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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE AUTHORS REP
RESENTED IN THE HISTORICAL READINGS.
DR. THOMAS ARNOLD (1795–1842), the famous HeadMaster of Rugby School, England, attained an eminent rank as an historian by his “History of Rome," a work characterized by great fairness of judgment, by solid learning, and by the purest moral tone. His “Lectures on Modern History," delivered while Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford, during the latter part of his life, are distinguished by the same high qualities that mark his “ History of Rome.” No man in this century has done more than Dr. Arnold to elevate the character of education, especially to instill into young men higher and nobler conceptions of duty and of personal responsibility. The student is advised to read Dean Stanley's “Life and Letters of Dr. Arnold,” an intensely interesting biography, and “Tom Brown at Rugby,” by Mr. Hughes. The former work, especially, should be carefully studied by every one who contemplates the profession of teaching.
GEORGE BANCROFT (1800), the oldest and one of most eminent of American historians, is principally known by his “ History of the United States, from the Discovery of the Continent to the Establishment of the Constitution in 1789," a work of great learning and marked research. A
revised edition of his history is now in process of publication. Mr. Bancroft has occupied various positions of honor and dignity.
PETER BAYNE, a Scotchman by birth, is the author of various critical and historical essays, some of them excellent in style, and marked by rare discrimination and judgment. His essays have been collected and published by an American house.
Rev. John S. BREWER (1810–1879) was a scholar and historian of rare and varied attainments, combined with wonderful energy and application. His valuable services in the English Record-Office, his arrangement, classification, and editing of historic documents, can not be too gratefully appreciated by every student of the original sources of history.
Mr. James BRYCE is Regius Professor of Civil Law in the University of Oxford, and is prominent in English political life. His famous monograph, “The Holy Roman Empire,” is unexcelled as a philosophic discussion of a profound historical problem.
Bishop GILBERT BURNET (1643–1715) was the author of a “History of the Reformation of the Church of England,” still a work of authority, and a “History of My Own Times." His estimates of character are judicious, and some of his delineations of men are remarkably interesting, especially his portraiture of William of Orange, to which Macaulay's brilliant sketch of the same great hero is so largely indebted.
THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881), a native of Scotland, has long maintained an eminent position in English literature. His works are varied. Prominent among them may
be mentioned “Sartor Resartus," “Life of Frederick the Great,” “History of the French Revolution,” “Past and Present,"
“The Life of John Sterling.” Carlyle's language, though vigorous and grammatical, is marked by an eccentricity that seems to have increased with his maturer years. The selection in the text represents the purer period of his style, though even there the germ of the crotchety and the extravagant is perceptible. Notwithstanding these defects, his name will long be “a wand to conjure with” in English literature.
Mr. EDWARD A. FREEMAN is principally known to the student of history by his great work on the “Norman Conquest.” It is characterized by immense research, amazing knowledge, and scrupulous accuracy. His “Essays,” “Historical Geography of Europe,” “ History of William Rufus," abound in varied and extensive historical learning. His “Norman Conquest” has virtually superseded all other works on the same subject, and is entitled to rank among the very first historical productions of our day.
JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE (1818) is principally distinguished as the author of a “History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth.” His history is the product of immense labor, every sentence, it is said, having been written over three or four times. The graces of his diction are fascinating in the extreme, and his reputation as a master of style will long survive his fame as an historian. His controlling motive seems to be a disposition to reverse all our previous conceptions of historical characters, and to exalt to the rank of patriots some that, by the common consent of mankind, are regarded as infamous. This criticism applies especially to his elaborate vindication of the character of Henry VIII. Mr. Froude is an Englishman by birth and education.
EDWARD GIBBON (1737–1794) still retains his lofty eminence in our historical literature, and may be regarded as the greatest of English historians. His principal work,
“ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” has been pronounced by an eminent critic “the most extraordinary exhibition of the powers of a single mind that the world has ever seen.” Gibbon's disingenuous and caviling attacks upon the truths of Christianity constitute the greatest blemish upon his fame, and, considered from an intellectual standpoint alone, they are totally unworthy of his lofty powers. His style is somewhat cold and formal, never rising to the splendid glow of Macaulay, or the fervid enthusiasm of Arnold, in his exultations over the triumph of truth.
John RICHARD GREEN, though he was before the world as an historian only a few years, attained a most enviable fame by his “Short History of the English People,” subsequently enlarged, and his “Making of England.” His “Conquest of England” appeared after his death. Seldom has so brilliant a reputation been so speedily won. Clearness, vigorous execution, and an earnest endeavor to present the truth, are the leading characteristics of his work. Mr. Green was one of the examiners in modern history in the University of Oxford. He died in 1883, at the age of forty-five.
GEORGE GROTE (1794–1871), an Englishman by birth and a banker by profession, achieved a most honorable literary fame by his “History of Greece,” which is recognized in all countries as a work of profound learning and rare discernment of the political life of Greece.
FRANÇOIS PIERRE GUILLAUME Guizot (1787–1874) holds an illustrious rank among French historians. Guizot’s career as scholar, historian, and statesman, was interesting in a high degree. His most valuable works are his “History of Civilization in France,” “History of Civilization in Europe,” “History of the English Revolution,” and his “History of France,” adapted especially to young students.
From this last work many of the selections in the Reader are taken, and it would be difficult to find a more attractive introduction to the study of history.
HENRY HALLAM (1777–1859) is an historian distinguished by great sobriety of judgment, rare caution, and ample learning. He is principally known by his “History of the Middle Ages,” “Constitutional History of England," and his "Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries." The last-named work is especially valuable to the student of literature.
JAMES O. HALLIWELL-PHILLIPPS is probably the most painstaking and trustworthy of all Shakespeare's biographers. He is also the author of numerous contributions to the study of Shakespeare's mind and art.
David HUME (1711-1776), a native of Scotland, was one of the most eminent historians of the eighteenth century. He is principally known by his “History of England," a work characterized by grace and ease of style, but lacking in independent original research, and displaying a strong disposition to extenuate the crimes of arbitrary power. Hume's fame, like that of Gibbon, is marred by his assaults, in his philosophical works, upon the truths of Christianity, his arguments being directed against the validity of the evidence by which the miracles recorded in Holy Scripture are attested. His history brings the subject down to 1688, the time of the abdication of James II.
EDWARD HYDE, Earl of Clarendon (1609–1674), is principally eminent in the historical world as the author of the “History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England,” a royalist view of the great struggle of the seventeenth century in England, which resulted in the temporary overthrow of the monarchy, the murder of King Charles I, and the rise