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never be overlooked by those who write for the young. We miss in the work before us the sprightliness of Michelet's sketches. Take, for example, the account, on p. 263, of Hasdrubal's expedition into Italy. The famous march of Nero to join his colleague Livius, one of the most brilliant exploits in Roman military history, and so well described by Dr. Arnold, is dismissed in three lines, and with an evident misunderstanding of the topography of the ensuing battle. But with all these and some other exceptions, this work has considerable merit, and may be used with profit in our colleges, which have long been in need of good text-books in ancient history. Its author has evidently an enlarged and elevated sense of the dignity and breadth of his subject, in which we trace the influence of Niebuhr's generous and lofty spirit.
We cannot close our notice of this volume without a word on the carelessness of which the author is too often guilty, and which seriously impairs the trustworthiness of the book. A general censure of this sort being of little value, we will point out, even at the risk of being charged with pedantry, some of the errors into which he has fallen.
Dr. Schmitz's seventeenth chapter contains the account of the Second Punic War. To the errors which we have already mentioned, in our remarks on Niebuhr's Lectures, may be added the following. On p. 249, “the valley of the Aosta"
” occurs twice, as if Aosta were the name of a river. After informing us, on p. 255, that the Roman army at Cannæ consisted of 80,000 foot and upwards of 6,000 horse," he states on the next page, that " 45,000 dead covered the field of battle,” that “ the surviving Romans capitulated,” and that “ Hannibal sent the Roman prisoners home to be ransomed.” He has overlooked the clause in Livy (xxii. 49), “Et tanta prope civium sociorumque pars," which swells the number of the slain to 80,000 at least.
east. Hannibal, instead of sending the Roman prisoners home, which would have been an act of madness, sent ten out of the three thousand, with a single Carthaginian envoy, and not with several, as Dr. Schmitz asserts. On p. 260, Marcellus, it is said, when Syracuse was taken, " did not allow the soldiers to plunder or destroy it.” Livy (xxv. 31) says expressly, “Urbs diripienda militi data est." On p. 263, Sena is said to be “on the river Metaurus,” a statement which
tolerable map, to say nothing of the recorded manœuvres of the hostile armies, will refute.
We might swell our list with instances from other parts of the volume ; but two or three will suffice. On p. 357, P. Sulpicius is said to have surrounded himself with a body of 3000 gladiators, whom he used to call his anti-senate.” Plutarch inserts “and 600 knights," as the antecedent of “whom"; and these, though not the gladiators, might well be called an anti-senate. On p. 359, Sylla, we are told, pardoned the famished Athenians, but plundered their city. One would hardly suppose that his victory was stained by a most cruel massacre of the inhabitants, as was really the case ; one account, perhaps exaggerated, asserts that scarcely a free person was left alive. On p. 377, Spartacus is said to have taken up his position "on Mount Ætna," which, of course, should be Vesuvius. On p. 396, Cato is mentioned in different paragraphs, as if only Marcus were meant ; whereas, in the last instance, it should be Caius. The conquest of Macedonia is twice stated (on p. 301 and p. 326) to have so stocked the treasury as to make the poll-tax unnecessary. We have looked in vain for any authority to justify such a translation of the word tributum in the present
But the most slovenly piece of carelessness is to be found in the Chronological Table, in which the year of the city is inconsistent with that before Christ, in every date but
That any one, after making 753 B. C. correspond with 1 A. U., should make 1 B. C. correspond with 752 A. U., and publish the mistake, is almost incredible.
Errors in numbers, as 15,000 for 150,000, and 8,000 for 80,000, are frequent, as well as wrong names ; for M'., Q. for P., and the like. These must be typographical; but they might have been avoided. The two American editions have been pretty faithful in copying the typographical and other mistakes of the English copies. Of the New York edition we expected no better. But as the Andover publishers issued theirs under the sanction of a scholar, we had hoped that he would not suffer it to appear without a careful revision. Dr. Henry's edition of Taylor's Manual ought to have been the last of its kind. We do not hesitate, however, to give the preference to the Andover reprint ; for the New York edition, though superior in mechanical execution, adopts an intolerable orthography. Some of the most portentous of Dr. Webster's innovations cannot be foisted upon the reading world on the sole authority of a bookseller.
e. g. M.
Art. III. — History of the Girondists ; or Personal Me
. moirs of the Patriots of the French Revolution, from Unpublished Sources. By ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE, Author of Travels in the Holy Land, &c.
Translated by H. T. Ryde. London: Henry G. Bohn. 1847. 3 vols. 12mo.
