Imatges de pàgina

The account of the successors of Charlemagne is also too diffuse, too much in the spirit of such German compilers as Müller and Schmidt, without a due and particular attention to Switzerland alone. In general, the modern literature of Germany, instead of deserving to be followed as a model, has always appeared to us to be merely on a par with that of England in the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries; so that, in works of taste and elegance, the writers of the former country may be safely pronounced to be about two centuries behind those of the latter. In the present instance the compilations are conducted with so little judgement, that, even in Mr. Naylor's abstracted account of Charlemagne and his successors, we were more than once tempted to imagine we were perusing a history of France, the proper and peculiar topics being completely abandoned. We shall, however, as a specimen of Mr. Naylor's manner of treating those remote periods, extract the following passage.

• 879. Much about the same period count Boson gave a still more fatal blow to the declining power of the Carlovingian race. Boson was highly endowed by nature with all those splendid qualities which captivate applause. His military exploits had raised him to a pre-eminent station among the heroes of his age. The generosity, or rather prodigality, of his disposition, had secured to him the affections of the people. His sister, the beautiful Richilda, was the avowed favorite of Charles the Bald, to whom some authors pretend that she was privately married. By her unbounded influence, Boson had successively been elevated to the first dignities of the state, and had obtained the hand of the princess Hermengarde, the only daughter of the emperor Lewis the Second. Such brilliant distinctions were, however, by no means sufficient to content the ambition of a man whose views expanded as his fortune rose. In his opinion, no. thing was done while any thing remained to be acquired. It is the remark of an ingenious writer, that men of common abilities wait for occasions, those of supcrior talents make them. The death of Lewis the Star.merer opened a new field to the enterprising spirit of Boson. He saw the possibility of obtaining an independent crown. His soul caught fire at the alluring prospect, and devoted every faculty to its attainment. In an age of superstition the influence of the clergy is unbounded. Happy would it have been for mankind had it always been exerted in the cause of virtue! But ambition is represented, by our great poet, as the sin by which angels fell. It was the passion to which Boson applied. He was by nature liberal; he now grew prosusc. Every thing that wore an ecclesiastical habit was secure of his bounty. Hermengarde too, on her part, was not inactive, but secorded the projects of her husband with the resistless logic of wit and beauty. Such arguments are seldorn ineflectual. Every eye was turucu tcwaida Boson, as the only person capable of filling the vacant throne. His virtues, his talents, his piety, all called him to it. Nos bles, clergy, people, were equally unanimous in his favor. A general 38 trbly was held at Viense, in Dauphiny, when the Burgundian

sceptre was publicly tendered to the aspiring duke. Boson had now obtained the object of his wishes, but prudence still directed his conduct. He played his part like an experienced politician; affected surprise at the unexpected offer ; pleaded inability to undertake the arduous charge ; and at length requested a delay of three days, before he gave his final answer, that in solitude and retirement he might consult the inclinations of Providence. Boson's scruples, as we may easily believe, were not of a nature to require much casuistry; nor were the prelates so little versed in the arts of a court as to be deficient in argument. The fiat of heaven was given by the unerring voice of episcopacy, and Boson declared to be the elect of God. The ceremony of his coronation immediately ensued. He received the crown from the hands of the archbishop of Lyons, amid the acclamations of an applauding multitude ; so that no title, either divine or human, seemed now wanting to consolidate his authority.

