Page images
PDF
EPUB

Arabs; entertains us at one moment with an account of a Greek review, too technical perhaps for a civilian reader, but very interesting, no doubt, to his brother officers, and then dashes off with the steamer for Constantinople, to explore the bazaars, and watch the very decided preference of Turkish ladies for handsome shopmen. Nor must it be forgotten that the colonel is quite as much at home with his pencil as with his pen, of which we have many finished evidences in the volumes. To the reader who seeks only amusement, and looks for a cheerful and agreeable travelling companion, we can conscientiously recommend the colonel,

evidently been suppressed, and the public would have lost nothing if the rest of the memoirs had been treated in a similar way.

Varnhagen von Ense, by giving a preface to the book, becomes its sponsor to the public. This is a trick of which we have of late had frequent examples at home, though we doubt whether a dull volume can ever be rendered popular by introducing the name of a favourite author into the title-page. It is a piece of finesse that may succeed now and then, but its effect must he destroyed by frequent repetition, and the honesty of the device is at all times questionable.

ART. XVII.-Denkwürdigkeiten des Freiherrn
Achaz Ferdinand v. d. Asseburg. (Memoirs
of Baron von Asseburg, with a Preface by
VARNHAGEN VON ENSE.) Berlin. 1842.

THE memoirs of a man who has played a promi-
ment part upon the public stage are likely to be
of the highest interest, if he is disposed to be
communicative; but then his communications
must not be confined to trivial matters, while up
on all things of which the public is most desir-
ous of information he preserves a dignified si-
lence. The present work is compiled from
papers and documents left by Von Asseburg:
but the compiler, himself a diplomatist, has been
so ultra-discreet with respect to everything rela-
tive to public matters, particularly to the Rus-
sian government, that what remains might just
as well have remained among the other family
papers of the deceased. Who, for instance,
would feel disposed to pay the smallest fraction
of the price of the book, to be informed of the
genealogy of the house of Asseburg? Yet to
this mighty subject is the introductory part of the
work almost exclusively devoted.

ART. XVIII.-Frederick the Great, his Court and Times. Edited by THOMAS CAMPBELL, Esq. Vols. I. aud II. London: Colburn. 1842. "I SHOULD feel myself degraded," says Mr. Campbell, "to be the editor of any composition unlikely to be interesting or useful to the public. If such a production were condemned, the editor would have to bear the brunt and shame of its condemnation. It would not suffice for him to say, 'I am not the author of the work;' for the ready reply would be, No, but you are its sponsor.' True; and if I had any such fear about these volumes, I should never have made myself their sponsor."

Mr. Campbell then is not the author of these volumes, but he comes forward as the guide of public judgment. He is the sponsor to assure the world that this anonymous life of Frederick is a good book. He anticipates the office of the reviewer. He stamps his own name upon the coin, and expects it to pass current in the world on the strength of his credit.

This little artifice, already referred to in the foregoing article, is one that has been becoming more and more customary, both in England and on the continent, and has perhaps been attacked, both here and abroad, with more violence than so venial an offence can be said to merit. The name of a popular author on the title-page not as author but as editor, can scarcely make a bad book "go down," and it may sometimes call immediate attention to a work of merit, which would otherwise have made its way more slowly into public favour. Upon the permanent position of a book the popularity of an editor can exercise no influence; but to a bookseller, to whom quick returns are of importance, it may be of use to have a sponsor whose authority forces the public to pronounce immediate sentence upon a book that might otherwise have required years to creep into notice. The editor, in such a case, is like the friend who recom mends a new contributor to a popular periodical. The friend becomes the sponsor of the article offered, but he does not pledge himself to obtain its acceptance.

We are first introduced to the baron himself as a Danish general, in which character he was employed in Sweden, in 1755, in the honourable task of doing what he could to impede the regeneration of the Swedish monarchy. He was a witness of the abortive revolution of 1756, but none of the many letters here communicated throw any fresh light upon the history of that time. The negotiations relative to HolsteinGottorp led Asseburg first to Berlin, and afterwards to Russia, and subsequently, with the consent of the Danish government, he undertook to travel through Germany to select a wife for the Archduke Paul. He was fortunate enough to find what he was in quest of, in the person of a princess of the house of Hesse Darmstadt. Asseburg now entered avowedly into the diplo matic service of Russia, and for twenty-four years filled the office of Russian Ambassador to the German diet. Had a less reserved communication been made of his papers, much information might, no doubt, have been given respect- Still, after all that can be said for it, the artiing the intrigues of Russia to establish her influ- fice is one which ought to be discouraged; for ence in Germany; but if such papers existed it is an artifice, and is particularly dangerous to they have been withheld by the baron's literary the public favourite that lends himself to it. If executor. All that was worth publishing has the book is a good one, the author ought to have

the full merit of it, and his readers will all think energy of the nation, than the fiery zeal which they would have discovered its worth without has arisen of late years, and has led to so vast the interference of the sponsor; if the book is a an expenditure of ink and invective. bad one, the blame is all laid on the editor, and very deservedly.

The work before us is one of the countless multitude which the reanimated zeal of sectarian Having said thus much of a practice of which controversy has latterly called into life in Gerwe cannot exactly approve, any more than we many; but it is distinguished from the crowd of can join in the outcry that has been raised against its brethren, inasmuch as it is not only an eruit, it may not be amiss to say a word or two of dite, but moreover a sensible and entertaining the book to which Mr. Campbell has chosen to book. The author, a German, had been a destand godfather. We could have liked a more votee to rationalism at the university, but unlike comprehensive history of the "Times" of Frede- the majority of those who adopt the same opirick. They were bold and stirring times. All nions without any very patient inquiry into the Europe was in arms, and in almost every Euro- tenets they reject, he seems to have held it to pean state great questions were at issue. An be his duty on a matter of such importance, not historian could not have chosen a nobler theme. to take even infidelity upon trust. By dint of In France the great revolution was preparing. much study and patient investigation, he at In Spain a new dynasty was becoming familiar-length arrived at the conviction, that the dogized to the people. In England the ancient mas of the Lutheran church comprised the truroyal family were struggling to recover their los est, the purest, and most complete system of crown. In Germany the imperial dignity was Christianity. With these feelings he entered thrown down as the prize to be contended for the church, and accepted an appoin ment as And in the New World a new republic was preacher to a Lutheran congregation that had preparing to spring into life. The History of recently been formed at Brussels. In this posiFrederick, And his Times, in the hands of ano- tion he was of course brought into constant inther Robertson, might have furnished a national tercourse, and sometimes into collision, with the work equal to the Charles the Fifth, but the Roman Catholic and Reformed churches, as well author of the volumes now under consideration as with the various fractions of the latter, known appears to have had no such object in view. under the title of Independents, Baptists, &c. His aim has evidently been confined to a deli- Of all these denominations he here presents an neation of the court and camp of the Prussian amusing and life-like picture, and he speaks of monarch, of which he has furnished an amusing them all with quite as much impartiality as a and probably a correct picture. He has skil- man can be expected to do, who is not lukewarm fully combined into one narrative the numerous memoirs that bear upon the life of Frederick and Frederick's father; and has thus composed a very amusing book, replete with anecdote, and admirably illustrative of the courts of Germany in the early part of the last century. To the English public a large portion of the work must be entirely new, many of the letters of Frederick having been interwoven; and in the subsequent volumes, we may expect advantage to be taken of the documents which the commission appointed by the present King of Prussia is preparing for the press.

ART. XIX.-Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte der
Gegenwart. Ein Lebensbild der Deutschen,
Belgischen, und Holländischen Kirche. (Con-
tributions to the Ecclesiastical History of the
Present Day.) Von L. P. W. LUTKEMULLER.
Leipzig. 1842.

THE activity and enterprise of the reigning pope,
and the bold efforts which he has made to re-
cover the spiritual power wielded by some of
his predecessors, has had at least the good ef-
fect of destroying much of the religious indiffer-
ence which prevailed so generally over the con-
tinent, during the early part
of our century.
Protestants and Catholics do not live together in
Germany now in the same state of harmony in
which they lived fifteen or twenty years ago,
but it may be questioned whether the tranquil-
lity of stagnation into which religious sympathies
bad sunk, was not more dangerous to the moral

in the cause which he advocates. He presents a black picture, indeed, of the intrigues and machinations of the Jesuits and of the monkish faction in Belgium, but we are not prepared to say that his statements are not in substance true, though his colours may at times be overcharged. He is never betrayed into unseemly expressions towards those whose conduct he blames, and whose opinions he rejects; and the spirit of benevolence by which he seems to be animated, and which leads him often to look into the future with somewhat too sanguine a hope, is not the less deserving of our respect for the very rarity of that union of sectarian zeal with Christian charity which characterizes his writings.

