one who came into intimate relations with tendency with respect to Athens. . . . When him, had been strongly drawn to him, and one comes to be better acquainted with the was never wearied with exploring the curiosi

aristocracy of Athens, the cruelty and insoties of Florence, and afterward of Rome, in

lence of their conduct, the absence of all counhis company. We must pass rapidly over the

teraction of democracy, except by the steady long period of Bunsen's residence in Rome.

oppressiou of an oligarchy, and to discover

their panegyrists to consist of fools or rascals, He went thither partly by the advice of Nie

or at best of coxcombs, like Xenophon,-then buhr, who encouraged him to hope for assist one understands that there was no alternative ance from the Prussian Government in the between a democracy, such as Demosthenes prosecution of his studies, but he was enabled craved, purified by a return to simplicity of to go there, in the first place, by the employ- life, strengthened by warlike exercises, and by ment furnished him by his pupil, Mr. Cath

the dismissal of corrupt orators and magis.

trates, and the admission of Alcibiades as cart, who continued his studies for some time

tyrannos. longer under Bunsen's direction. Shortly after his arrival, he became acquainted with

And then follows an admirably clear state. the family of his future wife, Miss Wadding- ment of the position of Plato in relation to ton, who with her father and mother and two

his times, showing a power of insight that it sisters were living in Rome. In February,

is greatly to be wished had been applied to 1817, he writes to his favorite sister Chris.

the writing of history, but which, alas, we tiana, and tells her of this new acquaintance;

are not often to meet with in the field into in April he informs her that he is in love,

which circumstances now drive Bunsen. His and on the 1st of July he was married. From

life in Rome had, at the beginning, a little this time Bunsen's private and domestic hap- leisure, and much enjoyment, although the piness was uninterrupted, except by the death

former was soon swallowed up in the increas. of one child who was taken away in infancy, ing duties of his position. During Niebubr's and late in his life by the miserable accident

absence, in 1823, he was advanced to the that crippled in a moment his daughter Ma- post of Chargé d'Affaires ; then, during a tida. In a life of seventy-nine years there are

visit to Berlin, in 1828, he was made Priry few men who have so few afflictions to mourn

Counsellor of Legation, and continued in In November of the same year, 1817, charge of the embassy, as Resident Minister,

until his recall in 1838. Brandis, Niebuhr's assistant in the Legation, being obliged to return to Prussia, Bunsen Among the events fuil of interest to Bunsen offered to fill his place, and thus began his

and his wife in these days, were the creations long diplomatic career which ended only six

of Thorwaldsen's genius which abounded in

the years 1820, '21, and '22. Once they were years before his death, in 1860. We wish we

fortunate enough to find him ... in the act had space here to quote the beautiful prayer

of adding the last touches to the clay in wbich found in his journal, and written there at the he bad modelled his statue of Mercury. He beginning of his life in Rome. It will be dilated then upon the course of sensations found at page 120 of vol. i., but, like much and images, rather than of reflection which that is of the highest interest in this book, we had brought him to fix upon the position of a can only refer to it at this time. We must,

sitting figure in perfect repose, but in an erihowever, make room for an extract from a

dently animated promptitude for action, as letter to Brandis, in which he takes leave as

upon a subject to which he would delight in

giving shape, if he could find a situation to it were of the favorite branch of study of his

furnish it with a full, and intelligible, and University days—"the last instance, or nearly satisfactory meaning. “And then," he said, so, of studying in learned leisure. Soon after

“I hit upon Mercury, who, having played on this date, the task-work on the 'Description the Pan-pipe to subdue Argus into slumber, at of Rome' drew him more and more into a the instant of observing that his purpose has vortex; and when once free from this, the been accomplished, is removing the musical subjects of his life's meditation engrossed all

instrument from his lips (which are thus pot

hidden nor disfigured), and with the right the powers and time not claimed by his

hand is grasping the sword's hilt, but, still, office."

