« PreviousContinue »
CONCERNING THE MANUSCRIPTS OF LIVY, IN THE ESCURIAL LIBRARY.
Ir having been often asserted, that an entire and complete copy of Livy was extant in the Escurial library, I requested my son, in the year 1771, (he being at that time minister plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid,) to inquire for me, what manuscripts of that author were there to be found.
He procured me the following accurate detail from a learned ecclesiastic, Don Juan de Pellegeros, canon of Lerma, employed by Monsr. De Santander, his catholic majesty's librarian, to inspect for this purpose the manuscripts of that valuable library.
The detail was in Spanish, of which the following is a translation.
Among the MSS. of the Escurial library are the following works of T. Livy.
1. Three large volumes, which contain so many decads, the first, third, and fourth, (one decad in each volume,) curiously written on parchment, or fine vellum, by Pedro de Middleburgh, or of Zeeland, (as he styles himself.)
The books are truly magnificent, and in the title and initials curiously illuminated. They bear the arms of the house of Borgia, with a cardinal's cap, whence it appears that they belonged either to pope Callixtus the Third, or to Alexander the Sixth, when cardinals.
2. Two other volumes, written by the same hand, one of the first decad, the other of the third ; of the same size and beauty as the former. Both have the same arms; and in the last is a note, which recites, “This book belongs to D. Juan de Fonseca, bishop of Burgos.
3. Another volume of the same size, and something more ancient than the former, (being of the beginning of the fifteenth century,) containing the third decad entire. This is also well written on parchment, though not so valuable as the former.
4. Another of the first decad, finely written on vellum. At the end is written as follows: “Ex centum voluminibus, quæ ego indies vitæ meæ magnis laboribus hactenus scripsisse memini, hos duos Titi Livii libros Anno Dni. 1441, ego Joannes Andreas de Colonia feliciter, gratia Dei, absolvi;” and at the end of each book, "Emendavi Nicomachus Fabianus."
In the last leaf of this book is a fragment either of Livy himself, or of some pen capable of imitating him. It fills the whole leaf; and the writer says, it was in the copy from which he
transcribed. It appears to be a fragment of the latter times of the second Punic war.
5. Another large volume, in parchment, well written, of the same century, viz. the fifteenth, containing three decads. 1. De Urbis initu. 2. De Bello Punico. 3. De Bello Macedonico. In this last decad is wanting a part of the book. This volume is much esteemed, being full of notes and various readings, in the hand of Hieronimo Žunita, its former possessor.
6. Another very valuable volume, containing the first decad, equal to the former in the elegance of its writing and ornaments. This also belonged to Hieronimo Zunita; the age the same.
. 7. Lastly, there is another of the first decad also, written on paper, at the beginning of the fifteenth century. This contains nothing remarkable.
In all, there are ten volumes, and all nearly of the same age.
Here ends the account of the Escurial manuscripts, given us by this learned Spaniard; in which manuscripts we see there appears no part of Livy but what was printed in the early editions.
The other parts of this author, which parts none of the manuscripts here recited give us, were discovered and printed afterwards.
As to the fragment mentioned in the fourth article, (all of which fragment is there transcribed,) it has, though genuine, no peculiar rarity, as it is to be found in all the latter printed editions. See particularly in Crevier's edition of Livy, Paris, 1736, tome ii. pages 716, 717, 718, beginning with the words Raro simul hominibus, and ending with the words increpatis risum esse, which is the whole extent of the fragment here exhibited.
From this detail it is evident that no entire copy of Livy is extant in the Escurial library.
GREEK MANUSCRIPTS OF CEBES, IN THE LIBRARY OF THE KING OF
The picture of Cebes, one of the most elegant moral allegories of Grecian antiquity, is so far connected with the middle age, that the ingenious Arabians of that time thought it worth translating into Arabic.
It was also translated from Greek into Latin by Ludovicus Odaxius, a learned Italian, soon after Greek literature revived there, and was published in the year 1497.
After this it was often printed, sometimes in Greek alone, sometimes accompanied with more modern Latin versions. But
the misfortune was, that the Greek manuscripts, from which the editors printed, (that of Odaxius alone excepted,) were all of them defective in their end or conclusion. And hence it followed that this work for many years was published, edition after edition, in this defective manner.
Had its end been lost, we might have lamented it, as we lament other losses of the same kind. But in the present case, to the shame of editors, we have the end preserved, and that not only in the Arabic paraphrase, and the old Latin translation of Odaxius, but, what is more, even in the original text, as it stands in two excellent manuscripts of the king of France's library.
From these MSS. it was published in a neat 12mo. edition of Cebes, by James Gronovius, in the year 1689; and after him by the diligent and accurate Fabricius, in his Bibliotheca Græca, vol. i. p. 834, 835; and, after Fabricius, in a small octavo edition, by Thomas Johnson, A. M. printed at London, in the
Whoever reads the conclusion of this treatise will find sufficient internal evidence to convince him of its authenticity, both from the purity of the language, and the truth, as well as connection of the sentiment.
However, the manuscript authority resting on nothing better than the perplexed account of that most obscure and affected writer, James Gronovius, I procured a search to be made in the royal library at Paris, if such manuscripts were there to be found.
