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it acquired the popular title of “Le Mag- | authorship. He claims to have shown that panime Mensonge."
the writer's account of his travels was Zeal for the shrine of St. James of Com- substantially made up from numerous postella inspired another forgery in the earlier sources, including the “Golden hfteenth century, when a “ Revelation,” Legend” and the narratives of Odoric de purporting to be written by the apostle's Pordenone, Jacques de Vitry, and other own hand, was suddenly discovered there genuine voyagers to the East. There after fourteen centuries of interment. seems little doubt, indeed, that the author From Bentley's account of the matter, it was a stay-at-home traveller. Good rea. would seem that even in Spain certain sons are assigned by Mr. Warner for idensceptics raised the objection that this doc- tifying him with a physician named Jean ument “had some parts of it in modern de Bourgogne, who, according to the state. Spanish, which was not in being in the ment of his executor, Jean d'Outremeuse, time of the apostle.” This circumstance, assumed in his last will the name of Sir indeed, proved no stumbling-block to its John Maundeville, with the rank of Earl devout Catholic advocates, one of whom, of Montfort in the English peerage, al: "the learned Aldrete, endeavors to ac- leging that he had left his native land and count for the modern Spanish in the sought refuge in travel to escape the conapostle's writing from the gift of prophecy sequences of an accidental homicide. No that he was inspired with, by which he such dignities as those claimed by the foreknew when his buried writings would testator appear to be known to our her. be dug up, and therefore used the language alds. There are grounds for suspecting that would then be in fashion."* He D'Outremeuse, who is known as a chronmight surely have devised a more plausible icler of Liège, to have been an accomplice explanation, by attributing the apostle's in Bourgogne's fraud. His “ Myreur des linguistic skill to his share of the « mirac. Histors" not only embodies much of ulous gift of tongues.”
Maundeville and of the writers from whom Although monastic forgers rang the he had borrowed, but refers to a descripchanges of imposture with some artistic tion of Tartary as his own which is novariation, the sameness of motive tinges where to be found except in the “Voyages all their attempts with a sordid monotony. and Travels.” * There is more novelty in the forms of lit- In 1649 England was the scene of a erary fraud prompted by inordinate vanity remarkable literary imposture, in whose and thirst for notoriety. A notable example composition personal and partisan motives of this class is the “Voyages and Travels were apparently blended, which not only of Sir John Maundeville,” which appeared equalled its forerunners in attaining imin the latter part of the fourteenth century. mediate success, but, when eventually Its quaint and quasi-ingenuous narrative exposed and confessed, won for its author of an adventurous English knight's wan. a meed of glory instead of shame. Within derings in the East quickly won it a popu- a few days after the execution of Charles larity
which was not a whit diminished by the First appeared the Eικών Βασιλική, the monstrous extravagance of its fictions. ostensibly written by the king's hand, Modern criticism long since established affecting to be his own defence of the the fact that the book was partly compiled policy he had adopted, and to portray the from the accounts of other travellers, and attitude of devout faith in which he had that the writer's statement that he com- borne his sufferings and martyrdom. The posed it first in Latin, then put it into sympathy which the work excited was French, and lastly translated it into En- widespread." At home and abroad pinety glish, could not be true. The frequent thousand copies were circulated in mistranslations apparent upon a compari- twelvemonth." Charles the Second is son of the two extant versions made it said to have declared that “if it had come impossible to believe that, if he was an out a week sooner it would have saved his Englishman, “Maundevillé had been his father's life.”. So powerful was the impresown interpreter.” t. It was reserved for sion it made in England that the Council the latest editor of the book, Mr. G. F. of State desired their Latin secretary, Warner, following in the track of earlier Milton, to answer it - a commission fulscholars, fully to expose its fictitious char- filled in his Elkovoklaorns. Without disacter and furnish a probable clue to its puting, whether “the late king, as is
vulgarly believed, or any secret coadjutor," Phalaris, pp. 523-3, citing B. Aldrete, Varias An- was the real author, Milton accepted the tigüedades de España.
