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inimitable windfall to Dr Askew for sixty guineas. At Dr Askew's sale,' continued the old gentleman, kindling as he spoke, 'this inestimable treasure blazed forth in its full value, and was purchased by royalty itself for one hundred and seventy pounds! Could a copy now occur, Lord only knows,' he ejaculated, with a deep sigh and lifted-up hands,Lord only knows what would be its ransom;-and yet it was originally secured, by skill and research, for the easy equivalent of twopence sterling. Happy, thrice happy, Snuffy Davie !-and blessed were the times when thy industry could be so rewarded!'"
In such manner is it that books are saved from annihilation, and that their preservers become the feeders of the great collections in which, after their value is established, they find refuge; and herein it is that the class to whom our notice is devoted performs an inestimable service to literature. It is, as you will observe, the general ambition of the class to find value where there seems to be none, and this develops a certain skill and subtlety, enabling the operator, in the midst of a heap of rubbish, to put his finger on those things which have in them the latent capacity to become valuable and curious. The adept will at once intuitively separate from its friends the book that either is or will become curious. There must be something more than mere rarity to give it this value, although high authorities speak of the paucity of copies as being everything. David Clement, the illustrious French bibliographer, who seems to have anticipated the positive philosophy by an attempt to make bibliography, as the Germans have named it, one of the exact sciences, lays it down with authority, that " a book which it is difficult to find in the country where it is sought ought to be called simply rare; a book which it is difficult to find in any country may be called very rare; a book of which there are are only fifty or sixty
copies existing, or which appears so seldom as if there never had been more at any time than that number of copies, ranks as extremely rare; and when the whole number of copies does not exceed ten, this constitutes excessive rarity, or rarity in the highest degree." This has been received as a settled doctrine in bibliography; but it is utter pedantry. Books may be rare enough in the real or objective sense of the term, but if they are not so in the nominal or subjective sense, by being an object of desire, their rarity goes for nothing. A volume may be unique-may stand quite alone in the world—but whether it is so, or one of a numerous family, is never known, for no one has ever desired to possess it, and no one ever will.
But it is a curious phenomenon in the old-book trade, that rarities do not always remain rare; volumes seeming to multiply through some cryptogamic process, when we know perfectly that no additional copies are printed and thrown off. The fact is, that the rumour of scarcity, and value, and of a hunt after them, draws them from their hiding-places. If we may judge from the esteem in which they were once held, the Elzevirs must have been great rarities in this country; but they are now plentiful enough-the heavy prices in the British market having no doubt sucked them out of dingy repositories in Germany and Hollandso that, even in this department of commerce, the law of supply and demand is not entirely abrogated. He who dashes at all the books called rare, or even very rare, by Clement and his brethren, will be apt to suffer the keen disappointment of finding that there are many who participate with him in the possession of the same treasures. In fact, let a book but make its appearance in that author's Bibliothèque Curieuse, Historique, et Critique, ou Catalogue Raisonné de Livres difficiles à trouver, or in Graesses's Tresor de Livres Rares et Précieux-let it be mentioned as a
rarity in Eibert's Allgemeines Bibliographisches Lexicon, or in De Burre, Clement, Osmont, or the Repertorium Bibliographicum,-such proclamation is immediate notice to many fortunate possessors who were no more aware of the value of their dingy-looking volumes than Monsieur Jourdan knew himself to be in the habitual daily practice of talking prose.
So are we brought again back to the conclusion that the true bookhunter must not be a follower of any abstract external rules, but must have an inward sense and literary taste. It is not absolutely that a book is rare, or that it is run after, that must commend it to him, but something in the book itself. Hence the relics which he snatches from ruin will have some innate merits to recommend them. They will not be of that unhappy kind which nobody has desired to possess for their own sake, and nobody ever will. Something there will be of curious, odd, out of the way information, or of quaintness of imagination, or of characteristics pervading some class, whether a literary or a polemical,-something, in short, which people desirous of information will some day or other be anxious to read-such are the volumes which it is desirable to save from annihilation, that they may find their place at last in some of the great magazines of the world's literary treasures.
