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Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 73, November, 1863
Author: Various
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"L'Americain indompte Recouvre sa liberte; Et ce genereux ouvrage, Autre exploit de notre sage, Est mis a fin Par Louis et Benjamin."

Mr. Sparks found among Franklin's papers the following paraphrastic version:[56]—

"Franklin sut arreter la foudre dans les airs, Et c'est le moindre bien qu'il fit a sa patrie; Au milieu de climats divers, Ou dominait la tyrannie, Il fit regner les arts, les moeurs, et le genie; Et voila le heros que j'offre a l'univers."

Nor should I omit a translation into English by Mr. Elphinstone:—

"He snatched the bolt from Heaven's avenging hand, Disarmed and drove the tyrant from the land."

In concluding this sketch, I wish to say that the literary associations of the subject did not tempt me; but I could not resist the inducement to present in its proper character an interesting incident which can be truly comprehended only when it is recognized in its political relations. To this end it was important to exhibit its history, even in details, so that the verse which has occupied so much attention should be seen not only in its scholarly fascination, but in its wide-spread influence in the circles of the learned and the circles even of the fashionable in Paris and throughout France, binding this great nation by an unchangeable vow to the support of American liberty. Words are sometimes things; but never were words so completely things as those with which Turgot welcomed Franklin. The memory of that welcome cannot be forgotten in America. Can it ever be forgotten in France?

POSTSCRIPT.

And now the country is amazed by the report that the original welcome of France to America and the inspired welcome of Turgot to Franklin are forgotten by the France of this day, or, rather let me say, forgotten by the Emperor, whose memory for the time is the memory of France. It is said that Louis Napoleon is concerting an alliance with the Rebel slavemongers of our country, founded on the recognition of their independence, so that they may take their place as a new power in the family of nations. Indeed, we have been told, through the columns of the official organ, the "Moniteur," that he wishes to do this thing. Perhaps he imagines that he follows the great example of the last century.

What madness!

The two cases are in perfect contrast,—as opposite as the poles, as unlike as Liberty and Slavery.

The struggle for American Independence was a struggle for Liberty, and was elevated throughout by this holy cause. But the struggle for Slavemonger Independence is necessarily and plainly a struggle for Slavery, and is degraded throughout by the unutterable vileness of all its barefaced pretensions.

The earlier struggle, adopted by the enlightened genius of France, was solemnly placed under the benediction of "God and Liberty." The present struggle, happily thus far discarded by that same enlightened genius, can have no other benediction than "Satan and Slavery."

The earlier struggle was to snatch the sceptre from a kingly tyrant. The present struggle is to put whips into the hands of Rebel slavemongers with which to compel work without wages, and thus give wicked power to vulgar tyrants without number.

The earlier struggle was fitly pictured by the welcome of Turgot to Franklin. But another spirit must be found, and other words must be invented, to picture the struggle which it is now proposed to place under the protection of France.

The earlier struggle was grandly represented by Benjamin Franklin, who was already known by a sublime discovery in science. The present struggle is characteristically represented by John Slidell, whose great fame is from the electioneering frauds by which he sought to control a Presidential election; so that his whole life is fitly pictured, when it is said, that he thrust fraudulent votes into the ballot-box, and whips into the hands of task-masters.

The earlier struggle was predicted by Turgot, who said, that, in the course of Nature, colonies must drop from the parent stem, like ripe fruit. But where is the Turgot who has predicted, that, in the course of Nature, the great Republic must be broken, in order to found a new power on the corner-stone of Slavery?

The earlier struggle gathered about it the sympathy of the learned, the good, and the wise, while the people of France rose up to call it blessed. The present struggle can expect nothing but detestation from all who are not lost to duty and honor, while the people of France must cover it with curses.

The earlier struggle enjoyed the favor of France, whether in assemblies of learning or of fashion, in spite of its King. It remains to be seen if the present struggle must not ignobly fail in France, still mindful of its early vows, in spite of its Emperor.

