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In respect to their credibility, (supposing they imply no plain contradiction,) a miracle, and any natural fact which has never fallen under our personal observation, stand precisely on the same ground. Unless, in the one case, we were perfectly acquainted with the system of nature, or, in the other, with the character and designs of the Divine Being, we can have absolutely nothing positive to counterbalance the evidence of testimony which supports the one or the other allegation: our sole concernment is with the credibility of the testimony. The more or less extraordinary nature of the fact in question, (provided it does not contradict our actual knowledge,) has no place whatever in measuring the degree of our conviction, because this extraordinariness is a mere variable negation, derived from every man's ignorance, and directly proportionate to it. The credible affirmation of an extraordinary natural fact, or of a miracle, makes an intrusion, so to speak, not upon our previous knowledge, but upon our present ignorance: while it appeals, as the ground of our assent, not to our ignorance, but to our knowledge, namely, to our knowledge of that human nature, and of those laws of the moral world, which are the objects of our personal experience, the matters of our positive knowledge, and on which is founded the power of testimony to command belief.
ART. IV.St. Domingo.
A WORK on St. Domingo has lately appeared in France. The
author is barón Pamphile de Lacroix, a lieutenant general in the Haytian service. He seems to be a man of extensive information, and his work contains many curious details concerning the inhabitants of the abovementioned colony. When we reflect on the rapid transition of the blacks of Hayti from ignorance and barbarism to their present state of civilization, we cannot sufficiently admire the noble efforts that were made to rescue them from slavery. This extraordinary civilization is one of the great blessings of liberty.
There appears to be an astonishing desire for knowledge among the negroes. I have known some,' says general Lacroix,' 'who taught themselves to read and write. They walked about with their books in their hands, and requested those whom they met to explain to them the meaning of words. Many have become notaries, advocates, judges, &c. and their shrewdness and penetration are remarkable. There are negroes in St. Domingo who are tolerably good painters, sculptors, architects, and mechanics. They work the mines; and with no other aid than books on chemistry, natural philosophy, and mathematics, they have established manufactories of nitre, gun-powder, arms, and a cannon foundery.' If we may credit the author of the present work, the Haytians have the finest cavalry in America.
'Hayti,' he says, ' is not yet a manufacturing, industrious, and commercial nation. Like the Romans, we go from the sword to the
plough, and from the plough to the sword; we we are merely military and agricultural. ... The art of printing, so essential for the dissemination of human knowledge, is making daily advance
( The Haytians, formerly so wretched, will shortly be the happiest people in the world. Like the Phoenix, which we have adopted as our emblem, we shall rise from our ashes more glorious than before.
.'Agriculture has not yet reached the degree of perfection it had attained in 1789, but it is making rapid advancement towards complete regeneration. The revenues of this colony exceed one hundred millions. The annual resources of the two governments amount to forty-eight millions, and their expenditure to eighteen. The armies of the two chiefs of St. Domingo amount to 48,000 men. One third of this force is kept constantly under arms; and in case of attack, it could be quadrupled. The population of Hayti is calculated at 500,000 souls, 480,000 of whom are blacks or creoles. In 1789 the population amounted to upwards of 600,000, including 40,000 whites and 40,000 creoles. Of the former but few now remain, and the latter do not exceed 25,000. The morals of the people are improving, and public instruction is protected and encouraged.
France, and the whole of Europe, have long been flattered with the hope that dissentions would arise among the chiefs of St. Domingo. It has been asserted that the Negroes could not long resist the happiness of being restored to the legitimate government. But all these illusions have vanished. The Haytians have recovered their liberty, and they know how to preserve it. On this subject their governments entertain but one sentiment; and though they do not refuse to maintain commercial relations with the mother country, yet they will never be prevailed on to sacrifice their independence. Such is their jealousy of the influence of the whites, that the following is one of the articles of their constitution: No white can become a master or a landed proprietor at St. Domingo.'
General Lacroix observes, that the Haytian governments have already paid fifteen millions of piasters for supplies and succours afforded them by England.
ART. V.-Augustus Von Kotzebue.
