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camp, and I not there !' But kind and generous sentiments predominate. Humanity, a warm sympathy with national wrongs, an honest love of truth, justice to individuals, an ever-ready courage and zeal for the public service shine over all his pages. If he relied at times on these bright qualities to a degree which laid him open to criticism, he paid the penalty in failing to obtain as much confidence from his own countrymen as from foreigners. Compliments, testimonials, embraces, favours, and decorations flowed in
upon him from abroad. But those in power at home were slow in giving their endorsement to such honours-honours well earned, and it is clear to demonstration that he had not with his own government that credit for judgment and discretion which was readily accorded to his gallantry, zeal, and sincerity. His passion for honorary distinctions, his fancy for the confidence of Princes, his fond partiality for the Russians, his free and secret communications with their Emperor, his intimacy with Prince Schwartzenburg, his repugnance to official control, his unguarded opinions, his censures of those in command, and his private correspondence with members of the opposition, could not fail to make him an object of jealousy and political mistrust. It is no slight proof of his real merits that, with so many facilities for being misunderstood, he should have made the progress he did, and realized so forward a position in the service of Government. Amidst the great men of a great epoch he stood out in distinct relief on a pedestal of his own. Peace threw him into civil life, his love of free action into party politics, ambition and opportunity into Parliament. On that arena, though rather associated than classed with orators and statesmen, he obeyed the inspirations of a generous nature, and never swerved from the consistent line of duty based on principle. His opinions were not unfrequently too impulsive to be sound. But subsequent events have, in some instances, justified to a striking degree his perception of character, and his anticipation of consequences.
If it be difficult to form a just estimate of untried character, or to read the signs of the times in their premonitory state, how admirable is that sagacity which provides for the triumph of a principle in the hour of its depression, and is never so dazzled by success as to leave a free course to evils which the abuse of it threatens to engender! Carrying back our thoughts to the grand European revulsion, which marked the downfall of Napoleon, we may detect some traces of that forecast at Elba; but we search for it to little purpose at Vienna. The banished Emperor looked forward in hope ; his imperial conquerors looked over their shoulders in fear. We have now the living relics of the former in Paris, and his proscribed nephew on the throne of France; while the latter
Yet the present
have sought a vain refuge in revolutionary concessions, and find only new forms of danger where they reckoned on settled tranquillity. Looking to Europe in its full extent, and even beyond its formal limits, we acknowledge with pleasure that wealth, knowledge, and industry are almost everywhere on the increase ; but the healthy action of those prolific causes of prosperity is often counteracted or impeded by fanatic wars, oppressive armaments, and ruinous adventures. Trade and navigation, those bonds of friendly intercourse among civilized nations, are unable to appease the rage of competition and the antipathies of race. Wild speculations but too often take the place of established maxims. Change is worshipped for its own sake. Expediency is exalted into a principle. Comprehensive and durable utility is dwarfed as a motive into the need or enjoyment of the hour. What we complacently term progress is in some cases a mere return to notions adopted in earlier stages of society, and superseded by requirements of larger scope or the suggestions of longer experience. Nationalities, for instance, have suffered absorption in the course of advancing civilisation, and manners have been gradually softened by the intermixture of races. generation is greatly disposed to overlook these facts and to give its countenance to a retrograde course of policy suggested by partial views and opposed to the lessons of experience. Italy is a special and splendid exception. Universal suffrage may also be mentioned as a revived doctrine no longer in keeping with the numbers entitled by its principle to enjoy the elective franchise. It belongs essentially to dominions of small territorial extent and a limited population. In countries of an opposite character, its introduction would be more than questionable. Left to its own unguided exercise it could hardly fail to be a source of confusion or an instrument of authority. If not in the hands of the mob, or under the sway of demagogues, it would be a tool of the police.
We would not willingly charge the Congress of Vienna with all the dangers and difficulties which now beset the Continent ; but we cannot disguise our impression that a little more foresight, a little more regard for national rights, and somewhat less of devotion to selfish interests at that period of general recovery and exultation, would have healed many an old sore, and closed up many a breach between the sovereigns and their subjects, between the few who govern and the many who are governed.
We would fain believe that it is not too late. We hope that, before the States and Nations of Europe fall off into separate camps with adverse arms and hostile banners, some moderating force, some friendly but determined combination, may be found to interpose between the extremes of arbitrary will and revolutionary passions. If Europe, like America, is to be given over to a relentless struggle for conflicting interests, with no clear views of settlement, and no limitations to mutual hatred and vengeance but those of utter exhaustion, we may bid adieu for many a day to our boasted civilisation, and prepare to write the epitaph of the nineteenth century in blood and tears.
Art. VI.-1. The Third Part of the Ecclesiastical History of
John Bishop of Ephesus. Now first edited by W. Cureton,
M.A., F.R.S., &c. Oxford University Press, 1853. 4to. 2. The Same. Now first translated from the Original Syriac by
R. Payne Smith, M.A., &c. Oxford University Press, 1860.
8vo. 3. Syriac Miscellanies ; or Extracts relating to the First and
Second General Councils, fc. Translated into English from MSS. in the British Museum and Imperial Library at Paris,
with Notes, by B. H. Cowper. London, 1861. 8vo. 4. P. Lagardii Analecta Syriaca. MDCCCLVIII. Lipsiæ. Exem
plaria facta cxv. 8vo.
