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scornfully thrown behind them, in a manner which may well excite their envy. He has constructed out of their gleanings works which, even considered as histories, are scarcely less valuable than theirs. But a truly great historian would reclaim those materials which the novelist has appropriated. The history of the government and the history of the people would be exhibited in that mode in which alone they can be exhibited justly, in inseparable conjunction and intermixture. We should not then have to look for the wars and votes of the Puritans in Clarendon, and for their •phraseology in Old Mortality; for one half of King James in Hume, and for the other half in the Fortunes of Nigel.
The early part of our imaginary history would be rich with colouring from romance, ballad, and chronicle. We should find ourselves in the company of knights such as those of Froissart, and of pilgrims such as those who rode with Chaucer from the Tabard. Soeiety would be shown from the highest to the lowest—from the royal cloth of state to the den of the eutlaw; from the throne of the legale to the chimney-corner where the begging friar regaled himself. Palmers, minstrels, crusaders — the stately monastery, with the good cheer in its refectory, and the high-mass in its chapel—the manor-house, with its hunting and hawking—the tournament, with the heralds and ladies, the trumpets and the cloth of gold—would give truth and life to the representation. We should perceive, in a thousand slight touches, the importance of the privileged burgher, and the fierce and haughty spirit which swelled under the collar of the degraded villain. The revival of letters would not merely be described in a few magnificent periods. We should discern, in innumerable particulars, the fermentation of mind, the eager appetite for knowledge, which distinguished the sixteenth from the fifteenth century. In the Reformation we should see, not merely a schism which changed the ecclesiastical constitution of England, and the mutual relations of the European powers, but a moral war which raged in every family, which set the father against the son, and the son against the 'father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother. Henry would be painted with the skill of Tacitus. We should have the change of his character from his profuse and joyous youth to his savage and imperious old age. We should perceive the gradual progress of selfish and tyrannical passions, in a mind not naturally insensible or ungenerous; and to the last we should detect some remains of that open and noble temper which endeared him to a people whom he oppressed, struggling with the hardness of despotism and the irritability of disease. We should see Elizabeth in all her weakness, and in all her strength, surrounded by the handsome favourites whom she never trusted, and the wise old statesmen, whom she never dismissed, uniting in herself the most contradictory qualities of both her parents— the coquetry, tie caprice, the petty malice of Anne—the haughty and resolute spirit of Henry. We have no hesitation in saying, that
a great artist might produce a portrait of this remarkable woman, at least as striking as that in the novel of Kenilworth, without employing a single trait not authenticated by ample testimony. In the mean time, we should see arts cultivated, wealth accumulated, the conveniences of life improved. We should see the keeps, where nobles, insecure themselves, spread insecurity around them, gradually giving place to the halls of peaceful opulence, to the oriels of Longleat, and the stately pinnacles of Burleigh. We should see towns extended, deserts cultivated, the hamlets of fishermen turned into wealthy havens, the meal of the peasant improved, and his hut more commodiously furnished. We should see those opinions and feelings which produced the great struggle against the house of Stuart, slowly growing up in the bosom of private families, before they manifested themselves in Parliamentary debates. Then would come the Civil War. Those skirmishes, on which Clarendon dwells so minutely, would be told, as Thucydides would have told them, with perspicuous conciseness. They are merely connecting links. But the great characteristics of the age, the loyal enthusiasm of the brave English gentry, the fierce licentiousness of the swearing, dicing, drunken reprobates, whose excesses disgraced the royal cause— the austerity of the Presbyterian Sabbaths in the city, the extravagance of the Independent preachers in the camp, the precise garb, the severe countenance, the petty scruples, the affected accent, the absurd names and phrases which marked the Puritans—the valour, the policy, the public spirit, which lurked beneath these ungraceful disguises, the dreams of the raving Fifth Monarchyman, the dreams,scarcely less wild, of the philosophic republican—all these would enter into the representation, and render it at once more exact and more striking.
