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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...

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...

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...

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...


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...

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...

PREFACE I began these memoirs when about twenty-five years old, having from youth kept a diary of some sort, which perhaps from habit made me think of recording my inner and secret life. When I began it, I had scarcely read a baudy book, none of which excepting "Fanny Hill" appeared to me to be truthful, that did, and it does so still; the others telling of recherche eroticisms, or of inordinate copulative powers, of the strange twists, tricks,... more...

Childhood. 1754-1767 Characters developed by the French Revolution.Madame Roland. Many characters of unusual grandeur were developed by the French Revolution. Among them all, there are few more illustrious, or more worthy of notice, than that of Madame Roland. The eventful story of her life contains much to inspire the mind with admiration and with enthusiasm, and to stimulate one to live worthily of those capabilities with which every human... more...

CHAPTER I. THE ANCESTRY, BIRTH, AND CHILDHOOD, OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. The Puritan Pilgrims of the May-Flower landed on Plymouth Rock, and founded the Colony of Massachusetts, on the 21st day of December, 1620. HENRY ADAMS, the founder of the Adams family in America, fled from ecclesiastical oppression in England, and joined the Colony at a very early period, but at what precise time is not recorded. He erected his humble dwelling at a place... more...