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successful projector would excite little concern, and be inquired into with no curiosity. Columbus was fully sensible of his perilous situation. He had observed, with great uneasiness, the fatal operation of ignorance and of fear in producing disaffection among his crew, and saw that it was now ready to burst out into open mutiny. He retained, however, perfect presence of mind. He affected to seem ignorant of their machinations. Notwithstanding the agitation and solicitude of his own mind, he appeared with a cheerful countenance, like a man satisfied with the progress he had made, and confident of success. Sometimes he employed all the arts of insinuation to soothe his men. Sometimes he endeavoured to work upon their ambition or avarice by magnificent descriptions of the fame and wealth which they were about to acquire. On other occasions he assumed a tone of authority, and threatened them with vengeance from their sovereign if, by their dastardly behaviour, they should defeat this noble effort to promote the glory of God, and to exalt the Spanish name above that of every other nation. Even with seditious sailors, the words of a man whom they had been accustomed to reverence, were weighty and persuasive, and not only restrained them from those
with them to accompany their admiral for some time longer. As they proceeded, the indications of approaching land seemed to be more certain, and excited hope in proportion. The birds began to appear in flocks, ing towards the south-west. Columbus, in imitation of the Portuguese navigators, who had been guided in several of their discoveries by the motion of birds, altered his course from due west towards that quarter whither they pointed their flight. But, after holding on for several days in this new direction without any better success than formerly, having seen no object during thirty days but the sea and the sky, the hopes of his companions subsided faster than they had risen; their fears revived with additional force; impatience, rage, and despair appeared in every countenance. All sense of subordination was lost. The officers, who had hitherto concurred with Columbus in opinion, and supported his authority, now took part with the private men; they assembled tumultuously on the deck, expostulated with their commander, |mingled threats with their expostulations, and required him instantly to tack about and return to |Europe. Columbus perceived that it would be of no avail to have recourse to any of his former arts, which, | having been tried so often, had lost their effect; and that it was impossible to rekindle any zeal for the success of the expedition among men in whose breasts fear had extinguished every generous sentiment. He saw that it was no less vain to think of employing | either gentle or severe measures to quell a mutiny so | general and so violent. It was necessary, on all these accounts, to soothe passions which he could no longer command, and to give way to a torrent too impetuous to be checked. He promised solemnly to his men that he would comply with their request, provided they would accompany him and obey his command for three days longer, and if, during that time, | land were not discovered, he would then abandon the enterprise, and direct his course towards Spain. Enraged as the sailors were, and impatient to turn their faces again towards their native country, this proposition did not appear to them unreasonable; nor | did Columbus hazard much in confining himself to a | term so short. The presages of discovering land were now so numerous and promising that he deemed them infallible. For some days the sounding line reached the bottom, and the soil which it brought up indicated land to be at no great distance. The flocks of birds increased, and were composed not only of sea-fowl,
violent excesses which they meditated, but prevailed,
but of such land birds as could not be supposed to fly far from the shore. The crew of the Pinta observed a cane floating, which seemed to have been newly cut, and likewise a piece of timber artificially
carved. The sailors aboard the Nigna took up the
branch of a tree with red berries perfectly fresh. The clouds around the setting sun assumed a new appearance; the air was more mild and warm, and during night the wind became unequal and variable. From all these symptoms Columbus was so confident of being near land, that on the evening of the eleventh of October, after public prayers for success, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the ships to lie to, keeping strict watch lest they should be driven ashore in the night. During this interval of suspense and expectation, no man shut his eyes, all kept upon deck, gazing intently towards that quarter where they expected to discover the land, which had so long been the object of their wishes.
