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Walstein's School of History. From
the German of Krants of Gotha

[Concluded from p. 338.]

ENGEL, the eldest of Wal-
stein's pupils, thought, like
his master, that the narration of
public events, with a certain licence
of invention, was the most effica-
cious of moral instruments. Ab-
stract systems, and theoretical rea-
sonings, were not without their use,
but they claimed more attention
than many were willing to bestow.
Their influence, therefore, was
limited to a narrow sphere. A
mode by which truth could be con-
veyed to a great number, was much
to be preferred.

Systems, by being imperfectly
attended to, are liable to beget er-
ror and depravity. Truth flows

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from the union and relation of many
parts. These parts, fallaciously
connected and viewed separately,
constitute error. Prejudice, stu-
pidity, and indolence, will seldom
afford us a candid audience, are
prone to stop short in their re-
searches, to remit, or transfer to
other objects their attention, and
hence to derive new motives to in-
justice, and new confirmations in
folly from that which, if impartial-
ly and accurately examined, would
convey nothing but benefit.

Mere reasoning is cold and un-
attractive. Injury rather than be-
nefit proceeds from convictions that
are transient and faint; their ten-
dency is not to reform and enlight-
en, but merely to produce disquiet
and remorse. They are not strong
enough to resist temptation and to
change the conduct, but merely to
pester the offender with dissatisfac-
tion and regret.

The detail of actions is produc-
tive of different effects. The affec-
tions are engaged, the reason is won
by incessant attacks; the benefits
which our system has evinced to be
possible, are invested with a seem-
ing existence; and the evils which
error was proved to generate, ex-
change the fleeting, misty, and du-
bious form of inference, for a sensi-
ble and present existence.

To exhibit, in an eloquent narra-
tion, a model of right conduct, is
the highest province of benevolence.
Our patterns, however, may be
useful in different degrees. Duties
are the growth of situations. The
general and the statesman have ar-
duous duties to perform; and, to
teach them their duty, is of use:
but the forms of human society al-
low few individuals to gain the sta-
tion of generals and statesmen. The
lesson, therefore, is reducible to
practice by a small number; and,
of these, the temptations to abuse
their power are so numerous and
powerful, that a very small part,

and these, in a very small degree,
can be expected to comprehend,
admire, and copy the pattern that is
set before them.

But though few may be expected
to be monarchs and ministers, every
man occupies a station in society
in which he is necessarily active to
evil or to good. There is a sphere
of some dimensions, in which the
influence of his actions and opini-
ons is felt. The causes that fashion
men into instruments of happiness
or misery, are numerous, complex,
and operate upon a wide surface.
Virtuous activity may, in a thou-
sand ways, be thwarted and divert-
ed by foreign and superior influ-
ence. It may seem best to purify
the fountain, rather than to filter
the stream; but the latter is, to a
certain degree, within our power,
whereas, the former is impractica-
ble. Governments and general
education, cannot be rectified, but
individuals may be somewhat forti-
fied against their influence. Right
intentions may be instilled into
them, and some good may be done
by each within his social and do-
mestic province.

The relations in which men, un-
endowed with political authority,
stand to each other, are numerous.
An extensive source of these rela-
tions, is property. No topic can
engage the attention of man more
momentous than this. Opinions,
relative to property, are the imme-
diate source of nearly all the happi-
ness and misery that exist among
mankind. If men were guided by
justice in the acquisition and dis-
bursement, the brood of private
and public evils would be extin-

To ascertain the precepts of jus-
tice, and exhibit these precepts re-
duced to practice, was, therefore,
the favourite task of Engel. This,
however, did not constitute his
whole scheme. Every man is en-
compassed by numerous claims,

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and is the subject of intricate rela-
tions. Many of these may be com-
prised in a copious narrative, with-
out infraction of simplicity or detri-
ment to unity.

