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From the John Bull.
in the hope that the author may be induced, in The Liberty of Rome: a History. Wilh an His- future editions of it, and in the continuations which torical Account of the Liberty of Ancient Nations. he promises to the world, to apply the file to imBy Samuel Elior. 2 vols. - London : Bentley, perfections which are more disturbing to the reader 1849. New York: G. P. Putnam.
than material in themselves. To some men history is no more than a collec
To give anything like an adequate outline of tion of facts, a huge pile of newspapers, accumu- the contents of the two volumes before us,
would lated through ages, and left to be turned over by be, within our limits, a hopeless attempt; we can successive generations for their amusement; to barely indicate the course which the author has others it is a storehouse from which materials may followed. He goes back to the first beginnings be drawn for an endless variety of artistic group of the human race, and anterior to the remotest ings and dramatic sketches ; while others again ages of even legendary history, and the so-called cull from it precedents and illustrations in support commencement of civilization ; he recognizes a of some particular system of political or social period of light obscured by subsequent corruplife. Yet in history, as in everything else, there
tion:must be an all-pervading truth, contradistinguished from the multifarious notions and opinions of men ; In the traditionary age, of which there are ruthere must be a view to be taken of it which, to mors spread amongst every race, when a few human the exclusion of every other view, is the true view beings lived at peace with themselves and in the of history; a view higher than that of the mere world was blessed with liberty and religion. Through
worship of their Divine Creator, the new-formed compiler of dry annals, the composer of historical the one, the relations of man to man were free; tales, or the philosopher and politician who would through the other, the relations of man to God were turn all the past into evidences, and all the future pure; however imperfect either might be in posinto experiments, of his theory. That higher itive development. But a change, sudden and obview can, in the nature of things, be taken only by scure, came over humanity and the principles by him who sees the records of man's existence in which it was at first sustained ; and when we look
once more towards times too dim, indeed, to be the bygone ages in their connection with that one
clearly known, neither liberty nor religion is to be and unchangeable counsel of the Eternal, of which found. Yet they had not been bestowed to be taken all the events which happen in the course of time away again forever. The shadows of the morning, are mere fragments; and to the vision of him who succeeding to the dawn, were deep and long; but so contemplates it, history presents itself under an while men toiled or wandered over the earth. the aspect at once more lofty and more profound, more memory of the light within their earlier homes severe and more fascinating, than to the eye of an
remained ; and the day increased, as they were mer
cifully allowed to seek it anew for themselves. ordinary beholder. It is in this sense that the author of the present
After a cursory review of the most ancient navolumes has taken in hand to historify what he tions concerned in the progress of human civilizacalls the “ Jiberty” of the ancient nations of the tion, the Indians, the Egyptians, the Persians, and world, that is, the state in which their powers the Phænicians, our author traces with great force were exercised for the development of all the re- and beauty the important part which the Greek sources which lie hidden in man's nature. To nation took in the common task of unfolding the him the vast and varied spectacle of ancient his
of man's nature. From this portion of tory is no more than a prelude to the divine drama the work we cannot forbear transcribing the acof man's redemption, and it is with a pen dipped in count which he gives of Socrates :the inspiration of this thought that he delineates in concise, well defined, and rapidly succeeding If the measure of liberty be proved, as this hissketches, the events which preceded the birth of tory of it maintains, by the measure of the faculties the Saviour of mankind. He brings to the per- under the laws of God as under those of man, then
it quickens and the attainments it inspires, as well formance of a task of such magnitude and difficulty there is reason for giving Socrates the palm above vast stores of erudition, a highly cultivated taste, all who were free in ancient times. Nor need his a comprehensive and penetrating intellect, and a merits be exaggerated in order to prove the blessing grave and sober judgment, qualities indispensable that descended upon him, not to make him secure, in one who would so write history, and rarely to but to awaken his anxiety and his thoughtfulness. He be found combined to the same extent in the same said things, if we trust the reports of old, of which individual. With such excellencies as these, the rious significance ; and when he was discoursing,