Where duty and honor are so plain, it is painful to think that even for a moment there can be any hesitation.

Alas for France!

* * * * *

REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

History of Spanish Literature. By GEORGE TICKNOR. In Three Volumes. Third American Edition, corrected and enlarged. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

The first edition of this work was published in 1849, in three volumes octavo, and it is hardly necessary for us to add, that it was received with very great favor both at home and abroad. Indeed, we may go farther, and say that it was received with the highest favor by those who were best qualified to pronounce upon its merits. The audience which it addressed was small at home, and not numerous anywhere; for the literature of Spain, in general, does not present strong attractions to those who are not natives of the Peninsula. In our country, at the time of its publication, there was hardly a man competent to examine and criticize it; and in Europe, outside of Spain itself, the number of thorough Spanish scholars was and is but small, and of these a large proportion is found in Germany. But by these, whether in Germany, France, or England, Mr. Ticknor's History was received with a generous and hearty admiration which must have been to him as authentic a token of the worth of his book as the voice of posterity itself. But, of course, it was exposed to the severest trial in Spain, the people of which are intensely national, loving their literature, like everything else which belongs to them, with a passionate and exclusive love, and not disposed to treat with any tenderness a foreign writer who should lay an incompetent hand upon any of their great writers, though in a friendly and liberal spirit. But by the scholars and men of letters in Spain it was greeted with a kindliness of welcome which nothing but the most substantial excellence could have assured. Universal assent to the views of a foreigner and a Protestant was not to be expected: this or that particular judgment was questioned; but no one said, or could say, that Mr. Ticknor's History was superficial, or hastily prepared, or prejudiced, or wanting in due proportions. On the other hand, a most hearty tribute of admiration was paid to its thorough learning, its minute and patient research, its accurate judgments, its candid temper and generous spirit. Cultivated Spaniards were amazed that a foreigner had so thoroughly traced the stream of their literature from its fountain-heads, omitting nothing, overlooking nothing, and doing justice to all.

Such a work could never attain any very wide popularity, and this from the nature of its subject. To the general reader books about books are never so attractive as histories and biographies, which deal with the doings of men, and glow with the warmth of human interests. But every man of literary taste, though but superficially acquainted with Spanish literature, could recognize the merits of Mr. Ticknor's work, its philosophical spirit, its lucid arrangement, its elegant and judicious criticisms, and its neat, correct, and accurate style. He could not fail to see that the works of Bouterwek and Sismondi were, by comparison, merely a series of graceful sketches, with no claim to be called a complete and thorough history. It took its place at once as the highest authority in any language upon the subject of which it treated, as the very first book which everybody would consult who wanted any information upon that subject.

The present edition of the "History of Spanish Literature" is by no means identical with those which have preceded it. It omits nearly the whole of the inedited, primitive Castilian poems which have heretofore filled about seventy pages at the end of the last volume; and in other parts of the work a corresponding, and even more than a corresponding, amount of new matter has been introduced, which will, it is believed, be accounted of greater interest than the early poetry it displaces. These additions and changes have been derived from very various sources. In the first place, Mr. Ticknor was in Europe himself in 1856 and 1857, and visited the principal libraries, public and private, in England, France, Germany, and Italy, in which any considerable collection of Spanish books was to be found, and by examination of these supplied any wants there might be in his own very ample stores. In the second place, his History has been translated into German and Spanish, the former version being illustrated with notes by Dr. Ferdinand Wolf, perhaps the best Spanish scholar in Germany, and the latter by Don Pascual de Gayangos, one of the best scholars in Spain. From the results of the labors of these distinguished annotators Mr. Ticknor has taken—with generous acknowledgment—everything which, in his judgment, could add value, interest, or completeness to the present revised edition. And lastly, in the period between the publication of the first edition and the present time much has been done for the illustration of Spanish literature, both in the Peninsula and out of it. This is due in part to the interest in the subject which Mr. Ticknor himself awakened; and in Spain it is one of the consequences of the rapid progress in material development and vital energy which that country has been making during the last fifteen years. New lives of some of its principal writers have been published, and new editions of their works have been prepared. From all these sources a very ample supply of new materials has been derived, so that, while the work remains substantially the same in plan, outline, and spirit, there are hardly three consecutive pages in it which do not contain additions and improvements. We will briefly mention a few of the more prominent of these.

