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ART. XV.-Briefe von Bonstetten an Matthisson. Zurich: Orell and Co. London: Black and Young. 1827. (Bonstetten's Letters to
Ir is an unusual circumstance to peruse the correspondence of an old man of eighty-three, writing in a language which may be considered in some measure foreign to him, with all the vigour and playfulness of youth. The interest of these letters is greatly enhanced, as it is very manifest that that they were not written for the press; for in these exploring days, it is very rare to meet with a writer of any eminence who can venture to umbosom his thoughts in the unreserved tone of friendship, uninfluenced by the fear or hope of publication. To the letters is subjoined a short but interesting account of Bonstetten's life, by himself, which was published surreptitiously in the Minerva Pocket Book, for 1826. We wish the venerable Swiss life and health to complete it. The following quotations may, perhaps, amuse our readers.
Of Lady Morgan we hear, that she is a dear, simple, clever little body. Her husband is considered a distinguished scholar (!). . . The Morgan is not fanatical, but she conceives it her duty to tell the truth, and to unmask the ultras-a bold attempt indeed ! Nothing is more ridiculous than to deny the authenticity of Ossian's poems; they must be sought for, not in Scotland, but in Ireland. Lady Morgan knows several passages from them, and sang the old Erse songs with the old tunes. Even now the Irish possess many popular songs relating to former times; and the peasants sing a very old song, "A Dialogue between St. Patrick and Össian; or, the Contest between the. Christian and the old Erse Religion."
The truth of the following remarks will be acknowledged by all:
Idleness is the besetting sin of small towns. The frequent association of empty heads destroys all mutual esteem. The ennui arising from the eternal repetition of the same mode of life, renders not only the family circle, but at last, likewise, all mankind odious. Were I the ruler of a little town, I would cause sanitary laws to be enacted against loungers, as against those suspected of the plague, that the health of the sound might not be affected. Nothing is more ridiculous, than to hear the manner in which republicans in small towns speak of court flatterers; whilst every aspiring bürger flatters twenty silly men, more degradingly than a courtier flatters his only master.'
Bonstetten, on his return from Geneva, where he had been studying Tacitus, Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Machiavelli, was elected member of the Grand Council and Vicelandvogt of Sanen. The chief magistrate sent for the newly elect:
Here, thought I, I shall receive good advice, respecting my administration. He is a man of mind and experience, what shall I not learn from him? I thought of my Tacitus and Montesquieu, and went about four o'clock to my good cousin. His Excellency was alone. "Bon jour, mon cousin, vous voilà donc bailli. Asseyez vous là. Mon cousin, je ne sais si vous savez les usages du bailli. On vous enverra les notes. On donne, par an, tant de fromages à chaque conseiller, et, mon cousin, retenez ceci, tant à l'avoyer. Votre prédécesseur etoit un sot; il m'envoyait de petits fromages, qui ne valent pas les grands. Souvenez vous,
mon cousin, de m'en envoyer de grands. Adieu, mon cousin, je vous souhaite un bon voyage. Ma cousine se porte bien?"" The same worthy once more:
'He dwelt opposite my house, and sent for me at a time that very important discussions were in progress. I found him alone, and friendly. The following conversation took place between us.
"Mon cousin, vous avez au troisieme étage sur la fenêtre une grande bouteille. Je suis curieux de savoir ce qu'elle contient." "J'aurai l'honneur de le faire savoir à votre Excellence. """
'It was vinegar that had been placed in the sun.'
Vive la bagatelle, and all chief magistrates of Swiss cantons.
ART. XVI.-A Narrative of Memorable Events in Paris, in the year 1814; being Extracts from the Journal of a Détenu. 8vo. pp. 317. London. 1828.
SOME portions of this Narrative appeared about two years ago in the London Magazine, and attracted considerable attention, both in this country and in France. The author, an Englishman, was detained in France on the renewal of hostilities in 1803; but was permitted, as a particular favour, to reside on patrole at Paris, where he remained accordingly till the capitulation of that city to the Allies, in 1814. He has now
put his journal of the events of that memorable year, into the hands of his friend, Mr. Britton, who has published it, as he assures us, without alteration, although he has not been able to resist the temptation of appending to it certain remarks from his own pen, which assuredly have nothing to recommend them, in point either of manner or of matter; and which we hope, therefore, he will be prevailed upon to omit, should a second edition of the book be called for.
