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head, with curses loud and deep, was pronounced the name of GEORGE WASHINGTON! A French general and ourselves were the only alien guests. He made some observation expressive of surprise, which was answered by the chairman in terms of insult, fortunately not sufficiently understood to cause the usual consequences, which we averted by a very softened interpretation of the words. We had ourselves declined the toast, but unnoticed. The chairman, a Mr. Russell, was subsequently employed in various diplomatic missions, and in after life must have reflected with shame and horror on the frantic excess of such party spirit. So signal an instance of its delirious influence is, and must remain, without parallel ; for where could the baneful passion find such a victim, or batten on such a prey?—But
"He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
And thus reward the toils, which to these summits lead."
Childe Harold, Canto iii. 45.
For the direful rivalry of the contending factions of that day in America, Washington's Life by Jared Sparke, vol. ii., p. 49, should be read. But, to the versatility of popular feeling, the never-failing animadversion of historians, may be opposed Machiavelli's observations on the text of Livy, "Hæc natura multitudinis est, aut humiliter servit aut superbe dominatur," (lib. xxiv., cap. 25,) which transfer the blame, in a higher degree, to the rulers. "Dico adunque, come di quel difetto, di che accusano gli
scrittori la moltitudine, se ne possono accusare tutti gli huomini, particolarmente, et massimamente i principi; perche ciascuno, che non sia regolato dalle leggi, farebbe quelli medesimi errori, che la moltitudine sciolta." (Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, lib. ii., cap. 58.)
A suited advertence to a passage of Tacitus relative to Ireland, may not unfittingly find its place here, as it has become the subject of warm controversy. Every writer of Irish history has fondly and proudly appealed to this passage, (Vita Agricolæ, cap. 24,) in proof of the more enlarged commercial intercourse, and consequent superiority of civilization, most imperfect as we may suppose it, enjoyed by their country, as compared with Britain, at the remote period of the first century of our era; and as the text was long and generally exhibited, the fact and inference seemed fully supported.* No historian or antiquary appeared to suspect its authenticity, until Mr. Moore, who, no doubt, had consulted some recent German editions of the author, alluded, in indignant terms, to the "attempt made by some commentators to deprive Ireland of most of the advantages of this testimony, by the suggestion of a new and barbarous reading." (History of Ireland, vol. i., p. 12.) It is clear that Mr. Moore was not aware, that the reading, thus condemned as new or spurious, is coeval with what he has adopted as original and genuine, or, that both are equally founded on mere conjecture. The one was introduced by Beatus Rhenanus in his editions printed at Basil in 1533 and 1544,-" Lectio quæ
* See inter alios, Gratianus Lucius (Archdeacon Lynch) in his Cambrensis Eversus, cap. 12, McGeoghegan, tom. i., p. 372, &c.
nunc est in textu," says Ernesti, "ex ingenio est Rhenani:"-the other was proposed by Valens Acidalius, a critic of the same century. But, as the best groundwork of judgment, we shall trace the genealogy, if we may so call it, of the controverted text, which, it will be seen, in its original corrupt state-("prodigiose corruptus locus," observes Rhenanus, its first emendator,) opened a wide field for the play of fancy and exercise of ingenuity, uncontrolled by any fixed authority, or standard of reference.
