Recent Literature

WE shall say little of the mere literary excntion of Mr. Fronde’s sketch of Cæsar.1 With the style of this fascinating writer — with that clear, fluent, graceful, copious diction, so picturesque, so always alluring, and so often eloquent — every cultivated AngloSaxon is now familiar. In reading it one always marvels that it can be at once so easy and so elegant. Yet in this work, perhaps the most lovingly written of all his works, it occasionally provokes criticism. There is not enough of severity and density in it for the subject. It is often too diffuse; it is sometimes too rhetorical. One frequently desires to condense two or three sentences into one, and to tone down a clarion music which seems to blare too impressively. Here and there, too, there are careless repetitions of words, and other signs of the spoiled child of literature. In the matters of precision, simplicity, and brevity,one marvels, and regrets, too, that the biographer has not been more influenced by his hero. This style, indeed, seems well enough till we compare it with the Commentaries; but then we are disposed to call it fine writing, rather than great writing. How differently Cæsar has told the same story ! How differently, too, the author of the Grandeur et Décadence des Romains would have told it! We are tempted, for the moment, to ask if Mr. Froude admires Quintus Curtius, and finds something rather good in the manner of Florus.

But this is severe and perhaps unfair criticism. The book is charmingly written, and on the whole wisely written. There are many admirable, really noble, passages; there are hundreds of pages which few living men could match. As for the matter, barring the military part alone, it is generally excellent. The political life of Cæsar is explained with singular lucidity, and with what seems to us remarkable fairness. The horrible condition of Roman society under the rule of the magnates is painted with startling power and brilliance of coloring. Tacitus could hardly have done this more effectively, though he would have been sure to do it in one fourth the number of words. Of course there is partiality ; there is as much as can he borne of “ the love of biographers; ” there is an adoration which sometimes provokes a smile, and once reaches unintentional impiety. Yet, on the whole, we are convinced by this Grattan of history, and admit that Cæsar stands forth measurably justified, or at least far more so than his political adversaries, the frightfully corrupt and egotistic and ferocious boni.

Every history has its errors of detail, and this has its full share of them. On page 537 we read that Cæsar’s eyes were “ dark gray; ” on page 465 we are told of “ the clear, dark eyes of the conqueror of Pharsalia;”on page 76 we find that the young Julius had “dark, piercing eyes,” and a note gives us the words of Suetonius : “ nigris vegetisque oculis.” Did Caesar’s optics turn light as he grew older ? or did he have different pairs for different emergencies? There is little doubt that Suetonius’s plain statement is trustworthy, and that the fanciful inference from cæsius (bluish-gray) is worth nothing. Another oversight occurs in the relation of the defeat of the Nervii. Mr. Fronde repeats the usual tale, founded on a careless reading of the Commentaries, and parroted by no one knows how many rhetorical historians. “ The battle,” he says, “ended with their extermination: out of six hundred senators there survived but three; out of sixty thousand men able to bear arms, but five hundred.” He fails to observe that Cæsar does not assert this ; that it was simply a story brought him by ambassadors who besought his pity; that three years later the Nervii still had subordinate states, and could raise a great army ; that in the year following it became necessary to invade them for a third time. No doubt, Cæsar does speak of “ the Nervian name and nation being reduced almost to extinction ; ” but we must remember that he wrote his Commentaries separately, year by year, and never had time to revise them. Even the credulous Plutarch does not repeat this tale of extermination without a qualifying “ It is said.” And yet Mr. Froude is disposed to lecture Plutarch for inaccuracy !

There is one extremely regrettable imperfection in this otherwise fairly reliable book. Here is the life of a great soldier written by a man who knows nothing of soldierly matters, and who considers “the details of a Roman campaign no longer interesting.” The consequence is that the account, of military transactions teems with misconceptions, which are rather brought to light than hidden by vivid phrases and impetuous narrative. In spite of one’s desire to be reverent, one is reminded of the battle-pieces of the eloquent reporters of our civil war, who gathered their impossible particulars afar from the scene of conflict, and who “did not know a manœuvre from a hole in the ground.” It is a woful pity. As a writer, Oæsar was admirable ; as a statesman, he was very eminent; as a general, he was amazing. It is a pity that his military science — the science in which his genius reached its highest flight —should not have found a historian who would take the trouble to study and understand it. Thiers, Carlyle, and Ivmglake are distinguished proofs that a civilian can throw light upon warfare, instead of darkness, if he will only bring to the task conscientious study.

Let us look at Mr. Froude’s account of Pharsalia, and see how it compares with Cæsar’s. Every one remembers the famous six cohorts who were set to repulse Pompey’s cavalry, and whose valor and rapidity of movement decided the battle. Here rhetoric overpowers our author; he calls them “ the pick and flower of the legions.” Cæsar’s phrase is: “He hastily drafted single [or separate] cohorts from the third line ” (Celeriter ex tertia acie singulas cohortes detraxit). It must be understood that the eight legions were drawn up abreast, four cohorts of each in the first line, three in the second, and three in the third; while on the extreme right were the cavalry and targeteers, fronting Pompey’s far more numerous horse, archers, and slingers. Cæsar’s full statement is that, seeing his right wing likely to he enveloped and oppressed, he quickly formed a reserve to support it by drawing a single cohort from the third line of each of the legions. But why six cohorts instead of eight? Partly, because the eighth and ninth legions, on the extreme left, were a mile or so from the point of peril; and, partly, because the ninth had been greatly thinned (vehementer attenuate!) in the fight near Dyrrhaehium. Cæsar’s object simply was to get six cohorts— any six disposable ; they were all good enough — over to his threatened flank, and to get them there as soon as possible.

