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which we do not very often recognise in the rhetoric and, sentimentalism in which the French language is accustomed to shew itself so fine.
The first of these pieces purports to have been published in: England, in the first instance. It is a most animated appeal to the philanthropy, the public spirit, the justice, and the selfinterest of the English nation, made in behalf of the Author's city, Geneva, in that memorable and portentous interval, (now carried by the succession of events so far away into history,) when assembled monarchs, and representatives of monarchs, were deliberating, doubtless with the equity and wisdom befitting such personages, on the number and the shape, the preservation or extinction, of the minor states of Europe. As tbis patriotic writer somewhat naturally imagined that a nation which was paying away, from its diminished and distressed resources, iminense sums for the accoinmodation of the Royal and Imperial deliberators in that august council, might have some considerable weight in their discussions, he thought an earnest representation to this country might greaıly avail towards securing the rights and independence of his little republic. The whole pleading of this enlightened and zealous advocate proceeds upon a claim of complete independence. He does not divert to any consideration of what might be the best political adjustment for Geneva next to this entire independence ; which is indeed plainly essential to the main part of the valuable objects so strongly presented in this appeal to the moral sense of the English nation. We cannot judge how far the disappointment and regret with which he would receive the decree that merged a state which had stood distinct and illustrious for centuries, may have been alleviated by a reflection on the eminent respectability of that confederation, to which it has become an accession, under the denomination of the Canton of Geneva. We should like very much to see how far, and in what manner, he could rationally console himself and his compatriots, by an estimate and balance, such as his comprehensive judgement could furnish, of the loss and gain relatively to the grand public interests concerned, which may be anticipated from the change. The junction to 'so venerable and virtuous a league, may afford something in partial compensation ; but it is too obvious that one great and inestimable good is lost;—the surrounding countries can no longer have the benefit of an unchecked, unawed freedom in the publication of opinions in this speculative and enlightened city. Will it, for instance, be permitted, by the Helvetic laws. and magistrates, to expose without scruple or reserve the errors and mischiefs of that popery which continues the cherished faith of a considerable proportion of the confederation? Though this spirited composition is, with respect to its specific object, completely out of date, it nevertheless retains considerable interest, as forming a brief exhibition of the inte llectual state of the continental nations, and of thetendency, with respect to civil and religious liberty, of wbat may be called their intellectual institutions. And the interest of the piece is augmented by its being accompanied by a very captivating representation of what a small independent, illuaninated, Protestant state, in the situation of Geneva, among those nations, might contribute towards liberalising their una derstandings and their systems,- towards promoting that religious toleration, and that general improvement in the economy of government, which our Author is polite enough to assume, that it is the wish of this nation to promote among its neighbours. Perhaps he is much more within reach of evidence in affirining that at least it is the interest of England that these objects should be promoted on the continent. No one can doubt that he is right, too, in asserting that, previously to the last dreadful quarter of a century, the enviable acoumulation of free and cultivated mind, incessantly at work in Geneva, did actually extend a considerable influence through the surrounding countries.
He pleads zealously against an indifference or contempt of his favourite State on account of its littleness, asserting that more wisdom may be derived from its history than from that of some great empires. He considers the city as morally, belonging, by peculiar congeniality of character, to this country, as something like an advanced post of our beneficial agency, as an extra school (école succursale) for teaching our religious, moral, and political principles, for extending an English education to the human race. And be very pungently remarks, that the costly experience of the last twenty-five years, may have sufficed to shew us, by the upprincipled conduct towards us of the continental powers, that if we are henceforward to maintain any connexion with them, it is for our own sakes extremely desirable that every possible chance should be given them of learning a little more of that rectitude of principle which would create public faith.
The importance of this city, as a point whence religious and political truth may be diffused, is the more insisted on from the consideration, that the places which render any such service to the people of the continent are few. The Protestant universities of Germany, he confesses, prosecute their studies to a greater depth in metaphysics, history, and classical literature, and inspire a very philosophic liberality of opinion. But these attainments and speculations, he says, conduce but
little to any practical and public advantage; they have but 'a slight influence on the national character, and none at all on 'the conduct of the governments.' Besides, there is a certain nationality in their modes of thinking and instruction, strongly and jealously repellent of all intervention of English influence.
