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There is a history of the Jewish War, which passes under the name of Hegesippus, the Jew. He lived in the reigns of Antoninus and Commodus, i. e, in the latter half of the second century ; and yet mention is made in this work of Constantinople, Scotland, and Saxony !

Annius of Viterbo, or John Nanni, a Dominican friar of the fifteenth century, who was made master of the sacred palace by Pope Alexander VI., employed his leisure in the composition of fragments which he endeavored to palm upon the world as newly discovered remains of ancient writers. They were comprised in seventeen books of Antiquities, as he styled his forgeries, and bore the names of Sanchoniathon, Berosus and others. He subsequently added commentaries, composed mainly of forged passages ascribed to unknown authors. These fragments and commentaries were for a while extremely wellreceived by many of the learned throughout Europe. The blunders which they contained finally led to the detection of their author. He died, however, without confessing the fabrication, and from his respectability and pertinacity the Antiquities have still been supposed by some to be genuine writings of the authors to whom he ascribed them, or at least to have been thus regarded by Annius. The Dominicans, that the stain of such a forgery might not attach to their order, asserted that Annjus derived his publications from a MS. belonging to the Colbertine library ; but the existence of such a MS. was never satisfactorily proved. The success of the forgery is somewhat remarkable, though its magnitude was not very great, the whole collection of fragments amounting to less than 200 pages. At their first appearance they excited deep interest. Four parties were speedily formed, one pronouncing them forgeries by Annius, a second declaring that they were forged before the editor's time, a third regarding them as partly genuine and partly interpolated by the editor, and a fourth sustaining their entire genuineness.

The papal supremacy over the countries denominated the States of the Church originated in pretended grants made to the popes by Pepin and Charlemagne. There is no other proof of these grants than that contained in certain charters alleged to have been bestowed by Louis le Débonnaire, Otho I. and Henry I. Notwithstanding the strenuous efforts which have been made by some Catholic writers to sustain the authenticity of these charters, they are pretty generally regarded as having


been forged to give color to the papal appropriation of the territories referred to. In like manner, deeds and inscriptions, designed to sustain the pretensions of the papal church in a momentous law-suit, were forged by the Spanish antiquary Medina Conde, and buried in the earth where he knew they would soon be discovered. The decretals called the decretals of Isidore, which formed the fundamental ground of the canon-law for eight centuries, were forged in the ninth century with a view to the maintenance of the papal authority. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, in whose name they were fabricated, died in 636.

Let us now descend to more modern times, and notice some of the most remarkable forgeries which they present to view. Precise chronological order in narrating them is not of consequence, and will not be sought.

The first which we shall mention are those executed by one Joseph Vella in the latter part of the last century, an account of which we transcribe from D'Israeli. The source from which this account is derived is not stated by D'Israeli; and we have not been able to discover it. In a French Biographie Universelle we find a narrative differing from his in some not very material points; but, as D'Israeli's is rather more circumstantial, we have chosen to rely on his authority. "One of the most extraordinary literary impostures was that of one Joseph Vella, who, in 1794, was an adventurer in Sicily, and pretended that he possessed seventeen of the lost books of Livy in Arabic. He had received this literary treasure, he said, from a Frenchman, who had purloined it from a shelf in St. Sophia's church at Constantinople. As many of the Greek and Roman classics have been translated by the Arabians, and many were first known in Europe in their Arabic dress, there was nothing improbable in one part of his story. He was urged to publish these longdesired books; and Lady Spencer, then in Italy, offered to defray the expenses. He had the effrontery, by way of specimen, to edit an Italian translation of the sixtieth book; but that book took up no more than one octavo page! A professor of oriental literature in Prussia introduced it into his work, never suspecting the fraud. It proved to be nothing more than the Epitome of Florus. He also gave out that he possessed a code which he had picked up in the Abbey of St. Martin, containing the ancient history of Sicily in the Arabic period, comprehending above 200 years, and of which ages their own historians were entirely deficient in knowledge. Vella declared he had a

VOL. XI No. 29.


genuine official correspondence between the Arabian governors of Sicily and their superiors in Africa, from the first landing of the Arabians in that island. Vella was now loaded with honors and pensions! It is true he showed Arabic MSS., which, however, did not contain a syllable of what he said. He pretended he was in continual correspondence with friends at Morocco and elsewhere. The king of Naples furnished him with money to assist his researches. Four volumes in quarto were at length published. Vella had the adroitness to change the Arabic MSS. he possessed, which entirely related to Mohammed, to matters relative to Sicily. He bestowed several weeks' labor to disfigure the whole, altering page for page, line for line, and word for word; but interspersed numberless dots, strokes, and flourishes, so that when he published a fac-simile, every one admired the learning of Vella, who could translate what no one else could read. He complained he had lost an eye in this minute labor; and every one thought his pension ought to have been increased. Every thing prospered about him except his eye; which some thought was not so bad neither. It was at length discovered by his blunders that the whole was a forgery, though it had now been patronized, translated, and extracted, throughout Europe. When this MS. was examined by an Orientalist, it was discovered to be nothing but a history of Mohammed and his family. Vella was condemned to imprisonment."

