« AnteriorContinuar »
settled in Leipzig, where the university, when he has been fortunate enough to
value of literary labour. No publisher
authors of the most settled and popular articles from the Edinburgh Review; and reputation. Klopstock, after the Messiah these, again, were sometimes reprinted had fixed his fame, published in this way. und circulated as pamphlets. The HerThere has been no more successful pub. mes is of the same general character, a lisher than Cotta, and no German writer quarterly publication, which apes in form, has been so well repaid as Göthe; yet the as well as matter, one of our most celelast Täbingen edition of Göthe himself is brated journals. In 1821, his weekly adorned with a long list of subscribers. journal, The Conversationes-Wochenblatty What would we think of Byron, or Camp. was prohibited in Berlin, and shortly afbell, or Scott, or Moore, publishing a terwards, it was thought necessary to new poem by subscription ?
erect a separate department of the CenMr Brockhaus is allowed to be the sorship for the sole purpose of examining most efficient publisher in Leipzig, and and licensing Brockhaus's publications. consequently among the first in Germany. The prohibition was speedily removed, He is a writer, too, for, on miscellaneous, and I believe (but I had left Berlin before particularly political topics, he frequently it happened) that likewise the separate supplies his own manuscript. He is sup. censorial establishment was of brief du. posed to have made a fortune by one ration. Brockhaus has brought himself work on which he ventured, the Convere out of all political embarrassments, with sations-Lexicon, a very compendious En- great agility and good fortune, and still cyclopædia. The greatest fault of the book rails on at despots and reprinters, is a want of due selection ; personages of eternal name, and topics of immutable In the gay and elegant capital of interest, are contracted or omitted, to Saxony, where men who please to make way for men and matters that only live, live to please, our author is of enjoy a local and passing notoriety. Even course enraptured with the paternal a Britannica, with a Supplement, should government of the King, the frank not waste its pages on short-lived topics, and engaging manners of the people, and only the quinta pars nectaris of hu. and, above all, the treasures of the man knowledge and biography should be picture-gallery, on which no French admitted into an Encyclopædia of ten oc. spoliator was permitted to fasten his lavo volumes. The book, however, has had a very extensive circulation, and of- of his work, however, for the special
ravenous fangs. Leaving this part ten forms the whole library of a person consideration of the Dilletante soin the middling classes. proved still more lucrative, had the wric ciety, if it still exist in rerum naturâ, ters, among whom are many of the most
our taste leads us to prefer an expopular names of Germany, shown great. tract illustrative of the manner in er deference to the political creeds of the which criminal justice is administers leading courts. The numerous political ed in that country. The abuses enarticles, not merely on subjects of general gendered, under a despotic governdiscussion, but on recent events, import. ment, in a matter where the interant and unimportant, are all on the li ests of the great body of the people beral side of the question ; moderate, in are so directly and vitally concerned, deed, argumentative, and respectful, but were never before placed in a strongstill pointing at the propriety of political er light. changes. The book was admitted into the Russian dominions only in the form Having heard a professor of Jena rail, of an editio castigata ; from this tree of in his lecture, at the mal-administration knowledge were carefully shaken all the of English prisons, in a style which I fruits which might enable the nations to suspected no German was entitled to use, distinguish between good and evil before who looked nearer home, I took occasion it was allowed to be transplanted beyond to visit one of the prisons of Dresden. It the Vistula. Even in this ameliorated was crowded with accused as well as constate, it began to be regarded as, at least, demned, and seemed to have all the usual lurid, if not downright poisonous, and ul. defects of ill-regulated gaols, both as to tirnately was prohibited altogether. the health and moral welfare of its in.