The instruction derived from history thus written would be of a vivid and practical character. It would be received by the imagination as well as by the reason. It would be not merely traced on the mind, but branded into it. Many truths, too, would be learned, which can be learned in no other manner. As th« history of states is generally written, the greatest and most momentous revolutions seem lo come upon them like supernatural inflictions, without warning or cause. But the fact is, that such revolutions are almost always the consequences of moral changes, which have gradually passed on the mass of the community, and which ordinarily proceed far, before their progress is indicated by any public measure. An intimate knowledge of the domestic history of nations is therefore absolutely necessary to the prognosis of political events. A narrative, defective in this respect, is as useless as a medical treatise which should pass by all the symptoms attendant on the early stage of a disease, and mention only what occurs when the patient is beyond the reach of remedies.
An historian, such as we have been attempting to describe, would indeed be an intellectual prodigy. In his mind, powers, scarcely compatible with each other, must be tempered into
an exquisite harmony. We shall sooner see ment of the mind. It cannot indeed produce another Shakspeare or another Homer. The perfection, but it produces improvement, and highest excellence, to which any single faculty nourishes that generous and liberal fastidiousean be brought, would be less surprising than ness, which is not inconsistent with the strongsuch a happy and delicate combination of . est sensibility to merit, and which, while it exqualities. Yet the contemplation of imaginary alts our conceptions of the art, does not render models is not an unpleasant or useless employ- I us unjust to the artist. •OS
Histoht, at least in its state of imaginary perfection, is a compound of poetry and philosophy. It impresses general truths on the mind by a vivid representation of particular characters and incidents. But, in fact, the two hostile elements of which it consists have never been known to form a perfect amalgamation ; and at length, in our own time, they have been completely and professedly separated. Good histories, in the proper sense of the word, we have not, But we have good historical romances aad good historical essays. The imagination and the reason, if we may use a legal metaphor, have made partition of a province #f literature of which they were formerly seised ;«r my ti pour tout; and now they hold «heir respective portions in severalty, instead of holding the whole in common.
To make the past present, to bring the distant near, to place us in the society of a great man. or on the eminence which overlooks the field of a mighty battle, to invest with the reality of human flesh and blood beings whom we are too mnch inclined to consider as personified qualities in an allegory, to call up our ancestors before us with all their peculiarities of language, manners, and garb, to show us over their houses, to seat us at their tables, to rummage their old-fashioned wardrobes, to explain the uses of their ponderous furniture—these parts of the duty which properly belongs to the historian have been appropriated by the historical novelist. On the other hand, to extract the philosophy of history—to direct our judgment of events and men—to trace the connection of causes and effects, and to draw from the occurrences of former times general lessons of moral and political wisdom, has become the business of a distinct class of writers.
Of the two kinds of composition Into which history has been thus divided, the one may he compared to a map, the other to a painted landscape. The picture, though it places the object before us, does not enable us to ascertain with accuracy the form and dimensions of its component parts, the distances, and the angles. Tic map is not a work of imitative art. It presents no scene to the imagination; but it gives us exact information as to the bearings of the various points, and is a more useful
• Tie Conetitutiovai History of England, from the Jlc~
m ./ Henry Vlt. to the IJmth ef George II. Bv
Y Iullih. In H vols. 1827.
companion to the traveller or the general than the painting could be, though it were the grandest that ever Rosa peopled with outlaws, or the sweetest over which Claude ever poured the mellow effulgence of a setting sun.
It is remarkable that the practice of separating the two ingredients of which history is composed has become prevalent on the Continent as well as in this country. Italy has already produced an historical novel, of high merit and of still higher promise. In France, the practice has been carried to a length somewhat whimsical. M. Sismondi publishes a grave and stately history, very valuable, and a little tedious. He then sends forth as a companion to it a novel, in which he attempts to give a lively representation of characters and manners. This course, as it seems to us, has all the disadvantages of a division of labour, and none of its advantages. We understand the expediency of keeping the functions of cook and coachman distinct—the dinner will be better dressed, and the horses belter managed. But where the two situations are united, as in the Maitre Jaques of Moliere, we do not see that the matter is much mended by the solemn form with which the pluralist passes from one of his employments to the other.
