Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

northwards 270 feet, we arrived at a chamber where much of the stone and a quantity of soil had fallen in, evidencing a near approach to the surface, and where probably there may have been an entrance in former ti es. Indeed, we were inclined to think that the stones and soil had been purposely cast in to obliterate all t: aces of the cave from without, and to prevent an enemy from penetrating by it into the town. We had not been long in it before we found that it was not a natural cave, but an immense quarry beneath a portion of the city, from which stone for building it had been excavated without disturbing the surface. The marks of the chisel in the white calcareous rock were perfectly fresh, and some of the blocks still remain, cut into shape, but not broken off. Along the rocky walls at the side the mode of operation is distinctly traceable. Deep narrow grooves or channels have been cut lengthwise between the blocks, which have been of immense size; and then they have been forcibly torn from the rock by some mechanical process- not improbably by inserting wooden blocks or wedges in the cuttings, and saturating them with water, till the swelling fibres burst the rock asu der. The carefully cut grooves, with the riven surface of the rock between them, may be traced for a considerable length along the western side. There are some magnificent halls formed in this manner, pillars of the natural rock being left around them to support the roo', while innumerable chambers and recesses stretch away both to the right and left, shewing that the rock has been worked wherever it was found best in quality. The mounds, of what at first we took for rubbish, are formed of the chips and cuttings of the rock in quarrying and dressing the stones before they were removed. After penetrating to a distance of 250 yards into the very heart of the hill Bezétha, we came to the circular hall or pit already mentioned; and in the southernmost recess, about fitty feet from it, found a fountain, the water of which was s.ightly brackish."

And what if this is, in reality, the place from which were brought the materials for the Temple ?

"It is not," as Mr. Clements so beautifully says, "it is not the magnificence of Herod, or of Solomon, not the priestly pomp and glory of the Temple, or the world-wide celebrity of its worship, that have immortalized Jerusalem, and sanctified every spot that surrounds it. A humbler, a more noble, a diviner memory -the memory of a single life,-has consecrated once and for ever the name of Jerusalem to the world! The memory of a manger!-the memory of a cross!-the memory of a deserted tomb!"

And now, in conclusion, we would offer each of our authors a very cordial [mental] shake of the hand, to assure each, individually, of the satisfaction we have derived from his labours. In different ways, all

three books are excellent. The earnest force of Dr. Bonar, the minute observation and liveliness of Dr. Stewart, the warm eloquence of Mr. Clements-are qualities which the readers of neither can fail to perceive and be won by.

Debit and Credit. Translated from the German of GUSTAV FREYTAG, by L. C. C. With a Preface by the CHEVALIER BUNSEN. (Edinburgh: Constable and Co.)--It is an event unprecedented in the annals

of English publishing that a German work should, on its first appearance, be introduced to the public by three translators and as many publishers. This honour has been reserved for Gustav Freytag, who is, the Chevalier Bunsen informs us, a man of about fifty years of age, by birth a Silesian, and by profession a newspaper editor. The original work, we are further informed, ran through six editions within two years, and appears to have become as popular in Germany as "Uncle Tom" did here.

Messrs. Constable's translation is "not only faithful in an eminent degree, but also successfully rivals the spirited tone and classical style for wh ch the German original is justly and universally admired." With this commendation we refer our readers to the work itself; our business lies with the valuable Introduction by the Chevalier Bunsen which is prefixed, and which exhibits so vivid a glimpse of modern German society and German institutions.

After taking a masterly survey of the field of novel literature, descanting upon the respective merits of Cervantes, Fielding, Le Sage, Goëthe, and Scott, Kingsley comes in for a large share of praise; as also do Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens.

We are thus introduced to the work itself and its connection with the sympathies of the German people, of whom we are told that hundreds of fathers in the higher industrious classes have presented this novel to their sons at the outset of their career, not less as a work of national interest than as a testimony to the dignity and high importance they attribute to the social position they are called to occupy, and to their faith in the future that awaits it:

