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to draw near, and then—for his voice had now begun to fail him—drew off his ring, and delivered it in silence to Perdiccas. . . . . . . . After the death of the King, Perdiccas was called upon to come forward and exhibit publicly the well-known signet by which the monarch had appointed him his successor.'
An almost similar account is given of the death of Tiberius, in Suetonius; but that wretched tyrant appears to have been undecided whom to choose, and death claimed him before he had resolution enough either to part with it himself, or to determine its future possessor. An ingenious though diffuse writer in Fraser's Magazine for 1856, quotes this passage from a mediæval historian, which shows how long this notion of a ring's authority had lasted ; and indeed, any reader of that most elegant of fictions, the Arabian Nights, will remember many a case in point. “Moved by my prayers,' says Joannes Sarisburiensis, • Pope Adrian has conceded to the illustrious King Henry II. the grant of Ireland, to have and to hold by hereditary right, inasmuch as all islands belong by ancient right to the Roman Church, as part of the donation of Constantine. The Pontiff has therefore transmitted through me a gold ring, set with a splendid emerald, by which he invests King Henry with full powers over Ireland, and which he orders to be kept for ever in the public archives.'
Returning from this short digression, which ought however to convince all good Catholics of the original right of the British Crown to Ireland, to the rings of ancient days, I may allude to a comical story, which the poet Martial relates of himself in the eighty-eighth epigram of the ninth book. We all remember Jack Cade's pathetic remark in Shakspeare's Henry VI. (P. II. Act IV. Scene ii.)—'Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment; that parchment being scribbled o'er should undo a man? Some say the bee stings, but I say 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal once to a thing, and I have never been my own man since. But in this fatal trap, the affixing seal to document unread, the crafty Martial was too clever to be caught: as the epigram is elegant, I transcribe it verbatim, and subjoin the translation in a note :
meration of ce by ancied to hold
• Septem post calices opimiani,
**After I have taken seven cups of strong opimian, and am stretched out at full length, and beginning to stammer, you bring me some paper or another, and say, “I have just made Nasta free, a slave of my father; please give me your signature.” No, my friend Lupercus, it may be better done to-morrow; at present my seal is only wanted for the bottle.'-Ep. 88. Lib. ix.
The same caution was sometimes extended even after the death of the possessor of a signet-ring; for we read in Livy, that when Marcellus had fallen in an engagement with the troops of Hannibal, while consul for the fifth time, in the year of Rome 546, his colleague Crispinus recollected that his ring had fallen into the hands of the conquerors, and therefore wrote to the Salapians and other allies of Rome, that all letters after that date, bearing the impress of Marcellus's ring, must be considered to come from the enemy. That very day Hannibal despatched a letter to the Salapians, sealed with Marcellus's signet, telling them to expect him that evening at a certain hour, and ordering the gates to be thrown open to receive the general of the republic. But, warned by Crispinus's forethought, the Salapians stood to their arms, and received the Carthaginian hero with more zeal than he either wished or expected.
Petronius Arbiter, the Pietro Aretino of ancient Roman satire, having completed his wonderful exposure of the tyrant Nero, and sealed it with his usual seal, broke the gem in two, for fear that any innocent person using that gem might get into trouble as the author of that famous · Satyricon.'
The author of the paper in Fraser's Magazine* to which I have already referred, asserts that even pontifical signets were not safe from being tampered with when he who gave them infallibility was gathered to his fathers. “As soon as a Pope dies, the Apostolic Chamber send for the plumber of the Holy See, who, in their presence, cuts off the portion of the double leaden seal or Bulla, † which bears the name of his defunct Holiness, leaving the other half, impressed with the images of SS. Peter and Paul, useless, until the consecration of a new Pope adds a new name, and the scal becomes valid again.'
So unwilling was the noble Charlemagne to trust any subject with his seal of state, that he had it set in the hilt of his two-handed sword, giving as a reason for the peculiarity, that the sword which gave him an empire should be trusted with maintaining it. Charlemagne had classical authority, too, for mounting his signet thus: and thereby hangs a tale.