We manage these things better in England. Sir Walter Scott gives us a novel; Mr. Hallam a critical and argumentative history. Both are occupied with the same matter. But the former looks at it with the eye of a sculptor. His intention is to give an express and lively image of its external form. The latter is an anatomist. His task is to dissect the subject to its inmost recesses, and to lay bare before us .ill the springs of motion and all the causes of decay.
Mr. Hallam is, on the whole, far better qualified than any other writer of our time for the office which he has undertaken. He has great industry and great acuteness. His knowledge is extensive, various, and profound. His mind is equally distinguished by the amplitude of its grasp and by the delicacy of its tact. His speculations have none of that vagueness which is the common fault of political philoso phy. On the contrary, they are strikingly practical. They teach us not only the general rule, hut the mode of applying it to solve particular cases. In this respect they often remind us of the Discourses of MachiaveJIi
The style is sometimes harsh, and sometimes obscure. We have also here and there remarked a little of that unpleasant trick which Gibbon brought into fashion—the trick, we mean, of narrating by implication and allusion. Mr. Hallam, however, has an excuse which Gibbon had not. His work is designed for readers who are already acquainted wilh the ordinary bool/s on English history, and who can therefore unriddle these little enigmas without difficulty. The manner of the book is, on the a hole, not unworthy of the matter. The language, even where most faulty, is weighty and .massive, and indicates strong sense in every lino. It often rises to an eloquence, not florid or impassioned, but high, grave, and sober; such as would become a state paper, or a judgment delivered by a great magistrate, a Somers, or a D'Aguesseau.
In this respect the character of Mr. Hallam's mind corresponds strikingly with that of his *tyle. His work is eminently judicial. lis whole spirit is that of the bench, not of the bar. He sums up with a calm, steady impartiality, turning neither to the right nor to the l.'ft, glossing over nothing, exaggerating nothing, while the advocates on both sides are alternately biting their lips to hear their conllicting mis-statements and sophisms exposed. On a general survey, we do not scruple to pronounce the Constitutional History the most impartial book that we ever read. We think it the more incumbent on us to bear this testimony strongly at first setting out, because, in the course of our remarks, we shall think il right to dwell principally on those parts of it from which we dissent.
There is one peculiarity about Mr. Hallam, which, while it adds to the value of his writings, will, we fear, take away something from their popularity. He is less of a worshipper than any historian whom we can call to mind. Every political sect has its esoteric and its exoteric school; its abstract doctrines for the initiated, its visible symbols, its imposing forms, its mythological fables for the vulgar. It assists the devotion of those who are unable to raise themselves to the contemplation of pure truths, by all the devices of Pagan or Pap;.! superstition. It has its altars and its deified heroes, its relics and pilgrimages, its canonized martyrs and confessors, its festivals and its legendary miracles. Our pious ancestors, we are told, deserted the High Altar of Canterbury, to lay all their oblations on the shrine of St. Thomas. In the same manner the great and comfortable doctrines of the Tory creed, those particularly which relate to restrictions on worship and on trade, are adored by squires and rectors, in Pitt Clubs, under the name of a minister, who was as bad a repre*entative of the system which has been christened after him, as Becket of the spirit of the Gospel. And, on the other hand, the cause for which Hampden bled on the field, and Sidney on the scaffold, is enthusiastically toasted by many an honest radical, who would be puzzled to explain the difference between Ship-money and the Habeas Corpus act. It may be added, that, as in religion, so in politics, few, even of i •**mz who are enlightened enough to compre-!
hend the meaning latent under the emblems at their faith, can resist the contagion of the popular superstition. Often, when they flatter themselves that they are merely feigning a compliance with the prejudices of the vulgar, they are themselves under the influence of those very prejudices. It probably was not altogether on grounds of expediency, that So) crates taught his followers to honour the gods whom the state honoured, and bequeathed a cock to Esculapius with his dying breath. So there is often a portion of willing credulity and enthusiasm in the veneration which the most discerning men pay to their political idols. From the very nature of man it must be so. The faculty by which we inseparably associate ideas which have often been presented to us in conjunction, is not under the absolute control of the will. It may be quickened into morbid activity. It may be reasoned into sluggishness. But in a certain degree il will always exist. The almost absolute mastery which Mr. Hallam has obtained over feelings of this class, is perfectly astonishing to us; and will, we believe, be not only astonishing, but offensive to many of his readers. It must particularly disgust those people who, in their speculations on politics, are not reasoners, but fanciers; whose opinions, even when sincere, are not produced, according to the ordinary law of intellectual births, by induction and inference, but are equivocally generated by the heat of fervid tempers out of the overflowings of tumid imaginations. A man of this class is always in extremes. He cannot be a friend W> liberty without calling for a community of goods, or a friend to order without taking under his protection the foulest excesses of tyranny. His admiration oscillates between the most worthless of rebels and the most worthless of oppressors; between Marten, the scandal of the High Court of Justice, and Laud, the scandal of the Siar-Chamber. He can forgive any thing but temperance and impartiality. He has a certain sympathy with the violence of his opponents, as well as with that of his associates. In every furious partisan he sees either his present self or his former self, the pensioner that is or the Jacobin that has been. But he is unable to comprehend a writer who, steadily attached to principles, is indifferent about names and badges; who judges of characters with equable severity, not altogether untincturcd with cynicism, but free from the slightest touch of passion, party spirit, or caprice.
We should probably like Mr. Hallam's book more, if instead of pointing out, with strict fidelity, the bright points and the dark spot! of both parties, he had exerted himself to whitewash the one and to blacken the other. But we should certainly prize it far less. Eulogy and invective may be had for the asking. But for cold rigid justice—the ono weight and the one measure—we know not where else we can look.
No portion of our annals has been more per plexed and misrepresented by writers of dif ferent parties, than the history'of the Reformation. In this labyrinth of falsehood and so phistry, the guidance of Mr. Hallam is pecu liariy valuable. It is impossible not to admire the evenhanded justice witli which he deals out castigation to right and left on the rival persecutors.
It is vehemently maintained by some writers of the present day, that the government of Elizabeth persecuted neither Papists nor Puritans as such; and occasionally that the severe measures which it adopted were dictated, not by religious intolerance, but by political necessity. Even the excellent account of those times, which Mr. Hallam has given, has not altogether imposed silence on the authors of this fallacy. The title of the Queen, they say, was annulled by the Pope; her throne was given to another; her subjects were incited to rebellion; her life was menaced; every Catholic was bound in conscience to be a traitor; it was therefore against traitors, not against Catholics, that the penal laws were enacted.
That our readers may be the better able to appreciate the merits of this defence, we will state, as concisely as possible, the substance of some of these laws.
As soon as Elizabeth ascended the throne, and before the least hostility to her government had been shown by the Catholic population, an act passed, prohibiting the celebration of the rites of the Romish church, on pain of forfeiture for the first offence, a year's imprisonment for the second, and perpetual imprisonment for the third.