"It was necessary," the Chevalier says, "to take a comprehensive view of novel literature, and-although in the merest outline-still to look at it in its historical connexion, in order to find the suitable niche for a book which claims an important place in its European development. For it is precisely in the class last described-that which undertakes faithfully, and yet in a poetic spirit, to represent the real condition of our most peculiar and intimate social relations-that our author has chosen to enrol himself. With what a full appreciation of this high end, and with what patriotic enthusiasm he has entered on his task, the admirable dedication of the work at once declares, which is addressed to a talented and liberal-minded prince, deservedly beloved and honoured throughout Germany. In the work itself, besides, there occur repeated pictures of these relations, which display at once a clear comprehension of the social problem, and a poetic power which keeps pace with the power of life-like

description. To come more closely to the point, however, what is that eality which is exhibited in the story of our novel? We should very inadequately describe it were we to say, the nobility of labour, and the duties of property, particularly those of the proprietor of land. This is certainly the key-note of the whole conservative-social or Dickens school, to which the novel belongs. It is not, however, the conflict between rich and poor, between labour and capital in general, and between manufacturers and their people in particular, whose natural course is here detailed. And this is a point which an English reader must above all keep clearly in view. He will otherwise altogether fail to understand the author's purpose. For it is just here that the entirely different blending of the social masses in England and in Germany is displayed. We have here the conflict between the feudal system and that class of industrial and wealthy persons, together with the majority of the educated public functionaries, who constitute in Germany the citizen-class. Before the fall of the Prussian monarchy in 1807, the noble families-for the most part hereditary knights (Herrn von)—almost entirely monopolized the governmental and higher municipal posts, and a considerable portion of the peasantry were under servitude to them as feudal superiors. The numbers of the lesser nobility-in consequence of the right of every nobleman's son, of wha ever grade, to bear his father's title, were so grcat, and, since the introduction by the great Electora and his royal successors of the new system of taxation, their revenues had become so small, that they considered themselves entitled to the monopoly of all the higher offices of state, and regarded every citizen of culture, fortune, and consideration, with jealousy, as an upstart. The new monarchic constitution of 1808-12, which has immortalized the names of Frederick William III, and of his ministers, Stein and Hardenberg, altered this system, and abolished the vassalage and feudal service of the peasants in those provinces that lie to the east of the Elbe. The fruits of this wise act of social reform were soon apparent, not only in the increase of prosperity and of the population, but also in that steady and progressive elevation of the national spirit which alone made it possible in 1813-14 for the house of Hohenzollern to raise the monarchy to the first rank among the European powers.

"The farther development in Prussia of political freedom unfortunately did not keep pace with these social changes; and so---to say no more-it happened that the consequences of all half-measures soon resulted. Even before the struggles of 1848, down to which period the story of our novel reaches, the classes of the more polished nobility and citizens, instead of fusing into one band of gentry, and thus forming the basis of a landed aristocracy, had assumed an un

The friend and brother-in-law of William III,

The

friendly attitude, in consequence of a stagnation in the growth of a national lower nobility as the head of the wealthy and cultivated bourgeoisie, resulting from an unhappy reac tion which then took place in Prussia. feudal proprietor was meanwhile becoming continually poorer, because he lived beyond his income. Falling into embarrassments of every sort, he has recourse for aid to the provincial banks. His habits of life, however, often prevent him from employing these loans on the improvement of his property, and he seldom makes farming the steady occupation and business of his life. But he allows himself readily to become involved in the establishment of factories,whether for the manufacture of brandy or for the production of beet-root sugar,which promise a larger and speedier return, besides the enhancement of the value of the land. But in order to success in such undertakings, he wants the requisite capital and experience. He manifests even less prudence in the conduct of these speculations than in the cultivation of his ancestral acres, and the inevitable result ensues, that an ever-increasing debt at length necessitates the sale of his estate. Such estates are ever more and more frequently becoming the property of the merchant or manufac turer from the town, or perhaps of the neighbouring proprietor of the same inferior rank, who has lately settled in the country, and become entitled to the exercise of equal rights with the hereditary owner. There is no essential difference in social culture between the two classes, but there is a mighty difference between the habits of their lives. The mercantile class of citizens is in Germany more refined than in any other country, and has more political ambition than the corresponding class in England has yet exhibited. The families of public functionaries constitute the other half of the cultivated citizen class; and as the former have the superiority in point of wealth, so these bear the palm in resp. ct of intellectual culture and administrative talent. Almost all authors, since the days of Luther, have belonged to this class. In school and college learning, in information, and in the conduct of public affairs, the citizen is thus, for the most part, as far super or to the nobleman, as in fashionable manners the latter is to him. The whole na ion, how. ever, enjoys alike the advantage of military education, and every man may become an officer who passes the necessary examina tion. Thus in the manufacturing towns the citizens occupy the highest place, and the nobility in the gar ison towns and those of royal residence. This fact, however, must not be lost sight of,-that Berlin, the most populous city of Germany, has also gradually become the chief and the richest commercial one; while the great fortress of Magdeburg has also been becoming the seat of a wealthy and cultivated mercantile community.

