The average man is pessimist or optimist not on theoretical grounds, but owing to the circumstances of his life, his material prosperity, his bodily health, his general temperament.
He answered these attacks in kind, sometimes perhaps with unnecessary vehemence and rancour, but he never faltered in his work, and, an optimist by nature, a disciple of his friend George Combe, and a believer in the indefinite improvability of mankind, he was sustained throughout by his conviction that nothing could so much benefit the race, morally, intellectually and materially, as education.
Shaftesbury is emphatically an optimist, but there is a passage in the Moralists (pt.
Till Amos (with the solitary exception of Micaiah ben Imlah, in i Kings xxii.) prophecy was optimist - even Elijah, if he denounced the destruction of a dynasty and the annihilation of all who had bowed the knee to Baal, never doubted of the future of the nation when only the faithful remained; but the new prophecy is pessimist - it knows that Israel is rotten to the core, and that the whole fabric of society must be dissolved before reconstruction is possible.
An optimist and idealist, he joined to a fervent belief in liberty an equal enthusiasm for German unity and the idea of the German state.