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was employed in the service of the different monarchies of Europe, a part which could always be recalled on any urgent occasion, Switzerland supported, in fact, at the expense of those monarchies, not at its own, the disciplined troops, which were necessary to its security, and might otherwise have been dangerous to its liberties. It may be added, that their fellowcitizens, who remained at home, were thus saved from all the vices and calamities which result from the redundant population of every bounded community.
No great legislator ever appeared in Switzerland. The speculatist will find no peculiar symmetry and grace in their systems, and may learn not to be too exclusive in his theories. Times and circumstances taught their own lessons; civil and religious establishments were imperfectly produced, roughly moulded, and slowly improved ; and whatever might be their other merits, they were perfectly adequate to dispense the blessings of government and religion to a brave and artless people. The great difficulty with the inhabitants of Switzerland was at all times, no doubt, to judge how far they were to mix, on the principles of their own security, with the politics of their neighbours.
A second difficulty, to keep the states of their confederacy from the influence of foreign intrigue and private jealousy. A third, to make local and particular rights of property and prescription conform to the interests of the whole. And finally, to preserve themselves simple and virtuous. word, publicly and privately“to do justice, and to love mercy;" and again, “to keep themselves unspotted from the world.” This was indeed a task which, perfectly to execute, was beyond the compass of human virtue. But with all their frailties and mistakes, their faults and follies, they existed for nearly five hundred years in a state of great comparative independence and honour, security and happiness; and they only perished amid the ruthless and unprincipled invasions of revolutionary France, and the general ruin of Europe.
I must, in my next lecture, turn to the great event of modern history, the Reformation ; but before I do so I must again remind my hearer, that since I wrote the lectures I have just delivered, several works have appeared, which he must consider with the greatest attention, particularly the work of
Mr, Hallam on the Middle Ages. All the subjects that have been glanced at in these earlier lectures are there thoroughly considered by this author with all the patience of an antiquarian, and the spirit and sagacity of a philosopher. The French history; the feudal system ; the history of Italy; the history of Spain; the history of Germany; of the Greeks and Saracens ; the history of ecclesiastical power; the constitutional history of England; the Anglo-Saxon and the AngloNorman; afterwards to the end of the civil wars between the Roses, with a concluding dissertation on the state of society during the middle ages. I should have been saved many a moment of fatigue, some almost of despair, if these volumes had appeared before I began my lectures.
In like manner I have since read, and should have been most happy to have read before, the first volume of the History of England by Sir James Mackintosh. The volume, though it may not be what the common reader may have expected, is totally invaluable to those who have read and thought on the subject before, and who therefore can duly estimate the value of the comprehensive estimates of an enlightened and superior understanding. The same, I doubt not, will be the character of the volumes that are to follow.
I have since, too, looked over the three volumes of the History of the Anglo-Saxons, by Mr. Turver. I do not think it necessary for the student to read every part with equal attention, or some parts with any; but there is good information to be found in the book, such as he cannot well procure for himself, and may be grateful to Mr. Turner for offering him, so completely and so agreeably. What can be now known of Alfred, more particularly of the sea kings and sea banditti of the north ; of the laws, languages, and manners of the AngloSaxons, so connected with our own; their religion and their superstitions; the constitution of their government, their kings; their wittenagemote; their offices; their aristocracy and population ; their poetry, literature, and arts. These are all subjects very interesting, and can only be now exhibited to a student by an antiquarian, whose merits be may not be disposed to emulate, and should therefore gratefully acknowledge.
I have also looked at the first volume of the Anglo-Saxon
History by Palgrave, which though interspersed with some trivial remarks, may be read with entertainment and advantage. The second volume on the rise and progress of the English constitution will probably be well worthy attention, coming as it does from so celebrated an antiquarian.
For the history of Switzerland I have referred to Planta ; but there has been lately published a work by Mr. Naylor.
Mr. Naylor writes with a much more lively sensibility to the value of popular privileges ; but in his work I have been on the whole disappointed.
