« AnteriorContinuar »
hed among the ruins of magnificent cities; and the waste ds, which border on 'Palestine and Syria, are perhaps bepe again the nursery of infant nations. The chieftain of
Arab tribe, like the founder of Rome, may have already ed the roots of a plant that is to flourish in some future riod, or laid the foundations of a fabric, that will, attain to grandeur in some distant age.
Great part of Africa has been always unknown; but the ence of fame, on the subject of its revolutions, is an arguient, where no other proof can be found, of weakness in de genius of its people. The torrid zone, every where round he globe, however known to the geographer, bas furnished ew materials for history; and though in many places supfied with the arts of life in no contemptible degree, has no phere matured the more important projects of political wislom, nor inspired the virtues which are connected with freelom, and which are required in the conduct of civil affairs.
It was indeed in the torrid zone that mere arts of mechanism and manufacture were found, among the inhabitants of the new world, to have made the greatest advance : it is in India, and in the regions of this hemisphere, which are visited by the vertical sun, that the arts of manufacture, and the practice of commerce, are of the greatest antiquity, and have survived, with the smallest diminution, the ruins of time and the revolutions of empire.
The sun, it seems, which ripens the pine-apple and the tamarind, inspires a degree of mildness that can even assuage the rigours of despotical government: and such is the effect of a gentle and pacific disposition in the natives of the East, that no conquest, no irruption of barbarians, terminates, as they did among the stubborn natives of Europe, by a total destruction of what the love of ease and of pleasure had produced.
Transferred, without any great struggle, from one master to another, the natives of India are ready, upon every change, to pursue their industry, to acquiesce in the enjoyment of life, and the hopes of animal pleasure: the wars of conquest are not prolonged to exasperate the parties engaged in them, or to desolate the land for which those' parties contend: even the barbarous invader leaves untouched the commercial settlement which has not provoked his rage: though master of opulent cities, he only incamps, in their neighbourhood, and
leaves to his heirs the option of entering, by degrees, on the pleasures, the vices, and the pageantries which his acquisitions afford: his successors still more than himself, are disposed to foster the hive, in proportion as they taste more of its sweets; and they spare the inhabitant, together with his dwelling, as they spare the herd or the stall, of which they are become the proprietors.
The 'modern description of India is a repetition of the ancient, and the present state of China is derived from a distant antiquity, to which there is no parallel in the history of mankind. The succession of monarchs has been changed; but no revolutions have affected the state. The African and the Samojede are not more uniform in their ignorance and barbarity, than the Chinese and the Indian, if we may credit their own story, have been in the practice of manufacture, and in the observance of a certain police, which was calculated only to regulate their traffic, and to protect them in their applications to servile or lucrative arts.
If we pass from these general representations of what mankind have done, to the more minute description of the animal himself, as he has occupied different climates, and is diversified in his temper, complexion, and character, we shall find a variety of genius corresponding to the effects of his conduct, and the result of-his story.
Man, in the perfection of his natural faculties is quick and delicate in his sensibility; extensive and various in his imaginations and reflections; attentive, penetrating, and subtile, in what relates to his fellow - creatures; firm and ardent in his purposes, devoted to friendship or to enmity; jealous of his independence and his honour, which he will not relinquish for safety or for profit: under all his corruptions or improvements, he retains his natural sensibility, if not bis force; and his commerce is a blessing or a curse, according to the direction his mind bas received.
But under the extremes of heat or of cold, the active range of the human soul appears to be limited; and men are of inferior importance, either as friends, or as enemies. In the one extreme, they are dull and slow, moderate in their desires, regular and pacific in their manner of life; in the other, they are feverish in their passions, weak in their judg.. ments, and addicied by temperament to animal pleasure. lo both the bearl is mercenary, and makes important concessions
for childish bribes; in both the spirit is prepared for servitude: in the one it is subdued by fear of the future; in the other it is not roused even by its sense of the present.
The nations of Europe who would settle or conquer on the south or the 'north of their own happier climates, fiad little resistance: they extend their dominion at pleasure, and find no where a limit but in the ocean, and in the satiety of conquest. With few of the pangs and the struggles that precede the reduction of nations, mighty provinces have been successively annexed to the territory of Russia; and its sovereign, who accounts within his domain, entire tribes, with whom perhaps none of his emissaries have ever conversed, dispatched a few geometers to extend his empire, and thus to execute a project, in which the Romans were obliged to employ their consuls and their legions *). These modern cunquerors complain of rebellion, where they meet with repugnance; and are surprised at being treated as enemies, where they come to impose their tribute.
