« IndietroContinua »
morning we numbered our men, and found that two hundred and thirty were killed, and about one hundred wounded: three hundred of the camels were either slàin or so badly wounded, that they could not walk, and so we killed them. We found seven hundred of our enemies lying on the ground, either dead or wounded ;-those that were badly wounded we killed, to put them out of pain, and carried the others that could walk along with us for slaves: of these there were about one hundred. As the enemy fled, they took all their good camels with them, for they had left them at a distance, so that we only found about fifty poor ones, which we killed; but we picked up two hundred and twenty good double-barrelled guns from the ground. The gun which Seid now uses is one of them :-we got also about four hundred scimitars or long knives. We were told by the prisoners that the company who attacker us was upwards of four thousand strong, and that they had been preparing for it three moons. We were afraid of another attack, and went off the same day, and travelled all the night, steering to the N. E. (out of the course the caravans commonly take) twenty-three days' journey, when we came to a place called the Eight Wells, where we found plenty of good water. Fifty of our inen had died, and twenty-one of the slaves." '-pp. 348, 9.
Sidi Hamet, who makes so conspicuous a figure in this volume, is no fictitious personage, like his namesake Cid Hamet Benangeli; he is mentioned by Adams and by Dupuis; and, since Riley's release, has to a certain extent redeemed the pledge which he made at parting : 'Your friend (Mr. Willsbire) has fed me with milk and honey, and I will always in future do what is in my power to redeem Christians from slavery.' Scarcely two months after this, the brig Surprize, of Glasgow, with a crew of seventeen persons and three passengers, was cast away close to Cape Bojador, on the 28th of December, 1815, when the whole, with the exception of two that were drowned, fell into the hands of the Arabs, who marched them, as usual, into the interior, till they met a Moor on horseback, to whom they were delivered, and who took them to Wed-noon. This was no other than Sidi Hamet, who advised them to write to Mr. Willshire, English consul at Suara, who having heard of the wreck, had already entered into engagements for their ransom with Sidi Ishem, the chief of Wed-noon, and principal owner of the caravan which perished, as we have related, in the Desert. They were ransomed, and sent to England, as was also, at the same time, a lad of the name of Alexander Scott, who was wrecked in the Montezuma, of Liverpool, in 1810, as mentioned by Adams, and who had remained in slavery ever since. His appearance is said to have been most deplorable; though not twenty, he wore the marks of advanced age.--Thus, in a very remarkable manner, have all the statements of Robert Adams been confirmed. We think it is by no means improbable, that Sidi Hamet was on his way to fulfil the oath which he swore to Riley by
his right hand,'—that he would bring up the remainder of his crew if they were to be found alive, and God spared his life!
It appears, indeed, from letters which Riley has received in America from Mr. Willshire, that Porter and Burns have been ransomed by bin; that two others had been released from further suffering in this world; and that Sidi Ishiem had heard some vague rumours of the rest in the southern part of the Desert.
It is to be hoped, indeed, that, since the Arabs of the Desert know that all Christians wrecked on the coast will be purchased immediately at Wed-noon, for the purpose of obtaining a certain profit by their ransom at Mogadore, the lives of the captives will not only be preserved, but that the certainty of the reward will operate on the avarice of the robbers, and secure to the shipwrecked mariners a treatment less rigorous than that experienced by Mr. Riley and his unfortunate companions. ART. II. 1. M. Tullii Ciceronis Sex Orationum Fragmenta
inedita, cum Commentariis antiquis eiiam inedilis. Invenit, recensuit, notis illustravit Angelus Maius, Bibliothecæ Ambro
sianæ à Linguis Orientalibus. Mediolani. 1814. 2 tom. 8vo. 2: Q. Aurelii Symmachi octo Orationum ineditarum partes.
Invenit, notisque declaravit A. Maius. Mediol. 1815. 8vo. 3. M.Cornelii Frontonis Opera inedita, cum Epistulis item ineditis
Antonini Pii, M. Aurelii, L. Veri, et Appiani. Invenit A,
Maius. Mediol. 1815. 2 tom. Svo... 4. M. Acci Plauti Fragmenta inedita: item ad P. Terentium
Commentationes el Picture inedita. Inventore A. Maio. Mediol.
