View of the Progress of Society in Europe, with respect to interior Government, Laws, and Manners.


View of the Progress of Society in Europe, with respect to the Command of the National Force requisite in Foreign Operations.


View of the Political Constitution of the principal States in Europe, at the commencement of the sixteenth Century





Regency of Cardinal Ximenes

The Proclamation of Charles I of Spain

Charles V of Germany, King of the Romans

The Spanish Reaction





Cardinal Wolsey and the Field of the Cloth of Gold

Martin Luther and Leo X

The Régime of the Church under the Medieval Popes

Erasmus and the Invention of Printing

The After-day of the Diet of Worms

Europe at War





Padilla and the Junta

Death of Padilla

Germanadas. The End of the Spanish Revolution

1523. Francis I and Charles duke of Bourbon

1524. Luther's Reformation Progress




Pescara versus Bonnivet. On the road to Pavia

The Battle of Pavia. February 24. 1525

Francis I, the Golden Prisoner

The Conspiracy of Morone

The Treaty of Madrid, February 14, 1526

The Peasant's Wars

The Teutonic Roots of Prusia

The Sack of Rome

The Battle of Mohacz















































1547. The VICTORY of the imperial FORCES

GENOA. The Strange STORY of the insurrection of FIESCO




The Battle of Muhlberg

The Surrender of Wittemberg

The Reduction of Saxony

King Ferdinand and the Bohemian Rebels

The Murder of the son of the Pope

Trent in the waiting-room of the Station of History

The Interim of the Emperor




The Case of Innocent the Ape

The rise of Maurice of Saxony

Character of Philip II

The Siege of Magdeburg

Revolution in Hungary

New League against Charles

Maurice’s manifesto

History of the council of Trent

The Treaty of Passau




The Siege of Metz

Albert of Bradenburg and death of Maurice of Saxony

The Story of Roxalana and Mustapha

Mary of England and Philip of Spain

The Siege of Sienna

The recess of Augsburg

The Court of Paul the Fourth

1556.] Abdication of Charles V

Philip the Second



1557] The retirement of Charles from the affairs of Power

The Battle of St. Quintin

The Peace of the Pope

The Sagacity of Cosmo di Medici

The Duke of Guise conquer Calais

The Madness of the Pope Paul the Fourth

The Road to the Peace of the Kings

Death of Charles I of Spain and V of Germany

The rise of Queen Elizabeth and the

The Treaty of Chateau-Cambresis [Feb. 6, 1559]



V.1 The history of Scotland, book 1-5

v. 2. The history of Scotland, book 6-8. Dissertation on King Henry's murder, &c.--

v. 6. The history of America.

v. 7. The history of America.

v. 8. The history of America.

v. 9. An historical disquisition concerning the knowledge which the ancients had of India



Life and Works of William Robertson

William Robertson



IF the laws of equity are to be observed in the republic of learning, no man possesses a greater claim than an historian to have his life carefully recorded. He who has devoted his labour and ingenuity to the task of describing the exploits of others, deserves that his own actions should not be forgotten by the many readers whom he has studied to please and enlighten. In the instance, therefore, of the most accomplished of British historians, it would be totally unpardonable to offer any edition of his works to the public, without endeavouring to present, at the same time, an accurate relation of the chief incidents of his life, which have been preserved by the respect and affection of his friends.

William Robertson, the historian, descended from a respectable Scottish family, was the eldest son of the Rev. W. Robertson, and of Eleanor, the daughter of David Pitcairn, esq. of Dreghorn. He was born on the 8th of September, 1721, at Borthwick, in the county of Mid-Lothian, at the time his father was minister of that parish. The elements of his learned education were acquired at Dalkeith, under Mr. Leslie, who was at that period, with regard to tuition, considered as the Quintilian of the north. In 1733, when his father was appointed to one of the churches in Edinburgh, young Robertson became an inhabitant of the capital; and in October of the same year was admitted a student of the university; where, after several years of intense study and application, he, by his writings, created a new era in the literary history of his country.

Of the circumstances of Robertson's youthful days, very little has been remembered. No feats of boyish excellence, no remarks betokening an early depth of understanding, and no sallies presaging an unusual brilliancy of imagination, are recorded of him. His abilities seem to have been more solid than ostentatious, and his progress more steady than surprising. His early application might be inferred from the extent of his subsequent labours.

If much labour is necessary to attain excellence in arts and bodily accomplishments, still greater toil is requisite to carry off the palm of literary distinction. We are not, however, compelled to guess merely at Robertson's industry. The practice of noting, which has been so much commended by some learned men, that they affirm no one can become an eminent scholar without it, was early adopted by our author. Some of his common-place books compiled in 1735, 1736, and 1737, are said to be remarkable proofs of a diligent accumulation of knowledge. To each of them are prefixed the significant words, "Vita sine literis mors est", a motto plainly indicative of the ruling ambition of his soul, and of the supreme value which he set upon intellectual enjoyments.

With the view of improving his style, he undertook the exercise of translation; and he was so far satisfied with his proficiency in this accomplishment, as to have serious thoughts of giving a public specimen of his labours in a version of Marcus Antoninus. He was diverted from his plan by the work suddenly appearing, executed by another hand, at Glasgow.

He did not, however, intend to limit his desires to the praise of eloquent writing; but aspired to the honour of instructing and delighting others by his tongue, as well as his pen. It was with this design, that, during the latter years of his education, he became a member of a society of persons, who met together to improve themselves in the habits of speaking. Clubs of this description, when they are composed of men of liberal attainments, and governed by judicious regulations, very greatly facilitate the study at which they profess to aim; but amongst the ignorant, and without the restraint of prudent laws, they seldom generate any thing but flippancy and impudence. Robertson had the good fortune to become associated with several persons of eminent ability; a collision with whom would necessarily inspire an ardour of emulation, and give a lively impulse to all the faculties of his mind. He had two powerful reasons which would impel him to cultivate the art of oratory : these were, the nature of his intended profession, and the constitution of the Scottish church. The congregations, which he was hereafter to address, had not been accustomed to listen to preachers who read their compositions from the pulpit; so that it was necessary, if he wished to teach either with facility to himself, or benefit to others, that he should acquire a habit of calm self-possession, and a power of quickly arranging his thoughts, together with a copiousness of language ready at a moment to clothe his ideas with suitable expressions. The popular constitution of his church would lead him also to consider the advantage of being able to deliver his sentiments with promptness and vigour. In the general assembly which meets every year at Edinburgh, and which consists not only of a great number of the clerical order, but also of many eminent laymen, an extensive and honourable field of discussion would be opened, in which no one could distinguish himselfwithout possessing that art, to which a great tragic poet attributes a sovereign influence in the affairs of men.

Thus prepared by his learning and accomplishments, Mr. Robertson was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Dalkeith in 1741. This function, which is permitted in Scotland, even to laymen, he exercised before he had attained his twentieth year; and in 1743, he was invested with the full authority of a priest, and presented by the earl of Hopetoun, to the living of Gladsmuir, in the county of East-Lothian.

Other heavy duties, besides those peculiar to his sacred profession, devolved upon him. He had not long been in possession of his preferment, when, by the decease of both his parents (who died in circumstances not at all affluent), a younger brother and six sisters were compelled to seek from him all the aid and protection which he could bestow. In this painful exigence, he acted with the most generous affection to his relations, and with the resolution of a man who is determined to sacrifice all considerations of interest and convenience to the demands of duty. Although the value of his living did not exceed one hundred pounds, he did not hesitate to make his residence at Gladsmuir the home for the entire family; nor did his sisters quit his roof, until other respectable abodes were provided for them. This generosity was the more commendable, as it was purchased by great and peculiar self-denial on his part. He had long wished to cement the most tender of all ties and relations; but was restrained by claims which he thought prior in obligation, till the year 1751; when he married Miss Mary Nisbet, a lady who was his cousin, and daughter of one of the clergy of Edinburgh.

At Gladsmuir, his time was divided between his general studies and official duties. It was his custom to rise early, devoting the sweet hours of prime" to his books and intellectual pleasures, and allotting the remainder of the day to his parochial engagements. On Sundays he thought it incumbent upon him to undertake the task of catechizing, as well as preaching; because from the nature of a mixed congregation, every preacher must suppose a previous knowledge of religious principles in the mind of his hearers; and if these are wanting, he must talk to them unintelligibly, and fail of producing any beneficial impression.

When the great rebellion broke out in Scotland, upon the invasion of the Pretender, in 1745, our Author showed that he possessed no small share of energy and courage, as well as a zealous regard for the constitutional liberties of the state.

Mr. Robertson's conduct furnished an exception to the physical inactivity of learned men in general. "On one occasion," says Mr. Stewart, "when the capital of Scotland was in danger of falling into the hands of the rebels, the state of public affairs appeared so critical, that he thought himself justified in laying aside, for a time, the pacific habits of his profession, and in quitting his parochial residence at Gladsmuir, to join the volunteers of Edinburgh; and, when at last it was determined that the city should be surrendered, he was one of the small band who repaired to Haddington, and offered their services to the commander of his majesty's forces."

