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Mr. Catteau admits that it has need of reform. In fact, the reputation of universities is almost always short-lived, or else it survives their merit. If they are endowed, professors become fat-witted, and never imagine that the arts and sciences are anything else but incomes. If universities, slenderly endowed, are rendered famous by the accidental occurrence of a few great teachers, the number of scholars attracted there by the reputation of the place makes the situation of a professor worth intriguing for. The learned pate is not fond of ducking to the golden fool. He who has the best talents for getting the office has most commonly the least for filling it; and men are made moral and mathematical teachers by the same trick and filthiness with which they are made tide-waiters and clerks of the kitchen.
The number of students in the University of Copenhagen is about 700: they come not only from Denmark, but from Norway and Iceland; the latter are distinguished as well for the regularity of their manners as for the intensity of their application, the instruments of which application are furnished to them by a library containing 60,000 volumes. The Danes have primary schools established in the towns, but which have need of much reform before they can answer all the beneficial ends of such an institution. We should have been happy to have learned from Mr. Catteau the degree of information diffused among the lower orders in the Danish dominions, but upon this subject he is silent. In the University of Keil there is an institution for the instruction of schoolmasters; and in the list of students in the same university we were a good deal amused to find only one student dedicating himself to Belles Lettres.
The people of Holstein and Sleswick are Dutch in their manners, character, and appearance. Their language is in general the Low German ; though the better sort of people in the towns begin to speak High German.* In Jutland and the Isles, the Danish language is spoken: within half a century this language has been cultivated with some attention ; before that period, the Danish writers preferred to make use of the Latin or the German language. It is in the island of Fionia that it is spoken with the greatest purity. The Danish character is not agreeable. It is marked by silence, phlegm, and reserve. A Dane is the excess and extravagance of a Dutchman ; more breeched, more ponderous, and more saturnine. He is not often a bad mem. ber of society in the great points of morals, and seldom a good one in the lighter requisites of manners. His understanding is alive only to the useful and the profitable : he never lives for what is merely gracious, courteous, and ornamental. His faculties seem to be drenched and slackened by the eternal fogs in which he resides; he is never alert, elastic, nor serene. His state of animal spirits is so low that what in other countries would be deemed dejection proceeding from casual misfortune, is the habitual tenor and com. plexion of his mind. In all the operations of his understanding he must have time. He is capable of undertaking great journeys; but he travels only a foot pace, and never leaps nor runs. He loves arithmetic better than lyric poetry, and affects Cocker rather than Pindar. He is slow to speak of fountains and amorous maidens; but can take a spell at porisms as well as another; and will make profound and extensive combinations of thought, if you pay him for it, and do not insist that he shall either be brisk or brief. There is something, on the contrary, extremely pleasing in the Norwegian style of character. The Norwegian expresses firmness and elevation in all
• Mr. Catteau's description of Heligoland is entertaining. In an island containing a popu. lation of 2,000, there is neither horse, cart, nor plough. We could not have imagined the possibility of such a fact in any part of Europe,
that he says and does. In comparison with the Danes, he has always been a free man; and you read his history in his looks. He is not apt, to be sure, to forgive his enemies ; but he does not deserve any, for he is hospitable in the extreme, and prevents the needy in their wants. It is not possible for a writer of this country to speak ill of the Norwegians ; for, of all strangers, the people of Norway love and admire the British the most. In reading Mr. Catteau's account of the congealed and blighted Laplanders, we were struck with the infinite delight they must have in dying ; the only circumstance in which they can enjoy any superiority over the rest of mankind ; or which tends, in their instance, to verify the theory of the equality of human condition.
