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fail to observe that he is no where dependent upon Wachsmuth, and that his materials and manner of treating them are derived from a diligent study of the original; still his thanks are due to those who have gone before him, without whose previous labors an undertaking like the present would have been naturally impossible. The author's object has been two-fold : to give the philological public a comprehensive survey of the political institutions and internal history of the leading nations of ancient Greece, so far as existing antiquarian remains and the most approved modern investigations have rendered our knowledge of them certain; and, at the same time, to supply the want of a satisfactory abstract of a study so generally interesting to the scientific spirit of the age."-pp. vii., viii.
He then proceeds to speak more particularly of his plan. It is to frame a compendium or text-book of the science, comprehending, at once, all the results which have been obtained in what he well describes as the "gigantic progress it has made within the last twenty or thirty years," and the leading authorities that support or illustrate them. The work, accordingly, consists of three separate parts-the text-the authorities-and the bibliographical information contained in the notes. He goes on to say, that
"He has endeavored so to frame the text, as the heart and kernel of the subject, that it may form of itself a connected whole, and be read at pleasure, without the notes; whether the reader, etc. He hopes that the labor he has bestowed on the attainmnet of clearness and pregnant brevity will not pass entirely unnoticed; though he is conscious of having rarely satisfied himself in this particular. However this may be, he has treated the whole subject in a compendious manner, and has himself throughout regarded the text, and wishes it to be regarded and judged of by others, as the principal part to which the notes are merely supplemental From the absurd affectation of making a display of extensive reading, he is as free, as from the anxiety to quote nothing unless from actual perusal and will confidently leave the discerning critic to determine how much he has read and to what purpose. Had Wachsmuth decidedly followed up from the first such a plan of reference as he appears to have conceived in the course of his work, the author would perhaps have modestly kept back his mite; though he believes that the correct bibliographical information this work contains, may of itself prove serviceable to many. For its general accuracy he thinks he may vouch, as well as for that of the quotations as far as it is possible in a work of such endless labor. He might indeed have spared himself a part of this labor by curtailing the extracts, but it may be doubted whether this would have been to the advantage of a majority of his readers. For the introduction of confirmatory passages from the original texts, he reckons on the thanks of all who, feeling with himself the necessity of actual perusal, together with personal and connected examination of the sources of information, cannot obtain access to the most important of them."-pp. ix. x.
This is, so far as regards Professor Hermann himself, all very proper and all very true. We happen, by having repeatedly within a few years past travelled over the same ground, to have placed ourselves in a situation to pronounce with some confidence upon his diligence and discrimination, in the search after the original authorities on which he has had occasion to rely. VOL. 1.-47
His inquiries have been thorough, and his examination of the texts is as critical, as his application of them to the elucidation of the various points of his subject is, almost without exception, apposite and satisfactory. To a scholar, who may not have access to a very good library, this manual will be above all price for that reason alone; although, as these quotations are none of them translated, the use of them is, of course, denied to the mere general reader. For him, however, the author has prepared in his text a body of doctrine and history, so clearly and systematically, and yet so succinctly brought out, that he will find himself compensated in it for the privation just mentioned, by a most ample and valuable store of materials and suggestions for original speculation. That this work is not a mere abridgment of Wachsmuth's, nor, indeed, in any very material degree indebted to or dependent upon it, will be obvious to whoever will be at the pains of comparing them. To say nothing of the notes, which are a clear accession to the facilities hitherto furnished to scholars on this interesting subject, his text breathes a free and original spirit, and Mr. Hermann, if he really thinks as humbly of himself and his work as he professes to do, will be surprised to hear our deliberate declaration, that were we asked whether of the two we would more willingly have dispensed with, we should hesitate long before we named his. The use he has made of Aristotle's Politics, so indispensable to any thing like a comprehensive insight into these matters, or a correct judgment upon them, would alone have recommended him to our most fa
