Page images
PDF
EPUB

splendid fault, which none but men t. çenius can commit." (pp. 403, 404.) The best explanation of his success, and the best apology for hib defects as a spoaker. is to be found, we believe, in the following candid passage :—

"The Juries among whom he was thrown, and for whom he originally funned Ms style, were nal laslidk'Ug critics; they Mere more usually men aUnindmg in rude unpolished sympathies, and who were ready ю surrender ihe treasure, of which they scarcely knew the value, lo him that offered them Ihe most alluring toys. Whatever might have been his own heiter laste, as an advocate he soon discovered, ihnl the surest way to persurde was lo conciliait1 by amusing them. With them he found ihn! his imagination might revel unrestrained ; lhal, when om e the work of intoxication was begun, every wayward fancy and wild expression was as acceptable and effectual as the most refined wit; and that the favour which they would have refused lo the unattractive reasoner, or lo the too distant and formal oraior, they had not the firmness to withhold, when solicited with the gay persuasive familiarity of a companion. These careless or liceniious habile, encouraged hv early applause and victory, were never thrown aside; and we can observe, in almost all his productions, no matter how august the audience, or how solemn the occasion, (hat his mind is perpetually rtlapsmg into its primitive indulgences."—pp. 412, 413.

The learned author closes this very able and eloquent dissertation with some remarks upon what he says is now denominated the Irish school of eloquence; and seems inclined to deny that its profusion of imagery implies any deficiency, or even neglect of argument. t\s we had some share, we believe, in imposing this denomination, we may be pardoned fui feel ¡иг some little anxiety that it should be rightly understood; and beg leave therefore to sav, that we are as far as possible from holding, that the greatest richness of imagery necessarily excludes close or accurate reasonins;: holdina. on the contrary, that it is frequently its most appropriate vehicle and natural exponent—as in Lord liacon, Lord Chatham, and Jeremy Taylor. But the eloquence we wished to characterise, is that where ihe figures and ornaments of speech do inlerfeie with its substantial object—where fancy is not ministran! but predominant— where the imagination is not merely awakened, but intoxicated — and either overlays and obscures the sense, or frolics and gambols around it, to the disturbance of its march, and the weakening of its array for the contest :—And of this kind, we still humbly think, was the eloquence of Mr. Curran.

His biographer says, indeed, that it is a mislake to call it Irish, because Swift and Goldsmith had none oC it—and Milton and Bacon and Chatham had much: and moreover, that Burke and Gratlan and Curran had each a distinctive style of eloquence, and ought not to be classed together. How old the style may be in Ireland, we cannot undertake to say—though we think there are traces of it in Ossian. We would observe too, that, though born in Ireland, neither Swift nor Goldsmith were trained in the Irish school, or worked for the Irish market; and we have already said, that it is totally to mistake our conception of the style in question, to ascribe any

tincture of it to such writers as Millón, Bacon, or Taylor. There is fancy and figure enough certainly in their compositions: But there is no intoxication of the fancy, and no rioting and revelling among figures—no ungovemea and ungovernable impulse—no fond dalliance with melaphors—no mad and headlong pursuit of brilliant images and passionate expressions— no lingering among tropes and melodies—no giddy bandying of antitheses and allusions—no craving, in short, for perpetua] ¡rlilter, and panting after effect, till both speaker and hearer are lost in the splendid confusion, and the argument evaporates in the heat which was meant to enforce it. This is perhaps too strongly put; but there are large portions of Mr. C.'s Speeches to which we think the substance of the description will apply. Take, for instance, a passage, very much praised in the work betöre us, in his argument in Judge Johnson's case,—an argument, it will be remembered, on a point of law, and addressed not toa Jury, but to a Judge.

