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opinion into accordance with this feeling of the wiser few. The first volume of Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire appeared in 1776, a few months before the death of Hume, and about a year before the publication of Robertson's America ; the second and third followed in 1781; the three additional volumes, which completed the work, not till 1788. Of the first volume, the author tells us, “ the first impression was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition were scarcely adequate to the demand ; and a scarcely diminished interest followed the great undertaking to its close, notwithstanding the fear which he expresses in the preface to his concluding volumes that “six ample quartos must have tried, and may have exhausted, the indulgence of the public.” A performance at once of such extent, and of so sustained a brilliancy throughout, perhaps does not exist in ancient or modern historical literature; but it is a hard metallic brilliancy, which even the extraordinary interest of the subject and the unflagging animation of the writer, with the great skill he shows in the disposition of his materials, do not prevent from becoming sometimes fatiguing and oppressive. Still the splendor, artificial as it is, is very imposing; it does not warm, as well as illuminate, like the light of the sun, but it has at least the effect of a theatrical blaze of lamps and cressets; while it is supported everywhere by a profusion of real erudition such as would make the dullest style and manner interesting. It is remarkable, however, that in regard to mere language, no one of these three celebrated historical writers, the most eminent we have yet to boast of, at least among those that have stood the test of time, can be recommended as a model. No one of the three, in fact, was of English birth and education. Gibbon's style is very impure, abounding in Gallicisms; Hume's, especially in the first edition of his History, is, with all its natural elegance, almost as much infested with Scotticisms; and, if Robertson's be less incorrect in that respect, it is so unidiomatic as to furnish a still less adequate exemplification of genuine English eloquence. Robertson died at the age of seventy-one, in 1793 ; Gibbon, in 1794, at the age of fifty-seven.
Many other historical works, some of them very ably executed, and forming valuable additions to our literature, also appeared about this date, the most remarkable of which are, Lord Lyttelton's History of the Life of King Henry II. (1764–7), a prolix and ill arranged but elaborate and sensible performance, founded
throughout on original authorities, and, from the detailed and painstaking investigations it contains of many fundamental points, still forming perhaps the best introduction we possess to the study of the English constitution ; Sir David Dalrymple Lord Hailes's admirable Annals of Scotland from the accession of Malcolm Canmore to the accession of the House of Stuart (1776–9); Sir John Dalrymple’s Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland from the Dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II. until the sea-battle off La Hogue (1771–3), to which a third volume was afterwards added carrying down the narrative to the capture of the French and Spanish fleets at Vigo, a publication the importance of which consists in the original papers it contains, procured from the French Foreign Office and from King William's private cabinet at Kensington ; James Macpherson's History of Great Britain from the Restoration to the Accession of the House of Hanover, with Original Papers (1775); Gilbert Stuart's Historical Dissertation concerning the Antiquity of the British Constitution (1767); his View of Society in Europe in its Progress from Rudeness to Refinement; or, Inquiries concerning the History of Laws, Government, and Manners (1777); his History of the Establishment of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland (1780); and his History of Scotland from the Establishment of the Reformation till the death of Queen Mary (1782): all displaying both research and acuteness, but the two last-mentioned deformed by the author's violent personal animosity against Robertson, for the purpose of confuting certain of whose statements or views they were mainly written ; Whitaker's History of Manchester (1771-5), which is in truth a general investigation of the Celtic and Roman antiquities of Britain, conducted, however, with more learning and ingenuity than sound judgment; Warner's History of Ireland (1763–7); Leland's History of Ireland from the Invasion of Henry II. (1773), a wellwritten general sketch, by the translator of Demosthenes and Æschines, and the author of The Life of Philip of Macedon, published in 1758; Henry's History of Great Britain, from the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to the Death of Henry VIII. (1771-7477-81-85, a sixth volume having been published in 1793, after the author's death, under the superintendence of Malcolm Laing, Esq.), a work valuable for the numerous facts it contains illustrative of manners and the state of society, which are not to be found in any of our previous general historians, but chiefly meritorious as having
been our first English history compiled upon that plan ; Granger's curious Biographical History of England (1769–75); Dr. Adam Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), and his History of the Progress and the Termination of the Roman Republic (1783), both very able works, the product of independent thought as well as of accurate scholarship ; Watson's History of Philip II. of Spain (1776), designed as a sequel to Robertson's Charles V., the continuation of which to the death of Philip III., begun by Watson, was completed and published in 1783, after his death, by Dr. William Thomson ; Orme's accurate and perspicuous History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan from the year 1745 (1763–78); Holwell's Interesting Historical Events relative to the Provinces of Bengal, and the Empire of Hindostan (1765-67-71); Anderson's Historical and Chronological Deduction of the Origin of Commerce (1764); Tytler Lord Woodhouselee's Plan and Outlines of a Course of Lectures on Universal History (1783). To these titles may be added that of Home Lord Kames's Sketches of the History of Man (1773), which, however, although it presents a highly curious collection of arranged facts, or what the author believed to be such, is in the main rather disquisitional and theoretic than historical in the proper
