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to convince us; and we think that the author would have done better not to transfer his conjecture from the text of the book to the map. But these are trifles, if the merit of the work altogether is taken into consideration.
Johannes Wit genannt von Döring. Fragmente aus meinem Leben und
meiner Zeit. Braunschweig. 1827. For very obvious reasons, the Germans do not excel in political literature. On this head the Leipsic catalogues are very flat. A short time ago, however, a political autobiography was published, and excited great sensation.
The name of the biographer is John Wit (lucus a non lucendo) alias Baron Döring. When student at Jena, he took it into his head to parade before the world as a demagogue, dressed himself as a minstrel in the most ludicrous way, with feathers in his cap, and carried pistols, whence he ran the danger of being horsewhipped by the officers at Cassel. He then professed himself the author of a libellous poem, published anonymously by Dr. Follenius, at Jena, yet was not bold enough to take his trial, nor desirous of the glory of a martyr, but took to his heels; on which occasion the Prussian government gazette presented the world with his pedigree, informing us that this pretended baron is the son of a horsedealer at Altona.
He visited England, France, Switzerland, and Piedmont, successively; and, in the course of his travels, he boasts of having become connected with all the Jacobins, Carbonari, and Illuminati-in short, with all the conspirators and revolutionists in Europe ; pretends to have known all their secrets, their plans, and machinations, and to have been initiated into their societies, till he was stopped in the middle of his triumphant career, and arrested in Germany in 1824, when he thought best to play the part of a repentant sinner, and to denounce to the Prussian and Austrian police all those who had had the misfortune to know this errant knight, or to receive him hospitably from a feeling of compassion, since he represented himself everywhere as the victim of persecution. Thus some highly-respectable ladies of Switzerland came to a place in the Prussian catalogue of Jacobins. His biography contains a public avowal of all this, and a full recantation of his former jacobinical principles. He probably acted upon the devise, Nel Mondo mutabile e leggiero : Costanza è spesso variar il pensiero.
It is said at Berlin, that he expects an appointment from the Prussian government; but those who know more of the secret, maintain that he has been a spy of the police a long while. He confesses himself, that he was already, in 1820, distrusted by the German Liberals; and we know it as a fact, that he was regarded as a spy by the Swiss governments during his stay in that country. He says, that whilst the Holy Alliance was continually reproaching the Swiss confederation for offering an asylum to the Italian and German refugees, secret agents were sent, who, with pretended liberalism, endeavoured to ensnare the unwary, and to betray them into a criminal correspondence, which might be used on a future day as evidence against them. The head-quarters of these agents, as he informs us, still was at Geneva; there he lived in close friendship with some French and Austrian spies, till the police of Geneva ordered him to quit the canton. · The son of the Neapolitan Duke of Fra Marino, Carlo Chiricone, was furnished by the Austrian police with forged diplomas of the Carbonaria, and sent as a spy to Switzerland, although Wit represents him as a deputy of the Neapolitan Carbonari: a French count, Beaumont de Brivasac, acted the same part; and thus the different agents met together at Geneva to play the spies in the country, and to regard with suspicious scrutiny the actions of each other. We need not say how diseased and anomalous such a state of society
must must be: everybody will agree with us, that this mining and countermining of conspirators, and of the police, is paltry and despicable in the extreme; and in a country like England, where publicity is the shield of freedom, such a thing could never take place. But the conduct of some of the continental governments was absurd; for they had themselves, at a former period, sanctioned what they afterwards attempted, in so ill-contrived a manner, to prevent. When groaning under the despotism of Buonaparte, they formed and promoted secret societies against his overwhelming power : these alone kept alive the dying flame of patriotism, and enabled the governments to assume again, with the first opportunity, at the end of the Russian campaign, a bold and martial attitude; the spirit of the nation then burst forth in enthusiasm, because it never had been conquered or broken, although the governments had been deeply humbled. It is an undeniable fact, that the Tugendbund was encouraged by the highest authority in Prussia; but, when the war was over, those men who had bled in the field of battle would not consent, without a struggle, to be duped by their government at home.
The right, we know, to put down these societies, belongs unquestionably to every government de facto; but we maintain, that the most efficacious remedy, and perhaps the only one, is publicity, and an administration consonant with the feelings and wishes of the most intelligent part of the nation.
As to this Mr. Wit, we care but little whether he was a spy or not; his unprincipled conduct renders him, in both cases, unworthy of the confidence of any government: the charges he brings forward against various individuals deserve not the least credit, and we have reason to believe they would already have been disproved in Germany, if the censorship did not prevent every refutation. We know, that Professor Cousin, of Paris, when travelling in Germany, was arrested a short time ago on the deposition of this Wit; but he proved the evidence of this informer to be a tissue of falsehood, and was set free.
We cannot bring ourselves to believe, that a book like this can recommend the author to the good graces of the Prussian government; a book, we say, full not only of the most deliberate falsehoods, but also of the most disgusting anecdotes, the congenial food of a profligate memory and a debauched imagination; a book which presents us,—we hardly trust our eyes, with an apology for suicide, and with a defence of adultery, p. 487; a book, in short, the most pardonable doctrine of which is, that absolute despotism is most favourable to literature. Did the writer wish to please the Prussian government by such a doctrine, or did he mean to insult it?