"I am not ignorant that this extraordinary construction has received ihe sanction of another Court, nor of the surprise and dismay with which il smote upon the general heart of the Bar. I am aware thai I may have the mortification of being told, in another country, of that unhappy decision; and I foresee in what confusion I shall hang down my head when I am told of it. But I cherish, loo, the consolatory hope, that 1 shall be able to tell them, that I had an old and learned friend, whom I would pul above all the sweepings of their Hall (no great compliment, we should think), who was of a différent opinion—who had derived his ideas of civil liberty from the purest fountains of Athens and of Rome—who had fed the youthful vigour of hie studious mind with the theoretic knowledge of their wisest philosophers and statesmen—and who had refined that theory into the quick and exquisite sensibility of moral insiinct, by contemplating the practice of their most illustrious examples—by dwelling on the sweet-.ioulcd piety of Ciition—on the anticipated Christianity of Sacrale*—on the gallant and pathetic patriotism of Epaminondas— on that pure austerity of Fabricius, whom to move from his integrity would have been more difficult than to have pushed the sun from his course! I would add, that if he had seemed to hesitate, it was hut for a moment—that his hesitation was like the passing cloud that ßoats across the morning sun, and hides it from the view, and does so for a moment hide it, by involving the spectator without even approaching the face of the luminary.—And ihm soothing hope I draw from the dearest and tetid«re$t recollections of my life—from the remembrance of Ihosc attic nights, and those refections of the gods, which we have spent with those admired, and respected, and beloved companions, who have gone before us; over whose ashes the most precious tears of Ireland have been shed. [Here Lord Avonmore could not refrain from bursting into tears.] Yes, my good Lord. I see you do not foreni them. I see their sacred forms passing in sad review before your memory. I see your pained and soflenedfanry recalling those happy meetings, where the innocent enjoyment of social mirth became ex panded into the nobler warmth of social virtue, and the horizon of the board became enlarged into the horizon of man—where the swelling heart conceived attd communicated the pure and generous purpoer— where my slenderer and younger taper imbibed ill borrowed light from ihe more matured and redundant fountain ofyoun."—Vol. i. pp. 139—148.

Now, ire must candidly confess, that we do not remember ever to have read any thing much more absurd than this—and that the puerility and folly of the classical intrusions is even less offensive, than the heap of incongruous metaphors by which the meaning is obscured. Does the learned author really mean to contend, that the metaphors here add either force or beauty to the sentiment? or that Bacon or Milton ever wrote any thing like this upon such a topic? In his happier moments, and more vehement adjurations, Mr. C. is often beyond all question a great and commanding orator; and we have no doubt was, to those who had the happiness of hearing him, a much greater orator than the mere readers of his speeches have any means of conceiving:—But we really cannot help repeating our protest against a style of composition which could betray its great master, and that very frequently, into such passages as those we have just extracted. The mischief is not to the master—whose genius could efface all such stains, and whose splendid successes would sink his failures in oblirion—but to the pupils, and to the public, whose taste that very genius is thus instrumental in corrupting. If young lawyers are tauirht to consider this as the style which should be aimed at and encouraged, to render Judges benevolent,—by comparing them to "the sweet-souled Cimon," and the "gallant Epaminondas;" or to talk about their own "young and slender tapers," and "the clouds and the morning sun,"—with what precious stuff will the Courts and the country be infested! It is not difficult to imitate the defects of such a style—and of all defects they are the most nauseous in imitation. Even in the hands of men of genius, the risk is, that the longer such a style is cultivated, the more extravagant it will grow,—just as those who deal in other means of intoxication, are tempted to strengthen the mixture as they proceed. The learned and candid author before us, testifies this to have been the progress of Mr. C. himself—and it is still more strikingly illustrated by the history of his models and imitators. Mr. Burke had much less of this extravagance than Mr. Grattan— Mr. Grattan much less than Mr. Curran—and Mr. Curran much less than Mr. Phillips.—It is really of some importance that the climax should bo closed, somewhere.

