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individuality of its own. It was not a vigorous provincial growth out of Roman originals, such as arose in some provinces it was in the main a characterless copy. The Late Celtic art lived on in Ireland and Scotland: there the workers in metal continued to produce their beautiful ornaments, and in time the craft of Irish illumination grew up to influence the artistic developement of Europe. In Britain a skilful imitative art prevailed till Britain was cut off from Rome and vanished before the Saxon. Its character and its fate are those of all civil life in Britannia Romana.
This civilisation of little towns, smaller villages, and large estates was not diversified by any flourishing industry or trade. The ancient world possessed, of course, no industrial activity that can be compared with our own: as the German economist, Rodbertus, observed long ago, it had neither capital nor labour in our sense of those terms. But of such industrial life as obtained in the Roman Empire there was little trace in Britain. The landowners, as we have said, produced wool and wheat, and the wool was made into cloth, and that is nearly all. The mineral wealth of the province was moderate. There was a little gold in the Welsh mountain streams, but most of that had been collected before the Romans reached our island. There was iron in the Weald of Sussex and the Forest of Deau, and silverbearing lead in Mendip and in Flintshire and elsewhere, and the refuse-heaps of the miners can still be seen by the curious. The refuse-heaps near Cheddar have been reworked in recent times, with little profit, we believe, to the workers, though with much profit to the learned in the shape of archæological discoveries. But these mines were probably on a far smaller scale than mines in many other provinces, and to a considerable extent they ceased to be worked about the end of the second century. The famous Cornish tin mines seem hardly to have been worked at all: the countless dreams and debates of which they have been the object are baseless and idle. The facts are tolerably plain. The Romans advanced as far as Exeter in the earliest years of the conquest. There they stopped. Dartmoor stood in their way, and it is plain that nothing tempted them beyond it. Possibly the Spanish tin had ousted the British: possibly the Cornish ores had been exhausted on the surface; certainly no writer after Cæsar mentions tin in Britain. It was not till the third century that Rome cared to occupy Cornwall effectively and tin was mined. Even so it was mined but little. The list of
remains is brief-a few tin jugs, dated by coins found in them, some lettered ingots dredged up out of the Thames at various times, and one large 'pig' with an Imperial stamp, still preserved in a Cornish museum, though only detected nine years ago. All belong to the third or fourth century, and testify to but slight activity. So unreal is the reputation of Romano-British tin.
The province of Roman Britain which we have been summarily considering has, then, its definite features—a powerful and important army garrisoning its frontiers, a number of large estates and small towns occupying its interior. It is very like the northern parts of Gaul, this side the Auvergne and the Cevennes. There, too, the garrison was large and posted along the frontier, the Rhine. There, too, municipalities of the Italian type were very rare, and large estates and small country towns abounded. Gaul was then greater and richer than Britain. estates and towns were larger and more splendid, and another feature was added. Both Gaul and Britain had been inhabited by Celtic tribes before the Roman conquest: in Britain these cantons vanished, in Gaul they survived. The very names declare that. There were Atrebates on both sides of the Channel. The capital of the Gaulish canton was Nemetacon Atrebatum, and it is now Arras: the capital of the British was Calleva Atrebatum, and it is Silchester. The reason for the difference is again the difference in wealth. The powerful Gaulish cantons survived and gave their names to their tribal centres: the weaker British disappeared. Thus much we can say in explanation of Roman Britain, by comparison with Gaul. Some day we shall say more. When our archaologists have explored the
Wall of Pius and the Wall of Hadrian, when our Universities help the good work more freely, when our local societies allot to excavation some real part of the income which they now lavish on Transactions, when many admirable efforts of to-day have become even more admirable, we may be able to draw a clearer and a surer picture.
ART. V.-1. Sir Henry Wotton. A Biographical Sketch by ADOLPHUS WILLIAM WARD, Litt. D.D., Hon. LL.D., Principal of the Owens College at Manchester, Hon. Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. London: 1898.
2. Reliquiæ Wottoniana. London: 1685.
3. Letters and Dispatches from Sir Henry Wotton, &c., from the originals in the Library of Eton College. Roxburghe Club, London: 1850.
4. Unpublished Papers preserved in the Record Office.
THE HE fame of Sir Henry Wotton has been preserved by a concurrence of accidents in a greenness, not beyond his merits, but beyond what might have been reasonably expected from his writings and the record of his actions; if indeed there is any reason in such expectations in a world where repute is only
Di vento, ch' or vien quinci ed or vien quindi,
In the first and chief place, he had for biographer his friend and companion of the Fly and Cork,' the contemplative angler, Izaak Walton, whose style, to use a conceit of the time, could, amber-like, have embalmed and enshrined a weaker name. In the second place, his portrait hangs at Eton, inviting our interest by the single word 'Philosophemur,' and the glance of humorous inquiry which corresponds to the word. He wrote two or three poems which are remembered, and among them one imperishable lyric;' he wrote a letter to John Milton setting out on his travels; a few of the apothegms or sentences,' for which he was noted in an age of apophthegms, have been preserved; and he lies under a stone inscribed with a motto which, if not profound, is pithy, and has been much discussed.* A figure to provoke the question, more easily asked than answered, what manner of man he was; for, after all, not very much is known of him. He might have said himself that though a glass were made to hold liquor, the Venice glass was more precious than the liquor poured into it. The glass is broken; but the fragments of it may well or ill be pieced together.
