Froude, James Anthony (DNB01)
FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY (1818–1894), historian and man of letters, was born at Dartington rectory, Devonshire, on 23 April 1818. His father, Robert Hurrell Froude (1771-1859), son of Robert Froude of Walkhampton, Devonshire, and his wife Phyllis Hurrell, graduated B.A. from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1792 and M.A. in 1795; he was rector of Denbury from 1798, and of Dartington from 1799, and archdeacon of Totnes from 1820 to his death on 23 Feb. 1859 (Gent. Mag. 1859, i. 437; Boase, Modern Engl. Biogr. i. 1110). He married Margaret Spedding of Mirehouse, Cumberland, a relative of James Spedding [q. v.], and by her, who died aged 46, on 16 Feb. 1821, he had issue, besides James Anthony, Richard Hurrell Froude [q. v.], William Froude [q. v.], and a daughter Margaret, who married, on 21 Sept. 1844, William Mallock, and was mother of Mr. W. H. Mallock, author of ‘The New Republic.’
‘My father,’ says Froude, ‘had a moderate fortune of his own, consisting chiefly in land, and he belonged therefore to the “landed interest.” Most of the magistrates' work of the neighbourhood passed through his hands. If anything was amiss it was his advice which was most sought after, and I remember his being called upon to lay a troublesome ghost. … His children knew him as a continually busy, useful man of the world, a learned and cultivated antiquary, and an accomplished artist (some of his pencil drawings were highly praised by Ruskin, Skelton, Table Talk, p. 168). My brothers and I were excellently educated, and were sent to school and college. Our spiritual lessons did not go beyond the catechism. We were told that our business in life was to work and make an honourable position for ourselves. About doctrine, evangelical or catholic, I do not think that in my early boyhood I ever heard a single word, in church or out of it’ (Short Studies, iv. 170).
On 15 Jan. 1830 he was entered at Westminster School, becoming king's scholar in the same year. He left in 1833, and was for two years privately educated at the village of Merton. In ‘Shadows of the Clouds,’ published in 1847, Froude tells the story of Edward Fowler, a boy who is driven by ill-treatment at the hands of his masters and schoolfellows at Westminster into systematic falsehood and deceit; he is accordingly removed, and after some private tuition goes up to Oxford, where he falls into evil habits and is disappointed in a love affair. The framework of the story bears many resemblances to Froude's own life, but the attempt to deduce from them a confession on Froude's part of a personal tendency to untruthfulness is scarcely justified (Wilson, Froude and Carlyle; Mr. Leslie Stephen in National Review, January 1901). Froude matriculated from Oriel College on 10 Dec. 1835. His rooms were immediately above Newman's, and on the same staircase was Thomas Mozley [q. v.], who, in his ‘Reminiscences of Oriel’ (chap. lxxiv.), represents Froude to have been able and solitary in his habits and amusements. As a younger brother of Richard Hurrell Froude, one of the ablest of the tractarians, he was naturally regarded by Newman and Mozley as a possible recruit, but he seems to have resented attempts to influence his theological opinions, and rarely attended Newman's undergraduate parties. He contributed, however, a generous appreciation of Newman to 'Good Words' for March 1881 (Newman, Letters, ii. 147, 153, 493). He was placed in the second class in the honour school of literæ humaniores in 1840, and graduated B.A. on 28 April 1842. In the same year he won the chancellor's prize for an English essay, and Avas elected Devon fellow of Exeter College. Shortly afterwards Froude spent some months in the house of a clerical friend in Ireland. His host was a strong evangelical, and his simple piety, coupled with the degradation of the Roman catholic peasantry, led Froude to take a more favourable view of protestantism than that which he had imbibed from the Anglo-catholics at Oriel. Other influences tended to impair his belief in tractarianism. In 1841 he had met John Sterling [q. v.] at Falmouth, and in the same year he read Carlyle's 'French Revolution.' Carlyle's works at once began to exercise a dominant influence over him, though many years later he wrote to Hallam, Lord Tennyson, 'I owe to your father the first serious reflexions upon life and the nature of it' (Memoir of Alfred Tennyson, ii. 180, 468). From the writings of Carlyle he passed to those of Goethe, Lessing, Neander, and Schleiermacher, with the result that his expressions of opinion on theological matters caused the fellows of Exeter some alarm (Morley).
