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writer, then, looks for his public in the nation itself, which is uncontrolled, and over which the ton of the court, and of the fashionable world, can exert no influence. This nation or rather the several nations, who constitute the German public, contain a very great mass of information; or rather, what is the same thing, a very large number of enlightened and welleducated men. The German literati are consequently tried by their peers; they are tried severely indeed, but with sufficient equity, by a numerous public, who comprehend the spirit, and appreciate the nature of their labours."
"These literati, and this public, do not live, in great cities, and still less, heaped together in one capital, under the tyrannical yoke of a conventional taste, of fashionable opinions, and of a crowd which has no wish but to be amused, or interested. The German scholar is insulated from what is called the world; his public, as I have said, is spread over a vast territory;—from Berne to the gates of St. Petersburgh. He has, therefore, nothing to do with a local spirit, endued with the strength which is derived from great concentration. The multiplicity of the different countries in which he is read, does not allow of this. The local taste of one spot is neutralized by that of the rest; so that, on one hand, the public judges with a tolerably great share of liberality, and on the other, the savant enjoys the most perfect independence in his labours, and is entirely exempt from all influence foreign to his studies, or his meditations. Hence it results that of all others, the erudite writers of Germany are perhaps those, who have the most truly Classical tact, and who modernize least the antique.— Hence also the facility with which they possess themselves, of the spirit of nations and ages, so different from those which we see before us. Hence their real and solid success in antiquarian researches; in the interpretation and translation of the ancients, particularly of the Greek authors."
"There is, without doubt, another circumstance which has contributed, to the proficiency of the Germans, in the interpretation of the ancients; I mean, the obligation which the protestant countries of Germany conceive to rest upon them, of investigating thoroughly the sense of the Holy Scriptures;—-both of the Old and New Testament. The interpretation of the Hebrew books of the Bible, conducts those who devote themselves to it on a large scale, into the very sanctuary of oriental literature; as that of the Greek books, leads to an intimate acquaintance with the Greek and Roman world.—These studies when they become the favourite occupation of a nation, are powerful stimulants and auxiliaries, to those which are conversant about antiquity, languages, manners and history. These last again prompt to mythological researches, which now chiefly occupy a great number of the most profound men of Germany."
"The marked predilection of the Germans for religious studies has the additional effect, of determining in many cases the character of their productions. The philosopher bends his mind to theology; the historian selects for his pen the history of the church and of its divisions.—It is therefore that German literature abounds in excellent works on ecclesiastical subjects."
"I have said enough to afford an idea of the particular nature or physiognomy as it were, of the literary labours of the Germans. I should add, that, whether from the influence of the seclusion in which they live, or from an extraordinary, although natural elevation of mind, they generally love knowledge and truth, solely on account of the intrinsic value and beauty of these the great ends of their toil.—They study effect but very little, and readily sacrifice external impression to an ideal perfection,—a general advancement of the mind, which seems to be the idol of almost all of them,—which gives to their writings an eminently grave and mild cast."
"I should remark, in fine, that the general circumstance of the estrangement of the German literati, from the favour of courts, and the society of the great,—the more popular life, (if I may be allowed to use this term in an elevated sense,) which they lead, gives to German literature rather a republican, than a monarchical air. But ought not this to be the case? Does not the bond of the sciences which connects, as it were, all ages, countries and ranks, banish from the mental eye all social inequalities? Even the phrase, Republic of Letters, is so entirely consecrated by universal assent, that princes the most jealous of their power, have heard and repeated it without repugnance. In this erudite republic of Germany, no one place can possibly enjoy a preponderance over the rest; there can be no confederacy to outshine, or cast others into the shade; there is no point or centre where a body could be established, invested with an authority and lustre such, for instance, as inhere in the Institute of France."
"The four classes of the National Institute of Germany, are dispersed throughout the whole nation. The members of this Institute are to be found in the smallest schools of cities containing two thousand souls; in country parsonages; in universities, and private academies. You will find a celebrated scoliast inhabiting a country town; a great astronomer passing his life in a village. If something be thus lost as to what we call taste, for which, under such circumstances, there can be no fixed standard or common centre, much is gained on the score of freedom and originality of sentiment. Opinion is energetically opposed to opinion, school to school, and by this collision, unexpected light is frequently elicited.—If the celebrated Wolf suggests, at Halle or at Berlin, an idea concerning an ancient author, which appears too bold, an antagonist immediately springs up at Copenhagen, Gottingen, Frankfort, Meissen, &c.—The whole of this classical public takes part in the discussion, and encourages the disputants; a number of learned journals disseminate their arguments, and on every side new light is thrown on, the question, by anonymous essays from the ablest hands."
Travels in various Countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. By Edward Daniel Clarke, LL. D. Part the First. Russia, Tartary and Turkey.
We know not that we ever experienced, as literary gourmands, a severer disappointment, than in the perusal of Dr. Clarke's Travels in Russia, which have been recently reprinted in this country from the English edition. In England, long before the volume was published there, we heard the most sanguine predictions, with respect to the delight which it was to afford universally. We were then taught to believe, that Dr. Clarke was preparing a banquet for the public, which would gratify the most fastidious palate, and win over the most splenetic epicure. Before the work itself fell into our hands, we had read the accounts given of it, in the journals of Great Britain; particularly those of the Quarterly and Edinburgh Reviews—Our expectations were, indeed, somewhat abated, by the extracts with which we were furnished, and by the strictures of the Quarterly Review, which, however, although they detect many serious blemishes in Dr. Clarke, are, for the most part, in a strain of warm commendation.
In reading the critique of the Edinburgh Reviewers, we made every allowance, for the bias they were likely to receive, from the circumstance of their having, two years before, pledged themselves as it were, for the infallibility of their author, and from the perfect coincidence of his opinions, with those, which they had uniformly maintained, on the subject of Russia.—We were quite aware that they must strongly relish any bitterness of invective against the Russian government and nation, after what they had advanced concerning both, in their review of Rulhiere's History of Poland; and particularly after the promulgation of the following sentiment contained in their 28th Number. "Considering how little the Russian power has shown itself capable of effecting for the salvation of Europe—how wretched is the state of its subjects under the Russian government—how trifling an acquisition of strength the common enemy could expect to obtain, from the entire possession of its resources; we acknowledge that we should contemplate with great composure, any change which might lay the foundation of future improvement, and scatter theforces of France over the dominions of the Czars!!.'"*
* Review of Lord Sheffield, and others, on foreign affairs.
Notwithstanding our recollection, of the existence of such obstacles as these, to perfect impartiality on the part of the Edinburgh Reviewers, and the other discouraging circumstances we have mentioned, our hopes with regard to Dr. Clarke, were sustained, by the singularly positive tone, and affectionate tenor, of their panegyric, on this long ordained apostle of light. From our personal knowledge of the Scottish critics, and our intimate acquaintance with their writings, we did. not think that the feelings of party, or that preconceived opinions of any kind, would ever exert an influence over them, so strong and sinister, as to disarm, not only their usual severity, but their characteristic sagacity, and to betray them into such imposing encomiums as the following, on any but one, who possessed, at least an extraordinary share of merit.—They state " that all they had anticipated from the adventurous spirit and known abilities of Dr. Clarke has been fulfilled;"—that "in a long and laborious progress through countries little visited,or much misrepresented by others, he has observed carefully, and often wisely;"—"has plainly and sensibly related his adventures;"—" has given a fair transcript of the impressions made upon him by what he saw and heard;"— *4 that he is extremely free from the sins of affectation;"—that they have nothing to reprehend in his book " but a few venial oversights," and to crown all,—" that he certainly unites more of the qualifications essential to his difficult calling, as a traveller, and proceeds in the compilation of his journal, and the digestion of his narrative, upon far sounder views of the nature of his duties, than any one whose labours had come under their notice!"
We did not imagine that those who themselves, as critics, undoubtedly combine " more of the qualifications essential to their difficult calling, and sounder views of the nature of their duties," than any othersof our numerous fraternity, would have bestowed this " the highest meed of praise" for transcendent merit in any vocation, on an author not in some degree worthy of the boon; and have attached the most authoritative of recommendations to his writings, if these were not, in fact, finished patterns of scrupulous accuracy, and judicious composition. -We were unwilling to admit, the possibility of this unhallowed allotment of their favours in any case, and particularly in one, where the point at issue, is of such vast importance, as whether, not simply a few individuals, but a whole nation, consisting of thirty millions of inhabitants, and claiming a place in the ranks of civilization, is to be considered as scarcely entitled to the epithet of human, and as wallowing universally, in the