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Edward A. Freeman.

431 Mr. Froude has no part or lot. It may be his fault, it may be his misfortune, but the fact is clear. History is a record of things which happened; what passes for history in the hands of Mr. Froude is a writing in which the things which really happened find no place, and in which their place is taken by the airy children of Mr. Froude's imagination.” 1

The writer of these words, Mr. Freeman, is perhaps the most celebrated member of the recent critical school of historians, which numbers in its ranks such men as William Stubbs, whose "Constitutional History of England” is a work of great research and value ; Professor S. R. Gardiner, who has thrown much new light on the history of the Stuart family in England, and Mr. J. R. Green, whose “Short History of England” has attained such extraordinary success. The leading principle of the school may be said to be its insistance upon the necessity of the historian always going to original sources for his facts, and stating these facts with minute, sometimes even, as scoffing critics would say, with pedantic accuracy. Edward Augustus Freeman (born 1823) has done a vast amount of very important historical work in various fields. Two cardinal points he has always insisted on with beneficent iteration : first, the unity of history, fighting against all arbitrary, ancient and modern, classical, and something else; second, the unbroken being of the English people from the beginning.

He has nothing but contempt for people who still persist in talking about “Anglo-Saxon" instead of "Early English.” His great work is his “ History of the Norman Conquest in England” (1867–79), to which, in 1882, appeared a supplement in the shape of two volumes on the “ Reign of William Rusus.” The “Norman Conquest” will remain a standing monument to his learning and soundness of judgment, though partly owing to the subject, partly to his mode of treating it, it will probably always be rather a work for students than for general readers. Mr. Freeman cannot be said to be a very powersu! or picturesque writer, but his love of truth and patient accuracy

I Contempo: ary Review for September 1878, p. 24!.

is great, and he possesses the high merit of always trying to make his words fit his thoughts, and his thoughts the facts.

William Edward Hartpole Lecky, born near Dublin in 1838, after publishing two or three books which proved failures, obtained his first success by his “ History of the Rise of Rationalism in Europe" (1865). It was followed in 1869 by a “ History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne," and in 1878 by two volumes of a “ History of Eng. land in the Eighteenth Century,” to which other two were added in 1882. Mr. Lecky is a brilliant and captivating writer, although his works are rather disquisitions on historical subjects than histories. There is little original research in his “England in the Eighteenth Century," nor are his views of men and events as a rule such as to modify received judgments; but some portions of it, as, for example, the account of the rise of Methodism, are so good that if published as essays they would have ranked almost as highly as Macaulay's.

Among what may, for want of a better name, be called the critics and essayists of the Victorian age, John Ruskin, who, as has been well said, has created a new literature—the literature of Art-occupies the foremost place. He was born in London in 1819, the son of a wine merchant. pleasing passages in the discursive pages of “Fors Clavigera he has given us reminiscences of his childhood, of the perfect order and obedience in which he was trained up, of his reading the Bible carefully through from beginning to end with his mother-omitting nothing and slurring nothing; of his summer excursions with his father, who had, he says, a perfect natural taste in painting, and who took him to see all the good collections of paintings to which he could obtain access, directing him to the best paintings, and never permitting him to waste a look on inferior or worthless ones.

His early education over, he entered Christ Church College, Oxford, where he graduated. Except the Newdigate prize, which he gained in 1839 for a poem entitled "Salsette and Elephanta," he did not obtain any University distinction. His blameless character, his religious nature, and his love of study led his

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parents to cherish the hope that he would enter the Church, and great was their grief when he decided otherwise. “He might have been a bishop,” said his father regretfully in after years. As he was an only son, and as his father had by this time amassed a considerable fortune, it was not necessary for hiin to enter any profession, and he accordingly gratified his love of art by studying painting under Copley Fielding and J. D. Harding. To a present of Moxon's magnificent edition of Rogers's “ Italy," which he received from his father in his youth, is to be attributed much of Ruskin's lifework. Many of the engravings in it were by Turner, and by their means his attention was attracted to the pictures of the greatest of modern landscape-painters, whom he henceforth admired with an intensity approaching to idolatry. Certain articles in a Review condemnatory of Turner's paintings offended him keenly, and he addresssd a letter to the editor of the Review "reprobating the matter and style of these critiques, and pointing out their dangerous tendency," because " he knew it to be demonstrable tirat Turner was right and true, and that his critics were wrong, false, and base."

