J. Franklin (John Franklin) Jameson.

The American historical review online

. (page 107 of 120)
Online LibraryJ. Franklin (John Franklin) JamesonThe American historical review → online text (page 107 of 120)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


While the book cannot be conclusive or even of great authority, it is
of much interest and suggestiveness ; the treatment is objective and the
tone judicial, and in all probability the analysis of the situation and the
representation of the course of events are entirely trustworthy. If this^
special study marks Herr Friedjung's transition from popular to scien-
tific work, historical science may well welcome the accession ; with how-
ever the warning that the passage does not appear to be yet fully accom-
plished.

Victor Coffin.

La France et Guillaume IL Par Victor Berard. (Paris : Armand

Colin. 1907. Pp. ix, 315.)

M. Victor Berard has brought together under the title La France-
et Guillaume IL a series of papers on Franco-German relations, which
have already appeared in the Revue de Paris, It does not pretend to
be a systematic treatise on diplomacy nor an impartial examination-
of the policy and measures of the German Emperor. It is on the



Digitized by



Google



896 ' Reviews of Books

contrary an argument against the economic stability of Germany
and a diatribe against the " Machiavellian " and " treacherous " diplo-
macy of Berlins-clear, suggestive, and entertaining, but hardly destined
to escape the oblivion that overwhelms things printed. By conviction,
M. Berard is against imperialism of the Chamberlain and Rhodes type,
but with Mr. Hobson and Mr. Reinsch he understands the pitiless pres-
sure of economic forces in the expansion of Western Nations and he
wastes no time on beatific dreams of la petite France. He studies the
relations of France and the Emperor in the light of the conflict of inter-
ests in the world market-place.

His volume falls into three parts, the first of which is devoted to an
examination of French colonial and foreign policy, French economic
activities so far as they are related to external politics and finally the ex-
igencies of French finance. On the first of the three points, he warns
his countrymen that they have an eastern frontier as well as colonies
and that they must keep their powder dry. He therefore rejoices in the
Anglo-French entente cordiale, which has a foundation deeper than
sentiment in reciprocal economic advantages. The German monopolists,
he declares, are at cross purposes with the civilized world; their com-
merce and industry are in conflict with England and the United States;
and their agriculture clashes with that of Russia and Austria. On
finance and diplomacy, M. Berard is more eloquent than convincing; he
scorns the financiers and holders of foreign securities who sacrifice the
honor and true interests of their country rather than endure a decline in
stocks, but he will hardly keep them out of politics by suggesting that
patriotism and poverty are more to desired than truckling diplomacy
and great riches. He admits that the exigencies of high finance were
responsible for the resignation of Delcasse in the recent affair with
Germany over Morocco — an affair which, he believes, will mark a
turning-point in the national life of France.

M. Berard's second lx)ok contains an analysis of German foreign
and commercial policy as exemplified in South American enterprises —
especially in the development of Venezuelan resources. The conclu-
sion so far as the German emperor is concerned was foregone: brutality
is odious to the French — ^they hold with the old-fashioned English
radical that force is not a remedy. The German emperor, however, is
troubled with no such scruples: " alors que I'humanite entiere se met en
marche vers une justice plus equitable, vers une paix fondee sur le droit,
vers un bonheur democratique, le seul Guillaume H. croit son destin lie
a defense des vieilles choses, des crimes hamidiens, de la barbaric
marocaine, de Tautocratie tsarienne, du 'peril jaune,* de la misere
"chinoise, de caporalisme, de la monarchic de droit divin ". Despite this
fact, however, the emperor's militarism and bravado will not avail him
anything, because the competition of other nations brings ruin to Ger-
man industries; the great Brazilian paradise has proved a desert and
German trade with it fails to fulfil expectations; the other South Amer-



Digitized by



Google I



Eyre : Letters of Washington 897

ican republics are hornets' nests guarded by the Yankee; Finland and
Poland may become autonomous, Russia constitutional, Austria demo-
cratic and modern, Hungary and Slavonia federal, and the Balkans free
and reformed; — finally the whole world except the Sultan is alarmed
at his pretentious imperialism.

