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but if one is desirous to get a peep of those which are more especially patronised by the working and middle classes, and which may be said to exhibit the manners and tastes of the mass of society, he must visit certain of the well-known smoking-houses within the city, and one or other of the extensive flower-gardens beyond the gates. In the Estaminet of Wesotzky, for instance, situated in the Stahschreibergasse, you meet with a constant concourse of visitors gazing through clouds of tobacco-smoke, upon the performances of puppets, or listening over reaming tankards of beer, to the improvisation of Jacobi and the rhyming of Heinsius ; two individuals who, in the eyes of the populace of Berlin, are quite worthy of being placed in the same poetical category with the famous Italian Sgricci.”—“ If you get some notion of the pastime of certain classes, by entering an Estaminet of the description I have just mentioned, it is in one or other of the many flower-gardens which surround the Thiergarten (that beautiful park of oak and beech trees, through which alleys for carriages and equestrians, and walks for pedestrians, have been cut in every direction) that you obtain the best idea of the general out-door society of Berlin. Last Sunday we made a tour through a few of the best of these gardens lying in the suburb beyond the Brandenburgh gate, and were delighted beyond measure with our visit. The walks and pavilions were crowded by a well-dressed happy people, and exhibited such a mixture of all classes as at once proclaimed the peculiarly democratical complexion of Prussian society. It was, indeed, delightful to see the mechanic with his whole household pacing up and down these flower-gardens, and entering the many splendid pavilions, where coffee, tea, chocolate, beer, and kalsschale, were to be had for a few pence, with the same nonchalance and happy expression in their faces as were exhibited by their more wealthy and exalted fellow-citizens. Each garden had its own peculiar music: one had a choir of singers ; another, a military band; a third, a full orchestra, to the strains of which all seemed peculiarly alive. There was no boisterous mirth, no rude familiarity, no outward indecorum ; the conduct of every one was, in fact, characterised by politeness and propriety. What a happy contrast the whole scene afforded to the Sunday beer-swilling, gin-drinking junketings of the working classes of Great Britain !” *
But our author's pictures of this kind, both respecting Prussia and Saxony, should be examined and considered in the work itself. It is there that, from a number of circumstances which, in a review, would lose their life and freshness, an impartial and reflecting mind may draw the most satisfactory inferences respecting European progress. The boisterous patriotism of such men as Börnet and Heyne, has raised a mist of prejudice through which it is, at present, rather difficult to see the real
* Vol. i, p. 256, et seq.
+ There are translated specimens of the style of Börne in the Appendix to vol. ii, of the work under review,
state of Germany. To certain people, the only prospect of liberty is that which lies beyond the smoke and glare of destruction : social improvement without an accompaniment of din and clamour, is to them an impossibility. The mistake of this kind of politicians arises from a very narrow view of the most remarkable instances of useful revolutions. Because the European race could not break the fetters of the Middle Ages without blood and violence, it appears to these politicians that blood and violence were the direct means of social improvement. That they had their usefulness is unquestionable : for it is the recollection of the fearful scenes occasioned by resistance to improvement, that smooths the path of our present progress.
There is another source of mistake on this point:the too prevalent habit of considering the European race as still consisting of necessarily rival nations; and forgetting that, independently of Protocols and Treaties, we are every day more and more united as one family, wherein the labours, the efforts, the advances of one portion necessarily contribute to the benefit of the whole. Who can point out the country that is not at this moment the better for the French Revolution? The knowledge, the labours, the sufferings of no part of this great family have, since printing became a cheap and general process, ever been in vain in regard to the improvement of the whole. To doubt this, because that improvement shows itself in different, and sometimes apparently opposite forms, betrays a very confined acquaintance with the philosophy of history and mankind. The European nations have finally been knit into one body. What the policy and courage of the Romans unconsciously prepared by aiming at universal dominion ; what after the fall of that mighty empire Charlemagne promoted, with more enlightened views; what the Crusades still more clearly suggested when they formed that remarkable moral union, called Christendom, the Printing Press has fully accomplished. Europe is a body with a common sensorium, which we call opinion. In this body, it is folly to aim at a similarity of all its members; to expect from them all an identity of action. One spirit will certainly more and more animate this whole ; but its operations will, must, should be distinct. In regard to Politics, it is enough that there is not one so backward and ignorant people in the European family (that family is not confined to Europe) that is not in full possession of the main principle, that government exists only for the sake of the governed. Let this principle become, as it certainly will, identified with the thinking soul of every man, and patriots and philanthropists need not distress themselves, and much less others, for the sake of political forms. The time is at hand when there will be but one government in civilized, society—the government of real opinion, which is the index of Reason, that supreme Power whom the Almighty has made his only representative in regard to Man. The present writer (and he alludes to himself only because he wishes to exempt others from the reproach which this view may call forth) deprecates the attempts of those who wish to hurry such governments as that of Prussia and Saxony out of the path which they are pursuing. No government which allows unlimited freedom to the development of the human mind, can have a treacherous design upon the liberty of the people.* We have said that the European family has attained at a union of thought which may be compared to a common sensorium. But this organ cannot be either enlarged or improved unless every nation enlarges and improves its own; and this is what the enlightened German governments are unquestionably doing : in truth, they are carrying on this vital operation not only directly for themselves, but indirectly for the divisions of the empire in which the rulers work anxiously to prevent the formation of a centre of thought. As a proof of this assertion we refer to the facts contained in the following extract.