Many of the leading events and questions of the day are discussed with an earnestness not unbecoming in a churchman, who has no fear of impairing the sanctity of his office by sympathizing with his fellow Christians in matters in which the temporal welfare of millions is more or less concerned. Thus the life and discipline of the students at the German universities are treated of in a manner that shows the author to be acquainted with his subject, and well able to make it attractive. The jubilee lately commemorated by the printers of Germany, the separation of the Lutherans in Prussia, the restric tions on the German press, the utility of foreign missions, and a variety of other questions of the day, are discussed in succession. The book is rendered particularly attractive by a personal description of many of the most eminent churchmen of Holland, whom even to the majority of his German readers the author has probably introduced for the first time, and who are doubtless still less known to the English public.

[ocr errors]

ART. XX.-Reise um die Erde, durch Nord object in educating our daughters, is simply to Asien und die beiden Oceane in den Jahren render them attractive during a short period that 1828, 1829, und 1830. Von ADOLF ERMAN. We may have a better chance of getting rid of Zweite Abtheilung; Physikalische Beobach- them, it is vain to point out the means that tungen. Zweiter Band: Inklinationen und In- might serve to the attainment of a very different tensitäten, &c. (A Journey round the World, end. through Northern Asia and the two Oceans.) Berlin. 1841.

In the mean time, as Mr. O'Connell tells his Repealers,

"Who would be free themselves must strike the blow; "

The cause of this "effect-defective" lies no doubt in the difficulty of providing for daughters otherwise than by marriage: in the want of luTHE present publication is a continuation of Pro- crative and honourable occupations correspondfessor Erman's account of the journey round the ing with what are called the liberal professions, world, on which, impelled solely by a love of to which women of refinement and cultivated science, he set out in 1828, and which he per- intellect, belonging to the middle and higher formed, almost wholly, at his own expense. classes, might devote themselves without any His object was to establish a series of magnetic fear of losing caste, or of incurring that "world's observations round the whole circle of our globe.¦dread laugh” declared to be so terrible even to With this view he joined the scientific expedi- philosophers, and which girls are carefully taught tion of Hansteen through Western Siberia, and to shun as the greatest possible evil. Hrrein we accompanied it as far as Irkutsk. The remain- firmly believe might be found the cure of the der of the journey was performed by Erman un- mercenary marriages, the frivolous lives, the assisted by any government or society. From wasted energies, the breaches of conjugal ties, the mouth of the Ob he travelled, by the way of and all the long train of evils on which so many Okhotsk, to Kamtshatka; thence by sea to the chapters of lamentations have been, are, and Russian colonies in America; and after visiting will continue to be written. California, Tahiti, and other places, he returned by the way of Cape Horn to St. Petersburg and Berlin. The first volume of the Professor's account of this journey was published in 1833, the third in 1838, and the fourth is now before us. The series of valuable observations made by lever that should operate so great and beneficial and whoever would set in motion the mighty Professor Erman during his journey, and of which the substance has for several years been a change must induce women to put their own known to the scientific world, are here explained is the one M. Aimé Martin has had in view; but hands to it. This excellent and important object more in detail. They are preceded by a minute he would perhaps have had a better chance of description of the instruments used, and of the attaining it, if he had indulged less in vague system of calculation adopted. The present declamation, and avoided that tone of sentivolume belongs altogether to the scientific por mental adulation more likely to offend than to tion of the work of which it forms a part; and should we attempt to lay an abstract of it before persuade the only women to whom he could address himself with any chance of success. our readers, we should only fatigue some of them by the dryness of the technology, while we mothers to undertake themselves the cultivation It is to be feared also that the injunction to should disappoint others by the incompleteness of our extracts. The scientific inquirer will be of what he calls the "faculties of the soul,” while they leave to others that of the intellect content with nothing less than the whole work ; the general reader would find little attraction in or "animal intelligence," will be rather difficult to work out in practice. tabular statements of the sort of declinations and inclinations, intensities and variations, to which the learned Professor Erman has devoted his life

and his fortune.