Next, we hear that “ Cæsar’s front rank advanced running.” Is this a slip of the pen ? It was the front line which charged, — a line of thirty-two cohorts, each drawn up at least four ranks deep, perhaps eight. But it is no accident, it is pure rhetorical perversity, which leads Mr. Frondo to say that “Pompey’s brilliant squadrons were carpet-knights from the saloon and circus.” Ctcsar gives a detailed account of this cavalry, aud shows that, with the exception of a few freed slaves, it was entirely composed of auxiliaries and mercenaries, some of them troops of “distinguished excellence.” Only a very eloquent writer could recruit carpetknights among Gauls, Germans, Thracians, Galatians, Cappadocians, Bessians, etc. It is a blunder, also, to state that “ the outer squadrons came wheeling round to the rear.” Ctesar’s story is that his own troopers gave ground a little (paulatim), and that Pompey’s “ pressed them the more fiercely, and likewise began to file off by squadrons and surround our legions2 on the uncovered side” (latere aperto). Obviously, this means a wheeling of the squadrons nearest the infantry, while the rest continued to push the Ciesarean cavalry. Obviously, too, the wheel was a flank attack, and not a rear one. The situation was no doubt this : the Caesarean horse, fighting desperately, slowly retreated the whole depth of the army formation, or about five hundred yards; then the six reserve cohorts made their half wheel to the right, and charged in echelon upon the flank of the Pompeian horse. They only counted some sixteen hundred and fifty men, and there was plenty of room for the manœuvre.

Nor does Mr. Fronde make it sufficiently clear that the battle was severely contested, aud for long undecided. He does indeed understand that there was martial business on hand from morn till dewy eve. But the whole tone of his clarion-like narrative is that of one who leads on the victors to easy triumph, taking them quite out of the hands of the much slower and very hardly bestead Cæsar. The truth is that the latter, wonderful general as he was, had a most anxious forenoon of it. Speaking of the infantry fight, he says, “ Nor did the Pompeians fail in this crisis.” He had to put in his second line, and his third, and his reserve. The all-important flanking; struggle on the right lasted for hours; not until near noon were the Pompeian horse and light troops quite got rid of. Then it was (eodem tempore), while Cæsar’s third line and last man were entering the fray, that the six cohorts finally wheeled upon Pompey’s left-hand legions, and the latter began to break and fly. Not easily, however, as Mr. Froude seems to think; not because they had once been Cæsar’s men, and saw their old comrades before them; only because they were outmanoeuvred, outflanked, and enveloped (circumita). From this crumbling left wing the rout spread all along the line. There had been a whole forenoon of wearisome battle.

Next came the taking of the camp. Cæsar says that it was “ diligently defended by the cohorts which had been left to guard it, and even more fiercely by the Thracians and auxiliaries,” Nor did they give way until they were “overwhelmed by the immense number of missiles and weak with wounds.” Mr. Froude storms it in a far more dashing manner; there is “ a brief resistance,” but it is “ soon borne down.” Nothing can stand long against his enchanted pen, so much mightier than the Cæsarean sword. Then came a pursuit of six miles, with no little legionary ramparting, before the retreating Pompeians would surrender. In short, it was a much harder and more doubtful day than Mr. Froude has discovered. It is true that Caesar’s dead were only 230; but there must have been thousands of wounded. His legions entered upon the battle with an average of 2750 men; but the two which he led from it to Egypt mustered, together, only 3200.

It would be unfair to judge a civilian author entirely by his ignorance of tactics, Even generals, and most noble ones at that, sometimes blunder in them. Let us turn to subjects in which Mr. Froude, and perhaps Lord Chelmsford, might be more at home. The book shows elegant, if not wide and profound, scholarship. The best part of it — and, as an Irishman might say, the newest and most original part, too —consists in the extracts from the letters of Cicero. One must energetically admire the judgment shown in their selection, and the grace and spirit with which they are translated. Even more Vividly than in Mr. Froude’s own text, we are reminded that he is a great master of style. Why, then, has he not written a history of Caesar which should stifle the voice of criticism ? Partly, because no man, perhaps, could, as no man has. The subject is a gigantic one, and only to be thoroughly handled by a colossal mind, — such a mind for, instance, as that of the great Napoleon, or possibly o.f Montesquieu. One cannot even quite conclude to prououtice this the best book on Cæsar in the English language. It is so brilliant, and the fame of its author is so great, that its short-comings are very disappointing. There is a far smaller work, far more bumble in promise and range, which has fewer faults, if not more merits. It was written, oddly enough, not by a historian, but by a novelist, Mr, Anthony Trollope, It tells fewer things, but it makes fewer mistakes, and it presents a more life-like portrait. Is this a hard judgment of the famous, and worthily famous, biographer of Cæsar ? No doubt, stricter measure has been dealt out to him than would have been used with a less noted and able writer. But to whom much is given, of the same shall much be required.

