THOSE familiar with the preceding volumes of Mr. Packman’s series of historical narratives, which he calls France and England in North America, will have renewed pleasure in reading his latest contribution to this history ; and fortunately for the reader who first approaches his work in this volume, Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV.,1 it is sufficiently detachable in the group of events treated to be enjoyed by itself. The conspicuous interest of the present installment of the general narrative is characteristic of the whole: it sets in their true relation to each other facts which regarded from one side merely are inevitably seen out of proportion. It has been Mr. Packman’s design, which he has accomplished with a brilliancy as great as its difficulty, to present these facts so that we shall behold them from both points of view, and so that they shall assume their real value in the history of the grand struggle between the free and the absolutist ideals of government on this continent. The bloody raids, the massacres, the captivities, the martyrdoms, are relegated in his story to their place as links in a continuous chain of events; and for American and English readers this effect is all the more thoroughly and satisfactorily produced because the basis is the history of Canada by a writer of their own race and principles. The facts are stated in the interest of this history, and a strong and novel light is thus thrown upon them. The massacre of Schenectady is only a cruel and senseless butchery in itself, without purpose and without result ; but as an incident of the French design to recover their lost ascendency over the Indians, and to strike a blow at the growing commercial and political influence of the English, it has significance and historic value. So of the forays from Canada, with their terrible barbarities, upon the border settlements of New England, which are here recounted for the hundredth time, but recounted with fresh impressiveness by a writer who never solicits the picturesque, and who never fails to be graphic. This new volume of Mr. Parkman’s is indeed a signal illustration of his fitness for the task he has assumed. With a poetic sense upon which nothing fine or noble is lost, with humor which seizes every amusing aspect of character, he unites judicial fair-mindedness and instinctive right-mindedness in rare degree. The whole tangled intrigue of political and religious ambition in the rivalry of the French and English unfolds itself in his hands. It is not upon any one phase of history that he dwells, to the distortion of the rest; he makes all its features striking and interesting. He is, to be sure, as fortunate in his subject as his subject is in him, and he has that evident delight in it without which no good work is done.
“The power of the Iroquois was so far broken that they were never again very formidable to the Franch. Canada had confirmed her Indian alliances, and rebutted the English claim to sovereignty over the five tribes, with all the consequences that hung upon it. By the treaty of Eyswick the great questions at issue in America were left to the arbitrament of future wars ; and meanwhile, as time went on, the policy of Frontenae developed and ripened. Detroit was occupied by the French, and passes of the West were guarded by forts. Another New France grew up at the mouth of the Mississippi, and lines of military communication joined the Gulf of Mexico with the Gulf of St. Lawrence ; while the colonies of England lay passive between the Alleghenies and the sea, till roused by a trumpet that sounded with wavering notes on many a bloody field to peal at last in triumph from the Heights of Abraham.”
The greater part of the interesting chapters relating to the disastrous expedition of Sir William Phips has already been published in The Atlantic, and our readers know with what skill that redoubtable knight was characterized, and with what force all the events of his luckless enterprise were painted. It. is Mr. Parkmau’s fortune to deal with military operations on a scale extremely small as compared with the importance and significance of the results, and it is fine of the most notable traits of his work that he never exaggerates these feats of arms, nor suffers his reader to underrate the political consequences. Doubtless the next of the series (Montcalm and the Fall of New France) will exceed the present volume in brilliancy; but qualities of sober clearness will commend this to every reader who wishes to understand an epoch of singular interest. It is not wholly wanting iu material of the sort that gave its charm to The Old Regime in Canada, any more than it is desiitute of stirring facts of war; there is one chapter describing the life at the Chateau St. Louis which, perhaps, is more curiously suggestive than any one of the volume just named. In a lull of battle and intrigue, the accomplished young nobles who surrounded Frontenae would fain have relieved the ennui of their inaction with something of the gayety of Versailles, and to the horror of the Jesuits they played several comedies, in which some ladies of Quebec took part.
“ The success was prodigious, and so was the storm that followed. Half a century before, the Jesuits had grieved over the first ball in Canada. Private theatricals were still more baneful. ‘ The clergy,’ continues La Motte, ‘ beat their alarm drums, armed cap-a-pie, and snatched their hows and arrows. The Sieur Glandelet was first to begin, and preached two sermons, in which he tried to prove that nobody could go to a play without mortal sin. The bishop issued a mandate, and had it read from the pulpits, in which he speaks of certain impious, impure, and noxious comedies, insinuating that those which had been acted were such. The credulous and infatuated people, seduced by the sermons and the mandate, began already to regard the count as a corrupter of morals and a destroyer of religion. The numerous party of the pretended devotees mustered in the streets and public places, and presently made their way into the houses to confirm the weak-minded in their illusion, and tried to make the stronger share it; but, as they failed in this almost completely, they resolved at last to conquer or die, and proceeded to use a strange device, which was to publish a mandate in the church, whereby the Sicur de Mareuil, a half-pay lieutenant, was interdicted the use of the sacraments.’
“ This story needs explanation. Not only had the amateur actors at the chateau played two pieces inoffensive in themselves, but a report had been spread that they meant next to perform the famous Tartuffe of Molière, a satire which, while purporting to he leveled against falsehood, lust, greed, and ambition covered with the mask of religion, was rightly thought by a portion of the clergy to be leveled against themselves. The friends of Frontenae say that the report wag a hoax. Be this as it may, the bishop believed it. ‘ This worthy prelate,’continues the irreverent La Motto, ' was afraid of Tartuffe, and had got it into his head that the count meant to have it played. Monsieur de Saint-Vallier sweated blood and water to stop a torrent which existed only in his imagination.’ It was now that he launched his two mandates, both on the same day : one denouncing comedies in general, and Tartuffe in particular; and the other smiting Mareuil, who, he says, ‘uses language capable of making Heaven blush,’and whom he elsewhere stigmatizes as ‘ worse than a Protestant.’ It was Mareuil who, as reported, was to play the part of Tartuffe ; and on him, therefore, the brunt of episcopal indignation fell. He was not a wholly exemplary person. ‘I mean,’says La Motte, ' to show you the truth in all its nakedness. The fact is, that, about two years ago, when the Sienr de Mareuil first came to Canada and was carousing with his friends he sang some indecent song or other. The count was told of it, and gave him a severe reprimand. This is the charge against him. After a two years’ silence the pastoral zeal has wakened because a play is to be acted which the clergy mean to stop at any cost.’
“ The bishop found another way of stopping it. He met Frontenac, with the intendant, near the Jesuit chapel, accosted him on the subject which filled his thoughts, and offered him a hundred pistoles if he would prevent the playing of Tartuffe. Frontenac laughed, and closed the bargain. Saint-Vallier wrote his note on the spot, and the governor took it apparently well pleased to have made the bishop disburse. ‘I thought,’writes the intendant, ‘that Monsieur de Frouteuac would have given him back the paper.' He did no such thing, hut drew the money on the next day, and gave it to the hospitals.
“ Mareuil, deprived of the sacraments and held up to reprobation, went to see the bishop, who refused to receive him, .and it is said that he was taken by the shoulders and put out-of-doors. He now resolved to bring his case before the council; but the bishop was informed of his purpose, and anticipated it.
“ The battle was now fairly joined. Frontenac stood alone for the accused. The intendant tacitly favored his opponents. Auteuil, the attorney-general, and Villeray, the first councillor, owed the governor an old grudge; and they and their colleagues sided with the bishop, with the outside support of all the clergy, except the Récollets, who, as usual, ranged themselves with their patron. At first, Frontenac showed great moderation, but grew vehement, and then violent, as the dispute proceeded ; as did also the attorney-general, who seems to have done his best to exasperate him. Frontenac affirmed that, in depriving Mareuil and others of the sacraments, with no proof of guilt and no previous warning, and on allegations, which, even if true, could not justify the act, the bishop exceeded his powers, and trenched on those of the king. The point was delicate. The attorney-general avoided the issue, tried to raise others, and revived the old quarrel about Frontenac’s place in the council, which had been settled fourteen years before. Other questions were brought up and angrily debated. The governor demanded that the debates, along with the papers which introduced them, should be entered on the record, that the king might be informed of everything; hut the demand was refusedThe discords of the council chamber spread into the town. Quebec was divided against itself. Mareuil insulted the bishop ; and some of his scapegrace sympathizers broke the prelate’s windows at night, and smashed his chamber door. Mareuil was at last ordered to prison, and the whole affair was referred to the king.”
