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Histories of the French Revolution, though not altogether satisfactory, have probably been written in sufficient numbers, at least for the present. The time has probably not come for one that is altogether satisfactory; but whether or not, the time is always present for correcting the errors into which historians of that epoch-makiny event have fallen, and for dissipating the myths which have gained currency in connection with it. So Mr. Alger appears to have felt, and in the singularly wellwritten pages of the volume before us he has done a great deal in that direction. His volume is not a history, but a series of 'glimpses,' as he calls them ; glimpses obtained by a patient study of the original documents belonging to the period, and still preserved in the French Archives. First of all he deals with the myths of the French Revolution, and has no difficulty in showing that Cazotte's prediction, so circumstantially narrated by Laharpe, and afterwards believed by Louis Blanc, and gravely narrated in his ‘History of the Revolution,' was a pure fabrication. So again with the story of the daughter of Sombreuil, the Governor of the Hôtel des Invalides, drinking a glass of blood in order to save her father's life. Sombreuil
, it appears, had been acquitted, and the utmost that can be made of the story is that, on the day of his acquittal she may have drunk a glass of water coloured with wine, or that water was offered to her into which a drop of blood had fallen by accident. Labussière's story, that he had saved 1500 lives by destroying the documents incriminating actors and other prisoners, and risked his life by creeping into a box used for storing firewood-a story on which M. Sardow founded his drama, “ Thermidor, is altogether discounted. Mr. Alger brings against these stories evidence of such a character that, though they have long been accepted as true, their mythical character will hereafter require to be admitted. He further shows that the Girondins had no last supper, that contrary to the statement of Carlyle, no attempt was made to save the last batch of victims condemned by Robespierre, that Tom Paine had no miraculous escape from the guillotine, and that the two boys, Barra and Viala, whose remains the Convention had ordered to be placed in the Pantheon, and for whose apotheosis David the artist had made the preparations, were no heroes, and that the stories of their heroism are ridiculous fables. Mr. Alger next treats of the theorists of the Revolution and their theories. He has much also to say of Baron Cloots and his deputation, about Paul Jones, Joel Barlow, and Swan, a Fifeshire man, one of the Boston teaparty,' who rather than satisfy a disputed claim spent one-third of his life in a Paris prison. In his later chapters, Mr. Alger speaks of some of the realities of the Revolution, showing the prominent part which women played in it, and illustrating the working of the Revolutionary Tribunal by the trial and acquittal of Sir William Codrington, the conviction of General Dillon, and the summary execution of Arthur. Altogether the book is full of incidents, and while correcting errors, furnishes much information respecting many of the less known scenes and incidents in Paris and France during the Revolutionary Period, and as well respecting many of the principal characters of the time. Life of the Right Rev. William Reeves, D.D., Lord Bishop of
Down, Connor, and Dromore; President of the Royal Irish
Figgis & Co. London: Longmaus, Green & Co. 1893. In one sense Dr. Reeves' life was quiet and uneventful ; in another it was intense, active, and remarkably fruitful. Few men have accomplished so much in their own special departments, and there are few, if any, to
whom students of Irish and Scottish history, or of the ecclesiastical history of Ireland and Scotland are so profoundly indebted as to the subject of Lady Ferguson's graceful memoir. Had he done no more than issue his edition of Adamnan's Vita Columbae, Dr. Reeves would have earned the deepest gratitude of his contemporaries and of posterity. That volume, however, magnificent as its editing is, represents but a comparatively small part of the work he actually accomplished. This is all the more remarkable, when it is remembered that at the very time he was engaged upon it he was obliged,' as he used to say, “to pedagogize,' and was in correspondence with most of the learned antiquaries and Celtic scholars of his time, his letters to them freynently numbering as many as thirty a day. That his life should be written was a matter of course, and notwithstanding her Ladyship’s modest disclaimer, it could scarcely, as the event has proved, have fallen into better hands than those of Lady Ferguson. By contining herself to moderate limits, avoiding digressions, and relating simply the chief incidents in her subject's life, she has given to the reading world a narrative which is at once eminently enjoyable and instructive. The eldest son of Boles and Mary Reeves, Dr. Reeves was born at Charleville, County Cork, on the 16th March, 1815. The Reeves are an ancient family, and seem to have belonged originally to Dorsetshire. One of them, Sir Thomas Ryves, was an eminent ecclesiastical lawyer in the reign of James I., and rendered himself notorious by his literary efforts to represent St. Patrick as a myth, and the prevailing creed of Ireland a fable. When 15 young Reeves entered College, and soon distinguished himself. His first preferment was to the curacy of Lisburn, from whence he soon removed to Ballymena, a place which will long be associated with his name.
As a child he had given indications of his bent towards antiquarian studies. As his years increased they took a stronger hold upon him.
