Page images
PDF
EPUB

mortal man can do or say in panegyric or in depreciation, we should be tempted to think that Newton was happier in his panegyrist than in his statue. In distance of time, when all the common ephemeral vegetation around him has rotted down, when even the memory of his political eccentricities, and party prejudices, and professional peculiarities have faded away -being mere parasites of the strong timber tree-that stem will grow and live, putting forth fruit to future generations, and marking the age in which it was a sapling. There are great ideas that now walk the world and own Brougham for their parent, and these are not likely to grow less powerful as time advances. If this oration was prepared, how wonderful must be the memory which at Lord Brougham's advanced age could acquire and retain it for delivery: if, as is more probable, it was the production of only a little previous thought, how affluent must be the mind which responds so promptly to such prodigaldraughts! Of course, this was eminently a demonstrative speech, and we do not expect to find in it that fire of conflict for which Henry Brougham has been chiefly famed; but it is impossible to read it without adıniring the extent of region which he travels, and the almost limitless expanse whence he culls his illustrations.

There is no analogy between the genius of Newton and that of Brougham. The patient and unswerving searcher after physical truth was a mystic in immaterial speculations; the impetuous and impulsive moral reformer is never mystical, and is not too often patient. The great discoverer of gravitation was so entirely the bond-servant of truth, that he laid aside his theory when his first calculations came out against him. We doubt whether Henry Brougham in his strong days would have given up a cause to which he had thoroughly committed himself, even if the laws of nature had stood erect against him. They are minds of a different character, but Brougham can thoroughly understand Newton, and perhaps Newton could not have thoroughly comprehended Brougham. It is strange to note that the more painstaking, quiet, simple mind, has dealt with the more tremendous elements. The Abolition of Slavery, Popular Education, and Law Reform, are not small matters, as our descendants will think when they remember Lord Brougham, especially when these public objects are wrought in with a perennial pouring forth of historical and scientific writings, and with a very high range of acquisitions throughout the whole cycle of human knowledge; but these dwarf when we put them beside the discovery of the system of the universe.

AUSTRIANS AND HUNGARIANS.

BY

R. G. LATHAM, ESQ., M.D., Author of “Native Races of the Russian Empire," "Man and his

Migrations," &c.

[Delivered at the Royal Manchester Institution.)

DR. LATHAM first described the geography of the Austrian empire by the aid of the map, noticed the different provinces under the dominion of Austria, and pointed out their various nationalities. We were, he said, in the habit of considering the great city of Vienna—third, if not second, in size of Continental capitals—as an exclusively German town; and so it was so far as the court and its scientific industry and wealth went; but it was exceedingly dashed and complicated with Slavonic elements. First of all, an enormous proportion of the vast Austrian army was Slavonic in some shape or other. The German of Vienna was a very impure form of German indeed. When the famous Austrian Empress Maria Theresa spoke German, it was much in the same way that the humblest peasant in Yorkshire spoke English ; she spoke a broad patois, though she was Empress of Germany. The fact was, the better classes of people in Vienna spoke French. Bohemia, a rich and industrial country, and the heart of the Austrian power, was half Slavonic and half German. In Bohemia the Slavonic element had a good deal of political and social importance. Moravia was more Slavonic than Bohemia. Then came the vast and rich country of Hungary, which was slightly German, largely Slavonic, but chiefly Magyar-which meant Hungarian proper. The extent to which the Magyars were neither Germans nor Slavonians, was a very impurtant point indeed. It was plain how excessively mised the Austrian population was.

The province of Gallicia, which belonged originally to Poland, was also Slavonian. Its industrious, agricultural, and mining population was not German at all, but Slavonian-Polish rather than anything else. The last of the districts belonging to Austria, were the Italian possessions of Lombardy and Venice. He need not say the extent to which these were Austrian politically speaking; but in other respects they were something very different from Austria indeed, namely, Italian. Now, as to the several nationalities.

I deal first, continued Dr. Latham, with the Italian population of Austria; the most southern, the most fertile ; politically speaking, one of the most important of their elements. I think if we could get in detail the history of Northern Italy, we should find that as far as the blood, the pedigree, of the population is concerned, it is an exceedingly mixed district indeed. At the very beginning of the historical period, the mountains of the Tyrol, that now separate Austria from Italy, were occupied by a nation of which no remains at all now exist; that is, no clear, definite, and palpable remains. Their language and independent nationality have been extinct nearly two thousand years; their high civilisation is only known through the monuments that the antiquarian discovers. The population that held Lombardy at this time, was the Ancient Etruscans; and a good deal of the early civilisation of Italy came from these northern populations. I need not say, what Roman history tells us, that they descended from their mountains in the north to Italy, as far south as Tuscany, and there took the name of Etrurians.

If you ask in what points the Italian differs most from the Austrian; if you ask in what points the ethnological and political divisions most agree; you will find, as is often the case, that the differences in one respect are far less than they are in another. In the way of language they differ, but not to the extent that the speech of various parts of the populations of France and England differs. As far as community of religion goes, there ought to be a most harmonious understanding between the Austrians and the Italians, for they are both Christians, and both influential Roman Catholic powers. The real grievance is the comparative want of freedom and independence, which with the northern Italians is contrasted and embittered by their great and glorious historical reminiscences. I do not think that the old Italian governments were much better upon the whole than the present government of Austria ; but in saying this, I do not for one moment wish to be understood as thinking that the occupation of any part of Italy by a foreign power like Austria, is in any shape or way justifiable. It is no justification for Austria to say, “We give you a better government than your own country gave you in the independent period of your history;" it is no justification to say, “If we did not hold these parts, France, or some other powerful country, would hold them.” The great point of difference between Austria and Italy is less one of ethnology, than one f nationality,

D:. Lathamn next spoke of the extent to which the populations of Austria were Slavonic. The Slavonic element was strong in the Croatians, the Dalmatians, and the Serbs of Servia. Another division of the Slavonic population of Austria were the Bohemians, who called themselves Czekhs—pronounced Cheks -for in Bohemian and Polish cz spelled the same as ch in English. Of all the Slavonian population the Bohemians, or the Czekhs, were the most industrial, the most civilised, and the most literary, with a string feeling for developing what they called the Slavonic nationality. The Austrian Slavonians, as a burly, are Roman Catholic, the Bohemians generally, but there was some Protestantism amongst thein, and had been a great deal more, for Bohemia was the country of Huss, one of our first martyrs. The Moravians and the Vends were briefly noticed. Vend was the general name given by the Germans to all the southern Slavonians. Gallicia was formerly part of Polan!, when Poland had a separate nationality; and Cranow, with the other towns of Gallicia, were inhabited by Poles speaking a language of their own, and with an alphabet of European origin. Like the Bebernians, the Poles were Roman Catholics now, but with a considerable mixture of Protestants amongst them, and there had been more.

The Slavonian language was, as a rule, spoken all over Russia. The Slavonic population of Russia fell into three divisions, and they were not difficult to remember, because they were characterised by three different colours. The main body of the Russians, in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Siberia, were called Great Russians, and they formed the bulk of the population, amounting to upwards of thirty-two millions. These attach their nationalities to the two capitals. On the frontier of Lithuania, northern Poland, and Smolensko, there was an unimportant division calling themselves White Russians. They were said to be physically weaker than the Great Russian, more un

« EelmineJätka »