Billeder på siden
[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, &c.

198 and formed a striking contrast with the | Largs, behind which rises a hill of turbulence of the preceding days. At considerable eminence, on the conical times we caught a glimpse of a small termination of which the Norwegians whale, which, with some porpoises, formed the last encampment previous reared its huge black form, and dis- to their final defeat in 1263. Traces turbed the calm serenity of the surface. of their entrenchments are said to be

Having doubled the point of Corsil, still visible. which forms the southern extremity of The rocky mountains of Arran have the Frith of Clyde, the first object that a fine appearance from hence, over the presents itself to view is the Craig of lesser Cambray, which has a lighthouse Ailsa, rising abruptly and majestically on it. from the sea to the height of 940 feet, At a little distance to the westward, and almost covered with the immense the ruins of a small castle point out flocks of Solan geese, and other sea the situation where one of the Spanish fowl, which resort hither at this season. Armada was sunk, in 1588. Part of

A brisk gale carried us rapidly for the shattered remains of this formidword to the Isle of Arran, which we able and supposed invincible fleet, reached about six in the evening. The after their defeat, endeavoured to make elegant form of the Holy Island, which their way round the northern extreencloses one side of the harbour of mity of Scotland, where they encounLamlash, first caught our attention, tered all the dangers of an unknown and the variegated colouring of its navigation, through narrow sounds, rocky and broken surface, rendered it amidst rugged islands and sunken a most pleasing object. Scarce had rocks, where furious tides setting in, we sufficiently admired this, when the in every direction, could scarcely bé remote parts of Arran broke on our stemmed, except with a strong gale: view: but to those who have not here fate seemed to have led them, to been accustomed to the colouring of teach them a severe lesson of humility, mountain scenery, it is hardly possible to complete their discomfiture, and to to describe the grandeur and magnifi- expose to the world that weakness, to cence under which, from the accidental which human vanity had misapplied circumstance of weather, this sublime the term Invincible. Few escaped the scene appeared. The heavy mists dangers of these seas; torn and diswere in part dispersed from the sum- masted by a violent tempest, several mits of the mountains, but rested with were driven on the Western and Orkdouble gloom in the deep valleys and ney Islands; and the places where bays: a gleam of sunshine broke they were sunk were frequently pointthrough, and gilded the waters at the ed out to us. base of the island; while the light In the evening the remaining gentlefloating mists, now partly concealed, men of our party arrived from Greenow fully displayed, the outlines of nock, well provided with implements the more prominent rocks and moun- for fishing and shooting. tains; and, joined with all the varying

(To be continued.) hues consequent in such wild effects of light, with an elegantly broken outline, formed such an assemblage of beauties, MEMOIR OF THE LIFE OF MR. WILLIAM

CAXTON, as it was impossible to contemplate without feeling those impressive emotions of awe and astonishment, which the sublime effects of nature generally

(With a Portrait.) excite.

MR. W. Caxton, the subject of the folA splendid sun-set, in the grandest lowing memoir, was a native of that part style of Highland wildness, terminated of Kent, which was formerly denomithe evening of a day, which had been nated the Wealde, from the wood with as various in point of weather, as it which it abounded; but the exact time had in that of scenery, in a run of of his birth has not been recorded by his about seventy miles. At the close of biographers. In his preface to “ The the evening we cast anchor in Fairley History of Troy,” Mr. Caxton has menroads, between the island of Cambray tioned the place of his nativity, but and the main.

unfortunately the day, the month, and Thursday, 23d. — From this station even the year, are alike omitted. Cirwe have a view of the small town of cumstances, however, appear to supply




this deficiency; and from their concur- About four years after the previous rence, we are enabled, with a tolerable transaction, the sister of Edward was degree of precision, to fix the time of married to the young Duke of Burhis birth about the year 1410. Of his gundy, at which time Caxton was inparents little more is known, than that corporated in her retinue. He has they were respectable in their charac- himself recorded, that he was servant ter, and decent in their circumstances; of her Grace, and that he received of but nothing appears in their history to her, an yearly fee, and many other require any digressive retrospection. great and good benefits.” In what caIn another preface Mr. Caxton informs pacity he stood, we have not been inus, that he received his learning from formed; but as her Grace occasionally his parents. This, however, his bio- found fault with his English, and degrapher intimates, amounted to no- sired him to correct his language, we thing more than reading, writing, and may infer that he was treated with a a knowledge of arithmetic; which, in degree of familiarity, which could not those days of darkness, included no belong to a subordinate domestic. small portion of a liberal education; Printing had now been invented and of this learning, he received the about 18 years, and carried to an ungreater part from his mother.

expected degree of perfection. It was As nothing is known of his early practised at Mentz in Germany; but years, it is probable that he remained the art had been kept a profound seunder the paternal roof until he had cret from the world. “ Books" howattained the age of 17 or 18, at which ever, Mr. Caxton has oberved, time he was removed to London, and not multiplied at this period, in a manput an apprentice with Mr. Robert ner so extensive as might have been Large, an eminent mercer, in the parish expected ;” and little doubt can be enof St. Olave's, Old Jewry. This gen- tertained as to the accuracy of his statetleman was chosen sheriff

' in 1430, and ment, since his restless curiosity would had the honour of being lord mayor of not permit him to remain ignorant of London, in 1439. It appears that such an event. Caxton served him with much fidelity; His worthy patroness, the Duchess since, as a testimony of his esteem, he of Burgundy, urged him to undertake bequeathed to him a legacy of 34 the translation into English, of a French marks, which, at this period, was no book, entitled “ Recuyell of the Hisinconsiderable sum.

