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in Cæsar's own soul, the dream, so rich in hopes, of a union of free national development and absolute government prevailed, the rule of the highly-gifted emperors of the Julian race presently gave terrible proofs how far it was possible to unite fire and water in one vessel. Cæsar's work was necessary and salutary, not because in itself it brought or could bring blessings with it, but because, in the ancient political organization, founded on slavery and completely destitute of constitutional representation as it was, and in presence of the legitimate constitution which in five hundred years had developed into a full-blown oligarchical despotism, military monarchy was a conclusion logically necessary and the least of evils. If ever the slave-owning aristocracy of Virginia and the Carolinas shall have brought matters as far as their elective kinsmen in the Rome of Sulla, Cæsarianism will be justified there also by the spirit of history; wherever it appears under other conditions and developments, it is at once a caricature and an usurpation. History however, will not be content to abridge the honours of the true Cæsar because her sentence may give occasion to simplicity to err, and to villany to lie and deceive, in presence of false Cæsars. Her record is another Bible; and if, like that volume, fools may misunderstand and the devil may quote it, neither will be able to do it much injury.'
We purposely conclude with this extract, because the concluding portion of it gives the true and philosophic account of a great crisis in Roman history, which, being misinterpreted, is exercising a sinister influence on political speculation at the present day. It is a passage useful to be read and meditated on in presence of false Cæsars.' We know how M. Louis Blanc found a certain work of a less philosophic kind on the Empire of the Cæsars in certain hands, and its inspirations working on a certain mind in the Castle of Ham. We may think that Dr. Mommsen has rated the honours of the true Cæsar sufficiently high.' But at any rate he understands and has pointed out with admirable force and clearness the historical conditions under which a Cæsar might be entitled to honour; and we have only to echo his words that wherever Cæsarianism appears under other conditions it is at once a caricature and an usurpation.'
VOL. II. No. III.
E profess the utmost respect for all the sayings of the wisest of men; but we hold, nevertheless, that this world does now and then see something new turn up amongst its inhabitants; and if we are challenged for an instance, we shall go no further than to point to the Institution that has produced the work which stands first in the list below.
The passion for high mountains has grown up in quite modern times, and has now spread so far and struck so deep, that it may fairly be recognized as one of the influences that, especially in our own country, exert a sensible effect on society. In the second volume of Cosmos,' Humboldt has reviewed the entire field of literature, for the purpose of tracing what he has called the reflex action of Nature upon Man. In a survey which lays under contribution the records of every age and every people, it is surprising to find how faint the traces are which he has been able to detect of that sense of beauty and sublimity, which great mountains now-a-days excite in many, at least, of the pilgrims who crowd to the Alps, the Pyrenees, and even to the less imposing summits of the Scotch and Welsh Highlands.
The poetic writings of the Hindoos, in a less degree those of ancient Greece, and some occasional passages in the early Christian fathers, or in the literature of the middle ages, may serve to show that men lived in former days who felt the beauty of mountains as a pictorial element in natural scenery. As in pictures, so in poetic description, the mountain was in
1. Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers. A series of Excursions by Members of the Alpine Club. Edited by John Ball, M.R.I.A., F.L.S., President of the Alpine Club. London: Longmans.
2. Where there's a Will there's a Way: an Ascent of Mont Blanc by a new Loute, and without Guides. By the Rev. Charles Hudson, M.A., and Edward Shirley Kennedy, B.A. London: Longmans.
3. Wanderings among the High Alps. By Alfred Wills, of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law. London: Bentley.
4. Summer Months among the Alps: with the Ascent of Monte Kosa. By Thomas W. Hinchliff, of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law. London: Longmans.
5. Scenes from the Snow Fields. By E. T. Coleman. London: Longmans. 6. The Italian Valleys of the Pennine Alps. By the Rev. S. W. King, M.A., F.R.G.S. London: John Murray.
7. A Lady's Tour round Monte Rosa. London : Longmans.
its proper place in the background; but the actual presence of whatever is now understood when men speak of the beauties of the High Alps'-lichen-stained rocks seamed here and there with the bright colours of saxifrage and gentian, glaciers rifted into dim blue chasms, vast snow-fields rising into glittering peaks-these objects, when near at hand, awoke no other feeling than fear, horror, an involuntary shrinking, and a sensation of relief when the traveller had descended from the pass into the inhabited and cultivated country.
The existence of such a body as the Alpine Club would have been simply incomprehensible at any former period of the world, not so much because the dangers and discomforts of the life of the High Alps would have seemed out of proportion to the rewards, as because these were utterly unintelligible. Had it been possible to reach without risk, and without fatigue, spots that now attract strangers from every part of the civilized world, the first desire of a cotemporary of Horace or of Shakspeare would have been to return to the familiar scenery of the lower regions, where the beauties of nature are viewed in combination with the evidence of human industry and human enjoyment.
