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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 63

History and Biography

History and Biography.

Regarding the career of Charles the Bold as capable of supplying material for an historical construction, rather than as forming "merely a romantic episode" in European history, Mr. Kirk has availed himself of the recent researches of the students of the period has examined the chronicles and memoirs which illustrate it, and from various novel sources opened up in Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria, has derived valuable evidence relating to the chief actors and notable events of the time, and for final result has combined the information and knowledge he has obtained into one "symmetrical page 593 [unclear: narrative]."1 The two published volumes of this work, designed to be completed by a third now in course of preparation, indicate a scholarly diligence, real understanding of the subject, and an undoubted historical ability. It is true that with all its merits the book before us is not a great book. We find in it no philosophical thought of a [unclear: high] nor does its author seem to us to possess the historical imagination in any very eminent degree. If we look to the style which he has adopted, we should say that though writing with vigour and animation, he is deficient in grace, simplicity, and illuminating force.

His composition is sometimes laboured and verbose; in the subjoined sentence his language seems wild:—

"Feudalism, though endued with a centrifugal force ever fruitful of alarming phenomena, and though engaged—at what seemed the period of its rampant strength, but what was in truth the period of its feebleness and decline—in a desperate contest with monarchical power, was nevertheless the chief source from which that power derived its nutriment and growth, weaving the countless threads that when grasped by a skilful hand drew together all the revolving particles and atoms, and distilling all the copious fountains of loyalty that were length to overflow and mingle in a common reservoir."

In spite, however, of defects or deficiencies, Mr. Kirk has produced a really valuable book—a book which is entitled to a place in our library beside the volumes of the friend who aided him in procuring fie requisite materials for his literary enterprise, the late William H. Prescott; a distinction which is in itself no mean praise.

Commencing with a description of France at the close of the four-tenth and in the first half of the fifteenth century, Mr. Kirk rapidly delineates the struggles of feudalism with royalty, the long prevailing [unclear: snarchy] and ultimate regeneration of France, when the English had abandoned, not only their recent acquisitions, but their earliest possesion, and when Calais alone saw "the standard of St. George still floating over French soil." The account of the dominions, court and policy of Philip the Good, which follows, abounds in interesting and picturesque details. In the third chapter we are introduced to Charles the Bold, the inheritor of that renowned sovereignty, which had no [unclear: ewer] than five successive phases, and which Charles proposed to restore to its ancient splendour, as the kingdom of the Rhine,—"the counterpart of that earlier Burgundian kingdom which, leaning on the Vosges, the Jura, and the Alps, had guarded the waters of the Rhine to their junction with the sea." Charles, the hero of Mr. Kirk's history, and the rival of Louis XI., has hitherto been pronounced deficient in sagacity and deliberative foresight, and as the Terrible, the Rash, the Bold, and by anticipation, the Idiot, has been held to have played rather a conspicuous than distinguished part, in the drama of European history. To this conception of Charles's character Mr. Kirk objects, not without grounds. He does not, indeed, claim for him transcendent genius, or versatile talent, or ready adaptiveness, but contends that he had eminent, though not pre-eminent intelligence; page 594 that "his vision, within a limited range, was singularly clear," and that while, without the profound and foreseeing intellect and the inventive faculty of his antagonist, he had powers of reasoning that were rare and admirable, and principles of action that were consistent and sound. That Charles was not wanting either in the faculty that discerns or that which appropriates opportunity is manifest, from the promptitude with which he took advantage of the existing weakness, discord, and embarrassments of neighbouring states, and which is attested by the downfall of Liége, the purchase of Alsace, the annexation of Gueldres, and the establishment of a military protectorate over Lorraine.

Of this sincere, straightforward and impetuous prince Louis XI was the natural enemy. As Mr. Kirk undertakes to correct the popular impression of Charles's character, so he revises the traditional portrait of the French king. Far from denying, however, the reality of the historical element that enters into the received representation he insists that "most of the particulars are indubitable facts. The cages and the steel-traps, the cunning, the cruelty, the suspicions, the bigotry are authentically established." Yet a monarch of whom it can be truly said that he strove to win the sympathy and co-operation of his people, that he appealed to and created public opinion, [unclear: that] granted charters liberally to Communes, must have had some remarkable qualities—qualities that justified the admiration of so able and comparatively impartial a judge as Philippe de Commines. A vigorous mind, Mr. Kirk explains, united with a bad heart, is not necessarily an instrument of evil. Louis found the French nobility insubordinate Deprived by royal enactment of the privileges of the chase, they were dreadfully bored, and partly out of pure ennui, it would seem, formed a combination—the so-called League of the Public Weal—which might have resulted in the dismemberment of France. The unity of the country was imperilled, and the existence of the Monarchy menaced by the rebellious vassals of the Crown. With a firm [unclear: grasp] Louis held the power which legitimately belonged to him, crushed feudal anarchy, and saved France. And this great and necessary wok "was effected, not with the aid of fortune or by a preponderance of strength, but through the efforts of an intellect ever watchful and never dispirited, contending against enormous difficulties and overwhelming odds—an intellect so keen and so vivacious as to compel over sympathy, and render dormant that aversion which its choice of means would otherwise inspire." Such are the two principal actors in events which have in them a deep and permanent interest. We have shown how Mr. Kirk regards the rival princes and the work one of [unclear: them] and one of them tried to do. We cannot follow him in his narrative of the double career of Charles the Bold, which, beginning with an attempt to undermine the French monarchy, ended with an effort "to establish a power which should rise beside and overtop that monarchy." Among the passages of this history which have struck us most are those which describe the scenery, the institutions, the resources, the usages of Liege, Bruges, Ghent, the analysis of the character of Charles and Louis, the story of the counter-revolution in England, in page 595 which some light is thrown on the conduct of the king-making Earl of Warwick, and the episode of Hagenbach's rise and fall. We shall welcome the conclusion of Mr. Kirk's most praiseworthy labours. He is evidently a thoughtful and diligent writer, and gives such evidences of reading and research that we are quite at a loss to conjecture how he, in common with another recent historian, can confound Gregory I. with Gregory VII., as he assuredly does in the note to p. 288, vol. i.

