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354

Postscript to the Article on the "Penny Postage."

SINCE our article on this subject was printed, two circumstances have occurred which will tend to realize a reform in the constitution of the Post-Office.

An association of the chief merchants of the city of London, including the Barings, Mastermans, Pattisons, Prescotts, Lyalls, Larpents, Ricardos, etc., has been formed to make a public acknowledgement of Mr. Rowland Hill's merits. At the first mention of the proposal, conservative and whig banded together, and before any public announcement was made more than a thousand pounds were subscribed. Branch associations are in formation throughout the country, and probably such a sum will be raised as will enable Mr. Hill to enter the House of Commons as the people's advocate for accomplishing the entire scheme of Penny Postage. A triumphant atonement would this be to Mr. Hill for his dismissal from office, and a worthy reward to a great public benefactor. Such a demonstration of public gratitude, too, would remind the Government in a salutary way of its neglect of duty in this matter.

Concurrent with this event is the death of the Earl of Lonsdale, which is likely to lead to Lord Lowther's resignation of the office of Postmaster-General. This then is the time for a deputation of merchants to wait on Sir Robert Peel and urge upon him the adoption of a Commission. The difficulties attending such a step will be diminished by Lord Lowther's retirement. Even if it be necessary to appoint a new Postmaster-General, the appointment may be conferred temporarily, subject to its conversion into a board of Commissioners. If this appeal be made to the Premier, he is too wise not to interpret correctly the signs of public feeling, and to take a course which will not only save him from the difficulties his submission to Lord Lowther drew him into, but confer honour and popularity on his administration, whilst it would benefit the revenue and gratify the public.

355

RECENT LITERATURE OF GERMANY.

OUR space in the present number being absorbed by pressing subjects, we are compelled to abridge our notice of new works, and can only call the reader's attention to a few prominent productions of the German press.

In Divinity no great activity can be noticed.-Baumgarten Crusius has a work on the Gospel of St. John, forming the first part of a formal consideration of the character of all the writings of that Evangelist.-Bretschneider's Corpus Reformatorum' has progressed to the eleventh volume, containing the works of Melancthon.-The work of the deposed Archbishop of Cologne, 'On Peace between the Church and the State,' has drawn a reply from Professor Marheinecke.

Characteristic of a different tendency in Germany are Guido Görres's 'Life of St. Cecilia' in verse, and 'Songs for the Month of May,' in honour of the Virgin; as well as new editions of the 'Catalogus Peccatorum in usum Confessariorum,' and of the Catechism of the Council of Trent-jussu promulgatus.'-In ecclesiastical history we may notice Gfrörer's 'History of the Christian Church' from the seventh to the eleventh century.

In History, a new edition of Eichhorn's classical work, 'Deutsche Reichs und Rechts Geschichte,' the continuation of Prince Lichnowsky's History of the House of Habsburg,' and a 'History of Pædagogical Systems,' by Von Raumer, are among the most remarkable works.

The Fine Arts and Esthetics have received contributions in the 'Archæologische Mittheilungen,' from the posthumous papers of C. O. Müller-Gerhard's 'Etruscan Mirrors,'-Bunsen's 'Basilica of Christian Rome,'-Sulpice Boisseree's Architectural Monuments from the seventh to the thirteenth century on the Lower Rhine,'-from Bolzano, the worthy defender of religious liberty at the University of Prague, in a work on The Beautiful,' reprinted from the transactions of the Philosophical Society of Prague,--and in a portfolio of Drawings to Tasso's Gierusalemme,' by Professor Cornelius.

In Philology, the 'Denkmale des Mittelalters,' by Prof. Hattemer, promises to open the rich storehouse of old German records in the Monastery of St. Gallen.-Professor Massman has published

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'Tristan und Isolt,' and Vollmer the Niebelungen Noth and Klage,' as part of the series of 'Dichtungen des deutschen Mittelalters.'

The new edition of Prof. Grimm's 'German Mythology' is enriched, as might be expected, with valuable additions.

