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reliance, toleration, equal justice, and education. The comparison is honourable to ourselves; yet perhaps, as Lord Elgin remarked, the natives do not like us the better for it.
Before he had been a month in England, the highest office in that service in which Lord Elgin had spent his life was offered to him, and he accepted the splendid post of Viceroy of India, conscious that here again it would be his duty to restore order, authority, and confidence after a great convulsion, and aware that the advance of life, and twenty years of incessant labour, often in tropical climates, had sensibly weakened his vital powers. He took leave of his friends at Dunfermline in a few touching sentences, which showed that he himself thought it might be for the last time. The death of Ritchie, the Advocate-General, soon after he reached Calcutta, the death of Lord Canning within a few months of his retirement, and the death of Robert Bruce, one of the best and bestbeloved of Lord Elgin's brothers, contributed to give additional strength to these gloomy forebodings. In fact Lord Elgin was destined to fill the office of Governor-General of India for only eighteen months, a period hardly sufficient for him to have mastered the details of administration of that great Empire, with which he had no previous acquaintance, and quite insufficient for him to give to the policy of the Government the stamp of his own mind. Averse to all rash or sudden changes, he contented himself with following in the steps of his friend and predecessor, Lord Canning, whose sentiments were so congenial to himself. Yet his letters written at this period to Sir Charles Wood, the Secretary of State for India, though somewhat inferior in vigour to his earlier compositions, show with what an earnest intelligence and love of truth and justice he had applied himself to the work before him, and that if strength and life had not failed him at the outset, Lord Elgin might have taken rank with the ablest and best of those remarkable men who have governed in succession the AngloIndian Empire.
At an early period of his residence in India he had taken the resolution to leave as soon as possible the enervating climate of Calcutta, and to see with his own eyes, as he was ever wont to do, the chief provinces of his government. He proceeded in February to Benares, and thence to Allahabad, Agra, and Delhi, holding durbars, opening railways, speaking everywhere the language of conciliation, respect for native rights, and peace. His great object was to obtain some
knowledge of local and native feeling which does not reach • Calcutta,' and with this view he even thought that the seat of government might with advantage be removed to Lahore. In March he reached Simla, and there the last few months of his life were spent. Even then he explored some of the upper valleys in the chain of the Himalaya, crossed the Chenab by the twig-bridge, which he describes as the most difficult * job he ever attempted,' and studied the opening of a new road for trade with Ladâk and China. But this effort was the last. Indeed, he never rallied from the exhaustion consequent on passing the twig-bridge at the Chenab, which was so rent and tattered by the wear and tear of the past season as to render the passage extremely fatiguing. Symptoms of disease of the heart, which had manifested themselves since he reached the Hills, now assumed an alarming character. On the 6th November his illness was pronounced to be mortal. In full possession of his faculties, and conscious of his own condition, he displayed in this last stage of life the same moral greatness which had borne him through it, an absolute resignation of himself to the will of God, and a minute and thoughtful consideration of all that remained to be done for others. When he received the Holy Communion for the last time, We are now entering on a new communion, he said, ' the living and the dead. On the 20th November he expired, and was buried on the following day at the cemetery of Dhurmsala, in a spot chosen by Lady Elgin, and surrounded by the most sublime scenery in the world.
Perhaps the noblest part of the history of England is to be found in the recorded lives of those who have been her chosen servants, and who have died in that service. Selfcontrol, endurance, and an heroic sense of duty, are more conspicuous in such men than the love of action and of fame. But their lives are the landmarks of our race. Lord Elgin, it is true, can hardly be ranked with the first of British statesmen, or orators, or commanders. His services, great as they unquestionably were, had all been performed under the orders of other men. Even among his own contemporaries he fills a place in the second rank. But happy are the country and the age in which such men are to be found in the second rank, and are content to be there! This volume, then, deserves, in our opinion, to be read as the faithful picture of a varied and adventurous life, but it may well retain a place in English literature, from the vivacity and grace of Lord Elgin's own style, from the originality of many of his observations on public affairs, but, above all, as an example to future times of a high-minded and patriotic servant of the Crown.
Art. III.-1. History of Ancient Manuscripts. A Lecture
delivered in the Hall of the Inner Temple, by WILLIAM FORSYTH, Q.C., LL.D. Printed at the request of the
Masters of the Bench. London: 1872. 2. History of the Transmission of Ancient Books to Modern
Times. By Isaac Taylor. London: 1859. 3. Præfationes et Epistola Editionibus Principibus Auctorum
veterum præpositæ. Curante BERIAH BOTFIELD. London
and Cambridge: 1861. WHE
THEN the classical student or historian has exhausted his
lamentations over the ravages sustained by ancient authors, and reflects upon the vicissitudes to which the manuscripts which enshrined their labours have been exposed, he will find a more legitimate matter of surprise in the extent of our possessions. There have been several periods in history when the entire extinction of ancient books seemed more probable than their partial preservation. War, fire, negligence of custody, bigotry, ignorance, and dishonesty sum up a catalogue of enemies compared with which • Time's effacing fingers' might well appear to have foregone their share in the destruction of such perishable materials.
