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again ask, could it be otherwise? The Kantians, and among them the great Fichte, were driven to exasperation by the 'Sempronius Gundibert,' which contributed much to free the nation from the fetters in which it had been bound, slavelike, from time almost immemorial.
Nicolai's name will live, not, it is true, in his novels, for these, it is not unlikely, may lose in the course of time much of their interest and beauty, inasmuch as the faults and follies against which they were directed, have long since been blotted out, or laughed away,—but in his many other valuable and excellent works, such as his ‘Topography of Berlin and Potsdam,'
Anecdotes of Frederic the Great,' to collect and arrange which it would have been difficult to find a more suitable individual, since he was at the fountain-head from which only could be derived all the incidents and necessary materials. What an admirable production is his · Tour through Germany!' The European Chinese, the Austrians, never forgave his boldness in telling them humiliating if not crushing truths. Nicolai, upon the whole, was certainly one of the greatest men Germany has produced, and decidedly one of her best novelists, Klinger, Musäus, and Schummel were very faithful followers of Nicolai. Klinger, the author whom we have already mentioned in conjunction with Goëthe, is a writer of high order. By one of his works, a drama, entitled 'Sturm und Drang,' he laid the foun. dation of a revolution in the province of the German belleslettres, a period which Goëthe, in allusion to the drama, has styled 'Die Sturm und Drangperiode.'
The novels of this industrious author, written in a spirit of intense misanthropy, or dislike of the world, are replete with stirring thoughts and incidents, and were (particularly in his days) well suited to counteract the evils that arose from sentimentality, mock enthusiasm, and similar qualities. Klinger's best known novels are: Faust's Leben, Thaten und Höllenfahrt; Geschichte Raphaels de Aquillas (a companion to the former), and 'Der Weltmann und der Dichter.' Musäus, has already been mentioned. Among Schummel's favourite novels deserve to be mentioned his Sentimental Journey through Germany,' The Little Voltaire, and Spitzbart.' The latter is a masterly comic novel, in which the system of education of the last century, but especially that of the famous Basedow, is held up to derision. - Novels very much admired, and certainly of great merit, are those written by Müller von Itzehoe, of which the following are the most finished, and maintain the highest rank. The Ring,' "The Papers of the Brown Man,' 'Frederick Brack,''Selim the Fortunate,' and 'Siegfried von Lindenberg.' The last novel in some degree outweighs the rest. In it, Müller, with much skill and great adroitness, pourtrays a Pomeranian gentleman, whose simple customs but powerful mind come into contact with the so-called modern education, and enlightment. Müller was one of the happiest imitators of some of the English humorous writers, especially of Smollet. A highly polished language, great powers of invention and observation, as also a rather large portion of good humour, though now and then deficient in masculine strength, constitute the chief features of Müller's novels.
Wetzel, whom some consider the German Marivaux, is distinguished more for verbosity and a pompous style than anything else; all his productions are marked by an evident straining after something unusual, which renders them extremely tedious.
One of the most polished German novelists, is Von Knigge, a nobleman by birth, and a man of great learning, of knowledge of the world, and of superior talents. He wrote a great many very interesting novels; among others, 'Leben des armen Herrn von Miltenberg,' 'Reise nach Braunschweig und Fritzlar,' and * Reise auf die Universität,' almost each of which contains attacks upon the enthusiast Lavater's journeys to Copenhagen. Furthermore, ‘Roman meines Lebens,' a work replete with truths and facts taken from the author's biography, Peter Claus,' probably Knigge's most perfect novel, and one which has been translated into most living languages, particularly into the French, under the title of Gil Blas allemand ;' but he is likewise the author of many satires, almost all of a political tendency. · Knigge's writings are chiefly remarkable for acuteness of mind, a thorough knowledge of the subject he deals with, a graceful expression, and a refined wit. It is to be lamented that this author is not more known in our mirth-loving country.
A very prolific novelist of the last century was K. G. Cramer, who wrote between ninety and a hundred volumes of rather smart tales, the most remarkable of which are– Thirty Acres,'
Karl Saalfeld,' and 'Erasmus Schleicher. These, notwithstanding their want of polish and refined tone, are distinguished for depth of thought, a high degree of originality, and a powerful style.
We have dwelt so long on the earlier German novelists (and that, too, we fear, without having done them full justice), that we are unable at present to prosecute our original design, of bringing the more recent writers of fiction before our readers. We must defer this to a future occasion, and in the meantime will simply remark, that the prolific character of the German mind is strikingly shown in the review we have instituted, It would have afforded us unfeigned pleasure to note a distinctively religious tone in the works we have specified. Even fiction admits of this, and borrows from it a grace and purity which marvellously augment its power. But intellect has too frequently been dissociated from revelation, and the class of publications now reviewed, contributes little to remove the unhappy dissociation.
