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PREFACE Some excuse seems to be needed for venturing at this time to publish biographical sketches of the men of the Victorian era. Several have been written by men, like Lord Morley and Lord Bryce, having first-hand knowledge of their subjects, others by the best critics of the next generation, such as Mr. Chesterton and Mr. Clutton-Brock. With their critical ability I am not able to compete; but they often postulate a knowledge of facts which... more...

RECOLLECTIONS OF A HAPPY LIFE     The memory of my happy, care-free childhood days on the plantation, with my little white and black companions, is often with me. Neither master nor mistress nor neighbors had time to bestow a thought upon us, for the great Civil War was raging. That great event in American history was a matter wholly outside the realm of our childish interests. Of course we heard our elders discuss the various events... 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...

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...

King Richard's Mother. 1137-1154 Richard the Crusader.A quarrelsome king. King Richard the First, the Crusader, was a boisterous, reckless, and desperate man, and he made a great deal of noise in the world in his day. He began his career very early in life by quarreling with his father. Indeed, his father, his mother, and all his brothers and sisters were engaged, as long as the father lived, in perpetual wars against each other, which were... more...


At the same period (May the 1st) the Emperor received a fresh proof of the little confidence, that men deserve, and of the horrible facility, with which they sacrifice their duties and their sentiments, to the suggestions of their covetousness or their ambition. Of all the ministers of Napoleon there was not one, who, at the time of his return, lavished on him so many protestations of fidelity and devotion to his service, as the Duke of Otranto.... more...

MEMOIR, &C. In the following Narrative of "Old Elizabeth," which was taken mainly from her own lips in her 97th year, her simple language has been adhered to as strictly as was consistent with perspicuity and propriety. I was born in Maryland in the year 1766. My parents were slaves. Both my father and mother were religious people, and belonged to the Methodist Society. It was my father's practice to read in the Bible aloud to his... more...

THE DUKE OF ARGYLL. For its size and population Scotland has been remarkably prolific in the rearing of eminent statesmen, soldiers, and litterateurs. Viewed with respect to its relative importance as an item in the map of Europe, it has likewise a most chequered and eventful history—a history to which, in various essentials, no counterpart can be found elsewhere. Chiefly, however, has "the land of mountain and of flood" bulked largely in... more...

Peter In any group of men I have ever known, speaking from the point of view of character and not that of physical appearance, Peter would stand out as deliciously and irrefutably different. In the great waste of American intellectual dreariness he was an oasis, a veritable spring in the desert. He understood life. He knew men. He was free—spiritually, morally, in a thousand ways, it seemed to me. As one drags along through this... more...

The fifth and sixth centuries do not supply us with many materials for pictorial illustrations, and I do not know where to look for authentic and contemporary representations of the civil or military life of Theodoric and his subjects. We have, however, a large and interesting store of nearly contemporary works of art at Ravenna, illustrating the ecclesiastical life of the period, and of these the engraver has made considerable use. The... more...