But though he formulated no system of philosophy, and seemed to show the influence now of Plato, now of Kant, or of German thought as filtered through the brain of Coleridge, he was, like his American master, associate and friend, steadily optimistic, idealistic, individualistic. The teachings of William Ellery Channing a little before, as to the sacred inviolability of the human conscience - anticipating the later conclusions of Martineau - really lay at the basis of the work of most of the Concord transcendentalists and contributors to The Dial, of whom Alcott was one.
However, Irish monachism emerges into the full light of history, it was in its manifestations closely akin to the Egyptian, or even to the Syrian type: there was the same love of the eremitical life, the same craving after bodily austerities of an extraordinary kind, the same individualistic piety.
Thus, even though it arose from national views, in its esseiice it is not national (as, for instance, the Israelite creed), but individualistic, and at the same time universal.
It becomes equivalent to economic laisser-faire and "Manchesterism," and as such it must fight its own corner with those who now take into consideration many national factors which had no place in the early utilitarian individualistic regime of Cobden's own day.