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Fathers, Walch says are to be understood those Doctors of the first six centuries who adorned Christianity by the purity of their life and doctrine, with the addition of some writers of a later age of equal merit, and to whom the appellation is by general consent conceded. The Bibliotheca Marima Patrum includes, under the name of Fathers, all the eminent ecclesiastical writers of the first twelve centuries—to the time of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, ‘qui novissimus inter patres vocari consuevit.'
• Who shall decide when doctors disagree?' In a bibliographical' sense we again beg leave to put the question, who are the Fathers? If we take another Bibliotheca Patrum as the guide to our choice, the assemblage of authors would be strange indeed: it includes not only historical narratives, but two supplementary books to Virgil's Æneid, written by Maffeo Vegio in the fifteenth century. Another class, which we find proposed in nearly all schemes, is that of Heretics or Heterodox writers: now it is plainly evident that these are terms which carry different meanings in different countries, and which vary according to the opinions held by the various bibliographers. The Orthodox of England would be Heterodox at Rome. Whilst Calvin ought to be the Orthodox of Redcross-street, the Scottish libraries, to be consistent with the Kirk, should brand as Heretical all that related to prelacy in any form.
If the title-page were always taken to be expressive of the scope of a book, the result would often be highly absurd, and also inconsistent with facts. We have seen Roscoe's · Life of Leo X’ and Middleton's · Life of Cicero,' under the head Biography, next to the Life of some religious enthusiast; Scott's *Life of Napoleon' in the same class ;-and Robertson's History of Charles Û' under History, and Lord Lyttelton's · History of the Life of Henry II, sometimes in one, sometimes in the other. A title-page often gives no clue to an author's meaning—for example: 'Pap with a Hatchet, alias a Fig for my Godson, or Crack me this Nut,' is a nut which every one could not crack: it is a pamphlet by John Lylly (Sir Piercie Shafton's Lylly) in the Martin Marprelate controversy in Elizabeth's time. Roy's · Rede me and be not Wrothe’ is a satire upon Cardinal Wolsey. In these things we have purposely confined our examples to English books: the same incongruities are found in other languages, and are proportionably more difficult to the uninitiated.
It would really seem as if some attempts were made with a view to show how a classed catalogue should not be compiled. To errors of description such as we have noticed, and to which a classed catalogue is equally obnoxious with an alphabetical, are added errors of position. In the classed Index of the Harleian
VOL. LXXII. NO. CXLIII.
Manuscripts we find the monkish tales known as the Gesta Romanorum, put under the head of Roman History-with Livy and Suetonius; the Orationes Sancte Brigitte in the same class with Cicero's Orations ! In the catalogue of the Library of the London Institution (somewhere in Moorfields), Maffei's work de Re Diplomatica (on old writing), is placed under Politics; and in that of the Royal Society, a work de Stellis Marinis (on star-fish), was placed under Astronomy! We once found a huge folio · De Stirpibus, &c.,' i.e. on the genealogical trees of some foreign nobility, classed under Botany. Manget, in his Catalogue of Medical Writers, inserts the mathematician De Moivre because he wrote De Calculo; and in many editions of the London Catalogue of Books, Burton's ' Anatomy of Melancholy' was ranged under Medicine. Bude's work de Asse et partibus ejus has been classed with Natural History, as if it treated of Asses, colonial and others; and when Miss Edgeworth’s Essay on Irish Bulls was published, some copies, it has been said, were ordered for the use of the Board of Agriculture. We will not affirm the truth of the last story; but we know from good authority that an honest farmer of East Lothian bought the essay, and after reading it from the first page--which is adorned by a small engraved figure of a bull—to the last, complained that Miss Edgeworth was a silly body-to write a book on Bulls, and no ane word o' horned cattle in it a', forby (except) the bit beastie at the beginning !'
In some instances attempts have been made to avoid a minute classification, and yet to obtain some of its supposed advantages, by arranging all books in a few great divisions. With what success this plan has been attended, we may judge by the example of the Royal Society, who determined to have but twelve divisions in their library, and therefore put, and that advisedly, Chronology and Canal Navigation into one and the same class, that class being Astronomy! From the height of the Royal Society* we may descend to the · Islington Literary and Scientific Institution,' who have recently put forth a 'classed' catalogue of their books, in which, under the very definite head of Miscellanies,' the first twelve entries are literatim these :
Adventures of an Attorney in Search of Practice.
* The Royal Society have just published a catalogue of the “Miscellaneous Litera, ture' in their library. We do not find in three books printed on vellum, which formed part of the Howard library, nor a Mantua Dante of 1472, and an Aldine Dante of 1502.
Armstrong's Art of Preserving Health.
The Islington · Librarian' unites in this specimen the separate excellencies of Mr. Hunter and Mr. Bowerbank :-the lucid and laconic description by the first of the books as lettered' on the back; the classification by the other under particular miscellaneous treatises,' or Mi. Let our readers imagine either of these gentlemen attempting to catalogue’ and class' that book on which volumes have been written, De Bry's Collectio Peregrinationum in Indiam Orientalem et in Indian Occidentalem, such copies of it as Mr. Grenville's, or Lord Spencer's, or Lord Bexley's (originally De Thou's, afterwards belonging to the Duc de la Vallière), or the Duke of Devonshire's (purchased by his grace at Col. Stanley's sale in 1813 for 520 guineas), or Mr. Holford's (formerly Mr. Hanrott's, afterwards Lord Vernon's), or the assemblage of editions in the British Museum, comprising all that were possessed by King George III., Sir Hans Sloane, Mr. Cracherode, Sir Joseph Banks, and other collectors. The library of the far-famed
UNiversity of Göttingen purports to have a 'classed' catalogue, but it avowedly excepts, according to its panegyrist, * 'the Greek and Latin classics, the Fathers of the Church, modern poets and romance writers, and collections of the works of authors on miscellaneous subjects belonging to more than one general head: for instance, Voltaire's works, Swift's works.' No classics! No fathers! No poets ! No romances ! No collected works of authors ! No Swift, no Voltaire! No Wieland, no Goethe! Above all, no · Works of Jeremy Bentham, edited by John Bowring !' Eheu!
