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eighteenth century. Of all the admirable institutions which that great monarch founded, not one perhaps was so profoundly conceived as the organization he gave to the body of Spanish grandees, and the spirit he inspired it with. By it the greatest and most powerful men of the entire nation were formed into a brilliant and dignified senate around the throne. Castile and Arragon became thus for the first time fully united without any fatal fusion of their material interests, without any illegal destruction of their special privileges. The · Netherlands also and Naples became thereby closely linked
to the ruling country, for the leading men in either could aspire to that high dignity. Hence the unity and internal grandeur of the Spanish monarchy. While Italian civilization, science, and art flourished in Spain, the military power and the state policy of the Spaniards, which was based upon the loftiest ideas, predominated in Italy, and raised that country from the state of corruption into which it had allowed itself to sink. And while the Spanish language and manners struck deep roots in the Netherlands, the high-minded emperor did not think it beneath his dignity to seek opportunities for introducing the Flemish-Burgundian costume into Spain. It may be said that in that exalted model is contained a law available for every state composed of heterogeneous parts. While the well-being of each particular country, according to its character, peculiar rights and customs, language, and old traditions, was intrusted to the care of the respective estates and assemblies, the unity of the empire was best and permanently secured by encircling the throne with a senate formed out of the grandees of each nation.
As regards Hungary, the objections to the emperor Joseph's reforms should not at least be drawn from the existing constitution. How is it possible that, while in Europe everything was changed, in Hungary everything should remain as it was five hundred years ago. Matthias Corvinus and St. Stephen changed much in their time, and somewhat arbitrarily too, abolished old institutions and established new ones, and yet are venerated by the nation itself as great kings. From the energies of his mind, the emperor Joseph may have well felt himself called to achieve a like task. But unhappily, by the manner in which that work was executed, minds were irritated, and, together with the reforms found objectionable
OBSERVATIONS ON THE NOBILITY.
and actually rejected, others, truly necessary and wholesome, fell also to the ground.
Of all the political changes and innovations which the present times have brought about, or striven to bring about, the nobility, its exclusive privileges and original functions, form the real centre. This is the case where the revolutionary movement has been treated as a mere subject of calm investigation, or where its solution has been the especial object of a most violent contest. In describing the different periods of modern history, I have throughout characterized the nobility as the fundamental power of the state, permanent under all changes of external form. Hence a few remarks in illustration of the principle will most appropriately conclude these lectures. I have but one question now to answer, what new form and shape of nobility will arise out of the great changes that occurred at the end of the last century ? A complete answer I will not attempt, as the matter does not yet belong to history, but is involved in actual contention, and is in the crisis of its development; but the following may serve by way of indication, and may stimulate reflection.
The movement of the age clearly reveals itself as a contest between the old and the new. The nobility have generally had the mission to be champions of the old ; this they have felt, and have accordingly performed many glorious feats in fulfilment of this calling. But it is not sufficient to love and defend the old merely as such, and because it is old. History teaches us that the essence of nobility consists not in any par.. ticular privilege or external form, whatever these may be. On the contrary we learn from history (and this I have taken pains to point out), that the forms of nobility have often changed, but that in its essential functions that institution, under the most various forms and special external privileges, has ever remained invariably the same. Culpable are the views of those partisans of novelty, who seek only to destroy old constitutions, and who believe that anything really new is to be found here or there, in this or that system, as the discovery of an individual. What is really new never arises, is never brought about through an individual, however great be his intellect or power, but through the general progress of mankind, or to speak more correctly, through the action of Divine Providence. On the other hand, that defence of the old order of things is alone right which enters into the spirit and the lofty sentiments of antiquity, and is ever penetrated with those feelings. This is the high calling of the nobility, and therefore no nobility that is not also a nobility of mind will encounter with success the contests of the age.
In Germany, where it took its origin, and especially in Austria, has the aristocratic constitution of modern Europe struck the deepest root. In the great empire of the north, which connects Europe and Asia, everything is rigidly subordinated to an unlimited monarchical sway. In the western countries, originally Roman provinces, the German aristocratic constitution could not take such deep root, but that long before our times, many popular reactions, many attempts to expel or essentially to alter it, actually occurred. In Germany and in Austria lies the chief seat of the old Germanic nobility, and according to the spirit that animates it, will its strength grow or decline. A nobility that were not national, that sought only to be the prop of the throne, and not to be also the chief strength and the flower of the nation, would thereby proclaim its own defectiveness, and, could only be animated by an utterly degenerate spirit.