Brockhaus is, by way of eminence, the mates. They were deposited in small liberal publisher of Germany. He shuns dark cells, each of which contained three no responsibility, and stands in constant prisoners ; a few boards, across which a communication with all the popular jour coarse mat was thrown, supplied the nalists and pamphleteers. His Zeitgenosse, place of a bed, and the cells were overor, The Contemporary, was a journal en heated. Many of the prisoners were pertirely devoted to politics. It frequently sons whose guilt had not yet been ascercontained translations of leading political tained; but, possible as their innocence
might be, it was to soine the sixth, the All this leads to another practice, eighth, even the twelfth month of this de which, however it may be disguised, is nomoralizing confinement. One young man, thing else than the torture. It is a rule, in whom the gaoler allowed to be a respect. all capital offences, not to indict the punable person, had been pining for months, ishment, however clear the evidence may without knowing, as he said, why he was be, without a confession by the culprit there. The allegation might be of very himself. High treason, I believe, is a doubtful truth, but the procrastinated suf. practical exception. In it the head must fering, without any definite point of ter go off, whether the mouth opens or not. mination, was certain. Till the judge in all other capital crimes, though there shall find time to condemn them to the should not be a hook to hang a doubt highway, or dismiss them as innocent,'they upon, yet, if the culprit deny, he is only must languish on in these corrupting condemned to, perhaps, perpetual imprie triumvirates, in dungeons, compared with sonment. There is no getting rid of the which the cell they would be removed to, dilemma, that, in the opinion of the man's if condemned to die, is a comfortable judges, his guilt is either clearly proved, abode. I could easily believe the assur. or it is not. If it be clearly proved, then ance of the gaoler, that they uniformly the whole punishment, if not, then no leave the prison worse than they entered punishment at all should be inflicted ; it.
otherwise suspicions are visited as crimes, Such atrangements, under a system of and a man is treated as a criminal, becrihinal law like that which prevails all cause it is doubtful whether he be one or over Germany, are hideous ; because it is not. If his judges think that his denial a system which sets no determinate limit proceeds merely from obstinacy, he is to the duration of this previous confine. consigned to a dungeon, against whose ment. The length of imprisonment of an horrors, to judge from the one I was accused person depends, not on the law, shown, innocence itself could not long but on the judge, or those who are above hold out ; for death on the scaffold would the judge. The law having once got the be a far easier and more immediate libera man into gaol, does not seem to trouble ation, than the mortality which creeps over itself any farther about him. There are every limb in such a cell
. It is a cold, instances, and recent ones, too, of persons damp, subterraneous hole; the roof is so being dismissed as innocent, after a five low, that the large drops of moisture distillyears' preparatory imprisonment. People, ing from above must trickle immediately to be sure, shake their heads at such on the miserable inmate; its dimensionsare things, with “ aye, it was very hard on so confined, that a man could not stretch the poor man, but the court could no out his limbs at full length. Its only furni. sooner arrive at the certainty of his guilt ture is wet straw, scantily strewed on the or innocence." No doubt, it is better, as wet ground. There is not the smallest they allege, that a man should be unjust- opening or cranny to admit either light or ļy imprisoned five years, than unjustly air ; a prisoner could not even discern the hanged at the end of the first ; but they crust of bread and jug of water allotted to cannot see that, if there was no good support life in a place where insensibility ground for hanging him at the end of the would be a blessing. I am not describfirst, neither could there be any for keep- ing any relique of antiquated barbarity : ing him in gaol during the other four. the cell is still in most efficient operation. They insist on the necessity of discover. About four years ago, it was inhabited ing the truth. Where there are suspi. by a woman convicted of murder. As cious circumstances, though they acknow. she still denied the crime, her judges, who ledge it would be wrong to convict the had no pretence for doubt, sent her to this man, they maintain it would be equally dungeon to extort a confession. At the wrong to liberate him, and therefore fairly end of a fortnight, her obstinacy gare conclude that he must remain in prison way; when she had just strength enough “ till the truth comes out." To get at left to totter to the scaffold, she confessed the certain truth is a very excellent thing; the murder exactly as it had been prored but it is a very terrible thing, that a man against her. must languish in prison during a period Such a practice is revolting to all good indefinite by law, till his judges discover feeling, even when viewed as a punishwith certainty whether he should ever have ment; when used before condemnation, been there or not. The secrecy in which to extort a confession, in what imaginable all judicial proceedings are wrapt up, at point does it differ from the torture ? once diminishes the apparent number of Really we could almost be tempted to besuch melancholy abuses, and prevents the lieve, that it is not without some view to public mind from being much affected by future utility, that, in a more roomy those which become partially known. apartment adjoining this infamous dun
