Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/272

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Froude
Froude
260

land for the second edition of his 'English in Ireland,' and in 1883 he published his ' Luther : a short biography.' In 1884 he was created honorary LL.D. at the tercentenary of Edinburgh University. He visited Norway in 1881, and the Australian colonies 'in the winter of 1884-5. The result of the first tour was a poem on 'Romsdal Fiord,' published in 'Blackwood's Magazine' for April 1883, and his 'Oceana, or England and her Colonies' (London, two editions, 1886, 8vo), grew out of the second. The latter excited much controversy, and Froude was charged with misrepresenting the views of many persons, conversations with whom he reported in his book. One of the stoutest attacks was by Mr. Wakefield, a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, and appeared in the 'Nineteenth Century' for August 1886. The winter of 1886-7 Froude spent in the West Indies, where he collected materials for his 'English in the West Indies, or the Bow of Ulysses, with Illustrations by the Author' (London, 1888, 8vo ; 2nd edit, same year). Froude's advocacy of the abolition of representative institutions in the West Indies and drastic treatment of the negroes provoked many replies, of which the best are Mr. N. D. Davis's 'Mr. Froude's Negrophobia, or Don Quixote as a Cook's Tourist' (1888), Mr. J. J. Thomas's 'Froudacity' (1889), and Mr. C. S. Salmon's 'Refutation' (Cobden Club, 1888). Froude's next work, ' The Two Chiefs of Dunboy' (1889), an historical romance, failed to increase its author's reputation ; and in 1890 he contributed to the 'Queen's Prime Ministers' series a monograph on Beaconsfield, which, as he expected, pleased neither Beaconsfield's friends nor his foes. In 1891 he published 'The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon' (2nd edit. 1893), in which he reiterated the views on that subject expressed in his 'History of England,' with additional evidence drawn from Brewer and Gairdner's 'Calendar of Letters and Papers.' This was followed by ' The Spanish Story of the Armada,' 1892 (new edit, same year).

On the death of Edward Augustus Freeman [q. v. Suppl.] in 1892, Lord Salisbury, whom Froude occasionally visited at Hatfield (Selborne, Memorials, ii. 388), offered him the regius professorship of modern history at Oxford. 'The temptation,' wrote Froude to Sir John Skelton, 'of going back to Oxford in a respectable way was too much for me. I must just do the best I can, and trust that I shall not be haunted by Freeman's ghost' (Table Talk of Shirley, pp. 216-17). The appointment was unpopular with the high-church party, and somewhat scandalised Freeman's friends; but Froude's polished manners wore away some of this enmity, and his literary fame and gifts of elocution brought unwonted crowds to his lectures. The subjects he chose were 'Erasmus,' 'English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century,' and 'The Council of Trent.' His lectures on these topics were published respectively in 1894, 1895, and 1896, and all went into second editions in the year of publication. The 'Life and Letters of Erasmus,' which was translated into Dutch (2 vols. 1896, 1897), was as bitterly attacked as anything Froude wrote, the main accusations being that he seriously garbled Erasmus's letters and misrepresented his meaning (cf. Quarterly Review, January 1895).

After finishing his lectures in the summer term of 1894 Froude retired to his residence, The Woodcot, Kingsbridge, Devonshire. His health grew worse during the long vacation, and he died there on 20 Oct. He was buried on the 25th in Salcombe cemetery. He left issue by his first wife one daughter, Margaret, and by his second one son, Mr. Ashley Anthony Froude, C.M.G., and one daughter, May. Froude was five feet eleven inches tall, and his head measured twenty-three inches round (Table Talk of Shirley, p. 185). His hair was black and his eyes a very dark brown. Portraits of Froude, painted by Samuel Laurence and Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A., both commissioned by Sir John Skelton, are now in the possession of Miss Margaret Froude. An excellent photograph is reproduced in 'Prose Masterpieces from Modern Essayists,' 1886. Sir Edgar Boehm [q. v. Suppl.] also presented Froude with a bust, which Froude thought 'atrocious' (Mrs. Ireland in Contemp. Rev. lxvii. 27-8).

Froude is described by Sir John Skelton as 'the most interesting man I have ever known.' To most of his acquaintances he seemed shy and enigmatic (cf. Mr. Leslie Stephen in National Review, January 1901), but his intimate friends found him a delightful companion. His conversation was brilliant, and none the less fascinating for its subacid flavour. Lord Selborne describes him as 'a man of agreeable conversation, but not removing by his conversation the impression made by his books' (Memorials, ii. 388). He never showed any resentment, though his nature was sensitive, and few men have been attacked so bitterly or so persistently, and, except on one or two occasions, he refrained from replying to his critics. As a writer of English prose he had few equals in the nineteenth century ; and the ease and gracefulness of his style,