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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/136

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Scientific Literature.


The period since the Congress of Vienna has been immensely fruitful of great and far-reaching events—of events that have essentially modified the fortunes of the world, its theories of government, and the condition of its peoples; and of that period the nearly fifty years covered by the second volume of Professor Andrews's history[1] have been most eventful and marked by momentous changes. At the opening of this history the continental sovereigns had established despotism throughout their domains on what they thought were firm foundations, and surrounded it with guards which they considered unassailable. The close of it finds the conditions reversed; government in the interests of the people recognized, and yielded to, even if grudgingly, by those backward monarchs who would prefer to contend against it. The first volume of Professor Andrews's history brings the story down to the close of the revolutionary movements of 1848, when the princes, again set upon their thrones, were studying and plotting as to how they might resume their old authority. In France, Louis Napoleon had become a central figure, and the tendencies were taking shape under which the republic was destroyed and imperialism established. Taking up the record again at this point, Mr. Andrews tells us he has treated only those phases of the history that concern the development of Europe in the larger sense, rather than that of each particular state or country. On the ground that no event can be understood in isolation, and that history is something more than a series of events chronologically considered, he has endeavored to give logical form to the treatment of the subject, to carry each movement forward to its conclusion before turning to the others; and has introduced nothing that did not seem to him to be absolutely essential to an understanding of the subject. He has not deemed it necessary to describe battles and military movements at length, and has omitted, with a few exceptions, biographical discussions. He has been successful in adhering to his plan, and, writing always dispassionately, yet without sacrificing interest, and with his mind fixed on the main object, has given a clear and complete view of what each event recorded signified and of what Europe has accomplished in the past half century. The first chapter concerns France, the failure of the second republic, and the rise of Napoleon III to imperial power. This was extremely unwelcome to the other sovereigns, who were disposed to resent the entrance of an intruder into their ranks, and led to diplomatic skirmishing, ending in the Crimean War—a war that "did not create the forces that led to the national unity of Italy and Germany, . . . but gave to Cavour and Bismarck the opportunity that each was seeking." It requires but a few uncolored words at the beginning of the story of the achievement of the unity of Italy—the mightiest event of the whole series—to picture Victor Emanuel the hero that he was. With similar success are presented the masterly statesmanship of D'Azeglio and Cavour and the high-souled patriotism of the people of Italy. This achievement, a victory

  1. The Historical Development of Modern Europe from the Congress of Vienna to the Present Time. By Charles M. Andrews. Vol. II, 1850-1897. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 467. Price, $2.50.