Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

revenues; it proposes the subjects not become me,” the author moto be submitted to the deliberation destly says, “ to blame precautions, of the Great Council, and all the too well justified by the reverses propositions relative to the laws. this Republic has already met with.” All matters are discussed in com- Passing by the principal question, mon, and carried by the majority; he is not sure whether, in the end, which does not prevent some spe- the Canton of Berne may not excial commissions, such as a Secret perience more inconveniences than Council, charged more particularly advantages in these military estawith the care of the police, political blishments. The national militia of negociations, and those affairs which this Canton is composed of eight batreqnire more than usual discretion. talions of 800 men each -in all, The Council of War, in which the 6,400 men. These battalions are levy of troops and orders concerning exercised by turns, at Berne, where military service and discipline are they form a garrison for a short decided, is also a particular com- time, and only receive pay during mission in the Council of State. their service. Now, it appears to

The state revenues are considera- the author, that if the conséquence ble, in comparison with the other Can- of this service is to produce more tons of Switzerland. The greatest uniformity in military instruction, part of the revenue consists in the and more regularity in manæuvres, property belonging to the State, in yet these corps must also contract quit - rents and tenths. This last vices incompatible with agricultural tax, which the State raises upon its inclinations and occupations. To lands, as proprietor, is rather a rent keep alive public spirit in the Canthan a tax;

some private property ton, and that is, in truth, the best is, in reality, in the same situation, safe-guard of the State, is it not and the people prefer, in this coun- better to concentrate the means of try, so moderate a tax, the receipt instruction in the Capital, rather of which being always proportioned than run the risk of infecting the to the harvest is as simple and easy population of the country ? Would as other methods are expensive. it not be more natural, wiser, and There are also indirect taxes at more conformable to their ancient Berne ; and the toll duties, which maxims, which were those of liberty, existed under the old government, that the local inhabitant should be are also exacted under the new, as exercised in the defence of his own well as the rents, the produce of fire-side, without ever losing sight which, according to our author, is of it, with the exception of the considerable.

officers, who stand more in need of The government of Berne, though a war-like education, and who can in general unfavourable to modern more easily do without morality inventions, does not appear inimi. than the soldier? The people of cal to that of tolls, which have Berne are naturally war-like; and

roved very beneficial to the State. that martial spirit which laid the Besides the old duties that have foundation of their State, contribeen re-established, the government buted to its growth, and which, in has created new ones. That upon our days, retarded its fall, is too timber is most certainly an abundant generally spread thronghout the source of riches to the Exchequer. higher classes of society, to be in Another concession to the opinions danger of falling off. Foreign serof the age, which the government vice gives the Bernese youth the appears, to our author, to have made, means of acquiring practical inis the zeal with which it encourages struction, which could not be aca military spirit, as prevalent as that quired at their own houses; and in the other Helvetic Republics. this, so doubt, would be sufficient,

The events which occasioned the if the Republic always maintained fall of the Confederation have made an excellent school for officers; as Berne, as well as the other Cantons, good soldiers amongst the lower feel the necessity of maintaining a class would be found, who would more respectable, regular, and per- be the more willing to devote themmanent inilitary force. " It does selves to their country, if their affections were not alienated from their that of the old government, proba families. The government of Berne bly regret a diet which was ought, then, to strengthen public favourable to their aggrandisement spirit, by a better organization of and that of the Republic; and, if the lower class, rather than form considered dispassionately, these regarrisons and people barracks, grets may be more patriotic thay a reform more easily effected there they appear interested. The nobles than in other States, because the of "Berne may well think, without foundation of it is already laid. injustice, that a Constitution, under

