of the family was in harmony with the character they
possess as being among the most amiable and respect-
able of the higher French noblesse.
I lived a week of great enjoyment a sort of
hermit's life. My breakfast consisted of grapes and
cream and certainly I never lived at so little cost. I
soon formed an acquaintance with a young man a
Herr von Schall who, like myself, seemed to have
nothing to do. With him I spent my days in walking.
In the course of talk he used the expression " one
of my subjects" (Unterthan). " Unterthan ?" I ex-
claimed ; " why, you are not a sovereign ? " " Yes, I
am," he said ; and then he explained that he was a
knight. I thought he had been a Suabian knight, but
my journal calls him a Silesian. According to the now
abolished old German constitution these knights were
sovereigns, though they might be very poor. They
had the power of appointing judges, in whom was the
prerogative of life and death a jurisdiction the knights
could not personally exercise. I did not stand in any
awe of my new companion, nor did he claim any
deference on account of his princely dignity. He was
a light-hearted young man, as may be seen by an
anecdote he told me of himself. A few weeks before
I met him, he had the misfortune, on his way to
Teplitz, to be robbed of his purse. He was forced
to take his portmanteau on his back and bring it to
Teplitz, selling a pair of stockings on the road, in order
to get food. Arrived here, and not expecting a re-
mittance for some time, he announced himself as a
painter, being an amateur artist. He waited on Count
Briihl with his papers and testimonials, and solicited
employment. The Count gave him a miniature to
copy ; this was finished in a day and a half, and three
ducats paid for it. He went home, dressed, and in the
evening went to a ball, where he met his employer the
Count. Von Schall spent two ducats that evening
worked two days longer, and earned four ducats more.
He then received a remittance from home, shut up his
portfolio, told his story to everybody, the ladies he
danced with included, and figured away as one of the
beaux of the season.
When I left Teplitz and my worthy host and hostess,
Von Schall accompanied me over a mountain till we
came within sight of Lobositz and Leitmeritz, when I
entered the plains of Bohemia. I slept the first night
at Budin, a poor little town ; but I met there with a
sort of adventure which I have often looked back upon
I was inquiring in the street for a circulating library
an idle inquiry, by the bye when a very handsome
young Jew came up and offered me a book for the
evening. He accompanied me to the inn, and was my
very agreeable companion, but would not suffer me to
treat him. He had a fine manly expression, and
talked with great freedom, which I encouraged by
speaking of Moses Mendelssohn and Lessing, whom
he naturally held in reverence. He seemed to have a
taste for free-thinking books ; and when I remarked
that these books, if they were successful against
Christianity, must be still more so against Judaism,
he was embarrassed. He professed to hold Jesus Christ
in the highest respect, but would not allow that he
had ever claimed to be the Messiah. " Moses," he
said, "if his claim to inspiration be waived, must still
be allowed to be one of the greatest of men." On my
asking whether the odium frequently cast on the Jews
operated as a temptation to embrace Christianity, he
replied, "You forget that we are brought up to that,
and that we are trained to return contempt with hatred.
All those I love are Jews. Were I to go over to your
Church, I should become an object of hatred and con-
tempt to all I love. My father and mother would die
of shame ; and, after all, by the respectable Christians
converted Jews are more despised than those who
remain firm. Fortune has made me what I am, and
whatever difficulties my religion may have I know of
none better." He said he did not believe there was
anything miraculous in the Israelites' passage of the
Red Sea. This young man lent me the continuation
of " Nathan der Weise." The title of this continua-
tion is " The Monk of Lebanon," and its object, to
counteract the effect of Lessing's work.
Next day eight hours' hard walking brought me to
Prague an imposing city, ancient and stately, contain-
ing 70,000 inhabitants. I have seldom seen a spot so
striking as the bridge over the Moldau, with its thirty
high statues. The view from this bridge of the cathe-
dral on the hill is exceedingly fine. But, on the whole,
I found little to detain me at Prague. Contrasting its
churches with those at Dresden, I wrote to my brother :
" The nine paintings in the Chapel at Dresden delight
the eye. The hundreds at Prague only oppress the
senses the more so, as there is no classification or
harmony in their arrangement. Old paintings, curious
perhaps for their antiquity, are paired with flashy pieces
glaring with varnish. A colossal statue stands by the
side of a rotten relic ; in one place there was a complete
skeleton, the skull covered with satin, and the ribs
adorned with crimson ribbon and tinsel.
