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formerly United States Minister in England; Author
of “Rise of the Dutch Republic, History of the
United Netherlands,' &c. Edited by George William
Curtis. 2 vols. London, 1889.
2. John Lothrop Motley, a Memoir. By Oliver Wendell
Holmes. London, 1878
III.-1. Goethe's Letters to Zelter, with Extracts from those
of Zelter to Goethe. Selected, translated, and anno-
tated by A. D. Coleridge, M.A., late Fellow of King's
College, Cambridge. London, 1887.
2. Conversations of Goethe with Eckermann and Soret.
Translated from the German by John Oxenford.
New Edition. London, 1874.
3. Life of Goethe. By Heinrich Düntzer. Translated
by Thomas W. Lyster, Assistant Librarian, National
Library of Ireland. 2 vols. London, 1883.
4. Charlotte von Stein, Goethe's Freundin, &c. Von
Heinrich Düntzer. Stuttgart, 1874.
5. Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Goethe in den
Jahren 1794 bis 1805. 2 vols. Stuttgart, 1870 332
IV.-1. Thrift. By Samuel Smiles, LL.D. New Edition.
2. The Records of Bankruptcy, from 1869 to 1888 - 360
V.-Annals of the House of Percy, from the Conquest to
the Opening of the Nineteenth Century. By Edward
Barrington de Fonblanque. In Two Volumes.
London. For Private Circulation only. 1887 393
And other Works.
And other Works.
ART. I.—Lord Beaconsfield's Letters, 1830-1852; New Edition
of · Home Letters and Correspondence with his Sister,' with additional Letters and Notes. Édited by his Brother. London, 1887. THE
and an impartial appreciation of the public life and work of Lord Beaconsfield. The spirit of party is still too high ; the eccentricities and foibles which made him a mark for ridicule, and long prevented the recognition of his genius, and the malignant misrepresentations to which he was through life exposed, are still too fresh in the memories of living men to allow of a calm and dispassionate judgment of his character and services as a statesman. We may hope that, ere long, authentic materials will be accessible, which will enable the world to form a true estimate of both, and to do full justice to a man who, with all his faults and failings, is daily rising in public estimation, and who is destined to hold a very high place in the history of his country. Those materials are known to be in the hands of Lord Rowton, Lord Beaconsfield's faithful and attached friend and literary executor, to whom, on his death, he confided his papers and correspondence. The Queen, it is understood, is desirous that they should speedily be published in the form of a biography, with a view to the vindication of the policy and conduct of a Minister, who had earned her esteem, and in whom she placed no ordinary trust. But the task of Lord Beaconsfield's biographer is no easy one, and we can scarcely be surprised that Lord Rowton, if he has not shrunk from it, should have hesitated to enter hurriedly upon it. To write fully and unreservedly the life of a statesman, who but recently played a leading part in public affairs, is a delicate and difficult undertaking. There are many matters absolutely necessary to the full justification of Lord Beaconsfield's policy Vol. 168.-No. 335.
in certain instances, which must remain for some time to come State secrets, and which it would be a breach of duty of those possessed of them to record, until all risk of danger to the interests of the nation by their disclosure has passed. It is true that we have of late witnessed lamentable instances of the violation of the obligation once recognized by Ministers of the Crown, and imposed upon them by oath, to abstain from all public, and indeed private, reference to what may have passed in the Cabinet. But we trust, that those who have set this bad example will find no followers. Moreover, there are the susceptibilities of former colleagues to be respected, and the fear that heated personal controversies may be revived, which it is in every way desirable should be forgotten.
We doubt whether there be any modern statesman whose biography it would be more difficult to write than that of Lord Beaconsfield ; if the object of his biographer be to give such a full and truthful portrait of his subject as would enable the world to form a just estimate, and to come to a full understanding of the man. His character was so complex, it was composed of so many opposite qualities, there was so much that was great and noble in it, coupled with so much that was cynical and fantastic; his speeches and writings, abounding with fine sentiment and true poetry, are at the same time disfigured by so much that is bombastic and coxcombical; the motives of his conduct were frequently so obscure, and his actions often so abrupt and unexpected, and apparently so rash and inexplicable, that it is scarcely surprising that he came to be looked upon as an enigma, and that he was known to satire and caricature as the great mystery man.' Nevertheless, we
' are convinced that, when the life of Lord Beaconsfield comes to be written by one fully competent to place it before us in its true light, it will be found, that from early manhood he had marked out for himself a course from which he never deviated, and, after making due allowance for the frivolities and vanities of youth, and for a highly imaginative and romantic temperament, that he possessed the qualities which go to form a great statesman, and which would have raised him to the highest rank in any career that he might have chosen for himself.
It is not, however, with the public life, or the political views, of Lord Beaconsfield that we propose to deal in this article. As we have observed, it is not yet, in our opinion, the time to do so in a manner which would do full justice to his character as a statesman. It is principally to his early life that we desire to direct the attention of our readers, as furnishing, in a remarkable degree, the clue and key to his acts when he found himself