Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

bing,"

this time pretty well exhausted, and he pline is less atrocious, and excites less only told Gordon, that, as he had not abhorrence, than you seem to imagine. been punctual to his time, he was very When an instance of it occurs, those who lucky in being so far behind it. " For," hear of it thank their good fortune that added he, “I am already sufficiently they were not the victims, and continue fatigued with beating these scoundrels ; to treat the sufferer with the same confiand I understand that a Scotch "consti- deration as before. I must also add, that tution does not agree well with a drub- the instances of it which now occur are

very rare. The private infliction of the knout Yet with all the alleviations I can sugseems to be the legitimate offspring of gest (and I am willing to suggest all that this ready discipline. The Russian truth will allow) you will say, that the gosceptre has, you know, been held, since vernment must be abominable which authe days of Peter the Great, only by thorises such enormities. I shall not diswomen, except during the short reign pute this point with you ; for I think litof Peter the second, and the few months ile can be argued in favour of that systein which Peter the third survived his aunt. of legislation which is held together only Although some of the Princesses who by the fear of corporal infliction, which have succeeded to the throne of Peter mult degrade before it can govern, and the Great, have showed themselves qua- make of the human species bad men, in Jified to sway his fceptre, none of them order to render them good subjects. have been able to wield his cudgel. But, although I cannot survey without Hence this duty has devolved on the abhorrence the system of despotism that knout master general,

prevails in this empire, I think there are How far the nation has lost or gained infuperable difficulties in the way of by the change, I shall not pretend to speedily introducing any considerable imguess. But it seems to be owing to the provement. The corruption of the peorespectable origin of this mode of castiga- ple seems to keep pace in every nation tion that there is less of disgrace connec. with the vices of the government. Pere ted with it than could eally

be imagined. haps tyranny in the people act mutually It is well known that chastisements which in producing one another ; just as, in cerPeter the Great inflicted with his own tain diseases, the derangementof the body hand were never supposed to disgrace induces mental debility, and the debility those who suffered them. When a cour, thus induced increases the bodily disorder tier was foundly drubbed, or pulled by the from which itarose. Whateverthere may nose, or bad a tooth tornjout by the Em- be in this supposition, ihe spirit of the Rufperor, at all which exercises Peter was re- fian government and the manners of the markably dextrous, he suffered only the Russians are well adapted to one another. bodily pain of the operation. His honour A free government would hardly be rewas not in the least affected. And as it lished by the nation in its present fare, feldom happened that his master pat less and a more enlightened nation would not confidence in him after such an accident, tamely submit to such'a government. than he had done before it, his credit suf- I have often, indeed, heard bold the. fered as little as his honour. Menzikoff orists propose to annihilate at once what, used to appear in all his native haughtiness ever is vicious in the government of this and prelumption, even when his coun- empire, and to create a free conftitution in tenance bore the most unequivocal marks its stead. A furgeon might as well cut off of his master's resentment, In like a limb in order to remove the pain of a manner the private infliction of the knout corn on the toe. The cure might, to be is hardly supposed to disgrace a Ruf- fure, be in both cases accomplished; but I fian gentleman more than flagellation acknowledge, I should not choose to trust does an English school boy.

either my person to such radical practice, On these accouets this species of difci- or my political quiet to fuch active the

ory.

ITALY.

ory. Such men seem to consider the sci- who retain the original impresion and ence of legiilation as analogous to mecha. bent of their character with an obftinacy nical art, in which, from previously cal. proportioned to the force that is applied culating the power of every conitituent to change them. It is impossible to calpart, you can deduce with mathematical culate the effect that niay be produced by certainty the general effect of the whole an attempt to introduce a great and sudBut legislators have not like mechanics den change into the situation of a nation inert matter to act upon, which they can of such beings; because it is impossible to mould into whatever shape they please. foresee the various accidents that may They have for the object of their science, and must occur to accelerate, or retard, or beings refractory to the hand of the mac change the motion you have communipager-unreasonable in their prejudices, cated to the national spirit. in their predilections and antipathies, and

