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about among the minutiae of matters that do not lift their heads into public view. He then proceeds to blame the Italian historian Guicciardini for having violated this rule, by frequently debasing his narrative of public events by the intermixture of details and incidents beneath the dignity of history. Yet he admits, and indeed contends, that such minor and more private incidents are frequently the real springs of the most important public transactions ; and on this consideration he founds his high estimate of the office of the writer of anecdotes, whose privilege it is, he says, "de rapporter d'un air serieuz les plus petitcs bagatelles, lorsqu'elles auront ete l'origine ou l'occasion des plus grandes affaires"—to detail with an air of seriousness even the minutest trifles, when they have been the origin or occasion of great events. His general notion seems to be that Anecdote is a sort of History in dishabille—that it sets before us events in their real character, and not disguised or dressed up for show as they are generally beheld by the public; and hence he argues that it is really a much truer thing than what is commonly called history, which he appears to think is of necessity a sort of painting or magnifying of the truth, and in so far, therefore, a falsehood and deception.
The word anecdote has now, if we are not mistaken, altogether lost in common parlance this exclusive application to secret or unpublished history. Yet Johnson in his Dictionary, first published in 1755, still defines the word as properly signifying " something yet unpublished; secret history ;"—giving, as an example of its use in this sense, Prior s lines,—
"Some modern anecdotes aver,
Ho adds, however, " It is now used, after the French, for a biographical incident; a minute passage of private life." In this sense, and even in one somewhat larger, for we now almost call facts of any kind whatever, and relating to any subject, if stated in an unconnected or fragmentary manner, anecdotes, it has been extensively used within the last half or three-quarters of a century. Many of the publications now entitled anecdotes are such contributions to political or literary history as have been produced so plentifully in the French language under the title of Memoires, or Memoirespour servir.
A modern French bibliographer, M. Peignot, imagines that he has detected the word anecdote curled up at the end of such titles as the ' Scaligerana,' the ' Menagiana,' and the others which have been given to the numerous class of books hence commonly known by the name of the Ana. The Ana, iu his notion, means the anecdotes; and the Scaligerana, for instance, written properly and without abbreviation, would be the Scaliger anecdota, that is, the Scaliger anecdotes.
The Scaligerana, however, no more means the Scaliger anecdotes, than it means the Scaliger arms or the Scaliger legs. It is a regularly formed Latin adjective of the nominative plural neuter, and signifies merely anything belonging or relating to Scaliger. The word anecdote is no more a part of it than it is a part of any of the English expressions, a Ciceronian eloquence, a Johnsonian style, Christian affections, subterranean passages. In all such instances as these, the an which terminates the adjective is the exact representative (divested only of the sign of gender, number, and case) of the ana of Scaligerana, and other similar words.
It has not been generally observed that so old and classical a Latin writer as Cicero himself has in one passage used this species of formative precfsely in the modern sense. In one of his familiar epistles (book vii. ep. 32) he complains that all the sayings of all sorts of people were attributed to him, among the rest even the 'Sextiana ' (or ' Sestiana,' as some editions have it), that is, those of Sextus or Sestus. Who the unhappy individual thus gibbeted is, the commentators, we believe, have not determined; but at any rate, here is one Ana which appears to have been familiarly known at Rome. It is by no means impossible even that this 'Sextiana' may have been a written collection. Cicero immediately before seems to allude to some such repertory or store
place of his own bons-mots—his salituB, as he calls it, that is, literally, his salt-pans; which he complains of having heard that during his absence from Rome his friends had not been guarding from foreign additions so zealously as they ought. We know, at all events, that written collections of what were called the jokes or jests (Joci) of Cicero were in circulation at Rome. Quintilian expressly mentions such a collection in three books, which was said to have been compiled by Cicero's brother Quintus and his freedman Tyro. The title of' Ciceroniana' might have been given to this publication in conformity both with modern and classic usage.
The first modern Ana of which we read are certain manuscript collections of anecdotes respecting Grotius, and two French writers of that age, Nicholas Bourbon and Gabriel Naude, which in 1659 (a few years after they had all died) Guy Patin in one of his letters speaks of having in his possession. He calls them ' Grotiana,' 'Borboniana,' and' Naudaeana.' None of these Ana, however, we believe, have ever been published ; for the collection which appeared at Paris in 1701, under the title of 'Naudaeana,' is understood to be altogether a forgery.
We are indebted for the first of the published books bearing this title to that erudite and able, but in some respects very singular person, Isaac Vossius. This was the 'Scaligerana, or Collection of Colloquial Remarks made by Joseph Scaliger,' now called the 'Scaligerana Secunda,' to distinguish it from the other collection belonging to a prior period of Scaliger's life, though subsequently published, entitled therefore the 'Scaligerana Prima.' The history of the publication of the first of the Ana is by no means creditable to Vossius. The notes of Scaliger's conversation had been originally taken down by two young men, the brothers John and Nicholas de Vassan, who, having gone to study at the University of Leyden, where Scaliger was a professor, had there an opportunity of being much in his society. The Vassans, on their return to France, gave their manuscript collection thus formed, which made a thick octavo volume, to the three learned brothers, Claude, Pierre, and Jacques Du Puy. The Du Puys sent it to M. Sarran, who took a copy of it, which eventually came through his son Isaac Sarran into the hands of Hadrian Daille, a French Protestant clergyman resident in Paris. Daille transcribed the volume, rearranging the remarks in the alphabetical order of their subjects. In 1666, Vossius, being in Paris, borrowed from Daille the copy which he had thus made, and was even allowed to take it home with him to Holland. This confidence he requited by sending it immediately to the Sress; though he appears to have been so far ashamed of is breach of faith as to endeavour to conceal his share in the transaction by prefixing a false title-page, in which Geneva was stated to be the place where the volume was printed. It was in fact printed at the Hague, where Vossius resided.
Before this publication actually took place, Daille', it appears, had received notice of what was going forward, and had remonstrated with his false friend against what he was about. He afterwards took the only revenge in his power, by printing the following year, at Rouen (though the title-pages say Cologne), a second edition of the work, which he announced as being "restored according to the true text, and diligently purified from the innumerable and most disgraceful blunders with which the former everywhere abounded." He also prefixed an advertisement, in which he gave a history of the manuscript, and also of Vossius's strange proceedings. Of all this Vossius and his publisher seem to have taken no notice; for in the following year, 1668, a second impression of the Hague edition was produced in that town, in all respects the same with the first. Yet Daille' had in his edition both corrected many gross errors of that first fraudulent publication, and added to its contents a considerable quantity of new matter. Among other differences between the two publications, is one in the title of the book, which Vossius had printed Scaligeriana, but which Daille, following the original manuscript, corrected into Scaligerana, the form that has been since universally adopted.
I he publication of the ' Scaligerana' made an extraordinary sensation in the world of letters, and the excitement which it administered to the public curiosity immediately set men's minds a-craving after further supplies of the same sort. These revelations of the private conversation, opinions, and habits of eminent literary characters, seem to have taken the vulgar taste in that age much as we have seen what are called the novels of fashionable life do that of our own. We fear we must not suppose any greatly more respectable spirit to have moved people in the one case than in the other; for there is too much reason to suspect that the attraction of these Ana, at least with the generality of their readers, did not lie chiefly either in the learning or wit with which they might be fraught. The occasional glimpses which were obtained of the littleness of the great—of the follies of the wise—from this new mode of exhibiting the lights and guides of mankind, most pro