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All this lore was not gathered without much toil and much expense. The Bollandists ransacked not only the libraries in the monasteries of their own country, but travelled throughout Europe to collect new facts and documents. In 1659, for instance, they went to Rome. “The Bollandists" (Papebroch and Henschen], says Stokes, “ proceeded up the Rhine and through South Germany, making a very thorough examination of the libraries, to all of which free access was given : the very Protestant town of Nuremberg being most forward to honor the literary travellers, while the President of the Lutheran Consistory aided them even with his purse. . . . At Venice they found the first rich store of Greek manuscripts and thence also they despatched by sea to Bollandus the first fruits of their toil. From Venice they made a thorough examination of the libraries of Northeastern Italy at Vicenza, Verona, Padua, Bologna, whence they turned aside to visit Ravenna."1 The journey so described seems to be the counterpart of some made by our modern historical explorers, a Boehmer for instance, a Mommsen, or a Ranke. It is well to recall the researches of the older historians, that they, too, may receive some of the praise so justly lavished on our modern scholars.
We have dwelt at some length on the gigantic work of the Bollandists, but not because they were the only laborers in the field of history; it was gratifying to lay before our readers a picture of their devoted zeal for historical truth and learning, drawn by a generous admirer, a dignitary of the Church of England, a picture, too, which faithfully portrays the spirit and the labors of so many others that followed in their footsteps.
Alongside of the Jesuits,” says Wattenbach,“the French Benedictines, after their order had taken a new and exceedingly vigorous start in the Congregation of St. Maur, undertook a similar work. The study of the history of their order soon became one of the chief aims of the congregation, and for many years its librarian, Dom Luc d'Achéry, aided by the entire community, gathered for this purpose invaluable materials. To help him work up this material, Dom Jean Mabillon was deputed in 1664, and he in turn was assisted by Germain and Ruinart. Between 1668 and 1701 they published the Acta Sanctorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, in nine large folios, that reach to the year 1100 and are of the utmost importance for history. But the Benedictines by no means restricted themselves to the history of their order, and the elucidation of general history, which this work included. In 1676 Colbert, the famous minister of Louis XIV., had conceived the plan of making and publishing a systematic collection of documents illus
Stokes, 1. c., p.
trating the whole history of France. This work was to replace the incomplete collection, in five folio volumes, made by Duchesne (1636-49). “Colbert's plan, however, was not carried out until later, when the monks of St. Maur undertook this task also. After these industrious and learned monks had rendered the most extraordinary services to the history of their order and the Church, and in various collections had made accessible unlimited historical material, they began in 1738 to publish the Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France, by Dom Bouquet and his successors, a collection the publication of which has been taken up again quite recently and which at present consists of twenty-one folio volumes."?
In Italy the great number of states into which the country was split up, as well as their changing fortunes, made the historian's work doubly difficult. But Italy was the home of the Popes, and included Rome, the capital of Catholic Christianity. “The history of the Roman Church, written by Cardinal Baronius, embraced the whole Christian world, and in it every nation found the most important information regarding its own past from the treasures of the Vatican archives. Many original documents, relating to the history of Italy, Ughelli first brought to light in his great work, Italia Sacra, which was improved and enlarged by Coleti.? At the same time flourished Ludovico Antonio Muratori, who, with the most comprehensive learning, never-resting industry and untiring activity, laid the foundations of Italian history, on which modern historians continue to build to the present day. His Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, in twenty-one folio volumes, 1723 to 1757, are the first comprehensive systematic collection of the documentary history of any country, and to this day the only one which has reached completion.''3
Whilst in Flanders, France, and Italy, Catholic monks and Catholic priests, unaided by the State, relying on their own means and their own toil, were scouring the continent for historical material and placing it at the disposition of the scholars of the world, Germany presented a far less inspiriting spectacle. “True," says Wattenbach, "their example (i.e., that of the Bollandists and Maurines) roused to imitation, but all attempts failed, partly because of the indolence of the monasteries that were sunk in wealth and luxury, partly because of the jealousy of the princes who thought it dangerous to allow their clergy to come in contact with their brethren of other States. This was the experience of the brothers Pez at Melk, who endeavored to infuse new life into the
1 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 9.
Ughelli's “ Italia Sacra” comprised nine volumes, and was published 1644-62, v hilst Coleti extended it to ten volumes in 1717-1721.
Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 9.
old Benedictine order; but they failed in founding a congregation, which might have united the forces at hand and used them systematically for a common purpose, as in France.?" Still the brothers Pez, German Benedictines, unaided and unencouraged, did their own duty manfully, and between 1721 and 1745 published nine volumes of historical documents illustrating the history of Austria and other parts of the German Empire. But before the appearance of these volumes efforts had been made to form a society of the learned to further learning in the Empire, and especially historical learning. This plan was conceived by John Christian von Boineburg, the councillor of the Catholic Elector Bishop of Mainz, the friend of the great Leibnitz. The latter, great in philosophy, great in mathematics, great in science, was equally great in the field of history. He not only gathered immense quantities of material for German history, but earnestly endeavored to instil into others his own devotion and enthusiasm. He was himself a Protestant, but among the foremost of his assistants was Ekkard, a convert and afterwards councillor to the Bishop of Augsburg. Ekkard was not only an enthusiastic collector, but " no one pointed out with more intelligence and keenness the lack of discrimination and systematic choice that characterized the older collections, even that of Leibnitz. Unfortunately his own work, the Corpus Historicuin Medii Ævi (1723), was liable to the same charges."
