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ever, the very being of Oxford was Acts of Parliament, such things in danger. After a great outburst have been known. of the immemorial town-and-gown No one of all the Colleges, howquarrel, the University in a body ever, had so large and magnificent abandoned that scene of tumult, a beginning as that intended by migrating in one case to North- Wolsey, the great and splendid ampton, in another to Stamford, Cardinal College, which he had to the great alarm and horror of planned and partially built on everybody concerned. So great the site of the present Christ was the impress produced by the Church. Everybody who has ever later secession, that an oath to visited Oxford kuows the staircase, the following effect,_“You shall with its airy and high-springing swear that you will not give or pillar and delicately carved roof, attend lectures at Stamford as in which leads to the great hall, a university seat of learning or both of them built by the Cargeneral college,"—to be taken by dinal. It is curious to hear all candidates for a degree, was that it was the great Churchman not abolished until 1827. A still who began the seductive practice more tremendous riot, which took of suppressing monasteries, afterplace in 1354, and in which the wards so powerfully followed up inns and halls of the newly formed by his king whom he had served communities were sacked, and the better than his God, and who abanscholars cut to pieces, brought doned him so remorselessly. The an interdict upon the townsmen. Cardinal, however, was able to carry After one of these tumults, in which out this spoliation with every legitithe Pope's legate interfered, im- mate sanction. He procured from provements were introduced which Pope Clement VIII. - bull authowill go to the heart of every par- rising him, with the royal consent, ent. “He decreed that for the to suppress the Priory of S. Fridesnext ten years to come they should wyde, and to transfer the canons pay only one-half of the rent agreed to other houses of the Augustinian on by them and their respective order, so that their dwelling and their landlords before the secession, and revenues might be assigned to the that for ten years more they should proposed college." The same Pope, pay according to their own valua- some time after, explaining “that tion.” Admirable legate ! he must divine service could not be properly have been an Irishman. We may maintained in monasteries conadd, in order to supply that touch taining less than seven professed of nature which makes the whole members,” gave permission to his world kin, that affairs in the Uni- legate in England to suppress an versity town in those days betray unspecified number of such small some familiar features known to all religious houses, provided that the of us. “ The wine sold to the inmates should be transferred to scholars by the Oxford vintners other monasteries, and that their was denounced as being at times revenues to be taken for the new unfit for human consumption, and college should not in all exceed the exorbitantly dear. The townsmen yearly value of three thousand were frequently accused of rapac- gold ducats.” This was indeed the ity and illegal conduct, in charging thin end of the wedge-a suggeshigher prices for certain articles of tion supplied to most ready food than were sanctioned by Act scholar. The Pope—for Wolsey of Parliament.” Even in our own did not live to share that sorrowdays, unprotected as we are by any must have deeply regretted the
initiative which showed Henry undertaken by men who belonged such an easy way of money-getting, to one or other of two classes, and one so much to his royal neither fully capable of dealing mind.
with it in the most efficient way. 'In all probability, however, it They have been either determined was Wolsey's fall which saved to partisans like Mr Froude, or schous the venerable Church of S. lars like Dr Hill Burton,- for Frideswyde, which now serves at whose valuable work we can have once as the Cathedral of Oxford no word but of praise, but whose and the chapel of Christ Church. views were rather those of the The magnificent Cardinal, could he student than the man. It is with have carried out his intention, great pleasure, therefore, that we would no doubt have replaced that welcome even an instalment of the noble old sanctuary with a fine history of these times from Mr church in highly decorated perpen- Skelton, a writer who-though in dicular architecture, than which, a question like this every one however, there are worse things. must take a side—is neither The reader will find not only a enthusiastic partisan nor blindly great deal of information, but also dependent upon chronicles. most interesting reading, in Mr An author who, as he himLyte's book.