Philip of Macedon was warned by an oracle to beware of quadriges, or four-horse chariots ; accordingly he ordered them all to be unyoked, and that no man should venture to use one for fear the Sovereign should be run over and the oracle fulfilled; even when in Bæotia he came upon a place bearing that name, he fled from it as from a pestilence; but eventually the oracle triumphed, for he was murdered by Pausanias as he entered the theatre during the nuptial rites of his daughter, Cleopatra, and on the hilt of the weapon which killed him was graven as a signet a four-horse car.
* Fraser's Magazine, Vol. xxxiv. p. 595. 1856. + The Bullæ, like everything else belonging to his Holiness, his tiara, his keys, &c., are in three; first, the “fisherman's ring,” in virtue of which he lacks his pretensions to supremacy; second, the large leaden seal or Bull proper; and lastly, the signum for consistorial Bulls.'- Idem.
Since the ancients possessed such admirable and inimitable skill in gem engraving, and used their signets so constantly, and for such important purposes, it is curious to notice how badly they were off in the article of sealing-wax. Of this, as we now understand it, they had absolutely none; the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and other Eastern nations, used simple clay, which receiving the impress of the seal when moist, retained it pretty well when dried up by the heat of the climate.
Servius, an old commentator on Virgil, tells us how an oracle had promised a certain Sibyl, that as long as she never beheld with her eyes the earth of Erythræa, so long her life should last; one day, however, receiving a letter sealed with Erythræan earth, the prophecy of Apollo was fulfilled, and she died at once. In his defence of Flaccus, Cicero produced an attestation sent from Asia, and proved its authenticity by its seal of Asiatic sealing-earth, at the same time proving the counter testimony of the accuser to be a forgery, on account of its soft wax seal, a substance which, from its nature, could never have been used in Asiatic climate. The Romans did manage to make a something which should answer better than earth or common wax, and not be so heavy as the lumps of lead with which they at one time, as indeed the lords of the Vatican do still, used for the most important documents. But let us examine the ingredients of this precious compound, which they termed ó maltha,' or 'terra sigillaris;' it was a cement composed of pitch, common wax, plaster, mutton fat, and one or two other similarly nasty substances which have escaped my memory. What a substitute for our clear red sealing-wax-the only colour, by-the-by, which is to be depended upon.
The oldest seal impression in anything like wax in England, is that which confirms a charter given by Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey; he learnt the use of wax at the court of the Norman William, though the practice did not become usual in England until some time after the Conquest. William himself always used green wax, symbolizing that his acts and deeds were for ever to remain in force!
From the time of Otho to Frederick IV., the Emperors of Germany, and all the Dukes, Prelates, and Counts of the Holy Roman Empire, followed their example during the thirteenth century; the latter sovereign granted to one of the Dukes of Modena, this right of using white wax, as a mark of distinguished favour. Charles I. and most of his royal predecessors on the throne of England, also used white wax; hence it seems to have been in some way connected with the idea of kingly birth.
The oldest seal of our present sealing-wax, in which shell-lac is used, is on a letter dated London, August 3, 1554, to the rheingrave Philip Von Daun from his agent in England. To this sketch of the antiquities of sealing-wax, I may add that the learned Beckmann declares that the oldest letter sealed with a red paste wafer, was written by Dr. Krapf at Spires, in 1624, to the government at Bayreuth.
The seals of Abbeys, Corporations, of Bishops, Kings, and other state seals, some of them very large indeed, have come down to us from
medieval times * in considerable numbers; they are certainly curious, very rude some of them, and some of them very intricate, but they are in reality so modern compared with the chefs d'ouvre of antiquity, their execution so inferior, their subjects so much less interesting and elegant, to which must be added that their materials, generally iron or brass, are so much less captivating than the tiny sparkling gem of the classic era, that I shall not attempt to give any account of them, but revert to the days of Horace, Mecenas, and Augustus.
(To be continued.)
