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A society was formed in Dublin, similar to the Royal Society in London, as early as 1683; but the distracted state of the country proved unpropitious to the cultivation of philosophy and literature. The Royal Irish Academy grew from a society established in Dublin about r782 by a number of gentlemen, most of whom belonged to the university. They held weekly meetings, and read, in turn, essays on various subjects. They professed to unite the advancement of science with the history
of mankind and polite literature. The first volume of transac- , ' ,were discontinued, and the academy neglected by the Court;
tions appeared in 1788. H ungary.—The Magyar Tudomdnyos Akadémia (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) was founded in 182 5 by Count Stephen Széchenyi for the encouragement of the study of the Hungarian language and the various sciences. It has about .300 members and a fine building in Budapest containing a picture gallery and housing various national collections. > Italy—The Academia Secretorum Naturae was founded at ' Naples in 1560 by Giambattista della Porta. It arose likethe French Academy from a little .club of friends who met at della Porta's house and called themselves the Otiosi. The condition of membership was to have made some discovery in natural science. Della Porta was suspected of practising the black arts and summoned to Rome to justify himself before thepapal court. He was'acquitted by Paul V., but commanded to close his academy. .
The Accademia dci Lincei, to which della Porta was admitted
periments on the pressure of the air (Torricclli and Borelliwere
among its members), on the incompressibility of waterrand on universal gravity.
Science in Italy is now represented by the Raale Accademia delle Scienze (Royal Academy of Sciences), founded in 1757 as a private society, and incorporated under its present name by royal warrant in 1783. It consists of 40 full members, who must be residents of Turin, 20 non-resident, and 20 foreign members. It publishesa yearly volume of proceedings and awards prizes to learned works. There are, besides, royal academics of science at Naples, Lucca and Palermo.
Portuga1.—The Academia Rcal dos Sciencias (Royal Academy of Sciences) at Lisbon dates from 1779. It was reorganized in r85 1 and since then has been chiefly occupied in the publication of Portugaliae M onumcnta H islorica. . ,
Russio.—-—The Académz'e I mPériale dos science: dc Saint-Petersbaurg, I mperalorskaya Akademiya nail/e, was projected by Peter the Great. The advice of Wolff and Leibnitz was sought, and several learned foreigners were invited to become members. Peter himself drew the plan, and signed it on the roth of February r724; but his sudden death delayed its fulfilment. On the arst of December 1725, however, Catherine 1. established it according to his plan, and on the 27th the society met for the first time. On the rst of August 1726, Catherine honoured the meeting with her presence, when Professor G. 'B. Bilfinger, a
vment of national culture. . ‘greatly to the advantage of the whole body, corrected many of
dedication to Pater,II., were published in 1728. ,tinued until 'r747, when the transactions were called Novi ‘Commentarii Academia,- &c.;' and in r777, Ada Academia:
. during their expeditions through the Russian empire.
German scientist, delivered an oration upon the determination of magnetic variations and longitude. Shortly afterwards the empress settled a fund of £4982 per annum for the support of the academy; and 15 eminent members were admitted and pensioned, under the title of professors in the various branches of science and literature. The most distinguished of these were Nicholas and DanielBernouilli, the two Delisles, Bilfinger, and Wolfl. ' ' During the short reign of Peter II. the salaries of members
but it was again patronized by the empress Anne, who added a seminary under the superintendence of the professors. Both institutions flourished for some time under the direction of At the- actession of Elizabeth the original plan was enlarged and improved;
Llearned foreigners were drawn to»St, Petersburg; and, what
was/considered a good omen 'for the literature of Russia, two natives, Lomonosov and Rumovsky, men of genius who had prosecuted their studies in‘foreign universities, 'wereenrolled among its members. The annual income was increased to £ro,6 59, and sundry other. advantages were conferred upon the institution. Catherine II. utilized the academy for the advance.She altered the court of directors
its abuses added to its means, and infused a new vigour and spirit into its researches. By her recommendation the most intelligent-professors visited all the provinces of her vast do:
, minions, with most minute and ample instructions to investigate
thenatural resources, conditions and requirements, and report (in the real state of the empire. The result was that no country
