John Lothrop Motley, an American historian, born in Dorchester, Mass., April 15,1814.
He graduated at Harvard college in 1831, and spent a year at each of the universities of Got-tingen and Berlin, after which he travelled in the south of Europe, chiefly in Italy. On his return to America he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1836, but he practised little. In 1839 he published a novel entitled "Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Young Provincial." In 1840 he was appointed secretary of legation to the American embassy to Russia, and held the post for about eight months, when he resigned and returned to the United States. In 1849 he published "Merry Mount, a Romance of the Massachusetts Colony." Meanwhile he had contributed various articles to some of the leading reviews. About 1846 he began to collect materials for the history of Holland, writing enough to form two volumes; but, unable to find at home the authorities necessary for the thorough prosecution of the subject, he embarked for Europe with his family in 1851. Dissatisfied with his previous labors, he threw aside all he had written, and began his task anew.
In Berlin, Dresden, and the Hague, he passed most of his time during the next five years in the composition of his history, "The Rise of the Dutch Republic " (3 vols. 8vo, London and New York, 1856). It was reprinted in English at Amsterdam, and was translated into Dutch under the supervision of the historian Bak-huyzen van den Brink, who prefixed an introductory chapter. A German translation was published at Leipsic and Dresden; and a French translation, with an introduction by Guizot, was published in 1859 in Paris, and another in Brussels in 1859-'60. It was also translated into Russian. In 1860 Mr. Motley published the first two volumes of the second portion of the work, entitled "The History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Years' Truce, 1609;" and in 1867 it was completed in two additional volumes. This was followed in 1874 by " The Life and Death of John of Bar-neveld, Advocate of Holland; with a View of the Primary Causes of the Thirty Years' War " (2 vols.). It is understood that Mr. Motley is engaged in writing a " History of the Thirty Years1 War." He has been elected a member of various learned societies in Europe and America, among them of the institute of France in place of Mr. W. H. Prescott. In I860 he received the degree of D. C. L. from the university of Oxford, and that of LL. D.. from Harvard college.
He has also received the degree of LL. D. from the university of Cambridge, England. In 1861 he published in the London "Times" a paper entitled "Causes of the American Civil War," and in 1868 delivered before the New York historical society an address on " Historic Progress and American Democracy." On Nov. 14, 1861, he was appointed minister to Austria, and resigned in 1867. On the accession of President Grant in 1869 he was appointed minister to England, but was recalled in November, 1870, when he revisited Holland, and afterward went to England, where he still resides (1875).