A great pedestrian, he explored all the objects of interest around Ballymena, visited and identitied every ruin, and soon after his settlement there suggested to his Bishop a project which laid the foundation of his first great work, The Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connur, and Dromore.' The publication of this brought him into immediate notice, and fixed his place as one of the most erudite antiquaries of Ireland. Ten years later he published his edition of Adamnan's Life of St. Columba. It was received with acclamation. He has himself pronounced Adamnan's Life one of the best pieces of hagiology ever written, and his own edition of it will probably never be surpassed. In 1864, that is, nine years after appearance of the edition of Adamnan, which was published by the Maitland Club as well as by the Irish Archæological Society, Dr. Reeves brought out his well known but exceedingly scarce work on the Culdees of the British Islands, in which, with great learning and success, he handled one of the most perplexing problems of British Church History. The list of his printed works covers no fewer than eleven octavo pages, and he left others which have not yet been printed. Amid all his literary and antiquarian work Dr. Reeves did not neglect his duties as a curate, vicar, or rural Dean. Promotion came late to him, but it came at last, and enabled him to visit Ballymena, no longer as its vicar, but as Bishop of the diocese in which it stands. It is not at all flattering to read that after his reputation was thoroughly established, he applied to be appointed Professor of Ecclesiastical History, and was rejected. On the other hand, it says not a little for his patriotism and love for his favourite studies, that when his yearly income from his vicarage was not much above a hundred pounds sterling, rather than let the Book of Armagh go out of the country, he became himself its purchaser at a cost of £300, in order to preserve it to Ireland where it is now one of its most priceless literary and antiquarian treasures. Lady Ferguson has enlivened her narrative with not a few striking anecdotes and instances of the great antiquary's humour. The Life of Mahomet, from Original Sources. By SIR WILLIAM
Muir, K.C.S.I., D.C.L., etc. Third Edition. London:
Smith, Elder, & Co. 1894. That Sir William Muir's Life of Mahomet has reached its third edition says not a little for the interest still attaching to the fortunes of the Founder of Islam and still more for the esteem in which Sir William's scholarly and admirable narrative of them continues to be held. The work has been subjected to much criticism, but it still remains the only authoritative account we have of the life of Mahomet. The original edition, published in 1861, in four octavo volumes, now excessively scarce, was amply supplied with notes and references and introduction. In the second most of the notes were omitted, together with the valuable introductory chapters on the pre-Islamite history of Arabia and the references. The text remained substantially the same, though the chapter on the Coran and Tradition was relegated to an Appendix. In the present edition, the introductory chapters on the Sources for the biography of Mahomet—the Coran, Tradition and early Biographies--on Arabia before the time of Mahomet, and on the progenitors of Mahomet, together with that on the prehistorical notices of Mecca, the Kaaba and Abrahamic legends, have been restored. The text has been revised throughout, some conjectural matter has been omitted, and pumerous alterations suggested by further studies have been made. Altogether, the present volume contains the best text of the work, and were it not that the student will still have to go to the four volume edition for the reference, this third edition would supersede it. For the general reader indeed it is the edition, and students of the Life of Mahomet and the beginning of Islam will not be able to dispense with it. Moltke: A Biographical and Critical Study. By WILLIAM
O'CONNOR MORRIS. Portraits, Maps, and Plans. London
and New York : Ward & Downey. 1893. Mr. Morris frankly acknowledges that he has no knowledge of the German language, and that in consequence he inay have missed much that throws light on Moltke's character. At the same time, he owns to having read all the accounts dealing with the great Prussian General and his exploits, which have appeared in English or French, whether original or translations. It is very doubtful therefore that, notwithstanding his ignorance of the German tongue, he has missed anything of real importance that would throw light upon Moltke's character or conduct as a soldier or general. The best German books in this connection have long been accessible in French or English translations, and it would be a poor compliment to the abilities of their accomplished authors, or even to Mr. Morris' critical sagacity, to suppose that they have led him astray in any material point. It would of course have been an advantage if Mr. Morris could have read with his own eyes what the Germans have to say about their hero, but his deficiency in this respect, more especially when the long list of authorities he has consulted—a list which he has placed at the beginning of his volume, is considered - forms by no means a sufficient reason for discounting or suspecting the value of his book. Here and there, throughout the volume, we meet with notes respecting Moltke's personal character. We hear of his taciturnity, his simplicity, his unassumingness, his
geniality in the society of his friends, and his hatred of adulation ; but it is chiefly as captain and military organiser that Mr. Morris contemplates him. In this latter respect, particulars are still wanting, but sufficient is known to show that he probably stood higher in this respect, even than as a general. Certainly, in the art of preparing for war he has had few, if any superiors. Nothing seems to have been overlooked, and on the two great occasions on which he acted, the forces under his control were found in perfect readiness to move at the moment war was declared. Mr. Morris, however, while paying a high tribute to Moltke's ability and genius as an organiser, is by no means so high in his praise of him as a general. He adunits his clearness, decision, boldness and tenacity of purpose, but is far from admitting that he acted without error of judgment, or that his campaigns were always the best or scientifically carried out, or even that he always made the most of his advantages. The plan of the Bohemian Campaign he condemns as unscientific, and after examining the arguments which have been brought in defence of it, is of opinion that but for the incompetency of Benedek it might easily have had a different issue. Whilst speaking of the French campaign up to Sedan, in terms of greatest praise, he is disposed to regard the siege of Paris as a blunder, and is far from admiring the manner in which the war was carried on in the South of France.
