Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

312

[Feb.

man

more

as

which the latter historian does indeed, are to be found as thick show in this biography. The style as blackberries in this volume. thereof is unattractive ; but there Besides the three we have already is a naïve absence of all false mo- mentioned, we have a brief and desty in the manner in which Dr unpleasant account of Catherine Gardiner refers to his own works. of France, the queen of Henry V., Hardly a statement is brought from Mr S. L. Lee; and a lengthy forward which is not supported by one of Catherine of Braganza, by a reference to Gardiner's · History Professor Tout. More worthy of of England,' which valuable work attention is the life of Queen Carois also mentioned at the end as line of Anspach, by Professor A. W. almost the only authority to be Ward, who gives a striking narraconsulted on the subject. Dr tive of the life of a queen who, in Gardiner is, of course, perfectly personal political power and ability, right. No doubt his history is was hardly inferior to Queen Eliabout the best authority upon the zabeth, and sets clearly before us period it describes, and there is the queer modus vivendi between absolutely no reason why a a couple who seem to have only should not admire his own works, been really agreed upon one point especially when they deserve it: —their common detestation of their but they don't usually say so.

eldest son.

The history of the unA

entertaining writer, fortunate Caroline Matilda, Queen and yet one to whose exactitude of Denmark, is also presented to very little exception can be taken, us by the same authority in is Mr James "Gairdner, who is lifelike and interesting a narrative, naturally intrusted with the bio- though the erring queen gets scant graphies which fall in the period grace from her cruelly precise bioof Henry VIII. The chief of grapher. The list of unfortunate these is his account of Catherine queens is completed by Caroline, of Arragon, which, we are sure, Princess of Wales, who is described will be read with great interest with a kind of unconscious irony both by those who know anything as “queen of George IV.," while about it and those who don't. Mr her predecessor and namesake figGairdner writes, not as an indif- ures as Queen of Great Britain ferent historian to whom all these and Ireland." Her case is fairly matters long by-past are only in- enough stated by Mr John Ashteresting insomuch as they throw ton. It is singular that of all these light on the manners and customs queens, there is not one who seems of the time; but with a vivid per- to have had any but the most sonal interest in the destiny of transient gleams of happiness. that unfortunate princess, which of the remaining biographies, few affects the reader with a like sym- are interesting than the pathy. The case of the queen is accounts of William Carstares by simply and plainly stated, and Dr Æneas Mackay; while some conveys in itself such an indict. praise is due to Mr Hunt's Life ment against Henry as the bitter- of Canote.' The latter warmed est partisan historian is rarely able our heart in its beginning by the to bring We have from the same discovery of the name of Canute hand a sketch of Catherine How- spelt with an a, as it used to be ard and one of Catherine Parr, in our innocent childhood: but both sharers in the fatal dignity in a few lines we discovered our of the English Crown-matrimonial mistake, and sound the familiar in these stormy days. Queens, name reduced

into an

abom

more

were

inable amalgamation of conso- the abstruse . researches of Pronants, alike unpronounceable and fessor Creighton into the history unsightly. To be sure, as a true of St William de Carilef, or the disciple of the gospel according to still earlier antiquarian “howkings” Mr Freeman, it was perhaps neces- which have produced Mr Shucksary that the biographer should burgh's article on Caractacus, buwn speak of the Danish hero under to the lives of Lord Frederick the uneuphonious appellation of Cavendish and the fiendish leader Cnut. Would this

all! of his murderers, James Carey; of After the number of centuries Dr Carpenter and Sir Louis Cavagduring which Si Chad has been nari, which seem to have been held in monosyllabic veneration, chiefly compiled from the Pall is it not hard that he should be Mall Gazette' and the Illustrated obliged to return to the original un- London News,'—the roll of personcouthness of Ceadda? or is there ages to be mentioned is full and any man among us who can lay his complete. Saint or sinner, no one hand upon his heart and say, with is too high or too low. Ben Caunt truth, that he can pronounce such occupies as importont a place as extraordinary names as Ceolfrith St Chad ; and proper mention is or Cenwalh ? It is really absurd made of Bampfylde Moore Carew. that, after the thorough exposuse Even the Dutch scholar Casaubon to which Mr Frederic Harrison and the French rebel Cavalier subjected this ridiculous affecta- must be mentioned, because they tion in a contemporary a short had some connection with England. time ago, people should go on re- But with all this it is scarcely a quiring us to break our jaws over satisfactory work. Considerable Anglicising of all names, which seem information is vouchsafed to to be adopted really for no other concerning the great unknown of reason than that they were not our country. We shudder when the used before, -for the studious kind hand of the biographer points Anglicising of all names in Latin out to us the atrocious blunder comlanguages is another essential prin- mitted by some Heaven-forsaken ciple of the same school.