To give our readers, however, a slight notion of the important disclosures of this work, we shall make only a few extracts:
P. 33. The fourth degree of the Carbonaria, the degree of the Apostoli, enjoins to the members to work the ruin of all monarchs, and especially of the Bourbons. He informs us, that the Carbonari in Naples were countenanced during the reign of King Joachim, by the English government, and that Lord Bentinck himself was one of the earliest of the number!!
P. 34. The adept of the seventh degree, P. S. P. (Princeps Summus Patriarcha), swears against every religion, and every form of government. Assassination, poison, perjury, everything is allowed. Credat Judæus !!!.
P. 37. There is a secret society in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Swit. zerland. Their object is to destroy the Austrian power in Italy, and to restore the Catholic church as it was before the revolution. The late Pope was the head of this society. They call themselves Consistoriali, Crociferi, Societa della Santa Fede, del Anello, &c. &c.; of these, Count Le Maistre was the provincial chief for Piedmont; after him Count Borgarelli, the
archbishop of Turin, and the vicar-general of Asti. The true head in Upper Italy is the Duke of M. (Modena); this party is supported by France. The King of Piedmont (p. 42) is also a member of it; and the Prince Hohenlohe Schillingsfürst, in Germany. Most members are of the ancient nobility and the high clergy !!!
What will the continental governments say to this? Here is a secret society again, countenanced by kings, dukes, princes, nobles, archbishops, and other dignitaries of the church ; and what for? To re-establish the catholicism of the middle ages, to restore the supremacy of the pope, and to lay the nations again in most abject, brutal, and depraved spiritual thraldom !!!
To substantiate one charge against the biographer, of having brought forward disgraceful anecdotes, from which he draws the most unwarrantable inference against whole classes of society, we beg to quote only one from page 87.
The Marquis P. comes home one evening, unexpectedly, very early. He enters the room of his wife, and an accidental glance at the looking-glass, which hangs opposite, shows him his consort, in the neighbouring boudoir, in close tête-à-tête with his friend, the Marquis of St. M. Without giving the least sign of astonishment, he walks up to the looking-glass, coughs loudly, and sets his neckerchief aright. In the mean time, his rival slips out of the door; and approaching the houdoir, all he says to his wife, who had almost fainted away, are the words, “ Mais, Madame, de laisser la porte ouverte! si quelqu'un des domestiques était entré !"
Another anecdote is told of Canning, which the bragadoccio pretends to have heard himself, in the tribune of the ambassadors at the Chambre des Députés at Paris. During the revolution of Naples and Piedmont, a Latin proclamation was spread among the Hungarian regiments, to excite them to rebellion against Austria. Canning, to whom this Wit, alias Baron Döring, showed it, remarked, “ Shocking! these fellows use a deponens for an activum !" And this had actually been the case. Dorn, B. Dr. Ueber die Verwandtschaft des persischen, germanischen,
und griechisch-lateinischen Sprachstamms. Hamburg. 1827. We make the greater progress in the oriental languages, the more it becomes evident, that not only the materials, but also the superstructure of the Greek and German languages bear a close affinity to the Persian and Sanscrit. The little volume before us contains much useful informa, tion on this subject, which now occupies the attention of various distin, guished oriental scholars in Germany.
Dætsky Sobesædnik. Published Quarterly. 8vo. 1826, &c. The Dætsky Sobesædnik, or Children's Visiter, which commenced in 1826, is an exceedingly useful and well-conducted periodical; and we are persuaded will contribute much towards establishing an improved system of education for children. The articles consist of tales, conversations on natural history, and scientific subjects, narratives from Russian history, grammatical dialogues, &c. Some of the tales are from the pen of the celebrated poet Zhukovsky, who thus laudably employs some portion of his leisure in contributing to the amusement and information of the rising generation.
Narezhny, Slavenskie Vechera. 2 vols. 12mo. Petersburg. 1826. A NEw edition of Narezhny's Sclavonian Evenings evinces the popularity of this interesting collection of traditional and historical narratives. They are written in a kind of poetical prose, and have a considerable degree of
Ossianic Ossianic colouring, which well befits their subjects. Bursak, another production by the same author, is also a very successful attempt at an his. torical romance, descriptive of the manners of several of the tribes in Little Russia. The characters are varied and forcibly drawn, the incidents well imagined, and the descriptions of scenery and customs highly picturesque. It is, however, altogether different from former productions,
Danmark's og Hertugdommens Statsret. Copenhagen. ONE of the most important works which have issued from the press in Denmark, during the last year, is Schlegel's Danmarks og Hertugdommens Statsret, (on the Constitution of Denmark, &c.) In the first volume, which is all that has yet appeared, the author treats-1. of the Danish monarchy in general; 2. of the ancient independence of Denmark ; 3. of the constitution prior to the foundation of the monarchy; 4. of the introduction of the royal power, and of the jurisdiction of the sovereign, &c. Prefixed to the work itself, is an introduction on the merits and utility of this branch of diplomatic science. M. Schlegel, who was before favourably known to the public by his ' Juridical Encyclopædia,' has shown himself a thorough master of his subject, and has brought together a mass of information highly interesting and valuable to the statesman, the historian, and the legal antiquarian. Benj. C. H. Hoijer's Samlade Skrifter. The collected Works of Benj.
C. H. Hoijer. 1825-6. AFTER the various systems of modern philosophy--the dualism of Descartes, the pantheism of Spinosa, the empyricism of Locke, and the rationalism of Leibnitz, had been succeeded by the calm, deep-cutting scepticism of Hume, Kant appeared, who soon effected a complete revolution in the field of philosophy. By his Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, this writer proved the insufficiency of all previously received philosophieal demonstration. If Bacon had the merit of pointing out the errors of the philosophers who had gone before him, Kant was the great practical reformer who opened a new road to the halls of true philosophy. But, as in politics, so in philosophy, conquests, however great, are seldom lasting, and youthful warriors not unfrequently turn their weapons against the leader, of whom they learned the art of conquest. Fichte and Schelling, both nursed in the cradle of the Kantian school, soon became the opponents of their great master, and, at the commencement of the first decennium of our century, the followers of Kant, of Fichte, and Schelling, waged open war against each other. At present, though the followers of the Wissenschafts Lehre (Doctrine of Science) have, to all appearance, relinquished the contest, yet it still continues between the Kantites and the natural philosophers; and when Schelling shall have submitted a complete system of his philosophical principles * to the scrutiny of scientific inquirers, an event most anxiously awaited by his disciples, it is probable that fresh fuel will be added to that flame of contention which formerly burnt so fiercely. While England, France, and Italy were perfectly inditferent to the struggles of the German philosophers, the new doctrines of Kant, Fichte and Schelling excited considerable interest among the learned men of Sweden, a country where, comparatively speaking, the study of philosophy had then made but little progress. This interest is proved by the works of Hoijer, which comprise eleven philosophical essays, all containing matter of the greatest
* We understand that this will be done by the publication of a work called Die Vier Welt uller.
importance for those who cultivate the study of philosophy, or who wish for a review of the chief points of contest between the German philosophers. Hoijer avows himself a supporter of the doctrine of transcendental idealism, and thus ranks among those who are inclined towards the system of Fichte; which, however, does not prevent him from pointing out the great philosophical errors of that eminent thinker. • Our limits do not admit of our quoting even the titles of Hoijer's several dissertations. The first, however, in the first volume, contains a short and spirited review of the results of the principal philosophical systems from the Greek philosophers down to the time of Kant. The first essay of the second volume (almost the only one which is complete) contains a very elaborate analysis of philosophical construction. It is written in a style, combining the acuteness of Hegel, with the firm demonstration of Fichte, and the elegant simplicity of Schelling. The discussions on the character of objectiveness, of freedom and necessity, are written with great force of argument, and are intended to supply the deficiencies of Kant's treatise, Kritik der Reinen Vernunft. The author's attempts to prove the possibility of an unerring scientific construction in philosophy are well-drawn. His fifth essay in the first volume, and the two essays in the third volume, • On the Philosophy of the Fine Arts,' and · Ideas on the History of the Fine Arts,' though they are only sketches, yet drawing, as they do, a strong line of comparison between ancient and modern art, deserve to be ranked with the aesthetical essays of Schelling, Schlegel, St. Paul, and Bouterweck.
It is the intention of the editors to follow up the present edition of Hoijer's works by three additional volumes, containing the remainder of his posthumous writings. We cannot conclude without expressing our admiration of the successful skill with which the abstruse and abbreviated manuscript of Hoijer has been deciphered by the editors. We understand that the learned Dr. Grubbe, Professor of Philosophy at Upsala, is one of them, and we imagine that it is to his profound philosophical knowledge that we are indebted for the manner in which the mutilated passages have been supplied.
Poésies, par Mde. Amable Tastu. Paris. 1827. It is a singular fact, that a nation whose earliest associations are so romantic and so poetical ; which was the birth-place of the Troubadours ; and in after-times, not only the most civilized, but, indeed, the most forward in literary progress, should possess no poetry. Setting the drama aside as involving too much of old dispute, and, moreover, conceiving a tragedy may be very effective without being poetical, we must again repeat our assertion, that there is no poetry, properly so called, in France. Spain, Italy, Germany, and England, are the most poetical countries in Europe; the poetry of Spain is the stirring memory of her ancient chivalry, veined with the rich passion and imagery which the Moors have left, like the ruins of the Alhambra, as their trace behind them; that of Italy is the inspiration of the fairest earth and heaven, that ever made beauty the element of man's fancy. In Germany and England there is less of ostensible cause; there is no reason of climate or association why they should be more poetical than France, yet no one will deny that they are so. But the wonder of those who examine the character of the French will soon cease; their philosophers were wits, their poets epigrammatists, their lovers men of gallantry, all lived with the fear of ridicule, like the sword of Damocles, for ever before their eyes; their feelings were scenes, their enthusiasm a fashion, and their very intrigues a feather for their cap or a step to their preferment: but the insincerity that prevailed amongst them was a yet