(To be continued.) LITERARY HISTORY OF THE PRESENT PERIOD.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 172.

been translated into the vulgar tongie; EVERY one koows that, on the re- the bishops of particular dioceses, fupvival of letters, Italy was their first, ported by their respective fovereigns, lefoster-mother ; and the golden age of gin to exercise a jurisdiction indepenLeo will ever be accounted a remark- dently of Rome; papal infallibility is able æra in the history of human know- scouted every where, iave in the papel ledge. For a century, at least, it re- territories, and even there feebly cetained its superiority; and although it fended, perhaps not believed ; superitihas since been visibly finking in the tious rites and usages are daily diminili. public scale, yet it fill holds a confi- ing, and freedom of thought pervades derable rank in every branch of science, all ranks of men who have any fort of where religion is not directly or indi. liberal education.

What may we not rectly concerned. It has produced ex- augur from such symp:oms ? cellent historians, moft ingenious poets, and some tolerable orators; it has Although these nations have, for algreatly embelliíned its fine melodious most two centuries, made very little language, and was the first modern na- figure in the field of science, it is not tion that had a good lexicon. In ma- hence to be concluded, that this has thematics and experimental philosophy, been owing to want of capacity: they it is not below its neighbours ; and it are naturally a thinking and acute peohas always been deemed the best school ple, and, in the sixteenth century, held for music, painting, and sculpture. Di- a respectable rank among the nations of vioity alone (and philosophy in as far Europe ; but here the inquisition, more as it is connected with divinity) has rigid and bloody than raic of Italy, has been bound in fetters by monachism, stifted every fpark of genius that has superstition, and inquisitorial tribunals. come within its reach, and plunged the But these fetters will probably foon be inhabitants into an ignorance hardiy'to Maken off by that ingenious people: be credited. The time, however, seems God grant that they may not at the to approach, when that diabolical tribufame time shake off religiou herfclf, un- nal must be abolished; and, to do julder the idea that she had forged their tice to this and the last reign, its power chains : this is no uncommon process has already been greatly curtailed : still, in national revolutions. Some change however, it has power enough to prein the religious creed of ltaly, ap- vent a general dissemination of knowpears to be inevitable.

The scriptures ledge ; and few, comparatively, are the are more generally studied, and have works of rajue that have yet been writ

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.

FRANCE.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ten on the other side of the Pyrenees. from so dismal a prospect, and cherish a
Yet the Spanish language seems pecu- hope, that the genius of France may
liarly formed for sine composition, whe- yet trim his withered bags, and rise to his
ther in prose or verse; and they have fornier renown.
riow a national dictionary that vies with GERMANY, HOLLAND, &c.
acy ia Europe.

A petulant French Jefuit once made

it a qucftion, Whether a German was Unhapry France ! Thou wat once capable of wit? And not lefs petulant a nation of learned men. Although was the observation of an Englishman, thou did not embrace the muses so that the Dutch carried their genius in early as thy southern neighbour, thou. their backs. Odious affertion! The receivedít them with not leis tenderness, German Luther had at least as much and cultivatedlt them with more indus- wit as Father Bouhours ; and the Coltry. In what species of writing (Epic loquies of Erasmus, of Rotterdam, conpoetry excepted) didit thou not excel? tain more Attic humour than can be what art or scicace didit thou not im- collected from the whole mass of Engprove and adorn? what charms didit lish writers, from Chaucer to Swift. thou not give to one of the most bar- That the French, a vain and jealous. barous tongues in the universe ? Thy nation, should contemn German literaGothogallic jargon, embellished by the ture, is not much 10 be wondered. kill of thy grammarians and orators, They have fometimes affected to despise became the language of the world, and their masters, the Italians : But that the vehicle of knowledge to the ends of we, a Saxon colory, should join in the the earth. “ Ab! how are the mighty affront, is certainly a matter of surprise. fallen, and the weapons of learning The truth is, that, although the Gerperifhed ?"

nan be the parent of our own tongue, Reader, we mean not, by this apo- or at least a lifter dialect, we have not, strophe, to debase the French nation, until very lately, paid any attention to nor to throw any flur upon their late German books, unless they were writtxertions to shake off the yoke of def- ten in Latin. Yet Germany has, in the potism, and vindicate their just rights; course of the present century, produced we are only penetrated with sorrow and as many good works, in German, as any regret, that the vindication of those country in the world. We know not rights should be attended with conse- even if it be saying too much, to affirm, quences so fatal to Learning, and we that more German books are annually fear to liberty itself, at least for a long published than in one half of the world portion of time.