No ancient manuscript of the admirable biography of Agricola, which Brotier truly designates, "absolutissimum decoræ perfectæque laudationis exemplar," of any value appears to be extant. "Julii Agricolæ," says Ernesti in his general preface, " scriptum exemplar nusquam notatum reperi."-Brotier, indeed, discovered some in the Vatican and elsewhere, but none less recent than the fifteenth century, or anterior to the invention of printing; nor did the Editio Princeps of Tacitus, the "artis gloria prima suæ" of Johannes Spirensis, (Venice, 1468 or 1470,) contain the work. Its first publication, it would seem, was in conjunction with the earliest editions of the Panegyric of Pliny the younger, and of Petronius Arbiter, in 1476, (if the date be correct,) probably by Philip de Lavignia at Milan. (See Bibliotheca Spenceriana, volume ii., pp. 229 and 367; Dibdin's Classics, vol. ii., pp. 334 and 448; and Brunet, Manuel du Libraire, tom. iii., p. 102.)—Again, about the year 1477, it was united with the collective works (then, at least, discovered,)*
The first five books of the Annals were not published until 1513, at the cost of Leo X., who paid 500 ducats, equivalent to £2000 of present money, for the manuscript,-" Qui hos libros ad Leonem detulit, avricopov accepit quingentos aureos.' -(Vossius de Hist. Lat. lib. i., cap. 30.)
of Tacitus, by F. Puteolanus, professor of rhetoric at Milan, in a beautiful folio volume-" exemplum perpulchrum, etiam supra Venetam editionem Johannis Spirensis," as expressed by Ernesti, in his preface, page xxiv., ed. 1772—See also Biblioth. Spenc. ii., 395; Dibdin's Classics, vol. ii.; and Brotier, in præf. xxix., ed. 1776. The manuscripts from which these earliest impressions were copied, appear to have been lost; for they have never been referred to subsequently.
In these primitive editions the disputed passage thus stands "Solum cœlumque (Hibernia) et ingenia cultusque hominum haud multum a Britannia differt. In melius aditus portusque per commercia et negociatores cogniti;"-a structure of phrase which sufficiently justifies the observation just quoted of Rhenanus -"prodigiose corruptus locus;" but which remained unaltered in various successive editions until this editor, in 1533 and 1544, substituted the conjectural reading so favorable to Ireland, viz:-" Solum cœlumque, et ingenia cultusque hominum haud multum a Britannia differunt: melius aditus portusque per commercia et negotiatores cogniti," which was generally received, not as genuine, but as intelligible; for even Rhenanus, its author, was so little satisfied with it, that he preferred another, which consisted in the change of melius into ejus, thus-"Solum cœlumque ......haud multum a Britannia differunt. Ejus (Hiberniæ) aditus portusque per commercia et negotiatores cogniti." Few, in fact, were disposed to credit the superiority of Ireland over Britain. "Dubito enim," assigns Valens Acidalius as a reason for rejecting the correction of Rhenanus, "an Hibernia in melius a Britannia differat. Propior sum credere diversum,”
and he accordingly suggested the emendation now, for the same reason, adopted by the continental editors, viz,-" Solum cœlumque......haud multum a Britannia differunt, nec in melius: aditus portusque," &c.adding that the construction of the sentence required the adhesion of melius to the first, rather than to the second portion. Various other attempts were made by the contemporaries of Rhenanus and Acidaliusby Ursinus, Muretus, Danesius, &c.; but the proposition of the first met general acceptance until the Bipontine editors, in 1779, embraced that of Acidalius. Others, such as Brotier, without disturbing the long received text, apply the contested melius, not as a ground of comparison between the two islands, but between the harbours and approaches of Ireland and the interior of the country, the former being frequented, while the latter remained little known. "Aditus portusque Hiberniæ per commercia et negotiatores melius sunt cogniti-interiora verò insulæ fere ignota" is the interpretation of Brotier. Dr. Stock, in his edition, (Dublin, 1787, 4 vols., 12mo.,) is, of course, rather partial to Ireland in his construction; but, to use the words of Ernesti, "alii aliter tentant, sed nihil expediunt sine libris."
Mr. Moore's denunciation of the new and barbarous reading will thus, I apprehend, appear unsubstantiated by evidence-certainly so, as to its novelty; and, as to its alleged barbarism, it is sufficient to note, that it reckons among its partisans the best Latin scholars in Europe. The object of contest may be derided as insignificant; but it has obtained importance from the excitement of national feelings; for Ireland, like decayed families, seeks, in the retrospect of ancient