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NOVELS AND TALES.
THEODORE WINTHROP's literary reputation has had a rapid and somewhat peculiar growth, - partly from his heroic death, which attracted all eyes to his character and genius, partly because it rests almost wholly on posthumous works. Hardly was there time to ask who wrote the two striking narratives of the war in the Atlantic Monthly, when the question received a sudden and sad answer by the unfortunate affair at Big Bethel. Soon it was announced that the young martyr to liberty had left several works in manuscript, ready for the press, and after some months' interval there appeared those remarkable books, “ Cecil Dreeme” and “ John Brent,” which must, we think, speedily have achieved a reputation for their author, even had the public been unprepared for them. These two, with all their life and vigor, their racy dialogue and vivid pictures of life and manners, are after all in a high degree personal. One never loses sight of Winthrop himself in them. They are, too, so to speak, each other's complement, as much contrasted in spirit and style as wild Utah and luxurious New York. So far this personal character of his books was very attractive ; but what more had he now to say? One could not help feeling that in future, unless he would repeat himself, he must leave himself behind, and write in a more purely objective manner. That he had the power to do this is shown on a small scale in that charming little tale, “ Love and Skates.”
It was perhaps a consciousness of this necessity that led Major Winthrop to attempt an historical novel; and if Edwin Brothertoft” gives less satisfaction than his previous works, it is because this is a class of writing for which he was less fitted.* He was — as he himself hints more than once too entirely wrapped up in the mission of his own country and age to enter heartily into any other. A true instinct led him to select the period of the American Revolution, for here it was his own America, and it was the same struggle against oppression in which he finally gave his own life. In this he has achieved a partial success. We do not believe that the spirit of our Revolutionary struggle is anywhere better appreciated than in “ Edwin Brothertoft”; and the glimpses, for instance, of Washington, Putnam, and André are genuine bits of historical portraiture. He always bears in mind and well illustrates the truth, often forgotten, that human nature is always the same, and that the same great movements have been going on in all ages ; but the corresponding, equally vital truth he overlooks, that its manifestations differ very widely in different ages. Spite of its great merits in this respect, the book is sheer nineteenth century.
“ Edwin Brothertoft” has the same merits and the same defects as “ John Brent” and “ Cecil Dreeme,”. the faults a little more marked, the merits a little less. There is the same sparkling wit, but oftener strained and ill-timed; the same dashing, brilliant style, but less graceful and flowing, sometimes abrupt to jerkiness; the same fancy for
* Edwin Brothertoft. By THEODORE WINTHROP. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.
highly-wrought almost melodramatic — incident. Characteristics that were fresh and original in his earlier works (we take for granted they were earlier) seem mannerism in this. We do not think there was a real deterioration of his mind, or that he was “ written out," for the pieces we know to have been written last, “The March of the Seventh Regiment,” and “Washington as a Camp,” are perhaps his most finished productions in point of style ; but he seems not to have been entirely at home in his new field, and so there is a little awkwardness, not hidden by an assumption of ease. Withal, we are ready to pardon all faults of form to the noble spirit we see on every page, the lofty enthusiasm for liberty and detestation of all that is base, the impatience at the short-comings of the actual, the high aspirations after the ideal. Everything marks the Christian gentleman, the scholar, the connoisseur, the fearless explorer, the traveller, who never forgot that his home was America, the patriot who sealed his faith in his country's destiny with his blood. The characters are admirably drawn, and the reader who has learned to feel a sort of personal affection for the circle of friends whose appearance and reappearance give a family character to the former series of tales will not be sorry to recognize in the gay and gallant hero, Peter Skerrett, the ancestor and prototype of his namesake in “Love and Skates."
