« AnteriorContinuar »
was studying the laws of reflection : he was poor,— he had spent his patrimony in assisting his friends and in travelling: he collected fishes for the purposes of magic,ếhe was investigating their natural history, and trying to use them in medicine: a boy had suddenly fallen in his presence, — the boy had a fit: a lady of sixty had been charmed into marrying a man half her age, — he told the story, the lady was only forty; her relations had got up the prosecution from jealousy at his obtaining her property, and meanwhile he had induced the reluctant Pudentilla to leave her money to her son. The defence was complete; we need not add, he was acquitted.
Critics have perplexed themselves to find a hidden meaning in the book. They have supposed it an allegory, representing the soul invited by Virtue and Vice ;- like the old story of the Choice of Hercules. Thus Byrrhæna is Virtue, warning Lucius against Pamphile and Fotis, the impersonation of Vice; but led astray by curiosity and love of pleasure, he neglects the warning, and his transformation typifies his fall into sensuality. In the end, his better nature, - the human reason beneath the asinine form, - roused and strengthened by misfortune, becomes victorious, and induces him to pledge himself to Virtue by initiation among the worshippers of Isis. Warburton has lent his support to this theory. His ingenuity has tempted him to carry it a step further. He exalts Apuleius into a controversialist, and an inveterate enemy of Christianity; and he considers the true design of the story to be 'to
recommend Initiation into the Mysteries, in opposition to the • New Religion. This interpretation is founded on the character of the baker's wife, and a passage in the Apology, from which Warburton concludes that his accuser was a Christian. For the honour of the African Church, we hope the conclusion is false; and assuredly, if Apuleius had intended to single out Christianity for his attack, he would have made his meaning clearer. Nor do we think the tale an allegory. It was not new; we have it in Lucian, and both are said to have copied from an earlier writer -- Lucius of Patræ.
. But Apuleius introduced two remarkable additions, - the account of the Mysteries, and an allegory, closely connected with them, representing the fall, the trials, and the ultimate restoration of the soul to the love of what is divine, - the legend of Cupid and Psyche. In the Greek account Lucius regains his human form on merely tasting rose-leaves; Apuleius, by his version, obviously intended to use the old story as a vehicle for a panegyric on the · Mysteries. The advantage of initiation was an established tenet of the philosophy of the day, and in
his Apology he boasts of having studied many sacred systems,
rites, and ceremonies, in the pursuit of truth and the exercise of piety.' Now, by the side of the true mysteries had grown up a race of impostors, who brought discredit upon them by their debauchery, magic, and lying divinations. To this race belonged the priests of the Syrian Goddess, with their bloody rites. To this the Jewish fortuneteller, who appears in Juvenal, between the howling priests of Osiris and the Armenian soothsayer. To this, in common apprehension, the Christian. Like the heathen mysteries, the Christian Society was proselyting and migratory. Still more, like them, it was part of the dregs which the Syrian Orontes rolled into the Tiber. No more was needed to arouse prejudice, and render inquiry unnecessary, on the part of a Roman. Every fact and every report was made to harmonise with this theory of its character, and hence come the features in the baker's wife which we can recognise, combined with others to which we know of no counterpart. Against all these superstitions Apuleius levelled his satire. They were gloomy and infernal; nay, more, they were caricatures of the truth. His object was to bring out the contrast. The best commentary on the book is his own confession of faith made on his trial:-We, of the Platonic School, believe in nothing but what is joyous, cheerful, festive, from above, heavenly.'
One word upon his Latinity. Grammarians place him with Tertullian and Cyprian, in the African School, the chief peculiarity of which is an affectation of old forms of speech. Punic was the common language of the north of Africa, and Apuleius learnt his Latin in the schools of the rhetoricians. The rhetoricians were indebted for the important position they then occupied to the patronage of Hadrian; and, in return, they echoed his imperial criticism, that Cato ranked above Cicero, Ennius above Virgil. Apuleius caught their spirit, and in every page we have the florid declamation of a later age studded with archaisms and expressions which, even when new, are stamped to resemble an early coinage. He is not one of those authors who live by their style. As a novelist he has had his day ; but to the student of the history of literature and society during the decay of the Roman Empire, he will always be a useful and amusing companion.
ART. VII.-1. Two Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen on the State
Prosecutions of the Neapolitan Government. By the Right · Hon. W. GLADSTONE, M.P. Second Edition. London: 1851.
8vo. 2. Al Sig. Guglielmo Gladstone, Parole di gratitudine di Giu
SEPPE MASSARI, ex-Dep. al Parlamento Napolitano. Torino:
1851. 12mo. 3. The Neapolitan Government and Mr. Gladstone. A Letter
to the Earl of Aberdeen. By CHARLES MACFARLANE.
8vo. London: 1851. 4. Conclusioni pronunziate innanzi alla Gran Corte speciale di
Napoli, nella causa della setta l'Unità Italiana, dal Consigliere
Procurator Generale Filippo Angelillo. Napoli: 1850. 8vo. 5. Requisizione ed Atto di Accusa ... nella causa della setta
l'Unità Italiana. Napoli: 1850. 8vo. 6. Decisione della Gran Corte speciale nella causa della setta
l'Unità Italiana. Napoli: 1851. 8vo. 7. Atti e Difesa della causa di Carlo Poerio ed altri. Napoli:
1850. 8vo. 8. Speech of C. Poerio, late Minister of Public Instruction.
