Imatges de pÓgina
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aries superseded. The early period at which Christianity prevailed in England, adds to the difficulties which beset the subject. The fall of heathendom and the commencement of history in this island, were contemporaneous; and the missionaries or the monks who could have recorded the errors they overthrew, sought rather to destroy the remembrance of a belief and ritual, which in their eyes were impious; but which yet might have retained too strong a hold on their half-converted neophytes. The materials still available for a history of Saxon heathendom are, therefore, chiefly indirect, casual, and widely scattered. Incidental notices in the annals of the Teutonic races generally, minute and isolated facts preserved not always in writing, but orally or symbolically, in popular superstitions and local customs, in legends, in provincial adages, and even nursery tales, are among the best sources of information now remaining to us. The pænitentials of the Church and the acts of the witena-gemóts are full of prohibitions against the open or the secret practice of heathendom; yet neither these, nor Beda, nor the various works to which Beda gave rise, supply the sacred names in which the fanes were consecrated, nor the peculiar attributes of the objects of worship. The historian is, therefore, obliged to resort to other authorities, founded on traditions even more ancient, and which yield more copious, if not more definite, accounts. Mr. Kemble's earlier labours as the editor of Beowulf have been of great service to his later and more voluminous work. He had already broken ground in this obscure and unfrequented region, in a little treatise written in German, and entitled “Die Stammtafel der Westsachsen.' Sir Francis Palgrave had before discerned the importance of the genealogies of the Anglo-Saxon kings as materials for the history of AngloSaxon mythology. These,' Mr. Kemble observes, contain • a multitude of the ancient gods, reduced into family relations, • and entered in the grades of a pedigree, but still capable of identification with the deities of the North and of Germany.'

With his peroration of this most important chapter we close our analysis of the first book of the · Saxons in England.' The extract is long, but it is a specimen of the author's clear and cogent style, and of the equally philosophical and reverent spirit in which he regards a solemn and imaginative creed.

“I believe in two religions for my forefathers: one that deals with the domestic life, and normal state of peace; that sanctifies the family duties, prescribes the relations of father, wife and child, divides the land, and presides over its boundaries; that tells of gods, the givers of fertility and increase, the protectors of the husbandman and the herdsman; that guards the ritual and preserves the liturgy; that pervades the social state and gives permanence to the natural, original

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political institutions. I call this the sacerdotal faith, and I will admit that to its teachers and professors we may owe the frequent attempt of later periods to give an abstract, philosophic meaning to mythus and tradition, and to make dawning science halt after religion.

• The second creed I will call the heroic; in this I recognise the same gods, transformed into powers of war and victory, crowners of the brave in fight, coercers of the wild might of nature, conquerors of the giants, the fiends, and dragons; founders of royal families, around whom cluster warlike comrades, exulting in the thought that their deities stand in immediate genealogical relation to themselves, and share in the pursuits and occupations which furnish themselves with wealth and dignity and power. Let it be admitted that a complete separation never takes place between these different forms of religion ; that a wavering is perceptible from one to the other; that the warrior believes his warrior god will bless the produce of his pastures; that the cultivator rejoices in the heroic legend of Wóden and of Baldr, because the cultivator is himself a warrior when the occasion demands his services: still, in the ultimate development and result of the systeins, the original distinction may be traced, and to it some of the conclusions we observe must necessarily be referred; it is thus that spells of healing and fruitfulness survive when the great gods have vanished, and that the earth, the hills, the trees and waters retain a portion of dimmed and bated divinity long after the godlike has sunk into the heroic legend, or been lost for ever.

• We possess no means of showing how the religion of our own progenitors or their brethren of the continent, had been modified, purified, and adapted in the course of centuries to a more advanced state of civilisation, or the altered demands of a higher moral nature; but, at the commencement of the sixth century we do find the pregnant fact, that Christianity met but little resistance among them, and enjoyed an easy triumph, or at the worst a careless acquiescence, even among those whose pagan sympathies could not be totally overcome. Two suppositions, indeed, can alone explain the facile apostacy to or from Christianity, which marked the career of the earliest converts. Either from a conviction of the inefficacy of heathendom had proceeded a general indifference to religious sanctions, which does not appear to answer other conditions of the problem, or

demands of the new faith did not seem to the Saxons more onerous than those to which they were accustomed; for it is the amount of self-sacrifice which a religion successfully imposes upon its votaries, which can alone form a measure of its influence. The fact that a god had perished, could sound strangely in the ears of no worshipper of Baldr; the great message of consolation,- that he had perished to save sinful, suffering man,-justified the ways of God, and added an awful meaning to the old mythus. An earnest, thinking pagan, would, I must believe, joyfully accept a version of his own creed, which offered so inestimable a boon, in addition to what he had heretofore possessed. The final destruction of the earth by fire could present no difficulties to those who had heard of Surtr and the Twilight of the Gods, or of Allfather's glorious kingdom, raised on the ruin of the intermediate

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divinities. A state of happiness or punishment in a life to come was no novelty to him who had shuddered at the idea of Nástrond: Loki or Grendel had smoothed the way for Satan. Those who had believed in runes and incantations were satisfied with the efficacy of the mass; a crowd of saints might be invoked in place of a crowd of subordinate divinities; the holy places had lost none of their sanctity; the holy buildings had not been levelled with the ground, but dedicated in another name; the pagan sacrifices had not been totally abolished, but only converted into festal occasions, where the new Christians might eat and drink, and continue to praise God: Hréðe and Eóstre, Wóden, Tiw and Fricge, Đunor and Sætere retained their places in the calendar of months and days: Erce was still invoked in spells, Wyrd still wove the web of destiny ; and while Wóden retained his place at the head of the royal genealogies, the highest offices of the Christian church were offered to compensate the noble class for the loss of their old sacerdotal functions. How should Christianity fail to obtain access where Paganism stepped half way to meet it, and it could hold out so many outward points of union to paganism?'

