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cured, through the courtesy of the Spanish ter, on the constitutions of the several government and the kind offices of that dis- States of America, as being sound in subtinguished scholar and most amiable man, stance and happy in expression :Don Pascual de Gayangos.
“The spirit of the age moved the young Investigators of the past are naturally in- nation to own justice as antecedent and suclined to overestimate the value of any new perior to the state, and to found the rights sources of information opened by their own of the citizen on the rights of man. And diligence or sagacity of research, and a little yet, in regenerating its institutions, it was of this feeling is perceptible in Mr. Ban- not guided by any speculative theory or lacroft's Preface ; but, after all, we apprehend borious application of metaphysical distincthat the new evidence he has so diligently tions. Its form of government grew natucollected will not shake the deliberate ver- rally out of its traditions, by the simpie redict already passed alike upon men and jection of all personal hereditary authority, events. Here and there a gleam is thrown which in America had never had much upon some single incident, or the motives more than a representative existence. Its and conduct of a particular actor ; but the people were industrious and frugal. Accusgeneral lights and shadows of the historical tomed to the cry of liberty and property, landscape remain undisturbed. The state- they harbored no dream of a community of ments and the views of Marshall and Sparks goods ; and their love of equality never deare substantially sustained. The patriotic generated into envy of the rich. No sucAmerican will not regret to see that Mr. Ban- cessors of the fifth-monarchy men proposed croft's investigations and conclusions lead to substitute an unwritten higher law, interhim to exalt Washington in comparison with preted by individual conscience, for the law the soldiers and civilians who stood around of the land and the decrees of human tribuhim; and the reader of his pages will have nals. The people proceeded with self-pos. fresh cause to admire,not merely the firmness session and moderation, after the manner and self-command of that illustrious man, but of their ancestors. Their large inheritance bis abilities as a commander and a statesman. of English liberties saved them from the We have especially to thank Mr. Bancroft necessity and from the wish to uproot their for the distinctness with which he shows old political institutions; and as happily how much the success of the Northern army the scaffold was not wet with the blood of was due to Washington's disinterested ad- their statesmen, there was no root of a des. vice. His high praise of the commander- perate hatred of England, such as the Nethin-chief sometimes glances aslope, and lights erlands kept up for centuries against Spain. in the form of censure of some of his subor- The wrongs inflicted or attempted by the dinate officers; and we should not be sur- British king were felt to have been avenged prised if some of his strictures provoked by independence. Respect and affection rereplies and led to controversies. Some of mained behind for the parent land, from those whom he criticises have left descend- which the United States had derived trial ants, and those who have left no descend- by jury, the writ for personal liberty, the ants have partisans who are jealous of the practice of representative government, and fame of their favorites, and will not lightly the separation of the three great co-ordinate allow a leaf of their laurels to be blighted. powers in the state. From an essentially
During the period embraced by this vol- aristocratic model, America took just what ume the constitutions of several of the suited her condition, and rejected the rest. States were formed, and the Articles of Thus the transition of the Colonies into Confederation were adopted which gave self-existent commonwealths was free from to the several States a semblance of unity, vindictive bitterness, and attended by no and smoothed the path to the more perfect violent or wide departure from the past." union which was established ten years lat- A considerable portion of this volume is er. These events present themes peculi- occupied by a consideration of the relations arly congenial to Mr. Bancroft's powers of between Europe and America. Advancing brilliant generalization and rapid conden- years do not seem to chill Mr. Bancroft's sation, and tempt him into that field of dis- faith in progress, his confidence in democcursive reflection where he is fond of lin- racy, his love of popular institutions, or to gering, and where we follow him always check his tendency to throw his speculawith interest, and generally with assent. tions into an aphoristic form, and to present We quote with peculiar pleasure the fol. his conclusions positively, and with less of lowing observations from the fifteenth chap. qualification and limitation than men of a