-at that time could boast, within so few years, such a number of
excellent official publicationstm its internahstate, its natural productions, its topography; \geography-Iand history; and on the manners, customs and languagesof the'different tribes that inhabited it, as came from the press of this academy. In its researches in .Asiatic languages, oriental customs and religions, it proved itself the worthy ri'valfof the Royal Asiatic Society in England. The first. transactionscCammentarii. Academiae Scr'entiarum ImperialisFetropolitanae. ad annum 1726, with a This was con
Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitande,.with some alteration in
1 the arrangements and plan'of the work. » The papers, hitherto in
Latin only, were now written indifferently in Latin or in French, and-a preface added, Partie-Historique, which'contains an ac; count of the‘society’s meetings. - Of the Commentaries, fourteen volumes were published: of the New Commentaries (1750—1776)twentyr Of the Aria Academiae two volumes are printed every year. In 1872 there was published at St Petersburg in 2 vols., Tableau général dc: matiires conten'ues dans to: publication: do t’llcadémie Impériale des Science: ‘de St Petersbourg. The academy is composed, as at first, of fifteen professors, besides the president and director. Each of the professors has a house and an annual stipendof from £200 to £600. Besides the professors, there are four pensioned adjuncts, who are present at the-meetings of the society, andv succeed to the first vacancies. The buildings and apparatus of this academy are on a vast scale. There is a fine library, of 36,000 books and manuscripts; and an extensive museum, considerably augmented by the collections made by Pallas, Gmelin, Guldenstadt and other professors, The motto of the society is Paalalim.
SPain.-—The Real Academia Espariola at Madrid (see below) had a'predecessor in the Academia Naturae curiosorum (dating from 1657) modelled on that of Naples. It was reconstituted in r847 after the modelpf the French academy.
Sweden.—The Kongliga Svemka Vetcnskaps Akademicn owes its institution to six persons of distinguished learning, among whom was Linnaeus. They met on the 2nd of June r739, and formed a private society, the Collegian: C urioswum; and at the end of the year their first publication made its appearance. As the meetings continued and the members increased the society attracted the notice of the king; and on the 315t of March 1741 it was incorporated as the Royal Swedish Academy. Though under royal patronage and largely endowed, it is, like the Royal Society in England, entirely self-governed. Each of the members resident at Stockholm becomes in turn president, and continues in office for three months. The dissertations read at each meeting are published in the Swedish language, quarterly, and make an annual volume. The first forty volumes, octavo, completed in 1779, are called the Old Transactions.
United ‘States of America—The oldest scientific association in the United States is the American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge. It owed its origin to Benjamin Franklin, who in 1743 published “ A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America,” which was so favourably received that in the same year the society was organized, with Thomas Hopkinson (1709-17 51) as president and Franklin as secretary. In 1769 it united with another scientific society founded by Franklin, called the American Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge, and adopted its present name, adding the descriptive phrase from the title of the American Society, and elected Franan president, an office which he held until his death (1790). The American Philosophical Society is national in scope and is- exclusively scientific; its Transactions date from 1771, and its Proceedings from 1838. It has a hall in Philadelphia, with meeting-rooms and a valuable library and collection of interesting portraits and relics. David Rittenhouse was its second and Thomas Jefierson was its third president. In 1786 John Hyacinth de Magellan, of London, presented a fund, the income of which was to supply a gold medal for the author of the most important discovery “ relating to navigation, astronomy or natural philosophy (mere natural history excepted).” An annual general meeting is held.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Boston), the second oldest scientific organization in the United States, was chartered in Massachusetts in 1780 by some of the most promi— nent men of that time. James Bowdoin was its first president, John Adams its second. The Academy published Memoirs beginning in 1785, and Proceedings from 1846. The Rumford Premium awarded through it for the most “ important discovery or useful improvement on Heat, or on Light " is the income of $5000 given to the Academy by Count Rumford. .
