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INTRODUCTION [Lockhart, 1794-1854] "Nations yet to come will look back upon his history as to some grand and supernatural romance. The fiery energy of his youthful career, and the magnificent progress of his irresistible ambition, have invested his character with the mysterious grandeur of some heavenly appearance; and when all the lesser tumults and lesser men of our age shall have passed away into the darkness of oblivion, history will still... more...

HIS BIRTH Leonardo Da Vinci, the many-sided genius of the Italian Renaissance, was born, as his name implies, at the little town of Vinci, which is about six miles from Empoli and twenty miles west of Florence. Vinci is still very inaccessible, and the only means of conveyance is the cart of a general carrier and postman, who sets out on his journey from Empoli at sunrise and sunset. Outside a house in the middle of the main street of Vinci... more...

CHAPTER I. PHINEAS PETT: BEGINNINGS OF ENGLISH SHIP-BUILDING. "A speck in the Northern Ocean, with a rocky coast, an ungenial climate, and a soil scarcely fruitful,—this was the material patrimony which descended to the English race—an inheritance that would have been little worth but for the inestimable moral gift that accompanied it. Yes; from Celts, Saxons, Danes, Normans—from some or all of them—have come down with... more...

E Americans devour eagerly any piece of writing that purports to tell us the secret of success in life; yet how often we are disappointed to find nothing but commonplace statements, or receipts that we know by heart but never follow. Most of the life stories of our famous and successful men fail to inspire because they lack the human element that makes the record real and brings the story within our grasp. While we are searching far and near for... more...

CHAPTER I PARENTS AND CHILDHOOD  IF the story of any man's life, truly told, must be interesting, as some sage avers, those of my relatives and immediate friends who have insisted upon having an account of mine may not be unduly disappointed with this result. I may console myself with the assurance that such a story must interest at least a certain number of people who have known me, and that knowledge will encourage me to proceed. A book... more...


THE VIOLIN AND EARLY VIOLINISTS. The Ancestry of the Violin.—The Origin of the Cremona School of Violin-Making.—The Amatis and Stradiuarii.—Extraordinary Art Activity of Italy at this Period.—Antonius Stradiuarius and Joseph Guarnerius.—Something about the Lives of the Two Greatest Violin-Makers of the World.—Corelli, the First Great Violinist.—His Contemporaries and Associates.—Anecdotes of his... more...

CHAPTER XXII ULM AND TRAFALGAR "Napoleon is the only man in Europe that knows the value of time."—Czartoryski. Before describing the Continental campaign which shattered the old European system to its base, it will be well to take a brief glance at the events which precipitated the war of the Third Coalition. Even at the time of Napoleon's rupture with England, his highhanded conduct towards the Italian Republic, Holland, Switzerland,... more...

His Childhood and Youth. B.C. 356-336 The briefness of Alexander's career. Alexander the Great died when he was quite young. He was but thirty-two years of age when he ended his career, and as he was about twenty when he commenced it, it was only for a period of twelve years that he was actually engaged in performing the work of his life. Napoleon was nearly three times as long on the great field of human action. His brilliant exploits.... more...

CAMBRIDGE 1828-1831. After having spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father perceived, or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become a clergyman. He was very properly vehement against my turning into an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable destination. I asked for some time to consider, as from what little I had heard or thought on the subject I had scruples... more...

INTRODUCTORY NOTE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Milk Street, Boston, on January 6, 1706. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler who married twice, and of his seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest son. His schooling ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who published the "New England Courant." To this journal he became a contributor, and later was for a time its nominal editor. But... more...