Something of Frontenac’s character appears in this story, but for a complete study of the man the reader must go to the work itself. He was distinctly and simply a man of his time ; he had no ideas at war with that of entire obedience to the king ; he was never insubordinate but in what be believed the king’s interest, and he only quarreled with the priests because he imagined an affront to the royal authority in their opposition to his will. He Was “ bloody, bold, and resolute” at need, hut he was not cruel; and with a bad temper he seems to have had a good heart, as hearts went in that day. The first chapter of the history, a sketch delicious in color and design, relates to his early career, his marriage, and his life at court, before his first mission to Canada, which we are certain no one will read without wishing to read all that Mr. Parkman has written.
— In the third series of his Short Studies2 Mr. Froude deals with topics as diverse outwardly as Annals of an English Abbey, Divus Cæsar, and Leaves from a South African Journal, but the currents of thought which run through the volume are after all not many nor various. Two subjects are uppermost in his mind, reasonable religion and practical government; and whether he treats of changes in English history, theology in Euripides, colonial government in South Africa, or transitions in ancient Roman life and belief, he shows that his mind is always returning upon actual problems in the destiny of England. It is not surprising that the author of Nemesis of Faith and of a History of England should thus betray his habitual interests, and the reader, whether sympathetic or not, will understand that he is never to sail out of sight of solid land. The papers have nearly all of them appeared as contributions to English or American periodicals, and partake of the fugitive character of similar studies. They have hardly the cogency, certainly not the brilliancy, of Mr. Eroude’s more ambitious writings, hut they are readable and they aid in the formation of opinion. The paper of most general interest is that on the Revival of Romanism, in which, by a series of short essays, he undertakes to give the philosophy of a movement which he rightly regards not so much a piece of ecclesiastical evolution as an exponent of modern civilization. Therefore, he is led to touch upon certain fundamental relations of religion to politics which are frequently missed by writers who will see in the movement nothing more than a fashion of society. The change in the Anglican church has been going on for forty years now, and it is right to ask what changes in political and practical life have been contemporary with it. He sees in the release of Rome from its petty secular authority an immense increase of the spiritual organism, and though he does not apply the conclusion, it is not unfair to infer that the vehement endeavor of the extreme sacerdotal party in England to set up for itself, independent of Parliament, springs from a sense that the authority which makes so important a part of its creed has been exercised to its utmost limit and can be extended only by the freedom of the church from its subjection to the state. We have been accustomed to please ourselves in America with the success of the voluntary system in religious affairs, and are beginning to understand that Rome has been availing herself of the same liberty with this momentary advantage, that she can oppose a compact organization against a number of loose organizations which will be slow to combine against a common enemy. The disestablishment of the English church would surely disintegrate the extreme sacerdotal party, since the cohesion which the church now enjovs through the establishment would be gone, and to a faction there would be no such potent centrality granted as belongs to the church of Rome. Those members who had rid themselves of Parliament in order to possess an ecclesiastical autonomy would discover that the charm of authority could be had only by yielding to the other visible depositary, the Pope of Rome, while the practice of unsupported power would disclose to the wiser and cooler ones that the authority they thought so necessary was but a shadow, the real substance being the power which belongs to every true church of converting the world to righteousness.
Mr. Fronde finds in Germany the bulwark of Protestantism. “ German religion may be summed up in the word which is at once the foundation and the superstructure of all religion, Duty ! No people anywhere or at any time have understood better the meaning of duty; and to say that is to say all. Duty means justice, fidelity, manliness, loyalty, patriotism; truth inthe heart and truth in the tongue. The faith which Luther himself would have described as the faith that saved is faith that, beyond all things and always, truth is the most precious of possessions, and truthfulness the most precious of qualities; that where truth calls, whatever the consequence, a brave man is bound to follow.”In the fluctuation of German theological speculation he sees the activity of a mind heroically bent on discovering truth, and regardless of mere formulas; and in the war with France and the treatment of the Jesuits an instinctive defense of Protestantism and religious freedom. But after all we suspect that such generalizations are a little hasty, and that the arrogant mastery of the German states by Prussia is not necessarily the precursor of an unselfish nationality. The thoroughness, meanwhile, of Prussian discipline, political, economical, educational, and domestic, may well carry away an Englishman like Mr. Froude, who has sat at the feet of Carlyle, and has learned to despise half measures.
The questions of politics which occupy him in this volume turn mainly upon party government and colonial administration. His analysis of English party government is keen, and the result which he reaches of its extreme artificiality will probably he more easily accepted in America than in England, since the grosser side is here more palpable. “Able statesmen" be says, “ can usually see further than the multitude. They are exceptionally intelligent. They have fuller information; they are especially trained for their work. And yet we expect them to be like the officers of an army, forbidden to have opinions in detail on the condition of the war in which they are engaged. They are employed by half the nation to beat the other half, and are to know no other obligation.” He does not offer many suggestions for the cure of government evils in England, He sees a democracy growing, — faster also in America, — which is to pulverize modern society, and the obstruction to it he finds only in the presence of a conservative party and conservative institutions. He uses this word, not as a party sign, but as a radical force. “ In a healthy community' the normal spirit will be the spirit of conservatism, the spirit of order, the Spirit of Submission to established rule and custom ; ” and he makes the significant and searching remark, “ The English aristocracy might recover their ascendency to-morrow were they to become Spartan in their private habits.”“ The peerage will fall, and the system of landed inheritance will fall; property itself will fall, and all else which has given England coherence and stability, if the inheritors of great names and the owners of enormous wealth suppose that these high privileges have been awarded them that they may have palaces in town and country, and lounge out their existence among pleasures which from their abundance have lost their power to please.” Mr. Fronde’s political principles are sound, for they rest on the impregnable basis of the moral organism of the nation, and he sees no other law of liberty for nations as for men than that service which is perfect freedom. While this volume is mainly for readers directly interested in English life and politics, the American student will find many suggestions pertinent to our own problems, and all the more instructive that they spring from conditions which vary somewhat from our own. There are few helps to self-examination more valuable than the serious study of other people, like and unlike ourselves.
— In Mr. Lodge’s Life and Letters of George Cabot3 we have a fresh study in that portion of our history which seems likely, for some time to come, to offer the strongest attraction to students; New readings of the Revolutionary drama can scarcely be looked for except in the form of romance; there is not yet perspective enough for the best treatment of the war for the Union, and the moral and political struggle from which it resulted ; personal reminiscences of that period will precede historic analyses, but the inquiry into the historic structure of the government, and into the growth of parties, is now singularly pertinent and acceptable. Our interest is quickened and not obscured by the personality of the actors in the scenes ; the human feeling is strengthened by the glimpses we catch of them through what we have heard from the men just before us, while we are able to free ourselves from the prejudices which the last generation necessarily had, just as our more recent heroes and villains will be more picturesque to our grandchildren than they possibly can be to ourselves. Not only may we look for new groupings of common material, as in Morse’s Life of Alexander Hamilton, but it is fair to count upon disclosures through family papers and the collectanea of historical societies. The book before us is an excellent illustration of both of these kinds of contribution. Mr. Lodge has published some exceedingly interesting letters, and he has used his material in a way to throw new light upon old facts, and even, in one case at least, to clear obscurities previously existing.
Mr. Cabot has been known to students as one of the leaders of the federalist party in Massachusetts, consulted especially on questions of commerce, respected by Hamilton, Pickering, Wolcott, appointed first secretary of the navy, and finally selected as the president of the Hartford convention. His personal character, however, had largely to be inferred from the esteem in which he was held by his contemporaries, for he took almost no public part in affairs after his retirement from the United States senate, where he served from 1791 to 1796. His great grandson has now rescued him from the shadowy place which he seemed wholly willing to make for himself, and has added a strong character to the group of historic Americans who make our past worth studying. The indolence with which Mr. Cabot somewhat cynically adorned himself, and the half-noble, half-dismal despair with which he regarded the rise of democratic principles, account in the main for the obscurity in which he has rested ; but the letters which Mr. Lodge has laboriously gathered from many sources not only justify the esteem in which Mr. Cabot was held by more conspicuous men, but are luminous expositions of the interior polities of the day, and lead one to look back with almost passionate regret upon a school of politics which was continental in its scope, and strangely weak through its excess of individual strength.