The Secret Archives of the House of Este, to which the learned since the days of Leibnitz bave longed in vain for access, have been opened at last to the historical inquirer. The general director of the Tuscan Archives, the Cavalier Francesco Bonaini, was commissioned by the government of Piedmont, in the autumn of 1860, to examine the public archives in the annexed provinces of the Romagna, Modena, and Parma. A late number of the Giornale storico degli Archivi Toscani contains a detailed account, by Bonaini, of the various archives of Modena, from which Muratori drew much of the material for his great work. They are not less than thirteen in number, beginning with that of the municipality, which is of great value, not merely for local history, but for the history of all Central Italy, as well as for the history of jurisprudence, and was much consulted both by Muratori and Tiraboschi, as well as by Saviola for his Annals of Bologna. able to speak only of the Archives of the House of Este.
When, after the loss of Ferrara by its annexation to the States of the Church by Clement VIII., in 1598, Duke Cesare d'Este removed his residence to Modena, he carried with him all his family papers, by agreement with the Papal legate, Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, who retained only such documents as related to Ferrara. Under Duke Francesco II. (1662 – 1694), these papers fell into great disorder, in which they continued at the time of Leibnitz's visit in 1689 – 1690, a visit which may be found treated of in the third volume of the Beiträge zur Italienischen Geschichte. In 1701 Duke Rinaldo summoned Muratori from Milan to arrange them, and appointed him both Libra
But we are
rian and Archivist, two offices which he held for half a century. But he bad hardly begun his labors when, in 1702, they were again removed. In 1796 Duke Ercole III. took possession of a part of the family documents, as also Francesco V. in 1849, who again, a couple of years ago, before the annexation to Piedmont, retained many more.
These Archives of the House of Este are contained in four rooms. In the first are papers of the most various sort, alphabetically arranged according to their subjects, together with the correspondence of the residents at foreign courts and of the agents in various cities. The second and third rooms contain documents relating to the titles and dignities of the house, and to the government, and treaties with foreign courts. In the fourth room is the private correspondence of the princes. The oldest part of the Archives consists of parchment documents and the so-called registers. Among the former are about 2,826 documents relating properly to the House of Este ; 600 papal bulls and other ecclesiastical documents, running from the year 965 to the nineteenth century; from five to six hundred documents of various sort from the
1000 and on; about a thousand relating to the Abbey Marola from the year 1103 to 1695; and lastly, 351 relating to the Cloister Sta. Maria in Cosmedin, at Ravenna, from the year 956 to 1537. It has been supposed that the Ravenna documents, of which Muratori gives one dating from the year 896, were carried to Modena at the plundering of Ravenna in 1512; but it is said to be more likely that they were deposited by some one of the cardinals to whom the Abbey of Cosmedin fell. Of particular importance is said to be the Regesta Feudorum, or the Liber Iurium Marchionum Estensium, in three parts, the first of which has reference to the feudal relations to the Pope; the second contains the imperial privileges from the time of Henry IV.; the third, treaties with neighboring states and princes. Among the registers are the inventories, &c. which were consulted by Tiraboschi, as well as recently by that industrious inquirer into the history of art, Giuseppe Campori, whose work respecting the employment of foreign artists in Modena is not without value. The greater part of the Court Archives are in the Ducal Palace, where in 1851 it was proposed to rearrange them, — which, however, has not yet been done.
One cannot speak of the Archives of the House of Este without thinking of Torquato Tasso and the Princess Leonore. Some proofs there ought to be there touching a relation so much disputed about, in Serassi's excellent biography, by the Count Alberti, by Rosini, and Gaetano Capponi, and Cavedoni, and lastly by that intelligent writer, Guasti, in his new edition of Tasso's letters. The Marquis Campori has examined the correspondence of the Princess and the papers of contemporary members of the house. But the result, he says, was wholly unsatisfactory. Thus far nothing has been discovered in Tasso's relation to the Princess which could be a ground for his imprisonment. On the contrary, the new documents have only strengthened Campori in the opinion, which he has formed from a critical comparison of the letters and poems of Tasso, as also from the testimony
of contemporaries, that the cause of his imprisonment was no other than bis periodical fits of insanity, which not only drove him to the most irrational actions, but made him suspicious of everybody about him. Five unedited letters of Tasso, discovered by Campori, have been published, with other documents, by that most industrious of the historians of Piedmont, Luigi Cibrasio. Many letters and papers of Ariosto have also been discovered, dating from the time when he was governor of the Garfagnana, — which he pictures in one of his liveliest satires. The archives of Florence and Lucca contain also various letters of this period of Lodovico, the speedy publication of which is promised.
