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still continues, or that of the morning is coming on; for the sun in the night returns under the earth through the northern regions at no great distance from them. For this reason, the days are of a great length in summer, as, on the contrary, the nights are in winter; for the sun then withdraws into the southern parts, so that the nights are eighteen hours long.
“ The island at present, following the number of the books in which the Divine law was written, contains five nations,—the English, Britons, Scots, Picts, and Latins,-each in its own peculiar dialect cultivating the sublime study of Divine truth. The Latin tongue is, by the study of the Scriptures, become common to all the rest.”—Bede, p. 5.
“ Ireland,” (says the same author,) "in breadth, and for wholesomeness and serenity of climate, far surpasses Britain ; for the snow scarcely ever lies there above three days; no man makes hay in the summer for winter's provision, or builds stables for his beasts of burden. No reptiles are found there, and no snake can live there; for, though often carried thither out of Britain, as soon as the ship comes near the shore and the scent of air reaches them, they die. On the contrary, almost all things in the island are good against poison. In short, we have known, that when some persons have been bitten by serpents, the scrapings of leaves of books that were brought out of Ireland, being put into water and given them to drink, have immediately expelled the spreading poison and assuaged the swelling. The island abounds in milk and honey, nor is there any want of vines, fish, or fowl; and it is remarkable for deer and goats."--Bede, p. 7.
Richard of Devizes, writing four centuries later, puts the following words into the mouth of a Jew, counselling one of his fellows, about to visit England, as to his place of residence :
“Canterbury is an assemblage of the vilest people, entirely devoted to their somebody, I know not whom, but who has been lately canonized, and was the Archbishop of Canterbury.* Here, as everywhere, they die in open day by the streets for the want of bread and employment. Rochester and Chichester are mere villages, and they possess nothing for which they should be called cities but the sees of their Bishops. Oxford scarcely—I will not say, satisfies, but-sustains its Clerks. Exeter supports man and beast with the same grain. Bath is placed, or rather buried, in the lowest parts of the valleys, in a very dense atmosphere and sulphury vapour, as it were at the gates of hell. Nor yet will you select your habitation in the northern cities,– Worcester, Chester, Hereford, -on account of the desperate Welchmen. York abounds in Scots,-vile and faithless men,or rather, rascals. The town of Ely is alway putrefied by the surrounding marshes. In Durham, Norwich, or Lincoln, there are few of your disposition among the powerful; you will never hear any one speak French. At Bristol, there is nobody who is not, or has not been, a soapmaker, and every Frenchman esteems soapmakers as he does nightmen. Account the Cornish people for such as you know our Flemings are accounted in France.”—Idem, p. 61.
The simple earnestness with which legal documents were drawn up,—the Monks being the sole lawyers, presents an amusing contrast to the dry technicalities of the present day. It was not the mere hand and seal which subscribed and authenticated a charter. The general ignorance of writing, even in the highest classes, caused the adoption of the cross as confirming the signature; and the Prelates and Ecclesiastics, who could have written their names, either from courtesy, or to preserve uniformity, used the same symbol. Thus, this mode of signature, originated by ignorance, became invested with a sacred character, and was considered a more formal and solemn authentication than would have been a signature with the hand. To the crosses were frequently added expletive sentiments. In the “AngloSaxon Chronicle," after a long account of the foundation (A.D. 655) of St. Petersburgh Abbey, and its enrichment by Wulfhere, King of the Mercians, its consecration is thus described :
* Thomas à Becket.
“At the hallowing of the monastery, King Wulfhere was present, and his brother Ethelred, and his sisters Kyneburg and Kyneswith; and Deus-dedit, Archbishop of Canterbury, hallowed the monastery; and Ithamar Bishop of Rochester, and the Bishop of London, who was called Wina, and the Bishop of the Mercians, who was called Jeruman, and Bishop Tuda; and there was Wilfrid the Priest, who was afterwards a Bishop, and all his Thanes who were within his kingdom were there. When the monastery had been hallowed in the names of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Andrew, then the King stood up before all his Thanes, and said with a clear voice, Thanked be the high Almighty God for the worthy deed which here is done, and I will this day do honour to Christ and St. Peter; and I desire that ye all assent to my words. I Wulfhere do this day give to St. Peter and Abbot Saxwulf, and the Monks of the monastery, these lands and these waters, and meres, and fens, and wears,” &c.,
-recapitulating large tracts of land, stretching twenty miles in one direction, ten in another, six in a third, &c., given in free and entire possession to the Monks subject to Rome alone; since it was the King's good will, that all who were unable to go to Rome should perform a pilgrimage to this second St. Peter's. The needful forms being already prepared, he then called upon those around him to witness the grant.
