English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History eBook

Henry Coppée
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History.
have caused him to be called the “Censor of the Age.”  He is too eccentric and prejudiced to deserve the name in its best meaning.  If he fights shams, he sometimes mistakes windmills and wine-skins for monsters, and, what is worse, if he accost a shepherd or a milkmaid, they at once become Amadis de Gaul and Dulcinea del Toboso.  In spite of these prejudices and peculiarities, Carlyle will always be esteemed for his arduous labors, his honest intentions, and his boldness in expressing his opinions.  His likes and dislikes find ready vent in his written judgments, and he cares for neither friend nor foe, in setting forth his views of men and events.  On many subjects it must be said his views are just.  There are fields in which his word must be received with authority.


John Lingard, 1771-1851:  a Roman Catholic priest.  He was a man of great probity and worth.  His chief work is A History of England, from the first invasion of the Romans to the accession of William and Mary.  With a natural leaning to his own religious side in the great political questions, he displays great industry in collecting material, beauty of diction, and honesty of purpose.  His history is of particular value, in that it stands among the many Protestant histories as the champion of the Roman Catholics, and gives an opportunity to “hear the other side,” which could not have had a more respectable advocate.  In all the great controversies, the student of English history must consult Lingard, and collate his facts and opinions with those of the other historians.  He wrote, besides, numerous theological and controversial works.

Patrick Fraser Tytler, 1791-1849:  the author of A History of Scotland from Alexander III. to James VI. (James I. of England), and A History of England during the reigns of Edward VI. and Mary.  His Universal History has been used as a text-book, and in style and construction has great merit, although he does not rise to the dignity of a philosophic historian.

Sir William Francis Patrick Napier, 1785-1866:  a distinguished soldier, and, like Caesar, a historian of the war in which he took part.  His History of the War in the Peninsula stands quite alone.  It is clear in its strategy and tactics, just to the enemy, and peculiar but effective in style.  It was assailed by several military men, but he defended all his positions in bold replies to their strictures, and the work remains as authority upon the great struggle which he relates.

Lord Mahon, Earl of Stanhope, born 1805:  his principal work is a History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles.  He had access to much new material, and from the Stuart papers has drawn much of interest with reference to that unfortunate family.  His view of the conduct of Washington towards Major Andre has been shown to be quite untenable.  He also wrote a History of the War of Succession in Spain.

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