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Johann Pfefferkorn, a converted Ortuinus Gratius, a supporter Jew, ex scelerato Judæo sceler- of Pfefferkorn, a pedant of Deatissimus Christianus, as Eras- venter, who by an accident has mus called him, opened a cam- won
unwelcome immorpaign against the literature of tality. A man is known by bis own race.
He was a vulgar, his associates, and a more igesurient knave, who, as is not norant, drunken, and profligate altogether unknown
among set than those who address Jews, thought it expedient and their master with terms of profitable to insult the whole adulation could not be found. of Jewry. Instantly he found The satirist, without ruth or a band of zealous allies among pity, makes the dolts of his the Dominicans, and when the own imagining expose all the famous scholar, Reuchlin, took vioes and all the stupidities up the challenge on the behalf common to monkishness and of Humane learning, the quarrel ignorance. They are allowed, assumed a far wider scope. these dolts, as Bishop Creighton The combatants fought for a says, “ to tell their own story, larger cause than the learning to wander round the narrow of the Jews. On Reuchlin's circle of antiquated prejudices side were ranged the friends which they mistook for ideas, of scholarship and the Human- display their grossness, their ities ; on the other side fought vulgarity, their absence of aim, pedants, monks, and all the their laborious indolence, their bitter enemies of decency and lives unrelieved by any touch learning. Pfefferkorn him- of nobility.” The book had an self, who, as Mr Stokes says, instant success. It won ad.
a kind of Titus Oates, mirers in every camp of learncapable of stirring up more ing. Only Erasmus stood aloof strife in the world than his from praise, and he stood aloof very meagre abilities warranted, because he was wrongly taxed speedily disappeared into the with the authorship of the background, and left the field book, and because his level open for a sharp encounter temperament disapproved of between ignorance and wis- its violence. There were, moredom, between darkness and over, pedantsinnumerable whom light. At one stage of the the irony of the work escaped, warfare Reuchlin had published and who really believed that a work which he entitled the obscure ones were fighting • Clarorum Virorum Epistolæ,' a serious battle on their behalf. a collection of letters addressed “The learned are tickled by to himself, and this collection their humour," wrote Sir it was which inspired Ulrich Thomas More of the Epistolæ, von Hutten and Crotus Rubi- “ while the unlearned deem anus, two champions of schol- their teachings of serious arship, to one of the most worth. When we laugh they brilliant satires ever penned. think we do but deride their The Letters of the Obscure are style; this they do not defend, addressed for the most part to but they declare that all faults
are compensated by the weight to the history of learning; and of the matter, and that the Steele, as Mr Stokes tells us, rough soabbard contains a wondered in The Tatler' that brilliant blade!” The authors “fellows could be awake, and could not have wished for a utter such incoherent concepgreater triumph. And Sir tions." However, the authors Thomas More made & shrewd of the 'Epistolæ did their prophecy concerning the fate work in their own way: they of the work. "Would that struck a blow at ignorance the book,” said he, “had ap- from which the pedants and the peared under another title! monks never recovered; they I verily believe that in a hun- made clear the path for the dred years the dolts would not satire of Rabelais ; and they perceive the nose turned up proved that the best weapon at them—though larger than wherewith to combat folly is the snout of the rhinoceros !” laughter loud and long. Would This is precisely what hap- that there were in our midst pened. The last editor of the some Ulrich von Hutten, who Epistolæ,' before Mr Stokes would pour the ridicule of his took them in hand, printed contempt upon the demagogues them as serious contributions of to-day!
AS OTHERS SEE US.
At a moment when there is his legions came to Britain about to be determined an issue fifty-five years before the birth in our national career graver of Christ, they found our island than any known in the life- inhabited by an Iberian race time of the oldest among us, from South-Western Europe, it can only do good to pause of whom the Basque is to-day and take stock of ourselves as the best and last representawe appear to an impartial tive. The Romans occupied observer, a man of another the land for more than 450 nation.
years, and then retired to the England and the English continent of Europe, leaving from an American Point of traces of their occupation in View'l was published early in roads and fortified camps, and the present year, before the little else. The Britons regreat upheaval was upon us. mained; neither their language There is evidence in the book nor their laws nor their custhat its author has lived much toms had been changed by the in England, and has studied Romans. But now from North
social conditions from Western Germany began anmany points of view. He ac- other invasion. Jutes came knowledges that he is deeply for adventure and for booty; in debt to the English for Saxons, because their many delightful friendships, country was overcrowded and for generous and unstinted they wanted land to settle on. hospitality, and for teaching These Saxons were an agrihim much. He repeatedly cultural people of the peasant says that he is not criticising, class; they gradually pushed but only offering his impres- their way over the land, thrustsions and trying to explain ing back the Britons into the facts he has observed. Wales and across the water But none the less he hits hard into Brittany ; they were and does not mince his lan- troubled by Angles and by guage, whether he is speaking Danes, who landed and settled of the dress of English ladies, on the East Coast, where alone of the food of British people, the Danes have left an appreciof the streets of London after able mark, but elsewhere they dusk, of the compromise of a held their own. They were inCathedral preacher, or of a dependent farmers, they adCabinet Minister.
