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Northern Asia, and possibly Western Asia as well, in a common conflagration. The division of the heritage left by the mighty Mongol to his children is already complete, but two at least of the present inheritors have given no symptoms that they are satisfied with their share. Nor can it be assumed that the old Mongol idea is extinct, when the Chinese Government is doing everything in its power to show that nothing has been forgotten, while much has been learnt, at Pekin. The sentiments of the Mongols themselves do but echo the decrees of the Chinese; and with a motive power supplied, and the resources of a great administration at their back, these tribes would furnish a military force relatively as formidable as that whose great achievements Mr. Howorth has been the latest to record with an amplitude of detail which will find no imitators. The lessons of the old Mongol conquests remain for our edification, and they have a practical bearing on the present aspect of the political relations between Russia, China, and British India—the three heirs of the Empire formed by Genghis Khan and by the conquerors who were his successors.
Art. VII.- 1. Germuny, Present und Past. By S. BARING
GOULD, M.A. Two vols. London: 1879. 2. Berlin under the New Empire. By HENRY VIZETELLY.
Two vols. London : 1879. 3. Études sur i’Empire d'Allemagne. Par J. Cohen. Paris :
1879. 4. Die gute alte Zeit. Von MORITZ Busch. Two vols.
Berlin : 1880. IN N our composite human society, nothing is intended to stand
alone. As expressed by Shelley, however different the application,
Nothing in this world is single,
In one another's being mingle.' As meats want salt, and fruits sugar, so every creature wants other creatures, every thing other things, every quality other qualities. The masculine, seen alone, is selfishness and tyranny—the feminine, weakness and slavery. All things need their helpmate, and extremes furnish none to each other. The great natural elements of social happiness and political stability are union and mutual dependence. But whether in perusing works on the condition and characteristics of Germany, or in mixing in German society, the feature most apparent to reader and observer is the absence of union and mutual dependence, equally in a territorial, political, and social sense. The nume rous States into which the country is divided are typical of its further and more intricate forms of division. As the Empire itself is not united, so is there nothing united within it-neither church and people; higher and lower classes ; nor man and woman. Each stands alone and apart, where all, for the true ends of government and life, are intended to stand together. The various German States, of which Prussia is now the nominal head, have one common military system and one common literature, but præterea nihil—the first, purely material and artificial, as a bond, however strong—the second, purely intellectual and negative, however genuine. But, beyond these, the elements of interseparation are so universally prevalent that the only illustration that may be said to be common to all the parts alike is that of the bundle of sticks.
It is not long-not more than within the memory of the elders of the present generation—that the nations of Europe may be said to have attained a closer knowledge of their respective characters, institutions, and modes of life. The increased facilities of travel and post--with a larger acquisition of each other's languages, especially on our part-have been in this respect the chief factors; and we English, who, with the exception of the Crimean war, have been at peace with all alike, have had the best opportunity of profiting by such means of enlightenment. Our opinion of our German brethren has accordingly undergone considerable changes. We know now how thorough they are, as a race, in study and investigation-how flimsy are our national modes of instruction compared with theirs-how they do all the world's brain work in poring, weighing, and sifting—and how no subject, whether in art, science, or history, can be considered to have received full elucidation till it has passed through the crucible of the German mind. But, at the same time, we have come to the conviction that the Germans are an unpractical race—that they have something even Hibernian in their confusion between the relations of means to ends—that they instruct admirably, but educate abominably-have the most liberty, rather license, in tenets, even to the theorising all tenets away, and the least independence in action—that they doubt before they believe, and generally at the cost of believing anything at all--that they rebel against that indispensable necessity for sinful man beneath the sky,' namely, that of taking something for granted as the basis for all sound thought—and yet,
in their daily lives, endure patiently the most arbitrary postulates of bureaucratic authority and interference, even to the extent of not daring to cut their own grapes without official permission. We perceive that, whilst indefatigable in analysing the proofs of their own existence, they were content for centuries to believe not only in the existence, but in the efficacy, of the greatest myth of modern ages-namely, in the Holy Roman Empire; of which Voltaire said that it had nothing to do with Rome, and still less with holiness; and, he might have added, as little with empire, since it governed neither territory nor people. And, finally, we have become convinced that while no nation has more dreamed, sung, and boasted, and not that only, but more suffered, sacrificed, and bled for das • Vaterland,' no nation has more miserably failed in the means to unite it. We must look into the causes for such anomalies before attempting to describe the effects.
The impressions of early education are hard to obliterate. This is as true of nations as of individuals. A child brought up in daily contact with slaves never develops the higher qualities of civilised man. The degradation reacts on himself; and the falser his position the less is he able or willing to break through it. He remains, whether Hindoo, Turk, or Russian, more or less a barbarian; careless of the feelings of others, and, more than careless, hostile to the rights and liberties of the weak and lowly. The curse of serfdom lay so heavy on Germany, and lasted to so late a period, that at neither extreme of the social scale has the nation recovered from it. The true exercise of their civil rights is not yet understood by the lower orders, and the forfeiture of their barbarous powers not yet forgiven by the upper classes. The two remain as far apart as if the one were still villeins,' and the others · free
men.' Between them has arisen a comparatively scanty class, though comprising the chief intelligence of the country; but which fails to unite the wide-apart ends, for the obvious reason that it is never recruited from above, and but sparsely from below, and therefore only furnishes a third class standing as hopelessly separate as the others.
M. de Tocqueville is the only French writer we have met with who calls attention to the fact that England alone is free from that fatal class-system under which the other nations of Europe have suffered and are suffering—the only country where feudal institutions have merged into an aristocracy instead of degenerating into a caste. To this happy distinction between English nobility and foreign noblesseterms, in their real meaning, as wide as the poles asunder-he ascribes, far
more than to our parliamentary institutions and trial by jury, the dissimilarity in respect of law, liberty, and national history, between England and other countries. And more apposite still than the verdict of the enlightened Frenchman is that of a German. The well-known writer, Herr Vehse, in his history of the Court of Hanover-linked necessarily with the Court and nobility of England—speaks with a knowledge and candour alike absent from most German discussions on the subject.
'It is in itself most interesting to become more nearly acquainted with an aristocracy, which, as such, occupies the highest position in the world, and enjoys a popularity never accorded to any other aristocracy, whether in Athens, Rome, the Low Countries, or Venice. This popularity on the part of the English nobility has simply and naturally arisen from the fact that they have taken a diametrically opposite course to that pursued by the German noblesse. [The italics are his own. ] The banner of the German noble, under which, for centuries, he contended with his sovereign, was exemption from the payment of taxes. The English nobleman, on the other hand, has, equally for centuries, thought it beneath his dignity to claim this exemption from participation in the support of the State. On the contrary, he started with the principle that those who possessed most should contribute most.' Further, Herr Vehse says, and this is the key to the whole situation :
The German noble held and still holds, toughly and stiflly, that all his beloved children must be nobles as well as himself. Such a form of paternal solicitude is not only unknown to the English nobleman, but repudiated by him.'
In his researches into the annals of the principal German Courts this writer is led to further conclusions. Animadverting on the meagreness of information contained in the various documents, despatches, letters, and even travels, to which he obtained access in the process of drawing up his large and full work, he gives it as his resulting conviction that the English are the only nation who possess the genuine materials for genuine history.
• They are the deepest discerners, and at the same time the freest and most courageous reporters. Their great political life has both enlarged and sharpened their perceptions, and given them a higher and sounder standard by which to measure the affairs of the world. ... The fact that the Germans have had no independent and compact higher class, united in large political and mutual interests with the other classes of the land, like that in England, which forms a strong power between Court and people, has worked disastrously upon us. Court and noblesse were one in Germany (as in France). Princes were served by the dependent, and therefore by the dumb. And the pre
judice against free speech went so far that when a few writers after the Revolutions of 1789 and 1830—such as Herr v. Massenbach and Baron Hormayr-ventured to publish some facts on Court and State matters with which they were too well acquainted, an outcry was raised against their schlechte Gesinnung (bad taste).'* The bad taste consisting in speaking unpalatable and uncourtier-like truths.
This writer hits the nail on the head here. All the ambition of the higher classes in Germany (as formerly in France) has been to form part of a Court life, however degrading that life might be. Lord Malmesbury says: “The Prussian nobles place • all their pride in the personal grandeur of their monarch. • Their ignorance stifles in them all idea of liberty or oppo• sition. Instead, therefore, of standing, an independent power, between the liberties of the people and the encroachments of the throne - as our history shows the English nobility to have done—they have played exactly the contrary part. Hence the monstrous type of German petty sovereigns which their memoirs reveal, and the utter misery of the serfs, and even of the peasants at the present day, which is far too little known.
But to return to our topic. A caste of noblesse, as constituted in Germany-one, namely, where titles, and, with solitary exceptions, property, are alike divided between every member of the family—can only tend by the laws of political gravity to mary evil results, and to one more especially. Like land perpetually cropped with the same product, and with an ever decreasing supply of engrais, both soil and plant degenerate. The very origin of the word 'caste,' which is Spanish, tells at once the tale of the pride, poverty, and decay of a nation where the number of dukes amounts to eighty-two, that of marquises to about eleven hundred, and where the caballeros are numberless.t For in assuming to move in a separate orbit never to be crossed by inferior bodies in space, and in carrying out this system as among the German noblesse, consequences are entailed which
* Introduction to History of Prussian Court, vol. i.
† Spain is said to contain 479,000 nobles. See a curious little book by Sir James Lawrence 'On the Nobility of the British Gentry, or the • Political Ranks and Dignities of the British Empire compared with · those on the Continent; for the use of foreigners in Great Britain, • and of Britons abroad : particularly of those who desire to be pre• sented at foreign Courts, to accept foreign military service, to be • invested with foreign titles, to be admitted into foreign orders, to
purchase foreign property, or to intermarry with foreigners.' Paris : 1828.