Introduction to edition of “ Maundeville" in the presumption that the book was from the National Library, by Prof. Henry Morley,
• Publications of the Roxburghe Club, 1890.
hand of Charles, while he saw through the expansion of the narrative of adventures “drift of a factious and defeated party,” which he had told in detail to scores of to use it, "not so much in defence of his fashionable audiences. Ushered into Lonformer actions as the promoting of their don society under the auspices of the own future designs." He detected, too, bishop, Dr. Compton, and accredited to one of the most suspicious features of the him by the Rev. Mr. Innes, the chaplain book, viz. : that the prayer which the king of a Scotch regiment abroad, the young was stated to have placed in the hand of man quickly became the lion of the town. Bishop Juxon upon the scaffold, “as a He gavė out that he was the son of a special relic of his saintly exercises,” was nobleman in Formosa, who entrusted his “stolen word for word” from Sidney's education to a learned stranger on a visit
Arcadia,” where it is put into the mouth to the island, by whom he was instructed of Pamela. Upon this feature, however, not only in the language and literature of Milton only passes the characteristic com his native country, but in Latin. His ment that a love-story which represents tutor, who passed for a travelled Japanese,
a heathen woman praying to a heathen having inflamed his curiosity with accounts god” was unfit "in time of trouble and of Europe, suddenly announced that he affliction to be a Christian's prayer-book.” was about to revisit it, whereupon the There is no reason to suppose that he youth begged leave to go with him. By penetrated the secret of the fabrication, way of Goa and Gibraltar they reached which was confined to the possession of a Avignon, where, at the Jesuits’ College, few royalists and too well kept to be the tutor revealed that he was a missiondivulged until the Restoration, when Dr. ary of the order, and had disguised himJohn Gauden avowed the authorship and self that he might convert his pagan pupil. claimed his reward. It appears that the Thanks to the training which Psalmanabook (after its design had been approved zaar's mind had undergone, he was able to by Duppa, Bishop of Salisbury, who con- rebut the sophistry of Father de Rodes tributed one or two sections) was finished and his brethren, but, alarmed at their during the king's imprisonment at Caris. threats of the Inquisition, made his escape brooke, where a copy was sent to him for and entered the service of the elector of correction. He is said to have wished Cologne. Two attempts to convert him that it should be issued th name of
- one by a Lutheran, the other by a Cal. another, but wben urged that it would be vinist minister of Sluys — were also unmore effective in his own, • took time to successful. The arguments, however, consider of it.” His execution intervening which Mr. Iones, the chaplain of Brigadier before consent was given, the publication Lauder, governor of the town, urged on took place without it. Gauden, having behalf of the Anglican faith, effectually made good bis claim to Charles the Sec- convinced his reason, and he willingly emond, was created Bishop of Exeter in braced "a religion not embarrassed with 1660, and soon translated to the See of any of those absurdities which are mainWorcester.* Notwithstanding this recog- tained by the various sects in Christen. nition of his service, more than a genera- dom.” This plausible story might perhaps tion passed before the truth was made have retained longer hold of public belief generally known. Even then the bulk of if the author had not unwarily committed the ultra-loyal Tories refused to part with himself to print at the solicitation of an entheir cherished illusion, and half a century terprising publisher. The work in which afterwards a preacher before the House he undertook to narrate the history of his of Commons boldly contended that the native island is an elaborate tissue of abEikwv was authentically the work of King surdities. Commencing with a gratuitous Charles the First.
attack upon the “ignorance” of the Dutch In the composition of the memorable and other historians who had affirmed imposture which “George Psalmanazaar Formosa to belong to China, whereas it palmed upon the English public in 1704, was really a dependency of Japan, he prothe literary element was comparatively ceeded to give a minute account of its subsidiary; the “ Historical and Geo- conquest, its civil government, and estabgraphical Description of Formosa” that lished creed, with particulars of the relihe was induced to publish being only an gious rites, language, and customs of the
natives, illustrated by engravings of their .* See Prof. H. Morley's First Sketch of English public buildings, niodes of dress, and Literature, pp. 585-6, where the story of the fabrication character of writing. The illustrations is coprisely told. For the detailed evidence which showed their architecture to be a medley estab ished Gauden's authorship, see Toland's Life of of classical and Chinese styles. Tiger, Milton, ed. of 1698, pp. 27-29.
