Isaac Disraeli.

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V.4



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CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE.



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v-» ■^-^



CUEIOSITIES OF UTElliTURE^



BT




ISAAC DISRAELI.



WITH A VIEW OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS
OF THE AUTHOR.



BY HIS SON.

IN FOUR VOLUMES.
VOL. IV.



FBOM THE FOUBTEE17TH OOBBECTED LONDON EDITION.



BOSTON:
CROSBY, NICHOLS, LEE AND COMPANY,
For WILLIAM VEAZIE.
1861. f ,



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72,5-J



RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE:

STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY

H. 0. HOUGHTON.



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C0N1)ENTS OF VOLUME IV.



PAQl
LITERART XTlHOirS .•••»••. 7

OF A BIOGRAPHT PAINTBD . • • « • • 19

CAUSE AND PRETEXT 19

POLITICAL FORGERIES AND FICTIONS • ... 23

EXPRESSION OF SUPPRESSED OPINIOlf . . • .29

AUTOGRAPHS . 44

THE HISTORY OF WRITING-MASTERS . . • . . 48

THE ITALIAN HISTORIANS . . . . . . 61

OF PALACES BUILT BY MINISTER^ 71

•^ " TAXATION NO TYRANNY l*K , . . . . . 78

^ THE BOOK OF DEATH .- . . . . • • ,87

HISTORY OF THE SKELETON OF DEATH ... 95

THE RIVAL BIOGRAPHERS OF HEYLIN .... 105

OF LENGLET DU FRESNO Y Ill

THE DICTIONARY OF TREVOUX 120

QUADRIO'S ACCOUNT OF ENGLISH POETRY . . .125

"POLITICAL RELIGIONISM** 131

TOLERATION 139

— APOLOGY FOR THE PARISIAN MASSACRE . . . .151

PREDICTION 157

DREAMS AT THE DAWN OP PHILOSOPHY . • . .179

ON PUCK THE COMMENTATOR 197

LITERARY FORGERIES • . 205

OF LITERARY FILCHERS 219

OF LORD BACON AT HOME 224

>4 SECRET HISTORY OF THE DEATH OF QUEEN ELIZABETH 233 '
JAMES THE FIRST, AS A FATHER AND A HUSBAND . 289 '

-*^THE MAN Olf ONE BOOK . *>4A



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vi CONTENTS.

PAOI

A BIBLIOGNOSTS 248

SECRET HISTORY OF AN ELECTIVE MONARCHY . . 255

BUILDINGS IN THE METROPOLIS, AND RESIDENCE IN THE

COUNTRY 275

ROYAL PROCLAMATIONS 284

TRUE SOURCES OF SECRET HISTORY 293

LITERARY RESIDENCES ........ 310

WHETHER ALLOWABLE TO RUIN ONB'S SELF . . .317

DISCOVERIES OF SECLUDED MEN 327

SENTIMENTAL BIOGRAPHY 383

LITERARY PARALLELS 346

THE PEARL BIBLES, AND SIX THOUSAND ERRATA . . 349
VIEW OF A PARTICULAR PERIOD OF THE STATE OF RE-
LIGION IN OUR CIVIL WARS 356

BUCKINGHAM'S POLITICAL COQUETRY WITH THE PURITANS 367
SIR EDWARD COKE's EXCEPTIONS AGAINST THE HIGH

sheriff's oath 371

SECRET HISTORY OF CHARLES THE FIRST AND HIS FIRST

PARLIAMENTS 372

THE RUMP 412

LIFE AND HABITS OF A LITERARY ANTIQUARY— OLDYS

AND HIS MANUSCRIPTS 425

INDEX 449



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cuEiosrriES of literature.



LITERARY UNIONS.

SECRET HISTORY OF RAWLEIGH'S HISTORY OF THE WORLD,
AND VASARl'S LIVES.

