페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

der with which his opening volumes were materials, in no way detracts from his merit ; perused, and with which in all parts of the as it only implies that he was in earnest, and world a work was received which united the that his heart was in his work, and in the rarest accuracy of an historian to the charms moral which he designed that it should conand witchery of a romance. The rarest ac- vey. His devotion to William of Orange curacy we may well claim for them; for al- may, in detail, partake somewhat of exagthough the world has long since forgotten geration ; but it is exaggeration of that sort most of the microscopic cavils with which he which a skilful artist employs to produce the was then assailed, and although the more effect of life and reality. He was the centre shallow and dull of his readers were slow to of his historical picture, nor can the most believe that truth could be made more inter- impartial lover of truth complain that the esting than fiction, it should not be forgot- light falls on him advantageously. ten that he came triumphant out of not only The third and fourth volumes were dethe more lofty crucible of opinion, but the voted to themes more varied in character, meaner meshes and cobwebs of minute cen- less exciting, and more difficult to handle. sors of dates, and carping critics of small | The Revolution was over. The new dynasty facts. To some of these we adverted in our had taken possession, and inspired confinotice of the two first volumes in 1849, and dence in England and respect abroad. But further investigation has only resulted in the difficulties which common dangers had placing his industry and fidelity as much smothered, broke out on the return of safety above those of his hostile critics, as he soars and order. The scope of these volumes was above all his predecessors in lofty concep- to recount how the foundations of constitution and comprehensive grasp.

tional government were laid, on the ruins His object was to lay the foundations of a which the Stuarts had left behind them ; History of England from the Revolution how the jealousies incident to the power

of which should be firm and stable; to fix firmly a foreigner were met and surmounted; how in the public mind, and to illustrate and per- the intrigues of the exiled family and the petuate in the remembrance of his country- designs of France were counteracted and men, the real principles on which our con- baffled — for how long treachery was on stitution was founded, and the importance as the eve of success, what difficulties it caused, well as the glory of the struggle from which and what disasters it threatened, and how in our political privileges arose. He had seen, the end it was trodden out and extinguished. as we have all seen, how easy it is, when the In the course of this narrative the historian, battle is over, to forget the principle for of course, was obliged to encounter many which the contending armies fought, in the topics of controversy, of smaller influence, ease and security of the victory. He had but on that account more keenly contested seen those who lived in liberty and in peace, now, than the broader battles of Jacobite because their forefathers lived in strife and and Whig. But here, also, although the ocaction, only too ready to recall, amid the casions for criticism were of course more nuconstitutional privileges which we enjoy, the merous, Macaulay's power, knowledge, and obsolete doctrines of discarded prerogative, brilliancy have imparted an interest and life and to weep over the woes of unworthy to his narrative which no other historian has rulers. The theme, therefore, which the two attained. No doubt his campaigns are dull, first volumes of his history profess to illus- and so, we suspect, were the campaigns trate, was the commencement of that great themselves. But the gradual growth of the struggle; and no one can forget with what existing system of government, the first a trumpet tone he sounded in the ears of the cabinet, the rise of the Bank of England, the British public, and indeed of the world, the history of constitutional finance, and many great principles of individual and constitu- subjects of a cognate nature, are treated of tional liberty.

in a style both weighty and striking, fitted In these volumes he told, with a spirit and equally to attract the attention, to impress elegance never, we believe, surpassed, the the memory, and to stimulate inquiry. We eventful story of the Revolution, painting it there are taught how the turbid and troubled in colors not more brilliant than true. That state of the political waters, the instability he created a hero for his theme out of his of all public men, the intrigues of most of

LIVING AGE. 798

THIRD SERIES,

them with the Court of Saint Germains, and wood's Magazine in a critique on the two the strong, sturdy form of parliamentary su- first volumes), “in treating of the merits of premacy cropping up amid the general dis- this very remarkable production, adopt the quietude, surround, perplex, and disturb the not uncommon practice of reviewers on such uncongenial mind of the Dutch monarch, ter informed on the details of the subject

occasions. We shall not pretend to be betwhose thoughts are far away in Holland, and than the author. We shall not set up the whose cares and dreams are all with the am- reading of a few weeks or months against bition of France and the balance of power. the study of half a lifetime. We shall not Ireland, too, has to be conquered, Scotland imitate certain critics who look at the bothas to be appeased and settled, her Church tom of the pages for the authorities of the to be satisfied, and her clans to be concili- author, and having got the clue to the reqated or overawed.

