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Constitutional History of England


EMERGINGDARKLYOVT OF
THEMYSTERIOVSETERNITY:THE TRVE EPICPOEM AND
VNIVERSALDIVINESCRIPTVRE.
 
 CARLYLE
CONSTITUTIONALHISTORY ofENGLANDHENRY VII
TOGEORGE IIBY HENRYHALLAM VOL I
 
 LONDON:
PUBLISHEDby J·M·DENT·&·SONS·LTDAND IN NEW
YORKBY E·P·DUTTON & CO
INTRODUCTION
Few historical works have stood the test of time better than Hallam's
Constitutional History. It was written nearly a century ago—the first
edition was published in 1827—and at a time when historians were
nothing if not stout party men. The science of history, as we now
know it, was in its infancy; apologetics were preferred to exegesis;
the study of "sources," the editing of texts, the classification of
authorities were almost unknown. History was regarded as the
handmaid of politics, and the duty of the historian was conceived as
being, in the language of Macaulay, the impression of "general truths"
upon his generation as to the art of government and the progress of
society. Whig and Tory, Erastian and High Churchman, debated on
the field of history. The characters of Laud and Cromwell excited as
much passion and recrimination as if they were contemporary
politicians. That a history written in such times, and by a writer who
was proud to call himself a Whig, should still hold its place is not a
little remarkable. The reason for its vitality is to be found in the
temperament and training of the author. Hallam was a lawyer in the
sense in which that term is used at the Bar; that is to say, not so
much a seductive advocate as a man deeply versed in the law,
accurate, judicious, and impartial. Macaulay, who was as much the
advocate as Hallam is the judge, described the Constitutional History
as "the most impartial book we ever read," and the tribute was not
undeserved. Hallam is often didactic, but he is never partisan.
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