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And keeps them ever, by delusion,
The sureff calm that can allay
From love, the choicet boon that Hear's
Knowledge! withdraw thy hated rays;
- Account of Books for 1767.
THE History of the Life of King first book of the age of Henry the
Henry the Second, and of the age Second, we have thereby a con. in which he lived, in fizie Books: 10 plete history of England and of its which is prefixed, a Hiftory of the Re. continental connexions, for that wolutions of England from the Death interesting period of above an hunof Edward the Confefjor to the Birth dred years. In this period we see of Henry the Second. By George Lord the conquest of one mighty nation Lyttleton. [3 yols. 4to.).
by another; the union and incor
poration of both nations; the man. A S there is, perhaps, no study ner how by flow degrees they were
A so delightful as that of hit. melted into one ; and their united -tory, so there is no hiftory so use, acts under some of the greatest mo. ful as that of our own country. narchs that ever lived. The noble The very early accounts of Engwriter traçes out, with the greateft land, as of all other ancient nations, accuracy, the degrees by which the being founded on fable, the read. Norman feudal system was engraft. ing of any thing relating to those ed upon and interwoven with the dark ages may be confidered mere. Anglo-Saxon conftitution ; from ly as an amusement. But from whence, through various modifica. the time that the different king. tions, proceeds that excellent form doms of the heptarchy were united which we enjoy at present. under one government; that the This is a part of our history, Anglo-Saxon constitution began to which requires the greatest labour, be completely formed; and that judgment, and knowledge, to in. many facts became properly ascer. vettigate; and which, though · tained; every part of the history effentially requisite to be known
of England becomes an object of by every Englishman of conf. consideration.
deration in his country, is the The noble author of the excel. moft involved in obscurity, the lent work before us, has chosen leaft generally understood, and the one of the most critical, the most part as to which modern writ. distinguished, and the most intereft, ers differ most in opinion. For ing periods, for the subject of his this many causes may be assigned; hiltory. To his age of Henry the most of our writers have been inSecond he has prefixed a history fluenced by some or other of the of the revolutions which happened parties into which we have been in England from the death of Ed. so frequently divided, and which ward the Confessor to the birth of are perhaps so necessary for the that prince. And as the history preservation of a free state. From of king Stephen is included in the hence it has proceeded, that too
many of our historians have adopt. date his subject; he has examined ed favourite systems, to which every the most ancient records that are thing that came in their way was in being; the scarceft manuscripts obliged to submit, which, as it has the pipe-rolls of the exchequer; leffened our character as historians, and whatever else that could in any has equally prevented our acquis. degree ferve to remove error, or to tion of the most useful knowledge, ascertain fact; and from this laboIt cannot however be denied, that rious course of enquiry, we find the materials for this subject are the series of events in this history often defective ; many things are better ascertained, than perhaps in overlooked at the time of writ. any other work of the kind that ing, as matters that are generally ever was published. known, and that can never be for. Henry the second was one of the gotten, which if recorded would af. greatest princes, in extent of do. ford the greatest lights to posterity. minion, in magnanimity and in It is probably owing to this want abilities, that ever governed this of precision in the ancient writers, nation. Whether we consider him and to the fondness of system in the as a hero, or a ftatesman; whether moderns, that we now find it so in the field giving law to his enedifficult to trace the history of our mies, or at home administering ancient conititution, or to define justice to his people ; 'we find him the exact powers of the different equally great, and his actions e. parts of it ; and from thence arise qually surprising. His life is par. the great diversity of opinions re- ticularly instructive, from the unlative to these subjects.
common variety of the events it * It happens fortunately, with ré. contains ; from its being diftin. spect to the work before us, that the guished by great virtues and great age of Henry the second produced faults ; by sudden and surpricing better writers than had appeared changes of fortune in the affairs of for several hundred years before this kingdom ; by the subjection or after that era, so that it may not of Wales, of Scotland, and of Ire. perhaps be an absolute impropriety land ; and by a glory surpassing
to call it the middle classical age. all military achievements, the re. · The noble author has also availed formation of gnvernment, and the
himself of fome materials, which establishment of good laws and * are to be found in few other periods wise inftitutions, beneficial to the
of ancient or modern times, viz. public. collections of letters, written on Though this period has been in. affairs of great moment, by some claded in the general histories of " of the principal actors in those other writers, yet it must be ac. affairs, or persons employed by knowledged, that in works of so them, and deep in their confidence. vaft an extent, there cannot be From these he takes almost all the such a full detail of particulars,
particulars of Henry's quarrel with nor so much exactness and accu. · Becket, and they serve to throw racy, as in those that are confined
light on many other important to narrow limits. It is only in tranfactions. His Lordship has the latter, that the several steps and neglected nothing that could eluci preparatory measures, by which
great great actions are conducted, and it down to the death of Becket in great events are brought on, can 1170. be thewn with any clearners. The ad volume confits of norts, Moch, therefore, in this hifory upon the second, and the authowill be new to many readers ; and rities upon which the former vos many matters, which have been lomes are founded. The history already subjects of discorsion, will from the death of Becket in 1170, here appear in a new light. In to the death of Henry, which happarticolar, the researches which pened in 1189, nineteen years afthe noble author has made into terwards, is wanting ; but though the ancient laws and conftitution we have no particular information of England, and the feudal infti. upon the subject, we have some tutions and tenures, will be found reason to hope it will foon make well worth the attention of every its appearance.' Englishman. The state of the Upon the whole, whether we church, of the royal revenues, of confider the work wich respect to the exchequer, and of the military the laboor attending it, the weight government, are treated with equal of the matter it contains, the clear. perfpicuity and elegance, and ness, accuracy, and perfpicuity of new lights thrown upon some of its manner, or the elegance of them which they had not before its compofition, we cannot help received. The account his Lord. thinking it one of the beft hiftories fhip gives of the croisades, and the that has appeared in the English orders of knighthood, are highly language, and a most valuable ac.. curious and entertaining; and the quisition to the knowledge of our warmth with which upon all occa- country. fions he vindicates the general From the nature of this work, rights of mankind, muft procure it is scarce poffible to make - any him the suffrages of all lovers of abstracts of it, without mutilatingliberty.
or disgracing the original, We. The present publication confifts Mall, however, as we go along, oc. of three volumes in quarto ; but cafionally touch upon some parti. the work is unfinished, three of cular passages, which we apprehend: the five books only of which it are put in a new light, or where confifts, being contained in these the noble author differs in -opi. volumes. The first volume con. nion on material points from some tains, besides the history of the re- other writers, volucions, which we have already His lordship obferves that Wil taken notice of, the first book of liam the firtt was so far from : the life of Henry the second, con- grounding his title to the crownof: taining the history of that prince England upon a suppofed righe from his birth till he ascended the of congneft, that he used his utmott throne ; and includes the prin- endeavours to establish the notion cipal occurrences of the life of of his being heir to King Edward, King. Stephen. The fecond vo- from the appointment of tbat mo.' lume contains the second and third .narch. And that he was crowned, books of the history, which bring 'not without the appearance and