« AnteriorContinuar »
pany take part against the Duke, except Vittoria, who excuses bim on the plea of destiny. We then learn by the subsequent confessions between the lovers, that Vittoria and the Duke bad fallen in love at first sight. We own this part struck us as mightily ridiculous; the Duke cold and calculating, not fair but fat and forty, fell in love at first sight! From this moment the romance breaks down, and Tieck deprives bimself of the only means by which he might have saved it. It may be said that the Duke was a man of high poetic feeling, Tieck endeavours to make him appear so, but without success. And then the love scenes. Why the tawdry stuff that the celebrated poetess and her vaunted duke utter would disgrace the quondam productions of the Minerva Press. Let any of our German readers turn to pages 229-234 of the second volume and they will be of opinion that we might have made use of stronger terms.
We have read Tieck's works, as they appeared, with great interest, and many scenes in the volumes before us are written in that powerful style of which he is confessedly a master. Yet most of the characters burst upon us too suddenly, and there is no previous developinent; the second volume is weak and tedious. The long ravings of the mother of Vittoria fatigue us, for there is too much method in her madness. The comic characters are less happily drawn than usual, they are stereotype, and any one acquainted with Tieck's manner can foresee the coming wit. The tendency of this romance has however caused us more regret than surprise. His latter productions were not free from objectionable parts. Although all the works of Tieck's second and third period (for most of his earlier productions seemed to us unimportant), display great talent, yet there was hardly one of them that did not contain some drawback upon the pure enjoyment that works of fiction should afford. Tieck is a master in satire, but his satire is not cheerful; he appears to dwell with delight on descriptions of the evil and terrible, in wbich it must be confessed he is often remarkably powerful. There was, however, one work, which we could never read through-William Lovell, we found it absolutely disgusting. On conversing with some German friends, and reading several criticisms upon it, we found that the received solution was that the poet, in elaborating his work of fiction, had worked his way through the thorny path of temptation, as the man who once begins to doubt must pass through the dangerous ways of scepticism to the light of philosophic truth. We have Goethe's own assertion that this was often the case with him, and his works and life bear manifest proofs of its truth. We trust it inay be so with Tieck ; we have no wish to judge uncharitably of a man to whom we are indebted for many amusing bours ; but we have thought it our duty, when we saw others blinded by the high authority of his name, to declare our conscientious opinion.
We bave reserved for the conclusion our remarks upon Vittoria's extraordinary sentiments on marriage, considering the age in which sbe lived. With all due submission to his German defenders, we cannot find their arguments free from sophistry. We consider Tieck to have been guilty of an anachronism, to have placed the opinions (respecting the so-called emancipation of women) advocated by young Germany of the nineteenth century, in the mouth of a woman whose assertion of them is bigbly im
probable. Whilst the younger writers, as they advance in years, are abandoning the opinions, which, by an injudicious prohibition of their writings, acquired greater popularity than they otherwise would have done,--whilst most of them (for their name is not legion) are settling down into respectable husbands and fathers, and thus affording the world the most desirable instance of self-contradiction, Tieck in his old age, takes their place. We need not enter upon a refutation of his arguments; common sense will, we doubt not, remain triumphant.
Professor Braniss has written an essay upon the work before us: that the publishers have thought fit to append it to the second edition, is sufficient indication of its tendency; our previous remarks preclude the necessity of any farther allusion to it. We sincerely wish M. Tieck many years of happiness, to enjoy the pension which the King of Prussia has recently confered upon him; but we have no desire to read any more productions of his pen, should they resemble Vittoria Accorombona.
Art. XIII.-Jury-Schwur oder Geschworengericht als rechtsanstalt und
politisches Institut. Die grossen Gebrechen unserer deutschen Strafrechtspflege, und das Schwurgericht als das einzige Mittel ihnen gründlich abzuhelfen. (The Jury considered as a legal and political Institution. Tbe great Defects of our German Criminal Law, and
the Jury the only sure means of remedying then.) Altona, 1840. There have been several valuable works on the theory and practice of German criminal law, in which the defects of the existing system were exposed by men of the highest character and reputation, but this dissertation by Professor Welcker, which originally appeared in the Staatslexicon, and has been printed as a separate work, is one of the first attempts to bring this question of vital importance before the general public. The English reader need hardly be told that, with the exception of the Rhenish provinces, trial by Jury does not exist in Germany. Soon after Prussia came into possession of this valuable addition, a commission of five gentlemen was appointed by the king to inquire into the working of this system, the most valuable inberitance of Napoleon's dominion. Two of the commissioners were from the Rhine, the other three from parts of Prussia where the Jury has not been introduced, all of them men of high character and standing in their profession. Their opinion was unanimous in favour of publicity and trial by Jury as a legal institution. That their opinion of it as a political institution was more guardedly, although not unfavourably, expressed, was natural.
