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The Overture Of Angels.*—Messrs. J. B. Ford & Co., have also published in a beautiful volume, with the title which we here put down, that portion of Mr. Beecher's forthcoming "Life of Jesus,—the Christ," which depicts the scenes and events that cluster about the birth of our Lord.
Rev. Me. Gage's "relief Maps" Of Palestine.—The Rev. W. L. Gage, of Hartford, Conn., published some months ago a "Relief Map" of Palestine, which has been widely sold, and is now quite generally known. He proposes to publish, on the first of May, " A Relief Map of New Testament Palestine," in similar style, and on July 15th, he will also publish a Map of the Sinaitio Peninsula, and the Scene of the Wanderings of the Israelites. The price of the first two maps, neatly framed, is $1 each; and they may be had by remitting this sum to Mr. Gage by mail. The price of the Map of the Sinaitic Peninsula will be $I.R0. These sums will cover the cost of transportation to any part of the United States. The maps are put up in such a way that they ought to go without being injured to the most remote parts of the country.
Historical And Biographical.
The Xi.th And Xii.th Volumes Of Froude's History Of England.f—These volumes appear with a change of title, indicating that instead of proceeding to the close of Elizabeth's reign, the work terminates with the defeat of the Armada. These volumes are, therefore, the last of the series. Mr. Froude's reason for stopping at this point is not a very conclusive one; since the supremacy of Protestantism in England can hardly be considered to have been absolutely settled until the Revolution of '88. The two volumes before us are filled up with the intrigues of the European Princes and Cabinets, which are narrated with the author's wonted perspicuity and liveliness, and with the utmost detail. The stirring events are the execution of the Queen of Scots and the dispersion and defeat of Philip's fleet. The most obvious merits of Froude are his masterly skill in the grouping of events, his descriptive power, and his animated and brilliant style. His work is not in the "old Almanac style," as the dry, unreadable method of composing history has been characterized. As to the more solid qualifications for historical writing, it is evident that Mr. Froude has diligently explored the materials offered to his inspection in the State Paper Office, and in the Spanish Archives. Whether he has accurately followed and cited his documents cannot be absolutely decided until they shall have been examined by others or presented to the public in print. A rather savage criticism of Froude, in the "Saturday Review," taxes him with "incurable inaccuracy," but brings little proof in support of the imputation. The examples of inexact statement, which the Reviewer adduces, are mostly trivial. At the same time, there is a smartness and evident taste for strong coloring in Froude, which excite a certain degree of distrust, and make us regret the absence of more abundant, and explicit marginal evidence for the statements of the text. As a lively and powerful picture of an eventful portion of Elizabeth's reign, the later volumes of this work will always maintain a very high rank. In some other aspects, as a historical production, it is, in a marked degree, deficient. The Constitutional History of this formative and pregnant period is very scantily and imperfectly treated. A student of the growth of the English system of government must resort to Hallam and other writers, for he will derive little satisfaction from Froude. The greatest defect, however, is in the way in which the ecclesiastical history of England is treated. Much complaint is made, and with some justice, of the hostility and contempt with which the English Episcopal Church is uniformly mentioned. What a meagre and, in many respects, positively incorrect idea of the progress and character of Protestantism in England would be gained, if a reader were shut up to the instructions of this history! The Author is one of the free-thinkers of the "earnest" type, and, with all his vigor and terseness, is not free from the cant of his school. Many sentences and paragraphs sound like an echo of some of the old, oracular utterances of Carlyle. In fact, the moral judgments of Froude are not only untrustworthy, but are often vacillating and inconsistent. It is not without indignation that one reads (Vol. I., pp. 85, 86) the observations upon the war in the Netherlands, and the expediency of a surrender to Spain on the part of the heroic people who were founding a Great Republic, and giving an immortal example of self-sacrificing patriotism. Mr. Froude's estimate of the character of Mary of Scotland is a righteous one, and will do something to dispel the halo which still lingers about the brow of this intellectual, energetic, fascinating, but bad, mischievous woman. So his unveiling of the mendacity, fickleness, imprudence, selfishness, and other evil traits of Elizabeth, will aid in correcting tha exaggerated impression relative to her sagacity and genius, which has not been dislodged from the popular mind. Wherever she departed from Burghley's counsels, she uniformly blundered. We must say of Froude's book, as of so many other books, that being so good, it is a pity that it is not better. In these last voL umes there is, at least, nothing so utterly unpardonable as the defense of the atrocious murder of Sir Thomas More, and the hardly less iniquitous execution of Cromwel, whom, it will be remembered, Froude praises through his whole career up to the very steps of the scaffold, but there turns round and apologises for his destruction. The story of intrigue and deception is spun out, in these volumes, to a somewhat wearisome length; and if Froude, in case he proceeded, were to continue his narrative with the same minuteness, it may be well that he stops at this point. We think, however, that the remainder of Elizabeth's reign might well have been presented with more brevity and condensation. and thus completeness be given to a work which is really left a fragment. Portions of history may profitably be written in this detailed fashion, but life is too short to render it possible for the whole long story of human affairs to be thus narrated.
* The Overture of Angele. By Henry Ward I'eecheh. New York: J. B. Ford k Co. 8vo. pp. 55.
\ History of England from the Fall of Woleey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada. By James Anthonv Froude, M. A. (Vols. zi. and xii.) New York: 0. Scriboer <fc Co. 1870.
