1. Bancroft's third volume--with its narrative sections on the Jesuit martyrs and on La Salle, and its long essay on the Indian race--may have influenced Parkman's choice of subject. This successful volume was published in 1840, and Prescott's enthusiastic review appeared in January 1841. Parkman's copy of this edition is in the Harvard College Library. In 1856, when Parkman was hoping to start work on the main body of his subject, he asked Bancroft for bibliographical help, and Bancroft's reply stressed the brilliant literary promise of the subject. Bancroft to Parkman, July 31, 1856, Parkman Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. (Hereafter Massachusetts Historical Society will be abbreviated as "MHS.")
2. Letter to W. H. Prescott, January 5, 1858; Prescott to President King of Columbia, September 23, 1857. Prescott Papers, MHS. In a plaintive letter from St. Petersburg in 1841, Motley told his wife that he preferred "the profession of diplomacy . . . to any other" and considered himself best fitted for it. The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley, ed. George W. Curtis (New York, 1889), I, 80-81.
3. Two years before he died, Prescott said that he had given up law because of his poor eyes. Letter to George E. Ellis, June 1, 1857, Prescott Papers, MHS. Prescott was embarrassed by his slowness in choosing a useful profession, and his helpful young friends were calling him "the gentleman" by 1820. George Ticknor, Life of William Hickling Prescott (Boston, 1864), p.54, n.7.
4. Ibid., p. 110. Gardner, Prescott wrote in his Journal, spent "weeks, and I may say months on its careful revision" for style. Notebooks VIII, Prescott Papers, MHS, pp. 73-74.
5. Samuel A. Eliot to Bancroft, October 22, 1818, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
6. See The Transcendentalists, ed. Perry Miller (Cambridge, 1950), pp. 157-246.
7. Andrews Norton, The Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels (3 vols., Boston, 1837-44); On the Latest Form of Infidelity (Boston, 1839). Prescott read the Evidences carefully and commented in detail in his Notebooks VIII, pp. 22-50.
8. George Bancroft to Edward Everett, September 12, 1818, Bancroft Papers, MHS. Bancroft quotes Kirkland's letter to Eichhorn in his letter to Everett from Leyden, August 5, 1818.
9. Bancroft to Norton, March 9, 1820, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
10. Bancroft told Edward Everett (August 1, 1819): "They have written to me, they would be well content if I abandoned that science [German theology] and attended to any other branch." Bancroft Papers, MHS.
11. 2 vols., New York, 1828.
12. Bancroft to Everett, August 1, 1819. In this letter Bancroft suggested that he might do well to turn his energies to history, since history "has always interested me, suits well with my theology, & I think I could become useful by it."
13. See Bancroft to Norton, October 26, 1818.
14. John G. Palfrey, History of New England (4 vols., Boston, 1884). Charles W. Upham, Lectures on Witchcraft . . . in 1692 (Boston, 1831); Salem Witchcraft: with an Account of Salem Village (2 vols., Boston, 1867); and Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather (Morrisania, N.Y., 1869). Edward Everett, "Life of John Stark," in Library of American Biography, ed. Jared Sparks (New York, 1839), I, 1-117. In the preceding generation Aaron Bancroft wrote a Life of Washington and Abiel Holmes compiled his Annals of America.
15. See Thomas P. Peardon, The Transition in English Historical Writing, 1760-1830 (New York, 1933), chap. x; and G. P. Gooch, History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century, 2d ed. (London, 1920), chaps. i-v.
16. See Bancroft to Prescott, February 10, 1846, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
17. Prescott to Bancroft, n.d.; endorsed "1839." Bancroft Papers, MHS. Amos A. Lawrence to Bancroft, January 10, 1842, Bancroft Papers, MHS. When Everett entered Whig politics, he asked Bancroft to return all his letters. Everett to Bancroft, February 15, 1840, Bancroft Papers, MHS. Cf. his letter of December 28, 1841.
18. Letter to Bancroft, April 3, 1843, Bancroft Papers, MHS. See also Everett's letters of January 2, February 1, and February 28, 1843.
19. The library Bancroft sent home from Germany included the works of Herder and Grimm. Bancroft wrote essays on Schiller, Heeren, Goethe, Herder, and Boeckh for The North American Review: "Schiller's Minor Poems," XVII (October 1823), 268-87; "Heeren's Politics of Ancient Greece," XVIII (April 1824), 390-406; "Goethe's Werke," XIX (October 1824), 303-25; "Herder's Writings," XX (January 1825), 138-47; and "Boeckh's Economy of Athens," XXXII (April 1831), 344-67.