Morals and Religion cannot be taught like Greek and Mathematics, at certain hours set apart for the purpose; and, if a child pass the greater part of the day at school, his notion of morals and religion will be usually such as the school will supply. It may do very well for some purposes, to separate with metaphysical dissecting-knives the faculties of the intellect from those of the soul-although we do not profess to think M. Aimé Martin has always succeeded in the attempt; but education admits of THE subject of this book is one on which there is no such process; and, unless women are renderso much to be said that it can scarcely be unwel-ed capable of instructing the intellects of their come. That the bad education of women lies at children, it is idle to talk of confiding to them

ART. XXI.-The Educatian of Mothers of Families, or, the Civilisation of the Human Race by Women. By AIME MARTIN. Translated by EDWIN LEE, Esq.

the root of almost all that is unsound in the state of modern society,-that a thorough reform of this would include nearly all other reforms, might be satisfactorily proved without any great expenditure of time or labour. But "before all things," says a German writer, "if we would inquire our way, it is necessary to know where we wish to go to." It is an old observation that none are such bad seekers as those who have po wish to find-and as long as our real

the cultivation of the heart.

ART. XXII.-1 Novellen aus dem Süden. (Tales from the South.) Von ROB. HELLER. 2 Vols. Altenburg. 1842.

2. Waldteufel. (Wood Demons.) Von LADISLAUS TARNOWSKI. 3 Vols. Grünberg. 1842. 3. De Braha und Sein Schwerdt. Historischer

Roman aus dem Hussiten Kriege. (De Braha every work of fiction printed in England or and his Sword. A Historical Tale of the France is quickly brought out in a German dress. Hussite Wars.) In 2 Theilen. Von BERNH. It may be asked, are we great losers in conHESS. Hamburg, 1842. sequence of the non-translation of German 4. Leontin. Aus dem modernen Residenzleben. novels? To such a question our answer would (Leontin, or Life at a modern Capital.) Von in general be a decided negative; but it happens, JULIAN CHOWNITZ. 2 vols. Leipzig. 1842. unfortunately, that though we rarely translate 5. Schmetterlinge. Eine Neujahrsgabe für 1842. them we are perversely ingenious in our choice. (Butterflies. A New Year's Gift for 1842.) Among those whose titles we have here enuVon C. HERLOSSOHN. Leipzig. 1842. merated, are several that deserve a tolerable 6. Daguerrotypen aus Algier. (Daguerrotypes share of popularity. The first (Novellen aus from Algiers.) Von ADO. STRAHL. Vienna. dem Süden) consists of a series of eight tales il1842. lustrative of Oriental manners. The author, we suspect, has studied the East through the medium of books only, and practical Orientalists might discover more misconceptions than one; still he tells his story in an easy and graceful way, certain to recommend him to favour with the reader who asks only to be amused.

7. Rustan. Romantisches Gedicht in vier Gesangen. (Rustan, a Romantic Poem in Four Cantos.) Von LEVITSCHNIGG. Stuttgart. 1841. 8. Passifloren. Novellen und Erzählungen, von JUL. KREBS. Leipzig. 1842.

9. Novellen und Erzählungen. (Tales and Narratives.) Von DR. KARL TOEPFER. Hamburg. 1842.

Tarnowski's Waldteufel, or Wood-demons, are for the most part intended to illustrate the

10. Graf Saint Germain. Von PH. O. v. Mu-legends and traditions of Silesia; and most of ENCHHAUSEN. Göttingen. 1842. 11. Sommerblumensträusse, den holden Frauen gewidmet. (Summer Nosegays; Dedicated to the Fair.) Von L. RELLSTAB. 2 Vols. Leipzig. 1842.

