John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete.
“With the necessary qualification which every man who values truth must make when asserting such a negation,—­viz., to the very best of my memory and belief,—­I never set eyes on him nor heard of him until now, in the whole course of my life.  Not a member of my family or of the legation has the faintest recollection of any such person.  I am quite convinced that he never saw me nor heard the sound of my voice.  That his letter was a tissue of vile calumnies, shameless fabrications, and unblushing and contemptible falsehoods, —­by whomsoever uttered,—­I have stated in a reply to what ought never to have been an official letter.  No man can regret more than I do that such a correspondence is enrolled in the capital among American state papers.  I shall not trust myself to speak of the matter.  It has been a sufficiently public scandal.”


1867-1868.  AEt. 53-54.

Last two volumes of theHistory of the united Netherlands.”—­General criticisms of Dutch scholars on Motley’s historical works.

In his letter to me of March 12, 1867, just cited, Mr. Motley writes:—­

   “My two concluding volumes of the United Netherlands are passing
   rapidly through the press.  Indeed, Volume III. is entirely printed
   and a third of Volume IV.

   “If I live ten years longer I shall have probably written the
   natural sequel to the first two works,—­viz., the Thirty Years’ War. 
   After that I shall cease to scourge the public.

   “I don’t know whether my last two volumes are good or bad; I only
   know that they are true—­but that need n’t make them amusing.

   “Alas! one never knows when one becomes a bore.”

In 1868 the two concluding volumes of the “History of the Netherlands” were published at the same time in London and in New York.  The events described and the characters delineated in these two volumes had, perhaps, less peculiar interest for English and American readers than some of those which had lent attraction to the preceding ones.  There was no scene like the siege of Antwerp, no story like that of the Spanish Armada.  There were no names that sounded to our ears like those of Sir Philip Sidney and Leicester and Amy Robsart.  But the main course of his narrative flowed on with the same breadth and depth of learning and the same brilliancy of expression.  The monumental work continued as nobly as it had begun.  The facts had been slowly, quietly gathered, one by one, like pebbles from the empty channel of a brook.  The style was fluent, impetuous, abundant, impatient, as it were, at times, and leaping the sober boundaries prescribed to it, like the torrent which rushes through the same channel when the rains have filled it.  Thus there was matter for criticism in his use of

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