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less all the natives of the country to which it belongs are in a capacity of becoming candidates for its honors or rewards. While Franco therefore continues to supply Berlin, polite learning will flourish; but when royal favor is withdrawn, learning will return to its natural country.
OF POLITE LEARNING IN HOLLAND, AND SOME OTHER COUNTRIES
Holland, at first view, appears to have some pretensions to polite learning. It may be regarded as the great emporium, not less of literature than of every other commodity. Here, though destitute of what may be properly called a language of their own, all the languages are understood, cultivated, and spoken useful inventions in arts, and new discoveries in science, are published here almost as soon as at the places which first produced them. Its individuals have the same faults, however, with the Germans, of making more use of their memory than their judg. ment. The chief employment of their literati is to criticise, or answer, the new performances which appear elsewhere.
A dearth of wit in France or England naturally produces a scarcity in Holland. What Ovid says of Echo, may be applied here:
“nec reticere loquenti Nec prior ipsa loqui didicit~"*
They wait till something new comes out from others; examine its merits and reject it, or make it reverberate through the rest of Europe.
["She, who in other words her silence breaks,
Nor speaks herself but when another speaks.")--Addison.
After all, I know not whether they should be allowed any national character for polite learning. All their taste is derived to them from neighboring nations, and that in a language not their own.
They somewhat resemble their brokers, who trade for immense sums without having any capital.
The other countries of Europe may be considered as immersed in ignorance, or making but feeble efforts to rise. Spain has long fallen from amazing Europe with her wit, to amusing them with the greatness of her catholic credulity. Rome considers her as the most favorite of all her children, and school divinity still reigns there in triumph. In spite of all attempts of the Marquis d'Ensenada, who saw with regret the barbarity of his countrymen, and bravely offered to oppose it by introducing new systems of learning, and suppressing the seminaries of monastic ignorance; in spite of the ingenuity of Padré Feyjoo,* whose book of vulgar errors so finely exposes the monkish stupidity of the times ;-the religious have prevailed. Ensenada has been banished, and now lives in exile.t Feyjoo has incurred the hatred and contempt of every bigot whose errors he has attempted to oppose, and feels no doubt the unremitting displeasure of the priesthood. Persecution is a tribute the great must ever pay for pre-eminence.
It is a little extraordinary, however, how Spain, whose genius is naturally fine, should be so much behind the rest of Europe in this particular; or why school divinity should hold its ground there for nearly six hundred years. The reason must be, that philosophical opinions, which are otherwise transient, acquire stability in proportion as they are connected with the laws of the country; and philosophy and law have nowhere been so closely united as here.
* (See antè, p. 66, n.]
+ (The Marquis d'Ensenada was permitted to return to Spain a few months previous to his death ; which took place at Madrid in 1762.)
This was, pe
Sweden has of late made some attempts in polite learning in its own language. Count Tessin's instructions to the prince, his pupil, are no bad beginning. If the Muses can fix their residence so far northward, perhaps no country bids so fair for their reception. They have, I am told, a language rude but energetic; if so, it will bear a polish. They have also a jealous sense of liberty, and that strength of thinking peculiar to northern climates, without its attendant ferocity. They will certainly in time produce something great, if their intestine divisions do not unhappily prevent them.
The history of polite learning in Denmark may be comprised in the life of one single man: it rose and fell with the late famous Baron Holberg *
ps, one of the most extraordinary personages that has done honor to the present century. His being the son of a private sentinel did not abate the ardor of his ambition, for he learned to read, though without a master. Upon the death of his father, being left entirely destitute, he was involved in all that distress which is common among the
poor, and of which the great have scarcely any idea. However, though only a boy of nine years old, he still persisted in pursuing his studies, travelled about from school to school, and begged his learning and his bread. When at the age of seventeen, instead of applying himself to any of the lower occupations, which seeni best adapted to such circumstances, he was resolved to travel for improvement from Norway, the place of his birth, to Copenhagen the capital city of Denmark. He lived there by teaching French, at the same time avoiding no opportunity of improvement that
* [Count Tessin was born at Stockholm in 1695, and died in Sudermania in 1770. A translation into English of his “Letters to a Young Prince from his Governor," appeared in 1759, in 3 vols. 12mo.]
+ [Baron Holberg died in 1754, while Goldsmith was at Leyden, and there is little doubt that his example was in the poet's eye, when he formed the resolution to travel, in defiance of he want of the necessary pecuniary means.]
his scanty funds could permit. But his ambition was not to be restrained, or his thirst of knowledge satisfied, until he had seen the world. Without money, recommendations, or friends, he undertook to set out upon his travels, and make the tour of Europe on foot. A good voice, and a trifling skill in music, were the only finances he had to support an undertaking so extensive; so he travelled by day, and at night sung at the doors of peasants' houses to get himself a lodging. In this manner, while yet very young, Holberg passed through France, Germany, and Holland; and coming over to England, took up his residence for two years in the university of Oxford. Here he subsisted by teaching French and music, and wrote his Universal History, his earliest, but worst performance. Furnished with all the learning of Europe, he at last thought proper to return to Copenhagen, where his ingenious productions quickly gained him that favor he deserved. He composed not less than eighteen comedies. Those in his own language are said to excel, and those which are translated into French have peculiar merit. He was honored with nobility, and enriched by the bounty of the king ; so that a life begun in contempt and penury, ended in opulence and esteem.
Thus we see in what a low state polite learning is in the countries I have mentioned; either past its prime, or not yet arrived at maturity. And though the sketch I have drawn be general, yet it was for the most part taken on the spot. I am sensible, however, of the impropriety of national reflection; and did not truth bias me more than inclination in this particular, I should, instead of the account already given, have presented the reader with a panegyric on many of the individuals of every country, whose inerits deserve the warmest strains of praise. Apostol Zeno, Algarotti, Goldoni, Muratori, and Stay, in Italy; Haller Klopstock, and Rabner, in Germany; Muschenbrook and Gaubius, in Holland; all deserve the highest applause.* Men like these, united by one bond, pursuing one design, spend their labor and their lives in making their fellow-creatures happy, and in repairing the breaches caused by ambition. In this light, the meanest philosopher, though all his possessions are his lamp or his cell, is more truly valuable than he whose name echoes to the shout of the million, and who stands in all the glare of admira
In this light, though poverty and contemptuous neglect are all the wages of his good-will from mankind, yet the rectitude of his intention is an ample recompense; and self-applause for the present, and the alluring prospect of fame for futurity, reward his labors. The perspective of life brightens upon us, when terminated by an object so charming. Every intermediate image of want, banishment, or sorrow, receives a lustre from its distant influence. With this in view, the patriot, philosopher, and poet, have often looked with calmness on disgrace and famine, and rested on their straw with cheerful serenity. Even the last terrors of departing nature abate of their severity, and look kindly on him who considers his sufferings as a passport to immortality, and lays his sorrows on the bed of fame.
[Here followed, in the first edition, a chapter, intituled-
COMPARISON. “ Whatever preference the vulgar of every nation may think due to their own in particular, the learned, who look beyond the bounds of national prejudice and are citizens of the world, seem unanimous in regarding the English and French as the principal literary supporters of the present age. Their emulation in learning as well as in power, has divided the wits not less than the armies of Europe. A niuno è nascosto,' says a modern writer, come la
* ["But it was my design rather to give an idea of the spirit of learning in those countries, than a dry catalogue of authors' names and writings. But,