uisite information, proceed toexamine with

the utmost minuteness every particular of We took occasion, when in the course of his narrative, and make in consequence a our critical labors it became our duty to re- vast display of knowledge wholly derived view these volumes, to enter into various from the reading which he has suggested. discussions as to the different views which We shall not be so deluded as to suppose Mr. Macaulay had maintained in the course we have made a great discovery in biograof them. As he was obliged to deal with phy, because we have ascertained that some subjects less exciting and less interesting in Lady Caroline of the last generation was themselves, to some extent the prejudices of of the 8th of February, 1675, as the histo

born on the 7th of October, 1674, instead the writer become more apparent than they rian with shameful negligence has affirmed ; had been when his topics were more gen- nor shall we take credit to ourselves for a eral, and we did not hesitate to express the journey down to Hampshire to consult the opinion which we entertained upon several parish register on the subject. As little questions on which we differed from his shall we in future accuse Macaulay of inviews. But although it was impossible to accuracy in describing battles, because on deny that this great work, like all others, itary authorities he has quoted, and the

referring, without mentioning it, to the milwas fairly susceptible of criticism, we never page he has referred to, we have discovered abandoned the opinion which we formed at that at some battle, as Malplaquet, Lottum's first, that while Macaulay had added a new men stood on the right of the Prince of charm to history, and had thrown over the Orange, when he says they stood on the detail of facts all the interest of fictitious left; or that Marlborough dined on a cernarrative, he was not only the most elo- tain day at one o'clock, when in point of quent, but the most accurate, of historians. incontestable authority, till half-past two.

fact he did not sit down, as is proved by It is true that he paints so vividly and writes We shall leave such minute and Lilliputian with so much emphasis, that any errors he criticism to the minute and Lilliputian minds does commit strike more vividly than in a by whom alone they are ever made. Mr. duller and a tamer style. And so he has Macaulay can afford to smile at all reviewers been assailed by small critics upon number- who affect to possess more than his own giless little points of very little materiality to gantic stores of information.?the general scope or accuracy of his narra- We have made this quotation because an tive, but which have been made the excuse attempt has been recently made to revive for assaults as slender in their foundation as the notion which was so thoroughly exposed they are ungenerous and unworthy in them- and refuted at the time, that while Macauselves.

lay's history is interesting, it is not trustWe hardly expected that it would have worthy. And, strange to say, in the very been necessary now, after the lapse of twelve journal in which these honorable sentiments years, to have resumed any topic of that were expressed, a variety of articles hare kind. We quoted, in our criticism on the appeared which have for their object to confirst two volumes, a passage from a contem- vey this impression to the public, and which porary periodical, which, with reference to a are now published separately under the few remarks we are now going to make, it somewhat pretentious title of “The New may not be amiss again to present to our Examen,”—a work which we have prefixed readers :

to our present article. Had Lord Macaulay “We shall not,” (said a writer in Black- been alive, we should certainly not have

[ocr errors]

taken the trouble of replying to so very preciate and cry down the greatest efforts of superficial and so very inaccurate a per- genius, and the noblest aspirations of free formance. He knew himself how to deal men, because of blemishes and faults such with all assaults of that kind in a fashion as these, if blemishes and faults they be. which never left his adversaries any reason But is the general charge true? Has it to congratulate themselves on the result of any semblance of truth? We may judge of their tourney. We only call attention to it Hercules by his foot, and of this critic, who now from a feeling of indignation not un- is no Hercules, by one or two instances; natural at the flimsy grounds on which the and those we shall select will be more than assault is made, and the time at which it sufficient. At least we are entitled to rehas appeared. Probably the author in col- quire at Mr. Paget's hands that he shall be lecting and publishing these essays had no free from the defect which he so bitterly intention but to promote historical truth; blames. And now for a word or two on but we could only wish that he had borrowed some of the illustrations by which he enfrom the historian whom he so unreservedly deavors to make good the attack which he attacks, a little of his careful study, clear has with so much temerity undertaken. appreciation, and accurate research.

As to Marlborough he uses very strong We have no intention of following Mr. language ; he quotes a passage—a striking Paget through the various criticisms which passage enough—in which Macaulay charges this volume contains. But we mean simply Marlborough with having betrayed to the to illustrate in a few sentences the incon- French Government the intended attack upon clusive nature of his arguments, and the Brest in 1694, and having thereby lured Talcarping spirit of his work. He chooses as mash the admiral to an action, which resulted the subject of his depreciatory remarks five in his death. Macaulay says not only that themes,-the Duke of Marlborough, the Marlborough had betrayed the intended atmassacre of Glencoe, the Highlands of Scot- tack to the French, and that thereby the enland, Viscount Dundee, and William Penn; emy were prepared for it, and Talmash's life and he thinks he has proved in all these that was sacrificed, but that Talmash complained Macaulay has committed errors, has omitted that he had been led into it by treachery, and facts which he might have known, or has that this treachery was one of the basest of stated facts which he has not verified. He all the hundred villanies of Marlborough. thinks he is unjust to Marlborough; he Mr. Paget says, that he accepts “ this pasthinks that he palliates William in his nar- sage as the battle-ground on which to decide rative of the massacre of Glencoe; he thinks the question how far Lord Macaulay's treatthat he speaks with too great bitterness of ment of evidence entitles him to confidence the Highlands, and paints them with a pen- as an historian.” He then says,“ The charge cil dipped in something like gall and dis- may be divided under four heads :like; he thinks that Claverhouse was a hero,