No sooner were the weak descendents of Charlemagne informed of what had happened, than they roused from their lethargic slumbers, preparing to inflict a signal vengeance upon the ungrateful rebel, whose rapid rise had been, in great measure, the work of their own creation. That their indignation was just it is impossible to deny, unless we admit the dangerous position, that talents confer the only true claim to greatness. But the corrupted minds of thes: degenerate princes were little calculated for any heroic exertions. Treachery was more congenial to their character ; and experience had taught them the efficacy of corruption. But, to their utter confusion, they soon discovered that there was a source of power more permanent than any which terror can convey, and of which they had never suspected the existence. They found that the monarch who reigos in the hearts of his people is secure against every attack. Disappointed, and foiled in their base attempts, they had recourse to a more honorable system, and flattered themselves to effect by open force what their perfidious designs had failed to accomplish. A coalition was in consequence formed between Lewis and Carloman (the joint successors of Lewis the Stammerer), and the emperor Charles le Gros. With their united forces they entered the Burgundian territory, and laid siege to Vienne. Boson had withdrawn from the first violence of the storm, to a place of security in the neighbouring mountains, leaving the defence of his capital to Hermengarde. The princess proved herself worthy the important trust. By her example she animated the timid; by her praises she encouraged the brave. The citizens co-operated with the soldiers. Their defence was obstinate. Toils and hardships were forgotten while beauty shared them and rewarded the sufferer with a smile. On the part of the assailants the siege was languid and ill-conducted. Lewis too, unaccustomed to any fatigues but those of pleasure, fell sick and died. This event was followed by a fresh incursion of the Normans upon the coasts of France. Carloman trembled for his capital, and, drawing off his army, marched against the invaders, having first concluded a hasty peace with Boson, whose daughter he had married. Thus the whole weight of the war fell at once upon the emperor, who, finding his forces too much weakened by the defection of his ally to leave bim any probability of success, immcdiatc ly began to negotiate. A treaty was in a short time concluded, upon condition that Boson should be left in tranquil possession of the Burgundian crown, provided he would consent to hold it as a fief of the empire.' Vol.i. P. 77.

When our author proceeds to lament the want of information concerning these periods, we are led to infer that he is unhapa pily a stranger to the exuberance of Francic chronicles. To write an exact history of Switzerland it was necessary to consult the grand collection of Bouquet; and, in our review of Mr. Planta's book, we have already recommended that of Goldastus. It is not a little surprising that both our author and Mr. Planta have nearly passed in silence the invasion of Switzerland by the Huns in the tenth century, though one of the most important and singular events in the ancient history of that country.

In p. 100 we at length arrive at the twelfth century through a mass of extraneous matter concerning the German emperors and the Burgundians; while the best form at this period would have been that of annals, merely indicating those events which relate to Switzerland, half of which was possessed by the Bure' gundians, and the other half by the Alemanni.

In his fourth chapter Mr. Naylor gives what he calls a view of society during the thirteenth century, but which is every way inferior to the trivial information adduced by Voltaire in his Histoire Générale. The observations are besides extended over Germany, instead of being confined to the country in question. If some literary judge had been consulted, he would doubtless have advised Mr. Naylor to have suppressed the first 148 pages, as not only trivial and uninstructive, but almost wholly extraneous.

After wading through this chaos of injudicious compilation, we at length arrive in Switzerland.

. At the accession of Rodolphus to the imperial throne, Helvetia was divided into a variety of little states. Among the most powerful of the independent barons were the counts of Toggenburg and Rapperswyl, who were masters of that remnant of the Thurgau which was unoccupied either by the bishop of Constance or the abbot of St. Gall. The canton of Zuric was subject to the potent fainilies of Kyburg and Thurgau, with the exception of the lordship of Regensberg, which reached to the very gates of Zuric, and a small districi belonging to the counts of Lensberg and the margrave of Baden. The towns of Arberg and Zofingen, with the whole western bank of the Aar, from Olten to Bibenstein, belonged to the counts of Froburg and Bucheck. In the canton of Bâle, the most considerable families were those of Thierstein and Homburg. The domain of the count of Rothenberg lay contiguous to the lake of Lucerne. Upon the extinction of the house of Zarengen, the principalities of Thun and Burgduif had devolved to the house of Kyburg. Among the mountains of Derne we discover the lords of Wiflisburg. The great possessions of the bonse of Neuchâtel had lately fallen between four collateral branches, viz. Neuchâtel, Arberg, Valendis, and Nidau. The town of Granson was subject to its respective lord. The dominions of the house of Savoy extended to the southern shore of the lake of Geneva, and from thence to St. Mauritius, while on the northern extremity it comprehended the whole country between Lausanne, Morat, and Iverdun. Even so far back as the eleventh century, this ambitious family had obtained a footing in one of the finest provinces of Transjurane Burgundy. Much about the same time the counts of Morienne had procured the investiture of the duchy of Chablais from the emperor Conrad the Second, in which grant both Vevais and Bomon were included. The inhabitants of the Lower Vallais, who were less indebted than their neighbours to nature for local strength, had likewise been rendered subject to the same jurisdiction.

