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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

As a song writer Beranger made the most of his opportunities



Carl Czerny, the eminent pianist and teacher, died on July 15, at the age of sixty-six, at his birthplace, Vienna. Czerny while a boy showed rare talent for music. He received encouragement from such men as Beethoven, Clementi and Hummel, and began his career as a teacher at sixteen. An early concert tour in 1804 had to be given up on account of the wars. The rest of his life was spent in Vienna, where he became one of the most influential teachers. In all he published over a thousand compositions, the most lasting of which were his pedagogic piano studies. As a musical writer he gained recognition by a work on the history of music.

[Sidenote: Death of Beranger]

[Sidenote: The poet's early career]

[Sidenote: Napoleonic songs]

[Sidenote: Beranger in prison]

On the day following Czerny's death, Jean Pierre Beranger, the great French song writer, died at Paris. He was seventy-seven years old. Little cared for by his father, he was brought up by his grandfather, a tailor, who let him roam the streets as a gamin. At the age of nine he was sent to act as a tavern boy for his aunt, who kept a small inn near Peronne in Picardy. In his fourteenth year he was apprenticed to a printer, and learned the first principles of versification while setting up the poems of Andre Chenier.

On his own behalf he soon printed a small volume of songs entitled "A Garland of Roses." In 1798, he returned to Paris, and was reclaimed by his father. For more than a year he had no settled occupation, during which time he composed some of his best songs. At the outset of the Nineteenth Century, Beranger definitely determined to follow the career of letters. He wrote a comedy, but failing to get it accepted threw it into the fire. Collecting all his poems he sent them to Lucien Bonaparte, the enlightened brother of the First Consul. Prince Lucien took the young poet under his patronage, but, unfortunately for Beranger, soon had to leave France, an exile. On his arrival at Rome, Lucien Bonaparte transmitted to Beranger the salary coming to him as a member of the Institute. As a song writer Beranger made the most of his opportunities. In 1809, he was appointed Secretary of the University of France, an office which he held throughout the Napoleonic era. In 1813, he became a member of the Jolly Topers of the Caveau, then the resort of the most distinguished literary men of Paris. On the fall of Napoleon, Beranger took it upon himself to sing the glory of the fallen empire in elegiac strains. A severe reprimand was administered to him by the government. His second series of Napoleonic songs, published in 1821, cost him his place and three months' confinement in the prison of St. Pelagie, while his third (1828) subjected him to nine months' imprisonment in La Force and a fine of ten thousand francs. The fine was paid by his admirers, and the prison in which he was incarcerated became the gathering place of the most celebrated literary men of the day. The songs which he composed during this period helped to bring about the revolution of 1830. Beranger now retired to Passy, then to Fontainebleau, and finally to Tours, where he completed what he called his "Memoires Chantantes" by the publication of a fourth volume of songs. After the revolution of 1848 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly, but soon resigned that post. His declining years were spent at Passy.

[Sidenote: Death of Comte]

Isidore Auguste Comte, the metaphysical writer and founder of modern positive philosophy, died on September 5, at Paris. He was born at Montpellier in 1798, and became acquainted in his early manhood with Saint-Simon. Failing to agree with Saint-Simon's doctrines, Comte began to lecture on his own system of philosophy as early as 1826. In 1849, he gave readings on the "History of Humanity." After the _coup d'etat_, however, the government of Louis Napoleon prohibited the continuance of his readings. Comte's teachings are a combination of empiricism and socialism. The first of his numerous works was published in 1822--"Plan of Scientific Work Necessary for Reorganizing Society." Comte's most important work, "A Course of Positive Philosophy," was published in six volumes, 1830-1842. During the period of his religious enthusiasm Comte published his "System of Positive Politics, or a Treatise of Sociology." This was followed by his "Positivistic Catechism," "An Appeal to Conservators," and "Subjective Synthesis." In England and America, Comte's works found many illustrious interpreters, and congregations adhering to the "Positivistic Ritual" were formed at several places in England. Among his most fervent adherents were Miss Martineau, R. Congreve, Stuart Mill, Buckle, Lewes, Bridges, Tyler, and the American, Carey. Positivism also found some noted exponents in Italy and Germany.

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