- An unsigned review of With Americans of Past and Present Days, by J. J. Jusserand
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
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504 ] An unsigned review of With Americans of Past and Present Days, by J. J. Jusserand London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1916. Pp. xi+350.1 The New Statesman, 8 (11 Nov 1916), 141 ForthirteenyearsM.JusserandhasbeenFrenchAmbassadorinWashington. His Literary History of the English People is well known in England, and the present volume of scattered essays also deserves recognition here. Three papersdealwiththerôleoftheFrenchcontingentintheWarof Independence; the rest are addresses delivered in America on Lincoln, on Franklin, on H. H. Furness (the Shakespearean scholar), and one on the prospect of universal peace.2 The three first essays contain interesting material from unpublished documents ,lettersandjournalsofsomeofRochambeau’saides.3 FewAmericans, and perhaps fewer English, appreciate the chivalry of the French enthusiasts for freedom who took part in the American Revolution. M. Jusserand points out that France was at the time distinctly Anglomaniac, and that the spirit which led a French army to America was not hatred of England, but passion for a political ideal as expressed by Turgot, “an experiment of the utmost importance is about to begin, and should succeed” .4 Even by Washington himself, the disinterestedness of the French was not at once accepted without suspicion, and under the influence of old English prejudice , many leading Americans were opposed to a French alliance.5 The last paper in the book, “From War to Peace,” was delivered in 1910 before the American Society for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes, and has received no alteration in the light of recent events.6 M. Jusserand looks forward to a time when public opinion will render impossible even those grounds for waging war (“to defend their own country,” and “to drive out of their friends’ land the enemies that have invaded it”) for which Sir Thomas More declared armament to be necessary [344-45].7 [ 505 Review: With Americans of Past and Present Days Notes 1. The literary critic and statesman J. J. Jusserand (1855-1932), ambassador to Washington (1902-25), translated Piers Plowman into French and wrote books on pre-Shakespearean English literature. His Histoire littéraire du peuple anglais (3 vols, 1893, 1904, 1909) was admired in England, and his With Americans of Past and Present Days was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History. 2. As ambassador, Jusserand participated in events commemorating national figures such as Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-65). In the book here reviewed, he includes speeches from the Franklin bicentennial in 1906 and the Lincoln centenary in 1909. A scholar of the English Renaissance, he includes his memorial lecture for H. H. Furness (1833-1912), editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare, published over four decades beginning in the 1870s. 3. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), aristocrat and soldier, was sent to America to assist in the Revolution. In the summer of 1781, he and George Washington joined forces for the siege of Yorktown and the Battle of the Chesapeake, and on 22 Sept,theyjoinedwithMarquisdeLafayette’stroopsandforcedthesurrenderofLordCornwallis. 4. The economist A. R. J. Turgot (1727-81) wrote Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (1769-70), translated as Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth (London, 1795), a classic text supporting laissez-faire economics. 5. As commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), George Washington (1732-99) coordinated military arrangements with America’s French supporters. 6. As ambassador to the United States during WWI, Jusserand made the case for American military support of the Allies. At the time this review was written, the United States had not yet entered the war. 7.InUtopia(1516),RenaissancehumanistSirThomasMore(1478-1535)arguedthatalthough nations should try to avoid war, they should be armed in the event either of the conditions cited by Jusserand should occur. More’s reflections on jus ad bellum remain a reference point in discussions of just war. ...