It would, at first sight, appear, that the German system, by which circumstantial evidence is not considered conclusive, but the confession of the prisoner is necessary to his condemnation, should possess greater security and peculiar advantages. Yet the work before us furnishes abundant proof of the uncertainty of this mode of proceeding. A man deprived of his liberty is of course under suspicion, it is but too often the interest of the examiners to prove that he has not been falsely suspected; the harassing mode of cross-examining the accused at different
VOL. XXVII. NO, LIII.
periods, and comparing his answers with his previous depositions, when length of time, want of exercise, and many other circumstances, may produce discrepancy in the testimony even of an innocent man, lead repeatedly to the most melancholy results. M. Welcker relates many instances of confessions which were false. His extracts from the work of Herr von Arnim, minister of justice in Prussia, reveal a case that happened in 1800, in which seven persons confessed themselves guilty of arson. They were condemned to be dragged to the place of execution on a cow-bide, beheaded and burned. The sentence was approved, and ordered to be carried into execution. One of the prisoners had already put on the dress in which criminals are executed (sterbekleid), and, on receiving the sacrament, repeated bis confession and accusation against his fellow-prisoners. At this critical moment, by the merest accident, a journeyman bricklayer, from another town, who happened to be in the place, gave evidence, which proved that the accused could not possibly have been guilty of the fire imputed to them, and which they had all, with one single exception, confessed. They were all, of course, pardoned. The torments of constant cross-examination, the blows which they received as punishments of their false (?) assertions, were the causes assigned for this extraordinary self-accusation. M. Welcker relates that one of the prisoners had died in consequence of the treatment he experienced from the lower police and officers of justice. The punishment for lying was such, that after the fresh examination, resulting upon the proof that they were probably innocent, and which ended in their acquittal, one of the accused was condemned to receive two hundred blows. Frederic the Great had abolished this punishment, but we have been informed that blows are now inflicted as punishment for falsehood in several states of Germany. When we consider that an investigation often lasts some years, that the examiners, proceeding from a pre-conceived opinion, may consider that as false which may afterwards prove to be true, and above all when we reflect that there is no publicity to control them, we can form some idea of the abuses to which such a system is liable. We have purposely confined ourselves to a bare exposition, our object is not to inflame the passions or excite animosity; but, by directing public attention to the work before us, to invite examination into the abuses in the criminal law of Germany, and wbich, as long as publicity is withheld, it is not in the power of the most humane monarch to prevent. We hope that the greater publicity now allowed in the proceedings of the provincial diets sitting in Prussia is but the beginning of a reform in this respect; we cannot conceive a nobler act of mercy and justice than to introduce publicity into judicial investigations.
There are many other important topics alluded to, and numerous proofs of the bad working of the present system, which we would gladly notice, did our limits permit. We conclude with strongly recommending this Essay to the attentive consideration of all, whether friends or opponents of the Jury system.
MUSIC ABROAD AND AT HOME.
FRANCE. The re-appearance in Paris of M. Henri Vieuxtemps, the celebrated violinist, is one of the most important musical events of the season. This incomparable musician has created an immense sensation in the artistical world, and in the salons. We do not imagine that De Beriot, or even Paganini himself ever excited more admiration, more enthusiasm. At his concert, in the salle of Henri Hertz, where he introduced a new fantasia of his own composing, he excited the greatest sensation by his wondrous execution and expression of all that music can convey. After treating his hearers with a concerto full of the most delicious and harmonious combinations, he performed his new fantasia, in which capricious movements mingle with delicate and brilliant melody. To the difficult movements invented by Paganini, and the elegance, purity and grace of De Beriot, add a powerful individuality, and you will appreciate in imagination all that is extraordinary in Henri Vieuxtemps. More than 200 persons were turned away from the doors of the concert room. He is to appear in London at the Philharmonic, on the 13th of April.