he desire of the one of the to the
Art. VIII - The Lives of Twelve Eminent Judges of the Last and of
the Present Century. By William C. Townsend, Esq., M.A. Recorder of Macclesfield. In two Volumes, 8vo, London:
Longman and Co. We have perused these volumes with very considerable pleasure, and discharge a grateful duty. in introducing them to the favourable notice of our readers. In many respects they are just what was needed, sufficiently professional to secure their accuracy, yet popular in their cast, and skilfully adapted to the comprehension and wants of the community. One of the consequencesmand by no means a bad one of the wider diffusion of knowledge in our day, is the desire felt for fuller and more accurate information respecting the great men who have preceded us, than our fathers possessed. The spread of intelligence has quickened inquiry, given rise to a thousand questions, and created a craving which nothing can satisfy but sound and well attested information. This is a healthy state of the popular intellect. It is just what we desire. It is the legitimate form of manhood, erect and of open countenance, with an inquiring eye, and an expression of honest fellowship with all that is human. It is marvellous to observe with how little information our predecessors were satisfied. A few inquiring and active spirits looked out beyond their immediate circles, and sought to trace back the course of events, so as to refer to their several epochs and prime agents, the beneficial changes which have been wrought. But the mass of mankind were content to deal with existing interests, and those, too, in their most restricted bearings. The necessities of the hour, the knowledge which bore immediately on their present and passing wants, were all which awakened their solicitude, and they left the future to take heed to itself without seeking to enlighten it by the wisdom which may be drawn from the past. The lowest and most grovelling form of utilitarianism was everywhere predominant, and any appeal to the men and the transactions of a former age was treated as a species of pedantic
foppery. Each generation therefore started, to a great extent, anew. Human knowledge was perpetually commencing. There was no voluntary progress; no effort made to aid its advance ; no cautious scrutiny of what had gone before, in order to escape the dangers, or to secure, in the largest degree, the good with which the future might be peopled. The warnings or the encouragements of a prior age were alike, for the most part, disregarded ; and the human being passed from infancy to manhood, and through manhood to the grave, with the smallest possible advantage from the experience of his predecessors. A benefit perfectly involuntary, was derived from the laws of a merciful Providence, but this was limited in its extent, and applicable only to a small portion of human interests, compared with what might have been realised. Each man was left to grope his way as best he could, amidst the difficulties of his course, without the guidance and the energy which would have been ministered by an enlightened knowledge of the past. The great body of our countrymen were thus left in almost total ignorance of what had preceded them. The names of Chaucer and Spenser, of Shakspere and Milton, of Bacon and Newton, of Dryden and Pope, were familiar to their ears. Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights, the reformation from popery, the rise of the puritan controversy, the tyranny of the Stuarts, the noble patriotism of the Long Parliament, in its earliest and palmy days, the heroic fortitude and proud achievements of Cromwell, the restoration of the second Charles, the martyrdom of Russell and Sydney, and the revolution of 1688, were known in name only, and for the most part were grossly misconceived. Their histories were unread, their character was misapprehended. Falsehood was received as truth, and party spleen was worshipped as zeal for God. Even yet there is much to be effected; but it is a good and hopeful sign that our young men who are to constitute the active and the influential class of a few years hence, are familiarizing themselves with the past, not as the means of mental slavery, but with a view to extract from its records lessons of wisdom and incentives to virtue. That evil will mix with the good, we may readily believe. It has always been so, and there is no reason to suppose that the laws of our nature are changed. Tares must grow with the wheat; but we have the utmost confidence that the latter will greatly preponderate, and therefore anticipate from the revolution now silently passing over the spirits of men, a vast accession to the knowledge and happiness of our race.
The appearance of the work before us is one of the fruits of this new spirit. It is a sign of the times, and interests us as such, apart from the manner of its execution. It is addressed
cone Long and probarles, ains, were conceivedended. hipped
to a class of readers formerly uninterested in such inquiries, and in whom, a few years since, it would have been deemed highly presumptuous to aspire after such knowledge. The want, however, has been created, and Mr. Townsend wisely comes forward to supply it. The first desire of an awakened public has been to acquaint itself with the more prominent facts of our history, and the second to trace out the career of the great men who have stamped their character on our institutions. To the latter desire these volumes are addresssed, and they will not fail to interest, as they are well adapted to inform every intelligent reader. They evince extensive reading, considerable aptitude in the selection of illustrative anecdotes, a high appreciation of the judicial bench, a hearty recognition of legal erudition and of forensic skill apart from political partisanship, and on the whole, a sound and healthful view of the varied subjects discussed. Mr. Townsend has not been sparing in the use made of his predecessors. He has gathered from every quarter with an avidity which sometimes trenches on propriety, and deprives his work of all pretensions to originality. He is, for the most part, a collector merely; but his diligence and skill have enabled him to produce an interesting and instructive work, and are therefore entitled to commendation. We are far from agreeing with all the opinions he expresses, and have sometimes felt the want of a higher and more ennobling treatment of his topics. But on the whole, we thank him heartily for his labours, and proceed to give our readers a more detailed account of them. The character and fortunes,' he justly remarks in his preface, 'of those great men who have added reverence to the judgment-seat during the last half century can scarcely fail to furnish topics of varied interest, and amusement. Commencing with the mighty master of common law, Sir Francis Buller, their history includes those eloquent holders of the Great Seal, Lords Loughborough and Erskine ; the three admirable chiefs of the Queen's Bench, Lords Kenyon, Ellenborough, and Tenderden; those memorable Masters of the Rolls, Lord Alvanley and Sir William Grant; those scientific lawyers, the one in real property, the other in common law, Lord Redesdale and Sir Vicary Gibbs; and ends with the fortunate brothers--not more fortunate than deserving-Lords Stowell and Eldon.
In the preparation of his work he has endeavoured to reconcile the most scrupulous delicacy towards the survivors of the eminent men described, with a faithful and accurate likeness.' The effect of this is occasionally evident in the subdued tone of censure adopted, but on the whole there is little cause for complaint, thougn the darker features of his portraits are kept