self says, writes his book " in the Few people who take a serious evenings of busy days," has advaninterest in Scottish history can tages which may almost counteropen quite calmly a volume that balance the patent disadvantage is entitled “The Scotland of Mary of restricted leisure—a man of Stuart.'! The present work, how- the world having means of underever, brings with it a certain dis- standing and divining the motives appointment in the discovery that and modes of working of other Mr Skelton has only given us an public men, even at a distance of instalment, a first volume, which, centuries, such as are seldom posdealing as it does with many things sessed by the mere student. For, of importance, yet leaves the chief with all due allowances for circumobjects of interest for the next stances and customs, which differ volume. It is rather hard on from age to age, human nature readers, this custom of issuing three hundred years ago was not books of such interest bit by bit, very much unlike the human nature breaking off like a penny serial at of the present time. The difference the most interesting part, with a of circumstances, however, between promise « to be continued in our the sixteenth and nineteenth cennext." No period of Scottish his- turies must be allowed to be very tory has been more voluminously, great. In a confused and tumultand often more unfairly, discussed uous kingdom, in which there was than this of Queen Mary; the no solid and efficient balance of a mere name of Mary Stuart seems middle class, but which was torn even now to arouse as much party asunder by the great houses, which feeling as that of Mr Gladstone, if an unscrupulous statesman could we may hope to be forgiven for always pit against one another, mentioning the two names in the and disturbed by the tremendous same sentence. But the history outburst of religious feeling, which of this period has been hitherto nowhere took such an impassioned
1 Maitland of Lethington; and the Scotland of Mary Stuart. By John Skelton. Edinburgh : Blackwood & Sons,
character as in Scotland, all ordin- though those records of previous ary rules are pushed aside : and ages are perhaps more interestbetween the rude Barons and the ing to the antiquarian or the fervid Reformers, the place held genealogist than to the ordinary by a highly trained diplomatist reader, who goes through the first and statesman could not be other part of the volume with a certain than a difficult one.
amount of impatient anxiety for Mr Skelton has chosen as his the time when Maitland is to be hero the one statesman of the heard of in connection, not with time, in Scotland, who occupied his ancestors, but with Mary of this remarkable position,-a man Scotland; for, in spite of the name who has not received from all which Mr Skelton has given to his his critics the praise which is, work, nine readers will take it up doubtless, his due. Sir Walter for Queen Mary for one who perScott makes one of his characters uses it for Lethington. The more speak of him as “the crafty Leth- exciting part of his subject can ington”; Aytoun, also, in his be fully entered upon only in • Bothwell,' characterises him as the next volume. But we are the “ crafty Lethington, that al- fully compensated for the prelimchemist in wile"; and Mr Froude inary character of this by the makes him out an unutterable vil. remarkable and brilliant sketches lain, ready for all kinds of iniquity; of the country and the manners but we must reniember that Leth- of the time — the Scotland of ington was on the Queen's side, Mary Stuart. Edinburgh, all astir and that is, in Mr Froude's opinion, with its animated and picturesque primâ facie evidence of his being crowd, shut up within its walls, either a knave or a fool, the former no new town thought of in those most likely in this case, for fool- high houses all piled upon each ishness, in the ordinary sense of the other on the top of the ridge, or word, was not one of Maitland's descending in a noble line,-“ the characteristics. The fact that Mr fairest and goodliest street," says Skelton has selected him for the Taylor the. Water-poet,
to the chief part in the story of the time gates of Holyrood, and crowded is, at the very outset, an assurance with all the forces that represented that, so far as the volume before us and dominated the national life, goes, Mr Skelton thinks very dif- seems to have held the place rather ferently of Maitland.
of Paris than of London, in a land Our author goes far back into still thinly populated, and subject the history of the Maitlands, as to local more than to imperial sway. indeed he does into that of every But the country in its strongly great family that he has cause to marked divisions—the Lowlands, mention, though the Maitlands of the limited centre of peace and that time were hardly a great industry and possible prosperity, family in comparison with the with the fringe of seaboard towns Stuarts, Scotts, Douglasses, Ham- that already aimed at trade — of iltons, Gordons, or Campbells. which it is delightful to hear Much, however, must be permitted Queen Mary of Guise's testimony in this way to a writer who com- that between Fife Ness and St plains of the present age that it Andrews (hurrah for the Kingdom has, “ wisely or unwisely, made a of Fife!) she had never seen, “ in clean sweep of the past,” and Franre nor no other country, so whose subject is the representative many goodly faces in so little room of an old Scottish family; al- as she saw that day in Scotland;" the wild, rieving, riding Border- The • Dictionary of National ers, in all the recklessness of a Biography, was introduced to the district swept by perpetual feud; world with a good many flourishes the dark depths and heights of the and trumpeting to all the echoes; Highlands, so imperfectly known, but we can scarcely say that the
- is set before us with the pic- promise of its prospectuses has torial skill for which Mr Skelton been carried out. The scope is no is well known. Nor is it only the doubt large, and the process of background of national scenery production laborious. Mr Leslie which is prepared before the rising Stephen speaks with
speaks with heartfelt of the curtain for the great action sympathy of Carlyle's troubles of the piece. The touching sketch when he • first began serious of Mary's mother; the truculent work in the autumn of 1840. figure of Knox-about whom, with He was now making acquaintance the veneration which we think with · Dryasdust' for the first every patriot should feel for that time. He had never been engreat man, we may hereafter pluck slaved to a biographical dictiona crow with Mr Skelton; the fine ary; and the dreary work of inand subtle picture of Lethington vestigating dull records provoked himself,--are all, from the author's loud lamentations, and sometimes point of view, most important and despair." These words are probabworthy of attention; while the por- ly but an echo of the accomplished trait of Mary, indicated so deli- editor's personal sentiments. There cately by contemporary pens in has certainly been no lack of hard Mr Skelton's skilful framework, work in the preparation of the will delight all Mary's lovers, and Dictionary.' It is to the outside move even the most prejudiced on spectator a goodly and an inspirilthe other side. Mr Skelton is very ing sight to behold Mr Stephen severe upon Elizabeth, but that, and his merry men gathering in perhaps, was to be looked for. the Reading-room of the British Lethington, his hero, he compares, Museum, pouring over catalogues to some extent, with the late Lord with a zeal and enthusiasm which Beaconsfield. The chief points of do equal honour to their heads resemblance appear to be subtlety, and hearts, and wrestling with charm of manner and language, mighty tomes even until evening. tact, and steadfast adherence to The fare provided by these literhis purpose. Justum et tenacem ary bees is no doubt nourishing propositi virum. Mr Skelton does food, but it is not always appetisnot seem to lay much stress upon ing. It is true that the · Dictionthe first adjective, and perhaps he ary of National Biography' is not a is right.
book which is meant to be read as Altogether we have here a vol- one would read a novel of M. Gaume quite worthy of the writer's boriau or Mr Louis Stevenson. high reputation. We may grumble Dr Wendell Holmes tells an amusbecause we have not got the whole ing story of a man whose fragbook at once, but there are more mentary acquaintance with many unhappy states of mind than that wide subjects was remarkable, and of looking forward to a good thing, who showed minute knowledge and perhaps for the second volume on some points, together with exhope will give us patience to wait. traordinary ignorance on other cognate matters; a mystery ex- for a work of this kind. Still, what plained by the discovery that he had man can do towards such an object closely studied the first volume of Mr Leslie Stephens has done; and, a new encyclopædia, which un- though we could point out a few fortunately only went so far as slight inaccuracies, and lament a “Araguay." Thus it happened that, slightly unsympathetic tone, his while well up in all the facts con- “Carlyle" is a masterpiece of clear, cerning the Alps and Andes, he terse, and concentrated writing. was wholly destitute of informa- We are glad to perceive that Mr tion regarding Mount Ararat ; and Stephen does not end his minute though thoroughly grounded in account of the greatest prose-writer agriculture, was ignorant of the of our day without expressing his very rudiments of gardening. Such opinion in respect to Mr Froude's students, however, are rare. It interpretation of the trust left in may be that some devout readers his hands—a condemnation which is of the National Biography,' become decided, although very mild in tone. acquainted with Cardonnel, while Mr Stephen's other articles deal Marlborough is to them as yet an with Henry Carey, the poet, the unknown quantity; that others author of "Sally in our Alley," and grow into knowledge of Queen possibly of “God save the Queen"; Caroline, to whom George II. is and with Christopher Cartwright, still an indistinct and almost my- a Puritan divine. thical personage; or follow the for- Another literary great gun is tunes of Carstares before they have Mr Goldwin Smith, who has been begun to connect any definite idea engaged for this occasion only to with the locution “William of supply personal recollections of Orange." But this is a case which the late Lord Cardwell, whom he it is scarcely necessary to take into has honoured with a panegyric account. As a book of reference, which is neither tedious nor fulthe present work is no doubt trust- some. A weighty historical auworthy and full of sound informa- thority has been secured in Dr S. tion. But the same may be said R. Gardiner, dear to the student of other works of the same de- who loves exactitude, and knows scription : and in justification of its that in this author he has found existence, it ought to have been a historian far too ponderous to be something more.
i The Dictionary of National Biography. Elder, & Co.
Edited by Leslie Stephen. Smith,
Dr Gardiner presents The volume before us, though as a us with an account of Carr, the whole deficient in interest, contains, unworthy favourite of James I., however, as the previous volumes which is, no doubt, as true also do, some biographical articles gospel, and certainly as prosy as of undeniable merit from a literary any commentary. It is strange, point of view. It goes without indeed, that a historian can so saying that Mr Leslie Stephen's rarely be entertaining if he is own essays will be found thoroughly accurate, or accurate if he is worth reading. To the present entertaining. Perhaps it is betvolume he contributes, besides two ter so; perhaps if we had any less important articles, a short one writer who combined the enaccount of Carlyle, which is chiefly teriaining qualities of Mr Froude remarkable as a wonderfully bril- with the exactitude of Dr Gardiliant and lucid piece of precis-writ- ner, our excessive good fortune ing; for it is no small feat to con- would excite the envy of the gods. dense Carlyle's life, with all its con- In the meanwhile, we must be controversies, into a compass suitable tent to admire those excellences