Such accidents do not concur in one person merely by acci
*Disputandi pruritus fit ecclesiarum scabies.'
dent. There must be a congruity in the subject to make them cohere. Wotton, it would seem, was to be known rather by manner than by matter. His chance moments, the felicities of his leisure, were more regarded than the solid business which it fell to him to conduct, to all appearance ably and discreetly, on no ignoble theatre. The main work of his life, whether in the ten years which he spent as a young man in making acquaintance with foreign countries, or the fifteen, more or less, during which he was ambassador at Venice and elsewhere, is forgotten. He is remembered by twelve years of declining age and health in a not wholly contented retirement; for Wotton, though he loved his retirement and took an active interest in the school and college over which he was called to preside, never was tempted to say with John Hales, his daily associate at Eton, I have that preferment I desire.' In truth, his fortunes and his character were not altogether well suited. Men make their fortunes, and their fortunes make them. To doubt in choosing, whether in small or great, makes the finer critic but the less effective man. Men with a 'dual 'nature,' such as Dr. Ward justly ascribes to Wotton, must either make their choice between books and affairs early and finally, or spend life in hankering after both. But, on the other hand, the bookish man may be saved from dreams by the dull or absorbing business of the day, and the man of affairs may enliven and ennoble his leisure with better amusements than those which satisfied Walpole and Palmerston. But the choice must be made. Literature will not, except in rare instances, yield her fruits to the man of action; nor will men readily entrust their affairs to a student. One conspicuous example to the contrary was always before Wotton's eyes---the illustrious Paolo Sarpi. Like him, though on a lower level, Wotton had studied natural philosophy, theology, law, history; like him, he had been caught in the net of politics, from which, as he says (perhaps with some regret), none once entered can ever disentangle; like him, he was a man of infinite discourse' and of many beginnings; and here it is that the difference between them lay. There was nothing tentative in Fra Paolo. His constructive and logical intellect saw the end through the beginning, and made straight for it, disposing of details in his easy and capacious grasp, and ranking them according to their pertinency. Wotton would turn aside to pluck flowers; he loved conceits and phrases; his treatise on architecture lacked the architectonic spirit; his works on
education and history ran dry and were never finished; he was born for analysis, not for construction. And so we go to him rather to be pleased than to be instructed, and we are inclined to think that he did the world better service in dealing with papers (to use the phrase applied to him by Donne) than he would have done if books had been his trade. Rich in the friendship of Bacon, Casaubon, Donne, and other wits, he had a good introduction to the world of books, had that been his vocation: and we may doubt with Dr. Ward whether there was not some self-delusion in the account of his own wishes given in a letter to Sir Arthur Throckmorton written from Venice in 1611, in which he speaks of the name of a 'poor scholar' being the highest of his own titles, and in 'truth the furthest end of his ambition.' *
Wotton was in truth an ambitious man. It was believed that he was likely to have the post of Secretary of State on Salisbury's death, and by his recommendation, and again in 1617; and even as late as 1625 he was said to be 'putting in for' the Secretaryship or-an incongruous alternative-the Deanery of Canterbury. He had good reason for thinking that the ladder of promotion would take him higher than the Venice embassy. When he found, at the age of fifty-six, that it was not to be so, and that the Provostship of Eton was no step to greater fortune, but only a dignified quietus to his hopes of advancement, he mistook his chafing after an active employment in affairs of state for a desire to distinguish himself in literature. It was too late. He had played with literature all his life, but had worked at public business; and we are to judge him rather by what he did than by what he designed, by the letters written from his embassies rather than by his treatises and poems; and his delightful portrait by Izaak Walton is, after all, only a likeness in profile, and perhaps drawn in an imperfect perspective.
When we inquire what, setting apart a few acknowledged poetical gems, is the value of Sir Henry Wotton's writings, we must agree with Dr. Ward that they are not, as a whole, 'worthy of his powers.' Dr. Ward might have said more than this. There is little of the fire of genius in Wotton's serious attempts at prose literature. The substance of them is not unfrequently commonplace, and the style is unequal. There is much felicity of diction, appositeness of allusion, wit and humour, the observation and discourse of a travelled'
* Ward, p. 5; Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, p. 275.