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chronology, which is the history of events. That mode of writing which professes to investigate the causes and consequences of events, seeking for one in another as its progenitor, but with hardly any reference to more than the names of the living actors, which is what is commonly called History, is, in truth, but a more philosophical species of chronology. Our best histories, in the highest and truest sense of the term, are the dramas of Shakspeare, and the Novels and Romances of the Author of Waverley. Here we have the living instruments as well as the incidents of the story-men bearing the countenances, animated by the feelings, and using the language of men-a picture of the real world delineated and coloured from life, and bearing upon it, accordingly, all the heat and stir of the busy original. History written on another plan, may exercise the memory and the understanding, like mathematics and algebra; it is thus only it can ever touch or mend the heart.
Mr. Fellowes does not, however, in the present volume, attempt so high a task as that of emulating those great masters of narrative, by laying before us either a regular history of the times to which he directs our attention, written in the spirit we have been recommending, or a picture of the manners by which they were marked, and the more extraordinary characters who moved in' them, produced by mixing up the scattered intimations of records and tradition with the embellishments of congenial fiction. His aim is only the far more humble one of collecting and assorting a few curious documents, illustrative of the more neglected, but not for all that less interesting passages of the history of the period in question, and thus both inviting to them the public attention, and rendering them much more generally accessible than they have heretofore been. We have not observed that, in the course of his labours, he has even attempted the settlement of a single disputed fact, or added in any way whatever, by any suggestion or conjecture of his own, to the stock of information in regard to his subject of which the world was already in possession. With the exception, indeed, of a few fac similes of unimportant autographs preserved in private collections, we are not aware that the volume contains any thing of the least degree of interest or value which had not been previously printed in the very form in which it is here given to us. For as to the few biographical sketches that are here and there interspersed among the acknowledged extracts, and which seem to be from the pen of the editor, they are merely such compilations as are to be found in any common peerage, and can claim no rank either as literary compositions, or even as depositories of curious or forgotten information. We speak with some hesitation, however, as to the originality even of this portion of the publication-which, after all, may possibly be a mere reprint like the rest; for Mr. Fellowes has performed his task as a gleaner, in so very immethodical and slovenly a style, that it is not always
very obvious whether he is addressing us, as usual, in the language of another, or throwing in a few words of his own. We meet, occasionally, in the course of the volume, with whole paragraphs and pages, which have all the customary marks of quotation, except a reference to the authority from which they have been extracted; and it is not altogether improbable, therefore, that many passages may also be merely transcripts, which have not even inverted commas to distinguish them.
Although thus little more than a collection of extracts, we are not, however, to set down the book as one of no value. On the contrary, the lovers of our national antiquities, and of curious history in general, will feel themselves indebted, we are persuaded, to Mr. Fellowes, for the elegant and convenient form in which he has here reprinted a number of tracts of very considerable interest, which, owing to their extreme rarity, have been, till now, nearly as inaccessible to the generality of readers, as if they had re mained in the shape of unpublished manuscripts. His duties, even in the humble capacity of a collector, might certainly have been more carefully, and, we will add, more learnedly performed; for he has, in fact, only skimmed the surface of a most abundant subject, and given us but a sample of the rich mass of precious, and as yet almost unused, materials that remain for its illustration. But the spirit, at all events, in which he has proceeded, is a right one, and deserving of all encouragement; nor should we be doing him justice to deny that the volume with which he has presented us, is, with all its imperfections, well deserving of a place in every historical library. But we shall best convey to our readers an idea of the instruction and entertainment to be found in it, by a short sketch of its more important contents.
