網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

The Austrian universities are not, however, as favourable to the promotion of the moral as of the physical and mathematical sciences. History is sadly neglected, the lectures seldom extending beyond the Christian era; and yet, as Hurter observes, no people has less reason to dread the voice of history than the Austrian nation.* Philosophy, also, does not meet with becoming encouragement; though the writings of the great Catholic philosophers, F. Schlegel, Gunther, and Papst, have done much to arouse the attention of the Austrian public to high speculative enquiry. Theology cannot be expounded in any other but the Latin language; a rule which is attended with two very great disadvantages. First, it disaccustoms the student to the treatment of theological subjects in his mother tongue; whereby his later exertions for the defence and promulgation of the truth, from the pulpit and by the press, are of course rendered less efficient. Secondly, a dead language tends to cramp_genius in the expression of its feelings and ideas; and the Latin, in particular, is not a favourable instrument for the transmission of philosophic truths. So sensible were the ancient schoolmen of this fact, that they were compelled to recast the Latin language to render it a fitting medium of philosophy. And it would be a task of enormous difficulty, not to say impossibility, to propound and enforce the doctrines, or combat the errors, of the various modern metaphysical systems of Germany in the old classical Latin. How much, for example, would Professor Klee's admirable compendium of dogmatic theology have lost, had it been written in Latin instead of German! Hence this confined method, as well as the comparative neglect of philosophic studies, renders the Austrian school of theology inferior to the Swabian, the Rhenish, and the Bavarian. But Austria possesses excellent divines, who have treated with signal success the various departments of moral and dogmatic theology, biblical exegesis, ecclesiastical history, and canon law. And we have reason to know that the number of distinguished professors in the sacred as well as profane sciences, is greater in that country than the works which issue from the press would lead us to conclude.

guages, are as well taught as the military sciences, Hurter says,—Whether we consider the efforts made to give to the pupils the highest degree of mental culture, or the excellent measures taken for preserving morality and order, we may convince ourselves from a perusal of the prospectus of the constitution of this imperial academy, that it leaves in either respect nothing to be desired."Excursion to Vievna, vol. i. p. 271.

See “Hurter," vol. ii. p. 59.

There are two other great defects in the system and practice of the Austrian universities. In the first place, every professor is obliged to make some work approved of by the government the basis of his lectures. This restraint, however well intended, is too feeble to prevent the inculcation of false doctrines, while it checks the activity and damps the ardour of genius. Secondly, no foreigner can hold a professorial chair, nor even be admitted to a doctor's degree in these universities: a regulation as illiberal and unjust as it is unwise; and which is not only contrary to the practice prevailing in the other German states, but directly opposed to the statutes and the spirit of the old Catholic universities of the middle age.

So much for Austrian education, which we have now examined in all its degrees, from the highest to the lowest. The importance of the subject, and the prejudices which we had to remove, have occasioned our remarks to swell to a greater length than we had designed. It now remains for us to speak of the state of literature, science, and art, in the German provinces of this great empire.

Of the capital the author of the Handbook thus expresses himself :

“ Those,” says he, “who have heard Austria described as the Bæotia of Europe, will be surprised to learn that it contains a numerous literary society, boasting the distinguished names of Von Hammer (now Baron Purgstall), the orientalist and historian ; Grillparzer, the dramatist ; Mailath, the historian ; Caroline Pichler, the novelist; Deinhardstein, Zedlitz, and other poets ; Littrow, the astronomer ; Mohs, the mineralogist ; Balbi, the statist ; and Jaquin, the botanist ; together with many others sufficiently numerous to give a tone to the higher circles of society. The upper classes, indeed, are eminently accomplished ; French, English, and Italian are so commonly spoken as almost to supersede the native German; which, by the way, is at Vienna a very barbarous patois.*

“ In the patronage bestowed upon art and science by persons of rank and wealth, from the emperor downwards, and in the number of galleries and collections, public and private, Vienna yields to no capital in Europe."--Hand-Book, p. 134-5.

As far back as the year 1802, the rationalist Gerning, in his travels through Austria, remarked, that since the time of Joseph the arts and sciences flourish in Vienna.* Schneller, a writer of the same stamp, in his History of Austria, speaking of the state of that country since the peace of 1814, observes :

* In confirmation of this writer's assertion, a Belgian nobleman, who has passed many years in Austria, has assured us, that at Vienna you frequently meet with ladies speaking two or three languages with the greatest fluency and elegance, and at the same time highly accomplished in music and drawing

" That the sciences have there received, by means of large collections and institutions of various kinds, great development. In Styria, they were indebted to the Archduke John for the rich Johanneum at Grätz, and to the emperor for the restoration of the ancient university ; yet were they much impeded in the freedom of their progress, as the censorship restricted the circulation of many books, and interdicted wholly or in part the printing of learned works, so that many an excellent writer would not submit to the mutilation or disfigurement of his productions. Yet many excellent writings appeared.He adds :-“the liberal sciences remained stationary ;f though the exact sciences were cultivated with great success.”I

The Conversations-Lexicon, after complaining of the continued severity of the Austrian Censorship, confesses,

