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ing of them, to employ phrases so ambitious that the sense intended to be conveyed is entirely lost. The result is a degree of turgidity and obscurity which would discredit a Western stump orator. What are we to think, for instance, of such language as the following, which occurs at the very outset of the volume ?

"The Government of England, in seeking to suppress in her dependencies English rights by English arms, made war on the life of her own life."-p. 35.

What is the "life of a life?" and how can it be made war upon


The principle on which the English Revolution of 1688 was achieved is set forth in similar oracular language:

"These revolutions could not have been achieved except through a categorical principle that would endure no questioning of its rightfulness."-p. 37.

A still more remarkable specimen of what is intended for fine writing, but is really something very much the reverse, is furnished by our author when he comes to speak of France:

"Louis the Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette, when they embarked for the liberation of America, pleasure on the prow and the uncertain hand of youth at the helm, might have cried out to the young Republic which they fostered, Morituri te salutant.'"-p. 47.

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This effusion is worthy of the orator whose answer to his enemies was, "That his home was in the region of the settin' sun."

The antagonism with which Spain regarded the struggle of America for independence, our author attempts to account for by the following remarkably expressed theory:

"As epidemic disease leaps mysteriously over mountains and crosses oceans, spores of discontent might be unaccountably borne to germinate among the many-tongued peoples of South America.".

-p. 50.

In speaking of the Republic of the Netherlands, Mr. Bancroft tells us that

"Its merchants, land-holders, and traders, teemed with heroes and martyrs."-p. 58.

which was certainly a novel function for "merchants, landholders, and traders" to fulfil! But the most extraordinary discovery is that which our author claims to have made with regard to the teachings of the Christian religion:

"In the life struggle between the Islam and Christianity, between a form of religion bounded by the material world, and the religion which sanctifies the intuitions of reason, Charles Martel, a German warrior, leading into the field men of the Christianized tribes of his country, won the victory for that side which teaches that the light of ideal truth is ever present with the human race.”—p. 63.

We have here two functions attributed to the Christian religion, which neither friend nor enemy had ever discovered for it hitherto. First, that it sanctifies the intuitions of reason! By the way, will Mr. Bancroft inform us what are the intuitions of reason? (a faculty which has hitherto been supposed to concern itself rather with deduction than intuition), and also, how these intuitions are sanctified by a doctrine based wholly on revelation? Secondly, that it teaches that the light of ideal truth is ever present with the human race. are not quite sure that we comprehend what this last apothegm means—and, therefore, will simply remark that, if ideal truth be ever present with the human race, it is a pity that actual truth should be so hard to find, and that it may sometimes be sought ineffectually even in the pages of an historian!


Mr. Bancroft has evidently a weakness for imagery, and does not pause at a mixed metaphor. Of Goethe he tells us,

"The names of Franklin and Washington shone and sparkled in his heaven of politics and war."—p. 91.

and the following elaborate figure is selected to illustrate the course of the English parliament:

"As a massive fountain, when its waters are first let loose (sic), rises slowly to its full height, so the mind of parliament needed time to collect its energies for official action.” (!)—p. 142.

It is a pity that Mr. Bancroft should have forgotten that there is such a word as bathos, and that it may suggest itself to the reader on perusing such effusions as these.

In the various respects to which we have thus far called

attention, the present volume does not appear to be more conspicuously in fault than its predecessors; but, in the matter of fidelity, or rather infidelity, to the subject of which he undertakes to treat, our author's offences have increased a hundred fold. At the very outset of the work we have three long chapters devoted to a discussion of the state of the various powers of Europe. We find high-flown disquisitions on the political status of Spain-of Russia-of Austria and Prussia —of Sweden and Norway-of Italy- of Denmark, and of the Netherlands-to say nothing of the extensive chapter on Germany to which we have already alluded. We are treated to long accounts of their domestic and foreign relations—of their efforts to regulate the balance of power in Europe, and of their negotiations with one another, respective or irrespective of the question of American independence. We have anecdotes of the Empress Catharine and the Emperor Joseph, of Maria Theresa and Marie Antoinette, of Gustavus Adolphus and Frederic II., together with accounts of the efforts of Spain to recover Gibraltar, the attempts of Russia to inaugurate a general European policy, and the schemes of Austria for the absorption of Bavaria!