On 2 March 1843 he graduated M.A., and in 1844 he took deacon's orders, then a necessary step if he wished to retain his fellowship: he never proceeded to priest's orders. Newman now invited his assistance in preparing his 'Lives of the English Saints,' and entrusted to him St. Neot. The life was published anonymously, like the rest of the series, in 1844 (Lives of the English Saints, vol. ii.), but Froude's faith was unequal to the strain put upon it by the miraculous stories he read. He regarded them, he says, as 'nonsense,' severed his connection with the series, and devoted himself to the study of modern history and literature. In 1844 Froude visited the English lakes with George Butler [q. v. Suppl.] and Hartley Coleridge. Butler found Froude 'the most perfect companion imaginable,' and in 1845 the two went to Ireland, where they both had small-pox (Recollections of George Butler, pp. 41-5). Froude published in 1847 a sermon preached at St. Mary's Church, near Torquay, at the funeral of the Rev. George May Coleridge, nephew of S. T. Coleridge. In the same year appeared, under the pseudonym of 'Zeta,' his 'Shadows of the Clouds,' containing the story of Edward Fowler, already mentioned, and another equally disagreeable story of seduction. The greater part of the edition is said to have been bought up and destroyed by Froude's father. In October of the same year Froude contributed an article on Spinoza to the 'Oxford and Cambridge Review,' which caused some comment at Oxford (Knight, Principal Shairp and his Friends, pp. 40, 451), and about the same time Mark Pattison [q. v.] vainly endeavoured to check the progress of his scepticism (Mark Pattison, Memoirs, p. 215). Early in 1849 Froude completed his breach with orthodoxy by publishing his 'Nemesis of Faith' (London, 12mo). The hero of the story, Markham Sutherland, who,like Froude, had been subject at Oriel to tractarian influence, makes shipwreck of his life in the shipwreck of his faith. Froude subsequently described the book as 'heterodoxy flavoured with sentimentalism.' Bunsen and F. D. Maurice sympathised with Froude (Mem. of Bunsen, ii. 217; Life of F. D. Maurice, i. 516-18), but Archbishop Whately and Bishop Hampden seized upon the book as an illustration of the evil effects of tractarianism (Memorials of Bishop Hampden, p. 177); on 27 Feb. 1849 William Sewell [q, v.], after denouncing the book in a lecture in Exeter College hall, burnt before his audience a copy discovered in the possession of a pupil (Rev. A. Blomfield in Daily News, 2 May 1892; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. i. 430; Boase, Reg. Coll. Exon. p. cxlviii). The incident helped to create a large demand for the book, and a second edition was published in the same year; in 1880 Froude was urged by his publishers to reprint it, but nothing came of the suggestion (Slekton, Table Talk, p. 164), though the book was reissued in America without Froude's consent (Wheeler, Hist. and other Sketches, New York, p. 16). On the day that his book was burnt Froude resigned his fellowship at Exeter. He had just been appointed to the head-mastership of the high school, Hobart, Tasmania, but from that post also he retired. His breach with clericalism and clerical office was complete and final. On the passing of the Clergy Disabilities Relief Act he divested himself of his deacon's orders (19 July 1872). For some months after leaving Oxford Froude was tutor to the Darbishire family in Manchester. In February 1849 he visited his friend Charles Kingsley at Ilfracombe. With Kingsley Fronde's friendship was particularly intimate, and their ideas were on many points alike. At Kingsley's house Froude met Mrs. Kingsley's