Imatges de pàgina

Indeed, all things here, as far as they exist, appear precisely as they were seventeen centuries since; the pavements, bearing the traces even of a higher antiquity ; the apartments, inhabited by such distant generations; the forums, where they sauntered away their leisure hours ; and the temples, where they worshipped their gods. The eating and waste of time can no where be seen. We are surrounded with ruin and desolation, but it is the work of a moment, and not the slow decay of ages. Pompeii looks now, just as it would have done, if it had been dug up immediately after its destruction."

The person who can contemplate a spectacle so curious and singular, so calculated to affect him by the recollections it calls up, and not feel and think as he never did before, must have a degree of apathy only equalled by his stupidity. We could not ramble through the silent and deserted streets of this ancient city without thoughtfulness and emotion. But there is undoubtedly a great deal of affected sensibility in many who visit this place, and, in their descriptions, they represent it with the effect of enchantment. Madame de Stael remarks, that “ while standing at the intersection of the streets, from which you can see the city on all sides still subsisting almost entire, you are expecting to meet the inhabitants ; and that such an appearance of life makes us feel more sadly its eternal silence.” Eustace “ entered the houses almost with the feeling of an intruder; he startled at the least sound, as if the proprietor were coming out of the back apartments; and was afraid of turning a corner, lest he should, jostle a passenger.” Sass, a traveller of an humbler name, presumes, on this account, to be more ridiculous. “ In alighting, he was introduced into what appeared a fairy city, whose inhabitants, by some charm, had disappeared. With breathless impatience and light steps, as if fearful of disturbing the genii of the place, he tripped over the ground, and gave himself up to the ecstatic feeling" wbich this magic scene produced. Nothing can be more idle. and extravagant. Whatever may be the wildness of fancy or warmth of feeling, the illusion is impossible. There is not one entire house, not one temple with a roof, not one basilica, portico, or forum, that has any thing left but shattered walls and naked pillars. The whole city looks as if the upper part had been swept off by a conflagration that was instantaneously extinguished. The rooms of the first story are all that remain ; many of these are half filled with sand ; and all are open to the sky, excepting a few that are sheltered by a modern roof.

I confesss therefore that these day-dreams of travellers, which had surprised and amused me so much in description, only led to disappointment on the spot ; and I could no more imagine this collection of ruins to be an inhabited, or even a deserted city, than I could ex. pect to find the living among the dark and mouldering monuments of the dead.'

With this long quotation we close our extracts: We are confident that to most of our readers its interest, which we conceive

ler we my him to be an ac in one of two extreo tr

to be greatly heightened by its simplicity and truth, will excase its length.

We do not say that Mr. Berrian is exactly the kind of traveller we most want. His simplicity of life and character, perhaps, disqualify him to be an accurate observer of men. Christians in this respect are generally in one of two extremes. Their tender consciences dispose them, on the one hand, to try all novelties by too severe a touchstone; or on the other, their charity inclines them to think all men as good as themselves. Theologically speaking, this latter conclusion is far from wrong; but it is a great mistake for him who wishes to understand the things of this world. When we say Christians, of course we mean it in its real sense, and do not use the term after the manner of the guide at Saintes. The style of our author is good. It is as free from national faults as any book of the kind with which we are acquainted; perhaps in this respect it is the best written book of travels America has produced. There are a few pages at the close of the book, in which the author has done, innocently enough we dare say, manifest injustice to his readers or himself: we mean his conclusion. Now the printing and paper of this flighty conclusion cost money. If we pay for it, we ask for what it is we pay; and if he pays for it, he will excuse us if we tell him, it is money thrown away. The exhibition is not half so pleasant as one of a showman, who, as he places his pictures before us, sings, in a monotonous tone, here you see the splendid palace of the renowned emperor of China; and here you see St. Paul's church in London, or (as our author may like it better) St. Peter's in Rome. The transitions are equally rapid, and the picture man does show you something.

We are glad Mr. Berrian has written. The book does credit both to his feelings and his intellect, and is every way superior to some more pompously announced works that have lately been issued from our presses. It does credit to his intellect, for it shows a mind evidently alive to all the enthusiasm engendered by the love of classic lore, but restrained within the bounds of sobriety and discretion. If it does not give us Italy as Italy is, it gives us as fair a picture of what Italy was, as can be drawn from the vestiges which remain : And it is valuable for those few sketches of passing life which are recorded, for they are stamped with the seal of truth-an authentication which travellers are proverbially said to want. It does credit to his feelings, for it shows a Christian minister, exhibiting in a land of superstition and denunciation, a just charity for the failings of others. A vein of unaffected piety breathes through the volume, which gives us unalloyed satisfaction. It is an unusual accompaniment to a tra

veller. When we know it to be supported by a consistent life, it gives additional authority to what he utters. Silliman is also conspicuous for this, especially in his first book. In both these gentlemen it is perfectly unobtrusive and unoffending. There is perhaps one passage in the volume before us, solely of feeling, that had better been omitted. The object of the author was doubtless to commemorate the virtues of a departed friend. He has done it-and, we acknowledge, in very handsome languagebut the reader looks more at the author than at the friend. We can overlook the mistake in taste for the motive—but a mistake we do think it to be. Has not the author been influenced by the popularity that has attended a similar style of writing, in a distinguished countryman of ours now abroad? We will here take occasion to say that the exhibition to the world of this kind of sentimental feeling is far from an evidence of possessing it—that deep and heartfelt emotions seek the cloister and not the arena. Besides, there is a better and more important criterion, by which to judge and to which to refer all human feelings, than sentimentIt is at the best but a sickly companion and one of which we soon tire.

In taking our leave of the reverend gentleman, we congratulate him on his restoration to health, and thank him for the labours of his pen, and hope he will yet find time to gather together the disjointed particles of his fairy passage through England, Scotland, and Flanders—that he will tell us what he saw; and we doubt not he will tell it truly and well.

Art. IV. Europe after the Congress of Aix La Chapelle, form

ing the sequel to the Congress of Vienna. By M. De Pradt, formerly Archbishop of Mecklin, Paris, 1819. Translated with Notes, by George Alexander Otis. Philadelphia, 1820.

M. De Pradt commences his view of Europe from the treaty of 1818, concluded after the evacuation of France by the allied forces—preceding it with a sketch of the relative strength and importance of the different powers of the continent, and of the influence that each may be enabled to exert in the preservation of that great political balance by which the future peace of Europe is to be maintained and secured.

Our author, “ considering the drama of 1815 as concluded,” enters into an explanation of what is then to follow, and thus, generally, divides his subject.

"1. What is the political state of Europe at the existing epoch, Vol. II.


which may be considered as the conclusion of the order introduced by the revolution.

2. To compare the order of the present time with that by which it has been preceded.

3. To indicate the tendency of the spirit of the present policy of Europe.

4. To designate the moral dispositions of the different nations of Europe. . 5. To anticipate the questions of general interest that may be expected to arise.

M. De Pradt is occasionally profound in his reflections, usually sound in his views, and generally correct in his delineations, and proves that he possesses not only extensive information on the subject he is engaged in, but a very considerable as well as accurate knowledge of its varied detail. His style is abrupt and frequently obscure ; remarkable neither for perspicuity nor precision: We fear also he appears to greater disadvantage through the medium of a foreign language. The translator informs us in his notice that, “ as a Frenchman, it will excite no surprise if Mr. De Pradt should speak our language with a foreign accent, but his views at least will not be found provincial.” This explanation, although ambiguous, is unfortunately but too correct, for, as a Frenchman, Mr. De Pradt could only speak in the idiom of his native tongue, and this idiom is so strikingly preserved by Mr. Otis throughout the translation, that we fear a portion of the obscurity we complain of, is attributable to the inattention of the translator ; but in a work of this description, the matter is the thing essential, and the interest of the subject is equal to its importance.

One of his principal objects appears to be to awaken a proper solicitude in regard to the alarming power of Russia, on the one hand ; and to expose the danger to be apprehended from the naval supremacy of England, on the other : to America, however, he thus allots the glorious task of accomplishing, in conjunction with Europe, the great work of wresting from the grasp of England the sceptre of the seas.

• These griefs of Europe will increase until the desirable epoch in which America shall be able to accomplish the glorious destiny to which she is called, that of uniting with Europe to enfranchise the seas. Columbus in discovering it, and Penn when he peopled it, little thought of the germs, which, from two opposite points of Europe, they came to transplant in this new earth, and still less that it had been reserved for the descendants of England to break the yoke. which the mother country bas imposed on the universe.'

His fears on the score of Russia, although not without foundation, are perhaps somewhat exaggerated.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The dominion of the power which during the first 15 years of the century has weighed upon Europe, has, by its ruin, experienced a complete change of location. It has passed from France to Rus. sia, and Europe has lost by the exchange as much as France herself. It is in this immoderate augmentation of the Russian power that the capital defect of the European policy consists ; it is this which has impressed the false direction sanctioned by the congress of Vienna, which has forced some of the arrangements made there, and which has prepared ages of toil for Europe : a hundred millions of Russian peasants, always ready to support with docile and muscular arms all the projects that power or caprice may engender, presents an appalling perspective : twice already they have hewn their way to the capital of France ; by them the empire of the sultan lies subverted on its shattered crescent, por is it long since the cries of these sons of the Scythians have been echoed by the tomb of the Mantuan swan. We may be assured that Europe, which has sighed for the reverses of Napoleon, and has profited by thein to effect her emancipation, in reality has but changed the yoke, and taken that of Russia instead of that of France.'

Speaking of the late divisions of territory among some of the states, and of the additions to others, as agreed on and settled at the congress by the allied powers, M. De Pradt very correctly observes,

According to the new order the greater part of the states of Europe exist double, and contain unions of nations and states which heretofore were not embodied with those sovereignties : thus Russia and Poland, Sweden and Norway, Holland and Belgium, Prussia, the grand dutchy of the Rhine, with balf of Saxony, present these grand unions, in which one of the accessories equals the principal, as in the instance of Belgium with respect to Holland, and of Norway with regard to Sweden. In this case there is association almost as much as reunion, a term employed in policy implying adjunction with inferiority. Ioferiority is discovered in the other adjunctions, such as that of Poland with Russia, of a part of Saxony with Prussia, of Venice with Austria, and of Genoa with Piedmont; in all these cases there is rather subjection than union—the sacrifice on one side and the acquisition on the other are observable at the first glance. It is perceived besides, that if in one case the union may have been desired, in others it must have been forced ; and that the wish of separation is not likely to be long waited for, and will always be ready to return.'

Of the condition of France our author presents a most lively and animated picture, and gives an account of her wealth and population, her strengh and resources, as flattering as we hope it may prove correct. After alluding to her wealth he says,

To this must be added the developement and elasticity that France will owe to the new springs of action she has lately acquired, and which manifest themselves in her bosom, liberty and industry.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »