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Chapter 4:

On arriving at Gottingen, which was to be Mr. Ticknor's home for twenty months, he felt like the pilgrim who had reached the shrine of his faith; here he found the means and instruments of knowledge in an abundance and excellence such as he had never before even imagined. Gottingen was at that time the seat of the leading university in Germany, occupying much the same comparative position as that of Berlin does now. Founded by George II., it owed its rank and eminence, in a great measure, to the fostering care of the king's enlightened Hanoverian minister, Baron Munchausen, who watched over its interests with a vigilance and constancy which had something of the warmth of personal affection. Another of its benefactors, in a different way, was the illustrious Heyne, who had died in 1812, after having been connected with it, in various capacities, for half a century. He was not only a scholar of eminence and varied attainments, and an unrivalled teacher in the department of philology, but also a man of sound practical wisdom and tact in the conduct of life, and had, for many years before his death, been the leading spirit in the government and administration of the University. His high and wide reputation had brought to it a great number of pupils.

At the time of Mr. Ticknor's residence in Gottingen, there were many distinguished teachers and scholars connected with its University, such as Dissen, Benecke, Schultze, Eichhorn, and others, and especially two men of world-wide fame,—Gauss in mathematics, and Blumenbach in natural history. The latter [71] was attracting pupils from all over Europe, not merely by his immense and accurate knowledge, but by his peculiar felicity in communicating it. His learned and instructive lectures were brightened by a rich vein of native humor, which was always under the control of tact and good sense, and never degenerated into buffoonery. He retained to the last the high spirits of a boy, and was not entirely free from a boy's love of mischief. Though not much interested in natural history, Mr. Ticknor attended the lectures of Blumenbach, who seemed to have formed a strong attachment for his studious and animated pupil from the far-distant West. Easy and cordial relations grew up between them, and when Mr. Ticknor took leave of the great naturalist, he felt almost as if he were parting from a European father.

The way of life into which he fell at Gottingen, continuing with little interruption for twenty months, was not only in marked contrast with his brilliant experience in London, but was unlike that which he had been accustomed to lead at home. Though he had always been a diligent student, yet his warm domestic affections and strong social tastes had claimed some portion of his time; but now all his hours, from early morning till night, were given to hard work, unrelieved by either amusement or society. A daily walk with his friend Mr. Everett was all that varied the monotony of continuous study. Having never been dependent for happiness upon amusements, it cost him little to renounce these; but it was a loss and a sacrifice to give up society,—that full and free exchange of feelings and opinions with those whom we love and trust, which is one of the highest pleasures of life. His only relaxation was found in a change of employment.

But his life in Gottingen was a happy one. For all his privations and sacrifices there was this great compensation, that here, for the first time, a deep and ever-flowing fountain was opened to him in which his passionate love of knowledge could be slaked. Here, for the first time, he was made to understand and feel what is meant by instruction. At home he had had teachers, that is, he had had men who knew somewhat more than he did, to whom he recited his lessons, who corrected his mistakes and [72] allowed him to learn. But at Gottingen he was made to understand the difference between reciting to a man and being taught by him. Here he took lessons in Greek, for instance, of a scholar who had not only learned Greek thoroughly, but had also learned the art of teaching it. The delight he took in his new charters and privileges was in proportion to his ardent love of knowledge and his previous imperfect opportunities for gratifying it.

Another source of happiness, as well as of intellectual growth, was opened to him at Gottingen in its magnificent library of over two hundred thousand volumes, especially rich in modern literature, and adminstered so liberally that any number of books might be taken from it and kept as long as the student had any need of them. This immense treasury of knowledge was all the more impressive and the more welcome from its contrast with the meagre collections he had left at home.1 Every student knows what a pleasure it is to be able to lay his hands on every book he wants when he is studying a subject, as well as the exaggerated value he will put upon the particular book he cannot find. Here our ardent young scholar could be sure of lighting upon every book of which he had even ever heard; and the delight with which his eye ran along the endless shelves of the University library was only tempered by the sigh called forth by the thought of the disproportion between these boundless stores of knowledge and the length of any human life, or the measure of any human powers. Mr. Ticknor's enjoyment of the new and copious sources of knowledge which were now opened to him, and his sense of the intellectual growth derived from them, were alloyed both by the painful comparison he was forced to make between what he found in Gottingen and what he had left at home, and the sad thought of how much more he might have done and known if, [73] in childhood and youth,2 he had had the advantages he was now enjoying. He saw men around him, his contemporaries, not superior to him in capacity or industry, but far beyond him in extent and accuracy of knowledge, and he could not but recall with a bitter pang the precious hours he had lost for want of books and teachers. The tone of his correspondence, however, is never desponding, but always cheerful. The following extract from a letter to his father, written in November, 1815,—certainly not a season of exhilarating influences in Northern Germany,—is but a fair specimen of the spirit which animates all his communications.

