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under contribution to their avarice. They vowed, Duke William of Brunswick is reported to have on their adinission, in the most solemn and awful. said: I must order the Duke Adolphus, of manner, to judge with incorruptible imparciality, || Shleswic, to be banged, if he should come to see tó regard no person, and even to be deaf to the me, lest the free-knights should hang me. It feelings of the heart, in framing their decrees; was difficult to elude the proceedings of the but, on the contrary, they were swayed by selfish- free knights, as they at all times contrived to ness, accessible to corruption, partial to their steal at night, unknown and unseen, to the gates friends, and prosecuted their enemies with the of castles, palaces and towns, and to affix the Most rancoruus malice, and prostituted their summons of the secret tribunal. When this had function by rendering their authority subservient | been done three times, and the accused did not to the gratification of the most brutal lust. They appear; he was condemned by the secret ban, were deaf to the lainentations of calumniated and summoned once more 10 submit to the exe. innocence, assassinated their relations to wherit cution of the sentence, and in case of non-aptheir estates, and were more dreadful to the pearance, solemnly val-lawed, when the invisible virtuous than the midnight ruffian. A free- bands of free-knights watched all his steps til! count frequently acted at once as wirness and as they found an opportunity of taking away his judge; the spy, informer, witness, and judye, il life. When a free-knight thought himself too were,


many instances, united in the same per- weak to seize and hang the culprit, he was son; in short, the abuses which disgraced the bound to pursue hin lill he met with sone of secret tribunals, rendered them a real curse to his colleagues, who assisted him in hanging him mankind. Towards the close of the 14th, and to a tree, near the high road, and not to a gibbet, in the beginning of the 15th century, their power to signify thereby that they exercised a free imin Germany rose to a most alarming degree; and perial judicature throughout the whole enspire, we may safely maintain that the German empire independent of all territorial tribunals. If the at that time contained more than an hundred devoted victim made resistance, so as to compel thousand free-knights, who without either pre- them to poignard him; they tied the dead body vious notice or trial executed every one who was to a tree, fixing the dagger over his head, to show condemned by the secret ban. Bavarians, Aus- that he had not been murdered, but executed trians, Franconians and Suabians, having a de- | by a free-knight. mand on any one whom they could not bring to Their transactions were shrouded in the most justice before the regular courts of his country, profound concealinent; and the signal by which applied to the Westphalian secret tribunal, where the initiated, or knowing ones, as they called they obtained a summons, and in case of non- | themselves, recognized each other, never coubel appearance, a sentence, which was imnuediately be discovered. Their secret proceedings were communicated to the whole fraternity of free. not permitted to be disclosed to the Emperor knights, a step by which were put in motion himself, although he was supreme master of the those hundred thousand executioners bound by chair. Only when he asked, has N. N. been ahe most dreadful oath to spare neither father condemned? the free-knights were allowed to nor mother, nor to regard the sacred ties of friend. || reply'in the affirmative or negative; but when he sship and inatrimonial love. If a free-knight met enquired who had been condemned by the secret a friend condemned by the secret ban, and gave ban? they were not permitted to mention any him only the slightest hint to save his life by Bight, all the other free-knights were bound to The Emperor, or his delegate, could create hang him scven feet higher than any other cri- free-knighis no where but on the red snid, i. e, in minal. * The sentence being pronounced in the Westphaly, with the assistance of three or four serret ban, they were obliged to put it into imme- || free-knights who acted as witnesses. In this dinte execution, and not permitted to make the they likewise resembled the free-masons; and if lea-tremonstrance, though they were perfectly we consider every tribunal as a lodge, and the convinced that the devoted victim was the best 1 supreme master of the chair, as the grand-master of men, and innocent of the crime alledged of all Westphalian lodges, this comparison is , against him. This induced almost every man of rendered still more striking. The real significar rank and power to become a member of that tion of the term red svil, and the reason why it dreadful association, in order to be more able to was applied to Westphaly, has not yet been be on his guard Every Prince had some free- traced out. The King Wenzeslaus, had created knights aniongst his counsellors, and the majority free-kuights out of Westphaly, and when the of the German nobility belonged to that secret Emperor, Ruprecht, asked how they were trea:ed order Eveu Princes; for instance, the Duke of || by the regular free-knights, he received the Bavaria, and the Margrave of Brandenbourgh | answer, they are hanged without mercy. vere inenabers of the Secret Tribunal, The The Emperor alone, and no other German