20. Letter to George E. Ellis, June 1, 1857, Prescott Papers, MHS.
21. Quoted in Ticknor, Prescott, p. 43.
22. Diary (June 28, 1817), Prescott Papers, MHS, p. 117.
23. Letter to Andrews Norton, January 9, 1819, Bancroft Papers, MHS. For an expression of similar sentiment see Bancroft to Prescott, August 17, 1847, in M. A. DeWolfe Howe, The Life and Letters of George Bancroft (New York, 1908), II, 20-23.
24. Letter of August 12, 1832, in Correspondence, I, 25-26.
25. Prescott, Notebooks IV (February 13 and 20, 1825), pp. 68, 71.
26. Letter to his wife, April 15, 1842, in Correspondence, I, 106.
27. "The Polity of the Puritans," The North American Review, LXIX (October 1849), 493-94. See also Morton's Hope (Boston, 1839), I, 149-50; II, 80-83; and his letter to O. W. Holmes, November 20, 1853, in Correspondence, I, 161-65.
28. A Half-Century of Conflict (Boston, 1893), II, 258.
29. Motley, "The Polity of the Puritans," N.A.R., LXIX, 493; letter to Holmes, in Correspondence, I, 162.
30. Prescott, "Sir Walter Scott" (April 1838), in Essays from the North American Review, ed. Allen Thorndike Rice (New York, 1879), p. 45. Cf. Parkman, Diary, Parkman Papers, MHS, p. 1.
31. Letter to George and Georgiana Keats, October 21, 1818, in The Letters of John Keats, ed. M. B. Forman (New York, 1935), p. 241.
32. Thomas Carlyle, "Biography," in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (London, 1888), II, 256.
33. Thomas Carlyle, "Sir Walter Scott," in Essays, III, 214-15.
34. Letter to Edward Everett, December 29, 1834, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
35. See Peardon, Transition, chaps. iv-viii; T. B. Macaulay, "History," in The Works of Lord Macaulay, ed. Lady Trevelyan (London, 1866), V, 152-56.
36. Commonplace Book (1820-22), Prescott Papers, MHS, p. 39.
37. Notebooks V, p. 36. Hallam himself apologized in the preface to his Middle Ages for having had to write a "political dissertation" rather than a "narrative," and thus for having failed to provide "that circumstantial delineation of events and characters upon which the beauty as well as the usefulness of a regular history so mainly depends." Henry Hallam, View of the State of Europe During the Middle Ages (New York, 1887), I, vii.
38. Letter to Prescott, August 17, 1847, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
39. Notebooks IV, pp. 80, 81. On another occasion he resolved not to be "an antiquarian drudge." Notebooks V, p. 45. Parkman, too, found "the task of exploring archives and collecting documents . . . repulsive at best." Quoted in Charles H. Farnham, Life of Francis Parkman (Boston, 1900), p. 331, n. 1.
40. Notebooks V, pp. 34-38.
41. Notebooks X, pp. 54-55
42. Ibid., pp. 58-59, 61.
43. Ibid., pp. 58-59.
44. Ibid., p. 54.
46. "Irving's Conquest of Granada," in Biographical and Critical Miscellanies (Philadelphia, 1875), pp. 83, 93-94. In discussing the "philosophical" historians Prescott used the same "advocate" image which Macaulay had used a year earlier in the essay on "History," Works, V, 154. Cf. Prosper de Barante, Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne de la maison de Valois, 1364-1477, 4th ed. (Paris, 1826), I, 2. Barante praised Bancroft's history: see Bancroft's letter to George Sumner, July 29, 1846, Bancroft Papers, MHS. Prescott acknowledges his debt to Barante in the Preface to The Conquest of Peru (Philadelphia, 1861), I, xiii-xiv; and in a letter to Barante himself, January 17, 1846, Prescott Papers, MHS.
47. Parkman: "Is this true history, or a romance of Christian chivalry? It is both." Last sentences of the chapter on the founding of Montreal in The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (Boston, 1893), p. 210. See his treatment of "traditions" in The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada (Boston, 1892), I, 219-21. See Motley's account of the last meeting between Maurice of Nassau and John of Barneveld, The Life and Death of John of Barneveld, Advocate of Holland (New York, 1874), II, 240-41, and especially the long footnote on p. 242; and his History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Years' Truce--1609 (New York, 1888), I, 289-90. Prescott's remarks about the "romance of chivalry" at the head of this chapter should serve as sufficient illustration, but many more can be found in A History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic (New York, 1851): I, xliii-xliv; II, 99; III, 135-36. Bancroft asked Dr. Robert W. Gibbes of South Carolina to write a history on Southern topics; despite the difficulty of getting documents in the decentralized South, he argued that "the Southern history is as full of romantic incident as possible, needing only diligence and opportunity . . . to be presented to the world in the most interesting form." Letter to Gibbes (1846, n.d.), Bancroft Papers, MHS.