Among this multitude of topics foreign to the purpose the portion of the volume devoted to American history shrinks into an insignificant space. It is not until the fourth chapter that this portion of the work may be said even to begin. This chapter opens at one of the most interesting periods of the Revolution, in the year 1778, when Washington, in his camp at Valley Forge, received the news of the French alliance. But the pen which was so prolific of sermons on European politics becomes, for the first time, singularly reticent. Where the enthusiasm of the reader would naturally kindle that of the author appears to cool. When he comes to speak of the battle of Monmouth, one of the most stirring scenes in the Revolutionary War, his pen becomes nerveless and dead; that memorable conflict, by many considered the turningpoint in the war of Independence, in which Washington, then pre-eminently the saviour of his country, by prompt and earn

est action, converted a disgraceful defeat into a brilliant victory; and on hearing of which, the King of Prussia, himself the first general of his time, remarked, " America is lost for England!" But Mr. Bancroft is not at home in war topics. The whole conflict is related so tamely and with such a meagreness of detail, that the reader has nearly reached the conclusion of the engagement before he becomes aware that he has been reading of a battle at all.

Our author is evidently in a hurry to recross the ocean, and after a couple of chapters devoted to America we are once more transported to Europe-this time to Spain. We have two or three chapters devoted to negotiations between Spain and the United States, and as many more to the political condition of the country, and various negotiations for peace, all of which appear to have been equally futile; and then we are permitted to have an extremely brief and vague sketch of the war in the northern department. This includes the brilliant victory of General Wayne at Stony Point, which is, however, disposed of in a single page; and then almost before we know it we are again involved in the war in Europe. It really would seem as if we were never to be free from the discussion of European affairs; for here is a long chapter devoted to the negotiations inaugurated by the Empress of Russia for the formation of a league of neutral nations for the protection of commerce on the high seas. Here we have Russia, Prussia, Austria, the Netherlands, France, England, Sweden, and Denmark, with an amount of diplomatic correspondence incomprehensible to any but an experienced politician; but, as usual, America is kept sedulously in the background.

The campaign in South Carolina, the treason of Arnold, and even the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, which virtually concluded the war, are treated with the author's usual dryness of narration and inanity of detail; but, as the war-horse pricks up his ears at the sound of the trumpet, so the veteran politician revives when he arrives at the period of the final negotiations for peace. If we had three

chapters of European politics at the opening of the volume, we have four of ministerial diplomacy at the close! The morsel is too sweet to be readily abandoned; and we can

almost see the gusto with which he rolls over his tongue the names of Fox, and Shelburne, and Burke, and Oswald, and Granville-of Vergennes and Rivardere-of Jay, and Adams, and Franklin. We are carried from Paris to London, and from London to Paris, and involved in a cloud of disquisition and negotiation, until we are almost brought to the conclusion that history is but a tangled yarn.

How many more volumes of this kind may emanate from him before his "History" is completed it would be presumptuous to attempt to foresee; but when the last volume shall have issued from the press, and Bancroft's History of the United. States shall have taken its place on the shelves of the public libraries as a completed work, it is certain that the intelligent general opinion will remain undisturbed, that, notwithstanding the labor which the author has bestowed on his overgrown and flabby bantling, the History of the United States remains yet to be written.

ART. V.-1. Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Lafayette College for the year 1873-74, with the Courses of Study. Easton, Pa.

2. An Address at the Dedication of Pardee Hall, Lafayette College, October 21, 1873. By RoSSITER W. RAYMOND, Ph. D., Lecturer upon Mining Engineering in Lafayette College, etc., etc.

3. Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., for the Collegiate year ending June, 1874.

4. Catalogue of Dickinson College for the Academical year 1873-74. Carlisle, Pa.


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