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stitutional bravery, which is the result of nerves and spirits. The severity of a winter campaign, that chilled the courage of the Roman troops, was scarcely felt by these hardy children of the North,(10) who in their turn were unable to resist the summer heats, and dissolved away in languor and sickness under the beams of an Italian sun.(11) There is not any where upon the globe, a large tract of country, which we have discovered destitute of inhabitants, or whose first population can be fixed with any degree of historical certainty. And yet, as the most philosophic minds can seldom refrain from investigating the infancy of great nations, our curiosity consumes itself in toilsome and disappointed efforts. When Tacitus considered the purity of the German blood, and the forbidding aspect of the country, he was disposed to pronounce those barbarians Indigence, or natives of the soil. We may allow with safety, and perhaps with truth, that ancient Germany was not originally peopled by any foreign colonies already formed nto a political society;(12) but #. the name and nation received their existence from the gradual union of some wandering savages of the Hercynian woods. To assert those savages to have been the spontaneous production of the earth which they inhabited, would be a rash inference, condemned by religion, and unwarranted by reason. Such rational doubt is but ill suited with the genius of popular vanity. Among the nations who have adopted the Mosaic history of the world, the ark of Noah has been of the same use, as was formerly to the Greeks and Romans the siege of Troy. On a narrow basis of acknowledged truth, an immense but rude superstructure of fable has been erected; and the wild lrishman,(13) as well as the wild Tartar,(14) could point out the individual son of Japhet from whose loins his ancestors were lineally descended. The last century abounded with antiquarians of profound learning and easy faith, who, by the dim light of legions and traditions, of conjectures and etymologies, conducted the great grandchildren of Noah from the Tower of Babel to the extremities of the lobe. Of these judidicious critics, one of the most entertaining was Olaus udbeck, professor in the university of Upsal.(15) Whatever is celebrated either in history or fable, this zealous patriot ascribes to his country. From Sweden (which formed so considerable a part of ancient Germany) the Greeks themselves derived their alphabetical characters, their astronomy, and their religion. Of that delightful region (for such it appeared to the eyes of a native) the Atlantis of Plato, the country of the Hyperboreans, the gardens of the Hesperides, the Fortunate Islands, and even the Elysian Fields, were all but faint and imperfect transcripts. A clime so profusely favoured by Nature, could not long remain desert after the flood. The learned Rudbeck allows the family of ''. a few years to multiply from eight to about twenty thousand persons. He then disperses them into small colonies to replenish the earth, and to propagate the human species. The German or Swedish detachment (which . if I am not mistaken, under the command of Askenaz, the son of Gomer, the son of Japhet) distinguished itself by a more than common diligence in the prosecution of this great work. The northern hive cast its
(11) The Romans made war in all climates, and by their excellent discipline were in a great measure preserved in health and vigour. It may be remarked, that man is the only animal which can live and multiply in every country from the equator to the polcs. The hog seems to approach the nearest to our species in that privilege.
(12) Tacit. an. c. 3. The emigration of the Gauls followed the course of the Danube, and discharged itself on Greece and Asia. Tacitus could discover only one inconsiderable tribe that retained any traces of a Gallic origin.”
(13) According to Dr. Keating (History of Ireland, p. 13, 14), the giant Partholanus, who was the son of Seara, the son of Esra, the son of Sru, the son of Framant, the son of Fathaclan, the son of Magog, the son of Japhet, the son of Noah, landed on the coast of Munster, the 14th day of May, in the year of the world one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight. Though he succeeded in his great enterprise, the loose behaviour of his wife rendered his domestic life very unha o: and provoked him to such a degree, that he killed—her favourite greyhound. This, as the learned historian very properly observes, was the first instance of female falsehood and infidelity ever known in Ireland. (14) Genealogical History of the Tartars by Abulghazi Bahadur Khan.
(15) His work, entitled Atlantica, is uncommonly scarce. Bayle has given two most curious extracts from it. Republique des Lettres Janvier et Fevrier, 1685.
(16) Tacit. Germ. ii. 19. Literarum secreta viri pariter ac foemina ignorant. We may rest contented with this decisive authority, without entering into the obscure disputes concerning the antiquity of the Runic characters. The learned Celsius, a Swede, a scholar, and a philosopher, was of opinion, that they were nothing more than the Roman letters, with the curves changed into straight lines for the ease of engraving. See Pelloutier, Histoire des Celtes, l. ii. c. 11. Dictionnaire Diplomatique, tom. i. p.
We may add, that the oldest Runic inscriptions are supposed to be of the #. century, and the most ancient writer who mentions the Runic characters is Venantius Fortunatus (Carm. vii. 18), who lived towards the end of the sixth century. Barbara fraxineispingatur Runa tabellis.”
(17). Recherches Philosophiques sur les Americains, tom. iii. p. 228. The author of that very curious work is, if I am not misinformed, a German by birth.
(18) The Alexandrian Geographer is often criticised by the accurate Cluverius.
§ See Cesar, and the learned Mr. Whitaker, in his history of Manchester, vol. i.
20) Tacit. Germ. 15.
(21) When the Germans commanded the Ubli of Cologne to cast off the Roman yoke, and with their new freedom to resume their anci s, they insisted on the immediate demolition of the walls or the colony. “Postulamus a vobis, muros colonime, munimenta servitii detrahatis; etiam fera animalian si clausa teneas, virtutis obliviscuntur.” Tacit. Hist. iv. 64.
(22) The straggling villages of Silesia are several miles in length. See Cluver. 1. i. c. 13.
(23) One hundred and forty years after Tacitus, a few of more regular structure were erected near the Rhine and Danube. Herodian, 1. vii. p. 234.
of the skin of some animal. The nations who dwelt toward the north, clothed themselves in furs; and the women manufactured for their own use a coarse kind of linen.(24). The game of various sorts, with which the forests of Germany were plentifully stocked, supplied its inhabitants with food and exercise.(25) Their monstrous herds of cattle, less, remarkable indeed for their beauty than for their utility,(26) formed the principal object of their wealth. A small quantity of corn was the only produce exacted from the earth: the use of orchards or artificial meadows was unknown to the Germans; nor can we expect any improvements in agriculture from a people whose property every year experienced a general change by a new division of the arable lands, and who, in that strange operation, avoided disputes, by suffering a great part of their territory to lie waste and without tillage.(27) Gold, silver, and iron were extremely scarce in Germany. Its barbarous inhabitants wanted both skill and patience to investigate o rich veins of silver, which have so liberally rewarded the attention of the princes of Brunswick and Saxony. Sweden, which now supplies Europe with iron, was equally #. of its own riches ; and the appearance of the arms of the Germans urnished a sufficient proof how little iron they were able to bestow on what they must have deemed the noblest use of that metal. The various transactions of peace and war had introduced some Roman coins (chiefly silver) among the borderers of the Rhine and Danube; but the more distant tribes were absolutely unacquainted with the use of money, carried on their confined traffic by the exchange of commodities, and prized their rude earthen vessels as of equal value with the silver vases, the presents of Rome to their princes and ambassadórs.(28) To a mind capable of reflection, such leading }. convey more instruction, than a tedious detail of subordinate circumstances. The value of money has been settled by general consent to express our wants and our proerty, as letters were invented to express our ideas; and both these institutions, F. giving a more active energy to the powers and passions of human nature, have contributed to multiply the objects they were designed to represent. The use of gold and silver is in a great measure factitious; but it would be impossible to enumerate the important and various services which agriculture, and all the arts, have received from iron, when tempered and fashioned by the operation of fire, and the dexterous hand of man. Money, in a word, is the most universal incitement, iron the most powerful instrument, of human industry; and it is very difficult to conceive by what means a people, neither actuated by the one, nor seconded by the other, could emerge from the grossest barbarism.(29) If we contemplate a savage nation in any part of the globe, a supine indolence and a carelessness ofuturity will be found to constitute their general character. In a civilized state, every faculty of man is expanded and exercised: and the great chain of mutual dependence connects and embraces the several members of society. The most numerous portion of it is employed in constant and useful labour. The select few, placed by fortune above that necessity, can, however, fill up their time by the pursuits of interest or glory, by the improvement of their estate or of their understanding, by the duties, the pleasures, and even the follies, of social life. The Germans were not possessed of these varied resources. The care of the house and family, the management of the land and cattle, were delegated to the old and the infirm, to women and slaves. The o warrior, destitute of every art that might employ his leisure hours, consumed his days and nights in the animal gratifications of sleep and food. And yet, by a wonderful diversity of Nature (according to the remark of a writer who had pierced into its darkest recesses), the same barbarians are by turns the most indolent and the most restless of mankind. They delightinsloth, they detest tranquillity.(30) The languid soul, oppressed
(24) Tacit. Germ.17. (25) Tacit. Germ.5. (26) Cesar de Bell. Gall. vi. 21. Tacit. Germ. 26. Cesar, vi. 22. (28) Tacit. Germ. 6. (29). It is said that the Mexicans and Peruvians, without the use of either money or iron, had made a very great progress in the arts. Those arts, and the monuments they produced, have been strangely magnified. See Recherchessur les Americains, tom.ii. p. 153, &c. (30) Tacit. Germ.15.