motionless, is watching lest the eyes should I have passed the last week in great enthu open again.” The conception of Christian art siasm for old Lysias, having entered more was foreign to the mind of Thorwaldsen, and closely than before into his life and political only in compliance with the wishes of bis character, as it may be elicited from his un pative Sovereigy did he steel his courage to doubted Orations. .. I begin now to un- the attempt after having failed in accomplishderstand the justness of Niebuhr's democratic ivg for the King of Bavaria a group of the


three women at the sepulchre—the design of was admirable, and that the assertion was which he destroyed in utter dissatisfaction." unfounded, that he had not taken precautions

The account of Bunsen's studies in the against a possible necessity of retreat after ancient choral music of the Latin Church, in the battle.” About this time we begin to which he became greatly interested; the narra- hear of Bunsen's acquaintance with Dr. Artive of the burning of the church S. Paolo nold, begun in Rome the previous year, but fror le muri (16th July, 1823), which he and now first carried on by letter. This acquainthis family witnessed from their house on the ance was from the first a friendship, and it Capitol ; the death of Pius VII., and the lasted until Arnold's untimely death, in 1848. election of his successor Leo XII., with the In 1828 we find Bunsen writing from Rome ceremony of the adoration of the new Pope that two thirds of his time is devoted to the (that being the literal expression), when the purchase of works of art for the Prussian Pope is actually placed upon the High Altar, Governinent. Among these are mentioned a and adored by the higher clergy during the second Rapbael, an early work, and several Te Deum ; the glimpse of Madame Récamier fine early Florentine pictures, with a special -we have already hud a glimpse, but only a commission to purchase vases in Corneto, glimpse, of Göthe ;-—his intercourse with Ca- Apulia, and Sicily. Among a crowd of perpaccini and the many interesting details of sunal details concerning people of less public the character of that remarkable man; his interest, take this likeness of Chateaubriand : acquaintance with Overbeck and Julius “The sight of Chateaubriand, just arrived as Schnorr-Overbeck, whom Madame Bunsen French ambassador, has been a gratification calls a heavenly-minded man, seemingly be- of curiosity, and nothing more. He is a vain cause he withdrew from all society with those being, standing in the midst of a room full who did not share his religious opinions !—the of guests in his own house, with eyes fixed on reader can hardly fail to find these details the ceiling, as the only mode of looking over interesting. In 1827 Bunsen was summoned their heads, for he is low of stature, and to Berlin for the ostensible purpose of bring though he avoids speaking, he yet presents ing with him the Raphael—The Madonna of his face to observers. The head and features the Lante Family—which he had recently are well chiselled, on a scale too large to be brought for the King of Prussia for the sum in proportion to the rest of his figure.” of £1,700; but in reality his presence was Again, in 1832, “we saw Sir Walter Scott needed at the capital for political consultation often daring the first week of his being bere. and advice. On this period we cannot linger, The first meeting with him was a shock, as I although some of the events show Bunsen in was not prepared for his difficulty in speakhis very best light as the real statesman in ing; but though his animation is gone, his the largeness and elevation of his views, conversation is much of the same sort as though hardly as the politician. At this time formerly, most interesting and original." occurred, perhaps, the most serious event in Knowing that popular poetry had always Bunsen's public life—his forcing the King's attracted him, Bunsen sought out the German attention to his protest against the compulsory ballads of the War of Liberation in 1813, attendance of the Catholic soldiers in the and after giving him an idea of the sense, army to the services of the Protestant Church, made his sons sing them. Scott was evidently and his perseverance until the King promised pleased, and observed of that noble struggle, a reform of that abuse. Lighter matters are quoting a verse of the Requiem, “Tantus. the details of his social life at Berlin. He labor non sit cassus.”. He called the two boys. hears Sontag sing for the first time in to him, and laid a hand upon the head of each, “Ioconde," “ the music of which is too insiy with a solemn utterance of “God bless you!” nificant for her talent, but she sings like a There is a brief but interesting mention made nightingale and is very engaging.” He goes to of Bunsen's acquaintance with Rio, the a lecture by Alexander von Humboldt on French writer on art, and of Rio's enthusiasm Physical Geography—“one of the most inter in the study of the Welsh literature, he himesting that could be imagined ; never had I self being a native of Bretagne ; and indeed, heard a man before communicate within so Bunsen seems to have met and entered into short a time such an amount of faet and of sympathy with all the scholars and literary general views, both new and important.” He men of his time. In 1838 he leaves Rome meets General von Grollmann, the first mili- and makes his first visit to England, to which, tary head in the army. As to Waterloo, he after a short interval spent in Switzerland, he insisted that Wellington's choice of position was to return in 1841, and remain as Minister

