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was familiar to thein. The Norman invasion, he even te. cords as a conqueft over the liberties of England; and, it would seem, that he had a pleasure in degrading the nation, the history of which he was ambitious to delineate.
In the prefent volume he neither departs from his fentiments nor from his plan. The first part of his first chapter is devoted to the civil and and military history of England, from the accession of Henry IV. to the accession of Henry VII. The second part of it includes the civil and military hiftory of Scotland from the year 1399, to the accession of James IV. In his second chapter he holds out the history of religion from the year 1399 to the year 1485. His third chapter is dedicated to the history of the constitution, government and laws, of Great Britain, during the fame pe riod. And bris fourth, fifth, fixth, and seventh chapters, exhibit successively during the same course of time, the his tory of learning, arts, commerce, and manners, in Great Britain.
This plan of history is rrok to be confidered as new; although it is expressly termed fo, by the Author. It is evic dentiy adopted from the method employed by Prefident Goguet, in his book on the arts and sciences ; a part of which was translated many years ago by Dr. Henry. But, while his plan is nat new, it is faulty. His divisions compel him to separate and divide circumstances and events the most intimately connected. They lead him into perpetual and fatiguing repetitions ; and his narration, inftead of rising into dignity is uniformly liftlefs and feeble. His work, in place of conftituting a whole, is only a mere mass of historical matter. It includes materials for an historical performance; but they are naked, disjointed, and independent. He does not shew a complete and animated figure ; but he assembles the minute and divided parts of a skeleton. It is, accordingly, with the most obvious impropriety, that he dignifies his collections with the title of The History of Great Britain'. The architect, who had only accumulated large quantities of mortar, timber, and granite, might affirm with equal justice, that he had constructed a most magnificent palace.
It muft, however, be acknowledged, that Dr. Henry has been diligent and afsiduous in an uncommon degree. Here He is worthy of signal praise. But, how often have we to regret in our character of Reviewers that ability and industry are fo feldom 'united! The collections of our Author arc Mot made with that discriminating power which alone could render them valuable. As he fees indiftin&ly, he is fre... quently wandering from the right road. As his mind is by
no means comprehenfive he cannot think in a system, nor preserve himfelf from the impurity of contradictions. As his education has been confined, and his fituation recluse, he cannot address himself to the world. His ignorance of human affairs is cxtreme; and its defects are not repaid by any acuteness of reasoning or penetration. He even appears to be a stranger to the art of historical composition. He af-, fects to be fimple; but he is infipid. He never elevates his reader, nor impresses him with the idea that he is about to be instructed or entertained by his conceptions. His serioulnefs degenerates into sadness; and we expect in vain the dignified wisdom of the historic muse. The uncovered plainness of his manner is.disgusting; and his diction every where grovels in the coarseness of provincial conversation. He never goes in search of elegance and crnaments; and what is remarkable, from the beginning of the volume before us to its conclusion, there is not so much as one instance of a colla structed sentence or regular period. Great revolutions, and little incidents, are detailed by him with no variation of style or tone. He has no artful transitions, no fortunate touches of the pencil, no alluring or ambitious embellishments. He has nothing of the brightness that dazzles and illuminates. His characters are so ill conceived, and so improperly expressed, that they are read rather with pain than pleasure. To hit off a portrait was a point much beyond his reach. He can only make his reader acquainted with the names of his personages. His battles are not always intelligible ; and they are often absurd. He begins his description of that of Agincourt, by observing, that it happened on · The day of Crispin and Crispianus'. At times he interrupts the gloom of his narrative by those bursts of jocularity, which are fo frequently characteriftic of dull men. He does not perceive that low mirth and dry jokes, must for ever be unsuited to the historical manner. But what is fill more surprizing, , we find that this reverend divine has been so imprudent as to discover the pruriency of his imagination by exhibitions of indecency and smut. For this no apology can be ades quate; as history has been termed with propriety, the school of morality and virtue.
Having offered these remarks, we Thall now submit to our readers a specimen of the volume before us, in order that they may form a judgment of it for themselves.
