Imágenes de páginas

Apart altogether from a consideration of immediate benefits to

a suffering humanity, which would flow from the adoption of the scheme we suggest, we hold that great ultimate good to missions and to Indian civilization, and that at no remote period, would result from a general diffusion of a knowledge of medicine; especially of that branch on which as a scienceit mainly rests—human anatomy and physiology, including the natural history of man. No department of knowledge merely human is so much needed and would be so beneficial-tending, as it must, to open the eyes of the effeminate Hindus to the abominable character of a number of their social customs-in particular to the evils of marriage at so early an age as it usually takes place among them; to Polygamy; to the feebleness of the marriage tie; to their unjust contempt for the character of woman, and their utter ignorance of her position relatively to the man. These are traits which bespeak the deepest moral debasement; and which, as they have existed from time immemorial, oppose at every point the entrance of a holy religion. To suppose the general prevalence of pure, scriptural Christianity in Hindustan, is to imagine a transformation in the people, such as would occur in no other part of the known world; for the religion of Christ is really more opposed to the Brahminical system (that is, in a greater number of particulars) than to all other false religions taken together. The Hindu, with excellent natural parts, is politically now, as he has for many centuries been, a timid, feeble being; patient to endure oppression and insult, but impotent to pursue the means of his own elevation. The causes of this infirmity of character may be various :-some may incline to fix upon one class of causes, and some upon another, to account for the indisputable fact. But, after long study of their character, we do not hesitate to declare that early marriages, and the other violations of the natural law in reference to the female sex, lie at the root of the degradation of the Hindus, from which nothing, except a knowledge of the true relation of the sexes, as taught and enforced by the Christian religion, and illustrated by human physiology, can ever raise them.

In pleading for the connexion of medicine with missions, everywhere in India, and the employment of native converts, trained up for this object in their own land, we would be understood as advocating the extension of the same advantage to missions in brought to London from Calcutta, by Dr. Goodeve, for the purpose of completing their professional studies. This is the first occasion, it is remarked, with reference to an examination at the College of Surgeons, these young Indians have had an opportunity of showing publicly their capacity for acquiring the sciences and professional knowledge of the western world, and that in such contests they are equal to their European fellow subjects. If the capacity of these four stndents is to be taken as the Hindu standard, it is a high one indeed.

other parts. There is no reason why, at Sierra Leone, intelligent negro Christians should not be taught scientific medicine, with reference to the service of Protestant missions in Western Africa; Christian Hottentots and Caffres at Cape Town, for the missions in that great colony and the regions beyond ; Polynesians, at Sidney, for those in the Pacific; and Chinese, at Singapore and Hong Kong, for the Protestant missions in China and the Indian Archipelago. Our beautiful colony of Ceylon, the seat of many flourishing missions, we may reasonably hope will, ere long, have a native medical college and auxiliary institutions of its own.

There is this, with regard to European medical science, worthy of attentive consideration; little or no impediment exists to its universal reception, and the remark will apply even to the anatomizing of dead bodies; for scruples, on this head, we have seen, disappear with surprising celerity. Other kinds of knowledge, with the exception, perhaps, of the art of war, (which the lowest savage will eagerly learn of his civilized brother), are often slighted through indolence or prejudice. Not so with medicine. Everywhere in the east, and, indeed, in all heathen countries, it is sought after with an avidity amounting to a passion; and the more its benefits are tasted, the more its professors are followed, honoured, and all but worshipped. Why, then, has so little been done for the diffusion of this noble science, especially in the populous regions of Southern Asia, so long connected with us by the twofold ties of politics and commerce? Simply because there has been no visible prospect of pecuniary advantage. The mercantile spirit has not been interested, and the matter, therefore, until, as it were, but yesterday, has been left to the benevolent few. But the impulse to diffuse a knowledge of the Gospel operates in another manner. It impels, in the career of practical benevolence, all true Christians with a steady force; and, consequently, should the friends of missions learn to embrace, as part of their scheme, the instruction in medicine on an extensive scale, of suitable persons from among their converts, the few remaining years of the present century would suffice to effect a revolution in the opinions and habits of the Oriental world, greater and more profound than has hitherto been accomplished by all the other means combined—it being always to be borne in mind, as we have before hinted, that what Christianity, in social morals, authoritatively teaches, human physiology illustrates and confirms.


Art. V. (1.) Life of Jean Paul F. Richter; compiled from various

sources, &c. 2 vols. Chapman's Catholic Series. 1845. (2.) Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces. By J. P. F. RICHTER.

Translated from the German by E. H. Noel. 2 vols. W.

Smith. 1845. (3.) Walt and Vult ; or, the Twins. Translated from the Flegel

jahre of Jean Paul by the Author of the Life of Jean Paul.' 2 vols. Boston. Munroe and Co. 1846.

[ocr errors]

We have hailed with pleasure the appearance amongst us of a complete work of Jean Paul's, especially as it is one that not only affords us a full view of that sympathy with common life, and that tender-hearted stoicism, which were his noblest characteristics, but almost brings his individual self before us in the height of his conflict with poverty and neglect.

What we here propose is not a complete review of Richter, as a great imaginative and philosophical writer. We shall limit our present essay to a consideration of the most interesting points of Richter's character, genius, and life, as they are presented in the biography which is before us, and as they are illustrated and brought out in artistic relief and beautiful colouring in the two works of fiction that accompany it. We would especially endeavour to estimate the real nature and worth of that semi-religious philosophy, of which his fictitious narratives are a poetical exposition. To omit this part of our duty were to overlook that which is most distinctive, and of deepest import in our author, and that which gives to any powerful fiction its rank and dignity above the tales of the nursery.

Time was when, to the ears of most of us, the name of Jean Paul was like the name of some far distant island, which adventurous navigators had discovered and coasted, but not explored. They had descried its lofty peaks, resting in sunshine, or wrapt in storms—had caught a glimpse of its tangled masses of verdure, its winding valleys, and dark defiles—and had even brought us from its shores some bright prickly shells, and lucid pearls, and flowers not destitute of beauty or perfume; but they told us, at the same time, of the strange wildness of the uncultivated region, where nature rioted in unchecked and unregulated luxuriance, and of the uncouth, obscure barbarian language, which seemed to render intercourse hopeless. But this is the age of victories over all obstacles to intercourse,

whether physical or mental. Provinces of the intellect, some rich and fertile, some barren and dreary enough, long separated by local space or lapse of time from general knowledge, are now brought near, and opened to our view. It were then, indeed, passing strange if no resolute pioneer were found who would open a way for us through all the crags and thickets and defiles that were said to bar the entrance into the domain of Richter's genius. We rejoice to see that task achieved. And if we do no more than quietly follow the track of the pioneer, as far as he has hitherto proceeded, and point out to those who are willing to accompany us some of the beauties and wonders of the place, we may not discharge an idle or uninteresting part. We can truly say that we have found the road both pleasant and cheerful—somewhat tangled, indeed, yet, on the whole, much to our mind; and the recital we shall endeavour to give comes from us con amore.

The life of Richter, which extended to a period of sixty-two years, falls naturally into two divisions of equal length; the former of which includes, together with his childhood, the long season of his privations and severe struggles, and terminates with the publication of his Hesperus, which first secured him a high and distinguished rank in the literature of his country. It is this portion of his life that is both most interesting in itself, and which affords us the best insight into the character and genius of the man, revealing their formation and development. He has himself told us, in his own peculiar style, his reminiscences of childhood, in the unfinished production which he intended for an Autobiography, entitled Wahrheit aus meinem Leben.' (Truth from my own life.) This, however, goes no farther than his thirteenth year, when he received his first communion; but such as it is, it is rich, not merely in pictures from memory of external scenes, but also in lively images of the feelings and conceptions which these awakened. Such images seem to hàve been cherished with a simple fondness in his soul, which remained to the last childlike and sincere; even as great nations love to dwell on the hallowed traditions of their earliest age, and to linger in recollection among its shadowy forms. The distinctness with which he retained and was able to represent those inward impressions, shows that, even as a child, the habit of self-observation was natural to him. He has thus been able to note with vividness and accuracy some of the most important traces of his mental progress, the development of his intellect, imagination, and affections. And in such simple annals of the morning hours of our being, how much of true psychological instruction may be found! It is often then as in the morning hours of the day —the brilliancy of the light and the clearness of the air invest the outward world with a beauty, and kindle emotions within us, that are afterwards unknown. To seize those perceptions, and enshrine them in the memory, is to gather some of not the least valuable of life's treasures. If Richter has done nothing more towards his biography, he has done this. The fragment of his childhood's memoirs forms a secure foundation, on which the structure of his subsequent history may be fitly reared. That course has been wisely pursued by the author of the life which we are now reviewing, who has commenced her work with a translation of the piece referred to, introducing it with a sketch of the mountainous region in Germany, on the borders of which Richter was nurtured.

In the north-east corner of the kingdom of Bavaria, not far from Saxony, lies the district of the Fichtelgebirge, or Pinemountains, with their dark wooded summits, inhabited by a simple, primitive race, many of whom are occupied as wood cutters, and others as charcoal-burners and smelters of iron. In the small towns, manufactures are carried on, conjoined generally with agricultural occupations. Luxury, splendour, and pomp, are things unknown. Industry, neatness, and a plain homeliness, with strictness of manners and seriousness of demeanour, flourish there as household virtues. Friendly and confidential intercourse is general. Old traditional observances, festive epochs, such as church-consecrations and annual fairs, are there kept with unabated interest and zeal. Whether it may be so still we cannot tell; the waves of change may there also, as elsewhere, have removed or half effaced such memorials of the olden time and preservatives of olden feeling ; but so it was in Jean Paul's youth. It was the home of open-hearted German simplicity and honesty. The French manners, the affectation and foppery, the effeminate sentimentality, and the loose scepticism that had invaded the larger cities, were here unknown, or only displayed in isolated instances. Such was the character of the society in which our hero was trained, and from whose healthful influences his mind received some of its most peculiar and attractive mouldings. Amply did he repay the debt by transferring to the ground of his poetic pictures the various interesting scenes of that domestic life, the natural scenery associated with it, its noble embodiments of dignity, goodness, and friendship, and its varied incidents of pleasure and pain, delineating them in unfading colours, and with a charming truthfulness. The original position which Providence assigned him was one extremely favourable for a fair insight

« AnteriorContinuar »