* Bancroft (who called his daughter Susan his "transcendental baby") distinguished "reason" from "understanding." By "reason" he meant "not that faculty which deduces inferences from the experiences of the senses, but that higher faculty, which from the infinite treasures of its own consciousness, originates truth, and assents to it by the force of intuitive evidence; that faculty which raises us beyond the control of time and space, and gives us faith in things eternal and invisible." See "The Office of the People in Art, Government, and Religion," in Literary and Historical Miscellanies (New York, 1855), p. 409. Theodore Parker to Bancroft, September 2, 1846, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
1. Theodore Parker, "Prescott as an Historian" (March 1849), The American Scholar, ed. George W. Cooke (Boston, 1907), p. 184.
2. See Daniel J. Boorstin, The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1948), pp. 226-31.
3. See Bancroft's letters to Andrews Norton, October 17 and October 26, 1818; and to Joseph Kirkland, January 15, 1820. See Bancroft's Journal, August 29, 1818, March 28 and May 17, 1819, Bancroft Papers, MHS. John L. Motley, "The Novels of Balzac," N.A.R., LXV (July 1847), 86-87, 108; United Netherlands, III, 514. Bancroft expressed the same idea in his essay on Goethe; and William Charvat has pointed out the similarity to Howells' comments. The concern with evil in human nature was sound for a German writer, Bancroft said, "but in the United States, thanks to the venerated sanctity of domestic attachment, the book [Goethe's Elective Affinities] would be thrown aside with incredulity as a false and dangerous libel on human nature." William Charvat, The Origins of American Critical Thought, 1810-1835 (Philadelphia, 1936), p. 18.
See Prescott's Diary (1817), Prescott Papers, MHS, pp. 48, 85; Farnham's Parkman, pp. 94-95; and Parkman's first European Notebook in The Journals of Francis Parkman, ed. Mason Wade (New York, 1947), I, passim.
4. Bancroft, History, III, 397-98; VIII, 118-19. Letter to Mrs. J. C. Bancroft Davis, December 27, 1867, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
5. Parkman, Diary, July 4, 1844, Parkman Papers, MHS. See Jesuits, p. 448 Motley, United Netherlands, III, 189, 208, 531; IV, 549ff. Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 32, 447. These are only a few among many examples. Motley, too, criticized the "singular vagaries of the German transcendentalists" (Morton's Hope, II, 97).
6. Motley, United Netherlands, III, 382, 513-14.
7. Ibid., IV, 549.
8. Ibid., III, 532.
9. Prescott, "Irving's Granada," in Biographical Miscellanies, pp. 91-92; "Bancroft's United States," ibid., p. 284.
10. United Netherlands, I, 314.
11. Jesuits, p. 448; cf. ibid., p. 329.
12. History, I, 261-62; cf. II, 155.
13. "Bancroft's United States," in Biographical Miscellanies, p. 275: "The atmosphere here seems as fatal to the arbitrary institutions of the Old World as that has been to the democratic forms of our own. It seems scarcely possible that any other organization than these latter should exist here."
14. "The Polity of the Puritans," N.A.R., LXIX, 479; United Netherlands, III, 154; cf. ibid., p. 383.
15. The image is Motley's, ibid., pp. 382-83; letter to O. W. Holmes, February 26, 1862, in Correspondence, II, 65. Bancroft compared progress to the movement of the Mississippi River: "There are little eddies and side currents which seem to run up hill; but the onward course of the mighty mass of waters is as certain as the law of gravitation." Letter to the Barre Democratic Committee, July 10, 1840, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
16. Cf. Motley, United Netherlands, III, 121; 476-77.
17. Ibid., pp. 382-83; Dutch Republic, I, 44; Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 447; Bancroft, History, IV, 7.
18. History, VIII, 116-19. Cf. The Heart of Emerson's Journals, ed. Bliss Perry (New York, 1929), p. 56.
19. History, VIII, 119-20; I, 472; II, 333; III, 88.
20. Ibid., I, 51, 312.
21. Ibid., IV, 275; VI, 324; X, 86. Parkman made the same point in Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 9. After describing the "commonplace" morality and government of England during this period, he said: "The middle class, as yet almost voiceless, looked to him [Pitt] as its champion; but he was not the champion of a class . . . he was himself England incarnate." See below, Chapter III. Motley's English people were also wiser than Elizabeth in perceiving that Spain must be fought. United Netherlands, II, 281.
22. Bancroft, History, V, 4.
23. Ibid.,VII, 24.
24. United Netherlands, III, 155; see also I, 381, 492, 499; II, 281; and III, 187. Cf. Bancroft, History, III, 322.
25. United Netherlands, I, 486; IV, 543. In his final judgment of Philip (United Netherlands, III, 542) Motley also shows that the opposite of each of Philip's major aims was achieved.