12. Der Titanide. Novelle in zwei Theilen, von
KARL EITNER. 2 Vols. Breslau. 1842.
13. Die beiden Kaiser, oder Bildergallerie aus
dem Kriegsleben von 1812. Ein Cyclus Kriegs-
historischer Novellen, Novelletten, Romanzen,
Skizzen, und Schilderungen. (The Two Em-
perors; or a Picture Gallery from the Military
Events of 1812. A Series of Military Tales,
&c.) Von FREIMUND OHNESOrgen. 3d and
4th Vols. Paderborn. 1841.
14. Die Flüchtlinge. (The Fugitives.) Novelle,
von GEORG LAU. Hamburg. 1841.
15. Erzählungen und Novellen, von C. v.
WACHSMANN. Neue Folge. Leipzig. 1841.
16. Der Fishhändler von Neapel. Historische
Novelle aus der Mitte des 17ten Jahrhundert.
(The Fishdealer of Naples; a Historical Tale
of the Middle of the 17th Century.) Von FR.
LUBOJATZKY. Grimma. 1841.

17. Der Dualist. Roman, von IDA FRICK. 2
Vols. Leipzig. 1841.

18. Clementine, oder die Frommen und Altglaubigen unsrer Tage. (Clementine, or Modern Saints.) Von DR. KARL GOTTLIEB BRETTSCHNEIDER. Halle. 1841.

the tales, we believe, have already appeared in the periodicals of Germany. Witchcraft and devilry form, of course, the essential ingredients of the work, which its author thinks to recommend to our favour by gravely telling us, at the outset, that no man who believes in the existence of a God, can doubt that there are likewise ghosts and devils. Without stopping to discuss this position, we will content ourselves with assuring our readers that these Demons are not among the worst of their kind.

De Braha und Sein Schwerdt announces considerable power of invention in the author; nor does he show any deficiency of energy in his style, but he wants the requisite share of good taste to enable him to work his conceptions into an agreeable picture. The historical thread of his narrative is needlessly prolix, and his arguments at times bombastic, and often commonplace. Nevertheless, there is talent in the book, and the object kept in view is a good one. The scene is laid in Prague, in the year 1418, and the religious complications and civil wars arising out of the circumstances of the times, and particularly out of the insurrection of the Hussites, form the materials which go to the composition of the tale. The author endeavours to contrast the corruption of the Roman hierarchy, the insolent spirit of domination of the monks, and the boldness and cunning with which the dignitaries of the church sought to turn all the relations of private life to their individual profit, with the wild fanaticism of the simple-minded insurgents. The most prominent part is played by De Braha, the abbott of Wradimor, a man of quick parts and of great experience, but withal a heartless A GOODLY Collection of tales and novels, it must infidel, to whom the interests of the church are be owned; yet had we wished we might easily dear, only inasmuch as the clerical dignity affords have stretched it out to ten times its present him at once a convenient mantle for his crimes, length, without going farther back than 1841. and a means for the more easy gratification of The titles here given are, however, enough to his passion. The unmitigated villany of the abshow that the circulating libraries of Germany bot is redeemed by no single trait of humanity. are not more charily provided with this descrip- He is a disgusting ruffian whose atrocity detion of reading than those of our own happy prives him of every poetical interest, and makes land. Indeed the German novel-reader has one him better fitted for the Newgate Calendar, than material advantage over the English; in Eng- a prose epic. The second part is played by one land we seldom see a translation of a German Tshaki whose daughter has been dishonoured work of fiction, whereas in Germany almost and murdered. The real criminal, De Braha, in

19. Der Pappenheimer Kürassier. Scénen aus der Zeit des dreissigjährigen Krieges. (The Pappenheim Cuirassier. Scenes from the Thirty Years' War.) Von FRIEDRICH BARON DL LA MOTTE FOUQUE. Leipzig. 1842.

SOULIE. Paris. 1842.

geniously turns upon some of his own enemies ART. XXIII.-Les Prétendus. Par FERDERIC the vengeance of the abused falher, who thus becomes the sword," and a destructive one, in the hands of the dark-souled abbot. Tshaki is at length undeceived and De Braha perishes by his hand Into this history of murder and crime are interwoven a love story, and the melancholy fate of a nun whom De Braha had seduced from the shelter of her convent.

Leontin is intended for a picture of the manners of Vienna. The author has apparently chosen Paul de Kock for his model, but is quite unequal to the French novelist, not only in the delineation of character, and in richness of humour, but also in quickness and variety of invention. Julian Chownitz is trivial and superficial, and seems deficient even in a knowledge of the manners of the city which he attempts to describe.