The Journal itself is evidently the production of a very intelligent observer; and of one who has had opportunities of availing himself of inany sources of information not generally accessible. It abounds, ac
cordingly, in details of great interest; which are given, besides, with so manifest an anxiety on the part of the narrator to ascertain the truth, even with a scrupulous minuteness, that it is impossible to entertain a doubt of their authenticity. The tone of impartiality, which is preserved throughout the volume, is also deserving of all commendation. The author is neither a Buonapartist, nor a Bourbonist; but perceives, and admits, with the greatest freedom, the merits and faults of both parties. safely say, indeed, that for those who seek to obtain an accurate account, both of the succession of events, and of the state of public feeling in Paris, during the few months immediately preceding the restoration of the Bourbons, no safer authority can be recommended than the publication before
From the particularity of its statements, and the circumstance that it is the report of an eye-witness of all that he relates, it is also perhaps the most graphic account of the breaking up of an empire to be any where found. We ought not to forget to state, that one of the most interesting and important passages in the book, is the long account which it contains of the affair of De Maubreuil, who, there is too much reason to believe, was employed by the Bourbons, in 1814, to assassinate Buonaparte on his road to Elba. The present writer has taken the utmost pains to investigate the facts of this extraordinary business; and has given us by far the most complete detail of it that has yet appeared.
ART. XVII.-Causes celébres du Droit des Gens. Redigees par le Baron Charles de Martens. Deux tomes. Leipzig: Brockhans. Paris: Ponthieu & Co. London: Black, Young & Young.
THIS is, we believe, the first attempt to execute, to any extent for national, what has been so ably done for criminal law, and we are therefore under considerable obligations to the Baron de Martens for directing public attention to this important subject. It cannot, of course, be expected that this branch of the law, which has for its object only one and a comparatively small class, should possess the general interest and variety of the other branches, which partake of the infinite directions into which human feelings and passions diverge; but, considered with respect to its connection with the welfare of all mankind, we do not know that it yields in importance to any other branch of legal investigation. The distinctions are so minute, and the results arising from violating them frequently pregnant with such extensive consequences, that any attempt to mark them clearly, and to bring them within acknowledged limits, is entitled to approbation. The first idea of this publication is however due, as the Baron acknowledges in a modest and well-written preface, to the late Mr. George Frederick de Martens, Hanoverian Minister at the Diet of the Germanic Confederation. But his work, written in German, and merely intended for his pupils (he was professor of National Law at the university of Göttingen), is now little known.
The Baron de Martens has, in his present laudable attempt, given us several important cases involving violations of the principles, either openly acknowledged or tacitly assented to by governments, which have frequently given rise to long and difficult negotiations, and have sometimes produced lamentable and destructive wars. The causes relative to the power and privileges of ambassadors exhibit many interesting traits of individual and national character. Thus, in the bill introduced into the House of Commons in Queen Anne's reign (in consequence of the arrest of the Russian ambassador by his creditors), to prevent such insults for the future, such conduct was declared illegal; but as the foreign ministers present in London represented in their memorial, no penalty was fixed for the violation of the law. The case of the envoy of Hesse Cassel, to whom a passport was refused by the French government, is valuable, from an interesting memoir, successfully proving that the rights and privileges of ambassadors could not protect them from the consequences of dishonourable actions. The diplomatic correspondence, which is given at length in all the causes, presents several curious and naif communications.
We trust, however, that the Baron de Martens will not stop here, but that the encouragement given to his present volumes will induce him to prosecute his inquiries on this interesting and novel subject. There are other branches which he has, as yet, left untouched, that are worthy of his attention; the introduction, or acknowledgment by nations of a new principle, the right of armed intervention, and many other great events which in their consequences, belong to history, but in their origin to that department to which he has directed his exertions.
Foreign and Domestic.
Denmark. The first Danish Newspaper was published in 1644, in the reign of Charles IV., under the title of "Der Ordinare Courant." In the present year, the number of periodicals of all kinds in Denmark amounts to eighty.
Electricity. By various experiments recently made to ascertain the electric effects which result from the friction of metals with one another, it appears that in the following order, viz.-bismuth, nickel, cobalt, palladium, platina, lead, tin, gold, silver, copper, zinc, iron, cadmium, antimony,—each metal is positive with reference to the metals which precede it, and negative with reference to the metals which follow it.