FEMALE RECRUITS FOR THE CHURCH
PERHAPS there never was a period in the history of the world, when the condition of the poorer classes attracted so much attention, as the present. Politicians discuss their rights; philanthropists their miseries; and religious people deplore their ignorance and vice. All agree that a great change is needed, though many of us differ as to its direction and its source. We rejoice in the activity for good shown on all sides, and believe that we see in it great hope for the future. But at present we are apt to be oppressed with the magnitude of the work before us. On all sides we hear the cry, ‘Come over and help us, and the smallness of human effort stands in painful contrast with the vastness of human need.
Everywhere the want seems to be of agents devoted to good works. Those best acquainted with our national institutions, as hospitals, workhouses, and schools, bewail the difficulty of getting officials possessing a high Christian tone. Those who follow our lowest poor to their own wretched homes, dare not describe too minutely the squalor, improvidence, and sin, that exist there. In our own househol we hear constant complaints of the low standard of morality among the servants of the present day. We are told that even good masters and mistresses fail to secure good servants; and that life below stairs is ruled by a different code of laws to that which governs educated Christians. Pilfering, concealment, and selfishness, are too often permitted, provided they are kept within certain arbitrary limits, which, we need hardly observe, have been settled by the servants themselves without consulting their masters. Now, taking this state of things for granted, and assuming also that our readers acknowledge the duty of endeavouring to amend it, we beg to press upon their notice one very simple remedy, viz. the endeavour on an organized system of leavening our masses by means of themselves. We have discovered that if we wish to evangelize Africa and Asia, we must do it by a native ministry. Why should not the same principle have a wider application, and our English heathen, our pauper nurses, and our domestic servants, be reformed and Christianized by agents drawn from their own class, who can serve as models for imitation, as well as humble teachers to their equals? Such agents may be multiplied almost indefinitely, and form the best links to the class above them, and the safest channels for spreading education and civilization in their own.
* One relic of some interest to the student of English History is now preserved in the Hotel Soubise at Paris-a document dated 1404, to which is affixed the public seal of the famous Owen Glendower-casts of both obverse and reverse were taken by Mr. Doublehay, and exhibited by Sir H. Ellis at a meeting of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in 1834. Until this discovery, it was not known that Glendower had actually assumed the style and state of a sovereign, and adopted a royal signet.
Being very deeply impressed with the wisdom of this theory, and very anxious to see it more generally accepted, we beg permission to introduce our readers to three distinct efforts, similar in principle, but adapted to the needs of three distinct classes.
1.-Serving Sisters. II.-Mission Women. III.-Trained Nurses.
To begin with Serving Sisters. These persons are generally domestic servants, who voluntarily continue the performance of all their former duties, adding to them some special work, as nursing the sick, but who undertake to do so not for money but from the love of God. They abandon all that their caste considers most precious-wages, perquisites, and sweet-hearts; they wear a plain dress, submit to a strict rule, and lead a hard life. Enthusiasm and romance may excite ladies to leave their homes for the devoted life of a Sister of Mercy. But can anyone familiar with the feelings of cooks and housemaids suppose that such a sacrifice can be voluntarily undertaken by them, from any motive but the highest ? For beyond the certainty of being cared for when too old or too infirm for work, it is difficult to conceive any earthly advantage which a good servant obtains by giving up her situation and joining a Sisterhood. Not to mention her resignation of marriage, which is viewed by servants as a more necessary matter even than it is by the educated classes ; Serving Sisters resign their freedom to a greater degree than can be easily realized without some thought. Nor can they delude themselves with the idea that they are being made ladies of. The heads of the different Sisterhoods, now established in different portions of our Church, are too wise to put their Lady Sisters to do what is technically called “menial work,' when they have Serving Sisters capable of performing that physical drudgery which is best accomplished by the stouter body and less developed brain. But in addition to the household work of the Home, there are special offices of love for the invalids, the penitents, or the children, to whose service the Sisterhood is devoted, which devolve on the Serving Sisters. As we stated before, these humble workers are part