Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX 2: Main Historiographical Sources for Millar's Narrative to 1688 - An Historical View of the English Government
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APPENDIX 2: Main Historiographical Sources for Millar’s Narrative to 1688 - John Millar, An Historical View of the English Government 
An Historical View of the English Government, From the Settlement of the Saxons in Britain to the Revolution in 1688, in four volumes, edited by Mark Salber Philips and Dale R. Smith, introduction by Mark Salber Philips (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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Main Historiographical Sources for Millar’s Narrative to 1688
Bacon, Nathaniel (1593–1660): An Historical and Political Discourse of the Laws and Government of England, from the first times to the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Collected from some manuscript notes of John Selden, Esq. (London, 1689).
Bacon was a Puritan and supporter of Oliver Cromwell, and accordingly his historical writings are pervaded by a strong spirit of hostility to the claims of the royal prerogative and to hierarchical pretensions. The Historical Discourse, originally published in 1665, was suppressed by the Restoration government and reissued in 1689 with the addition of a new title page, claiming the work to have been “collected” from some notes by John Selden (on Selden, see below).
Bede, the Venerable (ca. 672–735): Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (731).
Characterized as the “father of English history,” Bede spent most of his life in the monastery of Jarrow. Combining church history with other facets of British history up to 731, the Historia provides a narrative based upon both written documents and oral tradition. It is the primary source of historical knowledge for the early Anglo-Saxon period.
Robert Brady (d. 1700): A Complete History of England (1685).
A historian and physician, Brady was appointed regius professor of physics at Cambridge and twice represented the university in the House of Commons. As keeper of the records at the Tower of London, he developed a profound interest in studying the documents under his charge. His historical works are marked by a sympathy with the royal prerogative and a positive account of the feudal state, a political structure that in his view was introduced by the Normans.
Henry, Robert (1718–90): The History of Great Britain, from the First Invasion of It by the Romans Under Julius Caesar. Written on a new plan. 6 vols. (London, 1771–93).
Henry’s “new plan” involved an ambitious narrative structure that attracted attention well into the nineteenth century. While divided by time period, it is further subdivided into seven thematic narratives that parallel each epoch of British history to the Tudor period. Each of the seven narratives relates a particular strand of history, namely the history of politics, the church, the law and the constitution, learning, the arts, commerce, and manners.
Spelman, Sir Henry (ca. 1564–1641): Glossarium Archaiologium (London, 1664).
Spelman was an antiquarian and historian whose works concentrated on the Anglo-Saxon and early medieval periods. He attempted to write a history of English law from original records but was forced to abandon the exercise due to the difficulty of assigning proper meanings to Anglo-Saxon terms. Out of this experience he wrote his Glossarium, a dictionary of Anglo-Saxon and Latin legal terms. Spelman argued that feudal law was introduced to England in fully developed form only by the Norman Conquest, and that English law had not developed without interruption since the Anglo-Saxon period.
Wilkins, David (1685–1745): Leges Anglo-Saxonicae (London, 1721).
Wilkins, who became archdeacon of Suffolk in 1724, was a scholar of wide-ranging interests with a facility in a number of languages, including Arabic and Hebrew. His knowledge of Anglo-Saxon was put to use in his Leges Anglo-Saxonicae, a collection and translation of Anglo-Saxon laws.
Bacon, Francis (1561–1626): The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seuenth(London, 1622).
The philosopher and politician’s only completed political history was a flattering portrait of the first Tudor monarch. The work was dedicated to James I and intended as a model of virtuous political conduct for Prince Charles. As a work of historical analysis, it long remained a fundamental source for the history of the early Tudor period.
Blackstone, Sir William (1723–80): Commentaries on the Laws of England. 4 vols. (London, 1765–69).
A jurist and professor of law at Oxford, Blackstone wrote commentaries that cover the whole field of law, including a chapter on the “rise, progress and gradual improvements of the laws of England.” The most influential of eighteenth-century English legal texts, it ran to some nine editions during the author’s own lifetime. Blackstone also prepared important editions of the Magna Carta and other charters for the Clarendon Press at Oxford.
Burnet, Gilbert (1643–1715): History of the Reformation of the Church of England. 3 vols. (London, 1679–1715).
A Scottish theologian and historian, the staunchly Protestant Burnet was appointed bishop of Salisbury in 1689 after returning from exile during the reign of James II. His History of the Reformation was one of the first accounts of the English Reformation based on primary sources, and was written largely as an answer to Nicholas Sanders’s De Origine ac Progressu Schismatis Anglicani (Cologne, 1585), a work that had formed the basis of most Roman Catholic histories of the English Reformation.
Carte, Thomas (1686–1754): A General History of England. 4 vols. (London, 1747–55).
Carte was a historian of decidedly Jacobite sympathies, and these inform parts of his History. While not very well known during his lifetime, the work remains a careful and important collection of information and documentary material.
Fortescue, Sir John (ca. 1385–1476): De Laudibus Legum Angliae (London, 1600).
Fortescue was chief justice of the King’s Bench and an ardent adherent of the house of Lancaster. Having been attainted for treason by Edward IV, he was in exile 1463–71. De Laudibus Legum Angliae, though concerned more with politics than with law, sheds much light on trial by jury and other English legal institutions. It was written 1468–70 in the form of a dialogue for the instruction of Edward, son of Henry VI, and it compares the law of England favorably with the civil law of France. His chief object was to emphasize the advantages of a mixed constitution and a limited monarchy.
Gilbert, Sir Geoffrey (1674–1726): The History and Practice of the High Court of Chancery (London, 1758).
Published from Gilbert’s private papers, the History is a treatise on the origins and workings of chancery, and includes a discussion of Roman law. Gilbert was a Whig lawyer, serving as lord chief baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland 1714–22. He was appointed to a seat on the English Exchequer Bench in 1722 and then elevated to lord chief baron of the Court of Exchequer in 1724.
Hume, David (1711–76): The History of England. 6 vols. (London, 1754–62).
In this work by the foremost philosopher and historian of eighteenth-century Britain, Hume’s initial concentration was on the reigns of the Stuart monarchs James I and Charles I, because this was when the “great constitutional struggle had first manifested itself.” Hume’s philosophically polished History was wildly successful and became the standard history of England, even if disliked by many Whigs for its apparent royalism and sharp critique of Puritanism.
Madox, Thomas (1666–1727): The History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England (London, 1711).
Madox was an English antiquarian and historian. His History and Antiquities of the Exchequer was the first serious study of that institution and shed much light on the financial structure of medieval England. Before his death in 1727, Madox had been compiling a general history of medieval England, the remains of which are now in the British Library.
Selden, John (1584–1654): Eadmeri Monachi Cantuariensis Historiae Novorum (London, 1623).
Selden, an English antiquary and jurist, edited the six books of Eadmer (a twelfth-century monk and chronicler), giving an account of the courts of the first two Williams and Henry I. To this text he appended his Notae et Spicilegium, a commentary on Eadmer’s writings. Selden was also the author of several legal and constitutional works, including an edition of Fortescue’s De Laudibus Legum Angliae, and A Brief Discourse Touching the Office of Lord Chancellor.
Smith, Sir Thomas (1513–77): De Republica Anglorum (London, 1583).
Smith’s work was the most important and influential description of the constitution and government of England produced during the Tudor period—indeed produced from within the system which it described. Smith was a moderate Protestant, a scholar (appointed regius professor of civil law at Cambridge in 1543 and vice-chancellor in 1545), and statesman (a member of the Privy Council 1548–50 and 1570–77).
Tyrrell, James (1642–1718): Bibliotheca Politica (London, 1694).
Conceived as a series of fourteen political dialogues, the Bibliotheca deals with parliamentary rights and the royal prerogative through a careful examination of the constitutional questions raised during the reigns of the later Stuarts. The dialogues form a valuable part of the Whig theory of the English constitution.
Willis, Browne (1682–1760): Notitia Parliamentaria. 3 vols. (London, 1730).
Willis was an antiquarian who published widely, including a series of works on English cathedrals. The first two volumes of the Notitia treat parliamentary representation in a very detailed way, addressing the counties alphabetically (but reaching only as far as Durham). The third volume provides brief notes for borough representation, as well as valuable lists of members of Parliament 1542– 1660.
Clarendon, Edward Hyde, Earl of. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England. 3 vols. (Oxford, 1702–4).
A staunch supporter of Charles I upon the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, Hyde was made an earl after the Restoration. After serving as lord chancellor, he was exiled in the aftermath of the Dutch War. His History was a contemporary account of the Civil War that was originally written during the 1640s, augmented in exile, and published posthumously early in the eighteenth century as the standard royalist account of the conflict.
Dalrymple, Sir John (1726–1810): Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland. 3 vols. (London, 1771–73).
A lawyer trained in both Scottish and English law, Dalrymple served as baron of the exchequer 1776–1807. His Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, which were illustrated by collections of state papers from Versailles and London, were criticized by David Hume for being too concerned with the “biographical and anecdotical.”
Hailes, Sir David Dalrymple, Lord (1726–92): Annals of Scotland. 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1776) and An Examination of some of the Arguments for the High Antiquity of Regiam Majestatem; and an enquiry into the authenticity of Leges Malcolmi (Edinburgh, 1769).
A Scottish judge, Dalrymple was a friend and correspondent of both Edmund Burke and Samuel Johnson. His publications were chiefly related to early Scotland, as well as to Christian antiquities, which he deemed the best defense against the skeptical tendencies of the age. The Annals of Scotland, which soon became a standard work on the subject, lamented the loss of Scottish independence, while his Examination delved into early Scottish law, particularly the extent to which it was borrowed from English sources.
Harris, William (1720–70): An Historical and Critical Account of the Life and Writings of Charles I (London, 1758) and An Historical and Critical Account of the Life of Charles II. 2 vols. (London, 1746).
Harris was the son of a Nonconformist tradesman in Salisbury, and himself became a Nonconformist minister in Devonshire. His biographies of the Stuart kings are chiefly concerned with detailing the struggles of the Nonconformists and the establishment of various dissenting churches during the early seventeenth century.
Hume, David (1711–76): The History of England. 6 vols. (London, 1754–62).
(See entry on p. 850.) Millar’s narrative of the Stuart period engages heavily with Hume’s account in the first two volumes of his History.
Rapin-Thoyras, Paul de (1661–1725): History of England. Translated by Nicholas Tindal. 15 vols. (London, 1725–31).
A Huguenot (French Protestant), Rapin left France to avoid persecution following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. He soon joined the armies of William of Orange and was involved in the invasion of 1688 as well as the Irish campaigns. Early in the eighteenth century he began to write his Histoire, and it became the standard Whig account of English history from the Anglo-Saxons to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (until Hume’s History). In later translations, Tindal continued the narrative to the accession of George I in 1727.
Rushworth, John (1612?–90): Historical Collections. 8 vols. (London, 1659).
A lawyer, member of Parliament, and historian, Rushworth was appointed secretary to General Fairfax. His Historical Collections is composed, for the most part, of his own notes of speeches and debates over the period 1640–48. It was vehemently attacked by royalist writers for its partiality and inaccuracy, but for later historians, his notes were a valuable source for the later years of the reign of Charles I.
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