It appears, however, that on the shores of the Eastern sea, they have met with nations **) who have questioned their title, to reigo, and who have considered the requisition of 'a tax as the demand of effects for nothing. Here perhaps may be found the genius of ancient Europe, and under its name of ferocity, the spirit of national independence ***); that spirit which disputed its ground in the West with the victoricus armies of Rome, and baffled the attempts of the Persian monarchs to comprehend the villages of Greece within the bounds of their extensive dominion.
The great and striking diversities which obtain betwixt the inhabitants of climates far removed from each other, are, like the varieties of other animals in different regions, easily observed. The horse and the rain-decr are just emblems of the Arab and the Laplander: the native of Arabia, like the animal for whose race his country is famed, whether wild in the woods, or tutored by arts, is lively, active and fervent in the exercise on which he is bent. This race of men, in their rude state, fly to the desert for freedom, and in roving bands alarm the frontiers of empire, and strike a terror in the province to which their moving encampments advance ****). When
*) See Russian Atlas. **) The Tchutzi. ***) Notes to the Genealogical History of the Tartars, vouched by Strahlenberg. ****) D'Arvieux.
roused by the prospect of conquest or disposed to act on a plan, they spread their dominion, and their system of imagination, over mighty tracts of the earth: when possessed of property and of settlement, they set the example of a lively invention, and superior ingenuity, in the practice of arts, and the study of science. The Laplander on the contrary, like the associate of his climatę, is hardy, indefatigable, 'and patient of famine; dull rather than tame; serviceable in a particular tract; and incapable of change. Whole nations continue from age to age in the same condition, and, with immoveable phlegm, submit to the appellations of Dane, of Swede, or of Muscovite, according to the land they inhabit; and suffer their country to be severed like a common, by the line on which those nations haye traced their limits of empire.
It is not in the extremes alone that these varieties of genius may be clearly distinguished. Their continual change keeps pace with the variations of climate with which we suppose them copnected; and though certain degrees of capacity, penetration and ardour, are not the lot of entire nations, nor the vulgar properties of any people; yet their unequal frequency, and unequal measure, in different countries, are sufficiently manifest from the manners, the tone of conversation, the talent for business, amusement, and the literary composition, which predominate in each.
It is to the Southern nations of Europe, both ancient and modern, that we owe the invention and embellishment of that mythology, and those early traditions, which continue to furnish the materials of fancy, and the field of poetic allu- ! sion. To them we owe the romantic tales of chivalry, as well as the subsequent models, of a more rational style, by which the heart and the imagination are kindled, and the upderstandiag informed.
The fruits of industry have abounded most in the North, - and the study of science bas, here received its most solid im
provements: the efforts of imagination and sentiment were most frequent and most successful in the South. While the shores of the Baltic became famed for the studies of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler *), those of the Mediterra
*) Nicolaus Copernicus, ein Preusse, 1472 zu Thorn geboren und 1543 zu Frauenburg gestorben; Ty cho de Brahe ein Däne, 1546 in Schonen geboren und 1601 zu Prag gestorben; Jo
nean 'were celebrated for giving birth to men of genius in all its variety, and for having abounded with poets and historians as well as with men of science.
On one side, learning took its rise from the heart and the fancy; on the other, it is still confined to the judgment 1 and the memory. A faithful 'detail of public transactions, with little discernment of their comparative importance; the
treaties and the claims of nations, the births and genealogies' : of princes, are in the literature of Northern nations,' amply, preserved; while the lights, of the understanding, and the feelings of the heart, are suffered to perish. The history of the human character; the interesting memoir, founded no less on the careless proceedings of a private life, than on the formal transactions of a public station; the ingenious pleasantry, the piercing ridicule, the tender, pathetic, or the elevated strain of elocution, have been confined in modern, as well as ancient times, with a few exceptions, to the same latitudes with the fig and the wine,
These diversities of natural geniųs, if real, must have great part of their foundation in the animal frame: ' and it
has been often observed, that the vine flourishes, where, to -* quicken the ferments of the human blood, its aids are the
least required. While spirituous liquors are, among Southern nations, from a sense of their ruinous effects, prohibited; or
ove of decency, and the possession of a temperament sufficiently warm, not greatly desired; they carry in the North a peculiar charm, while they awaken the nind, and give a taste of that lively fancy and ardour of passion, which the climate is found to deny.
The melting desires, or the fiery passions, which in one climate take place between the sexes, are in another changed into a sober consideration, or a patience of mutual disgust. This change is remarked in crossing the Mediterranean, in following the course of the Mississippi, in ascending the mountains of Caucasus, and in passing from the Alps and the Pyrenees to the shores of the Baltic.
The female sex domineers on the frontier of Louisiana by the double engine of superstition, and of passion. They
hann Kepler, cin Deutscher, 1577 zu Weil in Würtenberg geboren und 1630 zu Regensburg gestorben, huben sich unsterbliche Verdienste um die Sternkunde erworben.