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TOUR IN GERMANY*.
THIS is the best book of Travels which has appeared since the publication of Forsyth's "Italy," and is filled with a great deal of interesting, and not a little new information respecting places and countries, where a less acute and intelligent observer would have gleaned nothing that had not been already forestalled and repeated in every possible form of style and letter-press. After wading through the sickening and execrable trash, yclept" Tours," "Travels," "Journals," aut quocunque alio nomine gaudent, and which generally contain little more than a posting itinerary, and the bills of fare at the regular stages; it is truly delightful to encounter a work of this sort, stored with the results of patient and accurate observation, conveyed in a clear, vigorous, and occasionally sarcastic style, and totally free from the sins which so easily beset the gentlemen who "take walk and make book." The author, whoever he be, is evidently a man of taste and learning; the former of which he displays without affectation, and the latter without pedantry. He has an eye for the beauties of Nature, which he brings full before the view by his skilful and graphic descriptions, and he has somehow contrived to criticise the works of art, without having recourse to that bloated and bastard jargon of connoisseurship,
That Babylonish dialect
Which would-be amateurs affect,and than which it is barely possible to conceive any kind of nonsense more perfectly silly and disgusting. But the chief merit of his work consists in the pictures which he has given of the state of society and manners, as affected by existing political institutions, in the different states in which he sojourned, and in the very precise and satisfactory information it contains respecting the literature and literary men of Germany. In both these respects it is extremely
interesting, as the extracts we are about to give will abundantly show; and the opinions of the author are entitled to the more respect, as he is evidently possessed of the qualifications necessary for the successful execution of his task. We shall, therefore, without farther preamble, introduce him to the acquaintance of our readers,-in the full and honest conviction that the specimens we shall produce will amply justify the opinion we have been led to pro
The author proceeding from Paris to Strasburgh, of which he gives us a good description, enters Baden, and proceeds to Manheim, recently so famous as the place of Kotzebue's residence, and, ultimately, of his assassination by the fanatic Sandt.
I found the murderer, who had been executed shortly before, still the subject of general conversation. Though his deed, besides its moral turpitude, has done Germany much political mischief,
the public feeling seemed to treat his me
Most mory with much indulgence. enough to acknowledge that Sandt had people, except the students, were liberal done wrong in committing assassination, but they did not at all regard him with disrespect, much less with the abhor
rence due to a murderer. The ladies were implacable in their resentment at his execution. They could easily forgive the necessity of cutting off his head, but they could not pardon the barbarity of cutting off, to prepare him for the block, the long dark locks which curled down over his shoulders, after the academical fashion. People found many things in his conduct and situation which conspired to make them regard him as an object of pity, sometimes of admiration, rather than of blame. Nobody re have done, all claims to talent and litegrets Kotzebue. To deny him, as many rary merit, argues sheer ignorance or stupidity; but his talent could not redeem the imprudence of his conduct, and no man ever possessed in greater perfection the art of making enemies wherever he was placed. Every body
A Tour in Germany, and some of the Southern Provinces of the Austrian Empire, in the years 1820, 1821, and 1822. Printed for Archibald Constable & Co. Edin burgh; and Hurst, Robinson, & Co. London. 1824.
believed, too, that Sand, however fright. fully erroneous his ideas might be, acted from what he took to be a principle of public duty, and not to gratify any private. interest. This feeling, joined to the patience and resolution with which he bore up under fourteen months of grievous bodily suffering, the kindliness of temper which he manifested towards every one else, and the intrepidity with which he submitted to the punishment of his crime, naturally procured him in Germany much sympathy and indul gence. Such palliating feelings towards the perpetrator of such a deed are, no doubt, abundantly dangerous. If they pass the boundary by a single hair'sbreadth, they become downright defenders of assassination, yet one cannot entirely rid himself of them. It is one of the greatest mischiefs of such an example, that it seduces weak heads and heat. ed fancies into a ruinous coquetry with principles which make every man his neighbour's executioner. Still, it would be untrue, to say that it was only his brother students who regarded Sand with these indulgent eyes. To them, of course, he appeared a martyr in a common cause. "I would not have told him to do it," said a student of Heidelberg to me, "but I would cheerfully have shaken hands with him after he did it." Even in the more grave and orderly classes of society, although his crime was never justified or applauded, I could seldom trace any inclination to speak of him with much ri gour. When the executioner had struck, the crowd rushed upon the scaffold, every one anxious to pick up a few scattered hairs, or dip a ribbon, a handkerchief, or a scrap of paper, in his blood. Splinters were chipped from the reeking block, and worn in medallions as his hair was in rings, false and revered as the reliques of a saint. To the students of Heidelberg was ascribed the attempt to sow with Forget-me-not the field on which he was beheaded; and which they have baptized by the name of Sand's Ascension-Meadow. Though punished as an homicide, he was laid in consecrated ground; and, till measures were taken by the police to prevent it, fresh flowers and branches of weeping-willow were nightly strewed, by unknown hands, on the murderer's grave.