with its own weight, anxiously required some new and powerful sensation; and war and danger were the only amusements adequate to its fierce temper. The sound that summoned the German to arms was grateful to his ear. It roused him from his uncomfortable lethargy, gave him an active pursuit, and, by strong exercise of the body, and violent emotions of the mind, restored him to a more lively sense of his existence. In the dull intervals of peace, these barbarians were immoderately addicted to deep gaming and excessive drinking; both of which, by different means, the one o: inflaming their passions, the other by extinguishing their reason, alike relieved them from the pain of thinking. They gloried in passing whole days and nights at table; and the blood of friends and relations often stained their numerous and drunken assemblies.(31) Their debts of honour (for in that light they have transmitted to us those of play) they discharged with the most romantic fidelity. The desperate gamester, who had staked his person and liberty on a last throw of the dice, patiently submitted to the decision of fortune, and suffered himself to be bound, chastised, and sold into remote slavery, by his weaker but more lucky antagonist.(32) Strong beer, a liquor extracted with very little art from wheat or barley, and corrupted (as it is strongly expressed by Tacitus) into a certain semblance of wine, was sufficient for the gross purposes of German debauchery. But those who had tasted the rich wines of Italy, and afterward of Gaul, sighed for that more delicious species of intoxication. They attempted not, however, (as has since been executed with so much success,) to naturalize the vine on the banks of the Rhine and Danube; nor did they endeavour to procure by industry the materials of an advantageous commerce. To solicit by labour what might be ravished by arms, was esteemed unworthy of the German o: The intemperate thirst of strong liquors often urged the barbarians to invade the Hoff. on which art or nature had bestowed those much envied presents. he Tuscan who betrayed his country to the Celtic nations, attracted them into Italy by the prospect of the rich fruits and delicious wines, the productions of a happier climate.(34) And in the same manner the German auxiliaries, invited into France during the civil wars of the sixteenth century, were allured by the É. of plenteous quarters in the provinces of Champaigne and Burgundy.(35) runkenness, the most illiberal, but not the most dangerous, of our vices, was sometimes capable, in a less civilized state of mankind, of occasioning a battle, a war, or a revolution. The climate of ancient Germany has been mollified, and the soil fertilized, by the labour of ten centuries from the time of Charlemagne. The same extent of ground which at present maintains, in ease and plenty, a million of husbandmen and artificers, was unable to supply a j thousand lazy warriors with the simple necessaries of life.(36). The Germans abandoned their immense forests to the exercise of hunting, employed in pasturage the most considerable part of their lands, bestowed on the small remainder a rude and careless cultivation, and then accused the scantiness and sterility of a country that refused to maintain the multitude of its inhabitants. When the return of famine severely admonished them of the importance of the arts, the national distress was sometimes alleviated by the emigration of a third, or perhaps, a fourth part of their §§ The possession and the enjoyment of property are the pledges which ind a civilized people to an improved country. But the Germans, who carried with them what they most valued, their arms, their cattle, and their women,
(31) Tacit. Germ. 22, 23. (32). Id. 24. The Germans might borrow the arts of play from the Romans, but the passion is wonderfully inherent in the human species. (33). Tacit. Germ. 14. (34) Plutarch, in Camillo. T. Liv. v. 33. (35) Dubos. Hist. de la Monarchie Françoise, tom. i. p. 193. (36) The Helvetian nation, which issued from the country called Switzerland, contained, of every age and sex, 368,000 persons (Cesar de Bell. Gall. i. 29).. At present, the number of people in the Pays de Vaud (a small district on the banks of the Leman Lake, much more distinguished for politeness than for industry) amounts to 112,591. See an excellent tract of M. Muret, in the Memoires de la Societé de Bern. (37) Paul Diaconus. c. 1, 2, 3. Machiavel, Davila, and the rest of Paul's followers, represent these emigratious too much as regular and concerted measures.