There is a concluding chapter, in which Mr. C.'s skill in cross-examination, and his conversational brilliancy, are commemorated; as well as the general simplicity and affability of his manners, and his personal habits anil peculiarities. He was not a profound lawyer, nor much of a general scholar, though reasonably well acquainted with all the branches of polite literature, and an eager reader of novels

—being often caught sobuing Олег the pathoi of Richardson, or laughing at the humour of Cervantes, with an unrestrained véhémence which reminds us of that of Voltaire. He spoke very slow, both in public and private, and was remarkably scrupulous in his choice of words: He slept very Little, and, like Johnson, was always averse to retire at nighl— lingering long after he arose to depart—and, in hisown house, often following one of hÍ5 guest» to his chamber, and renewing the conversation for an hour. He was habitually abstinent and temperate ; and, from his youth up, in spite of all his vivacity, the victim oí a coi:stitulio¡.ai melancholy. His wit is said to have been read т and brilliantj and altogether without gall. But the credit of this testimony is somewhat weakened by a little selection of his bons mois, with which we are furnished in a note. The greater part, we own, appear to us to be rather vulgar and ordinary; as, when a man of the name of Halfpenny was desired by the Judge to sit down, Mr. C. said, <:I thank your Lordship for having at last nailed thai rap to the counter;'' or. when observing opon lie singular pace of a Judge who was lame, he said, "Don't you see that one leg goes beiorp. like a tipstaffj to make room for the other V: —or, when vindicating his countrymen from the charge of being naturally vicious, he said, :! He had never yet heard of an Irishman Ъ*-;:._ born drunk.'' The following, however, л good—"I can't tell you, Curran," obsemü an Irish nobleman, who had voted for the Union, "how frightful our old House of Cummonв appears to me." "Ah! my Lord," replied the other, "it is only natural for Murderers to be afraid of Ghosts;'1—and this it at least grotesque. "Being asked what an Irish gentleman, just arrived in England, could mean by perpetually putting out his tongue! Answer—'• I suppose he's trying to cold tit English accent.' •' In his last illness, hisphi» ciau observing in the mornim: that he set>n.e: to cough with more difficulty, he answered, "that is rather surprising, as I have ben practising all night."

But these things are of little consequence Mr. Curran was something much better than a sayer of smart sayings. He was a lover of his country—and its fearless, its devoted, a:, i indefatigable servant. To his energy and Ыents she was perhaps indebted for some mi:.galion of her sufferings in the days of her eitremity—and to these, at all érente, the pobhc has been indebted, in a great degree, for ;:.* knowledge they now have of her \vroncs: a:; for the feeling which that knowledge has exched, of the necessity of granting them :vdrefs. It is in this character that he mes: have most wished to be remembered, and ,;i which he has most deserved it.

Er, 1822.)

fiirilzerland, or a Journal of a Tour and Residence in that Country in the Years 1817, 1818. and 1819. Followed by an Historical Sketch of the Manners and Customs of Ancient and Modern Helvetia, in ichic/i tlie Events of our own time are fully detailed: together with tlit Causes to which they may be referred. By L. Simond. Author of Journal oi" a Tour and Residence in Great Britain during the Years ISlOancl 1811. In 2 vols. 8vo. London: 1822.*

M. Simond is already well known in this country as the author of one of the best accounts of it that has ever been given to the world, either by native or foreigner—the fullest certainly, and the most unprejudiced— and containing the most faithful descriptions both of the aspect of our country, and the pectiliaritii's of our manners and character, that has yet come under our observation. There are sunn* mistakes, and some rash judgments; but nothing can exceed the candour of the «•stimule, or the fairness and independence of «pint with which it is made; while the whole is pervaded by a vein of original thought, always sagacious, and not unfrequently profound. The main fault of that book, as a «•ork of permanent interest and instruction, which it might otherwise have been, is the too great space which is alloted to the transient occurrences and discussions of the time to which it refers—most of which have already lost their interest, and not only read like old news and stale politics, but have extended their own atmosphere of repulsion to many admirable remarks and valuable suggestions, of which they happen to be the vehicles.