The letter grew into a book, and the defence of Turner into the most ela. borate English treatise upon art. In 1843 appeared the first volume of “Modern Painters: their Superiority in the Art of Landscape Painting to all the Ancient Masters. By a Graduate of Oxford.” The “Oxford Graduate,” who in this work boldly set aside many of the articles of the orthodox art creed, succeeded at least in attracting attention, though most of the reviews of his book were conciemnatory of its doctrines. In 1846 a second volume of “Modern Painters” was issued, to accompany an enlarged and amended edition of the first. By this time the value of the work had become widely recog. nised, and Mr. Ruskin was justly regarded as one of the first writers of the day. In 1856 two more volumes were added, and in 1860 the work was completed by the publication of a third volume. On the composition of " Modern Painters” the author bestowed the utmost pains, often rewriting a paragraph several times, till its melody was such as to suit his fastidious

ear. A new and final edition of “Modern Painters” was issued in 1873, since which time the author has steadfastly refused to reprint it, so that it cannot be obtained unless one is prepared to pay a fancy price for it. Mr. Ruskin's reasons for not reprinting it are various. He has modified some of his opinions since it was written, and, in particular, he does not regard the Church of Rome with the same horror. When “Modern Painters” was composed his views were of the kind called " Evangelical;" and while still Protestant in the genuine sense of the word, his language in one of his latest produc. tions, “The Bible of Amiens," regarding the worship of the Virgin, has evoked an indignant protest from a section of the press. A little volume of selections from “Modern Painters" was published in 1876 under the title of “ Frondes Agrestes."

During the interval between the publication of the first and the last volume of “ Modern Painters,” many of Mr. Ruskin's most important works appeared. “ The Seven Lamps of Architecture," which did for architecture what “ Modern Painters” did for painting, was published in 1849. In 1831 he published a pamphlet advocating Pre-Raphaelitism, then in its infancy, and issued the first volume of his magnificent “Stones of Venice,” which was completed by the publication of two more volumes in 1853. Among many by whom this great work was read with admiration, none was more enthusiastic in its praise than Charlotte Brontë, who declared that Mr. Ruskin seemed to her one of the few genuine writers, as distinguished from bookmakers, of this age. “His earnestness even amuses me in certain passages; for I cannot help laugh. ing to think how Utilitarians will fume and fret over his deep, serious, and (as they will think) fanatical reverence for art. That pure and severe mind you ascribed to him speaks in

He writes like a consecrated Priest of the Abstract and Ideal.”

“ Modern Painters," " The Seven Lamps of Architecture," and the “ Stones of Venice” are Mr. Ruskin's most important works, but he has written much besides. “Unto this Last," four essays on the principles of political economy, very much

every line.

Ruskin's Writings.


opposed to the received ones and extremely paradoxical, appeared in 1862, having been previously published in the Cornhill Magazine. “Sesame and Lilies," originally delivered as lectures in Manchester in 1864, gives his views “about books, and the way we read them, and could or should read them ;" and also about the education of women. We need not chronicle “the legions of little books with parody-provoking titles” in which of late years Mr. Ruskin has listed up

his voice against our social evils, and told us how we should remove them. Of these, the most characteristic is “ Fors Clavigera," a series of letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain, begun in 1871 and carried on for several years. It must not be supposed that Mr. Ruskin has altogether abandoned his art studies; precious productions of this nature still come from his pen, although it is his work as a social reformer which he now estimates most higlıly. However erroneous and one-sided many of his opinions on the condition of society and on modern improvements, however hope. lessly unpractical many of his schemes for the regeneration of mankind may be, all must admire his noble purity of heart, his earnest aspirations after better things, and his unflinching devotion to what he believes to be the truth.

We have nientioned the care with which “Modern Painters" was written. This care has had its reward. The ease and grace of Mr. Ruskin's style, his appropriateness of expression, his splendour of imaginative effect, the harmonious roll of his sentences, and the beautiful thoughts sustained in them, make the study of his great works one of the highest intellectual pleasures. And they are works which none can study without learning much and benefiting greatly. Yet it is to be feared that to a very large number of readers Ruskin is a name and nothing besides. While the various editions of the works of Tennyson, the greatest poet of the day, are selling by hundreds of thousands, Ruskin, the greatest living prose writer, is known to most only by the paragraphs of true or false gossip regarding him that appear from time to time in the newspapers. The cause of this is not far to seek. In accordance with one

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