« PreviousContinue »
exempt from, neither will the brutal Turk of the Thracian promontory. What is, at all events, then about to take effect, even without any foreign intervention, namely, the recession of the Ottoman frontier,—but not (if left to its own course) without long strife, suffering, and probable confusion,-might surely be advantageously, justly, and even, perhaps, bloodlessly accelerated, by negotiation, supported by a great and imposing force, on the parts of France, England, and their allies.
Humanity, as well as the general repose, forbids that the Greek and Mussulman should any longer inhabit the same soil. Let then a division of territory, proportioned to their respective numbers, take place.
In this case an European domain might remain, and be guaranteed to the Sultan, bounded on the one side by a line running along the summit of the Balkan, and on the other by some natural demarcation; or, if that cannot be conveniently found, by a line due north and south, passing westward of Adrianople, or by the Maritza river. This would leave to the two or three millions of European Turks, a square several fold more fertile than Scotland, not above a third less than it in area, and fully capable of supporting double the above population.
Let the Greeks be the people who shall, at some distant period, drive these irreclaimable fanatics out of Europe, as Ferdinand and Isabella did, with such infinitely less reason, the Moslems from Grenada.
'As yet the Greeks are not strong enough to be intrusted with the gates of the Bosphorus.
'According to the idea of partition above thrown out, there would be ample means for creating a federacy of considerable Christian states, whose principal towns might be Bucharest, Philopolis, or Salonica, Athens, &c. Only let them be protected by the great powers during a short minority, and they will ere long be enabled to protect themselves.
'The unqualified commercial freedom of the canals of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus in favour of all nations, might, it is presumed, be adequately established by treaty; and the observance of it, sufficiently secured by procuring the cession of one of the islands of the Marmora to such secondary maritime state, as may at once be least dependant on other powers, and least obnoxious to jealousy. Were any such idea adopted, the choice might, perhaps, fall upon Denmark or Naples. As for the recent occupation of the Neapolitan territory by Austrian troops, that was no more than a usurpation on the part of the Northern league, to which every continental state was equally liable.'-pp. 177–181.
Whatever may be thought of the suggestions of our author, it is clear that something must soon be done, with a view to the prevention of the formidable consequences which might accrue, if the Russian army were allowed to acquire, and to keep possession of, Constantinople. That England must take a leading part on this occasion, seems to be absolutely required. That she is still able to maintain her reputation and her position in the world, we have not the slightest doubt. For it can hardly be true that a country like ours, which, as our author states, has, within the last few years, lent such prodigious sums of money to the New World and the Old, can be deficient in resources, or unwilling to use them, when the dignity of the crown, as well as the interests of the community, call aloud for protection.
ART. XIII.-Whim- Whams, by Four of Us. 18mo. pp. 204. 1828.
London and Boston.
THIS is an American production, republished in England, which will, we dare say, amuse and gratify the admirers of transatlantic wit. It consists of a hodge-podge of prose and verse, the ingredients of which bear to have been contributed by four dealers in such articles, whose various claims upon our notice, we shall best sum up by describing them as severally very zealous and hardworking imitators, of no less distinguished prototypes than Lord Byron, Mr. Moore, Mr. Hood, and Mr. Horace Smith. If there be any person who would like to see the style of each of these celebrated writers americanised, and adapted to the latitude of Boston, we recommend him to this little volume, where the thing is really done with very considerable tact and success. Judging of the book abstractly, and without reference to this consideration, we should say, there is a good deal of cleverness in it, and some poetic feeling, which with time and cul
ture may shoot up into very tolerable poetry. The mirthful passages are
rather too strongly impregnated with a species of salt, which is not exactly attic, for our taste: but here and there we have a pun either so happy as really to amount to a bon mot, or so execrably bad as to be the next best thing to a good one. Too often, however, we are sorry to say, the performances of the ingenious authors in this department have all the flatness of mediocrity.
ART. XIV. The Pleiad, a Series of Abridgments from Seven distinguished Writers on the Evidences of Christianity. By the Venerable Francis Wranghan, M.A. F.R.S., Archdeacon of Cleveland. Edinburgh: 12mo. 1828.
