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relating to this last tribe should be involved in thick darkness, by those who consider that they ceased to be a nation, and became, by conquest or succession, subjects of the Scotch princes in the early part of the ninth century, when nothing is known of the internal revolutions of Caledonia.:-(pp. 31, 32.) We need hardly

. remark that there is no good authority for using the verb. wonder' in the sense in which it is here applied, without "at” after it. The sentence is, besides, ambiguous. By whom is every thing relating to the Picts involved in thick darkness?' Apparently, according to the tenour of the words, by those who consider that they ceased to be a nation,' which is certainly not what the writer intended to convey. Neither is it clear that those who consider' were not 'they who ceased to be a nation, and became, by conquest or submission, subjects of the Scotch princes in the early part of the ninth century !

Again, writing of Canute, the author says:— When the fame of his northern conquests, and of his peaceable establishment in England were generally spread, he visited Rome (1032) as a pilgrim, repairing to holy places.'-(p. 62.)-It was of course through mere carelessness that were here slipped into the place of “was," -a

” breach of grammatical rule, however, which ought not to have been overlooked on revisal. A similar excuse, if it be one, cannot be alleged in favour of the following sentence. “As the animosity between the Danes and Saxons is to be considered as the real, though often unseen, cause of those contests for the throne, which appear to originate in the ambition of individuals, so the final prevalence of the Saxons is to be imputed to their superiority in numbers and civilization, and to their impatience of a barbarous yoke, which is better preserved by the history and remembrances of the more improved people.:-(pp. 63, 64.) What is better preserved ? : Assuredly' the barbarous yoke,' according to the natural construction of the sentence, otherwise the last member of it has no connection with any thing that has gone before. If this be the true construction, and we can discover no other, what does the author mean? Does he intend to say that the Saxons, who were the more improved people, preserved by their history and remembrances the yoke of which they were so impatient? If so, he states that which was not the fact, and was far from being consistent with the character which he ascribes to the Saxons. The sentence would have been sufficiently clear and complete without the last member, which we must look upon as an excrescence, connected probably with something that has been omitted, but having nothing whatever to do, that we can perceive, in the position which it now occupies.

We meet with many sentences equally ill written, though not quite so perplexing, as we advance. As for instance Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, the son of William's mother by a plebeian husband, had the chief share in the administration of the territory rather militarily occupied than securely conquered after the battle of Hastings, which

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appears to have consisted of the country eastward and southward of a line drawn from the western boundary of Hampshire to the northern point of the coast of Norfolk, together with some parts of the counties of Salop and Hereford.'-(p. 101.) It is obvious that the words which appears to have consisted,' refer grammatically either to Hastings or the battle that was fought there, thus making the

passage mere nonsense, The latter part of the sentence is still more loosely written. It would seem as if the line drawn from the western boundary of Hampshire,' were also to find its way into Salop and Hereford, which however Sir James could not have intended to say. To what cause, to carelessness or confusion of ideas, are we to attribute the following blundering medley? The successive reduction of Oxford, Warwick, Nottingham, Leicester, Derby and Lincoln, after an obstinate resistance, attested by the ruined condition of these towns at the survey of the kingdom a few years after, sufficiently point out the extreme frontiers of the territory won at Hastings, the basis of William's operations, and the line by which he advanced.'-(p. 103.) In the first place it is ungrammatical to say that ' reduction,'' point out.' In the next place, we do not clearly comprehend how the reduction of the towns in question could at the same time point out the extreme frontiers of the territory won at Hastings, the basis of William's operations, and the line by which he advanced.' Those towns could not have been, in a military sense, at once the basis of the conqueror's operations, and the frontiers of his territory. The expression 'line' is most inaptly applied to mark the zig-zag course which William must have taken, in order to reduce Oxford, Warwick, Nottingham, Leicester, Derby and Lincoln, in the order in which they are here enumerated.