geon, all the regular-approved instru. had committed likewise a similar crime, ments of torture, from the wheel to the which had occurred some months before, pincers, are still religiously preserved. A and the perpetrator of which had not number of iron hooks are fixed in the ceil. hitherto been discovered. The miscreant ing; a corresponding block of wood runs was executed, and the very same judges across the floor, filled with sharp pieces of who had subjected the unhappy Fischer iron pointing upwards ; in a corner were to such a confinement, to extort a conmouldering the ropes by which prisoners fession, now liberated him, cleared from used to be suspended by the wrists from every suspicion. As the natural consethe books, with their feet resting on the quence of such durance in such an abode, iron points below. At the side of the he had to be carried from the prison to wheel is a pit of exquisitely cold water. the hospital. He said, that he made his The benches and table of the judges still false confession, merely to be released, retain their place, as well as the old-fa. even by hastening his execution, from shioned iron candlestick, which, even at this pining torture which preys equally on mid-day, furnished the only light that the body and the mind. This is the most rendered visible the darkness of this " cell frightful side of their criminal justice. It of guilt and misery." Fortunately, the may be allowed, that there are few 'indust has now settled thick upon them, stances of the innocent actually suffering never, let us hope, to be disturbed. on the scaffold ; such examples are rare
The worst of all is, that this species of in all countries : though it is clear that, torture (for, considering what sort of im. in Germany, the guiltless must often owe prisonment it is, and for what purpose it his escape to accident, while the law has is inflicted, I can give it no other name,) done every thing in its power to condemn is just of that kind which works most him. But even of those who have at surely on the least corrupted. To the length been recognized as innocent, and master-spirits of villany, and long-tried restored to character and society, how servants of iniquity, a dark, damp hole, many, like poor Fischer, have carried wet straw, and bread and water, are with them, from their prison, the seeds of much less appalling than to the novice in disease, which have ultimately conducted their trade, or to the innocent man, against them to the grave as certainly as the gibwhom fortuitous circumstances have di bet or the wheel ! rected suspicion. How many men have burdened themselves with crimes which
Our author next visits Cassel, and they never committed, to escape torture is naturally led to speak of the dewhich they never deserved ! What a me.
funct kingdom of Westphalia. lancholy catalogue might be collected out The only thing particularly calling of the times when the torture was still in for notice in the account of Hanover, Aicted by the executioner ! And, alas ! which our author next visited, is the very recent experience robs us of the sa. University of Göttingen, the greattisfaction of believing they have disap- est living ornament of which, now peared, now that Germany has substitu. that Heyne is dead, is Professor ted for the rack so excruciating a confine, Blumenbach. ment. A lamentable instance happened in Dresden while I was there, (1821.) Europe has placed Blumenbach at the Kügelchen, the most celebrated German head of her physiologists; but, with all painter of his day, had been inurdered and his profound learning, he is in every robbed in the neighbourhood of the city. thing the reverse of the dull, plodding, A soldier, of the name of Fischer, was ap cumbersome solidity, which we have prehended on suspicion. After a long in learned to consider as inseparable from a vestigation, his judges found reason to be German savant, a most ignorant and clearly satisfied of his guilt; but still, as unfounded prejudice. Göthe is the greathe did not confess, he was sent to the est poet, Wolff the greatest philologist, dungeon, to conquer his obstinacy. He and Blumenbach the greatest natural his. stood it out for some months, but at last torian of Germany; yet it would be dit. acknowledged the murder. He had not ficult to find three more jocular and enyet been broken on the wheel, when cir. tertaining men. Blumenbach has not an cumstances came out which pointed sus atom of academical pedantry or learned picion against another soldier, named obscurity; his conversation is a series of Kalkofen, as having been at least an ac shrewd and mirthful remarks on any complice in the deed. The result of the thing that comes uppermost, and such, new inquiry was, the clearest proof of likewise, I have heard it said, is some. Fischer's total innocence. Kalkofen vo. times his lecture. Were it not for the luntarily confessed, not only that he was chaos of skulls, skeletons, mummies, and the murderer of Kügelcher, but that he other materials of his art, with which he