Up to this time, outside of Leibnitz's work, nothing had been done by Protestants that could be at all compared with the great collections undertaken and in part so creditably carried out by Catholics. The latter had been leaders, not laggards, in the cause of historical progress. It was the existence and rich endowments of the great monasteries,” says Canon Stokes, “ which explains the publication of such immense works as those of the Bollandists, Mabillon, and Tillemont, quite surpassing any now issued, even by the wealthiest publishers among ourselves, and only approached, and that at a distance, by Pertz's Monumenta' in Germany."3 Surely this is glory enough, but it is not all. When Protestant Germany at last felt called to take part in the movement, of which to-day she is the leader, “ the example of Muratori in Italy and the Maurine Benedictines in France invited to imitation, but every wish and every attempt was foiled, as were the first beginnings just mentioned (those of Leibnitz and his scholars) by German divisions, by the impossibility to secure the co-operation of many, by the lack of sufficient means."
It was only after the great Napoleonic wars, when a new national spirit arose among
1 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 9-10, 2 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 13. 3 Stokes, 1. c., p. 73.
the Germans, that the efforts of Arndt and Grimm, and especially of Von Stein, after many disappointments were crowned with success. Not till 1819 was it possible to found the Society for the Study of Old German History. It is not the purpose of this paper to write the annals of the struggles and disappointments which tried the souls of its pioneers. One incident, however, related by Wattenbach, so strongly illustrates the attitude of the Papacy to this and all undertakings for the promotion of historical studies that we must record it. G. H. Pertz was the man who carried out Stein's plans; by his self-sacrifice, his learning, and his judgment he showed what a man of intelligence and vigor could do, and effectually laid the foundation of all its subsequent success. His first journey, in 1820, led him to Rome; while elsewhere in Italy he met with not a few disappointments," he secured from the Papal Regesta alone 1800 unprinted letters."
The French Revolution and the movements consequent thereon have swept away hundreds of monasteries from the face of Europe. Jesuits and Benedictines have been robbed of the wealth they so worthily used in the cause of historic and other learning. Their means have shrunk, but not their love of knowledge, their zeal to promote it. In the nineteenth century De Backer and his brethren in Belgium have continued the work of Bolland and Papebroch. Elsewhere the plundered monks cannot vie with the Mabillons, the Ruinarts, and the Bouquets. Still, even in England, where revived Catholicity is yet a young and tender plant, the monk and the priest have already done their share to lay more firmly and more broadly the foundations of English history. The Jesuit Foley has published eight thick volumes of Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus. The value and excellence of his work have been recognized by the most competent English authorities; in the opinion of the Athenæum it has laid forever the spectre Jesuit that for centuries was a bugbear to the English nation. To another Jesuit, Father Morris, we owe a collection of three volumes on the “ Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers, told by themselves," which has thrown much light on the history of Catholic England during the days of the penal laws. Quite recently a Benedictine, Dom Gasquet, has published a work on the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII., which has revealed the unparalleled wickedness of that measure of Henry's agents and their methods. In Germany scarcely a year passes without bringing us documents and monographs on the doings and sufferings of Benedictines, Franciscans, Cistercians and other orders, both before and since the "Reformation"; in France, where the monks of St. Maur have done so much for early French history. As to history in general,
1 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 16.
earnest toilers do not neglect what they have left to be done. The name of Cardinal Pitra reminds us of the debt history owes to his toil and learning. Montalembert's “Monks of the West” is not only a work distinguished by eloquence and a brilliant style, it is the fruit of much honest and laborious research. His “ St. Elizabeth” and the works of Ozanam and Rio are studies of mediæval history worthy of all praise. For years back the pages of the Revue des Questions Historiques and the Correspondant have published historical monographs, distinguished alike for industry, learning, and keen criticism, and shedding floods of light on the most abstruse and difficult historical questions. The records of the National Society of French Antiquaries register papers after papers presented by French priests. In Spain, among the most distinguished archæologists is the Jesuit Padre Fita. In Hungary, whose bishops retain much of the great income with which Catholic princes, nobles, and burghers had endowed the Church, not a little of these revenues is devoted to publishing documents throwing light on the history of the nation. In our own country what name is more respected among historical scholars than that of Dr. J. Gilmary Shea? Relying chiefly on his own enthusiasm and indomitable energy, he has hunted up documents and scarce printed works illustrating the early history of our country and the glorious work of the Catholic missionaries; he has published, or republished, and translated them, until his published works amount almost to a library. And now he crowns his noble career by his monumental " History of the Church in the United States." In Italy itself, distracted as Rome was by Carbonari agitation and revolutionary movements manifold in kind and origin, hindered in her action and cramped in her revenues, long before the accession of Leo XIII. the purse of Gregory and of Pius was always open to encourage the noble work of the two De Rossis and their predecessors. Salaried and aided by the Popes, the two Theiners delved into that mine of history, the Vatican archives, and no one will charge them with being Papal Janissaries; many have taxed them with being hardly fair to the Catholic Church. And now comes the thirteenth Leo; with characteristic energy and enlightenment he not only opens the Vatican archives to all genuine students, he calls on the deepest and most active Catholic historical scholars, a Hergenroether, a Pitra, a Balan, a Denifle, to explore their wealth, to discover their treasures, to publish the results honestly and impartially. Truly Leo is a genuine lover of historical science, but this love of history is not peculiar to him; he has inherited it from the Church of the past, from the Church of Baronius, of Bolland and Papebroch, of Mabillon, Ruinart and Dom Bouquet, of Muratori and De Rossi.