POLITICAL ECONOMY. THEOLOGY. CRITICISM AND BELLES
BESIDES his metaphysical and historical works, upon which his fame principally rests, the penetrating and original genius of Hume also distinguished itself in another field, that of economical speculation, which had for more than a century before his time to some extent engaged the attention of inquirers in this country. There are many ingenious views upon this subject scattered
this subject scattered up and down in his Political Discourses, and his Moral and Political Essays. Other contributions, not without value, to the science of political economy, for which we are indebted to the middle of the last century, are the Rev. R. Wallace's Essay on the Numbers of Mankind, published at Edinburgh in 1753 ; and Sir Jaines Steuart's Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, which appeared
in 1767. But these and all other preceding works on the subject have been thrown into the shade by Adam Smith's celebrated Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, which, after having been long expected, was at last given to the world in the beginning of the year 1776. It is interesting to learn that this crowning performance of his friend was read by Hume, who died before the close of the year in which it was published ; a letter of his to Smith is preserved, in which, after congratulating him warmly on having acquitted himself so as to relieve the anxiety and fulfil the hopes of his friends, he ends by saying, “ If you were here at my fireside, I should dispute some of your principles. But these, and a hundred other points, are fit only to be discussed in conversation. I hope it will be soon, for I am in a very bad state of health, and cannot afford a long delay.” Smith survived till July, 1790.
A few other names, more or less distinguished in the literature of this time, we must content ourselves with merely mentioning:in theology, Warburton, Lowth, Horsley, Jortin, Madan, Gerard, Blair, Geddes, Lardner, Priestley ; in critical and grammatical disquisition, Harris, Monboddo, Kames, Blair, Jones ; in antiquarian research, Walpole, Hawkins, Burney, Chandler, Barrington, Steevens, Pegge, Farmer, Vallancey, Grose, Gough ; in the department of the belles lettres and miscellaneous speculation, Chesterfield, Hawkesworth, Brown, Jenyns, Bryant, Hurd, Melmoth, Potter, Francklin, &c.
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.
The last notices given under that head brought down our sketch of the progress of the mathematical and physical sciences to the death of Flamsteed in 1719. The successor of Flamsteed, as astronomer royal, was Edmund Halley, who was then in his sixtyfourth year, and who held the appointment till his death in 1742, at the age of eighty-six. “ Among the Englishmen of his day,” says the writer of his life in the Penny Cyclopædia, “ Halley stands second only to Newton, and probably for many years after the publication of the Principia he was the only one who both could and would rightly appreciate the character and coming util
ity of that memorable work. His own attention was too much divided to permit of his being the mathematician which he might have been; but nevertheless his papers on pure mathematics show a genius of the same order of power, though of much less fertility, with that of John Bernouilli.”i Besides numerous papers in the Philosophical Transactions, Halley is the author of a Catalogue of the Southern Stars (Catalogus Stellarum Australium, sive Supplementum Catalogi Tychonici), published in 1679, being the result of his observations made at St. Helena, where he had resided the two preceding years; and of editions of the treatise of Apollonius De Rationis Sectione (from the Arabic), and of the same ancient geometrician's Conic Sections (partly from the Arabic), the former of which was published at Oxford in 1706, the latter in 1710. Halley did not himself understand Arabic, but he was able both to restore what was lost in these works and in many cases to suggest the true meaning and emendation of the text where it was corrupted, merely by his geometrical ingenuity and profound knowledge of their subjects. Besides other astronomical labors, Halley is famous for having been the first person to predict the return of a comet, that known by his name, which he first saw at Paris in December 1680, and which actually reappeared, as he had calculated that it would, in 1758 and 1835. He also suggested the observation of the transit of Venus, with the view of determining the sun's parallax, which was accomplished at St. Helena, by Dr. Maskelyne, in 1761. Out of the province of astronomy he contributed to the progress of science by his construction of the first tables of mortality (from observations made at Breslau), by his improvements in the diving-bell, and by his speculations on the variation of the compass, the theory of the tradewinds, and other subjects.
The third astronomer royal was James Bradley—“the first, perhaps, of all astronomers," as he is called by the writer of his life in the Penny Cyclopædia, “in the union of theoretical sagacity with practical excellence.” Bradley, who was born in 1693, had already in 1728 made his great discovery of the aberration of light, or the apparent alteration in the place of a star arising in part from the motion of light, in part from the change of position in the spectator occasioned by the motion of the earth ; “ the greatest discovery," says the writer just quoted, “ of a man who has, more than any
1 Penny Cyclopædia, xii. 21.