England under James II.
A review of the first two volumes of Macaulay
's History of England from the Accession of James II
in accordance with the labor-saving spirit of the age, we have in these volumes an admirable example of history made easy.
Had they been published in his time, they might have found favor in the eyes of the poet Gray
, who declared that his ideal of happiness was ‘to lie on a sofa and read eternal new romances.’
The style is that which lends such a charm to the author's essays,—brilliant, epigrammatic, vigorous.
Indeed, herein lies the fault of the work, when viewed as a mere detail of historical facts.
Its sparkling rhetoric is not the safest medium of truth to the simple-minded inquirer.
A discriminating and able critic has done the author no injustice in saying that, in attempting to give effect and vividness to his thoughts and diction, he is often overstrained and extravagant, and that his epigrammatic style seems better fitted for the glitter of paradox than the sober guise of truth.
The intelligent and well-informed reader of the volume before us will find himself at times compelled to reverse the decisions of the author, and deliver some unfortunate personage, sect, or class from the pillory of his rhetoric and the merciless pelting of his ridicule.
There is a want of the repose and quiet