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tation, it is supposed, of several of the courts of Europe, advocating the claims of Charles of Austria to the vacant throne of Spain, in opposition to the grandson of Louis, and setting forth the injurious consequences of the policy of the French monarch, was hailed by his contemporaries as a masterpiece of historical learning and political wisdom. By his powerful advocacy of the cause of the Elector of Brandenburg he may be said to have aided the birth of the kingdom of Prussia, whose existence dates with the commencement of the last century. In the service of that kingdom he wrote and published important state papers ; among them one relating to a point of contested right to which recent events have given fresh significance: "Traité Sommaire du Droit de Frederic I. Roi de Prusse a la Souverainete de Neufchatel et de Vallengin en Suisse."

In Vienna, as at Berlin, the services of Leibniz were subsidized by the state. By the peace of Utrecht the House of Hapsburg had been defeated in its claims to the Spanish throne, and the foreign and internal affairs of the Austrian Government were involved in many perplexities which, it was hoped, the philosopher's counsel might help to untangle. He was often present at the private meetings of the cabinet, and received from the Emperor the honorable distinction of Kaiserlicher Hofrath, in addition to that which had previously been awarded to him, of Baron of the Empire. The highest post in the gift of Government was open to him on condition of renouncing his Protestant faith, which, notwithstanding his tolerant feeling toward the Roman Church, and the splendid compensations which awaited such a convertite, he could never be prevailed upon to do.

A natural, but very remarkable, consequence of this manifold activity and lifelong absorption in public affairs was the failure of so great a thinker to produce a single systematic and elaborate work containing a complete and detailed exposition of his philosophical, and especially his ontological, views. For such an exposition Leibniz could find at no period of his life the requisite time and scope. In the vast multitude of his productions there is no complete philosophic work. The most arduous of his literary labors are historical compilations made in the service of the state. Such were the "History of the House of Brunswick," already mentioned, the "Accessiones Historian," the "Scriptores Rerum Brunsvicensium Illustration! inservientes," and the "Codex Juris Gentium Diplomaticus," — works involving an incredible amount of labor and research, but adding little to his postumous fame. His philosophical studies after entering the Hanoverian service, which he did in his thirtieth year, were pursued, as he tells his correspondent Placcius, by stealth; that is, at odd moments snatched from official duties and the cares of state. Accordingly, his metaphysical works have all a fragmentary character. Instead of systematic treatises, they are loose papers, contributions to journals and magazines, or sketches prepared for the use of friends. They are all occasional productions, elicited by some external cause, not prompted by inward necessity. The "Nouveaux Essais," his most considerable work in that department, originated in comments on Locke, and was not published until after his death. The "Monadology" is a series of propositions drawn up for the use of Prince Eugene, and was never intended to be made public; and probably the "Theodicée" would never have seen the light except for his cultivated and loved pupil, the Queen of Prussia, for whose instruction it was designed.

It is a curious fact, and a good illustration of the state of letters in Germany at that time, that Leibniz wrote so little — almost nothing of importance — in his native tongue. In Erdmann's edition of his philosophical works there are only two short essays in German ; the rest are all Latin or French. He had it in contemplation at one time to establish a philosophical journal in Berlin, but doubts, in his letter to M. La Croye on the subject, in what language it should be conducted: "II y a quelque tems que j'ay pense a un journal de Savans qu'on pourroit publier a Berlin, mais je suis un peu en doute sur la langue. . . . Mais soit qu'on prit le Latin ou le Francois,"l etc. It seems never to have occurred to him that such a journal might be published in German. That language was then, and for a long time after, regarded by educated Germans very much as the Russian is regarded at the present day, — as the language of vulgar life, unsuited to learned or polite intercourse. Frederic the Great, a century later, thought as meanly of its adaptation to literary purposes as did the contemporaries of Leibniz. When Gellert, at his request, repeated to him one of his fables, he expressed his surprise that anything so clever could be produced in German. It may be said in apology for this neglect of their native tongue, that the German scholars of that age would have had a very inadequate audience, had their communications been confined to that language. Leibniz craved and deserved a wider sphere for his thoughts than the use of the German could give him. It ought, however, to be remembered to his credit, that as language in general was one among the numberless topics he investigated, so the German in particular engaged at one time his special attention. It was made the 1 Kortholt: Epistolre ad Diversos, vol. i.

subject of a disquisition which suggested to the Berlin Academy in the next century the method adopted by that body for the culture and improvement of the national speech. In this writing, as in all his German compositions, he manifested a complete command of the language, and imparted to it a purity and elegance of diction very uncommon in his day. The German of Leibniz is less antiquated at this moment than the English of his contemporary, Locke.


The interest to us in this extraordinary man — who died at Hanover, 1716, in the midst of his labors and projects — turns mainly on his speculative philosophy. It was only as an incidental pursuit that he occupied himself with metaphysic, yet no philosopher since Aristotle — with whom, though claiming to be more Platonic than Aristotelian, he has much in common — has furnished more luminous hints for the elucidation of metaphysical problems. The problems he attempted were those which concern the most inscrutable, but to the genuine metaphysician most fascinating, of all topics, — the nature of substance, matter and spirit, absolute being; in a word, Ontology. This department of metaphysics, the most interesting, and,

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