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In the Political Sciences,-besides the new edition of M. de Thünen's' Isolirte Staat' and Dr. List's work 'On Diminutive Agricultural Holdings and the Subdivision of Farms,' Baron Reden and Von Bülow Cumerow have given, the former a general Survey of the Production and Consumption of the principal countries in the world; the latter, a treatise on the Agricultural Banks and prospects of the Landowners in Prussia. The agricultural journals of Pabst of Darmstadt, André of Prague, Lengerke, and Fischer's Landwirthschaftliche LiteraturZeitung,' published by Herrmann of Frankfort, testify the anxiety of the German farmers to follow their occupation scientifically. As an interesting specimen of some of the views entertained in Germany on the theory of Government, we may quote Dr. Carové's work on The Teutonic and Christian State Principle.' M. de Martens's Receuil des Traités,' etc., is continued by Professor Murhard to 1840, and a chronological and alphabetical table has been published of the whole series.-A selection of Causes célèbres du Droit des Gens' has been published by Baron Charles de Martens.-The Archives of Political Economy,' published by Professors Rau and Herrman, have commenced a new series, of which one number has appeared.-Von Pölitz's 'Journal of Political Science' is continued by Professor Von Bülau.-The botanists Von Endlicher of Vienna and Von Martius of Munich have united to publish a Brazilian Flora' with the aid of the superb collection in the imperial houses at Vienna. Ehrenberg of Berlin has a work entitled Verbreitung und Einfluss des Mikroscopischen Lebens in Süd- und Nord-America. A Bryologia Europea,' by Bruch and Schimper,-Siebold's 'Fauna Japonica,' and Alex. von Humboldt's Examination of the Mountain-chains of Central Asia,' are also contributions in the sphere of Natural History.

The literary activity of Holland is chiefly confined to numerous and often valuable tracts on the condition of that country, and of her Colonies. The protracted financial crisis which the Dutch are passing through furnishes a popular theme for their authors.

In Slavonic literature, there is a translation of Dickens's 'Oliver Twist' into Bohemian, and a new version of the Arabian Nights' Tales' in Polish, but we do not find much that is original. Schaffaric continues his Starvjibuosti' at intervals, which will form a fund for old Slavonic history of the most valuable kind.

THE

BRITISH AND FOREIGN

REVIEW.

ARTICLE I.

1. Opere Scelte di Vittorio Alfieri. Milano, 1843. 2. Vie de Victor Alfieri: écrite par lui-même. Traduction nouvelle. Paris, 1840.

ALFIERI'S writings have recently been prohibited in Sicily: the greatest dramatist of Italy is found too dangerous for Italian minds; his name, familiar to every cultivated reader, is unmusical to the ears of so paternal a government. His plays are so popular that they form the delight even of "rude mechanicals," who perform them in barns, though often forced to learn them orally, being incapable of reading: nevertheless these plays are deemed unfit for the study of peaceful citizens; respectable members of society, it is thought, would only be injured by listening to bursts of impassioned patriotism: the idealization of liberty is unwholesome,—it fosters ideas antagonistic to those of a paternal government.

The appearance of Alfieri forms an epoch in Italian history to which all patriots turn with delight. He saw his country steeped in a moral lassitude: man's high prerogative of soul and godlike energy of act found no expression in the soft X emasculated beauty of Metastasio. Against this Alfieri raised his voice, and his voice "became a trumpet." He spoke harshly, sometimes hoarsely; but he roused his listeners, stirred them and enraptured them. Liberty again became a sacred thought; self reliance and majestic will once more

VOL. XVII.—No. XXXIV.

2 B

were heroic. For the first time his nation witnessed on their
stage a drama worthy of it,-for the first time listened to the
impassioned accents of a poet imbued with the spirit which
"The lofty grave tragedians taught

In chorus or iambic, teachers best
Of moral wisdom, with delight received,
In brief sententious precepts, while they teach
Of fate and chance and change in human life,
High actions and high passions best describing!"

But the great Italian has met with little congenial reception in England: our critics have mostly been unjust, because they judged him as they do Shakspeare,-by a standard utterly inapplicable, a mode of judging radically false. Our idolatry of Shakspeare has certainly had the bad effect of perverting our views of every other dramatic literature. We not only believe our own drama to have attained the highest excellence, but we imagine that there is no other kind of excellence. Molière is pronounced Shakspearian, and is welcome; Goethe and Schiller are received on the same terms. Y Calderon has also, by a preposterous misconception, been declared Shakspearian, and his name is therefore mentioned with fervour. Racine and Alfieri, the two greatest dramatists of southern Europe, not having yet been admitted into this Shakspearian brotherhood, are spoken of with coldness, sometimes with contempt. The ignorance implied in this is great. Granting these writers to be widely different from our national standard,

"Le véritable esprit sait se plier à tout,

On ne vit qu'à demi quand on n'a qu'un seul goût," as Voltaire well says. The real question for the student to ask is, are Racine and Alfieri great dramatists? The question of resemblance to any other dramatist is a secondary one. Each nation must necessarily vary from every other in the form of its drama; it will also vary profoundly in its representation of passions and character. Nevertheless, in spite of all national and accidental varieties, there will certainly be found one ground of resemblance common to all great dramatists, viz. the subtleties and intensities of passion. Men vary in their thoughts, sentiments and tastes; but in passion they all more or less resemble each other. It is therefore impos

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