Count and Countess de Gubernatis to their house. The staircase and entrance were lined by all the students of the Oriental faculty, and he was presented with an album of photographs of the leading Italian Orientalists, with a beautiful portrait of Galileo on the cover, in water-colours. The head student made a suitable speech, to which Max Muller had to reply in French on the spur of the moment.

To Professor Klaus Groth.

Translation. Florence, April 17, 1875.

'My dear old Friend,—How often have I wanted to write to you, first in England, then in Italy! I am ashamed, and yet I am not ashamed, for you are one of the few whom I understand, even when I am silent, and I know that you mistrust my silence as little as I should mistrust yours. In most things we are just as we were, and there is not much news to tell you. Last year I worked like a horse to finish my Veda, which I have done, thank God, but not without mental and physical fatigue, which would not pass off till my doctor ordered me change of air, which I understood as a journey to Italy. We started the end of February, went along the Corniche to Genoa, then to Pisa, Siena, and Orvieto—which are beautiful. The poems that men can build with a few stones are even more wonderful than the poems built of letters and words. Then we went to Rome. You know how travellers exaggerate, and fill our heads with ideas which we then finish painting. But the worst is that with Rome, in spite of all that, and in spite of certain disillusions, the city amazes one, enchants one, and will not let one go. Its age does not affect me. I am accustomed to greater antiquity in India; the classics no longer make the impression they did thirty years ago; the glories of the Papacy and the Roman Church have no existence for me; but, in spite of all that, the historical reality that the eye sees in every corner satisfies one—the real Forum, the real Arch of Constantine, the real Grave of the Scipios, the real road by which St. Paul approached Rome: and so it goes on, and it strengthens one. In Rome my misfortunes began. I was ill, had to leave, went to Naples—but there I was worse, and to get better went to La Cava, Amalfi, Salerno, Sorrento; it was exquisite, but the power of enjoyment was lacking. My wife took the greatest care of me, and we found a good English doctor. When I was fully recovered, we went again to Rome for a fortnight, and I was hardly three days there before a gastric fever seized me, and 1 was a prisoner to my room nearly all the time. What is Tantalus compared to this? At last I got over it, and when I had seen the most necessary things, we started home by Perugia, Assisi, and Florence. I shall meet my old mother in Cologne, and take her to Oxford. We have had good news of the children all the time, and shall rejoice when we are with them again. What are your plans, and shall we not soon meet? . . . I send you some letters of Schiller's, which will interest you. I have received some more lately, and think of making them into a pamphlet. Unfortunately I could not get the originals. I have begged to see the originals, and hope to get them. For the rest, all goes on quietly.'

To Professor Rolleston.

Florence, April 24, 1875.

'Oxford has been, and is still, in a state of hibernation; I expect nothing for some years to come. It will wake after a time, but I doubt whether much is gained by disturbing its slumbers for the present. My only comfort at Oxford is that one can work on quietly there, without anybody taking the slightest notice of one. In all other respects I feel that one is perfectly useless there—in fact, that there is less of a real University and University life than there was when I first came, twenty-five years ago. However, the pendulum will swing back, and there is plenty of good material ready among the young men for having again a real University at Oxford; not simply a machine for shooting the examinations, but a machine for getting the world on a step further. Italy is hard at work both in primary and secondary education; the difficulty is the South, which has almost discouraged the North. Priestly rule has done fearful mischief, and I do not know whether it has left more of ignorance and superstition, or of downright recklessness and atheism. However, there is a good leaven at work, and the bad will go down, I believe.

'We have enjoyed our journey, except that I have lost much time by illness—gastric fever. I am better now, and we hope to be back the first week in May.'

To Dean Stanley.

Oxford, May 13.

'Our happy flight to Italy is over. I am decidedly better, and a good dose of quiet home-life will soon set me up, I hope. I brought my old mother with me from Germany, so that our little house is full. The last friend of yours we saw was the Duke of Sermoneta. I could not see him at Rome, as I was not up to paying visits, but we met at Florence, where he is staying, and soon to be married to Miss Ellis. He is a delightful man, all the more attractive on account of his helplessness. We also met the Count and Countess of Lingen (Crown Prince and Princess) at Florence, working hard from morning till night—a perfect pair of noble creatures. They spoke much of you. I sat at dinner by Madame Minghetti; do you know her? a most attractive grandmother. In spite of my being confined to my room and unable to go out much, I saw much of the Italians and of the leading statesmen, Sella being evidently their strongest man. Italy is working hard; one can hardly trust one's eyes when one sees Rome without monks and monkeries. They have learnt the German secret, and I expect their schools in a little time will beat the German schools. Soldiers who cannot read and write have to serve four years; those who can, three years only. Imagine how that tells on the village schools! The inheritance of priestly rule is fearful: superstition and open atheism divide the population. Love of their country is their chief ennobling power at present. One feels hopeful about Italy; the North will strengthen the South, the South soften the North. That a nation could have lived through such governments as the Papal, the Neapolitan, and the Austrian, shows what there is in it, and what it may grow into with fresh air and light.

'I was quite overwhelmed with the reception they gave me in the different Universities—banquets, deputations, presents from the students —only I was not up to any efforts of speech-making and eating and drinking, and had to promise to come again. I think one might exchange Oxford for Florence; it combines all the charms of Italy with the bracing air of England. Anyhow, as soon as I can, I shall go there again.

'I wanted to ask your advice. At the time of the extinction of the East India Company, the Queen accepted the dedication of my edition of the Rig-veda. The work is now finished, and I should like to present the last volume to the Queen. It is the work of a whole Ufa, at least of thirty years, and I doubt whether there is much life left for hard work now. Whom should I apply to? I have a great dislike to Chamberlains et hoc genus omne [Google translate: and all this kind], and yet I should like the Queen to know that I have now fulfilled the task which brought me to England in 1846! On my return to England I found a letter that Lord Salisbury had proposed that a further grant should be paid to me in recognition of my services in editing the Rig-veda. I had no right to expect anything of the kind, and I was very much pleased, particularly as it came from him.

'I have many things I want to talk about with you; when shall we meet? At present I am tunnelling through a whole Mont Cenis of letters and books; oh that my enemies only would write books, and not my friends, who all expect an acknowledgement!'

The following shows the feeling with which the Rig-veda was received by enlightened Hindus:—

From the Secretary of the Am Brahmo Somaj.

Calcutta, May 28, 1875.

'Sir,-—Allow me to convey to you the best and most sincere thanks of the Committee of the Adi Brahmo Somaj for your very kind present of your edition of the Rig-veda, the sixth volume of which they received the other day. They cannot express to you their sense of the value of your magnificent present.

'The Committee further beg to offer you their hearty congratulations on the completion of the gigantic task which has occupied you for the last quarter of a century. By publishing the Rig-veda at a time when Vedic learning has, by some sad fatality, become almost extinct in the land of its birth, you have conferred a boon upon us Hindus, for which we cannot but be eternally grateful.'

The following letter is an acknowledgement of a curious old copy of Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the Worlds from Charles Kingsley's library:—

To Mrs. Kingsley.

Oxford, June 25, 1875.

'My dearest Aunt,—Many thanks for the books you sent me. I was very glad to have them, for they are very curious, and then they will always remind me of our dear friend. How often I think of him, though, and of you too. But words break down, and tears are idle tears; what can we do but be silent and trust? After all, life, even the longest, is but a short absence, and we must all learn to wait. Yet I do miss him very much. I cannot brook his loss. I can see no why and wherefore, and we always want something of the kind, whether rightly or wrongly, to settle our mind. With all his illness he was so stout of heart, so full of plans, so happy in his new position. I felt always happy when I thought of him, and now, when my thoughts go their daily round, I often start and say to myself, Ah, why is he gone? There is another cable cut which kept me to England, and I often think I had better return to my own country, for nearly all my old friends are gone. However, our home here is so bright and happy, one shrinks from touching it. We are here three generations living together, my mother, G., and the children—all well, all grateful for every day that comes. You know what such a home is—a blessing that makes us tremble. I shall have to go to Windsor on Monday to see the Queen. I know of whom she will speak to me, and I mean to tell her that she has inherited the royal gift of healing wounds, not by a touch of her royal hand, but by a touch of her own royal heart. I may say so, may I not?'

On June 28 Max Muller was summoned to Windsor to dine and sleep, and present his last volume of the Rig-veda to Her Majesty in person. It was on this occasion that he left his luggage behind at Oxford, as described so amusingly in Auld Lang Syne.

To His Wipe.

Windsor Castle, June 29.

'Nothing could be kinder than the Queen. She spoke in German, and most beautifully. I had to tell her something about the Veda. Then she spoke with deep feeling of Kingsley, and inquired about her and the children. Then we had some conversation about schools and education in Germany and England, and lastly about Tennyson's new play1 [Queen Mary.]. She had only read the first act—I had read three—but we both agreed we were still waiting for what was to come. Prince and Princess Christian, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Leopold dined. I sat by the Duchess of Roxburghe, a very pleasant and intelligent woman, and Lady Lansdowne. Prince Christian has asked me to stay with him to-day, so I shall not be back before to-morrow afternoon. I am to see the Queen again to-day at three, to give her the book.'

Not long after the Queen, through Prince Leopold, sent the Max Mullers the letter she had received from Mrs. Kingsley on the death of her husband, in answer to Her Majesty's autograph letter. Mrs. Kingsley had the gift of letter-writing, and this letter to her Sovereign was worthy of the writer.

To H.R.H. Prince Leopold.

Translation. Oxford, July 22, 1875.

'Your Royal Highness,—I beg you to express to Her Majesty the Queen, in my name and the name of my wife, our heartfelt gratitude for allowing us to see that beautiful and most touching letter. Yes, so it was! I knew the little paradise of earthly happiness at Eversley, and the warm heart that beat there, a heart that was never closed to the highest or the lowest. I owe much, much to him. He was a friend to me, such as few have been in England. Our views were often far apart, but I never heard an irritable or hard word fall from his lips. One never felt any coldness in him. I saw him till nearly the end. I saw him when he believed that his wife, who was his very life, might die at any moment; saw him in his last illness, when he said, "The shot has gone home." But all that he bore not merely with resignation, but with perfect calmness, with the feeling that it must be so, and not otherwise, in a spirit of which I thought he was incapable. He never knew fear, and as he had often leapt over a fence, he set himself as a brave rider and knight to leap the last fence—Death. I can still hear how he said, "I have never whimpered"; but one saw whence his courage came, and how in everything, great and small, he looked above, how his eyes soared above the little Present to the wide Hereafter.

'His life had not been without clouds and storms. No one knows what demand he made on himself, in mind and body, how many years he had to labour for daily bread. The days of rest came too late, and it is very true what his widow says, he owed the brightest, sunniest days in his life to the kindness and the thoughtful care of his Queen. I saw Woolner's bust a few days ago; I hope it will be successful, but it is almost impossible to reproduce in marble so stormy a face as Kingsley's. Ennobled by death, his face was wonderfully reposeful and fine; one saw the ideal of the man^ what he should be, what he wished to be. The world knew him only as stammering, helpless, breathless; he lay before one, purified, ennobled, and at rest. We must have not only a marble likeness of him, but a life of him. The description of a life often produces more effect than the life itself. But who shall write it? To write a true life demands the sacrifice of another life. I often felt that, in reading the life of your father. May I keep the letter a few days? My wife is at Taplow, and comes home on Saturday. She was very dear to Kingsley. He often said to me, "Next to my wife and children, I have loved no one so dearly as your wife." The prophecy, "After the Commemoration, the Deluge," seems to be true in Oxford. All the meadows are under water, and as I write it is all dark with thunderclouds. Your Royal Highness must forgive me for writing in German —German often seems to come more from my heart than English, and I know how easily you speak and understand German.

'I am, with deep respect,

'Your Royal Highness' obedient servant,

'F. Max Muller.'
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 2 of 2

It was in the early autumn of this year that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (our present King) paid his visit to India. Dean Stanley was most anxious that Max Muller should be one of the suite, but, to the infinite relief of the Max Mullers, jealous John Bull decreed that no 'foreign influence' should accompany His Royal Highness.

To Dean Stanley.

Parks End, Oxford, August 13, 1875.

'I guessed from your last letter what was going on. I wanted to write to you at once, not to stir in the matter, but I felt it was wrong to interfere. If the offer had been made, I believe I should have gone, unless I could have declined on the score of health. It would have been the greatest sacrifice I could have made at my time of life, giving up half a year of what remains to me of my happy life with my wife and children, but I should have looked upon it as sent, and meant for some good, and I hope and trust I should have done my duty. What good I could have done I hardly know; but we hardly ever know that—good comes from where we least expect it. However, I am grateful, truly grateful. My curiosity to see India is not very great. It is the inner life, not the outward show I care for; and I can see more of the former from reading books, newspapers, and letters, from seeing the men who come to see me here, than from fireworks and Durbars. I know I could have done nothing for the Prince in the way of amusement or anything else, but I believe in India my being with the Prince would here and there have produced a good impression. I can write no more to-day. Many thanks for what you have done. I never told my wife till this morning. I need not tell you what she felt, but she, too, said, "I should have let you go, if some good could have come of it."'

To The Same.

Parks End, Oxford, August 22, 1875.

'I am printing at present a volume of essays which is to form the fourth and concluding volume of my Chips from a German Workshop. The first was dedicated to Bunsen, the second to Bernays of Bonn, the third to Palgrave, and now I come to ask you whether you would allow me to inscribe your name on the last. It contains chiefly essays on the Science of Language, and also the Westminster Lecture, and with it your Sermon, and a postscript which I should like you to look at before it is struck off. You have been to me during my stay in England semper idem [Google translate: always the same], and I know how much I owe you for many kind words spoken to me and of me. You trusted me even when I did not act as you wished, and you made allowance for the difficulties which a foreigner has in always recognizing the right line of action. But it is not only as a tribute of personal friendship that I ask you to accept the dedication of my book, but as a token of my sincere and warmest admiration for the noble fight you have been fighting all your life, through good and evil report, giving heart to others to follow, and securing to your country, after a thirty years' war, an amount of freedom of thought, and with it and through it, of sincerity of faith, such as no one could have dreamt of when I first came to Oxford in 1848. I think my time in England is nearly up. I doubt whether I ought to stay longer. I am only tolerated at Oxford, allowed to help when I am wanted, but never helped myself when I want help. If I had worked in Germany as I have worked for twenty-five y^ears in England, my position would be very different. Here I am nobody in the University; and when I see how I am treated, I really feel sometimes ashamed of myself, not for my own, but for my wife's sake. However, it is my own fault. I would not give up a plan of life which I had made before I knew what life was. In order to carry out my edition of the Rig-veda, I had to expatriate myself—it was the only way of getting the work done. But now it is done, and the question is whether I can still be of use in my own country. I sometimes doubt it, but I think I ought to try. How different you must feel after having worked for your country as you have, and seeing the results of your work, and feeling certain of the gratitude of so many for whom you have spent your life.'

To Dr. Rolleston.

August 22.

'You Mezzofanti of all passages worth remembering, where is the passage that " the lightning of Jupiter strikes only the highest peaks"? I don't know what to make of Schliemann. I believe he is only giddy. I saw Gladstone for a moment the other day. He seemed hopeful about further diggings at Troy under Schliemann's auspices.'

To The Same.

August 27.

'I have just read the poor abstract of your address1 [British Association.] in the Times, and I hope soon to see it and read it in extenso. Your faith in skulls reminds me of my old friend Schwabe, at Dessau, whom I see mentioned honourably by one of your presidents. He was a very curious person, whose life ought to be written. Imagine a small town in the central desert of Germany, only discovered when they built a railroad to Leipzig. There he lived in a small house, with a hole in the roof to make his observations. How they laughed at him for registering the spots in the sun! They just tolerated him because he was a kind of wizard—could cure warts and that sort of thing—yet he was a most perfect gentleman, extremely well read in literature, firstrate botanist, &c. Well, now that he is dead, and he must have been past eighty, his measurements begin to tell, and I hope it may be so when you are eighty, and all that, but before humani aliquid [Google translate: something human] has happened to you. By-the-by, you great Quotationist, you did not quote Terence rightly. The true meaning was given to that passage for the first time, as far as I know, by the Emperor Max of Germany. In Terence, surely, it only means "I am a great busybody, and every kind of gossip interests me"; but the Emperor gave a new meaning to it, and in that meaning you used it. I mention this because a saturnalian reviewer once abused me for having ascribed a passage from Terence to a German emperor!'

After his mother's return to Germany, Max Muller took his family to the Mumbles, the spit of land which forms the right horn of Swansea Bay, and they thoroughly enjoyed the primitive life of the little bathing-place. Their friends the Story-Maskelynes were staying at the adjoining bay, and many pleasant rambles were undertaken together. Before leaving home, Max Muller had finished the fourth volume of Chips, dedicated to Dean Stanley, 'as a token of gratitude and friendship from one who has for many years admired his loyalty to truth, his singleness of purpose, his chivalrous courage, and his unchanging devotion to his friends.' Of this volume, one review says:—

'The first thing one wants to know, in taking up one of Professor Max Muller's remarkable volumes, is how much one can understand; or rather—because his style is as limpid as his brain is clear—how much will be interesting. That his Science of Language will underlie the whole, may be guessed, to begin with: that the superstructure will in some places resemble a fortress, in others a fairy structure of light and graceful design, and in others a great cathedral—all this is well known before the book is opened. Whatever the fourth volume of Chips from a German Workshop contains, it is sure to be brimming over with great thoughts, lofty teaching, and the enthusiasm for things high and holy. The learned Professor has pondered over the literature of departed ages till he breathes himself the spirit of wisdom which has actuated the world's greatest men since men began to think, and must needs, perforce, teach whenever he opens his mouth to speak, or takes up his pen to write.'

The English head of one of the native colleges in India wrote of the Chips:—

'These volumes, embracing the minor works of Professor Muller, now first collected, comprise the very choicest of his writings. With few exceptions, they pertain directly to India. Most of them are critical; and their criticism is of a higher order than has been even approached by any English scholar that has dealt with the subjects of Hindu antiquity and literature.'

On returning to Oxford, the usual flow of correspondence began again.

To Professor Lepsius.

Parks End, October 8.

'. . . I have just finished Eber's Egyptian Princess. It is a most remarkable book, as a work of art as well as of history. It has quite astonished me. Whether it will do for England? A mere ordinary translation would not do—it would just ruin the book. It would have to be done by an expert hand, and here and there it would have to be shortened. It is very excellent. Ever yours.'

To Charles Darwin, Esq.

Oxford, October 13.

'Allow me to present you my defence against Professor Whitney's attacks. I think you will see from what I have stated, that Professor Whitney is not an ally whom either you or your son would approve of. I should never have noticed him, had not your son brought him so prominently before the English public. However, even controversy helps sometimes, though not often, to clear away error and bring out truth, and so I hope I have not simply wasted my time in answering Professor Whitney's charges.

'The point at issue between you and me is a very simple one: is that which can pass a certain line in nature the same as that which cannot? It may be, no doubt, and in that case the highest animal would simply be a stunted man. But this seems to me a narrow view of nature, particularly if we consider that everything organic is, after all, much more truly that which it can be, than that which it is. In the higher animals the potential traces of language are smaller than in some of the lower, but even where the phonetic organs are most perfect, there has never been the slightest attempt at language in the true sense of the word. Why should natural science be unwilling to admit this? Why should it not, at all events, leave the question an open question, until some truly scientific evidence has been brought forward, showing at least the potentiality of language in any known animal? "More facts and fewer theories" is what we want, at least in the Science of Language, and it is a misfortune if the collectors of facts are discouraged by being told that facts are useless against theories. I have no prejudice whatever against the faculty of language in animals, it would help to solve many difficulties. All I say is, let us wait, let us look for facts, and let us keep la carriere ouverte [Google translate: the open career].'

To His Mother.

Translation. Oxford, October 9.

'I hope you have used the money I sent to give yourself a little treat on your birthday. You could give yourself and others many happy hours, if you would, and if instead of dwelling on your own want of health, you thought of the far greater suffering others have to bear. Life must be as it is, and it is for the best without doubt, if we would only look upon it as such. Your health would be much better if you would not excite yourself over trifles. Strong as I am, I should soon be ill if I lived in the constant state of excitement in which you live. As one gets older, one learns to bear many things more quietly, for one feels that life is drawing to its close, and that there is much one cannot change. The lectures here begin soon, and our delightful free time is nearly over, I have to go to Manchester to distribute some prizes and make a speech. One can't refuse everything. Now, my dear mother, enjoy your birthday, and think of the many blessings you have had in life, and remember that we should learn through sorrows, so that we may leave this life without too much regret.'

Max Muller had been invited to present the Diplomas gained by the different schools in Lancashire at the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations. For this purpose he visited Manchester, where he was the guest of the Dean, at the end of October. It was a great distinction, and felt to be so by Max Muller, his predecessors having been Lord Derby, Lord Selborne, and other distinguished statesmen. The meeting was held in the Free Trade Hall, the audience numbering over 5,000, The Bishop, the Mayor, and the Members for Manchester were all present. In his address he mentioned the first attempt at examinations inaugurated in 1857 by the late Sir Thomas Acland, at which he had himself assisted. He described the efforts made by his own great-grandfather, the pedagogue Basedow, for elementary and middle-class education in Germany, and ended by advocating State-controlled rather than voluntary schools. This part of his speech called forth strong remonstrances from all Church papers, but it was a point on which he never wavered, though he always felt the necessity of religious, but unsectarian, teaching, such as he had himself been accustomed to as a child.

Max Muller had not long returned from Manchester before he decided that the time had come when he should do wisely to leave Oxford, and return to his own country.

To Dean Stanley.

Parks End, November 6.

'I send you a copy of my preface to Kingsley's Roman and Teuton, with some alterations here and there.

'I wish I could have seen you and had a quiet talk with you, before deciding on a step which, as you know, I have long contemplated. I hope I have decided rightly, though it was no easy matter to weigh everything. I have now served the University for exactly twenty-five years, and I have at last succeeded in gaining for the new Science of Language a recognized position among the subjects required or allowed in the examinations, and in leaving behind me a number of pupils, any of whom could fill my Chair with credit. As long as the University seemed to approve and appreciate my work, I was willing to stay and work on; and, for the sake of my wife and her friends, I gave up the Professorship offered me at Strassburg, which from a pecuniary point of view was as good as the one I hold here. I mean to go next April, and settle at first at Dresden. I shall have to work hard, as for some time I shall probably be without any official income. But even my wife agrees that I am right, and that I could not stay longer. If life is spared, I feel as if I could still do some work in my quiet retreat in Germany. When the time comes, no doubt it will be a wrench, for I leave many true friends behind, and I feel the sacrifice my wife has to make. I hope it will be for the good of the children. Nos amis les ennemis [Google translate: Our friends enemies]I have found a true saying many a time before—may it be so in this case also! Ever yours affectionately,

'F. Max Muller.

'I wish you could stay with us once more before we go. When shall we hear better news of Lady Augusta?'

To Professor Lepsius.

Translation. Oxford, November 12.

'. . . I remain here till Easter, then I think of taking a house in Dresden, and the remaining years will be entirely devoted to the Veda and to religious philosophy, I have still to print seven volumes of the translation of the Veda, not to mention other things, and the otium cum negotiis [Google translate: leisure with business] will do me much good. At all events, as Bunsen said, the bird is free! Do not yet mention it, however.'

Though Max Muller had not yet sent in his formal letter of resignation, his own friends and his wife's relatives knew of his determination, and letters of expostulation and regret poured in on all sides. The following is inserted by permission, as representing what all those whose friendship Max Muller most valued, felt and expressed at the time:—

From Rev. Edwin Palmer.

Jerusalem Chamber, November 12.

'I must thank you for your kind letter, as I felt that I had been taking a considerable liberty in speaking my mind to you so freely. I can say nothing against a resolution to leave us based on considerations of your own strength, and the time required to finish the main work of your life. The loss to Oxford will be irremediable; but after all that you have done for us, we have certainly no right to complain. To say nothing of the prestige which your residence among us and your consent to be reckoned among our Professors has given us for so many years, I cannot but feel that all of us who have made Philology in any sense a special study, owe to you directly or indirectly all that they know, and indeed the very conception of the Science of Language. I will not attempt to speak of the personal loss to myself. It is quite true that there seemed to exist between us grave differences on some subjects connected with the politics of religion (if I may use that expression), perhaps differences on subjects strictly theological; but, in spite of these, I have always valued your friendship as highly as I have prized your intellectual gifts. Even now I cannot help cherishing a hope that you may reconsider your determination. The void which your absence from Oxford would make is too painful for me to contemplate. Believe me ever, yours affectionately,

'Edwin Palmer.'

To His Mother.

Translation. Oxford, November 21.

'My speech at Manchester has excited people a good deal. In England nearly all the national schools are in the hands of the Church. That gives the clergy great influence over the children, and also over the parents, and therefore they do not wish to give them up. They naturally say it is so arranged that the religious instruction may be properly given, but the real reason is that they may maintain their political influence. If they could harm me, or at least do something to injure me, they would do so gladly; but I rejoice in their maledictions, as it shows I have produced some effect. Have you found a house for us, or shall I advertize for one? I have long wished for more leisure and quiet for work, and I cannot get it here, as I am so constantly interrupted by all sorts of people. I am tired of the life here, and w-e have enough to live independently without my taking any post.'

The following letter shows that Chips, Volume IV, was as popular as its three predecessors:—

From Professor Huxley.

4, Marlborough Place, November 29.

'For a man who does not want to escape paying his creditors, there is a certain inconvenience in having three addresses. I am but rarely in Jermyn Street at this season, but on going there on Saturday I found the volume of Chips which you have been kind enough to send me. Accept my best thanks for it. I wish that the English workshops turned out even a few shavings of like character. Yours very truly,

'Thomas Huxley.'

On December 1 Max Muller sent his resignation to the Vice-Chancellor, the Warden of New College; writing also to his own Warden at All Souls to officially announce his determination, as the resignation of his Professorship entailed the loss of his Fellowship. He writes at this time to Dean Stanley: 'I am very tired myself, and hardly able to do anything. It has been a hard struggle, and I only hope I have decided right.' To George von Bunsen he writes: ' Some things that kept me here are more difficult to leave than I thought at first.

To His Mother.

Translation. December 6, 1875.

'My dear, good Mother,—Only a few lines to tell you I have received your two letters, the second to-day for my birthday. Thank God, we are all well, and that is much at my age. Thanks for all your good wishes. Next year will be an important one; pray God that we have decided rightly. It was impossible to put off the decision on account of Wilhelm, who is still young enough to accustom himself to German life. I am very glad that it has come to this. My position here had become often very difficult, and the rest will do me good. I have much work still to do, if my strength lasts, and for this reason I desire to have what time may be left me for my special work. As to money, we must certainly retrench a little, but the children are provided for, and our whole interest is for them. Dresden seems to me the quietest place, and yet with all the advantages of a large city. If we find it too dear there, we must go to a smaller town; but, as I say, we shall have plenty to eat. The lamentations over our leaving are beginning. They have played me some shabby tricks, but now all has changed; but it is too late.'

To William Longman, Esq.

Oxford, December 8.

'I must tell you that I have sent in my resignation of the Chair of Comparative Philology, and that next year I intend to settle in Germany. I want to have all my time to myself. I have still much work in hand, which I wish if possible to finish, and I could not do it if I stay here.

'I shall leave Oxford and England with a heavy heart, but, as life grows shorter, I felt more and more that I was wasting it in doing work which others could do as well, or even better; while I had to leave undone work which I could do, and ought to do. I shall probably go in April; before that time I hope to have finished my book on Language as the True Barrier between Man and Beast.'

No sooner had the announcement of Max Muller's retirement appeared in the papers, than letters poured in from every part of the world, whilst all the chief English papers had leading articles on his work. He was by no means prepared for such an outburst of genuine feeling on all sides, and was deeply touched by it. At the same time letters came from Vienna and many German Universities, from Florence, and even from Bucharest, trying to secure his services.

To H.R.H. The Duke of Albany.

Parks End, Oxford, December 13, 1875.

'Sir,—I was able to say so very little when your Royal Highness gave me that beautiful souvenir, that I must try whether I cannot express my gratitude in better words. The happy hours which I have been allowed to spend with your Royal Highness will always remain among my most cherished recollections of dear old Oxford. I was often afraid that an old German Professor could hardly be a pleasant companion to one so young, so bright, and generally so happy as your Royal Highness. Still, I believe few people could have watched your career at Oxford with deeper interest, and felt for you, both in health and sickness, a truer sympathy than I have. I hope and trust that the dark clouds which surrounded your youth may now have disappeared altogether, though I cannot say that I wish your Royal Highness a perfectly cloudless sky; for, after all, the cloudy sky of England is more beautiful really than the cloudless sky of Italy, and a life without dark shadows is generally a very shallow and useless life. What I hope and wish for you is an active and useful career, and, before all, that physical strength which alone is wanting to enable you to make that excellent and unselfish use of your high position and talents which I know you are determined to make of them, if you can.

'Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis [Google translate: The strong are created by the strong and good]. . . .

'The last weeks, when I had finally to decide on my leaving Oxford, have been full of trouble and sorrow to me, and I cannot thank your Royal Highness enough for the unexpected token of your kind feelings towards me: it was like a bright and warm ray of light on a dreary day. No one knows how fond I am of Oxford, and what a sacrifice I make in leaving it and leaving England. But the life of a scholar has its duties, and I must not shrink from them. As Professor I have no sphere of usefulness here. "The young men do not belong to the Professor, nor the Professor to the young men" —that is what Mr. Bonamy Price says in his last pamphlet, and what I have felt for years. As long as the edition of the Veda kept me here, I had an excuse for staying at Oxford, though I felt often depressed when I saw how I had to fritter away my time in trying to serve two masters, Sanskrit and the Science of Language.

'But now, when the edition of the Veda is finished, and even the Chips gathered up, my desire to continue my translation of the Veda, and to work out some of the results to which my study of the sacred writings of the ancient world had led me, became stronger and stronger. Yet I felt that I could no longer work as I had done hitherto, and if I had continued to discharge my duties as Professor of Comparative Philology, I should have had to surrender my Sanskrit studies altogether. Were I Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford, nothing would have drawn me away from this, in many respects, delightful place; but, in order to concentrate my powers, and to do something at least before it is too late, I see no choice but to give up my pleasant position here, and retire to some quiet town in Germany. . . .

'The dark cloud has been hanging over my head for the last fifteen years, and as a man who stands under a waterfall is little disturbed by a few rain-drops, the pudendae iniuriolae [Google translate: shameful insults] were nothing compared to the weighty considerations which determined my course.

'A rumour (and Oxford is famous for its Common-roomers) says that I have accepted a lucrative position in Germany. It is simply untrue. A lucrative position was offered me in Germany, and I declined it. No one seems able to see that science, too, has its duties, or to believe that a scholar can make a sacrifice for the sake of his work. Now, I believe that the Veda is an extremely important book, in fact the only book in Indian literature which is important, not only for India, but for the early history of the whole Aryan race, including Greeks, Romans, and ourselves. It contains the first attempts at expressing religious thought and feeling, and it alone can help us to solve many of the most critical problems in the Science of Religion. The Science of Religion is, in fact, the history of all religions, and when I saw, as quite a young man, the gap in our materials for studying the origin and growth of religious ideas, because no one knew then or could know what the Veda was, I determined to devote my life to collecting all the manuscripts that could still be found, and thus to rescue the oldest book of our race from that destruction which would have been inevitable, unless it had been printed. This has now been done. People do not yet see the full importance of the Veda in an historical study of religion, and yet I feel convinced that the true solution of many of our theological difficulties—difficulties that will become far more terrible than they are at present—is to be found in the study of the history of all religions. We shall then see what is essential and what is accidental, what is eternal and what is human handiwork; among all the possibilities displayed before us, we shall in the end discover the reality of religion, just as a study of the movements of all celestial bodies led in the end to the discovery of a law that supported them all.

'If I stayed at Oxford as Professor of Comparative Philology, I could not hope to finish even my translation of the Veda, much less to work out at least a few of the results of thirty years' study. That is why I leave Oxford to settle in some quiet town in Germany, and there to devote myself to the education of my children and to my Sanskrit studies. My friends think me Quixotic, even reckless. I cannot help it. All I can say is, and I know your Royal Highness will agree with me. Life is precious, and we must try to make the best use of it we can.

'I have been proud for years to call myself, while living and working in England, a loyal subject of Her Majesty the Queen. I hope I shall be so still, even when living and working in Germany. While in England I have tried to make my English friends understand and appreciate all that is good and noble in the German character; when in Germany I shall try to make my German friends understand and appreciate what is good and noble in the English character.

'I have sometimes succeeded in England—I hope I may succeed in Germany, for the estrangement between England and Germany is deplorable, and fraught, I fear, with serious danger. Again thanking your Royal Highness for the many proofs of your kindness,

'I have the honour to remain, with sincere gratitude,

'Your Royal Highness's most faithful servant,

'F. Max Muller.'

In a letter to his mother of December 19, Max Muller says that he longs for rest, rest to work at what really interests him. He also tells her that he has just received the Maximilian Order from Bavaria, and that it is more showy than the Order pour le Merite, 'but that is the best.' He felt each day that, if freed from his Oxford lectures, he could yet do much good work, for he was true to his first love Sanskrit, and what it had led to, the study of ancient religions, but his lectures in addition were too much for his strength.

To E. Freeman, Esq.

Oxford, December.

'As to politics, all I meant to say was that it was dangerous to egg the present Government on to any action in the Eastern Question. Lord Derby is the same as he was at the time of the Cretan insurrection—feelings of humanity are to him, as a politician, mere sentimentality. That Cretan business is the most horrible chapter in modern history. Did you ever read Stillman's book? I tried to review it in the Times, but nearly all the really damaging passages were cut out. If Lord Derby thinks he has done something and enough, I believe that is the best thing that could happen just now.

'I look upon myself as a true Anglian. My Sovereign, the reigning Duke of Anhalt, is Duke of Engern. See Chips, III, p. 123.'

On December 23 he writes to Dr. Pauli: 'I want at least a couple of years' rest, for I feel rather shaken.'

To C. E. Mathews, Esq.

Oxford, December 15.

'Yes, I am going. I feel more and more that I am not wanted at Oxford, and at my time of life one does not like to feel that one is on sufferance only. My old friends are nearly all gone, and the treatment I receive here is not exactly what I like. I want rest in order to finish some work before it is too late. I shall go in April to Germany to look out for a house, and take my family over in June or July.'

Towards the close of the year Max Muller brought out in Germany a little volume of the letters from Schiller to the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein. It was known that many letters had passed between the poet and his generous patron, but it was believed they had been destroyed. His Royal Highness Prince Christian succeeded in discovering part of the correspondence, which he entrusted to Max Muller for publication.

To H.R.H. Prince Leopold.

Parks End, December 28, 1875.

'Sir,—The little book containing Schiller's correspondence with the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein (the grandfather of H.R.H. Prince Christian) was only the small end, and as your Royal Highness has accepted it so kindly, I venture to send to-day what indeed will seem the wedge, four stout bundles of Chips. I do not ask you to read them, in fact I always feel ashamed when I present any of my books, for it is like asking one's friends to listen for an hour or more to one's uninterrupted talk, it is making oneself a great bore. But what is a poor author to do who wishes, if not to be read, at least to be shelved? Now all I really ask is a place on the shelves of your library. I know I shall be in good company, and if in some idle hour—and no life is tolerable without some idle hours—your Royal Highness should open one of these volumes, perhaps they will remind you of one who, when returned to his native country, will always remember with gratitude the happy years which he spent in the country of his choice, and who has only to think of the great kindness which he received when he least expected it, in order to forget the little unkindnesses which, after all, do one can escape. My friends at Oxford are now doing all they can to keep me here, but I believe I have decided rightly, and I owe it to my enemies that they have helped me to a right decision.

'Florence was very tempting. Vienna, too, held out very attractive offers, but I believe I shall remain faithful to what the Germans somewhat conceitedly call Elb-Florenz, i. e. Dresden. There is one attraction which I have little doubt will sooner or later bring your Royal Highness to Dresden, that is Raphael's Madonna, a picture totally different from all other pictures, and quite worth a journey by itself.

'Your Royal Highness's very faithful servant,

'F. Max Muller.'

We cannot close the memories of this year without adverting to an event in Oxford which was of great interest to the Max Mullers, the foundation and opening of the Girls' Day School by the Public Day School Company. All through this year Max Muller did all he could to promote the scheme, attending all the meetings and taking shares, he having found by experience how unsatisfactory teaching at home by one governess generally is.

His own three girls were among the first twenty-five scholars with which the school opened, and the other girls were almost all of them their intimate friends. They soon became devoted to their school; the eldest girl was the first Prefect, and among the many reasons that made Max Muller's children feel intensely the idea of leaving Oxford and their loved home the loss of their school was very prominent.

Christmas, the last, as was thought, in the old home, was a sad one, though kept with the usual tree, to which Max Muller always invited all the Germans living in Oxford.






18 Vols. Crown 8vo, 5s. each.

Vol. I. NATURAL RELIGION: the Gifford Lectures, 1888.

Vol. II. PHYSICAL RELIGION: the Gifford Lectures, 1890.

Vol. III. ANTHROPOLOGICAL RELIGION: the Gifford Lectures, 1891.

Vol. IV. THEOSOPHY; or, Psychological Religion: the Gifford Lectures, 1892.











Vol. IX. THE ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF RELIGION, as Illustrated by the Religions of India: the Hibbert Lectures, 1878.


Vols. XI, XII. THE SCIENCE OF LANGUAGE: Founded on Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution in 1861 and 1863. 2 vols. 10s.

Vol. XIII. INDIA: What can it Teach Us? [Gutenberg]


Vol. XV. RAMAKRISHNA: his Life and Sayings.


Vol. XVII. LAST ESSAYS. First Series. Essays on Language, Folk-lore, &c.

Vol. XVIII. LAST ESSAYS. Second Series. Essays on the Science of Religion.





AULD LANG SYNE. First Series. 8vo. [Out of print. Contents.—Musical Recollections—Literary Recollections—Recollections of Royalties—Beggars.

AULD LANG SYNE. Second Series. My Indian Friends. 8vo. 10s. 6d.

DEUTSCHE LIEBE (GERMAN LOVE): Fragments from the Papers of an Alien. Collected by F. Max Muller. Translated from the German by G. A. M. Crown 8vo. 5s.

MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY. A Fragment. [Gutenberg] With 6 Portraits. 8vo. 12s. 6d. Contents.—Introductory—Childhood at Dessau—School-days at Leipzig —University— Paris—Arrival in England—Early Days at Oxford—Early Friends at Oxford—A Confession.



THE SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH BOOKS OF THE HITOPADESA; containing that Sanskrit Text, with Interlinear Translation. 7s. 6d.
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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The Life and Letters of The Right Honourable Friedrich Max Muller, In Two Volumes, With Portraits and Other Illustrations
Edited by His Wife [Georgina Adelaide Grenfell Muller]
Volume II


• CHAPTER XXII. 1876. Settles to remain at Oxford, Sacred Books of the East. Life at Dresden. Visit to Berlin. Attack by Professor Whitney. Death of eldest daughter.
• CHAPTER XXIII. 1877-1878. Dresden. Switzerland. Return to Oxford. Letters to Noire. Hibbert Lectures. Graham Bell and the telephone. Malvern. Whitby. Boyton Manor. Publication of Hibbert Lectures. Death of Grand Duchess of Hesse 28-56
• CHAPTER XXIV. 1879-1880. Publication of the first volumes of Sacred Books of the East Correspondence with Lady Welby. Renan. Holland. Dessau. Visitors. Japanese pupils. Greek accents. Lowell. Keshub Chunder Sen. Visit of Renan. Speech at Birmingham. 'Shang-ti’
• CHAPTER XXV. 1881-1882. Speech at University College, London. Prize Fellowships. Deaths of Carlyle, Stanley, and other friends. Visit to the Hartz and Dessau. Oriental Congress at Berlin. Paris, Speech at French Institute. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Lectures at Cambridge on India. Death of Dr. Pusey. National Anthem in Sanskrit.
• CHAPTER XXVI. 1883. Death of mother. Stay at Dessau. The McCalls. Summer amusements. Bristol. The Wye. Ilbert Bill. Duffryn. Ramabai. Daughter’s marriage
• CHAPTER XXVII. 1884-1885. Lectures in Birmingham and at the Royal Institution. Stay in London. Death of the Duke of Albany. Tercentenary of the Edinburgh University. Lecture on ‘Buddhist Charity.’ Biographical Essays. Foundation stone of Wilhelm Muller Monument. Hawarden. Social life in the Oxford home. Work at Mainz. The Engadine. Italy. Letter to von Schlotzer.
• CHAPTER XXVIII. 1886-1887. English Goethe Society. Knighthood declined. Indian Exhibition. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Visits of Prince and Princess Christian. Bishop of Colombo on Sacred Books op the East, Death of married daughter. Science of Thought, Desire to leave England: Queen’s message. Lectures for Oxford Oriental School. Rukhmabai. Jubilee. Visit to Froude. Last interview with Crown Prince at Windsor. Scotland. New edition of Rig-veda, Speech at Missionary Lecture in St. John’s College.
• CHAPTER XXIX. 1888-1889. Vedic Lectureship, Elected Gifford Lecturer at Glasgow. Death of Emperor William I. Memorial oration. Doctor of Bologna. Death of Emperor Frederick. Colonel Olcott. Lecture at Bradford. First Gifford Lectures. Humble admirers. Lecture at Mansion House. Death of Professor Noire. Lectures at Sheffield, Leeds, and Toynbee Hall. Speech at Royal Academy Banquet. Daughter’s engagement. Lectures at University Extension Meeting. Oriental Congress in Sweden. Order of Polar Star.
• CHAPTER XXX. 1890-1891. School of Modern Oriental Studies. Daughter’s wedding. Second Gifford Lectures. Malabari and infant marriages. Deal. Queen of Roumania. Birth of first grandchild. Third Gifford Lectures. Attacks on lectures. Christening of grandson. Dr. Leitner’s Oriental Congress. Visit of Prince of Naples. British Association at Cardiff. Wildbad. Unveiling of monument to Wilhelm Muller. Science of Language rewritten. Resignation of Dean Liddell.
• CHAPTER XXXI. 1892-1893. Last course of Gifford Lectures. Birth of second grandchild. New edition of Rig-veda published. Tercentenary of Trinity College, Dublin. Mr. Froude returns to Oxford. Ninth Oriental Congress. Fourth Gifford Lectures published. Journey to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Stay at Constantinople. Buda-Pesth. Vienna. Leipzig. Jubilee of Doctor’s Degree. Neuwied. Birth of third grandchild- Seventieth birthday.
• CHAPTER XXXII. 1894-1895. Lectures on ‘Vedanta Philosophy.’ Three months in London. Picture by Watts. British Association in Oxford, New edition of Chips. Mundesley. Death of Mr. Froude. Bournemouth. Visitors from all countries. Picture by Herkomer. Dr. Barrows. Visit to Glyn Garth. Dr. Karl Blind. Sacred Books of the Buddhists. Centenary of French Institute. Last volumes of Chips.
• CHAPTER XXXIII. 1896-1897. Torquay. Commander of the Legion of Honour. Doctor of Buda- Pesth. Privy Councillor. 'Coincidences.’ Scotland. Spitalhaugh. Armenian Massacres. Rome, Naples. Florence. Venice. Pferdeburla, Member of Vienna Academy. Diamond Jubilee. Andrew Lang. King of Siam.
• CHAPTER XXXIV. 1898-1899. Death of Dean Liddell. Auld Lang Syne, I. Tilak. Collected Works. Death of Professor Buhler. Ems. Death of Fontane. Ramakrishnas Sayings. Indian Philosophy. Auld Lang Syne, II. Ems. Beginning of illness. Last visits to Segenhaus, Dessau, and Dresden. Alarm of German doctors. Return to Wombwell and Oxford. Oriental Congress at Rome. Message to Brahma Somaj. Attack at Oxford Diocesan Conference. Gradual convalescence.
• CHAPTER XXXV. 1900. Hindu prayers for Max Muller. Letters on England’s rights in the Transvaal. Dover. Tunbridge Wells. Increase of illness. Visit of a Yogin. Mozoomdar. Last literary work. Death. Letters of sympathy.
• CHAPTER XXXVI. 1900. Funeral. Judgement of friends. Conclusion.


• A. Letter from Satyendranath Tagore.
• B. Max Muller’s Speech at the Peace Festival.
• C. Speech of Dean Liddell, February 15, 1876.
• D. Missionary Speech, 1887.
• E. Memorial Oration by Professor Max Muller, March, 1888.
• F. Translation of the word ‘Shang-ti’.
• G. Chronological List of Works.
• H. List of Universities, Colleges, Royal Academies, and Learned Societies which conferred Membership on Professor Max Muller.
• I.



• Portrait of F. Max Muller, aged 74 (From a Photograph by Hills Saunders, Oxford)
• The Library at Oxford (7, Norham Gardens) (From a Photograph by Hills Saunders, Oxford)
• Holywell Cemetery, Oxford (From a Photograph by Hills & Saunders, Oxford)
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Settles to remain at Oxford. Sacred Books of the East. Life at Dresden. Visit to Berlin. Attack by Professor Whitney. Death of eldest daughter.

Tired and tried by all the kindly lamentations in Oxford, Max Muller and his whole family took refuge on January 1 with his brother-in-law at Taplow, where they spent a pleasant, resting fortnight, though the correspondence with regard to his future plans was carried on actively.

To Herr George von Bunsen.

Translation. January 1876.

‘My dear Friend,— I must send you a line; but I will tell you viva voce why I have finally made up my mind to leave Oxford. Clerical intrigues and petty jealousies, alas! were partly the reason. Now, however, I am grateful to my enemies, for I feel I am on the right path. My happiness I find in my family, in my books and my work —I want no better company, even were I obliged to live among Hottentots.

‘But another difficult decision has to be made, I have got an urgent call to Vienna; the Minister makes the most attractive proposals. I answered that I could only accept an independent academical position, so as to publish, in connexion with some erudite friends, an opus magnum [Google translate: great work], the translation of the sacred writings of humanity. They quite agree, and the Minister promises a contribution, should the funds of the Academy prove insufficient, also a high salary, and all the assistance I can desire. So what am I to do? I had mentioned to Lepsius my plan about the Bibliotheca Sacra [Google translate: Sacred library], and he answered that the Berlin Academy had no money. Of course I should prefer staying in Prussia, but would it be right to refuse the offer from Vienna? Bismarck sent me formerly amiable messages from Versailles, through Abeken, but he has other things to think of now, and I cannot offer myself. Well, I pursue my path: I have so far always found a sign-post, and I am not afraid. Of course I shall have to present myself in Vienna, and I feel I have to look round there first of all. Hettner told me a great deal about Dresden. Baden is beautiful, but it is easier to hide oneself in a large town than in a small one. In Dresden the Vitzthum-Gymnasium is said to be excellent. Well, let us hope for the best! If you can advise and help me, I know you will do it. In old friendship.'

Just after writing the above, Max Muller received a letter from one of his kindest friends and supporters in Oxford, saying: —

'Here people are ready, in a bewildered way perhaps, to do anything to mark their sense of your value, and I believe the knot of the interpretation of the statute will be cut by a proposal from Council that you be treated as a Professor emeritus, in consideration of your long and faithful services, i.e. that you be requested to retain your Professor- ship with a deputy.’

This was followed by other letters, and thus the whole question was reopened, and another month of deep anxiety and uncertainty passed before Max Muller was persuaded to decide finally to stay in Oxford.

To His Mother.

Translation. January 16, 1876.

‘I can get no rest at all; everybody writes to me, and I can come to no decision I wish if possible to have two years of entire rest, and if I must then go into bondage again, good — if not, all the better. In April, or May, I hope to look about for myself, to find a place that suits me; till then I want to be let alone, and not have to think about the thing at all. All this writing is lost time, and I have still a good deal to work off here, which I cannot do if I am to be always thinking and writing about my plans. Here they offer me the best arrangements, if I will only stay in Oxford. But, as I say, the great thing is not to waste the interregnum.’

Max Muller’s mother naturally rejoiced at the idea of having him in his own country, and could not at all enter into his feelings of regret and disturbance, and the correspondence with her at this time fell more into his wife’s hands.

To Frau Hofrathin Muller.

January 26.

‘Max is very tired and poorly: he feels going more than he expected, and then everybody is so kind and full of sorrow, and our friends here are trying all sorts of schemes to prevent Max from leaving. You can have no idea how all this tries him: it is no light matter to leave a place where he has lived and worked twenty-eight years, and then again he feels so entirely uncertain about life in Germany, and whether he can keep free from all public occupation, as he wishes. So you must not wonder if he is ‘‘put out": he is not so really, only very anxious as to the future. I am less worried than he is, for I see how he longs for and requires rest, to devote himself to his own Sanskrit work.’

The end of the month, his old friend Professor Gelzer wrote from Basle: —

Translation. January 29.

'I was very much surprised by the news of your resignation of your Professorship. Whenever I thought of you, it was as our spiritual ambassador in England, as the indispensable representative and pioneer in Britain of German opinions, and cultivation of the highest order. You were in my eyes Bunsen’s successor in that grand international or Teutonic mission.’

To Professor Althaus.

Translation, January 30.

‘...Yes, the bird is free; my enemies — as is so often the case — have done me good service indeed. Of course I took no public notice of such intrigues, and I have longed for years for rest to go on with my own work. It would no doubt have been hard for me to make up my mind to retire, had it not been made so easy for me. Germany is more respected now than in former times, but she is envied also, and that gives a different position to the individual German in England now. And then the theological cliques in Oxford. In short, my position became impossible. I have received capital offers from Germany, but I mean to try whether I am not able to plough my ground without a yoke round me.’

Early in February Max Muller received a letter from Dr. James Martineau on the establishment of a Lectureship for Scientific Theology by the Hibbert Trustees. ‘They anxiously desire to know, whether there is any hope that you, to whom we owe the name and the conception of a “Science of Religion,” would inaugurate this experiment.’ Though lamenting Max Muller’s near departure from England, Dr. Martineau expressed a hope that he ‘would come over and help’ them. His plans were so unsettled by the vigorous attempts of his Oxford friends to keep him, that Max Muller could only reply that he could make no engagements at the present moment. Afterwards, when he had accepted the arrangement made by the University to relieve him of lecturing and yet keep him in Oxford, Dr. Martineau wrote again that the Trustees would rather await his return in eighteen months, than ask any one else to be their first lecturer. This was accepted, and the lectures ‘On the Origin and Growth of Religion’ were delivered in the Chapter House at Westminster in the spring of 1878.

To Professor Lepsius.

Translation, Oxford, February 7.

‘. . . Never have I experienced more true friendship in England than just at the present time. The University — nay, even the Government — offer me everything that can be desired: negotiations are pending. I am hesitating, and under a fortnight no decision can be made. At all events, I intend to take leave for a year or two in order to find a spot where I shall meet with the quiet solitude of the forest for work. I hope to see you soon. How do I deserve the Maximilian Order? or is it on account of the name? You discovered my weakness — that was the Order pour le Merite; but I had not in the least thought of it, and therefore was all the more glad, and shall never forget it!’

To Professor Rolleston.

February 8, 1876 (in bed).

‘Considering all the very peculiar circumstances of the case, I should feel inclined to agree with you that the University should send a representative to the Oriental Congress at St. Petersburg, and pay his expenses. But I confess I have very grave doubts whether the time and money expended on these Congresses produce any adequate results. They are becoming too numerous, and what with jubilees and centenaries, and all the rest, I do not wonder that certain Governments and Universities abroad have declined to countenance these festive gatherings. As long as they were private enterprises, no one had a right to interfere. But now that they are taken up by Governments, and invitations are sent round to all the Universities and scientific societies to send representatives at their expense, the matter assumes a new aspect.

'The Italian Government was severely blamed for not sending representatives to the Centenary of the University of Leyden, but the Minister of Public Instruction declared publicly that, with the large number of Italian Universities, every one of which was expected to send delegates, and with the ever-increasing number of these celebrations,  he did not feel justified in spending public money that was wanted for far more useful purposes. I think he was perfectly right, and I believe other countries will soon follow the example of Italy. If I say the circumstances of the Oriental Congress at St. Petersburg are peculiar, it is because I believe it is the first time that the Russian Government has allowed any of these international gatherings; secondly, because the Emperor himself is said to take a personal interest in the matter; thirdly, because a refusal on the part of England or the English Universities might look like an act of national discourtesy; and fourthly, because a refusal to attend on the ground of expense should not come from the wealthiest University in Europe. Unless, however, great care is taken, this grant of money for a delegate to represent the University at the Oriental Congress at St. Petersburg will certainly be turned into a precedent, and the applications for similar grants will be numerous.

'In order to avoid any possible misunderstanding, I may as well tell you (though I have no reason to suppose that the University would ask me to go to St. Petersburg to be present as their representative at the Oriental Congress) that I should not accept an honour which to the outside public might seem an invidious distinction, and which, by those who are better acquainted with the history of Oxford during the last fifteen years, might be misrepresented as an intentional slur on at least one member of our Professoriate. Considering the subjects which are selected for the special consideration of the Congress, I should think that either Sayce or Professor Cheyne would be a very welcome guest at St. Petersburg.’

To Dr. Stainer.

Oxford, February 8.

‘I heard to-day that you were gone to Algiers. You are to be envied indeed for escaping this intolerable weather. I have been laid up again and again this winter, and I expect in the end I shall have to give up the battle and go, like you, to some warmer climate. I should like to know how you like Algiers, and what kind of accommodation you find, and whether you really find rest there. I am afraid doctors are right after all, and at my time of life I must learn to obey them, particularly when one finds out what a bad economy it is to be laid up in bed and to be good for nothing. I do not expect you will bring home a ‘‘Desert” like Felicien David, but we all expect something from you worthy of St. Paul’s, and the longer you stay away from the turmoil of the city, the better for you, and the better in time, I hope, for us. Do not be in any hurry about answering this. I must stay here till April to finish my lectures. After that, everything is uncertain, but I long for rest and sunshine.

‘Oxford is trying to do something to keep me here — ^it can give me rest, but can it give me sunshine?’

To Professor Klaus Groth.

Translation, February 13, 1876.

‘I feel rather restless at present, and should have liked to wait with my letter till I could have told you with certainty what has been decided about my future, but everything proceeds slowly here in Oxford. They would like to keep me, but the parties are divided, and hence the delay. To me, either way would be acceptable, and though my heart might draw me to Germany, my head also has a voice in the matter. Should I be offered a post which would allow of sufficient spare time for my own private work, I should not mind staying here; if not, I shall hope to go to Germany, without a yoke of office on my shoulders, only living for my children and for my own work. I have had various offers from Germany, but my dream is rest and perfect independence — political, academical, and social. Well, everything will be decided soon, and I intend leaving for a year or two. ... I thought of Dresden, because it is near Chemnitz, and because my old mother has several friends there. The schools are said to be very good there. Ada shows talent for painting, Mary for music, and they can both find good masters there. Kiel draws me much, if only it was not so very distant. I hope, indeed, that we may meet this summer. I shall write to you as soon as I hear anything definite. When my children know German well, we hope all to go to Florence, and then to France; then I have done for them all that is possible, and meanwhile I continue my own work. These are nice soap- bubbles, are they not? — but why not? You had better blow soap-bubbles too; perhaps a favourable wind will bring our bubbles together.

'We are all very well on the whole: my wife is well, thank God; the children flourish; I have the gout! — horribile dictu [Google translate: horrible to say], but it is true! I wish we had better news from you and your wife. It is very cold here: how may it be with you? . . .'

At last, on February 15, a decree passed Convocation appointing a deputy to lecture in Max Muller’s place, and to have half the salary, allowing ‘Professor Max Muller to devote himself without interruption to the studies on the Ancient Literature of India which he has hitherto prosecuted with so much success and with so much honour to the University.’ As opposition had been threatened, the Dean of Christ Church had prepared and delivered an eloquent speech, which is given in the Appendix. The Dean walked up at once to 'Parks End’ to tell Max Muller that the decree had passed, whilst many other friends crowded in, to congratulate themselves and the University, as they said, on their success. Max Muller was deeply touched: he had never realized how much he had won, not only the esteem but the genuine affection of the most distinguished residents in Oxford, and he readily promised, after eighteen months’ absence and rest, to return and continue his labours in his English home. Nor did he ever afterwards regret this decision; only once later, under the pressure of great sorrow, his thoughts turned again to Germany, and on that occasion the gracious remonstrance of his Queen influenced him to stay in England.

To His Mother.

Translation, February 20.

‘You will have read in the papers that they have caught me again in Oxford. They took me at my word, and as I said in my letter of resignation that I wanted leisure for my Sanskrit work, they relieved me of all duties, and gave me the means of publishing the books I wanted to bring out, here in Oxford. I hope it is all for the best, though naturally the decision was hard to me.

'I have just received from the King of Italy the Order of the Corona d’Italia (Knight Commander), a great distinction, but I was well satisfied with the Order pour le Merite.’

To Herr George von Bunsen.

Translation, Oxford, February 17, 1876.

‘I must just send you a couple of lines to tell you of my decision as to my future. Apart from all other considerations, two things pressed upon me: decision as to my boy (Germany or England), and quiet for work for myself. Oxford has now done all I could desire: my income remains the same (the loss of £300 is only apparent), and I have full leisure, and they have given me carte blanche for printing my Bibliotheca Sacra, In Germany many things were not quite clear, namely, about schools. I would only have taken again no literary work in India which can with certainty be referred to an earlier date than that of the Sacred Canon of the Buddhists. Whatever age we may assign to the various portions of the Avesia, there is no book in the Persian language of greater antiquity than the Sacred Books of the followers of Zarathustra. There may have been an extensive ancient literature in China long before Kung-fu-tze and Lao-tze, but among all that was preserved of it, the five King and the four Shoo claim again the highest antiquity. As to the Koran^ it is known to be the fountain-head both of the religion and of the literature of the Arabs. . . .

‘Leaving out of consideration the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, it appears that the only great and original religions which profess to be founded on Sacred Books, and have preserved them in manuscript, are: —

1. The religion of the Brahmans.

2. The religion of the followers of Buddha.

3. The religion of the followers of Zarathustra.

4. The religion of the followers of Kung-fu-tze.

5. The religion of the followers of Lao-tze.

6. The religion of the followers of Mohammed.

‘A desire for a trustworthy translation of the Sacred Books of these six Eastern religions has often been expressed. Several have been translated into English, French, German, or Latin, but in some cases these translations are difficult to procure, in others they are loaded with notes and commentaries, which are intended for students by profession only. Oriental scholars have been blamed for not having as yet supplied a want so generally felt, of a complete, trustworthy, and readable translation of the principal Sacred Books of the Eastern Religions. The reasons, however, why hitherto they have shrunk from such an undertaking are clear enough. The difficulties in many cases of giving complete translations are very great. There is still much work to be done in a critical restoration of the original texts, and in determining the exact meaning of many words and passages. That kind of work is naturally far mote attractive to scholars than a mere translation. . . .

‘It is clear, therefore, that a translation of the principal Sacred Books of the East can be carried out only at a certain sacrifice. Scholars must leave for a time their own special researches in order to render the general results already obtained accessible to the public at large. . . .

‘Lastly, there was the most serious difficulty of all, a difficulty which no scholar could remove, viz. the difficulty of finding the funds necessary for carrying out so large an undertaking. . . .

‘No doubt there is much in these old books that is startling by its very simplicity and truth, much that is elevated and elevating, much that is beautiful and sublime; but people who have vague ideas of primeval wisdom and the splendour of Eastern poetry will soon find themselves grievously disappointed. It cannot be too strongly stated, that the chief, and, in many cases, the only interest of the Sacred Books of the East is historical; that much in them is extremely childish, tedious, if not repulsive; and that no one but the historian will be able to understand the important lessons which they teach. It would have been impossible to undertake a translation even of the most important only of the Sacred Books of the East, without the support of an Academy or a University which recognizes the necessity of rendering these works more generally accessible. . . .

'Having been so fortunate as to secure that support, having also received promises of assistance from some of the best Oriental scholars in England and India, I hope I shall be able, after the necessary preparations are completed, to publish about three volumes of translations every year. . . .

'What I contemplate at present, and I am afraid at my time of life even this may seem too sanguine, is no more than a series of twenty-four volumes, the publication of which will probably extend over eight years1 [When this first series was finished, a second, of twenty-five volumes, was undertaken.] . . .

‘It will be my endeavour to divide the twenty-four volumes which are contemplated in this series as equally as possible between the six religions. But much must depend on the assistance which I receive from Oriental scholars, and also on the interest and the wishes of the public.’

This work entailed an enormous correspondence, which continued to the last months of Max Muller's life, and, owing to the dilatoriness of one contributor, he did not live to see the completion of the last volume of this great publication.

Over and over again, when all arrangements had been made with a translator, the whole plans for some years to come were upset by illness or death, by constant dilatoriness, by mistakes in calculating the time necessary for the work; or work undertaken and promised by a certain date was suddenly withdrawn; in some cases, after the contract for a work had been signed by the translator, the Press, and the editor, the translator would be seized with scruples as to the suitability of the work he had offered; in other cases a demand was made for payment in advance, though the translators had no guarantee to offer that their part of the contract would be fulfilled. As the majority of translators were foreigners, few Englishmen comparatively having that intimate acquaintance with the Sacred Books that was needful, careful revision was necessary by the editor, which revision was often taken in bad part by the translator. In fact, those who watched the work for twenty-four years were often astonished at the patience and tact shown by the editor. He used himself to say that almost the only contributor who never disappointed him was Professor Legge, who was already of advanced age when he contributed the third volume of the series, the King. When Professor Legge mentioned a date for the completion of a work, Max Muller knew that by the appointed day the whole MS. would be ready. Many others were years behindhand with their promised work.

To Professor Legge.

March 10.

‘I am so glad you approve of the prospectus. I ought to say that, as a rule, we intend to give translations of complete works only, not extracts. We must have what is tedious and bad as well as what is interesting and good, otherwise we shall be accused of misrepresenting the real character of the Sacred Books — I mean of representing them in too favourable a light. Could you mention the names of the King and Shoo which you consider ought to be included, and then those which you think you would be able to give us as the earliest instalments? You may reckon for China on five or six volumes of 400-450 pages each, to be printed like my Chips, the notes being intended to be only such as are absolutely necessary to enable an educated man to understand the translation.'

To His Mother.

Translation. March 11.

‘Dearest Mother, — So you seem quite satisfied with my decision. Decision I can hardly call it. I waited quietly, and things at last took such a form that I could not determine otherwise. I myself would rather have gone to Germany, taken for granted that I could have lived in comfort without taking any position. But I began to doubt that, as in many ways one is spoilt here, and expects more than people in Germany do. Now, as God wills: one hopes all is for the best, if not for me, for the children.’

To R. B. D. Morier, Esq., Minister at Lisbon.

‘I went to London, trusting to see you there in all your glory, and when I inquired for you, you were gone. I should have come before, but, alas! we have one enemy in common, I was laid up with gout; I am told I ought to be very proud of so distinguished and statesman- like a malady, but it hurts, I am better now, but I want rest and may have to go to Marienbad. Now where shall we meet before you go to Portugal, completely upsetting the political centre of gravity? Poor Lisbon, what an earthquake there will be! I shall be here till about the end of April; I then go with sack and pack to Germany, and shall probably be away fifteen to eighteen months, spending the winter somewhere south. I am not to go back to the Fatherland altogether, but otherwise I have got all I wanted. After twenty-five years of lecturing I retire to my own work, and there may be life and work in the old hound yet. While I retire an old cripple, you step on the stage in full glory; I was delighted when I heard of it, but I should like to see you once as Son Excellence le Ministre Plenipotentiaire [Google translate: His Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary]. Let me know where that may be, in England or in Germany.’

Before leaving England, Max Muller heard of the illness and death of his old friend Baroness Bunsen at an advanced age.

To Herr G. von Bunsen.

Translation, Oxford, April 23, 1876.

‘My dear Friend, — I have often thought of you. A hard parting may be near you; come when it may, it is a hard parting. We stand then in the front rank, and the next ball strikes us; and then come our successors, and so on, ever so on, who knows whither? Not- withstanding, the great world for which we live seems to me as good as the little world in which we live, and I have never known why faith should fail, when everything, even pain and sorrow, is so wonderfully good and beautiful. Give your dear mother my affectionate love. My mother is still full of life, in spite of much bodily suffering. My wife and children are well, and I often say with Macaulay, ‘It is scandalous how well all goes with me !"'

To The Same.

Translation, Parks End, April 27, 1876.

‘It may come sooner or later; it is always the hardest parting in life, when she leaves us, who gave us life. It is seldom that we see a more perfect life than your mother’s. Now, my dear friend, we must march on bravely till our own time comes. All that we say to console ourselves on the death of those we loved, and who loved us, is hollow and false; the only true thing is rest and silence. We cannot understand, and therefore we must and can trust There can be no mistake, no gap in the world-poem to which we belong; and I believe that those stars which, without their own contrivance, have met, will meet again. How, where, when? God knows this, and that is enough.’

The following letter, referring to the old days of the children's life in Oxford, and their father, finds its fitting place here: —

Asolo, Bickley, Kent, May 6, 1901.

‘My dear Mrs. Max Muller, — I think the White Book1 [Prepared for his friends, 1893.] is charming, and we are so glad to possess it ourselves; I always used to study the photographs in it, on my father’s table, whenever I was up in Oxford. They bring him back so wonderfully, though only the two last are really to me pictures of him as I recall him. Of course, I heard him lecture, and recognized, as every one else did, his extra- ordinary ability, as well as his personal magnetism; but the memory I have of him will always be chiefly that of the loving father of our dear child-friends, Ada, and Mary, and Beatrice. No doubt you will have quite forgotten the way in which he would join, with bright unfeigned sympathy, in our plays and projects on the happy Saturday half-holiday afternoons we spent together; but we — the children — will never forget it. There was one day when we had prepared a wonderful childish play, and waited longingly in the old schoolroom, in the hope that he would come from his work, and act spectator with you, the ever-ready victim! And we were not disappointed; however busy he may have been, the children upstairs were not allowed to know it; when all was ready on the table, which served as the stage, the performers being small, in he came with that kindly expectant smile which, child as I was, cheered me on at once to do my best in the play. It is years ago now, and dear Mary, our heroine, is at rest with him; but I can see, as if it were only yesterday, the smiling sympathy lighting up the beautiful face, as he sat with real enjoyment, taking part all through in the children’s pleasure. And another day, when Mary took me to his study that we might offer him some of the toffy we had made ourselves, I remember so well how I feared a hasty refusal, and a command to “run away,” such as children so often receive. And then the intense pleasure it was to us to be instead welcomed into his beautiful room, the toffy accepted and praised, and even partaken of before us— which is what children love above all praise — and then the delight of being “shown things,” as we called it; his “Penates," the little stone figures that sat round his fireplace, and some old books and pictures.

'And one more little scene I remember, well, because it was the first time that a father's intense love for his son ever came home to me, outside my own family. I was having lunch with you, and Wilhelm, quite a little boy, had been at the gymnasium, and so was not with us when we sat down. Suddenly we heard the clear whistle he always gave, even as a tiny boy, and he came in sight from behind the trees, on to the terrace at the back of the house. I can see now the wonderful smile of love that lighted up your husband's face as he saw' him, and can hear still the tone in which he cried, Here comes the boy!"

'These are only childish memories, dating from long ago, but they are very vivid still.

‘I shall always be glad that my own boy saw him, and was noticed by him, though only as a baby.

'Ever with much love,

‘Yours affectionately,

‘H. O'B. Boas.’

The Max Mullers settled themselves in Dresden, in a charming flat taken for them by relatives, and here the children began the regular German school life described in the following letter: —

To Professor Klaus Groth.

Translation, Dresden, May 29.

‘We have been here for about a week, and on German soil I begin to feel quite well again. Wilhelm goes to school; he has to be there by 6.45, and as he has a walk of twenty minutes, we get up at 5 a.m., breakfast at 6 a.m.! The girls leave at 9 a.m. It gives us a nice long day. Now I should like to know whether you think of leaving Kiel for the Whitsun holidays; it would be so nice to meet somewhere. I hope your cares are all gone, so that you may meet the spring with a light heart. Oh 1 if only it would begin to be warm; here one longs for fires. My wife sends her love to you both, and hopes to see you again soon. Till the middle of June we are sure to be here — we expect a visit from my mother; after that we think of perhaps going to Berlin to see George Bunsen, but our head quarters will be here.’

Max Muller found most congenial society at Dresden, on a quiet easy footing. With Herr von Strauss und Tornay, former Minister at Buckeburg, a great Chinese scholar. Professors Hettner and Gruner at the Museum, Dr. Fleckeisen the Latinist, Count Baudissin, who aided Schlegel in the translation of Shakespeare, and many others, he was in constant and friendly intercourse, and was at once elected an honorary member of the Fourteen Club, a gathering of literary men, and attended their meetings constantly. The Sunday afternoon walks with both parents were a delight to the children, busy all the week at their schools, and Max Muller always found time to be of the party, which he seldom did in Oxford. The Plauensche Grund was a favourite resort, then still in all its natural beauty, unspoilt, as now, by manufactures; Blasewitz, Loschwitz, the Weisse Hirsch, and Pillnitz were constantly visited, and the open-air music at most of these places added to the enjoyment.

The George von Bunsens had invited Max Muller and his wife to stay with them at Berlin.

To Herr G. von Bunsen.

Translation. Dresden, 3.

‘I am so looking forward to our excursion to Berlin. The rest here and the freedom from responsibility are like a mental sea-bath to me, and I do indeed enjoy it to the utmost. I have my house here quite full; we are eight, add to it my mother, my niece, and a maid, that makes eleven. We are comfortably settled here, and my great endeavour is to avoid acquaintances and parties, but it seems impossible. Do you know Hettner? He is an able man; Stockmar's daughter was his first wife. Now a few questions with regard to Berlin. Have I to present myself to the Emperor, Empress, and Crown Prince? The Empress invited me just lately to come to London, and the Crown Princess invited us to dinner in Florence, and it always does my heart good to see the Crown Prince and Princess, a point on which I think we entirely agree. I have to see some of the Professors, but not many: Ranke, Helmholtz, Lepsius, Mommsen, Curtius, and whom else? Then I want to go to the Museum, Picture Gallery, perhaps the Opera, and if worth while, the Parliament, I should like to see Bismarck face to face once, if possible. He sent me some kind messages from Versailles by Abeken; but, of course, I should on no account like to be obtrusive.’

To The Same.

Translation. Dresden, 12.

'I am looking forward very much to seeing you again. Our dear ones and our friends are cut off right and left, and life seems so lonely at times. . . . Indeed we should like to see Macbeth, if possible without great exertion; if not, we shall much enjoy a quiet evening with you. The Eastern Question reminds me of football, Rugby fashion. The pressure from all sides is so even, that the combined mass appears stationary. I should have liked to live to see the development, and I hoped much to greet the Prince of Roumania at Constantinople as President of the United Balkan States.'

The visit to Berlin was of great interest to Max Muller, as he met so many old friends and younger men of literary distinction. He saw for the first time the Meiningen troupe of actors, trained by the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, who were famous for their acting of Shakespeare, and who, before the days of Sir Henry Irving, had introduced that accuracy in every detail of dress and scenery, which at that time were still almost unknown in England The day before they left Berlin, the Max Mullers were commanded to Potsdam, and dined en famille [Google translate: with family] with the Crown Prince and Princess and their children, seeing more of their family life than in their visit in 1863. After dinner, they drove alone with their royal hosts through the gardens and parks of Potsdam. The next day they went to Dessau to visit their relations. It was the only time that the Duke and Duchess of Anhalt had been in residence during one of their visits, and they expressed a wish to receive the Max Mullers. But here a difficulty arose. No lady, not of noble birth, could be received at the Schloss, according to the etiquette of the little Court, so Max Muller’s wife, though presented in England, and therefore received at Court in Berlin and other European capitals, could not be admitted in Dessau. The great difficulty was surmounted by the Duke and Duchess driving out to a country place eight miles off, and there receiving their old friend and his wife.

To Herr George von Bunsen.

Translation. Dresden, Bismarckplatz, 28.

‘We returned here yesterday. We had to give up staying at Leipzig, because the many dinners and suppers at Dessau had exhausted our powers. I hope that you and your dear wife have quite recovered from the strain which our stay with you must have occasioned. We have both much enjoyed Berlin, but it was rather too much for old people. Old age begins to claim its due, and we have to learn to get old. I really long for sylvan solitude, and that is not to be found in Berlin; here at Dresden, too, there is not much of it, so that we think of going somewhere during the holidays with the children, where there are no human beings, perhaps only an orang-outang — the one in the Aquarium was very beautiful, and has made a great impression on me. And now the first living gorilla is to arrive in Berlin, which provokes great jealousy in England!

‘My stay in Berlin seems like a dream; I only just begin to gather myself together and enjoy over again what was so enjoyable. What filled me with the greatest astonishment in Berlin, was that two European Courts have produced and nurtured two such splendid human beings as the Crown Prince and Princess. There must surely be some truth in Darwinism, the survival of the fittest! I only fear they are too good for the rough work of governing. Another thing that struck me was, that the German Professors, in spite of all distractions, continue to work calmly and regularly, and yet spend themselves so little. I could not stand Berlin for one year even.

‘I should have liked so to talk over many things with you, things old and new— but where is one to find time for that? You ought to come to Dresden: the journey is so short, and the wheels of life do not rush on here quite so fast. Do think of it!’

To The Same.

Translation. June 30.

‘I cannot form a clear judgement yet about the journey of the Prince of Wales and its consequences. I do not think that in England any tangible results were ever expected from it. Pie has made a new and agreeable impression through his courteous bearing, he has made some personal friends among the Rajahs — they may, of course, be courtiers only, but in India these sort of people are very important at times. At all events, he has learnt something, if only that very reasonable people are able to worship a cow!'

To Dean Stanley.

Dresden, 3.

‘I am sorry your way does not lead you to Germany. We shall probably stay here for the rest of the summer, and then turn our steps southward. I believe I was right in running away. I have had plenty of rest here, and yet I do not feel quite myself yet. Every little thing excites me and irritates me, which ought not to be. I hope our stay here is useful for the children; they learn German without any effort. Wilhelm goes to school, and enjoys it very much. I travel about seeing old friends. We spent some time with George Bunsen at Berlin. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were delightful; I can find no fault in either of them. I think of wintering at Lausanne, where the schools are good, and where the children would learn French. But all that is uncertain. My own wish is to go back to Oxford in October, but my doctor tells me to keep away, and enjoy a longer rest. Poor Liddell, I think of him every day, and I fear that he will never recover from that blow1 [The death of his third daughter. All who knew Edith Liddell will endorse Max Muller’s words.]. That daughter of his was a most charming, lovable creature, so natural, so beautiful, and he so fond, so proud of her! “Let us die, in order,” says a poet in the Veda, “that the old may not weep for the young.” It was then, as it is now, inscrutable; and I doubt whether we have learnt to be more patient, and to wait our time more cheerfully, than the old worshippers of the Vedic gods.

‘We have given up all idea of going to Roumania, but I have promised to visit him at Constantinople. England's policy has made an impression in Germany — people begin to see again that England is a Great Power, more powerful for inflicting injury, and herself invulnerable, than any other. It is well that people should know that: a mistake on that point might prove fatal. The idea that England supports the Porte against her Christian subjects is a popular illusion, and I have no doubt that Lord Derby will come out very well in the forthcoming debate. England has told Russia what she (Russia) shall not do, and that will have been an excellent and really most useful lesson to Russia. I do not like Disraeli's tone, but I am afraid Gladstone would have made a European war inevitable.

‘We shall all be glad to have your book2 [Lectures on the Jewish Church.]; my children know your first volume better than I do. My wife sends you her love. We often speak of you, and much as she longs for England, she often says how deserted it has become during the last few years— how few friends are left, how many are gone.'

During the short summer holidays at the schools, Max Muller took a small house at Schandau in Saxon Switzer- land, his mother and Baroness von Stolzenberg and some other relations being there at the same time. The long rambles and expeditions were a great delight to his children, who had never before seen any rocky scenery, and the constant outdoor life was full of enjoyment.

It was during this summer that the controversy with Professor Whitney, of Yale, which is well known to scholars, reached its culminating point. Professor Whitney had for years attacked Max Muller on various fundamental questions of the Science of Language, and was much irritated that no notice had been taken of these attacks. At length, in 1875, in his Reply to Mr. Darwin, Max Muller, as one review put it, 'said a great deal that was severe upon Whitney.’ On this, as another review said, ‘Professor Whitney, according to his wont, published a violent and utterly indecent attack upon Professor Max Muller. The Oxford combatant replied (In Self-Defence) with still greater severity, but with good breeding. The subject is so complex that it is not easy to say if Professor Whitney is alone in the wrong. It is, however, quite clear that he has not the tact and temperance to deal with a polished man of the world like Professor Max Muller, even if the latter were in the wrong.’ Mr. Moncure Conway, who knew both Max Muller and Professor Whitney, has kindly sent the following letter on the subject: —

23 East Tenth Street, New York, May 7, 1901.

'Dear Mrs. Max Muller, — I send you another letter of Professor Max Muller’s, which I found lately among some notes preserved apart by my wife, no doubt on account of its words of sympathy with us on the death of our son Dana fifteen years ago. I felt it — and still feel it — a great privilege to have known the warm and tender heart that was in him. I lamented that Professor Whitney could not have lived for a time at Oxford and really known Professor Max Muller, and indeed told him (Whitney) so when I last saw him.

'Although I am not competent to pass any judgement on the scientific points at issue between Professor Max Muller and Professor Whitney, I felt certain that the sharp language used by the latter was due to his not knowing the character of your husband, partly I fear through the representations of others who could not repress some unconscious jealousy of the honours heaped upon him.

'Before leaving England in 1875 for a few months’ visit to America, I had some conversation with Professor Max Muller on the unhappy misunderstanding, which he deplored, and he authorized me and desired me to urge on Professor Whitney the proposal for an arbitration by scholars — naming several who were his (Whitney’s) friends, pledging himself to abide by their decision. During the winter, when giving some lectures at New Haven, at which Professor Whitney presided, I was his guest, and I was much disappointed that he did not accept the proposal for arbitration. Why he did not, I was unable to discover, for I do not believe he suspected that he might be in the wrong. I made some notes of his grievances, and they appeared to me such as might fairly be submitted to impartial scholars, but he seemed to think that it would not be honorable in him to so submit them. I fancied he might have engaged with some antagonist of your husband not to do so. At any rate, my attempted intervention in the matter failed, much to my distress. I reported the result to Professor Max Muller, and that was the end of it so far as I was concerned. Your husband never spoke with any bitterness of Professor Whitney, in my hearing, but only said that he did not know what more he could do. I remember, too, his telling me that he held back his article, In Self-Defence, for some time because he heard that Professor Whitney was ill. His whole spirit in these conversations was so conciliatory and so free from arrogance, that if I had known of any wrong he had done, I should have felt perfectly free to point it out. He would not have taken any offence, but given it the most candid consideration. I was not intimate with Professor Whitney, but always found him gracious, personally, and very instructive in conversation; and in one of his lectures in Yale College, at which I was able to attend, his sincerity in relating his "grievances” was evident, though just what they were I found it difficult to understand.