VOL. II.-24

Plenipotentiary until 1854. Nothing can be style of a rich Roman of the time of Augustus richer than that portion of these volumes that -original drawings by Raphael and others relates to his residence in England during this after dinner, vases before; the beautiful long period. What a splendid procession of Titians, &c., of the dining-room ingeniously names passes before us in this review! Al lighted, so that the table alone was in shade." most every famous man in England, in what When in Switzerland be writes : Professor ever department, is mentioned in some char De Wette was present . . . his appearance is acteristic way. “I have been to Rogers, and shrunk and withered, with deep furrows of saw his beautiful house and collection. It is reflection and of sorrow in his countenance, not that poets are wealthy in England, but and the expression of high and spiritual seri. rich men write verses, i. e., measured prose. ousness. ... His life is ebbing out-his soul He is an amiable old man in manners, in

full of doubts and his heart full of grief, whom the habits of mercantile life have help without friends and without a community to ed to counteract that corrupt voluptuousness belong to." extending to intellect, so usual among old The second volume is taken up with the bachelors delighting in the fine arts.” “I narrative of Bunsen's residence in England as made Lord Mahon tell me about his own Minister from Prussia, and is full of interest works and studies Among other things, he ing details concerning public men and events, mentioned that the Duke (Wellington) is so

details too numerous for us ever to attempt a fond of children that he has always those of

selection. The most interesting parts are some relation for a month at a time in the those that relate to the Queen and Prince country, and plays with them for hours at Albert Bunsen's report of the Queen confootball, letting them plague him as much as firms the public notion of her high character they please, and is like a child himself and her devotion to duty. We are also among them.” “ As to Carlyle's Lectures, they brought into the thick of events during the are very striking; rugged thoughts, not ready Revolutions of 1848, and learn much as to made up for any political or religious system;

the political man@uvres of the times. The thrown at people's beads, by which most of chief interest of the volume lies in the inhis audiences are sadly startled.” “Buckland sight it gives us, not merely into the religious is persecuted by bigots for having asserted opinions of Bunsen, but into the position of that among the fossils there may be a pre the religious parties in England, at least of the Adamic species. 'How,' say they, “is that High-Church Party, of the followers of New not direct, open infidelity? Did not death man and Pusey, and of what Miss Cobbe calls come into the world by Adam's sin ?' I sup

the first Broad-Church Party, to which, if to pose then that the lions shown to Adam were any, Bunsen belonged. His name is someoriginally destined to roar throughout eter times associated with Rationalism, but most nity!” He is at Oxford on the day when improperly. He had no sympathies in that degrees are conferred. " All the doctors and direction, and seems to have bad no relations heads of houses marched in; they were differ

with the leaders of the party. He left England ently greeted-some with applause and some in 1854, and the remaining six years of his with hisses ; but on the appearance of Dr.

