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determined, instead of obtruding her own observations, to introduce that finished essay to the English reader: it is therefore given as an appendix to the second volume. We cannot commend Miss Wo's translation of it, which is neither elegant nor accurate, and is sometimes unintelligible. She makes amends for these defects by a hymn to the Supreme Being, written among the Alps, which contains some good stanzas : but far more by an address from the Glacier Goddess to Dr. Darwin; designed to be conveyed by Miss W. to whom the Goddess thus speaks :
“ Native of that green isle, where Darwin waves
Her airy essence, and her central caves,
« Go, tell him, stranger, had his muse explor'd
Go, tell him, in my sunless fanes are stor'd
“ Ye Nymphs of Fire! around your glowing brows , What lavish wreathes your Poet loves to twine!
Know, partial bard! philosophy allows
“ Ah, why a vestal to a' fiend' * transform,
Direct with cruel, aim, their arrowy storm,
“ Stay thy rash steps ! my potent hand impels
I can transfix thee numb’d, in icy cells,
“ Come not in hostile garb !-with softer art, .
Wake thy rich lyre, and melt my gelid heart
“ Thy muse shall mount my Lammer-Geyer's wing,
While the cold Genii of each new-born spring
“ For thee my sylphs, with tender care, shall mark
And light with lambent ray, the caverns dark
« For thee my sylphs in distant lands shall trace,
Awake, ungrateful bard, in blushing grace,
6. For " For thee.but ah, my pensive form he flies For nymphs of golden locks, and florid hue !
No charms have snow-white tints, or azure eyes,"
She wept,' and, folded in a cloud, withdrew. The subject itself is highly poetical, and Miss Williams treats it not only with vigour of fancy, but with great delicacy and sensibility, and we believe that every reader of taste will agree with us in assigning to these stanzas a high rank among the smaller poetical compositions of the present times.
Intermixed with local description, which occupies the greater part of these volumes, we find many scattered dissertations on government and manners. Politics seem to be Miss Wi's favourite science, but it is not the subject in which she is the best qualified to excel. The late Mr. Burke, in his far-famed pamphlet, ridicules with great vivacity. the geometrical politicians of France: but both he and Miss W. afford very striking examples that poetical politicians are not less objectionable * ; since all sound moral and practical reasoning, to which the science of politics entinently belongs, is totally incompatible with the giddy flights of an unrestrained and impassioned fancy. We shall not, therefore, follow this female reformer in her warm declamations against the aristocracies of Bern, Zurich, Basil, &c. The governments of the great Cantons (as they are called) doubtless had their defects : but an exemption from war, for nearly two centuries, procured to Switzerland by the wisdom of its magistrates, compensated to their subjects for a multitude of slight inconveniences, or petty mortifications; and happy will it be for the people at large in those Cantons, if the new order of things secures to them the continuance of the same tranquillity and prosperity, by which they have been so long eminently distinguished. ;
The most interesting parts of Miss Wi's political lucubrations appear to us to consist of her strictures on the govern. ment, both foreign and domestic, of what are called the small or democratic Cantons. Of the political condition of the Levantine valley, the following account is equally recommended by its justness and its spirit:
· The Levantine Valley contains several well-built villages, and the number of inhabitants, who are all Italians, is computed at about twelve thousand. They have in general a look of intelligence, and something of mountain-independence in their manner; but are under complete subjection to the democracy of the Canton of Uri. The valley is divided into eight vicinanze or districts, about a league cach in extent. The village of Faido, which is situated in the midst
* Some exception, however, must be made in favor of such writers as Addison, Akcuside, and Thomson.
of the Valley, is the residence of the bailiff or governor, who is elected to this office by the Canton of Uri, or who, rather agreeably to the established mode of election in these democracies, purchases the place of his fellow citizens, who know too well the value of money not to make a good bargain of their rights. Once in four years the inhabitants of this Valley behold the cortege of their new sovereign descending from St. Gothard, perhaps with somewhat of the same sensations as the defenceless tiinid bird views the downward flight of the pouncing hawk, darting on his prey.
These rustic monarchs of Uri, in coming to govern a people, of whose language, manners and customs they are ignorant, do not appear to be animated by the ambition, which led Cæsar to wish rather to be the first man in a village than the second at Rome. They have more solid view's than those of power; that of replenishing their treasjiy, exhausted in rewards to their brother sovereigns for their free suffrages; and no sooner are they installed at Barataria, than fines, exactions, and rapacities of every kind follow in their train, and every resistance to lawful authority meets with condign punishment: as the history of each of these subject vallies can tell, the hearts of whose inhabitants have sometimes swelled beyond endurance at the extortion of their harpy governors.
• The people of the Valley revolted against their sovereign of Uri in the beginning of this century, and obtained certain privileges, which their descendants, by another revolt, thirty or forty years since, have imprudently forfeited. Stung into disobedience by some act of proconsular tyranny, they took up arms against their sovereign, and put themselves into a most open and daring insurrection. The Canton of Schweitz had, on a former occasion, undertaken to reduce the insurgents, and had succeeded; but the present rebellion bore symp. toms so alarming, that the whole of the Cantons armed to bring the Valley to obedience. Agreeably to the maxims of most governments; that the governors are always in the right, and the governed in the wrong, no Canton can interfere in any disputes between the sovereign and the subjects, unless to punish the presumption of the latter.