A UGUSTUS VON KOTZEBUE was murdered with a dagger, on the 23d of March, at five in the afternoon, at Mannheim, in his study, by a student of Jena, named Sand; upon which the assassin stabbed himself ineffectually in several places. The certificate found in his pocket showed that he studied in the university of Jena, upon which an express was immediately dispatched to the Academic senate of that place. The papers of the assassin were examined the same evening. Nothing was found which could throw any light on the affair; only in a letter to an unnamed
friend were the words,' I go to meet my fate, the scaffold.' Sand, born of a very good family at Weinseidel in the Margravate of Baireuth, on the frontiers of Bohemia, had previously studied at Tubingen and Erlangen, and was now studying divinity at Jena. He is described by all his masters as a cool, quiet, reflecting, steady, well-informed man. It is known that he lately attended the anatomical lectures of Mr. Fuchs, professor of anatomy at Jena, and inquired very particularly about the situation of the heart. In his political fanaticism he had imagined that he should do an immortal service to the country, and to the universities in all Germany, if, with the sacrifice of his own life, he killed Kotzebue, as a supporter of the accusation of the German universities pronounced by the Russian counsellor of state Von Stourdza, in his essay Etat actuel de l'Allemagne, delivered at Aix la Chapelle, and as a traitor to the cause of Germany. He came on foot from Jena to Mannheim, where he arrived on the 20th in the evening, under the assumed name of Heinrichs, and was twice refused admittance at Kotzebue's door, till he insisted that he had letters from Weimar, which he must deliver in person. At Weimar lives still the mother of Kotzebue, 82 years of age, whom her son always most tenderly loved; nay, had even sometimes travelled the long journey from his estate of Schwarza, in Esthonia to Weimar, to keep her birthday. When the dreadful event was communicated to her, with the greatest precaution, she was so affected, that it is feared the shock may be her death. On the same day when the news of Kotzebue's murder arrived at Weimar, his third son, Otto Von Kotzebue, who made the voyage round the world with Krusenstern, set out from Weimar, where he had visited his grandmother, for Mannheim, to present to his father his young and amiable wife, a miss Manteuffel from Livonia, Kotzebue's third wife (a miss Von Essen of Livonia) was delivered of a son at Mannheim only six weeks ago where three daughters and two sons lived very happily; for even the bitterest enemies of this man, who has been so furiously attacked, were always obliged to confess that he was an exemplary son, a tender husband, and a father indefatigable in the education of his children. He always employed the hours of the morning in giving instructions to his younger children. He has left twelve children, of whom one son (Moritz) has just published an account of the Russian Embassy to Persia, to which he was attached;* the eldest, who was aidde-camp to a Russian general, fell in the campaign against Napoleon.
Though no trace of accomplices in this crime are found in Jena, it cannot be denied that it is the result of a spirit of extravagant enthusiasm which has seized many German youths in our universities. The evil is deeply rooted, and began with the arming of
* It is from the MS. of this Narrative, communicated by the unfortunate Kotzebue, that the many interesting extracts have appeared in former numbers of the Literary Gazette.