Not that we mean, or would wish to disparage the great work of Professor Wachsmuth, for which it is surely an honor above the reach of detraction that it has obtained so high a place in the opinions of the learned in Germany. Yet we shall be permitted to say, in all candor, that, for our humble selves, we have not been so much struck with the absolute novelty of the views presented in this first part of the "Historical Antiquities," as by their general correctness, the learning equally exact and extensive with which they are enforced and illustrated, and, above all, the lucid and instructive order in which they are arranged. That the author is one who thinks for himself, that his research is indefatigable, and his criticism acute and distinguishing to a fault, cannot be disputed; but we think we discover in him an overweening ambition of originality, even in matters where it can be displayed only in paradox or error,* and that he is not
We think an instance of this straining after novelty is to be found in the stress he lays on certain figurative uses of the word vos, v. I. p. 344. While on the subject of words, the sense ascribed to traipsia (v. II. p. 563, Append.) of an "anti-democratic" combination is of course meant to be confined to the popular use of that day at Athens. Else it would not bear examination. It means a po
sufficiently sensible of the obligations he owes his predecessors, by whose labors he has not the less profited because he occasionally disputes their conclusions, and always refuses to bow to their authority. Yet there are several points on which, if he has not been the first to utter, he has at least expressed, with greater distinctness and precision than any other writer, what seem to us important truths. Under this head we may cite, in general, his manner of treating the subject of the Attic tribes and other divisions of the people, and his clear perception of the influence of the aristocracy of race in all the earlier periods of their history-though even he has not seen, or at least said, all that must be adverted to and weighed, before the example of Greek democracy can be used to any practical purpose, either by the enemies or the partizans of that sort of polity. So, his character of Aristophanes deserves to be mentioned, as the nearest approximation we have as yet been so fortunate as to meet with (we have not seen Süvern) to a just estimate of that great man, most injuriously represented, even by his professed admirers, as a vastly witty but somewhat extravagant buffoon. His work embraces both the Doric and Ionic races, tracing succinctly, though with great clearness, and epoch by epoch, the history of the principal peoples of those races, whose constitutions he at the same time examines and developes. Some of these historical summaries (e. g. in regard to the character and effects of the Peloponnesian war, v. II. pp. 189, 190, and pp. 344. sq.‡) are admirable for condensation and comprehensiveness. In this first part, they begin with the heroic age, of which a very instructive account is given, and end with the overthrow of the (so called) liberties of Greece by Philip and Alexander. But, as it is our purpose to confine our remarks in this paper principally to the character and history of the Athenian democracy, we shall barely refer our readers to what is said, in the first volume, at much length, of the Pelasgi, of the emigrations, the genius, and the institutions of the Dorian and Ionian families, and of the early constitution of Greek society in general-all entirely worthy of their profound attention. The rest of this volume is taken up with the legislation of Solon and Clisthenes. The second contains the internal history of all the Greek states, (including an analysis of their
litical club or union of any sort, and was, under oligarchies or despotisms, odious as a badge or means of democratic purposes. They were resorted to against the Decemvirs at Rome. Dionys. XI. 22. Augustus suppressed them, as Louis Philippe has done. Dio Cass. 1. 52. c. 36. and see Aristot. Pol. cited infra. Isocrat. ad Demon.
* Schlosser Geschichte der Alten Welt. II Th. 1. Abth. 254., reminds Wachsmuth that, as to Roman History, he stands upon Niebuhr's shoulders.
+ Mitchell and even Schlegel are in some degree obnoxious to this censure. [ Also his account of Philip, vol. II. 231. 238.]
constitutions,) from the time of the Persian war until the Macedonian conquest was completed by Antipater.