Prescott told Motley that "the style for history is as different fr[om] what is required by romance as that of a great historical picture is from the scene frankly for a theater." Letter of April 28, 1856, Prescott Papers, MHS. Yet Prescott himself, when writing The Conquest of Mexico, compared his descriptions closely with those in Robert Montgomery Bird's Calavar, in order to "improve mine thereby." Bird, he noted, "uses Mexican terms of things--w[ith] effect. & notices national peculiarities, of dress and arms--well--& scenery." Notebooks X, p. 89. Motley was pleased to be told by a young girl that his Dutch Republic was "just like a novel." Correspondence, I, 245.
48. "James Fenimore Cooper" (January 1852), in Essays from the N.A.R., pp. 358-62. Parkman did not believe that many of Cooper's women "breathed," and he criticized them severely in his essay (p. 362). When he praised Cooper and Scott for creating "breathing men and women," he presumably alluded to no women but Scott's. Cf. Edward Everett's praise for Bancroft's first volume: "You give us not wretched pasteboard men; not a sort of chronological table . . . --but you give us real, individual, living men and women, with their passions, interests, and peculiarities." Letter to Bancroft, October 5, 1834, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
49. Letter to O. W. Holmes, November 20, 1853. Correspondence, I, 164-65 (italics mine). Bancroft thought Rubens' painting "ugly." Journal (July 10, 1821), Bancroft Papers, MHS.
50. "Scott," in Essays from the N.A.R., p. 24. Bancroft admired in Scott the same qualities praised here (letter to Prescott, September 15, 1848, Bancroft Papers, MHS), but felt that Scott's finest work was his poetry; the battle in "Marmion," he said, "has not been surpassed since Homer."
51. Prescott, "Scott," in Essays from the N.A.R., pp. 25, 35. Prescott spent almost half his essay on Scott's personal character, which he called "probably the most remarkable on record" (p. 34). "The first quality of his character, or rather that which forms the basis of it, as of all great characters, was his energy" (p. 35). Parkman called both Cooper and Scott "practical men, able and willing to grapple with the hard realities of life. Either might have learned with ease to lead a regiment, or command a line-of-battle ship." It is immediately after this statement that he praises their "solid embodiments of living flesh and blood." "Cooper," in Essays from the N.A.R., p. 359. Later in the essay he compares them with "less masculine writers" (p. 362).
52. See Carlyle's letter to David Laing, May 3, 1854, in Essays, III, 518. In his review of Bancroft's third volume Prescott said that although Grahame's history is good, a foreigner cannot write the history of America. "It is the same as in portrait painting. The artist may catch the prominent lineaments, the complexion, the general air, the peculiar costume of the subject,--all that a stranger's eye will demand; but he must not hope, unless he has had much previous intimacy with the sitter, to transfer those fleeting shades of expression . . . which are revealed to the eye of his own family." "Bancroft's United States" (January 1841), in Biographical Miscellanies, p. 284.
53. Rashleigh, who had studied to be a priest, hoped to ruin Diana Vernon by teaching her mathematics, astronomy, and the "casuistry which school-men call philosophy." Rob Roy (Edinburgh, 1871), p. 180.
54. United Netherlands, I, 14-15.
55. John of Barneveld, I, 29.
56. Ibid., II, 240-1 (italics mine).
57. See below, pp. 114-15.
58. Conspiracy of Pontiac, I, 202. Cf. Prescott's comment on the portrait of Philip II in History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain (Philadelphia, 1860), I, xxxv.
59. "History," in Works, V, 160.
60. December 29, 1834, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
61. Jesuits, p. 189.
62. Letter of December 20, 1837, Bancroft Papers, MHS. See Ferdinand and Isabella, I, 133.
63. Essays, II, 257.
64. United Netherlands, I, 318.
65. "History," in Works, V, 159. Motley's Elizabeth and his Leicester are both more ridiculous characters than Scott's. Concerned with the theme of royal and national policy rather than with romance, Motley omitted the beauty of Scott's Elizabeth and the pathos of Scott's handsome Leicester.
66. "Cooper," in Essays from the N.A.R., p. 370.