If we pass over Tycho Brahé, and the well-known history of the Scaldes, of the Chronicles of Isleif, Sæmunder, Hiinfronde, Snorro, Sturleson, and other Icelandic worthies, the list of Danish literati will best prove that they have no literati at all. Are there twenty persons in Great Britain who have ever heard of Longomontanus, Nicholas Stenonis, Sperling Laurenberg, Huitfeild, Gramn, Holberg, Langebeck, Carstens, Suhm, Kofod, Anger? or of the living Wad, Fabricius, Hanch, Tode, and Zäga? We do not deny merit to these various personages; many of them may be much admired by those who are more conversant in Danish literature than we can pretend to be : but they are certainly not names on which the learned fame of any country can be built very high. They have no classical celebrity and diffusion : they are not an universal language: they have not enlarged their original dominion, and become the authors of Europe, instead of the authors of Denmark. It would be loss of time to speak of the fine arts of Denmark : they hardly exist.
We have been compelled to pass over many parts of Mr. Catteau's book more precipitately than we could have wished; but we hope we have said and exhibited enough of it to satisfy the public that it is, upon the whole, a very valuable publication. The two great requisites for his undertaking, moderation and industry, we are convinced this gentleman possesses in an eminent degree. He represents everything without prejudice, and he represents everything authentically. The same cool and judicious disposition which clears him from the spirit of party, makes him perhaps cautious in ex. cess. We are convinced that everything he says is true ; but we have been sometimes induced to suspect that we do not see the whole truth. After all, perhaps, he has told as much truth as he could do, compatibly with the opportunity of telling any. A person more disposed to touch upon critical and offensive subjects might not have submitted as diligently to the investiga. tion of truth with which passion was not concerned. How few writers are, at the same time, laborious, impartial, and intrepid !
We cannot conclude this article without expressing the high sense we entertain of the importance of such researches as those in which Mr. Cattear has been engaged. They must form the basis of all interior regulations, ani ought principally to influence the conduct of every country in its relations towards foreign powers. As they contain the best estimate of the wealth and happiness of a people, they bring theory to the strictest test ; and measure, better than all reasoning, the wisdom with which laws are made and the mildness with which they are administered. If such judicious and elaborate surveys of the state of this and other countries in Europe had been made from time to time for the last two centuries, they would have quickened and matured the progress of knowledge and the art of governing, by throwing light on the spirit and tendency of laws; they would have checked the spirit of officious interference in legislation; have softened persecution, and expanded narrow conceptions of national policy. The happiness of a nation would have been proclaimed by the fulness of its garners and the multitudes of its sheep and oxen; and rulers might sometimes have sacrificed their schemes of ambition, or their unfeeling splendour, at the detail of silent fields, empty harbours, and famished peasants.
WITTMAN'S TRAVELS. (E. Review, July, 1803.) Travels in Turkey, Asia Minor, and Syria, &c., and into Egypt. By William WITTMAN,
M.D. 1803. London : Phillips. DR. WITTMAN was sent abroad with the military mission to Turkey, towards the spring of 1799, and remained attached to it during its residence in the neighbourhood of Constantinople, its march through the desert, and its short operations in Egypt. The military mission, consisting of General Koehler, and some officers and privates of the artillery and engineers, amounting on the whole to seventy, were assembled at Constantinople, June, 1799, which they left in the same month of the following year, joined the Grand Vizier at Jaffa in July, and entered Egypt with the Turks in April, 1801. After the military operations were concluded there, Dr. Wittman returned home by Constantinople, Vienna, &c.
The travels are written in the shape of a journal, which begins and concludes with the events which we just mentioned. It is obvious that the route described by Dr. Wittman is not new: he could make no cursory and superficial observations upon the people whom he saw, or the countries through which he passed, with which the public are not already familiar. If his travels were to possess any merit at all, they were to derive that merit from accurate physical researches, from copious information on the state of medicine, surgery, and disease in Turkey; and above all, perhaps, from gratifying the rational curiosity which all inquiring minds must feel upon the nature of the plague and the indications of cure. Dr. Wittman, too, was passing over the same ground trodden by Bonaparte in his Syrian expedition, and had an ample opportunity of inquiring its probable object and the probable success which (but for the heroic defence of Acre) might have attended it; he was on the theatre of Bonaparte's imputed crimes, as well as his notorious defeat; and might have brought us back, not anile conjecture, but sound evidence of events which must determine his character who may determine our fate. We should have been happy also to have found in the Travels of Dr. Wittman a full account of the tactics and manoeuvres of the Turkish army ; and this it would not have been difficult to have obtained through the medium of his military companions. Such appear to us to be the subjects from an able discussion of which Dr. Wittman might have derived considerable reputation, by gratifying the ardour of temporary curiosity and adding to the stock of permanent knowledge.
Upon opening Dr. Wittman's book, we turned, with a considerable degree of interest, to the subject of Ja fa; and, to do justice to the Doctor, we shall quote all that has been said upon the subject of Bonaparte's conduct at this place.
“After a breach had been effected, the French troops stormed and carried the place. It was probably owing to the obstinate defence made by the Turks that the French Commander-in-Chief was induced to give orders for the horrid massacre which succeeded. Four thousand of the wretched inhabitants who had surrendered, and who had in vain implored the mercy of their conquerors, were, together with a part of the late Turkish garrison of El-Arish (amounting, it has been said, to five or six hundred), dragged out in cold blood, four days after the French had obtained possession of Jaffa, to the sand hills, about a
league distant, in the way to Gaza, and there most inhumanly put to death. I have seen the skeletons of these unfortunate victims which lie scattered over the hills ; a modern Golgotha, i which remains a lasting disgrace to a nation calling itself civilised. It would give pleasure to the author of this work, as well as to every liberal mind, to hear these facts contradicted! on substantial evidence. Indeed, I am sorry to add that the charge of cruelty against the French generally does not rest here. It having been reported that, previously to the re. treat of the French army from Syria, their Commander-in-Chief had ordered all the French sick at Jaffa to be poisoned, I was led to make the inquiry to which everyone who should have visited the spot would naturally have been directed, respecting an act of such singular and, it should seem, wanton inhumanity. It concerns me to have to state, not only that such a circumstance was positively asserted to have happened, but that, while in Egypt, an individual was pointed out to us as having been the executioner of these diabolical commands,”-(P. 128.)
Now, in this passage Dr. Wittman offers no other evidence whatever of the massacre than that he had seen the skeletons scattered over the hills, and that the fact was universally believed. But how does Dr. Wittman know what skeletons those were which he saw ? An oriental camp, affected by the plague, leaves as many skeletons behind it as a massacre. And though the Turks bury their dead, the Doctor complains of the very little depth at which they are interred; so that jackals, high winds, and a sandy soil might, with great facility, undo the work of Turkish sextons. Let anyone read Dr. Wittman's account of the camp near Jaffa, where the Turks remained so long in company with the military mission, and he will immediately perceive that, a year after their departure, it might have been mistaken, with great ease, for the scene of a massacre. The spot which Dr. Wittman saw might have been the spot where a battle had been fought. In the turbulent state of Syria, and amidst the variety of its barbarous inhabitants, can it be imagined that every bloody battle, with its precise limits and circumscription, is accurately committed to tradition, and faithfully reported to inquirers ? Besides, why scattered among hills? If 5,000 men were marched out to a convenient spot and massacred, their remains would be heaped up in a small space, a mountain of the murdered, a vast ridge of bones and rottenness. As the Doctor has described the bones' scenery, it has much more the appearance of a battle and pursuit than a massacre. After all, this gentleman lay eight months under the walls of Jaffa; whence comes it he has given us no better evidence? Were 5,000 men murdered in cold blood by a division of the French army, a year before, and did no man remain in Jaffa, who said, I saw it done,I was present when they were marched out-I went the next day, and saw the scarcely dead bodies of the victims? If Dr. Wittman received any such evidence, why did he not bring it forward? If he never inquired for such evidence, how is he qualified to write upon the subject? If he inquired for it and could not find it, how is the fact credible?