life was a brief happiness of rest from politics, Arnold, applause long and loud took place, and devotion to his favorite studies. We with but one solitary attempt, soon drowned,

commend these volumes to our readers; they at disapprobation.” Then came the confer- present a deeply interesting period of a varied ring of degrees; among the names are Her and important life, and if the record, as me schel, Bunsen, aud Wordsworth; then the began by saying, leaves no very cheerfal imreading of poems and prize essays—“ An pression on the mind, but seems rather to be English poem on the Religions of India and the brilliant chronicle of disappointments and their anticipated fall before the preaching of

failures, perhaps it is only so, as every picture the Kingdom of Peace, by Ruskin, whose must be of a human life that has been passed beautiful arehitectural drawings I have seen. in the pursuit of losty and ideal aims in the “I had a delightful dinner-party at Rogers' midst of the difficulties and impediments that yesterday, with Gerhard, Hamilton, West beset the greatest souls in proportion to their macott, Williams, &c., &c.; all quite in the greatness.


We do not know, either that there is any steadily maintains, the standard of excellence, hope of any thing being done at this late day would make it impossible for them to even to prevent the adoption of the Design for the dream of obtaining an important GovernNew York Post-Office which has been accept- ment commission. And if these words seem ed by the committee; or, that, if it be de harsh, and difficult to justify, the reader has termined, in defiance of art, common sense, only to read Mr. Mullett's Report, where he and economy, to adopt that design, any in- will find abundant evidence that we speak fluence from any quarter can prevent its within bounds, and hold no intemperate erection on the site selected, at the lower end opinion. of City Hall Park; but to do all that lies in Mr. Mullett says little, and perhaps little his power to prevent either of these misfor- need be said, as to the exterior of the protunes, is the duty of every man who believes posed building—what may properly be called they would be misfortunes, and accordingly the Design. If the building is to be erected we offer the following considerations to the at all, the exterior must probably be acceptpublic.

ed as it is, although, if any body chose to go A careful reading of Mr. A. B. Mullett's over it, point by point, it could easily be two papers: his first Report to the Govern shown to be as bad in design as Mr. Mullett ment on the Plan presented by the New York has proved it to be in construction and in Post-Office Commissioners; and his subse- plan. It may suffice to say that its design quent Defense of that Report in answer to belongs to the worst phase of the worst the Architects of the Plan, who had had the school of architecture that has ever existedindiscretion to attempt a Reply to that ex- the late French Renaissance ; that, both in its haustive and able paper, must convince any mass, and in its details, it is equally repugnant fair-minded person that the Design cannot be to a pure taste; and that, if by any misforcarried out without squandering the public tune it should be erected, it will bring an admoney on a building every way unsuited to ditional discredit upon our ill-fated city, the purpose for which it is intended. All that already most unfortunate in its public archiwas said and written before the Design had tecture. No man of education, no been sent in, and of course, therefore, before whose judgment in this matter is entitled to its character could be known, as to the moral any respect whatever, whether in the profes. certainty, reasoning d priori, that a design sion or out of the profession, has ventured so prepared, made up by seven architects out to say, or will venture to say, that he consi. of their seven separate designs sent in in ders this Design beautiful; that he would be competition, could not be worthy of accept- glad to see it carried out; or, that he thinks ance,-all this has been more than justified it would be a credit to the city of New York, by the result; as is sufficiently proved, even or to the General Government. But this to the non-professional mind, by Mr. Super point need not be enlarged upon, for, if the vising Architect Mullett's searching examina- Design shall be rejected, as it probably will tion.

be, on the scores of bad construction, inconMuch more than this has been proved by venient planning, and extravagant cost, the that gentleman's Report and by his subse- vulgar and ugly exterior must share the fate quent Defence, although it may well be that of interior. he had no such object in view. For it is now After it has once been decided that this made clear to every one who has the power Design cannot be accepted, the question will to form an independent judgment, that the again be in order, whether, after all, the Postauthors of this Design have shown an amount Office should be erected on the site already of ignorance not only of the theory, but of chosen. This is a question of grave interest the practice, of their noble profession, that, to the citizens of New York, and yet it has in any one of the older countries, where a been decided in the most off-hand and carebealthy competition has greatly raised, and less fashion, as if it were of no interest or