The church of Scotland, at the period when Mr. Robertson began to interfere in the management of its concerns, was in a state of much confusion and insubordination; so that both talent and intrepidity were required in the person who should attempt to reform its abuses. The disturbances chiefly originated in the system of patronage; which, after many changes in the Scottish church, was revived in the tenth year of the reign of queen Anne. It was then enacted, that the patron of a vacant parish had a right to present some person to the presbytery, who were bound to ratify the appointment, unless any cogent objection could be urged against his life or qualifications. The law of patronage had always been considered such an odious grievance in Scotland, that it was openly resisted, and became almost nugatory. The people had gradually assumed to themselves the privilege of approving their pastors before they were inducted; and the popular sanction which was denominated a call, was regarded as indispensable, and possessing more authority than the presentation of the patron. Thus the church became agitated with intestine tumults : the majesty of the law was disregarded; and the power of the general assembly, which ought to have been supreme, was overawed by the factions and the clamours of the people.

Mr. Robertson determined to resist these dangerous encroachments; to maintain the law of patronage, and assert the necessity of obedience to ecclesiastical rulers. It was in the assembly of 1751, that he first delivered the sentiments which he held respecting the polity of the church. The contumacy of a clergyman, who had slighted the decree of a former assembly, became the topic of debate: when Mr, Robertson argued that it was their duty to vindicate the authority of the court by awarding a suitable punishment upon the offender. Such, however, was the fear which restrained them, or their ignorance of the first principles of government, that his motion was lost, and the minority that voted with him was quite insignificant.

The commission, which met in March of 1752, gave him another opportunity of reproving the pusillanimity of his colleagues. The presbytery of Dunfermline had been enjoined by the commission to settle Mr. Richardson in the parish of Inverkeithing. The order was disregarded; and although this was the second instance of disobedience in the same persons, it was allowed to pass by without any censure. In a paper, from which we shall presently give some extracts, Mr. Robertson and a few of his friends, seriously protested against such pernicious lenity.

Not discouraged by the repulses which he had suffered, he renewed his arguments in the general assembly of 1752. On this occasion, the force of reasoning was completely triumphant; for the judgment of the commission was rescinded, and one of the presbyters of Dunfermline disgraced for contempt of legal authority.

The abstract of his reasons for dissenting from the resolution of the commission, may be here subjoined.

"The sentence of the commission was inconsistent with the nature and first principles of society. When men are considered as individuals, they have no guide but their own understanding, and no judge but their own conscience; but as members of society, they are bound in many instances to follow the judgment of the society. By joining together in society, we enjoy many advantages which we could neither purchase nor secure in a disunited state. In consideration of these, we consent that regulations for public order shall be established; not by the private fancy of every individual, but by the judgment of the majority, or of those with whom the society has consented to intrust the legislative power. Their judgment must necessarily be absolute and final, and their decisions received as the voice and instruction of the whole. As long as a man continues in any society, professes regard for it, and reaps the emoluments of it, if he refuses to obey its laws, he manifestly acts both a disorderly and dishonest part: he lays claim to the privileges of the society, while he contemns the authority of it, and by all principles of equity and reason is justly subjected to its censures. They who maintain that such disobedience deserves no censure, maintain, in effect, that there should be no such thing as government and order. They deny those first principles by which men are united in society; and endeavour to establish such maxims as will justify not only licentiousness in ecclesiastical, but rebellion and disorder in civil, government.

"The sentence of the commission, as it is subversive of society in general, so it is absolutely inconsistent with the nature and preservation of ecclesiastical society in particular. We admit that the church is not merely a voluntary society, but a society formed by the laws of Christ. But to his laws we conceive it to be most agreeable, that order should be preserved in the external administration of the affairs of the church. And we contend, in the words of our confession of faith, "That there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed. It is very evident that unless the church was supported by continual miracles, and a perpetual and extraordinary interposition of heaven, it can only subsist by those fundamental maxims by which all society subsists. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. There can be no union, and by consequence there can be no society, where there is no subordination; and therefore, since miracles are now ceased, we do conceive that no church or ecclesiastical society can exist without obedience required from its members, and enforced by proper sanctions. Accordingly, there never was any regularly constituted church in the Christian world, where there was not, at the same time, some exercise of discipline and authority. If a judicature which is appointed to be the guardian and defender of the laws and orders of the society, shall absolve them who break their laws from all censure, and by such a deed encourage and invite them to future disobedience, we conceive that they have exceeded their powers, and betrayed their trust in the most essential instance."

Dr. Robertson's system, with respect to the law of patronage, proceeded (as we are informed by one of his friends) upon the following principles : That as patronage is the law of the land, the courts of a national church, established and protected by law, and all the individual ministers of that church are bound, in as far as it depends upon exertions arising from the duties of their place, to give it effect: that every opposition to the legal rights of patrons tends to diminish that reverence, which all the subjects of a free government ought to entertain for the law; and that it is dangerous to accustom the people to think that they can elude the law or defeat its operation, because success in one instance leads to greater licentiousness. Upon these principles, Dr. Robertson thought that the church courts betrayed their duty to the constitution, when the spirit of their decisions, or negligence in enforcing obedience to their orders, created unnecessary obstacles to the right of patronage, and fostered in the minds of the people, the false idea that they have a right to choose their own ministers, or even a negative upon the nomination of the patron. He was well aware that the subjects of Great Britain are entitled to apply, in a constitutional manner, for the repeal of every law which they consider as a grievance. But while he supported patronage as the existing law, he regarded it also as the most expedient method of settling vacant parishes. It did not appear to him that the people are competent judges of those qualities which a minister should possess, in order to be a useful teacher either of the doctrines of pure religion, or of the principles of sound morality. He suspected that if the probationers of the church were taught to consider their success in obtaining a settlement, as depending upon a popular election, many of them would be tempted to adopt a manner of preaching more calculated to please the people, than to promote their edification. He thought that there is little danger to be apprehended from the abuse of the law of patronage, because the presentee must be chosen from amongst those whom the church itself had approved of, and had licensed as qualified for the office of the ministry; because a presentee cannot be admitted to the benefice, if any relevant charge as to his life or doctrine be proved against him; and because after ordination and admission, he is liable to be deprived for improper conduct. When every possible precaution is thus taken to prevent unqualified persons from being introduced into the church, or those who afterward prove unworthy, from remaining in it, the occasional evils and abuses from which no human institution is exempted, could not, in the opinion of Dr. Robertson, be fairly urged as reasons against the law of patronage.

Such are the principles by which our Author was guided in ecclesiastical affairs; and by the wisdom and consistency of which he repelled the aggressions of popular power, banished confusion, and gave dignity and steadiness to the counsels of the church.

While he was a zealous advocate of a firm and regular discipline, he showed himself a foe to that puritanical austerity, which censures all the cheerful amusements of life, and disdains every polite accomplishment of taste. In the year 1757, Mr. John Home, the minister of Athelstonford, published the well-known tragedy of Douglas : an act which gave as much offence to the Scottish clergy, as if he had violated one of the great commands of the decalogue. The same body, who, a little before, could patiently submit to have their authority opposed and derided, thought it an unpardonable offence against presbyterian solemnity, that any of their fraternity should give countenance to the amusements of the stage. Mr. Robertson displayed all his zeal and eloquence in defending Mr. Home, and his friends who had ventured to be present at the performance of the tragedy. He declared that he saw nothing repugnant to the purity of Christianity in writing a play that was not the vehicle of any vicious sentiments; and although he had never entered, nor intended to enter, a theatre, he did not think that all clergymen were bound to observe the same rigid self-denial. It is to be observed, that our Author had promised his father never to be present at any theatrical performance, and that he scrupulously adhered to his word. This circumstance might give weight to his arguments, because it was obvious that in exculpating others, he was not contending for a licence which he wished to enjoy himself. Upon the whole, it is believed that his opinion had great influence in softening the sentence upon the offenders. Mr. Home resigned his living; and as to the gentlemen who accompanied him to the obnoxious amusement, some were only reproved, and one or two suspended for a short time.

Although Mr. Robertson had many religious duties to perform, and although he never debarred himself from the pleasures of society, his early taste for literature had not been permitted to languish. The first performance, by which he aspired to the fame of an author, was the history of his own country. Some circumstances relative to the progress of this work are preserved in the following letters, written by Mr. Robertson


To SIR DAVID DALRYMPLE (LORD HAILES).Gladsmuir, Oct. 22, 1753.

SIR, -

I INTEND to employ some of the idle time of this winter in making a more diligent inquiry than ever I have done, into that period of Scots history from the death of king James V to the death of queen Mary. I have the more common histories of that time, such as Buchanan, Spottiswood, and Knox, but there are several collections of papers by Anderson, Jebb, Forbes, and others, which I know not how to come at. I am persuaded you have most of these books in your library, and I flatter myself you will be so good as to allow me the use of them. You know better what books to send me, and what will be necessary to give any light to this part of the history, than I do what to ask; and therefore I leave the particular books to your own choice, which you'll please order to be given to my servant. Whatever you lend me shall be used with much care, and returned with great punctuality. I beg you may forgive this trouble.

