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the Colonies had grievances, but contended justly that these grievances could be redressed without rebellion. There were Tories in England who took the same view: the repeal of the Stamp Act, and the various ineffective propositions for a peaceful settlement made previous to and during the conflict, prove this. The Whigs in England ambitious of office, and the Whigs in America anxious for the repudiation of their own debts and for the confiscation of their neighbours' property, made reform impossible except at the cost of successful rebellion and all its terrible cost in blood and treasure. Sir George Trevelyan and those who think with him now claim for the Whigs on both sides of the Atlantic the name of patriots; but no Hayraddin Maugrabin ever more awkwardly the herald's garments he was not accustomed to wear. The original impostor was hung for his escapade. His imitators have been allowed to wear their imposture so long that they have come to think they were born in it.
In order to throw a shade of ingratitude on the royal cause, Sir George Trevelyan contends that the colonials had fought for Great Britain Britain and had helped to win from France the dominion of the continent. The claim is without just foundation. The colonials had not a ship that could face a man-of-war. They had no regular forces, and their occasional levies were reluctantly provided, poorly supplied, and indifferently disciplined. The
royal governors had at all times the greatest difficulty in inducing the colonies to provide even for their own local defence. But for the royal troops the colonies could never have made head against the French. If they took Louisburg, it was when the defences were weak, the French garrison feeble, and when a British fleet had cut off the hopes of reinforcement. And the crowning victory at Quebec was not shared in by them. In a volume of essays and addresses by Mr Mellen Chamberlain, long the librarian of the great Boston Public Library, published in 1898, we read as follows:
"American history before the Revolution is neither romantic nor picturesque, nor as a whole is it striking. It is barren of incidents, lacks great characters, contributes little or nothing to statesmanship, war, or policy; and still less, if possible, to literature or art. The glory of Wolfe is not our glory. The foot of no colonial soldier climbed the steeps or trod the heights behind Quebec, and none but the veteran troops of England heard the triumphant cry 'They run!' or caught the hero's parting words, 'I die content!""
He does not tell us that the mob has been described even by American historians as a howling gang of miscreants, that the life of a sentry was in danger, that his comrades had to come to his rescue, that part of the firing was without orders, and that the judge who tried the officer in charge congratulated him upon his conduct, and expressed his disgust for the conduct of the crowd. He does indeed detail the trial of Captain Preston, but mainly for the purpose of pointing out how generous the lawyers were to defend him and how honest were the jury who gave the verdict in his favour. It is not much to say of the profession of the law that its members do their duty like gentlemen; and it is not much to say of a jury that they were not murderers determined to give a verdict against evidence. The choice, for lawyers and jury, between doing their duty and incurring eternal infamy was not a perplexing one.
When the author tells
of the affair at Lexington he is equally misleading.
"At four in the morning, just as an April day was breaking, they (the British detachment) reached the village of Lexington, and found sixty or seventy of the local militia waiting for them on the common. Firing ensued, and the Americans were dispersed, leaving seven of their number dead or dying."
VOL. CLXV.-NO, MI.
This is not history as it should be written. The local militia had been stealing royal stores. They were in a state of quasi-rebellion. The royal troops were going to recover royal property or destroy the munitions of rebels. The local militia had no right to be in arms. Being in arms, they had to suffer the consequences. They fired first, and then ran away. Later on they gathered from all quarters, and literally murdered the troops on their return. It was a kind of bushfighting, of which there was much during the war; and every episode of the kind is termed in their histories a "battle," and every man in command is a "general."
Of the tea-story the account is brief enough: "Boston gratified the curiosity of an energetic patriot who expressed a wish to see if tea could be made with salt-water." is all. But we are not informed that the affair was premeditated; that men disguised as Indians had been drilled for the occasion; that the real reason at work was not patriotism but profit; that the tea was offensive not because of the duty, but of the fact that it could be sold cheaper than the smuggled tea the Hancocks and others had stored The away for the market. men who had the tea destroyed were not merely afraid of their profit; they were also in terror of prosecution at law for heavy penalties. A rebellion had become essential to them to save them from the operation of the law. On the morning of the 2 Q
THE LOOKER-O N.
FRANCE: A HALT ON THE ROAD TO REVOLUTION-PROTESTANTISM A RELIGION AND A POLITY-NEW DEPARTURES IN CABINET GOVERNMENT-MR WINTERLEY IN PARLIAMENT: AND ON THE GRAND PIANO.
It becomes us to mark that the death of President Faure evoked more apprehension of violent disturbance in this country than in France. The news of that event carried with it in its flight through Britain anticipations of immediate disorder-disorder which perhaps would end in civil war. At the same hour France itself was so little affected by such fears that the business and even the pleasures of life went on again after after momentary interruption. We should note this difference, because it seems to show that we in England had been misled by exaggerated representations of the state of things in France. According to these accounts, not only was every other Frenchman steeped in villany, but the Republic was mined by conspiracies of the most desperate character. These stories were believed in London but evidently not in Paris; or the fear in the one capital that Revolution had found its opportunity would have been panic in the other.
It is said, however, that there was no attack on the Republic by the joint-stock conspiracy of Bonapartists, Royalists, Boulangists, Jesuits, and Jew-haters, because the conspirators had no time to organise their forces. This may be true; but if so, we have here to do with a conspir
acy nullified by negligence. It has existed for many months, or perhaps for years: any week, any day during that time might have brought the hour for action; yet when it did arrive, through one of a dozen possible accidents, it found the conspirators unprovided with a single button for a single gaiter. And this was still their unprepared condition when they knew that the now-or-never hour was at hand. President Faure died when-and perhaps becausethe decision of the Court of Cassation and the publication of reasons for it were only a few days off. The conspiracy must have seen in that event its grand occasion; yet there was no preparation for it when it came so near. That is so improbable a thing that we may almost believe with the Parisian public that there is no such conspiracy at all.
Yet that France is broken into groups and masses of virulent faction is plain enough; one of them being represented -though in ignorance of the fact, apparently-by the newspaper correspondents who declaim against that horrible state of things every day. And of course this is a very grave danger, portentous of general upset, whether by conspiracy or mere anarchy. The choosing of a President to succeed M. Faure
scuffle at Lexington John Hancock was to have stood his trial at Boston for smuggling. The fight was opportune and prepared. The em battled farmers had saved the smugglers from fines that might have lessened their fortunes, or imprisonment that would have put them out of mischief. They plunged their country into war to save their pockets. In the end it was not the Americans alone who won the victory over England. The combination against England was that of America, France, Spain, and Holland. A little more loyalty among the Whigs at home, a few thousand more troops, and a little more unity of policy among the commanders at the North and South, and the result would have been different. It is quite too late to discuss the might-have-beens
of history. The great American nation has grown out of unpromising beginnings, and has so far achieved a great destiny. It has accomplished a vast material prosperity and acquired a great power among the nations. It has faced wars and been victorious; has found difficult problems of government, and has solved them. But it has produced also a remarkable race of historians and critics in our day, who have given up many of the old "minute-man views of history, and who are aware of the weaknesses of the vast and complicated civilisation that environs them. They are not afraid of criticism; they have adopted it. They do not want panegyric; they mistrust it. They will courteously accept the favourable views of Sir George Trevelyan; but they will not quote them as history.