M. Berard concludes with an examination of Menaces et if res
AllemandeSy taking as his text a speech by von Biilow to the effect that
any attempts to construct a circle of antagonistic powers and thus isolate
Germany would be dangerous to the peace of Europe. This, according
to our author, is just what is most likely to happen. A mutual under-
standing between Russia, England, and France is one of the probabilities
of the near future, and Denmark and Norway will turn toward the
west rather than to Prussian tyranny. The union of southern Europe
will be even more easily accomplished: the Triple Alliance will die;
German competition weighs heavily on Italian industries and shipping;
Hungary rising rapidly to a position of industrial independence will
resist the tutelage of both Vienna and Berlin; in the contest for the
Levant trade, the merchants of Fiume and Trieste find formidable com-
petitors in the ubiquitous German and no mere political alliance can
effectively withstand the strain of trade war. Slavs, Magyars, and
Latins are destined to be linked by economic interests and the future
seems a happy one for the Frenchman. If brilliant hypothesis, carefully
selected statistics, and ardent hopes were conclusive, this would be an
impressive book. Whether its thesis is a prophecy or a delusion, the
future alone can decide.

Charles A. Beard.

BOOKS OF AMERICAN HISTORY

Letters and Recollections of George Washington, Edited by Louisa

Lear Eyre. (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company.

1906. Pp. xi, 289.)
George Washington, Patriot, Soldier, Statesman, First President of

the United States. By James A. Harrison. (New York: G.

P. Putnam's Sons. 1906. Pp. xxiii, 481.)

Mrs. Eyre's volume comprises ninety-one letters from Washington
to her grandfather, Tobias Lear, between the years 1790 and 1799,
Lear's account of the last days of Washington, and one hundred and
thirty-nine letters from Washington to various persons on matters con-
nected with the private life of the writer of them. Very few* of the
letters in the book are included in either Ford's or Sparks's collections,
no doubt for the reason that they do not deal with the more important
public phase of the life of Washington. Moreover, most of them have
been printed hitherto in special editions, which are not readily accessible
to the student. Their publication in this popular form will confer a
favor, therefore, on the public, although the present edition has the



Digitized by



Google



898 Reviews of Books

serious shortcoming of having neither index, list of letters, nor explana-
tory notes. The text itself, so far as there is duplication of selections,
shows unimportant variations from the two leading collections ; and the
forms given by Mrs. Eyre have the appearance of being the older ones.
Of the Lear matter we are given by Mrs. Eyre a reproduction of the
copies of the letters made by Benjamin Lincoln Lear for Sparks, who in
his own collection, as is well known, made liberal corrections with the
purpose of making Washington's style conform to modern standards.
Mr. Ford adopted the better plan of making only those changes which
a reasonable desire to avoid eccentricities would suggest. Mrs. Eyre's
text conforms more closely to Ford's in those few letters which are
included in both collections, and where there are variations her forms
seem more antique, which raises the presumption that she has fol-
Jowed the originals with pretty fair exactness. But it must be said that
the reviewer has not been able to compare her texts with the original
letters, and that, of course, is the only means of coming to a sure judg-
jnent on this point.

The history of the letters to Lear is an interesting story, and one
not easily attainable. The originals went after Lear's death to his son,
Benjamin Lincoln Lear, who died intestate, leaving a widow and one
daughter, Mrs. Eyre. When the widow died the daughter w^as in
Europe. On her return she learned that the correspondence in ques-
tion was in the hands of another relative, and brought suit to recover.
Judgment was given for the other relative, but in the end the letters
passed into the hands of the latter's lawyer, from whom they passed to
his stepson, a recently prominent American literary man. The latter
kept them together till his death, but since that event many of them have
come into the hands of Mr. W. H. Bixby, of St. Louis, who has printed
what he had in a limited edition. W^hile the papers were in the hands
of Benjamin Lincoln Lear, he made copies of the letters and of his
father's account of the last days of Washington for Jared Sparks, who
later presented these copies bound in a volume to Mrs. Eyre with an in-
scription which she has reproduced in the volume now under review.
It is from this manuscript volume that she takes her text of the letters
and the narrative as well.