We have unwillingly passed over many of the sections in the first book of the · Saxons in England;' and with even more reluctance we pause on the threshold of the second.

But if our preceding analysis and its accompanying extracts suffice to show that an important and in many respects an original contribution has been made to the history of our Laws, our Race, and our Commonwealth, we may securely commend the remaining and more interesting portions of these volumes to the reader. The Mark, the Ealdorman, the Faehde and the Wergyld, the Hi'd and the territorial noble, the distinctions of the free and unfree, are now either swept down the gulph of generations, or so modified as to have lost nearly every original feature. But in the commonwealth of England, there yet remain the king, the peer and the house of representatives, the shire and the municipalities, an aristocracy descending to a middle class, and a middle class rising towards an aristocracy :- these are still left intact, after all the mutations of

:time, and amid the present concussion of races akin to ourselves in blood, in feelings, and in institutions. We have little scruple, therefore, in merely referring the reader to the chapters in the second volume, which treat of the 'Growth of the Kingly Power, • The Rights of Royalty,' • The King's Court and Household, The Gerefa,' “The Ealdorman or Duke,' and • The Witena

gemót.' These questions have been handled also by preceding antiquaries and historians; and to the topics comprehended in them the reader acquainted with the works of Allen, Hallam, and Palgrave, will be less in want of an introduction.

Our conviction of the value of Mr. Kemble's researches is not, however, affected by the pre-occupation of the ground by others.

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His work bears throughout the marks of original investigation, both as regards its materials and the employment of them. He has indeed legitimately availed himself of the aid of his predecessors in Anglo-Saxon history, but he has also drawn largely on manuscript sources. He has had the benefit of Mr. Thorpe's collection of the Anglo-Saxon laws, -one of the few good deeds of the Record Commission has rescued from neglect nearly a thousand charters, and thus stands upon a vantage-ground in great measure provided and consolidated by himself. The sixteen years which have elapsed since the English Commonwealth' was published, have advanced the study of archaic history more than all the labours of the previous half century. We have, in the interim, naturalised Niebuhr, familiarised ourselves with the philological and legal science of Grimm and Savigny, and resumed Anglo-Saxon studies with a zeal and an intelligence never before exemplified in this department. Not only is the language itself made more accessible by Dr. Bosworth's dictionary and Mr. Thorpe's excellent grammar and analecta, but enterprising publishers, like Mr. Bohn, have found it worth their while to print in cheap forms the Anglo-Latin Annalists and the Saxon Chronicle. In the preface to his English Commonwealth' Sir F. Palgrave mentions his obligations to Mr. Allen. We remember Sir James Mackintosh observing, at the time, that the combined investigations of two such men would discharge all future writers from the necessity of repeating them. But the bounds of our knowledge, even in history as well as physical science, may be still incalculably advanced ; and the publications of Allen, Palgrave, Thorpe, Petrie, and Kemble, are probably the steppingstones only, and not the final bridge, between the days of our progenitors and our own.

We cannot, however, bid farewell to Mr. Kemble without a few observations, which apply to his historical labours generally. We began our review of the Saxons in England' by pointing out the dependence of archaic history on philology, and with the wish and the hope that the example of Gibbon and the German antiquaries might be more sedulously followed. The perusal of what Mr. Kemble has accomplished on this occasion, both gratifies and strengthens the feeling we there expressed. As critics, indeed, we might complain that he has left us so little of our proper functions to exercise. We have vainly attempted to abridge his various essays without marring their contents or their connexion : And we are sensible that every omission imposed on us by our limits removes some necessary link or weakens some appropriate illustration. That Mr. Kemble has so generally subjected his narrative powers to the statement or discussion of new or controverted points, shows him more zealous for his subject than for immediate reputation. With half the materials he has here amassed, he might have been a brilliant theorist: he has chosen the straighter and more arduous path of elucidation and induction. Anxious as Montesquieu or De Tocqueville to systematise phænomena and to establish laws of universal application, he is as minute and scrupulously patient in collecting and sifting his authorities, as if he were a herald engaged in making out the title to a peerage. His positions, on the present occasion, will doubtless be many of them controverted. For his book has vitality enough to provoke assaults, before it can hope to assume its rightful station among historical works. But the assailant must provide himself with various and welltempered weapons for the encounter. The mere antiquary, jurist, or etymologist, will not succeed single-handed. We have nothing to suggest, except for the general reader's sake, that in a future edition some at least of the Anglo-Saxon and Latin citations be translated. They will lose little in Mr. Kemble's version. Also, the narrative would be at times improved if some matters at present incorporated in the text were transferred to the notes or appendices. Where they now stand, the crude authorities or extracts sometimes obstruct the argument or mar the clearness of the statement. With these suggestions our official murmurs cease. In renewing our acknowledgments to the author for his full, lucid, and very learned exposition of Saxondom in England, we need scarcely say, that we shall gladly hail his entrance upon the later periods of his story; when dramatic interest in

accompany

his commentary on institutions, and our Teutonic ancestors be represented in their rise, maturity, and decline, by Æthelbert, Alfred, and Edward.

persons will

ART. VII.-Papers relating to the Treaties of Lahore. Pre

sented to Parliament by her Majesty's Commands, 1847. We wish that some more agreeable occasion than an im

pending war had suggested the following observations on a portion of Indian History possessing considerable interest and value. We take, however, the opportunity as it occurs, and will endeavour to convey some information respecting the brief career of a state which in singularity of origin and constitution is second to none even in the wonderful records of Oriental revolutions.

Like all the other kingdoms of Hindostan with which from

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