In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS 321 excessive grief and admiration.Finally,Fifootsees hisbookas'a sketch, howeverslight ,of VictorianEngland.' The firstthingto besaidof thisbookisthat it makes verypleasant reading. It will introduce Maitlandto newgenerations of admirers aswellasrenewand sustainthe affectionof thosewho know something of him already.All the delightfuland familiar stories are here: the marvellous letter to JamesTait after the review of Domesday Book and Beyond,Maitland's review of J.H. Round'sThe Communeo[ London,Maitland'srefusalof the RegiusProfessorship .Maitland is on all accounts an exceedingly agreeable subjectwho has foundin Fifoota mostsympathetic biographer. Moreover,Fifoot,astheeditor of the recenteditionof Maitland'sLetters,isespecially well qualified. Havingsaidthisthereare twopointsworthmakingaboutthisbook.Firstly, thereisverylittle newmaterialwhichthe authorhasincorporated in hislife. The fairly detailed accountof Maitland's ancestors is new and of minor interest.Alsonew is the poignantfew paragraphs whichdescribe Maitland's death.For the centralperiodof hiscareerthereisvirtuallynothingthat will not be familiar to readersof Maitland'sworks,his correspondence, and a few selected memoirs. Secondly, astheworkmakes abundantly dear,Maitlandhad all the qualifications of an 'EminentVictorian': educated at EtonandTrinity CollegeCambridge, a memberof the 'Apostles' (a secretand veryexclusive Cambridge society),president of the Cambridge Union, a favouritepupil of Henry Sidgwick, confidant and literaryexecutor of LeslieStephen, and much more. Yet for all this Maitland does not fit the Victorian mold. He is a modern scholar, narrow,cautious, and modest, sounlikethe brashand slightly gaudy Victorian intellectual.Maitland'slettersreflecthistemperament, theyconcern business mainly.He doesnot ventureuponshows of cleverness or erudition. His feelings are rarelyrevealed andthenalmostexclusively to hisfamily.Nor wasMaitlandin anysense a Victorianfather.Onemayconclude byremarking thatthough Maitlandwastheoutstanding scholar of hisday,hewasaltogether lessan 'EminentVictorian' than Sir Paul Vinogradoff,the Russianernigre•. T.A. SANI•QU•ST Universityo[ Toronto Riding the Storm •956-•959. I-IAROLD MACMILLAN. London and Toronto, Macmillan,•97•. PP.xii, 786,illus.$•4.95. For the Canadianstudentof Englishhistoryin the twentiethcentury,this fourthvolumeof Macmillan's autobiography addslittle to the printedrecord. The indiscriminate detailinterspersed with blandif not banalremarks, all of whichwerepresent in the threeprevious volumes, arestillevidenthere.Only in a few selected passages arereflections madewhichindicatea willingness to reveal incisive observation. When he becameprime ministerin January•957, after the queenhad consulted withLordSalisbury, Macmillan iscarefultopointoutthatthehead of the Cecilswasnot exerting'a personal and privateeffort,'but simply'con- 322 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW veyingto the Queen the generalview insidethe Party.' Macmillan himself waited for the royal call by readingPride and Prejudice,then informedher that he 'couldnot answerfor the new Government lastingmore than six weeks.' After the cabinethadbeenformedandpriorities established, hewonders how it had all comeabout. 'Was I really Prime Minister?... There was certainlyattachedto the wholeaffair a certainatmosphere of unreality and evenabsurdity.' The reason for thisabsurdity he findsin a dualityof interest and temperament. His education and familytieswerederivedfrom the quiet world of literature and art, while the First World War turned him into a man of action,and he wasdrawnby imitationto the careerof WinstonChurchill. The second momentof genuineobservation comes with the resignation of PeterThorneycroft aschancellor of the exchequer earlyin x958.Thorneycroft wasstrongly influenced in hisdecision by EnochPowellwhose judgmentthe primeministerdistrusted because he 'introduced intothestudyof financialand economic problems a degree of fanaticism whichappeared to meinappropriate.' Macmillanevensuggests that Powellmay actuallyhavesoughtthe crownof martydom. It is a daringcomment for onesorestrained in anycomments on theConservative party.The onlyotherpersons in thisvolume whocomeunder directcriticism areforeigners suchasJohnFosterDullesandCharlesdeGaulle. Dullesisdescribed ashostile andfrenzied in theSuezcrisis of x956,a manwho had losthistemper,if nothisnerve.Of deGaulleon European freetradeand the defencecommunity,Macmillan saysthat 'he wasapt to treat his friends with thiscurious ineptness and rudeness. It wasbecause of hismysticism and egoism.' Apart from thesefew and all toorare moments of insight,the bookdrones on at lengthaboutCyprus,the Middle East,Anglo-American relations, and nationaleconomic policy.Macmillan'scommentary throughoutis that of the discreet publicfigurewhosedeepest sentiments are filteredthroughthe exigencies of gentlemanly conduct. This reactionis especially evidenttowardthe two great issues which engaged him in a mostsignificant and centralway duringtheseyears.The firstis the Suezinvasion of x956and the second his succession to thepremiership in I957. On Suezhe confirmsthat his role wasone of waiting, but for what is left open to suspicion as well as curiosity. Nasseris condemned as 'an Asiatic Mussolini,full of insultand abuse...' and Macmillan clearlywasclosely consultedby Eden.But throughthreelongchapters he addslittle or nothingto what Edenhimselfhasalreadywritten.On the politicalsuccession he reveals evenless of the reasons whyhe waschosen overButler,and deliberately shies awayfrom commentary on the speculation raisedby that vital episode in the modernhistoryof Britishpoliticalparties.If Macmillanis provinganything for the historianby thesevolumes, it is...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 321-322
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.