Beacon Lights of History, Volume 10 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 272 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 10.
German gratitude.”  On the same day the castle at Friederichsruh was filled with rare and costly presents from all over Germany, and “Bismarck banquets” were held in all the principal cities.  It was well that before this grand figure passed away forever “the German gratitude” to him should have found expression again, especially from the sovereign who owed to the great chancellor his own peculiar eminence in the earth.

As for Prince Bismarck, with all his faults,—­and no man is perfect,—­I love and honor this courageous giant, who has, under such vexatious opposition, secured the glory of the Prussian monarchy and the unity of Germany; who has been conscientious in the discharge of his duties as he has understood them, in the fear of God,—­a modern Cromwell in another cause, whose fame will increase with the advancing ages.[3]

[Footnote 3:  Bismarck died July 30, 1898, mourned by his nation, his obsequies honored by the Emperor.]


Professor Seeley’s Life of Stein, Hezekiel’s Biography of Bismarck, and the Life of Prince Bismarck by Charles Lowe, are the books to which I am most indebted for the compilation of this chapter.  But one may profitably read the various histories of the Franco-Prussian war, the Life of Prince Hardenberg, the Life of Moltke, the Life of Scharnhorst, and the Life of William von Humboldt.  An excellent abridgment of German History, during this century, is furnished by Professor Mueller.  The Speech of Prince Bismarck in the German Reichstag, February, 1888, I have found very instructive and interesting,—­a sort of resume of his own political life.




It may seem presumptuous for me at the present time to write on Gladstone, whose public life presents so many sides, concerning which there is anything but unanimity of opinion,—­a man still in full life, and likely to remain so for years to come;[4] a giant, so strong intellectually and physically as to exercise, without office, a prodigious influence in national affairs by the sole force of genius and character combined.  But how can I present the statesmen of the nineteenth century without including him,—­the Nestor among political personages, who for forty years has taken an important part in the government of England?

[Footnote 4:  This was written by Dr. Lord in 1891.  Gladstone died in 1898.]

This remarkable man, like Canning, Peel, and Macaulay, was precocious in his attainments at school and college,—­especially at Oxford, which has produced more than her share of the great men who have controlled thought and action in England during the period since 1820.  But precocity is not always the presage of future greatness.  There are more remarkable boys than remarkable men.  In England, college honors may have more influence in advancing the fortunes of a young man than in this country; but I seldom have known valedictorians who have come up to popular expectations; and most of them, though always respectable, have remained in comparative obscurity.

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