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And, as if the double night of academic dulness, combined with the dulness of court inanities, had not been sufficient for the stifling of all native energies, the feebleness of French models (and of these moreover naturalized through still feebler imitations) had become the law and standard for all attempts at original composition. The darkness of night, it is usually said, grows deeper as it approaches the dawn; and the very enormity of that prostration under which the German intellect at this time groaned, was the most certain pledge to any observing eye of that intense reaction soon to stir and kindle among the smouldering activities of this spell-bound people. This re-action, however, was not abrupt and theatrical. It moved through slow stages and by equable gradations. It might be said to commence from the middle of the eighteenth century, that is, about nine years before the birth of Schiller; but a progress of forty years had not carried it so far towards its meridian altitude, as that the sympathetic shock from the French Revolution was by one fraction more rude and shattering than the public torpor still demanded. There is a memorable correspondency throughout all members of Protestant Christendom in whatsoever relates to literature and intellectual advance. However imperfect the organization which binds them together, it was sufficient even in these elder times to transmit reciprocally from one to every other, so much of that illumination which could be gathered into books, that no Christian state could be much in advance of another, supposing that Popery opposed no barriers to free communication, unless only in those points which depended upon local gifts of nature, upon the genius of a particular people, or upon the excellence of its institutions. These advantages were incommunicable, let the freedom of intercourse have been what it might. England could not send off by posts or by heralds her iron and coals; she could not send the indomitable energy of her population; she could not send the absolute security of property; she could not send the good faith of her parliaments. These were gifts indigenous to herself, either through the temperament of her people, or through the original endowments of her soil. But her condition of moral sentiment, her high-toned civic elevation, her atmosphere of political feeling and popular boldness; much of these she could and did transmit, by the radiation of the press, to the very extremities of the German empire. Not only were our books translated, but it is notorious to those acquainted with German novels, or other pictures of German society, that as early as the Seven Years’ War, (1756-1763,) in fact, from the very era when Cave and Dr. Johnson first made the parliamentary debates accessible to the English themselves, most of the German journals repeated, and sent forward as by telegraph, these senatorial displays to every village throughout Germany. From the polar latitudes to the Mediterranean, from the mouths of the Rhine to the Euxine, there was no other exhibition of free deliberative eloquence in any popular assembly. And the Luise of Voss alone, a metrical idyl not less valued for its truth of portraiture than our own Vicar of Wakefield, will show, that the most sequestered clergyman of a rural parish did not think his breakfast equipage complete without the latest report from the great senate that sat in London. Hence we need not be astonished that German and English literature were found by the French Revolution in pretty nearly the same condition of semi-vigilance and imperfect animation. That mighty event reached us both, reached us all, we may say, (speaking of Protestant states,) at the same moment, by the same tremendous galvanism. The snake, the intellectual snake, that lay in ambush among all nations, roused itself, sloughed itself, renewed its youth, in all of them at the same period. A new world opened upon us all; new revolutions of thought arose; new and nobler activities were born; “and other palms were won.”