To form a close alliance with the Duke of Burgundy was the obvious policy of the head of the House of York, which gained additional popularity in England from its maintenance of the claims advanced by Edward III. to the crown of France. Edward IV., though he reconquered none of the lost territory, compelled Louis XI. to pay him tribute, and stipulated that the Dauphin should marry his eldest daughter. The treaty of Arras, however, directly set aside this stipulation. On the death of Edward no resentment was manifested in England, and Richard III., who had enough to do at home, had neither motive nor inclination for a quarrel with France.

Such is the view at least of Mr. James Gairdner, who, in the preface to a second and final volume of letters and papers illustrative of the reigns of Richard III. and Henry VII.,2 has taken an interesting survey of the period, or rather of some of its leading events, discussing such questions as Richard's criminality, Perkin Warbeck's identity, and James the Fourth's character. We notice that in the present volume Mr. Gairdner recalls the opinion which he expressed in the former volume, on the authorship of the Latin History of Richard III., which he was at one time disposed to attribute, not to Sir Thomas More, but, following the tradition mentioned by Harrington in Queen Elizabeth's reign, to Cardinal Morton. The difficulty of supposing More to be the author of the "History," which arises from the consideration that if he were only three years old at Richard's accession he could not possibly have written the passage in which he says that he remembers an anecdote then told to his father, Mr. Gairdner endeavours to surmount by antedating More's birth by four years. But would a boy of seven have been much more likely than a child of three years of age to have retained in his memory the circumstances recorded in page xxi. of the preface: or is it certain that he would have even understood the report?

There are three other volumes of the Record Office, publications which we can but briefly notice here. "The Annales Monastici,"3 edited by Mr. Luard, contains the Margan Annals, beginning with the death of Edward the Confessor, and in part, perhaps, derived from William of Malmesbury's History; the Annals of the Monastery of page 596 Tewkesbury, which also begin with Edward's death; and the [unclear: Amals] of Burton, the most valuable portion of which, says the editor, "relates to the Provisions of Oxford and the revolution, which in fact almost dethroned the King" (Henry III.).

"The Magna Vita S. Hugonis Episcopi Lincolniensis,"4 admirably edited by Rev. James F. Dimock, from manuscripts in the [unclear: Bod] Library, Oxford, and the Imperial Library, Paris, is a circumstantial biography of an illustrious saint, written by one Adam, a Benedictine monk, and a retainer of Hugh's household. "The Life," which has always been held in high estimation, appears to be of considerable value. It should have a particular attraction for Somersetshire antiquarians, as it contains various details relating to Witham Friary, near Frome, where Henry II. founded a Carthusian monastery, of which Hugh was appointed prior, being the third in order of succession Witham, or the "House of Understanding," as Adam interprets it, out of compliment to Hugh, has gone the way of many another picturesque village, and hears the profane railway scream where once it heard the monks' pious chant.

The remaining volume is a very curious one, but its lengthy title,5 which we give below, will sufficiently explain its nature. In the preface, Mr. Oswald Cockayne has collected many quaint and instructive details respecting charms, witches, and magic in general.

Among the more remarkable persons accused of practising the black Art was Gerbert, or Silvester II., one of the most learned of popes. In a valuable and attractive study called "The Pope-Fables of the Middle Age," Döllinger, the celebrated Roman Catholic writer, explains the origin of this and several other singular papal myths, including the most singular of all, that of Pope Joan.6 In the 13th century a saga which had perhaps been in the air for some little time assumed a definite shape, and took its place as a fact in history. The story went that a woman of surpassing knowledge had succeeded in procuring her own elevation to the papal chair; that she performed the various functions of her sublime position; brought scandal on the Church by giving birth to a child in the streets, and, according to one account, was stoned immediately after. The street in which the little accident happened has been avoided since, it is added, and processions take a circuitous route, in order to shun that spot of shame. Now, the strange circumstance about this fable is, that it is not a weak invention of the Protestant enemy. It was current in the 13th century, arose in Rome, and was propagated, not by the Valdenses, but by their most page 597 determined opponents, the Dominicans and Minorites, in the time of Boniface VIII., who was not over-favourably disposed to these orders, and whose disesteem inspired them with a personal dislike, which was extended to the papal office itself, so far, at least, that they found a gratification in indicating the holes in his predecessors' coat. After tracing with great learning and research the literary history of this marvellous myth, the accomplished author offers what appears to us a perfectly satisfactory explanation of it. The constituent elements of the story are, the customary use of a perforated chair, believed to afford particular facilities for the ascertainment of the sex of the newly-elected pope, who never again occupies it; a stone with an inscription, which was mistaken for a monument; a supposed female statue, and the practice of avoiding a particular street already mentioned. For the manner in which these real materials were combined into a fabulous whole we must refer the reader to the essay itself; merely observing that the stone seat was chosen for its beautiful colouring, and not for its perforations; that the statue was probably that of a priest of Mithras, in flowing robes and with an attendant youth, and that the P.P.P. inscription, which was understood to mean