1815. 8vo. -5. Themistii Philosophi Oratio de Prefectura suscepta. Inventore
et interprete A. Majo. Mediol. 1816. 8vo. 6. Dionysii Halicarnassei Romanarum Antiquitatum pars hacte
nus desiderata. Nunc denique ope Codicum Ambrosianorum ab
Angelo Maio, quantum licuit, restituta. Opus Francisco I. · Augusto sacrum. Mediol. 1816. 4to. FOR the last half century a notion has prevailed amongst learned
ladies and half-learned gentlemen, that many valuable remains of antiquity were still concealed in different libraries on the continent, especially in Italy; and that, in all likelihood, the researches of diligent and persevering antiquaries would eventually bring to light some precious relics of Greek and Roman literature. This expectation was more pleasing than reasonable. The unceasing industry with which the great Italian scholars of the 15th and 16th centuries, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Poggio, Aretino, Manuzio, hunted out the manuscripts of classical authors, left but little grounds to hope for any subsequent discovery of importance. It appears from the letters of those times, that no trouble nor expense was spared
in the prosecution of such researches, which, however, were not a little impeded by the bigotry and avarice of the monks, whose interest it was to keep the treasures to themselves, not only because it was a maxim of their policy to obstruct the diffusion of knowledge, but because the transcribing of MSS. was to them a source of considerable emolument. Erasmus pathetically expostulates with some canons, who could neither lise their manuscript books themselves, nor would permit the use of them to others. It is certain, however, that such exertions were made by those scholars who lived about the time when printing was invented, and by the earliest professors of the typographical art, to procure copies of the classical writers, that there was no good reason to expect that much was left to be done in this department of literature.
But by what unfortunate concurrence of events did it happen, that a great part of the ancient authors have come down to us in so imperfect and mutilated a state ; and that so many are known only by name, although copies of their entire works must have been liberally dispersed over various parts of Italy, the eastern coasts of Europe, and the shores of Asia Minor? How is it that, of the great tragedians of Greece, only a very few out of many plays survive, and that those of Latium are known only by sone scattered fragments ? that scarcely any thing remains of the great lyric poets ? that Menander and Philemon, and the host of later dramatists, are lost? and that those who do survive, exist in a mangled and pitiable state,
- laceri crudeliter ora,
Auribus, et truncas inhonestu vulnere nares? - These are questions which must frequently have suggested them
selves to the inind of every one conversant with such studies, but which, perhaps, no one has been able to answer to his own satisfaction. Several circumstances, . indeed, may be assigned, which will go some way towards solving the difficulty; but it is not easy altogether to account for the singular fate which has attended many of the greatest luminaries of antiquity. With respect to the Latin classics, indeed, the matter is more readily explained. The introduction of scholastic theology, and the decline of classical taste, gradually brought the study of the ancient authors into disrepute. Literature was confined almost exclusively to ecclesiastics, who found it more profitable to distinguish themselves in enucleating the subtleties of dialectic divinity, than to waste their time in expounding Cicero or Livy. Joannes Sarisberiensis gives us a brief but forcible description of the state of things in those times : • Sufficiebat ad victoriam verbosus clamor, et qui undecunque aliquid inferebant, ad propositi perveniebant metam. Poetae et historiographi habebantur infames; et si quis
incumbebat incumbebat laboribus antiquorum, notabatur, et non modo asella tardior, sed obtusior plumbo omnibus erat invisus. We cannot wonder then if many manuscript copies of the classical authors were by degrees applied to binding the works of the scholastic divines, or even to the making of rackets; and that the few which were spared, lay rotting in some neglected corner of the libraries described by Poggio : Erant in Bibliotheca libri illi, non ut eorum dignitas postulabat, sed in teterrimo quodam et obscuro carcere, fundo scilicet unius turris, quo ne vita quidem damnati detruderentur. In this dungeon of a turret Poggio discovered Quintilian, the Argonautics of Valerius Flaccus, and the Commentary of Asconius Pædianus upon Cicero's orations.
