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of an opportunity at the start to test their powers, or adapt them to a suitable field? Fine, venerable traditions, touching many of us personally and closely, have made this profession very dear and honorable to us; and we greatly desire to see the adoption of any course which shall endue it with fresh honors, by giving fresh nobleness and inspiration to its work.


SIX years ago, we welcomed the eighth volume of Mr. Bancroft's History. It was the first in the history of the Revolution. Since that time, the people of this country have carried through another war, for the complete determination of those eternal principles which led them to their first struggle. They have worked through it with unwavering resolution, worthy to be compared with that in which their independence was born. The second struggle has also resembled the first in its varying fortunes; failure and success alternating in the efforts of the true cause, as they only do in the very noblest of dramas. May we add, perhaps, that this second war of independence has resembled the first in its illustration of the worth and power of a people, whether that people have leaders or have none? Led or not led, even "a headless democracy drifts to victory." As, in the crucibles of history, the reputations of the Revolution are tested, straw and wood gave way long ago, paste and colored glass lasted a little longer, and now all the foils and pinchbecks are beginning to fuse, and there are left, all the more brilliant because the rest are gone, a few real diamonds set in pure gold. Of the time "that tried men's souls," there were many showy reputations, but, after all is over, so few real heroes. The last six years. have tried men's souls as the seven years of the Revolution never did. And the verdict of history upon them, after a hundred years, will be of the determined resolution, the se

rene faith, and so of the unhesitating power of a free people. Will there be more than one or perhaps two names of men whom history will remember as of the very first, rising above the general crowd of those who have nobly dared and nobly suffered?

While the nation has, in these immense studies, reviewed all it knew of the histories of its fathers, Mr. Bancroft, forward among the foremost in the cause, speaking and acting his best wherever he seemed most needed, has been, at the same time, steadily working on in the history of the Revolution. We have now his second volume of that history, the ninth volume of the history of the country. Beginning with the morning after the Declaration of Independence, the volume ends, with a certain dramatic fitness, with "that broadest generalization of all" which follows the narrative of the presentation of Franklin to Louis Sixteenth, when France recognized the independence declared two years before. This. volume of the old history is all full of the lessons of the new. The American people will read it in a different spirit from that in which they read the volumes before; just as the author has written with new power, and with purposes newly defined, under the light of present illustrations. It is not simply that we know the difference now between a haversack and a howitzer; it is not that we have general officers who had never seen a regiment together seven years ago, who have now had a wider experience than ever Greene had, or Washington. It is no mere matter of the surface which has been illustrated. We have seen the jealousy of competitors whose quarrels for rank seemed to them more important than victory over the enemy; we have seen the passionate favor of a moment of success changed into blame as passionate in a moment of failure; we have seen the cowardice by which barking curs can accuse, before the nation, public officers, whose duty to the nation compel them to make no reply. So we have had living before our eyes the miserable intrigues of the Continental Congress, of the Conway cabal, and of those poor ambitions in which Lee and Gates lost their short-lived reputations for ever. Most remarkable of all, the struggle in which

the Union was preserved has taught us, in present life, the essential principles from which the Union was born. Mr. Bancroft could not have written his noble chapter on the Confederation before these years of analysis and victory, which have tested the worth and the strength of the Constitution.

The volume divides itself first into the effects of the Declaration of Independence at home and abroad. Next come the military operations of 1776, interrupted only by the chapters which describe the negotiations of the Howes and the course of opinion in England. Next, and before the history of 1777, is a valuable study of the American constitutions, as they were formed at various periods of the war. Burgoyne's campaign in the North and Howe's movement upon Philadelphia both come into the volume, which then closes by the very curious study of the Confederation to which we have alluded, by an analysis of the Conway and Gates intrigue, and by the narrative of the foreign negotiations which brings it to a close.