I am, with great respect, &c.


To THE SAME.Gladsmuir, July 26, 1757.


I HAVE now got forward to the year 1660, and as it will be impossible for me to steer through Gowrie's conspiracy without your guidance, I must take advantage of the friendly offer you was pleased to make me, and apply to you for such books and papers as you think to be necessary for my purpose. I would wish to give an accurate and rational account of the matter, but not very minute. I have in my possession Calderwood's MSS. and all the common printed histories; but I have neither lord Cromarty's account, nor any other piece particularly relative to the conspiracy. I beg you may supply me with as many as you can, and direct me to any thing you think may be useful. The papers you are pleased to communicate to me, shall be shown to no human creature, and no farther use shall be made of them than you permit. My servant will take great care of whatever books or papers you give him. I need not say how sensible I am of the good-will with which you are pleased to instruct me in this curious point of history, nor how much I expect to profit by it.

I ever am, &c.


To THE SAME.Edinburgh, Nov. 8, 1758.


I HAVE taken the liberty to send you enclosed a preface to my book, which I have just now written. I find it very difficult for a man to speak of himself with any decency, through three or four pages. Unluckily, I have been obliged to write it in the utmost hurry, as Strahan is clamouring for it. I think it was necessary to say all in it that I have said, and yet it looks too like a puff. I send it to you not only that you may do me the favour to correct any inaccuracies in the composition, but because there is a paragraph in it which I could not presume to publish without your permission, though I have taken care to word it so modestly, that a man might have said it of himself. As I must send off the preface by tomorrow's post, I must beg the favour that you will return it, with your remarks, tomorrow morning. I would wish, if possible, that I had time to show it to Blair.

I am, with great respect, &c.


The History of Scotland was published on the 1st of February, 1759, and the encomiums which were bestowed upon it, were prompt, warm, and universal. Dr. Warburton, who was too acute to be deceived, and too proud to flatter, wrote in the following terms to Millar, the publisher: "I have received and read with great pleasure the new History of Scotland, and will not wait for the judgment of the public, to pronounce it a very excellent work. From the Author's apparent love of civil and religious liberty, I suppose, that were it not for fear of offence (which every wise man in his situation would fear to give), he would have spoken with much more freedom of the hierarchical principles of the infant church of Scotland."

Mr. Horace Walpole wrote to the Author : "Having finished the first volume, and made a little progress in the second, I cannot stay till I have finished the latter, to tell you how exceedingly I admire the work. Your modesty will make you, perhaps, suppose these are words of compliment and of course; but as I can give you very good reasons for my approbation, you may believe that I no more flatter your performance, than I have read it superficially, hastily, or carelessly. The style is most pure, proper, and equal; is very natural and easy, except now and then, where, as I may justly call it, you are forced to translate from bad writers. You will agree with me, Sir, that an historian who writes from other authorities, cannot possibly always have as flowing a style, as an author whose narrative is dictated from his own knowledge. Your perspicuity is most beautiful, your relation always interesting, never languid; and you hav every extraordinarily united two merits very difficult to be reconciled. I mean, that though you have formed your history into pieces of information, each of which would make a separate memoir, yet the whole is hurried on into one uninterrupted story. I assure you, I value myself on the first distinction, especially as Mr. Charles Townshend made the same remark. You have preserved the gravity of history without any formality, and you have, at the same time, avoided what I am now running into, antithesis and conceit: in short, Sir, I don't know where or what history is written with more excellences; and when I say this, you may be sure I do not forget your impartiality. But, Sir, I will not wound your bashfulness with encomiums ; yet the public will force you to hear them. I never knew justice so rapidly paid to a work of so deep and serious a kind; for deep it is, and it must be great sense that could penetrate so far into human nature, considering how little you have been conversant with the world."

The following passages are from the letters of Mr. David Hume, addressed to our Author : "You have very good cause to be satisfied with the success of your History, as far as it can be judged of from a few weeks' publication. I have not heard of one who does not praise it warmly; and were I to enumerate all those whose suffrages I have either heard in its favour, or been told of, I should fill my letter with a list of names. Mallet told me that he was sure there was no Englishman capable of composing such a work. The town will have it that you was educated at Oxford, thinking it impossible for a mere untravelled Scotchman to produce such language. Since you will hear me speak on this subject, I cannot help it, and must fatigue your ears as much as ours are in this place by endless, and repeated, and noisy praises of the History of Scotland. Dr. Douglas told me yesterday, that he had seen the bishop of Norwich, who had just bought the book from the high commendations he heard of it from Mr. Legge. Mallet told me that lord Mansfield is at a loss whether he shall most esteem the matter or the style. Elliot told me that being in company with George Grenville, that gentleman was speaking loud in the same key. Our friend pretended ignorance; said he knew the author, and if he thought the book good for any thing, would send for it and read it. Send for it by all means (said Mr. Grenville), you have not read a better book for a long time. But, said Elliot, I suppose, although the matter may be tolerable, as the author was never on this side the Tweed till he wrote it, it must be very barbarous in the expression. By no means, cried Mr. Grenville; had the author lived all his life in London, and in the best company, he could not have expressed himself with greater elegance and purity."

In short, Mr. Hume declared that the merit of the work was so great, that there is scarce another instance of a first performance being so near perfection. The praise of this gentleman, we believe to have been given with sincerity : for though he had occupied the field of historical fame before our Author, there seems not to have existed any bitterness of literary envy between the two Writers. Shortly after the publication of the first work of Dr. Robertson (for that now becomes his title), Mr. Hume gave to the world his History of the House of Tudor, comprising, of necessity, an account of Scottish affairs in the reign of queen Mary ; so that the two authors exhibited a trial of strength and ability on the same topics of inquiry. Dr. Robertson had expressed a wish that Mr. Hume should not write this period, but the latter declared that he could not comply with his desire, without abandoning the scheme of English history in which he had proceeded so far : subsequently, he also remarked, for their mutual consolation, that their combat was not likely to make half so much noise as that between Broughton and the one-eyed coachman. Before publishing, he said, he was glad to find that they would agree in almost all the material parts of their history; differing, however, in some points; such as the violation of the treaty of Perth by Mary of Guise, and the innocency of Mary with regard to Babington's conspiracy. In history, as long as darkness veils the past, and prejudice and passion obscure the human understanding, there will remain some vexatae questiones, some interminable subjects, upon which writers will never entirely agree. Without attending to the collision of the two authors upon such disputes, we may venture to affirm, that in any of the excellences of a great historian, Dr. Robertson need not fear to stand the comparison with his countryman, Mr. Hume.

The praises of the History of Scotland were not echoed merely by the voices of private friends, who might be suspected of partiality : the public fully attested their opinion of its merit. A second edition was called for, within a month after the publication of the book; and Dr. Robertson lived to see no less than fourteen editions committed to the press. The rapidity of its success (he declaredf) surprised no man more than the Author. He did not affect to think less of it than was natural for him who made it; and he never was much afraid of the subject, which is interesting to the English as well as Scots : but a much more moderate success was all he looked for. Since the success had so far exceeded his hopes, he enjoyed it; especially as he had flattered nobody in order to obtain it, and had not spared to speak truth of all factions and sects.

Although he enjoyed an ample share of that panegyric which a great Athenian considered the most delightful of all sounds, yet in his humble circumstances, something more was both requisite andjust. While his Scotland was in the press he removed to Edinburgh, and became minister of the Old Grey Friars church; which post would be the more pleasing, as his father also had possessed it. In 1759, he was appointed chaplain to Stirling-castle, and the following year chaplain in ordinary to his majesty, for Scotland. In 1762, he was raised to the dignity of principal of the university of Edinburgh; and two years afterward, the office of historiographer to his majesty, for Scotland (which had been extinct since the time of queen Anne), was revived in his favour, and a salary of two hundred pounds per annum affixed to it.

Although his circumstances were such, as in a presbyterian clergyman might be denominated affluent, yet some of his friends wished to see him in possession of far richer emoluments. With this view, Sir Gilbert Elliot, Dr. John Blair, and Mr. Hume, suggested to him the plan of migrating from the Scotch to the English church; as the latter establishment (although in general offering nothing but situations of genteel indigence) contains a few dignities sufficient to reward the brightest merit and the loftiest ambition. From the notice which Dr. Robertson's fame at last attracted, there is little doubt that his secession might have been followed by his elevation to the highest ecclesiastical honours; but as an episcopal and presbyterian church are essentially different in government, and he could not make the change without a sacrifice of principle and consistency, he wisely (and it is believed promptly) declined the injudicious scheme of his friends.