If we may believe some acconnts, the barbarous ignorance of their monastic possessors had not finished the work of destruction amongst the more ancient MSS. at a period considerably more recent than that of Poggio and Aretino. It is related by Chapelain, a poet who enjoyed a high reputation till he published, that the tutor of a Marquis de Rouville assured him, that some years before, having sent to Saumur for some rackets, he was struck by the appearance of the parchment; and upon examining it most narrowly, he fancied that he saw the titles of the Sih, 10th and 11th Decads of Livy. Upon applying to the racket-maker, he was told that the apothecary of the Abbey of Fontevraud, having found in the corner of a chamber in that abbey a pile of parchment volumes, and having read in several of them that they were parts of the history of Tite Lize, begged them of the abbess, assuring her that the book was of no use, because it had been printed.' Having obtained them, the apothecary disposed of them to himself-that he had made of them 'une multitude très grande de battoirs, of which he had still remaining more than twelve dozen !' So says M. Chapelain, who probably believed the story; but it is pretty clear that the tutor mystified him.
The titles of three decads upon a pair or two of rackets are rather too much. The story, however, may seem to derive some degree of credibility from the well known fact, that Sir Robert Cotton redeemed the original of Magna Charta from the hands of a tailor who was on the point of cutting it up for measures. Pietro della Valle, in bis travels, relates that he had been in treaty with the Grand Şeignior's librarian for an entire Livy; ihe price to be paid was 10,000 crowns. But upon searching the library, the MS. liad disappeared. The probability is that it had never been there.
But it is not only to the accidental depredations of ignorance that we have to ascribe the loss of so many ancient writings. It is well known that some of the popes waged a fierce and destructive war against the manuscripts of the classical authors, as if to avenge the cause of Christianity for the persecutions of the heathen
emperors. emperors. Pope Gregory I. is said to have burned all the copies of Livy upon which he could lay his hands, on account of the superstitious legends with which the Roman historian abounded; a curious reason to be assigned by the author of the life of St. Benedict and of the Dialogues with Peter the deacon,' of which the worthy and candid Dupin confesses, that in it “there are miracles so frequent, so extraordinary, and oftentimes for matters of such little consequence, that it is very difficult to believe them all. Gregory's motive may possibly have been a well-founded apprehension, that a comparison of the palpably fabulous legends of the Roman History with the anecdotes related in his own works, would not serve to enhance his character for veracity. It seems certain that this pope committed great ravages amongst the ancient poets. Cardan tells us that he caused the plays of Afranius, Nævius and Ennius to be burnt. But it is difficult to conceive that he could have effected the destruction of all the copies, unless we suppose, which may perhaps have been the case, that the desolation occasioned by the irruptions of the northern hordes had been so great, that most of them were lost before the age of Gregory. Some degree of uncertainty is cast over the whole account by the fact, that Machiavelli and Cardan relate a similar story of Pope Gregory VII. who is said by them to have burned a great number of the most valuable ancient writings : and considering the violent and tyrannical temper of that pontiff, and the great influence which he possessed over the chief states of Europe, we think that he was more likely to effect an extensive destruction of literary monuments than his predecessor. He is reported to have burned the works of Varro, lest Augustin, who had copied from that author a great part of his treatise de Civitate Dei, should be detected as a plagiary,
This is sufficienly ridiculous, since nothing is more open than the manner in which Augustin quotes Varro; and the quotations themselves are chiefly made for the express purpose of refuting them. But the story is deservedly rejected by Naudé, as fabulous. The fact, no doubt, is, that the writings of Varro had long been obsolete, and perished through neglect rather than misusage. Scaliger, however, who was not remarkable for credulity, says, that in the time of this pope an infinite number of good books were burned at Rome, so that he entertained no hopes of finding any addition to the authors then known. Gregory I. is also said to have burned the Palatine library at Rome, to which story there is only this ob. jection, that in the time of that pope there was no Palatine library to burn.
The truth after all, is, that of the Latin writers not many have perished whose loss we need greatly regret. The Roman poets who wrote before the Augustan age would scarcely be intelligible, if they existed. The few remaining sbreds of the satyric mantle