Auguste Comte 1855

Letter to Baron Alexander Humboldt

Source: Correspondance inédite d'Auguste Comte. 3rd series. Paris, au Siege de la Société Positiviste, 1904;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2012.

Paris, Thursday 25 Bichat 67 (December 27, 1855)

The thirty years that have passed since my first contact with you have never caused me to forget the noble encouragement with which you honored my philosophical beginnings, a result of the synthetic tendencies and sympathetic dispositions which have always so justly distinguished you from current scholars. A just gratitude then determined me to pay homage to you with the six volumes of my “Positive Philosophy” as they appeared between 1830-1842. The reception with which your encyclopedic spirit gratified this fundamental treatise disposed me to offer you, in the same way, the four volumes of my principal work, “Positive Politics,” the necessary continuation and indispensable complement to the first. But the more homogeneous nature of that second composition and the more intimate connections between its various parts led me to spontaneously delay this new homage until the total completion of a publication, which only occurred in 1854. It is in its entirety that I will send it to you tomorrow via the post, along with the two opuscules that go along with it.

My intention in the final one, my “Appeal to Conservatives,” was to guide the attention of statesmen to the sole doctrine that can radically reconcile order and progress by ensuring that discipline and consecration always coincide and will consequently, with the coming of a universal synthesis, put an end to the western revolution. With that as my intention I dare hope that you will deign to offer – and perhaps recommend to – your exemplary king the copy I am submitting to him of a writing that characterizes the policies capable of overcoming both anarchy and regression, between which until now the nineteenth century has so deplorably oscillated.

Respect and sympathy,
Auguste Comte
(10, rue Monsieur-le-Prince)