Imatges de pÓgina

editors, as nimble at the fray, match berating through the world to-day. The outcry against outcry, and malice pages of history are heavy.with moral against malignity.

indignation. We teach it in our schools, I doubt if any other than an English- and there are historians like Macaulay man could have written The Mirrors of who thunder it rapturously, with never Downing Street, and I am sure that, a moment of misgiving. But here and were an American able to write such a there, as we step apprehensively into book (which is problematic), it would historic by-paths, we are cheered by never occur to him to think of it, or to patches of sunshine, straight glimpses brag of it, as a duty. We grumble at our into truths which put a more credible, high officials, and expect our full share because a more merciful, construction of impossibilities; but as task-masters upon men's actions, and lighten our we are not in it with the British. The burden of dispraise. difficulties surmounted by Mr. Lloyd I have often wondered why, with George make the labors of Hercules look Philippe de Commines as an avenue of like a picnic; and to begrudge him an approach, all writers except Scott hour in his arm-chair, with his young should deal with Louis the Eleventh as daughter and a friend, seems to us like with a moral monstrosity. Commines is begrudging an engine-driver his sleep. no apologist. He has a natural desire There was a time when it was thought to speak well of his master; but he rethat an engine-driver could sleep less, views every side of Louis's character and lamentable results ensued.

with dispassionate sincerity. The public actions of public men are First, as a Catholic: “The king was open to discussion; but Mr. Balfour's very liberal to the Church, and, in some personal selfishness, his parsimony, his respects, more so than was necessary, indifference to his domestics, are not for he robbed the poor to give to the matters of general moment. To gossip rich. But in this world no one can arabout these things is to gossip with rive at perfection.' tradesmen and servants. To deny to Next, as a husband: 'As for ladies, he Lord Kitchener 'greatness of mind, never meddled with them in my time; greatness of character, and greatness of for when I came to his court, he lost a heart,' is harsh speaking of the dead; son, at whose death he was greatly but to tell a gaping world that the afflicted; and he made a vow to God in woman 'whom he loved hungrily and my presence never to have intercourse doggedly, and to whom he proposed with any other woman than the queen. several times, could never bring herself And though this was no more than he to marry him,' is a personality which was bound to do by the canons of the Town Topics would scorn. The Mirrors Church, yet it was much that he should of Downing Street aspires to a moral pur- have such self-command as to persevere pose; but taste is the guardian of firmly in his resolution, considering that

, morality. Its delicate and severe dic- the queen (though an excellent lady in tates define the terms upon which we other respects) was not a princess in may improve the world at the expense whom a man could take any great of our neighbor's character.

delight.' The sneaking kindness recommended Finally, as a ruler: "The king was by Mr. Stevenson is much harder to naturally kind and indulgent to persons come by than the ‘raptures of moral of mean estate, and hostile to all great indignation, of which he heard more men who had no need of him. . . . But than he wanted, and which are rever- this I say boldly in his commendation,

that in my whole life I never knew any gold from dross. Mr. Beveridge regards man so wise in his misfortunes.'

the Federalists as the strength and the To be brave in misfortune is to be Republicans as the weakness of the worthy of manhood; to be wise in mis- young nation. Thomas Jefferson is his fortune is to conquer fate. We cannot test, and a man hated and hounded by easily or advantageously regard Louis Jefferson necessarily wins his support. with affection; but when Commines Nevertheless, Wilkes and Burr are epitomizes history in an ejaculation, presented to us by their sympathizers *Our good master, Louis, whom God in a cold north light, which softens and pardon!' it rests our souls to say, conceals nothing. Men of positive Amen!'