• But formidable as this latter power appears, it was in reality far less so than that of the house of Hapsburg. From the remotest times that family had been in possession of the towns of Altenburg and Bruck, both places of considerable strength. Hapsburg itself was built in 1013 by Radpot, an ancestor of Rodolphus; Werner, bishop of Strasburg, who was his brother, having supplied the necessary funds. When finished, the wealthy prelate visited the castle, and, having examined it with an attentive eye, observed that the magnificence of the edifice by no means corresponded with the greatness of the expense. Radpot made no reply; but immediately called out his train of dependents, which had been greatly improved both in numbers and appearance by the bishop's liberality, and, pointing to them, exclaimed, “ It is not to the strength of our castles alone, but to the numbers and discipline of our followers, that we must look for the future glory of our family!”

« Notwithstanding the truth of this observation, which seems to have been treasured up as a leading principle to direct his posterity in the paths of ambition, it is nevertheless remarkable that the Austrian family has been more frequently indebted to alliances than to conquest for their immense acquisitions. The emperor Rodolphus inherited, in right of his mother, the counties of Lenzberg, Baden, and Kyburg, the town of Winterthur, with the landgraviates of Zug and Thurgau. The counts of Lauffenburg, a younger branch of the same house, possessed the towns of Seckingen, Waldshut, Lauffenburg, and Rheinfeld; while another, but more distant relative, had succeeded the counts of Kyburg in the principalities of Burgdorf and Thun,

• The chief authority in the Grisons (the ancient Rhætia) centered in the bishops and counts of Coire; the lords of Sargans and Werdenberg had also a considerable influence in that country

« The evident superiority of the houses of Hapsburg and Savoy over the rest of the Helvetic princes seemed clearly to indicate that the whole of Switzerland was ultimately destined either to be divided · between them, or to be swallowed up by the successful competitor, in case they should disagree in the partition of their prey. Hitherto, indeed, the attention of the latter had been particularly directed towards the plains of Lombardy ; while the former had entirely confined their views to northern or Germanic Helvetia; but the attain

ment of the imperial crown opened a wider field to the aspiring genius of Rodolphus, and taught him to aim at sublimer projects.' Vol. i. P. 149.

Some account is then given of Zurich, at that time the most considerable of the Helvetian cities, and of Berne, Basle, &c. In his fifth chapter Mr. Naylor begins his statement of the Helvetic revolution.

• No sooner was the emperor's death made public, than the prin. cipal inhabitants of Uri, Schweitz, and Unterwalden, assembled to renew their ancient bond by an oath, which was conceived nearly in the following terms. « Be it known to all the world, that we, the inhabitants of the valleys of Uri, and of the mountains of Unterwalden, together with the men of Schweitz, in consideration of the alarming prospect of affairs, have united ourselves by the closest ties; and do solemnly swear to assist each other, both with our fortunes and our lives, against every aggressor whatever. Such is the spirit of our league, and it is imprinted on our hearts. It was formerly the privilege of this country to be subject to the jurisdiction of no magistrate who was not a native of it, nor to any one who had purchased his employment. Among us, the decision of every dispute should be referred to the most prudent ; nor is any one at liberty to refuse the office. Our laws are simple. Whoever intentionally kills a fellowcreature shall be punished with death; and whoever attempts to screen the murderer from the hands of justice shall be banished. If any one sets fire to a house, he shall forfeit his right of citizenship, and the person who protects him shall make gcod the loss. The man who injures or robs another shall make ample compensation as far as his ability extends. Nor shall any one seise the property of another without the permission of a judge ; nor even then, except he is his debtor, or has been security for a debt. Every member of society is equally bound to obey the magistrates; and, in cases of resistance, all men are obliged to lend their aid to the civil power. If, in a private quarrel, one party shall refuse to accept of an adequate satisfaction, all the neighbours shall side with his adversary.--These laws are established for the common benefit of us all ; and, with the mercy of God, shall continue in force for ever*., Vol.i. P. 186.

To Mr. Naylor'; proposition, p. 191, that the liberties of a people are utterly annihilated from the very moment they submit to the most trifling act of oppression, we cannot assent; for if it were granted, freedom would be a mere philosopher's stonealways sought, but never acquired. Infinite prejudice has arisen to socicty from vague notions concerning political freedom; which, like some texts of Scripture, have been wrested in every

5* This declaration, bearing date in the inonth of August 1291, lay buried among the public archives till the year 1760, when it was discovered by the diligent Tschudi, and has since been published by Gleser in his Helvetiorum Funera.

" We have preierred preserving the rude and simple sivle of the original to the resneinents of modern language, as inore impressive and appropriate.'

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