sister, the original of the Argemone of Kingsley's 'Yeast,' whom he married on 3 Oct. 1849 at St. Peter's, Belgrave Square. She was Charlotte Maria, fifth daughter of Pascoe Grenfell of Taplow Court, and others of her sisters were married to Robert Merttins Bird [q. v.], Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne [q. v.], and the first Baron Wolverton. These relationships brought Froude a wide circle of acquaintance. He had, too, been friendly at Oxford with Arthur Hugh Clough [q. v.], who resigned his fellowship at the same time and for similar reasons as Froude, and Clough introduced him to Emerson, the American essayist, when he visited England in 1848. Clough also persuaded Carlyle to see Froude, but it was James Spedding (Clough being then at Rome) who actually introduced Froude to Carlyle in June 1849 (Froude, Carlyle in London, i. 457-8). This first meeting proved a landmark in Froude's career. From that time he was a frequent visitor at Carlyle's house in Chelsea, and the close intimacy that gradually grew up between them lasted until Carlyle's death in 1881. Froude became Carlyle's chief disciple, and wholly submitted himself to his master's ideas. 'The practice,' he writes, 'of submission to the authority of one whom one recognises as greater than one's self outweighs the chance of occasional mistake. If I wrote anything, I fancied myself writing it to him [Carlyle], reflecting at each word on what he would think of it, as a check on affectations' (ib. ii. 180). Even his view of Henry VIII is practically that enunciated by Carlyle in 1849 (Gavan Duffy, Conversations, ii. 103-4), and the proofs of Froude's earlier volumes were submitted for revision to the same authority.
Upon his marriage Froude settled first at Plas Gwynant in Wales and then at Bideford. There he devoted himself to literary work and embarked on an elaborate contribution to the 'History of England in the Sixteenth Century.' This proved the main labour of his life; but while engaged upon it during the next twenty years, he contributed occasionally on historical and other subjects to the 'Westminster Review' and 'Fraser's Magazine.' An article in the 'Westminster' on 'England's Forgotten Worthies,' published in July 1852, was the first fruits of his study of sixteenth-century history; another, on the 'Book of Job,' in October 1853, was separately published in the following year in John Chapman's ' Library for the People,' and was subsequently included in Froude's 'Short Studies' (1st ser.); a third, on the poems of his friend, Matthew Arnold ( Westminster Rev. January 1854), materially helped the growth of Arnold's reputation. His 'Suggestions on teaching English History' were included in 'Oxford Essays' (vol. i. 1855).
The first two volumes of his 'History of England' came out in 1856. Further instalments of two volumes each were published in 1858, 1860, 1863, 1866, and 1870. The title of the earlier volumes ran 'A History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth,' but before he published the eleventh volume Froude came to the conclusion that the defeat of the Spanish Armada would be a more dramatic close to the story, and the title was altered accordingly. Macaulay's 'History of England' was still in the course of publication when Froude's earlier volumes were issued, but, in spite of this formidable rivalry, Froude's book was an immediate success; a second edition of the first two volumes was called for in 1858, a third edition of volumes i-iv. vii. and viii. in 1862-4, and a cabinet edition of the whole in 1870; the twelve volumes were issued in a cheaper form in 1881-2 (new ed. 1893), and continue to command a large sale.
