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DANGEROUS as is the temerity with which we send our children into the German schools, yet far more dangerous is the administration of German institutions which we have for some time cherished at home, and of which the consequences are creeping upon us with a strong and stealthy speed of which the public has no proper conception. I have already alluded to the fashionable character which German language, literature, and education, have for some time increasingly assumed amongst us; and pointed to the CAUSES of it. Let us now fix our eyes with a steady glance on the CONSEQUENCES.
That Germany, as well as other foreign nations, has knowledge, practices, arts, or institutions, that we may copy, or introduce with good effect, is what I am by no means intending to deny. On the contrary, it is a practice, judiciously and honestly carried out, which I would most warmly recommend. But let us take heed that it is this judicious and honest practice which is adopted. Let us vigilantly keep our eyes open, and mark that the artful and the selfish do not gather up just what in these foreign practices is prejudicial to the public liberty and welfare. Now, I do not hesitate to declare that interested persons have already succeeded to a certain degree in inoculating our legislators with a passion for the worst portion of these foreign practices and systems; that these practices and systems are already introduced and engrafted; that the taste and fashion for this is carefully cultivated, while the better, the more useful, the more popular portion of the foreign, and especially the German, institutions and practices, are carefully passed over.
Our wealthy and legislative classes travel abroad, and certainly not with their eyes shut. They see most distinctly a certain description of things. They see, each of them, with one eye admirably; with the other, however, and it is a pity, they are either actually or affectedly blind.
What now, amongst the Germans, strikes every liberal lover of his country, every man who has no motive but to see the truth and spread it, especially in our own beloved country?
He sees a simple, and less feverish state of existence. He sees a greater portion of popular content diffused by a more equal distribution
property. He sees a less convulsive straining after the accumulation of enormous fortunes. He sees a less incessant devotion to the mere business of money-making, and consequently a less intense selfishness of spirit; a more genial and serene enjoyment of life, a more intellectual embellishment of it with music and domestic entertainment. He sees the means of existence kept, by the absence of ruinous taxation, of an enormous debt recklessly and lavishly piled on the public shoulders, by the absence of restrictions on the importation of articles of food, cheap and easy of acquisition. He sees, wherever be goes, in great cities, or small towns, every thing done for the public enjoyment. Public walks, beautifully planted, and carefully accommodated with seats at convenient distances for the public to rest at leisure. He sees these walks laid out wherever. it be possible. Old town-walls and ramparts are converted into promenades, commanding by their elevation the finest prospects over town and country. The whole of city or town is encircled by them. Thus, the old as well as the young can ascend from the heat and dust and hurry of the streets, and enjoy the freshest air, and the most lively and yet soothing scenes in the streets below on one hand, or gaze into the green fields and hills around. It is delightful to see on fine days the greyheaded fathers of a city thus seated on these airy walks beneath their favourite limes, and en
joying their chat together over old times, while within a few steps of home their eyes can still wander over those distant scenes whither their feet no longer can carry them. If there be an old castle in the suburbs of any of their towns, it is not shut
up, but its gardens and its very walls and courts and fosses, are laid out in lovely walks, and the whole place is made the favourite resort and enjoyment of the whole population. There a coffee-house or cassino is sure to be found; and there beneath the summer trees, old and young, rich and poor, sit and partake of their coffee, wine, and other refreshment, while some old tower near is converted into an orchestra, and sends down the finest music for the general delight.
He sees all sorts of gardens, even to the royal ones, and all sorts of estates, kept open for the public observation and passage through them; he sees the woods and forests all open too to the foot and spirit of the delighted lover of nature and of solitude. He sees all public amusements and enjoyments, as theatrical and musical representations, the very highest of this kind, kept cheap and accessible to all. There are no operas there with boxes let at 3001. per annum, with seats in the pit at half-a-guinea each. Twenty-pence is the price of gentility itself; and for five-pence may be heard, and in a good place, the finest operas performed by the finest singers in the country. For fourpence may be attended the finest out-of-door concerts of Strauss or Lanner, in the capital of Austria itself. He sees education kept equally cheap in school and university, kept within the reach of all, for the free use of all; and the schools so systematized as to answer the various requirings of every varied class or profession. He sees the church kept cheap, and the churches open and free to one man as well as another, without pews and property, where all should be open, the common meeting-place of the common family before the common Father. He sees no church-rates imposed on stubborn and refractory consciences, but a voluntary contribution, left to the voluntary attender of divine service.
He sees musical and singing societies encouraged amongst the people, where the working classes, when the labours of the day are done, can meet and enjoy a refining treat. He sees these civilizing and refining influences extended over the open-air enjoyments of the Sundays and holidays of the common people in city and country.
But what of all these do our wealthy, our influential, our law-makers, bring home and introduce amongst us? Nothing at all. Not the slightest trace of them. There might be no such things in existence; these very things which are forced from the
paws of foreign tyranny, for its own quiet and continuance, because it knows that if a people be not contented, it cannot long be kept quiet; these things, which constitute the bright side of an enslaved people, which the Germans are, none of all