As compared with Napoleon, Moltke, he thinks, is considerably inferior. The frequency with which he lost touch with his opponents is pointed out, as is also his failure on several occasions to obtain sufficient or accurate information as to their movements. Altogether, Mr. Morris is by no means an indiscriminate admirer of the great Prussian. He follows him with acute criticism, and finds out a number of weak points in his armour. Much of his success he attributes to the fact that he was pitted against men of far inferior ability, as well as to the fact that the armies he directed were in every respect superior to any they had to encounter. How the invasion of France would have terminated had the French armies been from the beginning under the undivided control of a captain like Chanzy, is a matter for speculation. There can be little doubt, however, that if the French troops had been better directed they would have given a better account of then selves. Of the French generals Mr. Morris has much to say. To the abilities of Chanzy he pays a high tribute, and ascribes the failure of the Army of the Loire to effect the relief of Paris to the fault of D'Aurelle and the rash intermeddling of Gambetta. As need hardly be said, Mr. Morris' volume, while a biographical and critical study of Moltke, is also a history of the war between Prussia and Austria, and of the German invasion of France. It is brilliantly written, and its criticisms, while unsparing, are evidently characterised by the desire to be just. It says not a little in our author's favour that even in Germany there is now a tendency to find fault with the strategy of Moltke in his French Campaign, and that recent German writers have since pointed out some of the defects already dwelt upon by Mr. Morris. Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Narrative of the Events of His Life.
By JAMES DYKES CAMPBELL. London and New York:
Macmillan & Co. 1894. Though this volume is, in the main, a reprint of the Life which Mr. Campbell prefixed to the excellent one volume edition of Coleridge's poems, recently published by Messrs. Macmillan & Co., the reader must not suppose that he has here merely the text of that Life presented in a more handsome form. The book may in some respects be called new. The hand of the reviser is evident on well-nigh every page, and though great
care is manifest in the earlier Life, still greater is manifest in this. A number of errors and slips of the pen have been corrected ; many passages have been considerably expanded, and much new matter has been added. The more elaborate biography on which Mr. Ernest Hartley Coleridge is engaged, will in all likelihood be fuller and contain many additional particulars, but it is doubtful whether for popular reading it will supersede Mr. Campbell's. As a plain and as far as possible accurate narrative of the events of the poet's life, the latter is in every way eminently satisfactory. Letters of Asa Gray. Edited by JANE LORING GRAY. 2 vols.
London: Macmillan & Co. 1893. The letters of a man of Dr. Asa Gray's standing and reputation can scarcely fail to be attractive, and certainly those which are here printe l will be warmly welcomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Together with the autobiographical chapters which Mrs. Gray has wisely added, they tell the story of their author's life briefly and vividly. That they have been carefully selected is evident. Many letters which Dr. Gray wrote must have been of a purely scientific character. These have been for the most part omitted, and those which Mrs. Gray has printed are such as give an account of his travels, of his intercourse with his friends, and without entering minutely into the scientific labours on which he was engaged, indicate with sufficient clearness the general course and character of his life. Most of his correspondents were of course men of science like himself, though some of them were not, as for instance the late Dean Church, with whom he seems to have been on terms of the closest intimacy. The letters are fresh and bright, without elaboration, and just what a busy man might be supposed to throw off for the perusal of those who were interested in his work or doings or in whose works and doings he himself was interested. The autobiography is all too short, and breaks off where the letters begin. It is taken up with his early life and struggles. Mrs. Gray has done the work of editing with skill and judgment. Her notes are numerous both to the letters and the autobiography, but by no means too numerous. For the most part they are brief, and they are always helpful. Darwinianism : Workmen and Work. By JAMES HUTCHISON
STIRLING, LL.D., etc. Ediu burgh: T. & T. Clark. 1894. Dr. Hutchison Stirling here returns to his controversy against Darwinism. He is induced to do so because he believes that the doctrine of Mr. Darwin is not yet fully understood. That it was not fully understood when first published, the remarks which he adduces from Sir Charles Lyell and others, as well as from Mr. Darwin himself, are a sufficient proof, and though the theory has been before the world so long, he thinks it is still in need of elucidation-an elucidation, he also thinks, which, if fairly apprehended, will cause those who hold the theory to abandon it, and prevent others from accepting it. Mr. Huxley has of course expounded the doctrine, but Dr. Hutchison Stirling is as much against Professor Huxley as be is against Mr. Darwin. The proposition against which he argues is, in his own words, Species are naturally moditied into species, by natural variation, naturally realised into new natural relation, through natural divergence (selection); and naturally in the struggle for existence. The italics are our author's. His philippic, for it is little short, is divided into two parts ; one dealing with the Workmen, and the other with the Work. The chapters on the Workmen carry us back to the time of Dr. Thomas Brown, the philosopher, and the more distinguished of Mr.