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ing as a babe would be if it were born miraculously endowed with the gift of fluent speech and no intelligence. If such an oracle declared that all men are born equally tall, and that, therefore, each of us has a natural right to be supplied, at stated intervals, with a uniform such as would suit a sevenfoot Pomeranian Guard, it would be no farther astray from the truth than the Radical and the Socialist are in their particular theory of equality and natural right. The truth, of course, is that no deduction which is sound, or even intelligible, is possible from purely ā priori ruminations. Carried to a logical extreme, the theory of Individualism, as Mr. Huxley says, ‘is merely reasoned savagery, utter and unmitigated selfishness, incompatible with social existence.' Similarly, the theory of Socialism is merely what may be called, paradoxically, reasoned insanity, a system of inflammatory delusions, equally certain, if it were allowed an experiment, to destroy what it seeks to amend. Nature, to men, means nothing more than men's experience; men's experience in the matters which we have been considering, the experience of all the centuries, is embodied in, and expressed by, the actual economic polities of civilisation at this moment; and they who would explain what Nature has to say about political rights should begin their enquiries, not by harking back to the time when there had been no experience at all, but by taking civilisation as it is, embodied experience, and endeavouring, without any bias from preconception, to discover whither it will naturally lead. There cannot be any rational philosophy of society which is not founded upon those principles and arranged according to that method. Perhaps, indeed, there is not, excepting at times, such as the present, when the prevalence of error is animated by moral passion misdirected, any great need for a philosophy of the subject at all. Nature is ultimately stronger than all philosophies, and cannot be vanquished by any which are at issue with it. Instead of going behind civilisation, behind barbarism, behind Nature itself, to discover what man and his rights are, it is better to take things as they are ; to realise that during the century which is now closing the progress of the nation, most
notably that of the labouring classes, has been such as the most.
hopeful Socialist at the beginning of the century would not have dreamt of promising from the institution then of the reforms which are urged now ; and to trust that the forces, which have produced this incomparable prosperity, will prove even more beneficent in the future.
ART. VII.-The Life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, to the accession of Queen Anne. By Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, K.P. 2 vols. London, 1894.
“TT often seems to me as if History was like a child's box of letters, with which we can spell any word we please. We have only
to pick out such letters as we want, arrange them as we like, and say
nothing about those which do not suit our purpose.'"
When the most brilliant of our living historians threw off that bitter sentence about the work to which he has devoted his life, was he by chance thinking of the “glorious Revolution of 1688, the reigns of James II. and William III.” It is at all events certain that whoever follows Lord Macaulay in examining the original sources for the history of those reigns, on which he has employed his fascinating pen, finds himself beset with difficulties because of the freedom with which the great Whig historian has exercised his undoubted prerogative to take what he likes, reject what he likes, and so make the materials he has selected tell what tale he pleases. There are few characters which have been drawn with such masterly power as those of Macaulay's William III. and Macaulay's Marlborough. There the men stand. No! It would be more true to say that they live and move and have their being amongst us as they did nearly forty years ago, amongst the generation for which they were created. Not only in his brilliant volumes do they still exercise their power over us. The shorter historians—as, for example, Mr. J. R. Green—have been content to transfer to their own pages sketches drawn from those finished portraits. Dean Milman, in the sketch of Macaulay's career prefixed to the posthumous volume of the History, tells us that the book was written with the design of making ‘romance surrender up the province it had usurped. Its success in that respect is beyond dispute. The eight volumes are as delightful reading as even “Quentin Durward.’ Only it may be doubted whether in the course of the struggle the novelist and the historian have not changed weapons. The Louis XI. and Charles the Bold of Scott are the most accurate historical portraits that have ever been drawn of those two men. Powerful, on the other hand, as those two creations of a master-mind, our hero king and our traitor general, undoubtedly are, suspicions of their historical Veracity must have often haunted those who have merely studied the great historian himself. Taking no account of the innumerable facts which have been
* Froude's “Science of History” in “Short Studies of Great Subjects.” ingeniously
ingeniously if not very ingenuously omitted, in order to leave
any that the meanest of mankind ever made.
story is swept out of sight by a furious attack upon the “spies and talebearers’ who conveyed information of it to Mary. “Spies and talebearers’] when the intrigue was carried on with one of Mary's suite under her very eyes, when it was so public that Anne had the rashness to reproach Portland for the way in which Elizabeth Williers gloried in her shame before Mary's face, when the huge gifts of lands which were made to the mistress out of James II.'s estate became a matter of Parliamentary remonstrancel These evidences of the freedom with which the great historian has selected his materials are, we say, patent to any one who examines for himself the story as it is told by him. Nevertheless it is not too much to assert that the readers of Macaulay are now divided into two great classes, those who have examined the original evidence on which his story is based, and those who are content to abandon themselves to the charm of his writing and the eloquent torrent of his invective. The popularity of the history as a work of art is hardly less than it ever was. Throughout society, in proportion as it is influenced by those who know the truth, scepticism as to Macaulay's treatment of facts is everywhere rampant. The “New Atalantis’ and “The dear Bargain” are works that are only to be found by some research and to be read only in a few libraries. The connection between those scurrilous pamphlets and the most popular of English historians is therefore only to be traced by the few. To those of us who have made the comparison, a physiological problem of no small interest is presented. What is certain is that Macaulay has, consciously or unconsciously, transferred to his own pages charges against Marlborough which he can only have taken from pamphlets, the writers of which he has himself denounced as “habitual liars' (vol. iv. page 579, edition of 1855). In one notable instance, —that of the muster-rolls after the battle of Walcourt, which Macaulay accuses Marlborough of having fraudulently caused to be made up, the charge is taken from a pamphlet in which James II. is spoken of as ‘a lover of his people, an encourager of trade, a desirer of true liberty to tender consciences,’ a “hater of all injustice and a true father to his country.' Apparently Macaulay's marvellous memory had this peculiarity, that while the materials he had gathered from all sources were in his well-ordered mind so arranged as always to bring the phrase he required, or the fact he wished to use, to the tip of his pen for the purpose for which he proposed to use them, the source from which they came was at the moment a matter of no importance. That this tendency has permeated
his whole history was exhaustively demonstrated shortly before