The work before us is marked by the same excellences, and is nearly free from the faults to vrhich we have just alluded. In spite of this, however—perhaps even in consequence of it—we suspect it will not generally be thought so entertaining; the scene being necessarily so much narrower, and the persons of the drama fewer and less diversified. The work, however, is full of admirable description and original remark:—nor do we know any book of travels, ancient or modern, which contain«, in the same compass, so many graphic and animated delineations of external objects, or so many just and vigorous observations on the moral phenomena it records. The most remarkable thing about it. however —anil it occurs equally in the authors former publication—is the singular combination of enthusiasm and austerity that appears both in the descriptive, and the reasoning or ethical parts of the performance—the perpetual struggle that seems to exist between the feelings and fancy of the author, and the sterner intimations' of his understanding. There is,

* I reprint я part of this paper:—partly out of love to the memory of the author, who wns my ronncrti»n and particular friend :—hut chiefly for the galt«; •>( his remarks on our English manners, and my judgment on thés« remarks—which I would venture to submit 10 llie sensitive patriots uf America, a« a specimen of the temperance with which the puT.'i'i-s nf other countries can deal with the censors of uifT national hubiisand pretensions to 6ne breeding.

.accordingly, in all his moral and political obi scrvations at least, a constant alternation of 'romantic philanthropy and bitter sarcasm—of the most captivating views of apparent happiness and virtue, and the most relentless disclosures of actual guilt and misery—of the sweetest and most plausible illusions, and the most withering and chilling truths. He expatiates, for example, through many pages, on the heroic valour and devoted patriotism of the old Helvetic worthies, with the memorials of which the face of their country is cevered—and then proceeds to dissect their character and manners with the most cruel particularity, and makes them out to have been most barbarous, venal, and uniuit. In the same way, he bewitches his readers with seducing pictures of the peace, simplicity, independence, and honesty of the mountain villagers; and by and by takes occasion to 1 tell us. that they are not only more stupid, but more corrupt than the inhabitants of cities. He eulogises the solid learning and domestic habits that prevail at Zurich and Geneva; and then makes it known to us that they are infested with faction and ennui. He draw» a delightful picture of the white cottages and smiling pastures in which the cheerful peasants of the Engadine have their romantic habitations—and then casis us down from our elevation without the least pity, by informing us, that the best of Iheru arc those who have returned from haw king stucco parrots, sixpenny looking-glasses, and coloured sweetmeats through all the towns of Europe. He is always strong for liberty, and indignant at oppression—but cannot settle very \\ell in what liberty consists; and seems to suspect, at last, that political rights are offener a source of disorder than of comfort; and that if person and property are tolerably secure, it is mere quixotism to look further.

So strong a contrast of warm feelings and cold reasonings, such animating and such despairiiuT views of the nature and destiny of mankind, are not often to be found in the same mind—¡nul still less frequently in the same book : And yet they amount but to an extreme case, or strong example, of the inconsistencies through which all men of generous tempers and vigorous understandings are perpetually passing, as the one or the other part of theii constitution assumes the ascendant. There are many of our good feelings, we suspect, and some even of our good principles, thai rest upon a sort of illusion; or cannot eubmil at least to be questioned by frigid reason, without being for the time a good deal discountenanced and impaired—and this we takt

[ocr errors]

to be very clearly the case with M. Simond. His temperament is plainly enthusiastic, and his fancy powerful: }. his reason is active and exacting, and his love of truth paramount to all other considerations. His natural sympathies are with all fine and all lofty qualities —but it is his honest conviction, that happimess is most securely built of more vulgar materials—and that there is even something ridiculous in investing our humble human nature with these magnificent attributes. At all events it is impossible to doubt of his sincerity in both parts of the representation;– for there is not the least appearance of a love of paradox, or a desire to produce effect; and nothing can be so striking as the air of candour and impartiality that prevails through the whole work. If any traces of prejudice may still be detected, i. have manifestly survived the most strenuous efforts to efface them. The strongest, we think, are against French character and English manners—with some, perhaps, against the French Revolution, and its late Imperial consummator. He is very prone to admire Nature—but not easily satisfied with Man –and, though most intolerant of intolerance, and most indulgent to those defects of which adventitiousadvantages make men most impatient, he is evidently of opinion that scarcely anything is exactly as it should be in the present state of society— and that little more can be said for most existing habits and institutions, than that they have been, and might have been, still worse. He sets out for the most picturesque country of Europe, from that which is certainly the least so:—and gives the first indications of his