It is to German editors in particular that we owe the latest exposition of the relative value of existing manuscripts, and even Mr. Munro, whose valuable edition of Lucretius * forms an epoch in English scholarship, has been content to follow, though with a rational not servile assent, in the steps of Lachmann. The neglect of this study by a long series of eminent scholars was manifested by the loose and capricious application of such phrases as • received reading' and 'vulgate 'text'—justly stigmatised by Ernesti as a mere åyvolas eidwlov, perfugium certè inscitia. The ultimate object of critical inquiry, with reference to documentary evidence, must be directed singly to ascertaining, from whatever source, the probable state of the text as it originally appeared ; this, strictly speaking, being the only real archetype, or exemplar primigenium, towards which, as to the parent source, all existing families of transcripts must more or less remotely converge. The authority of these autographs, of course, if they existed, would be conclusive, but few exist even of modern works, and none
Edin. Rev., No. ccxlix. We gladly recur to that particular portion contained in his introductions on the formation of the text, a learned and practical contribution to the study of MS. authority.
of any ancient one. Pliny and Quintilian attest to having seen the autographs of Cicero, as Tertullian that of St. Paul's Epistles, and Aulus Gellius speaks of a manuscript of the second book of the Æneid, which was believed to have been written by Virgil, and sold for twentyó sigillaria.' The original MSS. of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, extorted, we are told, by Ptolemy from the starving Athenians for his library at Alexandria, possibly shared a fate like those of Latin authors in public and private collections at Rome, which fell victims to the flames in the time of Nero.* But whatever weight may be attached to such traditions, the loss of these autographs necessarily deprives us of that direct proof of the identity of existing copies, which they alone could furnish. How far then, and by what means, dealing with principles rather than details, do existing manuscripts establish, if not identify, at least the fact of connexion ? The inquiry is complex and multiform in its aspects; it alternates between external evidence and critical inference; but its main features are well-regulated and comparatively simple.
Palæography, however various in its methods, and embracing contradictory theories, assigns most of the earliest classical manuscripts extant to periods not beyond the ninth century. Great, however, as is the interval denoted, in these cases, from the date of the author, this modest estimate of antiquity--the result, be it remembered, of practised observation by those most competent to judge—fails wholly to shake, nay rather tends to confirm, the other proofs of genuineness. It is not ' necessary,' Mr. Taylor justly observes, “to trace the literary * relics of classical authors a step farther back than into the ‘midst of the Dark Ages. For if all external and correlative ' evidence were wanting ; if nothing were known concerning the
classic authors except that, such as they are now, they were * extant in the tenth century, enough would be known to make
it abundantly clear that these works were the product of a • different and a distant age.' The Dark Ages, in fact-- and Mr. Taylor has taken the period of midnight, the plumbeum @vum, for his standpoint-were not the times for literary forgeries. All that Hallam can say of Italy in the ninth and tenth centuries is, that Latin was not • wholly unintelligible,' and the very degeneracy of the language which helped to destroy the purity, was a safeguard for the genuineness of the text. It had begun indeed in Italy before the fall of the Empire, in a manner sufficiently marked to distinguish the
* Lipsius ad Tac. Ann. XV. cap. 41.
productions of that age from those of pure Latinity. There is a wide and patent difference between Lactantius the Christian • Cicero,' and his Augustan prototype. The . Lives' of Cornelius Nepos were for a long time, in the infancy of criticism, assigned to Æmilius Probus in the fourth century, from some dedicatory verses to Theodosius found on the manuscripts, but this evidence has been rejected by scholars since Lambinus for the more convincing arguments derived from the purity of his style. In Greece the popularity of Anacreon produced a herd of clumsy imitators in the fourth and fifth centuries, but modern critics, on similar grounds, have unanimously declared against the collection first edited by H. Stephens in 1554, though supported by manuscript authority not inferior in weight, as regards antiquity, to that of many genuine classical productions.
But while we think that Mr. Taylor has inadequately described such conclusions-based in reality on settled rules of critical scholarship--as the result of intuition,' a vague explanation at the best, yet we agree in his remark, as applied to the broad question of genuineness, that the age of existing • manuscripts is a matter of more curiosity than importance, • since proof of another kind carries us with certainty far be' yond the date of any existing parchments ' (p. 203). We allude with him to that network of references and quotations which runs through and connects the mass of classical literature--each a link in the chain of tradition, and a species of indirect evidence which defies the suspicion of modern invention. Essential they are not, and their frequency depended on the popularity of the author. No direct quotations are to be found from Livy after Priscian, and Niebuhr infers that the lost books were probably not read during the whole of the Middle Ages, except perhaps by some grammarians in Italy. Just suspicion undoubtedly attaches to buried writings, which have lain for centuries unnoticed, and indeed, the discovery of many classical manuscripts would seem to be the result of accident bordering on the miraculous ; * but their genuineness
* Strabo's story that Aristotle's works remained rotting in a cellar at Scepsis for 200 years after his death, until rescued by Apellicon of Teos, has been so severely sifted by Kopp, Brandis, and Stahr as to limit its application, if true at all, to that author's original MSS., probably of only a small portion of his works, for his writings were familiar to Alexandrian students in that interval. Of Propertius the oldest copy extant is the Codex Guelpherbytanus' of the thirteenth century. The archetypal MS. was supposed to have been found under some casks in a wine-cellar, in the lifetime of Pontanus, until Van