The shortest days are soon coming, and I am glad of it. . . . . At home I used to delight in the silence and darkness of the morning, and a long, uninterrupted winter's evening had pleasures that were all its own; but here, where the sun hardly rises above the damp and sickly mists of the horizon through the whole day, where candles must be burnt till nine in the morning and lighted again at three,— here the darkness becomes a burden of which I shall rejoice to be rid. It no longer seems to me like that “grateful vicissitude of day and night” that Milton says “ flows from the very throne of God,” but like the Cimmerian darkness in which Homer has involved the gloomy regions of death and despair. I would not write thus to you, my dear father, if I did not know that, when you receive this letter, you will be able to console yourself with the recollection that I have already emerged to the light of day. The climate and weather are much like our own in fickleness, though more damp and rainy. .... But I care nothing for this. My health is perfect and constant; and, as for “the seasons and their changes, all please alike.”


Mr. Ticknor always was an easy and ready writer, and the exercise of writing was never distasteful to him. His letters and journals, during his residence in Europe, were so copious that they alone, had he done nothing else, would have saved him from the reproach of idleness. They contain so full and continuous a record of his life and thoughts, that little is left for his biographer to relate. They should be read, however, not merely as fresh and animated sketches of what he witnessed and felt, but as unconscious revelations of character, addressed, as they were, to his father and mother, with that frank and affectionate confidence which had always existed between them. They reveal to us a rare degree of self-denial and force of character in a young man of four-and-twenty, suddenly exchanging the loving and watchful supervision of a New England home for the absolute freedom of Europe, but yielding to none of the temptations of his new position; devoting himself to an unbroken life of hard study, making his plans deliberately and adhering to them resolutely, and renouncing not merely all debasing but all frivolous pleasures. And from these letters and journals we also learn that his love of study was not the effect of a solitary temper or an ascetic spirit, but that he was fond of society as well as of books, that he was a social favorite, everywhere well received, and treated with marked kindness by many of the most distinguished men in Europe.

To Mr. Elisha Ticknor, Boston.

Gottingen, August 10, 1815.
Well, my dear father, here I am regularly settled in my own lodgings, and regularly matriculated as a member of the ‘University of Gottingen’; and the first and pleasantest use I can make of my new apartments and privileges is to sit down and give you an account of them. . . . .

The town itself, as you know, is now within the dominions of Hanover, and was formerly just comprehended within that of Westphalia. It is an old town, and all the houses I have observed are old, though evidently comfortable and neat, and quite filled with tenants from all quarters of the world. The whole town was originally surrounded with pretty strong walls; but they are now in ruins, and [75] serve only as the foundation of a public walk, shaded with fine trees, which extends round the city. The number of inhabitants is about ten thousand, and, as far as I have come in contact with them during the last three days, I have found them as all the Germans are reputed to be,—kind, courteous, and not only willing, but anxious, to assist the strangers who come among them. One circumstance, I believe, must strike everybody who establishes himself at Gottingen: it is a place which subsists so entirely upon literature, the town and the University have been by the policy of the government so completely adapted to the wants of foreigners, and the manners and habits of the citizens and faculty so entirely accommodated to this fluctuating population, that the moment a student comes here, his situation is so well understood that every request and wish is anticipated. Wherever you go, it seems to be the express business of the persons you meet,—whether they be professors, faculty, or citizens, —to see that you are in lodgings, that you know the persons whom you ought to choose for instructors, and that you are properly furnished with everything you want. In consequence of this, a student can hardly feel himself to be a stranger here, after the first day or two.

