Page images
PDF
EPUB

specially employed themselves, and others who sold only the covers. The most common binding was a rough white sheepskin pasted upon boards, and often overlapping the edges of the book; large bosses of brass were added sometimes, as fastenings. A book was not unfrequently bound by means of two or three fly-leaves of older, and sometimes more valuable manuscripts, and Dibdin nentions several instances where such have been discovered, forming the paddings and coatings of other books. It was an improvement upon the original rough binding, to cover the boards with leather and stamp it.

Of binding in velvet there are no specimens prior to the fourteenth century, and vellum was first used in the fifteenth. The binding of books was however frequently of a highly ornamental and expensive description, and severe reproaches were frequently directed against the monks on this account; thus we find them ornamented with silver-gilt, gold, relics, and precious stones. The ornaments (such as crucifixes) were sometimes placed in a description of cupboard within the covers, which only opened upon touching a spring. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the sides were lavishly ornamented, and the backs were left plain and even unlettered. In Oriental countries the roll is wrapped in an elegant and costly covering, on which is inscribed a title indicating its contents.

The practice of introducing ornaments, such as drawings of figures, or portraits, into manuscripts, is very ancient, for we learn from Pliny and others that it prevailed during the first and second centuries of our era, among the Romans and Greeks. The illuminated manuscripts of a later age constitute some of the most valued treasures of European libraries, and this not only from their own intrinsic beauty, but from the light they shed upon many manners and customs, often otherwise buried in oblivion.

The occupation of transcribing manuscripts, prior to the invention of printing, was a very important one, and gave employment to a vast number of persons known by the name of copyists. The Scribes, employed in keeping the national records and transcribing the Law, fulfilled a highly honourable office among the Jews, and it seems doubtful whether they ever copied the manuscripts for sale. The copyists of this people have always been remarkable for regular and beautiful writing, but their labours have been chiefly confined to their own religious books and genealogies. Among the Greeks, particular writers were employed to copy manuscripts for sale, and a great number of these, chiefly of an amusing character, were exported from Athens to adjoining countries. Very few of the Romans wrote their own works, or even private letters, but dictated them to an educated slave, or freedman. The copyist was therefore originally among them a servile officer; but, many persons who followed it, afterwards rose to wealth and power, especially under the emperors, when the librarii, or copyists, were enrolled into a company with various privileges. They were employed, at a fixed rate, by booksellers, either in the transcription of new works, or of old ones whose reputation was established. A brisk sale of manuscripts was maintained at Alexandria, but Strabo and others complain of the grievous errors and interpolations made by the copyists.

In the middle ages the work of copying was at first chiefly carried on in the monasteries, and after the revival of learning by professed copyists, especially in the university towns. The principal monasteries had a regular organization of certain of their brethren, as copiers and illuminators, attached to the scriptorium, and although these functions were too frequently grossly neglected, yet in other cases they were efficiently performed. Under one abbot of St. Alban's, about 1300, fifty-eight books were transcribed, and more than eighty under Wethemwede, in the time of Henry the Sixth.

Estates and funds were sometimes left for the purpose, and, in other cases, the abbot had a right to exact contributions to supply deficiencies. The Benedictine rule, permitting, as it did, the study of the ancient classics, its members zealously exerted themselves, after the sixth century, in preserving and copying these. Several of the early fathers (as Origen) and prelates maintained many copyists in their establishments. Still, by far the greater number of books must have been copied by persons professionally so employed; and, it is said, that, at the period of the invention of printing, six thousand copyists existed at Paris. This body made a formidable demonstration against the introduction of the new art, in which they were countenanced by the parliament of Paris, but effectually opposed by the shrewd sense of Louis the Eleventh. At Bologna there was also an immense number of persons so engaged, among whom were many women. The errors and carelessness of the copyists were the source of great annoyance to living, and injury to the works of dead authors. "It is wholly owing to this cause," says Plutarch, "that many men of genius keep their most valuable pieces unpublished, so that they never see the light. Were Cicero, Livy, or Pliny, to rise from the dead, they would scarcely be able to recognise their own writings." The expenditure of time in copying was sometimes immense, In a manuscript roll of the Canons of Gratian, the copyist states that its transcription occupied him twenty-one months. To obtain 3000 copies at this rate would have required 5250 years, or 1750 years for three men By printing these three men could furnish the 3000 in less than a year, thus placing printing and copying works, upon the mere ground of speed, at 1750 to one. Guido de Sais commenced writing and illuminating a very beautiful copy of the Bible at the age of forty, but did not finish it until he was more than ninety.