About two hours before midnight, Columbus, standing on the forecastle, observed a light at a distance, and privately pointed it out to Pedro Guttierez, a page of the queen's wardrobe. Guttierez perceived it, and calling to Salcedo, comptroller of the fleet, all three saw it in motion, as if it were carried from place to place. A little after midnight, the joyful sound of lands land! was heard from the Pinta, which kept always a-head of the other ships. But having been so often deceived by fallacious appearances, every man was now become slow of belief, and waited in all the anguish of uncertainty and impatience for the return of day. As soon as morning dawned, all doubts and fears were dispelled. From every ship an island was seen about two leagues to the north, whose flat and verdant fields, well stored with wood, and watered with many rivulets, presented the aspect of a delightful country. The crew of the Pinta instantly began the Te Deum, as a hymn of thanksgiving to God, and were joined by those of the other ships with tears of joy and transports of congratulation. This office of gratitude to Heaven was followed by an act of justice to their commander. They threw themselves at the feet of Columbus, with feelings of self-condemnation, mingled with reverence. They implored him to pardon their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had created him so much unnecessary disquiet, and had so often obstructed the prosecution of his well-concerted plan; and passing, in the warmth of their admiration, from one extreme to another, they now pronounced the man whom they had so lately reviled and threatened, to be a person inspired by Heaven with sagacity and fortitude more than human, in order to accomplish a design so far beyond the ideas and conception of all former ages.
As soon as the sun arose, all their boats were manned and armed. They rowed towards the island with their colours displayed, with warlike music, and other martial pomp. As they approached the coast, they saw it covered with a multitude of people, whom the novelty of the spectacle had drawn together, whose attitudes and gestures expressed wonder and astonishment at the strange objects which presented themselves to their view. Columbus was the first European who set foot on the new world which he had discovered. He landed in a rich dress, and with a naked sword in his hand. His men followed, and, kneeling down, they all kissed the ground which they had so long desired to see. They next erected a crucifix, and prostrating themselves before it, returned thanks to God for conducting their voyage to such a happy issue. They then took solemn possession of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon, with all the formalities which the Portuguese were accustomed to observe in acts of this kind in their new discoveries.
The Spaniards, while thus employed, ". sur
rounded by many of the natives, who gazed in silent admiration upon actions which they could not comprehend, and of which they did not foresee the conseuences. The dress of the Spaniards, the whiteness of their skins, their beards, their arms, appeared strange and surprising. The vast machines in which they had traversed the ocean, that seemed to move upon the the waters with wings, and uttered a dreadful sound resembling thunder, accompanied with lightning and smoke, struck them with such terror that they began to respect their new guests as a superior order of beings, and concluded that they were children of the sun, who had descended to visit the earth. The Europeans were hardly less amazed at the scene now before them. Every herb and shrub and tree was different from those which flourished in Europe. The soil seemed to be rich, but bore few marks of cultivation. The climate, even to the Spaniards, felt warm, though, extremely delightful, The inhabitants appeared in the simple innocence of nature, entirely naked. Their black hair, long and uncurled, floated upon their shoulders, or was bound in tresses on their heads. They had no beards, and every part of their bodies was perfectly smooth. Their complexion was of a dusty copper colour, their features singular rather than disagreeable, their aspect gentle and timid. Though not tall, they were well: shaped and active. Their faces, and several parts of their bodies, were fantastically painted with glaring colours. They were shy at first through fear, but soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and with transports of joy received from them hawk-bells, glass beads, or other baubles; in return for which they gave such provisions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value which they could produce. Towards evening, Columbus returned to his ship, accompanied by many of the islanders in their boats, which they called canoes, and though rudely formed out of the trunk of a single tree, they rowed them with surprising dexterity. Thus, in the first interview between the inhabitants of the old and new worlds, everything was conducted amicably and to their mutual satisfaction. The former, enlightened and ambitious, formed already vast ideas with respect to the advantages which they might derive from the regions that began to open to their view. The latter, simple and undiscerning, had no foresight of the calamities and desolation which were approaching their country
Among uncivilised nations, there is but one profession honourable—that of arms. All the ingenuity and vigour of the human mind are exerted in acquiring military skill or address. The functions of peace are few and simple, and require no particular course of education or of study as a preparation for discharging them. This was the state of Europe during several centuries. Every gentleman, born a soldier, scorned any other occupation. He was taught no science but that of war; even his exercises and pastimes were feats of martial prowess. Nor did the judicial character, which persons of noble birth were alone entitled to assume, demand any degree of knowledge beyond that which such untutored soldiers possessed. To recollect a few traditionary customs which time had confirmed and rendered respectable, to mark out the lists of battle with due formality, to observe the issue of the combat, and to pronounce whether it had been conducted according to the laws of arms, included every thing that a baron, who acted as a judge, found it necessary to understand.