• The English were remarkable in this period, among the nations of Europe, for the abfurd and impious practice of prophane swear. ing in conversation. The Count of Luxemburg, accompanied by the Earls of Warwick and Stafford, visited the Maid of Orleans in her prison at Rowen, where she was chained to the floor, and loaded with irons. The Count, who had fold her to the English, pretended
that he had come to treat with her about ber ransom., Viewing him with just resentment and disdain, the cried, “ Begone! You have neither the inclination nor the power to ransom me. Then turning her eyes towards the two Earls, ne faid, “ I know that you English are determined to put me to death; arrt imagine, that, after I am dead, you will conquer France. But though there were an hundred thousand more God-dam-mees in France than there are, they will never conquer that kingdom". So early had the English got this odious nickmany, by their too frequent use of that horrid imprecation. A contemporary historian, who had frequently converfcd with Henry VI. mentions it as a very remarkable and extraordinary peculiarity in the character of that prince, that he did not swear in coinnon conversation, but reproved his ministers and officers of state when he heard them twearing.
An excetlive irrational credulity still continued to reign in all the mations of Europe, and seems to have prevailed rather more in Britain than in fome other countries. Of this many proofs might be produced. There was not a man then in England who entertained the least doubt of the reality of forcery, necromancy, and other diabolical arts. Let any one peruse the works of Thomas Wallingham, our best historian in this period, and he will meet with many ridiculouis miracles, related with the greatest gravity, as the moit unquestionable facts. The English were remarkable for one species of credulity peculiar to themselves, viz. a firm belief in the predictions of certain pretended prophets, particularly, of the famous Ierlin. Philip de Comines, in his relation of what passed at the sinterview between Edward IV. and Lewis XI. on the bridge of Picquiny, (at which he was present), acquaints us, that after the two Kings had faluted one another, and conversed a little together, the bishop of Ely, Chancellor of England, began a harangue to the two monarchs, by telling them, that the English had a prophecy, that a great peace would be concluded between France and England at Picquiny; for the Englifh (says Comines) are great believers in such prophecies, and have one of them ready to produce on every occasion.
• The English frequently defeated the French in the field in this period, but were generally defeated by them in the cabinet. Philip de Comines, who was an excellent judge of mankind, and seems to have Itudied the national character of the Englifli with great care, acknowledges that they were but blundering negotiators, and by no means a match for the French. They were ealily iinposed upon, he lays, by diffimulation, apt to fall into a paflion, and to become impatient when they were contradicted; and, in a word, that they were not fo fubtile, infinuating, and patient, as their adversaries, who took advantage of all their foibles. The English certainly committed a molt grievous error, in withdrawing, in a passion, from the great congress at Arras, A. D. 1435. No prince was ever more shamefully deceived by another than Edward IV. by that artful and faithless monarch Lewis XI.
• A fierce, and even cruel fpirit, too much prevailed in both the the British nations in this period, and formed a disagreeable feature in their national characters. This was owing to the violent contests,
and almost constant wars in which they were engaged; which hardened their hearts, inflamed their passions, and inade them familiar with blood and flaughter. The reader must have met with so many proofs of this fierce and cruel fpirit, in perusing the first chapter of this book, that it is as unnecessary as it would be unpleasant, to multiply examples of it in this place. It is sufficient to observe in general, that the wars and battles of this period were uncommonly fierce and fanguinary ; that prisoners of distinction were generally put to death on the field, in cold blood ; that assassinatious and murders were very frequent, perpetrated on persons of the greatest eminence, by the hands of kings, nobles, and near relations. The ferocity of those unhappy times was fo great, that it infected the fair and gentle sex, and made many ladies and gentlewomen take up arms, and follow the trade of war. " At this fiege (of Sens, A. D. 1420) also lyn many worthy ladyes and gentilwomen, both French and English ; of the whiche many of hem begonne 'the faits of armies long time agoon, but of lyying at fieges now they beginne first." But the women of Wales, on one occasion, are said to have been guilty of deeds so horrid and indelicate, that they are hardly credible; and are therefore related in the words of the original Author.