— It seems hardly fair to find the biography of one man interesting solely through its bearing upon the life of another, and it is possible that the life of the Rev. Francis Hodgson 3 might have been so written as to give it an intrinsic significance, apart from the intimate connection of its subject with Lord Byron and Mrs, Leigh. The present biographer is Mr. Hodgson’s son, who might be supposed to have as great a concern as any one in establishing his father’s independent claims to distinction and remembrance; but perhaps for the very reason that his concern is so great, he fails to do it. His first chapter is extensively, but somewhat vaguely, genealogical. The date of Francis Hodgson’s birth is first mentioned in a foot-note near the end of volume ii., but we are told that he went to Eton in July, 1794, at which time we judge him to have been about ten or twelve years old. At school and in Cambridge, where his education was continued, he proved himself both a good fellow and a good scholar. He formed friendships, many of them life-long, with some of the most distinguished young men of his time, — Thomas Denman, the future chief-justice John Herman Merivale, the father of the Roman historian, Robert Bland, editor of the Anthology, Henry Drury, afterward master at Harrow, and others ; and he wrote satirical verses of his own, which were published, quoted, and admired, besides qualifying himself to execute, after he left Cambridge, a translation of Juvenal, which has always maintained a respectable rank. In 1808 he was made Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and there is no evidence of his having met Byron before that time, although the reviewer says, with his usual dignified obscurity, that he had probably done so, and it is certain that they were soon afterwards on terms of the frankest familiarity. A good many letters of Byron to Hodgson are given, some being new, others having long ago appeared in Moore’s Life; and they are letters which show the very best side of Byron’s nature, full of staunch affection aud generous appreciation of others, vivid description, whimsical rhodomontade, and droll, but, for the most part, perfectly cleanly jesting. Indeed, the best possible understanding seems to have subsisted among the whole circle of clever and versatile youths, the common intimates of that oddly associated pair of friends, the young clergyman and the young peer. Byron habitually mentions the miscellaneous poems of Hobhouse as “ Hobby’s Miss-selling any.” Hodgson eked out his, at that time, precarious subsistence by critiques in the magazines of the poems of Byron and the others as they appeared; and to judge by the extracts in the present memoir, the criticisms were pompous and verbose enough, and quite nobly unsparing, but accepted with the simplest amiability. All the friends understood that affected despair and morbid determination to make himself out much worse than he really was which went along with Byron’s genuine intellectual modesty, and they treated it with very wholesome levity. When Byron avers that he feels himself going mad, Scrope Davies cheerfully assures him that his symptoms are “ much more like silliness than madness.” Bland, whose letters are, perhaps, the wittiest of all (though there seems to be no special reason why they should be inserted in this book), writes to Merivale, on the latter’s marriage, that be is really obliyed to him for beintj as happy as he mentions; and Byron to Moore, in the early part of their acquaintance, “I hear that Hodgson is your neighbor in Derbyshire; . . . an excellent-hearted fellow, as well as one of the cleverest; a little, perhaps, too much japanned by preferment in the church and the tuition of youth, as well as inoculated with the disease of domestic felicity, besides being overrun with fine feelings about women and constancy, but otherwise a very worthy man.” Byron had paid Hodgson’

“ To John I owe gome obligation,
But John unluckily thinks fit
To publish it to all the nation,
So John and I are more than quit.”

And in his diary, the same night: “ Hodgson has been telling that I — I am sure, at least, that I did not mention it, aud I wish he had not. He is a good fellow, and I obliged myself ten times more by being of use than I did him, — and there’s an end on’t.” When Moore was collecting the materials for Byron’s life, Hodgson sent him some verses of Byron’s, written about the year 1812, and characteristically describing himself in lines of dark and direful import as

“ One whose deepening crimes
Suit with the sablest of the times
One who in stern, ambitious pride
Perchance not blood shall turn aside,”etc.

To these lines Hodgson appends the naive and touching commentary, “ The poor, dear soul meant nothing of all this ;” and the worth of Moore’s whole unwieldy and inorganic biography may be judged by the fact that he printed the verses, aud omitted the comment.

Very few of Hodgson’s own letters are given, except certain rhymed epistles, which help to console us for the loss of the prose ones. Byron must indeed have been devotedly fond of the man from whom he could welcome a strain like this, addressed to him on the occasion of his first departure for Greece: —

“ Yet if pleasing change allure thee
O’er the roughly swelling tide,
May the one great Guide secure thee ;
Byron, ne'er forget thy guide.
“ With the pure and holy fueling
Friendship in thy breast shall rise,
And remembrance, o'er thee stealing,
Softly paint thy native skies.”

Nearly two years later Hodgson summoned the wanderer back in an equally fresh and spirited hymn : —

“ Return, my Byron, to Britannia’s fair,
To that soft power which shares the bliss it yields ;
Return to Freedom’s pure and rigorous air,
To Love’s own groves, and Glory’s native fields ! ”

With what cheerful alacrity Lord Byron obeyed the injunction to return to “Britannia’s fair” is well known. He returned to a season of unparalleled social and literary notoriety, to his wild intrigue with Lady Caroline Lamb, and his yet more fateful marriage with Miss Milbanke. When the swift catastrophe of that union had come, Moore pretended that he had thought ill of the Milbauke connection from the first, but such of Byron’s letters at this period as are given in the Hodgson memoir are very simply happy and hopeful, — the letters of that better man who ever warred with widely varying fortune against the baser and beastlier in him; while Hodgson himself, with his usual ardent charity, seems to have hoped all things and believed all things from the impulse of his wayward friend, so very righteously and respectably to range himself. One of the most charming letters of Hodgson’s own in the whole memoir is that which he wrote to his fiancée concerning his first meeting with Byron after the betrothal of the poet: —

“ It is most natural that Byron should be absorbed by the thought, even, much more by the society, of one of the most divine beings upon earth. He was on his way to Seahanr, Sir Ralph Milbanke’s seat. His sister in her last, sweet letter says, ' I have not heard from him for some time, and am uneasy about it; but it is very selfish to bo so, for I know he is happy, and what more can I wish?’ Well, on Friday evening, after I had put my letter to you in the post, and one to Harry Drury, and one to my cousin, I was tired with writing, and thought I would go to the coffee-room and read the papers. With nothing then, for the moment, but Colonel Quentin and Hanoverianism in my head, I was passing by the Sun Inn, — literally passing by it, and at a quick pace, — when a carriage and four drove up to the door. A sudden thought struck me : I cried out, ' Byron ! ’ and was answered by a hearty ‘ Hodgson ! ’ He was about to send to me at King’s. He would not have found me there, as I should have been detained for an hour at least with Colonel Quentin. Consequently, he would have gone on to his sister’s, and I should not have seen him. As it was, we supped together, and sate till a late hour over our claret, talking of many and delightful things. He told me all that could be told of his visit to Seaham, and, in a word, for I can say no more if I talk forever on the subject, he is likely to be as happy as I am. Oh, how I glowed with indignation at the base reports of his fortune-hunting. I will tell you the particulars when we meet. Meanwhile, entre nous, he is sacrificing a great deal too much. Not to Miss Milbauke; that is impossible, because nothing is too much for her, and (as is usual in these cases) she would require nothing. But her parents, although Byron speaks of them with the most beautiful respect, certainly do appear to me most royally selfish persons. Her fortune is not large at present, but he settles sixty thousand pounds upon her. This he cannot do without selling Newstead again, and with a look and manner which I cannot easily forget lie said, ‘ Ton know we must think of these things as little as possible.’ ‘But,’ I replied, ‘ I am certain if she saw Newstead she would not let you part with it.’ ‘Bless her, she has nothing to do with it! Nor would I excite a feeliug iu her mind that may be prejudicial to her interests.’ Now where are the hearts of those who cau undervalue, who can depreciate, this man I”

The “sweet sister ” mentioned in the letter is of course Mrs. Leigh. Hodgson had made her acquaintance within the year, and the free and friendly correspondence was begun between these two which was destined to be continued at frequent intervals for nearly forty years. In the letters of Augusta Leigh, now published for the first time, will he found, for sufficient reasons, to be the keenest interest of the Hodgson volumes. A decade or so ago, when her name was suddenly associated with the ghastly posthumous charge of Lady Byron, we were earnestly assured that documents existed in abundance which would fully vindicate her to any upright mind, whenever the bar to their publication was removed. They do it indirectly, of course. They do it by the finer method of revealing the whole mind of the accused, as she revealed it, under pressure of deep distress for her wayward but well-beloved brother’s sake, to the tried and trusty friend of both. They are marked by the utmost delicacy and good sense, as well as the deepest womanly and sisterly tenderness. They are pervaded by an openness which allays and almost annuls the sense of any morbid mystery connected with the quarrel in which the Byron marriage ended so swiftly and so deplorably. They show a charity which never failed for either of the parties to that quarrel: a respectful pity for the wife which it took years of haughty repulse on her part to change into dignified resentment ; a sad sagacity of forecast concerning the lamentable results which the separation must have for her brother. They give no new facts concerning the immediate causes of the separation. What new facts need be given ? As Byron himself said long afterwards, the causes were only too simple to he easily found out. When the reckless devil assigned to Byron at his unhappy birth, who had been exorcised for a season in the hopeful days of his betrothal, returned with a reinforcement after the marriage, the quarters offered them iu the puritan household of the Milbankes were found intolerably repugnant aud impossibly narrow ; while the severe young bride, who saw the proprieties of her home outraged by this diabolic reaction, was capable only of a chill disgust, instead of that towering wrath out of whose very fervor forgiveness is sometimes born.

