« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
volume (335 pp.) covers three years and eight months, while the second and third volumes (595 pp.) cover only five years and two months. It seems not unreasonable to suppose, therefore, that in the original draft Walpole rather hastily sketched the events of 1760-1764 as a kind of introduction to the real subject of the work, the period in which he was himself active. And if we suppose the revision of 1775 was for the purpose of improving the literary form of the Memoirs, there was no reason at that time for changing either the proportion or the content of the introductory part.
But in what a different light must the Memoirs have appeared to Walpole in 1784! Then he was mainly intent on setting posterity right on the meaning of the American war. This could be done in part by revising the fourth volume, which dealt with the beginning of Lord North's ministry. But only in part; for the deeper meaning of the American war was that in it the king attempted to bring to fruition deep-laid designs which he had harbored from the beginning of his reign, designs which had been fostered by Bute and the Scots and the Tories, designs which had never for a moment been lost sight of. To bring this out, the Memoirs must be more than memoirs of Walpole; they must be memoirs of the reign of George III, in fact as well as in name. A revision of the last volume only would therefore leave something to be desired; it would not achieve the necessary dramatic unity. The events of the first years of the reign, which had been dealt with less fully than the rest, now acquired, in the light of the American war, a new significance, which could be pointed out only by revising the first volume. And a revision of the first volume would be sufficient, for it was just the early years of the reign that offered the best opportunity for proving the contention that Walpole wished to establish: it was then, rather than during the years from 1764 to 1768, that the king, Bute, the Scots and the Tories were most influential. We know from the letters that the only time from 1760 to 1772 that Walpole had much fear of the prerogative was in 17621763, during the ministry of Bute himself, and in connection with that very Peace of Paris of which so much is made in the first volume. The second and third volumes, on the contrary, were neither in need of any elaboration, nor did they offer much opportunity, save in connection with the Stamp Act, for the particular kind of revision that Walpole wished to make.
To this hypothesis, which I think best explains all the facts, though I hold to it with no positive convictions, there are two objections which must be noticed. If Walpole did revise the first volume in 1784, it is strange that no mention of a specific date subsequent to 1775 should appear except in the fourth volume. This fact makes it difficult to suppose that the whole work was revised in 1784, but it loses much of its force if we assume, as I have done, that the revision of 1784 left the greater part of the second and third volumes untouched. In dealing with the events of the fourth volume, there would be a certain appropriateness in referring to the American war, since the fourth volume had to do with the beginning of the very ministry that carried the war through. But in the period covered by the first volume the American question had not yet arisen, and the events of the American war, if mentioned at all, would have, as it were, to be dragged in by the heels. The second objection is of a different sort. In a long note, written probably in 1783 and certainly not earlier, Walpole says that he has changed his opinion many times in respect to Lord Bute's influence with the king, and proceeds to set forth what he then takes to be the truth of the whole matter. The truth, as he then sees it, is that Bute had little direct influence with the king after his resignation in 1763, the real influence after that time being exercised by Jenkinson. 47 Now, the passages in the first volume which I have supposed to reflect the opinions held by Walpole in 1783-1784 assert, on the contrary, that Bute's influence with the king was undoubted and continuous. Croker, in his review of the Memoirs for the Quarterly, 48 made much of this point to show that Walpole took back at the close of his work much that he had said of Bute in the first part of it. However, the note is of less importance than might be supposed. Walpole admits having changed his opinions frequently. He must have done so indeed, for he has another note, written as late as 1784, in which he says positively that Grenville “had fallen because he was not influenced by Lord Bute . . . and that Dowdeswell had fallen from the same cause”, and that “in 1783–4, the secret influence was no longer secret.' These notes tell us nothing, therefore, except that at one time, either in 1783 or later, Walpole believed that Bute had little influence with the king after his resignation, but that another time, in 1784 or later, he believed no such thing. As there is no reason for believing that the first volume, if it was revised at all after 1775, was revised before 1784, the objection falls to the ground.
The second revision of the first volume, if there was one, may indeed have been made at a much later date than 1784. It will be recalled that throughout the Memoirs are many foot-notes that
refer to events or to dates later than 1775. Of these, only three refer to dates later than 1784: one to the date 1786, and two to the date 1788. These three notes are all in the first volume.50 The interesting query is therefore suggested whether the first volume was revised as late as 1788? It is quite possible that, in taking up the Memoirs after the fall of North, Walpole's intention was only to complete the first revision from the point where it had been interrupted by the American war, and that not until later did it occur to him that the work lacked something in perspective and unity which might be made good by recasting the first volume. At least we know that he must have been rereading the Memoirs as late as 1788, since that date occurs in the notes.