he could not himself have perceived the full and gloauthor is entitled to claim indulgence for some for the last time, of immortality, he interrupted himnegligences and occasional obscurities of style, self to order the sacrifice of a cock to Asculapius. which are evidently attributable to the preponder- It would have been unnatural that he should have ance of thought over expression, of careful atten- been totally spared the errors which lay in ambush tion to his materials over mere solicitude for the amongst men. But though he could not obliterate form in which they should be presented to the the stains of the humanity he bore, he washed them reader. Nor do we make mention of this com
partly from his brow in the spring to which his steps
were led. Ardent to learn because he knew how paratively slight defect from any wish to detract much he had to learn, yet humble because he felt from the praise so justly due to a work of such how much there was beyond his learning, he called high character and distinguished merit, brt rather | himself the architect of his own philosophy, but
confessed that his morality was imparted to him upon the earth ; their intercourse with other nations from a spirit with which his higher nature alone ob- seems to extend; and, except with the phylacteried tained communion. Socrates was so entirely above priest or the long-robed Pharisee, the pride of earall others, as to seem the only one in the heathen lier times was buried deep beneath the wrecks of universe who heard the voices or beheld the forms their independence. of truth. He was a moral man; and his desires The redemption of humanity could be prepared reached beyond the freedom of the body under law, only through humbleness for what had passed on or that of the mind under knowledge, to the higher earth, and hope for what was to come from heaven. freedom of the soul, which can exist only under Neither feeling could be aroused amongst the morality. Full of earnestness to make this known Jews as a nation ; but there were individuals, and among men, he confined his instructions neither to even classes, in whom a spirit was forming itself school nor to class, but sought his pupils in the unseen, like that of which the prophets spoke, and thoroughfares, the lowly as well as the magnificent to which the harps in Babylon were strung. The amongst his countrymen. In teaching some of the most inspiring promise of Moses was the appeargrandest lessons to be learned or practised through ance of a prophet who would be heard, though he liberty, he caught a glimpse of the world to which, himself were forsaken ; and the most eager aspiranot altogether blindfold, he looked forward, and tion of Malachi was to have the temple prepared where a place has since been promised to the pure for the coming of the Lord. There were some, in heart. He was the chosen servant to make one though few, indeed, by whom such memories were effort, at least, in the preparation of the human cherished and such hopes implored, in ignorance, mind for the promises of Him who not only beheld perhaps, but in contrition. It was to these, to the the truth but revealed it to make his followers free. shepherds, the fishermen, and the penitent, that the
Had the Greeks been slaves to Persia, Mace- angels sang; these, likewise, that He who was donia, or Rome, Socrates would scarcely have been much better than the angels” comforted at last. born amongst them; had they, on the other hand, been truer to liberty, he would certainly not have The author then passes on to that which conbeen condemned, like a criminal, to die. The de- stitutes the principal portion of his work, viz., the sign of his life, however, may have been completed history of Rome from its first foundation to the in the manner of his death. The very fact, that he time of Augustus. The different changes of moral, wrote nothing, while other philosophers were allowed 10 compose each a library, as their works in social, and political character through which the some cases may be styled, compels us to consider Roman people passed from the first dawn of their Socrates in a peculiar light. It was permitted that existence to the extinction of their liberty, are the pall should be a little withdrawn from the pros- portrayed with a masterly hand, and the moral of pects that had long been lost, if they had ever been the story is thus conveyed :received ; but it was not for man, even with the aid ot' God, to restore the dead to life, or to begin a new