We do not get a very full view of Mr. Cabot himself; the material at command does not permit of this, and inasmuch as he was rather counselor than actor, there is not room for much regret on that side. The glimpses which we do get are just enough to put color and warmth into the reading of his letters. Some of these have been published before, though not always unabridged ; the larger part appear for the first time, drawn mainly from the Pickering papers in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. It seems singular that this collection should apparently have been resorted to so slightly in the preparation of Colonel Pickering’s Life, and our surprise is increased when we discover that Mr. Lodge has shown Pickering’s character and aims in a light scarcely hinted at in the formal life of the violent federalist. The views which he held regarding the dissolution of the Union, while shown to issue, with a little too high-handed logic, in a more perfect subsequent union, arc plainly disclosed in Ins letters, and the federal party as a whole is vindicated from the angry charge of being a disunion party by a process which shuts up all such schemes in Pickering’s busy brain. There is a touch of humor, not at all perceptible to the immediate persons concerned, in the activity with which this extremist sets his ideas afloat, and the quiet with which Mr. Cabot pockets them for posterity.
The time included in the letters is from 1788 to 1815, and the interest, of course, centres mainly about the shaping of the government by the federalists, the rise of the Jeffersonian dynasty, and the final disappearance of the federalist party in the smoke of the Hartford convention. Mr. Lodge’s method is to supply in each chapter a historical commentary, introducing the letters belonging to that period, and in giving the letters to rise freely those also of Mr. Cabot’s correspondents. In one instance only has he departed materially from this plan: there are not many letters illustrating the action of the Hartford convention, and he has accordingly devoted two chapters of his own to a summary of the events and policies which occasioned the convention. But it will readily be understood how many interesting events come under discussion both in the letters and in the comment. The full meaning of the Lssex Junto is set forth and illustrated by an interesting document now first drawn from the Pickering papers; the controversy respecting the ratification of the Jay treaty is reviewed. We note, by tire bye, that Mr. Lodge has not read his dictionary very thoroughly : in a note on page 84 he refers, conjecturally, the introductory paper of the series, signed Curtius, to King, but the author was Noah Webster. The fact is stated in the biographical sketch of Webster prefixed to his large dictionary, and the paper is included in the series of twelve headed, Vindieatiou of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation with Great Britain, republished in Webster’s A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects. Numbers six and seven of the scries were written by Judge Kent, but the same signature of Curtius was used. The first of the twelve was commonly attributed to Hamilton at the time, much to Mr. Webster’s gratification.
Resuming our summary of points in the hook, we note a very clear account of the first embassy to France, upon which Mr. Cabot’s name had been placed by everybody but Mr. Adams; the discussions in Mr. Adams’s cabinet accompanying the action and the force of Hamilton’s policy are shown, and the fatality attending the federal party is foreshadowed, although the reader’s attention is not especially directed toward it. The affair of the major-generals is illustrated by a long letter from Pickering to Cabot, not before printed, we think, and Cabot is shown attempting to influence the president, an attempt which, skillful and fair as it was, no doubt served to deepen the lines in those fantastic pictures of his associates which Mr. Adams was rapidly substituting for the actual portraits. A more important event is the appointment of Murray as minister plenipotentiary to France. Mr. Adams’s conduct in this affair will probably continue to be a vexed question in our history. That it led, more than any one thing, to the breaking up of the federal party is conceded. Mr. Lodge takes the ground that the policy pursued by the president was wholly right, but the manner of doing it disastrously wrong. We are not ready to concede as much. Mr. Lodge does not profess to he writing history, yet he has omitted to notice one important point which affects the question. The appointment of the major-generals was followed by immense activity on the part of Hamilton, and there can be no question that the courageous attitude assumed by the United States, and the vigorous preparation going on, induced Talleyrand to intrigue for the renewal of diplomacy. War might have followed, but it is equally open to belief that diplomatic relations would have been resumed without the extraordinary measures taken bv the president; and, remembering the attitude of the president toward Hamilton, we are using known facts only when we conjecture that jealousy of Hamilton was an ingredient of what Mr. Lodge regards as Mr. Adams’s courage and lofty patriotism. Nor is it unfair to believe that the pernicious influence of France in American politics, during the subsequent years of Jefferson’s administration, might have been prevented by more resistance and less negotiation at this juncture. To our thinking, Mr. Adams’s act does not do credit to his statesmanship, but only to his political sagacity. He broke up the federal party, he strengthened the Gallic influence, merely to gain a little earlier what could have been had by the country in a better form. That the country sided with him is saying nothing more than that there was no reason on the part of the opposition to withstand the movement, and no possible organization against it in the surprised federal party ; besides, a policy of peace proposed by the president himself would inevitably attract to itself, at once, not only the opposition, but all the timid and doubtful of his own party. Certainly, if the results are a test of the wisdom of the policy, the bare fact of a resumption of negotiations and a commercial agreement ought not to outweigh the increased strength of the French interest and the destruction of the only party that had shown itself capable of forming and carrying out a national policy. It is not necessary to share Mr. Cabot’s gloomy view of the proceeding, but the pages of this book alone bear evidence of the miserable results which followed the ascendency of the French party, — an ascendency which was never acquired until Mr. Adams opened the way.
We have not space to take up in detail other topics suggested by the volume. The treatment of the subject of the Hartford convention gives one an agreeable impression of Mr. Lodge’s skill in historical composition. There is a candor and an independence which mark an honorable writer. Indeed, be displays a clearness of insight in treating the characters and motives of public men which is a gift, surely, as well as an acquisition. A familiarity with the facts of history could not alone supply him with the power to characterize Adams, Jefferson, and Pickering as clearly as he has done. He frankly avows that his sympathy is with the federalists, but he does not allow this sympathy to twist his handling of historic facts. We have been especially pleased with his freedom from the common error of reading history as if the actors were familiar with later events, and had enjoyed the same power of reverting to their own times which their posterity have. His discrimination, thus, of disunion sentiments in 1804 from similar sentiments in 1860 enables the reader at once to adjust the focus of his historical glasses.
It is impossible, finally, to read the book without frequent reference to existing problems in politics. Mr. Lodge does not often call attention to the appositeness of passages in the correspondence, but few readers will fail to be arrested by the pregnant words in Mr. Cabot’s letters, especially upon the subject of the civil service and the relation of the senate to political appointments. We had noted some passages for extract, but can only refer the reader in general to such letters as those on pages 240 and 320. Mr. Cabot’s judgment was a generous and wise one, and his very separation from official life renders his comments on public affairs peculiarly valuable to us, as they evidently were to his contemporaries. The despondent tone which he took is a better medium for us in an examination of federalism than optimism would have been, and the book will help readers to a clearer knowledge of American history.
— The true scope of Mrs. Wister’s book4 could scarcely be conjectured from the name she has bestowed upon it, for there were many thousand worthy women in “ our first century,” — that very indefinite period,— and yet we find but six women here delineated. Upon examination it appears that the editors planned a work which should give sketches of one woman from each of the original thirteen States, who had lived at or after 1776. Hence the title, which was intended to usher in a book that would have taken place among the publications of the centennial year, had it not been delayed in its preparation by many difficulties. These are set forth in the preface, which also holds out a hope that the remaining seven States of the original thirteen may be represented by “ worthy women" in a second volume. We hope so, for the undertaking was a good one, and, so far as it has been performed, the result is good, though not exactly what was expected, either by the editors or by those who had heard of their purpose. The six States represented in this volume are Virginia, by Mrs. Randolph, the daughter of Jefferson, whose biographer is Miss S. N. Randolph ; New York, by Mrs. Philip Schuyler, of whom Miss S. F. Cooper has written ; Massachusetts, by Mrs. Samuel Ripley, of whom Miss Elizabeth Hoar writes; New Hampshire, by sketches of several women, from the hand of Mrs. A. W. Fiske; South Carolina, by Mrs. Rebecca Motte, whose biographer is anonymous; while Deborah Logan, the wife of Dr. George Logan, represents Pennsylvania, and has Mrs. Wister for her biographer. These women were very diverse in their characters and experiences, and even in the times when they lived, for Mrs. Schuyler was but a few years younger than Washington, while Mrs. Ripley and Miss Ariana Smith, one of the New Hampshire women sketched, were born in the last years of Washington’s life, and belong to the period of Webster and Calhoun rather than to that of the great Virginians. Mrs. Logan lived in both periods, having been born in 1761 and dying in 1839, and having known both Washington and Jefferson as young persons know their illustrious elders.