Extremely interesting extracts might be made from Mrs. Leigh’s letters, but we shall refrain almost entirely from giving such, because we hold it a kind of duty for all who are interested in the subject to read them entire. The one in particular which she wrote to Mr. Hodgson after Lord Byron’s death, and in which she gives without reserve her reasons for approving the destruction of her brother’s own memoirs, deserves a most careful perusal. She wanted the autobiography destroyed for the same reason as did Hobhouse and Hodgson and all the true lovers of Byron’s better self; for the same reason for which, as she freely says, she deplored the last canto of Childe Harold, aud dreaded unspeakably the publication of Don Juan,— because of that craze for self-vilification, whose indecent freaks could never he calculated in advance, still less, in the nature of of things, confuted. “This is, dear Mr. Ilodgson,” her letter concludes, “ the whole case exactly, and I hope you will not disapprove of the part I had in it, which was not of my own seeking; but as I was drawn into it I felt it my duty to act as I think he, poor, dear soul, would now (divested of earthly feelings) approve. I must say a word of the kind wish expressed to me in your letter [that Hodgson might be allowed himself to write Byron’s life]. Believe me that it would gratify me more than I can say, and that I am very sure nobody would execute it with more feeling and ability than you. But I am sure you will understand that I am very delicately situated in taking upon myself what may appear to others to belong to themselves to pronounce upon. . . . After all, do not let what I say deter you, and rely on any and every assistance I can give. I see no harm in more than one attempt to do the thing. Do not mistake me, dear Mr. Hodgson ; believe me, it is impossible to do more justice than I do to your attachment and every other requisite. I am only afraid of interfering where it might be thought I had no right. I am most grateful for your kind sympathy in my grief, which not every one can fully enter into.” What could be more simple, judicious, right-minded, and sincere ?

In the first years of Byron’s banishment from England, those lawless and stormy years, during which his evil genius held a seemingly undisputed sway over his mind and actions, he had ceased writing to Hodgson, and wrote very seldom even to his sister. But about 1820 the letters to Hodgson recommenced, and there is an altered tone in them,—a temperance and quietude and general sanity, which filled the simple soul of his old friend with joy, so that he tells Drury that “Byron writes in his best manner of old.” All who loved him felt the same revival of faith, and were thrilled by the thought that the prodigal, after strange wanderings, had at last turned his face homeward, and the demoniac visitant gone out to return no more. Nor did it return. The lonely death, into whose shadow the poet was even then entering, was at least friendly to his fame in this regard.

The Rev. Francis Hodgson survived Lord Byron for nearly a generation, and his later years were full of honor. He was made archdeacon of Derby in 1836, and had been for ten years provost of Eton when he died, in 1852. His administration of the college government was admirably vigorous, and he was chiefly instrumental in the establishment of certain reforms which were extremely unpopular at first, but soon universally applauded. His life, as we said in the beginning, has been so written that he himself is a secondary character in it; but it is much to say in praise of any man that he called out always and only what was best in a character full of such fierce antagonisms and contradictions as Byron’s, and that through him the memory of that baffled and disfigured better side has been vividly restored, and is likely to be permanently impressed on the mind of the present generation.

— The Life of Arndt,4 which Professor Seeley introduces to the reader as a kind of supplement to his own Life of Stein, is a volume from which there is to be got as much pleasure as instruction; for Arndt was a strong, honest, highly individual character, who lived in most stirring times, and was made, by choice and by circumstance, to play a not unimportant part in the long and deadly struggle against the imperial despotism of Bonaparte. “ Popular knowledge of history,” remarks Mr. Seeley, “ must always be imparted by means of personal narrative. . . . It is one question how history ought to be written for the purposes of sciences, and another by what means some useful kuowdedge of it may be generally diffused.” As the example of scientific history here alluded to is both awkward in construction and clumsy in narration, we have especial reason for welcoming a work which gives us, in regular connection, so many vivid sketches of eminent men, of national habits, of national feeling, —all seen through the eyes of one so worthy of our respect and with so strong claims to our liking as was this poet and thinker, who, at his death, in 1860, was probably the man most revered in all Germany. Yet, though he contributed more to the national cause than any other man of letters, and though the author of the most popular song and the most familiar quotation in his language, Arndt was born a Swedish subject and not till after the battle of Jena, which marked the lowest point of German degradation, did he feel the claims of national as distinguished from political patriotism. The place of his birth was the picturesque island of Rügen, where his father, himself a freedrnan and the son of a serf, was the agent of a large estate. Arndt’s birth was thus as humble as it well could be, and, without ever becoming a democrat, he always maintained his claim to personal equality with high and low, therein differing from nearly all his literary contemporaries. Arndt was intended for a clergyman, and he actually was licensed to preach; but when he had got so far he became convinced this work was not that most tilted to him, and his father being well to do, he set out upon his travels, journeying for a year and a half through the Austrian states, France, and Western Germany, returning home in 1798. The next few years he was busy writing political pamphlets, an account of his travels, and a history of serfdom in Swedish Germany, a publication which attracted much notice, and was not without influence in bringing about a better state of things. For several of the gentry, thinking their interests threatened by the book, sent the king a copy, in which were marked passages reflecting severely upon some of his predecessors. The king forwarded it to the governor of Pommern, with orders to prosecute the author; but the governor contented himself with summoning Arndt before him. showing him the book, and asking how he would get out of the scrape. Arndt’s reply was characteristic of the man : he simply took the book and marked other places, requesting it to be sent again to the king. This time the royal answer Was to the effect that if the author’s charges were true, then his language was none too strong. And serfdom was abolished by royal edict some time before Stein’s similar reform in Prussia.

But Arndt did not become a man of note till the year 1812, when he was summoned to St. Petersburg by Stein, to assume, during the two years following, a position analogous to that occupied by Dr. Busch in the office of Count Bismarck. Up to Stein’s death he remained a firm friend to Arndt, and it was largely through his influence that the latter got his professorship at the University of Bonn.