The University, as you know, was founded by George II., and was always under the especial patronage of the British throne, until Hanover was seized by the French. Ever since then it has shared a better fate than the other literary establishments of the Continent. Bonaparte, indeed, once sent Denon, the Egyptian traveller, and another savant, to look among the treasures of its Library, but they carried nothing away. While Halle, Leipsic, and Jena were suffering under his brutal depredations on their funds and among their books, he declared that he considered Gottingen as an establishment which belonged neither to Hanover nor to Germany, but to Europe and the world; and he was not only true to the promise he made to the faculty here, to protect them, but, under the government of Jerome, they were liberally assisted by the influence and even the wealth of the throne. In consequence of this, Gottingen, instead of coming from the hands of the French nearly abolished, like the universities of Holland, or mutilated and abridged in its funds and privileges, like those of Saxony, now stands higher than it ever stood before, and at this moment—when an immense proportion of the young men of the country are in the ranks of the army, from choice or compulsion, and all the other literary establishments, even those at Halle, Leipsic, and Berlin, are languishing for want of pupils—reckons on its books [76] above eight hundred and forty regular pupils. The number of professors is proportionally great. There are nearly forty, appointed and paid by the government, and there are, besides, as many more men of science and letters, who live here for the purpose of lecturing and instruction; so that at least seventy or eighty different courses of lectures, all in the German language, are going on at the same time.

Two courses of lectures, or two semestres, as they are called, are given by each professor, or lecturer, in each year, with a vacation of three weeks at the end of every semestre. One semestre begins a fortnight after Easter (in April), and ends a week before Michaelmas; the other begins a fortnight after Michaelmas, and ends a week before Easter. Everything is done by solitary study and private instruction (privatissime, as it is called), or else by public lectures. . . . .

My first object, of course, will be German. This will be taught me by Prof. Benecke, the Professor of English Literature, who speaks English quite well. . . . . Besides him, however, I intend to procure some scholar who will come to my chambers and read and speak with me. In this way, by October I think I shall be able to attend the lectures profitably, and then I shall probably resort to those of Eichhorn on literary history, and to those of some other professors on Greek, Roman, and German literatures. If I find this mode of instruction profitable, and nothing calls me sooner to France, I shall remain here until next April.

You now know, my dear father, all that I know myself about Gottingen and my prospect in it. . . . . There is no such thing as a royal road to learning; but in the means, opportunities, and excitements offered here, there is a considerable approximation to it. Nothing now remains but to see how I shall improve my advantages. . . . .


Gottingen, August 22.—Michaelis, I find, was not much respected here. He had a quarrelsome and fretful temper, a mean and avaricious heart. A great many stories are told to his discredit, and to the credit of the wit and good feeling of Kastner, who was at the same time Professor of Mathematics, and was always a thorn in Michaelis's side. A scholar here, whose poverty had not extinguished his love of learning, went to Michaelis, and told him that he was extremely desirous to hear his lectures, but had no money, explained the reasons of it, and begged him to admit him without the customary honorarium. Michaelis hesitated, said he had a family to support, [77] etc.; but, observing that the young man wore silver buckles in his shoes, told him that he did not think one in his circumstances should wear such ornaments, and actually had the brutality to hint that he would receive them instead of his fee. The young man gave them to him, and with a heavy heart, and unstrapped shoes, went to Kastner on the same errand. Kastner forgave him the fee, and said, ‘If you are so poor, you must like to buy clothes cheap’; and going to his wardrobe brought out a pair of old leather breeches. ‘Here,’ said he, ‘are a pair of breeches,—very good, too, though you don't seem to like them,—which you shall have for half nothing. What will you give?’ The young man was confounded,—tried to excuse himself,— said he did not want clothes, etc., but in vain. The professor insisted, said they were as good as new, though they were really not fit to be seen, and ended by saying he should have them for half a dollar. The poor fellow took them, gave to Kastner all the money he had, and went away more overwhelmed with this insult than with the first. He sat down in his chair in despair, and threw the wretched breeches on the table. They fell like something heavy, and, on examining, he found a purse of gold in the pocket. He hurried with it to the professor. ‘No,’ said Kastner, ‘a bargain is a bargain. When you bought the breeches, you bought all there was in them,’ and pushed him out of the room to avoid his thanks and gratitude.