Next to property, the most ex-
tensive source of our relations is
sex. On the circumstances which
produce, and the principles which
regulate the union between the sexes,
happiness greatly depends. The
conduct to be pursued by a virtuous
man in those situations which arise
from sex, it was thought useful to

Fictitious history has, hitherto,
chiefly related to the topics of love
and marriage. A monotony and sen-
timental softness have hence arisen
that have frequently excited con-
tempt and ridicule. The ridicule,
in general, is merited; not because
these topics are intrinsically worth-
less or vulgar, but because the
historian was deficient in know-
ledge and skill.

Marriage is incident to all; its
influence on our happiness and dig-
nity, is more entire and lasting than
any other incident can possess.
None, therefore, is more entitled
to discussion. To enable men to
evade the evils and secure the bene-
fits of this state, is to consult, in an
eminent degree, their happiness.

A man, whose activity is neither
aided by political authority nor by
the press, may yet exercise consi-
derable influence on the condition
of his neighbours, by the exercise
of intellectual powers. His courage
may be useful to the timid or the
feeble, and his knowledge to the
ignorant, as well as his property to
those who want. His benevolence
and justice may not only protect
his kindred and his wife, but res-
cue the victims of prejudice and
passion from the yoke of those do-
mestic tyrants, and shield the pow-
erless from the oppression of power,
the poor from the injustice of the

rich, and the simple from the stra-
tagems of cunning.

Almost all men are busy in ac-
quiring subsistence or wealth by a
fixed application of their time and
attention. Manual or mental skill
is obtained and exerted for this end.
This application, within certain
limits, is our duty. We are bound
to chuse that species of industry
which combines most profit to
ourselves with the least injury to
others; to select that instrument
which, by most speedily supplying
our necessities, leaves us at most
leisure to act from the impulse of

A profession, successfully pur-
sued, confers power not merely by
conferring property and leisure.
The skill which is gained, and
which, partly or for a time, may
be exerted to procure subsistence,
may, when this end is accomplish-
ed, continue to be exerted for the
common good. The pursuits of
law and medicine, enhance our
power over the liberty, property,
and health of mankind. They not
only qualify us for imparting bene-
fit, by supplying us with property
and leisure, but by enabling us to
obviate, by intellectual exertions,
many of the evils that infest the

Engel endeavoured to apply these
principles to the choice of a pro-
fession, and to point out the mode
in which professional skill, after it
has supplied us with the means of
subsistence, may be best exerted in
the cause of general happiness.

Human affairs are infinitely com-
plicated. The condition of no two
beings is alike. No model can be
conceived, to which our situation
enables us exactly to conform. No
situation can be imagined perfectly
similar to that of an actual being.
This exact similitude is not requir-
ed to render an imaginary portrait
useful to those who survey it. The

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usefulness, undoubtedly, consists in
suggesting a mode of reasoning and
acting somewhat similar to that
which is ascribed to a feigned per-
son; and, for this end, some simili-
tude is requisite between the real
and imaginary situation; but that
similitude is not hard to produce.
Among the incidents which inven-
tion will set before us, those are to
be called out which afford most
scope to wisdom and virtue, which
are most analogous to facts, which
most forcibly suggest to the reader
the parallel between his state and
that described, and most strongly
excite his desire to act as the feign-
ed personages act. These incidents
must be so arranged as to inspire, at
once, curiosity and belief, to fasten
the attention, and thrill the heart.
This scheme was executed in the
life of “Olivo Ronsica.”

Engel's principles inevitably led
him to select, as the scene and pe-
riod of his narrative, that in which
those who should read it, should
exist. Every day removed the
reader farther from the period, but
its immediate readers would perpe-
tually recognize the objects, and per-
sons, and events, with which they
were familiar.

Olivo is a rustic youth, whom
domestic equality, personal inde-
pendence, agricultural occupations,
and studious habits, had endowed
with a strong mind, pure taste, and
unaffected integrity. Domestic re-
volutions oblige him to leave his
father's house in search of subsist-
ence. He is destitute of property,
of friends, and of knowledge of the
world. These are to be acquired
by his own exertions, and virtue
and sagacity are to guide him in the
choice and the use of suitable means.