toryes of Troy.” This seems to have Mr. Caxton, on the death of his mas- been projected by her, with a design ter, and on receiving his legacy, re- to introduce the art of printing into solved to pay a visit to foreign coun- England, whenever a favourable optries. He accordingly, on leaving his portunity should offer. native land, having acquired an inti- The little knowledge which Caxton mate acquaintance with trade, em- had acquired of the French tongue, and barked in the character of a merchant, his partial forgetfulness of the English, agent, or factor ; and, during thirty after a residence in foreign parts of years, took up his occasional abode in nearly thirty years, led him to think Brabant, Flanders, Holland, and Zea- himself but badly calculated for such an land. But his knowledge of commer- undertaking. His patroness, however, cial transactions which he acquired urging him to begin, he entered on his abroad, rather increased than dimi- work, though with much reluctance; nished his reputation at home, notwith- but after proceeding a little way in his standing his long and continued ab- translation, he dropped it altogether sence.

for nearly two years.

The Duchess at In the year 1464, his name was length sent for him, to inquire into the joined with that of Richard Whitehill, progress he had made, and to read Esq. in a commission from Edward IV. 'what he had translated. to conclude a treaty of trade and com- duced what he had finished, and she merce between him and the Duke of examined three or four leaves, with Burgundy. This circumstance shews, the English of which she found some that his name was not unknown at the fault; but instead of discouraging bim, English court; and that the report of he was desired to resume his labours. his talents and integrity had been suf Being unwilling to incur her displeaficiently favourable to raise him to sure by disobedience, he renewed his this exalted office.

application, and soon brought his work

Caxton pro


Memoir of Mr. William Caxton.


to a conclusion, It was begun in | Burgundy, he returned, slew Warwick, 1468, and was finished in 1471. The defeated his army, and regained his Duchess received it kindly, and hand-throne. Caxton had not been unsomely rewarded him for his trouble. known to him prior to this event. But

In the year 1462, Mentz was taken of this favourable circumstance he is by the Duke of Saxony; in conse- said to have availed himself, and to quence of which, most of the artificers have come into England about this employed by John Fust, or Faustus, time, under the royal protection. It the great inventor of printing, were is, however, an admitted fact, that scattered abroad; and there can be Caxton was at Cologn in 1471. Hence little doubt that Caxton, who at this some have concluded, that he occasiontime resided near Mentz, availed him- ally visited England before that time, self of this opportunity to make him- to make arrangements respecting the self acquainted with an art, the know- establishment of printing in this counledge of which he had spared neither try ; but that he continued his business expense nor trouble to obtain. It is at Cologn, until the necessary preparagenerally understood, that by the aid tions were made ; so that, according to of these men, he established a printing these statements, he can scarcely be press at Cologn, where he printed the considered as fully at work, in this first edition of the work he had trans-country until 1473 or 1474. lated. Such copies as were preserved The first book printed by Caxton, bore all the marks of antiquity. The that has any date, is said to have been letters were rude, and the language printed at Westminster, about six was incorrect, and more mixed with years after 1471. But Mr. Caxton exFrench terms than any of his expres- pressly informs us, that his book, the sions were after his return to England. Game of Chess," was printed on the This, Mr. Lewis, in his Life of Caxton, last day of March, 1471. Unfortunatethinks to be the first book that he ever ly, however, he does not say whether printed.

it was done in England or Cologn, and While residing at Cologn, he be- it is now perhaps totally impossible to came acquainted with Wynken de ascertain the fact. Worde, and Theodoric Rood, a native In the year 1477, it is well known of that place, and Thomas Hunte, his that he was fairly at work in Westminown countryman, who were all printers. ster; but whether in the Abbey or in De Worde came afterwards to Eng- his own house is rather dubious. Thos. land with Caxton, and continued with Milling, the then abbot, who has been him to the time of his death. The represented as a lover of learning, is others soon followed, and settled in said to have fostered him in his own Oxford, where they established a press, house, and to have assigned him and printed books in Latin.

for his business a part of the Abbey. The number of books printed by Leland confirms this account given of Caxton, at Cologn, is not known with the abbot. A cipher introduced by more precision, than the exact time of Caxton into many of his books, said his coming into England. The same to denote the year 1474, has been aduncertainty rests on the title of first duced as an evidence of the year in book that ever issued from an English which he began to print in England; press. Mr. Lewis asserts, that the but the exact time when this cipher

Game and Play of Chess," was the was first used, can hardly be determost early specimen, and that it ap- mined with exactness. It is known to peared in the year 1472, or 1473, and have been inserted in 1480 ; but how in this opinion he is confirmed by many years prior to this, is involved in others; while on the contrary it is con- uncertainty. tended, that this supposition involves In 1478, several books were printed difficulties which cannot easily be over- by Caxton, of which the titles have

been preserved ; but nothing can be In 1468, the Earl of Warwick formed inferred, either from their numbers or a conspiracy to dethrone Edward IV. their contents, except the progress of and so successful was he in the com- the art, which in England had only just mencement of his attempt, that he started into existence. During this compelled the king to flee into Flan- year, Mr. Caxton buried his father, ders.

From this place, having pro- who appears to have lived with him at cured assistance from the Duke of Westminster. In the accounts of the


« ForrigeFortsæt »