Transcribers from even ancient times, in order to diminish their labours, and expedite their progress, have had recourse to frequent abbreviations and contractions, and so perplexingly numerous had these at last become, even in our earlier printed works, that books have been published expressly for their elucida tion. A system of short-hand is said to have been invented by Xenophon; however this may be, it was much employed by the Romans. Plutarch tells us that Cicero wishing for an oration by Cato entire, employed several persons to take down a portion in characters he furnished. Ausonius, in an epigram, alludes to a proficiency akin to modern reporting, and Martial describes the writer as keeping a-head of, and waiting for the speaker. Tyro, one of Cicero's freedmen, and afterwards his friend, brought the art to such perfection, that the Nota Tyroniane formed a system in use for many centuries, and the study of which Cardinal Bembo was anxious to revive, but could find no person able to decipher the characters. Tyro took down several of Cicero's orations as they were delivered.

Most men have more tact in finding excuses for their faults than care in avoiding them.

ONE of the greatest proofs of mediocrity is not to know real

excellence.

QUARRELS will not last long when the fault is all on one side.-LA ROCHEFOUCAULD.

A PAINTER that would draw a rose, though he may flourish some likeness of it in figure and colour, yet he can never paint the scent and fragrancy; or if he would draw a flame, he cannot put a constant heat into his colours. All the skill life into a statue of their own making. Neither are we able of cunning artisans and mechanics cannot put a principle of any spiritual truths.-CUDworth. to inclose in words and letters the life, soul, and essence of

JOHN W. PARKER, PUBLISHER, WEST STRAND, LONDON

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

A READER of geographical and commercial works can hardly fail to remark, that the character of a continental country, with respect to mountains, has a marked influence, not only on its landscape scenery, but on its wealth and importance in the scale of nations. Where there are mountains there is a probability, more or less, according to the geological formation of the district, that a vast if not exhaustless supply of valuable commodities can be obtained thence. It may be that the precious metals more or less abound; or that the coarser but still more valuable metal, iron, is found embosomed beneath the mountains; or lead, copper, tin, or some others of the metals; or marble, granite, slate, or some other building material. In short, the modes are numerous in which chains of mountains contribute to the commercial wealth of a country, independently of the meteorological phenomena which they are instrumental in producing.

Hungary is one of those countries which derive such benefits as are here indicated. The Carpathians constitute a chain of mountains which, bounding this large portion of Europe on the north-west, north, north-east, and east, separate it from Moravia, Galicia, Lodomiria, and Transylvania; and include within their range many mines of gold and silver. In one of our papers in the last Volume, on the scenery of the Danube, we described the Castle of Presburg as being situated on the summit of a lofty rock. Now this rock is considered to occupy the western extremity of the range of the Carpathians. From this point the range extends, for a distance of

VOL. XXIV.

one hundred miles, in a direction a little eastward of north, presenting summits about two thousand feet in height, and steep declivities covered with forests. This portion, which is known as the "White Mountains," or the "Little Carpathians," divides Hungary from Moravia, and is intersected by many passes leading from one of these countries to the other.

At about the latitude of fifty degrees the direction of the range turns towards the east; and we then approach those districts which are rich in gold and silver mines. Of this portion, which extends east and west, one section is called Magura, another Baba Gura, and a third Beszkid, these being Hungarian names expressive probably of some peculiarities in the appearance of the mountains; and the three sections together extend about two hundred miles. The highest summit of the Magura portion is between 4000 and 5000 feet; but the Baba Gura portion contains one which rises to nearly 6000 feet. But the most remarkable portion of the Carpathians is Mount Tatra or Mount Lomnitz, above represented.

Tatra may be designated as one enormous mass of rock, fifty miles in length, and in some places thirty miles wide. It is an isolated mass, separated from every other portion of the Carpathians by deep depressions. From the Baba Gura mountains it is separated by the valleys of the Areva and Donajec; from the Beszkid mountains by the river Poprad; and from the "Ungarisches Erzgebürge" (Ore Mountains of Hungary) by the upper course of the river Waag. On the highest part of the surface of the Tatra rise several summits in

751

the form of peaks, some of which pass above the line of perpetual snow. Of these peaks, twelve exceed the height of eight thousand feet each; the three highest being the peak of Lomnitz (which we have sketched), 8675 feet; the peak of Eisthal, 8639 feet; and the peak of Krivan, 8150 feet. Those portions of this rocky mass which are not covered with snow generally present a bare surface, and contain several small lakes.