Each of the women portrayed in this book had a charm of her own which entitled her to a biography, although it is not always easy to set this forth so that the reader feels it as clearly as do the writers. Mrs. Randolph was Jefferson’s eldest daughter, and the story of her life is blended with his, — a story that will always be interesting. Mrs. Ripley and Mrs. Logan, however, are the characters which of themselves offer the most to a biographer, and to either of them a whole volume might have been given. Mrs. Logan saw and described in her journal many of the persons and events that gave importance to our Revolution and the period immediately following; and she wrote well. Mrs. Ripley took no share and very little interest in public affairs, but lived for her family, her friends, and her books. She was the most learned and at the same time the most domestic woman of New England in her day; she cultivated learning and science all her life-time of seventy years with the eagerness of a girl and the, discrimination of a scholar. Her letters, from the age of sixteen till the close of her life, make the substance of her biography, and Miss Hoar has done little more than to edit these letters, and a few of the reminiscences of her friends. They show how early and with what a wide-reaching mind Mrs. Ripley gained for herself the store of learning which, sixty or seventy years ago, was as foreign to her sex as the military service was, Mrs. Barbauld, and Miss Carter, and Miss Hannah More among Englishwomen had preceded her in some of her acquisitions, and Miss Martineau soon followed, but none of these studious ladies advanced so fast, or so far, or with so few aids from others, as did this patient and romantic devotee of learning in Boston. Her brothers went to college while she stayed at home and, surrounded by household cares, kept pace with their instructors and went far beyond them in their prescribed studies. There is a freshness and simplicity, as well as a profound and searching criticism of literature and philosophy, in her letters, which makes them unique among the somewhat scanty literary correspondence of Americans. As enthusiastic, and often as solitary as Eugenie de Guérin, she traversed fields of thought and regions of sentiment which were unknown to the French recluse. Mrs, Ripley at the age of sixteen had read Virgil and the Odyssey of Ilomer, and was eager to read the Iliad; soon after she was as familiar with Homer and Theocritus, with Horace and Juvenal, as school-girls of the present day are with Tennyson and Longfellow. In 1814, when she was twenty-one and Mr. R. W. Emerson (whose uncle she afterwards married) was a boy of eleven, she wrote him requesting a “versification of the fifth Bucolic ” of Virgil, which he sent her in smooth rhymes, and then she goes on : “ Why can’t you write me a letter in Latin ? But Greek is your favorite language ; epistola in lingua Græca would be still better. All the honor will he on my part, to correspond with a young gentleman in Greek.” About the same date she writes to Miss Mary Emerson a letter that gives some hint of her incessant occupations, which yet did not interrupt her studies, nor prevent her from corresponding in Greek and Latin. “You will have me write,” she says. “What? the interesting detail of mending, sweeping, teaching? What amusement can you reasonably require at the hand of a being secluded in a back chamber, with a basket of stockings on one side, and an old musty heathen on the other? Musty! reiterates father Homer, frowning through his gilt cover. George stands waiting with his Homer; Betsy teasing to know how the meat is to he dissected; the wind blowing books and papers in every direction.” In an earlier letter, after analyzing for her correspondent the Idumean system and Darwin’s Botanic Garden, she says, “But it is washing-day, and I must run and fold my clothes: so good-by. . . . The clothes are not quite dry, so here I come again. I study or read morning and evening, when not prevented by company.” After her marriage, her house at Waltham became filled with children, eight of them her own, and the rest pupils of her husband whom she also taught. Miss Hoar says, “ Her scholars and children have pleasant pictures of her, sitting in summer under the shade of trees near the house, the boys with their books about her, reciting in the open air. Her hands were often busy with some household task, while the Virgil or Horace was set up open before her. She seemed to know it by heart, and always set them right, asked questions, or pointed out her favorite passages with enthusiasm, without interrupting the sewing or the shelling of pease; and she was always sweet and serene.” Her habits were the same after she retired to Concord, in the evening of her days, occupying there the “ Old Manse,” from which Hawthorne had just removed, leaving it famous, For eight years after this, Mrs. Ripley, then nearly sixty years old, had no servant, and occupied herself with all the household tasks, while her leisure was given, as before, to her friends and her books. It is this combination of great knowledge and lofty character with simplicity of life and sweetness of spirit which makes her biography idyllic, and so truly American that one would say no such person could have lived outside of New England. It may he mentioned that this remarkable woman was a descendant of William Bradford, the chief man among the Plymouth Pilgrims, and of John Alden, whose love adventures have been told by Longfellow. If the whole volume under notice were as good as the hundred pages devoted to Mrs. Ripley, it would be one of the most memorable books of the year. And indeed, as it stands, it is a worthy contribution to American literature.
— In addition to the publications on the Eastern Question which we have heretofore noticed, Messrs. Osgood & Co. have issued two small hand-books on Modern Greece,5 and Montenegro and Bulgaria,6 both prepared by Mr. Geo. M. Towle. Ancient Greece is much better known than modern Greece. The Athens founded by Theseus and ruled by Pericles is altogether nearer to us and dearer to us than the Athens where Basileus Giorgios holds his court. But while this is so, no people who have any conception of what they owe to ancient Hellas and the Hellenes can hear of wars or rumors of wars in the Past, or can dwell on the disposition to be made of the “unspeakable Turk,” without having their feelings stirred in friendly sympathy for the descendants of those who first brought light into the world Modern Greece is, therefore, an object of interest to many at this time, and this little book furnishes much desirable information concerning the actual standing of the Greek kingdom. It contains a clear and concise statement of tlie establishment of the present government, its constitution, the resources of the country, the traits and customs of the people, and their religious and educational institutions. The accompanying map would be a very good one if properly colored.
The volume on Montenegro and Bulgaria was evidently prepared very hastily. There is a great deal of contemporaneous literature —English, French, and German —from which the author might have drawn the materials for an exceedingly interesting and valuable sketch. But be has written from a very superficial knowledge; and so far as the present troubles in the East are concerned the book might have been written ten years ago. The map is as unsatisfactory as the text,
— The four lectures on the Bible and the Koran, delivered last year in the cathedral church of Chichester by the prebendary,7 although they do not throw any new light on Mahomet’s mission and its results, were well worth publishing for the reason that a large class of people would not accept such a fair and candid statement of the relations between Christianity and Mahometanism from any less orthodox source. There is manifest a sincere purpose of doing justice to the teachings of the Koran ; and there is an honest admission of the inherent defects of the races upon whom the teachings have been brought to bear, and the humanizing influence which they have exerted. The view of Mahomet’s character which represents him as a kind of malicious fiend, mid his religion as a diabolical invention, is found in these days to he altogether untenable. It is now freely granted that to his own people Mahomet was a great benefactor. “ He was born in a country where political organization and rational faith and pure morals were unknown. He introduced all three. By a single stroke of masterly genius he simultaneously reformed the political condition, the religious creed, and the moral practice of his countrymen; in the place of many independent tribes, he left a nation; for a superstitious belief in gods many and lords many, he established a reasonable belief in one almighty yet beneficent being, and taught men to live under an abiding sense of this being’s superintending care. He vigorously attacked and modified or suppressed many gross and revolting customs which had prevailed in Arabia down to his time, Fur an abandoned profligacy was substituted a carefully regulated polygamy, and the practice of destroying female infants was effectually abolished.” Christianity and Mahometanism are the only two really catholic religions. In their origin and their progress they are more nearly alike than any others.