'I look forward with eagerness to the work on which you are engaged. I do not believe that any pen but your own can do any real justice to the man; as for the scholar, he is revealed already in his magnificent and monumental works.

‘Your old friend,

‘Moncure D. Conway.'

As Professor Max Muller’s In Self-Defence has long been before the public, any one can see that, however severe his words may be, they are not discourteous. Can the same be said of Professor Whitney’s expressions, who allowed himself, in writing of Max Muller, to speak of him thus: ‘To me he is simply, with all his ability, one of the great humbugs of the century;’ 'He has always been rated at full ten times his value as a scholar’?

As Professor Whitney entirely declined the arbitration proposed by Max Muller in In Self-Defence, there, as far as Max Muller was concerned, the matter ended. It was a gratification to him to receive about this time from an American an article on the fourth volume of Chips, which the author hoped ‘might make some amends for the gross injustice you have received from some of your reviewers here.’

A brilliant review in the Times of September 1876, on seven of his Sanskrit works, including the six volumes of the Rig-veda and the first volume of translation, was also a great pleasure to him. With all his sensitiveness, and his deeply affectionate nature which made him keenly alive to any coldness on the part of friends he loved and trusted, Max Muller was perfectly callous to merely unfavourable reviews. He knew that in all his works he did his very best, that he spared neither time nor labour to make them as perfect as he could, and therefore mere fault-finding moved him very little. He could be very wrathful, and righteously wrathful, over misrepresentation and falsehood, but he never allowed himself to use the language that is only too common among scholars in Germany and America; he could be caustic and severe, never abusive.

Mr. St. George Mivart a few years later, in alluding to an argument with Max Muller, wrote: ‘ The kindness of Professor Max Muller’s reply I recognize with pleasure, but without surprise, since those who know him, know him to be as remarkable for his courtesy as for his great learning.’

To Herr G. von Bunsen.

Translation. Dresden, November 7.

'I congratulate you on your election and your work in Parliament. I come to see more and more what a stranger I have become to the life over here, and how separate I am, with regard to politics, from my friends. I see in Bismarck only what is great, and I cannot forget what he has done. He has had devils to fight, and has sometimes fought them by devils. But are we to reproach him for that, we for whom he has fought? However, I know the mountains look beautiful from a distance; approach them, and the paths look often dirty and slippery enough.

‘If you could come here, that would be nice. Though our house is rather uncomfortable for a married couple, yet with good will it is possible to manage; for a grass widower, however, we could arrange comfortably, and the journey is so short. Who knows how long we may stay here! We like this place so much. I am better, if I take care of myself, and the children thrive beautifully. My old mother is living with us now. How grateful I ought to be!

'I am sorry to have missed Auerbach. I have read the first tale. It is evident he no longer makes a great effort when writing, does not devote himself entirely to his work, but now and then it is like lightning from heaven. No, indeed, I rarely read German papers. I rejoice, however, all the more that the gorilla is alive. I should have liked to see it face to face.’

To Dean Stanley.

Dresden, Bismarckplatz 10, November 27, 1876.

'I see you are in London again, so I send you a sign of life in the shape of the fourth volume of my Essays translated into German. If you have looked at the original, you need not read the translation. There is much fighting in it.

'How I wish you could have come here in the summer! The town and the country are both so beautiful — all so easy to see, and no one to take notice or interfere with one. We had several old friends staying with us, but otherwise lived entirely by ourselves. The rest and quiet were delightful to me, particularly after all the worry at Oxford, and I feel more and more that I should have broken down, had I remained there. We all like the place so much that we cannot move away. We meant to have gone to the Lake of Geneva, but the doctor thinks I am so much better that I may stay here during the winter. The children are all hard at work, Wilhelm doing very well in his German Gymnasium. He has grown to be such a German that he says he wants to stay at his school even when we all go away!

‘We have two bishops here, one formerly of Honolulu, Dr. Staley, very bright and intelligent, and, like most missionaries who have had dealings with real heathen, very tolerant to such heathens as myself. Then a Bishop of Rhode Island, a really liberal-minded American bishop, whom you ought to know, Dr. Clark. He has preached some excellent sermons here, and he told me he had preached the same sermon before the assembled bishops of the Pan-Anglican Council. He is much opposed to a new Pan-Anglican, but he represents a small minority in America, I fear.

‘Many thanks for your book, which we have been reading out together, enjoying it each in our own way, children and all, I suppose you will go on with your work now, when nothing remains to make life pleasant but work, particularly such work as yours.

‘When one reads of all the political excitement in England, it is extraordinary to see the utter apathy in Germany. Bismarck in that respect simply represents the people. They have had enough of fighting, and they will not fight again until they are forced to it. There is not much love for Russia, but I believe there is more for Russia than for England. How that has come to pass I hardly know, but it is so. Russia remained neutral during the Austrian and the French wars — she might have done much mischief to Germany then — and there is a general feeling of gratitude in Germany for that neutrality, whereas a number of German papers have been going on telling the people that England supplied the French with arms, when they had none left to fight with. Then comes the prudential feeling — if Germany were to go against Russia, directly or indirectly, the French would at once embrace the Russians. Germany will be friendly to Russia, and would not mind a war between Russia and Turkey, nor between Russia and England. With all my strong feelings against Disraeli, I think his policy is right, Gladstone's wrong. If Russia really wanted freedom for the Christians, if the Russian people were really to rush in and fight it out till every Turk was driven out of Europe, that would be very different. But Russia is simply bullying, and trying to gain what she can, chiefly an exit for her fleet in the Black Sea. England is strong enough to prevent that. The fact is, England is just now stronger than any other Power in Europe, and Russia would draw back if England took the Dardanelles, and insisted on the Treaty of Paris being respected. What is so extraordinary to me is that the decision of war and peace rests at the present moment with two men, the Russian Emperor and Disraeli. People who decline to be taxed without their consent, submit to being killed without being asked, and without asking any question. Only in America, I believe, war cannot be declared without consulting the Senate; but in England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, two or three men say war, and the people go and fight like so many wolves and sheep. Savage as it seems, it seems almost as if it could not be otherwise, and that national impulses would be even more dangerous than diplomatic intrigues.'

To M. Michel Breal.

Dresden, November 28.

‘I send you to-day the German translation of the fourth volume of my Essays. If you will look at the second part of my Rede Lecture and the Criticisms on Curtius' Chronology, you will see how much we agree with regard to roots and their development. I have gone still further in my lectures on Darwin's Philosophy of Language, where I speak of the friction of roots, and I am now hard at work on the same subject. I have just read your article in the Journal des Savants; it is quite refreshing to read something independent. I never believed in any Ursprache; it is a deus ex machina, an impossibility. I hope soon to hear from M. Darmesteter, whether he can undertake the translation of the Vendidad, I am afraid the language will prove a difficulty. I feel so well here at Dresden that I cannot make up my mind to move. I am thinking of Geneva, or of some town in France, where my children could speak French; I am thinking most of all of Paris. For you know how fond I am of Paris, and how I have passed there some of the happiest years of my life. But there are always so many buts, and this inertia keeps me where I am. I have my three daughters with me, twelve, fourteen, and fifteen years of age, and my boy, nine years old.’

The plan of leaving Dresden in the autumn had been given up, the whole party were too happy in their various occupations, and too comfortable to wish to move, and it was finally settled to stay till Easter. The girls were making good progress with their various masters, the boy was doing well at school, and the parents enjoyed the society and the easy life and beauty of Dresden.

But this happiness was brought to an abrupt and terrible end. The eldest girl, growing to be her parents’ friend and help, as she had long been their pride and joy, was taken suddenly ill with meningitis, and in one week was taken from them. They laid her to rest in the beautiful Annen-Kirchhof, the day before her sixteenth birthday. Max Muller never entirely recovered from this loss: the spring, the joy of life was gone. He suffered severely, and it was months before he could at all rouse himself and take up work again. His letters show how deep the wound was.

To Professor Lepsius.

Translation, December 23.

'How much the sympathy of true friends can soften the deepest heart-sorrow! I should never have believed it, now I know it. Our loss is inconceivable — such a beautiful rich spring was opening before our eyes; a childlike heart, with all the wealth of a woman’s goodness. She studied so hard of herself, she learnt to control herself, so that I often felt humiliated myself before her. Her life was full of sunshine, and before the clouds of life could rise on her horizon she passed into a better life. We thank God that He found her worthy to return so young, so unspoilt to her Father's house. She belongs to us now more than before, and what of life is left to me belongs to my child in heaven. My wife is my best support. My old mother is with me, and has had to bear this loss in her old age. Thank your wife from us both, and think of me still with sympathy.'

To His Cousin, Major von Basedow.

December 21.

'My dear Adolf, — Your sympathy has been a great comfort to us, and Emma's beautiful wreath lies near Ada's heart. We have suffered very much, but from the first moment we have thanked God that He has taken our dear good child to Himself. She is spared much sorrow in life: she has only known the bright spring, and slept away into a better world. My whole life now belongs to her and her memory, till our long life’s journey is over. I should like to have laid her to rest at Dessau, but G. shrank from the effort, and she rests here in a lovely spot. We want now quiet and rest, but I hope we shall meet before we return to England. We stay here till Easter.’

The following letter to Dean Stanley was quoted by him in his sermon to children, preached in Westminster Abbey on Innocents’ Day, December, 1876: —

‘As soon as her last breath was gone I was able to thank God that He had taken my child into His arms, where she is safe for ever from all the troubles and the sorrows of life. The first chapter of her existence has closed. Who knows what troubles might have been in store for her? But she was found worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven as a little child. Here we have toiled for many years, and been troubled with many questionings, but what is the end of it all? We must learn to become simple again like little children. That is all we have a right to be; for this life was meant to be the childhood of our souls, and the more we try to be what we were meant to be, the better for us. Let us use the powers of our minds with the greatest freedom and love of truth; but let us never forget that we are, as Newton said, 'Tike children playing on the seashore, while the great ocean of truth lies undiscovered before us.”’

The sympathy shown on all sides was very deep. The Queen of Saxony sent a kind message to the bereaved parents. The Crown Princess wrote, as did Prince Leopold. The Princess of Roumania ('Carmen Sylva'), whose loss of her only little girl enabled her to speak words of comfort from her own experience, sent the parents many beautiful poems, whilst the letters from friends in England were full of genuine sorrow. The English Chaplain at Dresden, Mr. Gilderdale, and his wife, were a true help and support, and their tender and wise sympathy was never forgotten.

This verse was found among Max Muller's papers: —

'Better so the world in growing
Might have soiled her with its breath,
Surely God in dearly loving
Gave her, young, His gift of death.'
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 1 of 2


Dresden. Switzerland. Return to Oxford. Letters to Noire. Hibbert Lectures. Graham Bell and the telephone. Malvern. Whitby. Boyton Manor. Publication of Hibbert Lectures. Death of Grand Duchess of Hesse.

Max Muller and his family stayed on quietly in Dresden till April, his old mother with him. He busied himself in the arrangements and correspondence for the Sacred Books of the East, though even his work failed to rouse and interest him.

To Charles Robarts, Esq.

Dresden, January 1, 1877.

'I knew you would feel with us when you heard of our loss, yet I was glad to have your letter, and the expression of your sympathy. The blow fell upon us so suddenly—our dear Ada was so well and happy, hard at work, growing thoughtful and considerate for others, and she became to both of us a friend and companion, when in not quite a fortnight, an inflammation of the membranes of the brain carried her off, and she fell asleep before our eyes without a struggle. One learns to bear what one must bear, but life is changed, and we ourselves can never be again what we were before. My life has been hitherto so full of sunshine that the sudden change seems more than I can bear. Our life had been so bright and happy here; now all is over, and I long to be back in Oxford. We stay here till Easter, because we can live here in more quiet and solitude than anywhere else; after that our thoughts are Reward, Everything seems so far removed now, and I feel as if I could never care for anything again.'

The kindest letters continued to reach the parents, one of which is given here:—

From Professor Kern.

Leyden, January 2, 1877.

'My Dear Sir, — When after too long a delay I was about to answer your kind letter, and to say that I was willing to accede to your proposal, I got a letter from Boehtlingk, which informed me of the heavy loss you have suffered. I cannot really sit down and write to the scholar, when I am only thinking of the father. Do not think that I will intrude upon the privacy of your sorrow when I express my heartfelt condolence with you at the sad event. Alas I your loss is one of those that throw a lasting shadow on the path of life. There are days in our life when we are apt to acknowledge the truth of the saying that “all is sorrow.” Yes, there is truth in it, but it is not the truth. It is pitiful indeed to see a young life nipped in its bloom; even the bystanders are moved, and for the parents it is a cause of overwhelming grief. At such occurrences the wise ought not to try to fathom the mysteries of human life and the final destination of man. After raising in the inner recesses of his heart a monument to the sacred memory of the departed one, he should return to the battle of life, where he has to conquer his external and internal foes.’

To Professor Legge.

Dresden, January 21, 1877.

'My Dear Friend, — How long have I wished to thank you for your letter, so full of sympathy, but I had nothing to say but "Yes, yes,” to all your comforting words; and yet all strength seemed gone— the heart and the body will not obey. I feel more and more every day how much I have lost.

‘I know how happy her lot has been on earth: life must have been a perfect paradise to her, without a suspicion of evil and suffering. I know that she is safe — that is a comfort, almost a relief; but there is the blank, and a wound that can never heal, nay, that I hope will never heal. She suffered very little. She was in the full enjoyment of health till two or three weeks before she was taken from us. No human skill could have saved her — an inflammation of the membranes of the brain acted on the nerves of the heart, which wore itself out, and she slept away without a struggle.’

A new anxiety fell on Max Muller early in February, when his boy caught scarlet fever from a school-fellow, and had it very severely. The following, out of a book of thoughts written at this time, shows how he suffered under this new burden of anxiety: —

'Since yesterday morning W. is ill with scarlet fever. I cannot gather my thoughts — I cannot. I feel after God that He may help; 1 am dumb before Him. My dear Ada gone, and now God shows me again and makes me feel how we are all in His hand. Oh, God, have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner! "When thou thunderest, then they believe thee," says the old poet in the Veda, and is it not so even now? How careless my happy life has been; now Thy terrible thunder, oh God, has roused me. I know Thy will is holy; Thy hand is a Father’s hand; help me to bear Thy burden — I cannot.’

The following was written by Max Muller about this time in a friend’s album, who had shortly before lost her husband: —


‘There is a large and secret brotherhood in this world, the members of which easily recognize each other, without any visible outward sign. It is the band of mourners. The members of this brotherhood need not necessarily wear mourning; they can even rejoice with the joyful, and they seldom sigh or weep when others see them. But they recognize and understand each other, without uttering a word, like tired wanderers who, climbing a steep mountain, overtake other tired wanderers, and pause, and then silently go on again, knowing that they all hope to see the same glorious sunset high up above. Their countenances reflect a soft moonlight; when they speak, one thinks of the whispering of the leaves of a beech forest after a warm spring shower, and as the rays of the sun light up the drops of dew with a thousand colours, and drink them up from the green grass, a heavenly light seems to shine through the tears of the mourners, to lighten them, and lovingly kiss them away. Almost every one, sooner or later, enters this brotherhood, and those who enter it early may be considered fortunate, for they learn, before it is too late, that all which man calls his own is only lent him for a short time, and the ivy of their affections does not cling so deeply and so strongly to the old walls of earthly happiness.

'In friendly remembrance of F. M. M.’

To Charles Robarts, Esq.

Dresden, April 8.

'I like to know what is going on at All Souls, at Oxford, in England, though I doubt sometimes whether I shall ever take any part in it again. I cannot recover my spirits nor my strength, and it has been too hard a blow, and I see nothing but anxiety before me. We leave this in about a week to try the mountain air of Switzerland.... As you may imagine, I have no wish to serve on the University Commission. I find I am much more useful in the second file, loading the guns for others to fire them off. But if I am wanted, I am ready, provided there is a chance of getting a majority of reasonable men on the Committee.’

To Mrs. Kingsley.

Dresden, April 14.

'My Dearest Aunt, — I send you a letter from the Crown Princess. Please let me have it back by-and-by. We start today for Switzerland. You know how heavy our hearts feel. And yet one has to go on, and live and work and smile, and no one knows how all the time our thoughts are elsewhere, and find rest and comfort only in dwelling on one memory, which fills our whole heart. You know all that — you know how one enjoys what people call sorrow, how one longs for silence and solitude, to be alone with those who draw us to another world. We shall find rest where we are going now, I hope. I know G. wants it. What should I have been without her help? I feel so rich, so blessed in her and my three children, but I hardly dare to call anything my own now! Your book1 [Life of Charles Kingsley.] has been such a comfort to me. I read it when I could have read nothing else. What a triumph it is! I rejoice in it with you — it is a real resurrection of a man whom the world did not know till they could see him no more. Depend upon it, that book will live long after we are gone. I have long tried to write something about it for the German papers, but I found it so difficult to keep my thoughts together. I can do any amount of drudgery, translation, index-making, &c., but as soon as I attempt to compose, I find I cannot do it. However, I have written an article, and sent it off; people in Germany ought to read the book, and if I attract their attention, that is all I want.

‘How often I think of you. There is a communion in sorrow, which binds our hearts together more closely than common joy and happiness. We have had such deep sympathy even from mere strangers, and such sympathy is a help. I did not know it before, but I know it now.’

The party settled at Mollens, a little village on the slopes of the Jura, with the whole range of Mont Blanc in view across the Lake of Geneva. There are many of these villages along the Jura, each with its chateau, once important houses, now mostly occupied as pensions. The chateaux have fine rooms, and the air is superb, but it would be difficult to find a more primitive life, and more absolute quiet than in these Jura villages. At the back of Mollens rises Mont Tendre, one of the highest points of the Jura range. For the girls the French teaching was excellent, but it was so lonely for his boy, that Max Muller soon sent him to Hofwyl, a famous school near Berne, the head master of which, and his English wife, were old friends of the Max Mullers. Nearly three months were passed in this perfect quiet. Long walks were taken every day, and the wonderful variety of wild flowers were a constant delight and occupation. Above 300 different flowers were found during these three months. Excursions on foot were undertaken to other parts of the Jura, to Le Lode, Le Lieu, Le Pont, and other places where the Huguenots settled on their expulsion from France, and introduced watch-making and other industries. Mont Tendre was ascended more than once, for the sake of the view; the Gemmi was crossed through deep snow, Zermatt and other places opening from the Rhone valley were explored, and Max Muller gradually recovered his usual vigour. He wrote to his mother: —

Translation. Chateau de Mollens, April.

‘The most rural, retired spot, an old chateau on a spur of the Jura, three hours from the nearest station, with the hills rising behind the house, and in front, on a fine day, such a view, almost as fine as the famous view from Berne. Mont Blanc just in front,... whilst right and left run his snowy companions, and the Lake of Geneva at their foot.

'April 19. I was longing for solitude and rest, and I shall find that here. It is said to be very healthy, but is still cold, so that we require fires.'

To R. B. D. Morier, Esq.

Chateau de Mollens, July 18.

'I see in the paper that your dear old father has been called to his rest The longer you have had him, the more you will miss him. Though you have long been away from your father, yet I know how the feeling warms us when we feel chilled in the world, that there is one heart, a father's or a mother's heart, which, whatever the world may say or think of us, loves us with all our faults, and will love us to the end. And what a comfort it must be to you to know how happy and proud your father felt of you, how you were the chief interest that still bound him to this earth. I wonder whether you were with him at the last moment? Well, my dear friend, we stand now in the first line of the battle, and in a few years more our fight will be over too. All we can do is to fight on bravely, as long as we can, though one often longs for rest, and to hear no more of the din of battle.

‘I have so often thought of your dear father lately. He was always so kind to me, and when I lost my child, he sent me word to say what he had had to bear, and had been able to bear.

‘Switzerland has done me much good — I can sleep again, and the more I work the stronger I feel. We are going away from here in a few days. I want to show my children a little of Switzerland before we return, but in about six weeks I think we shall be back in Oxford.' [/quote]

After a few days at Hofwyl, where they joined their boy, the Max Mullers settled at Gimmelwald, a little Swiss pension, higher up the Lauterbrunnen Valley than Murren, and much quieter. From this many excursions were made, in which they were joined by friends from Miirren. From Gimmelwald Max wrote to his mother: —

Translation. Gimmelwald, August 5.

‘Yesterday, at six in the morning, I got a telegram from the Emperor of Brazil in Interlaken, who wished to see me. I went to Interlaken, and had a long conversation with him, all in French. He is a man who has read and thought a great deal, and we agreed in most things. He is now working at Sanskrit, and had much to ask. The Empress was also there; all other visitors were refused. In the afternoon they went on to Berne, and I came back here in the evening. Rest and solitude are doing me good, and I hope to have these even in Oxford. When I sit quietly at my work I feel better, but even here we have seen more people than we wished for. You ask how I like Eber's Uarda — very much. It is more of a novel than the King's Daughter, but that was historically more interesting, as it treated not only of the Egyptian, but of the Greek and Persian life. The first book was more instructive; this one more artistically perfect.’

A few days were spent at Basle on the way to England, to enable Max Muller to see his old friend Gelzer, the historian, at that time chiefly occupied in writing on religious questions. A few days later Gelzer wrote to Max: —

Translation. August 16, 1877.

‘The short time we were together proved to my entire satisfaction that the presentiment which led me to you was a true inspiration. In intercourse with you I breathed again that same strengthening air that I breathed in my intercourse with Bunsen and others. Your wide views of the world, your living knowledge of England and Germany, your cultivated historical point of view, your religious and ethical disposition, all worked as refreshing dew on my spirit and thoughts.'

To His Mother.

Translation, Oxford, August 30.

‘We have been home since Saturday. What we felt in returning here you can imagine. It was like a second funeral! With every day I miss my child more, and so it will be for one's whole life. I have much to do to get settled again. The children are happy in their old home, but one sees from time to time how they miss their sister. We have seen hardly any one. Most people are still away, so for a time it will be quiet.’

To Moncure Conway, Esq. (who had written asking him to lecture for him in London).

Oxford, September 17.

‘Thanks for your hearty welcome. I have been back for the last three weeks, trying to feel at home again in my old house, which looks so sad, and strange, and empty. Life to me can never be again what it has been these fifty years of unbroken sunshine, but it may become something better. At present I cannot help you in London. I want rest and quiet, and I have plenty of work. My health is quite restored, better than ever; I never feel tired, and I can sleep again like a child. The translation of the Sacred Books of the East progresses well, though I have still much correspondence to carry on to make my collaborators keep step. I am myself continuing my translation of the Rig-veda, Here and there there is a gem, but it is strange to see with how little man was satisfied in early days, and, maybe, is even now.’

To M. Renan.

Oxford, October 7.

‘How many years have passed since I last wrote to you! and now the first thing I do is to ask a favour. That I have the courage to do so will show you that, though we have not exchanged letters of late, you have always remained very near to me. I have read your books, where, after all, a man gives the best that he has, and is, to his friends. Your last book found me in Switzerland. I went through the Dialogues with you, and enjoyed your conversation. I only regretted that I could not always see you distinctly, and I doubt whether, in these days of monologues, dialogues can do justice to an author. The value of books, however, lies after all in a few salient sentences. I remember one which I read with delight in your Dialogues, though I cannot find it now: “Human language, as soon as it tries to reach the supernatural, becomes of necessity mythological” — something like that; you will know the passage I mean. But now comes the favour I meant to ask you. I have been reading of late much of what has been written in modern and ancient times about death, and life after death. I believe that you wrote on that subject when your sister left you, and that you sent what you had written to some of your friends. Would you let me see what you wrote then? I now belong to the same company of mourners: my eldest daughter, sixteen years old, all that a father could desire, and still all my own, left me last year. I know how sacred a thing the grief of our hearts is, and, if you tell me No, I shall fully understand and respect your motives. But many times of late, when I was reading Figuier, or Naville, or Plutarch, or Cicero, I thought of you and what you might have said, and at last I summoned up courage to write to you as I have done. Even if you do not answer at all, I shall know why you remain silent — the heart that knows its own bitterness knows also the bitterness of other hearts.

'We have been back for six weeks; I thought first I should stay a few weeks at Paris on my way back to England, but my heart failed me at the last moment, and we went home direct from Switzer- land. I am gradually getting accustomed to my old rooms, and beginning new work. The Sacred Books of the East are safe; there are sixteen translators at work, but it will be a year or two before the first volumes appear. I quite share your feelings of admiration for M. Darmesteter. His book on Ormazd and Ahriman is a step, and I am proud to have secured him for the translation of the Avesta. Your young Sanskrit scholars too are doing excellent work. The Upanishads and the Vedanta, if looked into seriously, contain, I believe, the solution of many difficulties which perplex our philosophy. Only it is not enough to translate them, they require the shoulder of a Christophorus to carry them over the channel of two thousand years that runs between the old Vanaprasthas and ourselves.’

To His Mother.

Translation. October 9.

'I can well believe how you have been living over old days! Fifty years1 [Wilhelm Muller died October, 1827.] is a long time, and you have had much that has been very hard to bear. But one must learn to bear, and try to understand that it all is as it should be, and that life is best for us as it is. How happy are those who die young, but we who are growing old and grey have the consolation that we shall not be left here, lonely and forsaken, for ever. We must have patience; and then we all cling to life, as long as there are those who love us here. Those who love us there are always ours. Nothing is lost in the world. How it will be we know not, but if we have recognized the working of a Divine wisdom and love here on earth, we can take comfort and wait patiently for that which shall come. So I wish you for your birthday, and for the years to come, quiet and patience. We have many visitors; our friends are very kind, but they don’t understand we feel most happy when we are left alone!’

The interview mentioned in the following letter to his wife has been adverted to in an earlier chapter, but it is interesting to see the impression produced at the time: —

November 3, 1877.

‘I had an interesting visit to-day from Nilakantha Goreh, the man I often spoke to you about, But how changed! He is one of the Cowley Brothers; has been here for a year and a half, and is going back to India in a few days. Now and then the old spirit seemed to move in him, but he soon relapsed into formulas which he had learnt, and which seemed to satisfy him. He was glad to see me again, but it was sad to see the eagle with broken wings!’

To M. Renan (who had sent him his Memoir of his sister, Henriette Renan).

