COMPLETE IN SIX VOLUMES, OCTAVO.
From the Discovery of the Continent. By GEORGE BANCROFT.
An entirely new edition, partly rewritten and
The author has made extensive changes in the text, condensing in places, en-
larging in others, and carefully revising. It is practitally a new work, embody-
ing the results of the latest researches, and enjoying the advantage of the author’s
long and mature experience,
The original octavo edition was in twelve volumes. The present edition is complete in six volumes, octavo, the price being correspondingly reduced.
“The merits of Bancroft’s ‘History of the United States’ are so well known that little need be said of the new edition, the first volume of which, reaching to 1688, has just been published in very handsome form, except to point out the changes since the revision of 1876. One of the most prominent is the introduction of a division into three parts, beginning; respectively at 1492, 1660, and 1688. With each part begins a new numbering of the chapters, and the difference thus created between the editions is increased by the frequent separation of one chapter into two or three. Thus what was chapter two in 1876 becomes chapters two, three, and four, in 1883, and what was chapter twenty-two becomes chapters twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, of part second. In all, instead of twenty-seven chapters there are thirty-eight. The total length is not increased, but rather diminished, since there are many missions, for instance, of Captain John Smith’s apocryphal adventures in Hungary, the evidence for which, coming solely from the hero himself, probably seems weaker than ever to Mr. Bancroft. Among passages which will not be missed is this about the Quaker martyrs: ‘They were like those weeds which were unsightly to the eyes, and which only when trampled give out precious perfumes.’ Another expunged remark is that Episcopalianism ‘separating itself from Protestantism could acknowledge no equal except the Orthodox Greek Church and that of Rome.’ With these sentences have been rejected many whose meaning was given in the context, such curtailment being especially common at the beginning and end of chapters. The account of the character of James I is greatly abridged, and made somewhat less severe. In the place of the charge that Oliver Cromwell’s ruling motive was ambition, is the acknowledgment that in his foreign policy he was most certainly faithful to the interests of England. The notice of Luther is rewritten and enlarged, mainly by apt quotations of his own words. There has been less change in the accounts of American than of European matters, but the most important addition, anywhere, is that of two pages describing and praising Captain Smith’s government of Virginia. Often, when there appears to be an addition or omission, there is in reality only a transposition. The whole class of changes may be attributed to greater maturity of judgment, rather than to discovery of new material.