We were all of us bred to regard the revolutionary period as a golden age, so far as our fathers were concerned. Indeed, to the very youthful mind, there arose sometimes the anxious question,- How it could be, seeing the American armies seemed to be all made up of virtuous heroes, despising death, and led by paladins of superhuman valor, of whom Arnold was the exceptional traitor, that, in a war between them and the English and Hessian mercenaries, the struggle could have lingered so long. As our readers know, this fond delusion has been ruthlessly dissipated since we were children. Mr. Bancroft stands in the front rank of relentless analysts who dispel all such glamour, and, in doing so, show the real difficulties which the determination of the people and the gallantry of their best leaders had to encounter. In this volume, he bravely stands with his back to the wall, and strikes right and left at almost all comers. Schuyler, Lee, and Gates; Heath, Putnam, Greene, Sullivan, Wayne, and Reed; and, of the civilians, both Adamses, most of the members of Congress, Arthur Lee, Silas Dean, and Izard, with others, "too

many for to name,' come in for a rap from relentless history. Even Robert Morris does not pass quite scathless. So much of justification is there for the charge made in conversation, that Mr. Bancroft wishes to make of the history an historical romance of which Washington and Franklin are the only heroes.

But this charge is by no means just. Mr. Bancroft bears steady testimony to the constancy of the people to its determination to carry the thing through; and to the wisdom. which, on the whole, characterized the popular endeavor, whenever to the people a fair appeal could be made. It is idle to pretend, as a certain sentimentalism in France did pretend at the time, that the armies of the Revolution were armies of Arcadian shepherds, whose crooks were hardly developed into firelocks. It is the duty of the historian, writing at the end of a century, to expose what is left of such absurdities; and, if Mr. Bancroft has failed, it is a failure on the. right side.

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The truth is, that the first two or three years of the Revolution were spent, by officers as well as soldiers, in learning the art of war. We need only the illustration to which we have already referred, of what went on, both in the loyal and confederate armies, in 1861, 1862, and 1863, to show how impossible it is to acquire a working knowledge of that art excepting in the field. Washington himself says, in the autumn of 1776, that he had not a general officer who had ever seen more than two regiments together before the war began. It is no discredit to such men to say, that they made mistakes when they were first called upon to apply in prac tice such theoretical knowledge as they had gained. Nor do we believe that the military men whom they received from Europe rendered to them the help in this regard that they expected. It was twelve or thirteen years since the Continental wars had ended. And, although many men from Europe presented themselves wishing high command in the American armies, very few of them had held service in Europe requiring them to direct the movements of bodies of men. Lee, Montgomery, Conway, and Stirling were certainly

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of very little service in the lead of men.
Pulaski were probably the best of them.
had attained no higher rank in Frederic's active service.
than that of a captain who had acted as a brigade adjutant,
and Pulaski is probably correctly described by Carlyle as
"having a talent for impromptu soldiering." It may be added,
that the experience of three centuries now, from the time of
De Soto to this moment, has shown that the military science
of Europe requires immense changes before it can be adapted
to America. On the other hand, indeed, the light-infantry
tactics of modern times were carried from America by Corn-
wallis and the other foreign officers, and introduced into the
English and Continental services. Very fortunately for us,
there was no more experienced skill in the conduct of the
English armies than in that of our own. Where we should be
to-day if Clive had lived to be placed at the head of them, in-
stead of the incompetent illegitimate uncle of the king, is a
question which the students of "ifs" are fond of asking. For
ourselves, we believe we should be just where we are. The
steady determination of the American people was something
which no skill in leadership could break down. For all that,
we are glad that we were left to the very tender mercies of
Howe and Clinton, directed by the waywardness of Germaine
and the pig-headed obstinacy of the king.

Let us grant, then, that all the American generals were learning their business in the first years of the war. That is no disgrace to them. Let us grant, that when Putnam, at Brooklyn, sent a brigade to repulse the whole English army, he acted under the impulse of fight, which makes men determine to do something, without much study how much will come of it. It is not a disgrace to Putnam's memory. It is simply the acknowledgment that he was a brave, impulsive man, used to wood-fighting, but without any experience in the broader movements of the field. We find it necessary to say all this, because it is evident that the publication of Mr. Bancroft's volume will call forth a multitude of side-discussions as to details in the great conflict, and that half the skirmishes and battles of the war will have to be fought over againon paper.

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