Ignorance subjects us to tempta-
tion, and poverty shackles our
beneficence. Olivo's conduct shews
us how temptation may be baffled,
in spite of ignorance, and benefits
be conferred in spite of poverty.

He bends his way to Weimar.
He is involved, by the artifices of
others, and, in consequence of his
ignorance of mankind, in many
perils and perplexities. He forms
a connection with a man of a great
and mixed, but, on the whole, a
vicious character. Semlits is intro-
duced to furnish a contrast to the
simplicity and rectitude of Olivo,
to exemplify the misery of sensual-
ity and fraud, and the influence
which, in the present system of so-
ciety, vice possesses over the repu-
tation and external fortune of the

Men hold external goods, the
pleasures of the senses, of health,
liberty, reputation, competence,
friendship, and life, partly by vir-
tue of their own wisdom and acti-
vity. This, however, is not the
only source of their possession. It
is likewise dependant on physi-
cal accidents, which human fore-
sight cannot anticipate, or human
power prevent. It is also influenc-
ed by the conduct and opinions of

There is no external good, of
which the errors and wickedness of
others may not deprive us. So far
as happiness depends upon the re-
tention of these goods, it is held at
the option of another. The per-
fection of our character is evinced
by the transient or slight influence
which privations and evils have
upon our happiness, on the skilful-
ness of those exertions which we
make to avoid or repair disasters,
on the diligence and success with
which we improve those instru-
ments of pleasure to ourselves and
to others which fortune has left in
our possession.

Richardson has exhibited in Cla-
rissa, a being of uncommon virtue,
bereaved of many external benefits
by the vices of others. Her parents
and lover conspire to destroy her
fortune, liberty, reputation, and
personal sanctity.

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More talents and address cannot
be easily conceived, than those
which are displayed by her to pre-
serve and to regain these goods.
Her efforts are vain. The cunning
and malignity with which she had
to contend, triumphed in the con-

Those evils and privations she
was unable to endure. The loss of
fame took away all activity and
happiness, and she died a victim to
errors, scarcely less opprobrious
and pernicious, than those of her
tyrants and oppressors. She mis-
apprehended the value of parental
approbation and a fair fame. She
depreciated the means of usefulness
and pleasure of which fortune was
unable to deprive her.

Olivo is a different personage.
His talents are exerted to reform
the vices of others, to defeat their
malice when exerted to his injury,
to endure, without diminution of
his usefulness or happiness, the in-
juries which he cannot shun.

Semlits is led, by successive acci-
dents, to unfold his story to Ron-
sica, after which, they separate.
Semlits is supposed to destroy him-
self, and Ronsica returns into the

A pestilential disease, prevalent
throughout the north of Europe,
at that time (1630), appears in the
city. To ascertain the fate of one
connected, by the ties of kindred
and love, with the family in which
Olivo resides, and whose life is en-
dangered by residence in the city,
he repairs thither, encounters the
utmost perils, is seized with the
reigning malady, meets, in extra-
ordinary circumstances, with Sem-
lits, and is finally received into the
house of a physician, by whose
skill he is restored to health, and to
whom he relates his previous ad-

He resolves to become a physi-
cian, but is prompted by benevo-
lence to return, for a time, to the

farm which he had lately left. The
series of ensuing events, are long,
intricate, and congruous, and ex-
hibit the hero of the tale in cir-
cumstances that task his fortitude,
his courage, and his disinterested-

Engel has certainly succeeded in
producing a tale, in which are
powerful displays of fortitude and
magnanimity; a work whose influ-
ence must be endlessly varied by
varieties of character and situation
of the reader, but, from which, it
is not possible for any one to rise
without some degree of moral bene-
fit, and much of that pleasure which
always attends the emotions of cu-
riosity and sympathy.

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