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of the English Constitution—is most important. Hallam has a calm, judicial mind, and is a supporter of principles, not of men. His style is so equable that, unless to a student, he affords but dry reading. Two other volumes of this learned writer hardly belong to our present subject, but are so good that we here recommend them. They are A View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages,” and “The History of Literature during the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries." But these works should not be read until the history of the student's own country is fairly mastered.
ORACE Walpole, in his “Reminiscences,"
tells an anecdote of his father, who, when sick and weary, replied to the question
SE what should be read to him, “Anything
but history, for that I know to be false." The student will wisely bear in mind such a sweeping sentence as this, and in his endeavour to understand history will take care to check one historian by another. For this reason, but hardly for any other, he should consult Dr. Lingard's “History of England to the Revolution of 1688” (published originally in eight quarto volumes, from 1819 to 1830, and since reprinted in octavo and duodecimo, by Dolman), because that learned gentleman has written from a Roman Catholic point of view, and represents things very differently from the Protestant historians. On the whole, he has not done this unfairly. His bias is a natural one, and the love he has for his faith excuses many of its errors and cruelties. Nor has the student of history anything to fear from a partisan. It is the business of the former
to find out truth, or to get, as Samuel Daniel says, in his History of England, as neare Truth's likenesse as hee possibly can." Although his style is rigid, dry, and unpleasant, Dr. Lingard possesses calmness, great controversial ability, much more fairness than his opponents credit him with, acute discrimination of character, and much descriptive power. And in addition to all this, like Sharon Turner, he has, beyond Hume, the rare merit of industry, and has gone to original documents and sources of information, so that his work is very valuable.
“But,” adds a critic—and we quite agree with the censure—“it is undeniable that he has palliated the atrocious murders of St. Bartholomew, blackened the characters of Cranmer, Anne Boleyn, and Queen Elizabeth, and generally been severe in his judgments, not to say unjust, upon all concerned in the Reformation. The reason is not far to seek : he considers the Reformation a folly and a crime, and its authors as blunderers, sinful, or wicked and designing wretches.” Nor is Dr. Lingard very fond of the Commonwealth or Parliament; still he gives the great men of the seventeenth century this praise—“They governed only four years; yet under their auspices the conquests of Ireland and Scotland were achieved, and a navy was created the rival of that of Holland, and the terror of the rest of Europe; but there existed an essential error in their form of government. Deliberative assemblies are always slow in their proceedings; yet the pleasure of Parliament, as the supreme power, was to be taken on every subject. To this habit of procrastination was perhaps owing the extinction of its authority. It disappointed the hopes of the country.”
How a deliberative assembly could be called slow,
which in four years had conquered and settled two countries, had raised England to be the equal if not the superior of the greatest Power in Europe, and had yet preserved the liberty of the subject, and the freedom of religious opinion, it would perhaps be difficult for even Dr. Lingard to explain. However, there is no doubt that his elaborate “History of England" is a valuable work, displaying great erudition, calm research, and as much fairness as one can reasonably expect.
Mr. Godwin's “History of the Commonwealth of England,” published in 1824-27, which is written with great force and power, has too much the spirit of the republican partisan ; but it has brought to light certain valuable facts in illustration of one of the most important, if not the most important of periods of English history. Indeed, after the student has thoroughly mastered the “History of England," and checked that history' by comparing the opinions of one partisan with those of another, he will do well to devote himself to the study of particular periods, or of particular characters, as his taste may suggest.
In the previous chapter I particularly advised the study of the characters of great men, because those men, by their innate force and character, always mould and form the thoughts of the leading minds in their generation, and that succeeding them. Presuming then that we clearly understand the man, we shall have a great light thrown upon the character of the age in which he lives; it may be that of contrast, it may be that of similarity, but one way or another we shall get that light. It has been said that a very great man has three periods : in the first, he is
regarded as a rogue or a dupe; in the second, as a martyr; in the third, as a hero. But this is not always true; it is true of those who oppose, but not of those who lead peoples, in their emergencies, and political or social revolutions.
This second way of studying history—that is, taking the period which may be most attractive to the taste of the student-will resolve itself into the study of groups of men and characters, and of political and religious opinion. For both these methods, books of historical biography are not merely useful but essential; and these should be supplemented by public records, documents of the period, county and family histories. Lest the reader should be driven too much a-field, it will be best to point out to him certain books in which he will find almost all that he wants. I will begin with “The History of the Anglo-Saxons," by Sir Francis Palgrave; and “The History of the Anglo-Saxons," by Mr. Sharon Turner, a London solicitor, and the father of the present Rev. Sidney Turner, Inspector of Her Majesty's Reformatories. Mr. Turner has an intricate style, and a certain ambitious pomp and parade, which is sometimes most unsatisfactory; but the early volumes of his “History of England to the Death of Queen Elizabeth,” published in six volumes quarto and twelve volumes octavo, are very valuable, and are thoroughly well compiled. Sir Francis Palgrave has also written “The Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth in the Anglo-Saxon Period," which is a truly able work, and which introduces us to the founders of English character, laws, and liberty. Mr. Charles Mills has published a history of an important movement, "The History of Chivalry and the Crusades ;"