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LITERATURE, ART, AND SCIENCE IN 1869.
We propose adopting in our Retrospect for the year 1869 a somewhat similar plan to that we made use of the preceding year, and to group what we think more especially worthy of note under certain leading heads. Thus we shall take -1. Works relating to History, more strictly so called, including therein Notices of Public Records ; 2. Biographical Sketches of Eminent Personages, for the most part recently deceased ; 3. Miscellaneous Literature, including Novels, Poetry, Translations, &c., and the like. Works purely scientific in their character and object would seem to be most appropriately arranged under the special Science to which they refer. To take
1. DOCUMENTS MORE OR LESS NATIONAL OR OFFICIAL. “ The Calendar of Treasury Papers, A.D. 1556–1696, preserved in Her Majesty's Public Record Office," prepared by Joseph Redington, though perhaps not possessing the vivid interest of some of the previous volumes of the great series to which it belongs, has much which will reward patient study, at the same time not a little to show how careful and diligent the Editor himself has been with his work. Among, too, the more miscellaneous entries, we find numberless notices of matters we would gladly have had preserved to our own day. Thus we have lists of every application to the Treasury for money grants, many of these commencing with the highest Princes of the Realm and extending to the very lowest “hewer of wood and drawer of water.” One, it seems to us, deserves more than ordinary notice—the petition of a certain John Dee, gentleman, to Philip and Mary, for the preservation of the books cast away, and for the most part destroyed, on the dissolution of the monasteries. “Books,” says he," are the seeds of everlasting excellence ;” and he adds that many had already perished, “ as at Canterbury, the work ‘Cicero de Republica.'” Most scholars are familiar with the story of its re-discovery by Angelo Mai, in the form of a palimpsest; but it will interest all to know that it was extant in an English library so late as the middle of, or at least of the early part of the sixteenth century. But entries like these are by no means the whole or the staple of the volume. Sir Isaac Newton, as master of the mint, complains of his miserable salary, and of the 31. 12s. allowed him annually for coals. The mothers, wives, and sisters of defrauded soldiers complain likewise. “Nothing can be done” endorses more
than one heart-rending petition. Indeed, applicants to the Treasury in those days were not unlike applicants in our times, especially if the application was just and deserving of public support. Roundabout modes of doing businessrather, we would say, roundabout ways of getting rid, by wearing out the patience, of honest and true applicants—were as common then as they are familiar to us now. Mr. Dickens, we believe, invented the term " circumlocution office,” but he did not know that it was already in existence and in good working order in the times of William and Mary. Thus we find that the Commissioners for the Registration of Seamen“ had to propose that the Lords of the Admiralty would please to move the Lords Justices to direct the Lords of the Treasury to order the Custom-house officers not to permit vessels to be cleared without giving bond for the payment of sixpence per month out of their wages”!
A very curious volume printed for the Roxburgh Society next claims our notice, as being nearly connected with, if not actually the same, as the public documents issued under the superintendence of the Master of the Rolls; and this is, “ Unedited Tracts, illustrating the Manners, Opinions, and Occupations of Englishmen during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries ;” a volume containing “The Civil and Uncivil Life” (1579); “ The Serving-man's Comfort' (1598); and Nicholas Breton's "The English Courtier and the Country Gentle
(1586); all of which (the two first of unknown parentage) have great value, as showing from certain and untampered-with sources what was really the social life of England during the so-called Augustan era of Elizabeth. We should state that in the case of “Civil” and “Uncivil,” these words are not used according to modern notions and ideas, but rather according to their original and derivative sense, as referring to “town” and its opposite, "country life.” This portion is thrown into a dialogue, the speakers in which are named Vincent and Valentine, the former being said to have“ been brought up in the country,” while “ Valentine's” education and life was in courts and cities. It would be impossible to follow out in any detail the many curious facts brought before us in this volume, but we cannot fail to notice that the balance in favour of simplicity and modesty of life is, strange to say, with the Court and not with the Country. Thus the Country nobles are represented as squandering their means on hosts of useless menials; the Town aristocracy, on the other hand, resisting, so far as they can, these needless luxuries, were shy of maintaining crowds of retainers, and rather sought comfort and refinement than the applause of vulgar gazers, won, as this would surely be, by extravagant and unlooked-for hospitalities. The contrast is well put in the argument between Vincent and Valentine.