free discussion in Germany, and which, by the weight of the leaden despotism it exercises, it has nearly succeeded in extinguishing. Of this Amphictyonic Council, the author gives the following account:—
From Manheim, the author goes to Frankfort-on-the-Maine, presently the seat of the Germanic Diet, a body ostensibly instituted in imitation of Napoleon's celebrated Confederation of the Rhine, but in reality, good for nothing except repressing every symptom of public spirit and
As a recompence for having lost the elections and coronations of the emperors, Frankfort was made the seat of the Germanic Diet, and would boast of being the seat of government of the whole Germanic body, if the Diet were a governBut, except that the presence of the deputies and foreign ministers increases the number of dinners and carriages in Frankfort, the Germans maintain, that the confederation, in which they have been bound, serves no one purpose of a government, but is merely a clumsy and expensive instrument, to enable Austria and Prussia to govern all Germany. The thing looks well enough on paper, they say, for the votes appear to be dis tributed according to the population of the different states; but in its working it manifests only the dictatorial preponderance of powers which they will not acknowledge to be German in point of interest, and only partially German even in point of territory. One-third of the votes, in the ordinary meetings, belong to Austria, Prussia, England, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The small powers, who forin the majority with half and quarter votes, or, as in one case, with the sixth part of a vote, are entirely dependent on these greater states. These greater states, though possessing territories in Germany, are essentially foreign in their strength and interests, and, enjoying an irresisti ble influence in the Diet, they have handed over the government of Germany to Austria and Prussia; while Prussia, again, seems to have thrown herself into the arms of Russia, and Austria has been for centuries the bigotted opponent of every thing which might tend to render Germany independent of the house of Hapsburgh. The Emperor Francis did well not to labour after the restoration of the empire; for, instead of remaining the limited and elective head of a disjointed monarchy, he has become the hereditary dictator of a submissive confederation; instead of negotiating at Ratisbonne, he can command at Frankfort. Thus the Germanic Diet is essentially the representative, not of German, but of foreign interests, guided by potentates who claim a voice in its measures in virtue of a portion of their territories, and then throw in upon its deliberations the whole weight of their preponderating political and military influence, to guard their own foreign 4 Z
interests, and effectuate schemes of policy, which have no relation to the union, or independence, or welfare of Germany.
The confederation provides, to be sure, a public treasury and a common army for the defence of the country, but of what use are a treasury and army which stand at the disposal of foreign influence? Moreover, it does not leave the states which compose it even political independence among themselves, and the quiet administration of their internal concerns. It seems to be the right of a sovereign prince to give his subjects as popular institutions as he may think proper; but the sovereign princes of Germany must previously obtain, through the medium of the Diet, the permission of the courts of Vienna and Berlin. On this body they are dependent for the degree in which they shall descend from the old arbitrary prerogative; for the confederation, while it thus lops off the most unquestionable rights of sovereign states, has formally declared, with ridiculous inconsistency, that it can contain only sovereign princes and all the world knows what a sovereign prince means in the language of Vienna. Freedom of discussion among themselves, and the power of communicating their deliberations to those for whom they legislate, seem to be inseparable from the useful existence of a legislative body; but, by the provisions of the confederation, this eternal minor placed under the tutelage of foreign powers, the Diet is bound to take care, that neither the discussions in such assemblies themselves, where they exist by sufferance, nor their publication through the press, shall endanger the tranquillity of Germany,
and all the world knows by what standard Prince Metternich measures public tranquillity.
Even in the states where representative governments have been established, the confederation deprives them of all power in the most important questions that can be put to a nation, those of peace and war; for it has expressly provided, that no constitution shall be allowed to impede a prince, who belongs to the confederation, in the performance of the duties which the Diet may think proper to impose upon him. Whether Bavaria or Wirtemberg, for example, shall go to war, is not in every case a question for her own king and parliament, but for the Prussian and Austrian envoys at Frankfort. If the powers which, though essen. tially foreign, are preponderating, find it useful to employ the money and arms of the Germanic body, the constitution at home is virtually suspended. The Diet is despotic in legislative, and executive, and
judicial authority; and, if any part of the territory included in the confederation be attacked, the whole body is ipso facto in a state of war. France quarrels with Austria and the Netherlands; she attacks the former in Italy, and the latter in the duchy of Luxembourg, which is a part of the confederation; the whole Germanie body must fly to arms, for the territory of the confederation is attacked. Although Bavaria, for instance, should have no more interest in the quarrel than bis Majesty of Otaheite, she must submit to the misery and extravagance of war, as if an enemy stood on the banks of her own Iser. In vain may her parliament resolve for peace, and refuse to vote either men or money; it is the duty of their king to go to war for the inviolability of this ricketty and heterogeneous confederation. The decision belongs, not to the monarch and representatives of the Bavarian people, but to the diplomatists of Frankfort; and if the former be backward, a hundred thousand Austrians can speedily supply the place of tax-gatherers and recruiting-officers.