The intrinsic difficulties belonging to the department of history are strikingly illustrated in the instance of the French Revolution. It is a recent event ; it occurred in the full sight of all nations, on a theatre central and most conspicuous, and compelled the breathless attention of a world awed into silence, and gazing with the most scrutinizing and earnest curiosity upon all its scenes and actors. But where and when shall we find the truth, and nothing but the truth, relating to it? The incidents that crowded within its limits were so horribly strange, and succeeded each other with such appalling rapidity ; its leading characters were wrought into so extravagant a frame of mind, inflamed by so ungovernable and fanatical a temper, and swept to such excesses of delirious enthusiasm ; human nature and society so far exceeded their
n ordinary bounds, and plunged into such frightful depths of disorder, violence, and crime ; fear and fury had such entire possession of all minds and all hearts, that it is yet impossible to contemplate the spectacle, or portray the actors, or narrate the story, without experiencing many disturbing influences on the judgment. The mind becomes agitated by the theme, the historian loses sight of the dividing line between fact and imagination, and the picture he presents is colored in the deep dyes, and glows with the fervent heat, of his own strongly excited sensibilities. When the entire people of a vast city, and even a nation, are convulsed by passions let loose in their utmost fury, a state of things is exhibited which the capacities of language must necessarily be exhausted in the attempt adequately to describe. All that, in other applications, might be regarded as highly wrought exaggeration, here fails to meet the actual demands of the subject.
Then, again, there was such a reiteration of horrors and enormities, the same terrific manifestation of human nature, perverted into preternatural dimensions of cruelty and crime, was repeated over and over again in such rapid and long suc
cession, that the heart sickens at its details, and the mind subsides into a vague and indiscriminating feeling of horror and disgust. Innumerable events, which, if occurring separately, would impart interest to the annals of nations, were crowded and heaped up in one unnatural mass of monstrous and strange occurrences.
The noise and turbulence of the scene, the bewilderment of men's judgments, and the violence of their passions, resulting from and aggravating the elements then at work, were unfavorable for the production and preservation of careful and accurate records of transactions. Moderation, truth, and justice were driven, not only from the popular assemblies and the hearts of private men, but from the journals of legislation and the tribunals of justice, and none were left to guard the altars, or perpetuate the light of history. The result is, that the French Revolution is shrouded in dark, undefined, and mysterious clouds, and all embraced within their confines is invested with a fabulous and almost demon-like aspect. The characters who figure in the tragedy are marked, indeed, by great energy and talent, but we shudder at the thought that they belong to the same species with ourselves ; as they pass before our vision, their hands are dripping with blood, and they pursue each other in swift succession to the guillotine. The shouts of popular liberty are drowned in the shrieks of assassination, rising at noonday from the open streets, and involving all parties, ages, and conditions of life. Brilliant military achievements heighten the glare of the unnatural
Philosophy and poetry mingle in the fray. Eloquence maddens the mob, and sways the factions of the clubs and the constituent assembly. The fine arts bring their elegances and their treasures to adorn the processions, and give splendor to the ceremonies, which dazzle and inebriate the popular masses. We see royalty swept from the loftiest elevation of feudal grandeur and pride into the deepest abasement, made to drink, from the rudest hands, the bitter cup of helplessness and misery to its very dregs, and dragged by a brutalized people, from whose breasts the human instincts of regard for innocence, virtue, and the tenderness of sex had been eradicated, to the prison and the scaffold. We see liberty rising from the ruins of long ages of absolute despotism ; for a moment, it shines with the brightest lustre, beaming with all that is most beautiful and hopeful in humanity; but instantly its glory disappears. Its countenance exchanges
the lineaments of an angel for those of a demon. Its hands, instead of dispensing blessings to others, tear its own heartstrings, and it perishes a maniac suicide.
Such are the images which the French Revolution presents to the mind that dwells with sensibility and with a kindled imagination upon its scenes. Particular persons, acting its prominent parts, are distorted into aspects so entirely without precedent in the ordinary observation of life, and their actions are in such violation of the restraints of society and of those sentiments that usually control mankind, that we lose sight of them as individuals, and they become, as it were, generalized personifications of the awful passions, which, swaying the multitudinous populace to and fro, overwhelm all private remonstrance and compunction, and rule the hour with an irresistible and devouring fury. That race of beings, which, because it is alive to the calls of conscience, pity, and love, we call human, is no longer before us, but gigantic monsters, gorgons and chimeras dire, fill the scene. It is not to be wondered at, that history, in attempting to record such a passage in the world's annals, has found it difficult to reduce the whole into the shape and order of truth and justice, and bring it within the limits of the established laws of human nature.
The French Revolution is still too recent to be clearly discerned and justly described. It is, indeed, true of history in general, that it cannot take into its contemplation the near and the present. It is blind to what is immediately before it, and distance of time, unlike distance of space to the physical vision, is needed to give accuracy and precision to historical sight. It is not merely because prejudices and passions must have time to subside and disappear, that many years are required to elapse before events can come within the purview of history. The materials and evidences cannot be collected until long periods have supervened. The observation of every individual is necessarily limited to a narrow circle ; for all beyond that circle he is dependent upon the observations of others. They, as well as himself, see but a portion of the motives, springs of action, and particulars, of the transactions brought within their view. Different persons witness the same event. Each one sees only what is visible from his own particular stand. Prejudices, prepossessions, passions, interpose more or less a refracting and deranging medium to the vision of them all. The truth can be obtained only by col