KENRICK'S PAPERS ON ARCHEOLOGY AND HISTORY.* IT is but rarely,
we imagine, that papers communicated to a local scientific society attain a degree of interest fitting them for pre- sentation to the public. Archeology, in particular,—to say nothing of the appeal which it makes to a special taste which, however passionately indulged in some quarters, never can be widely diffused,—is a science concerning itself with a multiplicity of purely local phenomena, few of which, as in the case of Wroxeter or the flint hatchets of St. Acheul, are adapted to arouse general attention ; and the interest in which is often too closely connected with the actual inspection of the visible object to admit of easy transference to a printed page. Nevertheless, as geography has been termed one of the eyes of history, archeology is, as it were, its eye-glass. And when the task of interpreting the merely physical relics of a bygone time falls into the hands of one whose mind, like that of Mr. Kenrick, habitually dwells in the larger sphere of many-sided historical investigation, there is no fear lest an over-attention to minutite fatiguq, or disappoint the reader. It should be added also that the city of York, whose "Philosophical Society" has,
" A Selection of Papers on Subjects of Arelur.ology and History. Communicated to the Yorkshire Philosophical Society by the Rev. John Helmick, MA., F.S.A., Cara- kr of Antigaitiaa. London: Longman. York: B. Sauter, 1864.
as we are informed, requested the publication of these papers by its diligent and accomplished curator of antiquities, has a better right than any other to boast itself the metropolis of this descrip- tion of inquiry. It is the antiquarian capital of Great Britain. And wherever are accumulated richest materials for study the best antiquaries are likely to be found. But the purely archasologit cal and local interest is subordinate to a more general one in these papers. Nor can it matter to the ordinary reader what particular coins, monuments, or waxen tablets Mr. Kenrick may have thought fit to select as the starting-points for his highly valuable essays.
Indeed those which occupy, in our author's list, the position of pieces de re:siotance are of a purely historical character, though the local colouring, so attractive, even if not indispensable, in the eyes of the original audience, is given in the one case by the proximity of Pontefract Castle, and in the other by the existence throughout Yorkshire of numerous traces of the once famous
Order of the Knights Templars. But as with reference to those gallant Knights it may, without serious exaggeration, be asked,— " Qui garges, ant gnat gamine. lugnbris
Ignara ? Quod mare Daunia3 Non decoloravere csedes ?
Qua3 caret ore cruore nostro 2"
—so we may observe of this, as of the rest of Mr. Kenrick's essays, that they are general in their tone and scope, although local and provincial in their occasion. Indeed we close the volume with a regret that great subjects have been treated in too compressed a manner rather than that little ones have been unduly expanded.
Mr. Kenrick's remarks upon the career and catastrophe of the chivalric order of the Templats are indeed very suggestive, and we think him light in inclining to find in their mysterious down- fall a result of something more than the lull of the crusading spirit, carrying With it the moral degeneracy which falls on every organization when its work is done. Such causes of decay were common to all the military orders. There must have been some special reason which caused the pitiless signal of hostility, operative in every European country, to be given from Rome against the Templars. That the contact with the Eastern races implied in distant travels and in long-continued warfare, should have carried with it some elements dangerous to orthodoxy or ill-assorting with the papal pretensions is indeed probable enough; and the Templars may have imbibed such elements. The com- parative leniency with which they were treated in England is not the least instructive of the points noted by our author. The subject, it cannot be denied, is a highly interesting one, but jus- tice will scarcely be done to it until the general history of the crusading period, of which the military orders were off-shoots, shall be re-written, together with its adjuncts; as re-written it undoubtedly will be.
The second essay, on "The Traditions of Pontefract Castle," is a model of acute, careful, lawyer-like, and subtle historical reason- ing on an unsettled point which will be new to most readers; for the popular story of the assassination of Richard II. in that fortress
has hitherto met with almost universal credence. It seems, how- ever, that _the Scotch chronicles contain a romantic story of his escape from Pomfret into that country, and state that he was discovered acting as a scullion in the kitchen of the Lord of the Isles ; while a belief in his survivorship, real or simulated, showed itself in England during the subsequent seditious movements.
Mr. Kenrick shows great power in dealing with this as a question of probabilities, and he marshals a train of arguments, which we think quite conclusive, against the possibility of the escape to Scotland. Less positively convincing, however, are the consi- derations by which, careless of obliterating a dramatic feature which our great national poet has appropriated, he endeavours to relieve the character of Henry IV. of the sad stain of the assas- sination, concluding, though not without hesitation, in favour of the hypothesis of death from exhaustion or starvation, voluntary to some extent, according to the rather ambiguous expression of Harding that the Royal prisoner was " forehungered." At any rate the essayist has maintained a thesis which, while it shakes the popular belief, invites the attention of our future historians, and will probably influence their decisions. It strikes us as per- haps the most.novel feature in the volume.