Why have the nations or races which embraced Islamism so signally failed in the development of those institutions of civilization which are coextensive with the establishment of Christianity ? In the first place, the system which Mahomet established, though well calculated to improve the moral and material condition of those to whom it was first presented, contains defects which have been found incompatible with a high state of civilization. It incorporates three of the worst elements of barbarism, — polygamy, despotism, and slavery. It recognizes no bond of brotherhood between the believer and the unbeliever. To those who do not accept the faith, it presents the alternative of tribute or the sword. In the second place, Mahomet’s life after the hegira has been fatal as an example to his followers. Beginning with a sincere belief in the divinity of his mission, he yielded to temptation in the hoar of triumph, and turned a great religious movement to the accomplishment of a selfish ambition. Goethe, who believes him at first to have been profoundly sincere, says of him that “ afterward what in his character is earthly increases and develops itself; the divine retires and is obscured ; His doctrine becomes a means rather than an end. All kinds of practices are employed, nor are horrors wanting.”
While Mr. Stephens does substantial justice to Mahomet and his work, he fails, we think, to present the true grounds upon which we can safely claim a superiority in the rules for the conduct of life laid down in the Bible over those in the Koran. The interpretation which he puts upon the Bible is the narrow and literal interpretation of an English churchman. It is not by looking at the Bible from the stand-point of the thirty-nine articles, it is not by a comparison of texts, that we shall best succeed in demonstrating the superiority of its teachings over those of t he Koran. Not in that way nor in any such way shall we he able to bring out the full strength and the full beauty of the Christian dispensation. It can he done only by discarding the old materialistic and miraculous sense for the Bible, and taking, as Matthew Arnold says, “ the Old Testament as Israel’s magnificent establishment of the theme, righteousness is salvation! and taking the New as the perfect elucidation by Jesus of what righteousness is and how salvation is won.”
— In the hew era when museums and art galleries are to reconstruct for us the familiar life of the ancient world, and Greek literature is to he an essential part of the training of every man of letters, it is fair to expect a new application of scholarship to the wants of general students. Not learning made easy, but made systematic and intelligible, is the contribution that scholarship is to make to culture, and the impetus to study will come in part from the sharpness and readiness of tools with which the student is supplied. There is still a prejudice in favor of intricate methods of study, and the few who survive the exhaustive processes of an old-fashioned attack on the classics have a certain fullness and breadth of mentalequipment which seem to justify the discipline they have undergone. Yet we think it will be found on examination that classical studies have suffered nearly as much at the hands of their friends as at those of their enemies. Dr. Keep, in the preface to his translation of Auteririeth’s Homeric Dictionary,8 offers an excellent suggestion as to the method of carrying on a study of Homer. “Let the beginning,”he says, “be made by grounding the student carefully and thoroughly upon the forms and peculiarities of the Homeric dialect, with the necessary constant comparison of Homeric and Attic forms. During this stage, the use of the larger lexicon in connection with the present volume will he necessary. Two books read in this way would suffice. This done, the second step would he to proceed much more rapidly, requiring of the students in recitation only an accurate and intelligent translation of the text, and such knowledge as to the meaning and history of the words as this dictionary furnishes.” Within the space of less than three hundred and fifty pages, duodecimo, the author and translator have packed a Homeric dictionary which for all ordinary purposes in reading Homer and, with the above modification, for studying Ilomer is as much more serviceable than Liddell and Scott as a two-wheeled cab is for threading the. streets of a great city, compared with a lumbering lord-mayor’s coach. As the translator further says: “ The editor’s own experience leads him to believe that a pupil with this dictionary in his hands will easily read two pages of Homer in the time which, with the large lexicon, would he required for one page.”
The compactness of the work, which is the first feature to attract attention, is acquired by a rigorous exclusion of all superfluous comments and explanations, and by the omission almost entirely of citations except numerically, and of references to authorities. In this last regard the translator has further reduced the bulk of the hook by omitting references especially to Vou Nagelsbaeh, Doderlein, and Ameis, upon whose labors the work is founded. The comparison will naturally he made by American students with Crusius’s lexicon, the only Homeric dictionary which lias hitherto been printed here, we think. At first sight it appears as if Crusius must be more complete, but aside from the difference in type, a very slight examination will show by what simple and legitimate means Autenrieth packs his matter into closer form. Autenrieth, indeed, does not give so many passages where a word occurs, and thus supplies less of a concordance than Crusius, hut he discriminates very carefully between varying uses of the same word. Crusius, again, takes up disputed passages and gives the several interpretations with authorities and sometimes with reasons, while Autenrieth settles the dispute and gives the most weighty inter pretation, without reference to others. Crusius, for instance, gives nearly half a column to the explanation of in the phrase χθιζιá τϵ κaì πρωíζ’, Il. 2303, while Autenrieth sums the whole matter sharply thus: “ It was (only) yesterday and day before yesterday when the ships of the Achaians were gathered in Anlis, = it was recently (verses 305-307 arc parenthetical).” “ A day or two since, only,” he might have said more idiomatically, Xoρóν . . . ἤσκησϵν again, in II. 18,500-592, he does not discuss, hut renders χoρóν peremptorily “ dancing-place; ” to the casual reader the translation seems balder and less imaginative than “ choral dance,” which implies, as in other parts of the shield, a poetic building not strictly limited by the material. This conciseness of statement is after all more the consequence of orderly arrangement and of precision in terms than of limitation in plan, and when desirable, Auteurietli does not hesitate to give full and detailed explanation. The article ἀσπíς is an excellent illustration of this, and ἠώς of a complete statement in very brief limits.
In respect to definitions, there is a thoroughly good choice of words, and for this we certainly owe much to Dr. Keep as well as to the author. The definitions, especially of words used only once, do not always agree with accepted explanations as given in rhe large dictionary, hut so far as we have observed there is a shrewdness and a perspicacity shown which makes one quite disposed to follow this author; θϵσμóν, for instance, used only in Od. 23,296, is simply translated site, and no attention is called to it, but Liddell and Scott render the line, They fulfilled all the established rules of wedlock, like Latin consuescere cam aliquo.” Crusius renders, “ They went to the custom of the ancient couch.” And Damm, “Ad legem et consuctudinem pristini lecti venerunt.” Auieurieth’s rendering certainly has the merit of objective simplicity; δϵνδíλλων, Il, 9180, he renders “address one’s self in turn to,” where Cruams would have it “ to give the wink,” and Liddell and Scott, “to turn the eyes quickly, to give a glance.” The older authorities we think favor this last interpretation, but Autenrietb’s seems more harmonious with the passage. His explanations of peculiar phrases are oftentimes ingenious In one case,— μϵλaινέων ἕρμ' ὀδʋνáων, 11.4117,— he takes the secondary meaning of ἕρμa (which, however, he places first in his definition, and is disposed to separate altogether from ἕρμaτa, props) for the basis of the figure, and renders it a chain or succession of sharp pangs, a more satisfactory explanation when the phrase is isolated than when made to describe an unsped, winged arrow. The definitions of technical words are excellent, and the practice of giving the terms for the different parts of instruments or complex objects, together with explanatory diagrams and cuts, renders the dictionary very valuable. We have already mentioned ἀσπíς ; similar articles are ζʋγóν, ἱμáς, κληíς, ἱστóóς, ἔδaϕoς. There is in the use of words for definition: a freedom both from prosaic literalness and from merely fantastic or far-fetched interpretation. In treating ῥoδoδáκτʋλος, for instance, he does not concern himself with such unnecessary explanations as of henna-tipped lingers of Asiatic women, and the recurring epithets are in general modestly and picturesquely rendered.
In derivations Autenrieth follows Curtins in the main, though he ventures on independent suggestions of his own, and his indication of derivation by an appeal to the eye in the division of words is a good feature. The succinct method which he uses throughout the book, deciding for the reader and rarely intimating a division of opinion, is undoubtedly the best that could be employed in a dictionary intended for our schools and colleges, but it prevents this edition from being a final authority to any one who wishes to carry his study into intricate questions. Still, for the purpose intended, and for the use of general readers who wish to get at their Homer through as little brush-wood as possible, this dictionary is a model of thoroughness, accuracy, and condensation.