Prince, could grant a safe conduct to a person secret tribunal, in his service, in orrler to save his who was outlawed by the secret ban, which was life. But the free counts continued to prosecute a privilege which Chailes the Great had reserved him, till he at last appealed to the ecclesiastical to himself in the Saxon capitulars. The free council af Basle. knights, however, inaintained, it was more he. Reformations of the numerous abuses which coming the Emperor not to grant such letters of gradually had crept into the secret tribunals, protection at all, as he was more interested in were repeatedly attempted, especially in the years strengthening than in weakening the power of 1404, 1419, 1429, 1435, and 1437 ; but the the secret tribunals: and in this they were righi, corruption had alrearly spread 100 far, and was as the free counts defended the imperial juthority ronied too deeply to be removed. They were against the encroachments of territorial jurisdic- never form. Ily abolished, and ouly expired by tion. The Emperor Sigismund took a certain l degrees. Conrail of Langen, who was out-lawed by the

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sistible inclination to povel and extraordinary | renders the laws effectual, has by this ass rion, scenes, a desire of feeling ourselves in a state of perhaps without intending or being sensible of mental commotion, has given rise to dramatic | it, defended the stage in the strongest manner. exhibitions, Being exhausted by a too strenuous That very insufficiency and instability of positive exertion of the mental faculties, enfeebled by laws, which render religion indispensably neces. the sameness and pressure of his professional oc- sary for the state, determines also the whole incupations, and satiated by sensuality, man could Auence the stage can produce. The laws connot but feel a vacancy in his soul Lotally repug- | fine themselves merely to negative duties, whereas Dant to the unremitting impulse to activity in- | religion extends its precepls to real actions. The herent in human nature. Our nature, equally laws counteract only those effects that dissolve incapable of enduring for any length of time a the social bonds by which mankind is united, state of mere animal existence, as of continuing whilst religion prescribes such actions as render the exertions of the higher faculties without in- These bonds stronger. The laws decide only upon termission, panted after an intermediate state,

the visible effects of the will; deeds alone are uniting these two opposite extremes, relaxing the subject to their exertion, whilst religion extends mind frem a too intense bent of its powers, and its jurisdiction to the inmost recesses of the heart, facilitating the alternate transition from one state pursuing the thoughts of man to their primary to the other. This advantage is invariably pro- sources. The laws are plian', and as changeable duced by a susceptibility of the impressions of as the humours and passions of man, why reas beauty. But as a wise legislator should exert the bonds of religion are sırong and eternal. Suphimself, above all things, to select from two pose i hat religion actually did exercise this powereffects that which is most efficacious, he will not ful sway over every human heart, will and can it be satisfied with having only disarmed the in-l complete the entire refinement of man? Reliclinations of his people, but, if possible, render I gion (which I distinguish here between its polithem instrumental to the accomplishment of rical and divine pari) religion, in the aggregate, doble designs, and endeavour to convert them operates chiefly upon the sensual part of the into sources of happiness, Actuated by these people; but its efficacy would be los', were we motives, legislators gave the preference to the to purify it entirely from whitever strikes The stage, which opens a spacious field to a mind senses.--And what else is in that renders the stage eager for exertion, affords nourishment to all the efficacious? Religion.ceases to operale upon the faculties of the soul, without overstraining any | majority of the human race, if we divest it of its one of them, and unites the refinement of the awful pic ure and probleing, of heaven and hell, understanding and the heart with the most inno- which operate alone by the influence they exereen kind of amusement.

cive over the Imagination. W bat addition of


strength most religion and the laws acquire by a mercy on the stage; and numerous viriues, of close alliance with the stage, where all is intui- which the legislature is silent, are recommended tion, where vice and virtue, happiness and misery, from the stage. In this il faithfully follows the folly and wisdom, are represented to man in a directions of wisdom and religion. It derives its variety of comprehensive and faithful pictures; i principles and examples from this pure source, where providence unfolds its riddles, and solves and enrobes rigorous duty with a charming and the mysterious knots' of fate before our eyes; l enticing garment. How poble are the sentiments, where the human heart, stretched on the rack of resolutions, and passions, with which it swells passion, confesses its inmost emotions; where all our soul, how heavenly the ideas which it exhimasks are stript off, every gloss is wiped away,

bits for imitation. When the benevolent Auand incorruptible truth is awfully sitting in judg. | gustus, great as a god, offers his hand to the perment.

Gdions Cinna, who imagines to read the sentence The jurisdiction of the stage begins where the of death on his lips, and utters the generous redominion of the civil law terminates. When quest, Cinna, let us be friends !" who among justice is blinded by the charms of gold, and riots the spectators would in that moment not be inin the pay of vice, when the crimes of those that clined to shake his mortal enemy kindly by the are in power laugh at its impotence, and fear of hand, in order to resemble the great Roman ?-man fetters the arm of the magistrates, then the When Francis Sickingen, going to chastise an stage takes up the sword and balance of justice, \| oppressive prince, and to defend the rights of a and drags vice before its dread tribunal. The fellow-man, on the road chances to look round, spacious regions of fancy and history, the tiines and descries the smoke of his burning castle, past and future, are obedient to its nod. Dar. where he left his wife and child unprotected, and ing criminals, long mouldered in dust, are now proceeds on his road, in order to be faithful to summoned by the omnipotent voice of poetry, I luis word, how great must man appear in such a and repeat an ignominious life for the awful in- moment, and how contemptible the dread of instruction of posterity. Wretches, once che

vincible fate! terror of their cotemporaries, pass before our

Useful as the stage proves itself by representing eyes, impotent like the phantoms produced by a

virtue in the most amiable manner, it produces magic mirror, and we curse their memory with a

effects no less salutary by exhibi!ing the devoluptuous horror. Though morality should be formity of vice in its dreadful mirror. When taught no longer, religion lose all credit, and the helpless and childish Lear, in a nocturnal the power of the law be dissolverl, yet man would tempest, knocks in vain at the house of his continue to be seized with awful dread on seeing daughters, scattering his white locks into the Medea stagger down the steps of her palace, and air, and tells the furious eleinents how unpatural be agitated with powerful emotions when the his reign had been; when he at last vents his murder of her children is accomplished. A sa- furious pangs in the dreadful words, " I gave lulary tremor will seize the beholder, and he will you all I had to give !” how abominable then rejoice at having preserved his conscience pure, must ingratitude appear to us, and how sowhen Lady Macbeth, a dreadful night walker, lemnly do we vow to love and to revere our washes her hands, and calls in vain for all ihe parents ! perfumes of Arabia to dispel the odious scent of But the effects which the stage can produce murder? It is no exaggeration if we maintain extend still farther. It is active for our improve. that these pictures, exhibited on the stage, ment, when religion and the law deem it beneath finally incorporate themselves with the morals their dignity to bestow their fostering care upon of the multitude, and in individual cases influ. human sentimen's. Social happiness is as much erce their sentiments. The impressions, pro annoyed by folly as by crimes and vices. Expeduced by such exhibitions, are indelible, and the rience teaches us, that in the texture of buman slightest touch is sufficient to resuscitate, as it affairs the greatest weights are frequently suswere, the whole terrifying picture in the heart of penderl by the smallest and niost tender threads,

Certain as it is that intuitive representa- and that we, on tr.cing human actions to their tion operates more powerfully than dead letters primary sources, must smile ten times, before we and cold recitation, it is equally certain that lhe are once struck with horror. The more I ad. stage produces a more powerful and lasting vance in years, the smaller grows my catalogue effect than all systems of morality and the of villains, whilst my register of fouls grows more written law

complete and numerous. If all the mortal trans. But the stage in this does not merely aid the actions of one sex arise from one source, if all Jaw-it has a much more spacious field to act the enormous extremes of vice, which ever have upon. Thousands of vices, suffered by the law branded individuals, are only altered forms, only to remain unpunished, are chastised without higher degrees of one quality, which we at last


unanimously behold with a smile of pity, why | other respects. Though it should not be capable should nature not have led the other sex the of either destroying or even diminishing the sum same road? I know but one secret of preserving of vices, must we not confess that it makes us man from depravity, and that is this--10 guard acquainted with them? We must live with his heart against weakness.