This English biography is admirably prepared, following the sound principle of letting the hero tell his own story wherever this is possible. Passages are thus taken from letters, from his detailed account of his intercourse with Stein, from the defense of his political life issued on occasion of his trial in 1821, from his travels, and from a kind of autobiography published in 1840. As regards selection, arrangement, and translation, the compiler’s work is remarkably well done, the mistranslation of idiomatic terms being almost the only blemish. We hold entirely Professor Seeley’s opinion that “ these memoirs, simple and modest as they are, have a right to live. Arndt never imagined himself to be a great man, nor supposed, either, that anything he had done deserved, on its own account, to be recorded, or that any of his thoughts deserved to be remembered for their wisdom or depth. But he led such a life, and had such a character, that his autobiography has the value of a historical novel. His life reflects his time, because it was decisively influenced by it. . . . And, moreover, Arndt’s character was a remarkably clear mirror for his time to reflect itself in. He was all candor, warmth, and cheerfulness.”

— It is well for readers that histories of other nations and the lives of distinguished foreigners should be written in English. The French, to be sure, can be left to describe their various glories, because, in the first place, their language is generally understood, and, moreover, they have a sense of form which is always gratifying. With the Germans, however, the case is somewhat different; all students will have to go to them for material, whatever the subject may be, but too often the Teutonic arrangement of material bears a strong likeness to disorderly accumulation. All general statements of this kind are of course only partly true : the French have at times sacrificed accuracy to elegance, and the Germans as writers are not always heavy; but there is a basis of truth in the hasty popular feeling about the literature of the two nations. In writing the life of Stein,5 Professor Seeley has had, of course, to go to the native bind of that eminent man for information, and he has found much, from which he has drawn with discreet freedom.

Stein himself was one of the greatest of Napoleon’s foes, and Napoleon, who never lacked perception in what concerned his relations to his enemies, was one of the first to perceive the dangers he ran from this unarmed antagonist. Indeed, it was only those whom Stein was anxious to help who occasionally disregarded him. In some ways, this was not strauge. Stein possessed what Bismarck has made almost a distinguishing mark of the great German statesman, a profound capacity for contempt of the pedantic grooves in which German official life most naturally runs. Like his illustrious successor, as he may be called, Stein was often moved by great gusts of rudeness and severity. After all, in Stein’s case this petulance was but one indication of his great energy, and the numerous instances that Professor Seeley gives of it only make the reader more conscious of the sufferings the hero must have undergone before he saw Napoleon finally conquered, during the time that he was watching his country sinking lower and lower, tasting continually new humiliations.

Professor Seeley gives us a complete and most interesting account of the great man’s work in freeing his country from its misfortunes, At times, we have a consciousness that it is the historian rather than the biographer who is handling the pen, and there is a certain not exactly coldness, but extreme fullness of detail, in which Stein is lost to sight; but this is not always the case. On the whole, the reader is able to get a very exact impression of the condition of Germany during the Napoleonic wars, without any undue sacrifice of Stein’s personality. So far as we know, this period has not before now received proper attention from any English historian. But the history of the last ten years has made some such explanation of Germany’s recent course necessary and timely.

Stein’s character has never been so well drawn in English, nor yet, it is safe to say, in German. He was of the stuff of which great heroes are made, Loth in his faults and in his virtues, and the lesson of his life is an important one. The description of Germany during the period Professor Seeley has written about is most interesting. Of a book so full it is hard to speak justly without taking up a number of the many questions it suggests. There is, for instance, the question of patriotism, which the book illustrates. The view that the literary men held concerning duty to one’s country is one that Professor Seeley mentions, not in the way of abstract discussion, but as a part of his faithful chronicle. All the greater German writers lived aloof from politics ; they looked on patriotism as but magnified prejudice, and it is curious to sec how Stein fought against this tendency. Professor Seeley has hardly done justice to the enthusiasm produced by the later lyric poets, whose war songs are familiar to us all. The patriotism of the Germans has cost them a high price, and the day may come when patriotism shall be called provincialism ; but the world is not yet ripe, for that change of front, however desirable it may be.

As a study of the growth of a nation towards patriotism, there is no more interesting book than this one, and it would be hard to find another that made so plain the necessity of patient training. This is what Stein made the main law of his country,— although, of course, he had docile material to work with, — and by persistent effort and unrelaxed determination he won the day, and did his full share in rendering the country victorious.

