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hands, the effect in his; for the use whereof we have bis express commandment, for the effect, his conditional promise.'
Surely, then, those laws which exclude the body of an unbaptized believer from the decent rites of sepulture, or would debar an unbaptized apostle himself, from the fellowship of the Church, must be wholly abhorrent to the genius and spirit of that religion, whose Divine Author has declared, “I will have
mercy, and not sacrifice." Art. III. Cathedral Antiquities of England ; or, an Historical, Archi
tectural, and Graphical Illustration of the English Cathedral Churches.—The History and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury; illustrated with a Series of Engravings, of Views, Elevations, Plans, and Details of that Edifice : also Etchings of the Ancient Monuments and Sculpture : including Biographical Anecdotes of the Bishops, and of other eminent Persons connected with the Church. By John Britton, F. S. A. pp. 114.31 Engravings, and 3 Wood Cuts. Price, Medium 4to. 31. 3s. Imperial 4to, 6l. 58.
Longman and Co. 1814. FOR a number of years past there has prevailed, and there
continues to prevail, in the literary world, a most extraordinary, and what sober men may deem a most excessive, passion for bringing back upon us every thing belonging to times long since gone by. It is not from the grand and venerable features alone of antiquity that this zealous passion has laboured to disperse the deepening shade, but every mark, and point, and blemish, every quaintness or deformity, every cut and cast of costume, every button,or loop, or tatter, has been explored with anxious, and erudite, and solemn industry; and never did the prophets of Baal more earnestly invoke the descending fire, than our devout antiquaries have looked and panted and almost gasped for a few more vouchsafed rays of light to bless their eyes with the very last invaluable minutiæ, of spots and hairs and particles of dust. And what words can describe the exultation as one more, and still one more, of these precious matters has become discernible!
This prevalence of antiquarianism is rather a strange thing for times like these. Is it that there has been such an ebullition and effusion of mind that all the sweepings of the older world are become necessary to stop and absorb the overflowing element? Is it that our mortification at having been baffled and falsified in all our schemes and ventures of predicting the future, has thrown us, by a kind of impulse of resentment, back upon researches into the past? Or is it that, suspecting we are chargeable with many absurdities, we seek a kind of refuge among the greater absurdities of our forefathers?
Whatever be the explanation, the fact is obvious that, for some time past, there has been a widely-extended and most industrious zeal for recovering all the worthless trifles that bad been
lost in the dust and darkness of past ages, as well as those matters which may fairly be adjudged to belong to general knowledge and cultivated taste. And this zeal has had policy enough to bribe the fine arts to its assistance, and the pencil and the graver have wasted their labour and refinements on a vast variety of utter rubbish ; rubbish heraldic, monumental, sculptural, architectural, and of sundry other kinds.
At the same time, there is the consent of all persons of liberal mind, that to some certain extent, and that bounded by no contracted line, antiquarian study is on the level of the more dignified order of our intellectual occupations. There is some certain proportion of the contents of old records, and of the legends of old monuments, which it is desirable we could have abstracted and assigned to the proper places in the great body of history. And there are on the surface of the earth, and beneath it, a vast number of objects, the result of the design and labour of its departed inhabitants, which deserve to be accurately investigated and described, and to have their forms imitated and multiplied by the graphic art, in order to preserve their resemblance when many of them shall have perished, and to gratify innumerable inquisitive persons who will never be able otherwise to obtain images of them to be placed among the pictured forms in their imagination.
Mr. Britton stands conspicuous among the labourers on the more liberal and pleasing tracts of antiquarianism. He has long been contributing largely to the gratification of a ra. tional taste for what may be called the monuments of past ages. In saying this, it is not necessary we should be of opinion that every ohject on which he has bestowed his labours has deserved them, or could be made, even by those labours, 'to deserve the attention of persons of taste. It is probable there is an absolute impossibility of devoting the mind so zealously, so uninterruptedly, and so long, to antiquarian pursuits, as Mr. B. appears to have done, without losing somewhat of the power of discriminating impartially what objects are deserving of the labours of thought and art, and what are not. Such habits shall generate a propensity to find something interesting in any very old construction of stones, or piece of chisel-work upon them; a reluctance therefore to let so large a portion of old relics go to the account of mere rubbish as ought in all reason to be so consigned. But certainly few antiquaries by profession have sustained so little injury from this perverting influence as Mr. B.; and on the whole he has very worthily served the cause of liberal antiquarianism, and elegant taste.
He has now, after so long a preparatory exercise, commenced a work which, if he shall live to complete it, (and we cordially: wish he'may;) will surpass every work relating to English an
tiquities. He enters on it with a combination of advantages, in the public taste for highly-decorated works, in the assurance of having ample facilities of research afforded to him, in his own attainments from previous discipline and practice, and in the wonderful perfection of the arts of delineation and engraving. How rude, and poor, and even contemptible, in comparison with the performances of our present artists, is the graphical part of most of the works on ecclesiastical and other architectural antiquities of a century or even of half a century back!
Except on account of the contemporary appearance of Mr, Dodsworth's very fine and matured work, it was perhaps good policy in our Author to begin with a Cathedral, of which the elegance is more immediately obvious than that probably of any other of these Gothic structures. And if its elegance had been still more signal than it is, all its admirers might now be satisfied with its portraiture. These two works have left nothing for even the fanaticism of antiquarianism, or the fastidiousness of taste, to wish for more--nothing that is within the power of the imitative arts. It will be waste of labour for the pencil to be employed any more on this structure, till that period which will arrive, whatever may be its distance, when this superb pile, with the others of the same order, shall have been long abandoned to the operation of time, and shall present itself still more picturesque in ruin. Then for another such man as our Author, with his exquisite draughtsmen and engravers. The people of that time may equal the people of this in taste for elegant works; but as for religion--it is evident from the nature of the case that they must be all, to a man, literally heathens.
Mr. Britton's first announcement of his plan was in terms which were thought somewhat too ambitious, and bordering on arrogance. The language of the preface to this volume, and which was published with the concluding portion of it, is extremely moderate, and in some degree deprecatory. He represents calmly that a laborious and expensive work is to the author a concern of great anxiety, both at the commencement and the conclusion ; while the critic may lightly condemn, quite at his ease, suffering nothing and hazarding nothing. We think, however, that Mr. B., besides his own unquestionable merits, is in much too good company to have any thing to fear. No royal patronage, nor academical honours, nor the favour of the courts of criticism, could stand him so much in stead as the attendance of Messrs Mackenzie, Le Keux, Baxter, &c. &c. the operators of his drawings and engravings. The volume is besides, in referenee to the prevailing rate of fine works, very remarkably cheap. Indeed he states that the expense of bringing it out will not be repaid by the sale of the whole impression; so much has it exceeded his first calculation, chiefly in consequence of his having given more plates, more letter-press, and a still higher style of execution, than he had engaged in the proposals. He trusts to the increasing favour of the public for ultimate remuneration. That favour, it appears, has already proved more than equal to his expectations. And assuredly, on the condition of undiminished excellence of execution, he may reckon with confidence on all the success he could desire,--unless there should be any degree of danger, that a very long series of exhibitions of objects so considerably resembling one another, should ultimately encounter the disadvantage incident to every thing which gives an impression of sameness. It may be doubted whether the number can be very great of persons that will not be tired before they have gone through the whole score of chronological catalogues of bishops, and of records of the building, endowing, and repairing of churches. And as to the mainly captivating part of the work, the plates, while there can be no doubt that persons who have really made ecclesiastical architecture a study, may find quite enough to keep up their curiosity and interest, at each successive stage, in the peculiarities which in each structure will diversify a form of architecture substantially of the same character, Mr. Britton is yet perfectly aware, that a considerable proportion of the purchasers of such a work are persons possessing no such knowledge, being only admirers, in a general way, of fine prints and striking aspects of fine structures. It will be natural for these, in process of time, to become desirous of a greater change of objects than that of merely passing to another cathedral.
In consideration of this portion (no diminutive or unimportant one, assuredly) of the favourers of such a work, it will be the good policy of the conductor to exclude very carefully the absolute dross of antiquarian topography; for instance, the monumental inscriptions in the churches. Mr. B. says he had intended to insert a quantity of this material in the present volume, but could not make room. We are glad that even so his design was frustrated; but we hope that henceforward he will on system take the benefit of his own precedent.
We transcribe from the preface a few sentences of what he says of his rules and mode of working.
• In planning and executing the present work, as part of a series, the author has endeavoured to gratify the architect and connoisseur. He has sought to inform the architect and antiquary by geometrical elevations and details ; and the connoisseur and general artist by such views of the building as display its most distinguishing and interesting features. It has also been his wish to please another class of persons by accurate delineations of ancient sculpture. In historical and biographical narrative, he deems truth of paramount importance; and as this is of difficult attainment, he has sought it with diligence and cau
tion. Every accessible source has been resorted to, contending authorities compared and analyzed, and collateral evidence brought in. Although he had already written an account of this church and its monuments, he has re-examined every statement, re-written every line, and made much alteration and addition in every part.
The biographical list of bishops is, as it ought to be, very brief, and affords but little of which we can avail ourselves for extracts. In the account of Osmund, afterward the Patron Saint of the place, there is a curious notice of the wretched plight the service of the sanctuary was in from the diversity, and rivalry, and jumble, and contradictions, of the forms of worship: Many of the cathedrals had their distinct respective established forms or · Uses;' but Salisbury, it seems, had a frightful mob and combustion of worships, till this good bishop's time. Ecclesiastics, brought thither from various quarters, and some of them, by the invitation of the Conqueror, from France, were zealous each to establish the mode he had imported. The bishop worked his way at last through the confusion, and established a Use Ordinale, or Consuetudinary, that is, a complete service for the church. It was so much approved that it was adopted by most of the other cathedrals in England, Wales, and Ireland. not only regulated the form and order of celebrating the mass,
but prescribed the rule and office for all the sacerdotal functions.' No doubt all the contending parties at Sarum, after a little time for allaying the spirit of competition, were right glad to bave it all authoritatively and finally settled what sort of prayers they really were to perform, that they might have no further trouble of thinking about the matter.
The reader of even so slight an ecclesiastical record as this biographical catalogue, will be struck with the very remarkable fact, that the profoundest homage to the Papal Church was compatible, in the English ecclesiastics, with a very great degree of refractoriness, and at times downright hostility, to the Pope's authority and mandates, when these happened to be in opposition to their own will and interests.
The list also affords plenty of examples of the stateliness and power which our prelates so often found the means to assume. Of Bishop Erghum, for instance, it is related that, in the first year of the reign of Richard II. he obtained a royal licence to crenellate, or fortify, nine mansions belonging to him, viz. at Salisbury, Bishops-Woodford, Sherborne, Chardstock, Pottern, Cannings, Ramsbury, Sunning, and in Fleet-street. • Advanced to his elevated station by the Pope, he was resolute and persevering in supporting the principles and practice of bis Holiness. A stern and rigid Catholic, he obstinately opposed every attempt at reformation, and was one of the council at Oxford, before phom Widlif was summoned in 1382. During