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its personal and pecuniary loss, or a relinquishment of further conquests, and the withdrawal of our force behind the line of frontier with which ourselves would be content? - - - To these questions, and others of like nature, which will be asked, the Congress now in session must answer make. To them is assigned the trust and responsibility of deciding for the people, or rather between the people and the executive government. No one looks, no one asks, no one would wish, that anything be refused to the President, which the true interests and safety of the country may require—which the honor of our arms, the common honor of the republic, may demand; but there is a deep and earnest conviction gathering strength every hour, that the war was unnecessarily, at least, begun on our part, and should then without further delay be terminated. There is another feeling no less strong in considerate minds, that every additional day and week of war impairs the ground-work and foundation of our free institutions. It is not that any direct assault upon them is apprehended, from victorious generals returning from foreign conquests, with the spoils of nations in their hands, and obedient legions in their train. There is no such fear, there is no ground—not yet certainly, whatever the future in the event of long-protracted foreign war might produce—for any such fear; for our victorious generals have not ceased to be citizens and republicans. But in the change of character and impressions wrought upon the soldiery themselves, by familiarity with the trade of war, and the habit of lording it over subdued peoples, there is much cause for dread; for these soldiers are to return home to be citizens again, voters, politicians, and to sway as he may, each in his own sphere, the votes and opinions of others. And we who remain at home— is it not too evident, that we too are undergoing a somewhat similar change of feeling and opinions? Is it not within the experience of every one, that the appetite for land plunder, for territorial acquisition, like the fatal thirst of the dropsical patient, increases with the indulgence? “Crescit indulgens sibi dirus Hydrops
Nec sitim pellit, nisi causa morbi Fugerit venis.”
It is even so already, to a lamentable extent, with the people of these United States. They have indulged in the seductive luxury of extended conquests, and they thirst for more. There is no remedy, no effectual cure, but in getting rid entirely of the cause of the disease; this fatal thirst must be expelled from the system; for most true of a republic, and most applicable to our actual case, is the preceding stanza, in the same fine philosophical ode of the Roman lyric, which may be supposed apostrophizing the genius of the Republic:
“Latius regnes avidum domando Spiritum, quam si Lybiam remotis Gadibus jungas, et uterque Peonus Serviat uni.”
Such indeed are our legitimate triumphs, not by adding territory to territory, and causing either America to pass under our dominion, but by subjecting our grasping spirit, by giving to the world the ex: ample as well as the precepts of contented liberty, of prosperous industry, of overflowing happiness, and of equal justice within our own borders. Our propagandism should be, not by the sword, not by the gospel of gunpowder, but by the plough, the loom, the ship, the schoolhouse and the church, by equality of all before the law, by love of man, by obedience to God. Such is our high privilege— we will not say mission nor destiny, for these terms have been sadly abused, and moreover seem to imply some activity of outward effort, in the fitness of which we by no means concur. It is the silent moral influence of good institutions, producing before the eye and by the assent of all men the greatest sum of human happiness, upon which alone this people should rely for the spread of such institutions, and boasting themselves of their own liberty and freedom of action, carefully abstain from forcing even liberty upon people unwilling or unprepared to receive it.
We do not underrate the value of national glory, and are ready to admit that if the spirit of this age were what was the spirit of ages that are past, and the peace of nations were only to be kept by fear, by the dread which each stands in of the other—we might perhaps admit that even at the enormous cost we have already indicated of near two hundred millions of dollars, the military renown we have won in the war with Mexico might still, in the language of Burke, be classed as part of the “cheap defence” of the nation. But we hold far other views of this spirit of the age, particularly as it is to be developed on this continent and by this people, We came here, were planted here, a Heaven-directed, God-acknowledging band, earnest for freedom, earnest for § but not earnest for military glory.
e have prospered, not through arms, but through industry, through the instruction taught and the morals inculcated in the school-house, and in the church. Our enterprise has developed itself in the conquests of peace, in the marvels of the steamboat, the railroad, the printing press, and not least, the electric telegraph. The contagion of our example is to be, not in our naval or military successes, but in the scene of universal, wide-spread, solidly founded and law-protected prosperity—of the realization, so far as human imperfection is susceptible of it, of the prob
lem of a people where every sober, industrious and virtuous man may sit down beneath his own roof-tree, secure in the earnings of his labor, equal before the law with the highest, with none to do him wrong or make him afraid.