The National Academy of Sciences (1863) was incorporated by Congress with the object that it “ shall, whenever called upon by any department of the Government, investigate, examine, experiment and report upon any subject of science or art." membership was first limited to 50; after the amendment of the act of incorporation in 1870 the limit was placed at 100; and in 1907 it was prescribed that the resident membership should not exceed 150 in number, that not more than 10 members be elected in any one year, and that the number of foreign associates be restricted to 50. The Academy is divided into six committees: mathematics and astronomy; physics and engineering; chemistry; geology and palaeontology; biology; and anthropology. It gives several gold medals for meritorious researches and discoveries. It publishes scientific monographs (at the expense of the Federal Government). Its presidents have been Alexander D. Bache, Joseph Henry, Wm. B. Rogers, Othniel C. Marsh, Wolcott Gibbs, Alexander Agassiz and Ira Remsen.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was organized in 1812. It has a large library, very rich in natural history, and its museum, with nearly half a million specimens, is particularly strong in oonchology and omithology. The society has published Journals since 1817, and Proceedings since 1841; it also has published the American Journal of Conchology. The American Entomological Society (in 18 59—1 867 the Entomological Society of Philadelphia, and since 1876 part of this academy) has published Proceedings since 1861, and the Entomological News (a monthly).
There are also other scientific organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science (chartered in 1874, as a continuation of the American Association of Geologists, founded in 1840 and becoming in 1842 the American Association of Geologists and Naturalists), which publishes its Proceedings annually; the American Geographical Society (1852), with headquarters in New York; the National Geographic Society (1888), with headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the Geological Society of America (1888), the American Ornithologists’ Union (1883), the American Society of Naturalists (1883), the Botanical Society of America (1893), the American Academy of Medicine (1876); and local academies of science, or of special sciences, in many of the larger cities. The Smithsonian Institution at Washington is treated in a separate article.
Belgium—Belgium has always been famous for its literary societies. The little town of Diest boasts that it possessed a society of poets in 1302, and the Catherinists of Alost date from 1 107. It is at least certain that numerous Chambers of Rhetoric (so academies were then called) existed in the first years of the rule of the house of Burgundy.
France.——The French Academy (l’Académie francaire) was established by order of the king in the year 1635, but in its original form existed four or five years earlier. About the year 1629 certain literary friends in Paris agreed to meet informally each week at the house of Valentin Courart, the king’s secretary. The conversation turned mostly on literary topics; and when one of the number had finished some literary work, he read it to the rest, and they gave their opinions upon it. The fame of these meetings, though the members were bound to secrecy, reached the ears of Cardinal Richelieu, who promised his protection and ofiered to incorporate the society by letters patent. Nearly all the members would have preferred the charms of privacy, but, considering the risk they would run in incurring the cardinal’s displeasure, and that by the letter of the law all meetings of any sort were prohibited, they expressed their gratitude for the high
Acwsmas or BELLES Ls'rrass
honour the cardinal thought fit to confer on them, proceeded at
once to organize their body, settle their laws and constitution, appoint officers and choose a name. Letters patent were granted by the king on the 29th of January 1635. The officers consisted of a director and a chancellor, chosen by lot, and a permanent secretary, chosen by vote. They elected also a publisher, not a member of the body. The director presided at the meetings, being considered as Primus inter pares. The chancellor kept the seals and sealed all the official documents of the academy. The cardinal was ex ofiicia protector. The meetings were held weekly as before.