" 'One would not sure look frightful when one's'dead.'
Still more offensive were a long row of rotten teeth.
Mot all the objects, however, were of this class. At
the high altar in St. Nicolai Church, I saw four colossal
statues, not less than fourteen feet high. They impressed
me solemnly, and I recollected the opinion expressed by
Wieland, that size was probably the great charm which
rendered so illustrious the Jupiter of Phidias."
On my way back to Pirna I was amused by the
slyness of an inscription on a newly built wall. It was
in verse, and its import as follows : " This house is in
the hand of God. In the year 1793 was the wall raised ;
and if God will turn my heart to it, and my father-in-
law will advance the needful, I will cover it with tiles."
I found I had still unseen beauties to explore in the
Saxon Switzerland. Hohnstein I thought among the
finest objects of this very delightful country.
On the last day of my tour, when I was at Huberts-
burg, I met a party of show-folk and pedlars, and was
treated both by them and the landlord as if I were one
of them. A few months before I had dined at the
same inn, as a gentleman visitor to the chateau.
Then my dinner cost me is. 2d. now I paid for my
afternoon luncheon, supper, bed, and breakfast, is. gd.
a difference more agreeable to my pocket than flattering
to my vanity. But travelling on foot, I found that my
journey, as a whole, cost me only a trifle more than I
paid for my ordinary board and lodging at Frankfort.
Letter from England.
With respect to the society in this district the cul-
tivation and manners of the higher classes I have
every reason to speak favourably. As far as I myself
am concerned, I never before experienced from strangers
so much civility ; and my external appearance was cer-
tainly not inviting, for I went as usual in black. My
coat, which I brought with me from England, had
necessarily lost much of its original brightness ; and it
was rather eclipsed than set off by velvet pantaloons
and gaiters, which I wore out of convenience, though
they attracted now and then a smile from the honest
villagers. I met uniformly with civil treatment in the
public-houses, where I was- always in high spirits, and
by my gaiety generally gained the good will of my
host and his other guests.
T. R. TO H. C. R.
Bury, Oct. 2Oth, 1801.
The Peace is an event which has
excited a tumult of joy such as I never before saw
equalled. The effect was the stronger as the event was
totally unexpected indeed, for two or three days pre-
ceding, it was totally despaired of. The Funds were
falling, and the expectation of an invasion was very
general. All parties are therefore willing to give the
Ministry great credit for the secrecy with which they
conducted the negotiation. The demonstrations of joy
have risen almost to madness. Illuminations have been
general throughout the kingdom, and in London and
some other places have been repeated several times.
Last Friday we illuminated at Bury.
The papers will inform you of the reception which
was given by the London populace to the French
general who brought over the ratification of the pre-
liminaries. It is said that "Long live Buonaparte!"
was repeatedly cried in the streets ; and among the
transparencies exhibited in London his portrait was
shown, with this inscription : " The Saviour of the
World" Indeed it is curious to observe the change
of style in the Government newspapers. The " Corsi-
can adventurer," "the atheistical usurper," is now
" the august hero," " the restorer of public order,"
&c. &c. ; in fact, everything that is great and good. It
reminds one of the transformation in a pantomime,
where a devil is suddenly converted into an angel.
The blessings of peace begin already to be felt. An
abundant harvest promised a considerable reduction in
the price of provisions, but the fall in corn has been
rapid beyond example. In the course of about eight
or ten weeks wheat has fallen in our market from 92^.
to 13^. the coomb, and it is expected to sink lower. . . .
On my return to Grimma, at the beginning of
November, I became an inmate in the house of Mr.
