Page images


ing the imagination more than moral prise,” says Mr Hume, “ both in hisor religious principle, it, in effect, adds tory and private life, that while most to the force of the antagonist powers persons evince both judgment and mowhich assail human integrity, while ral feelings in judging of the conduct it gives no additional strength to the of others, they exhibit but little of counteracting dispositions by which either when called into action themalone they can be restrained. The selves ; and very generally fall into the pleasures of intellectual labour are, by very same vices which they have been the constitution of the human mind, the loudest in condemning in their accessible only to a small fraction of the neighbours. The reason is obvious; human race.

When Lord Brougham in estimating the conduct of others, said he did not despair of seeing the they are guided by their reason and day when every poor man should read their feeling ; in acting for themselves, Bacon, and Cobbett added it would be they are actuated by their reasons, much more to the purpose if he could their feelings, and their desires." In give them all the means of eating it, this simple observation is to be found the one showed as great ignorance as the key to the whole mystery. When the other evinced knowledge of the the machinery of government is in the intellectual capacity of the great bulk hands of the holders of property, that is, of mankind. In no rank of life nor the aristocracy, whetherlanded or comcondition of society did any man ever mercial, the great bulk of the people find a tenth of his acquaintance in are spectators merely of their conduct; whom the pleasures of study would they are the audience in the court, or form a counterpoise to the excitement the jury in the box, not engaged in of the imagination or the seductions of the heat or animosity of the trial. In sense. Education can to almost all such a situation, therefore, their reason magnify the influence of the latter : or feelings only are called into action, to a few only can it strengthen the and these principles in mankind genesway of the former. Thence its uni- rally, when not under the influence versal and now generally experienced of passion, are uniformly on the side failure as a substitute for religious of virtue. In these circumstances, principle, and its total inadequacy to therefore, the feelings of the majority, counteract the temptations to sin, that is, public opinion, is, generally which it itself has so greatly in- speaking, and unless when their pascreased.

sions are excited by extraordinary But how then, it may be asked, if circumstances, the best safeguard of the universal failure of democratic in- public morality, and the most effectual stitutions be owing to the inherent cor- check on the corruptions of governruption of the human heart, can it ment; and thence the long stability, be argued that aristocratic govern- enduring virtue, and pure state of pubment is preferable ? Are not nobles lic feeling in such communities. But children of Adam as well as paupers ? when the people are themselves, or by And has not the taint of universal lia- their leaders, admitted into power, bility to crime descended in at least this felicitous state of things is at as great a degree to the high-born, once subverted. From being spectapampered, and luxurious aristocrat, as tors of the game, they become actors to the humble hard-working peasant in it--from being actuated by their reaor mechanic ? Undoubtedly it has, and son and their feelings only, they bethe observation is a perfectly fair one; come actuated by their reason, their and unless it can be satisfactorily an- feelings, and their passions. The latswered, it leaves wholly unsolved the ter, ever predominant with men acting problem to be solved, which is the together and under the excitement of universal and experienced rapidity of common feeling, speedily becomes omcorruption, oppression, and misgovern- nipotent, and immediately the sovement in democratic states. The solu- reign multitude fall into all the vices, tion, however, is easy, and it at once ambition, and corruptions of the soveconfirms the general truth of the pre- reign aristocracy or the sovereign ceding argument, and points out the despot-uay, worse; for, from the cononly form of government where a due tagion of multitudes, the passions are protection either to persons or proper- more strongly excited; from the needy ty can be secured.

condition of the ruling mass, the ne" It is frequently observed with sur. cessity of instant spoliation is more

[ocr errors]