sensitiveness on these ''. by a passing critique on the ancient châteaus of France, and their former inhabitants. We may as

well introduce him to our readers with this passage as with any other.

“A few comfortable residences, scattered about the country, have lately put us in mind how very rare they are in general: Instead of them, you meet, not unfrequently, some ten or twenty miserable hovels, crowded together round what was formerly the stronghold of the lord of the manor; a narrow, dark, prison-like building, with small grated windows, embattled walls, and turrets peeping over thatched roofs. The lonely cluster seems unconnected with the rest of the country, and may be said to represent the feudal system, as plants in a hortus siccus do the vegetable. Long before the Revolution, these châteaux had been mostly forsaken by their seigneurs, for the nearest country town; where Monsieur le Compte, or Monsieur le Marquis, decorated with the cross of St. Louis, made shift to live on his paltry seigniorial dues, and rents ill paid by a starving peasantry; spending his time in reminiscences of gallantry with the old dowagers of the to: who rouged and wore patches, dressed in oops and high-heeled shoes, full four inches, and long pointed elbow-ruffles, balanced with lead. Not one individual of this good company knew anything of what was passing in the world, or suspected that any change had taken place since the days of Louis XIV. No book found its way there; no one read, not even a newspaper. hen the Revolution burst upon this inferior nobility of the provinces, it appeared to them like Attila and the Huns to the

[ocr errors]

of destruction—a savage enemy, speaking an un known language, with whom no compromise could be made.”

The first view of the country, though no longer new to most readers, is given with a truth, and a freshness of feeling which we are tempted to preserve in an extract.

