« AnteriorContinuar »
at first acreed, as a comeced falsities welist of sixty-one
tants, but all men of some reputation for scholarship. The Catholic commissioners were the Chancellor Bellicore, De Thou, François Pithou, and Jean Martin. Canaye de Fresne was chosen as one of the Protestants, and Casaubon had been summoned to Fontainebleau that he might be the second. According to Mr. Pattison, who regards the proceeding as a trap for Casaubon, De Fresne was known to be already on the point of conversion, and it was expected that Casaubon also would yield to the example. His fellow-churchmen at Paris implored him to abstain; but he was pressed on the other side by De Thou and the rest of his literary friends. No religious controversy was at stake, he was told ; the question at issue was a question, not of doctrine, but of scholarship. Casaubon yielded, and was associated in the commission.
When the affair had reached this stage, De Mornay seems to have felt the imprudence of his challenge; and Mr. Pattison ascribes to a desire of receding from his false position the course which he now took of insisting on impossible condi‘tions. He demanded that, before he should go into the conference, a list of all the 500 impugned passages should be furnished to him. On this being refused as unreasonable, he at first declined the conference altogether, but, after much debate, agreed, as a compromise, to abide the arbitration, on
condition that fifty alleged falsities were produced at once.' Du Perron handed in without delay a list of sixty-one. De Mornay had to sit up all night to examine his references to these passages, and, being unprovided with books of his own, was compelled to borrow those of his adversary for the purpose. The commission opened the next morning (May 4). Mr. Pattison gives few details of the discussion. On the whole, however, it is plain that there was some exaggeration in Du Perron's allegation that he had discovered five hundred faussetés énormes;' but it is also certain that many of De Mornay's quotations were incorrect or falsely applied. Nine of them were examined in the conference. On the first of the nine the commission pronounced · Non liquet ;' but on the remaining eight the judgment was against De Mornay. This judgment was unanimous ; and Casaubon's participation in it was regarded by his party as an apostasy. Charnier, Gigord, Pinaud, Calas, and other Protestant leaders, expostulated bitterly with him, and Mr. Pattison himself hardly conceals that he shares the feeling. Casaubon represented, in his own defence, that he had been appointed a judge, and not an advo'cate; that he had to judge of a literary quarrel, not of a reli'gious controversy ; and that the sentence of the arbitrators on
him throcaşaybon, like" slips among alle
• the eight passages was unquestionably right.' Now, whatever may be said as to the propriety of Casaubon's accepting the duty of arbiter in such circumstances at all, we confess that, when he had once accepted it, this plea appears to us utterly irrefragable; and that, as an honest umpire, no other course was, in our judgment, open to him. We have no sympathy with the hope of the Protestant party, that although their champion
might have made a few slips among so many thousand quo* tations, Casaubon, like a good advocate, might have brought
him through. And we can hardly understand, much less can we agree in, Mr. Pattison's verdict, that “ although technically Casaubon's defence of himself was good, yet substan
tially the Protestant grievance was just '(p. 162). It might have been just' perhaps to have called on Casaubon openly to withdraw from the commission; but it appears to us that it would have been positively immoral, he having undertaken the duty, to suggest to him, or to expect from him, as Mr. Pattison appears to do, a decision false in point of scholarship, on the ground that the true literary judgment would be prejudicial to the religious interests of the common cause of Protestantism. There is much good sense in Scaliger's homely sentence in the Scaligeriana,' although it is unjust to several of his fellow-commissioners, as De Thou and Pithou: • Casau. bon ought never to have gone to that conference--he was
the ass among the apes; the scholar among men of no learning. * But, unlike Mr. Pattison, Scaliger goes no farther than to condemn him for undertaking the duty at all.
From the Fontainebleau Conference Casaubon returned to Paris, still without any settled appointment, and uncertain both as to his future occupation and as to his future home. The printing of his · Athenæus' was still unfinished at Lyons, and he found it necessary to pass the summer of 1600 in that city, where, on August 9, he sent to press the last corrected
sheet of that most wearisome work.' He was now nominally attached to the King's service, as lecteur de sa Majesté,' and in that capacity had received money from the treasurer ; but he seems, nevertheless, to have hesitated about returning to Paris. In the end, however, he made up his mind to return; and he gave serious offence to his kind friend, M. le Vic, who was about to remove to Soleure, as French Envoy to the Swiss Confederation, by declining to accompany him. He arrived in Paris, accompanied by his wife and family, on September 13, 1600, and was received into the
house of Henry Estienne, first cousin of Madame Casaubon, antil a suitable apartment should be found. In the matter of lodgment Casaubon's biographers have charged him with 'habitual fidgettiness. During his residence in Paris he changed his residence no fewer than seven times. Mr. Pattison is at pains to account for this apparent restlessness :
Each of these removals had its special and sufficient reason; yet all taken together, and along with the discontent with where he is, the incessant sighing to be somewhere else, the cry for “leisure," we cannot be surprised that his contemporaries should have thought of Casaubon as a querulous dissatisfied man, and that the biographers should have enhanced this impression still further. The true account of the matter is, it seems to me, that Casaubon had the nervous sensibility of the hard student. This susceptibility made him unequal to face the fret and worry of life, and especially of Parisian existence. But he shunned the outer world, not as trouble, but as interruption; he wanted to be free, not for an epicurean inaction, but for hard work -the work he felt he could do. To do this he would fain have been released from that he could not do. If he is solicitous, more than we think is dignified, about provision for his own necessities and those of his family, it is not covetousness, it is that with a free mind he may bestow it all on his one ohject in life. The nomadic Italian humanist of the fifteenth century roved incessantly from court to court, with the aiin which in a scholar is sordid, that of bettering his fortunes. Casaubon's removals were dictated by the single desire to secure time for his work.' (P. 171.)
