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Is it necessary to recall how high burned the fires of crusading passion, heroism, and cruelty in that memorable struggle of Christian Portugal against Southern Islam which raged in East African and Indian seas and coasts through the last years of Columbus's life, and so long after? At any rate, we must not forget how fully, here as elsewhere, the Portuguese movement of the fifteenth century anticipates the Admiral. To him the idea of crusade is part of his very life. Not only is it his constant purpose to establish the military supremacy of the Catholic faith in those new lands of his we call America, but the dream of the recovery of the holy places of Syria was no dream to him. When he started to discover the Indies, as his will tells us, he designed that all revenue accruing to the Spanish sovereigns through his discoveries should be spent in the conquest of Jerusalem; when he made this testament (on February 22, 1498) they had as yet done nothing; Columbus still hoped for better things; but, in the last resort, if Castile and Aragon were still deaf to the cause of the Holy City, then he lays it upon his heir to perform this conquest, alone if need be, all if it might be, and if not all, then whatever part he could.
C. RAYMOND BEAZLEY.
THE CREDIBILITY OF MARAT
ALL biographies of Varat which have any value, and notably those of Bougeart and Chevremont, suffer from one serious defect. They are written for the most part from material furnished by Marat, and this material is accepted without any attempt to criticize it. Both Bougeart and Chevremont have accepted Marat's assertions without hesitation, even on points where contradictory evidence is accessible. No biography written in this fashion can be sound. All other biographers of Marat do one of two things; either they follow the old traditions, or else they accept Bougeart and Chevremont, in either case quite uncritically.
A critical examination of Marat's statements, especially of those he made about himself, is difficult, because there is usually no way of testing them. This is true for the material relating to the period before the Revolution, because at that time Varat was not prominent enough to lead his contemporaries to examine his statements critically; and it is true of the material relating to the later period, because all who wrote on Varat then were either his blind admirers or his passionate enemies. In either case, their evidence is by itself utterly worthless.
In these conditions it is desirable to determine Marat's credibility wherever it is possible to do so. If we find him veracious and accurate in cases where we can control his statements, it will be allowable to trust him where control is impossible. On the other hand, if in these circumstances we find him lacking in accuracy or in veracity, we shall be bound henceforth to reject his unsupported assertions. If that is the case, Marat's life still remains to be written.
An opportunity to test Marat's accuracy and veracity in matters in which he was directly concerned is afforded by his account of a minor episode in his life. Varat published in 1774, at London, an anonymous political pamphlet called The Chains of Slavery. This pamphlet he afterwards republished in a French version at Paris, in 1793. In doing this he prefixed to the French version the his
* The Chains of Slavery, a work wherein the clandestine and villainous attempts of Princes to ruin Liberty are pointed out, and the dreadful scenes of Despotism disclosed. To which is prefixed, an Address to the Electors of Great Britain, in order to draw their timely attention to the Choice of proper Representatives in the next Parliament. Vitam impendere vero. (London, 1774, royal quarto, pp. xvi, 259.) Marat's claim to be the author of this pamphlet has been frequently ques
tioned since the Revolution, notably by Michelet. Now, it is as certain as anything of the sort can be that the book is Marat's, for he reissued it in 1775 at Newcastle with his name on the title-page. (See Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend for April, 1887, p. 51, quoting notices in the Newcastle Chronicle for October 21, 28, and November 4, 1775.) No one of his contemporaries ever contested his claim. Moreover, the book was certainly written by some one whose customary speech was French. Witness the following sentences : “The eagerness of being respected, Princes have extended to their civil officers ; less attentive to display in the persons of magistrates, the ministers of the laws, than men constituted in dignities" (Chains, p. 13). This cryptic saying is clear enough in the French version (Les Chaines de l'Esclavage, p. 59). “Men arrayed with honours and constituted in power" (Chains, p. 64), where we have the same use of the word “constitute”. Mercenary scribblers” who are engaged for attempting to vindicate the proceedings of administration, for aspersing popular men” (Chains, p. 87), where the meaning conveyed at first sight is opposed to the meaning intended. He asserts that the prince “attempts to recall affairs into dispute” (Chains, p. 91), where “recall into dispute ” is plainly a translation of révoquer. “Instead of concurring to the public welfare" (Chains, p. 22) is certainly not forcible or clear English, but it translates word for word into excellent French (“ au lieu de concourir au bien public (Les Chaines, p. —). He uses
research " for to search out (Chains, p. 54); “regal” for royal (Chains, p. 92); four times over “might” for may (Chains, pp. 14, 34, 149); twice “salary" in the sense of wages (Chains, pp. 31, 36); "unshaven where he means bearded (Chains, p. 14); “abjection' for abjectness (Chains, p. 259); and "attractives " for attractions (Chains, p. 18). These are but a few of many instances, but they will suffice to show that the book was the work of a man who habitually spoke French. Again, Marat was in England in 1774, and he wrote several other pamphlets and books in English both before and after that date (An Essay on the Human Soul, London, 1772; A Philosophical Essay on Man, being an attempt to investigate the Principles and Laws of the reciprocal influence of the Soul and Body, London, 1773, 2 vols. ; An Essay on Gleets, London, 1775; and An Enquiry into the Nature, Cause, and Cure of a Singular Disease of the Eyes, London, 1776). The English of these books shows similar deviations from correct usage. (See a review of the Essay on the Human Soul in the Monthly Review, of London, vol. XLVI., p. 254, March, 1772. See also Marat's medical pamphlets on Gleets and on a singular Disease of the Eyes, reprinted by James B. Bailey, London, 1891.) Finally, there is oné slight piece of evidence which points directly at Marat as the author. His hatred of academicians is well known. Now in The Chains of Slavery academicians are twice mentioned, and both times in a derogatory manner (pp. 125, 189). I conclude that the book is certainly Marat's, although I am satisfied that one portion of it was not originally written by him.
