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merous addresses, declared that they would live and die, stand and fall, with the lord-general; and in every part of the country the congregations of the saints magnified the arm of the Lord, which had broken the mighty, that in lieu of the sway of mortal men, the fifth monarchy, the reign of Christ might be established on earth.

It would, however, be unjust to the memory of those who exercised the supreme power after the death of the king, not to acknowledge that there existed among them men capable of wielding with energy the destinies of a great empire. They governed only four years; yet, under their auspices, the conquests of Ireland and Scotland were achieved, and a navy was created, the rival of that of Holland and the terror of the rest of Europe. But there existed an essential error in their form of government. Deliberative assemblies are always slow in their proceedings; yet the pleasure of parliament, as the supreme power, was to be taken on every subject connected with the foreign relations or the internal administration of the country; and hence it happened, that among the immense variety of questions which came before it, those commanded immediate attention which were deemed of immediate necessity; while the others, though often of the highest importance to the national welfare, were first postponed, then neglected, and ultimately forgotten. To this habit of procrastination was perhaps owing the extinction of its authority. It disappointed the hopes of the country, and supplied Cromwell with the most plausible arguments in defence of his conduct.

Besides his elaborate History of England,' Dr Lingard is author of a work evincing great erudition and research, on the Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, published in 1809.

The great epoch of the English Commonwealth, and the struggle by which it was preceded, has been illustrated by MR GEORGE BRODIE'S History of the British Empire from the Accession of Charles I. to the Restoration, four volumes, 1822, and by MR GODWIN'S History of the Commonwealth of England, four volumes, 1824-27. The former work is chiefly devoted to an exposure of the errors and misrepresentations of Hume; while Mr Godwin writes too much in the spirit of a partisan, without the calmness and dignity of the historian. Both works, however, afford new and important facts and illustrations of the momentous period of which they treat.

The History of the Anglo-Saxons, by SIR FRANCIS PALGRAVE, 1831, and the same author's elaborate account of the Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth-Anglo-Saxon Period, are curious and valuable works. The history and literature of the Anglo-Saxons had long been neglected; but some accomplished scholars, following Mr Sharon Turner, have recently mastered the difficulties attendant on such a study, and introduced us more nearly to those founders of the English character and language. MR CONYBEARE'S Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry, the valuable translation of the Saxon Chronicle by MR INGRAM, the REV. MR BOSWORTH's Anglo-Saxon Grammar, and various works by Sir Francis Palgrave and MR THOMAS WRIGHT, have materially

aided in this resuscitation.

MR SOUTHEY'S History of Brazil, three volumes quarto, 1810, and his History of the Peninsular War, two volumes quarto, 1823-28, are proofs of the laureate's untiring industry, and of the easy and admirable English style of which he was so consummate a master. The first is a valuable work, though too diffuse and minutely circumstantial. The Memoirs of Spain during the Reigns of Philip IV. and Charles II., by MR JOHN DUNLOP, 1834; the History of India, by MR JAMES MILL, Six volumes, 1819; and

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The greatest historical name in this period, and our greatest living historian, is HENRY HALLAM,! author of several elaborate works. His first was a View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages, two volumes quarto, 1818, being an account of the progress of Europe from the middle of the fifth to the end of the fifteenth century. In 1827 he published The Constitutional History of England from the Accession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II, also in two volumes; and in 1837-38 an Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, in four volumes. With vast stores of knowledge, and indefatigable application, Mr Hallam possesses a clear and independent judgment, and a style grave and impressive, yet enriched with occasional imagery and rhetorical graces. His introduction to the Literature of Europe' is a great monument of his erudition. His knowledge of the language and literature of each nation is critical and profound, and his opinions are conveyed in a style remarkable for its succinctness! and perspicuous beauty. In his two first works, Mr Hallam's views of political questions are those generally adopted by the Whig party, but are stated with calmness and moderation. He is peculiarly a supporter of principles, not of men, and he judges of characters without party prejudice or passion.