The book at once established Froude's claim to rank among the greatest English prose writers of the nineteenth century; its value as history is more open to question. Froude set out with a definite view the outcome on the one side of antipathy to Catholicism and, on the other, of sympathy with Carlyle's doctrine of hero-worship. In Henry VIII, 'the majestic lord who broke the bonds of Rome,' he found a man after his own heart, and the chief feature of his history is its vindication of Henry and of the anti-ecclesiastical character of the Reformation. This partisanship, which called forth severe at tacks, notably in Canon Dixon's 'History of the Church of England' and Father Gasquet's 'Henry VIII and the Monasteries,' and the carelessness with which Froude not infrequently used his authorities, impair the effect of his great endeavour. Among the most enthusiastic admirers of his 'History' was Froude's friend Kingsley, and Kingsley's eulogy of it in 'Macmillan's Magazine' for January 1860 contained his first challenge to Newman. In 1869, when Froude was rector of St. Andrews, and Kingsley was still professor of history at Cambridge, the similarity of the views they expressed evoked a well-known epigram generally ascribed to Bishop Stubbs, which attributed Froude's low opinion of divines and Kingsley's low opinion of historians to the fact that Froude thought Kingsley a divine, and Kingsley went to Froude for history (Sir Algernon West, Recollections, 1899, i. 65). But Froude was by no means unversed in those methods of laborious research among original authorities to which Stubbs owed his own reputation. He rarely quoted at second hand; he ransacked the manuscript collections in the Rolls House (now the Record Office), at the British Museum, and at Simancas, and although he did not find all there was to be found, or present what he did find with remarkable accuracy, probably no previous history has incorporated so much unpublished material.
In 1860 J. W. Parker, son of John William Parker [q. v.] and editor of 'Fraser's Magazine,' died. Froude 'nursed him like a brother till the moment of death' (Kingsley, Letters, ii. 105), and succeeded him as editor of 'Fraser's' in December. He continued to edit it, with temporary assistance from Charles Kingsley and Sir Theodore Martin, for fourteen years.
Froude's first wife died near Bideford on 21 April 1860, being buried in Kingsley's parish, Eversley, and on 12 Sept. 1861 he married his second wife, Henrietta Elizabeth, daughter of John Ashley Warre (d. 1860) of West Cliff House, Ramsgate, by his second wife Florence Catherine, daughter of Richard Magenis ; Warre's third wife was Caroline, daughter of Pascoe Grenfell and sister of Froude's first wife. Some verses written by Froude soon after his second marriage appeared anonymously in 'Fraser's Magazine' for May 1862. While at work on the 'History of England' Froude was compelled to pay frequent visits to London. In 1860 he made London his home (Carlyle in London, ii. 254). In 1865 he took a house at 5 Onslow Gardens, Kensington, where he remained until his removal to Cherwell Edge, Oxford, in 1892. In the summer months he rented a house in the country, at first in Scotland and Ireland, and afterwards for many years at The Molt, Salcombe, Devonshire. There he built a small yacht, which he sailed himself; he was also an expert angler and excellent shot.
The growing reputation of Froude's 'History' quickly brought him great social consideration. In 1859 he was elected by the committee a member of the Athenæum Club. In February 1866 he was an original member of the Breakfast Club, of which Sir James Lacaita [q. v. Suppl.] was the founder (Sir M. E. Grant Duff, Notes from a Diary, 1851-72, ii. 4) ; he was also a member of The Club. In November 1868 he was elected rector of St. Andrews ; his inaugural address delivered on 19 March 1869, and his final address 'On Calvinism,' delivered on 17 March 1871 (A. K. H. Boyd, Twenty-five Years of St. Andrews, i. 108, 114), were both published in the years of their delivery and reprinted in 'Rectorial Addresses,' ed. William Knight, 1894.
During the summer months of 1869 and 1870 Froude took a house called Derreen at Kenmare, co. Kerry, and there he began his next important book, 'The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century. Its motive was to show the folly of such attempts to conciliate Ireland as the disestablishment and land bills of Gladstone's first administration. Froude, like his master Carlyle, had no liking for either political party, but Gladstone and Gladstone's Irish policy were his especial aversion ; he had already in 'Fraser's Magazine' for December 1870 unsparingly denounced John Bright [q. v. Suppl.], who was defended by Samuel Clarkson in 'The Censor Censured' (1871). The first volume of the 'English in Ireland' appeared in 1872, and in the autumn of that year Froude went to the United States to lecture on the same subject. His book was completed in three volumes in 1874, and a new edition was published in 1881. Like most of Froude's books it evoked numerous rejoinders (see T. N. Burke, English Misrule in Ireland and Ireland's Case, both in 1873; W. H. Flood, Notes and Hist. Criticisms, 1874; Mitchel, The Crusade of the Period, 1873} ; but the most scholarly reply is contained in Mr. W. E. H. Lecky's 'History of Ireland during the Eighteenth Century.'
