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Other assertions have been made respecting the Museum Criticum, which we are called upon to notice. We allude to that extraordinary pamphlet entitled Aristarchus Anti-Blomfieldianus, written by E. H. Barker, O. T. N.' which from its having carried personal invective to such a frightful extent, as never before disgraced literature, has attracted the notice of the Reviews, and through their means become known to the public. The extracts given in those works have been sufficient to satisfy the world respecting the taste, the feeling, and the scholarship of Aristarchus, and have at once succeeded in procuring him a notoriety, which he had been so many years labouring to achieve in vain. But with the bitterness of his wrath, for which he cannot find a semblance of provocation, we have no wish to meddle, habitet secum, et sit pectore in isto: our intention is only to observe, that he has assumed the privilege of attributing to the pen of Dr. Blomfield every article in this journal upon which he is pleased to animadvert; and in so doing, he contrives, by a singular infelicity, to make almost as many mistakes as it is possible: he assigns to that gentleman parts of our several numbers, proceeding from every other hand that has ever been engaged in the publication! In some of these cases, the difference of style is so strongly marked, that we could not have imagined any degree of dullness sufficient to produce blunders like Mr. Barker's. We never affected any mystery upon this subject; and would readily have pointed out Dr. Blomfield's papers to any enquirer who was curious upon such matters, and who could not discover them himself. We have now only to beg, that no one will hereafter cite the authors of the Museum Criticum upon the authority of Mr. Barker.
Having been compelled to name this author, we shall take the opportunity of contradicting once for all his assertion that this work was undertaken in 'opposition to the Classical Journal.’ The motive which led to this publication was no other than
'What is the import of the tenebricosæ literæ O. T. N. which Mr. Barker affixes to his name, we cannot undertake to decide. We are not aware that they denote any academical distinction; and conclude therefore that they imply some personal attribute, like the S. S. (sinner saved) of another renowned character.
a wish to contribute our humble efforts to promote the cause of sound scholarship, to encourage and assist the student, and to uphold the character of our University for literary pursuits. These objects, and these only, have we kept in view; and for a confirmation of this, we fearlessly appeal to those scholars who have honoured our miscellany with a place in their libraries. From all asperity of criticism, and indeed from the censure of contemporaries we have abstained altogether, as not calculated to advance the real purpose of the undertaking. If in any instance we have inadvertently suffered a sentence or a word to escape us, which could give uneasiness to any one, we feel sincere regret. To oppose or discourage the writings of other scholars has been directly the reverse of our intention: and this notion of Mr. Barker is in fact too absurd to require a formal refutation. Had we indeed been inclined to amuse our readers with the ridicule of literary vagaries and extravagances, or with the exposure of blunders and ignorance, never was there a more ample field for such sport than that afforded by certain writers in the Classical Journal. But it so happens that once, and once only, has any allusion been made by us to that work. In the notes on the Collection of the Fragments of Sappho, (the leading article of our first Number,) a casual slip of the pen was found: Nempe Anacreon ante Sapphonem vixit; instead of the reverse Sappho ante Anacreonta: that this was a mere erratum was plain and palpable; since the fact of Sappho having lived before Anacreon was our argument to prove a stanza spurious, in which an allusion is made to the Teian bard. This mistake was immediately laid hold of in the Classical Journal, and though so obvious as not to admit of a moment's discussion, it was actually made the subject of a distinct article: it would be difficult to produce such a compound of dullness and malevolence, as may be found upon this matter in No. XV. p. 18, of that miscellany, entitled 'Classical Criticism.' Now as this was the first time that 'criticism' had ever extended to errata of a kind to which every writer knows himself to be liable, we thought fit in our second number to give these gentlemen a hint, how little they had to gain by hostilities of such a description: and accordingly took occasion to notice some slips in an article of theirs, -as 'Bias of
Prienus,' 'Apollonius of Tyaneus,' 'Zeno of Eleus,' and about a dozen errors of the same character, which, however, to confess the truth, appear rather the offspring of ignorance than of carelessness.
This occurred about eight years ago: from that time to the present we have never taken the least notice of those writers, who have been labouring to provoke us by every species of insolence and detraction, pursued with a perseverance which is truly astonishing, when it is considered that they had neither provocation to excite, nor fuel to keep alive their animosity. If our reputation as scholars be of the least value, it will never be in the power of Messrs. Burges, Barker, and Co. to lower us in the public esteem; while their incessant attacks only prove that they themselves deem highly of that credit which they take such extraordinary pains to destroy.
When we speak of their incessant attacks upon us, it is right to mention, that for the last few years we have had but small acquaintance with the Classical Journal; having found that the information to be derived from its pages by no means compensated for the disgust excited by the vanity, dullness, and execrable taste of those its leading writers, and still more by their unvaried spirit of detraction. We have seen however four or five numbers in about as many years, and have never failed to discover them labouring in the same pitiful and hopeless employment, untaught by experience, how vain and futile are all their efforts to impair the credit which the public voice has been pleased to award. In one of those numbers, the same complaint is urged against us, as by Aristarchus, that we instituted the Museum Criticum in the spirit of hostility to their Journal; and the sole and sufficient evidence of this hostility, is, our having noticed in our second Number their enormous blunders in Greek proper names; but the fact of this being a measure of self-defence, and of their having been the first to throw stones, is carefully disguised: their readers might be presumed to have forgotten a circumstance which had happened so many years before. Their allegation of this having been a rival journal' would, we confess, be mortifying, did not the wide difference in the nature and objects of the two publications, contradict the notion. So long
as the principal departments of their journal remain in the hands. which we have mentioned, we will venture to insure them against any danger of rivalship.
We repeat, that whatever tends to diffuse classical knowledge and to advance the cause of sound literature, from whatever quarter it proceeds, will always afford gratification to us: but we must add, that Mr. Barker and the other writers alluded to, by obtruding on the public eye their endless medleys of detraction and slander, are doing all in their power to make the very name of classical criticism' despicable and odious. If the Classical Journal meets with a poor reception in the world, (and we are informed by the principal University bookseller at Cambridge, that among his customers not a single copy is taken) this, we are convinced, is attributable to the general disgust produced by the writings of Mr. Barker and his compeers.
We have now to apologize to our readers for having devoted even a single page to such unworthy subjects; and we must mention in our defence, that this is the first notice (as it shall be the last) which we have ever taken of persons, who for ten years together have been labouring to provoke a castigation. Had they confined themselves to their attacks upon our literary characters, they might still have proceeded unnoticed: fortunately such attacks have hitherto carried their own refutation along with them: but since they have now ventured, under the irritation caused by disappointment, to bring charges against us of wilful plagiarism, of bad faith, and of maliguity towards contemporaries, charges which affect the moral and gentlemanly rather than the literary character, we have judged that further forbearance would be misplaced. To the allegations themselves we can only reply, that they are unfounded and calumnious, and such as are disproved by the uniform tenor of our writings and our lives; and we must add, that they proceed from individuals who throughout their literary career have been struggling to obtain a paltry name for themselves, by detracting from the reputation of others. And as it concerns the interests of society, that slanders should not be vented with impunity, we have thought fit to hold up these personages for one moment to the public view, and then dismiss them into their natural obscurity for ever.
VOL. II. NO, 7.
STATEMENTS OF PROFESSOR PLAYFAIR
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
As the subject of the following Letter is not immediately connected with the objects of this publication, it is necessary to state our reasons for its insertion. We cannot feel indifferent to any topic which concerns the reputation of our University; and as the statements which are here refuted proceed from persons of such high reputation and authority, and seem to have been so industriously repeated, we think that no time ought to be lost in giving a correct account of the matter, in a situation where it is most calculated to meet the eye of the members of the University of Cambridge.
To the EDITOR of the MUSEUM CRITICUM.
I HOPE you will allow me to take advantage of your pages for the purpose of correcting certain misstatements which have been recently made by some eminent writers of Scotland with respect to the history of the Newtonian philosophy in this University. The assertions of which I speak are to be found in the second part of the late Professor Playfair's Dissertation on the History of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences' which accompanies the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica: and are repeated to a certain extent in the second part of the corresponding Dissertation on the History of the Moral and Metaphysical Sciences by Mr. Dugald Stewart. The first of these authors has stated, that in the University of Cambridge the Cartesian system kept its ground for more than thirty years after the publication of Newton's discoveries in 1687: and that, at the end of that interval, the Newtonian philosophy entered the University under