"Instead of desiring landed property, and perhaps a patent of nobility for his children, and an alliance with some noble country family, the rich citizen rather sticks

to his business, and prefers a young man in his own rank, or perhaps a clergyman, or professor, or some municipal officer, as a suitor to his daughter, to the elegant officer or man of noble blood: for the richest and most refined citizen, though the wife or daughter of a noble official, is not entitled to appear at court with her husband or her father. It is not, therefore, as in England or Scotland, the aim of a man who has plied his industrial calling with success, to assume the rank and habits of a nobleman or country squire: the rich man remains in town among his equals. It is only when we understand this difference in the condition of the social relations in Germany and in England, that the scope and intention of our novel can be apprehended.

"It would be a mistake to suppose that our remarks are only applicable to the eastern provinces of Prussia. If, perhaps, they are less harshly manifested in the western division of our kingdom, and indeed in Western Germany, it is in consequence of noble families being fewer in number, and the conditions of property being more favourable to the citizen class. The defective principle is the same, as also the national feeling in regard to it. It is easily understood, indeed, how this should have become much stronger since 1850, seeing that the greater and lesser nobility have blindly united in endeavouring to bring about a reaction, demanding all possible and impossible privileges and exemptions, or compensations, and are separating themselves more and more widely from the body of the nation.

"In Silesia and Posen, however, the theatres on which our story is enacted, other and peculiar elements, though lying perhaps beneath the surface, affect the social relations of the various classes. In both provinces, but especially in Posen, the great majority of nobleinen are the proprietors of land, and the enactment under Hardenberg and Stein in 1808-10, in regard to peasant rights, had been very imperfectly carried out in districts where vassalage, as in all countries of Slavonic origin, was nearly uni. versal. Many estates are of large extent, and some, indeed, are strictly entailed. These circumstances naturally give to a country life in Silesia or Posen quite a dif. ferent character than that in the Rhine provinces. In Posen, besides, two foreign elements-found in Silesia also in a far lesser degree exercise a mighty influence on the social relations of the people. One is the Jewish, the other the Polish element. In Posen, the Jews constitute in the country the class of innkeepers and farmers. course they carry on some trade in addition; the large banking establishments are partly, the smaller ones almost exclusively, in their hands. They become by these means occasionally the possessors of land; but they regard such property almost always as a mere subject for speculation, and it is but rarely that the quondam innkeeper or pedlar settles down as a tiller of the soil. In Silesia, their chief seat is in Breslau, where

Of

the general trade of the country, as well as the purchase and the sale of land, is for the most part transacted. It is a pretty general feeling in Germany, that Freytag has not dealt altogether impartially with this class, by failing to introduce, in contrast to the abandoned men whom he selects for exhibi. tion, a single honest, upright Jew, a character not wanting among that remarkable people. The inextinguishable higher element of our nature, and the fruits of Ger man culture, are manifested, it is true, in the Jewish hero of the tale, ignorant alike of the world and its ways, buried among his cherished books, and doomed to early death; but this is done more as a poetic comfort to humanity, than i honour of Ju daism, from which plainly in his inmost soul he had departed, that he might turn to the Christianized spir.t and to the poetry of the Gentiles.

"The Polish element, however, is of still far greater importance. Forming, as they once did, with the exception of a few German settlements, the entire population of the province, the Poles have become, in the course of the last century, and especially since the removal of restrictions on the sale of land, less numerous year by year. In Posen proper they constitute, numerically, perhaps the half of the population; but in point of prosperity and mental culture their influence is scarcely as one-fourth upon the whole. On the other hand, in some districts-as, for instance, in Gnesen-the Polish influence predominates in the towns, and reigns undisputed in the country. The middle class is exclusively German or Jewish; where these elements are lacking, there is none. The Polish vassal, emancipated by the enactment of 1810, is gradually ripening into an independent yeoman, and knows full well that he owes his freedom, not to his former Polish masters, but to Prussian legislation and administration. The exhibition of these social relations, as they were manifested by the contending parties in 1848, is, in all respects, one of the most admirable portions of our novel. The events are all vividly depicted, and, in all essential points, his orically true. One feature here appears, little known in foreign lands, but deserving careful observation, not only on its own account, but as a key to the meaning and intention of the attractive narrative before us.