“ That the greater the encouragement given by the government to mediocrity, and the greater its efforts to maintain an intellectual prolibitive system in Austria, the more deserving of our esteem is the continued progress of mental culture among the better classes of the population, who, in despite of all this literary blockading, know how to obtain, and turn to account, all the valuable productions of science.—Vol. iii. p. 1094, Conversations-Lexicon for 1840. The

passage last-cited leads us to say a few words on the Austrian censorship. The German diet recommended that only newspapers and small pamphlets should be subjected to the censorship, and that larger works should be exempted from its control. This distinction is practically enforced in the states of Hesse-Darmstadt, Baden, Wurtemburg, and Bavaria. In Prussia and Austria all productions of the press, of whatever kind, size, or form, must be submitted to the censorship. It is said to be the intention of the new king of Prussia to accord greater freedom to the periodical press, and to emancipate works of learning and science from the control of the censor. In Austria the censorship is peculiarly rigid; and, as we had before occasion to observe, exerts a prejudicial intluence on Catholic literature. While in Prussia the im

* Reise durch Oestrich und Italien, von J. Gerning, part i. p. 79. † This is a gross exaggeration,

# Geschichte von Oestrich und Steiremark von ller, vol. iv. p. 118-20; Dresden, 1828.

primatur of the censor is necessary only to the publication, and not to the printing, of the work, in Austria the manuscript must be first submitted to his inspection ; and the consequences of the latter regulation are a delay and inconvenience three times greater than in the former case.

The manuscript of the unfortunate author, as we have been informed from a credible source, is sometimes retained a year or eighteen months in the bureau of the censor; a delay that must in many cases weaken and impair the freshness of his allusions, and the point of his observations. Disgusted and discouraged by this state of things, literary men, that would have conferred honour and advantage on their country, have remained either silent or relaxed their exertions.

In respect to the daily press, Hurter observes that the rigour of the Austrian censorship has been much exaggerated. It is only the most violent revolutionary journals of foreign countries that are prohibited.* The Allgemeine Zeitung, which contains the pro and the contra on all the political questions of the day, enjoys the widest and most unlimited circulation in Austria.

The liberty of the press, when not subjected to those restrictions which the majesty of religion,f moral decorum, social order, domestic peace, and private honour imperiously demand, becomes the most deadly corrosive of society that it is possible to imagine. But, on the other hand, we must regret that Austria, distrusting the energies of the human mind itself, should show so little confidence in the power of truth; and instead of looking to the Church for the best safeguard against erroneous doctrines, should so much trust to the efficacy of mere physical restraints.

In the arts, Austria is allowed by common consent to have attained a high eminence. At the commencement of the century, Gerning writes, “ that for several decads past there had sprung up in Austria many excellent institutions of instruction in the imitative arts, and that these continued to flourish ever more and more.”The Conversations-Lexicon, for the present year, observes :

* The “ Edinburgh Review” once asserted that it was proscribed by the Austrian government. This assertion Mr. Hawkins, in his work on Germany, pleasantly enough refutes, by saying, that the very number wherein that passage was contained, he read in the Commercial Coffee-house of Vienna.

† This expression is here used without prejudice to the freedom of fair and decent controversy in religious matters, in those countries where different religious creeds prevail.

| Reise durch Oestrich und Italien, part i. p. 98.

“ That if science in Austria be cherished but with a step-dame care, art on the other hand receives the most liberal encouragement; and if the revenues of the state have not been employed, yet the privy purse of several members of the Imperial family, the impulse which their example has communicated to the wealthy nobility, and the efforts of private associations for the promotion of music, painting, and sculpture, have called into existence many a treasure of art, and furnished to many a talent the opportunities of education and exercise. It is only in monumental architecture that little has been achieved, for, in recent times, Vienna, to say nothing of the provincial cities, has (excepting the Tower-gate), nothing to show that can compare with the public edifices of Munich, and even of Berlin.”-Vol. iii. p. 1094.

To the character of the Vienna stage Dr. Hurter bears the following honourable testimony :

“ The Burg theatre," says he, “is perhaps the most perfect stage in Germany. .... The German language is here spoken with an elegance, such as perhaps is only to be found in the most refined circles of Dresden. It is only in this theatre we can learn to know what the stage is competent to effect, and in the exquisite enjoyment of art, the recollection that we are in a theatre totally vanishes. The action passes before our eyes with the most complete reality.” -Vol. ii.

p.

75-6. Such are the excellencies and the defects in the state of Austrian education, science and art, according to the evidence of writers whose judgment neither national feelings nor religious and political principles could bias in favour of Austria. Whether that country be the Bæotia which the acute optics of Mr. Russell discovered fifteen years ago, in the heart of Germany, we now leave it to our readers to decide.

It was our intention, as order required, to insert here an account of the state of education, science, and art, in Rhenish Prussia, Westphalia, and the Catholic parts of Hesse-Darmstadt, Baden, and Wurtemburg; but the space which the intellectual condition of Austria has occupied in these pages, compels us to defer to another opportunity this portion of our subject.

We now come to speak of the state of education, science, and art in Bavaria ; a country which in intellectual cultivation yields to no other in Germany.

In the great Catholic regeneration, which began in Germany in the middle of the sixteenth century, Bavaria took an honourable part. The Jesuits, who were so instrumental in checking the progress of the Reformation in southern Ger

« 上一頁繼續 »