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Typography. Where is the Royal Society of Literature on this occasion? Where those noble and gentle booksellers, the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, that they do not contribute their mite to his memory, without whose invention their Penny Magazine would have been nought? Where the Roxburghe Club? But no; one of the most learned men of Germany has declared that they, the printers of thirty copies of a book, are but as men who multiply manuscripts; the memory of Gutenberg, therefore, can look for but little honour at their hands.
Since the above was written, we have received Raumer's Historical Pocket-book for the present year, which, among other papers, contains one by J. D. F. Sotzman, entitled “ The earliest History of Wood Engraving and of Printing generally; especially in its application to the Printing of Engravings—a contribution to the History of Art and Inventions." This essay was unquestionably written before the publication of Dr. Wetter's admirable volume, as the writer, who displays great industry in his researches, makes not the slightest allusion to that work. We regret this the more, because the candid spirit which directs bis inquiries would, we are sure, had he been acquainted with Dr. Wetter's views, have led him to modify, very considerably, many of those opinions, as to the origin of typography, which he now so confidently advances.
When, where, and in what manner the typographic art arose, is of course one of the most important and stubbornly-contested points, on which he is called upon to pronounce an opinion; and he differs from the views which we have advanced in the present article, only in so far as relates to what constitutes the germ of this grand discovery; or, to use his own term, as to what is in this instance “ the egg of Columbus." In his opinion, the idea of multiplying copies of given works, by means of inpressions taken in ink from engraved wooden blocks—an idea which he supposes to have had its origin among the inferior scribes who were employed in the production of books of devotion, popular poetry, &c., for the less wealthy classes, with the view of meeting the constant demand for such subjects—formed that first grand step which, in this as well as in all other matters, is proverbially the only difficulty. And this he further believes to have taken place in Holland-probably at Haerlem. Let not, however, the supporters of the Haerlem claims rejoice too speedily that a fresh champion has risen up among them--one who sets at nought the vain pretensions of Mayence. Sotzman is none of these. If he awards to Holland the merit of being the birth-place of printing, it is because he looks upon it as the place where the art of producing block books was first conceived : not because he believes in the well-worked-up romance, with which Junius varied the pages of his “ Batavia,” to the great satisfaction, if not edification, of the worshipful burgomasters and town-council of Haerlem. Sotzman is indeed not only a disbeliever in this highly-wrought piece of fiction, but he actually laughs at the credulity of the worthy managers of the commemoration of Koster, or festival of Printing; who, because the supposed Lawrens Janssoon, whom Junius referred to, became a grandfather in 1420, and the wood before Haerlem, in which he made his supposed discovery, was cut down in 1425, chose the medium point, 1423, as the date of his invention; and accordingly fixed upon the year 1823 as the fourth centenary of that event.
As we have already observed, his own only reason for looking upon Holland as the country where printing took its rise is founded on the fact of his considering block-printing as the grand discovery from which all the others have necessarily resulted.
That the invention of block-printing formed a very important preliminary step to that far more valuable discovery, the employment of moveable type, we are of course ready to admit; it might, moreover, have been a necessary step, but this we doubt ; but that block-printing should necessarily, and as a natural consequence, lead to Gutenberg's inestimable discovery, is directly disproved by one well-established fact. The Chinese printed books from solid blocks as early as the tenth century, and continue to do so even up to the present momentNo Chinese Gutenberg has yet appeared in the celestial empire.
Gutenberg is recognized by Sotzman as the inventor of moveable type-according to our views, therefore, as the inventor of printing-and Mayence as the seat of his discovery. This quæstio vexata, which has so long agitated the world of letters, may now therefore be looked upon as set at rest for ever.
ART. VIII.-Historische Werke von Arnold Herrmann Ludwig
Heeren. Ister Theil. Versuch einer historischen Entwickelung der Entstehung und des Wachsthums des Brittischen Continental-Interesse. (Essay on an Historical Development of the Rise and Progress of the British Continental Interest.
Heeren's Historical Works, vol. 1.) Göttingen. STATESMEN make little use of history. Good practical ministers have been bad historians, and even those who are more accomplished in this branch of study are seldom guided in their measures by the knowledge which they derive from the annals of times past. Without inquiring now, whether the world would have been better governed if history had been more carefully consulted, we affirm, without hesitation, that, in the particular branch of administration to which Heeren's treatise introduces us, great benefit might have been, and great benefit may now be, derived from a consideration of the conduct of our ancestors and of its results. The “ continental interests of Great Britain” have undergone repeated changes, but her geographical position is the same ; and it is from this that her political system ought truly to be deduced. In fact, although we have rung the changes of alliance, hostility, and neutrality with every power in Europe, the same general notions of policy have guided our ministers for two centuries or more. It has been the opinion of all politicians, that England must connect herself particularly with some one or other of the great continental powers; and that treaties of alliance and guaranty, sometimes with one state, sometimes with another, are desirable for the maintenance of her connexion with the continent, and of her influence there.