ignoramus who confused Nicholas We have spoken of certain bio- Carvell with James Calfhill. But graphies in the volume before us we doubt whether the labours of all as deserving of high praise; and these gentlemen will succeed in prothat articles which would be re- ducing anything more than a very markable in any collection are to ordinary book of reference, with a be found also in the preceding vol- good article here and there,-exumes, is no doubt the case. Yet actly as all previous compilers of this not enough to render the such works have done before them. work a unique one, as was pro

We look forward, not without posed and expected. It contains trepidation, to the flood of “ Jubia greater number of biographies lee" literature that will overflow of all kinds of persons than any our table during the year on which work yet published ? Probably we have happily entered. it does. Certainly there are lives the first, and one that will not be of all kinds of persons, of all ages the last in importance, is Captain and all classes, and we might Trotter's · History of India under almost say all countries. From Queen Victoria' l-may she live to

us

1 History of India under Queen Victoria. By L. J. Trotter. London: W. II. Allen & Co. 1886.

new

as

celebrate her jubilee as Empress of entombed in Viceregal bureaux Hindustan ! Captain Trotter is and secretariat pigeon-holes. Fifty already well known as an Indian years from his death was the time historian. His

work is, prescribed by the great Marquis of however, the most ambitious to Dalhousie during which his papers which he has put his hand. The were to be sealed from the gaze fifty years during which the Queen of biographer or historian. Only has ruled over India cover more seven-and-twenty years of this history than any preceding century period have already expired; but in the East of which we have when the seals are broken, we record. Events of the highest im- confidently expect that even such port succeed each other as rapidly a complete account Captain as the scenes are shisted in a Trotter gives of the annexation of theatre. Beginning with the lurid the Punjab and Oudh will have to glories, not unmixed with dishon- be rewritten, while we shall be our, of our earlier Afghan wars, much surprised if his opinions reCaptain Trotter leads us from an- garding these transactions are not nexation to annexation—Sindh, the considerably modified. We may say Punjab, Oudh-until we find our- once for all, that though we can selves struggling, for life in the trust to Captain Trotter's facts, we death-grips

of the Mutiny; and then generally find ourselves out of symto the wonderful re-establishment of pathy with his views. Our previous British influence, and that renais. acquaintance with his writings sance of Indian progress which is scarcely prepared us to find in him destined to end no one can tell a eulogist of the Ilbert Bill; or of where, and carry ourselves no one Lord Ripon's pro-native, sentimenknows whither. The events which tal administration; and we trust, by have happened in India under the time when he comes to expand Victoria's reign are of sufficient the postscript in which he dismisses interest to make their bare recital the career of the late Governorinteresting ; and when a writer who General, he will have reconsidered is as much master of his subject as the subject. It is not every Anglois Captain Trotter records them, Indian who, when he returns to the result cannot fail to be read- settle in his native country, can able.

maintain unweakened the impresThere are peculiar difficulties in sions which he formed in the writing Indian history, and though East. Nor would it be well if it we fully admit the excellence of were so, for Anglo-Indians have Captain Trotter's India under a tendency to grow narrow and Victoria,' we are not quite sure illiberal, as become members of that he has succeeded in completely the small white oligarchy who mastering them. Fortunately for rule two hundred millions of dusky the Indian Viceroy, no officious skins. But we see too often that member of his Legislature can “ beg a remarkable_indeed we may say to ask” for any information about a miraculous-conversation overwhat is going on; and although in- takes many old Indians when they quisitive members of the Opposi- find themselves once more at home. tion at home may succeed in elicit- Their ayes become noes, their noes ing statements, or even drawing ayes; they surrender all the conout a Blue-book, still it is a “ far victions which personal knowledge cry to Lochow," and the real sources and experience had wrought in of Indian history generaliy remain them, in favour of the too often

are

sentimental ideal about Indian severe criticism, while Sir John affairs held forth by those whose Lawrence's measures in favour of sole acquaintance with India has the cultivators are praised at some been derived from the map and the expense to the faith of the pledges newspaper. Mr Trotter's views of the Indian Government. We are, of course, intelligent, and, we yield to none in our admiration of