many hundred young men in the German schools and universities, in 1813 and 1814. Then was formed a spirit of independence, incompatible with the sedate life of a student, and a dangerous tendency to take part in politics. The Tugenbund (Union of Virtue) formed with a noble design in the Prussian states, had many members, who after the war was ended, became indeed students again, but could not forget the military life. Soon the heads of associations, who all considered themselves as the restorers of German liberty, formed connexions with each other in most of the German universities. The Tourneyings, or gymnastic exercises, which began with a professor Jahn at Berlin, and soon spread not only through all the Prussian schools and universities, but all over Germany, were every where extolled, with ridiculous exaggeration, as an institution for the acquisition of German energy, and became a link in these efforts of the young German students to unite for the restoration of German public spirit and German freedom. The princes, assembled at the congress of Vienna, had promised their people constitutions, and the abolition of all kinds of abuses, because they at that time wanted the people. Now, when Napoleon no longer alarmed them, they forgot their promises; this especially embittered the young students. Requisitions were sent from Jena to all the German universities, to send deputies to celebrate the anniversary of the deliverance of Germany from the French, to meet at the castle of Wartburgh, on the 18th of October 1817, where it was proposed to celebrate at the same time the third centenary of the reformation. About 500 students in fact assembled; the festival of the Wartburg was celebrated; a general union of the students in all the universities was then formed under the name of Burschenschaft. They took the sacrament, engaging faithfully to persevere. After this, associations with the general Burschenschaft were organized in almost all the German universities. Even Leipsig did not remain free from them; the tumult in Göttingen, in the summer of 1818, was connected with them. Kotzebue, who at this time lived in Weimar, and as a diplomatic acknowledged agent of the emperor Alexander, whose counsellor of state he was, sent to St. Petersburgh half yearly reports on the state of German literature, and at the same time published at Weimar a weekly literary journal, declared himself decidedly, both in his reports to the emperor and in his journal, against the political tendency of the young German students. One of his bulletins to the emperor was treacherously obtained, and printed at Jena. Henceforth Kotzebue was looked on as a renegade, and a traitor to the German cause; the hotheaded young men not considering that he, as having been for some years in the service of the emperor, and landholder in Livonia, had ceased to be a German citizen, and had taken upon him duties towards the emperor of Russia. Professor Oken at Jena, editor of a literary journal called Isis, loaded Kotzebue in this journal with ridicule. Kotzebue considered himself as no longer safe at Weimar, and fixed his abode at Mannheim, where
he, however, still continued to publish his journal, and forcibly to attack the proceedings of the Tourneyers and the Burschenschaft. When at the congress of Aix la Chapelle, the counsellor of state Stourdza, cousin to the Russian secretary of state the count Capo d'Istria, a Greek by birth, and private secretary to the emperor Alexander, received the commission to draw up, from papers which a German court presented to the emperor Alexander, the pamphlet 'Etat actuel de l'Allemange,' in which the German universities are represented as without subordination and discipline. Kotzebue expressed in his journal his decided approbation. This pamphlet, which certainly contains much that is ill-founded and partial, and blows the alarm of fire wherever there is but an ap pearance of smoke, highly incensed the students in all the German universities, where the Burschenschaft had taken root, in consequence of the deputations to the Wartburg. Many refutations were written; the best was in the Leipsig Literary Journal. M. Stourdza, who did not think himself safe at Weimar, with his sister the countess Edling, went to Dresden, where he still is,* for the restoration of his health; here he received a challenge from two young noblemen studying at Jena, because he had calumniated the German universities. He of course did not accept this challenge, but declared in a letter to the grand duke of Weimar, that as secretary to the emperor Alexander, he had merely followed his majesty's orders. The whole displeasure of the students was now directed against Kotzebue, who fell a victim to it by the hand of an assassin, while living quietly and unsuspicious of harm, in the bosom of his family. (He had in all, by three wives, fourteen children, of whom only the half were with him.) At the head of the Burschenschaft of Jena was a Hanoverian nobleman, who was formerly expelled from Marburg, and afterwards received at Jena as a Courlander, whose parents formerly acted a great part at the court of king Jerome, at Cassel. He has now been expelled from Jena. But it seems absolutely necessary that the Burschenschaft, as it is called, which for these eight months has been at variance, in Leipsig, with the Landmanschaft, which is opposed to it, and has often occasioned disputes in the theatre, should be every where dissolved by the governments, and care taken lest a new secret tribunal (Sancta Fehma,) or Old Man of the Mountain,' should arise. All Germany is filled with indignation. Though Kotzebue, whether from inattention or inconsistency, has frequently committed himself in an unpardonable manner, and because it was more profitable spared the file, and composed a third of his 128 dramatic pieces extempore, yet he was the greatest dramatic genius of the age. His disposition to satire engaged him from his youth in many disagreeable quarrels, as, in Germany in particular, people are not used to personalities. But those who knew him well, know that he never had a venal pen. His hatred to Napoleon has always
⚫ M. Stourdza has since left Dresden for Warsaw, to return to St. Petersburg, having, it is said, received intimation that he was not safe even at Dresden.