Riese ; and there I remained during the winter. I
spent my time pleasantly, partly in reading, and
partly with friends. The best society of the place
was freely open to me ; and at about this period I
became acquainted with a very remarkable person, of
whom there is an account in the " Conversations-
Lexicon," and to whom I became indebted for a
great pleasure. His name was Seume, the son of a
poor woman who kept a public-house near Leipzig.
She meant to make her boy a parson, as he was
clever ; but he was wild, and after making some
progress in his studies, left his books and took up a
musket. He served in the American war as a private,
and was afterwards a non-commissioned officer among
the Hessians. He then went to the West Indies, and
at length entered the Russian service was lieutenant
under Suwarrow, and was present at the infamous
storming and sacking of Praga, near Warsaw. Mean-
while he pursued his studies, and became occasionally
a tutor to young noblemen. For some years he cor-
rected the press at Leipzig. He also printed some
volumes of poetry, and gave lessons in Greek, Eng-
lish, &c. He knew almost all the European languages.
His countenance was very striking. Herder remarked
to me that he had the physiognomy of a Greek phi-
losopher. With Seume I was to pay a visit to Weimar
and Jena. At Leipzig we were -joined by Schnorr,
whose son has since attained great eminence as a
painter. The father was, I believe, the master of the
Government drawing-school at Weimar. We left
Grimma on November i/th, and on the iQth I
visited the most famous of the Fiirsten-Schulen. The
establishment had 150 scholars. The only particular
I thought worthy of notice and imitation was a body
of poor students called collaborateurs, and who assist
the more wealthy but less advanced students, receiving
for their trouble a salary of 200 dollars.
We arrived late the same day at the Eagle Hotel,
Weimar ; and the two next days belong to the most
interesting in all my life. They were devoted to visits
to the most eminent men of their age and country.
Our first call was at the house of the aged Wieland.
The course of my late reading had not led me to form
terrifying ideas of his mental greatness, though as a
litterateur he is one of the first writers of his country.
He is not less universally read and admired in Ger-
many than Voltaire was in France. His works amount
to more than fifty volumes, all written for the many.
He resembles the French wit in the lightness of his
philosophy, in the wantonness of his muse (though it is
by no means so gross), and in the exquisite felicity of
his style. But he surpasses Voltaire in learning, if not
in philosophy ; for Wieland is no school-philosopher,
he belongs to the sensual school of Locke. And his
favourite opinions are those of the common-sense,
sceptical school. He is a sworn foe to the Kantian
metaphysics, and indeed to all others. In his writings,
as in his person and manners, he is a perfect gentle-
man. He received us with the courteous dignity of
a sage, who accepted without hauteur the homage of
his admirers. I have already printed an account of
this my first and subsequent interviews with him in
a note to Mrs. Austin's "Characteristics of Goethe."* I
shall in substance repeat what I have there said. He
had already shrunk into the old man. His pale and
delicate countenance was plain, and had something of
the satyr in it. He wore a black skull-cap. The marble
bust by Schadow, which I have the good fortune to
possess, is an exact resemblance of him. I ventured
* Vol. II. p. 227.
to refer to his philosophical writings, and especially
to his " Agathodamon," which gives but a sad view of
Christianity and its influence on mankind. In this
book he draws a parallel between Jesus Christ and
Apollonius of Tyana, whom he considers as alike
generous enthusiasts, willing to make use of super-
stition in order to teach a beneficent morality. I
ventured to express my regret at the mournful con-
clusions at which he had arrived. He admitted that
his hopes of any great improvement in mankind were
To refer to another subject, the best if not the only
advantage which in his judgment may be expected
from the French Revolution is the promotion of the
fine arts and the sciences ; for he holds the French
nation absolutely incapable of forming a Republic.
He vindicated the administration of Buonaparte, and
did not censure the restoration of the Roman Catholic
Church. What he said on this point is worth reporting:
" We Protestants allow ourselves a great deal of in-
justice and habitual falsehood towards the Catholics.
We forget that Roman Catholicism is, after all, real
Christianity, and in my judgment preferable to the
motley things produced by the soi-disant Refor-
Speaking further of the Reformation, Wieland as-
serted that it had been an evil and not a good ; it
had retarded the progress of philosophy for centuries.
