Imatges de pÓgina


the Com

THE study of English history gains greatly in INTROinterest, if pursued in conjunction with that of the DUCTORY. growth and development of the English tongue.' The Works on student, accordingly, should not fail to acquire some parative knowledge of the leading facts which the science of lan- Study of Language. guage may be regarded as having established with respect to the ethnic affinities of the English race. The work in which these facts have received their most elaborate exposition is perhaps that of M. PICTET,-Les Pictet. Origines Indo-Européennes, ou les Aryas Primitifs (2 pts., Paris, 1859-63),-in which the writer, in a series of minute verbal investigations, traces back the vocabulary of modern Aryan tongues, whether Hellenic, Italic, Celtic, Teutonic, or Slavonic, to the common sources of the socalled Indo-European family of languages. The main results of his researches are given in outline in the fifth and sixth of professor MAX MÜLLER'S Lectures on the Science Max of Language (2 vols., Longmans, 1866). 'As surely,' says the latter writer, in summing up the historical lesson conveyed in the genealogical classification of languages —'as surely as the six Roman dialects point to an original home of Italian shepherds on the seven hills at Rome, the Aryan languages together point to an earlier


1 'No man can study political history worthily without learning a good deal about languages; no man can study language worthily without learning a good deal about political history.'-Freeman, Pref. to Hist. of the Norman Conquest, vol. v.




Works on the Comparative History of Institu


period of language, when the first ancestors of the Indians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Slaves, the Celts, and the Germans, were living together within the same enclosures and under the same roof' (i. 237).

Mr. T. L. KINGSTON OLIPHANT'S Old and Middle English (Macmillan & Co., 1878) takes up the subject where it is left by the foregoing writers, and traces the history of the English language to the early part of the fourteenth century, by which time the language began to assume its final and classical form. Mr. Oliphant's treatment of his subject is especially valuable on account of the collateral illustration it affords of the political and social events of the time. Mr. ISAAC TAYLOR'S Words and Places (Macmillan & Co., 4th edit., 1879) abounds with interesting elucidations of the connexion between our local nomenclature and our national history.

The comparative history of Institutions affords, like that of language, very valuable guidance in relation to our earlier history; and among these the institution of Property in Land, resting upon a primeval tenure of the soil by groups of men either actually or hypothetically united by blood relationship, is of foremost importance. In contrast to the history of Roman Law, as gradually growing up out of successive interpretations of the Twelve Tables, it offers a remarkable illustration of the political development of the Aryan race in countries unaffected by the influences of the Empire, and especially in those peopled by Sclavonic societies. 'It is one of the facts,' says Sir Henry Maine, with which the Western world will some day assuredly have to reckon, that the political ideas of so large a portion of the human race, and its ideas of property also, are inextricably bound up with the notions of family interdependency, of collective ownership, and of natural subjection to patriarchal power.' '

Early History of Institutions, p. 3.

It is an especially valuable feature in our early Engglish institutions, that they afford the best example of the operation of these ideas with the smallest admixture of foreign elements. Partly as the result of its insular position, partly from other causes, England has developed in greater purity than Germany itself, the original institutions of Teutonism. She has formed and consolidated her common law free from the absolutist tendencies of Roman jurisprudence ;' she has preserved her language essentially the same; and like to the tree or the plant, which, conveyed to another hemisphere, exhibits there yet greater vigour and luxuriance of growth than on its native soil, so the laws, the customs, and the speech that came from the banks of the Elbe, acquired a sudden and powerful development on the banks of the Thames and the Ouse.