Kastner lost no occasion to trouble and vex Michaelis, and at last his persecutions proceeded to open insult, and the Regency at Hanover interfered and ordered him to beg Michaelis's pardon. On receiving the intimation, Kastner, the next morning at daybreak, dressed himself in a full suit, with a sword and chapeau, and went to the house of Michaelis. The servant said her master was not up; but Kastner insisted on his being called, and, instead of waiting till he came down, followed the maid directly into his chamber, and, pretending to be surprised beyond measure in finding him in bed with his wife, darted suddenly back, cried out, ‘I beg ten thousand pardons,’ turned on his heel, and never made the professor any further satisfaction, or in any other way fulfilled the commands of the Regency.

Being rather weary after six weeks of constant study, Mr. Ticknor and Mr. Everett made a visit of five days to Hanover, leaving Gottingen September 19th, and returning the 24th, and found much interest in making the acquaintance of Feder,— for twenty-nine years professor in Gottingen,—Count Munster, Minister of State, Professor Martens, author of a work on the [78] Law of Nations, ‘much read in America,’ and Mad. Kestner, the original of Goethe's ‘Charlotte.’ The following are passages from his journal in Hanover:—

Hanover, September 20, 1815.—This morning I called on Count Munster, Minister of State for Hanover. I found him a man of about forty-five, well-built, tall, and genteel. He speaks English like a native, and though his conversation was not very acute, it was discursive and pleasant. I remained with him only a few moments, as there were several persons in waiting when I was admitted, whose business was much more important, I doubt not, than mine; but the impression I brought away of his character was distinct,—that he is a man of benevolence, considerable activity, and, though not of extraordinary talents, yet of such talents as fit him to be at the head of such a little principality as this. I shall not soon forget the praise which Blumenbach gave him, that he is a minister who never made a promise which he did not fulfil. . . . . The rest of the morning I passed in the library. I found there many curiosities. Indeed, the library itself, considered as the work of Leibnitz,—which for a long time was so small that he kept it in his house, but which now amounts to eighty thousand volumes,—is no common curiosity. But, besides this, we were shown the Mss. of the Bishop of Salisbury (Burnet), which Dr. Noehden has recently published; his letters to Leibnitz, and indeed the whole of Leibnitz's immense correspondence, filling forty or fifty large drawers; the handwriting of Luther, which was fine; that of Melancthon, which was execrable; a curious and exquisitely beautiful Ms. of the German translation of the book of Esther, made about a hundred years ago, on one roll of parchment; but, above all the rest, the entire collection of Leibnitz Mss on subjects of politics, mathematics, philosophy, history, divinity, and indeed nearly every branch of human knowledge, in Latin, Greek, English, French, Italian, and German, in prose and poetry, printed and unprinted. They made an enormous mass. . . . . Yet no man ever wrote with more care, no man ever blotted, and altered, and copied more than Leibnitz. There are instances in this collection in which he had written the same letter three times over, and finally amended it so much as to be obliged to give it to his secretary to make the last copy; and all this, too, on an occasion of little importance. Still he found time for everything, and was, I imagine, the most general scholar of his time. At any rate, in the extent of his acquirements he far surpassed his more fortunate and greater rival.


To Elisha Ticknor, Esq., Boston.

Gottingen, November 5, 1815.
The time has passed with surprising speed since I have been here. This evening finishes the third month since I drove into Gottingen with a heavy heart, doubtful, from what I had seen of the towns on the road, whether I should be contented to live here even the five or six months I then proposed to myself. A month's experience determined me to remain till the spring, and now I am ready to tell you that I do not think I shall ever again find its equal. Even while I was struggling with the language, and of course was cut off from half the means and opportunities the University could afford,—even then the conviction was continually pressing upon me of the superiority of their instructions and modes of teaching. Now I know it. . . . .

Now I am ready to tell you just how I shall divide and dispose of my time for five months to come. In the first place, I rise precisely at five, and sit down at once to my Greek; upon which I labor three mornings in the week till half past 7, and three days till half past 8. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at the striking of eight o'clock, I am at Prof. Benecke's for my lesson in German. This has become a light study. I read with him only some of the most difficult parts of their poets, and carry to him the passages I do not understand in books I read for other purposes. He is perfectly at home in all their literary history, and familiar with all the secret allusions and hints in their ancient and modern classics, and is an uncommonly good English scholar, so that I find this hour's instruction very pleasant and useful.