Captain Francis Wilford, an Englishman of great learning, was imposed upon in a most remarkable manner, while resident in India, by a Hindoo pundit in whom he trusted too implicitly. His deceptions consisted of the alteration of individual proper names in Indian MSS. which he produced, the substitution of new leaves for the original ones, (no very difficult matter, since Indian books are not bound like ours, but are only loosely connected leaves,) and, in one instance, the forgery of two voluminous sections, containing 12,000 Slocas or stanzas, which he pretended to have faithfully extracted from the Puranas, and which were composed in exact imitation of their usual style. Many of these forgeries were communicated to Sir W. Jones, who, with all his learning and philosophical caution, saw no reason to doubt their genuineness. Captain Wilford published in the series of volumes entitled, "Asiatic Researches," several extensive essays which were more or less imbued with error (one on Egypt especially,) from the reliance which he placed on this masterly imitator. The corrupted MSS. were preserved

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by Captain Wilford, and some years after the deception was effected, he accidentally observed something peculiar in the appearance of the writing, which led him on, step by step, to a complete discovery of the imposition to which he had been subjected. His mortification, and his anxiety lest he should be regarded by the world as a participator in the fraud, threw him into a lingering disorder. As soon as possible he dispatched letters to his friends in various parts of Europe, making them acquainted with the facts, which he also published to the world soon after in a paper contained in the 8th Vol. of the Asiatic Researches. When our notable pundit was accused of the fraud, he immediately flew into apparent paroxysms of rage, imprecating the vengeance of heaven upon his head if he were not entirely innocent. Afraid that this conduct might not be adequate to reinstate him in the good opinion of Captain Wilford, he produced ten Brahmins as his compurgators, who swore by every thing sacred in their religion that no imposition had been committed. All was of no avail. Reprimanding the Brahmins for their perjury, Captain Wilford rid himself at once of them and the pundit whose fraud they had attempted to


All our readers without doubt know something respecting Lauder's temporary imposition upon the public relating to the originality of Milton's Paradise Lost. We propose to give a somewhat particular account of it, as minute details concerning it are not very generally accessible.

It was in 1747, that William Lauder first made his appearance before the world in the character of a detector of Milton's plagiarisms. In the beginning of that year he published in the Gentleman's Magazine with the initials of his name, W. L., a paper entitled: "Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns." Notwithstanding his pretended regret at his discovery, deep malice was apparent in the manner in which he urged and discussed the alleged obligation of Milton to other writers. This spirit induced a severity of inference on the part of Lauder far from being warranted by the circumstances asserted, even had they been true; and three several replies appeared in the columns of the same magazine, all admitting the truth of the facts presented, but resisting, we should rather say deprecating, the asperity of Lauder's deductions from them. Emboldened by this impunity, (for impunity it was comparatively, considering the actual extent of his criminality,) he, in the beginning of the year

1750, in accordance with a promise contained in the paper just mentioned, published a larger essay under the same title as the smaller, but in a volume by itself. This work was adorned with a preface and a postscript from the vigorous pen of the celebrated Dr. Johnson. Dr. Symmons, in his Life of Milton, states it as probable from Johnson's known connexion with Cave, the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine, that he was intimately concerned in Lauder's former essay; but this is by no means satisfactorily evinced.


In the article and the volume of which we have spoken, Milton was accused of having derived many of his images and thoughts, and even many of his forms of expression, from Grotius, and several other modern writers, of little note in our day, whatever was their reputation in their own. The chief writers designated by Lauder, besides Grotius, were Masenius, a Jesuit, Taubmann, a German professor, and Staphorstius, a Dutch divine. To support his charge, he adduced passages, as from these writers, which did indeed bear a wonderful, a more than accidental, resemblance to passages pointed out in Milton's Paradise Lost, and were sometimes completely identical with them, except that in the one case the passages were in Latin and in the other in English. On the strength of this correspondence, Lauder allowed himself the most unlimited abuse of Milton, terming him "an unlicensed plagiary," accusing him of an industrious concealment of his helps," of conduct "highly ungenerous," "absolutely unworthy of any man of probity and honor," "criminal to the last degree." "Mankind," says he, "by giving too implicit a faith to the bold assertion of our poet, that he sung things unattempted yet, have been deluded into a false opinion of Milton's being more an original author than any poet ever was before him. This opinion, and this only, has been the cause of that infinite tribute of veneration that has been paid him these sixty years past. Hence so many editions, translations, commentaries, lives, encomiums, marble busts, pictures, gold and silver medals." He attributed the well-known circumstance, that Milton would not teach his daughters to understand the languages which they were in the habit of reading to him, to his fear that they would recognize his plagiarisms. In conclusion of his treatise he made a solemn assertion of the purity of his motives and an apology for the severity of his remarks. The volume was inscribed to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

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