EDWARD JACKSON LOWELL (1845–1894)
The Hessians And The Other German Auxiliaries Of Great Britain In The Revolutionary War (1884)
"The history of the German auxiliaries, who fought for Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, has not received from American writers the amount of attention which its importance would seem to deserve. Much has been made of the fact that seven thousand French soldiers and nineteen thousand French seamen assisted the United States in the siege of Yorktown, but we have forgotten that a force of between fifteen and twenty thousand Germans served for seven years against us; that more than twenty-nine thousand were brought to America for this purpose; that more than twelve thousand never returned to Germany. I know of no American historian but Bancroft, who has made any thorough study of this subject in the original authorities, and the general nature of his work does not call on him, and, indeed, would hardly permit him, to write the history of the German troops in detail. Doctor George Washington Greene has published interesting reviews of three of Kapp's books, and the narrative of Baroness Riedesel has been translated into English by William L. Stone, Esq., who has also translated that part of Eelking's "Life of Riedesel" which relates to the Revolutionary War.
In preparing the following book, I cannot claim to have used nearly all the very voluminous stores contained in the libraries and archives of Germany. I have, however, found original German accounts of every important engagement, and of almost every skirmish of the Revolutionary War, from the year 1776 to the end, except of some of those battles which occurred in the Carolinas and Georgia, and in which few, if any, Germans were engaged. Some of these accounts, I believe, had never yet fallen under the eye of an American writer." (Preface)
The Eve Of The French Revolution (1892)
"There is a laudable tendency to-day to look more carefully at the transitional and preparatory periods of history. This is the outcome of a truer and more fruitful view of the function of historical study as to the discovery and correlation of causes and effects. It is rare enough that a scholarly work upon European history is produced in the United States. Mr. Lowell has, however, given us a judicious and careful treatment of a difficult and intricate subject. To write an account of the causes of the French Revolution is to picture a whole, complex civilization. The attempt to clear up even simple points soon leads the investigator to realize the obscurity of a period characterized by its want of uniformity, and the wide divergence between the letter of the law and its actual application. One is forced to confine himself, as Mr. Lowell has done, to general statements. Any attempt to enumerate exceptions would be an endless task.
Mr. Lowell has given the English reader a general outline of the moments of French civilization at the outbreak of the Revolution. Another work like that of De Tocqueville, the result of twenty years' preparation, is not to be expected. The author avoids, however, the enumeration of perplexing details, which serve, as in Taine's work, to confuse rather than clarify our ideas. No attempt is made to treat the historical events during the reign of Louis XVI., a period so rich in illustrations of the prevailing abuses. For when the attempt was made to throw off the bad habits of the Ancien regime, it was first realized how inveterate and deep-seated these habits were. Mr. Lowell, it is to be hoped, may sometime find himself in a position to supplement the present work by a history of France for 1774–1789." (J. H. R., The Annals Of The American Academy Of Political And Social Science, 03/1893)
"Two great historians have already written, from totally different standpoints, elaborate works on the ancien régime. But both de Tocqueville and Taine pursued their investigations merely as introductory studies on the French Revolution itself, and behind every line they wrote the influence of that great upheaval of society may be seen. Both these writers endeavored to show that the events of 1789 were the inevitable consequence of the putrid condition of eighteenth century institutions. Thus the title of de Tocqueville's last chapter is: "Comment la Révolution est sortie d'elle-même de ce qui précède." Such a method most naturally tends to emphasize the vicious sides of the French social structure. Mr. Lowell has conceived his task differently; he purposes to describe the "social and political conditions existing in the reign of Louis XVI, without reference to subsequent events. His plan is better than that of his precursors, but for its execution he lacks their intellectual depth and vigor. The materials used have been mainly contemporary memoirs, the writings of the economists and philosophers, the parliamentary archives, the cahiers, as well as the numerous modern French works on this period.
...the book is worthy of a good deal of praise. The style of the author is vigorous and lucid; his thought is judicious and impartial. Mr. Lowell has emancipated himself from the doctrinaire theory that nothing of good is to be found in the ancien regime. He criticizes the natural-law school from the standpoint of that era and not from that of modern historical evolution." (J. H. R., The Annals Of The American Academy Of Political And Social Science" (George Louis Beer, Political Science Quarterly, 12/1893)
Suggest and discuss books to read (all languages welcome!)
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