leopard, and bear skins, it would seem, ties of Literature," and the “ Dictionary of were the appropriate materials for the National Biography." clothes of these tropic islanders; yet, to A more ingenious as well as successful account for his strangely fair complexion, fraud was the attempt of James Macthe writer mentioned that the upper pherson to conceal his personality behind classes (to which he belonged) habitually the mask of Oisin, or Ossian, a Highland spent the hot season in underground poet of the third century, whose epical caverns, dense groves, or tents kept cool poems of "Fingal ” and “ Temora he with water. The language evidently con- professed to ave discovered and transtained a number of Greek radicals, which lated from the Erse in 1762—3. Though was not made less surprising by the state their genuineness was at once disputed ment that Greek was taught in the native by Johnson, who challenged "the transschools. Raw meat and roots formed the lator to produce his MSS., and was usual diet of this remarkable people, with doubted by Hume, Gibbon, and other vipers' blood as a condiment. An annual critics, the bulk of Macpherson's fellowsacrifice of eighteen thousand boys' hearts countrymen, headed by Blair and Lord to their gods bad bad no apparent effect Kames, warmly defended his good faith, in reducing the population.
and extolled the merits of Ossian as a In spite of these ecormous demands second Homer. In answer to Johnson's on the credulity of its readers, the book challenge, which was repeated by other reached a second edition, and the author sceptics, Macpherson produced no orig. was sent by his patrons to Oxford, in inal MSS., but satisfied his partisans by order to prepare himself for returning to publishing what he affirmed to be tranFormosa as a missionary. Here he had scripts from the Erse. The friends he the ill-fortune to encounter Halley, then made were influential enough to advance Savilian professor, and two other savants
. his fortune, and, after a prosperous career Some searching questions which they put as à placeman, he died rich and honored to him respecting the sun's position at in 1796, having kept his secret to the last. noon and the duration of twilight in the The fervor of national enthusiasm, which island he was utterly unable to answer, he adroitly turned to account in 1762, had and their published account of the inter-by this time cooled, and the exposure of view sealed the fate of his imposture. his fabrication, which soon followed his After exhausting the patience of his re- death, was effected in his own country. maining dupes, he relinquished the pro- A committee of inquiry appointed by the fession of roguery and settled down to a Highland Society in 1797, who completed creditable literary career. In a posthu- their labors in 1805, reported that, after mous work he made a candid confession a diligent search among traditional and of his fraud, in which he charged Innes written sources, they had been unable to with having been his accomplice. Its find one poem identical “in title and tenor main design was ingeniously framed to with the poems of Ossian.” In a critical tempt the gobe-mouche appetite of a friv. essay on the subject by Malcolm Laing, olous and marvel-loving society. The the historian of Scotland, published in means taken to introduce it under clerical 1800, and the notes appended to his edi. and episcopal sanction were not less skil. tion of Macpherson's works, he minutely fully adapted to a time when Anglicanism examined the materials extant respecting was vaunted as the golden mean between the legendary Gaelic heroes, in order to Jesuitism and Dissent, and the Church show the spurious character of the epics was exhibiting the first symptoms of a into which their names had been intromissionary spirit.*
duced. Its picturesque descriptions of The eighteenth century has earned an Highland scenery, rhetorical flow of sentiunenviable celebrity for the number and ment, and command of rhythmical lanaudacity of its literary impostors. For guage, account for the attraction which particulars respecting the felonious ex
"Ossian exercised at the time of its ploits of two rogues, William Lauder and appearance, aod may still to some extent Archibald Bower, who were both tracked retain. The presence of these character. by the same critical detective, Dr. Doug- istics of refinement and the absence of las, the reader may consult Boswell's any of those indicia common to the poetry “ Lise of Johnson," 'D'Israeli's “ Curiosi. of a ruder age, have long been accepted as
substantial proof of its being a production • A fuller account of this imposture, with further of the eighteenth, not of the third century.* evidence in elucidation of the motives which prompted it, was given by the present writer in the Cornhill See Knight's Cyclopædia, arts. Macpherson" Magazine for May, 1879.
