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sidered very heinous in those days. I can scarcely imagine that Mr. Corney was ignorant enough to quibble on the manner of spelling the surname Aggas or Agas, when he spells it in two of his engravings Aggas, and in his works Agas.
Mr. Corney proceeds; he remarks that Agas wrote no work entitled a treatise on surveying. Now this is one of the most remarkable specimens of misapplied ingenuity that I have ever noticed. The "new biographer says that Agas wrote a treatise on surveying, the only copy of which that we have seen was in the late Mr. Heber's library. The title of the book, in the sale catalogue of Mr. Heber's library, is A preparative to platting of landes and tenementes for surveigh; but this, according to Mr. Corney, is not a treatise on surveying, but only a tract on the mensuration of lands!
The "new biographer" refers to a manuscript in the Lansdowne collection by Agas, and, I believe, for the first time. There are, indeed, two
short notes in his handwriting among the Burghley papers, neither of which are important. But, Mr. Corney, however much he affects to despise the
new biographer," does not hesitate at making use of his references, for, on the 12th of September last, I find* that he referred to both these MSS. in the British Museum, and I have therefore a most fair ground for presumption that he was not previously acquainted with them. But, as Mr. Corney has gone so far out of the common road in his criticism, I do not see why I should not raise a query on that gentleman's own infallibility. What authority has he for stating that Lord Burghley was sensible of Agas's merit? is it merely because that nobleman, whose library was a general receptacle for all written papers, has preserved two paltry notes in his autography? J. O. HALLIwell.
*From the MS. entry book in the reading-room.
NATIONAL SCHOOL FOR GIRLS AT WOOTTON UNDER Edge,
(With a Plate.)
THE building represented in the accompanying Plate was erected in 1836, from designs by the Rev. B. R. Perkins, M.A. Vicar of Wootton under Edge, who superintended the work, and to whose zeal and activity the institution mainly owes its existence. It was intended to serve the double use of a National School for girls and a Chapel, if it should be deemed requisite to use it for such a purpose. The view shews it is well designed for the latter structure. The architecture is of the time of Edward the First. The beautifully wrought door-case, seen on the side of the structure, is copied from the north entrance to Stone Church, Kent, an engraving of which appeared in the Gent. Mag. for Jan. 1837. By the exertions of Mr. Perkins the sum requisite for the costs of the building was raised by subscription, including a munificent donation of 1167. from the late Miss Anne Bearpacker of Wootton, who was prevented by death from fulfilling her benevolent intentions of endowing the School. The building is capable of accommodating 220 scho
lars; its cost was 550l. The doorway above referred to was an additional contribution of Mr. Perkins.-The dimensions of the edifice are as follows: length 60 feet, width 28 feet, height 30 feet, foundation 14 feet below the surface. The material is stone, the moulding and dressings being smooth ashler. The interior is at present unornamented, except that the arms of the late Miss Bearpacker, executed in stained glass by Mr. Miller of London, are placed in the principal window.
The attention of the Vicar of Wootton has subsequently been directed to the increase of accommodation in the parish church; wherein, by judicious alterations, the removal of heavy walls and the substitution of well-constructed arches, 500 persons more can now see and hear the officiating minister; and the desired result being obtained in the corresponding increase of the congregation, has well repaid the trouble and expense of the undertaking. G. H.
MR. URBAN, Cork, Aug. 18. WITH the lamentable reserve of his antichristian feelings, to no historian of modern times can a higher place be assigned, in whatever light we contemplate his great work, than to Gibbon; nor, in the accomplishments as a writer, which have raised him to this eminence, is there a quality more strikingly conspicuous, when not counteracted by that unhappy perversion of mind, than his accuracy of views and fidelity of statements. Errors, no doubt, have fallen under critcal animadversion; but, considered generally, his "Decline and Fall" exhibits fewer, it may be confidently maintained, than any extant composition of equal scope and compass. His ablest editors or commentators, Guizot and Milman, unite in this tribute of justice, as may be seen in the latter reverend gentleman's preface; and, on the Continent, according to the distinguished Frenchman, Gibbon is constantly cited as authority. His book, as he anticipated, "has struck root (Life, page 295); and it would be difficult, indeed, to name a writer, on the whole, better entitled to challenge inquiry, and say, "What care I what curious eye doth quote infirmities!" (Romeo and Juliet, act i. sc. 4.)