"The two national elements may be thus generally characterized :-The Prusso-German element is Protestant; the Polish element is Catholic. Possessing equal rights, the former is continually pressing onward with irresistible force, as in Ireland, in virtue of the principles of industry and frugality by which it is animated. This is true alike of landlord and tenant, of merchant and official.

"The passionate and ill-regulated Polish element stands forth in opposition, the intellectual and peculiarly courteous and accomplished nobility, as well as the priesthood, but in vain. Seeing that the law secures perfect equality of rights, and is

impartially administered; that, besides, the conduct of the German sett.ers is correct and inoffensive, the Pules can adduce no well-grounded causes of complaint either against their neighbours or the government. It is their innate want of order that throws busine s, money, and at length the land itself, into the hands of Jews and Protestants. This fact is also here worthy of notice, that the Jewish usurer is disappearing or withdrawing wherever the Protestant element is taking firmer ground. The Jew remains in the country, but becomes a citizen, and sometimes even a peasant-proprietor. This phenomenon is manifesting itself also in other places where there is a concurrence of the German and Slavonic elements. In Prussia, however, there is this peculiarity in addition, of which Freytag has made most effective use,-I mean the education of the Prussian people, not alone in the national schools, but also in the science of national defence, which this people of seventeen millions has in common with Sparta and with Rome.

"It is well known that every Prussian not physically disqualified, of whatever rank he be, must become a soldier. The volunteer serves in the line for one year, and without pay; other persons serve for two or three years. Thereafter, all beyond the age of 25 are yearly called out as militia, and drilled for several weeks after harvest. This enactment has been in force since 1813; and it is a well-known fact, brought prominently forward in the work before us, that notwithstanding the immense sacrifice it requires, it is enthusiastically cherished by the nation as a school of manly discipline, and as exercising a most beneficial influence on all classes of society. This institution t is which gives that high standard of order, duty, and military honour, and that mutual confidence between officers and men, which at the first glance distinguishes the Prussian, not only from the Russian, but the Austrian soldier. This high feeling of confidence in the national defences is, indeed, peculiar to Prussia beyond the other German nations, and may be at one recognised in the manly and dignified bearing, even of the lowest classes, alike in town and country.

"This spirit is depicted to the life in the striking episode of the troubles in the year 1848. Even in the wildest months of that year, when the German minority were left entirely to their own resources, this spirit of order and mutual confidence continued undisturbed. Our patriotic author has never needed to draw upon his imagination for facts, though he has depicted with consummate skill the actual reality. We feel that it has been to him a labour of love, to console himself and his fellow-country men under so many disappointments and shattered hopes, to cherish and to strengthen that sense of independence, without which no people can stand erect among the nations.

"The Prusso-German population feel it to be a mission in the cause of civilization

to press forward in occupation of the Sarmatian territory; a sacred duty which, however, can only be fulfilled by honest means, by privations and self-sacrificing exertions of every kind. In such a spirit must the work be carried forward: this is the suggestive thought with which our author's narrative concludes. It is not without a meaning, we believe, that the zealous German hero of the book is furnished with the money necessary for carrying out his schemes by a fe.low-countryman and friend, who had returned to his fatherland with a fortune acquired beyond the Atlantic. Our talented author has certainly not lost sight of the fact, that Germany, as a whole, has as little recovered from the devastation of the Thirty Years' war, as the eastern districts of Prussia have recovered from the effects of the war with France in the present century. Let the faults and failings of our national German character be what they may, (and we should like to know what nation has endured and survived similar spoliation and partition,) the greatest sin of Germany during the last two hundred years, especially in the less-favoured north, has always been its poverty,-the condition of all classes, with few exceptions. National poverty, however, becomes indeed a political sin, when a people by its cultivation has become constitutionally fit for freedom.

"In the background of the whole picture of the disordered and sickly condition of our social circumstances here so vividly presented, the author has plainly discerned Dante's noble proverb,

'Di libertà indipendenza è primo grado.'

"The existence of independent citizenfamilies qualified and ready for every publie service, though beyond the need of such employment, this is the fundamental condition of a healthy development of political freedom, alike impregnable by revolution and reaction; this is the only sure ground and basis on which a constitutional form of government can be reared and administered with advantage to every class, repressing alike successfully absolutism and demo cracy.

"And now we have reached the point where we are enabled to gather up, and to express to the reader, without desiring to forestall his own judgment, or to load him with axioms and formulas beyond his com prehension, the beautiful fundamental idea of the book, clearly and simply.

