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Grote, George

, the distinguished historian of Greece, was born at Clay Hill in Kent, England, November 17th, 1794. Educated at the Charterhouse, he did not enter one of the universities, but connected himself with a banking-house, in which he remained for thirty-two years, devoting his leisure to literary and political pursuits. In 1823 he began the special studies necessary for an exact and critical knowledge of Greek history, and in 1846 put forth the first two volumes of the great History of Greece, the twelfth and last volume of which appeared in 1856 (4th ed. London, 1872). It begins with the earliest period and carries on the narrative to the end of the generation contemporaneous with Alexander the Great. It is notable for its accurate geographical details, for the spirit and vigour of its passages descriptive of martial exploits, and, above all, for its obvious purpose of showing the elevating and inspiring influence of freedom upon human activity. In this last respect the history of Grote has been called a Liberal history of Greece, as that of Bishop Thirlwall is undeniably a Tory history. Each chapter is, in a way, a monograph in itself, and the work as a whole is one of the greatest masterpieces of historical research that have ever been put forth. It was followed by Plato and the Other Companions of Socrates, 3 vols. (London, 1865); and Aristotle, edited by Bain and Robertson, 2 vols. (London, 1872), forming a sort of supplement to the History.

In 1862 Grote was elected Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, and in 1868 President of the Council of University College. In 1869 a peerage was offered him by Mr. Gladstone, but was declined. Grote died June 18th, 1871, and was buried near Gibbon in Westminster Abbey. His life was written by his wife (1873); and a good critical review of his work as an historian by Professor Bain in the remarks prefixed to the edition of Grote's minor works (1873).

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