He was content to aggrandize himself by that honourable species of labour, which had been the origin of his reputation; but his mind was for some time perplexed with doubts concerning the subject which should next employ his pen. Several were proposed by his friends, or suggested by his ownjudgment. The subject, which he would have preferred himself, was the History of England; and it is reported that lord Chesterfield declared that, in case of his undertaking it, he would move in the house of lords that public encouragement should be given him. He was deterred, however, from entering upon this field by his respect for Mr. Hume, as he did not think such rivalry tobe consistent with the duties of friendship. His thoughts seemed to have been directed to the Age of Leo the Tenth; but Mr. Hume reminded him of the necessity of being versed in all the anecdotes of the Italian literature, and of the difficulty of acquiring a knowledge of the great works of sculpture, architecture, and painting, by which that age was chiefly distinguished. Mr. Walpole, among other subjects, hinted at a History of Learning; and the History of the Roman Empire under Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, and the two Antonines, which, from the virtues of those princes, might be called the History of Humanity. Mr. Hume's opinion, which is of far greater importance, is stated in the following letter, which has been preserved by Mr. Stewart.

"I have frequently thought and talked with our common friends upon the subject of your letter. There always occurred to us several difficulties with regard to every subject we could propose. The ancient Greek History has several recommendations, particularly the good authors from which it must be drawn; but this circumstance becomes an objection when more narrowly considered, for what can you do in most places with those authors but transcribe and translate them? No letters or state papers from which you could correct their errors, or authenticate their narration, or supply their defects. Besides, Rollin is so well wrote with respect to style, that with superficial people it passes for sufficient. There is one Dr. Leland, who has lately wrote the Life of Philip of Macedon, which is one of the best periods. The book, they tell me, is perfectly well wrote; yet it has such small sale, and has so little excited the attention of the public, that the author has reason to think his labours thrown away. I have not read the book, but by the size I should judge it to be too particular. It is a pretty large quarto. I think a book of that size sufficient for the whole history of Greece till the death of Philip, and I doubt not but such a work would be successful, notwithstanding all these discouraging circumstances. The subject is noble, and Rollin is by no means equal to it.

"I own I like still less your project of the age of Charles the Fifth. That subject is disjointed, and your hero, who is the sole connexion, is not very interesting. A competent knowledge is at least required of the state and constitution of the empire, of the several kingdoms of Spain, of Italy, of the Low Countries; which it would be the work of half a life to acquire; and though some parts of the story may be entertaining, there would be many dry and barren, and the whole seems not to have any great charms.

"But I would not willingly start objections to these schemes, unless I had something to propose which would be plausible; and I shall mention to you an idea which has sometimes pleased me, and which I had once entertained thoughts of attempting. You may observe that among modern readers Plutarch is in every translation the chief favourite of the ancients. Numberless translations and numberless editions have been made of him in all languages, and no translation has been so ill done as not to be successful. Though those who read the originals never put them in comparison either with Thucydides or Xenophon, he always attaches more the reader in the translation; a proof that the idea and execution of his work is in the main happy. Now I would have you think of writing modern lives somewhat after that manner; not to enter into a detail of the actions, but to mark the manners of the great personages by domestic stories, by remarkable sayings, and by a general sketch of their lives and adventures. You see that in Plutarch the life of Caesar may be read in half an hour. Were you to write the life of Henry the Fourth of France after that model, you might pillage all the pretty stories in Sully, and speak more of his mistresses than of his battles. In short, you might gather the flower of all modern history in this manner. The remarkable popes, the kings of Sweden, the great discoverers and conquerors of the New World, even the eminent men of letters, might furnish you with matter, and the quick dispatch of every different work would encourage you to begin a new one. If one volume were successful, you might compose another at your leisure, and the field is inexhaustible. There are persons whom you might meet with in the corners of history, so to speak, who would be a subject of entertainment quite unexpected, and as long as you live, you might give and receive amusement by such a work. Even your son, if he had a talent for history, would succeed to the subject, and his son to him. I shall insist no farther on this idea, because, if it strikes your fancy, you will easily perceive all its advantages, and by farther thought all its difficulties."

Dr. Robertson was not persuaded to adopt this tempting proposal, although it is certain that if he had complied, he might, by his great talent and industry, have produced many volumes more full of engaging variety and instruction than any thing which we possess in the whole sphere of literature. The subject upon which he at last determined, was the History of Charles the Fifth, which comprises the most grand and eventful period in the affairs of Modern Europe. In the choice of this subject he was certainly not attracted by its facility, for nothing can be more difficult than to write profoundly, and at the same time with accuracy, upon the transactions of foreign nations. In one of his letters he adverts to the time and labour which he was obliged to employ in teaching himself to understand manners, laws, and forms, which he was to explain to others; to the pains he bestowed in studying the constitution, the manners, and the commerce of Spanish America; while the review contained in the first volume of Charles the Fifth was founded on researches still more laborious. He was not, however, dismayed by the prospect of literary toil; and he finally shewed himself competent to overcome every difficulty of history, which can be surmounted by human genius and perseverance.

When he had finished about one third of his Charles the Fifth, his mind was diverted by some powerful solicitations to undertake a History of England. These came from illustrious persons, whose request alone was a flattering distinction, and a compliance with it appeared almost a duty. Lord Cathcart wrote to assure him that his majesty had expressed a wish to see a History of England by his pen, and that lord Bute had promised that every source of information, which government could command, would be opened to him; and that great, laborious, and extensive as the work must be, the encouragement should be proportioned. The proposal was very agreeable to Dr. Robertson's inclinations, and his scruples about interfering in Mr. Hume's province seem to have subsided. He considered that his friend's book having been published several years before any work of his own on the same subject could appear, would already have assumed its due station in the literary world. Besides, their manner of viewing the same topics was so different and peculiar, that (as was the case in their last books) each might have his own partisans, and maintain his own rank, without injuring the other. Still there were obstacles opposing a scheme, which in many respects appeared most desirable for himself, and for the nation, whose annals he was to illustrate. A residence in London (which seemed to be necessary) was in his habits and circumstances not at all consonant to his own wishes, and would probably be accompanied with considerable disadvantages to his family; he was unwilling also to relinquish the work which he had in hand, and to waste so much labour as he had bestowed upon the History of Charles the Fifth. At last, for reasons which have not been precisely ascertained, the intention of writing the English History was abandoned. Mr. Stewart conjectures, that some of the causes which led to this determination might be the departure of lord Bute out of office in 1764, which made it necessary to open an arrangement with other persons; the delay also which arose in the completion of the Spanish History, occasioned by his duties in the church, his avocations as principal of the university, and the deep and extensive ramifications of inquiry which were multiplied upon him in the progress of the Emperor's Reign.

In 1769, ten years after the publication of his Scotland, appeared the History of Charles the Fifth, with a dedication to the king, and a preliminary volume, containing a luminous review of the progress of society in Europe, from the subversion of the Roman empire to the beginning of the sixteenth century. The public had expected this work with the most intense curiosity, and its merit was found perfectly commensurate to the expectations, not only of light and superficial readers, but also of the most learned and judicious. The critical journals of the day concurred with the expressions of private friendship in recording its excellence; and, at the present time, when the fervour of surprise is abated, and there is nothing to give any bias of partiality to the judgment, it will bear the most rigid examination, and be pronounced by the candid as equal to the most perfect historical productions, in grandeur of design, and the labour and skill with which it is executed.

The following commendation is from Mr. Hume :

"I got yesterday from Strahan about thirty sheets of your History, to be sent over to Suard, and last night and this morning have run them over with great avidity. I could not deny myself the satisfaction (which I hope also will not displease you) of expressing presently my extreme approbation of them. To say only they are very well written is by far too faint an expression, and much inferior to the sentiments I feel; they are composed with nobleness, with dignity, with elegance, and with judgment, to which there are few equals. They even excel, and, I think, in a sensible degree, your History of Scotland. I propose to myself great pleasure in being the only man in England, during some months, who will be in the situation of doing you justice; after which you may certainly expect that my
voice will be drowned in that of the public."

In another letter the writer of the History of England observes that the success of Charles the Fifth had answered his expectations; that he who conversed with the great, the fair, and the learned, had scarcely heard an opposite voice, or even whisper, to the general sentiment.

A letter from lord Lyttleton is remarkable for recommending to Dr. Robertson the same plan of historical labour as Mr. Hume had formerly proposed. His lordship thus writes to our Author.

"I don't wonder that your sense of the public expectation gives you some apprehensions; but I know that the historian of Mary queen of Scots cannot fail to do justice to any great subject, and no greater can be found in the records of mankind than this you have now chosen. Go on, dear Sir, to enrich the English language with these tracts of modern history. We have nothing good in that way, except what relates to the island of Great Britain. You have talents and youth enough to undertake the agreeable and useful task of giving us all the lives of the most illustrious princes who have flourished since the age of Charles the Fifth in every part of the world, and comparing them together, as Plutarch has done the most celebrated heroes of Greece and Rome. This will diffuse your glory as a writer farther than any other work. All nations will have an equal interest in it, and feel a gratitude to the stranger who takes pains to immortalize the virtues of those to whom he is only related by the general sympathy of sentiment and esteem. Plutarch was a Greek, which made him less impartial between his countrymen and the Romans, in weighing their comparative merk, than you would be in contrasting a Frenchman with a German, or an Italian with a Spaniard, or a Dutchman with a Swede. Select, therefore, those great men out of different countries, whose characters and actions may be best compared together, and present them to our view, without that disguise which the partiality of their countrymen or the malice of their enemies may have thrown upon them. If I can animate you to this, posterity will owe- me a very great obligation."