These are the sentiments which are heard every where in Germany; and, making every allowance for national par tialities, there certainly is a great deal of truth in them. The Germanic confederation has nothing equal in it; it is ruled by foreigners, for even the votes of Hanover obey the ministry of England. Weimar, whose liberal institutions and free press had been guaranteed by this very diet, was compelled to violate it, and submit to a censorship, at the will of a congress of ministers, whom Germany can justly call foreign, assembled at Carlsbad. If I observed rightly, the preponderance of Austria is peculiarly grating to the powers more properly German. They know that Austria is the very last among them which can pretend to be reckoned a pure German state; the greatest part of her population does not even speak the language; they are at least her equals in military fame, and have far outstripped her in all the arts of peace. It is not wonderful they should feel degraded at seeing their common country subjected to the domination of a power in which they find so little to love or respect. If you wish to know the politics of the confederation, say the Germans, you must inquire, not at Frankfort, but at Vienna or Berlin. One thing is certain, viz. that the southern states, which have adopted popular institutions, must hang together in good and evil report. It is only in a determined spirit of union, and in the honest support of Hanover, that Bavaria, and Wirtemberg, and Baden, can be safe!
The "delenda est Carthago" of Cato was much less necessary in Rome, than "cavenda est Austria" is in Munich, and Stuttgard, and Hanover.
The Diet is held to be utterly impotent even in its most important duty, the preservation of that equality among its own members, without which a confederation is one of the most intolerable forms of oppression. The King of Prussia chose to
lay taxes, as was alleged, on the subjects of his neighbour the Duke of Anhalt Cöthen, both of them members of the confederation. The little duke brought his action before the Diet against the great king. All Germany was on tiptoe expectation to see how the supreme government would discharge its duty. The supreme government was much averse to show the nakedness of its impotency in a dispute where all was strength on the one side, and all weakness on the other, and contrived to have the case settled out of court, a phrase by no means out of place, for the form and nomenclature of proceeding in the supreme executive go. vernment of Germany would be intelligible only in the Court of Chancery, or, still more, in the Scottish Court of Session. Nothing is managed without whole reams of petitions, and answers, and replies, and duplies. A growler of Berlin was asked, "What is the Diet about ?" "Of course, examining the stationer's accounts," was the reply.
At Weimar,-the German Athens, and, till the Holy Allies overshadowed it with their dark and malignant wings, the only spot in Europe where the press was, in the broadest sense of the term, free, and where men might think as they pleased, and publish what they thought, without the intervention of censors, or the terror of ex-officio informations,-our author finds almost every thing to his wish,—the people contented and happy, the Grand Duke the most popular prince in Europe, and deserving to be so,-and an assemblage of literary men, such as no other small state of Germany can boast. It has been the great ambition of the Princes of this House to attract to their little capital whatever was most brilliant in native genius,-and they have succeeded. While the treasures of more weighty potentates were insufficient to meet the necessity of their political relations, the confined revenues of these Princes have afforded leisure and indepen
dence to the men who were gaining for Germany its intellectual reputation, and whom they cherished as friends and companions, secure against the mortifications to which genius is so often exposed from the pride of patronage. "Schiller," as our author well remarks, "would not have endured the caprices of Frederick for a day; and Göthe would have pined at the court of an emperor who could tell the teachers of a public seminary, 'I want no learned men,-I need no learned men.' It was here that Wieland, the Patriarch of the tribe, and the nucleus round which the daily increasing body of light collected, ended his days in comfort and tranquillity.
All who remember him speak of him with rapture, and it is easy to conceive that the author of Oberon and of Agathon, and the translator of Cicero's Letters, must have been a delightful combination of acuteness and wit-no ordinary powers of original thinking, united to a fancy rich, elegant, and playful. To the very close of his very long life, he continued. to be the pride of the old, and the delight of the young. Much less a man of the world than Göthe, he commanded equal respect and greater attachment. Göthe has been accused of a too jealous sensibility about his literary character, and a constantly-sustained authorial dignity, which have exposed him to the imputation of being vain and proud. Wieland gave himself no anxiety about his reputation; except when the pen was in his hand, he forgot there were such things in the world as books and authors, and strove only to render himself an agree able companion. The young people of the court were never happier than when, on a summer evening, they could gather round" Father Wieland" in the shades of Tiefurth, or the garden of his own lit. tle country residence. Writers of books sometimes misunderstood the man, and talked of him as a trifler, because he did Wieland not always look like a folio; smiled at their absurdities. Göthe, too, got into a passion with people whose visits he had permitted, and who then put him into their books, not altogether in the eulogistic style which he expects, and, moreover, deserves; but, instead of treating such things with indifference, he made himself more inaccessible, and assumed a statelier dignity.