strongly felt; from the division of public men noways weaken their inpower among numbers, the responsi- Huence with their supporters, if they bility of injustice is reduced to nothing; do the one thing needful in supporting At the same time, and what is still the cause of democracy. “ Si monuworse, the counteracting principle mentum quaeris, circumspice." which chiefly kept the aristocracy right It is another reason why aristocrawhen it was at the helm, viz. the force tic societies are less liable to the inof public opinion, that is, the feelings vasion of corruption or the temptaof the majority, so far from being an tions to oppression than democraticantidote to the evil, becomes its great that, in the former law, the rulers of est supporter. The masses, formerly the state have a lasting interest in so loud in their reprobation of abuses the administration of Government, when their rulers only were to profit and will be permanently affected in by them, become their cordial sup- their interests and estates by external porters when they are themselves to disaster, or internal misgovernment ; obtain these benefits ; the crowds, for- whereas, in the latter, as Government merly so clamorous in their demand is perpetually changing, the consefor economy, become the warmest sup- quences of error or criminality hardly porters of costly measures when do- ever affect the actual perpetrators of mestic corruption or the multis utile it. The first is a tenant with a long bellum is to shower its golden showers lease, or such a grant as he may think over them; the patriots, once so in- almost amounts to a perpetuity. The dignant in their declamations in sup- latter is a tenant at will—every year port of freedom, speedily become the expecting notice to quit from a changreatest of all tyrants when they are ging and capricious set of landlords. to restrain others, instead of being res- It is not difficult to say which will run trained by them. The aristocratic out the soil. Rotation of office is the classes indeed, and their supporters grand principle of democratic goamong the people, make the loudest vernment, and will do admirably lamentations at this portentous state of well with a conquering state, which, things; but what is the opinion of like the Roman Commonwealth, or hundreds among that of thousands, or French Republic, can annually send the weight of the minority against a forth fresh its magistrates to conquer tyrant corrupt government, which is and plunder other countries, and securely entrenched in the fastnesses gratify the ambition of its rulers of corruption by a majority, all hop- by foreign suffering ; but it is uting to profit, directly or indirectly, by terly fatal to good government when its fruits ? Thence the rapid and in- the rulers are confined to their own evitable degeneracy of all democratic bounds; and the cupidity of the states ; thence the frightful and swift changing demagogues, who are raised progress of corruption among the clas- for a few months or years to power, ses who had heretofore been its most must be satisfied at the expense of strenuous opponents ; thence the total their own subjects or supporters. inability of the minority, composed Admitting that an aristocratic goof the property, virtue, and education vernment is not disposed by nature to in the community, to stem the progress abstain more from abuses or misgoof evil; thence the inconceivable ce- vernment than a democratic one, the lerity with which all the bulwarks of important distinction lies here, that it freedom are laid low by the blows of is made to feel in its own estates, and a deluded or interested populace: in the power or influence which its thence that fatal confusion of public members can transmit to their deideas which, as Madam de Stäel says, scendants, the consequence of misconis the worst bequest of revolutions, to duct, and, therefore, from self-intedestroy altogether the eternal distinc rest, if from no better motive, is tion of right and wrong, and make brought to abstain from flagrant acts men apply to public actions no other of violence or injustice: whereas the test but that of success. We need not popular leaders, having no prospect refer to other ages or states for a proof of retaining power for more than one of this assertion: our own country, and or two years, and none whatever of our own age, is its most striking con- transmitting it to their descendants, firmation : the worst corruptions, the and no estates to be permanently afmost disgraceful tergiversations in fected by hurtful measures, are natu


And ex


rally led to make the most of it before will make an accomplished tailor or it slips out of their hands.

mason, but thirty years is barely adeperience has abundantly proved the quate to the training of a judicious justice of these views ; for while his- statesman. It is a

comtory shows that the nations who have plaint that the English diplomatists are risen to the highest and most lasting now so much inferior to those of the greatness, from the Roman to the monarchical states with whom they are English, have been governed by aris brought in collision ; but the fact is no tocratic government, and exhibits ways surprising, when we consider many, as Austria, Prussia, and Bava- how often administrations in this coun ria, where this form of government at try are now changed under the presthis moment rules with a paternal and sure of popular fickleness, and how beneficent, though despotic sway, it little chance, therefore, any diplomacan exhibit none in which democra- tist has to be employed for the time tic institutions, in an old state, have requisite to acquire skill in his pronot, in a few years, utterly destroyed fession. Without a certain degree of the frame of society, and, by levelling stability in Government, ability in all the bulwarks of freedom, necessa- administration or its subordinate sirily induced a transient or lasting tuations will never be acquired by despotism.