"We would express it thus:-The future of all European states depends mainly on three propositions; and the politics of every statesman of our period are determined by the way in which he views them.

"These propositions are,-

"1st. The fusion of the educated classes, and the total abolition of bureaucracy, and all social barriers between the ancient nobility and the educated classes in the nation, especially the industrial and mercantile population.

2nd. The just and Christian bearing

of this united body towards the working classes, especially in towns.

"3rd. The recognition of the mighty fact, that the educated middle classes of all nations, but especially of those of Germany, are perfectly aware that even the present, but still more the near future, is their own, if they advance along the legal path to a perfect constitutional monarchy, resisting all temptations to the right hand or to the left, not with embittered feelings, but in the cheerful temper of a moral self-confidence.

"It is faith in truths such as these that

has inspired our author in the composition of the work which is here offered to the English reading public. It is his highest praise, however, that he has embodied this faith in a true work of art, which speaks for itself. He has thereby enkindled or strengthened a like faith in many thousand hearts, and that with a noble and conciliatory intention which the dedication well

expresses.

The admirable delineation of character, the richness of invention, the artistic arrangement, the lively descriptions of nature, will be ever more fully acknowledged by the sympathizing reader as he advances in the perusal of the attractive volumes."

Roots and Ramifications; or, Extracts from various Books explanatory of the Derivation or Meaning of divers Words. By ARTHUR JOHN KNAPP. (London: John Murray. 12mo., 160 pp.)-So laudable is the motive that has led to the publication of this little book, that, circumscribed though our limits are, it would be all but unpardonable on our part were we to omit to notice it; and this the more particularly, as it is the request of the benevolent author, at the conclusion of the work, that the reader "will not omit to read the prefatory notice."

From this we learn that the volume was originally printed privately, and circulated with the view of obtaining donations for providing a school for the labouring classes in the district of Pickwick, in the county of Wilts. The erection of the school having been thus and in other ways secured, the work is now published for sale, for the . purpose of forming an endowment fund. "Should any persons," the writer adds, "who may peruse this book feel disposed to contribute to the fund sought to be raised, the author will thankfully receive such contributions." 10, Paragon, Clifton, is his address.

Prompted as the publication of the book is by motives thus disinterested and benevolent, censure would, of course, be in a great degree disarmed, and we should be naturally disposed, if blemishes there were in it, to "be to its faults a little blind." For any such leniency, however, there is

not the slightest necessity, and we can conscientiously say that Mr. Knapp's work is a very useful contribution to our stock of popular philology, and not unworthy of a place by the side of Dean Trench's recent volumes on kindred subjects. We purposely use the term popular, because, while there are many facts here stated in connexion with the origin and formation of English words, new, no doubt, to the reading million, there are but very few, of necessity, from the limited size of the work, that will not have already attracted the notice of the professional philologist, if we may be allowed the term. Here and there, however, we have met with a passage that has struck us, either for its novelty or (in some few instance) its questionableness, deserving of notice or quotation. As to the origin of the word "second," for example, a division of time, comparatively few, perhaps, of our readers are aware that "The Romans used the word scrupulum to denote a minute-the scrupulum being a small pebble used in reckoning; and they called the sixt eth part of a minute secundum scrupulum; whence, by dropping the word scrupulum, we have applied the word 'second' to denote the sexagesimal division of the minute."

"Porcelain," we observe, as to the origin of which Webster despairs, is suggested to have been derived from porcellana, the Portuguese name for the cowry-shell. Holland, in his translation of Pliny ix. 51, mentions "porcelaines" among the shellfish; probably so-called from their resemblance in shape to porcus, a "pig." The derivation of "foolscap" paper from the Genoese foglio capa, "large sheets," has the merit of ingenuity, but we still have our doubts. On folio sheets of an early date, the impress of a fool's cap is, we believe, far from uncommon, and hence, in greater probabil ty, the name. Blankets, we learn, were so-called "from Thos. Blanket, who in 1340 established a loom at Bristol for the manufacture of this article."

The

"Topaz," the author tells us, "derives its name from Topazos, an island in the Red Sea, where this stone was found in abundance." In the former assertion he is right, in the latter incorrect. topazos found in the island so called was chrysolite, and not topaz: the chrysolithos of the ancients being, singularly enough, the modern topaz, and the ancient topazos the modern chrysolite.

"Gin, the contraction of the name Geneva," we are told, "was first made in that city, and hence its name." This, in our opinion, is erroneous. Geneva, whence

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »