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thank him, I begged he would spare seized him, he resigned himself por me with titles, which are like horns, tiently, bearing the pain with as much and I never wished to exchange for fortitude as he could. He took no them
right of creeping through a means of curing or relieving them. hedge."
In the beginning of 1794 he caught a Mr De Behr answered, " The opic cold, which was soon followed by nion I have always entertained of your such cramps. He laid himself in bed, noble manner of thinking, honourable believing they would soon pass, but a Sir, was confirmed by your letter of death sweat came on, and he perceivthis month. I beg you will look on ed his end was approaching. Then what the King, in the name of the alluding to his struggles and his paBishop, has given you, not as an en- tience, he said, “I have lost my cause.” couragement to greater labours for the He gave some directions relative to public, but as a token of the good will his worldly affairs, thanked his only borne towards you. As to the title, and his affectionate daughter for her
you, that it is a matter tender cares, said he was tired and of great indifference to a meritorious desired to sleep, and so sank gently, man, but as far as regards it, you will as he had lived, into the arms of always have liberty to please yourself. death. This event took place on the At the same time, it gave me pleasure 8th of January 1794. His funeral to find my knowledge of your opi- was solemn and even splendid, from nions more correct than that of Mr the vast concourse of people of every R. R. de B. It is well for any coun- description who followed unbidden to try, when the places of distinction in his grave. it are conferred according as indivi Moser was considerably above the duals have promoted the public wel- middle stature, and his father was fare."
long afraid to send him to a UniverIn this respectable and dignified sity, because Frederick William, the situation, Mæser passed the remainder First of Prussia, believed he had a diof his life. He resided constantly at yine right to incorporate every youth Osnabrück, but visited Pyrmont an- above five feet eight inches with his nually, for the sake of there meeting grenadiers. He was proportionately some literary friends. His occupa- stout and well made, enjoying, through tions, either as an advocate or states, the greater part of his life, that free man, were at all times numerous, and and pleasant use of all his bodily fahe was accustomed to perform all his culties which contributes so essenduties without the assistance of a de- tially to a cheerful, healthy mind. puty.
The small and unimportaut His countenance was open and dignicountry over which his official influe fied, inviting confidence, and strongly ence extended, could not make him expressive of his unassuming merits. known to the world as a statesman. Seriousness was united with kindness Osnabrück is only an appendage to in his whole deportment; he seldom Hanover, which is of itself only known laughed, but a cheerful smile like that from its connection with England. which Homer has made characteristic Mæser might have shared that ne- of his gods, played for ever on his glect with which many of the mini- countenance. He was sincere, patristers of the petty sovereigns of Ger- otic, hospitable, kind, and friendly, many, who, however, perform their ready to promote any good work, but parts ably, are suffered to pass to the inflexible in his opposition to evil. grave, had not his talents as an author in his youth he had deserted from redeemed his name from obscurity. school, and had been relieved, when It was during this dignified and oc- at a distance from home, by the chacupied period of his life that most of rity of a stranger. From this circumhis works were written. But to them stance, he had adopted a resolution we shall hereafter refer, when all the never to refuse alms when asked of particulars of his life have been stated. him, and was frequently seen at
Mæser had long been afflicted with Pyrmont surrounded with beggars, to cramps, which he supposed, according each of whom he gave, like some to a particular theory he had formed, ancient and benevolent Abbot, some were violent but benevolent exertions trifle and a friendly salutation. In of nature to restore the equilibrium company he rather excited others to of the nervous system. When they converse, than engrossed the whole
conversation himself, taking occasion earliest inhabitants of North and to bring forth every body to the best South Germany. Those of the south advantage. Yet he was never reser were united under military leaders; ved or unsocial, but always ready to those of the north dwelt in isolated take a part in whatever society he houses, were independent of every might be thrown. He was free from thing like rulers, and met as equal and pride and vanity, and conversed there. free men when any thing was to be fore only for pleasure or instruction, resolved on for the common good. and not to exult in a victory over an The situation of Mæser led him to opponent, or to triumph in a display consider the subject of property most of pedantic knowledge. He was hap- frequently: the whole work was at py in his domestic circle, blessed with first only written for his own use, and a partner adorned with every female it is not, therefore, surprising, that it virtue. Her death, in 1787, appeared should have assumed a form more only to give his daughter an oppor. welcome to jurisconsults and statestunity of shewing her love; during men, than to general readers. Mæser the rest of his life she was devoted only brought the history down to the entirely to him. His only son died thirteenth century, and it was then at Göttingen at the age of twenty. undoubtedly the best work on the Thus beloved by relations, friends, early inhabitants of the North of Gerand dependents, honoured by his su- many. It excited a desire amongst periors, respected by his immediate his countrymen to pry into the subneighbours, and admired as an author ject more narrowly, and though later by the greater part of his country, and more extensive researches have men, Moser passed a quiet, dignified, thrown a clearer light on the matter, and happy life. Amongst the Ger- and a more agreeable manner of demans he is a singular instance of a scribing it, has given molern histoliterary man, with a strong, plain, un- rians a great advantage over Mæser, sophisticated understanding, directing yet his work is still much read, and his efforts to promote useful know- will always be looked on and referred ledge. He resembled his country- to as an admirable guide. men, however, in his kindly affec A second volume contains his mistions, and in his gentle accommodat- cellaneous works, in which he has ing spirit; and when they are in ge- treated in a happy, sometimes serious, neral accused of admiring too fondly sometimes comic manner, a great vawhatever is visionary, we must here riety of subjects. Among them we record to their honour, that they have shall only particularise his tale of the long respected and esteemed the calm Poor Freeman, and his Essay on the and wise Justus Maser.
German Language and Literature. We have hitherto confined our at. The former was written to ridicule tention to Moser as a man; we now the indecent haste with which the come to speak of him as an author. French began to abolish all their anHis works were collected and pub- cient institutions, and appears quite lished by his friend and biographer, equal to the novels of Voltaire, but. Nicolai, in 1798. They consist of written with a greater respect for truth. eight parts, bound up into fonr thick The latter was an answer to the celeoctavo volumes, of between 700 and brated letter of Frederick the Great, 800 pages each. The first volume on the literature of Germany, and was contains what Mæser modestly called considered as the best of the numeran Introduction to the History of Os- ous productions to which that gave nabrück. It was first published in rise. We shall quote a passage or two 1765, and is considered as having of this, because Næser appears to have made an epoch in the manner of writ- judged very correctly, both the growing history in Germany. Before then, ing literature and language of his it was only a chronicle of kings and country. battles. Mæser wrote a History of
“ Sublime feelings,” he says,
which Property, of the changes it had un
are the parents of every noble expression, dergone, and of the corresponding al
can only be produced by great events. teration in the manners of his country- Danger makes heroes, and the ocean makes men. He first noticed, so as to make bold men of those who would have been it useful for the purposes of history, the cowards on land. The mind demands difgreat political distinction between the ficulties to conquer before it evinces its own
extraordinary powers, where there are no guage is the only one which, like the difficulties, revenge, love, and honour, and ple, shuns nothing, but grasps at every other noble emotions, do not deviate from thing, and will not, out of excessive chastheir ordinary sphere, and man remains tity, become consumptive. It is the only that common animal which in every day life language of Europe which is spoken by we wish him to be. Such occasions, in the people at the same time that it is writ. which great difficulties are to be conquered, ten. It stands fast in its own nourishing do not occur to us Germans. The state, soil; while our written language is gather. under the protection of a standing army, ed as it were from its native spot, and now pursues its steady march with a machine. withers and dries. Written languages are like pace. We seek honour in service or merely conventional signs of courts or of in learning, and know nothing of the learned men, and the German which we higher aims to which service and learning use is as little the dialect of Meissen as of ought to be subservient. Our fair ones are Frankfort. It is a selection of expressions rather attached to common than heroic necessary for our books. As new truths feelings. The custom of duelling, which are inserted in them it extends itself, and is fortunately yet preserved, reconciles ene that it is richer now than it was in the time mies, and prevents the lust to murder of Gottschied, is a certain proof that more which revenge inspires. Or if an occur. truths have entered into the common cirrence important to mankind happens, it culation of the learned.” does not interest us so powerfully as it would other nations. The history of the
There can be no doubt that many miller Arnold would have set all the par. of the defects of German literature å liaments of France and all the parties of rose from the written and spoken lanEngland in commotion. But in Germany guages being different. Since then, it has only been spoken of as an agreeable however, so many of the words of novelty. No man has sounded the alarm conversation have been taken into of danger to be apprehended to the state, writing, and the written language from the cabinet deciding the processes has, in its turn, become so generalwhich arise among subjects; and no flatterer has ventured to say the King has once
ly adopted in conversation, except ahurled his thunder in his wrath, and in mongst the lower classes, that this altering the administration of justice, shat.
cause is fast disappearing. There are tered a rock, and laid bare a mine of gold.” many excellent papers in Moser's mis
cellaneous writings which we pass Mæser is a steady advocate for the over, because want of space does not Germans follo their own modes allow us to do justice to them. of thinking, and avoiding a servile The two other volumes contain the imitation of the French, or Italian, most celebrated work of Mæser. It or classical authors. He liked Eng- is called Patriotische Phantasieen, lish better than French literature, (Patriotical Fancies,) and is a collecbut above every thing recommended tion of papers which were published the Germans not to fetcer themselves somewhat in imitation of the British with any system. In the few obser- Essayists, weekly at Osnabrück. For vations already quoted, he seems to sixteen years, from 1766 to 1782, Mæus to have selected the chief cause of ser was editor of the Osnabrückischen the want of national energy in Ger- Intelligenzblatter, and in this journal man literature. In the few which he published an article weekly on a follow he has remarked a conspicuous great variety of subjects. His princidifference between the German and pal object was to make his countryEnglish languages, which, at present, men acquainted with the constitution owing to the very rapid cultivation of and laws of their country, and to prothe German, and the extension of cure a readier acceptance for acknoweducation, is much less than when he ledged truths, by clothing them in 3 wrote.
pleasant garment. He had it further “ Now, a few words on our language better taste among all classes. The
in view to promote frugality, and a which the king regards as so inferior to the best of these papers were afterwards French, reproaching it both as poor and selected by his daughter, and presentharsh. Although much improved since the days of Gottsched, it is, 1 admit, yet ed to the world in their present form. poor, but this is a fault of all written lan- The range of subjects which Moser guages, and above all of the French ; which embraced was much more comprehenis so polished and purified, that you can. sive than that of the British Essayists. not express a masculine idea in it, without As early as 1773 he was the enlightoffending its propriety. The English lan, ened advocate of a free trade in corn.
His observations on the causes of the ter, and not regard the lying invoices of decay of the commerce of Germany, the carriers, as if they were pure truth?' particularly of the Hanse Towns, are “« Yes, Sir; but people must live ;still referred to as good authority. and, according to the proverb?No man more closely examined than
6. No but, if you please, friend, and, he did the origin of the personal ser
above all, no proverbs, even if they are tavitude of the peasantry, and the conse
ken from this year's calendar. I hate them quences to which it led. But these and know, from experience, they are of no va
worse than attornies' quibbles, and you many other papers on similar weighty lue in paying tolls.' subjects, are not those which are read 66 • Just as you please, Sir. I only say, with most pleasure. There are a if he opens his cyes, the carriers close their thousand little tales, and histories, purses, and the man cannot live on his and observations, all tending to a mo
hundred thalers a-year.' ral end, which are told in a manner
6 What, again? I am afraid you do that would not disgrace Addison. not know what living is, John. It is We shall quote two of the shortest not to live which is difficult
, but to live
after a certain manner. specimens we have met with, but
The prince comquite unable to give them the naivété plains he cannot live-the field-marshal they have in the original.
cannot live-the minister, the toll-clerk,
cannot live-and perhaps you cannot live “ Rules are always valuable.
on the ten thalers I give you yearly. Every
man concludes, that, because he cannot live “ At the end of a certain village in after a certain manner, he must be a chcat. Westphalia, a high post stretching put an
If I were to promote you to be toll-clerk, iron hand had pointed out for many years
you also would not be able to live.' the best road to the city. A rope-dancer have a better opportunity of exercising my
" • Perhaps not, Sir ; but I should then once met the village bailiff near this post, and asked him what had persuaded him to senses than at present. If I should only direct all travellers the same road ?--if close my eyes once a day, I should be betevery person was not at liberty to choose ter off than I am in your honour's service, his own ?-and if he could affirm that though I keep them open night and day. there were any such thing as right roads ? To be sure, one must live like others; if He (the rope-dancer) could not only reach
the superintendent's wife has a silk gown, the city quicker by jumping over helges my beloved must have a lustre.! and ditches, but every body would gape at
" • I should think, friend John, though him with wonder. "Our post, said the Mrs Superintendent lights the candle at bailiff, only points out the most common,
both endis, your wife may still be reason. the safest, and the most level road, and
able enough to cut her coat according to bet for it, nobody would know how much her cloth. But, if you are wise, you will shorter another might be found.
not marry yet. The women bring the men “ In the mean time, a young man came
to Bridewell, and you may easily go there, gallopping up on a fiery horse, and, leap
should you close your eyes too often.' ing over every obstacle, pursucd a straight
"6" When the King, your honour, gives Burse to the city. "See,' said the bailiff,
a man a place, he gives him also a salary this youth will make shorter work of it that enables him to live. Justice and the than you, and will cause as much astonishi King's own interest demand this; for wlio. ment. What would you think if we were
ever does not pay well is ill served.' to place the finger-post so as to direct every
"• Enough, enough. Your brother is body to follow him?