Of the great national dramatic poet of Germany, the author thus speaks :
No German poet deserves better to be known than Schiller, yet his most successful efforts are least generally known among us. His merits are by no means confined to the drama; whoever is not acquainted with Schiller's Lyrical Poems, is ignorant of many of his most peculiar and inimitable productions. In the ballad, he aimed at the utmost simplicity of feel ing, and narrative, and diction. It would scarcely be too much to say, that, in this style, his "Knight Toggenburg" has no equal; in German it certainly has none.
Even in the drama, most English readers judge of Schiller only from the Robhers, a boyish production, which gave, indeed, distinct promise of the fruit that was to come, but is no more a sample of Schiller, than Titus Andronicus would be of Shakespeare. It is impossible to form any idea of the German dramatist without knowing his Don Carlos, Mary Stuart, the Bride of Messina, and, higher than them all, Wallenstein. It was an unworthy tribute to living genius, to select Göthe's Iphigenia for the opening of the new theatre in Berlin; for, high and multifarious as Göthe's merits are, Schiller will always remain the great national dramatic poet of Germany. Before his time, her tragic muse had seldom risen above damning mediocrity; and ages will probably elapse before another appear to raise her to the same honours. When. ever a tragedy of Schiller was to be performed, I never found an empty theatre in any corner of Germany. Moreover, on such occasions, the theatre is not crowded with the usual regular play-going loungers, who spend a couple of hours in a box because they have nothing else to do; the audience consists chiefly of respectable citizens, who feel much more truly what nature and passion are, than the ribboned aristocracy of Berlin or Vienna. Schiller nursed his genius by studying Shakespeare; and it is wonder. ful how little an Englishman regrets Drury-Lane or Covent-Garden, when Madame Schröder, at Vienna, plays Lady Macbeth in Schiller's translation. We cannot be surprised that Shakespeare is admired; but at least we owe our gratitude to those who have introduced him to a people more able to appreciate his excellence than any other except ourselves; and that, too, in a dress which, from the affinity of the languages, when in the hands of such men as Wieland and Schiller, Schlegel and Voss, impairs so little the original form. Instead of sneering at the German drama, we should be inclined in its favour, by the fact, that it is the drama of a people which worships at the altar of our unequalled dramatist
with as heart-felt devotion as any believer among ourselves. Shakespeare would seem to have been bestowed upon us, at once to maintain the supremacy of our country, and to teach us humility by the reflection, that it was given to no other, even among ourselves, to follow his course-a comet hung in our sky, to be gazed on, and wondered at by us in common with the rest of the world, but as far beyond our reach, though blazing in our zenith, as to those who only caught his more distant rays.
This is followed by an account of Göthe, which cannot fail to prove interesting.
Of the Weimar sages and poets Göthe alone survives. One after another, he has sung the dirge over Herder, and Wieland, and Schiller: "his tuneful brethren all are fled;" but, lonely as he now is in the world of genius, it could be less justly said of him than of any other man, that he,
neglected and oppressed, Wished to be with them and at rest;
for no living author, at least of Germany, can boast of so long and brilliant a career. At once a man of genius and a man of the world, Göthe has made his way as an accomplished courtier, no less than as a great poet. He has spent in Weimar more than one half of his prolific life, the object of enthusiastic admiration to his countrymen; honoured by Sovereigns, to whom his muse has never been deficient in respect; the friend of his prince, who esteems him the first man on earth; and caressed by all the ladies of Germany, to whose reasonable service he has devoted himself from his youth upwards. It is only necessary to know what Göthe still is in his easy and friendly moments, to conceive how justly the universal voice describes him as having been in person, manners, and talent, a captivating man. He is now seyenty-four years old, yet his tall imposing form is but little bent by years; the lofty open brow retains all its dignity, and even the eye has not lost much of its fire. The effects of age are chiefly perceptible in an occasional indistinctness of articulation. Much has been said of the jealousy with which he guards his literary reputation, and the haughty reserve with which this jealousy is alleged to surround his intercourse. Those who felt it so must either have been persons whose own reputation rendered him cautious in their presence, or whose donbtful intentions laid him under still more unpleasant restraints; for he sometimes shuts his door, and often his mouth, from