more cautious temperament would do. So glimpses of Wilkes, of Barre, of Wedder. far as literary merit is concerned, the Eu. burn, of Lord North, of Burke, and an ropean chapters will be found the most at. elaborate character of Fox. This last is a tractive in the volume. They are sparkling, happy specimen of Mr. Bancroft's peculiar rapid, condensed, and pointed ; they gratify style of portrait-drawing. The merits and our national pride ; their animated and pic- defects of the subject are presented in a turesque style never suffers the attention to series of pointed and aphoristic sentences ; flag for a moment; – and yet it is in these and the likeness is gained, as in a portrait very chapters that judicial criticism will of Rembrandt, by the powerful contrast and find the most frequent occasion to pause proximity of lights and shadows. Virtues and doubt, whether we consider the direc- and vices stand side by side, like the black tion in which the stream of thought flows, or and white squares of a chess-board. Brilliant their merely rhetorical features. Mr. Ban- as the execution is, the man Charles James croft's glittering generalizations do not al. Fox seems to us reproduced with more dis. ways seem to us to wear the sober livery of tinctness and individuality in the easier, truth. For instance, on page 500 we read: simpler, more flowing sentences of Lord “ The most stupendous thought that ever Brougham. Mr. Bancroft's sketch has was conceived by man, such as never had something of the coldness as well as the been dared by Socrates or the Academy, by sharp outline of bas-relief. And strange to Aristotle or the Stoics, took possession of say, considering Fox's love of liberty, his. Descartes on a November night in his med- love of America, and his hatred of slavery, itations on the banks of the Danube.” It the historian of liberty and democracy seems may be coldness of temperament, it may hardly to have done him justice. In the be the chilling influence of advancing years, summary of the contents of the chapters but we cannot admire statements like these, prefixed to the volume, he unreservedly and we are constrained to think them exag. writes down “ Fox not a great man,” and gerated and extravagant.
such is the impression which the text leaves And on the next page Mr. Bancroft says : on the mind; but if Fox was not a great “ Edwards, Reid, Kant, and Rousseau were man, to whom in the sphere of government all imbued with religiosity, and all except and politics can that praise be accorded ? the last, who spoiled his doctrine by dreamy In his Preface to this volume, Mr. Banindolence, were expositors of the active croft informs us that one more volume powers of man.” It is certainly an ingeni- will complete the American Revolution, inous mind that finds a resemblance between cluding the negotiations for peace in 1782 ; Edwards and Rousseau. What exactly is and that for this the materials are collectthe meaning of “religiosity,” we cannot ed and arranged, and that it will be com. say ; but if it be used as a synonyme of re- pleted and published without any unnecesligion, we demur to the assertion that Rous- sary delay. "This volume will bring into the seau was imbued with religion, --- Rousseau, field Spain, France, and Great Britain, as who in his youth allowed an innocent girl well as the United States, and, from the . to be ruined by accusing her of a theft nature of the subject it presents, will unwhich he himself had committed, and in his doubtedly be so treated by Mr. Bancroft as ripened manhood sent to a foundling hos- to be not inferior in interest or value to any pital the children he had had by his mis- of its predecessors. tress, — whose life was despicable and whose moral creed seemed to be summed up in the doctrine that every natural impulse is Griffith Gaunt ; or, Jealousy. By CHARLES to be indulged. Rousseau was an enthu- READE. With Illustrations. Boston : siast and a sentimentalist; he was a man Ticknor and Fields. of the exquisite organization of genius, and there are many passages in his writings IN discussing the qualities of this rewhich are colored with a half-voluptuous, markable novel before the readers of half-devotional glow; but it seems to us a “The Atlantic Monthly,” we shall have plain confusion of very obvious moral dis- an advantage not always enjoyed by crititinctions to represent such a man as imbued cism ; for we shall speak to an audience with the spirit of religion.