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[Effects of the Feudal System.]

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children of Charlemagne, which we must always keep It is the previous state of society, under the grandfeudal system upon the welfare of mankind. The in mind, if we would appreciate the effects of the institutions of the eleventh century must be compared with those of the ninth, not with the advanced civi lisation of modern times. The state of anarchy which we usually term feudal, was the natural result of a the cause, rather than the effect, of the general estavast and barbarous empire feebly administered, and blishment of feudal tenures. These, by preserving the mutual relations of the whole, kept alive the feel ing of a common country and common duties; and settled, after the lapse of ages, into the free constitu the federal union of Germany. tion of England, the firm monarchy of France, and

by its effects upon national greatness and security, The utility of any form of policy may be estimated upon civil liberty and private rights, upon the tranquillity and order of society, upon the increase and diffusion of wealth, or upon the general tone of moral sentiment and energy. The feudal constitution was little adapted for the defence of a mighty kingdom, far less for schemes of conquest. But as it prevailed alike in several adjacent countries, none had anything to fear from the military superiority of its neighbours. It was this inefficiency of the feudal militia, perhaps, that saved Europe, during the middle ages, from the danger of universal monarchy. In times when princes had little notions of confederacies for mutual protec tion, it is hard to say what might not have been the successes of an Otho, a Frederic, or a Philip Augustus, if they could have wielded the whole force of their subjects whenever their ambition required. If an empire equally extensive with that of Charlemagne,

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and supported by military despotism, had been formed about the twelfth or thirteenth centuries, the seeds of commerce and liberty, just then beginning to shoot, would have perished; and Europe, reduced to a barbarous servitude, might have fallen before the free barbarians of Tartary.

If we look at the feudal polity as a scheme of civil freedom, it bears a noble countenance. To the feudal law it is owing that the very names of right and privilege were not swept away, as in Asia, by the desolating hand of power. The tyranny which, on every favourable moment, was breaking through all barriers, would have rioted without control, if, when the people were poor and disunited, the nobility had not been brave and free. So far as the sphere of feudality extended, it diffused the spirit of liberty and the notions of private right. Every one will acknowledge this who considers the limitations of the services of vassalage, so cautiously marked in those law-books which are the records of customs; the reciprocity of obligation between the lord and his tenant; the consent required in every measure of a legislative or general nature; the security, above all, which every vassal found in the administration of justice by his peers, and even (we may in this sense say) in the trial by combat. The bulk of the people, it is true, were degraded by servitude; but this had no connexion with the feudal tenures.

The peace and good order of society were not promoted by this system. Though private wars did not originate in the feudal customs, it is impossible to doubt that they were perpetuated by so convenient an institution, which indeed owed its universal establishment to no other cause. And as predominant habits of warfare are totally irreconcilable with those of industry, not merely by the immediate works of destruction which render its efforts unavailing, but through that contempt of peaceful occupations which they produce, the feudal system must have been intrinsically adverse to the accumulation of wealth, and the improvement of those arts which mitigate the evils or abridge the labours of mankind.

examine the most authentic sources of information, and to convey a true picture of the times, without prepossession or partiality. He commences with the accession of Alexander III., because it is at that period that our national annals become particularly interesting to the general reader. The first volume of Mr Tytler's history was published in 1828, and a continuation has since appeared at intervals, conducting the narrative to the year 1603, when James VI. ascended the throne of England. The style of the history is plain and perspicuous, with sufficient animation to keep alive the attention of the reader. Mr Tytler has added considerably to the amount and correctness of our knowledge of Scottish history. He has taken up a few doubtful opinions on questions of fact; but the industry and talent he has evinced entitle him to the lasting gratitude of his countrymen. A second edition of this work, up to the period already mentioned, extends to nine volumes.