quality, they look best when clearly We cannot easily love Swift. The seen. 'Research and fact are ever in great 'professional hater' frightens us collision with fancy and legend,' obout of the timid regard which we should serves Mr. Beveridge soberly; and it is like - in honor of English literature - to research and fact that he trusts, to to cherish for his memory. But there is rescue his accomplished filibuster from a noble sentence of Thackeray's which, those unproved charges which live by if it does not soften our hearts, cannot virtue of their vagueness. American fail to clarify our minds, to free us from school histories, remembering the duty the stupid, clogging misapprehension of moral indignation, have played havoc which we confuse with moral distaste. with the reputation of Aaron Burr; and Through the storms and tempests of American school-children, if they know his (Swift's] furious mind the stars of him at all, know him as a duelist and a religion and love break out in the blue, traitor. They are sure about the duel shining serenely, though hidden by the (it was one of the few facts firmly esdriving clouds and maddening hurri- tablished in my own mind after a severo cane of his life.' One clear and pene- struggle with American history !!! trating note ("Childe Roland to the concerning the treason, they are a lot Dark Tower came') is worth much care- as ill informed as their elders. ful auditing of accounts.

British children do better, pe"}, The picture of John Wilkes drawn by with John Wilkes. Little Long 1 Sir George Otto Trevelyan in his Early can gaze at the obelisk which History of Charles James Fox, and the memorates his mayoralty, and th if picture of Aaron Burr drawn by Mr. him as a catless Whittington. Th Albert J. Beveridge in his Life of John gan ‘Wilkes and Liberty' has an a Marshall are happy illustrations of un- tive ring to all who are not of Ma's popular subjects treated with illuminat- Roland's way of thinking. No may ing kindness. Wilkes was a demagogue gave his partisans more to deferi, , and Burr a trouble-maker (the terms his opponents better chances to atia. are not necessarily synonymous), and and friends and foes rose repea neither of them is a man whose history and fervently to their opportuniti... 1 is widely or accurately known. Both century later, Sir George Trevelyan, a historians are swayed by their political friend well worth the having, reviews passions. An historian without political the case with wise sincerity, undaunted passions is as rare as a wasp without a confidence, a careful art in the arrangesting. To Trevelyan all Conservatives ment of his high lights, and a niceness were in fault, and all Liberals in the of touch which

wins half-way all readers right. Opposition to George the Third who love the English language. Wilkes is the acid test he applies, to separate was as naturally and inevitably in debt VOL. 128 NO. 6




as was William Godwin, and Wilkes's credit, because the object of his undebts were as naturally and inevitably swerving loyalty and devotion was not paid by someone else as were Godwin's; a guileless lady, but a sovereign, less but when Trevelyan alludes softly to popular, if possible, than himself. his ‘unambitious standard of solvency,' Cardinal Ximenez, soldier, statesman, this sordid detail becomes unexpectedly scholar, priest, ascetic, author, and edupleasurable. So easily are transgressions cator, was also Grand Inquisitor, and pardoned, if they provoke the shadow this fact alone seems to linger in the of a smile. а.

minds of men. That, for his day, he Lord Rosebery's Napoleon: the Last was a moderate, avails him little. That Phase is a work nobly conceived and he made a point of protecting scholars admirably executed; but its impelling and professors from the troublesome motive is an austere resolve to make interference of the Inquisition ought to what amends a single Englishman can avail him a great deal. It might were it make for an ungenerous episode in Eng- better known. There is a play of Sarlish history. Its sympathy for a fallen dou's in which he is represented as confoe bears no likeness to the sympathy centrating all the deadly powers of his which impelled Théodore de Banville, office against the knowledge which he broken in health and hope by the siege most esteemed. This is the way the of Paris, to write a lyric in memory of a drama educates. young Prussian officer, a mere boy, And Philip? It would be a big piece who was found dead on the field, with a of work to win for Philip even a partial blood-stained volume of Pindar in his recognition of his moderate merits. The tunic. Lord Rosebery's book is written hand of history has dealt heavily with with a proud sadness, a stern indigna- him, and romance has preyed upon his tion, eminently fitted to its subject; but vitals. In fact, history and romance are he is not so much kind as just. Napo- undistinguishable when they give free leon is too vast a figure to be approached play to the moralindignation he inspires. with benevolence. It is true, as Mr. It is not enough to accuse him of the Wells asserts, that, had he been unself- murder of the son whom he hated ish and conscientious, he would never (though not more heartily than George have conquered Europe; but only Mr. the Second hated the Prince of Wales): Wells is prepared to say that a lack of they would have us understand that he these qualities won him renown. He probably poisoned the brother whom he shares the lack with Wilhelm the Sec- loved. “Don John's ambitions had beond, who has had neither an Austerlitz come troublesome, and he ceased to nor a Waterloo.