— Dr. Schumacher is the consul general of the German Empire for the United States, residing in New York. He has been an active and intelligent traveler and a diligent student of historical geography, so that he was fully competent to appreciate the literary treasures gathered in the libraries of Messrs. James Lennox, Carson Brevoort, and H. C. Murphy. From the material that he thus found ready to his hand, and with his Large knowledge of the subject, he has prepared an elaborate essay on Peter Martyr,6 the first historian of the discoveries made by his own contemporaries, Columbus and his companions and successors in the early expeditions from Spain and Portugal. Peter was a native of Arona, on Lake Maggiore, in the Milanese territory, and spent ten years of his early life in Rome, in the midst of the best literary circle of his time, and attracted the notice of the ablest men of the capital by his mastery of Latin, which he wrote and taught so as to earn the approval of the leading classical authorities there. The Spanish ambassador, Cardinal Tendilla, engaged him to return with him to Spain, where he found many of his countrymen and others of first-rate ability at Salamanca and Toledo, and, following the fashion of the day, he gave his name a Latin termination, became Petrus Martyr Anglerius, and the Latin clerk to the crown. He followed the royal pair, Ferdinand and Isabella, in their campaign against the Moslems, but, resisting the temptation to exchange the pen for the sword, busied himself in teaching; became a priest; served on several embassies, notably on one to the sultan of the Nile, the Mameluke commander; declined another to Constantinople; became a member of the council of India; was the first abbot of Jamaica and archdeacon of Ocañu ; was employed in quieting an insurrection in Valencia; was prior of Granada and papal prothonotary ; and when he died the chapter of Granada erected a fitting memorial in the cathedral in 1526, recording his services to the state and to the church. But his true claim to the exhaustive account of his life and writings given by Schumacher, and to the high praise awarded him by his contemporaries, Las Casas and Oviedo, and by later writers, Humboldt and Hallam, Helps and

Harrisse, Prescott and Ranke, is based on his history of the discoveries made by Columbus and his followers, and his letters describing the reports made by them, which furnished the material for his own books, and were subsequently printed in a volume that Humboldt pointed out as the most curious historic monument of the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella and Charles V. Peter was, from the outset, an unconscious historian of his own times ; for, following the fashion of the day, he was diligent in collecting all the latest news and embodying it in letters to his patrons in Italy, who expected thus to be supplied with correct accounts of all public events of importance. His correspondence during forty years — from 1488 to 1528, over two hundred letters— was all carefully preserved, and on the retained copies he noted the changes and additions to the stock of information there gathered together; and these were printed in 1530, and form a valuable contribution to the history of the discoveries made by Spain In writing to Milan, in 1493, Peter mentioned the safe return of Columbus from his first voyage, the honors paid him, his reported discoveries, and, with characteristic local Italian jealousy, rather disparaged the claim of the Genoese mariner. Peter himself, by a happy accident, gave to the newly discovered territory the title of “ novus mundus,” although Columbus lived and died in the honest faith that he had only opened a new route to the oldest of lands, Asia, and that his real service was in shortening the access to India, with its treasures. From being a mere chronicler in casual letters, Peter rose to the dignity of authorship, aiming at a complete account of the new discoveries in the West, and seeking to relate in ten decades, in imitation of Livy, the voyages of Columbus and his companions and successors. It is this work that has given him the name and fame of the first historian of America, and Dr. Schumacher’s study exhausts the stock of information as to his sources of knowledge, the details of the printing and reprinting of his book in its several editions, and the history of the man and his relations to the great discoverers whose achievements he was the first thus to record in a continuous narrative. At first receiving the news of what Columbus had found with wellbred doubt or indifference, Peter ended by sharing heartily in the temper of the time, accepting all that tallied with his classical and mythological education and his preconceived notions, and recording with hesitation much that is now the commonplace of our knowledge of the regions then first made known to Europeans. The University of Alcalá brought together what was best in Spain of learning and scholarslip, attracted the youth of the nation then only recently consolidated under one crown, gave them instruction in classics and medicine and the arts and sciences of the day ; and the printing-press set up there by a German, Jacob Cromberger, of Seville, brought forth a polyglot Bible and many other rare bibliographical treasures, characteristic in themselves and as representing a period of literary transition of great significance. The book that is of special interest to students of early American history is Peter Martyr’s Decades, covering twenty years of contemporary discovery, beginning with that by Columbus of what he claimed to be islands on the coast of Asia, and ending with a description of the first permanent settlement on the main-land of what was thus finally recognized as a new continent. The book gave the first account in one continuous history of the results achieved by the expeditious sent out from Spain ; of their reports of great wealth of gold and silver, of adventures by sea and land, of struggles and negotiations with hardy savages, of shipwrecks and disaster, of starvation and death, of defeat and conquest, of the horrors and the charms of the unknown region, of the misery and the splendor of the tropics, of pagan crimes and Christian miracles. The book is full of stories of terrible giants and gigantic Amazons, of men living in trees and using poisoned arrows, of savages oridnarily feeding on vegetables and feasting on the flesh of their defeated enemies, — of the truths and the fictions that came from the empire beyond the ocean ; and its great aim was to secure a full recognition of the services, the sacrifices, and the rights of Spain in its distant colonies, where its supremacy was threatened by the success of rival nations in new expeditions. It is a noteworthy fact, mentioned by Dr. Schumacher, that the best edition of the book is that printed in Paris in 1587, edited by Hakluyt, and dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh, thus uniting in one work the three men who best deserve the gratitude of the student of geography for their labors in its broad field. The Spanish edition is very rare, and was so from the outset; for, with characteristic jealousy, it was withheld from general circulation for fifty years, although in the mean time a translation of the first three Decades was printed in London in 1555, of the fourth in 1577, and of the whole in 1612. Then a collection of Peter’s letters was printed in Alcalá in 1533, and an Elzevir reprint of them was issued in 1670,— Opus Epistolarum Petri Martyris Anglerii, — with many corrections of the numerous errors that easily occurred in the effort to interpolate later facts in old letters; and others of his letters figure in Llorente’s History of the Inquisition, and in Eergenroth’s Calendar of State Papers at Simancas, — but still the wonder grows that, as Humboldt suggested, no writer versed in the history of the age of Alexander VI., Julius II., and Leo X. has been attracted by the freshness of this admirable letterwriter to publish an abstract of his work, Harrisse points out that he was the most intimate friend of Columbus, and indeed to him we owe the preservation of many of the letters of Columbus, while Ranke and Kohl refer to his works as a source of most reliable information as to the earliest discoveries of America; and Humboldt was inspired by Peter to his critical investigations and travels on the American continents, just as Schumacher followed Humboldt in his journeys over the footsteps of the first explorers, and then in his painstaking and exhaustive study of the composition of Peter Martyr’s Decades of the New World and its curious literary history. What Schumacher has thus done for the bibliography of our first author had been attempted in another and much less satisfactory way by Sehlözer in his extracts from Peter’s Letters so far as they related to America, in the Göttingen Collection of 1777 ; but the progress in critical knowledge in the interval is happily illustrated in the superiority of the present essay and its wealth of material, found by its author around him in New York, and the admirable skill with which it is used in bringing home to the ordinary reader the story of the Life and Letters of Peter Martyr,