The History of the War in the Peninsula, and in the South of France, from the year 1807 to the year 1814, in six volumes, 1828-40, by COLONEL W. F. P. NAPIER, is acknowledged to be the most valuable record of that war which England waged against the power of Napoleon. Mr Southey had previously written a history of this period, but it was heavy and uninteresting, and is now rarely met with. Colonel Napier was an actor in the great struggle he records, and peculiarly conversant with the art of war. The most ample testimony has been borne to the accuracy of the historian's statements, and to the diligence and acuteness with which he has collected his materials. Further light has been thrown on the Spanish war, as well as on the whole of our other military operations from 1799 to 1818, by the publication of The Despatches of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington, by LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GURWOOD, twelve volumes, 1836-8. The skill, moderation, and energy of the Duke of Wellington are strikingly illustrated by this compilation. No man ever before,' says a critic in the Edinburgh Review, had the gratification of himself witnessing the formation of such a monument to his glory. His despatcnes will continue to furnish, through every age, lessons of practical wisdom which cannot be too highly prized by public men of every station; whilst they will supply to military commanders, in particular, examples for their guidance which they cannot too carefully study, nor too anxiously endeavour to emulate.'

But, as a school of moral discipline, the feudal institutions were perhaps most to be valued. Society had sunk, for several centuries after the dissolution of the Roman empire, into a condition of utter depravity; where, if any vices could be selected as more eminently characteristic than others, they were falsehood, treachery, and ingratitude. In slowly purging off the lees of this extreme corruption, the feudal spirit exerted its ameliorating influence. Violation of faith stood first in the catalogue of crimes, most repugnant to the very essence of a feudal tenure, Ample materials for a comprehensive and complete most severely and promptly avenged, most branded history of the revolutionary war had been furnished, by general infamy. The feudal law-books breathe or existed in national repositories, and a work of throughout a spirit of honourable obligation. The this kind was undertaken by A. ALISON, Esq., a feudal course of jurisdiction promoted, what trial by gentleman of the Scottish bar. Mr Alison's History peers is peculiarly calculated to promote, a keener of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revofeeling, as well as readier perception, of moral as welllution in 1789 to the Restoration of the Bourbons in as of legal distinctions. In the reciprocal services of lord and vassal, there was ample scope for every magnanimous and disinterested energy. The heart of man, when placed in circumstances that have a tendency to excite them, will seldom be deficient in such sentiments. No occasions could be more favourable than the protection of a faithful supporter, or the defence of a beneficent sovereign, against such powerful aggression as left little prospect except of sharing in his ruin.

1815, was completed in 1842 in ten volumes. Exceptions may be taken to parts of this work as prolix in style and partial in statement. His account of the battle of Waterloo, for example, has been questioned by the highest living authority on that subject; but, taken as a whole, Mr Alison's history is honourable to his talents, no less than his industry. His style is generally clear and animated, and his arrangement of his vast materials orderly, and well adapted for effect.

The following are also recent contributions to this valuable department of our literature:-A History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of AixTYT-la-Chapelle, and a History of the War of the Succes sion in Spain, both by LORD MAHON; a History of China, by the REV. CHARLES GUTZLAFF; a History of the Manners and Customs of Ancient Greece, by

P. F. TYTLER-COLONEL NAPIER, &c. The History of Scotland, by PATRICK FRASER LER, Esq. is an attempt to build the history of that country upon unquestionable muniments.' The author professes to have anxiously endeavoured to

JAMES ST JOHN; a History of Christianity from the Birth of Christ to the Abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire, by the REV. H. H. MILMAN; a History of India (the Hindoo and Mohammedan periods), by the HON. MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE; a History of Modern Greece, by JAMES EMERSON; a History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, by W. H. PRESCOT (a very interesting and valuable work), and a History of the Conquest of Mexico, by the same author; a History of the Christian Church, by DR E. BURTON. The various works written to simplify history, and adapt its details to young and uninstructed readers, far exceed enumeration.


