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to detain us with his details ; but to the philosophic historian we shall henceforward be compelled to listen with a new and deeper anxiety. If history be the school of mankind, it must be confessed that its lessons are at length but too complete; and that states and empires may now be considered in all their positions and relations, from the commencement to the termination of their political existence. We may see what have been the causes of their prosperity; we may trace the steps by which they have descended to degradation and ruin.
The truth is, that these tremendous years have made such studies as we are now to engage in, considered in this point of view, of far more than ordinary importance, and whether we consider the situation of the world, or of our own domestic polity, it is but too plain that neither indolence nor ignorance can be any longer admitted in our young men of education and property; it is but too plain that political mistakes, at all times dangerous, may to us be fatal ; it is quite impossible to say how much may not depend on the intelligence and virtue of the rising generation.
Tue professorship of modern history and languages was founded by George the First, in 1724, on the recommendation of the Duke of Newcastle.
His Grace has the merit of being one of those very few ministers, since the times of the Reformation, who have endeavoured to amplify the means and extend the usefulness of the literary establishments of this country.
On the death of Dr. Turner in 1762, the professorship became vacant, and the modesty and pride of Gray at last yielded to the influence of his friends, and he applied to Lord Bute for the situation. It was, however, given to the tutor of Sir James Lowther; and the most distinguished man of letters then in the university, and perhaps the most elegant scholar of the age, was left to his poverty, or to a state that but too much resembled it.
At a subsequent period, while he was still pursuing " the silent tenor of his doom,” the professorship was once more vacant. It must ever have been amongst the most pleasing recollections of the Duke of Grafton, that he was the minister whose fortune it was to have directed the rays of royal bounty to their noblest object, and to have cheered, with a parting gleam, the twilight path and closing hours of the poet Gray.
His Grace had a second time the merit of making an honourable choice in the late professor, Dr. Symonds. From him the chair has received a very valuable library. But it is to be lamented that a little before his death, he destroyed the lectures he had delivered, and all his historical papers.
BARBARIANS AND ROMANS.
F the ancient world we derive our knowledge from the
sacred Scriptures and the writings of Greece and Rome. We have no other sources of information on which we can well depend ; but every such information must be at all times interesting. There is no nation, however removed from us by distance or by time, whose history will not be always a subject of rational curiosity to a reflecting mind : yet the student of ancient history will find his attention irresistibly drawn to three particular nations—the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews : these are names for ever associated with our best feelings and our first interests: the poets and the orators, the sages and the heroes of Greece and Rome still animate our imaginations and instruct our minds; and the law-giyer of Israel led his people from Egypt to give birth to the prophets of our religion, and when the fulness of time was come, to the SAVIOUR of the world.
Ancient history is not excluded : a knowledge of it is pre-supposed in the study of modern history; a knowledge, at least, of those events, which can now be ascertained, and of those nations more particularly whose taste, philosophy, and religion are still visible in our own. Ancient history at last conducts us to the exclusive consideration of the Romans Rome is the only figure left in the foreground of the picture; but in the distance are seen the northern nations, who are now to come forward and to share with the Romans our curiosity and attention.
These nations had already been but too well known to the Roman people. They had destroyed five consular armiesencountered Marius-contended with Julius Casar--annihi
lated Varus and his three legions, and given the title of Germanicus to the first Roman of his age.
In the time of Marcus Antoninus a general union was formed by the Barbarians, and they were not subdued till after a long and doubtful conflict.
About the middle of the third century, under the reigo of Valerian and Gallienus, they began every where to press forward, and were seen fairly struggling with the Romans for the empire of Europe.