The particulars of Chatterton's fabrica- tiquaries, Sir Isaac Heard and Francis tion, in 1768-9, of the poems which he Townshend, professional heralds, and attributed to Thomas Rowley, a priest of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, James Bos. the fifteenth century, are too familiarly well, and H.J. Pye, poet-laureate, represen. known to justify repetition. To a critical tative men of letters, were eager to avow reader of our own day, modernness of their faith in the MSS. as indubitable autothought and style will appear so plainly graphs of Shakespeare, and bearing the unstamped upon the face of them, that he mistakable stamp of his genius. Granting may consider Professor Skeat's ample that the antique aspect of sixteenth-cendemonstration of their sham archaisms to tury handwriting, parchment, ink, and seals be almost superfluous.* It is well, how- was so skilfully imitated as to deceive the ever, to recall the fact that though Chat- palæographers who examined the MSS., terton's imitations, touched as they were it remains inexplicable that a student so by vivid flashes of genius, failed to baffle conversant with Elizabethan English as the acumen of Tyrwhitt, Warton, Gray, Chalmers could have been blind to the and Johnson, they successfully imposed grotesque exaggerations of spelling which upon many erudite antiquaries and schol. abound in every line of the text. Still ars, including Dr. Milles, Dean of Exeter more amazing appears the blindness which and president of the Antiquarian Society led Sheridan to accept the crude and tu(who published a sumptuous edition of the mid “ "Vortigern
a " youthful poems, and learnedly expatiated upon their production " of the author of “ Hamlet,” Homeric and Chaucerian affinities), Jacob and to give Ireland 300l. for the privilege Bryant, Lord Lyttelton, and Dr. Fry, of producing it at Drury Lane, besides president of St. John's, Oxford. It can half the profits of its representation for scarcely be doubted that Chatterton baited sixty nights. How John Kemble, who was his line to catch that “ doctoral ignorance,” forced to play the leading part, avenged as Montaigne calls it, which “knowledge the insult thus offered to the genius whose so often begets.” Vanity may be pre. fame was linked with his own, need not sumed to have prompted his mystifications be told afresh. In an “Inquiry into the in the first instance, and pride to have in. Authenticity "of the MSS. which Malone, duced him to persist in his original story; the most competent Shakespearian critic but he may fairly be acquitted of sordid of the day, published soon after the colmotives. It is pathetic io reflect that if lapse of " Vortigern,” he effectually estabhis boyish peccadillo had been treated lished their spurious character by a minute with a little less harshness, the tragedy of collation of their language and spelling his fate might have been averted and a with those commonly employed in Elizafresh voice added to the choir of English bethan literature. The labored attempt poets.
of Chalmers to adduce rebutting evidence The forgery of Shakespearian MSS., by was rendered futile by the prompt appearwhich William Henry Ireland (whether as ance of a pamphlet in which the forger, a principal or agent) succeeded in duping a young law student, made an explicit condistinguished circle of scholars and men session of his fraud. Filial desire to gratof letters in 1795–6, is another noteworthy ify the taste of his father, an enthusiastic instance of the type exemplified by Mac Shakespeare-worshipper, curiosity to see pherson and Chatterton. It differed, " how far credulity would go in the search indeed, from their fabrications in two for antiquities," and vanity, intoxicated by respects, viz., that the MSS. themselves, the success of his first deception, were not mere transcripts of them, were submit the incentives which avowedly actuated ted to ocular inspection, and that in the him. In another confession, made shortly judgment of unbelieving critics, not less before his death in 1835, he recanted his distinguished than the believers, the former statement, and represented his literary value of whatever was new or father as having been the chief concocter “original”in the collection was absolutely of the forgery. Whoever was concerned worthless. These circumstances, only in it evidently saw that the Shakespeare serve to heighten the wonder of the for- idolatry which then prevailed in antiquager's success. Drs. Parr, Valpy, and rian and literary circles had reached the Joseph Warton among scholars, George point of infatuation, and embraced the Chalmers and John Pinkerton among an opportunity of turning it to profit.*
• Had Chatterton's MSS., now at the British Mu- * Particulars of the extravagant lengths to which seum, been submitted to examination during his life- this idolatry was carried, and further details of Iretime, it is impossible that any expert in the handwriting land's imposture, are given in the paper already reof the fifteenth century could have been for an instant ferred to (Two Impostors of the Eighteenth Century), deceived by them.
in the Cornhill Magazine for May, 1879.
