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Roman writer will best serve to illustrate my meaning. Tacitus opens his two immortal works, of different tendency, with the same assertion, that they were written without hate as without love. In this, perhaps, he only alluded to his own personal relations under this or that particular emperor, which might indeed more readily occur to his contemporaries. But if his expressions were to be taken strictly, we should then do him an injustice. For it is precisely the higb moral liate, everywhere glowing through his pages, and the exalted love visible in them ; the hate, namely, of unrighteous despotism and degrading vice, and the decided watchful love for everything high-minded, for everything worthy of better times ; these things it is that render his works ininortal, that have given them an imperishable value for all ages. Not impartial is Tacitus—this any one, without intellect or love, can easily be. No! he is in the highest degree partial, but his partiality is for the right party, and expressed in a just and noble manner.
Far more than by this much-dreaded partiality of writers, if such it can be called, is history falsified, and that is, by a partiality of quite a different kind, which is in fact a defect of sensibility,-a narrowness of mind. It is exceedingly difficult for man to tear himself from the circle of his habits. These habits, the whole present, our own age, with all its invisible associations, form a kind of spiritual atmosphere around us, which necessarily wraps the forms of the past as in a mist. Hence the many erroneous, or rather feeble, inaccurate, spiritless views and judgments on great times that have passed away,-on men and deeds which exceed the habitual standard.
To remove obstructive views of this kind, to bring the past, its heroes and its deeds, before our eyes, in their true forms, and in their full force, shall now be my chief endeavour.
To sketch a faithful picture of the last few centuries, so eventful and remarkable, we must go back to the middle ages, and to the earlier history of Germany. The migration of the northern nations is the wall of separation that divides the ancient and the modern world. The institutions, laws, and customs of the latter, down to our own times, are founded on the primitive constitution of the Germans ; and we must place before our eyes what Europe was before
MIGRATION OF NATIONS.
and after the Crusades, in order to judge what effect the discovery of the two Indies might have had upon her whole social system, and what effect it actually had. A short sketch, therefore, of the ancient Germans, and a compressed account of the middle ages, will precede our reflections on modern history.
We shall begin with the great migration of the northern nations, an event, equally astonishing in itself, as immeasurable in its consequences. Astonishing—for never, perhaps, did a state of things,—so utterly desolate and hopeless,-a prostration and bumiliation so universal-such a subjugation of everything good, afflict the whole civilized world, as in the latter times of the declining empire of Rome! Yet deliverance arrived in a manner the most unexpected. The world became impregnated with a new vital force, and countries which had been formerly civilized flourished anew, if not more civilized, yet certainly freer, happier, and nobler, than they were, even in the better times of antiquity. Other lands and nations, less favoured by nature, that had hitherto existed in poverty and simplicity, although in a state of freedom, -quickly rivalled in, blooming prosperity, and in the cultivation of the arts, the more fortunate south. Immeasurable were the consequences of this migration of nations for the whole of modern history; all that has been developed during the last fifteen hundred years by the noble rivalry of so many and such great national cpergies, has thereby alone been brought about. Had this migration not taken place; had the Germanic nations not succeeded in throw,ing off the Roman yoke; had, on the contrary, the rest of northern Europe been incorporated with Rome; had the freedom and individuality of the nations been here too destroyed, and had they been all transformed with like uniformity into provinces, then would that noble rivalry, that rich development of the human mind, which distinguishes modern nations, have never taken place. And yet it is precisely this rich variety, this manifoldness, that makes Europe what it is, that confers on it the distinction of being the chief seat of all human civilization. Instead of a Europe, thus free and richly diversified, there would then have been but one Rome, wherein all things would have been melted down and dissolved ; and where, instead of the rich
variety of European bistory, the annals of the single Roman empire would have presented us with a counterpart to the dull monotony of the Chinese year-books. Who would not prefer a state of simplicity and free nature to such a Chinese civilization, founded upon universal abasement ?
This migration of the northern nations is nothing else save the history of the wars between the free Germanic races and the Roman masters of the world ; wars which terminated in the dissolution of the Roman empire, and in the foundation and first formation of the modern states and nations. A retrospective survey of the methods whereby the Romans attained to universal dominion, as well as of the genius of decay, which from an early period lurked in that Roman empire ; a sketch of the peculiarities in the Germanic race and mind, in their manners and their constitution; and finally, a rapid glance at the wars between the Romans and the Germans,—both before and after that Arminius, who with unshaken perseverance and self-devotion, maintained German independence,—these are the most essential points for a clear view of this great historical event.