these slaves of vice, and associate with these fools, The stage is highly capable of performing great We must either shun or counteract them ; underpart of this momentous task. It presents the mine their influence, or fall under it. The stage mirror of truth to the numerous classes of fools, renders thein incapable of taking us by surprize. and with salutary ridicule lashes folly under | We are prepared against their designs. The stage whatever form it may appear. It effects in such has betrayed to us the secret of detecting and instances, by means of satire, what in others it disarming them. It has stript off the deceitful performs by exciting tender emotions or terror.

mask that concealed the hypocrite, and laid open If we were to attempt to estimate the respective the net with which cunning and cabal encoma value of tragedy and comedy by the measure of || passed us. It dragged deception and falsehood the effects which they produce, experience would

out of their crooked labyrinths, and exposed perhaps adjudge the preference to the latter.- | their countenance to the light. Though the Ridicule and contempt wound the pride of man

dreadful remorse of the unfortunaie Mrs. Haller, more severely than indignation tortures his con- in Kotzebue's Stranger, should not deter one you science. Our cowardice flies from the dread of luptuary from his criminal purşuits

, and the pic. horrors, but this very cowardice betrays us to the

ture of the baneful effects of seduction should stings of satire. The laws and our conscience not be capable of quenching his guilty flames, preserve us frequently from crimes and vices, will it not enable unsuspecting innocence to see whilst the perception of our follies requires a

through the artful web of seduction, and each it more refined sense, which we can sharpen no

to tremble at the vows and the humage of the where more effectually than at the theatre. We

vile seducer? may, without much reluctance, empower a

The stage does, however, direct our attention friend to attack our morals and our heart, but we

not to man and human characters alone, it also find it more difficult to forgive him a single laugh || renders us attentive to the fate of man, and at our expence. Our transgressions admit of an teaches us the great art of enduring its blows observer and censor, but our follies scarcely can || with firmness. bear a witness. The stage alone is permitted

Accident and design act an equally important freely to lash our weakness, because it spares our part in the vicissitudes of our life;, we direct the peevishness, and dees not desire to know the course of the latter, but must implicitly submit guilty fool. We see in its mirror, without blush- to the former. We have reason to be satisfied ing, our follies drop their mask, and in general with the advantage, if unavoidable fatalities do are thankful for the gentle reprimand.

not surprise us unprepared ; if our courage and The effects produced by the stage do not, how- prudence have exerted themselves already on siever, terminate here. The theatre is in a higher milar occasions, and our heart has attained a degree than any other public institution a school sufficient degree of firmness to endure the sudden of practical wisdom, a guide through civil life, blow inflicted by adverse fate. The s'age prean unerring key to the most secret recesses of the sents to our view a variegated scene of human human soul. I will not deny that infatuation sufferings. It involves us artfully in foreign disand callousness of conscience frequently destroy tresses, and reward; us for momentary pangs with i:s best effec:s; that these barriers to truth enable voluptuous tears and a most valuable acquisition numerous vices to stand undaunted before its of courage and experience. We follow on the mirror, and that thousands of generous senti.

stage the deserted Ariadne through the re-echoing ments, recommended from the stage, make no Naxos, descend with her through the horrid tower impression upon the icy heart of the spectator ; || of Ugolino, attend her to the dreadful scaffold, and and I am inclined to believe that Moliere's Har-await with her in anxious dread the arrival of the pagon may not have reformed one usurer ; that awful hour of death. Here we hear surprised the suicide Beverley has reclaimed but a few of nature unobjectionably confirm what the secret his brethren from the dreadful vice of gambling; || palpitations of our soul prognosticated. The and that the representation of Charles Moor will betrayed favourite of his Queen is deserted by not contribute much to render the high roads her favour in the dungeons of the lower; the sa fer: but though we should admit this to be the agonized Francis Moor is abandoned, at the point case in most instances, or even be so unjust to of death, by his faithless sophistry. Eternity rem main:ain that the stage contributes nothing at all stores ihe deceased to the world, to reveal secrets to restrain the progress of vice, we cannot deny which no living mortal can know, and the se. that its salutary iofluence is very great in many

cure villain is driven from his last horrid retreat,

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because the grave evomits a dreadful witness | Before Joseph II. conquered the dreadful hydra against him.

