Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

At page 69, note 4, Mr. H. says:

• Muratori seems to confound the two captures. Annali d'Italia, tom. iii

, p. 410 ad an. 456, and p. 420 ad an. 549. As the Isaurians were the traitors on both occasions, the confusion was the more natural ; but it was certainly of the second capture that Anastasius spoke in the following words : Die autem tertia decima Totila in. troivit in Civitatem Romanam indict. 14 (13) per portam Sancti Pauli. Tota enim nocte fecit buccina clangi usque dum cunctus populus fugeret, aut per ecclesias se celaret ne gladio Romani vitam finirent. Ingressus autem' rex habitavit cum Romanis quam pater cum filiis.' In vita Vigilii, p. 89. Muratori mentions that the Isaurians opened the Asinarian gate at the first capture, and the gate of St. Paul at the second, and yet he applies the clemency of Totila to his entry by the first, not, as Anastasius says, by the second gate.'

Muratori does not in any way confound the two captures. He does not attribute the clemency of Totila alone to the first entry, for he relates, after Procopius, his generous acts upon both occasions; and though he quotes Anastasius on both, and, in the first, says that, according to him, Totila acted as a father to the city, he was authorised so to do, for this Author only mentions one siege and taking of Rome by Totila in the life of Vigilius, whereas both happened in his papacy, during which he relates the coronation and death of this king. The Author of the Miscella, also, to which Muratori refers, joins the two entries in one, and says that Totila lived like a father amongst the Romans, though at the same time he specifies St. Paul's gate as the one he entered by, (porta Ostensi.) For this reason, Muratori had a right, if he had merely their authority, without that of Procopius, to state that Totila lived like a father amongst his people on both occasions. At page 228, note 1, Muratori is again sneered at.

Muratori is much amused at a story of Petro Damian's, that the antipope had his eyes bored out, his ears cut off, and his tongue also cut off

, and being then put upon an ass, with his face to the tail, which he held in his hand, was paraded about Rome, and obliged to exclaim,“ such is the deserving punishment of him who endeavours " to expel the Pope of Rome from his seat." Damian tells this, with the exception of the tongue cut out ; a Saxon annalist tells it with the exception of the exclamation ; so that the joke is only in Muratori's confusion.'

We do not understand what Mr. Hobhouse means here. What joke does he mean to exist only in Muratori's confusion ? Muratori attempts no witty sarcasm ; he is not even flippant, like the Author of the Illustrations upon this occasion. He relates, upon the authorities of Damian, the Saxon, and also of the Author of the Life of St Nilo, the abbot, the history as deducible from their slightly different accounts, and then, after

mentioning the exclamation Damian says he was forced to make, he remarks, Graziosa novella ! " a pretty fable! as if it were

credible that the miserable man had the inclination or power • to sing this song! and then this question is to be asked

of Peter Damian, how could he make this exclamation when

they had cut out his tongue?' For this is mentioned by both the other authorities.

The pretended corrections of Mr. Gibbon, are quite as frivolous and equally inaccurate. We shall only notice as samples the first two that occur.

Let it not,' he says, at page 58, be thought presumptuous to say that this last chapter should have been his first composition, written while his memory was freshly stamped with the image of the ruins which inspired his immortal labours. In the present case his researches do not bear the mark of having been at all corrected by hi Italian travels; and indeed, in more than one instance, his erudition has completely effaced his experience. It is not meant to attach undue importance to trifles, but an author, whose accuracy was his pride, and who is generally allowed to have descended to the minutest details, particularly in topography, might hardly have been expected to have made the following mistake : “ The Roman ambassadors were introduced to the tent of Attila as he lay encamped at the place where the slow winding Mincius is lost in the foaming Benacus, and trampled with his Scythian cavalry the farms of Catullus and Virgil;" and below, note 63, “ The Marquis Maffei (Verona illustrata, part 1, pp. 95, 129, 221, part 2, pp. 2–6) has illustrated with taste and learning this interesting topography. He places the interview of Attila and St. Leo near Ariolica or Ardelica, now Peschiera, at the conflux of the lake and the river.' Decl. and Fall, cap. xxxv. p. 31. Extraordinary! The Mincius flows from the Benacus at Peschiera, not into it. The country. is on a descent the whole way from the Veronese hills, according to the quotation from Virgil cited by Mr. Gibbon himself:

qua se subducere colles

Incipiunt. More strange still is the reference to Maffei, who, so far from al. luding to a conflux of the river and lake, says at the close of the very sentence respecting the interview between Attila and St. Leo, “ Chi scrisse il luogo di cosi memorabit fatto essere stato ove sbocca il Mincio nel Po, d'autore antico non ebbe appoggio.” Verona illustrata, parte i. P: 424. The other references parte ii. p. 3, 10, 11, of the same edition, say nothing of the course of the river. It is just possible Mr. Gibbon thought Maffei meant to deny that the Mincio fell into the Po; but at all events he might have seen at Peschiera that it rurs through sluices out of the Benacus. Maffei, however, in another place actually mentions the outlet of the lake into the Mincio: “ Peschiera all'esito del lago sul Mincio.” Veron. illust. par. iii. p. 510.

Wbat is there extraordinary in this ? Mr. Gibbon does not say the Mincio flows into the Benacus; his words are,' Where

• the slow winding Mincius is lost,' &c. and, at the conflux c of the lake and river.' Cannot a river be lost to us, when we are tracing it upwards? We say the Nile was lost in the mountains to the ancients, merely because they could not trace it further. Conflux does not necessarily mean the flowing into; here it merely means that the waters of Benacus and the Mincio are mingled together. That Gibbon could not make the mistake here attributed to him, we may argue from the circumstance mentioned by the Author himself, that he mentious the gradual inclination of the mountains from the lake, in the quotation from Virgil. Those who examine the note, will find also that Gibbon did not make the alleged mistake with regard to Maffei. In the references to the pages indicated, Maffei illustrates the topograpby; he does not speak merely of the course of the river. What then does Mr. H. mean by saying, • More strange still is the reference to Maffei, who, so far from ' alluding to a conflux,' &c.? The Italian quotation means : ? Who wrote, that the situation of this memorable event was,

where the Mincio opens into the Po, has no authority of o ancient authors,' What contradiction is herein contained to Mr. Gibbon? or why, as Maffei does not deny that the Mincio flows into the Po, quote it at all?

At page 112, note, Mr. Gibbon,' it is said, has observed that the Greek writers are apt to con und the times and actions of Gregory the IId. and Illd. (cap. xlix. p. 132, note 20, vol. ix. 8vo.) and by some accident the following extraordinary error has been left in his text. “ In his distress the first Gregory had implored the aid of the “ hero of the age, of Charles Martel.” (ibid. page 147.) The first Gregory had been dead more than a century. The historian could hardly mean the first of the IId. and IIId. which would be too equivocal an expression : beside which there was but a letter written, and there are some doubts as to the embassy of Gregory II. to Charles Martel ; and the decided, perhaps repeated, supplication to him was from Gregory IIId. (See Muratori, tom. iv. p. 286, ad an. 741.) Nor does this mistake look like an error of the press, to be read," Gregory had first implored,” &c. since the application to Pepin was made by Stephen IId.'

Here, again, is a strange confusion on the part of our Aus thor. Not fewer than three historical errors of his own occur in the last two lines. First, his words imply, that Stephen IId. reigned before the Gregories, which is false, as there was an interval of ten years between the pontificates of Gregory IIId. and Stephen the IId. A second error is, his allowing the possibility of any address to Pepin being before that time made by the Gregories, who addressed Charles Martel, the predecessor of Pepin. The third error is, bis making Stephen the ļId.

address Pepin, when he was, during only four days, adorned with the Papal tiara, the last two of which he passed in a state of insensibility. It was Stephen the IIId, who crossed the Alps to seek the aid of the French king. But as to Mr. Gibbon, in the 49th chapter, he had been speaking of the two anticonoclast Gregories, as alike in danger from Liutprand, alike in enmity with the Greek emperor from his heresy, alike anxious for the allegiance of the Neapolitan and Beneventine feudatory princes ; it was therefore natural, and certainly it was no error, to speak of Gregory the Ild. as the first of tbose mentioned in this chapter; and hence to say, 'the first Gregory implored ;' es. pecially as there could be no confusion with Gregory the Great, even if this paragraph was read by itself, from the circumstance of his uviting his name so immediately with that of Charles Martel.