The Schmetterlinge are no butterflies, but grubs, for they have attained the second stage of their existence. They are tales that have run their course through the pages of two popular periodicals, and are now palmed upon the novelreading public as "spick and span" new. The tales are three in number, and pretty enough in themselves.

Rustan is a metrical romance, but, though written in verse, is sufficiently prosaic to figure in the present list. All that is good in the poem has been stolen from others, but M. Levitschnigg has effectually secured himself against being robbed by those that will come after him.

To the Passifloren the same remarks will apply as to the Schmetterlinge.

MELCHIOR FREDERIC SOULIE may certainly be classed among the most productive writers of the day. Of his innumerable dramas and novels, many are, no doubt, even below mediocrity; yet there are scattered through others of his works thoughts not only striking but new; which, though often exaggerated, and not seldom false, entitle him to rank high among the writers of fiction of the modern French school. His success in France shows that he has rightly judged of the taste of his countrymen. His play of Clotilde, brought out in 1832, established him at once among the most popular French dramatists of his day, having been played, if we mistake not, more than a hundred nights in succession; and though his latter dramatic writings have not been successful to the same extent, they have been sufficiently so to maintain the reputation which the author of Clotilde acquired.

In the summer of 1840, Soulié undertook a journey to Baden, and through those parts of Germany that are watered by the Rhine; a river that seems made for the express purpose, as Lord Brougham has it, of "worsening" the wits of the poets and politicians of France. Soulie's observations on Germany found their place among the feuilletons of the "Journal des Débats," and were no doubt much admired by those of his readers who knew even less about the country and the people than the author of Germany and the Germans. On the right bank of the Rhine the traveller of the “Debats" was, for some time, the unintentional cause of much merriment, and most deservedly so.

Dr. Toepfer's tales are neatly told, and deserve general popularity. The doctor is one of the best German playwrights of the present day, and The tale before us is the last publication of his tales are interesting, if not very original. our author's at the time we are writing, though He is not always very scrupulous, indeed, of ap- we will scarcely undertake to say that a newer plying stolen goods to his own use. Where he novelty from so prolific a source may not have does steal, however, he steals with judgment, been ushered into the world before these pagesand seldom spoils the foreign ware while pre-pass into the hands of our readers. The Préparing it for the home market. The old Englishdramatists have been a rich mine to him. Passing over the intermediate works, whose mediocrity entitles them to no better notice, we come to the new series of tales just published by C. v. Wachsmann. They are eight in number, and in every way worthy of their predecessors. Full of invention, and, if not always within the strict bounds of probability, always at least entertaining.

tendus, like most of Soulié's earlier tales, presents a lively and correct picture of French manners among the higher classes. The style is easy and often sparkling, and the interest of the story is well sustained. Even an experienced novel reader would be at a loss, when within three or four pages of the close, to guess the dénouement. Unobjectionable, however, as may be the manner in which the subject has been treated, the subject itself is utterly revolting. A Der Fischhändler von Neapel is the best of young girl, who marries a rich youth, in whom the various novels that have been founded on a tendency to epilepsy has shown itself, and who the story of Massaniello. The author gives an does so with a predetermination to aggravate excellent picture of Italian, and particularly of her husband's malady, that she may, at no disNeapolitan, manners, and has placed the ducas tant period, become a widow, and bestow her of Naples and the hidalgos of Spain in admira- hand and fortune upon a poor but favoured lover; ble contrast. The historical part of the book is a wife who through a series of years follows up excellent, but the fiction woven into it may admit of censure. There was little judgment in making the great revolution of the three days originate in a love affair of the vice-queen, instead of allowing the movement to develope itself more naturally from the oppression under which the people groaned.

her fiendish purpose with unwearied perseverance, and who, while to the world she wears the mask of saint-like purity, makes her husband's house the scene of her licentiousness;form a subject so disgusting that we feel assured most readers would fling the book from them with indignation, were the plot not veiled with such art, that the extent of the heroine's atrocity remains unsuspected till we arrive at the concluding chapters, where the discovery of de

« PreviousContinue »