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that supposition, the fraudulent omission must have been a contrivance aforethought,' carried on for years, persisted in at the approach of death, and left, as the dying declaration of a pious monarch, in a state calculated to impose a falsehood upon posterity.
After sketching the above, we have been convinced, by a reperusal of the note of Mr Laing * on this subject, that if he had employed his great abilities as much in unfolding facts as in ascertaining them, nothing could have been written for the Icon, or ought to have been written against it, since that deci sive note. His merit, as a critical inquirer into history, an en lightened collector of materials, and a sagacious judge of evidence, has never been surpassed. If any man believes the innocence of Queen Mary, after an impartial and dispassionate perusal of Mr Laing's examination of her case, the state of such a man's mind would be a subject worthy of much consideration by a philosophical observer of human nature. In spite of his ardent love of liberty, no man has yet presumed to charge him with the slightest sacrifice of historical integrity to his zeal. That he never perfectly attained the art of full, clear, and easy narrative, was owing to the peculiar style of those writers who were popular in his youth, and may be mentioned as a remarkable instance of the disproportion of particular talents to general vigour of mind.
Having frequently mentioned the edition of Clarendon which has just been published at Oxford, we may take this opportunity of saying a few words on it. Nothing, however, need be added on the merit of the history itself, which has long undergone the irrevocable judgment of time, and which most men now agree in considering as one of the noblest historical works of the English nation.
The University of Oxford has a claim to public gratitude for the recent editions of Burnett and Clarendon. That they published both, and that Burnett should be the first, are indications of a liberal spirit. That the work of the Whig Bishop should, a century after his death, issue from the Clarendon press, under the superintendence of one of the most accomplished and venerable persons of the University, is a consolatory proof of the final triumph of justice over the most deep-rooted prejudice. The present edition of Clarendon is the first correct and com
*Hist. of Scot.
plete publication of his history. The passages omitted, and the words altered, in the original and all succeeding editions, are now for the first time laid before the public. It does not indeed appear why the learned editor has retained the defective and erroneous text of former editions, and placed the genuine language of Lord Clarendon in the margin. The reverse order would have been perhaps more convenient. The suppressions and alterations are neither few nor inconsiderable. Many of them no doubt are trivial. Some of them, such as the very severe description of Lord Arundel, were omitted as needlessly offensive, though it affords one of the best samples of the historian's power and will to be sarcastic. Even in these cases the liberty taken by the original editors would have been better justified if it had been frankly avowed. It is not easy to reconcile even such variations with the language of Lord Rochester in the Preface to the first edition. They who put forth this history DARE ❝ not take upon them to make any alterations in a work of this kind, solemnly left with them to be published!' But many of these variations have evidently a political purpose, The frequent substitution, for example, in the printed edition, of the hostile term Papist,' for the respectful appellation of Catholic' used in Clarendon's MS., cannot have been accidental. Some of the suppressions arising from civility are not justifiable; such, for instance, as the insinuation of corruption against Lord Conway in the Scotch war,+ which would have afforded a means of trying the historian's general justice; and the passage where Lord Clarendon said in his MS. of the Scotch, that their whole religion consisted in a detestation of Popery,' which the editors changed into a great part of their religion,' thereby depriving the reader of that antidote against the writer's censure in other instances, which so egregious an exaggeration would have afforded.
But instead of minutely pursuing these variations, we shall content ourselves with two conspicuous instances of the liberty with which Lord Rochester treated his father's work, and of the manifest bias under which he and his colleagues acted. Both are exemplified, by a comparison of the character of General Monk, as it stood in the MS. of Clarendon, and as it was shown to the world in the printed text of his History.
* Lord Rochester, Bishop Sprat, and Dean Aldrich.
‡ Clar, I. 187.
Character of Monk.
And his answer to the Lord of Or mond was so rough and doubtfull, having had no other education but Dutch and Devonshire, that he thought not fit to trust him.
Cromwell prevailed with Monk, for his liberty and money, which he loved heartily, to engage himself again in the war of Ireland,
He himself had no fumes of religion to turn his head, nor any credit with, or dependance upon, any who were swayed by those trances, only he was cursed, after a long familiarity, to marry a woman of the lowest extraction, the least wit, and less beauty; who, taking no care for any other part of herself, had deposited her soul with some Presbyterian ministers, who disposed her to that interest. She was a woman nihil muliebre præter corpus gerens;' so utterly unacquainted with all persons of quality of either sex, that there was no possible approach to him by her.