A law was next made, in 1562, enacting, that all who had ever graduated at the Universities, or received holy orders, all lawyers, and all magistrates, should take the oath of supremacy when tendered to them, on pain of forfeiture, and imprisonment during the royal pleasure. After the lapse of three months.it might again be tendered to them; and, if it were again refused, the recusant was guilty of high treason. A prospective law, however severe, framed to exclude Catholics from the liberal professions, would have been mercy itself compared with this odio'us act. It is a retrospective statute; it is a retrospective penal statute; it is a retrospective penal statute against a large class. We will not positively affirm that a law of this description must always, and under all circumstances, he unjustifiable. But the presumption against it is most violent; nor do we remember any crisis, either in our own history, or in the history of any other country, which would have rendered such a provision necessary. Bat in the present, what circumstances called for extraordinary rigour 1 There might be disaffection among the Catholics. The prohibition of their worship would naturally prodace it. But it is from their situation, not from their conduct; from the wrongs which they had suffered, not from those which they had committed, that the existence of discontent among them must be inferred. There were libels, no doubt, and prophecies, and rumours, and suspicions; strange grounds for a law inflicting capital penalties, ex post facto, on a large order of men.
Eight years later, the bull of Pius deposing Elizabeth produced a third law. This law, to which alone, as we conceive, the defence now under our consideration can apply, provides,
that if any Catholic shall convert a Prolestant to the Romish church, they shall both suffer death, as for high treason.
We believe that we might safely content ourselves with stating the fact, and leaving it to the judgment of every plain Englishman. Recent controversies have, however, given so much importance to this subject, that we will offer a few remarks on it.
In the first place, the arguments-which are urged in favour of Elizabeth, apply with much greater force to the case of her sister Mary. The Catholics did not, at the time of Elizabeth's accession, rise in arms to seat a Pretender on her throne. But before Mary had given, or could give provocation, the most distinguished Protestants attempted to set aside her rights in favour of the Lady Jane. That attempt, and the subsequent insurrection of Wyatt, furnished at least as good a plea for the burning of Protestants as the conspiracies against Elizabeth furnish for the hanging and embowelling of Papists.
The fact is, that both pleas are worthless alike. If such arguments are to pass current, it will be easy to prove that there was never such a thing as religious persecution since the creation. For thure never was a religious persecution, in which some odious crime was not justly or unjustly said to be obviously deducible from the doctrines of the persecuted party. We might say that the Caesars did not persecute the Christians; that they only punished men who were charged, rightly or wrongly, with burning Rome, and with com mining the foulest abominations in their assemblies; that the refusal to throw frankincence on the- altar of Jupiter was not the crime, but only evidence of the crime. We might say that the massacre of St. Bartholemew was intended to extirpate, not a religious sect, but a political party. For, beyond all doubt, the proceedings of the Huguenots, from the conspiracy of Arahoise to the battle of Moncoutour, had given much mon trouble to the French monarchy than the Catholics have ever given to England since the Reformation; and that too with much less excuse.
The true distinction is perfectly obvious. To punish a man because he has committed a crime, or is believed, though unjustly, to have committed a crime, is not persecution. To punish a man because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution; and is, in every case, foolish and wicked.
When Elizabeth put Ballard and Babington to death, she was not persecuting. Nor should we have accused her government of persecution for passing any law, however severe, against overt acts of sedition. But to argue that because a man is a Catholic ha must think it right to murder an heretical sovereign, and that because he thinks it right he will at tempt to do it, and then to found on this conelusion a law for punishing him as if he nad_ done it, is plain persecution.
If, indeed, all men reasoned in the same manner on the same da'a, a-».,I always did wh.v they thought it their duty to do, this mode of dispensing punishment might be extremely judicious. But as people who agree about premises often disagree about conclusions, and as no man in the world acts up to his own standard of right, there are two enormous gaps in the logic by which alone penalties for opinions can be defended. The doctrine of reprobation, in the judgment of many very able men, follows by syllogistic necessity from the doctrine of election. Others conceive that the Antinomian and Manichcan heresies directly follow from the doctrine of reprobation; and it is very generally thought that licentiousness and cruelty of the worst description are likely to be the fruits, as they often have been the fruits, of Antinomian and Manichean opinions. This chain of reasoning, we think, is as perfect in all its parts as that which makes out a Papist to be necessarily a traitor. Yet it would be rather a strong measure to hang the Calvinists, on the ground that if they were spared they would infallibly commit all the atrocities of Matthias and Knipperdoling. For, reason the matter as we may, experience shows us that a man may believe in election without believing in reprobation, that he may believe in reprobation without being an Antinomian, and that he may be an Antinomian without being a bad citizen. Man, in short, is so inconsistent a creature, that it is impossible to reason from his belief to his conduct, or from one part of his belief to another.