It was inevitable that George Washington should come at last into
the Heroes of the Nations series, but it is a little disappointing that his
entrance should be made in so sorry a plight as in Professor Harrison's
romantic volume. This author seems to write under the spell which
John Esten Cooke by his History of Virginia casts over the old and
unscientific school of Virginia historians. He presents his story in
a wealth of fantasy which Cooke himself would never have used. Presi-
dent Woodrow Wilson has made for us a beautifully idealized portrait
of Washington in the style of a master painter, Mr. Paul Leicester Ford
has given us a satisfactory account of W^ashington's inner life in most of
its phases, and Mr. Lodge and others have presented valuable and



Digitized by



Google



Mc Master: History of the United States 899

sufficient stories of Washington in his varied public relations; but the
present writer has done neither. His intimate relations do not touch
the real Washington, his presentation of the man of public affairs has
the least possible regard for the problems or conditions of the time,
and his whole. picture is unreal.

To be more specific : " The strong, controHed passion of a soul which
strove in vain to spend itself on men and affairs, now, at twenty-six,
turned its ardour \sic\ towards a lovely woman who was, like the gallant
colonel himself, a ' consummate flower * of the Virginia planter common-
wealth" (p. 114). And again, "Having married a fashionable woman,
a sensible ' nut-brown * maid . . . Washington felt it necessary to be
fashionable too, in all his dress and appointments" (p. 129). Probably
Professor Harrison is the first man to attribute Washington's care to
make a good appearance to the influence of his " nut-brown maid " who
at the time of her marriage was the mother of two children. Wash-
ington's presidency is given to us in one chapter of twenty-seven pages,
the first six of which bring us through the inauguration ceremonies of
1789. In the remaining part of the chapter there is but the slightest
grasp of the subject. We are told: "The dear old mother-country had
erred grievously in her behaviour [51V] toward her child, but Washington,
forgiving but not forgetting, could not bring himself to break with her,
eminent as were the claims of France to his gratitude, when the French
war came on in the nineties. He loved England too much to se^t him-
self against her, and this exceeding affection at last put Britain — revers-
ing Scripture — into the position of the prodigal mother who, having
spent her immeasurable wealth of colonies in riotous living, came to
fall at the feet of her child and ask its pardon" (p. 429). The scrip-
tural allusion may be above criticism, although to the reviewer it seems
a little mixed ; but we may well ask, when did England fall at the feet of
America during either the presidency or the life-time of Washington?
Was it at the time of the Jay treaty? Or was it at the time of the
French difficulty — which was not a war — when she was still insisting
on the right of impressment and smiling to see how near the prospect
of war with France was bringing, not England to America's feet, but
America to England's?

A History of the People of the United States, From the Revolution

to the Civil War, Volume VI., 1830-1842. By John Bach

McMaster of the University of Pennsylvania. (New York:

D. Appleton and Company. 1906. Pp. xviii, 658.)

Between the second war with England and the era of the Civil War

there is one period which has been the favorite study of historians, and

there is one typical character, the strenuous hero of that generation,

who has always possessed an unfailing attraction for biographers.

That period is the decade which scarcely contains the first three presi-



Digitized by



Google



900 Reviews of Books

dential administrations of a triumphant new democracy. That char-
acter, of course, is, not the persuasive Clay nor the Titan Webster, but
Andrew Jackson, idol of the common people. To that period and to
that character Professor McMaster's study of our national development
has now come. This sixth volume, comprising chapters, liv. to lxx.,
inclusive, of the whole work, is devoted almost entirely to a continuous
and thorough analysis of political events, forces, and controversies
during the presidencies of Jackson and Van Buren. A single conclud-
ing chapter begins the narrative of John Tyler's first stormy year, and
drops it abruptly as the fruit of the first great victory of the Whigs was
turning into Apples of Sodom upon their lips.

The first two chapters (liv.^ lv.) present the familiar topics of Jack-
son's war against the Bank, the beginnings of the nullification movement,
and the states'-rights discussions that sprang up over the propositions
to sell the public lands, and to seize the Indian lands in Georgia, Ala-
bama, and Mississippi. Eight chapters (lvii.-lxiv.) contain the story of
Jackson's second administration, with the elections of 1832 and 1836.
Along this well-beaten path we find the controversies over the tariff and
the end of Nullification, the removal of the deposits, the battle of
" hard " and " soft " money which gave to Benton his picturesque
sobriquet, the rise of anti-monopoly and abolition parties and the
Southern wrath on account of anti-slavery petitions in Congress, the
war between Texas and Mexico, the debates over the proposition to
distribute the proceeds of the sales of public lands and the concomitant
extravagances of speculation and of " internal improvements ".

