Imágenes de página

can neither be read nor understood. And in the DECREE, or

« Goncordantia Discordantium Canonum," that is, the Concordance of disagreeing Canons, compiled by Gratian, about this time, even the bishops are forbidden to read heathen books, and Jerome is quoted as authority, who was rebuked by an angel for reading Cicero.'

• In the account of monasteries it is, that we must trace the nice and progress, with the peculiar language, and distinguishing habits of public schools and colleges. The scholars (for fellows is a name of comparatively later date) were monks and clerks, clerici ; the abbot was the custos, rector, warden, or magister of the different orders ; bishops and abbots were graduates, and were so denominated and distinguished by their dresses ; and the different habits, as still worn, are but habits of the old religious orders, somewhat improved. The monastery itself, indeed, was called collegium ; and its language, its rules, and discipline all passed, by an easy transition, into our present college forms.

• As we get the word college, in its present application, from monastic institutions and churches, so do we the more comprehensive word University, which, as we have observed before, was applied to many monasteries or churches, united under one provincial prior, or bishop, in a provincial relation, long before it was applied to many masters and scholars of colleges, formed into an University, under a chancellor; and before the period at which our University-charters begin, we find it applied to the united churches, and individual members, under an archdeacon's visitation.'

It is remarked by Mr. Dyer that the principal early English poets, such as Chaucer, Gower, and Grostête, were Lollards; and that no opportunity escapes them of exposing the vices of the clergy

At the revival of letters, Erasmus accepted the invitation of Bishop Fisher, who was then Chancellor of the University, to settle at Cambridge, and was the first who delivered public lectures in Greek at that place; where he was elected Lady Margaret's Professor, and resided seven years.

This event is justly, regarded by Mr. Dyer as an epoch in our literary history,

An eminent northern writer having represented, and taken great pains to prove, that the antient inhabitants of this country, in common with the whole Celtic population of Europe, were a base, pusillanimous, and contemptible race of men, degraded by every vice and destitute of a single virtue, we were anxious to discover in what light the same people are regarded by the present intelligent historian; and his notions, which he supports by authorities, widely differ from those of Mr. Pinkerton, the enemy of the Celts :

It is difficult to conceive, that the Britons were either so lawless, as they are described by the writer of the preface to Hywel Dda's laws, or so unlettered as Hume describes them. The Bardic Insti


tutions are very ancient; and the Druids, according to Cæsar, taught several branches of literature. They were forbidden, it is true, to commit them to writing — this accounts for their not being handed down to us — but Cæsar says, they had Greek letters, and Pliny describes Britain as an island, celebrated for its monuments of lite. rature, both Grecian and Roman.'

• Britain was considered, by the Romans, as another world, and described by different writers by different names, though neither the authors of them, nor the import, are sufficiently clear. Most of them, however, seem to express something, either agreeable or useful. The country was highly favourable to civilization ; and, we may presume, to borrow a little classical language, that with a people, among whom Ceres * had so rich a temple, there would at least be a chapel to Minerva.'

That part of the volume which gives an account of the present state of the professorships might, we think, have been spared, and the reader referred to the Cambridge Guides. No portion, however, of this work is better executed than that which treats of the public walks and the public buildings of the University; and Mr. Dyer discovers a degree of taste and judgment in those points which is highly creditable to him :

« On contemplating a spot of ground before it is laid out,' he observes, we should inquire what it can be made from its natural qualities and capabilites; what it might be made under the direction of a man of genius and taste; and what it ought to be made, in reference to its future designation and inhabitants. Who expects to find the bold points, and striking contrasts, of mountain-scenery, the roaring cascade, or thundering cataract, on a plain? Who raises

• * Hence, in the Orphic hymns,

ιδ' ευρεα δωματΑνασσης

Anuntgos where the writer is speaking of this island. In the same strain Tacitus. Solum præter oleam vitemq. et cetera calidioribus terris oriri sueta, patiens frugum, fecundum. Vit. Agric. c. 12.

• Herodian, indeed, who wrote the history of his own times, and describes the expedition of Severus, the Roman emperor, into Britain, uniformly describes the Britons as Başsapos, lib. 3, 4. But his history, in regard to foreign nations, relates merely to military affairs, in the wars of the Romans against them. For reasons above mentioned, he could know nothing of the Druidical philosophy, whatever that might be. Herodian, too, was a Greek historian, of Alexandria, and followed the general strain of Greek writers, who treated all nations, but their own, as barbarous. He speaks not only of the Britons, but of all the eastern nations, that he mentions, as Bap Gaepos, barbarians ; and yet the Greeks themselves derived their philosophy from the East.'


[ocr errors]

plantations of oaks in a corn field ? or, who, in a park, looks for light espaliers, and parterres of flowers ?

But learn to rein
Thy skill within the limits she allows ;
Great Nature scorns controul; she will not bear ,
One beauty foreign to the spot or soil.

Mason's English Garden. · Let us distinguish, too, between gardens and public walks; between a nobleman's pleasure-ground, and a spot to be adapted to the health and exercise of students, to academic retreats, which invite to meditation.'.

• To the public grounds of an university, what seems congenial are walks agreeably, but not abruptly winding, lofty trees,

O’er arching groves
That contemplation loves.