But when the forms of legal proceedings were fixed, when the rules of decision were committed to writing and collected into a body, law became a science, the
knowledge of which required a regular course of study, together with long attention to the practice of courts. Martial and illiterate nobles had neither leisure nor inclination to undertake a task so laborious, as well as so foreign from all the occupations which they deemed entertaining or suitable to their rank. They gradually relinquished their places in courts of justice, where their ignorance exposed them to contempt. They became weary of attending to the discussion of cases which grew too intricate for them to comprehend. Not only the judicial determination of points, which were the subject of controversy, but the conduct of all legal business and transactions, was committed to persons trained by previous study and application to the knowledge of law. An order of men, to whom their fellow-citizens had daily recourse for advice, and to whom they looked up for decision in their most important concerns, naturally acquired consideration and influence in society. They were advanced to honours which had been considered hitherto as the peculiar rewards of military virtue. They were intrusted with offices of the highest dignity and most extensive power. Thus, another profession than that of arms came to be introduced among the laity, and was reputed honourable. The functions of civil life were attended to. . The talents requisite for discharging them were cultivated. A new road was opened to wealth and eminence. The arts and virtues of peace were placed in their proper rank, and received their due recompense. While improvements, so important with respect to the state of society and the administration of justice, gradually made progress in Europe, sentiments more liberal and generous had begun to animate the nobles. These were inspired by the spirit of chivalry, which, though considered commonly as a wild institution, the effect of caprice, and the source of extravagance, arose naturally from the state of society at that period, and had a very serious influence in refining the manners of the European nations. The feudal state was a state of almost perpetual war, rapine, and anarchy; during which the weak and unarmed were exposed to insults or injuries. The power of the sovereign was too limited to prevent these wrongs, and the administration of justice too feeble to redress them. The most effectual protection against violence and oppression was often found to be that which the valour and generosity of private persons afforded. The same spirit of enterprise which had prompted so many gentlemen to take arms in defence of the oppressed pilgrims in Palestine, incited others to declare themselves the patrons and avengers of injured innocence at home. When the final reduction of the Holy Land, under the dominion of infidels, put an end to these foreign expeditions, the latter was the only employment left for the activity and courage of adventurers. To check the insolence of overgrown oppressors; to rescue the helpless from captivity; to protect or to avenge women, orphans, and ecclesiastics, who could not bear arms in their own defence; to redress wrongs and remove grievances; were deemed acts of the highest prowess and merit. Valour, humanity, courtesy, justice, honour, were the characteristic qualities of chivalry. To these were added religion, which mingled itself with every passion and institution during the middle ages, and by infusing a large proportion of enthusiastic zeal, gave them such force as carried them to romantic excess. Men were trained to knighthood by a long previous discipline; they were admitted into the order by solemnities no less devout than pompous; every person of noble birth courted that honour; it was deemed a distinction superior to royalty; and monarchs were proud to receive it from the hands of private gentlemen. This singular institution, in which valour, gallantry, and religion, were so strangely blended, was wonder
|Aly adapted to the taste and genius of martial | nobles ; and its effects were soon visible in their man| ners. War was carried on with less ferocity when | humanity came to be deemed the ornament of knight| hood no less than courage. More gentle and polished manners were introduced when courtesy was recommended as the most amiable of knightly virtues. | Violence and oppression decreased when , it was | reckoned meritorious to check and to punish them. | A scrupulous adherence to truth, with the most re|ligious attention to fulfil every engagement, became || the distinguishing characteristic of a gentleman, be
| cause chivalry was regarded as the school of honour, and inculcated the most delicate sensibility with respect to those points. The admiration of these qualities, together with the high distinctions and prerogatives conferred on knighthood in every part of Europe, inspired persons of noble birth on some occa|sions with a species of military fanaticism, and led them to extravagant enterprises. But they deeply imprinted on their minds the principles of generosity and honour. These were strengthened by everything that can affect the senses or touch the heart. The wild exploits of those romantic knights who sallied forth in quest of adventures are well known, and have been treated with proper ridicule. The political and permanent effects of the spirit of chivalry have been less observed. Perhaps the humanity which accompanies all the operations of war, the refinements of gallantry, and the point of honour—the three chief circumstances which distinguish modern from ancient manners—may be ascribed in a great measure to this institution, which has appeared whimsical to superficial observers, but by its effects has proved of great benefit to mankind. The sentiments which chivalry inspired had a wonderful influence on manners and conduct during the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. They were so deeply rooted, that they continued to operate after the vigour and reputation of the institution itself began to decline.
[Characters of Francis I. and the Emperor Charles W.]
During twenty-eight years an avowed rivalship subsisted between Francis I. and the Emperor Charles W., which involved not only their own dominions, but the greatest part of Europe, in wars which were prosecuted with more violent animosity, and drawn out to a greater length, than had been known in any former period. Many circumstances contributed to this. Their animosity was founded in opposition of interest, heightened by personal emulation, and exasperated, not only by mutual injuries, but by reciprocal insults. At the same time, whatever advantage one seemed to possess towards gaining the ascendant, was wonderfully balanced by some favourable circumstance peculiar to the other. The emperor's dominions were of greater extent; the French king's lay more compact. Francis governed his kingdom with absolute power; that of | Charles was limited, but he supplied the want of authority by address. The troops of the former were more impetuous and enterprising; those of the latter better disciplined, and more patient of fatigue. The talents and abilities of the two monarchs were as different as the advantages which they possessed, and contributed no less to prolong the contest between them. Francis took his resolutions suddenly, prosecuted them at first with warmth, and pushed them into execution with a most adventurous courage; but being destitute of the perseverance necessary to surmount difficulties, he often abandoned his designs, or | relaxed the vigour of pursuit from impatience, and sometimes from levity. Charles deliberated long, and | determined with coolness; but having once fixed his plan, he adhered to it with inflexible obstinacy, and
neither danger nor discouragement could turn him aside from the execution of it. The success of their enterprises was suitable to the diversity of their characters, and was uniformly influenced by it. Francis, by his impetuous activity, often disconcerted the emperor's best laid schemes; Charles, by a more calm but steady prosecution of his designs, checked the rapidity of his rival's career, and baffled or repulsed his most vigorous efforts. The former, at the opening of a war or of a campaign, broke in upon the enemy with the violence of a torrent, and carried all before him; the latter, waiting until he saw the force of his rival beginning to abate, recovered in the end not only all that he had lost, but made new acquisitions. Few of the French monarch's attempts towards conquest, whatever promising aspect they might wear at first, were conducted to a happy issue; many of the emperor's enterprises, even after they appeared o: and impracticable, terminated in the most prosperous manner.
The success of Hume and Robertson extended the demand for historical composition; and before ad. verting to their great rival Gibbon, we may glance at some of the subordinate labourers in the same field. In the year 1758, Dr SMollett published, in four volumes quarto, his Complete History of England, deduced from the Descent of Julius Caesar to the Treaty of Air la Chapelle, 1748. In extent and completemess of design, this history approaches nearest to the works of the historical masters; but its execution is unequal, and it abounds in errors and inconsistences. It was rapidly composed; and though Smollett was too fluent and practised a writer to fail in narrative (his account of the rebellion in 1745-6, and his observations on the act for the relief of debtors in 1759, are excellent specimens of his best style and his benevolence of character), he could not, without adequate study and preparation, succeed in so important an undertaking. Smollett afterwards continued his work to the year 1765. The portion from the Revolution of 1688 to the death of George II. is usually printed as a continuation to Hume.
The views which Dr Robertson had taken of the reign and character of Mary Queen of Scots, were combated by WILLIAM Tytler of Woodhouselee (1711-1792), who, in 1759, published an Inquiry, Historical and Critical, into the Evidence against Mary Queen of Scots, and an Eramination of the Histories of Dr Robertson and Mr Hume with respect to that Evidence. The work of Mr Tytler is acute and learned; it procured for the author the approbation and esteem of the most eminent men of his times; but, judged by the higher standards which now exist, it must be pronounced to be partial and inconclusive. Mr Tytler published the “Poetical Remains of James I., King of Scotland,’ with a dissertation on the life and writings of the royal poet, honourable to his literary taste and research.
About the year 1760, the London booksellers completed a compilation which had, for a long period,
employed several professional authors—a ‘Universal History,’ a large and valuable work, seven volumes being devoted to ancient and sixteen to modern history. The writers were ARchibald Bower (1686-1766), a native of Dundee, who was educated at the Jesuit's College of St Omer, but afterwards fled to England and embraced the Protestant faith: he was author of a History of the Popes. Dr John CAMPBELL (1709-1775), a son of Campbell of Glen}. in Perthshire, wrote the Military History of the ke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, Lives of the Admirals, a considerable portion of the Biographia Britannica, a History of Europe, a Political Survey of Britain, &c. Campbell was a candid and mont
a native of France, deceived the world for some time by pretending to be a native of the island of For:
the secretaries of the Royal Society. Birch was a
ners, always more interesting than state diplomacy or wars, and Dr Robert HENRY (1718-1790) entered
of talents, but rancorous and malignant in an emi
man, acquainted with Dr Johnson and most of the eminent men of his day. WILLIAM GUTHRIE (17081770), a native of Brechin, was an indefatigable writer, author of a History of England, a History of tland, a Geographical Grammar, &c. GEORGE SALE (1680-1736) translated the Koran, and was one of the founders of a society for the encouragement of learning. GeoRGE PsALMANAZAR (1679-1763),
mosa, to support which he invented an alphabet and grammar. He afterwards became a hack author, was sincerely penitent, and was reverenced by Johnson for his piety. When the ‘Universal History' was completed, Goldsmith wrote a preface to it, for which he received three guineas' In 1763 Goldsmith published a History of England, in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son, in two small volumes. The deceptive title had the desired attraction; the letters were variously attributed to Lords Chesterfield, Orrery, and Lyttelton, and in purity and grace of style surpassed the writings of any of the reputed authors. The success of this compilation afterwards led Goldsmith to compile a more extended history of England, and abridgments of Grecian and Roman history. Even in this subordinate walk, to which nothing but necessity compelled him, Goldsmith was superior to all his contemporaries. Lord Lyttelton afterwards came forward himself as a historian, though of but a limited period. His History of the Reign of Henry II., on which he had bestowed years of study, is a valuable repertory of facts, but a dry and uninteresting composition. Of a similar character are the Historical Memoirs and Lives (Queen Elizabeth, Raleigh, Henry Prince of Wales, &c.), written by Dr THoMAs BIRCH, one of
diligent explorer of records and public papers: he threw light on history, but was devoid of taste and arrangement. These works drew attention to the materials that existed for a history of domestic man
upon a History of Great Britain, in which particular attention was to be given to this department. For nearly thirty years Henry laboured at his work: the first volume was published in 1771, and four others at intervals between that time and 1785. A contemporary, Dr Gilbert Stuart, a man not devoid
nent degree, attempted, by a system of ceaseless persecution, to destroy the character and reputation of Henry, but his work realised to its author the large sum of £3300, and was rewarded with a pension from the crown of £100 per annum. Henry's work does not come farther down than the reign of Henry VIII. In our own days, the plan of a history with copious information as to manners, arts, and improvements—where full prominence is given to the progress of civilisation and the domestic life of our ancestors—has been admirably realised in the “Pictorial History of England,’ published by Mr Charles Knight. Of Dr Henry, we may add that he was a native of St Ninians, in Stirlingshire, was bred to the church, and was latterly one of the ministers of Edinburgh, where he had the honour of filling the chair as Moderator of the General Assembly. Dr GILBERT Stuart (1742-1786), a native of Edinburgh (to whom we have alluded in connexion with Henry), wrote various historical works, a History of Scotland, a Dissertation on the British Constitution, a History of the Reformation, &c. His style is florid and high-sounding, not wanting in elegance,
but disfigured by affectation, and still more by the violent prejudices of its vindictive and unprincipled author. Histories of Ireland, evincing antiquarian research, were published, the first in 1763-7 by Dr WARNER, and another in 1773 by Dr LELAND, the translator of our best English version of Demosthenes. A review of Celtic and Roman antiquities was in 1771-5 | resented by John WHITTAKER, grafted upon his }. of Manchester; and the same author after- || wards wrote a violent and prejudiced Vindication of Queen of Scots. The Biographical History of England by GRANGER, and ORME's History of the British Transactions in Hindostan, which appeared at this time, are also valuable works. In 1775, MACPHERSoN, translator of Ossian, published a His-" tory of Great Britain, from the Restoration to the Accession of the House of Hanover, accompanied by original papers. The object of Macpherson was to support the Tory party, and to detract from the purity and patriotism of those who had planned and effected the Revolution of 1688. The secret history brought to light by his original papers (which were undoubtedly genuine) certainly disclosed a degree of selfishness and intrigue for which the public were not prepared. In this task, the historian (if Mac. pherson be entitled to the venerable name) had the use of Carte's collections, for which he paid £200. and he received no less than £3000 for the copyright of his work. The Annals of Scotland, from Malcolm III. to Robert I., were published in 1776 by Sir David Dalrymple, Lord HAILEs. In 1779 the same author produced a continuation to the accession of the house of Stuart. These works were invaluable at the time, and have since formed an excellent quarry for the historian. Lord Hailes was born in Edinburgh in 1726, the son of Sir James Dalrymple of Hailes, Bart. He distinguished himself at the Scottish bar, and was appointed one of the judges of the Court of Session in 1766. He was the author of various legal and antiquarian treatises; of the Remains of Christian Antiquity, containing translations from the fathers, &c.; and of an inquiry into the secondary causes assigned by Gibbon the historian for the rapid growth of Christianity. Lord Hailes was a man of great erudition, an able lawyer, and upright judge. He died in 1792. In 1776 Robert WATson, professor of rhetoric and afterwards principal of one of the colleges of St Andrews, wrote a History of Philip II. of Spain as a continuation to Robertson, and left unfinished a History of Philip III., which was completed by Dr William Thomson, and published in 1783. In 1779, the two first volumes of a History of Modern Europe, by Dr WILLIAM Russell (1741-1793), were published with distinguished success, and three others were added in 1784, bringing down the history to the year 1763. Continuations to this valuable compendium have been made by Dr Coote and others, and it continues to be a standard work. Russell was a native of Selkirkshire, and fought his way to learning and distinction in the midst of considerable difficulties. The vast number of historical works published about this time shows how eagerly this noble branch of study was cultivated, both by authors and the public. No department of literary labour seems then to have been so lucrative, or so sure of leading to distinction. But our greatest name yet remains behind.
The historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was by birth, education, and manners, distinctively an English gentleman. He was born at Putney, in Surrey, April 27, 1737. His *: was 19.
of an ancient family settled at Beriton, near Petersfield, Hampshire. Of delicate health, young Edward GIBBox was privately educated, and at the age of | fifteen he was placed at Magdalen college, Oxford. | He was almost from infancy a close student, but
his indiscriminate appetite for books “subsided by
degrees in the historic line.’ He arrived at Ox, ford, he says, with a stock of erudition that might have puzzled a doctor, and a degree of ignorance of which a schoolboy would have been ashamed. He spent fourteen months at college idly and unprofitably, as he himself states; and, studying the works of Bossuet and Parsons the Jesuit, he became a convert to the Roman Catholic religion. He went to London, and at the feet of a priest, on the 8th of June 1753, he “solemnly, though privately, abjured the errors of heresy." His father, in order to reclaim him, placed him for some years at Lausanne, in Switzerland, under the charge of M. Pavilliard, a Calvinist clergyman, whose judicious conduct prevailed upon his pupil to return to the bosom of the Protestant church. On Christmas day, 1754, he received the sacrament in the Protestant church at Lausanne. “It was here,' says the historian, “that I suspended my religious inquiries, acquiescing with implicit belief in the tenets and mysteries, which : are adopted by the general consent of Catholics and | Protestants.” . At Lausanne a regular and severe system of study perfected Gibbon in the Latin and
French languages, and in a general knowledge of literature. In 1758 he returned to England, and three years afterwards appeared as an author in a slight French treatise, an Essay on the Study of Literature. He accepted the commission of captain in the Hampshire militia; and though his studies were interrupted, “the discipline and evolutions of a modern battle, he remarks, “gave him a clearer notion of the phalanx and the legion, and the captain of the Hampshire grenadiers was not useless to the historian of the Roman empire.” On the peace
of 1762, Gibbon was released from his military duties, and paid a visit to France and Italy. He
had long been meditating some historical work, and whilst at Rome, October 15, 1764, his choice was determined by an incident of a striking and romantic nature. “As I sat musing,' he says, “amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter, the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind.” Many years, however, elapsed before he realised his intentions. On returning to England in 1765, he seems to have been fashionable and idle; his father died in 1770, and he then began to form the plan of an independent life. The estate left him by his father was much involved in debt, and he determined on quitting the country and residing permanently in London. took the composition of the first volume of his history. “At the outset,” he remarks, “all was dark and doubtful; even the title of the work, the true era of the decline and fall of the empire, the limits of the introduction, the division of the chapters, and the order of the narrative; and I was often tempted to cast away the labour of seven years. The style of an author should be the image of his mind, but the choice and command of language is the fruit of exercise. Many experiments were made before I could hit the middle tone between a dull tone and a rhetorical declamation: three times did I compose the first chapter, and twice the second and third, before I was tolerably satisfied with their effect. In the remainder of the way, I advanced with a more equal and easy pace.” In 1774 he was returned for the borough of Liskeard, and sat in parliament eight sessions during the memorable contest between Great Britain and America. Prudence, he says, condemned him to acquiesce in the humble station of a mute; the great speakers filled him with despair, the bad ones with terror. Gibbon, however, supported by his vote the administration of Lord North, and was by this nobleman ap
pointed one of the lords commissioners of trade and
lantations. In 1776 the first quarto volume of his
istory was given to the world. Its success was almost unprecedented for a grave historical work: ‘the first impression was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition was scarcely adequate to the demand; and the bookseller's property was twice invaded by the pirates of Dublin: the book was on every table, and almost on every toilette.” His brother historians, Robertson and Hume, generously greeted him with warm applause. “Whether I consider the dignity of your style,' says Hume. ‘the depth of your matter, or the extensiveness of your learning, I must regard the work as equally the object of esteem.” There was another bond of sympathy between the English and the Scottish historian: Gibbon had insidiously, though too unequivocally, evinced his adoption of infidel principles. “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all,” he remarks, “considered by the people as equally true, by the philosopher as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.” Some feeling of this kind constituted the whole of Gibbon's religious belief: the philosophers of France had triumphed over the lessons of the Calvinist minister of Lausanne, and the historian seems never to have returned to the faith and the humility of the Christian. fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of his work he gave an account of the growth and progress of Christianity, which he accounted for solely by secondary causes, without reference to its divine origin. A number of answers were written to these memorable chapters, the only one of which that has kept possession of the public is the reply by Dr Watson, bishop of Llandaff, entitled “An Apology for Chris
He then under