There is scarcely, perhaps, any age within the range of history, with regard to all the more eminent individuals belonging to which we have such violently contradictory accounts, as have been handed down to us even by contemporary authorities, of almost every distinguished character who appeared on the theatre of public affairs in England, from the commencement of the reign of Charles I. to the Revolution. Never did the position in which men were placed in reference to each other, render it so difficult for them to form a correct judgment as to those even with whom they came most frequently into contact, but whom, nevertheless, they seldom or ever saw, except through the bedimming or discolouring medium of party prejudice. Even facts themselves, viewed through this deceiving veil, assumed, in many instances, to the eye of an observer, almost any shape which his prepossessions most naturally led him to bestow upon them. No wonder, therefore, that even in the most honest endeavours to form an accurate estimate of character and the motives of conduct, virtues were converted into vices, and vices into virtues, in the strangest style imaginable, and to such an extent as almost in every case to
reduce the whole process to uncertainty and confusion. The strange circumstances of the times, too, which necessitated and justified so many actions not altogether similar to those which usually command our approbation, constituted another source of perplexity to the eye-witnesses of the extraordinary proceedings of individuals and parties, which were thus occasionally exhibited, as they still do to ourselves, who have to form our opinions from their distorted and contradictory reports. In evidence of the amount of this perplexity, we need refer only to the irreconcileably opposite creeds and theories which divide us to this day, touching the characters of Charles I. himself, of Laud, of Cromwell, of Milton, not to mention many other contemporary names, nearly as much the subject of controversy. With regard to a few of these, Mr. Fellowes has here collected the judgments that have been delivered both by writers of their own age, and by those of succeeding times. The first he introduces to us is Charles I., in reference to whom, passing over the citations from Rapin, Clarendon, Hume, and other well-known authorities, we give the following extract from a very rare anonymous work, printed in 1655, the style of which certainly exhibits, in high perfection, all " the pride, pomp, and circumstance" of pedantry:
King Charles was born November 19th, A. D. 1600, at Dun-Fermling, in Scotland, not next in call to the diadem, But the hand of God countermanded nature's dispose, and by taking away Henry, his incomparable brother, presented Charles, not only the succeeding, but the only male stud of sovereignty. The gallantry of Henry's heroique spirit tended somewhat to the disadvantage and extenuation of Charles his glory; who arriving at years, and wanting nothing of his princely institution, came yet short of him in the acquist of reputation with the people. Henry of a forward and enterprising, Charles of a studious and retired spirit; whereof the blame may be in part imputed to some organical impotences in his body; for in his state of increment and growth, he was exceeding feeble in his lower parts, particularly his legs not growing erect, but repandous and embowed, whereby he was unapt for exercises of activity. And though his vocall impediment accompanyed him to the fatall stroke, yet was it to wise men an idea of his wisdom: therefore, obloquy never played the fool so much as imputing folly to him, since there was never, or very rarely, known a fool that stammered. As for his intellectuals, he gave in the Spanish court (where was his first initiation into renown), a very satisfactory account.'—pp. 5, 6.
As to the intellectual character of Charles, so long a favorite topic of party contention, and one even which certain recent writers still appear disposed to debate with almost as much heat and acrimony as ever, the truth seems to be, that he was neither on the one hand distinguished by the extraordinary parts claimed for him by his admirers, nor on the other remarkable for any peculiar share of stupidity or weakness. He possessed, perhaps, rather more than the average amount both of talent and acquirement which royal personages have in general had to boast of;
but this is not saying a great deal. His conduct, even making allowance for the somewhat difficult circumstances in which he was placed, was, throughout, merely that of a very common-place character of a man incapable either of emancipating himself from the weakest prejudices of education, or of producing any effect whatever on the age in which he lived, except as an instrument in the hands of others. Although not in some respects so absurd a personage as his father, he had probably less talent, and certainly less learning, even than that very foolish prince-in whom the hereditary genius of his family broke out at least in many a flash of eccentricity, if it produced nothing of more genuine brilliancy. Upon the whole, the first Charles, though a person of respectable understanding, was, we suspect, about the least extraordinary character his race ever gave either to the Scottish or the English throne. If he ever shewed the semblance of talent in any thing, it was as a speculator and practitioner in the science of morals. He certainly took a high and daring flight in his attempts to reconcile a strict observance of the letter, with a very considerable disregard of the spirit, of his professed principles-and to secure for himself the reputation of a very just and pious monarch, without subjecting himself to any of its more unpleasant or inconvenient embarrassments. But, even here, he must be considered as having made rather a bold than a successful effort-for even with his melancholy fate to interest us in his favour, and induce us to look with indulgence on his errors, the voice of posterity has already, we fear, decided, that he was not only a bad king, but a selfish, ungrateful, and faithless man.