‘Your book arrived to-day, and I sat down at once to read it. I could follow you, feel with you, sorrow with you from beginning to end. One learns, as one grows older, to care more for the great sorrows of life than for its joys. One learns to weep with those who weep, as one learns to laugh with those who laugh. Your sorrow was different from mine, yet at heart it was the same. The love between a father and his young daughter is the same perfect, because unselfish, love as that between a brother and a sister. For fifty years my life had been a constant sunshine, with no clouds but such as are necessary for a beautiful sky. I often said to myself, I could live and work on for two hundred years and never get tired of it. Now all is changed; the very happiness which is left me still in my wife and children makes me tremble, for I know now on what conditions we hold our happiness. One goes on day after day, and one asks. Why that long delay? How happy we should be if we were all called away at sixteen, knowing nothing of life but that it is a garden and a paradise. Truly those who die young are blessed. And shall we find them again such as they left us? Why not? It is really here on earth that those whom we love change, it is here that they die every day; have we not lost the little angel faces as our children first appeared to us when they entered this world? Where are our children of three and four years, with their minds growing like sweet buds? Where are they, such as they were when ten years old, coming to us with their first troubles, their first questions, and convinced that they could all be answered by their father and mother? Where are they, as they first began to judge for themselves, and yet clung to us as their best friends? Where are all those bright joyous faces which we look at when we open our photograph books from year to year? On earth they are lost, but are they not treasured up for another life, where we shall be not only what we are from day to day, never the same to-morrow as we were yesterday, but where we are at once all that we can be — ^where memory is not different from perception, nor our wills different from our acts? We shall soon know — till then surely we have a right to be what we are, and to cling to our human hopes. The more human they are, the nearer the truth they are likely to be.

‘I shall keep your book as a real treasure. Why is it so difficult to say our best things to the world?'

The following letter is among the first of a long and active correspondence carried on with Professor Noire of Mainz, from now till Noire’s death in 1889. Professor Noire early lost the beautiful girl to whom he was engaged, and never married. He had written a very severe critique on some of Max Muller s works, which a subsequent perusal of them led him to regret, and he at once wrote to Max Muller acknowledging himself in the wrong. Max, who had not seen the attack, was very much touched by the letter, and a devoted friendship sprang up between them. Noire was warmly attached to Max Muller's children.

To Professor Noire.

Translation, Oxford, November 11.

‘It was kind of you to send me your picture: I know you now much better. What are faces for, if not to show us what men are? The words “at the grave of a blessed hope” have touched me deeply. Few would have had the strength to utter such words! My loss was a different one:... much remains that belongs to me, my wife and three children, but the feelings of security, the belief in this life are gone. I pack up my luggage and wait for my train. I should still like to finish various things, but I have the feeling that others who are less tired will do it better than 1. We are on the right path, and we are further on than we were thirty years ago. But the old ones have to make way for the young ones, and must rejoice if they continue on the same straight road. Work and pleasure in my work is never wanting with me, only the time for it seems so short. I read Carriere’s Order of the Moral World lately. He is an old friend of mine. You will like Part II. One of these days I mean to take time to study your writings from beginning to end; but I read but slowly. So far I meet with no thoughts which would make me say No. I wonder where we shall differ. You may go farther in regard to Physics and Metaphysics; I seem to take firmer ground in regard to the historical facts of language, but our aim, I think, is the same.'

To The Same.

Translation, November 18.

‘Dear Friend, — For I think I may call you so, for a meeting of spirits and a mutual understanding is a good if not a better foundation for true friendship, than a casual living together or working together in the same place. And nothing binds human beings so closely together — as in our case — as a common sorrow. I thank you for your sympathy, but, believe me, my sorrow is at the same time my best comfort. I should not like to part with it for anything: you know what I mean. My work of course shall not suffer from it; on the contrary, I seem to see much clearer the work pointed out to me, and I throw a great deal overboard to reach the goal all the faster. I have some big tasks in view, tasks which will occupy me for several years to come, and therefore I shun no labour. My Lectures on Darwin will, I hope, make a nice volume.... I am still searching for the origin of the first concept. I see perfectly what you say about the dualism in the percept of the two arms, eyes, &c., being that of one only. But is reason originally a mere addition? and if so, I ask again, how do we add together? How do one and one make two, make a pair? I should like to say something in public about your last book, to draw the attention of the English to your work and your philosophical position,... But my memory is not quite reliable, and I should like to ask you to give me a clear resume of your work.... Let us hold together while life lasts. Hand in hand we may achieve more than each alone by himself. We are much less afraid when we are two together. The chief condition of all spiritual friendship is perfect frankness. There is no better proof of true friendship than sincere reproof, where such reproof is necessary. We are occupied on one great work, and in this consciousness all that is small must necessarily disappear.’

To The Same.

Translation. 7, Norham Gardens, Oxford, November 26, 1877.

‘Dear Friend, —... There is something in the development and perception of language which is like the formation of corals. How I do envy the Greeks their [x]: how much confusion we might have been spared by such a word as that! I find in your first book what I missed in your last about the origin of language — the foundation, which is far more important than all the later occurrences: whether the materials developed by means of sympathy or mimetic are of little consequence, if only it is clearly realized who is the architect of it all, what he is, and what was his, intention. I can well imagine a language rising out of mimetic materials; indeed, I think we have no right whatever to exclude these materials. The great rivers rise from more than one source — language also. Everything depends on how language works out the material, i.e. how it forms its roots. I have reflected much upon that, have sifted and collected much, but it does not please me yet.... Our problem is what you have stated most clearly, what do we understand by Reason? where is its origin? whither does Reason tend? Reason springs from the perception of the manifold, and strives for the recognition of the highest Oneness; Nature pursues the inverted process, from the highest Oneness or Unity, acting or acted upon, to the endless manifold. Surely Heaven has been mankind’s teacher. Sunrise and sunset preach daily the law of Causality, and in the dawn of the morning we find the first glimmer of Syllogism. The first flush — then the sun appears."

To Mrs. Kingsley.

Oxford, December 13, 1877.

‘My dear Aunt, — It is true that time, and the stars, and the sun have little to do with our sorrows, yet you know how these anniversaries bring back the crushing weight, and take away the elevating power of sorrow. How often I think of you when I feel very sad, and hardly know whether to be more grateful for the year that is gone, or for the years that may still be left me to live with those whom I love on earth. Life can never be again what it was before: one never can forget again the uncertainty of the tenure by which we hold here all that we call our own. One sits quiet in a corner, waiting for the next train, and wondering who will leave us next. That we should ever have been so happy on earth as we have been, that is the marvel. Did not life and happiness seem endless then? and now one only longs that all were over here, and that we were all together again in a safer place. I believe in all our hopes we cannot be human enough. Let us be what we are — ^men, feel as men, sorrow as men, hope as men. It is true our hopes are human, but what are the doubts and difficulties? Are they not human too? That is what we forget when we try to be very wise. Shall we meet again as we left? Why not? Do we not see in the young girl of sixteen the child of six years, nay, even of six weeks, and love one in the other and all together? We do not know how it will be so, but who has a right to say that it cannot be so? Let us imagine and hope for the best that, as men, we can conceive, and then rest convinced that it will be a thousand times better. In that hope I live on, and work on, and that, as you know well, is a great help. How I have rejoiced in the success of your book, for your sake as well as for his! A life well lived is, after all, worth living for. I am quite well in health, the children are well, but they too look forward to a saddened Christmas.’

To Professor Noire.

Translation, 7, Norham Gardens, December 17, 1877.

‘“Let bygones be bygones” is a good proverb, which you learn in England. I am hardened, and have been so for years, against all attacks here; they very rarely cause me a sleepless night. When I, the first layman, delivered my address in Westminster Abbey, all the papers barked to such a degree that even my friends began to be anxious. Petitions were sent to bishops and Convocation; I was threatened with a law-suit, and even with six months’ imprisonment. In Germany people heaped insults upon me at the same time, saying that, to please the orthodox, I had preached a sermon I What is one to say to all this? The only thing is to know what you want, and then always straight on.... It is important for me to know your opinion as to where my weakness lies with regard to German ideas. Of course I am quite conscious that the English atmosphere leaves its impression on me, and makes its influence felt, though I try to keep free from it; and one’s personal foibles and want of clearness must be added to this. We are all becomings I hope, better^ at all events different from year to year. All my life has been a struggle about religious convictions; I think, even now, I cling to many things still which would find no favour with you. To me religion and philosophy are two dialects of the same language. I speak both, and I think I speak them honestly. We only need to reduce our highest philosophic abstractions etymologically to their origin, and how simple and childlike everything becomes!

‘I always think in England you can say everything you like, if you only know how to say it, but I may be mistaken.... I must conclude to-day; these are the sad days which take away the elevating consolation of our grief, and which bring back the hard days of remembrance. I work as much as I can, to hide the open grave.’

From the time of his return to Oxford in the early autumn of 1877, Max Muller began to write the lectures he had promised the Hibbert Trustees to deliver early in 1878. The preparing and publication of these lectures, and the translation and printing of the Upanishads, Part I, which appeared early in 1879, as Volume I of the Sacred Books of the East, occupied Max Muller through the whole year. The spirit in which he worked on is shown in the following letter: —

To His Wife.

January 8 , 1878.

‘I know how much is left us still, but we must learn not to cling too fast to what we think is ours. Nothing is ours on earth, that is what we must learn; and then trust in God, and walk on in faith, but with trembling. It seems hard sometimes for the children that they should have learnt the real lessons of life so early, but it may be good for them to learn the truth and never to forget it again. I had to learn it very late in life, and that made it all the harder. All seemed endless to me before, now I feel at every moment as if the end was near. A few more years and a few more tears, and the work is done. But I do not mean to be idle; on the contrary, I shall try to work with all my might. My work does not separate me from my dear child, she is always with me when I work. I seem to work with her and for her: that is a real help and comfort, nothing else.’

To Professor Noire.

Translation, 7, Norham Gardens, February 3, 1878.

‘Dear Friend, — I seem really to have nothing to do, and yet I do not seem to get any rest.... Here in England we think of nothing now but politics. Gladstone paid a visit here. I ventured to tell him quite humbly that, because we hate the Turks, it did not seem necessary to love the Russians, but one might as well sail up Niagara as meet such a torrent of eloquence. These things make me quite sad. It is, indeed, beautiful when a nation governs itself, and when each and all may say what they think, but with regard to the enemy this seems rather dangerous.

‘Gladstone does good, but he does not know. He ruins the Liberal party in England, and the Tories will have a great majority in Parliament.

'I admire the artistic finish of Eber’s work. He seems to me amiable and modest, to judge from correspondence I have had with him. Also it does him great credit that, as a Professor, he has the courage to be a man. Do you know Kingsley's Hypatia? In spite of all mistakes, it seems to me a most remarkable book, more remarkable than the Egyptian Princess, and he was such a good man and faithful friend. I have tried in vain to find out what prominent music connoisseurs admire in Wagner. I have shunned neither time nor trouble, but without results; the swamp in which we find a few lilies is too deep for me.'

To The Same.

Translation. February 8.

'... You think much too highly of what I have done. I read your books at a time when I had hardly any feelings left for other things. My sorrow had blinded me to all and everything. I stood, as it were, under a waterfall, where, as Jean Paul remarks, we need no shelter from the rain. At another time your remarks might have called forth some sharp rejoinder from me; as it is now, it is difficult for me either to get angry or to rejoice over anything.

‘Darwin has given us, in his later editions of the Origin of Species, an historical treatise on his mental ancestors. Altogether old Darwin is an honest fellow. The Darwinians are much worse than Darwin himself, and I think the word “Darwinism” ought either to be sharply defined or should be replaced by “ evolution-doctrine.” Has not the Bathybius Haeckelii been long given up by its inventor, Huxley?

‘The theory of meteoric stones as life-producers originates from Sir William Thomson; Helmholtz accepted it; after that it was said that it had only been a joke; later on it was taken up again seriously.'

The following letter is an answer to one written by Mr. Freeman from Palermo. Mr. Freeman was deeply interested in the language of Sicily, which he felt historically ought to be Greek with words borrowed from Latin and Arabic, whereas it is Latin with borrowed words.
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 2 of 2

To E. Freeman, Esq.

Oxford, April 10.

‘The subject on which you write is certainly interesting and very puzzling, but you know a great deal more about it than I do. I only know the present dialect from Pitre’s Fiabe e Novelle [Google translate: Fairy tales and short stories], where there is also a grammar, and at the end a glossary. The Greek and Arabic ingredients are very small and very doubtful, frequently dating from Albanian rather than from Greek. Years ago I read a number of Greek Charters published by Trinchers, or some such name, and containing a number of Roman words disguised in Greek. I remember [x] = feodum, &c. But before the Norman conquest the literary history of Sicily is to me utterly unknown. My own idea was that Augustus sent large colonies to Sicily, and that from that time the coloni spoke Latin. After that they were for a long time bilingual and tri-lingual in the upper classes, but the influence of the Church would favour the Latin, which maintained itself even where Greek was used for official documents. If there were materials, it would be a chapter of the Science of Language, full of interest, but I believe the materials are wanting. I know that Niebuhr took much interest in the subject, and tried to discover Greek elements in the spoken Sicilian. Bunsen told me of his once being in a boat with Niebuhr with some Sicilian boatmen; there was a storm, and, in order to encourage each other, the rowers suddenly began to sing out ''ploi!" Niebuhr was delighted; he asked them what it meant, and they said it was a kind of charm they had learnt from English sailors. No, said Niebuhr, it is Sicilian Greek. No, said Bunsen, it is English, Pull away! Have you been to any of the places, four, I believe, altogether, where they still speak a kind of Arabic? That would be an interesting dialect to analyse. I am just now deep in Sanskrit, having undertaken a course of lectures “On the Origin of Religion,” to be delivered in the Chapter House, Westminster. Hard work, but I wanted some hard work. We are just on the eve of our election; Henry Smith comes forward as a candidate. I wish him all success, though I fear “original research” will suffer.' [/quote]

To His Mother.

Translation. April 18.

'My dear, good Mother, — This will reach you on Auguste's birthday. How often I used to pity her that she was called away so early, but now one does not pity her any longer. One pities those who must struggle on here so long. But what is long and what is short? Time goes fast, and we must wait in patience, and employ the time as well as we can. I try to do so. I have plenty of work for my London lectures. I hope they will be a success. The first lecture is to be printed by May 1 in England, Germany, Italy, perhaps in France too. The rest must wait, but all are to be ready by the autumn, so there is plenty to be done. To-day it is quite springlike here, quite warm already. We went out to pick the flowers (fritillaries) which grow here in the river meadows. How often we went there all together! And then one says constantly to oneself, What a happy dream of life the child dreamt, how much has she been spared I I must for the present go constantly to London, and G. will often go with me, and we shall see friends and relations there, and must begin to get accustomed again to society, hard as it will be. I hope you are well. Spend plenty of money, what is it there for? I should like sometimes to send money for her children: how can I do it?'

A short time before delivering his first Hibbert Lecture, Max Muller sent it to a few friends, on whose judgement he relied, for criticism. In every case it was returned with expressions of the highest appreciation, which braced and encouraged him; for the deep sorrow through which he had passed had unnerved him, and though he had, as he knew, done his very best, he mistrusted his own judgement. One friend wrote: H have read your lecture with the liveliest pleasure, and very much profit. It is beautiful, so cool, so solid, so wise, so full of humour (these are famous strokes).' Another wrote: 'I do not think it is any peculiar taste of my own which makes me say that the selection and order of topics, the literary form, the tone of feeling, the proportion of original exposition to criticism of others, and the blending of historical with philosophical elements, appear to me altogether admirable in themselves, and for the purpose of the lectureship.’ The Westminster Chapter had, at the instance of Dean Stanley, lent the Chapter House at West- minster for the series of seven lectures, but a few days before the first lecture Max Muller received a telegram that 1,400 applications for tickets (which were gratis) had been received, the Chapter House only holding 600. He at once settled to give the same lecture twice, morning and afternoon. One of the leading papers thus described the opening lecture: —

‘It was a memorable morning in April, 1878, when Professor Max Muller stood up in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey to deliver the first of his lectures on “The Origin and Growth of Religion." The place, the lecturer, and the occasion were all alike remarkable. Under the shadow of one of the noblest buildings ever raised by mediaeval Christianity, an Oxford lay Professor came forward to deal with the deepest problems of historical religion in the "dry light” of modern science, and in the name of a trust which was intended by its founder to promote “the unfettered exercise of private judgement in matters of religion.” Times change and the generations of men with them, and the crowded audiences which attended Professor Max Muller's lectures showed plainly that the days are past when a scientific treatment of religion could be regarded as either irreverent or heterodox.'

Another said: —

‘No person who had the good fortune to be present at these lectures is likely to forget the extraordinary spectacle. The Chapter House was thickly crowded with perhaps the most remarkably eclectic audience ever assembled within that majestic old building. To very many the thought must have occurred, with what astonishment the old monks of Westminster would have looked upon such an audience gathered in their Chapter House for such a purpose.’

It was indeed a varied assembly that met there — dignitaries of the Church, leading Nonconformists, missionaries, and many natives of India, scientific men, fashionable ladies, highly cultivated women like Anna Swanwick, noted free-thinkers, whilst it was reckoned that at least one-tenth of the audience were ordained ministers of the Gospel. After the first lecture a friend wrote to Max Muller: —

‘May it not be your high privilege and opportunity now, in the old historic Commons House and Chapter House, to gather together the real Commoners of the vast religious republic {stretching from India to California, from Strauss, Haeckel, and Huxley to Stanley and Emerson) and make a new “chapter” in our religious controversies? If we could only agree on the fundamental point that we are not to look backward 1,878 years for the religious any more than for the scientific culmination of humanity, all the rest would be easy.’

Naturally many of the so-called religious and Church papers criticized the lectures unsparingly, but they continued to be thronged to the last, and on every occasion the lecturer could feel that he was in thorough touch with his audience. He wrote to his mother: —

Translation. May 12, 1878.

‘We are living a very disturbed life, and I often long as usual for quiet. The lectures go on well, but it is a great effort; the same lecture twice in the same day. Wednesday we go again to London, and so it will go on for some weeks. People think it is a good change for us. You know it is worse than when one is quietly at home.’

To The Same.

Translation, June 21, 1878.

‘I am very tired from the lectures, and must have some rest. The old body won’t go as formerly, and yet new work is always coming in, that one cannot well give up. I must see how a week at Malvern will suit me, and then I shall stay quietly in Oxford, where it is so quiet and pleasant in vacation, unless my doctor sends me to the sea. I have received £300 for my lectures, but settled at once to spend them in memory of Ada, in founding a scholarship at her school1 [The Ada Scholarship, at the Oxford High School for Girls, for good conduct and proficiency in German.]. I know that would please her. I must now prepare the lectures for printing — no little work. I think I gained my object in the lectures, but it was a great effort.... All the papers one cares for speak warmly in their praise.'

The last words of the last lecture touched a hidden chord in the hearts of many of Max Muller’s hearers, and gave expression to the longing of many among them: —

‘I hope the time will come when the subterranean area of human religion will be rendered more and more accessible,... and that the Science of Religion, which at present is but a desire and a seed, will in time become a fulfilment and a plenteous harvest. When that time of harvest has come, when the deepest foundations of all the religions of the world have been laid free and restored, who knows but that those very foundations may serve once more, like the Catacombs, or like the crypts beneath our old cathedrals, as a place of refuge for those who, to whatever creed they may belong, long for something better, purer, older, and truer than what they can find in the statutable sacrifices, services, and sermons of the days in which their lot on earth has been cast; some who have put away childish things... but who cannot part with the childlike faith of their heart? Though leaving much behind of what is worshipped or preached in Hindu temples, in Buddhist viharas, in Mohammedan mosques, in Jewish synagogues^ and Christian churches, each believer may bring down with him into that quiet crypt what he values most: —

‘The Hindu, his innate disbelief in this world, his unhesitating belief in another world.

'The Buddhist, his perception of an eternal law,... his gentleness, his piety.

'The Mohammedan,... his sobriety.

‘The Jew, his clinging... to the one God, who loveth righteousness and whose name is I am.

‘The Christian, that which is better than all,... our love of God, call Him what you like, the infinite, the invisible, the immortal, the Father, the highest self, above all, and through all, and in all, manifested in our love of man, our love of the living, our love of the dead, our living and undying love. That crypt, though as yet but small and dark, is visited even now by those few who shun the noise of many voices, the glare of many lights, the conflict of many opinions. Who knows but that in time it will grow wider and brighter, and that the Crypt of the Past may become the Church of the Future?'

When the book was printed, a friend wrote, in allusion to the touching dedication: 'Never did a brief and lovely existence find a sweeter immortality on earth than that of her whose spirit mingled with her father’s, and became enshrined in his finest work.' Professor Noire wrote: ‘Such a wreath was never before laid on the resting-place of a loved one. They are not flowers, they are fruits, golden fruits, the ripest of their time. They will feed the hungry, refresh the thirsty, raise the fainting, and be for future generations a consolation, a glimpse into eternity, into the imperishable.’

The dedication runs thus: —


After reading the first lecture sent to him in MS., Dr. Liddon wrote: —

‘I have read it through, as I need hardly say, with great admiration, and, generally speaking, with complete assent.... I, for one, am convinced that in drawing attention to the pathetic interest of struggles after light among the heathen, and to the substantial value of the truths which they attained to, you are doing us a real service. You have the Alexandrians behind you, and the modern Church has too generally forgotten them.... And when you say that “ Christianity conquered the world without protection,’ 'I more than assent.’

Just before going to London to deliver his last lecture, Max Muller had asked his friends in Oxford to meet Mr. Graham Bell, the inventor of the Bell telephone, which preceded Edison’s more perfect instrument. It was the first ever heard in England. A large company gathered together, and intense interest and surprise were felt by every one, even the scientific men present little dreaming of the immense practical importance of the invention, nor the possibility of the almost limitless extension now attained to. Mr. Bell also brought down a microphone, only just invented, and a phonograph. The wire of the telephone was stretched from one end of the garden to the other, and even a whisper was distinctly heard. The wire of the microphone was brought from a room on the second story, and the sound made by a fly crawling along a board in the room upstairs sounded in the garden like the tramp of an elephant. The phonograph was not good, and even one person at a time found it difficult to make out what it repeated. The following week, in London, Max Muller was asked to speak a Sanskrit verse into a better instrument. The scene has been well described by Mr. Moncure Conway: —

‘When the phonograph was invented, one of its first appearances was at the house of J. Fletcher Moulton, Q.C. (now M.P.). A fashionable company, among them some eminent men of science and men of letters, gathered round the novelty, and Max Muller was the first called on to utter something in the phonograph. We presently heard issuing from it these sounds: “Agnim ile purohitam yagnasya devam ritvigam — hotaram ratnadhatamam.” There was a burst of merriment when these queer sounds came from the machine, but a deep silence when Max Muller explained that we had heard words from the oldest hymn in the world, the first (if I remember rightly) in the Rig-veda: “Agni I worship; the chief priest of the sacrifice, the divine priest, the invoker, conferring the greatest wealth." And then the young people gathered around the smiling scholar, to learn that the hymns had all passed through thousands of years, in a phonographic way, each generation uttering precisely what was poured into its ear by the preceding generation, until their language died, to be recovered in the West, where for the first time the real meaning of Agni, and the human significance of the hymns, were studied and known. However, I did not hear exactly what the Professor said to the eager inquirers, but stood apart observing the picturesqueness of the scene, and finding in it something symbolical of the whole career of the polite scholar. He had evoked from the oral Sanskrit phonograph the ancient Aryan literature and mythology; the thin metallic voices became real, and cast their poetic spell not merely on the learned, but On fashionable young ladies and gentlemen in drawing-rooms, throughout Europe and America, adding vast estates to their minds, delivering them from the mere pin-hole views of humanity and of the universe, to which our ancestors were limited.'

During Commemoration Max Muller and his wife went to West Malvern, which from this time was a favourite retreat, when he felt overworked, and wished for that quiet which it became increasingly difficult to get in Oxford. The fine air, the long rambles on the hills, the glorious sunsets, for which West Malvern is famous, always refreshed him, and he could return to his life of almost ceaseless labour with renewed vigour. Later on, when his old and valued friend Lady Mary Fielding built herself a house at West Malvern, these visits had a fresh charm added to them.

To Dean Stanley.

Oxford, July 2, 1878.

‘I am truly sorry for the Roumanians: both the Prince and Princess seemed to me so thoroughly honest, open, trusting, much too good for their place and the people they have to deal with, including Emperors et hoc genus omne [Google translate: and all this kind]. No Power could be expected to go to war for Roumania, but England should have protested against what she knows to be an act of fraud and violence. Roumania might have been the Belgium of the East, it may now become another Poland. Russia and Austria want to disintegrate the Roumanian nationality, and then to absorb it. They do not want another nationality between Slaves, Germans, Magyars, and Turks. The people who speak Roumanian in Austria, Russia, and Turkey lean towards the independent Roumanians, and their consolidation might become a danger. Hence the amputation of Bessarabia, and the introduction of a foreign and fermenting element in the Dobrudja. Both will produce results hereafter.

‘How little one saw the sadness that fills the world in one's younger days! Now one sees and hears nothing else, and joy and happiness seem all effort and acting. True happiness seems now to lie in undisturbed sadness only. We were at Malvern last week, and on our way back saw both Tewkesbury and Worcester: what grand cathedrals, and splendidly restored!'

To The Same.

7, Norham Gardens, Oxford, July 4, 1878.

‘I never said that Jingo was derived from Bask; I only said some one, I thought Tylor, had derived it from Bask. Tylor, however, tells me he is innocent. The Bask word is Tain-coa; Darrigol says the provincial pronunciation is Taongoi-coa, or Jabe on-goicoa, and that that would mean "Le bon maitre d’en haut. [Google translate: The good master from above.]”

'My own feeling is that the living Jingo is nothing but one of those half-intentional corruptions of a sacred name which people were afraid to pronounce, and yet would pronounce. Thus we have morbleu for "mort de Dieu,” parbleu for "par Dieu,” diantre for “diable,” German Sapperment for “Sacrament,” Herrje for “Herr Jesus,” Thus “by the living Jingo” was most likely for “by the living Jehovah unless somebody knows anything better.’

To His Mother.

Translation. August 3, 1878.

‘We were delighted to get your letter for our wedding-day. The shadows fall thicker and thicker, but even in the shade it is well, often better than in full sunshine. And when the evening comes, one is tired, and ready to sleep! And so all is ordered for us, if we only accommodate ourselves to it quietly. The one thing that grieves me is that you are so often disturbed by such little events in life.’

Plans had been made for a visit to Scotland, but illness detained the Max Mullers, and they finally chose Whitby, chiefly for the sake of being near their friends the Bradleys, with whom long drives and walks over the moors, and expeditions along the coast, made this holiday most enjoyable to old and young.