The French have cultivated biography with more diligence than the English; but much has been done of late years to remedy this defect in our national literature. Individual specimens of great value we have long possessed. The lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, and Herbert, by Izaak Walton, are entitled to the highest praise for the fulness of their domestic details, no less than for the fine simplicity and originality of their style. The lives of the poets by Johnson, and the occasional memoirs by Goldsmith, Mallet, and other authors, are either too general or too critical to satisfy the reader as representations of the daily life, habits, and opinions of those whom we venerate or admire. Mason's life of Gray was a vast improvement on former biographies, as the interesting and characteristic correspondence of the poet and his literary diary and journals, bring him personally before us pursuing the silent course of his studies, or mingling occasionally as a retired scholar in the busy world around him. The success of Mason's bold and wise experiment prompted another and more complete work-the life of Dr Johnson by Boswell. JAMES BOSWELL (1740-1795) was by birth and education a gentleman of rank and station-the son of a Scottish judge, and heir to an ancient family and estate. He had studied for the

James Boswell.

bar, but being strongly impressed with admiration of the writings and character of Dr Johnson, he attached himself to the rugged moralist, soothed and flattered his irritability, submitted to his literary

despotism and caprice; and, se lulously cultivating his acquaintance and society whenever his engagements permitted, he took faithful and copious notes of his conversation. In 1773 he accompanied Johnson to the Hebrides, and after the death of the latter, he published, in 1785, his journal of the tour, being a record of each day's occurrences, and of the more striking parts of Johnson's conversation. The work was eminently successful; and in 1791 Boswell gave to the world his full-length portrait of his friend, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., in two volumes quarto. A second edition was published in 1794, and the author was engaged in preparing a third when he died. A great number of editions has since been printed, the latest of which was edited by Mr J. W. Croker. Anecdotes and recollections of Johnson were also published by Mrs Piozzi, Sir John Hawkins, Malone, Miss Reynolds, &c. Baswell had awakened public curiosity, and shown how much wit, wisdom, and sagacity, joined to real worth and benevolence, were concealed under the personal oddities and ungainly exterior of Johnson. Never was there so complete a portraiture of any single individual. The whole time spent by Boswell in the society of his illustrious friend did not amount to more than nine months, yet so diligent was he in writing and inquiring-so thoroughly did he devote himself to his subject, that, notwithstanding his limited opportunities, and his mediocre abilities, he was able to produce what all mankind have agreed in considering the best biography in existence. Though vain, shallow, and conceited, Boswell had taste enough to discern the racy vigour and richness of Johnson's conversation, and he was observant enough to trace the peculiarities of his character and temperament. He forced himself into society, and neglected his family and his profession, to meet || his friend; and he was content to be ridiculed and slighted, so that he could thereby add one page to his journal, or one scrap of writing to his collection. He sometimes sat up three nights in a week to fulfil his task, and hence there is a freshness and truth in his notes and impressions which attest their fidelity. His work introduces us to a great variety of living characters, who speak, walk, and think, as it were, in our presence; and besides furnishing us with useful, affecting, and ennobling lessons of morality, live over again the past for the delight and entertainment of countless generations of readers.

With a pardonable and engaging egotism, which forms an interesting feature in his character, the historian Gibbon had made several sketches of his own life and studies. From these materials, and embodying verbatim the most valuable portions, LORD SHEFFIELD compiled a memoir, which was pub lished, with the miscellaneous works of Gibbon, in 1795. A number of the historian's letters were also included in this collection; but the most important and interesting part of the work is his journal and diary, giving an account of his literary occupations. The calm unshrinking perseverance and untiring energy of Gibbon form a noble example to all literary students; and where he writes of his own personal history and opinions, his lofty philosophical style never forsakes him. Thus he opens his slight memoir in the following strain:

'A lively desire of knowing and of recording our ancestors so generally prevails, that it must depend on the influence of some common principle in the minds of men. We seem to have lived in the persons of our forefathers: it is the labour and reward of vanity to extend the term of this ideal longevity. Our imagination is always active to enlarge the narrow circle in which nature has confined us.

