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tutions, than she is to hers. Thirty years ago she could boast of more than forty universities in a prosperous condition.* Seriously affected by the wars of the French revolution, the flourishing state to which most of them have again arrived, since the restoration of peace in Europe, must be highly gratifying to every philosophic observer. German universities have, at all times, been objects of great curiosity and deep interest to travellers of different countries. Intelligent foreigners, who have had an opportunity of forming an intimate acquaintance with their scope and excellence, and who, for this reason, ought to be considered as competent judges, have expressed the highest admiration for them. Englishmen, who seldom learn to look, with an impartial eye, beyond the limits of their own territory, have not rarely given the preference in this particular to Germany, whither they repair for the purpose of finishing their education. It is true, they have sometimes attempted to stigmatize their unruly spirit, which, however, is made to appear in a very invidious light, from the dishonest and exaggerated reports of the public prints and books of travels. It is not to be wondered at, that occasional riots take place in cities, where, not rarely, two thousand students, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, are assembled in the full bloom and vigor of youth. Unfavorable judgments have also been formed by superficial observers, from the appearance among the German students of many, for the most part foreigners, whose object is amusement and some general information, and who are free from the cares of a professional course of study. While this class of students is surrendering itself to all the indulgences of youthful excess, by far the greater part enjoy, in their closets, the purer delights of intellectual improvement. It is the former class of students, to which unprepared and heedless English travellers, generally, confine their acquaintance, either from an inability to perceive the interior organization and scope of German universities, or from the shortness of their residence at such places, or from the desire of amusing their countrymen with anecdote and gossip. It is not to be denied, that there is more or less extravagance committed in different German universities; but this is not to be considered as the measure of all the rest. The faults of one or two institutions cannot be charged on all the others, which may owe their peculiar reputation to their freedom from prevailing vices. Thus the students of Halle and Jena have the vulgar practice of drinking an immense quantity of beer or ale, a practice which the genuine student of Goettingen greatly abhors. An air of decency pervades that city, which is its fairest prerogative above other universities. Since Goettingen is neither distinguished for commerce nor manufactures, the professors and students form the first rank of society, the inhabitants of the city being, in a great measure, dependent on both. Where the students are compelled to play an inferior part in society, as in Leipsic, a city in which the mercantile spirit has the preponderance; or where they are lost in the crowd, and dazzled by the splendor of a rich capital, as in the imperial residence of Austria ; or finally, where they are overbalanced by the luxurious habits of courtiers, and come into powerful collision with the officers of the royal army, as in Berlin; their character inevitably conforms to their situation.
* We annex here a list of the most distinguished of them; some of which are now annihilated, while others have since been added to the number. Prague (1348), Vienna (1356), Heidelberg (1386), Cologne (1388), Erfurt (1392, annihilated in 1816), Leipsic (1409), Rostock (1419), Greifswalde (1456), Freiburg (1457), Triers (1472), Ingolstadt (1472, since 1802 transferred to Landshut), Tubingen (1477), Mentz (1477, annihilated in 1798), Wittenberg (1502, united with Halle since 1815), Frankfort (1506, united with Breslaw since 1810), Marpurg (1527), Dillengen (1549), Jena (1558), Helmstaedt (1576, annihilated in 1809), Altdorf (1578, annihilated"in 1807), Wurzburg (1582), Giessen (1607), Rinteln (1621, annihilated 1809), Strasburg (1621), Salzburg (1623, annihilated in 1810), Bamberg (1648, annihilated in 1804), Kiel (1665), Inspruck (1672, annihilated
in 1810, and reëstablished in 1894), Halle (1694), Breslaw (1702), Goettingen (1734), Erlangen (1743), Berlin (1810), Bonn (1818), Munich (1825). The organization of the German universities was adopted by Alexander in establishing (1803) a new military university at Dorpat, for the benefit of the four provinces of Finland, Livonia, Esthland, and Courland. Also, Warsaw, the university of Poland, was organized in a similar manner (1816). The same spirit prevails in Copenhagen. Leyden (1575), and other institutions of Holland, formed themselves in imitation of Paris, which example was followed by Utrecht (1634), and other universities of the Netherlands.
Secret associations and clubs are rare in other institutions, and are at present unknown in Goettingen. Whenever they have, in a small degree, existed at this place, it has always been discovered, that they were brought to it by students who had previously been at other universities; they never originated in it. Conspiracies arise from imaginary or real oppression; and since the University of Goettingen is the favorite daughter of a government which carefully avoids all offence, and most zealously promotes its welfare ; its prosperity has very rarely been interrupted by any such serious disturbances, as have shaken other seats of learning. The only time, after the expulsion of Napoleon, at which Goettingen partook of the spirit of rebellion, then prevailing in many of the German universities, excited by political jealousy, was in 1817. The number of students was then for a short time reduced to seven hundred, but increased rapidly with each succeeding term, and in 1822 had again risen to more than fifteen hundred, and has continued to rise ever since.
The practice of duelling, the origin of which loses itself in the middle
is common to all the German universities. The laws enacted for the suppression of this evil, vary under the different governments, but are generally ineffectual. Reprehensible as the practice is, it is there attended with less mischief than might be supposed. These contests present a praiseworthy combination of discretion and valor. They are fought with a peculiar kind of swords, in the use of which the young men generally display great dexterity, because they practise this art as a branch of gymnastics, in the schools of skilful masters, authorized by the government. The duels are, accordingly, for the most part, harmless, or inflicting now and then a wound in the face, have proved fatal in 'very few instances; the vital parts of the body being carefully protected against all danger. The cause of these duels lies in a premature affectation of the delicate sense of honor, which revolts at the least offence. The transition of a youth from the strict discipline of a German gymnasium to an university, leaves him independent, and his own master. The point of honor, therefore, with him, often takes a wrong direction, under the influence of the prevailing idea, that the students of the several states of Germany, or of the several nations of Europe, are the representatives of their respective states or nations, for whose glory they must fight, whenever their personal feelings are injured. Any improper remark is accordingly considered a provocation, and followed by a challenge. It is matter of regret, that these feelings are too inveterate to be remedied at once. They do not, however, injure the state. The government punishes all offences of this sort according to the force of the law; but its measures are too weak in proportion to the greatness of the evil. The rigor with which the severest laws are enforced in the military department, has made duels between officers of the army very rare. An equal severity has never been applied to universities. Its effect would be unquestionable.
But as the fact now is, great surprise has been expressed by foreigners, that this spirit of chivalry expires with the academical years. For at the entrance upon practical life, the young men devote themselves entirely to their vocation ; and a duel in civil life is as great a rarity in Germany, as it is in New England. The low practice of boxing, so degrading to a gentleman, is detested in Germany, as much as it is approved in Great Britain. Men of a professional education are individually engaged in distinct pursuits which claim their whole energy, in order to arrive at reputation, which is no easy task among the crowded population of Germany. From the time they leave the University, their predominant desire for literary distinction is directed towards a certain object; and since there is a countless multitude of competitors in every profession, and department of knowledge, all the intellectual powers are stimulated to their highest action. Hence they have raised learning, in all its branches, to that degree of usefulness which combines the soundest systematic ideas with profound practical knowledge. This latter position is proved by a number of the best improvements, discoveries, and inventions, in the enjoyment of which the whole civilized world now rejoices. Universality of knowledge, the highest aim of German ambition, and general independence and tolerance of opinions, absorb all private animosity and national prejudice. Liberality in discussing the merits of domestic and foreign affairs, either in a civil, political, or literary point of view, has given great popularity to their impartial decisions. Excellence of any kind, of any age, of any country, is acknowledged and revered by them. In regard to literature, the Germans not only cultivate a taste for the classical productions of ancient and modern times, but they have, in fact, domesticated both, and imbibed their spirit. Their humanity has not a little contributed to soften down the national hatred, with which political neighbors formerly regarded each other. Their genius and philanthropy have, among the learned portion of the different nations, produced that intellectual alliance, which the Holy Alliance must respect, in order to preserve the power of the laws, and the security of the government. A serious attack upon these intellectual rights would surely be followed by fatal consequen
The rapid exchange of generous ideas given to the world as common property, through the medium of the public prints, and gaining vigor from the personal intercourse of men of different countries; the highly improved state of navigation, the great facilities of travelling, the universal interests of commerce,—all these causes have already been too powerful in their operation on civil society, and have produced a spirit too liberal, to be ever again subjected to the sway of absolute power. In this condition, the decrepid body politic of Europe may enjoy general prosperity under constitutional kings, while the western hemisphere rejoices in the blooming youth of her popular institutions, for the enjoyment of which Europe is probably too old.
The foregoing remarks on the general character of institutions for education, on their history in Europe, and on their peculiar spirit in the states of Protestant Germany, will prepare us for a more specific and detailed examination of some one of the German Universities as a specimen of the class. But this we are compelled by our limits to postpone to the next number of this Journal.
ART. V.-La Découverte des Sources du Mississippi, et de la
Rivière Sanglante. Description du Cours entier du Mississippi qui n'étoit connu que partiellement, et d'une grande partie de celui de la Rivière Sanglante, presqu'entièrement inconnue ; ainsi que du Cours entier de l'Ohio. Aperçus historiques des Endroits les plus interessants qu'on y rencontre. Observations critico-philosophiques sur les Maurs, la Religion, les Superstitions, les Costumes, les Armes, les Chasses, la Guerre, la Paix, le Dénombrement, l'Origine, &c. &c. &c. de plusieurs Nations Indiennes. Parallèle de ces Peuples avec ceux de l’Antiquité, du Moyen Age, et du Moderne. Coup d'Eil sur les Compagnies Nord-Ouest, et de la Baie d'Hudson, ainsi que sur la Colonie Selkirk. Preuves Evidentes que le Mississippi est la première Rivière du Monde. Par ). C. BELTRAMI, Membre de plusieurs Académies. Nouvelle Orleans. 1824. 8vo. pp. 327.
This work, it appears, is the production of an Italian, who, we are informed, attached himself to the expedition under VOL. XXVII.-NO. 60.