67. Letter to the Abbé Casgrain, October 23, 1887, Parkman Papers, MHS.
68. Bancroft recorded his affected reactions to these "natural" experiences in his journal of the trip, and then he wrote letters describing them to Samuel A. Eliot and Andrews Norton. "I was seized with delight," he wrote in his journal on October 6, 1821; "tho' warm with a long walk, could not but caper & sing or at least cry out the chorus of a rude song, as I passed amidst such beautiful scenes. I danced & spouted & sprang about & might well have been taken for a madman." To Eliot he wrote: "I have wandered in the narrow valleys while the pitiless shower was beating around me, and the swollen torrents rushing by my feet; I have been at night, aye and in rain too, amidst forests & precipices I hardly know where; and all the while I have felt calm & serene & happy. I never knew till now how beautiful earth is." October 12, 1821. The letter to Norton was written the next day. Bancroft Papers, MHS. One almost pities the anti-"enthusiastic" Norton for his subjection to such passages as these from his protégé.
69. "Peter the Great," in Essays from the N.A.R., pp. 178-79.
70. Letter to his sister, August 8, 1837, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
71. See United Netherlands, IV, 75-76; and The Rise of the Dutch Republic (New York, 1859), II, 189-90.
72. Notebooks IX, p. 66; Notebooks X, p. 75. ln Notebooks IX, p. 73, he warned himself to "be minute in the localities, and everything relating to them, topographical, physical, and historical--transporting the reader to the country, and to the age." For praise of Humboldt and Malte Brun, see Notebooks IX, pp. 16-17, 52.
73. "Cooper," in Essays from the N.A.R., pp. 370-71.
74. See Motley, United Netherlands, II, 13; IV, 36. After three pages of general description of the action Motley says, "The tide of battle ebbed and flowed like the waves of the sea, but it would be mere pedantry to affect any technical explanation of its various changes . . . . the very nature of the ground had made artistic evolutions nearly impracticable."
75. Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 48. Parkman, Jesuits, pp. 233-36; Half-Century, I, 91. Motley, Dutch Republic, II, 301-12. Cf. Bancroft, A History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent (10 vols., Boston, 1834-74), III, 397-98. Hereafter Bancroft's work will be cited as History.
76. See, for example, Parkman, Jesuits, p. 375: "On the morning of the fourth of July, when the forest around basked lazily in the early sun, you might have mounted the rising ground on which the town stood, and passed unchallenged through the opening in the palisade. Within, you would have seen [huts] . . . .You followed the foul passageways among the houses, and at length came to the church . . . . Suddenly the uproar of voices, shrill with terror, burst upon the languid silence of the town. 'The Iroquois! the Iroquois' A crowd of hostile warriors had issued from the forest, and were rushing across the clearing." The inconsistency in mood shows carelessness, and in the excitement of the raid Parkman leaves "you" at the mercy of the Iroquois and then forgets "you." But the purpose is clear. Cf. Motley's description of the betrayal of Deventer to the Spanish, United Netherlands, II, 170-71.
77. Works, V, 144; cf. Barante, Ducs dc Bourgogne, I, 2. Barante said that the French genius was remarkably fitted for lively narrative, "où le narrateur . . . donne une physionomie dramatique aux faits qu'il rapport, aux personnages qu'il représente." He used the painting analogy, too, and deplored the historian's appeal to the reader's critical faculties rather than his imagination (ibid., p. 13). Prescott mentions Barante's dramatic analogy in the review of Irving's Granada (Biographical Miscellanies, p. 93). Cf. Motley, "Goethe," New York Review, III (October 1838), 402.
78. Letters to Bancroft: October 17, 1854; and May 1, 1858. Bancroft Papers, MHS. Cf. Peru, I, xiii; and Notebooks V, p. 49.
79. Works, V, 158.
80. See, for example, Montcalm and Wolfe (Boston, 1893), II, 163-66.
81. Prescott to Bancroft, October 17, 1854.
82. Raleigh, for example, referred to Leicester as "sweet Robin." After quoting the phrase as Raleigh's, Motley uses it repeatedly in his satiric portrayal of Leicester's relationship with Elizabeth. United Netherlands, I, 478. For another example see ibid., p. 485.
83. Motley, "Goethe's Works," New York Review V (July 1839), 18.
84. United Netherlands, II, 91-92, 99.
85. "The Polity of the Puritans," N.A.R., LXIX, 475.
86. Letter to Bancroft, April 16, 1858, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
87. Letter to Motley, April 28, 1856, Prescott Papers, MHS.
88. "Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella," Democratic Review, II (May 1838), 164.
89. United Netherlands, II, 96, n. 1.
90. Ibid., I, 348; III, 188. Prescott to Bancroft, December 20, 1837, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
91. Motley, United Netherlands, III, 54-55.
92. Notebooks VII, p. 176.
93. Notebooks VIII, p. 89.