"Papa Pater patrum peperit papissa papillum,"

or something like it, may, and perhaps does, signify Papirius pater patrum propriâ pecuniâ posuit—pater patrum being a recognised appellation of a priest of Mithras; while, in conclusion, the avoidance of the street is to be ascribed simply to its inconveniently narrow dimensions. There are, it would seem, eight other similarly "true tales" similarly dealt with in this curiously learned investigation. We extremely admire the dexterity with which the author converts what has been taken for history into its mythical elements, and heartily recommend his researches to Catholics and Protestants alike.

About the end of the eighth century appeared that collection of Ecclesiastical Canons now usually known as the "False Decretals." They were given to the world under the name of Isidore, an unknown person who borrowed in part from a previous and genuine collection of canons. The supremacy of Rome over the various national churches rested for centuries on these spurious decretals. Two compact volumes, from the Leipsic press, contain these memorable documents.7 In the treatise which introduces them an account seems to be given of the different MSS. of the Decretals, of their character and composition, and an inquiry is instituted into their authorship, date, and derivation. Though we have spoken above of two compact volumes, we judge of the nature of the first from that of the second, having seen the latter only.

In this place a few words may be appropriately given to Hasse's "Manual of Church History," a work which shows some research, and page 598 displays a real acquaintance with the subject of which it treats, but which is not distinguished by bold or original criticism.8 The plan of the work precludes anything like detailed exposition, and thus, perhaps, we ought hardly to expect the distinction between the later and earlier Ophitæ, a Gnostic sect, to be preserved. In the account of the Paschal controversy the conformity of Apollinaris to the usage of Asia Minor, asserted by our author, is a misconception. Apollinaris agreed with the Western view, which was that of the fourth Gospel, but which not that of the Asiatic Church traditionally founded on the authority of the Apostles John and James, and supported by the evidence of the Synoptic Gospels. The first part only of Dr. Hasse's work is before us: it brings us down to the time of St. Augustine, passing in rapid review the doctrine, government, and discipline of the Church; its struggle with Paganism, Judaism, &c.; its relations to the state, and its ceremonial, ritual, and philosophy.

The historical researches, in ancient, mediæval, and modern times, of Dr. Friedrich Kortüm, consist of detached papers: an anti-Cleonic essay on the demagogue Cleon, one on Agis IV., one on Pindar's political and philosophical view of life, one on Thucydides, and one on the history of ancient art.9 A seventh treats of peculiarities in the Hispano-Roman poetry of the second half of the first century after Christ, and traces the characteristics of Silius Italicus, Lucan, and Martial. The two mediæval essays are on Ezzelino da Romano, and the royal power, serfdom, and land-allotments of the old Germans; while the subjects of the essays relating to modern times are: I. the Duke of Alba as commander of the projected expedition against Geneva and the Evangelical Swiss Confederacy; and II., the Lady Jane Grey, whom Herr Kortüm appears to regard as a kind of Protestant saint martyr.

M. Alfred Maury, noting the existence of an historical element is the sciences, and wishing to impress on the public mind a convictions of the superiority of scientific truth to literary ornamentation, has attempted, in "Les Académies d'Autrefois,." to sketch the history of two remarkable societies, L'ancienne Académie des Sciences, and [unclear: L'ancien] Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, choosing the former for the scientific illustration which it supplies, and discerning in both alike a certain historical interest.10 The present volume deals only with the Académie des Sciences. This institution was the creation of Colbert. Under the patronage of the Grand Monarque it began its sitting as page 599 the 22nd December, 1666, in one of the rooms of the royal library. A peculiarity of this society, and one which supplied our author with an additional motive for the preparation of this work, lay in its cosmopolitan character. It availed itself from the first of the suggestions and co-operation of foreigners. Huyghens, Cassini, Newton, were early associated with it. At the commencement, it enrolled as its correspondents Flamsteed, Briggs, Eisenschmid, Viviani (the pupil of Galileo), Marchetti (the successor of Borelii), Bayle, Basnage, and Papin. It will be readily understood that the most illustrious names in science, the great mathematicians, the great astronomers, the famous chemists, the most renowned physicists and physiologists, are all registered in M Maury's historical table. The work they did is briefly indicated, and thus we are furnished with an outline of scientific progress. It is quite impossible to give the details here. After a brilliant career of more than a century and a quarter, the Academy was suppressed by the Republican Government on the 8th August, 1793. It may be said, however, to have been represented in the National Institute, founded by the same government about two years after, and to have been re-established in 1816, as a branch of that magnificent corporation. M. Maury has produced in his sketch of its origin and development a volume that is both pleasant and instructive.