One chapter alone (lvi.) is professedly devoted to sketches, all too
brief, of social conditions and movements in this period. The author
reviews here the growth of anti-slavery sentiment and agitation, the
upheaval of " Native American " antagonism to the evils of unrestricted
immigration, the effect of railways and canals upon commercial and
industrial progress, and the evidences of a gradual improvement in
moral standards, as shown in prison reform and other projects of ameli-
oration for which, although the author does not say so, we owed much
to European example and leadership. It is instructive to observe how
the age of the new democracy was an age of mob violence. The lack
of unity between social classes was more marked than it now is. On
one hand there was a racial revulsion against the first wave of Irish
peasant immigration, and, on another, a strong moral revulsion against
alleged injustice, first, politically, of Masonry and, next, of slavery.
Democracy, confronted by problems that Jefferson had not solved, was
compelled to re-define its political philosophy and to rediscover its con-
science.

An interesting episode is revealed in the story of the boundary dis-
pute between Michigan and Ohio, involving the territory wherein the
city of Toledo now stands. An account of the origins and spread of
Mormonism loses somewhat in interest and force from desultory treat-



Digitized by



Google



Mc Master : History of the United States 901

ment, and a similar difficulty, possibly almost unavoidable, weakens
the narrative of the attempts to secure the Oregon country by colonizar
tion.

Five chapters (lxv.-lxix.) describe the plucky struggle of Van Buren
and his advisers against abounding adversity. First comes the panic
of 1837 and a long analysis of the opinions of party leaders and journal-
ists concerning its cause and cure. Another chapter ranges over the
boundary disputes from Maine to Oregon and to Texas, and shows
how the administration braved unpopularity in trying to preserve a cor-
rect attitude toward the Canadian rebels on the one hand and the
British government on the other. Chapter lxvii. portrays the slave
power striking down Elijah Lovejoy at Alton and closing the door of
the House of Representatives to anti-slavery petitions. A continuation
of the same subjects in the following chapter incidentally gives an excel-
lent account of the " Buckshot war " in Pennsylvania, the " Broad Seal
war " in New Jersey and the " Aroostook war *' in Maine, three contro-
versies of illustrative character which are usually described only in
obscure allusions. In chapter lxix. is retold the always interesting
story of the fantastic presidential campaign of 1840. Although the
author usually contrives to avoid the temptation to employ his gift of
humor, we do catch glimpses here of the frenzied battalion of Greeley's
" scrambling mob of coon-minstrels and cider-suckers ".

The last chapter (lxx.) although entitled " The Quarrel with Tyler ",
deals more at length with such affairs as the Amistad case, the trial
of Alexander McLeod, and the chaos of currency in the West and South
than with the avowed subject.

The volume before us presents a coherent, comprehensive, and illumi-
nating narrative. It is not a series of monographs, but gives the im-
pression of the progressive development of national powers in relation
to one another. The most striking feature of Professor McMaster's
work in this, as in other volumes, is the prominence given to careful
abstracts of congressional speeches and important public documents, and
also of editorial articles in influential journals. This patient dissection
of actual arguments on" both sides of every controversy becomes at once
an excellence and a danger. It must undoubtedly win the appreciation
of the student, if not of the general reader; but there is danger that
what is gained in minuteness or subtlety of appreciation may sometimes
be lost in sustained interest and dramatic force.

Despite the prominence given to speeches, however, the reader ob-
tains few clear impressions of the speechmakers. Attention is steadily
directed to the incidents of the play rather than to the actors. In the
work of Schouler, thus far our author's principal competitor, rather the
reverse is true. When one remembers what masterful personalities
spun the web of the story that Professor McMaster unfolds, it seems
a little surprising, though not disappointing, that one so seldom sees
the actual men moving here among the threads.