of pious hatred, did the stage already plant huB:sides the information which the stage gives manity and meckness in our heart; the horrid us of the face of man, it reaches us also to be just pictures which able dramatists diew of pagan to the unfortunate, arid to judge him with in- priestly fury, taught us to avoid religious haired, dulgent humanity. We are made acquainted and this dreadful mirror enabled Christianity to with the whole extent of his necessities before wipe off the spo s with which it was stained. we are permitted to sit in judgment upon him.- The errors of educa'ion might, by means of the Humanity and tolerance begin to predominate in stage, be aliacked with equal success; but unforour age; their cheering rays have forced their | tunately not one of our great dramalists has as yet way into the courts of justice, and even fariher- | attempted to treat upon this important theme. into the hearts of princes. How ample a share | Though there is nothing, by its consequences so has he s'age had in this beneficent change, by important for the general welfare of a nation as rendering min better acquainted with his bre- education, yet it is totally abandoned to the prethren, and unfolding the secret springs which del judices, the indolence, and the thoughtlessness termine human actions!

of every individual. The stage alone would be A certain eminent class of men lias more rea- capable of exhibiting to public view the numeson to be grateful to the stage than the rest.- rous unfortunate victims of neglected education ; Here the great and powerful hear what they here our fathers might learn to renounce perverse never or rarely hear-truth; and behold what maxims, and our mothers to love rationally.they never or rarely see-man in his natural

False notions lead the heart of the best pedaform.

grgues astray, which renders the consequences Thus extensive is the influence of the stage the more pernicious, if they beast of unnatural upon moral refincinent; but its merits, in illu- il methods, and systematically ruin the tender plant niinaling the human mind are no less important in academies and pedagogic hot houses. The and obvious; and it is in this higher region where

present predominant custom of instructing chil. a great genius and zealous patriot turns it to the

dren in every thing but in what tends to render best advantage. He casts a scrutinizing look at

thein practical Christians and useful subjects, dethe whole human race, compares nations with

serves, more than any other fashionable folly nations, centuries with centuries, and observes

of the age, to be lashed by the scourge of how slavishly the great mass of the people bend

satire. their neck beneath the yoke of prejudice and The stage might also be rendered instrumental opinion, which continually counteract their hap-l in correcting the ideas of a nation relative to gopiness-observes that the purer rays of truth en- vernment and the superior powers. The legislalighten only a few solitary individuals, who tive power might here speak to the subject by the purchase the small gain, perhaps, at the expence | medium of others, defend itself against his comof a whole life. By what means can a wise le- ll plaints, before they could grow loud, and bribe gislator make a whole nation partake of the sa- the mistrust of the muliitude without appearing lutary light emanating from these purer says of to have any share in the attempt. truth?

I cannot omit to animadvert here on the great The stage is the common channel by which influence which a well-regulated theatre might the light of truth emanates from the more en- exercise over the spirit of a whole nation. By lightened part of a nation, and diffuses its gentle the national spirit of a people, I mean the simi. rays through the whole state.

Notions more cor

larity and harmony of its opinions and inclinareci, principles more refined, and purer senti- tions relative to subjects concerning which avo. ments, flow from her through all the veins of the cher nation entertains different notions and senti. great bulk of the nation; the mephitic niist of

The stage alone has it in its power to barbarism, the Egyptian darkness of superstition effect this harmony in a superior degree, as it disappears, the night gives way to conquering | pervades the whole territory of human know. light. I beg leave to select only two from the ledge, exhausts all situations in life, and lays open numerous excellent fruits of the better stage: the most hidden recesses of the human heart, and How universally has religious tolerance been dif- as it is resorted to by all ranks and classes, and fused within these few last years. Before Les- has the earliest access to the understanding and sing's Nathan the Jew, and Voltaire's Sala:lin, | the heart. If in all our dramatic pieces, une the Saracen put us to the blush, and preached leading feature did prevail, if our poets agreed the divine doctrine that pious submission to the among themselves, and would form a close union will of God does not depend on our opinions of for this purpose, if rigorous diserimination guided the nature of the Supreme Ruler of the world. them in their labours, if they would resolve to

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