The destructive poison that in our age is slowly consuming states and peoples as well as individuals, is not merely apathy, selfishness, and insensibility, it is a positive evil,—it is the spirit of falsehood that not only in the writings of the sophists, and in their false enlightenment, but also in public life, in the dealings and conduct of individuals, scatters plague and destruction around. This spirit of falsehood, truth only, the truth full and entire, can subdue. To her we are led by the earnestness of intrepid conviction, and by that higher knowledge which is founded on God, and before which all the vain fanaticism of reason disappears.
CÆSAR AND ALEXANDER;
AN HISTORICAL COMPARISON, 1796.*
WHEN Julius Cæsar, in the capacity of a quæstor, came to Gades in further Spain, and beheld there, not far from the
. * As the idea of the beautiful is the ruling principle and the divinely positive both in the arts and life of the Greek people, and forms the central, vivifying point of all Hellenic civilization, so in like manner it is the idea of the great, which defines everything in the Roman national contest for supremacy as likewise in the historical development of the Roman character. This idea everywhere dominant gives this tone, though in an altered shape, to every period of Rome's history. The great, indeed, belongs more to nature than to art, and it is easy to observe that the Romans, even in that department of the artificially beautiful in which they were the most successful, namely in architecture, carried over this beautiful more into the naturally great. Greatness of character also is founded more upon the force of nature than on the inner sense and life of a moral mind, when such greatness, as was the case with the Romans, does not proceed from a mental disposition, that only seeks what is divine, but maintains itself and martially opens a passage for itself with undaunted firmness in the struggle of rude unnurtured reality. Now, since the Romans by their complete and free development of such a great natural force, as also by their pre-eminent clearness of understanding, stand on precisely the same line with the Greeks, though, it is true, widely separated from them; because that idea of the beautiful, that genuine sense of the artist, in point of fact was never born in the Roman mind; there has hence been always a peculiar historical charm to compare the one nation with the other, or to select congenial characters from both for comparison. The highest summit of such parallels is formed unquestionably by the two great conquerors, to the analysis of whose characters this essay is devoted ; for their historical influence has been, beyond all that resembled them, the most comprehensive and of the most lasting results down to the most recent times. Each of them, too, Cæsar as well as Alexander, marks the decisive epoch of a universal revolution in manners, mind, and mode of thinking, of a totally changed state of things for both nations. The author, at the time when he endeavoured to do justice to his subject, was prompted by a proper appreciation of its importance; but being then still young, he claims indulgence for any youthful embarrassment in the style or mode of discussing the theme, this being his first attempt of the kind.
temple of Hercules, the statue of Alexander the Great, he sighed deeply; he felt a sickening disgust, as it were, at his own torpor, and that he had, as yet, achieved no one glorious act, at an age when Alexander had already subdued the world. He immediately solicited leave of absence, that he might seize in Rome the first opportunity presenting itselt for greater undertakings. Soothsayers found in his dreams of the ensuing night the signs of future undivided empire over the earth ; any eye not purblind could divine his wishes. With this sigh, with this return to Rome, an entirely new period begins in the life of Cæsar, and it extend3 to the passage of the Rubicon.
It was Cæsar himself, therefore, who placed himself by the side of Alexander; and what was more natural than that they should have been since often compared together ?
"For sublimity of conception, rapidity in conquering, endurance in danger," says the precious Velleius (with whom the true Cæsar already begins to merge into the Divus Julius of the later Romans), “ Cæsar, sprung from the noblest race of the Iuli, was the first of his countrymen, so likewise for beauty, talent, and prodigal liberality. His greatness surpassed nature and the belief of mankind; but it strongly resembled that of the great Alexander, when the latter was sober and not in a passion." Plutarch also has introduced this mighty pair among his parallel lives; but liappily for us, in this instance, he has spared us the comparison itself.
Those who are fond of such details may indemnify themselves in Appian, who compares the two conquerors of the world by a tedious long string of similarities, either quite superficial or wholly accidental ; such as only an historical sophist could so ornamentally describe, and so wonderfully explain. Plutarch himself would hardly have surpassed him. By his fondness, indeed, for snapping up every trivial likeness or contrast, such a host of comparisons might have thoroughly disgusted a Plutarch. Thus he remarks, nos without astonishment, among other things, that the four bravest, but craftiest commanders, Philip, Antigonus, Hannibal, and Sertorius, were all of them blind of one eye. We really ought not to be surprised, if the thought had occurred to him of bequeathing to us a parallel history of these four one-eyed heroes.