The object for which the academy was founded, as set forth in its statutes, was the purification of the French language. “ The principal function of the academy shall be to labour with all care and diligence to give certain rules to our language, and to render it pure, eloquent and capable of treating the arts and sciences ” (Art. 24). They proposed “ to cleanse the language from the impurities it has contracted in the mouths of the common people, from the jargon of the lawyers, from the misusages of ignorant courtiers, and the abuses of the pulpit" (Letter of Academy to Cardinal Richelieu). 1
The number of members was fixed at forty. The original members formed a nucleus of eight, and it was not till 1639 that the full number was completed. Their first undertaking consisted of essays written by the members in rotation. To judge by the titles and specimens which have come down to us, these possessed no special originality or merit, but resembled the émfieifus of the Greek rhetoricians. Next, at the instance of Cardinal Richelieu, they undertook a criticism of Corneille’s Cid, the most popular work of the day. It was a rule of the academy that no work could be criticized except at the author’s request, and fear of incurring the cardinal’s displeasure wrung from Corneille an unwilling consent. The critique of the academy was re-written several times before it met with the cardinal’s approbation. After six months of elaboration, it was published under the title, Sentiments de l’academie francaise sur le Cid. This judgment did not satisfy Corneille, as a saying attributed to him on the occasion shows. “H oratius,” he said, referring to his last play, “ was condemned by the Duumviri, but he was absolved by the people.” But the crowning labour of the academy, begun in 1639, was a dictionary of the French language. By the twenty-sixth article of their statutes, they were pledged to compose a dictionary, a grammar, a treatise on rhetoric and one on poetry. Jean Chapelain, one of the original members and leading spirits of the academy, pointed out that the dictionary would naturally be the first of these works to be undertaken, and drew up a plan of the work, which was to a great extent carried out. A catalogue was to be made of all the most approved authors, prose and verse: these were to be distributed among the members, and all approved words and phrases were to be marked for incorporation in the dictionary. For this they resolved themselves into' two committees, which sat on other than the regular days. C. F. de Vaugelas was appointed editor in chief. To remunerate him for his labours, he received from the cardinal a pension of 2000 francs. The first edition of this dictionary appeared in 1694, the sixth and last in 183 5, since when complements have been added.
This vold Academic francaise perished with the other pre
revolutionary academies in 1793, and it has little but the name in common with the present academy, a section of the Institute. That Jean Baptiste Suard, the first perpetual secretary of the new, had been a member of the old academy, is the one connecting link. ' ' The chronicles of the Institute down to the end of 1895 have been given in full by the count de Franqueville in Le premier siecle de l’Institut de France, and from it we extract a few leading facts and dates. Before the Revolution there were in existence the following institutionsz—(r) the Academic de poésie et de mnsique, founded by Charles IX. in r 570 at the instigation of Half, which counted among its members Ronsard and most of the Pléiade; (2) the Académie des inscriptions et medailles, founded in 1701; (3) the Academic des inscriptions et belleslettres; (4) the old Académie des sciences; (5) the Académie de peinture et de sculpture, a school as well as an academy; (6) the Academie d’architecture. '
The object of the Convention in 1795 was to rebuild all the institutions that the Revolution had shattered and to combine them in an organic whole; in the words of the preamble:— “ 11 y a pour toute la Republique an Institut national charge de recueitler les decouvertes, tie perfectionner les arts et les sciences." As Renan has remarked, the Institute embodied two ideas, one disputable, the other of undisputed truthz—That science and art are a state concern, and that there is a solidarity between all branches of knowledge and human activities. The Institute was at first composed of 184 members resident in Paris and an equal number living in other parts of France, with 24 foreign members, divided into three classes, (1) physical and mathematical science, (2) moral and political science, (3) literature and the fine arts. It held its first sitting on the 4th of April 1796. Napoleon as first consul suppressed the second class, as subversive of government, and reconstituted the other classes as follows: (1) as before, (2) French language and literature, (3) ancient history and literature, (4) fine arts. The class of moral and political science was restored on the proposal of M. Guizot in 1832, and the present Institute consists of the five classes named above. Each class or academy has its own special jurisdiction and work, with special funds; but there is a general fund and a common library, which, with other common afiairs, are managed by a committee of the Institute—two chosen from each academy, with the secretaries. Each member of the Institute receives an annual allowance of 1200 francs, and the secretaries of the different academies have a salary of 6000 francs.
