Слике страница

semblance to the rude arms and utensils of our North American Indians, and seem to indicate about the same degree of progress in civilization. 2. Cinerary urns, of which there are one hundred in number, some of them of gold, covered with wrought figures, and others of glass, copper, and rude pottery. They show that the custom of the classical nations of antiquity, of burning the bodies of the dead, also extended to these rude tribes of the North. 3. Similar remains of ashes and bones found in the sepulchral mounds, showing that the ancient hero of the North was buried with his arms, his horse, and his faithful dog. 4. Sacra, or various objects belonging to the Pagan worship, such as idols, amulets, and censers, of gold, amber, and bronze. 5. Personal ornaments of various kinds and of different metals. Among these, is a number of articles found in the tomb of Thyra Dannebod, the last of the race of Pagan queens of Denmark. 6. Ornaments of amber and glass. 7. Arms of metal. 8. Runic monuments. Whenever these last are found still remaining in the places where they were originally erected, the commission determined to preserve them in the same position : but wherever they had already been removed, that they should be placed in or near the museum itself. Some of them have accordingly been placed in the niches of the famous round tower of Longomontanus, which is the present royal observatory. Most of them are covered with prolix inscriptions, which have been interpreted by different antiquaries.

The union of this museum with the Northern antiquities contained in the Royal cabinet, would form a very complete collection. Beside these, there is, in the old Gothic palace of Rosenborg, a cabinet of coins and medals, which contains, among others, a great number of coins previous to the time of Canute the Great, some of which are merely figured, and others have Runic legends. There are also, in several private collections at Copenhagen, particularly in Bishop Munter's and Counsellor Thomsen's cabinets, many coins and medals illustrative of the antiquities and history of the North. The Royal Library contains about 300,000 volumes of printed books and manuscripts, and that of the University about 80,000. These two libraries, taken together, contain probably the completest collection of works relating to northern literature, which any where exists. The Royal Library was founded by Frederick III., in 1663, and has been since gradually augmented by the munificence of his successors, and by various private donations. It is deposited in a building adjoining the chateau of Christiansborg, and narrowly escaped destruction, when that vast edifice was consumed by fire in 1794. It is opened to the public, for the use of students, with great liberality. The principal hall is about 290 feet long, and 40 feet wide. The middle of the floor is flagged with black and white VOL. III. NO. 6.


marble; and the capitals of the pilasters, which run up between the alcoves, are handsomely gilt. There is also a gallery, with triple rows of shelves. In this apartment are deposited the works on theology, history, philology, ancient classical learning, and modern belles lettres. The second apartment is constructed in the same style as the first, and is about 65 feet long, and 40 in breadth. It contains the works relating to mathematics, natural history, the physical sciences, voyages and travels, &c. In a third room, above the second, and of the same dimensions, with a double gallery, resting on pillars, is deposited the collection of books relating to Scandinavian and Danish literature and history. A gallery which connects the library with the palace of Christiansborg, is appropriated to the MSS., and the works on jurisprudence. It contains the valuable oriental MSS. collected by the celebrated traveller, Niebuhr, and a considerable number of Pali and Cingalese MSS., purchased in Ceylon, by Professor Rask. It also embraces the collection of Uldall, the courageous advocate of the unfortunate Queen Caroline Matilda, relating to northern history and jurisprudence, and that of the Danish historian, Suhm, also relating to the history and literature of the North. This last was connected with the notes, translations, and other MSS. of the celebrated German critic, Reiske, relating to Arabic and classical literature, who, at his decease, left his widow no other fortune, than these fruits of his own industry and research. She offered them to the princes of his own country, but they having declined the acquisition, Suhm granted her an annuity for them. He expended a large fortune, in collecting a library, which was augmented to about 100,000 volumes, in 1796, when he sold it to the king for an annuity. He was a very munificent patron of literature, and published at his own expense, a splendid edition of Abulfeda's Arabic Annals, in five quarto volumes, which was edited by Professor Adler. Suhm also contributed to the publication of the great collection of chronicles, relating to the history of Denmark-Scriptores rerum Danicarum, on the plan of the famous edition of the historians of France, by the Benedictines. After the death of the editor, under whose superintendence the first volumes were prepared for publication, Suhm continued to superintend the work down to the seventh volume, leaving the eighth unfinished, at the time of his death. He also wrote the prefaces to a work entitled “Collections for a History of Denmark,” drawn from his MSS. by Professor Nyerup. That veteran of literature, has also since continued a Danish history, which had been commenced by Suhm. The latter also published several of the ancient Icelandic Sagas, in eight quarto volumes, at his own expense.

legacy was bequeathed about half a century since, by a private individual at Copenhagen, for the purpose of founding a professorship of Scandinavian history, &c. It will soon, with the accumulations of interest, amount to a sufficient sum for that purpose. In the mean time, the publication of the Sagas has been continued, from the Icelandic MSS. contained in the Library of the University, which were collected by a native Icelander, Arne Magnusson, or Arnus Magnæus, as his name has been Latinized, by a royal committee of learned men, called the Arna Magnæan commission. The last Saga, published under their direction, is entitled Laxdælasaga, Icel. & Lat. 4to. Copenhagen, 1827. A society for publishing ancient historical works in Icelandic,—together with Danish and Latin translations, was established in 1825. They have published-1. Olaf Tryggvason's (king of Norway,) Saga, in 3 vols. 8vo., with a translation into Danish, in the same number of volumes, and have commenced a Latin translation.-2. Jómsvickingasaga and Knytlingasaga, in one large 8vo. volume, containing the history of the Danish kings, from Gorm the Old and his predecessors, down to Canute VI., of which no translation has yet appeared. There is also an Icelandic Literary Society, for publishing modern books, diffusing knowledge among the common people of Iceland, and preserving the ancient language, as it is still spoken in that island. They have published a history of Iceland, during the middle ages, entitled Hurlungasaga, together with the continuation of Mr. Espólín's work, entitled Island's árborer, being annals of Iceland down to the beginning of the 18th century. Lastly, there is a Scandinavian Literary Society, established in the year 1797, of which Professor Schlegel, well known by his controversy with Dr. Croke, upon Sir W. Scott's famous judgment in the case of the Swedish convoy, is President, and which has published several volumes of Transactions.