A very clear and interesting comparative view of the fundamental conceptions of legislation and property as exhibited among Teutonic, Celtic, and Hindu communities, is given by SIR HENRY MAINE in his treatise on Sir H. The Early History of Institutions (John Murray, 1875). In a series of chapters entitled 'Kinship as the Basis of Society,'The Tribe and the Land,' 'The Chief and his Order,' 'The Chief and the Land,' and 'Ancient Divisions of the Family,' he traces out the process of development from the 'patriarchal family,' to the modern State. A large proportion of his illustrations are however drawn from the Early Irish or Brehon Laws, which possess a special value from the fact that they exhibit to us a society of Aryan race, 'settled indeed on the land, and much influenced by its settlement, but preserving an exceptional number of the ideas and rules belonging to the time when kinship and not the land is the basis of social union.' MR. FREEMAN, in his Comparative Politics Freeman. (Macmillan & Co., 1873), has sought to shew the ana



INTRO- logies relating to the political State, the institution of Monarchy, and the governing Parliament or Assembly, which may be traced out in Grecian, Roman, and Teutonic history. In these relations, the last, he considers, often affords valuable illustration of the former two. 'It is among the men of our own blood,' he says, 'that we can best trace out how, as in Greece and Italy, the family grew into the clan-how, as in Greece and Italy, the clan grew into the tribe,-and how, at that stage, the development of the two kindred races parted company, -how among Teutons on either side of the sea, the tribe has grown, not into the city but into the nation.''

In connexion with our national history, a chapter on 'The Mark,' in the first volume of Mr. JOHN MITCHELL KEMBLE'S Saxons in England (2 vols., Quaritch, 1876),2 was the earliest embodiment of researches on the relations of early land tenure and settlement to our political institutions. His treatment of the subject has since received a further application in the masterly histories of L. von MAURER and WAITZ,3 while these have, in turn, been largely utilised by professor STUBBS in the first three chapters of his Constitutional History. In these pages the last-named writer succinctly traces out the relations of the 'mark system' to our national history, as 'the basis on which a large proportion of the institutions of later constitutional life may theoretically be imposed.'



1 Comparative Politics. p. 111.

2 The Saxons in England, a History of the English Commonwealth till the Period of the Norman Conquest. Ist edit. 2 vols. 1849.

Maurer, Einleitung zur Geschichte der Mark- Hof- und Städteverfassung in Deutschland (München, 1854); Gesch. d. Markenverfassung in Deutschland (Erlangen, 1856); Gesch. d. Dorfverfassung in Deutschland (Erlangen, 1869). See also a chapter by Waitz on Das Dorf, die Gemeinde, der Gau, in the first volume of his Deutsche Verfassung geschichte, and Sir H. S. Maine's Village Communities in the East and West (John Murray, 3rd edit., 1876); also The Aryan Household: its Structure and Develop ment. By William Edward Hearn (Longmans, 1879).

The above chapters should be carefully read and reread by the student; while of the whole of the sources of information above indicated it may be said that regular reference to them will do much towards enabling him to keep in view the general conditions under which our national history has developed, and to refer it to those all-pervading laws on which all human progress ultimately rests.




In forming an estimate of the credibility of any BIOGRA writer who represents a principal authority for a certain PHIES OF period, it becomes of primary importance to know the TORICAL Writers. circumstances under which he wrote and the character of his political sympathies. In the study of our medieval historical literature,--written, as it often was, by credulous and strongly prejudiced narrators,-this knowledge is especially necessary. It will accordingly be of service here to point out: (1) where we may gain the necessary information respecting the writers themselves; (2) what has, at various times, been done towards rendering these writers more accessible to the student.

In the early part of the fifteenth century, JOHN John BOSTON, a monk of the famous monastery of St. Boston. Edmundsbury, compiled an alphabetical list of authors of English birth, entitled Catalogus Scriptorum Ecclesiae. The greater part of this work is printed in Wilkins's preface to Tanner's Bibliotheca; and it still possesses some value as an enumeration of the different libraries that existed in England before the discovery of printing, with the authors which they contained.


The first, however, to attain to eminence in this de- John partment of our national literature was JOHN LELAND, 16. 'the father of English antiquaries,' who was chaplain d. 1552.

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