Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/449

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433
SOREL, C. —SORGHUM

he was unremitting in his labours, full of finesse, good temper and excellent judgment, and at the same time so discreet that we can only guess at the part he played in these terrible crises. After the war, when Boutmy founded the École libre des sciences politiques, Sorel was appointed to teach diplomatic history (1872), a duty which he performed with striking success. Some of his courses have formed books: Le Traité de Paris du 20 novembre 1815 (1873); Histoire diplomatique de la guerre franco-allemande (1875); we may also add the Précis du droit des gens which he published (1877) in collaboration with his colleague Thèodore Funck-Brentano. In 1875 Sorel left the Foreign Office and became general secretary to the newly-created office of the Présidence du sénat. Here again, in a congenial position where, without heavy responsibilities, he could observe and review affairs, he performed valuable service, especially under the presidency of the duc d'Audiffred Pasquier, who was glad to avail himself of his advice in the most serious crises of internal politics. His duties left him, however, sufficient leisure to enable him to accomplish the great work of his life, L'Europe et la révolution française. His object was to do over again the work already done by Sybel, but from a less restricted point of view and with a clearer and more calm understanding of the chessboard of Europe. He spent almost thirty years in the preparation and composition of the eight volumes of this history (vol. i., 1885; vol. viii., 1904). For he was not merely a conscientious scholar; the analysis of the documents, mostly unpublished, on French diplomacy during the first years of the Revolution, which he published in the Revue historique (vol. v.-vii., x.-xiii.), shows with what scrupulous care he read the innumerable despatches which passed under his notice. He was also, and above all things, an artist. He drew men from the point of view of a psychologist as much as of a historian, observing them in their surroundings and being interested in showing how greatly they are slaves to the fatality of history. It was this fatality which led the rashest of the Conventionals to resume the tradition of the Ancien Régime, and caused the revolutionary propaganda to end in a system of alliances and annexations which carried on the work of Louis XIV. This view is certainly suggestive, but incomplete; it is largely true when applied to the men of the Revolution, inexperienced or mediocre as they were, and incompetent to develop the enormous enterprises of Napoleon I. In the earlier volumes we are readily dominated by the grandeur and relentless logic of the drama which the author unfolds before our eyes; in the later ones we begin to make some reservations; but on the whole the work is so complete and so powerfully constructed that it commands our admiration. Side by side with this great general work, Sorel undertook various detailed studies more or less directly bearing on his subject. In La Question d'Orient au XVIIIe siècle, les origines de la triple alliance (1878), he shows how the partition of Poland on the one hand reversed the traditional policy of France in eastern Europe, and on the other hand contributed towards the salvation of republican France in 1793. In the Grands écrivains series he was responsible for Montesquieu (1887) and Mme de Staël (1891); the portrait which he draws of Montesquieu is all the more vivid for he intellectual affinities which existed between him and the author of the Lettres persanes and the Esprit des lois. Later, in Bonaparte et Hoche en 1797, he produced a critical comparison which is one of his most finished works (1896); and in the Recueil des instructions données aux ambassadeurs he prepared vol. i. dealing with Austria (1884). Most of the articles which he contributed to various reviews and to the Temps newspaper have been collected into volumes: Essais d'histoire et de critique (1883), Lectures historiques (1894), Nouveaux essais d'histoire et de critique (1898), Études de littérature et d'histoire (1901); in these are to be found a great deal of information and of ideas not only about political men of the last two centuries, but also about certain literary men and artists of Normandy. Honours came to him in abundance, as an eminent writer and not as a public official. He was elected a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques (December 18, 1889) on the death of Fustel de Coulanges, and of the Académie française (1894) on the death of Taine. His speeches on his two illustrious predecessors show how keenly sensible he was of beauty, and how unbiased was his judgment, even in the case of those whom he most esteemed and loved. He had just obtained the great Prix Osiris of a hundred thousand francs, conferred for the first time by the Institut de France, when he was stricken with his last illness and died at Paris on the 29th of June 1906.


SOREL, CHARLES, Sieur de Souvigny (1597-1674), French novelist and miscellaneous writer, was born in Paris about 1597. Very little is known of his life except that in 1635 he was historiographer of France. He wrote on science, history and religion, but is only remembered by his novels. He tried to destroy the vogue of the pastoral romance by writing a novel of adventure, the Histoire comique de Francion (1622). The episodical adventures of Francion found many readers, who nevertheless reserved their admiration for the Astrée it was intended to ridicule. Sorel decided to make his intention unmistakable, and in Le Berger extravagant (3 vols., 1627) he wrote a burlesque, in which a Parisian shop-boy, his head turned by sentiment, chooses an unprepossessing mistress and starts life as a shepherd with a dozen sheep on the banks of the Seine. Sorel did not succeed in founding the novel of character, and what he accomplished was more in the direction of farce, but he struck a shrewd blow at romance. Among his other works are Polyandre (1648) and La Connaissance des bons livres (1673). He died in Paris on the 8th of March 1674.


SOREL, a town and port of entry of Quebec, Canada, capital of Richelieu county, 42 m. N.E. of Montreal, at the confluence of the Richelieu and St Lawrence rivers. Pop. (1901), 7057. It is on the Grand Trunk and the Quebec Southern railways, and is a port of call for the Montreal and Quebec river steamers. It contains iron and leather manufactories, and shipbuilding is carried on. It occupies the site of a fort built in 1665 by A. de Tracy to guard the route by way of the Richelieu to Lake Champlain and the Hudson, and is named after the first commandant of the garrison.


Britannica Sorghum.png
Sorghum vulgare.

SORGHUM, a genus of grasses belonging to the tribe Andropogoneae, and including one of the most important tropical grains, Sorghum vulgare, great millet, Indian millet or Guinea corn. In India it is known as jawari (Hindustani), jowari (Bengali), cholum (Tamil), and jonna (Telugu), and in the West Indies as Negro or Guinea Corn. It is a strong grass, growing to a height of from 4 to 8 or even 16 ft.; the leaves are sheathing, solitary, and about 2 in. broad and 2½ ft. in length; the panicles are contracted and dense, and the grains, which are enclosed in husks and protected by awns, are round, hard, smooth, shining, brownish-red, and somewhat larger than mustard seeds. The plant is cultivated in various parts of India and other countries of Asia, in the United States, and in the south of Europe. Its culms and leaves afford excellent fodder for cattle; and the grain, of which the yield in favourable situations is upwards of a hundredfold, is used for the same purposes as maize, rice, corn and other cereals.

Speaking of its cultivation, Eduard Hackel (in his article on “Grasses” in Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien) says the culture of Sorghum probably had its origin in Africa, where a variety