The publication of Charles the Fifth was in every respect most beneficial to Dr. Robertson. It is said that he received no less than 4500l. for the copyright; a sum, which though not at all disproportioned to the merit of the work and the labour expended upon it, is still a great proof both of the liberality of the booksellers, and of the eminent place which he held in the popular esteem. Many a writer of genius, especially amongst the unfortunate race of poets, has scarcely for his whole works received a quarter of the sum which this Author obtained for one of his histories. He enjoyed a great accession of fame as well as emolument. The Reign of the Emperor appeared at Paris almost as soon as at London, being translated by M. Suard, a gentleman who was afterward admitted a member of the French Academy, and who has given a version of several productions of the English press.

The epochs in a hero's life are his battles; the distinctive marks in the biography of a great author, which are his publications, are not less important though less ostentatious. In 1777, Dr. Robertson had completed his History of America, which may be considered as a sequel of his Reign of Charles the Fifth. In his preface to the last-named work he had remarked, that every intelligent reader would observe an omission in his plan ; which was that he had given no account of the conquests of Mexico and Peru, or of the establishment of the Spanish colonies, in the continent and islands of America. The history of these events he had originally intended to relate at considerable length. But, upon a nearer and more attentive consideration of this part of his plan, he found that the discovery of the New World, the state of society among its ancient inhabitants, their character, manners, and arts, the genius of the European settlements in the various provinces, together with the influence of these upon the systems of policy or commerce in Europe, were subjects so splendid and important, that a superficial view of them could afford little satisfaction; and, on the other hand, to treat of them as extensively as they merited, must produce an episode disproportionate to the principal work. They were reserved therefore for a separate performance, and discussed by themselves in his History of America.

In passing judgment upon this, as upon the rest of Dr. Robertson's works, the criticism of the most eminent men has been exercised. Our Author had the privilege of enjoying the friendship of many of the greatest literary characters of the day; and the praises which they have bestowed upon him, will doubtless be more gratifying to the reader, than any remarks from persons of less conspicuous talents. Nor are we compelled by justice, as is frequently the case, to make large deductions from the eulogies of friends and contemporaries; since the merit of Dr. Robertson was of that substantial and transcendent nature, that those who praise him most highly, speak of him with most truth.

For the encomiums of Mr. Hume, who died in the year 1776, we shall substitute those of the writer of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. "When I ventured," says Mr. Gibbon, in a letter from Paris, "to assume the character of historian, the first, the most natural, but at the same time the most ambitious wish which I entertained, was to deserve the approbation of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume, two names which friendship united, and which posterity will never separate. I shall not, therefore, attempt to dissemble, though I cannot easily express the honest pleasure which I received from your obliging letter, as well as from the intelligence of your most valuable present. The satisfaction which I should otherwise enjoy in common with the public, will now be heightened by a sentiment of a more personal and flattering nature; and I shall often whisper to myself, that I have in some degree obtained the esteem of the writer whom I admire."

"A short excursion which I have made to this place during the summer months, has occasioned some delay in my receiving your letter, and will prevent me from possessing, till my return, the copy of your History, which you so politely desired Mr. Strahan to send me. But I have already gratified the eagerness of my curiosity and impatience; and though I was obliged to return the book much sooner than I could have wished, I have seen enough to convince me that the present publication will support, and, if possible, extend the fame of the author; that the materials are collected with care, and arranged with skill; that the progress of discovery is displayed with learning and perspicuity; that the dangers, the achievements, and the views of the Spanish adventurers, are related with a temperate spirit; and that the most original, perhaps the most curious portion of human manners, is at length rescued from the hands of sophists and declaimers. Lord Stormont, and the few in this capital who have had an opportunity of perusing the History of America, unanimously concur in the same sentiments : your work is already become a favourite subject of conversation, and M. Suard is repeatedly pressed, in my hearing, to fix the
time when his translation will appear."

The following valuable letter, preserved by Mr. Stewart, is from the eloquent pen of the celebrated Mr. Burke.

"I am perfectly sensible of the very flattering distinction I have received, in your thinking me worthy of so noble a present as that of your History of America. I have, however, suffered my gratitude to lie under some suspicion, by delaying my acknowledgment of so great a favour. But my delay was only to render my obligation to you more complete, and my thanks, if possible, more merited. The close of the session brought a great deal of very troublesome, though not important business on me at once. I could not go through your work at one breath at that time, though I have done it since. I am now enabled to thank you, not only for the honour you have done me, but for the great satisfaction, and the infinite variety and compass of instruction, I have received from your incomparable work. Every thing has been done which was so naturally to be expected from the author of the History of Scotland, and of the Age of Charles the Fifth. I believe few books have done more than this, towards clearing up dark points, correcting errors, and removing prejudices. You have too the rare secret of rekindling an interest on subjects that had so often been treated, and in which every thing which could feed a vital flame appeared to have been consumed. I am sure I read many parts of your History, with that fresh concern and anxiety which attend those who are not previously apprized of the event. You have, besides, thrown quite a new light on the present state of the Spanish provinces, and furnished both materials and hints for a rational theory of what may be expected from them in future.

"The part which I read with the greatest pleasure is, the discussion on the manners and character of the inhabitants of the New World. I have always thought with you, that we possess at this time very great advantages towards the knowledge of human nature. We need no longer go to history to trace it in all its stages and periods. History, from its comparative youth, is but a poor instructor. When the Egyptians called the Greeks children in antiquities, we may call them children; and so we may call all those nations which were able to trace the progress of society only within their own limits. But now, the great map of mankind is unrolled at once, and there is no state or gradation of barbarism, and no mode of refinement, which we have not at the same moment under our view : the very different civility of Europe and China; the barbarism of Persia, and of Abyssinia; the erratick manners of Tartary, and of Arabia; the savage state of North America, and of New Zealand. Indeed, you have made a noble use of the advantages you have had. You have employed philosophy to judge on manners, and from manners you have drawn new resources for philosophy. I only think, that in one or two points, you have hardly done justice to the savage character."

The History of America, as well as the Age of Charles V., was translated into the French language, by M. Suard; and Dr. Robertson's works being disseminated abroad, obtained for him several honourable notices from foreign nations. The Spanish people, as being principally indebted to his talents and candour, led the way.

"On the 8th of August, 1777, he was unanimously elected a member of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid; in testimony of their approbation of the industry and care with which he has applied to the study of Spanish history, and as a recompense for his merit, in having contributed so much to illustrate and spread the knowledge of it in foreign countries". In 1781, a similar honour was conferred upon him by the Academy of Sciences at Padua; and the example was followed in 1783, by the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburgh. The empress Catherine of Russia concurred with these learned bodies, and testified her warm admiration of the Historian's great merit. The following intelligence, communicated by his friend Dr. Rogerson, must have been gratifying to the pride of any author.

"Your History of America was received and perused by her imperial majesty, with singular marks of approbation. All your historical productions have been ever favourite parts of her reading. Not long ago, doing me the honour to converse with me upon historical composition, she mentioned you with particular distinction, and with much admiration of that sagacity and discernment displayed by you in painting the human mind and character, as diversified by the various causes that operate upon it, in those eras and states of society on which your subject led you to treat. She assigned you the place of first model in that species of composition. As to the History of Charles V., she was pleased to add, 'C'est le compagnon constant de tous mes voyages; je ne me lasse jamais à le lire, et particularement le premier volume'.

"She then presented a very handsome gold enamelled snuff-box, richly set with diamonds, ordering me to transmit it to you, and to desire your acceptance of it, as a mark of her esteem; observing at the same time, that a person, whose labours had afforded her so much satisfaction, merited some attention from her."

Dr. Robertson had intended to comprise in his History of America, not only an account of the Spanish Conquests and settlements there, but also of the establishments which other European people made in the Western World. The completion of his design was first delayed, and finally frustrated, by the breaking out of the disastrous American war. He considered, that while the colonies were engaged in civil dissension with Great Britain, inquiries and speculations concerning their earliest forms of policy and laws, which existed no longer, could not be interesting. He thought it necessary to wait for times of greater tranquillity, when he could write, and the public read, with greater impartiality and better information : and his principal friends confirmed him in the resolution of making a pause for a little, until it should be known in what manner the colonial ferment would subside. He, indeed, congratulated himself that his American History was not finished before the rupture; as many plausible theories which he would have been entitled to form, must have been contradicted by subsequent events. He proceeded so far in his original plan, as to digest at his leisure the History of Virginia to the year 1688, and the History of New England to the year 1652. These were found among his papers after his death; and being judged equal to any of his preceding works, were published by his son.

Although the progress of his American researches was checked, he had no disposition to be entirely idle; and his friends were forward in suggesting new subjects to occupy his talents. It was recommended to him by many persons, to write the History of Great Britain, from the Revolution to the Accession of the House of Hanove ; and in a letter written in 1778, he seems at that period seriously to have contemplated the design, and to have thought upon his materials. The following year, however, his resolution was altered, and Mr. Gibbon hinted at another subject.

"I remember," says the author of the Decline and Fall, "a kind of engagement you had contracted, to repeat your visit to London every second year, and I look forward with pleasure to next spring, when your bond will naturally become due, I should almost hope that you would bring with you some fruits of your leisure, had I not been informed that you had totally relinquished your design, of continuing Mr. Hume's History of England. Notwithstanding the just and deep sense I must entertain (if the intelligence be true) of our public loss, I have scarcely courage enough to blame you. The want of materials, and the danger of offence, are two formidable obstacles for an historian who wishes to instruct, and who is determined not to betray his readers. But if you leave the narrow limits of our island, there still remain, without returning to the troubled scene of America, many subjects not unworthy of your genius. Will you give me leave, as a vague and indigested hint, to suggest the History of the Protestants in France : the events are important in themselves, and intimately connected with the great revolutions of Europe; some of the boldest or most amiable characters of modern times, the Admiral Coligny, Henry IV., &c. would be your peculiar heroes; the materials are copious and authentic, and accessible; and the objects appear to stand at that just distance which excites curiosity, without inspiring passion. Excuse the freedom, and weigh the merits (if any) of this proposal."

Mr. Gibbon's suggestion was not adopted : and, indeed, all literary projects seem for a considerable period to have been excluded from the mind of our Author. He preferred devoting his hours to professional duties, and to the intellectual delights of reading and conversation. He might justly consider himself entitled to a respite from the toil of the press, on account of the extent of his former labours, the ease of his circumstances, the establishment of his fame, and the recreation, which a constitution at sixty would require, after severe efforts of mental labour. He gave, however, one more proof before his death of the vigour of his talents, and the depth of his research. In 1791, he appeared before the public for the last time, concluding his historical career with a Disquisition concerning Ancient India. His own account of the origin of this work is, that he was induced to undertake it "from the perusal of Major Rennell's Memoir for illustrating his map of Indostan. This suggested to him the idea of examining, more fully than he had done in the introductory book to his History of America, into the knowledge which the ancients had of that country, and of considering what is certain, what is obscure, and what is fabulous, in the accounts of it which they have handed down to us. In undertaking this inquiry, he had originally no other object than his own amusement and instruction; but in carrying it on, and consulting with care the authors of antiquity, some facts hitherto unobserved, and many which had not been examined with proper attention, occurred; new views opened, his ideas gradually extended, and became more interesting; till at length he imagined, that the result of his researches might prove amusing and instructive toothers."

The learned geographer, whose work gave rise to Dr. Robertson's Disquisition, liberally acknowledged his sentiments of approbation, with which our Author was much gratified.


London, July 2, 1791.

"AFTER reading your book twice, I may with truth say, that I was never more instructed or amused than by the perusal of it; for although a great part of its subject had long been revolving in my mind, yet I had not been able to concentrate the matter in the manner you have done, or to make the different parts bear on each other.

"The subject of the Appendix was what interested the public greatly, and was only to be acquired (if at all) by the study or perusal of a great number of different tracts; a task not to be accomplished by ordinary readers. It gives me unfeigned pleasure to have been the instrument of suggesting such a task to you; and I shall reflect with pleasure, during my life, that I shall travel down to posterity with you; you, in your place, in the great road of history, whilst I keep the side-path of geography."

Dr. Robertson was excited not only by the curiosity of the investigation concerning India, but also by moral motives of a far superior nature, which were suitable to his age and the sanctity of his functions, and which ought from their justice to influence the sentiments of his countrymen. At the end of the Appendix to his learned Disquisition, he assures us, that he had all along kept in view an object more interesting, as well as of greater importance, than to describe the civil polity, the arts, the sciences, and the religious institutions of one of the most ancient and most numerous races of men. He entertained hopes, that should the account which he gave of the early and high civilization of India, and of the wonderful progress of its inhabitants in elegant arts and useful science, be received as just and well established, it might have some influence upon the behaviour of Europeans towards that people. If his description of their manners and institutions contributed, in the smallest degree, to render their character more respectable, and their condition more happy, he should close his literary labours with the satisfaction of thinking that he had not lived or written in vain. This luminous inquiry respecting India, was begun (Mr. Stewart informs us) in the sixty-eighth year of the Author's age, and brought to a conclusion in twelve months.

The sketch of Dr. Robertson's labours in the character of an author being finished, there remain only one or two incidents of a general nature which deserve to be recorded. In February of 1779, his life was endangered by the fury of a mob, who in order to express their abhorrence of bigotry, committed some of the most outrageous acts which render bigotry odious. Incensed by a proposal to grant Some relief to the Papists of Scotland, the populace of Edinburgh were guilty of the most tumultuous violence. As Dr. Robertson had approved of the proposed concessions, he became an object of the animosity of the multitude; whom nothing but a military force deterred from violent aggression on his property and life. This unjust outrage he bore with cool resolution and fortitude; and part of a speech, which he made in the following assembly, gives us a very favourable opinion of the liberality and moderation which governed his sentiments at this juncture.

"The first intimation," he declared, "I had of any intention to grant relief to Papists from the rigour of the penal statutes, was in the newspapers. Though I had observed with pleasure the rapid progress of liberal sentiments in this enlightened age; though I knew that science and philosophy had diffused the spirit of toleration through almost every part of Europe; yet I was so well acquainted with the deep-rooted aversion of Britons to the doctrines and spirit of Popery, that I suspected this motion for giving relief to Papists to be premature. I was afraid, on the one hand, that the liberal sentiments of those by whom it was made, might induce them to grant too much. I dreaded, on the other, that past offences might be imputed to the Catholics of the present age, and exclude them from that degree of indulgence, which I considered as no less beneficial to the nation, than suitable to the spirit of the gospel. But when I observed the uncommon unanimity with which the bill was carried through both houses; when I saw ministers and opposition vying with each other in activity to forward it; when I beheld that respectable body who assume to themselves the distinguishing appellation of Old Whigs, taking the lead avowedly in supporting it; when I observed a bench of bishops, of whom I may justly say, that in learning, in decency of manners, and in zeal for the Protestant religion, they are not inferior to any of their predecessors, co-operating heartily with the other promoters of that bill, my curiosity to know precisely the nature and extent of the indulgence granted, became very great. Upon perusing the bill itself, all my apprehensions vanished; the relief given to Papists, appeared neither too great nor too little. By the statute of last session, no political power is conferred on Papists. They are not entitled to hold any public office. They can neither elect, nor be elected, members of any corporation; far less can they choose, or be chosen, members of the house of commons. In consequence of this statute, an English Papist has not acquired the privileges of a citizen; he is restored only to the rights of a man. By a law passed in a season of jealousy, alarm, and faction, Papists were rendered incapable of inheriting property by succession or conveyance, of transmitting it to others, or of acquiring it by purchase; and the ecclesiastics of that religion, who should take upon them the education of youth, were to be punished with perpetual imprisonment. It is from these penalties and disabilities alone, that they are now relieved. They may now inherit, they may devise, they may purchase. Formerly they were in a state of proscription and incapacity; now they are rendered what the law calls personae; capable of legal functions in the possession and disposal of their own property. Nor are these concessions gratuitous. Before a Papist can enjoy the benefit of them, he must swear allegiance to our gracious sovereign; he must abjure the pretender; he must reject as an impious position, that it is lawful to murder or destroy any person, under the pretence of their being heretics; he must declare it to be an unchristian principle, that faith is not to be kept with heretics; he must disclaim the power of the pope to dispense with the obligation of an oath; he must swear, that it is no article of his faith that a pope or council can either depose princes, or exercise any civil or temporal jurisdiction within this realm: in short, he must give every security that the most scrupulous anxiety could devise, to demean himself as a loyal and peaceable subject. These slender rights, the lowest a man can claim or enjoy in a social state, are the amount of all the mighty and dreaded acquisitions made by Papists in virtue of this law. I rejoiced in the temperate wisdom of the legislature, and foresaw, that a wealthy body of subjects in England, and a very numerous one in Ireland, would, instead of continuing adverse to a government which treated them with rigour, become attached to their king and country, by the most powerful of all ties, gratitude for favours received, and desire of securing the continuance of favour, by dutiful conduct. With such views of the salutary effects of the repeal, it was impossible not to wish that the benefit of it might be extended to the Roman Catholics in Scotland.

"As soon, however, as I perceived the extent and violence of the flame which the discussion of this subject had kindled in Scotland, my ideas concerning the expedience at this juncture of the measure in question began to alter. For although I did think, and I do still believe, that if the Protestants in this country had acquiesced in the repeal as quietly as our brethren in England and Ireland, a fatal blow would have been given to Popery in the British dominions; I knew, that in legislation, the sentiments and dispositions of the people for whom laws are made, should be attended to with care. I remembered that one of the wisest men of antiquity declared, that he had framed for his fellow-citizens, not the best laws, but the best laws which they could bear. I recollected with reverence, that the Divine Legislator himself, accommodating his dispensations to the frailty of his subjects, had given the Israelites, for a season, statutes which were not good. Even the prejudices of the people are, in my opinion, respectable; and an indulgent legislature ought not unnecessarily to run counter to them. It appeared manifestly to be sound policy, in the present temper of the people, to soothe rather than to irritate them; and, however ill-founded their apprehensions might be, some concession was now requisite, in order to remove them. In every argument against the repeal of the penal laws, what seemed chiefly to alarm my brethren who were averse to it was the liberty which, as they supposed, was given, by the act of last session, to Popish ecclesiastics to open schools and to take upon them the public instruction of youth. In order to quiet their fears with respect to this, I applied to his majesty's advocate and solicitor-general, and by their permission, I proposed to a respectable minister and elder of this church, who deservedly possess much credit with the opposers of this repeal, that such provisos should be inserted in the bill which was to be moved in parliament, for restraining the Popish clergy in this point, as would obviate every danger apprehended. These gentlemen fairly told me, that, if such a proposition had been made more early, they did not doubt that it might have produced good effects ; but now matters were gone so far, that they were persuaded nothing less would satisfy the people, than a resolution to drop the bill altogether. Persuaded of the truth of what they represented, seeing the alarm spread rapidly in every quarter, and knowing well how imperfectly transactions in this country are understood in the other part of the island, I considered it as my duty to lay before his majesty's servants in London, a fair state of the sentiments of the people in Scotland. My station in the church, I thought, entitled me to take this liberty in a matter purely ecclesiastical. I flattered myself, that my avowed approbation and strenuous support of a measure, which had been unhappily so much misunderstood, might give some weight to my representations. I informed them, that the design of extending the repeal of the penal statutes of king William to Scotland, had excited a very general alarm : that the spirit of opposition to this measure spread among the king's most loyal and attached subjects in this country: that nothing would calm and appease them, but the relinquishing all thoughts of such a bill : that the procuring of the intended relaxation for a handful of Catholics, was not an advantage to be put in competition with the imprudence of irritating so great a body of well-affected subjects: that if the measure were persisted in, fatal effects would follow, and no man, how great soever his sagacity might be, could venture to foretell what would be the extent of the danger, and what the violent operations of an incensed populace : that groundless as the fears of the people might be, it was prudent to quiet them: and that the same wisdom and moderation which had induced government some years ago to repeal the act for naturalizing the Jews, in consequence of an alarm, as ill-grounded, in the southern parts of the island, ought now to make a similar concession, from indulgence to the prejudice of the people on this side of the Tweed.

"Such has been the tenor of my conduct. While I thought a repeal of the penal statutes would produce good effects, I supported it openly: when I foresaw bad consequences from persisting in a measure which I had warmly approved, I preferred the public good to my own private sentiments; I honestly remonstrated against it; and I have the satisfaction to think, that I am the only private person (as far as I know) in Scotland, who applied to those in power, in order to prevent this much dreaded repeal, which has been represented as the subversion of every sacred right for which our ancestors contended and suffered."

He made only one appearance more in the assembly, subsequent to his delivery of this speech. After May, 1780, he thought proper to withdraw from a meeting, whose counsels he had guided for a multitude of years, with unrivalled skill, moderation, and firmness. His reasons for retiring (says one of his friends) were not suggested by age, for he was then only fifty-nine; nor by any diminution of his influence, for, in the apprehension of the public, it was at that time as great as it had ever been. Probably he anticipated a day, when a new leader might come forward; and thought it better to retire while his influence was undiminished, than to run the risk, in the decline of his life, of a struggle with younger men, who might be as successful as himself had been. He had met with reproaches from the more violent men of his party, for not adopting stronger measures than his moderation could approve. He had yielded to them many points against his own judgment, but they were not satisfied : he was plagued with letters of reproach and remonstrance on a variety of topics, and complained of the petulance and acrimony with which they were written. There was one subject which had become particularly uneasy to him; the scheme into which his friends had zealously entered, for abolishing subscription to the confession of faith and formula. This he expressly declared his resolution to resist in every form; and he claimed to himself the merit of having prevented the controversy from being agitated in the assemblies. He was, however, so much harassed with remonstrances on the subject, that he mentioned them as having confirmed his resolution to retire.

The latter years of his life were spent in anxious attention to his pastoral and academical duties, and in enjoying the stores of a contemplative and richly cultivated mind. His constitution, which had firmly supported him under severe labours, and the sedentary habits of a studious life, exhibited visible symptoms of decay at the close of the year 1791. His malady was a jaundice, which, by lingering attacks, succeeded in destroying the vigour of a frame which age had already weakened. The slow progress of his disorder gave him an opportunity of deliberately contemplating death; and he was enabled, by the strength of those Christian virtues, which had distinguished his days, to view the solemn prospect with firmness and resignation. A short time before his decease, he was removed to Grange House, situated in the vicinity of Edinburgh, but possessing more healthful advantages than the metropolis can boast. On the 4th of June, 1793, Mr. Stewart saw him (for the last time) by the invalid's own desire. He was then confined to his bed, and his articulation was failing. He requested from Mr. Stewart, a last token of his regard; which that gentleman faithfully and affectionately paid, by communicating to the world, his Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. Robertson. This great historian died on the 11th of June, leaving a numerous family in circumstances both of affluence and honour.

The Life of Dr. Robertson exhibits a rare combination of the most exalted genius and virtue. He is one of those great luminaries, which, though they may be surveyed on every side, present nothing but brilliancy, and strike the beholder with unmingled admiration. His talents, though of the highest order, did not betray him into any of those eccentricities which often disgrace men of genius; he never wandered into extravagance and paradox, and was never elated into arrogance and conceit. A calm and discriminating judgment controlled all his sentiments, and guided his conduct with so much success, that he was able, in defiance of many disadvantages of birth and situation, to obtain an honourable eminence in life, and one of the most splendid elevations in the paths of learning.

Although the requisites of a great historian are very numerous, it may be affirmed, that he is not deficient in a single qualification. He is diligent in collecting his materials, patient in searching out the truth, and judicious in discriminating it amidst error and contradiction. His relations are given to the reader in a full and perspicuous manner, without omissions or redundancy; they are connected together with admirable skill, and possess such accurate delineation, and such richness of colouring, that the imagination is forcibly seized, and hurried along with unabated eagerness. In the moral requisites of an historian, he is unrivalled. He had no private theories to advance, and he was too independent to flatter any sect or party. Although we may not agree with him upon some perplexing topics, and though subsequent researches may, in small matters, convict him of error, we are satisfied that he wrote with impartiality, and never attempted to deceive his readers, with the misrepresentations of bigotry or malevolence.

His style deserves as much commendation as his matter. It possesses a surprising mixture of strength and elegance, of force and harmony. The great characteristic is its dignity; in his pages the Muse of History is always grave, disdaining to speak in terms of colloquial freedom, yet seldom employing language that is turgid and unnatural. It increases our admiration of his style, when we reflect, that he attained a consummate skill in the English language, before he had ever been out of Scotland. All his power and beauty of expression were to be acquired by careful study, and judicious observation of other writers ; and the difficulty of success under such disadvantages can be appreciated, only by those who know what care it requires, to write in a different idiom and phraseology from that which they are accustomed to hear and speak.We are informed that he studied with attention the writings of Swift and Johnson. Avoiding their blemishes, he has been able to attain their characteristic excellences; he is nervous, but more harmonious than Swift; at the same time, he is polished, but less tumid than Johnson.

In perusing the works of Dr. Robertson, it is impossible not to be struck with their amazing variety and extent. Escaping from the narrow limits of his own island, he traverses all Europe, surveying the polity and relations of its greatest people; he next transports us to the New World, explaining its productions, its grand natural features, and the manners of its inhabitants; and, lastly, he entertains us with a learned investigation concerning the ancient refinement and ingenuity of the people of India. Thus, of four parts of the globe, three have been illustrated by his pen, and each with masterly judgment and eloquence. In the depth and extent of his historical labours, he has been surpassed by no writer, ancient or modern. As to those who, in conjunction with him, have most distinguished this island, Mr. Gibbon comes nearest to him in research; whilst Mr. Hume, in this particular, is far inferior to both. In other respects also, the first rank appears due to Dr. Robertson in the "triumvirate of British historians.'' His style, though sufficiently dignified, is free from that swollen and affected pomp, which obscures the pages of Gibbon; and though it is less easy than that of Hume, it possesses no elevation, which is unsuitable to the grave character of history. In candour and impartiality, he far exceeds both the author of the English History and the author of the Decline and Fall. If we consider also the advantages which Mr. Gibbon possessed, as a native of England, and the benefit which both he and Mr. Hume derived from foreign travels, and then reflect upon the situation of Dr. Robertson, and the multitude of business which constantly interfered to delay his studies, the efforts of the latter will appear gigantic in comparison with those of either of his competitors.

His public intimacy with these two gentlemen, both of whom were notorious for their sceptical opinions, is a circumstance in his life, which candour may desire to extenuate, but which rigid propriety cannot approve. His difference with Mr. Hume and Mr. Gibbon, was not upon those minor points of speculation, in which mutual forbearance is a virtue : it was a difference so wide and important, that he must (if he had reasoned calmly and consistently) have considered them as the bitterest enemies of the peace of man, and the welfare of society. Their dangerous opinions had not been confined within their own bosoms, nor even within the range of their private circle : they had given them all the publicity in their power, and disseminated their poison wherever their writings were perused. As their hostility against religion was open and bitter, was it becoming that a believer and a teacher of Christianity, whose name possessed influence with his countrymen, should allow himself to be considered as the intimate friend of avowed infidels? Some persons may be found, who will commend such behaviour, as an instance of liberality; but true liberality, which tolerates only what is venial in theory and conduct, should be distinguished from that laxity ofprinciple which regards all opinions, sound or pernicious, with equal indifference. The best excuse which can be made for our Author is, the temptation which the society of Mr. Hume and Mr. Gibbon presented. It was difficult for a person of his habits, to forego the pleasure which was offered, from an intercourse with scholars of such similar taste and attainments in literature; and as their lives were regular, and free from the extravagance which characterized their opinions, he might hope to be permitted to enjoy their society as a man of letters, while he reprobated their theories, as a friend of Christianity.

Passing from this circumstance, which is the greatest blemish in his life, we view with pleasure and admiration the many accomplishments for which he was eminent. It was not from the labours of the study only that he earned a bright reputation. He could make the boast of the great Roman orator : coeteros pudeat, si qui ita se literis abdiderunt, ut nihil possint ex his neque ad communem afferre fructum, neque in aspectum lucemque proferre. Me autem quid pudeat, qui tot annos ita vivo, ut ab nullius unquam me tempore, aut commodum, aut otium meum abstraxerit, aut voluptas avocarit, aut denique somnus retardarit? If Dr. Robertson had appeared in no other character, he would deserve to have his memory cherished by his countrymen, for his wisdom and firmness as an ecclesiastical leader. He came forward at a time when the church of his country was in imminent danger, from the weakness and indecision of her counsels. Applying his talents to remedy inveterate evils, he resolutely pursued his plans in contempt of prejudice and popular clamour; and such was the ascendancy which he attained, that the period from the time he became principal of the university, until he retired from the assembly, was known by the title of Dr. Robertson's administration. This distinction was, of all others, the most honourable, because it was conceded to him, not on account of any rewards and emoluments which cupidity might expect at his hand, but solely from the deference which his talents and principles commanded. His conduct in the assembly is highly extolled by Dr. Erskine, whose praise is the more sincere and valuable, as he was the leader of a party which opposed the Principal's ecclesiastical measures.

Dr. Robertson's "speeches in church courts were admired by those whom they did not convince, and acquired and preserved him an influence over a majority in them, which none before him enjoyed; though his measures were sometimes new, and warmly, and with great strength of argument, opposed, both from the press, and in the general assembly. To this influence, many causes contributed; his firm adherence to the general principles of church policy, which he early adopted; his sagacity in forming plans; his steadiness in executing them; his quick discernment of whatever might hinder or promote his designs; his boldness in encountering difficulties; his presence of mind in improving every occasional advantage; the address, with which, when he saw it necessary, he could make an honourable retreat; and his skill in stating a vote, and seizing the favourable moment for ending a debate, and urging a decision. He guided and governed others, without seeming to assume any superiority over them : and fixed and strengthened his power, by often, in matters of form and expediency, preferring the opinions of those with whom he acted to his own. In former times, hardly any rose up to speak in the general assembly, till called upon by the moderator, unless men advanced in years, of high rank, or of established characters. His example and influence encouraged young men of abilities to take their share of public business; and thus deprived moderators of an engine for preventing causes being fairly and impartially discussed. The power of others, who formerly had in some measure guided ecclesiastical affairs, was derived from ministers of state, and expired with their fall. His remained unhurt, amidst frequent changes of administration. Great men in office were always ready to cpuntenance him, to co-operate with him, and to avail themselves of his aid. But he judged for himself, and scorned to be their slave, or to submit to receive their instructions. Hence his influence, not confined to men of mercenary views, extended to many of a free and independent spirit, who supported, because they approved his measures; which others, from the same independent spirit, thought it their duty steadily to oppose.

"Deliberate in forming his judgment, but when formed, not easily moved to renounce it, he sometimes viewed the altered plans of others with too suspicious an eye. Hence, there were able and worthy men, of whom he expressed himself less favourably, and whose latter appearances in church judicatories he censured, as inconsistent with principles which they had formerly professed : while they maintained, that the system of managing church aifairs was changed, not their opinions and conduct. Still however, keen and determined opposition to his schemes of ecclesiastical policy, neither extinguished his esteem, nor forfeited his friendly offices, when he saw opposition carried on without rancour, and when he believed that it originated from conscience and principle, not from private animosity, envy, or ambition."

This panegyric leads us to concur in the opinion of Mr. Stewart, that Dr. Robertson was formed for action, no less than speculation. Mr. Walpole also, in one of his letters, lamented that he could only stimulate him to write; that he could not make him what he ought to be, a minister of state. It seems unquestionable, that Dr. Robertson would, by his transactions in the assembly, be much aided in acquiring that insight into men, and that knowledge of the world, which enabled him to write with the sagacity of an acute historian. Nor should it excite very great surprise, that he could learn so much in so narrow a sphere. Genius, from the depth of reflection and the shrewdness of observation which it possesses, can be satisfied with a small field in order to exercise its remarks. Dr. Robertson in his study, and in a Scottish assembly, penetrated more deeply into human nature, than thousands of frivolous observers, who have visited all the kingdoms, and paraded in all the courts, of Europe.

In presiding over the university, he was punctually attentive to all the duties of his station, and preserved such peaceful order, as remarkably proves his able and temperate government. When we consider the incurable disagreement of men upon all topics, we are led to admire the extraordinary prudence and authority of Dr. Robertson, by which he secured for the period of thirty years, a perfect unanimity of opinion on all questions discussed in the meetings of the university. Vigilant for the welfare of the learned body which he governed, he actively promoted every measure which could give lustre to its character, and quicken the diffusion of learning. Many of the societies which distinguish the metropolis of Scotland, were either planned by him, or improved under his superintendence; and the Royal Society of Edinburgh is totally indebted to him for the first conception of its establishment, and the vigorous zeal with which he carried the design into execution.

If with his great literary and academical labours, we connect his sedulous care in the discharge of his pastoral duties, we are surprised to think, how much a person of talents can accomplish, by a careful economy and exact distribution of time. He was in the habit of preaching every Sunday, until illness incapacitated him, and it was not till within a short time before his death, that he totally desisted from the practice. He was not able to acquire that elegance in the delivery of English, which he obtained in the writing of it : his pronunciation was perfectly Scottish, although this would be considered no defect by the congregations which it was his lot to address. "His discourses," says Dr. Erskine, who heard him for many years, "were so plain, that the most illiterate might easily understand them, and yet so correct and elegant, that they could not incur their censure, whose taste was more refined. For several years before his death, he seldom wrote his sermons fully, or exactly committed his older sermons to memory; though had I not learned this from himself, I should not have suspected it; such was the variety and fitness of his illustrations, the accuracy of his method, and the propriety of his style." Of the discourses thus commended, we have unfortunately no specimens preserved. The only sermon from the Author's pen which is extant, is, upon The situation of the world at the time of Christ's appearance, and its connexion with the success ofhis religion; preached before the Society in Scotland,for propagating Christian Knowledge, January 6, 1755. The public might have been put in possession of many other religious compositions of the great historian, but for an accident by which a volume of his sermons, that had been carefully composed, was lost before he removed from the living of Gladsmuir.

Viewing Dr. Robertson lastly in his private character, we are not compelled to lower the tone of our panegyric. Free from any tincture of puritanical asperity, he was always agreeable to his friends, and affectionate in the most tender relations of life. Wit he seldom attempted, and accordingly, we have not a single bon mot or lively saying recorded of him. In his freest hours he could, however, exhibit a playfulness of humour; and on serious topics of conversation, his rich fund of miscellaneous knowledge, which he could pour forth in diction almost as elegant as his written language, made his colloquial powers as much admired as his other accomplishments. We cannot adorn his character with a greater eulogy, than that which has been paid him by Dr. Erskine. "He enjoyed the bounties of Providence, without running into riot; was temperate, without austerity; condescending and affable, without meanness; and in expense, neither sordid nor prodigal. He could feel an injury, and yet bridle his passion; was grave, not sullen; steady, not obstinate; friendly, not officious; prudent and cautious, not timid".

Such was Dr. Robertson. Few men have surpassed him, either singly in the attainments of learning, or in the purity of virtue: none have ever combined in more perfect union, the talents of an author, with skill in transacting the business, and exemplary attention in
discharging the duties, of life.