Mommsbn's History Op Rome, Volume II.—The first volume of this work was noticed at some length in the last Number of the New Englander. The one now before us takes up the history at the opening of the wars with Carthage, in 264 B. C, and carries it forward through about a century, to the close of the third Macedonian war in 168. To most readers, probably, it will appear a much more interesting book than its predecessor. In the twilight of the early centuries of Rome, little jmore can be seen than the great outlines of political and social institutions, and the progressive changes which they undergo. The first volume from the necessity of the case was mainly a constitutional history, without the interest which belongs to a continuous narrative and to personal characters and fortunes. Hut with the Punic wars we come to a period for which the sources of authentic history, though for times nearer to our own they would seem lamentably defective, are for the ancient world tolerably abundant. The events, too, unlike the petty wars of the early republic, are on a scale of imperial magnitude, and draw after them consequences of enduring and incalculable importance. The hundred years included in this volume are, on the whole, the best century of Roman history,—distinguished by the greatest vigor, the most heroic efforts, the severest sacrifices, and the most dazzling successes. The republic is now at the acme of its strength and glory. The seeds of its decay and dissolution are, indeed, already sown, especially by the devastations of the Hannibalian war, destroying that class of peasant proprietors, of small land-owners, which constituted the real strength of the state. But the symptoms of decline did not become manifest and alarming until some time after the battle of Pydna.
* The Hittory of Rome. By Theodor Mommskn. Translated by the Rev. William P. Dickson, D. D. Volume II. New York; Charles Soribner & Co. 1870. 12mo. pp. 668.
Of all the historic personages who appear in this volume, the grandest figure by far is that of the great Carthaginian, Ilannibal. We quote the passage in which Mommsen introduces him to the reader:
"The voice of his comrades now summoned him—the tried, although youthful general—to the chief command, and he could now execute the designs for which hi« father and brother-in-law had lived and died. He took possession of the inheritance, and he was worthy of it. His contemporaries tried to cast stains of various sorts on his character; the Romans charged him with cruelty, the Carthaginians with covetousness; and it is true that he hated as only Oriental natures know how to hate, and that a general who never fell short of money and stores can hardly have been other than covetous. But though anger, and envy, and meanness have written his history, they have not availed to mar the pure and noble image which it presents. Laying aside wretched inventions which furnish their own refutation, and soma things which his lieutenants were guilty of doing in his name, nothing occurs in the accounts regarding him which may not be justified in the circumstances and Hccording to the international law, of the times; and all agree in this, that he combined in rare perfection discretion and enthusiasm, caution and energy. He was peculiarly marked by that inventive craftiness, which forms one of the leading traits of the Phoenician character; he was fond of taking singular and unexpected routes; ambushes and stratagems of all sorts were familiar to him; and he studied the character of his antagonists with unprecedented care. By an unrivalled system of espionage—he had spies even in Rome—he kept himself informed of the project* of the enemy; he himself was frequently seen wearing disguises and false hair, in order to procure information on some point or other. Every page of the history of the period attests his genius as a general; and his gifts as a statesman were, after the peace with Rome, no less conspicuously displayed in his reform of the Carthaginian constitution, and in the unparalleled influence which, as a foreign exile, he exercised in the cabinets of the Eastern powers. The power which he wielded over men is shown by his incomparable control over an army of various nations and many tongues—an army which never in the worst times mutinied against him. He was a great man; wherever he went, he riveted the eyes of all."
The current belief that the policy of Rome towards the republics of Greece was from the outset an aggressive one, designed to encroach upon their rights and crush their independence, is warmly combated by Mommsen. After describing the proclamation of freedom for the Greek states by Flamininus in 196, he says:
"It is only contemptible disingenuous-ness or weakly sentimentality, which can fail to perceive that the Romans were entirely in earnest in the liberation of Greece; and the reason why the plan so nobly projected resulted in so wretched a structure, is to be sought only in the complete moral and political disorganization of the Hellenic people. It was no small matter, that a mighty nation should have suddenly, with its powerful arm, brought the land, which it had been accustomed to regard as its primitive home and the shrine of its intellectual and higher interests, into the possession of full freedom, and should have conferred on every community in it deliverance from foreign taxation and foreign garrisons, and the unlimited right of self-government; it is mere paltriness that sees in this nothing save political calculation. Political calculation suggested to the Romans the possib>lity of liberating Greece; it was converted into a reality by the Hellenic sympathies that were at that time indescribably powerful in Rome, and above all in Flamininus himself. If the Romans are liable to any reproach, it is that all of them, and in particular Flamininus, who overcame the well-founded scruples of the senate, allowed the magic charm of the Hellenic name to prevent them from perceiving in all its extent the wretched character of the Greek states of that period, and from putting a stop at once to the proceedings of com munities who, owing to the untipathies that prevailed alike in their internal and their mutual relations., neither knew how to act nor how to keep qniet. What was really necessary, as things stood, was at once to put an end to such a freedom, equally pitiful and pernicious, by means of a superior power permanently present on the spot; the feeble policy of sentiment, with all its apparent humanity, was far more cmel than the sternest occupation would have been."
The volume closes with a series of chapters on "the government and the governed," on "the management of land and of capital," on "faith and manners," on '' literature and art,"— which represent with masterly skill and power the social and intellectual conditions of the Romans during this period. From the last of these chapters we quote an impressive passage on the later