It is the spectacle of such a people, just to each other, just to other nations, law-abiding and God-fearing, and forever acting, alike in their individual as in their collective capacity, under the ever-present sense of their responsibilities as such—it is such a spectacle that is to make us the “model republic,” and not the success of arms. It is the affections, the interests and the blood of the middling classes, always sure to suffer most by the dreadful curse of war, that are to form and govern public sentiment on this continent; and it is not without some hope, that by the faithful exposition here made of the money cost of this present war, we may be lending earnest, though it may be feeble aid, towards bringing it to a close, that the fore going article has been prepared,
RECENT ENGLISH HISTORIANS OF ANCIENT GREECE:
THE study of Greek History is a very different affair now from what it was when Plutarch was accepted for a standard authority, and “Cecrops, who invented marriage,” was deemed as historical a personage as Alexander of Macedon. Our readers may be presumed to be familiar with, or at least to have some general idea of, the way in which Niebuhr and Arnold (not to mention the more fanciful speculations of Michelet) have taken to pieces and reconstructed the early Roman narrative; and the Greek legends are now subjected to a somewhat similar process by both English and Germans. It certainly does seem strange at first, that an Englishman or German in this nineteenth century should pretend to know more about those remote
ages, than the people who lived so much nearer to them—the Roman who flourished at the beginning of our era, and the Greek who wrote hundreds of years before it; but the apparent paradox vanishes when we consider the historical sense and habits of philosophical criticism acquired by the moderns. Etymological and
hilological studies alone have done much. When it has been clearly shown that Livy mistranslated Greek words, and confused old and new meanings of Latin words, and that Apollonius Rhodius misunderstood and misapplied Homeric expressions, we have less hesitation in questioning the accuracy of the avowedly poetical narrative of the one and the more specious history of the other; and the detection of such illusory
A History of Greece, by
— — — — — —
* A History of Greece, y the Right Rev. Connor THIRLwall. Eo. Grote, Esq. London : John Murray.
London : Longman & Co. 1846–7.
etymologies as those which gave rise to the traditions connected with the Apaturian festival at Athens, and the street Argiletum in Rome, encourages us to apply the same rule of interpretation to other etymologically founded stories. It is not our intention to take any notice of Goldsmith and Gillies, and others of whom we have a dim recollection from our boyhood. But as Mitford, although pretty well laid on the shelf in his own country, still enjoys on this side the Atlantic the reputation and position of a standard historian, it would hardly be proper in an article on this subject to omit all mention of him. That his qualifications for the task he undertook surpassed those of his predecessors, and that his work was a great improvement on theirs, is freely admitted. But, to waive the consideration of other faults, there is one inherent defect in the book. It is the history of a people generally republican and partly democratic, written expressly to “show up " democracy. Nay, more, it was written with the evident purpose of drawing a modern conservative British moral from the history of ancient Greek republics. Now a man who sets out with a strong political bias in favor of the institutions of any country, is not likely to make a faithful historian ; but much more unlikely is he who starts with a predetermination to see everything in the worst possible light, the facts of history being unfortunately for the most part bad enough in themselves, without any gratuitous blackening. Such a course is sufficiently delusive when only contemporaries are under investigation : it is still worse when we undertake to judge of the customs and actions of the men of one age by the standards of another, such inferences, however encouraged by the necessary licenses of the poet and the dramatist, make sad work with ethical and political speculations. We all see the absurdity of the thing when a young lady in a Magazine story, makes a modern lover of Pericles, or some other Greek worthy, and provides him with a heroine of the modern pattern. We are less quick to perceive the fallacy when a modern Platonist turns the Athenian philosopher into a High-Church divine. Still less prompt are we to disentangle ourselves when the political theorist argues
from Rome to England, or from Athens to America, either with or without some such intermediate step as Venice, since so many of the important fundamental terms, Aristocracy, Democracy, &c., remain the same. But the error is none the less, because it is the less transparent. Whately has said that “wisdom consists in the ready and accurate perception of analogies;” but surely a ready and accurate discrimination of differences deserves some place in the definition. “Human nature is the same in all ages,” we are told ; and this text suggests appropriate comments against unnatural schemes, as when it is proposed to construct the bricks of the political edifice without straw, or to compose perfection by an aggregate of imperfections. But we must always make allowance, and great allowance, for the effect of habit and experience. If the republican Greeks had no idea of a king, but as a man who “subverts the customs of the country, violates women, and puts men to death without trial,” their idea was in precise conformity with their experience of the rápavvoi ; nor can we blame them for not having admitted that conception of constitutional government which it took centuries of subsequent experiment to realize. Flattering to English ideas of government and conformable to old tory dogmas, possessing, too, the positive merits it did, Mitford's Greece might well occupy the position it so long enjoyed. But it does great credit to the good sense and judgment of the British public, that when a more liberal as well as more learned successor appeared—indeed, before he fairly had appeared—they were ready to receive and H. him. It is curious to remark