Had we been searching for an example of bad composition, in order to render ourselves or others cautious against falling into it, we could scarcely have discovered, in the whole range of our literature, a more apposite model in its way than the following sentence. After mentioning the fact that Henry I. had sent over an army to Normandy, to conquer the dominions of his brother Robert, and that the latter had come to England to throw bimself upon the mercy of Henry, our historian adds :- The king, with angry murmurs, turned aside; and Robert, whose spirit was awakened by this

; unbrotherly repulse, returned to the duchy to try his fortune, whither Henry pursued him, and after an obstinate conflict at Tinchebrai

, on the 27th of September, 1106, in which Robert made the last display of his brilliant qualities as a commander and soldier, he was completely routed, and sent prisoner to England; where his imprisonment appears at first to have been mild, but having yielded to the impulse of nature in attempting to escape from prison, by the command of his unrelenting brother his eyes were put out, and after passing near thirty years of blindness in several fortresses, he died in 1135, at Cardiff Castle, in Glamorganshire, at the age of



eighty, when all the other chiefs who had shared the glory of rescuing Jerusalem had been laid low.'-(p. 128.) The confusion of relatives in this sentence makes it the best recipe that can be given for obscure and inelegant writing. Then observe its unwieldy length and the number of facts which are unnecessarily crowded into it; • prisoner' and imprisonment' so close to each other, and the carelessness which leaves it dubious whether it is the said imprisonment or the eyes of the ill-fated Robert which yielded to the impulse of nature,' either being within the construction of the sentence, though evidently not within the meaning of the author. Finally, we would ask whether all the other chiefs' had been laid low in the year 1135, or at the age of eighty,' or both? We have seldom seen a worse piece of writing than this, in whatever way it be contemplated.

We shall adduce only one example more of Sir James Mackintosh's narrative style and grammatical correctness.

Henry (III.) was again tempted into a fruitless invasion of France, which would have been attended with the loss of all his continental dominions, if the throne of France had not been then filled by St. Louis, who to the highest capacity for government and prowess in arms, added a scrupulous regard to the dictates of conscience, which, perhaps, no human being in any age or nation has surpassed. He returned in the next year loaded with debt and disgrace.' Who returned ? According to the construction, Louis, though Henry, of course, is meant.

It would be an endless labour, and very far from being an acceptable one to us,-who would be unworthy of our able predecessors in the management of this journal, if we did not hold in very bigh estimation the splendid talents and great acquirements of Sir James Mackintosh,-io separate from the text of this volume, small as it is, the many glaring instances of negligence with which it abounds. Half the value of a history, at least of a history designed for popular use, consists in its style, and if this be not carefully wrought with a view to have every part of the work not only clearly understood, but in some measure recommended by gracefulness of expression and compactness of array in the composition, it will inevitably fail to accomplish its purpose.

One other prominent fault in this work, we must notice before we proceed to its merits. In the ardour of reflection, the author never thinks it necessary to restrain his reasonings within the period of which he is actually writing. He illustrates, or attempts to illustrate, what has happened six or seven hundred years ago by the events of his own day, and thus frequently so mixes up one age with another, that when he resumes his narrative we are at a loss to know in what century we left off, and are obliged to go back to find out the dates. In an essay upon history, we admit that this breadth of discussion, if we may so express ourselves, is not only allowable but necessary, and affords a fine field


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for the development of such historical treasures as those which Sir James has accumulated. But in a professed history of England, those flights of the philosopher, from past ages to the present, tend to confuse the mind, and destroy that unity of design in which the muse of history delights quite as much as she of epic poetry or of the tragic drama.

There is one great historical virtue in which Sir James Mackintosh shines to the highest advantage, and is not surpassed by any man who has trodden this department of literature--we mean impartiality. + If there be any bias in his mind, it is that of which no English author need be ashamed, and without the guidance of which, no individual would be worthy to sketch any portion of our annals. The love of liberty, hatred of oppression, a sacred regard for the characters of those who have fallen martyrs to our constitution, and a disposition to trace our rights and privileges to the most venerable and secure foundations, appear in every page of this production. To say that our author has not been led away from the calmness of the historian to the anger of the accuser, on some occasions when tyranny is seen in conflict with freedom, would perhaps be a questionable proposition. But let the recreant and the base adulators of power blame Sir James Mackintosh for any passages in his work which evince his feelings in this

way. To teach us what our liberties are, to inflame our hearts with a passion for them, and to nerve our arms in defence of them, if ever they should be attacked (of which, by-the-bye, there never was less danger than in these times, when we can truly boast of a patriot king), we deem to be among the noblest duties of the bistorian of the British empire. These duties Sir James zealously performs. At the same time he contrives to preserve undisturbed the scales of even-handed justice. All the old prejudices against churchmen, the foolish stories of their vices and their miracles, he has shaken off with the true vigour of genius and of manly honesty. He has judged each character by its own merits, and has carefully distinguished between the crimes which mark the age, and the deeds for which the individual is alone responsible. Neither is our author prone to undistinguishing praise, even in the instances of those great names which stand out from the canvas, shining in the fame of centuries. Witness his reflections on the character of Alfred.

• In any age or country such a prince would be a prodigy. Perhaps there is no example of any man who so happily combined the magnanimous with the mild virtues, who joined so much energy in war with so remarkable a cultivation of the useful and beautiful arts of peace, and whose versatile faculties were so happily inserted in their due place and measure as to support and secure each other, and give solidity and strength to the whole character. That such a miracle should occur in a barbarous age and nation; that study should be thus pursued in the midst of civil and foreign wars by a monarch who suffered almost incessantly from painful

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maladies; and that it so little encroached on the duties of government as to leave him for ages the popular model for exact and watchful justice,-are facts of so extraordinary a nature, that they may well excuse those who have suspected that there are some exaggerations and suppressions in the narrative of his reign. But Asser writes with the simplicity of an honest eye-witness. The Saxon Chronicle is a dry and undesigning compend. The Norman historians, who seem to have had his diaries and note-books in their hands, choose him as the glory of the land which was become their

There is no subject on which unanimous tradition is so nearly sufficient evidence, as on the eminence of one man over others of the same condition. The bright image may long be held up before the national mind. This tradition, however paradoxical the assertion may appear, is in the case of Alfred rather supported than weakened by the fictions which have sprung from it. Although it be an infirmity of every nation to ascribe their institutions to the contrivances of a man rather than to the slow action of time and circumstances, yet the selection of Alfred by the English people as the founder of all that was dear to them, is surely the strongest proof of the deep impression left on the minds of all of his transcendent wisdom and virtue. Juries, the division of the island into counties and hundreds, the device of frank pledge, the formation of the common or customary law itself, could have been mistakenly attributed to him by nothing less than general reverence. How singular must have been the administration of which the remembrance so long procured for him the character of a lawgiver, to which his few and general enactments so little entitled him ?

• Had a stronger light been shed on his time, we should have undoubtedly discovered in him some of those characteristic peculiarities which, though always defects, and generally faults when they are not vices, yet belong to every human being, and distinguish him from his fellow-men. The disadvantage of being known to posterity by general commendation, instead of discriminating description, is common to Alfred with Marcus Aurelius. The character of both these ornaments of their station and their species seems about to melt into abstraction, and to be not so much portraits of man as models of ideal perfection. Both furnish an useful example that study does not disqualify for administration in peace or for vigour in war; and that scrupulous virtue may be combined with vigorous policy. The lot of Alfred forbad him to rival the accomplishments of the imperial sage. But he was pious without superstition; his humbler knowledge was imparted with more simplicity; his virtue was more natural; he had the glory to be the deliverer as well as the father of his country; and he escaped the unhappiness of suffering his authority to be employed in religious persecution.'—vol. i. pp. 40-42.

The author's observations on the establishment of the Christian church, and upon its connexion with the See of Rome, are highly creditable to his sagacity and candour.

The only institution of the civilised Romans which was transmitted almost entire into the hands of the barbarians was the Christian church. However imperfect their conversion might be, it was sufficient to guard that venerable establishment from overthrow. The bishops succeeded to much of the local power of the Roman magistrates; the inferior clergy

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