We have collected together the above notices, supposing they might not be without interest to our readers. Let it not be said, that these studies are merely speculative, and that they are useless for any of the practical purposes of life. There are many branches of science, which cannot be directly applied to any such purpose, and yet are of great dignity and real importance.

Homo sum, humani nihil à me alienum puto. And there is nothing appertaining to the moral history of man -as diversified by difference of origin and race-language, religion, laws, manners, and social institutions, which can be considered wholly useless to the student of human nature. If it be true, as Cicero says, that all the humane arts have a certain common ligament, and are intimately related together, it is not less true, that all the liberal arts and sciences contribute to reflect mutual light. A familiar knowledge of the early history and manners of our own country-of its authentic anpals and romantic traditions of the lives of its heroes, bards, and legislators,-contributes to nourish a warm spirit of patriotism, and to fortify the honest sentiment of national pride.These studies open new regions of imagination—they unfold to the poet's eye a new creation, whose wild-flowers have hitherto “ blushed unseen,” and whose wonders he may make his own.All this is felt by the scholars and patriots of the northern nations of Europe. But even to us, the literature of the North must have its interest,-since we deduce our origin, our language, and our laws, from the Scandinavian and Teutonic races.


The filiation of languages is not only a curious subject of philosophical inquiry,—but an acquaintance with it, is absolutely essential to a perfect knowledge of the structure of our own language, derived as it is from the mingled streams of all the Northern dialects, and enriched with the addition of copious supplies from classic sources. We have seen the great family of man, from the banks of the Ganges to the shores of Iceland, with few exceptions, speaking languages having their common root in the venerable Sanscrit. The pursuit of these investigations has been associated with the loftier and purer purpose of diffusing the light of the gospel over the same regions. Frederick IV. of Denmark, was the first prince who sent Protestant missionaries to India. -The Danish establishment at Serampore, is the great scene of literary and religious activity in the East.—But it is on the bleak and barren coasts of Greenland, that their noblest conquests have been achieved ; and it is here again, that we are indebted to the Danish missionaries for our knowledge of the singularly fantastic structure of the dialect spoken by the natives of that desolate country. In the gardens of Jægerspriis, where the present king of Denmark, when crown prince, erected monuments of Norwegian marble to the benefactors of their country, -amidst those of heroes and sages, stands an humble pillar, on which are inscribed the names of Hans Egede, the first missionary to Greenland, and Gertrude his wife, who shared with him all the hardships and privations of his voyage and long exile in that region, whose map is delineated on the same stone. Happy the nation which can boast of such trophies, and happy the men who have thus found the true road to in mortal fame!

Art. IX.-London Quarterly Review, No. 73. Article VIII.

The United States.

In the task we have undertaken in the following pages, we have a warrant for taking up a Review as a proper subject for examination. It is in full accordance with our stipulated duty, and the promise we made in the prospectus of this journal. We there declared our design to be national.” We promised that “ the work will be truly American in spirit and drift”_"patriotism, alert, emphatic, resolute, militant even, under certain circumstances, is a trait which should distinguish it and every similar production of this country.” When, then, an unjust and vituperative attack is made upon the character, condition, and institutions of our country, in the guise of a review, or in any other way, we do but redeem our pledge to the American public, in refuting its calumnies and exposing its falsehoods. Upon these grounds, we believe we have a full justification for the remarks we shall offer upon the article mentioned at the head of our page, from the " London Quarterly Review."

However honest, intelligent, and liberal, an Englishman may be upon other matters, the moment he undertakes to speak or write about the United States, he becomes bewildered and absurd. This is the point of his insanity; and he will be sensible and just in his opinions and observations, until he touches this unfortunate subject. In a moment, truth is no longer truth; evidence ceases to have any influence on his mind, and he is unable to distinguish between the most clear and settled facts, and the prejudices and nonsense of his national pride. Every mad-house abounds with such cases of partial derangement; and neither the philosopher nor physician has been able to account for it. Even now, when neither the writers nor the readers of the calumnies upon our country are really deceived by them, they cannot deny themselves the momentary pleasure of repeating and listening to them.

The “ London Quarterly Review," from its earliest existence, has led the van in the political, moral, and personal phillippics that have been poured, without ceasing, upon us, ever since we set up in the world for ourselves ; and, it must be confessed, it has led it like a valiant captain, a very Dalghetty, devoted, body and conscience, to his contracted service, and overleaping every impediment between him and the performance of his orders and bounden duty. It has denounced our goodly territory as the land of “despotism, poverty, and disease;" as if men and nature combined their worst influences to curse it; as if our atmosphere was never sweetened by the purifying sun ; nor our earth refreshed by kind and fertile showers. And yet we do live on increasing and multiplying, not entirely crushed by our despot

« ПретходнаНастави »