A people long estranged from which their country was free, floupublic affairs, by a rigorous aris- rishing, and respectable, for five tocracy, is able to take any interest centuries, was not, in reality, viciin them, proportioned to the part ous; and our author thinks, that allotted by the Constitution ; but, the majority of the citizens, if they whether through long habit or a were permitted to express their wish, confidence (without doubt justifia. would willingly return to a Constible), this people do not seem dis- tution, which procured them the posed to enjoy all their rights, and rights and advantages of a free it is now its indifference that must people. be overcome after their liberty is The heads of the State, more well secured. Here, as in Friburgh, united here than at Friburgh, would the Electoral Assemblies are little not counteract the will of the people, frequented. The countryman, un- but they govern with the majority willingly, goes to the Council, and of the Councils, who have not the it is with great repugnance that he same inclination. On the other quits his cart to place himself at the hand, the poorer citizens, who are, helm of the State. Even those, with perhaps, more susceptible of popuwhom patriotism supplies the place lar "spirit than the nobles are of of ambition, and who consent to regrets for the old order of things, quit the government of their farms are but little satisfied with their for that of the Republic, are satis-' share in the new Constitution, as fied with paying the tribute of sub- a recompense for the loss of numission to the laws of their country, merous petty offices occasioned by instead of enlightening it with their the separation of the Pays-de-Vaud knowledge, and vote servilely, and, and Argovia. More interest in the in spite of themselves, are more Council is required; but private attached to old recollections that interest here, as well as elsewhere, new prerogatives. This disposition, is concealed under the pretext of though honourable in itsell, ought public good. The citizens of Berne, to give way to public interest; and as well as Friburgh, openly aspire if the magistrates do not abuse the to a Democratical Constitution ; confidence of the people, the peo- and though, in these two Republics, ple, in their turn, ought to justify the majority of the government, as the confidence of the magistrates.. well as the people, repel this, there It appeared to the author, that if is always a vague and disquiet feel the disquiet, which there, as well as ing, which prevents the prosperity in France, was the necessary. con- and happiness of the State. The sequence of a long and violent jealousy and distrust which the difshock, had not ceased with the cause ferent orders manifest towards each that produced it, the letter of the other, spread weakness and timidity law not being till now precisely in the Councils, and causes a sort of established, the meaning which uneasiness in the political body.might have been given to it, and it is difficult to foretell what will the use that might have been made be the result of these struggles of it by a thousand petty in- between contrary interests and preterests and passions, might have judices. Another source of embarcreated a revolution in one day, rassment to the government of Berde that years only could have quelled. is the acquisition of the Catholic part A secret discontent pervades every of the bishoprick of Basle, in virtue order of the State. The noble fami- of the new regulations of the Conlies, whose glory is confounded with gress of Vienna. The difficulty of

reconciling the interests of a Catho- shouts of public joy. Children, tic country with a Protestant Admi- women, and old men, present the nistration, and the disagreement of affecting union of every age, as well the two religious creeds, add every as every wish, with love of liberty day fresh obstacles to a government and their country. Even the conalready sufficiently controlled in its fusion that necessarily prevails in proceedings.

so large a multitude increases the The progress of knowledge, if in interest of the spectacle :-no bayoreality it has made any progress, nets, which intimidate rather than has had no influence on the morals protect the peaceful citizens, are to of the people, and, perhaps, these be seen: they all walk at their ease, two things have nothing in common.

with no other order than what naThe morals of the Bernese are what ture prescribes to every age. Flowers they were before the Revolution, are in every hand, and songs in and, it appears, that the Republic, every mouth; and in all this long or rather the heads of the govern- procession there is but one weapon, ment were never at any period very the sword, which, in the hands of strict in their principles. It does the hero of Laupen, had dispersed not appear, since the distant period the enemies of the State. of 1414, that reform has given to

Arrived at the sacred field of batthe people many virtues in ex- tle, after having silently indulged change for their former credulity. those feelings which it must natuIncredulity is no rare thing at Berne, rally excite, they assemble round and profligacy is no less common. the venerable pastor, whose sacred Few strangers have visited this city mouth alone is thought worthy to and not convinced themselves of the recount the particulars of the gloritruth of these facts, in that quarter ous victory. His simple harangue of the town which is built upon the produces a profound impression npon borders of the Aar, where the baths his hearers; and when they hear, are situated. It is very remarkable, for the thousandth time, the details that Berne, which is equal in this which they learned in their infancy, respect to the most enlightened Ca- the emotion of every heart is painted pitals of Europe, produced, perhaps, on every face. The sword of Rothe first atheist. The author here dolph d'Erlach, carried by the chief recollects having read in the works of this illustrious house, was raised of the celebrated historian Muller, over the field of battle, that all eyes that one Loefeer, who, to use Muller's may behold the instrument of public own words, professed that opinion liberty; and the hand of the pastor which is called atheism, was burnt crowns it with laurels, in the midst in 1375, at the request of the official of the acclamations of the people, of the bishop. When he was con- and every one bows before the troducted to the place of execution, phy of Laupen. Why should these with all the ceremouy usual in such scenes give rise to painful as well as cases, My friend," said he to the tender emotions ? History records, executioner, " there is not wood with grief, that some time after the enongh ;” and he died with the same battle of Laupen, when the saviour indillérence. What more can the of Berne retired to his fields, like philosophers of the nineteenth cen- the Roman Consuls, enjoying the tury do, says the author, than the respect of his fellow-citizens, he was freethinkers of the fourteenth have assassinated by his son-in-law, with already done!

that very sword which was hung on The author terminates his in- the wall of his apartment; but the teresting account of Berne, by a stain imprinted on the steel is lost description of the fète celebrated on in the splendid renown which has the anniversary of the battle of Lau- for so many ages attended the fame pen, fought on the 25th of June, of the hero of Laupen. 1339. On the eve of the day, the “ It is by such fêtes," judiciously people assemble in a large field, and observes the author, “ celebrated in celebrate, with music and patriotic several parts of Switzerland, that songs, the annual return of this in- these wise Republicans formerly teresting festival. At the break of kept alive the sacred fire of paday, the whole multitude set off, triotism in the bosom of rising with the sound of instruments and generations ; it is by endeavouring

more and more to form such institu- upon the wrecks of their ancient tions, that their successors may pre- customs, the edifice of new liberties, vent the decay of public spirit. and who need only assist at their Happy the people," says he, with national fêtes to learn how to honor great sensibility, “ who can found, and cherish their country.”

EXTRACTS FROM THE SUICIDES.
Her blue lips quivered, and her restless eye
Was fired with desperation, but the beam,
The radiant beam of beauty, lingered there,
Like sun-shine on the desert ; o'er her cheek
The jetty tresses of her flowing hair
In loose disorder hung, or, lightly thrown
Across the snowy shoulder, careless lay
On that soft bosom's undulating swell,
Concealing not the loveliness it veiled.
With frenzied action and delirious mien,
She pointed to the clouds and thus began :-
« The Spirit of the Tempest stalks abroad,
Frowning destruction o'er the tortured globe,
Whilst Nature groans in sympathetic horror;
My brain is all on fire :--before my eyes
Appalling phantoms dance; shadows of hell,
That have no being, till the busy mind
Bodies them forth in colours all its own.
I search the gloom around, but they are there ;
1 gaza upon the sky, and they are there;
I close my eyes, and cannot shut them out,
For darkness is their element; the mass,
The solid mass, teens with the liquid spirits
That come and go, and will not be dispelled.
My soul is sick, and low, and languishing;
Waning in early spring,-darkened ere noon;
Exiled from hope,- the captive of despair.
Oh! for the shadows of eternal night,
To shut me out from being, life, and light,
To quench the fever of exhaustless thought,
That burns, but not consumes.”
Annihilation is the Atheist's heaven;
He seeks no joy beyond this dark terrene,
Where all is barren as the mountain's brow,
Topped with eternal snow; in vain for him
The gospel-promise and the gospel-curse
Allure, alarm. Existence is a boon,
To use it at his will, or cast away;
All weal or woe is undirected chance;
His creed, a blasphemy:-his bope, to rot.
He stops not bere (the poor deluded wretch :)
He stops not here, -drunk with iniquity
His daring mind arraigns Omnipotence;
Calls Inspiratior: an invented lie,
And, with delirious fury, madly cries,
“ There is no God!" Thought shudders, Mercy wceps;
E'en bold Impiety recoils aghast
At his apostacy. Say, Godless man!
Say, whence this wond'rous edifice, the globe ?
Say, who impels it througb the abyss of heaven?
Who guides it through the eternity of space?
Who bids the vernal zephyr shew his flowers
Upon the enchanted lap of smiling Spring;
Leads glowing Summer from the suo-scorched south;
Loads bounteous Autumn with the wonted store,
And draws chill Winter's dark and icy veil
Across dead Nature's countenance? Or, who
Breathes on the carth, and all is life again?

ON THE GENIUS OF SPENSER, AND THE SPENSERIAN

SCHOOL OF POETRY.

(Continued from page 341.)

In estimating therefore the rela- enable a writer to excel in subjects tive merits of any poet, we must which do not accord with the spirit never take into consideration whe- which he imbibes from his youthful ther he possesses the wit of Swift, studies, and therefore the pre-emithe humour of Smollet, the classical nence of every writer should be esticorrectness of Pope, the occasional mated by the degree of excellence, strength and energy of Dryden, the which he has attained in the partisublimity of Milton, the enthusiasm cular style and line of subjects which of Homer, the tenderness of Virgil, have exercised his pen, the courtly refinement of Horace, It may still be maintained, how. the judgment of Quintillian, the ever, that certain subjects or styles elegance of Politian, the fire and of poetry are more congenial to our rapidity of Ariosto, the simplicity feelings than others, and that the of Fontaine, the navietè of Bruyere, poets who write on such subjects the philosophy of Young, or the should rank before all others. What luxuriance of Rousseau. The ques- these subjects or styles are, I do tion to be considered in estimating not know, but so far as I do know, his poetic excellence is, not whether I have reason to believe that no he possesses all these qualities in a such styles or subjects are to be high degree, but whether he possess- found. What pleases one man, will es those particular qualities which please another, and another, though properly belong to the design and not all men; and it is evident, that spirit of his undertaking. To what

on whatever subject a person writes, purpose would we ask whether he it must be pleasing to him, for if it possessed the wit of Swift, if the were not, he would have chosen nature of his subject would not some other subject. Whatever law. suffer him to display it. Every

Every of our nature has rendered it pleaswriter imbibes a particular turn or ing to him, will render it equally so character of mind, from the nature to others, and accordingly we find of the studies to which he devotes many prefer the wit of Hudibras, to himself in his youth, while the feel- the philosophy of Blackmore. Every ings are, as I have already observed, style has its own class of admirers, susceptible of every impression. not that they are insensible to the This cast of mind can never be sup- beauties of other styles, but that planted by any subsequent studies, they do not find them so congenial because his feelings are not after- to their own taste and genius. When wards so pliant in yielding to im- one class, however, stands up and pressions of any kind. If he read maintains that the style and manner tender and pathetic works, they which they admire is superior to all attune his soul to congenial sympas others, and should consequently be thies, and he rejects ever after preferred to all others, they are only through life every thing harsh and exposing their ignorance at the very offensive to the feelings. The sen- moment they affect to be enlightensible plant is not more instantane- ing the world. Every style has its ously affected by the touch, than own charms for its own admirers : such a person is by coarseness and the feelings and emotions which it indelicacy; and, therefore, let cri- awakens in the breast, are those tics talk what they please about the which are most congenial to their versality or universality of genius, natural dispositions: other styles such a writer would not excel in excite other feelings in other minds, a subject which required wit and and the highest merit of any probroad humour, had nature endowed duction is, to call into existence those him with the collected intelligence identical sympathies and affections, of the human race. No genius will which the poet intended to create.

« ZurückWeiter »