« 上一頁繼續 »
FROM THE ACCESSION OF
CHARLES I. TO THE RESTORATION;
WITH AN INTRODUCTION,
TRACING THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETY, AND OF THE CONSTITUTION, FROM
THE FEUDAL TIMES TO THE OPENING OF THE HISTORY;
AND INCLUDING A
PARTICULAR EXAMINATION OF MR, HUME'S STATEMENTS
RELATIVE TO THE
CHARACTER OF THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT.
BY GEORGE BRODIE, ESQ.
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
PRINTED FOR BELL & BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH :
AND LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, & BROWN,
From the celebrity of Mr. Hume's Work, it may be thought to have been equally presumptuous and hopeless to enter the field which he is supposed to have so fully preoccupied. The portion of British History, however, embraced by the following volumes, is so important the picture there presented so different from the one drawn by that elegant writer, that, if it shall be found to be sufficiently supported by authority, I flatter myself that I shall be absolved from the charge of either presumption or rashness.
For the task of an historian, Mr. Hume was, in many respects, most eminently qualified; but, having embarked in his undertaking with a pre-disposition unfavourable to a
calm inquiry after truth, and being impatient of that unwearied research which,ếnever satisfied while any source of information remains unexplored, or probability not duly weighed,—with unremitting industrysifts and collates authorities, he allowed his narrative to be directed by his predilections, and overlooked the materials from which it ought to have been constructed. Many documents of essential consequence have, since his time, enriched the public stock; but it may appear, from the following pages, that he either did not avail himself, or make the proper use, of those
open to his inspection. From the short period, indeed, devoted by him to that
portion of British History, I conceive it to have been morally impossible for him to have become master of the necessary materials.
The Work which I now submit to the Public has occupied my leisure hours for many years ; and though, to my regret, I perceive that in some respects, particularly in certain expressions which had escaped me, it might still be improved, I trust that it will be found deficient neither in research nor ac
curacy. Not contented with merely glancing through, or dipping into, the numerous publications referred to, I have, by a collation of the various parts, endeavoured to ascertain the truth. The manuscripts relative to my subject--whether in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh, the British Museum, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Library, at Lambeth, (and here I must acknowledge my obligations to Mr. Todd for his kind attention,) or the Bodleian Library,—I have carefully examined. From a manuscript copy of Baillie's Letters shewn to me by my valuable friend, Dr. M‘Crie, I have, to illustrate my text, extracted some passages which the Editors have omitted to publish.
As it is impossible to understand events, without a thorough knowledge of all the circumstances out of which they emerged ; and as Mr. Hume's view of the government, and of public opinion—on which is founded his defence of the unfortunate Charles I. and his minister Strafforde—appears to me altogether erroneous, I have devoted a whole volume to introduction. From the variety and import