There were some wise men among the Italians who,
if they had been permitted, would have effected a
salutary reform. Luther ruined everything by making
the people a party to what ought to have been left
to the scholars. Had he not come forward with his
furious knock-down attacks on the Church, and excited
a succession of horrible wars in Europe, liberty, science,
and humanity would have slowly made their way.
Melanchthon and Erasmus were on the right road, but
the violence of the age was triumphant. It is need-
less to add that Wieland is a supporter of national
He spoke with great feeling of his wife, who had
died a few weeks before. " I help myself with illu-
sions," he said ; " he whom I have once loved never
dies to me. He is absent only from my outward
senses ; and that to be sure is painful. My wife was
my good angel for thirty-five years. I am no longer
young the recollection of her will never be weakened."
He spoke in a faint half-whisper, as from the bottom
of his throat.
My next call was on Bottiger a very laborious
book-maker and honest fagging scholar, noted for his
courtesy to strangers, of which I both now and after-
wards had the benefit. He had a florid complexion,
and seemed to be in the possession of rustic health.
My companions then took me to Professer Meyer,
who introduced us into the presence of Goethe the
great man, the first sight of whom may well form an
epoch in the life of any one who has devoted him-
self seriously to the pursuit of poetry or philosophy.
I had said to Seume that I wished to speak with
Wieland, and look at Goethe and I literally and
exactly had my desire. My sense of his greatness
was such that, had the opportunity offered, I think I
should have been incapable of entering into conversa-
tion with him ; but as it was, I was allowed to gaze
on him in silence. Goethe lived in a large and hand-
some house that is, for Weimar. Before the door of
his study was marked in mosaic, SALVE. On our
entrance he rose, and with rather a cool and distant
air beckoned to us to take seats. As he fixed his
burning eye on Seume, who took the lead, I had his
profile before me, and this was the case during the
whole of our twenty minutes' stay. He was then
about fifty-two years of age, and was beginning to
be corpulent. He was, I think, one of the most
oppressively handsome men I ever saw. My feeling
of awe was heightened by an accident. The last
play which I had seen in England was " Measure for
Measure," in which one of the most remarkable
moments was when Kemble (the Duke), disguised as
a monk, had his hood pulled off by Lucio. On this,
Kemble, with an expression of wonderful dignity, as-
cended the throne and delivered judgment on the
Goethe sat in precisely the same attitude, and I had
precisely the same view of his side-face. The con-
versation was quite insignificant. My companions
talked about themselves Seume about his youth of
adversity and strange adventures. Goethe smiled, with,
as I thought, the benignity of condescension. When
we were dismissed, and I was in the open air, I felt
as if a weight were removed from my breast, and
exclaimed, " Gott sei Dank!" Before long I saw him
under more favourable auspices ; but of that here-
Goethe has been often reproached for his hauteur,
and Burger made an epigram which the enviers and
revilers of the great man were fond of repeating. I
believe, however, that this demeanour was necessary
in self-defence. It was his only protection against
the intrusion which would otherwise have robbed him
and the world of a large portion of his life.
H. C. R. TO T. R.
Goethe's " Iphigenia in Tauris " is perhaps the most
perfect drama ever composed. I have read it three
times within a month, and believe it has not a faulty
line. W. Taylor has translated it. Do lay out half-
a-crown on my judgment fancy Mrs. Siddons to be
Iphigenia and you will feel that she is the most
perfect ideal of the female character ever conceived,
rivalling in that point of view even Milton's Eve.
You will admire the solemn repose, the celestial tran-
quillity of her character, as well as of the events
themselves ; and this is, in my mind, the characteristic
of Goethe. His better and more perfect works are
without disorder and tumult they resemble Claude
Lorraine's landscapes and Raphael's historical pieces.
Goethe's Songs and Ballads and Elegies all have the
same character ; his Ballads in particular have a wild-
ness of fancy which is fascinating, but without tur-
bulence. No hurry-skurry, as in Burger's " Leonora."