26. "Macaulay's History," in The American Scholar, p. 344.
27. Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 2. Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 116. Prescott cited this result as evidence that Providence "still educes good from evil." History, VI, 526; and ibid., IV, 389; cf. ibid., p. 215. Cf. Motley's final essay on Philip II, United Netherlands, III, 512.
28. Dutch Republic, II, 424-25. Cf. United Netherlands, III, 539.
29. Prescott to Ticknor, January 21, 1824, in Ticknor, Prescott, p. 65.
30. Motley, "Historic Progress and American Democracy" (1868), in John Lothrop Motley: Representative Selections . . ., ed. C. P. Higby and B. T. Schantz (New York, 1939), p. 105.
31. Letter to George Bancroft, October 18, 1878, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
32. Motley, United Netherlands, III, 513-14.
33. Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, I, xl.
34. Ibid., III, 107.
35. Ibid., pp. 109-11. Cf. Macaulay, "The War of Succession in Spain," in Works, V, p. 642: "The Castilian of those times was to the Italian what the Roman, in the days of the greatness of Rome, was to the Greek. The conqueror had less ingenuity, less taste, less delicacy of perception than the conquered; but far more pride, firmness, and courage, a more solemn demeanour, a stronger sense of honour. The subject had more subtlety in speculation, the ruler more energy in action. The vices of the former were those of a coward; the vices of the latter were those of a tyrant."
36. Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 495-96.
37. United Netherlands, III, 121.
38. Ferdinand and Isabella, I, 297; and I, lxxxiii. Cf. III, 12.
39. United Netherlands, III, 20-21. The idea that the Dutch were trained to adversity is reiterated throughout Motley's histories, most elaborately in his long introduction to Dutch Republic, I, 44.
40. United Netherlands, I, 382-83; and ibid., II, 118.
41. Bancroft, History, I, 429. Motley, United Netherlands, III, 21, 529, 544.
42. At one low point in English fortunes "the profuse indulgence in falsehood which characterized southern statesmanship, was more than a match for English love of truth." United Netherlands, II, 355-56. For the descriptions of Elizabeth and Alexander Farnese, see ibid., pp. 293, 300.
43. Ibid., IV, 112-13.
44. Ibid., II, 74-75; IV, 106-7.
45. History, II, 58.
46. See, for example, Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 8-16, 21-23. "Yet Canada had a vigor of her own. It was not in spiritual deference only that she differed from the country of her birth. Whatever she had caught of its corruptions, she had caught nothing of its effeminacy. . . . Even the French regular troops, sent out to defend the colony, caught its hardy spirit, and set an example of stubborn fighting which their comrades at home did not always emulate" (p. 23). Cf. Conspiracy of Pontiac, I, 112-13. Cf. Bancroft, II, 89; IV, 312. See Motley, United Netherlands, IV, 554.
47. Pioneers of France in the New World, 25th ed. (Boston, 1885), p. x. In this revised edition the original introduction of 1865 is unchanged. I have used this edition because Parkman said that its natural descriptions were more accurate, based as they were on a visit he made to Florida after the first edition had been published.
48. Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 26-27; and ibid., p. 35.
49. Ibid., pp. 5-6, 18. France, where the jaded aristocracy played with the newest radical ideas "as children play with fire" (p. 16), was worst of all.
50. History, VI, 138; II, 145, 155. Letter to Emerson, February 29, 1836, Bancroft Papers, MHS. Of his second volume Bancroft wrote: "I have gone largely into the spirit of Quakerism; & have had occasion to contrast George Fox & William Penn with John Locke. The view, I have taken, from what I know of your modes of thought, will not be new or disagreeable to you; the public at large may start at the truth. But what could I do? If Locke did actually embody his philosophy, political & moral, in an American Constitution, why not say so in all simplicity? And if the Quakers were wiser than he, why not say that too? Do you remember Locke's chapter on enthusiasm? Pennsylvania is the practical refutation of his argument" On May 13, 1837, Bancroft again wrote to Emerson, emphasizing his conviction that the contrast was accurate, but expressing some concern about its reception. Bancroft Papers, MHS. He received a letter from George Ripley (September 20, 1837, Bancroft Papers, MHS) praising him for attacking what Ripley called "the always ignorant and often petulant idolatry of Locke."
51. History, II, 343, 455.
52. Ibid., VII, 260, 29; VIII, 346.
53. "Polity of the Puritans," N.A.R., LXIX, 490; letter to his wife, January 15, 1858, in Correspondence, I, 209. Motley was convinced by Bancroft's criticism of Locke's plan for a Carolina government.
54. "Irving's Granada," in Biographical Miscellanies, pp. 91-92, 97.