M. Maury's countryman, Amédée Gabourd, has published the first volume of a history of our own times,11 in which, while giving the lion's share to France, as the directress of the social movement, the initiative power, the apostle of thought and intelligence, he records the leading events that have taken place in other countries since the Revolution of 1830. Notwithstanding his admiration for France, which, with an almost Jewish enthusiasm he regards as divinely chosen to serve as the instrument with which the Supreme works out his majestic purposes, he seems to us to write with considerable freedom and impartiality. His religious predilections necessarily lead to conclusions which we cannot accept; nor have we any sympathy with that extension of the Catholic domain, or that military guardianship of Rome, which he so proudly eulogizes. In spite, however, of this patriotic and theological partizanship, M. Gabourd tells the story of European contemporary history with certainly a proximate accuracy, and as he "retains the old habit of loving liberty and welcoming its conquests," we find ourselves generally in sufficient accordance with his views, and quite willing to concede that, if he does look through a pair of French spectacles, he sees other countries in the world besides his own. The portion of this contemporaneous "History" before us falls into three principal divisions. Having in an introduction characterized the Restoration and the Bourbon government, from 1814 to the catastrophe which drove Charles X. from his throne, he describes the situation of France and of Europe, down to the period of dissatisfaction and disorder which followed the establishment of the bourgeois monarchy of July. The subject of the second book is page 600 the reaction, not only in France, but in Europe, against the revolutionary movement. As the separation of Belgium from Holland was related in the first book, so the Polish insurrection is a leading topic of the second. The third book relates the events connected with the progress of the revolutionary movement, and the new expedients employed for keeping it down. The Bristol riot, the insurrection at Lyons the affairs of Greece, are discussed in the final section of the volume, which closes with the death of Casimir Perier. M. Gabourd undertakes to delineate the social, artistic, and literary movement, as well at the political events of the period which he has chosen to illustrate. To some extent the social characteristics of the times are almost unavoidably noticed; but we presume that he reserves for a future occasion the formal statement of his views on this, as well as on the other complementary subjects of his historical essay.

The insurrection of Greece, which receives some notice in M. Gabourd's pages, is treated at great length by its appropriate historian, Spiridion Tricoupi; a second and corrected edition of whose comprehensive work, written in a sort of classical modern Greek, invites the attention of the studious and sanguine Philohellenist, more especially at a new crisis in the fate of the land in which he is interested,12 Believing in the regeneration of Greece, and in the justice and grandeur of her cause, the historian pronounces her struggle for liberty to be an event that confers honour on humanity, and bids us hear in the blast of her battle-trumpet an angel's hymn to the Most High. Turning to the passage in which he discusses the character of the Greek Governor, Capo d'Istria, we see that while he recognises his worth he is by no means blind to his faults. In vindicating his patriotism, he maintains that the President did not seek the government of Greece for the sake of Russia, but courted Russia for the sake of Greece. The chief aim of his administration was the promotion of the material improvement of Greece, as the basis and necessary preliminary of all other and all higher improvement. Tricoupi gives him credit for many serviceable qualities and admirable gifts; for courteous and conciliating diplomacy, vigilance and economy in government, a persuasive tongue and a charming pen. On the other hand, he attributes to him an exaggerated self-esteem. He did not hesitate to speak of himself as the saviour of Greece, while he reviled his predecessors in office, and went so far as to call the Phanariots and others all sorts of vituperative names. Possessing little faith in the capacity of the Greeks for constitutional government, he would have preferred the establishment of an absolute rule as better adapted, [unclear: in] own judgment, to a people in a state of transition from slavery freedom.

This view of the character of Capo d'Istria is confirmed by Dr. Karl Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, the eldest son, we believe, of the celebrated musical composer, who has written a complete memoir of the page 601 famous Corfiote count.13 Equally with Tricoupi he testifies to his respectable church-going conduct, his finished diplomacy, and ready pea, but complains that he belongs to the school of "enlightened despotism," that wanted to do everything for the people, nothing by it, and fancied, as it were, that much governing was the same as good governing. Dr. Karl Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, however, appears to us to consider Capo d'Istria to have been less patriotic than Tricoupi does. Though allowing that in general he supported Russian views only where the common advantage of both countries justified his support, he accuses him of subserviency to the Czar, and, on one occasion at least, of a decided postponement of the interests of Greece. There was one thing, however, which our author thinks Capo d'Istria preferred to the welfare of either Greece or Russia—his own personal aggrandizement; and when Northern pretensions conflicted with his own claims, he grew discontented with his ally, though Russia was now his sole resource for putting down the constitutional party in Greece. His egoism, our author contends, was not a strong masculine egoism like that of Richelieu, which might have saved his country, eat a weak feminine egoism which, after unchaining the passions of the people, left it long a prey to a fearful confusion. Accordingly he holds that the dagger of Mauromichalis struck the self-seeking President at the right moment, enabling him to fall with the glory of a martyr and procuring him the honourable posthumous distinction of the new Timoleon. Horn 11th February, 1776, he died 9th October, 1831.