how in this respect monarchical England has taken the start of republican America. With us Mitford still speaks as one having authority, while over the water he is utterly dethroned by Thirlwall, and only to be found in the libraries of secluded parsons and antique country gentlemen. We should, however, be doing great injustice to the Bishop of St. David's, were we to represent the vindication of the Greek democracies from Mitford's assault either as the sole object of the work or the main ground of its success, though it is incidentally connected with both. Since Mitford's time the study of Greek history had made rapid advances. The labors of C. O. Müller and other eminent Germans had thrown new light upon it. A Greek history was required which should at least embody the results of their researches, even if it added nothing to them. The spirit of the times demanded not merely a more genial political thinker, but a deeper and more finished scholar, than Mr. Mitford. Thirlwall's history, then, is conceived in a liberal spirit, and displays an erudition which renders it a most valuable book for students. Still it is not in all respects satisfactory, nor is it exactly the kind of book to become universally popular. The author speaks in his preface of two classes of readers,” for the former of whom, undoubtedly by far the larger, the work is principally designed; but the execution of the work is such as to render it far more acceptable to the smaller class. As a book of reference, and what is technically called cram, it is unsurpassed. But the style, though clear and argumentative, is the very reverse of brilliant or graphic; and the general tone of the book is to a mere reader, what we cannot give a better idea of than by calling it Hallam's MiddleAges-ish. Moreover, the reverend historian has, with an amiable but sometimes embarrassing modesty, been more solicitous to collate and condense the opinions of others than to arrive at decisions of his own, so that in many places the book is chiefly valuable as a synopsis of different views, and in some its very copiousness of information is bewildering. While, therefore, Thirlwall's Greece found an immediate place in the library of every student, it was felt that there was still room for another History of Greece, which should be attractive as well as critical, and give results as well as materials; and the announcement that Mr. George Grote was about to endeavor to supply this want excited a lively interest.
* Rhetoric, pp. 104, 105. t Herodotus, iii. 80, quoted by Mr. Grote.
Mr. Grote is well known to the commercial world as a partner in one of the great London banking houses, and not unknown in the political. His principles are what is generally called philosophical radical, that is to say, encouraging the freest range of speculation and discussion, but not countenancing haste or violence in action.” When in Parliament, where he twice represented the city of London, he was chiefly distinguished for proposing and advocating Vote by Ballot. But this method of exercising the franchise, natural and proper as it appears to us, is highly repugnant to English usages and prejudices. Mr. Grote found little support from his own party, and the great clerical wit, usually foremost in the ranks of the reformers, signally contributed to laugh down the proposed reform. More recently Mr. Grote has studied and personally inspected the affairs of Switzerland, and has very lately published in the Spectator a series of letters containing a triumphant vindication of President Ochsenbein and the Diet. Amid all his various pursuits he never lost sight of his great literary work, projected at a very early period of his life, (some say before he left the university.) With every allowance for frequent interruptions, it is probably rather an under-statement of the case to say, that the eight intended volumes (we have a suspicion that they will run over by one or two) will represent twenty years' hard work. And should any one be disposed to think this an over-estimate, we would request him, before pronouncing a positive opinion, to make himself master of one book of Herodotus or Thucydides, first making sure that he understands the author's meaning, and then collating and digesting the authorities on all historical and archaeological points involved or alluded to. The time thus occupied will give him some measure of that which must have been expended on Mr. Grote's History, into which (supposing the remaining volumes to equal the promise of the four already published) it is not too much to say that the reading of a life will have been worked, so various are the sources from which Mr. Grote draws his authorities and illustrations. And all this learning is introduced most naturally and appropriately; for the author is one of those rare specimens, a scholar without any of the disagreeable peculiarities of scholars, without pedantry or dogmatism or “shop” of any kind.” Unconnected with academical honors or any sort of academical business as his name was, his appearance as a classical historian subjected him to a most rigorous scrutiny from all those firstclass men and medallists who thought they had taken out a patent for all classical learning in the “Schools” and the “Tripos;” and the paucity and triviality of the inaccuracies they have been able to discover bear witness to the accuracy and depth of his work. His opening is bold and novel. Instead of beginning with the geography of the country, and then passing to the early inhabitants, as Thirlwall and his predecessors generally have done, he commences with the stories about the gods—the Greek Mythology, in fact. With this he immediately connects the legends of the heroic age, all the personages of which he considers equally mythical and fabulous with the gods and goddesses. Hector and Agamemnon are put into the same category with Zeus and Apollo, and authentic history begins only with the first Olympiad. In anticipation of surprise and censure, he thus speaks in his preface:—
* “One consisting of persons who wish to acquire something more, than a superficial acquaintance with Greek history, but who have neither leisure nor means to o it for themselves in its original sources; the other of such as have access to the ancient authors, but often feel the need of a guide and an interpreter.”
