Adventures of King James II. By the Author of "A
Life of Sir Kenelm Digby." (Longmaus and Co. 13s. 6d.)—This is a vigorous and entertaining attempt to demonstrate that the life of James II. was remarkable for the number and variety of his adventures. "The historical and political aspects are but slightly noticed, and only so far as seemed necessary to make the whole coherent." In a sense, indeed, this is a quite complete biography of James II.; that is to say, the author deals after a fashion with his essentially unsatisfactory doings, both as a King and after abdication. Much more stress is laid upon James's life as a soldier, a sailor, and a civil official before he reached the throne. And the author is right. It has never been denied that, as a young man fighting under the great Turenne, James showed marked courage, and some of the leading English authorities on tactics have testified to his capacity as a military commander; it is universally admitted— it was admitted in his own day by Pepys—that he made an indelible mark on naval administration. The author has, indeed, made a very good and romantic story out of James's early adventures ; and manages to revive Turenne and Conde without becoming tedious. He further contrives to deal effectively with James's marriages and " immoralities " without making either too little or too much of them. The author shows his literary judgment when he treats of such matters as the Popish Plot and the infamies of Titus Oaths; he holds that the recently published work on this subject by Mr. John Pollock is, though cleverly written, unconvincing. It may also be worth mentioning that the conduct of King James in retreating to Dublin after the rout of the Boyne is skilfully defended. The value of this really important work is enhanced by an introduction from the pen of Dr. Gasquet, Abbot-President of the English Benedictines, which deals at length with the conversion of James to Roman Catholicism. A number of admirable portraits increases the interest of the book.
EDWARD BYLES COWELL.