In following Professor Heeren through the history of this connexion, we commence with a doubt, whether this our system has been conducive to the safety and happiness of Great Britain. We speak of the system; of those principles which have been avowed as the rules of our foreign policy, by statesmen who have widely differed in regard to their application. We shall chiefly consider their operation during peace: the justice and necessity of particular wars, and the wisdom displayed in the treaties by which they were concluded, are topics occasionally pregnant with instruction; but we would now desire the attention of political thinkers to engagements made in the time of peace, when there is no wounded honour, or injured interest, or aught but a cool calculation of future advantages. Let us ask, how many of these estimates have been verified by the result ? which of our engagements have in the end produced more of safety than of peril, more of peace than of war?
Those who are acquainted with our former lucubrations on foreign policy,* know that we are somewhat heretical as to the balance of power, and that we have no good opinion of guaranties; a perusal of the Professor's book has confirmed us in our heresy.
According to M. Heeren, an insular power may be connected with the continent by four separate interests ;-1. Security; 2. Commerce; 3. The hope of continental aggrandizement, (this, he says, may be excluded in treating of England ;) 4. Family connexion between the rulers.
“An insular state is, by its navy, rendered more secure, but by no means perfectly so." We admit it: and that we must therefore maintain also an efficient army, or take care to have the means of raising one speedily. But we hesitate at the further proposition, that we ought for the same reason to “ take a part in the political transactions of other states." We believe that we shall show, that the part which we have hitherto taken has not augmented the security of our island.
If the opinion of Heeren, that " commercial interests will not allow continental connexions to be neglected,” include political connexions, we dissent from it. If we maintain peace, and a liberal system of trade, and do not grasp at a monopoly, we shall have a profitable commerce, let the politics of the continent be what they may. For the further development of this principle of political economy, we have no space here.
“ There is yet another ground,” says our professor, “ which renders it impossible for an insular power, which occupies a permanent place in a political system, to be indifferent to the concerns of other states.” This is," the maintenance of its station and dignity as a member of the system.” The United Provinces of the Netherlands, it is added by way of illustration, declined from the moment in which they took up a system, opposite to that of active interference in the affairs of Europe.
This illustration is surely most inapt ; the United Provinces are not an insular power. It may be true, that a small continental power, liable to be invaded and conquered in a campaign, must make a friend of some power able to protect her; but our concern is with insular Britain. Assuredly, if she chooses to make herself a part of a continental systein by alliances and intervention, the necessity of maintaining the character she has assumed will constantly involve her in new engagements. Thus stated, indeed, the argument is circular. Our question is, whether she
* See vol. viii. 50, 55, and xv. 7, 13.
acts wisely in putting herself in this position ; whether her dignity will not be effectually maintained by keeping up a respectable force, and showing that she can and will resent insult and resist aggression, without involving herself in alliances and guaranties.
With these remarks on his introduction, we follow M. Heeren through the six periods into which he divides his work.
I.* The Tudors prior to Elizabeth, 1484-1558. In this period the rivalry between the French and AustroSpanish Houses first laid the foundation of a balance of power. The result was “four bloody wars between Francis Í. and Charles V.” Each party was anxious to gain our Henry VIII. to his side. During the lives of Louis XII. and Ferdinand the Catholic, Henry had been drawn into the league against the French King, and had made an unimportant expedition into France.t During the long contest between Charles and Francis, our fitful monarch took various parts. He was with Charles in the first war,I with Francis in the second, neuter in the third,|| in the fourthT again with Charles, who nevertheless "concluded a separate treaty, and left his ally to get out of his difficulties as he best could.” The junction with Francis after the battle of Pavia, Heeren ascribes to an apprehension on Henry's part that Charles might become too powerful, but he admits that Henry's assistance of either party was insignificant, that “ the pretended maintenance of the balance of power existed only in name," and that the part taken by England depended entirely upon the caprice of the king, the most capricious that ever wore a crown. We know not how far the vanity of Englishmen is flattered by the importance attributed to their alliance by the two great monarchs, or by the presumptuous treaty which Henry made with Charles V. for dividing France between them.** Of the foreign affairs of Henry's reign little is now remembered, except that magnificent meeting in the field of the cloth of gold, at which the two monarchs
- clung In their embracement, as they grew together. This close conjunction, soon followed by open war between the two heroes of the splendid scene, together with the desertion of Henry by Charles V. in 1544, furnishes no inappropriate beginning of our narrative of friendships vowed and dissolved, of alliances made and disregarded.
The brief war with France, to which Mary was instigated by
* P. 210. In our extracts we have, for the sake of convenience, adopted the accurate translation of Heeren's work, recently published by Talboys, Oxford, and made our reference to its pages. + 1513.
1543. ** See Bolingbroke's Works, vol. iv. p. 54.