In the first volume, pages 446-455, the life of Garcilasso de la Vega is almost entirely rewritten from materials found in a recent biography by Don Eustaquio Navarrete, which Mr. Ticknor pronounces "an important contribution to Spanish literary history." The writer is the son of the learned Don Martin Navarrete.

In the second volume, pages 75-81, many new and interesting facts are stated in regard to the life of Luis de Leon, derived from a recently published report of the entire official record of his trial before the Inquisition, of which Mr. Ticknor says that it is "by far the most important authentic statement known to me respecting the treatment of men of letters who were accused before that formidable tribunal, and probably the most curious and important one in existence, whether in manuscript or in print. Its multitudinous documents fill more than nine hundred pages, everywhere teeming with instruction and warning on the subject of ecclesiastical usurpations, and the noiseless, cold, subtle means by which they crush the intellectual freedom and manly culture of a people."

In the same volume, pages 118-119, some new and interesting facts are stated which prove beyond a doubt, that Lope de Vega was actuated by ungenerous feelings towards his great contemporary, Cervantes. The evidence is found in some autograph letters of Lope, extracts from which were made by Duran, and are now published by Von Schack, an excellent Spanish scholar.

In the same volume, page 191, is a copy of the will of Lope de Vega, recently discovered, and obtained from the late Lord Holland.

In the same volume, pages 354-357, is a learned bibliographical note upon the publication and various editions of the plays of Calderon.

In the third volume, Appendix B., pages 408-414, is a learned bibliographical note on the Romanceros.

In the same volume, Appendix C., pages 419-422, is an elaborate note on the Centon Epistolario, in reply to an article by the Marques de Pidal.

In the same volume, Appendix D., pages 432-434, is a new postscript on the clever literary forgery, El Buscapie.

At the close of the third volume there are seven pages giving a brief and condensed account of the several works connected with Spanish literature which have been published within two or three years past, and since the stereotype plates for the present work were cast.

The present edition is in a duodecimo, instead of an octavo form, and is sold at a less price than the previous ones.

In the closing sentences of the preface to this edition, Mr. Ticknor says: "Its preparation has been a pleasant task, scattered lightly over the years that have elapsed since the first edition of this work was published, and that have been passed, like the rest of my life, almost entirely among my own books. That I shall ever recur to this task again, for the purpose of further changes or additions, is not at all probable. My accumulated years forbid any such anticipation; and therefore, with whatever of regret I may part from what has entered into the happiness of so considerable a portion of my life, I feel that now I part from it for the last time. Extremum hoc munus habeto." This is a very natural feeling, and gracefully expressed; but whatever of sadness there may be in parting from a book which has so long been a constant resource, a daily companion, may in this case be tempered by the thought that the work, as now dismissed, is so well founded, so symmetrically proportioned, so firmly built, as to defy the sharpest criticism—that of Time itself.

* * * * *

RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

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FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: The circumstances connected with the introduction of the British troops into Boston will be found related in the "Atlantic Monthly" for June, 1862; and the number for the following August contains a view of the relation of the question of removal to the arbitrary policy contemplated for the Colonies.]

