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It appears to have been an old Celtic practice; for we are told, upon the authority of Martin, that in the Isles and other parts of Scotland, "boys, that the boundaries might not be mistaken, were taken to the spot, and received so sound a flogging, that it was by no means likely they should, while they lived, forget the place of execution.".
(To be continued.)
REVIEW.-Nicolas's State of Historical Literature.
explain the real causes. Representations addressed to the public are made for disguise, and except in glaring cases are unfaithful and insincere. Who could search record or history ad infi nitum concerning the last Stafford Duke of Buckingham, Cromwell Earl of Essex, Strafford the prime minister of Charles I., and others temp. Charles II., and find them otherwise than libelled, because they were marked out for victimation?
This, and more may be said, in defence of History as it exists, and as it must from necessity continue-at best imperfect. To aim at perfection, will, however, in most cases lead to imthat much light may still be thrown provement. Mr. Nicolas has shown on English History; and of this truth the Excerpta Historica, which we review in another page, is a striking proof. On this point, therefore, but with a less sanguine enthusiasm, we partially concur with Mr. Nicolas.
Chapter III. is devoted to the Society of Antiquaries. Mr. Nicolas most certainly considers the duties of the Society to refer exclusively to that amplification of historical and biographical materials, in which he deems (as we presume) the sole merits of Archæologists to consist. To judge from hints, slights, and sneers, he seems to consider such persons as Sir R. C. Hoare, Dr. Meyrick, Messrs. Fosbroke, Higgins, &c. as mere collectors of pins, and their works only as pincushions. But here his taste will be disputed by philosophers. They know that arts and sciences are both enlarged and eternized by archæological records; that retrogression in civil benefits is thus rendered impracticable; and that even the very follies of past ages deserve reminiscence, because they are warnings. We can have no guard against the future but through the past, as no child can have a clear conception of the danger of fire and water, but from the admonition of parents.
Observations on the State of Historical Lite-
The work of Mr. Nicolas is divided into ten Chapters. The two first take for their position the imperfection of the existing Histories of England; and the obligation thence arising to publish all that can be acquired concerning that subject.
We by no means deny the truism, that when history and biography, and legal evidence, are involved in doubt, information cannot be too complete; but Sir Robert Walpole said, and said truly, that history (as to critical minuteness) must necessarily be a lie. It is not so as to the palpable broad fact; but it is a thousand to one that it is so in representation of the particulars. If we read an affair of history, we do not know the party necessity, or corrupt motive, which influenced adoption of the measure; and, if it be one of bio-vival graphy, we do not know the private feeling or the friendly interest which occasioned the advancement of the individual. And were it not so, contemporaries and intimates can alone
We could put a question to Mr. Nicolas. If the Society of Antiquaries had limited themselves to his very contracted view of Archæology, what would have become of that tasteful re
of the Gothic,* which so orna
It should be remembered that, besides the numerous architectural plates in the Vetusta Monumenta, the Society has issued distinct publications on the Cathedrals of
1831.] REVIEW.-Nicolas's State of Historical Literature.
ments the face of the country in all directions, and is fortunately progressive, because rural residence is the most efficient mode of encouraging order, law, civilization, and improvement among the lower ranks. Surely such effects imply a greater public good, than dozens of different accounts of one and the same transaction.
The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Chapters, refer to the Record Offices and Record Commission. The substance of all these Chapters is comprized in the inaccessibility and fees of the former, and expensiveness of the latter. Speaking of things in the ought to be view, we think with Mr. Nicolas, that the Record Offices ought to be as easily and cheaply accessible, as are the Prerogative Office and Parish Registers, viz. for the humble sacrifice of one shilling; and, after the decease of the present officers, we should be glad to see them so modelled. To make them gratuitously open, like the manuscripts in the British Museum, we do not think safe. The public records are evidences in Courts of Justice, and, as such, must not be perused but under the eye of sworn keepers. Copying is not permitted on account of the Stamp duties, the proceeds of which go to cover the expense of the custody; and, as to the emoluments of the officers, whatever they may be, it is always usual that every person who devotes his time and attention to one object, should be remunerated to an adequate amount of what he may be fairly supposed to have the means of gaining in a different exercise of his profession. If barristers or physicians of eminence leave their customary sources of profit on extraordinary occasions, they conceive themselves entitled to indemnification for such sacrifices. The fees of stage-coachmen and guards have been reprobated, but passengers who consider their baggage to be thus better
Exeter, Durham, and Gloucester, the Abbey Churches of Bath and St. Alban's, and St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster. These magnificent works,-although their continuance may not now be necessary in consequence of the subsequent appearance of others more portable and accessible, have doubtless been conducive to the circulation of a sound taste in architecture, and will remain examples of a munificent expenditure of funds -in addition to what have been unjustly represented as the Society's only works, the Archeologis and Vetusta Monumenta.