In the farrago of papers, relevant and irrelevant, at the end of the Report on the British Museum is printed a‘nouveau systême bibliographique,' proposed † for the Imperial Library at St. Petersburg by the Councillor of State, Alexis Olenin, où l'homme, dans la classification des connaissances humaines, serait considéré
* The 'Quarterly Journal of Education,' mentioned before.
+ It has never been carried into effect: the Report sent by M. Ouvaroff, Russian Minister of Public Instruction, to the Hon. J. D. Bligh, by whom it was transmitted to the Duke of Wellington in 1834, is dated in 1808. c2
dans son état de civilisation, et non dans celui de nature.'
It is an opposition scheme to that of the Abbé Girard, proné in the Encyclopédie, where the Abbé ' suppose l'homme dans son état de nature primitive ou sauvage, et divise ses connaissances en six classes principales !' The Russian scheme, certainly the better of the two, contains about 400 heads, each of them, hydra-like, capable of producing many more. It has most of the faults we have mentioned, and many others, as well as its Weeds, its • AUTORES POLYGRAPHI, i. Metrici, ii. Prosaici, iii. Miscellanei.' Assuredly, if our National library is ever to have a classed catalogue, we cannot recommend either the Göttingen or the French or the St. Petersburg schemes as models—still less can we expect the authorities of the British Museum to be dazzled by the Islington, or Highgate, or Woolwich, or other suburban luminaries, who "flashed their little lights before the Committee of the House of Commons.
In order to avoid, apparently, either an alphabetical arrangement or a classification, the Scylla and Charybdis of bibliography, some libraries have been catalogued according to the order in which the books stand upon the shelves. A catalogue of the manuscripts which were collected by the sovereigns of England from Henry V. to James I., and which now compose the Old Royal Library in the British Museum, was drawn up in this form by David Casley, the sub-librarian, in 1724. Of the Laurentian Library of MSS. at Florence, an excellent descriptive catalogue, drawn up in the same form, has been published by Bandini. Any manuscript in these two libraries, and in many others which we could name, must be quoted by the number of the shelf on which it stands, and by the particular place which it fills on that shelf. This may explain the anecdote so often told of Magliabecchi, and so often and so strangely cited as a proof of his extraordinary memory, who, when asked respecting some particular book, said, that there was but one in the world, and that it was the seventh book of the second press on the right hand as you entered the Grand Seignior's Library. The only apocryphal part of the story is the locality. Sir Robert Cotton kept his MSS. in fourteen cases or presses, having over them the busts of the twelve Cæsars, of Cleopatra, and Faustina, by whose names, with the addition of the letter of the shelf, and the number on that shelf, the Cottonian MSS. are still cited and known. The celebrated Latin and Saxon copy of the Gospels, called the Durham Book or Book of St. Cuthbert, is Nero D. iv., having been the fourth book of the fourth shelf under that emperor's bust. Dr. Adam Clarke having met with Cottonian MSS. called Caligula's, Nero's, Galba's, Otho's, &c., has quoted some of them as Plutarch's, for
so he interpreted the abbreviated word Plut. (pluteus or shelf) on the back of each.
Some singular catalogues have lately been put forth in France : one is a classed catalogue raisonné of all the books belonging to the Département de la Marine, dispersed through the ports of France and its colonies, with letters to mark their respective localities, B. signifying that if you want the work to which it is annexed you must go to see it at Brest ; G. that it is at Guadaloupe, R. at Rochefort, T. at Toulon! Another is of the Italian MSS. in the Bibliothèque du Roi, no matter on what subject, provided only in Italian : they have been taken in order of numbers, and are described in narrative form, the worst possible for the purpose, by Professor Marsand, whose chief aim appears to be to turn a period and swell his sentences without giving any information. His historical knowledge may be judged of by the fact that he confounds Alfonso de Queva, Marques de Bedmar, whose conspiracy against Venice is immortalized in Otway's · Venice Preserved,' with Gondomar, the famous ambassador to our James I. A catalogue of the French MSS. in the same library is also in course of publication : in this catalogue the MSS. are classedaccording to size! commencing with formâts in-folio maximo,' or • biggest books first,' and amongst which French are not a few of the Italian already described by Marsand. This is, we believe, a private undertaking by M. Paulin-Paris, one of the employés of the Bibliothèque du Roi, and it is printed in 'formât petit inoctavo' at his private expense.
We are glad to learn, however, from the preface to his fifth volume, now upon our table, that, at the instance of M, Villemain, minister of public instruction, the administration of the Bibliothèque have consented to bear one half of the expenses, or, in other words, to be sharers in the speculation. As this may involve a possible risk of some twenty or thirty pounds, we think such liberality ought to be recorded; and it is hereby recorded. M. Marsand is not attached to the Bibliothèque, but was specially employed by the French government; and he was knighted for the service.
We do not think that many of those who desire that impossibility, a perfectly classed catalogue, are aware of the numerous bibliographical works which exist on books in different faculties and languages, or on authors of different countries and places. Theology, law, history, the various branches of science, the monastic orders, have each of them many bibliographers: the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and chief Oriental languages have, each of them, their Bibliotheca, which no classed catalogue of any one library will ever supersede; nor can we name a country, having any literature, which does not possess one or more histories of