We have given the son precedence of the father, as an author, not the subject of a biography.14 The letters of Felix Mendelsohn, (1833—1847), of which Karl is one of the editors, have been translated by Lady Wallace, in what seems to be very readable English. Commencing directly after the termination of the former volume which contained the letters from Switzerland and Italy, the present volume brings us down to the last scene of all, the great composer's death. In addition to a good deal of musical criticism that will attract only those who cultivate the glorious art, there are notices of Mendelsohn's life and vocation, as the account of his appointment at Berlin, that will interest the general reader. We particularly admire the fine answer Mendelsohn when he felt unable to comply with the royal request to compose music for the Eumenides: "I will always obey the commands of a sovereign so beloved by me, even at th sacrifice of my personal wishes and advantage. If I find I cannot do so with a good artistic conscience, I must endeavour candidly to state my scruples or my incapacity, and if that does not suffice, then I must go," &c:

page 602

The first volume of a Life of Karl Ritter, by Dr. Kramer, describes the boyhood and early education of that well-known geographer, his travels, his residence in Florence, Rome, and Naples; his matures studies and occupations, and his marriage and settlement in Berlin.15 It seems agreeably and intelligibly written; but could not the biographer tell the story of his hero's life in half the number of pages?

In a somewhat heterogeneous selection of German books, the next that "occurs," as the geologists say, is Dehnel's Reminiscence of German officers engaged in the British service, from the year of grace, or, as our author says, of war, 1805, to 1816.16 The papers comprised in this volume are very miscellaneous. The first section begins with the Copenhagen affair in 1807, includes an account of the battle of Busaco and the lines of Torres Vedras, and ends with a drive in a waggon drawn by bullocks, from Burgos to Viseu. In a second division we find a notice of the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo and the battle of Waterloo. The storming of Badajos is a leading topic of the third division, and various exploits and different military transactions, chiefly relating to the Peninsular War, are described in the remaining sections.

The last German publication that we have to acknowledge, is Gustav de Veer's sketch of the life and times of the renowned Portuguese navigator, Prince Henry, introduced by an historical essay on the Portuguese trade and maritime affairs from the earliest period, the opening of the twelfth century, to the commencement of the fifteenth.17 The discoverer of the Island of Madeira, the Azores, and various places on the west coast of Africa, has every title to have his history told and retold, in all the dialects of articulate-speaking men.

The life of the theologian Calixtus, Danish by allegiance and Hanoverian by position, has been drawn up, not without ability, though also not without a certain quaint affectation and perhaps unavoidable impotency of conclusion, by his ardent admirer, the Rev. W. C. Dowding,18 a gentleman who is sanguine enough to nourish the hope that the conciliating theology of Calixtus may possibly have the same influence on the mind of England now, it had on that of Germany formerly. George Calixtus was born at Flensburg, in Schleswig, in the autumn of 1586. At twelve years of age he was received into the Latin school of Flensburg. In his seventeenth year he entered the university of Helmstadt, of the student life of which in those good page 603 old times Mr. Doweling gives us an edifying description. An excellent classic, and an accomplished Hebrew scholar, Calixtus was promoted to the office of ordinary professor of Theology in Jan. 1615, and a few years after, he married Catherine Gairtner, the daughter of a rich burgher of Helmstadt. A life of professional usefulness and learned leisure, spiced or peppered with frequent theological discussion, closed in a peaceful death in 1657. A man who like Calixtus lived amid the stirring scenes of the Thirty Years' War, who was associated in power and intellect with Casaubon, Vossius, and Grotius, and is mentioned with respect by Bossuet, must have been no common man. Opposed to the predominant stringent and exclusive Lutheranism, and favouring "the Melancthonian humanities," Calixtus seems to have represented the Broad Church of his own times. His efforts for comprehension, however, had precisely the success that might have been anticipated in days when men gravely disputed whether the blood of Christ, being inconceivably precious, the world's salvation had been purchased by one drop or by the whole of it—days when it was held by the vulgar that "God and Nature no longer did anything, but the watches did it all," and princes insisted that the magistrates should proceed against the imaginary crime of sorcery—the very same princes, perhaps, who "assumed to themselves the decision of theological truth, and embodied their dicta in some corpus or summary which was presented to their people upon the point of the sword." Mr. Dowding holds up Calixtus as a model; but what did Calixtus accomplish? Such was the force of bigotry, that at the Congress of Thorn, the Reformed party could not even record a statement of their faith, nor the Lutheran obtain a hearing. Nay, so opposed was Calovius, a Lutheran zealot, to any plan for the inclusion of the Calvinists, that Calixtus gave up the discussion. Thus, though present in Thorn, the man who had made peace the object of his life took no part in the Conference. After it had cost the citizens 50,000 florins, it failed, and "what before was said of Hurt was repeated with justice of this wasted effort."

"Quid synodus? nodus. Patrum chorus integer? æger.

Conventus? Ventus. Gloria? stramen, amen."

So intractable is the spirit of theology; so indefinable, evasive, and indemonstrable is its dogma!

Happily, "where Luther preached another preacher came whom we know as Goethe!" The life of this high-priest of truth and beauty has been pourtrayed, as the life of such a man rarely is pourtrayed, by Mr. Lewes.19 His record of the career of the greatest European poet since Shakespeare will occupy a permanent place in the biographical section of our libraries. For fidelity, research, narrative ability, clearness and completeness of exposition, critical insight, and transient purity of language, it deserves almost unqualified praise. The sale of thirteen thousand copies of this work in England and Germany is a proof of the estimation in which it is held. In the cheaper and page 604 more compact form which it has assumed, in the new English edition, it is likely to become still more popular. To enhance its value Mr. Lewes has partly rewritten it, introducing new material, as well as correcting and reconstructing it. By means of personal corroboration, by actual consultation of those "who lived under the same roof" with the poet, by the inspection of a mass of printed testimony, controlled and completed by the evidence of unprinted papers, Mr. Lewes has "sought to acquire and reproduce a definite image of the living man, and not simply of the man as he appeared in all the reticence of print." Occasional alterations, additions, or omissions may be discovered in the pages of this revised "Biography," as in the explanation of the love-affair with Frederica, the extract from a letter humorously describing the backward state of historical study at the University of Tübingen at the end of the eighteenth century, the sentences at the commencement of the now separate chapter on Goethe's wife, and the modifications in the magnificent survey of "The Poet as a Man of Science;" but the book is essentially the same book now that it was when it was first published some ten or twelve years ago, so that we may greet it as an old friend, finding the old memories and old associations undisturbed.

Mr. George Ticknor's Life of Mr. Prescott, in an illustrated quarto volume, has some agreeable and interesting pages, but is surely unnecessarily long.20 The blind historian, as we learn from it, had many estimable qualities. He was amiable, patient, and persevering. Naturally gay and volatile, he broke himself into habits of regularity and industry. The accident by which he became ultimately blind, or all but blind, occurred at college—the result of a frolic or chance-medley. The author of "Ferdinand and Isabella," "The Conquest of Mexico," and "Philip II.," had many English friends and acquaintance among them Macaulay, Milman, Lord Carlisle, and Sir Charles Lyell. His merits as an historian were recognised by Hallam and others praise is honour. When the late Mr. Thackeray visited him, he saw on the library-wall of one of the most famous writers of America two crossed swords which his relatives wore in the great War of Independence," and noted the fact, to Mr. Prescott's gratification, at the commencement of "The Virginians." There are many pleasing incidents recorded in Mr. Ticknor's volume. He shows us faithfully his hero's characteristics, discloses his ways of life and work, and registers his opinions. Mr. Prescott twice instituted an inquiry into Christianity, and in both instances came to a similar conclusion—that is, he rejected the orthodox version of that religion for a sort of vague Unitarianism. One of the most sweeping literary censures that we ever read is pronounced by this author on a book which we venture to think testifies to the possession of undoubted genius on the part of its writer, if ever book did. Speaking of "The French Revolution" Mr. Prescott says: "Carlyle is even a [unclear: bung] at his own business; for his creations, or rather combinations, in this way, are the most discordant and awkward possible. As he runs altogether for dramatic, or rather picturesque effect, he is not to be page 605 challenged, I suppose, with want of original views. This forms no part his plan. His views certainly, as far as I can estimate them, are trite enough. And, in short, the whole thing, in my humble opinion both as to forme and to fond, is perfectly contemptible." After this we can only add that William Hickling Prescott, who was born in Salem, New England, on the fourth day of May, 1796, died the twenty-eight of January, 1859.

We must content ourselves with a simple recognition of the biographical existence of two other transatlantic worthies—John Winthrop, the Governor of Massachusetts, A.D. 1630, but an Englishman by birth,21 and Edward Livingstone, the adviser of Jackson,22 when President of the United States, and the legislator to whose lot, Mr. Bancroft tells us, it fell "to adjust the old municipal laws, derived from France and Spain, to the new condition of the connexion with America."

The same year which saw Winthrop installed as Governor of Massachusetts witnessed the imprisonment of Sir John Elliot, the leader of that patriotic assembly, of which Hallam says:—"In asserting the illegality of arbitrary detention, of compulsory loans, of tonnage and poundage levied without consent of Parliament, they stood in defence of positive rights won by their fathers, the prescriptive inheritance of Englishmen." A sketch of the life of Sir John Eliot, designated by the same authority the most illustrious confessor in the cause of liberty whom that time produced, was included by Mr. Forster in his "British Statesman," published many years ago.23 The present Life of this champion of English freedom cannot be described as an expansion of that miniature biography. It is an entirely new work, demanding inordinate labour in preparation, and extreme care and diligence in execution. Loaded with fact, and oppressive with detail, this valuable Contribution to the history of the Stuart period will at once invite curiosity and exhaust patience. Based on Eliot's hitherto inherited papers, in the possession of his descendant Lord St. Germans, it professes to reflect what is important in his correspondence, and in the abstracts of his speeches, and on the memoirs drawn up by himself, In addition to materials supplied by these papers, often decipherable only after the most persevering inspection, Mr. Forster has derived information from public documents, as well as from a private collection of his own. The result is a complete and circumstantial biography of the great Cornishman, not only exhibiting the personal characteristics of the man, but presenting such a picture of the opening of the struggle against the government of Charles I, as the author may well suppose to be "in many respects more detailed and accurate than has yet been afforded." In relating the incidents of the hero's life, Mr. page 606 Forster has not neglected the opportunity of vindicating him against both the misrepresentations of party spirit and the perversions of the elder D'Israeli, to whom portions of the papers were submitted thirty years ago, when he was engaged in preparing his Commentaries on the Life of Charles the First. In the volumes before us, the entire story of Eliot's life from his youthful days is set forth, His early tastes and pursuits, his conduct as Vice-Admiral of Devon, his career as member for Newport, his views on politics, religion, literature, indicating, with a certain allowance for his age, a sound philosophy, perhaps irrespectively of all allowance, a commendable scholarship: the part he took as the great opposition leader in the impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham, in the resistance to the Forced Loan, and the assertion of the Petition of Bight, and lastly his imprisonment and death, are all recorded in these volumes, which attest the indomitable diligence, the unfailing power of investigation, the enduring patience in composition, and the masculine thought and sound sense of their author. Our chief apprehension is that Mr. Forster has lost in breadth what he has gained in length, that his readers will sometimes be reminded of the epigrammatic saying of the Greek poet, and think how much better one of these volumes, if it had told the tale of Eliot's life, with discreet omission and wise condensation, would have been than both.

It is scarcely possible to institute a parallel between the representative of the expansive spirit of English liberty and the defender of the oligarchical Roman constitutionalism.24 Yet Cicero, weak and vacillating as he often was, no doubt took what was the patriotic side, in opposing the ambition of Cæsar, and desiring, we can hardly say endeavouring, to establish the rotten aristocratical republic of Rome on its old foundations. Cicero justified and gloried in the overthrew of the man who, with all his shortcomings, more truly represented humanity than the sentimental stoic Marcus Brutus, who, according to Mr. George Long, "became an assassin in the name of freedom, which meant triumph of his party, and in the name of virtue, which meant nothing." A "Life of Cicero" written by a competent scholar and in wholesome every-day English is a book which, we think, will prove a valuable addition to our vernacular classical biography. Mr. Forsyth Has, in calling up once more this great Roman writer, made a successful effort to show us not only the orator and the politician, but the father, the husband, the friend, the gentleman. An admirer of [unclear: Cicero], he is no apologist for his frailties, his vanities, his insincerities. Thus he admits that to oblige Brutus, who was evidently a man who had an eye to the main chance, Cicero abused his proconsular [unclear: authoris] when he declined to allow the Cyprians to deposit the sum [unclear: really] to that judicious money-lender, though nominally to Matinius and Scaptius, his friends, the latter of whom first tried to cheat his [unclear: debton] by pretending that they owed him more than they actually did, and page 607 who when his allegation was disproved, entreated Cicero to let the matter stand over, hoping apparently that under a new governor he might get the illegal percentage, to which by the contract he had undeniably a right, though he had no right to increase the interest by refusing to take the offered principal. Nor was this the only instance in which, to please Brutus, Cicero abused his official power, though the case of Ariobarzanes was far less flagrant. So again Mr. Forsyth expresses a fear that in his hollow reconciliation with Vatinius and Gabinius be sacrificed not only his previous enmities but his principles; forfeiting his own self-respect and losing his influence in the senate and the rostra. On the other hand, Mr. Forsyth calls attention to the general excellence of Cicero's government. He says, and says with truth, that his administration deserved almost unqualified praise. "It is no light merit in Cicero to have been in advance of the morality of his age, and amidst the darkness of Paganism (?) to have exhibited the equity and self-denial of a Christian statesman. But a government was just a sphere in which he was fitted to shine. His love of justice, his kindness, his humanity, his disinterestedness were qualities which all there came into play without the disturbing causes which at Rome misled him more than once 'to know the best and yet the worse pursue,'" Mr. Forsyth's estimate of Cicero's moral character seems to us fair, and his critical judgment of his writings correct. But is not the assertion that he is the greatest master of the music of speech that has ever yet appeared among mankind, somewhat sweeping? Is he really superior to Plato, for instance? Or are the great poets of Greece, Italy, England, less melodious than the first essayist and orator of Rome?

The last book on our list carries us back into the twilight of history, describing the manners and customs, warlike and pacific, of the people of Asshur, to whom Mr. Rawlinson assigns an antiquity of more than 1800 years B.C.25 This antiquity is divisible into two periods, one narked by the commencement of the empire about B.C. 1260, and continuing to its close, and the other distinguished by the seemingly dependent existence of the Assyrian people as far back, if we may trust the date, as B.C. 1820, when "Shamas-Iva, the son of Ismi-Dagon. King of Chaldea, built a temple to Anü and Iva at Asshur, which was then the Assyrian capital." Asshur was not only the name of the country—it was also the name of the supreme god of the country. This god Mr. Rawlinson supposes to have been the deified descendant of Noah, the so-called son of Shem. It is more probable that the writer, or the antecedent tradition which he followed, euhemerized the god into a man; but our author's account of this deity is, from paucity of material, extremely unsatisfactory. One thing, however, comes out with great clearness, if we may rely on page 608 the inscription-interpreters; we mean the intensely theological Jewish character of the Assyrian mode of thought. With the Assyrians, Asshur was the national god, as Jehovah was with the Jews. Thus, as Asshur's people, they are appointed to the government of the four regions: the fear of Asshur falls upon their defeated and flying enemies: at the invitation of Asshur, an expedition into a neighbouring land is undertaken; and when a country not previously subject to Assyria is attacked, it is because the inhabitants do not acknowledge Asshur. In addition to the historical and chronological elements of interest, there is much in Mr. Rawlinson's present volume which it is agreeable to read about, and the numerous woodcuts scattered over the pages help us to realize the life of this ancient people, who, it appears, anticipated us in the use of the magnifying-glass, constructed tunnels and aqueducts, employed the pulley, the lever, and the roller, enamelled, cut gems, and inlaid. If we are not always convinced of the correctness of Mr. Rawlinson's views, and are inclined to look with a suspensive scepticism on the pictures of the past which archæological enthusiasm revives for us, we are still grateful to him for writing a readable and pleasant book which embodies our real or supposed knowledge of the world's ancient empires.

1 "History of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy." By John Foster Kirk. With Portraits. Vols. I. and II. London: John Murray. 1863.

2 "Letters and Papera illustrative of the Reigns of Richard III. and Henry VII." Edited by James Gairdner. Published by the authority of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the direction of the Master of the Rolls. Vol. II. London: Longman, Green, and Co. 1863.

3 "Annales Monastici." Vol. I. &c. Edited by Henry Richards Luard, M.A., Fellow and Assistant-Tutor of Trinity College, &c. Published by the authority, &c. London: Longman, Green, and Co. 1864.

4 "Magna Vita S. Hugonis Episcopi Lincolniensis," &c. Edited [unclear: by] Rev. James F. Dimock, M.A., Rector of Barnbury, Yorkshire. Published by the authority, &c. London: Longman, Green, and Co. 1864.

5 "Leechdoms, Wort-cunning, and Star-craft of Early England." Being a collection of documents, for the most part never before printed, illustrating the history of science in this country before the Norman Conquest. Collected and edited by the Rev. Oswald Cockayne, M.A. Cantab. Vol. I. Published by the authority, &c. London: Longman, Green, and Co. 1864.

6 "Die Papst-Fabeln des Mittelalters. Ein Beitrag zur Kirchengeschichte." Von Jon. Jos. Ign. V. Döllinger. London: D. Nutt. 1863.

7 "Decretales Pseudo-Isidorianæ et capitula Angilramni. Ad fidem librorum manusubscription recensuit fontes indicavit commentationem de collectiono Pseudo-Isidori præmisit Paulus Hinschius." Pars Posterior. Ex officina Bernardi Tauchnitz. London: Williams and Norgate. 1863.

8 "Kirchengeschichte von Friedr. Rud. Hasse," weil. Consistorialrath Dr. [unclear: ord]. Prof, der evangel. Theologie in Bonn. Herausgegeben von Lic. [unclear: Dr] Kohler, a. o. Prof, der Theologie in Erlangen. Erster Band. [unclear: London]: Nutt. 1864.

9 "Geschichtliche Forschungen im gebiete des Alterthums, des [unclear: Mittelalters] der Neuzeit von Dr. Friedrich Kortüm," &c. Nach dessen Tode [unclear: herausge] von Dr. Karl Alexander Freiherin von Reichlin-Meldegg offentl ordent! Professor der Philosophie ebendaselbst. London: David Nutt. 1863.

10 "Les Académies d'Autrefois. L'ancienne Académie des Sciences." Par. L. F Alfred Maury, Membre de l'Institut, Professor d'Histoire et Morale au Collège France. London: David Nutt. 1864.

11 "Histoire Contemporaine, comprenant les principaux Evénements qui se sont accomplis depuis la Révolution de 1830, jusqu'à nos Jours," &c. Par Amédée Gabourd. Tome premier. London: David Nutt. 1863.

12 Greek text 1862.

13 "Graf Johann Kapodistrias. Mit benutzung handschriftlichen Materials." Von Dr. Karl Mendelsohn-Bartholdy. London: David Nutt. 1864.

14 "Letters of Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy. From 1833 to 1847." Edited by Paul Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, of Berlin, and Dr. Karl Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, of Heidelberg. With a catalogue of all his musical compositions, compiled by Dr. Julius Rietz. Translated by Lady Wallace. Loudon: Longman, Green, and Co. 1863.

15 "Carl Kitter. Ein Lebensbild nach seinem handschriftlichem [unclear: Nach] dargestellt von. G. Kramer. Erster Theil. Nebst einem Bildniss [unclear: Ritte] London: Williams and Norgate. 1864.

16 "Erinnerungen deutscher Officiere in Britischen Diensten aus den [unclear: Kri] jahren 1805 his 1816, nach aufzeichnungen und mündlichen Erzählungen," &c. Von H. Dehnel, Königlich-hannoverischer Oberst. London: David Nutt. 1864.

17 "Prinz Heinrich der Seefahrer und seine Zeit." Von Gustav de [unclear: Veer]. Mit einem portrait, &c. London: David Nutt. 1864.

18 "German Theology during the Thirty Years' War." The Life and Correspondence of George Calixtus, Lutheran Abbot of Königslutter, and Professor Primarius in the University of Helmstadt. By the Rev. W. C. Dowding, M.A. &c. Oxford and London: John Henry and James Parker. 1863.

19 "The Life of Goethe." By George Henry Lewes. Second Edition. Partly rewritten. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1864.

20 "Life of William Hickling Prescott." By George Ticknor. Trübner and Co. 1864.

21 "Life and Letters of John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company at their Emigration to New England, 1630." By Robert C. Winthrop, Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1864.

22 "Life of Edward Livingstone." By Charles Havens Hunt. With an Introduction by George Bancroft. New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1864.

23 "Sir John Eliot: a Biography, 1590-1632." By John Forster. In Two Vols. London: Longman, Green, and Co. 1864.

24 "Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero." By William Forsyth, M.A., Q.C., Author of "Hortensius, &c., and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In Two Vols. With Illustrations. London: John Hurray. 1864.

25 "The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World; or, the History, Geography, and Antiquities of Chaldea, Assyria, Babylon, Media, and Persia, collected and illustrated from ancient and modern sources. By George Rawlinson, M.A., Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford, late Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College. In Four Vols. Vol. II. London: Murray. 1864.