More bitter were the attacks of Edward Augustus Freeman [q. v. Suppl.], occasioned by the mediaeval studies published by Froude, mainly in 'Fraser's Magazine,' and reissued in his 'Short Studies.' The first series of these 'Studies' appeared in 1867, the second in 1871, the third in 1877, and the fourth in 1883 ; they were subsequently included, with others of Froude's works, in Messrs. Longmans' 'Silver Library.' Freeman's attacks, which appeared in the 'Saturday Review,' were characterised by unnecessary vehemence, and were based sometimes on misconceptions of Froude's meaning, and more than once on blunders of Freeman's own.
Froude's second wife died on 12 Feb. 1874, and in the same year he gave up the editorship of 'Frasers Magazine,' being succeeded by his sub-editor, William Allingham [q. v. Suppl.] Thereupon he flung himself with some warmth and with doubtful success into the agitation of current political questions. In the summer of 1874 his friend the Earl of Carnarvon, then secretary of state for the colonies, accepted his offer 'to travel through the different states [of South Africa] and ascertain what the real obstacles to confederation were, and by what means they could best be removed' (Life and Times of Sir John C. Molteno, i. 338). While in South Africa Froude endeavoured, not altogether successfully, to maintain the private character of his visit, but on his return he admitted its semi-official character.
On 23 Aug. 1874 Froude started for South Africa, and he described his tour in his 'Leaves from a South African Journal' (Short Studies, 3rd ser., 1877, pp. 338-94). He reached Table Bay on 21 Sept., sailed round to Durban, and thence made his way across Natal and the Drakensberg to Harrismith. From the Free State he went on to Pretoria in November, returning to Cape Town by way of Kimberley, Bloemfontein, and Colesberg, in December. He left for England on 10 Jan. 1875, convinced that British policy in South Africa had been characterised by a lack of wisdom and of justice. He regarded the acquisition of the Griqualand diamond fields in 1871 as a culmination of the evil traditional policy, and believed that Great Britain would be best advised to leave the South African States to work out their own future, retaining control only of Table Bay peninsula as a naval and military station. Froude duly reported his views in person to Lord Carnarvon, who seems to have been largely influenced by them. Immediately on Froude's arrival in England Carnarvon invited him to return to South Africa as member of a conference he proposed to assemble there to deliberate upon his scheme for South African federation. Froude accepted the offer, and again landed at Cape Town on 18 June 1875. Carnarvon's despatch embodying his scheme had preceded his arrival by a few days, but the Cape government under (Sir) John Charles Molteno [q. v. Suppl.] took umbrage at the manner in which Carnarvon laid down the details of the scheme, and on 10 June Mr. Cnow Sir Gordon) Sprigg carried a motion in the House of Assembly to the effect that any movement, in the direction of federation should originate in South Africa and not in England. This practically shelved the conference, and Froude on landing found the ground cut from his feet. Nevertheless he began a political campaign in Cape Colony and the Orange Free State in favour of federation; 'he attended a public dinner at Cape Town on the day of his arrival, at which he made so ill-advised a speech that, before twenty-four hours had passed, he had put himself in a position of antagonism to the governor [Sir Henry Barkly, q. v. Suppl.], his ministers, and public feeling generally at Cape Town' (Martineau, Life of Sir Bartle Frere, i. 172-3; Life and Times of Sir J. C. Molteno. 1900, passim). At Bloenfonteinhe is reported to have said,' You have the misfortune to possess ... a position on the globe the most attractive to every ambitious and aggressive power. The independence of South Africa will come when you can reply to those powers with shot and shell' (Greswell, Our South African Empire, i. 229: The South African Conference, 1876, pp. 14 sqq.) Froude's intentions were no doubt excellent, but the effect of his efforts was to give the coup de grâce to Carnarvon's policy; the proposed conference was abandoned, and the under-secretary for the colonies disclaimed responsibility for Froude's proceedings.
