« AnteriorContinuar »
after this melancholy display of his broken powers, took solemn leave in going to America, in consequence of the ill-usage (he said) he had experienced in this country.
Feb. 18.-Finished joyfully Wraxall's Memoirs. His views of our political affairs are so warped by personal and party prejudice, sustained by the inveterate practice of base, covert, calumnious insinuations, that it is quite a relief to the mind to banish him one's society. He would have been pleased with an anecdote that I could have told him, that Fox solicited and obtained an interview with Lord Chedworth, for the purpose of removing his lordship's objections to the East India Bill-but failed to convince him.
Feb. 20. Went to the Coffee House. L. proposed rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem as an experimentum crucis: believers ought not to object. Mr. Berners mentioned that his mother at Wolverston possessed a fine miniature of Cromwell by Cooper, given by Cromwell to Ireton, from whom it descended lineally to his mother; and likewise a lock to Cromwell's study door, most cunningly constructed by a man at Wooton Basset.
March 23.-Read Life of James the Second, composed from his own memoirs, published by S. Clarke. The account of the Battle of Edgehill is very minute and interesting, and I have no doubt correct. It is affirmed that if the King had, immediately after the battle, marched to London, as Prince Rupert advised, the rebellion would have been extinguished; but that his own councillors opposed the proposition, lest his Majesty should return by conquest. Cromwell, he says, was the only person so ceremonious as to kneel on kissing the duke's hand, on his being surrendered into the hands of the Parliament. James's account of his campaign with the French King's army, under Turenne, against that of the faction under the Prince of Conde, is written in a most lively and interesting style-quite con amore, and imparts a vivid colour of the mode of warfare in those days. The courtesy observed by the leaders on both sides forms a very remarkable feature in these civil campaigns; and it is impossible not to be impressed with a very high idea of Turenne's promptitude, alacrity, sagacity, and decision.
March 25.-Laughed at Miss Pearson's account of M. A. Taylor's meeting Sheridan in the Park, and remonstrating at Sheridan's freedom of speech respecting the Prince." I love the Prince," said he, "above all human creatures. The first question I ask myself in the morning are-Is the Prince well? is Frances well am I well?-then all is well."
March 26.-Dined at Christ Church. Mr. R— affirmed that his sister, when single, went to a fortune-teller in town-Mrs. Mullins-who predicted that she should lose one of a pair of favourite doves-that she should be supplied with another by a gentleman she should marry afterwards, and that she should die in childbed of her third child. The dove was lost; and supplied in the way predicted. She married the donor-had two children-but recollecting the prophecy, and apparently overpowered by its influence, sunk, after being safely delivered of the third.
March 28.-James's jealousy of Monmouth is perpetually apparent. He represents him as the son of a gentlewoman in Wales, of the name of Walters, who came up to town to make a market of her person, who had been bought for fifty broad pieces by Algernon Sidney, then a colonel in Cromwell's army of saints. She afterwards fell into keeping with his brother, Col. Rob. Sidney-from whom she was taken by Charles the Second, and abandoned afterwards by him; went to Paris, and died there.
He insinuates that Monmouth was Robert Sidney's son, and not the King's ; as was apparent from his stature and countenance, and in particular, a wart in his face.
March 31.-Scurrilous attack on me this morning in the Suffolk Chronicle, apparently by. Mr. Pearson and Mr. King called on me respecting it both treated my apprehensious as utterly groundless. Strong expression from Mr. King at parting- That if anything would tempt him to commit suicide-it would be the forfeiture of my esteem." I then began, at their recommendation, a bantering reply. James the Second imputes the origin of his conversion to the Catholic church, to a tract against it, which a bishop of the church of England had written, and put into his hands: and he mentions the "Preface to Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, as one of the compositions which confirmed his conviction." He solemnly states, and perhaps believed it at the time, that though he wished all men like himself as to religion, yet he held it unlawful to force any man, much less a whole kingdom, to embrace it. Churchill seems to have been his most confidential emissary latterly. The Duke of York's unbending bigotry, his lofty notions of the regal prerogative, and his ambition of popularity, are striking features in this work. How formidable does the House of Commons, yet unsubdued by corruption, appear.
