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The Ifs of History   By:

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E text prepared by Malcolm Farmer, Julia12000, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made available by Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries (http://www.archive.org/details/toronto)

Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries. See http://www.archive.org/details/ifsofhistory00chamuoft

THE IFS OF HISTORY

by

JOSEPH EDGAR CHAMBERLIN

Philadelphia Henry Altemus Company

Copyright, 1907, by Howard E. Altemus

CONTENTS

I. IF THEMISTOCLES HAD NOT BEATEN ARISTIDES IN AN ATHENIAN ELECTION 13

II. IF THE MOORS HAD WON THE BATTLE OF TOURS 21

III. IF KING ETHELRED OF ENGLAND HAD NOT MARRIED THE NORMAN EMMA 30

IV. IF COLUMBUS HAD KEPT HIS STRAIGHT COURSE WESTWARD 37

V. IF QUEEN ELIZABETH OF ENGLAND HAD LEFT A SON OR DAUGHTER 47

VI. IF THE PHILARMONIA HAD NOT GIVEN CONCERTS AT VICENZA 56

VII. IF THE SPANISH ARMADA HAD SAILED AT ITS APPOINTED TIME 64

VIII. IF CHAMPLAIN HAD TARRIED IN PLYMOUTH BAY 71

IX. IF CHARLES II HAD ACCEPTED THE KINGSHIP OF VIRGINIA 79

X. IF ADMIRAL PENN HAD PERSISTED IN DISOWNING HIS SON WILLIAM 91

XI. IF THE BOY GEORGE WASHINGTON HAD BECOME A BRITISH MIDSHIPMAN 99

XII. IF ALEXANDER HAMILTON HAD NOT WRITTEN ABOUT THE HURRICANE 107

XIII. IF LAFAYETTE HAD HELD THE FRENCH REIGN OF TERROR IN CHECK 114

XIV. IF GILBERT LIVINGSTON HAD NOT VOTED NEW YORK INTO THE UNION 121

XV. IF THE PIRATE JEAN LAFITTE HAD JOINED THE BRITISH AT NEW ORLEANS 129

XVI. IF JAMES MACDONNEL HAD NOT CLOSED THE GATES OF HUGOMONT CASTLE 138

XVII. IF ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S FATHER HAD MOVED SOUTHWARD, NOT NORTHWARD 150

XVIII. IF SKIPPER JENNINGS HAD NOT RESCUED CERTAIN SHIPWRECKED JAPANESE 160

XIX. IF ORSINI'S BOMB HAD NOT FAILED TO DESTROY NAPOLEON III 170

XX. IF PRESIDENT JAMES BUCHANAN HAD ENFORCED THE LAW IN NOVEMBER, 1860 176

XXI. IF THE CONFEDERATES HAD MARCHED ON WASHINGTON AFTER BULL RUN 185

XXII. IF THE CONFEDERATE STATES HAD PURCHASED THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S FLEET IN 1861 194

PREFACE

Whether or not we believe that events are consciously ordered before their occurrence, we are compelled to admit the importance of Contingency in human affairs.

If we believe in such an orderly and predetermined arrangement, the small circumstance upon which a great event may hinge becomes, in our view, but the instrumentality by means of which the great plan is operated. It by no means sets aside the vital influence of chance to assume that "all chance is but direction which we cannot see."

For instance, the believer in special providences regards as clearly providential the flight of the flocks of birds which diverted the course of Columbus from our shores to those of the West Indies; but it is none the less true that this trivial circumstance caused the great navigator to turn his prow.

Those who, on the other hand, reject the idea of special providences, and treat history as a sequence of occurrences emerging mechanically from the relations of men with one another, must admit that causes forever contend with causes, and that the nice balance of action and reaction may sometimes be influenced radically by even so small a circumstance as the cackling of the geese of Rome... Continue reading book >>




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