Froude returned to England in the autumn of 1875, and his report was published as a parliamentary paper (C. 1399). In 1876 Carnarvon assembled a conference in London to discuss South African affairs. He nominated Froude as representative of Griqualand West, a selection which that province at once repudiated. Other colonies refused to allow themselves to be represented, and the conference came to nothing. Froude defended the policy of which he had been the agent in the 'Quarterly Review' for January 1877, and Frederic Rogers, lord Blachford [q. v.], replied to it in the 'Edinburgh Review' for the following April, Froude was, however, opposed to the annexation of the Transvaal by the conservative government, and in April 1879 he contributed a second article to the 'Quarterly Review,' suggesting doubts as to the government's South African policy. Sir Bartle Frere described it as 'an essay in which for whole pages a truth expressed in brilliant epigrams regularly alternates with mistakes or mis-statements which would be scarcely pardoned in a special war correspondent hurriedly writing against time' (Life of Sir Bartle Frere, ii. 367). Subsequently Froude reiterated his views on South Africa in two lectures delivered before the Edinburgh Philosophical Institute on 6 and 9 Jan. 1880: they were published in the same year, and reissued with an introduction by Froude's daughter Margaret in 1900. In 1878, again following the lead of Carlyle, he opposed Beaconsfield's policy in eastern Europe, and in the same year he contributed a preface to Madame Olga Novikoft's pamphlet, 'Is Russia Wrong?' He also wrote a preface to the same author's 'Russia and England,' published in 1880.
Meanwhile in 1876 Froude was appointed with Thomas Henry Huxley [q. v.Suppl.] a member of the Scottish universities commission (Huxley, Life of T. H. Huxley, i. 330, 477, 479). In this capacity he paid frequent visits to Edinburgh, staying with (Sir) John Skelton [q. v.] at the Hermitage. Abandoning for the moment contemporary politics, he wrote in 1878 a sketch of 'Bunyan' for Mr. John Morley's 'English Men of Letters' series, and in 1879 published his ' Caesar ' (new ed. 1886; translated into Czech, 1884), a work which embodies a pale reflection of Mommsen's view of Caesar without Mommsen's knowledge of the subject.
In 1880 Froude spent much time with Carlyle during his last illness. On 5 Feb. 1881 Carlyle died, leaving Froude his sole literary executor; John Carlyle and Forster, who were to have been consulted as to the publication of Carlyle's papers, were both dead. The main contents of these papers were the 'Reminiscences' which Carlyle wrote in the years following his wife's death in 1869, and the 'Letters and Memorials' of Mrs. Carlyle, which Carlyle had arranged, annotated, and given to Froude in 1871. Carlyle's instructions in the matter were somewhat contradictory; in a passage at the end of his manuscript which Froude suppressed, he forbade his friends to publish 'any part of it' without 'fit editing,' and declared that 'the fit editing of perhaps nine-tenths of it will, after I am gone, have become impossible.' In his will of 1873 he desired that there should be no 'express biography' of him, but left the question of publishing his literary remains to Froude's discretion, and again in 1880 when Froude discussed the matter with him Carlyle approved of the proposed publication. Froude took the view that Carlyle intended by a posthumous penance to atone for his harshness towards his wife, but such a view cannot be accepted without demur. If the act of publishing the papers were regarded by Carlyle as a genuine penance, it would have been imperative for him to perform it in his lifetime. To direct their publication after his death was to deprive the act of publishing, regarded as a penance, of all effect. Froude, however, obstinately adhering to his own theory, proceeded to publish without any reserve the most intimate details of the Carlyles' domestic life. The 'Reminiscences ' appeared in two volumes in 1881, and the 'Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle' (London, 3 vols.) in 1883. Meanwhile Froude set to work on a full and frank biography of Carlyle. This was completed in four volumes: the 'History