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Fifty or a hundred years may be allotted to an individual, but we step forwards beyond death with such hopes as religion and philosophy will suggest; and we fill up the silent vacancy that precedes our birth, by associating ourselves to the authors of our existence. Our calmer judgment will rather tend to moderate than to suppress the pride of an ancient and worthy race. The satirist may laugh, the philosopher may preach, but reason herself will respect the prejudices and habits which have been consecrated by the experience of mankind.'

Gibbon states, that before entering upon the perusal of a book, he wrote down or considered what he knew of the subject, and afterwards examined how much the author had added to his stock of knowledge. A severe test for some authors! From habits like this sprung the Decline and Fall.

In 1800 DR JAMES CURRIE (1756-1805) published his edition of the works of Burns for the benefit of the poet's family, and enriched it with an excellent memoir, that has served for the groundwork of many subsequent lives of Burns. The candour and ability displayed by Currie have scarcely been sufficiently appreciated. Such a task was new to him, and was beset with difficulties. He believed that Burns's misfortunes arose chiefly from his errors he lived at a time when this impression was strongly prevalent-yet he touched on the subject of the poet's frailties with delicacy and tenderness. He estimated his genius highly as a great poet, without reference to his personal position, and thus in some measure anticipated the more unequivocal award of posterity. His remarks on Scottish poetry, and on the condition of the Scottish peasantry, appear now somewhat prolix and affected; but at the time they were written, they tended to interest and inform the English reader, and to forward the author's benevolent object in extending the sale of the poet's works. Memoirs of Burns have since been written by Mr Lockhart, Mr Allan Cunningham, and various other authors, who have added additional facts to those related by Currie, and new critical disquisitions on the character and genius of Burns. It cannot be said, however, that any of the number have composed a more able, luminous, or eloquent biography than that of the original editor.

After the death of Cowper in 1800, every poctical reader was anxious to learn the personal history and misfortunes of a poet who had afforded such exquisite glimpses of his own life and habits, and the amiable traits of whose character shone so conspicuously in his verse. His letters and manuscripts were placed at the disposal of Hayley, whose talents as a poet were then greatly overrated, but who had personally known Cowper. Accordingly, in 1803, Hayley published memoirs of the poet and his correspondence in four volumes. The work was a valuable contribution to English biography. The inimitable letters of Cowper were themselves a treasure beyond price; and Hayley's prose, though often poor enough, was better than his poetry. What the 'hermit of Eartham' left undone has since been supplied by Southey, who in 1835 gave the world an edition of Cowper in fifteen volumes, about three of which are filled with a life and notes. The lives of both Hayley and Southey are written in the style of Mason's memoir, letters being freely interspersed throughout the narrative. Of a similar description, but not to be compared with these in point of interest or execution, is the life of Dr Beattie, by Sir William Forbes, published in 1806, in two volumes.

In the same year LORD HOLLAND published an Account of the Life and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega, the celebrated Spanish dramatist. De Vega

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was one of the most fertile writers upon record: his miscellaneous works fill twenty-two quarto volumes, and his dramas twenty-five volumes. He died in 1635, aged seventy-three. His fame has been eclipsed by abler Spanish writers, but De Vega gave a great impulse to the literature of his nation, and is considered the parent of the continental drama. The amiable and accomplished nobleman who recorded the life of this Spanish prodigy has himself paid the debt of nature; he died at Holland house, October 23, 1840, aged sixty-seven. Lord Holland was a generous patron of literature and art. Holland house was but another name for refined hospitality and social freedom, in which men of all shades of opinion participated. As a literary man, the noble lord has left few or no memorials that will survive; but he will long be remembered as a generous-hearted English nobleman, who, with princely munificence and varied accomplishments, ever felt a strong interest in the welfare of the great mass of the people; who was an intrepid advocate of popular rights in the most difficult and trying times; and who, amidst all his courtesy and hospitality, held fast his integrity and consistency to the last.

The Life of Nelson, by SOUTHEY, published in two small volumes (since compressed into one) in 1813, rose into instant and universal favour, and may be considered as one of our standard popular biographies. Its merit consists in the clearness and beautiful simplicity of its style, and its lucid arrangement of facts, omitting all that is unimportant or strictly technical. Mr Southey afterwards published a Life of Wesley, the celebrated founder of the Methodists, in which he evinces a minute acquaintance with the religious controversies and publications of that period, joined to the art of the biographer, in giving prominence and effect to his delineations. His sketches of field-preaching and lay preachers present some curious and interesting pictures of human nature under strong excitement. The same author contributed a series of lives of British admirals to the Cabinet Cyclopædia, edited by Dr Lardner.


The most valuable historical biography of this period is the Life of John Knox, by DR THOMAS M CRIE (1772-1835), a Scottish minister. M'Crie had a warm sympathy with the sentiments and opinions of his hero; and on every point of his history he possessed the most complete information. He devoted himself to his task as to a great Christian duty, and not only gave a complete account of the principal events of Knox's life, his sentiments, writings, and exertions in the cause of religion and liberty,' but illustrated, with masterly ability, the whole contemporaneous history of Scotland. Men may differ as to the views taken by Dr M'Crie of some of those subjects, but there can be no variety of opinion as to the talents and learning he displayed. Following up his historical and theological retrospect, the same author afterwards published a life of Andrew Melville, but the subject is less interesting than that of his first biography. He wrote also memoirs of Veitch and Brysson (Scottish ministers, and supporters of the Covenant), and histories of the Reformation in Italy and in Spain. Dr M'Crie published, in 1817, a series of papers in the Edinburgh Christian Instructor, containing a vindication of the Covenanters from the distorted view which he believed Sir Walter Scott to have given of them in his tale of Old Mortality. Sir Walter replied anonymously, by reviewing his own work in the Quarterly Review! There were faults and absurdities on the side both of the Covenanters and the royalists, but the cavalier predilections of the great novelist

certainly led him to look with more regard on the latter-heartless and cruel as they were-than on the poor persecuted peasants.

The general demand for biographical composition tempted some of our most popular original writers to embark in this delightful department of literature. Southey, as we have seen, was early in the field; and his more distinguished poetical contemporaries, Scott, Moore, and Campbell, also joined. The first, besides his admirable memoirs of Dryden and Swift, prefixed to their works, contributed a series of lives of the English novelists to an edition of their works published by Ballantyne, which he executed with great taste, candour, and discrimination. He afterwards undertook a life of Napoleon Bonaparte, which was at first intended as a counterpart to Southey's Life of Nelson, but ultimately swelled out into nine volumes. The hurried composition of this work, and the habits of the author, accustomed to the dazzling creations of fiction, rather than the sober plodding of historical inquiry and calm investigation, led to many errors and imperfections. It abounds in striking and eloquent passages; the battles of Napoleon are described with great clearness and animation; and the view taken of his character and talents is, on the whole, just and impartial, very different from the manner in which Scott had alluded to Napoleon in his 'Vision of Don Roderick.' The great diffuseness of the style, however, and the want of philosophical analysis, render the life of Napoleon more a brilliant chronicle of scenes and events than a historical memoir worthy the genius of its author.

manuscript is not to be regretted, for much of it could never have been published, and all that was valuable was repeated in the journals and memo. randum-books. Mr Moore's Notices' are written with taste and modesty, and in very pure and unaffected English. As an editor he preserved too much of what was worthless and unimportant; as a biographer he was too indulgent to the faults of his hero; yet who could have wished a friend to dwell on the errors of Byron?

MR CAMPBELL, besides the biographies in his Specimens of the Poets, has published a Life of Mrs Siddons, the distinguished actress, and a Life of Petrarch. The latter is homely and earnest, though on a romantic and fanciful subject. There is a reality about Campbell's biographies quite distinct from what might be expected to emanate from the imaginative poet.

The lives of Burke and Goldsmith, in two volumes each, by MR JAMES PRIOR, are examples of patient diligence and research, prompted by national feelings and admiration. Goldsmith had been dead half a century before the inquiries of his countryman and biographer began, yet he has collected a vast number of new facts, and placed the amiable and amusing poet in full length and in full dress (quoting even his tailors' bills) before the public.

Amongst other additions to our standard biography may be mentioned the Life of Lord Clive, by SIR JOHN MALCOLM; and the Life of Lord Clarendon, by MR T. H. LISTER. The Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, by MR PATRICK FRASER TYTLER (published in one volume in the Edinburgh Cabinet Library), is also valuable for its able defence of that adventurous and interesting personage, and for its careful digest of

access to all public documents and libraries is now easily obtained, and there is no lack of desire on the part of authors to prosecute, or of the public to reward these researches. A Life of Lord William Russell, by LORD JOHN RUSSELL, is enriched with information from the family papers at Woburn Abbey; and from a similarly authentic private source, LORD NUGENT has written Memoirs of Hampden. The Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, by the REV. J. SMITH, records the successful career of the secretary to the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles II. and James II., and comprises a Diary kept by Pepys for about ten years, which is one of the most curiously minute and gossiping journals in the lan guage.

MR MOORE has published a Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1825; Notices of the Life of Lord Byron, 1830; and Memoirs of Lord Edward Fitz-state papers and contemporaneous events. Free gerald, 1831. The first of these works is the most valuable; the second the most interesting. The 'Life of Byron,' by its intimate connexion with recent events and living persons, was a duty of very delicate and difficult performance. This was farther increased by the freedom and licentiousness of the poet's opinions and conduct, and by the versatility or mobility of his mind, which changed with every passing impulse and impression. As well,' says Mr Moore, from the precipitance with which he gave way to every impulse, as from the passion he had for recording his own impressions, all those heteroge. neous thoughts, fantasies, and desires that, in other men's minds, "come like shadows, so depart," were by him fixed and embodied as they presented themselves, and at once taking a shape cognizable by public opinion, either in his actions or his words, in the hasty letter of the moment, or the poem for all time, laid open such a range of vulnerable points before his judges, as no one individual ever before, of himself, presented.' Byron left ample materials for his biographer. His absence from England, and his desire to keep the minds of the English public for ever occupied about him -if not with his merits, with his faults; if not in applauding, in blaming him,' led him to maintain a regular correspondence with Mr Moore and his publisher Mr Murray. He also kept a journal, and recorded memoranda of his opinions, his reading, &c. something in the style of Burns. His letters are rich and varied, but too often display an affectation of wit and smartness, and a still worse ambition of appearing more profligate than he was in reality. Byron had written memoirs of his own life, which he presented to Mr Moore, and which were placed by the latter at the disposal of Mrs Leigh, the noble poet's sister and executor, but which they, from a sense of what they thought due to his memory, consigned to the flames. The loss of the

While the most careful investigation is directed towards our classic authors-Shakspeare, Milton, Spenser, Chaucer, &c. forming each the subject of numerous memoirs-scarcely a person of the least note has been suffered to depart without the honours of biography. The present century has amply atoned for any want of curiosity on the part of former generations, and there is some danger that this taste or passion may be carried too far. Memoirs of persons of quality-of wits, dramatists, artists, and actors, appear every season. Authors have be come as familiar to us as our personal associates. Shy retired men like Charles Lamb, and dreamy re cluses like Coleridge, have been portrayed in all their strength and weakness. We have lives of Shelley, of Keats, Hazlitt, Hannah More, Mrs Hemans, Mrs Maclean (L. E. L.), of James Smith (one of the authors of The Rejected Addresses'), of Monk Lewis, Hayley, and many authors of less distinction. In this influx of biographies worthless materials are often elevated for a day, and the gratification of a prurient curiosity or idle love of gossip is more aimed at than literary excellence or sound instruction. The error, however, is one on the right

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