But, if this be the undeniable merit of his great achievement, which, from
its comprehensive frame and varied import, justly entitles him to our indulgence for an incidental lapse, we are the less prepared for such a deviation in his autobiography-the record of his own independent thoughts or acts, based on vivid impressions, and supplied by a most tenacious memory. Yet, that this publication, interesting, probably, beyond any similar work in our language, and standing, in its kind, on an equal pre-eminence with his more elaborate enterprize, does present an apparent oversight of fact and time, will, I think, result from a consideration of the proofs which I shall adduce; and another instance will thus establish the oft-experienced superiority of circumstantial over personal evidence. A great name must, as on former occasions, furnish an excuse for the seeming insignificance of the subject; though for these minute investigations of truth, I may arm myself with the highest authority, “ὁ πιστός ἐν ἐλαχίστῳ, καὶ ἑν πολλῳ TLOTÓS ÉσTI." (St. Luc. xvi. 10.)
At page 261 of the Memoirs of his Life and Writings, (Milman's edition,) Gibbon says, "On the Continent my name and writings were slowly diffused: a French translation of the first volume had disappointed the booksellers of Paris;* and a passage in the third was construed as a personal
* Gibbon had good cause to complain of his translators, until M. Guizot revised the whole. One of them, M. Suard, was an eminent littérateur, and is represented by Mr. Milman as a good English scholar, of which, however, his interpretation of the words "archiepiscopal living," by "la fortune d'un archevêque," is no favourable specimen. For such a misconception, at the same time, allowance may be made, as being little within the scope of a foreigner's reading or knowledge; but I applaud the candid avowal of his ignorance, a very natural one, indeed, by the late M. Sylvestre de Sacy, perhaps the profoundest scholar in France, of our proverbial phrase, the vicar of Bray, which he found in Mills's History of Mohammedism: (page 389, ed. 1818.) "Je dois avouer d'abord," says the learned orientalist, "qu'il m'a été tout-à-fait impossible de deviner ce que M. Mills veut dire par ces mots-the vicars of Bray." (Journal des Savants, for December 1827.) Subsequently, however, I made the expression intelligible to him-"Ce sont des Protées-des girouettes, flottans au gré de leurs intérêts ;" but the word girouette, or weathercock, was quite explanatory; for though he had never figured in, he was well acquainted with, Le Dictionnaire des Girouettes, a very entertaining and not uninstructive volume, exhibiting the varying characters of almost every public man. "Qui s'arrête en révolution en est écrasé," was the observation of Bonaparte, like the encounter of a steam-engine; and there can be little consistency in revolutionary times, of which change is the essence. Relative to this curious compilation or dictionary, Napoleon's sentiments are forcibly declared in Las Casas's Mémorial (13 Mai, 1816). At first he found l'idée plaisante, et l'exécution manquée; but he afterwards characterised it as "la degradation de la société, le code de la turpitude, le bourbier de nôtre honneur:" strong epithets, but not misapplied.
The perversion of sense in the general mass of translations must strike every intelliGENT. MAG. VOL. XII. 30
reflection on the reigning monarch." And in elucidation of this imputed allusion, he appends the following
note: "It may not be generally known that Louis the Sixteenth is a great reader, and a reader of English books.
gent reader, and would fill volumes. One or two, from their spirit and object, may deserve attention.
In 1829 a Lady Stewart dedicated her Travels in Italy to Sir R. H. Inglis, in which she declares herself deeply scandalized at, in her conception, a blasphemous inscription on the pediment of a church, "Deiparæ Virgini," which she construed "to the Virgin, the equal of God," a version, which, on my representation of it to Mr. Spring Rice, this gentleman turned to effective account in Parliament, against the lady's patron, the representative of England's first University. To this distinctive character of the Virgin the Nestorians, we know, objected, and, for its equivalent EOTÓKOS, substituted XplorÓTOKOS; and Gibbon (vol. viii. p. 290) displays, at once, his learning, and betrays his prejudices, like his prototype Bayle (article Nestorius), on the subject; but to Lady Stewart it offered a complacent occasion of impeachment of the religion of the country. For a female, however, though it would have been more prudent, either in imitation of the learned M. de Sacy, to have acknowledged her ignorance, or to have corrected it by inquiry, a natural excuse on such a topic will occur; an indulgence to which the profession and knowledge of another traducer (tradutore e traditore) wholly disentitle him. In Tristram Shandy, (vol. iii. ch. xi.) the preamble of the curse of Ernulphus is, "Ex auctoritate Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti....et intemeratæ Virginis Dei genetricis Mariæ;" which Sterne interprets, "By the authority of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,.... and of the undefiled Virgin Mary, mother and patroness of our Saviour." What in the original, I would ask, can warrant the interpolated word patroness, which represents our Saviour as subordinate to the Virgin? a doctrine which, no doubt, it was Sterne's object to impute to the Catholic religion. In his version, likewise, his avoiding to translate "the mother of God" as the Latin required, is redolent somewhat of Nestorianism. And this has been literally copied by Grose in his Antiquities of England, under the head of Gisborne Priory; not suspecting, probably, any fraud, which the juxta-position of the original and version could lead no one to apprehend. Many years ago I pointed out this insidious slander to Dr. Dibdin, and more recently to Father Prout, who, in consequence, has cursorily noticed it. (vol. ii. p. 253).
