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we have no doubt that the vague declamations and sentimental paroxysms of Werther delineate with considerable accuracy a real stage in Goethe's development. We have Kestner's authority for the fact that many remarkable scenes not unlike those described in the romance took place between Goethe and Charlotte, and he adds that there is in the Werther of the fiction much of Goethe's character and way of thinking. This applies mainly to the first part, before Werther has reached the crisis of his passion and despair. The second part has another foundation. Soon after Goethe's departure from Wetzlar, a young man of the name of Jerusalem shot himself there, in a state of morbid melancholy, induced partly, it was said, by an insulting exclusion from society, and partly by an unrequited attachment to a married lady residing at the place.
The details of Jerusalem's ast days were furnished at the time to Goethe by Kestner, and the minutest incidents found embodied without variation in the fiction. It was a curious, and one would have thought hopeless, endeavour to create a work of art out of two distinct masses of real fact, both of them preserved almost unmodified. There was this natural point of union that Jerusalem's frame of mind was but the natural development of that in which Goethe had himself indulged; still, nothing but great constructive genius could ever have moulded from them so unembarrassed and consistent a whole as Werther certainly presents. The delicacy of the proceeding and its justifiableness are another matter, and we fully sympathize in the indignation which the publication aroused in Kestner, especially when we consider that it was calculated to convey a very false impression of what had been his wife's relation to Goethe. There requires, we think, no other proof that Goethe's nature was incapable of any very profound feeling of attachment, than his way of using his tender and yet fresh experiences as so much poetical capital. The deepest affections have this infallible symptom, that they attach a sacredness to all the circumstances and persons which have called them forth. They cannot exist without the consciousness of their own value and sanctity. The poet has an irresistible impulse to lay bare the innermost secrets of his experience: he must utter himself, and, whatever may be the explanation of it, he loves to utter himself to others. But the poet who has that divine yet awful gift of profound affections, shrinks intuitively from anything which can betray him in his personal relations; what he has suffered and what he has felt do but impart richness and fulness to his creation, or if some secret of the heart's history rise to his lips, it never finds expression in such a form, as that every stranger may pierce to
the naked centre of fact. If any one would compare how sensibility without feeling, and sensibility with deep feeling, express their experiences, he may read the confessions of Rousseau, with the Julian and Maddalo and Epipsychidion of Shelley. The privacies of his own heart, however, a man may, if he chooses, send to his publisher; but thus to bare to the world those of his friends, admits of no defence. The history of literature scarcely contains an instance of a more unjustifiable breach of the rights and confidence of social intercourse, than was afforded by the publication of Goethe's “ Werther.”
ART. VIII.-INTERNATIONAL DUTIES, AND THE
Correspondence Relative to the Affairs of Hungary, 1847-1849.
Presented to Both Houses of Parliament by Command of
Her Majesty. August 15, 1850. Eastern Papers. Parts I. to XIII. inclusive. Presented to
the House of Commons by Command of Her Majesty.
1854, 1855. The Progress and Present Position of Russia in the East. An
Historical Summary. Fourth Edition. Continued down to
the Present Time. London. 1854. The Letter of John Bright, Esq., M.P., on the War. Verified
and Illustrated by Extracts from the Parliamentary Documents, &c. London. 1854. The War with Russia ; its Origin and Cause. A Reply to the Letter of J. Bright, Esq., M.P. By John ALFRED LANGFORD.
London. 1855. THE story is told of Plato, that when exasperated by the
delinquency of a slave, he said, “I shall not chastise you now, for I am angry." Whether the boy was flogged next day, without any anger at all, the gossip of philosophy does not report. But if he was, it must have been a dreary business, ugly alike for whipper and whipped ;-a material striping of cold flesh, unredeemed by any flush of higher meaning, and reduced from justice into surgery. If anything worthy is to come of moral indignation, you must take it at its heat, and to suppress all action upon it till sentiment is gone, dissipated into scepticisms or grown stale with self-interest, is simply to miss the
responsible moment, and attempt by dead pressure what a living percussion was given to achieve. It is a poor wisdom that cannot regulate an impulse liable to tempestuous excess, except by waiting till it has blown over, and must forego its use in fear of its abuse. The hour of its presence is the hour for its just control; and to hinder it from wrong by denying all its rights is an evasion of the very essence of obligation.
At the beginning of last year, the English nation was in a mood of reasonable indignation at the arrogance and hypocrisy of the Russian Autocrat.
