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able, whether the suppression is chargeable on the Editors. At the same time, we cannot doubt that the manner in which the omissions are accounted for in the preface to this new edition, is, in most cases, the true one. Many individuals were living at the date of the publication of Burnet's History, to whom the freedom of his writing could not but be offensive, as he was little solicitous to withhold such remarks as their conduct seemed to him to justify; and of others against whom his animadversions were pointed, there were numerous survivors and connexions whom the Editors might not wish to provoke. But to what extent their omissions went, and in what measure they fulfilled, or disregarded, the injunctions of the Bishop's will, it is impossible to determine. The only means of settling that question, would be, the comparing of the original manuscript with the printed copies; but that measure is now impracticable, the loss of the manuscript being more than doubtful. Among the restored passages, one of the most important is a paragraph containing the character of Charles the First, which we shall transcribe.
• [And this I owe to truth to say, that by many indications, that lay before me in those letters, (letters of Charles to the Duke of Hamilton,) I could not admire either the judgement, the understanding, or the temper of that unfortunate prince. He had little regard to law, and seemed to think he was not bound to observe promises or concessions, that were extorted from him by the necessity of his affairs. He had little tenderness in his nature ; and probably his government would have been severe, if he had got the better in the war: his ministers had a hard time under him. He loved violent counsels, but conducted them so ill, that they saw they must all perish under him. Those who observed this, and advised him to make up matters with his parliament by concessions, rather than venture on a war, were hated by him, even when the extremities to' which he was driven made him follow their advices, though generally too late, and with so ill a grace, that he lost
the merit of his concessions in the awkward way of granting them. This was truly Duke Hamilton's fate, who, in the beginning of the troubles, went in warmly enough into acceptable counsels; but when he saw how unhappy the king was in his conduct, he was ever after that against the king's venturing on a war, which he always believed would be fatal to him in the conclusion.]' Vol. I, p. 517.
In the preface to the present edition of Burnet, the preceding passage is particularly noticed as containing a severe attack on the character of King Charles I., chiefly founded
on that prince's letters to the first Duke of Hamilton, and on • Bishop Burnet's acquaintance with the Hamilton papers ;' and the Editors have taken some pains to invalidate the authorities on which the character of Charles the First is given in
the restored passage. It is, however, only necessary to com-
neither the skill to conduct them, nor the height of genius to manage thein. He hated all that offered prudent and mo. derate counsels : he thought it flowed from a meanness of ' spirit, and a care to preserve themselves by sacrificing his au'thority, or from republican principles : and even when he saw it necessary to follow such advices, yet, he hated those that gave them.'-—' But if he had not made great concessions, he had sunk without being able to make a struggle for it.'— The • truth was, the king did not come into those concessions
seasonably, nor with a good grace : all appeared to be ex• torted from him*.'
Now the amount of the several particulars which we have brought together, and which are all' to be found, at no great distance from each other, in the printed copies of Burnet, is so perfectly in agreement with the above character of Charles I., that the most critical examiner would be puzzled to set down the difference between them; and therefore, no severe attack on the character of King Charles I. is chargeable on Burnet, from the evidence of the restored passage, which has not always existed in and been supported by the printed copies of the History. Burnet, however, is not invulnerable in respect to the consistency of his representations of the king's character. There is a note subjoined to the passage (p: 517 of the present edition) which we have extracted, containing a reference, by Speaker Onslow, to Burnet's Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, in which occur the following words :- Having proposed to myself nothing more in this whole work, than to let the world see the great piety and strictness of conscience that • blessed prince carried along with him in all his affairs.' These expressions but ill accord with the preceding strictures, which are still more strongly in opposition to the sentiments
See Burnet's History, pp. 51, 53, and 81. of this Edition.
delivered by the Bishop in “ The Royal Martyr lamented; a “ sermon preached at the Savoy, 30th Jan. 1674" in which he speaks of the endless virtues of that ' murdered prince,' and offers divers passages drawn out of papers under his own
royal pen, that will give some characters of his great soul.' This sermon is included in the catalogue of the Bishop's works, in the edition before us, but is not noticed in the Onslow Annotations. It would have amply supplied the Annotator with materials of censure and reproach, as would some other parts of Burnet's works, which shew that he was not always so indisposed towards arbitrary principles of government, as he appears to have become after he had accepted of place from a revolutionary Sovereign. When he published his “ Royal Martyr " lamented," in 1675, and his * Memoirs of the Hamiltons." in 1676, he could not foresee the events of 1688, which for ever abolished the doctrines of the passive obedience and • non-resistance' school in which he had been educated. In the monitory para o raphs which form the conclusion of the Bishop's work, there is a passage to which, in this edition, is appended the following note. He is complaining of the superior classes of society, as being formed, by the education which they receive in the Universities, to love arbitrary go'vernment, and to become slaves to absolute monarchy.'