— Mrs. Clement and Mix Laurence Hutton, in their joint work, Artists of the Nineteenth Century,7 are fortunate enough to have established a most excellent and useful type for such a work. Of course their undertaking in its present form is necessarily incomplete. For the large majority of the two thousand and fifty artists here memorialized are still living and working; many of them have their lives yet to fulfill in completeness of achievement, and many more must come upon the scene and leave their marks upon the time during the twenty years which must elapse before the close of the century. This book must be accepted, therefore, as a first edition of a final work, subject to successive amendments and additions with the gradual and constant development of the history of modern art.

The authors in their preface recognize the difficulty of obtaining, either from printed authorities or from the artists themselves, an accurate statement of the contributions rendered by living artists to the art of the time. Distance has not yet given to them the true position which they are to occupy in history. To remedy this difficulty, the authors, in the absence of other testimony, have applied, with various success, to the artists themselves for a correct list of their works and a correct statement of their education, with all necessary facts as to dates and places; or they have availed themselves of such contemporary criticism and current testimony as could be found. For the most part, the illustrative quotations are liberal and well chosen out of a large range of literature, and they form the most attractive feature of the volumes.

A work of this sort must have exclusions and inclusions more or less arbitrary, and it would he easy to discover names which perhaps do not so well deserve mention as some which have been quite forgotten. This of conrse is a matter of opinion. We cannot but note, however, that, as in the industrial arts of the latter part of the century there is to be found one of the most characteristic developments of modern art in a high range of thought aud invention, the best designers in pottery, faïence, and stained glass, in fabrics of all sorts, and in wall decorations especially, should have found ample notice in these pages. It is but due to them and to their great influence that they should take their place beside those whose works are exhibited in galleries. Among architects the omissions are singularly frequent, and the notice of the few whose names are included is extremely inadequate. Against such names as Joseph Louis Duc and Vaudremer in France; Sir G. G. Scott, Alfred Waterhouse, Norman Shaw, and George Edmund Street in England ; Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Germany, we do not find an intelligent recognition of their greatest and most characteristic works, which have certainly made a profound impression on the history of modern art. Among the illustrious names in this branch of art not mentioned are those of H. Labrouste, the leader of the modern Greek school and architect of the National Library of Paris, and Viollet-le-Duc, the most brilliant of modern writers on art, and one of the best draughtsmen of modern times; among English architects wo look in vain for the names of Purges, Butterfield, and other leaders; and among Americans Richard Upjohn, the father of the profession here, should receive some adequate mention. We recommend a careful revision of this list in the interest of truth and fullness of record. Complete indices of artists, authorities quoted, and names and places mentioned in the text occur in each volume. In this respect the work is a model of its kind, and as a whole it is most thoroughly and liberally edited.

  1. Cæsar. A Sketch. By JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE. New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1879.
  2. “ Our line,” — aciem nostram. Acies means the legions, troops of the line.
  3. Memoir of the Rev. Francis Hodgson, B. D., Scholar, Poet, and Divine. By his son, the REV. JAMES T. HODGSON, M. A. London: Macmillan & Co. 1878.
  4. The Life and Adventures of Ernst Moritz Arndt. Compiled from the German. With a preface. By J. R. SEELEY, M. A. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1879.
  5. Life and Times of Stein ; or, Germany and Prussia in the Napoleonic Age. By J. R. SEELEY, M. A., Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge. Two volumes. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1879.
  6. Petrus Martyr, der Geschichtschreiber des Weltmeeres. Eine Studie. Von HERMANN A. SCHUMACHER. Mit einer Karte aus dem Jahre 1510. [Peter Martyr, the Historian of the Ocean A Study. By HERMANN A. SCHUMACHER. With a map, of the year 1510.] New York : E. Steiger. 1879.
  7. Artists of the Nineteenth Century, and their Works. A Hand-Book containing 2050 Biographical Sketches. By CLARA ERSKINE CLEMENT and LAU RENCE HUTTON. Two vols. Boston : Houghton, Osgood & Co. 1879.