But is France at pre- besides : they are not all excellent, to sent without learned men are the arts be fure, bu: most of them are good, and and sciences there totally neglected? few intolerable; and there is not a Neither the 072 nor the other! But,, branch of science which is not highly alas ! the, number of truly learned men cultivated, especially in the Protestant in I'rance, at this moment, are like the universities. Formerly, the Germans głcanings of the field: old age, exile, wrote in various dialects, as numerous or the guillotine, has swept the great as their various provinces ; and still harvelt away; and it will be yet a long, there are shades of difference in the lanlong winter, before such another crop guages of Berlin, Leipfic, and Vienna : can appear. The arts and sciences are Put having now an excellent lexicon, not alogciher extin&i ; but they shed and several good grammars, they seem only a faint light : the rays of which to aim at some sort of uniformity, both ferve chiefly to fhew what Vandalic de- in fiyle and phraseology. Their poetry vaftation has been made among their is greatly improved, and every day ime best productions. Let us cun cur eyes proving; in novel writing, they are

GREAT BRITAIN.

more natural than we; of their oratory faid to be copious and harmonious : if we cannot say so much ; in mathema. any works of great importance shall

aptics, natural history, phyfic, experimen- pear in it, we will endeavour to give an tal philosophy, they are second to none; account of them. The number of Poin rational theology, they have made lilh publications is not great; and now, great progrefs: and in biblical criti- we imagine, that unfortunate nation wit cism, hold the very first rank.

be taught to lisp in the respective lanWhat we have said of Germany is guage of its new, masters. more or less applicable to Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and the other northern Having thus made the grand to'r as regions that border on Germany, and rapidly as most of our modern travellers, Speak Teutonic dialects. To them the we return with pleasure to our natis : German has been chiefly the great ve- foil; and are happy in the thought that hicle of knowledge, which they have it has not been less productive of ever; generally diffused into their own tongues; fort of knowledge, than climes that bu: in Sweden, of late, many very learn- enjoy a warmer fun. Montesquieu was ed men have arisen, who, in philology, wont to say,

“ That England was a and every species of critical knowledge, country to think in ;' and this concefare not inferior to the Germans; and fion from a French writer is no small they have one of the best translations of eulogy. In fact, we are a thinking, the Bible that has been made into mo- more than an ingenious nation : w dern languages.

have seldom been guilty of invention ; The literature of Holland is, in fome but we are bold and persevering imitameafure, peculiar to itself. Although tors, and have generally perfected what their language be a German dialect, it had been invented by others : of this has not been much written in ; their our various manufiictures are a fenfible principal works are in Latin or French, and triking proo . « V os machines Tnis laiter was imported by the French fort mieux montées,” said to us refugees, who fled from the persecution telligent Frenchman, whom we met of Louis XIV. and, through them, soon fome years ago a: Birmingham; and became familiar to the Dutch them- this is

pure

truth, The employers of felves; almost as many French works our artists spare no cost; and our arhave iffued from the presies of Amster- tills, patient and well paid, leave nodam, Rotterdam, and the Hague, as thing unfinished in their varicus operafrom those of Paris and Lyons. We tions, from the mill that grinds the. Speak not at all of the Netherlands, be- sugar cane, to tie screw that draws a cause we know no works of any great cork. Hence the greue demand for our merit in the Flemish dialect. It has, 'wares all over the globe. for many years, been giving place to If our learning and science bad but the French, which now bids fair to ex- kept pace with our mechanics, we should tinguish it. The language of Lifle is have been the most learned and enlightbecome the language of Brussels ; and, ened people under the fun : as it is, in half a century more, perhaps, there we have no reason to bluih. Let us vill be no other dialect spoken on this fee what we have done in the lapfe cf Gde the Rhine.

