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celebrated for his eloquence, and it fared with the Stuarts, who, we for his skill in the laws of the re- imagine with this ingenious author, public.
erred not so much in extending the They fent the young men of prerogative, as in not having had quality to Athens, accompanied with fagacity enough to see that they had a governor."
fallen in the times, when, from the opinions and fashions of the age, it
behoved them to lacken and remit The History of England, from the of the authority exercised by their
invasion of Julius Cæfar to the predecessors. accesion of Henry VII.
The second work, which appearvols. By David Hume. Printed ed, certainly shewed that the Tu. for A. Millar.
dors had not left it in the
of any other family to carry the preUR writers had commonly fo rogative higher than they had done.
ill succeeded in history, the They left it to their successors, Italians and even the French had so adorned and supported with every long continued our acknowledged sanction, which custom, and which, superiors, that ii was almofi feared in many cases, legal institution could that the British genius, which had give it. so happily displayed itself in every The third part seems to evince other kind of writing, and had that this pitch, which the prerogagained the prize in most, yet could tive had attained, was not the effect not enter the lists in this. The his- of the abilities, or the violence of torical work Mr. Hume first pub- this or that family, so much as the lished, discharged our country from natural course of things. this opprobrium.
If the periods of the history first This very ingenious and elegant published interested our paslions writer is certainly a very profound more, the curiosity of the learned thinker. The idea of the growth, will be more gratified in that now as I may call it, of our present con- before us. It will be curious to obftitution seems to be the principle of serve from what a strange chaos of the whole work compleated by the liberty and tyranny, of anarchy and part now published, which is writ- order, the constitution, we are now ten in the same bold masterly man- blessed with, has at length arisen: ner as the two formerly published; in his appendixes is much curious and though in point of time it pre- matter of some things, as the odd cedes them, is possibly, in reason, but fines paid the crown for protection a consequence of the other two; and to great men in palpable injustices, the three parts, we imagine, may which the author might think did with propriety enough to read in the not suit the dignity of history, and order the ingenious author has chosen has therefore thrown them into an to publish them.
appendix. Yet, with deference to It is natural that the line which fo learned and sensible a writer, we is always kept to its utmost length, think some matters, as the history must break at laft; and probably in of the Wittangemot, might in his its recoil hurt them who endeavour hands have appeared to advantage to keep it at full ftretch; and so in the text, and have relieved the
reader is a period, where the reci- manor that held of the archbishop of tal of uninteresting facts seems to Canterbury; and Becket, without demand some argumentative or dif- regard to William's right, presentcussive matter to engage the atten. ed, on a new and illegal pretext tion, and so perhaps might the origin one Laurence to that living, who of the feudal law.
was violently expelled by Eynsford. No man perhaps has come nearer The primate making himself, as was to that fo requisite and fo rare a usual in spiritual courts, both judge quality in an historian of unpreju- and party, issued out, in a summary diced partiality. As a strong in- manner, the fentence of excommuftance of this, as well as a specimen nication against Eynsford, who comof our author's fine writing, we in- plained to the king, that he, who fert the dispute of Henry II. with held in capite of the crown, should, Thomas a Becket.
contrary to the practice established “ Becket waited not till Henry by the Conqueror, and maintained fhould commence those projects a ever since by his fucceffors, be subgainst the ecclefiaftical power, which, jected to that terrible sentence, he knew, had been formed by that without the previous consent of the prince: he was himself the aggref- fovereign. Henry, who had now for; and endeavoured to over-awe broke off all personal intercourse the king by the intrepidity and bold- with Becket, sent him, by a mefness of his enterprizes. He summon- 'ferger, his orders to absolve Eynsed the earl of Clare to surrender ford; but, received for anfwer, that the barony of Tunbridge, which, it belonged not to the king to inever since the conquest, had remain- form him whom he should absolve ed in the family of that nobleman, and whom excommunicate: and but which, as it had formerly be- it was not till after many remonlonged to the fee of Canterbury, the Itrances and menaces, that Becket, primate pretended his predecessors though with the worst grace imagiwere prohibited by the canons to nable, was induced to comply with alienate. The earl of Clare, be the royal mandate. fides the lustre which he derived Henry, tho' he found himself from the greatness of his own birth, thus grievously mistaken in the chaand the extent of his possessions, racter of the person whom he had was allied to all the chief families promoted to the primacy, determinin the kingdom ; his sister, who was ed not to defift from his former ina celebrated beauty had farther ex- tention of retrenching clerical usurtended his credit among the nobili- pations. He was entirely master of ty, and was even supposed to have his extensive dominions: the prugained the king's affections; and dence and vigour of his governBecket could not better discover, ment, attended with perpetual fucthan by attacking so powerful an cess, had railed his character above interest, his resolution to maintain that of any of his predecessors : with vigour the rights, real or pre- the papacy was weakened by a tended, of his fee.