When Mr. Paget was in Hungary, a few years ago, he paid a visit to the Tatra group. He travelled from Kremnitz to the Krivan Peak, and seems to have been much struck with this lofty pinnacle. "This Krivan," says he, "is one of the noblest mountains I ever saw. It is not the absolute elevation of a mountain which impresses the beholder, so much as its position, form, and height, relative to surrounding objects. Though not more than 7800 feet (other authorities make it more than 8000, and spell the name Krywan, instead of Krivan,) above the level of the sea, the Krivan rises so immediately from the plain, with its conical form and fine rock summit, and towers so gloriously above all its neighbours, that it gave me a finer idea of a vast mountain than any other I had before seen." Mr. Paget left the Krivan, and pursued his journey towards the Lomnitzer Spitze, or Peak of Lomnitz. He halted at a little house in the valley which separates the two peaks; and there he met some travellers, who had just returned from a two days' excursion, during which they had mounted the Lomnitz, and descended on the other side. They did not give a very favourable account of the expedition; for after the difficulty and danger of the ascent, which they represented as considerable, they had been unable to remain more than a few minutes on the summit, on account of the intense cold. The inha

bitants of the valley stated, that few who had attempted the ascent were known to have persevered to the end; but Mr. Paget, anxious to conquer the difficulties of the

enterprise, determined to ascend.

is

pany with him. We have said that the Tatra group separated by the river Waag from the Ore Mountains. These form the portion of the Carpathians which yield the greater part of the gold and silver contained in the Hungarian mines. This district was visited, about the period of Mr. Paget's visit, by the Rev. Mr. Gleig, who in his narrative gives an account of a pedestrian journey from Presburg to the Ore Mountains. The country which they traversed was grand in its features. The road, the hills, the park-like plain, were all striking objects, but the extremity of the panorama was that which mainly delighted. "There, at the utmost limit of a huge vista, uprose the Castle of Presburg, crowning a hill with its dilapidated towers; and, as it leaned against the horizon, it struck me as being like many other things which we meet in life,-far more attractive as beheld from a distance, than when subjected to a closer scrutiny. We gazed long and joyously on the glorious panorama, and then trudged forward." The pedestrians lost their way in endeavouring to reach the mountain, and were indebted to the hospitality of some Hungarian gentlemen for a release from a very unpleasant predicament,-which, of the frank hospitality of the Hungarians. They after we may add, is not by any means an isolated example wards arrived at Kremnitz, where the gold and silver of Hungary are coined. The appearance of the country round Kremnitz is said to be quite in agreement with that of the other districts in Hungary where the precious metals are found. There is very little wood near the town; the hills are bald and barren, while the streams which flow out of them, either tinged by the deposit at their sources, or poisoned by the pollutions which nume present a repulsive appearance, and are destructive of merous smelting-houses and vitriol-distilleries pour forth, animal life. mining towns, are principally Germans, invited into The population at Kremnitz, as in all the Our traveller commenced his trip at an early hour in ther from the indolence, or the unwillingness, or the Hungary to undertake the mining operations; for, whethe day, and thus notices the valley which bounds the inability of the native Hungarians, they do not seem to Lomnitz on one side:-"A strange will scene that val- embark in this department of national industry. The ley presented! The blasted pine, the huge masses of shapeless rock, and the angry, fretful stream seemed the sole gold obtained at Kremnitz and the neighbouring moun denizens of its solitude. A little further on, the elevation tains is said to exceed one thousand marcs annually (a we had reached became evident from the gradual diminu- marc is twelve ounces), and the whole produce of the tion of vegetable growth; nature seemed subdued by the Hungarian mountains is estimated at two thousand cold blasts from the neighbouring snow mountains, and the marcs. Silver is abundant in the same places; the total plants had shrunk before the winds they were too feeble to produce of the silver-mines of Hungary is ninety-two resist. A little further, and no vegetation rises more than thousand marcs. Two thousand tons of copper are also three or four feet above the surface; while the only tree which grows is a pine, much like the Scotch fir in leaf, obtained from these prolific mountains, while lead is but which, instead of raising itself in the air, spreads its exceedingly abundant in all the silver-mines and elsebranches in a bush-like form along the ground." Those where. The Forest Mountains abound in iron, which is who attempt the ascent of the Lomnitz usually pass the worked with great advantage in many places. Quicknight in a sort of natural chamber, covered by a huge silver, zinc, arsenic, antimony, and cobalt, are also overhanging piece of granite. This spot is above 6000 extracted. feet above the level of the sea; and the summit of the Lomnitz is situated immediately above it, at an additional height of 2000 feet, which seems to the eye as if it could be traversed in an hour; although seven hours are necessary for the traveller to reach the summit. Mr. Paget and his friends reached a point from which the view appears to have been very remarkable. Before them was a high range of peaks, called the Polnischer Kamm (the Polish Court), the boundary line between Galicia and Hungary; above these, on the right, the Lomnitz reared its head; while on the left was a gigantic wall of granite, apparently separated by some great convulsion of nature from the neighbouring mountain, and standing erect among the broken masses which are every day falling around it. On one side, two rocks had been thrown together, in such a position as to form a natural bridge, whose slender outline gave additional effect to the dizzy precipice. In the foreground were huge granite blocks, in some parts covered with snow, in others with moss and dwarf grass; while a few small lakes were glittering here and there.