And it will often be more fortunate for these great institutions if they obtain the services of the hunter himself, along with his spoils of the chase. The leaders in the German wars often found it an exceedingly sound policy to subsidise into their own service some captain of free lances, who might have been a curse to all around him. Your great game-preservers sometimes know the importance of taking the most notorious poacher in the district into pay as a keeper. So it is sometimes of the nature of the book-hunter, if he be of the genial sort, and free of some of the more vicious peculiari
ties of his kind, to make an invaluable librarian. Such an arrangement will sometimes be found to be like mercy twice blessed, — it blesseth him that gives and him that takes. The imprisoned spirit probably finds freedom at last, and those purchases and accumulations which, to the private purse, were profuse and culpable recklessness, may become veritable duty; while the wary outlook and the vigilant observation, which before were only leading a poor victim into temptation, may come forth as commendable attention and zealous activity. Sometimes mistakes have been made in selections on this principle, and a zeal has been embarked which has been found neither to tend to profit nor edification; for we have known, at the head of public libraries, men who loved the books so dearly, as to be unable to endure the handling of them by the vulgar herd of readers and searchers even by those for whose special aid and service they are employed. Those who have this morbid terror of the profanation of the treasures committed to their charge suffer in themselves the direst torments--something like those of a cat beholding her kittens tossed by a
dog-whenever their favourites are handled; and the excruciating extent of their agonies, when some ardent and careless student dashes right into the heart of some editio princeps, or tall copy, or, perhaps, lays it open with its face on the table while he snatches another edition that he may collate a passage, is not to be conceived. It is then the dog worrying the kittens. Such men will only give satisfaction in great private libraries little disturbed by their proprietors, or in monastic or other corporate institutions, where it is the worthy object of the patrons to keep their collection in fine condition, and, at the same time, to take order that it shall be of the least possible service to education or literature. Angelo Mai, the great librarian of the Vatican, who made so many valuable dis
coveries himself, had the character of taking good care that no one else should make any within his own strictly-preserved hunting grounds.
In the general case, however, a bibliophile at the head of a public library is genial and communicative, and has a pleasure in helping the investigator through the labyrinth of its stores. Such men feel their strength; and the immense value of the service which they may sometimes perform by a brief hint in the right direction which the inquiry should take, or by handing down a volume, or recommending the best directory to all the learning on the matter in hand, has laid many men of letters under great obligations to them. The most eminent type of this class of men was Magliabecchi, librarian to the Grand - Duke of Tuscany, who could direct you to any book in any part of the world, with the precision with which the metropolitan policeman directs you to St Paul's or Piccadilly. It is of him that the stories are told of answers to inquiries after books, in these terms:-"There is but one copy of that book in the world. It is in the Grand Signior's library at Constantinople, and is the seventh book in the second shelf on the right hand as you go in." His faculties were, like those of all great men, self-born and self-trained. So little was the impoverished soil in which he passed his infancy congenial to his pursuits in after-life, that it was not within the parental intentions to teach him to read, and his earliest exertions were in the shop of a green-grocer. Had his genius run on natural science, he might have fed it here, but it was his felicity and his fortune to be transferred to the shop of a patronising bookseller. Here he drank in an education such as no academic forcing machinery could ever infuse. He devoured books, and the printed leaves became as necessary to his existence as the cabbage-leaves to the caterpillars which at times made their not welcome appearance in the abjured green-grocery. Like
these verdant reptiles, too, he became assimilated to the food he fed on, insomuch that he was in a manner hot-pressed, bound, marbletopped, lettered, and shelved. He could bear nothing but books around him, and would allow no space for aught else; his furniture, according to repute, being limited to two chairs, the second of which was admitted in order that the two together might serve as a bed.
Another enthusiast of the same kind was Adrien Baillet, the author, or, more properly speaking, the compiler, of the Jugemens des Savans, containing generally a portrait from which his calm scholarly countenance looks genially forth, with this appropriate motto," Dans une douce solitude, à l'abri du mensonge et de la vanité, j'adoptai la critique, et j'en fis mon étude pour découvrir la vérité." Him, struggling with poverty, aggravated with a thirst for books, did Lamoignon the elder place at the head of his library, thus at once pasturing him in clover. When the patron told his friend, Hermant, of his desire to find a librarian possessed of certain fabulous qualifications for the duty, his correspondent said, "I will bring the very man to you; and Baillet, a poor, frail, attenuated, diseased scholar, was produced. His kind patron fed him up, so far as a man who could not tear himself from his books, unless when nature became entirely exhausted, could be fed up. The statesman and his librarian were the closest of friends; and on the elder Lamoignon's death, the son, still more distinguished, looked up to Baillet as a father and instructor.
Men of this stamp are generally endowed with deep and solid learning.
For any one, indeed, to take the command of a great public library, without large accomplishments, especially in the languages, is to put himself in precisely the position where ignorance, superficiality, and quackery are subjected to the most potent test, and are certain of detection. The number of
librarians who have united great learning to a love of books, is the best practical answer to all sneers about the two being incompatible. Nor, while we count among us such names as Pannizi, Laing, Birch, Halket, Bandelo, and Tod, is the race of learned librarians likely to decay.
It will be worth while for the patrons of public libraries, even in appointments to small offices, to have an eye on bookish men for filling them. One librarian differs greatly from another, and on this difference will often depend the entire utility of the institution, and the question whether it is worth keeping it open or closing its door. Of this class of workman it may be said quite as aptly as of the poet, Nascitur, non fit. The usual testimonies to qualification-steadiness, sobriety, civility, intelligence, &c.may all be up to the mark that will constitute a first-rate book-keeper in the mercantile sense of the term, while they are united in a very dreary and hopeless keeper of books. Such a person ought to go to his task with something totally different from the impulses which induce a man to sort dry goods or make up invoices, and enable him to do so with perfect success. In short, your librarian would need to be in some way touched with the malady which has been the object of these desultory remarks.
Perhaps this may afford a hint to the Civil Service Commission. We are not aware that they have yet set forth the qualifications of the librarian with the same judicious and practical success with which they have pointed out the peculiar departments of learning suitable to the tide-waiter and the letter-carrier. They have nothing to do but to adopt the precedent they have so successfully followed in other cases -to find the most famous book connected with the department, and make a judicious selection from its index. Thus may the examination
sheets, which are to make perfectly capable public servants, be enriched by such terms as the following: Abridgement, Alcoran, Aldus, Alexandrian Library, Annals, Back-title, Ballad, Bestiarium, Bibliography, Binding, Black-letter, Block-book, Boards, Breeches, Bible, British Museum, Broadside, and so forth; nor omitting, in their proper order, calf, cut copy, gilt top, morocco, tooling, and Turkey. The technology
or, as the profane will perhaps insist in terming it, the slang or jargon
having been officially sketched, may be remitted to an adept to revise and report; and then the thing is completed, and a department of the public service is insured against incompetency, idleness, and dishonesty for all time to
Thus would the propensity which heretofore has been a laughingstock and a scorn be raised to the dignity of a qualification for public office. Should this fortunate result, however, not be achieved-should matters take, as they more probably will, the totally opposite direction, and the bibliomaniac book-fancier, book-hunter, bibliophile, or by whatever name you choose to call him, be subjected to the special attention of those wise men who so disinterestedly propose to take all their more erring brethren in charge, and subject them to the treatment suitable to their unhappy condition— then shall we put in these, our rambling remarks, as a plea for gentleness and leniency towards the special class of patients of which we have been discoursing, hoping that their rigid custodiers will at least admit that their malady is in itself comparatively harmless, and that, however improper it may be to permit any set of human beings to depart from the line which philosophy and physiology and other ologies have laid down, yet this particular kind of aberration has the palliative quality of being attended with beneficial results.
THE ORLEANS MANIFESTO.
THE observation is not quite new, that there is a wonderful power in print. We have called the Press the Fourth Estate of the Realm. But the power of print does not so much consist in the putting of written characters into type, as in the fact that when in that state they are capable of almost infinite multiplication or reproduction. So the power resides not in print, as such (for Mr Weller senior could print, though he could not even write), but in published print. Yet, further, publication is a term capable of misleading as to the power of published print; for, whereas it necessarily only denotes one process, it is often taken to imply two; and thus a power is unduly ascribed to all published print, which can only be applied to such print as is published under favourable conditions. The Germans, whose language, though more lengthy and clumsy, is more purely logical than ours, say that a book is " given out" (herausgegeben) by such and such a publisher; whereas "publication" implies not only the giving out on the part of the publisher, but taking in on the part of the public; and, as all publishers know, this second process does not always follow the first. So that, if we wish to be strictly correct when referring to the power of published print, it must be understood that we imply that general public reception. In that case, a book is the real Proteus of our times, which, though a bold spirit may bind, none can entirely quell, since as soon as it is suppressed in one form or edition it slips away into others, until it wearies out the patience of the power that would imprison it. Proteus was conquered at last by Ulysses; but any man of modern times, endowed with half the wisdom of that wily Greek,
would give up in despair the attempt to put down a book. The most patient man in the world wished that his enemy had written a book; in modern times he might wish his enemy to have the task of suppressing one, and learn by doing so the peculiar trials of patience. We are all familiar with the ways by which a book is forced on the public by its friends, but none is so effectual as to get some disguised friend or indiscreet enemy to endeavour to put it down. There is only one effectual way of putting a book down-that of proving, by extracts from itself, that it is unreadably dull. But let it be understood either that it is generally wicked or particularly mischievous, and it is sure to run through half-a-dozen editions at least, and, perhaps, be translated into as many languages. These observations may seem to involve superficial truism, and yet it is strange how persons in eminent position often act in violation of their principle. We recollect the solemn burning of a presumed heretical book in one of the halls at Oxford, and its consequence, that in a day or two every undergraduate had read it, the majority being greatly disappointed at finding it not half so bad as they expected. If the heretic had been caught and burned instead, there being no second copy of him, it would have been more to the purpose, and there would have been a certain grim satisfaction of justice. And, lately, the volume called Essays and Reviews, now so well known in the controversial world, has, we understand, been driven through eight or nine editions by the fulminating powder of episcopal denunciation; and, furthermore, the intended prosecution of one of the writers in the Court of Arches will
Lettre sur l'Histoire de France, par HENRI D'ORLEANS (Duc d'Aumale). Berlin, Julius Abelsdorff. 1861.