With respect to France, under whatever change of institutions may there have been effected, he entertains but a slender hope of the abolition of that slavish economy, by which both the mode and the substance of instruction throughout the country have always hitherto been conformed to the system established at Paris, and the system at Paris adjusted obsequiously to the will of the government. He is apprehensive that even the Protestant academical institutions, which he assumes, (in 1814), as a matter of course, that the monarchy under the new constitution will legitimate and protect, will, in this very sanction and establishment under a Popish government, be subjected to an influence which will leave them, in reality, much less independent in their spirit and opinions, than the Protestant ministers of former times, who had their education, and adopted their religion, in free countries, Holland, Switzerland, and above all Geneva; and who are here very highly applauded for the bold freedom of thinking, both in religion and politics, which they failed not to maintain even in France, where, he says, they gave to the denominations Christian and Citizen, the same meaning which they bear among the English. He fairly avows, that in consequence of a bold exercise of reason, those ministers were, and the theologians still bearing the denominations derived from Luther and Calvin, are, emancipated from the creeds of those great reformers. And one thing he is afraid of in France is, that as the government, in acknowledging and sanctioning Protestant institutions, will doubtless require their pledged adherence to a defined mode of faith, as, relatively to them, the rule of orthodoxy, it may prescribe the original creeds of the reformers, as less alien from Popery, than the free-thinking theology of their modern followers. · The state of France appearing so little favourable to the advancement of religious knowledge and liberality by means of any internal agency,
" It is important,' says M. Sismondi, to the Protestant interest of Europe, it is important to England, that there be at the centre of the continent a free and independent city, speaking the French language, a city excelling in knowledge, and possessing a distinguished reputation for literature and religion, where the pure doctrine of the reformation may be freely taught, freely discussed, freely modified in conformity to the advancing state of the information and philosophy which distinguish the countries where the English and German languages are spoken, and which, without the
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intervention of Geneva, might remain nearly unknown in the countries using the French language. It is by means of Geneva that amicable relations might be maintained between countries where the Protestant Church has the predominance, and those where liberty is but ill secured, and where the Protestant Church, forming a feeble minority of the people, may be unsettled, corrupted, or humiliated. It is at Geneva that there may be written and printed in French, books, adapted to keep in action the noble spirit of Protestantism ; it is from Geneva that preachers may go forth who shall unite the the French cloquence to the graver authority of reason and phi. losophy.'
· He remarks that Geneva has justly been called the Capital of Protestantism; and he makes an animated representation of its pre-eminence, in former times, as a source of Protestant, illumination, and an asylum from Popish persecution. And then he again insists, in the most earnest manner, on the vital importance of the independence of Geneva, to the interests and the possibilities of Protestantism in the south of Europe. To Italy there is, he says, no other conceivable channel for the transmission of religious light'; and he gives us the interesting information that,
.. During our own days the active commerce of the Genevese has formed « Protestant 'colonies” in all the industrious cities of Italy, and in them all these settlers have sought to introduce their worship. Some ministers from Geneva caused joy in these little congregations, when, in their travels, they proposed to celebrate Divine service in the bosom: of their pious families. At Leghorn, the Genevese united themselves to an English religious society; and in the period during which all English people were kept away by the hatred of tlie French government, the English preacher has continued to receive his salary from the Genevese residents alone. Among those settled at Genoa and at Naples, a subscription was opened to fix in those places ministers from Geneva. At Naples, the design was on the point of being effected, when war commenced and set every thing aside. There was even a project for the formation of a Protestant church at Corfu, with a Genevese minister.'
This is followed by what would be a delightful fancy, if its realization did not depend on a fatal condition.
If the governments of the south do not forget that they. owe their re-establishment to England, if they do not make a duty of intolerance, the day will come, perhaps, when a chain of Protestant churches will extend through all the cities of Italy quite to Greece: and'the ministers of these churches will necessarily be drawn from Geneva.'
The Author concludes with a strong observation on the ese sential importance to Geneva and to Switzerland, that their independence and their limits should be so decidedly established, as to include within their neutrality, in case of war between France and Austria, the two grand military routes of the Simplon and the Valteline.
The Discourse on the Philosophy of History was an anni. versary academical oration, delivered at Midsummer, 1814, that season of joy and gratulation, when it was fondly believed that the storms and tumult of Europe had subsided at length into a permanent state of tranquillity and light. When this delightful assurance, combined with the enthusiastic recollections of Swiss and Genevan history, and the influence of all the beauty and sublimity with which, at that season of the year, Nature surrounds and actually deluges the susceptible mind of an inhabitant of Geneva--when all this was acting on a spirit like that of M. Sismondi, it is not wonderful that he should proclaim with eloquent energy the doctrine previously held by him with deliberate conviction, that the state of inankind, taken comprehensively, has at all times been, is now, and must ever continue to be, progressive in knowledge, virtue, and happiness. The Discourse is mainly a retrospect of facts, as bearing on this doctrine; it is a rapid glance over a vast extent of history. In this review he does not decline to notice the obvious instances of retrogradation in the intel-, lectual, civil, and moral condition of large portions of the human race in some periods of history; but he ingeniously sets against these the more than countervailing progress made by other nations during the same period, and the benefits sometimes resulting, in unexpected ways, from the deterioration itself. In making out this great account, he is sometimes willing to accept things at a value which a more severely religious estimator would scruple to allow. Thus, we may question whether any vast practical advantage was gained to mankind, by the advancement of Pagán theology from the sensible imagery of the Greeks to the more abstracted and elevated conceptions of the Romans- more intimately combined as he observes these conceptions were with morality: but were the Romans, therefore, much more moral than the Greeks? Nor can we feel any very lively gratification in beholding the disciples of Islam supplanting the grosser superstitions of polytheism by even the creed of one God, debased as that truth is by its association with the 'detestable superstitions and the malignant spirit to which they have made it subservient. And even after all the improvements that have accumulated on Christendom itself, and notwithstanding that our Author firınly asserts that the present generation is wiser and more virtuous than any preceding one, he is compelled to acknowledge that we have witnessed crimes not less frightful than any recorded in history..
Nevertheless, he does open before us a splendid array of progressive grand improvements in the state of the human
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