At nine, every day, I go to Prof. Eichhorn's lectures on the first three Evangelists. Though I do not agree with him in his doctrine respecting the origin and formation of the Gospels, and am not often satisfied with his general reasoning, yet this forms but a small part of his course; and in return I am delighted with his exposition of particular parts, his luminous elucidation of dark and doubtful passages, his acute and curious learning, which he brings most happily to the assistance of the exegetical part of his work, and, above all, with his eloquence and enthusiasm, and deep and genuine love of truth. At ten this lecture breaks up, and I catch a walk of fifteen minutes as I come home; and from that time till dinner at twelve I go on with my Greek, and thus divide my day pretty equally,—at least my day of labor. After dinner I take a nap of half an hour, which refreshes me very much, and then half a cup of coffee, which wakes me up and gives me spirit for the afternoon. [80]

At half past 1 I read the passages in Blumenbach's Manual which he will expound in his lecture, and at three go to his lecture on natural history, which would be amusement enough for me, if I had no other the whole day. He is now nearly or quite seventy years old, has been professor here above forty years, and is now delivering, to an overflowing class, his eightieth course of lectures on natural history. He is the first naturalist in Germany,—perhaps in the world,—has an astonishingly wide and intimate familiarity with his subject, and a happy humor in communicating his instruction, which makes doubly amusing what is, itself, the most interesting of all studies. His jokes, however, are never frivolous; they are always connected with some important fact or doctrine which they are intended to impress; and when we come out of his lecture-room, after having laughed half the time we were there, we are sure to have learnt twice as much, and to remember it twice as well, as if we had never laughed at all. After this I take a walk, and at five go to Dr. Schultze, a young man, but at least to me an extraordinary Greek scholar, and held to be decidedly the best Greek instructor in Gottingen, and recite to him in Greek. . . . . He is as completely at home in Greek as if it were a modern language which he had learnt in the ordinary way; and before the spring comes, I trust I shall have learnt something from him which I shall not forget.

Finding it impossible, from the continual rains and intolerable mud of the streets, to get exercise enough, Everett and myself have fallen into the universal fashion, and go an hour to the University fencing-master three times a week, from six to seven. We find it useful and pleasant too; for, except at Blunmenbach's lectures, where we cannot talk, we seldom meet in the week, except at these fencing hours. The evenings I pass in reading German, principally such books as will profit me in Italy and Greece. Just before ten I go to bed, and ‘sleep the sleep that knows no waking’ till my punctual Frederick comes in, and says, ‘It is striking five, sir, and your breakfast is ready.’

You will ask whether my acquaintance and visitors do not sometimes interrupt me. Visiting, as it is done in our colleges, is a thing absolutely unknown here. If a man, who means to have any reputation as a scholar, sees his best friend once a week, it is thought quite often enough. As for acquaintance, except an English student in divinity, whom I see at my two lectures and the fencing masters, a German student, whom I do not visit, but who comes to see me about once a fortnight, and a modern Greek, whom I see about once a month, I have no acquaintance. Our Sunday evenings Everett and I commonly spend either at Blumenbach's, Heeren's, or Eichhorn's.


To Elisha Ticknor, Esq., Boston.

Gottingen, November 10, 1815.
. . . .I wrote you, in my last, less decisively about my Greek instructor than about the rest. . . . This week, however, has satisfied me that he will soon become my favorite instructor, as his subject has always been my favorite branch. I learn the language entirely through the German. My lexicon, grammar, etc., are German, and from this language I mean hereafter to acquire my Greek, since the means in it are vastly better than our language will afford, or even the Latin. At first we had some difficulty in fixing upon a common medium of translating. I did not like to render it into broken German, and I would not disgrace the language of Pericles and Demosthenes by rendering it into French. Latin, of course, was all that remained; and, after discarding my Latin and Greek lexicons, and renouncing forever the miserable assistance of Latin versions, I undertook to render into it, with some misgivings. I had never done it, I had never spoken a word of Latin; but the moment I began, the difficulty vanished. I found that I could translate thus nearly as fast as into my mother tongue; in short, I found that I knew a great deal more Latin than I suspected, I shall hereafter use it upon all emergencies without hesitation.

