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walls of the civilised Englishman. This, too, in a climate where the presence of bright tints and the enlivening creations of the painter's fancy are almost necessary to atone for the want of a radiant, sunny atmosphere.
These remarks have been elicited from us by the perusal of a small brochure* that has just fallen in our way, by which we are glad to perceive that Decorative Art has not only dawned again upon England, but that, under very favourable auspices, it has already been adopted in a quarter well calculated to influence public taste.
It is M. Auguste Hervieu, the distinguished pupil of the great French painters Gros and Girodet, to whom we are indebted for this revival, and her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland to whom we owe its adoption, that beautiful summer abode Cliefden-on-Thames being the scene where M. Hervieu's remarkable talents have found full scope for their exercise. Two ceilings have there been submitted to his skill, one of them in a dressing-room where, on an azure sky, Cupids are floating; the other, of much greater importance, the ceiling of the graud staircase, where the Four Seasons are admirably illustrated, the subject having been suggested by the noble owner of Cliefden herself.
The example of the Duchess of Sutherland is one that deserves to be generally followed, as well for the sake of Art in the abstract as for its execution at the hands of M. Hervieu. The expense attendant upon this kind of decoration is not such as to weigh against the advantage of its employment, which is, indeed, as M. Hervieu observes, “eventually more economical, from its durability, than the use of ordinary substitutes.” As regards the application of the Decorative Art on a large scale, we may fairly ask, with M. Hervieu, “Why should not Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture be invited to co-operate in England as in Italy, France, and elsewhere? Why should not the more genial efforts of the pencil be called in to give life and warmth to the colder tones and the more abstract and frigid forms of the kindred arts ? There are portions of the interior of great mansions, such as halls, staircases, and ceilings, where the absence of this adjunct produces a painful sense of
We trust these voids will, by degrees, be filled up, and we know of no artist better calculated than M. Hervieu to accomplish such a task.
* Revival of Pictorial Decoration in England. London: Schulze and Co.
ALISON'S FIFTH VOLUME.*
Of the seven chapters which make up the present volume, one,-to which, judging by his preliminary prospectus, the author attaches considerable importance, and would assiga first-rate powers of attraction,-is devoted to a critical résumé of the Literature of Germany. To this we shall recur anon. The other six discuss the Constitutional History of Germany, from the conclusion of the War of Liberation to the revolutionary epoch of 1848; the affairs of France, from the extinction of the hereditary peerage at the close of 1831, to the fall of Count Mole's ministry in 1837; the internal history of our own country, from the passing of the Reform Bill to the fall of Earl Grey's ministry in 183t; and the progress of events in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, and the East, from the treaty of Adrianople in 1828 to Mehemet Ali's acceptance of the terms of allied Europe, in 1841.
There is much that is "interesting and instructive" in these historical chapters. The least diffuse, perhaps, and certainly not the least valuable, is that bestowed upon the quarter of a century's peace in Germany; wherein the historian diligently sets forth the effects of this long period of repose, and of the entire cessation of domestic war, upon the development of industry and the increase of social prosperity. He shows how peace, instead of producing universal contentment, « cast not the olivebranch, but a firebrand into the bosom" of Germany,--the stillness which prevailed being but the harbinger of future strife and desolation. For the War of Liberation had given an impulse to progressive, and, so to speak, aggressive patriotism. Young Germany had "struck for the Fatherland in the belief that they were cementing with their blood not only its ex. ternal independence, but its internal freedom.” Sir Archibald allows, with his wonted candour and fair dealing, which so far make him a jewel of a Conservative historian, that although it cannot be said that any express promise was made by the German sovereigns to their people, when the war of liberation broke out, or during its continuance, that representative institutions should be the reward of national valour, —yet that undoubtedly this was everywhere understood, and, as he expresses it, "constituted the mainspring of the astonishing efforts made by the people of Germany at this eventful period.” The war at an end, abundant evi. dence is on record, that the “general establishment of constitutional governments formed part of the understood compact between the sovereigns and people of Germany.” But Sir Archibald is free to own, and careful to prove, that these monarchs broke faith as completely with the people, when the latter had fought and conquered for them, as did the Tiers-Etat of France with the clergy, whose accession had given them the majority over the privileged orders at the outbreak of the Revolution. Especially he directs attention to the delays and deluding arts of the Prussian government, and its alliance with Austria in preparing and passing the, so-called, Final Act of confederation (1820), the effect of which was, not to confirm but destroy popular influence in affairs of state. “The free cities, in which the spirit of liberty burned with the greatest intensity, and a few lesser states and large towns by which it was shared, were completely kept down by the weight of Austria and Prussia, who not only commanded a majority of votes in the Diet, but had the whole military force of the Confederacy at their disposal.” Flattering things are, however, said of the wisdom of the internal government of Prussia-whose leading statesmen, during this period, such as Hardenberg, Bernstorff, and William von Humboldt, exerted themselves discreetly and emphatically to secure the well-being, the better-being, the best-being of their country.
* History of Europe, from the Fall of Napoleon in 1815 to the Accession of Louis Napoleon in 1852. By Sir Archibald Alison, Bart., D.C.L. Vol. V. Black
But their exertions tended, the more directly in proportion to their success, to increase instead of diminishing the irritation of the masses at being " kept out of their rights." Education and enlightenment fostered, not dulled, the popular uneasiness at unpopular measures. The crash must come at last, sooner or later; the longer deferred, the more violent its results. It came accordingly in 1848, and remains to be described by Alison in a future volume. Why it was so long delayed, he in part would explain by what he calls “a very curious circumstance,” on the face of it threatening to restrain, but in point of fact helping to extend, the authority of the ruling powers. This is, the spread of education in Germany among the lower classes of society. For Sir Archibald's view of the case is, that although education would at first dispose Young Germany to liberal, and even revolutionary opinions,-insomuch, indeed, that extreme licence of ideas in the schools and universities was one of the chief causes of anxiety to principalities and powers,-yet, when these young patriots left college, and had to get their bread, the education they had received compelled them, if bread they would have, to close with the only means of obtaining it, namely, government employment. They could not dig; and if to beg they were ashamed, speedily they must resolve what they would do-even “knock under” to Destiny and the dons, and accept the pay of the authorities whom it had been their youthful dream to displace and utterly confound. “Universally educated, they all sighed for intellectual rather than physical labour: restricted in their walk of life by circumstances, there was not one in ten could find employment, or earn a subsistence in intellectual pursuits. Trade or manufactures in a country so little commercial could absorb only a limited number; the army furnished occupation merely for a few years in early life; colonies there were none; emigration, till the middle of the century, was almost unknown." Hence the only resource was government employment. The crowded number of applicants gave the authorities a powerful hold over young gentlemen, whom the straits and privations of this worky-day world were fast disillusionising. “ Dreaming of republics, and declaiming passages about Brutus and Cromwell, was very exciting, as long as the youths were at college, maintained by their parents, and animated by the presence of each other; but when they went out into the world, and found themselves alone in a garret, with scarce the means of purchasing one meal a day, it became very desirable to exchange such penury for the certainty and security of a government office." It is the old story. Telle est la vie. And thus, inasmuch as for every vacant situation in Germany,—even the meanest Schreiberstelle, the narrowest
place, the pettiest berth—a round dozen of ambitious candidates offered themselves with precipitant empressement, no wonder if the " ardent student,” fresh though he might be from his republican magniloquence, his duels, his pipe, and his beloved beer, soon became merged, notwithstanding his glorious antecedents, in a “quiet, respectable government employé, who toiled at his desk twelve hours a day for eighty pounds a year, and thanked his stars that, in the dread competition, he had drawn such a prize in the lottery of life.” Que voulez-vous ? It would be the same, Sir Archibald submits, in every other country if the means of existence were equally restricted. Cut off the backwoods and California from America; or Manchester, Liverpool, and Glasgow, plus India and Australia, from England, and where, he asks, would be the boasted independence of the Anglo-Saxon character ? Evidently, on his showing, nowhere.
Among the more animated descriptions in the narrative portion of this volume, will be found that of the Duchess de Berri's adventures in 1832, of the insurrection in Paris after the funeral of General Lamarque, of the siege of Antwerp, the “monster trial” for treason before the Chamber of Peers in 1835 (rather curiously designated a repetition of the O. P. riots of London, with this difference, that the scene of them was not a theatre but a court of justice certainly a very theatrical one, as is not unusual in France), the attempt by Fieschi on the life of Louis Philippe, the Strasburg venture of Louis Napoleon, and the bombardment of Beyrout and of Acre under Admirals Stopford and Reform-Club “ Charlie.” The historian's reflections on the treaty consequent upon this feat of British arms, particularly as bearing on the war with Russia of 1854, are worthy of an attentive reading, and furnish matter for grave speculation as to what may be hereafter.
