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the country to get it modified. Can he make the same apology for the existence of any one duty in the Prussian tariff?
The duty on wine, 5s. 6d. a gallon, is perhaps too high. But it is neither partial, nor imposed to encourage the wine manufacture here. On what pretence, therefore, do the Prussians object
The vindicator says that brandy is a considerable article of export from Prussia. It may be so; but we venture to affirm that though the duty on brandy were reduced to 5s. a gallon, or wholly repealed, not a drop of Prussian brandy would come into England so long as we are not excluded from France.
Prussia may complain of our duties on corn and timber; but when she sets about objecting to our duties on brandy, tobacco, and beer, she is interfering with what concerns her as little as our duties on tea. Even of some of the great northern articles, such as hemp, flax and bristles, on which our duties are either nominal, or moderate in the extreme, we get but little from her. Russia can, and does, supply them, and many others, on lower terms; so that the entire repeal of the duties on them would not really be of the least advantage to Prussia.
The Prussian apologist objects also to our navigation laws, and with as little reason as he objects to our tariff. We treat Prussian ships exactly as we treat British ships, and as we treat the ships of all other countries, with which we have reciprocity treaties. We conceive it necessary for the purposes of defence to prohibit vessels built abroad, unless captured during war and legally condemned, from obtaining the privileges of British ships ; and we extend this rule to others. If this be a hardship on the Prussians, it is also one on our own merchants, who are obliged to use the dearer ships. But we deny that there is any hardship in the case.
And we have no doubt that the vindicator know's as well as we do, that Prussian ships are unable to come into successful competition with British ships; so that our law has either no influence on them, or none that is material.
We think we have sufficiently repelled the attacks on our commercial policy, made by this defender of Prussia. We are ready, however, to admit, that in many respects it is objectionable, and we are most anxious to see its defects removed, and to have it rendered more in accordance with the liberal spirit of the age. But its defects afford no vindication of the policy of Prussia. Our charge against that power is, that while England has been for several years relaxing her restraints on importation, and lowering and sometimes repealing the duties on most foreigu products, she has been pursuing quite an opposite system ; and that to enforce her anti-social policy in the north of Germany, she has,
VOL. XI. NO, XXII.
partly by cajolery and partly by influence of a less resistible sort, prevailed on some of the smaller powers to adopt her tariff, and to allow the customs duties within their dominions to be collected by Prussian officers! Let the Prussian vindicator show that this is not the fact; and then his pathetic complaints about our unreasonable duties on herrings and small beer may be listened to, It is something worse than ludicrous to attempt to vindicate the policy of Prussia by referring to the example of the United States! Is Europe to be told, and by a diplomatic agent too, that the king of Prussia is the President of the Germanic body; and that it Bavaria should recede, as she ought, from the Prussian system, she is to be coerced like Carolina? If the mysterious allusion to the United States do not mean this, what does it mean? We
e are truly sorry that Prussia should have identified herself with this miserable policy. It is now renounced in England, in America, and even in France. So intelligent a government as that of Prussia ought not to have taken the exploded errors and pernicious absurdities of the prohibitive system under its protection. And still less ought it to endeavour to propagate its pestilent beresies by measures subversive of the independence of other states, and which cannot fail to lead to serious difficulties,
ART. VI.-Römische Geschichte, von B. G. Niebuhr. Dritter
Theil. (Niebuhr’s Roman History, Vol. III.) Svo. Berlin,
1832. PRECISELY five years have elapsed since our critical labours were directed, for the first time, to this most remarkable work of the present century. Though one of our most distinguished scholars had already, in a leading journal, done justice to the high merits of Niebuhr, attention had not been sufficiently attracted to the subject, and we stood almost alone in the critical world as the frank recognizers of the justness of his views and the soundness of his reasonings. In the interim, the appearance of Messrs. Hare and Thirlwall’s excellent translation has afforded the means of judging to a more numerous class of readers; and we are now in frequent enjoyment of the pleasure which must ever be felt by a generous lover at seeing the charms and the merits of the object of his affections more and more acknowledged every day, and receiving continual marks of homage. Niebuhr's fame may now be regarded as placed beyond the reach of danger: even his most startling hypotheses and conclusions will gather strength by trial; and though Micali, in Italy, has appeared as his rival in the portion of his work which treats of the ante-Roman times, and a distinguished traveller of our own country threatens to overturn the fabric he has erected, we confess that we are without fears for the result, and have no doubt but that it may be said of the Roman history as of the Roman people, that
Duris ut ilex tonsa bipennibus
Ducit opes, animumque ferro. We have deemed it not unbecoming thus to express our contipued aud firm conviction of the justness of Niebuhr’s views, and our gratification at seeing the number of his admirers daily augmented, at the moment when for the fourth, and unhappily the Jast time, we are preparing to give an account of his labours in the field of Roman history. It also adds much to our gratification to transcribe the following testimony to his merits from one of our most distinguished contemporaries, who has lately made the amende honorable to his illustrious manes in the most ample manner.
“A work which, of all that have appeared in our age, is the best fitted to excite men of learning to intellectual activity; from which the most accomplished scholars may gather fresh stores of knowledge ; to which the most experienced politicians may resort for theoretical and practical instruction; and which no person can read as it ought to be read without feeling the better and more generous sentiments of his common human nature enlivened and strengthened.”
