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were he alive, would probably be able to make out a strong case in defence of bis original assertions. We suspect that in many instances the historian did himself injustice, and seriously understated his own evidence. It was his habit, as his last volume shows, to write his notes after he had written his history. The object, no doubt, was to convey the first impressions of his reading with undiminished freshness. The continuity of a chapter would have been seriously broken up by proving as he went on. But the notes which he added afterwards were certainly no fair sample of his own discursive reading, and seem often to have been chosen from the wish to indicate remote sources of information, rather than from any idea of exhaustively proving the argument in the text. It must be granted that the practice was a bad one, and that the author must bear the blame if his authorities are often too weak for his assertions. But it will not always, too, be safe to judge Lord Macaulay's facts by the evidence he furnishes. The whole ground must be explored again to do justice to the historian and his critics. In saying this, we do not wish to disparage Mr. Paget's performance. His work has higher merits than occasional papers commonly possess. It is evident that he has worked up his subject carefully; he has chosen his points well; his style is pleasant and clear; and while he attacks unsparingly, he always writes like a gentleman. In several instances, we believe, his corrections are of substantial importance. But in summing up the general effect that his pages produce upon us, we are rather astonished to find him prove so little. "Every one is prepared to find that Lord Macaulay has coloured too thickly and uniformly. But in four out of Mr. Paget's five instances the general verdict will probably be, that he has established small inaccuracies, but has left the historian's substantial claims to sound judgment unimpaired.
Take, for instance, the case of the Duke of Marlborough. Mr. Paget is not too strong in his defence of Churchill's early life. The charge that he took money from the Duchess of Cleveland is almost certainly an impudent fable. It arose from an idle story that he once saved her reputation with Charles II. by a timely leap out of window before the king surprised them. The tale rests on Lord Dartmouth's authority, and is supposed to be corroborated by the fact that Churchill in 1674 bought an annuity from Lord Halifax; but Burnet, whom Lord Dartmouth professed to elucidate, refers the incident to a time (1668) when Churchill was out of England, and winning his first laurels at Tangier. Moreover, much the same story of an escape from the king is told by Pepys of Jermyn, with somewhat less romantic incidents; and the fact that Churchill's favour with the Duchess dates between the times (1664-1666) when he was fourteen and sixteen years old, a page whom the courtiers thought too listless ever to succeed in love, is a strong presumption that the lady, prodigal as she was of money, would find some more suitable present for a boy. A favourite page of the Duchess of York, brother to the Duke's mistress, son of a stanch courtier, and himself handsome and able, Churchill probably owed his fortune to more natural causes than the caprice of Charles II.'s discarded mistress. The charge of parsimony was brought against him by men who meant to ruin his credit at any cost of slander, and who knew that the accusation was one which a man who has risen from the ranks can scarcely ever refute. Without any ancestral patrimony, Churchill was called upon to support the position of the first subject in England. It is probable that a certain love of order, such as Frederick II. and Wellington possessed, led him to regulate his expenses strictly; but his avarice, if it existed, never hampered him when a great or a necessary action was to be done. He gave 1000l. privately to an officer who wanted means to buy his promotion. He refused the splendid appointments offered him in Holland, for fear of exciting jealousy. No charge was more virulently brought against him than that of embezzling the secret-service money; yet if we look at his campaigns, it is clear that no general was better supplied with secret service. The men who called him stingy could on occasion ridicule his extravagant pomp, his regal entry into London, and the great works at Blenheim. Those who accuse him of treachery never hint that he was bribed; and yet Churchill had lived through the days when Algernon Sydney was on the roll of French pensioners. Perhaps the veneration felt for him by the passionate but high-minded Sarah Jennings in itself outweighs the attacks of Swift and Mrs. Manley, and is presumptive evidence at least that the great general was not a compound of little meannesses. On the other hand, his character has no stainless purity or heroic grandeur. He set himself early in life to succeed, and he had fallen on times when the path of promotion was slippery. By nature, he was ever greater as a diplomatist than as a general; in fact, his strategy has the fault of being too scientitic and passionless ; it risked nothing; but its successes, as the country felt, did not bring the troops nearer the gates of Paris. A man who looks on life as a chess-board cannot let the combinations which reason indicates be disturbed by irrelevant considerations of morality. Marlborough was not needlessly immoral, but we suspect he was seldom moral from principle. He refused a bribe from Torcy, but he corresponded with James while he served William. Never general cared better for the health of his soldiers; but no man was more prodigal of their blood if a costly and useless victory in Flanders
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would maintain his party's tenure of office in England. It is really no anomaly that the unscrupulous politician had all the better feelings of a man in his domestic relations. Lord Macaulay and Mr. Paget seem to us to err on the same principle. The first judges Churchill as a man by his conduct to James II. and William III. ; the second apologises for his public treasons by a generous praise of his relations with his wife.