The class of the Institute which deals with the language and literature takes precedence, and is known as the Academic francaise. There was at first no perpetual secretary, each secretary of sections presiding in turn. Shortly afterwards
J. B. Shard was elected'to the post, and ever since the history of the academy has been determined by'the reigns of its successive perpetual secretaries. The secretary, to borrow an epigram of Sainte-Beuve, both reigns and governs. There have been in order: Suard ‘(13 years), Francois Juste Raynouard (9 years), Louis Simon Auger, Francois Andrieux, Arnault, Villemain (34 years), Henri Joseph Patin, Charles Camille Doucet (19 years), Gaston Boissier. Under Ray-nouard the academy ran a tilt against the abbé Delille and his followers. Under Auger it did battle with romanticism, “ a new literary schism." Auger did not live to see the election of Lamartine in 1829, and it needed ten more years for Victor Hugo after many vain assaults to enter by the breach. The academy is professedly non-politiCal. It accepted and even welcomed in succession the empire, the restoration and the reign of Louis Philippe, and it tolerated the republic of 1848; but to the second empire it ofiered a passive resistance, and no politician of the second empire, whatever his gifts as an orator or a writer, obtained an armchair. The one seeming exception, Emile Ollivier, confirms the rule. He was elected on the eve of the Franco-German war, but his discours de reception, a eulogy of the emperor, was deferred and never delivered. The Institute appears in the annual budget for a grant of about 700,000 fr. It has also large vested funds in property, including the magnificent estate and library of Chantilly bequeathed to it by the duc d’Aumale. It awards various prizes, of which the most considerable are the Montyon prizes, each of 20,000 in, one for the poor Frenchman who has performed the most virtuous action during the year, and one for the French author who has published the book of most service to morality. The conditions are liberally interpreted; the first prize is divided among a number of the deserving poor, and the second has been assigned for lexicons to Moliére, Corneille and Madame de Sévigné.
One alteration in the methods of the French Academy has to be chronicled: in 1869 it became the custom to discuss the claims of the candidates at a preliminary meeting of the members. In 1880, on the instance of the philosopher Caro, supported by A. Dumas fits, and by the aged Désiré Nisard, it was decided to abandon this method. ,
A point of considerable interest is the degree in which, since its foundation, the French Academy has or has not represented the best literary life of France. It appears from an examination of the lists of members that a surprising number of authors of the highest excellence have, from one cause or another, escaped the honour of academic “immortality.” When the atademy was founded in 1634, the moment was not a very brilliant one in French letters. Among the forty original members we find only ten who are remembered in literary history; of these four may reasonably be considered famous still—Balzac, Chapelain. Racan and Voiture. In that generation Scarron was never one' of the forty, nor do the names of Descartes, Malebranche or Pascal occur; Descartes lived in Holland, Scarron was paralytic, Pascal was best known as a mathematician—(his Lettres provinciales was published anonymously)—and when his fame was rising he retired to Port Royal, where he lived the life of a recluse. The due dc la Rochefoucauld declined the honour from a proud modesty, and Rotrou died too soon to be elected. The one astounding omission of the 17th century, however, is the name of Moliére, who was excluded by his profession as an actor.1 - On the other hand, the French Academy was never more thoroughly representative of letters than when Boileau, Corneille, La Fontaine, Racine, and Quinault were all members. Of the great theologians of that and the subsequent age, the Academy contained Bossuet, Fléchier, Fénelon, and Massillon, but not Bourdaloue. La Bruyere and Fontenelle were among the forty, but not Saint-Simon, whose claims as a man of letters were unknown to his contemporaries. Early in the 18th century almost every literary personage of eminence found his place naturally in the Academy. The only exceptions of importance
‘ The Academy has made the amende honorable by_ placing in the Selle des séances a bust of Moliere, with the inscription 'Rtenne manque 6 so gloire, i1 manqan d to none."
were Vauvenargues, who died too early for the honour, and two men of genius but of dubious 'social position, Le Sage and the abbé Prévost d’Exiles.. The approach of the Revolution afl'ected gravely the personnel of the Academy. Montesquieu and Voltaire belonged to it,v but not Rousseau or Beaumarchais. Of the EncyclopaedistsLthe French Academy opened its doors to D'Alembert, Condorcet, Volney, Marmontel and La Harpe, but not to Diderot, Rollin, Condillac, Helvétius or the Baron d’Holbach. Apparently the claims of Turgot and of Quesuay did not appear to the Academy suflicient, since neither was elected. In the transitional period, when the social life of Paris was distracted and the French Academy, provisionallyclosed, neither André Chénier nor Benjamin Constant nor Joseph de Maistre became aamember. In the early years of the 19th century considerations of various kinds excluded from the ranks of the forty the dissimilar names of Lamennais, Prudhon, Comte and Béranger. Critics of- the French Academy are fond of pointj ing out that neither Stendhal, nor Balzac, nor Théophile Gautier, nor Flaubert, nor Zola penetrated into the Mazarine. Palace. It is not so often remembered that writers so academic as Thierry and Michelet and Quinet suffered the same exclusion. In later times neither Alphonse Daudetnor Edmond de Goncourt, neither Guy de Maupassant ,uor Ferdinand F abre, has been- among the forty immortals. . The non-election, after a longlife of distinc— tion, of the scholar Fusteljde Coulangcs isless easy to account for. Verlaine, althougha poet of genius, was of the kind that no academy can ever be expected to recognize. _ ' .