of the first Forty Years of Carlyle's Life' in 1882 (London, 2 vols.; new edit. 1890), and the ' History of Carlvle's Life in London' in 1884 (2 vols.; new edit. 1890). Froude's literary genius was as apparent in these volumes as in every thing that he wrote, and Froude himself considered his 'Life of Carlyle' of more permanent value than any of his other works (Appendix to Rowfant Catalogue, 1900, p. 164). But its ruthless exposure of his master's weaknesses caused widespread dismay. Carlyle's comment on English biography, 'how delicate, decent it is, bless its mealy mouth!' seems to have preyed upon Froude's mind, and in his anxiety to avoid the biographical conventions which provoked Carlyle's scorn he went to the opposite extreme. But the historical accuracy of the portraits he drew of Carlyle and his wife was denied by the majority of those who were in a position to know the facts. He was accused of misreading his documents and even manipulating them in order to justify his preconceived ideas of Carlyle's penitential intentions. Professor Charles Eliot Norton, who had the advantage of reading the Carlyles' love-letters, declares that they ' afford a view of their characters and relations to each other different both in particulars and in general effect from that given by Mr. Froude' (Early Letters, ii. 367).' So, too, Professor Masson wrote: ' I cannot recognise the Carlyle of Mr. Froude in the nine volumes as the real and total Carlyle I myself knew' (Carlyle personally and in his Writings, 1885, pp. 10-11). With regard to Froude's editorial methods, Professor Norton says: 'Almost every letter in the Life [of Carlyle by Froude} which I have collated with the original is incorrectly printed, some of them grossly so' (Early Letters, ii. 376; cf. David Wilson, Froude and Carlyle, 1898 passim; Moncure D. Conway, Carlyle, 1881). Froude defended himself from these charges in 'Carlyle's Life in London' (i. 1-7, ii. 408-12), and Ruskin, Mrs. Ireland, and Skelton were convinced of the substantial truth of his books (Collingwood, Life of Ruskin, ii. 243).
The books on the Carlyles occupied most of Froude's time during 1881-4, but in 1881 he wrote a chapter on recent events in Ireland for the second edition of his 'English in Ireland,' and in 1883 he published his ' Luther : a short biography.' In 1884 he was created honorary LL.D. at the tercentenary of Edinburgh University. He visited Norway in 1881, and the Australian colonies 'in the winter of 1884-5. The result of the first tour was a poem on 'Romsdal Fiord,' published in 'Blackwood's Magazine' for April 1883, and his 'Oceana, or England and her Colonies' (London, two editions, 1886, 8vo), grew out of the second. The latter excited much controversy, and Froude was charged with misrepresenting the views of many persons, conversations with whom he reported in his book. One of the stoutest attacks was by Mr. Wakefield, a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, and appeared in the 'Nineteenth Century' for August 1886. The winter of 1886-7 Froude spent in the West Indies, where he collected materials for his 'English in the West Indies, or the Bow of Ulysses, with Illustrations by the Author' (London, 1888, 8vo ; 2nd edit, same year). Froude's advocacy of the abolition of representative institutions in the West Indies and drastic treatment of the negroes provoked many replies, of which the best are Mr. N. D. Davis's 'Mr. Froude's Negrophobia, or Don Quixote as a Cook's Tourist' (1888), Mr. J. J. Thomas's 'Froudacity' (1889), and Mr. C. S. Salmon's 'Refutation' (Cobden Club, 1888). Froude's next work, ' The Two Chiefs of Dunboy' (1889), an historical romance, failed to increase its author's reputation ; and in 1890 he contributed to the 'Queen's Prime Ministers' series a monograph on Beaconsfield, which, as he expected, pleased neither Beaconsfield's friends nor his foes. In 1891 he published 'The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon' (2nd edit. 1893), in which he reiterated the views on that subject expressed in his 'History of England,' with additional evidence drawn from Brewer and Gairdner's 'Calendar of Letters and Papers.' This was followed by ' The Spanish Story of the Armada,' 1892 (new edit, same year).
