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**: 637, 701
314, 700 British Guiana,
701 UNITED STATES. Central America,
572 South America, 245, 315, 508, 637
PAGE. Statistics of the Catholic Church in the
EUROPE. United States,
633 United States, 242, 314, 380 Conversions in Europe,
316, 573 Catholic Directory of the city of St.
Italy, 62, 190, 245, 315, 380, 443, 508, 572, Louis,
566 St. Louis, 59, 185, 241, 378, 568, 634, 760
England, 191, 245, 315, 381, 508, 49 3, 573, Natchez, 760
637, 763 New Orleans, 60, 189, 379, 441, 699, 760 Ireland, 62, 191, 443, 573
, 573, 701, 763 Mobile, 571 Scotland,
381, 637 Chicago,
316, 381, 444 Detroit,
509, 763 Louisville, 379 Holland,
63, 763 Cincinnati,
189, 441, 506, 700, 761 Pittsburgh,
60, 242, 379 Washingion City, 699 Portugal,
382, 445, 637 Baltimore,' 60, 190, 379, 442, 507, 636, 762
Austria, Philadelphia, 189, 243, 380, 442, 507,571, Turkey,
,446, 638 636, 700, 761
445, 574 New York, 190, 314, 380, 507, 636, 700 Denmark,
61, 380, 570 Missouri,
186, 313, 634, 699 Indiana,
245, 447 Michigan,
192, 317, 382 Missippi, 189
282 Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky,
313, 379, 571, 635 Virginia,
64, 317 Florida, 442
575, 639 North Carolina,
192, 382, 575
Isle of Madigascar
700 Iowa Territory,
570 Wisconsin Territory,
186, 506, 635 Oregon Territory,
61, 569, 699
190, 244, 442
OBITUARY, 64, 192, 320, 383, 447, 510, 576, Nova Scotia,
646, 703, 764 Mexico, 244 Notices or Books,
61, 378, 570 China,
THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF LIBRARIES IN ANCIENT AND MODERN
TIMES. This is a subject which at first may appear dry and uninviting; but which, upon a closer examination, will be found highly interesting. To the sincere votary of science and literature, in particular, the theme cannot seem devoid of interest. The history of Libraries is intimately connected with that of literature in general; the one cannot be well understood or clearly treated without the other. Libraries form in every stage of society the standards by which literary progress may be estimated. A people wholly barbarous and uncultivated never dreamed of erecting a library; and, in general, the more highly civilized a people have become, and the more devoted they are to letters, the more will their libraries be multiplied.
What is a Library? It is a judicious collection of books. We say judicious; because every collection of books is certainly not a library. The word implies a variety of works on different subjects, carefully selected and judiciously arranged. A complete library is one which has the best works of every age and language on all the inportant subjects of literature and science.
Like those who collect and use them, libraries may be said to have a body and a soul. By the former we mean all that is external and material about them : the books themselves, the order of their arrangement, the spacious halls which contain them, and the shelves on which they are placed. By the latter, we mean all the unseen and spiritual treasures which are concealed under these outward forms: the subjects which they treat, the truths which they unfold, and the hidden life with which they are instinct. A library may, in fact, be said to have many bodies and as many souls; as many of each as there are books on its shelves: but all those souls are blended together into one mass of spiritual life, animated and breathing; as all those bodies forro but one great
• The subject of a Lecture delivered on the 29th of February ult., before the Louisville “Mercantile Library Association."
collection of books. A library is thus a great store house of learning, filled with the accumulated literary treasures of the past. To vary the figure, it is a splended mausoleum of the illustrious literary dead, not erected like other mausoleums over their ashes, but inclosing, as in a richly jewelled casket, their immortal minds. It is rather a city of the dead, who yet live and hold converse with men; a kind of Elysium, in which they yet walk and hold coinmunication with the initiated. It is the cherised abode of the
“ Dead but sceptred sovereigns who still rule
Our spirits by their works.” Enter a library; analyse its contents; and see how many interesting branches of literary inquiry immediately present themselves to the mind. Take up one of its books, and ask yourselves of how many parts it consists, and how many hands have been employed in putting it into its present form. To say nothing of the comparatively unimportant labour of the binder, it has paseed successively through the hands of the paper-maker, and of the printer, or if it be a manuscript volume, of the copyist. Two interesting inquiries are immediately suggested, both intimately connected with, or rather preliminary to, the origin and history of libraries: first, whence have we the paper on which the book is written or printed; and second, when did the noble Art of Printing supersede the tedious labour of the copyist?
It is a notorious fact, that both for the material on which we write and print, and for the Art of Printing itself, we are indebted to those ages which it has become fashionable to designate by the epithet dark. The ancient Romans and Greeks employed various materials for writing. Sometimes they used waxen sheets, upon which they wrote with the sharp pointed iron or steel instrument, called the stylus (whence our English word style:) at other times, they used parchment; while many of their more important laws and diplomatic documents were engraved on plates of copper or brass. Then came the papyruswhence our English word paper-composed of the bark of a plant of the same name which grew abundantly on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. All these materials were much inferior, both as to cost and convenience, to our present cotton and linen paper which was wholly unknown to the ancients.