NTELLECTUAL treasures can claim no exemption from
the general law of Providence, which ordains that great possessions imply great responsibilities. Nor does the law affect individuals only; it is equally applicable to nations; and on this principle it is clear that when the libraries of any country are particularly rich in stores of valuable manuscripts, a large amount of responsibility is incurred. The nation holds them as a stewardship to be administered in the manner most likely to conduce to the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of mankind. The Syriac MSS., in particular, tend greatly to illustrate the habits and thoughts of the earlier ages of Christianity, and must therefore have a special value for every Christian heart; and we deem it quite reasonable, that after the British nation has been in possession of these treasures for upwards of twenty years, the public should ask the simple question, •What has she done with them?' They form the most precious collection of Syriac MSS. in the world, with the exception of that contained in the Vatican; and in some departments of Syriac literature they surpass even that celebrated storehouse,
and are entirely unrivalled. It is our desire, in the present essay, to answer this very fair question-What has she done with them?' not so much for professed Syriac scholars as for those who look to the interests of general literature.
We will waive, for the present, any discussion as to the best mode of rendering such a collection most valuable to the world at large, and will simply endeavour to show what has already been done. We must remark, however, that even in this busy bustling age, though Syriac has no rewards for its votaries, and seems in some respects a language almost out of date, there has been no lack of labourers in this field. They have been found, as we shall see, among our own countrymen ; they have come from Italy, from Prussia, from Denmark, from Holland; all eager to reap the rich harvest which may be gathered from this noble collection, with which the zeal and tact of Archdeacon Tattam have enriched the British Museum.
There is, however, one preliminary matter of great importance on which it is necessary to say a few words. These precious monuments of past ages, now so carefully stored in our national collections, had been shamefully neglected and ill-treated by their former possessors. The monks of the Desert of Scete had no vocation for literature, or at least they have long ceased to care for it. The contents of the volumes had been mismatched, their pages mutilated, and every possible element of confusion introduced among them. Take, for instance, the following account of Dr. Cureton's labours in regard to the volume from which he published certain fragments of the Gospels :
The volume containing these fragments of the Gospel was made up, as I have stated above, of parts of several manuscripts. These were taken, as it would appear, almost by hazard, without any other consideration than that of their being of the same size, and then arranged so as to form a complete copy of the Four Gospels. There were several other volumes in the Nitrian Library made up in this manner, The person who arranged them seems to have had no idea of selecting the scattered parts of the same original volume, which had fallen to pieces, but merely to have taken the first leaves that came to his hand which would serve to complete a copy of the Gospels, and then to have bound them together. In this way it came to pass that parts of three or four manuscripts were found mixed up with portions of three or four others, written at different times, and by different scribes; and sometimes, indeed, not of the exact size, apparently without regard to any other circumstance than merely to render the context perfect. In rebinding these volumes in the British Museum, this injury has been in most cases repaired, and the parts of the same copy have been collected, and again bound together in one.'-Preface, p. ii.
It is clear that with MSS. which arrived in such a condition, the first step towards rendering them accessible to the world at large, must be by re-arranging them and forming a very careful catalogue of the whole. The nation has great reason to be satisfied with the arrangements for this purpose made by the trustees, who have shown much zeal and public spirit. It is true that the present catalogue, as printed among the catalogues of what are called the Additional MSS.,' is to the last degree meagre and unsatisfactory. The real truth is that this list was in great measure made before the whole of the MSS. had been received, and that to do anything more than just to indicate some of the leading matter contained in each volume would be a work of years. We have heard of a man who never went to rest without expressing his thankfulness that there were such people as lexicographers and index-makers. If he had been a Syriac student, he would have added a prayer that some one might undertake a catalogue of the Syriac MSS. in the British Museum. We wish we could add that he would be able to record his gratitude for the accomplishment of his prayer. But for this we must be content to wait a little longer. We are thankful to know that the work is in progress. But the labour is enormous. However familiar a man may be with Syriac, the manner in which the MSS. are written renders it difficult to run the eye over a few pages quickly, and gather their contents; and when we know that sometimes a treatise begins in a portion of the volume and is continued for two or three pages, and then it stops without being concluded, and is succeeded, without any notice of the change, by the middle portion of some other treatise, it is easy to see how these anomalies must bafile and distract the maker of the catalogue. There is scarcely any work where the result is so disproportioned to the labour which it demands. The work of hours, perhaps of days, or weeks, results only in a few lines of the catalogue. We will here give a little specimen of the difficulties attending such an undertaking. The best way will be to give the contents of one of these volumes as catalogued by Dr. Land during his labours in the Museum. He publishes the following as a summary of the contents of No. 14,609 :
•No. 14,609. Mutilated at the commencement.
Fol. 7. Doctrine of St. Peter in the City of Rome.