a hundred years. It might be expected that we should In the first place, we have confiderfay!fomething of Polish and Ruffian lite- ably polished and, at the fame time, rature ; but we confess we are little ac- perhaps, enei vated our language ; ws: quainted with either, except through write more grammatica'ly, but not more the medium of German reviews. We forcibly nor clequently; we have a know only that the Russian language has good dictionary of our language, but for been improred in later times, and is from being a periest one, or even equal

an in

to those of some other nations, though genious systems have been broached, we are sometimes apt to boast the con- which have not yet received the sanction trary. Its defects are great and nu- of public approbation. We avoid menmerous; and we cannot but lament, that tidning names, that we may avoid the a gentleman *, who has long laboured imputation of partiality. to improve it, and supply its deficiencies, In theology, a wonderful revolution has not met with that encouragement has happened in this country. The to which he had a claim ; and without principles of Calvin, which were once which he could not carry on so expen- common to Presbyterians and Episcopafive an undertaking.

lians, are now, in a great measure, On oratory and elocution, several exploded by both; and Arminianism useful tracts and lectures have appeared, has had a complete triumplı over the but there is very little new in them. gloomy syfem of Gomarus.-- There Dr Campbeil's Philosophy of Rhetoric, were some few Socinians in the days and Mr J. Walker's Melody of Speaking of Charles II. and in every succeed. delineateil, are the only works of the ing reign; but they were individuals, kind that possess originality ; yet they who had no public conventicles, por have been little read.

ostensible communion. At present, they History has had a better fate. We are a numerous and respectable body, have many good historians ; but Hume and are daily increasing. The acriand Robertson fine among them like monious opposition which they have the moon among inferior itars.

met with from the established church From history to novels, the transi- and the obftinate refusal of government to tion is short : and here, if number pre- repeal the test and corporation acts, have vail, we are invincible. Since the fer. not a little contributed to this increase. tile pen of Richardon poured forth its Sanguis martyrum femen funcorum, is an sentimental torrent, a ti.ousand stream- axiom that will always be found to be lets have enrulated its course, and pur- true, whatsoever be the principles of led away, with an uniform fimilarity the perfecuted. We say perfecuted; bethrough the enchanted plains.

cause we are thoroughly convinced, that An inundation of pretty poetry has every sort of restraint, in matters mereallo deluged the land; but the grand, ly religious, is a species of perfecution ; the sublime, the Shakesperian, and the although it be not persecution unto death. Miltonic, seem beyond the grasp of mo. This latter, indeed, is happily abolishdern bards. Two or three good co. ed, or, at least, gone gradually into difmedies have graced the stage : but the use. We no longer hang a Pouilh priest Tragic Muse gas been in a dcep lethar- for saying mass, nor bore the tongue of dy for many years.

an Unitarian with a hot iron for denying Natural history and experimental phi- the Trinity. The times will not bear losophy, more especially botany and che- such severities ; yet we have no hesitamistry, have made great progrefs among tion in afferting, that as long as a single us; but the Swedes and Germans led Eriton is, on üccount of his religious

ienets, excluded from any place which The chair of Newton has not been be is capable of filling, genuine liberty refilled; and this is no matter of alto. he does not enjoy. To oblige men, by pithment, lince academical honours have penal laws, to think alike, is to renew beea made the reward and badge of a the bed of Procrustes, which philosoparty.

phy ought to have broken in pieces Politics have been cultivared with for ever. Diiference in opinion is as uncommon ardour, especially fince the natural as difference in complexion ; French Revolution; and fome now in- and one may be as juítiy perfecuted for * Mr Hebert Croí.

Leing black, brown, or fair, as for be

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the way.

« ZurückWeiter »