fchifm, which divided all Europe : William de Eynsford, a milita- and he rightly judged, that, if the ry tenant of the crown, was patron present favourable opportunity were of a living, which belonged to a neglected, the crown muft, from the
prevalent fuperfition of the people, culcated the necessity of penance as be in danger of falling into an en an atonement for sin; and having tire subordination under the mitre. again introduced the practice of
The union of the civil and ec- paying them large sums as a comclefiaftical
powers serves extremely, mutation, or species of atonement, in
government, to for the remission of these penances, the maintenance of peace and or the fins of the people, by these der ; and prevents those mutual in- means, had become a revenue to croachments, which, as there can the priests; and the king computed be no ultimate judge between them, that, by this invention alone, they are often attended with the most levied more money from his subdangerous consequences. Whether jects, than flowed, by all the funds the supreme magistrate, who unites and taxes, into the royal exchethese powers, receive the appella- quer. That he might ease his sub
tion of prince or prelate, is not jećts of fo heavy and arbitrary an : material : the superior weight, which impofition, Henry required, that a temporal interests commonly bear civil officer of his appointment in the apprehensions of men above should be present in all ecclesiastical spiritual, renders the civil part of courts, and should, for the future, his character most prevalent; and give his consent to every composition in time prevents those gross impos- which was made with finners for their tures and bigotted perfecutions, spiritual offences. which, in all false religions, are the The ecclesiastics in that age, chief foundation of clerical autho- had renounced all immediate suborrity. But during the progress of dinasion to the magistrate : they ecclesiastical usurpations, the state, openly pretended to an exemption, by the resistance of the civil magif- in criminal accusations from a trial trate, is naturally thrown into con before courts of justice ; and were vulfions, and it behoves the prince, gradually intoducing a like exempboth for his own interest, and for tion in civil causes : fpiritual penalthat of the public, to provide in ties alone could be inflicted on their time sufficient barriers againit fo offences : and as the clergy had exdangerous and infidibus a rival. tremely multiplied in England, and This precaution had been hitherto many of them were consequently much neglected in England, as well of very low characters, crimes of as in other catholic countries; and the deepest dye, murders, robberies, affairs at last seemed to have come adulteries, rapes, were daily comto a dangerous crisis ; a sovereign mitted with impunity by the eccleof the greatest abilities was now on fiaftics. It had been found, for inthe throne: a prelate of the most stance, by enquiry, that no less than inflexible and intrepid character was an hundred murders had, since the possessed of the primacy: the con- king's accession, been perpetrated tending powers appeared to be armed by men of that profeffion, who had with their full force, and it was, na
never been called to
an account tural to expect some extraordinary for these offences; and holy orevent to result from their rencounter. ders were become a full protec
Among their other inventions to tion for all enormities. A clerk obtain money, the clergy had in- in Worceftershire having debauch
ed a gentleman's daughter, had, visible marks of his displeasure: he at this time, proceeded to mur- required the primate instantly to furder the father; and the general in- render the honours and castles of Eye dignation against this crime, moved and Berkham : the bishops were the king to attempt the remedy of terrified, and expected still farther an abuse which was become so pal- effects of his resentment. Becket pable, and to require that the clerk alone was inflexible; and nothing should be delivered up, and receive but the interposition of the pope's condign punishment from the ma- legate, Philip, abbot of Eleemofina, giftrate. Becket insisted on the who dreaded a breach with fo powprivileges of the church; confined erful a prince at so unseasonable a the criminal to the bishop's prison, juncture, could have prevailed on left he fhould be seized by the him to retract the faving clause, and king's officers; maintained that no give a general and absolute progreater punishment could be inflict. mise of observing the ancient cufed on him than degradation : and when the king demanded, that, But Henry was not content with immediately after he was degraded, a declaration in these general terms : he should be tried by the civil power, he resolved, ere it was too late, to the primate asserted, that it was ini- define exprefly those customs, with quitous to try a man twice upon the which he required compliance, and fame accusation, and for the same to put a stop to clerical usurpations crime.