Let us first cast a glance at the primitive state of the whole of Europe. It is a remarkable and attractive spectacle to contemplate men who were so richly endowed by nature, and gifted with such noble faculties, in a state so totally different from that to which we are accustomed. Before the passion for universal dominion had been transmitted from Asia to the Greeks, and had next taken possession of the Romans, the state of Europe was, on the whole, nearly everywhere the same. The rudiments of civilization were already known; agriculture was general ; and some countries were proportionately thickly peopled. Towns were numerous, but there were likewise almost as many individual petty states as considerable towns. Everything was, for the most part, isolated and unconnected. Europe was inhabited and peopled chiefly by three or four great nations; but none of these were united among themselves so as to form a whole. Each of them were split into numberless petty tribes and races, constituting as many distinct states. Each of these tribes had but a slender knowledge of the remoter ones, and often carried on war with the adjoining. But as war was waged with such isolated forces, and not in great masses as it is VARIETY OF EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION.
among powerful states in a higher stage of civilization, it was hence less destructive than among the latter, and served but to develope and exercise courage and other martial and manly qualities.
With many important differences of detail, the faith and worship of these nations rested on one common basis. Their faith was an adoration of nature, her most glorious phenomena, and her hidden primal energies and mysteries. The sun and the stars, fire, the sea, and the elements; the mother earth herself, awful mountains, sacred groves and springs, were the objects of this nature-worship, mingled as it was with traditions and fables of ancient heroes, and concerning the earlier state of the earth and men. Many, indeed most of the conveniences and arts of life that have now become habitual to us, were then still unknown to the German, especially in the north. On the other hand, a deep and strong love for nature filled his breast with a joyous energy of life, whose sources are only too often dried up in the relations of more artificial society. Necessitous as the condition of these ancient nations may appear to us, they yet almost universally possessed one great good, which we have for the most part been obliged to sacrifice for other advantages,-freedom, to wit. It was fostered and maintained by their isolation and universal subdivision into petty states and tribes. This original freedom must be considered the decided characteristic of Europe as contrasted with Asia. In Asia we find from the very beginning great masses of states, and nations, and universal sovereignty ; in Europe everything was originally isolated; there was, for that very reason, a constant mutual rivalry, and each state developed itself in individual freedom. Asia may be called the land of unity, in which everything has been unfolded in great masses, and in the simplest relations ; Europe is the land of freedom, that is, of civilization through the antagonism of manifold individual and isolated energies. This variety has been at all times the characteristic of European civilization; for even after great states and nations had sprung up within it, the essential qualities of that original character remained. It has often been the unhappy conse-, quence of excessive subdivision, that although it has been favourable to freedom, yet, national unity, in spite of the efforts to attain it, could not be realized. This was the
case among the Greeks, and in a great measure also among the Germans. Nature herself had adapted Europe to this state of subdivision, by the many great and smaller sections into which European countries are divided by means of mountains and seas. The circumstance that Europe was peopled from Asia,—that all old European nations were originally Asiatic emigrants,—may also have been favourable to freedom. Colonies and emigrant tribes are ever prone thereto; the bonds of habit are left behind in the mother-country, and the original condition of society is restored. This rule held good in the most ancient times, precisely as it has been evinced in the most recent.
The remarks we have made upon the state of Europe in general, are peculiarly applicable to that of the Greek nation. In the earlier times it was divided into numberless petty states and tribes, which were connected only by their common origin, language, and mythology. It was only in consequenoe of the Persian invasions, that large states began to be formed in Greece, and ambition to take a bolder flight. For when, by the utmost exertion of all their energies and courage, the Greeks had successfully maintained their independence against superior force, the necessity of union was felt, and the snaller states rallied around two of the most considerable. But precisely because there were two, was the germ of jealousy and of internal discord already laid. Thus Sparta and Athens speedily became the centres of two parties, that were spread over the whole of Greece, and were animated with quite opposite principles. Sparta, agreeably to its nature as a land-power, was more favourable to the nobility, and became the head of the aristocratic party. Athens, being a commercial state, and therefore more inclined to the class of burgesses and to civic freedom, became the centre of the democratic party. How the Greeks themselves destroyed their own national strength in this grand struggle between Athens and Sparta, between aristocracy and democracy, this, as portrayed by the great historians of antiquity, is even still one of the most instructive historic pictures. The Greek nation, as a nation, perished utterly through this mutual destruction of its two mightiest and most distinguished races. Only here and there did a spark appear among the ashes, and but once again, in Alexander the Great, did Grecian energy burst