This author cannot make the same excuses as Sir Robert Wilson for the suppression of his evidence; as there could be no probability that Bonaparte would wreak his vengeance upon Solimon Aga, Mustapha Cawn, Sidi Ma. homet, or any given Turks upon whose positive evidence Dr. Wittman might have rested his accusation. "Two such wicked acts as the poisoning and the massacre have not been committed within the memory of man ;-within the same memory no such extraordinary person has appeared as he who is said to have committed them ; and yet though their commission must have been public, no one has yet said Vidi ego. The accusation still rests upon hearsay.
At the same time, widely disseminated as this accusation has been over Europe, it is extraordinary that it has not been contradicted in print; and, though Sir Robert Wilson's book must have been read in France, that no officer of the division of Bon has come forward in vindication of a criminal who could repay credulity so well. General Andreossi, who was with the
First Consul in Syria, treats the accusations as contemptible falsehoods. But though we are convinced that he is a man of character, his evidence has cer. tainly less weight, as he may have been speaking in the mask of diplomacy. As to the general circulation of the report, he must think much higher of the sagacity of multitudes than we do, who would convert this into a reason of belief. Whoever thinks it so easy to get at truth in the midst of passion should read the various histories of the recent rebellion in Ireland; or he may, if he chooses, believe, with thousands of worthy Frenchmen, that the infernale was planned by Mr. Pitt and Lord Melville. As for us, we will state what appears to us to be the truth, should it even chance to justify a man in whose lifetime Europe can know neither happiness nor peace.
The story of the poisoning is given by Dr. Wittman precisely in the same desultory manner as that of the massacre. “An individual was pointed out to us as the executioner of these diabolical commands." By how many persons was he pointed out as the executioner ? by persons of what authority ? and of what credibility ? Was it asserted from personal knowledge, or merely from rumour? Whence comes it that such an agent, after the flight of his employer, was not driven away by the general indignation of the army? If Dr. Wittman had combined this species of information with his stories, his conduct would have been more just, and his accusations would have carried greater weight. At present, when he, who had the opportunity of telling us so much, has told us so little, we are rather less inclined to believe than we were before. We do not say these accusations are not true, but that Dr. Wittman has not proved them to be true.
Dr. Wittman did not see more than two cases of plague : he has given them both at full length. The symptoms were thirst, headache, vertigo, pains in the limbs, bilious vomitings, and painful tumours in the groins. The means of cure adopted were, to evacuate the primæ viæ ; to give diluting and refreshing drinks; to expel the redundant bile by emetics ; and to assuage the pain in the groin by fomentations and anodynes; both cases proved fatal. In one of the cases the friction with warm oil was tried in vain ; but it was thought useful in the prevention of plague: the immediate effect produced was to throw the person rubbed into a very copious perspiration. A patient in typhus, who was given over, recovered after this discipline was administered.
The boldness and enterprise of medical men is quite as striking as the courage displayed in battle, and evinces how much the power of encountering danger depends upon habit. Many a military veteran would tremble to feed upon pus; to sleep in sheets running with water ; or to draw up the breath of feverish patients. Dr. White might not, perhaps, have marched up to a battery with great alacrity ; but Dr. White, in the year 1801, inoculated himself in the arms with recent matter taken from the bubo of a pestiferous patient, and rubbed the same matter upon different parts of his body. With somewhat less of courage, and more of injustice, he wrapt his Arab servant in the bed of a person just dead of the plague. The Doctor died ; and the Doctor's man (perhaps to prove his master's theory, that the plague was not contagious) ran away.--The bravery of our naval officers never produced any. thing superior to this therapeutic heroism of the Doctor's.
Dr. Wittman has a chapter which he calls An Historical Journal of the Plague ; but the information which it contains amounts to nothing at all. He confesses that he has had no experience in the complaint ; that he has no remedy to offer for its cure, and no theory for its cause.* The treatment of the
* One fact mentioned by Dr. Wittman appears to be curious ;-that Constantinople was aearly free from plague during the interruption of its communication with Egypt.