Mr. Moncure Conway had sent an admirable digest of the Hibbert Lectures to an American paper, which called forth the following letter: —

Whitby, August 29, 1878.

‘Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! that is an excellent abstract, the very marrow from beginning to end. What a pity it could not have been published in an English paper! You know there is no greater satisfaction than to feel and see that one has been really understood, and that one has acted as a successful interpreter between the thoughts of the old Rishis and the most advanced thinkers of the New World. As for the Self, I shall still have much to say; it is all in the Upanishads. Emerson did not see further than those old philosophers; both, I feel convinced, saw the truth. If you could get me a copy of the paper, I should feel grateful. I shall keep it for the present, if I may, and return it to you when you want it. With regard to American publishers, I always think it best to do nothing, though if anything comes of your endeavours I shall be grateful.’

To His Mother.

Translation. October 9, 1878.

‘How different was your birthday in old days to now, when so many who used to rejoice with you are gone before us! That is the sorrow of a long life. One is ever more lonely, and lives ever more in the beautiful past than in the present. But one must say to oneself it was to be, and so it is best for us. However old one grows, there is always something to be done and learnt. At all events, one learns to be more indulgent towards others, and to think less and less about oneself. The more love in the heart, the more peace in the life, and that is what I wish for you for the rest of your life's journey.’

To Professor Benfey (on the fiftieth anniversary of his Professorship).

Translation. Oxford, October 15, 1878.

‘I am not sure whether these lines will reach you in time, but though my congratulations may arrive a day too soon or too late, you will know that they come from my heart, and that I sympathize deeply with the happiness which will be yours at this time. It is rare that a man in full possession of his mental power and strength can look back upon fifty years of a life so rich in labour and success as you are able to do to-day. You know how long I have been one of your pupils and admirers, and the consciousness that I have so often given expression to my admiration for you behind your back, gives me the courage to do so for once publicly and to yourself. Only the other day I came again across your treatise about Medhas, and it made me exclaim, “Nobody comes up to him in the least!” Well, not only on your own account and on account of those belonging to you, but also for our sakes, I wish for many autumns for you still, saradahsatam! The beauty of our studies is, that they not only occupy the head, but provide much food also for the heart and the inner man. The older we grow, the more do we value the “Wisdom of the Brahmas”: and though, in growing old, we do not, like them, go into the forest, still we learn from you that the home also can grow into the forest, and that the true Muni, when his time comes, can fearlessly say; “I will get rid of death as if it were not death, or as if I were immortal.”’

Max Muller then tells Professor Benfey that many of his admirers and pupils in England and Germany wished to present him with some token of their esteem, and asks him privately what sort of gift he would prefer. A set of gold dessert dishes were fixed on by the old man, and they were chosen by Max Muller and forwarded to him, together with the long list of subscribers, which included nearly all distinguished men connected with Oriental studies.

To Sir John Lubbock.

Oxford, November 19.

'I think you will be interested in the copy of an inscription sent me by Dr. Schliemann. I had written to tell him that all must depend on the inscription which he mentioned as part of his treasure, but I am afraid that nothing will come of what he sent me. Most of it looks to me like mere ornamentation. No doubt one may recognize a t and th in the cross, and the cross surrounded by a circle, but the inscription of these signs points to an ornamental purpose. In some of the other specimens one recognizes Semitic letters, but not of a very primitive type, an r, s, th, o, and on the hone there are a few very fine Phenician letters, only arranged in a way in which Phenician letters were never arranged. All this will not help us much, and I doubt whether there are any more inscriptions. However, the treasure is there, and Dr. Schliemann says its value in pure gold is more than would be found now in many an Imperial palace.’

It has been mentioned that, since the Taylorian Professorship was abolished, the Curators had from time to time invited foreigners, as M. Taine, Klaus Groth, &c., to lecture on foreign literature in some foreign language. This called forth the following letter: —

To M. Renan.

November 27.

‘You will be surprised at the object of my letter, and will probably look upon it as another sign of the inexplicable in the English character. Well, some of my friends here at Oxford, the very bulwarks of conservatism in politics and religion, have suddenly become possessed by a strong desire to invite Castelar1 [The republican Spanish orator, statesman, and writer.] to give them a few lectures at Oxford. I have tried to explain that Castelar will probably not care to lecture in French, while if he lectured in Spanish he would have no audience at all. It was all in vain, and I was commissioned to find out whether M. Castelar would be inclined to accept an invitation to lecture, similar to that given to M. Taine, D.C.L. As I do not know M. Castelar personally, and was afraid of asking him directly, I thought I might write to you, to ask whether you could find out privately if M. Castelar, in case he were asked officially, would be likely to accede to such a request. I take it for granted that you know him, and I believe he is at present in Paris. Personally I need hardly say I have a sincere admiration for M. Castelar, and should feel delighted to make the acquaintance of a man who has done so much, and will I believe do much more in the future, but I tell you openly I was a little surprised at my friends' decision to invite him to Oxford, and I think it even possible that there may be some opposition made before the decision can assume an official character. However, if there is one thing which M. Castelar does not know, it is fear; and he may possibly think it worth his while to make an effort to place his views and convictions before the future statesmen in England. So if you could help me to reconnoitre the ground before the advance is made, I should feel much obliged. I hope in a few weeks to send you my new volume on the Origin and Growth of Religion; there are few men whose opinion I am more anxious to know on what I have had to say on the greatest question of our life, than yours.'

Several interesting letters passed after this between Max Muller and Senor Castelar, who seemed at first willing to undertake the lectures, but found that his duties in the Cortes would prevent him from leaving Spain.

It was towards the close of the year that Max Muller paid the visit to Prince Leopold at Boyton, which is mentioned in Auld Lang Syne, when the Prince produced the last bottle of the fine Johannisberg wine which Max Muller had always admired in Oxford, and which the Prince had kept for his visit.

Boyton Manor, November 30.

‘I arrived all right, though it was not easy to find the way. When I came here, the Prince was out shooting, but he soon appeared with Mr. Collins, looking very well. There was a large party in the evening, Lord Bath, Lord Heytesbury, &c. Mrs. Collins is here, and young Campbell, who was with the Prince at Oxford. It is a pretty old house and very comfortably arranged, but he lives here very little, I believe, and it seems a pity he should not be in some place where he could do some good work. I never know why I go away from home. I do not want anything in the whole world: all I want I have at home, and that you know.'

To Dr. Rolleston.  

December 12.

‘I shall have nothing to do with Denominational or Undenominational Halls. Religion, though it does not come from ligare, is to bind us together; if it does not do that, it will do nothing else. No, I could not be President of the —Society; life is short enough as it is.’

At length the Hibbert Lectures were published, as the next letters show: —

To M. Renan.

December 19.

‘I hope you have received my Hilbert Lectures by this time. I have said in that book what I have longed to say for many years; you will easily understand what I mean, and what I am striving at, but whether the public at large will, I rather doubt. I could have made three or four large volumes out of the one, but if one wishes to be listened to at all in these days one must concentrate one’s thoughts, say only what is essential, and not say everything. In that respect nothing to my mind is more perfect than the Sanskrit Sutra style, though not without the commentary. I have tried to imitate that to a certain extent, whether successfully I must leave others to judge. Anyhow it will not take up much of your time to read the book, and I shall take it as a true sign of your friendship if you would spare the time, and afterwards tell me just with one word whether what I have seen is land or clouds.’

To Dean Stanley. Oxford, December 7.

'Of course I know that many people will be angry with my Lectures, If it were not so, I should not have written them. The more I see of the so-called heathen religions, the more I feel convinced that they contain germs of the highest truth. There is no distinction in kind between them and our own religion. The artificial distinction which we have made has not only degraded the old revelation, but has given to our own almost a spectral character. No doubt the man is different from the child, but the child is the man and the man is the child, aye, even the very suckling. We can hardly believe it, yet the fact is there, and so it is in the growth of religion. God does not date from 754 A.U.C.; that is what I want to teach. St. Augustine taught just the same, “Res ipsa, quae nunc religio Christiana nuncupatur, erat apud antiquos, nec defuit ab initio generis humani, quousque Christus veniret in carnem, unde vera religio, quae iam erat, coepit appellari Christiana [Google translate: The thing itself, that which is now called the Christian religion was among the ancients, nor He was absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh. whence the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christian]” (Retr. I. 13: Chips, Preface, Volume I, p. xi).

'I wonder what the Canons would have said, if St. Augustine had preached such doctrines in their Chapter House! But enough of this.’

To His Mother.

Translation. December 21, 1878.

‘We got your card as we came in from skating, so you see it is real winter here. The children have holidays, and Wilhelm and the girls amuse themselves on the ice. I had to skate with them, but it shakes my old bones, and it is high time to give it up. The sad news from Darmstadt1 [Death of the Grand Duchess of Hesse.] came just during the days so full of sad memories to us. One feels more deeply for others when one knows what it is! The poor husband and children, and here the poor mother! She was a lovely, good, and remarkable woman; later on people wall have more idea of this. It is but a short time ago she consulted me about a tutor for her son. It is almost unbelievable, and much that is good will perish with her. How imperfect is this life, and how vain the labour of even the best people! My book is out, and there are many who agree with it, but many who oppose it, and that is always the best sign — one knows then that one’s shot has told against untruth, and falseness, and envy. I work on quietly, and let them rage till they are weary.’

The following appreciation of the Grand Duchess of Hesse was found among Max Muller’s papers: —

‘The religious education which the Princess had received was such that, as she grew older, she might indeed have learnt to apprehend more fully the deep meaning of the simple truths she had been taught as a child; but she never would have had to unlearn or to disbelieve anything which she had been led to believe by her father. Another blessing which she carried away from her bright home was that perfect fearlessness which has always been the true reward of pure motives and true faith. How unjust public clamour could be even in a free country, the young Princess had had sad occasion to learn, but she had learnt at the same time the sacredness of the duty never to join in such clamour without a conscientious examination of the facts on which it professed to rest.

‘In Germany the very name of Strauss had such a bad sound that it required no small courage on the part of the Princess to allow him even to be presented to her. Having once admitted him to her society, she felt in duty bound to form an independent opinion of his worth. To many people that would, no doubt, have been a dangerous experiment, and even to her it was, as we know, a painful trial. But she had faith in her faith. As the true child of her father, aye, as a true child of the spirit of St. Paul, she wished to prove everything, and to retain what was best. And she had her reward. Like genuine ore, her faith, though it may have lost some of its slag in the fiery furnace, came out more precious, more bright, more pure. What seemed a loss, became to her a real gain, and in the future no page in her life will probably be read with deeper sympathy, no sacrifice that the Princess has ever made will prove a greater blessing to many sick and wounded in spirit, than her noble courage in facing a danger from which so many shrink, and the triumph of that childlike faith which in the end helped her to bear burdens which seemed almost too heavy to be borne.’

In the visitors’ book of this year we find the names of Bishop Staley of Honolulu, Professor Buhler from Bombay, Professor Darmesteter the Zend scholar, Mr. Graham Bell, Mr. Ralston the Russian scholar, the Bishops of Ohio, Colorado, and Shanghai, Turguenieff the novelist, and Herr Abel, the Times correspondent in Berlin.
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 1 of 2



Publication of the first volumes of Sacred Books of the East. Correspondence with Lady Welby. Renan. Holland. Dessau. Visitors. Japanese pupils. Greek accents. Lowell Keshub Chunder Sen. Visit of Renan. Speech at Birmingham. ‘Shang-ti.’

Max Muller, ever since his first intercourse with Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Hesse in 1872 at Baden, had the greatest admiration for her character and talents, and we have seen how deeply he mourned over her untimely death.

To H.R.H. Prince Leopold.

Oxford, February 5, 1879.

'Sir,— I have thought of your Royal Highness very often during all these weeks, and of those true words of true sorrow in your last letter. I know the time when one first begins to recover from the crushing blow, and when the ordinary duties of life must be fulfilled again. It is the worst of all. One feels that life cannot and ought not to be again as it was, and yet it is. One shudders at the first smile that returns, and one longs for the tears in which wounded nature finds her best relief, but they flow no more.

'The time has not yet come for measuring the loss which not only her nearest relatives and friends, but the world has suffered through the death of your noble sister. You must wonder at the intense feeling of love and admiration with which she inspired all who came near her. To you she was like a great treasure that was your own; to others like a beautiful picture, like some Madonna of Raphael, which seen, it may be once or twice only, leaves a memory of loveliness on one’s mind which is a treasure for ever. She was one of those natures in whom one believes at once, of whom one can think nothing but what is good, and by whom one feels certain of never being misunderstood. There was something truly royal in her, in the old sense of the word. Kings and Dukes were in former times leaders of men, leaders against enemies, whatever they might be, claiming the first place in every battle, the place of danger and of honour. That old truly royal spirit was in her, and made her, young as she was, step forward where others would have cowered behind, fearless and as if inspired by an ardent and irresistible love of truth. What is the use of being a King or a Duke if one cannot be a leader, a lover of truth, a champion of the persecuted, and never a slave to prejudice or etiquette? That old truly royal spirit seemed to beam from her eyes and breathe in her words, and made one feel that true chivalry was not yet altogether extinct on earth. I know many men in Germany who expected much from her influence, they hardly knew how and why, but they all trusted her and believed in her.  

‘I wonder whether the Grand Duke would like to see some letters, written with great freedom and by no courtier? I enclose one, which will show him what his own subjects thought of their Grand Duchess. I have no words of comfort, but I can and do feel the deepest sympathy in his irreparable loss. Trusting that your Royal Highness may not have suffered from these heavy trials and efforts, I remain always,  

‘Your Royal Highnesses very faithful servant,

'F. Max Muller.'

The following letter makes the first mention of Madame Blavatsky, whose doctrine of Esoteric Buddhism was so contemned later on by Max Muller. It was also the allusions in this letter that led Mr. Malabari, himself a Parsee, to take an interest in Keshub Chunder Sen and the doctrines of the Brahma Somaj. And probably this letter induced Mr. Malabari to have the Hibbert Lectures translated into several of the Indian vernaculars.

To B. Malabari, Esq.

Oxford, March 29, 1879.

'I received your letter of March 10 yesterday, and I have at once written to Miss Manning to ask how I could in any way be useful to your young musical friend. I am myself very fond of music, though too old and too busy now to practise. I was a friend of Mendelssohn, and know several musicians in London, and if I can do anything for your friend’s son I shall gladly do so.

‘I sent you a copy of my Hibbert Lectures, These lectures were chiefly written for India. What I wished to do was to show you how much and how little you possess in your own ancient religion. There is a large accumulation of mere rubbish in your religious system: that you know as well as I do, and to an enlightened mind such as yours there can be no offence in my saying this; but beneath that rubbish there are gems. Do not throw those gems away with the rubbish. It is the fate of all religions to form these thick crusts of superstition around them — our own religion forms no exception to that rule— but to those who seek below the surface, in almost all religions there will be a reward. They will find what they seek, and enough to carry them safely through this short life. If you could tell your countrymen something of what I have written in these lectures, it might bear some good fruit. I should like to write a life of Rammohun Roy. I have many materials for it, but I want more. He was a really great man, much greater than the world imagines, and we here in Europe have to learn from him quite as much as you in India. I have also full faith in Keshub Chunder Sen. I cannot bear to see the unforgiving way in which he has lately been treated. He has made a mistake, no doubt. But even if he had committed a crime, would it be impossible to forgive? Are his judges so immaculate? Do they know the temptations of a man placed in so exceptional a position? He has been too kind, too yielding as a father — he has himself acknowledged that much. That is enough. You will never find immaculate saints on earth: we ought to be grateful when we find an honest man, though he may not be free from human weaknesses.

‘I was much amused at your “theosophic Russian countess.” If she would learn Panini while she is in' India, she might do more useful work. I know nothing about her or against her. For all we know, she too may be a seeker after truth.’

During March of this year the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany, with their son, the present Emperor, and our present King, spent a long day in Oxford. Max Muller had the honour of receiving them at All Souls, and showing them over his College. He afterwards accompanied Prince William to the river and the barges, and this visit so delighted the Prince that he was anxious to spend one or two terms at Oxford; but it could not be. It was this visit, too, that caused the Prince, when Emperor, to take such an interest in Oxford boating, and, as is well known, he sent his congratulations year after year, through Max Muller, whenever Oxford won the University race.

In April Max was summoned to Germany by the alarming illness of his mother, who was now living at Dessau to be near her relations. He was able to return in about ten days’ time, free from anxiety. Knowing how the parting always upset her, he came away without saying good-bye, writing the following letter to be given her when he was gone: —

Translation, Dessau, April 26.

‘My Dear Good Mother, — My heart was very heavy when I came here, and I go away very much reassured. Even if it is a little time yet before you get up your strength, you will doubtless soon be able to enjoy this lovely spring weather. As long as God wills it, we must learn to bear this life, but when He calls us we willingly close our eyes, for we know it is better for us there than here. When so many whom we loved are gone before us, we follow gladly; and the older we become here, the more one feels that death is a relief. And yet we can thankfully enjoy what is still left us on earth, even if our hearts no longer cling to it as formerly. I am so glad that I came here, and could inspire you with courage to live on. We do not need to say good-bye, for in spirit we are always together, and the miles between do not separate us. I have been so glad to see your home, and what care every one here takes of you. That is such a comfort to me. Take care of yourself, that you may not make us all so anxious again. Greet all at Dessau heartily from me: it is always a delight to be with one’s relations who ever remain the same.

‘In old love, your


Early in May Max Muller sent the following letter to the Dean of Christ Church: —

Oxford, May 14, 1879.

‘My Dear Dean, — Three volumes of the Sacred Books of the East will be ready for publication next week. I believe it was chiefly owing to your exertions, and to the interest taken by Lord Salisbury and Sir H. Maine, that that work could be carried out, and I should much like to dedicate the whole series to that triumvirate. But I shall take no steps before I know what you think about it.

'I know you will tell me openly what you think about this; also whether the wording is sufficiently formal, considering that it is addressed to our Chancellor. I should like to have these three names connected permanently with this undertaking, but I shall be entirely guided by your judgement.'

The dedication runs thus: —


Lord Salisbury and Sir Henry Maine acceded at once to Max Muller’s request, but the Dean hesitated awhile, which called forth another note from his friend, who always felt that it was to Dean Liddell’s powerful advocacy he owed the continuance of his life in England.

7, Norham Gardens, May 20.

‘My dear Dean, — I should be very sorry if you declined to have your name associated with those of Lord Salisbury and Sir H. Maine in the dedication of the Sacred Books of the East, Both Lord Salisbury and Sir H. Maine have accepted the small token of gratitude which I could offer them, and my impression is that you had more to do with starting and carrying the whole matter than either of them. I should be afraid of offending you were I to say more, and I can only repeat my request that you may give me this opportunity of giving expression publicly to some of the sentiments which I have long entertained for you.

‘I enclose an uncorrected proof-sheet. It will save you the trouble of writing another note, if you will kindly return it to me soon, with any corrigenda you like,'

It was during this summer that Max Muller made closer acquaintance with Lady Welby, to whom he owed the fine extract from Bishop Beveridge which forms the motto, one may call it, to the Sacred Books of the East. It will be found in Volume I of the series. Lady Welby herself stumbled on the passage by accident. Having some spare time one day, she resolved to look through a cupboard containing books that had belonged to her mother-in-law. The first book she drew out was Bishop Beveridge's Private Thoughts on Religion. She opened it to see what it might contain, and the passage in question almost at once caught her eye. She copied and sent it to Max Muller as strikingly applicable to his work. But Lady Welby shall tell the story herself: —

‘My first interview with Professor Max Muller took place at the Deanery of Westminster. Twelve years afterwards I saw him again at Oxford.

'In the meantime he had brought to a triumphant conclusion the arrangements for his great work on the Sacred Books of the East. I had been roused to indignation by the accusations I found taken up by almost every one I knew, that in this signal service to religion he had only wished to discredit Christianity.

‘It was after I had found and sent him Bishop Beveridge's prophetic utterance that I saw him at Oxford. I can never forget that picture.

‘He was sitting at his writing-table. After a kindly greeting he said, “I was sitting just here when your letter came. It had all the effect upon me of what is called a miracle. Why do we disbelieve in miracle because we are no longer able to associate it with magic? It was a ‘bolt out of the blue'; it was exactly what was wanted, and if it had reached me but a few hours later it would have been too late. As it was, I had to wire to the binder to stop work.”

‘I ought to add that (as appears in one of his letters to me) his sensitive conscience caused him at first to hesitate as to whether Bishop Beveridge would have approved of his words being thus used. But he was afterwards quite convinced that the man who had the courage in those days to write thus would have been equally fearless at all times.

‘The ready and sympathetic interest with which for many years he helped and cheered on my humble attempts at inquiry into the conditions and nature of meaning, its changes and developments, are reflected in his letters.

‘I can only here repeat my admiration and gratitude to him, whom to know was not merely to admire, but also most warmly to regard, and to whose unfailing kindness I owed so much.

'Victoria Welby.’

To Lady Welby.

May 16.

'Many thanks for those extracts from Bishop Beveridge. I was amazed and delighted on reading them. They came in the very nick of time. I am just publishing three volumes of translations of the Sacred Books of the East, and I could not wish for a better — what shall I call it?— motto, figure-head, flag, for these books than the sentences from Beveridge....

'Looking forward to the great pleasure of renewing our acquaintance, I remain, yours sincerely and most gratefully.'

To The Same.

June 1.

'From the pamphlet I send you, you will see that I decided on printing the extract from Bishop Beveridge's Private Thoughts, I felt the force of what you said. If two hundred years ago he could express those sentiments in all simplicity and boldness, how much more boldly would he have spoken now, when our knowledge of the so-called heathens is so far more accurate, when we have learnt not to be frightened, but rather to rejoice at every spark of truth that lightened the darkness of our fellow creatures. Perhaps we have also learnt that where those who lived before us saw nothing but light, there is much darkness left, and always will be, so long as we have to see with these poor eyes of ours. If people would only learn that, they would then soon learn the other lesson also which had struck you so much in the words of St. Paul, that charity in thought, word, and deed is more than all creeds and all philosophies. And how easily you discover in life those who have learnt that lesson, who trust everybody, see good in everything, never say an unkind word, and rejoice in helping where they can help. That Church is larger than we think: we have only to enter in ourselves, and we shall find it crowded, and often with those whom we least expected to find there.'

To M. Renan.

May 16.

'I do not know whether you have found time to look at ray Hibbert Lectures. If you have, I should like to ask you quite privately whether, in case the Trustees should ask you to give a similar course of lectures in London, of course in French, you would feel inclined to do so. I ask the question entirely for my own satisfaction. I feel we must do everything in our power to draw the bonds of international sympathy more closely together, and try to establish a feeling between the small and scattered bodies of truth-loving men in all countries, Hildebrand is at this moment lecturing in London. I hope Castelar will gain some sympathy for the higher aspirations of Spain when he comes to lecture at Oxford in June. His Bermana de la Caridad [Google translate: Berman of Charity] is beautiful. Some lectures from you, though they would rouse great opposition, would in the end do good. They would change a name, an often misunderstood name, into a living man with the English public, and the English public, with all its faults, is after all the salt of the earth. Another question: the Contemporary Review wishes to give a number of criticisms on my Hibbert Lectures written by men of various and opposite opinions. Would you be inclined to take a part? Your manuscript would be either carefully translated into English or printed in French. Each writer is to take his own special line. Some thoughts from you on the origin of the word Infinite would be truly welcome.’

To Lady Welby.

June 18.

'What you say about love superseding faith is perfectly true, and seems to me the keynote of all Christianity. But the world is still far from true Christianity, and whoever is honest towards himself, knows how far away he himself is from the ideal he wishes to reach. One can hardly imagine what this world would be, if we were really what we profess to be, followers of Christ. The first thing we have to learn is that we are not what we profess to be. When we have learnt that, we shall at all events be more forbearing, forgiving, and loving towards others. We shall believe in them, give them credit for good intentions, with which, I hope, not hell, but heaven is paved. But as to our ever being more than nominal Christians, I doubt it.

'I cannot follow you as to love being ever anything but a quality of some one. You may predicate again of what is originally a predicate, you may speak of blue being dark, light, &c. But as little as the blue of the sky is the sky, love is not God. God is full of love, as loving, but if we say God is love, this is only a freedom of language; what we mean is that God cannot be without love, that He is the true self-denying Self. Even that is mere groping in the dark; we hardly know more of what is around and above us than the poor snail in our garden pushing forward its four tentacles, and imagining that it knows where it is when there is nothing to throw it back upon itself.'

The following preface was contributed this year to the first volume of an American work, The Hundred Greatest Men, This volume was devoted to Religious Leaders. The work is so little known in England that it seems worth while to give Max Muller’s introduction: —

‘We live in two worlds: behind the seen is the unseen, around the finite the infinite, above the comprehensible the incomprehensible.

‘There have been men who have lived in this world only, who seem to have never felt the real presence of the unseen; and yet they achieved some greatness as rulers of men, as poets, artists, philosophers, and discoverers.

‘But the greatest among the great have done their greatest work in moments of self-forgetful ecstasy, in union and communion with a higher world; and when it was done, such was their silent rapture that they started back and could not believe it was their own, their very own: and they ascribed the glory of it to God, by whatever name they called Him in their various utterances, whether Apollo or the Muses, Egeria or the Daimonion.

‘And while the greatest among the great thus confessed that they were not of this world only, and that their best work was but in part their own, those whom we reverence as the founders of religions, and who were at once philosophers, poets, and rulers of men, called nothing their own, but professed to teach only either what their fathers had taught before them, or what a far-off Voice had whispered in their ear.

‘That highest self-surrender marks the highest point which human greatness can reach, and no ruler, no poet, no artist, no philosopher or discoverer can claim such sway over millions of human hearts as the so-called founders of the ancient religions of the world, whose very names are often unknown to us, and whose glory of countenance no human pencil has ever portrayed.

‘The ancient religions were not founded like temples or palaces, they sprang up like sacred groves from the soil of humanity, quickened by the rays of celestial light. In India, Greece, Italy, and Germany not even the names of the earliest prophets are preserved. And if in other countries the forms and features of the authors of their religious faith and worship are still dimly visible amidst the clouds of legend and poetry, all of them, Moses as well as Zoroaster, Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed, seem to proclaim with one voice, that their faith was no new faith, but the faith of their fathers; that their wisdom was not their own wisdom, but, like every good and perfect gift, given them from above.

‘Moses preached the God of his fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the laws which he brought down from Mount Sinai were written, he says, with the finger of God.