“I. That Marlborough, making use of while Macaulay looks upon him as a savage; sources of information peculiar to himself, and he winds up with the everlasting crit- discovered the design of the Government to icism on his estimate and strictures on Wil- make a descent upon Brest, and revealed it Liam Penn.

to James, and through him to Louis, who Well, if all this were true, what then? Is would not otherwise have known it in time

to prepare

for defence. Macaulay not a great historian, even if these

«II. That the information so communithings be as Mr. Paget pretends they are ? cated by Marlborough enabled the French Has this critic no soul for liberty, no love Government to take such steps, and that they of his country, no ride in her contests for did thereupon take such steps, as rendered popular rights, that he cannot appreciate so the expedition abortive. noble an offering on the altar of freedom,

“ IIİ. That Talmash was by these means because in his small researches he has found lured into a snare, and to use Lord Macaua date wrong here, or a letter omitted there ? lay's words, 'perished by the basest of all

the hundred villanies of Marlborough.' It is impossible that a man writing of fif

“ IV. That Marlborough was thus the teen years of great events can avoid some real author of the slaughter at Camaret Bay, casual slips, or be free of some inclination and the murderer of Talmash ; his object beof the scale; but it is a paltry task to de- ing to get rid of Talmash as a personal rival, and to force himself back into the service of ously and villanously convey to the French the Government and the possession of the Government information in regard to the atimportant and lucrative places from which he tack, because the French Government might had been discharged two years before.

"It is impossible to deepen the shadows previously have had information from other of this picture. If it be true, Marlborough quarters. If the question be in regard to the was a monster of depravity; if it be false, character of Marlborough, if the question reand if it can be shown that Lord Macaulay late to an attack upon that character, what had before him the evidence showing its false- could be more base, or what better foundahood, we should be sorry to put into plain tion could there be for the remark of MacauEnglish what Lord Macaulay must be held lay that he only added one to his hundred to be in the estimation of all honest men.” villanies ?

He then proceeds to a professed examina- Mr. Paget writes as if Macaulay were the tion of the evidence, and sums up by say- first historian who had taken this view of ing :

Marlborough's character, and in particular

as if he, for the first time, invented this “It is impossible for any Englishman, it is impossible for any honest man, to rise from charge, which no honest man can rise from a perusal of this attack upon Marlborough reading without indignation. But the truth and an examination of the evidence upon is, although Mr. Paget seems to know nothwhich it rests, without feelings of the deepest ing of it, neither the general estimate nor indignation;" and that “ Lord Macaulay is the particular charge are in any respect new, beyond comparison the greatest master of We do not mean to say that Macaulay may brilliant and unscrupulous bistorical fiction not take an exaggerated view of the defects that ever adorned the language of England." of Marlborough's character, or may not have

Well, these are very strong, very foolish, painted these defects in somewhat glaring and very unpardonable words; they, at all colors. We find even in this volume that events, require strong facts to warrant them. the tone in which Marlborough is mentioned And what do our readers think is the foun- is considerably subdued. But is Macaulay dation on which so sweeping and so pre- the inventor of this estimate of the great sumptuous a censure is founded ? Does Mr. general? We do not, indeed, refer to the Paget deny that Marlborough betrayed the assaults which were made on him by his enintended attack to the French Government ? emies. Swift said of him, Not at all. Does he deny that Talmash " Come hither, all ye empty things, thought he had been betrayed ? Not in the Ye bubbles raised by breath of kings; least. He admits that Marlborough acted

Let pride be taught by this rebuke the traitor, that he informed the French

How very mean a thing's a duke,

From all his ill-got honors flung, Government of the design, that the attack Turned to that dirt from whence he spring." was made when the enemy were better pre- This, indeed, was satire, enrenomed by pared than was anticipated, and that Talmash in consequence received his death- political and personal animosity. But Mr. wound, and attributed hisdefeat to treachery; Paget seems not to know that from a far but he says others were as great traitors as

more trustworthy source than the satires of Marlborough, and that Godolphin had, prior and the same view of his conduct on this

Swift, the same character of Marlborough to the date of Marlborough's letter, conveyed the same information to the French Govern- very matter were given to the public many

years ago in the calm and judicial pages of ment. We do not see that the attack upon