mitted a leader, and came to Who, he asks, are these his aid at times of their own English? When Cæsar and choosing. When they had
1 England and the English from an American Point of View. By Price Collier. Printed by the Scribner Press, New York, U.S.A. Duckworth & Co., London. 1909.
publio meetings to discuss im- ence in such matters. It portant affairs, they gradually was, and is, the common-sense grow more and more into the view of government, as over habit of leaving these matters against the theoretical view." to those who had leisure and These, then, are the English, brains. Out of this habit grew à people originally agricul. the Witenagemot, or Meeting tural, industrious, lovers of of Wise Men. They appointed freedom, above all not wantmen of wealth and leisure to ing to be bothered with gormete out justice. They were erning, but choosing their a law-abiding people, with a ablest, their wealthiest, their rooted distaste for over-much most leisured men to govern government. They wanted in- for them. “They are Saxons, dependence, they wanted not who love the land, who love to be meddled with, but, as their liberty, and whose sole Tacitus wrote, they were al., claim to genius is their comways ready to a man to take mon-sense. up arms.
Years have rolled on, -has Then came the Normans; the Saxon race retained its but just as had been the case characteristics ? with the Angles and the In the chapter beaded Danes, the Saxons in time “First Impressions” the earliswallowed them up, and Saxon est impression is that of customs, Saxon laws, and “just slow-moving, unchangSaxon institutions prevailed ing, confident bulk." Deal. in the long-run. These Saxons ing with the question of would have none of Feudalism, our food, our American says: and the result was Magna “What you want is not reCharta; for if it was the Nor- fused you, but what they have man barons who shook off and like is gradually forced personal rule by the king, it upon you.
Thus they govern was the Saxon spirit imbued their colonies.” English serin them which prevailed, and vants are “fixed, immovable, it was
Saxon people unconcerned about other who obtained freedom. It careers, undisturbed by hazy is from Magna Charta that ambitions, and insistent upon the House of Lords dates their privileges, as are all other its existence. This is what Englishmen.
They hold our American writer says :- themselves at a high value,
:“The present House of Lords assert that value, and wheritself is the direct result of ever and whenever possible, the Saxon's unwillingness take all they can get. to bother with government, This is the British way, an imand his willingness to leave pressive and an eminently sucsuch matters to those of cessful way.”
And he says most leisure and most wealth, they may laugh at all the and therefore, in all prob- turmoil of trades unions, for ability, to those of most without union the wages of capacity and most experi- servants have increased out
of all proportion to the in- their rewards early and crease of wages in other 00- often. As consequence, cupations in the last fifteen England has had for hun. years.
dreds of years an honourThe next impression is that roll of mighty men at the “this is a land of men, ruled helm of her affairs. by men, obedient to the ways ‘England has never had and comforts and prejudices & social upheaval which has of men, not women. He driven out her old families, contrasts England with Amer- and in consequence
the ica in this respect. He thinks public service commands an that in & large majority of ability, and on the whole cases the amounts allowed to is conducted with English women to dress on tegrity, due
due to the fine are on & scale that can only feeling of
class long be called mean”; but he says, trained in genuine patriot“This England has become the ism such as no other coungreat Empire she is, because try can boast of.” she is a man's country, and Our author finds the Englishthe expenditure permitted to man self-contained, with the women is only one of the horror of interfering with minor results of this.”
other people's business, indifEngland is not only a ferent to foreigners or man's country, but the colonists of his
race, English man is pre-emin- without sympathy with ently a man's man. The comprehension of them, prizes here go to the sol- wish to understand them undiers, the sailors, the states- less there is something to be men, the colonisers, the got out of them. As to his winners of territory attitude to Amerioans who and the rulers over them, have settled in England, and the travellers and explorers, live luxuriously there, the the great churchmen and Englishman “looks upon them successful schoolmasters, to first as people who have rethose in short with mascu- cognised his superiority, and line minds and bodies. The therefore prefer his society, feminine, the effeminate, and but secondly and always as the Semitio prowess is re- renegades, as people who have warded, it is true-more of shirked their duty as Amerilate years than ever before cans.” but it is not the ideal of England, in author's the nation. It has been opinion, is a land, and Engwittily said that a states- lishmen the people, of comman is a dead politician ; promise, which "some people but in England this does call hypocrisy, some pharisanot apply. The
The chapter headed statesmen or the leading “The Land of Compromise" is politicians, may well worth study.
Our naplease to call them, receive tional expenditure on drink,