In the present century, though the lit- | fraudulent apocrypha down to our erary forger has been far from inactive, time. His chief successes are believed to his successes, owing to the general spread have been gained in duping the authoriof culture and the special development of ties of great national libraries by the sale critical discernment, have happily been of sham antique MSS., but for obvious few and short-lived. In 1803, a M. Van- reasons the particulars of these cases have derbourg, ostensibly on behalf of a de not been generally disclosed, and the ceased friend, M. de Surville, published a statements on the subject which have apvolume of lyrics which revealed the exist- peared in the public journals must be ence of an ancient poetess hitherto un accepted with some reserve. The eminent recorded, named Marguerite Eleanore scholar Dindorf is said to have been one Clotilde, depuis Madame de Surville. of his victims in Germany. It has been Her career covered the greater part of the stated that the trustees of the British Mufifteenth century-one of her themes be-seum were deceived into buying from him ing the relief of Orleans by Joan of Arc a false memorandum addressed by Beliin 1429, and another the victory of For- sarius to Justinian, but the statement has novo by Charles the Eighth in 1495. She been since denied. That he sold to Iswas also fortunate enough to be able to mail Pasha a forged Ms. of Aristotle, render an ode of Sappho into French verse and to a wealthy English peer two spuri“many years before any one else in France ous letters of Alcibiades to Pericles, for could have seen it.”* Though promoted to which he obtained high prices is an assera place in Auguis's “Recueil des Anciens tion more credible, and as yet uncontraPoëtes,” these lyrics did not impose upon
dicted. His most remarkable failure the trained judgment of Sismondi, who seems to have been at Athens, where he observed that it was only necessary “ to tried to persuade a committee of lwelve compare Clotilde with the Duke of Or- scholars that a MS. of Homer, written on leans or Villon to ascertain her real lotus-leaves, was a genuine codex of very date.t Another critic discovered in them early date. Eleven of the number are “many ideas and expressions which were said to have been satisfied, “but the unknown in the language at the time of twelfth discovered that it was a faithful their pretended composition," and many copy of the text of Homer as published by imitations of "Voltaire and other poets."I the German critic Wolff, and tha he There can be little hesitation in crediting MS. reproduced the whole of the printer's their authorship to M. Vanderbourg him- errors in that edition."* self.
The literary fabrications wbich come A brief notice will suffice for one or two within the second group I have selected, minor forgeries which must be fresh in viz., such as are devoid of evil intention the memory of many living persons. and due to the indulgence of satirical, About thirty years since a well-known mischievous, or playful humor, are not publisher bought a collection of letters prominent at an earlier period than the alleged to be in the handwriting of Shel- seventeenth century. Among the first ley, one of whose oldest surviving friends that I am acquainted with was a tract pubtestified to belief in their authenticity. lished in 1649, just after the suppression They were ushered into the world by a of theatres by the Parliamentary authoripresace from the pen of Robert Brown. ties, which purported to be “ Mr. William ing, but withdrawn a few days after publi- Prynne, his Defence of Stage Playes, or a cation upon the discovery that they were Retractation of a former Book of his called made up from articles by Sir Francis Pal. Histriomastix.". In this jeu d'esprit of grave in the Quarterly Review. A year some mocking Cavalier, the grim old Purior two later, a volume of letters by Schil tan is made to blame the barbarous conler was announced as forthcoming, a pre- duct of the Parliamentary army in taking liminary certificate of their genuineness away the poor players from their houses, having been obtained from his last sur-being met there to discharge the duty of viving daughter. Before they left the their callings,” and to vindicate himself press they were clearly shown to be spu. from being supposed to countenance such rious. A notice of the impostures of M. cruelty because he had once denounced Simonides, whose career has but recently the stage
“ when I had not so clear a terminated, will bring these examples of light as now I have.”. Pryone's vain pro
test against this practical joke, which he
circulated by means of bandbills, • Hallam's Literature of Europe, i. 170. † Hist. des Français, xiii. 593. I I. D’Israeli's Curios. of Lit. iii. 300.
• Obituary notice in the Times, October, 1890.