On the death of Edward Augustus Freeman [q. v. Suppl.] in 1892, Lord Salisbury, whom Froude occasionally visited at Hatfield (Selborne, Memorials, ii. 388), offered him the regius professorship of modern history at Oxford. 'The temptation,' wrote Froude to Sir John Skelton, 'of going back to Oxford in a respectable way was too much for me. I must just do the best I can, and trust that I shall not be haunted by Freeman's ghost' (Table Talk of Shirley, pp. 216-17). The appointment was unpopular with the high-church party, and somewhat scandalised Freeman's friends; but Froude's polished manners wore away some of this enmity, and his literary fame and gifts of elocution brought unwonted crowds to his lectures. The subjects he chose were 'Erasmus,' 'English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century,' and 'The Council of Trent.' His lectures on these topics were published respectively in 1894, 1895, and 1896, and all went into second editions in the year of publication. The 'Life and Letters of Erasmus,' which was translated into Dutch (2 vols. 1896, 1897), was as bitterly attacked as anything Froude wrote, the main accusations being that he seriously garbled Erasmus's letters and misrepresented his meaning (cf. Quarterly Review, January 1895).
After finishing his lectures in the summer term of 1894 Froude retired to his residence, The Woodcot, Kingsbridge, Devonshire. His health grew worse during the long vacation, and he died there on 20 Oct. He was buried on the 25th in Salcombe cemetery. He left issue by his first wife one daughter, Margaret, and by his second one son, Mr. Ashley Anthony Froude, C.M.G., and one daughter, May. Froude was five feet eleven inches tall, and his head measured twenty-three inches round (Table Talk of Shirley, p. 185). His hair was black and his eyes a very dark brown. Portraits of Froude, painted by Samuel Laurence and Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A., both commissioned by Sir John Skelton, are now in the possession of Miss Margaret Froude. An excellent photograph is reproduced in 'Prose Masterpieces from Modern Essayists,' 1886. Sir Edgar Boehm [q. v. Suppl.] also presented Froude with a bust, which Froude thought 'atrocious' (Mrs. Ireland in Contemp. Rev. lxvii. 27-8).
Froude is described by Sir John Skelton as 'the most interesting man I have ever known.' To most of his acquaintances he seemed shy and enigmatic (cf. Mr. Leslie Stephen in National Review, January 1901), but his intimate friends found him a delightful companion. His conversation was brilliant, and none the less fascinating for its subacid flavour. Lord Selborne describes him as 'a man of agreeable conversation, but not removing by his conversation the impression made by his books' (Memorials, ii. 388). He never showed any resentment, though his nature was sensitive, and few men have been attacked so bitterly or so persistently, and, except on one or two occasions, he refrained from replying to his critics. As a writer of English prose he had few equals in the nineteenth century ; and the ease and gracefulness of his style, 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:
- 'The Pilgrim,' by William Thomas [q. v.], ed. J. A. Froude, 1801, 8vo.
- 'The Influence of the Reformation on Scottish Character,' Edinburgh, 1865, 8vo: an address delivered at the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution on 3 Nov. 1865.
- 'The Cat's Pilgrimage:' an allegory, 1870, 8vo.
- Carlyle's 'Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849,' ed. Froude, 1882, 8vo.
- 'The Science of History,' 1886, 8vo: a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution on 6 Feb. 1864.
- '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.