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Oliphant, all have their patrons. Tolstoi tears you all to pieces. He is not a novelist, he is an earthquake.
I should leave "Robinson Crusoe," "The Arabian Nights," "Don Quixote," Scott's novels, Miss Austen, and Harper's Family Library of 1848 in the track of every child, and let him or her pick up what he wanted. I should also put a bound volume of the Penny Magazine of that date on the same table. This delightful old thing (I have examined one lately) is a perfect mine of information. It was edited by Charles Mackay, profusely illustrated, and it had everything in it from the House of Westminster to the Ruins of Bælbeck. It was the first of the illustrated magazines to reach my infantile mind, and if I have ever been worth anything I owe it to these instructive pages. To be sure, Darwin wrote for it, and Sir John Bowring, and other budding geniuses of that day. It was my privilege to see its aged editor in London in 1869 and to thank him. for it.
Mrs. Norton wrote some very pretty stories and some beautiful poems. I talked with Robert Browning about her, and he told me that he owed much to her poetry. The "Bingen on the Rhine" is almost all that survives of that beauty and genius. Browning helped to stamp her out, he and Tennyson, with their colossal feet, the feet of Hercules. No novelist or poet could stand that tramp, tramp of the oncoming iconoclasts of the early Victorian era -Thackeray and Dickens, Tennyson and Browning. Mrs. Norton, however, has helped to make one of the most delightful of memoirs, that of the Sheridans, her illustrious race. Memoirs have, next to novels, been my favorite amusement in reading. I fear that I prefer them to all the novels excepting the old ones. James Lowell said that when he had a disagreeable duty to perform he always sneaked up stairs and locked the door and read "The Vicar of Wakefield," which he considered the best novel ever written-read it by stealth and with all the joy with which as a boy he had played hookey at school. One of his brothers, by the way, the Rev. Robert Lowell, wrote a delightful book, called "The New Priest of Conception Bay," as salt as the sea, as refreshing as the breezes at Bar Harbor. Miss Howard's novel of "Guenn" somehow reminded me of it. I was one of the first readers of "Margaret"— Mr. Judd's curiously disinterred novel. It owed much to Darley's drawings, Chilion being especially beautiful. Charles Reade's "Christie Johnstone" is one of the salt sea wave novels, and a herring fishery in it is described in a most masterly way. All his novels, "Griffith Gaunt" especially, remain to me as live books. Then there came Thomas Hardy's "Bathsheba" and "Far from the Madding Crowd." Would that they had no such successors as "Tess" or the terrible "Jude."
As for the Trollopes, Anthony may be put on the
shelf except for Barchester Towers" and Mrs. Proudie"; but his brother, T. Adolphus Trollope, should be read if one wishes to know Italian cities. His novel of "Marietta" is a most delightful picture of Florence (not the fine old triptich of "Romola," which is three novels and a life of Savanarola to boot) but the Florence which you and I know a little, and wish we knew better. His novel "A Siren" is a perfect picture of Ravenna, with its Pineta and old mosaics. His "Gemma" gives us that Italian life which forms the groundwork of the tragedies of Alfieri, and all that he touched became a photograph. Why these admirable and most interesting books have been lost to the reading world I do not comprehend. The publishers who have saved to us Miss Ferrier's "Marriage" should resuscitate T. Adolphus Trollope, who also wrote some delightful memoirs. Following him was Miss Tincker, whose "Signor Monaldini's Niece" is a most perfect picture of modern Rome.
I had the pleasure of reading Ouida's "Ariadne" in Rome. That and her "Friendship," a picture of Florence, gives us the American and the English colony somewhat, seen through the eyes of an angry woman of genius, a writer of immense force. All her scoldings cannot blot out Ouida's power of making a book interesting. I pay them the compliment of remembering them, every word of them, although I have since had the greater pleasure of reading Marion Crawford's much more perfect work.
Some anonymous novels which have interested the world (as impenetrable as the secret of the author of Junius) come back to me. There was "The Bread Winners" and "Democracy," attributed to John Hay, and although he has persistently denied the authorship, no one has ever believed him. Although our present Secretary of State is a truthful man, is a diplomatist and "called indifferent. honest," we may all have our little private corner for our favorite impressions. They are both interesting, especially "Democracy." I shall never forget the almost disingenuous disgust of the late Senator Anthony at the revelation of some drawing room secrets in that powerful sketch of our fugitive Washington civilization.
Modern American novel writing is becoming almost as fearful in its increase as that which threatens England, and we have some powerful hands at work. None as yet quite as commanding as that of Mrs. Ward. No "Marcella" has sprung from the presses of New York or Boston or Chicago, but in the novels of Mrs. V. R. Cruger and Mrs. Spencer Trask I see the lambent power which can one day give us a "Marcella." That, it strikes me, is the great need of this day and generation-a novel which boldly shows forth the evils of our society without being either didactic or immoral; a novel which does not forget that its first business is to
amuse and to elevate, while it instructs and improves.
There have been terrible disappointments on the road of the novel reader. "Helbeck of Bannisdale" is one of these, but the great "Quo Vadis" is a recompense if one must have the religious novel. We have leaped from "Henry Esmond" to Rudyard Kipling since I began to read novels, and between them what a "sea of change"! What a variety! As for memoirs, Greville and Henry Crabbe Robertson have had so many followers that they are now relegated to the back shelf with Guizot's "History of Civilization." "The Two Noble Lives," by Augustus Hare, and "The Memoirs of Lady Eastlake" (delightful) are all I remember of the fifty books which crowded my table last Winter. Who in going through a forest remembers every wildflower? Who in walking through the splendid parterre of a modern luxurious place can enumerate the cannas from Japan, the orchids from Borneo, the Victoria regia from Australia, the roses from England, the lilies from the isles of the sea after he had left them?
And yet, plucking one little violet from the ground, he gratefully bears it away in his hand and blesses it for its fragrance. And so with our favorite book. It may not be great, but it is precious. MRS. M. E. W. SHERWOOD, in N. Y. Times. *
TINIEST BOOK IN THE WORLD.
The smallest book in the world has just been printed in Cleveland, Ohio. But ten of them are printed, and none are for sale. No more can be printed, for the plates from which the tiny volume was printed will be destoyed, so that no more can ever be produced.
In all the catalogues of the rare book dealers what is called the "Bijou Almanac" is named as the smallest book in the world, and until now it has been that. The Cleveland book breaks the record in size, or, lack of size, for printed books. There are rare little volumes engraved on ivory sheets fastened together like a book, but they are not really books in the estimation of collectors of miniature volumes. The "Bijou Almanac" is a real book, printed on real paper, and bound in stiff blue covers. It was made in London in 1836 by Schloss. It has sixty pages, a calendar for each month, and some wonderfully delicate little steel engravings. It is half an inch wide and five-eighths of an inch long, and not much thicker than the cover of an ordinary book. Perfect copies are rare, and not easily obtainable at any price, although there are copies in the libraries of several collectors of miniature books. So far as is known, there is but one copy in Cleveland, and this is thought to be unique from the binding it has, a special one.
The owner of this little book, which is worth
several times its weight in gold, is Charles H. Meigs, of No. 67 Eastman street, who is also the publisher of the other tiny book mentioned, the one that is the smallest in the world. Mr. Meigs has been an ardent collector of miniature books for years. He has at his residence many of the most interesting little books there are in existence. was the belief that the limit of possible smallness had not been reached that led him to publish the little book that was issued last week. The work was successfully completed, and now the tiny volumes are ready for distribution to the eight friends, all lovers of little books, who subscribed for them.
This smallest book in the world measures just three eighths of an inch by half an inch over all. There are 13 pages in it, and the work has been done in a Cleveland printing establishment. The type was set by hand, and then the pages photographed down to the limit of distinctness, though the book can only be read with a magnifying glass. Under a strong glass, however, the work is seen to be distinct and perfect. It is printed on genuine India paper, and this is one of the most interesting things about the tiny book. The Oxford Press, the English Bible publishing concern, controls all the genuine India paper produced, and it was with the greatest difficulty that enough was procured to make even the 10 copies of this tiny book. It is said that the paper was surreptitiously obtained.
This, like the other famous tiny books of the world, will be bound originally in paper, although those who buy the volumes will probably each have his copy rebound in accordance with his own ideas of beauty. Each book will be in a little case that will also contain a magnifying glass with which to look at it. The title of the book is "Thus Spake the Wind," a very old religious poem of no particular interest.-Cleveland Leader.
The Library of Congress has been enriched by a gift from Gen. Franklin, of Hartford, Conn., of a copy of Capt. John Smith's "Historie of Virginia." Some idea of the value of the book may be gained from the knowledge that copies sold in the past twenty years have brought as high as eighteen hundred dollars.
A Chicago firm of publishers put in their books a book-mark with the following inscription:
About this volume you have bought :
When read, pray place it on your shelf, And lend it not; your neighbor ought,
Like you, to buy it for himself. Lend him whatever else you choose-
Your cash, to buy the book unread, Your gloves, hat, trousers, toothbrush, shoes— But not the Author's brain and bread.
BOOK-FIRES UNDER JAMES I.
From "Books Condemned to be Burnt," BY J. ANSON FARRAR.
Despite Mr. D'Israeli's able defence of him, the fashion has survived of speaking disdainfully of James I. and all his works. The military men of his day, hating him for that wise love of peace which saved us at least from one war on the Continent, complained of a king who preferred to wage war with the pen than with the pike, and vented his anger on paper instead of with powder. But for all that, the patron and friend of Ben Jonson, and the constant promoter of arts and letters, was one of the best literary workmen of his time; nor will anyone who dips into his works fail to put them aside without a considerably higher estimate than he had before of the ability of the most learned king that ever occupied the British throne-a monarch unapproached by any of his successors, save William III., in any sort of intellectual power.
Yet here our admiration for James I. must perforce stop. For of many of his ideas the only excuse is that they were those of his age; and this is an excuse that is fatal to a claim to the highest order of merit. All men to some extent are the sport and victims of their intellectual surroundings; but it is the mark of superiority to rise above them, and this James I. often failed to do. He cannot, for instance, in this respect compare with a man whose works he persecuted, namely, Reginald Scot, who in 1584 published his immortal "Discoverie of Witchcraft," a book which, alike for its motive as its matter, occupies one of the highest places in the history of the literature of Europe.
Yet Scot was only a Kentish country gentleman, who gave himself up solely, says Wood, to solid reading and the perusal of obscure but neglected authors, diversifying his studies with agriculture, and so producing the first extant treatise on hops. Nevertheless, he is among the heroes of the world, greater for me at least than any one of our most famous generals, for it was at the risk of his life that he wrote, as he says himself, "in behalf of the poor, the aged, and the simple"; and if he has no monument in our English Pantheon, he has a better and more abiding one in the hearts of all the wellwishers of humanity. For his reading led him to the assault of one of the best established, most sacred, yet most stupid, of the superstitions of mankind; and to have exposed both the folly of the belief, and the cruelty of the legal punishments, of witchcraft, more justly entitles his memory to honor than the capture of many stormed cities or the butchery of thousands of his fellow-beings on a battlefield.
How trite is the argument that this or that belief must be true because so many generations have believed it, so many countries, so many famous men, -as if error, like stolen property, gained a title from
prescription of time! Scot pierced this pretension with a single sentence: "Truth must not be measured by time, for every old opinion is not sound."
My great adversaries," he says, "are young ignorance and old custom. For what folly soever tract of time hath fostered, it is so superstitiously pursued of some as though no error could be acquainted with custom." May we not say, indeed, that beliefs are rendered suspect by the very extent of their currency and acceptance?
But Scot had a greater adversary than even young ignorance or old custom; and that was King James, who, whilst King of Scotland, wrote his "Demonologie" against Scot's ideas (1597). James's mind was strictly Bible-bound, and for him the disbelief in witches savored of Sadduceeism, or the denial of spirits. Yet Scot had taken care to guard himself, for he wrote: "I deny not that there are witches or images; but I detest the idolatrous opinions conceived of them." Nor can James have carefully read Scot, for tacked on to the "Discoverie" is a "Discourse of Devils and Spirits," which to the simplest Sadducee would have been the veriest trash. Scot, for instance, says of the devil that "God created him purposely to destroy. I take his substance to be such as no man can by learning define, nor by wisdom search out"; a conclusion surely as wise as the theology is curious. Anyhow it is the very reverse of Sadduceean. It is said that one of the first proceedings of James's reign was to have all the copies of Scot's book burnt that could be seized, and undoubtedly one of the first of his acts of Parliament was the statute that made all the devices of witchcraft punishable with death, as felony, without benefit of clergy.
But about the burning there is room for doubt. For there is no English contemporary testimony of of the fact. Voet, a professor of theology in Holland, is its only known contemporary witness; but he may have assumed the suppression of the book to have been identical with its burning; a common assumption, but a no less common mistake. On the other hand, many books undoubtedly were burnt under James that are not mentioned by name; and the great rarity of the first edition of the book, and its absence from some of our principal libraries, support the possibility of its having been among them.' Nevertheless, to quote Mr. D'Israeli: "On the King's arrival in England, having discovered the numerous impostures and illusions which he had often referred to as authorities, he grew suspicious of the whole system of DæmonoWith logie, and at length recanted it entirely. the same conscientious zeal James had written the book, the King condemned it; and the sovereign separated himself from the author, in the cause of
I That is Dr. Brinsley Nicholson's conclusion in his preface to Scot; yet, if the book was burnt, it is highly improbable that the common hangman officiated.
truth; but the clergy and the Parliament persisted in making the imaginary crime felony by the statute." So that if James really burnt the book, he must have burnt it to please others, not himself; and though he may have done so, the presumption is rather that he did not.
"I hold it uncontrollable," he wrote, "that the King of England is an absolute king." "Though it be a merciful policy, and also a politic policy (not alterable without great peril) to make laws by the consent of the whole realm . yet simply to bind the prince to or by these laws. were repugnant to the nature and custom of an absolute monarchy." "For those regalities which are of the higher nature there is not one that belonged to the most absolute prince in the world which doth not also belong to our King." But the book was condemned, not only for its sins against the Subject, but also for passages that were said to pinch on the authority of the King. Yet, considered merely as a Law Dictionary, it is still one of the best in our language.
The wonder is that Scot himself escaped the real or supposed fate of his book. Pleasing indeed it is to know that he lived out his days undisturbed to the end (1599) with his family and among his hops and flowers in Kent; not, however, before he had lived to see his book make a perceptible impression on the magistracy and even on the clergy of his time, till a perceptible check was given to his ideas by the "Demonologie." But at all events he had given superstition a reeling blow, from which it never wholly recovered, and to which it ultimately succumbed! More than this can few men hope to do, and to have done so much is ample cause for contentment.
Fundamental questions of all sorts were growing critical in the reign of James, who had not only the clearest ideas of their answer, but the firmest determination to have them, if possible, answered in his own way. The principal ones were : The relationship of the King to his subjects; of the Pope to kings; of the Established Church to Puritanism and Catholicism. And on the leading political and religious questions of his day James caused certain books to be burnt which advocated opinions contrary to his own- -a mode of reasoning that reflects less credit on his philosophy than does his conduct in most other respects.
But the first book that was burnt for its sentiments on Prerogative was one which the King was believed personally to approve. This was probably the gist of its offence, for it appeared about the time that the King made his very supercilious speech to the Commons in answer to their complaints about the High Commission and other grievances.
I allude to the famous "Interpreter" (1607) by Cowell, Doctor of Civil Law at Cambridge, which, written at the instigation of Archbishop Bancroft, was dedicated to him, and caused a storm little dreamt of by its author. Sir E. Coke disliked Cowell, whom he nicknamed Cow-heel, and naturally disliked him still more for writing slightingly of Littleton and the Common Law. He therefore caused Parliament to take the matter up, with the result that Cowell was imprisoned and came near to hanging James only saving his life by suppressing his book by proclamation, for which the Commons. returned him thanks with great exultation over their victory.
For Cowell had taken too strongly the high monarchical line, and the episode of his book is really the first engagement in that great war between Prerogative and People which raged through the I Winwood's Memorials, I. 125.
In the King's proclamation against the "Interpreter" are some passages that curiously illustrate the mind of its author. He thus complains of the growing freedom of thought: "From the very highest mysteries of the Godhead and the most inscrutable counsels in the Trinitie to the very lowest pit of Hell and the confused action of the divells there, there is nothing now unsearched into by the curiositie of men's brains"; so that "it is no wonder that they do not spare to wade in all the deepest mysteries that belong to the persons or the state of Kinges and Princes, that are Gods upon earth." King James's attitude to Free Thought reminds one of the legendary contention between Canute and the sea. No one has ever repeated the latter experiment, but how many thousands still disquiet themselves, as James did, about or against the progress of the human mind!
In the proclamation itself there is no actual mention of burning, all persons in possession of the book being required to deliver their copies to the Lord Mayor of County Sheriffs "for the further order of its utter suppression" (March 25th, 1610); neither is there any allusion to burning in the Parliamentary journals, nor in the letters relating to the subject in Winwood's "Memorials." The contemporary evidence of the fact is, however, supplied by Sir H. Spelman, who says in his "Glossarium" (under the word "Tenure") that Cowell's book was publicly burnt. Otherwise, James's proclamations were not always attended to (by one, for instance, he prohibited hunting); and Roger Coke says that the books being out, "the proclamation could not call them in, but only served to make them more taken notice of." I
Among works thus suppressed without being burnt may be mentioned Bishop Thornborough's two books in favor of the union between England and Scotland (1604), Lord Coke's Speech and Charge at the Norwich Assizes (1607), and Sir W. Raleigh's first volume of the "History of the World" (1614). I suspect that Scott's "Discoverie" was likewise only suppressed, and that Voet erroneously thought that this involved and implied a public burning.
But it was not for long that James had saved Cowell's life, for the latter's death the following year, and soon after the resignation of his professorship, is said by Fuller to have been hastened by the trouble about his book. The King throughout behaved with great judgment, nor is it so true that he surrendered Cowell to his enemies, as that he saved him from imminent personal peril. Men like Cowell and Blackwood and Bancroft were probably more monarchial than the monarch himself; and, though James held high notions of his own powers, and could even hint at being a god upon earth, his subjects were far more ready to accept his divinity than he was to force it upon them. It was not quite for nothing that James had had for his tutor the republican George Buchanan, one of the first opponents of monarchial absolutism in his famous "De Jure Regni apud Scotos"; nor did he ever quite forget the noble words in which at his first Parliament he thus defined for ever the position of a constitutional king: "That I am a servant it is most true, that as I am head and governor of all the people in my dominion who are my natural vassals and subjects, considering them in numbers and distinct ranks; so, if we will take the whole people as one body and mass, then, as the head is ordained for the body and not the ody for the head, so must a righteous king know himself to be ordained for his people and not his people for him. I will never be ashamed to confess it my principal honour to be the great servant of the Commonwealth."
And in this very matter of Cowell's book James not only denied any preference for the civil over the common law, but professed "that, although he knew how great and large a king's rights and prerogatives were, yet that he would never affect nor seek to extend his beyond the prescription and limits of the municipal laws and customs of this realm." I
A few years later Sir Walter Raleigh's first volume of his "History of the World" was called in at the King's command, "especially for being too saucy in censuring princes." This fate its wonderful author took greatly to heart, as he had hoped thereby to please the King extraordinarily; and, considing the terms wherewith in his preface he pointed
I Winwood's "Memorials," III. 136.
2 Letter of January 5th, 1614, in "Court and Times of James I."
the contrast between James and our previous rulers, one cannot but share his astonishment.
This would seem to indicate that the King grew more sensitive about his position as time went on; and this conclusion is corroborated by his extraordinary conduct in reference to the works of David Paræus, the learned Protestant Professor of Divinity at Heidelberg. One can conceive no mortal soul ever reading those three vast folios of closely printed Latin in which Paræus commented on the Old and New
Testament; but in those days people must have read everything. At all events, it was discovered that in his commentary on Romans xiii. Paræus had contended at great length and detail in favor of the people's right to restrain, even by force of arms, tyrannical violence on the part of the superior magistrate. On March 22nd, 1622, therefore, the Archbishop of Canterbury and twelve bishops, at the King's request, represented this doctrine to be most dangerous and seditious; and accordingly, on July 1st, the books of Paræus were publicly burnt after a sermon by the Bishop of London; and about the same time the Universities of Oxford and Cam
bridge, ever on the side of the divine right, proved their loyalty by condemning and burning the book, perhaps the only book whose condemnation never tempted to its perusal. But that very same year (August 22nd, 1622) the King found it necessary to issue directions concerning preaching and preachers, so freely was the Puritanical side of the community then beginning to express itself about the royal prerogative.
As connected with the question of the prerogative must be mentioned, as burnt by James' order, the "Doctrina et Politia Ecclesiæ Anglicana" (1616), a Latin translation of the English Prayer Book, as well as of Jewell's "Apology" and Newell's "Catechism," by Richard Mocket, then Warden of All Souls'. Mocket was chaplain to Archbishop Abbot, and wished to recommend the formularies and doctrines of the Church of England to foreign nations. History does not, indeed, record any deep impression as made on foreign nations by the book; though Heylin asserts that it had given no small reputation to the Church of England beyond the seas, (Laud, 70); but it does record the fact of its being publicly burnt, as well as give some intimations of the reason. Fuller says that the main objection to it was, that Mocket had proved himself a better chaplain than subject, touching James in one of his tenderest points in contending for the right of the Archbishop of Canterbury to confirm the election of bishops in his province. Mocket also gave such extracts from the Homilies as seemed to have a Calvanistic leaning; and treated fast days as only of political institution. For such reasons the book was burnt by public edict, a censure which the writer took so much to heart that, as Fuller says, being "so much defeated in his expecta