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arguments,' he says,' in favour of placing the contents of the record within the knowledge and understanding of all persons are so obvious, that it is deemed unnecessary to urge them here; those which have been adduced by others to show the advantages derived from translations in general, are presumed to be equally applicable in the present instance.' Now in this matter we entirely differ from Mr. Devon; but, before we proceed to offer the few observations we shall make upon the subject, we would wish to have it borne in mind that Mr. Devon's labours and this volume are altogether at the expense of the public. If any gentleman had thought proper, at his own expense, to publish the volume before us, we should have thought that his money might have been far more usefully expended, but his publisher's accounts would have cured him of such folly, and the sin against good taste might have been permitted to pass almost unnoticed. But with publications at the expense of the country the case is essentially different. Our national literary character is mixed up with such publications; for what we patronize and pay for, we cannot but be supposed to admire. In these days too,—these days of searching economy,—little enough of our public money can be afforded for literary purposes, and it behoves us therefore most particularly to see that that little is well applied. We have also before us the example of the old Record Commission; and, if we have not forgotten its lavish and ridiculous expenditure, which seems impossible, we shall certainly not fail to raise our voices against any thing which approximates, however remotely, to that misapplication of the public bounty of which they were guilty.
Mr. Devon's instructions indicated his duty with sufficient clearness, and pointed out most exactly the order in which he was to proceed. In beginning with publication, even supposing his publication a proper one, he has reversed the order in which he was directed to proceed, and has done that first which should have been done last. Indeed, so entirely has Mr. Devon adopted the old witch-like practice of reading his book backwards, that it would seem that, if it had not been for the good sense of Sir John Newport, who was extremely anxious to furnish the public with at least some information as to the contents of the two long closed-up rooms, the present volume would actually have been sent into the world even without the very imperfect account of the discovered records contained in Mr. Devon's introduction. Of course we do not accuse Mr. Devon of having adopted this mode of proceeding with any view to his own advantage j he has misunderstood his instructions, which were not to publish a translation of any of the documents he was expected to find, or a volume of selections from those documents, which we observe he announces, but properly and correctly to arrange and catalogue them, and, by the publication of catalogues, to make their contents known to the public. There seems something reasonable in this mode of proceeding; but if, on the other hand, Mr. Devon is to be allowed to publish first a volume containing a translation of a Roll, then a volume of translated extracts, and then probably a translation of some other curiosity which may have turned up in the mean time, years will have elapsed, and thousands of pounds will have been expended, before Mr. Devon, or his successor, will have put our antiquaries in possession of that information which they cannot but desire to have, and which the Lords of the Treasury intended them to have without delay.
Such is our view of Mr. Devon's course of proceedings; and now with respect to translations of records. Surely it is quite a mistake that' the arguments in favour of translations in general' are applicable to this question. In the case of ' translations in general,' the public have the original and also the translation, but in the case of records, the use and interest of which are confined to very few persons, and the expense of publishing which is very great, our choice lies not between having either the original alone, or the original and a translation, but between having either the original or a translation. The cases are essentially different; and therefore the arguments, whatever they may be, to which Mr. Devon refers, do not affect the question. In the instance of records generally we cannot have, and in this particular instance Mr. Devon does not intend us to have, both the original and a translation; the question then is, which of the two is the more likely to be useful? Which of them is more likely ' to place the record (we use Mr. Devon's words) within the knowledge and understanding of all persons i"—of all persons, that is, who feel an interest in such matters, and to whom a record is likely to be of any use at all,—for to dream of making records, under any circumstances, objects of utility or interest to the whole body of the people, is the merest nonsense in the world. Mr. Devon could not effect it even if he were to publish his translations in the Penny Magazine. We are sure that the general opinion of all persons competent to decide such a question is in favour of the publication of the unmutilated original. Those to whom records are useful can understand the original always as well, and frequently better, than any translation, notwithstanding the ' barbarous Latin' of which Mr. Devon writes with such contempt. Translations cannot be made so as to be thoroughly understood by persons who have not previously studied the general forms and character of records, and those who have had the advantage of such previous study do not stand in need of translations. In records, clearness and certainty as to the exact phraseology of the original are of very peculiar importance,—what translation can give either this clearness or this certainty? Mr. Devon found this out in the instances of proper names, which he has therefore left untranslated throughout his volume. He discovered, he says, that he could not convey ' the original derivation and meaning' of many of them in a translation. How came he not to see that this effect is not confined to proper names of persons, but is equally apparent in the proper names of those institutions, customs, and manners peculiar to the middle ages, which have now become obsolete, and the history and nature of which is only to be gathered from records. The very things for which we principally go to records are incapable of translation. The thing signified has become obsolete; it is entirely gone; we have no name for it. All, therefore, that the translator can do, is either to retain the word in the original, with probably some slight alteration in its termination, or to designate it by the name of whatever in modern times, in the opinion of the translator, comes nearest to its ancient meaning. In both cases the translation is imperfect, and calculated to mislead. In the one the record is really not translated but altered ; in the other we have not so much the sense of the original as the translator's opinion of its meaning; and where is the infallible person to whom antiquaries are willing to bend? We by no means suspect Mr. Devon of any intention to set himself up for such a person; but when he deprives us of the original record, and puts us off with merely his own translation, he places himself in the chair which only such a person ought to occupy.
This question of the translation of records is a very wide one. It affects the conduct of the Record Commissioners with respect to the noble publications they are now carrying on; it equally affects the question of whether publications of this sort are exclusively intended for the learned of our own country, or whether they ought not to be published in such manner as to be useful to the students of all nations;—but really it is not worth while to argue it further. Let any one imagine what would have been the condition of European literature if, instead of the editiones princijfes which were sent forth by the zealous revivers of classical learning, those honourable men had, mistakingly, doled out to us a succession of meagre and spiritless translations? Even that however might not have been so bad as the instance before us. Many of the great classical works relate to passions and feelings which belong to all times and all men. Such works may be translated, for the language of passion is as universal as the feeling from which it originates; but records, for the reasons we have given, cannot be translated so as adequately to represent the original. This is the first translation published at the expense of the public, and we trust it will be the last. Let private individuals do what they please; but against all translations by authority, sent forth in the place of the originals, we shall never cease to protest. How Mr. Devon could have lapsed into such a heresy we cannot imagine. Surely he does not himself explain the cause when, objecting to Mr.Topham's publication of the Wardrobe Book of the 28th Edward I. in the original, he states, that if he had published a translation only, ' much of his labour would have been spared'!—Introd. p. xv.
Having stated our opinions upon these preliminary points, we proceed to the volume itself; which consists of an Introduction, the Record, and an Index.
The Introduction contains an account of the circumstances in which these newlydiscovered Records have been long lying j a brief statement of the nature of the documents at present examined; a collection of extracts from them, ranging from the 5th Henry III. to the 12th Charles I.; and an abstract of the Record here published. The record then follows. In explanation of its character it may be necessary to remark, that in the Exchequer the receipts and payments were entered, in the Pell office, upon two Rolls or Books, the one called the Introitta, which was the record of monies received, and the other the Exitus, or the record of monies issued. Up to the reign of James I. these entries were made upon Rolls, or Pells ;* from his accession they have been entered in books. The Record now published is the Pell of Exitus, or Issue Roll, for the two Exchequer terms of Easter and Michaelmas in the year 1370. This Roll was selected for publication partly on account of the interest thought to attach to the period to which it refers; but, surely, in the long series which is believed to exist from Henry III. to Edward IV., many years possessed greater claims, and few less, upon the score of interest than the one in question. The forced loans to which the King had recourse, and the unsuccessful expedition of Sir Robert Knolles, were the only important public events by which the year was distinguished. If interest were to have any weight in the selection, it would have been better to have exhibited the preparations which preceded Cressy, or Poictiers, than those which led only to a disgraceful defeat. This is not a matter of much moment; except that, if interest is to be any ground for preliminary publication, Mr. Devon may perhaps stumble upon many other records which he may think of sufficient interest to be communicated to the world before he proceeds to his catalogue, in which case time would have been gained if he had, in the first instance, published one of those records most likely to be interesting. The Roll contains many entries relating to the payment of the expenses of Knolles's expedition,—the transit of his men and horses; the mode of obtaining the necessary number of ships; the wages of the seamen and the troops, with very many other particulars recorded in the minute mode of entry in which our ancestors delighted. We are also here enabled to judge of the extent to which the king's applications for loans were carried, and of their success. The nobility, the clergy, corporations, and private individuals produced their 'imprison'd angels,' apparently with great liberality; and, if this record be correctly translated, seem to have been punctually repaid, often within a few days of the loan.—(See pp. 146, 159, 161, and in many other places.) The pensions, wages, allowances, and other ordinary expenses of the government may also be found here, and furnish many curious illustrations of the machinery of the state at the period in question. But we have not space to dwell upon these matters.
The volume is concluded with an index of a very peculiar kind; Mr. Devon shall
* Some of our readers may not be aware that ' Roll' and 'Pell' mean the same thing. The latter word ' Petlh,' indicates the substance upon which the entries were made, the former, 'RofiUii*,' the form of the Pell when not in use.
explain it. 'Some difficulty presented itself in rendering the ancient names of persons and places into modern spelling. To obviate this difficulty, the original orthography of the Record has been in most instances adhered to [in the body of the work], and the names modernized only in the index, which plan producing both readings will, it is hoped, be satisfactory.' Probably it will be so to those who wish the volume to repose in quietness upon their shelves; but any one who desires to make use of it, will think it would have been better if the index had been in the same language as the body of the book. Mr. Devon is at any event entitled to the credit of having meditated, and in some instances executed, an index of a very original character.
It is obvious that such a work as the one of which we have given an outline, must contain a great deal of curious matter, and many things which, if they may be depended upon—if the editor has done his duty well and faithfully—are likely to be highly useful to historical inquirers. If, on the other hand, the accuracy and talent of the editor cannot be depended upon, the work is mere waste paper—' a light to lead astray.' We shall at once proceed to the consideration of the manner in which the work has been executed; selecting, with that view, such passages as tend to show how far the editor is qualified for the task committed to him, how much of that minute accuracy and general acquaintance with historical literature which are indispensable requisites for the proper editing of such a volume, he possesses.
In the first page of the Introduction we find it stated, thatMadox, in his History of the Exchequer, published in 1769, refers to certain things, and this statement is supported by a reference to that work, p. 739. Madox's History was first published in 1711 ; and it appears from the third page of this introduction that he died before 1731. There was an improved edition published in 1769, but the pages of Mr. Devon's references throughout his work are taken from the previous edition of 1711. At p. xiv. we are told that ' the Dialogue de Scaccario, written by Gervase of Tilbury, was printed by Hearne in his Liber Niger.' It is doubtful whether the work referred to was written by Gervase; it is certain that it was not printed by Hearne in his Liber Niger.
At p. xxx. we find' two cloths of gold purchased for Edward of Westminster,' with a note, ' afterwards King Edward I.' Edward I. was surnamed ' Longshanks,' not 'of Westminster.' At any event the person here referred to was no king's son, but the son of' Odo, the goldsmith,' and was the clerk of the works employed by Henry III. upon his new buildings at Westminster. See Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, edit. 1786, vol. I. 11—25.
At p. lvii. we have a note of the contents of ' Letters of Privy Seal, directed to Sir Lewis Stukely, allowing his expenses for arresting Sir Walter Raleigh.' It is added, 'Sir Lewis Stukely delivered an inventory containing' (inter alia) certain enumerated articles. What these articles had to do with Sir Walter Raleigh does not well appear from Mr. Devon's narrative; but upon turning to Mr. Tytler's Life of Raleigh, we find the same articles enumerated in an inventory printed there, p. 466. It seems probable that these articles, which were found upon Raleigh's person at the time of his arrest, were, in the first place, taken away by Stukely, but afterwards returned, in order that it might be seen whether Raleigh used them ' in way of subornation.' Amongst them Mr. Devon includes ' a slob of coarser gold,' and ' a symson stone set in gold.' Mr. Tytler prints them 'a stob,' and ' a crymson stone.'
At p. Iviii. Mr. Devon prints two extracts from the Exchequer books, in the time of Charles I. relating to payments to Vandyck for portraits painted for the King. These extracts have been published before by Walpole (Anec. Painting, n. 165), and in some respects more fully than they are given by Mr. Devon. Of course, too, we may be sure that Walpole did not fall into the mistake committed by Mr. Devon, of inserting a payment ' for mending the picture of the Emperor Galin*.'
In the same page we find, ' to Sir Peter Rubens, knight, 3,000/. for certain pictures from him sold to us.' One of our contemporaries very properly inquires, ' was this for pictures of his own, or for Italian and Flemish pictures which he had been commissioned to purchase ?' * We have no doubt that, if the original were produced, the word 'from ' would be found to be merely a blunder of Mr. Devon's, instead of ' by;' and the date and amount' conjoined' leave no doubt that this was the 3,000/. received by Rubens for painting the ceiling of the Banquetting House at Whitehall. +
At p. lx. we find amongst the 'presents of plate,' &c. said to be contained in the Record here published,' a silver bason and ewer, with gold nobles, to the Duke de Gelrye and Duke d'Aubert, p. 130.' The entry is of a present to Sir Reginald de Bretherthorp, ambassador from those dukes, of one basin silver-gilt and enamelled, with one ewer to match the same, and 25 marks in gold nobles.
In the same page there is ' present to the Lord de Melun, at Pavye, in Lombardy, of certain gallies, palfries, and greyhounds, p. 464.' Gallics at Pavia seem something like the sea in Bohemia ; but the entry referred to is really such nonsense as it stands in the translation, that nothing can be made of it.
In the same page are ten similar entries under the head of presents. One is not an entry of a present; and out of the remaining nine, only two are stated with entire accuracy by Mr. Devon I There are two other similar entries in the next page, and one of them is completely misrepresented.
At p. lxii. are many entries classed together under the head of household payments, servants, &c.' and Mr. Devon represents them as exactly coinciding with those contained in the collection of household ordinances, published by the Society of Antiquaries, the heading of the first of which he quotes in order to prove the similarity. Now this is quite a mistake. The great majority of these selected entries from the present Roll are not household payments, which did not generally appear upon the accounts of the Exchequer; but pensions granted to old servants of the household, or other persons who had done services to the King. It is clear that from such payments ' the perquisites,' as Mr. Devon calls the wages ' of the King's officers and servants,' cannot be ascertained, nor do they, as he imagines, furnish any information as to the ordinary household expenses. His remarks upon the subject are very indefinite, and it is clear he did not at all understand the weapon he was permitted to handle. For instance, his first entry under the head of' household payments,' is ' payment of 10 marks to the nurse of Thomas de Wodestock, the King's son, p. 78.' The payment referred to is 5 marks paid to Christian [Christiana?], wife of John de Enefield, lately nurse to Thomas de Wodestock, being one half-yearly payment of an annuity of 10 marks granted to her by the King for her life, for good service rendered by her, as well to the King as to Thomas de Wodestock. The next entry is similarly mistaken. The third is altogether misrepresented; and as for ' the chaplain' mentioned in it, he is a mere creation of Mr. Devon's fancy. So may we go from entry to entry and without any better success. They are not ' household payments,' but pensions or other gratuities, and wherever they are stated at large the entries are full of errors. Look, for instance, at the following, classed amongst the 'household payments to the official servants.' Mr. Devon merely says, ' Escheator, p. 294.' The entry is 1/. 17*., paid to Leo de Perton on account of an annuity of 100x. granted him for life by the King, for good service rendered by him, and as a compensation (Mr. Devon translates the word, which frequently occurs, 'recompense') for his office of escheator, which the King granted to him, and afterwards committed it to another person. How can this possibly be called a ' household payment to an official servant?' The next class in Mr. Devon's arrangement is 'pay
* The Athenteum, 183u, p. 8G9. f Walp. Anccd. II. 142.