A UNION of talents, differing in their quaKties, might cany
some important works to a more extended perfection. In a
work of great enterprise, the aid of a friendly hand may be
absolutely necessary to complete the labours of the projector,
who may have neither the courage, the leisure, nor all neces-
sary acquisitions for performing the favourite task which he
has otherwise matured. Many great works, commenced by a
master-genius, have remained unfinished, or have been de-
ficient for want of this friendly succour. The public would
have been grateful to Johnson, had he united in his diction-
ary the labours of some learned etymologist. Speed's
Chronicle owes most of its value, as it does its ornaments, to
the hand of Sir Robert Cotton, and other curious researchers,
who contributed entire portions. Goguet's esteemed work
of the " Origin of the Arts and Sciences " was greatly in-
debted to the fraternal zeal of a devoted friend. The still
valued books of the Port-royal Society, were all formed by
this happy union. The secret history of many eminent
works would show the advantages which may be derived
from that combination of talents, differing in their nature.



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8 LITERARY UNIONS.

Cumberland's masterly versions of the fragments of the
Greek dramatic poets would never have been given to the
poetical world, had he not accidentally possessed the manu-
script notes of his relative, the learned Bentley. This
treasure supplied that research in the most obscure works,
which the volatile studies of Cumberland could never have
explored ; a circumstance which he concealed from the world,
proud of the Greek eru(fition which he thus cheaply pos-
sessed. Yet by this literary union, Bentley's vast erudition
made those researches which Cumberland could not; and
Cumberland gave the nation a copy of the domestic drama
of Greece, of which Bentley was incapable.

There is a large work, which is still celebrated, of which
the composition has excited the astonishment even of the
philosophic Hume, but whose secret history remains yet to
be disclosed. This extraordinary volume is "The History
of the World by Mawleigh/* I shall transcribe Hume's
observation, that the reader may observe the literary pheno-
menon. " They were struck with the extensive genius of
the man, who being educated amidst naval and military en-
terprises, hizd surpassed in the pursuits of literature^ even
those of the most recluse and sedentary lives ; and they ad-
mired his unbroken magnanimity, which at his age, and
under his circumstances, could engage him to undertake and
execute so great a work, as his History of the World.**
Now when the truth is known, the wonderful in this literary
mystery will disappear, except in the eloquent, the grand,
and the pathetic passages interspersed in that venerable
volume. We may, indeed, pardon the astonishment of our
calm philosopher, when we consider the recondite matter
contained in this woi^, aaid recollect the little time which
this adventurous spirit, whose Kfe was passed in fabricating
his own fortune, and in perpetual enterprise, could allow to
such erudite pursuits. Where could Rawleigh obtain that
familiar acquaintance with the rabbins, of whose language he
was probably entirely ignorant ? His namerous publications,



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LITERARY UJ5I0NS. 9

the efibsions of a most active mind, though excellent in their
kind, were evidently composed by one who was not abstracted
in curious and remote inquiries, but full of the daily business
and the wisdom of human life. His confinement in the
Tower, which lasted several years, was indeed sufficient for
the composition of this folio volume, and of a second which
appears to have occupied him. But in that imprisonment it
singularly happened that he lived among literary characters,
with most intimate friendship. There he joined the Earl of
Northumberland, the patron of the philosophers of his age,
and with whom Rawleigh pursued his chemical studies ; and
Serjeant Hoskins, a poet and a wit, and the poetical " father "
of Ben Jonson, who acknowledged that "It was Hoskins
who had polished him ; " and that Rawleigh often consulted
Hoskins on his literary works, I learn from a manuscript.
But however literary the atmosphere of the Tower proved
to Rawleigh, no particle of Hebrew, and perhaps little of
Grecian lore, floated from a chemist and a poet. The truth
is, that the collection of the materials of this history was the
labour of several persons, who have not all been discovered.
It has been ascertained that Ben Jonson was a considerable
contributor; and there was an English philosopher from
whom Descartes, it is said even by his own countrymen,
borrowed largely — ^Thomas Hariot, whom Anthony Wood
charges with infusing into Rawleigh's volume philosophical
notions, while Rawleigh was composing his History of the
World. But if Rawleigh's pursuits surpassed even those of
the most recluse and sedentary lives, as Hume observes, we
must attribute this to a "Dr. Robert Burrel, Rector of
Northwald, in the county of Norfolk, who was a great
favourite of Sir Walter Rawleigh, and had been his
chaplain. All, or the greatest part of the drudgery of Sir
Walter's History for criticisms, chronology, and reading
Greek and Hebrew authors, were performed by him, for
Sir Walter." * Thus a simple fact, when discovered, clears
* I draw my information from a very singular manuscript in the Lans-