My instructor, Dr. Schultze,3 is one of the private lecturers here, and is considered very skilful in teaching; how he is, comparatively with others here, I cannot tell from my own experience, but I know that he is such a scholar as we have no idea of in America. To be sure, he looks as if he had fasted six months on Greek prosody and the Pindaric metres, but I am by no means certain that he has not his reward for his sacrifices.

To E. Ticknor.

Gottingen, November 18, 1815.
. . . . If I desired to teach anybody the value of time, I would send him to spend a semestre at Gottingen. Until I began to attend the [82] lectures, and go frequently into the streets, I had no idea of the accuracy with which it is measured and sold by the professors. Every clock that strikes is the signal for four or five lectures to begin and four or five others to close. In the intervals you may go into the streets and find they are silent and empty; but the bell has hardly told the hour before they are filled with students, with their portfolios under their arms, hastening from the feet of one Gamaliel to those of another,— generally running in order to save time, and often without a hat, which is always in the way in the lecture-room. As soon as they reach the room, they take their places and prepare their pens and paper. The professor comes in almost immediately, and from that time till he goes out, the sound of his disciples taking notes does not for an instant cease. The diligence and success with which they do this are very remarkable. One who is accustomed to the exercise, and skilful in it, will not only take down every idea of the professor, but nearly every word; and, in this land of poverty, lectures are thus made to serve as a kind of Lancastrian education in the high branches of letters and science.

About two minutes before the hour is completed, the students begin to be uneasy for fear they shall lose the commencement of the next lecture they are to attend; and if the professor still goes on to the very limit of his time, they make a noise of some kind to intimate that he is intruding on his successor, and the hint is seldom unsuccessful. Eichhorn, who has a great deal of enthusiasm when he finds himself in the midst of an interesting topic, sometimes asks, with irresistible good-nature, for ‘another moment,—only a moment,’ and is never refused, though if he trespasses much beyond his time, a loud scraping compels him to conclude, which he commonly does with a joke. The lecture-room is then emptied, the streets again filled, to repeat the same process in other halls.

Just so it is in the private instruction I receive. At eight o'clock I go to Benecke, and though in three months and a half I have never missed a lesson or been five minutes tardy, I have seldom failed to find him waiting for me. At the striking of nine, I must make all haste away, for the next hour is as strictly given to somebody else. At five P. M., I go to Schultze for my Greek lesson. As I go up stairs he can hear me, and, five times out of six, I find him looking out the place where I am to recite. The clock strikes six, and he shuts up the book. From the accuracy with which time is measured, what in all other languages is called a lesson is called in German ‘an hour.’ You are never asked if you take lessons of such a person, but whether you take ‘hours’ of him. . . . .


To E. T. Channing.

Gottingen, December 9, 1815.
. . . .Your apprehensions for the quiet of Gottingen, in case Bonaparte had succeeded, were very natural. Amidst all the fluctuations of empire, this little spot has stood as the centre of German learning, unconscious of convulsions; and though all calculation and precedent would have been confounded if this new Marius, rushing from the marshes of Minturnae, had attained his former power, yet I think, unless the students had been as patriotic as they were at Jena, everything would have continued to go on in its accustomed order. They did, indeed, discover a strong and honorable and even imprudent feeling, on Bonaparte's retreat from Moscow, and Jerome was for the moment very angry; but I think he would soon have forgotten his vengeance. Even before the spirit had begun to awake in Poland and Prussia, the young men here felt its deep and dangerous workings. Secret clubs, which even the vigilance of the police could not discover, though it suspected them, were cautiously but resolutely formed, and the whole cemented into a body by an institution which they called ‘the League of Patriotism.’

