Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/134

This page needs to be proofread.




1632, and his father, Aaron Bancroft, was distinguished Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1844 he was the Democratic as a revolutionary soldier, clergyman, and author. The candidate for the governorship, but he was defeated. In son was educated at Phillips Academy, Exeter, at Harvard 1845 he entered Polk’s Cabinet as secretary of the navy, University, at Heidelberg, Gottingen, and Berlin. At serving until 1846, when for a month he was acting Gottingen he studied Plato with Heeren, New Testament secretary of war. During this short period in the Cabinet Greek with Eichhorn, and natural science with Blumen- he established the naval academy at Annapolis, gave the bach. His heart was in the work of Heeren, easily the orders which led to the occupation of California, and sent greatest of historical critics then living, and the fore- Zachary Taylor into the debateable land between Texas runner of the modern school; it was from this master that and Mexico. He also continued his pleadings for the Bancroft caught his enthusiasm for minute painstaking annexation of Texas, as extending “ the area of freedom, erudition. He concluded his years of preparation by a and though a Democrat, took high moral ground as to European tour, in the course of which he received kind slavery; he likewise made himself the authority on the attention from almost every distinguished man in the North-Western Boundary question. In 1846 he was sent he lived in constant comworld of letters, science, and art; among otJaers, from as minister to London, wherepanionship with Macaulay Goethe, Humboldt, Schleierand Hallam. On his return macher, Hegel, Byron, Niein 1849 he withdrew from buhr, Bunsen, Savigny, public life, residing in New Cousin, Constant, and ManYork. In 1866 he was zoni. Bancroft’s father was chosen by Congress to dea Unitarian, and he had deliver the special eulogy on voted his son to the work of Lincoln ; and in 1867 he was the ministry ; but the young appointed minister to Berlin, man’s first experiments at where he remained until his preaching, shortly after his resignation in 1874. Thencereturn from Europe in 1822, forward he lived in Washingwere unsatisfactory, the theoton and Newport. His latest logical teaching of the time official achievements were the having substituted criticism greatest. In the San Juan and literature for faith. His arbitration he displayed great first position was that of versatility and skill, winning tutor in Harvard. Instinchis case before the emperor tively a humanist, he had with brilliant ease. The natulittle patience with the ralization treaties which he narrow curriculum of Harnegotiated successively with vard in his day and the rather Prussia and the other North pedantic spirit with which German States were the first classical studies were there international recognition of pursued. Moreover, he had the right of expatriation, a brought from Europe a new principle since incorporated manner, full of the affectain the law of nations. tions of ardent youth, and In spite of the exacting this he wore without ease in and severe routine of the a society highly satisfied with Bound Hill School, Bancroft itself ; the young knightcontributed frequently to errant was therefore subthe North American Review jected to considerable ridiGeorge Bancroft. and to Walsh’s American cule. A little volume of (Photo by C. M. BM, Washington, D.C.) Quarterly; he also made a poetry, translations, and original pieces published in 1823 gave its author no translation of Heeren’s work on The Politics of Ancient fame. ±a,iiiD. As time passed, and custom created familiarity, Greece. In 1834 appeared the first volume of the Hishis style, personal and literary, was seen to be the outward tory of the United States. The second followed in 1837, symbol of a firm resolve to preserve a philosophic calm, and others as the exigencies of public life permitted. and of an enormous underlying energy which spent itself Supplementary to the first volume was an article published him in the North American Review for 1835 on “Ihe in labour, “ ohne Hast, aber auch ohne Bast.” He found by Documentary History of the Bevolution.” This article the conventional atmosphere of Cambridge uncongenial, and with a friend he established the Bound Hill School not merely brought the new method to the notice of the at Northampton, Mass. This was the first serious effort reading public, but revealed to it the wealth of material made in the United States to elevate secondary education available. The nature and extent of his studies, the solidity of his work, and the philosophic spirit which to the plane on which it belonged. ? Although born into a Whig family, yet Bancrofts animates both, explain the enthusiasm which the studies carried him irresistibly into the Democratic earlier volumes of Bancroft were received. The.r sale at party. Whi’e a teacher in his own school he was elected home was very large; they were reprinted in England, to the State legislature as a Democrat, but under pressure and translated immediately into Danish, Italian, German, from the family of his first wife, who were ardent Whigs, and French. The latest volumes were considered by all he refused to serve. In 1831 he likewise declined the competent judges quite as important as their predecessors. nomination of the Massachusetts Democrats for secretary of When the author was preparing to return from Berlin, the state. By this time he was influential in the councils of Boyal Academy made him their guest a,t a public dinner, his party, and President van Buren appointed him collector an unprecedented honour ; and the universities of Ber in, of the port of Boston, a position which he filled with suc- Heidelberg, and Munich united in a testimonial of regard. cess. Two of his appointees were Orestes Brownson and At Washington he was the confidential adviser of states-