Hallam. In a note to the fifteenth chapter

Marlborough was in any degree undeserved, sup, following passage :

of his “ Constitutional History" occurs the posing all this to be true. We do not feel the deepest indignation at Lord Macaulay. “As for Lord Marlborough, he was We feel the deepest indignation at his shal- among the first, if we except some Scot low critic. We think every word that Ma- renegades, who abandoned the cause of the caulay said was thoroughly justified. Marl- the ties of personal gratitude in his deser

Revolution. He had so signally broken borough was not the less a traitor because tion of the king on that occasion, that, acGodolphin had betrayed his master before ; cording to the severe remark of Hume, his Marlborough did not the less most treacher-conduct required forever afterwards the

curs:

most upright, the most disinterested, and third book of the third part of that work, most public-spirited behavior to render it Vol. iii. page 43, the following passage ocjustifiable. What then must we think of it if we find in the whole of this great man's political life nothing but ambition and ra- “ The year 1694 is made remarkable by pacity in his motives, nothing but treachery an event which, without the aid of any other and intrigue in his means ! He betrayed cause, accounts for all the bad success of and abandoned James, because he could not King William's war by land

and sea ; though rise in his favor without a sacrifice that he conducted by a prince of abilities, comdid not care to make; he abandoned Wil- manding a people enriched by long peace, liam and betrayed England, because some and unbroke by war; because it proves obstacles stood yet in the way of his ambi- that his counsels were betrayed to Louis

XIV. tion. I do not mean only, when I say that by the greatest persons in his service.he betrayed England, that he was ready to He goes on to state the intention of the lay her independence and liberty at the feet attack on Brest by King William, and proof James II. and Louis XIV.; but that in ceeds thus :one memorable instance he communicated to the Court of St. Germains, and through that

“But his intention was betrayed to the to the Court of Versailles, the secret of an late king by intelligence in the spring, from expedition against Brest, which failed in Lord Godolphin, First Lord of the Treasury, consequence, with the loss of the commander and afterwards by a letter from Lord Mary and 800 men. (Dalrymyle iii. 13. Life of borough, eldest lieutenant-general in the James, 522. Macpherson, i. 487.) In short, service, of date the fourth of May, in the his whole life was such a picture of mean- same way as a project against Toulon was ness and treachery that one must rate mili- betrayed two years afterwards by Lord Suntary services very high indeed to preserve derland.” any esteem for his memory."

“ Marlborough's letter was a strange enIt would be quite enough, to prove the deavor, yet natural desire even in the most extravagance of this attack on Macaulay, wicked, to reconcile their profligacy with to show that it is one equally applicable to their duty

, in their

own eyes and those of Hallam. If Macaulay has falsified history "This will be a great advantage to Eng

others, contained the following words : on this subject, so has Hallam; and the land. But no advantage can prevent or same plain English which Mr. Paget refrains ever shall prevent me from informing you from printing about Macaulay, would be of all that I believe to be for your service. quite as justly insinuated about Hallam. Therefore you may make your own use of

But, as might be expected, no one is this intelligence, which you may depend wrong, or even went wrong about this mat- upon being exactly true.', ter, excepting Mr. Paget himself. He ex- The Duke of Marlborough's letter, with pends a great deal of research in proving General Sackfield's letter, in which it was that in the spring of 1694 Lord Godolphin enclosed, are translated in a note, and their had betrayed to the French Government the tenor is exceedingly important, because they design of William to make a naval descent prove beyond all question that the intellion Brest : that the French Court knew this gence given by them was recent intelligence, from Godolphin before the date of Marlbor- which James did not know, and could not ough's letter, and that William himself knew have known otherwise; and they also show that he had been betrayed. All this is quite that Mr. Paget's idea that Marlborough true, and quite notorious : but Lord Ma- only gave the information because he knew caulay's propositions, even as paraphrased it would be of no service, is not only a by Mr. Paget, are not the less, one and all weak, but a most unfounded imagination. of them, accurate. Lord Godolphin's treach- General Sackfield's letter was written in ery had, in point of fact, no connection with cipher. Mr. Paget innocently says, “ Marlthe defeat at Camaret Bay, and the informa- borough's letter is not dated, but the comtion furnished by Marlborough was entirely piler of the life of James, and Lord Macaulay new, and entirely the cause of the disaster. bimself, concur in assigning the 4th of May

This appears quite clearly from the au- as the date." But if Mr. Paget had conthorities quoted by Hallam.

sulted the original letters as Dalrymple gives The first is · Dalrymple's Memoirs of them, he would have found that General Great Britain " (published in 1788). In the Sackfield's letter, which enclosed that of Lord

« 이전계속 »