THIS publication, which forms the 26th volume of Constable's Miscellany, consists of treatises on different parts of the evidences of Christianity, abridged from Leland, Leslie, Doddridge, Watson, Butler, Paley, Jenyns, and Watts. The object of the Editor has been, not only to collect together and comprehend within moderate compass some of the principal productions of these able defenders of our faith, but in many cases also to simplify the arguments they have employed, and by a slight alteration of the form of their works, to render them more popular and more generally useful. Judging by the parts of the volume into which we have looked, we think the venerable Archdeacon has shown much tact and judgment in the accomplishment of his task, which we agree with him in considering, although of a humble description, as not on that account an inglorious one.' The public are already well acquainted with the liberal and benevolent piety of this learned dignitary; and his present performance, if it should not add much to his fame as a profound or elegant scholar, will not at least diminish the respect he has earned for himself by his exertions in the path of Christian and professional usefulness.
ART. XV.-Briefe von Bonstetten an Matthisson. Zurich: Orell and Co. London: Black and Young. 1827. (Bonstetten's Letters to Matthisson.)
It is an unusual circumstance to peruse the correspondence of an old man of eighty-three, writing in a language which may be considered in some measure foreign to him, with all the vigour and playfulness of youth. The interest of these letters is greatly enhanced, as it is very manifest that that they were not written for the press; for in these exploring days, it is very rare to meet with a writer of any eminence who can venture to umbosom his thoughts in the unreserved tone of friendship, uninfluenced by the fear or hope of publication. To the letters is subjoined a short but interesting account of Bonstetten's life, by himself, which was published surreptitiously in the Minerva Pocket Book, for 1826. We wish the venerable Swiss life and health to complete it. The following quotations may, perhaps, amuse our readers.
Of Lady Morgan we hear, that she is a dear, simple, clever little body. Her husband is considered a distinguished scholar (!). . The Morgan is not fanatical, but she conceives it her duty to tell the truth, and to unmask the ultras-a bold attempt indeed! Nothing is more ridiculous than to deny the authenticity of Ossian's poems; they must be sought for, not in Scotland, but in Ireland. Lady Morgan knows several passages from them, and sang the old Erse songs with the old tunes. Even now the Irish possess many popular songs relating to former times; and the peasants sing a very old song, "A Dialogue between St. Patrick and Ossian; or, the Contest between the Christian and the old Erse Religion.'
The truth of the following remarks will be acknowledged by all:
'Idleness is the besetting sin of small towns. The frequent association of empty heads destroys all mutual esteem. The ennui arising from the eternal repetition of the same mode of life, renders not only the family circle, but at last, likewise, all mankind odious. Were I the ruler of a little town, I would cause sanitary laws to be enacted against loungers, as against those suspected of the plague, that the health of the sound might not be affected. Nothing is more ridiculous, than to hear the manner in which republicans in small towns speak of court flatterers; whilst every aspiring bürger flatters twenty silly men, more degradingly than a courtier flatters his only master.'
Bonstetten, on his return from Geneva, where he had been studying Tacitus, Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Machiavelli, was elected member of the Grand Council and Vicelandvogt of Sanen. The chief magistrate sent for the newly elect:
Here, thought I, I shall receive good advice, respecting my administration. He is a man of mind and experience, what shall I not learn from him? I thought of my Tacitus and Montesquieu, and went about four o'clock to my good cousin. His Excellency was alone. "Bon jour, mon cousin, vous voilà donc bailli. Asseyez vous là. Mon cousin, je ne sais si vous savez les usages du bailli. On vous enverra les notes. On donne, par an, tant de fromages à chaque conseiller, et, mon cousin, relenez ceci, tant à l'avoyer. Votre prédécesseur etoit un sot; il m'envoyait de petits fromages, qui ne valent pas les grands. Souvenez vous,
mon cousin, de m'en envoyer de grands. Adieu, mon cousin, je vous souhaite un bon voyage. Ma cousine se porte bien?""
The same worthy once more:
'He dwelt opposite my house, and sent for me at a time that very important discussions were in progress. I found him alone, and friendly. The following conversation took place between us. "Mon cousin, vous avez au troisieme étage sur la fenêtre une grande bouteille. Je suis curieux de savoir ce qu'elle contient." "J'aurai l'honneur de le faire savoir à votre Excellence. ""
'It was vinegar that had been placed in the sun.'
Vive la bagatelle, and all chief magistrates of Swiss cantons.
ART. XVI.-A Narrative of Memorable Events in Paris, in the year 1814; being Extracts from the Journal of a Détenu. 8vo. pp. 317. London. 1828.