[Footnote 2: Boston, printed in the "Gazette" of February 12, 1770. A letter printed in the "Boston Evening Post," October 9, 1789, from London, received by the last ship, after eulogizing "the noble stand of the colonists," says, "I am charmed with the prudent conduct of the Bostonians in particular, and that you have been able lo preserve so much tranquillity among you, while the spirits of the people must have been so soured and agitated by oppression. You have certainly very wise and prudent men concerned in the conduct of your affairs." A Tory view of Boston in these times, (by "Sagittarius,") is as follows:—"The Town-Meeting at Boston is the hot-bed of sedition. It is there that all their dangerous insurrections are engendered; it is there that the flame of discord and rebellion was first lighted up and disseminated over the Provinces; it is therefore greatly to be wished that Parliament may rescue the loyal inhabitants of that town and Province from the merciless hand of an ignorant mob, led on and inflamed by self-interested and profligate men."]

[Footnote 3: Reliq. Wotton., p. 317, et seq.]

[Footnote 4: Of clay he says, "It is a cursed step-dame to almost all vegetation, as having few or no meatuses for the percolation of alimental showers."]

[Footnote 5: Sir William Temple gives this list of his pears:—Blanquet, Robin, Rousselet, Pepin, Jargonel; and for autumn: Buree, Vertlongue, and Bergamot.]

[Footnote 6: Brougham's Speeches, Vol. II. p. 233.]

[Footnote 7: Vol. IV. p. 443, First Series.]

[Footnote 8: Notes and Queries, Vol. V. p. 17.]

[Footnote 9: Ibid.]

[Footnote 10: Lib. I. v. 104.]

[Footnote 11: Sparks's Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. p. 538.]

[Footnote 12: Notes and Queries, Vol. V. p. 549, First Series.]

[Footnote 13: Ibid. Vol. V. p. 140. See, also, Ibid. Vol. V. p. 571; Vol. VI. p. 88; Dublin Review for March, 1847, p. 212; Quarterly Review for June, 1850.]

[Footnote 14: Oevres de Turgot, Tom. IX. p. 140.]

[Footnote 15: Oeuvres de Condorcet, par O'Connor, Tom. V. p. 162.]

[Footnote 16: Sparks's Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. p. 537; Mignet, Notices et Portraits, Tom. II. p. 480.]

[Footnote 17: Cabania, Oeuvres, Tom. V. p. 251.]

[Footnote 18: Lettres de Madame Du Deffant, Tom. III. p. 367.]

[Footnote 19: Ibid. Tom. IV. p. 35.]

[Footnote 20: Lacretelle, Histoire de France, Tom. V. p. 90.]

[Footnote 21: Oeuvres de Condorcet, par O'Connor, Tom. V. pp. 406, 407.]

[Footnote 22: Capefigue, Louis XVI, Tom. II. pp. 12, 13, 42, 49, 50. The rose-water biographer of Diane de Poitiers, Madame de Pompadour, and Madame du Barry would naturally disparage Franklin.]

[Footnote 23: Mignet, Notices at Portraits, Tom. II. p. 427.]

[Footnote 24: La Gazette Secrete, 15 Jan. 1777; Capefigue, Louis XVI., Tom. II. p. 15.]

[Footnote 25: Oeuvres de Turgot, Tom. II. p. 66.]

[Footnote 26: Oeuvres de Turgot, Tom. VIII. p. 496.]

[Footnote 27: Vol. X. p. 107.]

[Footnote 28: Memoires de Madame D'Epinay, Tom. III. p. 431.]

[Footnote 29: Galiani, Correspondance, Tom. II. p. 275, Lettre de 25 Juillet, 1778. Nobody saw America with a more prophetic eye than this inspired Pulcinello of Naples. As far back as the eighteenth of May, 1776, several weeks before the Declaration of Independence, he wrote,—"The epoch is come for the total fall of Europe and its transmigration to America. Do not buy your house in the Chaussee d'Antin, but at Philadelphia. The misfortune for me is that there are no abbeys in America." Tom. II. p. 203. See also Grimm, Correspondence, Tom. IX. p. 285 (1776).]