The Poems of the lamented Arthur Hugh Clough, announced some months since, are at last published by Ticknor and Fields, in blue and gold.* The two longest pieces, “The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich,” and * Amours de Voyage,” as well as some of the Minor Poems, are already well known in this country. A third poem of considerable length, “ Mari Magno," written shortly before his death, is now published for the first time. It does not rank with the “ Bothie” as a work of original and vigorous genius, and (especially from never having been revised) is rather more defective in form, especially in metre, than usual; but it is simple and natural in style, and contains many beautiful passages, and truthful, natural descriptions. The lesser poems please us better. It is remarkable that while our first impressions of Mr. Clough, derived from the “ Bothie,” were entirely of a healthy and joyous nature, high animal spirits, and an active, genial temperament, these pieces give, almost without exception, the other side of his nature, and bear the mark of the mental struggles and sufferings through which he passed. The delightful Memoir prefixed to the volume throws light upon this twofold character of his productions, and gives the picture of a man whom it must have been a privilege to know. These poems are for the most part pensive and tender; occasionally there is a little vagueness and obscurity, but many of them will rank with the very best poetry of this generation. Some, as Qua cursum ventus,” have already won this place for themselves; “ Ite domum saturæ,” and “Come home, come home,” are, we think, not inferior. Here and there we find a lively piece, like “ Spectator ab extra,” and “How in Heaven's name did Columbus get over,” and once or twice the sadness passes into petulance and impatience, as in “ Duty — that's to say complying,” and “ Blessed are those who have not seen.” As a neat and effective bit of satire, we copy
THE LATEST DECALOGUE.
“Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two ?
* The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough. With a Memoir, by CHARLES Eliot NORTON. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1862. 16mo. pp. xxxvi., 299.
At church on Sunday to attend
As a contribution to the history of the present war, the monograph of Mr. Woodbury has great value. It is confined to what the author actually saw, and to events in which he bore an honorable part. It avoids the fault of newspaper correspondents, who, in their eagerness to make out a complete account, pick up all manner of hearsay reports, and give them out for history. It is especially interesting for the personal and affectionate testimony it bears to the admirable officer who led the regiment in that eventful, brief campaign ; and, in particular, it gives us one of the most satisfactory accounts we have of the celebrated battle and retreat which closed the first period of the war.
No one who passed through the feverish days of April, 1861, will fail to remember the historical regiments of that memorable month, the Massachusetts Sixth and Eighth, the New York Seventh, and the Rhode Island First. Each had its own claim to commemoration. The New York Seventh had long been the model volunteer regiment of the United States, and when it marched to the war the conservatism and aristocracy of the North went with it, and declared for the nation. The two Massachusetts regiments were fair representatives of the New England militia, and with them the masses of the North, its democracy, struck for national unity. When the New York Seventh and the Massachusetts Eighth marched into Washington together, they typified the aristocracy and democracy, the culture and the industry of the country, striking hands in defence of a common nationality. These three regiments were already organized, and had only to come together and march.
The Rhode Island First was perhaps the best illustration of what an American community can accomplish under the pressure of a strong necessity. The call of the President for seventy-five thousand militia for three months' service hardly found the shadow of an organized militia in any State, except Massachusetts and New York. The capital was almost cut off from supplies, and threatened with immediate attack, and in nearly every State the troops had to be raised and organized before they could be despatched to its defence. It is the peculiar glory of Rhode Island that she was the first to accomplish this, and that this
* A Narrative of the Campaign of the First Rhode Island Regiment, in the Spring and Summer of 1861. Illustrated with a Portrait and Map. By AugustUs Woodbury, Chaplain of the Regiment. Providence : Sidney S. Rider.