1 SEPTEMBER 1900, Page 25


Henry Knox. By Noah Brooks. (G. P. Putnam's Sons. 5s.) — If it was desirable that a series of volumes giving biographies of "American men of energy" should be published—the series should perhaps be accounted a sign of the progress of Im_ perialism on the American Continent—it was but right that there should be included in it a memoir of Henry Knox, who is described as "Major-General in the Continental Army, Washington's Chief of Artillery, First Secretary of War under the Constitution. Founder of the Society ef the Cincinnati." He was not a brilliant soldier or an epoch-making statesman ; he was not of the calibre of Hamilton, or even of Franklin, much less of Washington. He was simply a hearty civilian patriot and man of business—he was originally a bookseller, stationer, and bookbinder in Boston—who took the side of the Colonials in, the War of Independence, rose to be one of Washington's right-hand men and Secretary at War, and when the struggle was over retired to administer his estates in Maine, and died in 1806. Knox was perhaps valuable to Washington mainly because, besides being a sturdy fighter, he was an incurable optimist, and in the darkest days of the war never despaired of the common- wealth. His story, including his romantic courtship of "a young lady of high intellectual endowments, very fond of books," is told pleasantly, but at rather too great length, by Mr. Brooks. It is valuable mainly for the sidelights it sheds on the condition of the Colonies during the great struggle.