perfectly familiar with every detail of the One of the most animated of Mr. Ban- story, and shall not be troubled to résumer croft's chapters is the eighth, on the course its events and characters. There has been of opinion in England, in which we have much doubt among many worthy people
concerning Mr. Reade's management of the is not new, - it is old as sin itself; but moralities and the proprieties, but no ques. it is here revealed with the freshest and tion at all, we think, as to the wonderful most authentic power, and with a repelpower he has shown, and the interest he ling efficacy which we have seldom seen has awakened. Even those who have equalled in literature. Mrs. Gaunt justly blamed him have followed him eagerly, endures the trouble brought upon her by — without doubt to see what crowning in- pride and unbridled bad temper, and unsult he would put upon decency, and to avoidably endures the consequences of anbe confirmed in their virtuous abhorrence other's wrong. Mercy Vint is a guiltless of his work. It is to be hoped that these and lovely sacrifice to both almost equally. have been disappointed, for it must be con- What is the end ? Mercy Vint is girfessed that, in the dénouement of the novel, en in marriage to the honestest and faithothers who totally differed from them in fulest gentleman in the book, whose heropurpose and opinion have been brought to ism we admire without envying. But in some confusion.
any case so good a woman would have It is not as a moralist that we have achieved peace for herself, and it is at primarily to find fault with Mr. Reade, but some cost to our regard for her entirety as an artist, for his moral would have been that we consent to see her rewarded by good if his art had been true. The work, being made a nobleman's wife and the up to the conclusion of Catharine Gaunt's mother of nine children. In this character trial, is in all respects too fine and high to she lives a life less perfect and consequent provoke any reproach from us; after that, than she might have led in a station less exwe can only admire it as a piece of literary alted, but distant from the circles in which gallantry and desperate resolution. “C'est she could not appear at the same time with magnifique ; mais ce n'est pas la guerre.” the man who had infamously wronged her It is courageous, but it is not art. It is without exciting whispers painful to herself because of the splendid clan in all Mr. and embarrassing to her husband. Indeed, Reade writes, that in his failure he does there seems to be rather more of vicarious not fall flat upon the compassion of his expiation in her fate than the interests of reader, as Mr. Dickens does with his population and of “young women who have "Golden Dustman." But it is a failure, been betrayed" have any right to demand. nevertheless; and it must become a serious Mrs. Gaunt fully expiates her error before question in ästhetics how far the spell- her trial ends. But how of her husband ? bound reader may be tortured with an in- Mr. Reade seems to like his Griffith Gaunt, terest which the power awakening it is not who is not to our mind, and who is never adequate to gratify. Is it generous, is it less worthy of happiness than at the mojust in a novelist, to lift us up to a pitch of ment when his wife forgives him. It is not tragic frenzy, and then drop us down into that he is a bigamist and betrayer of innothe last scene of a comic opera? We re- cence that his redemption seems impossible fuse to be comforted by the fact that the through the means employed ; but how can novelist does not, perhaps, consciously Catharine Gaunt love a coward and sneak, mock our expectation.
even in the wisdom which a court of jusLet us take the moral of “Griffith Gaunt,” tice has taught her? This furious and stu- so poignant and effective for the most pid traitor is afraid to appear and save his part, — and see how lamentably it suffers wife lest he be branded in the hand; and from the defective art of the dinouement. we are to pardon him because, at no risk to In brief : up to the end of Mrs. Gaunt's himself, he gives the worthless blood of his trial we are presented with a terrible im- veins to rescue her from death. If the fable age of the evils that jealousy, anger, and teaches anything in Griffith Gaunt's case, it lies bring upon their guilty and innocent is this : Betray two noble women, and after victims. Griffith Gaunt is made to suffer some difficulty you shall get rid of one,
-as men in life suffer-a dreadful remorse be forgiven by the other, come into a handand anguish for the crimes he has commit- some property, and have a large and interted and the falsehoods to which they have esting family. If the reader will take the committed him. A man with a heart at fate of Griffith Gaunt and contrast it with first tender and true becomes a son of per- that of Tito Melema, in “Romola," he lition, utterly incapable of tenderness and shall see all the difference that passes be
"h, - consciously held away from them tween an artificial and an artistic solution wer-cumulative force. The spectacle of a moral problem.