Education in France.-It appears that the number of children requiring education in France, is about 5,500,000; that of the whole number of communes (39,381), only about 24,000 have schools for boys; that the schools in those communes (in number 27,000) receive 1,070,000 children; and that the number of girls educated at schools is only 430,000. - M. Guimet, of Paris, and M. Gmelin, of Tubingen, have each discovered a method of fabricating artificial ultramarine, which is now selling in Paris at twenty-five francs an ounce, of a better quality than the finest natural ultramarine hitherto exhibited in the shops, the price of which was wont to be three times as high.
M. Majendi, in a paper lately read before the Royal Academy of Paris, contends, that the sense of vision is not, as has been hitherto supposed, dependant upon the optic nerve. He stated several cases in which after the optic nerve had been obliterated by a, tumour, the vision appeared almost as perfect as before.
A new kind of phosphorus, said to be much more inflammable than any pyrophorus hitherto known, has been invented, formed by the calcination of sulphate of potash with charcoal.
A Mummy which was lately unwrapped at Trematon Castle is supposed, from the hieroglyphics, to be the body of one of the Pharaohs. It was brought from the Royal Sepulchre at Thebes.
M. Tilsoy, a French chemist, has succeeded in preparing from bruised green gooseberries, a vegetable table acid, equal in quality to the citric or lemon acid, and which can be manufactured and sold for less than half the price of the latter.
Dr. Von Mayerly, a German, is said to have lately invented a pair of boots made of block tin, and surrounded by a hollow body, by means of which he can pass over the most rapid river. He has exhibited his contrivance at Pest, at which place he walked upwards of 500 fathoms on the Danube, where it is very deep and rapid.
The average quantity of rain per annum, during the last ten years at Philadelphia, is stated to have been 47 inches, the maximum having been 54 inches. The quantity of snow and the duration of winter in America have materially diminished during the last thirty years.
The celebrated astronomer Encke, of Berlin, has announced the publication of a new Nautical Ephemeris, on a very superior plan.
From some experiments made by Mr. Anozoff on the hardening of steel instruments, it has been found, that for very sharp edged instruments, an exposure of the steel when heated, to a powerful current of air is much better than the ordinary method of quenching it in water. This idea was suggested by the observation of travellers that the manufacture of Da. mascus blades was only carried on during the prevalence of north winds.
Mr. B. R. Green is preparing for publication a Numismatic Chart, comprising a series of 350 Grecian coins of Kings, from the earliest period to the beginning of the fourth century. The selection will chiefly embrace the series of the Macedonian and Sicilian Kings, the various Kingdoms of Asia Minor, those of Egypt and Numidia, of Syria, Parthia, and Armenia. The work will be executed on stone, and dedicated by permission to the Earl of Aberdeen.
The Christmas Box for 1829, edited by Mr. Crofton Croker, will exhibit, it is said, a rich display of female talent.
Sir Walter Scott is understood to be getting ready another series of Tales of the Canongate. A second series of Tales of a Grandfather are also, we hear, in preparation by the same indefatigable pen.
A work entitled the Musical Souvenir of 1829 is, we understand, preparing for publication, in which great talent is said to be engaged.
A Mr. John Walsh, of Cork, has announced an Essay on a New System of Astronomy, founded on the notion that the sun revolves round some remote centre in about 26,000 years; and, consequently, that the stars have direct and retrograde motious similar to those of the planets.
Mr. Southey, it is said, is writing a poem, the hero and heroine of which are of the Quaker persuasion. The same writer has also in the press, the Story of the Cock and the Hen, a Spanish Romance.
Mr. Gleig, author of the Subaltern, has in the press a series of Tales, entitled, The Chelsea Pensioners.
Another volume of Mr. Buckingham's Travels in the East is announced.
The Rev. James Jones has in the press, An Inquiry into the Popular Notion of an unoriginated, infinite, and eternal Prescience.
Mr. Alaric Watts's Annual, The Literary Souvenir, will, we understand, make its appearance this season, embellished with engravings generally of a more important size than heretofore. The subjects from which the plates are taken are twelve in number, and comprise original paintings, for the most part of well known celebrity.
An Annual for Children, to be entitled The New Year's Gift; and Juvenile Souvenir, is, we are informed, preparing for publication, under the superinter.dence of Mrs. Alaric Watts, the literary contents of which have been supplied by a great number of individuals distinguished as writers for the juvenile classes. It will also contain, independently of numerous wood-cuts by George Cruikshank and others, a variety of highly finished line engravings on steel.