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[349] which we look for in a narrative of events long passed away; we rise from the perusal of the book pleased and excited, but with not so clear a conception of the actual realities of which it treats as would be desirable. We cannot help feeling that the author has been somewhat over-scrupulous in avoiding the dulness of plain detail, and the dryness of dates, names, and statistics. The freedom, flowing diction, and sweeping generality of the reviewer and essayist are maintained throughout; and, with one remarkable exception, the History of England might be divided into papers of magazine length, and published, without any violence to propriety, as a continuation of the author's labors in that department of literature in which he confessedly stands without a rival, —historical review.

That exception is, however, no unimportant one. In our view, it is the crowning excellence of the first volume,—its distinctive feature and principal attraction. We refer to the third chapter of the volume, from page 260 to page 398,—the description of the condition of England at the period of the accession of James II. We know of nothing like it in the entire range of historical literature. The veil is lifted up from the England of a century and a half ago; its geographical, industrial, social, and moral condition is revealed; and, as the panorama passes before us of lonely heaths, fortified farm-houses, bands of robbers, rude country squires doling out the odds and ends of their coarse fare to clerical dependents,—rough roads, serviceable only for horseback travelling,—towns with unlighted streets, reeking with filth and offal,—and

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