'Zoroaster, whoever he was, believed what the patriarchs had believed before him, and the law which he taught was not what wise men had agreed upon, but what Ahuramazda, the Wise Spirit, had revealed to him, as a friend to a friend.

‘Confucius resented being called the founder of a new faith. “I am a transmitter,” he said, “not a maker. I believe in the ancients and love them.”

'Even Buddha declared that he had come on the same path on which many had come before him; though he, alone of all religious teachers, knew of no heavenly friend to reveal to him what he, the Enlightened, knew.

‘And Mohammed, when he first taught Islam, that is, Surrender, only proclaimed anew the old God of the fathers, of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob; what he wrote was not his own, but the words which Gabriel had spoken to him when showing him “the eternal original of the Koran.”

'What should we learn from these prophets who from distant countries and bygone ages all bear the same witness to the same truth?

‘We should learn that though religions may be founded and fashioned into strange shapes by the hand of man, religion is one and eternal.

‘From the first dawn that ever brightened a human hearth or warmed a human heart, one generation has told another that there is a world beyond the dawn; and the Keynotes of all religion— the feeling of the infinite, the bowing down before the incomprehensible, the yearning after the unseen— having once been set to vibrate, have never been altogether drowned in the strange and wild music of religious sects and societies.

'The greatest prophets of the world have been those who at sundry times and in divers manners have proclaimed again and again in the simplest words the simple creed of the fathers, faith in the unseen, reverence for the incomprehensible, awe of the infinite— or, simpler still, love of God, and oneness with the All-father.’

To Lady Welby.

July 25.

'I was away from Oxford when your letter arrived, and now I am in the midst of sorting, destroying, and answering letters previous to our departure for Scheveningen next Monday. You will excuse therefore, I hope, if to-day I only say that I shall always be truly interested in anything you may write to me. Several friends who have opened the first volume of the Sacred Books of the East have congratulated me on the happy extract from Bishop Beveridge.

‘I wonder whether you would find, what I have found through life, that nothing helps us on so well as some kind of drudgery, some mechanical work to which something can be added every day. When the day is over one feels that that at least is done. Extracts from books one reads, carefully arranged under more or less general headings, even a mere index of names, &c., become very useful by-and-by; anyhow they give us regular occupation, which seems to me one of the greatest privileges which men enjoy before women. A collection of passages from the New Testament to show what Christ Himself taught on the great questions which occupy us to-day, or what the Apostles taught, would be valuable still, in spite of all that has been written by theologians by profession. Christ spoke to men, women, and children, not to theologians; and the classification of His sayings should be made, not according to theological technicalities, but according to what makes our own heart beat...'

To The Same.

July 27.

'I send you my volume of the Upanishads. I am afraid that the rest of the volume, beyond what I had sent you before, will disappoint you. But we must face the facts. Of one thing I feel very certain, that this translation of the Sacred Books of the East, which some of the good people here consider most objectionable, will do p great deal towards lifting Christianity into its high historical position. I look forward to the time when those who objected to my including the Old and New Testaments among the Sacred Books of the East will implore me to do so.’

The end of July Max Muller went with his wife and three children to Scheveningen for bathing and sea air; from thence they made excursions to Leyden and Haarlem, whilst the Gallery at the Hague was a constant pleasure. Three or four days were given to Amsterdam and the glorious pictures there, though the dark little rooms at the Trippen Huis (the Museum was not then built) prevented real enjoyment of them. On the other hand, the many private collections, where the pictures still hang on the very walls for which they were painted by Rembrandt and the other Dutch artists, gave them the greatest delight. Max Muller had a genuine love of the realistic Dutch School. From Amsterdam the party went on to Dessau to visit his old mother and other relations, and then for a few days to Dresden.

Soon after his return to Oxford, Max Muller received the following letter from a perfectly unknown admirer in New Zealand, who had heard that Max Muller was not always quite strong and up to work. It shows us how his books had made him friends in the most distant corners of the world.

New Zealand, June, 1879.

‘Very recently I gave up an employment which injured my health, and yet it would be easier to replace a host like me than to supply your place among the workers of this world. Every one beside the University of Oxford has an interest in you, and there is no one who would not join me in wishing to hear of your being away amusing yourself on the Rhine, or in Switzerland, or Italy, instead of over-working yourself at Oxford.’

In October Max Muller went to Birmingham, to lecture at the Midland Institute. His Lecture on Freedom was republished in his Selected Essays, and is in the new edition of Chips.

To Professor Noire. Translation. October 25.

'I send you the volume of Kingsley's works which contains my “Farewell" You ought to have known that man; he was so firm, so true, so healthy, through and through. You will no doubt have read his biography. I think I wrote to you about it some time ago. There was to be a German translation of it, but I have never seen it. His book, Roman and Teuton, is weak on many points, but you often catch glimpses of the old spirit. He had to work too hard, and so many things had to remain unfinished. Hypatia is his great book; also, in another way, Alton Locke, the Tailor. At Birmingham. I had about 4,000 hearers, and all in M sympathy. I saw there so much machinery, and I wondered why an animal could not invent a machine factory, and why it is still necessary that man should always have to act the part of a mechanical tool. The greatest of all triumphs seems to me the machine which works absolutely alone, and turns out millions of steel pens with which we put the world in motion.'

To The Same.

Translation. November 23.

'We are in the depth of winter here, and one enjoys staying indoors. Christmas comes round again, and that makes me think of the Christmas stories which you sent me. They are prettily told, and may perhaps have a good effect; but I am always sorry for children when they are frightened, and then sooner or later is added the disappointment joined to the feeling of having been duped. Oh, how many stupid experiments we make in bringing up our children!

'I have thought much about the principle attacked by Virchow. I do not mean the evolution principle, the oldest of all human knowledge, but that of caution in teaching new truths. I must confess I have always had the same feeling here that Virchow has. In my lectures I have always fought shy of announcing didactically my own views, or new views of other learned men — Summa debitur pueris verecundia [Google translate: The greatest shame is due to the children]. Addressing learned men themselves, I feel I can say anything. They can defend themselves. But, in speaking to students and pupils, I never think it quite honest to communicate to them as a teacher that of which I am personally absolutely convinced, but which other learned men still oppose. I know it is a way to cultivate pupils, but it is not fair to the truth. There is still so much old wine to nourish the young with, that new wine can well be set aside awhile. There is another thing which, ever since my own student days, has been odious to me, when Haupt, for instance, would not only criticize other Professors in the presence of his students, but even insult them. It is cowardly and vulgar to do so, I said to myself; and I think many of the students felt the same. At all events, the impression has remained for life; and I think that, during the twenty-five years of my Professorship, I never mentioned one of the other Professors by name, or ridiculed or abused another in the presence of my hearers. Even had I felt inclined to do so, I should hardly have ventured to do it in the presence of my young students, for I know they would have felt it to be vulgar and cowardly. Of course the evolution theory can by no means be suppressed. To me it seems the oldest theory of the world. All knowledge strives to comprehend the causes and the becoming. True history is only another name for the doctrine of evolution. But to teach that there are four or five beginnings, as Darwin says, or one beginning, as Haeckel says, or that man descends — historically — from a monkey; all that I could not teach, not even to students, for I know that they would take it very differently from what I meant by it. The true and honest investigator is, in spite of his own convictions, always conscious of the possibility of error. He has always before his eyes the cum gram salts. The pupil thinks and feels differently. He takes for granted what I deliver to him, unless I make clear to him that certain opinions are but opinions; and that I, as a teacher, help him honestly and impartially to form an opinion of his own. All this draws me to Virchow, and makes me withdraw from Haeckel. But personally I feel drawn towards Haeckel; there is something strong and open in him, while Virchow is no longer what he was more than thirty years ago, when I knew him. The air of Berlin is bad, and has already corroded much that is good and great.’

To M. Renan.

December 4.

'I am truly glad to know that you will come to England next year, to deliver the Hibbert Lectures. We could not have, as yet, a Chair of Comparative Theology in our Universities here, but these Hibbert Lectures, if properly managed, will produce the same effect. You, I hear, will soon have such a Chair at the College de France, and that, no doubt, will give a new sanction to a branch of study which has long been looked upon with very unreasonable suspicion. Much, however, will depend upon the first occupant of that Chair. You have often, in France, carried out the excellent principle of founding a Chair as soon as there was a man qualified to fill it. When you had a Champollion, you founded a Chair in Egyptology. But who is to be the first Professor of Comparative Theology? He ought to be a man of mature mind, who has lived through the various phases of religion, and who can understand others because he has learnt to understand himself. He must be an historian, because he ought to be able to sympathize with every effort of religious thought, however perverse and strange it may seem to the outside world. Our science is in its first and empirical stage; what is wanted is a careful collection of facts, from which hereafter inductions will flow by themselves. Our danger consists in the great temptation to make Comparative Theology subservient to the theological theories of the day. Our study requires fearlessness, but it likewise requires skill. Professor Tiele at Leyden is doing excellent work as Professor of Comparative Theology. He treats his subject as an historian, but as an historian who has a heart. He began life as a pasteur; he went himself through many mental struggles, and it seems to me that, owing to this, he can treat the struggles of others, be they fetish worshippers or Buddhists, with a discriminating and appreciative sympathy. Would not Reville be pre-eminently qualified for your new Chair, for the same reasons? He too began life as a pasteur, but he never sacrificed his freedom of thought. And now that the pulpit has become too narrow for him, he ought to have the broader elbow-room of a professorial Chair. You know, no doubt, his writings, and you are the best judge of his style. To me I confess his style has all the mellow flavour of Lafitte. But even if on this point I should be wrong in my judgement, I cannot be mistaken as to the soundness of his knowledge, the maturity of his thoughts, and the judicial impartiality of his judgements. What a Professor of Comparative Theology ought before all things to be able to do, is to watch and describe the unbroken continuity of thought, which connects the most modem and the most ancient forms of religious thought. The controversy lately carried on between M, de Harlez and M. Darmesteter, with regard to the origin and growth of the Zoroastrian religion and its relation to the Vedic religion, depends entirely on the power of observing the uninterrupted transition from one shade of thought to another. Different as urbanite may be from urbs, or sauvage from silva, there is a living nerve which connects the two extremes, and fortunately language is there to prove continuity. We do not say that Jupiter is the sky, but we say without the sky [dyu] there would have been no Jupiter. We do not say that the struggle between good and evil in the Avesta is the struggle between the light of the blue sky and the thunderstorm, but we do say that the contrast between light and darkness was the first mental germ that developed afterwards into the contrast between good and evil. Accepting the extremest premisses [Google translate: extreme premises] of Materialism or Positivism, to be able to show how, by slow degrees, they lead inevitably to the highest abstractions of religion, morality, and philosophy — that seems to me the chief object of the study of ancient religions. But for that work you require the tact of psychological observation, a mastery of language for rendering the minutest shades of thought, and that wide human sympathy which alone enables the true historian to put old thoughts into new words, old wine into new bottles.

'I do not think it wise to move that the University should confer an honorary degree on you. It was given to Taine, because people did not know his opinions. With you it is different. There would be opposition, controversy, strife, and anger; and for what?'

To His Son.

7, Norham Gardens, Oxford, December 15, 1879.

‘My dear Boy, — Your letter made me very happy. It was the best birthday present you could have given me. And I know it made you happy too. Depend upon it, nothing will ever make you so truly happy as the feeling that you have done your best — that you have tried to do your duty, and not so much for your own sake, but for the sake of others. That is a happiness which nothing can take away from us. Even if we fail — and we all must fail some- times, for there are many good and clever boys and men in the world —but even if we fail, we feel satisfied so long as we can honestly say to ourselves, “I have done my very best.” At present, my dear boy, this life may seem very happy to you, but it will not be so always. Young as you are, you have felt what it is to have one, whom we love dearly, taken from us. We do not mourn for her — she is happy, and she has been spared many of the hard struggles of this life. We mourn for ourselves, because we miss her so much, and we know she would have made our life so bright and happy. But we must learn to be ready to give up everything, however dearly we love it, when God bids us to do so. Sooner or later we know we shall have to leave all those whom we love on earth, till we meet again as God’s love and wisdom may order it. But what a comfort it is to know that, even when we are gone, we shall not be forgotten, but that our children, in all their trials and troubles, will think of us, and say, as you said when you thought of dear Ada, “We’ll do our best, for their sake; we’ll never do anything mean, for their sake.” Though I am an old man, I often say that to myself when I think of dear Ada, and thus I feel that she is always with me. Learn to do the same, not only now, but for the whole of your life. Think always what those whom you loved and who loved you on earth would think of you, and then you will never go far wrong.’

To Herr von Strauss und Tornay.

Translation. Oxford, December 16, 1879.

'My honoured Friend,— Only a line to thank you for your Shi King, and to congratulate you heartily on the publication of this perfect piece of work. When I see you working on so bravely, I feel ashamed of myself, and take fresh courage. But often when I think of all that has still to be done, I lose all hope, and should like to retire into the forest. To-day is a sad day. You will remember. Three years are gone; three years less to wait.

‘I hope you and your dear wife are suffering less from the cold than we are. Only Wilhelm keeps well, and cuts figures on the ice. He is very happy at his school, and to-morrow we expect him for the holidays. With best wishes for a happy Christmas to you and yours, from me and my wife, yours ever.’

To M. Renan.

December 30.

‘I have been sharing your fate; I have been in bed with cold, and what is worse, a very troublesome liver. I am better at last, but not quite myself yet. I am glad that you have decided to lecture in London, and I only hope the Trustees will make all proper arrangements. With one or two exceptions, these gentlemen are about as fit as Gambetta for electing a Professor of Comparative Theology. You will have to be very careful, or you will get into hot water in London. With regard to your subject, you ought to consider yourself perfectly free. What I should have liked would have been a description of the first deterioration which the personal teaching of Christ suffered, when percolating through the thoughts and the civil institutions of the Roman world; when it became for the first time of this world, and had to make those concessions which every religion has to make when it wishes to gain majorities. Then to show that we, in our nineteenth century, are no more Christians than Constantine was; that by taking all that is metaphorical for real, and all that is real for metaphorical, we have produced a religion in many respects worse than the old heathen religions; that we are still thousands of years away from the simple teaching of Christ — that might tell, particularly coming from you; but you know best. As to my own Hibbert Lectures, they begin to tell in India; in England people do not understand them. My whole heart is in them, and I do believe them. I shall be glad to know your opinion when the time comes. I see and understand all the complications of the new Chair at the College de France; there is in Reville something sound and solid. In his hands the Chair would be safe; others might follow.'

Towards the close of the year Max Muller received an invitation from a society of students at the University of Vienna to give them a course of lectures. The invitation was a great gratification to him, but he was quite unable to comply with the request, and answered as follows: —

Translation. Oxford, December 31, 1879.

‘Honoured Colleagues, — Only to-day am I able to answer your welcome and valuable letter, and the reason of the delay is the same, which makes it, alas! impossible for me to accept your kind invitation to give some lectures to the German students in Vienna. I have not been well for some time, and my doctor tells me that if I want to go to Austria, the waters and the quiet walks at Carlsbad would be far better for me than the wine and the brilliant society of the beautiful imperial town. I feel that myself. Not that the wings of the spirit are broken yet; on the contrary, they are stronger than ever. But the wings of the body long for rest, and a flight to Vienna is too much for me now. You happy ones will hardly be able to understand this. You can fly like the young eagles without thought of your wings.

‘But let me thank you warmly, for your letter has not only given me pleasure and refreshed me, but has also done me more good than many a spoonful of physic. That you, young German students of Vienna, know my name at all, and that you believe that I might have something worth saying to you which you would like to hear, has certainly surprised me much. When I was as young as you are now, I made up my mind to wander to England, in order to publish, where alone it was possible at that time to publish, the Rig-veda, which I consider the oldest literary monument of the whole Aryan family. As we all, as you know, belong to this Aryan or Indo-Germanic family, the Rig-veda is, so to speak, our own oldest inheritance, and to make such an inheritance and jewel accessible again to the European scientific world after many thousand years, seemed to me a work worthy the labour, even should its completion occupy my whole life. The work is done, and if you care to visit the Royal and Imperial Library at Vienna, you will find there, at the head of the whole Aryan literature, six massive quarto volumes, my edition of the Rig-veda, together with the Sanskrit Commentary; and close to it, perhaps, the work of an Austrian Professor, Professor Ludwig of Prague, whose lately-published German translation of the Rig-veda has won for him a place of honour among the best Sanskrit scholars of Europe.

‘But this edition of the Rig-veda, a complete edition of which did not exist formerly even in India, and many another work of the same kind which I have written for the inner circle of science, form only a sort of substructure of which nobody either sees or hears anything except the architects of special departments. They are like granite blocks, which, buried deep under the surface, lie forgotten, while others continue to build upon them and erect pillars, arches, and bridges which astonish the whole world. It is only in my brief leisure hours that I have been able occasionally to bring to light some of the results of my researches; and that some of my writings have reached as far as Vienna, and have found friends there, is indeed a real and unexpected joy to me. I send you for your library my lately-published Essays on Comparative Religion, You may find something in them, which will show you better than a few lectures from me could have done, what is the highest goal of all my work.

'Let me, honoured colleagues, press your hands in spirit and thank you for the pleasure you have given me.

‘I remain, with warm sympathy, your sincere friend.’

The year had been a very hospitable one in Max Muller’s house. We find among his visitors this year Dr. James Martineau, von Schlotzer, his old friend, Mr. Stillman, the Times correspondent, Dr. Kielhorn from India, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Baden, Baron Roggenbach, the Crown Prince of Sweden, and many less-known names.

Two new interests entered into Max Muller's life during the following year. His daughter Mary had now left school, and for her sake there was much more society in the scholar’s house than hitherto, and he was brought socially into iriore general acquaintance with younger members of the University. This year, too, brought him into almost daily intercourse with Bunyiu Nanjio and Kenjiu Kasawara, two Japanese who had been sent by the high priest of their monastery to study Sanskrit in Oxford, the knowledge of the original language of the Sacred Books of the Buddhists having entirely died out in Japan, where they only possessed Japanese translations of Chinese translations of the original Sanskrit. Nanjio had arrived in Oxford early in 1879, and brought an introduction to Professor Max Muller, and Kasawara followed in October; but their knowledge of English was still very imperfect, and it was necessary for them to learn the elements of Sanskrit and perfect their English before they could profit much from Max Muller’s instruction. From this time on they read constantly with him, and it was at his instigation that Nanjio caused a search to be made in Japan for original Sanskrit MSS., which ended in the discovery of five texts, one of which was the oldest Sanskrit text (sixth century) which had then been discovered. By Max Muller’s advice, Nanjio prepared a complete catalogue of the gigantic Buddhist Canon, which was printed at the University Press, and is of great value to all who study Buddhist literature. Max Muller has given a full account of Nanjio and Kasawara in the new edition of Volume II. Certainly, till Nanjio left England in 1884, they were a great interest in his life. Kasawara had to return to Japan in 1882 in bad health, and leave his work unfinished. He parted with his teacher, for whom he had a very strong feeling of affection, apparently unmoved, and yet he wrote afterwards, 'When I left you the other day, I walked up and down the road, looking at your house, where I had passed the happiest hours of my life.’ ‘The life of my Buddhist friend,’ wrote Max Muller, ‘was one of the many devoted yet unfulfilled lives which make us wonder and grieve.... He might have been a most useful man on his return to Japan.’ [/quote]
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Re: The Life and Letters of The Right Hon. Friedrich Max Mul

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Part 2 of 2

To M. Renan.

January 15.

'I was truly pleased when I heard of Reville's appointment, though I fear several of my friends at Paris are displeased. I have had some correspondence with the editor of the Times about your lectures. Everything in England depends on the Times, everybody respects what the Times says. I am glad to say that the present editor is personally on our side, and that is of great importance; though it does not follow that the paper itself will not have to make some reserves. The editor has seen you, and talked with you at Florence; he knows your books, and is full of sympathy for you and them. The difficulty in England is that few people read books and form their own opinions; a clamour is raised and everybody joins in it. Now as to your position here, it will be, as you know, a difficult one, because the two strongest parties, the clerical and the materialistic, are opposed to you. I share that misfortune with you, and I hope I always shall. But it was important to have the Times, if not as your partisan, at east not as your enemy, and that, so far as I can see, will be the case. The editor is anxious to give a full report of your lectures, as he did with mine, but he says that, in order to do justice to your beautiful French, he cannot allow your translation to be done during the night by some young man from stenographic notes, but he must have your French MS. and give it to be translated by a really competent person. He wishes me to ask you whether you agree to his proposal, and I believe it is essential to the success of your lectures that some such plan should be adopted.'

To Bryan Hodgson, Esq.

'I have received two volumes of your Collected Essays, for which please accept my best thanks. Many of them are old friends of mine, and I am glad to see them all together and so well got up. How little has been done in that field1 [Languages, &c., of Nepal.] since you left it, and yet how much is still to be done, and how amply would anybody’s labours be rewarded who would follow your example. I suppose you have given away all your Nepalese MSS. I have been reading some of them lately, the Sukhavati-Vyuha, &c., with two Buddhist priests from Japan, who came here to learn Sanskrit. They are slow, but I expect they will do some good work by-and-by.'

Max Muller had been very poorly all the autumn and early part of the winter, as the following letter shows: —

To Herr von Strauss und Tornay.

Translation. January 30.

‘I am so terribly in arrears with my letters through my long illness, that I prefer to begin with the last, just received. I am only sorry it does not bring me as good news from you as I am accustomed to receive. Anxiety about those who are dearest is more wearing than anxiety about oneself. It is a real joy to see how bravely you work on. Since October I have been able to do nothing but what was absolutely necessary. A troublesome liver has asserted itself, an illness I have long expected to inherit, and have only kept it at bay so many years by constant exercise and most careful diet.

‘The worst is the depression which one cannot subdue. One has no appetite, either physical or mental, and when one hopes it is passing away, the misery begins again. A few days ago I was kept in bed with severe pain, but to-day I feel much better. I tell you all this to explain why I have lain quite fallow, read nothing but novels, and written nothing. I have taken up your Shi King several times, but I could not manage it. I wished to write something about your Essays, but nothing came of it, and there is a perfect St. Gothard of letters and books in my library, so that I despair of ever driving a tunnel through them. The will is there, and I look forward to the spring. The essay on Personal Freedom will appear in the February number of the Deutsche Rundschau. The introduction I sent you was not to my Sacred Books, but to a great American illustrated work (of little value), The Hundred Greatest Men of the World. In a weak moment I undertook the Founders of Religions, and had to keep my promise, well or ill. My family are all well. My wife is in London, for a little change; she has been nursing me a long time. Wilhelm is at school a mile from here, and gets on; the two girls are growing up, each in her own way. All seems like Meeresstille und gluckliche Fahrt (a calm sea, and a good voyage), and yet one never gets any rest.'

The following letters show How constantly Max Muller was appealed to oil subjects that were not immediately connected with his own work, or at all events with the work he had on hand at the moment, and how little he shrank from the correspondence involved by such appeals. At the end of January Professor Blackie wrote a private letter to Max Muller from Edinburgh on the teaching and pronunciation of Greek, at the same time publishing in a Scotch paper a long letter to Professor Jebb of Glasgow on the same subject, without having first told Professor Jebb that he was intending to do so. Max Muller wrote back to Professor Blackie: —

January 30.

‘My dear Blackie, — Thanks for your paper. You are perfectly right. The difficulty, however, is to find willing and capable teachers — the boys would learn it fast enough. It was the same with the few simple rules of Latin pronunciation. I know that at one school the boys got on capitally with the new pronunciation: it was the masters who would or could not learn it, and who naturally prevailed. I knew my Greek accents fairly well before I came to England. It was in England, when trying to make myself understood, that my Greek accent-conscience became demoralized. I should not like now to undergo a public examination in Greek accents — I mean those that depend on etymology and usage, and not on general rules. Boys will generally do what is right, if they never hear what is wrong. There is the difficulty. Wishing you all success, I remain yours very truly.'

This letter Professor Blackie immediately asked and got leave to publish. The following letters from Max Muller explain themselves: —

To Professor (now Sir R.) Jebb.

Oxford, February 5.

‘I was answering Professor Blackie’s letter to me, and had only glanced at his printed letter to yon which he enclosed, (1) I have always thought that accent in Greek, as in Sanskrit, was originally, as its name tells us, by-song, cantilena, or, if you like, change of pitch. That was quite compatible with quantity. (2) Afterwards accent became more strict. Even that was compatible with quantity, and I see no reason why boys should not be taught to say [x] without saying [x]. (3) In Greek poetry stress is surrendered to rhythm. It is sometimes the same in modern music. I heard only last Sunday “apostolic,” instead of apostolic,’’ in a chanted Choral. Having always defended these three points, I wrote to Professor Blackie that on them I thought he was right. Not having seen what has been written before by you and by him, I could not have expressed any opinion about it. Nor should I like to do so now. Professor Blackie’s way of expressing himself is strong. He has used much stronger language about my hallucinations than what appears in his letter to you. ,.. When Professor Blackie asked me whether he might publish my note, I wrote to him that he might, for though I did but vaguely recollect what I had written, I hoped my short note contained nothing that could give offence to anybody. I should regret very much if you thought that my remarks referred in any way to you personally; I was thinking simply of the matter under discussion, without any cognizance of who the parties were who defended one or the other view....’

To The Same.

February 8.

‘I should be very glad if you took no further notice of that short note of mine, which I allowed Professor Blackie to publish. It will lead to a reply from him, and what can be gained by a newspaper controversy on such a point? If, however, you think it necessary to reply, I must ask you to publish the whole of my three points. I have not seen your paper in the publisher’s annual, but I gather from the correspondence in the Scotsman that there are some points where your views differ from mine. I am in favour of teaching boys to pronounce Greek, ancient as well as modern, according to the accents, only warning them that there is no need to pronounce, for instance, the penultimate short, because the antepenultimate has the acute, and is pronounced by us with stress. This seems to me the point of practical importance for schools. I know the difficulties, but I know what can be done even by one determined teacher. In reading metrical passages the accents must yield, and I know of no evidence that, at the time of Sophocles, the Greeks retained the accents, as stress, in their recitation of poetry. Nor do I think that at that time Greek accent was still cantilena, pure and simple, though it is difficult to be positive on that point, or to determine the time when in Greek the change took place from cantilena to stress.’

To The Same.

February 12.

'I am very glad and grateful that you have decided not to notice my letter to Professor Blackie. If you knew how many letters of that kind I have to write, I believe you would make allowance for my not having read the whole controversy to which Professor Blackie’s letter referred. I must have expressed myself badly in what I wrote about Greek poetry at the time of Sophocles. What I meant to say was that at his time — so far as I can judge — accent in conversation and prose in general was stress, but that in poetry the stress of rhythm prevailed over the stress of accent, as it does with us sometimes when the time or the beat in music does not agree with the accent or stress of each word sung to it.’