April 5.-Dr. Kilderbee said in conversation, that Smith (i. e. the actor, called Gentleman Smith) considered Kean as approaching more to Garrick than any actor he had seen since his time.
April 6.-King James states, that in his first speech to the Council, it should have been given,-"That he would never endeavour to alter the established religion; not, "that he would endeavour to preserve it;' but that Finch took it down otherwise: that the difference escaped him at the moment, and that he was obliged to follow it up in his declarations and speeches afterwards. He calls the Prince of Orange, on the occasion of Monmouth's invasion, with great bitterness, That ambitious Prince, exempt from the tyranny of honour and conscience;" and Monmouth himself, "that poor abandoned wretch!" He represents him as most abject in supplicating for mercy in his unseasonable interview with the King. He affirms particularly, that on his execution the Duke was attended by no divine whatever !*
April 12.-James, in the affairs of Magdalen College, Oxford, asserts, that the Fellows, after formally petitioning that the King would leave the election to themselves, or recommend some proper person, proceeded to election before that petition could possibly be answered. James fully confesses his imprudence, and sets forth his own infatuated conduct in the clearest light. I am inclined to regard him on the whole as a welldisposed man. He calls my relative, Sancroft, a man, though easily misguided, of a sincere character. Sancroft had said he could live upon 601. a year. "He was reduced," said the King, "soon after to retire, and live upon an estate of his own of not much greater value." L mentioned, that old Dr. Coyte, stumbling by his own door, and Hazell asking him, why he did not mend his pavement, he exclaimed,—“ Paveat qui pavet,' a most felicitous reply!
*This was not the case. "The late Duke of Monmouth came from the Tower to the scaffold attended by (Turner) Bishop of Ely, (Ken) Bishop of Bath and Wells, Dr. Tennison, and Dr. Hooper, which four the King was graciously pleased to send him as his assistants to prepare him for death." See An Account of what passed at the Execution of the late Duke of Monmouth, in Bowles's Life of Ken, ii. 116.— Edit.
COEVAL AUTHENTICITY OF THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY.
I BEG to address to you a few observations on Mr. BOLTON CORNEY'S letter, inserted in your Number for June, commenting on the Review of his "Researches and Conjectures on the Bayeux Tapestry," which has appeared in your pages.
I shall briefly advert to those points of the Review to which he has considered it necessary to reply. In contradistinction to his assertion, that propriety of costume in works of the middle age was not always indicative of the antiquity of a monument, I ventured, relying on accepted facts and the known practice of the times in question, to reverse the proposition and invited him to shew the exception to the rule. For this confidence, or boldness, as he is pleased to term it, in the evidence of experience, he endeavours to hold me up to the censure of your readers, and asserts that I have violated an important canon of criticism, which I render from the French version, in which it is propounded, "that one ought to be very reserved in general affirmations." Now I take this to be a very puerile and erroneous direction, where general affirmations are drawn from matters of fact and acknowledged experience. Why, Mr. Urban, a man could not write a grammar, or construct any theoretical treatise, without having recourse to general rules. Exceptions may in some cases be adduced; but I take it they can never so weigh against the force of the rule as to neutralise and overthrow it; for in that case it could be no genuine rule. Mr. Corney, in the additions to his letter, inserted in your last number, makes a shew of producing some exceptions; but it is rather unfortunate that they have little or nothing to do with the question of propriety of Costume; they refer to the doubts existing of the age of certain manuscripts, wherein the period of the hand-writing is not very readily determinable, and to the illuminations of a Benedictional,* representing saints
clothed in the Greek style of drapery, offering no indications to fix a precise period, although an approximation might not be difficult. More weak and inapplicable instances could hardly be adduced in an attempt to subvert the antiquity of the Bayeux Tapestry, or to tarnish that bright chain of internal evidence, by which it is supported. My opponent's objections are illogical, for the less decided internal evidence of certain ancient Manuscripts, can form no imputation against the more decided internal evidence of the Tapestry. Mr. Corney praises the late lamented Mr. Charles Stothard for more caution than I have used, as Mr. Stothard qualifies the same identical rule which I have employed by an exception, in the following terms:
"It was the invariable practice with artists in every country, excepting Italy, during the middle ages, whatever the subject they took in hand, to represent it according to the manners and customs of
their own time."