sure, conscientious, but we Sir John Lawrence, nor can his sermust conclude that he has lost vices to India be easily overrated; touch of Anglo-Indian feeling ; but these services were performed and when he can assail the Indian before he took his seat on the ViceGovernment or a Viceroy on any regal gaddi. His career as Goverpoint that is unpopular in this nor-General failed to realise the country, he does not spare bis cen- expectations which had been based sure. His judgments are often upon his past; and, with the preincomplete, so as to mislead. We vious case of Sir Charles Metcalfe, quite agree with his estimate of went far to establish an argument the misconduct of the first Afghan that the Indian Civil Service is war, but its results were not with- not the best training-school for the out value. But for the impres- guidance of the Supreme Governsion our avenging army made upon ment. the Afghans, there is every proba- We are not going to deal in debility that they would have swooped tail with the more recent chapters down on India when the Mutiny in Captain Trotter's History, for broke out, and rendered our posi- we fear we should be compelled to tion altogether untenable. Nor differ from him at every other can we aggree with Captain Trotter point where he forms a judgment. in many of his views regarding the We would rather give testimony economics of Indian administra- to the value of his work as a record tion. He is all in favour of the of facts clearly and graphically ryot, and pronounces a very un- told ; and where the reader will merited condemnation of Lord be obliged to vary from his conCornwallis's Permanent Settle- clusions, he will not fail to do jusment, which, more than any other tice to the generous and liberal measure of civil polity, tended to spirit which animates the writer. give the British a firm foothold on A pretty close test of Mr Trotter's India; and he warnıly approves of two volumes satisfies us that he the concessions which the Govern- has left almost nothing out which ment has subsequently forced the deserves to find a place in history. zemindars to make -- concessions Does he omit the Bombay riots of which may be compared, in a mild 1874? or, like Mr Justice Stareway, to those forced upon landlords leighi, have we not got them “in by Mr Gladstone's Rent Bill. In our notes”? But no event that the same way the Talukdari settle- has had any bearing on Indian ment of Oudh, effected by Lord policy or affairs has been overCanning and Sir Charles Wingfield, looked in Captain Trotter's intercomes in for an undue amount of esting volumes.

THE POSITION.

our

The recess, although of short liamentary duties with more induration, has been pregnant with flexible honesty and uprightness, important events. Lord Salisbury's and yet with a courtesy and kindGovernment meets Parliament de- ly appreciation of opponents which prived of two of its most distin- well maintained the best traditions guished and influential members, of English public life. The ripe at a moment when that loss can experience, the cultivated mind, ill be endured. According to the the refined tastes, and the genial common opinion of men, the Earl temper of Sir Stafford Northcote, of Iddesleigh and Lord Randolph all combined to enhance his value Churchill were held to represent to those with whom he was assothe two different schools of Con- ciated, and no one ever passed servatism which acknowledge the away from among us more truly leadership of Lord Salisbury. That respected and more sincerely reboth should quit the Government gretted by the general voice of his immediately before the reassem- contemporaries.

It is not bling of Parliament would, under purpose to refer more particularly ordinary circumstances, have struck to the circumstances which investa severe blow at the Administra- ed the decease of this lamented tion thus weakened at a critical statesman with a peculiar and moment; and it is only on account melancholy interest, nor to say a of the innate and inherent strength word which could possibly cause of the foundation upon which it pain or appear to impute blame rests, that the blow will probably to others. We cannot, however, be found to have fallen with com- avoid the remark that, in our judgparatively little effect. The sub-ment, no Conservative Cabinet ject cannot be mentioned, nor the would have been complete withevents of the moment discussed, out the man who had so ably and without allusion, in the first in- faithfully led the party in the stance, to the loss which the coun- House of Commons in dark and

the Government dangerous days; and that, had his has sustained by the death of the life been spared, we are confident elder of the two statesmen to that we should ere long have seen whose resignation we have called him once more side by side with attention.

Lord Salisbury, assisting the GovSir Stafford Northcote (for so ernment with his matured and we love still to call him) had proved ability. been for many years before the Of Lord Randolph Churchill's public. He had held high office, resignation we feel bound to speak and had led the Opposition in with reserve, seeing that at the the House of Commons in troub- time of writing we are not in poslous times. Yet, despite his occu- session of the whole case, nor of pancy of positions which brought the reasons which led to so unexhim constantly into conflict with pected an event.

There can be no other men, no man ever lived who doubt of the courage and ability made fewer enemies—no states of Lord Randolph, of the immense man ever imported less of personal value of his services to the Conacerbity into political warfare- servative and Unionist cause, and no politician ever discharged par- of the large share he can fairly

try as well

as

« PoprzedniaDalej »