is surrounded, you would not easily disco. it has been ascertained by chemical anaver, unless you brought him purposely on lysis, that such horns have a greater affi. the subject, that he had studied natural nity, in their composition, with the horns history. He sits among all sorts of odd of the rhinoceros, than with those of any things, which an ordinary person would other animal. call lumber, and which even many of
From Hanover our author prothose who drive his own science could not make much of ; for it is one of Blumen- ceeds to Brunswick, of which we bach's excellencies, that he contrives to meet with nothing new, and thence make use of every thing, and to find to Berlin, which is fully described. proofs and illustrations where no other Here he finds the King very popuperson would think of looking for them. lar, and indulges his chivalrous proBy the side of a drawing which represent. pensities in gathering every anecdote ed some Botocuda Indians, with faces of the late Queen that fell in his like baboons, cudgelling each other, hung way, and in fervent execrations aa portrait of the beautiful Agnes of Mans. gainst the unmanly and unjustifiable feld. A South-American skull, the low- calumnies circulated against her by est degree of human conformation, grin. the late Emperor of France, and his ned at a Grecian skull, which the pro- creatures. Lonisa appears to have fessor reckons the perfection of crania. been no less distinguished by her Here stood a whole mummy from the virtues than by her personal beauty Canary Islands, there half a one from the and accomplishments ; she was greatBrazils, with long strings through its nose, and covered with gaudy feathers, like Pa. ly beloved by the people, who chepageno in the Magic Flute. Here is stuck rish her memory with the most af. a negro's head, there lies a Venus, and fectionate attachment; but was betyonder reclines, in a corner, a contempla- ter qualified to shine in the domese tive skeleton with folded hands. Yet it tic circle, of which she was the oris only necessary to hear the most pass. nament, than to figure as a Queen. ing remarks of the Professor, as you At the same time, it ought to be stumble after him through this apparent mentioned, that after the disastrous confusion, to observe how clearly all that battle of Auerstadt, and the virtual may be learned from it is arranged in his subversion of the monarchy, she head, in his own scientific combinations.
seems to have been the only perThe only thing that presented external
son about the court who, gathering order, was a very complete collection of skulls, showing the fact, by no means a
resolution from despair," tried to new one, that there is a gradual progres- predicted that the power by which
rally the public spirit, and boldly sion in the form of the skull, from apes, the country was oppressed would not up to the most generally received
models last. Accordingly, when the fortune pf human beauty. horns ?" said he, searching among a heap of war turned the tide of victory once of oddities, and drawing forth three horns; more in favour of the allies, and
they were once worn by a woman. She hurled back upon France the venhappened to fall and break her head; geance she had so often inflicted, from the wound sprouted this long horn; her name became a watch word with it continued to grow for thirty years, and the infuriated soldiery, and on the then she cast it; it dropped off
. In its occasion of any new victory, their place came a second one ; but it did not exclamation of unavailing regret, grow so long, and dropped off too. Then was, “ she has not lived to see it !" this third one, all on the same spot; but As to Frederick William himself, he the poor woman died while the third was growing, and I had it cut from the appears to be a good enough sort of corpse.” They were literary three ge footing with his people, and ready
man, living on an easy and familiar nuine horns. The last two are short, to indulge them in any thing except thick, and nearly straight; but the first is about ten inches long, and completely constitution, for neither of which, if
a free press and a representative twisted, like the horn of a ram. round and rough, of a brownish colour,
we may believe our author, have and fully half an inch in diameter to- they any inordinate desires. wards the root. All three are hollow, at
Our author gives an amusing der least at the base. The termination is tail of the circumstances which led blunt and rounded. Other instances of to the establishment of the Univer, the same thing have been known, but sity of Berlin, the great ornament of always in women; and Blumenbach says which is Wolff;