— Mr, Charles R cade’s last novel9 impresses us very much as one of his earlier works might, could it have been subjected to a process of evaporation. The knowledge of character, the abundant cleverness, the rapid and witty conversation, remain, but the real enthusiasm and intelligible aim with which the author has told so many stories before this seem to have imperceptibly escaped. Ina Klosking, a beautiful singer, finely simple and true in her character, and conscientious about her art, is the chief personage of the tale ; but though Mr. Reade evidently knows very well what she is, he has thrown away the opportunity thus opened for a fine piece of portraiture. His trick of calling her “ La Klosking” or “ the Klosking” — as he also speaks of “ the Dover" and “the Gale” — is injurious to her dignity; but a certain air of indifference and haste which broods over the whole book completes the marring of the representation. She has, Mr. Reade tells us, a “grand soul,” a “grand voice,” “noble shoulders,” and a “grand arm;” phrases which the author throws out as mechanically as if he were turning a piano-leg instead of trying to mold a typical woman. Edward Severne, the unworthy and rascally husband of this woman, who has deserted her and is making love to Miss Vizard, the sister of an old college friend, is an almost unique character in modern fiction. He is a handsome and unmitigated though shallow scamp, and the coolness and extent of his mendacity make him a little surprising; but his baseness is put before ns in such a way that it becomes merely fatiguing, and it is strange that so goodhumored a wretch should not show a single good trait. He dies from falling through a trap on the stage, when he is pretending contrition in order to regain his wife, after the failure of his scheme for committing bigamy, and while he is reviving an old flirtation with a dancing-girl. Ina Klosking and Rboda Gale take the temlerest care of him during his illness, and he dies content, with a compliment to the two women on his lips. It is hardly worth while to bring a man of this sort into a novel unless he serves a purpose ; and we cannot discover that Mr. Severne is either amusing, interesting, horrifying, or instructive, or even a good foil to the other characters, as he at present stands. Miss Rhoda Gale, the American woman who has studied medicine and says “ com-plete ” and “ dī-vorce,” is about as far from the mark as Mr. Trollope’s American senator; the account of her difficulties in studying medicine in England, which is evidently a residuum from much boiling of newspaper articles and other items assorted in Mr. Reade’s famous “ indices,” is interesting in its way ; and something is suggested by the contrast between her ardor for science and the seriousness of Miss Dover and Miss Vizard in matters of dress; but Miss Gale and her troubles are rather clumsily grafted on to the story. Mr. Vizard, again, the reputed “ woman-hater,” is only a woman-hater by courtesy to Sir. Kendo, in order to supply one more pretext for the book. He merely increases the general effect of disjointedness. This division and distraction of interests, together with the poverty of the style and a tawdriness in the atmosphere of the whole story recalling the aspect of theatres behind the scenes, deprive A Woman-Hater of what we have learned to think Mr. Kendo’s characteristic charm, — that of clear purpose, vivid picturing, absorbing plot, and the introduction of people who for the time being engage our sympathies.
— The author of Nimport,10 now that he can read his book all through, must he painfully aware of its deficiences. He started his story, we dare say, with amiable and upright intentions, meaning to be amusing at any rate, and to tell a story if he could find one; but he wrote the book in the intervals of business, so that it was difficult to keep the connection in his mind, and after trying two or three different srories discovered when he had ended that he had forgotten his villain and left out the harrowing scenes which should balance so much good humor ; so he added a hundred pages or more, though he was rather tired, from a pure sense of duty, and then, as he was afraid he might have been too harrowing, after all, he worked in some more humor, but not with the same spontaneous flow as at first. This, we say, is our conjecture of the author’s experience, and it results from a reader’s alternate interest and disappointment. The story opens in a fresh and engaging manner, barring a certain dash of hurry which intimates that the author is a little afraid his audience will escape before it comes to the best part. The family whose fortunes form the centre of the story is introduced and individualized, although one of the members, a full-grown man, is shuffled out of sight ignomiuiously when he has pronounced a few words, merely for the purpose of dying dramatically, after an almost dead silence of three hundred pages. The author’s skill in conception and sketching of character has tempted him into inventing new persons at every emergency, by means of which his book becomes overstocked and be is constantly embarrassed by the necessity of overlooking and rather impolitely ignoring a good many of his company. He describes one of his characters amusingly by saying that she “ had a singular way of beginning a sentence in a loud, emphatic tone, and ending it in a whisper, owing doubtless to her being unable to hear her own voice, which habit gave her conversation a bizarre and somewhat startling effect.” The description is curiously apt as applied to many of the characters in Nimport. Aunt Bangs, for example, comes in with great energy and promises to he leading old lady for a few pages, hut grows feebler and feebler until she is almost smuggled out of the story. The author seems to have exhausted his energy in getting her into the book. Mr. Quiddets, again, is carefully dressed for his part, but wo discover that he has a very insignificant part to play, and the other seaside characters, Daphne, Airs. Hymen, and Penthesilea, all come forward in a loud voice and end in a whisper.
The diverse stories in the book betray the author into this multiplication of characters. He begins with the story of Mrs. Peuley’s bequest and subsequent lawsuit, and the Careful introduction of Mr. Holt and of Mr. and Mrs. Phipps prepares the reader for the general plot of the book, but there are so many new stories begun at once that when the original one reappears near the end of the hook, it seems impertinent. Indeed, the story of Peg’s proceedings with Doctor Tazewell, though told incidentally, is really the most continuous one in the book, although it is itself embarrassed by a number of sub-sub-plots. Probably it would he maintained in defense of the author that his book is a chronicle of a family, and that real life shows just such a ramification of incident and character. It is not at all impossible that such a family should have lived and have had this experience, but then it also had still other experience ; there were more people whom it knew, not mentioned at all in the book, and each one of those people had a story. The author, assuming to write the chronicles of a family, should have carried his selection further, for it is not the reader’s business to disentangle from the net-work the fortunes of the Ponde family, while it is the writer’s business in telling a story to make a consistent whole.
The faults and excellences of the book both he on the surface, and a lack of skill and practice in novel-writing seems all that prevents the author from producing a very clever book. His sense of the amusing is keen and well trained; his instinct, too, for real differences in character is true and sagacious ; his good taste is rarely at fault, and if he would clearly understand at the outset what the story was which he wished to tell, and then stick to that, we are sure that he would find abundance of encouragement from readers. Indeed, the very subjection of his plot to a few simple and intelligible lines would doubtless do much toward enabling him to control his characters and save them from the peril they are now under of running into mere grotesque figures. He does not need to exaggerate peculiarities, when he is so clever at dejecting common marks of individuality.
— Mr. Anthony Trollope has taken notice of his reputation on this side of the Atlantic, in a somewhat curious and confused manner, by writing a small novel to which he gives the title of The American Senator.1 One infers from the dull insolence of the name conferred on the senator, Mr. Elias Gotobed, that the author wishes to compensate himself for the condescension, of making a bid for American favor by administering a little snub to the audience he is seeking, though he has before now indulged iu this nursery-tale sort of nomenclature with less coarseness, by introducing such figures as the Spooners of Spoon Hall, the Platters of Platter Hall, et al. As to the portrayal of the “senator from Mikewa,” it would seem that Mr. Trollope had some dim intention of satirizing him, without the power to carry out that intention. Accordingly, he crams cigars into Mr. Gotobed’s throat, which he represents him as simultaneously eating and Smoking, makes him ask an immense number of questions, and lets him go on his way. The scene, of course, is in England, and the other people in the story are drawn with Mr. Trollope’s usual degree of superficial life-likeness; but one can hardly avoid the query whether an author who deals so confidently but unsatisfactorily with his American character is really giving ns a true picture of the English types, whom ho treats with equal confidence and perhaps equal want of insight. There are two love-makings carried on among the English characters, one of which, dealing with the aristocrats of the piece, is full of the hard, coarse mercenariness that Mr. Trollope is especially fond of holding up to the gaze of the world. The American senator has no necessary connection with the plot, being introduced merely as a means of providing interludes. He takes up the cause of a scamp who is opposed to fox-hunting, and gets himself into trouble and loses money by doing so; and finally, at the end of the book, he delivers a lecture at St. James’s Hall, in which he severely criticises the English, but is obliged to break it off short for fear of a disturbance. We are left with the general impression that he is a good-natured, intrusive person, with a conscientious passion for expressing himself. Mr. Trollope perhaps meant to avail himself of Mr. Gotobed as a means of doling out a bit of satire to his own countrymen, also ; but in this, as in his representation of the senator, he is so cautious, or so apathetic, that one cannot convict him of any definite purpose. His humor and his satire, if they exist, are so marvelously well concealed that there is small risk of discovery. It is amusing to observe that some critics have been quite gravely trying to find out what Mr. Trollope Means in his American Senator, precisely as if he really had meant something.