Mr. Paget pursued his journey without mounting the "Lomnitzer Spitze," and we will therefore part com

of

as a

The Schemnitz mines, situated in the same range hills with the Kremnitz, are rich in gold. The egress from them is thus noticed :-"After descending by lad ders into a deep abyss, where the whole process of digging, and clearing away water, and ventilating, and propping-up, is explained, the visitor returns to his first level, and discovers to his surprise that it is very skilfully arranged railroad. It is by means of this line, and of the wagons that ply upon it, that the ore, as it is procured, passes on to the smelting-houses; and the civility of the miners leads them to enlarge its sphere of usefulness, by rendering it instrumental to the convenience of their visitors. In one of these vehicles you are requested to take a seat; and then, by the merest touch of the hand, a workman pushing from behind, you are hurried, at a good round rate, over a space of at least three-quarters of an English mile. Thus driven along, you catch, by and bye, the glimmer of day-light at a distance; and lo! at quite a different part of the mountain from that by which you made your ingress, the mine may be said to eject you.'

There are on the

The hills to which these mining districts belong, constitute an offset from the Carpathians, springing from near the site of the Tatra group. southern slope of the Carpathians several subordinate chains, rising sometimes to as much as 5000 or 6000

feet above the level of the sea, but generally limited to a height of 3000. The main ridge of the Carpathians, extending eastward from the vicinity of Tatra, is known as the " Waldgebürge," or Forest Mountains. The length of this portion is estimated at 200 miles, while the average width may be taken at 50 or 60. The mountain masses do not rise to a very great height, nor are the declivities steep; in their upper surfaces they do not exhibit high peaks, but extend in uneven plains, on which a few elevations, with a very gentle ascent, rise considerably above them. There are no rivers running longitudinally along the base of the mountains, as in some other parts of the Carpathians; but streams descend from the sides of the mountains, forming nearly right angles with their general course.

The north-east portion of the Carpathians forms a boundary between the vast plains of Hungary and the still more extensive plains of Russia. Indeed, were it not for the interposition of these mountains, there would be almost an uninterrupted level from the north-east regions of Europe, near the confines of Asia, to Austria. Two great roads pass over the Forest Mountains, or rather over the most favourable valleys or passes which intersect them; and by these roads intercourse is maintained between Hungary and North-eastern Europe. When we have arrived at the southernmost point of the portion just described, we leave the Carpathians proper. We then enter upon the Province of Transylvania, which, although a very diversified and mountainous country, presents nothing so marked and conspicuous as the Carpathians, considered as a connected ridge. The Transylvania Mountains are a continuation of the Carpathians, but they ramify in every direction, and intersect that country in a remarkable manner, forming no longer a definite boundary between Transylvania and other countries, but a system of ridges over the whole region.