*And it may be added, much more practical and common sense than one would be led to infer from Sidney Smith's somewhat supercilious remark, that “if the world were a chess-board, he would be an important politician.”
fThe preface states indeed that the author has only been able to devote “continuous and exclusive labor” to his work for the last three or four years : but farther on in the preface there is an implied admission that the book had made considerable progress before Thirlwall's began to appear.
“The times which I thus set apart from the regions of history are discernible only through a different atmosphere—that of epic poetry and legend. To confound together . disparate matters is, in my judgment, entirely unphilosophical. I describe the earlier times by themselves, as conceived by the faith and feeling of the first Greeks, and known only through their
legends—without presuming to measure how much or how little of historical matter these legends may contain. If the reader blame, me for not assisting him to determine this—f he ask me why I do not undraw the curtain and disclose the picture—l reply in the words of the painter Zeuxis, when the same question was addressed to him, on exhibiting his masterpiece of imitative art: “The curtain is the so What we now read as poetry and egend, was once accredited history, and the only genuine history which the first Grceks could conceive or relish of the past time: the curtain conceals nothing behind, and cannot by any possibility be withdrawn. I undertake only to show it as it stands—not to efface, still less to repaint it.”—Preface, pp. xii., xiii.
These legends occupy about 450 pages, or two-thirds of the first volume. Mr. Grote's narrative style in relating them, seems to us remarkably happy—simple without being prosaic, and carrying the reader straight forward through very involved and contradictory stories. The difficulty of telling these old tales in a form acceptable and suitable to modern readers, is confessedly very great, as the singular expedient to which Arnold had recourse testifies. To us, Mr. G. seems to have hit the very thing; but “ doctors differ:” a writer in the Classical Museum thinks that “his style is too homely, and that he might have risen more with his theme.” We should like to extract a legend or two, that our readers might judge for themselves, but it is more important to examine our author's way of dealing with the nature and historical value of these mythes. We cannot take a better specimen than the “tale of Troy divine,” contrasting Grote's broad conclusion upon it with Thirlwall's Euemerizing doubts. The latter, after sketching or rather hinting at the story of Troy, in just eleven lines, proceeds thus:—f
“Such is the brief outline |. indeed!] of a story which the poems of Homer have made familiar to most readers, long before they are tempted to inquire into its historical basis; and it is consequently difficult to enter upon the inquiry without some prepossessions unfavorable to an impartial judgment. Here, however, we must not be deterred from stating our view of the subject, by the certainty that it will appear
*There is but one thing in the book which savors in the least of pedantry—an affectation of purism in spelling the Greek names with Greek instead of Roman letters. This is very harsh in some cases to the ear as well as the eye, the change of spelling involving a change of pronunciation in such names as Alkaeus and o Nor is Mr Grote always consistent with himself: why should perikles be seeit with k and Calypso not " Even the same wori varies in different volumes: we have Crete in the first and Kretc in the fourth.
* W. M. Gunn, Classical Museum, vol. V., p. 132. t. In this and the following extracts we have occasionally taken the liberty of italicizing a passage,