.Concerning the influence-of the French Academy on the language and literature, the, most opposite opinions have been advanced. On the one hand, it ,has been asserted that .it has corrected the judgment, purified the taste and formed .the language of French writers, and that to .it We owe the most striking characteristics of French literature, its purity, delicacy and flexibility, Thus Matthew Arnold, in his Essay on the Literary Influence of 4cadernies, has pronounced a glowing panegyric on the French. Academy as a high court of'letters, and a rallying-point for educated Opinion, as asserting the authority of- a master in matters; of tone and taste. To it he attributes in a great measure that thoroughness, that openness of mind, that absence of vulgarity which he finds everywhere in French literature; and to the want ofv a similar institution" in England he traces that eccentricity, that provincial spirit, that coarseness which, as he thinks, are barely compensated by English genius. Thus, too, Renan, one of its most distinguished members, says that it is owing to the academy “ qu’pn peut taut dire sans appareil scholastique avec la langue des gensdu monde.”- “ Ah ne dites,” he exclairns, ‘1‘ qu’ils n’ont r.ien fait, ces obscures beaux esprits dxmt la vie se passe d instruire le procés des mats, d peser les syllables. Ils on! felt an ehef~d'aauure——la langue franqaise." _On the other hand, its inherent defects have been well summed up by P. Lanfrey in his H istoire de N apoleon; “ This institution had never shown itself the enemy of despotism. Founded by the monarchy andfor the monarchy, eminently favourable to the spirit of intrigue and favouritism, incapable of any sustained or combined labour, a stranger, to those .great works pursued in common which legitimize and glorify the existence of scientific bodies, occupied exclusively with learned trifies, fatal to emulation, which it pretends to stimulate, by the compromises and calculations to which it subjects it, directed in everything by petty considerations, and wasting all its energy-in childish- tourna— ments, in which the flatteries that it showers on others are only a foretaste of the compliments it expects in return for itself, the French Academy seems to have received from its founders the special mission to transform genius into bel esprit, and it would be hard to produce a man of talent whom it has not demoralized. Drawn in spite of itself towards politics, it alternately pursues and avoids them; buttit is specially attracted by thegossip of politics, and whenever it has so far emancipated itself as to go into opposition, it does so as the champion of ancient prejudices. If we examine its influence on the national genius, we shall see that it has given it a flexibility, a brilliance, a polish, which it never possessed before; but it has done so at the expense of its
masculine qualities, its originality, its spontaneity, its vigour, its natural grace. It has disciplined it, but it has emasculated, impoverished and rigidified it. It sees in taste, not a sense of the beautiful, but a certain type of correctness, an elegant form of mediocrity. It has substituted pomp for grandeur, school routine for individual inspiration, elaborateness for simplicity, fadeur and the monotony of literary orthodoxy for variety, the source and spring of intellectual life; and in the works produced under its auspices we discover the rhetorician and the writer, never the man. By all its traditions the academy was made to be the natural ornament of a monarchical society. Richelieu conceived and created it as a sort of superior centralization applied to intellect, as a high literary court to maintain intellectual unity and protest against innovation. Bonaparte, aware of all this, had thought of re-establishing its ancient privileges; but it had in his eyes one fatal defect—esprit. Kings of France COUld condone a witticism even against themselves, a parvenu could- not.”
On the whole the influence of the French Academy has been conservative rather than creative. It has done much by its example for style, but its attempts to impose its laws on language have, from the nature of the case, failed. For, however perfectly, a dictionary or a grammar may represent the existing language of a nation,'an original genius is certain to arise—a Victor Hugo or an Alfred de Musset—who will set at defiance all dictionaries and academic rules.
Germany—Of the German literary academies the most celebrated was Die Fruchtbringende Gesellsehaft (the Fruitful Society), established at Weimar in 1617. Five princes were among the original members. The object was to purify the mother tongue.
tThe German academies copied those of Italy in their quaint titles and petty ceremonials, and exercised little permanent
influence on the language or literature of the country.
‘ Italy—Italy in the 16th century was remarkable for the number of its literary academies. Tiraboschi, in his History Of Italian Literature, has given a list of 171; and Jarkius, in his Specimen Historice Aeademiarum Conditarum, enumerates nearly 700. Many of these, with a sort of Socratic irony, gave themselves ludicrous names, or names expressive of ignorance. Such were the Lunatici of Naples, the Estranaganti, the Fulminales, the T rapessati, the Drowsy, the Sleepers, the Anxious, the Confused, the U nstablc, the Fantastic, the Transformed, the Ethereal. “ The first academies of Italy chiefly directed their attention to classical literature; they compared manuscripts; they suggested new readings or new interpretations; they deciphered inscriptions or coins, they sat in judgment on a Latin ode or debated the propriety of a phrase. Their own poetry
.had, perhaps, never been neglected; but it was not till the
writings of Bembo furnished a new code of criticism in the Italian language that they began to study it with the same minuteness as modern Latin.” “ They were encouragers of a numismatic and lapidary erudition, elegant in itself, and throwing for ever little specks of light on the still ocean of the past, but not very favourable to comprehensive observation, and tending to bestow on an unprofitable pedantry the honours of real learning.” ‘ The Italian nobility, excluded as they mostly were from politics, and living in cities, found in literature a consolation and acareer. Such academies were oligarchical in their constitution; they encouraged culture, but tended to hamper genius and extinguish originality. Far the most celebrated was the Aceademia delta Crusca or Furfuratnrum; that is, of bran, or of the sifted, founded in- 1582. The title was borrowed from a previous society at Perugia, the Aeoademia degli Scossi, of the well-shaken. Its device was a sieve; its motto, .“ Il pill be] fior ne coglic ” (it collects the finest flower); its principal object the purification of the language. Its great work was the Vocabularia delta Crusca, printed at Venice in 161 2. ,It was composed avowedly on Tuscan principles, and regarded the 14th century as the Augustan period of the language. Paul Beni assailed it in his Anti—Crusca, and this exclusive Tuscan purism has disappeared in subsequent editions. The Accademia delta Crusea is now incorporated with
1 Hallam‘s Int. to Lit. of Europe. vol. i. p. 654, and vol. ii. p. 502.
two older societies—the Accademia degli A patici (the Impartials) and the Accademia Flarentina. ' -.
Among the numerous other literary academies of .Italy we may mention the academy of Naples, founded about 1440 by Alphonso, the king; the Academy of Florence, founded 1540, to illustrate and perfect the Tuscan tongue, especially‘by the close study of Petrarch; the Intron'ati of Siena,- r 525; the Infiammati of Padua', 1534; the Rozzi of Siena, suppressed by Cosimo, 1568. ' . i ' '
The Academy of Humorists arosefrom ancasual-meeting of witty noblemen at the marriage of Lorenzo Marcini,,a Roman gentleman. It was carnival time, and to give the ladies some diversion they recited verses, sonnets and speeches, first impromptus and afterwards set compositions. This gave them the name, Belli Humori, which, after they resolved to form an academy of belles lettres, they changed to H untoristi.