“'I beg of thee, my brother Ethelred, and my sisters Kyneburg and Kyneswith, that ye be witnesses, for your soul's redemption, and that ye write it with your fingers. And I beg all those who come after me, be they my sons, be they my brothers, or Kings that come after me, that our gift may stand, even as they would be partakers of the life eternal, and would escape everlasting torment. Whosoever shall take from this our gift, or the gifts of other good men, may the heavenly gate-ward take from him in the kingdom of heaven; and whosoever will increase it, may the heavenly gate-ward increase in the kingdom of heaven. Here are the witnesses who were there, who subscribed it with their fingers on the cross of Christ, and assented to it with their tongues. King Wulf here was the first who confirmed it by word, and afterwards subscribed it with his fingers on the cross of Christ, and said thus: ‘I, King Wulfhere, with the Kings, and Earls, and
Dukes, and Thanes, the witnesses of my gift, do confirm it before the Archbishop Deus-dedit, with the cross of Christ, t. And I, Oswy, King of the Northumbrians, the friend of this monastery and of Abbot Saxwulf, approve of it with the cross of Christ, t. And I, King Sighere, grant it with the cross of Christ, t. And I, King Sibbi, subscribe it with the cross of Christ, t. And I, Ethelred, the King's brother, grant it with the cross of Christ, t. And we, the King's sisters, Kyneburg and Kyneswith, we approve it, t. And I, Deusdedit, Archbishop of Canterbury, grant it, +.' After that, all others who were there, assented to it with the cross of Christ, t."
The Pope confirmed the gift, with the prayer that, if any one violated the charter, St. Peter might exterminate him with his sword; and that for its observers St. Peter might open the gates of heaven. Among the signatures to a later deed, conferring, on the part of the Pope, fresh privileges, and, on that of the King, fresh lands to the abbey, confirmed with “ Christ's token,” are the following:
“I Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness to this charter, and I confirm it with my signature, and I excommunicate all those who shall break any part thereof, and I bless all those who shall observe it, t. I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, I am witness to this charter, and I assent to the same curse, t. I Saxwulf, who was first Abbot and am now Bishop, I give those my curse, and that of all my successors, who shall break through this." "I Cuthbald, Abbot, assent to it, so that whoso shall break it, let him have the cursing of all Bishops, and of all Christian folk. Amen.”
The seals, in earlier ages, before heraldic charges gave them their specific distinction, were often mere lumps of wax appended to the document by parchment bands, and not unfrequently bore the impress of the thumb-nail or the fang-tooth of the principal covenanting party, sometimes a few of his hairs, to add to its identity.
The above cases afford a sample of a few of the leading points in a class of literature which will amply repay the investigation, not only of the historian and antiquary, but of the moral philo. sopher who interests himself in the investigation of a phase of the human mind, of which scarcely a type now remains in the civilized nations of Europe, and which, in some of its peculiar features, is as incapable of reproduction as is the childhood of a matured life. The attempts, skilful and ingenious, but fallacious, made in the present day, to imitate our ancient literature, and, by a false coinage of black-letter and quaint phraseology, to evoke the spirit of the past, only prove how impossible it is (were even the technical difficulties of language and modes of expression well mastered) for the age to grow young again, to divest itself of its maturity of thought, and to return to the simplicity of its childhood; and we would, en passant, deprecate an innovation which can only lead to an entire misapprehension, on the part of the uninitiated, of the true genius of our Monkish Literature.
maturitywe wouldntire miu por our
ART. V.—History of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena ;
from the Letters and Journals of the late Lieutenant-General Sir Hudson Lowe, and official Documents not before made public. By WILLIAM FORSYTH, M.A. Three Vols. 8vo. London: John Murray. 1853.