: The French version contains a great deal more matter than the English one, and this matter is disposed in the various chapters in a very different manner. Again Marat prefaced his French version with the story of the English one. Finally he set apart one portion of the English version as a separate essay in the French version. The English edition is a royal quarto of xvi plus 259 pages, while the French version is an octavo of 364 pages. The octavo page of the French version contains more matter than the quarto page of the English version, eight pages of the French book being equivalent to nine pages of the English one. Speaking broadly, the French version contains half again as much matter as the English one. The English version consists of " An Address to the
tory of the circumstances in which the English book was written and published. I know of nothing else of Marat's which furnishes us with a better means of determining his credibility as a witness in regard to events with which he must have been perfectly familiar.
His story of the circumstances connected with the writing and the publication of the English version is briefly as follows: Parliament was nearing its end in 1774 and new elections were approaching. In order to convince the electors of Great Britain of the necessity of electing enlightened and virtuous men to the next Parliament, Marat felt that they must be aroused from their lethargy. Hence he wrote The Chains of Slavery. That his appeal might be more forcible, he drew almost all his examples and illustrations from the history of England. “To devour thirty mortal volumes, to make extracts from them, to adapt them to the work, to translate and to print it, all this was a matter of three months." During this time he worked regularly twenty-one hours a day, taking scarcely two hours for sleep. The book once in the printer's hands, he fell into “a species of annihilation”, losing his memory and the use of all his intellectual faculties. For thirteen days lie remained in this piteous condition, being finally aroused from it “only by the aid of music and repose ”. As soon as he had recovered, he hastened to learn the fate of his book. To his surprise, he discovered that it was not yet published. None of the publishers had announced the book in the newspapers and several refused to place it on sale, notably Becket, bookseller to the Prince of Wales. Marat rushed to the newspaper offices and offered to pay for notices announcing his book, going so far as to offer ten guineas instead of the customary price of five shillings. It was all in vain. Everyone refused to publish a notice, and no one gave any reason, excepting Woodfall, who said that “The Address to the Electors of Great Britain ", prefixed to the book, might be the cause for the refusals.
Marat was convinced that printer, publishers, and journalists
Electors of Great Britain ", xvi pages, the table of contents, iv pages, an introduction, 4 pages, and “The Chains of Slavery ", 255 pages. The French version begins with a “notice", containing the history of the English version, 12 pages. This is followed by the “Address to the Electors of Great Britain ", 6 pages ; then comes the introduction, of 4 pages; then “ Les Chaines de l'Esclavage", 300 pages; then a “ Tableau des vices de la Constitution angloise, présenté en août 1789 aux États-Généraux, comme une série d'écueils à éviter dans le Gouvernement qu'ils vouloient donner a la France”. This again is divided into a “ Lettre de l'auteur au Président des États-Généraux ", August 23, 1789, 5 pages;
Discours addressé aux Anglois le 15 avril 1774, sur les vices de leur Constitution, et les moyens d'y remédier", 27 pages; and a “ Discours addressé aux Anglois le 1 août 1774".
were all bribed, and Becket's haste to remove his name from the list of publishers brought Marat to the conclusion that Lord North was guilty of the bribery. The minister was alarmed lest the book should cost him his majority in the next House of Commons and spent forty thousand dollars to prevent its issue until after the elections. Marat's printer warned him that the book might make him a great deal of trouble. Hereupon Marat, remembering Wilkes, slept for six weeks with a brace of pistols under his pillow, resolved to greet in a fitting fashion the messenger who should come to search his papers. He never came. Lord North, instructed as to Marat's character, adopted ruse instead of violence. Indignant at his failure to get the book before the public, Marat sent almost the entire edition to the patriotic societies of the north of England. The minister discovered this, and now set spies on Marat. These secured influence with his host and with his servant, and got possession of all his correspondence. The total stoppage of his letters revealed the state of affairs. In order to escape the surveillance of the ministerial emissaries, Marat withdrew to Holland, and thence returned directly to the north of England. While in the north, he visited the patriotic societies to which he had sent copies of his book, remaining three weeks at Carlisle, Berwick, and Newcastle. There all the plots of the minister were revealed to him. Three of the societies had sent him letters of affiliation in a golden box, which had been forwarded to one of his publishers. An emissary of the minister, by using Marat's name, had secured this treasure from the publisher. The society at Newcastle, unwilling that he should be at the sole expense of his work, paid the cost themselves, and also issued a new edition," which they scattered throughout the three kingdoms”.
Marat's triumph was complete but tardy, for Lord North had succeeded in suppressing his book until after the elections. Nevertheless, Marat did not fail entirely in his object, “which was the reform of the capital vices of the constitution”, for there was a general “ fermentation” among the public. The reason for this was that Marat had suggested reforms in his book: the abolition of rotten boroughs; the transfer to Parliament of the royal privilege to create peers; a place bill; and the verification of the treasury accounts on the call of three members of the lower house. The public desired above all a more equal representation of the people. This desideratum became the favorite toast in the popular societies. The question was debated in Parliament, but the bill was not passed.