Bonaparte's routed army crossed the Beresina, and the Prussians (students) disappeared; it entered the borders of Germany, and the Mecklenburgers were gone; and in this way, as he advanced towards any country or principality, the young men escaped, to share and encourage the spirit which finally crushed him. The dangers they ran were very great. The French government and police were still in full activity here, and more vigilant than ever, because more than ever stimulated by fear and suspicion. The young men, therefore, were obliged to escape in secret and in disguise, and make their way through unfrequented roads, through the woods, and in the night, with the constant apprehension of arrest and death before them .... The benches in the lecture-rooms began to be obviously empty, and the streets grew still and deserted.

The retreating army was now about a hundred and fifty miles from the Westphalian capital, and Jerome began to think that, for a time, he might be himself exiled, and thought it necessary to make some show of personal spirit. He therefore came with a suitable guard to Gottingen, and called the professors together in the library hall.

He was extremely impudent and abusive, but had not self-command enough to know when he had come to the end of a set speech some body had written for him, and so began again at the beginning, and [84] repeated it word for word. The professors concealed first their indignation and then their mirth and contempt, as well as they could, but still both were visible, and the little tyrant was put beside himself by it. ‘Do not think,’ said he, ‘that I am ignorant of the disaffection in Gottingen, or that it will escape unpunished. You flatter yourselves that I shall lose my throne, but you are mistaken. As long as my brother sits on the throne of France, so long I shall be your king, and I will use my power to punish your ingratitude. The University shall be remodelled,—it shall be a French University. I will have French professors,—men of virtue and patriotism,’ etc., etc.

After a considerable tirade like this, his Majesty returned to Cassel, and Eichhorn, in the next number of the University's Review,—which he conducts,—gave a side-blow at ‘the never-to-be-forgotten speech of his Most Gracious,’ etc., for which, but that the Cossacks stopped all heart-burnings a week later, he might have lost his head.

This is the only time the privileges of the University have been in danger, and Jerome was such a weak and uncertain little blockhead that he would probably never have had resolution and constancy enough to execute his threat. Since I have been here, everything has been as still as if it were one vast monastery, except that about five thousand of the Russian Guards marched through the city, three weeks ago, and made a beautiful show, and gave me a splendid proof of the fidelity of Burger's description of the march of an army in ‘Lenore,’ with horns and cymbals, etc.

The life here would in many respects suit you remarkably well. There is a regularity, evenness, and calmness, which are fitted to one who was almost made to be a hermit, and, at the same time, a freedom which is absolutely necessary to one who never was and never will be quite patient under family government. All that is wanting is a few friends and a little more variety. . . . Remember me to your brother William, and to my old master, and don't let your sister Susan's children forget me.

Yours affectionately,

Geo. T.

To E. Ticknor.

Gottingen, December 17, 1815.
. . . . No change has taken place in my condition or circumstances, dear father, since I wrote last. The only thing which has happened, which does not happen every day, is, that Everett and myself have been taken into the only club in Gottingen, and, of course, you will [85] expect some account of it. Its name is ‘The Literary Club,’ and, like all literary clubs that ever survived the frosts of the first winter, its chief occupation is to eat suppers. There are twenty-four members, eight or ten of whom are professors; and the students who make up the number are only such as these professors choose, and, of course, are commonly the best of the University. As many of these members as like—for there is no compulsion—meet once a fortnight at eight o'clock, eat a moderate supper, drink a little wine, laugh and talk two or three hours, and then go home. We were taken in as a kind of raree-show, I suppose, and we are considered, I doubt not, with much the same curiosity that a tame monkey or a dancing bear would be. We come from such an immense distance, that it is supposed we can hardly be civilized; and it is, I am told, a matter of astonishment to many that we are white, though I think in this point they might consider me rather a fulfilment than a contradiction of their ignorant expectations. However, whatever may be the motives from which we were taken in, there we are, and we have as good a right to be there as the best of them. The only time I have been I found it pleasant enough, but I doubt whether I shall go often.

Dictated in 1859.

A Mr. Balhorn dedicated to Mr. John Pickering the thesis which he wrote for his doctorate, and, when I went to Germany, Mr. Pickering asked me, if I ever met Mr. Balhorn, to say that he had written twice to thank him for the compliment, but did not believe his letters had ever reached him, and that he begged him to receive his thanks through me. Their acquaintance was formed at Utrecht, where Balhorn was studying, and when Mr. Pickering was Secretary of Legation in Holland. I had been some time in Gottingen, and had neither heard nor thought anything of the Herr Balhorn; but one day, remembering my commission, asked Prof. Blumenbach if he knew such a person, ‘Why, to be sure; he's here, he's here’; and I found that he was tutor to some small prince, and probably when he had educated him he would be his Prime Minister. I made his acquaintance and delivered my message.

