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February 3, 1900: The Churchman

New Biographies

The last of the Beacon Biographies are "Frederick Douglass," by Charles W. Chesnutt, and "Aaron Burr," by Henry Childs Merwin. The latter acquits himself well of a difficult and somewhat ungrateful task. Burr was deficient in moral sense, he was not honest and he was not sincere, yet he had the power of inspiring devotion, striking ability and a sort of magnanimous courage that gave a tinge of romance to the failure that he made of his life. We feel that he is hardly worthy of his company in this gallery of "Eminent Americans." Mr. Chesnutt has a more agreeable office, and has given us a very readable narrative of the labors of the "Black O’Connell" in behalf of his race here and in Great Britain. The book is temperate in judgments of contemporaries, and sympathetic in the appreciation of natural genius, and a noble character.

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Rev. of "Frederick Douglass," in "New Biographies," The Churchman [Hartford, CT] 81 3 February 1900: 137.