In conclusion, it should be observed that the amount of matter inserted during the revision of 1784, at least as far as the evidence goes, was relatively small. The importance of the later insertions, however, does not depend upon their quantity, but upon their quality. Wherever we find Walpole asserting that the reign of George III. was primarily a struggle against the despotic tendencies of the crown, there we have a passage which we can say was inserted after the American war, or one which we can say was very probably inserted after the American war. Most of these passages, besides, are interpretative, discursive, speculative in nature. Indeed, if there is any general test by which one may be guided in distinguishing the original draft from the revision of 1784, it is this: in the original draft Walpole was intent on details, and wished to picture the particular person or situation, and himself most of all; in the revision of 1784, he was intent on principles and general tendencies, and wished to picture the whole reign as a lesson to posterity. In the interval between the writing of the original draft and the revision of 1784, Walpole had changed in more respects than in his view of the meaning of the reign of George III.; his attitude towards the function of the historian, 51 and towards his own Memoirs and the purposes they might serve, had changed also. Whether Walpole's later view of the reign of George III. is a truer one on the whole than his earlier view, is a question that might be argued but cannot be argued here. At least, that he had an earlier and a later view is obvious, and it is perhaps well to know that he did.
60 See first installment, January number, p. 258, notes 21 and 22.
61 In the earlier period Walpole emphasized the necessity of accuracy in details and of strict impartiality in the writing of history. See, for example, Letters, IV. 246; V. 149. But in 1785 he wrote: “For my part ... I hate the cold impartiality recommended to historians ", etc. Ibid., XIII. 285. Cf. p. 255;
THE LITERATURE OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR, I.
Is an examination of the “Literature of the South African War", submitted in the pages of this Review four years ago, it was suggested that from a literary point of view all campaigns fall under the heading of one or other of three classes. There are those brief skirmishes on the frontiers of an empire in which the garrisons of its outposts re-establish order or substitute civilized rule for savage despotism. The British army has seen an infinite number of such small wars in every quarter of the globe and owes many of its characteristics to such service. The officers and men of the United States army in days gone by had too their full share of arduous work of a like nature. But soldiers who have been engaged in duties of this character will rarely find their deeds emblazoned in history. A brief despatch, published at the end of the campaign in an official gazette, is the only record of by far the greater number of such expeditions, although the results achieved have in their aggregate conferred no little permanent benefit on the human race.
A grade higher in the historical scale may be reached by campaigns of momentary but not lasting importance. Around these for a time a considerable literature springs up, but of mushroom growth, and for the most part with but little claim to consideration by the historian.
In the third and highest grade must be assessed the wars, whose political and military issues have been so great as to win for them a permanent place in history. These too are surrounded by the same rich growth of contemporary literature, literature of great value so far as it records the personal observations of eye-witnesses, and the reports of those who have played a part in the actual drama of the war, but often marred by inaccuracy, hearsay evidence, and unimportant trivialities. Yet all must be gathered impartially into the granary of the historian. Upon him falls the slow and laborious task of sifting the chaff from the wheat, and of grinding and kneading, from the latter, food meet for the sustenance of future generations. The writing of history cannot therefore be undertaken by any scribbler. It is work which needs time, judgment, an impartial spirit, and above all a free entry behind that veil, which owing to personal and other reasons so often shrouds the truth from the eyes of the generation contemporary with great events. Absolute historical accuracy is probably never attained, but it is gradually approached after many years of strenuous labor and research, years which moreover serve to fix in their relative importance the various episodes of the events to be recorded and thus enable the historian to regard them as a whole through a true focus.
But if time is essential to the compilation of history, it is also as a rule necessary for the true assessment in value of historical events. It is easy no doubt for the historian to dismiss summarily minor campaigns, punitive expeditions, small wars, and such like, but when a dispute between two communities has been settled by an appeal to arms, the lapse of years will generally be required to determine the final classification in history of the struggle. Yet to this rule there are manifest exceptions; at times it is immediately apparent that an armed contest of state against state must be recognized by reason of its political, racial, or military results, as a real landmark in history, perhaps even a watershed the elevation of which forces into fresh directions the rivers and streams of international life.
The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 is beyond all question one of such landmarks, not only by reason of its presentation of a new type of war, but also having in view its political results. The generations of the nineteenth century, notwithstanding their dream, lasting some decades, of universal peace, saw not a few great campaigns, notably the Napoleonic struggle, the Civil War in America, and the Franco-German contest, but in all these, there were no battles which can compare with those in Manchuria, in duration, in length of fighting front, in the number of troops engaged under one supreme command, and in the desperate resolution of the combatants.
But for the political student as well as for the professional soldier, this great campaign has proved a new departure. Prior to it, the Far East was regarded by the nations of European blood as a prey, a spoil, ripe for division. The eagles had gathered from afar and had already fixed their talons on the carcass. The bancais of the Mikado's victorious soldiers disturbed these would-be feasters and indefinitely postponed their dream of a rich banquet. For the first time since Mahomet II. converted the Church of St. Sophia into a Mahomedan mosque the armies of the East have repulsed decisively the armies of the West, and Christians have fallen back before the unbaptized.
This is not the place to forecast what will be the ultimate issue of these great events, but that they have entirely changed the whole problem of the Far East, and will profoundly influence the future