His preface is unsatisfactory; he gives no reasons for writing a new history of the Helvetic confederacy, or statement of the deficiency to be supplied, or the new representations that are to be offered of events and characters.
Mr. Naylor, however, must have been aware that the value both of his own history and that of Mr. Planta must arise from the difficulty of reading the original authors.
The dramatic manner also, it must be observed, in which Mr. Naylor writes, is not fitted to induce the reader to withdraw his confidence from the more regular and sober history of Mr. Planta.
Mr. Naylor's work, which reaches down to the peace of Westphalia, must no doubt be contrasted with Planta's, when any particular transaction is inquired into; for it is written on more popular principles.
But for the general purposes of historical information, I must still refer to Planta, who seems sufficiently animated with proper sentiments of patriotism and independence, at least while he is describing the origin of the Helvetic confederacy; and his distaste to popular feelings and forms of government may be suffered to evaporate in notes and observations on the French revolution, when it is considered how atrocious has been the interference of the French rulers and their emissaries in the concerns of his native country.
LECTURE I X.
"HE subjects to which we adverted in the course of the
last lecture would be found, if examined, immediately to introduce us to others of such general importance, that the particular histories of the different States of Europe can now no longer be separately surveyed.
These new subjects of such general and extraordinary importance are the Revival of Learning and the Reformation.
For the present, therefore, we must leave these particular histories of England, of France and Germany, and endeavour to familiarize the student to those general remarks which constitute the philosophy of history, and above all, to induce him to fix his view very earnestly on the events I have just mentioned, the greatest of modern history; the Revival of Learning and the Reformation. A few preliminary observations may however be suggested
In the course of your reading, as you come down from the history of the Middle Ages, you will be brought down to the history of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and this era, you will perceive, was the era of inventions and discoveries.
I allude more particularly to, Ist, the art of turning linen into paper. 2dly, The art of printing. 3dly, The composition and the application of gunpowder, more especially to the purposes of war. 4thly, The discovery, or at least the general application of the strange property of the magnetic needle to the purposes of navigation. The importance of such discoveries will be sufficiently obvious to your own reflections.
To each of these inventions and discoveries belongs an appropriate history highly deserving of curiosity (of more curiosity indeed than can now be gratified), and each strongly
illustrative of the human mind; creeping on from hint to hint, like the Portuguese mariner from cape to cape, owing something to good fortune, but far more, and even that good fortune itself, to enterprize and perseverance. You will see some notice taken of these inventions and discoveries in Koch.
As the study of the dark ages conducts us to the ages of inventions and discoveries, so do these last to the era which was marked by the revival of learning and the Reformation. All these periods mingle with each other, the prior with the succeeding one, and no line of demarcation can be traced to separate or define them; yet may they be known, each by its more prevailing .characteristic of darkness, discovery, and progress; and as we are now supposed to have passed through the first two, we must next proceed to the last, the era of the revival of learning and the Reformation.
To this era we shall be best introduced by adverting to the general situation of Europe; more particularly by turning to the eastern portion of it; for we shall here be presented with a train of events, which, if we could but transport ourselves in imagination to this fearful period, would almost totally overpower us, by appearing to threaten once more, as in the irruption of the barbarians, the very civilization of society. For what are we here called to witness? The progress of the Turks; the terror of Bajazet; the danger of Constantinople; and then again the unexpected appearance of savages still more dreadful than the Turks, Tamerlane and his Tartars ; the extraordinary achievements of these tremendous conquerors; afterwards the revival of the Ottoman power; and at last the destruction of the Eastern Empire, of Constantinople itself.
This series of memorable events has been detailed by Mr. Gibbon with that spirit and knowledge of his subject, that compression and arrangement which so particularly distinguish those chapters of his work, where his theme is splendid or important, and which render them so inexhaustible a study to his more intelligent readers. I must refer you to the work, making, however, in the meantime, a few observations.
In contemplating the final extinction of the eastern empire,