Before I left home I had made several attempts to read Dante, and found it not only difficult to get a copy, but impossible to get help in reading. Balhorn knew everything about Dante. He was not fully occupied, but he could not be hired,—he was too well off to be paid in money. A brother of my friend Mr. James Savage had sent me from Hamburg a box of very fine Havana cigars, and I found that [86] Herr Balhorn would read and explain Dante to me, and consider some of those fine cigars—so rare in Germany—a full compensation; and he continued the reading, certainly as long as the cigars lasted. Mr. B. was a lawyer,—an upright, strong man,—and he was virtually promised, that, if he would superintend the education of the young princes of Lippe, he should have the place of Chancellor of their little principality when it was completed; and I suppose the promise was fulfilled.

A memorandum made in 1868, by Mr. Ticknor, on the flyleaf of the first volume of his early journal, contains some facts about his Gottingen studies, and though it refers also to later experiences, it seems appropriate here.

It is only that part of my time which I gave to travelling, society, and amusements, of which I have spoken at any length in this journal, written out wherever I stopped long enough to do it, from slight memoranda made on the spot, in small note-books which I carried with me. I, however, prepared myself as well as I could, by collecting beforehand, in other manuscript note-books, statistical, historical, and geographical facts concerning the countries I intended to visit. This was no very easy task. Murray's Hand-Book, or anything of the sort worth naming, was not known in 1815. There was not even a good Gazetteer to help the traveller, for I think the first was Constable's, published at Edinburgh, a little later; and as for such works as Reichard's for Germany, and Mrs. Starke's for Italy,—which were the best to be had,—I found them of little value. . . . .

I read what I could best find upon Italy, and took private lectures on the Modern Fine Arts, delivered in Italian by Professor Fiorello, author of the ‘History of Painting’; on the Ancient Fine Arts, by Professor Welcker, in German, afterwards the first archaeologist of his time; on Statistics, in French, by Professor Saalfeld, and in German, on the Spirit of the Times; of all of which I still have at least six volumes of notes, besides two miscellaneous volumes on Rome, and other separate cities and towns of Italy. . . . . But in Spain and Portugal I was reduced very low, travelling much on horseback, though with a postilion, who took a good deal of luggage; but I like to remember that even in those countries I carried a few books, and that I never separated myself from Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, and the Greek Testament, which I have still in the same copies I then used.

1 Mr. Ticknor once said to me that nothing more marked the change produced in him by his long residence in Europe than the different impressions made by the library of Harvard College before his departure and after his return. ‘When I went away,’ he said, ‘I thought it was a large library; when I came back, it seemed a closetful of books.’

2 This feeling occasionally finds expression in his letters. Writing to his father, November 10, 1815, and speaking of his Greek tutor, Dr. Schultze, he says: ‘Every day I am filled with new astonishment at the variety and accuracy, the minuteness and readiness, of his learning. Every day I feel anew, under the oppressive weight of his admirable acquirements, what a mortifying distance there is between a European and an American scholar! We do not yet know what a Greek scholar is; we do not even know the process by which a man is to be made one. I am sure, if there is any faith to be given to the signs of the times, two or three generations at least must pass away before we make the discovery and succeed in the experiment. Dr. Schultze is hardly older than I am .... It never entered into my imagination to conceive that any expense of time or talent could make a man so accomplished in this forgotten language as he is.’

3 Schultze was a man of genius, and a poet as well as a scholar. He wrote ‘Psyche,’ ‘Cecilia,’ ‘The Enchanted Rose,’ (which last has been translated into English,) and many miscellaneous poems. He was but two years older than Mr. Ticknor, having been born in 1789. He died in 1817. After his death, his works were collected and published by his friend Bouterweck, with a short sketch of his life. A new edition appeared in Leipsic in 1855, in four volumes, with a more full biography. An account of his life and works may be found in the third volume of Taylor's ‘Historic Survey of German Poetry.’

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