SOME portions of this Narrative appeared about two years ago in the London Magazine, and attracted considerable attention, both in this country and in France. The author, an Englishman, was detained in France on the renewal of hostilities in 1803; but was permitted, as a particular favour, to reside on patrole at Paris, where he remained accordingly till the capitulation of that city to the Allies, in 1814. He has now put his journal of the events of that memorable year, into the hands of his friend, Mr. Britton, who has published it, as he assures us, without alteration, although he has not been able to resist the temptation of appending to it certain remarks from his own pen, which assuredly have nothing to recommend them, in point either of manner or of matter; and which we hope, therefore, he will be prevailed upon to omit, should a second edition of the book be called for.
The Journal itself is evidently the production of a very intelligent observer; and of one who has had opportunities of availing himself of inany sources of information not generally accessible. It abounds, accordingly, in details of great interest; which are given, besides, with so manifest an anxiety on the part of the narrator to ascertain the truth, even with a scrupulous minuteness, that it is impossible to entertain a doubt of their authenticity. The tone of impartiality, which is preserved throughout the volume, is also deserving of all commendation. The author is neither a Buonapartist, nor a Bourbonist; but perceives, and admits, with the greatest freedom, the merits and faults of both parties. We may safely say, indeed, that for those who seek to obtain an accurate account, both of the succession of events, and of the state of public feeling in Paris, during the few months immediately preceding the restoration of the Bourbons, no safer authority can be recommended than the publication before From the particularity of its statements, and the circumstance that it is the report of an eye-witness of all that he relates, it is also perhaps the most graphic account of the breaking up of an empire to be any where found. We ought not to forget to state, that one of the most interesting and important passages in the book, is the long account which it contains of the affair of De Maubreuil, who, there is too much reason to believe, was employed by the Bourbons, in 1814, to assassinate Buonaparte on his road to Elba. The present writer has taken the utmost pains to investigate the facts of this extraordinary business; and has given us by far the most complete detail of it that has yet appeared.
ART. XVII.-Causes celébres du Droit des Gens. Redigees par le Baron Charles de Martens. Deux tomes. Leipzig: Brockhans. Paris: Ponthieu & Co. London: Black, Young & Young.
THIS is, we believe, the first attempt to execute, to any extent for national, what has been so ably done for criminal law, and we are therefore under considerable obligations to the Baron de Martens for directing public attention to this important subject. It cannot, of course, be expected that this branch of the law, which has for its object only one and a comparatively small class, should possess the general interest and variety of the other branches, which partake of the infinite directions into which human feelings and passions diverge; but, considered with respect to its connection with the welfare of all mankind, we do not know that it yields in importance to any other branch of legal investigation. The distinctions are so minute, and the results arising from violating them frequently pregnant with such extensive consequences, that any attempt to mark them clearly, and to bring them within acknowledged limits, is entitled to approbation. The first idea of this publication is however due, as the Baron acknowledges in a modest and well-written preface, to the late Mr. George Frederick de Martens, Hanoverian Minister at the Diet of the Germanic Confederation. But his work, written in German, and merely intended for his pupils (he was professor of National Law at the university of Göttingen), is now little known.
The Baron de Martens has, in his present laudable attempt, given us several important cases involving violations of the principles, either openly acknowledged or tacitly assented to by governments, which have frequently given rise to long and difficult negotiations, and have sometimes produced lamentable and destructive wars. The causes relative to the power and privileges of ambassadors exhibit many interesting traits of individual and national character. Thus, in the bill introduced into the House of Commons in Queen Anne's reign (in consequence of the arrest of the Russian ambassador by his creditors), to prevent such insults for the future, such conduct was declared illegal; but as the foreign ministers present in London represented in their memorial, no penalty was fixed for the violation of the law. The case of the envoy of Hesse Cassel, to whom a passport was refused by the French government, is valuable, from an interesting memoir, successfully proving that the rights and privileges of ambassadors could not protect them from the consequences of dishonourable actions. The diplomatic correspondence, which is given at length in all the causes, presents several curious and naif communications.
We trust, however, that the Baron de Martens will not stop here, but that the encouragement given to his present volumes will induce him to prosecute his inquiries on this interesting and novel subject. There are other branches which he has, as yet, left untouched, that are worthy of his attention; the introduction, or acknowledgment by nations of a new principle, the right of armed intervention, and many other great events which in their consequences, belong to history, but in their origin to that department to which he has directed his exertions.