It seems clear that, when Casaubon was first invited to Paris, it was intended to give him an appointment in the remodelled university. Probably among those who concurred in the invitation some anticipated that he would come over to the Roman Church, while the rest entertained the expectation that, Calvinist though he was, his religion would be overlooked in consideration of his eminent literary qualifications. By degrees, however, it became plain that neither of these conditions was likely to be realised. On the one hand Casaubon withstood all the efforts to convert him, and on the other the condition of orthodoxy as a qualification for a professorship was every day more stringently enforced. Some other mode of provision became necessary, and the King on more than one occasion announced his intention of appointing him custodian of the Royal Library, when the place should become vacant. He once told Casaubon himself that the present librarian could not live another year; that Casaubon should then have the place, and should look up all the fine books and tell him what was in them, for he did not himself understand things of that sort;' and at length, in November 1601, a
regular patent was made out, conferring on him the reversion of the office on the death of M. Gosselin, the actual librarian, and with a salary commencing from the date of the patent of reversion.
In November 1604, Gosselin died a sufficiently tragical death. He was found in his apartment, burnt to death, having fallen out of his chair in his helpless decrepitude. An attempt was made to set aside Casaubon's right of reversion, and for a time the King himself wavered as to its confirmation. Lepsius, Scaliger, and even the young Grotius, were talked of for the post. At length Casaubon's friends prevailed upon him to seek a personal interview with Henry. In this interview he informed the King of Gosselin's death, without reminding him of the promise, still less of the actual grant of the reversion to himself; but he was mortified to observe in the King an unwonted coldness of manner, and retired from the interview with a mournful conviction that his day of favour was past. Nevertheless, after all these unpromising appearances, he was relieved by a visit from the King's secretary three days later, bearing not alone the appointment regularly made out, but also an increased entertainment amounting to 400 livres beyond his former salary. This ultimate decision in Casaubon's favour was due to the influence of De Thou, who held the office of principal librarian (Maître de la Librairie), and to whose office the vacant post of · Garde de la Librairie' was directly subordinate.
It might seem that Casaubon had now attained the realisation of the dream of his life in the uncontrolled disposal of this treasury of ancient literature. In Greek MSS. the Royal Library was then, as it still continues, second only to the Vatican. The new librarian's friends in all countries turned to him with petitions for help, and with requests for transcripts or collation. Scaliger and Heinsius from Leyden, Gruter from Heidelberg, Höschel from Augsburg, Savile from Eton, were among the first. Casaubon responded generously to the several calls, although in his Diary he repines despairingly over the time withdrawn by these friendly offices from his daily pittance of study and his daily routine of editorial work.
Between these services to friends and his own private researches connected with his editorial labours in connexion with his editions of Æneas Tacticus, Polybius, and some minor anecdota, Casaubon's work as a librarian has left little permanent trace in the Royal Library. He was too devoted a scholar to be a good librarian.
"When any correspondent asked for any book, he tried to find it, but he never made any thorough and complete investigation, once for all,
can. "Thethen, as terature he uncontrolledred the reali
of what was there, much less a catalogue. In 1508 Hoeschel applied to him for MSS. of Arrianus. Though Casaubon had then been nearly four years in full possession of the library he did not know if there were any MSS. of Arrianus; but would look. He found, on searching, at least two. As late as 1607, in reply to Scaliger's urgent cntreaty for any fragments of a chronological nature, he says he will have a good search through all the cases. He began to have access to the books, though restricted access, in 1599. From 1605 to October 1610, the library was wholly at his disposal, yet the only anecdotum he publishes is Æneas Tacticus. The selection of this author was not determined by the value of the Royal Library codex. What he found there was only a modern sixteenth century transcript by Vergecio, and Casaubon had in his own hands a much older MS. which had been lent him by Bongars.' (P. 207.)
In other ways, too, besides the want of that leisure for literary work for which he pined, his residence at Paris about this time was beset with trouble and discomfort. The position of members of the Reformed Church in France was at the best times a painful one, and throughout the entire reign of Henry IV. there were occasions of popular excitement when it was not unattended with personal danger. Casaubon himself had much to bear from the sustained and systematic propagandism of which he and his family were the constant objects. He found himself assailed with coarse and malevolent invectives in scurrilous publications, anonymous, or published under a pseudonym; and while on one side he was covered with insult and calumny by the Catholic pamphleteers, on the other he was an object of suspicion or of worse to his fellowchurchmen, as a renegade in principle, and as only waiting for a favourable opportunity to become a renegade in fact. In addition to these troubles from without, his life began to be chequered by those domestic trials and losses which are the natural accompaniments of advancing years. He had to deplore in succession the death of his favourite sister, Sara Chabanes ; of his nephew Isaac, her son, whom after her death he had adopted into his family; of his mother, to whom he was devotedly attached ; and of his gifted and much-cherished daughter Philippa. He was, moreover, involved in pecuniary difficulties and losses, arising more, it is true, from the affairs of his wife's family than from the necessities of his own modest household, but perhaps more irksome and irritating on that very account.
These and other troubles pressed upon him the more that he was gradually losing by death what had been the great solace of his retired student-life—the pleasure of that intercourse by correspondence with literary friends, which was
VOL. CXLIIJ. NO. CCXCI.
lity to principle, an, worse to his on the