live at an opportune moment for Phil

ip's peace of mind,' is the fashion in II

which Gayarré insinuates his suspicions; There is a wide assortment of unpopu- and Gayarré's narrative — very popular characters whose company it would lar in my youth

was recommended to be very instructive to keep. They be- the American public by Bancroft, who, long to all ages, countries, and creeds. I am convinced, never read it. Had he Spain alone offers us three splendid ex- penetrated to the eleventh page, where amples — the Duke of Alva, Cardinal Philip is alluded to as the Christian Ximenez, and Philip the Second. Alva, Tiberius, or to the twentieth, where he like the Corsair, possessed one virtue, is compared to an Indian idol, he would which was a more valuable virtue than have known that, whatever the book the Corsair's, but brings him in less might be, it was not history, and that, as an historian, it ill became him to tell left him helpless to face the essential reinnocent Americans to read it.

adjustments of life. I could not do But how were they to be better in- otherwise than I have done,' he said formed? Motley will not even allow with piercing sincerity, though the that Philip's fanatical devotion to his world should fall in ruins around me.' church was a sincere devotion. He ac- Now what befell Mr. Hume, who cuses him of hypocrisy, which is like wrote history in this fashion, with no accusing Cromwell of levity, or Burke more liking for Philip than for Elizaof Jacobinism. Prescott has a fashion of beth or the Prince of Orange, but with turning the King's few amiabilities, as, a natural desire to get within the purfor example, his tenderness for his third lieus of truth? Certain empty honors wife, Isabella of France, into a sugges- were conferred upon him: a degree from tion of reproach. ‘Well would it be for Cambridge, membership in a few societhe memory of Philip, could the his- ties, the privilege of having some letters torian find no heavier sin to lay to his printed after his name. But the Unicharge than his treatment of Isabella.' versity of Glasgow and the University Well would it be for all of us, could the of Liverpool stoutly refused to give him recording angel lay no heavier charge the chairs of history and Spanish. He to our account than our legitimate af- might know more than most men on fections. The Prince of Orange, it is these subjects, but they did not want true, charged Philip with murdering their students exposed to new impresboth wife and son; but that was merely sions. The good old way for them. Mr. a political argument. He would as soon Hume, being a reader, may have rehave charged him with the murder of his called in bitterness of spirit the words father, had the Emperor not been safely of the acute and unemotional Sully, isolated at Yuste; and Philip, in return, who had scant regard for Catholicism banned the Prince of Orange - a brave (though the Huguenots tried him soreand wise ruler as ‘an enemy of the ly), and none at all for Spain; but to human race.'