Now it happens that I can tell Mr. Corney what the exception really was to which Mr. Stothard has alluded, and of which he may take the full benefit, if he can apply it to his doubts and 66
new conjectures" relative to the Bayeux Tapestry. The exception refers to certain sepulchral monuments in Italy, wherein the Greek or rather the Roman style is mingled with the Gothic. Some examples are shewn by Mr. Smirke in a recent volume of the Archæologia.
Mr. Corney says, my favourite mode is to reverse his propositions; certainly I have felt no inclination to reverse those which were not fairly in my opinion reversible, namely, his objection to appropriate costume as a test of the age of a monument, and to the antiquity of the characters, forming the legend of the Tapestry; but what shall be said of my opponent's usual tact, when, finding the internal evidence of an ancient monument militate against his own theory, he at
Both as a veteran judicious antiquary and a gentleman, I respect Mr. Gage Rokewode; but in editing the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold, he little thought he was assisting Mr. Corney in his new conjectures on the Tapestry, until quoted even from the remotest and most disconnected point for support.
GENT. MAG. VOL. XII.
once suggests the monument itself to be the work, I may fairly say fabrication, of a later age! Thus, when I point out that the letters on the tomb of Queen Matilda, at Caen, strongly resemble those on the Bayeux Tapestry, both in their form and monogrammatic combinations, he declares the inscribed slab to be of doubtful
antiquity, and hints that it may be of no earlier date than the 16th century; thus assailing, (can I suppose for the temporary support of argument?) the authority of a Gough and a Stothard and of all the tourists in Normandy of the present age. If the tomb of Queen Matilda at Caen be a fabrication, then, Mr. Urban, is the monument of Ilbert de Chaz, discovered at Monkton Farley in Wiltshire, (engraved in your Magazine for Oct. 1835, p. 377, and there described as of the time of Henry 1.and distinguished as a striking example of the practice derived from the Romans, of using expedients to compress inscriptions, within a limited space), also of doubtful antiquity. Might I not suggest, according to the example of scepticism which my antagonist affords me, that it was fabricated in the 16th century, and concealed in the rabbit warren, where it was afterwards found*, as a sort of gin for catching unfortunate antiquaries, on the hunt for genuine inscriptions.
There is indeed no contending with a thoroughly accomplished sceptic. A philosopher of the last century doubted the existence of matter, although he often stumbled against a stone; he thought that all created beings were merely perceptions, affecting his own sensorium. There was no beating him at this, for he rejected the only original evidence with which Providence had supplied him, that of his senses. Mr. Corney, pursuing his accustomed mode of attack, says that he cannot admit the minute information which the Tapestry conveys, to be a proof of its coeval execution - but surely, when costume and ornaments concur with circumstantial details, they present the very best proofs of authenticity that in such a case may be had.
The most able critical demonstration of the authenticity of the writings of the Apostles is to be found perhaps in Paley's Hore Pauline; and what are his strongest proofs ? The minutiæ of circumstances detailed in the writings of St. Paul.
With respect to the characters on the seal of Beaumont, Bishop of Bayeux, who died in 1205, resembling, as Mr. Corney asserts, those of the Tapestry;-were the statement to be admitted as critically correct, it would make nothing for Mr. Corney's proposition, for the chief variation of the characters on seals from the time of William Rufus to that of Henry 2nd is the occasional introduction of the uncial ; which within that period first appears, if I remember rightly, on the seal of Maud; but the same had been used also long before, on the seal of Edward the Confessor. more safe would be Mr. Corney's deductions, if he would allow me to bring back his attention to the monument of the Conqueror's Queen at Caen, dismissing in candour the unjust aspersion he throws on it as apocryphal.