But enough: We hope that by what we have here adduced, we may have enabled the reader to form a just and accurate opinion of the value of these Illustrations. We need not, therefore, fatigue ourselves any more with lifting ponderous folios, in order to expose the errors of Mr. Hobhouse, who, if he had employed the time and labour be has wasted upon this work, in the search of truth, would have done himself more credit ; and had he at the same time laid aside some of his flippancy, he might have rendered a service to the literary world.

Art. III. IUustrations of the Divine Government ; tending to shew

that every Thing is under the Direction of Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, and will terminate in the Production of Universal Purity and Happiness. By T. Southwood Smith, M.D. Second Edition,

considerably enlarged. 8vo. pp. 303. London, 1817. THERE are topics of great reputed difficulty, that, in truth,

are difficult only when we overstep the boundary with which an enlightened good sense would circumscribe our inquiries. Within this boundary there is hardly a path that deserves to be called perplexing; beyond it, all subjects are almost equally uncertain ; and if one shall seein less so than another, it will be ihat which, being the least exposed to the test and contradiction of experience, admits of our thinking ourselves informed purely because we want the means of being apprized of our ignorance. When the superficial and the rash transgress the boundary to which we refer, they return laden with as many plausible fallacies. as many demonstrated and illustrated absurdities, as would employ a long life to confute. If the modest and intelligent follow in the same track, they will, most probably, encounter distressing embarrassments, which may leave them ever after hesitating in conduct, and unhappy in reflection. It is the property and distinction of a strong and sane mind, to ascertain with pre

cision, this limit, and when ascertained, to stand firmly upon it under seductive influences. A multiplicity of questions on the most interesting subjects may be proposed, upon which an individual thus endowed, so far from pretending to have an opinion, will be forward to acknowledge his utter incompetency for arriving at any satisfactory conclusion. But at the same time, there is no tone of them with respect to which he will not wish to have a clear idea of the nature and extent of its bearing, upon known and practical principles. Nor is there, we imagine, a single subject within the range of thought, which, on any account, requires us, by a perpetual effort, to hold up, as it were, a screen between it and ourselves, or to prevent it, as by force, from ever being submitted to our contemplation. All that seems needful is, to keep in view the distinction between forming an opinion upon the question itself, and viewing it with a steady eye, in the relation it bears to our conduct or feelings. In many cases, to attempt the former, betrays unequivocally the most vulgar presumption ; designedly to shun the latter, is not less characteristic of a feeble and narrow understanding. To know all things is not the privilege of man; to think justly and wisely on every subject which is presented to the mind, is the true glory of his intellectual nature.

These remarks secm applicable to all speculations having for their object the final destinies of mankind, and they appear peculiarly appropriate, when discussions relative to the doctrine of Future Punishment are introduced. This subject, viewed apart from hypothesis, must be acknowledged to lie within a narrow compass; but if pursued in that spirit of licentious speculation, which builds with the like careless confidence, upon distant analogies, as upon the most complete induction, it will We believe, rarely fail to involve the mind, eventually, in all the thick darkness of Atheism. Those who coinmence an argument, with the determination of proving that wliat is apparently wrong, is really right, and that evil is but a temporary modification of good, and this is the very essence of the reasoning now before us.) must have resolved to halt in an inconsistency, if they do not soon profess their conviction, that the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is arbitrary, or wholly unmeaning. Now, the line which divides this sentiment from atheism, we consider as having no reality. Once destroy the idea of the essential and eternal difference between good and evil, and the moral attributes of the Supreme Being may be talked of, but they can no longer be realized; and when the mind has advanced so far, it is alone the odium and the terror of the name, that prevent it from recognising the proper atheism of its opinions, under the mask of a self-existent, many-functioned animal, called the Universe. Vol. X. N.S.

2 E

« AnteriorContinuar »