Two very good essays next follow on "The Destruction and the Recovery of Classical Literature," and serve to recall us from medieval ponderings, while they denote the wide range as well as the precision of that scholarship of which they are mani- festations. Nothing but a long familiarity with ancient litera- ture even in its most untrodden paths, and with the circumstances of its transmission to modern times, could have enabled the essayist, triumphing over the unwieldiness of the subject, to
present so many distinct and striking facts and impressions upon an aspect of classical study which often fails to attract any attention, and on which there are but few, if any, standard sources of information. We do not doubt the sincerity of Mr. Kenrick's lament over the lost treasures of antiquity and the paucity of materials for the modern scholar. There are few persons who could more fittingly claim to stand in a position like that of the Macedonian commander who, having traversed the half of Asia, complained feelingly that there were no more worlds to conquer. It is natural for students less accom- plished to view with despair the thick volumes still awaiting their perusal, rather than to complain of the pious zeal of the Saracens or of the mediteval popes who have doubtless inter- cepted so much, or of the disgraceful obliterations which monastic scribes perpetrated in order to convert old classics into virgin parchment. It is, however, as an historian that Mr. Kenrick writes and thinks, and in that capacity be is amply justified in regretting the many lacunas in the annals of the ancient world, and especially the incompleteness of such texts as those of Polybi us, Appian, Livy, Dionysius, Tacitus. These at least would have been studied with avidity, though human patience would hardly have sufficed for all the multifarious papyri which perished in the fire of the Alexandrian Library.
On the whole, however, it might be contended that the Euro- pean mind has benefited as well by the process of destruction as by that of conservation. Maaiv ayar awl wain/ apie.a Tams were salutary maxims current in antiquity itself. There might have been an inconvenience in possessing too mach. Academical prelections might have grown to an unreasonable length. And seriously, the great master-works of antiquity which we so for- tunately possess would not have been the objects of such special and intense study, or of such affectionate admiration, had they been presented as a portion of a much larger intellectual mass. As in the well-known story of the Sibylline books, it is possible the loss of the greater part may have enhanced our appreciation of the remainder. And the result may have been to lighten the pressure of antiquity upon the modern mind while concentrating attention on its master-pieces. Besides, from the (esthetic point of view, much of what has disappeared may be deemed implicitly contained in what we possess. Many fugitive tones of the early lyre may have escaped us, but we have that to which they were the prelude. For in comparison to the vigorous and lofty strains of Pinder, or to that still happier consummation which lyric poetry attained through its high marriage with Athenian tragedy, those earlier strains must have been as mere prepara- tory warblings. Again, if the cyclic poets have disappeared, we may be sure that by the side of Homer they would have been as little regarded as are the contemporary dramatists by the side of Shakespeare. Nor is there any important type of ancient art, unless it be the satyric drama,—the grotesque element in the old mythology,—of which we have not a tolerable number of specimens. And the influence exercised by such works does not depend upon their number. It is probable that the seven remaining plays of Sophocles afford more occupation and enjoyment to the mind of Mr. Matthew Arnold than ten times their number would do to a less appreciating nature. It must be remembered that the function of antiquity, in relation to the modern mind, was to direct and to inform rather than over- power its energies ; and although it has not been in favour of the Koran, according to the desire of the rather truculent Caliph, that the rich treasures of Greek learning have been put aside, yet it will ever remain a significant fact that the greatest imagina- tive creations of European literature, though full of suggestions derived from antiquity, yet imply a freer treatment of those sug- gestions than would have well consorted with a profound and accurate knowledge, and speak of a kind of half-light which preceded full scientific investigation.
Want of space compels us to dismiss with transient comment the rest of Mr. Kenrick's volume. The title "Relation of Coins to History" seems at first sight rather large for a description of a set of coins of the third century found at Methal, and presented by Lord Londesborough to the society in York. But although the purely numismatic interest is a slight one, Mr. Kenrick is himself upon this subject, as on every other, and he seems to have improved the occasion by impressing upon the members of the society, freshly agitated by the reception of so fine a gift (onzne ignotum pro mIgnifico), much that the coins could not teach them concerning the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, and a clearer and more correct view of the character of the last-named Emperor than they were likely to have attained previously, or than that which Gibbon furnishes. A monument of Trajan lately found in York becomes, in the same way, the text of an interest- ing dissertation ; and some waxen tablets, with cursive characters, recently brought from Transylvania, are made to give evidence concerning the regulations of a Roman benefit-club. Finally, much in the manner that a varied and substantial repast is well terminated by a light mdringue, the learned essayist parts from us with a pleasing, half- humorous description of "New Year's Day in Ancient Rome," in which the light thrown on this subject by Ovid, Seneca, Maorobius, and various other authorities, (including "an antique terra cotta lamp, a wood-cut of which stands at the head of this paper ") is skilfully collected for the edification of English readers. Those who are acquainted by travel with the Mediterranean countries will be struck with the analogies between ancient customs and the manner in which those volatile populations still celebrate the jour de ran.