• The whole Helvetic body felt the cause of the sovereign of Uri ta be their own, and with heart and hand, with an alacrity worthy of the cause, coalesced together to put a decisive stop to such heretical and dangerous pretensions. Had the rebels only had to contend with their masters of Uri, it is possible they might have shaken their authority; but when the insurgents beheld the cohorts of every regular government in Switzerland pouring down from the mountains in warlike array; heard the loud blast of their trumpets, repeated by a thousand echoes amidst their cliffs and rocks; saw terror in the van, and annihilation in the rear ; they very prudently gave up a contest, which must have ended in their utter destruction.
· The grievances of the insurgents were redressed in the mode that might rationally be expected: their form of government and all their laws were abolished, and they were deprived of every privilege, municipal, civil, and judicial : the use of arms, to which every Swiss is accustomed, however low his rank in the scale of society, was strictly forbidden, and this sage precaution has perpetuated their do
e manner in whishth
minion, by destroying, not only the means, but the knowlege of resistance, since he who never handles arms must remain ignorant of the exercise.
Having traced a short sketch of the manner in which the democratic Cantons govern their subjects, Miss Williams proceeds to relate, in a few words, the mode in which they govern themselves. This she exemplifies in a view of the govern· ment of Uri, vol. i. p. 206, &c.; and in a sketch of the government of the Grisons, vol. ii. p. 36, &c. The former illustration contains a great deal of history, which has been frequently repeated; the latter is confined to a detail of the present, or rather the recent condition of the Grisons. We therefore select it for the edification of those readers, (if there be any such,) who regard democracy as the only arrangement that is productive of political liberty.
• The government of this country is democratic, that is a Swiss democracy, where, under the name of liberty, the greasest outrages are committed against the principle. How, or when the Grisons first shook off the yoke of their former governors, is not well known; but the union of the three leagues, of which the Grison government is composed, took place in the beginning of the sixteenth century. The point of contact between the thousand and one republics of this country, for every community is a separate state, and has a different form of government, is a general diet of their chiefs, held once a year in the capital of one of the three leagues ; which diet is formed of sixty-three deputies, sent from the various communities in proportion to their extent or influence.
' A disjointed government like this, must necessarily be subject to the influence of political intrigue. The deputy named to the diet by a sovereign peasant of fourteen years of age, or in the direct and unqualified manner in which he is elected by the sovercign fathers, is most commonly either a noisy intriguer, whose pretensions have abashed the man of modest merit, or what is more likely to happen, the wealthy Lord who has corrupted his constituents ; bribing being a practice universally admitted amongst the rights of the people in Swiss democracies.
Thus by intrigle and corruption these democracies become not aristrocracies, composed of citizens skilled in legislation, and endowed with principles that tend to the amelioration of society, but oligarchies framed of individuals who consider the rights of the people as their own privileges, and who encourage those vices in the community by which they increase their revenues, instead of checking them by wise regulations, and salutary laws.
. These evils would probably have been longer borne without re. monstrance, hd not the imprudent excess of avarice in the governors at length awakened the resentment of the plundered. In former times, the cupidity of the magistrate had been checked by the fear of the suminary punishment of the Strafgericht, a kind of starchamber, where not only the guilt of the rich man was sure to meet with expiation, but where even wealthy innocence was insecure ; since the Rhadamanthus' of this inexorable tribunal were sharers in the arbitrary, penalties they imposed. .
• The ascendency of the opulent citizens in the affairs of government has long since brought this tribunal into disuse. It was, indeed, often made the instrument of private hatred, and factious vengeance; but as it was also a terror to evil doers, answered some of the pur. poses for which it was intended. Since its abolition, says a writer on this subject, “ the chiefs make treaties with foreign powers without the consent of their constituents, and sell justice by auction, and ruin those whom they suspect to have interests hostile to their own.” This accusation was made against the fathers of the last generation; and it is to be lamented, that their sons not having the fear of the star-chamber before their eyes, or the love of any thing but money in their hearts, have left this fatal propensity to their children, the Grison governors of the present day.
• Over this community ignorance holds its leaden sceptre, not the ignorance of simplicity, arising from the want of communication with the world, but from a state of social degradation. In vain some Eurylochus, who had escaped the contagion, endeavoured to reclaim his countrymen by introducing amongst them those arts which soften our manners, and exalt our nature, instituting a college for the instruction of youth at a considerable expence ; the generous attempt failed, after a trial of some years, and the day of reførmation and knowledge was deferred to a more convenient season, In the mean time, the places of authority are bestowed on the highest bidder; the judges divide amongst them the monies extorted from the tortured prisoner ; in some districts the trials of criminals are days of festivals to the judges, at the expence of the wretches they condemn ; and crimes over which a regard to public morals should throw a veil, are made to flaunt in the face of day, in order that the number of convicts may swell the purse of the tribunal.'
Our excerpts from this work have, perhaps, been already too ample. We can therefore only refer the reader to the charming description of the Abbey of Engelberg, situated in the heart of Switzerland between the democratical Cantons of Uri and Unterwald. This happy valley, encompassed by lofty hills, is governed by an Abbot, who is sovereign lord of Engelberg, and a prince of the empire. The form of government, though not composed in the newest style of political organization, renders its subjects virtuous and happy. The prelatic sovereign is considered as father of his people : he has ren • dered tribunals, civil and criminal, little requisite, by cherish. ing in his subjects the spirit of equity and forbearance ; and he has introduced a system of wealth and comfort among the lower classes, by ernploying them in manufactures which beguile the severity of the winters.
In examining this agreeable work with attention, we have observed several inaccuracies that ought to be corrected in a sub