We do not believe that every Englishman who was reconciled to the Catholic church would, as a necessary consequence, have thought himself justified in deposing or assassinating Elizabeth. It is not sufficient to say that the convert must have acknowledged the authority of the Pope, and that the Pope had issued a bull against the queen. We know through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical. Let it pass, however, that every Catholic in the kingdom thought that Elizabeth might be lawfully murdered. Still the old maxim, that what is the business of every body is the business of nobody, is particularly likely to hold guod in a case in which a cruel death is the almost inevitable consequence of making any attempt.
Of the ten thousand clergymen of the Church of England, there is scarcely one who would not say that a man who should leave his country and friends to preach the gospel among savages, and who should, after labouring indefatigably without any hope of reward, terminate his life by martyrdom, would deserve the warmest admiration. Yet we doubt whether ten of the ten thousand ever thought of going on such an expedition. Why should we suppose that conscientious motives, feeble as they arc consiantly found to be in a good cause, should be omnipotent for evil? Doubtless there was many a jolly Popish priest in the old inanpY-houses of the northern counties,
who would have admitted in theory the deposing power of the Pope, but who would not have been ambitious to be stretched on the rack, even though it were to be used, according to the benevolent proviso of Lord Burleigh, "-as charitably as such a thing can be;" or to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, even though, by that rare indulgence which the queen, of her especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, sometimes extended to very mitigated cases, he were allowed a fair time to choke before the hangman began to grabble in his entrails.
But the laws passed against the Puritans had not even the wretched excuse which we have been considering. In their case the cruelty was equal, the danger infinitely less. In fact the danger was created solely by the cruelly. But it is superfluous to press the argument. By no artifice of ingenuity can the stigma of persecution, the worst blemish of the English church, be effaced or patched over. Her doctrines we well know do not tend to intolerance. She admits the possibility of salvation out of her own pale. But this circumstance, in itself honourable to her, aggravates the sin and the shame of those who persecuted in her name. Dominic and De Monfort did not at least murder and torture for differences of opinion which they considered as trifling. It was to stop an infection which, as they believed, hurried to perdition every soul which it seized that they employed their fire and steel. The measures of the English government with respect to the Papists and Puritans sprang from a widely different principle. If those who deny that the supporters of the Established Church were guilty of religious persecution mean only that they were not influenced by religious motives, wc perfectly agree with them. Neither the penal code of Elizabeth, nor the more hateful system by which Charles the Second attempted to force Episcopacy on the Scotch, had an origin so noble. Their cause is to be sought in some circumstances which attended the Reformation in England—circumstances of which the effects long continued to be felt, and may in some degree be traced even at the present day.
In Germany, in France, in Switzerland, and in Scotland, the contest against the Papal power was essentially a religious contest In all these countries, indeed, the cause of the Reformation, like every other great cause, attracted to itself many supporters influenced by no conscientious principle, many who quitted the Established Church only because they thought her in danger, many who were weary of her restraints, and many who were greedy for her spoils. But it was not by these adherents that the separation was there conducted. They were welcome auxiliaries; their support was too often purchased by unworthy compliances; but, however exalted in rank or power, they were not the leaders in the enterprise. Men of a widely different description, men who redeemed great infirmities and errors by sincerity, disinterestedness, energy, and courage; men who, with many of the vices of revolutionary chiefs and of polemic divines, united some of the highest qualities of apostles,