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They attempted not, however, (as has since been executed with lo much success.) to naturalize the vine on the banks oi the Rhine and Danube; nor did they endeavor to procure by industry the materials of an advantageous commerce. To solicit by labor what might be ravished by arms, was esteemed unworthy of the German spirit.33 The intemperate thirst of strong liquors often urged the barbarians to mvade the provinces on which art or nature had bestowed those much envied presents. The 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 promise of plenteous quarters in the provinces of Champaigne and Burgundy.35 Drunkenness, 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 labor 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 hundred thousand lazy warriors with the simple necessaries of life.36 The Germane 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 somei/nes alleviated by the emigration of a third, perhaps, or a
a Tacit. Germ. 14.
** Plutarch, in Camillo. T. Liv. v. 33.
36 Dubos. Hist, do la Monarchic Francoise, torn. i. p. 193.
"The Helvetian nation, which issued from a country called Switoerland, contained, of every age and sex, 368,000 persons, (Cesar de Bel1. Ga1. 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 Soci^t* do Bern.
fourth part of their youth.37 The possession and the enjoyment of property are the pledges which bind 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, cheerfully abandoned the vast silence of their woods for the unbounded hopes of plunder and conquest. The innumerable swarms that issued, or seemed to issue, from the great storehouse of nations, were multiplied by the fears of the vanquished, and by the credulity of succeeding ages. And from facts thus exaggerated, an opinion was gradually established, and has been supported by writers of distinguished reputation, that, in the age of Caesar and Tacitus, the inhabitants of the North were far more numerous than they are in our days.38 A more serious inquiry into the causes of population seems to have convinced modem philosophers of the falsehood, and indeed the impossibility, of the supposition. To the names of Mariana and of Machiavel,** we can oppose the equal names of Robertson and Hume.40
A warlike nation like the Germans, without either cities, tetters, arts, or money, found some compensation for this savage state in the enjoyment of liberty. Their poverty secured rheir freedom, since our desires and our possessions are tho strongest fetters of despotism. "Among the Suiones (says Tacitus) riches are held in honor. They are therefore subject, to an absolute monarch, who, instead of intrusting nis people with the free use of arms, as is practised in the rest of Germany, commits them to the safe custody, not of a citizen, or even of a freedman, but of a slave. The neighbors of the Suiones, the Sitones, are sunk even below servitude; they obey a woman."41 In the mention of these exceptions, the great historian sufficiently acknowledges the
17 Paul Diaconus, c. 1, 2, 3. Machiavel, Davila, and the rest of Paul's followers, represent these emigrations too "much as regulai aid concerted measures.
M Sir William Temple and Montesquieu have indulged, on this subject, the usual liveliness of their fancy.
"Machiavel, Hist, di Firenzc, 1 . i. Mariana, Hist, Hispan. 1. v. c I.
40 Robertson's Charles V. Hume's Political Essays.*
41 Tacit. German. 44, 45. Freinshemius (who dedicated his supplement to Livy to Christina of Sweden) thinks proper to be very
• It it a wise observation of Maltlius, that these nations "were not populous in proportion to the land they occupied, but to the food they produced. They were proline from their pure morals anil constitutions, but their institutions were not calculated to produce food fc r those whom they Drought into being — M. 1845.
general theory of government. We are only at a loss to conceive by what means riches and despotism could penetrate into a remote corner of the North, and extinguish the generous flame that blazed with such fierceness on the frontier of the Roman provinces, or how the ancestors of those Danes and Norwegians, so distinguished in latter ages by their unconquered spirit, could thus tamely resign the great character of German liberty.43 Some tribes, however, on the coast of the Baltic, acknowledged the authority of kings, though without relinquishing the rights of men,43 but in the far greater part of Germany, the form of government was a democracy, tempered, indeed, and controlled, not so much by general and positive laws, as by the occasional ascendant of birth or valor, of eloquence or superstition.44
Civil governments, in their first institution, are voluntary associations for mutual defence. To obtain the desired end, it is absolutely necessary that each individual should conceive himself obliged to submit his private opinions and actions to the judgment of the greater number of his associates. The German tribes were contented with this rude but liberal outlino of political society. As soon as a youth, born of free parents, had attained the age of manhood, he was introduced into the general council of his countrymen, solemnly invested with a shield and spear, and adopted as an equal and worthy member of the military commonwealth. The assembly of the warriors of the tribe was convened at stated seasons; or on sudden emergencies. The trial of public offences, the election of magistrates, and the great business of peace and war,
angry with the Roman who expressed so very little reverence for Northern queens.*
4* May we not suspect that superstition was the parent of despotism? .The descendants of Odin, (whose race was not extinct till the year 1060) are said to have reigned in Sweden above a thousand years. The temple of Upsal was the ancient scat of religion and empire. In the year 1153 I find a singular law, prohibiting the use and profession of arms to any except the king's guards. Is it not probable that it was colored by the pretence of reviving an old institution? See Dolin's History of Sweden in the Bibliothcque Raisonnce, torn. x1. and xlv.