protected, think it a smaller evil than the possible carelessness consequent upon the opposite plan; and in the same manner, it has been said, that the prospect of fees tends greatly to create an interest in the conservation of Records. Nevertheless, we still think with Mr. Nicolas, that matters may be arranged upon a far better footing; and that documents of mere historical curiosity, and of which no professional use can ever be made, should not be saddled with fees for copying; as was the case with the Scrope and Grosvenor Roll, mentioned in p. 55, which cost 57. for the matter contained in each printed sheet. Such records should be free to the literary inquirer, even if he should prefer transcribing or abstracting them himself, to employing the expensive services of the established clerks.
Mr. Nicolas would have the literary student released from the necessity of incurring personal obligations. But, at least so long as the printed catalogues remain incomplete, this is clearly impossible. The inquirer cannot proceed without assistance; for which, if he does not pay, he must be obliged; and let us add, that from personal knowledge and business intercourse with the officers and clerks of the establishments alluded to, we can speak of liberal treatment. There is a distinction, although not always recollected, between office and servitude, and persons in the former state take fire at a command.
The whole time of Clerks cannot be occupied in the gratification of curiosity; and such is that of the idle public, that we know country gentlemen, who would not have their seats described in Topographical works, lest visitors should be importunate to see them. With regard to uncontrolled publicity, we can also state, that the Esquire of a parish, ashamed of some poor relatives, his next heirs, begged the Clergyman to send to him the_registers. He unsuspectingly did so. The Esquire cut out the leaves referring to those relatives; and upon his decease, three of them for want of proof were obliged to take 12,000l. instead of 40,000l. each, their just share; and, in the end, the estate came into the hands of strangers, who now enjoy it.
At this point we must notice the cock-and-bull story in pp. 79-83, into the narration of which Mr. Nicolas
has been drawn by the ex-parte statement of a disappointed Frenchman : who, by the manner in which he has gulled our reformer, has plainly shown how he would have gulled the Trustees of the British Museum, had they not been old birds-too wary to, be caught with chaff. We are in possession of a few facts which will set this matter in its proper light. In the first place, the principal Librarian of the British Museum went to inspect the MSS.-not from London, but from Paris, whither he had repaired from perfectly different motives. The French country gentleman in question had announced himself as the possessor of Anglo-Gallic state-papers of such value and in such quantity, that scarcely any pecuniary consideration could be esteemed their equivalent. So far indeed did he carry his expectation, that at one time he stipulated for the interest of the English government, in obtaining a grade in the peerage; and at another, with still greater absurdity, for the admission of his Burgundy into British ports duty-free! In the letter Mr. Nicolas has printed, the Baron, after stating that Sir Thomas Croft had found "un infinité de documens ayant rapport à l'histoire d'Angleterre," adds, "Tenez vous certain, Monsieur, qu'il existe dans mes cartons, dix mille, peut-être cent mille titres sur le même sujet." But this mountain of MSS. turned out a mere molehill. When desired to select all that related to English affairs, the Baron could only assemble less than 250 articles: and these, we understand, are now upon their journey to England. Thus these highly valuable manuscripts are not lost to the Museum."
REVIEW.-Palgrave's Reply to Mr. Nicolas.
Mr. Nicolas in Chapter VIII. gives suggestions for the formation of a new Record Commission. This he proposes to be constituted of practical inen, wholly or chiefly. That there must and ought to be a sufficiency of practical inen, we willingly admit; but we have never heard that the affairs of the Admiralty have been worse conducted, because the first Lord and many of his fellows have never been to sea in their lives. The interest which an individual or individuals take in a thing, is the best security for the proper conservation and management of it.
and public injury. Herein we agree with Mr. Nicolas, without qualification; for most true it is, that our countrymen in general care only for rich people, demagogues, quack-doctors, and methodist-parsons; and a man of talent is not valued, but as he is subservient to party or private purposes.
We now proceed to Mr. Palgrave's pamphlet. Sorry we are to say, that it alludes to personal conduct on the part of Mr. Nicolas, which in our opinion can scarcely be palliated. Mr. Palgrave informs us, that, there having been a vacancy in the Council of the Society of Antiquaries, Mr. Nicolas, as an eminent writer resident in London, was elected a member; but in the exercise of his function" was betrayed into a degree of violence of deportment and gesticulation, which gave offences; and in consequence thereof, when the House List was prepared for the election of the new Council, on the ensuing Charter-day, the name of Mr. Nicolas was not included therein."
The tenth Chapter, relative to the want of encouragement in Science and Literature, refers to a national disgrace
Now strife may begin by letting in fire, as well as by letting out water. The Council felt insulted, and thought that they had found in Mr. Nicolas, not a coadjutor, but an agitator, who aspired to dictatorship. If such were the intention, he who strives to be aut Cæsar aut nullus, must make up his mind to be disappointed; and the justice of complaint is on the side of those who were devoted to proscrip tion. But had the autocracy of Cæsar (and there is a Nicholas now an autocrat) been acquired, was there no reason to apprehend the message of the soothsayer, and the dreaming wife, "Beware of the Charter-day!" Were there no Brutuses, with uplifted pamphlets? Out of the country would they have poured; and Mr. Nicolas will recollect, that their non-residence in London exempts them from all manner of concern in his sweeping censure of the Society at large. Were it just, it can only apply to the metropolitan part of the learned body, and, as such, to the managing members. Even of these we possess published works, of the first class, in extent of learning fully equal to his own; and as to submission, in cases of talent and erudition, it must be a voluntary feeling. No human power can extort it. The truth is, that the Society, by the insertion of Mr. Nicolas's various (and we willingly add meritorious) papers
REVIEW-Palgrave's Reply to Mr. Nicolas.
in the Archæologia, had warmly supported his incipient reputation. He ought to have been thankful, for patronage of rising merit has not always emanated from learned societies. It was not until DU CANGE, after thirty years labour, had finished his inimitable Glossary, that the French Academicians offered him a seat among them. "Thank you," was the cool reply. Du Cange treated it as Napoleon or Wellington would the freedom of a municipal town: and to Du Cange it was then of no more value. Before it would have been most beneficial.
It appears, from Mr. Palgrave's pamphlet, that in the meeting alluded to, Mr. Nicolas exhibited bad generalship in regard to himself, and dictatorial behaviour towards persons who had been his friends, and who were, like himself, gentlemen, and men of knowledge. His exclusion was the natural consequence. How he acted on the occasion Mr. Palgrave thus informs us:
“On St. George's day Mr. Nicolas came down, in perfect confidence that he should be continued in the Council. When he found that he was excluded from the list, he burst into a paroxysm of anger, and gave vent to language indicating his feelings, and which excited much notice and surprise."
"Mr. Nicolas now declared a war of extermination against the Antiquaries in general; but more particularly against Mr. Ellis and Mr. Nicholas Carlisle, and all persons who, as he supposed, had excluded him from the Council. He began by demonstrations in the Retrospective and Westminster Reviews. A similar warfare followed by means of the daily press; and the waste corners of the columns of the newspapers were occupied by epistles from Mr. Nicolas, under the names and epithets of Antiquarius, Scrutator,' F. S. A.' &c. &c. &c. in which the abuses of the Archæologists, and the errors of Mr. Ellis, are detailed." -p. 8.
Now here is powder without shot. Authors of established and just repute cannot be written down. Who attends to Cowel's aspersions of Du Cange, Voltaire's of Shakspeare, or Rymer's of Milton?
We shall next notice the personal attacks upon Mr. Palgrave. We know that his reputation stands upon a firm pedestal; and this Mr. Nicolas does not seem to dispute, but makes his at tack upon the pecuniary remuneration of that gentleman and his colleagues.
Many persons would have disliked touching upon the subject, in such, we may say, illiberal point of view, and perhaps have classed it with poisoned arrows in belligerency. Whether Mr. Palgrave has been fairly dealt with our readers shall decide from his
"I am very loth to speak of myself, but there are circumstances under which egotism becomes a duty. For ten years preriod I lived in very narrow and humble cirviously to the year 1822, during which pecumstances, I employed such leisure time as I could spare, in working upon the Rolls of Parliament, and upon Parliamentary History. It chanced that Mr. Allen once happened to tell me, at Holland House, that a large number of parliamentary petitions had been discovered since the Rolls were printed. This information made a great impres sion upon me, and I constantly kept it in mind, in the remote expectation that I might ultimately be enabled to bring these inedited records to light. In 1822, the appointment of Sir James Mackintosh, who had honoured me by his notice, seemed to afford an opportunity; and I presented a plan to the Record Commissioners, for the publication upon which I am engaged. The plan, which went very much into detail, was carefully examined, and then adopted; and, in April, 1822, I was appointed a SubCommissioner, for the purpose of carrying it into effect.
