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[347] underived utterance, and yet who can deny that the peculiar turn of that expression goes back through German or we know not what other channels to Plato and still remoter Eastern sources?

This mention of the East is suggestive of all the weaknesses of transcendentalism: its tendency to neglect proximate and to refer everything to primal causes; its attempt to attain the spiritual not by subduing but by turning its back on the material; its proneness to substitute passivity and receptiveness for alertness and creative force; its traces of a paralysing pantheism and fatalism; its ineffectualness; its atrophy of will. More than a touch of each of these qualities transcendentalism indisputably has; but if this were all there were to it, we should brand it as one more vain revival of a philosophy of life long since proved futile.

But who can doubt that there is in it also something the precise opposite of all this, the strange union of which with its Oriental elements makes it precisely the unique thing it is? Who can doubt that in speaking the last word of transcendentalism we should come back from India, even from Europe, to Concord and Boston? For, at bottom, it is the strong local flavour of it all, a smell of the soil through the universal generalizations, a dash of Yankee practicality in the midst of the Oriental mysticism, a sturdy Puritan pugnacity and grasp of fact underneath its serenest and most Olympian detachments, that gives this movement its reality and grip, and rescues it in large part not only from the ineffectiveness of the East but from the sentimental, the romantic, and the anarchic excesses of many of its related European movements.

These men were no mere dreamers. Emerson resigning his pulpit rather than administer the Lord's Supper or pray when he did not feel like praying, Thoreau going to jail for a refusal to pay his taxes, Alcott closing his school sooner than dismiss a coloured pupil (yes! even Alcott planting “aspiring” vegetables), Parker risking reputation and life in the anti-slavery crusade-these are typical examples of the fact that when these men were put to the test of acting up to their principles they were not found wanting. The Puritan character was the rock on which transcendentalism was built.

How inherent in the religious development of New England that character has been may be seen by glancing at three of her

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