Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/273

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Froude
Froude
261

his faculty for dramatic presentation, and command of the art of picturesque description have secured for his 'History' a permanent place in English prose literature. On the other hand, while appealing to the prejudices of a large class of readers and to the aesthetic sense of all, he has failed to convince students of the fidelity of his pictures or the truth of his conclusions. Indeed, Froude himself hardly seems to have regarded truth as attainable in history. He quotes with approval Talleyrand's remark, 'Il n'y a rien qui s'arrange aussi facilement que les faits,' and elsewhere compares the facts of history to the letters of the alphabet, which by selection and arrangement can be made to spell anything. He derided the claims of history to be treated as a science, and concerned himself exclusively with its dramatic aspect. 'Macbeth,' he says, 'were it literally true, would be perfect history;' and again, 'The most perfect English history which exists is to be found, in my opinion, in the historical plays of Shakespeare' (Short Studies, ii. 486). Hence he looked upon history as ' but the record of individual action,' and took little account of social or economic forces. His 'History of England' is an historical drama, representing the triumph of the Reformation over the powers of darkness typified by Philip of Spain and the pope of Rome; and Froude himself admits that the dramatic poet 'is not bound, when it is inconvenient, to what may be called the accidents of facts.' In his 'Siding at a Railway Station' (ib. iv. 377, reprinted from 'Fraser's Magazine,' 1879) he imagines himself, with the rest of mankind, undergoing an examination on his life's work; the judges use a magic fluid, which deletes all that is untrue in his books, and page after page, chapter after chapter, disappears, leaving only a statement here and there, chiefly those on which he had spent least care, and which his critics had most vehemently attacked. But even here it is impossible to say how much is literary artifice; for, in writing to Sir John Skelton, Froude remarks, ' I acknowledge to five real mistakes in the whole book … and about twenty trifling slips, ... and that is all that the utmost malignity has discovered' (Table Talk of Shirley, pp. 142-3).

The following is a list of Froude's works not previously mentioned:

  1. 'The Pilgrim,' by William Thomas [q. v.], ed. J. A. Froude, 1801, 8vo.
  2. 'The Influence of the Reformation on Scottish Character,' Edinburgh, 1865, 8vo: an address delivered at the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution on 3 Nov. 1865.
  3. 'The Cat's Pilgrimage:' an allegory, 1870, 8vo.
  4. Carlyle's 'Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849,' ed. Froude, 1882, 8vo.
  5. 'The Science of History,' 1886, 8vo: a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution on 6 Feb. 1864.
  6. 'Liberty and Property,' 1888, 16mo: a pamphlet published by the Liberty and Property Defence League.

Froude also wrote prefaces for Mary Hickson's 'Ireland in the Seventeenth Century' (1884, and J. A. Firth's 'Our Kin across the Sea' (1888), and some Correspondence with the Rev. S. G. Potter' on the efficacy of prayer was published by the latter in 1879. A selection of 'Historical and other Sketches,' edited with a biographical introduction by David II. Wheeler, was published at New York in 1883.

[No biography of Froude, beyond notices in the Times and elsewhere, 22 Oct. 1894, and the introduction to Historical and other Sketches (New York, 1883), has yet appeared, but there is a good deal of autobiography scattered up and down Froude's writings, e.g. The Oxford Counter Reformation in Short Studies, 4th ser. pp. 170-230, South African Journal, ib. 3rd ser. pp. 338-94, and in his Carlyle's Life in London. Several letters to Sir John Skelton are printed in the Table Talk of 'Shirley, 1895, chaps, viii. and ix., others are printed by T. Stanton in the Critic, xxvii. 400, and one to F. Locker-Lampson in App. to Rowfant Cat. 1900, p. 164. See also Oxford Honours Reg.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886; Welch's Queens Scholars, pp. 504-505; Barker and Stenning's Westm. School Reg.; Boase's Reg. Coll. Exon. pp. cxlviii, 182, 371; Vivian's Visit. of Devonshire, p. 549; Trans. Devon Association, xxiv. 441-57; T. Mozley's Rem. of Oriel, cap. Ixxiv.; Newman's Letters, 1891; J. B. Mozley's Letters, 1885; Charles Kingsley's Life and Letters, i. 195, ii. 177, 192; Espinasse's Literary Recollections; F. D. Maurice's Life, i. 516-18, 539, ii. 280; A. K. H. Boyd's Twenty-five Years of St. Andrews; Mrs. Oliphant's Memoir of Principal Tulloch, pp. 225, 230; Murtineau's Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. ii. passim; Life and Times of Sir John C. Molteno, 1900; Greswell's Our South African Empire, vol. i. cap. ix.; Theal's Hist. of South Africa; Life and Letters of E. A. Freeman; Sir C. Gavan Duffy's Conversations with Carlyle; Sir G. W. Cox's Life of Bishop Colenso, vol. ii.; Collingwood's Life of Ruskin, 1893, ii. 16, 112, 150, 243; Sir M. E. Grant Duff's Notes from a Diary, 8 vols.; Matthew Arnold's Letters, i. 30. 32, 72, 176, 196, 341, ii. passim; Life of Sir R. F. Burton, i. 347, 455; The Galaxy, New York, 1872, pp. 293-303; Cartoon Portraits, 1873, pp. 126-7; Illustrated Review, v. 215-22; Illustrated London News, lix. 62-3, 69; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vii. 274, 383, 424, 3rd sor. v. 47, vi. 368, 481, xi. 94, 4th ser. ii. 509, vi. 196, xi. 192, 5th ser. iv. 149, 191, 228, 7th ser. iii.