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NOTICES OF BOOKS
American History, Biography, Genealogy, &c.
EDITED BY JOHN WARD DEAN, A.M.
PRESS OF DAVID CLAPP & SON.
1880, Can. 22.
(H. U. 1857.)
1880, Guly 12
1880, Guly 22 Gift of the Bailor. Editör.
Sot of the Society.
(5,7, E.) 1881, Ct. 12.
Be cu se peuter 1880, Jan. 22. Gitror Saml. I rear The New England Bibliopolist:
H. W. 1857)
THE "BOOK NOTICES"
HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER.
EDITED BY JOHN WARD DEAN.
Published quarterly at 18 Somerset st., Boston, Mass.
Price 25 cts. a year, or 10 cls. a number.
THE EDITOR requests persons sending books for notice in the REGISTER to state, for the information of its readers, the price of each book, with the amount to be added for postage when sent by mail.
Life of Benedict Arnold: His Patriotism and Treason. By ISAAC N. ARNOLD, Author of Life of Abraham Lincoln." [Motto] Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co. 1880. [Cloth, Crown 8vo. pp. 444. With Portrait and full index. Price $2.50. Sold by Lee & Shepard, Boston, Mass.]
Any attempt to alter or essentially modify the settled judgment of the American people as to the character of Benedict Arnold, must of necessity prove a failure. Few characters in history are better known or more easily understood. His public life exhibits a series of bold, daring acts, interspersed with quarrels with individuals or with the legislatures of Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, and with Congress. His nature was ardent, impetuous and undisciplined. As a boy he displayed the same mercenary disposition, the same reckless daring, the same lack of principle, the same unscrupulousness as to means, and the same utter disregard of consequences that were so conspicuous in his after career. His judicious biographer, Mr. Sparks, says of him : To an innate love of mischief young Arnold added an obduracy of conscience, a cruelty of disposition, an iritability of temper, and a reckless indifference to the good opinion of others." The necessary relation of cause and effect makes it a foregone conclusion that the detestable act that rendered his name infamous for all time was the necessary outcome of such characteristics whenever the favorable circumstances should occur for their development. The rehabilitation of such a character seems a hopeless undertaking.
Such however is the task which Mr. Isaac N. Arnold, of Chicago, has set himself; and undoubtedly the public is the gainer when, as in this instance, additional light is thrown on the prominent actors and events of history. While" for the traitor Arnold he has no plea but guilty," the writer asks for a fair hearing and justice for Arnold the soldier and patriot," affirming that injustice has been done him in "ignoring his virtues and in refusing to recognize his great services." We do not consider this point well taken. Assuredly no reader of our revolutionary history can fail to recall the brilliant feats of Arnold portrayed in its pages; the daring march through the wilderness to Quebec, and the heroic assault on its walls; the skilfully conducted naval battle on Lake Champlain; his activity and intrepidity at Ridgefield, and especially his services in the campaign ending in Burgoyne's surrender. If any injustice has been done him by our historians and other writers, it is with reference to the latter achievement. No one contributed more largely to the grand result-a result which secured the alliance with France and settled the question of independence-than Benedict Arnold. With this exception we believe that the bravery and the military talents and achievements of Arnold have received ample recognition at their hands. Unfortunately there is little else to be said in his favor.
The historian Bancroft erroneously asserts, on the authority of Wilkinson, that Arnold was not present at the first battle of Saratoga, on Sept. 19, 1777. That he was a listless observer, or remained in camp regardless of the fact that he was responsible for the entire left wing which was then assailed, is wholly inconsistent with his nature and the position he occupied. No one acquainted with the charac