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1509, by "Richarde Pynson at his coste and charge," has 'cloathed that celebrated satire in an English garb. At the beginning of this translation we are informed that the "Stultifera navis" was the labour of one Sebastian Brandt, a Dutchman, and Doctor of both Laws in the county of Almayne, who composed the book in his native tongue. And, under dedication to Thomas Cornish, bishop of Tine, &c. we further find a note, stating that "This present boke, named the Shyp of Folys of the Worlde, was translated in the Coledge of Saint Mary Otery, in the Counte of Deuonshyre, out of Latin, French, and Doche, into Englysshe tonge, by Al' Barclay, Preste, &c. &c." Now it is well known, that James Locher, a disciple of Brandt, composed a Latin version of his master's work, which was first published by Jue. Zachoni in 1488. And it is equally notorious, that a French translation was made by an unknown writer, and first printed at Paris in 1497, under the title of "Le Nef des Folles."
Having thus accounted for the Latin and French editions, which Barclay consulted, it now remains for me to state, that Dr. Geiler von Kaisersberg translated Brandt's work into German, and adding some very valuable notes to his translation, published it under the title of "Das Narrenschiff. Strasburg ed. Johann Grüninger. 1520." It is contained in 124 folio pages. A German version of the Stultifera Navis existed, I believe, previously to that of which Dr. Geiler is the author.
From these circumstances it is I infer, that the "Ship of Fools" was originally written in the Dutch language, and the evidences which I have adduced in support of my inference, will, I trust, convince your intelligent correspondent that it is at least founded on a rational and defensible basis.
Allow me to entreat your further indulgence for a few more remarks concerning the "Order of Fools." The passage from Onofrius Brandt's preface to Dr. Geiler's translation, which I alluded to on-a former occasion, is this:
Mancher das Narrenschiff veracht,
Und meint, es wär der Narren Orden;
As late as in the year 1792, at the clearing out of a cellar under the castle of Cleves, a piece of cornice, of black stone resembling marble, was discovered, which bore the impression of a fool's head; and a similar head is also to be seen on the carved work of the arch in the present Antiquaries' Hall. The fool's head found in 1792, has been placed over the door of entrance to that hall, immediately beneath its companion. It may be reasonably supposed, that the tower in the castle of Cleves (still called the "Schwanenburg," where the Order of Fools held its sittings) was adorned with some such suitable decoration; and that this might have been destroyed when the completion
completion of the upper wing of the castle, in which the above piece of cornice was found, took place in 1661.
December 12, 1807.
H. W. S.
TRAVELS THROUGH THE COUNTRY OF THE ANGLOSAXONS, DURING THE YEARS 1805-6-7.
MANY have been the conjectures as to the exact part of Germany which was occupied by the adventurers, who being invited into Britain after the departure of the Romans, in some time over-ran it to the almost total extirpation of its primitive possessors, and from whose appellation the present names of England and of Anglia are derived. History has left us no doubt upon the fact of their being Saxons, but it appears that they were distinguished from the general body of that people by a peculiar prefix, and upon this prefix rests the mystery. The Latin signification of the word has led some antiquarians to go so far as to pretend that they were denominated Angles, or Anglo Saxons, from a particular weapon, or from the irregular shape of the boundaries of the little district they were supposed to occupy. Others have asserted, without any reasonable authority either from tradition or historical evidence, that there was a particular country (now unknown) which they denominate Anglia, and place out of the boundaries of Saxony and out of Germany itself. We are told of Saxons, Angles, and Jutes coming in a body. In support of this notion, several words are cited in the language of the present inhabitants of Jutland, which have an analogy more or less striking with others in the provincial dialects of some parts of Great Britain.
Proofs of this nature, unsupported by better evidence, are the most inadmissible perhaps of any, since the resemblance of words in the English and Persian languages would admit of similar deductions against the testimony of all history. The Jutes were, besides, Danes, whose irruptions into this country happened subsequent to the coming of the Saxons, whose perpetual enemies they ever were. If, on the other hand, we assume for a moment the supposition, that there was a separate nation called Angles inhabiting an outside corner somewhere bordering on the extremity of Germany, consequently not in Saxony, we by that very assumption destroy all claims to their additional designation of Saxons.