«* Tacit. Germ, c 43. 44 Id. c. 11, 12, 13, &c.
* The Suiones and the Sitnnes are the ancient inhabitants of Scandinavia; their name may be traced in that of Sweden; they did not belong to the race of the Suevi, but that of the non-Suevi or Cimbri, whom the Suevi, in very remote times, drove back part to the west, part to the north; they were afterwards mingled with Suevian tribes, among others the Goths who have left traces of their name and power in the isle of Gothland. — 3. were determined by its independent voice. Sometimes indeed, these important questions were previously considered and prepared in a more select council of the principal chieftains.45 The magistrates might deliberate and persuade, the people only could resolve and execute; and the resolutions of the Germans were for the most part hasty and violent. Barbarians accustomed to place their freedom in gratifying the present passion, and their courage in overlooking al^ future consequences, turned away with indignant contempt from the remonstrances of justice and policy, and it was the practice to signify by a hollow murmur their dislike of such timid counsels. But whenever a more popular orator proposed to vindicate the meanest citizen from either foreign of domestic injury, whenever he called upon his fellow-countrymen to assert the national honor, or to pursue some enterprise full of danger and glory, a loud clashing of shields and spears expressed the eager applause of the assembly. For the Germans always met in arms, and it was constantly to be dreaded, lest an irregular multitude, inflamed with faction and strong liquors, should use those arms to enforce, as well as to declare, their furious resolves. We may recollect how often the diets of Poland have been polluted with blood, and the more numerous party has been compelled to yield to tho more violent and seditious.46
A general of the tribe was elected on occasions of danger; and, if the danger was pressing and extensive, several tribes concurred in the choice of the same general. The bravest warrior was named to lea'd his countrymen into the field, by his example rather than by his commands. But this power, however limited, was still invidious. It expired with the war and in time of peace the German tribes acknowledged not any supreme chief.47 Princes were, however, appointed, in the general assembly, to administer justice, or rather to compose differences,48 in their respective districts. In the choice of these magistrates, as much regard was shown to birth as to merit.49 To each was assigned, by the public, a guard,
* Grotius changes an expression of Tacitus, pertractantur into frrtractantur. The correction is equally just and ingenious.
** Even in our ancient parliament, the barons often carried a question, not so much by the number of votes, as by that of their armed followers.
« Caesar de Bel1. Ga1 . vi. 23.
*' Minuunt controversies, is a very happy expression of Csraar's. — Reges ex nobilitatc, duces ex virtute sumunt. Tacit. Germ, 7 Vol. i. 23
and a council of a hundred persons, and the first jf the princes appears to have enjoyed a preeminence of rank and honor which sometimes tempted the Romans to compliment him with the regal title.50
The comparative view of the powers of the magistrates, in two remarkable instances, is alone sufficient to represent the whole system of German manners. The disposal of the landed property within their district was absolutely vested in their hands, and they distributed it every year according to a new division.51 At the same time they were not authorized to punish with death, to imprison, or even to strike a private citizen.59 A people thus jealous of their persons, and careless of their possessions, must have been totally destitute of industry and the arts, but animated with a high sense of honor and independence.
The Germans respected only those duties which they imposed on themselves. The most obscure soldier resisted with disdain the authority of the magistrates. "The noblest youths blushed not to be numbered among the faithful companions of some renowned chief, to whom they devoted their arms and service. A noble emulation prevailed among the companions, to obtain the first place in the esteem of their chief; amongst the chiefs, to acquire the greutest number of valiant companions. To be ever surrounded by a band of select youths was the pride and strength of the chiefs, their ornament in peace, their defence in war. The glory of such distinguished heroes diffused itself beyond the narrow limits of their own tribe. Presents and embassies solicited their friendship, and the fame of their arms often insured victory to the party which they espoused. In the hour of danger it was shameful foi the chief to be surpassed in valor by his companions; shameful for the companions not to equal the valor of their chief. To survive his fall in battle, was indelible infamy. To protect his person, and to adorn his glory with the trophies of their own exploits, were the most sacred of their duties. Tho chiefs combated for victory, the companions for the chief. The noblest warriors, whenever their native comtry was sunk into the laziness of peace, maintained their numerous bands in some distant scene of action, to exercise their restless gpirit, and to acquire renown by voluntary dangers. Gifts