It would be profaning the word to say that Marlborough represented a principle in his conduct to James II. and William Il.; but it was not so purely black and selfish as is commonly thought. The personal connection with his old benefactor had changed its character some time before the Revolution. Arabella Churchill had been discarded for another mistress by her royal lover. and it is significant of her sentiments that the husband she then married took service under William. Marlborough himself was the close friend of the Princess An'ne. He probably believed, like other Englishmen of the day, that a foundling had been introduced by priests into the royal family, in prejudice to the rights of his friend and patroness. It is impossible at the present day to decide how much of his fortune may not have been due to the direct favour of his sister and the princess, and whether in his desertion of James he did not really represent the resentments and interests of his true benefactors. Add to all this the strong conviction he must have felt that James's insane tyranny would be quite intolerable if crowned with another success, and his conduct, if it was not chivalrously honourable, can hardly be called unnatural or blamable. It is probable that Churchill, like many other Englishmen, would have liked a middle course between James and William. A violent change in succession has manifest disadvantages, and the influx of Dutch favourites in the army and the court was especially opposed to the interests of rising men. The settlement by which William's rights were made independent of his wife would be especially displeasing to Anne and her little court. It is scarcely possible that the intimate friend of the heir-apparent can ever have en joyed any real favour at Whitehall. William must have know that Churchill's best chances of promotion and power were con nected with the prospect of Anne's royalty. This in itseni. would account for the state of tension between the king ni his ablest English general. Under such circumstances, course of a patriot would have been to serve his country w out any thought of reward. But Churchill had no pretenus to Roman virtue. It was partly, no doubt, from a divent desire to secure himself in any event that he continue in spond with James. But it is highly probable that he would have objected to a settlement by which the banished his
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be restored to a limited royalty, and the succession secured to Anne and her children. Fortunately for England James was incapable of listening to any compromise. At a time when only the most extensive guarantees would have given his party a chance of restoring him to the throne, he hesitated how far he should grant an amnesty for the past.
These considerations throw some light on the great question which Lord Macaulay has raised as to Marlborough's guilt in betraying the secret of an intended attack upon Brest. Mr. Paget does not deny that Marlborough wrote to warn James and the French court a day before the expedition was appointed to sail. But he argues that the same information had already been sent previously by Godolphin ; that the measures taken to secure Brest were in all likelihood due to the advice received from him rather than to Marlborough's warning; and that the latter purposely kept back his information till a time when it would probably be useless, in order that he might appear to render a service while he actually did nothing. The question of dates where none are given is very difficult. We incline to accept Mr. Paget's arguments that Godolphin's warning was given about the middle of April, and Marlborough's on the 4th of May. This undoubtedly shows that there were two traitors in England instead of one, and Lord Macaulay is wrong in having laid the blame on a single head, though the circumstantial nature of the evidence alleged relieves him from any thing but the charge of carelessness. But allowing this, we cannot admit that Marlborough is exculpated. Godolphin warned the French king that he had “a just pretext” for sending troops to Brest; Marl. borough announced that Russell sailed “ to-morrow" to attack the place. No one knew better than the English general that chances might occur, as, in fact, they did occur, to prevent the expedition from sailing punctually, and that in that case his warning would be of the last importance. Even had it arrived too late to prevent the bombardment of the town, it might have given Louis a start of several important days in sending troops to the west; nor was this a slight matter in an expedition where the English intended to land and try the chance of exciting a rebellion. The conjecture that Marlborough knew of Godolphin's previous letter is unproved, and is surely improbable. There are some acts of treachery at once so dangerous and so base as to have few confidents. In fact, Marlborough's letter is curious evidence how little honour existed among the men who were betraying the national glory and the lives of their countrymen. Taking credit to himself for his long-continued attempts to sound Russell as to the expedition, he warns James against trusting the Admiral. It is notorious that Russell was
one of those who corresponded with the exiled king. He labours under the suspicion of having won the battle of La Hogue against his will. But the same pride that made Russell loyal in fight against the enemy, whose success he wished, kept him from the other and even viler perfidy of betraying the detachment which a rival sailor commanded. We have no right and no need to assume that Marlborough desired the death of Talmash. But between the wish to embarrass, perhaps to overthrow, the government and the determination to hedge against any event, the great soldier deliberately accepted the chance of all the ruin that actually overwhelmed the expedition. It is likely that he expected that no attack would be made. When all excuses have been exhausted, Lord Macaulay's strong word “ villany” is scarcely too strong for the occasion.
In weighing the merits of an historian, there is no doubt that we have a right to expect a sounder and more philosophical judgment than the best public opinion of any number of men can arrive at. Here, we think, lies Lord Macaulay's great deficiency in character-painting. No man more perfectly represented the sterling common sense that disdains casuistry and goes to the heart of a question. Scarcely any have had a larger knowledge of facts, or, we verily believe, have intended to use them with greater honesty. To those who ever knew Lord Macaulay any doubt of his integrity is absurd. Prejudiced, positive, narrow-minded, at times hasty and inaccurate, all this he may be called more or less correctly, but his faults had no alloy of disingenuousness. There is one passage in Mr. Paget's book which we hope, for his own sake, he will expunge. It is that in which he rehearses the historian's family antecedents, and accuses him of pursuing Scotchmen and Quakers, with whom he was connected by blood, with a bitter personal rancour. No charge can be more curiously unjust. Born in England, the son of a Leicestershire lady, educated at Eton and Cambridge, Lord Macaulay may be said to have cultivated his family connection with Scotland in a way that sentiment as well as interest must explain. It is true that he outgrew the little Clapham clique in which he was reared, and the Evangelicalism of his father's household. With a generous contempt for the opinion of those who forget their Christianity in their sectarianism, he defied the vindictive anger of Exeter Hall, and was ostracised politically in consequence. But the son of Zachary Macaulay never lost the tone which he had formed under Wilberforce and Grant. Possessing a larger intellect than his early teachers, he was able to include Catholics and Jews, as well as Negroes, in his sympathies. Having mixed in a wider and more secular world, he had naturally adopted its babits of expression.