· When we consider the state of the country, the condition and 'Character of many of its inhabitants, we will not be surprized to hear that England was much infested with robbers in this period. Sir John Fortescue, Chief Justice of the King's-bench in the reign of Henry VI. acknowledges that robbery was much more frequent in England than in France or Scotland; and, which is remarkable in one of his profeffion, he boasts of this as a proof of the superior courage of the English. “It hath ben often seen in England, that three or four thefes hath sett upon seven or eight true men, robyd them al. But it hath not ben seen in Fraunce, that seven or eight thefes have ben hardy to robbe three for four true men. Wherfor it is right seld that Frenchmen be hangyd for robberye, for that they have no hertys to do so terrible an actę. There be. therfor mo men hangyd in England, in a yere, for robberye and manslaughter, than there be hanged in Fraunce, for such cause of crime, in seven yers. There is no man hangyd in Scotland in seven yers together for robberye; and yet thay be often rymes hangyd for larceny and stelyng of goods in the absence of the owner therof: but their harts ferve them not to take a inanny's goods, while he is prefent, and will defend it; which inanner of takyng is called robberye. But the English men be of another corage: for if he be poer, and see another man having richesse, which may be taken from him by might, he wol not spare to do fo”. Whatever becomes of the reafoning of the Chief Justice, his authority is sufficient to establinh this fact, That robbery prevailed much more in England than in France or Scotland, in his time.
The manners of the clergy in the preceding period, which have been so fully described in the fourth volume of this work, were so fimilar to those of the times we are now delineating, that, to pre. vent unneceffary repetitions, the reader may be referred to that de- . fcription. For though Dr. Wickliffe and his followers, declaimed
with as much vehemence against the pride, ambition, avarice, cruelty, luxury, and other vices of the clergy, as againlt their erroneous doctrines, and fuperititious ceremonies, they declaimed in vain : The clergy were at least as much attached to their riches, their hos nours, and their pleafures, as to their fpeculative opinions; and as unwilling to abandon the r vices, as to renounce their errors.
Ina word, the generasity of the British clergy in this period were nei. ther more learned, nor more virtuous, than their immediate predecessors; and seem to have differed from them in nothing but in the superior cruelty with which they perfecuted the unhappy Lollards.
The recluse life of a minister of the gospel, the finplicity of his character, and his ignorance of the world, disqualify him from entering profoundly into human concerns. Of all literary departments, the most unsuited to him is that of history. Hence it may be inferred, that this order of men, would be more naturally and properly employed in their professional labours, and in attempts to overturn the growing doctrines of infidelity. The nierited popularity of Dr. Robertson, it is probable, was the attraction that seduced Dr, Henry, Dr. Anderson, and Dr. Lothian, into the arduous province of historical composition, But they are evidently far inferior to him; and his example does not justify their ambition. Dr. Anderson approaches the nearest to his merit; and in niches close to each other we may place Dr. Henry and Dr. Lothian.
We should now dismiss our Author: but a respect for the propriety of the English language, induces us to remark, that his' deficiences on this head are so great, that they require to be exemplified. Of anamolous, impure, and inean di&tion, instances without number might be collected from our Author. The following examples, however, are fufficient for the present purpose.
P. 2. In less than three months of an exile'. p. 8. Commanded him to be taken out of the way'. p. 20. Unable to make head against so great à force'. p. 23. The court filled with a set
of wortbless rascals'. p. 32. The procurement of an assembly in St. Giles's Fields'. p. 40. : The English archers stripped themfelves almost naked, that they might deal their blows with the greater rapidity and vigour'. p. 68. • Did not make all the advantage he might have made'. p. 69. • A process was carried on in the court of Rome'. p. 70." By the death of the Earl of Salisbury (faith an ancient historian) the Duke of Bedford lost his right hand". p. 73. This news, accompanied by many additional and marvellous circumstances, flew like lightning over all France.' p. 76. Permit his troops to join the army, which was greatly Itrengthened by that junction. p. 88. . These absurd and sneaking commis