path, leading, in rather more than half an hour, to the top of the cone.

On the summit,' says Mr. Auldjo,' a scene is presented, which almost baffles description. The field of lava in the interior of the crater, enclosed within a lofty and irregular bank, might be likened to a lake, whose agitated waves had been suddenly petrified; and, in many respects, it resembles the mers de glace, or level glaciers of Switzerland, although, in its origin and materials, so very different. It is intersected by numberless crevices, some deep and wide, others long and shallow. Here, one sees masses curled and twisted like cables; there, large slabs, piled up in various angles against each other; in one part, a wide table or platform; in another, a narrow stream, the ripples of which, in pushing each other forward, have maintained their wavy form for a great distance. In the sea of ice, the white dazzling surface is relieved by beautiful tints and various shades of blue and green : in its simulachre of stone, the bright yellow and red of the compounds of sulphur and the metals, interspersed with the pure white of the muriate of soda, afford a pleasing contrast to the brown and melancholy hue of the lava.

• A small black cone, formed of scoria ejected from its mouth, rises from the lava a little to the north-east of the centre of the crater; and from a cavity in it, volumes of smoke roll up into the air, sometimes accompanied by a cloud of small, fine sand, and often, by showers of red-hot molten lava, which, shot aloft, soon scatter and fall in all directions ; a part in large masses like cannon-balls, a part in small perfect spheroids, or in lumps that, striking on the lava, dash out into long strings of scoria,

Two terraces of lava extend across the crater from the southern side of the small cone; and upon them several conical fumaroli, lately thrown up, constantly ejected vapour, which gushed forth with a hissing noise. One of these had been rent asunder by some violent convulsion in the crater. One half, which had fallen down, presented a confused heap of lava in cubical blocks; but the part that remained standing, exhibited a structure like that of columnar basalt; and the whole was covered with beautiful crystallizations of the salts of copper and iron, in various shades of green. pp. 10, 11.

The view from the highest peak, Mr. Auldjo describes as one of the most beautiful in the world, the height of the mountain (4000 feet above the sea) not being so great that the features of the landscape are lost or too much diminished.

* To the s.E., the island of Capri rises from the bosom of the ocean, like a huge fortress protecting the entrance of the bay. On turning to the left, one sees the Apennines, embosoming Massa and the orangecovered platform of Sorrento, extend their dark live along the shore, as far as Castell' amare, over which towers St. Angelo, their highest point. Thence, their lofty range, dividing the valley of the Sarno from the bay of Salerno, runs up into the country, until it makes a bend to the left, and forms a distant semicircle round Vesuvius and the plain of Nola, which spreads out between them. Behind Caserta,

these picturesque mountains hide their heads in the clouds, though, at times, their gray and often snow-covered summits, sparkling with the rays of the sun, are beautifully defined through the clear atmosphere. Monte Circello, and the hills about Gaeta, terminate the line, again lost in the sea, but enclosing the luxuriant Campo Felice, with the numberless towns scattered over its surface. The whole tract fenced in by this line of mountains, and lying between it and the sea, is of volcanic origin, and to it the ancients gave the name of Campi Phlegræi. The plain is perfectly level till it reaches the acclivity on which the city of Naples rises, terrace above terrace, each built of palaces and churches, thickly crowded together, and crowned by the massive walls of the castle of St. Elmo. Behind these is a semicircular hill, splendid and verdant, whereon villas, gardens, and orange-groves stand, one above the other, in rich confusion. Further on, the Camaldoli, the promontory of Posilippo, and the mountains behind the bay of Baia, raise their heads, and form a fine back-ground to the city. To the left of these, the high conical point of Ischia, frowning over the island of Procida, and a long line of blue sea, close this extensive panorama.' pp. 13, 14.

From the structure of the mountain, it is apparent, that the semi-circular ridge of the Monte Somma, now facing the present cone, together with the Pedementina, were originally included in the circumference of a much loftier cone. No record informs us when that part of which the Pedementina formed the base, was carried away; but it is generally thought to have been displaced during the great eruption of A.D. 79, Monte Somma being the only part of the original crater which resisted the shock. Mr. Auldjo has given a very interesting description of the phenomena attending the last two eruptions. That of 1831 was accompanied with tremendous earthquakes, which were felt through part of Calabria ; and by one of these, the beautiful town of Catanzaro, its capital, built on a hill eight miles from the sea, was laid in ruins, nearly at the same hour at which the shock was felt at Naples. Calabria has for ages been peculiarly subject to frightful convulsions, which have rent its mountains into the most wild and rugged forms, and separated them by fearful chasms. As to Vesuvius, the great vent-hole of the subterranean furnace, although not a century has passed, during which some part of the lands around its base has not been ruined by earthquakes, desolated by currents of lava, or covered with ashes,--the lower parts of the mountain are still studded with towns, villages, and palaces, rising amid vineyards and gardens, 'the property of men who forget their danger, while seek' ing to derive wealth from the fertility of its soil ! A striking and affecting emblem of the moral blindness of the greater part of mankind, and of their infatuated pursuit of transitory enjoyments, forgetful of the awful condition on which they occupy the surface that covers the


Art. III. History of the Reformed Religion in France. By the Rev.

Edward Smedley, M.A., late Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Vol. I. (Theological Library, Vol. III.) pp. 399. London, 1832.

THERE are many links which tend to preserve a degree of

connection between the departments of knowledge apparently at the greatest remove from each other. The successful application of the human faculties in one path, is something done toward their more effective exercise in others. The circumstances which give existence to a Chaucer, or a Petrarch, may be expected to prepare the way for a Michel Angelo, or a Raffael; and the state of things which ministers to the growth of such spirits, will hardly fail to call forth a Columbus, a Galileo, or a Bacon. The man who excels in any one liberal pursuit, will generally imbibe a sympathy with more, and must impart the aid of that sympathy, more or less, to his fellows. Mental power is constrained to venerate its like, and must contribute to produce it, though the objects to which it is applied in its different possessors, may have little in common.

But, if this reflective influence belong, in some degree, to all the matters of human culture, it must be more especially observable in such as are less abstract in their character, and most of all in religion, which connects itself more readily with the mass, and takes the strongest hold on all the springs of action. If the renovation of one science, therefore, be the certain prelude to a simllar process elsewhere, the renovation of Christianity must be the precursor to a similar change in regard to every path of human improvement.

What it would have been reasonable, in this respect, to anticipate, has become history. The collateral benefits of the Protestant Reformation may be estimated in some degree from the present condition of the states by which its claims have been rejected. The rod of the oppressor, by which the nations had been so long afflicted, was much too powerful to admit of being broken by any force short of that which religion could supply. It required the hopes and fears of the future, to undo the thraldom of the present. But, these mighty influences once brought into action, the effect was wide, and deep, and permanent. The state of Italy, Portugal, and Spain, improved or checked, as even they have been, by their juxta-position with Protestant communities, may suggest some notion of what must have continued to be the condition of Europe, apart from the agency of that momentous revolution which armed the aristocracy and the people, the prince and the peasant, in defence of a common liberty. That great change consisted mainly, in what mainly distinguished it from all other changes-the elevation of the people; and served,

VOL. IX.-N.$.


[ocr errors]

necessarily, to humanize the spirit of all secular government, and to give more equality and fairness to the working of the social system. In common with every great event, it had its incidental evils; but it had also its incidental good. While it conferred on some states their first independent existence, it raised others much above their former level. At the same time, it placed all the European powers in such new relations to each other, that a sort of national confederation sprang up, such as at once put au end to those tendencies toward a degrading universal monarchy, which had been long at work. The struggle between the old and the New, forced the frame-work of European society into the semblance of two grand republics, and rendered the maxims of a more liberal policy imperative, as the means of self-preservation.