As in modern topography the extensive country of Saxony, which forms a large proportion of the ancient Germania, has been divided into two large circles of the empire, so at a more remote period did a similar distinction prevail under other names. The maritime part, or Lower Saxony, including all the coast from the Eyder to the Rhine, that is, from Schleswig to Holland, was known among the natives not by a Latin term, but by an appellation derived from a word in their own language, allusive to the peculiar occupation of the people:
Angel signifies an apparatus for fishing in the sea. In our language we have words derived from the same etymon: to angle, angling, angler.
The Anglo-Saxons were then the seafaring people, the fishermen or inhabitants of the coast; and the Angles, and Anglo-Saxons, one and the same people.
HELIGELAND. Although I have crossed the North Sea several times, I never before had the satisfaction of getting a distinct view of the natural advanced post and probable rendezvous of the AngelSaxon masters of these shores. On discovering the little island of Heligeland, we recognized our approach to the coast of our destination, and the ship hove to, to await a pilot whom we saw standing for us. This spot is remarkable for being frequently as dangerous to shipping as some of its inhabitants are at times useful. It enjoys the singular advantage, in point of situation, of being nearly equi-proximate to the mouths of five great navigable rivers, the Eyder, Eibe, Weser, Yade, and Ems, and contiguous to the whole north-west coast of Germany.
This coast is very dangerous at every season of the year to navigators, on account of the numerous reefs, shoals, and sunken rocks that are met with in all its extent. It is usual, therefore, for most vessels bound to Embden, Tonningen, or any of the intermediate ports, to take pilots off Heligeland, if they can get them. In moderate weather these people are complaisant enough, but when it is unfavourable they raise their demands to a pitch of exorbitance beyond credibility. Animated with the inherent spirit of ancient piracy, they eagerly grasp the opportunity to make the most of the harvest; and, aware that they have no rivalry to contend with, do not blush to ask a recompense equal to the amount of a ship and cargo for bringing her safe to anchor. They raise their demands not so much in proportion to the real danger of the vessel, as according to, what they are admirably skilled in divining, the apprehensions of the person who commands her. And the badness of the charts hitherto published leaves every ship-master at their discretion. Heather's is said to be the best, yet even that abounds with serious inaccuracies.
Until very lately the hufflers, or pilots of Heligeland, were under no sort of subordination. They are now numbered and registered, and obliged to wear badges, which answer the purpose of warrants, and enable the government to keep some little check upon their misconduct. Two of these men came into our ship together; they were father and son; and the reason why we were favoured with the presence of the second was, that they had some business to settle ashore, so that it was purely a matter of accommodation to themselves. They scarcely spoke English enough to give the word of command, but they made up for that deficiency with me, by their very communicative disposition. From the numbers on their badges, it appeared that their community was more numerous than might be supposed to exist on so small a place. The son's number was 462, very legibly figured upon a bronze plate of indifferent workmanship. The father, a hale, robust man of above sixty, bore one with the number 132, from which
it may be inferred, that there were belonging to the same place 131 individuals older than himself engaged in the same hazardous occupation. This conjecture was confirmed by the old man, and the fact is a convincing proof of the healthfulness both of the occupation and the island. He had never been sick, he assured me, in his life. Sickness was very rare on the island. They have no doctor, he said, and no apothecary; adding, with broad pleasantry, "we believe, that as long as we have none, we stand the best chance of having no occasion for any."
I was now near enough to distinguish the form of the island, and the large and dangerous sand-banks that discover themselves at low It is high land throughout, coming on every side to an abrupt cliff, and is nearly level at the top. The utmost length is no more than one English mile, and its breadth much less; yet I am assured by my pilot that there are 4000 inhabitants upon it, all natives. Those who are not pilots support their families by fishing and smuggling. The latter practice was so common formerly, and the prevention of it in the island attended with so many difficulties, that it has been late found expedient to grant the inhabitants, as far as the supply of their own wants requires, a formal privilege to carry on a free trade with all nations.