“Soon after passing the frontiers of the two countries, the view, heretofore bounded by near ob. jects, woods and pastures, rocks and snows, opened all at once upon the Canton de Vaud, and upon half Switzerland a vast extent of undulating country. tufted woods and fields, and silvery streams and lakes; villages and towns, with their antique towers, and their church-steeples shining in the sun. “The lake of Neuchâtel, far below on the left, and those of Morat and of Vienne, like mirrors set in deep frames, contrasted by the tranquillity of their lucid surfaces, with the dark shades and broken grounds and ridges of the various landscape. Be: yond this vast extent of country, its villages and towns, woods, lakes, and mountains; beyond all terrestrial objects—beyond the horizon itself, rose a long range of ačrial forms, of the softest pale pink hue: These were the high Alps, the rampart of Italy—from Mont Blanc in Savoy, to the glaciers of the Overland, and even further. Their angle of elevation seen from this distance is very small indeed. Faithfully represented in a drawing, the effect would be insignificant; but the aerial perspective amply restored the proportions lost in the mathematical perspective. “The human mind thirsts aster immensity and immutability, and duration without bounds; but it needs some tangible object from which to take its flight, something present to lead to futurity, something bounded from whence to rise to the infinite. This vault of the heavens over our head, sinking all terrestrial objects into absolute nothingness, might seem best fitted to awaken this sense of expansion in the mind: But mere space is not a perceptible object to which we can readily apply a scale, while the Alps, seen at a glance between heaven and earth—met as it were on the confines of the regions of fancy and of sober reality, are there like written characters, traced by a divine hand, and suggesting thoughts such as human language never reached. “Coming down the Jura, a long descent brought us to what appeared a plain, but which pro o varied country with hills and dales, divided into neal enclosures of hawthorn in full bloom, and large hedge-row trees, mostly walnut, oak, and ash. It had altogether very much the appearance of the most beautiful parts of England, although the enclosures were on a smaller scale, and the cottages less meat and ornamented. They differed entirely from France, where the dwellings are always colected in villages, the fields all open, and without trees. Numerous streams of the clearest water crossed the road, and watered very fine meadows. The houses, built of stone, low, broad, and massy, either thatched or covered with heavy wooden shingles, and shaded with magnificent walnut trees, might all have furnished studies to an artist.” Vol. i. pp. 25–27. The following, however, is more characteristic of the author's vigorous and familiar, but somewhat quaint and abrupt, style of description. “Leaving our equipages at Ballaigne, we proceeded to the falls of the Orbe, through a hanging wood of fine old oaks, and came, after a long descent, to a place where the Orbe breaks through a great mass of ruins, which, at some verv remote period, have fallen from the mountain, and entirely obstructed its channel. All the earth, and all tho and fury, among the larger fragments, and falla above the height of eighty fei*i, m the very best piyle. The blocks, muny of thorn as I urge ae a good-sized three-story house, are heaped up most Kirangely, jammed in by t heir angles—in equilibrium on a point, or tunning perilous bridges, over which you may, wiih proper precaution, pick your way to the other side. The quarry from which ihe materials of ihe bridge came is just above your head, and the miners are etill at work—air, water, frost, weight, and lime! The strata of limestone are evidently breaking down; iheir deep rents are widening, and enormous masses, already loosened from the mountain, and suspended on their precarious bayes, seem only wailing for the lust effort of ihe great lever of nature to take ihe horrid leap, and bury under some hundred feel of new chaotic ruine, the trees, the verdant lawn—and yourself, who are looking on and foretelling the catastrophe! We tt:tt ibis scene at last reluctantly, and proceeded to wards ihe dt/it-de-vaulion, at the base of which we arrived in iwo hours, and in twn hours more reached the summit, which is fmir thousand lour hundr«! and seventy-six feet above the sea, and three thousand three hundred and fony-two lV-et above l lie lake oí Cieñe va. Our path lav over smooth turl. sufficiently steep to make it difficult to climb. At ihe top we found a narrow ridge, not more than one hundred yards wide. The south view, a most magnificent one, was unfortunately 100 like that at our entrance into Switzerland to bear a second description; the other side of the ridge can scarcely be approached without terror, being almost perpendicular. Crawling, therefore, on our hands ami knees, we ventured, in I his modest attitude, to look out of ihe window at the hundred and fitneth story (at least two thousand teet), and are what was doing in the street. Herds ot cattle in the infiniment pttit were grazing on the verdant lawn ot ¡i narrow vale; on the oilier side of which, a mountain, overgrown with dark pines, marked the boundary oí France. Towards the west, we saw a piece of water, which appeared like a mere fishpond. It was ihe lake of Joux. two leagues in length, and half a league in breudih. We were to look tor our Main's lodgings in lib- village on its banks."—Vo!. i. pp. 33—36.

people of the fifth century—the Scourge of God, smaller fragments, having long since disappeared coming nobody knew whence, for the mere purpose and the water now works its way, with great nois

[graphic]

"Bien ne struck us;is more Swiss than any thing we hud yet seen, or rather as il we were entering •Switzerland lor the first time; every thing looked and Bounded so foreign: And yet to see the curiosity we excited the moment we landed and entered the streets, we might iiave supposed it was ourselves who lookf-d rather outlandish. 'I he women wore their hair plaited down to their heels, while the full petticoat did not descend near Po far. Several groupa of them, sitting at their doors, sung in part», with an accuracy of ear and taste innate among the Germans, (.¿ateways fortified wiili towers intersect the streets, which are composed of strangelooking houses built on arradre. like those of bridges, and variously painted, bine with yellow borders, red with white, or purple and grey; projecling iron balconies, highly worked and of a glossy black, with bright green window frames. The luxury of fountains and of running water is etill greater here than at NeiK-hnte) ; and you might be lempted to quench your thirst in the kennel, it runs Fo clear and pure. Morning and evening. goats, in im menee droves, conducted to or from the mountain, traverse the streets, and stop of them*elvee, each nt its own door. In the interior of ihe houses, most articles of furniture are quai till v shaped and ornamented; old-looking, but rubbed bright, and in good preservation; from the nut-crack«jr. curiously curved, to the double-necked cruet, p.-nring oil and vinegar out of the pnrne bottle. The accommodations at the inn are homely, but not uncomfortable; substantially good, though not elegant."—Vol. i. pp. 65, G6.