were represented by a Platonic Administration, who thought we had better sleep upon it and cool down,—who shrank from the responsibility of vigorously wielding the public rebuke, and hoped to find us disposed to compromise on the morrow, and conscious of the inconveniences and cost of anger. The languid and halfhearted tone of Ministers was felt to imply something else than the honest reluctance of men generously just to believe in the necessity of coercion: it was the manifest expression of indistinctness of view and indecision of will, and was uneasily suspected to indicate a state of mind out of sympathy with the demands of the nation. There was the less excuse for this, because the popular feeling, though beyond example universal, ran into no excess, and required no repression, but was so measured and reasonable that no statesman had need to be ashamed of forthwith shaping it into action. Never, we suppose, was a great war entered upon with less of blind passion in the public mind; and when Mr. Gladstone dissuades his countrymen from the brutal vengeance that thirsts for mere bloodshed and humiliation, his counsels grossly wrong the temper of every party in the nation. The want of frankness and manifest resolve in the Government has produced results less palpable, indeed, than the fruits of executive mismanagement, but scarcely less deplorable. It has incurred a moral waste of the fresh and higher spirit of the country. It has lost the flood-tide of an unparalleled unanimity. It has allowed time for scruples and sophistries to arise, and perplex the first instinct of right. It has reanimated the jealousies and ambitions of party. It has encouraged every lower propensity to speak out, and push its plea-of international indifferentism, of Muscovite omnipotence, of Turkish infidelity. The nation —who can deny it ?-breathes a less pure and noble air than inspired it a year ago ; and with its material preparations vastly more complete, its moral faith in itself, in its public men, in the drift of its enterprise, in the future of Europe, is bewildered and depressed. The first judgment of the English people on the Russian question, pronounced when Sir Hamilton
Seymour's papers were published, was prompt and decisive,-not only sweeping away party and class distinctions, but suppressing even the most crotchety and croaking voices, and recalling an experience lost for generations past,-what it is for a country to feel, throughout, the pulsation of a common thought. The commercial spirit forgot its sensitive interests and compromising tastes, and yielded to the claims of right; and even the pledged professors of non-resistance were staggered by the attitude of the public mind, to which their stereotyped descriptions of insatiate rage and martial madness had evidently no application, which was indeed so little Satanic that the Peace Tracts read like utter unrealities, and which even indicated an aim and temper higher than mere philanthropy was entitled to rebuke. That first feeling was essentially an instinct of justice, with nothing in it vindictive, aggressive, or revolutionary. But, like all popular impulses, it was only a feeling; it needed interpretation and direction; it was a verdict on the past, a discovery of startling truth in the present, and did not clearly see its path across the future. The statesmen who were bound to help it into a determinate track left it at large, or referred it to direction-posts that pointed no-whither. Objectors, seeing it in a maze, took courage to ask, what exactly it would be at, and how far precisely it was prepared to go ;-questions which it was conscious of a total inability to answer. Nor to a distracted public, at a loss to justify its own enthusiasm, were there wanting grounds of natural misgiving. It was a fine thing to be clinking glasses with France; but there was an uneasy element too in that alliance. haps necessary to find out what Austria would do ; but then how to be civil at Vienna without an unkindly cut to Pesth and Warsaw! It was all right not to let the “sick man” be frightened into convulsions by hinting extreme unction and displaying testamentary parchments at his bed-side ; but the Turk was not a protégé to reward much hope and pride. Did not Exeter-hall denounce him? And were not the prophecies dead against him ? Thus have time and delay frittered away the first feeling, and permitted the entrance of self-distrust and perplexity. Nevertheless, the popular sentiment, however puzzled to explain itself, is still, we think, essentially sound, and yields up, on proper interrogation, the true principles both of rectitude and of policy, by which to appreciate the present crisis.
We take for granted that there is such a thing as right and wrong in the relations and conduct of states; that they are amenable to the same moral law that has authority over the life of individuals; and that, in its obligation, this law is not a
It was per
flexible affair, of human convention, but a permanent ordinance of nature and of God. With any one who deliberately denies these positions it would be idle to discuss international questions on ethical grounds. He either thinks that there ought to be no “nations” at all, but only scattered parcels of homogeneous men; or that, if we must recognise them in fact, we have nothing to do with them in duty, except to let them alone and take no notice of them. In the one case, he deals with the world in a cosmopolitan way, as the cage of a particular species in natural history, or as an examination-room of separate souls on trial for heaven or hell; in the other, he estimates it selfishly, and has no other patriotism than to secure its gains while declining its struggles. Few reasoners, it is probable, would openly profess to hold by these assumptions in our day; yet they lurk unconsciously in almost every political argument. They are favoured by the habits of mind characteristic of commerce ;-by the religious sentiment, while its broad outline is empty of special colouring ;-by the absence of historic taste and culture from the middle-class intelligence of England. Hence the utter want of any coherent principles of political judgment,—the helplessness of mind in regard to foreign affairs, invariably evinced in the popular and Parliamentary debates, especially, we regret to say, among the modern liberals. The ablest men, drawn into that field, seem to wander without a clue; they enunciate no principle, expound no policy; they mix up in one tissue calculations of cost and threnodies of humanity, quarters of corn and Mahommedan polygamy; they plead the necessity of a safe isolation on grounds of universal love; and expend their strength in excursive criticisms on the past which afford no guidance for the future. Mr. Bright repudiates Vattel, and will hear nothing of international law; but of the “far higher morality” to which he affects to carry the appeal he gives no illustration, unless it be in his vindication of the course of Russian diplomacy and the innocence of the Menschikoff note; or in his habit of Parliamentary personality, which unfortunately gives to his public virtue too much the aspect of mere hatred of public men. Mr. Cobden protests against being regarded as an advocate of non-resistance; but will pledge himself to nothing else till the Russians appear at Portsmouth; and will then bargain for a post in the hospital rather than the forts, lest he should really shoot somebody. Nay, even the class of professed statesmen, as Lord Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle, allow themselves to speak of “going to war in order to obtain a peace,”-an expression which, like all cant phrases, surely misses the moral pith of the whole question, and indicates a mind not clearly seeing its own way. Not Peace, but