the servants of the public; and this Lastly, aristocratic societies differ stability will never be found under from democratic in this essential par- the changeful phases of democratic ticular—that they bring to the helm of fervour. public affairs a far greater degree of Do we conclude, from all this, that skill, experience, and practical talent a pure unmixed aristocracy is the than can possibly be expected under only beneficial form of government? the changing jealousy of popular rule. Far from it; though we strenuously Here, again, it is not that there is any maintain that it is infinitely preferoriginal difference between the intel. able to an unmixed democracy. lectual capacity of different ranks of What we maintain is, that the holders men, but that it is a difference of cir- of property are men, and liable to cumstances which occasions the dif- human error as well as the supportfe nce in the result Experience- ers of democracy, and therefore stand long, hard-earned experience—is in- in need of the watchful jealousy and dispensable to the formation of an ac- effective control of the masses of the complished statesman ; twenty years' people: but that it is only where study and practice are as indispen- property is the ruling, and numbers sable to that character as to that of a the controlling power, that control great lawyer, or judge, or physician. can be turned to good account; and The theory of self-government by the that when numbers become the rumasses is utterly at variance with the lers, its weight is all thrown on the plainest dictates of common sense, as wrong side, and, instead of the flyevinced in the daily transactions of wheel regulating the motion of the life. What should we think of the machine, it drives it headlong to demasses pretending to build their own struction.

It is the first form of gohouses, or make their own coats, or vernment which Old England for a plead their own causes, instead of em- hundred and forty years possessed : ploying architects, and tailors, and it is the second which New England barristers to do these services for for six years has experienced. Acthem? Infinitely more absurd is it cording to the choice now made by for them to employ their ever-chan- its electors it is easy to see whether ging delegates to engage in the diffi- the star of British prosperity is to shine cult science of legislation for them, on with undiminished brightness, or bound hand and foot, as they will al- to blaze for a short term, and to be ways be under democratic institutions, extinguished for ever. by their mandates ; for seven years


The English have been charged inevitable in a life of labour ; that to with a terrible deficiency of musical the man of literature it affords one of genius. But, at least, they cannot be the simplest, yet most complete recharged with any deficiency of musi- freshments of the over-worked mind ; cal patronage. England, barbarian as while to the higher ranks its cultivashe is, has the honour of seeing all the tion, frequently the only cultivation artists of the Continent come flutter- which they pursue with interest, often ing in long files, like the woodcocks administers the only harmless passion in winter, to her hyperborean shores. of their nature. Every performer on every instrument, All things which have become from the fairy displays of a Eulenstein national have more to do with naon “two jews'-harps,” to the sonorous ture than perhaps strikes the general sweep of a Bochsa with his twenty- eye. Music and musical instruments four pupils all rushing through the certainly seem to have a remarkable chords of as many harps together. connexion with the climate and conEvery tolerable singer, and, we had ceptions of a people. Among the naalmost said, every intolerable com- tions of antiquity, the people of Judea poser, finds reception, if not renown, were perhaps the greatest cultivators favouritism, if not fortune, in all-en- of music. Their temple worship was during England. The higher ranks on the largest scale of musical magniretire loaded with opulence wrung ficence, and for that worship they had from the ears of the unsusceptible especially the two most magnificent multitude, and in the shades of some instruments known to antiquity-the Tuscan-villa, or the halls of some Ro- trumpet and the harp. In later times, man palazzo, laugh at the slow sensi- the horn is the instrument of the Swiss bilities of John Bull ; the lower cling and Tyrolese mountaineer. Its long to the prey with German indefatiga- and wild modulations, its powerful bility and Italian eagerness, solicit, tones, and its sweet and melancholy save, and sneer, until, like the Savoy- simplicity, make it the congenial inard chimney-sweepers, or the Swiss strument of loftiness, solitude, and the porters, they can revisit their house- life of shepherds. The guitar is the hold gods, purchase a cabin on a pre- natural instrument of a people like cipice, and libel the land of fogs, fac- those of the Peninsula. Its lightness, tion, and the Philharmonic Society. yet tenderness—its depth of harmony,

Still John Bull may have no great yet elegance of touch—its delicacy of reason to lament his lot. If he is no tone, yet power of expression--adapt pre-eminent fiddler, we may say that it to a race of men who love pleasure, he has something else to do ; if he yet hate to toil in its pursuit, whose must send for foreign masters of the profoundest emotions are singularly string, it is something to be able to mingled with frivolity, and whose spipay them ; and if his soil produces no 2

rits constantly hover between romance Viottis or Paganinis, he may be well and caricature. The rich genius of content with its home-production of Ireland has transmitted to us some of poets and philosophers, warriors and the noblest strains in the world, but statesmen.

they are essentially strains of the harp, Yet none will deny that music is a the modulations of a hand straying at lovely art. It is unquestionable that will among a rich profusion of sounds, its use singularly increases the inno- and inspiring them with taste, feeling, cent enjoyments of life; that it re- and beauty

The violin is Italian in markably humanizes the popular mind; its birth, its powers, and its stylethat its general cultivation among the subtle, sweet, and brilliant-more imlower orders on the Continent has al- mediately dependent on the mind than ways been found to supply a gentle, any other instrument–inferior only yet powerful solace to the hardships to the voice in vividness, and superior

The Violin. Being an Account of that leading Instrument, and its most Eminent Professors, from its earliest Date to the present Time. By George Dubourg.

to all else in tone, flexibility, and grace. she has always been, the patron of all The violin, in the hands of a great that could add to the splendour of performer, is the finest of human in- court, and the elegance of public ventions, for it is the most expressive. amusement. In 1577, Catherine de The violin has a soul, and that soul is Medicis, the wife and mother of kings, Italian.

invited her countryman, Baltazarini, Nothing is more extraordinary in to France. His performance excited this fine instrument than the diversi- universal delight; and the violin, ty of styles which may be displayed which, in the hands of the wandering on its simple construction ; yet all minstrels, had fallen into contempt, perfect. Thus, from the sweet can- became a European instrument. tabile of the early masters, the world The first school was that of the ceof cognoscenti was astonished by a lebrated Corelli. This famous master transition to the fulness and majesty was born at Fusignano, in the Bologof the school of Tartini. Again, after nese, in February, 1653. In 1672 he the lapse of half a century, another visited Paris, then the chief seat of change came, and the school of Pug- patronage. From Paris he made a nani developed its grandeur, and from tour through Germany, and returning, this descended the brilliancy, rapidity, fixed it at Rome; and commenced and fire of Viotti ; and from the school that series of compositions, his twelve of Viotti, after the lapse of another sonatas and his “ Ballate de Camelong period, the eccentric power, daz- ra," which formed his first fame as a zling ingenuity, and matchless mas- composer ; crowning it by his solos, tery of Paganini, who might seem to which have a fortune unrivalled by have exhausted all its spells, if human any other composition of his age, or of talent were not always new, and the the age following—that of being still secrets of harmony inexhaustible. regarded as one of the most important

Thus the violin belongs to more studies of the performers for their than physical dexterity. Its excellence science, and still popular from their depends on the sensitive powers. It is beauty. more than a mean of conveying plea- It is remarkable, that in those censure to the ear; it is scarcely less than turies which seemed to have scarcely an emanation from the mind. Of recovered from the barbarism of the course this is said of it only in its dark ages, and which were still inhigher grades of performance. In its volved in the confusion of civil wars, lower, it is notoriously, of all instru- enthusiasm distinguished the progress ments, the most intractable and un- of the public mind. It was not pleabearable. We shall now give a slight sure, nor the graceful study of some coup d'ail of its chief schools and pro- fine intellectual acquisition, nor the fessors.

desire of accomplishment ; it was a The invention of the violin is lost wild, passionate, and universal ardour in the dark ages. It was probably for all that awakes the mind. The the work of those obscure artists who great schools of classic literature, of furnished the travelling minstrels with painting, of architecture, and of music the rebec and viola, both common in -all first opened in Italy--were a the 12th century. The violar, or per- conflux of students from all nations. former on the viol, was a companion The leading names of these schools of the troubadour. The name fiddle were followed with a homage scarcely is Gothic, and probably derived from less than prostration. Even the masviola. Videl and fedel, are the Ger- ters of that driest of all studies, the man and Danish. About the close of Roman law, gave their prelections, the 16th century, the violin, which not to hundreds, but to thousands. once had six strings, with guitar frets, The great painter had his “ seguaci," was fortunately relieved from those who paid him almost the allegiance superfluities, and was brought nearly of a sovereign. The announcement into its present form. But the bow that, in Rome, the most expressive, remained, as of old, short-scarcely skilful, and brilliant of all masters of beyond the length of the violin itself. the violin presided at the Opera, drew Its present length was due to Tartini. students from every part of Italy, and

Italy was the first seat of excellence even of Europe, all hastening to catch in music, as in all the other arts; and the inspiration of Archangelo Corelli. France, in the 16th century, was, as

Cardinal Ottoboni, a man of talents,

« PreviousContinue »