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10 LITERAKY UNIONS.

up the whole mystery ; and we learn how that knowledge
was acquired, which, as Hume sagaciously detected, required
" a recluse and sedentary life," such as the studies and the
habits of a country clergyman would have been in a learned
age.

The secret history of another work, still more celebrated
than the History of the World, by Sir Walter Rawleigh, will
doubtless surprise its numerous admirers.

Without the aid of a friendly hand, we should probably
have been deprived of the delightful history of Artists by
Yasari : although a mere painter and goldsmith, and not a
literary man, Vasari was blessed with the nice discernment
of one deeply conversant with art, and saw rightly what was
to be done, when the idea of the work was suggested by the
celebrated Paulus Jovius as a supplement to his own work
of the " Eulogiums of illustrious men." Vasari approved of
the project ; but on that occasion judiciously observed, not
blinded by the celebrity of the literary man who projected it,
that " It would require the assistance of an artist to collect
the materials, and arrange them in their proper order ; for
although Jovius displayed great knowledge in his observa-

downe collection, which I think has been mistaken for a boy's ciphering
book, of which it has much the appearance, No. 741, fo. 57, as it stands in
the auctioneer's catalogue. It appears to be a collection closely written,
extracted out of Anthony Wood's papers; and as I have discovered in the
manuscript, numerous notices not elsewhere preserved, I am inclined to
think that the transcriber copied them from that mass of Anthony Wood's
papers, of which more than one sack full was burnt at his desire before him
when dying. If it be so, this MS. is the only register of many curious facts.
Ben Jonson has been too freely censured for his own free censures, and
particularly for one he made on Sir Walter Bawleigh, who, he told Drum-
mond, '^ esteemed more fame than conscience. The best voiU in England
were employed in making his Eisfory ; Ben himself had written a piece to
him of the Punic War, which he altered and set in his book." Jonson's
powerful advocate, Mr. Gifford, has not alleged a word in the defence of
our great Bard's free conversational strictures ; the secret history of Raw-
leigh' s great work had never been discovered; on this occasion, however,
Jonson only spoke what he knew to be true — and there may have been
other truths, in those conversations which were set down at random by
Drummond, who may have chiefly recollected the satirical touches.



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LITER AKY UNIONS. U

tions, yet he had not been equally accurate in the arrange-
ment of his facts in his book of Eulogiums.'* Afterwards,
when Vasari began to collect his information, and consulted
Paulus Jovius on the plan, although that author highly ap-
proved of what he saw, he alleged his own want of leisure
and ability to complete such an enterprise ; and this was for-
tunate : we should otherwise have had, instead of the rambling
spirit which charms us in the volumes of Vasari, the verbose
babble of a declaimer. Vasari, however, looked round for
the assistance he wanted ; a circumstance which Tiraboschi
has not noticed : like Hogarth, he required a literary man
for his scribe. I have discovered the name of the chief writer
of the Lives of the Painters, who wrote under the direction
of Vasari, and probably often used his own natural style, and
conveyed to us those reflections which surely come from their
source. I shall give the passage, as a curious instance where
the secret history of books is often detected in the most ob-
scure comers of research. Who could have imagined that
in a collection of the lives d^ Santi e Beati delV ordine de^
Predicatori, we are to look for the writer of Vasari's Hves ?
Don Serafini Eazzi, the author of this ecclesiastical biogra-
phy, has this reference : " Who would see more of this may
turn to the lives of the painters, sculptors, and architects,
written for the greater part hy Don Silvano Razzi^ my
brother, for the Signor CavaKere M. Giorgio Vasari, his
great friend." *

The discovery that Vasari's volumes were not entirely
written by himself, though probably under his dictation, and
unquestionably, with his communications, as we know that
Dr. Morell wrote the " Analysis of Beauty " for Hogarth,
will perhaps serve to clear up some unaccountable mistakes

* I find this quotation in a sort of polemical work of natural philosophy,
entitled " Saggio di Storia Litteraria Fiorentiua del Secolo XVII. da Gio-
vanne Clemente Nelli, Lucca, 1759,'* p. 58. Nelli also refers to what he
had said on this subject in his " PimUe ad akati di 8, M. del Fiore, p. vi.
e. vii.;'* a work on architecture. See Brunet; and Haym, Bib. ItaL de*
lAbH rari.



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12 LITERARY UNIONS^.

or omissions which appear in that series of volumes, written
at long intervals, and by different hands. Mr. Fuseli has
alluded to them in utter astonishment ; and cannot account
for Vasari's " incredible dereliction of reminiscence, which
prompted him to transfer what he had rightlj ascribed ta
Giorgione in one edition to the elder Parma in the subse*
quent ones." Again : Vasari's " memory was either so
, treacherous, or his rapidity in writing so inconsiderate,
that his account of the Capella Sistina, and the stanze of
Raffaello, is a mere heap of errors and unpardonable con-
fusion." Even Bottari, his learned editor, is at a loss how to
account for his mistakes. Mr. Fuseli finely observes, "^He
has been called the Herodotus of our art ; and if the main
simplicity of his narrative, and the desire of heaping anec^
dote on anecdote, entitle him in some degree to that appella-
tion, we ought not to forget that the information of every day
adds something to the authenticity of the Greek historian,
whilst every day furnishes matter to question the credibility
of the Tuscan." All this strongly confirms the suspicion
that Vasari employed different hands at difierent times to
write out his work. Such mistakes would occur to a new
writer, not always conversant with the subject he was com-
posing on, and the disjointed materials of which were often
found in a disordered state. It is, however, strange that
neither Bottari nor Tiraboschi appear to have been aware
that Vasari employed others to write for him ; we see that
from the first suggestion of the work he had originally pro-
posed that Paulus Jovius should hold the pen for him*

The principle illustrated in this article might be pursued ;
but the secret history of two great works so well known are
as sufficient as twenty others of writings less celebrated.
The literary phenomenon which had puzzled the calm in-
quiring Hume to cry out " a miracle ! " has been solved by
the discovery of a little fact on Literary Unions, which
derives importance from this circumstance.*
♦ Mr. Patrick Fraser Tytler, in his recent biography of Sir Waite*



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OF A BIOGBAPHY PAINTED, 18



OF A BIOGRAPHY PAINTED.

Th£B£ are objects connected with literary curiosity, whose
yery history, though they may never gratify our sight, is
literary ; and the originality of their invention, should they
excite imitation, may serve to constitnte a class. I notice a
book-curiosity of this nature.

This extraordinary volume may be said to have contained
the travels and adventures of Charles Magius, a noble Vene-
tian ; and this volume, so precious, consisted only of eighteen
pages, composed of a series of highly-finished miniature
paintings on vellum, some executed by the hand of Paul
Veronese. Each page, however, may be said to contain
many chapters ; for, generally, it is composed of a large
caitre-piece, surrounded by ten small ones, with many apt
inscriptions, allegories, and allusions; the whole exhibiting
romantic incidents in the Ufe of this Venetian nobleman.
But it is not merely as a beautiful production of art that we
are to consider its it becomes associated with a more elevated
feeling in the occa^on which produced it. The ^thor, who
is himself the hero, after having been long calumniated, re-
solved to set before the eyes of his accusers the sufferings
and adventures he could perhaps have but indifferently de-

Rawleigh, a work of vigorous research and elegant composition, has dedi-
cated to me a supernumerary article in his Appendix, entitled Mr^^D'h-
raelPs Errorg !

He has inferred from the present article, that I denied that Rawleigh
was the writer of his own great work ! — ^because I have shown how great
works may be advantageously pursued by the aid of " Literary Union."
It is a monstrous inference ! The chimaera which plays before his eyes is
his own contrivance; he starts at his own phantasmagoria, and leaves me,
after all, to fight with his shadow.

Mr. Tytler has not contrcuBcted a nngle stcUemerU of mine. I have care-
fulljrread his article and my own, and I have made no alteration.

I may be allowed to add that there is much redundant matter in the
article of Mr. Tytler; and, to use the legal style, there is much " imperti-
nence,'* which, with a little candour and more philosophy, he would strike
his pen through, as sound lawyers do on these occasions.



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14 OF A BIOGRAPHY PAINTED.

Bcribed : and instead of composing a tedious volume for his
justification, invented this new species of pictorial biography.
The author minutely described the remarkable situations in
which fortune had placed him ; and the artists, in embellish-
ing the facts he furnished them with to record, emulated each
other in giving life to their truth, and putting into action, be-
fore the spectator, incidents which the pen had less impres-
sively exhibited. This unique production may be considered
as a model to represent the actions of those who may succeed
more fortunately by this new mode of perpetuating their his-
tory ; discovering, by the aid of the pencil, rather than by
their pen, the forms and colours of an extraordinary life.

It was when the Ottomans (about 1571) attacked the Isle
of Cyprus, that this Venetian nobleman was charged by his
republic to review and repair the fortifications. He was
afterwards sent to the pope to negotiate an alliance: he
returned to the senate to give an account of his commission.
Invested with the chief command, at the head of his troops,
Magius threw himself into the island of Cyprus, and after a
skilful defence, which could not prevent its fall, at Famagusta
he was taken prisoner by the Turks, and made a slave. His
age and infirmities induced his master, at length, to sell him
to some Christian merchants ; and after an absence of several
years from his beloved Venice, he suddenly appeared, to the
astonishment and mortification of a party who had never
ceased to calumniate him ; while his own noble family were
compelled to preserve an indignant silence, having had no
communications with their lost and enslaved relative. Magius
now returned to vindicate his honour, to reinstate himself in
the favour of the senate, and to be restored to a venerable
parent amidst his family ; to whom he introduced a fresh
branch, in a youth of seven years old, the child of his mis-
fortunes, who, bom in trouble, and a stranger to domestic
endearments, was at one moment united to a beloved circle
of relations.

I shall give a rapid view of some of the pictures of this



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OF A BIOGRAPHY PAINTED. 15

Venetian nobleman's life. The whole series has been elabor-
ately drawn up by the Duke de la Valliere, the celebrated
book-collector, who dwells on the detail with the curiosity of
an amateur.*

In a rich frontispiece, a Christ is expiring on the cross ;
Religion, leaning on a column, contemplates the Divinity,
and Hope is not distant from her. The genealogical tree of
the house of Magius, with an allegorical representation of
Venice, its nobility, power, and riches : the arms of Magius,
in which is inserted a view of the holy sepulchre of Jeru-
salem, of which he was made a knight ; his portrait, with a
Latin inscription: "I have passed through arms and the
enemy, amidst fire and water, and the Lord conducted me to
a safe asylum, in the year of grace 1571.* The portrait of
his son, aged seven years, finished with the greatest beauty,
and supposed to have come from the hand of Paul Veronese ;
it bears this inscription : " Overcome by violence and arti-
fice, almost dead before his birth, his mother was at length
delivered of him, full of life, with all the loveliness of in-
fancy ; under the divine protection, his birth was happy, and
his hfe with greater happiness shall be closed with good
fortune."

A plan of the isle of Cyprus, where Magius commanded,
and his first misfortune happened, his slavery by the Turks.
— ^The painter has expressed this by an emblem of a tree
shaken by the winds and scathed by the lightning ; but from
the trunk issues a beautiful green branch shining in a brilliant
sun, with this device — ^**From this fallen trunk springs a
branch full of vigour."

The missions of Magius to raise troops in the province of

♦ The duke's description is not to be found, as might be expected, in
his own valued catalogue, but was a contribution to Gaignat's, ii. 16,
where it occupies fourteen pages. This singular work sold at Gaignat's
sale for 902 livres. It was then the golden age of literary curiosity, when



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