" To what did this instructor form his disciples, when he asserted, that the words of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, Chap. xiii., “ being designed by the Holy Ghost to be a part of the rule of all “ Christians, do prove,
that whoever hath the supreme power is to be “ submitted to, and never resisted?”-Burnet's Vindication of the Church of Scotland, p. 41.-See also his Royal Martyr, p. 22.'
If Burnet's later principles and practice were better than bis early opinions, his is not a solitary example of such a change; and we may be glad, if the folly of demanding submission to the sole authority of rulers who exercise a capricious and oppressive despotism, desiructive to the liberties and happiness of mankind, has been so manifest, as to work ont its own correction.
Burnet's History of his Own Time has long maintained its place among the most important works which relate to the atfairs of this country. It includes a survey of the events which preceded the Author's entrance upon public life, com: mencing with the accession of the Stuarts to the crown of England; and is carried down to the year preceding the death of Queen Anne. Copious both in narration and remark, it is one of the original sources from which subsequent writers of history must derive their knowledge of the facts which they record, and of the persons whose characters they delineate. The credit, therefore, to which it is entitled, is a point which every reader who values correct information must be anxious to have determined. What then is the authority which the work may justly challenge? Is Burnet to be trusted as an historian on whose veracity we may depend? No writer has been opposed with more pertinacity of zeal, nor have any memoirs been more frequently charged with being unfair and erroneous than his. His work has been criticised with unsparing severity, and the wish to detect in his accounts such misrepresentations as might support the charge of wilful deviation from truth, has not always been successfully attempted to be concealed. The eagerness of one reviewer of Burnet's History to destroy its authority, may be fresh in the recollection of some of our readers; and they who remember the manner in which the Observations” of Mr. Rose, were examined and exposed by Serjeant Heywood, in his Vindication of Fox's Historical Work, cannot have forgotten how effectually the authority of Burnet was supported against a host of presumptive arguments, the materials for which had been hunted out with the utmost industry of research, and put together with so much art as apparently to force the conclusion which the writer wished to establish. Other instances have occurred, in which the truth of Burnet's narration has been confirmed by the production of evidence which was inaccessible to his earliest examiners; and facts which rested on his sole authority, have been established by other and independent testimony.
We see, then, no reason for withholding from Burnet the credit due to a writer of memoirs and annals, whose design was more extensive than to describe only the transactions in which he was personally concerned. In some cases, his errors have been successfully detected; but a supposed refutation of his opinion, has often, with little propriety, been held out as a demonstration of his forgetfulness of truth. He appears to have been inquisitive, and not always discreet in his inquiries, nor always judicious in the selection of the information which his inquiries procured him. But his penetration, if not so profound as always to conduct him to the knowledge which would have enabled him to reach the excellence of a philosophical historian, was not so superficial as some of his adversaries have represented. To what extent he had charged his memory with the information which he had obtained, and what were the precautions which he used to secure the fidelity of his recollections, we are unable to ascertain ; but, with the greatest attention to such varied and extensive materials as were requisite in the composition of his History, and which had been accumulating for many years, the avoidance of error was not in every instance practicable. His prejudices might sometimes mislead him, if not in the substantial parts of his relation, yet, in respect to the minuter details which his accounts comprise. But, whatever might have been the strength and influence of his party bias, there is unquestionable evidence, that he was uncontrolled by such a principle in some of the most important of his statements. No reader of his work can go through the accounts which he has given of the discoveries of Oates and the Popish plot, without the conviction of his probity, nor finish his perusal of them without admiring the dignified character of his reflections. He could both censure his friends, where censure was incurred by them; and bestow commendation where it was deserved, upon his opponents and others, for whom he could not be supposed to entertain affection. In times more critical and perilous to public men than any other in our national history, and when so many in the service of the sovereigns whom the revolution had placed upon the throne, were in correspondence with the dethroned monarch, Burnet never compromised his allegiance. He was evidently sincere in his attachment to the new order of things, and his conviction of the truth and value of the great principles of public liberty, was, we believe, not only honest, but carried him forward, with more activity, perhaps, than quite accorded with his clerical character and station, into the political agitations of the times.
In the attainder of Sir John Fenwick, and in some other measures, Burnet had, to use his own words in reference to dhe former transaction, a much larger share than might seem !
• • to become a man of his profession. But the secular constitution of the church to which he belonged, which allows her Bishops to lift their mitred fronts in courts and parliaments,' is in part answerable for the hazards to which such a man's virtue may be exposed when he is committed to the influence of impassioned debate.
One of the most remarkable circumstances which the readers of Burnet's History will be concerned to notice, is his neglect of Locke, whose name and merits were well deserving of record by a writer who had undertaken to describe the progress of a revolution in which the services of that distinguished person were so eminent. It is surprising, that Burnet, who commends Hoadley for his exposure of Filmer, in vindication of the Revolution, should have omitted to notice Locke's work on Government, which was written with the same design, and which so effectively established the principles for which Hoadley is