Gray. seats, or alcoves, not rustic, nor yet fantastical; not placed at random, nor yet formally obtrusive; with edifices adapted to the scenery and place. But who in such places would look for tonsile trees, jets d'eaux, and zigzag walks ; Chinese temples, or Diogenes's tubs ? Not that Mr. Brown's improvements were in this little style : his plan shall presently speak for itself. The eye would certainly have been pleased with walks more winding, with a greater variety of trees, with something more of a winter garden of ever-greens, and of light underwood near the banks of the river, and that without affecting to bring the Wye, or Usk, to these haunts, or obstructing the navigation. What future improvers may effect, time only will show. But let these hints supersede much of criticism on landscape gardening : and as the genius of the place does not require, so will our attempts not aspire to length or labour of description. Sed summa sequar fastigia rerum.

Virgil. We are far from disapproving the enthusiastic affection and veneration which Mr. Dyer, on every occasion, professes for alma mater : but we think that he would not less have shewn his regard, had he animadverted on those glaring defects and abuses with which this noble institution is chargeable. We particularly refer to the terms which she imposes on all who take degrees. It moreover would not in our judgment have been wrong, if the historian had said a few words on the most eligible formation of seminaries of education, as affecting the welfare of the community; and considering whether it be best that these institutions should be few and magnificent, as in England, or on a more reduced scale and more thickly planted, as they are in most other countries. Had the subject of academic literature in remote periods been treated, and that of modern times more fully


discussed in the present volume, it would not have been so disproportionate in size to its companion as it now is.

In another article, we shall notice the second volume, and attempt to estimate the claims of the whole performance; at present, we shall only farther add that, although it labours under several defects, it possesses considerable merit, and contains a mass of curious and valuable matter.

[To be continued.]

Art. VIII. Notes on a Journey through France, from Dieppe

through Paris and Lyons, to the Pyrenees, and back through Toulouse, in July, August, and September, 1814 ; describing the Habits of the People, and the Agriculture of the Country. By

Morris Birkbeck. 8vo. pp. 115. 45. Boards. W. Phillips. 1814. IN N exploring the same country, different travellers are in

fluenced by their several habits of business or research, and collect different kinds of information. Hence arises the advantage of having a number of reporters, who not only will enable mere readers to correct erroneous and to confirm just statements in general matters, but will open various points of view and enlarge the field of knowlege. Mr. Birkbeck is a tourist of no common sort: since he explores subjects which the ordinary visitors of France would pass over unnoticed, and, in a short compass, has placed before us the actual state and condition of the French people. We recognize in him the true statistical and agricultural observer; who, leaving architecture, antiquities, the fine arts, and the fashions and frivolities of our neighbours, to be displayed by others, directs his chief attention to the soil, husbandry, and produce of France, and to the condition, resources, industry, and habits of the people of the country: taking merely a slight view of the metropolis, which is with most ramblers the principal object of attraction. He appears to us to have been

diligent and fortunate in his inquiries; and perhaps the temper of mind with which he conducted them contributed not a little to his conifort and success. On entering France, he observes at the end of his journal, I endeavoured to lay in a stock of good humour which might last the journey; and I am happy to say I succeeded. This is the grand secret of travelling, as it is of living; the better your temper the greater your enjoyment.' This is a hint which no person who projects a ramble into a foreign country ought to overlook; and he who travels among strangers should leave at home his repulsive manners, (if he be so unfortunate as to have any) and school himself into that true politeness and good humour which will dispose all whom he may meet to oblige him. From the facility with which Mr. B. collected the information of which he was in pursuit, others will learn the importance of a stock of this kind.


Landing at Dieppe, (July 11. 1814,) after a pleasant voyage of thirty-six hours from Brighthelmstone, Mr. B. proceeded immediately on the chief objects of his research: but, before he takes notice of the miserable ploughs and harrows of the French farmers, and of their courses of cropping, he adverts to a circumstance which we are sorry to find confirmed by his report; viz. that 'the arguments of the English, for the abolition of the slave-trade by the French, have no weight on their side of the water.' He represents that our zeal on this subject is viewed by our neighbours as proceeding not from humanity, but from interested motives, and consequently as a source of jealousy with them.

Rouen, on account of its cotton manufactory, being the Manchester of France, is duly explored by this statistical observer, but his stay is not protracted. He soon diverges into the country on a visit to a small farmer, inquires the price of labour, and discovers that poultry is so very important an object of French farming, that the consumption of it in France is equal in weight to that of mutton; of which last, however, not so much in proportion is consumed in France as in England. He mentions, also, in this excursion, that he observed, on a sheep-walk, a boy collecting fresh sheep-dung for the use of the dyer, who employed it in dying cotton red.

Do our dyers of cotton resort to this material ?

From Rouen, Mr. B. proceeded to Louviers, which is famous for its fine cloths; and the quality of which, it is remarked, proves the skill of the manufacturer and the excellence of his implements. Evreux and Passy are also visited; and on the 21st he reached Paris. Having, however, been a week in the capital, Mr. B. still offers none of the usual observations on buildings, statues, and pictures, and for the present passes over Paris with this concise remark :

• We find things here not of a piece ; public profusion and private frugality ; a brilliant government and a plain people. The people wiser, and of course better than their rulers ; this, I imagine, is a common case ; but they generally differ only in degree, the character

This opposition of character I do not comprehend, but I suspect the work is not quite finished.'

The Rambouillet flock being more an object of curiosity with Mr. Birkbeck than the Gallery of the Louvre, he soon waited on M. Tessier, the inspector of the national flocks, and was gratified by the politeness of his reception :

• He

the same.

« AnteriorContinuar »