Defective art is noticeable in the minor terfere with his growth. We start with a as well as the principal features of the dé- knowledge of the frankness and generosity nouement of Griffith Gaunt. There is the native to a somewhat coarse texture of case of the unhappy little baby of Mercy. mind, and we readily perceive why a nature It is plain that the infant is a stumbling- so prone to love and wrath should fall a block in its mother's path to Neville Cross; helpless prey to jealousy, which is a thing but we have scarcely begun to lament its altogether different from the suspicion of presence, when it is swiftly put to death by ungenerous spirits. It is jealousy which a special despatch from the obliging des- drives Griffith to deceive Mercy Vint, for tiny of the dénouement. The event is a co- even his desolation and his need of her conincidence, to say the least, and is scarcely soling care cannot bring him to it, and it less an operation than the transfusion of is only when his triumphing rival appears blood by which Griffith Gaunt and his wife that this frank and kindly soul consents to are preserved to a long life of happiness. enact a cruel lie. The crime committed, But this part of the work is full of won. therę is no longer virtue or courage in the ders. The cruel enchantments are all dis. man, and we see without surprise his cowsolved by more potent preternatural agen- ardly reluctance to do the one brave and cies, and a superhuman prosperity dwells noble thing possible to him, lest he be aralike with the just and the unjust, - Mrs. rested for bigamy. The letter, so weak Ryder excepted, who will probably go to and so boisterous, which he gives Mercy the Devil as some slight compensation for Vint to prove him alive before the court, is the loss of Griffith Gaunt.
in keeping with the development of his But if the conclusion of the fiction is character, and it is not unnatural that he weak, how great it is in every other part ! should think the literal gift of his blood The management of the plot was so mas. to his wife a sort of compensation and penterly, that the story proceeded without a ance for his sins against her. The wonder pause or an improbability until the long fast is that the author should fall into the same of a month falling between the feasts of its error, as he seems to do. publication became almost insupportable. The character of Kate Gaunt is treated It was a plot that grew naturally out of in the denouement with a violence which althe characters, for humanity is prolific of most destroys its identity, but throughout events, and these characters are all human the whole previous progress of the story beings. They are not in the least anach- it is a most artistic and consistent creation. ronistic. They act and speak a great deal From the beautiful girl, so virginal and in the coarse fashion of the good old times. dreamy and insecure of her destiny in the Griffith Gaunt is half tipsy when Kate world, with her high aspirations and her plights her troth to him ; and he is drunk high temper, there is a certain lapse to the upon an occasion not less solemn and in handsome matron united with a man beteresting. They are of an age that was neath her in mind and spirit, and assured of very gallant and brutal, that wore gold- the commonplace fact that in her love and lace upon its coat, and ever so much pro- duty to him is her happiness; but as Love fanity upon its speech; and Mr. Reade has must often mate men and women unequally, treated them with undeniable frankness and it is perfectly natural that Love in her case sincerity. Mercy Vint alone seems to be should strive to keep his eyes shut when no long to a better time ; but then goodness longer blind. Great exigencies afterwards and purity are the contemporaries of ev. develop her character, and it gains in dig. ery generation, and, besides, Mercy Vint's nity and beauty from her misfortunes, and puritan character is an exceptional phase we do not again think compassionately of of the life of the time. It is admirable her till she is reunited with Griffith. In to see in this fiction, as we often see in spite of all her faults, she is wonderfully the world, how wise and refined religion charming. The reader himself falls in love makes an ignorant and lowly-bred person. with her, and perhaps a subtile sense of As a retrospective study, Griffith Gaunt jealousy and personal loss mingles with his cannot be placed below Henry Esmond. dissatisfaction in seeing her given up again As a study of passions and principles to her unworthy husband. She should have that do not change with civilizations, it is been left a lovely and stately widow, to even more excellent. Griffith Gaunt him- whom we could all have paid our court, self is the most perfect figure in the book, without suffering too poignantly when Sir because the plot does not at any period in George Neville finally won her.
Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie. By HENRY hands, although, of course, under the same
W. LONGFELLOW. With Illustrations general direction and supervision, the nat. by F. 0. C. Darley. Boston : Ticknor ural inference is, that something positive and Fields.
has been attained, either in the principle Maud Muller. By John G. WHITTIER. of manufacture, or in a better understanding
With Illustrations by W. J. Hennessy. of the elements which must enter into the Boston : Ticknor and Fields.
composition of a really elegant book, and a The l'ision of Sir Launfal. By JAMES juster estimate of the manner in which these
RUSSELL LOWELL. With Illustrations elements are to be combined. by: S. Eytinge, Jr. Boston: Ticknor In the four books under consideration, and Fields.
all the necessary conditions appear to have Flower-de-Luce. By Henry WADSWORTH been recognized and fulfilled. It is, of
LONGFELLOW. With Illustrations. Bos. course, too much to say that they are per. ton : Ticknor and Fields.
fect, and many who are versed in the par
ticulars of lineal art will perhaps find things Of these volumes three have long since which they might wish otherwise. But with taken their place in the letters of America, all such qualification, these volumes show and in the hearts of all who know and love indisputably that in the matter of illustra. the purest, the truest, and the best that tion and typography the New World is now poesy can offer. To them in their secure quite the equal of the Old. position will now be added “ Flower-de- The artists engaged - to whose names, as Luce," - Mr. Longfellow's latest volume, - mentioned above, should be added those of which, containing indeed for the most part H. Fenn, G. Perkins, S. Colman, Jr., and only such lyrics as he has already contrib- W. Waud, as illustrators of “Flower. uted for desultory publication, is yet rich de-Luce” — are all men well known, and with the fruit of the deep insight, wise most of them are eminent in their profes. thought, earnest feeling, and ripe scholar. sion. Each has had a subject which suited ship of his full maturity.
closely his capacity and taste, together, eviBut it is not our purpose to pause in criti. dently, with the liberty of treating his theme cism over works that may fairly be said to according to his own discretion, and as amhave passed beyond the province of contem. ply as he pleased, — the brief poem, “Maud porary criticism. Rather is it our desire to Muller," for instance, having been supplied welcome them as they are tendered to us in by Mr. Hennessy with thirteen illustrations, a new form, and to commend the artistic while in the other volumes equal liberality character of their presentation. For these is manifest. books indicate that out of the many at. We have not the space to make, as we tempts which have been made in this coun. should like to do, an exact analysis of these try — some of them most creditable, too, and volumes, comparing cach artist's series of nearly approaching thorough excellence - drawings, one by one, with his chosen pas. to produce illustrative and mechanical ef- sages of the text ; but a careful examination fects equal to those of England and conti- convinces us that as a whole these designs nental Europe, there has at last come an are remarkably appreciative and apt. Evabsolute accomplishment, from which we ery person will not expect his own ideal hope and are ready to believe there will be Evangeline or Sir Launfal to appear before no recession.
him on the page, but every reflective mind One book of great beauty would hardly will find, we think, such a parallelism beraise our faith so far. It might be the re- tween poetry and picture as is not only sult of a fortunate combination of propitious consistent with exactness, but will further. circumstances, an accident of which the best serve to illuminate and beautify the text. intent in the world could not cause a delib. Intelligent or even inspired drawing is crate repetition,- for chance can work well vain, if to it be not added faithfulness and as easily as ill, may make a plan as simply fervor on the part of those whose handiwork as mar it, and none need be told how often follows that of the draughtsman, and upon the best-devised schemes "gang a-gley” by whom his fate and fame greatly depend, reason of some fortuity for which no allow the engraver and the printer. Heretofore ance had been made.
it has seemed almost impossible for Ameri. But when from the same press there can representatives of these three arts to emanate in a single season several books, work together for good. The drawing prepared at different times by different might be faultless as it lay intact upon the