So far as humility amongst men was necessary creation. Four centuries before the Saviour, when for the preparation of a truer freedom than could freedom seemed, perhaps, to have reached its high-ever be known under heathenism, the part of Rome. est development, ihe promise was made, as we read however dreadful, was yet sublime. It was not to it, through Socrates, that there was to be a com- unite, to discipline, or to fortify humanity, but to pleter freedom granted when human powers should enervate, to loosen, and to scatter its forces, that be increased and human virtues purified. He was the people whose history we have read were allowed slain, even though his message was but half deliv- to conquer the earth, and were then themselves reered, and noways comprehended when he died. duced to deep submission. Every good labor of
theirs that failed was, by reason of what we esteem The sketch of the history of the Jewish people its failure, a step gained nearer to the end of the concludes with the following striking remarks : well-nigh universal evil that prevailed; while every
bad achievement that may seem to us to have sucHad there been a second Moses to lead the people ceeded, temporarily or lastingly, with them was m their second deliverance, the end of ancient Jewish equally, by reason of its success, a progress towards history might have been long protracted. Instead the good of which the coming would have been of him, however, or of any like him, Pharisees and longed and prayed for, could it have been compreSadducees, elders, priests, and scribes, stand, wran- hended. Alike in the virtues and in the vices of gling and trifling, in the foreground of the scene antiquity, we may read the progress towards its huwhich opens some time after the restoration ; while miliation. Yet, on the other hand, it must not behind are groups of lowlier people, the contrast seem, at the least, that the disposition of the Robetween whom and their leaders appears to suggest mans or of mankind to submission was secured the only hope of which the nation was then suscep- solely through the errors and the apparently ineffecttible. "The purposes of the return from Babylon to ual toils which we have traced back to these times Jerusalem are noi, perhaps, difficult to discern. It of old. Desires too true to have been wasted, and was necessary, on the one hand, that the faith associa- strivings too humane to have been unproductive, ted with the fallen city should be preserved, and yet, though all were overshadowed by passing wrongs, on the other, imperative that the sins which had still gleam as if in anticipation or in preparation of sprung from lust and dominion amongst its chosen the advancing day. worshippers should have no opportunity for revival, At length, when it had been proved by ages of though their actual chastisement was over. If this conflict and loss, that no lasting joy and no abiding interpretation of Providence be correct, as it is hum- truth could be procured through the power, the free ble, it follows that the recall of the Jews, as a re- dom, or the faith of mankind, the angels sang their ligious, was unattended by any corresponding re- song, in which the glory of God and the good-will generation of them as a free nation. They appear, of men were together blended. The universe was indeed, in an aspect of less security on their own wrapped in momentary tranquillity, and a peaceful part, that they were the favored race of all others) was the night” above the manger of Bethlehem.
TO THE BINDER.—Title and Index of Vol. XXII are in the middle of this Number.
CONTENTS OF No. 280. 1 Life of Dr. James Macdonald,
Journal of Insanity,
577 2. Memoirs of the House of Orleans,
585 ö. The Legoff Family, chaps. III. IV. V.
Dublin University Magazine,
593 4. Walpole's Four Years in the Pacific,
607 i Europe, &c.; Land Tenures in Hungary; Is
610 Prussia to be Free? Goergey; Trouble at ( Examiner,
to the Cape of Good Hope; Martial Morals; Spectator,
616 M. De Lamartine, 6. Liberty of Rome, bý Saml. Eliot,
618 Poetry. – To My little Daughter's Shoes, 591. — English Melodies, 592. Suort Articles. — A Leap for Life; Cause for Thankfulness : The Franklin Expedition, 616.
Peat Bogs in Ireland; Young as a Poet; Jacob Behmen, 617.
PROSPECTUS.—This work is conducted in the spirit of now becomes every intelligent American to be informed Littell's Museum of Foreign Literature, (which was favor of the condition and changes of foreign countries. And ehly received by the public for twenty years,) but as it is this not only because of their nearer connection with our twice as large, and appears so often, we not only give selves, but because the nations seem to be hastening spirit and freshness to it by many things which were through a rapid process of change, to some new state of excluded by a month's delay, but while thus extending our things, which the merely political prophet cannot compute scope and gathering a greater and more attractive variety, or foresee. are able so to increase the solid and substantial part of Geographical Discoveries, the progress of Colonization, our literary, historical, and political harvest, as fully to (which is extending over the whole world,) and Voyages satisfy the wants of the American reader.
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