[Footnote 30: The dictionaries of Michaud and Didot concur in the date of her death; but there is reason to suppose that they are both mistaken.]

[Footnote 31: See Querard, La France Litteraire, article La Rochefoucauld.]

[Footnote 32: Tom. I. p. 168.]

[Footnote 33: Oeuvres de Turgot, Tom. I. p. 416.]

[Footnote 34: Franklin, Works, by Sparks, Vol. V. p. 124.]

[Footnote 35: Oeuvres de Turgot, Tom. I. p. 414; Tom. IX. p. 416; Oeuvres de Condorcet, Tom. V. p. 162.]

[Footnote 36: Cabanis, Oeuvres, Tom. V. p. 261; Mignet, Notices et Portraits, Tom. II. p. 475. See, also, Morellet, Memoires, Tom. I. p. 290. Cabanis and Morellet both lived for many years under the hospitable roof of Madame Helvetius. It is the former who has preserved the interesting extract from the letter of Franklin. Nobody who has visited the Imperial Library at Paris can forget the very pleasant autograph note of Franklin in French to Madame Helvetius, which is exhibited in the same case with an autograph note of Henry IV. to Gabrielle d'Estrees.]

[Footnote 37: Tom. II. p. 83. See, also, p. 337.]

[Footnote 38: Tom. II. p. 465. See, also, the letter of the Marquis de Chastellux to Professor Madison on the Fine Arts in America, where the generous Frenchman recommends for all our great towns a portrait of Franklin, "with the Latin verse inscribed in France below his portrait." Chastellux, Travels in North America, Vol. II. p. 372.]

[Footnote 39: Chambelland, Vie du Prince de Bourbon-Conde, Tom. I. p. 374.]

[Footnote 40: Capefigue, Louis XVI., Tom. II. pp. 49, 50.]

[Footnote 41: Lacretelle, Histoire de France pendant le 18me Siecle, Tom. V. p. 91. The historian errs in putting this success in 1777, before the date of the Treaty; and he errs also with regard to the Court, if he meant to embrace the King and Queen.]

[Footnote 42: Memoires sur Marie Antoinette, par Madame Campan, Tom. I. p. 251.]

[Footnote 43: Bulletin de l'Alliance des Arts, 10 Octobre, 1843. See also Goncourt, Histoire de Marie Antoinette, p. 221.]

[Footnote 44: Grimm, Correspondance, Tom. XVI. p. 407.]

[Footnote 45: Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Revolution, Tom. VI. pp. 234, 316.]

[Footnote 46: Cabanis, Oeuvres, Tom. V. p. 251.]

[Footnote 47: Morellet, Memoires, Tom. I. p. 290.]

[Footnote 48: L'Anit-Lucrece, traduit de Bougainville, Epitre Dedicatoire, Discours Preliminaire, p. 69.]

[Footnote 49: Lib. I. v. 95.]

[Footnote 50: Lib. I. v. 104. Tonandi is sometimes changed to tonantis, and also tonanti. (See Notes and Queries, Vol. V. p. 140.)]

[Footnote 51: It is understood that there is a metrical version of this poem by the Rev. Dr. Frothingham of Boston, which he does not choose to publish, although, like everything from this refined scholar, it must be marked by taste and accuracy.]

[Footnote 52: Sparks's Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. p. 538, note.]

[Footnote 53: Ibid. p. 537.]

[Footnote 54: Sparks's Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. p. 539, note.]

[Footnote 55: Morellet, Memoires, Tom. I. p. 288. Nothing is more curious with regard to Franklin than these Memoires, including especially the engraving from an original design by him. In some copies this engraving is wanting. It is, probably, the gayeties here recorded, and, perhaps, the "infatuation" of the court-ladies, that suggested the scandalous charges which Dr. Julius has strangely preserved in his Nordamerikas Sittliche, Zustaende, Vol. I. p. 98.]

[Footnote 56: Sparks's Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. p. 539, note.]

THE END

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