— The series of Ancient Classics for English Readers,2 even if the different books are not sure to contain the latest results of German criticism and have to depend on translations of various degrees of merit, yet seems to he tolerably popular. If it he not presumed that reading them will he the equivalent of what is known as a classical education they may be commended to those who are curious about the much-quoted names of the past, or to those who wish to brush the dust off their former erudition. The first volume of the two last published treats of the three poets, Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius, men who have inspired a good deal of writing first and last, and who all, though Catullus more than the others, have been a stumbling-block to translators. What is here written about Catullus is interesting and scholarly, and the translations are good, too, after their kind, but they often speak a language that Catullus never wrote. The other poets are briefly treated. It is not easy to see the similarity between Tibullus and Burns,.but in general the reader will not cavil with the editor’s comments. The Demosthenes is written down to the level of a very moderate intelligence, as if Mr. Brodribb were making things plain to children ; but this sort of writing has its advantages and often its reward.
FRENCH AND GERMAN.11
A few months ago two volumes of Doudan’s Letters wore noticed in these columns. The hope was expressed at the time that more of his correspondence might yet he given to the public, for another volume was promised in case those first appearing should he sufficiently popular; now we have the third,12 filled with letters up to the year 1860, and the fourth is promised with letters after that date and the article on the Revolutions of Taste. It is not often that readers are thus generously rewarded for liking what is good. It is not necessary to repeat what was said here so recently about Dondan’s life. It is as a letter-writer that he will be known to posterity and to all of his contemporaries save his personal friends. That he might have been more famous is clear from the charm of his correspondence ; what prevented him was the delicacy of his body as well as that of his mind. It is in this third volume that we find more frequent allusions to his uncertain bodily health, while on every page are signs of his extreme sensitiveness to all that was good or bad in literature. After all, the letter-writer runs no bad chance for fame. A wit may have a reputation among his accquaintanee, but after he is dead all his jokes will he fathered on Sydney Smith and Lamb, while the shelf on which letter-writers stand is comparatively unfilled. There are, of course, countless volumes of correspondence which can he looked through by those who care to learn facts about this or that man, but the letters which we read for their own sake are few indeed. Often, tpo, we perceive that a writer felt as if posterity were looking over his shoulder while he wrote, and he lost his artlessness at once. This being a fatal fault with letters, it is easy to see that simplicity must be their most attractive quality. What we like in biographies, uovels, poems, and letters is the chance to find out the heart of man, and the nearer letters get to showing the man as he was, the closer their resemblance to his talk, the better they are. A man’s conversation soon becomes a thing of as remote fame as t he voice of an opera singer of the last generation; only a few live in their letters as they were known to their friends, for Dr. Johnson’s solemn epistles show, when compared with the record of his talk, that it is not every man who breathes freely with a pen in his hand. Hence it is that letters are so much read and on the whole are so thoroughly trusted, for it is hard to imagine that a man has written every letter for forty or fifty years with an eye to its future publication, while it is hard to have perfect confidence in an autobiography, or in any biography, for that matter. matter.
This new volume of Doudan’s Letters brings, of course, to our knowledge but few new facts about him, yet everywhere are to be found new turns of his delightful humor, his delicate judgment, and. his modest wisdom. There are no signs that the editors had exhausted the stores by their first selection, leaving unprinted only dull letters without any quality to commend them to the reader. Doudan never wrote without literary charm, without wit and knowledge of the world and of books, in short, without being himself. Mere description of the merits of these letters is incompetent to call up any definite notion of what they really are ; a few extracts will do this more satisfactorily.
This, for instance, is what ho says of letter-writing A good part of the pleasure of writing letters consists in the comparatively untrammeled freedom of the thought, in the pleasure of saying whatever comes into one’s head at the moment, in the play of the pen amid all kinds of impressions. Those people whose discourse is too wise do not know the charm of this adventuresome life. One gets out of the way of walking on these little by-paths, and yet one grows tired of the highway. Hence there is this sadness with which one complains about the necessity and difficulty of writing letters.” Here is something from a letter to Paul de Broglie, who was away on a long voyage in a man-of-war: “ Have you begun to read Dante in all the clatter of hammers and files? That is an inappropriate accompaniment for the Tuscan language, but I think poetry should make its entrance everywhere. I am curious to know what impression Dante’s singular imagination will make upon you. Suddenly, amid the violence of a partisan, there are charming flashes of Virgilian imagination, like those pretty flowers that twine about the crevices of the ruined ramparts of a fortress. I beg of you to make a note upon your copy of the passages that strike you, for the composition is so strange that it is sometimes at the very bottom of the Inferno that there are to be found the melancholy, poetical memories of Florence, or some view, like those of Claude Lorraine, of Lucca or of Venice. I can recommend the Paradiso to you as a mine of lofty ideas about the great questions of theology and religions philosophy. I have at times had the idea of comparing them with those of Milton in Paradise Lost, In both they resemble waves of eastern light entering through the dusty panes of the Sorboime. On the margin of St. Thomas, Dante’s lines on theological questions would seem like those beautiful illuminations of the manuscripts of the Middle Ages which are to he found scattered through the huge liturgies and psalteries. But who reads all the hooks he takes on a journey with him ? The imagination makes the preparations for departure, and the current of business, the interruptions that occur, carry off with them the uncut volumes of Dante, Newton, and Pascal: hut it is already something to have promised to look at them; it is the little seed of the ideal which slumbers, and can slumber a long time without losing its fertilizing power. We preserve the love of letters without having the time to read, and that is the main thing.” thing.”
This is from a letter to Madame d’Haussouville, who was at the time journeying in Greece: “After all, you must not expect to meet many poets on your way. It is the Northern people who are poets nowadays, if there are any poets. One must be well clad, well fed, free, and in good health to he able to sing melancholy songs at the sight of ruins; and then, in our time at least, not only is no one a prophet in his own country, but no one is a poet in his own country. When one sees on the slope of a mountain the smoke rising from the roof of a hut against the evening sky, as soon as one can say, ‘ There’s my grandmother lighting a few fagots to make some soup,’ there is almost no more poetry, at least poetry as we nowadays understand it. Those must be almost unknown places where one dreams of inhabitants in harmony with the beauty of nature. Every time the door of a house in the valley of Lacedaemon is opened you will expect to see a daughter of Helen come out, but your guide knows beforehand that it is the house of his cousin Eleuthera, whom he did not want to marry because she was too ugly. So, gradually, in the course of time, the country acquires something from the people, and since, on the whole, the people have not the indestructible brilliancy of nature, the spirit of the place becomes prosaic by reflection from the inhabitants. You will answer that in spite of this there is such a thing as home-sickness, but some other day I will try to reconcile this contradiction.”