Were we to find any fault with the manner in which the subject of these excellent works has been treated in them, we should object to the dogmatical tone of their dissent from the opinions and statements of the great writers of antiquity, in reference, especially, to matters of contemporary history, and of a strictly practical character. Thus, for instance, speaking of the internal decay and fall of Sparta, Professor Hermann says, "it is so far from being true that this decay was owing, as Aristotle and others have stated, to the loss of her foreign influence, that it was rather at once, the secret attendant on the growth of her greatness, and the prime cause of its decline." Now, even had Aristotle affirmed what is thus so roundly imputed to him, it would be, in the last degree, hazardous for a modern writer, especially a mere scholastic one, to set up his own speculative opinions, or those of any body else, against the judgment of one of the deepest, if not the deepest, political thinker of any age, living almost in midst of the events and the persons of which he speaks. In point of fact, however, Aristotle, so far as we have been able to discover, says no such thing. The passage, vouched by our author,* has nothing to do with the matter; but, in a subsequent chapter, which contains a most masterly view of the whole legislation of Lycurgus, as well as in other parts of his work, he exposes, in the clearest manner, the vices and defects, inherent in the constitution of Sparta, that necessarily produced, in the lapse of ages, the evil consequences then visible to all. Similar instances might be cited from the "Historical Antiquities" of Mr. Wachsmuth. Now, we by no means object to the largest freedom of criticism in things as to which we have very nearly the same means of coming to a safe conclusion as the writers of antiquity. Many of these writers, besides, are contradicted by others, or are worthy of no great confidence in themselves. But nothing is so hard to learn from books as what is, in practice, the real character of a government, or what secret causes modify or disturb its action and influence. It is the spirit, not the letter, that is to be discerned here, and must be spiritually discerned. It is matter of tact, sagacity, or what is called, emphatically, judgment. The opinion of one such writer as Aristotle is worth, on such a subject, a whole library of sophisters and rhetoricians, or pedants and compilers, of any, but especially of a later age. Indeed, we have here touched upon the only weak point of the German writers of the class in question, and the one in which they appear to the greatest disadvantage, in comparison with those of the classical times of antiquity. + Ibid, c. 9.
*Arist. Pol. II. 6.
These latter had, almost universally, a practical knowledge of human affairs, acquired in the camp, in the forum, by foreign travel, and diversified experience, superadded to their accomplishments as scholars and philosophers. The former, on the contrary, are, with a few rare exceptions, mere professors, and, of all professors, perhaps the least versed, by any personal observation, in the affairs of war and peace, as they are conducted by captains and politicians. With all the disadvantages, however, of such a position, every competent critic must, in general, be struck with surprise at the sagacity and soundness of their judgments in political history, not less than at their unrivalled industry in collecting, and skill in sifting and preparing, the evidence. We do not, therefore, by any means, wish to be understood, in the remarks we have just made, as entertaining, in regard to these admirable writers, the opinion which a brilliant and eloquent but "presumptuous and superficial" writer* has not scrupled to pronounce on all such undertakings of philologists, whose pretensions to write, or even to understand the history of nations, he treats with scorn and ridicule. This sneer, unbecoming as applied to Bentley, for whom it was probably meant, were sheer impertinence, addressed to the author of the "Letter on the Study of History," to that class of writers in the Germany of the present day. But it is no injurious detraction from their unquestionable merits to affirm that, however admirable the use they have made of the wisdom of antiquity, there are some of the phenomena of society, in the various shapes and phases it has passed through, which the ancient writers have dealt with in a manner hitherto unrivalled by the modernsBurke, himself, not excepted, much less Machiavelli and Montesquieu and which it is difficult even to appreciate without a considerable experience in public affairs.
This remark leads us, naturally, to speak of the attention which has of late years been awakened in Europe to such inquiries as those contained in the works at the head of this article. The history, and especially the political history of antiquity, is become a subject of universal and deep interest among educated people. Undoubtedly the wonderful ability-so very far superior to any thing of the kind known in modern literature till toward the close of the last century-with which such subjects have been treated by some of our contemporaries, has contributed not a little to diffuse a taste for these studies. But that is by no means the only, nor, in our opinion, even the principal cause. The true explanation of the fact is to be sought for in the spirit of the age, and the character of the eventful period in which we live. The first French revolution (if it can be spoken of in the perfect tense as something past and gone) formed a new and
Bolingbroke; the epithets in inverted commas we adopt from Burke.