Digitized by



Google



902 Reviews of Books

It is strange that the birth and growth of the modern metropolitan
press in New York city finds no place in this chronicle. Amid so many
summaries of editorials how could the development of an institutional
press be overlooked ! The period witlf which this volume deals saw the
culmination of the influence of the great party organs in Albany, Wash-
ington, and Richmond, and the inception of the cheap dailies that grad-
ually overtopped all others and revolutionized the journalistic profes-
sion. Of the three cheap dailies that succeeded in these first attempts
to bring news to the multitude, and the multitude to the nei^s, the Sun
was started in 1833 as a paper for working people, the Herald, in 1835,
as the first real newspaper in the country, but with only one principle,
** We have never been in a minority and we never shall be " ; and the
Tribune, in 1841, as a mouthpiece for advanced ideals of righteousness
upheld by one of the most remarkable personalities in our history.

A few typographical errors have been noted, as Newhurne for New-
hern (p. 74), campagn (p. 115), Greeley for Greely (p. 513). In the
account of the imbroglio with France on page 236, the reference to
King Charles obviously should be changed to King Louis Philippe.

The volume contains three maps, one of the independent Republic
of Texas, one of the United States in 1838, and one showing the distri-
bution, east of the looth meridian, of the population of the United
States in 1840.

C. H. Levermore.

The American Nation: A History.^ Edited by Albert Bushnell
Hart. Volume XVI. Slaz^ery and Abolition, 1831-1841. By
Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Professor of History in Har-
vard University. With Maps. (New York and London : Harper
and Brothers. 1906. Pp. xv, 360.)

Although so much has been written on the difficult topic of Amer-
ican slavery both before and since the Civil War, conditions that might
seem ideal for the historian of the general subject of slavery in America
are unfortunately not yet present. An accurate and full knowledge of
its local history in all the American political communities that supported
the institution is still so far from complete that safe and final generaliza-
tions on slavery as a whole and the vital questions to which it gave
rise are not readily made. The controversial nature of these questions
only enhances the historical task, so that the appearance of a work that
appreciates and attempts fairly to present both sides of the discussion
is refreshing and stimulating.

Professor Hart has approached his subject in a catholic spirit and has
written in a clear and interesting style a book which will be recognized
as a valuable contribution to the literature of the anti-slavery movement.
The slavery controversy is the central theme in the author's mind, rather
than the details of the institution, though the latter are described at some
length because of their causal character. His expressed intention is



Digitized by



Google



Hart: Slavery and Abolition 903

" to show that there was more than one side to the controversy, and that
both the milder form of opposition called anti-slavery and the extremer
form called abolition were confronted by practical difficulties which
to many public-spirited and conscientious men seemed insurmountable ".
The record of the overcoming of these difficulties through political inter-
vention is left for subsequent volumes in the series, while this one, as
a special monograph emphasizing the social and moral issues of slavery,
supplies the blank on that subject purposely left in Professor Mac-
Donald's excellent study of Jacksonian Democracy.

From this point of view a unity and balance of treatment is well
sustained except in the particular of the inclusion of the chapter on
the " Panic of 1837 ". However necessary the financial events of Van
Buren's administration there related may be to the general plan of the
series, no additional light is thrown on the slavery question. The first
three chapters (48 pp.) of the book parallel the social, intellectual, and
commercial conditions of the North and of the South, somewhat to the
disadvantage of the latter, and supply the background for the ' divi-
sion and contest of sentiment. This portion of the book introduces the
first phase of the question, slavery and the Southern economic and social
system, described in the following six chapters (87 pp.) with reference
to the classes, whites, free negroes, and slaves both on the plantation
and as to the slave mart. The remainder of the text (chapters x.-xxi.),
a little more than half of the book, is devoted to the slavery contro-
versy and the results of abolition; stating and estimating the arguments
pro and con, and giving an account of the rise and progress of aboli-
tionism, of the split between the branches of abolitionists, and of the
attitude of the states, nation, and certain foreign powers to the move-
ment opposed to slavery. A final chapter (xxii.) contains a well sys-
tematized bibliography with some critical comment, comprising thp



Online LibraryJ. Franklin (John Franklin) JamesonThe American historical review → online text (page 107 of 120)