Apropos, I believe you will find in Monk Lewis a
translation of a ballad called the " Erl-King " hunt
for it and read it. Goethe knows his own worth. In
the whole compass of his works I believe not a single
preface, or an article in which he speaks of himself,
is to be found it is enough that his works are
The same evening I had an introduction to one who
in any place but Weimar would have held the first
rank, and who in his person and bearing impressed
every one with the feeling that he belonged to the
highest class of men. This was Herder. The inter-
view was, if possible, more insignificant than that with
Goethe partly, perhaps, on account of my being in-
troduced at the same time with a distinguished pub-
licist, to use the German term, the eminent political
writer and statesman Friedrich Gentz, the translator
of Burke on the French Revolution, author of several
Austrian state-papers against France, and the great
literary advocate of the Austrian cause. I naturally
kept in the background, contenting myself with deli-
vering a letter which Madame de la Roche had given
me. But Herder sent for me next day. He had a
fine clerical figure, and reminded me of Dr. Geddes.
His expression was one of great earnestness. Though
he filled the highest ecclesiastical office the little
state of Weimar afforded, yet the greatness of Goethe
seemed to throw him into the shade ; and this, perhaps,
prevented him from appreciating Goethe's genius.
For the present I shall content myself with saying
that we had some controversial talk, I not assent-
ing to his contemptuous judgment of the English
VOL. I. I
lyric poets, and he declaring the infinite superiority
of Klopstock's Odes to all that Gray and Collins had
ever written. We talked also about our English philo-
sophers, and he gave me a shake of the hand for my
praise of Hartley. Herder was a partisan of Locke.
Before I left Weimar I caljed on the one other great
poet, Schiller, of whom unhappily I have as little to
say as of the others. Indeed we were with him but
a few minutes. I had just time to mention Coleridge's
translation of Wallenstein, of which he seemed to have
a high opinion. The translator was a man of genius,
he said, but had made some ridiculous mistakes.
Schiller had a wild expression and a sickly look ; and
his manners were those of one who is not at his ease.
There was in him a mixture of the wildness of genius
and the awkwardness of the student. His features
were large and irregular.
On Saturday night we went to the theatre, where I
saw " Wallensteins Tod " performed in the presence of
the author. Schlegel somewhere says, " Germany has
two national theatres Vienna with a public of 50,000
spectators, Weimar with a public of 50." The theatre
was at this time unique ; its managers were Goethe
and Schiller, who exhibited there the works which
were to become standards and models of dramatic
literature. Schiller had his seat near the ducal box,
Goethe an arm-chair in the centre of the first row of
the pit. In general, theatres, whatever their size and
beauty may be, are after all mere places where people,
instead of sitting to enjoy themselves at their ease,
are crowded together to see something at a distance,
and it is considered a sort of infringement on the rights
of others to take knee or elbow room. Here, on the
contrary, I found myself in an elegant apartment, so
lightly and classically adorned, and so free and easy
in its aspect, that I almost forgot where I was. In
the pit the seats are all numbered, each person has
his own, and each seat has arms. The single row
of boxes is supported by elegant pillars, under which
the pit loungers stroll at pleasure. The boxes have
no division except in front. They are adorned, too, by
elegant pillars, and are open below ; instead of the
boards commonly placed in front are elegant iron
palisades. There are no fixed seats, only chairs, all
of which, in front, are occupied by ladies. The gentle-
men go into the pit when they do not, as courteous
cavaliers, wait behind the chairs of their fair friends.
The box in the front is occupied by the Duke and
Duchess with their suite, of course without the dull
formality attending a Royal presence at Drury Lane.
I beheld Schiller a great part of the evening leaning
over the ducal box and chatting with .the family.
In the performance of this evening, I was pleased
with Graff as the representative of the hero, and with
Mademoiselle Jagermann as Thekla. She was a grace-
ful and beautiful creature, the first actress of the com-
One other noted character we visited the one who,
according to William Taylor of Norwich, was the
greatest of all. This was August von Kotzebue, the
very popular dramatist, whose singular fate it was to
live at variance with the great poets of his country
while he was the idol of the mob. He was at one