His own disposition to moody forebodings is well known, and years that bring the philosophic mind — to some people-deepen this tendency rather than otherwise. Thus, in the present volume, he pronounces that man blind indeed who does not perceive in current German literature the heavings of a pent-up fire destined to produce throes and convulsions more earnest, more serious, but not less bloody, than those of the French Revolution. And again, he regards the cession of Antwerp, that "great outwork of Napoleon against England," together with the abandonment of the Flemish barrier in the north, and of Constantinople in the south (“ virtually ceded to Russia,” by our policy, or want of it, in 1833), as melancholy proofs of “the infatuation which had seized upon the nations in Europe the most boasting of their intelligence;" adding, that they bequeathed “one, probably two, dreadful wars in future times to the British people.” Whether we are moved by Sir Archibald's warnings, and feel convinced by his previsions, or no; whether we rate his philosophy at a high figure, or treat it as a negative quantity; at the least we must give him credit for earnestness in endeavouring to arrive at the truth, to enforce it, now by historical example, now by didactic precept, in short, to realise, in his own way, that ideal of History which has been defined Philosophy teaching by Example.
The notion of reviewing European literature in distinct chapters, as well as of narrating European history, is a mistake on Sir Archibald's
part. He is not the man for it. Nothing, one could not help believing, after dipping into the chapter on English literature in vol. i., nothing could be worse than that survey of home productions. But the chapter on German authorship in vol. v. beats it hollow in badness. We have not space to dwell on proofs of the writer's incompetency to deal with his large subject. But the reader shall judge, by two instances, how deeply the learned baronet must have studied the celebrities and classics of the Vaterland.
He describes Strauss's Leben Jesu as the leading work of the “ Rational School of divines," the object of which is, he says, to explain away every miraculous event, to solve every dark enigma, to elude every metaphysical difficulty connected with the Christian faith, and to reduce it to a sublime and beneficent system of morality, which reason may embrace without difficulty, and reflection adhere to without regret. Strauss, it seems, is the head, the facilè princeps, the representative man, of a school which teaches that "our Saviour was a wise and virtuous man, whose precepts it would be well if the world would follow; but only in a greater degree than Confucius, Socrates, or Plato, illuminated by Divine light. All the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, the Trinity, the Godhead of our Saviour, the Fall of Man, the Redemption, are either denied or passed over with very little cousideration, as tending only to immerse the mind in abstract and metaphysical questions, to the neglect of the weightier matters of the law.”
We had always taken Strauss's work to be a reaction from the views of the “Rational School”—the myth to be a doctrine “clean contrary” to the naturalism of Semler and Paulus. Can Sir Archibald Alison have really read a page of that Strauss whose aim it was to demolish the entire system of Rational Divinity, whose scheme differs as uncompromisingly from the Naturalists as from the Supranaturalists, from Paulus of Stuttgart as from Paul of Tarsus, but whom Sir Archibald represents as the most able and influential advocate of those Rational divines, who,“ without openly disputing the fundamental doctrines of Christianity" (this of Strauss!), profess to “establish them on what is deemed the solid basis of truth and reason"? If the same terms were used in reviewing Miss Martineau's correspondence with Mr. Atkinson, they could hardly be more out of place.
Poor consolation, therefore, can it afford those who are dismayed at the possible tendencies of Strauss's revolutionary doctrine, to be assured, as Sir Archibald Alison undertakes to assure them, that “there does not appear to be any real ground for these apprehensions." Before they can be tranquillised by his opinion on the subject, they will prefer having some slight ground for supposing him to have met with Strauss, and discovered his relation by antagonism to the Rational School. As the case now stands, there is every reason to suspect that the historian's acquaintance with the anti-Christian, anti-naturalist, anti-theist in question, is just about equal to that enjoyed by good Dr. Chalmers, when, being urged by Tholuck to read Strauss--as a mere matter of duty for a Regius Professor of Divinity and “foremost man” in the Scottish kirk--the simple honest doctor exclaimed: “Well, I will read it, I will indeed;" and then wistfully added, “ Is it a big book, yon ?" Not big enough, evidently, to have cost Alison much time or pains in the reading.