Whereupon his brother began his journey to Edinburgh, where the General received him well. But after he had staid some time there, and found an opportunity to tell him on what errand he came, he found him to be so far from the temper of a brother, that after infinite reproaches for his daring to endeavour to corrupt him, he required him to leave that kingdom, using many oaths to him, that if he ever ventured to return with the same proposition, he would cause him to be hanged; with which the poor man was so terrified, that he was glad when he was gone, and never had the courage after to under take the like employment,
And at that time there is no question the General had not the least thought or purpose to contribute to the King's restoration, the hope whereof he believ ed to be desperate; and the disposition that did grow in him afterwards, did arise from those accidents which fell out, and even obliged him to undertake that which proved so much to his profit and glory. And yet from this very time, his brother being known, and his
And his answer to the Lord of Ormond was so rough and doubtful that he thought not fit to trust him.
Cromwell prevailed with Monk, for his liberty and preferment, to engage himself again, &c.
He himself had no fumes of fanatieism to turn his head, nor any credit with, or dependance upon, any who were swayed by those trances,
errand he came, he soon dismissed him, without discovering to him any inclination to the business he came about, advising him to return no more to him with such propositions.
In truth, at that time the General had not given the least public proof that he had any thought or purpose of contributing to the King's restoration, which he might possibly think to be desperate. Some rather believed, that the disposition which afterwards grew in him, towards it, did arise from divers accidents, which fell out in the course of affairs, and seemed even to oblige him to undertake that which, in the end,
Now, it cannot be denied that these are important suppressions; and that the intention of every one of them is to conceal whatever can lower Monk. So great is the solicitude for this end, that even a sneer at his Dutch and Devonshire education' is carefully excluded. Instead of love of money, which Lord Clarendon attributes to Monk, the courteous editors call his object by the more decent name of preferment.' The vulgar vices of his wife, painted with complacency and warmth by Clarendon, are not allowed by the editors to stain the hero whom they delight to honour, His coarse and brutal reception of his brother, who was sent to him in Scotland by the Royalists of Cornwall, is converted by them into just caution and politic reserve. Clarendon's certain knowledge that Monk had no original purpose to contribute to the Restoration, and that his disposition to do so grew from events which afterwards made it conducive to his own profit and glory, has been for a hundred and twenty years concealed from the world, by the unwarrantable suppressions of the editors, in contradiction to their own solemn asseverations. And, lastly, the mean opinion entertained by Clarendon of his talents has been kept back, and instead of the historian's declaration that HE, Monk, had not the wisdom, or courage, or understanding to execute the great work, the editors tell us in their text that' no man living' could have done so! The result of the whole is, that the impression left on the mind about Monk by the spurious text, is quite different from that intended in the genuine. The character of the chief actor in a great revolution is always an
historical fact of no small moment. Even the judgment formed of him by a near and sagacious observer, is itself also a fact which in this case illustrates the event, as well as the character both of the hero and the historian. It will also be observed, that the last passage affords far less proof of the historian's sagacity than his own original text.
But, lest it should be said that these omissions are excused by a faulty, perhaps, but pardonable tenderness for the character of the restorer of monarchy, it is necessary to advert to another alteration of a much more serious sort, which assuredly did not originate in a disposition to spare the memory of the eminent person to whom it relates. Mr Pym, during his life, earned the emnity of the court, and the malice of the royalist writers attributed his death to a fabulous disease, of which they represented the loathsome symptoms as a judgment from heaven. The editors of Clarendon have made him continue the persecution of Pym beyond the grave, and extend it even to his pecuniary integrity. In speaking of the opposition of the House of Commons to the enlistment of eight thousand Irish Catholics for the service of Spain and France, our historian tells us, that this interference was ascribed by many to the instigation of the French ambassador; and he is made to go on as follows, in all the editions of his history which appeared before the present year.
Some said boldly, and ONE OR TWO have since affirmed as upon their own knowledge, that Mr Pym received five thousand pounds from that French minister to hinder that supply to Spain.
Now, the reader's attention is entreated to the genuine text, as it is restored from the Noble writer's own manuscript, in the Oxford edition of this year.
'Some said boldly, and AN OBSCURE PERSON OR TWO have since affirmed it as upon their own knowledge, that he received five thousand pounds to hinder that supply to Spain.
If there be any truth in the declaration that the sons did not dare to alter their father's text, we should expect them to adhere to it most religiously in those parts of his work where he speaks as an historian of men who were his most distinguished opponents in civil war. But in this passage they have made him say the very reverse of what he really did say. By the words one or two obscure persons,' he plainly meant to discredit the report which their false text has for a hundred and twenty years served to accredit. The text, as it has hitherto stood, is artfully contrived to give the full authority of the historian to the imputation, without absolutely ascribing it to him;
* Clarendon, I. 493. Oxford, 1826.