Auber has added another gem to his immortal crown, by his Les Diamants de la Couronne. This beautiful opera was produced on the 6th inst. at the Opéra Comique, with the most triumphant success. The music is declared by the best musical critics to be the most careful and brilliant of this celebrated composer's works; it is much in the style of his Fra Diavolo and La Fiancée. The overture commences with a sweet andante movement, and is most effective throughout. A déjeuné scene, and a soirée musicale are beautifully conceived and sustained. The libretto, by the never-failing Scribe, is most highly spoken of: the story details the adventures of Catarina (Mme. Thillon), who visits Rebolledo, a banished noble, who practises coining in a cavern, and holds one Don Henrique (M. Couderc) a prisoner. Catarina's object is to sell the crown jewels, for the payment of certain debts contracted by the state, and to replace the gems by false diamonds. Here she encounters Don Henrique, with whom an attachment is speedily formed, and she endeavours to effect his escape; but the police are meanwhile in search of the banditti, and frustrate all her efforts. The banished noble is at length restored, and the lovers united. The opera is full of bustling incidents, and the conversations are carried on with great spirit and point. The opera increases nightly in public estimation; and on the sixth representation, upwards of 100 persons left the doors, unable to gain admission.
The French are unquestionably au fait at describing, not only the manners of other nations, but what is far more difficult, describing themselves correctly. The following sketches respecting the Parisian balls will be found to be most correct:
Everybody goes to the Grand Opera. Creditors and debtors meet there and shake hands; the duchess grasps the arm of her femme de chambre, and the ambassadress asks her porter's wife the name of the wag who so boldly catches her by the waist-it is sometimes her husband. All converse, but none recog
nise each other. There is too much esprit in France to commit such blunders. At the masquerade, ignorance is wisdom. Intelligent men judge of women by their hands; the most splendid velvet, the most magnificent satin, have no meaning. The domino's sole mask is the glove. On the left bank of the Seine, the Prado is the private domain of students; but if we were to mention all the ball establishments which open their doors to the public, a page would not contain their names. After those great lords of the carnival the Opera, Renaissance, Valentino, and Musard, what a swarm of balls is there not between the Bastille and Madelaine, and Montmartre and the Pantheon! Every arrondissement, quarter, street-the most obscure places, the humblest roofs, the most remote gates, have their own. Go, explore and search; you will not find a family non-represented in that saltatory chaos.
When the jours gras come, the saltatory fever makes all legs frisk. The wisest and most demure breathe the mania in the air. The ball attracts women as the loadstone does iron. The grisette then extemporises a costume with what rags she can collect; the student eats dry bread, drinks water, and pawns his cloak, in order to dance sixty hours in the uniform of a hussar. They who have nothing borrow, they who owe buy, and all Paris responds to the call of Mardi Gras.
Masks drop off on Ash Wednesday, but the ball dies not: when the loud noise of the Carnival has passed away like a storm, the Faubourg St. Germain and Faubourg St. Honoré throw open their folding doors, and the embassies dance. Musard's ball is an extinci glory, a declining reputation, an invaded kingdom, a dismasted ship. All its dancers now come from the Lafitte and Caillard coach-offices; it recruits its habitués in the rotondes of the diligences, and at the railway terminus. It is beloved at Pithiviers, revered at Chateaureaux, esteemed at Limoges, admired at Carpentras, but nearly forgotten at Paris. It is frequented by commercial travellers and first-year students; after a débút at La Chaumière, grisettes pass on to Musard's ball, but do not even tarry there. Balls have their ruins as well as empires. The demise of the Rue Vivienne balls has also turned to the profit of those of Rue Saint Honoré; at first languid, they have now firm quadrilles and substantial waltzes. Valentino reigns and governs with success, and the Carnival reckons him one of its first ministers.
The bals masqués expire every Ash Wednesday; they revive for a moment on the Thursday of the Micarême, to last but a night. But during the whole Carnival, they reign unrivalled throughout the galvanised town. Paris sleeps not. Who is it that does not go to a masquerade? All rush to them. The twelve arrondissements spend their time in losing it, and each does so with miraculous success. Who will now talk of the Venice Carnival? Paris has stified that ancient glory; the Rialto is eclipsed by the Boulevard des Italiens.
The Musard and Valentino soirées have been attractive and well attended this season.
Paris.-M. Péronnet gave one of the most brilliant morning concerts in the salle de Pleyel last week, at which Mdlle. Nau warbled an Italian air most delightfully, and received great applause in a duetto from Belisario with Baroilhet. Duprez also assisted, and was received with thunders of applause, particularly in a song from La Dame Blanche “ Ah quel plaisir d'être Soldat.
Great preparations are making at the Académie Royale, for the production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. This beautiful opera will be performed in a few days, and will be followed by Weber's Der Freischutz.
M. Sudre, the inventor of a musical language, by which he professes to converse with persons of any country or language without speaking, but by the aid of musical composition (a performance on any instrument is all that he requires), has now arrived in Paris, after a successful tour through the French provinces. At Nantes, Rouen, and Lyons, his performances excited the greatest attention.