In many other respects, besides smuggling and piloting, there has prevailed a great remissness of police in Heligeland. Its population was under very little restraint of any kind, other than what they chose to submit to among themselves. The government of Denmark, however, since the beginning of the present war, has thought proper to keep a detachment of soldiers in the island, to preserve good order and maintain its neutrality, which some of the cruizers belonging to France and England had dared to violate by making captures under the very guns of the batteries. Nay, the pilot assures me, that some of them have had the audacity to fire into the batteries themselves.
The language of these people is neither Danish, low German, nor Dutch, but a local jargon composed of all three, with some words of French, Galic, and Runic.
An American ship was lost here some time since, under circumstances that shew the very great necessity which still exists for enforcing letter regulations among the pilots. She was driven within a short distance of the island in thick weather, and made the usual signal for a pilot. A boat came off, one of the crew of which offered to take charge of her, but insisted upon having six hundred guineas for his trouble. The captain thought the demand unreasonable, and hesitating to give so much, the pilot sheered off to enhance the bargain. There were other pilot boats at hand, but as they all maintain a secret understanding with each other, not one would come on board for less money. The vessel was in consequence stranded upon the island, with a valuable cargo, to be plundered for the general benefit.
Such an instance of a pilot's refusing to do his duty is not merely reprehensible-it deserves exemplary punishment. The captain, notwithstanding, was much to blame, since it is but reasonable to pre
sume, that no court of admiralty would award the payment of an extraordinary sum disproportioned to the service rendered, if the agreement he was compelled to enter into were submitted to its decision. A case occurred about two years ago, where the consignees in Hamburgh of a vessel bound to Tonningen, succeeded in reducing a compulsory agreement of this kind from twelve hundred pounds down to sixty.
As we neared the continental shore, we could observe each moment a more striking dissimilarity between it and the coast of England. The dikes, however, present rather a gay appearance, especially where they are whitened over by the immense flocks of geese that browse along their sides. That sight of itself is some novelty; and the uniform level of those anti-marine fortifications, contrasting with the odd shapes of the huge roofs of buildings that serve as a common habitation for men and cattle; the varied forms of large windmills in motion, and wooden steeples peeping up at distances, closing into groupes, and opening from each other as you pass, communicate to the whole a very grotesque effect.
At the entrance of the Yade we took a river pilot and discharged our two islanders. We proceeded then without interruption to an anchoring place called Fair Hook, distant about two miles from the harbour and point of Ekewarden dike. Here we cast anchor for the night, and next morning, tiding it up, moored among twenty or thirty other vessels, between a small flat island and a projecting angle of the dike, in five fathom water.
I presently went ashore, and my eagerness was as quickly changed into surprise at seeing the place to which the Bremen traders have been condemned to resort for more than two years.
The entrance of the river, indeed, is not nearly so dangerous as that of the Eyder, and the anchoring is good; but to give an adequate idea of the adjacent country is beyond the powers of description. It is one continued swamp, or, if there be any exception, it is where it sinks into large lakes of mud. It is uniformly intersected by deepwide ditches, full of water every where to the surface of the ground, and enclosed by a high mound of earth, with a sort of road at the top, on one side of which you behold the sea rising fifteen or twenty feet above the level of the land, which the mound preserves from daily submersions. There is no part of Essex or of Lincolnshire that could suggest to a painter the faintest idea of the landscape; nor is there, I believe, out of Germany and Holland, any thing like it in nature. One is transported in this country to the reality of that dismal lake, where poets condemned the souls of the unsepultured dead to wander until some pious hand inhumed their ashes. Doctor Johnson, however, might here have found a pendant for a certain part of the world in one respect-there is not a tree to be seen for miles. Indeed, scarcely the hardiest shrub can find sustenance; the dwarf willow, the privet, and the elder alone appear in a few solitary instances upon the most elevated parts nearest the houses, and they are not to be