The following letter was written in reply to an inquiry from the Duke of Argyll: —

Oxford, February 17, 1880.

‘... As to sacrifices, I must take a little time to think. The fundamental idea in the earliest Vedic Hymns is simply, Give me something, cattle, children, health and wealth, and I shall give thee something. What? Something that is dear to me, and what there- fore you too will like. I like my food, so before I begin to eat, there is a morsel for you. I like my drink, so here is a libation for you. Even when they said they were going to offer to the gods a goat or an ox, that meant generally that they and their friends were going to have a feast in honour of the gods, but the gods received very little. Pigs, sheep, and oxen, Su-ove-taurilia, were all eatable animals. The Scythians ate the horse, and therefore they sacrificed it. But however dear a dog or a cat or a bird might be, we seldom hear of their being sacrificed. So the nature of the sacrifices depended much on the nature of the food.

‘Another class of sacrifices were those to the Spirits of the Departed. To them was frequently given what had been dear to them in life, and then neither dogs nor horses, neither slaves nor wives were spared. In cases where some of these grand- and great-grandfathers became gods, bloody sacrifices might easily grow up.’

To The Same.

7, Norham Gardens, Oxford, February 22, 1880.

'My dear Duke of Argyll,— I do hold that Man was evolved, not however from a beast, but from a child, which actually represents a stage much lower than the highest beast, but potentially a stage out of the reach of any beast.

'I also hold that our so-called Kantian categories are evolved; they are there potentially, but they want the objective world to become actual. What I call the Infinite is that which by its pressure calls forth that form of thought, that category, which Kant would call the category of substantiality. Without that category we should have nothing but predicates: i.e. thought would be impossible. All names of God are predicates, [x], personifications — it does not matter whether they are Sun, Fire, Sky, Enlightener, Warmer, Protector, Dyaus, Zeus, Jupiter, Jehovah, Allah, or Father — all are names, some purer, higher, truer than others, but all predicates — and of what? Of that nameless Something which presses on us on all sides, on our senses, on our mind, on our heart, but which from its nature must be nameless — ein Gott an sich — [x], but not [x]. To say that God is a person, or many persons, represents no doubt a very early, and to us very natural phase of religious thought But person means so many things. If our body is still felt as our person, God and the gods are black and white as men. But as we surrender one element after the other as not essential to our personality, our body and sex, our senses, our imaginations, our language, our age, such as childhood, manhood, and old age, we at last arrive at that true self of which we may predicate many things, but of which we may in truth only say, “It is, and therefore it thinks.” The Hindu added a third indefeasible predicate, (1) Sat, (2) Kit, (3) Ananda= (1) Being, (2) Perceiving and all that flows from it, and (3) Blessed. All the rest are human marks, names, concepts — all true to a certain point; all false, if stretched too far. It always struck me as a wonderful guess at the Divine, when in the Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Spirit is made to say: ‘‘Even those who worship idols, worship me." St. Paul’s “Unknown God” springs from the same source. It was because I wanted a Substance for all Divine ideas that I traced the presence of the Infinite, or the Nameless, or the Unknown, as the antecedent though unconscious sine qua non of all later assertions about it; and I still think that unless we hold to that, we worship [x] which will be broken some day or other, but that which can never be broken is that of which the [x] is but the [x] — the name but a name — and for which I find no better name than the Infinite, or Indefinite, or Indefinable.

‘I shall try to put together some of the more important passages about sacrifice in the Veda. But sacrifice again means so many things that it is very difficult to put into order what, from its nature, is chaotic, poetic, and free.'

It was at this time that Max Muller made epistolary acquaintance with Mr. Lowell through the letter on ‘Jade' given in the Autobiography, an acquaintance that ripened into real friendship when Mr. Lowell came to England. Unfortunately none of Max Muller’s letters to his brilliant correspondent have been preserved, except the one which follows: —

Oxford, February 3, 1880.

‘I have been laid up for some time. I am what ill-natured people in Germany said of Bismarck, Leber leidend [Google translate: Liver suffering], and Leider lebend [Google translate: Unfortunately alive], and while that lasts one is fit for nothing. I feel better now, but am always afraid of relapses till this cold weather is over.

‘Your remarks about jade are very true. I should have written once more to the Times, but I felt jaded, and I was afraid the readers of the Times might share that feeling. Otherwise I really felt it due to our troglodyte ancestors to say a few words for their common sense, and not to let people believe that they kept their green jade tools because they reminded them of green fields! Why, the man or the clan who possessed one of those small jade scrapers, or knives, or scissors, was a Rothschild among beggars 1 You can cut an iron nail with those jade chisel1 ['Pace Sir John Lubbock, for chisel has nothing to do with German kissel, nor is a chisel a survival of a sharpened flint—M. M.’], and they show no dent. Diamond only will tell on them. A man who possessed one of those treasures could eat a dozen of oysters and crack ten times as many marrow-bones as his neighbours who had flint knives only, which broke at every blow, and had constantly to be renewed. It was like a Krupp gun compared with old Bess. Of course, any swell or family of swells who possessed such a diploma of nobility would keep it as long as they could keep anything, and, as you say, even when it ceased to be useful, sentiment would protect it, as it protects an old razor, though it has long ceased to be useful. The wonderful fancies about jade begin in the sixteenth century. If you should come across some of the books written by the Court physicians of Charles V and others, the cures which they describe as effected by wearing jade are marvellous. These were men as great as Gull and Paget, only 300 years ago. They describe cases which they watched for ten years and more, and give the names of their patients, and describe how the calculi passed away in shoals as soon as the patient touched the jade! Are we so much wiser than our fathers?

'I hope the rumour is true that you will soon exchange Madrid for London. What capital use your country makes of that prehistoric institution of Ambassadors lying at Foreign Courts!’

It is needless to give a full account of Max Muller’s correspondence with Keshub Chunder Sen, head of the Brahma Somaj of India. He has himself, in his biographical sketch of his friend, printed in Chips, Volume II, new edition, entered into the whole controversy of the Kuch Behar marriage and the subsequent split in the Brahma Somaj, and to that the reader is referred. The deeply interesting interview between Keshub Chunder Sen and Dr. Pusey in 1870 will be found there in extenso, and the sketch closes with several long and valuable letters that passed between Max Muller and his friend. These are all the letters from Max Muller that have been preserved. During the year 1880 several letters passed between Max Muller and Miss Collet, editor of the Brahma Year-Book, who upheld the Sadhdrana Somaj, which had separated from the Brahma Somaj.

To Miss Collet.

February 29.

'I return the papers with many thanks. I see and appreciate your argument in favour of justice towards the Sadharana Somaj, but I cannot easily give up a man whom I once trusted. If it is, as you suggest, softening of the brain, has not that poor brain suffered in a noble cause, and is it likely to recover under hard words? However, let us wait and see.'

In February Max Muller read a paper before the Asiatic Society in London on the hitherto unknown Sanskrit text discovered in Japan, a dialogue on Sukhavati, or the Paradise of the Buddhists, which was listened to with great interest, and was fully reported at the time in the Athenoeum. It was one of the texts discovered by the agency of the Buddhist priests mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, an account of whose studies in Oxford was new to the majority of Max Muller’s hearers, and attracted great attention. [/quote]

So long ago as the year 1870 Max Muller had tried to draw the attention of the Colonial Office to the great importance of encouraging missionaries and others living in our more distant colonies in collecting lists of words and preparing papers on the native languages, especially in the various Australian colonies. ‘In countries where there are no histories, no traditions, no ancient monuments, language is frequently the only witness of the past, and the only guide by which the historian can discover the origin, the relation- ship, and the early migration of races.’ Lord Kimberley sent copies of Max Muller’s letter to the Governors of all the Australian colonies and New Zealand. The Governor of New South Wales, Lord Belmore, speedily replied that his Government had expressed their willingness to obtain the required information in New South Wales, and in November, 1871, Lord Belmore transmitted to the Colonial Office a full report on the Language, Social Laws and Customs, and the Religious and Mythical Traditions of New South Wales. These were sent to Max Muller, who, in returning them, spoke of the valuable information they contained, and urged that as other reports came in, selections from them should be published from time to time: —

'If such a plan had been followed during the last hundred years, many difficulties in the history of the colonies could be cleared up, which now must be left to mere conjecture. Languages that have since become extinct might still be studied. Strange customs and traditions, which now puzzle the ethnologist, might be traced back to an intelligible beginning, and an accurate knowledge of really wild-grown and autochthonic forms of religion would be of the greatest advantage for a comparative study of religions, a branch of inquiry which will become more important with every year.’

He ended by saying that £1,000 yearly would probably cover all expenses of printing, as there would be a certain sale of such reports, both at home and abroad.

The following reply came back: —

‘Sir, — I am directed by the Earl of Kimberley to acknowledge your letter of February 7, and to thank you for the remarks you have been good enough to make respecting the collection and publication of reports on native languages and customs in the colonies.

‘His Lordship regrets that it is not possible for the Colonial Office to undertake to give effect to your suggestion, but he thinks that possibly the Ethnological Society may be in a position to do so, and your letter will be communicated to that Society.'

In 1874 Max Muller tried again to rouse an interest for these researches in the Colonial Office, and finally in 1880, when he was told that times were very bad at the Treasury, and that the only hope lay in stimulating private action and expenditure by an appeal through the papers. This labour Max Muller did not feel called upon to undertake, and the opportunity with Tasmania, where the natives have now died out, has been lost for ever.

To Lady Welby.

March 29.

‘I put your letter aside for some time, and now that I have read it again, let me begin with the beginning. In the ordinary sense of knowledge, we cannot have any knowledge of God; our very idea of God implies that He is beyond our powers of perception and under- standing. Then what can we do? Shut our eyes and be silent? That will not satisfy creatures such as we are. We must speak, but all our words apply to things either perceptible or intelligible. The old Buddhists used to say, the only thing we can say of God is No, No 1 He is not this, He is not that. Whatever we can see or understand, that He is not. But again I say that kind of self-denial will not satisfy such creatures as we are. What can we do? We can only give the best we have. Now the best we have or know on earth is Love, therefore we say God is Love or loving. Love is entire self-surrender, we can go no further in our conception of what is best. And yet how poor a name it is in comparison of what we want to name. Our idea of love includes, as you say, humility, a looking up and worshipping. Can we say that of God's love? Depend upon it, the best we say is but poor endeavour — it is well we should know it — and yet, if it is the best we have and can give, we need not be ashamed. And we should feel the same as to the language of other religions. Their language may strike us as very imperfect, but at one time or other it was the best they knew. Many old and savage nations saw God in the Dawn, and from what you write I think you can sympathize with them — suffer, so to say, the same language which they suffered. They knew nothing greater and higher in the world, and I believe they were right. And that name for Dawn was sometimes used by them for the feeling of love also; “it dawns” meant "I love," There is some truth in that too, not the whole truth — that we shall never grasp in words — but some spark of it. Wherever I see such sparks, whether in ancient times or in the talk of children around us, I feel my heart warmed. I see the ray of truth, and I shut my eyes to all the darkness and coarseness that often surround the light. We cannot know, we cannot name, the Divine, nor can we' understand its ways as manifested in active and human life. We ask why there should be suffering and sin; we cannot answer the question. All we can say is, it was willed to be so. Some help our human understanding may find, however, by simply imagining what would have been our life if the power of doing evil had not been given to us. It seems to me that in that case we, human beings as we are, should never have had a conception of what is meant by good; we should have been like the birds in the air, happier, it may be, but better, no. Or if suffering had always been reserved for the bad, we should all have become the most cunning angels. Often when I am met by a difficulty which seems insoluble, I try that experiment and say, Let us see what would happen if it were otherwise. Still, I confess, there is some suffering on earth which goes beyond all understanding, which even the truest Christian love and charity seems unable to remove or to mitigate. It can teach us one thing only, that we are blind, and that in the darkness of the night we lose our faith in a Dawn which will drive away darkness, fear, and despair. Much, no doubt, could be done even by what is now called Communism, but what in earlier days was called Christianity. And then one wonders whether the world can ever again become truly Christian. dare not call myself a Christian. I have hardly met ten men in all my life who deserved that name. And again, I say, let us do our best, knowing all the time that our best is a mere nothing. This may answer some of your questions, but many questions must remain unanswered, though we all ask them again and again.'

To M. Renan.

March 31.

‘I hear from all sides that your lectures will be a great success. I am truly glad; I hope that everything has been well arranged with the Times, Mr. Chenery will meet you here at dinner on Saturday. Prince Leopold, the youngest son of the Queen, and a very clever and well-informed man, will come to take tea with you on Monday. I am afraid you will be tired out, but now and then that cannot be helped. Depend upon it, you are doing a great work, which will leave its trace behind. It will be such a pleasure to have you here in a safe and quiet harbour.'

After his Hibbert Lectures were over, M. Renan and his wife came to stay with Max Muller, and at the same time another new friend, Miss Hopekirk, the brilliant pianist. Prince Leopold spent a whole afternoon with the Max Mullers to meet the Renans, with whom his Royal Highness was delighted, as indeed were all who had the chance of meeting the agreeable Frenchman.

To Professor Noire.

Translation, April 18.

‘... I have had very little time for work here; one visitor followed the other. We went to Brighton, but to return after a week there to receive Renan in Oxford. He is a very old friend of mine. Before the world knew him, he was known to me. In 1845-6 he was assistant at the Bibliotheque Royale, when I collated my Veda manuscripts there. He has had a hard life, and has to thank himself for everything. He is a true-hearted man, a little foggy and sometimes clouded by his language, though the latter certainly produces beautiful colour effects. Here the opinions about him were much divided. Some of my friends refused to meet him at my house. Tyndall and Herbert Spencer they are able to digest here, and yet they go far beyond Renan, who really is a mystical, religious nature. However, all went off well I have been harshly treated in the papers, but that does not matter; the good cause progresses here also. When Renan left, Professor Elze arrived from Halle; he is a Shakesperian, an old school friend of mine. A few days after Bret Harte announced his visit, and so forth day after day, time flies and work remains undone. I long sometimes to enter a monastery! I hope you and your work succeed better.

‘I am very well pleased with the elections here, one can breathe freely again; I myself could never trust Disraeli, though he seems to have been liked by certain gentlemen in Berlin.'

On April 19 Max Muller joined in the greetings sent to Mr. Emerson on the occasion of his seventy-seventh birthday. His letter was as follows: —

7, Norham Gardens, Oxford, April 19, 1880.

‘The translator of the Upanishads, Moksha Mulara, sends greetings and best wishes to his American Guru, Amarasunu, on his seventy-seventh birthday, and encloses an extract from an Upanishad, lately discovered:

'Old age and decay lay hold of the body, the senses, the memory, the mind— never of the Self, the looker on.

‘The Self never grows tired — the body grows tired of supporting the Self.

‘The Self never grows blind— the windows of the senses become darkened with dust and rain.

'The Self never forgets— the inscriptions on the memory fade, and it is well that much should be forgotten.

'The Self never errs — the many wheels of our own small watches grow rusty, but we look up to the eternal dial in the heavens above, which remains right for ever. ‘Max Muller.’

After Commemoration Max Muller’s wife and elder daughter went to Ober-Ammergau for the Passion Play, he being himself too busy to go with them. They returned home by Dessau to see the old mother.

To M. Renan.

July 3, 1880.

‘I wished to read your lectures before writing to you and thanking you for them; this I have done at last, and I feel now that nothing could have been better than the intellectual campaign has been from beginning to end. I felt doubtful sometimes how it would succeed; yet I had sufficient faith in the good qualities of the English public to hope that you would be satisfied I did not expect that all would have gone so well, without a single accident; the right people have praised you, and the right people have abused you, and depend upon it some permanent good has been done. I was delighted to have you and Madame Renan under our roof; I only wish I had seen more of you, and had time for some exchange of thought, but the hurry of life gets worse and worse, and I often long for the days when one could live for oneself, when nobody knew us, when we sat in the Bibliotheque Royale copying and collating manuscripts, and reading one book at a time till it was finished. There is one line in your lectures which I should like to have explained. Can we say even hypothetically, “Si I’infini n’est pas une chimere" [Google translate: If infinity is not a chimera]? Surely, if there is any reality at all, it is that which is not finite, that which is not visible, that which is not comprehensible. The names which we give to it are chimerical if you like, still they always show “une bonne volonte" [Google translate: a good will]; we do our best, we cannot do more, nor can we, such as we are, do altogether without these names. Every generation thinks it has said le dernier mot [Google translate: the last word]: that is not so; anyhow, we shall never understand the dernier mot [Google translate: the last word], unless we try to understand le premier mot^ and all our labours, yours and mine, seem to be always directed to that end, to represent, in fact, the etymology of religion; but the etymon must be a root, a real root, not an abstraction, still less une chimere [Google translate: a chimera]. I think that is your own feeling, as far as I can see from your works, and I was therefore struck by that sentence, and have been thinking about it for some time. My wife and daughter are still away; they were quite overpowered by the Passion Play of Ober-Ammergau. We have lost far too much of the reality of Christ, and I have always thought that your work has done most good by restoring that reality, so far as it can be, in diametrical opposition to Strauss; and yet a few days ago I was told by a distinguished French theologian, that you had only repeated Strauss. I told him that he was utterly and entirely wrong, and I believe he saw it himself.’

The rest of this Long Vacation, except a short visit to his brother-in-law at Taplow, was spent quietly in Oxford with his wife and children. Daily drives and excursions, picnics on the river, long walks, and lawn-tennis parties, in all of which the father shared, made this an enjoyable summer. There were constant visits, too, from friends both young and old. Max Muller was chiefly occupied through the year with correspondence on the Sacred Books of the East, and he gave up much time to his Buddhist pupils. In the autumn he prepared two volumes of Selected Essays on Language, Mythology, and Religion, which were published in 1881.

To his mother he writes in September: —


‘Old age begins to make itself felt, things do not go as formerly, and yet there is so much to do. One longs for rest, but one cannot have it here; perhaps it is best as it is.... It is not easy to make one's way through life. I often wonder still how I managed it. My life was often a hard battle, and yet I am glad it was; and the little I have done I owe very much to the necessities I had to meet.'

Early in October Max Muller went to Birmingham to be present at the opening of the Mason Science College. In returning thanks for the visitors at the great luncheon, he said: —

‘You know that I am not a man of science in the usual, though far too narrow, sense of the word. But, although the science to which I have devoted the whole of my life, the science of man, is not yet formally represented in this College, depend upon it it will enter in; it is there already, it lurks in every corner, and I trust it will soon fill the whole College with its genial warmth and its quickening impulses. You mean to teach mathematics. Can you teach mathematics without teaching the laws of thought, without telling your pupils something about such men as Thales, Pythagoras, and Euclid, who were ancient Greeks, but who were men of science for all that? You mean to teach physiology and biology, the laws of life and of nature. Are you likely to leave out the very crown of nature, man — to leave nature, like Hamlet without the Ghost, a nature without its spirit? A true College of Science could not live if it were to exclude the science of man. Man is the measurer of all things, and what is science but the reflection of the outer world on the mirror of the mind, growing more perfect, more orderly, more definite, more great with every generation? To attempt to study nature without studying man is as impossible as to study light without studying the eye. I have no misgivings, therefore, that the lines on which this College is founded will ever become so narrow as to exclude the science of man, and the science of that which makes man, the science of language, and what is really the same, the science of thought. And where can we study the science of thought, that most wonderful instance of development, except in the languages and literatures of the past? How are we to do justice to our ancestors except by letting them plead their own case in their own language? Literary culture can far better dispense with physical science than physical science with literary culture, though nothing is more satisfactory than a perfect combination of the two. The spirit in which this College has been founded strikes me as a truly liberal spirit — a spirit of faith in the future, a spirit of confidence in youth. Much as I admire the enlightened generosity of the venerable founder of this College, there is nothing I admire more than that one clause in the statutes which states that, with the exception of a few fundamental provisions, the trustees not only may, but must from time to time so change the rules of this institution as to keep it always in harmony with the requirements of the age. We who are growing older ourselves know how difficult it sometimes is for an old man to have faith in youth and confidence in the future. Yet that firm faith in youth, that unshaken confidence in the future, seems to me to form the only safe foundation of all science, and on them, as on a corner-stone, every College of Science ought to be founded. The Professors of a College of Science should not be conservative only, satisfied to hand down the stock of knowledge as they received it, as it were laid up in a napkin. Professors must try to add something, however little it may be, to the talent they have received; they must not be afraid of what is new, but face every new theory boldly, trying to discover what is good and true in it, and what is not. I know this is sometimes difficult. Young men, with their new theories, are sometimes very aggravating. But let us be honest. We ourselves have been young and aggravating too, and yet on the whole we seem to have worked in the right direction. Let us hope, therefore, that the Professors of this College will always be animated by the spirit of its founder; that they will never lose their faith in progress, never bow before the idol of finality. Let them always keep in the statutes of their own mind that one saving clause in the statutes of this College— to keep pace with the progress of the world.’

To His Mother.

November 27.

‘Last Sunday I stayed at Prince Christian’s to meet the young Prince Wilhelm and his bride. I was there from Saturday to Monday, and like both the young people, especially the young Princess. Her sister too was very pleasant, and they all seemed so happy together. In January they are coming to Oxford. Last week the Japanese Minister was here with us, a very interesting man; and next week comes the American Ambassador, Mr. Lowell, a celebrated writer. We get little rest, though we refuse many invitations.'

Towards the close of the year an important correspondence began between Max Muller and Dr. Legge on one side, and the Bishop of Victoria and various missionaries in China on the other, on the translation of the Chinese word 'Shang-ti’ by ‘God,’ in Volume III of the Sacred Books of the East by Dr. Legge; the missionaries contending that ‘Shang-ti' should be rendered by 'Supreme Ruler' or ‘Ruler on High,’ not by ‘God,’ as ‘the God of Revelation,’ ‘Jehovah of the Christian Scriptures'! The letter of expostulation sent to Max Muller was signed by twenty-four missionaries, and transmitted to him by Dr. Burdon, Bishop of Victoria, Hong-Kong. The point in question had been under dispute for 300 years, and the translation, as being used in the Sacred Books of the East by appeared to come with authority, whereas the missionaries, headed by Dr. Burdon, contended that the question was still a matter of dispute.  

Dr. Legge had written and published a letter to Max Muller, giving at length his reasons for translating ‘Shang-ti’ by ‘God,' and stating that a large number of missionaries in China agreed with him. Dr. Legge was one of those who did not hesitate to say that God has never left Himself without witness to the many millions of the Chinese race; which the narrower spirit of those who condemned Dr. Legge’s translation was ready to deny.

In answer to the Bishop of Victoria, Max Muller wrote: —

‘Dear Bishop, — I send you enclosed my answer, to the letter which you forwarded to me, signed by yourself and a number of Protestant missionaries in China. I should feel truly glad if the explanations I have offered might lead, if not to a solution of our difficulties, at least to a mutual understanding of our motives, and I hope that you and your friends will absolve both Dr. Legge and myself from the charge of unfairness which seems implied in your letter.’

Max Muller’s answer enclosed to the Bishop was given in full in the Times of December 30, 1880. He says in this letter that in his first article in the Edinburgh Review, October, 1851, he had said that it was impossible to find in Chinese a more adequate rendering of ‘God’ than ‘Shang-ti.’ The missionaries advocated 'Supreme Ruler’ as the fit rendering of 'Shang-ti,’ and Max Muller very fitly asks, 'Would this expression have evoked in the minds of Europeans any conception different from that of God?’

The following letter to Dr. Happer, an old missionary in China, gives a summary of the question: —

To Dr. Happer.

December 12, 1880.

‘A great accumulation of work which I could not put off has hitherto prevented me from answering your letter. Before doing so I naturally wished not only to read your two papers on the proper rendering of “Shang-ti,” but to have time for reconsidering the whole question, and more particularly to hear what Professor Legge had to say in defence of his rendering of the Chinese “Shang-ti” by “God.”

Professor Legge, not wishing to wait any longer, has in the mean- time published his reply to your paper, and I hope during the Christmas holidays to find some leisure for writing down my own views on the subject. I feel bound, however, to tell you that I am not altogether an impartial judge, for so long ago as 1851 I expressed my decided approval of “Shang-ti” as the right name to be used for God in Chinese. I did so at the end of an article on “Comparative Philology” in the Edinburgh Review (October, 1851), in noticing Sir George Staunton’s essay, “An inquiry into the proper mode of rendering the word God in translating the Sacred Scriptures into the Chinese Language”; and after maturely reconsidering the question, I still think that, as the nearest equivalent of God, “Shang-ti” is freer from serious objections than any other name in Chinese.

‘The question, however, is a much larger one, and affects not only the Chinese, but the translation of almost every volume of the Sacred Books of the East. I feel truly grateful therefore to you and your friends for having given me an opportunity of stating my own convictions on that important subject more fully and more freely. In a short letter I can only say that it seems to me that the same spirit which enabled Paul to say at Athens [x], should embolden missionaries in China and all over the world to say, “Whom you ignorantly worship, whether Shang-ti or Tien or any other name, Him declare I unto you.”'

The following letter from Arinori Mori, at this time Japanese Minister in England, is of interest as giving the view of an enlightened Buddhist on the ‘Shang-ti’ question. Arinori had been staying with Max Muller, and delighted every one by his bright, joyous manner. It was he who, years before, when Minister in the United States, had rushed into Max Muller's rooms asking him in ten minutes to fix on a state religion for Japan. He was very different now, and with all his high spirits there was an earnestness of purpose about him which inspired his host with a feeling of strong regard.

It will be remembered that, on his return to Japan a year or two later, he was made Minister of Public Instruction, and was murdered in the streets of Tokio by a fanatic of the old conservative school.

Japanese Legation, London, November 22, 1880.

[quote]‘Dear Professor Max Muller, — I scarcely need to say that my recent visit to Oxford greatly benefited me, and that I immensely enjoyed myself during my stay under your kind care and most hospitable roof.

‘I have since read with much interest the copy kindly given me by Pr. Legge of his letter addressed to you on the “term-question " Shang-ti. I venture to express that Pr. Legge's translation of the term into God is on the whole correct, though in some cases the word God, when rendered by Shang-ti, may not be intelligible to the Chinese or any of the Far Eastern peoples, as being used to represent a living, sympathetic Being with all His attributes of love and tenderness. It is true that Shang-ti has been regarded as the Supreme Being and the Dispenser of all justice and benevolence, but never as so sympathetic a Being as is held by the Christian faith.'

[See Appendix F, p. 460.]
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