Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

and her own pretty feet. Lord Cupid sate on his divan looking at the beauty, but admiring his own present. Fatmah was at last tired, and wished to sit down, but her master exclaimed, “ Another turn, Fatmah! another turn!”

For a while, female vanity sustained poor Fatmah, who believed Cupid was moved by admiration of her beauty ; but Cupid's constant exclamation of “another turn, Fatmah ; how beautiful the slippers are !” revealed the sad truth, that his lordship was thinking of nothing but his own magnanimity. The indignant Fatmah could bear the fatigue no longer; so taking off the diamond slippers, she threw them in the face of Lord Cupid Fractious, with such vigor, that he could see neither lady nor slippers for the next fortnight, and exclaimed, as she rushed weeping out of the room : “ Keep your gifts, I neither want your generosity nor your tyranny !”

Great Britain ought to meditate on the conduct of her ministers to Greece, and pause for a moment, ere she takes upon herself the responsibility of their acts. Let her not put implicit faith in their talk about the liberty of the Greeks, when she hears that they are accused by foreigners of rank and honor of acting the part of incendiaries at Athens, and of oppressors at Corfu. The conduct of the British government towards Greece has now fixed the attention of the civilized world, and will be recorded in the page of history, whatever may be the regret felt by the friends of England in registering the truth.

The claims of Greece to enter the commonwealth of independent states are undeniable, and depend no longer on the enthusiasm of scholars, or the dreams of poets. Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides, Demosthenes, Plato, Aristotle, Basil, and Chrysostom, are, indeed, names which in future ages will be reverenced, in regions now unpeopled; but such names, as they cast no spell over the minds of trading politicians, do not constitute any claim to national independence. Yet, even European statesmen admit that the constancy of the palikari in war, and the activity of the citizen in peace; that the existence of a free press; of the trial by jury; of municipal institutions ; of a representative chamber, and of a national system of education, give Greece the fullest right to complete political independence. Though the state of the country be disturbed, the morality of the public men lax, and though both life and property demand additional security, still let the impartial student of political history compare the moral, political, and intellectual condition of Athens under the administration of Mr. Colletti, with that of Corfu under the more absolute government of the British peer, Lord Seaton, and the comparison will almost persuade him that Greece is an enlightened monarchy and Colletti a great minister. That our opinion is not quite so favorable, the readers of this paper must be fully convinced. We have endeavoured in the preceding pages to give an accurate and impartial sketch of the present miserable position of the Greek kingdom. Greece now stands on the threshold of the assembly of nations. Great Britain threatens to close the gates of that assembly against her,- perhaps for ever. The deed, if accomplished, would go down to the latest posterity as a crime of the blackest dye. Against the perpetration of this crime we attempt to raise a warning voice, moved by feelings of affection and veneration for both parties. If our judgment on the facts we have recorded be correct, (and we can answer that our industry in the search after truth has been persevering,) it seems to us not impossible that even this incomplete statement of a nation's wrongs may awaken some sympathy across the Atlantic, and render Greece some service at the very crisis of her fate.

ART. IV.-THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF AGASSIZ.

[ocr errors]

The best news for American scholars, lately, is the definitive acceptance by Mr. Agassiz of the Professorship of Zoology and Geology, at Cambridge. This must give additional interest to any particulars concerning his life and labors hitherto, and we have accordingly applied ourselves, with what books and documents were at hand, and, above all, with the assistance of friends specially informed on the subject, to compile a sketch of his private history and scientific career.

The Agassiz family is of French origin, and were among those Protestants whom the revocation of the edict of Nantes obliged to leave France.

The immediate ancestors of Mr. Agassiz fled to the Pays de Vaud, which at that time made part of the Canton of Bern. From the time of their establishment in their new residence, their prosperity has been uninterrupted. The branch to which our naturalist belongs has been especially devoted to the ministry; the whole line for five generations having been clergy. men. The father of Agassiz was pastor at St.

Imier (one of the protestant parishes of the ancient bishopric of Basle, which had been just incorporated into the French empire,) when he married the younger daughter of a physician of the Canton de Vaud, Mademoiselle Rose Mayor, a young lady as remarkable for the vivacity of her mind as for her beauty. They had the misfortune to see their first four children die one after the other, and the family seemed in danger of becoming extinct, when there was born a fifth son, who has become the eminent man of whose life and labors we propose to give some account.

LOUIS AGASSIZ was born on the 28th of May, 1807; exactly a century after the birth of Linnæus. From his birth he was the object of an unbounded tenderness, and surrounded by all the care which the most watchful solicitude could sug. gest to parents alarmed by the loss of four children. Fearing the influence of the severe climate of St. Imier, the pastor Agassiz had just left this parish to take charge of one in a village in the canton of Friburg, called Mottier, situated on the peninsula of Vully, between the Lake of Neufchatel and the Lake of Morat. It was here that Agassiz was born. Here, on the borders of the beautiful lake, at the foot of a hill covered with rich vineyards, in full view of the chain of the Alps, he passed his first years, under the vigilant eye of a mother who divined from the first the future that was enfolded in the young and ardent nature of her child.

After having received his first education in his father's house, Agassiz was placed with his younger brother at the gymnasium of Bienne, a small town in the neighbourhood. This establishment was at that time very celebrated throu out the canton. The two brothers passed here several years, devoted almost exclusively to the study of the ancient languages. Their father in the meantime had left the parish of Mottier, and accepted a situation in his own canton, in the little town of Orbe, situated at the foot of the Jura. It was during the vacations which he passed with his parents, that the attention of the young student was turned for the first time toward the Natural Sciences. Those who knew him at that time remember the ardor with which he made his first collections, and the delight he showed when on his return from an excursion he had some new butterfly, or some curious insect, to show to his mother. This taste for Natural History reNO. I.

7

ceived new nourishment, when, in consequence of a second promotion, his father was called to the parish of Concise, a large village situated on the Lake of Neufchatel. The vicinity of the lake, which washes the garden-walls of the parsonage, opened a new field to his insatiable curiosity concerning natural objects. From this moment his attention was especially directed to the Fishes; and as if he had already a presentiment of the great results which he was one day to deduce from the philosophical study of these animals, he not only applied himself to collecting them, but also began to inquire into their habits, their manner of life, and the characters by which they are distinguished. He took part in all fishingexcursions, accompanied the fishermen on all occasions, and often went alone, with his line in hand, to pass whole days in the middle of the lake. When he came afterwards to compare the results which he had obtained with the accounts given in treatises on Natural History, he saw immediately how much remained to be done in this department; and the idea of filling this gap constantly occupied his mind.

He had now finished his studies at school. It was to be expected that, following the example of his ancestors, he would devote himself to the priesthood. But Natural History had gained too much ascendancy. His father wisely left to him the choice of a profession. He chose that of Medicine, as offering the most opportunities for pursuing his beloved studies. He commenced the study of Medicine at the Academy of Zurich, where he was most kindly received by Professor Schinz, who admitted him to an intimate acquaintance, and furnished every facility in his power for the pursuit of his zoö logical researches. From Zurich he went to the University of Heidelberg, where he devoted himself especially to the study of Anatomy, under the direction of the celebrated professor, Tiedemann. His assiduity in study did not prevent him from taking part in all the amusements of the studentlife, so that the Swiss corps chose him for their president, and long after he had quitted the university he was still spoken of as an accomplished Bursch, possessing the rare talent of managing with equal dexterity the rapier and the scalpel.

It was at this time that the Bavarian government, having recently organized the University of Munich, called thither as professors the most eminent men of Germany in all the departments of science. There were brought together at that time, Oken, the celebrated zoologist; Martius, the botanist, who

[ocr errors]

had lately returned from his travels in South America, with a rich harvest of scientific materials; Schelling, the great philosopher; and Döllinger, the founder of modern Physiology. Such a corps of teachers could not fail to attract a large body of youth eager to learn. Among others, Agassiz did not hesitate to quit the fashionable University of Heidelberg for the rude capital of Bavaria.

It is here that his scientific career commences. The four years that he passed at the new university may be counted among the most remarkable of his life. Although only a student, his already extensive knowledge of Natural History soon drew the attention of the professors, whose lectures he eagerly attended. Friendships sprung up between him and them, and the intimacy in which he lived with these chosen men resulted in an increased enthusiasm for science, as well as an extension of the field of his researches.

With Martius he studied the organization of plants, and their geographical distribution according to climates and regions of the globe. With Döllinger (in whose house he lived,) he penetrated into the sublime mysteries of the formation of animals, and their development during the embryonic period. With Oken he discussed the principles of Classification according to the intimate affinities of things, based on a profound study of their organization.

Finally, with Schelling he approached those questions of the higher philosophy, which in Germany more than anywhere else have at all times been the study of the greatest minds ; namely, the relations that exist between the immaterial essence of beings, and the laws of the physical world — in other words, between Spirit and Matter. The pantheistic theory was embraced at that time by many enlightened men in Germany; and it is not surprising, that, supported by the results of modern science, and professed under a new and attractive form by an eminent man, who, freed from all party considerations, presented it in all its grandeur — it excited the enthusiasm of the young men who crowded round the chair of this celebrated philosopher, already prepared for the doctrine by the writings of Goethe and Schiller. " Agassiz, if we are rightly informed, partook also of their opinions. It was not until afterwards, that, (as we shall show directly,) having commenced the study of former creations, he modified his views, and unhesitatingly proclaimed as the result of his investigations, the existence of a personal God, the Author and Ruler of the universe.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »