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THE

CRITICAL REVIEW.

For the Month of July, 1777.

IN

Tbe History of Great Britain, from the firf Invasion of it by the

Romans under Julius Cæsar. Written on a new Plan. By Robert Henry, D.D. Vol. III. 410. il. 15. boards. Cadell. N the volume before us, Dr. Henry continues the very

extensive plan of inquiry he has undertaken. The portion of history which now attracts his attention extends from the invasion of the duke of Normandy to the death of king John. During this ara, he records the civil and military transactions of Great Britain ; he delineates its state with regard to religion; he remarks the variations which took place in our constitution, government, and laws; the advances of learning and the arts; the Auctuations of commerce ; and the progression of manners. The period and the subjects are interesting and important; and, while they excite hope and curiofity, afford the most ample scope for ingenuity and learning.

When we offered our remarks on the former volumes of this work, we expressed a wish, that the author as he ad. vanced might exert an equal industry and research ; and, it is with pain, we observe, that in proportion as his narration and inquiries are applied to cultivated times, his diligence and labour seem to relax. The courage, which ought to grow in conflict, appears to forsake him ; and we can perceive, that he is about to yield under the greatness of his task.

After the praise we have formerly bestowed, this censure will require a particular illustration. Some striking proofs of the author's carelessness and neglect, will be neceffary to faVol. XLIV. July, 1777.

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tisfy tisfy the reader, that it is no idle affertion. These, it is not difficult to find ; and, we shall endeavour to hold them out with the delicacy that is due to a writer, whose intentions deserve commendation.

The opinion, that duke William atchieved a conquest over the laws and the people of England, though feebly supported, and in opposition to the testimonies of ancient historians, is adopted without hesitation by Dr. Henry. Nor has he at. tempted to justify himself by argument, The liberal and manly investigation of this subject by fir Matthew Hale, ought to have attracted his particular attention. He fhould have known, that this learned judge has fapped the foundations of this fancy; and that, of late, it has received its deathwound from the pen of fir William Blackstone.

He affirms-that duke William had an army which consisted chiefly of his English subjects *; a certain proof that many Englishmen held lands of him by knight-service ; yet he con. tends, that all the lands of England had been given to the Normans, He affirms, that duke William had an army of ad. venturers or mercenaries † ; yet he contends, that Stephen was the first king of England who had mercenaries I. It is difficult to conceive contradictions so violent. Of the Brabanzons, or mercenaries, he describes the extirpation in the year 1182; yệt he informs us, that king John had Brabanzons. or mercenaries in the years 1272, 1213, and 1 215 5.

The introduction of the inftitutions of chivalry into England is; here considered i, by the author as the work of the Normaas IL 1: but, in a former volume of his History, he treated them as familiar to the Anglo-Saxons, and with a reference to the Anglo-Saxon manners 7. In one passage he mounts up the number of knights« fees in England to 60,215 ; in another he reduces them to 60,000 **; and, he is equally positive in both these assertions. He makes William Rufus-swear by the countenance of St. Luke, and this he conceives was his usual oath ft. But the expression per vultum de Luca in the old historians does not mean the face of St. Luke the evangelist. It was in allusion to an ancient figure of Christ at Lucca in Tuscany, and means the face of Christ; which was, in reality, the usual oath of Rufus 11. This circumstance ought not to

* Page 17.
+ Page 25.

I Page 471. Page 176, 180, 182, 183, 472, || Page 558. Vol. II, p.568. ** Page 333, 470.

it Page 205. #1 Du Fresné, voc, Vultus de Luca.

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have escaped an author, who professes to have studied carefully our historians.

He lays it down as a certain pofition that the changes intro. duced into the ranks of men on the conquest were rather nominal than' real; yet the feudal law he says was then in. troduced ; and, of this law, it was the nature to alter all the usual forms and orders of society. He even allows that the feudal inftitutions were a system of oppreffion; and he does not fcruple to admit that the Anglo Saxon times were friendly to liberty; yet he is still assured and firm in conceiving that the changes of the Norman invasion were rather nominal than real *

This has to us the appearance, not merely of con. fusion, but of the most direct inconsistency.

He speaks of ALLODIAL tenures f. Yet there is nothing more certainly known, than that allodium is exadly the reverse of tenure.

The former term is constantly employed to denote poffefsions which were free from service; the latter is used invariably to express lands which were held under services. The allodial proprietor had no fuperior ; the tenant by a tenure was a vaffal.

Under the appellation baron, in its most extensive fenfe, he comprehends all the tenants who held of the king in capite 1. A tenant, of consequence, of the king who had a single knight's-fee, must have been a baron. Of this reasoning it is a result, that men in the rank of common foldiers, serjeants, and quarter-masters, might have been peers of the realm ; for, in general, men of this condition had a greater proportion of land than a knight's fee.

But, it is to be confessed, that in a more limited sensa, he has acknowledged, that barons were properly the greater varsals of the crown, who held immediately of the king an entire barony, confisting of thirteen knights-fees, and the third part of a knights-fee, $. Here, however, he is equally reprehensible. The idea, that a barony consisted of thirteen knights-fees and the third part of a knights-fee is a chimera, and does not, in any degree correspond with history. We can inform him, that the barony of Berkley-castle confifted of five knights-fees; the barony of earl Reginald of two hundred and fifteen knights-fees, and a third part of a fee; the barony of the earl of Arundel, of fourscore and four fees and a half; and the barony of Percy of thirty knightsfees ll. Instances of this kind might be multiplied to infinity, and cannot be reconciled with his rule. Nor can we

• Page 324, 328, 338. † Page 337. | Page 328. § Ibid. # Madox on Land-Baronies.

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approve

approve of his adopting a notion, of which the wildness is so great, that it is impoffible for a man of penetration to look even tranfiently into our history without perceiving it.

When our historian treats of homage, he neglects to mention the different forms of it which prevailed *. Of fealty he has given no account. He says nothing of the fine of alienation, and nothing of. forfeiture in the enumeration he has made of the feudal perquisites; and, in opposition to every writer who has turned his attention to fiefs, he ventures to consider scutages as a feudal incident f. The foutage, however, was an express deviation from the regular spirit of fiefs, and was not known or heard of till the feudal system was deep in its decline. Wardships, marriage, reliefs, and aids, he treats as importations from Normandy by Duke William ; yet thefe fruits of tenure appear among the Anglo-Saxons, and the evidence of their existence in early times of our history, has been repeatedly held out to the public I.

To an ignorant reader, the following passage will have the appearance of research and learning. We are told by a contemporary author, who was present at Meslina in Sicily, with Richard I. in his way to the Holy Land, that the people of that city were filled with admiration at the number, beauty, and magnitude, of the ships of which that monarch's fleet was composed; and declared, that so fine a feet had never been seen, and probably never would be seen in the harbour of Messina. This was indeed a very gallant fleet. It confifted of thirteen ships of the largest kind, called dromones, one hundred and fifty of the second rate, called bulæ ; fifty-three galleys, besides a great number of tenders. Such a feet would make no contemptible appearance even in modern times so

This is a magnificent manner of describing the fleet of Richard; but not to insist on this circumstance, what are we to conceive of the author's knowledge in the maritime affairs of the inidule times ? In fact, in the age to which he refers, the galley was the ship of war ll; and the largest vessels were neither the drumunes nor the bulja, but the uljeria q. There is allo evidence, that the bulja, notwithstanding what our author ailerts, were superior in fize to the dromones ** # Page 332

t Page 335. | See the case of tenures upon the commission of defective titles. Whitaker's Hift. of Manchester, &c. § Page 537 !! P. Daniel.

Du Fresne. ** Naves PERGRANDES quas vocant bussas, is the language of än old writer in Spelman ; and Longæ naves funt quas dromones vocamus, are the words of an, author cired by Du Fresne.

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In treating of sports during the period of history to which his book refers, he mentions the game called the Quintain ; and this he confiders as peculiar to burgesses and yeomen. This is an unfortunate opinion. For in old treatises this amusement is represented as fashionable among knights and men of rank *. Of the jeu de paume à cheval, and the other martial exercises, he is altogether filent. Yet the nature of his plan required him to dwell on these particulars, and to fupply the omiffions of the general historian.

These remarks have a reference to the understanding and the learning of the author. The following observation will affect the integrity which is expected from an historian.

To cite and appeal to as authorities, books or evidence which he has not seen, and could not understand if they had been submitted to his inspection, is, in any writer, a difingenuity so glaring, that no proper apology can be offered for it.--The book of Domesday has not yet been published; though the generosity of government could not offer

more respectable present to the studious. therefore, an historical monument which a writer can confult in his closet. And, from the form and nature of the characters in which it is written, if it were to be confulted, an alliduous application and a length of time would be neceffary to acquire the capacity of comprehending it. From the face, notwithstanding, of the history before us it appears, that this monument is perfeâly familiar to the author, as direct and frequent appeals are made to it. From this conduct, some readers may conclude that little reliance is to be placed on the other authorities which crowd his page. –This compendious method of appearing learned, is indeed but too common in the present age.

It is now fit, that we exhibit to our readers some specimens of this volume, from which they may form an opinion of the execution and abilities of the writer.

In the chapter, which records the history of learning in Great Britain, there is the following paffage concerning astrology

« None of the mathematical sciences was cultivated with fo moch diligence, in this period, as the fallacious one of judicial astrology. None indeed were honoured with the name of mathematicians but altrologers, who were believed by many to por. fefs the precious secret of reading the fates of kingdoms, the

See Differt. fur l'hist. de St. Louis,

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