WILL there ever be an adequate life of Napoleon? Hitherto it has been scarcely worth while to ask the question, as we have been too near the prejudices and passions of his time for any such book to be written. Nor are we as yet very remote, for it may be noted that our present Sovereign was all but two years old when Napoleon died, and that there are still probably in existence people who have seen him. Moreover, the Second Empire revived and reproduced these feelings in almost their original force, and the reaction from the Second Empire prolonged them. So we are still, perhaps, not sufficiently outside Napoleon's historical sphere of influence for such a book to be written.
Nor until recently did we possess anything like adequate materials. The pages and pages that follow Napoleon's name in library catalogues mainly represent compilations, or pamphlets, or lives conscientiously constructed out of dubious or inadequate materials, meagre bricks of scrannel straw. But now, under a Government in France which opens its records freely, and with the gradual publication of private memoirs, more or less authentic, we are beginning perhaps to see a possible limit to possible disclosure. The publication of the suppressed correspondence removes a reproach from the official publication, and fills its blanks. And