[blocks in formation]

Ir a man indulges habits of bodily indolence, the natural powers of the constitution are impaired; and exertion becomes, every year he lives, more and more irksome. This wretched condition is, however, so painful in itself, so injurious to worldly interests, and so disgraceful, that it is, comparatively, but a few individuals who suffer themselves to sink into it. But the indolence of the mind is less apparent than the indolence of the body; and those who are the most subject to it may scarcely themselves be aware of their real condition. Persons may converse as they hear others converse; and do what they see others do; they may repeat what has been fixed in the memory, and believe what they have been taught, or what best pleases their particular tempers; while their minds may be as completely inactive, and as incapable of exertion, as the body is during sleep. This is certainly a very degraded state for a being whose mind is, by nature, capable of much more activity than his body; but yet, there is reason to believe that the minds of a great part of mankind are in this inactive state.

It is owing, in a great measure, to this prevailing and habitual indolence, that millions of men, from one generation to another, continue to be deluded by childish and wicked superstitions. It is owing to this mental indolence in the mass of mankind, that one man, whose mind is active, often finds it easy to persuade thousands to receive some fanciful opinions of his own: or to induce them to follow him in absurd and mischievous enterprises, which bring miseries upon themselves and their neighbours. It is, in part, owing to this torpid indolence of the mind, that men, who have heard that there is a future life, which will be happy or wretched according to their conduct and the state of their minds in the present life; yet make them selves tranquil while they neglect the means of securing happiness in the life to come.-Elements of Thought.

ANCIENT CUSTOM OF HOLDING LANDS BY THE POSSESSION OF A HORN.

[ocr errors]

I.

ONE of the various modes of transferring inheritances in use among our ancestors, was by a horn. Ingulphus, abbot of Croyland, particularly specifies the horn, amongst other things, whereby lands were conveyed in the early part of the reign of William the Conqueror. "At first," he says, (in reference to the time of the Conqueror,) many estates were transferred by bare word of mouth, without any writing or charter, only by the lord's sword, or helmet, or horn, or cup; and many tenements by a spur, a scraper, a bow; and some by an arrow." By this it appears that the implement was always such as was well known to have belonged to the donor or granter.

The ivory horn of Ulphus, which is still preserved in the vestry of the church at York, was presented by Ulphus to that church in token of his bestowing upon God and St. Peter all his lands, tenements, &c. When he gave the horn (which was probably the richest and most valuable moveable the munificent donor was possessed of), he filled it with wine, and on his knees before the altar made the declaration, Deo et S. Petro omnes terras et redditus propinavit. He then drank off the wine, and left the horn behind him, in testimony that thereby he gave up his lands, even to the disinheriting of his sons; and the members of the church of York were required to pledge him. A figure of this horn is given in DRAKE'S Eboracum.

The family of Pusey held the village of Pusey, in Berkshire, in fee, by a horn which was first given to William Picote by King Canute.

In the eleventh year of the reign of Henry the Sixth, Sir Robert Plumpton, knight, died, possessed of one bovat in Mansfield Woodhouse, called Wolfhuntland, which was held by the service of winding a horn, for the purpose of driving or frightening the wolves in the forest of Shirewood.

About the year 1124 Randal de Meschines, the third Norman earl of Chester, conferred upon Alan Silvestris, the bailiwick of the forest of Wirall, by the delivering to him of a bugle horn, which in 1751 was preserved at Hooton. In the reign of Edward the Third the forest was disforested, and the lands were partially inclosed. Edric, surnamed Silvaticus, or the Forester, was the supposed ancestor of Alan Silvestris, and of the Silvesters of Stourton, foresters of Wirall. The arms of Edric (who was a great warrior)—on a shield argent a large tree torn up by the roots, vert, since borne by the Silvesters of Stourton, in Wirall-are impressed on the horn.

According to Ingulphus, Witlaff, king of Mercia, gave to the Abbey of Croyland, "the horn used at his own table for the elder monks of the house to drink out of it on festivals and saints' days, and that when they gave thanks they might remember the soul of Witlaff the

donor."

The Danes used the horn, as well as the Saxons, and after them the English. Thus Chaucer says,

Janus sit by the fire with double berde,

And drinketh of his bugle horn the wine. Hence the common expression, "the horn," applied to a drinking cup to this day. The cattle doctor gives medicines to sick beasts by means of a horn; a custom which seems to have been derived from the ancients. Horns for blowing were used in collecting cattle, and driving them out to pasture in the morning. Also, for summoning the people on various occasions; thus, the horn is now used (or was till lately) at Canterbury, for The horn seems also assembling the Burgmote court.

to have been a badge of office, for those whose duty it was to summon the people. It was also used in the earliest times as an instrument of war. The horn, for

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »