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• At present, there seems to be a special necessity for pressing such considerations upon the attention of the young Theologian. The hot war which is carrying on about the external institutions of the church, is apt to lead the mind off from the higher objects for whose sake those external institutious subsist. We are so busy defending the bulwarks, that we forget to foster, we scare away by cold neglect, that Divine science, whose presence is yet the true secret of our Zion's greatness, and the only firm basis of her stability, In these circumstances, the studies of those now preparing for the ministry, are in danger of receiving a false direction, whose consequences would be unspeakably fatal. Their duty is single and clear, and all-important. It is to go to the pure fountain, and richly to furnish their minds with the divine word,--that word which has been appointed by God as the salt that is to cure the corruption, the light that is to dispel the prejudices, the power that is to subdue the passions of a disordered world. Of the generation to which you are to minister, the description of the Apostles emphatically applies. They are “ those who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” They will not be satisfied with the milk of babes, but cry aloud for “ the strong meat which belongeth to them that are of full age.” So that, besides the general obligations of your profession, the very necessity of the times, bind it upon you, to be sinking deep your shafts in search of that pure ore which society has learned to value, and will alone receive in discharge of the sacred debt you owe her.' *
Art. VI. Belgium and Western Germany in 1833; including Visits
to Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Cassel, Hanover, the Harz Mountains, &c. &c. By Mrs. Trollope, Author of “ Domestic Manners
of the Americans. In Two Volumes. 12mo. London, 1834. THE public well know what to expect from Mrs. Trollope ; and
to persons who read for amusement, and are not over particular as to the accuracies and delicacies which belong to works of authority, - who can enjoy the vivacious prattle of a travelled lady, who describes tolerably well, and is full of anecdote,-a Sir John Carr in the feminine gender,--we can recommend these lively volumes. They are certainly much more creditable to the Writer than her low and illiberal caricature of the domestic manners of the Americans, which afforded so unfavourable a specimen of English ones.
It is said that the main part of a lady's letter generally lies in the postscript; and in the postscript to these volumes will be found the key-note to the whole strain. Mrs. Trollope is delighted
* Our readers will be struck, perhaps, with the coincidence, quite accidental, between these remarks and some which occur in the first article of our present Number. Ep.
with Western Germany, and we do not wonder at it. Compared with the Western States of America, the country must have appeared to her rich in historic interest and all the elements of the picturesque; and we must confess that we should much prefer sojourning, if not taking up our residence, on the banks of the Rhine or the Maine, to being located amid the prairies of the Wabash or the Ohio. It is not, however, the face of the country only that charms our fair Traveller, but its government, which presents so enlightened a contrast to the upstart republicanism of America, in the paternal wisdom of its several miniature monarchies, and the all-presiding beneficence of the Holy Alliance. The following passage will, no doubt, secure from Mr. Croker a favourable notice of these volumes in the next Quarterly. Mrs. Trollope, it will be seen, is the very antidote to Lady Morgan, and her volumes may hope to pass even an Austrian censorship.
• I have other reasons for wishing my countrymen to visit Germany. I doubt whether there be any place on earth where at this moment so much precious wisdom is to be found ;-and it is taught, too, in a manner the least unpalatable ; for Germany follows not the custom of these latter days, but is more given to practice than to preach:
• France, for nearly half a century, has been making herself heard among the nations; proclaiming aloud that she will give them such a lesson in political science, as shall render perfect the condition of man. There are some who still love to listen to her ; but more, perhaps, who think she has yet to learn the mystery she is so anxious to teach.
For about the same period, America has been lifting up her voice to the self-same tune-and there are some, too, who will still listen to her. But, while the discordant accents of her motley race declare “ Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms,” to be pernicious excrescences, there is a general feeling among the soberminded, that she is talking of she knows not what.
Spain -proud Spain-reels to and fro; and staggers like a drunken man; and is at her wit's end. She is tossed, as a buoy upon the waves, indicative of shoals, and rocks, and wreck ; but she has no light to lead any into port.
* « Sad and sunken Italy, the plunderer’s common prey,” has neither power to give, nor to take counsel.
Gigantic Russia shines afar off—a thing to wonder at, rather than understand.
And England - England, who has stood unscathed, while the whirlwind raged around her-how fares she in this “ piping time of peace ?” Truly, she is much in the state of Lady Teazle's reputation --ill of a plethora. She has been triumphant-but the thought of it makes her sick. She has been free-but would mend her condition. She has drained wealth from the four quarters of the earth-but she would change all this. She must make alterations, grow slender, and cease to be sleek and contented, that she may be in the fashion.
And what has confederated Germany been doing the while ?
Storm and tempest have beat against her ; but, true to herself, she has only risen stronger from the blast. The flood of war has swept over, but could not overwhelm her; and, though nations, which bore not one half her burden in the struggle, are beat down to rise not again,
« She tricks her beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky." And why is this? Let us visit her well-ordered cities—let us look at the peaceful industry of her fields :--and, though we shall perhaps find her talking and writing less upon government than most other nations, we may gain a lesson that shall help us at our need.
Yet Germany, too, is seeking to ameliorate the condition of man, and is foremost in the race of intellectual improvement. Let us visit her, and see what are the means she takes to ensure it. She turns not her strength to uproot and overthrow all that man, in his social state, has hitherto held sacred ; nor does she labour to force Nature from her course, in order to make level that which the Creator has decreed shall rise and fall in careless inequality ;-but, with steady power,
pursues the only scheme by which man may hope to benefit his species. She gives her people knowledge, and suffers not either ignorance or tumult to banish “ the sage called Discipline” from the land.' Vol. II., pp. 295-8.
Till Mrs. Trollope undeceived us, we had imagined that the Germans had not written much less upon government than any other nation; there may be reasons, however, for their talking little and writing little upon that forbidden subject, just now, which our Author does not care to notice. Knowledge under a censorship, education by means of a State apparatus, and discipline administered by means of a military police,- such is the system which our lady politician proposes to the admiration of her poor deluded countrymen (Is she an English woman?) who are so unlike the Germans as to wish for a reform of their institutions ! England does not give her people knowledge! The schoolmaster, is not, it seems, abroad among us. He is only to be found in Germany, where he is arrayed in the becoming dress of regimentals, with an Austrian or Prussian cockade !
Speaking of the Prussian system of Education, Mrs. Trollope says:
· This system, already so prolitic of the happiest results, has attracted the attention of all Europe ; and England, among the rest, is said to be taking a lesson on this most important branch
of government, from the benignant absolutism of Prussia. Assuredly she cannot do better; but let her not put in action one part of this immensely powerful engine, while another part, on which the whole utility of its movement depends, is left neglected. Woe betide the politician who shall labour to enforce, by law, the art of reading; while he slothfully, viciously, or from party spirit, continues to advocate the unrestricted freedom of a press, which fills every village shop with blasphemy, indecency, and treason! Let him not dare to imitate the pure and holy efforts of Prussia, to spread the blessing of knowledge through the land, till he has manfully set to work to purify the source whence it is to flow. He, who shall best succeed in making the power of reading general throughout England, while this monstrous mass of impurity is permitted to spread its festering influence through the country, will have a worse sin to answer for, than if he forced aïl to drink of a stream he knew to be poisoned. In Prussia, the purity of all that issues from the press has become so completely a source of national pride, that, were the parental care which guards it withdrawn, it would, I have been well assured, be long before vice would grow sufficiently audacious to attempt speaking by so uncorrupted an organ. Infamy would dog the heels of the publisher, and prompt justice be done on the miscreant author, who should dare to violate the sacred pledge, given by the king to the people, that sin shall not be the fruit of that knowledge which he has thought fit to enforce.
* Another vitally essential part of the Prussian scheme of national education is its watchful religious superintendence of practical morality.
• It is so very easy a thing to teach children to read and write, that, were these the only objects in view, it would be scarcely worth while for the government to interfere about the business. A very poor man may contrive to pay two-pence a week to obtain this for his children; and multitudes may easily get my lord, or my lady, or the squire and madam to pay it for them. But it is the cautious, systematic selection of persons proper for the office of teachers, and the impossibility that individual whim should interfere in the choice of them, which can alone ensure a profitable national education.
· And how is this all-important business transacted with us? In some places, a teacher is appointed by the clergyman, who would regulate his parish school with the same anxious care which he exercises in the government of his own family. In others, some vain and canting Lady Bountiful has the power of nomination, and selects a person who shall look sharply after the uniform, and take care that the children show themselves off well, upon all public occasions.
• In one village, a stanch constitutional Tory shall exert his utmost influence that the little people about him may be brought up to fear God and honour the king. He may watchfully see them led to the venerated church of their fathers, and teach them to look up, with equal love and respect, to the institutions of their country.
• In the very next, perhaps, a furious demagogue may insist that every
lesson shall inculcate the indefeasible right to rebel. And, if the poor rogues be taught any religion at all, it may be with the understanding that each and every of them, when they are big enough, will have as good a right to be paid for preaching as the parson of the parish.
• What can that whole be, which is formed of such discordant elements ? And would it not be better for our rulers even to enforce such a mode of instruction as might give a chance of something like a common national feeling among the people of England, instead of letting them be blown about with every wind of doctrine, as they are at present ?'. Vol. II., pp. 170 -- 3.
When women meddle with politics, they generally expose themselves; and we scarcely know which is the more unfeminine and unpleasing character,—that of an ultra-liberal in politics and religion, a Fanny Wright, or that of a She-Tory, aping the genteel contempt of the Aristocracy towards all that is popular and liberal in the institutions of their country, and declaiming against that very freedom of the press of which they are at all times ready to avail themselves to the most licentious extent. The Tory airs which Mrs. Trollope is pleased to give herself, sit as ill upon her, as the cast off dress of a lady of fashion upon her lady's maid. She has an undoubted right to hold and maintain her political sentiment; but we must think that it is in wretched taste to indite two volumes of otherwise agreeable though rather frivolous narrative in the spirit of a party pamphlet.
Mrs. rollope is sufficiently liberal indeed, on some points. Towards the Romish superstition, she takes every opportunity of manifesting an indulgent feeling which must have given her continental friends considerable hopes of her becoming a good Catholic. Thus, speaking of the unmistakeable devotion’ of a poor old woman before a huge wooden doll' in St. Peter's at Ostend, Mrs. T. says:
· Her withered arms were extended, and an air of the most passionate adoration animated her sunken features as she gazed on this frightful idol. And after all, perhaps, there is something sublime in the state of mind which allows not the senses to dwell on the object before them, but, occupied alone by the holiness of the symbol, is raised by it to such thoughts of heaven as chase all feelings but those of devotion. That this is often the case with sincere Roman Catholics, I have no doubt ; and it is impossible to witness the feeling without losing all inclination to ridicule the source of it.' Vol. I. pp. 5, 6.
We admit that it is not a sight to awaken ridicule. There is nothing ridiculous in the melancholy delusion which leads a human being to crouch before an idol, whether it be that of a Madonna, or of Doorga, or of Buddha. Mrs. Trollope would not find it very easy to shew that the feeling of the worshipper is less sublime or holy in the latter case, than in the former; and in deed, her apology would accommodate itself to any form of passionate adoration, except the unpicturesque worship of the Methodists.
The Roman Catholic is confessedly a very picturesque religion ; and we cannot be surprised that it takes with those whose piety resides in the imagination. In ascending the Stromberg, Mrs. Trollope was much interested by the visible marks of recent devotion at the various stations on its declivity. “Many