Here are some remarks which contain a good deal of truth. Speaking of M. Cousin’s remarks on art, he said: “ I do not have much confidence in the ability of metaphysicians to treat of questions of art. When they speak vaguely, it is all very well. Fugitive and unfinished outlines in the great held of the infinite always have a certain air. That is why you are templed to consider Plato a great artist. In spite of his treatise on the Beautiful, I would not have given Kant my pet dog to paint. A passion for the abstract does not call forth beautiful forms. Metaphysicians may dream happily of a great artist, but it is not from their hands that there will ever issue the Venus of Milo, or Raphael’s Virgin with her red bodice and her blonde hair amid the ripe corn of an Italian field. They lay that Socrates made some statues, but I don’t think that Verrgs would have put them in his collection. Don’t think that any one will steal your ideas. No one Steals another’s ideas any more than another’s face. Every one’s thoughts are the reflection of the eternal light on the particular faculties of the particular mirror which is the intelligence of each one. If we were faithful to this light instead of repeating what we heard said about us, we should be more frequently original. After all, I acknowledge that there are some poor wretches whose mirror is dull and tarnished.”
Doudan wrote, in 1853, concerning the empire: “I do not see that we differ very much from the age of Augustus. Paris is becoming a city of marble, like Rome, and all the men of talent have infinite leisure which permits them, like Cicero, to philosophize about the past, without having the right to take part in the present or to concern themselves about the future. On reaching Paris at five o’clock, Sunday afternoon, I saw more handsome carriages coming out from the Champs Élysées than there could have been on the avenues of the Campus Martius,—where Livia drove out with her little family,— and much better made carriages, far superior in smoothness and lightness. It is very sure, too, that in the Exchange at Borne there was never half so much business done as there is done here. Everything is managed on a larger scale nowadays, just as Cayenne is a much larger territory than those little islands in the Mediterranean where the ruler used to send for reflection those persons who did not share his principles in the matter of government. . . . To speak of more serious matters, piety began to waver in those times. To he sure, Augustus always used to carry about with him the skin of a sea-calf as a protection against lightning, but that was a gross superstition. Now, all the men who keep in the fashion are rigidly orthodox and have only proper contempt for atheists, Protestants, Fourierites, and philosophers.”
Here is a brief bit of literary criticism. He had been recommending Goethe’s Italian Journey to a correspondent, and added, “Do yon not find Goethe’s imagination singular ? It is bright and cold at the same time ; it is like the sun in winter. In his character there is very little individuality, and a good deal of personality.”
Writing at another time about journeys in Italy, he said : " Meanwhile I am reading a little of Addison’s Italian Journey. . . . It would seem that not a single nail has been driven in or pulled out in Italy for a hundred years, for I seem to hear everything that those say who have seen Portici, Pozzuoli, Rome, Naples, and Florence. I knew very Well from experience that men’s ideas are not often renewed, but I thought that the monuments, and even nature, changed more.” In the same letter is to be found this passage : " I wanted to write for your service at the time of elections an Art of Flattering Voters. As a general rule,in spite of whatever may be said, you must talk coal to the miller, and flour to the coal man. It flatters the miller that yon should talk coal to him. If you throw, all at once, his flour at his head, he sees that yon are flattering him, and that you do not appreciate the breadth of his mind. Second rule, which is a consequence of the first, speak to the voters about your business and your feelings, and not about their business and their feelings. It is not a very dignified process, but it is very efficacious. Tell them Albert is a good boy ; or else, it’s hard to put up with him. My aunt is very rich or very poor. We spend more than our income, less than our income. I like blue ; my husband likes red, etc. That is the way to gain hearts ; but to go in a soft, hypocritical Way and say to a Coalman : ‘ Goodday, Mr. Coal Dealer ! Is your wife well'? Does your daughter go to the Tuileries ? Do you know how to read ? Do you know how to write ? Do you go to church ? ’ Such condescension annoys and enrages them.”
Those who have at any time felt an interest in J. J. Ampère will perhaps like to see what Doudan has to say of him. Under date of October 2, 1856, is this record : “We found here M. Ampere, with his volcanic energy and his gentle ways. He talks with everybody about everything; he works twenty-four hours a day, and chats, too, for twenty-four hours a day, without counting the walks he takes alone. The clever people you know cannot give you an idea of this vitality of intelligence which applies itself to everything.” To another correspondent he writes : “ I found M. Ampère here, as lively as a fish in the water on a pleasant day. He does ten things at a time, and finishes them well; he works all day and seems to be doing nothing at all, for he shares every walk and every talk, plays billiards, like an officer in a country town, and reads novels like a silly girl. I have never seen such activity, and all this on a basis of most amiable gentleness and serenity.”
This is but a small part of the richness of the book, which lovers of the best literature will not fail to read.
- The material of the present volume is not, on the whole, so entertaining as that of The Old Regime in Canada, which preceded it, and which painted with such vividness the life of the capital of Canada under Louis XIV.; yet the same wonderful contrasts are here, — the same curious juxtaposition of the luxury and intrigue of Versailles and the fierce and wild turbulence of the forest ; the same warring ambitious of prelates and governors; the same quaint, patient, humble bravery and self-devotion of the people. The period covered by this history is the stormy time from 1672 to 1701, when the league of the Iroquois, aided and comforted, now openly and now secretly, by the English, threatened the very existence of New France. This period closed in the complete triumph of the French policy and the French arms under the vigorous direction of Count Frontenae, a soldier of immense courage and spirit, and a ruler possessing the highest qualities for coping with a savage enemy, and wielding to the best effect the strength of a militant, if not military, colony like Canada. He was twice sent to this work, being recalled from his first mission because of his quarrels with the attendant and the clergy, but it was found that neither of the governors who succeeded him had the skill or the address to meet the dangers that menaced the colony; the English merchants were driving the French from the fur trade, and the Iroquois were banding against them and drawing from them even their Huron allies; it was necessary that the turbulent, willful, powerful old count should come back. The measures which he used on his return were of just that mixture of force and flattery which the French knew so much better than the English how to employ with the savages. Frontenae first weakened their attachment to their white friends by striking his swift and terrible blows at the settlements in New York and New England; then came the defeat of Sir William Phips’s expedition against Quebec, and the repulse of the Mohawk forays into Canada, the war in Acadia, and finally Frontenac’s triumphant attack on the Onondagas. His own death followed soon upon his success, but, as the historian tells us, his chief objects were gained : —↩
- Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV. By FRANCIS PARKMAN. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1877.↩
- Short Studies on Great Subjects. By JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE. Third Series. New York : Scribner, Armstrong, & Co. 1877.↩
- Life and Letters of George Cabot. By HENRY CABOT LODGE. Boston : Little, Brown, & Co. 1877.↩
- Worthy Women of Our First Century. Edited by MRS. O. J. WISTER and MiSS AGNES IRWIN. Philadelphia : J. B Lippincott & Co. 1877.↩
- Modern Greece. By GEO. M. TOWLE. With Map. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co. 1877.↩
- A Brief History of Montenegro. To which is added a short Account of Bulgaria. Compiled from Mackenzie & Baker. By GEO. M. TOWLE. With Map. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1877.↩
- Christianity and Islam. The Bible and the Koran. Four Lectures. By the Rev. W. R. W. STEPHENS, Prebendary of Chichester, etc. New York : Scribner, Armstrong, & Co. 1877.↩
- A Homeric Dictionary, for Use in Schools and Colleges. From the German of DR. GEORG AutenBIETH, rector of the Gymnasium at Zweibrücken. Translated, with additions and corrections, by ROBERT P. KEEP, Ph. D New York : Harper and Brothers 1877↩
- A Woman-Hater. A Novel. By CHARLES READS. New York : Harper and Brothers. 1877.↩
- Wayside Series. Nimport. Boston : Lockwood, Brooks, & Co. 1877.↩
- The American Senator. A Novel. By ANTHONY TROLLOPE. New York : Harper and Brothers. 1877.↩
- Ancient Classics for English Readers. Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius. By the REV. JAMES DAVIES, M. A., Prebendary of Hereford Cathedral; formerly Scholar of Lincoln College, Oxford.↩
- Demosthenes. By the REV. W. J. BRODRIBB, M. A., Late Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1877.↩
- All books mentioned under this head are to be had at Schoenhof and Moeller’s, 40 Winter St., Boston, Mass.↩
- Mélanges et Lettres de X. Doudan Avec une Introduction par M. LE COMTE D'HAUSSONVILLE, ET des Notices par MM. DESACY, CUVILLIER FLEURY. Tome III. Paris : Calmann Lévy. 1877.↩