It is almost superfluous for us to say that these sentiments have our most hearty concurrence. They express the truth, and nothing more than the truth; and in the whole compass of literature there is not a work, the perusal of which will invigorate our moral feelings and enlarge our political views to the same extent as that under consideration. How wide the difference, for example, between Niebuhr and Gibbon! We rise from the perusal of the Decline and Fall of Rome with feelings of disgust and aversion to our species, when we see even their best actions ascribed to the meanest and most ungenerous motives; while the History of early Rome sets before us men as they really were; some acting from the noblest, some from the basest, the great majority from mixed motives. The effect produced by the whole is pleasing and consolatory; for we see that the image of God is not totally effaced, and that history presents a sufficient number of characters whom we may safely admire and praise. Some of these shall soon appear on the scene.
We could almost fancy that Niebuhr had Gibbon and Hume in his eye when he wrote the following passage in the commencement of the present volume:
“ It is a common and a paltry piece of malignity, on the part of the enemies of the memory of great men and great actions, to place the
occasion of these actions in ordinary causes, and as opposite as possible to the nobleness of their views; just as down to tbis very day, in defiance of all conviction, it is pretended that Luther was moved to the reformation by the envy of the brethren of his order, by the Dominicans, and by the project of marrying his nun. Such falsehoods must be vigorously attacked and exposed whenever they show themselves, since it is impossible to extirpate their germs, which are rooted in the very lowest part of human nature--the propensity to degrade."
Might we not say that this was intended for Hume, whose character of the illustrious reformer every one must recollect? Luther's character, by the way, has had but little justice done to it in this country; the extravagant eulogiums of bigots and enthusiasts in religion are rather injurious to it than otherwise. Dr. Lingard, as he was in duty bound, has taken care that it should
possess no moral dignity; and Mr.Hallam hints pretty clearly that he was mad, at least north-north-west, though, when the wind was southerly, he might be able “ to tell a hawk from a handsaw.” But in the beautiful and. philosophic fragment of the late Sir J. Mackintosh on the bistory of England, Luther's character, in commou with every other, has been amply vindicated. Ere we quit this subject, we will observe what an awful warning the fate of Hume holds out to the historian. Notwithstanding the charms of an exquisite style, views and reflections of the finest philosophy, insight the most profound into the human heart, his character as a bistorian is irrecoverably gone, because he was negligent of truth: he sacrificed all to paltry party-prejudice, and he has received his reward. Gibbon was too wise to withdraw himself from the restraints of truth: his historical veracity is, we believe, unimpeachable, though, like all others, he was subject to error, and has occasionally fallen into it. His sneers at religion and his indecency have brought on him the most degrading of punishments, by subjecting him to the emasculating operation of Mr. Bowdler. This last most calamitous fate, Niebuhr, thank heaven! need not apprehend, though it has been hinted in a certain quarter that he is not undeserving of it, as having sitten "in the seat of the scornful.” His pages would, we apprehend, be rather tough food for the young scions of pious families, and no process could ever make it suitable to their tender digestion; but we can assure them that when they shall have arrived at sufficient knowledge (and that is no small quantity) to be able to understand him, they may read him without apprehension, at least as far as their moral feelings are concerned.
The death of Niebuhr was naturally a subject of very general and sincere regret among the friends of learning, and, like that of so many other great men, is generally ascribed to a peculiar cause,
that his end might not be like that of the common race of man. We are told that the eventful days of July, 1830, when, to use his own words, " the madness of the French court broke the talisman which kept the demon of the revolution in bonds," preyed upon his spirits in a most extraordinary manner and eventually caused his death. That Niebuhr did view that glorious event with great apprehension, there can be no doubt, as we have his own words for it, and his language is so exaggerated as almost to indicate a mind diseased. He speaks in his preface dated the 5th October of that year, of the “ruin which menaced his property, his dearest possessions, and his happiest ties;” adding that “unless God sent some miraculous help, we had to look forward to a period of destruction similar to that which the Roman world esperienced about the middle of the third century of our æra-to the annihilation of prosperity, of freedom, of civility, of knowledge.” What cau be the meaning of this Jérémiade? and what were the peculiar evils which afflicted the Roman empire at the period specified ? for on looking into history we cannot discern any very great difference between that period and those which preceded and followed it, unless it be that at that time the purple became the prize of murder in the hands of Maximin the Thracian herdsman, and Philip the Arabian freebooter. But murder had already appeared frequently in the palace of the Cæsars, and the empire had already been publicly set up to auction by the prætorian guards. Did Niebuhr, acute and observant as he was, not perceive the progress which moral and political knowledge had made in France in the forty years which had elapsed since the outbreak of the first revolution, when the slaves burst their fetters and rushed into all the wildness and extravagance of unchecked licentiousness ? and could be expect the destruction of “freedom, civility and knowledge," which had outlived that catastrophe, from those who nobly rose and expelled the ignorant and incapable fanatics, who would fain reduce them to that state of thraldom which has now become matter of history? Or shall we say that Niebuhr meant the fourth, or rather the fifth century; that his apprehensions were of a different kind, and that he had in view a crusade of the eastern barbarians against the liberty and civilization of the West? This was an event far more likely to occur ; for that liberty and civilization have any serious danger to apprehend from la jeune France, is what we cannot easily bring ourselves to think'; and those among us who fancy that a noisy set of clubbists and anarchic journalists, who prate ad nauseam of movement and republics, speak the sense of the French people, are just as much in error as they would be if they viewed