In 1690 the Accademia degli Arcadi was founded‘at Rome, for the purpose of reviving the study of poetry, by Crescimbeni, the author of a history of Italian poetry. Among. its members were princes, cardinals and other ecclesiastics; and, to avoid disputes about pro-eminence, all came to its meetings masked and dressed like Arcadian shepherds. Within ten years from its establishment the number of academicians was 600. ' ‘
The Royal Academy of Savoy dates from 1719, and was made a royal academy by Charles Albert in 1848'. .Its emblem ‘is a gold orange tree full of flowers and fruit; its motto “ Flores fructusque perennes,” the same as that of the famous Florimenl tane Academy, founded at Annecy by St Francis de Sales. It has published valuable memoirs on the history and antiquities of Savoy. '
Spain—The Real Academia Espanola at Madrid held its first meeting in July mm, in the palace of its founder, the ‘duke d’Escalona. It consisted at first of 8 academicians, including the duke; to which number 14 others were afterwards added, the founder being chosen president or director. In r7i4 the king granted them the royal confirmation and protection. Their device is a crucible in the middle of the fire, with this motto,
r67r); Francois Charpentier (1620-1702), anvantiquary of high repute amongthis contemporaries; and the abbé Jacques de Cassagnes (r636—-1679), who owed his appointment more to the f ulsome flattery of h'm odes than to his really learned translations of\Cicei-o and Sallust. This company used to meet in Colbert’s library in the wintei', at his countryahouse‘at Sceauxv intthe summerpgen'erally on Wednesdays, to Server the convenience of the minister, who was always. present. Their meetings were principally occupied'lwith discussing the- inscriptions, statues and pictures intended for \the decoration 'of Vérsailles; but Colbert, a really learned man and: an enthusiastic collector of manuscripts, was. often pleased to converse with them on matters of art, history‘and antiquities; Their first published work was a collection of engravings, accompanied by descriptions, designed for some Of the tapestries at Versailles. Louvois‘, who succeeded Colbert as a superintendent of buildings, revived the company, which 'had begun torelan its labours. Félibien, the learned architect, and the two great poets Racine and Boileau, were added to their numbers A series of medals was commenced, entitled M édaitles de'la Grand: H istoire, or, in other words, the history of the Grand Monarque. . t
' But it‘was to 'M. de. Pontchartrain, comptroller-general of finance and secretary of state, that the academy owed its institution.- I He added to the company Renaudot and Jacques Tourreil, both men of vast learning, the latter tutor to his son, and .put' at its head his nephew, theabbé Jean Paul Bignon, librarian‘ to the-king. By a new regulation, ‘dated‘ the -r6th of July r7or, the Academic royale des inscriptions et medailies was instituted,~.being' composed of .teri‘honorary members, ten pensioners, ten associates, and ten pupils. I'ts' constitution was an almost exact copy of that of the Academy of Sciences. Among the regulations we find the' following, which indicates clearly the transition from a staff of learned officials to a learned body: “ The academy shall concern itself with all that can contribute to the perfection of inscriptions and. legends, of designs for such monuments and decorations as may be submitted to its judgment; also with the. description of all artistic works, present and. future, and the historical explanation of the subject of such works; and as the knowledge of Greek and Latin antiquities, and of these two languages,-is the best guarantee for success in labours of this class, the academicians shall apply themselves to all that this division of learning includes, as one of the most worthy objects of their pursuit." - t t .
Among the first honorary members we find the indefatigable Mabillon (excluded from the pensioners by reason of his orders), Pére La Chaise, the king’s confessor, and Cardinal >Rohan; among the associates F ontcnelle and Rollin, whose Ancient History was submitted to the academy for revision. In 1711 they completed L’Histoire métallique du mi, of 'which SaintSimon'was asked to write the preface. In r716-the 'regent changed its title to that of the Academic dcs inscription: et bellesletlres, a title which better suited its new character.
In the great battle betWeen the Ancients and the Moderns which divided the learned world in the first half of the 18th century, the Academy of Inscriptions naturally espoused the cause of the Ancients, as'the Academy of Sciences did that of the Moderns. During the earlier years of the French Revolution the academy continued its labours uninterruptedly; and on the 22nd- of January 1793, the day after the death of Louis XVI., we find in the Proceedings that M. Bréquigny read a paper on the projects of marriage between Queen Elizabeth and the dukes of Anjou and Alencon. In the same year were published the 45th and 46th vols. of the M imoircs dc l’aradémie. On the 2nd of August of the same year the last stance of the old academy was held. More fortunate than its sister Academy of Sciences, it lost only three of its members by the guillotine. One of these was the astronomer Sylvain Bailly. Three others sat as members of the Convention; but for the honour of the academy. it should be added that all three were distinguished by their moderation.
In the first draft 'of the new Institute, October 25, 1795, no class corresponded exactly to the old Academy of Inscriptions; but most of the members who survived found themselves