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counting for any homeless set of historical vagrants. Chronology, however, presents a provoking difficulty in the case of the Pelasgi. Regarding these impalpable and impracticable immigrants, it might, perhaps, have been as well to say with the great Busbequius Bungfungus-εξολέσειεν αυτούς ο Ζεύς.

Shall we never in this enterprising age have an effort made to galvanize into life the prostrate forms of those poor heroes and demigods, out of whom the breath of life has been squeezed by a dull and prosy and realistic philosophy ? Should a trifling blunder in chronology of some three centuries blot out for ever the fame of Messenian Aristomenes? A similar spirit of scepticism has already tampered with the renown of a Wallace and a Tell. Heaven knows how it may fare with our own national heroes. It is quite possible that by this system of historical dissolving views, Wellington may fade

away into a Druidical god of war, and Nelson be transformed into the figure-head of an old three-decker.

I would venture to say that we have not a school history of Greece or Rome to compare, in point of usefulness, in suggestive lessons of high spirit and wholesome morality, with the inaccurate, but beautifullywritten histories of Goldsmith. A boy-reader will derive more benefit, morally and intellectually, from -the poetical and unauthentic stories of Aristomenes, Lycurgus, and Solon, than from dry and exhaustive details of questions legal, literary, æsthetic, and political. And, touching upon this point, it seems to me strange that Plutarch, in a modified and English form, should never have formed a text-book, or, at all events, a hero or a saint, and conclude with a Nero or a Bluebeard.

The kaleidoscopic method has been applied with great success to the treatment of the history, and especially the early history of Rome. Each generation seems to produce a German mole, who for a term of years makes the Eternal City his head-quarters, burrows in amongst old manuscripts and tombstones, and plays havoc with the historical theories of all his predecessors. The early kings Ait before us as aërial and dim in form as the blue ghosts on a mountain-side in Ossian. The constitution of old republican Rome is cut and carved, and carved and cut again. It seems to be endowed with some singular crescive faculty. It is a joint off which all the world help themselves; it never decreases in bulk, although its shape is for ever changing,

There are certain crotchets that stick like barnacles on the sides of Grecian history. In former days, three or four men were found to write dull volumes about the Pelasgi ; and three or four other men are said to have been found to read them. A historical subject was painted in a room dim with natural twilight, and exhibited in a room darkened superfluously by artificial means. Nobody is supposed ever to have understood the subject; or to have anticipated understanding it. It is a historical conundrum; like the mutilation of the Hermæ at Athens, or the origin of the late Danish war. When a conundrum is very difficult indeed, it is sometimes as well to give it up. It is just possible that the answer would be a poor one, if we knew it. The lost tribes of Israel have very often been found useful in accounting for any homeless set of historical vagrants. Chronology, however, presents a provoking difficulty in the case of the Pelasgi. Regarding these impalpable and impracticable immigrants, it might, perhaps, have been as well to say with the great Busbequius Bungfungus-εξολέσειεν αυτούς ο Ζεύς.

Shall we never in this enterprising age have an effort made to galvanize into life the prostrate forms of those poor heroes and demigods, out of whom the breath of life has been squeezed by a dull and prosy and realistic philosophy ? Should a trifling blunder in chronology of some three centuries blot out for ever the fame of Messenian Aristomenes? A similar spirit of scepticism has already tampered with the renown of a Wallace and a Tell. Heaven knows how it may fare with our own national heroes. It is quite possible that by this system of historical dissolving views, Wellington may fade

away into a Druidical god of war, and Nelson be transformed into the figure-head of an old three-decker.

I would venture to say that we have not a school history of Greece or Rome to compare, in point of usefulness, in suggestive lessons of high spirit and wholesome morality, with the inaccurate, but beautifullywritten histories of Goldsmith. A boy-reader will derive more benefit, morally and intellectually, from -the poetical and unauthentic stories of Aristomenes, Lycurgus, and Solon, than from dry and exhaustive details of questions legal, literary, æsthetic, and political. And, touching upon this point, it seems to me strange that Plutarch, in a modified and English form, should never have formed a text-book, or, at all events, a

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popular text-book, in our junior schools. Any inaccuracy of historic detail would be more than counterbalanced by the graphic and picturesque and emulationstirring presentation of the varying phases of the old world's heroism.

While Roman history has been used as the instrument of promulgating German crotchets, Grecian history has been used in England for the advocacy of conservative or democratic doctrines. Mutatis nominibus de nobismet ipsis loquimur.

Furthermore, in the treatment of ancient history by recent writers, a simulated enthusiasm dwells tediously upon the circumstantial details of petty events and unimportant movements. We are annoyed perpetually with lengthened discussions as to the geography of a trumpery townling, or the arrangements of some trivial and indecisive siege. Each separate chapter is a separate essay; with its prelude, its mid-stuffing, and its finale. Volume upon volume of rhetoric obscures the clear view of circumstances that might more profitably be enclosed within the limits of two volumes of succinct narrative. Juvenile oratory is not more flatulent with verbal noise echo-less only of meaning, than are these interminable and bulky volumes with learned, dull, and profitless disquisition.

The grandest work ever composed by one man is perhaps the stately History of Gibbon. A great Frenchman, who stands in the foremost ranks of the men of letters and statesmen of his country, is said to have read the Decline and Fall three separate times, and to have expressed himself to the effect that, after the first perusal, he considered the work to be the most

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unreliable of all historical records; that, after the second, he found his judgment in suspense; that, after a third and very diligent study of the work, during which he verified every quotation and reference, he closed the last volume with the conviction that he had read the truest and fairest of histories. Despite an eulogy from a great authority, and despite our involuntary admiration of our countryman's colossal work, no lover of fair play and dispassionate criticism, in the perusal of those chapters that touch chiefly on the rise and progress of Christianity, but must deplore the persistent use of sneer and banter and insinuation; weapons fair in the hands of partisan or advocate, but wholly unbecoming a philosopher, and utterly damning to the credit of a historian.

So far as my own reading goes, if I were asked to mention three historical works as being, in my own opinion, most deserving of admiration, I should enumerate unhesitatingly the work of Thucydides, the Imperial History of Gibbon, and that most accurate history in point of facts, but most gorgeous one in point of colouring, Carlyle’s History or Iliad of the French Revolution; and if I were asked in what way a historian could render himself chiefly useful to the present generation of English readers and to posterity, I should say unhesitatingly, by compressing into portable sizes such historical works as Arnold's Rome, Grote's Greece, and Carlyle's Frederick; and this I should not say from any want of appreciation for the moral earnestness of the first of these writers, the exhaustive learning of the second, and the unequalled word-painting powers of the third; but I should make the apparently-audacious

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