We may aild the followirg, which is in the same style.

*'It rained all day yesterday, and we remained shut up in our room at a German inn in Waldbhul, enjoying a day's rest with our books, and observing men and manners in Germany, through the email round panes of our casements. The projecting roofs ot houses afford so much sheller on both .sides of the streets, that the beau sex ol Waldehnl were out all day long in their Sunday clothes, as it it had been tine weather; their long yellow hair in a single plait hung down to iheir heels, along a back made very strait by the habit of carrying pails of milk and water on the head ; their snow-white shiftsleeves, rolled up to the shoulder, exposed to view a sinewy, sun-burnt arm ; the dark red stays were laced with black in front, and a petticoat scarcely longer i han the Scotch kilt, hid nothing of ihe lower limb, nor ut a pcrledly neat stocking, \\ i-il sueiched by red garters lull in sight. The uyed among them, generally frightful, looked like withered little old men in disguise."—Vol. i pp. 87, 88.

Of all the Swiss cities, he seems to have been most struck with Berne; and the impression made by its majestic exterior, has even made him a little too partial, we mink, to its aristocratic constitution. His description of its appearance is given with equal spirit and precision.

"These fine woods extend almost to the very gates of Berne, where you arrive under an avenue ot limes, winch, in ihis ecason, perfume the air. There are seats by the side of the road, for the convenience of tout-passengers, especially women going to market, with a shelf above, at the hi-ight of a person standing, for the purpose of receiving their baskets while they rest themselves on the bench: yon meet also with fountains at regular distances. The whole country lias the, appearance of English pleasure-grounds. The town itself stands on the elevated banks of a rapid river, the Aar. to which the Rhine is indebted for one halt of its waters. A sudden bend of the stream encloses, on all sides but one, the promontory on which the town ¡9 built; the mngnificent slope is in some places covered wiih turf, supported in other» by lolly terraces planted wiih trees, and commanding wonderful views over the surrounding rich country, and the high Alps beyond it.

"It is not an easy matter to account for the first impression you receive upon entering Berne. You certainly teel that you have got to an ancient and a great city: Vet, before the eleventh century, it had not a mime, and its present population doos not exceed twelve thousand souls. It is a republic; ye. it looks kingly. Something of Roman majesty np • pears in its lofty terraces; in (hose massy arche* on each side of the streets; in ihe abundance of water flowing night and day into gigantic btisina • in ihe magnificent avenues oí trees. The very silence, anu absence of bustle, a certain statelinese and reserved demeanour in ihe inhabitants, by showing it to he not a money-making tow n, implies that its wealth springs from more solid and permanent sources than trade can afford, and that another spirit animates its inhabitants. In short, of all the first-sight impressions and guesses about Berne, that of i's being a Roman town would be nearer right than any other. Circumstances, in some ri'speris similar, have produced like results in ihe Alps, and on the plains of Latinm, at ihe interval of ( weniy centuries. Luxury at Berne seema wholly directed to objects of public utility. By the side of ihose gigantic terraces, of those fine fountains, and noble shades, you see none hut simple arid solid dwellings, yet scarcely any beggarly ones; not an equipage, to be seen, but many a country wagon, corning to market, with a capital team of horses, or oxen, well appointed every wny.

"Aristocratic pride is said to he excessive at Berne ; and The antique simplicity of its magistrates, the plain and easy manners they uniformly pro

« PreviousContinue »