sexton, and rings the bell three times a6. You are a simpleton,' answered the
week. This is an office, and I suppose he rope-dancer ; you would break a good also must live by his salary. It is right many necks if you did.'-- Even so,' saici
that servants who devote all the hours of the bailiff ; * and we therefore point out a
the day, and many of the night, to their safe and sure road to travellers, without masters, should be supported according to troubling ourselves about that which may
their condition ; but it would be intolerable be taken by rope-dancers and fearless horse if the shoemaker who makes a dozen pairs men.' A philosopher, who had listened to of shoes yearly for one person should exthe conversation, observed, that common
pect to live by them. However, you may roads or rules are always necessary, though go to the toll-clerk, and tell him the King men of genius do not follow them.” is pleased to dispense with his services, and
to appoint you in his place.' “ John could not live, an every-day
" Who was now happier than John ? He was toll-clerk, but soon found he could
not live. He married his lady's maid, but « « Did you tell the toll-clerk at the he was now less able to live. He shut his gate, John, that he must open his eyes bet. eyes twice a-day, and still could not pay
for all the shawls and lustres of his wife. wrote, were little known to his counShe was unfaithful to him, but even that trymen. His style is clear, animated, did not enable her to live. They were and unencumbered, rich in Germanboth at length sent to Bridewell, and now isms, and quite free from that affectthey can live.”
ed etymological purity of phrascology Many other pieces, though they which distinguishes the writings of would furnish us more favourable spe- living German authors, and renders cimens, are too long to be quoted;- them difficult to be understood by and these may, probably, suffice to those who acquired the German langive the reacler an idea of the writings guage a quarter of a century ago. We of Mæser. Although there is some are of those who think the Germans thing in their homeliness and bon- do not improve in prose writing. hommie which appcars peculiarly Ger- When we turn back to the plain and man, yet there may be traced in most energetic style of the period at which of them a partiality to our authors, Mæser lived, and compare it with the and very often imitations of them. crazy, involuted writings of the preSome of the pieces are, indeed, trans- sent day, we grieve to think that they lations from our essayists. We will are constantly straying still further not argue the question, which of all from that beautiful simplicity which the nations of Europe has had the is the crown of good writing. Mæser most influence on modern literature; had not a lofty, but an equal and combut every Briton may be delighted to prehensive mind. He made no discosee his countrymen leading the way in veries, and invented no hypotheses; almost every branch of useful know- but contented himself with enforcing ledge. It was the fate of the Greeks, known truths. His course was stealy whileliving, but conquered, togivelaws and equal, shedding a pure and brilto the taste of Rome. Rome herself had liant light till his death. He labourdisappeared as an empire before her ed—as, perhaps, all wise men ought productions were adopted by admir- —to dispense instruction to his iming posterity. Italy and France have, mediate neighbours, convinced, appain their turn, enjoyed the honour of rently, that those precepts are most being imitated by less cultivated na- effectual which are supported by extions ;-but, at present, it seems as if ample. He wrote more for his counBritain is the instructress of the world trymen than for the world, which, in the art of writing as well as of go- perhaps, is the reason why his fame verning. Even France has not dis- has scarcely extended beyond Gerdained to borrow from us. Nearly many. He effected no revolution in all the additions she has made to her what is miscalled philosophy, because tragic drama, in modern times, have he never advocated any absurd theory. been taken from Shakespeare, though He founded no sect, and excited no his spreading natural oaks have been parties to a war of words, by soundclipped like a garden yew to fit them ing any of the numerous trumpets of to the French stage. The influence mysticism ; but he enlarged the knowof our national productions is, per- ledge and the enjoyments of his gratehaps, more conspicuous in modern ful countrymen. If we may judge German literature than in any other; from the reputation which some of and, extending over the world, ought his contemporaries—the authors of to be more gratifying to the self-love useless theories—have acquired, it of Britons than the most splendid tri- would have been wise in Maser, had umph of our arms. A history of our he been desirous of fame, to have wars may soothe our pride, but it propagated some new system. For must ever excite mingled sensations of the world—or, at least, for the learnregret and exultation : but a history ed world, which bestows literary hoof the influence we have exerted on the nour-such doctrines have a greater mind of Europe would pour on the charm than the rational and useful reader one unmingled stream of satis- writings of Mæser. Abounding in faction.
good sense, and quite free from that Moser is distinguished for a great affectation of French phrases which deal of patient research-for an acute may be observed in the comedies of lively manner of setting forth his opi- Iffland, and in the writings of other nions, and a plain fearlessness in ex- contemporaries of Mæser; and free alpressing them--which, at the time he so from that affectation of purity,