Mr. Stothard, expressly with a view of giving a specimen of the inscribed coffin-lids of the early Norman period, made a drawing of the lid of the stone coffin of Queen Matilda, an etching of which is inserted in his work, the "Monumental Effigies of Great Britain."—"We have in this drawing a careful fac-simile of the Roman character as employed in the Gothic age. The chief variations are to be found in the C, H, E, Q, and Z; and of the three first letters the pure Roman form is used, as well as the other. It may indeed be suspected that the alteration began with the Romans of the Lower Empire themselves. The upright strokes of letters are sometimes in this inscription blended together so as to make one upright stroke serve for two letters, as the last stroke of an N for the first of a D, &c." Now this is exactly the case with many of the characters in the inscription on the Bayeux Tapestry,
* Gent. Mag. for 1835.
+ Introd. to Stothard's Monumental Effigies.
and is one very strong proof that it is of a period contemporaneous with the Conqueror's Queen Matilda, who died in 1083, and therefore that it was executed at least within the first twenty years that elapsed after the battle of Hastings.
By the sneer with which Mr. Corney notices the reference I made to the term Ælfgyva occurring in the Tapestry, he would insinuate that I have committed a plagiarism on his "Researches and Conjectures ;" but if he will refer to the review, p. 471, he will find that his notice of the epithet was most distinctly acknowledged in these words:
"Ælfgyva, represented in the Tapestry, is considered by Mr. Corney as the daughter of the Conqueror, whom he promised in marriage to Harold, Ælfgyva being a mere titular adjunct to her name." Allowing the plausibility of the idea, that Elfgyva might be a titular adjunct, I ventured to inquire of Saxon literati its import. Camden's solution of Elfgyva, noticed by Mr. Corney,
"Roger Hoveden noteth that Emma daughter to Richard the first Duke of Normandy was called in Saxon Elgiva, that is, as it seemeth, help-giver."
The authority of Camden must have its due weight, and the term might be peculiarly appropriate to a princess bound in matrimonial union, as woman was given to man to be an helpmate" at the first institution of marriage. I feel undecided between this suggestion, and the idea that it may imply, the al-gyva, all giver munificentissima, the f being interpolated for euphony, which Camden indeed himself omits.*
Mr. Corney says that I attempt to explain why the Normans were called Franci in the Tapestry, which term he affirms had no reference to the population of Normandy, but to all persons resident in England, except natives. He thinks it is impossible otherwise to explain the formula, "Francis et Anglis de Kent." Now let any one examine Domesday Book, and he must conclude that the Franci de Kent and other counties were the
* Remaines, p. 120.
followers of the Conqueror, who, after his successful expedition, had obtained grants of land or settled in England. The troops of the Conqueror's army are designated as Franci in the Bayeux Tapestry; they are designated as Franci in the records of the time. this a circumstance to be explained away, or conveyed out of sight, by any literary special pleading and legerdemain-such as that by which my opponent endeavours to annul the evidence of the Saxon D and 7 found both in the Bayeux Tapestry and in Domesday Book-but not I presume on the seal of the worthy Bishop Beaumont? The seal of the Conqueror having Os of the diamond form, Cs and Gs with rectangular turnings, and Ss like Zs militates nothing against the antiquity of the characters on the Bayeux Tapestry; both these and the purer Roman forms were used; and if reasoning could be good from such data, the seal of the Conqueror, as “a new conjecture," might be easily proved to be older than that of Edward the Confessor!† Again, what inference against the antiquity of the inscription would Mr. Corney have us draw from the circumstance that the word Episcopus is therein abbreviated in the way common to several centuries, Ep's? I see no defence offered for the most extraordinary suggestion that the Tapestry was not of a genuine character, because William is called in the inscriptions Dux not Rex, before he had acquired any claim to the regal title! Propriety of designation, evidently, in my adversary's opinion, deserves the same fate as "propriety of costume."
I am happy to receive Mr. Corney's explanation relative to the Saxones Bajocassini, and I trust it was no inexcusable misapprehension of his meaning, which made me conceive that he pointed at a colony of Anglo-Saxons. I had no intention of disturbing Mr. Corney's serenity to the extent which he describes; nevertheless a few examples of that northern dialect, still prevalent, as he says, at Bayeux, might have been acceptable.
The observation on the singularity of Mr. Corney's using Odon for Odo
† See the characters on these two seals as engraved in Speed's History of England.