Upon inspection of no less than four manuscripts of Cebes, preserved in that valuable library, numbers 858, 2992, 1001, 1774, it appeared, that in the second and in the third, the end of Cebes was perfect and entire, after the manner in which it stands in the printed editions above mentioned.
The end of this short essay is to prove, that the genuineness of the conclusion thus restored does not rest merely on such authority as that of James Gronovius, (for Fabricius and Johnson only follow him,) but on the authority of the best manuscripts, actually inspected for the purpose.
SOME ACCOUNT OF LITERATURE IN RUSSIA, AND OF ITS PROGRESS
TOWARDS BEING CIVILIZED.
The vast empire of Russia extending far into the north, both in Europe and Asia, it is no wonder that, in such a country, its inhabitants should have remained so long uncivilized. For culture of the finer arts it is necessary there should be comfortable leisure. But how could such leisure be found in a country where every one had enough to do to support his family, and to resist the rigour of an uncomfortable climate? Besides this, to make the finer arts flourish, there must be imagination; and imagination must be enlivened by the contemplation of pleasing objects; and that contemplation must be performed in a manner easy to the contemplator. Now, who can contemplate with ease, where the thermometer is often many degrees below the freezing point? Or what object can he find worth contemplating for those many long months, when all the water is ice, and all the land covered with snow?
If then the difficulties were so great, how great must have been the praise of those princes and legislators, who dared attempt to polish mankind in so unpromising a region, and who have been able, by their perseverance, in some degree to accomplish it ?
Those who on this occasion bestow the highest praises upon Peter the Great, praise him, without doubt, as he justly deserves. But if they would refer the beginning of this work to him, and much more its completion, they are certainly under a mistake.
As long ago as the time of our Edward the Sixth, Ivan Basilowitz adopted principles of commerce, and granted peculiar privileges to the English, on their discovery of a navigation to Archangel.
A sad scene of sanguinary confusion followed from this period to the year 1612, when a deliverer arose, prince Pajanky. He, by unparalleled fortitude, having routed all the tyrants and impostors of the time, was by the bojars, or magnates, unanimously elected czar. But this honour he, with a most disinterested magnanimity, declined for himself, and pointed out to them Michael Fædorowitz, of the house of Romanoff, and by his mother's side descended from the ancient czars. From this period we may date the first
we may date the first appearances of a real civilizing, and a development of the wealth and power of the the Russian empire. Michael reigned thirty-three years. By his wisdom, and the mildness of his character, he restored ease and tranquillity to subjects who had been long deprived of those inestimable blessings; "he encouraged them to industry, and gave them an example of the most laudable behaviour.
His son Alexius Michaelowitz was superior to his father in the art of governing and sound politics. He promoted agriculture; introduced into his empire arts and sciences, of which he was himself a lover ; published a code of laws, still used in the administration of justice ; and greatly improved his army, by mending its discipline. This he effected chiefly by the help of strangers, most of whom were Scotch. Lesley, Gordon, and Ker, are the names of families still existing in this country.
Theodore, or Fædor, succeeded his father in 1677. He was of a gentle disposition, and weak constitution; fond of pomp and magnificence, and in satisfying this passion contributed to polish his subjects by the introduction of foreign manufactures and articles of elegance, which they soon began to adopt and imitate. His delight was in horses, and he did his country a real service in the beginning and establishing of those fine breeds of them in the Ukraine and elsewhere. He reigned seven years; and having on his death-bed called his bojars round him, in the presence of his brother and sister, Ivan and Sophia, and of his half-brother Peter, said to them, “ Hear my last sentiments; they are dictated by my love for the state, and by my affection for my people: the bodily infirmities of Ivan necessarily must affect his mental faculties; he is incapable of ruling a dominion like that of Russia; he cannot take it amiss, if I recommend to you to set him aside, and to let your approbation fall on Peter, who to a robust constitution joins great strength of mind, and marks of a superior understanding."
Theodore dying in 1682, Peter became emperor, and his brother Ivan remained contented. But Sophia, Ivan's sister, a woman of great ambition, could not bring herself to submit.
The troubles which ensued; the imminent dangers which Peter escaped ; his abolition of that turbulent and seditious soldiery, called the Strelitz; the confinement of his half-sister Sophia to a monastery; all these were important events, which left Peter in the year 1689 with no other competitor than the mild and easy Ivan; who dying not many years after, left him sole monarch of all the Russias.
The acts at home and abroad, in peace and in war, of this stupendous and elevated genius, are too well known to be repeated by me. Peter adorned his country with arts, and raised its glory by arms: he created a respectable marine ; founded St. Petersburgh, a new capital, and that from the very ground; rendering it withal one of the first cities in Europe for beauty and elegance.
To encourage letters, he formed academies, and invited foreign professors not only to Petersburgh (his new city) but to his ancient capital Moscow; at both which places these professors were maintained with liberal pensions.
As a few specimens of literature from both these cities have recently come to my hand, I shall endeavour to enumerate them, as I think it relative to my subject.
1. Ρlutarchus περί Δυσωπίας, και περί Τύχης-Gr. Lat. cum animadversionibus Reiskii et alior: suas adjecit Christianus Fridericus Matthæi. Typis Universitatis Mosquensis, an. 1777. 8vo.