55. "The Age of Schiller and Goethe," in Literary and Historical Miscellanies (New York, 1855), p. 189. Cf. his letter to Levi Frisbi, April 13, 1821, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
56. History, II, 338; VI, 399.
57. Ibid., II, 58, 155, 211-12. "Western democracy," Turner said, "was no theorist's dream. It came stark and strong and full of life, from the American forest." The Rise of the New West, 1819-29 (New York and London, 1906), pp. 68-69.
58. Bancroft, History, VII, 301. Cf. Motley, United Netherlands, II, 113-14; IV, 133.
59. History, VI, 323-24. Cf. Prescott, Peru, II, 467, discussed below, pp. 153-54. When Bancroft did praise learning, he emphasized the subject's character. Admitting that the philosopher Berkeley was learned and "disciplined by polished society," Bancroft emphasized his union of "innocence, humility, and extensive knowledge, with the sagacity and confidence of intuitive reason." Berkeley had "every virtue under heaven." History, III, 372.
60. From "Whiggism and Democracy," Boston Statesman, October 17, 1835; this quotation is from Bancroft's MS. copy, Bancroft Papers, MHS.
61. Dutch Republic, I, 145. John of Barneveld, I, 264; II, 10-11.
62. Motley, United Netherlands, I, 89; cf. III, 302.
63. Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 32.
64. Montcalm and Wolfe, I, chap. x.
65. Motley, United Netherlands, I, 314.
66. History, II, 214.
67. Ibid., p. 345.
68. See, e.g., Motley, United Netherlands, I, 38, 48. Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, I, xxxviii, 236, 297; and The Conquest of Mexico (Philadelphia, 1860), I, 75, 312. Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, I, 12, 14. Parkman called Louis XV's immorality "effeminate libertinism" (ibid., p. 14), and attacked Louis' "languor."
69. History, VIII, 67. Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 28-29, 32, 380.
70. United Netherlands, III, 208. Dutch Republic, I, 441, 502; II, 35; III, 340. Cooper makes the same inconsistent excuse for Natty Bumppo after condemning a priest for following the maxim. The Prairie (New York, 1851), pp. 258-65.
Prescott was regularly more lenient than Motley, for he said he believed that the Past should not be judged by the higher standards of the Present. (Mexico, II, 35-36.) He was inconsistent on this point, however, especially where there was a scoundrel to be chastised: his heroes' sins may have been the sins of the age, but his villains' sins were another matter. See, for example, Peru, II, 200.
71. Dutch Republic, II, 400. The idea and the word ("malignity") are William's, but Motley accepts both without criticism. United Netherlands, II, 310. Cf. ibid., III, 186-87.
72. Farnham, Parkman, pp. 89-90. Cf. Parkman's letter to the Boston Advertiser, October 14, 1862, quoted in Howard Doughty, "Parkman's Dark Years: Letters to Mary Dwight Parkman," Harvard Library Bulletin, IV (Winter 1950), 81.
73. United Netherlands, IV, 242; I, 129.
74. See Parkman, Pioneers, pp. 90-92; Motley, United Netherlands, II, 100-101, 281; IV, 320-21. Motley also wrote a paragraph in praise of "enterprise" (ibid., III, 26-27).
75. Parkman seems to be an exception. The Puritans, he said, had elevated thrift and hard work for gain to the position of religious duties--"in defiance of the Gospels." (Pioneers, xi. Cf. Bancroft, History, III, 312.) Neither Parkman nor Prescott had any Protestant heroes whose economic motives required evaluation. But in La Salle and Cortés, respectively, the economic motive is absorbed in the brilliant glare of more heroic and more pious motives. La Salle "was not a mere merchant; and no commercial profit could content his ambition." La Salle, p. 90. Cortés, Prescott says, "was not a vulgar conqueror . . . . His enterprises were not undertaken solely for mercenary objects." Mexico, III, 357-58.
76. United Netherlands, I, 382-83.
77. Ibid., IV, 133, 242, 444, 482, 550-56.
78. History, 1, 429-30; VI, 137; VII, 304.
79. Ferdinand and Isabella, I ,380.
80. Dutch Republic, II, 255-58. Consider his comment on Jacob van Heemskerk (United Netherlands, IV. 320): "Inspired only by the love of glory, he asked for no remuneration for his services save thirteen per cent. of the booty, after half a million florins should have been paid into the public treasury."
81. Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 490-91. For the use of "success" as a test of virtue, see ibid., p. 401.
82. Ibid., 462; Parkman, Pioneers, p. xii. Parkman conjures "the shades," who "rise from their graves in strange, romantic guise."
83. Ibid., p. 428.
84. United Netherlands, IV, 215-17.
85. II, 302-12.
86. Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 478-79. Cf. Peru, I, 468-69.
87. United Netherlands, IV, 556.
88. History, II, 468.