said, in his balanced, impersonal Twenty-four years ago, an English- that Philip's finer qualities, his pat lie. man who was by nature distrustful of piety, fortitude, and single-mindes, popular verdicts, and who had made were all alike 'lost on the vulgar.' careful studies of certain epochs of Span- Lucrezia Borgia is less availabtir ish history, ventured to paint Philip in our purpose, because the imagini fresh colors. Mr. Martin Hume's mon- Lucrezia, though not precisely bel t. ograph shows us a cultivated gentle- is more popular in her way than thr! man, with a correct taste in architec- Lucrezia could ever hope to be. 'I the ture and art, sober, abstemious, kind matter of pleasantness,' says Lumia to petitioners, loyal and affectionate to 'truth is far surpassed by falsehe it'; his friends, generous to his soldiers and and never has it been more agrets: sailors — a man beloved by his own overshadowed than in this fragme household, and reverenced by his sub- Italian history. We really could » jects, to whom he brought nothing bear to lose the Lucrezia of romance. but misfortune. The book makes mel- She has done fatigue duty along every ancholy reading because Philip's polit- line of iniquity. She has specialized in ical sins were also political blunders, all of the seven deadly sins. On Rossethis mad intolerance was a distor- tis canvas, in Donizetti's opera, in Viction, rather than a rejection, of con- tor Hugo's play, in countless poems science, and his inconceivable rigidity and stories and novels, she has erred


exhaustively for our entertainment. ness run away with reason a habit inThe idea of attractive

young woman

cidental to editorship. poisoning her supper guests is one which The thoroughly modern point of view the world will not lightly let go.

is that Robespierre and Marat were inAnd what is offered in return? On- effective - not without ability in their ly the dull statements of people who respective lines, but unfitted for the chanced to know the lady, and who parts they played. Marat's turn of considered her a model wife and duch- mind was scientific (our own Benjamin ess, a little over-anxious about the edu- Franklin found him full of promise). cation of her numerous children, but Robespierre's turn of mind was legal; kind to the poor, generous to artists, he would have made an acute and sucand pitiful to Jews. 'She is graceful, cessful lawyer. The Revolution came modest, lovable, decorous, and devout,' along and ruined both these lives, for wrote Johannes Lucas from Rome to which we are expected to be sorry. M. Ercole, the old Duke of Ferrara. “She Lauzanne does not go so far as to say is beautiful and good, gentle and ami- that the great war ruined Clemenceau's able,' echoed the Chevalier Bayard years life. The 'Tiger' was seventy-three later. Were we less avid for thrills, we when the Germans marched into Belmight like to think of this young crea- gium. Had he been content to spend ture, snatched at twenty-one from the all his years teaching in a girls' school, maelstrom of Rome, where she had been he might (though I am none too sure 'a pawn in the game of politics, and of it) have been a gentler and a better placed in a secure and splendid home. man. But France was surely worth The Lucrezia of romance would have the price he paid. A lifeboat is not exfound the court of Ferrara intolerably pected to have the graceful lines of a dull. The Lucrezia of history took to gondola. dullness as a duck to water. She was a 'Almost everybody,' says Stevenson, sensible, rather than a brilliant woman, 'can understand and sympathize with fully alive to the duties and dignities of an admiral, or a prize-fighter'; which her position, and well aware that re- genial sentiment is less contagious now spectability is a strong card to play in than when it was uttered, thirty years a vastly disreputable world.

ago. A new type of admiral has preThere was a time when Robespierre sented itself to the troubled consciousand Marat made a high bid for unpopu- ness of men, a type unknown to Nelson, larity. Even those who clearly under- unsuspected by Farragut, unsung by stood the rehabilitation of man in the Newbolt. In robbing the word of its French Revolution found little to say ancient glory, Tirpitz has robbed us of for its chosen instruments, whose pur- an emotion we can ill afford to lose. poses were high, but whose methods "The traditions of sailors,' says Mr. were open to reproach. Of late, how- Shane Leslie, ‘have been untouched by ever, a certain weariness has been ob- the lowering of ideals which has invaded servable in men's minds when these re- every other class and profession. The formers are in question, a reluctance to truth of his words was brought home to expand with any emotion where they readers by the behavior of the British are concerned. M. Lauzanne is, indeed, merchant marine, peaceful, poorly paid by way of thinking that the elemental men, who in the years of peril went out Clemenceau closely resembles the ele- unflinchingly, and as a matter of course, mental Robespierre; but this is not a se- to meet 'their duty and their death.' rious valuation; it is letting picturesque- Many and varied are the transgressions

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