The analogy of the subject induces me to advert to Gibbon's editor, the Rev. Mr. Milman's Hymn to the Virgin, because-unconsciously, it would seem, to himself-he accurately, as well as beautifully, expresses the Catholic belief on the homage due to the mother of God.
"Mary! we yield to thee
All but idolatry!
We gaze, admire, and wonder, love, and bless.
All honour, save thy Son's, all glory but divine !"
Of translations, I must remark, that those from the French are generally the most faulty; and few, indeed, possess a redeeming merit, like those of Perrot d'Ablancourt, under Louis XIV. which were distinguished as les belles infidelles- a designation not inappropriate to Pope's Homer. Every dabbler thinks himself competent to translate the French; and most ludicrous, consequently, are often the attempts, as I could easily exemplify, even by writers of some pretensions. The German demands more study, and is usually better executed. But the labours of the Bible Society in the dissemination of the Scriptures, however laudable is their object, present the most abundant harvest of errors, far less excusable, because so much more dangerous in the corruption of the word of God. The Abbé Dubois, a French catholic missionary during thirty years in India, and, consequently, it may be presumed, a competent judge of the dialects of that region, has exposed the numberless blunders in the translations of the Society. (Letters on the State of Christianity in India, Lond. 1824, 8vo.) A protestant missionary, the Rev. Ebenezer Henderson, in his Appeal to the Bible Society, (1824,) as well as the traveller Burkhardt, the learned J. J. Reiske, whom Gibbon, in his historical review of Mohammedism, so often cites, and other protestant writers, are not more sparing of their censures: to which, however, it is fair to oppose, the Rev. Messrs. Hough (James) and Lee's (Samuel) vindications of these versions. (One volume each, 8vo. 1834.) The Moniteur of November 1812 contains a most
On perusing a passage of my history, which seems to compare him to Arcadius or Honorius, he expressed his resentment to the Prince de B*****+ from whom the intelligence was conveyed to me. I shall neither disclaim the allusion nor examine the likeness; but the situation of the late King of France excludes all suspicion of flattery; and I am ready to declare that the concluding observations of my third volume were written before his accession to the throne."
These concluding observations, the date and application of which constitute the text and subject of this address, embrace the author's general views of the Roman Empire in the West; and when, as he states, (Life, page 263,) he long hesitated whether he should extend the undertaking to the annals of the Lower or Eastern Empire, as he was subsequently induced to do. In these observations, while comparing modern Europe with its condition before the translation of the empire to Constantinople, he says, 'Europe is now divided into twelve powerful, though unequal, kingdoms ........a Julian or Semiramis may reign in the north, while Arcadius and Honorius again slumber on the thrones of the south." (Decline and Fall, chapter 38.) By the northern sovereigns,
Frederic of Prussia and Catharine of Russia are clearly meant, as both reigned when the third quarto volume, which contains this paragraph, was published—that is, in April 1781; and the consciousness of his own inferiority may have suggested to Louis that the assimilation to the degenerate sons of Theodosius referred to himself, in conjunction with his kinsmen of Spain and Naples. That the allusion was thus interpreted by the reading public at the time is pretty certain, and was quite natural; but as the intention is constructively, though not explicitly, disavowed by Gibbon, we are bound to believe him. Not so, however, the averment, positive as it seems, that the passage was written before the accession of Louis to the throne; and it is on this ground, bold as it may appear to encounter such an adversary in his own stronghold-on a question regarding himself—that I venture to impugn this declaration; but my weapons shall be furnished by his own armoury.
The closing pages of chapter 38, in which this passage is found, must, from their object and tenor, have been the corollary of the preceding narrative, which they crown with illustrative remarks and derivative consequences. They evidently, and neces
learned criticism on a Chinese translation of St. Luke, of which the defects are made manifest by the late M. Abel Remusat, one of the profoundest orientalists in Europe. It is, on the other hand, true, that the sacred text has received important amendments from ancient interpretations, such as the Syriac, the Septuagint, and, perhaps, above all, the Latin Vulgate, now so highly appreciated, just as the Greek classics are corrected by a comparison with the early translations of Valla (Thucydides), Perrotus (Polybius), &c. being from manuscripts.
The transmission or progression of error from version to version, without recurrence to the original sources, as is the case with many of these missionary labours, is easily accounted for. In illustration, I may state that, when Mr. Hamilton first introduced his system of acquiring languages into England, I attended an evening lecture by invitation. There were seventeen students, to the first of whom Mr. Hamilton repeated the commencement of the Gospel of St. John, in French, "Au commencement," &c. with his literal construction. The sentence passed in succession from each student to his neighbour, "virus acquirit eundo," with superadded corruptions ; insomuch that finally it became utterly unintelligible, and as little traceable to the original French, as derivatives in etymology are, in many instances, to their roots.