before they were fully consolidated, Henry, laying hold of fo favour- and could plead antiquity, as they able a cause, refoved to push the already did a facred authority in clergy with regard to all their pri- their favour, The claims of the vileges, which they had raised to an church werè open and visible. After enormous height, and to determine a gradual and insensible progress at once those controversies, which through many centuries, the mask daily multiplied, between the civil had at last been taken off, and leand ecclefiaftical jurisdictions. He veral ecclefiaftical councils, by their fummoned an affembly of all the canons, which were pretended to prelates of England; and he put to be irrevocable and infallible, had them this concise and decisive ques- positively defined those privileges tion, whether or not they were and immunities, which gave such willing to submit to the ancient general offence, and appeared fo laws and customs of the kingdom? dangerous, to the civil magistrate. The bishops unanimously replied. Henry therefore deemed it neceffary that they were willing, faving their to define with the same precision own order; a device by which they the limits of the civil power; to thought to elude the present urgency oppose his legal customs to their diof the king's demand, and yet re vine ordinances ; to determine the serve to themselves, on a favourable exact boundaries of the rival jurifopportunity, the power of resuming dictions; and for this purpose, he all their paft pretensions. The summoned a general council of the king was sensible of the artifice, and nobility and prelates at Clarendon, was provoked to the highest indig- to whom he submitted this great nation. He left the aftembly, with and important question.”
in the narrow limits of this or An hiflorical and critical enquiry that party; and yet poslibly. we
into the evidences produced by the must so far, agree with the author earls of Murray and Morton again before us, as to suspect that they Mary queen of Scits, with an ex no: quite indifferent in the amination of the reverend Dr. question of Mary's guilt or innoRobertson's differtation, and Mr. cence, and have not here perhaps Hume's hiftory with respect to that observed that exact impartiality, evidence.
which we thought one of the va
luable and uncommon qualities of I
F no prince ever suffered more, these two able and elegant his
than Mary queen of Scots did torians. during her life from the illiberal The discerning criticism of Mr. violence of her subjects, she has Goodall had thrown new light the recompence, such as it is, of on the letters supposed to have having always found faithful and been written by queen Mary to zealous friends. And ages after Bothwell ; there was such apparent her enemie: had spent their ma. reason and so critical a knowledge lice, the does want able in Mr, Goodall's decision of this champions to defend her character. question, that certainly it behoved One piece of her good fortune was those, who rejected it, to give reserved for this age, when time, good reasons for their so doing, experience, and a succession of good as it would have been an unparprinces, and, most of all, the virtues donable inattention to have taken of a king, a native of the coun no notice of an opinion so well try he governs, has united all seats supported as that of Mr. Goodall's and all parties, religious and civil,' is. Mr. Hume and Mr. Robertson in the one wish of continuing the were neither of them capable of government in him and his family. fuch an intention. They both give And Mary's story, which was us their reason for dissenting. The party question, now, that all par- latter gentleman has thought the ties are subsided, may hope as subject worthy of a particular and candid an hearing almost as that express differtation. The drift of of Christina of Sweden, or any the work now before us it to Thew, foreign prince who never yet en
that the reasons and arguments gaged our paffions.
of the two elegant historians are As the seamen observe a swell not conclusive, and to replace the in the waters, even after the storm question in that point of view, in is totally subfided, so tho' our palli. which Mr. Goodall thought to ons are not rouzed at present, there have fixed it. But to use our austill remains a little inclination to thor's own words: this or that opinion. The two
" A late writer, Mr. Walter respectable names car author Goodall, keeper of the advocates uses in his title page, are not library at Edinburgh, who has more efteemed as good writers made it his study to collect mathan good citizens. They are both terials for the history of those men of too enlarged understand. times, a few years ago published ings to be actually circumscribed a critical examinacion of the letVOL. IV.