At the present time, it would be a mistake to suppose that the opposite tendency is as widely spread as the statistics of Swiss hotels might seem to prove. Curiosity and fashion will always account for the movements of a large portion of mankind whose leisure and means allow them to choose their own amusements. Among the Latin nations of Europe it is doubtful whether Nature, in her sterner aspects, has ever exercised a genuine attraction upon more than a few persons of peculiar temperament. Many French and a few Italian tourists may be seen at Chamouni and Grindelwald, an occasional Spaniard may join in some mountain excursion from Cauterets, or Bagnères de Luchon; but weeks may be spent in the upper valleys of Dauphiné without meeting a single French visitor come to seek enjoyment amidst the grandest scenery of his native; land and unless by the rare presence of a naturalist, it is likely that the solitude of the barren summits of the Abruzzi and the Guadarrama has never yet been disturbed by the intrusion of any lover of the picturesque from Naples or Madrid.
Among the northern nations, on the contrary, this modern passion has spread so rapidly that we are forced to suppose that its elements must rest deep in their natural character. Allied to the active and ambitious character of the people of our own islands, it has carried them foremost in the contest with the
peculiar dangers and difficulties of high mountain regions. Not only in the European Highlands, but in every quarter of the world, our countrymen have been conspicuous for their success in scaling the most difficult peaks, and in exploring the wildest and least-known recesses of the great mountain regions of the earth.
Germany alone can dispute our claim to supremacy in this pursuit. Less active and enterprising, but at least equally earnest and persevering, the Germans are perhaps more deeply and more generally possessed with that combination of intellectual and imaginative faculties which finds its full satisfaction in the life of the high mountains. We may perform more feats of daring and endurance, but it is doubtful whether, in the simple enjoyment of grand scenery, they do not exceed us. A young Englishman, trained from boyhood to the active use of his limbs, becomes, after a few weeks, a fit companion for the hardiest guides and hunters of the Alps. But to watch his proceedings, one is tempted to think that he regards the mountains rather as an arena, than as a temple offering high and pure delights to every intellectual and spiritual sense. Not that he is unable to comprehend these. When he gives himself breathing time, he gladly surrenders himself for a short space to the genius of the spot; but the passive mood does not endure long; his restless activity hurries him on to new conflicts with the powers that dwell on the mountain-tops. His utmost idea of a successful mountain tour is, to see in the shortest possible time what others have seen before him, and to reach some peak or pinnacle where never human foot had trod before.
The German traveller moves more slowly: he very often has some pursuit, scientific or literary, which he follows in a patient, persevering, but, as we sometimes think, in a dull and plodding manner. If he writes a book, it is sure to contain a multitude of minute details that cost him much labour in the collection, and will cost others nearly as much labour in the reading. If he is a mere amateur, seeking relaxation, but with no special intellectual aim, he will shrink from many an enterprise that an Englishman would eagerly undertake, and pass inactively, but with intense enjoyment, hours, that the other would employ no less to his own gratification, in cutting steps upon an ice-slope, or in clinging to the ledges of a precipice.
It is the peculiar privilege and glory of the life of the mountains that it perfectly adapts itself to these, and to so many other diversities of human character and disposition. Among those who are capable of feeling the charm, every period of life
and every frame of mind finds in it an appropriate satisfaction. The boy fresh from college delights in the excitement of a struggle, more manly and more real than cricket and boatracing. Never in life is perfect liberty so keenly enjoyed as when he first finds himself alone, with knapsack slung across his back, alpenstock in hand, map and compass in his pocket, free to follow up the craggy ridge, or across the pass, wherever curiosity or enterprise may lead. To many a man whose life is passed in cities, the mere escape from artificial restraints and artificial wants, the unavoidable intercourse with humble men, whose ideas and aspirations are so far removed from all he is used to-the feeling, in short, of being brought face to face with the natural life of the mass of mankind-forms one of the chief attractions of mountain travel.
More enduring, but less within the experience of ordinary tourists, is the quite inexhaustible store of interest and delight that is open to the student of nature, who traces the phenomena of organized life, or the working of physical laws, in a world where every step stimulates to fresh inquiry, and discloses some new view of the order and beauty of the universe. That the artist finds in high mountain countries, and even in the ice region, a field comparatively unworked, and rich in objects of fresh interest, is a fact but lately discovered. The beautiful book of Mr. Coleman, named at the beginning of this article, must have satisfied the doubts of many who shared the contrary prejudice.
All these, and many other sources of interest that might be enumerated, are, after all, but secondary and accidental. There are fruits that grow to their full perfection in the mountain air, but they may be tasted elsewhere. There remains a something special and peculiar to the soil, a delight sui generis, not to be described by those who have felt it, not to be imagined by those who have never breathed the air of the mountain-tops, or, having breathed it, feel no thrill at the bare recollection. Like other intense feelings, it is compounded of many elements, from which, as in every manifestation of man's complex nature, the material must not be excluded. All mountain travellers agree that the mere influence of the air that they breathe produces a degree of exhilaration which cannot fail to react on the mental faculties. The sensation of being lifted up for awhile above the region of small cares and needless anxieties in which we all, more or less, dwell, is another element of satisfaction. The vividness with which the memory seizes and retains the pictures of a land so strange to ordinary experience, is in itself no slight contribution to the enjoyment of the mountains.