The light shed by the Reformation on all the objects which come within the circle of our knowledge, is apparent in every page of history, from the age of Luther to our own. On this point, however, we shall allow a writer to speak, who will not be suspected of a disposition to overrate the good effects of the Christian religion.

"The middle of the sixteenth century,' says D'Alembert, saw a rapid change in the religion and the system of a great part of Europe. The new doctrines of the reformers, supported on the one hand, and opposed on the other, with that warmth which the interests of God, well or ill understood, can alone inspire, equally compelled their partisans and their adversaries to seek instruction. The emulation excited by this great 'motive, multiplied knowledge of every kind; and the light pro

duced in the bosom of error and trouble spread itself to those objects also which seemed most foreign to those disputes.' (Elemens de Philosophie, 1.) To this it might with fairness have been added, that these effects of reformed Christianity were naturally followed by a kind of re-action in its favour; so that it has derived the means of its still advancing purification, from that general emulation which no strength inferior to its own could have produced.

Could the extent of the change which was to result from the labours of the Reformers have been foreseen, there were facts which seemed to point towards France as a country that would be affected by the new order of thivgs, almost beyond any other, The very fickleness of the Gallic character,-a charge chronicled against them since the days of Cæsar,--seemed to favour this conclusion ; and still more their long boasted stand against the despotic pretensions of the papacy, and in behalf of, what they were pleased to call, 'the liberties of the Gallican Church. But these circumstances, and others of the same description, were to be counteracted; and after a struggle, hardly less determined or protracted than was maintained in our own country, the French people were to find themselves thrown upon the mercies of a pure

despotism, and had to choose between embracing a Christianity as corrupt, upon the whole, as any thing existing in the age before Luther, or an abandonment of religious faith altogether. It is well known, that the Author of the “Decline and Fall," recommended Dr. Robertson to give the story of the French Protestants a place among his works. But if it be true, as Mr. Hallam has somewhere said, that history is the sworn slave of success, it was not with such a theme that even the genius of Robertson could have made any great impression. It is, indeed, a remarkable fact in the history of the French people, that, as a nation, they should always appear as though incapable of choosing a middle course. The extremes of despotism or anarchy, of the worst religion or no religion, are the connexions in which history is generally presenting them ;—the minority, capable of wiser and better things, being always borne down by an overwhelming majority, impelled as by the force of intoxication.

We would hope, however, that the time past may be sufficient for our neighbours to have wrought thus extravagantly. As to the volume before us, though relating, as we have intimated, to a theme which, both in its progress and its end, draws somewhat too largely on our painful sympathies, we can readily bear our testimony to the care, the candour, and the general ability with which it is executed. It must be admitted, that its subject furnishes some of the most valuable lessons to be derived from modern history; and to most of these the Author is capable of doing ample justice. The work, if completed as begun, will be the most interesting and valuable, on the subject, with which we are acquainted. The present volume commences with the first appearance of the Reformed Doctrine in France, and conducts the reader through all the perils to which it was exposed, down to the eve of the memorable St. Bartholomew. The persons occurring most frequently in the narrative are, Francis I., Henry II., Francis II., Charles IX., Catharine de Medicis, the Duke of Guise, Admiral Coligny, the King of Navarre, the Prince of Condè, the Cardinal Lorraine, De l'Hôpital, Calvin, Beza, and some other names less familiar to general readers, but fitted to awaken an equal, and, in some instances, a stronger interest. Mr. Smedley has made a skilful use of his materials; and has prudently consulted the taste of some of his readers, by the introduction of seasonable and illustrative anecdotes. The first chapter describes a theatrical performance in the palace of Francis I.; "shewing that the parties who were in the practice of committing the unhappy Lutherans to the flames with studied barbarity, could convert the excitement occasioned by their doctrine into source of amusement.

- In 1524, the king himself did not refuse to smile at a light interlude, represented in one of the saloons of his own palace, the plot


« ElőzőTovább »