"I have found great pleasure in the task allotted to me. I have never intermitted for more than one week since I began; for when I have been in the country the sheets have been sent to me; and, if my circumstances permitted me to do so, nothing would have given me greater satisfaction, than to have rendered my services gratuitously.
"This I cannot afford to do, and I am the salaried servant of the public, employed to perpetuate the title-deeds of the Constithe sum which, he says, I have received tution. Mr. Nicolas grudgingly holds up during seven years. How many periods of seven years are there in human life? and are not the previous periods of unproductive study to receive compensation? Mr. Nicolas counts upon one side, Money received,' but he does not give the other side of the account. He debits me with the cash; he inserts my disbursements, so as to make them stand as gains; but he does not give me credit for the work which has been done. He carefully omits telling your Lordship, that the sums paid have so been paid, not only for the volumes which have ap peared, but also for the materials which form the basis of the whole collection.
"One observation, however, before I
REVIEW.-Moore's Life of Byron.
conclude. Mr. Nicolas, in such his statement, has availed himself of a sophism which may be, and is employed against public functionaries of every description, high and low. The opponent scrapes up in a heap all the money, of which the disbursement has been spread over a long series of years, during which the service has been performed. The Public Functionary,' on his part, cannot, from the very nature of things, exhibit in a tangible mass all that he has performed during the period; and then the gross amount of the remuneration, which he has fairly earned, by the wear and tear of the machinery of human life, is insidiously displayed, as the reason for refusing to afford him a remunerating price for the machinery, when it begins to decay. Such a mode of reasoning would be reprobated as dishonourable and wicked in private life, and it is not the less so in public affairs." pp. 40-42.
We shall now close this painful article. We have only indulged in pleasantry, because we think that Mr. Nicolas has formed an ambition, too impracticable to be regarded with seriousness. He has openly avowed a determination to drive all before him. Now we know a person, whose profession is driving, viz. a crafty stagecoachman, who bears ill usage patiently, because he says "Honey catches more flies than vinegar." Mr. Nicolas drives many a well-built carriage; and only hoping that he will be civil to those who use the same road, we willingly cry "All's right." That he did not mount the box of the Antiquarian Society's coach we think a lucky escape; for his leaders might have broken down, and we believe that he could not have got the members into harness, and that they would have kicked most violently. The book sellers are the horses best suited to bis purpose; and we wish him, as he deserves, every success with them.
Letters and Journals of Lord Byron; with Notices of his Life. By Thomas Moore. In 2 vols. Vol. II. pp. 826. Murray.
A SECOND Volume of this ponderous work is before us, carrying on the notice of Lord Byron's life to its melancholy close, including many pages of his journal, and a large mass of his foreign correspondence; and surely we may ask ourselves, for what useful purpose all this is done, and marvel at the lamentable want of taste and judgment on the part of his friend
and biographer. There is a mawkish and sentimental demand for charity in speaking of Lord Byron, as though he were a chartered libertine, whose profligate conduct and demoralizing writings were to be covered by the splendour of his talents; and that he who, both by the evil example of his life, and the sinful tendency of his publications, recklessly pursued his wicked course, careless of the mischief he effected, the wrongs he did, and the wounds he inflicted; that he, who never spared an enemy in his resentment, nor a friend in his pleasant jocularities, safe in the immunities of genius, and hedged in" by the divinity of his poetical reputation, shall be secured from the voice of indignant reprobation. It seems to be expected, that we should smile and simper over his enormities, as a drawing-room miss corrects the profuse allusions of a lover with a fan. In short, we are expected to go on in sin and laughter, like the Indian philosopher singing on the funeral pile; or like Nero, fiddling amidst the flames of the capitol. The restraint which morals and religion have imposed on the licentious excesses of the passions, are, in the particular case of the Noble Poet, to be removed; the barriers erected against selfish indulgences, at the expense of public decency and private feelings, are to be broken down; the flood-gates which have been established, to prevent the outbreaks of the waters of strife, are to be removed; and we are called upon, in charity to the memory of the Desolator, to look on, shake our heads, and say nothing. The question, we contend, in opposition to Mr. Moore, is not, whether we, under the same circumstances of excitement, might not have been worse than Lord Byron ? it is, simply, whether the high advantages of birth, and rank, and talents, are not great and important privileges, given by God as the means of greater usefulness to his creatures, and as the incentives of thankfulness to Himself.
To employ these advantages against Him who bestowed them, is to imitate the Titans, and hurl defiance against heaven, through the instrumentality of its loftiest gifts.
The private life of Lord Byron has been thrust upon the world with an elaborate protrusion of its most immoral features; and we should ill perform the duty we owe to our readers,