“Besides these" (the gentleman's gentlemen), says Vincent, "we have sub-serving men (as I may call them) seldom in sight; as bakers, brewers, chamberlains, wardrobers, falconers, hunters, horse-keepers, lackeys, and (for the most part) a natural fool or jester to make us sport; also a cook, with a scullion or two, landerers, hinds, and hog-herds, with some other silly slaves as I know not how to name them.” To which speech Valentine replies, “ I thought I had known all the retinue of a nobleman's or gentleman's house ; but now I find I do not, for it seemeth a whole army or camp; and yet (shall I tell you truly what I think?) this last number, though it be least, is the more necessary sort of servants, because these serve necessity, the other superfluity, or (I may call it) ambition.” Many curious incidental notices we find of the manner of thought of different professions in Elizabethan times. Supposing a young man anxious
to get on in life, it is clear that without some certain chances in his favour he would not take to ecclesiastical duties, though were he sure of a deanery or a
а bishopric his views might change. On the other hand, not only law, but even the then young profession of physic were ready to spread their arms to keep him; nor could he quite forget that what“ merchant adventurers ” had done before he could do again, and that the names and careers of Frobisher, Hawkins, Drake, Humphrey, Gilbert, Sebastian Cabot, and others like them, were not to him mere “ themes at school." Valentine may be fairly supposed to express the feelings of the young gallants of his day when he says, “ These reasons may, methinks, move you to hope well of industry ; but to confirm you I will recite the names of some few whose industry hath not only gained themselves glory, but also their country infinite good. How say you to Columbus and Vesputius, whose industry discovered the west part of the world ; from whence the King of Spain fetcheth yearly great treasure ? Also, what do you think of Magellanus, that sailed about the world ? Yea, to come nearer to your knowledge, do you not think that Master Frobisher, by his industry and late travel, shall profit his country and honour himself? Yes, surely ; and a number of others, who, though they have not performed such notable matters, yet have they won themselves reputation, and mean to live, some more and some less, according to their virtue and fortune.”
Another curious thing we notice is the extent to which waiting on or serving those a little superior in rank was carried out in these centuries. The footman of to-day was the footman of Henry VIII.'s time; the only difference being, though this was indeed a most marked one, that the latter did all sorts of menial services for his lord without deeming himself, or being thought by others, one whit the less a gentleman. “Amongst what sort of people,” says the author of the “Serving-man's Comfort," "should this serving-man be sought for ? Even the Duke's son preferred page to the Prince, the Earl's eldest son attendant on the Duke, the Knight's second son the Earl's servant, the Esquire's son to wear the Knight's livery, and the gentlemen's son the Esquire's serving-man. Yes; I know, at this day, gentlemen younger brothers that wear their elder brother's blue coat and badge, attending him with as reverend regard and dutiful obedience as if he were their prince or sovereign.”
Messrs. Brewer and Buller have done good service in their work on the “Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts, preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth,” which comprehends the period between 1589 and 1600. They have added, also, an admirable introductory preface, from which much may be learnt and unlearnt of the actual state of Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth, from which, among other things, it is clear that the recognition of the Supremacy of the Crown in the place of that of the Pope was never a cause of any trouble in Irelanda fact which, probably, few of the 700 Bishops at the Ecumenical Council would believe. The reason, perhaps, was that the preaching friars were those of the clergy who really influenced the people for good or evil, the Bishops being in great measure nominated by the Pope, and therefore independent of the people. Moreover, we know that Mary, Catholic as she was, had as little idea of giving up her supremacy as had her father or her sister. All three were in this respect alike, and Tudors to the back-bone.
Mrs. Green has continued her valuable labours on the “State Papers, Domestic Series, Reign of Elizabeth, A.D. 1595—1601," a period which is chiefly occupied with Essex and his troubles. Thus we find him making a birthday
device with which to please the Queen; then stirring up the foolish attempt to relieve Calais, the Spaniards having actually taken it before Essex started ; and then at Cadiz, the result of which expedition was more satisfactory. The account of the quantity and character of the plunder secured is very curious. Among it were some thirty chests of armour, twenty-three of which were delivered to Sir Giles Merrick, at Plymouth, and may not impossibly form part of the Meyrick Collection so long preserved at Goderich Castle, and recently, in part, exhibited at South Kensington. On his return from Spain, in 1597, we find Essex sulking in the country, and refusing to come to the Court without an express command from the Queen, and which the Queen would not give. A little later Essex is sick at Wanstead, but gets well, and dances with the Queen ; and, lastly, we get a full account of the wretched Irish expedition, which practically cost him his life. There is perhaps not much that is absolutely new in the historical portion of these volumes, but there are a great many curious facts, and abundant details, which render them exceedingly well worthy perusal. We need hardly add, that, like all the works to which Mrs. Green has paid attention, these exhibit to the full the same careful and conscientious editing. The nation may well be proud of the staff of editors whom the good sense and able judgment of the Master of the Rolls has enabled him to secure for the illustration of our national records.