The Egyptians drove a brisk trade in the papyrus which they exported to all parts of Europe and Asia. But Egypt, so highly enlightened and civilized during the first ages of Christianity, was destined to bow to a foreign despotic yoke which was to weigh down her energies, to crush her liberties, to blight her literature, to fetter her commerce, and to mar her civilization. About the year 640, the embattled hosts of Mohammed entered her territory, bearing the scimitar in one hand, and the Coran in the other. Before the middle of the seventh century, all her ancient glories had faded, and she had become a degraded province of that religioso-politico despotism, which has hopelessly crushed every nation on which it ever set its iron hoof.
The commerce of Egypt having been thus crippled, the trade in the papyrus
ceased, and the European supply was cut off. Almost the only writing material left to the Europeans was the parchment, which was much too dear and too scarce to come into general use. And the learned Italian, Muratori, ascribes to this cause much of the subsequent decline of literature in Europe.* In fact, all literary progress would have ceased for want of the essential material for books, had not the enterprising spirit of the Italians thus thrown on their own resources, invented cotton and linen paper, as a substitute for the papyrus—a substitute which more than compensated its loss. And if we have libraries at present, we owe the boon to the inventive genius of the Italians of the dark ages. Antiquaries, by carefully examining the old manuscripts, have come to the conclusion, that cotton paper was used in Italy as early as the tenth, or even the ninth century; while no specimens of linen paper are supposed to be older than the fourteenth. It were well, if those wiseacres who sneer unwittingly at the dark ages, would bear this fact steadily in mind. They would do well also to remember, that most of the great inventions, the fruits of which we now enjoy, are likewise traceable to those same ages.?
This is also true of another invention still more intimately connected with bibliographical history—the Art of Printing. It is usually stated, that the credit of this noble invention should be given to Guttemberg, to Coster, or to Faust and Schoeffer, who flourished about the middle of the fifteenth century. The three cities of Strasbourg, Mentz, and Harlaem, all claimed the honour of having originated this invention. The prize thus contended for was indeed a more glorious one, than that of having given birth to Homer, which erewhile excited such emulation among contending cities; but, according to the more generally received opinion, the city of Mentz bore it away, and the glorious crown has been awarded by grateful Germany to John Guttemberg. We would not pluck one leaf from the blooming wreath which decorates his brow; his glory is that of the ages of faith and of inventions. The Art of Printing, as it now exists, is certainly of no older date than the fifteenth century: but it was itself little more than the mere revival of an art five centuries older, and which had been almost lost sight of in the confusion of the middle ages. '
Recent antiquarian research has established the important fact, that there was, as early as the tenth century, a species of hand printing, or Chirotypography, more or less generally used. A' learned Italian, the Abbate Requeno, in a work lately published at Rome, has set this matter in the clearest light. He has proved, that many ancient diplomas and other documents, hitherto viewed as manuscripts, were printed by a species of hand-press. By a careful examination of those first specimens of printing, he has ascertained that the use of stereotype plates, as well as of moveable types, was cotemporary with
• Antiq. Medii Ovi Diss. 43.
† See an article on “Literature and the Arts in the Middle Ages” in the November No. of the Cabinet.
the birth of the Art. Thus it appears, that, in both stages of the Inventionin the tenth and in the fifteenth century—the noble Art leaped, as it were, to its highest point of perfection and to its fullest stature, at its very origin; but then, like a giant exhausted with over exertion, fell back again into the cradle of infancy, to await the maturing of its strength, and the gradual development of its energies ! Guttemberg abandoned stereotype plates in favour of moveable types, because he could not hit on any method for multiplying the former.
If ever a man deserved a monument, it was John Guttemberg. But the grateful Germans did a work of supererogation, when they recently erected one to his memory in the city of Mentz: one had been already erected. His own noble Art of Printing bestrides the world: it is the most suitable monument that could have been raised in his honour. It is immensely more grand and sublime than was the famed Colossus of Rhodes, reckoned erewhile among the wonders of the world. All the splendid libraries of modern times, owing, as they do, their origin to his great Invention, constitute his most appropriate monument: he needs no other!
The Invention of the Art of Printing constitutes the most important epoch in the history of libraries. It naturally marks the boundary line between the ancient libraries of manuscripts, and the modern ones of printed books. The ancient manuscript libraries are again naturally subdivided into two great classes : the Classical and the Christian; or those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and those of the middle ages. We propose to glance rapidly at the great outlines of bibliographical history in each of these three great epochs, in the order of time in which they occur. To enter into lengthy details would require a series of lectures, or entire volumes. This interesting department of literary inquiry has been thoroughly examined by the learned of Italy, France, Germany and England. Their recent works on the subject are well known to the literary world:* we propose merely to furnish a few of the more interesting results of their labours.
1. To all the lovers of the ancient classical learning, the history of the old Roman and Grecian libraries cannot fail to offer a deeply interesting theme for investigation; while the sad fate of those old libraries must awaken feelings of the most lively regret. The pagan temples seem to have been the oldest repositories of books, and the pagan priests the first librarians. Such was certainly the case in Egypt, from the earliest period; and so also it was, to a great extent, both in the Grecian and Roman States. Books were deemed something sacred, which should repose near the sanctuaries of the gods, and under the watchful guardianship of the priesthood. The temple of Minerva at Athens, that of Serapis in Egypt, and that of Jupiter Palatine at Rome-not to
• Those who may wish more ample information on this subject, are referred to the works of Muratori & Tiraboschi, in Italy; to Petit Radel-Recherches sur les Bibliotheques, and others in France; to Komeier--de Bibliothecis, in Germany; and to Bingham-de Antiquis Ecclesiæ Scholis et Bibliothecis. Tom. III., in England.