London : 1851. 9. Difesa di Luigi Settembrini. 1850. 8vo. 10. Costituto di Nicola Nisco. 1850. 8vo. 11. Atto ď Accusa nella causa degli avvenimenti politici del 15
Maggio 1848. Napoli: 1851. 8vo. 12. Eccezione d'incompetenza dedutta dall'Avvocato Lorenzo
Jacovelli imputato dei fatti del 15 Maggio 1848. Napoli:
1851. 8vo. 13. Coup d'oeil sur la situation de la Sicile en 1847, et sur la marche de sa Révolution. Par P. C. O'RAREDON. Génève:
Cherbuliez, 1850. 8vo. 14. Young Italy. By A. B. COCHRANE, M.P. London:
1850. 8vo. The history of the rise and fall of the national cause in Italy
1 is before our readers: the result of those events remains to be told; and this is the task which we propose to ourselves on the present occasion. The extent of the subject will prevent us from exhausting it; and had we consulted our feelings only, we should have gladly abstained from the painful task of exposing to the world transactions which men of all parties must
The hiefore ours is the the ex
1851. Englishmen, partial Judges of Foreign Governments. 491
learn with the deepest emotion. But we consider it to be a duty which we owe to truth and to justice, to lay bare, at whatever cost to our feelings, the iniquities perpetrated in the name of legitimate government and of religion by a set of persons, who, after having crouched before the popular enthusiasm when triumphant, now abuse their, we trust, temporary success, without respect for either divine or human laws, of which forsooth they call themselves the assertors and avengers. We apply these expressions more particularly to the Government of Naples. We say to the Government, wishing to keep the Sovereign out of sight; not that we mean to act the part of apologists of His Sicilian Majesty, but because, however bad he might be, he could not carry out his principles, did he not find in his government and supporters, not only a ready compliance with his wishes, but individuals, who, taking advantage of his weakness, urge him on to cruelty by deceiving him. Better surrounded, and more honestly advised, this Prince might, if such be his nature, be still inclined to acts of tyranny and injustice; but this inclination would be checked, if not altogether neutralised. At present, he is, perhaps, held responsible for more than he ought in fairness to bear.*
The oppression under which the Italians have long been suffering has always been well known. It has, however, been held to be exaggerated in some particulars. Englishmen, who are so justly disposed to laugh at foreigners, when they attempt to give an account of our laws, institutions, and government, think themselves quite competent to decide on such matters in other countries; the course which they generally pursue is to argue from what they do know of the subject in their own country, to what they do not know of it in foreign States, drawing the most erroneous conclusions. When an Englishman, accustomed to impartial and independent judges—to fair and uniform proceedings-to deliberate and solemn judgments, hears of persons tried and condemned abroad, he never dreams that the trial is other than what it is in England, where the judgment is the obvious result of the judicial inquiry. Not doubting the perfect straight-forwardness of what takes
* We have just learnt, with great satisfaction, that His Sicilian Majesty, on being informed of one of the points much dwelt upon by Mr. Gladstone in his First Letter, has directed an inquiry into the state of the Neapolitan prisons. We may thence fairly infer that, had his ministers laid the case before His Majesty long ago, as they were bound to do, an inquiry would have been ordered at once, instead of being delayed till a foreigner urged it on.
place in England, no Englishman is ever inclined to listen to doubts thrown on what takes place elsewhere. There is, after all, much in a name: because English judges are venerable, all those who are called judges in other countries must be 'venerable’ likewise ;-because the law is justly administered in England, the administration of the law must be just in other countries ;-because no sensible man will listen to the protestations of innocence by a convict in England, therefore no one ought to listen to such protestations in foreign countries. It has been in vain that the most convincing proofs have been produced of the injustice of foreign sentences, of the dishonesty of foreign judges, of the unfairness of foreign trials. Englishmen would not entertain the question; and the innocent victims of the most infamous systems of administration of injustice have died a lingering death, their memory insulted if not forgotten; not seldom the object of coarse jests and unmanly allusions, in a country which boasts of the generosity of its Conservatives, and of the pure Christianity of all its classes.
The recent Neapolitan victims would have met with the same fate, had not Providence inspired a gentleman of unblemished character, brilliant talents, high position, uniting to the qualifications which eminently fitted him for discovering the truth a heart that urged him on to search for it, and a will which was not to be baffled in its pursuit. We need not say of whom we speak. Mr. Gladstone went to Naples soon after having voted against the Government on a vital question of foreign policy. Secretary of State for the Colonies in that Administration which had Lord Aberdeen for Foreign Secretary, Mr. Gladstone would have been too happy to be able to say that the Conservative Government of Naples deserved the respect and support of the great and influential party in this country, of which he is an ornament and a leading member. But Mr. Gladstone is not one of those who attach much importance to a name; and having soon had reason to suspect that under the cloak of Conservatives and Conservatism may be concealed persons whose wickedness it is a duty to expose, and principles which every honest man must repudiate, he determined to inquire into the facts and to get at the truth. The result of his inquiries has been recorded in his two Letters to Lord Aberdeen. That the correctness of this result must have been reluctantly admitted by a politician of Mr. Gladstone's party need hardly be mentioned ; that as a gentleman and a Christian Mr. Gladstone must have hesitated at believing, until further doubt and disbelief became impossible, we may well suppose ; if even he had not expressly declared, that he expects