To that most laborious student and antiquary, Joseph Stevenson, we owe a “Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, of the Reign of Elizabeth, 1563,” and comprehending, for one year only, be it remembered, nearly 1600 separate documents, for the most part referring to our intercourse with the French, and giving account of many interesting facts in connexion with the religious warfare then raging in that country, such as the defeat and capture of Condé, who commanded the Huguenots at the battle of Dreux, the murder of the Duke of Guise by Poltrot, and the surrender of Havre by the Earl of Warwick. It will be remembered that Queen Elizabeth had seized upon the town of Havre, partly with a view of aiding the Huguenots, but perhaps more truly from an insane notion of holding it till the French restored to England Calais, which had been recovered by them from the feeble grasp of Mary. The commander of the English garrison was Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the brother of Guildford Dudley, the husband of the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey, and of the famous Earl of Leicester. We find in these papers a singular account of the extraordinary gallantry with which Warwick and his garrison held out, from May, when they were invested, till the 2nd of July, when plague and famine did work that French guns could not accomplish. During the time they were thus shut up they seem to have been in want of almost every thing needful to make a success. ful defence. More than this, though they were in constant communication with England, either they did not receive what they asked for, or what was sent them proved useless. Warwick writes touchingly when he speaks of “the despair that is conceived of them in England by stopping from them of men, money, and victuals.” Inter alia, it appears that they had scarcely any cannon, while those sent from the tower were dangerous to use from their rottenness; they had muskets without ramrods, bows without strings or arrows--nor could they even get fresh meat, though the sea was open, and England not 100 miles off. It was like the commencement of the Crimean campaign, 300 years later.
For the “ Domestic Series of the State Papers, Reign of Charles I., 1637— 1638,” we have a volume, of course, edited with equal skill and care by John Bruce, whose premature death some months ago is deplored by every sound
archæologist. The papers relate to a very interesting period, the first working up to the surface and upheaving caused by the leaven of Puritanism-now beginning to be felt in a way little anticipated. Then was it that the collecting of the ship-money tax began to create great dissatisfaction, the sheriffs being severe in their exactions, as they had themselves been made responsible for the sums at which their respective counties had been rated. Then was it that the Star Chamber was in the full swing of its unjust justice, that the pillory and the cutting off of ears were deemed humane punishments, and the strange law prevailed which allowed no one of any rank to remain in London at Christmastide. We should add that Mr. Bruce's volume is furnished with a most admirable and complete index.
Another excellent book by Mr. Bruce is “ The Diary of John Manningham, of the Middle Temple, A.D. 1602-3,” which has been edited for the Camden Society, and from its character may be almost called a national record. It is a work which well repays careful editing—indeed, could hardly be made truly valuable if left to the care of a man who had not either special knowledge or special love for his subject. Such a man was the late John Bruce, one of the most amiable, and, at the same time, one of the most accomplished antiquaries of his time. An additional interest is given to this edition, that it is wholly due to the desire of Mr. Tite, who has lately become President of the Camden Society, to show his sense of the honour done to him by his election on the Council of the Society of Antiquaries. With this object, he appears to have asked Mr. Bruce whether there was any old MS. he could edit and print, at his expense, for the glory of the society; and on Mr. Bruce pointing out this well-known Harleian MS., Mr. Tite requested him to undertake the duties of editor.
This “ Diary of John Manningham,” who was a barrister of the Middle Temple, has the highest importance for students both of English literature and of English history, and the wonder is that it should have remained so long unpublished among the MSS. stores of the British Museum. Here the reader will find many anecdotes relating to Shakespere, Lord Bacon, Ben Jonson, and John Prynne, with notices not before known of Sir Walter Ralegh, of Lord Mountjoy, of Sir Thomas Overbury, &c., together with the most vivid, and, as far as we can judge, the most true account of the last hours of the life of Queen Elizabeth. The “ Diary,” though in MS., has, we need not say, been long known and much consulted. Collier and Halliwell have used it for its reminiscences of Shakespere ; Mr. Hunter, as an aid to a biographical student. Much, however, remained which had not been utilized, and for the careful exposition of this, as a whole, the public are greatly indebted to Mr. Bruce. Comparatively little is known of Manningham, except what may be gathered from his diary. He was evidently a man of substance, well-educated, and living in chambers in the Temple, and, at the same time, on terms of intimacy with several persons highly connected : hence his opportunities of hearing the truth about many things that had been previously rumoured abroad. Thus, from Dr. Parry, one of the Queen's chaplains, and subsequently Bishop of Worcester, he gleaned several interesting anecdotes; as, for instance, how the Queen had treated himself and another of her chaplains, W. Barlow (in later times successively Bishop of Rochester and Lincoln): he tells us also, merrily, and probably from personal observation, how the Queen jested when she was called upon to make some more serjeants-at-law, and what a queer, fanciful scene was enacted when she was persuaded to pay a visit to Sir Robert Cecil's new house in the Strand, the famous Salisbury House.