Here then we are to make our first pause; we are to stop and reflect upon the scene before us. We have the civilized and uncivilized portions of the world contending—we have the two great divisions of mankind, which then existed, drawn up
What were the exact characters of each ?—which was likely to prevail ?—what was to be the result of this strange and tremendous collision! These are the great questions that occur at this remarkable juncture, at this critical interval between the ancient and modern history of the European nations. We are not without our means of inquiry into this interesting subject. We will take each of these questions in their order. 1st, What were the exact characters of the Barbarians and the Romans at this extraordinary crisis? With respect to the Barbarians—fortunately for us they fell under the observation first of one of the most celebrated men, and afterwards of one of the most celebrated writers of antiquity-of Cæsar and of Tacitus: to them we must refer. I will say a word of each in their order. The Commentaries of Cæsar must be consulted, not only in the sixth book, but in the first and fourth. And here I must observe, that though the Celts or Gauls are not to be confounded with the Gothic nations, who finally overran the Roman Empire, still there is not a part of the work that is not connected with the general subject; the whole is a picture of the two great portions into which mankind might be then divided (the civilized and the barbarians), while it professes to be only on account of the campaigns of Cæsar in Gaul. I will cite an example or two; and I do this the more readily and the more at length, that I may, as early as possible, and as strongly as possible, enforce upon the minds of my hearers the following remark :-that there is nothing of so much consequence to the reader of history as to acquire the art of drawing from an original author such inferences as the author himself never expected would be made by his readers, and perhaps never intended they should make. Cæsar, for instance, is not giving an avowed description of the Germans, when he gives us the reply of Ariovistus; yet how could he have described the military force of the country more strongly ? “Fight us, if you please,” said the bold Barbarian; “ you will learn to know us; we are a nation that have been under no roof within the last fourteen years.” “Quum vellet, congrederetur; intellecturum, quid invicti Germani et exercitatissimi armis, qui intra annos quatuordecim tectumnon subissent, virtute possunt.'
Again, Cæsar does not profess to illustrate the unsettled nature of these nations and their frequent migrations; yet these facts appear in every page of his work. He begins with the migration of the Helvetii—what was the reason? They found, it seems, their territory inadequate to their numbers, and unworthy of their renown. From one passage we may collect what their territory was ; from another their numbers : and as the population could scarcely have been that of nine to a square mile, the fact must have been, though the country was mountainous, that they were fierce and restless, and unskilled in agriculture. They stated their fighting men to be ninety-two thousand ; and with this force they were ready to undertake an expedition of this doubtful nature. After a conflict with Cæsar little more than a fourth of the whole nation returned ; that is, nearly three hundred thousand people must have perished—a specimen of the calamities by which these migrations must have been often attended. Again, Cæsar is giving no description of the unhappy state of mankind at this period; yet after telling us the story of the Atuatici, (B. ii.) and speaking of a strong hold into which they had thrown themselves, as a last resource, his words are these :—“ Postridie ejus diei, refractis portis, quum jam defenderet nemo; atque intromissis militibus nostris; sectionem ejus oppidi universam Cæsar vendidit: ab his, qui emerant, capitum numerus ad eum relatus est, quinquaginta trium muillium,”—i. e. in fact there seems to have been no difficulty in selling, as slaves, fifty-three thousand people at a time, in the heart of Europe.
No occurrence can be mentioned more as a thing of course; such we know from other sources was the common fate of the vanquished, at a time when war seems to have been the great business of human life. What then must have been the state of mankind ?
Cæsar is not taking any pains to illustrate the military character of either the Barbarians or the Romans : yet he tells us that the Nervii, from the dead bodies of their countrymen, threw their darts, as from an eminence, and seized and returned the pila, which had been hurled at them by the Romans.—“His dejectis et coacervatis cadaveribus, qui superessent, ut ex tumulo, tela in nostros conjicerent: pilaque intercepta remitterent.”—In the next section he tells us, that of six hundred of their senators, three only remained; and of sixty thousand fighting men, scarcely five hundred. No doubt this was one of the most tremendous conflicts in the course of his campaigns, but if such facts ever occurred, what must in general have been the vanquished, and what the victors ?
In this manner from indirect notices in the recital of an original author, a more lively idea can often be formed, than from the most regular and professed description. Such a description, however, of the Gauls and Germans is given by Cæsar in the sixth book. Of the former the picture is short, but striking—“ Plebs pæne servorum habetur loco ; quæ per se nihil audet, et nulli adhibetur concilio-Viri in uxores, sicuti in liberos, vitæ necisque habent potestatem.-Qui in præliis periculisque versantur, aut pro victimis homines immolant; aut se immolaturos, vovent. Administrisque ad ea sacrificia Druidibus utuntur.”
A horrible description follows: a wicker figure of a man, immense in size, the interstices of which were to be filled up with living men and then burnt. “Alii immani magnitudine simulacra habent, quorum contexta viminibus membra, vivis hominibus complent; quibus succensis circumventi flammâ exanimantur homines." So ingenious is the dullest superstition in contriving its abominable torments. The Druids, indeed, settled the temporal disputes of the community, and gave instructions in astronomy, the doctrine of immortality, &c._“Non interire animas; multa præterea de sideribus; de rerum natura,” &c. But what knowledge of any value could be taught by the priests of so gloomy a superstition ?