importance whatever. On neither of these their arguments of no weight. Neverthelces, subjects—the selection of the site, and the the arguments of the World, at least, have acceptance of the plan-has the public ever never been answered. They cannot be an. been allowed an opportunity to express its swered, and no one has ever seriously atapprobation or its disapprobation of the de tempted to answer them. This newspaper cisions arrived at by the committees. The has done more than any other journal in New whole business has been a piece of jobbery, York to convince the public that the site has from beginning to end. The arguments, too, been unwisely selected, and that the Design in favor of the site, instead of being of that is unworthy of adoption; and it is greatly to large and public-spirited nature that might be regretted that its advice cannot get a bearhave been expected, have been drawn from ing, or be rated at its worth, because its pothe supposed interests of a small portion of litics are not those of the dominant-and the public,-of business men in the lower long may it be the dominant-party. The part of the city, and of two or three of the Evening Post has also done yeoman's service daily newspapers. All these arguments, how for the right in this matter, having freely erer, seem reducible to two: Ist, that the opened its columns to the discussion, and site chosen is a central one, easy of access to having printed every thing bearing upon the the majority of business men, near to the subject from official sources, including Mr. principal newspaper-offices, and surrounded Mullett's two unanswerable papers, for which by wide streets; 2d, that it is the only piece

the Tribune could find no room. It may be of ground, in that neighborhood, that is in that the Herald's opinion has been influenced the market, or that can be bought by the by a desire to prevent the erection of a build. Government at a reasonable price. It is also ing that would not only cut off the view of its urged, in addition, that the Government has own new and costly structure, but would also already bought it and paid for it.

dwarf it and drown it, by its superior size As for the first of these arguments, it ought and greater amount of vulgar finery. Bat, to be a sufficient answer, that, so long as the we have no right to suspect motives, and the Post-Office is not inaccessible, it cannot long arguments of the Herald have been too sound make any matter whether it is especially con and reasonable to be answered by mere asvenient of access or not. Postmaster Kelly persions of character. is trying to bring about, what ought long ago The course of the Times and the Tribune to have been established, such a system of is greatly to be regretted. The course of the collection and delivery of mail-matter as will latter is simply inexplicable. After a series make it as unnecessary for any body to go of articles arguing against the Design itself, to the Post-Office in New York for his let and against the choice of site, saying, among ters and newspapers, as it is, to-day, in Lon other things, that the building is not only don or Paris. In fact, he means to break ugly, but that it has chosen the most conup the system of box-delivery altogether spicuous place in the city to air its ugliness has already begun to break it up. When he in, and that, situated at the end of the Park, has fully perfected his arrangements, what it would be like a boil on the end of a man's will prove to have been the benefit of clos nose,-it suddenly chopped about, almost ing up the one remaining open spot in the the next day, and argued in favor of the site, lower city? What shall we have gained that and has been pursuing the same course ever will be worth that sacrifice ?

since. Yet, all its arguments are reducible The five principal daily newspapers in New to the one plea of centrality, which, as has York City are unequally divided in opinion been already shown, will be rendered of no on this subject, though their interests would importance or cogency when Mr. Kelly's new appear to be identical, since with one excep system of letter-delivery shall have been pertion—the Evening Post--they are all situ fected. ated in the same quarter. The Evening So much for the argument of convenience Post, the Herald, and the World are strongly and its advocates. It is not likely that any opposed to the erection of the Post-Office in one considers the other argument of any great the City Hall Park. On the other hand, the weight. The Government can, of course, Tribune and the Times are in favor of it. buy land or take it, wherever it chooses. No It is unfortunate that the attitude of the doubt it might buy the remainder of the land Herald and the World to the Government, on Chambers street, not occupied by Stew. or rather to the Republican party, is such as, art's wholesale store an excellent situation, to those influenced by party feelings, to make bounded by three streets; and there are plenty

« VorigeDoorgaan »