“ If the people of this city (Vienna) be generally indifferent to politics and literature, you must not suppose that this arises from any want of the means of education. Since the days of Maria Theresa, however paradoxical it may seem, the Government of Austria, notwithstanding its jealousy of the press, has shown itself deeply alive to the advantages of educating the people. Throughout the whole empire, and particularly in the circles of Upper and Lower Austria, Normal and Trivial Schools, as they are called, have been established by imperial authority. Every year, the famous Normal School in the Johannesgasse of Vienna, sends out at least from 1600 to 1700 persons capable of teaching. Besides this, there are six similar schools in the city and suburbs, with no fewer than sixty other public seminaries for the elementary branches of education. In addition to several institutions for the instruction of such students as are intended for the Roman Catholic Church, I must not omit to tell you, that the present Emperor founded, in 1821, a college or gymnasium for the education of Protestants and Protestant clergy. This is one striking instance, among others of less importance, of the increased tendency towards religious toleration which has of late characterised the Austrian Government. The truth is, that with all the apparent anxiety which the Emperor entertains for supporting to the letter, the privileges of the dominant faith of the country, there is a real inclination on the part of men in power-founded no doubt on the necessity of the times—to tolerate every species of religious belief, provided it is not accompanied with offensive sectarian zeal. In this respect, however, the Government may be at ease; for in Vienna especially, while there are not a few who show an indomitable devotion to all the tenets, ceremonies, and penances of the Popish creed, the great mass of the people are comparatively indifferent to all religion. The majority, no doubt, are nominally Catholics ; but under this holy and intolerant title, I understand there lurks a vast quantity of unbelief and free-thinking. In short, it seems to be characteristic of the Viennese, that whatever be their nominal creed, they are never over-scrupulous about acting up to its requirements. Even the Jews of Vienna are less strict in their observances than those of other towns of Germany."*
*“......Strange as it may seem, I have here (Berlin) found more freedom of speech and liberal discussion upon every topic connected with politics and religion, than I ever heard in the free city of Hamburgh.”—Germany in 1831, vol. i, p. 266. “Berlin, since the days of the Great Frederick, has always been a desirable home for the man of letters." --16. p. 277. “To find, in such a city as Berlin, twelve or fifteen hundred students, many of them belonging to the garrison, anxiously listening to lectures on the best principles of government, and those principles of a democratic quality, is a striking feature of the times, and shows a spirit of liberality on the part of the authorities, singularly at variance with the present restrictions of the press.”-Ib. p. 294. This apparent contradiction shows that what the Prussian Government fears is not the light, but the workings of a truth-like glare where it cannot watch its effects. We must not apply the measure of our own capacity for liberty to all countries.
We will not say, with Mr. Strang, that the Government of Austria “ is deeply alive to the advantages of educating the people:” though, like our high-church party, it has a sad conviction of the necessity of the case. Since education is inevitable, the best they can do for themselves is to educate, and make the places of education recruiting posts for the dominant clergy. This is indeed a great evil, in so much as it produces the result which our author has so truly touched in the picture of the mass of the people of Vienna. But it will not stop the mental progress. The established Churches have decreed that the final emancipation of the European mind from their thraldom shall be, for the most part, through indifferentism: let it be so. Truth will spring when the tangled wilderness of theology shall have manured the ground. For our part, we confidently expect, that as the seeds of a most important, though very imperfect Reformation, were spread among us by the direct intervention of the German mind, so will the second mental impulse for the accomplishment of that great work, proceed to us from the same centre. As the spirit of political liberty which is at work in the great Germanic body, is unquestionably derived from England, so will the example of that less practical, but highly intellectual people, urge us on in the work of emancipating ourselves from the last trammels of the obsolete, crooked and narrow notions which, in the hands of a priesthood
* Vol. ii, p. 279, et seq.
which still occupies all the principal avenues of knowledge, maintain the great disproportion of our external to our internal civilization.
We wish we had room to refer, one by one, to the many interesting notices of literary men, and literary subjects, contained in Mr. Strang's volumes. In connexion, however, with our hopes of a mental stimulus from Germany, we recommend his account of the Book-fair at Leipsic.* A country which prints " at least ten millions of new volumes annually,” and which, in the same period, brings out no less than 6 three thousand new works," must, in spite of the difficulty of its language, exert a powerful influence over the world of mind. Europe owes it already great debts of gratitude, which are likely to accumulate in no very extensive period of time.
J. B. W.
Vol. ii, p. 40, et seq.
THE LAMP OF THE SOUL.
Hast ever borne a bright but flickering flame