What we may denominate the principal feature of the present publication, is a reprint which it contains of a very scarce work, entitled, "A True Copy of the Journal of the High Court of Justice, for the Tryal of K. Charles I.; as it was read in the House of Commons, and attested under the hand of Phelps, Clerk to that infamous Court; taken by J. Nalson. LL.D. Lon. 1684."-This account, which, as here given, occupies about 130 quarto pages, is a curious and interesting document, and, filling up as it does in an authentic form a most important chapter of English History, is, we think, well deserving of the distinction Mr. Fellowes has here bestowed upon it. It consists not only of the Journal of the Proceedings of the Regicide Court, as taken by their own clerk, but of a considerable number of explanatory annotations besides from the pen of Dr. Nalson, its first editor-so as to render it altogether the most minute and satisfactory history that has been given to the public, of the extraordinary transaction to which it refers.
The Commissioners, as appointed by the House of Commons, met for the first time on the 8th of January (1648); but during that and the seven immediately subsequent meetings, they were employed merely in the settlement of forms, and the election of
their president (Bradshaw) and other officers. The royal prisoner made his first appearance before them on the 20th January, when, as the record states, "The Lord President of the High Court of Justice, his two assistants, and the rest of the Commissioners of the said court, according to the adjournment of the said court from the Painted Chamber, came to the bench, or place prepared for their sitting, at the west end of the Great Hall, at Westminster; divers officers of the said court, one-and-twenty gentlemen with partizans, and a sword and mace marching before them up into the court, where the Lord President, in a crimson velvet chair, fixed in the midst of the court, placed himself with a crimson velvet cushion before him; the rest of the members placing themselves on each side of him, upon several seats or benches prepared, and hung with scarlet for that purpose; the Lord President's two assistants sitting next of each side of him, and the two clerks of the court placed at a table somewhat lower, and covered with a Turkey carpet; upon which table was also laid the sword and mace, the said guard of partizans dividing themselves on each side of the court before them.' The court being thus sate,' it goes on to inform us, and silence enjoined, the great gate of the hall was set open, to the intent, that all persons (without exception) desirous to see or hear, might come into it ; upon which, the hall was presently filled, and silence again ordered and proclaimed.' The roll of the court being then called over, it was found that, besides the Lord President, there were present sixty-six Commissioners, each of whom rose at his name. Of the rest of the interesting proceedings of the day, we have two narratives, one from the Journal, and a second collected from other sources by Dr. Nalson; but we prefer quoting the language employed by those stern republicans themselves, in describing this their grand triumph over humiliated royalty.
This done, the Court command the Serjeant at Arms to send for the Prisoner; and thereupon, Col. Thomlinson, who had the charge of the Prisoner, within a quarter of an hour's space brought him, attended by Col. Hacker, and two and thirty officers with partizans, guarding him to the Court, his own servants immediately attending him.
Being thus brought up in the face of the Court, the Serjeant at Arms with his mace receives him, and conducts him straight to the bar, having a crimson velvet chair set before him. After a stern looking upon the Court, and the people in the galleries on each side of him, he places himself in the chair, not at all moving his hat, or otherwise showing the least respect to the Court; but presently riseth up again, and turns about, looking downwards upon the guards placed on the left side, and on the multitude of spectators on the right side of the said great hall, the guard that attended him, in the mean time, dividing themselves on each side the Court, and his own servants, following him to the bar, stand on the left hand of the Prisoner.
The Prisoner having again placed himself in his chair, with his face towards the Court, and silence being again ordered and proclaimed, the