+ These asterisks denote the Prince de Beauveau, chief of the ancient house of Craon, long attached to the Dukes of Lorraine; while subject to whom, one of the prince's ancestors wrote a curious volume of Memoirs, printed in 1688. On the tumultuous removal of Louis from Versailles in October 1789, so vividly depicted by Burke, he was accompanied, at his special desire, in his coach, by M. de Beauveau, who had always been a favourite, and was generally respected. Perhaps Mr. Milman may note this for a future edition, as well as my correction (Gentleman's Magazine for Aug. 1838) of Gibbon's error in ascribing the passage of Servetus, on the circulation of the blood, to the work de Trinitatis Erroribus, of which Priestley was also unaware.
sarily, were last, not only in position, as they appear in the volume, but in composition; for they terminate the history by a luminous association of cause and event. Distinct reference, moreover, is made to the antecedent volumes, thus establishing their preexistence, as well as to the five exploratory voyages commanded by George the Third, the last of which, by Cook, was not undertaken until 1776. Louis, on the other hand, mounted the throne on the 10th of May 1774, nearly two years prior to the publication of any part of the history, and almost seven years before the third volume, which exhibits the obnoxious allusion, issued from the press. surely is little credible, that the final portion of the third volume should have been prepared so long previously to the publication of the first, and thus, bounding over intermediate centuries, anticipate conclusions dependent on a preceding recital. The final paragraph, therefore, could not have been written otherwise than as it is presented, after, not before what anteceded, that is, in 1781, or the close of 1780, and not prior to May 1774, to correspond with Gibbon's statement. Such a work was necessarily of continuous and consecutive execution-no Vσтероν проτεроv рrocess, but beginning
with the beginning, and in regular progression, advancing to a prescribed end, which it did not reach, as I have shown, until Louis had been nearly seven years on the throne, though, according to the author, it was written previously to that event.
Every circumstance, in truth, connected with the history itself, or derivable from Gibbon's Memoirs, refutes the date to which he assigns the paragraph. The style, also, is that of his matured, not early, habits of composition, as described by himself (p. 288), and as a comparison with the opening chapters of his first volume, when his diction was less stately in its march, and less monotonous, because more varied in its inflexions and forms, will prove. Detached passages, I am aware, may be prepared beforehand for future arising use, as Cicero wrote his prefaces; which, however, were sometimes, as he states to Atticus, misplaced, or, as Mr. Moore discovered of Sheridan's most brilliant exhibitions of wit and oratory, that they were "des impromptus faits à loisir."* Such, too, we learn from Mr. H. Grattan's biography of his illustrious father, were some of the splendid improvisations, as they were thought, of that great orator-the fruit, in fact, of previous study, reserved, like the
* Walpole, (Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 393,) in reference to Sheridan's far-famed speech upon bringing forward one of the two charges against Hastings, says, in contradiction to the panegyrics of Burke, Fox, and Pitt,-that "the orator did not satisfy the passionate expectations that had been raised;" adding that "it was impossible he could, when fifty-ay, fifty guineas-were offered for a ticket to hear him." Gibbon (Memoirs, p. 292) was highly flattered with the compliment paid him by the orator on that occasion. "The luminous pages of Gibbon," were his words, which the wit used to say, should be voluminous. (Mr. Milman's note.)
Contrary to what we are told of Grattan and Sheridan's prepared extemporzationsi and their impression, we know, as Lord Brougham relates, (Statesmen, ii. p. 248,) that the most striking passages, those which produced the most magical effect, in Mirabeau's speeches, (for the general substance was the composition of Dumont and others,) were the inspirations of the moment. His lordship complacently dwells on the irresistible influence of that extraordinary man's eloquence, which can only find a parallel in that of Pericles or Chatham; (I forbear more modern comparisons;) but I, who have often contemplated his commanding figure at the tribune, and heard his thunder, feel authorized, in the language of Æschines to the Rhodians, as reported by Cicero, (De Oratore, iii. 56) to say-" quanto magis admiraremini, si audissetis ipsum." In general, we find, that extempory effusions, however brilliant, are nearly as rapid in extinction as in conception; for the value of eloquence must be estimated, like every thing else, as we learn from political economy, by the cost of production; and few, consequently, outlive their utterance: while the labours of such men as Burke will coexist with the language, similar to the oration of Demosthenes so honorably praised by his defeated rival, Æschines. "Utque aliorum meditatio et labor in posterum valescit, sic Haterii canorum illud et profluens cum ipso simul extinctum est" is the apposite observation of Tacitus. (Annal. iv, 61.)