A GREAT nation cannot with impunity become indifferent to its moral interests, and aim exclusively at material success. As in private life character is found to second the efforts for advancement of the individual, so in national affairs the reputation which a country bears for good faith and elevated principle, is a fund to its credit, from which it can draw in the attainment or increase of external prosperity. The position which England occupies among the nations of the world, enabling her, on occasions, to achieve by the exercise of her moral influence much that in former times would have been yielded only to physical force; and the comparatively stationary position, amidst surrounding prosperity, of certain States of America which have dared to repudiate acknowledged engagements,—amply testify to the truth and potency of the principle. No government or people can, either from conscious innocence or from indifference to the opinion of mankind, safely neglect to rebut any charge brought against its honour, and thus let judgment pass by default, if it possess the means requisite for a defence. By such conduct history becomes falsified, and the negligence of one generation leaves a stain upon the escutcheon of its posterity. It is for these reasons that we now propose briefly to examine the volumes placed at the head of this article, in which are made public, for the first time, those documents from which alone historical evidence can be derived, to enable the world to judge of the truth or falsehood of the charge, credited by millions throughout Europe, and we believe by many amongst ourselves, that England disgraced herself by her treatment of Napoleon when in exile.
We would here make two observations: first, the volumes we are about to notice consist not simply of the answer of the defendant, but contain all the documents, on both sides, by which the judgment of the court must be formed; and, secondly, the delay in the production of the evidence, though much to be regretted, is to be attributed partly to the unhappy procrastination of the chief defendant himself, and partly to the death of a previous editor, and must not be laid to the charge of those who will themselves be affected by the verdict passed upon the person principally accused. Indeed, it must ever be a matter of surprise that Sir Hudson Lowe, overwhelmed as he was with charges so deeply affecting his own honour and the honour of his Government, loaded with the burden of asserted crimes and still darker suspicions,-should have gone down to the tomb, leaving to the risk of accident those precious documents, which he should have cast into the faces of his accusers, and which we honestly believe would have freed him from at least the most onerous part of the accusations brought against him.
We trust to be able to show that no just cause exists for asserting that England was vindictive or ungenerous in her conduct towards the wonderful man placed in her power by the chances of war.
acquthe hands of his army. Inte, some of
Our readers are acquainted with the circumstances under which Napoleon came into the hands of the British. The battle of Waterloo had effectually shattered his army. Fear of the Republican and Constitutional parties in the capital, some of whose leaders had, previously to his joining the army, urged his abdication as the only remedy for the distresses and dangers of France, led to his hasty retreat to Paris. On his arrival he found the Chambers intractable, disposed to act independently of his authority, and more than hinting an opinion that nothing less than abdication would meet the case. His brother Lucien, neglected and slighted in prosperous times, exerted all his powers to restrain the hostile proceedings of the Chambers, but in vain; whilst Napoleon declined to employ force to maintain his authority, from well-founded fear lest the National Guard should take the part of the Representatives,—Davoust, who was sounded, having previously refused to act against the Chambers. “On the morning of the 22nd of June,” we are told, “only four days after the defeat at Waterloo, the Chamber of Representatives assembled at nine in the morning, and expressed the utmost impatience to receive the Act of Abdication.” This was finally signed, after many struggles on the part of Napoleon, and appeared in the Moniteur of the following day. There were various reasons, in the existing state of things, why the popular party should desire the absence of the abdicated Emperor from the neighbourhood of Paris, in addition to the fact that the British and Prussians were approaching the capital; and a gentle compulsion was used to induce him to depart for Rochefort, where two frigates were ordered to transport him to the United States.
But here the difficulty of making his escape meets him. It is true there are two French frigates, with a corvette and a brig, ready to convey him; but how escape the watchful guard of British cruisers, which dotted the waters from Brest to Bayonne, from Ushant to Cape Finisterre ? Now the circumstances which follow are of much importance to the national honour, since it suited Napoleon's purpose afterwards to insist that he voluntarily came on board the “Bellerophon” as the guest of England, not as her prisoner. The facts of the case are these. The “Bellerophon," commanded by Captain Maitland, was appointed to cruise off Rochefort. Her Captain, a man of high birth and unsullied honour, had received instructions of which the following formed a part. Admiral Hotham writes to Captain Maitland, July 8th, 1815, the following order :